Week 9

Increase your vitamin D intake

Description: Increase your vitamin D intake

Last year, the Institute of Medicine in the US increased its recommendations for the first time since 1997. Kids and young adults need 400 IUs of vitamin D every day, up from 200 IUs. You can get this amount from supplements, or D-rich sources like milk.

Limit the booze

Women should consume no more than three alcoholic drinks in one day, and no more than seven in a week. Meanwhile, men should have no more than four drinks in a day, with a maximum of 14 in a week, says Dr. Katherine J. Gold, of the department of family medicine, at the University of Michigan Medical School, in the US. And, we know what’s on your mind: Even if you’re only drinking on weekends, it’s still not OK to overindulge.

Scratch one activity off your kid’s schedule.

Art and craft workshop, phonics class, swimming session, piano lessons… while it’s tempting to let your child experience as much as he can, remember, some children are inherently able to handle several activities at once, but others may feel irritable and pressured. Try holding off on an activity for now and deciding later whether your child is really missing out.

Try a yoga, or Pilates class.

Description: Try a yoga, or Pilates class.

“I’d rather have people do yoga and Pilates instead of always going to the gym, because these activities improve muscle strength and help with flexibility and mental relaxation,” says Dr. Andy Pasternak, of the Silver Sage Center for Family Medicine, in Nevada, US. Yoga’s also great for kids, so try a DVD to do together at home, or look for parent-child classes that you can enjoy together.

Week 10

Find out whether your child is in the need for an iron supplement.

Description: Find out whether your child is in the need for an iron supplement.

Iron deficiency is one of the more common problems among young children, and iron is crucial for cognitive and behavioural development between birth and age 3. Iron’s also especially important for low-birthweight babies and preemies: iron supplements reduce their risk of developing iron deficiency and anaemia, according to a recent study published in Pediatrics, in the US. After 1 year, when kids become more active physically, they should be getting enough iron from iron-rich foods like red meat, lentils, and fortified cereals. “If your child is looking pale, you should schedule an appointment with the doctor. The doctor will recommend a blood test to screen for iron deficiency,” says Child Advisor Dr. Rajiv Chhabra.

Research and record medical history.

“This is vital because so many diseases and conditions are genetic,” says Dr. Stephen Adams, a family physician in Chattanooga, US. “It’s most crucial to know about your parents and siblings. They share half of the same genes you do.” Dr. Adams suggests creating this quick checklist: You and your partner should ask your parents whether there are any diseases that show up repeatedly in family members, including heart disease, cancer, blood pressure, or genetic disorders. Write it all down, and take it with you when you see the doctor.

Tackle that one project you keep blowing off.

Can’t get around to organizing your drawers? Have a paper pile just waiting to be sorted? Bills that desperately require filing? Sometimes, especially when you have a baby or a toddler, you just don’t have the extra minutes to spend on the secondary stuff. But then there’s also plain old procrastination. A German study found that people who think of tasks in abstract terms were much more likely to proceastinate than those who thought about them in concrete terms – the specific how, when, and where of doing the task. The message: If you want to get something done, stop thinking about it and start planning how to break it down into small daily goals. So, instead of “Clean scary, overflowing cupboard,” think “Set aside two hours, sort out desk, or fill up two boxes with donations from the kids’ shelves,” and get down to de-cluttering.

Want a kid who likes to exercise? Set a good example!

Description: Want a kid who likes to exercise? Set a good example!

Now that you’re more active, keep a steady commitment. Your kids may complain about the new, more athletic you at first, but soon they’ll get it. “If you simply tell them, ‘I’m a runner, so I run in the morning,’ that will quickly become the new normal,” says Dr. S. Hughes Melton, a US-based family physician.

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