It does take a village — and a family, a book, and some play!

It does take a village — and a family, a book, and some play!Much has been written about raising our children. What works, what doesn’t, what’s important and what’s not. So for this article, I thought a review of what we know would be helpful. A great article appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 entitled “Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities among Fifth-Graders in Three cities” This article identified three factors that influence the health of our children and they included household income/socioeconomic status, household highest education level and the child’s school as the most substantial mediators of racial and ethnic health differences. What’s interesting here is highest education of the household or parents and school attended. We are all encouraging our children to do well in school and this appears equally important for parents to help their children be healthier. The school is another interesting finding as it appears to affect our children’s health. Better school, better health! Finally, the community you live in can also affect your child’s health. It appears getting involved in your child’s school and your community and modeling good behavior will help improve our children’s health. It does take a village!

What about the family? Two recent articles published this year (Larson K, et al. Pediatrics. 2015; 135:e440-e448 and Shah R, et al. Pediatrics. 2015;136:318-326) revealed that parent and child health status, reading and home routines, expectations for child learning, and preschool attendance contributed to differences in skills needed for kindergarten entry. The article from Dr. Shah revealed that higher rates of reading to your children, singing or telling stories, and taking your child on an outing, helped decrease the risk of developmental delay!

In summary, your community, your behavior and your child’s school can have a direct effect on your child’s health. Get involved, when you can, to help improve both the community in which you live and the school your child attends. Be mindful of your behavior patterns, your children are watching and learning, from you! Parent education and health status are important for good school performance and your child’s health, so be a role model for continued interest in learning, doing your best, and healthy living choices! Read a book to your children and take some time to play with them, this helps reduce the risk of developmental delay!

All of these activities are available to all families. You don’t have to spend a lot of time, just make it a routine. We hope this helps and call us at (239) 573-2001 with any question about this or other items we have written about or questions you may have!

About author MacKoul Pediatrics

MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.

August 29, 2015