It’s Not Too Early to Book Those Physicals!

physicals2014

It’s never too early to start thinking about vaccines and physicals for the new school year, or for summer camp!

Please remember to call and book your appointments early to get the most convenient time for your busy schedules. Also please remember, our staff makes it a priority to complete your requests for forms as quickly as possible. We do advise all of our patients that we request a minimum of 3-7 business days to complete those forms.

If your child is planning on playing any summer/fall sports, attending any camps, and for those who are entering college, please plan accordingly so that we can get your form completed and returned to you before your deadlines.

In the event, that we are asked to expedite a form (i.e. 24-hour turn around), please be aware that there will be a $10 fee charged. Please help us to provide you with the best service possible by getting your forms to us in a timely manner.

Call us now! 203 239-4627

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A “Perfect” Parent

Is there such a thing as a “perfect” parent?

Many people believe in the myth of the perfect parents – the ideal mother and father who raise happy, well-adjusted problem-free children. In truth, there is no such person as a perfect parent – or a perfect child.

Problem behavior is common among school-age children and takes up a significant portion of a parent’s time. At any one time, on average, school-age children have about five or six traits or behaviors that their parents find difficult. These might include not complying with simple requests, avoiding chores, spending too much time watching TV or playing videos, engaging in sibling rivalry or having difficulty completing homework. Other common problems for parents are dealing with a temperamentally difficult child, or coping with a child who either wants too much independence or hasn’t achieved enough autonomy. Parents also sometimes encounter the dilemma of a child who prefers friends or activities not approved of by his mother or father.

Mistakes are OK

As a parent, you need to recognize that it is normal to feel worried, confused, angry, guilty, overwhelmed and inadequate because of your child’s behavior. That is part of being a parent. It is futile and self-defeating to try to be perfect or to raise perfect children.

Think back to how you behaved, or misbehaved, as a child, about how your parents dealt with your behavior, and how you felt about their disciplinary techniques. They were not perfect, but neither was anyone else. Do not try to overcompensate for their shortcomings by trying to be perfect yourself, and by getting caught up in statements like “I’m not going to make the same mistakes my parents made.”

All parents and all children make mistakes in their attempts to communicate and deal with one another and in trying to solve problems. Parents need to trust themselves and their instincts. Mothers and fathers tend to have good intuition and knowledge of their own children. They often know more than they think they do, and they should not be afraid of making mistakes. Children are resilient and forgiving and usually learn and grow through their mistakes. Parents tend to be just as resilient and forgiving.

Flexible Parenting

However, parents who “live for their children” are putting themselves in a very vulnerable position, setting themselves up for possible disappointment, frustration and resentment. They are also being unfair to their family. Parents should not expect to receive all their personal fulfillment from their children or from the parenting role. Parents need other activities to fulfill their self-images, and other sources of love and nurturing. They need time to be adults and time for themselves – and a break from children and parenting responsibilities.

As a parent, you need to develop your own philosophy – one with which you feel comfortable – within a flexible and adaptable framework. Take into account your own expectations, parenting style, and temperament, and how they fit with each of your children and your spouse, and their own unique preferences and temperaments. Your approach and philosophy will vary from youngster to youngster, mainly because of their own particular attributes.

Along the way, remember that professional help is available if problems ever become too intense, exceed your own coping capabilities, or cause secondary difficulties such as a decline in school performance, increased family stress or serious emotional problems.

You should take comfort in the fact that in the vast majority of cases, children do turn out well. But along the way, keep your sense of humor, trust your instincts and seek help and advice early rather than late. While parenting is a great challenge, it can also be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of your life.

Points To Keep In Mind

  • Even among children of the same age, there is a range of what is normal in the way they develop socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically.
  • A child’s maturity level may be different for the various qualities he is developing, including social skills, athletic abilities and learning capabilities. He might be strong in math but weak in writing (or vice versa), or good at basketball but not at golf.
  • The variations described above may be permanent, forming a child’s own unique profile; or they could be evolving and thus be subject to change.
  • The way a child develops can influence his behavior, and vice versa.
  • The particular parenting style of a mother and father, as well as the child’s environment, will affect the youngster’s behavior and development.

Source: Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 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.


Your Medical Home

Did you know that Pediatrics Plus is your medical home?

What Is a Medical Home?
A medical home is a medical office where a team of healthcare professionals work together to provide care for their patients. The staff at Pediatrics Plus* is a Medical Home Team, and consists of Pediatricians, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Medical Assistants, a Care Coordinator, a Lactation Consultant, an Asthma Educator, Receptionists and a Practice Administrator.

At Pediatrics Plus*, we are interested in the “whole” child—your child’s physical, emotional, behavioral and educational well-being. We will partner with you to ensure your child reaches his or her full potential.

When joining our home, you are encouraged to select a Pediatrician or Nurse Practitioner to be your primary care provider. That individual will work with you and the rest of the team to ensure that your health care needs are met. You are encouraged to call the office with any questions regarding the health or well-being of your child. Receptionists can schedule appointments, and will preferentially schedule you with your primary care provider. Nurses will be the first to answer any questions, and will consult your primary provider if they are uncertain how to help you.

When you visit our office for an appointment, the receptionist will check you in, request updated address, phone and insurance information, and take any forms from you that you need completed. A medical assistant or nurse with take your height, weight, and vital signs, and ask you questions about your medications, allergies and visits to other health care providers. Your primary care clinician will then meet with you to listen to your concerns, take an interim history, examine your child, and develop a care plan with you to address any issues. The nursing team will administer any necessary immunizations or treatments.

Prior to your scheduled visit, the care team will have met to review your chart and anticipate what your needs might be. Following your visit, the care coordinator will arrange for any referrals that need to be made, and follow through to make sure that we receive information back about the referral.

How will I contact my Medical Home Team?

  • You can contact Pediatrics Plus* directly to schedule an appointment or to discuss your healthcare needs by calling 203-239-4627 Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 AM to 8 PM.
  • Outside of normal office hours, for urgent matters, you can call 203-239-4627 and an on-call clinician will call you back promptly. When you call, you can indicate if you need a return call within the hour, or within 5 minutes.
  • For extreme emergencies, please call 911, and then call us.
  • It is important for you (or a designated family member) to let the Medical Home Team know if you are seen by another clinician outside this office. This will allow us to update your medical record and continue to coordinate your healthcare needs.
  • You can pick up a copy of our Medical Home Brochure at the front desk of the office.
  • As your clinician about educational resources and how you can help with your child’s care plan

 

 

National Autism Awareness Month

How is Autism Diagnosed?
It would be so much easier if autism spectrum disorer (ASD) could be diagnosed with a blood test or an x-ray, but it’s not that simple. Diagnosis is ultimately made based on your description of your child’s development, plus careful observations of certain behaviors by autism experts, medical tests, and your child’s history.

Parent and Pediatrician Partnership
Early diagnosis requires a partnership between parents and pediatricians. Within this partnership you, as the parent, should feel comfortable bringing up any concerns you have about your child’s behavior or development—the way she plays, learns, speaks, and acts. Likewise, your child’s pediatrician’s role in the partnership is to listen and act on your concerns.

During your child’s visits, the pediatrician may ask specific questions or complete a questionnaire about your child’s development. Pediatricians take these steps because they understand the value of early diagnosis and intervention and know where to refer you if concerns are identified. The importance of this partnership cannot be stressed enough.

ASD Screening for All Children
If your child does have autism, an early diagnosis is better because then your child can start receiving the help he or she needs. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children be screening for ASD at their 18- and 24-month well-child checkups. Talk with your doctor if you feel your child needs to be screened (regardless of their age) and share your concerns — you know your child the best!

Remember…tt can be difficult to learn that your child has a lifelong developmental disability. Naturally, you as a parent, other caregivers, and extended family need to grieve about this. You will undoubtedly worry about what the future holds. Keep in mind during these difficult times that most children with ASD will make significant progress in overall function. Some children with ASD can do exceptionally well and may even remain in a regular education classroom. Many will have meaningful relationships with family and peers and achieve a good level of independence as adults.

It is important to remember that while a diagnosis of autism may change what you thought your parenting experience would be, we now know that children with ASD can achieve so much more in life as long as they are given appropriate support and opportunities. See Words of Support for Parents of a Child with Autism.
Additional Information


Source: Adapted from Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 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.


Healthy Eating at Home Matters!

Agricultural background; a pile of beautiful oranges

Eat Fruits and Vegetables at Every Meal
Fruits and vegetables add important vitamins and fiber to your diet. At every meal, include some kind of fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to watch out for those with fatty sauces or added sugar. Aim for at least 5 fruits and veggies a day. Just remember to avoid small, hard foods on which your child can choke, and cut any firm, round food (e.g., raw carrots or grapes) into long, thin slices.

Ideas for adding fruits and veggies to your meals:

  • Add fruits and veggies to foods your child already likes: put blueberries in pancakes, chopped fruit on cereal, or small pieces of broccoli in macaroni and cheese.
  • Make it fun: try cutting up food into fun shapes or making faces out of fruits and vegetables.
  • Prepare and pack fruits and veggies as snacks for afterschool, after sports practice, and other times.

Give Kids a Say in What They Eat and Get Them Excited About Healthy Food
Help your kids make the right food choices from an early age. You can do this by giving them two healthy choices to choose from, like an apple and an orange. It’s a great way for your kids to get excited about eating healthy foods. Let them decide what and how much to eat.

Ideas to help children get excited about food:

  • Let them help you with small, kid safe jobs in the kitchen such as mixing ingredients and setting the table.
  • Allow them to smell, touch, taste, and play with food.

Eat Breakfast Every Day
Eating breakfast helps your child start his day in a healthy way. Incorporate fruit and whole grains whenever possible. Children and adults who eat breakfast daily are less likely to be overweight.

Eat Together As a Family
Try to set aside your meals as family time, and eat together as often as possible. Even babies can join family meal time. By age 9 months, they are able to eat on the same schedule with you. Create family meal times when they are little and keep this tradition as they grow.


Source: http://www.healthychildren.org. 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.


Are Your Kids Hungry or Just Bored?

​Children (as well as adults) often use food for reasons other than to satisfy hunger. Children often eat in response to their emotions and feelings. If your child seems hungry all the time, use the following tips to get a better idea of what is really going on.

What Triggers Hunger?
If your child is eating 3 well-balanced meals and 1 snack a day but still claims to be hungry, there may be other reasons beyond hunger that make him or her want to eat.

What You Can Do
Ask yourself: Does your child sometimes reach for food when experiencing any of the following?

  • Boredom
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Frustration
  • Insecurity
  • Loneliness
  • Fatigue
  • Resentment
  • Anger
  • Happiness

Does your child eat at times other than regular mealtimes and snacks? Is your child munching at every opportunity?

Do you reward your child with food (does an A on a test sometimes lead to a trip to the ice cream shop)? This can inadvertently contribute to your child’s obesity.

When your child is doing things right, do you tell him or her? Words of approval can boost a child’s self-esteem. They can also help keep a child motivated to continue making the right decisions for health and weight.

How are you speaking to your child? Is it mostly negative? Is it often critical? It’s hard for anyone, including children, to make changes in that kind of environment.

Healthy Alternatives
If you suspect your child is eating out of boredom, you may need to steer him or her toward other activities as a distraction.

What You Can Do

  • Make sure your child is eating 3 well-balanced meals and 1 snack a day. This will prevent feelings of hunger between meals.
  • Help your child choose other things to do instead of eating, such as:, Walking the dog, Running through the sprinklers, Playing a game of badminton, Kicking a soccer ball, Painting a picture, Going in-line skating, Dancing, Planting a flower in the garden, Flying a kite, Joining you for a walk through the mall (without stopping at the ice cream shop)
  • Offer healthy snacks such as raw vegetables, fruit, light microwave popcorn, vegetable soup, sugar-free gelatin, and fruit snacks. Snacks such as chips and candy bars have empty calories that will not make your child feel full.
  • You pick the snack. When children are allowed to pick their own snacks, they often make unhealthy choices. Talk to your child about why healthy snacks are important. Come up with a list of snacks that you can both agree on and have them on hand.

Remember…your own relationship with food and weight, dating back to your childhood, can influence the way you parent your own child. One of your biggest challenges is to determine whether your child is eating for the right reasons.

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Source: Pediatric Obesity: Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Strategies for Primary Care (Copyright © 2014 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.

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Avoiding Food Traps

​Food traps are situations and places that make it difficult to eat right. We all have them. The following tips may help your family avoid some of the most common traps.

FOOD TRAP #1: VACATIONS, HOLIDAYS & OTHER FAMILY GATHERINGS

Vacations: When on a trip, don’t take a vacation from healthy eating and exercise.Plan your meals. Will all your meals be from restaurants? If so, can you split entrees and desserts to keep portions from getting too large? Can you avoid fast food? Can you bring along your own healthy snacks? Stay active. Schedule time for physical activities such as taking a walk or swimming in the hotel pool.

Holidays: It’s easy to overeat during holidays. But you don’t need to fear or avoid them. Approach the holidays with extra care. Don’t lose sight of what you and your child are eating. Plan to have healthy foods and snacks on hand. Bring a fruit or veggie tray with you when you go to friends and family. Celebrate for the day, not an entire month! Be sure to return to healthy eating the next day.

Other Family Gatherings: In some cultures, when extended families get together, it can turn into a food feast, from morning to night. Eat smaller portions. Avoid overeating whenever you get together with family. Try taking small portions instead. Get family support. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles can have an enormous effect on your child’s health. Let them know that you’d like their help in keeping your child on the road to good health.

FOOD TRAP #2: SNACK TIME

The biggest time for snacking is after school. Kids come home wound up, stressed out, or simply bored, so they reach for food.

  • Offer healthy snacks such as raw vegetables, fruit, light microwave popcorn, vegetable soup, sugar-free gelatin, or fruit snacks.
  • You pick the snack. When children are allowed to pick their own snacks, they often make unhealthy choices. Talk to your child about why healthy snacks are important. Come up with a list of snacks that you can both agree on and have them on hand.
  • Keep your child entertained. Help your child come up with other things to do instead of eating, such as playing outside, dancing, painting a picture, flying a kite, or taking a walk with you.
  • Make sure your child eats 3 well-balanced meals a day. This will help cut down on the number of times he or she needs a snack.

FOOD TRAP #3: RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Finding time every day to be physically active can be very difficult. However, if you plan ahead, there are ways to fit it in.

  • Make a plan. Sit down with your child and plan in advance for those days when it seems impossible to find even 15 minutes for physical activity. Have a plan B ready that your child can do after dark, such as exercising to a workout video.
  • Make easy dinners. If you run out of time to make dinner, don’t run to the nearest fast-food restaurant. Remember, dinners don’t have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as a sandwich, bowl of soup, piece of fruit, and glass of milk.

Remember, your job is to provide good nutrition to your child and family and encourage regular physical activity. Stay positive and focus on how well your child is doing in all areas of life. It can help keep nutrition and activity change moving along.


Written by Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP. Source: Pediatric Obesity: Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Strategies for Primary Care (Copyright © 2014 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.


5 Great Reasons to Cook with Your Kids

When it comes to raising an adventurous eater, it is not just about coaxing kids to eat their veggies. Bringing up a child who can enjoy a cantaloupe as much as a cupcake takes patience and persistence, but it does not have to feel like a chore.

Kids may need to have frequent joyful experiences involving food to overcome the anxiety they may have around tasting the unfamiliar. Over time, cooking with your children can help build that confidence—and provide rich sensory experiences.

Here are five ways to enjoy cooking with your children while raising an adventurous eater along the way.

  • Engage other senses. For a hesitant eater, tasting an unfamiliar food can sometimes be intimidating. You can help your child explore foods when cooking using other senses besides taste. This helps to build positive associations with food. Kneading dough, rinsing vegetables, and tearing lettuce all involve touching food and being comfortable with texture. The complex flavors we experience when eating food come from both taste sensations from the tongue AND smelling with the nose. While cooking with new ingredients, some children may feel too overwhelmed to taste. If this happens, you can try suggesting smelling a food first; this may provide a bridge to tasting in the future.
  • Use cooking to raise smart kids. There are so many lessons that can be taught while cooking. Math concepts like counting, measurement, and fractions naturally unfold when navigating a recipe with kids. Explaining how food changes with temperature or how certain foods can help our body be healthy provide great lessons in science. While cooking with your child, practice new vocabulary as you describe how food looks, feels, and tastes. Following a recipe from start to finish helps build the skills for planning and completing projects.
  • Make cooking part of the family culture. The family meal can start in the kitchen as you cook together. Family meal preparation is an opportunity to celebrate your cultural heritage by passing down recipes. Help your kids find new, seasonal recipes to add to your repertoire and family cookbook. Cooking together and prioritizing health over the convenience of processed food are great ways to lead by example and help your children buy into a culture of wellness. Building daily and seasonal traditions around cooking together helps strengthen your family’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Keep it safe. Teach kids the importance of staying safe while cooking by showing them how to hold kitchen tools safely, how to use oven mitts to protect hands from heat, and how to turn appliances on and off safely. Always supervise children when cooking to ensure they are sticking with safe and age-appropriate tasks. The best way to keep cooking safe is to know your child’s abilities and his or her stage of development. A four-year-old child, for example, may not be ready to sauté vegetables over a hot pan, but may have the fine motor skills to rinse fruits or tear salad leaves. Keeping safety in mind, it is not difficult to get kids—even toddlers—involved in the kitchen.
  • Ask for input. Children feel more included in mealtime when they are asked to be a part of meal preparation. Collaborate with your kids when selecting recipes for main dishes or sides. Let them help you make the shopping list and find groceries in the store or farmers market. When cooking together, let children offer a critique of the foods you are preparing. Together you can decide what ingredients you should add to enhance the flavor. Talk about how people enjoy different tastes, and share your preferences with each other. Letting children be “in charge” of details like how to set the table will help them feel invested in mealtime.

Over many years, cooking as a family will help develop a happy, adventurous eater with some pretty valuable life skills—and plenty of happy memories in the kitchen. With enough practice, your child will someday be able to cook YOU a delicious meal!


Written by Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH, FAAP. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2016)


Healthy Teeth and Your Child’s Diet

Besides regular toothbrushing, your child’s diet will play a key role in his dental health.

Why Sugar is the Big Villain
The longer and more frequently his teeth are exposed to sugar, the greater the risk of cavities. “Sticky sugar” foods such as sticky caramel, toffee, gum, and dried fruit—particularly when it stays in his mouth and bathes his teeth in sugar for hours—could do serious damage.

  • Make sure to always brush your child’s teeth after a sugary food item.
  • Do not allow young children to have any sugar-containing liquid in a sippy cup for a prolonged period. See How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Your Baby.

How to Cut Down on Sweets
Almost everyone naturally enjoys sweets, and your child is no different. Like other human beings, she was born with a taste for sugar, and she’s already quite sensitive to different concentrations of sweetness. Offer her a yam and a baked potato, and she’ll take the yam every time. Give her a choice between the yam and a cookie, and the cookie will win.

Rest assured, it’s not your fault if she makes a beeline for the candy and ice cream when you’d rather she take a piece of cheese. But it is your responsibility to limit her access to sweets and to provide a diet made up primarily of more nutritious foods that promote growth, not tooth decay.

TV Advertising
Television advertising, incidentally, can be a serious obstacle to your child’s good nutrition. Some studies show that children who watch over twenty-two hours of TV per week (over three hours of screen time a day) have a greater tendency to become obese. Children are extremely receptive to ads for sugary cereals and sweets, especially after they’ve visited other homes where these foods are served. Obesity is a growing problem among children in America. For this reason, you need to be aware of your young child’s eating habits, at home and away, and monitor them to make sure she’s eating as healthy as possible.

At Home
To combat outside influences, keep your own home as healthy as possible. Stock up on low-sodium, low-sugar, and low-fat products. Eventually he’ll become accustomed to healthful foods, which may make him less susceptible to the temptation of the more sugary, salty, or greasy ones.


Source: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 6th Edition (Copyright © 2015 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.