Health Tips for Kids – Know What to Look For
These health tips for kids can also be helpful for adults.
Here’s the first of a new series of natural health articles I’ve put together focused on Natural Health Tips for Kids. If you know of someone who may find these tips useful please forward this info. Let people know they can sign up for the website newsletter and connect on Facebook (AcupunctureRI). There you can receive more great health tips and practices in prevention to help you take control of your health naturally!
When my girls were young, anywhere from day 1 until the time they started talking, it was difficult to understand how they were feeling. It was hard to know how to treat them if they were sick because it was difficult for them to communicate what they were feeling. I have a few simple health tips for kids to share to observe and know what to track. It’s also important to teach your kids what you are looking for so they can track their health too.
Here are some simple areas to track: sleep, digestion/appetite, energy level, bowel movements, body temperature.
Every morning, when my girls wake up, I always have the habit of asking them, “how was your sleep last night? Did you sleep well?” Of course if you’re up in the middle of the night with them you have an idea but I also want them to understand sleep is important and we want to keep track of it as a measure of health.
Keeping a regular sleep schedule creates a consistent pattern and consistency encourages good health. My kids are 4 and 8 and get about 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Sometimes I’m flexible with their wake times. If they didn’t get to bed early enough or if they didn’t sleep well through the night I let them sleep a little longer. Of Course, if you get them to bed too late at night then you won’t have much flexibility to let them sleep in the morning.
Here’s a sleep Recommendation chart from the National Sleep Foundation:
|Age||Recommended||May be appropriate||Not recommended|
|14 to 17 hours||11 to 13 hours
18 to 19 hours
|Less than 11 hours
More than 19 hours
|12 to 15 hours||10 to 11 hours
16 to 18 hours
|Less than 10 hours
More than 18 hours
|11 to 14 hours||9 to 10 hours
15 to 16 hours
|Less than 9 hours
More than 16 hours
|10 to 13 hours||8 to 9 hours
|Less than 8 hours
More than 14 hours
|9 to 11 hours||7 to 8 hours
|Less than 7 hours
More than 12 hours
|8 to 10 hours||7 hours
|Less than 7 hours
More than 11 hours
|7 to 9 hours||6 hours
10 to 11 hours
|Less than 6 hours
More than 11 hours
When thinking about health tips for kids, digestion and a healthy appetite are fundamentally good measures of health. If they eat consistently good that’s great! Consistent mealtimes are important. Over-snacking or skipping meals can upset digestive function. Such irregularities disrupt the production of digestive juices and the flow through the digestive system. Digestion is a big conversation but I would simply say if you notice a change in digestion or appetite early on then you can take early steps to better support your child’s health.
Low appetite could be an early sign of getting sick, catching a cold but it can also be a sign that they aren’t active enough. Get them moving to boost their appetite.
If they get belly aches and a rumbling tummy maybe their diet isn’t the best. There’s a lot to focus on here but I would offer one tip. Food combinations are important. Don’t mix fruit with any other foods and see if you notice less belly aches. Fruit digests faster than other foods and when combined causes digestive confusion as to when to move the food along in the digestive tract. You can always have an evaluation to find out other tips and advice to improve digestion which is so important for kid’s health.
Is your child’s energy level irregular – up and down. Too low? Too high? Again, consistency is important for health. Are they eating regularly? Do they have a consistent and sufficient sleep schedule? Maybe they need to sleep a little more after a big event or activity. How’s their mental emotional health? How’s their mood? There are many things in life that can cause irritability and frustration that can drain energy.
One area to track is their ability to express themselves. At a young age, what appears to be a simple problem can be a ginormous one for a child. Being more present with your child and allowing them to express themselves in their own way can help avoid qi stagnation and keep the energy moving. Good health is about good movement of energy. Nobody wants to feel stuck.
The ol’ #2 – Bowel Movements
I hope this is not going to be too much of a crappy conversation but it must be said. BM’s need to be regular – once per day is best for kids ages 3 and older. Frequency can vary but a healthy regularity should be encouraged and track for consistency. Too frequent or not consistent can be a problem. Stools should be well formed (1 large piece) and not loose, hard to move or watery. Infants, especial under the 3 month range will naturally have watery stools and go every couple of hours so this doesn’t apply. Try adding more veggies to their diet. Increasing fiber and water intake can make BM’s easier and more regular.
Sometimes kids will get belly aches because they need to move their bowels. Rubbing their belly gently in a circular fashion around the naval can help. Make a clockwise circle with your palm on the child’s abdomen following the path of the colon – ascending along the right side of the abdomen and descending along the left side of the abdomen.
Body temperature can give us a lot of information to determine if kids are getting sick. Feel their hands, base of neck (front and back), tip of the nose and cheeks – if any areas feel too hot or too cold there can be digestive problems, stomach bugs or a cold coming on.
The key is to do feel these areas often so that when there is a change you will know the difference and can promptly respond.
Health Tips for Kids Check list:
Whenever things appear off for my children and they don’t act the way they normally do I track and ask the following:
- Did you sleep good last night?
- Any belly aches?
- Are you hungry or no?
- Observe how active they are / energy level.
- Did you poop today? When did you poop last?
- Feel their hands, base of neck (front and back), nose and cheeks – if they feel too hot or cold there can be digestive problems, stomach bugs or a cold coming on.
Do you have a reply or questions? Let’s continue the conversation. I invite you to enter any comments or questions in the reply section down below.
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