By DR. Pankaj pupneja
As a doctor, I see a lot of people who are living with chronic conditions that are a result, at least in part, to an unhealthy lifestyle.
So, my patients and I focus a lot of our effort on changing behaviors and making healthier choices. As we all know, changing behavior is really hard work – and made all the harder because a lot of the unhealthy behaviors that play a part in the development of chronic conditions start in childhood. By the time an adult is in my office, we’re usually working to change behaviors that come from a lifetime’s worth of habits.
Seeing my patients work so hard to change bad habits is a powerful reminder to me, as a parent, of how important it is for me to help my two children create healthy habits. What they’re learning now can go a long way to protect them from health problems when they grow up.There are 4 healthy habits that I want to encourage in my kids now (and adopt myself), to help prevent health problems in the future.
Brushing routine: Growing up, I never had a set brushing time. I was not forced to follow a ritual and brushed my teeth at my will. This meant skipping brushing and facing dental problems for a much of my life.
What I’m doing: My kids have a nightly before bedtime brushing routine and a morning after wake-up routine,moreover we try to brush together as a fun time.
Sugar: Candy, soda, chocolate, juice….. you name it, I probably lived off of it as a kid.
What I’m doing: At 4 and 6, my kids are already having a hard time with this one! So, we try to keep candy, soda, juice out of the house. I’ve found that the kids can usually be distracted with a juicy apple and grapes, which are always on hand, which satisfies their sweet tooth with a healthy fruit option.
Flossing: I had never been taught how to floss as a kid, for which I am still struggling.
What I’m doing: I made my kids floss once a day, they atleast know the magic of dental floss
Drinking plenty of water: we were told about the nutritive value of fruits and vegetables but wisdom of sipping water was not given.
What I’m doing: I keep water bottles and sippers handy so that the kids can have water after every few hours on their own, even better ask them to fill the bottle themselves this will make them more responsive!