Two healthcare professionals share the four pillars of holistic growth even amid a global health crisis

Photo by Andrew Seaman/Unsplash

Staying indoors, working from home, washing hands multiple times a day and keeping a safe social distance may well be the new normal. Moms all over the country have been at the forefront of every household’s protection from the pandemic, with some having to juggle a number of responsibilities.

The health crisis however is far from over. With the threat of COVID-19 still apparent, moms can take substantial steps to help their children cope with the crisis and reframe their outlook. To help deal with the stress that comes with the coronavirus pandemic, dermatologist Dr. Gaile-Robredo Vitas and pediatrician Dr. Cristal Laquindanum have shared the following tips to ease your worries and show kids that support is there through this crisis.


The quarantine period is not a time for picky eaters

After nearly two months of enhanced community quarantine, those who manage the household know that the usual food selections are now limited and harder to come by.

For kids to enjoy a variety of food that’s readily available, Dr. Laquindanum suggests that parents “treat food as food, and avoid using it as a bribe or punishment” on top of recognizing the importance of modeling or cases where young children tend to imitate what their parents do. Dr. Laquindanum also recommends that parents show their kids that they also like eating the healthy food they serve since this is one technique that gives a high food acceptance among young ones.


Maintain a healthy sleep schedule

Young children, especially babies and toddlers, don’t have a sense of day and night so it’s important that parents establish and stick to a reasonable sleep schedule. To ease babies and toddlers into a fixed sleeping schedule, Dr. Laquindanum stresses the importance of having a night-time routine that incorporates a bit of fun through reading, storytelling or dancing. “The important thing is to bond and make memories with them,” she says.

Dr. Vitas also adds that a quick night-time massage while applying lotion would help keep the little ones calm before bedtime. “Give your babies a massage—it’s a way of conveying love. Babies who are massaged more are calmer and cry less.”


Introduce creative play

Boredom is the perfect opportunity to cultivate creativity, but pacifying babies and toddlers with smartphones causes them to develop screen dependency, which is harmful in the long run. “Let your children be bored,” Dr. Laquindanum says, before firing off better alternatives like role playing scenarios, creating pillow or blanket forts or gamifying simple household chores. These strengthen bonds and stimulates children’s imagination and creativity, which is good for holistic growth.


Pick the right cleansing products

“Our skin is our body’s first line of defense against everything,” says Dr. Vitas, emphasizing the importance of cleansing in babies’ overall development. “If mali ang pagpapaligo, you can actually harm baby’s skin.”

Using just water isn’t practical as it can’t fully remove dirt and oil-soluble impurities and ironically, ends up drying baby’s skin. Regular soap can increase baby’s pH levels beyond the ideal amount, removing essential lipids. That’s why Dr. Vitas suggests only using dermatologist-prescribed cleansers and hypoallergenic and pH-neutral products—like Cetaphil—that are specially formulated to replenish skin moisture and strengthen natural defenses.


Don’t forget to take a break

“It takes a village to raise a child,” Dr. Laquindanum says, citing the importance of a strong support system both online and in real life. Other members of the family should also pitch in from time to time, acting as moms’ initial support group that she can call on whenever she needs to take a break.

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