As you may expect, the best way to ensure a healthy child is to establish good habits early on. A few simple habits can make a big difference when it comes to healthy physical and mental development.
In this article, we look at a few ways you can put your four-year-old on a track of healthy development. You should consult with your GP, pharmacist, or a qualified specialist for specific advice that goes beyond these thought-starters.
Brain Boost: Play and Imagination
Being four is a creative, curious, imaginative time. The brain of a four-year-old is in constant development, always learning and trying to make sense of the world. At this age, children are also learning the difference between reality and make-believe.
This is a good age to encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Nurture your child’s interests with activities like simple learning-at-home projects, visiting age-appropriate museums and exhibitions and hands-on activities that involve creativity.
Strong Kids: Movement
At age four, most children are very active and playful. Playing outside, running, jumping, climbing, and interacting with other kids is extremely beneficial to both their physical and mental development.
Staying active as a child will help them develop a lifelong love of healthy exercise and movement. Consider these incremental ways to increase their physical activity:
- When the weather permits, spend at least an hour outside in your garden where your child can run and be active.
- Try out simple activities in the home, like kids yoga videos or have a dance party.
- Encourage a little stretching or a walk around the neighbourhood if your child is upset or feeling down to show that exercise can help us stay happy.
Healthy Bellies: Eating Well
Nutrition is important at any time in your child’s life, but at four years old, your child may be growing more adventurous with some common foods. This is a great time to start introducing new flavours to help your child enjoy a broader range of taste experiences (rather than just sweet or salty).
Encourage a love of healthy foods at a young age with these ideas:
- Make Friday, “New Food Friday”, where you go to the store and your child helps pick out a new vegetable, fruit, or another healthy snack to try. Discuss the flavours, what you like and don’t like, how you might cook it.
- Invite your kids to cook with you so they may learn to love making their food.
- Avoid giving sugary drinks and treats frequently. Instead, opt for delicious fruit and natural yogurt as a dessert with occasional special treats.
Helping a four-year-old learn that healthy is normal will set them up for better outcomes throughout childhood and beyond. Learning healthy habits can be fun. Parents may even pick-up a few healthier habits along the way.
Written by Kaitlan D.
As well as a writer with a passion for education, Kaitlan works in a wellness practice, working with mothers, mothers-to-be and hopeful mothers.
 Raising Children. 4-5 years: preschooler development. 2020-03-12
 Healthy Children. Feeding & Nutrition Tips: 4-to 5-Year-Olds. 2016-09-26
All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.