Part III: How to survive and thrive as a parent: Reinforcing the good

This is the third in a three-part blog series.

By Elissa Gonzalez, M.D., M.P.H.
Pediatric Resident, PGY3
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

In this final blog in my series, let’s explore ways that you can maintain your child’s good behavior through positive comments and by making the most of the time you spend with each other.

1. Praising versus rewarding
2. Special time
3. Modeling

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Part II: How to survive and thrive as a parent: De-emphasizing the bad

This is the second in a three-part blog series.

By Elissa Gonzalez, M.D., M.P.H.
Pediatric Resident, PGY3
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

In this blog, we will explore how you can focus on positive reinforcement and avoid placing attention on negative behaviors by:

1. Eliminating the “Nos,” the “don’ts,” and the “can’ts”
2. Focusing on what they should do
3. Picking your battles
4. Addressing the emotions not the behavior

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How to survive and thrive as a parent: Reinforcing the good, de-emphasizing the bad, and preventing the ugly

This is the first in a three-part blog series.

By Elissa Gonzalez, M.D., M.P.H.
Pediatric Resident, PGY3
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Part 1: Preventing the Ugly

By ugly, I mean the uncontrollable tantrums, the fighting, the hitting, and the angry outbursts. When we can prevent our child’s ugly behavior, we as parents are preserving our own sanity every day. Here are some guidelines to help prevent these episodes; however, this will not eliminate these behaviors completely since your children are human after all.

  1. Bonding
  2. Emotions
  3. Routine
  4. Anticipation
  5. Meeting needs

Bonding.  First you must bond. Establishing a strong connection with your child is an important factor in changing negative behaviors and maintaining positive behaviors. With younger children, maintaining a positive warm tone through play and getting down at eye level can help with building connections. In older children, showing interest in their daily activities and being flexible (listening and negotiating) can serve the same purpose. Sharing in decision-making is helpful for understanding each other and empowering your child at any age.

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Rare Disease Day: One mother’s journey from despair to acceptance

By Abby Loudermilk
Grace’s Mom

Like many first time mothers, I read articles and books on “What to Expect.” Although Grace was smiling, laughing, nursing, and healthy, I began to grow concerned that she wasn’t hitting her developmental milestones. Wasn’t she supposed to be sitting up by now? Shouldn’t she be trying to crawl? Why were my friends’ babies passing her up developmentally? Around six months, I remember looking up when babies were supposed to be sitting independently. The article said that most babies sit on their own between four to seven months. Ok, maybe she’s a late bloomer. What I didn’t grasp as a first-time mom, with no frame of reference was that not only was she not sitting she wasn’t even close to sitting.

I called Grace’s pediatrician about a month later. The nurse asked me “Well can she sit at all? Like in a highchair?” I responded, “Yeah.” She said it’s probably nothing to worry about — she’ll probably catch up.

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3 reasons why only 2 hours of screen time is best for your 1 child

By Dr. Allison Wells
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Baylor College of Medicine – Residency Program

Have you ever found yourself at your child’s check up wondering if your child has too much screen time? Have you ever wondered why your pediatrician recommends only two hours of screen time per day for your child? And what exactly does “screen time” mean anyway?

Screen time is defined as the amount of time someone spends in front of any electronic viewing device – this means TV, smart phone, tablet, computer, laptop, and video games. Most children in our society grow up with these devices. In fact, many are tiny experts at using smart phones before they are even potty trained. But is screen time good for them? A lot of research has been done to look for the answer to this question.

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Child life specialists help children cope

Sarah Sims, MS, CCLS
Child Life Specialist, Emergency Department 
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

“Play is the work of the child.” –Maria Montessori

Hospitalization experiences can be scary and overwhelming for children and families. At The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, our goal is to provide excellent, quality care and an overall positive experience. That is why child life specialists are an important and integral part of our health care team. Child life specialists are professionals trained in child development and family theory. The child life team contributes to the patient and families’ plan of care to improve the hospital experience and promote positive coping.

Background Child life specialists have Bachelor’s and/or Master’s level training; this educational background prepares the child life specialist to assess psychosocial coping and provide meaningful and developmentally appropriate support. For example, a child life specialist can prepare you and your child for an MRI and offer coaching to help your child cope with the procedure. A child life specialist can provide developmentally appropriate diagnosis education for child and the whole family when the child has received a new diagnosis. A child life specialist can establish therapeutic relationships with patients and caregivers to support family participation in their child’s care during a prolonged stay for rehabilitation. These are just a few examples of the ways child life specialists work to help children cope with their health care experience.

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There remains no evidence that vaccines cause autism

This blog was prepared by (pictured left to right)
Andrew Martinez, PhD, Co-Director of the Autism Program
Melissa Svoboda, MD, Pediatric Neurology, Director, Autism Program
Jonathan Crews, MD, MS, Pediatric Infectious Diseases
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Although allegations arise from time to time about a link between autism and childhood vaccines, the medical community has spent the last 30 years examining this question numerous times with the same conclusion – there is no link between autism and vaccines. As health care professionals and parents, we want what is best for children – ours and yours. Multiple large studies have been performed by independent researchers from around the world and have included different groups of children. Overwhelmingly, these studies concluded there is no evidence to support an association between vaccines and autism.

These concerns started when Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a gastroenterologist, published a study in 1998 where he associated the onset of autism symptoms with the timing of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) combination vaccine. Wakefield was later found to have knowingly falsified data and to have financial interests in the study, including a pending application for an alternative measles-only vaccine. Once his fraud was discovered, the journal redacted the study and Wakefield was stripped of his United Kingdom medical license. Unfortunately, he decided to make a documentary on his journey that has stirred up much of this controversy.

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Is your child ready for kindergarten?

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Sending your child to kindergarten is a bittersweet juncture, filled with mixed emotions ranging from anxiety to pride to excitement! But how do you know your little preschooler is ready to make the jump?  Every child’s rate of development is different, and you may find that your child picks some tasks up quite quickly, while others try your patience.  Here are a few skills that tell you your big kid is ready to board the bus:

Social Skills:  Dressing your child and rushing out the door on time is akin to an Olympic sport at times.  Now imagine the teacher dressing 20 children.  Consequently, kindergarteners should be able to perform simple self-help tasks including getting jackets on and off, going to the bathroom independently, eating neatly, etc.  They should also be able to play well with others.  Promote sharing and taking turns in your home to help develop these skills.  Kindergarten teachers expect students to be able to listen to instructions and follow them promptly.

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