Family Life | Pediatrician: Create a family wellness plan for the New Year | News

As I write this, I just received notification that the first winter weather advisory for our area has been issued.

Temperatures have plunged into the 1930s and more and more Christmas lights appear every evening. The holidays are approaching and that means a new year is just around the corner.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions, but maybe creating a family wellness plan is a nice alternative for 2022.

Here are a few ideas for things to include in your plan.

Nutrition

You can make it fun by cooking healthy with your children and eating together regularly. Keep healthy snacks on hand.

Sure, with sports and extracurricular activities for kids (and parents!), don’t feel guilty on the nights you order food or can’t have a family meal.

Maybe your family meal is breakfast the next day?

Stay active

It’s easy to want to be under a blanket and slow down in the colder months. But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one hour of physical activity per day and two hours or less of screen time (TV, computer, video games).

We are fortunate to live in an area with so many opportunities for outdoor recreation, from hiking or biking to skiing and snow tubing, and on those bitterly cold winter days when no one feels like going out, yoga or a family cleaning day can be fun activities that encourage more physical exercise.

Vaccinations, controls

Primary care is the backbone of a patient’s overall health. That’s why it’s important to stay on track for both your child’s checkups and your own.

Ideally, everyone in the family should get a flu vaccination by mid-October; however, it’s not too late to get one. It is crucial now that schools have returned to personalized learning. Flu activity usually peaks from December – March, but flu season can last until April or May.

If you have not yet received your vaccine, I recommend that you do so or talk to your doctor if you have any underlying health conditions or specific concerns. According to the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, “The flu vaccine is safe, effective, and can be given alongside other routine immunizations and the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Make gratitude a habit

We tend to think and talk more about our blessings around the holidays, but did you know that practicing gratitude has a positive impact on our physical and emotional health? You can incorporate gratitude into everyday conversations on the way home from school, over dinner, or before bed.

In fact, thinking and talking about positive things before bed can improve sleep for everyone in the family and provide a more cheerful foundation for the start of the next day.

Creating a “gratitude habit” outside of the holiday season helps increase self-esteem and positive social behaviors, such as helping, sharing, and volunteering.

Finally, remember that pediatricians and caregivers are partners in helping you and your family access special care, educational services, and other community services important to your overall well-being.

I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy holiday season!

dr. Rosario B. Gonzaga is a pediatrician who has proudly cared for generations of families in Allegany County. She is the founder of Gonzaga Family Health, a comprehensive family practice for all ages, with locations in LaVale and Frostburg, Maryland.

dr. Rosario B. Gonzaga is a pediatrician who has proudly cared for generations of families in Allegany County. She is the founder of Gonzaga Family Health, a comprehensive family practice for all ages, with locations in LaVale and Frostburg, Maryland.

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