No child likes to be sick. And no parent likes it when their child is sick.
Accustomed to feeling invincible and running wild, children often take a cold or a trip to the dentist harder than the average adult. Here are some pointers parents can use when talking to their kids about health to make the fancy medical terms and scary symptoms a little less intimidating.
Pediatricians, dentists, family practitioners and psychologists alike encourage a few basic communication strategies when preparing children for a visit. Talking in advance about the visit in great depth is not recommended. Providing your child with too many details may just add to their anxiety. Instead, be brief, positive and playful when the subject is brought up. Bring distractions such as a book or iPad to keep busy in the waiting room.
A Spoonful Of Sugar
Medicine makes kids well. Remind them that taking medicine will make them feel better faster. The faster you feel better, the faster you get to do fun things, like taking a trip to the playground.
Fancy flavors. If your doctor approves of this method, you can put medicine in juice or have the pharmacist add flavoring to it. Orange juice or yogurt is often used to mask bad-tasting medicine as well.
Avoid physical struggles. If you find that you have to “hold down” your child while giving them medicine, suggest taking a short break. This allows the child to regroup, physically and emotionally. Mom and dad, too.
Communication. Kids ask a lot of questions. Be prepared to explain medical information in a kid-friendly manner. It is useful to explain to a child what a condition or an illness is and how it is treated. This knowledge is power and will help a child understand what their body is going through. If you do not keep the child informed, they are likely to start filling in the blanks themselves with frightening scenarios.
Healthy Habits = Healthy Kids
Instill these key practices in your children from a young age for lifelong healthy habits.
Diet. Let your kids pick healthy snacks, such as nuts, cheeses and fruit, during your next trip to the grocery store.
Hygiene. It is recommended that young children brush their teeth for 30 seconds. Older kids and adults should take two minutes. Help your youngster brush his or her teeth when they wake up in the morning and before they go to bed at night. Children should also develop the habit of hand washing before they eat and after they use the restroom. Also, emphasize the importance of keeping your hands out of your mouth and nose!
Exercise. Encourage fun activities such as swimming, soccer or a dance class. Get outside for a game of tag or a family bike ride.