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Annoying toddler’s habits that are actually good for them

Annoying toddler’s habits that are actually good for them

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“Again, Ma, read it again!” for the 100th time is not the most satisfying thing to hear as new parents. Loving your children doesn’t mean they won’t irritate you. Toddlerhood is when your child develops emotionally, cognitively, and socially, making them curious and eager to explore and test boundaries. This could be chaotic but, coming to think of it, even rewarding at times.

Even though your toddlers may sometimes drive you a little crazy, these 5 behaviours are actually crucial to your child’s learning and emotional development. 

1. Request the same book, song or show over and over again

You might have read the same book, sung the same song or played the same show about 100 times now and would feel exhausted. But, here’s what you need to know.

  • Hearing the same words repeatedly helps with language development.

Yes, there are fewer words and minimal variety, but your kids often engage with what they hear, and they hear it often. This helps them to process those words and remember them effectively.

  • It helps them to feel in control throughout the day.

The routine of reading the same book repeatedly can help your children have a little structure in a world full of surprises new experiences, and seem crazy to them.

  • Contributes to a peaceful sleep 

Prioritise your child’s bedtime stories as part of a bedtime ritual to help them settle, to help them reach a calm state, allowing them to fall asleep easily.

Parent dealing with annoying toddler habits
2. Make a huge mess

To clean all day and night might be your worst nightmare, and everything your little one gets a hold of might end up being a mess. It might be tough to embrace the mess as parents, but here’s what you need to know.

  • Messy play encourages your children to develop gross and fine motor skills and coordination and concentration skills. 

This helps your toddler take risks, negotiate, solve problems, be creative and discover new things. Hence, remember the mess might irritate you, but your little one’s brain is growing too,

  • It helps your toddler gain confidence.

Messy play is not about creating a finished object, so children who lack confidence or are scared of failure would not hesitate to try out new things and be innovative with what they’re around, which would help build their confidence and improve their focus.

  • Improves their problem-solving skills

You can use this opportunity to teach your child the importance of responsibility. Your little ones may not always live upto your standards but involving them while cleaning up the mess, putting their toys back into the box and arranging the mess might help them with problem-solving skills as it consists of thinking and intelligent work.

3. Tantrum

Tantrums are one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. No matter how good and bubbly you try to be around your little one, tantrums are hard to avoid. You may feel helpless and overwhelmed but believe it or not, these tantrums are an essential part of your toddler’s emotional health and well-being.

  • Better out than in

When we cry, we release stress from our body (our tears contains cortisol – stress hormones). So does your toddler. You may notice pre-tantrum signs such as anger, frustration, or whining and post-tantrum signs such as calmness and an overall better mood. The world is big, crazy, and very new from their point of view, so they become emotional when their thoughts are blocked, or things don’t work their way. This results in tantrums which will help them get over that discomfort eventually. 

Annoying things toddlers do you should know as a parent
  • Better sleep

Most parents believe it’s better to put them to sleep than deal with tantrums. However, just like adults, children also wake up because they’re stressed or trying to process something happening in their lives. Hence, allowing your child to get to the end of the tantrum improves emotional well-being and may result in better sleep through the night.

  • Your child will feel safe to tell you how they feel.

Most often, children don’t use tantrums to manipulate or get what they want. When their toy is broken or their building blocks aren’t cooperation with them, all they need is some love and comfort. However, even if they were wrong, you can stand firm with a ‘no’ and still emphasise with them.

However, toddlers are able to learn how to express their feelings and they just need to be guided in the right direction. When children don’t accurately describe how they are feeling, you may have a much harder time knowing how to help them. Hence, it is important to label your children’s feelings for them, help them notice other people’s feelings and watch shows and read books where feelings are highlighed. Until your child goes to school, you will have to help them create their vocabulary.

Active toddler bouncing around
4. Bounce around and refuse to sit still

It may be hard to handle a wiggly worm all the time and asking your toddler to sit still maybe part and parcel of parenting. However, here’s what you need to know.

Movement stimulates your toddler’s brains and it releases chemicals that contribute towards focus, memory, motivation and mood. In other words, the fundamental in the art of learning.

5. Cling to you for dear life

A clingy toddler can be irritating while chatting with friends when going out or dropping them off at nursery for the first time. 

  • Hugging could make your toddler smarter

A newborn learns to navigate through physical contact such as skin-on-skin contact and hugs. Touch is the first to develop out of our five senses so nurturing touch provides the stimulation young brains need for normal growth and development.  

  • Hugging can stop tantrums

Just like adults, even children lose control of their emotions and when your toddler has an emotional tantrum, their motive is never to ruin your day. They’re only releasing emotions in response to something in their environment.

parent holding on to clingy child

Hugging your toddler at these times of intense emotional outbursts will help calm them down and help them realise that you are there to support them during hard times.

Toddlers can sometimes drive you crazy and drain all the energy you have. But most of what your child is doing on a daily basis helps explore the love of learning, innovating and creating. Let your child be the next great explorer and encourage this love for life and its wonders as much as you can. If you have any questions regarding your toddler’s health or would like some medical advice, you can consult a paediatrician or a general physician from the comfort of your home via the oDoc app. Click here to download oDoc now.

“As your kids grow, they may forget what you said, but won’t forget how you made them feel”.
-Kevin Heath-

Reference
  1. 7 Annoying Things Toddlers Do That Are Actually Good for Them, Pick Any Two (2020)
  2. Why making a mess can be beneficial for children, Good start early learning (2017)
  3. 10 Reasons Your Toddler’s Tantrum Is Actually a Good Thing, Parents (2021)
  4. A Step by Step Guide to Help Toddlers Express Their Feelings, AT Parenting survival (2022)
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News & Media

Allianz Lanka Partners with oDoc to Create Value for Customers

Allianz Lanka Partners with oDoc to Create Value for Customers

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Blog Article Mental Health

How To Manage Stress

How To Manage Stress

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With the cost of living rising rapidly by the day, the currency devaluing, and the country falling into economic decline, it is no surprise that STRESS LEVELS ARE AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH. I just grew 10 additional grey hairs typing this sentence.

So many of these factors are mostly out of your control. But there are many actions you can take to relieve your stress and approach difficult situations differently.

Be active 

Running on the treadmill won’t make your stress completely disappear. But staying active with daily exercise can relieve some of the emotional intensity you’re feeling. This helps clear your mind and lets you face issues more calmly. Exercise is shown to release endorphins – natural chemicals in your body that help you feel better and more positive.

exercise

 

Eat and drink healthily

Alcohol and binge-eating doesn’t make your stress vanish. They can help in the moment but can actually add to your stress in the long run. You’ve heard it before but you’ll hear it again. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet can alleviate some of the stress you’re feeling.

 

Identify stress triggers for yourself

Sometimes, the causes of stress are within your control. Maybe you are not able to manage your time well between work and family or maybe you have an upcoming deadline. You can improve your time management skills by asking for help either from your loved ones or a licensed professional, setting priorities and pacing yourself.

causes of stress
stress management

 

Connect with your loved ones

Having a supportive community of family, friends and colleagues can help ease your troubles and even get you to think about a problem in a different way. Having a laugh, doing a fun activity, gossiping over a meal are all excellent stress relievers!

 

Say ‘’No’’

With that being said, it’s okay to say ‘’No.’’ Sometimes saying ‘’yes’’ to everything that is demanded of you can burn out your time and energy. Setting those boundaries for yourself to re-energize and refresh can alleviate the hectic nature of your life.

say no
realistic expectations

 

Set realistic expectations

Maybe you’re extremely ambitious and want to give your 100% to the 100 things you’re working on. But be mindful of setting realistic goals for yourself, in terms of what you can and can’t control.

 

Have some ‘me’ time

Taking a few hours or days a week to relax and do the things you enjoy can do wonders for your mental health. Read that book you’ve been putting off, listen to a new Spotify playlist or practice meditation.

self care

Try to be positive

We know. How can you be positive when the world is on fire around us. But look for the positive things in your life and the people and things you’re grateful for. Glass half-full instead of glass half-empty..

Maybe you’ve tried all the above and you’re still highly strung out. Talking to a licensed mental health professional can help you manage your stress better. You can speak to one on oDoc today! Download the app now.

Sources:

  • Stress: 10 Ways to Ease Sress, 2020, Cleveland Clinic
  • 10 Stress Busters, 2018, NHS
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Blog Article

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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You’re going about your day as usual but all of a sudden you get abdominal cramping! You brush it off as nothing too serious and chalk it up to maybe being constipated. But you swear you’ve been eating enough veggies and hitting that fiber intake.  And then you remember, “Wasn’t I just having diarrhea a few days ago” ? Maybe it’s that delicious koththu takeout you had that’s giving you stomach discomfort. But you’ve been experiencing these symptoms in and out for quite a few months now. What if I said all these symptoms of stomach discomfort and irregular bowel movements point to a larger underlying illness at hand?

What Is IBS?

IBS, short for irritable bowel syndrome, is rather a common disorder that targets the large intestine which affects 10-15% of the global population. Common signs and symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation, or both. These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time. Unfortunately, IBS is a chronic condition, so you need to manage it long term. It can be frustrating to live with and may impact your day-to-day life but there are IBS treatments that can alleviate and control your symptoms!

You must be wondering how exactly one gets IBS, however, the exact cause is unknown – it has been linked to food passing through your gut too quickly or too slowly, oversensitive nerves in your gut, stress and a family history of IBS. IBS triggers don’t follow any hard and fast rules. Different people have different triggers, such as certain foods, poor mental health, poor sleep, infections, hormonal changes and changes in gut bacteria.

IBS is a functional disorder which means tests would prove inconclusive as there aren’t structural changes in the large intestine or bowel tissue to identify. This means that it can only be diagnosed by your doctor, who is conveniently only three taps away from being consulted on oDoc!

But try not to stress too much about it because stress can worsen or trigger symptoms because of the brain-gut connection, which we covered in our previous blog. Only a small number of IBS sufferers have severe symptoms and pain.

How IBS Affects The Body

  1. Abdominal cramping. Lower abdominal pain which tends to decrease after a bowel movement. Whilst there are certain medications that ease the pain, you can also try modifying your diet to include less FODMAPs. FODMAPs are small carbs that many people with IBS cannot digest well which may cause hydrogen gas build up leading to bloating and cramps. If you find yourself being sensitive to FODMAP rich foods like legumes, dairy products and high fructose foods (including honey and processed foods with high fructose corn syrup), try cutting them down and see if your symptoms alleviate. Since your sensitivity to FODMAPs may differ to others it’s always best to speak to a gastroenterologist to seek the best course of action. 

2. Changes in bowel movements. Around 1/3 of patients experience diarrhea but others experience  constipation-predominant IBS.. However, unlike diarrhea, if you have constipation the abdominal pain usually eases after the bowel movement and often leaves you with a sensation of an incomplete bowel movement. Having both alternating diarrhea and constipation is one type of IBS that affects about 20% of IBS sufferers. 

3. Gas and Bloating. One of the more frustrating symptoms is bloating. If you have IBS your gut has an altered digestion process, which results in more gas being produced leaving your stomach in an uncomfortable state of fullness and tightness.

Stress Influences IBS

The gut is often referred to as the ‘second brain’ so it’s not surprising that IBS is a stress-sensitive disorder. Clinical studies show that the amount of stress you are under is an important factor for the development of IBS symptoms. Your anxiety and stress induces several hormonal changes which affect your gut and cause that diarrhea and stomach churning that you sadly know all too well!

Try to identify the stressors in your life and develop healthy habits to cope with it like mentioned below! You can also check out our blog on how to reduce anxiety as well!

  1. Deep breathing exercises such as in meditation or yoga send messages to your brain to calm down and relax.
  2. You can also seek mental health services to learn better coping mechanisms and other cognitive-behavioral techniques to identify and combat your stress. Whilst mental health may be a stigmatized topic in Sri Lanka, oDoc offers you a private, quick and easy way to consult qualified mental health professionals from the comfort of your own home who are simply three taps away!

3. You need to make sure you get adequate sleep. At least seven to eight hours per night. Getting plenty of sleep will reassure your body it’s not in a state of distress!

4. Exercise the stress away! Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These are natural painkillers which elevate your mood. This probably explains why going to the gym even on days you don’t feel like dragging yourself there, is bound to lift your spirits!

When To See A Doctor

Since symptoms differ from person to person it’s important to consult either your GP or a gastroenterologist so they can provide you with a proper diagnosis and rule out other diseases.  However, if you notice a change in the pattern of your symptoms or new symptoms (such as changes in bowel movement or a different type of pain that significantly interferes with your daily activities) consult with your doctor straight away on oDoc.

Download oDoc today on the App Store or Play store.

References

  1. What Is IBS?, NHS (2021)
  2. 9 Signs And Symptoms Of IBS, Healthline (2019)
  3. Impact Of Psychological Stress On Irritable Bowel Syndrome, NCBI (2014)
  4. How Stress and Anxiety Can Aggravate IBS Symptoms, Healthline (2017)

  

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Blog Article

Insomnia – Everything You Need To Know

Insomnia - Everything You Need To Know

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female with insomnia struggling to sleep at night

People with Insomnia find it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep or even go back to sleep if woken up. Insomnia may cause someone to feel tired when woken up, drain their energy level, resulting in a low performance at work, mood swings and even some adverse health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and weight gain.

The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person. However, an average person needs at least six to nine hours of sleep. Quality sleep plays a vital role in overall well-being. Not getting sufficient sleep regularly can significantly impact physical and mental health along with the quality of life. 

What are some insomnia symptoms?

Insomnia is defined as: 

  • Difficulty in falling asleep at night
  • Waking up in the middle of the night
  • Waking up too early

As a result, here are a few other symptoms related to the lack of sleep:

  • Feeling drained out/tired
  • Difficulty in focusing or paying attention 
  • Increase in carelessness
  • Feeling tired and lethargic during the day
  • Feeling anxious or depressed 

Insomnia can be both short-term and long-term. Short term insomnia tends to last for a few days or weeks and is often triggered by stress. Whereas long-term or chronic insomnia is when sleep difficulties occur at least three times a week for three months or longer.

What causes insomnia?

Insomnia may be the primary problem, or it may be associated with other health conditions. However, several things may contribute to insomnia, including environmental, physiological, and psychological factors.

Causes for chronic insomnia include:

  • Stress: Concerns regarding jobs, education, finance, family and health can affect the mind’s activity at night, making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Schedule: Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes. One of the most essential and well-known circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle. When the sleep schedule is disrupted due to working/studying till late at night, travelling across multiple time zones, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts, it makes it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Poor sleep habits: Eating, watching TV till late, using smartphones, playing video games before bed can interfere with the sleep cycle. Similarly, poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using the bed for work, eating or watching TV.

Common causes of insomnia include:

  • Mental health: Trauma, anxiety, depression could affect the sleeping patterns, leading to insomnia.
  • Medication: Many prescribed drugs can interfere with sleep, especially severe illnesses.
  • Illnesses: Insomnia is influenced by medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, asthma, Parkinson’s and heart diseases. 

Additionally, excessively drinking caffeine may also cause irregular sleeping habits, while nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can interfere with sleep. On the other hand, alcohol may help fall asleep, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.

What are the risk factors of insomnia?

Almost everyone has experienced a couple of sleepless nights. However, the risk of insomnia is more significant if someone falls into a specific demographic or experiences certain lifestyle factors:

 

  • Over the age of 60: Changes in sleep patterns and health.
  • Women: During the menstrual cycle and menopause, the hormonal shifts influence sleep patterns. Further, during menopause, night sweats and hot flashes often disrupt sleep. Insomnia is common during pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters.
  • Mental or physical health condition. 
  • Constant stress
  • Irregular schedule

How can insomnia be prevented?

Good sleep habits will help improve sleep and prevent insomnia. 

  • Consistent bedtime and wake up time
  • Stay active (regular physical activities)
  • Create a bedtime routine that will help get in the mood to sleep (Taking a warm bath, reading or listening to soft music.)
  • Avoid or minimise caffeine, alcohol, and prevent the use of nicotine.
  • Avoid large meals and beverages before bedtime.
  • Keep the bedroom dark, quiet and cool to make it comfortable.

Insomnia is not a nuisance or a small inconvenience but an actual sleep disorder that can significantly impact one’s physical, mental and emotional health. 

If you think you have insomnia, feel free to reach out to a healthcare professional via the oDoc app as soon as possible. They can assist you in exploring the possible causes and offer help with finding the best treatment for your needs.

References

  1. Insomnia, Cleveland clinic (2020)
  2. Insomnia, Mayo Clinic (2016)
  3. Everything you need to know about Insomnia, Healthline (2022)
  4. Circadian Rhythm, Sleep Foundation (2022)
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