As a Mom of three, it seems that I always have questions about my kids whether it’s bout their health or their development. That’s why I love the site Bundoo, the ultimate parenting resource and the only place you need to visit for all of your questions about whatever situation comes up with your child. I’ve browsed the site for hours and bookmarked so many helpful articles and advice. Recently, I had the chance to interview Sara Connolly, a Bundoo Pediatrician about current parenting fads and which one to try and which ones to avoid!
I am pro-vaccine and always follow the recommended schedule for getting my children vaccinate. What do you think of this recent trend of parents not vaccinating their children and the outbreaks that are appearing over the country?
Honesty, this trend terrifies me. While the decision to vaccinate rests in the hands of the parent, a decision not to vaccinate has the potential to impact an entire community. These outbreaks are the tip of a very dangerous and very large iceberg, one that is just below the surface but ready to cause serious mayhem. Vaccines were created because the diseases they prevent are very contagious and often put the child at risk for not only an immediate illness but for lifelong complications as in the case of measles and polio. I read what is out there regarding the “vaccine controversy” and I understand that parents are just trying to do the best for their kids and that they are scared. I feel like pediatricians and health care professionals need to be as passionate as those anti-vaccine advocates you read on the internet. Our patients need to feel how deeply we support vaccination and, at the same time, feel like they can talk to us about their fears and what they have read. I recently had an amazing conversation with Dr. Paul Offit from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia about this topic. He encouraged me to speak passionately with my families about my feelings on vaccination.
I have read a lot of conflicting information on screen time for children. If it’s a learning app or television show, what do you think the appropriate amount of time is?
When it comes to screen time, less is more! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under the age of two. None! No Dora, no Sesame Street, nothing. In today’s world, this is not an easy task. For kids over two, the AAP recommends as little as possible, but certainly less than two hours total per day. The total is the part most of us forget. Screen time is TV, computer, video games and the like all added up. Currently, there is research going to studying the usefulness of learning apps, so these recommendations could change or become more specific as our knowledge changes.
Personally, I advise parents to monitor closely what their child is watching or playing. I ask them to stick with programs without commercials and free of violence as much as possible. When on the computer, it is of paramount importance that parents are beside the toddler or child when they are using the internet to ensure safety. I also explain that while a baby will seem interested in the TV screen, the stimulation is too much for their developing brain and overloads it with too much stimulation at once. Babies looking at screens are held hostage by the experience – those new infant seats with iPad holders drive me crazy!
It seems like there is a lot of focus on anti-bullying but it’s still happening and the kids are getting younger and younger. What can parents do to prevent this?
Parents need to have excellent communication with both their child and their child’s teachers. There are some amazing anti-bullying campaigns used by schools with great results. When a child feels bullied, first and foremost, a parent needs to listen with empathy but also remain calm. If a child feels like they upset you with their problems, they may decide to hold those feelings in instead of coming to you. If they feel dismissed, they will also hold those feelings in. We want our children to be able to speak with us and share any emotion with us knowing that we are present, loving and calm. Once we know what is going on, it’s our job to help our child navigate the situation. That may involve speaking with a teacher, a principle, a counselor etc. Having a good relationship with your child’s teachers beforehand, makes those conversations much easier.
To prevent our child becoming the bully, we need to reflect on what is going on in our home. Modeling kindness, empathy and accepting each family member for who they are is a great place to start.
At Bundoo.com we have an amazing psychologist, Dr. Raquel Anderson, who is available to answer questions regarding bullying through Ask Bundoo.
It seems like the latest craze is essential oils for everything from kids being sick to treating ADHD. Friends are so convincing, I’m almost ready to jump on this trend! What are your thoughts?
Like all vitamins and minerals, essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which means they don’t have to prove efficacy or meet safety standards before being sold to consumers. As such, parents should use them cautiously. There is no way for your doctor to ensure that what you read on the label of a bottle is, in fact, what the product claims. Like almost anything, too much of any essential oil can be dangerous to children. Pure essential oils will irritate the skin if applied directly and diluted oils often contain chemicals that serve to dilute and preserve the scent of the plant (such as terpens). As a result, I recommend my patients stay away from anything that claims to be medicinal and from products that are placed on the skin of babies and children. Many parents enjoy essential oils as fragrance such as in Aromatherapy. If the scent is very mild and the child is comfortable, then they are probably fine but be on the look-out for signs of allergy such as watery eyes, sneezing or a rash and read the bottle to see what other ingredients it contains.
Are there any parenting or behavior trends that are on the rise that you think parents should be following?
Parenting is really difficult and requires adaptation and the willingness to ask for help when things don’t go as expected. For babies and toddlers, I really like the RIE (resources for infant educarers) approach to parenting. I just finished, “Baby Knows Best” by Deborah Carlisle Solomon and thought it contained some great information on how to adapt to life as a new parent. I also love Conscious Discipline and have most of Dr. Becky Bailey’s books. I use “I Love You Rituals” by Dr. Bailey and recommend the Shubert books that are also on her website (www.consciousdisipline.com) for children. Both RIE and Conscious Discipline help parents stay calm and present which is hard when you are raising children and managing a household.
Thank you so much to pediatrician Sara Connolly from Bundoo – she sure has given me a lot to think about!
Make sure to check out Bundoo, a great parenting resource and my post about different features of Bundoo.com.
What parenting fads out there have you tried or do you avoid?
Disclosure: I am a Bundoo Ambassador and have been compensated. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.