Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Twins or terrible two? Triplets or triple trouble? Well, twins and triplets just require effective parenting.

TWINMOM this one is for you……..

Twins and triplets look cute with their similar faces,smiles and clothes. But ask the parents, especially the mother and you will realize twins and triplets mean exhaustion, frustration, tears for the mother. And it starts right from pregnancy.

In his book "Twins 101: 50 Must-Have Tips for Pregnancy through Early Childhood from Doctor M.O.M.," Dr. Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin stresses to parents to aim for Fairness, not equality. And in this simple advice lies the secret of raising twins and triplets.

Most parents aim for equality but things are never equal with twins because they are individuals trapped with the same features and so life long are treated as ‘one’, when they are actually ‘two’. Ask a mother of twins and she will confirm that when one wakes the other feels sleepy. When one is active the other wants food. And so it is a roller coaster ride because one or the other is always wanting your help, attention and support.

Some simple tips for parents with multiple births-

1.    Prepare for life after birth as soon as you know that you will be giving birth to multiples. Think of extra help. Mothers please don’t try to do it on your own, may be possible but in the long run you will break down.

2.    Try not to buy everything similar for the kids. Learn to notice the individuality of each baby and let it blossom. Yes, they are growing up together so will want what the other has, so learn when to give in and when not to.

3.    They will fight for everything and they will be a team against you! Yes expect these extremes, so try and have slightly separate schedules so that you can give your attention equally to both. If not possible then try and give equal attention to both during the activity/every day ritual or you will end up always giving maximum attention to the demanding twin.

4.    Yes, one is always dominant and one is submissive. So early on identify which is which and match your parenting to their temperament.

5.    Give your self atleast 20 minutes a day alone. Impossible only in your mind. Plan and you will achieve it.

6.    No amount of reading will prepare you to be a parent of a twin because the secret is ‘temperament’ it all depends on the temperament of your twins. So learn to recognize and adapt to it right from birth. Remember when parents ‘tamper with temperament’ it leads to ‘tantrums’.

7.    So turn the word twins into an acronym and you will be able to bring some sense into the chaos called twin parenting.


Once the shock of knowing that you are having twins wears off, you will soon realize the benefits. You have completed your family in one go, both will grow up together, both will have a sibling and friend and you will soon be free to pursue your dreams as they will both grow up soon and become independent. Yes it means double the cost and responsibility, so plan as soon as you get the news. But stop feeling terrible about it.


When faced with a choice or a dilemma, choose the option in which everyone wins. To do that you may have to be firm sometimes. But it works.


Treat each twin as in individual or you risk emotional issues in the twins. So try not to have favourites and train yourself to think as per the situation. If both the twins need a separate schedule, do it. If both are happy doing everything together, do it. But don’t let one make the decisions for you.



Learn to say NO, and then stick to it. Bawling twins are a handful but once they realize that you are firm, they will adjust to your ways. Don’t be worried to be firm with the naughty one. They have to realize early on that good behaviour will be accepted and incorrect behaviour will not be accepted. They cannot be taught to gain from the other’s behaviour.


Twins are not a one person job, so plan and find out who will be with you, always, in their up bringing. Your husband, mother, sister, nanny, baby sitter? Choose wisely and ensure that you don’t divide but share. This means that it should not be that you are always looking after one twin and your partner the other. This will breed sibling rivalry and mean more trouble for you.

In school, please teach the teacher how to identify between the two, so that it is easier on the teacher and boosts the self esteem of the twins as they are not always confused by the teacher. Ideally try not to keep twins in the same class as they will always be compared. And yes if there is no uniform do dress them differently. Let the identity of each child come through, work on ensuring that they are not stuck with the label of ‘twins’.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease

This Bulletin is being released to educate and inform the parents on the HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE with additional information on how to keep your loved one’s safe. Parents are requested to watch their children and take additional precautions and in case of doubt PLEASE TAKE DOCTOR’S OPINION and if confirmed, PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease - Children Care Guide
Hand foot - mouth disease is a common childhood illness featuring mouth sores, fever, and a rash.
HFMD is most often caught by children under 10 years old. Children with HFMD usually get a fever first, then red spots with blisters in the middle. HFMD blisters may form in the mouth and on the tongue, hand feet or buttocks.
What does HFMD look like?
HFMD usually starts with a fever of about 37.8 to 38.9’C from 1 to 3 days before spots appear. Your child may have sore throat and may be tired, fussy, and not very hungry. This is the time when your child is most likely to spread the virus to others.
Next, red spots appear that form water - filled blisters in the middle. Blisters may form on your child’s tongue or his mouth. Often, mouth blisters pop and become painful ulcers (sores). Blisters may form on the bottoms of your child’s feet, palms of his hands, or between his fingers or toes. They may also form on your child’s buttocks.
What is the treatment for HFMD?
There is no cure for HFMD. You may treat your child’s discomfort in the following ways:
Treat pain and fever. Ask your child’s doctor what medicines can be given for fever or pain relief of mouth sores. NEVER GIVE YOUR CHILD ANY MEDICATION (LIKE ASPIRIN) WITHOUT CONSULTING DOCTOR FIRST. Giving aspirin to your child when he is ill may cause very serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.

Feed your child soft foods that are not salty, spicy, or tart foods may cause more mouth pain. Offer soft, mild foods like yogurt, pudding, milkshakes, mashed potatoes or applesauce. Try to help your child drink as much water, milk and clear liquids as possible. To make drinking easier, serve your child cool and room temperature drinks. Have you child drink from a straw if he has sores on his lips or tongue. Serve drinks in a cup, since sucking from a bottle could be painful.

Provide relief for mouth sores and ulcers. You may try using numbing gels from the drug store. Ask your doctor about an antacid solution to help your child’s mouth sores feel better.

How do I keep others from catching HFMD? 

Wash your hands often. Wash your hands and child’s hands after changing diapers or wiping after BM. Wash hands before working in the kitchen and especially after caring for your child with HFMD. Make sure all your children wash their hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. Hands should also be washed after wiping off saliva (spit) or nose drippings. 
Do not share food or personal items. Do not share cups or eat from the same bowls, plates or utensils. Do not take a bite out of the same food. Do not share toothbrushes. 
Tell others that they have been exposed. Contact your child’s school or daycare center. Tell them that your child’s classmates may have been exposed to HFMD. 
Keep your child away from others while he has a fever or feels ill. Your child may return to school after his fever is gone and he does not feel sick anymore. Also, the red blisters should be dry and crusted over. 
Do not let your child share toys or give kisses while he or she infected. 
Wear latex or rubber gloves when you apply any lotion, cream or ointment to your child’s blisters.

Monday, 5 August 2013

The new rage among adolescents, motor bike stunts

Rash driving- it is important to understand that when youngsters are indulging in rash and illegal driving then the elements involved are not only rashness but also recklessness, a thrill of adrenalin, excitement, the need to be ‘faster’ or the need for speed, and of course peer imitation, ‘others are doing it why not me?’. Worse still is knocking down someone and not stopping to help or even feeling remorseful about it.

What does all the above say about the mindset and personalities of our young generation? Let’s understand each one-

Recklessness- is part of taking risks, but one must know good risks and bad risks. And for kids to know the difference we need to nurture logical intelligence. Risk management is an important skill that can be part of education both in schools and at home. A simple exercise for risk management which you can start as young as  age 5 is asking hypothetical questions to children and then understanding their mindsets with their answers and moulding their way of thinking by showing them the pros and cons. Try questions like what if clouds had strings? You will notice , the answers you will first receive will all be positive and almost selfish in nature like we can swing on them, we can pull the clouds towards ourselves we can, take a cloud along like a balloon, etc.  After  eliciting these answers you then need to focus your kid’s  attention by asking queries like,   ‘some people will take all the clouds above them and get all the rain, is that right?’. ‘What would happen to birds if clouds had strings?’ ‘What would happen to aeroplanes if clouds had strings?’    Now end the exercise by asking, ‘Should clouds have strings?’
 An exercise in thinking like the above helps develop the logical intelligence, the individual learns to look at both the pros and cons and not get carried away only with the pros. This should start from childhood.

A thrill of adrenalin or excitement- this means that maybe the everyday activities of the child are boring and lack excitement and that is why they search out such activities that give them that rush and surge of doing something. Good chance for both parents and educationists to look within.

Being faster, well can we blame the youngsters? - Speed is something that we praise in children and we are constantly goading children to be faster, first etc. Hence the concept of speed gets ingrained quite early in life in a child’s mind as synonymous to success. Rarely do they associate speed with danger. Also as much as it is parents responsibility that they do not allow their young children to drive or buy them a car etc it is equally the responsibility of the media and the bike  companies to see that their product is not incorrectly portrayed to young impressionable minds. Look at all the television ads of all leading motorbikes or cars; each one is showing off stunts, racing, taking risks. These are bikes and cars  that will actually be used on roads with potholes and at a speed not more than 30 kms an hour and even less keeping in mind the traffic in most places, but see their ads, they are zooming, performing stunts and motivating the young buyer to try it out. In this initiative against rash driving why don’t we send a rose to each of these bike and car companies and each of the ad companies that made the ad and make them realise their responsibility towards society, if nothing else they should think of it as their corporate social responsibility.

They feel a sense of immense confidence when they race or drive recklessly- Adolescence is a phase that requires constant booster doses of confidence building. But sadly at that stage the adolescent has the maximum stress of performance and physically they are going through a ‘gangly’ stage.  Emotionally also they lack the confidence. What adds to it is when parents and teachers are also more critical and use ‘put me down language’. Boost the young adult’s confidence, show him/her success in activities that he/she is good at and surely instances of young adults seeking confidence boosters from such rash activities would go down.

Peer imitation- parents need to be extremely conscious about who the youngster is friendly with, call them home, meet them and then discuss with your youngster if you notice some mindsets in their  friends which are completely different from that of your family. Don’t stop them from meeting such varied mindsets but make your youngster understand that to be successful in life it is not always beneficial to conform and imitate, to be a leader one must be able to stand differently and successfully. Also important here is that children should grow up seeing and hearing you talk about your heroes, your role model and then help them seek out their hero and role model. Till childhood most boys look up to superman and spider man but what happens in adolescent, who is their role model?

What does it tell us when such youngsters race and knock down someone and do not even stop to help? When the upbringing of children lacks enough of emphasis on empathy development and conscience development then as youngsters they will be ruthless and uncaring. Both the home and educational institutions must consciously develop this otherwise we are headed for a very mean, selfish and uncaring society.

So who is to blame for this reckless driving? R.T.O for giving licenses? Cops that turn a blind eye when they see an underage driving? Parents who gift their underage children a vehicle too soon? Or friends and media? The answer is truly in the famous African proverb- ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child’. Yes, ‘It Takes A Community To Raise A Youngster’. So his friends, your friends, his peer group, the magazines and TV channels that he watches, the police, the government are all responsible.  They all contribute to your child’s mindset. Where do we begin? Charity begins for each one of the above at home. Let’s stop blaming, finding faults, let the change begin.

And yes a final word of caution, please do not sit your young toddler on your lap when you are driving, think about it, are you not sowing the seeds of ‘too fast, too soon’? Better be safe than sorry.