Big resolutions for our smallest loved ones

With New Year’s Day upon us, parents have been asking me to help them help their children with their resolutions. Here are a few suggestions to ring in 2021.

¯ Infants need to resolve to sleep on their backs to prevent them from being at risk for sudden unexpected infant death, and to keep unsafe items out of their mouths.

¯ Toddlers and preschoolers should resolve to brush their teeth twice a day, wash their hands after using the bathroom or before eating, and help clean up any messes they might have created while playing. They should also be nice to other children and to pets.

¯ School-age children might resolve to try new foods, to limit the amount of soda and sugary fruit drinks they consume, and to instead drink reduced-fat milk or water at least three times each day. They should also find a physical activity they like and resolve to do it at least three times a week, remembering to wear a helmet if that activity is bicycling or skiing.

¯ Both children and infants need to resolve to always be restrained properly in their car safety seats.

¯ All children should insist on being read to or reading to themselves each and every day. They should also resolve to always tell an adult about bullying that they see or hear about.

¯ Teens and older children should resolve never to give out personal information on the internet and to limit their TV and video game activity to a maximum of one to two hours per day.

¯ Teens should also resolve to engage in healthy activities like sports, exercise, music or art when stressed, rather than consider the use of drugs or alcohol, and they should never use a cellphone or text while driving or even riding a bicycle. They should also strive to always talk to their parents or another trusted adult if they or their friends are stressed or considering making risky choices.

¯ And finally, while the pandemic is still here, everyone should resolve to continue to wash your hands, wear your masks and practice physical distancing.

While old acquaintance may be forgot, hopefully your children will not forget these resolutions so that 2021 will be a terrific year for them and in turn for your entire family.

Lewis First, MD, is chief of pediatrics at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital of Vermont Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and NBC5.


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