Back To School Resolutions – For Parents

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By Adelle Cadieux, PsyD

kidsunningtogetherSummer can be a very enjoyable time for families. With all the fun to be had, it also tends to be a time when families fall out of habit with some of the basics that help kids be healthy and successful during the rest of the year. As school sets to resume soon, this is a great time to begin re-establishing, or establishing for the first time, healthy habits. New Year’s is not the only time to resolve to life improvements. Parents can make resolutions timed with the start of a new school year that will bring about healthier, more balanced lives for the entire family.
Consider some of the following new school year resolutions or create your own.

• Establish a consistent sleep schedule — This will help kids get adequate sleep, which improves concentration, memory and promotes learning. It also helps kids feel better, behave better and not be so irritable. Going back to school also means being around more kids which can equal more germs. Sleep helps the immune system and can be one of the many actions your child can take to staying healthy.

• Make breakfast a priority — Getting kids out the door in time can be challenging, but skipping breakfast to save time or sending them out with an easy-to-take food like a cereal bar, is not adequate to help them be healthy. Breakfast helps kids to have better energy, endurance and focus. Breakfast can also help keep kids from overeating later in the day, which can lead to weight issues. Sitting down to a healthy breakfast that includes protein is preferable, but if your child needs to have a take-with-you breakfast, plan ahead. Make yogurt smoothies or an egg and try low fat cheese on whole grain.

kidseatinghealthy• Don’t stop with breakfast. Lunch and after school snacks are important too—Skipping meals can lead to irritability, decreased concentration, and overeating later in the day. Plan for healthy lunches to keep kids feeling good during the school day and to replenishing their strength so that they can keep up the hard work of learning. Most kids are hungry after school. To keep kids from overeating, either after school or at dinner time, plan ahead for a healthy snacks. Great snacks combine a little protein with a carbohydrate. Try a snack of fruit and veggies with piece of string cheese or pretzels and dried fruit dipped in peanut butter. But, don’t snack if you’re not hungry.

• Structure the evening — when kids have a consistent schedule, they are better prepared and understand expectations. Set a specific time and place for completing homework. Build in physical activity. Even if the weather isn’t good, you can be active inside too. Being active with your child is a great way to have family time, but also models healthy behaviors for your child. Set a consistent time for dinner and sit down to enjoy the time together as a family.
By getting kids on track with their sleep, eating, physical activity and evening structure, parents can help keep their kids healthy and ready to learn. And, they can create a balanced home in the process.

– Dr. Cadieux, pediatric psychologist, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI, is a member of The American Psychological Association (APA), APA’s Division 54: Society of Pediatric Psychology, and Division 54 Pediatric Obesity Special Interest Group. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is Spectrum Health hospital.

5 Essential Ways To Attract New Patients

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By Diana Barsan

doctorglobeAttracting new patients is a fundamental challenge for every practice. In order to keep your pipeline full you need a good plan, and the proper execution. Here are a few ideas that you can use to start developing a new overall marketing strategy and attract potential patients.

Pay-per-click advertising

Your website is like a needle in a haystack unless you are driving traffic to it. Getting your message delivered to your target is essential in creating new leads. Pay-per-click advertising is one of the top online marketing tools for attracting new patients. Pay-per-click ads are sponsored links that show up when you perform a web search in Google, Bing and other search engines. Once a PPC network or networks have been chosen, it is vital to have clear objectives and a crafted, strategic plan of execution. With some systems, such as Google AdWords, you can generate targeted traffic within a few minutes of opening an account. Remember that with poor management, you can spend money and effort, generate visits, and end up with nothing to show for it. That is why it’s recommended to seek assistance from a professional marketing/advertising firm.

Diversify your social media

facebookIf you have been spending all of your time on Facebook, it might be time to use another social media tool like Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or LinkedIn in order to reach your potential patients. Figure out where your patients spend time online, and take the necessary steps to be part of that conversation. No matter what social media tool you end up using, it is vital to engage with your patients via valuable content and not a marketing pitch.

Keep in touch with your patients

It is crucial to stay connected with your existing patients, because they are the referral force that will attract new clients. Email marketing can be very good at generating more leads, but there are some rules you need to follow. Do email regularly, at least once a month, so as to develop your readership. When writing the newsletter, keep it personable and stick to the formula of 90 percent value-added content and 10 percent pitch and marketing. A newsletter works great at keeping you top of mind with prospects and existing patients.

Maintain a visible presence within your industry

Face-to-face networking allows you to generate quality connections. Step outside of your comfort zone and attend community events or offer to speak on your area of expertise at seminars. Make it your goal to get 5 quality leads from each event. This will definitely attract new business.

Consider using a daily deals website

doctorThis is a great way to attract new patients that are still looking to find a compassionate doctor. Using Groupon or Livingsocial is a great way to cultivate qualified leads for your practice. Offering deals encourages people to try your service by reducing the risks associated with spending too much money and then not being satisfied. But deals alone do not generate loyal customers. If the discounted offer doesn’t generate repeat business, it’s because your practice is not using the deals to their advantage in the best way possible. Going above and beyond when engaging customers will improve your chances of retaining your new patients.

– From Guest Author Diana Barsan who is connected with Riverfront Dental Designs, a Denver dentist using these tactics to attract new patients.