17 Must Dos for Raising a Healthy Katy Kid


by Natalie Cook Clark

With all the "noise" in our lives, raising a healthy and happy kid can get a little fuzzy at times. We often feel that there are so many thing that we have to be doing that it's easy to get caught up in it all and miss the little wonders that are right at our fingertips. We forget to live in the present in our desperate efforts to schedule our days and make sure our children have what they need.

The Hughes Family of Katy

1. Get Regular Check-Ups

The most obvious point when discussing raising a healthy child is preventative care by way of routine medical check-ups. "Growth and development are tracked across time, and if any problems are identified, they can be addressed promptly," said Dr. Kristi Whitenton, Medical Director for Urgent Care for Kids. "Prevention and early intervention result in the best outcomes if there are any health concerns." You will also want to schedule dental visits every six months, and have vision exams every other year (for children who do not wear glasses or contacts) and annual vision exams for children who do. "Children who don’t see well sometimes have difficulties in school if they can’t engage in active learning using all their senses."

2. Teach Hygiene and Hand-washing

When people think of hygiene they usually think of brushing teeth, washing hair, and bath time. While this is all very important perhaps the most important of all is hand washing. "One of the best ways to prevent illness is hand washing," said Whitenton. "Parents should lead by example and provide reminders to wash hands before eating, after using the toilet, following outdoor adventures, after spending time in public places, or any time hands may have come into contact with germs."

"Though we have vaccines for many communicable diseases, children are still susceptible to other illnesses such as colds and strep throat," explained Whitenton. "These are the types of illnesses that spread less when good hygiene is practiced."

3. Keep to a Schedule

"Children rely on a schedule both at home and school," said Nicole Istre, owner of Katy's Early Child Enrichment Center. "This allows children to have a lower stress level by being able to predict what is going to happen next."They feel safe and secure when they have limits and a schedule. Kids need to know what to expect," said Nelda Wilson Brooks, a Katy Marriage and Family Therapist.

Keeping a schedule also helps other members of the family stay informed with the week's activities. It also helps children know what is expected of them. Example: Each day after school spend 20 minutes on homework.

4. Discipline Them

The talk of discipline sometimes leads to debate and discussion but it really is an important part of raising children. To put it simply: Kids. Need. Discipline. "The word disciple, after all, means 'to teach'.

"Kids cannot set their own limits," explains Brooks. "Part of their development is to test limits in a safe environment. This is how they begin to learn that good behavior brings reinforcements and that bad behavior brings consequences."

Experts advise disciplining them should be in a way that they learn from. Most children learn well when a consequence fits the offense. If your child sneaks his iPad at bedtime, the iPad gets taken away for two days. If a child misbehaves at a friend's house, it's time to leave. Whatever type of discipline your family uses, experts suggest keeping it consistent and fair so children know what to expect. Some families give a warning first to give a child room to correct his mistake to help the child be aware when he's heading to a danger zone. It's also a good idea to have a dialogue about what happened, hear him out, and share ideas for doing better in the future.

One of the most important goals of parenting is to raise them to be responsible, respectful, and functioning adults by teaching them how to behave. "This is how kids learn to be responsible for their behavior," said Brooks.

And it's also important for parents to be on the same team when it comes to discipline. If one parent doesn't punish for the same offense, it can b