Tag Archives: kids’ sleep habits

Tis the Season to Be Healthy: A Guide to Keeping Your Child Safe & Healthy This Holiday Season

cookies-xmasWith the holiday season upon us, here are some important tips to think about for a safe and healthy holiday season.

Check with your pediatrician to make sure your child has received his or her flu shot for the 2017-2018 season.

Keep in mind age appropriate gifts and toys. Games and toys with small parts or batteries should not be gifted to children under three since they are choking hazards.  You may even want to consider the ages of siblings in the house, since there is a good chance that a new crawler or walker could easily get ahold of an older siblings’ new toy.

Decorate safely. If you have a live tree, place it away from fireplaces and heaters, and keep a fire extinguisher close by. Live trees are highly flammable, so don’t forget to keep it hydrated as well.  If you do buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Fire-resistant trees are less susceptible to catching fire.  Also, if you have little ones at home, it is important to place all glass ornaments out of reach and secure the tree so it will not topple over if pulled on. Lastly, turn off all lights when you go to bed and before leaving the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire.

Celebrate safely. Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Never leave a lit candle unattended.

Continue a healthy sleep schedule. Kids often have slightly altered sleep schedules during the holidays due to vacation and other factors. It is best to continue a sleep schedule as close to their typical routine as possible so that they get an adequate amount of sleep each night.  This will ensure an easy transition back to school when vacation is over.

Keep an eye on the number of holiday treats. It is very easy to get carried away with the number of holiday goodies that kids consume during the next couple weeks.  While some indulging is to be expected, it is important that they still strive for a healthy and balanced diet each day.  Encourage a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day prior to indulging in an extra piece of chocolate or two!

Get up and move around!  Of course it’s cold out, and we’re all so busy, which can make it a little trickier to fit in our daily exercise at this time of the year.  Now’s the time to get creative with exercise! Have a holiday music dance party, bundle up and get outside for a walk in the snow, or just play a game of Simon Says! Even 30 minutes a day has been proven to improve your cardiovascular health.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Lauren Kupersmith, MD, is a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone Huntington Medical Group.

A Pediatrician’s “Back to School” Checklist

AdobeStock_52157424As your child is starting a new school year, here are some important things to think about for a smooth and healthy transition for the whole family.

Check with your pediatrician to make sure your child is all caught up on required immunizations and that he or she has had a routine check-up with your pediatrician within the past year.

Notify your school of any medical conditions or special needs that your child may have. Find out if the school requires any forms to be filled out by your pediatrician if your child does require specific accommodations for a medical condition.

Get organized and informed. Ask your child’s teachers if he or she will need any special school supplies. Find out if there are any ways for you to volunteer or get involved in school events. Children often do much better in school when their parents or caregivers get to know their teachers and are involved in school activities.

Re-establish a healthy sleep schedule. Kids often have slightly altered sleep schedules during the summer months due to vacation and other factors. If your children have gotten used to a later bedtime during the summer, gradually move bedtime up by 30 minutes every few nights for 1-2 weeks in anticipation of an earlier bedtime during the school year.

Discuss how you will handle meals during the busy school year. Decide if your child will be eating breakfast and/or lunch that is provided by the school or if you will preparing those meals from home. If your child will be eating meals at school, find out what kind of healthy foods are available. Notify your school of any food allergies that your child may have. Make a list of easy to prepare, healthy snacks that you can have on hand for a quick snack after your child returns home from a busy school day. Some examples of healthy snacks that require little preparation include carrots and hummus, sliced apples and peanut butter, popcorn (lightly salted with no butter), or low-fat cheese and cut fruit.

Make plans for after school arrangements and transportation for your child. Decide if your child will need to be in an afterschool program or look into other after school child care options if required. Plan on carpool arrangements if needed.

Plan to be active! Choose 1-2 extracurricular activities that your child will enjoy participating in during the school year. Encourage your child to find something they will look forward to and feel passionate about. Avoid overscheduling too many commitments during the year.

Help your child work out back-to-school jitters with an open conversation. Talk to your child about how they are feeling about starting the new year, what to expect, and back-to-school safety. Read about how to manage potential concerns such as bullying, stress and burnout, and peer pressure. If you have questions about how to recognize or handle any of these issues, ask your pediatrician.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Madhavi Kapoor, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and a pediatrician at NYU Langone at Trinity.