“Parents can help children develop resilience by learning ways to cope with stress early on,” says Dr. M. Elyce Kearns, child psychiatrist. Try to model healthy stress-easing tactics when life runs you ragged. Encourage children to find a mix of calming choices that work for them (see bullets). Stick to sleep and mealtime routines, and keep communicating. Checking in daily about homework, plans and activities, and what happened during the day helps keep communication lines open for more difficult times.
Long-term planning …
Stock up on healthy bone now
When you think of osteoporosis, you see visions of older women with stooped posture. But actually, you should think of teens and vitamin D and calcium. Although osteoporosis usually is manifested in older people, its groundwork is laid in youth. If children and adolescents fail to reach optimal bone mass and strength, they are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
But there’s a way to “add bone to the bone bank” while you’re young.
1. Take the recommended dietary allowance of calcium and vitamin D each day.
Source: Institute of Medicine (IOM)
|Q: Which is the greatest source of calcium?
a. Collard greens
b. Low fat milk
c. Low fat yogurt
Answer: All contain calcium, but yogurt contains more than 400 mg in an 8-ounce serving.
|Q: Which is the greatest source of vitamin D?
a. Fortified milk
b. Sockeye salmon
c. Fortified orange juice
Answer: Three ounces of sockeye salmon contain almost 800 IU vitamin D. The sun is the greatest source of vitamin D, but is not strong enough in the Northeast during the winter to make a sufficient supply.
2. Be physically active 60 minutes a day.
• Weight-bearing exercises, like walking, jogging and even dancing, help establish and maintain strong bones.
• Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes.
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
Too little weight and too much weight are both detrimental. A low weight can cause decreased bone density, while overweight can interfere with the body’s ability to produce vitamin D.
4. Establish healthy behaviors.
Smoking cigarettes is closely linked to not only cancer and heart disease, but to low bone density in adolescents as well. Experts also believe that high consumption of alcohol in youth is detrimental to bone health.