Health & Nutrition Toddlers

Hand, Food & Mouth Disease: Help Your Child Feel Better

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a much dreaded viral disease that most commonly occurs in children below five years old and leaves them feeling immensely uncomfortable. It is contagious and easily spread by direct contact of bodily fluids. A child with HFMD may suffer from fever, sore throat, ulcers and a rash on their hands, feet and buttocks.


The first symptom noticeable in your child is usually fever, followed by a sore throat, accompanied by a decrease in appetite. Painful sores and ulcers and rashes subsequently develop a few days after the fever begins.

Fever is the common first visible sign of HFMD. 

As there is currently no treatment for HFMD, the uncomfortable symptoms can be relieved, as child and parents have to wait it out. Because the disease spreads so easily, especially among young children, it’s advisable to avoid public places and stay home until the doctor gives your child the clearance, and that it is okay to return to childcare or school.


Ways to relieve the pain and help your child feel better when diagnosed with HFMD

  • Create an oatmeal bath

Blisters are a much-dreaded symptom of HFMD. Oatmeal is effective for soothing inflamed skin and is extremely relaxing. To make an oatmeal bath, simply grind a cup of raw, unflavoured oatmeal into a warm bath and mix it until it is thoroughly blended into the water. Soaking in an oatmeal bath for 15 to 20 minutes helps to calm those angry rashes on your child’s body. Remember to moisturise after drying off!


  • Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

To deal with skin irritation, lots of moisturising is necessary. Apply coconut oil or skin moisturiser liberally and frequently after baths to help your child deal with those rashes or blisters that are prevalent during the course of HFMD.


  • Offer nutritious food in creative ways

Kids who are down with HFMD may refuse food because the painful ulcers in their throat making it hard for them to swallow. Despite the pain and decreased appetite, it is still important for them to take in nutritious food, and stay hydrated. Chinese soups are nutritious and comforting for poor appetites.


The icy temperature of frozen breastmilk popsicles or fruit lollies can ease their mouth sores and relieve pain. If they are unable to take in solids, offer non-citrus juices, cold fresh milk or Einmilk formula milk to ensure they receive the daily essential nutrients, especially when their body needs to fight the HFMD bug and heal on its own. Lots of plain water is recommended to flush out toxins.

Frozen fruit popsicles can provide a cold, healthy relief for children with low appetite when HFMD strikes.


  • Plan some indoor activities

Besides feeling lethargic and listless, your child will feel uncomfortable dealing with the HFMD symptoms and may feel sad being homebound for more than a week. Look on the bright side – when was the last time you get to spend so much time with your child alone? Though sick, your child will likely enjoy your undivided attention. If your family is open to screen time, you can indulge your child with his favourite movie. Otherwise, work on simple craft activities together, like this lion mask. Set up a teepee or makeshift indoor tent with blankets and pretend you’re at a safari camp! When stuck indoors, imagination works wonders to broaden the mind.


  • Lots of Tender Loving Care

Lastly, shower your child with lots of tenders, loving care and attention. Emotional encouragement aids in speeding up the recovery process and builds up a stronger parent-child bond too!


What are the best ways to provide relief for your children when they are down with Hand, Food and Mouth Disease? Do share with fellow parents below!

For Parents Toddlers

Checklist: Things to Pack for Childcare or Preschool

Is your child about to start childcare or preschool in Singapore? Stay calm and let’s get ready with the things to prepare for this new milestone. Fret not if you’re feeling unsure how to start preparing because we’ve come up with a list of items you can pack for your child’s comfort in preschool.


This list is non-exhaustive and can differ between preschools but contains the main essential items. Remember to label your child’s name on his or her belongings to minimise the chance of mix-ups!


  • Water Bottle
    Water keeps your little one hydrated throughout the day as they are more energetic and expend a lot of energy. Choose a water bottle that is your child has no problems opening or closing to access the straw for drinking.



  • Milk feeds
    Infant care teachers are trained to handle breast milk. If your child is above 6 months old, you can consider switching your baby from breastmilk to formula milk. Here are some tips on choosing formula milk.In a playgroup, toddlers are given up to two milk feeds a day and you should bring a clean milk bottle with a milk dispenser containing two separate portions of formula milk for easy preparation. Check with the school on the schedule especially if your child is going to full-day childcare and will be napping there.


  • Diapers/Underwear
    If your child has yet to be toilet trained, you will need to pack at least 4 pieces of disposable diapers for frequent diaper changes. Otherwise, pack in briefs or panties for your toilet-trained child. When your child shows signs of readiness, teachers will support potty-training and parents can also play their part at home to prepare your son or daughter to go diaper-free. 


  • Additional clothing
    You will need to pack clothes for your child to change into after bath time or water play. It is recommended that you pack in a long sleeved sleepsuit if your child attends a childcare centre with air-conditioning. Some school have a different set of uniform for naptime, and some may not allow home clothes to be worn. Do check with your child’s school to clarify. An additional spare set of clothes will come in handy in case it is dirtied.


  • Towel
    A medium sized bath towel for drying off after bathtime is needed. Bamboo bath towels are soft, eco-friendly and absorbent. Choose a size that is small enough for your child to handle.


  • Wet bag
    Soiled clothes will be placed in a wet bag or plastic bag for laundering at home. This is to prevent other items in the bag from getting dirty. You can purchase waterproof stickers so they can withstand washes.


Pack a spare set of clothes in your child’s school bag for childcare or preschool in case of emergency situations.


  • Cot Mattress Cover
    For children who attend full-day childcare, they will be napping in school and will need a mattress cover for the mattress that your child will be sleeping on. Some childcare centres include this item in the list of things to pay for during registration, and the school will take care of the washing and labelling. Do check with the school on the arrangement for this.


  • Pillow/Blanket
    You can pack along a small pillow and blanket to make nap time more comfortable for your child. Letting him or her to choose which pillow and blanket to bring gives them more autonomy over their decisions. A light and thin blanket will provide a cosy sleep setting in school.While it may help your child overcome anxiety, it is not advisable to bring his or her favourite toy as there is the likelihood of loss or damage.


Teddy stays home – bringing beloved possessions to preschool or childcare are not encouraged as there is a risk that it will be misplaced or damaged.


  • Snacks
    Childcare centres provide snacks, but a small container of snacks that your child loves is handy to have for nibbling on the way home from school.


Finally, with the number of items to pack, you will likely need two school bags – one to store the bedding and another for the rest of the items. To get your child excited for school, bring him or her shopping for their very own school bags!


Has your child started preschool or childcare yet? Tell us, how did you prepare him or her for that very first day of school?

For Parents Toddlers Uncategorized

Tips on Preparing Your Child for Childcare or Preschool

Entering preschool or childcare is a milestone for both parents and child. Educators at the childcare centre typically take care of the child for up to 12 hours each school day, so that means a large part of their day is spent with trusted adults in a safe place.


The transition to a new routine which involves new faces and environment – preschool or childcare – can be hard to handle and even traumatic. To help with this, we have come up with a few tips on how to prepare your child not only for their first day of preschool but how to adapt with lesser tears.


1. Prepare a comfort item

A comfort item provides emotional security for your child, helping them to deal with the anxiety they experience when away from home for long hours. It can be something that your child already has an attachment to, or a brand new item purchased together.

You can even entrust them to safe keep a personal belonging of yours, like a scarf or handkerchief, until the end of the school day. This reassures them that you will be back to pick them up.


2. Read books about preschool
Read books about entering preschool together with your child shows them at a glance what preschool is all about, what to expect, and how they will learn new things with new friends.


3. Adjust your schedule at home

Ask for a copy of the schedule from your child’s centre and note when the nap times and bath times are. A few months before they start preschool officially, gradually adjust the schedule at home to match the preschool’s meal and nap times. This will somewhat let the rhythms of the preschool’s schedule feel more natural.

Children get to play and interact with friends and teachers in preschool and childcare, and be engaged in meaningful activities that support those developmental milestones.


4. Get your child involved

Visiting the preschool during drop-off and pick-up hours with your child allows them to observe the procedure of how the students bid goodbye to their parents (during drop-off) and reassure them that you will be back for them when school ends (during pick-up). In the process, you can even introduce your child to their future teacher(s) to build familiarity.


Also, preparing for preschool involves packing a whole list of items and labelling them. Giving your child the autonomy of deciding the items they want to bring to preschool and the responsibility of labelling them instils a sense of responsibility and pride.


5. Provide sufficient time for your child to ease in

It is natural if your child exhibits signs of anxiety or apprehension on entering the childcare premises. Most, if not all, preschools allow parents to accompany their child for the first three days and for half-day each time.


If you are unable to do so, sit down with your child and reassure them that you will be back to pick them up, no matter what. After that, say goodbye with confidence as your little one will be able to pick up on any tension or nervousness in your voice.

Preschools in Singapore offer half-day, full-day or three-hour programmes, catering to different family’s needs.


Even with these tips, every child reacts differently and it would be reasonable to give your child about one or two months to fully adjust and settle down after making friends. This will also provide the teacher(s) and your child with time to build up their bond, so your child knows that there are trusted adults who will care for him when mummy and daddy are not with him in preschool.


What was your child’s first day at preschool or childcare like? Do share your experience with us too!

For Parents Toddlers

How to Choose the Right Childcare Centre or Preschool  


Choosing a childcare centre that fits both the needs of your family and your child is essential as it will be the place where your child spends the bulk of their waking hours, learning, playing, napping and eating.


Choosing the right preschool requires some research and visiting the schools before enrolling your child in the ideal one.

Here are some main factors of consideration that parents have when choosing a preschool:

  • Location

A centre that is located either near your workplace, home, or near the home of the caregiver who helps when parents are at work, is ideal as it reduces the hassle of making an extra stop during the peak hour rush. There are many centres which are conveniently located in shopping malls near MRT stations or business parks. Remember to factor in travelling time if you intend to place your child in a centre near your house, as childcare centres charge late fees for parents who cannot pick up their children on time.


  • Credibility

Childcare centres in Singapore are required to undergo a rigorous licensing assessment by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and licences ranging from 6 months, 12 months and 24 months are handed out accordingly. A centre with a 24-month licence have surpassed minimum licensing requirements and are of excellent quality.

Search for reviews online or check with parents whose children are enrolled in your shortlisted centre to affirm your choice.


  • Curriculum and Enrichment classes

Most childcare centres aim to prepare children for primary school in Singapore in terms of literacy, math, social and overall development. Apart from checking on the curriculum that the centre uses, ask about enrichment classes that the centre provides. Usually, these enrichment classes are provided by external trainers and provide your child with an additional skill.


Preschool helps children learn teamwork and social awareness.


  • Teachers
    Preschool teachers are required to be certified in early childhood education. Most teachers will be required to attend training courses to keep their skills relevant. Check on the staff strength, training policies, staff turnover rate at the centre and observe how the principal interacts with the teachers. A high turnover rate might be a tell-tale sign that the teachers are dissatisfied with the management or team at that particular preschool.


  • Teacher-Child Ratio
    The minimum teacher-child ratio as stipulated by ECDA is 1:8 for playgroup, 1:12 for Nursery 1, 1:15 for Nursery 2; 1:20 for K1 and 1:25 for K2. In most schools, there will be a qualified assistant teacher helping out. The lower the ratio, the more attention each child receives.


  • Environment
    Before confirming your choice, make a visit personally to the centre to get a feel of how the school is. Are the classrooms closed or open-concept? Is it well-lit, well ventilated and spacious? Do the children appear well adjusted and happy? How do the teachers deal with misbehaviour?


  • Parent-Teacher Communication

Most preschools schedule a Parent-Teacher Meeting twice a year. You can look forward to quick updates when you send and pick up your child from school. Preschools use either a communications book or an app for more detailed communication between teachers and parents. There will be photos and videos uploaded for parents to view for preschools who use applications.


  • School fees and subsidy

Raising children in Singapore can be a hefty investment, so school fees range for infant care, childcare and kindergarten can be at both ends of the spectrum. Work out the finances and pick a school that is affordable for the family. There are also Government subsidies to support working mums, providing some relief on the pockets.


Overall, finding a perfect preschool centre can be tricky and the most important thing is to ensure that your child enjoys the environment, and is having fun learning at the centre. What is your top concern when it comes to selecting a preschool or childcare centre of your kids? Do share them too!