Successful grieving after the death of a loved one is an extremely difficult task for anyone. For children, all deaths are untimely. The bereaved child’s comprehension of events is dependent upon their developmental level. Their emotions are varied and unique, and not as neatly characterized as what occurs in adults.
Parent educators at Parenting Now! are often asked, “What can I do about my child’s behavior?” Our philosophy is that there are many approaches to discipline, but every approach should be a thoughtful way to pass on parental values and rules.
Discipline is an opportunity for the child to learn. Sometimes, parents believe discipline is the same as punishment; in fact, the root of the word is disciple, or “to learn.” Children have much to learn, and it is a parent’s job to be their loving teacher.
In addition to benefits for the brain and for behavior, having regular bedtime routines and getting adequate sleep has positive impacts on children’s health, including regulation of blood sugars and a decreased risk for childhood obesity.
Often, bedtime routines are cited by parents as one of the most challenging parenting experiences. However, learning routines is like learning any other skill for a young child – through repetition and practice, they can master the routine and benefit from a consistent sleep schedule.
Parents often ask us pediatricians for our opinions on alternative medicine, or what is better known as “complementary” or “holistic” medicine.
We easily recognize children with speech and language difficulty because we hear them struggle. How do you recognize a child with a vision problem? Often, you can’t. Is it motor skills? Balance? Judgment, interest, personality, shyness? We hardly ever ask – is it vision?
The same is true as infants, toddlers and preschoolers mature into school age children. When they experience headaches, poor coordination, learning problems, carsickness, apprehension in sports, etc., the first question that comes to mind is rarely, “Could this be a vision problem?” But often, it should be.
While consistent routines, good nutrition and quality parent-child interaction time are important, the value of outdoor motor play should be noted, as it leads to positive outcomes. While it may seem counterintuitive, children’s brains are in a better state to focus and pay attention when they engage in running, jumping, bouncing, swinging, climbing, spinning and other movement activities. Physical activity leads to greater learning opportunities.
With our children facing obesity rates of 24 percent – higher than the national average – it is critical that families have places for kids to be physically active, and our regional recreation sites offer great ways to keep our kids moving.
Prolonged activation of the stress response in children can have damaging effects on the development of the brain. The stress hormones that flood the brain during prolonged stressful periods can affect the development of brain cells and connections between them, the size of certain brain areas and, ultimately, development of healthy brain architecture. Because these brain areas are important for learning, memory, and emotional processing, prolonged exposure to stress can lead to problems with thinking, memory, and emotional processing as well as increased risk for later health problems.