This week on Mummy Matters, we talked about how we survived the circuit breaker with our families, discussed how the new mask-wearing norm has possibly affected various aspects of our children’s development and talked about how to use hand sanitisers safely. 

Covid-19 won’t be the last Pandemic

We sobered up to the realisation that with global travel and increased intrusions into our natural environment, Covid-19 won’t be the last pandemic. In fact, right now ecologists and epidemiologists are racing against time to catch and swab bats in Philippines, while others are trying to vaccinate camels in Africa against the MERS virus – but it’s a race against time and there’s no telling when the next virus will strike. 

Making the most out of Circuit Breaker

Share with us your circuit breaker survival stories! 

We talked about how setting a routine, a timetable was very beneficial in helping both parents and children be disciplined and more task-oriented; and created a sense of normalcy. 

We also briefly touched on how disorientating it can be trying to work from home – we’ll talk more on this topic on our next podcast!

Mask-wearing and how it has affected socio-emotional and speech development in our children

Masks obscures about 45% of our faces, depriving children from a key source of visual and auditory cues. 

Children feel the stress so much more because they are now forced to guess and strain to understand social interactions and understand the emotions of others around them. They also have a greater difficulty in recognising others. Internalising that physical touch is now “dangerous” has also been a tough lesson for them to learn, when they have been so used to intimate, comforting physical contact prior to the pandemic. 

Parents and caregivers are also less able to see their children’s emotions and then gauge how to respond appropriately to them, so do check in with your children more often during this period.

Check out our blogpost here on what impacts mask-wearing has had on our children’s development!

We also talked about signs of anxiety commonly seen in children, as shared by Dr Kang Yang Qi, Consultant at the Child Development Unit of NUH. Changes in eating and sleeping habits, trouble focussing, mood swings or excessive clinginess are all signs of anxiety in children.

source: NUH.com.sg

Let’s Get Physical!

We talked about how physical activity in the morning is a great way to relieve stress, get kids to release their excess energy and help everyone focus better. 

We loved the suggestions from by Chiang Jing Jing, Senior Occupational Therapist at the Child Development Unit of the National University Hospital (NUH).

source: NUH.com.sg

Doing physical activities together as a family can be quality parent-child bonding time; and provide valuable social interactions for your child to learn, practise hand-eye coordination and gain spatial awareness.

Proactive Self-Care

With so many stressors; and the need to be patient with our rowdy, restless kids – how can parents cope?

We talked about proactively identifying triggers of stress and mitigating them beforehand. Another strategy is to reframe our perspectives to be more positive; and regulate ourselves before impulsively lashing out with negative behaviours or words.

We also discussed the importance of spousal support and care. Regardless of the situation, having a partner who supports in a non-judgmental, positive way can be a huge comfort.

Having Fun at Home

We talked about different ways of having fun at home – check out some of our game reviews here! Games can stimulate a child’s strategy, counting, cooperative and problem-solving skills; and this provides a fun and different way of engaging your child meaningfully.

Share with us your game recommendations on our Facebook Page here!

Are all hand sanitisers safe?

Paediatric dermatologists note that a newborn’s skin is approximately 30% thinner than an adults and children under age two do not have a fully formed barrier function.

Given that hand sanitisers need a minimum alcohol content of 60% before it can be considered effective in reducing the microbes in most situations, there is a very real possibility of alcohol poisoning. 

With a thinner skin barrier and the tendency to suck their fingers, there is a high possibility that a child can get alcohol poisoning. Studies into benzalkonium chloride, marketed specifically as a non-alcohol sanitiser alternative, have also proven that it is toxic when ingested.

We referred to the safety guidelines set out by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, based in the U.S.), as avoiding hand sanitisers is relatively impossible. The CDC encourages parents to use an appropriate amount of hand sanitiser, ensure it is completely dry, avoid open wounds and avoid scented hand sanitisers, as young children could be tempted to taste them.

For home use, parents may wish to consider food grade sanitisers, such as the Isa Uchi range which is available at Mumsclub!

Check out @justice.dodson – a college student who tests the efficacy on various cleaning and disinfecting products. It’s a fascinating account for children and adults alike. 

Next week, we’ll be sharing our parenting hacks and horror stories about working from home – how does one find the time and means to be productive when the kids are so excited that you’re around? 

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