Child Wellness 101

Keeping your child healthy is at the top of every parent’s mind. However, good health goes beyond going to the pediatrician and getting back-to-school immunizations. Health includes components like stress, nutrition, sleep, socialization, physical activity, and safety.

October is Children’s Health Month. As temperatures begin to cool down and information about flu shots fills the air, we ask you take some time to evaluate your child’s overall health. Teaching your child how to live a safe and healthy life is important. Seemingly simple directions like “wash your hands” or “look both ways” aren’t hardwired into children right away. Modeling behaviors goes a long way to getting your child to walk the walk.

The list below provides suggestions for conversations or activities parents and children can have periodically to promote good health:

Daily:

  • Provide at least one nutritious meal to your child
  • Support your child- ask if they need help with a task
  • Encourage your child to move away from the screen and enjoy a physical activity
  • Encourage a reasonable bedtime most nights of the week

Weekly:

  • Ask your child what’s been going on at school
  • Invite your child to help you prepare a healthy meal
  • Do a family activity together
  • Encourage your family leave electronic devices away from the table at least once a week

Monthly:

  • Check your calendar to see if your child has any upcoming medical appointments
  • Ensure prescriptions are filled, if necessary
  • Check your neighborhood association, school, or community center to see if any new clubs or activities are starting that may interest your child

Emergencies are never expected, and are often beyond our control. Have information for your closest emergency room and your child’s school where you can easily find it. Listed below are some resources on different aspects of child health to assist you on your parenting journey:

Bullying:

Stop Bullying http://www.stopbullying.gov/

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center http://www.pacer.org/bullying/

General Health:

National Institutes of Health: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/childrenshealth.html

Nutrition:

Kids Eat Right http://www.eatright.org/resources/for-kids/

USDA’s My Plate http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Stress:

Kids Health http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/stress.html

Identifying signs of stress in your children and teens http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-children.aspx