Winter Edition - January 2020
Help Your Children and Teens Set Healthy New Year's Resolutions

As we ring in a New Year and excitedly look to all the wonderful things we hope to accomplish in 2020, it is also a great time for Florida KidCare families to set small goals they can achieve together. Forming good habits and making healthy changes are just a few of the ideas to consider.

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides useful tips on how parents can talk with their children about making a healthy resolution based on their age, from preschoolers all the way to teenagers. Some ideas for kids include:

  • I will try hard to clean up my toys by putting them where they belong.
  • I will be friendly to all animals. I will learn how to ask the owners if I can pet their animal first.
  • I will do my best to be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.

Kids, ages 5-12:
  • I will drink reduced-fat milk and water most days. Soda and fruit drinks are only for special times.
  • I will take care of my skin by putting on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days.
  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!

Teens, ages 13 and older:
  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco, cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. I will also not vape or use e-cigarettes.
  • I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?
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Experts recommend that children between the ages of 6 and 12 get at least 9-12 hours of sleep per night, while teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 should get at least 8-10 hours of sleep per night. A good night’s sleep helps your child both mentally and physically. Children and teens who lack sleep are more likely to have trouble with concentration, memory and hyperactivity. This can lead to poor school performance and behavior problems. Physically, children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have headaches,
high blood pressure and obesity.

How can you help your child sleep better?

  • Create a safe and comfortable environment. Preferably, one that is cool, dark and quiet. If noise cannot be controlled, consider using earplugs.
  • Make the bedroom a place for sleep, not for play or homework.
  • Encourage physical activity during the day and limit screen time, which includes the time your child spends watching TV, using a computer or smartphone and playing video games. This is especially true before bedtime as the blue light these devices make is known to interfere with sleep.
  • Create a bedtime routine.
  • Avoid caffeine at night.
  • Eat dinner as a family.

Finally, it is important to recognize possible sleep problems in your child. While occasional snoring is not unusual, loud nightly snoring could suggest that your child has a sleep problem and should be discussed with your child’s health care provider. 

Breakfast Is the Best Brain Food
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No child should go to school hungry. Most teachers will tell you — without breakfast, kids suffer at school in many ways. This may include:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Poor memory
  • Low energy, especially for P.E.
  • Negative moods and behaviors, meaning they’re more likely to get in trouble at school
  • School attendance — missing more school days and also being late for class
  • Being less healthy overall, and more visits to the school nurse
  • Getting lower test scores, which can lead to lower graduation rates

National School Breakfast Week (NSBW)

Every year for one week of school, kids can get low-cost or no-cost, healthy breakfasts at participating schools.

It’s called National School Breakfast Week (NSBW). This year, it runs from March 2-6, 2020.

NSBW helps raise awareness about the importance of breakfast for children’s learning and the federal School Breakfast Program.

Ask your child’s school if they have a breakfast program and NSBW.

Is it Typical Teenage Mood Swings or Could it be More?
Watch this video and find out how important is it to make your child's mental health a priority.

Florida KidCare has benefits available that can help families. For more information, call your child's health plan by using the phone number listed on the back of their member ID card and ask how you can make an appointment.
Choose Fluoride for Stronger Teeth!
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Fluoride is a mineral that helps to keep tooth enamel strong. The enamel is the hard outer part of the tooth that protects the inner parts of your child's teeth from decay.

Strong enamel helps to avoid cavities caused by sugars and bacteria in your child's mouth.

One of the best ways to get fluoride is by drinking water from the tap! Your child can drink tap water at home, school and from public water fountains.

Most bottled water does not have fluoride so choose tap water instead!

Another great way to make sure your child gets enough fluoride is to have them brush their teeth at least 2 times a day with fluoride toothpaste. It will clean away food and bacteria. At the same time, it exposes your child's teeth to a small amount of fluoride each day.

If you think there is no fluoride in your tap water, don’t worry! Your child's dentist can provide you with fluoride treatment during their next dental checkup.

This treatment allows the dentist to apply fluoride directly to your child's teeth. The fluoride can come in the form of gel, foam or mouth rinse.

Be sure to ask your child's dentist if fluoride treatment is right for them at their next dental checkup!

This treatment is a part of your child's covered dental benefits with Florida KidCare and is free of charge.
Help Kids Have a Healthy
Weight for Life
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Kids come in every shape and size—and every package is wonderful. Some kids may struggle more than others to stay at a healthy weight, but all of them can benefit from learning good habits when they're young. As a parent, there are positive ways you can help. For instance:

Focus on long-term habits, not quick fixes . Make sure your kids don't fall for fad diets. It's healthier to focus on smart food and exercise choices they can keep up for life.

Introduce healthy foods . Offer kids a variety of nutritious choices - like fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean meats—at each meal. Don't worry if your child won't try a food at first. Just offer it again next time. It can take many tries before kids learn to love something new.

Encourage play every day . Give kids chances to play outdoors, if it's safe. If not, you might sign them up for classes or organized sports—or do fun indoor activities as a family. Dance off, anyone?

Promote a positive self-image. It's okay to praise your child's looks, but be sure to compliment their inner beauty too. Talk about how good eating and exercise habits can help your child be stronger and do more, not just look a certain way. You can also set a good example by talking about your own body—whatever its shape—in positive ways.

Still have concerns about your child's weight? At their next well-child visit, ask the doctor how you can help.

Brush Up – Your Health Depends on It
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Did you know that your oral hygiene could affect the rest of your health? It’s not just cavities and gum disease – poor oral health is also linked to heart disease and diabetes. Follow the American Dental Association’s guidelines:

  • Brush: Brush twice a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every 3–4 months.

  • Fluoride: Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from cavities.

  • Floss: Remember to floss every day to remove food from in between your teeth.

Keep your mouth – and your body – healthy. See your dentist regularly and ask how you can improve your oral health.

When It's Time for the
Tooth Fairy's Visit
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Many children grow up learning that when they lose a tooth and put it under their pillow, a magical fairy will visit while they sleep and exchange the tooth for a gift or money. Naturally, this makes many kids (and parents) wonder when they will lose their first tooth, and what to expect when they do. Most children will lose their first tooth around age 6 when the middle teeth in front become loose. Molars, the back teeth, are shed between the ages 10 and 12.

Erupting permanent teeth cause the roots of baby teeth to be reabsorbed so that by the time they are loose there is little holding them in place besides a small amount of tissue. Children usually wiggle their teeth loose with their tongue or fingers. If your child wants you to pull the tooth out, grasp it with a tissue and remove it with a twist. While a bit of bleeding may occur when a child loses a tooth, it’s not very painful because the tooth was only attached to the gums. If your child’s gums are bleeding after a tooth falls out, use a paper towel to put pressure on the area. If your child has a loose tooth, remember to continue brushing and flossing so the Tooth Fairy can take a nice, clean tooth in exchange for a gift.

You can learn more about caring for your child’s teeth on the Oral Health & Wellness Resources section at .

New 2020 Florida Healthy Kids Plan Changes
Florida Healthy Kids, one of the four Florida KidCare partners, started new changes on January 1, 2020, to its subsidized and full-pay health insurance plans for kids aged 5 through the end of age 18.

Three health plans are now offering Florida Healthy Kids coverage to members, including Aetna Better Health of Florida (statewide coverage), Community Care Plan (coverage available in eight Southeast & South Florida counties) and Simply Healthcare Plans (statewide coverage). Argus, DentaQuest and MCNA Dental remain as the plans providing dental benefits to Florida Healthy Kids members. Members will also have new free bonus benefits, such as swim lessons, transportation assistance to certain doctor visits and access to a 24-hour nurse/behavioral health line, among many others. In addition, full-pay members will also no longer have out-of-pocket costs for medical deductibles, pharmacy deductibles or coinsurance fees. They have all been eliminated! Copays have also been reduced from $25-$40/visit to $5-$10/visit.
To read more about these new changes in the Florida Healthy Kids program, click on the links below:

Watch this fun handwashing video from Florida KidCare with your kids!
Handwashing is Your Child's First Line of Defense Against Germs!

Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. If started at an early age, it can become a lifelong habit. Teach kids the five easy steps for handwashing - wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry - and the key times to wash hands, such as after using the bathroom or before eating a meal or snack. You can learn more tips by reading the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's " Handwashing, Keeping Your Family Healthy " fact sheet, available for download in English or Spanish .

When It's Time to See The Dentist
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A visit to your family dentist for a routine checkup will keep your child's smile beautiful. Routine dental care helps prevent other problems that could lead to dental emergencies or advanced treatment. It is also a good idea to see the dentist if:

  • Your child has pain – pain or swelling in your child's mouth, face, jaw, or neck can mean many conditions that the dentist can treat. If it hurts your child to open or close, bite or chew, contact the dentist right away.

  • Your child has sore or puffy gums – tenderness or bleeding when your child brushes or flosses or swelling means it’s time to see the dentist.

  • Your child's mouth or tongue has spots or sores, or any areas that change or don’t feel right in your child's mouth can be symptoms of other diseases. Make an appointment with your child's dentist if any of these symptoms last for more than a week.

  • Your child is vaping or smoking - both are harmful to your child's overall health as well as their dental health. Reach out to your dentist for help getting your child to quit!
Check out the Florida KidCare Calendar

If you and your family are looking for fun community events in your area that feature Florida KidCare information, resources, and/or application assistance, click on the button below to visit our calendar to find what is happening every month across the state.
Do You 5-2-1-0?
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Ronald Lund, Registered

Nutrition and lifestyle play a huge role in childhood development, growth and in establishing healthy habits. I often find myself asking parents and children, do you 5-2-1-0? Most do not initially understand that question, but once broken down, they understand.

5-2-1-0 is a campaign occurring in many Florida counties. It focuses on promoting healthy habits for children.

  • “5” represent consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  • “2” represents limiting screen time to two hours per day.
  • “1” represents getting at least one hour of physical activity per day.
  • “0” represents drinking zero sugary beverages per day.

One additional habit I promote for children is getting adequate sleep - about 9.25 hours of sleep per night. When attempting to improve upon these habits (eating, physical activity, screen time exposure, and sleep), change can be challenging. Good advice is to focus on one key point at a time when trying to make change and to avoid trying to change everything all at one time, because it then can become overwhelming.

To help, here are some 5-2-1-0 tips for parents:

  • Add a fruit as a snack
  • Offer another vegetable at meals
  • Encourage physical activity first before allowing your kids to use their electronic devices
  • Keep sugary drinks out of the home to reduce consumption by your kids.

Visit to learn more about the 5-2-1-0 initiative.
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