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Summer Slide: Tips to Beat the Seasonal Academic Slump

Summer Slide: Tips to Beat the Seasonal Academic Slump

As kids enjoy the lazy days of summer, there’s no pause button for the brain. If you don’t keep your kids’ minds active, they could actually rewind a bit academically in what is known as the summer slide. What, exactly, is the summer slide? The summer slide is the academic setback kids sometimes experience over the long break from school. The seasonal vacation can allow the brain to forget the information learned and the skills gained during the previous school year when those skills aren’t being practiced or put to use. Just as our bodies need physical exercise to stay fit, our minds need mental exercise to stay stimulated and sharp. Research has shown that reading, math calculation, and other skills can be affected by summer learning loss. This past school year, the pandemic brought additional learning challenges for children as their routines were disrupted and they lost opportunities for engaging with […]

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 […]

Should You Talk to Teens About weight Gain?

Should You Talk to Teens About Weight Gain?

America, we have a problem. One in five American children and adolescents are obese. Obesity is highest among adolescents 12-19 years-old compared to younger children. How do you know if your teenager is obese? Your teen’s Primary Care Provider (PCP) measures Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters – yay for BMI calculators! Teenagers’ BMIs are expressed as percentiles: Underweight: below the 5th Healthy: between the 5th and 85th Overweight: above the 85th Obese: above the 95th Why do parents need to worry? Because facts are facts: obese children are more likely to become obese adults, and obesity increases the risk of problems including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Also, we live in a society where weight bias and discrimination, or “ fat shaming,” is rampant.  Fat shaming triggers physical and emotional and physiological changes and is linked to […]

What You Could Miss If You Skip Your Child's Well Visit

What You Could Miss If You Skip Your Child’s Well Visit

Your family has been doing their part and staying home as much as possible to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19. But messages can get confusing about whether you should take your child to their doctor for a pediatric well visit or check-up. Even during a pandemic, it’s important for kids to have their growth, development, and well-being tracked. What You Could Be Missing by Skipping Your Child’s Well Visit Physical Exam: A regular physical exam can help your doctor pick up hard-to-detect issues like high blood pressure, heart murmur, lumps and bumps, ear and hearing issues, and even cavities. Assessment of Growth: During a check-up, your healthcare provider will track height, weight, and BMI. These measurements can tell them if your child has any medical issues that impact growth. Assessment of Development: A development exam looks at parts of your child’s functioning, including things like reasoning and understanding, […]

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 […]

10 Tips for a Safe Halloween This Year

10 Tips for a Safe Halloween This Year

2020…the year of cancellations. But as the pandemic continues, we have adapted. Fun activities are returning in safe and creative ways—drive-in concerts, anyone? As summer fades to fall, the question is beginning to swirl: Can we have Halloween? The simple answer is yes, so long as everyone follows some basic safety measures. The tips below apply to all ghouls and goblins, big and small! Ditch the Candy Bowl Quite possibly the most important thing you can do is forgo the “communal” candy bowl. Whether you usually hand out candy from the bowl or let kiddos dig in and grab their favorites, it’s just too tricky for trick-or-treating this year. A candy bowl cannot be contact-free. So what’s the alternative? Grab-and-Go Set up a table, decorate it if you wish, and place the wrapped candy out on the table individually, allowing kids to come up and pick their favorites without touching […]

Rethink How you Think About Food

Positively Delicious: Having Healthy Conversations About Food

Melanie Franklin, PhD, Psychology Fellow, contributed to this blog post. It’s well recognized that childhood eating habits have a lasting impact on health, longevity, and disease prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that obesity affects approximately 42% of adults living in America, and obesity-related conditions (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer) are some of the leading causes of preventable death. Obesity affects nearly 20% of children and adolescents (13.7 million), which greatly increases the chances that obesity will carry forward into adulthood. While encouraging healthy food choices is important for preventing obesity and its related conditions, parents should be mindful of how they discuss diet and weight with and around their children. Encouraging kids to diet can have a lasting impact into adulthood, including: a higher risk of disordered eating, unhealthy weight control behaviors, lower body satisfaction, and higher risk of overweight […]

Food Prep During Extended Stays at Home

Food Prep During Extended Stays at Home

As the country tries to re-open amidst this global pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still encouraging people to stay home to help minimize the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Are you struggling to keep your pantry and fridge stocked? It’s easy to make the most of your grocery store orders, whether shopping at the store or ordering online, it just takes a bit of planning and meal preparation in some form. This may mean simply stocking up on food essentials on taking the time to plan family meals. Stock Your Shelves, But Do Not Hoard No matter what works best for your family, what is important is that you do what you can to have about two weeks’ worth of food at home (per U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommendation). Below are some tips for food shopping during this unusual time. Check what you already have. […]

Peaceful Protests

Peaceful Protests

With the current social unrest over police brutality related to the death of George Floyd and others, your children may ask questions about the protests that are happening nationwide. Here are some tips on how to respond to kids on what can be a divisive topic. State the facts I recommend that parents respond to tough questions from their kids with a simple statement of facts, followed by questions of their own. If a child asks, “What are these protests all about?” you might respond: “Many people are protesting the deaths of unarmed black women and men by police and others.” You might follow up by asking questions about what your child thinks about the protests, what they have heard (from friends, media, etc.) and what parts are confusing to them. Asking questions first will likely lead to a better conversation with your child. As you respond, try to help […]

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.

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 […]

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