Non-screen based holiday gift ideas for children of all ages

non-screen based holiday gift ideas

Holiday gift ideas!

From toddlers to teens, use of tablets, smart phones, and game systems abound. With Black Friday fast approaching, it’s easy to run out of non-screen based holiday gift ideas.

In our gift ideas post, we suggest presents for children of all ages, from newborn to teen. You’ll find non-screen based fun gifts to encourage your children’s motor, intellectual, and emotional growth.

If you really run out of ideas even after reading the post, you can just wrap random objects in layers of wrapping paper and have your children unwrap them. Maybe it’ll be as intriguing to your kids in real life as on YouTube.

Happy shopping!

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD

©2018 Two Peds in a Pod®

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Can’t fall asleep? Relaxation techniques to quell anxiety

relaxation techniques

I love kids who worry. If they didn’t worry, they wouldn’t care, and if they didn’t care, nothing would ever get done. But sometimes, those worries grow bigger than your child and threaten to engulf them. Like any skill, you can teach your child to calm their mind and settle their emotions. Helping them with relaxation techniques as they fall asleep will translate into the ability for your child to calm themselves during the day.

When your child was a baby you would rock them, sing to them, and maybe give a pacifier. But now that they are older, other calming modalities are available. Continue Reading

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How to get rid of Halloween Candy

How to get rid of Halloween Candy

After the fun

You poured out all of your two liter soda bottles, replaced all of the potato chip snacks with fruit, and signed up all of your children for winter sports.  Just when you thought your family’s exercise level and food choices were perfect, along comes Halloween, that fabulous candy-filled holiday, to thwart your efforts. Here are some ways to keep the Halloween candy deluge down to a trickle:

-Buy back the candy with toys or money. The Halloween Buy Back Program was started by dentist Chris Cammer in 2005. Traditionally, dentists buy back candy from kids and usually send the candy to United States troops. Find local participating dentists and learn more about the program here.

-Have the Sweet-Tooth Fairy or Switch Witch™ come overnight, pick up the candy, and leave a present behind.

-Let your children know Halloween (and most holidays) lasts only one day. Live it up on Halloween, then dump the extra sweets into the trashcan the next day. If you hear whining, remind them that until summer, holidays come at a pace of about once a month. Additionally, they may attend an awful lot of birthday parties in between. A parental saying you can recite is, “It’s not a treat if you have something all the time.”

-If you decide to keep a small bag of candy around, watch out, your children will want to eat some daily. Candy becomes an ongoing “must have.” Instead, designate a day of the week that you will let them have some candy such as Candy Friday or Sweet Saturday. If the kids whine for candy on any other day of the week, you can say, ”Sorry, it’s not Sweet Saturday.”

-One parent told me she discourages her kids from eating too much Halloween candy by making their dental appointments on November 1—the day after Halloween.

As final justification for getting rid of the abundance of candy after Halloween, Dr. Kardos and I have heard more than a few parents say, “If I don’t get the candy out of my house, I’ll be the one who ends up eating it all.”

Now, that’s a scary Halloween thought.

Naline Lai, MD and Kardos, MD
© 2018 Two Peds in a Pod®

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Oh no, it’s the back to school cold!

back to school cold

Mr. Germ was excited to join the class this year as mystery reader until he saw the hand sanitizer on the back to school supply list.

Your child went back to school a couple of weeks ago, you’ve been to back to school night, and now, right on time, many of your children have… THE BACK TO SCHOOL COLD. What to do with this cold?

Whether caught from the toddler room or from the middle school hallway, most back to school colds look the same. Your child will start with a day of extra grumpiness or vague complaints about feeling tired or having a sore throat, followed by a runny nose Continue Reading

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What’s that red mark on my child’s face? Picture puzzle of the day

 

spider angioma

A red mark on your child’s cheek appears just like the one above. Can you wait to ask the pediatrician about it at their next check up? Yes, you can wait. The spider-like pinkish mark is aptly named a spider angioma. Also called by other names such as spider nevus or spider telangiectasia, the marks are composed of fine blood vessels in a radiating pattern close to the skin’s surface. When pressed, they momentarily disappear (blanching). Although in adults they can be associated with pregnancy or liver disease, having one or two is common in healthy children. Since they are harmless and often resolve in their own, we usually leave them alone.

There’s also a type of red mark called a cherry angioma. You can probably guess what shape those marks take.

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
© 2018 Two Peds in a Pod®

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Hooray! United States flu vaccine is here!

should my child get the flu vaccine?

Fight the flu! Vaccinate!

It’s time for your child’s yearly flu vaccine!

Why get the flu shot? Vaccinate against influenza (the flu) not only to avoid missed school days, but also to avoid hospitalizations and death. Last year in the USA, 172 children died from flu. You may not have heard about these fatalities because more sensational news tends to overshadow news about illness. We wish the news would inform that the vast majority of kids who died from flu had not received the flu vaccine. In addition, about half of the children who died from the flu were previously healthy and without underlying medical problems. Excluding the 2009 flu pandemic (H1N1), last year’s flu deaths represents “the highest reported since influenza-associated pediatric mortality became a nationally notifiable condition in 2004.” Kids younger than 5 years old have the highest flu complication rate of all children, so even if they do not yet attend daycare or school, bring your little ones in for a flu vaccine. Vaccinate your school-aged kids as well, for they spread the flu to more folks than any other age group.

Does it help to wait to give the vaccine? What if the vaccine wears off before flu season ends?
Continue Reading

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Updated car seat safety guidelines!

car seat safety 2018 update

Car seat safety isn’t just child’s play.

Just in time for families who plan to drive to Labor Day Weekend destinations, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their car seat safety recommendations.

Families are now encouraged to keep their children rear facing for as long as possible, until they exceed the height or weight limit allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer. This means that some kids who are older than two years will continue to ride backwards. Dr. Lai’s own pip squeaks easily would have ridden backwards until they were three or four years old. Continue Reading

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Ready for school: backpacks, packing lunches, when to keep your kid home for illness, and more

 

get your kids ready for schoolNow that you just read how to drop your kid off at school on the first day, you may be backpack shopping, pondering what to send your child for lunch, and knowing that your child will have difficulty waking up early for school. Never fear! Your Two Peds can help you and your kids get ready for school.

First, make sure your child’s backpack fits correctly and is not too heavy. Our guest blogger, a pediatric physical therapist, provides tips to help lighten the load.

Help your child get back on a school-friendly sleep schedule. If your child is still in summer vacation sleep mode, we provide ways to help get your child’s sleep back on track.

If your child brings lunch to school, you may need some hints on what to pack and how to beware of junk food disguised as healthy food. And this post provides suggestions for healthy snacks.

Need suggestions on how to motivate your child to want to learn? Two former school principals share their wisdom in this post.

Finally, you should know when to keep your child home for illness. This post also contains some surprising truths about when you can send your child back to school during as well as after certain maladies.

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2018 Two Peds in a Pod®

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The truth about the first day of school for parents- from kindergarten to college

first day of school for parents

The first of many first days of school.

Parents, let’s admit it. Many of the tears shed on the first day of school are our own. The first day of school for parents is not easy. There is genuine sadness and ache that goes beyond the bittersweet as our kids approach momentous milestones such as kindergarten entry and college send off. As our pediatrician friend Dorothy Novick posted on Facebook, “Because here’s a thing no one ever says out loud on Facebook: as all the balloons and congrats explode on our feeds, many of us parents of graduates are experiencing some pretty serious grief. There’s true pride in the photos, yes, but there’s also honest to goodness grief.” Continue Reading

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