Do you want a better way to reduce the number of sick days your child takes? Learn how mom-pediatricians keep their own families healthy all year.
Have you ever wondered how a pediatrician keeps her own children healthy? We felt the same way, so we asked some of the best mom-doctors for their insider tips. Here are their straightforward (and pleasantly surprising) strategies.
Encourage imaginative play and physical activity. Because a lack of physical activity is a major cause of childhood obesity and illness, Jean Moorjani, M.D., a pediatrician at Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida, promotes traditional play by instituting “tech-free time.” She also frequently sends her two children out of the house to play. “If the weather permits, we try to get outside at least once a day.”
Hands should be washed frequently. Your mother was correct. Every doctor we spoke with stressed the importance of washing your hands before meals, after using the restroom, after touching or playing with pets and animals, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Little kids (and big kids, too!) require frequent reminders, but the gentle nudges toward the sink are well worth it. Hand washing is the most effective way to keep germs at bay.
Provide nutritious meals and snacks. A healthy diet is the foundation of good health, according to Josie Znidarsic, D.O., a family physician at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. As a result, she feeds her two daughters a variety of fruits and vegetables and limits their exposure to added sugar. “If you eat a poor diet, you have so much inflammation in your body that your immune system is already overworked. Your foundation should be a healthy diet “According to Dr. Znidarsic.
Don’t outlaw junk food. Dr. Rowell resists the temptation to categorize food as “good” or “bad,” and regularly allows less-than-healthy options. “We eat Cheetos with Brussels sprouts and homemade stir-fry,” she explains. Her justification? “When foods are forbidden, kids can develop strong cravings for them, which can lead to eating problems later in life,” she says. “Allowing ‘junk food’ with meals and at snack times is almost like immunizing children. The food loses its mystique, and children learn to treat it as if it were any other food.”
Give a probiotic every day. Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to your health, particularly your digestive system. They are frequently referred to as “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they aid in the health of your digestive tract. Because recent research suggests a link between probiotics and immune system health, Dr. Znidarsic gives her children a probiotic gummy on a daily basis to support immune system health. “If I notice that they’re developing symptoms, I’ll sometimes double up on that,” she says.
Ensure that your vaccinations are up to date. “We talk about the importance of vaccines in our family and how they protect us from diseases that make us very sick,” Dr. Moorjani says. “I also try to be a good role model for my children. Every fall, I schedule an appointment for our entire family to visit our regular pediatrician, and each of us—myself and my husband included—rolls up our sleeves to get our yearly flu shot.”