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Tiffani Thiessen Chats Present Parenting & Keeping Kids Healthy

Tiffani Thiessan Talks Meningitis Vaccine The Breakdown with Bethany MomCaveTV

Tiffani Theissen wears many hats. She is an actress, author, host, chef, and mom. Like many parents, she has her hands full, but she is taking time to speak about an important cause: the meningitis vaccine. She is urging fellow parents of pre-teens and teens to take action to help increase rates of potentially life-saving vaccination for meningococcal meningitis.

In a new initiative, It’s About Time: Help Stop the Clock on Meningitis, and video series, Tiffani is calling on parents to have timely talks with their child and their doctor about immunization, including the MenACWY, MenB, and other adolescent vaccinations. While parents may be unable to stop the clock on their children growing up, Tiffani is encouraging parents to help protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases such as meningococcal meningitis.

We also discussed pandemic parenting and Tiffani’s book, You’re Missing It, which she wrote with her husband, Brady Smith, before the pandemic. It’s one of my favorite children’s books, and it encourages parents to stay present with their kids and off their phones, which we know can be challenging.

Take a look at the interview below, and head to helpstoptheclock.org to learn more about this important campaign.

Tiffani Theissen Talks Staying Present & Keeping Kids Healthy

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Welcome back to another episode of The Breakdown With Bethany. I’m Bethany Braun-Silva, and today my guest is actress, author, host, chef, mom, Tiffani Thiessen. I’m such a fan of Tiffani, so I was really excited about the opportunity to talk to her. In this conversation, we’re going to be talking about the importance of the meningitis vaccine for preteens and teens. It’s a lot more important than you may have thought. We’re also going to be talking about how parents can stay present with their kids, and I’ll give you a hint. Tiffani wrote a book all about it. You’re definitely going to want to check this one out.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Hi, Tiffani. Thank you so much for joining me. I’m really, really excited that you’re here, but I wanted jump right in because this is a really important topic and you have a lot of important information to share. So tell us all, why you decided to partner with the It’s About Time Initiative.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yes. Well, Leslie’s actually with the National Meningitis Association and I think both of us being parents, of course, and being moms, we’re here to spread the word about how it’s important to really do anything we can to help protect our children. And that’s why we’re here.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
And you have Harper, what is she almost 11?

Tiffani Thiessen:
She’s actually almost 12.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Almost 12.

Tiffani Thiessen:
My daughter actually got her first dose of MenACWY, it’s a mouthful. She actually got it last year right after she turned 11, which is the recommended age for CDC for the first dose, and the second dose is actually at 16. And sadly we’ve been seeing that the numbers have dropped a lot and so that’s why we’re trying to make it a big awareness of how important it is. Leslie has a very deep story with her about meningococcal meningitis and so we’re both here to spread the word of the importance of it.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Yeah. I think with everything that’s going on with the pandemic and vaccines and things like that, important vaccines like this might actually fall to the back of a parent’s mind.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Right.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
So please tell me why should this be in the front of a parent’s mind? And I was going to say, I have a 10 year old, should this be something I start thinking about now or earlier?

Tiffani Thiessen:
The first thing I’m going to say to you is please go to the website because you can actually sign up to get a reminder of the vaccine schedule. Is it your daughter or your son?

Bethany Braun-Silva:
My son.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Okay. So your son’s first would be between 11 and 12 and then, again, a second one would be at 16. And you can actually go to the website to actually sign up to get that reminder, which is I think pretty awesome, because as a busy mom, I’m sure you always need the reminders. I know I do.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Yes, of course. And then maybe, would you be able to share, I know maybe some of them are really heartbreaking stories, but something that was impactful that you maybe heard from another parent around this campaign and the reason why you decided to team up?

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yes. Well, I think that’s the story for Leslie.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Oh please.

Tiffani Thiessen:
She actually heads of the National Meningitis Association and the reason why she’s here is because of her son.

Leslie:
And I didn’t know anything about meningococcal meningitis until my 17 year old son, who was a very healthy young man, loved life, he scored the winning goal for his high school soccer team to become State Champions, and two weeks later he had a headache and within 24 hours he passed away. It was that quick. He had his State Championship pictures taken, and so we have a picture of him the day before he died. But I didn’t know you could go from a headache to losing your life. And so when he died so quickly, I found out about that there was a vaccine that would possibly have saved his life, which is why I wanted other parents to not suffer the loss. So we were thrilled when Tiffani joined us.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Ah, you’re so sweet. Well, I think as a parent, we want to do anything we can to help protect them, and knowing that, yes, it is rare, the fact that this could take your child’s life within 24 hours to me is enough. It doesn’t matter. And I think, yes, these are tough conversations that we’re having, especially in the last couple years with vaccinations just always on the forefront of everybody’s concern right now. But this is one that we cannot miss, the fact that it’s a bacterial infection that can take your child so fast. A lot of the symptoms very much mimic the flu so it’s very hard to detect. You can have headaches, fever, things like that, that all mimic the flu. So sometimes these things don’t get detected in time, hence the story from her own son.

Leslie:
Respiratory droplets and that’s from sharing drinks.

Tiffani Thiessen:
And that’s why it’s so important at that age, 11 and 12 and again at 16, because those are the ages that kids start to share drinks, share food. And then as they get older, this frightens me completely, of course, because I have a daughter, and you’ll be right there too, is the kissing and all that kind of stuff that happens as they become older. That’s why this age group is so important to have both doses of those vaccines so they’re protected all through college.

Leslie:
And then they should also check about another vaccine, the MenB vaccine when they go for their 16 second dose. And get caught up on any other immunizations they missed during COVID.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yeah, absolutely.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Yeah. I think a lot of parents probably perked up when you guys mentioned how quickly it can go, flu-like symptoms. Are there any other telltale signs that this is happening while it’s happening? And can you do something in the moment?

Leslie:
One of the telltale sites are, sometimes there will be a rash.

Tiffani Thiessen:
But it’s not always, right?

Leslie:
Not always. My son did not have a rash. All he complained about first was a headache. Sometimes there’s a stiff neck, but not always. And that’s why the vaccination is the very best way to prevent it. And often healthcare providers, if you think your child has those symptoms, it’s important to get emergency care right away. Contact your health provider and get it checked out, because it just goes so quickly.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yeah, absolutely. It’s so quick. Again, that’s why it is so important that this vaccine-

Leslie:
It’s best.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Exactly, because it’s so quick, and a lot of times you don’t understand it. You think it’s no big deal. You think it’s just maybe the flu, that kind of thing, and usually you don’t go to the hospital for that. So that’s why it’s important to get the vaccine.

Leslie:
[inaudible 00:06:43] advocates who’ve been to the hospital and, actually, when they went to the emergency room, they were sent home and it said, “Come back tomorrow if you’re not better.”

Tiffani Thiessen:
That vaccine is going to be the help. It’s really going to be the best protection you can have.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Yeah, I just have another question about that, because I’m thinking, when our kids are younger, they’re on a vaccine schedule from the pediatrician. So is this a vaccine that you have to ask for or will it be given at the ages of 11 and 16 automatically?

Tiffani Thiessen:
I think it depends. Yeah, I mean, I can only speak from my personal experience that it was recommended and given to my daughter as her schedule when she turned 11 or after she was 11. But I can’t say that that’s the case for every state and every healthcare provider out there. That’s why it’s really important for us to also spread the word that, again, during this time where vaccination rates, people are very second-guessing a lot of them and they don’t want to overdo it maybe sometimes, this is very important at this stage, 11 and 12 and again at 16.

Leslie:
And some states will mandate the 11 and 12 vaccine, but they won’t mandate the second dose.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Right.

Leslie:
Which is just as important. And 16 is an important time to also take your child to their healthcare provider.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Absolutely.

Leslie:
And find out about the MenB vaccine.

Tiffani Thiessen:
The MenB and other ones, yeah, for sure.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Okay.

Leslie:
But because it’s not mandated everywhere, you just don’t know. So parents need to be aware.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yeah, absolutely.

Leslie:
And that’s why we’re teaming up to [inaudible 00:08:09].

Bethany Braun-Silva:
This sounds great. I think that I’ve learned so much information. I want you to tell everybody where they can go right now to find more about this campaign and more information about the vaccine.

Leslie:
They could go to the stoptheclock.org website, and that’s where they can sign up for an email.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yeah. They can do an email alert that actually will give them a schedule of when they’re due for their vaccine, whether it’s their first one or their second one. And with that, also, you actually get to go on, and when you enroll in that, there’s a chance that you get to actually sit down and chat with me a little bit more about it too and have a one-on-one with me as well should be.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
That sounds great.

Leslie:
And you can also go to the CDC website to find out more about the disease or the National Meningitis website at mnaus.org, and we have some information on our website too.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
That’s great. So helpful. Tiffani, is it okay if I just ask you three or four questions?

Tiffani Thiessen:
Of course. I think we’re good on time, yeah.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Okay, great. So, all right, obviously, I’m a huge fan. I follow you on Instagram.

Tiffani Thiessen:
You’re so sweet.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
But I’m dying to know, how is pandemic parenting going? How has this been with two kids? How’s that going?

Tiffani Thiessen:
It seems a little bit better, even though I feel like we’re also still running in circles. I think I grew up in a family that always instilled in me to look at the glass half full instead of half empty, and so I really have tried to, I’m not saying every day was like that, but really tried to hone in on the positivity of this extra time I got with my kids that we don’t normally get to have sometimes when we have our normal jobs and school and not at home as much. So I really cherish that because, again, it wasn’t normal for a lot of us and it was also very hard. But I also cherish it a lot too. But one day at a time, that’s all we can do, right?

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Absolutely. And you seem to really have blended your passions so well between the cooking, motherhood, acting. Do you have advice for other moms or multi-passionate, I mean, aren’t we all, but who want to have all these different areas of interest and how they can fulfill that within themselves?

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yeah. Look, I think anything that you’re passionate about, you should actually carve out time for, because that’s to me also self-care, as well as going and getting a pedicure or getting a massage, or whatever, your wine at night. But doing things that creatively fulfill you to me is the biggest self-care that I could really advocate for, for myself. It’s all about balance. There’s definitely not enough hours in the day to do it all but I think if you can get into a good rhythm to make sure that you’re giving yourself that creative space and being able to do things that you enjoy as well, it’s also great for your children. My kids love seeing when I’m working. They love seeing that I love to cook or do artistic things. And my husband’s an artist as well. And so it’s full circle and it’s good for them too to see that.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
And speaking of your husband, one of my favorite books is You’re Missing It. I know it’s a few years old now, but it really resonates more than ever. What was it like working together on that book? And then, are there plans for another book?

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yes, there’s many plans. So the book actually came from a very honest place and, of course, this was before the pandemic, but it was a good reminder during the pandemic where we were all stuck at home and I know phones and computers were really the only way that we could connect. But, beforehand, I think it’s a very sweet story. Funny, I was sitting there in the kitchen doing dishes and I think Holt was probably just a couple years old and my husband’s swinging him on the swing and stuff and he’s doing the normal one-handed push and going through Instagram or doing whatever he was. And I opened the window and I go, “You’re missing it. Get off your phone.” And we’re all guilty of it. This is not just my husband. I’ve done it a million times, but it really brought up a bigger conversation with both of us about how these moments are so fast for us.

Tiffani Thiessen:
And, again, that’s what was so great about the pandemic is that we were able to slow down a little bit. But our kids grow fast and we only have so many times where we can really make an impression or have those memorable moments. And so, again, it goes back to balance. I really think we all need to work, we all need to be connected, and I understand that, but I think there are certain times that we try to disconnect from the electronics to really connect as a family. And so that’s after school. Phones are mostly down. There’s no phones at dinner. There’s no TV. We’re very limited. Maybe strict, some people will say, about the iPad. It’s very limited that they get it every day.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Connection to us is much more important to people and to ourselves and being outside and all that, how I used to grow up, and I feel like a lot of us grew up in a very different time. Not that we don’t give our children the electronics, but, again, it’s important for us to connect as people. And so we just have made a pack as we parent our kids that the electronics are limited.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
That’s fantastic. All right, final question, what are your family plans for this summer?

Tiffani Thiessen:
Oh my gosh. We already have a packed summer. So before children, my husband and I used to do RV trips all the time with our dogs and we would travel all through going to either Texas where my in-laws are from. And so we started last year, because of the pandemic, we didn’t really want to travel too much on an airplane or anything like that, that we got an RV and my son loves it so much that he has been counting down to the days where we’re going to go on another RV trip this summer. So that’s our big plans this summer, is do another cross country. I don’t think we’re going to do cross country. I think we might do the Northern part of California and go up the coast a little bit. So that’s our big plans for the summer, and then just a lot of kid time, fun time. We have a cabin up in the Sequoias we’re going to spend some time in and just get our feet and hands dirty and just spend family time.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
I love that. I hope that you’ll share tips for road tripping with kids.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Always. Oh yeah, that’s a good idea. I probably should. It’ll with my second time with children, so I’ll let you know how it goes. We’re actually getting a smaller RV this time. So I’ll totally let you know how that goes.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
It’s like a working vacation.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Oh, totally. It is, for sure. It absolutely is. And the hardest part is the electronics on those long car rides.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Absolutely.

Tiffani Thiessen:
But I got tricks for that too.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Oh, I can’t wait to see or read all about it. Let’s tell everybody one more time where they can get information on the campaign.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yes, the website, helpstoptheclock.org. That’s the best website to start there. And then if there’s other information you need about the National Meningitis Association, you can actually go from there. Wouldn’t that be the best?

Leslie:
That’s a good idea.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Yeah, and sign up.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
All right. Thank you both so much. I really appreciate the time.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Thank you so much, honey.

Leslie:
Thank you.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Have a good rest of your day.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
All right. Bye.

Tiffani Thiessen:
Bye.

Leslie:
Bye.

Bethany Braun-Silva:
Bye.

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Bethany Braun Silva

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