Short Answer: We all want to raise healthy kids, right? And while we can’t protect them from every little germ that might come their way, we can take steps to help them grow up healthy and strong.

To that end, we asked several healthcare providers, “what are your best tips for raising healthy kids?” The top seven answers are below.

#1 Be Aware of Development Stages

As your kids are growing and developing, they should be hitting several key milestones in how they move, speak, act, and play. A delay in any one of these areas could indicate a developmental issue.  The sooner you recognize a delay, the more you and your doctor can do to help your child improve.

One way you can raise healthy kids is to be aware of the stages of development. Reach out to your doctor if you feel your child isn’t meeting milestones as expected. Early intervention may help your child achieve better results.

#2 Protect Your Kids From Harm

Take the necessary steps to be sure your home, car, and outdoor area are safe for kids. Childproof your home. Take steps to prevent household accidents. Be aware of any changes in your child’s demeanor or appearance that might indicate maltreatment or abuse.

#3 Get Regular Check-Ups And Vaccinations

Routine check-ups, including dental and eye exams, help identify ways to stay healthy. They can also identify health problems early on, when chances for treatment are better. Vaccinations help prevent many diseases and save lives. Keep track of your and your family’s check-ups and vaccinations to make sure they stay current. 

#4 Feed Them Right

Eating right will help provide the nutrients kids need for energy and optimal health. Both kids and grown-ups require plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. But very young children need more fat, because they burn more body fat than adults do.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, fat should make up 30 to 40 percent of daily calories for a child 1 to 3 years old. Fat is essential for brain and nerve development.

Most of a child’s fat intake should come from healthy foods, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts, rather than candy bars. In addition, kids need more calcium because childhood is a time of rapid bone growth.

#5 Keep Them Active

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that kids be active for at least one hour a day. Include activities that raise their breathing and heart rates and that strengthen their muscles and bones. Most effective are weight-bearing exercises, like running around, dancing, and strength training (hanging from the monkey bars counts).

Find fun, safe, and active things you can do with your kids to help keep the whole family healthy. Want to raise healthy kids? Show your kids that exercise is an important part of life! 

#6 Make Sure They Sleep Enough

Adequate sleep is even more important for kids than adults.  Kids take in a ton of new information daily. All that learning requires that their brain-battery gets recharged. That is what happens when they sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most toddlers require about 12 to 14 hours a day (including naps). Kids aged 5 to 12 need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep nightly. 

#7 Check Their Vitamin D Levels

Many children don’t get enough vitamin D nowadays due to sunscreen use and less sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, asthma, and an increased risk of autoimmune disease or infection. Have your child’s levels checked. If they are low, discuss supplementation with your doctor. Vitamin D3 can be easily incorporated into your child’s diet.

Want to raise healthy kids? Follow these seven steps and you’re on the path to good health.