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Homepage - Your parenting partner from pregnancy to pre-school

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Simple rules for a healthy toddler

Wed, 12 May 2021

1. Offer lots of fruits and vegetables. Eating five servings every day is good for your heart and helps protect against cancer and prevent obesity. Unfortunately, kids facing, say, broccoli won't be particularly persuaded by a reference to the scientific literature. They often need to be taught to like fruits and veggies. When kids reject a food, it's often due to unfamiliarity, not true dislike. So offer the same food many times. While babies eagerly try new foods, older kids may need as many as 15 tries before they'll like or tolerate them.

2. Teach hand-washing. When I became a pediatrician, I was always sick. I assumed that exposure to kids' illnesses was part of the job. Although I washed my hands frequently, I eventually realized that I was inadvertently transferring germs from my computer keyboard to my mouth when I snacked between seeing patients. I stopped eating at my computer and I haven't had a stomach virus since! A group of researchers in London called the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH) tracked germ transmission through homes and found that people's hands are the number-one source for spreading infection. We may blame our pets, sneezing kids, and dirty shoes, but they're not the real cause. We transfer germs from our hands into our body when we touch our eyes, mouth, or nose. And young kids touch their face a lot: One study found that it's as often as 50 times an hour. The goal, then, is to reduce the number of germs on their hands. Certainly, door handles and toys are germ reservoirs, so wipe those down frequently. Other hot spots are the bathroom and the kitchen, which the IFH found to contain some of the most contaminated surfaces in the home.

3. Vaccinate on time. Children get up to 24 shots by age 2. With that number, it's no wonder some parents may be tempted to delay certain vaccines. I actually postponed my daughter's HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine because we were too busy to schedule visits for all three shots, and protecting her from an adult disease when she was in 7th grade just didn't seem that critical. But after researching my decision, I was reminded that the vaccine schedule is meticulously designed to give immunizations when they are most effective. Babies and toddlers need to get their vaccines in the critical window that begins when their immune system is developed enough to respond but before they are at highest risk from the most dangerous diseases. Deviating from the schedule won't guarantee effectiveness, and delays may also contribute to more side effects. For example, measles-containing vaccines are twice as likely to cause a febrile seizure when given late, shows research from University of Washington in Seattle. Needless to say, we got my daughter back on schedule, and she finished her HPV series before she turned 13.

4. Brush teeth with fluoride. Even mild tooth decay can affect kids' health by causing pain, poor eating, and interrupted sleep. In one extreme case, I had an 11-year-old patient who spent a week in the hospital for a dental infection. Fortunately, simply brushing protects teeth—if you use f luoride. That's what builds and maintains the protective enamel on teeth. They need to "bathe" in fluoride for its magic to work. So as soon as your child has teeth, brush them with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. So-called "training" toothpaste doesn't contain fluoride.

5. Enforce a regular bedtime (starting in toddlerhood). I have to confess, I've often delayed my kids' bedtime just to spend a little more time with them. But I'm not doing them any favors. Children who don't get enough sleep can become hyperactive, and their school performance suffers, according to a Pediatrics study. Sleep deprivation in kids may also impact the hormone leptin, which signals us to stop eating, and kids who don't get enough zzz's may be more likely to be overweight or obese than those who do. Make sure your child is going to bed early enough too. Research found that kids who regularly turned in after 9 p.m. also displayed more behavior problems. The good news is that the behavioral consequences of poor sleep are reversible once a kid switches to a regular, appropriate bedtime, no matter how old he is. Kids need far more sleep than many parents realize. Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours (including naps), preschoolers need ten to 13 hours, and after kindergarten, kids need nine to 11 hours. So set a regular bedtime routine and stick to it. If you read a book, cuddle, and tuck them in at roughly the same time each night (before 9 p.m.!), kids will find their natural rhythm and sleep the right number of hours.

6. Insist on a helmet. We keep a dented helmet on a shelf in our pediatric E.R. with a note from a 13-year-old bike rider that reads, "This helmet saved my life when my head dented the hood of a car." It's a reminder that wearing a helmet can prevent serious injuries—yet less than half of kids wear one, and more than a third wear them incorrectly, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Your attitude has the greatest influence on your kids' helmet use. So insist that your children wear helmets when they ride anything with wheels—and always wear one yourself. Kids often complain that a helmet is uncomfortable. Here's how to know it fits properly: It should rest two-fingers' width above the eyebrows and not slide around. Tighten the chin strap until it's snug; no more than one finger should fit under the strap. When your child opens her mouth wide, the helmet should pull down on her head. Adjust it so that the left and right straps form a Y below her ears.

7. Apply sunscreen, all year long. While sun exposure wreaks havoc on skin at any age, sunburn during childhood is particularly risky. The earlier in a child's life that skin cells become damaged, the greater his chance of developing skin cancer over his lifetime. Kids are especially sensitive to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation because their skin has a thinner outer protective layer than an adult's does. For kids over 6 months, apply sunscreen any time they're exposed to the sun. (Keep younger babies out of direct sunlight altogether.) In addition to sunscreen, protect kids with clothes that minimize exposure, a wide-brimmed hat, UV-protective sunglasses, and by keeping them in the shade as much as possible.


8. Use safety straps. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that three out of four kids aren't restrained properly in vehicles. Make sure you carefully follow the instructions on your child's car seat, booster seat, or seat belt so he is safe.

10 Signs That You Might Be Pregnant

Fri, 12 June 2015

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1. A missed period
Consider trying a pregnancy test if your usually regular period is late.  This is the surest sign of pregnancy in a woman of childbearing age who usually has regular periods

2. Morning sickness
As early as a couple of days after conception you may begin feeling queasy.  However, mostly morning sickness (nausea and even vomiting in some cases) only hits you a few weeks after conception

3. Tender, swollen breasts

When you are pregnant, your breasts will become increasingly tender to the touch, similar to the way you feel before your period, but only more so.  Once your body grows accustomed to the hormone surge, the pain will subside a bit

4. Fatigue
Fatigue and exhaustion is common in pregnancy.  High levels of the hormone progesterone can make a day at the office feel as if you have run a marathon

5. Frequent urination
Once the embryo implants it begins to produce the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, which stimulates the bladder

6. Food cravings
In food cravings are accompanied by any other symptoms on this list, start counting the days from your last period

7. Darkening of your areolas
Conception might be indicated by the skin around your nipples getting darker in colour.  It may, however, also indicate a hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy

8. Implantation bleeding or cramping
About 8 days after ovulation, you may experience a slight staining of a pinkish or brownish colour, also called implantation spotting, as well as some cramping

9. Altered sense of taste and smell
You might notice your sense of taste and smell change.  Suddenly you may no be able to stand the smell of cooking meat and you can’t bring yourself to eat food that you usually loved

10. Home pregnancy test
A blue or pink line in the test window…however faint, may confirm what you’ve expected when the test is performed at least on the first day of a missed period.  Congratulations!  Make an appointment with your doctor or gynecologist and read more on our site on what pregnancy entails
 

Please see the following:
A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy and Caring Children

Thu, 5 March 2015

A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy and Caring Children

Despite what researchers used to believe, studies are now finding that children can show signs of empathy and concern from a very early age. As moms, many of us are well aware of this fact, particularly when we see our babies act ...

Baby and Toddler Myths Debunked

Fri, 3 December 2010

Popular and Unusual Baby and Toddler Myths Debunked

Every minute of the day, millions of women all over the world are either pregnant, giving birth or raising babies or toddlers. Despite this, many are overwhelmed with fears that what they are doing for their babies may not be good and ...

Fidget Spinners: Is It Really What Your Child Needs?

Tue, 23 May 2017

Fidget Spinners: Is It Really What Your Child Needs?

BY VICTORIA PROODAY, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
The brain has the magical ability to rewire itself. We live in the world that offers our brains instant gratification, which works just like a drug. The more instant gratification we offer our brains, the more our brains ...

Toys that help with gross motor skills and fine motor skills in toddlers

Mon, 6 February 2017

Toddlers are developing their skills through play all the time, but we can help guide them to improve their gross motor skills and fine motor skills with particular toys. Through repetition they will develop muscle memory, and this will make all these new physical motions automatic.

What are gross motor and ...

Activities for kids to practice mindfulness

Tue, 8 November 2016

Activities for kids to practice mindfulness

In an increasingly busy world, it’s important to allow kids to engage in fun activities that help promote a healthy mind and body like scavenger hunt, sport or crafts activities.
Getting kids to realise the value and benefits of useful practices such as mindfulness while ...

How to encourage a positive attitude in your child

Mon, 17 October 2016


Do you ever worry about the effect the outside world can have on your child’s outlook on life? We all want our children to feel able to adopt a positive attitude as they grow and start figuring out who they are. This not only helps them in later life but ...

Learning through play: fun activities for kids

Mon, 12 September 2016

Your toddler is learning every single day and at an accelerated rate. There are a number of fun activities for kids that can have a huge impact on how your child grows and affect areas such as how they socially interact with other children, how they perceive themselves and also ...

Child Abuse

Mon, 8 August 2016

Warning Signs of Daycare AbuseListen to your kids and take them seriously if they tell you something about daycare that makes them uncomfortable. Some children can't or do not want to talk about these things, but there are other cues to watch for that could indicate a problem at daycare.

  • Things ...

Children and pets

Wed, 1 June 2016


Studies show that pets can be valuable in the life of a developing child. Children with pets tend to be more compassionate, self-confident and responsible, and are greater achievers. Before deciding on a pet, you need to weigh the practical pros and cons of keeping a pet. It is a ...

Homeschooling Pros and Cons

Tue, 5 January 2016


According to Wikipaedia, homeschooling (also called home education or home learning) is the education of children at home, typically by parents but sometimes by tutors, rather than in the formal settings of public or private school.

More and more parents around the world are choosing to home school their children for ...

Lunchbox Ideas

Fri, 23 January 2015

Moms all over the country are wondering what to pack in those lunchboxes! Herewith a few simple ideas:

Medium pita bread with mince, tomato, lettuce and cottage cheese
Banana Muffin
Chocolate flavored milk
Raisins

Whole-wheat roll with sliced beef, cucumber & lettuce
Fruit yoghurt
Flavored water
Pear

Honey & Mustard Chicken with couscous and mushrooms, peppers & onion
Digestive / ...

Jesus is still the reason for the season

Mon, 14 December 2015

This is an old comparison but every December we look at it and just have to share it with our visitors. What do you think? Please leave a comment at the end of the story.

Santa lives at the North Pole
Jesus is everywhere

Santa rides in a sleigh
Jesus rides on the wind ...

Protect your child from predators

Fri, 27 November 2015

According to figures released by the South African Police Service Missing Persons Bureau, a child goes missing every six hours in South Africa. This adds up to 1460 children per year. They are kidnapped for various reasons including sexual assault, organ donation, muti, slavery and ransom. We need to implement ...