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Capital Area Pediatrics
Posted on 12/27/2017 17:44

pexels-photo-265076.jpeg Can you give your child's intelligence a boost? According to science, it's possible! However, scientists often cite the first ten years of a child's life as the 'window of opportunity.' Everything at this time is critical to improving the 'wiring' of a person's brain.

Capital Area Pediatrics Pediatrician Dr. Hanita Oh-Tan recently sat down with ABC News Channel 7 to share 10 ways to ways to make your kids smarter, based on her experience as well as an article by Time Magazine. Let's take a look:

  1. Music. Okay, so you may not want your child to aspire to be a rockstar (or maybe you do), but music lessons have been shown to help make kids smarter. On average, music students perform better on standardized tests and have higher overall GPAs. In one experiment, it was found that taking piano lessons even helped raised IQ significantly.
  2. Physical Activity.In a 2007 study, German researchers found that after exercise, people pick up new vocabulary words 20% faster! Another study shows that for 9 and 10-year-olds, 20 minutes of exercise before a test significantly improves test scores.
  3. Reading.When reading to your kids, don't let them just stare at the pictures while you do all the work! Share the task with them, as this will help them build their reading skills. When reading is shared between you and your little one, it promotes early literacy, even among disadvantaged children.
  4. Sleep. The benefits of sleep for brain development are endless. Studies have shown a correlation between grades and the average amount of sleep a child gets. In fact, it has been found that a loss of just one hour of sleep is equivalent to a loss of two years of cognitive maturation and development.
  5. Self-Discipline.Students with high levels of self-discipline are more likely to earn higher grades in their classes. They also tend to have fewer absences and spend less time watching television and more hours doing school work. Self-discipline has also been found to predict which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not.
  6. Active Learning.Skip the brain training games and apps and opt for a more active learning approach. While many of us love our screens and apps, our brains learn more by doing things - not by hearing about them. Consider using the rule of two-thirds to help make active learning activities more beneficial as well. For example, if you want your child to memorize a passage, have them spend 30% of their time reading it, and the other 70% testing their knowledge about what they just read.
  7. Treats (At the Right Time). While it’s best if kids eat healthy all the time, there are always exceptions. Research shows that caffeine and sugar can have a beneficial effect on cognitive performance when consumed in moderation.
  8. Happiness. When a child is happy they are much more engaged and interested in their learning. Social-emotional factors are continually being studied by scientists, and many reports have concluded that happy children are more willing to learn, more curious, and in turn, are smarter.
  9. Positive Peers.A study conducted at Dartmouth College found that a child's peer group has powerful influence over them. When students with low grade-point averages mixed with higher-scoring students, their grade-point average increased.
  10. Support. In a study carried out by Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, elementary school teachers were told that they had certain students in their class who excelled at academics. These students were selected at random. At the end of the school year, 30% of the children selected had gained an average of 22 IQ points, and almost all had gained at least 10 IQ points. Moral of the story? Believing your kid is smarter than average makes a difference.

How you help your child develop intellectually affects him through adulthood.
If you have concerns about your child’s cognitive development, Capital Area Pediatrics is here to help. We are able and ready to address any of your questions or concerns. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!

Posted on 11/27/2017 20:11

children_holidays_safety.jpgThe holidays are a special time for everyone, but are especially exciting for children. Between holiday decorations, sweets and special meals, the anticipation of seeing family members, and receiving presents, your children will be easily excitable through the rest of the year. That’s why it’s important to go over safety measures with them before holiday plans are in motion. Below are a few tips to consider for your children’s safety and for your peace of mind this season.

  • Indoor Decoration. When decorating your home for the holidays, be mindful of the age of your children and make sure that your decor is age appropriate. If your children are young, for example, it’s best to pass on decorations that are easily breakable or decorations with small pieces that could be choking hazards. If you do want such decorations up for sentimental reasons, take care to place them out of reach of your children. Similarly, remember that poinsettias, mistletoe, and other holiday decorations can be poisonous if ingested and situate them in locations where your children will not encounter them.
  • Lighting and Fire Safety. Candles and lights are a festive part of the holidays, but if you have small children, there are a few extra precautions that will keep both your children and your home safe. Position your Christmas tree away from heat sources, in case of accidental falls. Check for fraying wires and functional bulbs before hanging lights on your tree or around your home. And always place lights and candles where they are out of reach of small children to avoid fire hazards.
  • Age-Appropriate Toys. Gifts are one of the best parts of the holiday season for children, but be aware of the kinds of items your children are receiving. Consider how old your children are when purchasing presents for the holiday and when possible, coordinate with relatives and friends who might be giving your children gifts to be sure they are age-appropriate. Small parts can turn into potential choking hazards for small children. You should also remove any wrapping remnants, strings, or tags before giving toys to a child.
  • Outdoor Accidents. With holiday travel, more people are on the road this time of year - and often times are traveling in unfamiliar destinations. Even if it’s an area the driver is familiar with, there can be more distractions and dangerous road conditions around the holidays. If your children are still in car seats, be sure they are buckled properly. If you live in an area that winter weather tends to hit hard, be sure your children are dressed appropriately for the weather and have the appropriate supervision for outdoor activities.

Following age-appropriate safety guidelines, as well as any individualized care plans for children with certain illnesses, can ensure that everyone has a safe and happy holiday. If you have concerns about your child and their safety during the holidays, Capital Area Pediatrics is here to help you. We are able and ready to address any of your questions or concerns about holiday safety. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!

Image courtesy of pxhere.com

Posted on 10/27/2017 14:57

Healthy eating is important during the holiday season.The last three months of the year really are exciting! Families and friends are gathering and celebrating, which means there will be no shortage of food. From tasty Halloween candy to Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas sweets, it’s very tempting to want to try everything. Unfortunately, the holidays are also a time where weight gain can be a real problem, especially for children who are lured in by sugary treats. Here are a few of our tips for watching what your children are eating while still letting them get the most out of the holidays.


Monitoring Portion Size

On average, Americans gain one to two pounds during the holiday season. While a lot of the weight gain can be caused by the ingredients in what you’re eating, controlling portions is one of the better ways to keep things steady. Give your child a smaller plate at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Start off with filling the plate with more vegetables, salad, and other foods with more nutrition, and then the entrees and other side dishes.

As for Halloween, their candy haul could be huge and they may want to eat as much as possible right away. Stash some of their candy away and leave out a little bit at a time to ration it throughout the coming months. There are also a number of other ways to creatively portion out candy, or donate it and use it for other recipes and crafts.


Keep Kids Active

With the weather cooling down and most holiday activities taking place inside, staying active can be tricky. It’s easy for kids to want to eat sweets and plop in front of the TV to watch their favorite holiday movies, but it’s essential to keep them moving to work off those holiday meals and desserts. Kids should stay active for at least one hour every day, and this includes the holidays! On Halloween, take longer walking routes around the neighborhood for some extra steps. Go for a family walk or participate in a friendly game of football on Thanksgiving morning or after dinner. On Christmas, have a dance party around the tree to some of your favorite holiday tunes. There are plenty of ways to get active and celebrate the holidays!


Healthy Substitutes

Incorporating more fruits and veggies into fun holiday meals and snacks will get the kids the right nutrients without making things boring. On Thanksgiving, try creating this veggie turkey, or a popcorn wreath for Christmas. As for Halloween, it doesn’t have to be all about the candy. Check out some of these healthy snacks to enjoy during a Halloween family movie night.

The holidays don’t have to come with an extra one to two pounds, especially for growing children. If you have concerns about your child’s weight or eating habits during the holidays, Capital Area Pediatrics can help you out. Our team can address any of your questions or concerns about holiday temptations. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!

Image courtesy pixabay.com

Posted on 09/28/2017 16:11

It Welcoming a new season is always an exciting time, especially with the arrival of autumn. The autumn season means cooler weather, falling leaves, football, and scarves and sweaters. But every changing season has its downside. For autumn, that means allergy season is here, which affects both children and adults. Some struggle during this time of year with allergies and colds floating around, but those with asthma tend to have a more difficult time. Here are a few ways to understand what triggers flare ups and how to keep your child’s asthma in check this fall.


Fall Allergies

What about this season affects asthma? Common allergens that float around during the fall are sometimes to blame, as they can trigger asthma symptoms in children. These are mostly made up of weed pollens, which are known to be more abundant during the late summer and early fall. Some of these weed pollens include ragweed, tumbleweed, Russian thistle, pigweed, sagebrush, and more.

Prevent these allergens from affecting your child by having them stay inside as much as possible, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., when pollen is more likely to be floating around. It’s also a good idea to keep windows closed both at home and when you’re driving around in the car.



Just like weed pollen, mold spores are also out and about during this time of year and can affect children with asthma. Because mold can be found both inside your home and outdoors, it’s always a good idea to be aware of its presence and do what you can to prevent it from being a problem for your child.

Keeping your windows closed and placing a dehumidifier in your basement to reduce moisture will help prevent mold from appearing or spreading. When outside, beware of a type of mold called Alternaria. When playing in leaves or enjoying a hayride through a pumpkin farm, have your child wear a mask or scarf to protect their mouth or nose from any mold spores in the leaves and hay.


Colds and the Flu

Fall also means viruses are more likely to be floating around your child’s school. The flu and other respiratory infections can strongly affect children with asthma and worsen its symptoms.

One of the best ways to protect your child from the flu is getting a flu shot. Flu shots are essential to help lessen the severity of the illness. If your child comes down with a cold, make sure to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician for information on the severity of the cold  and any best practices for fighting it off.


Have An Action Plan

No matter how severe the diagnosis and no matter what triggers your child’s asthma, an action plan is a must. An action plan is developed with a doctor, ensuring that information and steps to address flare-ups are documented in writing and readily available to your family and caregivers. Action plans include notes about daily treatments and medicines, tips for control asthma symptoms, and guidelines on when to call for medical assistance during an asthma flare-up or attack.


Having asthma isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t ruin your child’s fun this autumn! Following fall precautionary procedures and checking in with your child’s pediatrician will help them and you with your asthma concerns. At Capital Area Pediatrics, our team can help you and your child schedule an appointment to address any of their asthma concerns this season. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to help you and your child!

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Posted on 08/29/2017 19:24

A back to school physical exam is a great way to keep your children healthy. Summer vacation is coming to a close, and students and their parents are preparing for another school year. While juggling school supply shopping, activity sign-ups, and any last minute summer trips, it can be easy to forget to schedule a back to school physical for your child. Many schools require physicals prior to the school year, and plenty of sports and school activities require one as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children between ages 5 and 18 have a physical exam once a year.

But while physicals are somewhat of a requirement, they can also provide valuable feedback and information on the growth and health of your child - which is far more important! Mandatory or not, here are a few reasons why a visit to the pediatrician before the first day of school can set your student up for success in the coming year.

  • For Student Athletes: Children who are participating in any fall sports will need to have a check-up prior to the start of their season or by the first day of school to make sure they are healthy and ready to play. Pediatricians can address any injury concerns you may have as well as provide input on healthy exercise and training routines that will work best for your athlete. The doctor will also perform routine checks often performed in a physical, like height, weight, blood pressure, immunizations, medications, and more. Typically, many sports require a physical exam at least one month to 6 weeks prior to the start of the season. If your child is participating in any winter or spring sports, this is also good to keep in mind as the school year progresses.
  • For All Students: No matter what activities your student is involved in, having a routine physical prior to the start of the school year will help set them up for success. Aside from the routine check up procedures, the doctor may ask your students about study habits, friendships in school, problems with bullying, healthy eating, and involvement in after school activities. This is also an opportunity for your student to address any concerns they may have about their physical health, behavioral development, allergies, drug and alcohol use, anxiety, or depression. Any bad habits developed over the summer or since the child’s last check-up can be addressed and hopefully corrected prior to the first day of school.

Get your student off to a great start by scheduling a physical exam at the start of the new school year! At Capital Area Pediatrics, our team can help you and your child schedule a physical, and let your child address any concerns they may have about the upcoming year and their health. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to help you and your child with your health care needs!

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