Many Vargas and Vargas Insurance customers are parents, and they will be the first to tell you that the start of school is right around the corner in Boston! This time of year, many parents like to reevaluate their kids’ happiness, and make sure that they are still on the path to success. Here are ideas of just a few of the things that you can do to make sure that your kids are happy and healthy:
Inspire an Active Lifestyle
What you teach your kids will act as the foundation for the rest of their life. Nowadays, it is easy to park kids in front of a TV or tablet to entertain them, but it is critical to limit their ‘technology time’ and have them be active. Did you know that (according to the US Department of Health and Human Services) that only one in three children is physically active every day?
Healthy Diets Start Young
Here is a statistic from the Department of Agriculture that may surprise you: “Typical American diets exceed the recommended intake levels or limits in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars; refined grains; sodium; and saturated fat.”
It’s no secret that American diets aren’t stellar, but you can set your kids up for success by teaching them how to put the right fuel into their bodies. The USDA’s Choose My Plate initiative is a great place to start for kids. There is even a resource for making small changes to improve a child’s diet slowly over time.
Plan Some Free Time
Planning out free time may seem a little backwards, but kids need unstructured time to let their imagination free. In today’s world, it’s easy to schedule your kids for an unending string of activities to keep them focused (and a few extracurriculars has shown time and time again to be a good idea when it comes to helping children become successful and well-rounded) but don’t pack your children’s schedules.
Sleep is Vital to a Growing Body
It is easy to let kids stay up late when they start to whine about bedtime but think twice about being overly flexible with your kid’s sleep schedule. Sleepfoundation.org recommends that school-age children get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night. They also note that at this age “school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products” which could result in increased sleep resistance.
Build Healthy Habits
There are several habits that you should instill in your children while they are young:
Setting a foundation of proper oral hygiene is a critical in minimizing how much dental work a person will need as an adult. You should stress this to your child! Kids should brush their teeth twice a day – after breakfast and before bed. Brushing should last for two minutes, so get an hourglass timer or download an app to play a two minute song or short video to cut through the boredom.
Wearing a helmet while on a bike or scooter has been shown to significantly reduce head injuries in children. In the same vein, children should always wear a seat belt when riding in the car.
Help kids stay healthy and avoid getting sick by encouraging regular hand washing, especially before eating. Kids that are sick should stay home to avoid infecting other children and causing an epidemic at their school or club.
Children should also get in the habit of regularly visiting health care providers, like the doctor and dentist. Kids may put up a fight, but it’s a necessary evil in life (even for adults!)
Playdates and Sleepovers Abound
When kids are young, it is critical that they get plenty of social interaction with their peers. While it is important that they focus on their studies, make sure to also recognize that playdates and sleepovers are a critical part of children developing social skills to be a well-rounded adult. And remember – “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”
Teach Water Safety
When kids are young, they are at a constant risk of hurting themselves. You can do your kids a huge favor by making sure that they are taught water safety at a young age. Even a small amount of water can be dangerous for a child, so make sure that they are taught to swim, and to only go in the pool when an adult is supervising.
From everyone at the Vargas and Vargas Insurance office, we wish you and your children a very happy Back to School season. And remember – if you ever have a question about your insurance policies, we’re here for you! Just call 617-298-0655 to talk to an agent about your insurance questions or get a free quote on insurance that will protect your family.