HFMD precautions for children that every parent needs to know

HFMD precautions for children that every parent needs to know

Everything you need to know about HFMD and its preventive measures

HFMD

The surge of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Malaysia has become a matter of serious concern. The country is on alert as more than 33,000 cases have been recorded nationwide to date. Children under the age of five are highly susceptible to the disease with cases being reported at daycares, nurseries and kindergartens across the country.

Here’s what you need to know about HFMD.

What is HFMD?

HFMD or the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a contagious infection caused by viruses from the Enterovirus genus, most commonly Coxsackievirus A16 and Enterovirus 71. The virus is found in secretions from the nose and throat such as nasal mucus or saliva, blister fluid and stool.

How does HFMD spread?

The disease spreads by direct contact with the infected person, the air after sneeze or cough of an infected person or touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands after coming in contact with contaminated surfaces or feces.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

Though it usually affects infants and children below the age of 5, it can also occur in adults and older children. The signs and symptoms of the disease generally include fever, loss of appetite, headache, sore throat, red rashes on the palms of hands and the soles of the feet, and irritability. It usually begins with fever and red rashes or blisters are observed in the following days.

Though every infected person might not suffer from all of the symptoms, it is good to seek medical attention if you observe any of these signs in your children.

A little boy wearing a white t-shirt thinking about something sadly due to hfmd.

How is the disease diagnosed?

The hand, foot and mouth disease can be diagnosed through physical examination by the doctor who will check the appearance of common symptoms. The doctor or health care professional may also collect a sample from the infected person’s throat or stool to test for the virus.

What precautions can be taken to prevent HFMD?

The Health Ministry has been informing the people about the current situation of the HFMD outbreak and the health authorities have advised the people, especially the parents to play an active role in the control and prevention on the disease starting from themselves and their homes. Parents can take these precautions to prevent the disease.

Wash hands regularly

The best way to prevent HFMD is to practice good hygiene both inside and outside the house. Washing your hands on a regular basis can reduce the chances of coming in contact with the virus. Teach the children to wash hands before eating, after using the washroom and after coming home from outside.

A toddler wearing a blue shirt lying near a blue toy bus due to hfmd.

Disinfect the home

Make sure that all the shared places in the house are cleaned on a regular basis by using a disinfectant. It is also important to keep objects like toys and pacifiers clean as they may be contaminated with the virus. Teach the children not to put any toys, other objects or their fingers in their mouth.

Do not ignore symptoms

Parents should not ignore symptoms like fever, vomiting, rashes or lethargy in the child. Please take your child to the nearby healthcare centre and get the required treatment. Also, do not take the children with HFMD or possible symptoms to any public places, daycare, kindergarten or schools as it might spread the disease to others.

Avoid sharing food and other items

It is good to avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, clothes, toys, towels and similar objects with others during this time.

What precautions can be taken by preschools?

Considering the fact that HFMD majorly affects children under the age of 5 and is easily spread in places where children gather such as kindergartens and daycare, preschools have a major role to the play in the control and prevention of the disease.

  • Preschools should take special care to maintain high standards of hygiene and both at a personal and environmental level. Teachers and staff are advised to wash their hands on a regular basis, especially after using the washroom, changing the diapers of children or accidentally touching the blisters.
  • All the objects, toys or materials used by children including the floor and the toilets should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • There should be a proper facility for the disposal or waste and diapers to reduce the risk of the disease.
  • Schools are recommended to conduct screening for any HFMD symptoms before the children enter the premises.
Moulding creativity in young children grows smarter adults

Moulding creativity in young children grows smarter adults

How to develop creative thinking in young children?

Moulding Creativity

As they grow older, a child’s degree of a success depends on how well they handle the different challenges that life throws at them. Though some problems can be handled with experience and others with good advice, life puts you into tricky situations that demand an unconventional approach. Creative thinking is the key to untangle the complex knots of life. But how can you sow this creativity in your children?

Following passion

Sometimes we unintentionally limit our kids in a box of our own expectations. Give your children the freedom to follow their passion. It is observed that children who follow their interests are better at performing it than those who are compelled to do it. Pursuing their interests, keeps them actively engaged and nurtures creative thinking.

“There’s something about living life with passion and intensity, including the full depth of human experience that creates an environment conducive to creativity. In my own research, I found that affective engagement — the extent to which people are open to the full breadth and depth of their emotions— was a better predictor of artistic creativity than IQ or intellectual engagement,” says Scott Barry Kaufman in the Harvard Business Review.

Whether your child is passionate about arts, mathematics or science; encourage them to explore their natural inclinations and provide them with an environment that enhances their strength.

An open art book with fruits and flowers which shows the creativity of child.

Make choices

Give your kids the freedom to engage in activities of their choice. As parents, we are often so anxious to raise successful children that we pack their entire day with the activities we choose for them. Take a step back and allow them to think independently and make their own decisions. Young children have the ability to learn and absorb from the environment around them. Unstructured play is as important as the structured activities you plan for them. Children who are involved in unstructured activities get time to use their creativity and imagination. Research reveals that boredom sparks creativity. So it is important to let your kids enjoy the occasional boredom and activities that they love to do.

Involve them in problem-solving activities

You can preserve the inquisitive nature of your children by keeping them engaged in problem-solving activities. It is this curiosity which unleashes the creative thinking in your children. Creativity is not about accepting the conventional way of doing things. It offers you different perspectives with the opportunity to choose the best. You can make learning fun by encouraging them to play board games. You can start with the beginner levels of games like Lego and Sudoku which not only enhance their creative skills but also improve their problem solving abilities.

Reasoning with kids is another way of stimulating their curiosity and creative thinking. Don’t teach them conventional ways of solving a problem. Ask them the different ways in which they can approach a riddle. Creative mindsets are formed through stimulation in an environment that encourages problem solving.

There can be different ways of encouraging creativity and passion in your child, but it is important to find a caring environment which focuses on inculcating the love for learning in them. A preschool that recognises the uniqueness of your child and works towards guiding them on their individual path is crucial to the all round development of your children. The children’s house understands the influence of early years in the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. Hence, it provides an environment that is completely centred around the well-being of your child. Every activity has been designed to stimulate the curiosity of your child as he progresses to the next level. A wide range of interesting activities like Tots Arts, Tots music, Tots Read and Tots Gym provide them an opportunity for exploration and problem-solving.

Crayons of different colours arranged in a row on a white sheet which shows the creativity.

The Montessori Method of teaching at The children’s house ensures a nurturing environment that focuses on the individual needs and development of your little one. It recognises the innate ability of a child to absorb and learn things when they are kept in a prepared environment. Children are given materials that engage them and help them to discover their natural inclination. It believes in respecting the child by giving him the freedom to select the material he wants to work with. When your children are allowed to engage in a learning activity of their choice without interruption, they get an opportunity to explore their interests.

The children’s house focuses on the all round development of your child through activities and materials that drive passion and stimulate creative thinking in them. Above all, the method of teaching encourages them to become well rounded individuals who are contributing members of the society.

How to keep your child healthy at preschool?

How to keep your child healthy at preschool?

7 tips to keep your child healthy at preschool

Unlike your home where you can control the environment for your little one, you cannot do so in a school or a daycare. The environment will be standard for all children. This is a reason why many children fall sick again and again after starting preschool, especially if they have a weak immune system. That is why at The children’s house we are very particular about hygiene. Here are some suggestions on how to keep your child healthy at preschool.

Washing hands

According to almost all doctors across the world, unhygienic hands are one of the main ways of spreading bacteria. Therefore, teach your children to wash hands every time they sit down to eat or use a restroom, or after wiping their nose. And this applies to adults as well. The school and daycare staff should be doing the same each time they feed a child, or change a diaper or use the restroom. You can stay back a bit at the school or daycare and see if this is being followed. If not, please raise your concern to the head of the preschool. As a parent, you have every right to do so.

Ensure that your child is active

Exercise is good for everybody. This holds true for children, too. There have been various studies on this subject that have shown that an active child has approximately 25% less chance of being down with cold or flu because of higher circulation of infection-fighting cells. To ensure that your child is active, take her to parks and play outdoor games with her. They are also great ways of bonding with your child.

Pink smoothies garnished with berries for healthy.

A nutritious diet

A healthy diet from an early age will go a long way in building the health of your child. Unfortunately, thanks to smart advertising, children are enticed into thinking junk food is the most delicious thing in the world . But did you know, even coke has a ‘not recommended for children’ written in small letters on its labels? Try to prepare alternatives at home that look and feel like ‘fun’ food. There’s plenty of ideas available online that will help you whip up something interesting for your children. Let them get excited about what’s cooking at home.

Ensure plenty of sleep

A child’s brain matures as they sleep. This is a proven way of developing the pituitary gland functions. Ensure your child gets enough sleep every night. Sleep deprivations increase the chance of catching a cold manifold.

A child in deep sleep with her brown teddy for healthy.

Good manners

While you don’t want your child to get contaminated, you should also ensure that your child is not doing the spreading of bacteria to others. Teach them to cover their mouth every time they cough or sneeze. And not with the palm of their hand but with the crook of their arm. Most importantly you should do the same yourself. Children learn a lot through watching mum and dad. 

Follow up on vaccinations

Ensure your child has all the necessary vaccinations as suggested by your doctor. Vaccinations are important in ensuring your child doesn’t fall ill unnecessarily. Speak to your doctor to find out what’s best for your child.

Know sick policies

As a parent, it is extremely important for you to know the sick policies of the preschool or daycare. You don’t want your child to play with a child who has a pink eye or is down with the flu, and in turn, get infected. Therefore know what are the sick policies of the preschool so you can follow the policy when your child is down with an illness.

Following these simple steps can go a long way in having a healthy child. 

 

The best possible start for your child at The children’s house

The best possible start for your child at The children’s house

Montessori learning through The children’s house

Every child is unique and is filled with an enthusiasm to explore the world around them. Each day in a child’s life is filled with the curiosity to learn something new. Hence, it is important that they find a caring environment that guides them on their individual path and inculcates a love for learning in them. This can only happen in a prepared environment where the child gets to work with materials that entice and engross his mind.

The children’s house recognises the uniqueness of your child and is as passionate about your little one as you are. Children in their first stage of development from 0 to 6 years are like learning sponges. They have incredible powers of absorption and every new thing that they experience during the early years is crucial for their physical, social, emotional and intellectual development.

A group of toddlers having lunch together on a dining table with montessori.

Creating a loving and secure environment

The children’s house focuses on getting it right from the very beginning. We understand that your child needs to go through a separation from the caregiver in order to socialise and enter into a new routine of going to school. Hence, the Infant and the Pre-tots programme aim to provide a secure and loving environment for your child through a foundation of Caregiving, Play and Attachment in the curriculum.

While caregiving ensures respectful and responsive interactions with the infants and pre-tots, play greatly helps the children learn unconsciously. The programme includes engaging activities like Tots Art, Tots Music, Tots Read, Tots Gym, Tots Sensory Play and Sunshine Tots. Through a wide range of interesting activities, your child will acquire cognitive abilities, language skills, improved physical abilities, social and emotional skills required to be an active part of this world. Every activity is designed exclusively to stimulate the curiosity of your little ones as he progresses to the Toddler age group.

A child-centred approach to education

The environment at The children’s house is completely centred around your child. The Montessori method of teaching at Toddler, Preschool and Kindergarten levels provide a nurturing and non-competitive environment that focuses on the individual needs and development of every child. The school ensures that your child gets all the care and attention by keeping low teacher child ratios coupled with well-planned classrooms to avoid overcrowding. Trust is fostered through care and participation in activities like putting away toys and returning materials back to their places.

It encourages self-education, where children learn in a prepared environment, that provides them with activities and presents opportunities for exploration, investigation and problem-solving. Children are given the freedom to choose their activity and have the responsibility of returning the materials to their places. These experiences not only give the child a sense of security but also stimulate intelligence and promote physical and psychological development. Their natural desire to succeed is encouraged by repetitive activities which help them perfect the art until they achieve a great sense of satisfaction and joy.

A child jumping in a sack in the playground with montessori.

Learning through a variety of engaging materials

Children are provided with an encouraging environment with materials aimed at covering all areas of development. The didactic apparatus is specially designed for every level of childhood development. They start from being simple and gradually move on to more complex materials. For example from colour box 1 (primary colours) for level 1 to colour box 2 (secondary colours) for level 2  and colour box 3 (shades of secondary colours) for level 3. In this way, children learn to advance smoothly from one level to another without being perplexed by missing links.

Programmes at every level in The children’s house aim to prepare your child for a smooth transition to the next level. Each activity is carefully designed to enhance the all-round development of your child. Given the fact that 90% of the brain development of a child happens before the age of five, it is important to understand that preschool is much more than just playing. Children start with concrete experiences and move on to abstract at a later stage. Concrete thinking is important for mental development as it provides a base for abstract thinking. Concrete experiences not only give children the ability to reason beyond limits but also help them interpret better.

Rich learning experience through Montessori 

By working independently on a wide variety of materials in a Montessori environment, children learn to make choices and develop problem-solving skills as they advance from one level to another. Their young minds first learn to explore, gradually developing the ability for abstract thinking. While the basic educational benefits of preschool (such as literacy and numeracy) are tangible, the advances children achieve towards becoming well-rounded individuals are truly invaluable.

The children’s house provides your child with an environment in which a skilled observer (teacher) gives him the freedom needed to orientate his personality while helping him maintain self-control. Above all, through all the activities we not only respect the individuality of your child but they also learn to respect the teachers and other children.

Finding the right preschool curriculum for your child

Finding the right preschool curriculum for your child

Choosing a curriculum that suits your child

The preschool years are extremely important as they build the foundation for your child’s learning years, and at the very least probably determine how much they enjoy school. Children have a magical capacity to learn and absorb information through the various activities they go through in their day. Therefore, picking the right preschool curriculum for your child can be quite overwhelming, especially since there are so many educational philosophies to consider.

Which preschool curriculum suits your child best?

There are three main elements that every preschool curriculum should deliver:   

It should create an interest in learning

Avoid going for curricula that sound very academic or rigorous in nature. Instead, go for programmes that are inviting and create an enthusiasm to learn and excel. Look out for more hands-on activities, nature walks, sensorial materials, reading, culture activities, art projects and the like.

It should promote wholesome development

Irrespective of the philosophy, a preschool curriculum should stimulate learning while ensuring they meet the social, language, physical and cognitive development goals of the child. Children should have the freedom to move and socialise within a harmonious environment. Check if the activities are age appropriate and boost the all-round development of your child.

The curriculum should be adaptable

The curriculum should be designed in a way that it gives children the freedom to learn at their own pace. Learning takes its best course when children find meaning in what they are studying, not when we drill ideas and concepts into their mind through repetition. The goal is to help them discover their passion and develop a lifelong love of learning.

A colourful abacus in curriculum.

Does the preschool curriculum accommodate your child’s learning style?

Preschoolers cannot be burdened with worksheets and tests. We cannot expect children to complete writing work when they haven’t grasped how to hold a pencil. Children prefer moving around, playing and engaging in hands-on activities. Identify the learning style of your child and find a preschool that includes activities for all kinds of learners.

For example, if your child is a visual learner he might love to learn by watching activities, events, images or science experiments. Visuals learners are very observant and they like to soak in in the details. If your child is a tactile or physical learner, they would love to jump, dance, run and interact with the environment around them. On the other hand, an auditory learner enjoys learning through stories and conversations.

Does the curriculum give you learning opportunities?

A great curriculum is not only beneficial for the child but also the parents. Involvement of parents in the learning process of the child is essential to their success. Do they allow you to get involved in the child’s learning experience? How do they communicate their goals so that you can work with the teacher to help your child perform better? Parenting classes or tips are also a great way to help you work for the well-being of your child.

Time to switch preschools?

Your child hates to go the preschool and you have come to a point where you are considering other alternatives. Maybe your child is too shy and has problems interacting with people and therefore needs a preschool that is gentle and has methods of helping children get along with each other – even the shy ones. Maybe your child needs a little more attention from the teacher and would work better in a low-ratio classroom? No matter the circumstance, if your child hates going to preschool, then something should be done about it immediately as there are many years of learning ahead and you don’t want a child who hates school.

Preschool children enjoying mealtime as a part of curriculum.

Play-based or academic curriculum?

In play-based curriculum, children mostly choose activities based on their interest. Though it might just look like they are playing, they are actually learning valuable skills including social skills through interaction and cooperation.

An academic-based curriculum is more teacher-directed. Teachers plan the activities for the children and guide them through the process. This kind of curriculum is specially designed to prepare children for school. It mainly consists of learning letters, sounds, shapes, colours and other skills.

So which preschool curriculum is best?

Most parents prefer academic-based learning as they want their child to have a smooth transition to school. However, this is true only to a certain extent. The preschool years are an important time to develop social and emotional skills, which help to set a stage for academic learning. If you feel that a play-based curriculum is not suitable for your child as it might get chaotic, you could go for a setting that is more structured.

The Montessori Method gives you the perfect combination of an academic and play-based curriculum that nurtures an active learning style in the children. The didactic materials have been developed by Dr Maria Montessori through years of extensive research culminating in a scientific pedagogy that has been highly appreciated by parents and children alike.

Your child can enjoy a wide range of intriguing materials like jugs, bowls, spoons, ladles, sensory materials, language materials, and number work coupled with the adventure of outdoor play, nature walks, cultural activities and projects. The 5 core areas of the Montessori approach include:

Practical life

The practical life area encourages the child to perform activities such as spooning, transferring, and pouring which help in the development of coordination, improves concentration and fosters independence.

Sensorial

The sensorial materials help the children refine their senses of touch, smell, taste, sound and sight through new experiences. The materials aid in the development of the cognitive abilities of the child.

Language

The language materials encourage the children to develop both reading and writing skills. Teachers also introduce the phonetic approach which enables the child to move gradually from simple words to full sentences.

Number work

The number work materials consist of fun and intriguing materials which introduce various mathematical concepts to the child. They provide a hands-on and minds on approach to learning number work.

Cultural activities and projects

The cultural activities and projects help the child to understand the world and connect with it in a better way. The projects are supported by the concrete materials which are further classified under subjects such as geography, history and botany. Music, art and craft are deeply interwoven in the daily approach.

The lessons in the Montessori method are delivered individually as well as in groups. This helps the teachers to understand and discover more about each child and their development. By participating in the group activities, children learn to interact, build relationships and help each other. Even decades after its creation, the elements of the Montessori Method continue to stay relevant, making it one of the more popular preschool curricula among parents across the world.