How to Raise Smart Happy Healthy Kids

There's been a lot of press recently telling us what's necessary to raise healthy kids. The question is whether products marketed for boosting the IQ of babies is a lot of hype or if the educational baby stuff they are selling actually does some good! Do you have to spend gobs of money, spring for an organic baby nursery and spring for designer labels to have healthy, smart kids?

There is nothing wrong with keeping up with the latest styles but according to the latest research indicates that building a safe and stable environment that results in happy, healthy kids from the time they are tiny is much more important.

It's old news that we need to start early to help kids reach their full potential. Wealthy parents have been coerced into throwing billions of dollars at the concept that more gadgets and educational toys will result not only in capable, healthy kids but that they will be rewarded with the ability to create a genius baby if they're lucky!

Is trendy stuff the way to have a generation of smart and the most healthy kids in recorded history? The professionals say mental stimulation is a good thing for children. However, the most important ingredient in the equation has been found to be simple hands on, loving parenting. So, the real kicker here is that we can reach the lofty goals of creating healthy children and maybe create a baby genius no matter what our checkbook balance looks like!

Sure, you have to have some resources to buy a baby crib, baby clothes and furniture for the baby’s nursery, but you can get safe furniture at the discount store and buy a set of less expensive baby bedding and shop for used stuff if you have to. Mental stimulation and safety seems to be the key to getting the babies off to a running start in life. Organic baby bedding and healthy kids may go hand-in-hand but it's always cheaper to buy secondhand.

Here are some ways that the experts say will give your child the best possible leg up in mental development (as always use your own judgment):

1. Let's have happy, healthy kids by giving them lots of face time with family! Spend as much time as you can with baby so that he can study and learn from the things that you do and say! What better way for him to learn the basic skills? This is one of the first important building blocks of brainpower. Invest in a baby carrier that will allow you some freedom to get some work done and baby gets to share the view!

2. Let's have healthy kids by sharing loving, caring touches! Don’t just hug and cradle your baby when he cries. It is so important that he or she has loving contact with you very often and for no apparent reason other than the fact that you enjoy his or her company. It’s so easy to get in the habit of comforting a baby that won't sleep or only when he is uncomfortable. 3. Work on stability in your baby's world. Variety is good for babies everywhere but in relationships. Your baby should free from uncertainties and fear because they will be stumbling blocks in their journey as happy, healthy kids.

4. Create a safe haven in your baby's basic surroundings. Playful exploration is a wonderful learning tool towards rearing happy, healthy kids, but it might take a curious baby into dangerous territory. We’ve must be a step ahead and be sure that all the unhealthy and potentially dangerous stuff is kept away from baby while he is in the exploration process.

5. Start early with building a strong self image and esteem. Keep a positive attitude in all interactions with your children. When the kids are misbehaving, before you lose it stop and think how you can use that moment as a teaching opportunity rather than jumping to administer punishments. Don't assume that your happy, healthy kids are born knowing that they are good looking and intelligent they must be told. It doesn't hurt a bit to complement and praise them.

6. When someone other than you is in charge be sure that the environment is safe and ideal for the learning experience and the development of healthy kids. Spend time checking things out. It's the preschool or daycare filled with healthy kids or do the children look bored, sad and unkempt? Teachers will never take the place of mommy, but it's better to have teachers that love and foster healthy kids rather than someone who's there for the paycheck alone. No planned activities on the schedule and the constant presence of the television are red flags that would send me to the next daycare on my list.

7. Have a one sided conversation for a while! Sure, even the most brilliant, healthy children can't talk right away, but they are learning all the time by hearing you chat with your friends. Don’t be rude! Chat with baby as much as you can and it’s never too early to begin having conversations with your kids. 8. Play with your kids. Play time is crucial for developing healthy children. Colorful toys and play dates with other kids or you are not only fun but yet another opportunity to teach.

9. Introduce your child to good music. Our healthy children will respond to music and learn the words to songs at an amazingly young age. Download baby songs from some of the free services on the net and see just how responsive children are to the tunes. Music brings early introduction to mathematics, word power and vocabulary skills. Children who are involved with music early on have been shown to test higher on exams later in life.

10. Create healthy children by reading to them. Snuggle (remember one of the first rules of creating healthy children is snuggling) in the nursery rocker and enjoy a storybook with your baby. Set aside some time each day for reading a book. Read to your kids from the time they are babies until they are able to read to you. The shared enjoyment of a good book is hard to beat. At first picture books are important so that you can show your children what the words mean.

11. Design your baby's nursery with lots of bright colors and high contrasts. Good lighting and colorful decorations on the nursery walls and over their cribs will keep healthy children entertained and visually stimulated. Soft music, toys, bright colors, chatty conversations, lots of play time and snuggling with mom and dad are all good ways for us to have smart, happy and healthy children.

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