8 things every parent needs to know about Traditional Chinese Medicine for kids

February 22, 2019
  • When can I start my child on TCM?
    1 / 8 When can I start my child on TCM?

    While most of her young patients are between the ages of one and seven years, Eu Yan Sang’s senior TCM physician, Wu Min says she has treated babies as young as one month old.

    Miao Meng, a consultant TCM physician at Raffles Chinese Medicine, shares that babies and young tots can turn to such medicine to treat common childhood ailments like fever, colds and runny nose. But you should never feed your kid any herbal medication without consulting a licensed practitioner first.

    And always stick to the recommended dosage. Babies and young children have a different body constitution from adults, so the selection and prescription dosage of medication would be in smaller amounts, too, explains Meng.

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  • My child hates bitter medicine. How do I make him drink it?
    2 / 8 My child hates bitter medicine. How do I make him drink it?

    Most Chinese herbal medications are dispensed in powdered form. The best way to take it is to dissolve it in some warm water, but you can also mix it with undiluted honey, syrup drinks, milk or porridge, says Min.

    She adds that it’s a misconception that all Chinese herbal medications are bitter. “But it’s certainly a taste that one has to get used to. It’s also a matter of habit,” says Min. “If your kid is exposed to the taste from young, he’s likely to be able to accept it quite easily.”

    Related: 6 ways to boost your child’s immunity

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  • My kid is still coughing despite seeing the doctor 2 weeks ago. Should I try TCM next?
    3 / 8 My kid is still coughing despite seeing the doctor 2 weeks ago. Should I try TCM next?

    Why not? Besides prolonged cough, you can also consider tui na or Chinese medicine for conditions like flu, sensitive nose, constipation, stomach ache, fussy eating and poor appetite, says Min.

    She adds that Chinese medicine can go hand-in-hand with Western medication, but be sure to have a two-hour gap between consuming them.

    Related: Recipe for coughs: Zhi Ke Tang congee

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  • What about high fever or food poisoning?
    4 / 8 What about high fever or food poisoning?

    You should still go to a doctor if your child comes down with such conditions that require urgent medical attention, the experts advise. TCM can, however, be helpful for recurring low-grade fever.

    Related: 9 ways to prevent food poisoning in catered food

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  • How do I choose a TCM physician for kids?
    5 / 8 How do I choose a TCM physician for kids?

    Like Western doctors, TCM physicians each have their own specialisation. Li Hua suggests doing your own research to find out which practitioner is experienced in treating paediatric conditions. But first things first: Always choose a registered member from the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (TCMPB), she says.

    According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) website, anyone who wishes to practise TCM in Singapore must be registered with TCMPB and hold a valid practicing certificate issued by it. The TCMPB is a statutory board under MOH. It maintains the Register of TCM Practitioners in Singapore, accredits TCM schools and courses, and regulates the professional conduct and ethics of registered TCM practitioners.

    Related: 7 things you should know about vaccines for babies

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  • Besides taking supplement pills, how can I boost my little one's immunity?
    6 / 8 Besides taking supplement pills, how can I boost my little one's immunity?

    According to Min, paediatric tui na, which is suitable even for babies, helps to improve a child’s overall health by strengthening the immune system. For kids, the gentle and non-invasive session typically lasts about 30 minutes or less each, depending on age and condition.

    “Regular tui na can help your child feel less lethargic and improve his appetite,” she says. This, in turn, gets him to eat more, and also be more adventurous with food choices.

    Related: 5 TCM remedies for digestive problems

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  • Is acupuncture safe for kids?
    7 / 8 Is acupuncture safe for kids?

    It is. But chances are, your child would probably start fidgeting or bawling even before the physician sticks a needle into his acupoint. That’s why most TCM practitioners would prefer not to treat kids with acupuncture, says Min.

    However, older kids aged four and above suffering from myopia may benefit from such treatment, says Meng. As acupuncture is slightly painful, the physician will start off by applying less pressure for patients undergoing it for the first time.

    “This helps the child to become familiar with the treatment and sensations. We don’t use numbing cream. In subsequent treatments, we’ll apply more pressure,” says Meng, adding that parents can help to distract the kids with toys and storytelling.

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  • Is it true that acupuncture can improve my kid's eyesight?
    8 / 8 Is it true that acupuncture can improve my kid's eyesight?

    In TCM, myopia is believed to be related to the poor function of organs and blood circulation around the eye meridian, explains Meng.

    “As the condition is closely linked to the kidney and liver, acupuncture can help improve the condition in certain cases,” she says.

    But the TCM experts added that results vary with each child. “Factors like whether the myopia is heredity and lifestyle changes play a part. For instance, good reading and writing posture, and how frequently the child is on the computer or any electronic device will make a difference to the treatment,” says Min.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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How do you know if you're too soft with your preschooler? Most children like to have or do whatever they want – and that’s where learning to follow rules and thinking about others come in. A positive, warm, fair and consistent style of discipline at home encourages your child to think of others, not just of herself. However, some parents prefer to take a softer approach. But where do you draw the line? Here are 10 signs that you may be too soft with your kid. 1. You never say “no”
No matter how well behaved, every child needs to have limits set on their behaviour at times. And that’s why every parent – including you – occasionally has to say “no” to their kid, whether it’s denying her request for extra sweets, or refusing to let her play past her bedtime. 
2. When she complains, you always give in
It’s very difficult to stand your ground in the face of a raging child who is determined to get her own way. But if you give in to your kindergartener every time she challenges you, she’ll quickly learn that you don’t mean what you say, and she’ll scream even louder the next time. 
3. Her cupboards are full of unopened toys
Although she is bound to have her favourite toys, there’s no point in giving her so much that she just stuffs unopened packages in her cupboard. That suggests you give her too much, too often. 
4. Others say that your child is spoilt
You probably don’t think you overindulge her, so it might come as a shock to you when your friends suggest that you spoil her and are too soft. But if they have noticed this, maybe you need to step back and consider the comment more seriously. 5. She always expects to get her way
Part of growing up involves learning to think of others. A child who is treated too softly by her parents expects to be in the driver’s seat all the time, even with friends. So she assumes, for example, that she’ll always be first in line at every game. 6. You never carry out your threats of punishment
Positive discipline also involves appropriate punishment, when required.  If you find that you make regular threats but never actually carry them out, then your six-year-old will realise you are a soft touch, and that your warnings are hollow. 7. You allow her to be rude to you
Instead of reprimanding her for antisocial and impolite comments, you accept what she says without challenge, perhaps because you think she is being cute. Bear in mind, though, that although you may be tolerant of her rudeness, others won’t be so accepting of it. 8. She is allowed to break the rules all the time
Some people say that rules are made to be broken, but they are usually made to be observed. That’s why you need to encourage her to follow the limits you have set. A soft parent bends the rules so often that they become meaningless. 9. Every day is a “special occasion” Of course, there are days when normal discipline is interpreted more flexibly, for example, on her birthday, at a large family gathering, or during holidays. But these should be infrequent occurrences, not something that happens several times each week. 10. You buy her something every single shopping trip One of the delights of parenting is buying your child a special present – her reaction is heart-warming. However, these experiences become less important if they happen during every shopping expedition, and she will soon lose interest. (Photos: 123RF.com)

10 signs you’re spoiling your preschooler

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