The Healthy Learning Curve

April 03, 2018

Ensuring your child exercises is just as important as cognitive development when it comes to learning. As it turns out, hitting the books isn’t the only way to get the most out of their education. During the last week of April, Every Kid Healthy Week is celebrated around the country and focuses on showing the links among nutrition, physical activity and learning.

There’s a lot you can do to teach your kids about healthy eating habits, and how much fun fitness can be.

Organize a family fitness night and get everyone active a few nights a week. It can be as simple as a brisk walk after dinner, or you can get creative and set up a tug-of-war, obstacle course or sack race.

  • Start a garden. You don’t have to have a backyard—there are indoor herb and lettuce planters you can set up right inside your home or on a patio or balcony. Studies have shown that teaching your children about cooking and gardening can increase their fruit and vegetable intake by nearly 1½ servings a day.
     
  • Enroll your child in an after-school program and see what your local YMCA or Boys & Girls Club has to offer. Just 20 to 30 minutes of after-school physical activity should do the trick, which can be easily accomplished by joining a sports team or dance or karate class.
     
  • Cut down on screen time. Kids are bound to be more active when their computer and TV time is set at a reasonable limit. Simple changes, such as not putting a TV in their bedroom and turning off the television during dinner, can make a big difference.
     
  • Say goodbye to soda. This is a change that everyone should make, as sodas have a negative impact on our teeth and our body. Replace sodas with water or milk, and get your child a cool reusable water bottle so they’ll be excited to fill it up and use it at school.

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Immunizations: To Serve and Protect

April 03, 2018

We’ve all heard the saying “Better safe than sorry,” and when it comes to immunizing your children, this couldn’t be more important. Vaccinations protect your loved ones from the inside out, and are an invaluable way to prevent them from contracting potentially life-threatening infectious diseases by the time they’re just two years old.

If that sounds like a win-win, it is. Better yet, all the vaccinations your children require are available at no cost through AltaMed for patients 0-17 years of age.

When it comes to vaccinating newborns, it’s important that you stick to a schedule to make sure they’re receiving the proper inoculations and doses as needed. This time frame has been developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect children when they are most vulnerable.

The current vaccine supply in the U.S. is the safest in this country’s history. The most common side effects are very mild and include pain or swelling at the site of the injection. Fussiness or a low-grade fever may also occur for a couple of days.

Disease prevention benefits far outweigh any possible side effects, which is why it’s so important to create a schedule and vaccination checklist for your children. Keep these records in a safe place and take photos of them with your phone so you always have them handy. As your child grows, you’ll need to have them available for schooling, child care and sports. If you’ve fallen behind, don’t worry – your primary care provider can help you come up with a plan to catch up.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (888) 499-9303. We can schedule an appointment with your provider who can help you figure out where your child is at in their immunization timeline and set up vaccination schedule.

 

Celebrating Our Differences with Autism Awareness Month

April 03, 2018

While outside appearances make it easy to see how one human differs from the next, it’s not always as simple to see the ways each of us may vary internally. In order to bring awareness to these kinds of differences, the U.S. designated April as Autism Awareness Month, with the aim of promoting acceptance and celebrating the unique talents of those with Autism.

Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects the way someone communicates and interacts with others, but many of those with the syndrome have other extraordinary abilities in subjects like music, visualization and academics. Approximately 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with autism, so it’s important to teach your little ones about this condition, too, and what it may be like to be friends with someone affected by it.

While autism affects each diagnosed person differently, there are common characteristics to be mindful of that will help create a mutual understanding.

Someone with autism may…

  • …get easily overloaded with too much information. Be patient, don’t judge, and calmly ask them if they’re okay or need anything.
  • …suffer from social anxiety. Be sure to invite them to hang out or participate in social events often, even though they may not always accept.
  • …have difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation and they may need more time to respond than you’re used to. Keep in mind that this has no bearing on their interest in talking to you or being your friend. Try to rephrase or write down what you’re talking about to help them.
  • …become overwhelmed by unexpected change. It’s important to let them know as far in advance as possible when a part of their routine will be altered or if plans you’ve made have changed.

Educating your children about autism is as easy as turning to a tried and trusted partner in development, “Sesame Street.” Last year, an autistic character named Julia joined the crew, and in her very first episode, Big Bird talks about what it’s like to have a friend on the spectrum. Julia is excellent at showing kids firsthand what may make them different, but why they fit in. You can find the 10-minute episode for free on YouTube.