Alpro Prestige Scholarship Worth RM600K Is Open for Application!

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

Alpro Pharmacy has announced the first dedicated scholarship for pharmacy students in the country called the Alpro Prestige Scholarship.

SCHOLARSHIP DETAILS
  • It offers up to RM600,000 per year,
  • Each recipient will receive RM20,000 financial support. The amount is divided into RM10,000 each year for their third and fourth year of studies.
  • Upon graduation, there will be a guaranteed placement for Pre-Registration Pharmacist (PRP) training followed by a job offer as a professional community pharmacist with exclusive remuneration package.
WHO CAN APPLY

The scholarship is open to third-year pharmacy degree students in Malaysia.

INTERESTED IN APPLYING?

For more information, visit https://www.alpropharmacy.com/alpro-prestige-scholarship (link opens in a new tab).

Application is opened until 15 June 2023.

Experts Pave the Way to Improve Outcome of Osteoporosis in Malaysia

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

On January 17, 2023, Malaysian Osteoporosis Society (MOS), the Academy of Medicine Malaysia, and our Ministry of Health launched their jointly-published 3rd Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) for the Management of Osteoporosis.

In the media briefing held in conjunction with this launch, our Director General of Health Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah shares that:

  • Malaysians are now growing older and living longer. As a result of this, many of us will be affected by age-related non-communicable diseases, which includes osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis results in bone fractures, which are associated with disability and premature death.
An illustration of osteoporosis. Click on the image for a larger, clearer version.
WHY IS OSTEOPOROSIS SUCH A CONCERN?

A 2020 study revealed that all people with hip fractures, upon treatment and discharge from the hospital, need walking aids.

6 months later, only 24% (that’s about 1 out of 4 people) regain their mobility and their ability to live independently.

Another 26% die within one year after the fracture.

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah voices his concern that osteoporosis is a serious disease that requires early detection, intervention, and management even at later stages.

This is especially relevant, as the incidence of hip fractures is projected to rise from 5,880 in 2018 to 20,893 in 2050, a 3.6-fold increase!

THE KEYSTONES TO IMPROVING THE AWARENESS OF & TREATMENT OUTCOME OF OSTEOPOROSIS

Dr Yeap Swan Sim, the current President of the Malaysian Osteoporosis Society, states that the cornerstone principles in ensuring that Malaysians can age healthily and gracefully while minimizing the threat of osteoporosis are:

  • Understanding the disease
  • Taking preventive measures
  • Good management of osteoporosis
  • Knowing the appropriate surgical options, should these options become necessary
FRACTURES & OSTEOPOROSIS ARE NOT “NATURAL” AGEING PROCESS, SO TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY!

Dr Terence Ong Ing Wei points out that osteoporosis usually happens in older people and is almost as common as diabetes. “Diabetes evokes fear and concern, yet most people wouldn’t give osteoporosis a second though,” he muses.

Many people often assume that bones weaken and falls and fractures become more common because all these are a ‘natural’ part of ageing.

Dr Terence disagrees, stating that there is nothing natural about osteoporisis.

In fact, it is actually a very complex condition influenced by many factors. “Some things that we do not think too much about in our everyday lives have a huge impact on our bone health. These include physical inactivity, fad diets, cigarette smoking, and age-related hormonal changes such as oestrogen in ageing women and testosterone in men. All these increase the rate of bone loss at a time when strong bones are most needed.”

DIAGNOSIS AT LATE STAGE OSTEOPOROSIS FORCES DOCTORS TO RULE OUT IDEAL TREATMENT OPTIONS 

Dr Yeap says, “We usually only see osteoporosis at its late stages—after a fracture has occurred. By then, the patient would have incurred significant amounts of bone loss. At that stage, it is no longer possible to offer treatments to replace the lost bone, which is the ideal scenario. Instead, treatment options will instead attempt to minimize the detrimental effects of a fracture experienced by the patient.”

“Clearly, we should be giving more emphasis to screening and early detection, followed by suitable interventions so that we can protect the most vulnerable persons from this terrible illness,” she adds.

EARLY DETECTION CAN ALLOW FOR EARLY PREVENTIVE MEASURES 

Professor Emerita Chan Siew Pheng concurs with the other experts. “This is because mainly because you don’t even realise osteoporosis is there until you suffer from a fracture. So, the only way to know if you have osteoporosis before a fracture occurs, is by going for a bone density scan, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA.

More about bone density scan
Prof Chan explains that the bone density scan is a quick and painless X-ray procedure that allows doctors to find out whether osteoporosis is present.

It also allows doctors to predict the risk of future fractures in order to provide timely and suitable treatment. “This would save you so much trouble in the future!” she says.

According to Prof Chan, women aged 65 years or older and men 70 years or older should have a DXA scan done every two years.

Younger individuals may also need to be screened if they have certain conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, nutritional malabsorption, eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, or are taking certain medications (like steroids) long term.

If you fall into any of these categories, you should consult your doctor for more information as to how you can benefit from a DXA scan.

With the right steps at the right time, osteoporosis can be effectively managed 
Prof Chan explains: “There are effective medicines that can be tailored to suit all sorts of patients based on their disease stage and lifestyle. Moreover, whenever pharmacological treatment is necessary, the medications that are available in Malaysia can reduce the risk of fractures from 15% up to 70%!”

She adds that these anti-osteoporosis medicines are generally well-tolerated and effective.

THIRD-EDITION CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES LAUNCHED TO IMPROVE SCREENING, DIAGNOSIS, & TREATMENT OF OSTEOPOROSIS

Dr Yeap Swan Sim shares that this clinical practice guidelines, meant for healthcare professionals in Malaysia, consists of evidence-based statements intended to assist healthcare providers in optimizing patient care.

“We must first recognize the fact that osteoporosis is a multi-factorial condition,” she says. “Nutrition, age, hormone, lifestyle and the presence of pre-existing disease are some of the aspects that can affect bone health. All these requires not only input from one profession but multiple of them in order to provide patients with proper and effective care.”

She adds: “As such, the clinical practice guidelines had to be written by a panel of experts from all the related disciplines, such as nutrition, geriatrics, endocrinology, orthopaedic surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, rheumatology, primary care and pharmacy. The wide variety of expertise involved in the writing of the clinical practice guidelines ensures extensive coverage so that the guidelines will be able to inform all types of healthcare professionals who would be involved in the screening, diagnosing and treatment of osteoporosis.”

The 3rd Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) for the Management of Osteoporosis was the fruit of the labour of the CPG Working Group comprising:

  • Dr Yeap Swan Sim (Chairperson)
  • Dr Terence Ong Ing Wei (Co-chairperson)
  • Associate Professor Dr Lim Lee Ling (Co-chairperson)
  • Professor Emerita Dr Chan Siew Pheng
  • Professor Datuk Dr Sabarul A Mokhtar

Interested healthcare professionals can download the 3rd Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) for the Management of Osteoporosis by clicking here. This link will open in a new tab.

Highlights of the Safe Medication Disposal Practices Roundtable

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

Alpro Pharmacy hosted an industry roundtable, called Safe Medication Disposal Practices in Malaysia–Past, Present & Future, on 15th December 2022 at Monash University Malaysia.

Highlight 1
THE NEED FOR PROPER DISPOSAL OF MEDICINES
  • According to Foon Hwei Foong from Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild, unwanted medications disposed into landfills are reabsorbed by water streams. This means that these medications eventually leads back to the water that we drink.
  • Dr Saw Pui San, a lecturer from Monash University Malaysia’s School of Pharmacy, cited how irresponsibly discarded contraceptive medicines ended up in our waterways and caused the sterilization of fishes.
  • Antibiotics are strictly regulated prescription medication, and many efforts were made to prevent antibiotic resistance. However, another often overlooked possible cause of antibiotic resistance is the leakage of improperly discarded antibiotics into our water systems.
Highlight 2
THE POLICY IS THERE, BUT THE AWARENESS AMONG THE PUBLIC IS LACKING
  • Amrahi Buang, President of the Malaysian Pharmacists Society, stated that laws and policies are in place across all access points of medication distribution in this country, with the Malaysian National Medicines Policy (MNPP) clearly stating the measurements and governance in place for medication safety.
  • He opined that health and medication literacy is still lacking within the Malaysia public, hence the need for an pharmaceutical industry medium to act as an education platform for the public.
  • Furthermore, he stated that pharmacists are strongly encouraged to start working collaboratively with their colleagues as well as other key players in the pharmaceutical industry to educate on, implement, and practice safe medication disposal.
  • Ostwin Paw, the CEO of Alpro Foundation, called for leaders in the industry to kickstart the conversation on the impact and risks of unsafe medication disposal methods on the environment.
Highlight 3
ALPRO PHARMACY HELPS TO LEAD THE WAY 
  • Lim En Ni, the Chief Pharmacist of Alpro Pharmacy, shared that Alpro Pharmacy launched the Safe Medication Disposal campaign in 2021 in a joint effort with several key pharmaceutical companies in the country.
  • To date, the initiative has safely disposed more than 1,000 kg of medication waste as well as garnered more than 100,000 signatures from the community pledging their support within 3 months since July 2022.
One of the key initiatives of the Safe Medication Disposal campaign is the placement of dedicated medication disposal bins at all Alpro Pharmacy outlets nationwide to collect excess medicines for proper and ethical disposal. For more information on this as well as on proper medical disposal, click here to visit the Safe Medical Disposal Campaign webpage (link opens in a new tab).

Diabetes Experts Reflect on Present & Future Diabetes Awareness Efforts

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

DIABETES EDUCATION TO PROTECT TOMORROW

The theme of World Diabetes Day in 2022 is Education to Protect Tomorrow, which calls for the need for better access to quality diabetes education for healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes.

During the recent World Diabetes Day (WDD) 2022 celebration in Putrajaya, which was jointly organized by the Endocrine Institute of Putrajaya Hospital, the Malaysian Endocrine & Metabolic Society (MEMS), and Novo Nordisk Pharma Malaysia, the experts present reflected on the need to raise public awareness among Malaysians on diabetes.

After all, the latest National Health and Morbidity Survey reported 1 in 5 adult Malaysians has type 2 diabetes!

EFFORTS NEED TO BE DOUBLED TO STOP RISING PREVALENCE 

Dato’ Dr Asmayani Khalib, the Deputy Director-General (Medical), Ministry of Health Malaysia, said: “The rising number of people affected by diabetes is putting added strain on healthcare systems. Healthcare professionals require quality diabetes education on how to detect and diagnose the condition early and provide the best possible care; while people living with diabetes need access to ongoing education to understand their condition and carry out the daily self-care essential to staying healthy and avoiding complications.”

Datuk Dr. Zanariah bt Hussein, the Head of the Endocrinology Subspecialty Service of the Malaysian Ministry of Health, felt that, as more Malaysians are diagnosed with diabetes, current efforts need to be doubled to stop this rising number from escalating further.

Access to quality diabetes education is a goal we must all strive in, to educate and empower not only patients and the community but also family members who are providing support and care,” she said.

DIABETES EDUCATION KEY TO SUSTAINABLE LONG-TERM DIABETES CARE

“The focus on access to diabetes education is a critical aspect that will enable sustainable long-term care, with both healthcare providers and people living with diabetes receiving quality diabetes education,”  said Richard Abela, the Vice President and General Manager of Novo Nordisk Pharma Malaysia. “This is an essential component of diabetes care as we develop a patient-centric approach in care, that is sustainable for lifelong chronic disease management.”

Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Receives Honorary Degree

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

We would like to express our heartiest congratulations to  Her Royal Highness Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan binti Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shahwas.

On November 17, she was conferred an Honorary Degree, ‘Doctor of the University’, by Heriot-Watt University Malaysia at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel today.

A PRINCESS FOR THE PEOPLE

HRH Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan is the eldest daughter of His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah.

She is a well-known and well-respected mental health activist and advocate in Malaysia as well as the international stage.

Just a few of her recent accomplishments and advocacy milestones are:

  • Appointed as World Federation for Mental Health Representative to the United Nations in New York in 2021
  • Appointed by WHO as the International Patron of World Mental Health Day for 2020-2021
  • Co-founder of the mental health awareness and advocacy platform Green Ribbon Group (link opens in a new tab)

Heriot-Watt University presented the Honorary Degree to HRH Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan in recognition of Her Royal Highness’role as an inspirational, purpose-driven leader committed to championing mental health in Malaysia and globally.

A WIN FOR THE CAUSE OF CHAMPIONING MENTAL HEALTH

“The Honorary Degree from Heriot-Watt University is a win for my noble cause of championing mental health,” Her Royal Highness Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan said during the ceremony. “I am pleased to be recognised for the positive impact of my efforts, and this momentous occasion has reminded me once again of why I decided to champion the mental health agenda. I am dedicated to continuing my efforts to have a positive impact on mental health and to create an environment that is filled with compassion, love, and encouragement, especially for those who feel alone in their battles.”

She reiterated that pushing the mental health agenda forward will set in motion actionable steps towards breaking negative cycles and habits, and their transmission between the current generation and future ones.

“I would like to build a world where our youth are supported to become the very best version of themselves, so they are able to contribute to society and become even better parents to their children. This is my hope for my children, Zayn and Aleya, too,” she said.

Superdads, Assemble!

Superdads, Assemble!

May 8, 2022   Return

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

Cathie Wu

MA Coun Psy (CAN, USA)

Director and Counselling Psychologist

AbriMentalHealth.com

 

Just like mothers, fathers are irreplaceable. Traditionally the father is viewed more as a breadwinner, but the truth is, he has just as much significant impact on the emotional development of a child. Most children view their father as a superhero, the protector and the bedrock who fixes all problems in their lives. Perhaps paradoxically, a father also tends to fixate on his role as a breadwinner, sometimes to the point of being emotionally absent from the child’s life.

This month, we join counselling psychologist Cathie Wu as she takes a look at how a father can be a superhero to his child without having to  develop literal superpowers. After all, the true strength of a father isn’t measured by whether or not he can fly or hold up a bus with one hand—it lies within his heart.

CAPTAIN RESPONSIBLE

“I try to live my life like my father lives his. He always takes care of everyone else first. He won’t even start eating until he’s sure everyone else in the family has started eating. Another thing: my dad never judges me by whether I win or lose.”

American footballer Ben Roethlisberger

Much has been said about a father’s responsibilities. He is a breadwinner, just like Mom. He is a pillar of strength and a bedrock of support. He teaches life’s valuable lessons, but he allows his children to learn from mistakes. The list goes on and it may seem intimidating especially to first-time fathers.

However, being a father is not about following a set of rules. It’s about living out the experience, appreciating the ups and learning from the downs of fatherhood.

Cathie Wu offers a few tips on getting the hang of a father’s responsibilities.

Work as a team with your partner. Fathers and mothers often have different roles within and outside of the family.

Being responsible as a parent will always mean that the parental team must be  united. For a father, this will include a commitment to communicate to his wife and children, and to have discussions on how to share parenting roles.

Resist making promises that sound good but can’t be delivered. It’s okay to proceed slowly and steadily in demonstrating responsibility and reliability.

Being a father is never about solely providing for the family. It’s also about providing enough love, attention and support to make a positive difference ina child’s life.

According to 2017 statistics from the US Census Bureau, children in the US raised in a household without a father are

  • More likely to have behavioural problems (including committing crimes) and substance abuse.
  • Twice more likely to drop out of school.
  • Four times more likely to live in poverty.

Hence, a father’s love and affection is arguably as important as—or perhaps even more important than— his ability to provide for the family.

Cathie Wu has some advice for fathers on being the best daddy they can be to their children:

Develop an individual relationship with each child. With multiple children this may be harder but learning about each individual child will help strengthen the parental bond and make each child feel more included.

Learn to understand your child on a deeper level. When an emotionally safe relationship is built, a good father is interested to know their child better.

Understanding has to come before problem-solving. Teach children to be resilient (help them learn how to meet obstacles, address or cope with issues openly, not be demoralized by “failures” but retain a sense of motivation, etc) via good communication as well as leading by example. Children often learn more through observation of others.

Cultivate a good strong marital relationship. Parent can teach kids many valuable lessons about love, respect, loyalty, interpersonal skills, overcoming obstacles, etc through their marital relationship. On the other hand, when the marital relationship is experiencing dissatisfaction, it will invariably affect the kids. So, communicate regularly with loved ones. Show affection through words or physical touch. Make quality time (quality over quantity).

THE UNKNOCKABLE

An undervalued trait of fatherhood is a sense of humour. A good sense of humour doesn’t just teaches a man to laugh, it sometimes can help one better cope with the hard knocks in life. A sense of humour also allows the father to view life through different and even unusual perspectives, which in turn helps him become more spontaneous and adaptable.

When balanced with a good sense of responsibility, a father who doesn’t take life too seriously is a steadying presence to the family during a crisis, and a brightening source of joy to all during happier times.

Furthermore, research shows people with a sense of humour tend to have a lower risk of falling into depression. There are also studies that suggest they are better equipped to manage stress, which in turn can have positive benefits to blood pressure, heart rate and possibly the immune system and digestion.

Therefore, it’s fine to be silly and have a laugh now and then. Whether it’s blowing soap bubbles to make a baby laugh or using gentle humour to reassure older kids when they experience failure, it’s all good.

Cathie Wu has some advice on this for fathers.

Look at the big picture. Let go of the concept of perfection and focus on your strengths. Admit that you can and will make mistakes, and so will the people around you— nobody is infallible, after all.

Learn to have a laugh over the trivial stuff. Find your favourite comedian and learn how and when to use a lighthearted perspective on things. HT

“Becoming a father increases your capacity for love and your level of patience. It opens up another door in a person—a door which you may not even have known was there. That’s what I feel with my son. There’s suddenly another level of love that expands. My son is my greatest joy, out of everything in my life.”~ actor Kyle MacLachlan

 

If you like this article, do subscribe here.  

CHILD NUTRITION AND HAND HYGIENE

CHILD NUTRITION AND HAND HYGIENE

May 8, 2022   Return

WORDS HANNAH WAY-LEE WONG

Q: My children are spending a lot of time at home lately. How do I keep them healthy?

The best way to make sure your child stays healthy at home is to give them proper and balanced nutrition. 

Parents should also allow their children to get adequate amounts of exercise and exposure to sunshine. Physical activity helps children build up their bones and muscles. Furthermore, I would recommend parents to organize fun activities that can stimulate the mind and encourage interaction among family members at home.

Q: Can you recommend some food and nutrition tips for my child?

All children require proper nutrition, and that refers to an adequate balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. There is no single food or vitamin that can fulfil all your child’s nutritional needs.

Some children may have iron or vitamin D deficiency. These children might need some additional supplements. That said, as general rule, most balanced meals will contain all the nutrients a child would need. Just remember to not to give your child too much junk food and sweets. 

Q: How can I teach my young children to practice hand hygiene?

Children should be taught how to wash their hands the right way, and this can be taught very easily. A good indicator of how long you should wash your hands is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. The best part is, when you teach children the correct technique of handwashing, they will likely remember it for the rest of their lives.

Q: Should parents use hand sanitizers on their young children?

Most hand sanitizers contain 70% alcohol in order to be effective. I wouldn’t recommend exposing a child to hand sanitizers, unless it is unavoidable. The best method of hand hygiene for babies and young children is to use soap and water.

3 IMPORTANT STEPS TO ENSURE A HEALTHY PREGNANCY & BABY

WHAT PARENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SCOLIOSIS

May 8, 2022   Return

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

 

TAKE FOLIC ACID

“Folic acid is very important for pregnant women. It can prevent abnormalities of the brain and central nervous system,” says Professor Dr Nazimah Idris, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.

She recommends to start taking folic acid at least 3 months before getting pregnant, and to continue for at least 3 months into pregnancy. 

 

GET THE NECESSARY SHOTS, IF YOU HAVEN’T YET

Infections such as rubella can also produce structural abnormalities in the baby. However, with vaccination programmes in place, incidence of this is now very much reduced.

Diabetes though is a condition that, according to Prof Nazimah, is of great concern. Diabetic embryopathy refers to abnormalities in foetuses caused by high sugar levels in pregnant women and can cause abnormalities in the brain, gastric system, heart, skeletal system, and even the renal tract.

   

IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION, GET THEM UNDER CONTROL

Women with diabetes that are planning to have a baby should get their blood sugar levels under control. “High sugar levels are toxic to the baby. This is especially detrimental to the foetus in the first trimester, when it is developing and when organs are forming. If you are exposed to ‘toxins’ or teratogens when you’re forming, you won’t form very well,” says Prof Nazimah. 

It is imperative for someone who has diabetes, heart disease or hypertension to seek a doctor’s advice before getting pregnant, according to Prof Dr Nazimah.

Nonetheless, even for women that have no existing medical condition that they are aware of, Prof Dr Nazimah still urges them to visit a doctor, in order to examine any existing pregnancy risk factors and to get advice on how to ensure a safe delivery of a healthy baby. 

WHAT PARENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SCOLIOSIS

WHAT PARENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SCOLIOSIS

May 8, 2022   Return

DR-LIM-SZE-WEI

 

WORDS HANNAH MAY-LEE WONG

 

Scoliosis happens when the spine forms an abnormal sideways curve—usually in a C-shape or S-shape. People affected by scoliosis are most often diagnosed during their growth spurt years, usually between the ages of 10 to 17.

 

ARE HEAVY SCHOOL BAGS TO BLAME?

As scoliosis is usually diagnosed in a child’s schooling years, many parents mistakenly believe that heavy school bags are the cause of scoliosis. However, Dr Lim Sze Wei assures that this is only a myth.

He explains, “Research and medical reports have noted that there are no associations between the occurrence of scoliosis and heavy school bags.”

 

CAUSES OF SCOLIOSIS

In most cases, the exact cause of scoliosis is not known. That said, scoliosis is more common in people with genetic conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. It is also more common in girls than boys, and in children who have siblings or close relatives with scoliosis.

 

SIGNS OF SCOLIOSIS

One of the most common signs of scoliosis is uneven shoulders, shoulder blades or hips. This can be observed if one shoulder or one side of the hip looks to be drooping below the other side.

“The head not being centered with the rest of the body is another common sign of scoliosis,” Dr Lim adds.

Parents can also do the Adam’s Forward Bend Test to check if their child has scoliosis. They can do so by asking their child to bend forward with both palms between the knees. Any imbalances in the rib cage or along the back could be a sign of scoliosis. If signs of scoliosis are observed, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible. 

 

TREATMENT

Treatment for scoliosis can range from non-surgical to surgical treatment options. A doctor would recommend a treatment plan according to the severity of scoliosis and the age of the patient. 

“For mild scoliosis cases, non-surgical treatment methods such as exercises or a wearing a scoliosis brace can help slow down or stop the progression of scoliosis.”

“However, these methods cannot fix the curvature in the spine. Patients will need to be monitored throughout their lives to ensure their condition does not worsen,” Dr Lim concludes.

3 WAYS TO HELP YOUR KID OVERCOME THEIR SEPARATION ANXIETY

3 WAYS TO HELP YOUR KID OVERCOME THEIR SEPARATION ANXIETY

May 8, 2022   Return

dr-yong

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

 

LET THE CHILD IN EARLY ON WHAT THEY CAN EXPECT AT SCHOOL, AND MAKE IT SEEM FUN AND EXCITING

One way to reduce your child’s separation anxiety, Dr Yong advises, is to let them know in advance what being in a classroom will be like.

“Make it sound exciting instead of fearful,” she says. “Use phrases such as ‘You are so lucky’ to reduce your child’s worries.”

 

SEND YOUR CHILD OFF AND BE THERE WHEN SCHOOL DAY IS OVER

If you drop your child off at school, do so at the same time every day if possible.

Also, Dr Yong advises being there early when picking up your child, so that they won’t have to wait all alone in a strange environment.

The same applies if your child takes a bus or private chartered vehicle to school. Send off your child when the vehicle arrives, and be there with a smile when your child gets out of the vehicle at the end of a school day.

This routine will let your child find comfort in knowing that Mommy or Daddy will always be there for them no matter what happens at school.

 

OFFER HUGS AND KISSES, BUT WITHOUT FANFARE.

You can ease your child’s separation anxiety at the start of the day by developing a simple goodbye ritual, such as a kiss on the cheek or a hug.

However, some children may take the opportunity to cry and act up when it’s time to be temporarily separated from their parents.

If your child does this, don’t cave in no matter how much your heart breaks to do so. Just calmly walk away once your child is safely in the care of their teacher.

Don’t worry—you likely won’t be causing great emotional distress in your child by leaving without fanfare. Dr Yong shares that some teachers had confided in her on how some teary-eyed children would quickly calm down and even get along well with other children shortly after their parents had left!

 

HOWEVER, A CAVEAT

If you notice after a few weeks that your child still resists going to school, or acts in other ways to suggest that their time at school wasn’t going well, these could be warning signs that your child may be subjected to bullying by their classmates or harsh treatment from the teacher.

You should make some discreet enquiries or consult the school principal to look further into this matter.