By SOSTHENES PAULO MWITA, 23rd December 2011 @ 11:03, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 3437
EARLY Childhood Development (ECD) experts estimate that 15 percent of children experience sleepwalking episodes, and this sleep anomaly is more dominant in boys than girls. I must mention at the outset that sleepwalking is not a disease but a disorder.
It is imperative to mention at the out that in some tribal settings a sleepwalker is an downright witch, especially when the victim of this fairly rare disorder is an elderly man or woman. In fact, sleepwalkers are not witches. The prevalence of sleepwalking is much higher for children, especially those between the ages of three and seven.
When children sleepwalk, they may do things like roam around the room; open windows or doors and move objects. In more severe cases some sleepwalking children run around screaming at the top of their lungs. There are a number of things that can trigger sleepwalking episodes in a child including genetic disposition, a full bladder, bedwetting, illness, fever or stress. Certain medical drugs and sleep apnea are other causes of sleepwalking.
ECD experts and child psychologists say that children who sleepwalk may also:
sleep talk; be hard to wake up; seem dazed; be clumsy; not respond when spoken to and sit up in bed. Some go through repeated motions such as rubbing their eyes. When children sleepwalk, they are unaware of their surroundings and have no clue what they’re doing.
So to prevent them from being injured, their environment should be made as safe as possible. Parents should fix an alarm on the child’s bedroom door. This will alert an adult whenever the child is outside of his room. Parents should also remove all dangerous objects such as glass, scissors, and chemicals out of the sleeping room.
They should close and lock all the windows and doors that lead outside. Also, keep the floor clear of clutter – including toys and unnecessary furniture. Instead of scaring the sleepwalking child by waking him up, paediatrics suggest that parents should guide the child back to his bed gently. Unfortunately, the medical world does not have a cure for sleepwalking.
Children simply have to outgrow the disorder. However, there are some things parents can do to help a child who suffers from sleepwalking get a better night’s rest. They can create a bedtime routine for the kid and stick to it and minimize the amount of light in the room during
They should also keep the temperature comfortable; reduce the amount of high-energy activities a child engages in before bedtime and eliminate caffeine from your child’s diet. Medical intervention is not usually necessary for children who sleepwalk as this common sleep disorder generally subsides once children enter into their early teen years.
If your child’s sleepwalking episodes happen frequently, contact a paediatrician. It is possible that a good paediatrician may be able to suggest ways to make the sleep disorder in your child more manageable. Childhood insomnia (or sleep disorders) can make it difficult for children to fall asleep, and cause them to wake frequently during the night.
This interferes with youngsters’ ability to get the rest they need to function from day to day. Sleep problems in children can cause any combination of problems that include: irritability; lowered immune systems; developmental delays; poor grades in school; hyperactivity and memory problems Some common culprits of childhood insomnia include being overscheduled, going to bed too late, overstimulation, and stress.
More serious causes of sleep problems in kids include sleep apnea, asthma, side effects of drugs, autism, and restless leg syndrome. A child’s development in the preschool years is characterized through a wide variety of cognitive, emotional, social, and physical changes, according to a child psychologist and lecturer with the University of Dodoma, Dr Lyabwene Mtahabwa.
Although not entirely proficient or sophisticated in any of these areas, the young child is very capable of gaining new skills. As a toddler moves into the preschool age range (starting roughly by age three), cognitive development becomes more representational and includes meta-cognitive growth (awareness of one’s own thoughts), magical belief, and increased ability to understand.
Cognitive and emotional growth plays a large role in the young child’s social development. Children of preschool age can be found making true friends and engaging in cooperative play.
Physical development at this age includes an increase in the coordination of gross motor movements and more specialized fine motor abilities.
This leads the child to develop new skills in athletics and artistic domains (e.g., throwing, cutting with scissors, drawing). As the young child changes from a toddler into a preschooler it is important to understand and promote positive growth through multiple domains. This includes cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development.
In Tanzania there seems to be no systematized and synchronized guidance and coordinated system among different players but rather, the nation has left the operations of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) more in the hands of private operators.
So, you find that the lack of national operational guidelines and standards for provision of ECD services in the country, responsible ministries and private institutions have been providing sector-based ECD services according to their own standards.
It is not a surprise, therefore, that not much effort is taken to set or inspect the standards of child care in private orphanages, preschools or other institutions that mind or pretend to mind the welfare of children, especially those living in abject poverty and hardships.
In this case, lack of monitoring and evaluation of ECD services has also provided a loophole for the so called “Non-Government Organizations that mind the welfare of destitute children, to offer services that range from substandard to irritatingly diabolical.
In some cases, the NGOs’ services cause negative consequences to children, according to an Assistant Director with the Child Development Department in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, Mr Henry Chali. Some greedy NGO officials use destitute children as a front to make money.
In most cases, the children “eat the crumbs that fall off the master’s table.” So, the mushrooming of private orphanages, kindergartens, day-care centres is simply a ruse for making money. It is good news, therefore, that Tanzania has decided to develop the Joint
Inter-sectoral ECD Service Delivery Initiative.
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