Last week I took my 13-year-old daughter to her annual physical appointment. The doctor did all the usual things you would expect, such as check all her vital signs, ask all the questions, and make sure she’s growing as she should be and that she is a healthy young teen. But, when I reviewed the notes from her visit, I was surprised to see a summary of all the things she was reminded of during her appointment. The list was called the 7 P’s, and though the doctor didn’t spell them out in the notes, I will add my own commentary:
- Play hard – Physical activity is important for good health and longevity.
- Posture – It goes without saying that paying attention to our posture, especially in this day and age of smart phones and screens, is critically important to our growth, especially for our kids who are growing a mile a minute in their early teens!
- Positive attitude – I was so happy to see this. It’s not just our physical health in which the doctor is interested; her mental and emotional health is just as important.
- Portion control – We need to set a good example and teach our children early on how to choose healthy foods and eat reasonable portions. I would add a bonus “P” to this one–prioritize protein!
- Pour water (and drink it) – Hydration is important for so many things to keep our bodies running well. I know I need to remind myself of this “P!”
- Proper sleep – If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, it can impact so many aspects of our lives from causing us to make poor nutrition choices, to lack of mental clarity, to hormone imbalances. This is another habit we need to teach our kids early in life.
- Parent communication – I was also very pleased to see this one. It’s easy for kids to think they need to keep things from their parents as they grow, take risks, and try new things. I’m glad her doctor reinforced the importance of keeping a positive, open relationship with her parents.
So, there you have it! The 7 Ps, courtesy of Pathway Pediatrics in Rochester, N.Y. They are good reminders for all of us.