Posts belonging to Category children



What You Can Do When Your Child Has Nightmares

According to an article on WebMD, many children have nightmares.

picture of a child who has nightmaresNightmares are most common in preschoolers (children aged 3-6 years) because this is the age at which normal fears develop and a child’s imagination is very active. Some studies estimate that as many as 50% of children in this age group have nightmares.

Nightmares involve frightening or unpleasant dreams that disrupt the child’s sleep on several occasions and cause distress or problems with everyday life. When children wake up because of a nightmare, they become aware of their surroundings and usually need comfort. As a result, parents often need to provide comfort.

The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital offers these suggestions for coping with a child’s nightmares:

  • Offer plenty of cuddles, comfort and reassurance to your child.
  • During the day, talk about your child’s bad dream, and make sure to avoid frightening TV programs and movies.
  • Leave the door to the child’s bedroom open, and offer a favorite toy or blanket for comfort.
  • Avoid spending a lot of time looking for the “monster” that scared your child. Let your child go back to sleep in his or her own bed.
  • Read a book about coping with nighttime fears.
  • Before bed, talk about funny and happy topics.

Sources:WebMD, womens health dot gov(U.S.Dept of HHS) articles on nightmares

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Our Children are Part of a Digital Generation

children using hand-held computersMore and more you see young children been pushed in carriages or riding in a car, while playing video games and watching movies on hand-held, digital devices.

Yes, it keeps them entertained. It also helps with eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity.

Yet, pediatricians and other child development specialists are warning about the excessive viewing and playing of video and computer games at the expense of needed daily physical activities and developing social skills that come from interacting with other children in community activities.

The commonly held belief is that children need a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activities each day.

According to a number of recent studies, many school-age children spend hours each day on their home computers and hand-held devices in non-academic activities. One such study, in the journal Pediatrics, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health, looked at the value of active video games as a way of making a child more active. The outcome of this research is no surprise…no, children were no more active while playing an active video game.

Dr. Tom Baranowski,  a professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital commented,”If Mama brings a video game home, can she expect that her child will get more physical activity, and the answer is, as far as we can tell, no. Parents who want to have their kids to be more physically active should enroll their children in school-based sports teams, and other kinds of physical activities.”

Computers and hand-held devices are here to stay and that is not a bad thing. We just need to decide how much time each day is a reasonable amount of time for our children to spend in recreational use on these digital wonders.

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Playground, Amusement Park and Carnival Safety

Amusement Park and Carnival Safety

Amusement ParkAn article by Globe Life on summer safety reminds us that amusement parks and carnivals can be great fun or they can result in a trip to the emergency room. What makes the difference? For one, parents may incorrectly assume that a ride is appropriate for their child. Secondly, children may not pay attention to or observe the safety regulations for a specific ride.

The National Safe Kids Campaign advises parents to remember that height guidelines are not always reliable.

Parents need to be sure of their child’s ability to obey ride instructions for their own safety. Alan Korn, Director of Public Policy, and General Counsel for Safe Kids USA advises parents to reinforce the authority of the ride operator. “If the ride operator tells children to keep their hands and feet inside the car or to hold the handrail, explain to your children that there is a good reason for the rule.”

Officials estimate that thousands of children, each year between the ages 14 and under are injured because they used poor judgment or behaved improperly on the rides.

Playground Safety

Safe Kids USA encourages parents and caregivers to make sure playground equipment is appropriate for a child’s age. Each year, more than 200,000 preschool and elementary school age children are injured from falling while using playground equipment.

When their imaginations run wild, children sometimes believe they have superpowers that enable them to do remarkable physical feats on the playground equipment at the cost of their own personal safety. This puts children at risk of becoming seriously injured.

Most playground injuries are related to the climbing equipment, such as monkey bars.

In fact, the amount of injuries that result from children playing on monkey bars is significant enough that many experts want them removed from playgrounds. Since falls cannot always be prevented, parents can make sure that the playground surface is loosely filled with wood chips, mulch, sand, gravel, shredded rubber, or rubber like surfacing materials.

During the summer months, playground equipment, such as slides and monkey bars, can get hotter than 140 degrees, causing burns on children’s hands, legs and other uncovered body parts. It may be wiser to avoid the playground entirely during heat waves.

Source: Globe Life, Safe Kids USA

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Kids with Knee Injuries Need Special Care

According to a study that appears in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, youngsters who injure the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee require special treatment and care to prevent future knee injuries and complications such as osteoarthritis.

kneeThe ACL is the main, stabilizing ligament of the knee joint. ACL injuries were once rare in children and young teens but are on the rise due to factors such as year-round training, less free play, and a focus on only one type of sport, say the researchers

They analyzed published studies to identify the best ways to treat ACL knee injuries in children and adolescents whose bones have not yet fully matured, which typically occurs in girls by age 14 and in boys by age 16.

Researchers found that youngsters with an ACL injury should be treated by an orthopedic surgeon who has expertise in surgical treatment of this type of injury. Their other recommendations included:

  • Nonsurgical treatment — including limits on physical activity and bracing and/or physical therapy — should be considered for patients with partial ACL tears that involve less than 50 percent of the diameter of the ligament
  • Management after surgery may include weight-bearing and physical activity restrictions, physical therapy, knee strength-training exercises and a gradual, careful return to sports.

The study author, Dr. Jeremy Frank, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., stated in a news release that complications from ACL knee surgery are rare in youngsters when the appropriate operation is performed on the right patient.

 

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How to Survive Your First Camping Trip with Kids

The following post is by Erin McNeill.

camping

Camping in the outdoors can be one of the best ways to spend the warmer summer months with your family.

Camping is a chance to unplug and spend time together, while experiencing the beauty of nature.

However, it can also be one of the most daunting experiences parents face, as traveling with kids is rarely easy. With a few simple tips, you can ensure that you will have a successful trip together!

Plan – Planning is the key to making a camping trip successful. Involve the kids as much as possible in your planning; they can help choose where to go camping, activities to do while camping, meals you’ll eat and even hiking trails to take. The more that they are involved in the process, the more likely it is that they’ll have an experience that they will enjoy and take ownership of. Always have back-up plans, just in case!

Practice – Show your kids what you’ll be doing on a camping trip by starting small. Pick a nice evening to go camping in your backyard, show them how to set up the tent and have them help you. Build a small fire, if allowed in your neighborhood, and teach them about fire safety. On another occasion, take a day trip to a local state park and go for a hike, have a picnic lunch and go swimming, if it’s available. This will help your children acclimate to spending the day and night in the outdoors, especially if it’s something they aren’t used to.

Prepare – Preparation is important. Have your children help prepare for the camping trip by packing their own bags (each child should have their own bag or container for clothing, toys and books), guide them through the process and double check that they have what they need for the trip. Ensure that you have a working tent and sleeping bags for everyone and that all of your gear is in working order.

Organize – Create a packing list that you can check off as you pack up items for your trip. Separate cooking supplies and food into bins and containers. Have one bin of toys that everyone shares. Each person should have their own bag for their clothes and belongings, and you should encourage them to put their things in there when they aren’t using them so that they can easily find them again later!

Bring familiar and new toys – Have the children help you choose what toys they should bring camping with you. It’s best to leave the electronics and expensive toys at home. Throw in some outdoor toys to have while you are camping. Paddle ball, discs and kites are always good ideas, as well as a few games to play while waiting around (Pass the Pigs is always an entertaining game to play while camping!). If you are staying at a park with roads and trails, bring along your bikes.

Bring friends – Camping is always more fun with friends. Find a family that also loves camping and plan trips with them.  If that doesn’t work, consider allowing your children to bring a friend to play and hang out with on your trip.

Enjoy nature – Take the opportunity to learn about the plants, trees, bugs and animals that are native to your camping environment. Enlist the help of the park rangers if they are available, as they will often have a wealth of knowledge to pass onto you and your family. Often times, parks will have educational events offered throughout the weekend, so take advantage of these learning opportunities. Take a day hike together and explore the trails (with a map, of course), have your children start a nature journal or sketchbook and take the time to take notes about the beauty that surrounds you. Teach your children to respect the nature around them by not picking live plants or flowers and emphasize the importance of leaving no trace behind.

Enjoy the night – Being outside at night can be a new and sometimes scary experience for children, who are used to being inside once it’s dark out. Make nighttime fun. Teach your children to safely build a campfire and roast marshmallows together, tell stories to each other, learn about the constellations, discover the new sounds you are hearing at night and give each child a flashlight to help them feel a bit safer.

Pack the right clothing – Your children will get dirty and wet while camping, so make sure you pack plenty of extra clothes! Your child’s comfort will depend on the fact that you’ve packed enough clothing and the right types of clothing for your trip. Be sure that each child has plenty of clothes for daytime, at least two swimsuits, a pair of pants, a fleece sweater, a rain jacket, a hat and anything that you might need for the climate you are camping in. Teach them to layer their clothing as the evening cools off.

Safety – Instruct your children on a meeting spot in case of an emergency; pick a tree or nearby building that you can all easily find in the event that something happens. Instruct them on proper fire and stove safety to avoid burns. If your child wanders off into the woods, teach them to stay put once they realize they are lost and to make noise. If there is water nearby, let them know that they are not allowed near the water without an adult, even if a lifeguard is on duty. If there are dangerous animals in the area that you are camping in, show children what do if they encounter one.

Take your time and start slow, go for a night or two and work up to a length of time that is comfortable for your entire family. Your family will begin to cherish your trips to various campsites and will start to look forward to their time away from home.

Camping is fun with children; you just have to be well prepared and ready for just about anything!

 

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