Making back-to-school a positive experience
As summer draws to a close, there is a palpable excitement in the air. Children all over the UAE are preparing to go back to school to start an exciting new year. However, along with the new uniforms and school supplies, there’s also a new problem that they are facing.
After two long months of holiday, children will have to change their sleeping routines to wake up early in the morning. They will also have to refresh their minds with all the required information they need to start a new academic year. Then there’s also the anxiety that comes with having to get used to a new class and a new teacher. The little ones will find it hard to leave their parents once again, and may display symptoms of separation anxiety.
Parents can help children deal with these issues with some simple actions. Starting the school routine at the end of the holidays, along with practicing some subjects, will help ease the children into adjusting their sleeping patterns. Shopping for supplies will get them excited for the new year, and thus reduce anxiety.
Experts say that with little children, separation anxiety is more of a problem for the parent than the child. “We normally talk to the parents about this, and assure them that this is part of growing up and the child will be fine. Then we help them reassure the child that their parents are always there when needed, and its normal to feel anxious,” says Dr. Badi Alatasi, Consultant Pediatrician at Valiant Clinic. Orientation activities like visiting the school and making friends in advance can help the children feel less anxious.
As people come back from different parts of the world, and the climate slowly changes, it is common for illnesses like the common cold, influenza, hand-foot-mouth disease, and tonsillitis to spread. It is very important to teach the children to maintain good hygiene practices, eat right, and get vaccinated when required.
“The problem with influenza infections is not just the long and severe sickness that it causes, but also the complications that can arise, like pneumonia, kidney, liver complications, etc, that could put you in the intensive care unit, or even cause death (129 cases of pediatric influenza deaths were reported in the USA last season), Dr. Badi Alatasi.
Vaccines can also cause some mild side effects, like soreness, redness or swelling, headache, fever, and rarely, syncope and severe arm pain. Around the world, there are two types of flu vaccines available – live and dead vaccine. In the UAE, only the dead vaccine is used, so the risk of infection from the vaccine itself is nil. Vaccination can start at six months, and should continue yearly till 18 years of age.