DHA: A Good Fat For Kids’ Diets

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groupkidsWhile the conversation about kids’ nutrition revolves around reducing fat, Dr. Holly Lucille, RN, ND, host of the Dr. Holly Lucille Show on www.RadioMD.com, suggests that adding one type of fat–DHA, otherwise known as docosahexaenoic acid — to a child’s diet is essential to the health of cell membranes, as well as nerve and brain function. DHA is a form of omega-3 fatty acid that is safe and effective for developing children and sometimes absolutely essential.

“Omega-3 is associated with fatty fishes, not a favorite for some people, so DHA supplements are beneficial for moms that are pregnant or breast feeding, and are a good source for babies still in-vitro,” according to Dr. Lucille, who covers Mindful Medicine, an outgrowth of her background as a nationally recognized and licensed naturopathic doctor, educator, natural products consultant and television host.

She notes that DHA is also an effective way to control eczema, and that the brain benefits from DHA, especially helping to raise kids’ IQ scores and visual skills. DHA is now available in a gummy form, so kids can add it to their diets.

“DHA is an overlooked supplement that can benefit adults and kids alike. I tell all my pregnant friends to take DHA,” concluded Dr. Lucille, who is on the editorial advisory board of Alternative Medicine and Natural Practitioner.

The entire 10-minute Dr. Holly Lucille Show segment can be heard on the RadioMD archives by visiting here.

About www.RadioMD.com

RadioMD.com is a “talking” health information source featuring top guests and experts in the world of health and medicine that provide vital health and wellness content in spoken word form. Produced in a talk radio, easy to listen to conversational style, RadioMD shows help listeners understand everyday health issues as well as complex medical conditions. In addition to its variety of live, interactive talk audio features and programming, RadioMD offers an Audio Library of top talk shows on just about every health and wellness, diet & fitness subject. For more information visit www.radiomd.com.

– Submitted by David Brimm

The Parent’s Role In Child Development Programs

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kidsIt’s no secret that a child’s education plays a significant role in her development during early childhood and is a determining factor in her success as an adult. Helping young children to acquire the skills they need to progress and develop along the prescribed timeline is one of a parent’s most important jobs. Understanding the role that parents play in the development and expansion of new skill sets in early childhood allows you to work more closely with the preschool or child development center program you’ve chosen, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the curriculum and reinforcing lessons learned on a daily basis.

Communicating with Teachers and Administrators

As the parents of a little one who’s enrolled in a child development program, you are essentially the liaison between your child and her teachers or center administrators. Your preschooler may not have the vocabulary or the inclination to explain to you that there are areas in which she is struggling, or subjects in which she needs additional attention. The teachers and instructors who work with her every day, however, will be both able and eager to give you progress reports and relevant information about your child’s development. In addition to having a more accurate view of her academic, cognitive and physical development, you’ll also be able to learn more about her conduct and areas within the scope of social interaction and skill where she may be in need of extra help.

Maintaining Progress at Home

cutekidsWorking closely with the teachers and aides at your child’s preschool or early childhood development center allows you to get an accurate view of not only what’s expected of her there, but what she’s capable of at home. Your child will live up, or down, to the expectations you’ve set for her. If she’s responsible for clearing away her own place after meals, hanging up her own jacket and putting away art supplies after a lesson at her preschool, that means that she’s clearly able to perform those tasks with some degree of accuracy. Operating under the misapprehension that your child isn’t capable of doing some things for herself can have detrimental effects on her development, simply because she’s not exercising the skills she’s learning at preschool at home. Building a functional relationship with your child’s teachers and program administrators allows you to form a more accurate view of her capabilities, and helps you adjust her routine at home accordingly. Parents who wish to take an active role in their child’s progress through a developmental program should also take the time to learn what’s being covered under the lesson plan and what’s up next on the curricular agenda. Make a point of working on those skills at home, too. If your little one is learning how to write her name in preschool, she should be practicing at home to hone her motor skills and boost the muscle memory and letter recognition that will fuel her progress. Remember, education and learning don’t stop the minute your child walks out the door of her preschool or child development center.

Choosing the Right Childhood Development Program

Working with your child’s teachers and taking an interest in her progress through a child development program is essential, but it’s even more important that you make the correct initial investment by choosing the right program and center. Priscilla Williams, who holds a degree in Child Psychology and Early Childhood Development and is the President of the Especially for Children network of nationally accredited child development centers in Minnesota, states that “selecting a childcare center that has national accreditation will provide parents assurance that the center has programs that properly address all the important developmental goals for your preschooler.” By making sure that you’ve chosen an accredited center with a strong curriculum, you’ll be actively investing in the first step of your child’s long and illustrious academic career. Remember that this is just the beginning of your child’s journey along the essential path of education, and take steps to ensure that the program introducing her to the concept of school and learning is one that will make a positive impact on her. The ASCD, formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, asserts that preschool is “the most important grade,” and that their research confirms the long-term benefits of participation in such programs. By choosing one that is both accredited and of a high quality, you’re actively fulfilling the important goal of providing your child with the tools she needs to succeed throughout elementary school, high school and beyond.

– Submitted by Sarah Tucker of 4 Nannies.

10 Reasons Outdoor Play Is Crucial To Healthy Child Development

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twokidsunThe iconic image of the idyllic American childhood was, not so long ago, based around the idea of spending long summer days playing outside and exploring the neighborhood until the streetlights were illuminated. Today’s fear-driven culture might make it difficult to send your kids outside for the entirety of a day in good conscience without supervision, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be relegated to a lifetime of staring blankly at a television screen, playing video games or cooped up in a community center to stay safe. When safe, sane practices are adhered to, time spent playing outside is not only fun, but also essential to your child’s healthy development and growth. These are ten of the reasons why you might want to think twice before discouraging outdoor play, and how spending time outside is actually good for your kids.

Honing Motor Skills – Kids need to run, jump, swing and tumble in order to hone their basic motor skills, something that just isn’t as easy to do in the restrictive confines of structured, indoor play. Even if your child isn’t able to safely roam the neighborhood with a group of his friends, he still needs plenty of outdoor time to push himself physically so that he’s able to refine those skills.

Vitamin D Absorption – While it’s imperative that kids are properly protected from the sun’s burning and potentially cancer-causing rays, it’s also important that they get 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure in order to fight off vitamin D deficiency. Unlike vitamin D in supplement form, it’s impossible for a child to naturally produce too much vitamin D in response to sunlight, so letting your child play outside for even a few minutes is typically the best course of action when it comes to combating deficiency.

Encouraging Imaginative Play – Playing with the same set of toys in the same room every day doesn’t give your child much room for imaginative, creative play, which is essential to both cognitive and social development. The great outdoors, however, offers an almost endless array of inspiration for invented games and make-believe scenarios.

kidsunningtogetherAcquiring an Appreciation for Nature – Kids who rarely spend time outdoors grow into adults who generally don’t spend much time outdoors, causing them to effectively miss out on all that nature has to offer. Encouraging play that takes place outdoors allows your child to become accustomed to and gain an appreciation for nature, and no television show or Internet video can replicate that.

Learning the Importance of Environmental Stewardship – The children of today are the stewards of tomorrow’s environment, and they need to learn the importance of caring for the planet from an early age. Get your kids outside and talk about the environment and all the ways that it needs to be protected while enjoying the great outdoors. Before you know it, you’ll have an active, eco-conscious youngster in the making.

Expending Energy – Shouting, climbing, jumping and running aren’t encouraged indoors. In fact, these activities that are so necessary when it comes to expending energy and blowing off steam are usually downright forbidden inside the house. Letting your child burn off some of that energy outside has benefits for both of you, as well as any fragile belongings in your home.

Exploring and Investigating – Kids need to encounter new and interesting things to keep the spark of natural curiosity burning, because that curiosity is an essential part of both creative thinking and a thirst for learning. There’s not much to explore between the couch and the refrigerator, but your own back yard can be a veritable goldmine of activity and wonder.

Pushing Boundaries and Taking Safe Risks – No parent wants their child to engage in risky behavior, but safe risks are an essential part of learning and confidence building. Kids who push their own boundaries by testing their abilities are more confident, more active and less likely to suffer from the low self-esteem that plagues so many of today’s youth.

Reducing Exposure to Germs – There’s a reason why colds and flus seem so abundant in the winter time. When stifled in rooms with little fresh air and relegated to close quarters with others, germs spread from host to host with ease. Outside, airborne bacteria can be swept away on a light breeze, rather than finding a new home in your child’s body.

Fulfilling Kids’ Need for Freedom – As a parent, your first instinct is to keep your child as close and as safe as possible. While it is your job to ensure that no harm comes to them, it’s also important that you allow them enough freedom to explore and assert a bit of independence. Letting your kids roam the lawn, even if it’s fenced in and you’re standing on the porch, or play on the playground while you’re sitting on a nearby bench, can fulfill a bit of that need for freedom that’s so important to their growth and development.

– Submitted by Molly Cunningham of Live In Nanny.

10 Steps To Getting Your Child To Stay In His Own Bed

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cutekidsFamilies who are transitioning away from co-sleeping or even those who are new to dealing with a child who won’t stay in his own bed after moving to a toddler bed that’s easy to escape are no stranger to the challenge that is mastering the full night’s sleep. There are as many reasons why kids won’t stay in their beds as there are kids themselves, and as many motivations for coming to find a parent after waking abruptly as there are sleepless nights. Finding a method that works for your family may require a bit of trial and error, but with a bit of dedication, you’ll find your child sleeping the night away in his own bed before you know it.

* Find the Root of the Problem – The first step to getting your child to successfully spend the night in his own bed is to find out why he’s having trouble doing so in the first place. Some kids will get out of bed at night because they’re afraid of imaginary monsters, other because they’re simply awakened by something and aren’t able to self-soothe until they fall asleep again. To solve this particular problem, you’re going to need to uncover the root of it and work around what you discover.

* Start a New Routine – Allowing a bit of wiggle room in your child’s bedroom routine can have a major impact on the success or failure of your ability to keep him in his bed at night, especially if he’s getting up because he’s having bad dreams or is afraid. Make room for a “monster check,” take the time to work a bedtime story into the routine, or allow him to wind down a bit by starting the routine earlier and working towards the goal of getting in bed with less pressure.

* Encourage Self-Soothing – If part of your child’s established routine includes you spending time in his bed or in his room until he falls asleep, it may be time to rethink your strategy. After all, a child who’s dependent upon you in order to get to sleep will naturally come searching for you when he wakes up and can’t accomplish the task on his own. Start working on helping your child to fall asleep on his own and you may find that the bulk of your problem is already solved.

* Keep Your Language Positive and Optimistic – When you talk to your child about staying in his bed, make sure that your language is upbeat and positive, rather than stern or overly authoritarian. Make spending a night in his bed sound like the major milestone it is, not something he must do because he’s afraid he’ll be punished or you’ll be disappointed.

kids* Work Gradually Towards Your Goal – You may not be sleeping in a child free bed the night you start working towards that goal. You may not even be there a week from starting your routine. It’s important to keep the end game in mind, though, rather than focusing on immediate results. After all, you want a lasting solution, not one that’s temporary.

* Get Kids Involved in the Process – Giving your child a bit of ownership over the situation by letting him pick out new sheets, select a special animal to sleep with or even have a bit of say in his bed time can go a long way when you’re trying to reach an understanding about sleep. Let your child know that you want him to be excited about this new chapter in his “big boy” life, and give him some control to reflect that status.

* Make a Game of The Situation – If you set up a system of rewards for every successful night in bed or make each night seem like a fun, new challenge, you may find that you’re having better results than if you’re just trying to lay down the proverbial law to your struggling child.

* Maintain Consistency – When little feet come padding into your room in the wee hours of the morning, it can be easier to just let it slide than to get out of bed and meet the challenge. Consistency is key, though, because you don’t want to send mixed messages to your child. Just get up, lead him back to his bed and avoid engaging with him along the way. With consistent repetition, your child will learn that coming to your room is not a means of getting the results he had in mind.

* Be Patient – It’s not easy to keep your cool when you’re sleep deprived and frustrated, but losing your patience and lashing out is a surefire way to inspire a setback. Make a concerted effort to be patient and understanding, rather than exasperated and angry.

* Reward Successes, Don’t Punish Setbacks – Instead of shaming your child or punishing him when he’s struggling, make a point of rewarding his successful efforts. Understand that your child wants you to be proud of him, and wants to earn your approval, even though the change you’re asking him to make is a big and sometimes scary one.

– Submitted by Ethel Wooten of houstonnanny.com

4 Most Common Child Sleep Problems

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By Rania Paula

stresssleepingPsychologists and physicians estimated that almost 30% of children are suffering with sleep problems at some point during their childhood.

Child sleep problems may affect both emotional and social behavior, which shows an effect on their school performance. Due to this it is very important for the parents and teachers to understand how important sleep is and how sleep disorders can affect teenagers and children.

Here are the common types of child sleep problems:

• Chronic Lung Disease
• Obstructive Sleep Apnea
• Central Apnea of Prematurity
• Central Hypoventilation Syndrome

Chronic Lung Disease:

Usually this is a result of the premature birth, however this may be secondary to lung injury following neonatal period like in sickle cell disease, aspiration syndrome, and neuromuscular disease like muscular dystrophy.

This disease can lead to low levels of oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Sleep study can determine the lung disease. This can be treated with non-invasive ventilator support, oxygen supply, or during severe conditions tracheostomy may be required.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA):

This is one of the most common child sleep problems, which is due to abnormalities in breathing when they are asleep. This condition occurs approximately in 2% of kids, and it is most common problem in preschool aged kids.

OSA diagnosis can be done by evaluating your child during his sleep in the sleep laboratory.

OSA diagnosis can be done by evaluating your child during his sleep in the sleep laboratory. Sleep study is also needed to identify the children of high risk of difficulties from surgery and anesthesia. If this is left untreated this may lead to poor academic performance, high blood count, and heart failure.

Central Apnea of Prematurity:

This is very common in newborn babies. This can be associated with the low heart rate and color changes and it is because of an immaturity of central respiratory drive.

Premature apnea can be evaluated by daytime sleep study or even by cardio-respiratory monitoring. Making your baby to sleep in head elevated tilt position and three-stair-position can help to reduce the problem during the initial stages only.

Central Hypoventilation Syndrome:

This is a problem to the central nervous system that induces signals to breathe. Frequently this can be worsened in the sleep and it is characterized by shallow or even slow breathing, which is inadequate to remove carbon dioxide from lungs.

This may occur while in birth or due to pressure on brainstem. Overnight sleep can be helped to diagnose this. Treatment will be required to relieve brainstem pressure based on the cause.

The support and advice of the health professional or in complex or severe situation a psychologist is necessary for a plan to be successful in dealing with child sleep problems. Sleep programs and educational materials can also be helpful.

– Guest Author, Rania Paula writes for www.sleepwellblog.com. A weblog providing information about various sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, sleep deprivation, etc. and there by helping you to have good night sleep.

What To Do If Your Child Has An Asthma Attack At School

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groupkidsIf getting a call from the school nurse can be unnerving, hearing that your child just had an asthma attack at school is downright terrifying. This especially holds true if the call marks the first time an asthma attack has ever happened. The only thing worse for parents than knowing that their child is suffering is knowing that their child is suffering when they can’t be there with him. Since parents cannot be with their asthmatic child 24 hours out of the day, ensuring the child and teachers know how to manage his asthma is the next best thing. If you’ve been told your child has had an asthma attack in school, hang in there as you learn about what to do next.

First Things First

The first thing you’ll want to do is find out the status of your child. If it is not under control, the school may have called 911 or may ask you to pick up your child seek medical attention. The emergency room should be your first stop if the attack is still in progress, but an attack that’s under control or has ended may only require a trip to his regular primary care physician.

Create a Plan with Your Pediatrician

Once the initial attack is under control, let your pediatrician know what happened and then make an appointment to create an action plan for your child’s asthma. On this action plan, write down what triggers your child’s asthma, what symptoms he exhibits when he begins to have a flare up, what medications he takes, along with the dosage, what to do when an asthma attack begins, and when to head to the emergency room. You also may want to ask the doctor if there should be any restrictions or any extra monitoring during exercise.

Talk with Your Child

Teaching your child to manage his asthma independently is the best thing you can do when he’s old enough to attend school. Both you and your child need the security of knowing that no matter where your child is or who he is with, he can handle his asthma. Therefore, share the action plan with your child and frequently go over the steps to managing his asthma and handling attacks.

Talk with School Administrators

inhalerShare your written action plan with your child’s school and request a meeting with his teacher, the school nurse and anyone else you feel should be involved. Explain your child’s medical history and how independent he is in handling his asthma. Make sure you cover not only how to handle his asthma in school, but also on field trips and during any after school activities. Ask questions to ensure that there is always someone present who can administer medication and work the peak flow meter. It’s important that the school is supportive of your child’s condition, and that they handle it in a way that will not embarrass your child and deter him from maintaining his care.

Also, find out if you child is allowed to carry his own medication, provided that you feel confident in his responsibility level. If the school does not allow it, you can request a 504 plan under the Americans with Disabilities Act that allows him to have the medication on him.

Handling Attacks in School

Your child’s medication should be easily accessible. If he is too young or not yet responsible enough to carry it himself, the medication should be close at hand to the classroom teacher and in the nurse’s office in a place that is within quick reach. It should also be close at hand for gym class and recess. This way if your child has an attack, the medication will be there to be used immediately no matter where he is.

Know the Triggers

There are some common triggers that children encounter in school, such as dust mites, cockroaches, chalk dust, perfume and cleaning products, just to name a few. If any of these are known culprits for your child, you should work that into their 504 Plan. For example, you can request that they use dustless chalk, avoid perfumes and certain cleaning products, that the school is treated for pests regularly, and that methods be employed that combat mold. If the classroom has a pet, you can ask for that to be removed as well if your child is allergic or triggered by dander.

Once you have gone through all of these steps, you can rest much easier knowing that you and your child have a good handle on his asthma and that you have taken control of the situation as much as possible. Creating action plans and taking preventative actions can change a situation that once caused vulnerability to one that empowers.

– Submitted by Kevin Thompson of Backup Care

10 Tips For Handling A Sick Child Visit With Ease

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doctorDealing with sick children is never easy, but it can get even tougher when you have to take them to the doctor. The doctor’s office is a big, intimidating place, and it can be scary for kids who already feel under the weather. Your child will likely be full of questions, especially about uncomfortable situations that await him. The following tips for preparing your child for a visit to the doctor will allow him to get through the event with the least fear possible, allowing him to adapt a healthy attitude towards maintaining his health.

Clear Up the Mystery

The first thing to do is to explain exactly what is going on. If a child’s mind is left to wander, he may come up with all types of frightening scenarios. Get an idea of what tests he could possibly undergo, and explain to him the actions the doctor will take so that he will be comfortable during the process. It can also be beneficial to explain how you as a parent visit the doctor for similar things when you are ill.

Be Up Front About Pain

Parents generally have success with kids by taking one of two approaches when facing shots and other painful procedures. They can either distract the child with toys, blankets and other items from home, or they can discuss with the children that fact that they are likely to experience a small amount of pain but will feel better in the long run. When talking to your child, emphasize the fact that he will receive a treat, such as a sucker or some type of good consequence, after enduring the brief amount of pain.

Embrace Psychology

Children develop memories and anticipate experiences based on associations. If your child thinks of a doctor’s visit solely as an uncomfortable experience, then he’ll begin to dread making the trip. Start him off on the right foot by always rewarding him in some fashion after a successful visit.

Make the Environment Your Own

kidsChildren often feel uncomfortable during a doctor’s visit simply because they are in new surroundings. No matter how much you explain to them the reasons behind the visit, the pure “newness” of the experience can cause problems. Avoid that sense of isolation by taking the time to show your child around the waiting room and help him explore the actual office so he can see everything is OK and that there is nothing to fear.

Humanize It

The doctor is technically a stranger who can be intimidating. One great way to get past this is to ask your doctor to temporarily ditch the white coat, at least for the first few visits, until your child gets used to the doctor’s methods and personality. Seeing a helpful person in street clothes can be a little more relaxing for some kids than dealing with somebody in a cold white uniform.

Schedule Early Visits

The longer a child has to anticipate the visit throughout the day, the greater the possibility that she’ll come to dread the task. Make your appointment as early in the day as possible so that the activity can be over and done with, allowing her to file the experience away and go about her day.

Prepare for a Wait

Parents often must face a wait before the doctor is able to get to them. Children easily become impatient, which can lead to bad behavior quickly. The longer they must wait without anything to keep their attention, the more negative the experience is likely to be. Bring juice boxes, snacks and favorite toys to help pass the time without incident. Be sure to check with the office about their policies regarding food and drinks prior to your first appointment though. It could make bad things worse if you pull out your child’s favorite snack only to be forced to have to put it away.

The Big Helper

Children love to be assistants in all situations. Using this fact to your advantage when visiting the doctor can be as simple as allowing them to “help” fill out forms before entering the actual office. Other tasks to get them involved can come through informing the doctor of your strategy. The more involved the child is in the process of maintaining his own health, the better.

Allow Them to Express Themselves

Younger children can find a visit to the doctor to be easier when they can project their feelings outwardly. An easy way of allowing them to do this is to let them bring stuffed animals or imaginary friends who may also being “feeling ill.” Encourage the child to comfort this friend before entering the office (which actually allows him to comfort himself). Some doctors will even be happy to offer your child’s stuffed friend an exam of its own.

Family Support

Kids need support in situations where they feel vulnerable. One parent may not be enough. If possible, schedule an appointment when both parents can be at the child’s side. He’ll feel as if he has greater strength and is in a safer environment when the entire family unit is present.

Submitted by Isabella Harris at Nanny Jobs

15 Wonderful Child Nutrition Tips

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By Rania Paula

kidseatinghealthyNowadays, kids are getting fascinated with chocolates, candy bars, junk foods like pizzas, burgers, etc. Many fast food stores are really attracting the children attention with different food offers.

However, these foods do not give the right nutrition for a kid.

Child nutrition is essential to keep your child healthy and maintain good health. As a parent, it is very important to encourage your child to take healthy and nutritious foods and explain them about the importance of the food.

You need to give a balanced diet to your child that should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, cereals, fish, poultry, lean meat, milk, yoghurt, cheese and water, which contain carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. Child nutrition is essential in keeping the child healthy, while obesity threatens the health condition of a child.

Here are some child nutrition tips:

1.Encourage your children to eat breakfast regularly. Eating breakfast will help them to concentrate at school.

2.Try to provide balanced, variety of tasty meals and snacks. Eating many different foods helps to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet which gives sufficient nutrition.

3.Children are still growing fast and active, so they need a nutrient food like red meat, dairy products, poultry and whole meal, which contain good fat and are good for healthy skin and nerve functions.

4.Also include oily fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel as they contain omega-3 that helps to promote healthy brain and eye development. Serve fish at least two times per week.

eggs5.Give healthy sources of protein like lean meat, nuts and eggs.

6.Choose a diet with plenty of grain products and fruits.

7.Try to limit the amount of bad fats and refined sugars in their diet.

8.Give food that is rich in antioxidants like almonds, berries, carrots, citrus, tomatoes and spinach.

9.Serve your child with a plenty of water and low-fat milk rather than sugary fruit drinks, sodas and high-fat milkshakes.

10.Try to avoid junk foods, fast foods and caffeine.

11.Make sure that your child is having five serving of fruits and vegetables a day as it gives a variety of micronutrients.

12.Give grill and steam food instead of frying them.

13.Snacks are an important part of a healthy diet for active children, so give nutritious and high-energy snacks.

14.Foods high in carbohydrates and fiber are essential for good health.

15.Remember that you should give your baby a low fat diet to reduce the chances of overweight.

Rania Paula, Author of this article writes for www.themenshealthblog.com. The Mens Health blog provides you an exclusive information on men’s health fitness, health, relationships, nutrition, weight loss and muscle building. You can also find information on various men’s health topics like prostate cancer, men’s sexual health, etc.

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.

Chronic Pain In Kids Up 831%. Whassup with that? – Part 2

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By Kac Young PhD, N.D., DCH

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

kidsunningtogetherFor some kids, feelings of stress, frustration, helplessness, hurt, or anger can be overwhelming. And without a way to express or release the feelings, a kid may feel like a volcano ready to erupt — or at least let off steam.

The poll also revealed important news for parents. 75% of the kids surveyed said they want and need their parents’ help in times of trouble. When they’re stressed, they’d like their parents to talk with them, help them solve the problem, try to cheer them up, or just spend time together. (2)

Talk with your kids. Notice when something is bothering them. Ask them questions with concern and no judgment. Listen with compassion. Encourage them to freely express themselves. Be patient as they find the words and always be a safe harbor for their feelings. Offer to help but don’t try to “fix” anything for them unless they ask. It helps to give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember, they are growing and learning how to function in the world every day.

If your kids are ending up in the ER with pains chances are there’s something wrong with how they are eating, too. Healthy bodies are generally free from chronic pain. To keep them healthy be sure you feed them healthy foods. Make sure they have plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber. Teach kids how to cook with soy, rice and almond cheeses. Dump the high saturated fat cheeses and use alternatives that taste great and melt well. Reduce sugar and salt in their diets. Sugar causes spikes in their metabolisms and can lead to diabetes and obesity. Salt increases blood pressure and can lead to dehydration. Skip the soda pop and the sugary fountain drinks. Teach them to moderate their intake of high-sugar products and supply them with more energy from foods packed with nutrition and not preservatives.

Make your pizzas at home using a whole wheat crust, alternative cheese and plenty of vegetables. Lose the cheeseburger and have veggie burgers instead. Reduce salt in everything you cook and avoid fast food restaurants where salt is king.

You can take the stress off your kids by helping them consume farm to table fresh foods. Make sure they get plenty of exercise, drink water instead of sodas and let them participate in preparing wholesome family meals. Ask for ideas and input. Kids are creative and they follow examples better than they follow instructions. If you keep their participation in the kitchen fun and positive, you will help keep them out of the ER. You can get more healthy recipes kids will enjoy at: www.HeartEasy.com

References:

(1) Thomas A. Coffelt, MD, from the Department of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, and colleagues analyzed the de-identified records of 3752 pediatric patients up to 18 years old who were admitted for chronic pain between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2010.

(2) http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/kids_stress.html#

Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the Heart Easy cook book sound nutritional advice is followed by family favorites that have been turned into heart healthy meals anyone can make and everyone will love.