Tips for Kids During The Summer Months by Katelyn Millinor, LPC

“With summer temperatures usually exceeding 100 degrees, it’s safer to turn to indoor activities and keep kids out of the sun.”

Most families around the country are enjoying time outside engaging in fun summer activities. In the Arizona valley that seems almost impossible. Keeping our kids busy during the summer months can be challenging. Here are some low or no cost options for summer fun.

Indoor activities

  • DIY arts and crafts.
  • Board games/ card games.
  • Reading (consider audiobooks).
  • Puzzles.
  • Scavenger hunts.
  • YouTube videos to learn a new skill (consider cooking, yoga, painting).
  • Apps (find an age-appropriate app that encourages learning).
  • Remember, it only takes about 10 minutes of play to connect with your child. Consider making time to play with your child daily. Try to choose activities that match your child’s development and age.
  • Around the community.
  • Children’s Museum of Phoenix.
  • Local Public Libraries (most offer story time for younger kids as well as some classes/events for older children such as computer coding and college prep).
  • Arizona Science Center.
  • Local parks or pools.
  • Local sports (Minor League Baseball plays at 7:00PM throughout the valley from mid-June until early-September and it’s free to attend).
  • McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.
  • Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park.
  • Local art/craft classes (City of Tempe hosts Free Art Friday for preschoolers and their parents).
  • Karate, gymnastics, or other types of classes available in the community.

Arizona has extreme temperatures during the summer. Here are some tips protect your child and family.

Sun and heat tips

  • Plan errands and recreational activities for the early morning and evening. Avoid being outside from 10 AM to 4 PM when the sun is the hottest. Consider starting each day with a morning walk or taking an evening bike ride.
  • Teach your children to wear shoes outside. The concrete or pavement can be hot enough to cause second-degree burns.
  • Check the temperature of buckles and car seats as they can reach the temperature of a hot skillet. Park in covered parking or under shade whenever possible or use a wind shield sunshade.
  • Keep water with you. Pack extra bottles in the car in case of an emergency.
  • Wear sunscreen. Make sunscreen part of your morning routine. Lather up your kids before dressing them to ensure they’re protected, even if you’re not around water.

Summer doesn’t have to be boring. Feel free to ask any of our NOAH providers for suggestions on summer activities in your community and how to stay safe in the heat.

Summer Fun – Pool Safety Tips by Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

Swimming is a great way to beat the summer heat here in Arizona, and is a fun activity for children to pass the summer by. Drowning is the third most common cause of unintentional – injury related deaths. The highest at risk are children ages 1-4 years old (drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths in children ages 1-4). As such, we here at NOAH wanted to share some important water safety tips!

  • Never leave children alone, even for a moment, in or near pool areas or other bodies of water (lakes, beaches, and even bathtubs or buckets of water)!
  • Install a fence at least 4 feet tall around the pool, which should ideally surround the pool on all 4 sides and completely separated the pool from your home and yard. It should not have any gaps that a small child could slip over, under, or through. The gate should be a self-closing and self-latching gate that cannot be opened / reached by a small child.
  • Newer technology offers alarms, both for the gate and within the pool, that can alert you to anyone around the pool.
  • When any inexperienced swimmer is around the pool area, make sure there is a designated adult for supervision. This adult should not be under the influence, should not have any distractions (cell phone turned off or handed off to another adult), and preferably knows how to swim and perform CPR.
  • Keep rescue equipment such as a shepherd’s hook and a life preserver to reach / throw for rescues.
  • Avoid inflatable swim aids such as floaties, as they are not a substitution for proper life-preserving equipment such as life jackets.
  • Consider swim lessons for your child if over the age of 1, as it may reduce the risk of drowning. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about your child’s developmental readiness to take swim lessons.
  • Talk to your pool operator to make sure your pool / spa and its drains are compliant with the pool and spa safety act.
  • Be safe and have a fun-filled summer!

At NOAH, we want to make sure that you have the proper tools, education and resources to protect you and your family while swimming.

Summer Fun – Sun Safety Tips by Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

There’s nothing better than having fun outdoors during school vacations. However, especially during summer here in Arizona, we here at NOAH want to remind everyone of some sun safety tips to keep protected while having some outdoor fun.

Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

Protecting yourself and your children from harmful ultraviolet light exposure is important to prevent melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, which often strikes those who have been severely sunburned, especially during infancy and childhood.

The first line of defense against the scorching summer sun is proper clothing and keeping in the shade.

  • Try to limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours between 10am and 4pm.
  • Take frequent shade breaks if staying out in the sun for long periods of time.
  • Cotton clothing is protective and can also help whisk away moisture to keep you cool while playing outside. Pick tightly woven fabrics for best protection.
  • Wear a hat: wide brimmed for best protection of your child’s entire face, including the nose, cheeks, chin, ears, and back of the neck.
  • Get your children sunglasses with UV protection. Those from the dollar store, Walmart, Walgreen’s, or similar stores are nice, economical options that can be easily replaced if they break or get lost, as long as they’re labeled as having UV protection.
  • Protect your children with a sunscreen that has an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or greater. SPF 15 or 30 should be sufficient for most common uses. Apply this to all areas not covered by clothing. Don’t forget the ears, back of the neck, arms, and legs. Carefully apply around the eyes, avoiding eyelids.
  • Choose a sunscreen that has the words “Broad Spectrum” on it – that will cover both UVA and UVB rays. Try to avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone that may have hormonal properties.
  • Before applying sunscreen for the first time, test a small amount on your child’s back for an allergic reaction.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure, as it can take this long to become active.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 1 hour.
  • If playing in the water, reapply sunscreen every half an hour, and use a waterproof sunscreen.
  • For infants less than 6 months old, avoid direct sun exposure – keep them under shade with a canopy or under a tree. Use wide brimmed hats to help cover their face, ears, and neck. Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs as well. If this is not available, apply small amounts of sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 to your baby’s face, hands, and legs.
  • Don’t forget to use sun protection even on cloudy days, as the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun can even come through clouds.

Contact your pediatrician if you develop a sunburn, rash, or blistering.
For more information: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Sun-Safety.aspx

Family Summer Screen Time Rules by Dr. Patty Avila, Pediatrician

It is officially summer, and the kids are out of school. Yay! During this time, it is especially important to find healthy ways to keep them happy and busy. During the summer we want to avoid too much screen time use in all forms like:

  • TV.
  • Computers.
  • Smartphones.
  • Video game systems.
  • Tablets.

Not using screen time wisely can influence how children feel, learn, think and behave in unhealthy ways. Having “Screen Time Rules” can help your child learn how to use electronics wisely.

For example:

  • Have you made your bed, cleaned your room, finished your chores?
  • Are you ready for the day – eaten breakfast, brushed your teeth, combed your hair, and gotten dressed?
  • Have you read for 20 minutes?
  • Have you done some type of physical activity for at least 30 mins to 1 hour – like playing outside, riding bike, jumped on trampoline, played a sport, danced, tumbling?
  • Have you done something creative today?

If YES, then you can have some screen time. Place limits on the amount of time spent on electronics as well. Below is a link to help you create a plan to manage use of electronics wisely.
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx#home

Summertime Family Fun by Dr. Patty Avila, Pediatrician

“There are lots of ways to keep your children busy during the summertime that do not involve use of media and many of these do not require you to go anywhere or spend a lot of money.”

Dr. Patty Avila, Pediatrician

Creativity

  • String beads together to make jewelry.
  • Create leis with wildflowers.
  • Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks or leave on a hiking trial for people to find.
  • Use recyclable items to make crafts.
  • Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.
  • Decorate a wall or walkway with chalk.
  • Play with playdough or clay.
  • Make your own instruments and record music.
  • Put on a play.

Keep your children physically active

  • Plan a dance party.
  • Build an obstacle course in your backyard and have a competition to see who gets through it the fastest.
  • Take a family bike ride together.
  • Play a sport together.

Make memories together

  • Create a scrapbook or Time Capsule.
  • Create a summer mural by using a long piece of craft paper that can include drawings/paintings/pictures of your summer activities.
  • Have a night where the kids get to plan and cook a meal for the family.
  • Plan family game nights.

Explore Nature

  • Go bird watching and take pictures. There are websites and free apps that help you identify birds in your area like https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/.
  • Go on a nature walk/hike and take a bag to find “nature” and bring it home.
  • Hunt for bugs.
  • Plant an herb garden/butterfly garden.
  • Find a local farm that allows for you to pick your own berries, veggies, or flowers.

Asthma Awareness in Children by Dr. Patricia Avila, Pediatrician

“Asthma in children is one of the most common long term (chronic) diseases. It is estimated to affect 1 in every 10 children in the US. If your child has Asthma one of the most important things you must do is to learn as much as you can about Asthma. Being educated about your child’s Asthma will help you work together with your child’s doctor to control their Asthma and have the absolute best outcome.”

Dr. Patty Avila, Pediatrician

What is Asthma?

  1. It is a disease of the lungs that causes the airways or tubes that bring air into the lungs to become swollen and inflamed. The muscles around the airways become tight and it makes it hard to breath. This leads to episodes of coughing, wheezing, feeling breathless, chest pain/chest tightness, and feeling more tired than usual.
  2. It is more common in children where there is a parent or sibling or close relative with Asthma, Allergies, and/or Eczema. Children with Asthma often develop Allergies or Eczema as well. These are sometimes present before they develop Asthma.
  3. There is no cure for Asthma. There are medications and things you as a parent/caregiver can do to help control it. Know what the signs/symptoms of Asthma are, how to avoid triggers, and follow your doctor’s treatment plan. This is especially important to prevent and decrease the damage to your child’s lungs. It will also help avoid your child needing emergency medical treatment.

What causes an Asthma Attack?

  • An Asthma attack happens when your child is exposed to “triggers” things that cause your child’s Asthma to get worse.
  • An Asthma attack also happens when a child does not take their medications as prescribed.

Common triggers include:

  • Allergens – including outdoor allergens like pollen, animal dander, dust mites, mold, and cockroaches.
  • Infections – including the common cold, the flu, sinus infections, and pneumonias.
  • Irritants – including cigarette smoke or other smoke, pollution, strong odors like perfumes or scented candles, and cleaning products.
  • Changes in weather – cold and dry, very humid, or extremely hot weather.
  • Exercise.
  • Stress and strong emotions.

How can you help control your child’s Asthma and how is it treated? Avoid triggers. It may not be possible to completely avoid all possible triggers, but there are some changes you can make that will help.

  • Allergens. Have your child take their allergy medications during allergy season. Keep windows and doors shut during allergy season. Avoid outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.
  • Dust mites. Use mattresses and pillow covers. Vacuum and dust regularly. Wash bedding once a week. Limit and wash stuffed animals.
  • Furry pets. Keep pets out of your child’s bedroom. Wash pets more often.
  • Use HEPA filters.
  • Fix any water leaks that could lead to mold.
  • Infections. Make sure your child and family receive their yearly Flu vaccine. Having Asthma increases your child’s risk for severe Flu illness that can trigger an Asthma attack.
  • Use good hand hygiene.
  • Irritants. Do NOT allow anyone to smoke in your home or car. Avoid public places where smoking is allowed. Avoid use of perfumes, scented candles, incense, paints, and cleaning supplies that can irritate your child’s lungs. Check your local forecast for air quality and keep your child indoors when the pollution is bad.
  • Weather. Avoid outdoor activities in extreme weather conditions.
  • Exercise. If your child’s Asthma is triggered by exercise have your child take his/her Albuterol 15-30 minutes prior to activity to prevent these symptoms. Encourage your child to exercise and participate in sports. Know what medications help control his/her Asthma so that they can continue to be active.
  • Medications. Includes inhaled medications in the form of MDIs also known as inhalers or “pumps” and nebulizers that are given by a machine. Rescue or quick relief medications like Albuterol help during an Asthma attack. They help open the airways or tubes that bring air to the lungs. Long term controller medications like inhaled corticosteroids help improve the inflammation of the lungs. When these medications are used daily your child is less likely to have an Asthma attack.

Develop an Asthma Action Plan.

This plan is made with the help of your child’s doctor. It will help you and your child know what medications to use and when. It will also help you and your child know what to do in the case of an emergency. Share this plan with the school as well. It is important, because your child spends a good amount of time there and the school will know exactly what to do to help your child.

By becoming knowledgeable about your child’s Asthma, avoiding triggers, and following a good Asthma Action Plan you are taking important steps in keeping your child healthy. Have your child see his/her doctor at least 2 times per year to make sure their Asthma is under control. Do not forget to make sure your child and family receive a yearly Flu vaccine. Your child should be able to enjoy everyday activities and participate in sports without any problems breathing if their Asthma is under control.

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Child’s Brain Development by Dr. Patricia Avila, Pediatrician

Did you know that suffering a potentially traumatic event during childhood also known as ACE or Adverse Childhood Experience can have long lasting negative effects on a child’s health, brain development, and life potential? 

Adverse Childhood Experiences can include experiencing violence, abuse, neglect, witnessing violence in the home, loosing a family member, mental health issues in a parent, substance/alcohol abuse by a parent, or instability from divorce or having a parent become incarcerated. 

These events lead to what is called toxic stress. Research shows that this toxic stress negatively changes a child’s brain and body by affecting the child’s brain development, hormonal system and immune system. These changes can persist for years and can lead to long term behavioral, mental, physical health problems.

The toxic stress from ACEs on brain development can impact a child’s potential to: 

  • Develop normally – leading to delays in development.
  • Focus and learn – leading to learning disabilities, dropping out of school, lack of future job opportunities.
  • Make decisions – leading to increase risk taking behaviors such as involvement in drugs and unprotected sex, unwanted or teen pregnancy.
  • Develop mental illness – leading to increase depression, anxiety, and rates of suicide.
  • Form healthy, stable relationships – leading to continuing this cycle of toxic stress in their children and families.

Research also shows that toxic stress from Adverse Childhood Experiences negatively affects a child’s body and can lead to chronic health problems like: 

  1. Obesity.
  2. Cancer.
  3. Heart disease.
  4. Autoimmune problems.
  5. Asthma and chronic lung disease.
  6. Headaches.
  7. Early death from general poor health.

The more of these events a child has suffered, the higher the risk of developing these long-term problems.

The GOOD NEWS is that we can do something about this! Research also shows that we can PREVENT and UNDO the harm done and the future harm on a child’s brain and body. There are some simple things that parents/caregivers can do at home to help regulate a child’s stress response and change the negative impacts of the stress hormones to keep them healthy and on track with brain development.

These include providing our children with: 

1. Supportive and nurturing relationships.
a. Tell them and show them how loved, special, and important they are.
b. Spend quality time doing activities that they enjoy. Simple activities like making art, dancing, cooking, playing games, reading, and singing together are excellent choices.
c. Keep connections outside the home with friends and family members.
2. Regular physical activity. Recommendation for 1 hour of physical activity which does not have to be all at the same time. These can include sports, dance parties, hula hooping contests, hiking, playing tag, chasing the family dog, or anything you can think of to get your child physically active.
3. Healthy meals.
a. Avoid high sugar foods/drinks. Avoid high fat foods or foods/snacks high in carbohydrates.
b. Include fruits and vegetables with every meal. 5-9 servings of fruits/veggies per day are recommended. Fruits and veggies provide nutrients that no other foods can provide.
c. Include foods rich in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, nuts, avocados, flax seeds.
4. Restful sleep.
a. Keep a routine with a regular bedtime.
b. Make sure the bedroom is quiet, calm and free of distractions.
c. Avoid all electronics including cell phone, tablet, computer, and TV 1-2 hours prior to bedtime.
5. Getting mental health care for yourself as parent/caregiver and for your child.
6. Practicing mindfulness.
a. This can include meditation, breathing exercises, and prayer.
b. Talk with your child about how they are feeling physically and emotionally.
c. Practice talking about, writing down, or drawing what you are grateful for each day with your child.

All of these will build connections in their brains to help them succeed in school, behave in ways you would expect and become happier, healthier, and more successful.
When parents and caregivers manage stress in positive ways as well, your brain also changes in ways to make you happier and healthier.

Learn ways to manage your stress as a parent/caregiver:

  1. Know what is stressing you out. When you know what exactly it is, you can better deal with it.
  2. Ask yourself “can I do something about this?” If the answer is no, then let it go and focus on something else. If the answer is yes, break it down to small steps so that it is not overwhelming.
  3. Have faith. Think of other times you have overcome challenges. It has been proven that people who attend church, pray or practice other forms of spirituality have less stress.
  4. Relax. Use breathing exercises, meditation, listen to music, or take a nap.
  5. Form healthy habits for yourself by getting good sleep, exercising, and eating well.
  6. Take time for yourself like reading a book, picking up a hobby, or spending time with friends.
  7. Make connections with others. Have a support network that includes friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  8. You are never alone. Your child’s Pediatrician or Family Doctor can also be a great resource and support person for you. They can help give you ideas, resources, and help connect you with others who can help.

Additional resources:
Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor. It is Free and is available 24/7.
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text LOVEIS to 22522. Available 24/7.
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD, 1-800-422-4453 or chat/text at www.childhelphotline.org. Available 24/7.

Amazing Brain Series of booklets to help parents/caregivers:
http://preventchildabuse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ABSapps.pdf
preventchildabuse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ABSwhateveryparent.pdfpreventchildabuse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ABStrauma.pdfpreventchildabuse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ABSteen.pdf

Other websites with great ideas for parents/caregivers:
https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/family-building/everyday-practices-to-make-your-child-feel-loved/#gs.4csgtk
https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/family-building/family-life-is-important-for-kids-mental-health-and-adjustment-to-life/#gs.4csmks

Know the Facts about Children and Diabetes by Dr. Jain, Pediatrician and Brandon Bolton, RDN

The Defeat Diabetes Foundation (DDF) has named April Defeat Diabetes Month. Defeat Diabetes Month is a time to raise awareness about diabetes prevention, management, and treatment throughout our communities. At NOAH, we are here to help you through all aspects of defeating diabetes, from awareness through treatment.

There are multiple forms of diabetes, but the two most common forms are called type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Both forms can occur at any age, but a child is typically more likely to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. However, with childhood obesity rates on the rise, the number of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life is also increasing. According to the DDF, 1 in 3 US children is overweight or obese. 75% of these children will become overweight or obese adults, and 87.5% of adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the US are overweight or obese.

The DDF has created three different steps to help win the fight to defeat diabetes. The three steps include awareness, action, and prevention.

  • Awareness – creating awareness of the risk factors, warning signs, and complications.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is characterized by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin is needed to help lower the levels of sugar and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs when insulin is not produced in sufficient amounts or the cells of the body are unable to use the insulin properly. Over time, high blood sugar levels may lead to serious complications such as diseases of the eyes (retinopathy), kidneys (nephropathy), nerves (diabetic neuropathy), and blood vessels (that can eventually lead to poor circulation in the extremities). Diet and lifestyle changes can help decrease the risk of these complications.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease that is almost exclusively based on genetics, and it cannot be prevented. With type 1, the pancreas produces very little or no insulin, leading to high blood sugars. Symptoms include increased urination, excessive thirst, increased appetite, and weight loss.

Type 2 diabetes is highly preventable and can be characterized by insulin resistance, decreased insulin production, or a combination of both. Some of the modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes include diet, physical activity, and weight management.

  • Action – taking action and providing individuals with the information they need to make the right dietary, lifestyle, and treatment choices to ensure their optimal health.

It’s important to talk with your child’s doctor to find the best treatment plan. Your child’s doctor will talk you through the importance of lifestyle, diet, and medication in order to keep your child’s blood sugar under control. Eating healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle can help manage BOTH type 1 and type 2 diabetes. As mentioned, Type 2 diabetes is highly preventable, so it is even more important to start creating healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits at a young age.

Children who are at risk or are diagnosed with diabetes can live a happy, healthy life through self-management and with an integrative team approach with various medical professionals. An integrated approach with your child’s doctor, a registered dietitian, and a behavioral health specialist can help develop a nutrition, physical activity, and medication plan that can help.

Here are some healthy nutrition tips from The American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Stick with water, avoiding juices and other drinks high in sugars.
  • Include high-fiber, whole-grain foods such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta, corns, peas, and breads and cereals at meals. Sweet potatoes are also a good choice.
  • Choose lower-fat or fat-free toppings like grated low-fat Parmesan cheese, salsa, herbed cottage cheese, nonfat/low-fat gravy, low-fat sour cream, low-fat salad dressing, or yogurt.
  • Select lean meats such as skinless chicken and turkey, fish, lean beef cuts (round, sirloin, chuck, loin, lean ground beef—no more than 15% fat content), and lean pork cuts (tenderloin, chops, ham). Trim off all visible fat. Remove skin from cooked poultry before eating.
  • Include healthy oils such as canola or olive oil in your diet. Choose margarine and vegetable oils without trans fats made from canola, corn, sunflower, soybean, or olive oils.
  • Use nonstick vegetable sprays when cooking.
  • Use fat-free cooking methods such as baking, broiling, grilling, poaching, or steaming when cooking meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Serve vegetable and broth-based soups or soups that use nonfat (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk or evaporated skim milk when making cream soups.
  • Use the Nutrition Facts label on food packages to find foods with less saturated fat per serving. Pay attention to the serving size as you make choices. Remember that the percent daily values on food labels are based on portion sizes and calorie levels for adults.
  • Prevention – take a personal pledge to prevent diabetes in your family and your community.

Feel free to reach out to one of your NOAH Health Centers with any questions you may have. NOAH offers a full range of primary and preventable health services for all ages!

To learn more about the DDF and the prevention and management of diabetes, visit their website at https://defeatdiabetes.org/

To read more about Type 1 Diabetes in children visit https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chronic/Pages/Diabetes.aspx

To learn more about type 2 diabetes and tips for healthy living check out https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chronic/Pages/Type-2-Diabetes-A-Manageable-Epidemic.aspx

7 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Sleep Hygiene by Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

Do you wonder if your children are getting enough sleep? Are they going to bed early enough? It is well known that in today’s hustle and bustle of daily life, sleep tends to get compromised for everyone, children and adults alike. Sleep is essential to good health and has many benefits from allowing one’s brain to process and store in memory what was experienced and learned that day to rejuvenating so that they may be ready for the day ahead with full mental functionality. Without enough sleep, one may suffer consequences of sleep deprivation including difficulty concentrating, inattention, headaches, poor behaviors / irritability, obesity, and depression. With enough sleep, children may be able to better concentrate, have more energy, thus decreasing the risk for obesity, have better mental health, and even a healthier immune system.

As your children grow, their sleep needs will vary. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has provided some helpful guidelines regarding how much sleep a child needs as they grow through various stages of their development.

This chart includes any naps a younger child may take during the day, as it is a total within a 24-hour period:

Is your child getting enough sleep? Our NOAH family wants to ensure your children are sleeping well, as it is an important component of their overall health. Below are some tips on improving your child’s sleep hygiene, so they may get a good night’s rest and stay healthy:

  • Keep a daily routine, including sleep and wake times, mealtimes, nap times, and play times. This can help the brain get into sleep mode when it is time for a nap or bedtime, as it helps with a smooth transition to sleeping. The disruption to this schedule should be kept to a minimum over the weekend and breaks as well.
  • Establish a good routine of daily physical activity, including getting fresh air and participating in age-appropriate sports.
  • Keep an eye on that screen time! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time per day. This includes computers, phones, TVs, tablets, etc.
  • Along the same lines, all screens should be turned off at a minimum of one to two hours before bedtime as the blue light emitted from screens can prevent the brain from being able to fall asleep, or prevent the brain from getting to deeper stages of sleep until later in the night.
  • Limit your child’s bed as a place to sleep, and only for sleep. Any playtime or homework should be done in a different environment, as a simple cue of getting into bed can help trigger the brain to start falling asleep.
  • Avoid any sugary beverages such as juices and sodas just before bedtime. This includes a bottle of milk, formula, or juice (only water if needed), as these beverages at bedtime can cause or increase the speed of baby bottle tooth decay.
  •  Regarding bedtime routine, the AAP recommends the 4 B’s of Bedtime: 
  1. Bathing: having this as a part of the normal sleep routine is a hygienic and soothing way to separate evening activities and dinnertime from bedtime and can help the brain get into bedtime mode if used as a part of a routine.
  2. Brushing: Getting in the habit of brushing their teeth before bedtime can not only help prevent cavities and tooth decay, but also can help the brain transition into bedtime mode.
  3. Books: This can stimulate excellent brain activity and it can also help cue the brain for bedtime if used as part of a daily routine.
  4. Bedtime: To reiterate, none of the above are more important than enforcing a reasonable bedtime and encouraging your child to sleep at the same time every night.

If your child has trouble falling asleep or getting enough sleep, please reach out to your NOAH provider for further recommendations. We are happy to help promote this important concept in good health.

For additional information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website healthychildren.org.
(https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sleep/Pages/Healthy-Sleep-Habits-How-Many-Hours-Does-Your-Child-Need.aspx)

Healthy Smile Tips by Dr. Lou Sarrosa, Dental Director

During the month of February, thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators come together to support National Children’s Dental Health Month. The goal is to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers and members of the community. At NOAH we believe in educating our little community members on the importance of having a healthy smile. We do this by partnering with local school districts, hosting free dental health screenings and providing oral health education to all attendees. We also attend various events in the community where we offer the same services while encouraging families in need of a dentist to come see us at one of our dental offices. At NOAH, we take oral health education a step further by providing these free community screening events all year long. With your help, and just a few simple tips from our dental pro’s, you and your child can have a healthy smile that is bright and cheerful.

HEALTHY SMILE TIPS

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between your teeth daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease.