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I sometimes wonder how some children manage to get enough energy to keep them going and going and going. If your youngster is one of the many who pick and choose the foods they like most, he or she may often get on food jags, eating the same foods for all meals or even refusing food altogether. In my house this week, my 3-year-old is refusing to eat anything but peaches and bread! But I’m not too worried about this new phase; experts suggest it’s normal and may not last too long. In fact, in most cases like this, children are getting all the nutrients they need despite their limited intake.
As children grow, their needs start to change. The rapid growth they experienced in the first couple of years of life starts to slow and they require less food. Between birth and age 2, babies will as much as quadruple their weight, but then they will gain only a few pounds a year between the ages of 2 and 5.
Toddlers and preschoolers are asserting their new-found control when they play with toys instead of sitting at a table, or eat only the same foods meal after meal. It’s OK to allow your child to assert a certain level of independence.
Still, there are ways you can keep your child’s nutrition on track. Remember to avoid offering snacks too close to mealtimes. (There really was some merit in your mom’s telling you this would ruin your appetite!) And don’t allow your child to fill up on juice and milk at mealtime. One way to achieve this is to limit fluids offered at the table until after the meal has been eaten.
If you are concerned that your child’s menu is too limited, keep in mind that you are his or her role model. If you don’t eat green vegetables, it’s likely that your child won’t eat them either. Lately, I’ve found that my son has developed an interest in what the people around him are eating. During a recent trip to a restaurant he ate the entire serving of broccoli off my plate and has been obsessed with vegetables ever since!
Finally, if you want to introduce new foods to your child, be realistic. It takes many introductions of a new item until it is accepted and familiar. Start by offering only small samples, but make sure that you try repeatedly and don’t give up if it’s refused on your first try.
If you’re also dealing with a picky eater, it’s usually not worth all the battles to get your child to eat what you’ve planned for him or her — and you may find yourself making the same threats your parents made when you were young. I know that in my house we may be trading some vegetables for dessert in the near future.
Author: Cheryl Koch, M.S., R.D. Read the comments and discussion here
Even the most hardened, insensitive person can’t help but feel a growing sense of dread when about to step through the looming, clinical doors of a hospital – especially when painful treatments and an uncertain outcome await on the other side.
Often those treatments include some form of “needlework.”
As adults, we try to draw on our powers of reason and logic to overcome fears of getting hurt by a painful jab. But what about a small child? Or even a young adolescent?
Some children find this situation extremely traumatic and are unable to accept the necessary injection. They may scream and kick to get away – anything to relieve the terror in their hearts.
After seeing again and again, how extremely distressing these painful injections were for her young cancer patients, one assistant nurse in Sweden began to wonder if there might be a better way to approach needle procedures for children.
She felt driven to try to lessen their fear of pain and extreme distress at the very sight of needles!
So, for the last several years, Lena Hedén has done a thorough, scientific study of this question, and tested a possible solution. Her findings are presented in the doctoral thesis: Distressing Symptoms in Children with Cancer in General; During Needle Procedures in Particular published by Uppsala University in the Spring of 2012.
And her research has certainly paid off.
Using a series of controlled studies, she compared the amount of pain and fear children experienced when about to undergo a needle procedure. In total, almost 300 young cancer patients aged 1 to 19 participated in the four studies. Parents and nurses also provided information about how much fear and pain they could see the child was expressing.
The standard way of approaching a needle procedure is to use a topical cream or patch that numbs the skin of the puncture site. When a needle is inserted in a subcutaneous port, oral morphine and midazolam are used to help ease the pain.
In this study, patients were given the standard medicines or a placebo on some occasions. At other times they got to play with soap bubbles or cuddle with a heated pillow.
Dr. Hedén’s findings were rather astounding. There was no difference in how much effect the morphine had, compared to the placebo. According to the patients, oral morphine had almost no effect whatsoever!
However, blowing soap bubbles or having a heated pillow, clearly reduced the children’s fear and distress during the needle procedures. This was especially true for younger children. Wonderfully, the most frightened children showed marked improvement with these distraction interventions.
Remarkable! Soap bubbles helped much more than morphine!
Perhaps we grown-ups should take really close notice here. Are these young, brave cancer warriors teaching us a vital lesson? Or perhaps just driving home an important reminder?
Nurturing our childish side all through life, helps us remember to have some fun now and then – even when times are hard – and…
… blowing soap bubbles can be powerful medicine at any age!
About the Author: Janet Boynton Runeson is a freelance web copywriter and director of Entrepreneurial Copy. With several advanced degrees in the Humanities, Fine Arts and Economics, she has extensive experience in international marketing and specializes in cultural awareness.