Five healthy habits parents can start
teaching their kids right now


by David Modica | July 20, 2017


Mother and Son Joking Around


It’s up to parents to teach their children the habits they need to live happy, healthy lives. Some of which can last a lifetime.

“The key to successfully helping kids adopt healthy habits is consistency in what you say and do,” said Andrea Ryan, CPNP, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. “It’s important that you follow your own advice! Kids tend to mirror what their parents do, and if you’re showing them that you care about your health, they’re likely to do the same.”

1. Eat the whole rainbow. 

Kids require a variety of nutrients to support growth and development. When choosing what to whip up for your little one, make it a point to select fruits and vegetables with a variety of natural, bright colors, which often correspond to the various different nutrients they provide. Start early with vegetable and fruits, and avoid juice and soda.

Learn how you can boost your mood with your food>>

2. Do something active every day. 

It’s recommended that children get at least one hour of active play a day. This can be easier for some kids than others. If you’re having trouble motivating them, try simple, affordable toys such as jump ropes or inflatable beach balls, and choose different locations to keep it fresh—public parks, playgrounds, baseball fields and pools are all great options.

View a list of Chicago public pools>>

girl playing with crayons


3. Take a timeout from screens. 

Research has shown that kids who cut down on TV-watching also reduced their percentage of body fat, and it’s pretty clear why. By limiting the time they spend in front of screens (including smart phones, tablets and iPads), children have to find other activities to entertain them, such as participating in sports and other active games that promote creativity and physical exercise. As a bonus, less time in front of a screen means they can spend more time spent with you.

4. Keep up with check-ups. 

In addition to ensuring all is well with your little one’s health, these are opportunities for you to get invaluable advice on how to keep them well. These visits are also very important to make sure your infant or child is meeting their milestones appropriately. Be sure to keep a running list of questions so you don’t forget to address these during your child’s visit. In addition to regular visits with your primary care provider, be sure not to miss consistent dental and eye exams.

Here’s a convenient and AAP supported tool to help you understand these milestones>>
Boy Laughing

5. Play and laugh.

Imagination games like “house” and blocks can help your child vault potential mental road blocks. These activities also reduce stress and its effects, such as headaches, stomachaches, a lack of appetite or sleep or frequent moodiness. 

“An appropriate educational toy can assist in cultivating relationships and promoting creativity,” said Jaime Novales, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. “Always be sure to choose a toy that is safe and developmentally appropriate. The packages of many of these toys should have an appropriate age range listed. When in doubt, ask your pediatrician for advice.”

Learn how to determine what toy is appropriate for your child>>
Ryan-A-150x150Andrea Ryan, CPNP, is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. Her clinical interests include asthma and developmental milestones. 



Novales J-150x150Jaime Novales, M.D., is a board-certified pediatrician with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. Her clinical interests include adolescent health, asthma and pediatric care. She has more than nine years of experience. 



To schedule an appointment with a Swedish Covenant Medical Group pediatrician, please call 773-878-3627.
 
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