Apply sunscreen often. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all kids—regardless of skin tone—wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply about every 2 hours (more if your kids are sweating or swimming. Don’t forget about the tops of their feet, behind the neck and under bathing-suit straps.
Cover up! What’s better than a cozy place to hide on a rainy day? Build a fort or hideaway using couch cushions, pillow and blankets. Add some books to read, coloring books and crayons or some flashlights to add to the play possibilities!
Clouds in the sky won’t stop sunburn! Cloudy days and windy days are notorious for “sneak-attack” sunburns! Remember: The sun’s UV rays are not stopped by the clouds.
Maintain a yard that repels mosquitoes! To keep your yard as mosquito-free as possible, don’t let still water sit—standing water is a mosquito’s best friend! Turn buckets and pool toys upside down so they don’t collect water, and stay away from wet, grassy areas where mosquitoes thrive.
Keep skin hydrated! It’s easy to develop dry, chapped lips and skin in the summer. Make sure everyone is drinking plenty of water, especially during the hottest parts of the day (10:00am to 4:00 pm). At night, apply a moisturizing cream right after a bath or shower, while skin is still moist.
In an overscheduled, super busy world, eating together as a family may be a hard thing to squeeze in, but don't rule it out! Here are 5 reasons from the editors at momtastic.com that state why family dinner is vital to your child's health:
Reason #1: Kids Become Confident
A study done at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) concluded that teenagers who participate in regular family dinners are more content and more likely to forge and maintain positive peer friendships. Additional studies have revealed similar results, explaining that family dinners help build strong familial ties and high-level communication skills creating a positive model for children to emulate in their peer to peer relationships.
Reason # 2: Kids Become Better Readers
Does that sound far-fetched? A study published in 2006 and conducted by Dr. Catherine Snowat Harvard University concluded that the conversations and complex discourse that occur around the family table play a critically positive role in the development of a child’s language skills. In fact, Dr. Snow found that family dinner conversations have an even more significant effect on a child’s language skills than reading to him.
Using 65 test subjects over a period of 15 years, Dr, Snow and her team found that family dinners significantly helped her young test subjects acquire important linguistic skills and build their vocabularies, making the kids more avid readers. The domino effect continues, as avid readers tend to be better students.
Reason #3: Kids are Less Likely to Abuse Substances
A study conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that children who eat dinner regularly with their families are less likely to take drugs or suffer from depression than kids who don’t. Dr. Blake Bowden, the leader of this study, assembled a pool of 527 teenagers and after careful research, he concluded those who ate dinner with their families reported better mental health and were considered better-adjusted than their peers.
Reason #4: Kids Develop Healthy Eating Habits
A study published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association researched the effects of family dinners on 5,000 middle and high school students. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota found a dramatic correlation between family mealtime and positive eating habits in kids. These kids were less likely to be obese, consumed more nutrient-rich produce, were less likely to suffer from eating disorders as teenagers, and took in more vitamins and nutrients daily.
Reason #5: Kids (and You!) are Less Likely to be Stressed
In 2008, researchers at Brigham Young studied working moms who scheduled regular family dinners. The research concluded that these moms were less stressed than their colleagues who didn’t eat with their families; family dinners helped reduce tension and mental strain. It’s not a far cry to conclude that kids of relaxed parents tend to be less stressed, too!
A hallmark of parenting is protecting their child. From the moment a baby breathes his/her first breath, a parent is called to guide and lead. In a world of very little time, fast food, and packed schedules, it’s no wonder that childhood obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Sadly, childhood obesity is often a predictor of obesity in adulthood. Also, the very diseases that were once limited to obese adults are showing up in heavy children including type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and stresses on the knees and back.
We are called as parents to teach our children how to eat and how to stay active.
We are failing in that 1/3 of all children and teens are obese or overweight.
Here are the steps we have implemented here to protect our kids’ health in this area:
1. We always have regular scheduled mealtimes. Not only is a sit-down dinner good for enhancing appetite, but it also encourages communication within the family. Make this time important and protect it.
2. We try to cook more meals at home rather than eating out. Just like dieting and eating healthy for an adult shows eating out consumes more calories, it’s the same for children. Stay in – eat healthier.
3. We keep healthy snacks in the house. Milk, water, and healthy snacks are a lot healthier than potato chips, soda, and other empty caloric snacks. Did you know that the American Heart Association recommends children consume 3 teaspoonfuls of sugar a day (12 grams)?
4. We don’t insist our children finish their plates. We don’t bribe with food. We do insist our son “try” something.
Here is a dietary guideline showing what toddlers and small children should be consuming:
Dietary guidelines for toddlers and young children
Fruits and vegetables
Two servings each per day. These may be given as snacks, such as apple or carrot slices. Also try adding veggies to soups.
Four daily servings. Can include buckwheat pancakes or multigrain toast for breakfast, a sandwich on wheat bread for lunch and brown rice or another whole grain as part of the evening meal.
Milk and dairy
Three servings, or one pint of whole milk per day. Cheeses, yogurt, and milk puddings are useful alternatives.
Two servings a day. Encourage your child to try a variety of proteins, such as turkey, eggs, fish, chicken, lamb, baked beans, and lentils.
Vitamins and minerals
Check with your child’s doctor to be certain their diet is adequately meeting the recommended nutritional needs for this age group
5. We play outside as much as possible. If we can’t play outside, we go to an indoor playground. It’s important to move! I have resisted buying video games. Video games can be fun and educational; however for the most part there’s no activity involved. MOVE!
As a hospital pharmacist, I see one of the most glaring issues in our patients is obesity. Obesity leads to so many other disease states and surgeries. It is OUR responsibility to ensure our children learn the right way to eat and stay active so that they can lead a healthier life.
When Mom told you to eat your broccoli, she may not have realized that she was encouraging good vision health habits as well! Recent studies have shown that certain nutrients can have a positive effect on the wellness of the visual system.
A 2012 report from the Ocular Nutrition Society listed three nutrients that are key to healthy eyes and vision:
Omega-3 fatty acids - Found in fish oils (especially sardines and wild-caught salmon) and flaxseed.
Lutein - Found in dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale), corn and egg yolks. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend 4-8 milligrams of lutein daily; ½ cup of cooked spinach provides 6 milligrams
Zeaxanthin - Also found in dark green leafy vegetables and corn as well as orange peppers. The USDA has not established recommendations for the daily intake of zeaxanthin.
Both lutein and zeaxanthin are a form of vitamin A and, along with omega-3s, may support a healthy macula, the area of the retina that is responsible for our most accurate vision. They may also reduce the risk of cataracts. Omega-3s can also help in the treatment of dry eyes.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), important research done by the National Eye Institute, found that certain antioxidants can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration by about 25%. Here they are listed along with the best sources:
Vitamin C - Citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, papaya
Vitamin E - Nuts, fortified cereals, sweet potatoes
Vitamin A (beta-carotene) - Leafy green vegetables, as well as orange and red vegetables
Zinc - Oysters, red meat, poultry, seafood
The levels of vitamins and minerals used in the AREDS studies are high and often difficult to obtain from the average diet. Nutritional supplements for eye health are available. You should discuss with your eye care provider which are best for you. In any case, a healthy, balanced diet not only contributes to overall wellness, but keeps your eyes healthy, too.
Here's a good way to start a conversation about dental health. Cut out 2 teeth (one from white paper and one from yellow). One will be your happy healthy tooth and one will be your sad unhealthy tooth. Look through magazines and cut out pictures of food and drinks and glue them onto the appropriate tooth. Talk about the effects of your diet and dental hygiene on your teeth.
Sometimes the best remedies to your child’s ailments may be from items you already have around your house. Parents.com gives a great list of home remedies that include: honey and lemon juice for sore throats, chamomile tea for colic, baking soda for bug bites, cayenne pepper for nosebleeds, duct tape for warts, a bubble wand for anxiety, a bandanna filled with ice for headaches, a sock filled with heated rice for tummy or neck pain, a blow dryer for swimmers ear, contact solution for congestion, fresh ginger tea for car sickness, a cucumber for mild swelling, a credit card for bee stings, and a stick of gum for indigestion. Check it out!