We live in a world where we are constantly exposed to new information and “experts” who claim to know best. This constant input is enough to drive even the most level-headed person insane. And the bad news is that it only gets worse when you are a parent, with many people having a stronger opinion on how to raise an active, healthy, and well-mannered child. This situation leads to an unnecessary level of stress and fear that your child isn’t “normal” or that you are a lousy parent.
Across America, pediatricians continually come across parental actions that are unhelpful and potentially damaging to the health and self-esteem of children. This is a direct result of the busy lives we lead and the conflicting information surrounding us. The good news is many of these things can be stopped if you pay attention to this list of four things your pediatrician wishes you would stop doing.
Wherever you look, there is a wealth of information about everything you could imagine, with websites, helplines, TV programs, and self-help books making us more “informed” than trained doctors. Sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it? But when was the last time you diagnosed yourself or a loved one? This is particularly dangerous when dealing with our little ones.
Many websites offer symptom checkers, which can be easily consulted when your child develops symptoms such as coughs and fevers. These same checkers will list all the potential illnesses the symptoms could indicate, and your imagination will do the rest! The truth is, there is no substitute for real medical advice, so if you are worried about your child’s health, contact your pediatrician as soon as possible. They will then tell you whether you just need to pop to the pharmacy or if the symptoms warrant further assessment.
Spending all Your Free Time in the ER
Unfortunately, many parents bypass their local clinic and head straight to the ER, which can be a completely unnecessary waste of time and money. When your little one has an accident, like falling off their bike or running into a closed door, you might be able to treat them yourself. If they lose consciousness, become disorientated, are bleeding heavily, or are having problems moving a limb, then a trip to the ER is probably a good call.
In many cases, your child will probably be in shock, and with a bit of comfort and a bandage, they will be back on their feet in minutes.
These days, we all lead increasingly busy lives, and as a result, appointments get forgotten or canceled. If you feel you have a healthy child, you may think the checkups are unnecessary. And yes, your child may very well receive a clean bill of health every time they visit, which is excellent news. But regardless of your opinion of your child’s health, prevention is always the best possible cure.
Regular medical exams will identify any potential issues in your child’s physical and emotional health and can help spot many diseases and problems at an early stage so as not to have a huge impact on their lives. For example, conditions such as asthma, allergies, heart problems, and growth-related problems can be avoided or managed better if they are spotted earlier. So put that phone down and make the appointment!
Kids love stimulation, and as they get older, they get increasingly curious about the world around them, becoming obsessed with different shapes, textures, smells, tastes, and colors. Nowhere can these senses be stimulated more than on the TV or handheld device. These days, it is common to see children of all ages glued to a screen, which can be counterproductive on many levels.
Games and cartoons can be excellent ways to let your kid chill out or gain some visual input, but when it is done at the expense of real social interactions and exercise, problems can occur. In our current society, we have seen a considerable increase in mobility and weight issues in children and an increase in mental health problems. This is not to say that tablets and video games are the main problems, but unlimited access to them is a serious issue.
We don’t recommend locking up all screens, but we seriously recommend that your kids get as much exercise as possible and socialize with as many people as possible from a young age. Even spending some time outside with nothing but the garden and their imaginations can be a great way for them to enjoy their increasing awareness of the world.