Potty Training Tips – Is my child ready?

potty training-506287066If you are wondering, “how will I know when my child is ready to begin potty training?”  You should know there are several signs you can look for that can help with gauging your toddler’s readiness.

The first step in determining if your child should begin potty training is making certain they are physically and emotionally ready. Beginning training before your toddler is ready can result in frustration and delay.

Most children show an interest in potty training between 18- 24 months; however, it is important to keep in mind that not all children are ready to begin training around this age.  Some toddlers are ready to train earlier and others later.  Paying attention to the following signs can serve as a better indicator than age:

  • Dry periods (going without urinating) of at least two hours.
  • Regular bowel movements at relatively predictable times.
  • Telling you when their diaper is dirty and wanting to be changed.
  • Understanding and using “potty” language such as “poo” or “pee”.
  • Being able to sit down and get up from the potty.
  • Having the ability to understand and follow basic directions.
  • Being able to pull pants up and down.
  • Being able to tell you that they need to go or have gone.

If you feel that your child is ready and you decide to begin training, you should prepare yourself for the journey ahead by keeping in mind; patience is the key to successful potty training.  This process will take time so do not have unrealistic expectations and timeframes. Prepare your child by talking to them about potty training- reading them storybooks can also be helpful. Teaching them the names of their body parts and how they eliminate waste is essential. This will help your toddler to understand body function and pay attention to cues that signal it’s time to use the potty.

Speaking to your pediatrician about what to expect is a very important part of your preparation.   Your child’s doctor can offer advice and helpful tips to ensure a positive experience for you and your toddler.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Choosing Safe Toys for Toddlers

toys toddlers -156930341The holiday season is the best time of the year to buy toys for children. However, parents are often overwhelmed by a larger selection and choosing the best toy can become challenging.  The most important thing to remember when choosing toys for toddlers is picking toys that are safe and appropriate for their age.

Each year hospital E.R.’s are visited by over 200,000 young children, typically under the age of three, who have incurred toy-related injuries.   These injuries can be avoided if parents keep these guidelines in mind when buying toys:

  • Carefully read warning labels
  • Do not buy toys with small and removable parts
  • Check to see if toys are on a recall list by visiting sites such as recalls.gov or cpsc.gov.
  • Avoid buying toys with parts that launches or projects
  • Do not purchase toys with sharp edges or points
  • Make certain that cords or strings are shorter that seven inches
  • Avoid buying toys that make extremely loud noises
  • Check to see if toys have been tested for lead-based paint by visiting websites such as www.ecocenter.org

Most toys come with warning labels that advise parents of potential choking hazards and compatibility by age group. Parents should pay close attention to these labels and also do due diligence by researching toys and inspecting them for further dangers.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Your Child and the Battle Against Junk Food

C187539116-kid-and-junk-foodhildhood obesity has become a common health concern for parents. It is estimated that one in every five children is overweight.  A child is defined as obese when they are well above the normal weight for their age.

One of the contributing factors in obesity is unhealthy eating habits. It is recommended that parents introduce healthy eating to children as early as possible.  For some, this may be easier said than done, because children are so easily attracted to the appeal of junk food.

What makes junk food enticing to children is sugar, high sodium, the taste of fat; commonly hydrogenated oils, in addition to bright, colorful packaging, fun shapes and unnatural food coloring. Parents can win the fight against junk food by making healthy food more appealing to children’s senses.

Here are a few tips on converting kid favorites into healthier choices:

  • Hot dogs- Instead of regular beef and pork hot dogs, purchase turkey franks with low sodium and without added nitrates. Decorate the hot dog with colorful vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, red and yellow peppers.
  • Salty cheese snacks- Make plain cheese fun by cutting it into quirky shapes or adding bright and sweet fruit. You can make cheese and fruit shish kebabs.
  • French fries- Opt for baked sweet potato fries and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, B6, and D. They are a source of Iron, magnesium and potassium.
  • Ice cream- Frozen yogurt is just as tasty and contains less sugar and fat. Adding toppings such as fruit and granola is a plus.
  • Popsicles- Freeze real fruit juices with bits of fruit into bars.
  • Potato chips- Kale chips are rich in vitamin A and easy to make at home. Make them delicious by adding herbs and spices.
  • Candy- Healthy alternatives to candy include raisins or strawberries and bananas lightly drizzled with chocolate.
  • Milkshakes- Smoothies made with fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt are a healthier option.
  • Meat lasagna- Load lasagna with vegetables instead of meat, choose low-fat cheese and whole-grain pasta.
  • Macaroni and cheese-Use low-fat cheese, add Greek yogurt to make it creamy and spinach to make it nutritious.

The battle against junk food is not lost. Keep food exciting and nutritious for your family by sourcing healthy recipe websites or visiting FlushingHospital’s Facebook and Twitter pages for suggestions. In addition to healthy eating, keep your family physically active and also make an appointment with your family doctor to ensure that everyone is at their recommended weight. Feel free to share these tips with friend and family.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Pokemon Go Safety Tips

The mobile game, Pokemon Go has become a craze with millions of Americans addicted to playing. Because of the widespread play, the NYPD has issued a list of safety tips for.  They are as follows:

PokemonGO_Long

By following these rules, you will have a better, safer experience when playing the game.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is There a Connection Between Sugar Consumption and Childhood Hyperactivity?

“He’s going be up all night after eating all that sugar” It’s a common phrase that all parents say while they watch their children run around at a birthday party. We have long believed that there is a direct correlation with sugar intake and hyperactivity in children, but is it true?

Portrait of a young girl holding a slice of cake

The fact is sugar consumption doesn’t change a child’s behavior. Multiple studies have been conducted and found that a sugary diet doesn’t affect mood or cognitive abilities. Using double blind studies, researchers observed two groups of children, one group was given sugary substances; the other group was given a placebo. The findings concluded that no noticeable changes in behavior were observed between the two groups.

So why do parents believe there is a connection? A separate study suggests that often, a parent’s expectations can affect their perceptions. It was observed that parents who believed their child’s behavior is affected by sugar consumption noticed hyperactive behaviors when they were led to believe the child had a sugary drink – even if they hadn’t.

Another reason why some parents think there child becomes hyperactive after having a high-sugar diet is the resulting “crash” that sometimes follows. Internally, when blood sugar levels rise quickly, the body produces a large amount of insulin to sweep the sugar out of the blood stream, which can result in a child becoming sluggish. The low blood sugar levels can then trigger a craving for more sweets, creating a “roller coaster” effect that can be misconstrued as hyperactivity.

This by no means suggests that a high sugar diet is good for children. Most experts will agree to choose healthy options and reserve sugary snacks as once in a while treats. A high sugar diet can lead to childhood obesity, diabetes, and oral problems.

Parents looking for reasons why their child might be hyperactive can look to other factors such as, sleep problems, emotional disturbances, learning disorders (such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), or general temperament.

Consult with your pediatrician if you think your child is hyperactive. If you do not have a pediatrician, Flushing Hospital’s Pediatric Ambulatory Care Center has many qualified doctors who can help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-3007.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Your Nest About To Empty?

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If your last child is all grown up and about to leave home, or he or she has already moved out, you may experience some mixed emotions or what’s commonly called, empty next syndrome.

Empty nest syndrome is not a clinical diagnosis. It is a phenomenon in which parents may experience feelings of sadness and loss when their last child leaves home. You may worry how well your child will function in the world without your parental supervision and question their ability to take care of themselves. If you are the parent of an only child, you may have a particularly difficult time adjusting to an empty nest.

Many parents experiencing empty nest syndrome are confused by these feelings since they actively encouraged their child to become independent. Still, letting go can be painful. The feeling of not being needed by your child anymore, missing being a part of your child’s daily lives, as well as missing the constant companionship of your child can cause some parents to have mild bouts of depression, identity crisis, alcoholism and marital conflicts.

Some tips to help you overcome empty nest syndrome are:

  • Prepare for the departure – Take time to check that your child is aware of how to do the basic essentials for themselves such as, how to wash their clothes, cook for themselves, balance a checkbook and appreciate the value of money.
  • Shift aside the terrifying thoughts – Both you and your child will be better off if you treat this as a big adventure. Try not to transfer your fears onto your child. Help them to understand that once they’re into their new routine, it will be familiar, fun and successful.
  • Explore the ways that you intend to keep in touch with your child – Keeping in constant communication is vital for maintaining a sense of family togetherness and to keep of with the news. Schedule a weekly call-in time, utilize e-mail, texting, social media, Skype, or Face Time as a way of touching base while being sensitive to their need to grow and become their own adult person.
  • Start looking toward your own needs – Once you are satisfied that you child is settled on the right bath, you will start noticing a big change in your life. This is a great time to revive some of your own interests and pursuits.
  • Rediscover the love of your life – Unless you are a single parent, you will be left with your spouse or partner. Re-kindling the relationship you shared, pre-children, can be an exciting adventure of your own to take.
  • Focus on some of the positive points of your kids moving out – You may notice that the refrigerator does not need as frequent refilling, there are less trips to the grocery store and the laundry has decreased. Seeing the brighter side will help you while you are transitioning.

As the time for your child to fly the next approaches, try to reflect on each stage in your child’s life. Each ending was a new beginning. Stay positive, the fact that your child has confidently left home means you’ve done a great job as a parent. After leaving the nest, you can forge a new and even better relationship with your child as independent adults. Enjoy the friendship without having the pressure of hands-on parenting

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Life as a Single Parent

woman juggling fruit

Being a single parent is not easy; it has its own set of challenges.

Couples get together with the very best of intentions, full of hopes and dreams of white picket fences, 2.5 kids.

No one enters into a committed relationship with the intention of uncoupling. Nonetheless, it’s a distressingly common occurrence.

Suddenly, you find yourself a single parent. Even if you have always been an active, involved parent, this is a completely different experience.

In the best of situations, with a support team of grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, etc. you may have bouts of frustration and fatigue.

During these times you will have to push through and step-up. There is no substitution for a parent when dealing with a crying toddler, grumpy daughter or a son who failed to make the last out. These are hurdles you and your children will have to scale together.

Some of the most common ways a single parent can cope with and reduce stress are:

  • Finding a balance – Remember that parenting is about the moment. Take a deep breath and let go of your expectations.
  • Show your love –Praise your child. Give him or her unconditional love and support.
  • Create a routine – Structure, such as regularly scheduled meals and bedtimes help your child know what to expect.
  • Find quality child care – If you need regular child care, look for a qualified caregiver who can provide a safe environment. Do not rely on an older child as your only babysitter and be careful about asking a new friend or partner to watch your child.
  • Set limits – Explain house rules and expectations to your child, such as speaking respectfully and enforce them.
  • Don’t give in to guilt – Don’t blame yourself or spoil your child to try to make up for being a single parent.
  • Make time for yourself – Include physical activity in your daily routine, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. Make time to enjoy alone time or activities with close friends.
  • Lean on others – It’s okay to join a support group for single parents or seek social services. Call on trusted loved ones, friends and neighbors for help.
  • Stay positive – Be honest with your child if you’re having a difficult time, but remind him or her that things will get better. Try to keep your sense of humor when dealing with everyday challenges.

Mistakes may be made, but with love and the best of intentions, you’ll make it through.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.