Q. The Holidays make me sad, though I try not to show it. Do you have any tips to make them more enjoyable?
A. First, know that THIS IS NORMAL! We are told this is “the most wonderful time of the year” and set up unrealistic ideas that we must always be joyful. Be true to yourself and be proud of where you are today. Spend time with people you love and that uplift you. Also, spend quality time with yourself. Do something that makes YOU happy. This self-care can be active or relaxing. Find a balance and limit extremes too. Often we feel like we are pulled to one extreme or another (super busy and stressed, then hibernation mode). Finally, reframe your thinking. Change negative thoughts into a positive or neutral outlook on situations. If you feel like you can’t do this by yourself, reach out to a professional.
Katrina Colwick, MA, LMFT \ Marriage and Family Therapist \ Colwick Counseling \ www.colwickcounseling.com
Q. What will my three year old learn in preschool that I can’t teach him at home?
A. All learning starts at home. While this isn’t an option for many parents, finding an excellent preschool program that will partner with you in caring for your child is essential. A preschooler will thrive in the right environment where they are loved, nurtured and encouraged. A great preschool program helps strengthen your child’s social and emotional development, allowing them to explore, interact and play with others their age. Learning to make decisions independent of their parents and learning to interact within a group setting through playing in centers and group time, fosters independence and confidence. A language-rich environment is pertinent to their vocabulary and will benefit their speech. They will also begin learning pre-math and pre-literacy skills and gain fine and gross motor skills. And finally, your child should have fun and develop a positive attitude towards learning.
Paige DeLeon \ Lower School Principal \ Prestonwood Christian Academy \ www.prestonwoodchristian.org
Q. How do I keep my preschooler healthy during the holidays?
A. For preschoolers and little ones new to sharing germs, staying healthy through cold and flu season can be a challenge. Getting exposed to viruses can lead to colds, ear infections, and more seriously influenza. Many of the viruses kids will encounter this season, such as influenza (flu), rhinovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are spread through droplets or contact. This means the things they touch and the people closest to them can spread germs to your kiddos. Help children stay healthy by reminding them to 1. Keep their hands washed and away from the face. 2. Cough and sneeze into their elbow. 3. Snack on whole fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, talk to your child’s pediatrician about getting the flu vaccine. Have a healthy holiday season!
Dr. Angela Moemeka\ Pediatrician \ Mark9 Pediatrics \ www.mark9pediatrics.com
Q. When should my child stop using a pacifier?
A. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends stopping pacifier usage around 12 months since it has shown some correlation with middle ear infections. This is also recommended by Speech-Language Pathologists to prevent complications from prolonged use such as dental malocclusion, otitis media, tongue thrusting and frontal lisps. It’s recommended to just go “cold turkey” to stop the pacifier usage. There might be a few rough days, but then it is DONE. A visit from the “Paci Fairy” could take them away or children can wrap them up to deliver to a baby or hospital where babies can use them. Wink, Wink! An alternate soother like a stuffed animal could replace the pacifier. It’s a tough part of growing up, but essential to development.
Meredith Sorokwasz, MA, CCC-SLP \ Speech-Language Pathologist and Owner Let’s Talk Speech Therapy / www.letstalkdallas.com