Positive Reinforcement Parenting

Positive Reinforcement Parenting

Most but not all children will do the right thing without a reward and this is where positive reinforcement comes into play. Though praise and recognition should be your first instinct, if that doesn’t work, consider the use of positive reinforcement through a rewards system. This type of encouragement system tends to be effective for parents with middle childhood aged kids. For this to be successful, the positive behavior goals must be clear and specific.

Desired Behavior

Creating a chart that incorporates the desired positive behaviors is a great place to start, almost like a chart of chores you would make for your child. Consider both short-term and long-term goals that you want your child to work toward; so, you may want to create a week-by-week section and even a month-to-month one, too. Each time your child engages in the positive behavior, they can earn a point or star. A reward system with the points or stars should be put into place and as your child reaches a goal, an appropriate small or bigger reward should be given to your child. The goal can be as simple as working towards becoming more polite and small rewards can be used for that, and bigger goals like an outstanding school report card may be more appropriate for a larger reward. The larger rewards should be saved and only used as the points or stars add up enough to being large-reward worthy.

List of Rewards

As an incentive, create a list of rewards with your child as you’ll want them to be meaningful. Deciding on an appropriate number of points it will take to earn each specific reward is important. This reward system should be strictly followed to teach your child that they have to work hard.


To keep your child incentivized, reinforcing the rewards system is important. Frequent reminders and encouragement are a great way to keep them interested and working hard.


Lastly, success is always the goal, but chances are that your child will fall off track at some point. When this happens, light punishments such as a timeout are appropriate and will still keep your child encouraged to keep working toward a goal. Eventually, this program should teach your child to internalize their behaviors and the reward system will gradually be forgotten about or not needed.

Healthy Children

Infant Immunization Week 2019

baby receiving a vaccine

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is observed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other various public health organizations. The week-long event that is observed once each year is dedicated to reminding parents, caregivers and healthcare professionals just how important and life-saving infant immunizations can be. Infant vaccines are safe, effective and save lives.

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Infant Immunization Week has been a focus since 1994. Since then, there are now 14 vaccine preventable diseases which infants should receive before the age of two. These immunizations have significantly reduced the rates of death and disability in infants in the U.S. Today, measles is making a frightening comeback, with 555 confirmed cases in 20 states – 180 in Rockland County, NY alone. In 2014, 667 cases in 27 states was the last highest number recorded since measles was eliminated in the year 2000. This outbreak is proof that even when we believe a disease is a thing of the past, it can come back and often times does because of those who are not vaccinated.

List of Recommended Immunizations

  1. Diphtheria
  2. Haemophilus Influenzae Type B
  3. Hepatitis A
  4. Hepatitis B
  5. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  6. Influenza (Flu)
  7. Measles
  8. Meningococcal Infections
  9. Mumps
  10. Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
  11. Pneumococcal Infections
  12. Polio
  13. Rotavirus
  14. Rubella (German Measles)
  15. Tetanus
  16. Varicella (Chicken Pox)

The Numbers

Not only does the above list save thousands of lives, but immunizations save money too. In just one birth cohort that receives the recommended immunizations, about 381 million illnesses are prevented. This number is absolutely staggering and equates to a total net savings of $360 billion dollars in direct costs and over $1.5 trillion in total costs from society.

We understand not everyone can afford immunizations for their child, but there is a solution. With a simple call to 800-CDC-INFO, parents and caregivers will be able to locate a healthcare facility that provides immunizations through Vaccines for Children, a federally funded program. It is important to also note that there is no scientific evidence to suggest a link between vaccines and an increased risk of autism.


Healthy Children

Helping Your Child Learn to Read

little girl in a library reading a book

Some children have a desire to learn how to read and others may be more reluctant to learn this complex skill. The best way to encourage this exciting milestone in your child’s life is to make reading fun. Now, you may be asking yourself how can I make reading fun for my child?


Allowing your child to read at his own pace is important when reading together. Helping a child pronounce words they stumble upon by coming up with creative ways to remember the word, can make reading more fun. If you are reading to your child, have fun with characters’ voices and tone. When reading picture books together, talk about what is on the page with your child and see where their imagination takes them.


Let your child pick out a few books that pique their interest and begin reading the story to them. After a couple times of reading the same book, your child will be able to remember the words and can join in on the reading. Allowing your child to finish a sentence encourages them to keep going because they feel confident. Once your child feels confident enough, challenge them to read the entire story out loud. Don’t be afraid to introduce your child to age-appropriate chapter books to expose them to something different and challenging early on.

Reading Time

Reading a book should never be rushed, it should be a relaxing, fun activity to do at the end of a busy day. Setting aside reading time is a great idea, and bedtime is one of the most popular times to read with your child. Keeping books placed in the child’s bedroom is a great way to encourage them to become comfortable with books and even start to pick them up on their own.

Though children do have to learn how to read in school, as a parent, we are their first teachers. Showing them love and support is the first step in helping your child learn how to read. For both you and the child, reading can seem frustrating at times but that is never an excuse to put a book down, instead it should be a moment of support and encouragement.

Growing Independence: Tips for Parents of Young Children

young child learns how to brush his teeth with his mother

Young children can be a handful, as every parent knows. As your youngster has developed from an infant to a toddler and now to a young child, it seems he is slipping out of your hands and is ready to take on the world. Though this step, in both your life and his, can seem scary, it is also exciting, and there are things you can do to make the best of it. As a parent, we all wish to raise pleasant, polite and, eventually, independent kids. This all starts when the child is young, as some of the most important life lessons and teachings stem from parenting.


Preparing your child to be independent is a full-time job – from teaching them how to walk, feed themselves and talk, and then teaching them how to bathe, dress and function as a little human on their own. When teaching your children to be independent and care for themselves, patience and practice is absolutely necessary. Starting off simple is usually the best way to go, as all of this is new to your children. Guiding them through the steps of taking a bath and dressing themselves at night or in the morning has to be done consistently on a regular basis and eventually they will want to do it alone.


Having a daily routine is key to children becoming independent and functioning on their own. Routines help your child know what to expect, and help to prepare her to have a productive day. A morning routine might consist of brushing teeth, getting dressed and eating breakfast, maintaining the order daily. Keeping the nightly routine similar to their morning routine may be helpful as it will come more naturally to them to know steps are expected to be done.

Simple Rules

Your child’s safety is important. Though we want children to be friendly and respectful to others, teaching them to be cautious and careful is crucial. To ensure safety, discourage your child from talking to strangers. Be sure to discuss who they should turn to if they get lost, like a store employee with a uniform and nametag on, or a police officer. Other simple rules that should be taught are personal space (keep their hands to themselves) and having manners (saying please and thank you).

Children can sometimes experience phases of separation anxiety, which is normal as they grow up. If the separation anxiety becomes a problem, talk to their pediatrician about your concerns.

Tips for Buying a Safe Stroller

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Tips for Buying a Safe Stroller

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently approved new federal mandatory safety standards for strollers and carriages, and these new standards took effect late last year. The CPSC received almost 1,300 incident reports that related to strollers or carriages between 2008 and 2013. Four of those reports involved a fatality. The new CPSC standards addressed the following issues: broken wheels, stroller head entrapment, locking mechanism problems, parking brake failures, restraint breakage or detachment, child unbuckling the restraint, and hinge issues (amputations and pinching).

Follow these safety guidelines for strollers:

  1. Choose a stroller that has a wide base. You don’t want it to tip over.
  2. Your stroller should have a seat belt and a harness. Make sure you use the seat belt and harness each time your child goes for a ride in his/her stroller. For infants, you can use rolled-up baby blankets as bumpers that you place on either side of the seat.
  3. Whenever you use bumpers in your stroller (or if you’re stringing toys across it) make certain you fasten them securely so there is no chance they’ll fall on top of your baby. Remove toys as soon as your infant can sit or get on all fours.
  4. Your stroller should have brakes that are easy to operate.Be certain to use the brake every time you stop. Also be certain that your child can’t reach the brake release lever. A brake that locks two wheels provides an extra level of safety.
  5. Avoid having items from the handles of your stroller. This can make strollers tip backward. If your stroller has a basket that is made for carrying things, make certain it is placed low and towards the rear wheels.
  6. Children’s fingers can become caught in the hinges that fold the stroller. Be sure you keep your child at a safe distance whenever you open or close your stroller. Always make certain that the stroller is securely locked open before placing your child in it.
  7. Never leave your child unattended in a stroller.

  8. If you purchased a side-by-side twin stroller, be certain that the footrest extends all the way across both sitting areas. Be mindful that a child’s foot can become trapped between separate footrests.
  9. There are also strollers that allow an older child to sit or stand in the rear.It’s important to always be mindful of the weight guidelines and to be extremely careful that the child in the back isn’t tipping the stroller.


Pregnancy: Why Go to 39 Weeks?

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Pregnancy: Why Go to 39 Weeks?

There’s been a trend toward earlier deliveries in recent years as some women are choosing their delivery date. This practice, known as an elective delivery, rose significantly from 1990 to the mid-2000s. Delivering early may not be the best course of action, however, and some research highlights how babies are born healthier if they have at least 39 weeks to grow in the womb.

The baby does a lot of developing in those last four weeks. For example, at 39-40 weeks a baby’s brain weighs one-third more than it does at 35 weeks. The liver and lungs also continue to develop up to 39 weeks. So unless there is a particular medical reason to deliver early, it’s best to wait.

In fact, delivering early can create lasting health problems. Some studies have found a greater risk of serious medical complications including bloodstream infections, breathing problems, and feeding problems.

One NIH-funded study looked at more than 13,000 women who gave birth by elective cesarean delivery (C-section) at 37 weeks or later. The babies delivered at 37 weeks were twice as likely as those born at 39 weeks to have complications. These complications include heart problems, difficulty breathing, and seizures.

Mothers who deliver early may also face their health challenges. There’s an increased chance of postpartum depression and stronger, more frequent, contractions during labor. Women who have a C-section also have a greater risk of infection and experience longer recovery times.


Your Pregnancy: Protecting Baby Starts Now

National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.

 From the moment you found out you were pregnant, you started protecting your developing baby. You might have changed the way you eat, started taking a prenatal vitamin, or researching the kind of car seat you’ll buy. But did you know that one of the best ways to start protecting your developing baby against serious diseases is by making sure you get the whooping cough (Tdap) and flu vaccines while you are pregnant?

The vaccines you get during your pregnancy will provide your developing baby with some disease protection (immunity) that will last the first months of life after birth. By getting vaccinated during pregnancy, you can pass antibodies to your baby that may help protect against diseases.  This early protection is critical for diseases like the flu and whooping cough because babies in the first several months of life are at the greatest risk of severe illness from these diseases. However, they are too young to be vaccinated themselves. Passing maternal antibodies on to them is the only way to help directly protect them.

In cases when doctors are able to determine who spread whooping cough to an infant, the mother was often the source. Once you have protection from the Tdap shot, you are less likely to give whooping cough to your newborn while caring for him or her.

When it comes to flu, even if you are generally healthy, changes in immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy make you more likely to have a severe case of the flu if you catch it. If you catch the flu when you are pregnant, you also have a higher chance of experiencing pregnancy complications, such as premature labor and delivery. Getting a flu shot will help protect you and your baby while you are pregnant.

You also can rest assured that these vaccines are very safe for you and your developing baby. Millions of pregnant women have safely received flu shots for many years, and the CDC continues to monitor safety data on flu vaccine in pregnant women.

The whooping cough vaccine also is very safe for you and your developing baby. Doctors and midwives who specialize in caring for pregnant women agree that the whooping cough vaccine is important to get during the third trimester of each pregnancy. Getting the vaccine during your pregnancy will not put you at increased risk for pregnancy complications.

You should get your whooping cough vaccine between your 27th and 36th week of pregnancy. You can get a flu shot during any trimester. You can get whooping cough and flu vaccines at the same time during your pregnancy or at different visits. If you are pregnant during the flu season, you should get a flu vaccine soon after vaccine is available.

If you want to learn more about pregnancy and vaccines, talk to your ob-gyn or midwife, and visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/pregnant.html.



Pregnant Women May be in Danger this Winter

It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine! February means “flu season” for many New Yorkers, when typically cases of influenza are highest.

Present findings are suggesting an increase in reported cases of the flu, so it’s especially important to receive vaccination this year! Pregnant women and members of a household with an infant (6 months old or younger) are strongly encouraged to receive the vaccine.


Learn more about flu vaccinations for Dutchess County residents

What You Need to Know about the Zika Virus

There have been a lot of conversations about the Zika virus lately and we wanted to provide you some information and facts to help protect you, your family, and your children.


  1. Is this a new virus?

    No.  It was first discovered amongst monkeys in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947.  For decades that followed, it was rarely was found among humans.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine there were only 14 documented Zika cases prior to 2007.

  2. How did the virus spread to humans?

    The first big outbreak appeared on Yap island in Micronesia with 49 confirmed cases and then the virus began to pop up in other Pacific Islands, including a large outbreak in 2013-14 in French Polynesia (388 cases).  Health officials first detected the virus in Brazil in 2015 and soon more than a million people in Brazil were affected. The common carrier of the disease was mosquitoes, specifically by a type of mosquito called Aedes aegypti, which spread the disease through bites.  Cases of Zika have now appeared in more than 20 countries, particularly those concentrated in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

  3. What are the symptoms?

    The Zika virus can show the following symptoms: fever, rash, joint pain, and pink eye (conjunctivitis).  Symptoms usually clear up within a week and are mild.  They rarely require hospitalization. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill.

    Some officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are now seeing that Zika may be of concern to pregnant women. Very recently, Brazil has reported an increase in infants born with microcephaly occurring at the same time as an outbreak of Zika virus in that country and there may be a connection between Zika and microcephaly.  Microcephaly is characterized by a shrunken head and incomplete brain development.  Studies are being conducted to try and learn more about the connection between Zika and microcephaly and determine whether, or not, there is a direct connection between the two.

  4. Is there a cure?  

    Not at this time. Because Zika posed little threat to humans for such a long time, research about the virus has been extremely limited. This new Zika outbreak has spurred funding and attention, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for researchers to develop better diagnostic tools and a vaccine for Zika.

  5. What steps should pregnant women take?

    The CDC recommends that pregnant women do not travel to areas where Zika virus has been seen (see the full list herehttp://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information).  If travel is necessary, women are advised to be very careful to avoid mosquito bites.  These bites can occur both inside and outside, especially during the day.  Follow these guidelines to help avoid bites:

  • Use insect repellents, making sure you read to the label to ensure it’s safe for pregnant women.
  • Avoid being in areas with a lot of sitting water.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts and/or clothing made of permethrin. Wear clothing made with a thicker fabric so it’s hard for mosquitos to bite through it.
  • When possible, stay in an air-conditioned room or a screened area.  A mosquito bed net is also recommended (one treated with permethrin is your best choice).


Be sure to visit with your doctor when returning home from a country that has experienced a Zika outbreak.