Emotions & Behavior Archives - Nemours Blog

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Emotions & Behavior

Anxiety in Kids: Know the Signs

Anxiety in Kids: Know the Signs

While back to school season is usually an exciting time for most students, many kids and teens may also be feeling anxious or worried about what this school year might have in store. For many students, this is the first time they will return to in person learning since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While some may be looking forward to getting back to their normal schedules, there are those who are struggling with returning to school under new conditions.  A lot of kids and teens have struggled with stress and uncertainty over the last year because of the disruptions to “normal” life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While returning to in person learning has many benefits for mental health and well-being, especially increased socializing that is crucial for kids and teens, your child may also have some concerns about heading back to school this year, including: Being behind other classmates […]

All About Animal Therapy

All About Animal Therapy

Besides stealing our hearts by being cute — and in many cases, fluffy — our four-legged friends who are trained as therapy animals have numerous health benefits to offer. Animal assisted therapy is proven to help with both mental and physical conditions. Even healthy people can benefit from animal therapy. Many hospitals offer various animal therapy programs to assist patients in healing. In fact, this is a practice that dates back to the ancient Greeks, who were said to use horses to cheer up patients.   Benefits of Animal Therapy  Animal therapy has physical benefits that include:  Lowering blood pressure  Releasing oxytocin, which has a calming effect   Lessening any physical pain patients have   On top of the physical benefits, animal therapy also has mental health benefits such as:  Decreasing feelings of loneliness and isolation  Lowering stress  Providing a sense of comfort  Nemours Children’s Health System offers animal therapy programs at their hospitals in Delaware and Florida as a part of their commitment to caring for the whole child. One program offered in Florida […]

Keep Your Kids Safe From TikTok "Challenges"

Keep Your Kids Safe From TikTok “Challenges”

Rachel Simon, third-year pediatric resident at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, also contributed to this article. Teens’ use of TikTok, the social media app that allows users to watch, create, and share 15- to 30-second videos recorded on cellphones, has escalated during the pandemic. TikTok is now the second most popular downloaded app, after only Instagram. If you ask teenagers what they like to do online, chances are it’s TikTok. Almost half of TikTok users are between ages 16 and 24, and 90% of users engage with the app every day. The content varies widely and ranges from music, dance, exercise, and tutorial videos to humor and parodies. TikTok can get people moving, educated, and laughing. “It’s all good!” however, does not apply to all of TikTok. Here are just a few of TikTok’s dangerous “challenges”: “The Benadryl Challenge” involves individuals taking high doses of diphenhydramine, an over-the-counter allergy […]

How to Lend an Empathetic Ear

How to Lend an Empathetic Ear

It clearly goes without saying that we are living in challenging times. Everyone is doing the best they can, finding ways to cope and adjust to this so-called “new normal.” But it’s important to remember this:  it’s okay to not be okay. Things are hard, they are different, and everyone processes those hardships and changes in unique ways. One way to cope with a difficult or stressful situation is to speak with someone, to be heard and seen. A listening and non-judgmental ear is often comforting and can be a resource of support without focusing on “fixing” the problem. At Nemours Children’s Health System, we offer the Peer Support Program, which provides confidential, free support to all our associates. By being paired with a peer supporter, the person seeking support can speak with a fellow associate, who understands their work-life, and may relate to what they are going through or […]

Navigating Early Picky Eating Concerns

Navigating Early Picky Eating Concerns

Who recalls the joy and excitement of their baby gobbling up all sorts of messy foods? One of my favorite photos of my son is him at 7 months old with a yogurt beard. As parents and caregivers we often work so diligently in those early introductions of solids — whether it’s spoon fed purees or baby led weaning. But something tends to shift in those toddler years. Our little ones have more awareness of hunger and satisfaction cues and their preferences for flavors emerge. We often see children start refusing those previously accepted foods and showing a liking for specific foods. It can be daunting not to comment on our child’s negative responses to food or trying to persuade them to “just take a bite.” Listed below are some tips to help you navigate these picky eating behaviors. Understand Hierarchy of Feeding Ellyn Satter, a dietitian who is recognized […]

Positive Conversations about Violence in the News

With the current social unrest over election results and violence at the Capitol Building, your children may ask questions about what they see on the news. Here are some tips on how to respond.

Online School and Bullying – Know the Signs and How to Prevent It

Online School and Bullying – Know the Signs and How to Prevent It

Many children have gotten used to going to school and learning virtually since the beginning of the pandemic. But now, some students are facing a new form of cyberbullying via the chat functions on Zoom, Google Media, or whichever tool their school district uses for online learning. School administrators, teachers, and parents should know the signs of this type of bullying and work together to prevent and stop it. When the Chat Becomes Mean Virtual meeting and classroom tools have become useful to educate children during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, parents and teachers are seeing that some students are using the chat function to make fun of other kids, taking screenshots or photos to ridicule their looks, social status, and what they have or don’t have in the background. Unlike an incident that happens in school and is often quickly dealt with and then forgotten, shared photos and messages can […]

Home Learning Projects

There are exciting “extracurricular” projects that we should be completing with our kids to help stimulate their creativity and keep them engaged with the learning process. We put together a list of educational activities that will also help teach your young ones basic life skills.

Trouble Breathing During Exercise -- It’s Not Always Asthma, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Trouble Breathing During Exercise — It’s Not Always Asthma

What Is Vocal Cord Dysfunction? When a pre-teen or teenager experiences trouble breathing while exercising or playing a sport, many doctors and parents are quick to diagnose the child with asthma. But in some cases, it’s not asthma at all — it’s vocal cord dysfunction, a condition that occurs when the vocal cords do not open correctly. The symptoms of the condition are very similar to asthma, with a child experiencing difficulty breathing or coughing and wheezing. The difference, however, is that vocal cord dysfunction doesn’t improve with a rescue inhaler or a prescription steroid. And for some children, the condition is never diagnosed because, frustrated and distressed, the child quits the activity. But the good news is that vocal cord dysfunction can be diagnosed and treated with the correct therapy. Understanding the Symptoms “Children with vocal cord dysfunction often describe tightness as you’d find in asthma, but opposed to […]

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Your Teen Boys, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Your Teen Boys

For several decades, much of the focus on body image disorders has focused on females. In American society, the feminine ideal is to appear thin. Males, however, are encouraged to be muscular. Lately, we are witnessing a shift in how males perceive their bodies. Boys Feel the Pressure Too Many of today’s young males want a strong body; specifically, they want more muscles. With action figures such as Batman, Captain America, and Superman to magazine covers boasting “Double your muscle!” and “Bigger arms now!” it’s no wonder that teens view being chiseled and ripped as the ideal male body image. It’s one thing to play with an action figure or peruse a magazine, but it’s quite another to think obsessively about becoming muscle-bound and to diet and exercise compulsively to look this way. Sound like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)? Yes. Sound like an eating disorder? Yes. What Is Muscle Dysmorphic […]

PICU Basics and Preventing Post Intensive Care Syndrome

PICU Basics and Preventing Post Intensive Care Syndrome

If your child is seriously ill and needs a very high level of medical care, they may be sent to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). The PICU is different from other parts of the hospital; it is designed for intensive nursing care and helps for constant monitoring of things like your child’s heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. PICU Basics Your child may be put into the PICU for the following reasons:  Severe breathing problems from asthma Serious infections Certain types of heart conditions Complications of diabetes Post care for major surgery Experienced a serious accident While in the PICU, you and your child will meet many different members of their medical team. This care team includes: Doctors (often called Attending Physicians), Residents, Fellows and Medical students Nurses Respiratory, Occupational, Physical,  and Speech Therapists Pharmacists Nutritionists Social Workers, Child Life Specialists, Psychologists and Psychiatrists Children in the PICU will […]

Teens and Distracted Driving

Teens and Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in teenagers and young drivers. According to NHTSA, each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. In 2017, 3,166 people were killed in a crash involving a distracted driver. These statistics are frightening. Parents should talk to the young drivers in their family about distracted driving and methods to avoid tragedy. Taking Your Mind Off the Road Most of us are guilty of distracted driving at one time or another. It happens maybe more than we’d like to admit — we drive while letting another activity take our attention away from focusing on the road. When your brain is thinking about anything other than what is happening on the road, it makes it difficult to react during a potential crash. This […]

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