Understanding Growth Charts for Children

There are different growth charts for children of different ages, but most of these charts are divided into two major age brackets; one for 0 to 2 years and another for 2 to 18 years. These growth charts, which can also be found in pediatric clinics and hospitals in Singapore, include the recommended height, weight, and head circumference for each age.

Separate growth charts for children with special needs are also available to help monitor the child’s health and development.

Ideal Body Weight

It is accepted among medical practitioners that the abnormalities in growth and development of a child is associated with chronic diseases and can even indicate a child’s chances of getting a certain disease when he/she becomes an adult. For example, adults who are obese were more likely to have had a different growth trajectory than adults who never had problems with their weight as children.

For the ideal body weight, the doctors use the body mass index (BMI) chart or what is also known as the weight-for-height computation. However, some medical practitioners disagree with the use of a BMI chart, because it does not take into account the changing body proportions in children. Instead, they use charts that include blood chemistry measures, fat versus lean mass, total body potassium, and dual energy measures.

Special Growth Charts

As already mentioned, there are separate growth charts for children with developmental disabilities from ages 0 to 36 months and 2 to 18 years. These guides, however, do not include comparisons for weight, height or length, BMI, and head circumference of children older than 2 years. The special growth charts are used alongside the standard charts to determine if the child has a tendency to become overweight or underweight.

There are also charts for the fetal measurements, but these should be compatible with the mother’s ethnic composition. The development is monitored by comparing it to growth percentiles through examinations of the fetus in different gestational ages. The result of the fetus’ weight divided by his/her length will determine if he/she is growing normally.

Poor Growth Identification

The existence of different growth charts for girls, boys, children with diseases or developmental disabilities, and children who were breastfed or not, led most hospitals around the world follow the growth charts set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, there are three indicators of poor growth for a child aged younger than 2 years; namely, length, weight, and weight relative to length. Some infants need more measurements such as weight-for-age, head circumference-for-age, length-for-age, and weight-for length. Children older than 2 years on the other hand, are monitored using either length and stature or length, BMI-for-age, and measure stature.

Helping Toddlers to Sleep: Knowing the Signs of Exhaustion

 

Sleep is crucial in our early development. If you have kids, it is important that while they are young, they appreciate the value of sleep but sometimes it is hard to put them to sleep. If they are already asleep but heard them cry or call out, putting them back to sleep is a lot harder. You have to know that there are physical and emotional factors that cause their “wakefulness”.

If putting the kid to sleep is hard, parents worry. Sometimes because of the external pressure and tiredness, parents are forced to discipline in hard measures just so the kid will sleep through. Toddlers need understanding and kindness – sometimes these are not given because of the exhausted families. You are thinking it has been hectic past few days here in Singapore and more hectic putting the toddler to sleep.

You have to understand the kid. Helping him/her sleep is the best thing that you can do and this will mean knowing the signs of exhaustion. Remember that toddlers do not settle if they are not sleepy. There are many things that excite them so sometimes they fight sleep to do it. Be careful with overtired or exhausted toddlers though because they are harder to put to sleep. It is important that you get your toddler to sleep before exhaustion comes. Here are the signs of sleepiness that you should watch out:

  • Grumpy: You will know if the toddler is sleepy because he/she will become grumpy. When he/she is sleepy, he/she will surely become less tolerant to everything around him/her. If you notice your toddler gets easily annoyed or angered, that is a sign that he/she must be put to sleep.

  • Jumpy: When toddlers are trying to sleep, adults around should be careful with their movements because they tend to be jumpy. If they are not yet asleep, they tend to be more sensitive to sudden noises and movements.

 

  • Clumsy: If you notice that your toddler suddenly became clumsy – falling to tipping from side or dropping things, it is time that you put him/her to sleep.

 

  • Cuddly: This is perhaps the sign that you love. When toddlers are very sleepy, they tend to seek comfort in the form of cuddles. If you notice that they become too cuddly, it is a sign that they should be put to sleep.

Understanding the toddler’s sleeping cycle will surely give light to many things. Seeing him/her sleeping peacefully is the greatest gift you could ask.

Approaches to Sleep Training Your Baby

 

If you want your baby to sleep on his/her own, it is time that you consider sleep training. Many paediatricians here in Singapore encourage parents to sleep train their babies. In fact, there are parents who start sleep training as early as the first month of the baby. However for your peace of mind, start sleep training when the baby is between four to six months.

By four months, the baby is starting to develop regular sleep-wake cycle. When you notice that they dropped most of their feedings at night, it is a sign that he/she is ready for sleep training.  Sleep training is the process of teaching the baby to sleep on his/her own and stay asleep all through the night. Sounds easy right but it is kind of challenging because there are many approaches you can consider before settling.

Yes, there are many approaches when you teach the baby to sleep on his/her own. But what approach should you consider? This will depend on which approach you think your baby will respond well. The key here is to know your baby well. Here are the approaches you can choose from:

  1. Cry It Out Approach: Commonly called as CIO, this method involves a lot of crying. Crying is an excruciating sound for parents but if it is something that you have to do, do it. This approach claims that it is okay for the baby to cry when you put him/her to bed then leave the room. Always remember to put the baby to bed drowsy but awake. If he/she cries, let it be for prescribed periods of time and then offer comfort – except picking up.

 

  1. No Tears Approach: According to the proponents of this approach, crying is not necessary. The approach speaks of a slow approach – soothe the baby to sleep and when he/she cries, you offer comfort immediately.

  1. Fading Approach: This approach falls in the middle of the spectrum. This training involves diminishing the parent’s role by gradually fading away until the baby falls asleep. Each night, make sure to go farther and when the baby cries, reassure him/her but never pick up.

 

  1. S’s Approach: There is an expert who encourages parents to consider a specific routine that involves the S’s – Swaddling, Shushing, Swinging and Sucking. Note that this is best for newborns (first six weeks) when you can swaddle them. But it can also be used as long as it is helpful for the baby.

How to Help Our Children Deal with Thunder  

There are times that we encounter moderate to heavy thundery showers here in Singapore. Moderate thundery showers is fine, we can easily get through it especially if we are in the solace of our homes. However, there are other Singaporeans who suffer a lot with the mere sound or sight of thunder. Most of these are children.

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As parents, we want to take away the fear of our children with thunder so they can get through the night alone. In this light, we have to seek for ways to help our children deal with thunder if we do not want them to grow in constant fear every time there is rain with thunder. If we do not do something about it, our children will grow anxiously.

Fortunately, we can do something before it is too late. Here are some tips that we can consider:

  • Acknowledge the fear: It is crucial that we acknowledge child’s fear of thunder. Instead of just telling our child not to be scared, it is crucial that we understand him/her. If we acknowledge his/her fear, it is also another way of saying he/she should not be embarrassed or upset about it. For example, we can cuddle our child and tell him/her that we are scared too but it’ll go away soon for sure.
  • Distract the child: When there’s thunder, children are most frightened because of other noises like dog barking. The best thing that we can do is drown out the noise and create pleasant noises. We can do this by playing the child’s favorite song or watch TV together. We can also play a musical instrument. The point here is to distract the child.

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  • Give good memories: This is the perfect time that we use our imagination and give good memories so when our child grows up, he/she can associate thunder with a good memory and just linger with it not avoid it. We can for instance do entertaining things when there’s thunder.
  • Give the child time: We already laid everything but at the end of the day, our child will resolve his/her feelings – in time. We should know better to let our child handle and outgrow his/her own fear. We should not hasten the process because it can create unresolved issues.
  • Plan: Good thing we can rely on the weather channel to tell us if thunder is upon us. If there’s thunder, we can plan in advance. We can for instance schedule a play date so our child will not notice it. We should also employ the help of other people around us.

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