Wellness Blog

This blog is intended to provide information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your child’s physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding his or her medical condition.

How to Avoid Temper Tantrums

Even the most well-behaved toddler can have a tantrum from time to time. Tantrums are common during toddlerhood because kids can understand more than they can express and this often leads to frustration when they can’t communicate their needs.

Toddlers get frustrated in other ways, too, like when they can’t dress a doll or keep up with an older sibling. Power struggles can ensue when your toddler wants more independence and autonomy too soon.

The best way to deal with tantrums is to avoid them in the first place, whenever possible. Here are some strategies that may help:

  • Make sure your child isn’t acting up simply to get attention. Try to establish a habit of catching your child being good (“time-in”), which means rewarding your little one with attention for positive behavior.
  • Give your toddler control over little things. This may fulfill the need for independence and ward off tantrums. Offer minor choices that you can live with, such as “Would you like an apple or banana with lunch?”
  • When kids are playing or trying to master a new task, offer age-appropriate toys and games. Also, start with something simple before moving on to more challenging tasks.
  • Consider the request carefully when your child wants something. Is it outrageous? Maybe it isn’t. Choose your battles; accommodate when you can.
  • Know your child’s limits. If you know your toddler is tired, it’s not the best time to go grocery shopping or try to squeeze in one more errand.
  • When Tempers Flare

    If your child does throw a tantrum, keep your cool. Don’t complicate the problem with your own frustration. Kids can sense when parents are becoming frazzled and this can just make their frustration worse. Try to understand where your child is coming from. For example, if your youngster has just had a great disappointment, you may need to provide comfort.

    Ignoring the outburst is another way to handle it — if the tantrum poses no threat to your child or others. Continue your activities, paying no attention to your child but remaining within sight. Kids who are in danger of hurting themselves or others during a tantrum should be taken to a quiet, safe place to calm down.

    Some kids will have a hard time stopping a tantrum. In these cases, it might help to say to say, “I’ll help you settle down now.” But whatever you do, do not reward your toddler by giving into desires. This will only prove that tantrums are an effective tactic for getting what he or she wants. Instead, verbally praise your child for regaining self-control.

    As their language skills improve and they mature, kids become better at handling frustration and tantrums are less likely. If you’re having difficulty handling you child’s temper tantrums or have any questions about discipline, ask your pediatrician for advice.

To read more on such topics please visit…

www.kidshealth.org.

Boys and Puberty

A lot of changes happen as you grow up, especially as you reach puberty (say: PYOO-bur-tee), the name for the time when your body begins to develop and change. Girls start developing breasts and get their periods — signs they are growing into women.

But how do boys know they are growing into men? Let’s find out.

For a guy, there isn’t just one event or sign that you’re growing up. There are lots of them, including your body growing bigger, your voice changing, and hair sprouting everywhere. Most boys begin puberty between the ages of 9 and 14. But keep in mind that puberty starts when a boy’s body is ready, and everyone grows at his own pace.

Here are some of the questions boys have.

Why Are Girls Taller Than Me?

You might have noticed that some of the girls you know are taller than the boys. But you’ve probably noticed that out of the adults you know, most of the men are taller than the women. What’s going on?

Well, girls get a head start on puberty — and growing taller — because they usually start these changes between the ages of 8 and 13. Most boys, on the other hand, don’t begin until between the ages of 9 and 14. So that’s why girls are often taller than boys during that time.

Most boys may catch up — and even grow taller than girls. But it’s also important to remember that your genetics play a role in height. So if your mom and dad are tall, you’re more likely to be tall. And if your mom and dad are kind of short, you may be short, too. But nothing is definite.

You have to wait and see how it turns out, but you can also talk to a doctor if you’re concerned. Remember — not every adult male is tall. Many men who are considered “short” have gone on to have careers in the movies, the military, and even professional basketball!

There aren’t any exercises or magic pills to make you grow tall. But by being active and eating nutritious foods, you’re helping your body grow up healthy, just the way it should.

When Will I Get Muscles?

During puberty, some boys might become worried about their bodies after seeing what some of their friends look like. For instance, lots of boys are concerned about their muscles. You may have already noticed some boys starting to get chest muscles (called the pectoralis muscles or pecs for short). Others may have broad shoulders (the deltoids, or delts for short). Other boys might still be slimmer and smaller.

Remember that puberty happens on its own schedule, so there’s no rushing it if you’re a little slower to develop muscles. Maybe you’ve considered lifting weights to help yourself get bigger. It’s important to know that if you haven’t quite reached puberty, this will tone your muscles, but it won’t build up any muscles yet.

Eating nutritious food and being active (like riding your bike, swimming, and playing sports) will help you be a kid who’s strong and fit. In time, you’ll reach puberty and you can start building your muscles, too.

If you decide to try lifting weights, first let your doctor know you are interested. He or she may tell you to hold off on weightlifting for a bit or give you some advice on how to start. If your doctor discourages weightlifting, try some other ways to work out. Resistance bands, which are like big rubber bands, are a great way to help build your strength without putting too much strain on your muscles.

If your doctor recommends weightlifting, here are some tips:

  • Have a qualified coach or trainer supervise you. It’s smart to have somebody show you the proper way to lift weights. This will help you gain strength and prevent injury.
  • Use lighter weights. Your coach or trainer can recommend the right amount. Lifting heavy weights can cause injuries and then you’ll have to wait until you recover before you can work out again.
  • Do repetitions. It’s better to lift a smaller amount of weight a bunch of times than to try to lift a heavy weight once or twice.
  • Rest. Let your body have a break at least every other day.

Do I Think About Girls Too Much or Not Enough?

There is this girl who lives in your neighbourhood and you see her playing with her friends every afternoon when school is done. You get really hot and your palms sweat when she says “hi” to you. That night you go to bed and before you sleep, you have one last thought about her. Every day for the next few weeks you keep thinking about her. You might be wondering, “Why do I feel this way?” You just may have a crush.

Or perhaps your friend keeps talking about this one girl he thinks is so pretty. He goes on and on about how she tells funny jokes. He also tells you that he likes her. You think, “Why don’t I feel or talk this way about a girl — am I supposed to?”

Every boy has his own likes and dislikes. And during puberty, some boys are very friendly with girls and others might be nervous about talking to girls. Thinking about someone you like is a normal process of puberty. And if you feel like you don’t like any girls, that’s fine, too. Eventually, you may find someone who makes you feel giddy inside. Only time will tell.

So why do you feel this way? The hormones in your body are becoming more active. As a result, you’re starting to have more feelings. These feelings can confuse you and may leave you scared. This is natural because you are going through a new phase in your life.

Talking with a friend or an older person like your brother or sister might help you be less confused. Older people sometimes have more experience than you, so they can be good people to go to for advice.

What’s Up With Body Hair?

Body hair really gets going during puberty. Some boys will start to notice hair growing on their face around the chin, on the cheeks, and above the lip. Also, hair grows on the chest, the armpits, and even down there in the pubic region. Remember that there’s nothing to worry about because hair is just one of the body’s many ways of telling you that you are on your way to manhood.

You’re growing hair in new places because hormones are telling your body that it is ready to change. Some of the hormones that trigger this new hair growth come from your adrenal glands. Other hormones come from your pituitary (say: puh-TOO-uh-ter-ee) gland (a pea-shaped gland located at the bottom of your brain). These pituitary hormones travel through your bloodstream and make your testicles (“balls”) grow bigger and start to release another hormone called testosterone that also helps make your body start sprouting hair in your pubic area, under your arms, and on your face.

Boys don’t really need to do anything about this new hair that’s growing. Later, when you’re a teen, and the hair gets thick enough on your face, you may want to talk with your parents about shaving.

Do I Smell?

You probably know what sweat is, but did you know that it’s also called perspiration (say: pur-spuh-RAY-shun)? How does it happen? Perspiration comes out of your skin through tiny holes called pores when your body gets hot.

Your body likes a temperature that is 98.6°F (37°C). If you get hotter than that, your body doesn’t like it, so then your body sweats. The sweat comes out of the skin, then evaporates (this means it turns from a liquid to a vapor) into the air, which cools you down. Sometimes this sweat or wetness can be smelly and create body odor (sometimes called BO). During puberty, your hormones are working all the time, which explains why you sweat a lot and, well, sometimes smell.

What makes it smelly? The sweat is made almost completely of water, with tiny amounts of other chemicals like ammonia (say: uh-MOE-nyuh), urea (say: yoo-REE-uh), salts, and sugar. (Ammonia and urea are left over when your body breaks down protein.) Sweat by itself is not really smelly, but when it comes in contact with the bacteria on your skin (which everyone has) it becomes smelly.

But how can you keep yourself from being all sweaty and smelly? First, you can shower or bathe regularly, especially after playing sports or sweating a lot, like on a hot day. You can also use deodorant under your arms.

Deodorant comes in many good-smelling scents or you can use one that’s unscented. Some deodorants come in a white stick that you can twist up. Lots of people put this on after showering or bathing before they put their clothes on. Otherwise, the white stick deodorants can leave white marks on your clothes. You can also choose a deodorant that’s clear instead of white.

You can decide to wear a deodorant (which helps stops the smell) or a deodorant/antiperspirant (which helps stops the smell and the sweat). If you find these products aren’t working for you, talk with your doctor.

What About Erections?

An erection is what happens when your penis fills up with blood and hardens. The penis will become bigger and stand out from the body. Boys will start to notice erections occurring more often when they reach puberty. And they’re perfectly normal.

An erection can happen at any time. You can get many in one day or none at all. It depends on your age, sexual maturity, level of activity, and even the amount of sleep you get.

An erection can happen even when you’re sleeping. Sometimes you might wake up and your underwear or bed is wet. You may worry that this means you wet your bed like when you were little, but chances are you had a nocturnal emission, or “wet dream.” A wet dream is when semen (the fluid containing sperm) is discharged from the penis while a boy is asleep. Semen is released through the urethra — the same tube that urine (pee) comes out of. This is called ejaculation.

Wet dreams occur when a boy’s body starts making more testosterone. This change for boys is little bit like when a girl gets her period. It’s a sign a boy is growing up and the body is preparing for the day in the future when a man might decide to be a father. Semen contains sperm, which can fertilize a woman’s egg and begin the process that ends with a baby being born.

Although some boys might feel embarrassed or even guilty about having wet dreams, a boy can’t help it. Almost all boys normally experience them at some time during puberty and even as adults.

But if you ever have pain or a problem with your penis or testicles, it is important that someone take you to the doctor. You may think “Man, I don’t want to go to the doctor for that!” But it’s best to get problems like this checked out — and your doctor won’t be embarrassed at all. It’s a doctor’s job to help you take care of your body — even that part.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD

To read more on these topics

http://kidshealth.org/Features.jsp?lic=1&feature=30#

Playground safety

Each year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in hospital ERs for playground-related injuries. Many of these could have been prevented with the proper supervision.

You can make the playground entertaining and safe for your kids by checking equipment for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines.

And teaching kids how to play safely is important: If they know the rules of the playground, they’re less likely to get hurt.

Adult supervision can help prevent injuries by making sure kids properly use playground equipment and don’t engage in unsafe behaviour around it. If an injury does occur, an adult can assist the child and administer any needed first aid right away.

Kids should always have adult supervision on the playground. Young kids (and sometimes older ones) can’t always gauge distances properly and aren’t capable of foreseeing dangerous situations by themselves. Older kids like to test their limits on the playground, so it’s important for an adult to be there to keep them in check.

Before you visit a playground, check to make sure that play areas are designed to allow an adult to clearly see kids while they’re playing on all the equipment.

To read more on this and similar subjects, please go to… http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/safe_play/playground.html#cat20889

How to choose and use sunscreen

With all the sunscreens available these days (organic or mineral? water-resistant or sweat-resistant? lotion or spray?), choosing the right one for your kids can be tricky. But what matters most when picking a sunscreen is how well it protects skin from UV rays.

How to Choose

Look for SPF (sun protection factor) numbers on the labels of sunscreens. Select an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent sunburn and tanning, both of which are signs of skin damage. Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays (usually labeled as a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen).

Sunscreen sprays are convenient but should be used with caution. For starters, sprays are easy to breathe in, which can irritate the lungs. Some sprays also are flammable, so you need to avoid sparks or flames when applying them and wearing them. And, sprays make it hard to tell if you have applied enough sunscreen, which increases the risk of sunburn.

Other things to consider:
•Don’t use sunscreens with PABA, which can cause skin allergies.
•For sensitive skin, look for products with the active ingredient titanium dioxide.
•If your teen or preteen wants to use a self-tanner sunscreen, be sure to get one that also has UV protection (many offer little or none).

Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of the sun. When going outside, dress your baby in lightweight clothes that cover arms and legs — and don’t forget a hat. If you can’t avoid the sun, you can use a small amount of sunscreen on your baby’s exposed skin, like the hands and face.

to read more on these topics go to … http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/safe_play/sunscreen.html#cat20889

Learning a second language after age 10 boosts brain

interesting article

Plenty of research has shown that learning a second language can boost brainpower, but a new study out Monday suggests that the effects extend to those who begin in middle childhood.

The study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that people who began learning English around age 10 and were immersed in the language, meaning they heard and used it in daily life, showed improvements in the structure of the brain’s white matter compared to people who grew up speaking only English and did not learn a second language.

These “higher levels of structural integrity” were in areas responsible for language learning and semantic processing.

The findings mirror observations from previous studies that found these improvements in people who learned a second language at a much earlier age.

Researchers studied brain scans from 20 people, all around the age of 30, who had lived in Britain for at least 13 months.

They had all started learning English as a second language around age 10.

Their imaging analyses were compared to 25 people of similar age who spoke only English.

“Everyday handling of more than one language functions as an intensive cognitive stimulation that benefits specific language-related brain structures by preserving their integrity, and therefore it protects them against deterioration in older age,” said the study led by Christos Pliatsikas of the University of Kent School of Psychology.

Since previous studies had predominantly relied on people who learned two or more languages beginning in infancy, scientists say more research is needed to close in on exactly when these positive brain changes begin to take root.

Read more.. http://www.msn.com/en-za/news/featured/learning-a-second-language-after-age-10-boosts-brain/ar-AA85FH4?ocid=LENDHP

Encouraging Your Child's Sense of Humour

A sense of humor can brighten family life. You can blow raspberries on a baby’s belly, put on a silly hat and chase a 3-year-old, or pretend to fall into a pile of leaves to amuse a first-grader. As kids grow into preteens and teens, you can share puns and jokes as their sense of what’s funny grows more sophisticated.

Laughing together is a way to connect, and a good sense of humor also can make kids smarter, healthier, and better able to cope with challenges.

We tend to think of humor as part of our genetic makeup, like blue eyes or big feet. But a sense of humor actually is a learned quality that can be developed in kids, not something they’re born with.

What’s So Funny Anyway?

Humor is what makes something funny; a sense of humor is the ability to recognize it. Someone with a well-developed sense of humor has the ability to recognize what’s funny in others and can amuse them as well.

A good sense of humor is a tool that kids can rely on throughout life to help them:

  • see things from many perspectives other than the most obvious
  • be spontaneous
  • grasp unconventional ideas or ways of thinking
  • see beyond the surface of things
  • enjoy and participate in the playful aspects of life
  • not take themselves too seriously

Kids with a well-developed sense of humor are happier and more optimistic, have higher self-esteem, and can handle differences (their own and others’) well. Kids who can appreciate and share humor are better liked by their peers and more able to handle the adversities of childhood — from moving to a new town, to teasing, to torment by playground bullies.

And a good sense of humor doesn’t just help kids emotionally or socially. Research has shown that people who laugh more are healthier — they’re less likely to be depressed and may even have an increased resistance to illness or physical problems. They experience less stress; have lower heart rates, pulses, and blood pressure; and have better digestion. Laughter may even help humans better endure pain, and studies have shown that it improves our immune function.

But most of all, a sense of humor is what makes life fun. Few pleasures rival yukking it up with your kids.

to read more on these subjects …. http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/learning/child_humor.html#cat163

Bully-Proof your kid

Did you know that 25% of public schools report that bullying among kids happens on a daily or weekly basis? And that 1 in 5 high school students report being bullied in the past year?

The good news is that because bullying has made national headlines, schools and communities (and even celebrities) are taking a strong stand against bullying.

You can do your part at home, too. Here are 5 smart strategies to keep kids from becoming targets — and stop bullying that has already started:

  1. Talk about it. Talk about bullying with your kids and have other family members share their experiences. If one of your kids opens up about being bullied, praise him or her for being brave enough to discuss it and offer unconditional support. Consult with the school to learn its policies and find out how staff and teachers can address the situation.
  2. Remove the bait. If it’s lunch money or gadgets that the school bully is after, you can help neutralize the situation by encouraging your child to pack a lunch or go to school gadget-free.
  3. Buddy up for safety. Two or more friends standing at their lockers are less likely to be picked on than a child who is all alone. Remind your child to use the buddy system when on the school bus, in the bathroom, or wherever bullies may lurk.
  4. Keep calm and carry on. If a bully strikes, a kid’s best defense may be to remain calm, ignore hurtful remarks, tell the bully to stop, and simply walk away. Bullies thrive on hurting others. A child who isn’t easily ruffled has a better chance of staying off a bully’s radar.
  5. Don’t try to fight the battle yourself. Sometimes talking to a bully’s parents can be constructive, but it’s generally best to do so in a setting where a school official, such as a counselor, can mediate.

to read more… http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/bully-proof.html#cat145

Flying's effects on the ears...

Flying’s Effects on Ears

Many of us have felt that weird ear-popping sensation when we fly. For kids (especially babies and young children), it can seem especially odd and even scary at first. But it’s a common, normal part of flying.

This sometimes uncomfortable sensation is related to pressure changes in the air space behind the eardrum (the middle ear). Normally, the eustachian tube, a passageway that leads from the middle ear to the back of the throat behind the nose, equalizes the air pressure in the middle ear to the outside air pressure by opening and letting air reach the middle ear. When our ears “pop” while yawning or swallowing, the eustachian tubes are adjusting the air pressure in the middle ears.

In kids, however, the relatively narrow eustachian tubes might not function as effectively, especially if they’re clogged by inflammation and mucus from an ear infection or cold, or blocked by enlarged or swollen adenoids (lumps of immune system tissue located near the openings of the eustachian tubes).

Whether you’re flying, scuba diving, climbing a mountain, or even riding in an elevator, air pressure decreases as you go higher and increases as you go lower. If the pressure isn’t equalized, the higher air pressure pushes on one side of the eardrum and causes pain. That explains why so many babies cry during those last few minutes of the flight, when the air pressure in the cabin increases as the plane prepares to land.

But the pain is only temporary — it won’t cause any lasting problems for kids and usually will subside within a few minutes as the eustachian tubes open to let the air pressure equalize on both sides of the eardrums.

If your child has an ear infection, your doctor may recommend delaying flying, if possible, until the infection is gone to avoid increased pain and possible rupture, or tear, of the eardrum. In kids who have had tubes inserted in the eardrums because of ear fluid problems, the artificial tubes will help the air pressure equalization happen more easily.

to read more please visit: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/ear/flying_ears.html#cat20030

Bedwetting

Bedwetting is an issue that millions of families face every night. It is extremely common among young kids but can last into the teen years.

Doctors don’t know for sure what causes bedwetting or why it stops. But it is often a natural part of development, and kids usually grow out of it. Most of the time bedwetting is not a sign of any deeper medical or emotional issues.

All the same, bedwetting can be very stressful for families. Kids can feel embarrassed and guilty about wetting the bed and anxious about spending the night at a friend’s house or at camp. Parents often feel helpless to stop it.

Bedwetting may last for a while, but providing emotional support and reassurance can help your child feel better until it stops.

How Common Is Bedwetting?

Nocturnal enuresis, the medical name for bedwetting, is a common problem in kids, especially children under the 6 years old. About 13% of 6-year-olds wet the bed, while about 5% of 10-year-olds do.

Bedwetting often runs in families: many kids who wet the bed have a relative who did, too. If both parents wet the bed when they were young, it’s very likely that their child will.

Coping With Bedwetting

Bedwetting usually goes away on its own. But until it does, it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for your child. So it’s important to provide support and positive reinforcement during this process.

Reassure your child that bedwetting is a normal part of growing up and that it’s not going to last forever. It may comfort your child to hear about other family members who also struggled with it when they were young.

Remind your child to go to the bathroom one final time before bedtime. Try to have your child drink more fluids during the daytime hours and less at night. Avoid caffeine-containing drinks. Many parents find that using a motivational system, such as stickers for dry nights with a small reward (such as a book) after a certain number of stickers, can work well. Bedwetting alarms also can be helpful.

When your child wakes with wet sheets, don’t yell or punish him or her. Have your child help you change the sheets. Explain that this isn’t punishment, but it is a part of the process. It may even help your child feel better knowing that he or she helped out. Offer praise when your child has a dry night.

Read more.. http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sleep/enuresis.html#cat190