Category: Info for Parents

Mommy – My throat hurts!
Mommy – My throat hurts!

Mommy – My throat hurts!

When you hear this statement, as a parent, you should ask yourself some questions.

  • How long has my child been complaining of a sore throat?
  • When was the last time that she complained of a sore throat (ie, is this happening often)?
  • Is he having difficulty breathing?
  • What about swallowing?
  • Does she seem to be having a hard time opening her mouth?
  • Are there also complaints about joint pain?
  • Do one or both of his ears hurt?
  • Does she have a rash anywhere on her body?
  • Does she have a prolonged fever over 101F?
  • Is his voice hoarse? How long has it been like that?
  • Does he have any lumps in his neck?

Sore throats are part of life.

The most common cause of a simple sore throat? Viral infection. The solution:  Time.  Sore throats can be present with a cold or the flu, so, naturally, sore throats are more common in the winter months when upper respiratory infections are more common. Sometimes, sore throats are the result of a bacterial infection and these often require antibiotics in order to be properly resolved.  Allergies and environmental conditions can also cause sore throats.

Kids have sore throats more often than teens or adults and that is normal.

Sore throats can be an indicator of something more serious, which is where your parental detective skills come in.  Ask yourself the questions at the top of this post … if many of these questions are answered in a positive manner, then you need to call the pediatrician.

Always contact your doctor if your child has a sore throat that is not associated with a virus (ie, begins to resolve within five to seven days), is not due to allergies, or is not caused by environmental conditions.

When in doubt, check it out.

Baby, baby, please brush your teeth….
Baby, baby, please brush your teeth….

During these sleepless nights and long days of caring for your adorable baby, it’s sometimes hard to remember that this cute little bundle will all-to-soon grow into an adult. We don’t think too much about it, but consider how much your baby’s jaw and teeth and gums change between birth and adulthood! We start with a mouth full of gums and begin sprouting teeth within a few months. A few years later, we lose those teeth, only to be replaced by a brand new set … not to mention how drastically our jaws change during these formative years. The growth is astounding. Our bodies are indeed miraculous.

Our job as parents is to do our best to insure that disease and traumatic accidents don’t interrupt the growth of our baby, including the teeth and jaw. Of course, accidents are called accidents for a reason and, no matter how healthy of a lifestyle we provide for our little ones, sometimes disease sneaks into our lives. But, those things aside, here are some steps you CAN take now to help your baby off to a life of stellar oral hygiene and dental health:

NO SUGAR!

Don’t give your baby sugars. It’s bad for health overall and especially for oral health. The bacteria in our bodies love sugar. And, as you know from other posts on this blog, when the bacteria in the mouth multiply, a byproduct is acid. The acid erodes tooth enamel and that is followed by decay (cavities). No sugary snacks. No sugary drinks, in general. Especially be diligent to never, ever give *anything* (breastmilk, formula, juice, etc.) in a bottle immediately before or during sleep.

Minimize the opportunity for accidents at home

If only we could protect them from all the harms of this world … but we can’t.  You can, however, childproof your home. Here’s an interesting oral health statistic for you:  at least 50% of all accidents to teeth in children under 7 years old are due to children falling on home furniture.  No, you don’t need to get rid of all of your furniture, but do pay attention to sharp edges and hard surfaces.  The seat of a dining room chair is the “perfect” height for a small child to fall into and damage teeth.  Consider making the main play area away from furniture.  Once your child begins to play sports, invest in a mouthguard (ok, so it’s not really childproofing your home … but it’s still a good tip!)

Don’t wait to start oral hygiene

Give your baby a gift and practice oral hygiene now, no matter how small he or she is.  If oral hygiene is just a normal part of life, your babies will grow up naturally taking care of their gums, teeth, and tongue and will get the payoff of a beautiful smile.  Even before there are visible teeth, you can clean your baby’s gums with a clean, wet cloth after each feeding (brush after eating).  Once there are some teeth, begin using a tiny, very soft brush after each meal.  Don’t use more than the equivalent of a grain of rice of toothpaste.

Visit the Dentist as birthday gift

Turning 1 year old is an important milestone.  Mark it by taking your baby to his first dental appointment! Again, this sets up a habit of taking care of teeth and it also provides the opportunity for the dentist to detect problems early.

Baby, baby, please brush your teeth

You may think that we already addressed this topic in the “Don’t wait to start oral hygiene” section, but you’re wrong.  This encouragement is for YOU!  You strive to be a good example for your children.  Let that intention extend into involving them in your own oral hygiene from day one.  Take your baby into the bathroom with you when you brush your teeth.  Make a point of brushing after meals … and take your baby along, always explaining about the importance of cleaning your teeth after eating.  Make a game of it – Smile in the mirror with your baby, have fun and enjoy these precious months!

Don’t be afraid…
Don’t be afraid…

Oral health. It’s important. Going to the dentist for preventative and maintenance care is a key factor in ensuring that your child has great oral health. Maybe you, yourself, fear going to the dentist. Or, maybe your best friend has told you stories about how her child fears going to the dentist and what an ordeal it is to get her teeth cleaned.

What can you do to decrease your child’s fears and anxieties about going to the dentist?

  • Do NOT tell them that it is scary. Instead, exude a sense of excitement about how cool it is to go to the dentist.
  • Start taking your child to the dentist early. If you child grows up going to the dentist regularly, then she is less likely to equate this activity as something to fear or be anxious about.  Instead, you can set out your semi-annual visits as a special “date” and a fun event that happens regularly.
  • Before you go to the dentist, educate your child about what to expect. Sure, going to the dentist can seem like a trip to a foreign country with all of the peculiar goings-on in the office.  Let your child know what to expect.  You can also read books about going to the dentist, watch videos on the internet (make sure to preview first!), and make-believe “Going to the Dentist.”
  • Give them the experience as an observer. Part of educating your child is to lead by example.  Schedule a dental appointment for yourself prior to when your child’s appointment will be and take your child with you.  Now, if you are one of the approximately 15% of adults who fear going to the dentist, you will have to exercise your best self-control and make use of your best acting abilities to exude excitement and calm about going!
  • Take the time to find a good pediatric dentist. Especially for small children, these offices are an excellent choice because they will often use smaller instruments, give better treasure chest rewards after the appointment, and provide a child friendly environment.
  • During the exam, stay with your child and remain calm and positive and curious. This behavior will calm and reassure your child.
  • Finally, remind your child that this is something that everyone does (or should do) and that it will help them to be healthy and strong.

It’s true, going to the dentist can be stressful, especially when there are procedures to be completed.  But with encouragement and a positive attitude, your child can and will enjoy this part of their healthcare.

 

How to Care for your Child’s Toothbrush (and your own!)
How to Care for your Child’s Toothbrush (and your own!)

Today’s blog is short and sweet, but oh-so-important.

Oral hygiene is of paramount importance. Brushing twice a day, flossing, going to the dentist.

But so often, we neglect that crucial component of oral hygiene:  The Toothbrush.

To care properly for your child’s toothbrush:

  • Ensure that it is THOROUGHLY RINSED after each use. Also, encourage your child to shake off the excess water and allow the toothbrush to fully dry between uses.  These practices reduce the growth of bacteria on the brush.
  • STORE the toothbrush in an UPRIGHT position and without touching another brush. Doing this avoids spreading germs and encourage complete drying.
  • Use mouthwash to SANITIZE your child’s toothbrush overnight (or dip it into boiling water for a few seconds) WHEN YOUR CHILD IS ILL.
  • This may seem like a silly recommendation, but its worth mentioning: DON’T SHARE toothbrushes.
  • REPLACE the toothbrush no more than every 3 months. If the bristles are fraying, it’s time.

Brushing is much more effective in helping your child’s teeth to be healthy when the toothbrush is “healthy,” too.

TV’s Influence On Kids Eating Habits
TV’s Influence On Kids Eating Habits

Watching television can have a negative impact on your child’s overall eating habits. On average, children living in America spend six (6) hours or more watching movies, TV programs with commercials, and/or playing video games. Documented studies have shown, that the more time spent in front of a television, the more body weight increases (this is true for children, as well as adults).  This may be the result of a combination of being sedentary in front of a screen, and also not paying attention to what is being consumed.

Commercials are made to sway the viewer, in order to desire the product that is being advertised. Every day children may see up to 20 advertisements (more than 30 minutes), that promote a tempting food or drink.  Food and beverage advertising account for more than 50% of commercials seen during a child’s television program. Children, between the ages of 8 and 12, can view up to 8,000 food-related ads each year.  In fact, on a yearly basis, the food and drink industry will spend over 1.2 billion dollars on marketing food and beverages, to children younger than 12 years of age.

Many foods advertised are not a healthy choice for growing bodies and minds, as many contain large amounts of sugar, fat, and calories, while lacking in much needed fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  In fact, many food and drink advertisements shown on television, that target children, do not meet nutrition recommendations.

Is it possible to fight against those advertising and to promote healthy eating habits?  YES!

  1. Do not watch TV or use other electronic devices during mealtimes or while consuming snacks. Eating together on a regular basis, without distractions, such as television or cell phones, will offer the opportunity to bond as a family, and also promote healthy eating habits.
  2. When watching programs, choose to edit out commercials by pre-recording a program or renting child appropriate videos. Choosing to watch a public television station is also another great option, in order to limit tempting advertisements.
  3. Spend quality time together learning about food and nutrition. For instance, start growing a garden together, visit the local farmer’s market, or have a discussion in the produce section of your food store. Read nutritional fact labels, and use this time to educate your children on what foods are good for their body and mind.
  4. Open up the kitchen to children’s curious minds. Children love to help and learn. This is a great opportunity to teach about kitchen and food safety.  Assign young children simple tasks, such as setting the table or preparing a salad.
  5. Set limits on screen time. It is recommended, that children, between the ages of 2 to 5 years old, should spend only one hour a day watching TV or playing video games.
  6. Children learn from observing their parents; therefore, be a good role model. Choose healthy foods and drinks, limit your own time watching TV, and spend less time on the computer for non-work-related activities.
Best Foods for Kids in the Winter
Best Foods for Kids in the Winter

The days are shorter, temperatures are colder, and energy levels in children can drop during the winter months.  Many people, including children, may overeat during this season, and it is for this reason that it is important to keep vigilant with nutrition needs.  The following foods will help keep children and adults happy and healthy, during cold the weather months.

Clementines are cute little oranges packed with fiber and much needed Vitamin C.  In addition, they also have magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which are important for growing bones and muscles.  Not only are these little gems seedless, but they are easy to peel and fun to eat.  You will get 25 or more in a box (they will disappear faster than you can image), and in addition, each one has only 25 calories.

They are the perfect wintertime snack, and a great addition to any lunchtime meal.  An amazing sweet treat will be segments of a clementine topped with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of caramel sauce.  Another great idea is to add the bright-colored sections of this orange to salad and steamed broccoli, to make these greens more appetizing.

Sweet Potatoes are delicious and packed with fiber, potassium, and Vitamin A.  The sweet mild taste of this great potato means that it will work in a variety of recipes.  For instance, it can be used with macaroni and cheese, and even added to oatmeal or brownie mixes.  As an alternative to frying, they can be sliced into “coins” or long strips and baked with some olive oil.

Salmon is a great food option to beat the winter blues, because it is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been documented to manage feelings of depression.  Making kebabs with vegetables is a fun way to enjoy this delicious and healthy protein.  Also, try your hand at making salmon cakes mixed with corn and rice.  By the way, who says that pot pie needs to be chicken? Try a salmon pot pie.  The entire family will love it.

Winter Squash is naturally sweet, and it doesn’t get the praise it deserves.  Roasted butternut squash is a delicious sweet treat, when topped with maple syrup and cinnamon, and then baked to perfection.  Try it!  The kids will love it.  Spaghetti squash is another underrated food that can be mixed with your favorite pasta sauce.

Cauliflower on the other hand is very popular these days. Cauliflower is delicious all by itself; however, it is very versatile, as it can be “riced” and used in a variety of recipes, such as fried rice. It can be mashed just like potatoes, to be a wonderful side to any meat dish.  It can also be transformed into a pizza crust, and who doesn’t love pizza.  The ideas are endless!  In addition to tasting great and being a versatile vegetable, it is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, and K.  Cauliflower contains potassium, manganese, and magnesium, which are all necessary for growth and development for young bodies and minds.

Kids in the Kitchen

Much like learning to drive a car, learning to swim, and learning how to read – cooking is a life skill.

Did you know that it is never too early to learn valuable lessons in the kitchen?  In fact, infants absorb everything that is going on around them.  They learn when you name foods aloud, and the whir of a blender can stimulate a baby’s learning ability.  A toddler learns by pouring and mixing, pre-school children learn fine motor skills by cracking eggs, grade-school children learn by chopping (supervised) and whisking ingredients, pre-teens can begin to follow simple recipes independently, and finally teens, who naturally seek to be more independent, can aspire to more complex tasks like preparing a meal for the entire family.

Before you begin, here are few basic rules:

  1. Until a child is old enough, an adult should always be present, to supervise in the kitchen.
  2. Hands should always be washed thoroughly before food preparation begins.
  3. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent unwanted accidents.
  4. Do not “sample” raw meat or uncooked eggs.
  5. Allow your child to practice cutting with a butter knife.

 

Cooking is a basic life skill that everyone should learn.  There are many excellent reasons for children to be encouraged to cook, one being that it gives them a sense of pride.  Below are several more reasons to get children of all ages involved in kitchen activities.

Children, who are involved in the cooking process, may not be finicky about their food choices.  Being involved gives children an opportunity to view all ingredients and taste different foods.  It has been proven, that children are more inclined to eat what they prepare.  They may even find a new favorite food.

Good eating habits are encouraged in the kitchen

When children are invited into the kitchen, a dialog of good eating habits is opened, such as how eating a rainbow of colors offers a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.  In addition to discussing healthy eating habits, time together in the kitchen allows the opportunity for talking about other things, such as problems in school.

The value of planning is a benefit that is learned in the kitchen.  Cooking involves timing and planning.  For example, the potatoes should still be hot, when the meat is ready to be put on the table.  Also, you want to have all of the ingredients necessary on hand, to prepare a certain type of meal.  Time management is a skill that is used in all aspects of life.

Math skills are also built while working in the kitchen, as measuring ingredients is a practical way to show the use of fractions in everyday living.  For example, addition and/ or multiplication is going to be required if you want to double a batch of cookies.

In addition to honing math skills, cooking is basically a giant science experiment.  Children get a chance to view chemistry in action, by finding out what happens when vinegar is mixed with oil, or the results when too much salt or flour is added to a recipe.

Also, comprehension and reading skills are sharpened, as step-by-step directions should be followed and ingredients should be added in sequence, to prepare certain meals

Self-confidence is built in the kitchen

Children should feel good about creating something delicious and nutritious, and parents should feel good knowing that when children leave home, that they will not be dependent on frozen meals or vending machines for sustenance.

Besides all the great lessons that are learned while cooking, preparing a meal is also fun!  Spending time together in the kitchen with your children, not only produces good meals, but also builds positive memories.

Conflict Resolution
Conflict Resolution

2 girls fightingResolving conflict, effectively, is a talent, and if mastered at a young age will carry through into adulthood.  By aiding children in learning how to manage conflict, we will help them to experience a joyful social life filled with genuine friendships. By equipping children of all ages with conflict resolution strategies, we will help them in being a good friend.  Outlined below are several strategies that are proven to be effective in resolving conflicts in most situations.

Relax

Frustration, anger, and other strong emotions may run high during a conflict; therefore, all parties need to step away and calm down.  Attempting to resolve an issue, while children are upset will never work.

Listen, Speak, and Understand

Once everyone is calm, each child should have the opportunity to state their view of the problem.  Placing blame and focusing on the cause of the conflict is rendered ineffective, and a workable solution will never be reached.  Instead use “I” statements, such as, “I feel hurt when…”

While one party is speaking calming, the other party should be listening.  Listening is something that can be difficult, and if this is not mastered as children, it will never be part of their adult lives.  Active listening requires one person to actually see the situation from the other person’s view – even if they don’t agree.  In addition, active listening means that you are looking (not staring) at the other person, to indicate that they have your full attention.  Also, do not interrupt when the other person is speaking, but add some “listening noises”, to confirm that you are hearing and understanding what the other person is saying.  Finally, when the other person is finished speaking, repeat what they have said, so that you understand, and the other person feels confident that they have relayed their feelings in a way they feel valued.

Apologize

kids making up after a fightAn apology is the first step to repairing damaged relationships, and makes improvements from this moment forward.

When an apology is good and sincere, the other person should be hearing regret, responsibility, and a willingness to remedy the situation.  Using the words “I’m sorry” is not enough, as you also need to acknowledge how the other person was hurt by your actions and/or words.  Also, offer suggestions as to how you will fix the current situation and avoid it in the future.

In addition to apologizing, ask for forgiveness for your part in the conflict.

On the other hand, an insincere or “bad” apology falls short, if the victim is blamed or criticized, behavior is justified, or excuses are made, and consequences are minimized.  An example of a bad apology would be, “it was just a joke”.

Find a Solution

Children should be empowered to brainstorm a solution on their own, with the aim being to find a solution that makes everyone satisfied with the results.  Children should be reminded that every opinion should be heard, and that no idea should be criticized or deemed “silly”.  Writing down any and all ideas is a great way to view a feasible solution, and to resolve a conflict.

Summary

 

Calm Down

Reflect on the conflict

Relay your feelings

Listen to the other person

Find a solution

Discuss how each person will behave differently in the future

Speak calmly again, if current solution is not working for both parties

 

Brought to you by Kidds Place

Spring Cleaning
Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning!

Spring is on it’s way shortly, and to many in western society that means, for most moms: spring cleaning.

Although this idea is known commonly throughout the U.S., it is speculated that the tradition of spring cleaning has, surprisingly, Eastern origins.

The Iranian New Year falls on the first day of Spring (March 20th), and to this day “khooneh tekouni” is practiced during this time. It literally means to “shake the house” and is observed by most Iranian people today.

Another school of thought suggests that Spring cleaning comes from the Jewish preparation of the festival of the Passover, which takes place over the course of a week usually in late March to mid April. Jews are commanded by God in Exodus 12:15 to rid their homes of all small leavened bread remnants prior to Passover, so there is a traditional candlelight search for breadcrumbs (called “bedikat chametz”) the night before the festival begins.

So what is so significant about Spring cleaning in American culture?

Several factors could contribute to the expression of purging old belongings and cleaning house this time of year.

A motivator could be the abundance of extra possessions one may find themselves in after the intense gift-giving holiday season. Another is the warming of the weather that makes dust of surfaces more visible and outdoor cleaning more enjoyable.

All in all, when a house-wide purge begins, where do we usually begin? The closet.

Coat closets, storage closets, bedroom closets, oh my! Here are some tips for you to achieve your best springtime closet.

Designate Seasons

Many of us make the mistake of getting rid of old winter clothes that we will not need for another 7 months or so, because they tend to be bulky and take up too much space. Certainly get rid of clothes you did not wear all winter (or the winter before, especially), but place them in storage containers with the exception of a few sweaters or light jackets you may need on rainy days. This will free up space and make your morning selection a breeze. When autumn arrives, do the same with your summer clothes. This will help with not being overwhelmed by all that’s in your closet.

Decisions, Decisions!

Due to the weather getting warmer and the New Year well behind us, many have stuck to their resolutions have slimmed their waistline considerably (and are still in the process of doing so). If you found you have lost weight and many of last year’s spring clothes are now too big for you, keep at least a couple of pieces you like the most. There’s still a chance you could gain some of the weight back before the warmer months end, and you don’t want to be without clothes!

Don’t Forget Surfaces

While going through all the clothes in the closet, this is the best time to thoroughly remove all clothing and wipe shelves and surfaces that are normally concealed. Make getting ready in the morning the best time of day by shaping your closet into a work of art!

We hope you are inspired to feel fresh and clean this season with these ideas, and happy, happy Spring!

Everything You Need to Know About Amber Teething Necklackes
Everything You Need to Know About Amber Teething Necklackes

When it comes to the topic of child safety, every internet source has their own slanted narrative, and so does every individual mom who has done their research and experimentation. Just like every other baby product, Amber teething necklaces carry the weight of some controversy. They are said to be either the greatest teething craze invented, or, a grave threat to your child’s life, or somewhere in between.

Not familiar with the trend? Amber teething necklaces are a snug (not too loose or tight) strand of amber beads for children to wear during the painful season of teething. The warmth from their skin is said to activate the oil in the amber resin, which releases a natural pain reliever called succinic acid. This is then absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream and simply acts as a “helper” when teething toys, cold objects, or even baby tylenol isn’t quite cutting it.

If you’re not sure whether this product is right for your child, let’s get all the pros and cons out of the way.

Cons:

  • Needs to be removed before every nap (to prevent choking while unsupervised.
  • Even while supervised, events like strangulation can occur
  • If the strand breaks, a child may attempt to eat the stones or possibly block their airway in the process
  • Because of the above reasons, it is not recommended by most pediatricians.
  • Some skeptics say the beads have to be heated to at least 200 degrees fahrenheit to excrete the oils (two times over normal body temperature)
  • The releasing of succinic acid is seen as more holistic and ancient medicine and is not officially backed by science, despite very consistent claims that it does, in fact, work.

Pros:

  • Seasoned “natural” moms recommend putting the necklace on as early as two months, so that your child gets used to wearing it and it then just behaves as another article of clothing. Many mothers that start the use of the necklace very young and watch their child acclimate are more at ease when it comes to risks of choking.
  • Succinic acid not only supposed to relieve pain (and is helpful for adults too, suffering from arthritis or other joint pain) but is said to be immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and has a calming effect on the wearer.
  • Many moms swear it reduces drooling significantly. This may be due to succinic being an alkalizing acid, which has metabolic benefits.
  • Succinic acid is FDA approved, this being because it is an element that commonly occurs in our food. So while the benefits cannot be proven medically, the acid itself is not harmful.

For many, the benefits do not offset the possible risks. If this is you, it is definitely best to use your best judgement. Every child is different, and every mother knows what’s best for their individual baby. On the flip side, pro-amber necklace moms say they have little or nothing to fear because their baby adjusted to the wearing of the necklace, so they are aware of it but they never not attempt to remove, break, or eat it. They also notice a significant difference when the child is wearing it versus not, or have used it on one child but not their sibling. Thankfully modern technology has also provided us with more security measures for our children, such as video monitors and baby breathing monitors (like Snuza). This allows mothers to keep their eyes or ears on their babies 24/7.

For more information on this subject, as well as how succinic acid breaks down molecularly, please click the links below.
https://www.mamanatural.com/amber-teething-necklaces/
https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/ask-heidi/amber-teething-necklaces.aspx
https://www.healthextremist.com/amber-necklace-benefits-may-include-helping-thyroid/
https://hazelaid.com/pages/about-baltic-amber

Learn about our children’s dental services here.