Food Fight

 

It happens to parents of toddlers all the time: you prepare your child’s favorite meal, and place it lovingly in front of them only to watch them hurl the plate to the floor. They loved this meal yesterday, how could they refuse it today? Simply put: toddlers tend to be picky eaters. For parents, this can generate a lot of anxiety about the well being of their child. I’m sharing the advice I give moms and dads in my practice to help avoid a daily food fight around the kitchen table.

Don't sweat it.

Toddlers are developing their food preferences. What they like today they may dislike tomorrow and vice versa. For a week straight, they may request (or demand) only one or two of their preferred menu items. That’s normal. And exasperating. Try to be patient, and avoid getting frustrated. Otherwise, mealtime will turn into a power struggle between you and your toddler, and no one wins. Try to include one or two of your toddler’s preferred menu items for each meal, and offer foods to your child more than once. Today may be the day they decide to love something new!

Think big picture.

Ensuring your toddler gets the nutrition they need is one of the biggest concerns when dealing with a picky eater. Consider your child’s food intake throughout the week, not just day to day or meal to meal. They may gobble up a huge breakfast and then nibble here and there for lunch. They may eat great some days and next to nothing on others. Generally, if your child is consistently growing, they are most likely getting enough calories and protein. If they’re easily moving their bowels on a daily basis, there’s enough fiber in their diet. A hungry toddler will consume more at mealtime, so make it easier on yourself by avoiding snacks and lots of liquids prior to a sit-down meal.

Work together in the kitchen.

Including toddlers in the meal planning and preparation may give them more incentive to try something new, and give them an outlet for their desire to control which foods they are eating. Invite your toddler to help you choose healthy items at the grocery store, pick new recipes or ask them to choose the side dishes for your next meal. Toddlers are eager to help, so allowing them to safely assist in the kitchen with stirring, scooping, sifting, counting and adding ingredients can grow their interest in mealtime. You may even want to surprise them with their own apron and chef’s hat!

Don’t give up!

Very few toddlers eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. When they exclaim “all done!” at the end of their meal, you’ll often find the serving of veggies exactly as you placed it on their plate - untouched. Again, that’s normal. Continue to offer them healthy choices at each meal, and set an example by making healthy choices yourself. Eventually, they will be open to trying new things, and may even come to enjoy those vegetables!

If you are feeling concerned about your child’s diet, make an appointment with your pediatric provider. They can help navigate this stage of life to ensure your little one is getting the nutrition they need to grow and develop.

  

It's easy to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your pediatric provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for your family!

 

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Family Fitness Fun

 

Physical fitness is truly a family affair – it’s good for every body! For people of all ages, physical activity is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle. It’s recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that adults have at least 150 – 300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week and children at least 60 minutes per day. Working another 30 - 60 minutes into already packed schedules is not easy, so it has to be fun, or let’s face it – we’re not doing it. We put our heads together and came up with some ideas for summer fun that make getting active as a family no sweat.

Make a splash!

Pool, sprinklers, water balloons, slip and slide, a car wash, or just the hose: you really can’t go wrong with any water-based activity. Just don’t forget to keep your sunscreen on-hand, and reapply throughout the day.

Create an obstacle course

Using what you have around your home and yard combined with physical activities (jumping jacks, anyone?), create a fun obstacle course. Time each other to see who can complete the course fastest.

Take a bike ride

Explore your neighborhood or local trails on bicycle. Biking is a great activity for all ages and skill levels. Don’t forget your helmet!

Neighborhood scavenger hunt

Create a list of objects to gather or tasks that can be completed in your yard or neighborhood. Or, try a photo scavenger hunt: rather than collecting treasures, have your scavengers take a photo of the object or activity. The first to return with all their boxes checked wins!

Go to a park

Need a change of scenery to get motivated? Check out your local parks. They offer trails for running, hiking or biking, team sports, swimming, play structures and oftentimes activities for kids – all within your community.

Play a game

When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. The same is true for fitness. If you choose an activity that you and your family enjoy, you won’t event realize you are achieving your fitness goals. Whether its soccer, baseball, kickball, basketball or something you make up – pick your teams and let the games begin!

Dance party!

Create a playlist of family favorite tunes, and turn up the volume!

Plant a garden

Planning and creating a garden creates a reason to go outside every day. Maintaining the garden provides an opportunity for physical activity and as an added bonus creates a sense of responsibility. Plant and cook from a vegetable garden for an extra positive impact on your family’s health.

Join a class

The best way to fit fitness into your schedule, is to literally schedule it. Find a local facility that offers family fitness classes, or sign up individually.

Sign up for a race

Many charities or organizations will host a fun run or race as a fundraiser. Find one that appeals to your family, and sign up! The approaching race date will give you the motivation to train, and most of the time there are shorter route options for different ages and fitness levels, so everyone can join in.

Use a fitness tracker

Weekly Fitness Tracker

Keeping track of your physical activity is a great way to ensure you achieve your goals for daily activity. There are several digital trackers available for purchase or use this fridge-ready template to add up your minutes. As a friendly competition, have the whole family keep track of their time. Accountability goes a long way!

Print your own Fitness Tracker

 

Remember: 15 minutes counts. A quick driveway basketball game or bike ride around the block can make some great strides towards a healthier lifestyle, and make an impact on your child’s lifestyle as they grow.

  

If you have questions or concerns about physical activity for anyone in your family, make an appointment with your pediatric or primary care provider today. And then get moving!

 

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Your Baby's Best Shot

 

Parents today have no shortage of information and input on raising a child. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially for new parents. We want to ensure our children have all that they need to grow and develop normally, but sorting through the mountains of recommendations can be daunting, to say the least. For parents of newborns, a frequent topic of discussion during well visits centers around vaccines. Which vaccines does your child need and when should they receive them? Let’s breakdown the most frequently asked questions around vaccines for our littlest patients.

There are a lot of vaccines out there, does my child need all of them?

Just because a vaccine exists, doesn’t mean it is recommended for your child. Your doctor will discuss with you the routine vaccination schedule, which is based on current recommendations from the American Council on Immunization Practices. This schedule applies for all children living in the U.S. Additional recommended vaccines based on travel, disease outbreaks, or other unique circumstances, can be discussed with your doctor on an individualized basis.

Watch for these common differentiators between a cough caused by a virus and one caused by asthma.

Why does my baby get so many vaccines before they are two?

Vaccines are given based on a thoughtfully developed schedule to ensure children are protected when they are most vulnerable or likely to be exposed to an illness. Pertussis (whooping cough), for instance, can be life threating to an infant, so three doses of the vaccine are given in the first year of life. For illnesses that may not impact a child until adolescence, the vaccine is delivered at a later time.

Is it safe to give my baby several vaccines at one time?

Safety is of the utmost concern when giving a young child vaccines. That’s where the Centers for Disease Control’s Recommended Vaccine Schedule comes in. Extensive study and analysis have demonstrated conclusively that there is no risk or harm in giving multiple vaccines at once. Specifically, the Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule in the U.S. has been carefully examined and has been proven to be safe and effective.

Does my child need vaccines?

Definitely. In addition to protecting our own children from serious, life-threatening illnesses, we all need to be mindful of the risks we pose to others to when we don’t vaccinate. We’re constantly interacting with others in public (for example at school, playgroups, parks) and there are many people that are not able to receive vaccines. These individuals include infants or those with compromised immune systems from chemotherapy or other conditions, are at mich greater risk of severe illness or death when exposed to some of these diseases. When you have your child vaccinated, you are helping to eliminate the risk of a harmful disease resurfacing. This not only protects your child, but also helps to protect others who are vulnerable to the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.

How do I know which vaccines my child will receive for the first two years of their life and beyond?

Your baby’s provider can discuss the vaccine schedule which is right for your child. Talk with your pediatric provider about which vaccines your child needs, and when he or she should receive them.

  

It's easy to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your pediatric provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for your family!

 

Make An Appointment

 

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