Putting Your Child First

Putting Your Child First
06 March 2017
In the month of March, the South African Government focuses on its School Health programme, which seeks to bring basic health screening services to children in priority health districts, or regions where health care services are not as easily accessible.

As part of our national focus on child health, let’s look at ways you can put the health of your children first, and why it matters more than you realise.
Raising and nurturing your children is a central focus of your life, but the emotional, physical and financial strains attached to having children can leave parents feeling quite depleted. Ultimately, any parent will tell you that every cent spent and every sleepless night is worth it, although it can feel difficult at times. Putting the health of your children first, however, seems to have extra benefits for parents.

The Child-Centric Family
This 2013 study, as published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, outlined the benefits attached to adopting a child-centric approach when raising a family. A child-centric approach is often misunderstood, as parents view this as a way to sacrifice their own needs for the sake of their children, but it’s a more balanced approach than that. As a child-centric family, parents do put the needs of their children first, but it is for the benefit of both parents and children, along with the larger family. The study found that, despite some societal naysaying, child-centric families and parents experienced:
 “greater positive effect, less negative effect, and greater meaning in life when engaged in child care activities. This link between child-centrism and well-being stands in contrast to recent arguments about the pitfalls of overinvestment in children, while dovetailing with a growing body of evidence that personal well-being is associated with investing in others rather than oneself.”

How Do You Put Your Child First?
It’s all very good and well to commit to putting your child first, but what does that really mean for overwhelmed parents with too much to do, and too many bills to pay? Ultimately, it comes down to time and attention. Here are three ways you can adopt a more child-centric approach for your family, right away:

  • Make time for playtime: after a busy day at the office, you may feel tempted to rush home, cook dinner and put the kids to bed as quickly as possible, so you can relax. Instead, take twenty minutes to devote to them, before you head into the kitchen. Use this time to chatting about your days, playing a quick game of hide and seek or enjoying a quick cup of tea with your teenager, to find out the latest news on the who’s who in the pop star world. The dishes can wait, we promise.
  • Schedule your family time: our modern lives demand so very much from us, and carving out clear time to spend together as a family can be difficult. If you can, find ways to combine activities that fulfil both your need for exercise and your need for making memories together. Check out our quick guide for making this easier than you think.  
  • Be guided by your child: this does seem to buck the traditional parent-child trend, but there are ways to do this that don’t necessarily demand you undo the traditional roles. A child-centric approach exists to help children learn how to make their own choices, and you can do that, quite easily. For younger children, give them two options to choose from for dinner, and they’ll probably enjoy the meal and not give you too much trouble at the dinner table. For older children, find specific activities you think they may enjoy over the weekend, and ask them to choose which one they’d like to do with you on a specific or special day. That’ll help you to keep the choices budget-friendly, and simultaneously schedule a fun activity to enjoy together.

Putting Your Child’s Health First
When it comes to putting your child’s health first, it’s far simpler than you think. Check out our lazy guide to healthy school lunchboxes (extra points if you can turn it into a family activity and have the kids help you pack them!) and read up on how you can pack in the good stuff, every day. Make sure your children’s vaccinations are up to date (this calculator from Parent24 can help) and, if they need to get checked by your doctor, make that appointment as soon as possible.

LifeDoc Can Help
LifeDoc™ is here to help. Now available for download as an Android app (with iOS coming soon!), LifeDoc™ helps you take charge of your personal health information, while making it easier to keep track of appointments, schedule those check-ups and securely store your personal health records. As a digital health platform, LifeDoc™ helps you put your child’s health first. Register here or like the LifeDoc™ Facebook page for regular updates. You can also stay on track with LifeDoc™ developments on Twitter.