When Mama had a dinner for twelve, the English comedienne Joyce Grenfell sang in the 1950’s, She rested all day long, She rested all day long…
If only …
Ever wondered why, as a modern woman, you never have time? And why there are so many demands pressing on you from so many different directions?
Analog versus Digital Time:
Over the last forty years there have been fundamental changes to the way we experience time. Previously time was sequential. Think of an analog clock with rotating hour and minute hands. The present – “the time” – stands in a visible relationship to time past and future time.
Since the invention of the digital watch in the 1970’s, our experience of time has changed. For many, there is only the present, only NOW. The first-ever digital watch was made by Pulsar in 1970 as a real-life example of the digital clock they made as a prop for 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 1968 it was the stuff of science fiction.
Before the social and technological upheavals of the 1960’s and 1970’s women lived in analog time, in a continuum of past and future. They were expected to behave much as their mothers had. Their futures were laid out according to the expectations of their family, class and culture. If you wanted sex, independence and adult status, you got married. Family planning was frowned upon, work opportunities were limited and structured around family responsibilities.
Forty years on, women’s lives have gone digital. They have a dizzying array of choices as to lifestyle, family size, education, travel and careers. They are not limited by social structures, but they no longer supported by them either.
Grandparents are often absent, in a different state or indeed country, or working themselves. Sole parents are not stigmatised as they used to be, but they can find it hard to cope in what has become a two-income society. Job security is long gone, replaced by “right-sizing” and the other euphemisms for redundancy.
This shift from the traditional to the new and immediate accelerated with the arrival of personal electronic technologies: the personal computer (Apple I 1976); the cellphone (Motorola 1992); the Internet (mid 1990’s) and the smartphone (Nokia 1996).
For the first time ever, work, school, social and personal demands which had previously been structured and sequential – analog – went suddenly digital and it all happened at once. No longer was work left behind when you walked out of the office. There was no such thing as privacy. And with availability came expectation that these demands and requests for action would be attended to NOW.
Six Ways to Get a Grip:
Charlie Chaplin once observed that the trouble with modern people is that “we think too much, and feel too little.”
Somehow we need to regain control, and balance the time demands on our lives. Here are some simple techniques- you won’t need to buy a new car or take a vacation. You’re busy, so these suggestions are organised by the time you have available.
- Live in boxes: This is a powerful de-stressor. Focus wholly on what you are doing at any moment. If you’re reading your child a bedtime story, clear the housework and the boss’s unreasonable demands out of your mind. But once you’re at work, focus 120% on doing a great job.
- Find something to enjoy every day: It doesn’t matter how small – a flower, the sheen of feathers on a bird, a smile, the play of light on a wet street. Reclaim the moment.
- Enjoy music, the natural antidepressant: For half an hour you can soak in a world of beautiful sound. Music is good for the soul. For those of a classical bent, Haydn trios are a good start. He wrote them as relaxing music for his boss Count Esterhazy, a major multinational CEO of his day.
- Move that body: If you can find an hour, treat yourself to a workout at the gym. Nobody’s watching, and the only person you’re competing with is yourself. Shift exercise up the priority list (it tends to slither down past other immediate demands on your time). Yoga is good. Take a walk in the park, and really concentrate on the colours.
- The Lung of the Week. (2-4 hours). Designate a time for an activity – or lack of it – that helps you relax. It might be steak and red wine with a favourite person on a Friday night. Or a wander around the shops, followed by coffee. Whatever restores the emotional groundwater.
- Curfew your cellphone. If at all possible, switch it to Silent between 10 pm and 6 am. There needs to be time in your life just for you and those dear to you. Other people can wait.
If all else fails, try getting up twenty minutes early. Enjoy a quiet time at the start of the day and watch the sun rise. After all, it’s the sun that started this whole business of measuring time in the first place.
Desiree Jury was born in New Zealand and holds both an MA and PhD in English from the University of Auckland. She is the author of Two Shadows, which is available from Amazon.com
Before leaving your child with someone, you and your sitter should always be prepared for any situation.
- Leave contact information available for your babysitter. Provide your sitter with a note that includes your cell phone, the baby’s doctor and a back-up person to contact, such as a friend or neighbor. Put this list in an easy to find spot like the fridge.
- Leave the baby’s insurance card and health information with your sitter. You should also leave a written and signed note authorizing your sitter to use this insurance card if your child needs to be taken to the emergency room for any reason.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and on in case your sitter needs to contact you.
- Most importantly, make sure the sitter knows to contact 911 immediately if there is an emergency. It is also best to have a sitter call from a home phone so emergency responders can pin-point her exact location.
Before you leave, walk the sitter through the house, showing her what she’ll need in the kitchen, your child’s room, and play toys.
- Having a monitor on hand will help keep your sitter at ease while the baby is sleeping in another room. Make sure a monitor is set up and the sitter knows how to use it.
- Inform your sitter about the dangers of cords. Never put the infant portion of the monitoring system too close to the crib or play yard. Babies can get strangled in the cords – keep all monitors at least 6 feet away.
- In addition to a monitor, you’ll want to make sure you have a thermometer or a Baby Care Essentials kit handy, just in case.
- The Safety 1st Baby Care Essentials is great for traveling, and also makes it easy for a sitter to have important items, band-aids or alcohol wipes all in one spot – without having to search through a drawer or cabinet.
Rules: Stay on the Same Page
Children are very smart, and toddlers can figure out how to get away with more when the rules are inconsistent.
- If a child is not allowed to eat certain foods make sure you let your sitter know.
- Keep nap and bedtime consistent.
- Keep your sitter aware of the house rules so your child doesn’t try to get away with something.
This academic year (September 2012 to June 2013) marks the 25th anniversary of Music Together. First available to the public in 1987, Music Together pioneered the concept of research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music education that emphasizes caregiver involvement in a child’s musical growth, and the benefits it has on child development. Beloved by millions of children, parents, and early childhood educators, Music Together is now taught in 48 US states and in 40 other countries.
Music Together is based on the recognition that all children are musical: they can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate in the music of their culture, provided their early environment supports such learning. Music Together is the only program of its kind that cultivates such a rich music environment. The program’s millions of fans include celebrities—Chris Rock, Billy Joel, Amy Poehler, James Cameron, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Baldwin, Chynna Phillips, and Brooke Burke, among others, have enrolled their own children in Music Together classes over the years.
According to Kenneth K. Guilmartin, Founder/Director of Music Together, “Nurturing a child’s innate musicality as early as possible provides a foundation for later success in many areas. We introduce children to the pleasures of actively making music, which is critical for their music development. Children cannot learn about music by simply listening to it. The true power is in ‘doing the music.’ This happens quite naturally when children grow up with primary caregivers who actively bring music into the child’s everyday life. And it’s as simple as spending sing-along, dance-along, or play-along time with your child. Then, for older children, music education is more fun. Singing, playing instruments and performing come more naturally, and the joy of comfortable music participation turns into life-long appreciation and enjoyment of music.”
“Many parents may not realize that they are their child’s most important music teachers—even if they don’t consider themselves musical. It is not important that caregivers sing or move perfectly; what matters is that they model the enjoyment of making music,” Guilmartin explains.
Research shows the impact that early music education and participation can have not only on musical growth, but also on academic skill development and achievement. Some recent findings include: music instruction can promote key school readiness skills; music education in early childhood can have a profound impact on developing the areas of the brain integral to reading ability; and participation in music activities is associated with child and adolescent achievement outcomes in math and reading.
A Music Together class is an enriching, playful community of children and families sharing songs, playing instruments, chanting rhythms, and moving around in an uninhibited, relaxed, playful, non-performance-oriented setting that brings families back again and again. The award-winning music includes both original songs and arrangements of traditional, folk, jazz, and world music, presented in a wide variety of tonalities, meters, and musical styles.
With licensed Music Together centers around the globe (http://www.musictogether.com/
In addition to programs for families, schools, at-risk populations, and children with special needs, Guilmartin and Music Together coauthor Rowan University Professor of Music Education, Dr. Lili M. Levinowitz, continually develop new applications of the program curriculum and conduct research in early childhood music.
Guilmartin explains, “We have been providing families with the tools to make music together for 25 years and proud to have impacted so many lives. As long as we can nurture children and their caregivers musically, we have accomplished our mission. ”
There’s a rainbow of shades beyond the primary colors, and Pantone Mini Board Books aim to introduce your budding artist to these nuances of color. From Fire Truck Red to Duckling Yellow, each of these six little books includes five kid-friendly Pantone hues with fun peek-through shapes in the pages. Ages 1–3 years. $12.95 at amazon.com.
Tot heading to preschool for the first time this fall? Send him off in style toting this adorable toddler-size Skip Hop Zoo Packs Little Kid Backpack. Inside you’ll find an insulated pocket to keep snacks fresh and an ID tag on which to write your child’s name. Not a dino fanatic? Pick a penguin, owl, fox, ladybug, monkey or zebra instead. Ages 3 and up. $20 at skiphop.com.
rock ’n’ roll bed to go
The Babyhome Dream Portable Crib is tops for traveling, whether you’re going across the country or around your own home. It boasts a lightweight aluminum frame, an included travel bag and the most genius legs we’ve ever seen—they go from stationary to rocking to wheels with just the click of a button. Cradles baby from birth to 55 pounds. $299 at mbeans.com.
What fun is wearing shoes that match when you can express yourself with a pair featuring two different looks that you love? Chooze Shoes offers an array of subtly mismatched kicks for boys and girls that let kids celebrate creativity—the shoes are even packaged in boxes designed to be colored in by the wearer and reused. And the brand supports antipoverty programs that provide education, skills training and microloans to impoverished women. $44 to $48 per pair in toddler sizes 5 to 11 and youth sizes 12 to 6 (and women’s sizes 6 to 11) at choozeshoes.com.
Dad to Dad: Parenting like a pro by David L. Hill, MD
Not your ordinary put-me-to-sleep pediatrician advice book, this guide is very engaging, with a casual guy-to-guy tone that many new and expectant fathers will relate to. As a father of three, Hill clearly understands what it’s like to struggle with a diaper change at 3 a.m. The book covers the newborn years through adolescence, with topics ranging from vaccinations to (gulp!) buying a daughter’s first bra.
9 months–5+ years
The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 recipes every mom needs in her back pocket by Katie Workman
Simple, easy-to-prepare recipes from an accomplished food writer (she’s the founder and editor in chief of cookstr.com) and mother of two who gets the challenges of cooking for kids. From soy-ginger flank steak to pigs in a blanket, she has go-tos for just about every palate and occasion. Commentary from a mother-in-the-know makes this more than just a cookbook; it’s almost like chatting with a friend.
It’s No Accident! Breakthrough solutions to your child’s wetting, constipation, UTIs, and other potty problems by Steve J. Hodges, MD, with Suzanne Schlosberg
Wetting your pants is a normal part of childhood, right? Not so, says Hodges, a board-certified pediatric urologist who explains problems such as chronic pee holding and constipation triggered by ill-timed or poorly executed potty training, Western diets and screwy school policies. Loaded with clear answers, it’s a must-read for parents getting ready to ditch the diapers or struggling with issues such as daytime accidents and bedwetting.
Sleep hygiene refers to the set of habits and guidelines that promote consistently restful and sufficient sleep at night and complete alertness during the day. It’s what you can do (and in some cases, not do) to help your child (andyou) sleep easy and well.
Like dental hygiene, instilling good sleep hygiene habits early on in life will promote the retention and sustaining of those good habits throughout a child’s lifetime. Sleep hygiene can even help children avoid a whole host of sleep-related disorders.
The clearest sign that a child has poor sleep hygiene (or could at least use some improvements in the area) is if he/she experiences nighttime sleeplessness and/or daytime sluggishness.
But that covers a broad base of issues, that could include any of the following:
- bedtime resistance
- anxiety about sleep
- sleep onset delay
- nighttime wakings
- inadequate sleep duration
- difficulty awakening in the morning
- morning moodiness
- daytime sleepiness
- to name a few!
Every one of these issues – and more – can be traced (at least in part) to a lapse or gap in some aspect of proper sleep hygiene—and by the same token, every one of these problems can be alleviated (again, at least in part) by making the appropriate adjustments in sleep hygiene.
What follows are Four Pillars of Good Sleep Hygiene:
- Bedtime Schedule
- Bedtime Routine
- Environmental Conditions of the Bedroom
- Daytime Behaviors and Habits
1. Bedtime Schedule
Create a bedtime routine that works for you and your child, and then stick to it.
Sleep and waking cycles need to act in harmony with all other body cycles, such as body temperature, metabolism, dietary schedule, and hormonal activity—our “circadian rhythms.” Our bodies are designed to naturally seek out “homeostasis”—or the condition in which all body systems find balance. In order to achieve that homeostasis, all these circadian rhythms, must sync smoothly with one another.
For any bedtime schedule to work, it requires two key components:
- It must include both a regular bedtime and a regular waking time. Make sure the times you select are practical and realistic for you and your child’s other life schedules.
- It should stay consistent 7 days a week. If you must adjust it for weekends, then don’t adjust it by any more than an hour in either direction, or else you defeat the whole purpose. Their physiology simply will not know when it is time to sleep or be awake. And this goes double for teenagers.
- Adults may find this framework an even harder challenge to meet than his children, because his own schedules usually differ from weekdays to weekends—and in many cases from weeknight to weeknight. Unfortunately, this irregularity in your own schedules may make it difficult to enforce a regular bedtime schedule in your children, but it makes it no less necessary.
- At the same time, in order to be effective the sleeping and waking times you set must not merely be consistent and practical for your schedules, but he must also enable your child to get a sufficient amount of sleep—not too little and not too much. These days, most experts place the right amount at around 8 hours, although for younger children and teens the number may be closer to 10.
Think of a bedtime time schedule like setting your child’s “biological clock.” Set it right and your child’s bodily rhythms begin to naturally run like clockwork.
2. Bedtime Routine
Establish a regular bedtime routine for your child. A regular bedtime routine, about 1/2-hour long leading up to bedtime itself, is how you can best help your child to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
A bedtime routine involves engaging in comforting and familiar activities that are also relaxing.
Thirty minutes before bed is the time for a child to start winding down, not up. To be avoided during this critical time period are:
- heavy emotional conversations
- video games
- active, rough-and-tumble play and cardiovascular/aerobic exercise
- caffeine (chocolate, caffeinated teas, and some sodas)
- lots of liquids (water, juice, milk)*
- big meals and sugary snacks*
* Foods with predominantly carbohydrates and proteins (like milk and cookies), and foods with tryptophan (like milk and turkey) both can actually help a child, once fallen asleep, to stay asleep. Just remember to keep bedtime snacks light.
3. Good bedtime routine activities include
- taking a warm bath
- reading a story together
- quiet, relaxing family time
- listening to tranquil music, nature sounds, or a relaxation CD
As children grow older you can be more flexible with bedtime routines, which may grow to include a walk outside, a chat on the back porch about the day’s events or future plans, or perhaps playing a board game or card game or doing a puzzle together. Older children may want to retire to his room to read, listen to music or work on a favorite hobby before retiring for the night and possibly listening to a sleep program.
Whatever activities you (and your child) decide upon, the cornerstone of your child’s bedtime routine is that he know what time to slip into pajamas and brush his teeth, what time to be in bed, and how much time he can spend on in-bed activities such as reading.
4. Environmental Conditions of the Bedroom
Certain qualities of the setting in which you set your child down to sleep can play a significant role in the quality of his sleep.
- Set a bedroom temperature that’s comfortable and will remain consistent throughout the night, erring on the cooler side as it’s more supportive of healthful sleep than an excessively warm room (that being anything over 75 degrees); and keeping that temperature consistent throughout the night can help avert nighttime wakings.
- Make the room sufficiently dark; a small nightlight is okay, if needed, but too much brightness interferes with restful sleep.
- ensure sufficient ventilation/air circulation, such as by cracking the door open or using a ceiling fan set on low; refrain, however, from leaving a window wide open all night for both safety and health reasons (additional air quality solutions follow at the end of this list).
- Provide your child a quiet sleeping environment, for reasons that should be obvious.
- Shut off the television, and what’s more take the television out of your child’s bedroom; recall from Bedtime Routines above that all television-viewing should cease at least 30 minutes before bedtime anyway.
- Keep the bed for sleeping, in other words refrain from getting your child in the habit of associating his bed with anything other than sleeping, such as playing, reading, eating, or watching TV; for this reason, the value of these children’s custom hime beds and playhouse beds that have become somewhat popular of late is questionable.
- Dress your child in comfortable pajamas/nightclothes, as the more comfortable she is the easier a time he’ll have of falling asleep and staying asleep. For the same reason, provide your child with a comfortable mattress and pillows, bedsheets and blankets.
4. Daytime Behaviors and Habits
Many of the factors that influence your child’s sleep the most don’t even occur at night. On the contrary, a variety of habits and behaviors that have a major impact on his sleep occurs in broad daylight.
The following are suggestions of daytime behaviors supportive of good sleep hygiene
- Expose your child to sunlight first thing in the morning, as soon as possible after waking, as it helps to set his circadian rhythms for the rest of the day, and long-term for the rest of her life; additionally ensure your child gets sufficient exposure to natural sunlight on a daily basis.
- Don’t use your child’s bedroom for punishments or time-outs, as a child must feel comfortable, safe, and happy to be in his bedroom in order to fall asleep and sleep soundly—all of which are prevented when he starts associating his bedroom with punishment.
- Monitor the content of your child’s television viewing, internet surfing, and video game playing, as exposure to excessively violent, disturbing, or confusing images could be responsible for many sleep disturbances, such as nightmares.
- Confront bullying or other prevalent emotional issues in your child’s daily life, as any number of daily stressors—from being subjected to bullying on a daily basis, to experiencing trouble in school, to facing emotional troubles at home like a divorce, a death in the family, a move, or a sibling rivalry—could direly impact your child’s sleep
- Discuss your child’s medicines with her pediatrician, as some children’s medications (including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and all-natural/herbal remedies) could have side effects that interfere with your child’s restful sleep; if your child turns out to be on such a medication, your doctor can usually help you find adequate alternatives devoid of such side effects.
Improvements in your child’s sleep patterns likely won’t happen overnight, but once you begin implementing good sleep hygiene practices in your child’s life you’re bound to notice positive results in due course.
Dr. Tom Jackson is a psychiatrist who has specialized in the treatment of sleep disorders and anxiety for the past thirty years. He is the creator of the DreamChild™ Adventures audio programs and author of the companion guide, DreamChild™ Adventures in Relaxation and Sleep (August 2012). He is currently Medical Director of a public mental health clinic and in private practice. For more information, please visitwww.3DAudioMagic.com and www.ThomasJacksonMD.com
New scientific evidence shows the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks of the procedure, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all newborn boys, according to an updated policy statement published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The revised policy, like the previous one from the AAP, says the decision whether or not to circumcise should be left to the parents in consultation with their child’s doctor.
The policy statement and accompanying technical report from the AAP will be published in the September 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Monday, Aug. 27). The documents update the previous policy that the AAP published in 1999 and reaffirmed in 2005.
Since the last policy was published, scientific research shows clearer health benefits to the procedure than had previously been demonstrated. According to a systematic and critical review of the scientific literature, the health benefits of circumcision include lower risks of acquiring HIV, genital herpes, human papilloma virus and syphilis. Circumcision also lowers the risk of penile cancer over a lifetime; reduces the risk of cervical cancer in sexual partners, and lowers the risk of urinary tract infections in the first year of life.
The AAP believes the health benefits are great enough that infant male circumcision should be covered by insurance, which would increase access to the procedure for families who choose it.
“Ultimately, this is a decision that parents will have to make,” said Susan Blank, MD, FAAP, chair of the task force that authored the AAP policy statement and technical report. “Parents are entitled to medically accurate and non-biased information about circumcision, and they should weigh this medical information in the context of their own religious, ethical and cultural beliefs.”
The medical benefits alone may not outweigh other considerations for individual families. The medical data show that the procedure is safest and offers the most health benefits if performed during the newborn period. The AAP policy recommends infant circumcision should be performed by trained and competent providers, using sterile techniques and effective pain management.
The policy has been endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College). “This information will be helpful for obstetricians who are often the medical providers who counsel parents about circumcision,” said Sabrina Craigo, MD, the College’s liaison to the AAP task force on circumcision. “We support the idea that parents choosing circumcision should have access to the procedure.”
Parents who are considering newborn circumcision should speak with their child’s doctor about the benefits and risks of the procedure, and discuss who will perform the circumcision. “It’s a good idea to have this conversation during pregnancy, and to learn whether your insurance will cover the procedure, so you have time to make the decision,” said Dr. Blank.
Experts from The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) are available for interviews on a variety of back-to-school issues, from identifying children who may be at risk for heart problems, to helping a child cope with anxiety of returning to school. CHAM is consistently ranked among the nation’s leading children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Its physicians and staff are exceeding expectations and making extraordinary contributions in the field of children’s health.
Avoiding Sudden Cardiac Death on the Playing Field: Annual Physical
Sudden cardiac death or SCD is the leading cause of death in athletes and remains one of the most devastating medical events in sports. Though the condition is rare, occurring in only 2 out of 100,000 children each year, it is the leading cause of death in young athletes. SCD may be due to a genetic predisposition or undiagnosed congenital heart disease, heart arrhythmia or abnormalities in the coronary arteries. Pediatricians recommend that every child have an annual physical prior to participating in strenuous exercise or competitive sports. If any heart irregularities are detected, a pediatric cardiologist should be consulted for an electrocardiogram (EKG) or an Echocardiogram, which uses sonar to diagnose congenital heart problems. Daphne Hsu, MD, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, has been an advocate for increased cardiac testing of young athletes to prevent sudden cardiac death on the playing fields.
-Daphne Hsu, MD, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
Montefiore Einstein Center for CardioGenetics offers screening, counseling and treatment to patients who may be at risk for inherited diseases that can trigger Sudden Cardiac Death, as well as other genetic diseases that cause arrhythmias. In fact, about 30% of sudden cardiac death is caused by a single defective gene, which causes a disruption of the electrical system of the heart. The program is directed by cardiologist Christine Walsh, MD and geneticist Robert Marion, MD, of The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, one of only a handful of programs in the world studying the hereditary markers that can cause sudden cardiac death.
-Christine Walsh, MD, and Robert Marion, MD, Co-Directors of the Montefiore-Einstein Center for CardioGenetics
Living with a Heart Murmur
Heart Murmurs – an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat — are extremely common findings in infants and children. About 95 percent of heart murmurs are “innocent” and have no effect on a child’s health. About 5% are abnormal murmurs resulting from congenital heart defects or heart muscle functional problems. Doctors can detect a murmur through a stethoscope and based on that evaluation can determine if the murmur is abnormal or innocent. If innocent, the child can be as active as other children. If the murmur is abnormal the child should be evaluated by a pediatric cardiologist. The Montefiore Einstein Pediatric Heart Center at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, recognized as one of the best children’s hospitals in America, has the ability to diagnose and treat any acquired or congenital children’s heart abnormality.
-Leo Lopez, MD, Director of Non-Invasive Imaging, Pediatric Cardiology, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
Automated External Defibrillators: A Matter of Life or Death
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a lifesaving tool that every school teacher and coach should have access to in case of an emergency. If a child suffers a life threatening arrhythmia or cardiac arrest during school or on the playing field, the mobile technology can help shock the heart muscle to restore a normal heart beat. It is important to check if your school and child’s coach have access to an AED and are trained to use it to treat your child in case they suffer a cardiac event. Several states have laws about AEDs in school. New York State, for example, requires schools to have access to an AED. The technology is even required to be present at extracurricular activities at schools and at athletic events on and off school grounds in New York.
-Daphne Hsu, MD, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a combination of rescue breathing and chest compressions delivered to victims thought to be in cardiac arrest. Would you know how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation on a child or infant if it was necessary? Cardiac arrest due to heart failure in a child rarely happens but is more likely due to an injury such as poisoning, smoke inhalation, or head trauma, which causes the breathing to stop first. The brain may sustain damage after blood flow has been stopped for about four minutes and irreversible damage after about seven minutes. How can you tell if a child’s airway is blocked or if they are experiencing cardiac distress? What are the different types of cardiac disturbances and what should you know to properly respond? What techniques should be used to for each age group? The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore works with the American Red Cross and the NYC Fire Department to encourage parents to take Pediatric CPR courses.
-Scott Ceresnak, MD, Pediatric Cardiologist, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
Transition from Summer to a Back-to-School Sleep Schedule
Typically, during the summer, children go to bed later and wake up at different times, because they do not have to follow a school schedule. Shelby Harris, Psy.D., C.BSM, Director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, can discuss how a child can adjust his/her sleep schedule to once again become acclimated to getting up earlier for school. Dr. Harris can provide advice on how kids can start school well-rested and establish a consistent sleep schedule which can help optimize learning. Her pointers include:
- Maintain a steady sleep-wake schedule 7 days a week. No catching up on the weekends!
- Have a regular and relaxing bedtime routine to wind down the hour before bedtime.
- Make sure each step of the bedtime routine slowly moves closer and closer to the bed (e.g. bath, brush teeth, then into bedroom for PJs, book and finally bed).
- Get back on a good, healthy diet overall. Oftentimes, kids’ diets will change over the summer. Limit sugar, chocolate, soda – especially from lunch afterwards.
- Limit electronics and schoolwork within an hour of bedtime (and don’t allow them during the night, either!)
Shelby Harris, Psy.D., C.BSM, Director, Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, Montefiore Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Neurology/Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Easing a Child’s Back-to-School Anxiety
Children as well as teens are often anxious about going back to school. Anxiety can be a result of a transition from elementary to middle school, or challenges socially or academically. Mental health professionals at the Montefiore School Health Program observe many of these issues first-hand and are highly qualified to comment on a wide variety of back-to-school psychological issues. The Montefiore School Health Program, the largest of its kind in the U.S., offers a wide range of medical, dental, mental and community-based services to students and their families in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the Bronx. Since its inception more than 25 years ago, this essential program has steadily grown to 18 full-service centers throughout the borough.
Christine Cheng, Ph.D., Psychology Training Coordinator, licensed clinical psychologist, Montefiore School Health Program, and Instructor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Cheng helps children cope with various difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, bereavement and loss, impulse control, and adjustment issues, and she enjoys seeing children overcome them and blossom in their natural social milieu.
Igda Martínez, Psy.D., clinical psychologist, Montefiore School Health Program and Instructor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.Dr. Martinez provides bilingual mental health services to elementary school children and their families. She works with children suffering from various adjustment, mood and behavioral disorder
Bullying: What if Your Child is Being Bullied, or is a Bully?
Bullying can impact the wellbeing of children and young people and have serious long-term consequences. It can undermine educational attainment and self-esteem and can destroy a sense of security. The most common forms of bullying reported by children are being verbally bullied, followed by exclusion and physical bullying. Parents and schools also need to be aware that cyber-bullying is affecting younger age groups as more children get mobile phones and have computer access.
Over the past four years, the Montefiore School Health Program mental health division has developed a curriculum called S.T.A.R., Strengthening Tween and Adolescent Relationships. This is an eight-week classroom based program designed to foster healthy relationships between students and reduce teen dating violence. S.T.A.R. was created by Cheryl Hurst, a Senior Social Worker at PS/MS 95 in the Bronx, one of 18 schools that make up the Montefiore School Health program, to teach 12 to 14 year olds how to develop healthy friendships and communicate in nonviolent and supportive ways. Ms. Hurst identified such a huge need, learning about the problems these kids face: cyber-bullying, financial pressures on parents who have lost jobs, poor parental support and more.
Cheryl Hurst, LCSW, Senior Social Worker, Montefiore School Health Program. Ms. Hurst provides individual mental health counseling using therapeutic modalities to help children and adolescents cope with family, academic and environmental stressors.
The Best School Lunch is Delicious and Energizing
Whether packed in a brown bag or served on a cafeteria tray, a nutritious school lunch that’s tasty and satisfying is a welcome midday break for kids and gives them energy to get through the rest of the day. Clinical dietitian Lauren Graf, MS, RD, has tips for parents and kids as they gear up for another school year, from packing a colorful lunch with fresh fruits and vegetables to spotting healthy choices on the cafeteria line. Even for the pickiest of eaters, parents can find the right nutritional balance for their kids and help them adopt good eating habits that can last a lifetime.
Lauren Graf, MS, RD, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, is a specialist in general pediatric nutrition, with a subspecialty in renal, heart and healthy cooking for pediatric patients.
Does your Child Need Eyeglasses? Now is the Best Time for Pediatric Eye Exams
The start of a new school season is the best time to have your child’s eyes examined. Pediatric ophthalmologist Norman Medow, MD, can discuss the signs that a child may be having vision problems. Some are obvious, such as sitting close to the TV or holding toys close to the eyes. Squinting to see at a distance, covering or closing one eye to see, may also indicate a need for glasses. Dr. Medow reminds parents that many eye disorders are inherited, especially a need for glasses. If Mom or Dad wore glasses at an early age, it would not be unusual for their child to need glasses as well.
Norman Medow, MD, Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Montefiore Medical Center is an expert in glaucoma, cataract and corneal disorders in children.
Teaching Kids about Healthcare – Radiology Goes Back to School
Kids can play an active role in their own health and safety. To help teach them how to do this, Dr. Scheinfeld has created an interactive radiology teaching kit which consists of a variety of images of bones, as well as orthopantograms of teeth and ultrasound images of fetuses, allowing doctors to speak about various disciplines within healthcare and educate children about radiology as well as broader topics, such as oral hygiene. Dr. Scheinfeld uses the kit to teach kids about the human body, provide important safety advice and also encourage children not to fear the hospital environment. A video of Dr. Scheinfeld teaching kids with the kit can be found here.
Meir Scheinfeld, MD, PhD, Attending Physician, Division Head of Emergency Radiology, Department of Radiology at Montefiore Medical Center can discuss the role of radiology in healthcare and the importance of teaching children about their health from an early age.
Despite the fact that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children older than three years in the U.S. and send more than 140,000 children to the emergency room each year, new research has found that low proportions of U.S. children are using age-appropriate safety restraints and many are placed at risk by riding in the front seat. The research is published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new Guidelines for Child Passenger Safety in 2011. They
called for rear-facing car seats at least until the age of two; forward-facing car seats with a five-point
harness for as long as possible until the child is the maximum weight and height suggested by the
manufacturer; booster seats until an adult seat belt fits properly, when a child reaches around 57” in
height, the average height of an 11 year old; and riding in the back seat until the age of 13. “We found
that few children remain rear-facing after age 1, fewer than 2% use a booster seat after age 7, many over
age six sit in the front seat,” says Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS, co-author of the study along with Gary L.
Freed, MD, MPH, both of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, Division of General Pediatrics,
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
The investigators evaluated three years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) National Survey on the Use of Booster Seats (NSUBS) collected prior to the release of the new
guidelines. Trained data collectors observed and recorded drivers with child passengers as they arrived
at community sites including gas stations, fast food restaurants, recreation centers, and child care
centers. They recorded child restraint type and seat row, adult and child gender, driver restraint use, and
vehicle type. Drivers were interviewed to report their own age, the ages of the children they were
transporting, child race, and Hispanic ethnicity. Analyses were conducted on data obtained for 21,476
As children aged, a decline in child safety seat use and an increase in being unrestrained were observed.
Within each age group, minority children demonstrated lower proportions of age-appropriate restraint use compared with white children. There were persistent differences in the proportions of black and Hispanic children who were unrestrained compared with whites, ranging from a ten-fold difference among infants and toddlers to a twofold difference for older age groups. Among children aged 0-3, the proportions of rear-facing car seat use were lowest among minority groups, but even among whites just 17% were rearfacing. Higher proportions of minority children were prematurely transitioned to seat belts.
“The most important finding from this study is that, while age and racial disparities exist, overall few
children are using the restraints recommended for their age group, and many children over five are sitting
in the front seat,” says Dr. Macy. “Our findings demonstrate that not all children have been reached
equally by community-based public education campaigns and the passage of child safety seat laws in 48
states. Further development and dissemination of culturally specific programs that have demonstrated
success in promoting restraint use among minority children are necessary. Further, the findings may also
help in developing strategies to lower the racial and ethnic disparities seen in children experiencing crashrelated injuries.”
“Take a babymoon” – this is the directive that should top every “To Do” when prepping for baby’s arrival. Just what is a babymoon? Time for relishing coupledom, reconnecting and, of course, romance. As for amour, we recommend Morocco by way of Palm Springs, California. The destination – Korakia Pensione (www.korakia.com; 1.760.864.6411).
Tucked away in downtown Palm Springs on Patencio Road, Korakia is a veritable oasis blending Moroccan and Mediterranean architectural styles set off by pops of fuchsia-colored bougainvillea. Serving as a backdrop – the San Jacinto Mountains.
As for Korakia’s history, that comes with romance, too. The Moroccan Villa was built in 1924 by Scottish painter Gordon Coutts. Homesick for the years he spent in Tangiers and inspiration he found there, Coutts replicated his experience in Palm Springs. Just across the street is the Mediterranean Villa, with buildings like the Orchard House that date back to 1918.
Between the two properties, there are 28 rooms/suites. Each has its own distinctive style and romantic touches aplenty ranging from deep-soaking bathtubs to four-poster beds. And for convenience, rooms come complete with mini-refrigerators, hotplates, microwaves, dishes and silverware. As for reconnecting, that’s ensured with a decided lack of televisions, radios and other electronic devices. Instead, guests are bestowed with the gift of solitude.
Weekend mornings start with a complimentary yoga workout. Private yoga (including pre-natal yoga) and meditation sessions can also scheduled other days of the week. The perfect follow-up can be had in the main courtyard, where a hot breakfast is served on rustic wooden tables bedecked by checkered tablecloths. Fresh orange juice and coffee join dishes like Huevos Rancheros or pancakes topped with bananas. When lunchtime rolls around, paninis, hummus plates and fresh salads are served up.
Afterwards, downtown Palm Springs can be explored either on foot or via bicycles provided by Korakia. Beyond perusing Palm Springs’ shops and restaurants, allot time to take in the exhibits at the nearby Palm Springs Art Museum.
Requiring a car are treks to Sunnylands, Indian Canyons for a hike, a high-flying ride on Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of Chino Canyon. Another option – wiling way the hours back at Korakia, lounging beside one of the saltwater pools with a vintage book from the library, playing bocce ball or cuddling up for a garden nap on a Moroccan daybed.
Another way to unwind is with a spa treatment. An indoor/outdoor spa lodge is available for this purpose, or treatments can be done en suite. Just right for expectant mothers is the 50- or 80-minute Pregnancy Massage that uses pre-natal techniques to reduce water retention, increase circulation and unwind tight muscles.
Still seeking to get in touch with forthcoming body and life changes? Korakia often host seminars just right for parents-to-be including Soul Arts and Vibrational Child. Oasis for the Soul spiritual retreats are the brainchild of Ronda LaRue, MS. During a three-day workshop, participants set intentions and work towards their goals through elements of meditation, self-reflection, dance, music, dream therapy, art and inner healing. Nancy Bevers’ Vibrational Child seminar tackles issues such as prepping for a pleasurable birth, energy techniques for relating to baby, communication about upcoming changes both with partner and baby’s siblings and how to manage life once baby has arrived.
As if it weren’t romantic enough already, the pensione takes on a different life at dusk. Candles and firepits add a glow to the desert oasis. Moroccan tea and ginger cookies set the mood for desert nights. And, after the sun goes down, a special nightly ritual takes place – a classic film screening under the stars just right for snuggling on cushions or, of course, choosing to share kisses rather than follow the movie’s storyline.
Back in the room, a bit of magic has occurred. Strewn across pillows are bougainvillea petals along with chunks of chocolate and a wish to set couples off to slumber – Sweet Dreams. Indeed.
Ready to head to Korakia? When making babymoon reservations, make sure and book the pensione’s special “Under the Desert Babymoon” package ($250 in addition to lodging) that includes a special welcome basket assembled with cravings in mind, breakfast in bed each morning, an hour-long pre-natal massage, special turndown service and a parting gift.