Tag Archives: Health

How good are your First Aid skills?

I always wanted to become a medical doctor and was always aware of the fact that there are some basic skills everyone should know and I did renew my First Aid skills regularly. Especially since I’m a mother.

We all know that it’s important to know First Aid because we never know what happens next in life. Unsuspected situations can happen every minute. Some might try to ignore it, hoping that it will never happen to them, but things do happen… It surely doesn’t harm (never!) to learn First Aid skills. Especially when we have children, we should know at least the basics.

Those who know me, know that I’m always carrying a First Aid kit with me when I’m out and about (especially since I have children) and I did have to use it quite often and unfortunately not only for minor bruises…

I did teach my children some First Aid basics and they know exactly what is dangerous in the house. But as all children, they are keen to learn to be more and more independent and responsible also for more dangerous tasks – but usually do them when I or my husband are around. Nevertheless things can still happen to them as they can happen to us adults too…

Yesterday, my daughters did get up pretty early and wanted to make a big surprise for mum and dad by preparing the breakfast. This included also a nice cup of tea. My husband did put hot water in a thermos before leaving for his morning run and one of my girls did pour us a nice cup of tea. She did it very carefully and everything was fine. But it happend when she tried to close the mechanism of the thermos: hot water spilled over her wrist. She didn’t say anything, she didn’t cry, she tried even to hide it from us. When I came downstairs a few minutes later we realized that she must have burnt her wrist and I hold her wrist under cool water for almost 20 minutes. I then put a ice pack on the wrist and applied some burn gel on the wound several times until I thought that the wound was fine (the skin was still intact) and did add some special cream. Everything seemed fine for the whole day. The skin was intact and she didn’t have any pain.

Until this morning. She was playing outside when the wound all of a sudden did burst. I knew that an infection could be dangerous and so we went to the hospital, where they had to remove a piece of the dead skin,  disinfect the rest of the wound, put on a special medication and apply a bandage.


Did I do anything wrong? Well, not for the “First Aid”, but afterwards I should have seen that the wound needed a bandage. The wound was bigger than a 2 Euro coin and it was dark red… The nurse in the emergency room said that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I remembered know that I should have known better…

Even if we do refresh our First Aid skills regularly, there are always small parts that we can miss. I do feel guilty for omitting this bandage-part but I’m incredibly glad that she will be fine soon, that she doesn’t feel any pain. – The next time I’ll go to the doctor earlier, that’s for sure, and I’ll definitely refresh my First Aid skills as soon as possible.

I wish you all a safe summer. xxx

If you live in the Netherlands, at the EHBO site you can find plenty of advices – and just sign up for your course!

Here you get medical advice online by professinal people Medicinenet, JustanswerWebmd.


5 tips for when our children have the flu

This is the time of the year where children are prone to influenza or flu. I’ve just spent one week with sick children at home and it’s not over yet. We can find several sites about the symptoms and general advice, but I will just to list up five tips about how to cope with children with a flu. – There are many effective ways to beat the flu and to encourage a speedy recovery.

1) Keep the kids cool

Physicians often recommend to keep the patients well-hydrated. As the medicines have different names and components around the world, I’ll not name any, but what is very important are liquids. Warm herbal tea (with or without honey), juices (if its not a tummy-flu), water. All kind of refreshment is highly appreciated by the youngsters: you can cool face, hands and feet with cool washclothes or even do leg compresses. Airing the rooms regularly is a must, and changing pillows and pillowcases more often than usual provide a fresh feeling, especially when the children are feverish. What can help is to set up beds a bit everywhere in the house, in order to keep children close to caregivers and guarantee better nights. There’s nothing worse (at least for me!) than to stand up several times per night…

2) Make a list

When we take care of a sick child it’s advisable to make a list about several things: what kind of medicine we administrate, when, to which child, what temperature it had (when etc.) and whatever deviations or abnormalities we observe (and when), what they eat, drink etc. This is even more important if we have to take care of more than one child and longer than one day. And it’s a huge help when we have to explain to a doctor what our child is going through.

3) What to eat?

When the children are already convalescent getting them to eat often becomes a parent’s biggest challenge. Appetites usually shrink andt hey have no interest in food. A soft diet can help: herbal teas, broths and sometimes popsicles can help with hydration and homemade chicken soup is the best comfort food.

My children’s comfort food when they are ill is yogurt, chicken, sweet potatoes, rice, or plain pasta with olive oil and parmigiano.

4) Entertaining Kids With Flu

When the children are already in the final phase of recovery but are not healthy enough to go to school, they often get bored. A gentle entertainment is always helpful. As expats we usually don’t have grandparents, aunts or uncles living nearby, so we have to figure out alternatives. Neighbors or friends can lend some books or games in order to offer our children a new activity. But you can also dig out old games, books, CD’s, DVD’s or let them paint, color or write something.
In this period of the year, before Christmas, writing or decorating Christmas cards keeps kids busy and you can spend a nice time together. Craft projects are also a nice diversion. Water colors, model building, decorating or painting windows with glass-writing pens etc. are also nice indoor alternatives to electronic entertainment.

5) Relax and take care of yourself

After the first days where we often feel stressed having children at home because we have to adapt to this situation, it’s really a benefit to the whole family if we just lean back and try to relax. Cancel all the appointments, stay home with the sick children and do everything possible to make everyone feel good enough to be able to have a rest.

Parents need to take care of themselves, have enough sleep, drink and eat enough and exercice if they can. Only caregivers who feel well can give their children the best help to have a rapid recovery. If our children feel that staying at home is inconvenient, they will feel guilty and this probably won’t help their recovery process.

I wish all those who are in the same situation as I am right now, to be patient and to make the best of this situation. –  And, of course, I wish everyone a speedy recovery 😉

What to say to parents of a child with a disability

I just read a post by Tatu and thought that listing up a few things to say to a parent of a child with a disability would help a bit.

A while ago I wrote a blog about what to say to parents with twins because I am convinced that giving a positive advice about „what to say“ is more helpful than „what not to say“, as it gives you the chance to say the right thing.

I decided to follow a great article by a parent of a disabled child, to give some advices about what to say.

If you ever happen to be in a situation like the one described in Tatu’s post, it can happen that you feel uncomfortable and that you don’t know what to say.

If you are a stranger to the family, a friendly smile is great. Recognizing the family as real people is enough. But if you would like to know them better, or you’re already friend with the family who has a sick child or a child with disability, avoiding them is the worst thing you can do. As friends or family you should try to recognize them as parents who are experts about this child and avoid any kind of „good advices“.

Here are a few hints about what you could say.

1) For those who are close enough and feel that they have the right to know more, you can ask questions like: “I notice James isn’t talking/walking etc.?”

Usually, parents then would tell you about their child. Let them tell you as much as they want. If not, please don’t insist. They’re probably not comfortable talking about it yet. If they are, listen and learn and maybe ask questions that show them that you’re willing to learn.

2) „I don’t know much (or anything) about that, can you tell me more (or recommend something I should read)?“ This shows that you’re interested to get to know more about them and their situation.

3)  “What kind of toy would she/he enjoy playing with?” Every question concerning the character of the child and his likes, show that you consider him as a person.

4) You can also praise the parents for how they deal with their child by saying things like: “You sure understand his/her speech better than I do.”  “You know how to make him/her happy.”  “You’re doing a good job with him/her.”  “You do a good job balancing your attention  between him/her and the other kids.”

5) When you encounter the parents, try to find something positive to say about the child. „He/she gave me a beautiful smile“ or „I saw him/her climb up a step by himself/herself“

Please do realize that parents with children with disabilites hear negative things all the time. They’re always being told how their child does not meet developmental markers on time, so anything positive is heartwarming.

The best gift you can make to a parent of a disabled child is to show empathy. Listen to what they say and accept that they might tell you things that make you feel uncomfortable. You might not share the feelings they have, but they often need these feelings in order to cope with their situation. A comment like “That’s tough,” is appropriate for most of these situations.

And if you already know them better, you can also offer to help. You can offer to do some grocery shopping, any practical help is mostly welcome. Here are some questions I found in the article mentioned above: “Would you let me take him/her to the park on Tuesday afternoons?”  “Want some help getting the wheelchair into and out of the car when you go to therapy sessions? I’m always around in the mornings….”   “If you could use an extra hand going grocery shopping, let me know.”

Be very honest. If you would like to help but you don’t really know how, ask for a hint: “I’ve been trying to think how I could help–but I don’t know anything about [child’s condition/ parents’ situation].  What do you need most this coming week?  I’m free from one to three Tuesday through Friday.”

If you want to become friend of a family with a disabled child or keep your friends who have a disabled child etc., then use good words and be honest and open. Don’t be afraid to tell them your fears, they will probably be keen to give you helpful advices.

How to listen to our children and how to make them listen to us

LISTENI just read an interesting post from Tessa and a parenting course she was following about how to listen to our children. It’s not always possible to give full attention when our child (or our children!) talk to us. The advise Tessa has been given was to stop what you’re doing (yes, also blogging!) “turn and look at them and listen properly”. And if we really can’t stop our task, we still can tell them “I’m busy but in 10 minutes I will stop and listen” and really remember to do so. This works pretty well if your children can wait that long (or even longer) and do remember what they wanted to tell you… If not, my advice is to make them write down what they wanted to say or make a picture. Or ask them to give you a hint, so that you can help them reminding what they wanted to say.

The second thing she learnt was “about reflecting back and repeating back to your child what he has said to you”. This is very important as it ensures your child that you are really hearing what he says and that you emphasize.

Tessa’s post did remind me of what one of my daughters said to me the other day. She was busy playing when I tried to tell her something and she said to me : “Not now, mom, I’m busy. Talk to me later”.

She was applying the same method to me! So, I’m wondering: shouldn’t we expect the same behaviour from our children too? If we want to tell them something, shouldn’t they stop doing what they’re doing, turn and look at us and listen properly, maybe even reflect back and repeat to us what we were saying? This would ensure us parents that they are really hearing what we said, right? I must confess that I ask my children to do so with really important things, but maybe I should do it more often.

I would also add another tip: with children who really have a hard time to listen or generally focus, if you bend down or over to them and touch their shoulders or look them straight in the eyes, they listen much better than if you talk to them from a distance.

By the way, this works also with collegues, friends, partners etc. (you might skip the bending down part…)


Recommended book(s):

How to Talk So Kids will Listen & Listen So Kids will Talk, Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. New York: Scribner Classics, 2012.