Thursday, February 28, 2013

Children With Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Doctor using stethoscope to check little boy

When our three year old daughter was two months old we noticed she was not eating, she was lethargic and her hands and feet were cold.  We brought her to the hospital where they hooked her up to an electrocardiogram (ECG) and her heart rate was about 300 beats per minute.  My husband and I were really scared because at that point were didn't know what was wrong with her.  They transported her to Sick Kids where she was diagnosed with a heart condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) is when the heart beats very fast.  During an episode of SVT there's a malfunction with the electrical system in the upper chambers of the heart causing a rapid heartbeat.  Symptoms of SVT include heart palpitations, dizziness, light-headedness, chest pain and shortness of breath.  An episode can last a few seconds or several hours.  Our daughter used to experience SVT episodes frequently and when they occurred we had to take her to the hospital so they can administer adenosine through an IV to slow down her heart rate.  A couple of weeks ago she had an episode, but she didn't have to go to the hospital because this time it corrected itself.  Even though it was a short episode the doctor was still concerned so our daughter had to wear a holter monitor for twenty-four hours to monitor her heart activity.  For the next six to eight weeks we have to carry around a heart transmitter and if she has an episode it has to be recorded immediately and sent to the hospital.

SVT can be treated with medication known as beta blockers.  Our daughter used to take them three times a day but about six months ago the doctor took her off them as she wasn't having episodes.  If she starts having episodes again she will probably have to start taking them again.  When she's school age she can have surgery to correct the problem.  During this procedure a catheter is inserted into a vein in the upper leg using a fluoroscope to record electrical signals in the heart.  During surgery the faulty electrical circuit is destroyed.

Besides having SVT, our daughter is a healthy active child.  The cause of her SVT is unknown, but when it happens we're prepared.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Juggling a Career and Children

Mother holding baby, using cellphone and laptop 

After I completed the Early Childhood Education program and graduated college I was thinking of going to university and teacher's college as I wanted to be a teacher.  My husband and I got married that year and we wanted to start having children.  I decided that I wanted to have children more than I wanted to go to university and I'm still happy with that decision.  I love my children and I could not imagine my life without them.  Everything worked out well because now I'm a real estate agent and I love it.  I love the idea of working for myself and having flexible hours, but believe me, it’s not easy working from home with small children.

Sometimes I feel like there's not enough time in a day to get everything done.  When I'm not feeding my children, changing diapers, cleaning the house, doing laundry, making dinner, making lunches, reading with my children, feeding myself or promoting my books, I'm working.  I don't want my children to feel neglected so it's important for me to try and find a balance between work and family.  Here are a few things to remember to make working at home with children a little easier:
  • Try not to feel guilty because sometimes you can't give your children all the attention they want.  Remember you're working to contribute to the family. 
  • Put together a schedule and manage your time wisely.  Try not to get distracted at home with things like watching television and talking on the phone with friends.  Do those things during a break.
  • Spending time with your children is crucial to maintain a bond.  Set aside special time for your children and find something you can do together. 
  • Make time for your spouse as they're your number one fan.  My husband is very supportive of my career and I would not have gotten this far without him.  After the children go to bed we enjoy watching our shows together and sometimes we have a date night.  Making time for each other will help you both feel connected.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Anxiety About Your Children Riding the School Bus

Mother kissing daughter as she gets on school bus 

My five year old just started attending an Early Language Development school and now she takes a school bus to and from school.  I was really nervous about her riding the school bus.  I used to take her to school myself and I knew she arrived safely.  Then I would pick her up from school and I made sure she didn't forget anything.  Now I have to give somebody else that control and that really bothers me.  I do have a choice though.  If I want I can drive her to school and pick her up myself, but I figured this was a good way to prepare her and myself for next year.  She will be in grade one and will be attending a French Immersion school and she will have to take a big yellow school bus to and from school.  Right now she rides a small yellow school bus, so I'm taking baby steps.  

I met with her teacher and she explained the school bus procedures.  She advised me what happens when the school bus arrives at the school and assured me that there's always a teacher outside to meet the children.  Again, I hate the idea of giving somebody else that control.  I also met with the bus driver and confirmed some information.  I prepared myself the night before by double checking the bus number and the exact intersection the bus would be picking her up from.  I also confirmed the time the bus would be arriving.  I prepared my daughter by repeatedly telling her that she will be going to a new school and riding the school bus to and from school instead of me driving her.  She was so excited for her first day at her new school as she couldn't wait to ride the school bus.  Obviously this was easier for her than it was for me. 

When I picked her up from where the bus dropped her off she was thrilled that she got to ride the school bus.  I have to admit I feel a little better now.  In my opinion it's normal for parents to feel anxiety about their children riding the school bus for the first time. 

Do your children ride the school bus?  How do you feel about that?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

4 Discipline Techniques for Children

Mother talking to son 

Sometimes parents confuse discipline with punishment.  The goal of disciplining children is to teach them how to learn from their mistakes and help them understand what is acceptable and appropriate beahaviour.  It teaches them how to control their own behaviour.  Punishing children means they suffer for their mistake and the parents have all the control of their behaviour.  Disciplining children is very important as it helps them learn self-control and gives them structure.  It teaches them to respect their parents and other authority figures.   Children need structure and without effective discipline children will lack social skills and be unhappy.  Here are four discipline techniques to keep in mind:

1.      Positive Reinforcement-Acknowledging when your children behave well is a great way to encourage them to keep doing it.  When your children behave the way you expect them to reward them with words like "Great job!"

2.      Consequences for Unacceptable Behaviour-Explain to your children what the consequences will be if they don't behave.  Make sure the consequence is related to the behaviour.  For example, if your children don't put the puzzles away after playing with them, they won't be allowed to play with them the next day.

3.      Taking Away a Privilege-Take away something your children value as soon as they misbehave.  For example, if your children don't behave appropriately at dinner time, you might decide to take away dessert.

4.      Time outs-Put them in a boring place like in a chair in the corner of the room or maybe sit them on the bottom of the stairs for a short time (usually one minute for each year of age).  Make sure you explain to them why they are in time out so they understand what they did wrong and the reason for the time out.