Ten Tips for Children Under Five Years of Age
Eating right begins as a child. It is important to teach children about nutrition, as they can apply this knowledge and preference to their future. There is a large body of research that supports this, encouraging parents to feed their children healthy food options.
The following ten tips will allow your child to develop and maintain good oral health:
- Breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of the child’s life. Since this is the most natural way for infants to consume vital minerals and nutrients, it provides them with everything they need to grow and develop.
- As a parent, if you decide to use formula, please understand how to prepare and provide the formula safely. This will help you avoid under-feeding or over-feeding.
- Once a child reaches 6 months, it is recommended that you begin weaning. This is because certain nutritional needs cannot be met after 6 months. For example, iron levels need to be increased. With that being said, breastfeeding should not be fully eliminated. A combination of breast milk and certain solid foods, should be consumed up until the age of two.
- Around 6 months, children typically begin teething. This can continue until they’re around 3 years of age. When this occurs, you can slightly massage your baby’s teeth with a clean cloth. If you invest in a teeth ring, avoid rings that have liquids inside (as these can leak).
- When giving your child a bottle in their crib or bed, do not provide anything but water around bedtime. Not only can the sugar affect their energy levels, but sugar from juice can decay their teeth.
- Do not dip dummies in any sugary beverages. This promotes a sweet-tooth at a young age. If possible, do not use a dummy and try to discourage your child from sucking on their thumb. This can affect how teeth develop and grow.
- As a parent, it’s recommended that you make your own homemade weaning foods. Commercially made foods often have higher levels of salt and sugar than desired. By creating your own baby foods, you know exactly what is in them.
- Careful what snacks you’re providing for your little ones. There are certain foods that can be consumed for health purposes, but shouldn’t be given between meals. Dried fruit is an excellent example of this.
- Ensure that your child is consuming all of the necessary vitamins and minerals. If not, contact your doctor regarding possible supplements. If young children do not receive all the required nutrients, their diet may hinder their development. Due to lack of essential vitamins and minerals, both their teeth and bones could be affected.
- When giving your child fruit juice, provide them with unsweetened options which are diluted. These juices are a high source of vitamin C and are best at breakfast.