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Fatherhood and Family Health

Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Today, families are diverse, with various compositions and structures. Each family unit has its own unique identity. If you are the father figure in your family, you have a significant role in promoting wellness within your family circle. Here are some ways you can contribute.

Monitor Milestones

While family dynamics and responsibilities may not allow for you to attend every doctor’s visit, you can be involved with your child’s health by staying informed. Learning about the developmental milestones your child should be hitting at each age is a great place to start. With this knowledge, you can watch for any signs that your child may need extra help with a certain skill.

The CDC offers a checklist for ages two months to five years, which is also available as an app. But your child’s pediatrician is an excellent resource, too: you can always ask our providers any questions related to development or other health topics.

Encourage Healthy Eating

As your little one grows, continue to support their long-term health by helping them make wellness-inspired choices each day — starting with nutrition. From the time they’re able to eat solids, serve nutrient-rich foods at each meal, alternating among different fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and dairy. While young children often have food aversions, offering a variety of choices will help ensure that their nutritional needs are being met.

Mealtime also presents an excellent opportunity to get the whole family aligned with nutritious choices. Research shows children who have family meals are twice as likely to eat their fruits and vegetables, and are less likely to develop childhood obesity.

Ideally, the whole family can enjoy the same healthy foods together. Not only does that ensure everyone is getting key nutrients like fiber, protein, and vitamins, but it also lets your kids see that you’re committed to eating well, too. (Plus, making just one meal will cut down on dishes and grocery costs!)

Model Healthy Movement

Like nutrition, exercise is critical to your child’s growth and development. Children have varying physical activity needs that change as they age, up to 60 minutes a day! From infancy, little ones can begin to get daily movement with tummy time. As they grow, physical activity can come in the form of sports, walks, and even free play.

Not a fan of organized athletics? Feel free to get creative: setting up obstacle courses in the house, going on hikes, or gardening together can count as exercise. Most importantly, make sure your kids see you moving, too: Children with active parents are nearly six times more likely to be active themselves.

Have Health-Focused Conversations

Family health should be a lifelong conversation. During their earliest years, children are learning to take cues from their bodies to understand when they’re feeling sick, hurt, hungry, or full. Teaching them to tap into these signals will help them establish a healthy relationship with their bodies from a young age.

Later on, health discussions may involve some heavier health topics, like sex. Adolescents and teens may not feel comfortable approaching you with questions, so it’s up to parents to initiate the conversation. Focus on the facts when you have “the talk,” and be sure to emphasize the importance of both protection and consent for all parties involved.

Schedule an Appointment With SouthCoast Health

Of course, another great way men can take care of others is by taking care of their own health, too. From childhood vaccinations to check-ups and sick visits for every family member, turn to our team for all of your health care needs. Request a visit with one of our providers, including pediatricians, here. Or, schedule an appointment by calling 912.691.3600.

Whether you are looking for a primary care doctor or a pediatrician, or another medical specialist, SouthCoast Health has you covered with its wide range of world-class healthcare services, available throughout the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. SouthCoast Health has 120 physicians and medical professionals in 18 locations in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Pooler, Rincon, Baxley, Hilton Head, Hinesville, and Statesboro. SouthCoast Health offers comprehensive medical services including: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Allergy and Asthma, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Eye Care, Imaging, Infectious Diseases, Nephrology, Neurology, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Surgery, Clinical Trial Research Studies, Diabetic Self-Management Training Sessions, Dietetic Counseling, Laboratory Services, Massage Therapy, Optical Shop, Pharmacy, and Urgent Care.

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