What you've been saying

This week on the Boots Feel Good Forum, we talked about how to get your child feeling healthy and happy. Supernanny Jo Frost and Dr Ellie Cannon were on hand to help you deal with some of the challenges parenting can involve.


Before the show, we asked you for your tips and advice for raising a healthy and happy child, this is what you had to say.


Mealtimes and food

Toddlers can reserve some of their stroppiest behaviour for the dinner table, but getting into habits like eating together as a family, getting them involved in simple preparation (if you can face the mess) and emphasising the importance of healthy eating, can help contribute to making mealtimes less stressy and more fun for everyone.

  • At mealtimes, we all eat the same meal together as a family, around a big table. My three year old seems to enjoy this as he feels like a big boy, eating at the table. katiewalters
  • Turn your children into foodies as soon as you can! It can help encourage good eating habits, and aid their happiness and wellbeing. Things like healthy eating, sitting down as a family for meals, thinking about what food is and where it comes from, what your five-a-day is, etc. will set you up for life. Littlecherublegs
  • To help your children's diet and eating habits, get them involved in shopping and cooking. And think about your expectations at the table. I often think a lot of people expect a lot from small children, but I think mealtime should be fun. We have a routine of asking each person around the table "what did you do today?” which is also a good exercise in teaching children to listen to and feel for other people. Custardo

Praise and encouragement

Feeling happy and secure is crucial for a toddler's development. Mumsnetters have these canny ideas for making your child feel more positive and encouraged (and they don't involve anything sugary or plastic).

  • I use reward charts. I've found that you don't need to promise expensive toys or days out - just making the effort to spend some quality time with the kids is good enough. That could be football, baking cakes, building a Lego model together or playing a board game. Children treasure this quality time much more than a new toy and they gain so much from it - as do the parents. THERhubarb
  • Praise all the good things your children do, to remind yourself that they're good, especially on days when they're being like demons. A good tip I got from here was to remind myself how much I like my children. When they are driving you crackers, take a step back and give them a cuddle. missorinoco
  • Tell your child when you're proud of him. I can almost see DS1 grow a couple of inches when we tell him we're impressed with something he's said or done! mummyofcutetwo

Getting out and about 

Mumsnetters are no stranger to the fact that young children need fresh air - and lots of it. Getting your child outside every day, even if it's just for a little while, can do wonders for their behaviour and appetite (with the added bonus of making bedtime that little bit easier).

  • I'd recommend leaving the house every day. Even if it's just a walk round the block, it helps stop cabin fever in those early days when everything seems like a massive chore. And getting yourself washed, dressed and fed each day makes you feel more human. FattyMcChubster
  • If you have a boy full of energy, I found the very best thing was to have a regular day, then in the evening, just before his bath I took him to local park and unleashed him! Timed laps, zig zags, obstacles - anything to wear him out! This made bathtime and bedtime welcome for all of us. JS06
  • Getting DD out of the house and running around for a while every day made all the difference when she was small. Actually, now she's 12 it still makes all the difference. She and I kick a ball around or play tennis (badly) and it's not just fun exercise, it's quality time for us. EmpressOfTheSevenOceans


Spending quality time together

Toddlers are great company and in between all the routine-y bits of the day, don't miss out on snuggling up together in front of their favourite DVD, building a den or creating your own special rituals.

  • We've started doing something lovely at bedtime now, where I have made some simple lavender massage oil and I give my son a hand and arm massage and sing him some favourite songs at bed time. It's really nice for both of us and he falls asleep very happy. ctoyno
  • Make sure you listen to what your child is saying and how he says it, rather than listening to part of it and assuming you know. Make sure you try to take the time to hug your child and tell him you love him, however busy or stressed you may be. An obvious one, but it's all too easy to let things slide in times of stress. mummyofcutetwo


If you didn't manage to catch the show on Sunday, don't worry you can listen to it now via our media player – here.


Last updated: about 3 years ago