Children are like sponges in their earliest years! They are ready to absorb everything they can, as well as learn from their parents and every other source of information they come into contact with. This is the time when it’s very important to teach them the good habits that they can maintain as they get older, and eventually become adults with minds of their own.
Their health and well-being is entirely in your hands when they are very young. They’re very resilient and grow quickly in the early years. You will have to decide if one parent will stay home and care for the children full time, or if you put them in care while both parents work. There are pros and cons for both schools of thought.
The main aspect to consider is the question “do you want to give your children all the love you can every minute of the day and night as they grow?” OR “do you want to keep working and put them in care during the day or after school until one of you finishes for the day?” Perhaps you and your spouse work at different hours and can share the care. One parent may work nights, while the other works days. These choices are never to be made lightly, because you want to ensure your children get all the love and caring you can offer.
Parenting can be done by more people than just the immediate parents. There may be grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins and other relations that may be more than happy to spend time caring for your children, so you can work or just to get a break from the children because full time care is very demanding.
This is a great way of ensuring good health and well-being, because family will care for the children more personally than if they were “just another body” at a child care center or in school.
Children feel safe and secure when they are with people they trust, so family is a vital part of their overall care, if it is available. It also means that, as parents, if you both work and your child is sick, your family member can take the child to the doctor and be a responsible family member while there.
Apart from your home, the next most important place where children’s health has to be cared for is school.
In a recent survey, 271 school nurses were asked this question – “What do you think is the most important thing parents can do to help keep their children healthy during the school year?” They say that hand hygiene is the most critical of all health issues.
Top of the list was to teach children to wash their hands, cover their sneezes and coughs with an elbow, and not touch their mouth, eyes and nose. Other things on the list were eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep, staying current with all immunizations and keeping children home from school whenever they are sick.
Children learn from whoever cares for them. If it’s not you, as the parents, then it must be people you trust implicitly, because nothing is more important than the health and well-being of your child.