Thursday, March 10, 2011

Talent Plus playgroup

I dropped by Talent plus 2hr playgroup (18mths - 3 yrs) today to take a look at the environment before putting my son in. I was abit late, and only manage to observe the last 15 mins of class.

Below are my observations:

Positive:
- there is only one class of kids in the play group/class room with 2 teachers. This reduces the possibility of mixing with many other kids for spreading of virus.
- both teachers are friendly, patient and encouraging

Negative:
- teacher called one of the boy by nick name. When the mother arrived, they called the boy by his actual name
- they taught alphabet H today. During revision, teacher said "Mummy H and baby h". She is actually referring to Uppercase H and lowercase h. *faint*
- When the teacher took out the horses, she said, "How many horse are there? One horse, Two horse.." Shouldn't it be "Two horses"?
- before the class ended, teacher said, "children wash your hand, wash your hand" I thought they were going to wash their hands. But instead, she took out a small bottle of sanitiser and dripped a few drops onto the kids hand and asked them to wash their hand. Shouldn't it be " children sanitise your hands?"

Others:
- a maid was in the classroom with one of the boy. Supposedly, a new student in the class
- only 2 kids responded to the teacher during revision, they others were in their own world.

If the intention is just for the kids to play with other kids, it is ok. Don't expect much from the teaching. Actually, i'm worried that if my kid is in there, i need to spend more time correcting their language and use of words.

Think i'll source for other options.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The effect of govt CDA credits

I was glad that Government will give a Child Development Credit to all Singaporean children aged six and below in 2011, to help families with children to meet their expenses.

But it lasted only for exactly 2 weeks since it's announcement, 18 Feb 2011. Today, I received a letter from the child care centre my son attended. Guess what? an increase of school fees of $100 ($107 to be exact, cos of GST)

Government gives a one time $400 credit (max) to help family, and the other end taken away by child care centre. It's not even enough to pay for 1 year school fees increase ( $1200 per year).

The previous time when govt announce the increase in subsidy, the child care fees increased as well. I thought these are suppose to help family? The supposedly positive assistance has bring about more burden to the family...

What's more... imagine you've multiple kids in the child care centre. The increase in school fees multiply. So much about encouraging family to have more children, and encouraging mother to work. Unless, something is done to relieve the parents on the care giving, it's difficult to convince couple to have more kids.

Sigh.. with the rasing cost of child care centre, should i continue to work or is it better to stay at home with my kids...

Aside, i wonder how much are the teachers paid... i believe the school fees of 2 kids is more than enough to cover 1 teacher's salary. Indirectly, is the government is giving a big bonus to the owner of child care centre?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Your Child's Cough

Coughs are one of the most common symptoms of childhood illness. Although a cough can sound awful, it's not usually a sign of a serious condition. In fact, coughing is a healthy and important reflex that helps protect the airways in the throat and chest.

But sometimes, your child's cough will warrant a trip to the doctor. Understanding what different types of cough could mean will help you know how to take care of them and when to go to the doctor.

"Barky" Cough

Barky coughs are usually caused by a swelling in the upper part of the airway. Most of the time, a barky cough comes from croup, a swelling of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe).

Croup usually is the result of a virus, but it can also come from allergies or a change in temperature at night. Younger children have smaller airways that, if swollen, can make it hard to breathe. Kids younger than 3 years old are at the most risk for croup because their windpipes are so narrow.

A cough from croup can start suddenly and in the middle of the night. Often a kid with croup will also have stridor, a noisy, harsh breathing (some doctors describe it as a coarse, musical sound) that occurs when a child breathes in.

Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is another name for the pertussis, an infection of the airways caused by the bacteria bordetella pertussis. Kids with pertussis will have spells of back to back coughs without breathing in between. At the end of the coughing, the kids will take a deep breath in that makes a "whooping" sound. Other symptoms of pertussis are a runny nose, sneezing, mild cough, and a low fever.

Although pertussis can happen at any age, it's most severe in infants under 1 year old who did not get the pertussis vaccine. Your child should get the pertussis shot at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 months, and 4-6 years of age. This shot is given as part of the DTaP vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis).

Pertussis is very contagious. The bacteria can spread from person to person through tiny drops of fluid in the air coming from the nose or mouth when people sneeze, cough, or laugh. Others can become infected by inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses.

Cough With Wheezing

If your child makes a wheezing (whistling) sound when breathing out, this could mean that the lower airways are swollen. This can happen with asthma or with a viral infection (bronchiolitis). Also, wheezing sometimes can happen if the lower airway is blocked by a foreign object.

Nighttime Cough

Lots of coughs get worse at night. When your child has a cold, the mucus from the nose and sinuses can drain down the throat and trigger a cough during sleep. This is only a problem if the cough won't let your child sleep.

Asthma also can trigger nighttime coughs because the airways tend to be more sensitive and irritable at night.

Daytime Cough

Cold air or activity can make coughs worse during the daytime. Try to make sure that nothing in your house — like air freshener, pets, or smoke (especially tobacco smoke) — is making your child cough.

Cough With a Fever

A child who has a cough, mild fever, and runny nose probably has a common cold. But coughs with a fever of 102° Fahrenheit (39° Celsius) or higher can sometimes mean pneumonia, especially if a child is weak and breathing fast. In this case, call your doctor immediately.

Cough With Vomiting

Kids often cough so much that it triggers their gag reflex, making them throw up. Also, a child who has a cough with a cold or an asthma flare-up may throw up if lots of mucus drains into the stomach and causes nausea. Usually, this is not cause for alarm unless the vomiting doesn't stop.

Persistent Cough

Coughs caused by colds can last weeks, especially if your child has one cold right after another. Asthma, allergies, or a chronic infection in the sinuses or airways might also cause persistent coughs. If the cough lasts for 3 weeks, call your doctor.

When to Call the Doctor

Most childhood coughs are nothing to be worried about. However, call your doctor if your child:

  • has trouble breathing or is working hard to breathe
  • is breathing more quickly than usual
  • has a blue or dusky color to the lips, face, or tongue
  • has a high fever (especially if your child is coughing but does NOT have a runny or stuffy nose)
  • has any fever and is less than 3 months old
  • is an infant (3 months old or younger) who has been coughing for more than a few hours
  • makes a "whooping" sound when breathing in after coughing
  • is coughing up blood
  • has stridor (a noisy or musical sound) when breathing in
  • has wheezing when breathing out (unless you already have a home asthma care plan from your doctor)
  • is weak or cranky

What Your Doctor Will Do

One of the best ways to diagnose a cough is by listening. Knowing what the cough sounds like will help your doctor decide how to treat your child.

Because most coughs are caused by viruses, doctors usually do not give antibiotics for a cough. If the cough is caused by a virus, it just needs to run its course. A viral infection can last for as long as 2 weeks.

Unless a cough won't let your child sleep, cough medicines are not needed. Cough medicines sometimes help a child stop coughing, but they do not treat the cause of the cough. If you do choose to use an over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine, call the doctor to be sure of the correct dose.

Do not use OTC combination medicines like "Tylenol Cold" — they have more than one medicine in them, and kids can have more side effects and are more likely to get an overdose of the medicine. Cough medicines are not recommended for children under age 4.

Home Treatment

Here are some ways to help your child feel better:

  • If your child has asthma, make sure you have an asthma care plan from your doctor. The plan should help you choose the right asthma medicines to give.

  • For a "barky" or "croupy" cough, turn on the hot water in the shower in your bathroom and close the door so the room will steam up. Then, sit in the bathroom with your child for about 20 minutes. The steam should help your child breathe more easily. Try reading a book together to pass the time.

  • A cool-mist humidifier in your child's bedroom might help with sleep.

  • Cool beverages like juice can be soothing. But do not give soda or orange juice, as these can hurt a throat that is sore from coughing.

  • You should not give your child (especially a baby or toddler) OTC cough medicine without first checking with your doctor.

  • Cough drops are OK for older kids, but kids younger than 3 years old can choke on them. It's better to avoid cough drops unless your doctor says that they're safe for your child.
Read more of it here.