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Why Pocket Money for Your Teen Makes Sense Even Today

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The idea of offering pocket money to children, especially teenagers, has been going on since ages. Many parents wonder whether or not it will be beneficial to provide pocket money to their kids and how much is the right amount. Are you also puzzled whether you should give your child pocket money? If your answer is yes, then we have some reasons as to why it makes sense to give your teen pocket money even today!

Different parents have different opinions regarding pocket money. But if done correctly, pocket money can prove to be a good thing for your teen.

Here are some advantages of giving pocket money:

1. Independent feeling

Teenagers are ‘mini adults’, so considering them grown up, in this case, will make them feel independent. In addition, this will teach them to manage their own money. Generally, most teenagers love the opportunity of managing their finances independently and do learn to handle their money wisely.

2. Value for money

A lot of teenagers these days do not realize the value of money, as their parents buy almost everything for them. By offering monthly pocket money, they would have to purchase items on their own. This will encourage them to buy their desired items by themselves, the preparation of which will give them a real-life experience, thereby making them aware that things do not come for free. Hence, they will value money.

3. Learn from mistakes

In the beginning, your teen might get overwhelmed by the money and spend it all right away. If the money is over in a week, then he/she will have to stay broke until it is time for the next payment.

4. Saving skills

Educate your teenagers to save a fraction of their pocket money each time and put it away for future or emergency use. If this is done each month, then by the end of the year, they will have a lump sum of money on hand, which they can use to treat themselves.

It is vital for you to understand the consequences of giving pocket money to your teenagers. No matter how well your teen manages the money, it is crucial for you to track and intervene when needed. How much to give??? and from when to start?? Only you as a parent know the answer. Finally, it is important that the money is not just given away but is earned. Ask other parents their opinion and how much they offer and lastly be consistent as you are the one they learn from.

5 Skills Your Child Must Know at 5

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Today, the world has become very competitive and everyone wants their kids to excel in just about all competitions. However, in this race many a times as a parent we forget to keep a tab on the developmental milestones of our child.

There are yearly milestones that a child attains as it grows and these milestones are very important to ensure the growth of your child. As many psychosomatic disorders are seen in children too, these milestones help in spotting them early on and taking steps to preventing worsening. Here we are going to talk about few skills that a child should know by the time he/she turns 5.

Communication skills:

By the age of 5, children should have good command on their language. They should be able to speak clearly and their pronunciation should be perfect. They should be able to speak complex and compound sentences and tell a simple story using full sentences. They should be able to strike a conversation and learn to wait for their turn to speak in group talks.

Social and emotional skills

By the time a child turns 5, they learn to make friends and make efforts to please them. They can tell difference between real and make-believe things. They start showing concern and sympathy for others. They like participating in activities like singing, dancing or acting. They start becoming independent for e.g. they can go alone to your next door neighbour’s place, won’t need you to come along anymore. As they become more social, they like to participate in activities that involve other kids.

Cognitive skills

At 5, kids are creative and enthusiastic problem solvers. They start asking analytical questions and also give imaginative ideas for how to do a task, or make something. They become aware of things being used daily like food, money etc. They can easily count 10 or more things and can even do simple addition and subtraction. They have understanding of shapes and can even copy them. Five-year-olds understand and use words related to position, such as “under” or “behind.” They can even use instruments like thermometers, weighing scale etc.

Physical skills

Physically, five-year-olds are full of energy and look out for active games and environments. They are able to balance and coordinate movements, therefore can ride a bike with training wheels, swim, jump rope etc. They have better control and are able to change the direction, speed and quality of their movements. The flexibility of their fingers is also, improved to great extend and hence they have improved control over writing and painting tools and even manage zippers and buttons.

Creative skills

Five-year-olds are able to compose and arrange music within specified guidelines. They can enact simple plays and perform puppet shows. They can create realistic art with recognizable subjects and more detailed settings.

If your child is completely lacking one or more of these skills, then it might be a good idea to visit a child developmental specialist or pediatrician to rule out developmental disorders or focus on training in a special way to develop certain basic survival skill sets.

Tips to Win the Bedtime Battle With Your Kids

Welcome to the world of parenthood where bedtime becomes a power struggle between the child and the parent. What’s a sleep-deprived parent to do? Fret not. We’ve got some really simple and effective tips for getting your kid into bed on time, every time.

(For issues related to bed-wetting click here)

Bed is only for sleeping

Do not use bed for all the activities like playing, eating etc. It should be strictly used for sleeping

Avoid products with caffeine before sleep

Do not put hungry child to bed

No TV/Laptop/I pad in bedroom

These electronic gadgets distracts children a lot. It makes sleeping more difficult

Casting the monsters away

Switch on a dim night light to ward off those lurking shadows that fuel scary dreams. A stuffed toy will give a sense of security and a goodnight cuddle just might do the trick. It works all the time.

Ambient temperature

Wrestling with the blanket can make even that thin trace of sleep, vanish. Make sure you have the AC or the fan on at just the right temperature – not too cold nor too hot.

Make up a story

Give your children the solace they need by singing a lullaby or reading out a favorite story. Add a fun twist with a made-up fairy tale where your child is the prince/princess. Stories are a super way to doze into dreams high on imagination.

Exhaust the energy

Keep your kids on their toes by letting them dance to some fun music during the day. Playing a vigorous game or learning karate will tire them out and get them to sleep as soon as their head touches the pillow.

Ditch the sugar

Sugary treats too close to bedtime are a strict no-no. A sugar high will put your child into hyperactive mode. Curb those cravings by allowing them to munch on candy only during the day.

Seal the deal

Some smart kids need a deal to be struck before you can get them into their beds. Offer to buy something off their wishlist, or make a promise to take them out the very next day. Looking forward to something puts their mind at ease and seals the deal.

Always stay one step ahead with these tips to get them into bed. Remember to establish firm boundaries to discipline them into their own bedtime routine. So what are you waiting for? Set the ball rolling and be on the winning side of the bedtime battle!

Making the Holidays and Vacation Time Safe for Kids

Child's drawing happy family on the holiday car trip

With winter vacation round the corner, this is the time where most of the families plan a holiday with family and friends. It could be your favorite tourist destination or home town visit to grandparents. Lot of travelling, odd time sleep, special traditions and awesome food and hectic schedule; it all can take a toll on the health of your little ones.

Here are few tips which might come handy in making holidays memorable and preventing emergency visits to hospital.

  • Choking and swallowing: avoid keeping foods which can cause choking near young kids. In less than 3-4 years old kids, peanuts, ground nuts, any small round items like tree decoration, small toys can be very dangerous, if accidentally swallowed. Danger of these items going into lungs and causing breathing difficulty. We get lots of Emergency room visits for the same, it might even need bronchscopy to remove these items.
  • Poisoning: Lots of accidental ingestion of poisonous decorative items, which might look very attractive to small babies (eg Christmas decorative items, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner). Sometime kids might accidentally drink alcohol based drinks (left over of party), dispose of all those stuff safely, before going to sleep.
  • Fire: Accident burn injuries are common near bonfire. Whenever partying make sure kids are under constant supervision.
  • Road safety tips to avoid accidents: Use Car seats for small kids and proper size seat belts for older kids (it can be life saving in case of accidents on long road trips).
  • Accidents: Keep fancy decoration items which are easily breakable out of reach of children. Keep children under constant supervisions. Outdoor activities of kids need to be monitored too.
  • Kit of emergency drugs to be kept safely with you before travelling. Common medicines for vomiting, gas , fever can be kept to be used in case of emergency before you are able to consult any doctor.
  • Maintain general Hygiene measures at all time and follow universal precautions. It is always advisable to have a general check up done with your doctor before you head for long holidays.

Happy Holidaying

My newborn’s vaccination schedule. Why do infants need so many vaccines so quickly?

  • Newborns need multiple vaccines because infectious diseases can cause more-serious problems in infants than in older children.
  • While maternal antibodies help protect newborns from many diseases, this immunity begins to disappear as quickly as one month after birth. In addition, children don’t receive maternal immunity from certain diseases, such as whooping cough. If a child isn’t vaccinated and is exposed to a disease, he or she might become sick and spread the illness.
  • Avoid altering your child’s recommended vaccination schedule. Research shows that it’s safe for infants and young children to receive multiple vaccines at the same time, as recommended by ( IAP) Indian Academy of Pediatrics and (CDC) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination schedule.
  • Remember, newborns and young children can be exposed to diseases from family members, care providers and other close contacts, as well as during routine outings — such as trips to the grocery store, nearby park and family functions etc. Many vaccines can be given even if your child has a mild illness, such as a cold or mild fever. Consult your child’s doctor regularly to keep your child’s vaccination status up to date.

stay healthy and stop the spread of vaccine preventable disease

regards

Dr. Rahul Varma

what to give in addition to breast milk after 6 months ?

 

Biggest queries of all mothers who has child aged more then 6 months is what food items to start with and in what quantity.

Important Principles for Weaning:

  • weaning should begin at 6 month of age
  • Introduce one food at a time
  • Energy density should exceed that of breast milk
  • Bland taste, nothing very spicy.
  • Food items should be mashed and free flowing, paste like, so that baby can swallow it easily.
  • Common food which can be started as per Indian settings are Banana, glucose biscuits dissolved in milk, soojie kheer, dalia , Khicihdi, upma etc
  • If cost is not an issue then formula milk is better than cows milk especially in less then 1 year of age as solute load is less and less chances of long term kidney problem in adulthood.
  • If opting for cows milk or mother diary milk, give undiluted full cream or toned milk only.
  • Many of us think that child might not be able to digest full cream or single toned milk ,so adds a bit of water, which is very wrong practice. eg if you have added water in 1:1 dilution of 500 ml milk  i.e. 250 ml water in 250 ml milk. You  will think that you have given 500 ml of milk to baby but actually you have given only 250 ml of milk. Rest 250 ml of water is only going to fill the stomach and will not give any calories, which will eventually  lead to poor weight gain.
  • Basically any food item that is free flowing , soft, cooked so as it is very soft (overcooked rather then under cooked), easy to swallow and calorie dense can be given under supervision with katori spoon.

Avoid bottle feeding, there is enough evidence to prove that babies who are bottle feed has increased incidence of loose motions, cough , cold, serious infection as compared to children who were katori spoon feed.

So if still choose to bottle feed your baby (which seems easier option then katori spoon), be mentally prepared that your hospital visits to your pediatrician will increase along with emergency visits to hospital.

 

Stay Healthy

Regards

Dr Rahul Varma

Common newborn skin condition

Following are the common newborn skin conditions which might look like very serious but usually do not warrant any immediate treatment.

 

Mongolian Spots

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Birth marks bluish in color, sometimes look like a bruise mostly on buttocks and back. They are harmless and disappear gradually with age, sometimes by school. No medical intervention required. These are very common in dark skinned babies.

 

Pustular Melanosis

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They are small blisters which may be present right after birth. They will gradually disappear with time in few days. They peel open and dry in few days. However opinion of doctor should be taken to rule out other serious illness which can cause similar illness.

 

 

Milia

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Milia are tiny white spots mostly over nose and face. These are caused due to secretions from glands on skin. Disappear by 2 to 3 weeks of age. These are very common in newborn babies.

 

Miliaria

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They are often referred as Prickly heat or Heat rash. Mostly occurs due to hot and humid environment. Mostly occurs in skin folds or covered area where sweating is maximum. They will go away with time. Mainstay of treatment is to keep skin dry and proper air circulation.

Erythema Toxicum

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They are very common type of rashes which are present soon after birth. They are multiple red color rash, can be present all over the body; mainly at tummy and back. No treatment is needed and they will go away with time in a week or so.

 

 

Capillary Hemangiomas

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They are raised red spots which look like strawberry. They occur due to underlying blood vessels.  They might enlarge during first year of life but will eventually fade out by school age. No active intervention is needed at birth.

 

Port Wine Stain

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They are Large, flat, and irregularly shaped dark red or purple areas. They occur on face and neck. They are due to blood vessels under the skin. But they do not disappear and will need treatment.

Caput

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Caput is irregular swelling on scalp leading to irregular shape of head. Mostly occurs during vaginal delivery which subsides with time over next few days. It needs to be differentiated from more serious condition called cephalhematoma.

Epstein Pearls

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These are tiny whitish yellow colored lesions seen on palate. They may look like pus but are benign. They occur in newborn and disappear by 2 to 3 weeks of life. No active intervention is needed.

 

Regards

Dr Rahul Varma

Can my child have hypertension ?

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Hypertension is traditionally considered as disease of old age. But now almost every 5th person is suffering from hypertension. Young adults and even children also are not untouched.

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In simple words, Hypertension = high blood pressure; i.e. more than 95th centile of same age, sex and height. There is no cut off figure for all children (like in adults where 120/80 mmhg is considered normal) rather charts for blood pressure for children.

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2 types: Primary (Essential) and secondary

Cause:

In less than 10 years of age, hypertension is usually secondary to some medical condition.

In children incidence is on a rise due to changing lifestyle.  It can develop for the same reason as adults too (i.e. junk food, no exercise and overweight).

Risk Factors:

Genetic as well as environment

Primary Hypertension:

  • Obesity or overweight child
  • High blood sugar level (Diabetes)
  • High cholesterol or triglycerides
  • Positive family history

Secondary Hypertension:

Due to underlying medical conditions like

  • Heart disease (eg. Coaractation of aorta)
  • Kidney disease (eg. Polycystic kidney diease, chronic kidney disease, RTA)
  • Adrenal gland disorder (including pheocromocytoma)
  • Metabolic disoreders (eg. Hyperthyroidism)

Premature babies and low birth weight babies are also at risk for hypertension.

High blood pressure usually does not cause any symptoms in children.

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Parents: To do list (that will help you to get maximum out of your visit to child doctor)

  • Note down any symptoms child have (if any)
  • Reports of any blood test done in past
  • Family history (both from mother and father side)
  • List of medications, if any, your child is taking.
  • Child’s daily routine in context of diet and physical activities.
  • Note down all the queries which you have (no matter how silly the question may sound to you). It is your right to know in detail regarding health status of your child.

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Diagnosis:

Painless procedure of Blood pressure (BP) measurement using inflatable arm cuff will help reach diagnosis. Cuff sizes will vary as per arm size of child so that it covers 2/3rd of circumference of child’s arm.

BP reading has 2 numbers: First (or higher) is systolic pressure and second (or lower) is diastolic pressure.

Diagnosis can only be made after taking minimum 3 readings over a course of 3 visits.

Some tests will be done to know the cause of high BP which will include

  • Blood tests like blood sugar, kidney function test, blood count, cholesterol etc.
  • Urine test
  • Echocardiogram to rule out  heart disease
  • Ultrasound abdomen (specially kidneys)
  • Repeated BP monitoring

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Management:

Simple lifestyle modification can help like better eating habits and more physical activity. But some children might need medication as well.

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Medications include Diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors etc.

If hypertension is due to obesity, than with lifestyle modification will help and gradually medications can be stopped. But if it is due to some underlying medical condition, treatment of that condition will lead to stoppage of anti hypertensive medications.

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Life style modification:

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High blood pressure is treated similarly in children and adults, typically starting with lifestyle changes.

  • Weight management
  • Salt restriction
  • Healthy diet
  • Physical activity
  • Psychological support from family

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Feel free to contact your child specialist or Maya clinic for any queries.

Regards

Dr Rahul varma

“Healthy kids, happy family”

How to Safely Dispose Old Medicines

If your medicine cabinet is filled with expired or unused prescription medications, it is time for some housecleaning. As time passes, medicines may lose their effectiveness. The disposal method you chose can have a direct effect on the safety and the health of the environment.

Learn more about your options and how to safely dispose all of those old or unused medications.

Environmental Concerns:

Residues of painkillers, shampoos, and many other pharmaceuticals and personal care products have been found in water, in trace amounts. These chemicals are flushed into rivers from sewage treatment plants or leach into groundwater from septic systems. The discovery of these substances in water probably reflects better sensing technology. The health effects, if any, from exposure to these substances in water is not yet known.

In many cases, these chemicals enter water when people excrete them or wash them away in the shower. Some chemicals, however, are flushed or washed down the drain when people discard outdated or unused drugs.

How to Properly Dispose Medications:

    • Remove all personal identification from prescription bottles.
    • Mix all unused drugs with coffee grounds, kitty litter, or another undesirable substance.
    • Place this mixture in a sealed container before disposing in the trash.

You can even visit nearby medical facilities like hospital to dispose of expired medications. Hospitals have a proper waste disposal mechanism.

Talk to your local pharmacist/ hospitAL staff, if you have any questions. As medication experts, pharmacists are available to guide you on how to properly dispose of your unused medications.

 

regards

Dr Rahul Varma

(Source: www.healthychildren.org)

Avoid use of Phones and decrease screen time in young kids: it can hamper brain growth

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Smartphones and tablets are not meant for babies (< 2 years)

In today’s environment we all can see small babies and toddlers playing with phones. Whether you are at mall, driving in car, waiting somewhere , smartphones have become like babysitter for many parents. Parents feel excited to see their small babies handling touch screen phones so efficiently. Touch screen smartphones with their great picture quality, colorful images and good sounds appeals to babies. But are they really good for optimum brain development for young kids?

Answer:

Till now there is NO research done to know the connection between infant learning and smartphones. For older children with use of interactive elements it may help in learning concepts such as sequencing and cause and effect relations. But for small babies who are still in very young age of brain development, it’s long term effect is not known.

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Recommendations:

All the doctors are of the opinion to reduce screen time for small babies. Screen time includes time spent on TV, videos, laptops, phones etc. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made a clear stance that “NO screen time for kids less than 2 years”. Main reason being association of Language learning delays, poor reading skills and short term memory are seen more often in children with more screen time.

Facts:

Children learn better from real life experiences rather than screen time. It is more so if activities involve moving and doing. Various surveys and studies show that on an average 12-month-old baby is exposed to up to 2 hours of screen time a day.

Young age (< 2 years) is very critical for learning of new concepts. Most of the learning involve 3 dimensional Sensory- motor experiences which cannot be replicated on a 2 dimensional screen. Active play involves better hand – eye coordination , fine motor skill development.

Example:  Compare a ball in real life and a ball on Screen.

Infants are still developing concept of 3 dimensional vision. For a small baby  watching on screen a BALL is just a flat, shaded circle. In real life if we roll a ball across floor it proceeds in a single motions and gradually slows and stops finally. But on Screen same action cannot be done; it will be broken up. Small babies may stare at bright colors and motions on screen but their brain is not capable of making sense or meaning out of these amazing pictures. By  the age 2 years brain has developed enough and baby can understand things better. Due to all this confusion it is better to avoid screen time in small babies.

After a certain age technology and screen time can be used judicially for better interactive teaching. Older children can do lot more and screen time can help them in understanding concept better along with reading from textbook. But not for very small babies.

Another excuse which most parents give is that there baby will never eat food if we take phones out of there life. Just to remind them that before invention of smart phone kids used to eat well.  And Honestly speaking we have started spending more time on social networking like facebook and whats app which have lead to more exposure in children. Because it’s we who cannot live without phone rather then kids.

Regards

Dr Rahul varma