As parents, all we want is for our kids to grow up to be happy and healthy. And in order to ensure that they are, we micromanage everything. We make sure they are eating right, have a proper bedtime routine, go to the best school, and join as many extra curricular activities as possible. But what if we told you that the things that may actually be affecting your child’s health are the in-between moments and habits that you probably haven’t even given a second thought to? Children pick up certain habits from observing their parents, just like we did. We assumed that they were normal and not harmful and passed it down to our kids as well. But there are some habits that we thought were perfectly healthy that may be detrimental to our child’s health in the long run. Want to know what they are? Then keep reading! Here are a few “healthy” habits your kids need to give up immediately!
1. Sitting With Your Back Straight
We’re sure you can’t count the times people have bereted you for not keeping your back straight. And we know that you remind your kids to sit up straight at every opportunity. But sitting stiff and straight on a chair isn’t the best idea for your back. In fact several studies have shown that the most comfortable position to sit in for a long period of time is to lean back against the chair and slide down a little bit (1). This is also the healthier position. So teach your kids to sit in a 135 degree position. This way their spine, muscles and tendons won’t take on a lot of tension if they are stationary for a while. Make sure your kids learn how to sit in this relaxed position so that they don’t have to worry about back pain and spinal damage later on in life.
2. Using A Backpack Instead Of A Bag
We know that this one may come as a shock to you. Usually people tell little kids it’s better to carry a backpack so that the weight can be distributed between both their shoulders instead of carrying a bag that puts all the weight on one shoulder. But, things are not as simple as that. If you want your backpack to have the desired effect and help instead of harm you, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Your backpack should have an orthopedic back and be at least 2 inches higher than your waist. Loosening the straps to lower the backpack below your waist can actually be quite harmful for your little one. Carrying the backpack the wrong way can lead to backaches and be the reason behind the development of scoliosis and kyphosis in school students (2). This is why you need to make sure the backpack is as light as possible, so that it does not move from the position it is supposed to be in on your back.
3. Using Hand Sanitizer Often
After the pandemic, we understand why parents and kids are obsessed with using a hand sanitizer after they come in contact with anything. But using antibacterial gels and wipes often do more harm than good. They have the ability to make the defensive mechanisms of our skin and body weaker over time, weakening our immune system as well (3). Triclosan, an ingredient found in hand sanitizer, actually increases the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics and may be the reason for the development of a super-bacteria that’s harder to get rid of (4). Besides, you need to keep in mind that these gels don’t just kill bad bacteria, they also kill the flora on your hands which can further weaken your little one’s immune system. Besides, sanitizers aren’t exactly kid friendly products. They can be extremely drying and cause their delicate skin to get irritated quickly. So, choose to help your kids wash their hands with a mild soap instead.
4. Cutting Their Nails Too Short
For the longest time, parents and teachers have been opposed to kids having long nails and that’s understandable. But, cutting their nails too short also has ramifications. Sure keeping your nails short helps keep them clean, but skin experts say that there is a greater chance of infecting the area under your nails if it is cut too short (5). Besides, if you cut your child’s nails too short then their fingertips may grow longer and their nails may grow under the skin.
Making sure your kids don’t cultivate any bad habits can be hard when we don’t know how harmful most of the “good” ones can be. But thankfully now you and your little one can avoid these habits to have a truly healthy future.