It’s that time of year – back to school! As we gear up to get kids back into the swing of a routine, whatever that might look like in the face of COVID variants, and the changing seasons, it’s a great time to check in with your pediatrician to make sure you and your family have a long-term plan to establish healthy living from infancy through adolescence.
Aspen Valley Hospital’s Primary Care practice is excited to announce the addition of a new member to its team, Dr. Rahul Shah. Dr. Shah provides Pediatric Medicine services at Aspen Valley Primary Care with clinic hours in Aspen and Basalt.
Dr. Shah has some tips for parents as they navigate the school year and try to manage the complexities of the past 18 months. “What I hear most are questions about stress, illness and what parents should do to keep their kids healthy.”
Here are Some Key Areas of Focus for Childhood Nutrition and Healthy Living Practices
1. Help Your Child Manage Stress
Whether your child is learning to walk, just starting preschool or returning to a full-time in-classroom learning environment, the change in gears can be stressful. Talk to your child about their feelings or compassionately address early childhood emotions. Dr. Shah recommends reminding kids of the positive aspects of a new environment while also acknowledging the challenges of it. Also, spending time outside is paramount to childrens’ health and wellbeing. Ditch the screen and spend some quality time outdoors taking in the changing fall colors.
2. Establish Healthy Eating Habits Early in Life
Strive to work as a family to maintain those healthy eating habits. Incorporating plant-based meals and snacks is a great way to ensure children are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, and developing a love for them. And don’t forget to hydrate! Make sure everyone has a hydration station such as a hydration pack or water bottle handy. For more information and support on healthy, wholesome nutrition, visit AVH’s Nutrition Services.
3. Teach Children How to Avoid Illness
While COVID has made this more prevalent in everyday life, it’s still important to teach kids easy tips for avoiding common illnesses like colds, flu and RSV. Here are some helpful guidelines:
- Wash hands frequently, and say your ABCs while you do to make sure you wash for an effective amount of time (20 – 30 seconds). For infants and toddlers, help them at the sink and sing a favorite song to make it something they enjoy.
- Vampire or chicken wing coughs! Teaching kids to cough into the crook of their elbow helps prevent the spread of airborne illnesses.
- Once again, eat a well balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
- If you don’t feel well, it’s important to stay home from childcare or school to help keep friends and teachers healthy.
4. Maintain Healthy Living at Altitude
Yes, this one is unique to our high alpine home in the Roaring Fork Valley, but it can create opportunities and challenges not found in lower elevations. Know the signs of altitude sickness and make sure your child is prepared to head into the high country.
It’s an exciting time of year! We hope you and your children are maximizing time outside and safely reengaging with school, sports, childcare and more as the fall colors of the Roaring Fork Valley are on full display. If you have questions or want to learn more about establishing your child’s plan for long-term healthy living, contact your Aspen Valley Hospital pediatrician or primary care doctor.