Newborn Care During Winters

Caring for babies

Those of you who are new parents will agree wholeheartedly that caring for babies is a daunting task in any season. Baby care is a specialized subject which requires 100% commitment from parents. If you have a support system consisting of doting grandparents, adoring aunts, fawning friends, dependable paediatricians and even the neighbour ladies who will drop in to care for the baby, you are one of those lucky people who will breeze through the initial months of baby care.


What next moments

All parents face those moments of uncertainty when the baby just won’t stop crying. You have tried all known remedies. After spending yet another sleepless night nursing your baby, you make a resolve that you are going to be more careful in the future. Truth is no matter how hard the parents try, babies will fall sick. But one can take certain precautions during all seasons of the year to see that the instances of illness are infrequent and discomfort to the baby is minimal.


Common Winter Illnesses

Winter does bring some respite from the humid and sultry months, but it also brings its own set of challenges. As the baby’s immune system is still developing, they tend to be vulnerable to common cold and other winter illnesses like flu, viral fever, meningitis, pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Ear infections are very common in winter, and your baby can cry for hours without anyone being the wiser about what is causing your infant the discomfort.

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A no-panic guide to fever

What is fever

A fever is caused by a number of medical conditions ranging from viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. Fever is one of the medical signs, an objective indication of some medical fact or characteristic that may be detected by a physician. Fevers do not normally go beyond 410 C to 420 C (or 105.60 F to 107.60F).


A trying time

A condition like the fever in children is a real test of parents’ patience and parenting skills as younger the children the scarier it is for the parents. Fever makes children cranky and  restless. Sleep eludes them and high fever causes children to whimper through the night, giving the parents some anxious moments. Parents sometimes blame themselves for not being careful enough.


How to deal with fever

Understand that falling sick is part of growing up and no matter how careful parents are, kids will fall sick at some stage. But it is important for parents not to panic. First check the temperature using a standard digital thermometer or a temporal artery scanner. Use a rectal thermometer for infants and young children.

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DIY activities for toddlers- Diwali Paper Lanterns

Tradesmen are busy people

You have been trying to get your dripping tap for weeks and your plumber has been playing truant, promising you all the time he is almost at your doorstep but some ‘urgent’ work has come up in the meantime. When the sound of the dripping tap and the thought of wasting all that precious water has fairly driven you up the wall, you decide enough is enough.


Do It Yourself

You turn to, you guessed it, Google, the go-to person for everything from how to fix a dripping tap in 5 easy steps to making a paper lantern for your child for Diwali. A helpful step-by-step procedure and an infographic listing the essential items to learn your new trade of plumbing and you are good to go. After a few trials and lots of errors, you finally manage to fix the leaky pipe. The satisfaction derived from taking on a challenge and doing it well, you realize, is immense.


Festival of Lights

Diwali is the most popular of all the festivals in India and signifies the victory of good over evil. It is a time to meet family and friends, exchange gifts and burst firecrackers. During Diwali, every house is lit up with traditional diyas, decorative lights and paper lanterns to signify the move away from darkness and towards light. So what does the concept of DIY have to do with the festival of lights?

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Kids’ Kitchen Korner: Learning from the Kitchen


A kitchen is a storehouse of our happiness. Not only does it contain the delights that satiate our sense of taste but also does well to bond us to our family through numerous memories of dining delights. Today we will use this happy storehouse as a creative place for our little monsters.

Sometimes all we must do is stretch our minds beyond the visible. Kitchen utensils sure can be used to teach how to cook and about cookware but can also be helpful in other ways. Below I am listing activities that will suit different age groups ranging from toddlers to 10!

MUSIC and EXPLORATION –  (1 year to 4 years)

A year in kids will begin exploring one of their favorite environments – the kitchen. Ever wondered why kids love the kitchen cabinets so much? The strongest reason is that they connect YOU – The Mother/Father to the Kitchen. They observe you cooking, spending time there, and nurturing them with the food you cook in the kitchen. Plus, if they want to be around you, they will follow you into the kitchen!

The other reasons are: Variety of utensils – different sizes, shapes, different sounds when explored + the fact that utensils are ‘hidden’ behind the cabinet doors, gives a thrilling effect to the curious minds. This makes for great sensory exploration!

You may set up two days in a week to allow kid/s to explore kitchen utensils. Either you can have them come in and explore in their own manner or you can put out a set of utensils and give it to them to play with. Each week you can pick a different set of utensils. Great music can be made with different vessels. Explore with plastic measuring spoons, steel spoons, glasses, containers, serving spoons, cabinet doors, etc. In fact, you can also teach them about loud vs. soft sounds and difference in sounds created by contact of different materials.



 HIDE-AND-SEEK UTENSILS (2 years to 5 years)

I must admit that I owe a lot of my creative ideas to my daughter. I learnt to be very creative with games and art since her birth. Until date I haven’t felt the need to look up a Pin-interest or to google games or art for kids. One such game which popped up is ‘Hide-and-Seek’ Utensils. Choose one cabinet to work with. Pick one utensil from that cabinet, show it to your toddler or pre-schooler. Tell the child to close eyes and count to 10. Hide it in the same cabinet at a different place, ask the toddler to find it.

Alternative: hide the utensil somewhere around the area where you are seated. Make sure it is easy for your toddler to find.

 MATCHING GAME  (2 years to 3 years)

Bring out a bunch of your kitchen utensils and identical / matching plastic utensils, maybe from your child’s toy kitchen. Keep her and your utensils at a good distance of 3-6 feet. Pick one of your utensil and raise it in the air. Ask your child to find the same kind from her section as soon as possible. This game can be more fun if the child gets a chance to run around. To do so, you could place your child’s utensils in another room.

 SETTING THE DINING TABLE – (3 years to 8 years)

Kids enjoy setting the table from an early age. Once they are engaged and understand that it is a way to participate in family chores and bond more closely, they want to do it more. Give them a chance every weekend to set the table under your supervision. If you are concerned about glassware, you may inform them that you will need to hold alongside or you may let them arrange one mat with plastic ware.


COOKING – (3 years to 10 years)

Involve children in cooking, small or big. It could be lemonade, chocolate shake, pasta, rice, or pancakes. Cooking teaches children several things:

  1. They have the power to create something that nurtures family members
  2. Promotes independence, creativity, and self-confidence
  3. Helps bond with either or both parents
  4. Develops skills in relevant areas
  5. Provides opportunity for self-exploration and fun



Children can also be mere helpers. My daughter would peel onions and garlic for me from age 2 years 7 months. Even if she did just 3 pods, she learnt a lot and enjoyed it thoroughly! Kids can also pretend to cook in their utensils within your kitchen area while you cook. This makes a good role model for their learning.

ART – (4 years – 8 years)

Use utensils to teach tracing. Place any utensil like bowl, spoon on a plain paper and have your child trace it. Tracing is a great skill in art and promotes co-ordination of fine and gross motor movements with the eye and brain. For older kids, you can have them do ‘object drawing’ – place an object in front of them and have them copy it on paper. You can also get craftsy e.g. tape a plastic spoon on paper and allow child to decorate it with pompoms, glitter, fuzzy sticks, stickers, etc.


Teaching them that kitchenware can be used in ways more than one helps them broaden their minds and promotes problem-solving. I offer kitchen utensils to children to use with play-doh. Rolling pins for rolling, fork for designs, spoons and bowls for impressions, etc.



Who said we need paper and pencil for math? Use the below ingredients indoors in large containers or outdoors on the grass, for fun play + math with measurements + motor skills: measuring spoons, container filled with rice, another container filled with beans or legumes, water is optional.

Ask questions like – how many scoops of this measuring cup will fill this glass with rice? Kids must conduct the activity and give the answer. Kids can learn to measure within scoop sizes e.g. how many of ½ tsp scoops we need to fill one Tbsp.



Although I focused this article on kitchen utensils, there are numerous other things in our kitchens that can be used as play and learning items for our children. Foils for making ball, throwing, foils for art, strainers as bats or for ball toss, plastic glasses to balance, etc. Challenge your mind to pick an item every week and use it to teach your child.

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children. This blog was written by Rima Desai.

Rima’s has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Mumbai, and is a certified Childcare Professional and Life Coach from USA. She has written numerous articles for parents and women in Tanzania, India, and in USA. Her work includes writing for airline magazines and editing internationally published books. She has extensive experience in training teachers and parents and working with children aged 2-7 years. Her parenting page can be accessed at Parenting Booth , and her personal blog here.

Why the Japanese Children are So Well Behaved

Ever seen how a pre-primary class progresses in Japan or the recess time of a Japanese primary school? Even if you haven’t actually been there, there are plenty of video clips going around to show you that Japanese children are unusually well behaved and look like the parts of a well oiled machinery, not a single kid straying from whatever is in progress.


What makes Japanese kids so well behaved? (if “well behaved” is indeed the correct term).

A lot stems from the Japanese society and how it coped after the WW2. As an entire country, they had to rebuild their lives and as an offshoot of all the carnage that took place, they started laying stress on being able to live together happily and amicably. It is no wonder then, that children emulated their parents and a whole nation was built on the principals of building a social capital, where children seemed wise beyond their years and very well behaved.

Japanese discipline is more about practiced behavior than about discipline

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The Importance of Self Directed Play in Toddlers

Consider the following things and how important they are in your life.

  • Successfully finishing a meeting and coming closer to winning the contract.
  • Having close buddies that you can trust with your life
  • Getting the best deal out of your interior decorator/land contractor or other similar expensive deals
  • Having a great relationship with your parents and siblings

The above pointers are largely broad generalizations, but I’m sure you understand the gist of it.


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Fits, Faints and Funny Turns in Children

On several occasions in paediatric practice we come across unusual mannerisms, perceptions, and behavior in infants, children, and teenagers, causing considerable concern. Many are dramatic, uncharacteristic, or repeated and finding an explanation can be difficult. Young children take to head banging, head rolling, body rocking, bed wetting nightmares, or grinding their teeth. Adolescence brings on obsessions, compulsions, and self-injurious or self-stimulating behavior. Medical evaluation hopes to make or refute a proposed diagnosis of seizures (or fits) and to provide treatment or reassurance as necessary.

Fits have several subtle and confounding atypical manifestations and many conditions mimic a fit. This is one area wherein pediatricians wait before putting a label on the child and are used to not having all the answers. Some events cannot be classified and we wait after a full assessment is performed and follow up the child till the benign nature of the events is apparent. And then we agree on channels for parents to seek reassessment if the situation changes. During this time, the parents are asked to keep a careful record of the circumstances of their attacks and eye-witness descriptions.

One common condition causing alarm is fainting (technically called the syncope).This is caused by a sudden reduction in blood flow to the brain, or from a drop in its oxygen content (or a combination of the two). Specific immediate triggers for fainting are a minor injury, procedures like immunisation or blood tests (or even seeing blood), standing still or standing from sitting after a long time, sudden surprises/shocks, exercise, etc. Premonitory symptoms include light-headedness, feeling hot and sweaty, nausea and not uncommonly, visual disturbance. When loss of consciousness occurs, there may be associated loss of muscle tone often with a relatively gradual rather than an abrupt onset (‘swoon’) but many will have anoxic fits with stiffening and jerking of the body. This does not qualify as a seizure disorder and is usually not treated. However a tongue bite, passing of urine or stools in unawareness or a prolonged confusion after recovery is suggestive of a fit and will require more investigations.

What is important is to remember that fainting can be a symptom of abnormal heart function (disturbances in rhythm or musculature) which could cause sudden death if not treated. Therefore all children with recurrent or unexplained fainting should have a standard cardiac evaluation (especially if  there are reports of sudden deaths in young adults in the family).

Some other conditions that you may come across:

  • Sleep disorders are unusual behavioural and/or physiological events that limit sleep, interfere with certain stages of sleep or disrupt the sleep-wake transition , and may resemble fits. Narcolepsy is a condition where the affected child is likely to become drowsy or to fall asleep, often at inappropriate times and places. Daytime sleep attacks may occur with or without warning and may be irresistible.
  • Pseudo seizure is the term given to illness behaviour presenting as a fit and indicates significant psychological disturbance and is a challenge to treat. Goal-directed behaviours, expressions of anger or violence, or uncoordinated flailing movements of the extremities are likely signs of pseudo seizures and injuries rarely occur in the episodes.
  • Children who daydream are sometimes referred to the doctor because of concern that they may have childhood absence epilepsy. This is a condition in which the child has fits occurring as staring spells during which he or she is not aware or responsive. An EEG test is often needed to make a diagnosis.
  • It is not unusual for children to present with migraine headaches associated with dizziness, nausea, abnormal sensations and visual disturbance. They can be treated with medication.
  • Children can experience what is called vertigo or giddiness, which is described as a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated particularly with looking down from a great height. This is caused by disease affecting the inner ear or the stimulating nerve and can be treated.

Fits, faints and funny turns remain memorable accounts in a physician’s drama and many episodes lead to insightful learning!

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children. This blog was written byDr. Krishna Mahathi

Dr. Krishna Mahathi holds diplomas in Pediatrics and in the management of allergies and asthma. Years of working and interacting with children and parents have given her insight into developmental disabilities. She wishes that there was more awareness and acceptance of the issues that differently-abled children face and hopes that through this blog, she can enable thse children and their families to make sensible and informed choices.

Mom Tips – How to Start Going Out and Meet Other New Moms

18 (1)Early motherhood days can be quite chaotic and leave you feeling lonely, especially when the relatives have all left and also if your spouse has a 9 to 5 job.

We spoke to a few new mothers and here’s what they have to say about the importance of meeting other moms and new moms in your circle. Incase you don’t have a circle, we suggest you go out and find one. Here’s why:

Anita Sahay, mother to 6 month old Aniket.

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Why you shouldn’t say “Good Job” and other similar things to your child










Your child manages to complete a particularly difficult task and you applaud her with “Good Job”!

Your toddler shares her snack with her friends and you want to positively reinforce this good behavior so you toss out a “Good Job”!


We read plenty of books that warn us against using punishments and spankings to model behavior so we instantly rely on a “Good Job” for positively reinforcing any example of good behavior or accomplishing a worthy task. Seems easy enough, right?

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Newborn Cries and the 5 Cries You Need To Know

Understanding baby tears can be very daunting for new parents. Have you heard about an Australian lady called Priscilla Dunstan who claims to understand the baby language? It’s old news but many new parents in India still don’t know about this.


Ever since Priscilla Dunstan was a toddler, she had a special gift. This gift enabled her to remember sounds she has heard only once for the rest of her life!

This graphic memory with sounds helped her when she became mother to her son Tom. This gift enabled her to pick out certain sound patterns made by him in infancy. When he would repeat these sounds again, she realized he was actually communicating to her about his needs.

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