6 Health Habits to Teach Your Children

Did you know that one in three kids are overweight or obese? Obesity is an epidemic that is now affecting children as young as 3 years old. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and it’s never too early to start to teach your kids about how to live a healthy lifestyle. If they learn these things from a young age they will be less likely to become overweight and, therefore, lower their risk of developing type II diabetes, sleep apnea or bone and joint disorders. Today, we’re sharing 6 health habits to teach your children.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Kids need to eat breakfast in order to keep them full and focused while at school. Aim for something high in protein to hold them over. Studies have also shown that children who eat breakfast have a lesser occurrence of obesity than those who don’t. Plus it prevents bingeing when it comes to lunch or after school snacks.

Eat the rainbow
An easy way to teach kids about eating a wide variety of healthy foods is to tell them to eat the rainbow. Having a plate that’s full of many different fruits and vegetables in vibrant colors provides a lot of different vitamins and minerals.

Exercise is fun
A big mistake some parents make with kids is forcing them to play sports. I understand the idea behind it, but this philosophy may backfire. Let them try a sport; if they don’t like it, don’t force it. They need to learn that exercise is fun, not a punishment. If your child isn’t athletic encourage them to stay active in other ways. Activities such as playing tag or jumping rope are great ways to get the heart pumping.
Look at labels
Kids are never too young to know what’s in their food. Teach them about ingredients they should avoid eating such as high fructose corn syrup. If you give them the tools they need to eat healthy, they will make good food choices when you’re not around to help them.
Sleep is super important
Stress the importance of sleep. Make sure they know that electronics or TV are not allowed right before bed.
One of the most important healthy habits to teach your children is the idea of self-love. Kids can be so hard on themselves and have no sense of self-worth. Teaching them to have love and respect for themselves is a huge key to success.
To learn more about nutrition for children, as well as how to get them set up for a healthy school year, pick up the Women’s Mind Body Wellness Summit. Dr. Jennifer Shell discusses how dangerous sugar is for kids and Alyssa Sullivan discusses nutrition programs in daycare. This summit also includes four other interviews from top female health professionals as well as two bonus workout videos, plus three inspirational videos from myself, MyHealthSpin Founder Lori-Ann Rickard.

Eye Exams for Kids

Smiling girl putting on glasses with blurry eye chart behind herAugust is National Eye Health Exam Month. In Monday’s blog post we discussed 5 Things to Do to Get Your Child’s Health in Order Before School Starts. Taking your child in for their well visit is important, but it’s also extremely important that you get your child’s vision tested regularly. And what better time to do that than before the start of the school year?

If your child has a vision problem, they will have a very difficult time learning. If they can’t see the board they won’t catch everything the teacher has to say and will miss key information. Today, we will discuss the importance of getting regular eye exams, when should you get your kids eyes examined, and how to find out if you have vision coverage through your insurance.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Your eyes can tell a lot about your overall health. Disorders, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, can be detected through a simple eye exam. A regular eye exam can also be important for preventing conditions like cataracts. These conditions are typically more common with age, but it never hurts to start getting eye exams at a young age as it is key for prevention. However, there are other eye conditions that are common in children. A lot of kids often times have a lazy eye, which requires patching in order to prevent future issues. Good vision won’t only be helpful in school, but it will also be helpful on the ball field. Having their eyes checked will increase their hand-eye coordination making sports a little easier.

If your child doesn’t seem to have any problems with their vision, or asymmetry in their eyes, it is probably safe to wait until around age five to get them their first eye exam. This way any vision issues can be fixed before starting kindergarten so they are able to learn. However, if you notice issues with their vision before the age of five schedule an appointment, the earlier you correct something the easier it will be. If your child does have vision problems, it’s important that they get an eye exam annually to make sure their prescription still works for them.

So how do you know if your insurance covers eye exams for children? First and foremost, you must look at your individual plan. You can call your insurance provider and ask if that is a benefit under your plan. Adult vision care typically isn’t covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), however, pediatric vision care is a required benefit on all ACA plans. This applies for all children covered on the plan who are under the age of 19.

Taking care of your child’s eye health is just as important as their physical and mental help. So when you schedule your child’s well visit before the school year starts make sure you also schedule them their annual eye exam!


For more healthcare tips for you and your family, check out my workbook for dealing with caring for your children, as well as your aging parents: Life in the Sandwich Generation. Life in the Sandwich Generation is a workbook filled with information, tips and tricks for managing the demands needing to care for your aging parents, as well as taking care of your children. It details how you can involve your children in the process, how to learn more about your parents health and finances, while still making time for yourself and your spouse. You can find it here for only $10!

5 Things To Do to Get Your Child’s Health in Order Before School Starts

Cute Kid Are Getting On The Bus, Ready To Go To SchoolThe first day of school is right around the corner. And while summer coming to an end may be the last thing you want to think about, it’s time to start getting your child’s health in order. There is a lot to take care of before school starts; getting a head start will ensure that your child is set for a successful school year. When my girls were younger we always had a routine when it came to the end of summer. Follow these tips for getting your kids health in order before school starts.

First, start going to bed at a regular time. Lack of sleep can contribute to illness. If your child is used to going to bed late and sleeping in, the first day of school will be a huge adjustment to their internal clock. Messing up their schedule for too many days in a row could wipe out their immune system causing them to get sick and run down.

Second, schedule an appointment for their annual well visit. This is important to go over their general health and see if they have anything going on mentally, physically or emotionally. A child’s well visit is especially important for the kids of reproductive age or those in high school. It gives the doctor a chance to discuss with them the importance of abstinence or how to practice safe sex. It also opens the door for the discussion of drugs and alcohol. Your child may be more willing to open up to their doctor as opposed to you or your spouse.

You may also want to consider getting an eye appointment scheduled for your child. It is important to determine if they have vision problems, or if they need a stronger prescription. If they can’t see the board, they won’t do well in school. I will be digging deeper in to this topic in an upcoming post on Thursday, so be sure to check back on the blog for more details!

Also, when you take your child to the doctor for their well visit make sure you get a sports physical. In order to participate in sports, teens must have a current physical on file.

Third, if your child takes a certain type of medication that they don’t take during the summer get them started back up a few weeks before school starts. A lot of kids who take medications for ADD or ADHD don’t take them during the summer. Start back up on it a few weeks early in order to give them time to readjust to the medication.

Fourth, get your kids in the habit of eating breakfast. If your child doesn’t eat breakfast already it’s time to start. Many nutritionists feel that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And if your child’s blood sugar is low they won’t be able to concentrate in school. They need to fuel their brain for the long day ahead.

Fifth, if your child has a medical condition, inform the school ahead of time. Let their teacher know of any allergies or if they require a specific medication at a time throughout the course of the school day.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Getting your child set for the school year will allow you to have fun and finish off your summer on the right note.

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