Dr. Ryan P. Peterson

Helping children understand their bodily functions

Dr. Ryan P. Peterson, Pediatrician, at ARC Kelly Lane was featured in a recent article on Parents.com entitled Why We Fart, An Explainer for Kids. In it, Dr. Peterson says that taking a complex topic like the G.I. system and making it sound simple for children is important. Dr. Peterson says, "It's a balance of normalizing it but also not celebrating it," while explaining why and how passing gas is a natural, normal bodily function. The "not celebrating it" is to help tamp down on the fart jokes, since oftentimes kids tell those jokes because they are either scared or confused by their bodily functions, or they're trying to get some attention.

Use pictures and books

Dr. Peterson recommends images to help illustrate the topic. "I'll draw simple anatomy pictures to help explain where gas and constipation occur, and talk about prevention," Dr. Peterson says. If parents don't feel confident drawing simple anatomy, he recommends books like The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts, which can help a parent communicate with their child about what's happening with their body.

Dr. Peterson also recommends that if a child is having G.I. issues, parents should keep a diary of what the child is eating, so it's easier to pinpoint a possible cause of the excess gas or discomfort. He says, "It's better to identify the trigger instead of eliminating important fruits and vegetables."

If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Peterson, do so online at ARCBookNow or call ARC Kelly Lane at 737-220-7200

Tags: GI, gastrointestinal issues in children