Northwest NEWS

November 8, 1999

Home & Garden

Keeping kids healthy is easier than you think

by Dr. Angela C. Hein, Naturopathic Physician

   With increasing demands on families, there are fewer hours to do the things we think we should be doing to keep our families healthy. I have found that a few basic steps can have a great impact on everyone in the family: attitude, diet, preparing for winter, and keeping a schedule.

   Attitude: A pro-active attitude toward health is very important--this is often called "prevention." Acting early is the key--don't wait until there is a problem if you suspect one. For example, if a child has the sniffles, it is time to curb sugar, and increase fluids, vitamin C, and rest, rather than wait until a cold develops. A child's body is designed to stay well, and with a little ongoing support and early intervention, many illnesses can be avoided. Another key concept is to include the whole family in healthy changes. Chances are if one child is frequently ill, the whole family could use some support.

   Diet: Diet is the safest, most basic tool a parent has. If the child is growing well for his/her age, then the diet is most likely adequate in calories. But how about the diet quality? This can be a parent's nightmare, especially with picky eaters. So let's think simply:

   Prepare for winter: It is true that during winter, there are more illnesses. This is due in part to cool weather and school, but it is also due to increased consumption of sweets.   Schedule: With many parents working and increased activities outside of the home, meal times, study time, and bed times tend to be flexible. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Establish routines for waking, dressing, and breakfast. Develop evening patterns for clean up, studies, and preparing for bed. Remember children need about 10 hours of sleep--and so do you.

   Helpful References: