A Guide to Children's Dental Health
The road to a bright smile begins long before the first tooth breaks through the gum. Parents play a big part in helping their children develop healthy teeth. Early monitoring by a doctor is important. Regular care by a dental professional, getting enough fluoride, and eating right are all steps to good dental health. By following these steps and teaching them to your children, you can help your children grow up to have healthy teeth and winning smiles.
Choosing Your Child's School - What to Look For When selecting your child's school, here are some questions to ask and some information to obtain.
Activity as a Way of Life
As a parent, you need to encourage healthy habits - including exercise - in your youngsters. Physical activity should become as routine a part of their lives as eating and sleeping. Reassure them that sports such as cycling (always with a helmet), swimming, basketball, jogging, walking briskly, cross-country skiing, dancing, aerobics and soccer, played regularly, are not only fun but can promote health.
ADHD - Understanding Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Almost all children have times when their behavior veers out of control. They may speed about in constant motion, make noise nonstop, refuse to wait their turn, and crash into everything around them. At other times they may drift as if in a daydream, failing to pay attention or finish what they start. However, for some children, these kinds of behaviors are more than an occasional problem.
During middle childhood, children need adult supervision. After school the presence of an adult will provide them with safety, structure, support and a sense of well-being. While some parents have their children return each afternoon to an empty home, these "latchkey" kids are more susceptible to misbehavior, risk-taking and anxiety.
Sports Programs If your child has decided that he wants to become involved in a sports activity, he will have to decide which one to select. Of course, he should choose one that he will enjoy; even though your first love may be baseball or softball, let him choose soccer if that is what appeals to him.
Age Appropriate Toys
The following is a list of toys that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for specific age groups. Use these recommendations when shopping for toys. Keep in mind that these are only guidelines. All toys can be dangerous when they are not used properly or are in poor condition. Parents should continue to watch out for mislabeled toys and always properly supervise young children.
The following is a list of toys that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for specific age groups. Use these recommendations when shopping for toys. Keep in mind that these are only guidelines. All toys can be dangerous when they are not used properly or are in poor condition. Parents should continue to watch out for mislabeled toys and always properly supervise young children.
Alaskan Nutrition and Dental Care
Proper nutrition is one of the most important influences on your youngster's well-being. A varied, balanced diet-containing vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and even some fat-promotes growth, energy and overall health.
Allowances for the Middle-Years Child
For children in this age group, an allowance serves two purposes: An allowance motivates children to assume responsibilities around the home. These tasks should contribute to the family's (and not just the child's) well-being. Yes, children need to learn to care for themselves (clean up their room), but they also need to contribute to the family.
Hiring a Babysitter Hiring a babysitter takes some planning on your part. First, it’s important to consider the ages of your children. Generally speaking, the younger the child, the older the babysitter. An older sitter often has more experience, is more mature and able to handle the demands of a young child.
Bathing Your Baby
Your infant doesn't need much bathing if you wash the diaper area thoroughly during diaper changes. Two or three times a week during her first year is plenty. If she is bathed more frequently, it may dry out her skin. During her first week or two, until the stump of the umbilical cord falls off, your newborn should have only sponge baths.
Becoming A Father
As a new dad, your role is no less complicated than your wife's. No, you didn't have to carry the baby for nine months, but you did have to make adjustments physically and emotionally as the due date approached and preparations for the baby became all important. On one hand, you may have felt as if you had nothing to do with this birth; but on the other, this is very much your baby, too.
Bed-Wetting Causes of Bed-Wetting Most children do not become fully toilet trained until they are between 2 and 4 years of age. Some may not be able to stay dry during the night until they are older. Nighttime bed-wetting, called enuresis, is normal and very common among preschoolers. It affects about 40 percent of 3-year-olds.
Bee, Wasp and Insect Stings
As children play outside more often during the summer, they can come into contact with stinging insects. A few children have severe reactions, such as difficulty in breathing and swelling all over the body. Your child's reaction to a bite or sting will depend on her sensitivity to the particular insect's venom. While most children have only mild reactions, those who are allergic to certain insect venoms can have severe symptoms that require emergency treatment.
There are few areas that raise more concern among parents than their child's behavior. While their pediatrician may be able to prescribe an antibiotic to cure a sore throat or an ear infection, solutions for childhood behavior problems are not nearly as clear-cut, nor is there a consensus on the best approach to discipline.
Beyond Bones: Building Better Bones with a 3-a-day of Dairy
Calcium: Building Your Bone Bank Calcium does not work alone. After you eat or drink foods that contain calcium, your body must absorb the calcium through your intestines. To do this, your body needs a small amount of vitamin D. If your body does not absorb enough calcium, you could develop Rickets, a disease that softens bones.
Mastering the art of riding a two-wheel bicycle gives most children a feeling of pride and newfound independence. Overnight they acquire a means of transportation to school or the playground.
Improving Your Child’s Body Image As pediatricians see increasing numbers of children and teens with eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia and obesity, we must be gravely concerned about the influence of the media on youth perception of ideal body shape and size.
Bonding With Your New Baby
If you have a delivery without complications, you'll be able to spend the first hour or so after birth holding, stroking and looking at your baby. Because babies are usually alert and very responsive during this time, researchers have labeled this the "sensitive period." The first exchanges of eye contact, sounds and touches between the two of you are all part of a process called bonding, which helps lay the foundation for your relationship as parent and child.
Healthy teeth are essential to an attractive appearance, clear speech, and proper nutrition. The primary teeth must be well cared for if the permanent teeth are to be sound and well positioned.
Breast Feeding Logistics
Immediately after delivery, your baby should be placed on your chest or abdomen, skin to skin. Babies are very alert after they are born, and they are usually hungry, too! Your baby's first feeding can take place within 30 minutes to an hour after delivery. The protection against infection that human milk provides is important immediately after birth. Your milk will also give the baby nutrients to prevent a low blood sugar level. This early taste of your milk also stimulates the baby to nurse better later.
Breast To Bottle
Many breastfeeding mothers use an occasional bottle of expressed, frozen breastmilk or formula because they need to be away from the baby. In unusual cases, a pediatrician may recommend a combination of breastfeeding and formula if the mother is returning to work, or if she is ill or exhausted.
Brothers and Sisters
As their children grow up, parents are often surprised to discover how different each child is from the others, even though they have grown up in the same family. Of course, differences among siblings are the rule, not the exception. One challenge for parents is to deal with these differences without seeming to favor one child over another. Except for twins, the most obvious differences among siblings are in age and sex.
Take Steps to Prevent Bullying Whether on the school playground or in the neighborhood park, children in the middle years sometimes find themselves the target of bullies. When that happens, these bullies can not only frighten a youngster, shaking his confidence and spoiling his play, but they can also cause bodily injury.
CALCIUM CRISIS & BONE HEALTH
Calcium is a mineral that many parts of your body require. Its main job is to build strong bones and teeth. About 99 percent of your body's calcium is in your bones and teeth. A very small amount of calcium is in body fluids such as blood. But this small amount performs vital functions.
Car Seat Safety
Every state requires that infants and children ride buckled up. However, state laws do not always require the safest way to transport a child. More children are still killed as passengers in car crashes than from any other type of injury. Using a car safety seat correctly can help prevent injuries to young children, but it is not as easy as you think. Just a little mistake in how the seat is used could cause serious injury to your child.
Preparing for a New School Year or a New School The start of each school year can be a particularly exciting - and anxious - time during middle childhood. While youngsters may look forward to seeing their old friends again, they might be apprehensive about a new teacher and, in some cases, a new school. In the days and weeks immediately preceding the first day of school, make an effort to find out some basic information about what awaits your child. For instance:
Nearly all mothers and fathers can point to incidents in which they fell short of their ideal as parents - perhaps a moment of frustration in which they believed they were somehow abusive to their youngsters when, in retrospect, they really hadn't been. Most parents will never actually be child abusers, and most children will never be abused.
Child Care: Age by Age
The key to good child care is whether the caregiver can adapt to the needs of children and families. Not all children of the same age are at the same level of development; each child has unique character traits. A good caregiver understands these personal and developmental differences and creates a program to meet each child's needs. When your child is an infant, the number of caregivers should be limited. He can only form a trusting relationship with a few people.
Childproofing Checklist: General Principles
Here are some general suggestions and ideas that can be used throughout your home. Since children grow and develop new skills quickly, it is important to conduct a "full-house survey" every 6 months. Every home is different, and no checklist is complete and appropriate for every child and every household.
Children and Pacifiers
Does your baby suck his thumb or use a pacifier? Don't worry, these habits are very common and have a soothing and calming effect. The need to suck is present in all infants. Some infants suck their thumbs even before they are born, and some will do it right after being born. Some children don't suck their thumbs, instead they rely on a pacifier. Pacifiers usuallly elicit strong responses from parents and caregivers. Some oppose their use because of the way they look.
Children Who Are Shy, Rejected or Neglected
Although childhood shyness is commonplace, it concerns many parents, especially those who place great value on sociability. Some children become shy because of harsh life experiences, but most are born that way. For some middle-years children, social situations and interactions can be terrifying. When they come in contact with new children, they rarely feel at ease.
Choosing a Pet
When selecting a pet, keep your child's developmental stage in mind. If this is going to be his pet - and thus he agrees to care for it - choose an animal whose needs can be met by your child. Some pets - like dogs or cats - require daily attention; they must be fed, groomed, cleaned up after and exercised. Others - like fish, turtles, birds, guinea pigs and hamsters - demand minimal care and may be a good choice for a younger child who needs to learn about what is involved in having a pet.
Choosing a Summer Camp
Summer camp can be a rewarding and enriching part of growing up. It offers a time for children to learn about themselves, other people, and about aspects of the world to which they might not normally be exposed...
Choosing Books for Children
The Wonderful World of Books A child as young as 6 months of age can begin to enjoy books. The following are some age-by-age activities to help your young child learn to enjoy books and reading.
Choosing Healthy Snacks
Many children arrive home from school and head straight to the refrigerator for a snack. There is nothing wrong with moderate snacking, since youngsters have high levels of activity and may need more calories than three meals a day provide to meet their energy needs.
As children enter and move through their school years, they become increasingly able to manage matters like homework and school projects on their own. Consequently, each year they should take on more responsibilities in the classroom and at home.
Understanding Chronic Illnesses Some children are born with or develop lifelong, chronic conditions. These children may have a serious physical disability, such as spina bifida or an injury-related disability; a sensory deficit such as blindness or deafness; or a chronic condition like asthma, epilepsy, diabetes or literally hundreds of other chronic diseases of childhood.
Some parents wonder whether circumcision is a necessary procedure for their child. While scientific studies show some medical benefits of circumcision, these benefits are not sufficient for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised. However, parents may want their sons circumcised for religious, social and cultural reasons. Parents considering circumcision for their sons often have similar questions about this procedure.
The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against routine co-sleeping in a family bed. Tiny infants can be smothered under bedclothes or the weight of a much larger body. Co-sleeping – parents and children sharing a bed – is a widespread practice in many cultures and it is claimed that children suffer no long-lasting ill effects.
Common Asthma Triggers
Certain things cause, or trigger, "asthma attacks" or make asthma worse. Some of the common asthma triggers are: Infections in the airways, Viral infections of the ear, nose, and throat, Other infections (such as pneumonia), Things in the environment (outside or indoor air you breathe), Cigarette smoke, Irritants in the air (air pollution), Cold air, dry air, Sudden changes in the weather.
Common Colds and Young Children
Your child probably will have more colds, or upper respiratory infections, than any other illness. In the first 2 years of life alone, most youngsters have 8 to 10 colds. If your child is in child care or if there are older school-age children in your house, she may have even more because colds spread easily among children who are in close contact with one another. Fortunately, most colds go away by themselves and do not lead to anything worse.
Common Feeding Problems And Burping Techniques
Young babies naturally fuss and get cranky when they swallow air during feedings. Although this occurs in both breastfed and bottle-fed infants, it's seen more often with the bottle. When it happens, you're better off stopping the feeding than letting your infant fuss and nurse at the same time. This continued fussing will cause her to swallow even more air, which will only increase her discomfort and may make her spit up.
Common Myths About Immunizations
"I read that the DTP vaccine can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)." There is no scientific evidence that links the DTaP or DTP shot and SIDS. This myth continues because the first dose is given at 2 months of age, when the risk of SIDS is greatest. However, these events are not connected.
Common Over-the-Counter Medications
Over-the-counter medications (OTCs) can be bought at your local drug store or grocery store without a doctor's order. This does not mean that OTCs are harmless. Like prescription medications, OTCs can be very dangerous to a child if given incorrectly. You need to read and understand the instructions before giving OTCs to your child. The following list describes some common OTCs for children. Talk to your pediatrician before giving any medications to your child.
Common Vision and Eye Problems
pisaligned Eyes (pseudostrabismus) Sometimes infants appear to have crossed eyes, yet the eyes are truly straight. The cause for pseudostrabismus is presence of a wide nasal bridge or extra folds of skin between the nose and the inside of the eye that make the child have a cross-eyed appearance. Most children outgrow this problem, but you should contact your doctor for an examination.
Communicating With Children About Disasters
In response to the tragic events unfolding in New York and Washington, DC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) would like to offer some advice on how to communicate with children and adolescents during times of crisis.
Components of High Self-Esteem
You know your own child better than anyone and should be able to pick up the signs - through behavior and words - if your youngster has a low self-esteem problem. Sometimes, however, you might be too close to her, or you might have difficulty seeing the world through her eyes. In cases like this, teachers, coaches, relatives and friends might be able to help. No matter what your child's self-esteem may be, your goal should be to help her feel as good as possible about herself.
Whether it's costume parties, dress-up games, or Halloween, kids love to put on costumes. It can be a great opportunity for children to experiment with different roles and personalities.
Your baby usually will be unattended when in his crib, so this should be a totally safe environment. Falls are the most common injury associated with cribs, even though they are the easiest to prevent. Children are most likely to fall out of the crib when the mattress is raised too high for their height, or when the side rail is left down.
Dealing With Prejudice
Sadly, nearly four decades after the civil rights movement of the 1960s, our children are growing up in a society in which prejudice and bigotry are still commonplace. Although laws have been implemented and many attitudes have changed, bigotry based on racial, ethnic, and religious grounds remains too much a part of the daily lives of children and families. Our children are growing up in a time when the racial and ethnic composition of our country is rapidly changing.
Depression and Self-Esteem
Girls In the middle years, girls find it easy to express their emotions verbally, and their self-esteem tends to be strong and resilient. They may be full of themselves--confident, adventurous, secure and certain of their ability to do valuable things in the world. From their youthful point of view, anything is possible. However, as girls approach and enter adolescence, their self-esteem can become more fragile.
Developmental Disabilities - An Overview
It's natural to compare your child with others his age. When the neighbor's baby walks at 10 months, for example, you may worry if yours does not crawl until 13 months. And if your toddler is using words at an earlier age than his playmates, probably you'll be very proud. Usually, however, such differences are not significant. Each child has his own unique rate of development, so some learn certain skills faster than others.
Developmental Milestones by the End of 12 Months
Shy or anxious with strangers. Cries when mother or father leaves. Enjoys imitating people in his play. Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys. Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings. (What do you do when he refuses a food?). Tests parental responses to his behavior. (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?). May be fearful in some situations.
Diabetes mellitus occurs when specialized cells of the pancreas (a gland located behind the stomach) do not produce adequate amounts of the hormone insulin. Insulin permits the body to process proteins, fat and sugars in food to make body tissues, produce energy and store energy. In people without diabetes, insulin is produced as needed to process food. But in people with diabetes, who have a reduced supply of insulin or none at all, the nutrients cannot be used by the cells but remain in the blood.
There are times when your child will test your limits and rules. At these times, how you respond is as important as the ground rules you've established. When your child does misbehave, try the following techniques. Not only will they encourage your child to cooperate now, but they will teach him or her how to behave in the future as well.
The ear has three main parts: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. A tiny tube, called the eustachian tube, connects the middle ear to the back of the throat and nose. When a child has a cold, nose or throat infection, or allergy, the eustachian tube can become blocked, causing a buildup of fluid in the middle ear. If this fluid becomes infected by bacteria or a virus, it can cause swelling of the eardrum and pain in the ear. This type of ear infection is called acute otitis media.
Facts About HIV and AIDS
AIDS, which stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is a very serious disease that affects children, teens, and adults. It is caused by a virus called the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus is acquired and causes a deficiency in the body's immune system. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. When someone is infected with HIV, it means the virus is attacking the immune system. The immune system is the body's way of fighting infections and helping prevent some types of cancer.
First Aid For Boo Boos
Your child's natural curiosity and eagerness are likely to produce some cuts and scrapes along the way. The shrieks and cries that accompany these injuries may bring terror to your heart, but his reaction usually will be far more severe than the actual damage. In most cases, good treatment will require little more than cleansing the injury and providing plenty of reassurance (and perhaps a kiss on the minor bump or bruise).
Babies do not require fluoride supplementation during the first 6 months of life. After that time, if they continue to receive breast milk as their major source of milk and water, fluoride supplementation is advised if local drinking water contains less than .3 ppm of fluoride. Your pediatrician or pediatric dentist can advise you on the need for fluoride drops for your baby.
Many types of food can cause allergic reactions in middle childhood. The most common of these are cow's milk and other dairy products, egg whites, poultry, seafood, wheat, nuts, soy and chocolate.
Perhaps more than any other factor, your youngster's pattern of growth and ultimate height will be influenced by heredity.
Good dental health is an important part of your child's overall health and well-being. There are important habits to establish early on that will help ensure your child has a healthy smile for years to come.
Hearing Loss in Children
Most children experience mild hearing loss when fluid accumulates in the middle ear in response to allergies or colds. This hearing loss is temporary. In many children, perhaps one in ten, fluid stays in the middle ear because of ear infection. They don't hear as well as they should during the infections and sometimes have delays in talking. Much less common is the permanent kind of hearing loss that always endangers normal speech and language development.
Helping Your Child Adjust to Divorce
Every year, more than one million children in the United States experience the divorce of their parents. The average divorce takes place within the first 7 years of marriage, so many of these children are under the age of 6. For many children, divorce can be as difficult as the death of a parent. The entire family is faced with the challenge of adjusting to a new way of life. When this happens, children need the guidance, patience, and love of both parents to help them through.
Immunizations and Adverse Reactions
Reactions to vaccines may occur, but they are usually mild. Severe reactions to vaccines are very rare. Symptoms of a more serious reaction include the following:
Immunizations for the School-Age Child
The success of modern vaccines is one of the truly extraordinary accomplishments of medical science. In earlier generations many children contracted communicable diseases like polio and whooping cough, frequently with devastating consequences. Some children died; others were left with permanent impairments, perhaps dependent on a wheelchair.
Ideally, your baby will continue on his diet of breastmilk or formula without any additions from ages one month to four months. The amount he consumes at each feeding should gradually increase from about four or five ounces during the second month, to five or six ounces by four months. His daily intake should reach about 30 ounces by four months. Ordinarily, this will supply all his nutritional needs at this age.
Infant Sleep Positioning and SIDS
Parents and caregivers should now consider placing healthy infants on their backs when putting them down to sleep. This is because recent studies have shown an increased incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants who sleep on their stomachs. There is no evidence that sleeping on the back is harmful to healthy infants.
What is jaundice? Jaundice is a common condition in newborn infants that usually shows up shortly after birth. In most cases, it goes away on its own. If not, it can be treated easily. A baby has jaundice when bilirubin, which is produced naturally by the body, builds up faster than a newborn's liver can break it down and get rid of it in the baby's stool.
During the first two or three years of life, your child is bound to go through a phase of putting things other than food into his mouth. He'll chew on his toys, taste the sand in the playground, and sample the cat's food if given the opportunity. As annoying as this can be for you, few of these things will cause him any serious harm, as long as you keep poisons and sharp objects out of his reach. Lead is one dangerous substance; however, that your child can consume without your knowledge.
Learning to Read - An Age-by-Age Guide
A child as early as 6 months of age can begin to enjoy books. The following age-by-age activities can help your young child learn language and begin to make the connection between words and meaning.
Maintaining a Healthy Body
Daily activity. It's the key to keeping your body running smoothly and efficiently. Without activity, your body becomes sluggish and more prone to illness and injury. That's why it's important to make exercise a part of your lifestyle.
Making Car Trips Fun
It is possible to keep your child safe and happy on family car trips. Here's a few suggestions to ensure everyone gets there safe and sound:
Milk Myths And Nutrition Role Models
Milk is an important and inexpensive source of necessary fats, protein, calcium, and vitamins A and D. After one year of age, you can make the switch from breastmilk or formula to regular milk. Just be sure to give your child whole milk. Children under the age of two need the fat calories whole milk offers. Once your child reaches two years of age, you should switch to fat-free, or low-fat milk.
Having twins or multiple children means much more than simply having two babies or more at once, and this challenge goes beyond having twice the work or pleasure. Twins and multiples quite frequently are born early and therefore tend to be smaller than the average newborn, so you may need to consult your pediatrician even more frequently than you would with a single baby. Feeding twins or more, whether by breast or bottle, also requires some special strategies, and the doctor can provide advice and support.
Nutritional Needs of School-Age Children
Is your child eating a healthy diet? Proper nutrition is one of the most important influences on your youngster's well-being. A varied, balanced diet-containing vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and even some fat-promotes growth, energy and overall health. Food preferences are developed early in life, mostly during early and middle childhood. Once they are established, they are hard to break. Thus, the earlier you encourage healthful food choices for your child, the better.
Obesity And Nutrition
Studies show that today's youngsters tend to be heavier than their counterparts were a generation ago, and that over 30 percent of America's school-age youngsters are now overweight. That can contribute to physical problems such as high blood pressure, limit a child's athletic abilities and impair self-esteem. We live in a society that emphasizes thinness, and an overweight child is likely to be teased by peers.
Overall Dental Health
Good dental health is an important aspect of your child's overall health. Daily dental cleaning should start as soon as your infant's first tooth appears.
Overscheduling: Stress and Your Child
In middle childhood, pressures may come from a number of sources-from within the child herself, as well as from parents, teachers, peers and the larger society in which the child lives. Pressure can take many forms that challenge children and to which they must respond and, often, adapt. Whether these are events of lasting consequence like the divorce of their parents, or merely a minor hassle like losing their homework, these demands or stresses are a part of children's daily existence.
Children's food preferences veer all over the menu: Today they want third helpings of spinach, tomorrow they never eat anything green. Trying as it can be to keep up with the whims of an easy-going child, the picky eater presents a challenge of a different order.
Whether it's a swing set in the backyard or the more elaborate apparatus in the park, there are many positive things to say about playground equipment. The use of this equipment encourages children to test and expand their physical abilities. However, there are some inevitable dangers. The risks can be minimized when equipment is well designed and children are taught basic playground manners. Before allowing your child to play, take a close look at the equipment and the surfaces underneath.
Preparing Your Other Children for a New Baby
If you have other children, you'll need to plan carefully how and when to tell them about the new baby. A child who is 4 or older should be told as soon as you start telling friends and relatives...
Protecting Your Child from the Sun
Warm, sunny days are wonderful. The sun feels so good on your skin. And with a little precaution, you can be sure everyone stays safe from the sun's dangerous rays. By learning more about sun safety, you can help protect your entire family and develop safe sun habits that can last a lifetime. The sun is the main cause of skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. There will be a million new cases of skin cancer this year.
Recognizing an Asthma Attack
You should learn to recognize when your child's asthma symptoms are getting worse or are becoming severe. At times your child's airways may become more irritated and narrowed. If this happens, your child may suddenly start to cough, experience difficulty in breathing, or notice a gradual worsening of asthma symptoms. This is usually called an "asthma attack." During asthma attacks, the airways are more obstructed and the airflow decreases.
As a parent, you have many vital gifts to offer your child. Some are subtle, but all are very powerful. Giving them will make you a good parent. Receiving them will help your child become a healthy, happy, capable individual.
Sharing, Caring and Quality Time - Part I
Giving your child the guidance and support he needs to grow up healthy involves all the skills of parenthood: nurturing, guiding, protecting, sharing and serving as an example or model. Like other skills, these must be learned and perfected through practice. Some will be easier for you than others. Some will seem easier on certain days than on others. These variations are a normal part of raising a child, but they do make the job challenging.
Sharing, Caring and Quality Time - Part II
Giving love means more than just saying "I love you." Your child can't understand what the words mean unless you also treat him with love. Be spontaneous, relaxed and affectionate with him. Give him plenty of physical contact through hugging, kissing, rocking and playing. Take the time to talk, sing and read with him every day. Listen and watch as he responds to you.
Shopping with Children
Shopping with your child can be a positive experience. For younger children, it can be an opportunity to learn colors and words. Try asking your young child to look for all the boxes or cans that are red. Or have him read the labels to find one that says, "cheese." Use these learning opportunities to increase your child's awareness of the world around him. And because these activities are distracting, it can help cut down on the chance of a temper tantrum occurring.
Few things are more upsetting than children who do not get along. No matter how hard you try to keep the peace, your children are likely to fight over toys, pick on or tattle on one another, and tease and criticize each other. You may wonder, "What have I done wrong?" The answer is probably nothing. Sibling rivalry is a natural part of growing up. Sibling rivalry between children who are under 4 years of age tends to be at its worst when they are less than 3 years apart.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder, characterized primarily by chronic anemia and periodic episodes of pain. The underlying problem involves hemoglobin, a component of the red cells in the blood. The hemoglobin molecules in each red blood cell carry oxygen from the lungs to the body organs and tissues and bring back carbon dioxide to the lungs.
Single Parent Adoption
It is increasingly common for a single person to adopt a child on his or her own. Adoption can bring special challenges to parents. The child may be a baby just a few days old, or she could be school age. The adopted child may be of another country, race, or culture. As a result, adoptive families can easily feel different from other families. The differences are real, but the rewards of working through these issues can be great.
Single Parent Families
Single parent families are becoming more common. Most children of divorce spend at least some years in single parent households. Another increasingly large group of children live with single parents who were never married. A smaller number of children have widowed parents.
Sleep Tips For Parents
Newborn infants have irregular sleep cycles, which take about 6 months to mature. While newborns sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours per day, they may only sleep 1 or 2 hours at a time. As children get older, the total number of hours they need for sleep decreases and they also begin to sleep for longer periods of time. However, different children have different needs.
Special Events in the Family
Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, weddings, and summer vacations - these are special times in a family's life and can create lasting memories. However, as treasured and important as these events are, some families try to make too much of them. Parents may try to turn each birthday party into the best one ever. Or they feel they have to fulfill every wish on their children's gift lists. Inevitably, that kind of attitude creates anxiety and disappointment, since few events turn out perfectly.
Children engaged in sports and athletic activities need to be aware of their need for fluid intake. Additional liquids are often overlooked, both by children engaged in sports and by their coaches. Yet during exercise, perspiring youngsters lose fluid that must be replaced to prevent dehydration and overheating.
About 10 percent of children are living in stepfamilies, and the number is growing. Due primarily to the high rate of divorce and remarriage, children often find themselves sharing a household with a new stepparent and his or her children.
Stimulating Speech & Language Development
Language Development: Ages 8 to 12 Months Toward the end of the first year, your baby will begin to communicate what she wants by pointing, crawling or gesturing toward her target. She'll also imitate many of the gestures she sees adults make as they talk. This nonverbal communication is only a temporary measure; however, while she learns how to phrase her messages in words.
Switching To Solids
At four months, your baby's diet should consist of breastmilk and/or formula (with added vitamins or iron if your pediatrician recommends it), but by four to six months you can begin adding solid foods. Some babies are ready for solids as early as three months, but most have not lost their tongue-thrust reflex at that age.
Symptoms of an Allergy
An allergy happens when the human body's natural defense system (immune system) overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance (like pollen). Allergies can appear in several different ways: Asthma is when airways swell and air passages in the lungs become narrow. This may be triggered by an allergic reaction, although nonallergic triggers can be involved. Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction mainly in the nasal passages.
Taking Medications Safely
Medications come in two main forms - pills and liquids. Always read and follow the directions for the type of medication you are giving. This is especially important for liquid medicines. Many children's medicines come in liquid form because they are easier to swallow than pills. But they must be used correctly. Too often parents misread the directions, giving children several times the recommended dosage. This can be very dangerous, especially if given over a period of several days.
Talking With Your Young Child About Sex
Learning about sex begins as soon as your child is able to view, listen and sense the world around her. Sexuality is part of every person's life, no matter what the age. As your child grows and develops, she may giggle with friends about "private parts," share "dirty" jokes, and scan through dictionaries looking up taboo words. Her curiosity is natural, and children of all ages have questions. When she is ready to ask you, as a parent you should be ready to answer.
The Flu Virus
The flu - every child seems to get it at some time or another, right? But what is the flu? Can it be prevented? Should my child get a flu shot? These are just a few of the most common questions parents have about influenza (the flu). The flu is an illness caused by a virus. There are three different flu viruses, types A, B, and C. Types A (the most common) and B (usually milder) cause the usual epidemics of the flu. Flu viruses usually strike between December and early April.
The Internet and Your Child
Even without trying, your child may come across material on the Internet that is obscene, violent, hate- filled, racist, or offensive in other ways. One type of material, child pornography, is even illegal. If you or your child encounter child pornography, you should report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE LOST (843-5678). Though other material is not illegal, you should take the following steps to keep it away from your child.
Toilet Training Readiness
Bowel and bladder control is a necessary social skill. Teaching your child to use the toilet takes time, understanding, and patience. The important thing to remember is that you cannot rush your child into using the toilet.
Toy Safety and Choking Prevention
Children love to play with toys. Toys can be a great way for children to learn about themselves and their world and to develop their skills. As a parent, you are responsible for ensuring that your child's toys are safe and appropriate for his age. The following guidelines can help you make decisions about what toys are best suited for your child.
Trampolines are often described as fun for kids and a great way to get exercise. However, an estimated 83,000 people were injured on trampolines in 1996, more than double the number of people injured in 1990. Most of these injuries happened on home trampolines. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that trampolines never be used at home, in routine gym classes, or on playgrounds.
Treating Diarrhea and Dehydration
Most children should continue to eat a normal diet including formula or milk while they have mild diarrhea. Breastfeeding should continue. If your baby seems bloated or gassy after drinking cow's milk or formula, call your pediatrician to discuss a temporary change in diet. Special fluids are not usually necessary for children with mild illness. Children with moderate diarrhea can be cared for easily at home with close supervision, special fluids, and your pediatrician's advice.
TV and Video Game Violence
Just as a print-literate child learns to be critical of the things he reads, he should also be able to do the same with moving pictures and sounds. Your child can learn to understand both the obvious and hidden messages in all media. Once children learn media education skills, they will begin to ask questions and think about the media messages they watch, read and hear. And they usually will enjoy doing it.
Does your infant have a regular fussy period each day when it seems you can do nothing to comfort her? This is quite common, particularly between 6:00 p.m. and midnight, just when you, too, are feeling tired from the day's trials and tribulations. These periods of crankiness may feel like torture, especially if you have other demanding children or work to do, but fortunately they don't last long.
Understanding Infant Crying
Crying serves several useful purposes for your baby. It gives him a way to call for help when he's hungry or uncomfortable. It helps him shut out sights, sounds and other sensations that are too intense to suit him. And it helps him release tension.
Understanding Learning Disabilities
During the preschool years, children undergo rapid change and growth - physically, mentally and emotionally. And they do this at different rates. So it is important to know whether they are ready and able to succeed in school.
Vaccine Recommendations For Travelers Aged 2 Years or Older
The following vaccines should be reviewed with a health care provider as far in advance of travel as possible to ensure the proper scheduling of recommended vaccines. For travelers older than 2 years of age the following immunizations normally given during childhood should be up-to-date.
Vitamins and minerals are important elements of the total nutritional requirements of your child. Because the human body itself is unable to produce adequate amounts of many vitamins, they must be obtained from the diet. The body needs these vitamins in only tiny amounts, and in a balanced diet they are usually present in sufficient quantities in the foods your youngster eats. Thus, in middle childhood, supplements are rarely needed.
Weaning to a Cup
Once your baby is feeding himself more often, it's a natural time to introduce him to drinking from a cup. To get started, give him a trainer cup that has two handles and a snap-on lid with a spout, or use small plastic juice glasses. Either option will minimize spillage as he experiments with different ways to hold (and most likely throw) the cup.
What You Should Know About Prescription Medications
If your child is sick with a serious illness, your pediatrician may write a prescription for medicine. Prescription medications must be ordered by a doctor. If your child needs a prescription medication, it is very important that you understand the pediatrician's and pharmacist's instructions. The following list of questions will help you find out all you need to know.
Why Immunizations are Important
"I've heard that vaccines are not needed because these diseases were disappearing even before the vaccines were developed." This is not true. Many diseases do not occur or spread as much as they used to, thanks to better nutrition, less crowded living conditions, antibiotics, and, most importantly, vaccines. However, this does not mean that the bacteria and viruses that are responsible for these diseases have disappeared.
You and Your Pediatrician
Children have different health care needs than adults - both medical and emotional. In choosing a pediatrician, you can know that your child is being treated by an expert in children's health. Pediatricians are trained to prevent and manage health problems in infants, children, teens, and young adults. Older patients trust their pediatrician, because they have known one another for many years.