As a parent, you want the best for your children. You may be concerned or have questions about certain behaviors they exhibit and how to ensure they get help. We have provided some guidance and resources to get you started.
Children learn to love the sound of language in the very first months of life. When you read books aloud to your child it stimulates their imagination and encourages their understanding of the world. You help your child develop both language and listening skills and build a solid foundation for learning to read when it’s time. When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of your child's life, they will learn to read with ease and enjoyment.
Cultivating a love of spoken and written words in your child helps develop strong communication skills which, in turn, increases your child’s chances of success both professionally and personally for their entire life. In other words, reading to your child is really, really important.
Attachment between a child and his or her caregiver is essential for a child to develop an internal sense of safety and security. It is vital to growing into a healthy, well-adjusted adult. Problems with childhood attachment are linked to lifelong physical, social and emotional deficits and an increase in mental health problems.
What we eat affects almost every aspect of our health and wellbeing. Our children are bombarded daily with choices of foods that are full of added sugar, preservatives and chemicals that do not belong in our food. These foods are intentionally marketed to children and, we now know, are actually addictive, making it very difficult to stop eating them. Obesity rates in children are higher than ever before in the US and the incidence of weight related health problems are also incredibly high.
What can we do? The simplest answer is to stop eating processed foods and start eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains like quinoa, oats and barley, nuts, nut butters, eggs, lean protein and lots and lots of water. Encourage your child to eat “treat” food like cookies or ice cream, only a couple of times a week and to see these foods not as “good” or “bad” but as foods for special occasions and occasional treats, not every day foods.
Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and to prevent various health conditions. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people aged 2 years or older follow a healthy eating pattern that includes the following:
These guidelines also recommend that individuals limit calories from solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans fatty acids) and added sugars, and reduce sodium intake.
Sleep is a major focus of every WellPsyche patient’s treatment plan. When children sleep an adequate amount, the following day their energy levels, hunger cues, ability to self regulate emotions and focus are all improved. Conversely, when children do not get adequate rest at night they struggle with low energy levels, trouble with eating too much or too little, emotional outbursts or poor emotional control, inattentiveness, distractibility and impulsivity.
|AGE||RECOMMENDED SLEEP HOURS PER 24 HOUR PERIOD|
|Infants: 4 to 12 months||12 to 16 hours (including naps)|
|Toddlers: 1 to 2 years||11 to 14 hours (including naps)|
|Preschoolers: 3 to 5 years||10 to 13 hours (including naps)|
|Gradeschoolers: 6 to 12 years||9 to 12 hours|
|Teens: 13 to 18 years||8 to 10 hours|
So how much sleep does your child need? Use the chart below, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, to help you set a goal for your child’s specific age that is within the normal range and then adjust that time a little up or a little down, according to the unique needs of your child. Almost ALL children will need close to the amount of sleep recommended for their age so don’t adjust it outside of the recommended range, without first discussing this with your child’s provider.
Children who don’t get enough sleep regularly are at greater risk of obesity, memory problems, inattentiveness, high blood pressure, depression and infection. Children who consistently get a good night’s sleep:
In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement against corporal punishment [physical punishment, including spanking], which concluded:
“Aversive disciplinary strategies, including all forms of corporal punishment and yelling at or shaming children, are minimally effective in the short-term and not effective in the long-term. With new evidence, researchers link corporal punishment to an increased risk of negative behavior.”
Even very infrequent spanking or other forms of physical punishment are associated with significant negative outcomes. Children who are subjected to corporal punishment are:
So if spanking is not a helpful tool for discipline, what can you do instead? Research shows that the following forms of discipline are effective and safe to use:
Have discussions prior to the challenging situation and talk about your expectations for your child. Clearly outline what negative consequence they will have if they do not behave the way you have discussed. For example, “We are going to your Aunt’s house for dinner. I know that she has different rules than we do in our house and that it’s easy to forget sometimes to follow her rules in her home. Please remember not to run in the house or to eat anything in any room but the kitchen. If you don’t follow these rules while we are there, you’ll have to give up an hour of Xbox play tomorrow.
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