Jakob’s Journey at Renown Children’s Hospital
In August 2016, six-year-old Jakob was admitted to Renown Children's Hospital with what seemed like a common ear infection. Jakob's condition quickly progressed, and he started experiencing neurological symptoms such as difficulty speaking and a full-body shutdown. Doctors, neurologists and specialists from Renown worked with doctors from Stanford, where he was ultimately diagnosed with Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis (BBE). BBE is a rare, autoimmune response that attacks the nerves in the body due to an acute illness such as a cold, flu or, in Jakob's case, an ear infection. Jakob could not breathe or eat and experienced paralysis on the side of his face, throat, stomach, bowels, lungs and legs. In addition, he started to rapidly lose weight as well as body function. Jakob lost half his body weight which resulted in the need for a Gastrostomy tube. This device is placed surgically and gives direct access to the stomach to give the child the nutrition needed. He also needed occupational therapy, and after three and a half months of ICU respiratory therapy, surgeries and treatments, he was released home to regain his strength. Forever Grateful Anica, Jakob's mom, said, "If it were not for the quick response and unconditional support and compassion from the team at Renown, Jakob would not be here today." Jakob's family is forever grateful to the staff, community and expertise at Renown for their unwavering commitment to their son and family during their most trying time in life. "When I met Jakob on the first day of his illness, so much was unknown. My team and I were worried, as his symptoms were very unusual. His rapid deterioration, after being a perfectly healthy child, was clearly terrifying for his parents. Handing over a child's care to a team of strangers is one of the scariest things that can happen to parents,” said Dr. Kris Deeter, Physician in Chief at Renown Children’s Hospital. “However, Anica and Jeremiah were also very clear that they did not want Jakob transferred somewhere else. So, we used all our resources to care for him, arrive at a diagnosis, and start aggressive therapies. They listened to every word we said, educated themselves, and became partners in Jakob's care. We all became part of Team Jakob, and soon, he proved to us just how strong he was." Today, Jakob is 13 years old and thriving in every aspect of his life. He is currently on the honor roll in school and finds joy in his newfound passion for the violin. He loves spending his free time learning about mixing music, making new friends and traveling to different parts of the country. This summer, he will travel to Europe to explore his passion for culture. The family says, "We owe it all to the family and staff at Renown."
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2 Dangerous Car Seat Mistakes and Solutions
Car seat mistakes can have very serious consequences. Misuse of a car seat can injure your child, or fail to keep them safe in the event of a crash. A lot goes into finding the right car seat for your child. With so many factors to consider (including age, weight and height of the child, type and brand of a car seat, cost of the car seat, etc.) it can be easy to forget critical factors. Here are two common mistakes that certified technicians often find when speaking with parents. Mistake #1: Getting a used car seat without knowing its history Why: A used or secondhand car seat can pose several factors that can compromise its safety in a crash. First, car seats expire six to ten years after their date of manufacture, so refer to the car seat's manual for recommended car seat longevity. The safety mechanisms can be compromised if a car seat has been in a crash. So it's crucial to replace your car seat following a collision. Solution: Only use a car seat if you know its history. A new car seat is your best bet, as they are up to date on the latest safety guidelines, and safety mechanisms are up to standard. However, if you are considering a used car seat for your child, please ensure the following: The car seat has never been in a car crash. The car seat isn't expired or outside the manufacturer's recommended longevity. It comes with the car seat manual and has all safety labels, including manufacture date, model number, and use instructions and restrictions. The car seat or any of its parts have not been recalled. The overall state and integrity of the car seat and its parts are undamaged. The carseat or any of its parts have not been recalled and are present and in working order.
Get Ready for Baby with Childbirth Classes
By taking our pregnancy and birth class, you will gain the tools necessary to have a safe and empowering birth experience for both you and your baby. Chris Marlo, Childbirth Educator at Renown Health explains why birth classes are important. For questions regarding classes or tours, contact Chris Marlo: email@example.com 775-982-4352 What is a Certified Childbirth Educator/Doula? If you are expecting a baby, Renown has a wide variety of classes to help prepare you for birth. Classes are taught by certified childbirth educators and doulas. A certified childbirth educator is a trusted resource who has a passion for educating expecting parents about childbirth, and will provide you with non-biased, evidence-based information. A doula is a professional labor assistant who provides physical and emotional support during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. As you prepare for birth, our certified educators will guide you each step of the way and ensure you receive the quality care you deserve. Why Should I Take Pregnancy and Birth Classes? For expecting parents, taking a childbirth education course is an important step in preparing for their new arrival. We cover topics such as labor and delivery, postpartum care, breastfeeding, nutrition, pain management techniques, and more. Our experienced instructors will provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions during your pregnancy and childbirth. With our classes, you can be sure that you have all the knowledge necessary to have a positive experience before, during, and after your baby’s arrival. Our classes will help ease your fears as we practice breathing, relaxation and the many tools you can utilize for birth. At Renown we understand that there is no right way to give birth, and our educators will offer a supportive environment where questions are encouraged, and everyone is respected. Childbirth Class Options: Baby and Family Suites Tour & Virtual Tour Breastfeeding Basics and Beyond Class Breathing & Relaxation Techniques for Birth Pregnancy and Birth – 5 & 7 Week Series Pregnancy and Birth Class Additional Resources: Baby Safe Class Babysitter Class Grandparents Virtual Class Infant CPR & Choking Class Newborn Care Nurturing Your Newborn Preparing for Postpartum Virtual Class
Why I Give: Sarah’s Story
As an avid soccer player, Sarah saw her fair share of doctors growing up. However, it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease affecting how the body ingests gluten, that she became passionate about healthcare. “I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” Sarah said. “I was getting sick, and my symptoms were getting worse.” Thankfully, after seeing a handful of doctors, she was on the path to recovery. “I remember being so relieved, and still am! Now I can focus on getting better,” said Sarah. The most important change people make after being diagnosed with celiac disease is the shift to a gluten-free diet. For many, Sarah included, living gluten-free is a lifestyle change. Thankfully, Sarah sees significant improvements in her health after adjusting her diet. “No one should just accept their symptoms as part of life,” said Sarah. Her increased awareness of health and nutrition motivated Sarah to study biology at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). “I want to be a pediatrician so I can help patients, especially kids, figure out treatment plans.” said Sarah who credits her experience living with celiac disease as her inspiration. Dancing for Kids’ Health Currently a senior at UNR, Sarah is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon, a co-ed international medical fraternity. Together with her classmates, she is bringing new energy and ideas to philanthropy. Sarah and the members of Phi Delta Epsilon are doing things differently and in many ways redefining what it means to give. This year, they are on a mission to raise funds for kids’ health at Renown Children’s Hospital. And they are doing this by dancing. The UNR Dance Marathon is part of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon, a student-led, year-round philanthropic movement that unites students across the United States and Canada. Collectively, they raise critical funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. And Renown Children’s Hospital is our northern Nevada CMN partner hospital. Since 1991, over 400 college campuses and thousands of students have raised $300 million for kids. Sarah is the executive director of UNR’s chapter. “So far this year we’ve already raised $10,000 for Renown," said Sarah. Most of the fundraising happens on the day of the dance marathon. But throughout the school year, students hold mini fundraisers on campus and in the community. One hundred percent of the funds raised stay local, impacting Renown’s youngest patients. For every dollar donated, 18% helps provide charitable care, 15% goes to life-saving equipment, 12% supports medical research and 55% provides education, patient services and advancement services. “It's inspiring that we banded together to help kids in our community,” said Sarah. Last year they raised over $18,000. They are hoping to exceed that number at this year’s dance marathon in April.
Thank You, Emmalee Sutton!
Every year, 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) across the country name a champion in each of their local communities who will serve as the face for children treated at their community’s children's hospital. Emmalee Sutton, 16, served as Renown Children’s Hospital Champion Child for the past two years, raising awareness for children’s healthcare in northern Nevada and across the nation. A Fighter from the Start Emmalee was diagnosed at age two with autoimmune hepatitis and Addison’s disease, which means her body underproduces critical hormones. It also means that, from an early age, Emmalee spent a lot of her time within the walls of Renown Children’s Hospital. She has endured a long road of illnesses and hospitalizations since, including her gallbladder being removed at age eight, port surgery at 13 and she has received several liver biopsies over the years. However, this disease does not define who Emmalee is; in fact it empowers her to be a fighter for herself and for other kids just like her who are battling disease and illness from a young age. Despite these challenges, Emmalee is a source of hope and inspiration to everyone she meets, never allowing her medical conditions to hold her back. Emmalee knows her story will inspire other young patients to continue fighting and believing in themselves. “Instead of complaining about all the things I can’t do, I celebrate all the things I can do,” Emmalee said. A Voice for Kids and Families Like Hers In her time as our Champion Child, and even well before the official title, Emmalee was a spokesperson for all the children in our community who need care. Since moving into the role of Champion Child in 2021, Emmalee has accomplished an impressive amount over the past two years. To name a few, here are some accomplishments Emmalee has achieved as Renown's Champion Child: Touring donors around Renown Children’s Hospital Promoting Renown’s Panda Cares Center for Hope Helping at Costco each year during their Miracle Balloon Campaign Making blizzards at Dairy Queen on Miracle Treat Day Standing on stage with The Beach Boys to share her experiences in the hospital and talk about the need for outstanding critical care close to home Attending Reno Health Foundation events announcing donations to Renown Children’s Hospital Working alongside NFL legend Steve Young, championing the importance of music therapy for kids staying in the hospital with the announcement of Sophie’s Place Being featured in a television show pilot with the National Automobile Museum In September 2021, Emmalee was awarded the Reno PBS Spotlight Award for Extraordinary Youth. She was highlighted as an individual who makes a positive impact on her community. For her efforts, Emmalee was honored with a $1,000 award, which she generously donated to Renown Children's Hospital. Emmalee’s commitment to Renown inspires us to continue Fighting the Good Fight for our youngest patients, so we can continue to provide the best care for kids like her. Dream it, Wish it, Do it While Emmalee’s tenure as Champion Child ends this month, her passion for helping members of our community is just getting started. Inspired by her drive to work with young girls, Emmalee is taking a counselor-in-training course with the Girl Scouts. She is excited to shape the future of these girls' lives by being a mentor and leader. She has been a Girl Scout for nine years and gives credit to the organization for making a positive impact on her life and contributing to many of the leadership qualities she possesses today. “The Girl Scouts has helped me understand that I am a strong, independent, compassionate young lady, and I use those thoughts whenever I am having all the health issues I have had to endure,” Emmalee said. What else is next for Emmalee? She hopes that being a Girl Scout and training to be a counselor will help her achieve her long-term goal of becoming a pediatric nurse. “I can’t thank the nurses and doctors at Renown enough for the love and care they have given me and continue to do so. They are my inspiration!” she said. But for us, Emmalee is the inspiration. From all of us at Renown, thank you, Emmalee. You motivate us to be our best. How You Can Help Make a Difference Renown Health is focused on being the destination for all your family’s health and healthcare needs. As a not-for-profit health system, Renown relies heavily on community funding. If you are interested in supporting Renown Children’s Hospital, and kids like Emmalee, please consider giving to Renown Health Foundation. Donations are accepted through the following ways: Make a gift at renown.org/give Call Renown Health Foundation at 775-982-5545 Mail a check to Renown Health Foundation, 1155 Mill St., 02, Reno, NV 89502
How to Talk to Your Children About Vaping
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), e-cigarette use isn’t just up among adults, but it has also tripled in usage for teens. Dr. Jose Cucalon Calderon, a Pediatrics Physician at Renown Health and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, provides helpful insight into e-cigarettes and the dangers it poses to kids and teens. What Are E-Cigarettes? E-cigarettes are electronic nicotine delivery devices. e-cigarettes use liquid nicotine as an alternative to traditional smoked cigarettes. e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is an addictive substance with known toxic side effects that, when released in very high doses, that can have health consequences and causes addiction. Nicotine is described as “toxic,” but the most "toxic" part of e-cigarettes' is everything else within the E-juice. Nicotine mainly keeps people coming back for more. According to the CDC, e-cigarettes are also advertised using the same themes and tactics that have been shown to increase youth use of other tobacco products, including cigarettes. In 2021, approximately 76% of students reported exposure to tobacco product marketing through traditional sources, and approximately 74% of students who used social media had seen e-cigarette–related content. What Does This Mean for the Health My Teen? We know that nicotine can affect brain development in kids and teens, so it is important to educate your teen on the risks of exposure. If you have young children in the home, it is important to be vigilant as well. One teaspoonful of liquid nicotine can be fatal for a young child. How Do I Monitor My Teen for E-Cigarette Use? Monitoring your children can be tricky for parents. E-cigarettes can be harder to detect, unlike traditional cigarettes that were easy to detect by smell and residual odor. E-cigarette use, or “vaping,” is often associated with a dry cough or chronic throat/mouth irritation. Overall, increasing research shows strong links between mental health conditions and posterior combustible tobacco use along with increased risk of marijuana use. Nicotine is addictive, but it does not cause altered mental status like the other drugs of abuse can. All parents are strongly encouraged to talk to their children about the potential dangers of e-cigarettes. What are the health risks of vaping? Vaping devices have been on the market for a relatively short period of time, with evidence-based health effects and complications still being discovered. Vaping effects poses many harmful risks to children and teens. The risks of vaping include: Chest pain Difficulty breathing Dizziness Headaches Impaired response to infection in the airway Inflammatory problems of the airway Nausea Nicotine addiction Seizures Vomiting For more information for both parents and teens about quitting smoking or vaping, you can click here. Parents can also use this tip sheet from the U.S. Surgeon General to talk to their child about vaping. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration free national helpline number is 1-800-662-4357 (HELP). It is available 24/7, 365 days a year offering confidential treatment referral and information (in English and Spanish). If you or someone you know is facing a substance (or mental health) problem, please reach out to them.
What Every Parent Needs to Know About SIDS
Although the exact cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is unknown, there are steps parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk. Here's what every parent needs to know. SIDS is the leading cause of death in the country in infants in their first year of life. However, the exact cause of SIDS still remains a mystery, though it is often attributed to unsafe sleeping practices. Karen Wagner, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Renown Health answers some of the most commonly asked SIDS questions. Protecting Babies from SIDS: Always place babies on their backs when putting them to sleep for naps and at night. Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet. Share your room – not your bed – with your baby. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else. Keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding, out of your baby's sleep area. Do not smoke during pregnancy or around the baby; these are strong risk factors for SIDS. The risk of SIDS is even greater when a baby shares a bed with a smoker. To reduce risk, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby. Your SIDS Questions Answered: Who's most at risk? Three out of five SIDS victims are boys. African American and Native American infants are twice as prone to the syndrome. Other groups at increased risk include preemies, low-birthweight babies, and infants exposed to cigarette smoke. Is putting my baby down on their back really that important? It's vital. Back-sleeping increases a baby's access to fresh air and makes her less likely to get overheated (another factor linked to SIDS). I put my child to sleep on their back at night, but can I let this rule slide for a short nap? It's not worth the risk. Babies who normally sleep on their back are 18 times more likely to die of SIDS when placed down on their tummy for a snooze. Is side-sleeping safe? No. Studies show that putting a baby down on her side rather than on her back doubles the SIDS risk. It's easier for an infant to roll onto her tummy from her side than from her back. I'm worried about my baby getting cold. Is it safe to cover them with a blanket? Wait until their first birthday. Blankets, pillows, comforters and stuffed toys can hinder your child's breathing; even soft or improperly fitting mattresses can be dangerous. If you're worried that your little one may get chilly, swaddle them in a receiving blanket or use a sleep sack.
10 Facts About Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression linked to seasonal changes. Learn to recognize the symptoms of SAD in your kids (or yourself) should they appear. We checked in with Dr. Vanessa Slots, the Division Chief of General Pediatrics at Renown to help us understand this condition. 1. Blame SAD on the sun—or the lack of it Seasonal Affective Disorder is a more severe form of the “winter blues. Over-sleeping, feeling irritable or unhappy, and withdrawing from people are classic symptoms of SAD. Approximately 90 percent of people with SAD experience depressive symptoms yearly in the fall and winter, while about 10 percent have depression in the spring and summer. The causes of SAD aren’t explicitly known. Still, researchers believe it’s related to a change in circadian rhythms, with differences in the amount of sunlight during different times of the year as one factor. 2. The further north you live, the more common SAD becomes While Seasonal Affective Disorder is predominantly an adult condition, estimates are that one million children in North America have it. Interestingly, SAD does not occur in the tropics. 3. SAD is more recognizable in adults than in children Common symptoms include feeling “empty,” pessimistic, hopeless, short-tempered, restless and not knowing what to do with oneself. Symptoms vary greatly from one individual to the next. SAD is more common in women than in men. When symptoms are severe, physical examinations are required to rule out other medical causes and determine whether antidepressant medication is needed. 4. In teenagers, symptoms tend to revolve around school-related issues Schoolwork suffers, students have difficulty getting up in the morning and arriving late for class, homework is incomplete, and grades may plummet. Afflicted students have difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions. They lose interest in activities that they previously enjoyed. Some teenagers tend to overeat, crave carbohydrates such as pasta and gain weight. Many teachers, school counselors and therapists should be more familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
More Than a Cold
Respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV, is a common respiratory virus that impacts the lungs and breathing pathways. The virus can be dangerous for infants and young children and is also concerning for older adults. While most older kids and adults only experience cold-like systems and recover in a week or two, an estimated 58,000-80,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV each year, and in 2022 healthcare organizations across the country are experiencing higher infection rates than in years past. "RSV typically peaks in the winter, but this season we are seeing an earlier surge in cases,” said Dr. Vanessa Slots, the Division Chief of General Pediatrics at Renown. “Infants who are infected with RSV almost always show symptoms. Call your healthcare provider immediately if your child is having difficulty breathing, is not drinking enough fluids or is experiencing worsening symptoms.” Symptoms of RSV: Runny nose Decrease in appetite/inability to drink Dry diapers, an indication of dehydration Cough, which may progress to wheezing or difficulty breathing Irritability (most common in very young infants) Decreased activity (most common in very young infants) Decreased appetite (most common in very young infants) Apnea, pauses in breathing for more than 10 seconds (most common in very young infants) What to do if you think your child has RSV: Call your pediatrician! If you suspect your child might have RSV, consulting their healthcare provider is the best first line of defense. From here they will help you build an appropriate treatment plan for child. Keep in mind that many pediatrician offices offer 24/7 call lines. If your child is experiencing retracted breathing (when the area between the ribs and in the neck sinks in when a person attempts to inhale), dehydration (not drinking and decrease in wet diapers) or apnea (pauses in breathing for more than 10 seconds) please call 911 or go to the closest emergency room. Treating RSV from home: Clear your child's nasal pathway with a bulb syringe or saline spray/drops Stay home and rest Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration Manage fever with fever reducers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen Preventing the spread of RSV: Good news! The biggest RSV prevention tips are almost identical to what we’ve already been doing to prevent COVID-19 – so hopefully, these actions are already second nature. If you have young children or regularly encounter younger children, remember to: Wash your hands often Keep your hands off your face Avoid close contact with sick people Cover your coughs and sneezes Clean and disinfect surfaces Stay home when you are sick Get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19 to prevent more serious co-infections RSV is dangerous for older adults, Too Older adults – especially those over 65 years old, have chronic heart or lung disease or a weakened immune system – also need to be hyper-vigilant about RSV. If you or your loved one is in the older adult at-risk group, remember to follow the above prevention measures and talk to your healthcare provider immediately if you suspect you have RSV. *Data courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe on ATVs
In the state of Nevada, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are one of the pediatric population's top three mechanisms of injury. Kids under 16 are the leading victims of ATV incidents and fatalities because they cannot reach controls, cannot activate controls and they have a restricted field of vision. Tips to Safely Utilize ATVs ATVs are off-road vehicles used for activities such as off-roading and farm work. In the state of Nevada, it is legal for teens to ride them, even without a driver's license. However, even though it is legal for teens to ride these vehicles, it is not always safe. Here are a couple of tips and tricks to stay safe while using ATVs: Be at least 16 years old. Health and safety experts strongly discourage ATV use by anyone younger than 16. Operating an ATV demands that drivers be skilled at making quick adjustments, such as speeding up, slowing down and shifting their weight to help turn the vehicle. People under 16 are less likely to have the physical strength and decision-making experience necessary to drive an ATV safely. Get safety certified. Before you ride an ATV on a trail, learn how to do it safely in a controlled setting. Visit the ATV Safety Institute's website for course information. Ride an ATV that's right for your size and age. Full-size ATVs can weigh more than 600 pounds and be very difficult to handle. Select an ATV designed for you or your child's age group. This sizing can be found on the manufacturer's warning label right on the vehicle. Always wear an approved helmet and eye protection. The best helmets for ATV use have a full-face shield and meet Department of Transportation safety standards. Many helmets have flip-down visors for eye protection. If yours doesn't, be sure to wear shatterproof goggles and not just sunglasses. Wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves and over-the-ankle boots. ATVs have a high center of gravity and no safety cages, roll bars or seatbelts. If they tip, you can fall off. Protective clothing will help prevent scrapes and cuts if you get thrown from an ATV. Always ride at a safe speed on a trail meant for ATV use. When ATVs get going fast, they become less stable and more likely to tip. ATV tires are not meant for pavement or high speeds. Both factors can make turning an ATV difficult and dangerous.
Preventing Heatstroke in Children
The summer is here, and it is time to take action. The heat can be dangerous for kids, so make sure that you are aware of the signs of heatstroke and know how to prevent it. Did you know heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash related fatalities in children? “On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car.” (Safe Kids Worldwide,” 2022, para.1) Babies are at higher risk for heatstroke than adults, as they cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults can. They also do not have the same understanding of how hot the environment is and may not be able to communicate that they need to be taken out of the car. Here are eight simple tips to keep your baby cool in the back seat: In hot weather, it is important to keep your baby cool and hydrated by using a car seat cover or towel over them to reflect the sun's rays. It is important to dress your baby in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs. Make sure that your car is well ventilated and use a towel or blanket to create an air gap between your baby and the seat. This will help with air circulation, as well as provide insulation from hot surfaces. Keep an eye on your baby's skin color. If it starts looking too red or flushed, it may be time to get somewhere cooler. Keep the temperature at a comfortable temperature for you, not for your child. Keep windows cracked open for ventilation and make sure that there is nothing blocking the flow of air from entering or exiting the vehicle. Dress your infant appropriately for their environment with appropriate head and neck coverings, keeping them cool as well as protected from sunburns. Ensure that you have enough fluids on hand to last an hour before getting out of the car or use bottled water if possible. Never leave your child unattended in a car. If you suspect heatstroke in someone, especially a child, take the following measures: Call 911 immediately. Cool the victim – Get the person to a shady area, remove restrictive clothing and cover skin with sheets soaked in ice-water, and place ice packs in the arm pits and groin. Have the victim drink cool fluids, preferably an electrolyte-containing sports drink. Monitor body temperature with a thermometer, but stop cooling efforts after temperature has dropped to 102. Additional Resources: Baby Safe Class This class helps prepare parents for emergencies that may occur in baby’s first year. Along with car seat safety and basic baby proofing, discussion will include prevention and treatment of common injuries.
Bye-Bye Holidays, Hello Routines! Getting Kids Back into the Groove
The kids are back in school and the holidays are all but a distant memory: Now what? Karen Wagner, APRN, offers specific tips about getting kids back to their routines in the post-holiday-hustle-and-bustle. Are you finding the kids struggling with bedtime routines? Having trouble getting them to tackle homework? There’s a simple reason: The holidays messed with their mojo! Here, we talk with Nurse Practitioner Karen Wagner about what to do to get them back on the straight and narrow. Why Routines Are Important “Holidays are a fantastic time to get together with family and friends, so our routines are usually off — and this is understandable, “Wagner says. “While the holidays are exciting, they are chaotic and can put our kids out of the routines.” So how do you get kids back into those routines they crave? “Consistency/routines are crucial for our kids,” she says. “Most people — kids and adults — experience a let-down feeling after the holidays, and post-holiday adjustment takes time.” So what can we do, specifically? Wagner recommends the following: Re-establish family routines, including before- and after-school programs or child care routines. Once kids are back on the regular schedule, they’ll find that sense of familiarity as the old routine returns. But keep in mind, this won’t happen overnight. Encourage healthy eating, as the upheaval of their schedule can be offset by a balanced diet. Make sleep time a priority: Keep in mind that it might take up to three nights of strict bedtime to get them back on track. But enforcing normal bedtime will get their bodies back on a normal schedule. Return to usual chores and expectations. Nothing encourages a return to routine like reminding them of the basics. Incorporate indoor and outdoor time. They likely spent lots of time outdoors during our unseasonably warm winter break — and they even had a snow day or two! So encouraging both indoor and outdoor time will help them return to a circadian rhythm and tire them out from exposure to fresh air. “It is never too early to encourage a love for physical activity in kids by exposing them to fun fitness activities and sports,” Wagner says. “Physical activity improves bone health, cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, decreases levels of body fat, reduces symptoms of depression, and improves cognitive skills and the ability to concentrate.”
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