5 tips for a healthy New Year

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Happy New Year!

2017 is gone and 2018 is here! This past July, we welcomed a sweet new baby to our family. 2017 has been both a fun and challenging year. We have remodeled our house and adjusted our family routines as our family grew from five to six.

Having a new baby in our family has also made me more conscious of germs. With three older siblings, it has been nearly impossible to keep sickness out of our house and once it’s here, we seem to pass it back and forth through everyone in the family. In the last few months, we have dealt with pink eye, stomach bugs, colds and terrible coughs.

Although I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions, I do have a goal this year to improve my family’s health habits to keep sickness away. Here are five health habits my family will be trying to improve for a healthier New Year.

1. Wash hands. Washing hands thoroughly is the aspect that we are missing at my house. Often when I ask the kids to wash their hands before a meal, they will quickly run by a sink, splash a little water on their hands, no soap, and run to the table. To improve our hand washing routine (mine included), we are learning to wash with soap and warm water as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

When washing hands isn’t an option, hand sanitizer is a good alternative. Also, encourage your child to keep his or her hands away from their eyes, mouth and nose to avoid spreading germs.

2. Don’t share food or drinks. This is another area where we are often guilty in our family. It’s no big deal at our house to take a sip from someone else’s cup or a bite of food from someone’s plate. However, after our past few months of sickness, the new rule at our house is this: if it goes in your mouth, keep it to yourself.

3. Eat a healthy diet. During the holidays, healthy eating habits often go by the wayside in favor of holiday goodies. The New Year is a good time to refocus on providing healthy meals and snacks for the whole family. Citrus fruits, broccoli, garlic, spinach, yogurt, almonds, kiwi and poultry are a few foods that can help to boost the immune system.

4. Go to bed on time. Bedtime routines is another health habit that is often set aside during Christmas break from school and work. Getting enough sleep is crucial to staying healthy. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-13 hours of sleep for a preschool age child, 9-11 hours for a school age child, 8-10 hours for a teenager and 7-9 hours for an adult.

5. Play outside. Staying active is important to the health of both kids and adults. Even though it’s cold, it’s important to bundle up and play outside together. It’s fun and a great way to stay active as a family.

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