Pandemic puppies have a major anxiety problem

“I’m not taking him if he’s this anxious,” said a potential puppy-sitter we found on Rover, an Airbnb-style app that matches pet owners with walkers and boarders. I couldn’t blame her: our pandemic puppy had just spent 20 minutes barking at her while we tried to exchange pleasantries during our first meeting in a neighbourhood park. Any attempt she made at engaging our dog was met with a lunge and a growl. “He’s really sweet once you get to know him,” I said, laughing nervously. “Have you trie

We promised kids the vaccine would make things better

I’m thankful the vaccine prevents serious illness. But I’m just so sad for kids, who were promised a sense of normalcy after getting their vaccines and are instead back at square one. “How did the kids react when they found out they were going back to online school?” my mom messaged me. “Honestly, I don’t think anything could faze them at this point.” It was a grim realization. Almost two years into this pandemic, my kids seem to have developed somewhat of a self-protective shield: Don’t get

Can Air Purifiers Really Reduce Your COVID Risk?

Along with masking, gathering outdoors when possible, staying home when you’re sick and reducing contacts, air purifiers can add another layer of protection indoors. When indoor air quality expert Jeffrey Siegel has a few select family members over for dinner these days there are a couple of extra guests in the room. He adds a few strategically placed air purifiers near the dining table, one next to those who are at the highest risk of being infected with COVID—for example, kids, since they’re

Unique approach to aneurysm treatment saved this mom’s life

One weekend in August 2020, on a morning when Georgia Marianthe Mesbouris and her family were planning to leave for a family vacation, the 42-year-old resident of Scarborough, Ont., woke up with an incredible pain at the back of her neck. Knowing how much this vacation meant to her kids, she took a pain reliever and hoped the throbbing and sensation of burning hot ears would go away. Georgia, a mother of two and a tech expert on a national TV channel, considers herself a healthy person. “I don’

An infectious disease doctor answers all our questions about the COVID vaccine for kids

As parents start to vaccinate Canadian kids age 5 to 11, we spoke to Dr. Janine McCready about potential side effects, whether it affects fertility, how to handle the holidays, spacing with flu shots and more. Today’s Parent recently spoke with infectious disease physician Janine McCready about the COVID vaccine for kids under 12. We tackled side effects, fertility fears, and whether your 4-year-old can get the vaccine before their fifth birthday. Here’s a condensed version of that interview.

Health Canada has approved the COVID vaccine for kids 5 to 11

Here's what parents need to know about side effects, how well it works and more. Today, Health Canada authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5 to 11 years of age. “After a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, the department has determined that the benefits of this vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years of age outweigh the risks,” Health Canada said in a release. This is incredibly encouraging news for parents who have been waiting anxiously to give

The truth about the COVID vaccine, myocarditis and kids

Experts say the risk of myocarditis post-vaccine is incredibly low for kids. But if you're still worried, here are five reassuring facts. Myocarditis—it sounds super scary and not like something you want your kid to have. And now that COVID vaccines for kids 5-11 are approved in both the U.S. and Canada, you’ve probably heard somebody mention it. But what, exactly, is myocarditis? And how much should you worry about it? Myocarditis is a form of heart inflammation. In the vaccine rollout last s

Scared of needles? A parent’s guide to making vaccination shots less painful

As parents, when our kids get a vaccination, it’s easy to brush off their fears. “It’ll just be a little poke,” we’ll say. The truth is, shots can really hurt—both the initial needle and a sore arm afterwards. Rather than skirting the issue, it’s better to address the fear—and the pain—head on. “For kids who have a needle phobia or a lot of anxieties, we have to really acknowledge those and prepare in advance,” says Anne Wormsbecker, a paediatrician at Unity Health Toronto. The good news is, t

What this paediatrician mom wants you to know about the COVID vaccine

What are the side effects? What if my kid is scared? And how can I be reassured it's safe? COVID vaccines for kids in the 5 to 11 age group are on the horizon, with Health Canada currently reviewing study data from Pfizer and provinces getting ready to start getting shots into younger arms. Officials in Ontario have said plans are underway for rolling out the vaccine once it’s approved and in British Columbia, you can even register your kid for the vaccine through the GetVaccinated website. Bu

Halloween is on! Just follow these 6 rules to keep kids safe

Here's the best way to have a fun night trick-or-treating with your tiny goblins and ghouls (plus one safety measure you can definitely drop!) Get your little skeletons and witches ready because this year’s Halloween is going to be much closer to normal. “Vaccination has made things much more safe,” says Sumontra Chakrabarti, head of infectious diseases at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Kieran Moore, has already said trick-or-treating is a g

6 ways to support your kid when they're learning to read

If your kid is in kindergarten or grade 1, they’re probably starting to bring books home from school to learn to read. Parents can play an important role in making the experience positive and helping them learn important decoding skills. It’s important to know that not all classrooms support decoding and phonics in the same way. These tips below from experts in structured literacy—a systematic way of teaching phonics and decoding skills—will help you support your kid as they’re learning to read.

I laid all the groundwork, but public school failed to teach my kids to read

Two of my three kids failed to learn to read in public school. We did all the right things—filled our house with books, read to them as babies, enrolled them in preschool programs and sat with them in the evenings as they muddled through their early readers sent home by kindergarten and grade one teachers. With my eldest, we patiently waited for the click. “Oh, she’s just young,” her kindergarten teacher told us. Which was true—her birthday is in late December, making her one of the youngest in

Should you worry if your kid is short?

When being short is normal Take a peek into a preschool class and you’ll see a wide range of heights, but chances are, most children are perfectly within normal range. “When you look at a growth curve, the 50th percentile means if you have 100 kids, 50 kids would be taller than that line and 50 kids would be shorter,” explains Preetha Krishnamoorthy, a paediatric endocrinologist at Montreal Children’s Hospital. According to the World Health Organization growth chart, which has been adapted for

This is the one thing you should focus on if you're worried about COVID learning loss

Don’t worry about catching your kid up on everything they missed with COVID school shutdowns, but if you’ve got a kid who is struggling to learn to read, focus on these skills over the summer. Grade one is a critical time for learning to read and some experts are worried that time out of the classroom for COVID shutdowns has caused serious delays in acquiring this essential skill. Preliminary findings from a Toronto District School Board analysis found that in October 2020, kids who were in in-

What We Know—And (Mostly) What We Don't—About COVID Vaccines And Periods

Women have taken to social media to discuss changes in their menstrual cycle after the COVID-19 vaccine—but the scientific evidence is lacking. If you spend any time on social media, you may have witnessed a period tell-all in recent weeks, with women coming online to share changes to their menstrual cycle which they link to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Hannah Feiner, a doctor at the Women’s College Hospital Bay Centre for Birth Control in Toronto, has heard these stories too, in her pract

Can The Right Pillow Really Fix A Sore Neck? I Tried Three

It wasn’t exactly a pleasant Christmas present—a car accident on Boxing Day a few years ago left me with chronic neck pain. I had tense shoulder, neck and jaw muscles to begin with, but the accident made things worse, and made it difficult to turn my head all the way to the left. I’ve seen physiotherapists, chiropractors and massage therapists, and, while I always leave the appointments feeling looser and less sore, the pain and loss of mobility slowly returns. Then a couple of months ago I not

Pandemic screen time is off the charts—but experts say parents don't need to worry

If you've been handing over the iPad a lot more than usual throughout the pandemic and feel a pang of guilt each time, our panel of experts has some pretty good news for you. Throughout my 13 years as a parent, the amount of time my three kids have spent on screens has ebbed and flowed with the chaos and stress going on at home. There were the months when, after her baby brother was born, our three-year-old would wake up at 5:30 a.m., climb into our bed and start her morning with a healthy dose

How to Find the Best Therapy App for You, According to Experts

The virtual therapy market makes it convenient to see a therapist from your own home. Here's how to find the best therapy app for you. It seems like you can do pretty much anything with an app these days, and that includes getting support for your mental health. “The mental health app industry has exploded,” says Mona Potter, MD, head of the child and adolescent outpatient program and anxiety mastery program at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate. “If I just go and look in my o

What Lymphatic Drainage Massage Can and Can’t Do for Your Body

Lymphatic drainage massages can help move fluid from the body's tissues back into the bloodstream. Here's how they work and why people get them. It’s a mouthful—manual lymphatic drainage massage—and its purpose is a bit complex, too. Manual lymphatic drainage is a type of massage that uses light pressure to move fluid through your body and back into your bloodstream. It’s done by a qualified specialist and can target certain health concerns or be used as a general wellness treatment, says Jean
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