Blog Posts

Protecting the Child, Preserving the Family, and Honoring Life

Welcome to the Blog page of the American College of Pediatricians, which we call Scribit Veritas.  Each issue of the Blog is intended to assist parents, encourage children, and enrich the family.  Read our most recent issue below, and scroll to the bottom of this page to read earlier issues.

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How to Raise Grateful Children

Everyone loves to feel appreciated. So we should try to instill gratitude within our children. Happy people are grateful people. Raising happy kids has both immediate and long term benefits.

Gratitude takes time to develop. While we can teach our children to say “please” and “thank you” when appropriate, true gratitude goes deeper.

Here are some helpful tips to help your child understand and practice gratitude:

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3 Ways to Improve Your Health Literacy

It was 9 pm on a Sunday night when my friend *Alex called. “Can you take me to the emergency room?” she asked. Wanting to be a helpful and supportive friend, I of course agreed.

As we drove there, I found out that this was the fifth time she’d been to the emergency room that month — and the second time that day. While Alex certainly has severe health challenges, several of those emergency room trips could have been addressed by a doctor during regular office hours. But because of Alex’s lack of knowledge about her own health and the healthcare system, whenever something went wrong, the emergency room was her go-to solution. Not only this, but not knowing some health basics exaggerated the health problems she did have, sometimes making the emergency room necessary when it could have been prevented.

It’s easy to see why Alex has a hard time understanding health and healthcare. With complicated health terminology and rapidly progressing medical knowledge, Alex isn’t the only one who struggles to understand!

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Bonding With Your Newborn

 

When my first child was born, they immediately placed her on my bare chest for an hour of uninterrupted skin-to-skin time. At that particular hospital they call it the “Sacred Hour”. The doctor informed my husband and me that the sacred hour meant keeping the room quiet for the baby to hear only our voices. She would be placed on my chest with no testing, cleaning, or interruptions for a whole hour. It allowed us to promptly begin bonding with our baby. “Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby stay warm, relax, transition, breathe easier, as well as promote breastfeeding” (Labor & Delivery). For us, this was a wonderful start to our bonding experience with our daughter. However, bonding does not stop after that hour ends. It is an ongoing process that happens every day you are caring for your child. “You may not even know it’s happening until you observe your baby’s first smile and suddenly realize that you’re filled with love and joy” (Ben-Joseph, 2018).

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Children’s Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, children are often not at the forefront of the conversation. There are many reasons this is true. For example, children have not yet mastered coping strategies, so when they are expressing how they feel, they can sometimes exaggerate and over-dramatize. To an extent, this is true, but does not mean that a child’s responses and behaviors should not be addressed with utmost thoughtfulness. As a parent, it is important to know what certain behaviors could be indicating and the impact on children whose mental health has not been managed well.

Common mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

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Teaching Children To Wash Their Hands

Hand-washing is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to prevent illness and the spread of infections.

It is crucially important for children to wash their hands during every season of the year, but especially when the common cold, flu, and other viruses are being passed around more frequently in the environment. Flu activity increases beginning in October and usually peaks between the months of December through February.

It’s a good idea to teach children fun ways that encourage them to wash their hands so that they can create a habit of hand-washing early, having established the habit already once they are older. Children should also be taught times when it is especially important to wash their hands and know the hand washing procedures that best benefit one’s health.

Peak times when hand-washing is critically important according to the CDC:

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Don’t Let the Media Control the Stage for Teaching Your Children

We are entering an era in which our children may spend more time with the fictional or real people on the TV or tablet than they do with us.

“In 1970, children began watching TV regularly at about 4 years of age, whereas today, children begin interacting with digital media as young as 4 months of age.” By the time children are approaching adolescence, they are viewing various kinds of digital media around 8-10 hours a day on average, often using two or three electronic media devices at once (Radesky, J.).

It is very unlikely that the high amount of media use will go away. It is a fundamental way of interacting and finding entertainment for most children and teens in our society. Children need parents to teach them how to use the media as a tool to achieve positive goals, interactions, and learning.

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Making family meals a priority, and a possibility, again

In Part 1 of Family Dinner (Are family meals worth it?) we learned about different views to family meals.  For the most part we have seen that family meals are still good thing to strive for.  Many of us still have a hard time making it a routine part of the day or week.  Sometimes, it doesn’t even seem like a possibility! To help parents out, here is a list of things to help make family meals a possibility again.   

5 Ways to Bring Back Family Meals

1) Change your mentality about family meals: For some, dinner can be extremely stressful.  If this happens to you, stop and look around. Think to yourself, “What would make family meals good for MY family?”  For many families, this is the ONLY time to be able to talk as a family (2).  If you think negatively about family dinner, chances are that’s exactly how it will turn out. Keep the dinner table a positive place.  If we keep a positive mindset, problems can become opportunities.

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The Importance of Motherhood

Abraham Lincoln is famous for saying, “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

There were two women he called mother, his own “angel mother”, who died when Lincoln was 9 years old, and his step-mother who also had a powerful, uplifting influence in his life. It wasn’t prestige, wealth, or social prominence that caused the deep feeling of reverence and respect Abraham had for his mothers. Though uneducated and illiterate herself, his step-mother Sarah Bush Johnston, helped nurture his love of reading. After marriage to Abraham’s widower father, Thomas Lincoln, she turned their shabby, dirt floor house into a home by immediately setting to work on arrangements for flooring and infusing hope into their lives. Abraham and Sarah shared a tight bond throughout her life. To him, she was the person who saw who he could become and ever encouraged his success.

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3 Reasons Why You Should Exercise During Pregnancy

It’s 6 AM and your evil alarm is screaming, “Wake up, wake up, wake up!” You groan internally, remembering your new exercise goal. “But do I have to exercise?” you ask no one in particular.   

Finding motivation to exercise can be hard. With so many things to do in a day, exercise isn’t always a favorite item on the to-do list.  

Once you add pregnancy into the mix, exercise can seem near impossible! With less energy, morning sickness, and all sorts of physical changes, exercising may feel like the last thing you want to do.

But what if exercise could actually help?

Here’s the good news: It can! In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy women get 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week during pregnancy.1*

But why is it that exercise during pregnancy is so important? And how can it affect you and your future baby?

1. Physical Benefits

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Language in the Toddler and Preschool Years

 

During the toddler and preschool years, most children are building their vocabularies rapidly. Since toddler age, children employ an innate skill called fast mapping, in which they quickly connect and contrast new words they hear with words they already know, and thereby almost instantly learn new words when hearing them even only once.

Parents and teachers are often boggled by how quickly young children can comprehend new words each week. In the preschool years (ages 3-5), children are still increasing their knowledge of words and ability to use them. They likely will begin to recognize letters, to write their own name, to recognize rhymes and other word patterns, and be interested in the written words that are around them. Several developmental characteristics are common for toddler and preschool-aged children as they continue to build their use of language:

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