Building Baby’s First Library

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Given babies’ exceptional powers of comprehension, what is a good age to introduce them to books, or are they too young for books at this stage? On the contrary, scientists recommend that parents read out aloud to the baby until she is old enough to share the books with them.

The benefits of reading aloud to babies are immense: it teaches the babies to recognise speech patterns, it improves their memory, and it enhances their cognitive thinking skills. Research shows that children exposed to books may outperform those that were not in school.

Reading a book together allows parents to spend quality time with their child, especially in cases where both parents are working professionals. It helps the children to build strong bonds with the parents, and regard family as a support system they can rely on at all times.

What type of books fit the bill? Simple and illustrative books do. But make sure that when you leave the baby alone for a moment or two the kid does not make a meal of the book by chewing it up. You would surely want your baby to digest important topics, wouldn’t you, but not literally! [Read more…]

Reading is the fun way to go!

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Imagine waking up to a world without the internet, which for some inexplicable reason has ceased to exist forever. For most of us, a life without Google, YouTube, and Facebook is a scenario nightmares are made of.

Those of us who grew up reading books (and those who have taken up reading recently) would probably raise our collective eyebrows one eighth of an inch, yawn politely and pick up the juicy crime thriller we had been reading before the ‘calamity’ took the surfing millions by surprise and sent them into a state of deep shock and utter disbelief! However, the book lovers would be more interested to find out who really committed the crime in the whodunit we just mentioned: was it the butler or was it the hollywood star staying at the Haveli as the Maharajah’s personal guest!

The world is divided into two groups: Book lovers, and those who regard the activity as one that requires infinite amount of patience to wade through tonnes of the written word– one solitary page at a time. For book lovers, however, it was books that kept them out of mischief in childhood, it was books that provided them with a window to the world in college, and it was books that kept them entertained when they started fending for themselves. [Read more…]

Enjoy Winter with Fun Board Games & Activity Crafts

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Winter’s here! It’s time to dust those board games and have a gala time with family and friends. Playing board games is not only a fun activity but in the process, children can learn a lot of strategies and it can help develop their brain as well.

Every craft or an activity book has its own way of teaching something new and improving children’s sensory skills. Not only a child’s individual development, but also his social skills are accelerated by various board games and crafts.

Here are some of the ways board games and activity crafts can help your children:

They introduce the concept of critical thinking

Board games cannot be played unless and until you think through your next move. It helps develop the functionality of critical thinking in your child and also helps them to learn to strategize.

Board games like monopoly, mastermind and chess help the kids develop their thinking abilities and help them think in different ways.

It is very essential that kids learn to think of new ideas or ideas that are out of the box from an early age and these board games provide an interesting and fun way to achieve the same. [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…]

4 Activities Children Can Do Until School Re-opens

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Summer holidays are drawing to a close. All good things in life must come to an end and so must this. Come June and it is time to go back to school.

Hope you enjoyed every moment of your holidays. What is left of your summer holidays can be put to good use by taking a moment to reflect on the highlights of the summer holidays and also by planning for the year ahead.

Moment for reflection: Were you able to do all the activities you had planned during the vacation? What was the best moment of your holidays and what was the not so good moment? You have been probably lazing about quite a bit in the summer holidays, which is perfectly fine because you have earned it by working hard all year.

[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”.