From the desk of Brittany Jimenez, RN
We often hear in the media how to limit smart or cell phone use in teens and young children, and the other potential dangers that smart phones may pose in brain development and in causing neck and back pain. But frankly, maybe we need to look at ourselves ‘the adults’, and see that we may be doing to harm the relationships in our lives that mean the most.
A recent study in the journal Pediatrics made some interesting observations regarding cell phone use- not use by young children or teens, but by their parents!! The study conducted in fast food restaurants in the Boston area found that when eating a meal over half of all the families (40 out of 55) observed had a parent or other caregiver that spent a portion of the mealtime on the mobile phone. When the adult was engaged in phone activity, the children at the table either tried to get the attention of the adult present or found other ways to keep themselves entertained. The observers noted that that the more the adult was engaged in the smart phone, the harsher the discipline the child received (See link below).
Family mealtime is such an important part of a child’s life. Meals help to build family intimacy and interactions; meals model social interaction and help to develop vocabulary and conversation skills. Mealtime gives families opportunities to taste new foods and develop healthy brains and bodies. If the adults are engaging more in their cell phones, these wonderful teachable moments are lost in a “tweet” or forgotten when “check-in” is posted. The child loses behavior cues needed for life. Children look to adults to demonstrate social cues in public and family situations, but may not learn the proper reaction if the adult is not completely present in the moment.
When parents and caregivers model behavior that affirms the importance of their child, the child wins. If the adult has turned off the cell phone at the doctor’s office, or the recital or sporting game you are sending a loud and clear message to your child that you are present and engaged in them! You are making them the center of your attention and that is more powerful than any 4G network! Use the smart phone to capture of few family photos, but then put it away- the memory of a family should be stored in 32 gigs of love and laughter!!!
National Infant Immunization Week and World Immunization Week
The week of April 26 – May 3 brings focus on the importance of vaccinating infants and children from vaccine-preventable diseases and highlights the achievements of immunization programs around the world. Find more information at www.aap.org.
National Kids to Parks Day
May 17th marks the annual National Kids to Parks Day which encourages children and their families to enjoy their neighborhood parks and our state and national parks. It's a great chance for kids to explore, discover, enjoy nature and have fun. More info can be found at http://www.parktrust.org/kidstoparks/national-kids-to-parks-day