11 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Be Physically Active

Did You Know?

  • Only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day.
  • Less than 50% of the time spent in sports practice, games, and physical education class involves moving enough to be considered physical activity.
  • Children and teens spend more than 7 hours per day on average using TVs, computers, phones, and other electronic devices for entertainment.
  • About 1 out of 3 children is either overweight or obese in the United States.
  • Overweight teens have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

Getting Started

Parents can play a key role in helping their child become more physically active. Here are 11 ways to get started:

  1. Talk with your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor can help your child understand why physical activity is important. Your child’s doctor can also suggest a sport or activity that is best for your child.
  2. Find a fun activity. Help your child find a sport that she enjoys. The more she enjoys the activity, the more likely she will continue it. Get the entire family involved. It is a great way to spend time together.
  3. Choose an activity that is developmentally appropriate. For example, a 7- or 8-year-old child is not ready for weight lifting or a 3-mile run, but soccer, bicycle riding, and swimming are all appro­priate activities.
  4. Plan ahead. Make sure your child has a convenient time and place to exercise.
  5. Provide a safe environment. Make sure your child’s equipment and chosen site for the sport or activity are safe. Make sure your child’s clothing is comfortable and appropriate.
  6. Provide active toys. Young children especially need easy access to balls, jump ropes, and other active toys.
  7. Be a role model. Children who regularly see their parents enjoying sports and physical activity are more likely to do so themselves.
  8. Play with your child. Help her learn a new sport.
  9. Turn off the TV. Limit TV watching and computer use. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of total screen time, including TV, videos, computers, and video games, each day. Use the free time for more physical activities.
  10. Make time for exercise. Some children are so overscheduled with homework, music lessons, and other planned activities that they do not have time for exercise.
  11. Do not overdo it. When your child is ready to start, remember to tell her to listen to her body. Exercise and physical activity should not hurt. If this occurs, your child should slow down or try a less vigorous activity. As with any activity, it is important not to overdo it. If your child’s weight drops below an average, acceptable level or if exercise starts to interfere with school or other activities, talk with your child’s doctor.

Remember

Exercise along with a balanced diet provides the foundation for a healthy, active life. This is even more important for children who are obese. One of the most important things parents can do is encourage healthy habits in their children early on in life. It is not too late to start. Ask your child’s doctor about tools for healthy living today.


Source: Encourage Your Child to Be Physically Active (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 10/2015). 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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Connecticut Open House Day

Saturday, June 9, 2018
Connecticut Open House Day

Connecticut Open House Day offers a chance for your family to sample more than 200 of Connecticut’s great destinations. Visit museums, galleries, historic sites, parks and attractions in every corner of the state. Along the way you’ll find:

  • Free or Discounted Admission Prices
  • Special Offers
  • Complimentary Refreshments
  • Interactive or Special Tours
  • Costumed Guides
  • Visitor Gifts or Offers
  • Site-Related Book Signings

The 14th annual Connecticut Open House Day is sponsored by the Connecticut Office of Tourism and is a great way to discover or rediscover all that is happening in our state.

CLICK HERE for a list of attractions!

Connecticut Trails Day 2018

Connecticut Trails Day
June 2 & 3, 2018

Did you know that Connecticut hosts the largest National Trails Day® celebration in the nation?

Get your family outside for a hike! This year, there are 250 events scheduled for June 2 & 3. You can check them out on the Connecticut Forest & Park’s: ONLINE DIRECTORY.

Trails Day events are free and have a volunteer guide. Activities include hikes, family walks, trail runs, paddles, bike rides, historical strolls and so much more!

Helping Your Child Cope with Conflict

Help Children Act Calm

  • Let them know that it takes more courage to walk away from a fight than to stay and fight.
  • Teach them that fights don’t solve problems—they make new ones.
  • Remind them that when they get mad but don’t fight, they have really won.

Sometimes, getting along with other kids is hard. Some kids:

  • Get into fights when they are angry.
  • Get teased a lot.
  • Encourage others to fight.

This can make your child feel bad or get in trouble. Teach your child how to deal with anger and stay out of trouble.

Everyone Gets Mad

Anger doesn’t usually last a long time, but it is a very strong feeling when it happens. Children get mad when:

  • Their feelings are hurt or they can’t do what they want.
  • Others don’t understand them or lie about them.
  • They feel left out or others don’t act the way they want.

When children are mad, their bodies react:

  • Their hearts beat faster and their faces feel hot and sweaty.
  • It might be hard to breathe and they can’t think clearly.
  • They have a lot of energy and want action.

When children are angry, it is:

  • Good to put their feelings into words.
  • Not good to hit someone, break things, or say things that hurt.

Teach Your Child to ACT CALM

When children get mad, they can ACT:

Acknowledge – Acknowledge angry  feelings.Notice changes in their bodies.

Calm down – Breathe deeply, count t o 10, or walk away.Punch a pillow, run, or play music.

Think and talk – Think about the problem and ways to fix it. If someone doesn’t know what children are trying to say or do, they need to explain themselves.Talk with someone about being mad and ways to fix  the problem without fighting. If there is nobody to talk to right away, stop and think, “This is why I’m mad and what I need to do is …”

If someone tries to start a fight, your child can be the one to stay CALM:

Calm down – Keep a safe distance from the other person. Take slow, deep breaths. Stay alert and stand tall.

Avoid – Avoid name-calling or returning insults. It only makes things worse. Avoid other kids who may want to fight. Try to talk in private with the kid who wants to fight.

Listen – Calmly listen to what the other kid says. Ask, “What does this person really want?”

Move on – Find ways to solve the problem without fighting. Use humor. “I wouldn’t want you to catch my cold.”Give a reason.  “We’ll both get thrown off the team if we fight.” Walk away. If nothing else works, it’s best to walk away.

Children do what they see others do. You are your child’s most important role model.

If your child is still having trouble getting along with other kids, talk with your pediatrician.


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.


Permission to Unplug: The Health Benefits of Yoga for Kids

​​​Yoga offers a release from today’s fast-paced and tech-heavy world. It only demands that your child “unplug” and leave his or her phone (and shoes) behind—focusing solely on the action of connecting breath and movement. Yoga can help kids learn to live in the moment, focus on the task at hand, and handle problems peacefully. The more often your child practices yoga, the greater the benefits.

Yoga: More Than Exercise, More Than Sport

While any sport played well activates the mind in addition to the body, the practice of yoga is meant to bring the two together. Yoga is much more profound than merely the yoga postures we are familiar with from classes, videos, or movies. It involves a combination of certain postures (asanas), regulated breathing techniques (pranayamas), hand poses (mudras), and meditation (dhyanas).

Each particular body posture has been cultivated and fine-tuned over thousands of years to bring about specific effects in the mind and body. Whether a pose is done standing, sitting, or lying down, each one can challenge various muscle groups. At the same time, a child becomes more aware of his or her body and how it functions. Some yoga poses are harder than others, and even flexible kids in good shape should start slowly.

Many student-athletes practice yoga as a way to cross-train and prevent overuse injuries. Runners strengthen and stretch the hips, legs, and Achilles tendons. Baseball players strengthen the arms and upper body muscles. Gymnasts increase flexibility, balance, and concentration.

Health Benefits of Yoga

Children and teens are an ideal population to benefit from the therapeutic and health benefits of yoga.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends yoga as a safe and potentially effective therapy for children coping with emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral health conditions.

Children with special needs, for example, often have tension and rigid muscle tone—yoga can help with this. Stretching the body can relieve tension and holding yoga poses increases strength when practiced regularly. Yoga also has many bending and stretching poses that can help move and stimulate the digestive system and relieve constipation. Additional physical benefits from yoga include:

  • Regulated blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Regulated hormone levels
  • Decreased abdominal pain in children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Improved balance​

A study in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy found that daily yoga helps children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain calm and lowered their levels of aggression, social withdrawal, and anxiety. Further, a study in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics found that yoga during PE classes reduced teen mood problems and anxiety and also led to higher test scores. In numerous other studies, yoga has repeatedly been shown to improve:

  • Self-confidence
  • Mood
  • Stress reduction
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration
  • Hyperactivity
  • Classroom behaviors
  • Emotional balance

Parents: Calm Breathing Can Be Contagious!

It’s good for parents to put down their phones, too! Tantrums, sleepless nights, and morning rushing, for example, test our limits. In times like these, it can be very effective to take a few deep breaths instead of losing control of your own temper.

Basic yoga breathing and a simple pose or two can be important tools for managing a range of stresses and pain as well as everyday challenges. Lead by example. Get your child involved in yoga—or better yet—try a class yourself! Namaste.


Source: Section on Integrative Medicine (Copyright © 2016 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.


May is Mental Health Month

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.

So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month – Fitness #4Mind4Body – is a call to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

May is Mental Health Month was started 69 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. Last year, Mental Health Month materials were seen and used by over 230 million people, with more than 10,000 entities

This May is Mental Health Month the focus is on how a healthy lifestyle may help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also help people recover from these conditions. Eating healthy foods, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.

It is important to really look at your overall health, both physically and mentally, to achieve wellness. Getting the appropriate amount of exercise, eating healthy foods that can impact your gut health, getting enough sleep and reducing stress – it’s all about finding the right balance to benefit both the mind
and body.

Learn from these factsheets:

Diet and Nutrition (PDF)
Exercise (PDF)
Gut Brain Connection (PDF)
Sleep (PDF)
Stress (PDF)

For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.

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

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