For many parents, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as being able to cheer on your child as they participate in a sport they love. Sure we may have grandiose dreams that one day they’ll make it to the Olympics or land a contract with a professional team, but have you taken time to consider what it realistically takes for our kids to succeed in sports? Whether your child is about to start their first spring sports activity or has several years under their belts, the Children’s Wellness Center providers would like to remind everyone about sports safety 101 and ways we, as parents, can help enrich the lives of our kids with the help of sports.
Knowing when your child is actually ready to start a particular sport is a good jumping point to consider. When we use the term “ready,” we mean the stage in their growth and development when their physical, mental, and social skills are on par with that sport and the basic requirements needed to participate. Popular spring sports this time of year are soccer, baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse, swimming, etc. but each of these are distinctly different and require a specific set of skills that will not only better equip children to actively participate, but also give them more enjoyment and encouragement to succeed. Generally speaking, many kids five years old and younger may not have the basic motor skills, behavioral maturity, and coordination for certain team sports, so introducing them to activities that involve active play, caters to shorter attention spans, and offers chances to improve skills at their own pace are all good first options (so think along the lines of running, swimming, and throwing/catching to start). By age six, children have a basic understanding of how to adapt to the requirements of basic level sports like soccer, tennis, gymnastics, martial arts, skiing, etc. – it’s at these early stages, and even up until age 12, that kids learn the rules of the game and increase their skill development within a particular sport.
Say your child has found “the” sport they’re most passionate about – what should you keep in mind then? For us, we believe it should be their safety. Sports-related injuries are something all athletes risk facing whenever their actively involved in any sport but certain factors can be detrimental to your kid’s health. Overuse injuries, overtraining, and burnout are the three general risks parents should be made aware of when preventing sports-related injuries:
Overuse Injuries – as the most common type of children sports injury, this type of injury happens from overworking the body and starts as general wear and tear (injuries to the bones, muscles, and tendons). Our kids may ignore pain during, or after practices, and continue to play through the pain rather than take the time needed to rest and allow injuries to properly heal. This not only creates consistent pain for your child but can lead to more severe or long-term health related concerns. In the same respects, it’s also recommended that your child not be limited to playing the same sport year-round. Yes, we want our children to focus on improving their skills over time, but letting them try more sport options helps to reduce the risk of overuse injuries that can become exasperated from daily, repetitive physical demands.
Overtraining – there is a common thought that the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Yes, training and practice can be the keys to sports success, but at what cost to your child’s wellbeing is it worth it? Long hours of practice, little recover time, and playing multiple sports during the same season can all contribute to overtraining and possibly overuse injuries in the future.
Burnout – what’s the point of playing a sport as a kid if they’re not having any fun? Sports can be both mentally and physically demanding – so much so that as our kids get older, sometimes they can grow to really dislike participating in something they once were very passionate about. Once they’ve reached the point where they’d rather be any place else besides their practice or game, this is what we call burnout. Burnout doesn’t just have emotion effects but it can also include physical ramifications like chronic pain, fatigue, and overuse injuries that contribute to the desire to choose another sport or quit altogether.
Sure we may not always be able to shield our kids from getting hurt while playing a sport, but it’s our duty to provide the necessary tools they need. As their parent, they need encouragement and unconditional support. We sometimes tend to project our goals and dreams onto our kids, but try to keep in mind that they have their own goals and dreams too. Sports should be fun and a time when good values, like sportsmanship, teamwork, and discipline, are instilled in kids beyond what they learn in the home – not a time to criticize their efforts or put unnecessary pressures on them. At the very core, kids are kids (not small adults) and should have the freedoms to discover what sports they love and have the opportunity to succeed in whatever way works best for them as an individual.
At Children’s Wellness Center, we’re strong believers in forging strong relationships between our providers and the families we get to serve on a daily basis. We practice traditional medical care that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has outlined and this includes following the well-child visit guidelines they promote. Well-child visits are frequent check-ups that start from infancy and continue on a yearly basis once your child turns 3 years of age through high school, and until their 21st birthday.
Why Are Well-Child Visits Important?
Well-child visits let us monitor your child’s general health and development. During your child’s well-child visit, we assess their growth and development, test their vision and hearing (for ages 4 and up), perform any immunizations that are recommended for your child’s particular age, and more because we believe early detection gives us the best chance to properly and successfully treat your child. This is also a time when we can offer advice about any concerns you may have with your child whether it is family history concerns or regarding safety and emotional issues.
All well-child visit components play an integral part to promoting a healthy childhood and some of the key benefits include:
…Prevention. Immunizations and vaccines help to protect the body from certain infections, illnesses, and diseases. The AAP has created a recommended checkup and immunization schedule from the time of your child’s birth through their teens because we believe all children should have the right to be protected from preventable infectious diseases. Well-child visits also serve as a good time to catch any concerns early on so effective treatment can be administered – even if you think it may not be worth mentioning, you never really know so we always encourage our parents to bring any concerns to our attention during these visits rather than waiting until an actual problem presents itself!
…Promotes a team approach. We believe it takes a team effort to ensure your child’s health. As parents you spend a great deal of time with your children and are ultimately their biggest advocate when it comes to their health. During well-child visits we can build a team of support for your child because there should be genuine trust among pediatrician, parent, and child. We want to be your first resource for answering any questions you may have so bring in a list of topics you want to talk about (this can range from sleep patterns, nutritional needs, behavioral development, etc.) and we can tailor your well-child visit around your child’s needs.
…Growth and development tracking. As parents ourselves, it seems our kids grow up way too fast; one day they’re tiny infants, the next, they’re loading the school bus for the first time. Well-child visits let us track their milestones (like how much they’ve grown in between visits, how they’re developing socially, and even their learning progression).
Of course the Children’s Wellness Center pediatricians are here for you and your child when they aren’t feeling well, but it’s important to also make sure your child is growing up to be strong and healthy even in the times when they’re feeling at their best! If you’d like to schedule your child’s well-child visit (you can schedule these up to three months in advance), contact Children’s Wellness Center (CWC) at 404-303-1314 today. We look forward to sharing more pediatric tips and information in the future, so be sure to check back frequently and follow the CWC providers on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to stay connected.
At the very essence, the job of a pediatrician is to provide top-notch, quality medical healthcare for children from the time of their birth until they reach their 21st birthday. At Children’s Wellness Center (CWC), the wellbeing of your child’s health, physically, mentally, and emotionally, as they continue to grow is our most important priority. Whether you’re a new parent, just moved to the Atlanta/Dunwoody area, or looking to find a pediatrician that better suits your needs, we wanted to share our tips for how to choose a pediatrician for your child.
Tips for choosing a pediatrician:
Conduct a web search to see qualified providers in your area. Only those who are board-certified pediatricians can carry the distinction of displaying their Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP) honor as a part of their credentials. What this means is that these pediatricians have completed the rigorous qualifications as recognized by the board to be a part of their professional organization beyond their general medical training. We suggest using the American Academy of Pediatrics as a great resource as you begin.
Talk with other parents for recommendations. They’ll be your honest reviewer because they’ll have either entrusted their kids to specific pediatricians or have family/friends who have enjoyed working with them. Online review sites can skew a patient’s opinion, especially ones that are falsified, so having backup recommendations from those you trust will help give patients better peace of mind.
Don’t be afraid to contact the pediatrician’s office you’re interested in with questions about the practice, the pediatric services offered, and their resident providers. You’d be surprised by how much you can learn from a quick phone call (for instance, were the staff friendly, knowledgeable, and actively engaged in helping address your concerns or were they dismissive and cold?) – if you’re not interested in what you heard, you know to move on to the next and you’ve saved yourself a wasted visit to their office.
If you’re not happy with a specific pediatrician, try another! There’s no reason you should be anything less than 100% confident in the abilities of your child’s pediatrician. You’re the biggest advocate for your child’s health, so it’s important to only entrust their safety and health to those that really care about helping those in need and providing their best care possible.
When we first started our practice, we wanted to create a special place of our own led by a team who treats each and every patient as if they were a member of their own family. The Children’s Wellness Center pediatricians are all parents ourselves and the practices that we share with you and our children are what we do with our own families. Our patients are an extension of us and we couldn’t be more proud to work with all of them as we watch them grow. Don’t just take our word for it though, watch what some of our amazing patients have to say about us and if you’re interested in meeting us, don’t hesitate to stop by – we look forward to meeting you!