“Let us order food or grab something from the nearby restaurant.” With kids not going to school, back to back office calls and management of those zillion things at the same time; this sentence comes like a saviour for busy mamas.[Read more…]
Returning back to work with a cute little honeycomb now in life could be a tough decision to make. Questions like ‘will the baby do fine without me’, ‘whom shall I trust’, ‘would the transition be smooth’ and whatnot might pop in your head.
But once, you get the grip of this transition, you will find yourself enjoying life even more. The most important step towards this is to prep yourself emotionally that your little cupcake would do just fine without you. Secondly, ensure to make the best arrangements for him or her while you won’t be around.
Here are some tips that will help you go through this transition smoothly:[Read more…]
Your little one’s skin is the acme of softness and perfect skin. Those chubby, rosy-red, super-smooth and dangling cheeks make everyone go ‘aww.’
But winters can be tough on the delicate skin of your munchkins. In winter, the humidity level in the atmosphere drops which makes the water in skin evaporate more quickly leading to a dry, tight and flaky-looking skin.[Read more…]
A new mother’s ultimate ambition is to get a good night’s sleep. (Most would settle for sleep any time of the day.)
If she is lucky, her baby will sleep well enough to provide her some well needed respite and allow her to catch up on the much needed sleep – but strictly at the baby’s whims.
A sleeping baby is the most beautiful sight in the world. But sometimes they wake up in a nasty mood, sending the household into a tizzy. Usually the baby is just hungry and settles down once she is fed. And everybody heaves a sigh of relief.
They say a father never wakes up his second baby just to see her smile. Experience tells him that it is not a good idea at all. The first time around, he had a screaming baby to contend with, and worse, he had to explain his actions to the baby’s less-than-amused mother.
Putting children to bed is an art form. One needs to have loads of patience and privy to a repository of lullabies, songs, and stories depending on the age of the child.
A lullaby is also known as cradle-song and is a song sung to children with the intention of soothing them to sleep. The music is often simple and repetitive.
The lullabies are not restricted to their primary use as a sleep-inducer in babies. They have been used for 4000 years by various cultures to pass down cultural knowledge or tradition and to develop communication skills of the child.
So how do lullabies work their magic?
One explanation is that lullabies feature a triple meter(in simple terms, rhythm established by a poem), which imparts a rocking or swaying rhythm similar to what the fetus experienced while in the womb. Recreation of this womb experience has the power to comfort a children and soothe them off to sleep. (Credits: http://health.howstuffworks.com/)
- Lullabies actually create a physiological response in the body which can have far-reaching effects on health and wellness of the baby. Studies have shown that they improved respiratory function, reduced heart rates – indicating lower stress levels – better sleeping and sucking patterns in the premature babies.
- Does simply speaking to a baby have the same effect as singing? In a university study, it was found that the set of premature babies exposed to singing gained greater health benefits than those who listened to spoken words or those who were exposed to neither.
It is clear that lullabies have a calming and soothing effect on the babies. Unsurprisingly, they actually reduce parental stress too.
Finally, here is a popular Indian lullaby in Hindi ‘So meri rani’ (Sleep my little princess)
Sleep my queen, sleep my queen
I’ll tell you the story of a king.
In the king’s fields grew golden grain,
A sturdy young man came to guard it
Sleep my queen, sleep my queen
I’ll tell you the story of a king.
You can find a collection of lullabies here http://www.babycentre.co.uk/lullaby-lyrics
The famed Indian Summer is here and the dog days last a solid 4 months, starting March.
Mercury is already soaring in most parts of India and it would be June before we can expect anything resembling relief from the relentless heat, if rain gods are merciful this year, that is.
Summer months are hard to deal with as the energy levels are low. The heat saps the energy out of us and to make matters worse, the tempers tend to closely follow the mercury.
That’s enough scaremongering. Let us get down to exploring the ways to survive, even thrive, this summer.
- Starting your day early and ending your day early is recommended.
- Time to take out your cotton clothes, if you have not already done so. Loose fitting cotton clothes ensure that your body is kept cool, no matter what the outside temperature is.
- Avoid going out in the sun, but stay in the shade if you must. Always carry an umbrella or a hat.
- Use a good quality sunscreen to protect your skin.
- Always carry a bottle of water. This single most important precaution can keep you hydrated and can dramatically increase your chance of avoiding sunstrokes.
- Avoid eating out as the scarcity of water has a direct bearing on the level of hygiene practiced by food vendors.
- Avoid eating deep-fried food. The salt used as a preservative in packaged food can make you thirsty quickly.
Food in summer months needs to be healthful, light, and nourishing to keep our energy levels high and our body temperatures down. Here are some foods that can do the job for us.
- Curds: Curds or yogurt is a coolant par excellance. Make lassi, buttermilk, and raita your best friends this summer.
- Fresh fruit: Some people just depend entirely on this excellent and healthy source of nourishment to see them through summer months.
- Tender coconut water: Another summer favorite that is full of simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals which can keep us hydrated and in excellent spirits.
- Watermelon: Being basically made up of 92% water and 6% sugar, it makes for an excellent summer food.
- Cucumber: Apart from its cooling properties, it is full of fiber – great for avoiding constipation.
- Vegetables: Some can be eaten raw in a salad, while others can be cooked. Boiled vegetables are nourishing, healthful and filling.
- Lime water: This time-tested and simple concoction is a great way to beat summer heat.
At the very least, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to avoid infections. Dehydration can creep in on us faster than we would like to believe is possible.
Outbreaks of cholera and diarrhea due to food contamination is common in summer. To protect yourself, stay away from food vendors as much as possible.
Sticking to home food is the best way to stay healthy during summer.
Indian education system has it strengths, but it is also true that writing an exam is nothing less than an ordeal for our children as the primary stress is on committing information to memory for the purposes of reproduction later.
Studying by rote or by-heart is the primary tool used for learning by most students. The subject matter is on read repeatedly until the student is able to reproduce the same information, exactly the same way, but without referring to the book.
Needless to say, not the ideal way to promote creativity and critical thinking in young minds.
Things are changing slowly, but more needs to be done in making the purpose of assessing a child’s knowledge in more meaningful ways.
Until such time, children – and parents – are left to deal with the current system. Parents, especially mothers, undergo a great deal of stress during exam time. If they are professionals juggling their time between a career and raising a family, the stress levels can go through the roof.
But let us see how with a bit of planning exam time can be a stress-free time. After all, it is said that “no matter how long the storm lasts, the sun always shines behind the clouds.”
- Exams are not be-all and end-all: As a parent, make it clear to your child that while scoring good marks is desirable, even essential, it is not the only thing. Encourage them to spare no effort, and let them know that rewards will soon follow. Often, children are bogged down by the burden of unreasonable expectations.
- Encourage learning on a daily basis: Preparations for a given academic year should start on the day school reopens. It is a good idea for you and your child to keep track of learning on a daily basis and if time is a constraint, on weekends. This can lower the workload considerably and not burden you with the accumulated work during exams.
- Food is the fuel that provides energy: Make sure your child is eating right and not binning it the moment your back is turned. Some children tend to overeat due to anxiety. Not a good idea, as it can make them lethargic. Incorporate fresh fruit, green salads, and boiled vegetables in their diet. Drinking plenty of water ensures fluid balance in the body.
- Ensure they are physically active: Encourage them to spend some time outdoors. This will not only give them a much needed diversion but also plenty of fresh air. The more the oxygen supply to the brain, the more it helps them to think clearly.
- A little bit of recreation: You can even watch a favourite TV program together and also listen to some soothing music. The idea is to make it feel like a normal day, but with a little bit of parental supervision. This can work wonders to the morale of your child.
- Children need parents: It is a great idea to involve both parents, wherever possible, in helping your child deal with the exam-related stress. Always discuss with them about their progress, and find out if they are experiencing any difficulties or problems.
Finally, children are tougher and stronger than we give them credit for. But having their parents by their side gives them superhuman powers to deal with a tough situation.
Good luck every one with your exams!
Summer holidays are almost here. What’s your plan to keep your kids gainfully employed?
Modern gadgets like video games and playstations have their place. But they get monotonous after a while and they do nothing to get your child to think, which is critical to the allround development of your child.
Why not do something different this vacation? Why not introduce them to the wonderful world of books!
Reading promotes critical thinking in children. Moreover, reading books is an activity that is being increasingly recommended by social scientists and doctors for its ability to entertain and educate children.
We understand that this is something you have always wanted to do but did not know when and where to start.
To answer the query when, let’s say any time is a good time. To answer the query where, we’ve made it easy for you – we’ve just put together a collection of children’s books.
This wonderful collection offers you such classics as the Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland to get your child started.
Dinosaur Encyclopedia will make your child the class expert on dinosaurs in no time at all.
Gulliver’s travels, Treasure Island, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and David Copperfield are some of the other fantastic offerings in our list.
Explore the entire collection of Top 100 Books for Children.
And don’t forget to borrow the book from your children once they move on to the next one, it will be a beautiful journey down the memory lane for you too!
Grab a book from the collection and a bag of popcorn and curl up on your favourite settee for the adventure of a lifetime!
Interesting that we should have selected this topic for discussion, in the first instance.
Are we thinking of ushering in the traditional value system because it is superior?
Or is it merely a tendency on the part of us humans to indulge in a bit of nostalgia now and then and look back at the good old days where everything was just about perfect?
Indian culture has been heavily influenced by Dharmic (religions that originated in India) religions. The Indian value system has drawn its core philosophy from all Dharmic religions. The Abrahamic religions have also contributed significantly in shaping what is collectively known as the Indian Conscience, of which family life is a central theme.
The phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the world is a family – owes its origins to ancient Indian texts:
One is a relative, the other stranger,
say the small minded.
The entire world is a family,
live the magnanimous.
The aspiration behind the verse is said to have inspired Mahatma Gandhi in giving shape to his own philosophy – respect for all life forms, non violence as a strategy to resolve conflicts and adoption of a holistic development model.
Makes perfect sense when you think about those needless conflicts and wars being waged largely on the basis of differences that are largely man-made, doesn’t it?
Family life, marriage, nature, agriculture and way of greeting people are at the heart of traditional Indian family system, and each of them contributing significantly to the overall system.
Let’s look at some of them in some detail.
- Greeting: When we meet people known and unknown, we greet them by pressing our hands together and bowing slightly, instead of shaking them by the hand. ‘Namaste’ means ‘I bow to you.’ This is seen as more respectful and being adopted by more and more people around the world, as it does not require physical contact and safeguards people against transfer of harmful germs.
- Marriage: Marriage is a sacred affair with primary emphasis on children and their upbringing. A shared responsibility always makes a marriage more stable. India’s divorce rates are still among the lowest in the world.
- Nature: Nature worship is an integral part of Indian family life, which ensured a healthy respect for nature and all living things. It also promoted sustainable living and inflicted minimal damage on the environment. Exactly what scientists are advocating now!
- Agriculture & Commerce: India has always been an agrarian society. We grew most our food ourselves and organically. In money matters, we have always been conservative with a marked emphasis on savings.
We have always believed in earning the money first before spending it.
Finally, our concept of family where everybody lives together under a single roof is largely responsible for establishing a solid value system.
- The traditional way is respect for elders, devotion to parents, and love for siblings.
- The reward is a stable family life full of security and love, and devoid of boredom.
Well, one could say, there is a lot going in favour of the traditional Indian family system.
You be the judge!
Without time off from work, a person becomes bored and boring is what the proverb seeks to convey. It is supplemented by a second line sometimes,
“All work and No Play Makes Jack a Mere Toy.”
Single-minded devotion is the word often used to describe the condition where factors other than those that help in achieving one’s goal are ignored.
But human mind is designed to work at its optimum best for certain periods after which the productivity diminishes. Brain needs rest.
Okay, you say, “Isn’t this an anomaly? We’ve always been taught that hard work is essential to achieving our goals in life.”
Yes, but it is equally true that our mind also needs distraction from time to time. Recreation is a useful distraction that can provide the fuel needed to power a person’s creativity.
The pace of modern life is such that people tend to become oblivious to their surroundings.
For example, busy people do not know or care what food they are eating. They tend to finish their meal in a jiffy or take inordinately long time to complete the activity. Often the food goes untouched.
A mother can recognise the early signs. She will try and get her child, the ever-busy professional, to slow down.
When that happens, pay attention.
It means, the ever-observant mother is beginning to get concerned that you are showing classic symptoms of overwork – failing to observe social norms like acknowledging the presence of other people around you.
At this stage, you are as bored of others as they are of you.
Take a break. Go on a vacation.
Pick up a hobby like gardening or join a citizens group.
Break the monotony.
The pressure to perform is not just the preserve of working professionals alone. Our Jacks (and Jills) are also under considerable strain to outperform their peers.
It is not uncommon to see young children cooped up with books all the time because parents worry that their kids are not putting enough effort to make the cut at certain prestigious educational institutions.
However, let us remember that good grades do not necessarily ensure blossoming of creativity in your child. Balancing study/work, fun, recreation, and social interaction is more important for your child to be successful and be a well-rounded personality.
Finally, the single most significant reason for achieving a balance between work and play is that the personality of your child is being moulded during this time.
Modern technology is often accused of making zombies out of people by hiding the complexities from its users. Buzzwords like ‘enhanced user experience’ is freely used by the manufacturers to showcase their products. No matter how complex the operations involved behind the scenes, companies make sure the end product can be operated with the help of a couple of buttons.
All that is very well from an adult point of view. But, scientists and doctors worry that hiding complexities from the user is resulting in a gradual stifling of creativity in young minds. Elimination of the need for independent thinking and its impact on decision-making is a far greater danger facing mankind. We are increasingly being served ready-to-eat food all the time.
If, for some reason in the future, should there be a food scarcity on a global scale, many of us possess no knowledge about how food is actually grown and might be forgiven for thinking that it is grown in supermarkets. We forget that the process of growing food is complex and involves specific knowledge about sowing, weeding, watering, and harvesting – to name just a few things.
Unsurprisingly, many among us today are unable to do simple mathematical calculations using pen and paper! Human brain thrives in the face of challenges – the more complex the better. It is designed for constant and creative usage which also prevents it from degeneration.
Apart from the anthropological and anatomical needs, the 21st century economy makes it incumbent upon its workforce to be creative. As the old economy slowly makes way for the new one, we have to be creative in our approach to problem solving and independent in our thinking. Let us examine then how to encourage children to be creative and independent thinkers.
- Encourage them to play with other kids in the neighbourhood. Interacting with other humans promotes the ability to respond to a given situation quickly. If your child gets bullied he will learn to deal with it in due course of time.
- Don’t rush to your kid’s help in cases where the problem is non-life threatening in nature. Children, given sufficient time and encouragement, are fully capable of solving it. The confidence gained, along with your praise should encourage them to think independently.
- Pick a suitable topic at random and ask your kid’s opinion on the issue. Discuss possible scenarios together thus encouraging your child to explain the reasons behind the views expressed. Earning parents’ respect can be a great morale booster for the child.
- Reading promotes critical thinking and makes children rely on their power of imagination. It encourages visualization and raises more questions than they can answer. This in turn will lead to an interest in research and further discussions on the topic.
- Introduce them to sports and outdoors. Sports makes them mentally tough and gives them the ability to assess their situation and take appropriate action. Love of outdoors opens up further avenues for their mental and physical evolution.
Finally, before you do anything else, make TV viewing a restricted activity. Children gorging on junk food and watching television all day does not make for a pretty sight. Once the idiot-box is out of the way, your child will have plenty of time on hand to put to good use.