5 Homework Tips for You and Your Kids

When parents take an active interest in their kids’ homework, they are more successful in school. You can be supportive by demonstrating organization skills or explaining a tricky problem. Sometimes, even encouraging them to take a break.

Here are some tips to help guide you and your kids:

  1. Know the teachers and what they’re looking for. Attend parent-teacher conferences and other school events. Get to know your kids’ teachers and ask about their homework policies.
  2. Help them plan. On nights when your kids have a heavy homework load, encourage them to break up the work into manageable chunks. If necessary, help them create a schedule for the night, and make sure that they take time for breaks every hour.
  3. Keep distractions to a minimum. No TV, loud music, or phone calls.
  4. Motivate them. Ask about their assignments and/or tests. Give encouragement and check their completed homework, but also make yourself available for questions. Praise their work and efforts by posting their aced test or project on the refrigerator.
  5. Set a good example. Kids are more likely to follow their parents’ examples than their advice. Read a book or balance your budget where your kids can see, so they can diligently do the same with their homework.

Finally, if there are continuing problems, talk about it with the teacher and your pediatrician. Some kids may need glasses, and others might need an evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.

Tips for Fun in the Sun and Water

This summer, make sure to keep your family safe by following some tips recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The best way to protect yourself and your children from harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is to cover up. It is best to limit exposure during hours of intense sun, which are between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect against UVA and UVB rays on both sunny and cloudy days. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after sweating or any activity in the water, such as swimming.

To prevent heat stress in exercising, children should choose light-colored and lightweight clothing. Dress in one layer of absorbent material to help with the evaporation of sweat. Ensure that your children take a break to drink every 20 minutes while active in the heat.

The best way to prevent drowning in children is to closely supervise your children while near water. Avoid inflatable swimming aids, such as “floaties,” as they can give a false sense of security. Instead, use approved life vests if your children need help in the waters.

Related Articles:

http://www.cmc-pa.com/school-age/water-safety-pool/
http://www.cmc-pa.com/2014/06/vacation-2/
http://www.cmc-pa.com/school-age/how-to-choose-the-right-sunscreen/
http://www.cmc-pa.com/school-age/is-it-too-hot-for-my-child-to-play-outside/
http://www.cmc-pa.com/school-age/how-to-treat-sunburn/
http://www.cmc-pa.com/school-age/water-safety-for-children/

For more tips on sun and water safety, visit healthychildren.org.

Is Snacking Good?

Good news, snacking is good for you….as long as they are healthy snacks! During adolescence, the body needs more nutrients to grow which is why teenagers feel hungry a lot throughout the day. This is why snacks are a great way to satisfy that hunger and give the body the nutrients it needs to grow. Although it may be tempting for every teen to have a soda and candy bar after school, the temporary sugar boost it gives will slow them down in the long run. In order to keep energy levels going and to avoid weight gain, choose snacks that are full of fiber and protein such as peanut butter, fruits, or yogurts. However, you have to beware of claims that snack manufacturers make on their products. Just because something is “all natural” or “pure” does not mean that it is nutritious, such as fruit juices which can be filled with sugar which makes it extremely high in calories. Similarly, watch out for snacks with “low-fat” claims, because usually the fat is replaced with large amounts of sugar which is just as unhealthy. In order to judge how healthy a product is for you, look at the nutrition information on the food label.

What Milestones Should My One-year-old Toddler Be Passing?

Depending on how old your toddler is, she should be passing certain developmental milestones. As you watch your toddler play, you may see her intensely focusing on what she is doing, and that is because everything she does is an opportunity to learn.

At one-year-old, your toddler will be able to gather and recall some information to find answers to problems she may face when playing. One-year-olds are usually attracted to toys with buttons, levers, switches, and knobs, but your toddler may ignore the toy if she is not quite ready to play with it yet. Once your child turns one, she will begin imitating what she sees everyday and will display this in how she plays. For example, she may “drink” from a cup or “knock” on a door, and therefore it is extremely important to monitor your own behavior because she will most likely imitate it. Your child will initially imitate by herself, but as she develops, she will gradually include others in her imitation play.

As she nears two years old, your toddler will begin to shine at hide-and-seek type games, and will remember where hidden items are even after you hide it from her. Your toddler knows she is in control, and she will let you know what role she wants you to play in her games. She will occasionally bring you a toy so you can play with her, but sometimes she will pull her toys away from you so she can play by herself. When she does something she thinks as special, she will pause and wait for your praise. And giving her this affirmation gives her the encouragement and support she needs to continue learning. If your child is not quite at these stages of development, don’t worry, just talk to your doctor to see what steps you can take to get your child on track.

AAP Updates Lice Treatment

Lice, it is every parent’s worst nightmare and surprisingly enough most cases are not acquired at school. Head lice is not a disease or sign of poor hygiene and it can be treated. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children not be restricted from attending school because of lice. Pediatricians are encouraged to educate communities and schools that children can finish the school day at school, be treated at home and then return to school.

An updated clinical report by the AAP in May 2015 provides safe and effective methods of treating head lice and informs of new medications and products. Pediatricians and parents should consider using over-the-counter medications containing 1 percent permethrin or pyrethrins as a first choice of treatment for active lice infestations unless the community has shown previous resistance. The best way to stop a chronic lice problem is with regular checks by parents and early treatment with a safe, affordable, over-the-counter pediculicide.

Click on this link for more information from the AAP: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Updates-Treatments-for-Head-Lice.aspx

Sleep Problems

After a long night with little sleep from caring for my sick 8 year old, I again realize the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is important for both children and parents. With inadequate sleep, children can be moody, fatigued, have inattention, poor school performance, increased daytime sleepiness, or even depression.

In current society, our kids have high homework loads, extensive after school activities and parents with increased work demands. These demands are causing our kids to get to bed later and are adversely affecting our kids. In addition, when our kids get to bed later, so do we.

Sleep requirements vary for different kids but typical requirements are:

  • 11-13 hours a day for toddlers
  • 10-11 hours a night for school age children
  • 9-9.5 hours a night for teenagers

There are ways we can help to facilitate a good night’s sleep. It is important to establish a relaxing bedtime routine and a regular bedtime. Children should sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room. The room should have no distractions or activities. That means no TV, computer, video games, or cell phone. Children should have regular afternoon physical activity but not right before bed. They should have no caffeine after lunch. They should also turn off all video stimulation at 7 o’clock to allow their brain to rest before bed. Teenagers should not have cell phones in their room so they cannot be woken by texts or calls.

If your child takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep or has trouble staying asleep talk to your child’s pediatrician. Also, if you have noticed loud snoring or trouble breathing at night, they could have a medical problem affecting their sleep so call our office so we can evaluate the sleep problem further.

Elizabeth Chea, MD