Healthy Lifestyle for Young Children

Eat a variety. Have a balanced diet.

A healthy balanced diet provides nutrients to support your child's growth. To obtain sufficient nutrients, your child and you should eat according to the portions of all the food groups (Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Meat, Fish Egg and Alternatives and Milk and Alternatives) in the Healthy Eating Food Pyramid.

What and how much should your child eat daily?

In preparation for your child's daily diet, parents can refer to the Healthy Eating Food Pyramid for 2 – 5 Years Old.

Food group Daily servings Examples of a serving
Grains 1½ - 3 bowls 1 bowl equals to
  • 1 bowl of rice (equivalent to 5 tablespoons of cooked rice) or
  • 1 bowl of rice vermercilli or udon (without soup) or
  • 1½ bowls of macaroni or
  • 2 slices of white or whole-meal bread (8 slices per pound) or
  • 5 pieces of chicken-egg sized potatoes or sweet potatoes
Vegetables At least 1½ servings 1 serving equals to
  • ½ bowl of cooked vegetables or
  • 1 bowl of uncooked vegetables
Fruits At least 1 servings 1 serving equals to
  • 1 piece of medium-sized fruit (e.g. orange, apple) or
  • ½ piece of large-sized fruit (e.g. banana, grapefruit) or
  • 2 pieces of small-sized fruit (e.g. plums) or
  • ½ bowl of diced or cut-up fruit
Meat, Fish, Egg and Alternatives 1½ - 3 taels 1 tael equals to
  • Meat of a size of a table-tennis or a mahjong (about 4 slices) or
  • 1 chicken egg or
  • 4 pieces of prawns or scallops or
  • ¼ block of firm tofu or 1 piece of silky tofu
  • 6-8 tablespoons of cooked beans
Milk and Alternatives 2 cups 1 cup equals to
  • 1 cup of low-fat milk or
  • 2 slices of low-fat cheese (20g per slice) or
  • 1 cup of calcium-fortified soy milk or
  • 1 tub of low-fat plain yoghurt (about 150g) or
Fat/Oil No more than 6 teaspoons 1 teaspoon equals to
  • 2 teaspoons of peanut butter or
  • 1 tablespoon of salad dressing

1 bowl = about 250-300ml; 1 tablespoon = about 15ml; 1 teaspoon = about 5ml; 1 cup = about 240ml

Children's appetite

  • Children need 3 regular meals and 2 snacks a day. Provide variety of food at main meals and snack time.
  • The amount of food that children eat at each meal is variable. During mealtime, offer her small portions. Top up only if she wants more.
  • Serve a variety of food in each main meal and provide more than one dishes to arouse children's interest.

Eat a variety of food to stay healthy

Here are some ideas to encourage you and your child to eat from a variety of foods:

  • They include congee, pasta, rice, bread and oatmeal, etc. They are rich in carbohydrates and provide energy. They should be consumed the most. Replace some white rice or white bread with whole-grain foods such as whole-meal bread, oatmeal or brown rice. They are more nutritious and rich in dietary fibre, which provides a longer satiety effect and prevents constipation.
  • Provide different foods from the Grains group in each main meal or snack, e.g. oatmeal in breakfast, soup noodles at lunch, brown rice at dinner, bread at snack time.
  • They include leafy vegetables, squashes, mushrooms, eggplants and peas, etc. Apart from dietary fibre, vegetables of different colours have various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Choose different kinds of vegetables as ingredients when cooking so that family members and your child can eat more vegetables
  • They include berries (e.g. strawberries, berries, kiwifruits, etc.), melons (e.g. watermelon, melon, etc.), citrus fruits (e.g. orange, grapefruit, mandarin, etc.) , pomes(e.g. apples or pears, etc.), drupes (e.g. peaches or plums, etc.) and other tropical fruits(e.g. bananas or mangoes). They provide dietary fibre, different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Serve fruits in snack, add fruits in main dishes are ways to eat more fruits.
  • Eat a whole fruit is the best choice. This gives you more dietary fibre than drinking juice. Canned fruits, fruit dessert, dried fruits with added sugar and concentrated juice are high in sugars. They should be consumed less.
Meat, Fish, Egg and Alternatives
  • Choose a variety of protein-rich foods and consume in moderation. You and your child should avoid having too much saturated fat, look for the following better choices:
    • Same as meat, tofu, non-fried soy bean products (e.g. fresh bean curd sheet), dried beans (e.g. red kidney beans, cowpeas, etc), and nuts are rich in protein and iron. When boiling soup, add dried beans, seeds or nuts and boil them to soft. This can be an easy and time-saving method to provide choices to your child. Replace some meat with tofu or dried beans in dishes. This provides different texture and increases intake of unsaturated fat and dietary fibre.
    • Fish and seafoods are rich in unsaturated fat that is good for the health of our blood vessels and heart. Eat different fishes 2-3 times a week. Avoid eating large predatory fish.
    • Have lean mean in moderation. Remove the fat and skin from meat and poultry. Avoid using processed meat (e.g. sausages) or ready-to-eat meat products (meat balls, siu mai, etc.) in cooking.
Milk and Alternatives
  • They include milk, cheese, yoghurt or calcium-fortified soy milk. They give us protein and a convenient source of calcium.
  • Children older than 2 years old are advised to drink low-fat milk to reduce fat intake. They can also choose low-fat yoghurt or calcium-fortified soy milk. Cheese has a higher sodium content, eat occasionally in moderation. Fruit- or chocolate-flavoured milk or yoghurt are added with sugars, which increase the chances of tooth decay and obesity. They should be consume less.
  • Milk and milk products and calcium rich foods can be a part of dishes at main meals or snack, it helps the whole family obtain more calcium. e.g.: stir-fry egg, egg custard, white sauce, oatmeal cooked with milk, western style soup (e.g. chowder soup), etc. Plain yoghurt can be used as sauce, e.g. lemon and yoghurt sauce with salads, sandwich with tuna and yoghurt dressing. Plain yoghurt can be a dip with fruit platter.

Examples of main meals and snacks for children

Children need 3 regular meals and 2 snacks a day. Provide variety of food at main meals and snack time. Arrange your children and the family to eat together. Serve a variety of food in each main meal and provide more than one dish to arouse children's interest. The amount of food that children eat at each meal is variable. During mealtime, offer her small portions. Top up only if she wants more. You can refer to the following 4-day menu to prepare food and appropriate serving size for your child:

Example 1:

Family's menu Serving size for your child
Breakfast Macaroni with baby cabbage and minced pork in soup
Low-fat milk
Baby cabbage ¼ bowl
Minced pork 1 tablespoon
Macaroni ⅔-1 bowl (without soup)
Low-fat milk ½ cup (about 120ml)
Morning snack Dragon fruit
Low-fat milk
Dragon fruit ½ bowl
Low-fat milk ½ cup (about 120ml)
Lunch Shanghai noodles with tomato and shredded beef in soup
Boiled Choy sum
Tomato and Choy sum ¼-½ bowl
Shredded beef (size of a mahjong, 40 grams)
Shanghai noodles ⅔-1 bowl (without soup)
Afternoon snack Cantaloupe
Plain yoghurt
Cantaloupe (in small pieces) ½ bowl
Plain yoghurt 1 tub
Dinner Shanghai white cabbage in clear soup
stir-fry cauliflower with little oil
Stir-fry prawns with eggs
Brown rice
Shanghai white cabbage and cauliflower ¼-½bowl
Stir-fry prawns with egg (½ egg、2 pieces of prawns)
Brown rice½-¾ bowl

Example 2:

Family's menu Serving size for your child
Breakfast Steamed sweet potato
No sugar / low sugar calcium-added soy milk
Steamed sweet potato (size of 2-3 pieces of egg)
No sugar / low sugar calcium-added soy milk ½ cup
Morning snack Grapes Grapes ½ bowl (cut in small pieces)
Lunch Soup udon with spinach, black fungus and chicken (without skin) Spinach and black fungus ¼-½ bowl
Chicken (without skin) 4 slices
Udon ⅔-1 bowl (without soup) (about 1 pack)
Afternoon snack Pear
Low-fat milk
Medium-sized pear ½ piece
Low-fat milk ½ cup (about 120ml)
Dinner Eggplant braised with minced meat
Baked mushroom with low-fat cheese (To serve 4 people, use 4 slices of low-fat cheese)
Rice mixed with corn kernels
Rice mixed with corn kernels ½-¾ bowl
Eggplant ¼ bowl
Mushroom ¼ bowl (with 1 slice of low-fat cheese)
Minced meat 2 tablespoons

Example 3:

Family's menu Serving size for your child
Breakfast Oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk
Oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk (dry oatmeal 4-5 tablespoons, low-fat milk ½ cup (about 120ml))
Strawberries 2 pieces
Morning snack Blueberries
Plain yoghurt
Blueberries ½ bowl
Plain yoghurt 1 tub
Lunch stir-fry zucchini with little oil
Braised shiitake mushroom, minced meat and tofu
White rice
Zucchini and shiitake ¼-½ bowl
minced meat 1 tablespoon、⅛ block of tofu
White rice ½-¾ bowl
Afternoon snack Apple
No sugar / low sugar calcium-added soy milk
Medium-sized apple 1 piece
No sugar / low sugar calcium-added soy milk ½ cup
Dinner stir-fry broccoli with little oil
Baked pumpkin
Baked drumstick with herbs
Baked potatoes
Broccoli ¼ bowl
Pumpkin ¼ bowl
Baked drumstick with herbs 1 piece (without skin and bones)
Baked potatoes (size of 2-3 pieces of egg)

Example 4:

Family's menu Serving size for your child
Breakfast Peanut butter and banana sandwich
Low-fat milk
Banana ½ pieces (cut in thin slices)
Smooth peanut butter 2 teaspoons
White bread and whole-meal bread ½ slice each
Low-fat milk ½ cup (about 120ml)
Morning snack Kiwifruit Kiwifruit 1-2 pieces
Lunch Carrot and union braise with minced meat (beef or pork) and chickpeas
Rice mixed with chopped Choy sum
Carrot and union ¼-½bowl
Minced meat 1 tablespoon, chickpeas 3-4 tablespoons
Rice (mixed with chopped Choy sum) ½-¾ bowl
Afternoon snack Low-fat milk Low-fat milk ½ cup (about 120ml)
Dinner stir-fry purple cabbage with little oil
Braised salmon with red or yellow bell peppers
Spaghetti baked with low-fat cheese (Use 4 slices of low-fat cheese to serve 4 people)
Purple cabbage, red or yellow bell peppers ¼-½ bowl
Salmon (size of a mahjong, 40 grams)
Spaghetti baked with low-fat cheese ⅔-1 bowl (1 slice of low-fat cheese)

Eat more vegetables and fruits

Children aged 2 to 5 should have at least 1½ servings of vegetables (about ¾ bowls of cooked vegetables) and 1 serving of fruit every day. Vegetables and fruits have many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals we need for good health, and contain dietary fibre. Phytochemicals possess antioxidative properties, and help boost immune function, prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, etc.

Phytochemicals in vegetables and fruits of different colours

Colour Examples of vegetables and fruits Phytochemical and its function
Red Tomato, red bell pepper, watermelon, grapefruit, etc. Lycopene helps prevent cancer and cardiovascular diseases
Orange, yellow Carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, corn, papaya, cantaloupe, mango, etc. Lutein, zeaxanthin and carotene help protect your eyes and maintain eye health.
Dark green Spinach, bok choi, choy sum, broccoli, etc.
  • Contains lutein;
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as choy sum and broccoli contain indole, which helps prevent cancer.
Purple, blue Eggplant, purple cabbage, purple sweet potato, grapes, plum, blueberry, etc. Anthocyanins protect body cells and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers.

Tips to include vegetables or fruits of different colours in main meals and snack time

Colour of vegetables and fruits Tips to include vegetables or fruit in main meals and snack time
  • Cook egg, tofu, meat, etc. with tomato and red pepper
  • Add cooked tomatoes together with onions, red kidney beans, and little minced lean meat to make a sauce for pasta, rice or bread.
Orange, yellow
  • Cook carrot, pumpkin or corn with meat, or as ingredients in soup, which can be served in main meals or snack time.
  • Serve diced papaya, cantaloupe or mango with low fat yogurt for snack.
Dark green
  • Cook the vegetables with meat, fish, tofu, etc.
  • Bake broccoli with little cheese, serve in main meal or snack time.
Purple, blue
  • Cook meat or fish with eggplant or purple cabbage;
  • Serve steamed or baked purple sweet potato, cut grape, plum, blueberries, etc. in snack time.

Ways to encourage children eating vegetables and fruits

Your child may not be willing to try new vegetables. Have patience and give him more chances to try. He is more likely to try if you are eating with him. You can encourage your child to eat vegetables and fruit in positive ways:

  • Provide few different vegetables in main meals and let your child choose among them.
  • Prepare the vegetables with different cooking methods. For example, try stir-fried vegetables instead of steamed vegetables.
  • Involve your child in preparing meals, e.g. shop with your child, prepare or wash the vegetables with him
  • Let your child make her own choice with your guidance by saying, "Would you like tomato or spinach for dinner?"

Ways to include vegetables and fruits in meals

Provide two vegetable dishes of different colours and types at main meals. This encourages family members and your child to eat more vegetables, e.g. stir-fry choy sum with chicken and pumpkin soup, stir-fry broccoli with tofu and tomato with egg. You can do meal planning and make a grocery list before shopping for food. Some ways to incorporate vegetables into main dishes:

  • when stir-frying meat, apart from leafy vegetables, use beans or mushrooms as ingredient. You can use long beans, black fungus or shiitake mushroom, etc;
  • when steaming or frying egg (with little oil), add broccoli, tomato or mushroom to make vegetable omelets;
  • when boiling soup, put less meat and put more vegetables as ingredients. You can try beetroot, carrot, pumpkin, corn, hairy-melon, chayote or loofah, etc.

To encourage your child eat more fruits, provide fruits of different colours in snack time. Eat with your child. He is more willing to try with your encouragement and model.

Furthermore, you can also eat fruits with other foods:

  • Add strawberries, blueberries or bananas, etc. when eating oatmeal or bread. Mash them as puree as a 'jam' without added sugar.
  • Choose fruit of your choice and add to yoghurt or salad. You can add them in main dishes too, e.g. stir-fry meat or chicken with oranges, mangoes or dragon fruits.
  • Cut watermelons, cantaloupe or dragon fruit in cubes or strips. Put them in freezer to make ice-blocks with no added sugar.

Reduce high fat foods

Use low-fat cooking methods, such as steaming, boiling, baking, grilling, stir-frying or pan-frying with little amount of oil. Limit fat and oil intake to no more than 6 teaspoon a day. A tablespoon of salad dressing contain approximately 1 teaspoon of oil.

Reduce providing high fat foods to family members and your child in daily diet:

  • Processed meat such as canned foods or sausages
  • Ready-made meatballs such as fish balls, beef balls or siu-mai
  • Spare ribs or chicken wings
  • Fried rice or noodles, instant noodles, fried toast, cakes, egg tarts, pastries (e.g. croissants), buns with filling (e.g. pineapple bun, sausage bun, BBQ pork bun and egg-custard bun) and biscuits
  • Baked rice or rice or pasta dishes served with creamy sauce

Ways to reduce fat intake

  • Choose rice vermicelli, egg noodles or udon instead of instant noodles.
  • Serve less sauce on dishes.
  • Replace chicken wings with drumsticks. Remove skin when you eat.
  • Choose whole-meal bread, plain bun or raisin bun. Try tomato, egg or a thin spread of smooth peanut butter as filling.

Have meals with family

  • Children who often have meals with their family have better mental and physical health and academic performance.
  • Eating meals with other family members provides children more chances to try a wider range of foods. It is the opportunity for you to help them learn good eating behaviours. When your child is eating well, being polite at mealtime, trying different foods, praise your child and describe what they have done well.
  • Switch off televisions and mobile phones when having family meals. Chat with your child and let her share her story as you and she are enjoying the foods together. Usually, your child can eat enough within 20-30 minutes.

Choose water. Avoid sugar-added drinks.

  • Children aged 2 to 5 need 4-5 cups of fluid (including plain water, milk and clear soup). They need to drink more water if they have more physical activities or when the weather is hot or dry.
  • Help children choose water. Put cups filled with water at places within her reach so that your child can help herself. Bring a water bottle when going outdoors so that your child can replenish anytime, anywhere.
  • Avoid offering drinks with added sugar, such as soft drinks, sugar-added fruit drinks. Children aged 2 to 5 should limit sugar intake to less than 5 to 6 teaspoons a day. The sugar content of a can of sugar-added drink may have exceeded this level.
  • It is easy for children to consume too much sugar and develop caries by drinking sugar-added drinks. Excessive intake of sugar will lead to obesity in children and put their long term health at risk.

Sugar content of some popular drinks:

Drinks Sugar (in teaspoons)
Instant malt drink [1 cup] 2.5
Sweetened soymilk [1 cup] 3.5
Probiotic drink [100 ml] 3.5
Fresh orange juice [1 cup] 4
Chocolate milk [1 cup] 4
Cordial [1 cup] 4.5
Pearl tapioca milk tea [520 grams] 5.2
Soft drink [330 ml] 7

1 cup is about 240ml; 1 teaspoon is about 5 grams

Limit snack foods

  • Avoid stocking too many snack foods, such as cakes, biscuits, ice cream, candies and chips, etc at home. Limit the quantity to 1 to 2 servings when you purchase. This reduces the chance your child asking for these foods.
  • Excluding these snack foods from the daily life may not be realistic. Parents can make it clear to their children that these snacks are only to eat occasionally. Work out with your child when the snack food will be served, for example, you can tell your child, "We will have chips or cookies as snack this Saturday."
  • To prevent your child from getting into the habit of snacking, you should be his model and avoid snacking. Here are some useful tips to help reduce intake of snack foods in the family :
    • Engage yourself and your child in playing and various physical activities. This prevents both of you from snacking due to boredom;
    • Avoid using snacks to soothe your child when he is upset. Stay by his side. This helps him learn to calm down by himself;
    • Avoid offering snack as reward. Praise him verbally or give him a hug if he does something good. You can also reward him an activity that he is interested in, e.g. a shopping trip you, playing in the park or extra story time, etc.

Take care of teeth

Eating regularly

  • Healthy eating habits help prevent tooth decay. Apart from choosing nutritious foods, parents should also avoid their children eating and drinking frequently.
  • The longer food and drink stay in your child's mouth, the more chance there is for acid to develop and damage tooth enamel. Frequent eating and sipping drinks over long periods of time is more likely to cause tooth decay. After 2 years old, a child should not be fed for more than 6 times a day.
  • Establish a regular dietary habit for your child. Provide your child with 3 main meals and a snack between meals at regular times.
  • Outside of meals and snack times, offer him plain drinking water only and not to offer foods at will. If he asks for his favouriate foods or drink, provide them in main meals or snack times to avoid frequent eating.
  • After 2 years old, a child must be weaned from bottle to cup. Offer your child milk and drinks with cups and never allow your child to sleep with a bottle of milk.

Help children learn brushing teeth when they are 2 years old

  • Parents should help their children learn brushing the teeth when they are 2 years old. Choose a toothbrush with the length of the head about the diameter of a 20-cent coin for your 2 to 6-year-olds.
  • If your child knows how to spit, let him/her brush his/her teeth with a pea-sized blob of fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed at night.
  • Young children have not developed the control to brush tooth effectively yet. You need to follow up by re-brushing his/her teeth thoroughly every night. When you brush your child's teeth, you can stand behind him/her at the side and tilt his/her head slightly upwards by supporting his/her chin with one hand.

Regular dental check-up

  • Take your child to the dentist for the first dental check-up within 6 months after his/her first tooth appears. Then, he/she should go for regular check-ups every 6 to 12 months.
  • Dentists can monitor your child's oral health by his/her yearly dental records.
  • Dentists can give you oral care advices according to your child's condition.
  • Early dental check-up makes it easier for the dentist to examine your child's teeth in the future as a good rapport has already been established between your child and the dentist.

Access "Tooth Club" to obtain more tips about children's teeth and picture stories about healthy teeth.

Be active everyday

  • Children aged 2 to 6 year should spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of physical activities of different intensity levels every day. Their physical activities can spread throughout the day. For young children, physical activity may mean running, jumping, climbing, throwing, walking, singing and dancing, and playing in the park.
  • Physical activity can be classified by the level of intensity.
    • Light intensity physical activities: slow walking, playing toys, tidying up their room and toys
    • Moderate intensity physical activities: brisk walking, cycling, playing in water, playing slides, playing swing
    • Vigorous intensity physical activities: running, rope skipping, dancing, playing football, swimming
  • Children should have physical activities of moderate to vigorous intensities every day. Children aged 3 to 6 need more high intensity physical activities - at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activities every day.
  • You can get your kids to be more physically active by letting them run more, climb the stairs, sing and dance, take a walk after school, and play in the park, etc.

Tips on raising active kids

  • Incorporate physical activities into the family and child's daily routines
  • Be a role model, engage in physical activities together with your child
  • When your child behave well, reward him with an extra physical activity, for example: teaching her rope skipping, playing ball games
  • Choose suitable physical activities from community activity facilities and resources, according to interests and development needs of your child.

Physical activity opportunities in daily life of your child:

  • Let your children take care of their personal hygiene (e.g. brushing their teeth, washing their faces, bathing etc.), dress themselves and put on their own shoes and socks, tidy up their toys/ pack their own schoolbags
  • Let your child travel by walking as much as possible so as to develop the habit of walking
    • Reduce the use of strollers for older children
    • Encourage and accompany your child to replace motor vehicle travel by walking to school, the park or market and walk back home as much as possible
    • Go out for a walk with your child after dinner
  • Let your child play freely at park
  • Let your child go grocery shopping with you, let him help with simple household chores ( e.g. tidy up tableware, rooms, toys or clothes)
  • Take your child outdoors (e.g. to a park, country park or beach) during holidays
  • Have exercise with your child: play and dance, physical games, ball games, cycling, swimming, running etc.

Have play activities. Limit sedentary screen time.

The first six years is the prime time of children's development. They need quality time to talk and play with their parents, engage in free exploration and physical activities to enhance healthy and all-round development. These quality activities are particularly important for their learning, thinking and socialisation in the future.

Engage your kid in playing interactive games with you , reading books, stories telling or doing handcrafts (e.g. origami, drawing ) in daily life. Avoid your kid sitting alone for long periods of time.

Encourage your kid to walk. Bring your kid to park by walking. When planning for a long journey, include rest time and reduce use of strollers.

Limiting Sedentary Screen Time

  • Studies have shown that excess sedentary screen time have negative effects on children's development in many ways:
    • Reduce amount of physical activity and sleep time children should have and leads to obesity
    • Hinder children's development of language, motor, social and communication skills
    • Affect children's attention
    • Lead to unhealthy eating habits
    • Increase chances of children Imitating problem behaviours
  • Children age 2 or above have no more than 1 hour of sedentary screen time a day (e.g. watching TV or online video, playing video game etc.).
  • Parents should choose screen activities that include interactive elements and content related to child's life according to their children's abilities. You should also accompany and guide your children during screen time.

Tips on Limiting Sedentary Screen Time

  • Be a role model to your child and cut down your screen time
  • Let adults keep electronic screen products. Do not leave the electronic screen products on frequently and place the products at or in the bedroom or a place easily accessible by children.
  • Turn off electronic screen products during mealtime to facilitate communication among family members.
  • Try to replace sedentary screen time with quality time (including talking, reading, playing and physical activities etc.) in order to enhance his cognitive, language, physical, emotional and motor development.
  • Set up limits and consequences on your child's screen time. Follow through firmly and consistently.
  • Do not use screen time (e.g. watching TV or using a computer, tablet or smartphone) as a reward or punishment for your child.
  • When your child have to engage in screen activities, parent should:
    • Choose content of the activities carefully and avoid content that overloaded with visual images or background audio which may distract children from focusing on the content;
    • Accompany your child and explain the content with him to make the activity educational and
    • Pay attention to intermittent breaks for your child during the activities.

Weaning off the 'electronic pacifier'

Have adequate sleep. Keep regular sleep and wake-up time.

Adequate sleep is crucial for kids' growth, health, learning and emotional regulation.

How much sleep do children need?

The sleeping hours will change as our child grows:

  • Children of 2 years of age need 11 to 14 hours of sleep (including naps).
  • Children of 3 to 6 years old need about 10 to 13 hours of sleep. Their nap time will get shorter since 4 years old and they may not need any naps when they are 5.

How to help your child have a better sleep :

  • Have regular sleep and wake-up times
  • Don't place smartphones, TVs or computers in bedroom. Blue light emitted by the electronic screens may inhibit the secretion of melatonin, thereby delaying your child's sleepiness. Turn off the electronic screen at least one hour before going to bed to help your child fall asleep.
  • Establish a sleep routine for your children. Perform a set of activities in roughly the same way every night. This helps your children to feel ready for sleep. For examples:
    1. Put on pajamas and brush teeth
    2. Read a book or tell a story
    3. Sing a lullaby
    4. Turn off the light and sleep

Tips on Creating Bedtime Routine

Bedtime routine is a consistent, repetitive set of activities in the same order that is implemented before bed every night. The routine can help your children wind down before bedtime and feel ready for sleep, so they can fall asleep more easily. Research shows that a consistent bedtime routine is helpful for children getting enough sleep.

Here are some tips for you to create regular bedtime routine for your childs:

  • Have a sleep schedule

    Make sure your child go to bed and wake up at appropriate and regular times so that he can get enough sleep he need.

  • Be consistent and follow through

    Keep the sleep schedule and follow the routine with same activities every day. Stick to it - even at weekends.

  • Keep bedtime routine short and manageable

    A bedtime routine usually consists of three or four activities, which should last around 20 to 30 minutes. Prolonging the routine not only delays bedtime, which also makes it harder for you to follow on time-crunched days.

  • Give choice to your child

    There is no single best way, give your child flexibility in the routine. You can also let your child to make some decisions for the routine, such as what pajamas to wear, what stuffed toys for bed, which book to read or which song to sing.

  • Make change gradually

    Make only one change at a time to the routine. If your child's bedtime need to be changed, you can shift bedtime by 15-minutes increment every couple of days.

More information about "Children and Sleep"

FAQ on sleep problem of young children

Have regular daily routines

Having a regular daily routine is important for young kids. A predicable daily schedule helps them be at ease and cooperate with you easily. Routines can teach younger children healthy habits, like brushing their teeth, taking medicine regularly, exercising, or washing their hands after using the toilet. Having routines can be good for children's health.

The daily routines should include:

  • Regular meals and snacks
  • Regular sleep and wake-up time
  • Free time, play and physical activities
  • Study time
  • Parent-child time, including reading and playtime
  • Brushing teeth and washing

Children's daily activities:

  • Routines built around having fun or spending time together foster a sense of belonging and strengthen family relationships.
  • Having chores as a part daily routines in the family helps children develop a sense of responsibility. Let him take part in some simple chores, for example, taking clean clothing and putting them into drawer, folding small items.
  • The routine should be arranged according to your child's characteristics and family routine. Young children have short attention span and low persistence. Activities (e.g. study and doing homework) can be broken down into phases.
  • Physical activities:

    Children aged 2 to 6 should spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of physical activities of different intensity levels every day. Their physical activities can spread throughout the day.

  • Spending time outdoors

    Arrange outdoor activities daily. Try to keep your child outdoors for at least 80 to 120 minutes a day, or 14 hours a week. Moderate exposure to sunlight to increase the secretion of dopamine can help children prevent and slow down the development of short-sightedness.