Most important is a loving family and a safe environment. Children need several hugs a day and kind remarks and positive reinforcements. Keep the yelling, screaming, foul language and throwing things away from children as it causes extreme stress in children of all ages. Time out may be used for unwanted behaviors. I would recommend one minute for each year of age. Don’t call a child bad or naughty, instead, use, “I don’t like it when you hit, bite, throw things,” etc. For older children, consider sending them to bed earlier, taking away electronics, or assigning extra chores. Consider a sticker chart for younger children and a check off list for older children for positive behaviors. If you yell or nag frequently the child mostly hears, “I am bad.”
Children need plenty of sleep. The following is recommended: 3-4 years – 12 hours; 5-9 years – 11 hours; 10-14 years – 10 hours; and 15-18 years – 9 hours. Have your child to bed a half hour before they need to be a sleep. Turn off all electronics an hour before bed and brush teeth and go to the bathroom and read books every night. If your child is having sleep problems this should be discussed with your doctor.
Nutrition is very important. Start with a healthy breakfast of a non-sugared cereal with a cup of skim milk and a cup of fruit. It is okay to sprinkle a little sugar on it. Between breakfast and lunch give at least a cup of water. Lunch should include a cup of fruit and a cup of vegetables and a cup of skim milk and meats should be lean. Carbohydrates should be complex, such as wheat bread, brown rice, and wheat pasta. At least a cup of water between lunch and dinner should be given. Dinner should be similar to lunch and a cup of water between dinner and bed. If your child is not eating his/her meals, cut back on in between snacks, juice, and milk. If your child is not urinating often or the urine is a dark yellow then your child should be encouraged to drink more water.
Establish a routine. It is important after children have been in school all day that they have some play time or down time. This may be at an after-school program or daycare or at home. There should also be a routine time for meals and homework.
Teeth should be brushed for two minutes in the morning and at night. It is important to help brush your younger child’s teeth and to avoid sticky gummies, candy, juice and sometimes even raisins. Use a tooth paste with Fluoride. See the dentist starting at one year of age and go at least once or twice a year.
I recommend bathing and washing hair at least every other day and using lotions or creams in the dry winter months. If your child has dry skin you may need to give a daily bath in lukewarm water with a mild soap. Consider running a humidifier in the dry winter months and getting a water softener. 1% hydrocortisone may be applied sparingly to dry patches twice a day and Loratadine 5- 10 mg at night. Don’t give Benadryl before school as it makes a child tired. Cough syrups and decongestants are not recommended under the age of six.
You should prepare your child for their doctor’s visits. A good way to prepare smaller children is by reading books such as, Barney and Baby Bop Go to the Doctor, Berenstain Bears go to the Doctor, etc. I would recommend preparing them a day or two before that there may be shots and a finger poke at their appointments and that these are to keep them well. I would never tell them that a shot or finger poke doesn’t hurt. If possible, it is best to bring one child at a time for their annual physicals. Try to make it fun and positive. Everyone over six months old should have a Flu vaccine every fall.
Read, Exercise & Explore. Read to or with your child every day and get outside and exercise and explore!
I would recommend a daily vitamin and 400 mg of extra vitamin D a day. If you give a chewable or gummy vitamin, teeth should be brushed well afterward.
If you have concerns regarding your child, an appointment with Dr. Jill Reel may be made at the MCH Blair Clinic by calling (402) 426-4611.