Thanksgiving During COVID-19: Keep Safety on the Table

​​​​​For many families, Thanksgiving is about getting together to enjoy a meal with relatives and friends. But with the COVID-19 pandemic raging on into the holiday season, social gatherings continue to raise health risks. In fact, public health experts say that small household have been a key reason COVID-19 cases are rising again.

However, with some additional planning and lower risk activities, your family can make lasting memories and new traditions, while minimizing the risk of being exposed to or spreading COVID-19.

How to help avoid getting and spreading COVID-19 this Thanksgiving

Celebrate with members of your own household.  The lowest-risk option, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is to limit in-person gatherings to people who live in your household. Planning a special feast, cooking with your children and decorating your home for the holidays are great ways to enjoy each other’s company while protecting your family and other loved ones from COVID-19.

Think of creative ways to share the experience remotely. Consider preparing a favorite recipe with extended fam​ily over video chat. Keep the tradition of sharing what you are grateful for, or set aside time to say grace together, for example.

Plan a drop-off potluck. Another low-risk activity, according to the CDC, is to prepare traditional recipes for family and neighbors. Instead of sharing them in person, delight them with a doorstep drop-off.

Grocery shop online and help elderly or higher-risk loved ones. Staying home as much as you can is the best way to reduce COVID-19 risk. Grocery shop online with delivery or curbside pickup options if possible, and consider holiday food deliveries to elderly relatives. If you need to shop in-person, try to go at a time when stores are not as busy.

Keep in mind: if you are having trouble affording enough food because of lost jobs or other challenges during the pandemic, your pediatrician can help connect you with community support programs, such as food pantries. Resources are available to help ensure healthy, nutritious meals for your family.

If you do gather in person with anyone who has been living outside your household, take these steps to help lower the risk:

Keep the gathering small & short. Keep your guest list as small as possible and reduce the amount of time you would ordinarily visit.

Wear cloth face coverings and keep your distance. People from the same household can sit together, but arrange for those who don’t live together to stay 6 feet apart–even while eating. Remind everyone to wear cloth face coverings whenever they are not eating or drinking.

Open windows & stay outside when possible. If you’re indoors, open windows for better ventilation if possible. If weather permits, gather outdoors (think Thanksgiving tailgating!). Consider cooking turkey on the grill or in an outdoor turkey fryer. Remember to maintain physical distance and wear cloth face coverings even outside.

Safer serving. Choose one person to do the serving to avoid everyone touching serving utensils. Remind children to wash their hands often, and keep hand sanitizer easily available.

Remind everyone to follow safety steps beforehand. For two weeks before coming to dinner, ask guests to be sure to follow steps that lower the risk of COVID transmission. This includes wearing cloth face coverings, physical distancing, limiting outings and social gatherings as much as possible, and washing hands often. Consider offering your guests a “self-screening” checklist and ask them to join you virtually rather than in person if they don’t pass the screen.

​If you must travel, keep in mind:

Traveling increases the chance of spreading COVID-19. If you will be traveling during this holiday season, take steps to protect yourself and others during your trip:

  • Drive with family members in a private vehicle to avoid exposure to people outside your household if possible.
  • Wear a mask when you leave your car (at gas stations and rest stops).
  • Make meals ahead of time to avoid restaurant stops if possible.
  • If you must travel by plane, be careful near large groups clustered around security lines and concourses.
  • If there is a crowd, try to wait until the line has thinned out.


Do not host or participate in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is still at risk of spreading it to others; had any coronavirus symptoms within 48 hours of the gathering; is waiting for viral test results; could have been exposed to someone in the last 14 days, or is at high risk.

Stay safe during Thanksgiving 2020 and your family will be even more grateful for your traditions in the years to come.

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

RECIPE: Best-Ever Applesauce

This fall recipe will give you such a good I-can’t-believe-I-made-it-from-scratch feeling! Maybe because maple and apple trees grow in the same climate, the two flavors taste delicious together. Eat this plain, spoon it into yogurt, or eat it alongside potato pancakes, chicken, or pork.

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Kitchen Gear
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Cutting Board
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Medium-sized pot with lid
Wooden spoon
Potato masher or fork
Lidded container


  • 4 Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled (if you like), and diced. “Diced” means cut up into cubes or squares about the size of dice.
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons
  • maple syrup


Put the apples, water, and maple syrup in the pot, cover and put on the stove. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the apples are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to make sure the apples aren’t sticking. Set aside to cool a bit, about 10 minutes.

Mash the apples using a potato masher or fork, and set aside to cool until just warm.

Serve right away, or put it in the container and refrigerate until cold. The applesauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.

Or Else…

  • Chunky Applesauce: Don’t mash the apples too much.
  • Nutty Applesauce: Add ½ cup chopped lightly toasted walnuts or pecans after it’s cooked.
  • Cranberry Applesauce: Add ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries when you add the apples.
  • Rhubarb Applesauce: Add ½ cup chopped rhubarb when you add the apples.

Source: ChopChop Magazine – Fall Issue (Copyright ©2012). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

National Family Literacy Month

November is National Family Literacy Month! This month, get the whole family snuggled up on the couch and open up a good book. Studies show that reading aloud with mom or dad is the most important activity when it comes to preparing children to read on their own. And if you raise a good reader… pretty much anything is possible! Reading helps with vocabulary, writing skills, attention span, memory, and teaches us about other times and places.

Even if your child is just a baby, you should still sit down and read with them every once in a while. An infant can look at pictures and listen to your voice as you read stories to them — and believe it or not, studies show that that alone can have a profound effect on your child when it comes to learning later on in life. Grab a few books, gather the family, snuggle up, and let a book take you all to another place together.

If you are reading to toddlers or other young children, try to remember when you were young, and the way you liked listening to your parents or teachers read with excitement in their voice, and when they gave you enough time to look at the pictures as well as listening to the words.

Here are a few things you can do this month (and hopefully every month to follow) to participate in National Family Literacy Month.

  • Set aside a little time for reading every day, even if it’s only for 15 or so minutes.
  • Go through both old and new books, and set some of your favorites around the house.
  • Take a few trips to the library.
  • Read your child the book version of their favorite movie. If they can read on their own, encourage them to read it!
  • Start a book club with friends and family.
  • Participate in a book drive and donate old or used books you no longer need. This will help families in need read to their kids.

Content ©2020, National Day Calendar.

TODDLER – Movement and Coordination

At this age, your child will seem to be continually on the go—running, kicking, climbing, jumping. His attention span, which was never particularly long, may now seem even shorter. Try starting a game with him, and he’ll immediately change to a different one. Head in one direction, and he’ll quickly detour to another. This yearlong energy spurt between ages two and three certainly will keep you on the go. But take heart—his activity level will strengthen his body and develop his coordination.

In the months ahead, your child’s running will become smoother and more coordinated. He’ll also learn to kick and direct the motion of a ball, walk up and down steps by himself while holding on, and seat himself confidently in a child-size chair. With a little help, he’ll even be able to stand on one leg.

Watch your two-year-old walk, and you’ll see how he has cast aside the stiff, spread-legged gait of a young toddler, replacing it with a more adult, heel-to-toe motion. In the process, he has become much more adept at maneuvering his body, capable of walking backward and turning corners that are not too sharp. He also can do other things as he moves, such as using his hands, talking, and looking around.

Don’t worry about finding activities that will help your child develop his motor skills. He’ll probably be able to do that himself. When you are able to join in the fun, bear in mind that children this age love piggyback rides, rolling on mats, going down small slides, and climbing (with help) on the floor-level balance beam. The more running and climbing your games involve, the better.

If you can, set aside specific times during the day when he can go outside to run, play, and explore. This will help minimize wear and tear on the inside of the house as well as on your nerves. It’s also safer for him to run around in the open than to bump into walls and furniture inside. While outdoors, let him use the yard, playground, or park—whichever is most available and safe for him. But be aware that since his self-control and judgment lag considerably behind his motor skills, you must remain vigilant and keep safety and injury prevention high on your priority list at all times.

Source: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

PRE-SCHOOL: Growing Independence

Children Love to Learn

  • Open and honest communication will create a lifelong closeness with your child.
  • Routines and responsibilities will let your child know what to expect. When a rule is broken, a natural consequence needs to follow.
  • As you teach your child how to be independent, you also need to teach how to be safe.
  • Learning how to be a good friend is an important skill you can teach your child.
  • Your little one is starting to explore the world outside your home. This is exciting, but can be scary!

Children from 4 to 6 years old are:

  • Beginning to develop their independence and form real friendships.
  • Learning rules to more difficult games.
  • Developing important life skills.

Set Limits

When children do something against the rules, explain simply and in a few words:

  • That what they did was wrong
  • What will happen if the behavior continues Consequences need to be logical, meaningful, and simple. For example: if your child rides a bike without a helmet, the bike is off limits for a day or two; or when your child won’t share a toy, that toy can’t be used for the rest of the day.

Create and Keep Routines

Teach about rules by setting up daily routines. Children do best when they know what to expect.

In the morning:

  • Use the bathroom
  • Get dressed
  • Have breakfast

At bedtime:

  • Take a bath
  • Brush teeth
  • Read a story

Schedule specific times for TV, video games, and use of the computer. When you know what your child is watching, you can avoid violence and other unacceptable content. Limit “total screen time” to no more than 2 hours a day.

Read at bedtime. This helps your child:

  • Settle down after a busy day
  • Learn how to read

Have meals together as much as possible. This is a great way to spend time together and share family traditions, while also teaching good eating habits and table manners.

Take Time to Talk and Listen

Children feel important when adults take the time to talk with them. Talking often, and about many things, helps them gain self-confidence. Ask about friendships and the activities that your child enjoys. Talk about your own best and worst experiences.

Ask your child:

  • “What was the best part of today?”
  • “What was the hardest part of today?”

Let your child know that it’s OK to have and talk about negative feelings. Share the best and hard parts of your day. This teaches your child that we all have ups and downs.

Assign Responsibility

When young children copy everyday household tasks, they are really learning how to contribute. With your support, tasks will soon be done with few reminders. As children grow older, they can begin to take on real responsibilities, such as:

  • Setting the table
  • Putting away their toys
  • Feeding the pets
  • Placing dirty clothes in a basket

Watch your child’s self-esteem grow when given the chance to help out.

Encourage Independence in Bathing and Dressing

At first, this may take a little more time than helping your child get dressed or take a bath, but it is time well spent. Independence comes with practice, and with your guidance.

If you get the clothes ready the night before, the morning routine will involve only getting dressed. This way, your child can focus on just one thing. Your child may need to be reminded of all the steps.

  1. “In the morning, when you get up,
  2. First, use the bathroom,
  3. Then, take off your PJs,
  4. And then, put on your clothes.”

Praise your child’s efforts and successes: “You did a great job getting yourself ready for school today!”

Teach Simple Rules About Safety with Adults

Keeping children safe is an important job for parents. You want your child to respect and trust others, but you also need to teach your child to be careful. Following are some simple rules and ways that you can start a conversation with your child about different safety issues.

  • “If you’re not sure, ask me.”
  • “If an adult asks you to do something that you’re not sure is OK, always ask me first. I won’t get mad at you for asking.”
  • “No secrets.”
  • “No one should ever tell you to keep a secret from me—one that might make me mad if I found out. Adults should never expect you to do this.”
  • “Certain body parts are private.”
  • “No adults (except parents, doctors, and nurses) should touch you where you normally wear a bathing suit.”
  • “If we get separated, find a security guard or police officer.”
  • “This is a very busy place. If you can’t find me, find a security guard or police officer, or ask someone to help you find one. That person will help you find me.”
  • When you take your child to a crowded place, look around and point out the person who is there to help if you do become separated.

Help Your Child Become a Good Friend

Four- to six-year-olds are learning what it means to be a friend. They will have fun times as well as arguments and hurt feelings. It can be tempting for parents to try to solve these problems themselves or by talking with the other child’s parent.  Instead, guide your child to solve problems. With your help, your child can learn how to solve social problems.

  1. Help your child understand the other child’s point of view. “I guess Suzie wants a turn too.”
  2. Teach your child to Stay calm, and Do not hit, grab, or shove
  3. Use words: “I get upset when you talk to me like that.” or “I’m sad you don’t want to play with me.” or “I’m angry you took the ball from me.”
  4. Stand close by and watch as the children solve their problem. Being close by puts the children on their best  behavior. This is how they begin to develop the confidence and skills to communicate honestly, calmly, and politely with others.

Source Connected Kids: Safe, Strong, Secure (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Is Your Child Ready to Read?

Is your child interested in learning the names of letters? Does he look through books and magazines on his own? Does he like to “write” with a pencil or pen? Does he listen attentively during story time? If the answer is yes, he may be ready to learn some of the basics of reading. If not, he’s like most preschoolers, and will take another year or two to develop the language skills, visual perception, and memory he needs to begin formal reading.

Although a few four-year-olds sincerely want to learn to read and will begin to recognize certain familiar words, there’s no need to push your child to do so. Even if you succeed in giving him this head start, he may not maintain it once school begins. Most early readers lose their advantage over other children during the second or third grade, when the other students acquire the same basic skills.

The crucial factor that determines whether a student will do well or poorly in school is not how aggressively he was pushed early on, but rather his own enthusiasm for learning. This passion cannot be forced on a child by teaching him to read at age four. To the contrary, many so-called early learning programs interfere with the child’s natural enthusiasm by forcing him to concentrate on tasks for which he’s not yet ready.

What’s the most successful approach to early learning? Let your child set his own pace and have fun at whatever he’s doing. Don’t drill him on letters, numbers, colors, shapes, or words. Instead, encourage his curiosity and tendencies to explore on his own. Read him books that he enjoys, but don’t push him to learn the words. Provide him with educational experiences, but make sure they’re also entertaining.

When your child is ready to learn letters and reading, there are plenty of valuable tools to help him—educational television programs, games, songs, and even some of the latest age-appropriate video games and DVDs. But don’t expect them to do the job alone. You need to be involved, too. If he’s watching an educational TV show, for example, sit with him and talk about the concepts and information being presented. If he’s playing with a computer program, do it with him so you can make sure it’s appropriate for his abilities. If the game is too frustrating for him, it may diminish some of his enthusiasm and defeat the whole purpose. Active learning in a warm, supportive environment is the key to success.

Source: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


RECIPE: How to Get the Seeds Out of a Pumpkin

Before you can roast and eat its yummy seeds, and before you can turn it into a spooky jack-o’-lantern, you need to get the inside of your pumpkin out. This is a very fun and kind-of weird job. Wear short sleeves and clothes that can get messy!

Kitchen Gear:

  • Sharp, heavy knife (adult needed)
  • Large bowl
  • Large metal spoon
  • Colander
  • Dish towel


Cover your work surface with newspaper to protect it and keep your pumpkin from slipping. Fill the large bowl with water. Ask your adult to use the sharp, heavy knife to cut around the top of the pumpkin, making a lid with the stem in the middle. Pull the lid off.

Using the large metal spoon and your hands, scrape and pull all of the seeds and stringy stuff (this is pulp and fiber) out of the pumpkin. Put all the pumpkin seeds and guts into the bowl of water.

Using your fingers, separate the seeds from the pulp and fiber, and put the seeds in the colander (the stringy stuff is actually full of nutrients, so it’s okay if a little stays on). When you’ve got the all the seeds pulled off, rinse them under cold water, and spread them out evenly on the dish towel to dry a little before you roast them.

Did You Know?
You can roast and eat the seeds of other winter squash, such as butternut and acorn! Just cut the squash in half and separate, clean, and dry the seeds the same way you would for a pumpkin — then roast them.

Source: ChopChop Magazine – Fall Issue (Copyright © 2011) The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

GRADESCHOOL: Friend or Foe?

Help your child navigate his social world by equipping him with the skills he needs to choose friends wisely.

I came to the realization this past year that the days of handpicking my son’s friends are officially over. As a kindergartner, Christian spent the better part of each weekday with 16 other kids, 14 of whom I had never met.

Being a high-energy kid himself, Christian was drawn to the other high-energy kids in class, some of whom didn’t always choose the best way to express that energy. After watching these little guys in action, I found myself wondering what I could do to help Christian choose some other friends that would bring out the best in him, rather than the worst. By reading up on the subject, discussing it with my pediatrician, and talking with parents who’ve already navigated these waters before, I’ve discovered there are some ways parents can help encourage healthier relationships in their children’s lives.


The best advice I received was to approach teaching Christian how to recognize a good friend, just as I would teach him about bike safety or stranger danger or any other important subject dealing with his health, safety, and well being. At 6, Christian is just beginning to learn how to build a relationship. The more I can guide him in this process, the better off he’ll be. Talk with your child often about how friends should treat one another. Explain that good friends respect others, follow the rules, and help those in need. The more children know about what makes a good friend, the easier it will be for them to recognize one when they meet that child — and to be one himself.


As you strive to teach your child about healthy friendships, don’t forget to model them in your own life. Demonstrating good relationships skills with your spouse or partner, and taking time to nurture close friendships with others, is as important as simply talking about these skills if not more so.

“Children learn how to relate to people outside of their family from relationships within the family,” explains Ed Schor, M.D., FAAP, and editor of Caring for Your School-Age Child, Ages 5 to 12. “One would hope that the parents would be friends and would get along well, compromise, etc. Children learn from those exchanges.”


While it’s important to talk about what makes a good friend, it’s also good to identify which behaviors are not welcome. Do not focus on specific children and why they are “bad” and others are “good.” Instead, explain the values that you live by in your home, such as positive language, respect for others, sharing, and fair play. It could be as simple as saying, “In our house, we have certain rules that we follow. When someone comes to visit and refuses to follow those rules, he is not showing respect, and that makes everyone sad.” You can balance that by saying, “We have so much more fun when we spend time with friends who do follow the rules.”


To encourage healthy relationships, create opportunities for your child to play with kids who you think have a positive influence on her. Set up play dates at your house where you can observe the children playing together, and then encourage repeat dates with the kids that you feel are good role models for your child.

“You ought to play an active role in choosing your children’s friends. Who better to do this than the parents?” notes Schor. “Know your children’s friends, observe what’s going on, and see if they demonstrate the values you desire.”

If possible, choose to live in a neighborhood with high-quality schools. An Ohio State University study found a direct correlation between school quality and the types of kids that adolescents choose as friends. Kids in better schools tend to choose friends with more “prosocial” characteristics, such as good grades, good attendance, and involvement in extracurricular activities.


Finally, focus on your relationship with your child. The Ohio State study found that teens are more likely to report positive friendships when they have a good relationship with their parents. (A “good relationship” was defined as one in which the child and parents get involved in activities together, talk frequently, and express affection for one another.)

The more involved you are in your child’s life, the more opportunity you have to help your child develop friendships that can stand the test of time.

The Bully Factor

No matter how many good friends your child has, there may still be times when he finds himself the target of a bully. Talk with him about bullying and share these five tips.

  • Walk away: Bullies are generally looking for a reaction from those they target. When they don’t get one, they’re likely to move on.
  • Speak up: If a bully keeps on bullying, stand tall, look him square in the eye, and say in a clear, loud voice, “I don’t like what you’re doing. Please stop it now.”
  • Ask for help: Talk to a trusted adult about the problem. A teacher or parent can help make the situation better.
  • Find good friends: A bully is only one person. Concentrate on making strong friendships with people who make you feel good.
  • Keep having fun: Don’t let a bully stop you from being part of the activities you enjoy.

Source: Healthy Children Magazine, Back to School. The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Disasters and Your Family: Why to Be Prepared

It’s the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. That was a disaster that none of us will ever forget; the images of people stranded on rooftops and huddled in the Superdome are in our memories forever.

It was an extraordinary disaster, so extraordinary that it’s easy to think: “Nothing like that will ever happen to my family.” But the truth is that disasters do happen. We are in the midst of hurricane season now. There are wildfires blazing in California. There have been tornados and floods in the Midwest. Last winter brought record snowfall to many areas of the country.

Anything can happen!

Nobody likes to think about a disaster happening—but thinking about it is exactly what we need to do. Preparation makes all the difference; it can literally save lives.

Disasters and COVID-19

Just like all of us could be at risk of catching COVID-19, we could all be at risk for some kind of disaster. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to reduce the danger from both of these.

Allow extra time to prepare. COVID-19 may make affect your ability to get supplies if a disaster strikes. You may want to get toilet paper, masks or cloth face coverings​, hand sanitizer, and wipes now, rather than waiting for later.

Keep preventing the spread. Even during a disaster, take steps to ​​protect yourself from COVID-19. If you have to travel or go to a shelter, try to keep at least 6 feet apart from people not in your family. Remember to wear face coverings over your mouth and nose when near other people. Most children over 2 years old also can wear masks safely. Avoid touching your face, and remember to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands. Remind children to do the same.

Children and families can prepare together. Disasters can be scary, but being ready is one way to be less afraid!​

Make a Plan, Build a Kit, Be Informed Graph

Here are some simple and important things you can do with your family:

  • Talk to your children about disasters that might happen—and what they should do.
  • Know where to get reliable news and information about weather and disasters. Arrange a few different ways to receive alerts, such as texts.
  • Teach children the basics about what to do in a fire, such as getting low to avoid smoke or feeling doorknobs for heat before opening them. Have a fire escape plan.
  • If you live in an area affected by hurricanes​, tornadoes, wildfires or earthquakes, talk with children about how to recognize the signs and where they should go.
  • Make sure children know how to call 911 and can give their name and address. Even very young children can learn this.
  • Decide on a person (preferably not a local person who might be affected by the same disaster) that everyone can contact if you are separated.
  • Have a meeting place outside the house where family members can go if you are separated and can’t reach each other.
  • Practice! That is the best way to be sure the information sticks. Have fire drills and drills for other possible disasters where you live. If you have young children, try making it a game—they will be less scared and more willing to practice regularly.
  • Plan for where you would go if you had to evacuate. Some local shelters may have changed because of COVID-19. If you have pets, make sure the place you are going will accept them.
  • If you plan to purchase a generator for extended power outages after disasters, be sure to learn about steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Put together a family disaster kit

Having basic supplies is key if there is a disaster. In the heat of the moment, though, you may not have the time, or presence of mind, to gather them. So, do it ahead of time. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have great information on items to pack, but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • A first-aid kit
  • Water (2 gallons per day per person)
  • Flashlights, batteries, chargers
  • A battery-operated radio
  • Non-perishable foods, such as canned foods (include a can opener), granola bars and peanut butter
  • Cups and utensils (you can pick up some inexpensive camping kits)
  • Spare clothes, and a blanket or two
  • Toys or games
  • Supplies for pets
  • Medications—if you can, try to stay ahead of your refills and keep one in the disaster kit. At the very least, take a picture of the bottle so that you know exactly what you take.

Tip: It’s not always possible to keep things like current medications stored away, so make a checklist of everything you might need to grab quickly. You can tape the list to the top of the container, which should be a manageable size (you may need a couple of them) and in a readily accessible place in your house.

Extra supplies to include during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, bar or liquid soap
  • disinfectant wipes (if available)
  • Two masks for each person over age 2​

Involve your children in planning and packing—you can make it a game by doing a scavenger hunt. Remember to check expiration dates and have kids help with remembering and doing that, too. The more you make it something regular and ordinary, the better.

Hopefully, your emergency preparations will never be more than a game. But should a disaster ever hit, they will be the most important game your family ever played.

By Claire McCarthy, MD, FAAP and Scott Needle, MD, FAAP. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics AAP Council on Children and Disasters (Copyright © 2020). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

YOUNG ADULT: Letting Go for College

All animals grow up and leave the nest. They go through their playful phase, practice adulthood, and then are on their own. Human children just play longer and their parents worry more. When children are ready for college, parents want that last time at home to be so special. It’s the last opportunity for family togetherness. It should be a perfect time. The last family vacation before the child leaves home should be idyllic. Why then does your daughter say, “Mom, I hate you. I’d rather be with my friends. It’s a good thing I’m leaving in August because I couldn’t stand one more minute in this prison”?

Because she is ready to cross a chasm, and it’s so much easier than saying, “I love you so much that I can’t even find the right words. You’ve done every thing for me. I’m petrified. Do you think I’m ready to go off on my own? Do you think you’ll miss me as much as I’m going to miss you?”

Adolescents challenge parents because they need to loosen one kind of connection—the one that involves parents’ assuming full responsibility for them. When challenged this way, it’s completely understandable for parents to feel hurt or even angry. If they don’t understand what is happening, parents may push harder to keep control. This only breeds resentment and ill feelings. But if they recognize that their teen is struggling for independence and learn to celebrate it, everyone will be healthier and less tense.

Every time kids behave badly or speak meanly to parents doesn’t necessarily reflect their growing independence or their conflicted emotions. Sometimes they might just be acting mean. They know a parent’s vulnerabilities.

Whether they are justifiably or unfairly angry, they can be masters at saying hurtful things. Often it’s a way of shouting, “Listen to me!” Perhaps they’re testing the waters to grab attention before they can bring up something that’s troubling them. If parents respond with anger and shut them down, they may feel justified for not sharing their concerns: “Remember, I was going to tell you, but then….” When parents listen and reserve judgment, their teenagers’ stories unfold.

But it’s OK to tell them when they hurt your feelings—not in a way that makes them feel guilty, but just a clear statement of fact that their behavior is inappropriate and hurtful. That is an important part of a parent’s job in building character. Even when kids challenge the parental connection, parents need to be consistent about one thing: Their love is unconditional and they will always be there for their children. With this clear message, parents say, “Go ahead—grow. I’ve got your back.”

Source: Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions and Beyond (Copyright © 2006 Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MsEd, FAAP Martha M. Jablow and Marilee Jones). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.