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Raising Healthy, Happy Kids

Tips From A Pediatric Expert
Posted at 9:54 AM, Jan 19, 2023

A new year means it is time to work on new goals. How about some extra time making sure our kids are happy and healthy. Dr. Susan Maples,
is author of the book Brave Parent: Raising Healthy, Happy Kids Against All Odds in Today's World.” She’s also a health educator, speaker and one of the pioneers in the connection between oral and systemic health. She joins us with some ways to keep kids healthy.

  1. Just say no to sugar: From dessert-like breakfast cereals to your kid’s favorite juice box, sugar is everywhere and it’s a killer. If there’s one thing parents need to remember it’s that there is nothing good about sugar. It leads to obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and tooth decay for starters. Do your kids a favor and nix the sugar.
  1. Better food choices: When it comes to what’s on our kid’s plates, it’s mostly bad news. Start striving for more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. And if you’re a family that eats meat and fish, try to ensure that the animals you source were raised humanely.  These will be completely drug-free, 100% organic grass-fed beef, free-range (cage free) poultry, and wild-caught (not farm-raised) smallmouth fish. Look for the label that reads “Certified Humane, Raised & Handled”.
  1. Get active: Kids need to run around and get at least one-hour of physical activity each day. It’s great for cardiovascular health, relieves stress, revs metabolism, helps them sleep better and keeps them think. Unfortunately, in this day and age, many of our kids have become glued to their electronic devices. Parents, encourage your kids to get outside and get active….better yet, go outside and play with them.
  1. Catch plenty of Zzzzs: Most kids like a late night in front of the TV or chatting with their friends. On special occasions this is ok, but generally speaking, kids need more sleep than they are getting. Sleep is so important  for a thousand reasons starting with these: it rests and repairs ALL your cells in the brain and the body, restores energy, helps the brain process and retain information, and helps the body grow. Ensure a cool, dark room, absent of all electronics and other blue lights for at least one hour before bedtime for optimal sleep.
  1. Focus on mental health: It’s not easy being a kid these days and the state of our children’s mental health proves it. Stress reactions can range from normal and healthy to toxic.  This can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions that are prevalent and on the rise. Create a safe and soothing home environment for your kids.  Help them learn how to express emotions. Seek professional help when necessary.