New Year’s Resolutions for Kids in 2012

New Year’s Resolutions for Kids in 2012

With the New Year upon us, parents have been asking me to help them help their kids with their New Year’s resolutions.  Though kids rarely need the help of a grown-up, let me offer a few suggestions to ring in the New Year:

  •  Infants need to resolve to sleep on their backs to prevent their being at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and to keep unsafe items out of their mouths.  They should also resolve to put themselves back to sleep without needing parental assistance, should they wake in the middle of the night!
  • 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.
  •  School age children might resolve to try new foods and to limit the amount of soda and sugary fruit drinks they drink, and instead drink milk or water at least three times every day.  They should also find a physical activity they like – such as bike riding, jumping rope or playing tag – and resolve to do it at least three times a week.
  • Both children and infants need to resolve to always be restrained properly in a car safety seat, whether it be a rear-facing infant seat that can now be used up to the age of two, or a booster seat up to age eight and until they are 4 feet 9 inches, and should wear a helmet when cycling, skiing or roller blading.
  • All children should insist on being read to or reading to themselves each and every day. 
  • Teens and older children should remember never to give out personal information on the internet.  They should also limit their TV and video game activity to 1-2 hours max per day.
  •  Teens should resolve to engage in healthy activities like sports, exercise, music or art when stressed rather than consider the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Teens should resolve as well to never use a cell phone or text while driving or even riding a bicycle.

With these resolutions in mind, hopefully 2012 will be a terrific year for your children and in turn for your entire family.

Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids" weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at http://www.FletcherAllen.org/firstwithkids.