Once we become parents, we can’t stop worrying about our little kiddo’s well being. Sometimes, we do this to the point of obsession. And our overzealous nature can make us commit the mistake of assuming certain seemingly ‘healthy’ habits as good for our kids. Whereas, in reality, they can prove to be harmful to them in the long run. So, here are a few healthy habits that our children need to give up so as not to harm themselves:
1. Sitting Straight All The Time
From a very young age, we were often told to sit straight and not to slouch. Because it was long believed that sitting in a slouching manner could affect the structure of the backbone and thus the posture. However, the results of a recent study now contradict this belief. According to this study, sitting at an angle where we lean back and slide a bit, is the most comfortable and healthy position for our body. This 135-degree sitting angle does not strain the spine, the tendons, and muscles surrounding our backbone. On the contrary, constantly sitting straight in a 90-degree angle puts a lot of strain on the backbone and can lead to misalignment of the internal disk of the spine (1).
2. Using Overloaded School Back Packs
While picking a school bag for our kids, we often prefer a backpack compared to the one-shouldered bags. And why not, because there’ll be equal distribution of weight on both the shoulders, right? However, it is now believed that there are side effects to this as well. It has been observed that people who usually carry heavy backpacks tend to lean forward. With time, this can cause the upper back to curve and the shoulders might become rounded too. Thus increasing the risk of neck, shoulder, and back pain (2). To avoid this, adjust the straps of the bag properly so both of them are of the same height. Also, go for well-padded shoulder straps for comfort. You can also skip it entirely and go for school stroller bags which are quite popular nowadays.
3. Overusing Hand Sanitizer
No matter where they go, children easily pick dirt on their hands. In this scenario, many parents see hand sanitizers as a boon. They are convenient to carry and clean your child’s dirty hands in a jiffy. However, beyond its use at hospitals, no studies have been done to prove that hand sanitizers can kill bacteria completely in an outdoor environment. Some naysayers also argue that overusing hand sanitizers can lead to antibacterial resistance. Again, no studies have been done to prove this as well. So, what’s the best bet? According to the Centers for Disease Control (USA), soap and water are still the best way to clean your child’s hands as compared to hand sanitizers. Soap and water effectively clean dirty and greasy palms without destroying the good bacteria on them (3).
4. Applying Kajal In The Eyes
For ages, women in countries like India, apply kajal (kohl) in their babies’ and children’s eyes. Reason: they are usually advised by their elders to do so to enhance the ‘beauty’ of the eyes and improve eyesight. However, despite being a popular cosmetic, kajal contains high amounts of lead along with other harmful minerals. If used for a prolonged time, this can even harm the brain and bone marrow. Not only that but using dirty fingers to apply the kajal can also cause infections to the eye. Broken or chipped nails of the person applying the kajal can harm the child’s eyes too. So, just give this one a miss for the safety of your child’s eyesight (4).
5. Cutting Nails Too Short
Ingrown nails are a common problem among kids and adults alike. Some of us can inherit the condition if it’s in the family. However, improper trimming and cutting of nails can also lead to this condition. In fact, cutting nails too short is considered to be the most common cause of ingrown nails. When nails are cut too short, the skin surrounding it tends to fold inward, resulting in ingrown nails. Therefore, avoid cutting nails too short or too deep (5). Instead of cutting, try to gently file your child’s nail to get rid of the sharp edges.
We’re sure that the harm from these ‘healthy’ habits might have come as a surprise to you. As a parent, you’ll only have goodwill in your heart for your child. However, being alert and aware of the potentially harmful outcomes of our actions will help us avoid mistakes that could otherwise harm our children.