Conversations: Talking with kids about race

talking with kids about race

Does the adult looking through the camera at these children see what a child sees? — photo courtesy of Pixabay

No matter your skin coloration, you will have the first opportunity to teach your kids about racism in the United States. To help you approach the topic, therapist Dina Ricciardi culled through the internet to pick out resources to start a dialogue. — Drs. Lai and Kardos

Lately, conversations and news coverage about racism surround us. Images of unrest and violence have covered our news screens, affecting our country, our communities, and sometimes our own homes. On top of the global pandemic of COVID-19, navigating the topic of race and race relations with your family can feel downright overwhelming. Adults may be experiencing a whole range of feelings. Emotions may range from anger to sadness to fear and beyond. While us parents want to teach our kids, we also want to protect them. We wonder, do we talk with them about what they see on television and social media? Or do we shield them from serious problems? 

Our understanding and beliefs about race, whether our own race or others’, is deeply personal and rooted in our own unique experiences. As parents, we may feel unprepared and not know how to address our children’s questions and concerns. Therefore, we may avoid conversations about race. 

Fortunately, there are many available resources. Many educators, mental health experts, and medical professionals are sharing information to equip us with knowledge and confidence. Below is a handful of the offerings.

Resources on talking with kids about race:

The Child Mind Institute

The American Psychological Association 

Embrace Race 

Book Recommendations: 

Books about a variety of races

Books with Characters of Color

Books for Asian-American Children and Young Adults

Book Recommendations for Adults:

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library

Well Read Black Girl 

Links to issues of racism, police violence and discrimination (says COVID, but not about COVID):

These are just a few of the resources available to help you wade into challenging conversations about race. As stated by Dr. Howard Stevenson from the Penn Graduate School of Education, “The more you listen for what your child already knows, what they are concerned about, what they are afraid of, the more you’ll be able to help them speak and feel confident…and keep listening, because your child will need you to keep that conversation going.” 

Dina Ricciardi, LCSW, ACSW

Ricciardi is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in private practice treating children, adolescents, and adults in Doylestown, PA. She can be reached at

©2020 Two Peds in a Pod®


What to do if you are exposed to someone with covid-19

Confused about what do to if you are exposed to someone with covid-19? What if you are exposed to someone who was exposed to covid-19 illness? Do you self-isolate? How long?

We welcome back our pediatrician friend Dr Roy Benaroch as he explains, briefly and clearly in his two minute video, just what to do.  We promise you will gain knowledge and confidence.

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD

Roy Benaroch, MD, of Pediatric Physicians, PC , has been practicing pediatrics in Atlanta, Georgia since 1997. He is an adjunct professor of Pediatrics at Emory University, writes an excellent blog The Pediatric Insider, and has authored several helpful pediatric related books, articles, and videos. This video is shared with his permission on Two Peds in a Pod®


Kids on computers: are special blue light-blocking filters worth the expense?


are glasses with special blue light-blocking filters worth the expense?

Kids are spending much more time on computers and other screens learning, staying in touch with friends and family virtually, and playing games. Are glasses with special blue light-blocking filters worth the expense? Our guest blogger, pediatric ophthalmologist Dr. Sheryl Menacker, addresses this question.
-Drs. Kardos and Lai 

There is much buzz about glasses that filter out blue light from computer, phone, and other screen devices.  But are the problems real and are these glasses worth the expense?    

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says no, and here is the explanation from their website.

Are eyeglasses with special blue light-blocking filters worth the expense? 

Continue Reading


How to sit at the computer: Ergonomics for kids doing schoolwork at home

ergonomics for kids doing schoolwork at home

#homeschooling #computer ergonomics #COVID #admireteachers


Oh my aching back…

Right now, with schools closed, kids of all ages are doing schoolwork at home.  Technology has allowed continuation of learning and even face-to-face check in with teachers.  But it also poses some challenges. School classrooms are designed for children; our kitchen tables are not.  How to sit at the computer? Just as we require ergonomic workstations for our jobs; we need to consider proper fit and alignment for our children as they learn virtually. The following are basic ergonomics for kids doing schoolwork from home that can prevent muscle aches and fatigue.

Where to place the computer screen:

Place the computer screen directly in front of your child with the eyes level with a spot about 2-3” below the top of the screen.  In addition, place the keyboard so that the upper arms and shoulders are relaxed. The forearms should be parallel to the floor and the elbow bent less than 90 degrees.  The chair should have back support and allow the thighs to be supported parallel with the floor. Knees should also be bent to 90 degrees or a bit less with feet supported. This can be a challenge for our elementary school kids who are trying to work at home.  The Canadian Safety Council suggests: “choose a chair that places the child at the proper height in relation to the equipment. If that means a higher chair, provide a footrest to support the feet and a pillow to support the back.” Continue Reading


Vaccinate your children during the COVID-19 pandemic

vaccinate your children during the covid-19 pandemic

Social distancing? Take the time to immunize

Parents are calling us and asking to cancel their well baby visits to the pediatrician. Tempted to cancel? Think again. If families allow their babies to get behind on their vaccines, we will risk other epidemics. It is important to vaccinate your children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before vaccines, babies died of polio, bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, blood infections, measles, and whooping cough. All of these infections are contagious. Babies need to stay on track to get immunized against these potentially lethal illnesses.

Vaccine preventable illnesses such as polio are still alive in the memories of those now experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured to the right is a photo of members of Dr. Lai’s family. Great-Uncle Holloway, with the broken arm, and his cousin Billy were slated to go swimming soon after the photo was taken. Cousin Billy went, was exposed to polio at the pool, and died shortly after. In a twist of luck, Great-Uncle Holloway was spared because he had broken his arm and thus did not go to the crowded swimming pool that day.

Billy (L) and Holloway (R) in the 1930’s

We understand your fear of leaving home with your baby. We know that some families have difficulty obtaining transportation. But we know also that vaccine preventable illnesses are MUCH more dangerous than COVID-19 for our youngest children.

One day socially distancing will end, and on that day, babies will be more vulnerable to vaccine preventable illness. We cannot possibly catch up every single baby on our first day out of isolation. It is far better to keep your babies up to date on vaccines all along. 

In the US, our American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges pediatricians to continue to vaccinate our infants and younger children on time. 

Pediatricians across the country, and the world, are adjusting how they see patients in their offices in order to protect their patients, as well as themselves, from acquiring COVID-19 in their offices. Ask what steps your baby’s doctor is taking to provide extra protection for your family.

Vaccines not only protect your own children, but they also protect everyone around them. Remember that some babies with immune system disease or other underlying medical reasons cannot receive some vaccines. Immunizing your child can protect these children as well as themselves. 

We cannot stress more how important it is to vaccinate your children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please share this post with anyone you know that has young children, especially babies, who are due for vaccines.

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2020 Two Peds in a Pod®


The lesson of coronavirus

For my college graduate whose graduation ceremonies will most likely not happen, and my other kid who is now online and vacating her school, I think it will be the best lesson of their lives …how privilege can be taken away in an instant. A privilege to learn, to travel, to breathe…many people have never been on an airplane or ever lived in a dorm room. As a pediatrician, I am surrounded by worried families. Tell your kids that we’re all in this together, this is the time to use their youth and creativity to spark good-although they may not have our wisdom, they are not locked in an adult mindset of how things “should be.” There is much to be done-an economy to revive, cures to be found. Somehow they have been blessed with an illness that is kinder to the young. The time they have ahead of them may look different than what they expected, but it is the same…full of hope and promise that they will use their energy and creativity for the greater good.

Naline Lai, MD

©2020 Two Peds in a Pod®


How to tell the difference between spring allergies and coronavirus disease (or any other respiratory virus)

spring allergies or novel coronavirus?

Every spring I find bunched up tissues wedged everywhere- in the cup-holders of the car, in couch crevices, and in the bottom of back packs. Yes, beautiful flowering spring is here in the United States along with lots of pollen to tickle everyone’s noses. But this year, along with the pollen, the coronavirus disease, aka COVID-19, has swept in. 

So how can you tell when your children’s noses become congested and they start coughing, if your child has spring allergies or coronavirus disease? While there is an overlap in symptoms between allergies and viruses, there are a few distinguishing features:

Allergies Itch

Itchy nose, itchy eyes, itchy throat. If your child is doing a lot of facial rubbing or throat clearing, you can fairly accurately blame allergies. If needed, treat these annoying itches with allergy medicine such as cetirizine (brand name Zyrtec), loratadine (brand name claritin), or fexofenadine (Brand name Allegra). You can also read our prior post about spring allergiesAllergy medicine does not improve these symptoms if your child has a virus. 

Fever: Viruses can cause fever. Allergies do not.

If your child has a fever along with their runny or stuffy nose, coughing, sore throat, and watery eyes, think VIRUS. Also, think “contagious.” In contrast, allergies do not trigger fevers. So if your child has sudden onset of respiratory symptoms WITH FEVER, you can’t blame it on allergies. 


If your child is younger than a year, it is unlikely that they will show signs of spring allergies because they have never been exposed to spring pollen. A person needs to be sensitized to something before they can be allergic to it. If it is only your child’s first spring,  they  will not show signs of allergies. Usually, cold symptoms in a child this young means that your child does, in fact, have a cold virus. 

While we do have medications to treat allergies, respiratory viruses, including the one caused by covid-19, have to run their course.

The following are helpful websites to keep up with emerging information about the novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19: 

Centers for Disease Control (
Your state’s Health Department (You can click here for the PA Health Department)
World Health Organization (

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2020 Two Peds in a Pod®


Teen vegetarian diet basics

teen vegetables

veggies, veggies, veggies

“Monitor your child’s diet closely to make sure they are getting enough calories… Some teens need 4,000 calories a day when they’re in a growth spurt!”

Check out the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Tip of the Week- a post on vegetarian teen diet basics with input from Dr. Lai!

Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2020 Two Peds in a Pod®