I’m not thrilled to close out 2015 — there were special parts of this year I’m a little desperate to hold onto. Not certain I always feel this way, but on this final day of the year it’s true: there’s a tiny bit of me bracing for the flip on that clock. I somehow skipped an end-of-the year 2014 “Greatest Hits” (most read blog posts) post last year and am eager to bring the tradition back to life (here’s 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)! Of course, 2015 had highs and lows. For me it included all sorts of mid-life-forty-year-old-woman-type thoughts about life and parenting. There’s wild hyperbole in the middle — recognizing profound hand-clutched-to-chest privilege like good health, good friends, unique opportunity and the immutable joy it is to raise little children. Yet in the middle zone of life, these momentous realities are often chased by the overwhelming epiphany that life is uniquely precious and finite. So much to contribute and so much also to learn and so much we all want to witness with our children. Every single day.

Over the year I had significant learning about communicating about health. I did dozens of interviews regarding the measles outbreak that stemmed in Disney, I’ve experienced heart breaking and continued stun at ongoing gun violence, I had a painful goodbye to my beloved dog, Luna, I’ve witnessed great suffering with illness in those I love and those I’ve cared for, and my ever present work-life balance quandary and curiosity toils on. But 2015 also had me soaring with things like The Supreme Court Of The United States voting 5-4 in majority to make gay marriage legal in all 50 states, quiet snowstorms, hikes in the mountains and hours running on trails here in Washington. I was able to continue to spread public health messages on national news outlets like NBC Nightly News, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post, The Today Show & NPR, and USA Today. I traveled to Australia late in the summer for a speaking engagement with my delicious 9 year-old and discovered how much I want to go back. I was an invited speaker at the NFID Influenza News Conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. to explain the seasonal launch of influenza vaccinations and I got to see healthy and sick children and their families in clinic nearly every week. I continued to learn and grow and partner with like-minded groups working to improve public health and messaging in pediatrics/parenting like The American Academy of Pediatrics, The CDC, The Washington State Department of Health, The Washington Dental Service Foundation, a new start-up called Mother.ly, and continued our ongoing partnership here with Know Your OTCs. In addition to my trip to Australia, this year I was lucky enough to learn and contribute to conferences and health systems in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, Colorado, California, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and Maryland.

My awesome team at Seattle Children’s has grown and we’ve continued our work to prioritize Digital Health efforts at the hospital while co-designing solutions with patients and their families. We’ve recently piloted new technologies after liver transplantation bringing peer-to-peer teaching and expert education (videos, photos, questions and family education) to the bedside via an iPad and we’re just about to launch a new program with kidney transplant families in early January. Please sign up for our monthly updates here!

And ohhhhh, I’ve learned so much from SO MANY of you online here on the blog and on Twitter and Facebook.

As far as Seattle Mama Doc goes I can’t say enough how lovely it is to live in a time when as a pediatrician I have a place like this to think and share and create and listen. I am so very thankful for all of you.

Top 5 Greatest Hits of 2015

  1. Measles Outbreak With A Baby At Home
  2. Enraged By 2015 Measles In America
  3. Using Melatonin To Help Children Fall Asleep
  4. Sleeping With A Smartphone
  5. Dosing Medicine Correctly

Top 5 Greatest Hits Of All Time

  1. Toddler Sleep: 4 Reasons Toddlers Wake Up At Night
  2. Measles Outbreak With A Baby At Home
  3. When NOT To Worry About Autism
  4. Why Do Babies Wake Up At Night
  5. Infant Colic & The Period Of Purple Crying

As we prepare to kick-off 2016 and the resolutions that come along with it, I’m sharing my tips for helping your children make lasting and positive resolutions.

Tips To Help Your Children With Successful New Year’s Resolutions

  • Make them fun and positive
  • Encourage the whole family to participate together
  • Be a resolution role model
  • Be practical

Here’s a list of age-appropriate New Year’s resolution examples from www.HealthyChildren.org. Ask your children what they might want to do differently in 2016 and let’s do our best to make tiny new habits happen slowly…

Resolutions For Preschool Age 

  • Focus On Hygiene
  • Communication Goals
    • I will be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.
    • I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help or am scared.

Resolutions For Kids, 5 -12 years old

  • Focus On Health & Safety
    • I will take care of my skin by putting on sunscreen before I go outdoors.
    • I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.
    • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car.
    • I will not share my name, home address, school name or phone number on the Internet.

Resolutions For Kids, 13 & Older 

  • I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.
  • I will follow our household rules for video games and internet use.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol.
  • CDC quit smoking campaign resulted in 100,000 smokers quitting permanently