Children’s health

There are many factors which can affect children’s health and well-being throughout their lives. The parents must be a good role model for the child, as they will look at them and may copy their actions. During the age of 0 – 3 years, if the parents use drugs or excessive alcohol, the child may become physically and emotionally neglected. This can result into low self-esteem, which can cause the child to become shy and not take part in activities.

If alcohol is consumed throughout pregnancy, there may be complications at birth. “Heavy drinking can also damage your baby’s nervous system. This can result in your baby having learning difficulties and problems with movement and coordination throughout his life”. As children get older, drug and alcohol abuse in the child may occur. This is due to peer pressure and children want to fit in with their friends and not feel left out. They will want to experience new things, as they are growing older.

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However, if they do excessive alcohol and drugs there can be consequences such as; diabetes, heart disease, cancer, alcohol poisoning and reduced fertility. Diet is very important throughout pregnancy. The mother should eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates. The mother must “Wash fruit, vegetables and salads to remove all traces of soil, which may contain toxoplasma, a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis”. It can harm the unborn baby by damaging the development of their eyes and brain.

Whilst pregnant the mother should not have certain foods such as soft cheese, this is because there is a risk of listeria infection. They may take vitamin supplements such as folic acid which helps prevent defects such as neural tube which can cause baby to have spina bifida. Exercise and parental health and lifestyle can also affect children who are aged 4-9 years old, for instance if the child does not have the opportunities to exercise then they may become over weight and unfit even if they have a healthy diet.

Children need atleast 1 hour of exercise a day which is essential to help against obesity which in turn is more likely to avoid diabetes, heart disease later in life and even premature death. Children should be encouraged to exercise as much as possible from when they are able to walk without help, even if it is just walking more. The Healthy Schools Programme makes sure children and young people are given opportunities to be physically active. Schools can make sure this happens by planning physical education lessons. This will also help them understand how physical activity can be a part of their everyday life.

If the parent/carer does not have enough money for exercise resources, then they can take the child to the park, which will stimulate their gross and fine motor skills and contribute to their daily exercise. The parent’s health and lifestyle may also affect the child’s wellbeing. This is because if the parent does not do any exercise, use drugs or excessive alcohol then the child may look up to the parents.

Albert Bandura’s theory backs this; he did an experiment on two groups of children, with an adult hitting a Bobo doll. The first group was then shown a second adult either ignoring or encouraging the aggressive behaviour, while in the other group the second adult intervened to punish the aggressive behaviour. ” (Penny Tassoni) After the children had watched the adult, they were put into a room, and their responses were written down. The first group of children mirrored the aggressive behaviour on the doll, whereas the second group showed little aggressive behaviour towards it. The experiment shows that children are influenced by adults’ actions, and that they need to be positive role models.

As a result they may have poor housing and debt due to the parents spending the money on alcohol or smoking. Disability may also affect their wellbeing as they may find it hard to many things such as exercise and socialise. At school, the setting should adapt the surrounding to cater for the child’s needs. This will make sure they will be included and not discriminated. They can do this by adding a ramp, if the child needs a wheelchair, or providing books in braille. Children should never feel excluded.