Excerpt: 'YOU: Raising Your Child'

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Since you're reading this, chances are that you've already embarked upon your river ride. Think of this book as one of your river maps, helping you plan the itinerary that will lead you and your child to your desired destination. Two qualities make for exceptional river guides: experience and knowledge. While you may or may not have the experience of parenting, we believe that this book can help you with the second part of that equation. Throughout the book, you'll learn about science and strategies, you'll use the strategies, tools, and tips, and we'll cover all the big topics important to parents, including how to help your child sleep better, how to help your child maintain a healthy weight, how to best treat a fever, and hundreds of others. Here's how the book works:

In the first three chapters (as well as throughout the book), we'll concentrate on this whole notion of creating the optimum environment for raising your child -- and the things that you can do to maximize your child's potential and happiness. It may seem as if we're dabbling in psychology, but what we're really teaching you is neurology: that is, the science of how the brain best learns and develops. This development relies on the stimuli (environment) that you provide and the healthy habits that you instill from your heart and from the start.

After that, we're going to move into more of the hard-core health and medical concerns that parents have. What do you do if you have trouble breast feeding? Why is your child a picky eater? How do you treat allergies? What do you do if your child is sick? What is that bright red rash on your child's rear end? As doctors and as parents, we know that it's hard to keep the big picture in mind when day-to-day tribulations and health anxieties keep demanding your focus. This book takes you through the most prevalent childhood health issues and tells you how to diagnose, treat, and prevent them.

We'll also provide practical guidance on some decisions and actions you'll have to make and take, such as picking a pediatrician, finding a day care program, childproofing your home, and installing car seats (80 percent of them are installed incorrectly, so it's vital info).

In our signature YOU tools section, we'll show you kid-friendly ways to keep your offspring in shape. We'll share simple, great-tasting recipes that your whole family will enjoy, and we'll summarize the various points of view about the hotly debated topic of vaccines. First-time parents will find our YOU tool for newborns especially helpful; there we'll offer info on diapering, feeding, sleeping, bathing, and all the other mysteries of caring for an infant.

Our YOU Plan gives an overview of critical developmental milestones you can expect (but not obsess over, please), as well as some tips and tricks that will make the various stages from birth to age five a little bit easier. Think of it as the pocket version of our detailed map -- good for a quick glance when you're in a hurry or need a refresher.

In our appendix, we'll cover issues that may be important to some of you, such as multiple births, nontraditional families, and a handful of specialized health concerns such as autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

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