Catholic Pediatrics Blog

12 Tricks for a Successful Family Road Trip

True confession: the night before we left for our national park road trip my husband and I seriously considered cancelling the whole thing.  On a total whim (and moment of fantasy) I had planned a six day, 1700 mile family road trip to Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse.  Perhaps I was the crazy one?  As we stayed up late packing the minivan, my dreams of teaching my kids history and watching family movies in the minivan turned to fears of incessant back-seat bickering and kids bored by national parks.

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10 tricks for the family road trip – have a lampoon-free vacation

True confession: the night before we left for our national park road trip my husband and I seriously considered cancelling the whole thing.  On a total whim (and moment of fantasy) I had planned a six day, 1700 mile family road trip to Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse.  Perhaps I was the crazy one?  As we stayed up late packing the minivan, my dreams of teaching my kids history and watching family movies in the minivan turned to fears of incessant back-seat bickering and kids bored by national parks.

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The Paradox of Praise

In February of 2014, in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (General), Eddie Brummelman and colleagues published an article that revisited the subject of praise for youth.  For decades, praise and positive reinforcement had been hailed by mental health professionals as the antidote to many of our youth’s problems.  Parents regularly heard the message that there was no such thing as “bad praise.”  But as the research began to evolve, some began to question this notion.  Brummelman and his co-authors focused on two types of praise:  person praise and process

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Are you getting enough iodine?

iodized salt

I’ve been throwing down prenatal vitamins every morning for more than a decade, so I was shocked to realize that I’m deficient in iodine, a nutrient essential for thyroid function and brain development. I’m not alone, almost a third of pregnant women in the United States don’t get enough iodine in their diet, and only about 15% of prenatal vitamins contain iodine (mine didn’t.) This month, The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement about iodine deficiency, making the recommendation that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should be taking at least 150 micrograms of iodine daily.

Everyone needs iodine, but new research on iodine deficiency

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Bribing Kids to Eat Well-- Has Positive Reinforcement Gone Too Far?

Bribe our kids to eat healthy food?! Did I really just read this in a respected medical research journal? I did a double-take, but yes, someone actually published research suggesting that bribing kids to eat healthy food is an approach to fight the American obesity epidemic.

One third of American children are overweight or obese, and 70% of these children will grow up to be overweight adults. American medicine has defeated polio, smallpox, and the other infamous killers of children. But we’re failing when it comes to obesity. Our children might be the first generation of Americans to die younger than their parents. We are now so frustrated by our inability to combat addictive junk food that we’re willing to stoop to bribery to get kids to eat right.

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Bribing Kids to Eat Well: The Next Crusade Against Obesity

Bribe our kids to eat healthy food?!  Did I really just read this in a respected medical research journal?  I did a double-take, but yes, someone actually published research suggesting that bribing kids to eat healthy food is an approach to fight the American obesity epidemic.

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A dirty home is a healthy home

Great news this week for families with less-than-spotless homes– having a little dirt around is good for your children’s health.  St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University contributed to a mutli-city study that revealed that children who, during their first year of life, lived in homes with bacteria and allergens from cat, mouse, and cockroaches have a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies.

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In Search of 100 Miles of Gratitude: Why This Father of 6 is an Endurance Athlete

Over the past few years, many people have asked me about why I have become involved in endurance training, most recently ultramarathons.  Questions center around the time it takes, especially having a large, young family, and the discomforts and sacrifices required, particularly given that almost all of my training occurs outdoors even during the winter months.  But beneath the perceived challenges and hardships, I have found a world of silence and solitude that is laden with moments of clarity, transcendence, and peace that I believe provide me with insights and endurance needed to tak

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Dry Drowning: What Every Parent Needs to Know

It’s not often that I beg parents to bring their kids into the ER, but that’s exactly what I did when I heard about a child with a dry-drowning episode.  He knew how to swim but he inhaled some pool water by accident.  He coughed a bit, but a few minutes later was back in the pool.  The child looked fine, the parents reassured me.  It was bedtime, and everyone was tired after a long day in the sun at the pool.  “We’ll let him sleep, and if he’s having any issues in the morning we’ll take him into his pediatrician,”the father told me.

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The Double Helix of Faith and Family

Over sixty years ago, in a small laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, Harry Harlow devised a series of groundbreaking and controversial studies.  Using infant macaque monkeys, Harlow was interested in examining early attachment in order to test theories posited by John Bowlby and others about the importance of love and maternal interaction.  He and his students created two “surrogate mothers.”  One was simply made of wire mesh while the other was covered in cloth.  Over a number of experiments, they examined the monkeys’ reactions when fear-evoking stimuli were introduced, and

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