8 tips for parents to ring in 2024 from the American Academy of Pediatrics | Image Credit: © Ксения Овчинникова - © Ксения Овчинникова - stock.adobe.com.
The new year is a perfect opportunity to set new parenting goals, and HealthyChildren.org, from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has offered 8 strong goals to kick-off the new year with.
The following list is courtesy of HealthyChildren.org and the AAP.
- Ensure everyone is up-to-date on recommended vaccinations. Vaccines provide the best defense against harmful viruses like flu and COVID, particularly as they are on the rise among children. Contact your pediatrician to confirm your children's vaccination status and address any queries. Emphasize the importance of good hand hygiene to your kids to prevent the spread of germs.
- Promote healthy digital habits. Investigate the content your children are viewing on TV and online, ensuring it is age-appropriate. Develop a family media use plan and monitor gaming to prevent it from becoming excessive. Engage with your children during screen time, watching shows or playing games together. Create or update your Family Media Plan accordingly.
- Read together regularly. Dedicate time each day for reading. For younger kids, incorporate it into their bedtime routine. For older children and teens, take turns reading aloud or listen to audiobooks together. Reading offers numerous cognitive benefits and strengthens the bond between you and your child.
- Increase outdoor activities. Spending time outdoors enhances mood, provides essential physical activity, and boosts vitamin D intake. It also allows a healthy break from screen time, potentially improving sleep. Encourage your child to enjoy nature and consider joining them in outdoor activities.
- Review car seat safety limits. Children can outgrow car seats quickly, so stay informed about the safety guidelines. Keep kids rear-facing for as long as possible within the seat's limits, typically up to age 4. Stay updated on any new car seat laws in your state and ensure everyone transporting your child is aware of safety regulations.
- Cook as a family. Extend the joy of holiday baking into the new year by scheduling special family cooking times. Involving your child in meal preparation can make them more open to trying new, nutritious foods.
- Prepare a family disaster kit. Address potential disasters like wildfires or hurricanes by assembling basic supplies. Involve your children in the process, asking what items they would want during a crisis. Refer to reliable sources for a list of essential items to include in your kit.
- Prioritize mental health and practice self-care. Regular check-ups, adequate rest, and self-care are crucial for parents' well-being. Be mindful that depression and anxiety can affect both moms and dads even years after childbirth. Seek support from the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline (1-833-943-5746) or Postpartum Support International (text "Help" to 1-800-944-4773) for non-emergency assistance.
8 parenting goals to start the new year strong. HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics. December 21, 2023. Accessed December 22, 2023. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/Pages/5-parenting-goals-to-start-the-new-year.aspx?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAiAhJWsBhAaEiwAmrNyqxvUQ5NIT_mln_pkf9gRUR49HWB3JwvNHYa033hmtUkQQGN93ngKlRoCWukQAvD_BwE