When practiced regularly, these are life enhancing:
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Exercise regularly and take care of your body.
- Limit "screen time" such as television viewing, computer and handheld video games.
- Maintain a smoke-free environment.
Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:
- Most children do best when they eat on a regular schedule.
- Make meal time a family time.
- Offer a variety of healthy choices for meals and snacks.
- Encourage children to make their own food choices and to try new foods.
- Don't use bribery or force to get children to eat.
- Consider a vitamin supplement especially for Vitamin D.
Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:
- Wear appropriate helmets and safety gear while biking, skating and rollerblading.
- Use The 5 Step Test to determine whether your child is big enough to use only the seat belt (in the back seat). If you answer "No" to any of these, your child must be in a booster seat:
1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Is the lap belt touching the top of the thighs, not the tummy?
4. Is the shoulder belt centered on the shoulder and chest?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
- Use sunscreen and limit sun exposure.
- Review traffic safety.
- Matches and guns should be locked up, out of reach and ammunition in separate location.
- Provide safe after-school environment.
- Learn to swim.
- Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
These are some behaviors that promote healthy interactions:
- Encourage discussions and expression of feelings.
- Praise and encourage your child.
- Create opportunities for family activities.
- Reinforce limits and provide consequences; encourage self-discipline.
- Review family rules such as bedtime rituals, television watching and chores.
- Teach respect for authority.
- Reinforce conflict resolution and how to handle anger.
- Assign responsibilities and provide opportunity for independence.
These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:
- Serve as a role model for ethical behavior and healthy habits.
- Show respect and listen.
- Show affection and pride.
- Spend time with your children each day and give them individual attention.
- Encourage reading and other hobbies.
- Set reasonable expectations.
- Know your child's friends and their families.
Health maintenance is essential to a child's well-being:
- Brush teeth twice a day.
- Make sure fluoride intake is adequate.
- See the dentist regularly.
The following items may be useful:
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Caring for Your School-Age Child, Ages 5 to 12. Bantam Books, 1999.
- Clarke, Jean. Self-Esteem: A Family Affair. Hazelden, 1998.
- Davis, Martha. Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, 5th Edition, MJF Books, 2003.
- Faber, Adele. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Piccadilly Press, 2001.