Editor's Note: This post was originally published following the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut last December. In light of the tragedy unfolding at the Boston Marathon today, we wanted to once again share this essential information with our readers. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by today's events.
Just like adults, kids are exposed to news coverage of violence or hear about it from friends, and they are likely to have fears and questions. Studies show that children can suffer long-term emotional damage from exposure to violence in news coverage.
Dr. Bob Hilt, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, says parents should be prepared to help their children deal with traumatic events, such as natural disasters and acts of violence.
See our tip sheet below and watch this video.
How to help your kids cope with violence
Dr. Hilt suggests parents follow these tips to help their kids process traumatic events:
1. Control what kids are seeing and hearing. Limit the amount and type of news coverage your child is exposed to. If the TV is on, make sure you watch with your kids so you can answer any questions they might have about what they’re seeing. Younger kids don’t have the ability to contextualize traumatic events. A child might personalize an event and worry that it might happen to his family. While teens are better able to emotionally process violence and disasters, they might still have questions. Make sure to check in with your older children as well.
It’s the time of year when we see a fine layer of yellow dust on our cars outside, and a lot of us feel cruddy. Dr. Ashley Jerath Tatum, an allergy specialist at Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center, joined KING 5 in studio to share expert advice on what we can do to avoid springtime allergies and uncomfortable symptoms.
Q: How do parents know if their child is suffering from allergies and/or asthma?
Children with respiratory allergies, or allergic rhinitis, will experience nasal congestion and discharge, eye redness, tearing, and/or itching, as well as sneezing during specific times of the year (for example, in the early spring if allergic to tree pollens) or when exposed to cats or dogs.
Children allergic to dust mites, indoor molds, or pets in the home may experience chronic nasal congestion and throat clearing. Other allergy symptoms include headache and fatigue.
Allergies should be considered in children with a history of recurrent ear or sinus infections, eczema, and/or asthma.
About 1 in 10 children has asthma. Children with asthma will experience recurrent episodes of cough, wheeze (a high-pitched whistling sound when breathing out), chest tightness, and/ or shortness of breath. Symptoms can worsen at night, awakening the child.
In young children, a persistent or chronic cough may be the only sign of asthma. Triggers for such symptoms can include pollens, animal dander, dust or dust mites, molds, air pollution, upper respiratory infections and exercise. Symptoms may also occur or worsen upon exposure to cold air, second hand tobacco smoke or wood smoke, strong smells and chemical sprays, perfumes, paints, cleaning solutions and chalk dust.
A child with exercise-induced asthma, or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or may complain that his or her chest "hurts" for "feels funny" during or after physical activity. You may also suspect asthma in a child if he or she is more easily fatigued during exercise (slows down or stops playing) compared with his or her peers, seems to run at a different pace than others or than what seemed to be his or her norm in the past, or avoids physical activities and sports altogether.
Q: What's the connection between allergies and asthma?
Allergies are an important trigger for asthma in about 70% of children. Risk factors for asthma in children include respiratory allergies, atopic dermatitis or eczema, food allergy and a parental history of asthma.
The expression of asthma, respiratory allergies, or allergic rhinitis, and other allergic diseases (food allergy, atopic dermatitis or eczema) is the result of a complex interaction between a person's immune system and genetics and environmental exposures.
Infections in early childhood may influence the development of the immune system (the "hygiene hypothesis"). Environmental factors include allergen exposure, viral infections such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), air pollution (in particular, ozone), dietary habits and use of acetaminophen.
Q: How do allergies begin in children?
Respiratory allergies and asthma develop due the effects of environmental factors in a genetically susceptible person. An allergic reaction begins in the immune system. Our immune system protects us from invading organisms that can cause illness.
In a person with allergies, the immune system mistakes an otherwise harmless substance, such as pollen, as an invader. This substance is called an allergen. The immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies trigger cells to release histamine and other chemicals causing symptoms of itching, congestion, discharge, cough, etc.
Here’s what I know for sure: No amount of begging, cajoling, or threatening will motivate my kids to behave quite like the bad fortunes of a sibling.
To wit, Efram spent most of Friday afternoon and evening in the doghouse (Sidney who spends her life trying to figure out what we are talking about, also wants to go to the doghouse. She also really wishes she were able to hold her horses). Efram doesn’t spend much time there, but when he does, a certain older brother and younger sister spring into action. Bennett and Frances, who both refuse to do chores they haven’t thought of themselves (really, I don’t need you to spontaneously clean the freezer or rearrange my makeup drawer) set the table for Friday night dinner:
You may not be able to see this clearly, but there are place cards as well as napkins daintily shoved into glasses.
Last week when I asked them to set the table they left the silverware in a pile in the middle of the table, and heaped all the napkins on one of the chairs, only three people got glasses, and a place was not set for yours truly.
But this week, Efram was in trouble, and truly nobody shines like a sibling trying to get a leg up. The two of them were falling all over themselves to be of use to me, like obsequious bell hops:
“Is there anything else we can do to help Mummy? Wow, this dinner smells delicious — did you make it?” No, the chicken soup fairy flew in and shvitzed in the kitchen while I got my nails done and read People.
What would you do if an invitation arrived in the mail for a “White Trash Tea Party?” Laugh? Guffaw? Recoil in horror? Call the press?
Would you react differently if it showed up in your email inbox? Or was posted on Facebook? How would you feel if the sender told you she lived paycheck-to-paycheck and claimed, “four matching hubcaps would make my day”? What if … it was part of a fundraiser for your elementary school auction?
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present exhibit A:
THE FIRST ANNUAL WHITE TRASH TEA
We’re not in the 98199 anymore! Here's your chance to experience the "other side of the tracks" at Blaine’s First Annual White Trash Tea! Grab your trashiest girlfriends to sample the finest in Crock Pot cuisine, Twinkie trifle, a variety of fun cocktails and, of course, teas. Everything will be served on plates from Safeway's "Bonus with Purchase" collection, natch. The tea will be hosted at the not-so-trashy [name of place redacted], located on Capitol Hill. Cost: $40 per person Limitations: Up to 14 people
This is from the Seattle public school Catharine Blaine K–8's school fundraiser auction catalog, which was leaked to the alternative weekly, The Stranger, a few weeks ago.
Also, in case you were wondering, Magnolia, the Seattle neighborhood where the Catherine Blaine school resides, actually is on the other side of the tracks. The nice side.
Now, this being Seattle, land of the latte-fueled, high-as-the-Space Needle-minded parents who have been known to occasionally get their organic cotton underwear in a bunch, you can imagine what happened next. The item was quickly removed from the auction catalog, just as the online firestorm began. And oh, it was a mighty fire.
There’s no point in ripping anyone a new one when the wounds of this fiasco are still fresh and raw, so let’s take a quick step back and look at the state of Seattle Public Schools, the real reason why this auction item was written up in the first place.
Our schools are woefully underfunded. State budget shortfalls occur year after year, and PTA budgets are expected to fill the gap, especially at those public schools that are located in more affluent areas of Seattle, such as Magnolia, Queen Anne and Northeast Seattle. It’s a bit of a Peter-to-Paul system that seems — right or wrong — to be working, at least for now.
Let your hair down! Today, we're giving away a family four-pack of tickets to StoryBook Theater's production of Rapunzel, a 55-minute interactive musical that should be loads of fun for the 3-and-up set. The show is on Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m. at Kirkland Performance Center.
To enter to win the tickets, simply leave a comment on this post about your child's favorite fairy tale, and include your email in Disqus (not publicly) so that we can contact you!
Additional entries will be given for the following (leave an extra comment for each action to let us know):
You don’t need to know what aebleskiver are to enjoy an outing to the Nordic Heritage Museum. This Ballard museum hosts exhibits that highlight Scandinavian influence in the Northwest and the country as a whole, and hosts regular family-oriented programs. For a rainy-day diversion, or for a specific program, here are some tips to guide you.
Nordic Heritage Museum - Permanent Exhibits
One permanent exhibit, "The Dream of America," appeals particularly to kids because visitors walk through various rooms and scenes that trace the immigrant experience of coming from Europe to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as many thousands of Scandinavians did.
“Life-like dioramas,” as the museum calls them, range from the representation of a farm boy’s room in a Nordic country, to a sailing ship crossing the Atlantic, to the shops of early Ballard. Sounds give the exhibit an added sensory element.
For a museum, parents don’t have to worry too much about keeping small hands from touching; in fact, in some places signs indicate “Please Touch,” such as on a small trunk of clothes and belongings a child might have brought on the journey to the U.S.
Upper floors of the museum house exhibits likely less interesting to kids, though one large case holds two impressive LEGO displays. The gift shop, also upstairs, has many easily broken items so take care.