SATURDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- As children head back to
school, parents can help make sure their little ones stay healthy
and happy all year, an expert suggests.
Adequate sleep and rest are essential, Dr. Peter Richel, a
pediatrician at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y.,
said in a hospital news release. His advice in this regard?
Establish fixed bedtime routines and avoid booking too many
Also make sure your children get three healthy meals a day, he
added. Breakfast is particularly important, and eating together as
a family helps promote good communication skills.
To lower disease risk, children should be properly vaccinated
against illnesses such as tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and
parents should consider other vaccines such as hepatitis A and
varicella boosters against chicken pox. Seasonal flu and H1N1
vaccines are additional options that most parents can request for
their kids, Richel noted.
Regular exercise is also important and it should include some
form of aerobic activity, such as taking a brisk walk, Richel
suggested. This could mean limiting the time kids spend in front of
computers, TVs and video games.
Reading and music enrich children's lives, the pediatrician
added. Very young children should be read to, and older kids should
be encouraged to read during leisure time. Singing and learning to
play an instrument are also great activities for children.
Encourage your kids to do their best, but don't demand
perfection, he stressed. Keep in mind that each child is an
individual who needs support, but not pressure.
For more on parents and child health, visit the
American Academy of Family Physicians.