Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jump Start the Grey Cells in Your Child

Centuries ago, midwives and mothers advised pregnant women to stay happy, listen to music, be around nature, and embrace good health. Now advanced research in child development shows that brain development in children does not occur after birth but begins in the womb itself.

Sharpen the Intellect

Thinking skills are the most crucial in the technological world of today. Educators firmly believe that it is not the volume of knowledge but the ability to assimilate and make sense of information that is essential. Children must know how to find solutions to problems and situations.

The goal of education is to teach children to be effective thinkers ---as you know, this is what equips them to stay ahead in situations where solutions need to be found at the snap of fingers. So, you must focus on cognitive development and higher order thinking.

As a parent there are a great many ways in which you can work towards the goal of effective thinking and higher reasoning. Technology has made available several computer programs, software CDs, and DVDs that are fun to use and place the children in more and more difficult situations, which they need to solve. The focus of companies such as Smart Neurons are educational teaching aids and toys which fulfill the goal of enhancing thinking, mathematical abilities, and problem solving in children.

Exercise Clears Cobwebs

Our grandmothers used to say that fresh air will clear the cobwebs in the mind—they were absolutely right. Physical activity, fresh air, and exercise help stimulate the brain and enhance learning.

Children need sustained physical exercise and as a parent you need to ensure this by taking the child to a park or play ground where he can run and play. Allow the child to climb the jungle tree, sit on swings, play ball with others.

Music Creates Geniuses

Wow! Did you know that music majors stand a higher chance at becoming doctors and most successful techies at Silicon Valley are practicing musicians ---don’t be surprised to hear this but music creates geniuses.

Listening to music and learning music enhances retentive powers and vocabulary. Music nurtures the brain and stimulates overall growth. Studies show that listening to Mozart’s piano sonata K448 for just 10 minutes increased spatial scores in IQ tests.

Many parents now expose even newborn babies and older children to recorded classical music as it is firmly believed that it helps infants think better.

Food for Thought

It is not just brain-stimulating activities that boost brain power, the food a child eats affects its thinking as well. Did you know, a brain needs plenty of carbohydrates, fats, as well as proteins, vitamins and minerals for both repair as well as function? In fact, many mothers are witness to mood swings and erratic behavior in their children after the consumption of chocolates or junk sugar foods like candy, icing, syrups, and packaged baked products. The sugar highs and lows caused by certain kinds of foods can make a child fidgety, irritable, inattentive, and sleepy.

The best brain foods that you can feed your child are brain friendly carbs like: grapefruit, apples, cherries, and oranges—eaten whole is more beneficial than juice; oatmeal and bran as well as spaghetti and rice; legumes like soybeans, kidney beans, chick peas, and lentils; milk and yogurt. Introduce foods that have a low glycemic index into your little one’s diet.

Article was contributed by SmartNeurons. Smart Neurons offers kids’ educational software, video and other educational aids. Our products encourage critical thinking, imagination and leadership skills and are targeted to enhance a child’s educational experience.

Minerals For Your Children: Minor Yet Important

As one of the essential nutrients, minerals have an influence on your children's growth and development as well as their health.

Even though the body needs only a little amount of minerals, compared to carbohydrates for example, they have an important role in our body. Without minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and the other nutrients can hardly carry out their functions. Let's find out where the minerals come from.

Just as vitamins, the body needs minerals to run the process of children's growth & development. They are also needed to take care of health, including shaping strong bones, producing hormones and maintaining heart pulses.

There are some kinds of minerals required in more than 100 mg per day like calcium. Though, the body only needs a little amount of zinc (less than 100 mg per day), for example.

The body needs the minerals everyday. Among so many important minerals for children, let's see some of them and how they give benefits to our children.

1. Calcium (Ca)

Benefits:
- good for teeth and bones development
- avoids children from osteoporosis in the future
- controls blood coagulation and muscle contraction
Sources: milk and its processed products, like cheese, butter, yoghurt, and ice cream. Calcium is also available in soy bean and salmon.

2. Iron (Fe)
Benefits:
- helps forming hemoglobin (the color substance in red blood which functions in transferring oxygen from the lung to the whole body)
- important for energy forming and enhancing body immune system
Sources: beef, egg yolk, fruits, bread

3. Magnesium (Mg)
Benefits:
- has an important role in the process of energy metabolism
- controls the vital function of the body, like heart pulse, muscle relaxation, and avoids blood coagulation
- forms bones and teeth together with calcium
Sources: nuts, avocado, meat, milk, chocolate

4. Potassium/Kalium (K)
Benefits:
- produces energy
- controls heart pulse
Sources: banana, avocado, vegetables, cereals

5. Phosphor (P)
Benefits:
- with calcium, phosphor avoids bones and teeth calcification
- controls energy transfer in metabolism
Sources: beef, fish and poultry, egg, cheese, milk, and nuts

Our body, just the same as our children's, needs a sufficient amount of minerals everyday. It requires a different quantity from every mineral.

For instance, your toddler has to consume at least 500 mg calcium per day, while he or she just needs about 75-100 mg of magnesium per day.

You really need not to file and calculate each mineral whenever you feed your children. How to tell if the children get the sufficient amount of the minerals then?

No need to be confused. The key is in the feeding pattern. Arrange your children's menu so that they get various kinds of food, which are rich in numerous important nutrients, by giving them alternately.

There's no food contains complete nutrients. However, one kind of food can contain more than one essential substance. For example, cheese is a great source of calcium and phosphor, besides protein and fat. Though, it doesn't contain potassium/kalium.

Therefore, as long as your children obtain a great variety of nutritional food in a balanced quantity, just believe that the minerals needed by their body are accomplished.

Adwina D Jackson is a wife and mother of a young boy. She's also the editor of Inspiring Parenting, an online source of valuable parenting information. Please visit http://www.InspiringParenting.com for helpful and free parenting info. Observe your children's health, growth and development by clicking the website.

9 Allergy Signs In Children

Sadly more and more children are suffering from allergies, and there are certain signs that indicate when allergies are causing or significantly contributing to health problems. Here's a short list of what to look out for. The more of these you can check the more likely it is that at least some of your child's problems are down to allergies.

1. Dark circles or bags under the eyes making the child look permanently tired. In Chinese medicine this area of the face is linked to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are one of the main organs of the body involved in stress reactions, and exposure to allergens certainly produces stress in the body. Sometimes there is also a crease seen under the eyelids.

2. Dry, flaky lips Often the edge of the lip is an indistinct blur rather than there being a definite line between it and the rest of the face. Michio Kushi in his book Oriental Diagnosis says that different parts of the lip correspond to different parts of the digestive system. The upper lip represents the stomach. The lower part corresponds to the intestines. These parts of the body are often involved with allergic reactions particularly if the problem is with foods.

3. Sweaty feet The liver is the main detoxifying organ of the body. When it is not functioning properly or has to work overtime then the feet tend to be very sweaty. In allergic reactions the liver is coping with an overload of toxins.

4. One or both ears sometimes red and/or burning The reaction usually starts about one and three quarter-hours after exposure to the offending substance and lasts for about half an hour. I do not know whether it is significant if it is one ear or both ears, but the timing seems very precise. The redness usually lasts for about half an hour. This particular reaction can become a very useful self-help diagnostic technique if you pay attention to your child's ears!

5. Children with a tendency to allergies are often blond hair. They are usually pale; in fact so pale that sometimes they are suspected of suffering from anaemia. In some children this paleness is not at first sight evident, because they have very rosy cheeks either all the time or some of the time. Sometimes if you feel the child’s cheek it will be hot and burning, or papery and dry.

6. A child with a lot of food sensitivities will often be a fussy eater. The parent will often say: ‘My child would be happy if he could live on X.’ The child is probably allergic to X, whatever that is. Frequently they become irritable and bad-tempered if they have to go without their favourite food for even a short period of time Breast fed babies are either difficult feeders or need to be constantly fed both day and night and may be difficult to wean.

7. Babies and children with food allergies are usually either very good tempered or very bad tempered first thing in the morning.

8. Very often there is a family history of allergies with near relatives suffering from eczema, hay fever, etc.

9. Allergic children (and adults) often like peculiar smells: they sniff felt tip pens or enjoy the smell of petrol (gas) at petrol stations. They are nearly always allergic to the smell they like so much and, like a drug addict, are seeking out a fix!

So what to do about it? Try visiting a therapist with a particular interest in allergies. I particularly recommend health kinesiology, which has a lot of success not only detecting allergies but also correcting them, so the child does not have to avoid the things he/she is allergic to.

Jane Thurnell-Read is a writer and researcher on health, stress, alternative medicine and happiness. Visit her web site http://www.healthandgoodness.com for tips and information on how to live a happier, healthier life no matter how busy you are.

Infectious Mononucleosis

Signs and Symptoms:
When people think of infectious mononucleosis, or "mono," they often think of extreme tiredness as one of the major symptoms associated with this illness. Other typical symptoms of infectious mononucleosis in children are:

fever
sore throat
enlargement of lymph nodes (usually in the neck, armpit, and throat)
sore muscles
enlarged spleen (the organ - located under the ribcage on the left side - that functions as a blood filter and antibody producer)
Loss of appetite and generalized weakness also may be present, especially in adolescents. Nausea, hepatitis, jaundice, severe headache, stiffness, chest pain, and difficulty breathing can occur in some cases. A pink rash can occur all over the body in children who have been treated with ampicillin or amoxicillin.

Younger children may have few or none of these symptoms; instead they may have nonspecific symptoms like fever, slight malaise, and loss of appetite. Adolescents are more likely to exhibit the classic symptoms described above. Some may experience extreme fatigue, staying in bed for more than a week because they feel too weak even to walk around the house.

Infectious mononucleosis is generally a self-limiting disease, which means it goes away on its own in most cases. Occasionally mono can cause complications (which are decribed below).

Description:
Mononucleosis is an illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a member of the herpesvirus family. Similar symptoms and illness are sometimes caused by cytomegalovirus, which is also a member of this family of viruses. EBV is transmitted through the saliva. Young children can be infected from the saliva of playmates or family members. Adolescents with the virus can spread EBV through kissing (hence its once popular name, "the kissing disease"). Epidemic outbreaks in hospitals and workplaces have occurred.

Most people who have infectious mononucleosis recover completely with no problem, but sometimes complications from EBV infection can occur. These can include blood disorders leading to lowered numbers of red and white blood cells because of decreased production of these cells by the bone marrow, or destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia).

Bell's palsy, a usually temporary condition where there is inflammation of one of the facial nerves resulting in weakened or paralyzed facial muscles on one side of the face, can also result from EBV infection.

Other rare complications of EBV infection include rupture of the spleen, inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), involvement of the central nervous system (aseptic meningitis and encephalitis), and a nervous system disorder known as Guillain-Barr?syndrome that can paralyze muscles.

Epstein-Barr virus is usually diagnosed with blood tests. Heterophile antibody levels (antibodies react to infectious organisms in the blood and create immunity) indicate a current infection with EBV. Antibody levels (called "titers") against the EBV virus reveal if there is a current or prior infection from the virus.

Blood tests usually shows an increase in the overall number of white blood cells. Blood can also be examined under a microscope to determine whether there is an increased number of white blood cells called lympocytes. These white blood cells help fight viral infections, and an increased number of "atypical" lymphocytes usually indicates current infection with mononucleosis.

Studies show that most people have been infected with EBV at some point in their lives, and most have few or no symptoms of viral infection.

more... http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/mononucleosis

Diabetes: Dealing With Feelings

Diabetes: Dealing With Feelings

When your child is first diagnosed with diabetes, you may spend a lot of time thinking about how diabetes affects your child's body. But there are many emotional issues that surround a diabetes diagnosis, too. The emotional transition that your child goes through after he or she has been diagnosed with diabetes may affect his or her ability to manage the physical aspects of the condition.

So it's important to recognize the feelings that your child with diabetes might experience and learn strategies to help your child and your entire family cope with them.

Your Child's Feelings
Kids often experience these emotions when they are confronted with diabetes:

Isolation: Diabetes can make kids feel different from peers, friends, and family members. If your child doesn't know other people with diabetes or he or she is the only one who needs to visit the nurse for injections or blood tests during school, your child might feel isolated or alone.
Denial: Because kids want to blend in or be like other kids, they may sometimes pretend that they don't have diabetes, a practice that can be dangerous if they avoid blood sugar testing and medication.
Depression: Feelings of depression, sadness, and hopelessness are common among kids with diabetes. Your child may cry a lot, feel exhausted, have changes in eating or sleeping habits, or have a hard time sticking to the diabetes management plan because he or she is depressed.
Guilt: Some kids may feel like diabetes is their fault or like they're causing problems for parents, siblings, and teachers because of their diabetes.
Anger, frustration, and resentment: Your child might be angry at you because you oversee testing and treatment or frustrated or resentful that he or she has the disease and others don't. Many children feel angry because of the restrictions that diabetes sometimes places on their everyday activities.
Fear and anxiety: Blood sugar control problems, needles, and the potential for long-term health problems can be scary prospects for kids to deal with. And in some cases, fearfulness can be the result of incorrect information kids have received about the diabetes.
Embarrassment: Kids with diabetes can feel embarrassed about the extra attention they get, like when they're testing blood sugar and injecting insulin at school, at friends' homes, and in front of other kids.
Dependence: When kids find out they have diabetes, they may begin acting younger than their age and depending on parents more than their peers. The progress that they'd typically be making toward self-reliance can stop or reverse course.
Your Feelings
Parents often go through a grieving process when they find out that a child has a disease like diabetes. It can be difficult to come to terms with the idea that your child has a chronic condition and will need to cope with it for the rest of his or her life. It's normal for you to feel grief and sadness.

Many parents also feel guilty about their child's diabetes and wonder whether they could have prevented it in some way. Some parents may also feel reluctant or unsure of taking on the tasks of caring for a child with diabetes, such as administering medications and helping their child follow a meal plan. Parents may also worry whether they'll be able to recognize symptoms of a diabetes problem and get the right medical help for their child.

What can you do to cope with your own feelings? First, don't hesitate to get the answers to your questions from the health care professionals caring for your child. Educating yourself about your child's condition and the best ways to manage it can do a lot to put your mind at ease. Your child's doctor can provide information to allay your fears and worries and offer tips for coping with your child's emotional issues.

In the midst of caring for your child, don't forget to attend to your own needs. Get appropriate rest, exercise, and food. To the extent possible, permit others - like relatives and friends - to share the responsibilities of caring for your family. Remember that you can't do it all.

Your Family's Feelings
When a child has diabetes, it affects the entire family. Siblings may feel resentful of the extra attention that your child with diabetes is getting, as well as any sacrifices (like eating healthier foods at meals or going along to doctor appointments) they may have to make to accommodate the sibling. Siblings are sometimes the target of a diabetic child's anger and resentment because they don't have to deal with the issues that the child with diabetes faces every day.

Family members like grandparents, aunts, and uncles may also be worried and fearful about your child's health condition. Try to talk openly about all of these feelings with your family. Holding a family meeting might be one way to break the news of your child's diagnosis and address the worries and concerns of family members. You might find it easier to talk with a counselor or the doctor or diabetes health care team about the feelings that you and your family are coping with. Your family may also find comfort in support groups, books, and websites about how to deal with diabetes. In time, the whole family will become accustomed to dealing with this condition.

Yahoo! Health: Children's Health News