Sat. June 1st, AMC Sensory Friendly Films Will Show EPIC 2-D

Last updated on June 3rd, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Sensory Friendly Films logoOnce a month, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and with other special needs ”Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings“ – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy their favorite “family-friendly” films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s specialEpic 2D needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden”.

On Saturday February 23rd at 10am local time, epic 2-D will be screened as part of the Autism Society “Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings” program. Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming June 29th: Monsters University

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Editor’s note: Although epic 2-D has been chosen by the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language. As always, please check the IMDB Parent’s Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Help Your Little Allergy Sufferer Breathe Easier This Season

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:15 pm

AllergiesFor many kids, this time of year can be frustrating. They want to run outside and play, but the pollen count leaves them sniffling, sneezing and wheezing. What can you do to help? By minimizing their exposure to triggers, providing them with relief and offering some creative distractions, you can still make allergy season fun for the whole family.

Protect Them

There are a few simple things that can be implemented daily to reduce or prevent exposure to environmental allergens.

  • Check your filters. Pollen and spores can get trapped in air conditioning filters, so set a specific day each month — like the day you pay bills — to change them.
  • Schedule indoor activities. On days that the pollen count is significant (check the count here), keep kids inside during the early morning and dusk, when the air has the most allergens. Have fun games and projects in place.
  • Do an outfit change. When kids come in from outside or come home from school, have them change their clothes immediately and wash off any residual pollen from their faces and hands.

Provide Relief

Allergy flare-ups are inevitable, so it is helpful to keep a few tricks in your parenting toolbox.

  • Try saline solution. It can safely rid eyes and nasal cavities of allergens. (Just remember to keep a box of tissues on hand for the post-application drip.)
  • Draw a warm bath. It can provide soothing relief to itchy skin, and the steam may relieve congestion.
  • See your pediatrician. Check to see if a prescription or OTC medication can provide relief during the worst of the season.

Include Them

Kids live in the here and now, so trying to explain a concept like allergies can be difficult. In order for them to understand and take ownership of their allergies, involve them in the solution-making process.

  • Ask for suggestions. After identifying specific issues — for instance, the pollen on shoes or higher count on windy days — ask your child to think of ways to combat the problems. He might suggest leaving a shoe bin at the door or closing windows in gusty weather.
  • Assign a responsibility. After realizing weather plays a large role in the impact of allergens, your child can become the family’s meterologist. Every evening, have him report the next day’s weather, so you can prep together.
  • Encourage him to share. Telling their friends why they can’t play outside at certain times can help empower your kids — and makes the situation feel less frustrating.

Distract Them

  • Dress up their tissues. With so much sneezing and sniffling, a box of tissues will become a staple for your children. Have your child personalize the box with paint, glitter or stickers so it seems more fun.
  • Build a fort. If your kids are stuck inside, make them a special place: Build an elaborate fort with sheets, blankets and furniture. This can be their haven for storytelling, homework and imaginative play.
  • Schedule outings. Suffering from spring fever? Have your child choose a special place, like the mall, museum or gym, once a week. This will give him something to look forward to during allergy season.



Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 05-20-2013 to 05-26-2013

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:15 pm

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Kids starting to access porn sites at 6, begin flirting online at 8   http://t.co/y7x8mx8Jgb Very Scary Findings!

Water Workouts: Fun for Kids, Great (& Easy) Exercise for Parents

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:16 pm

I am not one of those moms. Not the one who has an endless repertoire of educational and enjoyable crafts activities. Not the one who is genuinely excited about the endless games of trains or Candyland. Not the one who invites 10 5-year olds over to make designer cupcakes from scratch, with matching hand-cut doilies, after the personalized pedicures. And I don’t enjoy watching many children’s TV shows or movies, except for Lazy Town.

Let's go swimming for the first timeSadly my motivation for watching Lazy Town was not very pure. A truly wonderful show which encourages an active lifestyle, exercise, friendship and kindness, I admit that I let my kids watch every afternoon when they were young because the star was a hunk and in those early days of sleep deprivation, baggy and stained clothing, my rear and stomach wobbling and sliding south and what felt like zero physical appeal it was like watching mom porn. Fit! Active! Positively Perky!

And then I found the answer. The pool. Not swimming laps, because I’d manage maybe 10 minutes of that before I was recalled to active mom duty, but in the best possible way that also played to my mom-strengths – teaching my kids to be safe while we all had active fun in the water. I got my mojo back (and my figure), which made me a much better mom who happily did some crafts and games and always made time for our beloved story time when my kids were happy and worn out from being in the water and we’d snuggle together.

Last month I wrote about how parents are the first lifeguard on duty for your child, which means you need to be in the water with less confident swimmers and arms-length from non-swimmers.  I promised my tried-and-true fun for kids, great easy workout for mom or dad, so here it goes! Repetition is key, as many times as your child is enjoying the exercise and every time you go in the pool. Think of how many times you say ‘look both ways before you cross the street’ as your inspiration. The goal is to teach your child to not panic, to be able to possibly save themselves if they do find themselves in water unexpectedly, or at least give you a couple more minutes to find your missing explorer, and to give them a positive and enjoyable introduction to water.

Humpty Dumpty’s for upper body. Sit your young child on the side of the pool (mine started when they were 4 months old). Recite the nursery rhyme and when Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall, lift your child and ‘fall’ off the wall, gently forward with their head always above water, then say the same words every time ‘turn around and hold on’ and place their clenched little fists against the wall. As your child gets older they will learn to turn and hold the wall on their own, they will be willing to have their head go under water as they ‘fall’, and eventually you can spot them while they fall, turn, and climb out themselves.

Monkey Hands for a full body workout. Hold on to the wall with your hands and have your child do the same. You are vertical and your feet will be against the wall helping to move you. Use ‘monkey hands’ to scoot around the pool to the ladder or steps. Start with a short distance, expand to the entire side or around the entire pool as you and your child build strength and endurance. You are teaching them to get to a place where they can climb out safely and building their confidence and muscles.

Helicopters for core and arms. Hold your child under their arms and twirl them around in the water with their feet in the water and their head and shoulders held well clear of the water. Children love the feel of the water rushing against their legs, and it’s better than a thousand crunches for you.

Coral Reef Dives for legs. When your child is old enough to dive under, stand with your legs wide and have them dive between your legs without touching. You can start with lifting one leg and then the other to give them more space. For my son, the budding marine biologist, he knew that coral is sharp and if he rubbed the coral and was cut it would attract sharks, which increased his determination, but that might be too much information for many children, so use your judgement. Fun, not fear is the goal.

Finally, anything you do in the water, whether it’s walking at the edge of the surf, walk in the water holding a baby, catching your child as they practice big jumps – it’s going to the gym times two because of the resistance of the water. No matter how you move in the water, it’s going to make you stronger, healthier and in much better shape. But you probably already knew that if you watched Missy Franklin or Ryan Lochte, or maybe you are a secret Lazy Town viewer like me.

How to Choose the Best Daycare for Your Child

Last updated on May 30th, 2017 at 10:04 pm

Day CareOver 2.3 million American kids under five are cared for at day care centers. If you’re like most parents, I’m sure you’ve pondered the age-old question: “What impact does child care have on my child?” Well, now there’s an answer.

A federally funded study by the Early Child Care Research Network released results that will have parents and educators alike on alert. Since 1991 researchers have been tracking over 1364 families. Children in the study were randomly selected at birth (all born within 24 hours of each other) from 10 different American locations and have been followed since one month of age. Upper, middle, and lower income families were represented. Investigators examined how differences among families, children and child care arrangements might be correlated to their health as well as intellectual, social and emotional development.

The children were evaluated periodically, most recently at age 15, with a host of measures. The study is significant because it is first to track children representing all demographics and incomes a full decade after they left child care.

 Key Findings About Day Care That Parents Must Know

  • “Parents have far more influence on children’s growth and development than any type child care they receive.” (YES!)
  • Academic and behavior gains from child care that endured until age 15 were slightly higher when children were involved with “high quality child caregivers.” High quality is defined as “caregivers who are warm, supportive and provide high quality cognitive stimulation.”
  • Teens who were in high-quality child care settings before age 5 scored higher on measures of academic and cognitive achievement.
  • Specific academic areas (in order) that showed the highest gains at age 15: Reading, Vocabulary, Verbal Analogies, and Math.
  • Teen also reported fewer acting-out behaviors than peers who were in lower-quality child care arrangements during their early years. [Watch the discipline policies of the providers. Are they firm, child-centered, consistent and help children learn healthier ways of behaving?]
  • Teens who spent more hours in child care in their first 4½ years of life reported a greater tendency toward impulsiveness and risk-taking behaviors (taking drugs, smoking, and alcohol) at age 15 than did peers who spent less time in child care.
  • More than a decade after parents stopped those day care payments those behavior differences were still evident.
  • Though differences in these measures among the youth were deemed small, researchers still considered them significant since the gains latest until age 15. Translation: high quality care giving in the early years affects children’s social, academic, and behavioral development in the teen years.

 

10 Questions to Help You Choose a Quality Day Care

Preschool children

OK, you’ve read the results. You recognize know that the study says the key to reap academic and behavior gains for your child’s success is to find a quality care giver. Of course you want a great day care for your child, but how to you know which facility is the best one for your child? How do you know which is a quality care facility? My strongest recommendation: observe a few centers and always observe when children are present. It will help you decide if it’s a place you want your child to spend part of his or her day. Here are ten questions to ask yourself-and the staff-to help you make your final decision.

1. Does this seem like a place my child would like to be?

Use your instinct on this one. Can you see your child fitting in and being comfortable in this environment? Are the children enjoying themselves? Do they appear to be happy and active? Is there a variety of activities that are age-appropriate for the children? You know your child better than anyone, so rely on your instincts!

2. Are there rich, interactive language experiences?

Watch the staff interaction with the children closely. Are they talking with the children? Are the children communicating with the staff? Are there rich language experiences and if so are they “hands-on” (not just paper and pencil)? For instance, is the staff reading, speaking, listening to the children? Are there outings, art, dress up, and play type of activities in which children can communicate with peers? Is there a television and if so, is it being used as a “baby sitter”?

3. Is the staff knowledgeable about child development?

Ask the staff what their philosophy about early childhood education is (don’t worry if you don’t know their answer – make sure they have one). Ask how the staff is trained in child development and how frequently? How many of the staff are credentialed in early childhood education? How do they stay current on the latest child development research (such as this study)? What is the educational background and credentials of the supervisor?

4. What is the daily schedule?

There should be a consistent daily structure where children know what is expected. Is there a balance between physical activities and quieter ones? Watch the children. Are they doing the kinds of activities your child would enjoy doing? There must be rich language experiences and activities that stimulate cognitive growth to reap those gains. Make sure children are actively engaged in creative play, interacting with adults, and are not just sitting and doing paper and pencil tasks. Make sure the television is not used as a baby sitter! Then visualize your child in this setting: Is this a good match for your child’s needs, temperament and abilities?

5. What is the ratio between staff and children?

It’s always best to have a smaller number of staff to children. You want to make sure your child is being closely watched. You also want to make sure there is positive interaction (face-to-face!!) between that caregiver and your child.

6. Is the staff “kid friendly?”

Watch the interaction between the staff and children. Do they enjoy kids? Are they patient and kid-oriented? Are they respectful towards them? And (most importantly) do the children appear to enjoy the staff? The “kid friendly” rule has always been the one I was the pickiest about when choosing a school for my own children. A key to the study was that a “High Quality Caregiver” was warm, supportive and provided quality cognitive stimulation. Watch for those traits!

7. What is the discipline policy?

Ask what their discipline approach is for inappropriate children’s behavior – especially for hitting or biting. Ask, “How do you deal with aggressive children?” Make sure they have a thought-out plan and you agree with their plan. Watch how the children interact with one another: are they caring or aggressive? If you witness an aggressive child, how does the staff respond? The NIH report found that the longer a child was in day care the more likely he would be impulsive at age 15. Habits are formed early. Make sure the facility has a proactive approach to behavior and knows how to replace acting out, aggressive behaviors with more appropriate ones.

8. Is the program within my budget?

Are there any additional costs for the program such as materials or transportation? Find out the entire budget. Is it worth the cost?

9. Will my child fit in and be safe here?

Is it well gated? Are electrical sockets covered? Are fire extinguishers available? How well are they equipped to deal with accidents? Is the staff trained in CPR? Hopefully, there will never be a safety issue, but a good day care makes sure that children’s safety is a primary focus. What do you when my child or other children are ill? Find out what the policy is when children are ill at the center. Is there a supervised location where they can be removed from the other children? Could I see my child in this facility or with this care giver? Is this a place where he would fit in, feel comfortable and thrive? (Use your instinct! Get into the shoes of your child and see the caregiver or facility from your child’s eyes!)

10. Does the staff share the same values as I do?

These people will be sharing their lives with your child, so you want them to hopefully share a few similar values. Think through what are your core beliefs about raising your child and watch to see if the staff models them. For instance: Is the staff respectful? Do they require children to be courteous and are they courteous to children? Are they dressed neatly and appropriately?

Use your instinct! Look around. Ask the parents of the other kids. Visit at a few different times and days. In the end the critical questions to ask yourself are these: “Do I want these people to be responsible for my child’s safety and well-being?” “Would my child feel safe and secure in this setting?” No one knows your child better than you. Right? Right!

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Borba - book cover -parentingsolutions140x180

Dr Borba’s book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research. The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is available at amazon.com.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 05-13-2013 to 05-19-2013

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:16 pm

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 25 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation grants avail for children’s health care needs   http://t.co/WVvv4G7ccF  Up to $5k per grant!