As a parent, you excel at staying on top of your family’s health.
Studies show that American adults with children under the age of six spend an average of 2.2 hours every day caring for their children. Those hours include things like bath time, reading stories, and feeding them meals. But if you’re a parent, you know you probably spend way more time than that looking after your kids and caring for your family’s health and wellbeing. What about playtime, homework, and tackling that massive pile of laundry?
Moms and dads today have to-do lists that are a mile long. That’s why caring for your family’s health and managing doctors’ appointments often feels like an afterthought rather than a plan.
Luckily, there’s a way to streamline caring for your family’s health. Read on for some tips that will make your life a little easier and keep your kids happy and healthy.
1. Make a List of Medical Appointments for the School Year
From birth until age three, your child needs to see a pediatrician for checkups and immunizations every few months. This helpful chart can help you stay organized. After that, they’ll need a wellness visit or a physical each year.
Once your kids start school, they’ll still need those yearly pediatrician appointments as well as dental cleanings. The best way to keep track of all these appointments is to make a list at the start of each school year.
For example, if you have a seven-year-old, they’ll need a yearly physical, two dental cleanings from a family dentist, and a visit to the orthodontist. Make a list of all the general appointments each child will need throughout the school year.
2. Schedule All Appointments at Once
Once you have a list of the appointments your children need, you can start making appointments. It’s also helpful to look at your child’s school schedule to look for days off or early releases. These are good times to make appointments since they won’t miss classroom time.
The best way to streamline this process is to book all of your appointments at the same time. Set aside a morning to make phone calls and get the entire year’s appointments scheduled.
Whenever possible, try to book your appointments online. It’s a handy option because you can do it from anywhere and you won’t have to play phone tag with a receptionist.
3. Create a Shared Family Calendar
Booking your family’s preventive doctors appointments and dental cleanings in advance can be a lifesaver. You won’t stress about scheduling since it’s already taken care of.
That said, missed appointments can happen if you don’t remember to write them down. Make your own and your entire family’s life simpler by creating a shared family calendar.
If you’d like a calendar that can sync with you and your spouse’s work calendar, go digital. Google Calendar is a great option since you can color code it by family member. Plus, it’s free and you can easily share it with anyone who has a Google account.
If you’re a visual person who likes to see everything mapped out, you can’t go wrong with a paper wall calendar. Get one that has large boxes for each day so there’s plenty of room to write. Hang it in a high-traffic area like the kitchen so the whole family can check it each day.
4. Eat Family Meals as Much as Possible
Preventive appointments are a major part of staying healthy, but the effort doesn’t end there. Eating a healthy diet, forming close bonds, and sharing feelings are all important components to our wellbeing.
Luckily, family meal time can do all of those things. Enjoying a family meal will help you check in on your kids, give them the attention they crave, and ensure they’re eating a balanced diet.
If you have older kids, have them help you prepare the meal. This is a great time to talk about your days. They’ll also feel more compelled to eat the meal if they helped make it.
If you have a particularly hectic week coming up, consider doing some weekend meal prepping. Pick a handful of freezer-friendly meals and prep them over the weekend. In a couple of hours, you can make a week’s worth of home-cooked meals.
Encourage your spouse or kids to pitch in to get meal prep done even faster and have a little fun along the way. Each night, bake or reheat the prepped food for a delicious meal. You’ll thank yourself when the week rolls around!
5. Set a Healthy Example by Caring for Your Own Health
As a busy parent, it might feel natural to spend all your time focusing on your kids. But this isn’t a healthy choice in the long run. Plus, it shows your kids that it’s normal to run yourself ragged caring for others.
Just like the oxygen masks on an airplane, the best way to care for others is to take care of yourself first. By taking care of yourself, you’re actually modeling healthy behaviors for your kids.
Make sure to tell your kids when you’re heading to your own doctor’s appointments. If they know you have checkups with the doctor, they’ll understand that it’s a normal part of a healthy lifestyle.
Try to get some exercise and eat a healthy diet when you can. If your kids see you caring for your own health and wellbeing, they’ll be more likely to follow your own healthy example.
6. Pick Your Battles
That said, not every healthy behavior you model will sink in. Remember your kids have their own personalities and convictions just like you do. While you can always encourage them to stay healthy, too much pushing can backfire.
For example, if your kids struggle to eat their broccoli, forcing them to eat that particular food might make them less likely to do so. If they try one bite, take that as a win and try again later.
While you always want what’s best for your kids, sometimes you have to know when to back off a little bit.
Book Your Preventive Care Appointments Today
Caring for your family’s health doesn’t have to feel like a chore. A little organization, booking appointments in advance, and eating family meals together can do wonders for your family’s health and for yourself.
Contact us today to book an appointment and cross one more thing off your to-do list.