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Smart Parenting Techniques


Medem Smart Parents Resource

Establishing Good Sleep Habits
Newborn infants have irregular sleep cycles, which take about 6 months to mature. While newborns sleep an average of 16 to 17 hours per day, they may only sleep 1 or 2 hours at a time. As children get older, the total number of hours they need for sleep decreases and they also begin to sleep for longer periods of time. However, different children have different needs. It is normal for even a 6 month old to wake up briefly during the night, but these awakenings should only last a few minutes and children should be able to go back to sleep easily on their own. Here are some suggestions that can help you establish good sleep habits so that everyone can sleep better at night.

When Antibiotics Are the Answer
Antibiotics can help kill bacterial infections, and bacteria are the culprit to several common childhood illnesses, including ear infections, some sinus infections, strep throat and urinary tract infections. These are all illnesses that need to be diagnosed with a trip to your family physician or pediatrician, so be sure to bring your child in for an appointment if symptoms appear.

A Book A Day — Stimulating Your Child's Mind
Reading is one instance where you truly can never have too much of a good thing. Reading to your child plays a crucial role in brain development; it engages both the ears and eyes. Story time provides bonding time between parent and child; and books provide an ageless experience — your child is never too young to be read to or too old to read a story. Unlike time spent in front of a TV, reading is commercial-free, and a book-loan is free, if you use a library card.

Tempering Tantrums
They don't call it the terrible twos for nothing. Every parent has seen their angel go from a fun-loving kid to a crying, screaming, kicking, temper-tantrum throwing child. It was only before we had our own children that we would look at other parents with a child making a scene and say, "That will never be me." Never say never may be cliché, but this is one particular case where the advice applies. Once our children hit the age of 2, we realize we are in a totally different time in parenthood.

The good news is temper tantrums are a natural part of a child's emotional development. And even better news is that temper tantrums are a stage that children grow out of. Tantrums usually stop or slow by age 4.

School Lunch: Friend or Foe?
At least 180 days a year, come noontime, our children are under the eye of the lunch lady, opening their brown bags or lining up in the "hot lunch line" to be fed. Although school lunch may conjure up less than desirable memories for us all, a bad reputation is only one of several issues swarming around this meal. Fast food and vending machines are now in many schools, some lunch periods have been cut to a short half hour, and obesity in children and adolescents continues to grow. What can we do as parents to help ensure that our children are eating right once they walk out the front door?

Does My Child Have ADHD?
It's the start of a new school year. And as a daily classroom schedule gets underway, some children's behavior may be identified as problematic. Teachers are often the first to raise a flag about the possibility of Attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Experts estimate 5 percent of school-aged children are affected by the disorder, which leaves most classrooms of 30 with at least one student dealing with ADHD symptoms.

Pleasing Picky Eaters — What to Do When Your Child Picks at the Plate
Have a picky eater? Take heart. You aren't alone. Studies show parents self-report as high as one in two children as picky eaters. With snacks and meals, most children, even the ones that are hard to please in the kitchen, are able to get the needed calories and nutrients to grow healthy. Unless your child is showing signs of fatigue or malnutrition, there is probably no reason for concern.

Co-Parenting After Divorce/Separation: Making Two Households Harmonious
While you and your child's other parent may live in two separate households, it is best your child doesn't experience two separate lives. What if you and your ex are nothing alike? That's okay. You don't need to be the same person, but you do need to provide some kind of consistency in your child's daily life. Children do better when there is predictability to their routine. In a best-case scenario, there is inter-home consistency and coordination regarding schedule and rules. If such uniformity is not a realistic possibility, make sure at a minimum that each separate home is consistent within itself.

One Big Happy Family: Infants and Four-Legged Friends Under One Roof
With 70 percent of U.S. households having a four-legged family member, many of us start out as caregivers to pets before children. This leaves expecting parents to question, "Is it safe to keep pets when the new baby comes home?"

Sound and Fury — Too Little of Both?
The Republican and Democratic Conventions are over. The candidates have spoken - and will keep speaking right through the November election season. Republicans and Democrats alike are talking about a lot of issues. The one issue they're not saying enough about? Health care.

The Influence of Parents on Their Children's Health
There are many factors throughout the journey from infancy to adulthood that mold a person, yet most would argue, the influence of parents takes a lead role. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. We pass things along to our children … hair color, eye color, genetic predispositions for certain conditions — but it's not all in the genes. Our mannerisms, beliefs, attitudes, good habits and bad habits all have impact.

Bed-wetting — and the Tender-Loving Response Required
There is nothing more embarrassing for a youngster than having an "accident" at a sleepover. I recall such a moment in my own childhood - and then my attempt to cover the evidence by spilling a coke as a "cover." To this day I don't know if I got by with it, but I could have died of mortification!

A Death in the Family: Helping Your Child Grieve
My mother-in-law passed away last winter, two days before Christmas. A beloved grandmother and great-grandmother, her passing affected many generations simultaneously. There were details to deal with and questions to answer. Should the children be at the funeral? How should they be told of the death? How should we celebrate a holiday while grieving a loved one?


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