Tips to Successfully Transition Your Child Into Daycare

Placing your child in a daycare center is a reality for more and more working parents today.

The idea of leaving your child in the care of others for an extended period of time can be a frightening one to both you and your child. Many parents feel apprehensive about exposing their babies to a new environment, and the situation is only intensified as some children can experience separation anxiety at the thought of being away from their parents for the first time.

Below are a few tips to help both parents and children as they transition to this new daily routine.

  • Do your research – Before choosing a daycare environment, it is important for parents to do some investigation. Ask plenty of questions from other parents as well as from the daycare staff. It is also appropriate to ask to “sit-in” to observe the staff in action. By doing some due diligence, parents will feel less anxiety and more confident with their choice in a daycare provider.
  • Explain the situation to your child in advance – Sometimes it’s the unexpected that is most frightening to children. You can help the situation by preparing your child for what they will encounter at daycare. Explain to them everything that they will do during their day and everyone that they will meet. Picture books designed to outline the daycare experience to your child can also be a helpful tool
  • Try a gradual start – If your schedule will allow it, try easing your child into a daycare setting by enrolling them on a part-time basis. This can either be shorter sessions or for only a couple of days per week. After they get comfortable with their new surroundings, you can incrementally extend the experience. This gradual transition can reduce stress and anxiety for both parent and child.
  • Be organized – The pressure of transitioning into daycare can only be intensified when parents are running around at the last second as they look to get out the door. A chaotic environment takes a parents attention away from their child, who might need it. Prepare everything the night before so your trip to daycare can be a calm and relaxed one. Creating a check-list is always a good idea.
  • Have your child bring something familiar – A reminder of home will make those first few trips to daycare a little easier and provide comfort on difficult days for an anxious child. Ask your child if they would like to bring their favorite stuffed animal or a cozy blanket with them. These comfort items can reduce the stress associated with going to daycare.
  • Invent a goodbye ritual – Families should create a consistent way of saying goodbye to each other to help establish a fuss-free drop off experience. This could be a loving phrase, a secret handshake or special kiss that is shared just between a parent and a child. This ritual will make your child feel special and it will limit prolonged goodbyes.
  • Expect some tears – It can take anywhere from one day to a month for a child to adjust to daycare. During this transition it is perfectly natural for your child to cry when you drop them off. While this can be heartbreaking to parents in the moment, understand that children are resilient and a daycare experience can actually help them develop social and adaptation skills.

Following these tips can take what can be a tension-filled time in both your life and the life of your child, and make it into a positive and stress-free experience.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Obesity Having an Impact on Your Child’s Self-Esteem?

Obesity among teenagers is a growing problem in the United Sates. It is estimated that 31% of teenagers are overweight and another 16% are obese.

Feet on a scaleMany parents and doctors focus on the physical effects of obesity, but what about the psychological and emotional ramifications? Obesity can lead to heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and hypertension, but its depression, low self esteem, anxiety and poor body image that should be the greater concern for most.

Recent studies have concluded that obese teens have considerably lower self esteem than their non-obese peers. The difference in the two groups is most evident among 14 year olds, which also happens to be a critical time for teens because it is when they develop their sense of self worth. It is also an age where peers can be most cruel. Teasing, taunting, and poor treatment from other kids can also contribute to depression and other psychological issues.

Teens with low self-esteem often feel lonely, nervous, or are generally sad. They are also more inclined to experiment with cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. They often become depressed, which causes them to withdraw from social activities with friends and family and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.

There are a variety of factors that have contributed to a rise in obesity among teens. While genetics play a role for some, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle are often the cause for most. Teens today consume too much junk food and sugary drinks and don’t exercise as much as in previous generations. Temptations from television, video games, and computers are often cited as the reasons for a decrease in physical activity.

Professionals suggest that parents of obese teens engage their children in an open dialogue about the issue. Together, parents and teens can work on a plan that is attainable. Efforts to fix the problem should focus on lifestyle issues rather than a calorie count because attempting to impose a strict diet could contribute to the teen’s poor self esteem. Incorporate the assistance of a medical professional, but allow the teen to take charge during visits in an effort to build confidence.  Parents should encourage and participate in improving diet and increasing activity as well.

Jamaica Hospital has a variety of services to help teens facing this issue, including nutritional counseling and adolescent mental health services. Speak to your child’s pediatrician or make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Pediatric Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to find the best treatment options for your teen.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Parenting – Should Children be Paid to do Household Chores?

Many parents wrestle with the question of whether or not their children should be required to do chores around the house, and if so, should they be paid for it? There’s really no simple answer.

There are pros and cons to every method of administering an allowance to children. Some think kids should earn money in exchange for doing chores, others believe kids should not be paid for regular contributions that are expected of every family member.  No matter which side you agree with, the point of an allowance is to teach your kids money management skills.

Age appropriate, weekly chores, whether it’s taking out the garbage, emptying the dishwasher, folding clean laundry, cleaning the cat litter box, or light yard work like raking leaves, can help a child develop character. Paying them for their contributions also helps them to develop a respect for earning money.

You might decide on a definite set of weekly chores that your child must complete before being paid, or choose to make a list with a set price per chore and leave it up to them. Bigger tasks like shoveling snow, earn more money, and things like making their bed, earn less.

The method you end up using may not be what you started with, every child is different and the family dynamic and responsibility varies. However you structure it, be flexible. Even if you offer your child an allowance with no strings attached, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them to do something periodically.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Regulating Your Child’s Screen Time

More and more parents are reporting not seeing their child’s face enough as they are constantly hidden behind various electronic devices.  This is a concern that previous generations of parents did not have to deal with, leaving today’s mothers and fathers wondering how to regulate their child’s screen time activity.

First off, it’s important to note that not all forms of electronic media are created equal. There are many educational games, apps and videos that children can play and watch that support and benefit their development. Many experts actually suggest that it is not the quantity, but the quality of a child’s screen time that should be taken into consideration.

That being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics has offered guidelines for childhood screen usage. They discourage children younger than 18-24 months of age from participating in electronic media use, except for video chatting.  If parents wish to introduce digital media games or apps at these ages, they should make sure that it is done in a supervised setting and that the content is educational and interactive.  Parents of children from two to five years of age should limit their child’s screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming.  As children grow, the content and amount of media they are exposed to is harder to determine and is not a “one size fits all” model. Parents should customize parameters based on the maturity level and social skills of their children.

It is also recommended that parents understand that they need to remain involved in their child’s online habits and enforce certain rules to ensure that screen time doesn’t affect other aspects of their lives. Parents are encouraged to carve out time for unplugged and unstructured play and create tech-free zone and times.  In addition digital media should be off limits at dinner time and while children are doing their homework. Another tip is for parents to limit their own screen time to set a good example for their children.

When making decisions about screen time, parents should be aware of the following issues that can result from too much screen time, including:

  • Obesity
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Behavioral problems
  • Lack of social skills
  • Violent behavior

It is also recommended that parents understand that they need remain involved in their child’s online habits and enforce certain rules to ensure that screen time doesn’t affect other aspects of their lives. Parents are encouraged to carve out time for unplugged and unstructured play and create tech-free zone and times.  In addition digital media should be off limits at dinner time and while children are doing their homework. Another tip is for parents to limit their own screen time to set a good example for their children.

Managing a child’s use of electronic devices will be an ongoing challenge for today’s parents. By staying active and engaged in their screen habits, you can avoid them falling into the traps associated with digital media and ensure they develop a well-rounded childhood experience.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Teaching Your Children to Embrace Diversity

Our children are being introduced to so many more people than any other generation before them. Whether through school, outside activities, or on some form of electronic media, they have the opportunity to learn a great deal about people who come from diverse backgrounds, including those from different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and family dynamics. So, how can we, as parents make sure they are accepting of the differences in others?

Here are some tips parents can follow when trying to teach their children about diversity:

  • Set a good example – It might sound obvious but our children learn just as much from watching what we do as listening to what we say. As parents, we must recognize and address our own short-comings when it comes to accepting diversity if we want to teach our children correctly. Our actions cannot contradict the lessons we are trying to teach and we must lead by example if we do not want our children judge others based on stereotypes.
  • Get out of your comfort zone – While we all agree technology can make the world a much smaller place, the fact is most of us still spend our daily lives living in communities where the majority of our neighbors look like us and share the same values and traditions. Unfortunately, raising our children in a homogeneous environment is not conducive to truly teaching them about accepting diversity because they don’t get the opportunity to experience those who are “different.” Parents must make a deliberate effort to leave our familiar surroundings and experience and appreciate diversity.
  • Listen to what your child is saying – As much we would like to think we are the only influences in our children’s lives, we are not. They see and hear things from other adults, other children and other sources. Other influences can lead to the formation of inaccurate perceptions and beliefs. Take notice if your child is using hurtful or stereotypical language and take time to explain why something is inappropriate. Also encourage your children to ask questions. You can help provide explanations to things that might otherwise be confusing to them.
  • Don’t ignore differences – Many parents mistakenly want their children to be “difference blind.” This can only make the situation worse. There are many differences among us that should be embraced including how someone speaks, what they wear or eat, how their name is pronounced, or if they have two moms. These differences are bound to ignite curiosity and could lead to questions. Instead of ignoring diversity, teach your child to accept what makes us all unique and that our differences are only part of who we are, but they do not define us.

By following these tips, you can raise your children to be more accepting of others, which will go a long way in their development into adulthood.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Dr’sTips for Choosing a Good Day Care and Keeping Your Kids Healthy Away From Home

For many parents, the decision of where to enroll their child in daycare is difficult. There are many factors to consider, such as ensuring that your child remains in a safe and healthy environment at all times.

Dr. Rosa Tajian, Pediatric ER Physician is sharing a few tips to help parents with asking the right questions and making certain the best practices are used:

Safety

  1. Require proof that the facility and staff are fully licensed and trained– Asking for proof of licensing for the facility and staff is a must. Daycares should be able to provide official documents demonstrating their facility is upholding health and safety requirements. Training on safety policies and emergency measures such as CPR should be ongoing for staff.  It is also important to learn how the staff is screened before hire; does the facility conduct a complete health and background check?
  2. Make sure that the staff to child ratio is adequate– There is safety in numbers. When choosing a daycare knowing how many adults are caring for groups of children is important. There are regulations that stipulate the maximum amount of children allowed per staff member in a daycare setting. To learn the appropriate numbers, a parent can always obtain that information from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Division of Childcare Services. It is always good to confirm from time to time that the ratio remains adequate because facilities can lose staff members and not replace them.
  3. Check for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as fire extinguishers –Ensuring that these devices are present and functional reduces the risk for hazards. Each mechanism should be inspected as recommended and documentation of inspection should be presented if required.
  4. Medications and hazardous materials are out of reach– Ask the daycare provider to show you where hazardous substances are kept. They should be locked away and out of reach.

Health

  1. Hand washing policy– Daycares should reinforce strict handwashing policies. Staff should be required to wash hands after changing diapers, before preparing food, after wiping spit up, drool or runny noses.
  2. Sick policy –Find out if there is a strict, written policy for sick kids that all parents must abide by. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics provide general guidelines of when children should stay home from daycare or school.  Equally as important is a sick policy for staff. Adults should be asked to go home if they are feeling sick or presenting symptoms that can jeopardize a child’s health.
  3. Cleanliness –The cleanliness of the daycare is extremely important. Ensure that play areas are properly sanitized as well as toys. Areas such as bathrooms and kitchens should be exceptionally clean at all times.   Daycares should exercise a strict cross –contamination policy that prohibits actions such as washing or preparing bottles in the same sink used to wash hands after changing diapers.
  4. Immunization policy –Daycares often require immunization records when a child first enrolls. However, they should also follow up with parents to ensure that subsequent vaccinations are up to date. It is very important for the staff to receive vaccinations for diseases such as pertussis which can be harmful to children’s health.

The Department of Pediatrics at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center provides comprehensive care for children in our community.  Our physicians are highly trained in a wide variety of specialties needed to help children overcome illnesses.  To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital, please call, 718-206-7001.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The ABC’s of Safe Sleep for Infants

Sweet Newborn Baby Girl Asleep in Crib

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and the New York State Department of Health, Office of Children and Family Services urge new parents to follow the ABC’s of how to keep your baby safe while sleeping.

“A” is for ALONE – make sure that your baby sleeps ALONE

“B” is for BACK – Be sure to place your baby on their BACK

“C” is for CRIB – Always place your baby in a safe CRIB

Although the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) related deaths in infants between 28 days and 4 months old has decreased significantly; the incidence of sleep related deaths due to injury and the infant’s sleep position and environment are on the rise. Studies have shown that at least 80% of these infant deaths could have been prevented.

Some guidelines that new parents should follow are:

  • Purchase a safety-approved crib for your infant and keep it near your bed.
  • Sleeping in the same room as your baby is recommended.
  • Sleeping on the same surface as your baby (sometime referred to as bed-sharing) is NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Breastfeeding mothers ought to place their baby back into their crib before going to sleep.
  • Do not place pillows, blankets, bumpers or other soft objects into the crib with your baby.
  • Purchase a firm mattress and fitted sheets for your baby’s crib.
  • Do not rely on your baby monitor.
  • Never use a car seat, baby swing, carriage or carrier without fully fastening the straps. Partially fastened straps can become a hazard for the baby.
  • Smoking with your baby present puts them at a higher risk for SIDS.
  • Do not have your baby sleep on a couch or chair. This will pose a risk of blocking airways and may trap the baby in a position that may cause them to suffocate.

For these and additional tips on how to keep your baby safe, visit – http://www.safebabiesny.com/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How to Help Your Child Cope with Stress from School Exams and Standardized Tests

teen test examPreparing for school exams or standardized tests is part of every child’s educational experience.   Stress levels in children can elevate during this time as they become anxious about earning satisfactory scores.

High levels of stress can affect academic performance but it becomes a real concern for young students when it takes a toll on their health.  Kids may develop symptoms of stress such as sleeplessness, mental blocks or irregular eating habits.

There are several things parents can do to help alleviate test stress and anxiety:

  • Teach Calming Techniques such as taking deep breaths and muscle relaxation.
  • Help with test preparation; educate yourself about the subject so that you can provide assistance if this is not possible explore hiring a tutor or suggest a study group.
  • Practice Time Management by giving mock exams with time limits. This will bolster confidence and reduce panic on the day of the test.
  • Provide a Positive Environment by ensuring that their daily activities remain as routine as possible. This means normal bedtimes, meal times or hobbies.

While a certain amount of stress or anxiety may motivate some students to perform better for others it creates the opposite effect.  It is important for parents to observe how their child reacts to stressful situations and help them to cope. If your child displays symptoms of stress for an extended period of time, communicate with them and if the assistance of a mental health professional is needed, the school counselor or family doctor can be a good place to start.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry offers group therapy, individual therapy, medicine management, and other specialty groups to children, adolescents, and adults. For additional information, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Why It’s Important For Your Child To Get The Flu Shot This Year

Flu season is coming and once again, many parents wonder if they should get their children vaccinated. Below is some information about the flu vaccine that parents should know.

Vaccination

The flu is more serious than the common cold for kids. Young children often require medical care after getting the flu. In fact, each year, an average of 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, and for some, the illness can even result in death.

The best way to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all children six months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. Ideally, the best time to get the flu vaccine is as soon as it becomes available as it usually takes up to two weeks before your child is fully protected.

Flu shots can be administered either by injection or by a nasal spray. The nasal spray flu vaccine can be given to children between two and eight years old. Side effects can include runny nose, cough, fever, wheezing, and head or muscle aches. The flu shot can be given to children ages six months and over. Side effects of the flu shot include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site or a low-grade fever.

Children under six months old are too young to be vaccinated. The best defense for them is to make sure those around them are vaccinated.

Some children who get the flu shot may require two doses. If your child is under nine years old and has never gotten the shot before, two separate doses will be necessary. These doses must be administered at least four weeks apart.  If your child has gotten the seasonal flu vaccine before or is over nine years old, only one dose is required.

Please speak with your pediatrician before getting your child vaccinated if:

  • If your child isn’t feeling well
  • If your child recently had other vaccines
  • If your child has any medical conditions
  • If your child is allergic to eggs
  • If your child had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine

Please call your pediatrician now to schedule you child’s flu shot. If you do not have a pediatrician, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Pediatric Clinic at 718-206-7001 to make an appointment with one of our qualified pediatric specialists.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tips for Dealing with a Whining Child

Baby's Mouth Screaming

 

Parents of a whining child often ask themselves and others, “Why does my child whine?”  Children can whine for various reasons, but in most cases, it is because we let them.

Like adults, children have two basic emotional needs, attention and power.  Children only continue behaviors that get results.  When a child whines and the parent gives in, they realize that whining gets them what they want.  If you do not address this behavior, it could continue into your child’s teenage years.

When a child whines, it may seem annoying and irritating to the parent, but the child is often just looking for attention.

Some quick tips to help parents cope with a whining child are :

  1. Take control of the situation – Refuse to let it bother you to the point of giving in to the behavior.
  2. Speak with your child – Pick a quiet time and tell your child that there’s a new rule – If he/she whines, you will not respond.
  3. Revisit politeness – Remind your child that “asking nicely” will get them a much more positive response to their request.
  4. Praise – Give your child positive reinforcement for not whining.

Most of all, remind yourself that there is no crisis when your child is whining.  This will allow you to deal rationally with the matter at hand.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.