Having children changes you. There is no doubt about it. But as long as you’re taking it seriously and working towards being a better person, those changes can make your life much more rewarding and magical.

Your number one priority in life is to keep them safe at all times. 100%. After that, the priorities and responsibilities do not end. Far from it. Your next step is to instill in them an appreciation for their health. If you kids are healthy, they will be able to live long and happy lives. So you need to do everything in your power to get them to get and stay healthy.

Here are some great ways that new parents can take better care of their kids:

Start feeding them healthy meals

The occasional sugary treat or chocolate snack is okay. They are kids, after all. But only feeding your children these unhealthy meals can only have negative effects down the road. Digestive problems are particularly common in the U.S. and affect 60 to 70 million people. Instead, start by changing your own diet so your kids learn right away about what it takes to live a happy, healthy, and nutritious life.

Do your best to stop buying unhealthy snacks at the grocery store and encourage your kids to eat their fruits and vegetables!

Pay attention to their hearing

Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. Though it can be difficult to tell, you can find hearing issues in babies and toddlers much earlier on, subsequently allowing you to better prepare for the next steps and their future.

Hearing is a critical part of a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. If caught early, hearing problems can be corrected and your kids will be able to laugh, play, and hear all those fun sounds!

It’s important to note that hearing loss can occur if a child was any of the following:

  • Born prematurely
  • Exposed to very loud noises
  • Stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Had meningitis
  • Had newborn jaundice and required a blood transfusion
  • Had many ear infections
  • Given medications that could potentially lead to hearing loss
  • Family members with childhood hearing loss

Let them play, play, and play!

Far too many children — especially in the U.S. — sit in front of video games or computer screens for far too long. Every once in a while is fine, but anything more than an hour or two is actually doing significant harm to your children’s health. Instead of having them watch hours and hours of TV or playing video games, let them play and run around outside. They will be much more physically fit, mentally strong, and happy and healthy if your kids play outside a few hours each day.

“Make your own family media use plan, set limits and encourage play,” said Dr. Kimberly Leek, a Pediatric Doctor at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. “Overuse of media can lead to a sedentary lifestyle and displace important social interactions, exercise, and even sleep.”

Also, if they waste their days staring at screens, their physical strength will be in jeopardy early on.

Several factors can increase a person’s risk of developing OA including excess weight, trauma or injury, joint overuse, and genes. Hopefully, your children won’t have to worry about joint pain and similar issues for a long, long, long time, but it doesn’t hurt to carefully monitor their physical help at an early age.

Have some fun with your kids!

This one should be easy — for anyone! Life is hard, stressful, and can often be monotonous. But that’s exactly what you and your kids should get out and have as much fun as possible! Clearly, you have responsibilities and you won’t be able to play all day and all night every single day… but you can and should make some time for some much-needed fun with your kids.

Kids need to play and get active all the time, sure, but you need some physical activity, as well. Plus, if you’re all playing together, you’re going to have an absolute blast and you’ll all be in a better mindset and healthier bodies.

Read with your kids every day

You should be reading to your child from the moment he or she arrives home. They aren’t going to understand too much, so you can have some fun with it! But reading to infants and toddlers can help connections form in their young brains. These skills will translate to improved social-emotional abilities, literacy, language, and so much more!

There is nothing scarier than being a parent. Nothing. But if you’re doing all you can to ensure your kids are happy, safe, and healthy — then you’re doing great! It’s a tough fight, but don’t get discouraged. Just keep working at it, researching, and doing all you can for your little ones!