This video describes the journey of a vaccine for children from development through post-licensure monitoring. Learn about the three phases of clinical trials, vaccine licensing and manufacturing, how a vaccine is added to the U.S. Recommended Immunization Schedule, and how FDA and CDC monitor vaccine safety after the public begins using the vaccine.
In recent months, families have been doing their part by staying at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As communities open up, it’s important your child goes in for their well-child visit. These well-child visits are essential for many reasons, including:
- Tracking growth and development including milestones, social behaviors, and learning
- Discussing any concerns about your child’s health
- Getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and 12 other serious diseases
Did you know that there were several outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in recent years? These diseases are extremely contagious and can be very serious, especially for babies and young children. As schools and daycares also begin to reopen, protecting children against these and other diseases makes these vaccinations particularly important.
Not sure what vaccines are needed when? Check out this easy to read schedule. Concerned about keeping your child safe? Call your doctor’s office to see what special measures they might have in place. Many offices and clinics are taking extra steps to see children safely during this time, like:
- Scheduling sick visits and well-child visits during different times of the day
- Asking patients to remain outside until they are called into the facility to reduce crowding in waiting rooms
- Offering sick visits and well-child visits in different locations
If you need help paying for vaccines, ask your child’s doctor or nurse about the Vaccines for Children program. This program provides free vaccines to children who are Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, underinsured, or American Indian/Alaska Native.
These are challenging times, but you have the power to help keep your child healthy. Making sure that your child sees their doctor for well-child visits and vaccines is one of the best things you can do to protect your child and community.
Why should you want your child to be an optimist? Because, as Dr. Martin Seligman explains: “Pessimism (the opposite of optimism) is an entrenched habit of mind that has sweeping and disastrous consequences: depressed mood, resignation, underachievement and even unexpectedly poor physical health.”
Children with optimistic thinking skills are better able to interpret failure, have a stronger sense of personal mastery, and are better able to bounce back when things go wrong in their lives.
Because parents are a major contributor to the thinking styles of their children’s developing minds, it is important to adhere to the following five steps to ensure healthy mental habits in your children.
How Parents Can Help
Step 1: Learn to think optimistically yourself. What children see and hear indirectly from you as you lead your life and interact with others influences them much more than what you try to ‘teach’ them.
You can model optimism for your child by incorporating optimistic mental skills into your own way of thinking. This is not easy and does not occur over night. But with practice, almost everyone can learn to think differently about life’s events – even parents!
Step 2: Teach your child that there is a connection between how they think and how they feel. You can do this most easily by saying aloud how your own thoughts about adversity create negative feelings in you.
For example, if you are driving your child to school and a driver cuts you off, verbalize the link between your thoughts and feelings by saying something like “I wonder why I’m feeling so angry; I guess I was saying to myself: ‘Now I’m going to be late because the guy in front of me is going so darn slow. If he is going to drive like that he shouldn’t drive during rush hour. How rude.’”
Step 3: Create a game called ‘thought catching.’ This helps your child learn to identify the thoughts that flit across his or her mind at the times they feel worst. These thoughts, although barely noticeable, greatly affect mood and behavior.
For instance, if your child received a poor grade, ask: “When you got your grade, what did you say to yourself?”
Step 4: Teach your child how to evaluate automatic thoughts. This means acknowledging that the things you say to yourself are not necessarily accurate.
For instance, after receiving the poor grade your child may be telling himself he is a failure, he is not as smart as other kids; he will never be able to succeed in school, etc. Many of these self-statements may not be accurate, but they are ‘automatic’ in that situation.
Step 5: Instruct your child on how to generate more accurate explanations (to themselves) when bad things happen and use them to challenge your child’s automatic but inaccurate thoughts. Part of this process involves looking for evidence to the contrary (good grades in the past, success in other life areas, etc).
Another skill to teach your child to help him or her think optimistically is to help your child see that the bad event may not be as bad or will not have the adverse consequences imagined. Few things in life are as devastating as we fear, yet we blow them up in our minds.
Parents can influence the thinking styles of their children by modeling the principals of optimistic thinking.
- Who should NOT use cloth face coverings: children under age 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N95 respirators. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
Wear your Face Covering Correctly
- Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
Wear a Face Covering to Protect Others
- Wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth to help protect others in case you’re infected with COVID-19 but don’t have symptoms
- Wear a face covering in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when it may be difficult for you to stay six feet apart
- Wear a face covering correctly for maximum protection
- Don’t put the face covering around your neck or up on your forehead
- Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect
Follow Everyday Health Habits
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
Take Off Your Cloth Face Covering Carefully, When You’re Home
- Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties
- Fold outside corners together
- Place covering in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash cloth face coverings)
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.
Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Watch for behavior changes in your child
Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children.
- Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting).
- Excessive worry or sadness.
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits.
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens.
- Poor school performance or avoiding school.
- Difficulty with attention and concentration.
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past.
- Unexplained headaches or body pain.
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
Ways to support your child
- Talk with your child about the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child can understand.
- Reassure your child that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
- Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.
- Spending time with your child in meaningful activities, reading together, exercising, playing board games.