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Sticker Shock for Those Considering Starting or Expanding Their Family

By Lisa Pecos

If you’re considering starting a family, chances are that you’ve given some thought to the extra expense that having a child will add to your responsibilities, but exactly how much it costs may surprise you. A report just released last week is giving wannabe parents a bad case of sticker shock, reporting that raising a child can cost you close to a quarter of a million dollars.

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6 Fun Fall Activities for Families

Fall Activities AVV

By Jamell Andrews

Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t have to mean making life all about school and work. The season of falling leaves and all things pumpkin-spice offers a whole slew of fun, family-friendly activities to enjoy. Here are 6 fun things to do as a family this fall.

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Report Finds Medicine is Over-Prescribed for Young Children with ADHD

Attention disorder medicines

By Jamell Andrews

Though behavior therapy is the recommended first line of treatment for young children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a report has found that more children are being treated with medication instead.

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How Much Sleep Do Your Kids and Teens Really Need?

Sleeping Teen in class AVV

By Lisa Pecos

Chances are that you’ve long been told that you should be aiming for 8 hours of sleep every night, but does that go for your children too? And if you struggle to get in a full 8 hours on most nights, is it realistic to expect that your child or teen can? Experts report that more than one third of the American population doesn’t get enough sleep and this includes children and teens.

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Protecting Your Kids from Ticks

ticks and kids

By Jamell Andrews

With the warm weather and coming summer vacation, children will be spending more time outdoors. The warmer weather at this time of year also means that that tick season is in full swing. A tick bite can put your child at risk for different diseases, with Lyme disease being especially concerning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the United States yearly.

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W.A.T.C.H. Releases 2016 Summer Safety Report of Most Dangerous Toys

baby eating plastic toy - dangerous toys

By Lisa Pecos

World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has released their 2016 Summer Safety Report and chances are that some of your child’s favorite warm-weather toys have made the list. With emergency departments expecting to treat approximately 2.7 million children injured in accidents this summer, parents and caregivers should have a look at the list and through the toy box.

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Recognizing Sensory Processing Issues In Children

Sensory Processing Issues

As a parent who has a child with special needs, you know how difficult it can be to find out why your child is finding life much harder than other children their age.

Finding out why your child is not relating well to the world is the first step to helping your child cope.

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Summer Child Care: What to Do with Older Kids this summer

daycare with teacher

daycare with teacher

By Jamell Andrews

Along with trying to combat the dreaded summer vacation boredom that’s bound to rear its ugly head on an occasion or two, parents of older children also find themselves scrambling for child care solutions when school’s out but work isn’t.

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Dads: Your Long Commute Could Have a Negative Effect on Your Kids

By Lisa Pecos

We all know that the commute to work can be stressful and the longer the commute, the more of a pain it is. Past studies have looked into the impact that long commutes have on your health and have found that those with longer commutes are more likely to be overweight, have high blood pressure, and develop cardiovascular disease. Long commutes have also been associated with lower life satisfaction and a higher risk of marital issues, including marriage breakdown.

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How Our Lifestyle Choices Affect Our Kids

Parent Teaching Son

I learned it by watching you!” is a tagline that has taken up permanent residence in our collective cultural brain. Even if we don’t remember the actual commercial in which the young son told his father he learned his drug-seeking/abusive behavior by watching him, we know the line. Moreover, we know that it isn’t just a memorable tagline from the War on Drugs. We know that it is scientifically true: our kids learn their habits, tics, traits and even preferences by watching us.

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7 Tips for Being a Better Stepparent

By Jamell Andrews

With the rate of failed marriages increasing, more and more people are becoming step-parents. Stepping into the role of parent for a child that already has a mother and father isn’t always easy. Even with the challenges you may face, being a stepparent can be rewarding and you can form a strong and loving bond.

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Helicopter Parenting – Are You Guilty of It?

AVV

By Jamell Andrews

It’s hard to imagine that a parent could take too much interest or responsibility for their child or give them too much attention. Isn’t that a parent’s job and right as the person responsible for bringing them into this world and loves them more than anything? It turns out that you could be walking the fine line from a good parent to a helicopter parent that is doing more harm than good.

What Is a Helicopter Parent?

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Making Healthy Foods Fun for Kids

By Jamell Andrews

Most children will take a processed snack pack or treat over fruits and veggies any day, but with childhood obesity becoming an epidemic, finding ways to make healthy foods more appealing is more important than ever.

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with more than 1 in every 3 children being considered overweight or obese. This increases their risk of joint problems, heart disease, and much more.

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Unusual Causes for Asthma Attacks

Odd Things that May Trigger Asthma Attacks

Asthma is an ongoing breathing disorder characterized by difficulty breathing, coughing and sometimes wheezing. About half of all asthma attacks are produced by various allergens, which irritate and inflame the airways; the rest can be caused by factors that have nothing to do with allergies, but which still irritate the airways and cause them to constrict.

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Can Vaccines Cause Peanut and Other Food Allergies?

Boy and vaccine syringe

Do Vaccines Cause Peanut and Other Food Allergies in Children?

No child health topic is being more hotly debated in the United States right now than mandatory vaccinations — and the side effects, sometimes quite serious or deadly, that many parents believe are a direct result of vaccines given to infants and young children.

Greater numbers of children than ever before are developing food allergies in the U.S., and parents are wondering if heavy vaccine schedules are to blame.

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Reducing Exposure to Environmental Allergens

Child's Allergies

Control Your Child’s Allergies Naturally

Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of our allergy prevention report, we discussed the importance of feeding our children foods that are known to strengthen the immune system and cleanse the body, which will help prevent or lessen allergy symptoms. That is preventing allergies from the inside out, which is essential. But it is also important to prevent them from the outside in — to limit the allergy triggers to which an allergic child is exposed.

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Natural Children’s Allergy Prevention

Children Flu Sneeze Elbow Sick

Natural Ways to Prevent Your Child’s Allergies

Part 1 of 2

Spring is upon us. Flowers — and allergies — are in full bloom.

Are there natural steps that parents can take, to prevent or lessen children’s seasonal allergies? Yes, there are many.

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Helping Your Child Prepare for Tests

Elementary school children writing in class

12 Tips to Help Your Child Do Well on Tests

Other than making sure your child gets plenty of study time to prepare for a test, are there specific things that you and he or she can do, to insure they do their best on a test?

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Diabetes in Young Children

SONY DSC

More White, American Children Getting Type 1 Diabetes

Cases of type 1 diabetes are increasing among white American children, especially among 5- to 9-year-olds, according to a study published recently in the journal Diabetes.

Almost 6,000 new cases of the disease were diagnosed in the United States among white teenagers and children, ages 19 and younger, between 2002 and 2009. Most new cases were in children between 5 and 9 years old; smaller increases were seen among children and teens 10 to 19 years old. No increase was seen in cases in children 4 years and younger. Boys were slightly more likely to develop the illness than girls.

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Cigarette Vapor Damages Children’s Lungs

Young man exhaling smoke from electric cigarette

Children’s Lungs Could Be Especially Vulnerable to E-Cigarette Vapor

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, have become popular in the last few years among many people trying to quit regular cigarettes; they were heralded when they were introduced as a much safer way for people to get the nicotine they want, without the thousands of chemicals that are often present in conventional cigarettes.

But new studies are beginning to show that e-cigarettes may not be as safe as consumers were led to believe. One new study has found that vapor from these cigarettes may increase young people’s susceptibility to respiratory infections, including infection by rhinovirus, the most common cold virus.

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Hearing Damage from Loud Music

girl with headphones

Warn Your Children About Hearing Loss from New Music Players

Many young children and teenagers got MP3 players as holiday gifts last month; doctors want to urge parents to caution their children not to play their music too loud, to avoid noise-induced hearing loss.

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‘Rat-Bite Fever’ from Pet Rats Can Sicken or Even Kill, Says CDC Report

rat in kitchen

As pets go, most parents would agree that rats are not among the cutest (though we know some kids might disagree). It turns out there is a good reason not to cave in and get your child a pet rat, if that’s what he or she wants.

A 10-year-old boy from San Diego, CA died in 2013 after being scratched by his pet rat, highlighting the risks from handling the pet rodents, according to a report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Some Words of Caution Before You Buy Your Children’s Holiday Toys

Holiday_Toys

Before you buy toys for the children in your life this holiday season, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) — and doctors — caution you to keep some important things in mind.

PIRG has released its annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, which evaluates many children’s toys that are being sold during the holiday season. As always, there were toys that PIRG tested and concluded did not meet safety standards of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, or that had other problems that make the toys dangerous.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Children Healthy — Naturally!

Happy family cooking together

It’s good to know that in our day and age, medical knowledge and the ability to obtain information have increased so vastly, compared to even just a few decades ago. But even now, prevention is a fundamentally important way to maintain our health and that of our children, so that we won’t need medical interventions too often.

And what are some of the most essential ways to keep our children healthy the natural way? Here are five that should be on every family’s list.

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Better Solutions to Discipline Children than Screaming!

Parents_Screaming

Let’s face it, what parent hasn’t lost his or her cool in the face of a defiant child or children, and started screaming. If you never have, you’re in a small minority. Nearly all parents — close to 90 percent — have yelled at their kids at some point, according to a survey of almost 1,000 parents by the Journal of Marriage and Family.

But if you’ve ever done it, you know that screaming leaves you, the parent, feeling mentally worn-out and even guilty afterwards. And your children may model your behavior and pick up the habit, themselves.

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Deadly Enterovirus D68 Now in 47 States

Enterovirus D68

What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Children

Nine American children died in recent weeks, who were infected in the 2014 enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) outbreak that has now spread to 47 states and the District of Columbia.

So far, the viral strain has been detected in samples submitted for a total of nine children who died; many other samples from young children who are possibly infected with the virus continue to be tested.

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Do ADHD Drugs Increase Risk of Cardiac Disease in Children?

Attention disorder medicines

Like other diseases and conditions in our modern world, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses in children have increased markedly, globally and in the United States, in recent years. More children and teens with ADHD are taking pharmaceutical drugs to treat this condition.

Millions of American children are now being treated with these stimulant drugs, which improve symptoms for some but not for others. And aside from whether or not ADHD drugs will work for a particular child, there are also valid concerns from many parents about putting strange laboratory chemicals into their young ones’ systems.

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‘Little League Shoulder’ Increasingly Common in Youths Who Play Sports

Youth ball player throwing ball

Summertime means thousands of American children are honing their pitching skills on baseball mounds throughout the land. But as always, it is important to start a new sports or fitness regime with plenty of warm-up and cool-down exercises, stretching, appropriate strength-training, and to not go overboard too quickly. Also, having long breaks from playing a given competitive sport in the course of a year helps decrease the risk of repetitive-use injuries.

Insufficient strength training, combined with bad form, can result in “Little League shoulder,” an overuse injury from repetitive overhead ball-throwing, especially pitching. The condition produces shoulder pain, swelling and decreased ability to move the arm — and doctors are seeing it more frequently nowadays.

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Could Regular Exercise Make Children Smarter?

Exercise Make Children Smarter

We know that adults can improve their concentration and help guard against memory loss as they age, when they get regular exercise. Similarly, a new study found that kids may gain cognitive benefits from being physically fit, as well.

Researchers at the University of Illinois found that children who are in better physical shape tend to have better language skills than their lesser fit peers. The brains of the fitter kids responded faster and more strongly during reading, which translated into better reading performance and comprehension.

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Having a Dog Can Help Ease Symptoms, Improve Behavior in Children with Autism

Dog_Kid

Parents of autistic children know how difficult it is at times to manage all of life’s responsibilities, and to care for a child with special needs. Autism has aspects that can make parenting and teaching autistic children that much harder. Many parents are turning to dogs to help their autistic children: dogs can make an autistic child happier, less prone to throw tantrums, and strengthen the child’s sense of security.

Centers have opened in some American cities to specifically train dogs as companions for children with autism spectrum disorders; still other centers that train dogs for special-needs children now also train canines for autistic children.

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Natural Remedies for Children’s Allergies

Children's Allergies

If you are the parent of a child who suffers from allergies, eczema or asthma, you look for ways to bring relief and comfort to your son or daughter — but you want natural, better alternatives to antihistamines, skin-altering cortisone creams, chemical inhalers, or even nasal rinses (the latter could be too much to expect a young child to be able to do, in any case).

Thankfully, there are many natural, hands-on, more pleasant remedies that you can try for your child.

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Autism Rates Increasing Rapidly: CDC

Angry girl

Autism rates in the United States rose by 30% between 2008 and 2010, and by 120% between 2000 and 2010, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in 68 8-year-old children had been diagnosed with autism by 2010, up from 1 in 88 two years earlier, says the report. These are staggering statistics, compared to the 1 in thousands ratio of American children who had been diagnosed as autistic in 1970.

The study, published online in late March, 2014, found that five times as many boys as girls are being diagnosed with autism. The CDC estimates that 1 in 42 boys has autism, and 1 in 189 girls. Caucasian children are diagnosed most frequently, followed by Hispanics, then African-Americans. The average age at which children are diagnosed has fallen, but remains above age 4 (diagnosis is possible by age 2).

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Overweight Teens’ Life Expectancies Not Increasing?

Overwieght_teen

It’s common knowledge that people’s life expectancies in developed countries have increased in the last 50 years, as science has uncovered new ways to prevent, treat and cure illnesses. But a study has found that people who were obese or overweight as teenagers are not living longer than similar people did five-plus decades ago.

The life expectancy of an American born in 2011 was 78.7 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the average lifespan has increased by more than 10 years since 1950. But the death rate for people in the study who had been obese or overweight as teens did not show improvement during that time.

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Natural, Safe Asthma Remedies for Children

Child_Asthma

Doctors believe that we are in the middle of asthma and allergy epidemics, as the numbers of children and adults who suffer from these conditions continue to grow, with no concrete explanations for the increases. Asthma is now the leading chronic (or ongoing) illness in children. More than 1 in 10 American kids now have asthma. While it can start at any age, most children have had their first symptoms by age 5.

The causes of asthma appear to be varied. While the condition is a mystery to many doctors, some health professionals believe that more children are getting asthma nowadays because they’re being more exposed to air pollution and other toxic chemicals.

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Childhood Cancer Cases Continue to Rise in the United States

Childhood_cancer

Plus: 25 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Cancer in Children

Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society published its yearly report, “Cancer Facts & Figures.” For the first time, the report included a special section on statistics about the prevalence of childhood and adolescent cancers. The separate section may be indicative of the fact that cases of childhood cancer continue to rise in the United States, despite much progress. According to the report, approximately 15,780 new cases of childhood cancer will be diagnosed in 2014, and 1,960 patients 19 and younger will die from this disease.

Current cancer rates among youths are 19 cases per 100,000 children. About one in 530 young adults aged 20 to 39 is a childhood cancer survivor.

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Caffeine, Energy Drinks and Children

Energy drink

With all the sugar and toxic chemicals in sodas, we should be pleased to know that children are drinking fewer caffeinated sodas these days. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children, teens and young adults have decreased their caffeinated-soda consumption considerably: in 1999, 62 percent of kids to young adults named caffeinated sodas as their main source of caffeine. By 2010, that number had decreased to 38 percent.

But there is bad news: youths are now consuming more energy drinks and coffee than they were in 1999, with coffee consumption more than doubling since then.

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Heart Disease Begins in Childhood

Child_Heart

Most people think of heart disease as something that only middle-aged or older folks have to worry about. But long-term studies from the last several decades have shown that heart disease sometimes begins in childhood. Therefore, preventing heart disease later in life begins with eating a healthy diet and developing healthy habits in childhood.

Coronary artery disease, or CAD, is more commonly called heart disease. In truth, CAD can develop into heart disease. CAD is the development of plaques on the walls of arteries that feed the heart muscle. As more plaque is deposited, blood and oxygen flow to the heart are restricted, which can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and heart attacks later on.

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Cheerios Cereal Will no Longer Have GMO’s … but that Still Leaves the Toxic Chemicals!

Cheerios

In January, 2014, General Mills foods announced that it would no longer use genetically modified organisms (GMO’S) to make its original cereal, Cheerios. While Cheerios has never contained GMO oats, the company will now use non-GMO cane sugar, instead of GM beet sugar.

Growing numbers of consumers and advocacy groups are raising concerns about the safety of using genetically altered crops in our food supply; consumer pressure is behind the decision by General Mills.

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Seven Ways to Encourage and Improve Your Child’s Academic Success

Academic

So, you think you may have the next Einstein or medicine Nobel prize recipient in your home … or perhaps you simply want to ensure that you give your child the best chance to succeed in life by helping them get a great education.

Whatever your motivation, many parents are interested in finding ways to help their children succeed academically. Educators say that there are specific things that parents can do to enhance their child’s chances of success. Here are six ways to help you help your child do well in school:

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Today’s Children Are Less Fit than Their Parents: Study

Fit_Kids

A review of global studies measuring fitness levels among children found that today’s kids have become progressively less fit than children from the last previous decades. The studies, which examined the fitness levels of 25 million youths, found that modern kids can’t run as fast or as far as kids from as recently as a decade ago.

The study, which was led by Grant Tomkinson, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Australia, reviewed 50 previous studies on running fitness, a key measure of cardiovascular health and endurance. The children were aged 9 to 17 and were from 28 countries; the studies had been done between 1964 and 2010; 20 million children were from Asia.

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Losing Sleep Linked to Higher Blood Pressure in Youths

Medical examination.

A new study has found that losing as little as one hour of sleep a night is associated with higher blood pressure in pre-teens and teenagers. Frequent or ongoing sleep loss, which can result in higher blood pressure, could put sleep-deprived youths at greater risk for cardiovascular disease in later years.

Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong recruited 143 children ages 10 to 18, who had participated in an earlier study on sleep apnea. The participants were healthy, neither overweight nor obese, and they did not have sleep apnea. (Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by interrupted or shallow breathing when a person is sleeping; the disorder has been linked to higher blood pressure.)

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Overuse Injuries

sports_injuries

How to Prevent Overuse Injuries in Your Young Child or Teenager

The benefits of participating in sports for school-age children are almost too many to count: sports help keep children healthy, trim, away from drugs; they help children develop social skills, discipline, a sense of fair play, self-esteem, and so on.

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Post-Concussion Care Recommendations for Children’s Sports Injuries Are Often Inadequate

Concussion

In tandem with recent media attention to concussions in professional sports, the American Academy of Pediatrics presented a detailed report on concussions in youth sports at its recent national conference in Orlando.

The report, titled “Returning to Learning Following a Concussion,” discusses results from various studies, and its authors call for cognitive (mind) rest following a concussion, instead of just physical rest.

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Teach Your Children How to Avoid Colds

Sick Child

Colder weather usually means an increase in the number of colds that all of us could get, including children. A lot of kids stay home from school with a cold every year, especially when the weather turns cold.

Colds can be caused by hundreds of different viruses; these viruses are contracted from droplets of mucus that an infected person releases into the air when they exhale. But they can also be caused by touching items or surfaces that have been contaminated by a person with a cold, if we then touch our mouths, eyes or noses.

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Spanking Young Children Is Tied to Problem Behavior Later

Spanking

Parenting styles differ, but we have become increasingly aware in the last few decades that physical punishment backfires and does more harm than good, when trying to get children to behave.

A new study adds to the scientific evidence that researches have amassed, which shows that corporal punishment — in this case, spanking — has long-lasting, damaging effects in children.

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Keeping Your Kids’ School Lunches and Game-Time Snacks Safe from Bacteria

Two cute boys laying on ground in nature and happily eating heal

You are a mom who understands that we are what we eat; you want to be sure that your children eat healthy, fresh, wholesome foods. Because these foods do not have toxic, artificial preservatives or non-nutritious fillers in them, you know that many of them spoil much faster.

A tummy ache, or worse, can happen in a snap, if the food has excess bacteria — and bacteria can multiply very quickly when the food isn’t kept cold enough or hot enough.

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To Get Your Child and Teenagers to Listen About Health Dangers, Try Using Positive Messages

Teenage Couple Taking Drugs At Home

A new study found that when it comes to getting through to young people, you may be better off focusing on the positive, rather than using scare tactics.

If you’re a parent, you may at times get frustrated by how hard it is to get your children to listen to you when you warn them about the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol, speeding when driving, or whatever the possible danger is.

The study, done at University College London in England, involved participants between 9 and 26 years old, who were asked to estimate their risk of suffering certain bad events, like being in a car accident or getting lung disease (from smoking). They were then told the actual statistics for those events.

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Is Vitamin D Important for Reducing Ear Infection Risk in Young Children?

Ear Infection

A growing number of studies shows that vitamin D is an important tool for preventing ear infections in young children. Vitamin D, found naturally in some foods and in enriched foods, and made by the skin when exposed to sunlight, is used by our immune systems to fight disease — the vitamin D receptor (VDR) is present in many types of cells that the immune system manufactures when it’s under attack by invading microbes.

Ear infections are very common among babies and younger children; because they have the potential to damage a child’s hearing when they’re untreated or when they’re recurrent, it is essential for parents and caregivers to take all steps possible to avoid them.

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Is Playing Sports Good for a Child with ADHD?

Sports_ADHD

Yes, it is. Child experts agree that playing sports is a great way for children who suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to build self-esteem, get exercise, enhance social skills and make friends. Playing sports helps boost a child’s self-confidence, something with which ADHD kids often struggle. Signing up your child for a sport offers the added benefit of steering him or her toward a more active routine, thus decreasing or discouraging more sedentary activities such as TV-watching or playing video games, and that’s a good step for any child.

Helping Your Child Choose a Sport

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Parents: The Best Way to Decrease Children’s TV Viewing — Is to Decrease Your Own!

TV_KId

It’s no secret to any parent that children, especially younger ones, strive to be like their parents and do the same things that parents do.

So, it may come as little surprise that a study published recently in the journal Pediatrics found that the best predictor of how much time a child spends watching television … is how much time the parents do.

Researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (U of PA) interviewed 1,500 parents with children 17 and younger about the parents’ screen time habits (viewing DVDs, movies on the Internet, and so forth). They were also asked specifically about their television-viewing habits, as well as their kids’. When possible, adolescent children were also interviewed about their own TV habits.

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Does Drinking Sodas Cause Problem Behavior and Aggression in Young Children?

Soda-Kid

We’ve all heard the warnings: soda pop is bad for us. Many studies have linked moderate-to-heavy soda-drinking to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal cancers and other serious illnesses. Even light soda-drinking (defined as 2 or more sodas a week) was found in one study to be linked to pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest and hardest-to-cure cancers. Diet sodas are also bad; they have been linked to even more disease than regular sodas, by some estimates; which makes sense, since they have an even greater number of toxic chemicals than regular sodas.

The fact is, for those of us who aim to eat natural diets and be conscientious consumers, sodas are a complete no-no. The ingredients are more times than not a long assortment of artificial chemicals and preservatives that don’t belong in anyone’s body — least of all, a child’s.

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Getting Your Child Off to a Good Start with a Good Breakfast!

iStock_000015024964XSmall

Before we knew it, summertime was over, and it was time for our kids to go back to school. We may no longer be able to fix elaborate breakfasts before the kids rush to school; but there are certainly plenty of breakfast choices that are healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare.

We all know by now that eating breakfast is important, as it fuels our bodies and minds for the day ahead. But what kind of breakfasts are nutritious and healthy?

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Things that a Parent Can Do to Boost a Child’s Self-Confidence

Girl with thumbs up

Thinking positive and believing in oneself are much more than just feel-good concepts thrown around by psychologists looking to sell us books. Most people who achieve success in life on their own merit, at whatever goals they set for themselves, will tell you that believing in oneself, and not quitting in the face of defeat — even many defeats — are the keys to success.

When you are the parent of a child, you get the exciting, rewarding opportunity to mold a little mind from the beginning; thus, you will continue to influence the world even when you are no longer in it.

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Do Eyes Need to Be Protected from the Sun?

We all know by now that it’s important to protect our skin from excessive Sun exposure, to avoid skin cancers that can be caused by the Sun’s ultraviolet rays.

But besides our skin, other organs that need protection from the Sun are our eyes.

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Sunshine, Tanning Beds and Suntans — What Are the Healthy Options for Your Teen?

Peer pressure being as strong as it is in the teenage years, a lot of adolescent girls and boys may want to head outdoors as the weather heats up and get a suntan. But with all that we now know about excessive sun exposure and skin cancers, some fans of tanning may opt instead to use tanning beds to achieve a golden glow.

But are tanning beds any safer? Scientific opinion runs the gamut.

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Prescription Drug Abuse by American Teens Up One-Third in Five Years

Prescription drug abuse by teens appears to have increased by 33 percent in a scant five years, according to a survey launched in 2012 and published in 2013 by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, in conjunction with the MetLife Foundation.

The survey interviewed 3,900 teenagers in grades 9-12, who attended public, private and parochial schools. Eight hundred parents were also interviewed at home. The survey covered the period between 2008 and 2012.

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Safety Facts About Insect Repellents – and Choosing the Best Brands

As millions of American children head off to summer camps or outdoor family get-togethers, many parents may wonder how to protect their youngsters from the varieties of insects that might be found at camping grounds and parks.

These days, we all have even more reason to worry about bugs than normally, as infestations from the potentially deadly West Nile virus continue to occur in different parts of the country.

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What Are Good Foods to Eat for a Child Who Plays Sports?

When it comes to food, the great thing about it is that we all have very similar nutritional needs: for the most part, what’s good for one person is good for everyone, and what’s bad for one person is bad for all.

Some people, including a lot of the experts, would have us believe that we need to go on special diets to suit our individual needs; but while that approach might make a lot of people in the diet and nutrition business wealthy, the truth is that our personal physiologies are much more similar to everyone else’s than they are different.

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How to Talk to Young Children so They’ll Listen

Getting a young child to give you his or her undivided attention while you talk to them is sometimes tricky, as any parent knows; but there are specific things that you can do to better your chances of being heard.

Even with a very young child, a parent or caregiver should take steps to establish a loving and nurturing relationship. Hugs, compliments, mock tummy tickles, enlisting your little helper in jobs around the house — these are all ways in which you can instill in the child the feeling that you love and appreciate him or her. The more time you spend together, the more “in tune” you will be with your child’s temperament, and how to go about teaching discipline, obedience and good social behavior.

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Things to Think About when Signing Up Your Child to Play Sports

The benefits of playing organized sports are well-established. They include giving children the opportunity to interact with peers and coaches to reach a common goal. This can help foster leadership skills as the child learns to get along with others and follow instructions, while working to improve their personal best.

Team sports can also help a child learn new skills. A young person can learn about the thrill of challenging oneself, and the importance of practicing a skill until it is mastered.

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Pediatric Hypertension

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the development of a national database on high blood pressure in children has contributed to the recognition that there is indeed a rise in the number of children with elevated blood pressure. The complications associated with continued high blood pressure, like heart attack and stroke, make diagnosis and treatment of the condition a priority for parents.

There are numerous primary causes for pediatric hypertension, with obesity and renal problems accounting for the vast majority of cases. But one rarely identified factor is the “white-coat syndrome.”

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The Hygiene Hypothesis — Is a Little Dirt Good for Your Child?

You may have heard the term human microbiome or microbiota, which refers to the thousands of species of microscopic organisms that inhabit the bodies of both healthy and diseased humans. These beneficial or “friendly” bacteria and fungi play vital roles in keeping us healthy and helping with normal processes such as digestion of the foods that we eat. Friendly flora can be found on our skins, in the skin’s deeper layers, our mouths, parts of our eyes, and our gastrointestinal tract.

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If Your Child’s Pediatrician Asks Whether You Smoke Cigarettes, He Is Not Being Nosy!

Compared to years past, today’s pediatricians are more apt to ask parents about their smoking habits. And while some parents might take offense to that, your child’s doctor is only trying to help keep your youngster healthy.

In our modern day, American society has largely accepted that cigarette smoke poses some of the very same dangers to those who are around a smoker as it does to the person who smokes.

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Are Hand Sanitizers Dangerous?

Many of us heard the sad story recently about the Klamath Falls, OR 12-year-old girl who received second- and third-degree burns to one-fifth of her body while inside a hospital, after static charge sparks ignited the hand sanitizer she had just used to clean her hands and a bedside table. The sanitizer then burned olive oil that was on the girl’s scalp and T-shirt, making the flames burn more fiercely.

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Before You Give Your Child Stimulants for ADHD, Try Some Dietary Changes

The American Psychiatric Association estimates that between 3 and 7 percent of American children suffer from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, though some studies show even higher rates. ADHD diagnoses have increased by an astounding 66 percent since 2000.

Many children now take prescription drugs, chiefly stimulants, to combat the symptoms of ADHD — hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

Because it’s a growing problem, studies continue being done to try to determine if there are More »

Important Things You Should Consider Before Bringing Home a Pet for Your Children

Around holiday time or birthdays, a lot of well-meaning parents cave in to their children’s pleas for a pet. But sometimes, things don’t go smoothly, especially with younger children, and the pets are soon after returned to the seller or shelter, or given away. Or worse, the child or the pet wind up getting seriously hurt.

There are stories of More »

5 Ways to Know if Your Child is too Busy

Today’s parenting culture is one of ambition and high expectation. In an age of increasing competition in all areas of the socioeconomic spectrum, we all want our kids not just to do well but to excel. In light of this, many parents forget to leave their children time for the simple things—playing outdoors, engaging in imaginative activities and such. We tend to think time that is not spent engaged in a productive activity is time wasted.

Having high expectations for one’s children is perfectly natural, and there are More »

Homework Headaches? 6 Tips for Parents of Young Children

Few children are predisposed to diving into homework with enthusiasm. Most have to be taught the discipline and sense of duty required to stay on task and get the often boring work done on time. Teachers can only do so much. When it comes to instilling good school habits at home, parents must play an active, hands-on role. Some children take to it better than others, but in any case, good parents stay informed of their children’s homework activities and provide whatever pressure is needed to make sure it gets done. But how do you parents avoid the homework headaches?

1. Get organized: Create a system in your household for keeping track of all homework. There are a few ways to do this, but perhaps the best option is to have a homework notepad in a common area of your house such as the kitchen. When your child gets home from school, have him or her write all the day’s homework tasks. Later, cross them off when they’re completed. Or, if you think your child has the discipline, have him or her bring a special notepad to school to write down all homework assignments as they are given.
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Helping Your Child Lose Weight

Because we love our children unconditionally, it is very easy for parents to become blind to any physical problems their kids may have. When a child becomes overweight, parents tend to think he or she is just a little plump or that it is just a passing phase that will end at the next growth spurt. Children do indeed go through phases and their bodies are constantly involving, so in many cases there is nothing to worry about when a child has a couple of extra pounds. But parents do need to watch closely, because weight problems can get out of hand faster than you may think.

There are countless reasons why parents need to keep an eye on their children’s weight. First, there are the basic reasons of health. Children who are overweight can develop health problems that may plague them for life. Second, children set many of their lifelong habits during these years, and teaching your kids to eat well and exercise turns into a great gift later on. Meanwhile, there are also social factors; kids who are obese or even just overweight often face teasing and bullying, which raise a whole additional set of issues.

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Kids and Sports: The Parents’ Role

The benefits of organized sports for children cannot be overestimated. Even when a child is not particularly sports-oriented or does not excel on the playing field, the experience itself is valuable. It teaches kids how to work with others and how to take instruction, it introduces them to teamwork, competition, and the importance of practice, and it encourages them to challenge themselves to do difficult things. Meanwhile, it also provides all-important physical activity, which is as important as ever in the age of the obesity epidemic.

But there are many things to consider when involving your child in sports. Most important, you have to think about whether your child is ready and which sports might be the best match for him or her. Every child is different, and some children thrive in some sports and flounder in others. You know your child best, so you will have to use your own judgment in making this decision.
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Childhood Fears and Anxiety: What Can Parents Do?

A certain amount of fear and anxiety is a natural part of life and childhood. It is what drives us to take precautions and to keep ourselves and our families safe. In children, while fear and anxiety are often illogical, they are in many respects an important part of growing up. But in some children these feelings can become excessive, and the effects may actually hinder learning and growth.

Where these feelings become problematic is where they are More »

What to do if Your Child is a Reluctant Reader

For young children, being able to read is an important foundation for all later education. But some children do not take to it as well as others. Some have difficulty learning how to read and hence cannot have fun doing it, while others simply do not enjoy books as much as their parents would like them to. In these situations, it is important for parents to play an active role so that the child does not fall behind.

Reading does not have to be your child’s favorite activity, but he or she should be capable of enjoying it. And even if that is not possible, a strong proficiency with written words, letters, and sounds will More »

Why Tears Are A Good Thing!

Crying is particular to human beings and is a socially adaptive skill. There are often lots of tears shed during the first few weeks of school because it is usually the first time your child experiences an extended separation from you. It is an important stage for your child when she begins to learn that she can be part of a group outside of her family. During those first days she is working out how to cope with separation, loss, anxiety and change. The skills and techniques she learns will be needed throughout her whole life. As a protective parent you may find it difficult to see your child crying but know that generally, children are resilient and can utilise coping skills remarkably well. Crying is one of a child’s best coping strategies so children should be allowed to cry. The benefits of crying include: More »

Why Is Autism On The Rise?

Here in the UK about one in one hundred people have an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) which could be conditions such as Asperger syndrome (AS) or autism. The reason the term ‘spectrum’ is used is because the symptoms of these disorders are very varied. Children with an ASD generally are similar in that they find it difficult relating to others because they do not develop their language and social skills in the same way that other children who are the same age do. Children who have autism are often diagnosed by the time they are two years old. They find it hard to communicate and interact. Autistic children sometimes have a learning difficulty like dyslexia and autism is more common in boys. Asperger syndrome is usually not as severe as autism although it is a similar condition. Children with AS do not usually have a learning difficulty and do not find it as difficult to communicate as autistic children. AS children often have an average or above average intelligence.

It is not completely understood at the moment as to what the causes are of ASDs. It is thought that the conditions run in families. There is a theory that autism is linked to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine but there is no scientific evidence that proves this to date.

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How To Conquer The Homework Battle

Threatening, bribing and punishing are futile methods to use when attempting to get your child to do her homework. Let us be clear, most children do not like to sit down to do their homework after being at school all day. You cannot make your child do her homework or make her enjoy it. You can use methods that assist her to do her work. You can be positive, motivational and consistent. Read on for tips that will help you at least reduce the More »

Help! My Toddler Is Swearing!

You may be stunned to hear your little angel say a swear word! Many parents experience these shocks at some point so do not fret! This often happens as children begin to explore language. It happens because they have heard someone else say it in frustration and they want to express the same emotion or they do it because they know it achieves a reaction and therefore think that it is funny.

The best action to take straight away is to More »

Sibling Rivalry: What’s Normal, and When to Get Involved

Sibling relationships can be among the most complex in the world. With our siblings we share a special familiarity, plus lots of shared experiences that give rise to a unique understanding. With siblings, there are few secrets and very little mystery. Your siblings see you at your best and your worst, and they have known you when you are at your most vulnerable. In short, there is nothing simple about sibling relationships.

The special bond siblings share is fantastic in many ways. Unlike More »

My Teenager Has Acne, How Can I Help?

Acne can inflict the young and the old but is most common during our teenage years. The acne that teenagers suffer from is called acne vulgaris and is triggered by puberty’s reproductive hormones surging through their bodies. These raging hormones make the sebaceous glands enlarge and increase the production of sebum. The pores produce a kind of protein called keratin. The increased sebum and production of keratin, dead skin cells and bacteria block the hair follicles which stops the sebum being able to get through the skin pores. Acne is when the skin erupts because it is infected and inflamed by the bacteria and sebum clogged hair follicles.

At a time in your child’s life when he is already often angry and confused, angry skin can really get him down. The diet your teenager sticks to can greatly affect his skin’s health. This is where you can More »

What Parents Need to Know About Cutting

Cutting—or, as it is known in medical circles, self-injury—has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years, and there is a growing awareness that it is a serious issue among teens, not just due to the physical harm it causes but also because it is often a symptom of deeper emotional problems. Still, though the issue is more out in the open than it used to be (and it is not a new thing), many parents are still uncomfortable talking about it.

To put it simply, the phenomenon known as More »

Should Kids Be Allowed to Have Caffeine?

Many parents have strange approaches to giving their kids caffeine. On one hand, we do not think of coffee and even tea as being appropriate beverages for young children, yet on the other hand, many parents allow their children to drink soft drinks practically to their hearts’ content. And while soft drinks are lower in caffeine than coffee, they have a good amount of it, and they deliver all the caffeine-related effects that coffee does. So while caffeine More »

Had Enough of the Backchat?

Do you feel exasperated dealing with backchat and disrespectful behaviour from your children? It can be difficult to handle your children’s bad manners, rudeness, swearing, sarcasm or cheekiness and most parents complain about it at some point. Think about why your child might be behaving this way as there are More »

Children’s Growing Pains: What Can Parents Do?

That kids experience growing pains is no myth. At times of growth (and kids do grow at uneven rates), to feel actual pain in the bones, muscles, and joints is quite common. Its prevalence is difficult to measure, but it is believed that as many as half of all children experience growing pains regularly. As grownups, we may not remember just how uncomfortable these pains can be, but they are significant enough to disrupt sleep, make it hard to focus in school, and cause irritability.

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Parenting Tactics That Damage Your Child’s Self Esteem

Be aware that even though you feel you are doing your very best raising your child, sometimes your parenting strategies can be damaging to your child’s self-esteem and the parent-child relationship. Your child needs to grow up with a healthy level of self-esteem to be more resilient to the lessons learnt and the knocks taken in life. A good self-esteem enables your child in decision making, having confidence in the judgements she makes, knowing what is right and wrong and having an ability to ‘bounce back’ after a knock. Healthy self-esteem is especially important during your child’s adolescent years when the chances are she will experience peer pressure to experiment with cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.

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Does My Child Have OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterised by repetitive and unwanted thoughts. These obsessions create actions made by the sufferer as they try to eradicate the anxious thoughts which are compulsions. OCD cases vary from mild to severe and manifest in different ways. With children suffering from OCD their obsessive thoughts can cause high levels of distress and anxiety often dominating their time and ability to focus and hold their attention on things. Research carried out estimates that 1.9% to 3% of children have OCD so out of 1000 children in a school 19 to 30 of them will probably have this disorder. OCD does not discriminate between ethnicities or social groups.

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Is My Child A Bully?

In the UK alone approximately sixteen children a year commit suicide because of the trauma they endure due to bullying. The offending children who have tirelessly bullied their victims know exactly what they are doing but it seems that sometimes, the people in authority such as school teachers claim they did not know the bullying was taking place. Friends of the bullies also probably knew what was happening. Before a child has to have medical treatment or dies, people need to speak up if they suspect such bullying.

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Sibling Rivalry: What Can Parents Do?

Sibling rivalry can take many forms over the years. When the second child is first born, it can take the form of acting out, regression, and fussiness on the part of the older child. And as the kids grow up, it can turn into arguing, physical fighting, and deep feelings of jealousy and resentment. Most sibling rivalry is more of an annoyance than a serious problem, but it can become emotionally taxing to parents who had hoped their children would get along and love each other.

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Are You Worried About Your Child’s Speech?

You may be concerned that your child is having difficulty with his speech. There are common problems that are often diagnosed and this is a guide to how you can detect them, how to help your child and also how you can seek professional help.

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Amber Alerts – What to Do in Case Your Child Goes Missing

It is one of every parent’s worse nightmares. You take your eye off your child for a minute only to find her gone when you turn around. Or one day he does not get home from school at the normal time. Or she goes outside to play and does not come back in. Scenarios like these are fortunately uncommon, and when they do happen there is usually a good explanation, and it is usually pretty easy to find the temporarily missing child. But what about those very rare cases where the child is not easily found?

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How to Raise a Musical Child

When it comes to educating children, a lot of focus is placed on practical skills like reading and math, which are undoubtedly important. But we should raise our children to be well-rounded individuals, and this involves teaching them forms of creative self-expression. While different kids have different talents-some are good at drawing, some can dance well, and some are most talented in non-artistic areas-music should be integral to every child’s life. And even if your child does not develop into a musical prodigy, it is a good idea to have cultivate familiarity with the art form.

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Developing Your Child’s Handwriting Skills

By Lisa Pecos

With the rise of computers and electronic gadgets as tools for all types of school-related activities, kids spend far less time writing by hand than they used to. As a result, many people fear that the ancient art of handwriting is bound to become a thing of the past. While this is true to some extent-writing by hand is certainly less important than it used to be-it is still important to have good handwriting for the times when it is called for.

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Tips for Helping Your Child with Homework

By Lisa Pecos

All parents want to see their children succeed in school, and studies have shown that kids whose parents are more involved in their educations are more likely to do well. Thus, helping your child with his or her homework should be a no-brainer, but it is not always so simple. In the early years, things are relatively easy because young kids have very little homework and what homework they have is simple. But as children get older, the homework becomes more time-consuming, and they eventually cover subjects with which we, as parents, may not be confident. Confronted with calculus, for instance, most parents cannot be blamed for being a little intimidated.

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Should Kids Get Their Own Cell Phones?

By Marc Courtiol

Although it may sometimes be hard to imagine life without cellphones, most grownups can recall a time when we were not all in constant touch with one another, and when every household shared a single stationary phone. And because most of today’s parents grew up in that world, many have a somewhat traditionalist attitude when it comes to whether to give their own kids cellphones. Many feel there is no reason a child needs a cellphone, while some take a more modest approach, allowing that it may be a good idea to provide their kids cellphones at, say, 14 or 15, when the social life picks up.

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Welcoming a Second Child: How to Handle the Change

By Lisa Pecos

Having a first child is one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do. From the middle stages of pregnancy until those blessed later months of the first year when the baby gets less fussy and more predictable, you are put through a series of challenges that test every fiber of your being. So it is a wonder that anyone would make a conscious choice to complicate things further by bringing a second child into the picture. Yet people do it all the time. And yes, many aspects of having a baby are easier the second time around, but in many ways you will feel just as challenged and bewildered as you did the first time.

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Helping Your Teen Learn to Drive Safely

By Jamell Andrews

Because driving is such a routine thing for so many adults, we tend to forget what a serious act it is to get behind the wheel. A car is a massive, potentially dangerous piece of machinery, and operating one comes with a world of adult responsibilities. So it is hard for many parents to imagine that their 15-year-olds will soon be driving unsupervised. Sure, there are drivers’ training classes and learner’s permits, but your child is still your baby, and no amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the day he or she drives off without you.

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How to Get a Child Off the Couch and Active

By Jamell Andrews

Getting kids away from their TVs, computers, and gadgets is one of the greatest challenges today’s parents face, and it is not getting any easier. Many parents understandably want their kids to be up to date with all the modern technology, but for every gadget and game our children gain, something is lost. Today’s kids are losing interest in the simple enjoyment of outdoor activities and sports. If we do not push back against this trend, we may be raising a generation of overweight and unhealthy grownups.

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Leaving Your Child Home Alone

By Lisa Pecos

In the early years of a child’s life, parents are forced to do whatever they have to do to make sure the child is supervised at all times. But once the child reaches a certain age, the issue starts to become fuzzier. Most well-behaved kids reach a point-generally in their preteens or thereabouts-where they are responsible and self-guided enough to look after themselves for a few hours. Yet considering whether to leave a child home alone raises all sorts of issues, and many parents are reluctant to face up to these issues until a little later. In the end, it is up to each family to decide on their own, but in any case there are some important factors to keep in mind.

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Kids and Homework: What Can Parents Do?

By Jamell Williams

When sending our kids to school, we expect the majority of their education to take place during the six or so hours per day when they are actually in the classroom. But for parents, it is important to realize that education needs to be reinforced in the home. This means not only helping kids with their studies, but also imposing homework times and engaging them in conversation about the things they are learning at school. It is easy to fall into a pattern of over reliance on our children’s teachers—but we must remember that teachers have dozens of kids to worry about. Our kids need us to make their education deeper and more personalized.

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The Negative Effects of the Media on Teens

By Lisa Pecos

Today’s kids plug into media at an earlier age than their predecessors, and the amount of media they consume is staggering compared to the habits of past generations. According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average child between the age of eight and 18 consumes media for seven hours and 38 minutes every day-and the real rate for teens is much higher. As parents, there is good reason to be disturbed by these figures. Granted, certain types of media have benefits, but the negative effects of media overconsumption are considerable. The good news is there are things responsible parents can do to moderate these effects.

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Hosting a Princess Tea Party

By Chris Molnar

Oh the princess tea party — it’s practically a rite of passage for little girls everywhere. At some point your daughter will embrace this phase and celebrate it for all the dainty beauty that it is. This makes for the perfect theme of a party and your little princess can truly celebrate.

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What to Do About a Shy Child

By Jamell Andrews

Most children experience some degree of shyness in certain social situations. For example, some young kids are naturally afraid of grownup strangers, and some are shy around kids of the opposite sex. For others, the problem can be more general; they may seem to lag behind their peers in social development, and this may cause them to have trouble making friends, which in turn causes them to fall further behind. If your child falls into this category, there are steps you can take to help her outgrow her shyness.

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