Friday, October 4, 2019

Habits for Healthy Brains

My 9 year old did research last spring for one of her classes and her topic fascinated me so much that I started quoting it as part of my yearly well check questions with my pediatric patients.  This was based on a Time for Kids article that can be found here.

Bottom line is this.  A study showed that kids' brains are strengthened if they meet these 3 benchmarks for health.

  1. Sleep 9 to 11 hours at night
  2. Exercise at least 60 minutes a day
  3. Spend less than 2 hours of recreational screen time a day

This study was based on 4,500 children in the US between the ages of 8 and 11. So these kids were tested on attention, language skills, planning and mental processing. Kids who scored the highest met all 3 benchmarks. Interestingly, only 5% met all 3 benchmarks while nearly 30% met none!

Just out of curiosity, I had my kids chart their habits in these 3 areas for about a week this past summer. For the most part, they did pretty well but it took intentional effort.

Now especially as the school work and activities start piling up, we need to be very intentional about the sleep and exercise part. I don't think we have much time for the recreational screen time. That is much harder in the summer or on days off.

Happy Fall, everyone!


September came and went.  Whew! It has been a whirlwind with lots of moving parts..  settling into new classrooms... attending Back to School Nights...  coordinating sport schedules with practices and games... but to throw a twist to it all... my youngest fractures his elbow!

So how did it happen?  His words... "I was goofing around on this climbing thing at the playground and by accident I let go of both hands."  First broken anything among our four kids and not surprised it would land on our youngest. Although his right arm is in a long cast, this boy is still hopping around and as mischievous as ever!

on broken bones...

Usual cause

  • fall or trauma 

Usual symptoms

  • pain, swelling, decreased mobility and/or weight bearing

Usual care

  • immobilizing with splint and taking anti-inflammatories (motrin, advil, ibuprofen, aleve) until casting
  • likely will need x-ray and referral to ortho
  • if displaced may need OR for setting
  • likely will need physical therapy after cast removal

It is always a good idea to get checked out sooner than later.