Parenting is a journey unlike any other. No matter how prepared you think you are, your kids will continue to surprise you. As you guide them through life, you want your little ones to be as healthy as possible. It can seem like an overwhelming task when your child is throwing their green beans on the floor and staying up all night. Here are five easy ways to raise healthy kids. 

  1. Go on Adventures in the Outdoors 

Not only do little ones need enrichment and learning opportunities, but they also need fresh air and physical activity. Nature plays an important part in mental health and wellbeing. You can read about these connections in functional medicine books, but you can also see them for yourself when you take your children on adventures in nature. 

Whether you work together to plant a vegetable garden in your backyard or go on a hike in the forest, your children will benefit from exposure to the outdoors. Even a walk in the park can do wonders for mental and physical health, and it will inspire a long-lasting and positive relationship with the outdoors that your children will rely on for years to come. 

  1. Encourage Open and Honest Communication 

Communication is critical to living a healthy and stable life. You can encourage good communication habits early by having open dialogs with your little ones. Children should feel safe to discuss whatever is bothering them, and this will benefit you, the parent, as well.

Open communication will help reduce the amount of guesswork in your day-to-day interactions with your children. You can approach open dialog in a number of ways, including having a family forum, using art as a way to express emotions and going on a walk where you share your inner thoughts. 

  1. Make Fruits and Vegetables Fun

Tiny tots are notorious for being picky eaters. One way around this is to transform eating veggies and fruits into a fun event. It may get messy, but when your kids are finally eating celery, carrots and broccoli, you'll be happy to clean up after them. Here are some tips for turning mealtime into the most exciting part of the day: 

  • Create edible sculptures using healthy foods 
  • Look up new recipes and cook together 
  • Disguise healthy foods in other forms, such as zucchini muffins and spaghetti squash pasta 
  • Visit a farm and harvest your own fruits and vegetables 
  1. Stick to a Schedule 

While children may seem like chaos incarnate, they actually thrive when life revolves around a strict schedule. Maintain the same hours for getting out of bed and going to sleep at night, and settle on a comforting bedtime routine. Routines help children know what to expect, and expectations allow them to navigate life successfully.

Children as young as six months old can benefit from a bedtime routine. You can start with a simple sequence of changing into pajamas, singing a lullaby and cuddling for a few minutes before falling asleep. Eventually, you will want to add reading a book and possibly bathtime to this routine. 

  1. Talk About Safety Early and Often 

It's important to discuss safety and hygiene with young children. This can include anything from how to interact with pets to how to wash your hands and how to be cautious around strangers. Don't wait to talk about tough topics with kids. Open dialog around consent and body parts will help your children feel empowered to make safe decisions and communicate anything they don't feel comfortable with. These life skills will go a long way in setting them up for adulthood. 

If parenting feels like an uphill battle, you're not alone. Raising healthy kids is as easy as trusting your gut and sharing healthy, positive experiences with your little ones. It also takes a bit of experimentation and courage to think outside the box, but your children will thank you for it.