Signs of overeating can be seen at an early age

mottchildren - sweet cookie imageIt’s become a milestone moment so many parents look forward to: their baby’s first bite of birthday cake when he turns one.

For some children, it’s love at first taste, leading to photos of messy, frosting-covered faces.  Others need extra prodding to eat the sugar-laden treat. Parents may want to take note of which camp their child falls into – it could already be a clue to their risk of unhealthy weight gain in the future.

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Safe storage of firearms and ammunition

gun and ammunition storageOne out of three homes in the U.S. with children has guns. Unfortunately, many of those are not stored properly.

As physicians invested in the care of children in our communities, my colleagues and I wondered what factors contribute to the problem. It turns out that part of the reason for improper storage may be that parents looking for information about firearm storage don’t have access to complete information.

When a parent searches the internet to learn about how to store guns and ammunition, what information do they find?

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Should I “redshirt” my child for kindergarten?

kindergarten redshirtingRedshirting is a term originally used to describe a college athlete who does not compete for a year in order to grow in size, strength, and/or skill in order to give him or her an extra year of eligibility.  The term is now frequently used in discussions about whether or not to start a young 5 year old in kindergarten.  To redshirt a child means to not enroll him in kindergarten even though he is 5 years old by the cut off date, September 1.

While growing in popularity, the data on redshirting is fairly consistent — there does not appear to be any long-term advantage.  A redshirted kindergartner may sail through the first few years of elementary school ahead of the class, but the rest of the class has caught up by middle school and at that point may even surpass the redshirted child.

Studying the Issue

One of the most extensive studies on redshirting was published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis in 2006.  Continue reading

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

mottblog - kindergarten readiness imageChildren who are 5-years-old on or before September 1, 2016, are eligible to enroll in kindergarten this fall in the state of Michigan. Is your child ready? Kindergarten readiness is a popular topic especially as it relates to children who do not turn 5 until the summer. While you probably get no shortage of “advice” from friends and family, there are some evidence-based guidelines that might help you decide.

Reading, Math, Social Skills 

The three areas we typically look at for kindergarten readiness are reading, math, and social skills. While there are general guidelines around these, it’s not as simple as testing a child. It’s about looking at the total picture.
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A dream job: Using digital technology to support healing

jj bouchard digital media mott children's hospitalYou’ve probably heard the warnings.

“Limit screen time for your children.”

“Focus on real experiences vs. screen experiences.”

There are good reasons for these guidelines.

But what about kids who spend long periods of time in hospital rooms, cut off from friends and peers? What about teens who crave even a small sense of normalcy – average teen activities, and even ways to interact with other teens from within the confines of their hospital room? Can “screens” actually be a lifeline in these situations?

That’s where J.J. Bouchard comes in.

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12-year-old girl with arthritis makes “arthritis animals” to comfort other kids

Star Wars' Darth Vadar, Chewbacca and R2-D2 among creations that bring joy to patients at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

arthritis animalsA red patch of yarn dons the limbs of a stuffed Star Wars’ Chewbacca, pink dragon and polar bear lined up around 12-year-old Juliette Harrison.

The spots on Juliette’s handmade, crocheted animals represent the condition they share with their young creator: arthritis.

“They are like friends that kids can take to appointments, someone who is like them,” says the sixth grader, of Saline. “It makes me feel good that I can help other kids that are going through hard things too.”

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