A few weeks ago, KidzVuz attended the Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive Healthy Habits Event in NYC. (it’s like both companies have hyphen-married names!) They’ve teamed up with Healthy Children.org to give the 77 million US kids heading back to school this fall a healthy start. Hidden among the fun activities – mask making, crafts, hula hoops – were some tips for kids on how to stay healthy.
- Shield them everywhere. Encourage children to wash their hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds and dry for 20 seconds. Set a timer so your child learns how long 20 seconds really is!
- Let their confidence shine. Encourage a healthy body image by focusing on a nutritious diet and physical activity.
- Make a home for learning. If someone is sick at home, disinfect commonly touched surfaces to prevent the spread of germs.
- Start the training early. Twice daily routines of teeth brushing will set your child up for a lifetime of good dental hygiene.
But mostly, the kids (most inivted from the local Boys and Girls Club – we love them!) just seemed to be having fun.
We, however were not there for fun! We wanted info. So we sat down to talk to Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. And we didn’t just ask about health — we asked about TWEEN health.
I asked Dr. Levine how we should talk to our kids about puberty. (I’m bold that way.) And she told me that the most important thing is to start the talking early. Early as in before the “changes” begin. Boys, Dr. Levine said, are just as curious and concerned about their changing bodies as girls, but they don’t tend to talk so much about it — especially with each other. She suggests that if you, as parents, don’t think you’re the best people to have that conversation, find someone who is. Sometimes, a boy is more comfortable talking to…well, ANYONE other than Mom and Dad.
I also asked Dr. Levine about hygiene. As the mother of tweenage boy, I know that getting toothbrushing and showering in is a challenge. And from my friends I know I’m not alone. Dr. Levine’s suggestion: Leave him be. Peer pressure will do it. Pretty soon, he’ll care what girls think. And as long as the hygiene hasn’t gotten dangerous — like, say, mold in the bellybutton – patience is your best bet.Patience is a virtur