The tasks involved in caring for children can pile up endlessly, making it tempting to cut corners. But one aspect of your family's well-being that shouldn't be ignored is the healthfulness of your home.
Health can be measured in several different forms, and there are far too many variables that can negatively affect the health of your children. In order to maximize the health of your home environment and lifestyle, you'll need to focus on a few routine chores. It might be an extra stress in the short term, but it could pay enormous benefits in the long run.
Take care of routine cleaning
Cleaning isn't just for appearances; it only feels that way. Without regular cleaning, a house can pile up with mold, dust, dirt and other potential health threats. They may seem minor in limited situations, but over the time the consequences of a filthy home can affect your family’s health. Dust often, vacuum, mop the floors and clean kitchen counters, especially after you've been preparing food. And replace harsh chemicals with natural cleaning products.
Preserve indoor air quality
Indoor air pollution may not get a ton of media attention, but it's a very real threat to the health of your children. Fortunately, it's easily addressed with some simple measures. First, open the windows in your home whenever the weather permits -- the fresh air also helps clean out stagnant air and its contaminants. Make sure air vents and furnace filters are clean, and purchase some house plants to aid in the filtration. Most importantly, don't allow anyone to smoke inside -- it's easily one of the worst health threats to your children.
Purify tap water
If you're feeling exhausted, this will brighten your spirits: Unlike the other tasks on this list, tap water purification won't take up any more of your time. Well, it might, but only once every hundred gallons of water or so.
If you feel confident that tap water is suitably clean after passing through a water treatment plant, consider this: Between the plant and your home, treated water passes through old pipes and can accumulate contaminants before the water settles in your drinking glass. Water filters can be installed in your refrigerator or fixed to your faucet and clean up water as it passes through, giving you freshly purified water that won't pose any health risk to your children. And the filters are low maintenance -- just change them out as they expire.
Make smart food choices
Budget constraints may limit your options when it comes to feeding your family, but many parents don't realize that the cheap, processed foods can cost more money due to health issues down the line. Integrate more fruits and vegetables into your family's diet, and swap out processed grains for whole grains. If you can afford it, leave the chemical treatments behind and go organic.
You may not be able to employ all of these measures, but every little bit helps. Many of these tips address run-of-the-mill hazards that are easily overlooked or forgotten in the home. Simply by being aware and trying to compensate, you're giving your children a much better shot at a healthy future.
Maire is a writer that lives in downtown Indianapolis with her orange cat, Walter. She also loves baking double chocolate brownies on the weekends.
Note From Cat: I just wanted to add from my own experiences, that if you use a humidifier, make sure you wash it regularly and change the filter often (if it has one). A dirty humidifier can actually keep you sick and cause more problems.