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HSN-4 Demonstrates a developing awareness of nutrition by identifying the nutritional needs of young children for optimal physical, social, emotional and cognitive growth. Pediatricians can promote free play as a healthy, essential part of childhood. They should recommend that all children are afforded ample, unscheduled, independent, nonscreen time to be creative, to reflect, and to decompress. They should emphasize that although parents can certainly monitor play for safety, a large proportion of play should be child driven rather than adult directed.
But even children who are benefiting from this enrichment still need some free unscheduled time for creative growth, self-reflection, and decompression and would profit from the unique developmental benefits of child-driven play. As trusted child advocates, pediatric health professionals are ideally suited to help parents consider the appropriate balance between preparing for the future and living fully in the present through play, child-centered organized activities, and rich parent-child interaction. It is likely that the balance that needs to be achieved will be different for every child on the basis of the child’s academic needs, temperament, environment, and the family’s needs.
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Parents may experience improvements in their social environment by adjusting their work schedules, for example by freeing up time to participate in community activities or organisations. Australian employees have an obligation to grant parents flexible working arrangements in reasonable circumstances. Parents should therefore be aware of their entitlements as doing so may enable them more of their time to focus on their community and family commitments. Routines such as eating meals together as a family or going to the park on Sundays provide opportunities for family members to develop social relationships amongst themselves. Bedtime routines are associated with better sleep patterns amongst children.
It would be wrong to assume that the current trends are a problem for all children; some excel with a highly driven schedule. Because we need skilled young people to be well prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders, we must recognize the advantages to the increased exposures and enriched academics some of our children are receiving. In fact, many of our children, particularly those in poverty, should receive more enrichment activities.
- Factors may include poverty, old age, mental ill-health or a physical or learning disability.
- The sense of belonging which individuals experiences when they have good social relationships has a positive influence on their mental health.
- In a largely rural community like Derbyshire, transport plays an important role in helping people get to school, work and leisure facilities, as well as health services.
- For decades, the medical excessive hair loss community has understood the important influence an individual’s environment has on their health.
Children who grow up in positive environments are less likely to have accidents requiring treatment than those who do not. There is also a reduced risk of developing a substance use disorder amongst children who have positive social relationships compared to those who do not. Factors relating to an individual’s personal circumstances also influence the extent to which they are able to access resources within the community. For example, the length of time an individual has lived in a community influences the extent to which they engage with resources in the community, and residential stability increases an individual’s sense of belonging to a community and access to resources.
The extent to which resources are available in the community influences the health of individuals living within it. Living in a socio-economically deprived, underdeveloped community, has a negative impact on child development. It gets your child moving, develops motor skills, helps your child think and gives your child an opportunity to explore their world. So your child needs plenty of opportunities for active play, both inside and outside. In the early years, play is children’s main way of learning and developing.
Because there are so many forces that influence the trend toward focusing on future preparation, it is important that parents have a medical home that can reinforce the importance of some of the basic, tried-and-true aspects of child rearing. We can be certain that in some families, the protective influences of both play and high-quality family time are negatively affected by the current trends toward highly scheduling children. If your child is repeatedly expressing that they feel unsafe and are unable to be soothed, or if these feelings are impacting their sleep, or ability to learn at school, it’s probably time to seek professional help. The professionals at Parents Place can offer parent consultations and child therapy. They can partner with you determine how to best support your child and help your child develop tools to manage their anxiety.
Family routines may also make it easier for children to cope with stress such as parental separation or divorce. Growing up in a positive social environment is associated with less risk taking behaviour.
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However, in Australia families are increasingly mobile, and this mobility may undermine the development of support networks within a community. A parent’s work situation may also influence their access to community resources. For example, parents who are working fulltime or working long distances away from their home community may find it difficult to get involved in community organisations. The availability of community resources refers to community structures (e.g. political governance) and organisations, knowledge and support within the community.