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Friday, November 13, 2009

Packing Schoolbag for Your Child's 1st Day At School

Confess… you are more than a little worried about your child’s first day in school - more so, if your little one is entering primary one! The dreaded 'back to school' phenomenon is something every parent with young children has to deal with. So, here are some practical tips to help you help your child pack his/her school bag for that first day in school.

Get organised
At least a week before school reopens you should have bought the new books, uniform, socks, shoes, bag, water bottle, stationery and all the little additional things (like a handkerchief or tissue paper) your child would need each day for school.

Get a little wallet or purse, and include important things like money for a snack or meal and the bus card / pass.
Write down your home address and the telephone numbers your child may need to contact you in an emergency. A card placed in the purse would be the most accessible location.
Label each thing carefully with your child’s name, class and school. Little ones are quite capable of leaving their things around!
If your child has allergies or needs medications in school, remember to inform the teachers in charge.
A week before school, you may want to teach your child to pack the school bag.

The timetable is a great place to start. Based on the classes scheduled, you can teach your child to pack just what is needed for each day. For example, look out for the Physical Education (PE) Class and, alert your child to include the PE attire.
Create a simple checklist to ensure that your little one can do it all on his / her own.
Remember, not to over pack and do not allow your child to carry toys to school.
Make sure that your little one knows how to open and close the bag and that he / she can do it with ease.
Take out all the contents of the bag and get your child to put it back again. Do this exercise over and over again until your child knows how to gather all the things needed for school and to arrange it neatly within the school bag.
Teach your school-going child to be responsible for all his / her belongings, using the checklist to make sure that things are not lost.

Role play
Kids need to carry their school bag, water bottle and often, a little snack box and their purse/wallet. This is quite a bit for your child to manage all alone! So, allow your child to practice managing all these items.

Give him or her opportunity to walk to the bus stop, climb up and down the stairs and even to get to the assembly area in school or to the classroom.
Remember how your teacher asked you to get the right books and stationery ready for each class? Now, ask your child do just that.

Talk it over
Create confidence in your child by going over potentially awkward situations that can occur in school such as:

Going to the toilet and washing up after that.
How to handle spillage from the water bottle or the snack box.

Very often, your child’s teacher will provide more instructions during the first two weeks of school. Check the timetable over and over again, read the school diary and look for notes that are sent to you. Based on these, you will need to modify your initial instructions. So, in the first week or two you need to pay close attention to your child’s school bag. But, if you lay the fundamentals right at the start – emphasising the need to get organised and be neat, your kid will be all set to cope with the demands of the school day.

Ensure a nutritious diet
You might be worried about the nutrition your child gets at his new school - since children who cannot adapt well to a new environment could lose their appetites. To make sure your child eats healthy, pack complete and balanced meals that he is familiar with. A great example is sandwich with his preferred filling (tuna, egg or cheese) with a lettuce leaf. With a healthy diet, your little scholar will have the right boost to breeze ahead, mentally and physically, in this new chapter of his life!

A Better School Bag
Buy a lightweight school bag with good support. (I've bought a SPI schoolbag for my gal)
Ideally, it should be a backpack with two straps instead of one.
Thicker shoulder pads are better.

Pack for Maximum Comfort
Do not let your child carry more than 10-15% of his/her body weight in the backpack.
Teach your child to pack the heaviest items in the center and use the many compartments to distribute the weight

Wear It Well
Encourage him/her to wear both shoulder straps to evenly distribute the weight.
Keep the straps firm, so the weight rests against the mid and lower back
If your child has a locker, encourage him/ her to drop some stuff off to lighten the load.

Adapted from WebMD – Kids Backpacks 101

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Diagnose Asthma

Asthma is a difficult illness to diagnose especially in a young child. This is mainly due to three reasons.

The first reason is that in a young child, infection of the lungs like bronchitis can mimic asthmatic attacks. The main difference is the cause � infections are caused by germs (eg. viruses, bacteria), while asthmatic attacks are allergic reactions to a variety of possible triggers. Often, doctors can only diagnose asthma based on the history given by a child's caregiver. For example, if your son gets wheezing attacks very often especially if it is not associated with fever, and if your son responds well to nebulizer therapy, then it is likely he is asthmatic.

The second reason is that an asthmatic child can have a range of different symptoms. Children who are mildly asthmatic may have 1-2 attacks of breathlessness and wheezing a year, and get better with treatment. Some may have persistent symptoms in between attacks that may include chronic cough like your son. Children who are severe asthmatics will have more frequent attacks (eg. monthly) and are often symptomatic even in between attacks. If your child is asthmatic, it is important to profile the severity of his asthma so that your doctor can tailor his treatment accordingly. Children with mild asthma are usually treated with reliever therapy during their acute attacks. Children with severe asthma, or with persistent symptoms in between their attacks have a preventer therapy added to their treatment regime. Preventer therapy needs to be taken daily and used long term usually for months. It is an important component of their therapy as uncontrolled asthma in these children can be life threatening.

The third reason as pointed out by you is that sensitive nose (allergic rhinitis) can often cause persistent coughing, which may mimic asthma. In addition, some children may have both sensitive nose, and asthma.

Both your children have significant risk factors of having asthma � family history, presence of sensitive nose, and eczema. My advice is for you to find a doctor you are comfortable with to follow up with your children in the long term. If your children are indeed asthmatic, their story will unfold as they grow up. Start keeping a diary of your children's hospital admissions, visits to the doctors, and medication history. This will help your doctor diagnose and manage asthma.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received

If you are a parent, chances are, you would have experienced a bombardment of parenting advice, whether from parenting books you read, parenting courses you attend, well-meaning friends, relatives, or even strangers on the street.

If you have been a parent for a while, by now, you should know that some advice conflict with others. The truth of the matter is that if you place all the theories side by side, you will realise that they indeed conflict with each other. While some are completely at odds with one another, other theories overlap here and there but yet never seem to agree as well. So we all end up thoroughly confused, like the story of the old man and the donkey.

Among the smorgasbord of parenting advice, there is one which I feel is the best advice I have received. Some parenting advice are like foundational pillars of parenting wisdom, e.g. putting your trust in God and seek Him for wisdom. These are the advice that will apply through all situation, all kinds of parents, all kinds of kids. And if we keep our eyes on them, we will not get lost in the world of parenting confusion.

1. Consider Your Face Already Lost

This particularly applies to our culture where face is important. We do all sorts of things to save face. When we are embarrassed, we lose face.

Think about this : why are we so anxious that our children behave well, do well in school, or go to the best brand name schools, etc. Basically we hope that our children are exemplary in every way. Why?

Firstly, it makes us feel proud. In other words, it give us ‘face’. Secondly, it reflects on us as parents. We must be very good parents to produce such wonderful kids. Something we do must be right. Hey! We are the ultimate experts at raising perfect kids. Thirdly, and sadly, for a lot of us, whether we are conscious of it or not, part of our identity as a person is vested in our children. We are ‘mother/father of so-and-so’. Imagine if your child is, say, President Scholar XYZ. You will probably go round identifying yourself as “I am the mother of President Scholar XYZ.”

Another example : Why do we get angry and frustrated when our children start acting up in public? I suspect it is the same for all of us - we are all embarrassed, and afraid of losing face in public. Therefore, the same tantrum happening at home may not elicit the same kind of reaction from us compared to if it were to happen in a public place, or a friend’s house.

Another example : if you are a high-flyer but unfortunately, your child isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, how would you feel, and why?

The bottomline is that for most of us, how we react to our children is very much affected by how much value we place on the issue of ‘face’. This is probably how most us were brought up anyway. The need to save face makes us more anxious, more easily agitated and angered, less patient and less able to think with a clear mind.

So it is best that we recognise that our children are just going to make us ‘lose face’ sooner or later. Probably they have already done so by some mega tantrum in the middle of the shopping mall. So we might as well consider our face already lost, and stop trying to preserve it. With that out of the way, we will be calmer and in a better frame of mind to deal with whatever we need to deal with, be it behavioural issues or performance in school.

We should stop trying to impress or please people :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Top 10 Ways To Get Kids Involved

How Can Kids Help?

1) Mean Green Cleaning Machine. Let them wash fruits and vegetables when
preparing for cooking or eating.

2) Pick A Peck! When shopping, let them select a new fruit or vegetable to try … or several!

3) Make It Snappy! Let them snap the green beans, snap peas, or break the
flowerets from the broccoli or cauliflower.

4) I Spy. Play “I Spy” in the Produce section when grocery shopping.

5) Tear It Up! Let them tear the lettuce for salads and sandwiches.

6) Measure Up! Let them measure the frozen vegetables before cooking them.
See How Much You Need

7) Peel & Slice. Older children can peel and slice carrots, cucumbers, potatoes … the list goes on!

8) Stir & Spice. Make applesauce from fresh apples. Let them help stir and add the cinnamon.

9) A Sprinkle A Day… Let them sprinkle herbs or other seasonings onto vegetables.

10) Monster Mash! Pull out the potato masher!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Knowing The Needs of Children

Knowing the needs of children is an essential part of parenting skills. For a child to grow up into a mature individual, his day-to-day needs must be adequately met. Children's needs are interconnected and interdependent in a complex and continuous way. This means that their physical, emotional and moral needs must be sufficiently and simultaneously met for their total wellbeing. This principle implies that a child's needs cannot be placed in cold storage while parents busy themselves acquiring wealth. A child's need for love and security cannot wait till the parents are well off. It has to be met right from birth onwards. An important characteristic of the child's needs is that they must be met in the here and now. Children cannot wait for the parents to acquire the 5 Cs of cash, credit cards, car, country clubs and condominium. Obviously parents also have material needs, but theirs can usually wait without harm to themselves.

The Tender Years Are The Most Important Years

21 memos from your child:

* Don't spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all that I ask for. I'm only testing you.

* Don't be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it, it makes me feel more secure.

* Don't let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.

* Don't make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly "big".

* Don't correct me in front of people if you can help it. I will remember it better if you talk privately with me.

* Don't make me feel any mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.

* Don't protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way, sometimes.

* Don't be too upset when I say "hate you". It isn't you I hate but your power to thwart me.

* Don't take too much notice of my small physical complaints. Sometimes they get the attention I need.

* Don't nag. If you do, I shall protect myself by appearing deaf.

* Don't forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I'm not always very accurate.

* Don't make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken.

* Don't tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.

* Don't be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.

* Don't tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.

* Don't put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.

* Don't ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover you are neither.

* Don't ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologise to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm towards you.

* Don't forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult to keep pace with me, but please do try.

* Don't forget I love experimenting. I couldn't get on without it, so please put up with it.

* Don't forget that I can't thrive without lots of understanding and love, but I don't need to tell you do I?

Friday, March 20, 2009

How to stop cough in 5 minutes!!!

See if it works the next time you have a cough...

You may wanna try this out the next time.

We have all been kept awake by our own or someone else's cough. Try this and pass it on. The tips and not the cough. ANYTHING is better than antibiotics. Even babies could benefit from this and the parents wouldn't worry about the safety of their child. And of course, it is harmless and free from any type of side-effects.

WOW! I was raised, and raised my kids with Vicks. How come I never knew this? I can't wait for my next cough. Amazing!

READ IT ALL. It works 100 percent of the time, although the scientists at the Canada Research council (who discovered it) aren't sure why.

To stop night time coughing in a child (or an adult, as we found out personally), apply Vicks Vapor Rub or Gwei Hwa Balm generously on the bottom of the feet at bedtime and then cover with socks.

Even persistent, heavy, deep coughing will stop in about five minutes and stay stopped for many, many hours of relief. This works 100 percent most of the time, and is more effective in children than even very strong prescription cough medicines. In addition it is extremely soothing and comforting and they will sleep soundly. I heard the head of the Canada Research Council describe these findings on the part of their scientists when they were investigating the effectiveness and usage of prescription cough medicines in children, as compared to alternative therapies like acupressure. I just happened to tune in to a.m. Radio and picked up this guy talking about why cough medicines in kids often do more harm than good due to the chemical makeup of these strong drugs, so I listened. It was a surprising finding and found to be more effective than prescribed medicines for children at bedtime, and in addition to have a soothing and calming effect on sick children who then went on to sleep soundly. I tried it on myself when I had a very deep constant and persistent cough a few days ago, and it worked 100 percent! It felt like a warm blanket had enveloped me. The coughing stopped in a few minutes, and believe me this was a deep (incredibly annoying!) every few seconds, uncontrollable cough and I slept cough-free for hours every night I used it.

If you have children or grandchildren, pass it on. If you end up sick, try it yourself and you will be absolutely amazed.

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