4 Activities Children Can Do Until School Re-opens



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…]

7 Fun-filled Traditional Games for Children this Summer Holidays

10thaprilAs traditional way of life slowly cedes ground to technological modernity, many indigenous cultures around the world have had to bear the brunt of collateral damage inflicted by the onslaught of an ever-advancing technology and its influence on traditional way of life.

Our country has proved to be an exception, so far, to the all-pervasive influence of modern technology and its effect on native culture. However, we have not been totally immune to its homogenizing effect on traditional games and indigenous languages.

Traditional games have always been an integral part of our cultural milieu. India is home to a vast array of indoor and outdoor games, often played using nothing more than common household items, stones and even tree branches.

Some of them have been forgotten, some are still being played by small rural communities, and some like the Kabbadi are being revived in a big way.

Let us have a look at some of the traditional games which most of us have played in our childhood.

Hide ‘n’ seek: This is a universal favourite where one player is delegated to seek out the rest of the guys who have to go into hiding within a limited time span.
Benefits: Teaches kids the value of patience.

Kho-kho: Played by two teams with alternate members of one team kneeling and facing opposite directions. The team that tags all the opponents in the shortest time are the winners.
Benefits: Promotes quick response time and teamwork.

Kancha or goli: There are a number of variations to the core game, but the main aim is to hit your opponent’s marble(goli) which allows you to own it!
Benefits: Teaches kids to deal with bullies and to be street smart.

Lagori: One team tries to unsettle a stack of 7 flat stones with a tennis ball. The aim is to rebuild the stack while the opposing team tries to prevent you from doing so by trying to hit one of your team members with the ball.
Benefits: Improves reflexes and promotes teamwork.

Kith kith/ Kunte Bille: This hopping game is mainly played by girls, and involves negotiating a grid drawn in the form of a 1×3, 2×1, and 1×1 squares. Each player has to precision throw a flat stone into one of the squares in a particular order. Completing the routine in the quickest time wins you the game.
Benefits: This is a strategy game and capturing certain squares in the grid can make your opponent’s life difficult.

Ali Guli Mane: All you need is the ‘mane’ or the wooden board with 14 pits carved into it (seven on each side). They are filled with cowry shells or any other seed. The aim is to capture all the shells or seeds using a prescribed set of rules.
Benefits: This strategy game promotes the ability to do quick mental math.

Kabaddi: Finally, the most popular of traditional games and which has made a huge comeback in recent times, thanks to the Kabaddi Premier League promoted by celebrities and industry captains.
Benefits: The game promotes physical strength, agility and breath control.

There are countless other traditional games that require no expensive toys, consume no electric or battery power but guarantee non-stop fun to children.

Do encourage your children to try them out this summer holidays!

Fits, Faints and Funny Turns in Children

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

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

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

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

Some other conditions that you may come across:

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

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

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

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