One of the many things our children inherit is health, and often times good health can be attributed to a good gene pool. But very often, good things can go bad, especially if they are not taken good care of.
I remember many years ago, when I was a new mother myself, my mother-in-law sent me a letter enumerating me the cost of various organ transplants. I was quite puzzled by this, not knowing what to make of it; was she planning to sell her body parts? It was only later on that I understood her message: we should take care of our bodies because our health was priceless. Indeed it is only when we lose anything that we realize its true value. But health once lost, is hard to regain so why lose it in the first place?
Parenting is hard particularly in modern times when help is not easy. Very often nuclear families have to depend on hired help or day care or the goodwill of parents/ relatives or neighbours to take care of the child. With double income families being the norm it is getting even more difficult for parents to take little children to the park or older children to sports facilities especially after a hard day at work and more work in the house looming ahead. With horror stories of child abuse, kidnapping etc, it is far easier to place the child in front of a TV and passively watch some sport or at best park him in front of a game console while the parents are busy catching up with housework or chores that need to be done. While the safety of the child is of paramount importance, what is equally important is inculcating good habits in a child so that he establishes a lifestyle that will hold him in good health.
With increasing incomes and improved food supply, we are eating far more than our ancestors ever did. Even if the quantities aren’t larger, our calorie intake is definitely higher with more refined carbohydrates replacing traditional grains like Ragi and Nachani. Similarly mechanization has reduced our physical effort and activities that required huge calorie burning like sweeping, swabbing, walking, washing are all minimized with the turn of a switch. So while progress is commendable, our lifestyle is not always conducive to good health. In fact obesity is on the rise among urban children and what is worse is that obesity leads to lifestyle disease – chief among them being diabetes. With every Indian family having at least one diabetic in the family, there is every chance that your child could develop this disease. But you can do something about it – instill good habits to keep it away. All one has to do is make sure the child eats right and exercises regularly.
Tweaking your lifestyle to include more exercise on a daily basis rather than the annual hike to the hills, making some time to relax and de-stress and above all to include your children in healthy eating habits by taking them shopping so that they know how to eat seasonal, fresh and wholesome, will go a long way to making your child follow a healthy lifestyle. Apart from the discipline of sleeping and eating on time, regular exercise like yoga and walking will ensure life-long agility and the ability to fight off all the vicious viruses that are lurking around. Gift your child the best gift he can ever get – a healthy lifestyle for a happy future.
As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through babyhood, toddler hood, adolescence and adulthood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share my experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood.