What is your kid watching?

Each decade brings out some revolutionary life changing technology. The nineties saw the cable T.V. boom shake the face of Indian society.  Brought up on a staple diet of Chitrahar and the Sunday movie, the plethora of programs beamed nonstop ensured that things were drastically changed for all of us. While the behenji-types wept buckets over the trials and travails of the various bahus, the more la-di-dah types oohed and aahed over The Sex and the City. Above all it was the kids that had it like never before. It was as if by magic a great Pandora’s Box full of goodies has been opened in front of them and they watched spell bound.

Have you ever noticed a child watching T.V.? The mouth falls slack; the glazed eyes are glued to the screen as their hands mindlessly operate. If you talk to them at this point of time, the best you’d get would be a guttural hmmm. It was this image of a hypnotized being that is scary. Bombarded by the unending and mindboggling variety, the kids just do not want to move away from the screen. It has many disadvantages. There is the damage to the eyes from the unblinking stare, usually in the dark room. What with the busy schedule, TV time usually cuts into the play time. This results in unhealthy couch potatoes with fat bodies and pimply skin. Last but not the least is the damage done to the tender minds by the software beamed out. A lot of stuff is not worthy of the eyes of an average kid. Even some of the news items are so gruesome that one shudders to think of the kids watching it. Leave alone the movies and serials, some of the so called ‘Kids’ programs have contents that should not be watched by children.

Rekha, a mother of nine year old absolutely forbids her child to see this cartoon about an excessively naughty child. “The pranks shown border on obscene and the children may get the message that it is ok to behave like the character,” she says.

Many kids’ program of foreign origin, depict a lifestyle very different from us. Repeated viewing of such a society may influence the tender and impressionable minds to adopt the same. It is not surprising to see kids aping the way of dressing, behaving and socializing of such programs.

Another wet ground is the advertisements. Viewers are bombarded with dazzling choices for everything imaginable under the sun. Invariably you will find kids putting parents under constant pressure demanding the advertised wares.

So what do the parents do? Get the cable connection off and move back to the Krishi Darshan – Chitrahar era? There is no cause for such a drastic change. The kids also get to see a lot more informative stuff that helps them learn. The horizons of the kids today are broadened by knowing more about things happening around the world. After all information is power. However, there is a lot parents can do to keep this problem in check. As the adage goes – a stitch in time saves nine.

Know

It is advisable that the parents find time to share air time with kids. This does not include superficial lolling in the same room, tapping on your laptop. Actually watch the show. As Shalu puts it, “I always have a lively discussion on the programs watched with my kids. I try to find out their favorites and make it a point to watch them.” this way you know what the kid is watching and may put a stop if it is something untoward. Discussing the programs may reveal the effect they are having on your child.

Place the TV in the common space. Kids having a set in their room is an absolute no-no. You can have an eye on what is being watched and the kids will also be vary of switching on to an inappropriate program for the fear of being caught.

Control

Set ground rules after an amiable discussion. Limit the TV watching time.  You don’t have to be a dragon about it, but keep to the limits strictly. Blank off objectionable channels. At the same time ensure that you do not watch an explicit movie while the kids are around.

Guide

Find out some good programs and encourage the kids to see it. Tune in to it when you are watching TV and they might develop a taste for it. There are many options that provide excellent viewing including serials, live competitions; art and craft shows etc. take time to run through the program guide. However, the tone should be –“Lets watch this, it looks interesting.” Rather than say-“You should watch this, it looks educational.” Kids are allergic to anything that is educational, knowledgeable, good-for-you etc. Avoid these words like the plague.

Keep the communication lines open with your kids. Make them understand the necessity of strict rules. Other parents may be able to add valuable information.

Alternatives

Do not leave the kids to entertain themselves at all times. Spend time with them in activities removed from the TV. Board games, cycling, creative activity like art, music or dance are some alternatives. The main point is that the children should not think that the TV is the only source of entertainment.

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.

Learn More, Study Less – Study Techniques

Learn More, Study Less using Holistic Study Techniques

We all know that our education system is archaic, flawed and is based on rote-based memorization. Students have to by-heart tons and tons of information and reproduce it during exams. Not only is blind memorization by repetition energy sapping for school and college students, it is an ineffective learning process. More often than not, blind memorization leads to lower grades and self-confidence. Even if a student manages to get better grades by memorizing, none of the concepts have been understood well and hence nothing sticks once the exam is over!

This young graduate called Scott Young has researched and proven that smart students (him included) don’t spend hours memorizing stuff, but subconsciously use techniques that work with the way the neurons in their brains learn concepts. In fact adults too have the right-brain visual ability to learn things faster like babies, but our schools and colleges curb that natural way of learning. Scott calls this the holistic approach to learning. Based on his personal experience and experience and results seen by thousands of students around the world he has devised a comprehensive study technique course called Learn More, Study Less. His complete video course, ebook and Ninja Edition (which comes with 2-months free of Learning on Steroids which offers weekly emails, learning forums and access to Scott if a student wants coaching or help) have already helped thousands of students across the world.

Scott’s course Learn More, Study Less and The Holistic Learning Strategy focusses on Constructs, Models and Highways from a theoretical perspective. Without getting too technical, a construct is defined as a set of tightly interlinked instructions in your brain, and if for example a person’s language construct is highly developed they will find learning languages much easier.  So, if constructs are the door to holistic learning, Models are the key. Models are smaller constructs which are portable. Models could be visualizations that help you start learning a concept and build a construct. Finally Highways link the constructs which are like buildings or a group of buildings in a city.  Highways are essential to link concepts and draw parallels, this is what makes you creative and think creatively as a result of the Holistic Learning Process in Learn More, Study Less.

Now that we have the theory in very basic terms behind us, how does Learn More, Study Less help students Learn More effectively and at a much faster pace to improve their grades and understanding of subjects? What is the process and what are the experiential tools and techniques that are addressed in this course?

1.       Acquiring Ideas

  • Speed Reading
  • Flow-Based Note Taking

2.      Linking Ideas

  • Metaphor
  • Visceralization (Visualization plus relating to ideas)
  • Diagraming

3.      Handling the Arbitrary

  • Linking
  • Pegging
  • Information Compression

4.      Extending Ideas

  • Practical Usage
  • Model Debugging
  • Project-Based Learning

At Bril we have gone through Scott’s ebook and strategies and believe that every high-school student, undergraduate college student, post graduate  college/university student or anybody who needs to learn effectively and much faster than what they are used to would really benefit from his program. We at Bril promote new concepts to Make Living Fun for people and this guy Scott has managed to finish a 4-year MIT course in 12 months, and we truly believe he can add immense value to students by helping them really learn, learn much faster, score better marks in exams and get deeper understanding of concepts.

Please Click Here to learn more and purchase Learn More, Study less Video Courses or just the eBook.

Please note that students / parents from world-over can buy this product after reading this post. While Bril does thorough due diligence on all products prior to endorsement, Bril may not be held liable or responsible for results, customer support issues, failure to honour money-back guarantees etc. by the Vendor (Scott Young) who Bril is not associated with.  No partnership exists between Scott Young and Bril.

Disclaimer: The links in this post are affiliate links and Bril will earn a commission if a sale happens by clicking on the links in this post.

How do you choose books for a teenager?

If you thought it’s a wrench to choose clothes for a teenager, just wait till they’re bored of everything in your bookshelf.

The call for new books should actually set off alarm bells; but parents being parents, we get all excited.

“My child wants books”, I beamed, when mine was tired of her existing set of books, and had devoured her favourites a million times. At least. So I ordered in a dozen classics, bound in various shades of maroon rexine.

But of course, this wasn’t what she had in mind, and they gather dust, as we speak, in one corner of her bedroom, and I was left scratching my head.

The second time around, I got wise, and did my research on the internet, where, for some strange reason, every teenager is supposedly reading the Twilight series. Thankfully, before I clicked the ‘order’ button on Flipkart, I asked the daughter if she would like the complete set right away or would like to try one first.

She was appalled… Twilight, she told me with authority, was all about a handsome vampire. And while she had qualms watching him on television (the lead actor has some of my contemporaries drooling, let alone teenage girls!) she has ‘no interest whatsoever ploughing through that sort of book, thank you’.

“So, what is it you want to read”, I asked her. “Get some recommendations from your friends”, I suggested.I regretted it when she came back with a list ranging all the way from Philippa Gregory to Dostoyevsky (I couldn’t even spell the name right! And a teenager was reading it?) “Are they ‘suitable’”, I asked nicely.

“Of course, this is what my friends are reading”, she said.

So after looking at the list, long and hard, I ordered her Margeret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, Erich Segal’s Love Story and Georgette Heyer’s Grand Sophy. She was irritated I ignored her list; the husband was very upset with my list (‘what kind of books are these? Whatever happened to innocence?’ he asked me) I stood my ground, and asked her to get on with it. She did, with great reluctance at first, but once she got hooked, there was no parting her from the books.

All this is not to say that I was wise; but it’s to prove a couple of points –

  1. It’s almost impossible to decide books for somebody else, given how personal the choices are.
  2. And it’s harder still, when the person in question happens to be a teenager, not quite ready for full-blown adult fiction, but way too old for what the markets kindly call “young adult fiction”.

A happy middle ground, I have learnt from experience, is whatever you read at 16. Today, any 13 year old can read, understand and enjoy them. Because, believe me, times have changed.

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.

I Can’t Afford it!

By Jayaram Rajaram

As I am slowly getting over the fact that I won’t be able to watch Sachin Tendulkar take guard in an ODI anymore, I’m having a very strong bout of nostalgia and occasionally feel a sense of emptiness. I was one of those who never watched cricket- I watched Tendulkar. Anyway, this post is not about Sachin, but I started off with a few lines about him because his on and off-field behaviour and intact middle-class value system is something that I would love my child to grow up with. It’s not about being famous, but about the person your child grows up to be…….

Tracing back to 1989, I was 9 years old and hooked to tennis. I had been playing at Sadashivanagar Club in Bangalore since I was 7. My father had bought me white canvas shoes and a wooden tennis racket. This was the time when Bata had launched some ultra-cool Power shoes. They were called Power Ultimo and many of my tennis pals had bought them. When I saw those shoes I started feeling a little embarrassed with my uncool Bata canvas counterparts. One day I decided that these canvas shoes were just plain uncomfortable. Today I can tell you that more than being uncomfortable I just wanted to have what my friends had.  So, off I went to appa (I call my dad appa) and said I wanted a pair of Power Ultimo shoes! He looked at me and very convincingly and matter-of-factly said “I can’t afford it”.

At that age I had no idea what my father could afford or not, and my dad knew it didn’t matter. I went on to say how my friends had bought these shoes and how comfortable they were etc. etc. He heard me out and said “They can afford them. We will see later.” End of topic. Though I felt really upset that day, I did get my Power Ultimo shoes without asking again, before I played my first tournament. He never told me he was buying them for me and it was not an incentive (Parenting Tip: Never tie objects to achievements with children- delayed gratification + unconditional love works better).

Today when I walk in for important business meetings (Even abroad) wearing my Bata chappals, I thank my appa. It’s really not what I wear, but who I am- what a simple yet important and effective parenting action that was (I never feel embarrassed about what I wear anymore! I just dress like me, in a neat and presentable manner!). While I quote just one instance here, my parents never hesitated to tell my brother and me a white lie about ‘Not being able to afford something’. I’m not for a moment asking parents to keep lying to children. The message here is to keep it simple when you communicate to your child. If you don’t want to say ‘I can’t afford it’, say ‘can we save money for this and buy it later?’ Basically the important thing is not to encourage instant gratification as it will do more harm than good for your child.

Today with consumerism peaking I shudder to imagine how I am going to bring my son up, but without doubt I will be telling him that I can’t afford many of the super expensive things that  he is going to ask for along the way!

…….back to Sachin….his retirement from ODI just woke me up about how many years it has been since my father said ‘I can’t afford it’!

About the Author

Jayaram Rajaram is the Managing Partner of Bril and the Managing Director & Chief Dreamer of ELSA. Jayaram writes from his heart and from experience. He writes about varied topics ranging from parenting to leadership and entrepreneurship.

To get updates on Bril, parenting tips and Jayaram’s blog posts become Bril’s fan on www.facebook.com/brilconnect

For more information on Bril and ELSA please visit

www.brilindia.com and www.brilart.com

 

Preparing Older Children about Pregnancy

Preparing Older Children about Pregnancy

You just found out you are pregnant, and the first thing that pops into your mind is, “How will I tell my children about this new addition?” You are certainly not the first or the last one that will struggle with how your child will receive this news.

While it may be exciting for your child now, it may be one of the tougher things that he or she will have to deal with and may mark the beginnings of sibling rivalry. For some, this may begin soon after the arrival of the second baby. Some children become aggressive and others withdraw into a shell during this time. So it becomes especially important how and when you deliver this news along with supporting your older children along the way.

First of all, it is important that your child hear about your pregnancy from you and not from someone else. No matter how old your child is, this piece of information should be introduced by you and can be a great opportunity to talk about where babies come from even if you are using the most simplistic explanation. You may choose to tell your child during the first trimester before others begin to exclaim about your changing figure.

Preparing Older Children about PregnancyIf your older child is sleeping between you and dad as in the case of many Indian families, it becomes important to address the sleeping situation well before your due date arrives. This is important so that your older child does not feel displaced by the baby. So if you have plans to move your child to a different room, begin right away. If your older child must begin preschool, then ensure that it does not coincide with the arrival of the new baby. You certainly do not want your older child to associate being thrust in the care of someone else with his new sibling’s arrival.

Get your older child involved by taking her to prenatal visits with your doctor. It may help your child feel involved in the pregnancy itself. Looking at pictures of your older child as a baby with him will also get him used to the idea that the new baby will not be his instant playmate. It is important that your child knows what to expect when your baby first arrives; that the baby will not able to do too much beyond eating and sleeping for the first month or so.

Visit the library and ask the librarian for suggestions of children’s books that deal specifically with introducing your older child to the idea of a new baby. These realistic stories will help your child see the new arrival more as an addition to your loving family than as a rival for his parents’ attention. In fact, give your child every opportunity to ask questions about any concerns she may have, allowing her to vent her feelings about your changing family.

Preparing Older Children about PregnancyAt this time, it is especially important to assure her that she can never be replaced and that the new baby is going to love her and look up to her more than anyone else. Assigning a protector kind of role to your older child is much better received than telling her that she is going to have someone to play with.

Finally, let your child participate in any preparations you are making towards readying the house for your new baby. Give her the choice of making decisions such as where she would like the crib to be placed along with where she would like the baby’s clothes and diapers to be stored, just make sure that you give her options that are acceptable to you. Soon your older child will come around to accepting the arrival of your new baby and will even look forward to it with eagerness.

Republished with permission from MothersDelight.com, No. 1 destination for Indian Mothers with information, articles, blogs and a vibrant community on Pregnancy and Parenting.

Baby Steps

Baby Steps When a baby learns to walk, it’s a big step towards being independent. Walking is a major developmental milestone for a baby and almost all mothers remember when their babies took their first steps. It’s interesting to note that most kids make those early steps on tiptoe.

Parents are often anxious about when their baby will actually start walking, the time is different for different kids, mostly between 12-16 months.

From six months onwards, a baby gains muscle strength, synchronization and coordination of limbs to start sitting, rolling and crawling, leading to walking upright eventually. A baby can stand with support at about eight months and most babies take their independent first steps between nine and 12 months.

A baby’s leg muscles continue to develop while he masters sitting, crawling, rolling over and climbing stairs using hands. Each step adds to their building confidence and balance and by the time they are 14 or 15 months old, they can walk well.

They would need lot of encouragement and praise for being able to take their first big steps. You may also let your baby walk in front of you while you hold her hands, and give her practice to experiment with balance.

In India, some parents get walkers for babies as early as they are six-eight months old. Most of these parents tend to think babies are safe in walkers and that it provides good exercise for limbs and actually help them learn to walk. . Walkers may not be advisable for overweight kids. When in doubt, consult your doctor.

Some Tips:

  • While trying to walk by themselves they may lose balance and fall repeatedly, don’t panic.
  • Don’t force your baby to start walking by holding her hands if she is not ready. Some kids don’t walk till the age of 16 months or more.
  • From 12 months onwards, you can give your child push and pull toys to help him gain balance and confidence while they indulge in this play activity.
  • If your baby has started taking his first wobbly steps, it’s time to child proof your home. Keep important things, cosmetics, sharp objects, and risky furniture out of their reach when they start walking and make sure they don’t harm themselves when they take steps inside bathrooms, store room, etc.
  • Babies like to have fun at the stair case walking up and down, install railings for safety.
  • Open shoes/sandals are best bet for growing kids for their feet to take form and body weight.
  • You can also buy shoes which have light and sound for kids who have just begin to walk to make walking an interesting activity for them.

Republished with permission from MothersDelight.com, No. 1 destination for Indian Mothers with information, articles, blogs and a vibrant community on Pregnancy and Parenting.

Baby Sleep

Baby SleepSleep is crucial to a baby’s development. Newborn babies usually sleep for about 17 to 18 hours a day for the first few weeks and 15 hours a day by the time they are three months old. However, they hardly sleep for more than three to four hours at a stretch.

By the time babies are three months old, they tend to sleep more at night and stay awake longer during the day. But it’s amazing just how different babies can be – some sleep for hours on end, while others hardly seem to sleep at all. It’s important that your baby gets required sleep otherwise they tend to be grumpy and cranky.

Six to nine months is an age when your baby is becoming more physically active and learning to sit up, roll over and crawl, and she may get exhausted by the end of the day and need good sleep. Kids get overtired easily. When they do, they find it harder to get to sleep. Once you can spot if the baby is tired, you’ll be able to settle your baby to sleep before grumpiness sets in.

For babies, it is important to set bedtime routines early. Establish a specific bedtime, as well as consistent nap times during the day to regulate her sleep patterns otherwise they have a hard time falling asleep. Your baby needs to follow a regular sleep-and-wake-pattern and recharge with naps during the day.

One year old babies usually sleep for about 10 to 12 hours at night and napping twice a day for an hour and a half to two hours at a time. Keeping consistent times for bed and naps will help to regulate her sleep patterns and soon you will find that she actually enjoys a predictable routine.

Some tips:

  • A massage or a warm bath will relax her and induce sleep.
  • Read a bedtime story or two, sing a lullaby.
  • Make sure the bedding and temperature is comfortable.
  • You could buy a baby sleeping bag that is right for your baby’s age and weight.
  • Help your baby associate darkness with sleep, minimize light, noise and activity.
  • To encourage good sleeping habits, put the baby to bed drowsy but awake to make them learn how to fall asleep on their own.

Republished with permission from MothersDelight.com, No. 1 destination for Indian Mothers with information, articles, blogs and a vibrant community on Pregnancy and Parenting.

In Your Parents Shoes

By Jayaram Rajaram

Over the years I have come across many lovely married couples in my friends and family circles. Of late I am observing a disturbing trend and a self-centeredness that has cropped up in many families. This is the same trend that earlier destroyed the stability that extended families offered in the western world. Unfortunately all the signs of intolerance, lack of patience, consumerism and materialism seem to be slowly finding its way into the earlier unshakeable Indian family system.

Recently I have repeatedly heard people saying that they moved out because they cannot stand their in-laws. This is still tolerable (as I do not expect people to live under the same roof), but I see many youngsters who are abroad (or even in the same city at times) not taking care of their parents because their spouse is not cooperating (Or maybe they just don’t care)! Invariably one spouse tends to take care of the other’s parents but one set of parents are ignored and treated pretty badly. . I am not pointing fingers at men or women here but all of us as a society.  The beauty of the Indian family and the arranged marriage system was that it used to be a merging of two families and not two individuals. I am not getting into a debate of whether love marriage or arranged marriage works here, because both have their pros and cons. Now I find that consumerism and selfishness are peaking in India, with kids earning more than their parents ever earned. I stop to wonder why India is making all the mistakes that the west made just a few decades ago?  Does money and independence mean you forget about what your parents did for you? Does marriage mean you do not have an equal responsibility to take care of your parents and your spouse’s parents? Where the hell did your spouse come from? Did he or she drop from heaven?

I am not talking about just differences of opinion between in-laws and daughters-in-law or sons-in-law; these are common in every family. If people coexist there are bound to be differences of opinion and that’s not a major issue. These things crop up and sometimes tears are shed, words are spoken but overall both parties have a core value system and a desire to make the relationship work. My wife and I keep talking about this and correcting each other when the other misbehaves (both of us do misbehave at times- we are just human), but we know in our hearts that our parents have made us who we are today and they need us more and more as they grow older (We HAVE to be there for them no matter what! I pray for sanity, to be able to do the right thing for the rest of our lives.). It’s the small things that WILL make our lives better in future, not the no-compromise attitude of our instant-gratification generation.

Here I am talking about more serious demands (not the small tiffs) by some people who refuse to take care of their spouse’s parents in their old age but expect that their spouse takes care of their parents. Or sometimes couples are so full of themselves and their careers that ageing parents end up in old-age homes! In some cases parents volunteer to go even if the children want them at home, I only talk about cases where the old parents DO NOT WANT TO GO. They yearn to spend quality time with their grandchildren and children, but are pushed to old age homes.

In this post I would like to urge people to understand that money is important but it doesn’t give you a right to be arrogant. Money can get you companions but not love or a supporting family! Your children closely watch your interactions with your in-laws and parents and sooner than later they will do exactly what you did to your parents (their grandparents). You too will be old, you too will lose the confidence that good health and money gives you today. YOU WILL HAVE TO DEPEND ON YOUR KIDS for physical and emotional support. We live in a world of interdependence which is beautiful. This interdependence makes us and our families stronger in a fragile, more and more unpredictable world. Please don’t allow your world and our society to crumble by being selfish. Each one of us needs to wake up and act properly.

GET IN YOUR PARENTS SHOES NOW! YOU’LL BE THERE VERY SOON! YOUR KIDS ARE WATCHING!!!!

About the Author

Jayaram Rajaram is the Managing Partner of Bril and the Managing Director & Chief Dreamer of ELSA. Jayaram writes from his heart and from experience. He writes about varied topics ranging from parenting to leadership and entrepreneurship.

To get updates on Bril, parenting tips and Jayaram’s blog posts become Bril’s fan on www.facebook.com/brilconnect

For more information on Bril and ELSA please visit

www.brilindia.com and www.brilart.com

Image Credits: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net by photostock

Bonding over paints and brushes

The boy next door had just come back to Bangalore with his family after having been in Pune for more than a year. Sanket’s family and mine have been neighbours, sharing our stories and watching each other’s highs and lows from near and far (when they had to change base on official assignment) for more than six years by now. My son, Advaita, and Sanket’s older brother, Sankalp, have been close pals since they had met during their kindergarten days and their friendship has been going strong even after two year-long interruptions. On many occasions, a child needs a play-mate her age and the love and company of the mother doesn’t really help there, I knew. Obviously, I looked forward to a friendship between my almost-four-year-old daughter Diya and Sanket, six months her senior – a bonding something similar to what their siblings shared.

Diya is a lioness at home, but beyond her doorstep she puts on a cloak of shyness, breaking out of it only with a selected few or when her mood allows her to interact well with outsiders. Also, she is strong with children weaker than her, but doesn’t try to retaliate or even protect herself when confronted with aggression from children, particularly boys, stronger than her. Sanket had been growing up as a sweet, harmless, quiet three-year-old but one and half years at Pune had metamorphosed him into a chatty, bold, strong boy with shockingly a liking for throwing blows and pulling opponent’s hair whenever things didn’t happen his way, I discovered soon to my dismay!

Me and Sanket’s mother did try to bring the two kindergartners close, a little after I realized it would continue on this note if there was no intervention from the mothers’ side, but expectedly and unfortunately Diya ended up getting hurt in the sudden fights that ensued over toys and blocks and books each time they were together. I gave up slowly on working on building a cordial relation between the two. Sanket’s mother understood and kept quiet.

Recently, when sudden intermittent spells disrupted Diya’s plans of spending the evening at the park as usual, she found herself in the company of Sanket who was too bored to shun company of girls and came to our house, eager to spend some time with Diya. The two decided to experiment with colours and so out came colouring books and paints from Diya’s cupboard, and thus began a session under my quiet but watchful eyes.

“Will you give me the red paint?”

“No.”

“Then I’ll go back to my home.”

“OK, take the red. Give me the blue.”

“OK.”

Then again after some time……..

“I want the green.”

“I want the red.”

“OK.” Sanket complied, surprisingly.

There were no arguments, no fights, no blows and no tears or cries or screams. It almost seemed unreal with two young children who couldn’t be left on their own lest one hurt the other, were actually sitting side by side, paints and paintbrushes and colouring books their companions. Junior in years they may be, but they too found out over months by trial and error what interested them both and how they could enjoy each other’s company without adult intervention. They parted almost an hour – on amicable terms!

A few bottles of coloured paints scored where two mothers failed! Next time Diya gets confined to home at odd hours and I’m too busy to attend to her and she is too bored spending time with herself, and Sanket walked in like the other day, I could allow them to be together surrounded by bottles of paints, without me wondering who between us, the mothers, would have to drop the task in hand to peep in every two minutes for checking on the kids.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As a mother who was a working mom and met the evenings ~4 years ago with her six-year-old naughty son along with frequent complaints about his acts of mischief from mostly mothers of daughters, fussing over my little daughter who is very vulnerable to aggressive boys (what an irony!) is almost instinctive for me. But this recent episode has taught us a few things one of which is I have to learn to detach myself from her now and then, to let her learn some lessons of life on her own, as her father too insists on.

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.

Consumer Insight

By Jayaram Rajaram

Most MBA-types (I’m one of these useless ones too! : -)) banter on about the importance of consumer insight in business. This term is highly overrated according to me, and several useless market research and consulting firms make hell of a lot of money by putting your customers and consumers into boxes. They use jargon like perceptions and preferences, perceptual maps and all sorts of nonsense to hide behind terminology that the common man can’t understand. Questionnaires seldom give you any insight and are a whole load of crap according to me (Pardon my language).

Now let’s cut to the chase so I can tell you what I understand consumer insight is all about. Recently we launched disposable diapers (Brildiapers) for babies. A lot of people saw the pack and asked me what I meant by the words ‘Consumer Insights –India’ on the pack. People were expecting me to say some big 4 consulting firm did this massive research etc. My answer was simple- consumer insights were MY insights as a customer who bought practically every single diaper brand in the market for my son (They were shocked!). I say it openly, NOT a single diaper in India was good enough for my son! So I had to import one that was reasonably good from the US (Still nowhere near the quality that we went on to acheive with Brildiapers Prime)! How do I say they were not good? I tried them ON!! I placed them one at a time as a lining for my underwear and wore each one on for a few minutes. The second test I did was to place each diaper over my mouth and nose and tried to breathe (Not with the same diaper that I tried on of course before you ask me! : -) ). Was I crazy?? NO…I was NOT doing this to launch diapers at that point, my baby couldn’t tell me that his diapers were not comfortable, so I decided to help him out (Simple isn’t it?). It’s called empathy and I would urge every parent to do this with products they use on their baby! Did this crazy exercise give me consumer insights? Did it tell me of a gap in the market for the discerning SEC A parent? You bet!

After my wife and I went through 15-20 different brands and sadly had to import one brand of diapers from the US, I asked myself why no company was manufacturing diapers for the discerning Indian parent who wants superior comfort for their baby? At one point it irritated me because, most of the brands were doing their best to keep prices low (Which is important for the bottom of the pyramid mass market in India) and were unable to use the more expensive materials they were using abroad. What did this mean? A huge compromise on comfort for ALL Indian babies! Even if a parent could afford more expensive diapers, the really good ultra-thin breathable ones were not available in the market!

Now that I had REAL first-hand CONSUMER INSIGHT as a parent, I went ahead and got my team to research in-depth and launch Brildiapers Prime- an ultra-thin, highly breathable, 6-layer, super-absorbent, rash-proof diaper made using world-class raw materials from Germany and USA, for unmatched baby comfort. Now my son is almost 2 and yes, he wears Brildiapers Prime Large!

In conclusion, I would urge my fellow MBAs, entrepreneurs and leaders to get out and become a consumer themselves rather than spend company money on useless market research. Get intuitive to identify unrealized needs and create markets if you will. Move from head to heart. Be obsessive about your brand; solve problems for your customers every single day.

Click here to read more about why brildiapers are special, thanks to first-hand consumer insights and real love that has gone into creating them, in the news!

About the Author:

Jayaram Rajaram is the Managing Partner of Bril and the Managing Director & Chief Dreamer of ELSA. Jayaram writes from his heart and about personal experiences. He writes about varied topics ranging from parenting to leadership and entrepreneurship. Now that you have read one of his intimate experiences with baby diapers, the least you can do is go to http://www.brilindia.com/bril_diapers_prime.php buy a pack, wear them yourself and report back to Jayaram with the results, or use them for your baby if you are a parent! LOL