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updated: 1/14/2014 12:01 PM

Kids can make New Year's resolutions too

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Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

The New Year offers us an opportunity to start anew, to make resolutions and commitments that we know can help improve the quality of our lives. Too often, parents don't involve their children in healthy decisions including making a new year's resolution.

Dr. John Beckerman, pediatrician at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., says making resolutions together is a chance for parents to teach good habits.

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"I like to tell moms and dads that it's a good thing to pick a few -- not all of them -- and post them on the refrigerator, in their bedrooms or on the mirror in the bathroom the kids use," he says. "It's a chance for you to reinforce healthy habits after the holiday season passes."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following simple ideas for different age groups:

For preschoolers:

Encourage children to brush their teeth twice a day and wash their hands after coming in from playing, going to the bathroom and before eating.

Kids ages 5 to 12-years-old:

• Drink more milk.

• Drink less soda pop and fruit drinks.

• Find a sport or activity they can do two to three times a week!

• Always wear a helmet when bicycling.

• Wear their seat belt every time they get in a car.

• Remind drivers to wear their seatbelt and not to text while driving.

Teens, 13-years-old and up:

• Eat two portions of fruits and vegetables each day.

• Take better care of their physical self and be more active

• When they have to make a difficult decision, encourage them to talk with an adult about their choices.

• Limit soda.

• Encourage them to volunteer their time in the community.

• Eliminate negative talk.

• Not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

"Making New Year's resolutions with your kids can be fun and exciting. But remember to re-evaluate the resolutions every few weeks," Dr. Beckerman says. "You want this to be a positive experience for them and if they experience a setback, just start fresh the following week."

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