Choose Smarter Snacks
Kids always seem hungry, so they may be begging for snacks throughout the day. Snacks should be small, and they shouldn’t be enjoyed too close to mealtimes, as this could ruin their appetite. Instead of reaching for a bag of candy or potato chips try opting for smarter snack options such as nuts, apple slices or celery with peanut butter, whole-grain crackers and cheese sticks, or hummus and carrots.
Get Your Kids Cooking
One of the best ways to get your child dedicated to nutrition is by making them an active part of the process. Cooking can be fun, especially for kids, and by cooking together they will experience a source of pride in the foods they’ve helped to make (which typically leads to them being more likely to eat it). Enjoy this quality time together and show them how eating and cooking healthy foods can be fun.
Hide Healthier Foods
Particularly at the beginning of this new nutritional journey, you may find that your child has an “aversion” to eating healthy. They may turn their nose up at broccoli, carrots or certain veggies, but don’t despair. Instead of making them eat it plain, you can hide these important veggies into dishes they already love such as whole grain mac and cheese, soups, or sandwiches.
Show Your Kids How It’s Done
Kids watch and mimic what parents do, so if parents aren’t eating healthy chances are fairly good that they won’t see a reason to eat healthily either. Therefore, it’s a good idea for parents to also show how important eating healthy can be. Lead by example and this simple habit could actually improve not just your child’s health but yours as well.
A healthy child begins with a healthy diet. If you are having concerns about your child’s health and nutrition, it’s important that you talk with a qualified pediatrician to figure out the right dietary choices for your little one.
What is a wellness visit?
While you should bring your child into the doctor’s office when they are sick, this isn’t the only time that they should be visiting a pediatrician. Regular wellness visits allow your child’s doctor to continue to monitor their health and development throughout their childhood and teen years. A wellness or well-child visit typically involves:
- Recording your child’s height and weight
- Providing a detailed medical history of your child
- Checking vital signs
- Hearing and vision screenings (depending on the age)
- A full physical examination (painless and non-invasive)
- Additional testing or blood work, if necessary
- Vaccinations, as needed
- Answer any questions that the parent may have about their child’s health and provide information and advice on ways to keep your child healthy
Furthermore, children will need to go through a series of vaccines during the first few years of life. Vaccines are one of the best ways to protect your child from serious and potentially life-threatening diseases such as polio. By keeping up with your child’s wellness and vaccine schedule you ensure that you are providing your child with everything that they need to stay healthy.
Why are wellness visits so important?
As you can probably assume already, these checkups are the best way to prevent health problems from happening in the first place (which we can all agree is so much better than just treating the problem once it comes along). Other benefits of wellness visits include:
- Providing parents with support, peace of mind, and advice regarding everything from sleep schedules and diet to medications and behavioral concerns.
- Catch problems early on, whether physical, mental or behavioral, when they can easily be managed and treated through simpler and less invasive treatment options
- Having a doctor that becomes an important part of your family; someone you can trust and rely on to always be there for your child. After all, knowing that you have a doctor that you can turn to in an emergency is invaluable.
Is This Normal Behavior?
- Being defiant
- Issues around bedtime
- Issues around food (being a “picky eater” or refusing to eat)
- Temper tantrums
- Are still occurring regardless of discipline or punishment
- Are affecting their schoolwork and/or social interactions
- Aren’t appropriate for their age (e.g. throwing temper tantrums as an older child)
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Harm to self, others, or animals
- Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there
- Breaking the rules or skipping school
- Sudden or extreme behavioral changes
- Showing no remorse
Pediatricians come equipped to handle and address any issues regarding your child’s health, and this includes behavioral concerns you may have as a parent. If your pediatrician believes that a developmental, neurological, or mental health disorder could be to blame, then they may recommend additional testing and evaluations. This is done either through their practice or with a specific specialist who can properly diagnose and treat certain conditions such as depression, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder.
Based on the results of your child’s screening, your pediatrician will then be able to create a custom treatment plan to help you and your child manage their condition and their symptoms. Your pediatrician can also refer your child to therapists and other specialists who can also provide additional support and treatment for the whole family.
If you’re having concerns about your child’s behavior, it’s best to talk with your pediatrician at your child’s next wellness checkup.
Though Summer is in full swing, Fall and the new school year (whatever that may look like) will soon be upon us. While we may welcome the cooler air and the beauty of the season, the dramatic rise in the number of people coming to our region will also bring an increase in the risk of contracting COVID-19. It is therefore vitally important for everyone to play a role in limiting the spread the virus, and in keeping eachother safe. That means mask wearing must become universal. Recognizing the importance of this simple measure, the Board of Health for the Town of Amherst has issued an emergency order mandating the wearing masks in the downtown area.
Likewise, to keep our staff and patients safe, no one age 2 years and above will be allowed to enter our office without an approriate face covering.
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