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9 Things to Look for in a Pediatrician

July 25, 2017

By Jessica Vician

What to Look for in a Pediatrician

Before you leave the hospital with your baby, you will complete your first well-baby doctor appointment. In the first year of their life, you will have seven more of these appointments, so you will want to ensure you are comfortable with your baby's pediatrician.

In choosing a pediatrician or family doctor for your child, first ensure you are confident in their professional ability to diagnose and treat your baby. Additionally, as stated in the YOU: Your Child's First Teacher books:

You have the right to choose a provider that you are comfortable with and who responds to your questions and concerns in a compassionate and professional manner.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, many women start looking for a pediatrician in the second trimester of pregnancy. Once you have started your search, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Are they up-to-date on their certification from the American Board of Pediatrics? They should be recertified every seven years.
  2. Do they take your insurance and offer payment plans?
  3. How does the doctor or their practice handle emergencies on weekends or after hours?
  4. What happens if the doctor is unavailable when you need a last-minute appointment—is a nurse practitioner available?
  5. Which hospital would the doctor send your child to in an emergency? Are those hospitals nearby your home or work and are you comfortable with those options?
  6. What are the office hours? Are they convenient for you and/or your parenting partner?
  7. Here's a great question from Healthy Children: "If your child ever develops a complex illness that requires he care of one or more specialists, will your pediatrician coordinate care among all the doctors providing treatment?"
  8. If you need religious or ethical accommodations, will your doctor accommodate? For example, is circumcision/non-circumcision an issue for your doctor? 
  9. If you're struggling to breastfeed, will your doctor refer you to a lactation consultant for help?

These are just some questions to ask or consider when choosing a pediatrician for your baby. Consider scheduling a 15-minute interview with two or three doctors to discuss these questions and get an idea of your chemistry. Once you make an educated decision, you'll feel much more comfortable and ready for parenthood!

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Why should teens expand their circle of friends?

July 18, 2017

By Jessica Vician

Why should teens expand their circles of friends? | The Breakfast Club had a point—bring teens of different backgrounds and interests together and they'll learn something.

During high school, teenagers find their group of friends and spend most of their social time with them. It's easy for teens to stay inside that group and ignore the many classmates who are different from themselves and their friends.

While people aren't as easily categorized as The Breakfast Club characters are—the brain, the princess, the athlete, the basketcase, and the criminal—often groups of friends fit into molds like them. Within each group are unique individuals with strengths and weaknesses.

Just as The Breakfast Club teens learn in the movie, interacting with people outside of their group of friends can help your teenager become more empathetic and gain a more inclusive view of their community and the greater world. They will learn to find something in common with people who may seem very different from them but at their cores are not.

When the school year begins, encourage your teenager to step outside their friend group and engage with other peers. If your teen is athletic and spends most of their time with other athletes, they can join a club to meet other teenagers. If your child is academically focused, they can try a social club or a sport.

By branching out and meeting new people, your teenager may gain confidence and a greater sense of who they are as an individual instead of as part of a group. This confidence and understanding of others will build character and stay with them through adulthood.

Tags :  high schoolsocial
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9 Ways for Your Child to Be Physically Fit & Healthy

July 11, 2017

By Jessica Vician

9 Ways for Your Child to Be Physically Fit & Healthy | Being active and eating well for life is such an important lesson that it needs to be practiced in and out of school.

Did you know that the President Physical Fitness Test—the gym class staple that you might have loved if you were athletic and loathed if you weren't—ended in 2016? Without those annual check-ins to see how your elementary student did in comparison with their peers, how can you gauge their level of physical fitness and health?

The good news is that the President's Challenge has been replaced with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, which better assesses a student's overall health instead of only athletic fitness. According to the Health and Human Services website, this program focuses on helping students stay fit for life—not just for an annual test. This means that your child is learning to be active and eat well for their lifetime instead of only focusing on athletic competitions.

Being active and eating well for life is such an important lesson that it needs to be practiced in and out of school. As you know, healthy decisions and patterns you start now can stay with your child throughout their lifetime, so use the tips below to make healthy decisions for your family.

Get 60 minutes of physical activity every day
Your child needs 60 minutes of physical activity five days a week. You need at least 30 minutes. Try these small activities to reach those goals:

  • Walk to a neighborhood friend's house instead of driving. Let your child bike, skateboard, or scooter while you walk.
  • Wash the car by hand together. Let your child wipe down the interiors while you start on the exterior. Then switch and vacuum while your child soaps up the exterior parts they can reach.
  • Start a vegetable garden and tend to it daily. From watering to weeding, you and your child will gain activity points while reaping healthy vegetables to eat once they've grown.
  • After dinner, head outside to the basketball hoop (in your driveway or at a nearby park) for a few rounds of Horse.

Ensure meals & snacks hit all the food groups
Each meal should offer a lean protein, fruit or vegetable, and a whole grain.

  • Focus on one food group per snack, like a hard-boiled egg for protein in the morning, and an apple and peanut or almond nut butter in the afternoon for a fruit and protein.
  • Switch from sodas, juices, and sports drinks to water. For flavor, make an herbal (non-caffeinated) iced tea or add strawberries and cucumbers to water.
  • Get creative with your grains. Instead of regular pasta, try farro, bulgar, barley, or quinoa. You can even find quinoa pasta at the grocery store for a healthier option in your favorite shape.
  • Find a recipe for your family's favorite restaurant or take-out meal. Cooking it at home will eliminate a lot of extra sodium, sugar, and fat.
  • Reroute your family's sugar cravings away from candy bars, cookies, and other processed sweets and satisfy them with lots of fruits. The natural sugars are a healthy way to feed the craving.

What tips do you have for establishing healthy practices for your kids in the early years that will stay with them for life? Share in the comments below.

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