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New Year's Resolutions Aren’t Just for Adults

Posted 1/8/2016 by UHBlog

Need help developing New Year’s resolutions that make sense for your family? We can help.

New Year's Resolutions Aren't Just for Adults

Adults aren't the only ones who can use some self-improvement in the New Year. Your children may have developed some bad habits, too.

When you begin working on some of your problem areas in 2016, consider enlarging the effort to include some of your family's habits and vices, says family medicine specialist Ian Suzelis, DO.

According to Dr. Suzelis, you can play a huge role in your children's health and happiness by being a good role model.

“Parents should set goals that encourage their kids to eat a healthier diet, exercise more, have less screen time and get more sleep,” he says. “These resolutions will stick if parents are excellent role models and the family works as a team to break bad habits and commit to change together.”

To keep your family's New Year's Resolutions, Dr. Suzelis recommends:

  • Eating Well – “In Ohio, 33.3 percent of all children between 10 and 17 are overweight or obese,” he says. “Parents should take soda pop and sugary snacks off their shelves and shopping lists and offer healthier snacking options for their kids. If it’s not in the house, your kids will have less opportunity to eat junk food and can focus on foods that are good for them.”
    Parents with teens should also resolve to educate their kids about the dangers of energy drinks and discourage their use, Dr. Suzelis says.
    “The steady consumption of these stimulating drinks can lead to smoking, alcoholism, substance abuse and sleeping problems,” he says.
  • Just Moving It – Children are born to run. All children should have at least 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity. For the younger set, that means running, skipping, riding a bike, swimming, playing hide-and-seek and sledding. Older kids can keep their heart rate up through organized sports or taking classes like karate or dance. And when you tell your kids to go take a hike, be sure to join them on the trail.
  • Getting Unplugged – Instead of always plugging in, your family should learn to reconnect with each other. Too much time on a smart phone, computer, television and/or game console can contribute to obesity, ADHD, anxiety, depression and reduced social skills.
    “Children under two should not be allowed any screen time and kids ages 5 through 12 should only be allowed one to two hours of screen time a day,” he says.
  • Improved Sleeping – Lights out means lights out at bedtime, no sneaking smart phones under the covers. Dr. Suzelis recommends that kids turn off cell phones, video games and TV at least one hour before bedtime so their minds can calm down and they can get the proper rest they need. Your child needs at least eight full hours of sleep to increase energy and boost concentration.

If you need other ideas to create more harmony, happiness and health in your home, Dr. Suzelis recommends these family-oriented New Year’s resolutions:

  • Laughing more and arguing less
  • Cooking meals together
  • Playing board games or cards
  • Reaching out to help others
  • Going green and living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle

“Resolutions are best achieved – and a lot more fun – when your family shares these experiences together,” he says.

Ian Suzelis, DO is a family medicine specialist at University Hospitals Ravenna Primary Care. You can request an appointment with Dr. Suzelis or any other University Hospitals doctor online.

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