10 Ways Pediatrician Mothers Take Care of Their Own Children

Mother holding her toddler daughter


Keeping her own kids healthy, ever wonder how a pediatrician does it? We did, too, so to share their trade secrets, we asked some top mom-doctors. Here are their simple (and simply surprising) strategies.

Encourage imaginative play and exercise

Lack of physical activity may be a major reason behind childhood obesity and illness, so Jean Moorjani, M.D., a pediatrician Orlando, Florida, encourages old-fashioned play by instituting “tech-free time” after homework is completed. Out of the house to play, she also regularly shoos her two kids.

Wash hands frequently

Your mom was right. Every single doctor we talked to emphasized the importance of washing hands before meals; after using the bathroom; after touching or twiddling with pets and animals; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. All those gentle nudges toward the sink are worthwhile, although children (and big kids, too!) need plenty of reminders. Hand washing is the best thanks to preventing the spread of germs.

Ditch antibacterial soaps and heavy-duty cleaners

“Don’t go too crazy with hygiene,” says Katja Rowell, M.D., a family physician, child feeding specialist, co-author of Helping Your Child With Extreme Picky Eating, and mom of 1 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Research has shown that while antibacterial soaps and chemical cleaners kill or inhibit bacteria, they also destroy the nice bacteria that help keep us healthy. Simple soap and water are adequate for hand washing, and mild cleaners (such a vinegar and water) are great for many household cleanups.

Keep kids home when they’re sick

Taking it easy for some days boosts your child’s chances of a fast recovery. A baby who continues to travel to daycare or school could catch a secondary infection or perhaps spread the virus to a different child.


ALSO READ: The Unsung Benefits of Steroid Use


Offer healthy meals and snacks

Knowing that a healthy diet is the bedrock of excellent health, Josie Znidarsic, D.O., a family physician at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. That’s why she offers her two daughters many fruits and veggies and limits their exposure to added sugar.

Don’t ban food

Dr. Rowell routinely allows less-than-healthy options and resists the urge to label food “good” or “bad.” “We enjoy Cheetos together with Brussels sprouts and homemade stir-fry,” she says. Her reason? she points out that “kids can find yourself really craving them when foods are forbidden while some can set them up for eating problems later in life. Nearly like inoculating kids is allowing occasional ‘junk food’ with meals and at snack times. The food loses its mystique, and children learn to manage it as just another food.”

Keep vaccinations up so far

Dr. Moorjani says “a task model for my kids is what I also attempt to be. Every fall, I make a briefing for our entire family to travel to our regular pediatrician, and everyone in all of us rolls up our sleeves—myself and my husband included—to receive our yearly flu shot.”

Give a daily probiotic

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your systema digestorium. They’re often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they assist keep your gut healthy. Recent research suggests a link between probiotics and therefore the system, so to support system health, Dr. Znidarsic gives her kids a daily probiotic gummy.

Let kids feel their feelings

increasing susceptibility to colds and other illnesses, poor emotional health can weaken the system, in line with the American Academy of Family Physicians. By recognizing and respecting his feelings, help boost your child’s health. Dr. Rowell says “to attach and to feel their emotions, by allowing them space is better to start with. I try and say things like, ‘That appears like it absolutely was really hard’ or ‘I’m sorry you are going through this.'”

Insist on sleep

Kids who are sleep-deprived are more prone to germs and viruses, so about her kids’ sleep schedule, Dr. Znidarsic is “pretty regimented.” She models good sleep habits and also explains the importance of sleep to her kids. Dr. Znidarsic says “as it is also something we adults do for ourselves, too, we let our children know that it is not only important for them.”