The Four Pillars of a Healthy and Happy Child's Life

18/10/2013 11:06 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

Any parent will know that their child needs a balance of a number of things in order to develop into a healthy and happy person, but as figures regarding child obesity are becoming more and more alarming; are we neglecting these important life pillars?

Child safety has always been at the forefront of a parent's mind but it's important to remember that the encouragement of a healthy lifestyle should go hand in hand with this. We all want our children to develop into the best adults they can be but in order for this to happen there should be a focus on creating a balance between all four of these areas.

Nutrition -


Nutrition is a hot topic when it comes to children because of alarming recent statistics and the fact that what happens at these early stages can easily set a precedent for the rest of their lives. It is so important to encourage the consumption of a well-rounded diet so that our children learn what this entails. The best way of doing this is by getting them involved in the kitchen whenever you get the chance.

By teaching them about the different food groups and showing them what is and what isn't part of a healthy diet in this hands-on way they are more likely to take on board the information you are giving them. It also means they will begin to learn how to create healthy meals when you are not around and in the future when they start to cook for themselves.

Learning -


School is obviously a big part of a child's life during their first sixteen years, but the teachers they learn from everyday are not the only people with a responsibility to teach them about the world. There is an opportunity to turn any situation in life into a lesson and so the more time you spend with your child during these otherwise passive times, the more they will learn.

For example, in the early stages of our lives we learn so much about the world merely by exploring it during our moments of play. If you are there as a parent during these periods you can be on hand to reinforce positive behaviour and pick up on anything you wouldn't want them to continue doing.

Other opportunities to learn can be found in sports, reading, taking walks together and many other similar situations.

Exercise -


Exercise should definitely be an essential part of your child's life as it isn't enough to just encourage good eating habits. Children love to be active a lot of the time anyway but it is a good idea to enhance this by promoting the idea of them taking up an active hobby. A Regular past time like this will be something they can cherish throughout their lives and will be with them every step of the way.

Getting them involved from an early age will again help to promote a great lifestyle and will give them more time to develop their skills in this specific area. An activity such as football for kids will be a great source of exercise for your child whilst also helping them to establish some important life skills. Team sports such as this will promote team work, social skills, communication and a whole host of other things.

Sleep -


It's rather ironic that the ages at which we really need the most sleep in order to enhance our learning are the ages at which we are most adverse to a responsible bed time. Children are often reluctant to go to bed at an appropriate time yet this is a vital part in helping them develop in a balanced way. Research shows that sufficient sleep helps kids to retain the information they have learnt during their day as well as effectively recharging them for another busy period tomorrow.

Lack of sleep is more likely make children lethargic and lazy whilst also affecting their ability to concentrate at school and during other important times. Because of this it is important that parents closely monitor their children's use of electronic devices and computer games. In moderation these activities have been shown to have a positive impact on learning and behaviour, but excessive use is almost guaranteed to disrupt sleep patterns.