Parent Teacher Meetings and How to Get the Most Out Of It


Many of us look at Parent Teacher Meetings (PTM) as a window into our child’s academic life. There is your chance to understand your child’s strong areas and developmental areas, from the teachers. But if you want, with a little bit of planning, it could be much more rewarding for you and your child.

We put together a checklist for you that will make PTMs more fruitful for you and your child.

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What is causing your child’s cough?

What is causing your child’s cough?Cough and cold are the most common afflictions of children both young and old. Preschoolers suffer from coughs 3-8 times a year and older children up to 4 times. But there is a lot of confusion surrounding coughs and why they are caused. Here’s an article hoping to clear away some of those misconceptions and an easier (read less worrying) recovery.

Coughs are usually caused by viruses. It is what we generally refer to as a viral infection. Since viruses are microorganisms that are neither alive nor dead (seriously!), it is impossible to eradicate them. Antibiotics are of no use on them. So basically, the infection has to run its course. It may last anywhere from 5 days to 12 days. A typical infection throws up symptoms like a head cold, runny or stuffed nose, sore throat, cough and sometimes a fever as well. The paediatrician may prescribe medicine to allay the symptoms of the viral infection (cold, cough, etc), but there is no cure for the infection itself.

However, there are cases when cough can be caused by allergies. If your child is allergic to dust mites, pollen, animal dander, etc, the cough may present itself whenever there is contact with the allergen. The only recourse is to administer antihistamines prescribed by your child’s paediatrician.

In rare cases, Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs can cause a persistent cough. It is also accompanied by difficulty breathing, a cold, fever body aches and chills. If you suspect pneumonia, it is a good idea to take your child to the paediatrician.

Bronchitis is another rare cause of a persistent and hacking cough several weeks after a viral infection. Bronchitis is an infection of the tubes carrying air to the lungs. This too can be either viral or bacterial. If it is bacterial, antibiotics will work. The paediatrician should be able to tell you whether the infection is viral or bacterial.

When to call a doctor, when a child has cough:

If your child is less than 3 month old
If breathing is laboured
Is coughing mucus that is streaked with blood
Is younger than 6 months and has a fever of 101 or above
Is over 6 months and has a fever of 103 and above
Is coughing after choking on something
Coughing causes vomiting

In any case, avoid administering any medication till you have prior permission from the doctor. Over the counter cough medicines do more harm than good. Mixing 2 or more types of cough medicines can cause a fatal combination in some cases.
Till the doctor is able to give you a definite course of action, try some simple home remedies for relief. Honey works wonders on cough. Try it!


Coping with Cyber Bullying: What Every Parent Needs to Know

When you and I were in school we might have experienced bullying, either personally or from a distance, in the classroom, the playground or recess time.  For our children today, bullying has taken on another dimension…the virtual dimension. This is something that you and I as adults may not even be aware of. But parents, this is out there and it is REAL for our children, especially our tweens and teens. Part of the reality is that digital technology and the internet play a huge part in the lives of our children as they use it for school assignments and their social life. This social connectivity can be online or via their mobiles, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social media sites.

 So, what is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber Bullying has been defined as when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

It can include abusive texts and emails, hurtful messages, images or videos imitating others, excluding others online, nasty online gossip and chat.

The fact that cyber bullying can happen 24/7 [and not just in person], can be done in anonymity, and once out there can go viral, makes cyber bullying even more damaging than traditional face-to-face bullying.

 As a parent what should I know?

Signs that your child is being cyber-bullied and how to handle this

The first thing is for you to get acquainted with your child’s cyber world. Find out where your children surf, what are the popular social sites amongst kids and talk to your kids about the possibility of cyber bullying and safety. Do reinforce that even if they see a post that is targeted at another child, by their ‘liking/ sharing/forwarding’ it they are guilty of cyber bullying by association.

The next thing is to look for signs that might point to your child being cyber bullied. Some of these might be:

  • Changes in online behaviour– is your child suddenly spending less time online? Has he asked you about closing down his account, or about security features to block others out?
  • Distress does your child become annoyed, upset, stressed or angry after he has been online? Has his school attendance or performance reduced?
  • Secrecydoes your child act secretively when using the internet or phone? Does he close down the computer when you walk into the room?

 Also Read: Keeping your Kids Safe Online

 As a parent how can I help if my child is being cyber bullied?

If you worry that your child is being cyber bullied, talk to him. Assure him that you are on his side, that he did not do something wrong and he does not deserve to be bullied. Here are some tips you could share with him:

  • Do not respond or retaliate. Tell him to talk to you about it, rather than ‘letting off steam’ online by seeking revenge online. It could make things worse and he might be accused of cyberbullying.
  • Tell him to block the bully and change his privacy settings. With your help he can also report this to the site administrator and the school authorities.
  • Help him save these abusive messages as evidence, like phone messages, print emails or social networking conversations/photos. He can also tell their friends that might be privy to these messages to collect this too.
  • Encourage him to be involved in anti-cyber bullying campaigns. There are many such initiatives online. This will give him a sense of control and empowerment. If he knows of a friend being bullied, remind him not to join in. If he feels confident, he should also stand up for his friend online.

Bottom line, parents you have to be aware and get familiar with the virtual world that your child is a part of.  In this case, ignorance is not bliss!

Happy Parenting!

Also Read: Teens and Social Media

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children. This blog was written by Aparna Samuel Balasundaram. She is a USA- Licensed Psychotherapist and Parent and Child Expert with 10 years of experience in the USA. 

Tips To Help Teach Your Children Their Numbers

ID-100170690If you have a toddler, they are probably trying to learn how to count. If they are not trying to learn to count, they are definitely learning how to say different numbers. Most will learn at around three that they are three years old. They might not know what it means, but they remember the number. You will want to help them want to learn numbers so it comes easy to them once they start going off to school. Remember, you are your child’s first teacher. Below are some creative ideas to help teach your child count numbers.

Read books on counting. There are many of these books in your local bookstore, libraries, EBay, etc. These are fun and a majority of the books you find will have great images to go along with the book to keep your child’s interest. Kids love books so stock up! If you are really creative, you can make a counting book with your child.

Use flashcards. You can either buy some cute expensive cards with pretty pictures, some cheap flash cards with just numbers or just make your own. Flash cards have been used for years. They work! You can also go to a school supply store and get some writing tablets that allow your child to trace numbers and also the alphabet.
When asking “How Many?” start with small numbers. Even very young toddlers will start memorizing the numbers one, two, or three. So spend a lot of time counting up to three objects at first. Eventually, your child will be able to say he or she has 2 hands, 2 feet, etc.

Another option would be blocks, depending on their age. Small children love blocks. Many of the small wooden blocks that you can buy at the toy store will have numbers painted on them.

Find something that both you and your child will enjoy doing. There are many different ways you can help your child learn their numbers, just picking out the method is going to be the fun part.

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Tips For Taking Your Children Shopping

ID-100182426Okay, so you want to go shopping but are dreading going because you will have to take the kids along too. For those that have been shopping at a store with children, you know that it can be a very stressful experience, especially if the children or child is young. If you plan ahead, you might just be okay.

Before you enter the store, you will want to set the rules. Make your rules nice and clear. You can tell them to “Stay close to me” or “No begging for anything”. If you are shopping for someone else, be sure to let your children know, so they don’t expect you to start shopping for them. For instance, if you are buying a toy for a birthday present for another child, let your child know this before you even begin shopping. Ask them to help pick out the gift.

If you’re in a giving mood, agree to buy them a reward for good behavior. You could also reward them by playing a game at home, watching a movie together, a trip to the park, cook one of their favorite meals, etc. If you think that your child might misbehave, this might be something you might want to try. It has been known to work for many moms and dads.

Depending on their age, you might want to pack a snack or treat for your child to eat while you are shopping. Some nutritious snacks might include raisins, nuts, grapes, sliced apples, nuts, granola bar, etc. Bringing a snack might also prevent them from asking for food while you are shopping.

Other ideas of items to bring with you could be a book for your child to look at or read. You could bring their favorite blanket or their favorite toy. A pencil and paper could also entertain them. The idea is not to go empty handed. Be prepared so your shopping trip is successful and you don’t end up turning around and going home.

If your child is hungry before you go shopping, make sure you feed them. This will prevent them from complaining about hunger pangs. If they are tired, have them take a nap beforehand, this will save a ton of stress. The best time to go is when your child has a full tummy and is well rested.

While you are shopping, you can play games with your child to make the trip fun. If you are shopping for food, you can play a game of who sees the bananas first. You can sing songs about what you are buying. You can talk about what is on the packaging. At the end of your shopping trip, let your child help give the checkout clerk the items you are buying. Kids love helping out. Just remember to keep them distracted from the candy isle unless you want to buy them some extra energy.

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