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Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

The beginning of a year is traditionally the time we decide to turn over a new leaf and take steps to make our lives better.

Our family practice doctors at Cohen Medical Associates in Delray Beach encourage this practice when it comes to creating health goals for ourselves. But why not let your children in on the tradition, as well?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says this is the ideal time to encourage your children to adopt new healthy habits that will stick with them throughout their lives.

This can be a family affair, in which parents let their children see them setting their own goals for wellness, and encourage their kids to do the same.

The key to successfully keeping New Year’s resolutions is to make them realistic and modest. This means, instead of saying, “I’m going to eat healthier,” you substitute something more specific: “I will eat at least two vegetables every day.”

Such concrete goals as these are easy to remember, easy to achieve, and can be measured to gauge success more easily. It’s also important to teach children that perfection isn’t necessary here; slip-ups are inevitable and are easily remedied by starting over again.

Here are some of the AAP-suggested resolutions for kids, pre-teens, and teens:

 

Preschoolers

  • I will let my parents help me brush my teeth twice a day.
  • I will wash my hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
  • I will be friendly to all animals, and not tease dogs—even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
  • I will learn to ask owners if I can pet their animal first.
  • I will put away my toys after playing with them.
  • I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help or am scared.

 

Kids 5 to 12

  • I will drink reduced-fat milk or water most days, saving sodas and fruit juices for special occasions.
  • I will use sunscreen every time I go outdoors, and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when playing sports.
  • I will try to find a sport or activity I enjoy and do it at least three times a week.
  • I will always wear a helmet when riding a scooter, bike, or skateboard.
  • I will wear a seatbelt every time I get into a car, and will sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder belt.
  • I will never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet.
  • I will never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission.

 

Kids 13 and Older

  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day.
  • I will limit the amount of soda I drink.
  • I will take care of my body through fun physical activity and nutrition.
  • I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend no more than two hours a day on these activities.
  • I will respect our household rules for videogames and Internet use.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try cigarettes (including e-cigarettes), drugs, or alcohol.
  • I will not text or use a cellphone while driving.
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal, or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk with an adult whom I trust about my choices.

 

Healthy habits are best absorbed when they are learned at home at a young age, which makes it easier to carry them into adulthood. For more ideas about age-appropriate health goals for children, feel free to talk to us.

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