A Family Commitment To Change

Sadhna and I are happily married for the past eight years. We have two beautiful children - Rishab (aged 6) and Saanvi (aged 2).

Rishab Prabhakar
Saanvi Prabhakar
Pray For A Healthy Child

It is a mere coincidence that both our kids were born in India. Coincidence because we were based out of Korea, not India.

But that's not the part I want to highlight. For us, where our kids would be born was never actually a concern. India or Korea or elsewhere.  

Sadhna only prayed for a healthy child! Zillions of "expecting mothers" worldwide hope for the same ... and why not!

The BIG Deal

So what's the BIG deal about having or raising healthy children? Why do expecting mothers and fathers go about consulting the best doctors in town - be it paediatricians or gynaecologists?

I can say with a certain amount of confidence that raising healthy children isn't nearly as simple as some parents think it is. If you want to protect your kids from obesity and other life-threatening diseases like diabetes later in life, you need to educate them on the importance of good nutrition and physical activity.

You also need to tell them why they shouldn't fall for unhealthy temptations or habits.

Rules For Healthy Eating

I constantly remind Rishab and Saanvi about the rules for healthy eating. Allowing them to differentiate between what's right or wrong for them in the long-term helps us to stay involved with them and play a crucial role in their overall development. We try to make it a family thingy.

Mix and Motivate

Being a homemaker has given Sadhna an edge. No matter how busy my day is, Sadhna would never miss taking the kids out to the nearest park for recreation. One hour of physical activity in a day allows children to stay fit and happy. Sadhna knows how to mix it, so she encourages kids to play active games like hopscotch, tickle monster, soccer, etc. Whenever I get time, we go for walks together.

It might seem like a lot at first, but eventually you'll start to enjoy the experience.

Sometimes you will be required to talk your child into physical activities. A certain amount of motivation might also help, more so if your kid is shy or lazy.

Value Your Kids Pursuit To Grow Healthy

When kids realize how much you value their pursuit to grow healthy, your bonding with them automatically becomes stronger. Let me quote an instance here. Almost every time a game event is organized in Rishab's school, I encourage him to participate. If he requires my help during practicing, I do whatever it takes to help him compete. I also make sure to be available for cheering, whatever the situation. These little efforts from my side have improved our relationship a lot.

Pay Attention To The Signs

Although Sadhna doesn't object to the kids watching TV or surfing web, she ensures that the children don't end up becoming typical couch potatoes. I have specifically asked her to pay attention to how much time Rishab and Saanvi spend in front of the screen. We have also moved the TV and computer out of their room and kept the same in our living area.

One of our common friends has suggested that we set a daily TV time limit for our kids, but we haven't got to it yet.

Sadhna is also very particular about the kind of foods she purchases for kids. For example, organic foods, cans of low-sodium beans (for proteins), etc. Occasionally she would involve the kids in preparing healthy meals. The whole idea is that Rishab and Saanvi are more likely to eat something that they have prepared themselves; in the process, they'd also learn about the different types of food and where they come from.

Another great idea is to help children plant a garden (if possible) and allow them to eat what they harvest. You can even take them for fun activities like mango or apple picking and serve them a bowl full of fresh fruits that they have selected.

Finally, let us all make a family commitment to change by introducing healthy food and habits. It is never too late and eventually you will get to see the positives.