Ten Ways to Win the Homework Battle

The school year is just getting started, and hopefully your child has developed a good routine for homework. If they have not, now is the time to make changes and establish good habits. Parents of my patients have shared some of the skirmishes they’ve experienced, and as I tell them, “You are not alone.”

If you battle over homework, or your child struggles to get assignments completed in time, consider taking a look at his or her homework routine to see how it can be improved. By taking an active interest in their homework, the battle can be less severe or even eliminated. You are showing kids that what they do is important, and, furthermore, you’re helping them develop habits and skills that will help them throughout their lives. Here are some tips to guide the way: Read more

Early Exposure to Allergens

Chances are an older person in your life – family member, neighbor, stranger in the check-out line – commented that parents keep things too clean these days. You may have even heard them say at some point, “Sometimes you just have to let kids eat a little dirt.”

Well, turns out there may be some truth to that.

Recent research on asthma and allergies from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health uncovered some interesting findings centered around children being exposed to allergens early in life. Read more

You Heard a What?

“Your child is very healthy and their exam is normal…except for a heart murmur.” No matter how I phrase it, telling a parent their child has a heart murmur always feels like I’m delivering bad news. As a medical student, I thought hearing a murmur was an incredible feat and that I would seldom have the opportunity to hear one. Boy was I wrong.

It is estimated that 33-75% of children will, at some time, have an innocent murmur recognized on exam between the ages of 1 and 14 years. Compare this to the mere 1% of children who have a congenital heart condition that may present with a heart murmur on exam. Despite the overwhelming majority of innocent murmurs, it is still very scary to hear that your child has something that isn’t “normal” on their heart exam. I imagine the questions which must immediately race through a parent’s mind: What is a murmur? How does my pediatrician know my child’s murmur is innocent and not a serious heart condition? What do we do now? Do we need to see a heart specialist (known as a pediatric cardiologist)?

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