Tag Archives: Child Health

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Why Healthier Children Can Be A Laughing Matter

By Skye Ziemke

“Humor is a very important component of emotional health, maintaining relationships, developing cognitive [brain] function and perhaps even medical health,” -Dr. Allan Reiss, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford.

I make lists all the time, I love them. Sometimes, I write a “To Do” list and add things I have already done, just so I can cross them out right away. I thought today I would treat you to a sort of blog post/list mash up:

Things My Children Do That Drive Me Completely Crazy  Do Not Amuse Me:

  • Leave LEGOs on the floor
  • Wrestle each other and then try to pretend they were hugging
  • Refuse to eat any food not formed into a nugget shape or flavored like pizza

Things My Children Do Which Amuse Me:

  • Sing 80’s songs they barely know, and guess at the words (“Don’t Stop Beeeee-lieving! Hold on to the ceiling!”)
  • Tell stories to me, lose their place, and start completely over from the beginning of the story
  • Trip, misstep, or roll across the floor. Now, I know this sounds horrible, unless you recall I am the mom of three boys. Boys will never: walk if they can run, go around something they can jump over, or simply enter through a door if they can run/walk/scale up the door jam and flip into a room. Much of the time my boys can turn entering a store into an aerobatic thing of beauty. The other times, the slightly failed attempts, make me laugh (unless stitches are involved).

Things I Do Which Amuse My Children:

  • Attempt to play ANY video game.
  • Feel a need to urgently stop them in their tracks but not finding time for real words “EY! TSH-TSH-TSH-TSH-TSH..NUH, UH!”
  • Try to make my husband laugh by doing a kitchen imitation of Nicki Minaj which involves dancing, making dinner, and rapping.

A recent article published in U.S. News and World Report outlined a study which tested the impact of humor on a child’s development. The results showed that children need humor and laughter to become emotionally healthy, positive, and more resilient. Some time and effort might have been saved by asking parents what the study would find. I suppose it is nice to have confirmation. They discovered what I think most of us knew all along: laughing children are healthy children.

The following “To Do” list seems slightly daunting to me:

  • Build Child’s Brain Function
  • Improve Childs Health
  • Help Child become resilient and emotionally healthy

However, I think I could totally handle this one:

  • Spend time laughing with my child
  • Laugh at myself today
  • Tell my child he is funny

So I will be going with the second list, and I am going to text my husband right now to let him know I will be forgoing laundry duty today and goofing off instead. Surely he wants healthier children more than he wants clean shirts, right?

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A Childhood Illness You Should Be Aware Of

By Skye Ziemke

I am trying to recall what I once spent my days thinking about pre-children. Before thoughts of bottles, diapers, and naps took over I must have focused on other things. I can almost guarantee that my thoughts didn’t usually involve the health of others except maybe the occasional “I cannot believe it’s humanly possible to perform your job functions given your obvious gastro-intestinal distress! So glad you decided to tough out that stomach bug, Germ-Guy!”

At some point this changes, doesn’t it? The carefree thoughts of our non-parenting selves disappear when the neurotic parent brain takes over.

Before becoming a mom I did not wonder if my TV was secured to the wall as it should be, if my all natural cleaner was truly all natural or if I needed window guards for the weird half windows in my basement. Much of my thoughts now involve all manner of child health, illness and symptoms.

Last night when my youngest complained of “really bad stomach pain” I immediately panicked. My thought: appendicitis.

I sent a text to my friend – I will just call her Jenny because, well, because her name is Jenny (I am not good with creative pseudonyms) – and asked for her input.
Jenny’s slightly less distressing thought: abdominal hernia.

This text-diagnosing continued for forty-five minutes. It is great to have a friend who senses panic and responds like a doctor in a triage unit. Meanwhile, my son drifted off to sleep and at some point my husband kissed him goodnight, walked past me (sitting on my son’s floor in a texting/web searching frenzy) and headed downstairs.

It was a simple stomach ache, and my son was fine by morning. Thinking about it today I wanted to understand the difference between the reaction of my husband and my own. It is clear that I suffer from a “childhood” illness myself: Parenting-itis. It seems the main symptom of this debilitating illness is the detrimental effect it has on my ability to trust my instincts. Do you perhaps suffer from this ailment as well? This is one childhood illness no book ever mentions. At the first sign of sickness in my offspring Parenting-itis sets in, and I begin the frantic search through books and websites to determine what is going on. Usually I will forget to check the resource that matters most: my child. My husband does not suffer from Parenting-itis so last night he talked with our son, snuggled a bit, noted that the pain had eased, saw that sleep was imminent, and then followed his instincts to our couch and our remote control.

There are many items we can have on hand to help ease our little ones through the sniffles and the viruses. If you have not seen the BabyComfyNose carried by One Step Ahead you should check it out and – after you stop laughing and showing the picture to everyone near you – consider getting one because it seriously works! However, there will certainly be moments when a cough isn’t just a cough, a fever has spiked too high, or when we just know something isn’t right and doctors are needed. Recognizing the moment when professional care is needed is not likely to require too much more than simply focusing on our children, and trusting our instincts.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Parenting-itis (not a big shock really, since I made it up) but I think I know a few steps we can take towards prevention; love on our babies even more than normal, spend more time with them, learn what is and is not their “norm”, cuddle often, and spend time trusting ourselves as parents.

It may be a made-up illness but at least the preventative measures will provide for a pain and bruise-free experience – completely unlike the flu shot I had to get last month!