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Healthy Living

Two and a half to six years

Kids at School
Kids at Play
Common Health Problems

Kids at School

The New School Environment

In the earlier days children used to receive schooling only from the age of five. Until then, they received the full attention and affection of their parents. Nowadays, kids start to attend preparatory school from two and a half years of age. The child is susceptible to a variety of infections, especially since the child is in close proximity with other children. Further, being asked to adapt to an entirely new environment at such an early age can induce a great deal of mental stress on the child and it is essential for parents to prepare their child mentally before sending it to school.

The child should be taught to do little things on its own instead of being dependent on the mother for everything. The child should be encouraged to develop an interest in books with pictures, jokes and puzzles.

The child should be encouraged to spend at least a couple of days every month in the house of a relative or friend. This will help ease the sense of loneliness or homesickness that the child may feel when it starts going to school.

A child who has not been adequately prepared for the task of going to school will naturally enough refuse to do so. The child is nervous about the new environment. Never pity a child for going to school. Do not say things to a child that may encourage it to develop self pity. If a mother tells the child that she too misses the child when it is at school and parting from the child is very difficult for her also, it makes the child resent going to school even more.

There are a host of reasons for a child refusing to go to school. Unwillingness to be parted from the parents, dislike for the other classmates or of a strict teacher or even the change in environment may be responsible. The reason for the child’s refusal to attend school must be analysed and suitable counselling must be given to the child.

Fighting at School

Just when the parents begin to feel relieved that their child has settled down at school, there begins a new problem. Every other day the child starts to return from school almost like a warrior from the battlefield, his body covered with bruises and his clothes in disarray. Enquiry reveals that the child has quarrelled with one classmate or the other against whom he has many complaints.

This syndrome is basically an attention-seeking device used by the child. Until the time the child starts attending school he had been at home where he had been showered with undivided attention and had been made to feel special. Once in school, he becomes one among the crowd and no special attention is bestowed on him. This hurts his ego and he responds by doing things designed to focus attention on him.

When a child returns from a fight with bruises, it is often difficult to decide whether to apply an ointment to the wound and leave it open or to close it by applying a medicated plaster. Applying an ointment and leaving the wound open allows it to heal faster. The advantage of using a plaster is that it shields the wound from dust and its associated contaminants. However, if ointment alone is applied and the wound is cleaned often this benefit can also be derived without using a plaster.


Kids at Play

The Hazards of Imitation

Not for nothing have children been called great imitators. Children, especially those around the age of two years , have a constant urge to imitate the actions of their parents and other elders.

Wanting to shave like Daddy or light a stove like Mummy or start a car or putting a hand into a plug socket just to see what happens are only a few of the activities that may have disastrous consequences. It is essential to keep objects with which the child could either harm either to itself or to others, out of reach of children. Since the risk of falling from a flight of stairs is rather high, a small lockable gate can be provided at the foot of the stairs to prevent him climbing up.

Quite often paediatricians come across cases of children who have sat on ovens or drunk kerosene. It is essential for parents to be eternally vigilant.

Playthings and Problems

Today, the market is flooded with an array of toys and playthings. Parents, relatives and friends get a variety of toys for children to play with. Some of these toys like the Pistol; Bow & Arrow etc can cause injury to the child especially to the eyes. Moreover, chemicals used in paints are harmful and cause lot of complication when the child swallows them by licking the toys. The crayons and clay given to children for playing, when eaten, lead to poisoning.

Children today have a tendency to spend most of their free time watching TV programmes. As they watch TV they keep munching lot of fried stuff and sweets. This habit may result in obesity.

A Small Mistake Can Lead To Surgery

Often, two or three year old boys are dressed with trousers that have zip fasteners. It is important to ensure that when trousers with zips are used that the child is wearing underwear. Otherwise the zip, when it is being pulled up, may get stuck with the foreskin of the child's penis resulting in a great deal of trauma. In some instances even surgery is required to repair the damage. Therefore it is always better to dress little children with trousers fitted with buttons and not zips. Not only are buttons safer but they also provide better circulation of air.


Common Health Problems

Eosinophilia

In the human blood there are three types of cells

  • Red blood corpuscles (RBC)
  • White blood corpuscles (WBC)
  • Platelets. RBC carrying haemoglobin.

WBCs are essential for self-defence and platelets for blood clotting. One of the varieties of WBC is called Eosinophil. When this cell increases in our blood count it is called Eosinophilia. This disease is caused by mosquito bites and is a form of allergy. Normally Eosinophils are upto 8% in the blood count. The symptoms of Eosinophilia are persistent cold, difficulty in breathing and wheezing. It can be completely cured by medicines.

Kidney Diseases

Just like brain and heart, kidneys are very important for our body maintenance. The kidneys regulate excretion of waste products, maintain vitamin D and calcium levels and the most important, they maintain normal blood pressure.

Urinary infections should never be left untreated because recurrent urinary infection may lead to complications later. Girls are prone to urinary infections because of the proximity between the urinary passage and anal opening. A self-retaining nappy is one of the most important reasons for ascending urinary infections. The child should be thoroughly washed after every soiling.

Recurrent fever, head ache, high blood pressure leading on to fits, difficulty in passing urine, burning sensation, puffiness of face and swelling of feet (Oedema) are all important signs and symptoms of urinary infection.

Loss of Appetite

This is a universal complaint among parents. Most parents feel that their child doesn’t eat well though often the children are within normal weight and height proportion. A child who weighs 2.5 kg at birth doubles its birth weight at six months and trebles at one year and is four times the birth weight in two years. The rapid horizontal growth of first year is replaced by delayed, vertical growth in the second and third year of life. Hence a child who was looking chubby with puffy cheeks appears to lose weight because it grows in height. His cheeks and shoulders lose their rounded contour, and this shifts to his belly region. Hence children below two to three years appear to have "potbelly".

At this stage children will be more interested in playing and less interested in eating. Today each family has only one or two children; they do not have the competitive spirit to eat more. The practice of servant feeding the child should be discouraged and parents should take personal interest. Tasty cooking and attractive presentation of food items is also essential.


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