Children are our most precious treasures. When you have children, their health and well-being will surely be your top priorities. October is National Children’s Health Month, and it serves as a timely reminder to pay special attention to what you can do as a parent to safeguard and nurture your children’s physical, mental, and social well-being.
At Northwest Specialty Hospital, we strive to assist parents in promoting their children’s health by providing critical health services. Whether you access our services through urgent care or pediatric checkups, you can trust us to support you.
Take a Broad View of Your Child’s Health
Because children’s bodies are growing and changing, children’s health encompasses much more than the absence of illness. It encompasses their physical, mental, and social development. Good health practices, implemented now, are critical to their long-term well-being. Unfortunately, many social factors discourage good health: fast food, computers, phones, and television all tend to encourage children to make poor health choices, and it is easy for both parents and children to fall into bad habits.
National Children’s Health Month is an excellent time to counteract these influences and jump-start some good health habits. Here are key areas to focus on:
A Healthy and Balanced Diet
Your grocery shopping choices are critical in promoting a healthy diet. Read food labels and avoid prepared foods and snacks like packaged cookies, candy, and cereals with many additives and high sugar content. Instead, keep easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables like bananas, apples, baby carrots, and grapes on hand. Peanut butter, nuts, dried fruits, dark chocolate chips, and low-sugar yogurts are also healthy alternatives for kids.
Incorporating foods high in protein, vitamins, and essential minerals will give your child’s body what it needs to grow and stay fit. Sometimes, emphasizing the benefits of good nutrition for sports performance, avoiding sickness, and having healthy skin, hair, and nails can persuade children to pay more attention to what they eat.
Good dental care is vital. Stay current with dental visits and teach your child good oral hygiene habits, including regular brushing and flossing. Make sure your children are following a consistent routine daily. Let your children know that these practices will help them keep their teeth into old age and make their breath fresh.
Put your children on a regular schedule for visits to their pediatric care provider. These visits are essential even if your child is healthy. They can help you stay on top of your child’s vaccinations and provide you with an opportunity to ask questions. These visits also enable your child’s healthcare providers to assess your child’s overall development and catch or prevent potential health issues.
Outdoor Activities and Physical Exercise
Children can spend hours of their day in front of screens: computers, phones, and televisions. Every hour sitting in front of a screen is an hour not spent with physical stimulation and healthy interaction with the natural world and can affect their eyesight.
Spending time in natural environments positively impacts children’s mental and physical health. Encourage your children to explore the outdoors, whether playing in a park, hiking in the woods, or simply enjoying the fresh air in your backyard. Images on a screen cannot replace seeing, feeling, and interacting with nature.
Encourage daily physical activity. Sports are good activities, but if your child is not athletic, walking the dog, jogging, rock climbing, riding a bike, jumping rope, or dancing are also beneficial. Physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Regular exercise helps your child control weight and reduces the risk of future health problems, both near- and long-term. Your children will feel better, look better, and sleep better when they add an hour or more of physical activity into their daily routines. You can encourage your child by joining these activities or inviting friends to join in.
Good health for your child also means keeping them safe. Talk to your child about any problems at school or elsewhere. Inform your children about the dangers of smoking, drinking, and drugs. Closely monitor your child’s behavior for signs of mental distress.
Give your child the right equipment to engage in sports, including helmets, proper shoes, and other equipment. Keep track of where your child is and whom they spend their time with.
Your Partner In Promoting Your Child’s Health
At Northwest Pediatrics, your child’s healthcare provider can provide you with more personalized guidance on promoting a healthy, active lifestyle for your child. National Children’s Health Month is the perfect time to schedule a wellness visit. Call Northwest Pediatrics today to schedule an appointment with our pediatrics practice in Coeur d’Alene.