Good News: Dog Can’t Quite Reach Newborn


An absolutely adorable moment! Watch as Billy the puppy continuously jumps up to see baby Isabelle resting on the bed. The little guy is either trying to get up there, or playing the cutest game of hide and seek!  What I can’t understand is why not help the poor pup up so little Isabelle can get some puppy dog smooches?  Watch the video here.


Could Your Kid Be Packing Pounds This Summer?

Could your kid be packing on the pounds this summer?


As you probably know, school districts across the country have been banning sugary drinks and fatty lunch foods in order to help curb childhood obesity.


But a new study suggests that SUMMER is the time when kids are more likely to gain weight.


NBC News is reporting on researcher done by the Harvard School of Public Health. It showed that many kids gain weight during the summer, particularly black and Hispanic kids and children and teens who are already overweight.


Rebecca Franckle, a Harvard doctoral student who led the study, says “It’s especially those kids who are already at risk who are the most at risk during the summer.”


About a third of children and teens in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, and piling on extra weight at a young age can lead to serious health problems later in life.


The researchers aren’t certain what is behind the summer weight gain, but they suspect that it’s less structure, extra snacks, boredom and more time spent in front of a screen.


More research is needed to determine the best ways to curb weight gain over the summer, but Rebecca Franckle at Harvard suggests that parents worried about extra pounds should look to the school year for suggestions.


She says engaging kids in sports or camp programs is a good idea. She and her colleagues also believe that expanding access to summer food programs for low-income children may help.


For more suggestions on keeping your kids healthy this summer—and all year long–go to


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Kids and Caffeine

Parents used to warn kids that caffeine would stunt their growth. These days, they’re more likely to take them out for a Frappuccino. writer Linda Carroll reports on new research into the effect of coffee and caffeinated drinks on kids.  It turns out that even low doses of caffeine —the amount you’d find in a can of soda or a cup of coffee — had an effect on kids’ blood pressure and heart rates.

Interestingly, researchers found that after kids went through puberty, caffeine had more potent heart and blood pressure effects on boys than girls.

It’s the cardiovascular effects that have experts most concerned, with some advising that kids shouldn’t have caffeinated drinks until their late teens.

Dr. Kevin Shannon, a professor at the UCLA, says “There are lots of things we can’t do because we’re not old enough or mature enough.  Caffeine should probably be added to that list.”

The study showed that low doses of caffeine slowed the kids’ heart rate and increased their blood pressure.  A slower heart rate might be the opposite of what you’d expect, it’s not a new finding

At low doses, the heart slows down to compensate for rising blood pressure, At higher doses, the heart speeds up.

What has doctors particularly worried is the popularity of energy drinks, which often contain high levels of caffeine.  At high doses, caffeine can bump blood pressure into the danger zone and spark life-threatening heart arrhythmias.  It can also trigger neurologic symptoms, including seizures.

So the best advice for parents is keep caffeine away from your kids.  Here’s an idea–instead of a cappuccinos or a can of Rock Star… what about I don’t know—water or milk!

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

What’s the Best Sleeping Arrangement for Baby?

Dear Dr. Bill,


We have a 6-week old baby at home and I’m wondering what you think about having him sleep in our bed.  Some of my friends say the best place for a baby to sleep is next to his mom.  What do you think?




Dear Tammy,


That’s a great question.  Advocates of the so-called “family bed” believe that having their baby sleep with them gives the child a sense of security and comfort they won’t get in a crib.  They also point out that in other cultures, parents often sleep in the same bed with their children.


Critics of the family bed raise concerns about parents rolling over and crushing or suffocating their baby.  They also point out that the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, may be higher in these situations because adult bedding materials may not be a safe environment for a sleeping newborn.


In fact a study published in the Journal Pediatrics found that the risk of suffocation is 20 times greater when infants are placed in adult beds rather than cribs.


Sleeping with a newborn may also cause the parents sleep to be disrupted because newborns have a different sleep cycle than older children and adults.


As they pass through different sleep phases, babies tend to move around and make all kinds of noises, and sound as if they are waking up.  This may interfere with mom and dad’s sleep, which can affect their mood, their concentration, and their frustration level during the day.


Most child development experts and pediatricians agree that children need to learn to fall asleep in their own crib or bed.  A bassinet placed next to the parents’ bed during the first few months of a baby’s life can be a good compromise.  And snuggling with your child in bed in the morning after everyone is awake can be a wonderful bonding experience.


Thanks for writing Tammy!


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Good News: 9-Year-Old Basketball Star Being Scouted


Jaden Newman is only 9, but her skills on the basketball court are earning her the attention of one of the nation’s most prestigious college sports programs.  Jaden, a fourth grader from Orlando, Fla.,was sent an official recruitment letter from the University of Miami and has already toured the university’s Coral Gables campus.  Jaden, who at 4-foot-5 is a long way from her first dunk, first made headlines in January when she made the varsity team of her local high school, Downey Christian School, as point guard.  She began playing basketball at the age of 3 with her father Jamie Newman, who is now his daughter’s trainer.  Newman says he is both not surprised that his daughter is being recruited at the collegiate level nor worried that a college is looking at such a young player.  Check out some of her sweet moves here.


Could Divorce be Contributing to Childhood Obesity?

Kids face a variety of challenges when their parents divorce, and one those challenges could be gaining WEIGHT.

HealthDay is reporting on new research done in Norway that found that boys are especially prone to excess weight following a divorce.

In a study of 3,000 third-graders, doctors found that boys whose parents had divorced were 63% more likely to be overweight or obese, compared to boys whose parents stayed married.

Lead researcher Dr. Anna Biehl says “Knowing which factors are associated with childhood overweight and obesity is crucial, and is the first step toward being able to prevent it.”

Dr. Biehl and her team caution that they simply found an association between divorce and weight gain, but they can’t say divorce is the cause. They also didn’t account for how long parents had been divorced or lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

There are a variety of reasons why kids from divorced families might gain weight, including less supervision at home and family stress

Sara Rivero Conil, a child psychologist at Miami Children’s Hospital points out that divorced families sometimes turn to unhealthy coping behaviors, including emotional eating and decreased activity.

Also, single parents might feel too pressed for time to cook nutritious meals.  Dr. Conil says “Some may resort to unhealthy foods because they are quicker to prepare.  Or a parent who has the kids on a weekend may want to indulge them.”

She encourages parents to keep to a normal routine after a divorce and to maintain a healthy environment, including diet and exercise.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Good News: Driver Saves Baby Crawling Near Highway


Bryant Collins was traveling down a Georgia highway, on the way to fix a stranded car, when he saw something that made him do a double take.  He just stopped and there was a baby … almost in the highway.   Bryant immediately stopped, scooped the infant into his arms and called 911 to report the discovery.  The repairman had to wait two hours for emergency personnel to arrive, so he soothed the crying 15-month-old the best way he knew how: with gospel music.  He turned his phone on and let her listen to some music and she calmed right down.  Read more about this hero here.


Good News: Teenager Saves Drowning Boy


A six-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after nearly drowning in a neighborhood pool. Kolton Stratton was pulled to safety last month by 16-year-old Trey, who noticed something was wrong.  Looking at him now, it’s hard to imagine what happened just three weeks ago.  He was on a noodle and he slipped off of it and he panicked.  Luckily, Trey was standing nearby and noticed something at the bottom of the pool.  He pulled Kolton to safety!  Read more about this young hero here.   And check out some swimming pool safety tips here.


Teaching Gratitude

Dear Dr. Bill,

I have a question about my 5 year-old daughter.  She recently had a birthday, and, as she unwrapped her gifts, she kept looking around.  I asked her what was wrong and she said she was looking for the REST of her presents!  I was dumbfounded.  How should I deal with her selfish behavior?  And, how do I encourage her to have a grateful heart?




Dear Jodie,


Given that your daughter is 5 years old, I wouldn’t be too concerned about her comment.  5-year-olds are still learning concepts like unselfishness and gratitude.


Unfortunately our materialistic, consumer-oriented culture doesn’t help.  Kids are conditioned to believe that they are entitled to everything they want, right now…and of course they should always get the biggest and best of everything.


One of the best ways to teach your daughter gratitude is by modeling a grateful attitude yourself.  Remember to express thankfulness to God on a regular basis…even for the simple things like a roof over your head and food on the table.


Also, model gratitude in your relationships with others..  Make sure to express thankfulness to friends, relatives, and co-workers…and not only when they do something special for you.  Let them know how much you appreciate them just for who they are.  Express that kind of unconditional gratitude to your daughter as well.


Another way to help your daughter develop a grateful heart is by serving others who are less fortunate.  Perhaps you could volunteer at a local homeless shelter or look into sponsoring a child through Compassion International.


By the way, an excellent book that will give you more ideas on this topic is “Growing Grateful Kids” by Susie Larson.


Thanks for writing, Jodie.


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Fun Thoughts About Dad

Father’s Day is just two days away, and kids, I hope you’re planning on making your dad breakfast in bed—or better yet, helping him clean the garage!


A few years ago I had a chance to interview Carey Casey, the president of the National Center for Fathering in Kansas City.


Each year, Carey’s organization conducts something they call “Father of the Year Essay Contest.”  Over 100,000 school kids submit essays on the topic “What my Father Means to Me.”  I thought you might enjoy hearing a few of their creations.


Here’s one from a first grader:

“My dad is the best dad ever. I would kiss a pig for him.”  Well, isn’t that nice.

Another first grader wrote this:

“My dad is a Frito-Lay man. That is an important job because Frito-Lay means chips, which is food. That is so important because you could not live without food.”  Obviously a future nutritionist there.


Here’s one from a fourth-grader:
“Sometimes as a joke I’ll put my stinky socks in his briefcase, so at work the next day he will think of me!  How thoughtful.


And finally, this one from a seventh grader:

“Fatherhood is a lifelong commitment. I have seen through my father’s actions, words, and decisions that he will be committed to me and my life from the second I was born, almost 13 years ago, to the day I die….Even if you assembled the most brilliant team of scientists and artists there was, there still is no possible way you could duplicate my father.”

Wow—now THAT is beautiful!  And it was written by a 13-year-old!  I pray that my kids will say that about me when THEY get to be teenagers!


Happy Father’s day, from all of us at Shine.FM!


Listen to today’s audio here.