Caring for your baby’s dental health: Prevention is the key

Dental  Health

Your baby’s toothless smile is one of the most precious things on earth. The appearance of the first tooth is something of a milestone in your baby’s and your life. But what is disappointing is that baby teeth don’t get appropriate amount of health attention, besides the cuteness factor. Generally, a visit to the dentist is occasioned only when there is a problem. This mindset has led to a staggering number of babies facing dental issues such as decay, scarring and caries. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and make it difficult to swallow food.

New research has shown that primary teeth form the foundation of your baby’s future dental health as well as over all well-being. So we decided to put together a series of do’s and don’ts for your baby’s dental health.

Age 0 to 6 months: Wipe your baby’s gums clean and wet with a gauze or a soft cloth

Age 6 to 18 months: Try to introduce a soft baby brush. Continue to use water only for cleaning

Age 18 to 24 month: Introduce a low fluoride toothpaste

  • Remember, decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth. The only thing bacteria loves is sugars from food left in the mouth.
  • For breastfeeding infants (even without any teeth), sleeping with milk in the mouth is the quickest way to invite bacteria to gorge on un-swallowed milk.
  • The easiest way to clean baby gums is to take a clean and soft cloth and wipe your baby’s gums before she falls asleep and every morning. If the baby is going to stay awake, the saliva formation will wash down remnants of milk in the mouth.
  • If the baby uses a pacifier, don’t dip it in sugar or honey. Plain water works best in the long run.
  • If the baby has a habit of falling asleep with the milk bottle in her mouth, gradually replace milk with water.
  • Avoid adding sugar to milk and food
  • Fluoride is essential to your child’s dental health. Toothpaste containing fluoride is the best for everyone in your family. But make sure that the baby doesn’t swallow the toothpaste. Swallowing excessive fluoride can also result in staining of the teeth.
  • If your child already has tooth decay, do not delay a visit to the dentist. The primary teeth are very important for the permanent teeth to be healthy and in the right place.

However, teeth cleaning alone aren’t a guarantee against tooth decay. If despite taking appropriate steps your baby has tooth decay, it probably has something to do with the baby’s diet and warrants a visit to the paediatrician.

How to help underweight toddlers gain weight

 

Childhood Obesity

The travails of a parent whose toddler is underweight can only be felt, not described. Children usually follow a predictable growth pattern. They triple their weight in the first year of their life, and thereafter a kilogram every 3-4 months for the second year of their life. However, not all children follow the same pattern. Each child develops at a different pace. So when does a parent start to worry about poor or no weight gain? A month, 2 months or 6 months of no weight gain? Or more?

There is no correct answer to this because there are a lot of factors that can affect weight gain in a toddler.

  • Genetics: If the child’s parents are lean, chances are the baby will be skinny too
  • Dietary restrictions such as dairy free diet, vegetarian diet or a vegan diet can put the child at a risk of being mal nourished
  • Recent illness or medications can kill diet temporarily resulting in poor weight gain or even weight loss
  • Emotional upheaval: A change of scenery that didn’t go down too well with your toddler may directly affect hunger
  • An increase in height that precedes weight gain

However, if your gut feeling tells you to get an expert opinion, the best person to give it is the paediatrician.

Assuming your child has no underlying medical problem, you can proceed with the following to ensure that your child is getting enough calories. The rest will follow.

  • The best way to get your toddler to gain weight is to increase his calorie intake with heart healthy foods such as nuts, vegetable oils, dry fruits, dairy, carbohydrate heavy fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget the protein found in eggs, peanut butter and beans.
  • Avoid filling up the calorie count by means of ‘junk food’. These are empty calories that do nothing to help your child develop holistically.
  • If your toddler is a fussy eater, you have to ensure two things are always right. First that the meals are calorie and nutrient rich and secondly, that meal times are enjoyable and an unhurried affair.
  • If nothing else works, your doctor may prescribe a high calorie supplement drink.
  • Filling up on milk and other beverages is a common hunger killer. It leaves little room for other nutrient rich foods that are necessary for weight gain.
  • Increase the frequency of meals. Add 2-3 snack times to ensure that the child is meeting his daily quota of calories, as prescribed by the paediatrician.
  • Keep a daily diet chart of the child’s diet plan and stick as close to it as possible.

Once this checklist is in place and you have begun to follow it, do not be in a hurry to check your child’s progress daily. Let the doctor do it at a monthly interval. This will ensure that the child doesn’t become too self conscious about his/her weight.

 

Fostering a Love for Learning in your Child

Learning

So, your child does not sit in one place when it’s time for homework? Let us rewind back to the time when the child was a toddler. If you spend a fair bit of time with the child early on, reading, telling stories, writing or just listening as the child was trying to piece sentences together, chances are, you are not going to have to deal with this problem later. If you have been able to get the child into a routine of reading or any other form of age-appropriate learning, the love for learning has in all likelihood, already developed. The child now sees ‘studying’ to learn new things as a way of life and does not find it a chore to sit for completing homework.

The more involved a parent is in the child’s everyday efforts at learning something new, the more likely the child might be to take to learning naturally. Being appreciated for learning a new thing fosters the will and ability to learn more.

So, how does one inculcate the habit of ‘homework’ even though there is no homework when the child is in pre-school? Here are some tips for parents to experiment with:

a) Invest in Workbooks: Not all parents are internet savvy and not all might want to download worksheets from popular websites or from the school portal. If you are one of those, invest in buying some good workbooks from book shops. Sit the child down everyday, at least once a day, even if it is for 15 minutes and get the child to complete a set of chosen pages.

b) Allow the child to choose: Dictating the routine is important but dictating what a child needs to study when is not critical in pre-school. Allow the child to choose one of a few types of things to do. You might be surprised how soon a child’s talent for words or numbers is apparent. Encourage the child by awarding stars or paste stickers to acknowledge a job well done.

c) Make learning integral to everyday activities: Holidays don’t have to mean no workbooks. There are times when holidays are packed with social visits but then there are some when the child has ample time. Weekends can be fun learning time when the child is experimenting with cut vegetables or fruits or flour shapes or other such indulgences that need a lot of time and hence are tough to manage on a weekday.

d) Make every travel a learning experience: We learn a lot while traveling. It is important to make that learning process conscious for the child too. Every travel can include an opportunity to play games that are portable and fun.

e) Be excited about learning: If you catch yourself making statements like ‘No homework today! Yeah!’, you are indeed, making a child believe that getting homework is not cause of celebration but lack of it is. Who then, is, instilling the feeling in a child that homework is unwanted and is a burden?

A child learns best via role modeling. Love to learn and a child will follow suit.

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 Namrataa Arora Singh. After 14 years of working as a Talent Development expert in the Corporate world, Namrataa Arora Singh decided to re-invent her career. A Certified Professional Coach (CPC) from the International Coach Academy (Australia), Namrataa has been coaching women across the globe for the last 6 years. 

Image Source: [freedigitalphotos.net]  

 

Coping with Cyber Bullying: What Every Parent Needs to Know

When you and I were in school we might have experienced bullying, either personally or from a distance, in the classroom, the playground or recess time.  For our children today, bullying has taken on another dimension…the virtual dimension. This is something that you and I as adults may not even be aware of. But parents, this is out there and it is REAL for our children, especially our tweens and teens. Part of the reality is that digital technology and the internet play a huge part in the lives of our children as they use it for school assignments and their social life. This social connectivity can be online or via their mobiles, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social media sites.

 So, what is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber Bullying has been defined as when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

It can include abusive texts and emails, hurtful messages, images or videos imitating others, excluding others online, nasty online gossip and chat.

The fact that cyber bullying can happen 24/7 [and not just in person], can be done in anonymity, and once out there can go viral, makes cyber bullying even more damaging than traditional face-to-face bullying.

 As a parent what should I know?

Signs that your child is being cyber-bullied and how to handle this

The first thing is for you to get acquainted with your child’s cyber world. Find out where your children surf, what are the popular social sites amongst kids and talk to your kids about the possibility of cyber bullying and safety. Do reinforce that even if they see a post that is targeted at another child, by their ‘liking/ sharing/forwarding’ it they are guilty of cyber bullying by association.

The next thing is to look for signs that might point to your child being cyber bullied. Some of these might be:

  • Changes in online behaviour– is your child suddenly spending less time online? Has he asked you about closing down his account, or about security features to block others out?
  • Distress does your child become annoyed, upset, stressed or angry after he has been online? Has his school attendance or performance reduced?
  • Secrecydoes your child act secretively when using the internet or phone? Does he close down the computer when you walk into the room?

 Also Read: Keeping your Kids Safe Online

 As a parent how can I help if my child is being cyber bullied?

If you worry that your child is being cyber bullied, talk to him. Assure him that you are on his side, that he did not do something wrong and he does not deserve to be bullied. Here are some tips you could share with him:

  • Do not respond or retaliate. Tell him to talk to you about it, rather than ‘letting off steam’ online by seeking revenge online. It could make things worse and he might be accused of cyberbullying.
  • Tell him to block the bully and change his privacy settings. With your help he can also report this to the site administrator and the school authorities.
  • Help him save these abusive messages as evidence, like phone messages, print emails or social networking conversations/photos. He can also tell their friends that might be privy to these messages to collect this too.
  • Encourage him to be involved in anti-cyber bullying campaigns. There are many such initiatives online. This will give him a sense of control and empowerment. If he knows of a friend being bullied, remind him not to join in. If he feels confident, he should also stand up for his friend online.

Bottom line, parents you have to be aware and get familiar with the virtual world that your child is a part of.  In this case, ignorance is not bliss!

Happy Parenting!

Also Read: Teens and Social Media

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 Aparna Samuel Balasundaram. She is a USA- Licensed Psychotherapist and Parent and Child Expert with 10 years of experience in the USA. 

Is A Hidden Nanny Camera The Right Way To Go?

Hidden CameraThere are very few reasons why you should not get a hidden nanny camera and tons of reasons why you should get one.

A hidden nanny camera can save the life of your child and for that reason alone I think that it is a very good idea for all parents to consider getting one. Whether they actually have a nanny or if they just hire a babysitter from time to time, it is just as important in either of the cases. Kids are delicate and they need to be treated with utmost care. That means that they need to be treated with respect and they need to be protected form physical and emotional neglect or violence. Sadly, the fact of the
matter is that you don’t know what goes on in your home when you are not there.

Even if your child does not have any cuts or bruises that does not mean that he or she is not being abused. Only a good quality hidden nanny camera is going to show you what the nanny is doing when you are away and it is just the nanny and the baby at home.

Do you know how often your nanny or babysitter yells at your child or children? Probably not. It is not like you can ask him or her; the nanny is obviously not going to tell you that all she does is yell all day long!

And if your child is very young he or she is not going to be any help either, but a hidden nanny camera would be. When you have a hidden nanny camera in your home nothing is going to be a secret any longer, you will know exactly what is happening when you are not there. Either you will finally have your mind put to rest about the quality of care that this nanny is providing or you will find out that she is terrible and fire her immediately. Either way you win, you simply cannot go wrong when you purchase a hidden nanny camera.

There are a few different kinds of hidden nanny camera on the market today. Some are as small as pins and they can be hidden absolutely anywhere and the nanny will never detect it. There was a time when they were all hidden in teddy bears, well that is done, now you can hide them in pictures, fire alarms, in the VCR, absolutely anywhere that will give you a good view of the room is a great
place to put your hidden nanny camera.

And since they are all so tiny now this is beyond simple to do. Having a good hidden nanny camera is the only way to know that your child is safe when you are not home. Safety is the most important thing for your child. So take care of the life and wellbeing of your baby and get a hidden nanny camera.

Sure Shot Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety

Separation AnxietyPicture these scenarios:

Scenario 1:

Your child is playing with a favourite toy and you are in the same room. The phone rings and you duck out to get it. You hear your child screaming for you the moment you pick up the phone.

Scenario 2:

You are getting your child in the car seat for the school, or you could be taking her to the bus stop. Everything is fine until the point of separation arrives. You child clings to you and cries woefully making your heart bleed, as you turn away and hoping she will be fine soon.

Both the scenarios are classic examples of separation anxiety. Your little one is struggling between his need for independence and his eternal bond with you, his mother, who was his very lifeline for 9 months. While children at this age are curious about new experiences and things around them, they want to experience all that from the warmth and safety of their mother’s embrace or presence.

So what can you do to help your child ease out of separation anxiety? Here are a few pointers that will help you along the way:

1. Start out small. Let them play in the living room as you go to the next room (which needs to be visible to the child) to do a certain task like folding clothes. Make sure you keep eye-contact with your child and keep reassuring that mom is right here. Speak in positive, upbeat words. The first time may not work, but just keep repeating yourself and do it over and over until they are fine with you being in the next room.

2. Remember, this may not work till over a month. The key is to be consistent and to always come back to the child after a short time. Start with 30 seconds. If your child starts crying count to 10 and then show your presence to the baby. Hug her and let her know you missed her, but that you will always return. Gradually you can increase the time if the child seems to sense your absence after longer intervals. If you live alone, this will take longer to achieve. But when there is dad or another caregiver present, it will help you increase the absences faster as the child is taken care of and can be distracted. Eventually you should be able to go the grocery store and be back after half an hour to 40 minutes with the child having not missed your absence.

3. By taking things slowing, it will help you and your child overcome separation anxiety with much less tears, heartbreak and stress. The baby will continue to grow her independence from you and will soon love her new found freedom of having playtime with dad, grandma or grandpa, or other special friend.With that being said, please avoid sneaking out. Though this may feel like a safe option, the moment your child discovers you are missing, he will feel abandoned and will dread every time you leave him to go out. Always say a bye before you leave and re-assure that you will come back.

Hang in there moms! It will get better, and know that other moms are going through the same thing as you right now.

Entertaining Kids For Free – Good Weather

Entertaining Kids For FreeA trip to the mall is always met with applause by children in a typical 20th century household.And why not!? There are entertainment zones that have rides, bouncing castles, toy trains, simulating games and the works! It is a perfect place for your child to be entertained. This scenario is a far cry from our childhood, when there were no theme parks or malls that had such great entertainment
system just for kids. But do you also know that such entertainment does not stimulate or nurture your child’s imagination. This is only spoon-fed visual entertainment, with little or no room for imagination that is very important for any child’s development.

The best entertainment is free entertainment that is provided by nature. Free entertainment stimulates their minds more and tires them out if they enjoy it. If they are simply distracted by rides and toys they switch off and then lack enough imagination to entertain their own.

A fantastic way to do this is to plan a Park Walk Activity when the weather is nice. All you need is a picnic basket with nibbles and a couple of sealable plastic bags. This activity is great for getting your child to take an active interest in nature. Find a good park near your house that has enough trees, shrubs, flowers and shade to rest. Start early so that you can wrap up by the time it gets sunny. Start your walk and see how many different things you can find. There is no need to rush the kids. Let them take it all in at their own space. Let it be a leisure walk rather than an activity that has a start and a finish. You could simply guide your children by picking out leaves or flowers that you like and carefully putting them inside the re-sealable plastic bag. Tell them you want to take it home and put it in your room. Your kids are sure to follow your suit. Make sure you don’t pick too many. One of each will be fine.

When you do this more than once, you will notice your children brining back bags full of moss from the trees, different twigs, berries and nuts, various leaves and flowers, small stones and feathers.

Whatever you can find you can collect. Let your child get interested in the surroundings and discover new things on their own.

A picnic basket is great to break up the walk when you feel your child has walked enough for one time.

When you get home get a large piece of paper and some glue and see what scenes you can make from what you have collected. Younger children will enjoy sticking things on randomly and maybe doing a bit of colouring around it as well. Older children could try and make a picture out of the things they have in the bag.

6 Awesome Parenting Resources Found Online

bril3

Good parenting is all about trial and error. Nobody is born with all the super mom or super dad skills. All of us want to be the best parent we can be, but we sometimes we may doubt our actions and approaches. After all it is the most precious living being that is in question. Whenever in doubt, consult the internet. This seems to be a norm these days. But where should you go for parenting advice and tips online? There are hundreds of parenting websites. Which ones offer the best parenting resources?

Take a look at these sites for valuable parenting tips.

1.Baby Center, one of the most reliable online resources, has excellent sections on parenting. It is filled with information on parenting issues right from pregnancy to teenage. Particularly useful is their Expert Advice and FAQ’s section, where you can ask questions or look at existing questions asked by parents. These are answered by a panel of paediatricians from the world over. http://www.babycenter.com

2.Raising responsible and aware children is what every caregiver wants for themselves and their children in the long run. But that goal is often lost in fighting the day to day battles of potty training, discipline and many other issues. RIE, founded by Magda Gerber, follows the basic principles of raising infants and children with respect that you would give any adult. Their website www.rie.org is abundant with how to give babies and children more independence and respect.

3.Raising a toddler seems like a cake walk until you have pre-teens and teens to handle. A great online resource for this age group is http://centerforparentingeducation.org. This website offers free online courses on parenting. Now, you may not need their certification, but their methods and advice is definitely worth a shot. Some popular courses include “Setting the stage for discipline that works”, You’re so mean, I hate you! Taming the anger tantrum” and many more. Also worthwhile is browsing through their article library for commonly asked questions.

4.Handy tips and ideas for planning your kids’ birthday parties, tiffin recipes, craft ideas, project assistance and adventure based learning, are available on http://www.pbs.org/parents. The entire PBS network is abundant with parenting resources. Educational videos form a part of their network as well. This is a great resource for all those day to day help that moms need to reference ever so often.

5.Parents, who are either working from home or are employed full time struggle to find a balance between work and home, especially children. www.indiaparenting.com is a forum where you will find articles to help you strike that precarious balance and is also a buzzing forum for parents to actively discuss their issues.

6.And, finally, for those times when you need a lighter moment, there’s http://www.parentinghumor.com, a well written website, dedicated to the lighter side of parenting.
Remember that you’re not alone. All parents need advice sometimes.

There are thousands of parenting resources online. From parenting workshops to parenting forums, there’s a wealth of information available for parents with children of any age.

 

 

5 ways For New Parents To Get More Sleep

bril2The joy of a new baby is something so special that only new parents experience. However, lack of sleep is collateral damage. New parents notoriously get very little sleep, if any at all. Fortunately, there are some strategies and tips to help new parents get snatch snippets of sleep once the new baby arrives. Of course, with a baby you will never get an over abundance of sleep, but these tips will help you to at least get enough sleep to keep your sanity intact.

The key here is to be prepared before you get to that phase. Forewarned is forearmed. This adage is true for all new parents.

Tip #1 Take Turns:

A new born baby has no sense of day or night. Irregular feeding time, potty and pee are a never ending cycle that keeps new mothers awake all night. For the first few days, time the baby’s waking and then takes turns waking up. There is no point in the father waking up to a crying infant who only needs to be fed. Similarly there is no need for a mother to wake up when the baby needs a change of diaper. Generally, taking turns is really the best option and will help everyone get just a little more sleep.

Tip #2 Nap With the Baby:

If you are the only one caring for the baby, then when the baby goes to sleep, you should take a nap as well. This will allow you to get some rest. So, whether the baby naps in the morning, afternoon, or early evening you should also get a little rest because you never know when the baby might wake up. Don’t be tempted to do chores in this time. The laundry basket may overflow, the dishes may need doing, or the house may look generally like a hurricane just hit it. Don’t bother about these things in the first three months. Just remember, this will pass when the baby regulates her sleeping pattern naturally.

Tip #3 Accept Help:

When you have a new baby, there are plenty of people willing to help, be it parents, siblings, friends, and other family members. So, when you really need to get some sleep, just accept some of the help that is being offered. Having your mom or mom-in-law care for the baby for just a couple of hours will allow you to get some much needed sleep. If enlisting the help of a part time help is feasible, get it immediately. This will allow you to rest when the baby is napping.

Tip #4 Keep the Baby in the Nursery:

The baby should sleep in the nursery and not with the parents. Although there is another school of thought that promotes co-sleeping. Many times it is tempting to allow the baby to sleep with the parents, but this may form a habit that is difficult to break in the later years of the baby’s life. After the baby is six months old, you can slowly start the transition of making the baby sleep in the nursery. A video or an audio monitor is a must in these cases.

Tip #5 Feed the Baby Before You Sleep:

If your baby typically wakes up just before your sleep time, it is safe to wake the baby up for a feed and then put her back to sleep. This way she won’t interrupt your sleep immediately and hopfully sleep for longer. This is a long shot, but worth a try. All the best!