Most parents know to keep healthy snacks, sunscreen and yard games around during the summer months. However, there are so many other things parents can do to ensure their kids have a safe, healthy summer. While these habits and lifestyle changes may be small, they’ll ultimately change your perspective on wellness and help you discover better ways to keep your kids healthy and happy.
Cultivate healthy habits now by using these smart tips all summer long.
1. Reapply Sunscreen
You already know that sunburns can increase your risk of developing cancer. That fact alone is enough to spray the kids with sunscreen. However, one application likely won’t be enough to protect your family if you’ll be outside for a few hours.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Choose one with an SPF of at least 60 and wear protective clothing if the UV index is extra high. These additional precautions will prevent burns and subsequent skin damage.
2. Manage Portions
You serve all the right food groups so your kids have healthy options at mealtime. But are you paying attention to portion size? Generally, you should choose foods every day from the following :
- Two to three cups of vegetables
- One and a half to two cups of fruit
- Five to eight cups of grains
- Three cups of dairy
- Five to six ounces of protein foods
- Five to seven teaspoons of fats and oils
So, if you’re serving more macaroni and cheese than fruits and vegetables or your little ones are sneaking extra portions of the former, it’s time to focus on improving your plating.
3. Take Care of Your Gut
Good health starts in your stomach, and the same goes for your kids. That’s because your gut is home to millions of bacteria that form a microbiome. This group of microorganisms holds the key to digesting and utilizing food, a process that can affect your entire body.
Therefore, it’s important that you care for your gut by eating fermented foods like Greek yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles. If your kids are picky eaters, try probiotic and prebiotic supplements instead. Regardless of how you go about boosting those good bacteria, you’ll surely experience a plethora of health benefits once you start prioritizing gut health.
4. Stick to a Bedtime
Most parents let their kids stay up late into the night during the summer months. However, children still need eight to 13 hours of sleep each night, depending on their age — and regardless of whether school is in session.
Establish a bedtime for yourself and your kids and try to stick to it by developing a nighttime ritual. Waking up at the same time every morning may help, too. By the time this new schedule becomes routine, everyone will already be experiencing better sleep and happier, healthier outlooks.
5. Don’t Forget to Floss
While you’re at it, make flossing part of your family’s nightly routine. This simple yet oft-forgotten habit is crucial to your dental health and hygiene as it protects against plaque buildup and subsequent tooth decay.
Teach your kids how to floss by modeling the behavior yourself. Younger kids might need extra help as they develop their fine motor skills. However, if you want to boost their independence, try having them use y-shaped floss picks. With a little practice and patience, they’ll soon be flossing their teeth all on their own.
6. Try Mind-Body Exercises
Whether your family works out together or not, it’s important to incorporate mind-body exercises into your lives. These exercises will help you use your thoughts to gain influence over your body’s physical responses. With practice, your whole family may experience better sleep, less stress and a heightened sense of well-being.
Try a few deep breathing exercises or meditate for a few minutes to develop and deepen this mind-body connection. Yoga, tai-chi and other similar traditions can be beneficial as well. Plus, they’re easy for kids to learn and practice. The more often and consistently they participate, the more apt you’ll be to see positive results.
7. Take a Proactive Stance
With more vaccines rolling out every day, now’s the perfect time to schedule your kids’ annual wellness check. This appointment will clue you into any underlying health issues so you can help your children make healthier life choices.
Ask your pediatrician about routine inoculations and whether or not they recommend the COVID-19 vaccine. Remember to schedule any routine appointments afterward to get ahead of the wellness curve and take a more proactive stance on health care.
Lead By Example
The devil’s in the details and, if you want your family to stay healthy and active, you must take the lead. Your kids — and maybe even your spouse — often look to you for direction, so take charge and lead by example. Once they see you prioritizing sunscreen, sleep, gut health and the like, they’ll likely follow suit. With some practice and a little bit of luck, these healthy habits will stick with your little ones well into adulthood.
Spring is the perfect time to take advantage of the nice weather and get your whole family outside. Outdoor activities allow you to soak up vitamin D and improve your overall mood. With so much to explore, you and your family can create lifelong memories. Here are 10 activities to do with your family this spring.
1. Go to Legoland
If your kids enjoy playing with legos, this is the perfect place to keep them entertained. It offers amusement park rides and buildings made out of Legos. In 2019, Legoland received over 15 million visitors spread across its eight parks. Consider checking out the Adventures Club attraction, which takes you on a journey through the Amazon rainforest.
2. Wander the Carlsbad Flower Fields
If you enjoy looking at beautiful scenery and brightly colored flowers, then this is the place to be. The main attraction is the giant ranunculus with its vibrant hues and fluffy exterior. If you prefer more classic plants, there is even a miniature rose garden.
Visiting this field is an excellent opportunity to teach your kids about nature and increase their appreciation for it. The open space allows them to run around and explore freely.
3. Hike at Yosemite National Park
Discovering new wildlife, trekking to waterfalls and enjoying scenic views are just a few of the Yosemite National Park’s main attractions. Walking along the trails also encourages your family to engage in physical activity. Exercising allows them to release pent-up energy and improves their mental health.
Plus, the scenery makes for beautiful photo opportunities and Instagram selfies. Along with stunning views, the secluded area allows you to connect with your family with limited distractions.
4. Check Out Universal Studios
This is the place for hardcore Hollywood movie fans. The studio offers attractions like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic Park the Ride. Be sure to join the Universal Studio Tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at how filmmakers produced some of their classics.
Younger kids will enjoy the interactive dino play area. They can dig for fossils or climb around on the jungle gym.
Universal Studios is the perfect activity when you’re looking for an all-day adventure with your family.
5. Enjoy the Views at Huntington Beach
This beach provides volleyball nets and basketball courts if you’re up from some family competition. Head to the south end and explore the nature preserve to check out the wildlife. If you’re hungry during the day, hit up the concession stands spread across the beach.
6. Visit the San Diego Zoo
This attraction is perfect for animal lovers. It offers a wide range of exhibits, from leopards to arctic foxes. However, there is much more to explore. There are also guided bus tours, a botanical garden and a 4D theater.
The zoo puts on animal shows so you can see exotic creatures up close, and this interaction will help your kids learn more about them. They also gain a better appreciation for wildlife conservation.
7. Spend a Day at Moorpark Farm Center
Moorpark Farm Center offers an authentic farm experience. There are multiple family-friendly attractions, such as wagon rides and an animal center. Also, take a look around the market to pick up fresh produce for your next meal. This is a great way to spend an afternoon and teach your children about where their food comes from.
8. Explore SeaWorld
Your kids can observe and interact with marine life at SeaWorld in San Diego. It offers amusement park rides for thrill-seekers and live shows for animal lovers, as well as shopping and dining options. In the dolphin encounter tour, a trainer will guide your child as they meet and feed these amazing creatures.
9. Take a Ride at Go Kart World
If you’re seeking a rush, then you might want to consider this attraction. It offers various driving tracks for all ages. There is a kiddie option that uses battery-operated karts. You can test your skills on the slick track or take a ride on the bumper car pathway.
Go-karting can teach your children better focus and hand-eye coordination. It also demonstrates to them the importance of safety when operating a vehicle.
10. Show off Your Skills at Golf N’ Stuff
If you’re ever in Norwalk, California, be sure to check out this mini-golf location. It includes 18 holes surrounded by lush landscapes and water features. It also offers rides and attractions, such as bumper boats. Some scenes from the movie “The Karate Kid” were filmed here.
Get Outdoors While Enjoying Family Quality Time
Spending time with your family creates cherished memories. However, at times, it can be challenging to get everyone together. With the warmer weather right around the corner, try these spring outdoor activities to connect with your loved ones.
Amidst nutrition facts, ingredient lists and dietary claims on food packages, the term organic might seem like just one more thing to decipher at the grocery store. Are those organic eggs and carrots really worth the extra few bucks?
Well, from a physical health standpoint, eating organics won’t make a noticeable difference in your physique. Unfortunately, the media tends to focus on this point, alone, causing many people to overlook organics. Yet, organically grown food can make a big difference in your mental health and overall sense of wellbeing.
What Is Organic Food?
Organic food includes plants and animals that were produced without harmful pesticides, fertilizers, GMOs, antibiotics or hormones. Instead, farmers rely on biological fertilizers and eco-friendly pest management practices to produce a healthy crop and fertile soil year after year. They also use environmentally friendly production practices like water management, no-till farming and habitat maintenance. In doing so, organic farmers enhance the ecosystem and promote biodiversity.
To gain organic certification, a farmer submits an organic system plan to an accredited certifier and undergoes an inspection each year. Farmers must also meet animal health welfare standards, keep a detailed record of all products and abide by all rules that the National Organic Program has put in place to maintain their certification.
Pesticides and Mental Health
Nearly 47% of U.S. adults will battle a mental illness at some point in their lives, and 18% of the population suffers from anxiety each year. In many cases, lifestyle changes, major events and even chemical imbalances in the brain can cause anxiety. However, what you put in your body can also increase your risk of developing this debilitating disorder.
Many conventional farmers use fertilizers and organic insecticide pesticides like organophosphates to protect their crops. Despite some differences, all organophosphates inhibit acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is responsible for clearing chemicals that transmit signals between brain cells and other parts of the body. If this acetylcholinesterase doesn’t do its job, the pesticide can disrupt the central nervous system.
Over the past few decades, researchers have discovered a link between organophosphates and neuropsychiatric disorders. Some of the most striking evidence comes from instances of short-term, high-level exposure in agricultural workers, veterans of the Gulf War and civilians in the Sarin gas attack on a Tokyo subway. Each of these groups of people have shown high incidences of depression, anxiety, and related neurological impairments.
Now, many scientists surmise that long-term, low-level exposure to this compound can play a role in disorders like anxiety and depression as well. Therefore, eating foods free of these toxic compounds can minimize your risk of developing these mental illnesses.
Which Organics Are Best?
Because organic foods are free of anxiety-inducing pesticides, fertilizers, and insecticides, they can potentially help with anxiety. However, if you don’t want to commit to a fully organic diet, buy foods that will give you the best bang for your buck.
The following foods are especially beneficial for those looking to ease anxiety and live a happy, healthy life.
Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which can reduce inflammation, a common symptom of anxiety. They also contain other antioxidants like vitamin E that can effectively treat anxiety and potentially prevent depression in some people. Consume three to four brazil nuts or no more than 400 micrograms of selenium per day to get 100% of your daily intake.
Researchers have begun to link vitamin D deficiency to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Luckily, you can boost your intake of this essential vitamin by consuming more eggs. Eggs also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that creates serotonin. This chemical neurotransmitter helps regulate mood and can even relieve anxiety.
Although it’s unclear how dark chocolate reduces stress but, experts have found that cocoa can improve mood. Like eggs, chocolate contains high levels of tryptophans. Plus, dark chocolate contains magnesium, an essential nutrient that may reduce symptoms of depression. Aim for 70% or more cocoa when choosing a dark chocolate to reap the most benefits — and minimize sugar intake.
Chamomile tea also works to reduce inflammation and relax the body. It’s also similar to chocolate in that it contains flavonoids, which can reduce anxiety symptoms. The herbal remedy contains antioxidants as well, which help to prevent cell damage and treat mental illnesses like anxiety.
Fermented foods like Greek yogurt can benefit natural gut bacteria and reduce chronic inflammation, a condition that may be partly responsible for anxiety, stress and depression. Look for organic brands that contain living bacteria to really give your brain a boost.
Managing Anxiety Holistically
Of course, eating whole, organic foods can do wonders for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. However, the best way to treat anxiety is with a holistic approach. Treat the whole body to sunshine, fresh air, movement, and meditation. Practice mindfulness, start a gratitude journal, or try traditional Chinese medicine. When paired with a healthy, organic diet, natural remedies can help ease your mind and minimize symptoms of anxiety.
Spring cleaning is an annual routine where we rid our homes of unnecessary materials that no
longer serve us. You can also apply this method of cleaning to your body. Get your health back
on track this spring to ensure a safe and carefree summer.
If you plan to travel, or your children plan on attending camp, schedule doctors’ appointments
now to reduce stress when planning summer activities. Evaluate your nutrition, exercise routine,
skin, oral health, sleep, mental health, and family history to maximize your well-being this
Consult a Dietician
Increase your nutrition efficiency by visiting a dietician. One of the most effective ways to aid
your overall health is through your gut. If you or your family members struggle with significant
weight gain or loss, allergies, picky eating, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation,
schedule an appointment this spring.
In the U.S., we normalize the intake of fast food and the negative feelings it causes. These
consumption patterns cause a variety of health impacts that you can challenge with a good diet.
Working with a nutrition specialist to craft adequate meals for your family can:
● Reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
● Reduce their blood pressure.
● Lower their cholesterol.
● Increase their ability to fight illnesses.
● Increase their energy levels and well-being.
Reevaluate Your Exercise Routine
Increase your muscular and skeletal health by switching up your workout routine. To maximize
your fitness, research the benefits of your previous exercise forms and contact a professional
trainer to add in necessary elements.
Your well-rounded workouts should last 30 to 60 minutes. You should engage in them five days
a week. You can also participate in 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise three days a week.
There are additional alterations you can make to increase your happiness while training.
If you typically work out at the gym alone, try taking a communal cycling or yoga class. And if
you cycle in a studio, try biking outside in nature instead. An easy way to change your routine is
by altering your warm-up. Instead of spending 10 minutes on the treadmill, shorten your start
with high-intensity circuits.
Visit a Dermatologist
Less than 20% of the U.S. population visits a dermatologist regularly. If it has been a while since
you or your family members have scheduled an appointment, it may be time to do so.
Many people believe that you need an urgent issue to see a dermatologist, but annual checkups
can improve everyone’s health. If you, or a family member, has a mole, acne, or hair loss, it may
be a good idea to consult a dermatologist. Some topical issues resolve on their own while others
worsen over time, so it’s essential to address them early after identification.
Schedule a Dentist Appointment
Biannual dentist appointments can address issues outside of tooth health. These professionals
completed oral hygiene training, which covers the entire mouth. Before attending your dental
appointment, it can help to jot down concerns you have about your mouth’s health.
Over two-thirds of patients struggle with persistent oral cold sores but never discuss this issue
with their dentist. Rather than waiting for your health to decline, consult your doctor about cold
sores and other abnormalities to maximize the health of your mouth.
Challenge Your Sleep Routine
With spring beginning just days after Daylight Saving, it is a great season to reevaluate your
sleep patterns. A limited number of civilians receive adequate amounts of rest at night.
Signs that you need to alter your or your children’s sleep routines include:
● It takes 30 minutes or more to fall asleep.
● Waking up more than once a night.
● Lying awake for 20 minutes, or more, in the night.
● Skin breakouts or puffy eyes.
● Difficulty concentrating during the day.
You can improve your family’s sleep habits by sticking to a schedule, researching how many
hours of rest each member needs, rearranging bedrooms, and managing worries.
Visit a Therapist
A vital tip for improving your family’s health is to evaluate everyone’s mental status. Mental
health includes emotional, social, and psychological well-being. If you or your family members
are showing signs of struggle in these areas, it may be time to visit a therapist.
Therapy is an effective form of treatment for many underlying struggles that everyone feels.
Staying on top of your family’s mental well-being is a crucial way to keep everyone healthy this
Learn Your Family’s Health History
A smart way to prevent future illness is to evaluate your family’s health history. Most civilians
have at least one chronic disease present in their immediate or extended family. This increases
your likelihood of developing the same illness later in life.
Asking your parents or other family members about their chronic illness can help you better
prevent your exposure to them. You can also contact doctors of deceased family members to
access medical records for further precautions. When it comes to major medical issues, staying
ahead of the game can allow for a healthy and stress-free future.
It All Starts With a Conversation
If you are living with older family members, they may resist particular medical treatments. Talk
to your family about their increased risks for certain illnesses and the benefits of maximizing
their health. When your family supports one another, it benefits everyone’s well-being.
Photo by: Vlada Karpovich
7 Ways to Throw the Best Virtual Party This Winter
It might seem a bit strange to host a party over video chat, but COVID-19 has forced everyone to try new things. If you long for the days when you could throw an event with your loved ones, you should try your hand at a virtual gathering. This digital soirée will be one for the books.
Take a look at how to put on a get-together everyone remembers.
1. Pick the Right Platform
First, you need to choose a video chat platform. Certain options have different capabilities and features, so you should find one to suit your specific needs. For example, you might want to invite people who aren’t technically-savvy, which calls for a more straightforward website.
Do a little research to figure out what service will work best. If you know that your guests already use Zoom for work, you might want to pick that platform for accessibility’s sake. It may not seem like a huge deal — but you don’t want to close out anyone accidentally.
Quarantine Birthday party invitation.
2. Send Detailed Invitations
If you want your party to be successful, you need to give people advanced notice. This event won’t be one where people can just show up and have fun. There might be a few technical difficulties you have to address, which requires a little extra preparation.
As you write your email or Facebook invitations, you should emphasize a few points. Be sure to include a link to your virtual space, as well as how to access said platform. It’s smart to highlight features like the mute button, too. Don’t forget to add details about your specific event.
This information will help everyone connect without a hitch.
3. Consider Food and Drink
It might be a digital extravaganza, but you can still “serve” refreshments. If you want to enjoy appetizers with cocktails, you have a few options at your disposal. This component will require preparation to ensure everyone can participate.
Consider what you want to serve. If you’re going to throw a dinner party, you should create a menu with simple recipes each guest can cook. Feel free to add a note such as, “Make your favorite beverage to enjoy while we celebrate,” to the invitations. It’s even fun to mail out desserts.
4. Pick a Fun Location
What’s a party without a fun location? Try not to limit yourself to your dining room table. Instead, you can create a celebratory backdrop in your living room. If you expect good weather, you should head outside. Encourage your guests to put up their best decorations, too.
5. Think About Entertainment Options
There’s not much worse than a gathering that doesn’t have entertainment. If your guests have to make small talk while they sip their drinks, you haven’t offered enough ways to occupy guests. It’s still good to let people talk. However, you need to fill in the awkward gaps that can pop up in a digital space.
Why not have a party where you play an online board game together? There are even plugins that let you stream movies with friends. If you like music, you should grab a playlist to put on throughout the event. As the host, you need to think about entertainment.
6. Leave Enough Time Before and After
If you’re a regular party host, you know that some guests will arrive early — and others will linger after hours. That’s going to happen during digital events, too. As a result, you might need to make adjustments to your original timeframe.
Let’s say you want your party to start at 7 p.m. Be sure to open the meeting space at around 6:30 p.m. so that anyone who wants to come early can. It’s also smart to set aside an extra 15 minutes toward the end.
Try to remember time zones, too. If you have guests on the East Coast, you might need to start your party at 4 p.m. your time. Determine your timeframe before you send out invitations.
7. Be Ready to Be a Host
Never forget that you’re the host. It’s up to you to run the show. Therefore, you should get as much planning done as possible before your party. This preparation doesn’t have to be stressful, but you don’t want to be super lax.
If your guest can’t figure out how to log into the room, you have to play tech support. What happens when the conversation dies down? It’s your job to start up whatever game or movie you have queued. It’s key to make everyone feel welcome despite the virtual environment.
Remember These Points to Make Your Digital Event Awesome
Do you want a fun way to connect with your loved ones? Despite COVID-19, you can still find a way to throw a fantastic event for someone’s birthday or anniversary — or just because! Try these tricks to make your gathering as memorable as possible.