Getting back in the swing of things
Getting back into the swing of things after winter break can be tough on both kids and parents. Rules and routines often get a little fuzzy during this time and kids may experience changes in bedtimes, increased amounts of sugary foods and drinks, packed schedules, and more exposure to germs. This can make adjusting back to “normal” life difficult for families. CMC Pediatrics reminds us that the chaos and over-indulgence of the holidays don’t mean you can’t get back on track with healthy family habits. Kids crave routine and stability and while they may resist when school starts back, they will soon be well rested and well adjusted for the New Year.
Monitoring your child's screen time
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests “It is important to consider the specific activities that children and teens engage in on social media, and to support them in using social media in ways that strengthen their social, emotional, cognitive and identity development.” In short, it’s important for parents to know what their children and teens are viewing and engaging in on their devices. The American Psychological Association recommends “In early adolescence (i.e., typically 10–14 years), adult monitoring (i.e., ongoing review, discussion, and coaching around social media content) is advised for most youths’ social media use; autonomy may increase gradually as kids age and if they gain digital literacy skills. However, monitoring should be balanced with youths’ appropriate needs for privacy.”
Making sleep a priority for kids (and parents) is crucial to the happiness and health of the family. Stephanie Cobb, DO, of CMC Pediatrics Carolina Forest suggests “establish a sleep ritual to help wind down and get ready for bed.” This may include putting up electronic devices well before bed, dimming the house/bedroom lights, reading a book, or listening to a story. Most healthy kids need 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
Get moving and get outside!
Cooler temps and less sunlight can make sitting inside look very appealing. Still, studies show that exposure to sunlight and the outside has significant health benefits. Dr. Amanda Didolkar of CMC Pediatrics Carolina Forest recommends, “Try scheduling a daily ten minute walk or bike ride with your kids before dinner. Not only does it have physical benefits, but it gives you a chance to talk with your child one on one.”
Every parent knows that no two kids are the same in terms of eating preferences. What one child loves for dinner the other may turn their nose up at. Finding nutritious foods for your kids (that they actually want to eat), can feel overwhelming. Dr. Replenski of CMC Pediatrics Carolina Forest suggests “Make healthy food a family affair.” Set an example by cooking healthy and nutritious meals for the whole family. Introduce new food to your routine to keep kids excited and interested in tastes and flavors.
Get your kids involved in meal planning
Ask your kids what their favorite meals are and make healthy swaps if needed, to amp up the nutritional value of these family favorites. Host a weekly or monthly international night featuring recipes or fruits from different countries. At the end of the month, ask your kids to make a top ten list of their favorites from the new foods they tried that month.
The CMC Foundation is nourishing kids through our Smart Snacks Initiative to shine a light on the importance of healthy snacks for all Horry County Kids. Read the latest news on our Smart Snacks Program here.
Hydration is key
Keep an open dialogue with your kids
It can sometimes feel like your kid isn’t interested in talking. You pick them up from school, ask how their day was and they give you a one-word answer. “Ok, good, fine, meh.” Keeping an open line of communication is critical in understanding what our kids are experiencing, the status of their mental health, and more. Creating a healthy and open line of communication will make it much easier for your kids to talk to you about difficult topics. The CDC recommends, “Find out more about your child by using activating listening.” You can do this by giving your kid your full attention (phones down), making eye contact and stopping the other things you are doing, getting down on your child’s level if they are younger, and finally, reflecting or repeating back what they are saying and feeling to fully understand.
The importance of mental health
Monitoring your child’s mental health is equally as important as monitoring their physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, potential warning signs that your child may be experiencing a mental health disorder include:
- Persistent sadness that lasts two weeks or more
- Withdrawing from or avoiding social interactions
- Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself
- Talking about death or suicide
- Outbursts of extreme irritability
- Out-of-control behavior that can be harmful
- Drastic changes in mood, behavior, or personality
- Changes in eating habits
- Loss of weight
- Difficulty sleeping
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in academic performance
- Avoiding or missing school
Hand washing and your health
Washing your hands is the main character in this healthy story! Washing your hands is an important step in keeping germs at bay.
Five steps for healthy hand washing
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or an air dryer.
Your Go-To for Pediatric Care
CMC Pediatrics in Carolina Forest is the perfect choice for your child’s healthcare needs. With a team of dedicated and caring professionals, they create a warm and welcoming environment that puts both kids and parents at ease. From routine check-ups to addressing illnesses, CMC Pediatrics prioritizes your child’s well-being. Our pediatric providers goes the extra mile to create a welcoming atmosphere, making doctor visits a positive experience. Trustworthy, caring, and committed – they’re here to support your child’s health journey every step of the way.