The Brainy Benefits of Bedtime Stories

Bedtime stories have long been known to foster parent-child bonds and prepare children for sleep. But lately researchers have attached other powers to this nighttime routine. They say that while you and your little one are sailing with Max to the land of the Wild Things or sampling green eggs with Sam, you’re actually boosting your child’s brain development.

“Neural research shows that when parents and caregivers interact verbally with children—which includes reading to them—kids learn a great deal more than we ever thought possible,” says G. Reid Lyon, Ph.D., chief of the child development and behavior branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD. These gains range from improved logic skills to lower stress levels. But perhaps the most profound benefit discovered in recent years is the way bedtime stories can rewire children’s brains to quicken their mastery of language.

01-early-reading-habits-rich-illustrations.jpg

“There’s a clear indication of a neurological difference between kids who have been regularly read to and kids who have not,” Dr. Lyon says. The good news is that these discrepancies don’t have to be permanent. In NICHD studies under way at Yale University in New Haven, CT, and the University of Texas in Austin, researchers have found that electronic images of the brains of children considered poor readers show little activity in the verbal-processing areas. But after the researchers spent one to two hours a day for eight weeks reading to the poor readers and performing other literacy exercises with them, their brain activity had changed to look like that of the good readers.

Here’s how the rewiring works: When you read Margaret Wise Brown’s classic bedtime story Goodnight Moon to your baby, exaggerating the oo sound in moon and drawing out the word hush, you’re stimulating connections in the part of her brain that handles language sounds (the auditory cortex). In English, there are 44 of these sounds, called phonemes, ranging from ee to ss. The more frequently a baby hears these sounds, the faster she becomes at processing them. Then, when she’s a toddler trying to learn language, she’ll more easily be able to hear the difference between, say, the words tall and doll. As a grade-schooler learning to read, she’ll be more adept at sounding out unfamiliar words on the page.

“To break down unknown words into pieces, you have to first know the pieces,” Dr. Lyon explains. “When kids hear the word cat, for example, they usually hear it folded up as one sound (cat) instead of three (c-a-t),” he says. “But when asked to say cat without the c, thus deleting the cuh sound to make at, they’ll more easily understand that words are made up of individual sounds.” Reading rhyming books to kids is one way to help them practice this skill.

Building an Inner Dictionary
To enhance a child’s language skills even more, parents can use storytime as a stepping stone for conversation, says Lise Eliot, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at Chicago Medical School and author of What’s Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. For instance, if a mother points to Curious George’s baseball cap and asks her child, “Do you have a hat like that?” she’s offering him practice in using language correctly.

http://www.parents.com/fun/entertainment/books/the-brainy-benefits-of-bedtime-stories/

The Importance of Reading to Children Before Bedtime

Reading before bedtime is an age old tradition that I had as a child; a pleasant habit that has been passed on through generations in my family.

There are many benefits linked to reading to your child before bedtime:

It should become part of their daily routine, which we know is something kids thrive on, and can also become an indicator that it is almost time to go to bed – another great technique to trick them into bed without them even realising.

Reading to your child is also a special time to be close to your child and bond with them. A wonderful and magical moment for the two of you to spend together with no interruptions, a precious gem in this extremely busy and fast moving world we live in.

Bedtime stories help to bring out imagination in children, it helps with their thought processes, and it can also serve as a teaching tool for everyday life skills and scenarios that need to be learnt. Furthermore, they teach our children, in an engaging manner, how to achieve a positive outcome in life.

A more scientific approach shows that reading aloud can improve their speech and language skills, while increasing their spelling ability and memory too. Reading also encourages their logical thinking, a series of life skills we all need!

In addition, if your children are very young and just starting to read, bedtime stories can teach them primary colours, counting, shapes, and nursery rhymes in a fun, exciting, and age appropriate way.

ThinkstockPhotos-rbfl_56.jpg

Books are able to take children into a safe and enchanted world for a few minutes each day. This helps them de-stress from their daily pressures, as even children have to deal with daily stresses. This can be a relaxing and, believe it or not, a fun way for both child and adult to share stories with each other.

For example, if you were to read a longer book with chapters, you could both move forward in the story, reading a chapter each, with the knowledge that there will always be more to come tomorrow. This technique teaches our little ones that not everything is immediate and that if you stay the distance then there will be an end in sight, once again, a very important life skill.

Nowadays, due to our current, fast paced way of living, we are always too focused on our handsets, tablets, and computers to even look up and read an old fashioned book. Since tablets and Kindles were invented, gone are the days of going to a local book shop to buy a book as a gift. Children don’t always want a tablet to play on, or to be distracted by. They actually like to look at books, they like the feel of them, and will get great excitement from choosing one off the shelf at bedtime, a simple action which leads to nice one – on – one time with their parents/family.

More importantly, if you can get your child into a story reading routine from a young age, they will be more likely to continue reading as adults. They will continue to enjoy the benefits of it, while enhancing their imagination, their thirst for knowledge, and escapism.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/caroline-hartwell/reading-to-children_b_8488578.html

Bedtime Stories for Young Brains

A little more than a year ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement saying that all pediatric primary care should include literacy promotion, starting at birth.

That means pediatricians taking care of infants and toddlers should routinely be advising parents about how important it is to read to even very young children. The policy statement, which I wrote with Dr. Pamela C. High, included a review of the extensive research on the links between growing up with books and reading aloud, and later language development and school success.

But while we know that reading to a young child is associated with good outcomes, there is only limited understanding of what the mechanism might be. Two new studies examine the unexpectedly complex interactions that happen when you put a small child on your lap and open a picture book.

This month, the journal Pediatrics published a study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study brain activity in 3-to 5-year-old children as they listened to age-appropriate stories. The researchers found differences in brain activation according to how much the children had been read to at home.

Children whose parents reported more reading at home and more books in the home showed significantly greater activation of brain areas in a region of the left hemisphere called the parietal-temporal-occipital association cortex. This brain area is “a watershed region, all about multisensory integration, integrating sound and then visual stimulation,” said the lead author, Dr. John S. Hutton, a clinical research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

bedtime-stories-696x469.jpg

This region of the brain is known to be very active when older children read to themselves, but Dr. Hutton notes that it also lights up when younger children are hearing stories. What was especially novel was that children who were exposed to more books and home reading showed significantly more activity in the areas of the brain that process visual association, even though the child was in the scanner just listening to a story and could not see any pictures.

“When kids are hearing stories, they’re imagining in their mind’s eye when they hear the story,” said Dr. Hutton. “For example, ‘The frog jumped over the log.’ I’ve seen a frog before, I’ve seen a log before, what does that look like?”

The different levels of brain activation, he said, suggest that children who have more practice in developing those visual images, as they look at picture books and listen to stories, may develop skills that will help them make images and stories out of words later on.

“It helps them understand what things look like, and may help them transition to books without pictures,” he said. “It will help them later be better readers because they’ve developed that part of the brain that helps them see what is going on in the story.”

Dr. Hutton speculated that the book may also be stimulating creativity in a way that cartoons and other screen-related entertainments may not.

“When we show them a video of a story, do we short circuit that process a little?” he asked. “Are we taking that job away from them? They’re not having to imagine the story; it’s just being fed to them.”

We know that it is important that young children hear language, and that they need to hear it from people, not from screens. Unfortunately, there are serious disparities in how much language children hear — most famously demonstrated in a Kansas study that found poor children heard millions fewer words by age 3.

Click here to read more: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/17/bedtime-stories-for-young-brains/?mcubz=0

Learn how to control asthma

Image result for asthma

 

We offer Asthma Action Plans and coordination of care with your child’s school or daycare are done at each visit. We also supply nebulization machines through our partner, the Neb Doctors, who provides excellent service for these valuable devices.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It is one of the most common long-term diseases of children, but adults can have asthma, too. Asthma causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning. If you have asthma, you have it all the time, but you will have asthma attacks only when something bothers your lungs.

In most cases, we don’t know what causes asthma, and we don’t know how to cure it. We know that if someone in your family has asthma you are more likely to have it.

How Can You Tell if You Have Asthma?

It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under age 5. Having a doctor check how well your lungs work and check for allergies can help you find out if you have asthma.

During a checkup, the doctor will ask if you cough a lot, especially at night. He or she will then ask whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or at certain times of year. The doctor will then also ask about chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days. He or she  will ask whether anyone in your family has or has had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems. Finally, the doctor will ask questions about your home and if you have missed school or work or have trouble doing certain things.

The doctor will also do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working. The doctor will use a computer with a mouthpiece to test how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath. The spirometer can measure airflow before and after you use asthma medicine.

 

Learn More: https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm

 

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Definition

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

  • Inattention means a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized; and these problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
  • Hyperactivity means a person seems to move about constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate; or excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity.
  • Impulsivity means a person makes hasty actions that occur in the moment without first thinking about them and that may have high potential for harm; or a desire for immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.

Signs and Symptoms

Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.Most children have the combined type of ADHD.

In preschool, the most common ADHD symptom is hyperactivity.

It is normal to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity and impulsivity, but for people with ADHD, these behaviors:

  • are more severe
  • occur more often
  • interfere with or reduce the quality of how they functions socially, at school, or in a job

 

Read more on it:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

Adolescent Medicine

 

150337687-1-copy

Care for common adolescent issues including: acne, sports physicals, sports related injuries, menstrual problems, pelvic exams, and emotional problems. If your adolescent is now in college, we will continue to provide their medical care until they are 22 years old. Students may call us directly from college if they need medication refills or have questions about their health while they are away from home.

 

Visit our website for more info: http://www.mendakotapeds.com/services.cfm

Checklist: Questions To Ask the Pediatrician You’re Considering

Image result for kids doctor visit

Find out:

Is the pediatrician certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (AAP)?
This means the doctor passed a specialized exam in pediatrics.

Is the pediatrician a member of the AAP?
If so, the doctor will have an “FAAP” after his or her name. This means he’s met established standards for providing child healthcare.

If you choose a family physician, is he certified by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM)?
Family doctors are trained to care for patients of all ages–including children–but they do not have specialized training in pediatrics.

Does the doctor have specialized training?
This is particularly important to know if you think your child will have special medical needs.

When you’ve narrowed your choices down to two or three doctors, you’re ready to get specific questions answered. If possible, set up interviews–face-to-face meetings will give you the opportunity to get to know the doctor and his staff and to ask about office policies.

Questions you should ask the doctor

How long have you been in practice?
If you don’t have this information already, this would be the time to ask.

What is your childcare philosophy?
Talk to him about breastfeeding, circumcision, alternative medicine, vaccinations, sleep and discipline issues.

Do you have children?
It may be comforting to know if your doctor has children the same gender.

Are you part of a group practice?
If you go with a doctor in a solo practice, find out who covers when he’s away. If he’s part of a group practice, ask about the background of the other doctors. Some practices have pediatric nurse practitioners. They are fully trained nurses often with an MA and specialized training. Physician assistants are not nurses. They have college degrees and two years of physician assistant training.

How long does a typical check-up last?
Ideally, at least 20 minutes.

What are the office hours?

How are emergencies handled?
Some offices accommodate same-day walk-in visits. Ask how after-hours emergencies and questions are handled.

Is there a call-in policy?
Some pediatricians have a specific call-in period each day. In some practices, a nurse answers routine questions. Find out how such phone calls are taken and if there is a charge.

Do you make house calls?

Click Here to read more!