Category: Healthy Living

How to Help Children Eat Well and Be Healthy

Many parents worry about their child’s eating habits. Maybe they only want mac and cheese for every meal, or they refuse to even touch vegetables. What can you do? One way to help your child eat well and help you worry less is to understand your job and your child’s job when it comes to food. Learn more about this concept and how to help your child eat well and be healthy.

family eating healthy fruits on the beach.

Request an Appointment With Dr. Barry!

Dr. Charish Barry is a board-certified pediatrician dedicated to providing exceptional care to children throughout Santa Barabra. If you have questions concerning your child’s nutritional needs, request an appointment at our pediatric office today! We also offer pediatric vitamins to ensure your child is getting essential nutrients.

 (805) 845-1221

Coping with Disasters

How Families Can Cope with Relocation Stress After a Disaster

​Unplanned evacuations during a disaster can cause great stress on a community and on the individuals in that community.

First Steps of Recovery
Recovering from a disaster occurs in phases over days, weeks, and months. Soon after being uprooted by a disaster, families can start the recovery process. Right now, there are three general steps to take to improve the mental and emotional strength of the family.

The following steps will help everyone to begin to retake control over life:

Step 1: Rebuild physical strength and health. Once everyone is in a safe and secure place, whether a shelter, a new apartment, or a place with relatives or friends, make sure to tend to their immediate medical needs, if any. Be sure everyone has enough to eat and drink to regain their physical strength. Make sure everyone gets some restful sleep in as private a space as possible. Rebuilding physical strength is a good first step to calm shattered emotions.

Step 2: Restore daily activities. Restoring daily routines helps build a sense of being home mentally and emotionally, even in the absence of a physical home. Simple routines normally done together, such as family walks, watching television, and bedtime stories, help pull the pieces of daily life back together even in a new place. Restoring daily activities rebuilds the normal sense of morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Even though you are away from home and in a strange place, try to resume the daily routines as much as possible.

Step 3: Provide comfort. Family members are better able to deal with the stress of relocation when they are comfortable and informed. Comfort can be increased by

Providing family with information about other family members, friends, and news of home.

Expressing affection for family members, in the ways the family normally shows affection.

Discussing, when ready, the emotions associated with the disaster and relocation feelings of loss, missing home, and worry about family members, friends, and pets.

Rebuilding Family Life
After the initial emergency has passed and the shock and confusion from disaster relocation have subsided, the physical rebuilding and long-term emotional recovery phase begins.

This longer recovery phase has two steps:
Assess all physical and emotional losses your family has experienced. This inventory can help identify practical actions to take in rebuilding the physical losses the family has experienced.

Develop an emotional understanding of the disaster experience and relocation situation to help rebuild family life. Working through emotions takes time. There is no set timeframe or stages for it.

Resolving emotions is a natural healing process that relies on talking to friends about feelings, mental sorting of emotions, and receiving practical and emotional help from family, friends, your place of worship, or other organized support groups in the community.

About Disaster-Related Stress in Children
Disaster-related stress affects young people in several ways:

Damage, injuries, and deaths that result from an unexpected or uncontrollable event are difficult for most children to understand.

Following a disaster, a child’s view of the world as safe and predictable is temporarily lost. This is true of adults as well.

Children express their feelings and reactions in various ways, especially in different age groups.

Many are confused about what has happened and about their feelings. Not every child has immediate reactions; some can have delayed reactions that show up days, weeks, or even months later, and some may never have a reaction. Children’s reactions are strongly affected by the emotional reactions of their parents and the adults around them. In addition, children can easily become afraid that a similar event will happen again and that they or their family will be injured or killed.

How Children Show Disaster-Related Stress
It is normal for young people to show signs of stress after a disaster. Young people show signs of stress differently at different ages or school levels.

  • Signs of stress in preschoolers:

Waking confused and frightened from bad dreams

Being reluctant to going to bed or refusing to sleep alone

Acting and showing behaviors younger than their actual age, such as whining, thumb sucking, bedwetting, baby talk or fear of darkness

Clinging to adults more than normal

Complaining often about illnesses such as stomachaches

Not having fun doing things they normally enjoyed

Being irritable

  • Signs of stress in elementary or middle school age:

    Ongoing concern over their own safety and the safety of others in their school or family

Irrational fears

Becoming extremely upset for little or no reason

Having nightmares and sleep problems

Experiencing problems in school, such as skipping school or misbehavior (e.g., loss of interest, withdrawal, and excessive need for attention)

Complaining of headaches or stomachaches without cause

Not having fun doing things they normally enjoyed

Disruptive behaviors-outbursts of anger and fighting

Being numb to their emotions

Experiencing guilt or shame about what they did or did not do during the disaster

  • Signs of stress in high school age:

Feeling self-conscious about their feelings concerning the disaster

Feeling fearful, helpless, and concerned about being labeled “abnormal” or different from their friends or classmates (this may lead to social withdrawal)

Experiencing shame or guilt about the disaster

Expressing fantasies about retribution concerning people connected to disaster events

Not having fun doing things they normally enjoyed

Difficulty concentrating

Impulsive behaviors

Emotional numbing

Seeing the world as an unsafe place

When Children May Need Additional Help
Situations may develop when children need additional help dealing with emotional after-effects of the disaster. They may benefit from help from a healthcare professional if the emotional stress associated with the disaster does not get better in a few weeks or when they:

Display continual and aggressive emotional outbursts

Show serious problems at school (e.g., fighting, skipping school, arguments with teachers, or food fights)

Withdraw completely from family and friends

Cannot cope with routine problems or daily activities

Engage in vandalism or juvenile law-breaking activities

Express suicidal ideas

Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness. People have limits and sometimes need help when stretched beyond their limits. Seeking help from others can offer solutions that may not be known to you.

Additional Information & Resources:
Responding to Children’s Emotional Needs During Times of Crisis

Talking to Children about Disasters

How Children of Different Ages Respond to Disasters

Taking Care of Yourself during Disasters: Info for Parents

Helping Children Adjust to a Move

National Mental Health Association

Crisis Helpline – Dial 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a network of local crisis centers across the country.

Last Updated 9/27/2017

Schedule an Appointment at Petite Pediatrics

Dr. Charish Barry offers concierge-style care that is designed to provide highly personalized care to infants, children, and teens throughout the Santa Barbara area. She and her team of highly trained nurse practitioners will take the time to answer any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment at Petite Pediatrics today! Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 845-1221.

(805) 845-1221

MAKE A PLAN for Media Use in School Aged Children and Adolescents

http://www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan

The AAP has created an interactive tool to help families create a Media Use Plan. Media can create frustration for both parents and children, for example, both parties can feel ignored, or be concerned about excessive use.  Both parents and children can lose moments to connect emotionally if devices take the place of face-to-face conversations and interactions.  This tool can help set ground rules, and clear expectations around media use (TV, internet and social media) condusive to a healthy home environment and family relationships.  Check out today and see if it can help your family. Use the link above.

Schedule an Appointment at Petite Pediatrics

Dr. Charish Barry offers concierge-style care that is designed to provide highly personalized care to infants, children, and teens throughout the Santa Barbara area. She and her team of highly trained nurse practitioners will take the time to answer any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment at Petite Pediatrics today! Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 845-1221.

(805) 845-1221

Play Time for Preschoolers

Let’s Play: Study Finds Preschoolers Need More Opportunities for Active Play

​​​​Physical activity is important for young children’s health and development, yet most 3- to 5-year-olds are not getting the two hours per day of recommended physical activity.

A study in the June 2015 Pediatrics, “Active Play Opportunities at Child Care​,” published online May 18, finds kids simply are not given enough opportunities for active play.

For the study, researchers observed 98 children from 10 child care centers in the Seattle area. All of the centers had scheduled at least 60 minutes per day of outdoorplay time, and they all had outdoor play areas as well as indoor space for physical activity. Researchers categorized children’s activity levels throughout the day, and the children wore accelerometers. In the study, children averaged 48 minutes per day of active play opportunities and only 33 minutes per day of actual outdoor time. Children had less than 10 minutes per day of teacher-led physical activities. For 88 percent of the time children were in the center, they were not given opportunities for active play, which explains the finding that children were sedentary for 70 percent of their time. Children were more likely to be active when outdoors and engaged in free play, rather than in teacher-led activities indoors or outdoors.

Study authors conclude that children should have more opportunities for active play during preschool. Possible strategies include increasing outdoor time, more child-initiated and teacher-led active play, and flexibility in naptime for older preschoolers.

Published
5/18/2015 12:00 AM

 

A Vitamin a Day…

 

It has been estimated that just over half of all preschoolers are given multivitamins. We’re pretty sure that’s a good bit more than are served broccoli on any given day. And we’re quite sure we can relate to the reasons why. When the going gets tough, it is often a whole lot easier to reach for a quick fix in a bottle of Flintstones vitamins and forget the fight. The fact that there are so many parents who do just that isn’t so much a food fight, per se, but a reflection on the parental feelings that so many share that what we’re feeding our children is nutritionally inadequate. While we can definitely understand the sentiment, it compels us to address the fundamental question: What role should multivitamins play in your child’s diet, and is it you or your child that stands to benefit from them more?

Who Needs ‘Em, Anyway?

We’ll come right out and say what most nutrition experts have been saying all along: Most children don’t need vitamin supplements at all! Yes, we realize that the perfect, vegetable-loving, cooperative eater we all long for doesn’t exist. But even taking all food fights into consideration, there are nevertheless very few instances in which a child’s diet is likely to leave him truly deficient.

If you need further convincing, we suggest you consider the following facts:

  • The amount your child needs to eat to get enough vitamins and minerals from his food alone is probably much smaller than you think. Even for the pickiest of eaters, it doesn’t take more than a very few picks from each of the basic food groups for children to get their recommended daily dose.
  • Many vitamins can be stored in the body. This means that your child doesn’t have to eat each and every one every day—affording you the option of spreading your efforts at achieving a balanced diet out over the course of a week or two without spreading the vitamins too thin.
  • Ironically enough, parents who are most likely to give multivitamins are also those who are most likely to be feeding their children healthy diets in the first place.
  • Vitamins can be found in some unlikely sources. Calcium doesn’t just have to come from cows, since it is contained in both supplements and many nondairy foods ranging from salmon, tofu, spinach, and sardines to rhubarb, baked beans, bok choy, and almonds—admittedly not all of which are an easy sell at the dinner table, but at least you have plenty to choose from!
  • And finally, many foods these days are fortified. That means that even if your child favors foods that do not come naturally loaded with all of the necessary nutrients, all hope is not lost; it’s entirely possible that food manufacturers have added them in for you. Classic examples include the vitamin D fortification of milk, margarine, and pudding, and the calcium contained in kid-friendly foods such as orange juice, cereals, breads, and even Eggo waffles.

Schedule an Appointment at Petite Pediatrics

Dr. Charish Barry offers concierge-style care that is designed to provide highly personalized care to infants, children, and teens throughout the Santa Barbara area. She and her team of highly trained nurse practitioners will take the time to answer any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment at Petite Pediatrics today! Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 845-1221.

A Vitamin a Day?

Do toddlers need vitamins to make up for their picky eating?    You may be surprised at the answer!

It has been estimated that just over half of all preschoolers are given multivitamins. We’re pretty sure that’s a good bit more than are served broccoli on any given day. And we’re quite sure we can relate to the reasons why. When the going gets tough, it is often a whole lot easier to reach for a quick fix in a bottle of Flintstones vitamins and forget the fight. The fact that there are so many parents who do just that isn’t so much a food fight, per se, but a reflection on the parental feelings that so many share that what we’re feeding our children is nutritionally inadequate. While we can definitely understand the sentiment, it compels us to address the fundamental question: What role should multivitamins play in your child’s diet, and is it you or your child that stands to benefit from them more?

Who Needs ‘Em, Anyway?

We’ll come right out and say what most nutrition experts have been saying all along: Most children don’t need vitamin supplements at all! Yes, we realize that the perfect, vegetable-loving, cooperative eater we all long for doesn’t exist. But even taking all food fights into consideration, there are nevertheless very few instances in which a child’s diet is likely to leave him truly deficient.

If you need further convincing, we suggest you consider the following facts:

  • The amount your child needs to eat to get enough vitamins and minerals from his food alone is probably much smaller than you think. Even for the pickiest of eaters, it doesn’t take more than a very few picks from each of the basic food groups for children to get their recommended daily dose.
  • Many vitamins can be stored in the body. This means that your child doesn’t have to eat each and every one every day—affording you the option of spreading your efforts at achieving a balanced diet out over the course of a week or two without spreading the vitamins too thin.
  • Ironically enough, parents who are most likely to give multivitamins are also those who are most likely to be feeding their children healthy diets in the first place.
  • Vitamins can be found in some unlikely sources. Calcium doesn’t just have to come from cows, since it is contained in both supplements and many nondairy foods ranging from salmon, tofu, spinach, and sardines to rhubarb, baked beans, bok choy, and almonds—admittedly not all of which are an easy sell at the dinner table, but at least you have plenty to choose from!
  • And finally, many foods these days are fortified. That means that even if your child favors foods that do not come naturally loaded with all of the necessary nutrients, all hope is not lost; it’s entirely possible that food manufacturers have added them in for you. Classic examples include the vitamin D fortification of milk, margarine, and pudding, and the calcium contained in kid-friendly foods such as orange juice, cereals, breads, and even Eggo waffles.

A New Sleep Book for Parents…

What Every Parent Needs to Know

American Academy of Pediatrics

Edited by: Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP

Description

New! Sooner or later, most parents face challenges at bedtime. From infants and toddlers, to school-age kids and adolescents, sleeptime problems can affect everyone in the family. And no matter what your child’s difficulty may be – getting to sleep, staying asleep, bed-wetting, fears or nightmares – it’s never too late to take steps to correct it.
The latest in a series of parenting books from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Sleep: What Every Parent Needs to Know helps caregivers like you better understand sleep, answering questions and examining conflicting theories in order to help you make the best decisions for your family.
Topics include:
• The functions of sleep and how much your child needs
• Newborn sleep patterns
• Sleep theories and strategies for success
• Bedtime routines and rituals
• Coping with fears and nightmares
• Tips for solving common problems
• Helping regulate multiples’ sleep
• Changes during adolescence
Sleep: What Every Parent Needs to Know was written and edited by pediatricians – many of whom have been sleep-deprived parents at one time or another – and who have helped many families in their care. They recognize that there is not always an easy, one-size-fits-all answer to a sleep problem. With their recommended strategies for establishing good sleep habits, and your unique understanding of your child, this book can help ensure you and your family get all the rest you need.

Schedule an Appointment at Petite Pediatrics

Dr. Charish Barry offers concierge-style care that is designed to provide highly personalized care to infants, children, and teens throughout the Santa Barbara area. She and her team of highly trained nurse practitioners will take the time to answer any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment at Petite Pediatrics today! Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 845-1221.

Eating Healthy. Growing Strong.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar helps families learn about healthy eating habits. Learn more here…

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Academy of Pediatrics have joined with the best-selling children’s book by Eric Carle.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar eats many foods on his journey to becoming a butterfly. You can help your child on his or her own journey to grow up healthy and strong.  To help you in this journey, we have created the following resources:

Tips for Healthy Eating at Home Simple tips from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Academy of Pediatrics for eating healthy with your kids at home.

Reading Guide Discuss healthy active living using The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle!

Growth Chart (PDF) Download a special The Very Hungry Caterpillar growth chart and keep track of your child’s journey to becoming healthy & strong.

Learn more about the collaborators and the campaign. Find out how this collaboration started and explore additional resources available for parents and healthcare professionals.

Find out more about The Very Hungry Caterpillar and author and illustrator Eric Carle atwww.eric-carle.com and www.penguin.com/ericcarle

Schedule an Appointment at Petite Pediatrics

Dr. Charish Barry offers concierge-style care that is designed to provide highly personalized care to infants, children, and teens throughout the Santa Barbara area. She and her team of highly trained nurse practitioners will take the time to answer any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment at Petite Pediatrics today! Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 845-1221.

Family Rituals

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; oth ers 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:

Important Conversations. 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 an other.

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 appreci ation for the arts.

Shopping. 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 mid dle 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 lis ten 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.

Holiday Traditions. These are another source of fun family activities. By learning about the history, significance, and rituals of a particular holiday, chil dren will feel a greater sense of involvement in the holiday preparations and celebrations.

Spiritual Pursuits. For many families, religion plays an important role in pro viding a moral tradition, a set of values, and a network of friends and neigh bors who can provide support. Attending services is something family members can do together.

You do not necessarily need to go to a church, synagogue, or other place of worship regularly, however, to share moral values with your children and help them develop a sense of their history and the continuity of the family. Many families develop a strong spiritual life without the formal structure of orga nized religion.

Schedule an Appointment at Petite Pediatrics

Dr. Charish Barry offers concierge-style care that is designed to provide highly personalized care to infants, children, and teens throughout the Santa Barbara area. She and her team of highly trained nurse practitioners will take the time to answer any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment at Petite Pediatrics today! Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 845-1221.

Some Childrens TV Shows Are Bad for Their Brains

Some Children’s TV Shows Are Bad for Their Brains

A new study in the October, 2011, issue of the journal, Pediatrics, finds that some TV shows may be worse than others. The study, “The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children’s Executive Function,” published online Sept. 12, tested 4-year-old children’s attention, problem solving, self regulation and other executive function abilities after they watched one of two cartoons for nine minutes. A control group of children received crayons and markers for free drawing for the same time period. The children who watched a fast-paced cartoon featuring an animated kitchen sponge did significantly worse on tests than the drawing group. There was no difference between the drawing group and children who watched a slower-paced, realistic Public Broadcasting Service cartoon about a typical preschool boy.

Study authors stated they cannot tell which features of the TV show created the effects, though they speculate the combination of fantastical events and the fast pacing are responsible. They conclude that parents should be aware that watching similar television shows may immediately impair young children’s executive function.

In a commentary, “The Effects of Fast-Paced Cartoons,” pediatrician and researcher Dimitri Christakis, MD, FAAP, discusses the study and the implications that media exposure has for children’s health.

Schedule an Appointment at Petite Pediatrics

Dr. Charish Barry offers concierge-style care that is designed to provide highly personalized care to infants, children, and teens throughout the Santa Barbara area. She and her team of highly trained nurse practitioners will take the time to answer any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment at Petite Pediatrics today! Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 845-1221.

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