As a father to four active kids, I know parenting is hard. And because it can be so demanding—I’m here to help make it as rewarding for you as I can. I am not going to give you a long list of rules (I’m sure you and your kids are sick of them already). Instead, I will suggest some ways in which you can bond as a family and have fun, while implementing healthy habits that will serve your children for life—and which your kids will, hopefully, thank you for!

1. Doctor who?

While befriending your family doctor may not be the most obvious first item on our to-do list, it can certainly pay dividends! Rather than be terrified, this will give your kids (and your doctor!) something to look forward to.

For kids who are horrified of going to medical appointments, knowing what to expect can be a big help. To help manage your kids’ anxiety, lay out, step-by-step, how the appointment will go and what might happen. But when you do so, try to avoid using vague terms such as: “the doctor is just going to give you a check-up” or “the doctor will look at your throat”. Instead, explain each step in a clear, detailed way your child can easily understand, but that won’t scare them.

For example: “after you and I go into the exam room, this nice doctor will listen to your heartbeat with a special tool” or “this lovely nurse will ask you to open your mouth, say ‘aah’, and look at you while you do that”. And, if your child asks why the doctor or nurse might want to do that for, you can enlist the help of American actress Kristen Bell and say that it’s to “spot the bad guys and kick them out”.

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