8 PRESCHOOL PROB­LEMS YOU CAN’T AF­FORD TO IG­NORE

Bul­ly­ing, the use of bad lan­guage and sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety are just a few of many is­sues that can crop up when your lit­tle one starts preschool. Here’s ex­pert ad­vice on how to work through them suc­cess­fully.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Bul­ly­ing, the use of bad lan­guage and sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety – learn how to work through these and more.

1 Your child keeps catch­ing ill­nesses from other kids in school

It’s wor­ry­ing when your child falls sick fre­quently, but this is sim­ply a part of grow­ing up, says Dr Lim Hwee Ying, se­nior res­i­dent from the De­part­ment of Neona­tal & De­vel­op­men­tal Medicine at Sin­ga­pore Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

Im­mu­nity strength­ens when the body learns to fight germs, viruses and other or­gan­isms. In fact, hav­ing up to 10 bouts of vi­ral in­fec­tions a year is nor­mal, Dr Lim as­sures.

Nev­er­the­less, it’s im­por­tant to help Ju­nior main­tain a healthy im­mune sys­tem. So make sure that he eats plenty of an­tiox­i­dant-rich fruits and veg­eta­bles daily, gets ad­e­quate sleep ev­ery night, and en­joys reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

Dr Lim also sug­gests teach­ing him habits like wash­ing his hands be­fore and af­ter meals and af­ter us­ing the toi­let. Re­mind him to stay away from kids who are sick, and dis­in­fect his toys be­tween use to pre­vent the spread of germs.

Fi­nally, Dr Lim says to limit your child’s an­tibi­otic use. “Overuse of an­tibi­otics may re­sult in an­tibi­otic-re­sis­tant bac­te­ria, which may be more dif­fi­cult to treat later. Hav­ing said that, if your child’s pae­di­a­tri­cian thinks that an­tibi­otics are nec­es­sary, make

sure that your child fin­ishes the course.”

vour child should also get vac­ci­nated when re­quired. “Sin­ga­pore has a rec­om­mended na­tional im­mu­ni­sa­tion sched­ule for healthy in­fants,” says Dr iim. “This con­sti­tutes a se­ries of vac­ci­na­tions at sev­eral time points, namely, birth, one month, three, four and five months, 12 months, and sub­se­quently 15 to 18 months, and then at 10 to 11 years.

“By the time your child is 18 to 21 months, he should have been vac­ci­nated against tu­ber­cu­lo­sis (BCd), hep­ati­tis B, diph­the­ria, tetanus, per­tus­sis, po­lio, haemophilus in­fluenza, measles, mumps, rubella and pneu­mo­coc­cus. Be­yond that, a booster dose for po­lio, diph­the­ria, tetanus and per­tus­sis is rec­om­mended at 10 to 11 years old.”

eand, foot and mouth dis­ease (eFMD) is com­mon in preschool­ers. As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Thoon hoh Cheng, head and se­nior con­sul­tant from the fn­fec­tious Dis­ease Ser­vice at hh tomen’s and Chil­dren’s eospi­tal, says that good per­sonal hy­giene is the best way to pro­tect your lit­tle one from catch­ing this dis­ease.

This means get­ting him to wash his hands with soap and wa­ter be­fore and af­ter meals and af­ter us­ing the toi­let, and to cover his mouth and nose with a tis­sue when cough­ing or sneez­ing and to throw the tis­sue away im­me­di­ately.

oe­mind him not to share his food, drinks, plate, cut­lery, glass, towel, tooth­brush and other per­sonal items. ff there is an eFMD out­break in your child’s school, Prof Thoon sug­gests the fol­low­ing:

• Mon­i­tor your child’s tem­per­a­ture daily

• Wash his hands be­fore leav­ing the child­care cen­tre;

• Shower him and change his clothes as soon as he gets home;

• Check for mouth ul­cers and blis­ters on his hands and feet daily.

Con­sult your fam­ily doc­tor if you no­tice any symp­toms.

2 Your kid suf­fers from sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety

The first rule with sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety is to set a good ex­am­ple for your child by stay­ing calm and pos­i­tive.

“By show­ing him that you’re not anx­ious, you’re telling him that you have full con­fi­dence in the teach­ers and know that he’ll have a great time in school,” says Fiona McDon­ald, head of iearn­ing Sup­port at Chiltern eouse Preschool.

“Over time, this should give your child a greater sense of se­cu­rity and help him feel more set­tled.”

then you ar­rive at school, re­as­sure him again by men­tion­ing some­thing fun he will be do­ing that day. For in­stance, “Tues­days are great; you’re go­ing to the play­ground to­day, f’m sure the big bikes will be there for you to try.”

then it comes to say­ing good­bye, Fiona says to do it in a way that works for your child. Don’t sneak away, as that may up­set him, and don’t linger for too long, as this gives your kid the im­pres­sion that you’re not sure about what’s hap­pen­ing.

ff all else fails, she sug­gests for­mu­lat­ing a plan with the teach­ers. “This may in­volve drop­ping your child off af­ter the busiest ar­rival time at the cen­tre or even pick­ing him up five min­utes early, un­til he be­comes more com­fort­able with the rou­tine.”

3 Your child was bul­lied, ei­ther phys­i­cally or emo­tion­ally

Preschool kids may say things like, “f don’t want to be your friend”, “do away!” or “f don’t like you” to ex­press un­hap­pi­ness or ex­ert con­trol.

“At this age, they’re still mas­ter­ing ba­sic so­cial skills and fig­ur­ing out how to man­age their own emo­tions, so their mean words or ac­tions may sim­ply be a way of test­ing the bound­aries of what is ac­cept­able,” says Pa­tri­cia hoh, chief ex­ec­u­tive at Maple­bear Sin­ga­pore.

voung chil­dren are also more likely to lash out at those near­est to them when they are un­happy.

ff your child is up­set about some­thing that hap­pened in school, en­cour­age him to talk about it. Pa­tri­cia also sug­gests talk­ing to the teacher to find out what’s been hap­pen­ing in class or with an­other kid. Most schools, she says, will have steps for in­ter­ven­ing.

Teach your child to speak up and get help if the in­ci­dent hap­pens again. ff the bul­ly­ing was over shar­ing a book or toy, teach your child to wait his turn or tell him to sug­gest a game that more kids can play.

“iearn­ing how to build pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships, and know­ing how to re­solve con­flicts and set­tle dis­agree­ments on his own are valuable life skills,” Pa­tri­cia adds.

4 He has been bul­ly­ing his friends

ft’s im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge the be­hav­iour, so sit down with your child and fo­cus on es­tab­lish­ing what hap­pened, says Fiona.

“iis­ten and be calm, don’t at­tach blame, and re­mem­ber to ask lead­ing ques­tions such as how would he would feel if he had been on the re­ceiv­ing end. bm­pha­sise your fam­ily’s val­ues of re­spect­ing oth­ers and treat­ing oth­ers with kind­ness.”

vour child should also take re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions. Fiona says to ap­ply a log­i­cal con­se­quence that’s ap­pro­pri­ate for both the sit­u­a­tion and your child’s age.

For ex­am­ple, if he was be­ing un­kind in the play­ground and an­other kid was hurt, go­ing with­out

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