Health Tips for Parents
As parents and caregivers, we want to make sure we are taking the best possible care of our children, establishing healthy habits that will continue on into adulthood. Keep reading for helpful tips.
Wellness Tips from First Health Medical Center
No matter what your child’s age, these wellness tips will help develop crucial positive behaviors, both physically and emotionally, that will help your child or teen thrive throughout life. And remember, it’s never too late to start.
Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer a wide variety of foods starting when your child is a baby. It is not uncommon to need to serve a new food to a baby several times before they actually like it. Gently keep trying, never forcing your child to eat.
Start each day with a healthy breakfast like oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, real fruit smoothie or low-fat yogurt with granola.
Juice & Sweet Drinks
Limit juice and other sweet drinks. Water and low-fat milk are the healthiest choices for beverages. Soda and other drinks not only have a lot of unnecessary sugar but are filled with empty calories. If you do want to serve juice, look for 100% juice drinks and try to limit servings to 4-6 ounces a day (for preschool-age).
Make preparing a meal a family event. Let your child help plan and prepare a meal once a week, and make it fun and interactive for them.
Kids love snacks! Help your child make healthy snack choices like nuts, low-fat string cheese, sliced apples, celery sticks, or a whole-grain English muffin with peanut butter.
Health & Activity Tips
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day for children age 6 and older. This is best achieved through active play. The 60 minutes doesn’t need to be completed at one time – small increments throughout the day can add up. Consider taking a family walk or bike ride every morning or night, or enrolling your child in an active class they may enjoy like gymnastics, dance or tennis.
Make playtime with your family fun. Instead of board games or movie night, opt for a game of hoops, volleyball, tag or even a dance party!
Family Vacation Time
Be sure to include activities like biking, hiking, or swimming in your family vacations.
Plan one day a weekend to do a family activity outside – running through sprinklers or swimming in the summer, or sledding and hiking in the winter. Pack a healthy picnic lunch and make some memories along the way.
Make chores fun! Instead of assigning chores individually, make it a game and team up to see who can get their list completed first. Play music and encourage the kids to dance while doing simple tasks like washing dishes or folding laundry.
Back to School Tips
Set your child’s bedtime back to “school time” at least two weeks before school starts. This will give them time to adjust.
Set up a Family Calendar to track everyone’s schedules and extra-curricular activities to minimize stress and over-scheduling once school starts.
Schedule playdates with two or three of your child’s school friends to re-establish existing social ties.
Set a regular alarm at the same time each day to signal the start of homework time. Identify a particular spot designated for homework.
Establish a set routine for where items like lunch boxes, backpacks, and coats go when your child gets home from school. Make sure your child places their things in the designated spots.
Ask your child if they have any concerns about starting back to school. While it can be an exciting time, there can also be some anxiety surrounding the unknown. Give them a chance to express and worries or concerns and then talk through them to make them feel more at ease.
Cold & Flu Season Tips
The number one way to remain germ-free during flu season is to wash up! Preempt viruses and bacteria by frequently washing your hands. Wash for at least 30 seconds – or as long as it takes to sing your ABC’s – before eating and after going to the restroom.
Rest & Relaxation
Take time to relax. The holidays can be a busy and stressful time. Make sure to schedule in plenty of downtime to recuperate and rejuvenate. Not only does stress weaken our immune system, but it also can lead to unhealthy habits like eating fatty or salty foods.
Keep Your Distance!
Avoid getting close to people that are sick.
Keep your surroundings clean. Use sanitized wipes to clean off publicly used items like shopping carts, doorknobs and computer keyboards in public spaces like the library.
Bring your own pen with you to the bank, grocery store, doctor’s office, etc. It even comes in handy to tap the screen at the ATM.