The new year is a great time to kick start healthy habits with your children that can be practiced all year long. We spoke to Dr. Reshmi Basu, a CHOC Children’s pediatrician, who offered the following tips:
1. Get your flu shot
If you haven’t received your flu shot this season, it’s not too late. Remember, the nasal flu vaccine is not recommended this season. The flu can make you much more sick than a regular cold and can have more complications, like pneumonia, so it’s important that everyone in the household over 6 months old receives it. If there is a new baby in the family, you can protect the baby by making sure anyone in contact with the baby has received the flu vaccine.
2. Wash hands often to keep germs away
Proper handwashing is especially important during cold and flu season. And remember to wash for at least 15-20 seconds and make sure to scrub between fingers and under nails.
3. Protect your child’s skin
During the winter it’s important to moisturize frequently throughout the day, especially after baths or showers, to treat and prevent dry skin. And, if you’ll be out in the sun, don’t forget the sunscreen. It’s best to apply it 15-30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply often.
4. Make well-child appointments and stay up-to-date on vaccinations.
When children are young, there are frequent well checks with the pediatrician and these appointments usually include vaccines. As children get older (after 5 years old) and vaccines are not a part of every visit, it is easy to forget the well checks. They are still important, however, to see how your child is growing, how she is doing in school, and discuss any concerns. It’s also a good opportunity to get the flu shot (depending on the time of year) and make sure all other vaccines are up to date. Download CHOC’s guide to making shots less stressful for kids.
5. Stay active.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently lifted their rule on no screen time for kids under 2, with some limitations. Find time to be active. Make it a family activity– go on a hike, ride bikes together, or play in the park.
6. Read aloud to young children, starting at birth.
Try to read together for at least 15 minutes every day. Reading to your kids from a young age can help them with their speech development, communication skills, and even academic performance. And it’s a fun way to spend time together!
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