An interesting way to understand your children better


Have you heard of an ‘Empathy Map’?  Seasoned writers and marketing people use it to communicate with their target audience and get better results. It occurred to me that an Empathy Map might be quite useful for a parent to understand the child better.

Here is what it looks like.














Create an Empathy Map for a 15 year old kid, Vijay.

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How to be a more playful parent to your child


There are articles and researches abound on the topic of being a playful parent and how it helps the baby in long term. In this article we aim to provide a bird’s eye view to this theory and demonstrate ways of being a more playful parent to your baby right from infancy!


Join the infants in their world of wonder

Get down on the floor (or the bed) with your infant and join them in their world of discovery. Infants learn through their senses of sight, touch, hearing and smell. Every little thing that we take for granted is a magical discovery for them. Join them in their world for as much time of the day as you can spare and marvel at the little things that your baby finds interesting.

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Introducing Solids to Babies – The Importance of Annaprashan

Annaprashan is the Hindu custom that marks your baby’s transition from liquids to solid food. It is known as chorunoo in Kerala and mukhe bhaat in Bengali. The rites of Annaprashan may vary according to region, but the aim is the same. A successful transitioning and celebrating the fact of baby starting on solid foods.

Why is Annaprashan performed?
A baby who is on breast milk or formula fed milk gets all the nutrients that she needs from this liquid diet. But babies grow at a healthy rate and will soon need nutrients, particularly iron, that a liquid diet alone cannot provide. That is why an elaborate ceremony ofAnnaprashan is performed. From the day of Annaprashan, the family slowly starts introducing solids to the baby.

What is the best way to introduce solids after the Annaprashan ceremony?
The best way to is to introduce one solid food at a time. Every new food can be introduced on the 5th day.
Babies are learning not just about the taste of the food, but also its different textures and aromas. Just like the taste of cheese, these new attributes need to be given time to get used to.

Which is the best first food?
You can safely start with fruits like banana, vegetables like mashed potato and rice. All of these have a smooth and non irritating texture. Moreover there is usually less issue with their aroma and taste.

How and when to transition from purees to chopped and mashed food?
Every baby will take its own time to get used to a certain food and be ready to move on to the next. At 6 months, purees are your best friends. You can continue this for a month (or more if the baby isn’t ready for mashed) and at 7 months try to introduce the same foods in a mashed or chopped form.

Which foods to offer
At 6 months your baby’s immune system is still delicate so it is important that you use only filtered water and well cooked food to lessen the probability of acquiring a stomach bug.

Once you are sure that your baby likes any 2 different types of food, you can try to mix them and offer it to the baby. Don’t expect her to immediately take to it, though.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables offer the maximum amount of nutrients when compared to off season fruits and vegetables that have been lying around for long and most likely have been injected with preservatives. That being said it is also advisable to steer clear of salt, added sugar and foods that are high in sodium. Your baby digestive system doesn’t need these additives and isn’t developed enough to flush them out successfully.
The food habits that your baby acquires during this stage plays the groundwork for her food preferences in adult life. For example if your baby has been offered sweet foods more than required, your baby will be fond of sweets in later life.

Another important fact to remember during this time is that all the fat cells in your baby’s body are formed until 5 years of age. This means that you are actually in control of the fact whether your baby will be overweight in adult life or not!
Fats are important for brain development and should be offered regularly to the baby in the form of ghee, butter etc rather than empty calories like canned juices, biscuits, etc.

Montessori Method of Teaching and Why Should Choose It For Your Child


In the 1900’s when Maria Montessori began teaching children with special needs, she noticed something spectacular. Her specially curated methods of teaching were showing extraordinary results in these children with special needs. So much was the difference that her children outperformed other children educated in schools for regular children!

After this she was convinced that if regular children were allowed play independently and choose the activities that they were interested in, they fared much better.
Much has been written about the Montessori method of teaching and its benefits. But today we bring you an account by a former Montessori teacher and a new mother to a 4 year old girl, Shalaka Mahadik.
I have learnt a lot from my Montessori teaching days. I do believe that I am a better mother to my daughter than I would have been otherwise. I was able to recognize when my daughter was going through a developmental phase and needed my support. When she started crawling, her best game was to climb up on things. Whatever came in her way was like an obstacle that had to be conquered! I remember my friends telling me what a little adventurer she was, but I needed to protect her from falling as well. So here was a typical dilemma that many mothers face.
The child has not yet acquired a sense of danger and obviously needed to be protected against a potential fall without hindering her explorations. She was also learning a new skill at that time and quashing her attempts at any perilous climbs was going to hinder her development if stopped repeatedly.
We were living in a apartment where there weren’t any stairs so I made a makeshift climbing base for her with cushions on each side for a soft landing. Well my daughter went up and down through the day for an entire week!
Not surprisingly, Shalaka enrolled her daughter in a Montessori Playschool. She also emphasizes the importance of mixed peers groups in a balanced development of a child.
The mixed age group creates an environment where I have seen children become more patient, helpful and able to interact freely. Not only do they learn a lot from each other but it also allows them to have a sense of community inside the class. The world is not full of people who are the same age, so why should children be kept in a learning environment that doesn’t expose them to a varied age group?
Is there a downside to Montessori? We asked Shalaka.
Well apart from the fact that it is harder for teachers to teach a varied age group instead of one, I personally haven’t seen any downside to Montessori Method of teaching!
It is always great to know what you think! Please share your stories with us below.

Open letter to working mothers stop feeling guilty


CaptureDear Working Mother,

It is difficult to stay away from your children at work and consistently tell yourself that you are doing your very best for them. But believe it that your children will turn out just fine. Really.

If you are like most working moms you probably don’t feel that way. You may feel that you are constantly struggling to find time for your children and something or the other is always left undone. Be it spending time with your children amid stringent deadlines or living up to promises you made to them. And to top it all, there is your extended family who make demands on your time. Ageing parents, important marriages and of course socializing for your own benefit.

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True Confessions Of A Stay At Home Mother

Every stay at home mother has a few confessions that she would rather keep to herself. But bring in anonymity and there are some surprising (and funny) revelations! We spoke to some to stay at home mothers to children of varying ages and came up with some gems that will have you smiling, if not rolling with laughter.

So, here goes!

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Parents Need Imagination to Understand Children

Take a look at this video, and I will explain why we need imagination to understand children.
Have you seen the video?
If you postponed seeing the video, saying ‘let me read the rest of the stuff first’ you lack the curiosity required to deal with children. Nor do you have the patience. You would like to follow your own rules, not withstanding what is required. You would prefer to see everything through your lens. If you are having trouble understanding children, I won’t be surprised.

If you have seen the video, ask yourself. What would you done if you were the parent of the child in that video? Why?
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Get Set Go……First Pediatrician visit with your child


The first visit to the pediatrician will come up much sooner than you think. Usually this visit is for one of the vaccinations unless you are taking the baby for any specific check-up.

We all have our inhibitions about the first pediatrician visit with our child, especially if you are a first time mommy. It is normal to brood over your share of fear, questions and inquisitiveness. Here are a few things that will iron out the any hiccups.

Prepare your questions in advance. There will be many questions in your mind so it is best to write them down or memorize them lest you forget about anything.

  • Questions should be pertaining to the baby only
  • Don’t ask too many questions as it is easy to get distracted when one question leads to another.
  • Let the doctor finish answering your 1st question completely before you ask the next one

Be prepared to wait for a while. While most clinics will give you an appointment, it is still possible that you may have to wait with your baby for formalities like getting paperwork filled or allowing for emergency visits at the doctor’s.

  • Have the dad or a grandparent accompany you so you have a helping hand with the baby.
  • Feed the baby before the doctor’s visit unless specified otherwise by the doctor

Preparing the baby. Since the this is the 1st visit, it best to dress the baby simply in clothes that have buttons in the front so that the doctor can have easy access to all parts of the body.

  • Do carry extra sets of diapers and clothes
  • If the baby is bottle fed, carry enough for 2-3 hours. Take the time spent in the commute into consideration as well.
  • Talk to the baby in reassuring voices and offer plenty of cuddling before and after the visit

Prepare the paperwork: Visiting the doctor for the 1st time may feel like you are preparing for a full blown vacation, but remember that it is better to be prepared for any eventuality than not being prepared for it.

  • Carry all paperwork related to the birth, your pregnancy files, medical history and your baby’s discharge papers that have the birth weight or complications during pregnancy.
  • It is best to have the dad or the grandparent prepare the paperwork and submit it to the clinic while you wait with the baby in the car or a waiting room

Inside the clinic. The primary investigation is done by a nurse.

  • She will undress the baby and put her on a weighing scale to measure her weight. If the baby cries during this, speak to her in a calming voice so she knows you are nearby.
  • It is normal for babies to lose weight after delivery but they will gain it right back in the first month itself
  • The nurse will also measure the head circumference and height of the baby.

Meeting the doctor: Every doctor has a different approach when it comes to interacting with the baby and the parents. Some will examine first and then ask questions, others will continue speaking to you while examining.

  • The doctor will check for reflective actions
  • He will also check eyes, nose, ears and limbs for proper functioning. The umbilical cord will also be checked for healing or any signs of infection
  • He will ask you about the baby’s feeding pattern

If everything looks good at this stage, your doctor will educate about the vaccinations which are in order for your baby. He will also give you an immunization scheduler to help you track the vaccinations you have given him.

Questions you may have

  • Feeding schedule and issues with latching on
  • Sleep schedule
  • Vaccinations and shots
  • Stools frequency and consistency
  • How many diapers should be changed?
  • When should I call a doctor incase of fever?
  • Are there any pain or fever medications I can safely give the baby?
  • What is considered as emergency?

Don’t be shy or intimidated about anything else that comes to mind; there is no such thing as a silly question

Should We Bring Old Values Back Into Vogue?

Bringing old values back in vogue


We all do it subconsciously, try to instil habits and values that we learnt as a child into our own children. But how many of those values still hold water in today’s day and age?

When I was a little girl I remember my parents urging me to befriend a lonely, elderly neighbor. But my 8 year old mind refused to believe that an 80 year old could have anything interesting to offer in terms of play. So every week I would knock on her door for conversation and biscuits. After a few weeks, strangely I remember I used to look forward to these visits. She used to talk about her family, childhood and children, and I used quietly sit on a swing in her verandah and listen to her monologue. Sometimes she used to ask what were they teaching us at school these days and ask me to recite a poem or two. She said I had a nice voice, and that encouraged me to offer to sing to her. Looking back, those were happy memories. Perhaps as happy as the times spent in summer vacation with my cousins. [Read more…]

Letters to my Daughter: Be the Queen of your Kingdom. Not the Wife of your King!

Zeffirra-HuseinZeffirra Husein works with a private equity firm, is married to a workaholic surgeon and is a mother to a beautiful girl. Her days are crazy, juggling between work, home, her darling daughter, family and friends. Zeffirra believes in not dwelling on the past and not worrying about the future. Instead, she focuses on her present which is truly a ‘present’ from above. Zeffirra created an email ID for her daughter on the latter’s birth and has been writing regularly to her about their lives and about the things she wants her daughter to know about. In her blogs for ParentEdge, Zeffirra will share her ‘present’ in the form of her letters to her daughter. Zeffirra’s personal blog can be accessed at [Read more…]