Three Tips for Parenting Kids of All Ages

Being a parent is very rewarding but also very challenging. From the moment your child is born, you need to develop a sixth sense and grow eyes in the back of your head. Little things can make a huge difference, and many parents might not even be aware of the impact that individual actions can have on the mental and physical development of their child.

There is a lot of good advice out there, but it is essential to consider that every child has their own individual needs and characteristics. Therefore, it can sometimes be hard to know what advice to follow and what to discard. If you are expecting your first child, these child parenting tips will get you off to a good start from day one.

Three Tips for Parenting Kids of All Ages

You Are Being Watched

From the moment your little one is born, they will be paying close attention to your actions and behaviors. Babies are often described as sponges because they absorb every little thing that goes on around them. For example, if you spend a lot of time showing affectionate to them, and they also see open expressions of affection, this will have a positive effect on their interpersonal skills and mental development as they grow up.

The same is true of toddlers and young children, who will be super sensitive to your words. It is important to be careful what you say to them, especially if you are making comparisons between siblings. Aim for a balance of praise and constructive feedback if they do something wrong.

Be Consistent

Kids need boundaries and routines, as well as a discipline when they step out of line. It is crucial that you are as consistent as possible with this and that you act as a role model. If you are expecting your children to act a certain way, then you should certainly not to do the opposite in front of them. This will create confusion in the child and most likely lead to some form of rebellious or disruptive behavior, such as a temper tantrum.

As your kids get older, actively involve them in setting house rules, as this will help empower them. It will also help them understand that there are consequences for certain behaviors.

Never Forget Playtime

In the busy lives we lead, we often find ourselves complaining that we don’t have time to do anything. But one thing we should always remember as parents are to dedicate some time exclusively for our kids. Finding time to play with your kids or to read them a bedtime story will be much appreciated by your little ones. It also has the added benefit of helping to build up your child’s self-esteem and emotional development.

As you kids get older, try to provide a space for your kids where they will feel comfortable talking about their feelings and what is going on in their life. Your teenage children will appreciate having room to grow but will also value the security of having understanding parents when they need to chat.

Getting off to the Right Start: Nutrition for Kids

Not a day goes by without some mention of the best ways to ensure that your kids have a balanced, healthy diet. This subject has seen increased focus because of the increase in childhood obesity throughout the United States.

Unfortunately, busy modern life makes it hard to get it right all the time, and it is so easy to just rely on fast food and snacks. However, this doesn’t provide your kids with all the nutrients they need to grow and develop healthily. Therefore, we have put together some tips on nutrition for kids that will help you put a plan of action in place.

Getting off to the Right Start: Nutrition for Kids

Benefits of a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet has many benefits for a little one as they go through the different stages of their childhood. Making sure that they eat a variety of different nutrients will help to:

  • Build up their energy levels
  • Aid in their physical and mental development
  • Prevent the development of some chronic diseases

You can make life easier for yourself by adding lots of different foods at an early stage and making sure that your babies and toddlers see you eating the types of foods you are trying to introduce to them.

Be a Role Model

This is such an essential factor in helping to develop healthy eating habits in your kids. If they see you binging on potato chips and chocolates, they are going to think this is normal. And they will certainly let you know about their objections if you try to impose restrictions on them.

Therefore, you need to practice what you preach and eat a variety of foods around your little ones. If you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, they will think it’s perfectly normal and will follow suit. And if you need to have a chocolate fix, do it after the kids have gone to bed!

Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day

You should always make sure that your kids have breakfast before they leave for the day. Adding some form of protein will help them maintain their energy levels during the morning. Yogurt, eggs, and peanut butter are some examples of foods that kids usually like that will give them an excellent start to their day.

Create a Schedule

Mealtimes can be quite chaotic if you have a small army at home, but they are a vitally important part of your child’s daily routine. Having regular dinner times and insisting on eating together has many benefits—and not just on their eating habits.

Kids need routines, and this is a way to introduce new food groups. During dinner time, you can also monitor the kinds of foods your children like and make any adjustments to your meal plans as necessary.

Make Fruits and Vegetables Easy to Find

Kids love sweet and salty treats, but that doesn’t mean they have to go straight for the cookie jar! Fruits and vegetables should be introduced at an early age, as kids love experimenting with different colors and textures.

As your child gets older, you should try to encourage them to try different fruits. You can have a fruit bowl that is always full of some fresh, delicious fruits that your kids like. This isn’t to say that they can’t ever have doughnuts and cookies, but they should be seen as more of a treat than the norm.

A Quick Guide to Whooping Cough Causes and Treatments

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection which usually affects young infants and older kids. It is highly infectious and can cause a huge variety of symptoms that will make your little one miserable.

The great news is that there is a vaccination available that should be included in your baby’s immunization program. However, the immunity will eventually wear off, and older kids can be at risk, especially if they haven’t received a booster shot. In today’s post, we will take a quick look at whooping cough causes and treatments.

What Is Whooping Cough?

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that affects the respiratory tract. Traditionally, this illness was only believed to affect young children, but it can actually affect adolescents and adults who have diminished immunity.

The bacteria (Bordetella pertussis) is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, which spays germ-filled droplets into the air. Anyone nearby can breathe in these droplets, and if they are not immunized, or if they have an impaired immune system, they are likely to get sick. Kids under the age of twelve months are particularly at risk, as they haven’t had all their shots. But, as already mentioned, older kids and adults can get the illness if they are exposed to the germs.

Symptoms

Initially, the symptoms of whooping cough will be very similar to a common cold. Over time, however, the symptoms will get more severe, and if left untreated can lead to some more serious complications.

A Quick Guide to Whooping Cough Causes and Treatments

Common symptoms include:

  • Cold symptoms that get progressively worse
  • Intense coughing fits, usually worse at night
  • Thick mucus
  • Possible vomiting after coughing
  • Making a “whooping” sound between coughing spells
  • Young babies may even stop breathing briefly
  • Children may turn blue if they are struggling to breath

Whooping cough tends to come in waves, but the symptoms usually get better after a couple of weeks. If you are worried, you should go and get your child checked out immediately. Also, if you suspect that your newborn child has whooping cough, seek immediate medical assistance, as it can lead to more severe conditions such as pneumonia, seizures, and brain damage.

Treatments

The best form of treatment is making sure that your child is up to date on their immunizations so that their immune system develops resistance to the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Your pediatrician should inform you about the vaccine protocol before you give birth, and it is essential that you don’t miss any of the shots.

Typically, there will be five injections at regular intervals, and the short-term discomfort your child will feel after the injection will be worth the peace of mind of knowing that your child is protected against this nasty illness.

If you or your child gets infected, treatment will usually consist of a course of antibiotics and may require a stay in the hospital, especially for babies under six months of age. The best course of action is that if you suspect that your child has whooping cough, contact your pediatrician to get a prompt diagnosis.

A Quick Guide to Child Vision Problems

Healthy eyesight is essential to a child’s growth and development. In fact, your child should have their eyes regularly checked, starting from the moment they are born. If a problem is identified early, then the impact can be minimized and treated effectively.

There are many reasons why children have vision problems, resulting in a variety of different symptoms. So, in this post, we will take a closer look at child vision problems and discuss to look out for as a parent.

Risk Factors

Some children are more at risk for developing vision problems and should be carefully monitored at various stages of their development.

Children with a higher risk of developing vision problems include:

  • Premature babies
  • Children with a family history of vision problems
  • Children of maternal smokers
  • Children with developmental disorders such as autism or down syndrome

Things to Watch Out For

Regardless of the general health of your child, an early diagnosis will help to treat any conditions effectively. Vision problems can lead to developmental issues and further vision problems, as well as harming their learning.

A Quick Guide to Child Vision Problems

Therefore, there are some common signs to look out for as your child starts growing up. Some may just be symptoms of eye infections or allergies, but if you notice any of the following, it is well worth getting your kid checked out.

  • Light sensitivity
  • Poor focus
  • Constantly rubbing their eyes
  • Chronic redness of the eyes
  • Squinting
  • Poor spatial awareness
  • Poor reading skills
  • Holding objects really close to their face, such as books and tablets, or sitting close to the TV

Common Child Vision Problems

There are several vision problems that can affect children, and they can be easily identified during routine eye exams.

Refractive Errors – these issues can affect people of all ages but will affect everyone differently. These errors in vision mean that the eye doesn’t refract light correctly, which results in blurred vision. Kids can be nearsighted and farsighted, and both conditions can be treated by using glasses or contacts.

Lazy Eye – this issue involves one eye having poorer vision than the other and needs to be treated as early as possible to avoid irreversible vision damage. Kids who are crosseyed will usually be at risk from this condition.

Strabismus – this misalignment of the eyes involves the two eyes not working in tandem. One eye will look directly at an object, while the other one will turn inwards or outwards, which can lead to double vision. This condition is easily treated, but it needs to be caught early to avoid any permanent vision loss or developmental issues.

Regular Checkups

From the moment your child is born, they should receive regular eye checkups to make sure their eyes and vision are developing correctly. Eye checks will form part of newborn and child wellness exams and should never be missed.

If your child requires glasses, they will need regular checkups to make sure they have the proper glasses. Your eye doctor can also help your child with hand-eye coordination and ensure that they have the right tools to participate fully at school and in recreational activities.

Safety Tips During Holidays for Kids Young and Old

Holidays and vacations are excellent times for the family and are often some of the only times of the year when everyone gets to be together. And, let’s be honest, the adults may get more excited about the downtime than the kids. However, even though a holiday is meant to be a fun time and an opportunity to recharge your batteries, it doesn’t mean you can switch off completely.

Traveling to an unfamiliar country or state, or enjoying fun in the snow, can present all sorts of safety challenges. The good news is that if you follow some common sense practices, then everyone should come home with nothing but fun stories to tell. So please read on for our top five safety tips during holidays and vacations.

Sun Safety

It doesn’t matter what time of the year you plan to go on an adventure; you will always need to make sure that you have a ready supply of sunscreen for you and your little ones. Even in the winter, fun days playing in the snow can put your little one’s skin at risk from sunburn.

Therefore, if you know that the kids will be spending a lot of time outdoors, apply a layer of sunscreen before they go out and reapply during the day, especially if they have been swimming.

Keep Hydrated

Just like the application of sunscreen, you should also make sure that all members of the family remain well-hydrated. This is true whether you are in the mountains or at the beach. If it is too hot or too sunny, make sure you find some shade or head back to the room.

Safety Tips During Holidays for Kids Young and Old

Know the Local Area

Make sure you research the area you are going to before you head out. This will let you know if there are any hazards that should be avoided. For example, some coastal areas may have strong tides or be home to jellyfish, both of which are less than ideal for small kids.

Also, if you visit tropical areas, you should be aware of whether or not you need to take any extra precautions to avoid insect bites.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Make sure you pack a first aid kit and have enough medicine for if you or your children suffer from any illnesses or allergies. In the case of allergies, it is a great idea to inform the staff of your accommodation so that they are aware and can help in the event of an emergency.

If you are going to a new area, it is always a good idea to pack some medicine to protect against upset stomachs, as you will probably be eating food that you are unfamiliar with.

Be Prepared for Kids Being Kids

We all know that kids like exploring, especially in new, exciting places. However, it is easy for kids to get lost if they are not familiar with their surroundings. Provide all the members of your family with your contact details, as well as the name and address of your hotel.

Organizing a meeting place and/or a clear plan of action may also be a good idea in case anyone gets lost. This will help everyone know what needs to be done should someone get lost.

Five Tips for How to Prevent Food Allergies in Kids

Much has been written about food allergies and whether it is possible to prevent them from occurring in kids. While the research still throws up conflicting reports, there are a few things that you can do to minimize the risks.

Food allergies in babies and kids are on the rise in the United States, and parents are naturally anxious about this. This is because food allergies can have a severe impact on a child’s life. Obviously, raising a little one can be very stressful. The last thing you need is to have to worry about special diets. Therefore, we have put together these five tips on how to prevent food allergies so everyone can relax a little bit.

Types of Food Allergies

Before we reveal our tips, it is a good idea to take a quick look at the most common allergens and the symptoms you should look out for when you start introducing new foods into your child’s diet.

The most common food allergens include:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Walnuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

It is possible that your little one may outgrow an initial allergy, or they may only have a mild intolerance. Either way, it is vital that you closely monitor their dietary intake and eliminate allergens from their diet if they consistently react negatively.

Five Tips for How to Prevent Food Allergies in Kids

Food allergies come with a variety of symptoms that will vary depending on the severity of the allergy. In general, if your child has an allergy, they will usually develop a rash immediately after eating. But this is just one of a whole host of symptoms such as:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Swelling

If you suspect that your child is allergic to a specific food, eliminate it from their diet and arrange for them to be tested. They may only have an intolerance to a particular allergen.

Methods of Prevention

Although there are no tried and true ways to prevent your child from developing a food allergy, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk of them developing symptoms.

1. Start Introducing Allergens While You Are Pregnant – If you do not have any existing allergies, then it is a good idea to continue eating the foods mentioned above while you are pregnant. Quite a bit of research has found that this can help to minimize the risk of developing allergies. Avoiding these foods can actually have a detrimental effect on your baby’s development, as you will be limiting the intake of these essential nutrients.

2. Breastfeed Breast milk has many health benefits for the baby, and one of these is that it helps to regulate and develop the immune system. This is particularly useful when you start to introduce allergens such as dairy products.

3. Introduce Different Allergens at Different Times – When you start introducing allergens, it is a good idea to introduce them at different times so it is easier to monitor which, if any, cause a reaction. The sooner you identify allergies, the higher the chance that your child will outgrow them.

4. Start When You Are Ready – Recent research has suggested that it might be a good idea to introduce things like peanuts and eggs earlier. It is usually a good idea to trust your instincts with this one, and if you’re unsure, talk it through with your pediatrician.

5. Minimize Packaged Foods – Naturally produced foods will always be better for your child than processed foods. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will help your child develop a much healthier immune system and hopefully keep any allergies at bay.

Keeping Your Little Ones Safe: Winter Safety Tips

The winter can be a really fun time for the family, with many great activities to enjoy. However, this time of the year presents some unique challenges for parents. Generally, kids love playing in the snow, but it is vital that they do so in a safe way. No matter the age of your children there are some things you should always do.

In this latest post, we look at some winter safety tips which will keep your kiddies safe while still enjoying this fun time of the year.

Keep Them Warm and Dry

Layers are essential regardless of the child’s age. Aim for several thin layers which can easily be removed if they get wet. Some form of waterproof footwear will help keep your child’s feet dry and warm, which minimizes the risk of frostbite.

Remember to use winter accessories no matter whether you are playing outside or traveling to somewhere else. Hats are essential to maintaining body heat, while mittens and scarfs help to keep the cold at bay.

Don’t Forget The Sunscreen

This one is really important especially if it has been snowing. While the UVA rays may be weaker during the winter months, it is still possible to suffer from sunburn. It doesn’t matter whether it is cloudy or a blue sky, make sure that you apply sunscreen on any exposed areas of skin before they go out to play.

Keeping Your Little Ones Safe: Winter Safety Tips

Brush Up on Personal Hygiene

Bugs and viruses such as the common cold tend to be more prevalent in the colder months, so it is crucial that you and your kids maintain proper personal hygiene practices.

Make sure they are regularly washing their hands especially if they have the snuffles. They should also cover their mouth with the bend of their elbow if they sneeze. Also, during the flu season ensure that your little one’s shots are up to date as this will help with their immune system defenses.

Enjoy the Snow Safely

The winter should be a fun time for all the family, but it also presents different risks such as trips and falls on slippery surfaces. Crossing the road or walking to the car can be more dangerous than usual, so you should encourage your children to pay more attention and walk slowly.

Your kids might want to spend all day out in the snow, but you should minimize their exposure to the cold specifically when there are snowstorms or the temperature drops below -16˚.

Supervise your children while they are outside and regularly check to see if they are warm and dry. Remove any clothing that becomes wet as this will affect their body temperature.

Winter Activities

Winter is a great time to enjoy sledding, skiing, and skating.  Your children should be supervised at all times and wear the appropriate safety equipment such as helmets and gloves.

Sledding should be done in a safe place far away from roads and crowded areas while skating should be done in designated places under supervision.

If you remember these common-sense rules, then everyone should come through the winter unscathed.

A Quick Guide About Reasons for Vomiting in Newborn Babies

The first few weeks and months of your baby’s life are very exciting, but they are also full of worries as your newborn adapts to the world around her.  You are going to be acutely aware of every sudden change in their behavior or health and will often convince yourself that it is something serious.

One of the things you can expect a lot in the first few months is quite a bit of vomit, as your baby clears out their stomach and gets used to milk. It can be a little scary, but it in many cases it is all part and parcel of the growing up process. Some babies will be sicklier than others, but in general, there are usually several reasons for vomiting in newborn babies.

First Few Days

You can expect your baby to vomit at least a few times a day during the first couple of days. This is because they will be clearing out mucous and amniotic fluid from their stomach. Their digestive system will also be trying to adapt to the new changes. The length of the adjustment varies from baby to baby.

First Few Months

As your baby’s digestive system continues to develop, and they are taking on larger quantities of milk, there is likely to be some vomiting after feeding time. This is perfectly normal and no real cause for concern. It is sometimes caused by reflux, but in the majority of cases, it is just down to your child’s digestive system not being fully developed.

A Quick Guide About Reasons for Vomiting in Newborn Babies

It is important that you burp your child to help them remove any air pockets or excess gas with any excess gas after feeding. They may bring up a small amount of milk when they burp, but they usually grow out of this.

Common Reasons for Vomiting

You can’t rush the feed, so expect to see it again if you do. If your baby gulps down the milk too quickly, then more air pockets will get into their stomach. The cumulative effect of this air will cause large pockets to form in your child’s stomach, which inevitably leads to quite forceful eruptions.

As your baby gets older, you will start introducing new foods, which can also take a bit of getting used to. Sometimes we might get ahead of ourselves and add foods that their little stomachs are just not ready for. If you notice that they are struggling to digest certain foods, but there no other symptoms try pureeing the food or chopping it into smaller, easier to digest pieces.

Times When You May Have to Call the Pediatrician

Generally, if the vomiting is accompanied by any other symptoms, it may be worth further investigation. Vomiting accompanied by diarrhea is usually a sign of gastroenteritis, while vomiting with an itchy rash may indicate food intolerance. These conditions can be easily managed and shouldn’t be a significant cause of concern.

On the other hand, any vomiting which continues for over 12 hours and is accompanied by symptoms such as dehydration, fever, swollen stomach, and irritability means that you should seek prompt medical attention.

Four Common Causes of Abdominal Pain in Infants and Children

Abdominal pain is a regular complaint from kids as they grow up. In a lot of cases, the pain usually goes away by itself and is not a significant cause for concern. If you are concerned, then you should contact your clinic for advice on whether you need to pay a visit.

There are many different reasons why kids get abdominal pain. In this latest article, we will take a quick look at the common causes of abdominal pain in infants and children.

Colic and Constipation

These two issues can be regular sources of abdominal pain in infants and generally get better as your child’s digestive system develops.  Colic is very upsetting for parents as your baby will cry a lot because of the discomfort in their abdomen. You may notice that your baby’s stomach is hard, or they are having a hard time getting rid of gas.

There is no definitive cause for colic, and the symptoms usually resolve by themselves. You can try and keep your little one as comfortable as possible. Speak with your pediatrician about it as there may be an issue with certain foods, and they can also make suggestions regarding different feeding schedules.

Four Common Causes of Abdominal Pain in Infants and Children

Infections

Bacterial and viral infections are widespread in kids of all ages. The abdominal pain will usually be accompanied by diarrhea and/or vomiting. There are many culprits for these infections, but the treatment usually consists of rest and keeping your child hydrated. They should be back to normal in 24-48 hours.

However, if the sickness is accompanied by fever or doesn’t get better after a couple of days, then you should get them checked out by a physician.

Food

Abdominal pain can often be related to food. All of us at some point will suffer a tummy ache because we have overeaten, and this usually happens with kids. However, if there are other symptoms such as a rash or diarrhea, then this could point to other causes.

It is very common for people with food allergies, such as dairy and gluten, to suffer from abdominal pain. If you suspect that your child has a food allergy or intolerance, then you should get your pediatrician to investigate further.

Food poisoning can also lead to abdominal pain, but this will usually be accompanied by other symptoms such as mild fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. Your little one should get better after a few days of rest and regular hydration. As with other conditions mentioned above, make sure you monitor their condition and if their symptoms don’t seem to be getting better then get them checked out.

Appendicitis

If your child has a mild fever and is complaining of severe abdominal pain around the belly button or lower right side, then they may have appendicitis. This condition is a medical emergency, so you should seek medical attention without delay.

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes infected. If it is left untreated, then the appendix could burst, which would lead to bacteria spreading around the body. Therefore, if your child is diagnosed with appendicitis, they will have their appendix removed in a minor surgical operation.

A Quick Guide on Anxiety Disorders Which Affect Kids

Growing up can be a very stressful time as children learn how to interact with many new stimuli and environments. In many situations, this will result in temper tantrums or behavior which leaves your child clinging to you. This is all part and parcel of growing up, and your kids will usually recover quickly as they start to make sense of the world around them.

However, if you find that your child struggles in certain situations or doesn’t respond to your comforting after facing a challenging situation, then this could indicate that they are suffering from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can cause a great deal of disruption to you and your child’s life, so make sure you talk with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Symptoms

Anxiety may present itself in different ways but here is a list of some common symptoms which may indicate your child is suffering from an anxiety disorder:

  • trouble concentrating
  • quick to anger
  • out of control temper tantrums
  • not eating properly
  • regular tummy aches and complaints about feeling unwell
  • always worrying and displaying negative thoughts
  • feeling tense and unable to sit still for any length of time
  • always crying and being clingy

A Quick Guide on Anxiety Disorders Which Affect Kids

Causes

Anxiety disorders can be something kids are born with or that they pick up from the environment around them. Sometimes the anxiety comes as a result of a traumatic event in their life such as bullying, different forms of abuse, and instability at home – regular moves, parents fighting or separations.

When you take your child to see the pediatrician, they will ask you how things are at home as it allows them to get a better picture of whether external factors are at play. This, in turn, will help them decide whether they need to investigate the child’s symptoms further and what treatment may be required.

Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – Kids who suffer from GAD will worry about all kinds of everyday things such as homework, food, and birthday parties. GAD can impact all areas of a child’s life and make it difficult for them to relax and have fun. Also, it can create problems with eating and sleeping.

Separation Anxiety – This usually causes problems for younger kids, and most kids will display mild symptoms at some point such as when they first go to school.  However, if these issues persist and you find it hard to get your child to sleep alone or to stay at school for prolonged periods, then you may need help.

Social Anxiety – Kids can be shy as they gain a sense of their ‘self,’ but if you find that they are having trouble interacting with other kids, it may because they are anxious about these interactions. Socially troubled kids will find being center of attention unbearable, finding it hard to answer questions in class or work in groups.

How to Help a Child with an Anxiety Disorder

You should mention any concerns you have regarding your child’s behavior when you meet with your pediatrician. Your child may just be suffering from growing pains or having some issues that they are unable to articulate. If your pediatrician feels that they have an anxiety disorder, then the treatment will depend on their age and the particular type of anxiety.

There is a wide range of treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), counseling and anxiety medicines. In all cases, the treatment will be designed to help your child manage their symptoms as soon as possible.