ADHD has a profound influence on family life. Unfortunately, a lot of that influence contributes to an increase in daily household stress. The overall level of tension in the house, for example, is often relatively high. This tension results from factors such as widespread disorganization, messiness, noise, and periodic emotional outbursts from one person or another. In this article, we’ll focus on explicit, simple, and doable ways of dealing with and reducing this household tension. More specifically, we’ll use several concepts as the basis of our discussion.
First of all, living with ADHD means no wishful thinking is allowed. It’s important to accept reality as it is (without feeling guilty) and give up naive and idealistic notions of what you think family life should be like. ADHD, in other words, is not your fault (you really want to get that through your head), but you are stuck with managing it.
Second, a pleasant sense of calm versus the unpleasantness of being upset are both emotional matters. We often focus so much on the symptom triumvirate of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that we overlook the fact that ADHD is usually a very emotional matter. I have been lobbying for years regarding my thought that emotional overarousal should be on the ADHD symptom list. ADHD usually means feeling everything—positive and negative—very intensely. That includes anger, anxiety, and sadness, as well as happiness and excitement. This makes for a lively household!
Third, part of being realistic about ADHD often means accepting the fact that more than one family member has this handicap. If you have a sibling with ADHD, for example, your chances of having ADHD are one in three. (Sibling rivalry will also be worse.) If you have a parent with ADHD, your chances of having that disorder are over 50 percent.
Multiple family members with ADHD means several things. For one, it often means that one family director (parent) or sometimes even both directors (Mom and Dad) are disorganized and overly emotional. Not a good way to run a family—or a company. Also, multiple ADHDers often means the opposite of “the more the merrier.” The more family members you put in the same room, for example, the more confusion and conflict is likely to occur, especially when there is a specific task that needs to be done, like eating dinner, getting up and out in the morning, or going to bed.
So is a family with ADHD impossible to manage? Not at all. Tough, but not impossible. In fact, if you look at your current daily life, you are probably already doing most things reasonably well. You eat, sleep, get along most of the time, get most of the homework done, get the kids off to school on time, pay your bills, etc. The fact that you often feel exasperated—or even like a failure—may be more ADHD (emotional overarousal) talking, rather than a realistic commentary on your daily competence.
Here are a few ideas, from someone who’s been there, on how to further reduce your family stress. These ideas I chose largely based on simplicity and feasibility—the possibility, in other words, that these ideas can (1) actually be put into action and (2) that they can be maintained because they become self-reinforcing.
Kids pick up germs all day, every day. Whether they are sharing toys, playing at day care or sitting in the classroom, whenever children are together, they are at risk for spreading infectious diseases.
Parents should play an active role in helping their kids stay healthy by taking extra precaution to minimize germs. Here are a few tips on how.
Spending just a few extra minutes each day tidying up your household can go a long way to keep your home germ-free and your kids healthy. Disinfect kitchen countertops after cooking a meal, and wipe down bathroom surfaces as well—especially if your child has been ill with vomiting or diarrhea. Doorknobs, handrails and many plastic toys should also be sanitized on a routine basis. Simply by disinfecting your home more regularly, and even more so when someone in your household has been ill, you can significantly cut down on re-infection.
Set a Good Example
Parents should set good examples for their children by practicing good hand washing and hygiene at home. Encourage your kids to cough or sneeze into a tissue rather than their hands. Children should also be taught not to share drinking cups, eating utensils or toothbrushes. If your school-aged child does become ill, it’s best to keep them home to minimize spreading the illness to other children in the classroom.
Finally, one of the easiest (and most effective) ways to prevent the spread of infection is by hand washing. At an early age, encourage your child to wash their hands throughout the day, especially:
- After using the bathroom
- Before eating
- After playing outdoors
- After touching pets
- After sneezing or coughing
- If another member of the household is sick
The Centers for Disease control recommends washing hands for at least 10 to 15 seconds to effectively remove germs.
Parents can’t keep their kids germ-free entirely, but you can take extra precautions to help keep your environment clean. It’s also important to help your child understand the importance of good hygiene and thorough hand washing as a vital way to kill germs and prevent illnesses.
Generally, a fever is brought on by an infection from a virus or bacterial infection. While many times a parent’s first instinct is to worry when their child has a fever, it’s not necessarily a sign that something serious is taking place. That’s because a fever is the body’s normal, infection-fighting response to infection and in many cases is considered a good sign that the child’s body is trying to heal itself.
When to Visit Your Pediatrician
Fevers are one of the most common reasons parents seek medical care for their child. Most of the time, however, fevers require no treatment.
When a child has a fever, he may feel warm, appear flushed or sweat more than normal—these are all common signs. So, when does a child’s fever warrant a pediatrician’s attention?
You should call your pediatrician immediately if the child has a fever and one or more of the following:
- Exhibits very ill, lethargic, unresponsive or unusually fussy behavior
- Complains of a stiff neck, severe headache, sore throat, ear pain, unexplained rash, painful urination, difficulty breathing or frequent bouts of vomiting or diarrhea
- Has a seizure
- Is younger than 3 months and has a temperature of 100.4°F or higher
- Fever repeatedly rises above 104°F for a child of any age
- Child still feels ill after fever goes away
- Fever persists for more than 24 hours in a child younger than 2 years or more than 3 days in a child 2 years of age and older
All children react differently to fevers. If your child appears uncomfortable, you can keep him relaxed with a fever-reducing medication until the fever subsides. Ask your pediatrician if you have questions about recommended dosage. Your child should also rest and drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated. Popsicles are great options that kids can enjoy!
For many parents, fevers can be scary, particularly in infants. Remember, the fever itself is just the body’s natural response to an illness, and letting it run its course is typically the best way for the child to fight off the infection. Combined with a little TLC and a watchful eye, your child should be feeling normal and fever-free in no time.
Whenever you have a question or concern about your child’s health and well being, contact your Nashville pediatrician for further instruction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 80% (approximately 8 out of 10) of new mothers in the United States breastfeed their newborns for varying lengths of time. There are general guidelines and recommendations for the optimal length of time to breastfeed, but the experience is different for every woman and child. The doctors and healthcare professionals at Pediatric Associates of Davidson County in Nashville, TN, can answer your questions and concerns about breastfeeding and pediatric services for your newborn and children.
Breastfeeding Support and Assistance in Nashville, TN
It is normal to have questions and concerns about breastfeeding, especially with your first child. Here are answers to some of the most common questions that new mothers often have about breastfeeding:
Q: How Often Should You Breastfeed?
A: Your baby's feeding habits and needs will change as they grow and get older. Every baby is different and their needs and schedules will vary. A typical newborn usually nurses between 8 to 12 times per day for the first month, and between 7 to 9 feedings after the first month. However, the goal is to feed the baby when they are hungry, which can range from every 90 minutes to a few hours. It will take some time to get used to the baby's needs and your body's milk production and you can adjust the schedule as needed.
Q: When Should You Stop Breastfeeding?
A: Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization range from one to two years old, but it really depends on your individual situation. Many mothers begin breastfeeding at birth and switch to formula before the year, or continue to breastfeed for longer.
Q: Are There Certain Foods/Drinks That Nursing Moms Should Limit or Avoid?
A: If you are breastfeeding you should avoid alcohol, or refrain from breastfeeding until the alcohol has left your system. Even if you are eating a healthy diet, certain foods may still irritate the baby's stomach or cause an allergic reaction. For example, if you are breastfeeding your baby but drinking regular milk in your tea or coffee, it can be difficult for the baby to digest if they have a reaction to cow's milk. Keep track of everything you eat and watch for potentially adverse reactions in your baby after nursing such as fussiness, gas, vomiting, rash, or diarrhea and consult with the baby's pediatrician for recommendations and adjustments.
Q: What If I Can't or Decide Not to Breastfeed?
A: The choice to breastfeed or not is a personal decision. If you decide not to breastfeed, speak to your pediatrician about the best formula and alternatives to breast milk.
Find a Pediatrician in Nashville, TN
For more information about the benefits and best practices for breastfeeding, contact Pediatric Associates of Davidson County by calling (615) 329-3595 to schedule an appointment today.
Giving your baby his first spoonful of solid foods is an exciting time! Many parents look forward to the day their little one takes their first bite of rice cereal, and in many cases, baby is just as eager! So how do you know if your baby is ready to transition to solids?
Here are a few tips for helping you introduce and successfully navigate feeding your baby solids.
Is my baby ready for solids?
As a general rule, most babies are ready to tackle solids between 4 and 6 months of age.
- Weight gain. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are typically big enough to consume solids when they reach about 13 pounds—or about the time they double their birth weight.
- Head control. Your baby must be able to sit up unsupported and have good head and neck control.
- Heightened curiosity. It may be time to introduce your baby to solids when they begin to take interest in the foods around them. Opening of the mouth, chewing motions and staring at your plate at the dinner table are all good indicators it’s time to give solid foods a try.
To start, give your baby half a spoonful or less of one type of solid food. Generally it doesn’t matter which food is introduced first, but many parents begin with an iron-fortified rice cereal. Once they master one type of food, then you can gradually give them new foods.
Other foods, such as small banana pieces, scrambled eggs and well-done pasta can also be given to the baby as finger foods. This is usually around the time the baby can sit up and bring their hands or other objects to their mouth.
As your baby learns to eat a few different foods, gradually expose them to a wide variety of flavors and textures from all food groups. In addition to continuing breast milk or formula, you can also introduce meats, cereals, fruits and vegetables. It’s important to watch for allergic reactions as new foods are incorporated into your baby’s diet. If you suspect an allergy, stop using that food and contact your pediatrician.
Talk to your pediatrician for recommendations about feeding your baby solid foods. Your pediatrician can answer any questions you have about nutrition, eating habits and changes to expect as your baby embarks on a solid food diet.
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