Every family should have activities that they enjoy together and that become a regular, predictable, and integral part of their lives. Some can be serious pursuits, like attending community functions or religious services as a family; others can be more lighthearted, like going fishing. Whatever they are, they can help bond a family together. These are some rituals that many families have made parts of their lives:
Communication between parents and children should be a top priority in your family. Set aside time to talk, discussing the day’s and the week’s activities, sharing feelings and really listening to one another.
Respect the privacy of each of your youngsters as they begin to assert their independence during these middle years; they may have certain problems and difficulties they may not want to divulge to their brothers and sisters. You should be able to have a one-on-one conversation with each child without all the other children listening to it. If you honor his wishes for confidentiality, this can build trust between you.
Some families establish a weekly time for a family meeting. When everyone is present, family issues, relationships, plans, and experiences are discussed, and everyone from the youngest to the oldest gets a chance to be heard and to participate.
Recreation and Cultural Activities
Family recreation is an important way to strengthen the family. Sports (participation and spectator), games, movies, and walks in the park are good ways to increase cohesiveness and reduce stress.
Cultural activities can be valuable too. Visits to museums, libraries, plays, musicals, and concerts can expand the family’s horizons and deepen appreciation for the arts.
Shopping trips can provide regular opportunities for parents and children to spend time together. Whether you are grocery shopping or buying birthday gifts, these excursions can be fun and exciting for youngsters in middle childhood. Let your children make lists, find items in the store, carry the bags to the car, and unpack them once you return home. Allowing your child some choices and assigning some meaningful responsibilities can help build his self-confidence.
Reading and Singing Aloud
Reading and singing aloud as a family promotes feelings of closeness and an appreciation for music and books. Parents should find out what stories their children like to read, and what music they like to listen to. It is lots of fun to take turns reading aloud, and to let the children hear the stories and songs you enjoyed when you were growing up.
These are another source of fun family activities. By learning about the history, significance, and rituals of a particular holiday, children will feel a greater sense of involvement in the holiday preparations and celebrations.
Each child has different skills and needs that can guide parents in helping him or her brush.
Tips to Help Young Children Practice Brushing & Make It A Good Experience:
- Choosing a toothbrush. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for brushing an infant’s or child’s teeth.
- Holding a toothbrush. If the child has trouble holding a toothbrush, try making the handle thicker by putting it inside a tennis ball. The toothbrush handle can also be strapped to the child’s hand with a wide rubber band, a hair band, or Velcro. Toothbrushes with thick handles can also be found in retail and discount stores.
- Teaching the child how to brush. Break the process into small steps that the child can understand and practice. Ask a dentist, dental hygienist, occupational therapist, or early childhood specialist for help, if needed. Another way is to place a hand over the child’s hand to guide the toothbrush as the child brushes.
- Using toothpaste with fluoride. Use toothpaste with fluoride that the child likes and that feels good in his or her mouth. An adult should always place toothpaste on the toothbrush.
- For children under age 3: Use a small smear of flouride toothpaste (or an amount about the size of a grain of rice).
- For children ages 3–6: Use a pea-size amount of flouride toothpaste.
- If a child cannot spit: Have the child tilt his or her mouth down so that the toothpaste can dribble out into the sink, a cup, or a washcloth. Since the fluoride in toothpaste is clearly meant to be swishes but not swallowed, make sure to help or watch the child while brushing. When she is old enough, tell her to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.
- Positioning the child. There are many ways a child can be positioned to make the child feel comfortable and allow an adult to brush his or her teeth.
- Keeping the child engaged in brushing. Use a timer, a short song, or counting as a game to encourage brushing for 2 minutes.
You may have heard news about a small number of adolescents and young adults who experienced mild cases of heart inflammation (called myocarditis) after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Most recovered on their own or with minimal treatment and rest.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been studying these rare cases to see if there is any link to the vaccine. This kind of ongoing monitoring is standard with all new vaccines to make sure they are safe.
Based on the latest evidence, myocarditis appears to be an extremely rare side effect—one that pales in comparison to the potential risks of COVID-19 infection. The CDC, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and other major medical groups, continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for people 12 years and older.
What is myocarditis?
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. It happens when the body’s immune system reacts to an infection or some other trigger. In more than half of cases, no cause is identified. Symptoms can include feelings of abnormal heart rhythms, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
The recent reports of myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination were seen:
- mostly in older teens young adults
- more often in males than females,
- more often following dose 2 than dose 1, and
- typically within 4 days after vaccination.
What we do know: COVID-19 vaccines save lives
Especially with the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 now circulating, the risks of being unvaccinated and becoming ill with COVID-19 are far greater than any rare side effects from the vaccines.
Thousands of children have been hospitalized, and hundreds have died after being infected with COVID-19. Some children who have recovered still experience lingering symptoms. In fact, getting infected with COVID-19 itself is much more likely to cause myocarditis than the vaccine.
Since December 2020, nearly a third of a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the United States. They are proven to be very effective at preventing COVID-19 and are truly life-saving. If you or your children are eligible for the vaccine, I encourage you to plan to get it as soon as possible.
COVID-19 The vaccines are currently available for anyone 12 years of age and older. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to talk with your pediatrician.
We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is important. But how do you get kids to eat more of these foods?
Tips for Parents:
- Provide fruits and vegetables as snacks. Keep fruit washed, cut up and in plain sight in the refrigerator.
- Serve salads more often. Get prewashed, bagged salad at the grocery store. Teach your child what an appropriate amount of salad dressing is and how it can be ordered on the side at restaurants.
- Try out vegetarian recipes for spaghetti, lasagna, chili, or other foods using vegetables instead of meat.
- Include at least one leafy green or yellow vegetable for vitamin A such as spinach, broccoli, winter squash, greens, or carrots each day.
- Include at least one vitamin C–rich fruit or vegetable, such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, melon, tomato, and broccoli each day.
- Add a fruit or vegetable as part of every meal or snack. For example, you could put fruit on cereal, add a piece of fruit or small salad to your child’s lunch, use vegetables and dip for an after-school snack, or add a vegetable or two you want to try to the family’s dinner.
- Be a role model—eat more fruits and vegetables yourself.
More Things You Can Do:
- Be sure your child is getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Visit choosemyplate.gov to find out how much of each food group your child should be getting.
- When shopping for food, start in the area of the store where they keep fresh fruits and vegetables. Stock up. That way you know you always have some on hand to serve your child.
- Avoid buying high-calorie foods such as chips, cookies, and candy bars. Your child may not ask for these treats if they are not in sight.
- Limit or eliminate how much fruit juice you give your child and make sure it is 100% juice, not juice “drinks.”
- Eat as a family whenever possible. Research shows that kids eat more vegetables and fruits and less fried foods and sugary drinks when they eat with the entire family.
By choosing health-promoting foods, you can establish good nutritional habits in your child that will last for the rest of his or her life.
Parents know who they should go to when their child is sick. But pediatrician visits are just as important for healthy children.
The Bright Futures/American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) developed a set of comprehensive health guidelines for well-child care, known as the “periodicity schedule.” It is a schedule of screenings and assessments recommended at each well-child visit from infancy through adolescence.
Schedule of Well-Child Visits:
- The first week visit (3 to 5 days old)
- 1 month old
- 2 months old
- 4 months old
- 6 months old
- 9 months old
- 12 months old
- 15 months old
- 18 months old
- 2 years old (24 months)
- 2 ½ years old (30 months)
- 3 years old
- 4 years old
- 5 years old
- 6 years old
- 7 years old
- 8 years old
- 9 years old
- 10 years old
- 11 years old
- 12 years old
- 13 years old
- 14 years old
- 15 years old
- 16 years old
- 17 years old
- 18 years old
- 19 years old
- 20 years old
- 21 years old
The Benefits of Well-Child Visits:
- Prevention. Your child gets scheduled immunizations to prevent illness. You also can ask your pediatrician about nutrition and safety in the home and at school.
- Tracking growth and development. See how much your child has grown in the time since your last visit, and talk with your doctor about your child’s development. You can discuss your child’s milestones, social behaviors and learning.
- Raising concerns. Make a list of topics you want to talk about with your child’s pediatrician such as development, behavior, sleep, eating or getting along with other family members. Bring your top three to five questions or concerns with you to talk with your pediatrician at the start of the visit.
- Team approach. Regular visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among pediatrician, parent and child. The AAP recommends well-child visits as a way for pediatricians and parents to serve the needs of children. This team approach helps develop optimal physical, mental and social health of a child.