Archives

Back to school health checklist for kids

It’s that time of year again, when you need to review your back to school health checklist for kids. Summer is quickly coming to an end, and preparation for the school year is starting to ramp up. As we transition from July into August, most parents start running through lists in their minds of everything they need to do before school starts. Hopefully, you have a number of health items on your lists.

In case you don’t, we want to provide you a quick reference for items to include on your back to school health checklist for kids. This list can serve as a good starting place for you as you think through a healthy start for the school year. While you might need to include more or less depending on your particular situation, this list can nonetheless provide a skeleton to build your own plan off of. Many times, we as parents, forget how important starting a new school year can be for our kids. If nothing else, this article can provide a helpful reminder to think ahead about your child’s health and the school year.

Take some time before the school year begins to think through the different changes that your child must make. Then sit down and use this list as a starting place to prepare a plan to make those transitions healthy and beneficial. Let’s discuss some key elements that you should consider including on your back to school health checklist for kids.

Schedule Your Physical Exam

First, as part of our back to school health checklist for kids we need to cover setting up an appointment for a physical exam. After all, you need to have regular checkups for your children. After age 5, though, it’s only recommended to have a physical once every two years unless your child plays sports. If your child plays sports, they should have a physical exam once a year. Before the start of school each year, you should review when the last time your child had a physical exam was. If it’s been two years, you should schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for a regular physical checkup for your child.

This appointment should be setup to give you a general overview of your child’s health and development. Again, for healthy children without noticeable illnesses or developmental issues, once every two years should be sufficient to give your pediatrician an idea of your child’s general health. Many times, parents only think of physicals in terms of needing it for sports. While having a physical is a requirement for any sports participation, each child still needs regular checkups.

Keep in mind the physical is the same as wellness check when your child was a new born. It serves the same role and provides the same necessary function in measuring overall health and well being. As a result, parents need to be sure not to skip the regular checkups.

Your pediatrician provides the best opportunity to catch illnesses or health concerns well in advance before they might become a serious risk. Also, if a health concern does exist that might negatively impact your child’s progress at school, you need to identify it before school starts to be sure to learn to manage the issue appropriately.

Check Your Vaccines

Secondly, you also need to include checking up on your child’s vaccines as part of the back to school health checklist for kids. One problem that inevitably comes up in households each school year is an increase in the instances of falling ill. From everything from the common cold to the flu to chick pox, schools act as a breeding ground for diseases. After all, kids love sharing things with one another, even to include that nasty stomach bug.

Before your child goes back to school, you need to give their bodies the necessary defenses against the worst of possible diseases. This means checking up on your child’s vaccination record and making sure they are up to date with their shots. No one likes getting shots. Getting shots, though, is much more preferable to potentially exposing your child to harmful pathogens.

At the end of summer, when you go to your child’s pediatrician for their physical, double check that your child has all the vaccines they need. Your child’s pediatrician can help you stay on top of what vaccines do what and when you need them and why. Ultimately, vaccines help protect everyone’s health. They help protect your child from catching viruses. At the same time, though, they also keep your child from unknowingly spreading disease to other kids at school.

Visit the Dentist and Eye Care Provider

Next, after covering everything with your pediatrician, you want to make appointments with your dentist and eye care provider. Sometimes in the rush to get so much done, we tend to forget about the dentist and eye care provider. We think that as long as we see our child’s pediatrician we should be covered. Unfortunately, while visiting your pediatrician is essential, that really isn’t enough to provide holistic care for meeting your child’s health needs. You need to also have regular checkups for vision and dental care.

When it comes to caring for your teeth, most experts recommend having a dental checkup at least once every six months. To make this easy for parents, you should think about scheduling appointments at the beginning of each semester, once in the beginning of the school year and once at winter break. This makes remembering to take your child to a dentist easier and helps make sure your child has a healthy smile after each longer break from school.

Seeing your eye care provider might be a little less regular than seeing your dentist. For school age children who don’t need corrective lenses, most experts might only recommend seeing a doctor once every two years. Ideally, though, you can base your frequency on the recommendations from both your pediatrician and your eye care provider. Your regular pediatrician can help gauge overall eye health and can recommend more regular visits if needed. If your child hasn’t seen an eye care provider in a few years, though, now before school begins is a good time to have their eyes checked.

Get New Gear

Fourthly, an aspect of your back to school health checklist for kids needs to involve getting critical new gear for your child’s school year. Children grow constantly. They outgrow clothes and shoes sometimes multiple times a year. Depending on your child’s personality, they may or may not let you know every time they need a new set of shoes. They might not even think of it themselves.

In reality, though, shoes that don’t fit and small clothing can be both a distraction and detriment to growth and learning. Additionally, research has hinted that what we choose to wear might impact how we think and focus and how well we might perform at tasks such as taking an exam. For parents then, you need to think of the start of the school year as an excellent opportunity to check if your child needs either new clothes or new shoes. More than likely, you will need to invest in getting something new for them to wear.

Additionally, you really need to make sure that your child has a new backpack that is the right size for them. Backpacks that are too big and too heavy can cause back problems and pain for your child. With the start of a new year, take extra time to buy a new backpack that they like that fits their age.

As school starts, help your child pack their bag and weigh it. If the backpack seems too heavy, work to find a way to cut down on the weight. Ask your child’s teacher for help as well to work out a system that works best for everyone. When your child has a new backpack and new gear, you help remove distractions and possible negative health side effects from their school day.

Practice Your Child’s School Sleep Routine

Another aspect of your back to school health checklist for kids needs to involve your child’s sleep routine. During the summer, when our kids have few responsibilities during the day, we can let our child’s sleep routine slip some. When it comes time to get ready for school, though, we really need to get our kids back into a regular habit of getting to bed on time.

At least two weeks before school begins, start implementing a sleep routine for the school year. Plan for your child to go to bed with enough time to get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Put in place boundaries on preparing for bed. For instance, you should make sure your child turns off electronics one to two hours before bed to help their minds settle and prepare for sleep. Also set times for getting into sleepwear, brushing teeth, and taking baths or showers as needed.

Next, think of the morning routine and when your kids need to get up. Make sure they wake up with enough time to get prepared for school and have a healthy well rounded breakfast. Also, you should make sure to provide enough time so that the mornings don’t feel chaotic and rushed. You want your child to have time to wake and get oriented so that they don’t feel stressed about the day ahead.

Once you have a good routine ready, start practicing it through at least a week before school begins. Practicing beforehand gives you the opportunity to work out any issues. It also makes it so that your child really feels refreshed and alert on their first day of school.

Get Prepared with Your Kid’s Diet

Finally, the last critical aspect of any back to school health checklist for kids needs to involve your child’s diet. Just like sleep, our rules around what our kids eat usually become a little more relaxed during the summer months. As a result, as you start to transition out of summer, you need to sit down with your kids and plan out healthy diet options.

More than likely your child won’t want to accept a healthy change to their diet. Additionally, rational reasoning probably won’t work on them. In lieu of that, you should encourage them to eat healthier with using creativity and providing them food options that actually taste good. The problem with healthy options, though, is that most of them are neither creative nor tasty. As a result, you as the parent will probably need to do a little more research and put more effort into a diet plan.

Before the school year begins, sit down and do some research. Look into some fun ideas for healthy snacks and meals. Consider things like what your child likes to eat and what they like about different colors or textures. Try to incorporate something of your child’s personality into the food options you choose.

The best approach might be to come up with a list of potential options for your child to consider. For different creative and fun ideas, take a look at the options at this link and in this article. Once you have several options selected for meals and snacks, go through them with your child and let your child pick ones they might want to keep and others they want to get rid of.

Getting Ready for the School Year with a Back to School Health Checklist for Kids

Preparing for a new school year can be hectic and stressful for both kids and parents alike. After having the time off during the summer, sometimes you struggle to even get back in the school mindset as the school year approaches. Changing your mindset, though, can be the least of your worries. You have to meet new teachers, get new school supplies, figure out new schedules, and make sure your child prepares mentally for the new challenges. Just thinking about everything you need to do can leave you exhausted.

We hope this article at least helps give you the basic framework of what to consider when it comes to your child’s health. With so much going on with a new school year, it can be easy to put off or forget about the health checkups and screenings. To set your child up for success, though, you really should make health items a priority. If all else fails, start with your child’s pediatrician and with a brief check-in. Your pediatrician can then help guide you on making sure you cover your bases when it comes to an effective back to school health checklist for kids.

Healthy summer routine for kids

With school out, parents really need to focus on planning a healthy summer routine for kids. Without thinking about it, summer can quickly fly by with endless activities and things to do. Before you know it, your kids can be out of school and back to school in a blink of an eye. Since summer flies by so quickly, parents really need to think and plan ahead if you want your kids to stay on a healthy schedule.

As any pediatrician will tell you, living healthy matters a lot. Unfortunately, healthy living doesn’t come naturally to any of us. Simply taking precautions to maintain a healthy routine, though, can help to prevent disease such as the flu as well as assist in overall development. Nonetheless, as our culture and society becomes more fast paced and fast food-centric, traditional understandings of “healthy” lifestyles become more and more rare. When it comes to your kids, though, parents really need to slow things down and make healthy living a priority.

Since summertime acts as a break from many things in life, parents should work harder during these months to keep a healthy lifestyle in focus. In this post, we want to talk through five key ingredients for building a healthy summer routine for kids. Living healthy involves more than just one area of your life. Read through the different key ingredients outlined below to see how each area impacts living a healthy lifestyle.

Key Ingredient #1 – Schedule

Finding a healthy summer routine for kids starts with planning out your schedule. Schedules provide a regular rhythm and consistency in a child’s life. These things are necessary to help kids feel safe and help them stay out of negative or repetitive behaviors. During the school year, the school day provides the structure and schedule. With summer break, though, that structure goes away.

During the summertime, you as the parent need to help provide the regular schedule that your child really needs. The younger the child, the more important regular and consistent structure are for providing self-discipline and development later in life. After all, none of us should simply be allowed to just do as we feel with our day. We need discipline and accountability.

With the summer, you should think about having a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. For the daily schedule focus on developing consistent blocks of activity that your child needs each day. For instance, build in regular amounts of play or exercise. Also, make sure you have consistent and regular times for eating meals and going to sleep. Next, for weekly schedules, make sure to fit in regular times during the week for more occasional activities. These could include things like weekly chores or weekly trips to the library. Finally, for monthly schedules, include larger activities that you want to plan out well in advance. These could include things like summer vacation plans.

After you have your schedules planned out, sit down with your child to go over them. Your child needs to know the plans in advance so that they know what to expect. You can then refer back to the schedules daily and weekly and make sure you’re staying on track.

Key Ingredient #2 – Diet

Secondly, a healthy summer routine for kids depends on maintaining a healthy diet. During the school year, your child’s school might help with a healthy diet with school lunches. When school gets out, though, many times our eating times get off course. Not only that, but with summer being a break, we also sometimes allow for greater liberties in what our kids might regularly eat. Occasional treats are fine, but we need to remember that healthy diets are much more important to the overall development of our children.

When summer hits, you need to be ready with a comprehensive healthy diet plan for your kids. This means covering all parts of your child’s day including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. While you don’t have to map out every single summer meal before summer holiday starts, you want to have a general idea of what most of those meals may look like. Ideally, you could then sit down and plan out a week’s worth of meals at a time, updating as the summer progresses.

To get a head start on summer dieting, you should take the end of summer as a great opportunity for a refrigerator and pantry cleanse. Go through the food you have at home and get rid of all the unhealthy processed options. After tossing out the unhealthy foods, next replace them with healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other healthy alternatives.

After you complete your cleanse, start thinking of creative healthy meal ideas. Kids many times don’t want to eat healthy foods because they look and taste unappealing. By thinking creatively, though, you can make almost any food idea fresh and exciting. For creative healthy meal and snack ideas, check out the suggestions at this link or in this article.

Key Ingredient #3 – Bedtime

Thirdly, a healthy summer routine for kids must involve a mostly consistent sleep routine. This means that your child has a regular habit of when they start to prepare to go to bed and how they prepare to go to bed. Sleep plays a vital role in your child’s development no matter their age. While our society increasingly puts less and less emphasis on sleep, we, as parents, need to steer our children in the opposite direction. We need to teach them that getting regular sleep is very important for their overall health.

When summer starts, you need to sit down with your child to go over what their summer time sleep routine will look like. First, determine a set time that they must be in bed by. You might set this a little later than their regular time during the school year. After you have that time set, next set rules for when they have to turn off electronics before bed. Ideally, these should go off at least two hours before they go to sleep.

After you have times set, next make sure to put your routine in place. Help your child start to get ready for bed at about the same time each night. Also, you need to help ensure their bedroom sets up the right environment for sleep. Make sure the room is dark and at a temperature to encourage sleep.

Do your best to stick to your bedtime routine during the summer months. While you will have to break your routine for vacations, try to keep to your schedule outside of those interruptions. Keeping to a set routine will help with maintaining your child’s overall health and will help with transitioning back to a school based routine during the year.

Key Ingredient #4 – Electronics

Speaking of electronics before bed, we next need to cover electronics in general as part of your healthy summer routine for kids. Our culture becomes more and more enamored with electronics every year. Every year, too, our kids get more and more electronics and spend more time in front of screens. From video games to TV to tablets and phones and even watches, our kids have screens everywhere. For the sake of everyone, we as parents need to help our children structure their schedules to limit electronics as much as possible.

As part of your child’s summer routine, you need to sit down and decide appropriate amounts of electronics usage. A good approach to take might be setting daily limits on different types of electronics. For example, you could possibly limit watching TV each day to no more than an hour. Video games then, you might limit to two separate 30 minute blocks of time. You might also say that your kids can only use their cell phones for a limited period in the morning and again at night.

Next, after you have set limits, you need to give your children ideas for appropriate substitutes in place of electronics usage. You should try to encourage activities that engage your child’s mind and body in more creative ways. Some ideas for alternative play could include reading different books or painting or drawing. You can also encourage playing outside with friends or going places such as to the park or to the mall.

Key Ingredient #5 – Getting Active

Finally, as a last part of your healthy summer routine for kids, you need to make sure your kids get active. As we just talked about, too many kids spend too much time sitting in front of electronics. Even without electronics, our lives have become far too sedentary. This inactivity has led to increases in rates of obesity, diabetes, and depression among other health issues. Simply put, our bodies were designed to be active. When we don’t get the activity we need our health suffers as a result.

The need to get moving is possibly even more important for kids than adults. Children’s minds and bodies are still developing. They need exercise to help with regular muscle growth and overall development. Furthermore, physical activity helps to spark and encourage healthy brain activity and development.

At a minimum, you should encourage your child to get active for at least 60 minutes a day. You can break this time up into 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening if that makes it easier. Whatever you do, though, you need to make sure they get moving.

As a way of encouraging them, you should join them in a regular activity. Think of something creative and fun for the family to do and put it into action. Perhaps you can get a volleyball net and play volleyball in the backyard. Alternatively, you can go roller skating or bike riding.

Think of fun ways to get active and keep encouraging your kids to do more physical activities. After a while, your kids will get so into it, you won’t have to do much encouraging. For more ideas on getting kids active during the summer check out the suggestions at this link.

Thinking Outside the Box for a Healthy Summer Routine for Kids

Living a healthy active lifestyle takes planning and will power. As we’ve said, no one accidentally stumbles into eating healthy and staying active. No matter who they may be, they have to work at it and stay on top of things to keep their bodies and minds healthy.

The same truths apply for your kids. Your kids simply won’t stumble into a healthy summer. To make sure the summer months aren’t wasted, you as the parent have to help put in place a fun healthy summer routine for kids.

To make summer a positive healthy experience, you need to plan ahead and think outside of the box. After all, your kids have a lot of options of things to turn to to fill their time. You don’t want them to hate the idea of eating and living healthy. Instead, you want them to feel excited about it.

Before summer starts, sit down and think through the different ingredients of a healthy summer routine for kids that we just discussed. In each area, look for ideas and resources for engaging kids specifically. Use creativity and imagination to lock your kids in. Once your kids see healthy options as fun options, you won’t have to worry about trying to convince them anymore. Use the suggestions and ideas in this post as a place to start. From that point, launch off into creating a fun, engaging, and healthy summer plan.

Learning disabilities in children

Many parents have concerns about learning disabilities in children. Perhaps next to food allergies, most parents are next concerned about issues that might impact their child’s academic development. In recent years, different learning disabilities have gained wider attention and study. This wider attention has proven helpful for getting more resources to help children with learning disabilities.

The growing attention is warranted as learning disabilities impact a significant percentage of children. Still, there is some debate amongst researchers as to how prevalent learning disabilities in children are with estimates anywhere from 5% to 20%. Nonetheless, most all researchers and teachers understand the need for more effective resources to help children.

This reality should give all parents hope. No matter whether or not your child does have a learning disability, you can have confidence that everyone from your child’s pediatrician to their teacher wants to provide them with resources to succeed.

For parents at home, especially of younger children, it’s helpful to know what types of learning disabilities exist and what to look for. In this article, we cover some of the most common learning disabilities in children. We then talk through some potential factors that may cause learning disabilities to develop. Hopefully, this post can provide a useful resource for parents to learn more about learning disabilities that might impact their child.

Most Common Learning Disabilities in Children

In talking about learning disabilities in children, many parents want to start with understanding what learning disabilities to look out for. While many learning disabilities exist, in general, a few conditions stand out prominently as ones most likely to impact children. Let’s talk through the five most common forms of learning disabilities in children.

  1. ADHD

Most everyone has heard something about ADHD. After all, in recent years, the number of diagnoses of ADHD has skyrocketed among young children. As our culture as a whole becomes more unsettled, distracted, and constantly moving, the number of cases of ADHD has increased as well.

While much more is known about ADHD now then a decade or two ago, still many people don’t understand all the implications of ADHD. For instance, most people still do not realize that ADHD occurs as one of the most common learning disabilities in children. Even more, most people do not even understand it as a learning disability at all.

ADHD, though, can be viewed as a different wiring of a child’s brain. This different wiring makes it difficult many times for children to process information in the ways that many expect. Children with ADHD struggle often with focusing and processing new information. They also typically have issues with memorization and executive functioning skills. Executive functioning skills impact things like how we pay attention and how we organize thoughts. All of these symptoms can negatively impact how a child learns at home and at school. As a result, the growth in ADHD has helped to make ADHD one of the most common learning disabilities in children today.

  1. Dyscalculia

A second condition that appears as one of the most common learning disabilities in children is dyscalculia. Amongst learning disabilities, dyscalculia is perhaps one of the least studied and understood. In many ways, though, it has many similarities to dyslexia, which has been studied extensively. For instance, dyslexia involves a child having difficulty reading or comprehending letters. Dyscalculia, on the other hand, involves a child having difficulty recognizing or comprehending numbers.

In math, you need to know how to read and comprehend equations. You have to recognize formulas and what they ask you to perform. In children with dyscalculia, they have specific trouble approaching math questions and calculations. For example, they might struggle to remember math formulas or facts. They might also understand math concepts but struggle with knowing when to apply them correctly.

Parents might notice different signs of dyscalculia at different ages. For instance, in preschool, a child with dyscalculia might have difficulty with counting numbers sequentially. They might also fail to notice mathematical patterns. In grade school, a child with dyscalculia will often fall behind their peers in handling basic math equations such as simple addition and subtraction. In later years, they might struggle to translate math concepts to real life applications such as handling money or with measuring things such as in recipes.

If you notice one or more of these issues in your child, you might want to look further into whether dyscalculia might be to blame. Talk with your pediatrician about what symptoms you see. For more symptoms to look out for, check out other symptoms of dyscalculia found in this article.

  1. Dyslexia

Along with ADHD, most parents probably recognize and know something about dyslexia. Among learning disabilities in children, dyslexia is the most common impacting an estimated 5 to 10% of the population. As we just discussed, while dyscalculia specifically involved numbers, dyslexia deals with how a child reads and interprets letters.

In general, children with dyslexia have trouble with reading comprehension and also with spelling. They often struggle to read words or phrases and can have issues with grasping or remembering concepts of what they read themselves. Generally, they don’t have any issues with comprehension when others read to them. The problems just arise in how they personally read and interact with letters.

Many people think of dyslexia as seeing letters incorrectly and therefore possibly having a basis in a child’s vision. In reality, though, not all children with dyslexia see letters or words differently. Instead, all children with dyslexia have trouble with interpreting and understanding words and passages that they try to read. Specifically then, while some children with dyslexia might see or write letters or words backwards, the larger issue is the interpretation of what they attempt to read.

Many times dyslexia can be identified in asking children to read aloud a passage or with asking simple comprehension question. If a child struggles with these types of tasks, dyslexia might be an underlying factor. For a helpful list of potential signs of dyslexia in children, refer to the list in this article.

  1. Processing Deficits

Another one of the most common learning disabilities in children is processing deficits. Processing deficits involve when a child has issues with processing inputs in their environment. The most common forms of processing deficits include auditory processing disorder and visual processing disorder.

With auditory processing disorder, a child has difficulty with organizing and analyzing the sounds they hear. This disorder doesn’t mean the child has a hearing problem. They typically hear fine. Instead, they have problems with understanding how to interpret the sounds they head. Oftentimes, signs of an auditory processing problem might include issues with following spoken directions or telling the difference between similar words.

On the other hand, visual processing disorder involves having problems with interpreting and understanding things a child sees. Again, as with auditory processing disorder, there is nothing physically wrong with how a child sees. Instead, the child has trouble with understanding the implications of what they see and matching the visual sights to actual concepts. A key indicator of visual processing disorder might include very poor hand-eye coordination.

  1. Dysgraphia

A final common learning disability in children is dysgraphia. While dyslexia involves difficulty reading and comprehending words, dysgraphia involves difficulty with writing. Many children with dysgraphia have messy or illegible handwriting. While this might seem at first to describe most children, children with dysgraphia struggle beyond the early learning stages of handwriting.

Since dysgraphia isn’t as well know as many other learning disabilities, many people might mistake signs of it for laziness or simply sloppiness in writing. For the child, though, the disability isn’t due to any lack of effort. Instead, the child’s attempts to write and recreate letters and shapes simply fails to match expectations.

If you think your child might have an issue with writing out thoughts and ideas and recreating accurate shapes, you might have a case of dysgraphia on hand. Children with this condition might dislike writing and drawing and might refuse to participate. Additionally, they might have trouble grasping spelling and spelling rules as well as difficulty writing out their thoughts. For additional symptoms of dysgraphia to look out for refer to the list in this article.

Causes of Learning Disabilities in Children

In thinking through learning disabilities in children, it’s helpful to consider possible causes. While researchers don’t know for certain what leads to learning disabilities, doctors have some ideas of potential factors. As research continues into possible sources, three factors predominately stand out. Let’s look closer at each of these possible causes that may influence learning disabilities.

  1. Genetic Factors

While genetics haven’t been shown conclusively to play a role in learning disabilities, some indications hint that genes might have an influence. Many children with learning disabilities usually have one or more family members who also have a similar disability. While a specific gene has yet to be identified as causing learning disabilities, the connection through generations establishes a strong indication that genes might have some kind of role.

Still, other researchers believe the generational connection might have more to do with how parents teach their children than it does with genes. The belief here is that learning disabilities might develop not due to hereditary influences but simply that children grow up learning in the same methods and ways as their parents. If their parents have deficiencies in their learning then their children will also.

  1. Environmental Factors

A second possible factor that might contribute to learning disabilities in children are different environmental factors in a young child’s life. For one, some believe early exposure to lead could negatively impact a child’s development. Lead poisoning can affect a child in a number of ways through their environment.

For instance, many times lead can enter a water source possibly through lead pipes and be consumed with drinking water. Additionally, lead used to be used extensively in building materials such as paint. Some of those materials could still exist in a child’s environment and lead could possibly enter the air they breathe.

In additional to lead, other environmental toxins could possibly impact a child’s early development and eventually how they learn. Furthermore, if a young child perhaps has poor nutrition or is malnourished in early life, these things can negatively impact their later development. While not firmly established, many researchers draw a connection between negative environmental impacts and later learning disabilities in some children.

  1. Brain Development Factors

Lastly, many researchers believe that learning disabilities in children might result from brain development factors. For children, normal healthy brain development is key for healthy development in many areas of life. When it comes to learning issues, some scientists believe that issues that slow brain development can create learning problems.

These brain development factors can include such things as issues before birth such as low oxygen in the womb or low birth weight or issues after birth such as suffering a head injury. Since all of these things interrupt normal development, they can also possibly lead to a child developing a learning disability, which prevents normal learning.

Diagnosing and Treating Learning Disabilities in Children

If parents notice signs of learning disabilities in children in their home, they need to next talk to a professional about diagnosis and treatment. The first step should be talking to your child’s pediatrician. Your child’s pediatrician can provide several resources to help you better understand potential disabilities and identify ways to address them. Your child’s pediatrician can also help you as the parent monitor and watch out for early indicators of issues. Beyond that they can help with getting your child assessed if needed. They can also provide crucial support throughout the whole process.

After your pediatrician, you next want to talk to your child’s teachers or instructors. While at one time many schools had little resources to help children with learning disabilities, most every school now has resources to turn to. While there is no cure for learning disabilities, for every disability there are resources and approaches for treatment that you can take to help address the issue. Most schools have access to these helpful resources. Additionally, they have programs that they can enroll your child in to help your child with advancing in their schoolwork.

With the help of your child’s pediatrician, teachers, and school administration, you should have no reason to fear your child falling too far beyond. The key for effective treatment of learning disabilities in children is identifying the issues early. With early identification, you can then get access to the resources you need. We hope that this article gives you some helpful information for moving towards both those objectives.

Sleep issues in children

Sleep issues in children can quickly disrupt any household. If your child doesn’t sleep well at night, they can have issues with concentration during the day. They can also have an increase in behavioral problems and moodiness. Furthermore, usually if your child doesn’t sleep well, you as the parent won’t sleep well either.

As humans, we all need sleep for daily rejuvenation. Developing children, especially, need sleep for healthy growth and lifestyles. In short, sleep matters. In fact, it matters a lot more than making sure you don’t feel grumpy in the morning. Sleep affects many realms of our health and development. This makes it paramount that parents ensure that their children get a restful amount of sleep as often as possible.

Staying healthy involves a person’s whole being. You can’t separate diet from exercise from sleep and only focus on one area. Each area affects the others. In this article, though, we focus specifically on making sure that your child sleeps well and ways you can help with that critical part of their development. Ultimately, we want to help parents as much as possible with staying on the offensive when it comes to their child’s sleep habits.

Indications of Possible Sleep Issues in Children

Sleep matters for children and adults alike, but we especially need to pay attention to the sleep patterns of our children. How well someone sleeps can make a large impact on many areas of life. Sleep can impact so many things including your feelings, your ability to learn or concentrate, and how you interact with others. Additionally, sleep deprivation can increase chances of weight gain, heart disease, and other health problems.

With all this in mind, parents need to know some of the possible indicators of sleep issues in children. With knowing the potential signs of sleep issues, parents can have tools to help resolve concerns before they become unmanageable. Let’s look at some of the primary causes of sleep issues in children.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

One of the largest indications of possible sleep issues in children is a condition known as excessive daytime sleepiness. With this condition, children feel fatigued or lethargic during the day and oftentimes simply don’t get enough sleep at night. This condition can be caused by brain or medical conditions, a concussion, or even simple disruptions in a child’s regular routine.

If you notice that your child feels or acts tired during the day on a consistent basis, excessive daytime sleepiness might be a contributing factor. This might point to not sleeping well at night or simply not getting restful sleep. In fact, some children do get a full night’s sleep but since the sleep isn’t restful or deep they still experience excessive daytime sleepiness.

If you see signs of excessive daytime sleepiness, you should talk to your pediatrician about possible resolutions. Studies have indicated that the condition might contribute to behavioral and conduct issues and impact performance at school. Before your child starts to have issues with school performance, though, you should try to find ways to limit daytime sleepiness as much as possible.

Snoring

Another key indicator of sleep issues in children to pay attention to is snoring. We all associate snoring as an accepted part of sleep, but in children snoring might point to larger problems at hand. Many children and adults snore occasionally. A child, though, who snores on a consistent basis might have underlying issues affecting their overall sleep.

In general, snoring can appear as a symptom of a number of things from weight gain to seasonal allergies. If you notice your child snoring heavily or regularly, you might talk to your child’s pediatrician. Occasional snoring might not present issues especially if it results from short-term allergies or infections. Frequent occurrences might point, though, to enlarged tonsils or adenoids or even a case of sleep apnea.

Since snoring has to do with how your child breathes while they sleep, it can point to larger problems involving not breathing well which might also keep them from having restful sleep. The best path to follow is simply to consult with your pediatrician if you notice a regular pattern of snoring.

Sleepwalking or Nightmares

Thirdly, sleepwalking or nightmares can also point to sleep issues in children. Sleepwalking typically occurs more often in children than adults as most people eventually outgrow the behavior. Sometimes, it might come about naturally and not as a result of another sleep issue. For instance, if both parents had sleepwalking episodes as children, then their child might also sleep walk.

Other times, though, sleepwalking can occur or happen more frequently as a result of fatigue or irregular sleep schedules. Stress or sickness can also bring it about. As a result, parents just need to be extra aware if they notice sleepwalking in their children. While it doesn’t necessarily point to other sleep issues, in some instances it can be an indicator of other things impacting normal sleep.

Similarly, nightmares occur at different times for most children. Infrequent nightmares typically do not present any reason for concern. However, frequent nightmare episodes can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and issues with falling and staying asleep. If your child experiences frequent nightmares, you might try to identify the reason for the episodes. Stress, fatigue, or other factors might cause an increase in nightmares. With identifying any underlying causes, you can help to limit their impact on your child’s overall sleep behavior.

Addressing Sleep Issues in Children

If you identify a possible sleep issue in children in your household, you next want to find ways to start addressing it. Fortunately, many times parents can make slight adjustments to the environment or nightly routine to help encourage better sleep. Though every situation might be different, some general approaches might nevertheless provide some help. Let’s discuss some of the best home remedies for effectively addressing sleep issues in children.

Establish a Regular Sleep Routine

The first step for addressing potential sleep issues in children should involve establishing a regular sleep routine. Children, on the whole, need regular consistent schedules. Routines and schedules help reinforce healthy practices. Schedules provide boundaries and helpful structure in life. They also train our bodies to behave and react a certain way. When it comes to sleep, a sleep routine can help train your child’s body to start preparing for rest.

As part of preparing a sleep routine, you should consider such things as when your child last eats, stops watching TV, takes a bath, puts on their pajamas, brushes their teeth, and lays down. Each element of their nightly routine should occur at approximately the same time each night. Additionally, each element should build on the action before leading up to laying down and resting.

These physical cues can act as subtle indicators to your child’s mind and body to start slowing down for a restful night’s sleep. Having a regular sleep routine and sticking with it can possibly help resolve many sleep issues and can even help with things like ADHD management.

Pay Attention to Screen Time

Next, to supplement your child’s sleep routine, you need to make sure you pay attention to electronic usage and screen time close to bed. The younger your child is, the less time they should spend around screens to begin with. For anyone, though, child or adult, using electronic screens makes it difficult for our minds to shut off. As a result, screen time usage at night can prevent you from falling asleep or can delay sleep. For kids especially, studies have shown that screen time close to bed leads to less sleep and lower quality sleep overall.

To help create a space for sleep, you should make sure your children start turning off electronics early. Ideally, they wouldn’t use electronics of any kind in the hour to two hours before bed. At a minimum, though, you should make sure that the screens go off at least 45 minutes before lying down. Making this a consistent practice and policy in your home helps your child with preparing for sleep before they ever lay down in their bed.

Avoid Sugar and Caffeine Close to Bedtime

Thirdly, to help resolve sleep issues in children, you need to make sure that your child doesn’t consume sugar and caffeine close to bedtime. Sugar provides energy that awakens your body and mind. The last thing a child or anyone needs close to bedtime is more energy. Instead, you need to help your body start preparing for rest. Sugar works against this natural process.

Likewise, caffeine close to bedtime can keep a child up for several more hours. As a result, parents need to make sure that their children don’t drink caffeine drinks at night. The best practice should be to try to avoid caffeine at or after dinner.

In fact, you should really limit most food and drink consumption after dinner and definitely after 7 pm at night. Limiting your child’s access to sugary and high-energy drinks and foods simply aids in helping your child’s body to shut down better. While every now and then you might break routine for a special treat, in general make sure to keep the sugary foods and drinks put away before bed.

Maintain a Sleep Enabling Environment

Finally, another helpful approach for addressing sleep issues in children involves making sure the sleep environment encourages sleep. This means making sure that the bedroom has a comfortable sleeping temperature. Additionally, you need to make sure to minimize light in the room as much as possible. You also need to limit noise coming into the room or provide a sound machine to help make a soothing sleep environment.

Essentially, you need to avoid an environment that is bright or loud or too hot or too cold. These elements can make sleep difficult if not impossible. For young children who would rather do anything other than sleep to begin with you don’t want to provide them any excuse not to sleep.

When your child goes to bed, make sure they feel comfortable in their bed. Make sure that they don’t have anything that might provide them a reason to stay awake. For instance, for children who might get distracted by toys or books, make sure you put these all out of reach. When your child heads to bed, they should enter a room set up to completely encourage sleep. Making sure that the environment allows for sleep helps resolve many issues that might keep your child up late at night.

Working With Your Pediatrician to Resolve Sleep Issues in Children

Hopefully in this article we have been able to cover key indicators of possible sleep issues in children and how to address them well. One thing we have yet to cover in depth, though, is making sure to include your pediatrician in how you approach sleep issues in children. As we have mentioned before, your pediatrician acts as a powerful ally in protecting your child’s health. They oftentimes have the tools and insight that can help you see the bigger picture of how to help resolve problems like trouble sleeping.

If you notice potential sleep issues in your child, you should discuss possible causes with your pediatrician. In rare instances, your pediatrician might even prescribe sleep medication if other approaches prove unsuccessful. Whatever the approach, though, your pediatrician can act as your greatest ally in resolving sleep issues in children for good.

Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity has been a constant growing concern for many pediatricians and groups in America. In the last few decades, the average weight of Americans has exploded exponentially. Not only has the weight for adults exploded, it also has for kids. While some signs point towards a decline in obesity rates, still 1 child out of every six in America is obese. These numbers mean that childhood obesity impacts almost every neighborhood and area in the nation.

For young children, parents need to be conscious about how their children are developing. Childhood obesity has the potential to not only impact your child in their adolescence, but it can have lifelong implications as well. For starters, habits developed in youth typically continue into adulthood. Unhealthy lifestyle patterns can lead to later issues with diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension among other things. As a result, in general, many obese children continue into adulthood as obese adults.

While just looking at the statistics can be disheartening, there nevertheless is some hope. With knowing the signs and causes of childhood obesity, parents and communities can fight back to reduce its occurrence. In this article, we want to talk more in depth about the factors surrounding childhood obesity. We first want to talk through the symptoms and health effects. We then cover the causes and finally some ways to begin to address the problem.

Symptoms and Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has become so prevalent that in many ways we don’t notice it anymore. The weight of the average American has grown so dramatically that most people have no idea what determines if someone is obese. Beyond even that, many people might be shocked at some people who scientifically speaking are obese.

While we might not notice weight as a problem anymore, we still should have more concern than we do. For parents, that means that you need to know what symptoms and health effects to pay attention to. Childhood obesity can have a significant impact on a child’s overall health. Furthermore, it can go on to impact their development later in life. For these reasons, parents need to know what to look out for when it comes to a child’s weight. Let’s talk through some of the symptoms and health effects of childhood obesity.

Symptoms

We all assume that we know what obesity looks like when we see it. Before you can determine if your child has childhood obesity, though, you really need to know the symptoms and how they manifest. Some children carry extra weight without actually being obese. Can you tell the difference, though? Knowing further symptoms can help you more clearly demarcate troubling obesity from more normal childhood extra weight.

The main method used to identify obesity in both children and adults is the body mass index (BMI). A person’s BMI is based on a number of factors including their age, their weight, and their height. Since this takes into account more than just weight, doctors and scientists see it as a better overall measure of a person’s health. Generally, someone with a BMI greater than the 95th percentile of others in the same age and height group is considered obese.

If you notice your child putting on weight, you should consult with your doctor to measure your child’s BMI. In addition to checking your child’s BMI, you should also look out for other cues of a weight problem in your child. Symptoms can include sudden weight gain, poor self-esteem, having little energy, and an overall sedentary lifestyle. If you notice several of these issues, you should consult with your child’s pediatrician about whether or not obesity is a concern.

Health Effects

Knowing the symptoms helps to identify childhood obesity, but you also need to be aware of the health effects. Many pediatricians are concerned about childhood obesity because of the various health effects it can have on a person’s life. Since children are still growing and developing, early weight problems can have impacts that last well into adulthood.

First, childhood obesity can have several negative physical consequences. It can increase a child’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, and sleep disorders among other complications. Furthermore, childhood obesity sets up negative life patterns that increase the likelihood of children being unhealthy later in life.

Beyond the physical concerns, though, childhood obesity can also negatively impact a child’s mental and emotional health. An overweight child is 3 times as at risk for developing depression as their peers. Overweight children tend to become targets of bullying and being left out of social settings. Additionally, their opinions about themselves tend to be negative and they develop low self-esteem.

Taking into consideration all the effects of childhood obesity, the picture isn’t pretty. The evidence clearly points to obesity having a significant impact on a child’s existence. In light of this, parents and children really need to work together to mitigate its potential impact. Let’s now look at some causes of obesity and how to prevent it.

Underlying Causes of Childhood Obesity

Again, we all probably think we know the causes of childhood obesity. Almost anyone would say that eating too much food leads to being overweight. While this is true, there nevertheless exists other issues that either cause overeating or work in other ways to cause obesity. Let’s look at some of the most critical underlying factors.

Genetic Factors

First, a significant driver of childhood obesity happens to be family genetics. If a child’s family members happen to be overweight, they have an increased chance of becoming obese. This connection doesn’t make obesity a 100% certainty, but it does stack the odds against the child. Unfortunately, you can do little to address genetics. Still, that doesn’t mean that you can’t work to live an overall healthy and active lifestyle.

Someone with a family history of obesity can live a normal healthy life by strictly managing their diet and staying active. Nonetheless, if your family history has many cases of obesity, you need to pay extra attention to your child’s diet and exercise. Once negative eating patterns develop, they can be difficult to unlearn. For someone with a genetic predisposition towards gaining weight, they need the best chance they can get with having a consistent healthy diet.

Unhealthy Diets

Secondly, another primary driver of childhood obesity in children involves what our children consume. Over the last several decades, our diets have steadily gotten worse. On the whole, children today eat more sugar and processed foods than children one or two generations ago. Furthermore, not only do children eat poor food, they eat more of it. Our meal portion sizes have grown dramatically over the last several years. All this adds up to disaster if parents don’t closely monitor and regulate what children eat.

Childhood obesity has grown in part because families are too busy to eat healthy anymore. Fast food diets have become the regular go-to for many households on the run. Fewer and fewer families cook together anymore let alone sit down and eat together. These aspects of our modern culture all point to negative unhealthy eating patterns. In the end, this leaves us all overweight and unhappy and increases childhood obesity overall.

Inactive Lifestyles

Finally, a last major contributor to the rise in childhood obesity has been inactive lifestyles. Thirty years ago or more, most children played outside regularly. They had less access to TV and little to no access to video games or the internet. For better or worse, that landscape has changed dramatically. Whereas, once upon a time, no child worried about having a cell phone, now children in kindergarten have them. Most of the time, they use them for everything but talking on them.

These days, children spend on average way too much time on devices such as phones, tablets, and video game consoles. As a result they spend significantly less time—if much time at all—playing outside or engaging in sports. Pediatricians recommend most children get at a minimum of 60 minutes of consistent exercise each day. Nowadays, though, most children barely get close to 30 minutes and that oftentimes might only come during gym activities at school.

Our bodies were not designed to be inactive for such long periods. Our culture, though, and new lifestyle norms have made it so inaction is how we operate regularly. This leaves our children to struggle with obesity as they simply can’t burn off enough calories to combat all the unhealthy food they regularly eat.

Ways to Address Childhood Obesity

Next we need to look at specific ways to treat childhood obesity when identified. Since obesity can have multiple causes, treatment might not always seem so straightforward. Additionally, if genetics works against you, you might feel like you have no hope to fight back.

In reality, though, no matter the underlying causes anyone can work towards reducing the impact of childhood obesity. Even with genetics playing a factor, how you eat and how you exercise and how you feel overall can go a long way towards lowering the chances of childhood obesity. Let’s discuss some simple tips on starting to fight obesity today.

Get Active Yourself

The first step towards addressing childhood obesity involves looking at your own behavior. Many times our children become obese as a result of modeling the inactive lifestyles of their parents. After all, children aren’t born knowing how to eating junk food and sit around all day. Instead, children learn behaviors and attitudes from those around them and most of all from their parents.

Instead of scolding your child that they need to get active, you need to get moving yourself first. If you don’t already do something active for 60 minutes a day, you need to start doing that now. Whether you go for a morning run or hit the gym, you need to start doing something. After you establish a regular routine, invite your child to join in with you.

Being active yourself sets a positive example for your child to follow. It also takes away the excuse from your kids that they don’t need to do anything since you never exercise yourself. Instead, as you start to get more active and have more energy, your children will start to naturally want to follow along. As both you and they get more active, you can effectively reduce the impact of childhood obesity on your home.

Get Active as a Family

Next, to fight childhood obesity, you need to encourage physical activity as a group. You getting active on your own helps some. What your children really want, though, is interaction with you and with others. We all want and need that. Plus, getting outside and getting moving is almost always more fun with company.

The idea behind all of this is to teach and encourage healthy lifestyle habits that your children can pick up on and keep doing. Many children settle into playing video games or watching TV because in their minds that’s what everyone else is doing. As a parent, you need to break them of that thinking and show them a different model altogether. You need to show them that a lot of people enjoy getting up and getting active.

Getting active as a family should be a fun enjoyable activity. Things you can do together include going to a park or to the beach or for a hike. You can also consider fun activities like going to a trampoline center or playing a sport like tennis or soccer. If you set up a regular rhythm of getting active, your kids will start to enjoy the activity and they won’t want to go back to a sedentary lifestyle.

Provide Healthy Well Balanced Snacks and Meals

Thirdly, getting active only goes so far with fighting childhood obesity. To really make sure you stand a chance at reducing obesity, you also need to look at your diet. Your child could exercise every day, but if they never eat a well-balanced diet they might still not be able to get their weight in check. To aid your efforts, you need to also be sure they regularly eat healthy foods.

This means that you as the parent need to be actively involved in planning out meals and snacks for your children. To make this work, you need to stay away from processed and sugary foods as much as possible. Instead, trade out these options for fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Using fresh foods might require more planning and preparation. In the end, though, you and your child will feel much better about what you eat. You also will find it easier to fight off childhood obesity.

A healthy diet impacts so much of our lives. If your diet is unhealthy, chances are the rest of your life will be unhealthy as well. For your child’s overall health, think proactively about making sure they eat the right foods that their bodies need.

Each week, plan out each meal and snack of their day. If you need healthy ideas for meals, check out suggestions at this link. Similarly, for healthy snacks you can find ideas in this article. Once you have an idea of what you should feed your kids, make sure it happens and that you follow through.

Working to Resolve Childhood Obesity with your Pediatrician

Hopefully this article has helped provide some information for identifying the symptoms and causes of childhood obesity and how to address them well. One last thing we want to mention, though, is to be sure to involve your pediatrician in the conversation. For starters, you can work with your pediatrician to clearly identify if your child’s weight has become a problem. After this has been determined, your doctor can provide you with resources on addressing the issue. In the end, your child’s pediatrician wants to see your child grow healthy and strong. Fighting childhood obesity is just as important to them as it is to you.

In conclusion, childhood obesity has become a greater threat in our culture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fight back against it. As a parent, you have enormous influence over what your child eats and how active they are. As a result, you need to regularly encourage healthy diets and active living.

Beyond that, regularly talk with your pediatrician about proactive steps to stay healthy. Living a consistently healthy life can help your child’s immune system to fight off diseases such as the flu. Additionally, consistent healthy living fights obesity and encourages proper development and mental stability. Start working towards all of these goals today with encouraging healthy life practices overall.

Anxiety in children

Whether or not parents realize it, anxiety in children is a growing issue in our society. Children today take on many stresses that children a few decades ago might have never even considered. Furthermore, the advent of social media and the internet has made it so our society is always connected.

While this provides some benefits, it nonetheless creates many negatives. For instance, online bullying and shaming, especially among children, has increased dramatically. Also, the interconnectedness has made it so that even children have a constant fear of missing out or being left out of activities.

For parents, it’s important to know the stresses children face and how those stresses can impact their lives. In this article, we want to talk specifically about the causes and symptoms of anxiety in children. We go over how some of these stresses arise and what parents should look out for. With understanding these issues better, we hope that parents might feel empowered to address anxiety before it becomes a significant problem in their child’s life.

What Causes Anxiety in Children?

Our feelings can be complicated and hard to understand sometimes. Unfortunately, this also makes it difficult to always know what causes anxiety in children. While the causes can be varied, two big contributors to look at first include brain wiring and parenting.

First, some people just have a brain wiring that leads them to feel more anxious. Furthermore, some other conditions such as ADHD can increase the likelihood of anxiety causing problems. In these types of situations, if your child simply has anxiety because of brain wiring, you might not always be able to resolve it by changing things in their environment. Instead, you might need more in-depth behavioral management, counseling, or even possibly medication.

Secondly, parenting can often cause anxiety in children. This has become a much more pervasive cause of anxiety as our culture has become more competitive and demanding. In fact, most all of us have heard of the ultra-competitive and rigorous parenting style represented by “tiger moms.” In such cases, parents put so many demands on their child and require so much that the child develops anxiety over not being able to meet all of those expectations. If you notice signs of anxiety in your child, you should examine and see if your parenting style has contributed at all to the stress.

Additionally, there do exist other significant causes of anxiety in children to be aware of. Other causes of anxiety can include other psychological disorders, health issues, fears or phobias, and other mood disorders. Finally, one underlying cause might include abuse of some kind. If a child faces hidden abuse they may develop anxiety over the situation, person, and environment. In these cases, you need to uncover and stop the abuse as soon as possible. Professional counseling then can possibly help address ongoing issues.

What Are the Effects of Anxiety in Children?

Parents need to have concern for anxiety in children as its effects can be far reaching. While we all deal with large and small stresses on a regular basis, prolonged anxiety can create significant problems in a person’s life. For a child who is still developing physically and mentally, these problems can be amplified greatly. As a result, this simply makes anxiety more problematic. At the same time, it makes quickly identifying and resolving anxiety in children paramount for parents.

Common effects of ongoing anxiety can first include a dramatic change in mood or behavior. Oftentimes, a child with constant anxiety will appear sullen and unengaged. They might show little to no interest in many of the things they used to enjoy. Additionally, a child with anxiety may also have violent mood swings, where they become angry or upset over minor slights.

More serious effects of anxiety in children would include developing other disorders. For instance, persistent untreated anxiety can result in an eating disorder. Some children suffering from anxiety might change their diets and eating habits. Over time, this can turn into anorexia or bulimia or another chronic eating disorder.

Chronic depression can also result from anxiety. Many times, children with anxiety withdraw from peers. They tend to perform worse academically or in sports or community activities. If these issues persist into teenage or adult years, they can turn into drug or alcohol abuse, as well.

All of these effects can be problematic for children and their parents. The best way to make sure the effects don’t get much worse is to identify and resolve anxiety as early as possible. Let’s talk through some of the ways to spot anxiety early.

How can you Spot Anxiety in Children?

Since the effects of anxiety in children can be so far reaching, parents need to understand how to identify signs of anxiety in children. Typically, when someone, especially a child faces daily anxiety, their mood and behavior changes dramatically. These shifts in behavior and attitude should provide first indicators to something going on.

If you notice a dramatic change in your child’s behavior, you should start asking questions. Ask them if they feel nervous or anxious about anything in their daily routine? Find out if they have any constant worries or fears that upset them regularly. Getting to the heart of these things can lead you closer to understanding where the anxiety arises from.

Other symptoms of anxiety to keep an eye out for would include withdrawing from social activities. Also, sometimes children with anxiety experience more nightmares and have unsettled sleep. They might express or demonstrate a low self-esteem and might lash out at any perceived criticism. Furthermore, they might appear distracted regularly and have trouble focusing on tasks. As a result, they tend to start performing poorly at school and with homework.

If some or many of these signs sound familiar, you might want to pursue the possibility of anxiety being a cause. To help you understand all the symptoms involved, you should ask your child’s teachers and other adults of what changes they may see also. Such input can provide you a more comprehensive understanding of your child’s overall behavior.

What Should you Do to Help Address Anxiety in Children?

In order to help address anxiety in children, as a parent, you need to think and act proactively. If the anxiety arises from a specific event or environment, the first step might simply be removing your child from that environment. Alternatively, you can talk with your child about what specifically makes them nervous. Then you can work with them to help them deal with it better or find ways to modify the environment or situation to lessen the stress.

In most instances, you want to first try to address anxiety with behavior therapy. There are different types of behavior therapy, but you can work to find the right one with talking through options with a professional counselor. Typically, behavior therapy works to address anxiety by changing how your child perceives and reacts to a trigger. These methods typically use exposure to triggers and education to help your child learn to cope better.

In addition to altering the environment or using behavior therapy, you can also consider medication. Prescription medication for children, though, really should serve as a last resort. Additionally, you should only consider this option in conjunction with talking through things with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician can help explain your options and potential side effects. They can also help to make sure the medication fits in with your overall health goals.

Whatever course you pursue, you need to be sure to include others in your approach to addressing anxiety in children. By including your pediatrician and perhaps a counselor, you can ensure you follow the best course of action for addressing the underlying causes.

Putting in Place Effective Approaches for Managing Anxiety in Children

Anxiety in children can cause significant issues and concerns for any household. No parent wants their child to have to deal with stress on a consistent basis. Additionally, to think that such anxiety can cause further health and developmental issues makes many parents understandably upset.

The good news is that most of the time if you pay close attention, you can spot the signs of anxiety before significant harm arises. Then, if you feel that your child might have ongoing anxiety, you can seek out professional input.

First, you should consult with your child’s pediatrician. Talk through the behavioral and health issues you see in your child with your pediatrician. Oftentimes, your pediatrician can assess your child’s overall well being and provide recommendations on the next steps forward. Additionally, your pediatrician might recommend seeking counseling or even taking some medication.

Along with your pediatrician, you need to make all significant parties in your child’s life aware of the concern. You should include family, friends, and teachers in the discussion. All these parties can help you follow through with helping to see and address anxiety when it appears in your child. Effective overall management might take some additional time and effort. Nonetheless, it can many times prove effective and provide the exact solution you need for resolving anxiety in children.

Healthy diet for kids

In some ways in our culture finding the perfect healthy diet for kids feels more like searching for the Holy Grail. It seems as though every food company spends millions of dollars trying to make sure you don’t stick to a healthy diet. From cereals filled with preservatives and additives to energy and sports drinks filled with sugar, we are constantly surrounded by bad food options.

For some conditions, such as ADHD, we know that diet has an impact on both behavior and development. That’s why you can easily find lists of the worst foods to avoid for such conditions. Still, though, even if your child doesn’t have ADHD, they shouldn’t simply eat anything and everything they want to.

No matter who you are, your diet has a profound impact on your mood, health, and mental processes. We all even know the old adage, “garbage in, garbage out.” If you put nothing but bad food in yourself, you will only feel tired and crummy and it will impact all you do.

For your kids, you need to start encouraging good eating patterns as early as possible. How do you do this, though? What approach should you take to make sure it sticks? In this article, we talk through the important strategies of how to encourage a healthy diet for kids. We’ll go over what to include and what to avoid and how to get your kids on board.

#1 Model Healthy Eating Yourself

First, encouraging a healthy diet for kids starts with providing a healthy model as a parent. Kids look to their parents and other adults for direction on how they should behave. This applies to what they eat as much as anything else in their life.

In order to start having your kids eat healthier, you have to lead the way. This means taking a long hard look at your current diet and habits. Do you eat well balanced, proportioned, and nutritious meals? Or, do you snack constantly on bad foods and eat low value processed foods at inconsistent times?

When it comes to diet, this is definitely one area where you can’t simply tell your kids “to do as I say, not as I do.” Creating a healthy diet for kids requires everyone in the household eating healthy, including you as the parent. This way, you can go through your pantry and refrigerator and toss out the bad stuff your kids eat as well as what you eat.

After you do your pantry purge, replace everything with healthy alternatives. Then, you need to eat the good foods and show your kids that you enjoy them. They will start picking up on your enthusiasm, which will inspire them to stick to a more healthy approach to eating.

#2 Eat Meals as a Family

A second way to encourage a healthy diet for kids involves eating meals together as a family. In our fast paced constantly moving lives, we hardly have any time to sit down and enjoy time with those we love. Everything becomes simply a means to an end. This is why we scarf down our fast food meals because we just eat to fill our stomachs.

To stop the toxic way we eat, you should shift to making sure you eat at least dinners at home as a family. Additionally, when you eat together, you need to eat at the table without electronics. This means no TVs, no cell phones, and no tablets. Instead of retreating into your electronics you can then focus on the conversation with your family members. Talk to your kids about their day. Enjoy the food you eat together.

Eating in this way does a few things. First, and foremost, it forces you to slow down. You have to actually engage with those around you which prevents you from eating as fast as you can. With slowing down, you naturally eat less. Your body has more time to alert you as you get full. This means you feel full and satisfied without overeating.

Additionally, eating together teaches your kids to appreciate meals and the food that you eat. You show them that food isn’t a means to an end but something to add to your life and to enjoy. This helps to reinforce the idea that eating should be intentional and fit in with your overall health goals.

#3 Get Rid of the Fast Diet

Thirdly, to help encourage a healthy diet for kids, you need to steer clear of always eating on the run. In our fast paced culture, it’s hard for most of us to find time to sit down and actually enjoy a meal. We eat toaster pastries for breakfast so we can eat them as we run out the door. At lunch, we scarf down something we reheat in the microwave. For dinner, we go through the drive thru on the way to the next sporting or community event.

Every meal, we have options for eating on the run. Just because we have the options, though, doesn’t mean that we have to choose them. We just talked about eating meals together as a family. This provides one way to slow down your fast diet. We know, though, that you can’t always eat meals together. Still, though, you can encourage your kids to plan ahead and to budget time in their day to slow down and take time to eat their food.

This goes to the idea of making sure we have healthy consistent routines in our life. Kids especially need routine to provide structure. Build into their routine enough time, 15-30 minutes, to sit down and eat meals. Make sure they get up early enough to have time to eat a breakfast. Ensure that at school they sit down for lunch. For dinner, then, make sure you sit with them.

All these things help to eliminate the fast diet options, which also tend to be the worst options available. With planning ahead enough time to eat, you provide enough time to prepare healthy meals. This seems like such a small change. Ultimately, though, how much time you give to eating can make a large impact on how well you eat.

#4 Cook Meals Together

Fourthly, to both encourage everyone to slow down and encourage a healthy diet for kids, you should cook meals together as a family. For starters, cooking meals together forces you to slow things down. Cooking even simple meals involves planning, getting ingredients, and sitting down to go through instructions. This takes time and forces you to consider the ingredients and the value of what goes into your meal.

Another benefit of cooking meals together is that you give your kids the skills to provide healthy food for themselves. So many children grow up only knowing how to cook using a microwave. As a result, they never learn to prepare healthy meals for themselves. This means that as they enter college or their own adult lives, they simply resort to quick unhealthy meals. After all, they never learned how to plan out, cook, and prepare healthy alternatives.

With cooking meals together, you show your children the value in preparing and planning out a healthy diet. You also teach them how to shop for meals and follow a recipe. All these skills can help them to continue living out and eating a healthy diet well into their adult years.

#5 Provide Healthy Snacks Between Meals

Lastly, you need to remember a healthy diet for kids must involve everything your child eats. This includes snacks between meals. Many times, we think that snacks don’t matter and kids can eat whatever. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

To begin with, growing kids need a constant supply of good fuel. This means everything your child eats matters. Every now and then, your child can have a reward with sweets, but you can’t allow that to be their regular go-to. If your child eats unhealthy snacks on a regular basis, this can lead into impacting their overall diet.

Not only this, but children also usually eat snacks right after they come home from school. Eating an unhealthy snack encourages them to just veg out and not engage. This makes them disconnect and not want to exercise or do homework. Instead of initiating this cycle, you should encourage your child to eat healthy snacks that give them energy to concentrate and want to get and stay active. This can be particularly necessary if your child has ADHD and already struggles with focusing.

Healthy snacks can aid in encouraging overall healthy living. Make sure you send healthy snacks with your kids to school and have them available when they come home from school. For ideas for healthy snacks, you can get some tips at this link and in this article.

Making a Healthy Diet for Kids Easier

The main point here is to make encouraging a healthy diet for kids as easy as possible. Everything else in our culture screams eating and living unhealthy lives. This makes eating healthy difficult for everyone.

At the core, our diets impact nearly everything about our lives. When it comes to kids and their development, a healthy diet can provide the energy they need to grow, concentrate, and succeed. Furthermore, how your child eats can provide such benefits as staving off illnesses such as the flu. This just means that parents need all the tools they can get to fight back against the unhealthy choices that surround us constantly.

Start your toolkit for healthy diets with this article. You shouldn’t stop there, though. You next need to talk your pediatrician and include them in the conversation. Your pediatrician can help with any aspect of your child’s health and can give you further tips and tools to keep your child’s diet on track.

Overactive bladder in children

Overactive bladder in children can cause issues and anxiousness for some households. This condition, especially with younger children, can result in more wetting accidents both during the day and at night. Additionally, the uncertainty of the condition can make any outing stressful for both child and parent. Going to any new place might make you constantly wonder, where is the closet restroom? And, can we get to a restroom in a moment’s notice if we need to?

While all families address wetting accidents early on with a young child, a much smaller percentage of families continue to have issues with overactive bladder in children as the child ages. In most cases, young children grow out of bed wetting and daytime accidents. For those children, though, who continue to have issues with frequent urination and wetting accidents beyond early childhood, parents and families might need additional support.

In this post, we want to break down all the facets of what you need to know about overactive bladder in children. We cover everything from the definition to the symptoms to the treatment. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive guide for families who feel they might have a case of overactive bladder and what they can do to address it well.

What is Overactive Bladder in Children?

First, any conversation about overactive bladder in children needs to start with defining the condition. While almost every small child has at least a few accidents from time to time, overactive bladder is something else altogether. Accidental wetting associated with potty training typically ends about 3 years of age. With a case of overactive bladder, though, issues will usually continue until much later past ages 6 or 7.

Overactive bladder is a type of urinary incontinence, which simply means that there is a loss of normal bladder control. Overactive bladder in children is a condition in which a child feels the urge to urinate quite frequently. Many times this can be several times every hour. Sometimes, even, the child doesn’t even feel the urge to urinate but just does so without warning. For young children, this can result in many accidents with wetting simply due to the frequency and urgency of the need to urinate.

Signs and Symptoms of Overactive Bladder in Children

Secondly, now that we have established that overactive bladder in children is a specific condition, we need to next talk through some of its prominent symptoms. Again, sometimes overactive bladder can be confused with normal potty training and bed wetting. Most every child will experience bed wetting as they transition out of diapers. With overactive bladder, though, you want to look for bed wetting and wetting accidents past the normal period for adjustment with potty training.

Typically, this means a child continues to have wetting accidents during the day after 3 years of age, or has consistent bedwetting accidents after age 4. If you notice either of these issues on a regular basis, they can point to a possible case of overactive bladder. Additionally, other common symptoms might include simply asking to use the bathroom several times in a short amount of time on a continual basis. Furthermore, another indicator might be frequently rushing to the toilet. Finally, interrupted sleep can possibly also point to a problem with overactive bladder.

Causes of Overactive Bladder in Children

Next, before we get to the treatment of overactive bladder in children, let’s consider some of the causes. As a parent, you never want to simply blame a child for acting out or having accidents on purpose. If you really are dealing with a case of overactive bladder in children, your child more than likely can’t control when they have to urinate.

Instead of shaming your child for accidents, you need to start looking at some reasons why it might be occurring. Oftentimes, overactive bladder in children arises out of common triggers or as result of certain stimuli. For instance, one major cause of overactive bladder especially for young children is consuming too much caffeine. Caffeine, often found in drinks marketed to children, acts as a diuretic which normally forces fluids out of your body. For young children whose muscles are weak, this action can speed up the process and lead to wetting accidents.

Other causes can include having an allergy to something the child has eaten. Furthermore, anxiety or feeling stressed about something in the child’s life can act as an underlying cause. Finally, issues related to how the bladder is structured or irritation from infection can cause symptoms. Any one or more of these things can lead to a frequent urgent need to urinate.

Treatment for Overactive Bladder in Children

Once you understand the causes of overactive bladder in children, you next can consider an appropriate treatment. For most children, as they develop, their muscles become stronger and their body systems start functioning more in unison. This natural development process usually helps to alleviate any bladder issue concerns over time. For some children, though, who continually deal with overactive bladder problems additional intervention might be needed.

Many times, the first step of intervention involves a system of bladder retraining. Bladder retraining involves going back to the beginning of potty training. You then try to get your child on a set urination schedule. You have your child go on a set regular schedule even if they don’t feel the urge to go. The idea behind this approach is to help teach your child to pay attention to when they need to urinate. It also trains the body to process urine regularly.

Other treatment options could include double voiding, whereby you ask your child to try to go again right after they urinate. This method seeks to make sure the bladder is always emptied fully after each trip to the bathroom. Additionally, in consultation with your pediatrician you might consider therapy or even medication. Some medications which your doctor can prescribe can help reduce the constant urges to use the bathroom.

Finally, you can also utilize some simple home remedy approaches such as restricting caffeine consumption and helping your child maintain a healthy diet. These approaches encourage good overall health practices which can aid in your child’s natural bladder development.

Overactive Bladder and Bed Wetting

Finally, many people automatically connect overactive bladder in children with bed wetting. The connection simply seems natural. If a child has issues with needing to go frequently, it just seems to make sense that they might have trouble also with bed wetting at night. In general, overactive bladder and bed wetting are not the same thing. Bed wetting, though, just as wetting accidents during the day, can appear as one of the symptoms of overactive bladder in children.

As we’ve talked about already, bed wetting happens to most very young children as they transition out of diapers. Typically, though, this resolves itself by the time the child turns 3. If the bed wetting persists after this age, you might look into whether or not overactive bladder is the cause. Still, though, some children develop slower. As a result, they might still have wetting issues after they turn 3 but not have overactive bladder. Overactive bladder typically isn’t officially diagnosed until age 5 or 6. When in doubt, you should always consult your pediatrician.

Just keep in mind, though, that if your child is very young and is still potty training, it’s probably too soon to know if overactive bladder is causing problems. Most of the time, you need to wait until after the child has progressed past the potty training stage and symptoms continue to occur to know what’s really going on.

Consulting Your Pediatrician about Overactive Bladder in Children

If after reading through this article, you feel as if your child has a case of overactive bladder in children, your next step should involve consulting your pediatrician. Your pediatrician can work with you to develop an action plan for addressing the situation. While overactive bladder in children isn’t a concern that would really necessitate a trip to urgent care, nonetheless, consultation with your pediatrician during a regular visit can help you find a remediation to the problem.

Your pediatrician can provide you and your family an action plan for addressing overactive bladder in children on a holistic front. Many times, finding a right approach might require implementing several changes in several areas at the same time. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of different approaches. Your pediatrician can be an invaluable aid to help you find the right solution for your household.

Exercise for Children

Exercise for children sometimes sounds like an oxymoron. Why do kid need to exercise? That’s only out of shape adults that need to get back to the gym. Right?

Yes, and no. No, in the sense that your kids don’t need to go to the gym or watch a workout video to get some exercise. Yes, though, in the sense that they do need exercise, as does everyone, in the form of simple physical activity.

Kids need to get and stay active. We, as parents, oftentimes make this a low priority, when we really need to put it at the top of our list. In this article, we want to talk more in depth about exercise for children. First, let’s look at some of the very important reasons why your kids should exercise regularly. After that, we’ll cover some quick strategies on how to get your kids moving and how you can encourage them to stay active.

Reasons for Children to Exercise

There are a multitude of reasons why exercise for children is important. Some of us as parents, though, might not understand all of the reasons fully. After all, shouldn’t providing a home to live in and food to eat and making sure they go to school be enough?

The short answer is no, it really isn’t enough. Talk to any pediatrician and they will tell you that you need to make sure your kids also get plenty of exercise every day. Let’s look more closely at some of the reason why exercise is so important for growing kids.

Exercise for Children Helps Fight Obesity

To begin with, exercise for children is important because it helps fight obesity. Obesity has become an epidemic in America, and not just among adults. Children’s weight, too, has exploded in the last several years. In fact, the CDC reports that obesity rates in children today are three times what they were in the 1970s. Statistics indicate that almost 1 in 5 school age children in America is currently obese.

While many factors contribute to this rising weight gain, a primary factor involves the limited amount of exercise most children get regularly. Additionally, our diets have gotten worse while the amount of food we eat has increased. Simply put, our children eat too much and what they eat contains too much sugar and fat. On top of that, they just don’t get out and exercise enough to burn off those extra calories.

We all need exercise, and experts say that children need more than adults, up to 1 hour per day. All experts agree that exercise for children helps to fight obesity and limit unnecessary weight gain. This is important especially for young children so that they put practices in place early that will benefit them later in life. Also, recent studies have shown that obesity in young children can possibly have long lasting health consequences such as liver disease. Fighting obesity while your kids are still young can pay health dividends later in life.

Help with Overall Development

Secondly, exercise aids greatly in the development of several key physical and mental areas. For instance, regular exercise helps with strength, coordination, and even a child’s self-esteem. Not only that, since many young children exercise through play with others, they also start to learn social skills, as well. Finally, exercise can even help boost your child’s immune system, which goes along nicely with keeping your child healthy and from getting diseases such as the flu.

Many of the pivotal development markers that exercise helps with simply can’t be achieved as well or at all with sitting on the couch and watching TV. Children need to have regular active play. Our bodies were designed to move and run and be active. If young children don’t play and exercise every day their minds won’t develop as fully the coordination they will need later in life.

As parents, we want our children to thrive physically and emotionally as much as they can. Exercise provides so many important developmental connection points that parents absolutely must make sure their children participate in some way. As a parent, simply encouraging regular exercise might be one of the simplest and best avenues to help your child’s overall development.

Exercise Helps Improve Focus and School Performance

Thirdly, you need to emphasize exercise for children because it can help improve focus, and as a result, how well your child does in school. Exercise typically involves your whole body. When you get moving and active, your heart rate increases as your body pumps more blood to essential body parts. Additionally, physical activity engages your muscles and even your brain which produces chemicals as a result. Some of these chemicals, called endorphins, help to make you feel better as well as help to improve cognitive abilities such as concentration and memory.

Furthermore, studies have found that important areas of the brain responsible for things like memory have greater volume in people who regularly exercise. For your children, these findings are vitally important. They mean that for your child’s brain to grow, they have to do more than just hit the books. They also need to engage their whole body in regular physical activity.

Simply put, exercise helps make you smarter. Studies show that more active kids do better in school. To help grow your child body physically and mentally, you need to encourage them to get out and get some exercise.

Exercise for Children can Help Improve General Behavior

Finally, not only can exercise help improve schoolwork, exercise for children can also help to improve your child’s general behavior. Some studies have been done on children with behavioral issues which show that physical activity helped to improve behavior in a classroom setting. As we just mentioned, exercise helps release endorphins in the brain which have a significant impact on cognitive abilities as well as mood.

For some children who might struggle with keeping focus and might act out as a result, exercising more could possibly help limit some of their adverse behavior. Furthermore, the endorphins can help children feel better in general, which also might limit negative behavior. Both these affects provide great dividends to parents and caretakers. After all, who wouldn’t want a happier, more focused and engaged child?

Ultimately, exercise impacts how your child feels about themselves and how they interact with the world around them. A child who doesn’t get enough exercise might have low self-esteem and have more feelings of depression. Furthermore, they might not feel connected or focused in on the world around them which can produce negative actions. Help your child improve their well-being and general behavior by simply getting them more active on a more regular basis.

Ways to Encourage Exercise for Children

Now that we have covered the reasons why every child needs to exercise, we next should talk some about how to encourage exercise. For some of us as parents, we feel so busy that we struggle to know how to encourage ourselves to get active. Fortunately, for kids, getting them active can be a whole lot simpler.

Kids don’t need a gym membership to get some exercise. Most of the time, all they need is you pointing them in the right direction and telling them to get moving. To help give them the kick start they need, let’s go over some quick tips for offering encouragement for exercise for children.

Model Healthy Behaviors with Your Own Lifestyle

A first vitally important way to encourage exercise for children is simply through modeling healthy behaviors in your own life. Every child looks to their parents for indicators for their own behavior. Whether or not we realize this as parents, our kids constantly pick up cues on how they should behave and act based on what they observe us doing.

This means that when it comes to exercising, we need to exercise ourselves to encourage it in our children. It’s simply not enough to tell your children that they need to stay active. We need to do more. We need to specifically show our children on a daily basis what a healthy active lifestyle looks like.

This means that anything that you ask your children to do, you need to do yourself. If you ask them to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes every day, you need to do the same thing. Furthermore, you should try to do it where your kids can see you.

Whether you get your exercise in with community sports or by going to the gym, you should try to take your kids along as much as you can. This way, your kids see you exercising and breaking a sweat. After a while, they will pick up the importance of staying active from your behavior and start modeling it themselves.

Encourage Age Appropriate Activities

Secondly, to encourage exercise in children that will stick you need to encourage age appropriate activities. As most parents with multiple children know, one size does not fit all when it comes to activities. While your teenager might really get into joining a community basketball league, your kindergartner might not feel the same enthusiasm.

Instead of trying to force your children into one exercise routine, instead you really need to think about their age and personality. For much younger children, exercise can involve something as simple as a trip to the park or going swimming at the neighborhood pool. For elementary school children, they may want to join community or school sports teams. Other options might include karate or dance lessons. For much older teens, school sports might be the way to go, or they might want to try something different like yoga or recreational sports like hunting or fishing.

If you need some ideas for age appropriate activities, you should consult with your child’s pediatrician. They can give you pointers on what your child may be able to handle as well as what to stay away from. You can also talk to parents of similarly aged children. They may be able to identify some activities their kids enjoy that your children might like also.

Take Opportunities to Go Outside as a Family

Thirdly, another way to encourage exercise for children is through getting your family outside together. No matter our age, almost all of us hate the idea of exercising alone. For adults, the idea of going to a gym or doing some kind of workout regimen by ourselves just feels exhausting.

The same concept applies to kids. Kids rarely want to get out and exercise by themselves. To help encourage them to stay active then, you need to get your whole family moving.

This means that you should get your family out of the house as much as you can. For nice weekends, you can go to the park or the beach or some outdoor venue to play soccer or Frisbee together. Getting out of the house eliminates most of the temptations that keep us sedentary such as watching TV. With getting out as a family, you can find more ways to connect and bound, all while reinforcing a healthy active lifestyle.

Set Limits on Screen Time

Finally, a last way to really encourage exercise for children is through setting limits on screen time. In our world today, we see screens almost everywhere we go. Most of us have multiple TVs in our home, sometimes in nearly every room. Furthermore, we have cell phones, tablets, and computers at our finger tips nearly 24 hours a day. Even if we really wanted to escape screens, we would really struggle to get rid of them completely.

While screens can provide some benefits, they also have downsides and can possibly complicate some issues such as ADHD and sleep problems. They also help to make most of us inactive and stagnant, limiting our physical activity. Having too much of anything can limit its positive benefits and turn it negative. For screen time, this can be especially true as it can quickly take over all your time and energy and drain away your health.

To encourage your children to become more active, you should set daily and weekly limits on screen time. You need to limit the use of TV and computers and even phones on a regular basis. If you fail to do this, then your children will simply settle for playing video games every free minute they have. Limiting the time they have to play games and watch TV, though, forces them to find more creative and active avenues to get energy out.

Making Exercise for Children Make Sense Again

Exercise for children really should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, in our modern busy tech filled lives, we find ourselves so busy that simple exercise always seems to take a backseat to other interests. Now, we have children who sit inside all day whereas twenty to thirty years ago those same kids would spend all day playing outside. Our society and culture have changed so much so quickly that for some of us exercise just feels almost unnatural.

For parents out there, we want to help reverse this course and help make exercise make sense again. Exercise for children doesn’t have to be difficult. In our overly programmed lives, we often think of what program or club we have to sign up for. For exercise, you don’t need another membership or signup sheet, you just need to get moving.

Hopefully, we have provided some simple points in this article to encourage you and your kids to get active. For children, you really need to encourage them to do physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes every day. That could be as simple as playing soccer in the backyard or going swimming in the community pool.

Exercise can be fun. For kids, it should be fun. Start getting active today and get your kids moving towards a better more healthy life.

Treating ear infections in children

For almost every parent, you have probably wondered about treating ear infections in children. You’ve had to think about this because most young children experience ear infections at some point in time. For some kids, they might get ear infections quite often, possibly every few weeks or months. For other children, though, they may occur less frequently and only after a cold, but they, nonetheless, still present issues for your household.

As a parent, even if your child hasn’t gotten one yet, you still need to prepare yourself for an ear infection popping up. To give you the tools you need, we want to talk more about treating ear infections in children. Before we get that far, though, we plan to cover everything you might need to know about ear infections.

The idea here is that the more you know about what causes ear infections and how to prevent them, the better off you will be in general. Let’s start with first understanding the very basics with what an ear infection is. After we have this down, we can move on to what to look out for with the symptoms, how to prevent one, and possible treatment options.

What is an Ear Infection?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of talking about treating ear infections in children, we really need to understand what an ear infection is. Again, the reason we’re even talking about ear infections is that they happen to be very common in young children. In fact, most children develop at least one ear infection before they reach the age of 2. As a result, many early visits to the pediatrician’s office often involve an ear infection.

Any type of infection arises due to the presence and activity of harmful germs such as viruses and bacteria. Infections grow as germs enter your body and start to grow and flourish where they don’t belong. One common place for bacteria to cause infections in young children just happens to be their ears.

Your ear actually has three distinct parts, which include the outer, middle, and inner ear. An ear infection most commonly refers to bacterial growth in the middle part of your ear. In this part of your ear, germs have prime opportunity to grow as this area is made up of a pocket of air around your ear drum. Germs can get into this region of your ear and start to flourish and grow. As a result then, your ear might start producing a germ-filled fluid called pus that can cause irritation and pain if not treated.

For very young children who don’t understand the pressure caused by the buildup of fluid, they can become very agitated and quite often cry or scream because of the infection. If your child starts crying, and you find it difficult to find a reason, you might consider an ear infection as the cause. Speaking of causes, though, let’s now consider some of the most common causes of ear infections in children.

Common Causes of Ear Infections in Children

Another facet of looking at treating ear infections in children involves understanding common causes of the infection. While we might understand that the infection begins and grows due to germs, we also need to understand how the germs get there in the first place. Additionally, why are children so susceptible to getting infections, and what makes them less common in adults?

To begin with, most ear infections result from a blocking of a tube, called the Eustachian tube, which normally allows fluid to drain out of the ear to the throat. Additionally, the tubes, one for each ear, allow air to flow into the ears from the throat which helps to maintain constant pressure in your ear. Allergies, infections, or colds in the throat can cause this tube to swell and not allow the normal draining of fluid. Then, with the buildup of fluid in the ear, bacteria and viruses can quickly grow and cause an infection.

In newborn babies and young children, the Eustachian tubes are very immature and underdeveloped. Furthermore, the length of the tubes are much shorter than for teenagers and adults. These issues can allow for bacteria and viruses to travel much easier between the throat and ear. Additionally, as a result of the underdeveloped tubes, blockages can occur more easily, as well.

Many times, ear infections follow closely after a case of a cold or throat infection. Again, this happens as a result of cold bacteria migrating up the Eustachian tubes to either ear. Furthermore, simply the inflammation of the throat can cause a blockage in the tubes allowing for bacteria growth and infection in the ears.

Symptoms of Ear Infections in Children

Now that we understand some about the cause of ear infections, we should talk about the symptoms. After all, if you can’t recognize the symptoms of an ear infection, you can never get to the stage of treating ear infections in children.

To begin with, you can look for any number of symptoms or signs of ear infections. Since many ear infections follow closely behind colds, cold symptoms in general could point to an ear infection. A cold can cause the initial blockage which leads to the fluid buildup in the middle ear. The ear infection then comes as a result and the cold symptoms linger around longer as the infection in the ear takes over.

Other common symptoms of ear infections can include uncharacteristic fussiness at night or in the day, complaining of ear pain, or waking up more frequently at night. Furthermore, your child might also develop a low grade fever, though not always. They might also not want to lay flat or on their back. Finally, you might even see pus or blood leaking out of their ear.

Typically for parents trying to identify an infection at home, any two or more of the above symptoms gives a good indication of the presence of an infection. After identifying two or more symptoms, you should then reach out to your pediatrician about setting up an appointment. If the pain or symptoms worsen after hours or on the weekend, you might consider visiting an urgent care for treatment. Rarely, though, if ever, would you need to go to an emergency room for treatment of ear infection symptoms.

Ways to Help Prevent Ear Infections

A final important aspect to cover before we talk treating ear infections in children is the different ways to prevent infections. As we mentioned at the start, though, ear infections occur fairly regularly in most children so complete prevention might not be possible. Still, you can do some simple things to possibly help your chances of keeping the infections at bay.

If your child takes to breastfeeding well, you should try to stick to breastfeeding as long as possible. Many studies point to the benefits of breastfeeding in reducing ear infections. If feeding with a bottle, you can also feed your baby holding them upright. This also can help prevent infections by preventing milk from running down the Eustachian tubes into the ears.

If your child eats food, you should make sure they eat plenty of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Eating daily amounts of fruits and vegetables helps to bolster your young child’s immune system, which can help stave off a growing infection. Along with a healthy diet, you also may try to regularly clean out your baby’s nose. If they have a cold, make sure you suction their nose as often as possible. This proactive behavior keeps germs from migrating via the Eustachian tube to the ears.

Finally, you can also help to prevent ear infections by controlling your baby’s environment. You need to limit your child’s exposure to cigarette smoke as much as possible. Cigarette smoke can cause irritation to a young child’s throat and nasal passages and lead to issues with the Eustachian tubes. Furthermore, keep in mind your child’s allergies. If you know your child has a specific allergy, make sure you limit contact with that allergen. Allergic reactions can increase the chances of infections forming in the ears.

Best Practices for Treating Ear Infections in Children

Now that we have covered all of our bases, we need to talk specifically about treating ear infections in children. Again, if you see two or more possible symptoms of an ear infection, you should consult with your child’s pediatrician on the next best steps. Oftentimes, your child’s pediatrician might encourage you to come in for a check-up. Still, though, you can do several things at home to help your child feel better and slowly improve.

While waiting to see the doctor, you can possibly use acetaminophen at home. You’ll want to closely follow your doctor’s advice or the dosage listing for the medication. If using it, though, it may help to alleviate some of the pressure and pain from the infection.

Additionally, you can try applying a warm compress to the affected ear. This can also help reduce some of the pain. An additional step might involve even adding a drop or two of warm olive or vegetable oil to the ear, or using prescription ear drops.

Furthermore, your pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics as a treatment for ear infections. Most antibiotics come in a seven-day course of pills. If using antibiotics, you’ll want to follow your doctor’s instructions and use all of the antibiotics even after symptoms subside. Most of the time, your doctor might prescribe amoxicillin to start with. If this fails to reduce symptoms, you might talk to your doctor about prescribing a stronger antibiotic.

Some children contract ear infections much more often than other kids their age. For children who develop repeated cases of ear infections, you might talk with your doctor about surgically implanted ear tubes. This procedure can help open up air flow to the middle ear, thereby reducing the chances of further infections developing.

Covering All Your Bases for Treating Ear Infections in Children

Our goal with this article was to cover everything you need to know about ear infections from how they develop to how you can effectively treat them. While ear infections in children can create problems for both child and parent, they don’t have to ruin your day or week. You can both take preventative steps to stop them from developing as well as try home remedies to limit the impact of the symptoms.

We hope this article provides you some basic tools for knowing what to do next time you suspect an ear infection. As always, you should consult with and use your pediatrician as a helpful aid in finding the most effective treatment. Through working with your pediatrician, hopefully you can identify long term strategies that help limit ear infections from ever coming back again. Use the tips, strategies, and information covered here to cover all your bases for treating ear infections in children, and help make them a thing of the past in your household.