New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for adults. Get the whole family involved! Help your children start the year off right and teach the importance of goal setting by focusing on these five healthy habits for kids. But just remember, little eyes are watching and ears are listening, so one of the best things you can do to help these habits stick is to lead by example.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is important at any age, but especially for children as they grow and develop. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers 10-13 hours
- School-age children 9-11 hours
- Teenagers 8-10 hours
Keep in mind, these are recommendations. Talk to older children about the importance of listening to your body for times when you may need more rest.
2. Spend More Time Outside
Children today spend less time outdoors than any other generation. The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen. Spending time outdoors builds confidence, promotes creativity and imagination, and gets kids moving. Not to mention the sunlight helps ensure they’re getting enough vitamin D. Have your kids play outside after school before jumping straight into homework, go for an after-dinner walk as a family, or take a weekend hike. We promise the whole family will benefit from spending more time outside.
3. Read Every Day
When people hear the word health, they often associate it with physical health. But intellectual health is equally important to one’s overall wellness. An easy healthy habit for kids to start right away is to read every day for at least 15-20 minutes. If your child isn’t old enough to read independently, prioritize reading to him or her.
4. Limit Screen Time
If you encourage the health habits mentioned above this one will mostly take care of itself. Consider creating tech-free zones in your home, set a time limit on screen time and have regular conversations with your children about online safety. For more tips and help creating your own family media use plan, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website.
5. Eat a Well Balanced Diet
Helping your kids understand the nutritional value of food incorporating a range of fruits and vegetables. For older children, teach them how to read and understand food labels to empower them to make healthy choices on their own. If you need tips on getting picky kids to eat more vegetables or how to have conversations about nutrition your kids can easily understand, registered dietician nutritionist and mom of two Jennifer Anderson is an excellent resource. Follow her on Instagram @kids.eat.in.color
Carithers Pediatric Group is committed to providing comprehensive care to infants, children, adolescents, and young adults in Northeast Florida. Our pediatric services include well-child visits, sick visits, preventive care, immunizations, and management of chronic conditions and special needs. For questions or concerns about your child’s health, make an appointment by calling our Riverside office at (904) 387-6200 or our Southside office at (904) 997-0023.