Your Baby’s Best Shot: FAQs About Vaccines

Parents today have no shortage of information and input on raising a child. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially for new parents. We want to ensure our children have all that they need to grow and develop normally, but sorting through the mountains of recommendations can be daunting, to say the least. For parents of newborns, a frequent topic of discussion during well visits centers around vaccines. Which vaccines does your child need and when should they receive them? Let’s breakdown the most frequently asked questions around vaccines for our littlest patients.

There are a lot of vaccines out there, does my child need all of them?
Just because a vaccine exists, doesn’t mean it is recommended for your child. Your doctor will discuss with you the routine vaccination schedule, which is based on current recommendations from the American Council on Immunization Practices. This schedule applies for all children living in the U.S. Additional recommended vaccines based on travel, disease outbreaks, or other unique circumstances, can be discussed with your doctor on an individualized basis.

Why does my baby get so many vaccines before they are two?
Vaccines are given based on a thoughtfully developed schedule to ensure children are protected when they are most vulnerable or likely to be exposed to an illness. Pertussis (whooping cough), for instance, can be life threating to an infant, so three doses of the vaccine are given in the first year of life. For illnesses that may not impact a child until adolescence, the vaccine is delivered at a later time.

Is it safe to give my baby several vaccines at one time?
Safety is of the utmost concern when giving a young child vaccines. That’s where the Centers for Disease Control’s Recommended Vaccine Schedule comes in. Extensive study and analysis have demonstrated conclusively that there is no risk or harm in giving multiple vaccines at once. Specifically, the Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule in the U.S. has been carefully examined and has been proven to be safe and effective.

Does my child need vaccines?
Definitely. In addition to protecting our own children from serious, life-threatening illnesses, we all need to be mindful of the risks we pose to others to when we don’t vaccinate. We’re constantly interacting with others in public (for example at school, playgroups, parks) and there are many people that are not able to receive vaccines. These individuals include infants or those with compromised immune systems from chemotherapy or other conditions, are at mich greater risk of severe illness or death when exposed to some of these diseases. When you have your child vaccinated, you are helping to eliminate the risk of a harmful disease resurfacing. This not only protects your child, but also helps to protect others who are vulnerable to the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.

How do I know which vaccines my child will receive for the first two years of their life and beyond?
Your baby’s provider can discuss the vaccine schedule which is right for your child. Talk with your pediatric provider about which vaccines your child needs, and when he or she should receive them.


Don’t skip vaccines or checkups, or ignore concerns about your child’s health. IHA Pediatricians are offering options like telehealth and have implemented strict safety measures in practices. Call to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider today!

Originally posted June 2019

LIFE 101

Teaching your child to navigate basic life skills

Without a daily commute, extracurricular activities or playdates, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of extra time spent with your family. This presents a perfect opportunity to teach your kids some of the basic life lessons we squeeze in on the weekends and evenings. We’ve got some ideas to make learning these (and teaching) some basic life skills.

Ride a two-wheeler

Be sure your child’s helmet fits their head properly before the pedaling starts. Download this helpful step-by-step guide.

A long weekend is a perfect time to remove those training wheels. Be sure to protect your child from inevitable falls by having them wear jeans and knee and elbow pads. To make your job a little easier you may want to pick-up a grab bar to attach to the bike.

If you prefer to get started with a balance bike rather then jump right into a two-wheeler, give it a try on a grassy area with a slight incline. Learning to balance while rolling down a small hill will give your child a good start when they are ready to try riding a bike.

Tie Shoes

True, it’s much easier to continue to purchase slip-on or velcro shoes, but eventually your child will have a need to tie their shoes. That said, the things we do without really thinking about it can be the hardest to teach. Here are some tips and tricks to help teach the art of tying a shoe:

  • Choose soft, easy-to-hold laces. Many children do better with the wide, flat laces at first.
  • Use light-colored or better yet, two-tone laces for more contrast. Shoe tying will be easier for your child if they can easily see which is which.
  • Use a marker or pen to mark where your child should hold their laces.
  • Be prepared to teach more than one technique in case the first method you show your child doesn’t “stick.”
  • Watch a YouTube video with your child and learn a new knot together. Have your child “teach” you what they learned from the video.
  • There are many shoe tying books and toys available that may be helpful to your child as they learn to tie.

Learn the ABCs and Count

Download a version of the ABCs and a counting song and mix it in with your kid’s favorite playlist. Your child will learn to sing the ABC’s and count to 100 as quickly as they learned Baby Shark (doo doo doo doo doo doo).

Dressing and Undressing

Zippers can be a challenge for a 5-year-old suddenly on their own in Kindergarten (especially if they really have to go to the bathroom). Spend some time practicing zipping and unzipping pants and jackets.

Address an Envelope

Receiving mail during a quarantine is a major highlight of anyone’s day. So, why not brighten someone’s day and teach your children the art of addressing an envelope! You can purchase stamps online to avoid going to the post office in person.


Don’t put-off important checkups and vaccines!

Skipping vaccines and checkups can be dangerous. IHA Pediatricians’ offices are open, and safety measures are in place. Call to schedule your child’s next appointment!

Sun Safety: Protection is key for fun in the sun

Fifteen minutes. According to the Center for Disease Control, that’s all it takes for the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage your skin. When you’re on having fun outside, 15 minutes goes by quickly. It feels great to soak up those rays, but they are harming your skin and are putting you at risk for long-term skin damage and worse, skin cancer. Before you head out into the sun for the day, take some time and precautions to keep yourself and your family safe all season long, and you’ll be golden for some fun in the sun!

USE SUNSCREEN
It’s one of the easiest ways to prevent skin cancer. Look for a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB, an SPF of at least 30, and water resistant. When applying sunscreen, more is more. You want to be sure to get a thick layer of sunscreen on your skin in order for the SPF to do its job. For an average size person, remember the teaspoon rule, and adjust for all ages and body types: 1 teaspoon to the face/neck/scalp1 teaspoon for each arm1 teaspoon to the chest and abdomen, 1 teaspoon to the back, 2 teaspoons for each leg.

Sunblock lotions are the preferred choice, but if you are using a spray sunscreen, apply outside by holding the bottle close to the skin and spray on each area for approximately 6 seconds, or until the sunscreen is visible on the skin (typically, when it looks white). Then, rub it in. Don’t apply spray sunscreen directly to the face. Instead, spray generously into your hand and apply to your face as you would a lotion. Don’t forget to apply a lip balm with an SPF of 30, too!

Sunscreen will wear off throughout the day. Be sure to reapply every two hours and following exposure to water or sweat.

If you’re avoiding sunscreen because you don’t like how it feels on your skin or you had an allergic reaction, try another type or brand. There are a variety of choices by a variety of brands, so if you aren’t happy with one, try another until you find one that works with your skin. You may want to make an appointment with your primary care provider or dermatologist to discuss your individual needs. After all, the best sunscreen is the one you will wear!

AVOID EXPOSURE BETWEEN 10 AM AND 4 PM
Have you heard of the shadow rule? If your shadow is shorten than you are in real life, the sun’s rays are strong. During this time, you should avoid exposure or follow precautions to protect yourself and your family. For our region in the Midwest, the sun is most intense from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so you’ll want to be the most vigilante in protecting your skin during this time.

USE SUNGLASSES
Your eyes will absorb those harmful rays much like your skin does. Look for sunglasses that block and absorb UVA and UVB light. The lenses should fit close to the skin and be large enough to cover your eyes and the surrounding areas. The bigger the better! Polarized lenses will help eliminate glare, which is great for driving or days in the water or snow.

DRINK MORE WATER
When you’re sweating, you are losing water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially in hot weather to keep dehydration at bay. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Also, look for signs of heat exhaustion such as; feeling overheated, tired or weak. Nausea, headaches and dizziness are also indications that it’s time to get out of the sun, cool down and drink some water. Heat stroke is a more serious condition. If you or someone in your family stops sweating, has red and/or hot skin, a high temperature, confusion or is suddenly uncoordinated, seek medical attention right away.

GO LONG!: WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Long-sleeved shirts and long pants provide an extra layer of protection while spending time out in the sun. Look for clothing made with tightly woven fabrics. Those linen pants aren’t going to protect you from the sun, so be sure to wear sunscreen underneath. When playing the water, look for bathing suits that feature a sun shirt, especially for little ones.

HATS OFF ON!: WEAR A BROAD RIMMED HAT
Wearing a hat with a full brim is a great way to protect the scalp, ears, face and neck from exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Tightly woven fabric is the key to a good hat, straw hats are cute, but don’t provide the protection you need. When purchasing sun hats for the family, be sure to pick the correct sizes for each person. Kids will pull off a hat that slips down over their eyes.Seek the shade & avoid direct sunlight

Trees or shelters block the sun’s UV rays and provide ultimate protection. Seek out these spaces when spending time outdoors to help protect yourself and your family from painful sunburns and help reduce the risk of skin cancer. When you can’t find shade, make it! Invest in a beach umbrella or tent to shield your family from the sunlight.

BE CAUTIOUS OF REFLECTIONS
Your exposure to the sun’s rays increases when the sun shines onto and reflects off of bright surfaces, like water, sand or house paint, for example. When spending time near a reflective surface, ensure everyone is sporting sunglasses and sunscreen or protective clothing are being used consistently.

TANNING
Don’t. Tan skin is damaged skin and the impact can last or even shorten a lifetime. Tanning should not be part of a beauty regiment at any point in a person’s life.

PROTECTION 365 DAYS
Skin cancer prevention is not seasonal. Sure, we wear less clothing and spend more time outside in the sun’s rays during the summer months, but protection from those rays is just as important during the winter months. UV rays reflect off snow just as they do off of sand, water and concrete. Apply sunscreen to the face and any other exposed skin, wear sunglasses and lip balm every day. When it comes to sun safety, there’s a lot of information to soak in. Download this handy checklist and keep it in your beach bag to help ensure you and your family are covered for summer skin protection.

Sun Safety Checklist

For questions concerning dangers to your skin from the sun, consult with your dermatologist.


Did you kow you can schedule video appointments with your providers?

Originally published July 2019

An open letter to the communities we serve.

Who could have imagined the struggles that all of us would encounter from this unprecedented global pandemic? Not only has it brought our state and country great economic stress, but it also has changed how healthcare services will be delivered forevermore.

Early in the crisis, IHA’s healthcare providers and staff took multiple steps to help our community respond to the pandemic. Within a matter of days, our medical group opened drive-thru testing sites, implemented a free on-line COVID screening tool, and designated locations where patients with fevers and upper respiratory symptoms could be treated. Additionally, we rolled-out video appointments for all our patients and began piloting home care visits for our most vulnerable patients.

These are complicated times with rapidly changing standards, which is why IHA has been providing regular updates to our staff and providers, as well as our patients. In a matter of weeks, IHA has addressed the most significant and complex changes to face healthcare in our lifetime, but we are not done. We are moving toward what many are calling the “new normal.”

Staying safe in the “new normal”.
Video appointments continue to be our primary method used to treat patients. Since launching this service just a few weeks ago, we have
completed nearly 25,000 video appointments. The decline in new COVID cases is enabling IHA to reconnect in-person with patients whose
appointments, surgeries or outpatient procedures were cancelled. Over the next two weeks, our physicians and practitioners will slowly increase the number of in-person appointments they offer and surgeries they perform. As we reopen more offces, we want to assure you that we are committed to being both responsive and responsible, navigating these unusual times with everyone’s safety in mind.

Numerous safeguards and quality measures are in place across IHA to care for COVID and Non-COVID patients. These include our use of telehealth visits which are actively being embraced by our patients and our providers alike.

IHA is following CDC guidelines and has put additional cleaning and screening processes in place to keep anyone entering an IHA building
safe. These processes include requiring all staff and patients to wear masks and having their temperature checked before entering a practice. Along with maintaining appropriate social distancing, items such as hand sanitizer and tissues will be prominent in every location.

Saving lives, improving quality of life.

Our difficult journey is not over, but we must look to the future. Children need to maintain their immunization schedules, older adults or those with complex medical issues need their health and medications regularly monitored, and further delaying surgeries or exploratory procedures may cause serious harm or lead to other health problems. The steps we are following to reopen are being implemented with extreme care and will be constantly evaluated. As a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, we are working together on safety and security protocols. We have developed COVID-Free Zones, areas where we provide care only for people not known to have COVID-19 or COVID symptoms. We wish to assure the community that our healthcare delivery system is working closer than ever to keep your health and wellness at the center of everything.

Over the past two months, no one industry has learned more than healthcare about the need to change and adapt quickly in order to
care for those we serve. Our lives have drastically changed but fulfilling IHA’s mission of healing will remain with us forever. Please know that we stand ready to care for you. IHA’s motto “our family caring for yours” has never meant more to us than it does today.

We encourage you to call your provider’s office or visit ihacares.com today to learn about the many ways we can connect and safely provide the care that you need. IHA is here for you.

Mark LePage, MD | IHA CEO

Cindy Elliott, RN | IHA President & COO

Coping with Stress

Helpful reminders for when you feel stressed

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Even the most laid back, easy-going people feel stressed sometimes. And considering our current situation, a pandemic and all, stress pretty much goes with the territory. Luckily, the CDC has some important reminders to help manage stress and support yourself.

Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to the news.

The news is everywhere, it’s so hard to escape. If your stress levels are up, then an escape may be just what you need.  Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

Take care of your body.

When you feel like stress is taking over, take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make time to unwind.

Make a list of the things you enjoy most. What can you do right now? What can you plan to do in the future, to help give you something to look forward to? If you’re a person that creates a daily schedule, include some time to do what makes you happy. You may also try setting an alarm or reminder on your digital calendar to stop and take a few minutes for yourself.

Connect with Others.

Consider who you trust in your life. Who do you think would best understand your current concerns? Seek out people in your life that can help you navigate stressful feelings and lighten your load. With social distancing rules currently in place, you may need to be creative in how you connect with others, phone and video calls work great!

Know when it’s time to seek medical care.

If your stress is keeping you from your daily activities or social interactions, reach out to your healthcare provider. They will be able to help you find a solution and get you feeling like yourself again!

Boost Your Immune System

Lifestyle Medicine tips for a stronger immune system

Source: American College of Lifestyle Medicine

In the last few weeks, the immune system has been brought into the spotlight. When functioning properly, the immune system identifies a variety of threats, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, and distinguishes them from the body’s own healthy tissue, according to Merck Manuals. A healthy immune system could be the difference between getting sick and staying healthy. Read on for tips on strengthening your immune system focusing on Lifestyle Medicine. Increasing your body’s immune response is not a guarantee against infection, but it’s a good start.

Mind Your Stress

Pause. Take a few seconds to consider your breathing, listen to a favorite song, or watch a funny video. The stress hormone, cortisol, suppresses immune response. Being mindful, even in small doses, reduces stress and as a result, cortisol production.

No Smoking

Avoid smoking, vaping, or inhaling any substance, which can be toxic to the lungs.

Healthy Eating

What you eat makes all the difference! For strong immunity, consume a wide array of fiber-filled, nutrient-dense, and antioxidant-rich whole plant foods at every meal. Choose a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, eat your beans, consume whole grains, and use a variety of herbs and spices to enhance flavors. Stay hydrated with water!

Purchasing fruit and veggies is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Commit to the piece of produce you choose. Try not to manipulate
    the produce items by touching them and placing them back.
  2. Wash your hands with clean water and soap for a minimum of 20
    seconds after returning from the grocery store. Hand sanitizer for 60
    seconds can also be used.
  3. Produce items should always be washed thoroughly with cold water prior consumption.

Quality Sleep

Aim to sleep for 7 to 9 hours. Develop a routine: Set an alarm for when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Make sure your room is cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable. Avoid screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime. Practice a “wind down” ritual, like listening to soft music, writing in a journal, or reading a book.

Activity

Regular, moderate physical activity is vital to keeping the immune system strong! While Physical Activity Guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week, as little as 20 minutes can suppress inflammation and support immunity.

Connectivity

Physical distancing is essential when contagious disease risks are high, but not at the expense of being isolated or lonely. Connect with friends and family via FaceTime, Zoom sessions, texting, and phone calls. Positive emotions, which are shown to improve immunity, arise from even brief, virtual social connections.

What is Lifetstyle Medicine? Lifestyle Medicine is the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment and reversal of chronic disease.

Learn more about Lifestyle Medicine at IHA.  

Itching for Relief

April showers bring spring allergies.

By Susanna Lin, MD

It’s that time of the year – trees and gardens “wake up” from hibernation with beautiful blooms and scents filling the air. They also bring runny noses, itchy eyes, and scratchy throats. It is allergy season. Allergies can (and do) happen all year, but for many people, when spring starts and trees and grass grow they start feeling allergy symptoms.

Common environmental allergies can be due to dust mites, animals, pollen, grass and trees, just to name a few. Each of these allergies can happen more often in different times of the year. Grass and trees are often bothersome to people in spring, whereas pollens are in the late summer. Dust mite allergies can be found all year round.

When symptoms are bad, many people turn to medications for help. There are some things you can try prior to using medications. For example, for dust mite allergies you can try using dust mite covers on your pillow and bed. Staying in air conditioning may help symptoms when the pollen count is high. You can also flush out the allergens by using a netti pot (follow safe-use guidelines) or saline eye drops.

If you’re ready for medications, decongestants and antihistamines can be the most helpful to allergy sufferers. Decongestants help relieve nasal congestion symptoms once they have started. Antihistamines block the histamine reaction and help prevent symptoms from happening. They often must be taken several days to weeks prior to exposure to the allergens. Nasal steroids can also help decrease nasal congestion symptoms and work right at the source of the congestion. For itchy, water eyes, try allergy eye drops.

If you are having allergy symptoms that are not improving with over the counter medications, it is time to see your primary care doctor to discuss next steps. There may be another reason for your symptoms or other medication or treatments to consider. Allergy testing may also be needed to figure out what specifically you are allergic to so that you can avoid the allergen.

This article was originally published on March 20, 2015, and was updated on April 16, 2020.

Caring for Someone with COVID-19

Recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers of COVID-19 patients

Close contacts of COVID-19 patients should follow these recommendations:
• Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow their healthcare provider’s instructions for medication(s) and care. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and otherpersonal needs.
• Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her healthcare provider and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected. Ask the healthcare provider to call the local or state health department for additional guidance. If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has, or is being evaluated for COVID-19.
• Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
• Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
• Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick.
• Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
• Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• The patient should wear a facemask when you are around other people. If the patient is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), you, as the caregiver, should wear a mask when you are in the same room as the patient.
• Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine.
• Throw out disposable facemasks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse.
• When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of facemask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid sharing household items with the patient. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly (see below “Wash laundry thoroughly”).
• Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
• Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
• Wash laundry thoroughly.
• Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
• Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.

• Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
• Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
• Discuss any additional questions with your state or local health department or healthcare provider. Check available hours when contacting your local health department.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of COVID-19, take our free online screening today.

QuaranTEEN

Tips for parenting teens in the COVID-19 crisis

By Kathaleen Bruce, LMSW

This week in Michigan, school was officially cancelled for the remainder of the year in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. For many students an occasional snow day is a welcomed site, but trading once-in-a-lifetime events like prom and graduation, fun with friends, concerts and performances, sports and end of year class parties for several weeks or months of quarantine is a different story. With the announcement this week, your child, especially teens, may be left feeling a sense of loss. As parents, you want to support your children as they navigate this unprecedented stage of life, but you’re also working through these changes while trying to keep up with working from home, homeschooling and keeping the family healthy. We’ve got you covered! Read on for some quick tips on how to support your teen through quarantine.

It’s OK to feel angry.

High school seniors have lost out on much of what they’ve been working for over the last 12 years, and teens in general are missing out on high school and college rites-of-passage. Understandably, they may be feeling angry, sad, disappointed, and just plain miserable. For parents, expressing empathy for their current situation can go a long way in helping them cope.

Say this: “I’m sorry that you’re missing out on so many things you were looking forward to. This will end and life will get better, but I understand that you feel miserable right now.”

It’s OK to feel happy.

On the flip side, your teen may feel a huge sense of relief with the premature end of the school year. For some, the stress of studies, pressure of performances, or social struggles means quarantine is actually a welcomed change. It’s important to allow your child to feel both disappointment and relief.

Say this: “It’s okay to feel relieved that some of the things you were worried about are now not going to happen.”

Be ready for friction.

For teens, friendships can be as important and their relationships with their family members. Expect that they are not going to enjoy being forced to stay away from their friends for many weeks. Be ready for arguments and anger as you keep them home to keep them well. This will be even more challenging as other parents may not follow the rules and allow their children to interact with friends outside their homes.

Say this: “I’m following the advice of medical experts during this quarantine, and I can’t allow you to go to someone else’s home or have someone over to ours, regardless of the choices your friend’s parents are making.”

Give them a voice.

As you navigate a new family schedule, be respectful of the fact that your teen has their own idea of how they would like to see their day go. Layout your expectations for schoolwork, help with younger siblings and housework. Ask for their input and come to an agreement together.

Say this: “I need some things from you during this quarantine, and I know you have needs too. Let’s look at our weekly schedule together and come up with one that works for both of us.”

Take breaks.

When you’re working from home, it can be more difficult than ever to disconnect from work. It’s important to give your family, and especially your children, undivided attention, sans work. Set aside time every day where you can put your devices away and focus on family.

Say this: “At five-o’clock today, let’s head outside and take a walk before dinner. It’s important to get our work done, but we need to make time for time for each other. Spending time with you is one of my favorite things to do!”

Know when your child needs help.

Despite your best efforts, your child’s response to the stress surrounding COVID-19 may require some outside help. The IHA Pediatric Behavioral Health team is here to support you. Call today to learn more.

Say this: “I can see you’re struggling, and I want to do what’s best to help you. I know someone that can help.”

Teachable Moments

What do you do when there’s nothing to do?

We’re often so busy with education and activities outside our homes, there aren’t many opportunities to educate children inside the home. Enter the quarantine of 2020. Never has there been a time where we were all in our homes for weeks at a time, without any outside activities. This time presents many opportunities for teachable moments around the house.

Laundry.

Darks and lights. What goes in the dryer, what doesn’t. Now is the time to teach your child some basic lessons around doing laundry to ensure your they aren’t clueless at the laundromat their freshman year of college. Even the youngest child can help load machines, measure detergent, push buttons and match up clean socks (if you can find both).

Cook.

Allow your child to (safely) assist with planning, preparing and cooking meals. Plan a cooking competition, with your child as the chef and the rest of the family as judges, set the table and have the family dress up for a fancy sit down dinner.

Make the bed.

This is a simple act that can set the tone for the rest of the day. Before you make it out of your room, you already accomplished something!

Read a map.

Because those turn by turn directions aren’t right every single time, you’ll want you child to have the ability to understand a map, paper or digital. Plan a scavenger hunt in your yard with a treasure at the end, and let your child be the leader. If you have older children, give geocaching a try!

Hammer a Nail.

Learning some basic home repair skills at an early age can come in handy (pun intended) when your child becomes a homeowner or apartment dweller. Assist your child with hammering nails into a board, teach them how to change a light bulb, plunge a toilet, paint a room or any other items on the to-do list. You’ll feel accomplished to check-off your list and your child will pick-up some great skills. It’s a win-win!

Clean the bathroom.

Much like lessons in home improvement and laundry, some basic cleaning skills will serve as lifelong tools for your child. Ask them to help with the dishes, pick-up toys, vacuum the rugs, clean the windows and the bathroom. Be sure an adult supervises children while cleaning and use products that are safe for children.

Balance a bank account.

This is a great way to teach math without having to learn elementary school math. Create a play store, give your kids some money and help them learn about spending and saving.

Plant a garden.

Find an area of your yard where your child can create their garden. Work together to clean the area, remove weeds and prepare the dirt to receive plants or seeds in the coming weeks. If you have the supplies needed, start seeds growing in a window now. The responsibility and reward of planting and caring for a garden throughout the summer are wonderful lessons for children and adults alike.

Manage a schedule.

Ask you child to create their own schedule. How do they want to structure their day? What’s important to them? Help them learn to balance free time or play time with work time. Getting work done is important, but learning to balance work with leisure will give them skills to manage their stress levels in adulthood.