Posts Tagged "Teenagers"


Sleep is an integral part of every person’s life – we absolutely can’t function without it. But when kids have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, it can wreak havoc on their daytime routine as well.

Establish a Bedtime Routine

Babies and young toddlers thrive on routine. So when it comes to falling asleep at night, a bedtime routine will help them drift off to sleep quickly and effortlessly. This should include a nighttime feeding (a bottle or sippy cup), bath, diaper change or toileting, a bedtime story, or other calming activity, such as rocking or snuggling, then transitioning to the crib or bed when they are drowsy for “lights off.”

Older toddlers and children benefit from the same type of structured routine, but simply modified for their age. Bath time, teeth brushing, and storytime or reading in bed for a set number of minutes before “lights out” is ideal. This is usually the age where parents may want to put a television in a child’s room – this is usually done with good intentions, but will inevitably lead to insomnia if the child is allowed to watch television in order to fall asleep or gets up in the middle of the night to turn the TV on. TVs provide both visual and sound stimulation, which keeps little brains active!

Limit Visual Stimulation Before Bed

Teens essentially follow the same evening routine as older children, most importantly adhering to the same bedtime each night. Limiting the amount of screen time (tablets and cell phone use included) prior to bedtime will help cut down on the amount of visual stimulation and make falling asleep easier. Also, ensure that your teen has at least an hour of “transition time” before bed each evening after completing homework to rest and unwind – it can be hard for minds to shut down quickly after focusing on homework.

With time and consistency, many sleep troubles can be overcome, leading to much more peaceful nights and pleasant days ahead. Contact your pediatrician if your child still struggles with falling asleep and staying asleep after implementing these bedtime routines.


While you were intimately involved in the health care of your infant, toddler, and elementary school-age child, the teenage years are the beginnings of independence in many areas of your child’s life. One of the most important areas to consider is health care, which is a major determinant of quality of life for the rest of your child’s life. Not only can you model your own healthy habits, but also you can take some of the following steps to give your child the confidence that he will need to make his own wise decisions over the years.

Let Children Talk on Their Own to Their Physicians

One of the first things you can do is to stop answering all of the doctor’s questions about your child on your own. Instead, encourage your child to speak up while you are still in the room. Eventually, such as around the age of 14 or 15, you can even leave the room to give your child more privacy. The more your child practices this, the more confident he will feel about discussing any type of medical concern he has.

Let Children Know More About Their Diagnoses or Medications

Now is the time to discuss any chronic illnesses with which your child is currently living. Talk about symptoms that your child could experience, tips for keeping symptoms in check, and medications that he is taking. Teenagers love to do their own research online. Direct them to reputable health care sites that will give them accurate information.

Have Older Teenagers Make Their Own Appointments

Once children are in the later teenage years, they should be able to make their own doctor appointments. This will let them choose times that work best for them. In addition, they should get practice in filling their own prescriptions following appointments. Let them know that they can ask pharmacists any questions they have about their prescriptions.

It is important that your children feel good about going to doctor’s visits and receiving appropriate screenings, vaccinations and checkups from a young age so that they retain this confidence as they grow older. Consider partnering with a physician from Kids 1st Pediatrics who works solely with children. We can address numerous types of childhood illnesses and pediatric chronic diseases along with well-child visits, school physicals, and much more.


Teen smoking and nicotine usage have long been a concern throughout local schools, but today, vaping is beginning to take over the news. Although many see vaping as being a healthier alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, research is starting to show that this may not be the case and that vaping has become particularly dangerous for teenagers.

The Rising Trend of Vaping

Vaping can create a certain type of chemical-related lung disease, which is popping up all over the country. In addition, electronic cigarettes, which are used for vaping, still contain regular nicotine, which raises cancer and cardiovascular disease risks. What your teenager may not know is that electronic cigarettes also contain other dangerous additives, such as flavorings, glycerol, and propylene glycol. Not much is yet known about how these substances could affect the body, but up-and-coming research points to the possibility of a myriad of problems.

Although legislators are beginning to see that they need to do something to curb electronic cigarettes and vaping, it is still quite easy for teenagers to get their hands on these dangerous chemicals, including at school where friends may pass supplies to others in their group. Because teenagers do not think that it is as bad for their health as cigarettes are, they may take up this habit without realizing the short-term and long-term effects. Vaping can be particularly habit-forming because of the huge array of flavors. Over time, many teenagers move on to regular cigarettes because their perceptions of smoking change.

Openly Communicate with Teenagers

The best way for you to deal with a teenager who you believe uses electronic cigarettes is to focus on open communication and a trusting relationship. Your teenager needs to know that he can talk to you honestly without fear of negative consequences. Assure your teenager that you are there to help him find the help he needs. In addition, be sure that your teenager has a great relationship with a trusted pediatrician who can provide that safe space and a high level of knowledge that is needed in these types of situations.

If you are looking for a new pediatrician in Apple Valley, California, or have recently moved to the area, consider choosing Kids 1st Pediatrics. Here you will find a calm, soothing environment and a friendly ear. We see children of all ages, including teenagers. Call us today to set up an appointment for your teenager.


You certainly know how important high-quality sleep is for your child. After all, you have probably experienced an incredibly crabby toddler who missed his nap or a cranky teenager who only got a few hours of sleep before a big day of classes and tests. While sleep certainly affects a child’s mood, it also impacts a variety of other areas of a child’s physical and mental health. Poor sleep may affect the following:

  • School performance
  • Anxiety levels
  • Depression
  • Memory and concentration
  • Creativity
  • Social relationships

Interestingly, poor sleep has begun to be linked to childhood weight gain. Childhood obesity has made plenty of headlines in the past several years as children in certain developed countries, including the United States, are becoming overweight or obese at alarming rates. Numbers from 2016 show that almost 20 percent of school-age children are obese. Another alarming statistic shows that teenage obesity rates have quadrupled since 1980. 

Although there are many ways to combat these statistics, such as with healthier meals and increased exercise, one easy option of which very few parents are aware is achieving adequate nightly sleep. Sleep cycles are important rhythms in the body that help with growth and development. In addition, adequate sleep is necessary for a good metabolism, which is vital for burning the calories that children and teenagers take in each day. When children are awake longer each day, they are more apt to become hungry and to eat more often. Obviously, a disruption in sleep routines leads to appetite changes and metabolism changes, which can swiftly lead to weight gain.

It can be a struggle to know how much sleep a child should get each night. Keep in mind that recommended sleep numbers are based on children’s ages. Basically, the younger your child is, the more sleep he will need nightly. Here are the general guidelines for daily sleep. Younger children may also take naps to help equal the recommended allotted time.

  • Toddlers: 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers: 10-13 hours
  • Elementary and middle school-aged children: 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers: 8-10 hours

While your child may not get the recommended amount of sleep every night, this will give you something to aim for as you consider bedtimes and wake-up times. If you have any concerns about your child’s sleep habits or weight, contact Kids 1st Pediatrics for a pediatric assessment.