Health promoting interventions that target children are fundamental for building a healthy lifestyle that will follow them in adulthood.
As it was discussed previously, vulnerable populations like migrant/refugee children and children from low SES families have to deal with specific health problems that negatively affect their health status. Therefore, these problems should be specifically addressed in order to enable young children develop to their full potential.
In this lesson we will analyse the following terms:
Good hygiene practices can limit the spread of infectious diseases thereby preserving children’s health and well-being. As for families, maintaining a proper hygiene decrease illness and therefore healthcare costs and it also enhances the quality of living conditions and children’s self-esteem.
It should be mentioned that due to the current global COVID-19 pandemic, the role of maintaining a good hygiene is crucial for the future of all humanity.
Hand washing is one simple technique that you can learn to your children in order to decrease the risk of you child getting sick. Most germs are spread through the hands, as every time we touch a surface germs are transferred to our hands. Then, if we touch our face, mouth or nose, the germs enter our body and we might get sick.
Keep in mind that applying water and soap is mandatory for a proper hand wash!
However, there is an important problem that lies on the governmental unwillingness to invest money on constructing accommodation equipped with basic sanitary infrastructure. Latrines, water containers and soap are basic for maintaining hygiene practices and should be provided in every temporary or permanent accommodation.
NCDs claim 41 million lives every year: That’s approximately 70% of all global deaths.
As claimed in the aforementioned lessons, NCDs are common health problems during adulthood but start developing from a very young age. Risk factors are often reversible and therefore preventing them is of major importance.
Parents should focus on helping their children adopt a healthy lifestyle by first and foremost being role models for them!
Physical activity offers an abundance of health benefits. In the beginning of training, it releases stress, cultivates an energetic feeling, enhances sleeping habits and strengthens the heart, muscles, bones and joints. Moreover, it offers long-term benefits by increasing longevity and decreasing the risk of common NCDs like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and hypertension. It should be mentioned that it also improves mental health by decreasing the risk for depression, PTSD, anxiety and psychotic illness.
However, we should not forget that there are some groups who need supplementary feeding!
Firstly, infants’ and newborns’ nutrition can be enhanced by implementing habits like exclusive breastfeeding from delivery up to 6 months, and appropriate complementary feeding for children 6-24 months old.
Children that suffer from malnutrition should be screened by healthcare professionals. According to their health status they might be in need for multivitamin supplements, or in more severe cases where they fail to thrive, they should be fed with high calorie supplements and assessed by a specialist.
In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding women might be in need of nutrient supplementation (e.g. calcium, iron folate)
You can refer to Module 2: Health Management and Self-care for more information
Children’s mental health can be affected from a young age and due to various reasons. This is why parents should build a safe and supportive environment in order to preserve their child’s mental health. Listening to their feeling, respecting them, boosting their self-esteem and actively caring fro them are necessary for children’s emotional stability and well-being.
However, there are certain signs that children express and parents should recognise as a call for help.
If you notice any disturbing signs, please contact your pediatrician in order consult you on how to handle things.
Some children with mental health issues will have to get help from a healthcare professional. It might be necessary to attend several meetings with a mental health specialist and/or follow a certain medication. There are a lot of different types of therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) through which mental health professional focus on how emotions and feelings affect behaviour. The aim of these practices is to assist your child in confronting the issues that he/she/it is going through. Therefore, try not be worried as the best care is provided to your child. In addition, remember that family is fundamental for child’s mental health and try to create an even more safe and protecting environment for your child in need!