How to Manage a Fussy Eater

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Have you felt like screaming on top of your lungs when the food (which you took hours to make) gets spit out in a second? You can’t shout – You can’t show your anger anywhere, but smilingly cajole your kid to take another morsel.

Yes, it’s tiring – Yes, it’s demotivating and No, you can’t starve them!

How to then make them eat? Firstly, you relax! Here are some simple ways which can reduce (not eliminate) your troubles with a fussy eater.

Children who are fussy eaters (also known as picky eaters) are particular about what they will eat. Sometimes the child will eat a small portion of the food and may refuse to eat at all at other times. Another exasperating trait they exhibit is ‘food neophobia’ or refusal to eat new foods.

‘Food training’ should start at an early age–the earlier the better. This is because children display their aversion to food to every stage of growing up. For instance, toddlers they may refuse to eat lumpy food, while older children are known to develop a passionate dislike for vegetables.

Kids are fussy eaters and they are, by no means, an exception but rather the norm. But fear not, and try out these useful tips we have put together for you: [Read more…]

Managing your Toddler Tantrums

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The word toddler is derived from the word ‘to toddle,’ meaning to walk unsteadily—which also means your little bundle of joy has just been empowered. In addition to her impressive lung power that regularly wakes up the neighbours at night and sends the resting stray dogs on the street outside scurrying for cover, she is now up on her feet and can take some unsteady steps.

The word ‘tantrum’ has a sinister ring to it because this handy tool is not just the privilege of disgruntled babies, but is known to be used effectively by grown-ups too, leaving considerable devastation in the households in its wake. But, by and large, young children tend to be associated with this ‘act of uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration.’

So, why do children throw tantrum in the first place? Children usually figure out that the best way to draw parents’ attention is to make their presence felt—the louder the better—when they are a little older than a year. It is an age where their needs and wants are growing, but they are limited by not being  able to express themselves about what they want, or what bothers them.

This limitation may result in the child being frustrated to the extent of resorting to obnoxious behaviour to gain attention. The tantrums may last for a short time, but are known to extend up to a good half hour or more, driving the harassed parents clean up the wall! Tantrums lasting longer than this need to be investigated further as it may be symptomatic of a larger problem.

Let’s look at the different flavours of temper tantrums in children and how to deal with the resultant behavioural issues associated with these outbursts: [Read more…]

Has your Child gone Internet Wild?

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A recent social media post we received contained a composite image: In the first picture titled ‘Then’ a mother is seen dragging her dirty and badly scratched up young son home from the playground. In the second picture titled ‘Now’ the same mother is throwing her dazed-looking son—who’s mid-air, and still holding on to the joystick of the video game he’d been playing with—out on his ear.

The illustration aptly sums up an everyday situation every parent is faced with—internet addiction in children, especially those in the age group 6-14. Is the situation as bad as it is made out to be or is it an alarmist view of a harmless activity? The opinion is clearly divided right along the centre, and truth—as always—lies somewhere in between.

One school of thought thinks that parents need to seize the raging ‘internet bull’ by its horns before it enters the proverbial china shop. The other opines the benefits of making your kids net-savvy(if they are already not, that is) clearly far outweigh the former view, and it is safe to look the other way—for the time-being at least—and ignore the elephant in the room.

The trouble, however, is that the enforcers are not beyond the obvious charms of the net and routinely commit the ‘crime’ which they are supposed to curb. In other words, parents are as guilty as the children when it comes to unreasonable dependence on gadgets and internet. [Read more…]

How to Help your Kid Develop Social Skills

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Most of have gone through those awkward moments in our younger days when a seemingly long-lost uncle came a-visiting and your mum summoned you–from wherever you were taking refuge, having gone through the same routine several times before–to say hello to him.

You muttered under your breath, and proceeded to rack your brain with considerable urgency to search for any helpful information tucked away in the deep confines of your brain that might help you come out with flying colours in the family identification parade.

Your mother beamed at you with obvious pride in the initial stages of the said parade, while the uncle looked reasonably optimistic of you pulling this off. But alas, with each passing non-productive minute, your mother began to turn a delicate shade of purple, while the yet-to-be-identified uncle started mentally rehearsing nice things to say to diffuse the explosive situation.

You might be forgiven for failing to identify a fellow clan member whom you had neither met before in your young life, nor had any intention of meeting in future, if you could help it. Basically, you had no idea about suitable things you should say (or not say) to you uncle.

In your case, you exhibited a behavioural trait that could potentially have turned you into a recluse but for the timely intervention from your parents which helped you shed your dislike for meeting people. However, social awkwardness is a growing source of anxiety in many families.

Let’s see at what age do kids begin to mingle socially. The first indicator is how well the child gets along with other children in the school nursery because children generally get along with each other well and are only too willing to share things with others. [Read more…]

Sort out Sibling Rivalry and Build a Healthy Relationship

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Have been at your wits just sorting out differences between your lil ones? It becomes tiring emotionally (& physically, sometimes) to spectre rivalry amongst siblings.

Just remember, we are beings evolved from apes, so survival instincts are always at peak. The challenge from other competing members of the family is fierce and the need to prove your superiority over your siblings is vital to chances of your own survival.

However, don’t exhaust yourself about a seemingly common occurrence which is considered an integral part of growing up. It is always better to address any problem at a root stage but with a softer touch. Try not to get overemphasized and make it a deep-rooted dislike for one’s brothers and sisters.

So parents with one or more children who are looking to expand your families, either biologically or via adoption, be ready to assume the role of a referee and sort out endless instances of rivalry, also known as sibling rivalry.

Being a parent has both good & sometimes bad stress. The long-term effects of sibling rivalry depend solely on how early parents recognise the signs and how well they handle it. Here are some quick tips: [Read more…]

Education Abroad: Some important issues

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The number of Indian students choosing to pursue higher education abroad has seen an upward trend in recent years. Our student community is beginning to gravitate more and more towards foreign universities than our own.

The decision does not come entirely as a surprise when you consider not one Indian university ranks among the top 200 universities in the world. What ails Indian education system and in which areas do foreign universities score over their Indian counterparts?

Our education system mainly suffers from:

[Read more…]

Lullaby: More than just a song

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.

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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

 

Healthy Food Habits During Summer

Healthy Fruits for Summer

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.

 

Parental Tips on handling exam time stress

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.

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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!

Top 100 Books for Children

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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!

Click here to order a book from our collection of “Top 100 Books for Children”.