941-923-7752

Sarasota, FL

childhood health

Child fitness strategies need to be enacted at home to work

November 12, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

kids-exercising

 

In recent years the epidemic of childhood obesity has gained notoriety in the media for being a serious issue facing our youth. Countless studies have been cited and statistics trotted out to the increasingly concerned public, and in response, elected officials have begun making policy changes aimed at increasing child fitness through better nutrition and health education.

As a result, the meals that many schools provide are beginning to include more healthy options and PSA’s stress the importance of getting children physically active for at least 60 minutes a day.  These well-meaning initiatives are certainly a step in the right direction towards improving child fitness on a national scale, but these sweeping policies can also provide a false sense of security for parents.

 

General programs aren’t enough

Some schools have been able to make changes to their lunch program by making healthy food options more accessible to students and now provide better education on the importance of being in good physical shape. But for those that haven’t – due to lack of funding, staff or resources – many of these programs fall on deaf ears.

Budgets are tight for schools and youth-service organizations across the country. Among the first things being cut are gym classes and after-school recreational activities. Meanwhile, healthy food options usually cost more than the more traditional choices many of us grew up with.

 

wellness

 

Even if schools are offering these resources to their students, parents can easily get the wrong impression that these steps are enough for their child to be healthy. It is this false sense of security that parents need to overcome.

Ultimately the health of a child falls on the responsibility of the parents. They need to be the ones to ensure that their children are eating healthy foods at home – and when they’re at school that they’re actually choosing the healthy meal options. They also need to get their children to be physically active for a meaningful amount of time each day.

 

The role parents play

School and public programs only go so far into changing the habits of children. For any long-term changes to be achieved, the message needs to be reinforced at home by their parent or guardian at a young enough age when habits are still being formed. In most cases family involvement will determine the success or failure of these programs in improving child fitness.

Children can learn all about the food pyramid and the need for aerobic activity, but unless the message is reinforced and mirrored at home the lessons are unlikely to sink in.

Parents need to make healthy meals and plan physical activities at home so that children receive the lessons we want them to learn in a consistent and organized way. This might include such things as:

  • involving children in grocery shopping by helping them pick out fresh fruits and vegetables
  • having them help you prepare nutritious meals (let them toss the salad!)
  • go on family bike rides
  • play in the yard or at the park with them
  • set good examples by eating healthy and remaining physically active

 

Take initiative for their sake

It might be easy to assume that the lessons children at school about fitness is enough to create a lasting change in the decisions they make about their health, but sadly that’s not the case.

And it might also be easy to say that because of busy schedules or other commitments that continuing any good lessons taught at school or through after-school activities at home is too difficult. But what you must remember is that these teachable moments are shaping the life-long habits to ensure the health and well-being of your child. And nothing can be more important than that.

——

Ed Holpfer

The Best Techniques For Helping Your Kids Floss

September 20, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Cassie Costner, guest contributor

As parents we know what’s best for our kids. Even if they argue and fight it now, flossing their teeth will be immensely important throughout their lives. Teaching kids to floss from a young age will not only keep their teeth healthy now, but also set them up for good habits for years to come, keeping their mouths clean and free of cavities.

Setting up these habits is difficult to begin with, but worth it in the long run. Learn the best methods for teaching your kids good dental hygiene, and the steps that need to be taken to ensure they will use these skills throughout their lives.

reasons-to-floss-child

Incentives

Sometimes with kids, it’s easiest to reward them for doing what they should. Make a chart that they can only check off after they brushed their teeth and flossed. These two tasks seem to be difficult for kids to remember, but with a chart in place, they will have what they feel to be a good reason to floss.

On a weekly or monthly basis, offer your child a reward for flossing every day. If you don’t want to do candy, small toys or even a trip to the movies, park, or arcade would be beneficial. Find the best motivation for your kids. Even making the chart fun with stickers and cartoons, personalized to your child’s personality will help make flossing more enjoyable.

Toothbrush and dental floss

Use the right products

For kids to enjoy it, it generally has to be fun. Using the same boring generic floss isn’t going to keep kids excited to use it. Instead get the right products and make it fun for them.

There are different flavors of floss that can be purchased. Choose one that kids enjoy, making it a less intrusive experience. Besides taste, frustration from figuring out the best way to wrap the floss around their fingers, and then placing the small line between each tooth may be discouraging to some kids, and even adults. There are floss sticks that make it easy to floss. These keep the string tight to go through every tooth. Kids who learn how to use these have an easier time developing good flossing habits.

 

Be encouraging

The most difficult thing is to keep kids in the habit. The best way to keep this going is by setting an example. You don’t realize just how much influence you have over your kids. Show them that you use good flossing habits by doing it with them. Not only will this be encouraging to them, but will help your teeth stay healthy as well.

Work hard to reinforce the importance of flossing by establishing it in your own daily routine. If you set up a time every night to do it, your kids will become accustom to the process, keeping it with them for years to come.

Teaching your children proper dental care is important. Be aware of the influence you have on their oral hygiene. Establish regular flossing in their routine early on through positive reinforcement, using the right products, and setting the best example.

——

By Cassie Costner

Cassie writes on getting the best pediatric dental care. She has written for www.burgpediatricdentistry.com on the best methods for brushing children’s teeth, the best floss, and encouraging your kids to visit the dentist.

Tackling Childhood Asthma – 5 Things You Need To Remember

September 19, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Angel Carmichael, guest contributor

If your child is diagnosed with asthma, it becomes an unfortunate condition you and your baby have to live with, it is a challenge one faces every day. But that doesn’t mean you let it dominate you and your child’s life. There are a number of ways to tackle your child’s asthma, control the triggers, sort out your resources and help your child. Here are some of the ways you can do the same:

 

Avoid smoking in front of them: This one is a no-brainer. Smoking harms people normally as well, so an asthmatic patient will suffer far worse. If you are not a smoker, don’t pick up the habit, if you are, then try quitting already. Nicotine patches have been encouraged in reducing the urge to smoke so try switching to that. The deal with tobacco is that it is particularly harmful for an asthmatic patient as it blocks off the much needed oxygen to reach the lungs, causing acute breathlessness. Cigarette smoke is right up on the list of triggers which cause asthma attacks. Therefore if your kid has asthma, quit the habit or else avoid smoking near him/her; also keep the child away from a smoking area.

 

Install an air purifier at home: This will be one of the best decisions you make as a parent/guardian of an asthmatic child. An air purifier will deem your home to be fit for the upbringing of your child. It will remove the contaminants from the air which are usually the biggest triggers for an asthma attack. The air purifier will help eliminate second-hand tobacco smoke, dust, pollen, mold spores and other triggers which lead to allergies. Buy and install one which will purify the air of the entire house and will not be restrained to one room.

 

Avoid certain cleaning products: Surprising but true, some ingredients in cleaning products cause increased sensitivity to asthma patients. Such chemicals irritate the patient’s lungs and make breathing difficult. Thus, if you are planning to clean up your residence then make sure you purchase natural products which are less likely to trigger your child’s asthma attack.

 

Stress free environment: Any form of stress in the house, mental or physical affects the child in every way. More importantly, if your child is suffering from asthma, then a stressful environment becomes a kind of trigger for an asthma attack. So try to keep the atmosphere of your house as lively and fun as possible. It helps a lot. A stress free environment has also proved to reduce the intensity of the asthma in patients.

 

Make an action plan: Devising a plan to combat your child’s asthma attack is a smart way to avoid triggering an attack.

  • Firstly you can track your child’s symptoms on a chart. You can note down his/her coughing and wheezing, the number of times it occurs, the time of the day when the symptoms interrupt school, playtime and sleep and also the number of times your child needs an inhaler.
  • You can record the peak flow readings on your child’s inhaler every day so that you know if your kid’s condition has become better or worse.
  • You can set up schedules to vacuum, dust and clean your home when your child is not around. If there isn’t enough time for that, you can do simple things like replacing pillow covers and bed sheets with hypoallergenic covers which help remove triggers.
  • Understand the symptoms of a full-blown attack and treat it with medication for short term basis.
  • Also understand symptoms of an asthma emergency which can be determined by using of abdomen muscles to breathe or having low peak flow readings on the inhaler.
  • This action chart that you have so painstakingly made, should be also given to the child’s teacher, nurse, babysitter and so on, so that they are aware of the symptoms and the appropriate medicines to give the kid.

Most importantly, discuss the chart and other things you do to avoid triggering your child’s asthmatic symptoms with your doctor on a regular basis. Updating and modification of the steps you take in tackling it are very important.

——

This post has been authored by Angel Carmichael, an employee at Airpure Australia, a company dealing in an extensive range of carbon filters. She is an outdoor person and she enjoys going trekking and camping with her family when she isn’t busy with work.