When you think of the health of your child, where does your mind go first?
It may go to the scenario of your child getting sick. And that makes complete sense.
Your kids stay healthy all summer, and then every year, like clockwork, they go back to school and come home with whatever bug happens to be floating around. Getting sick is an inevitable right of passage. It’s also a pretty standard aspect of building a healthy immune system. That said, no one wants their child to be sick. It’s painful watching them struggle, and it’s also disruptive to the whole family’s routine. Furthermore, some children are immunocompromised or can’t get certain vaccines due to health conditions, so getting sick is much bigger than missing a day or two of school.
Your child’s health matters every day, but on the first Monday in October every year, we raise awareness of the importance of National Child Health Day. This year, it takes place on October 2nd.
This commemorative day of awareness is about more than preventing children from getting sick—although we’d all love that. National Child Health Day focuses on the health and well-being of children as a whole. It highlights children’s physical, developmental, and emotional health and well-being to set them up for success now and in the future. Here are some reminders to help you promote the health of your children.
Schedule Your Child’s Next Routine Checkup
As children grow, it’s easy to let checkups fall by the wayside. If you aren’t already, prioritize taking them to the doctor once a year for an annual checkup to make sure they are physically and developmentally on track. This enables you to be proactive about potential health concerns that may not be immediately noticeable. This step also ensures your children are up to date on their vaccines, which prevents them from getting and spreading certain illnesses.
Get Outside With Your Children
Children are sponges. They don’t do as you say. They do as you do. They are constantly observing and picking up behaviors from the people around them. Set an example for your child by showcasing healthy habits, such as being active and spending time outside. If this is not a part of your routine, try to make it one. You can observe Child Health Day by scheduling time in your week to get outside and do something active as a family. This could be as simple as walking in the neighborhood after dinner or going to the park on a Saturday morning.
Show Genuine Curiosity Towards Your Children
Getting your children to open up, especially teenagers, can be challenging. Even when your kids tend to clam up, always try to keep the conversation going—without being pushy, of course. Ask open-ended questions. These questions can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. When your kids talk to you or show that they need your attention, take the time to listen. This is important to their physical health because something may be going on they are embarrassed about, but that needs to be addressed. It matters for their mental and emotional health because it bolsters their self-confidence and reminds them that you, as their parents, are a safe place.
The Medical Group of New Jersey provides pediatric care in New Jersey. We hope you found this helpful and that you take the time to commemorate National Child Health Day on October 2nd. Be sure to share this article with #ChildHealthDay on your social media!