How to Manage a Fussy Eater

27th (1)

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

20th

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…]

Building Baby’s First Library

6th

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!

 

 

 

30th (1)

 

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…]

This Christmas – Let your children experience the satisfaction of giving

19th

What with all the festival mood around, there’s no bigger present than the satisfaction of giving. Teaching your kids to give is one of the biggest learnings that you can inculcate in them during their childhood.
Here are some ideas that you can utilize this holiday season to involve your children in the activity of giving:

– Involve them along with you in your giving activities

Whenever you are doing a good deed, make sure to talk about it with your kids. Your kids will always idealize you as their role models and hence, your actions will always have a direct impact on them.

Make sure that you share with them, your experiences of giving in the past and stories that can motivate them to donate. Choose a cause and let your children know as to why you are passionate about that cause and what have you done to contribute towards it. [Read more…]

Smart Ways to Train Your Kids in Personal Hygiene

20

You can’t see them and that’s their strongest ammunition. Guard your children and yourselves from the attack of the germs!

They Are Not All Bad

It has been advised that you should keep your kids away from germs, mainly pathogenic germs. That aside it is a good idea to expose your children to these germs. Here’s why, the bacteria modulate the immune system. This means that bacteria are needed to keep the immune strong to fight against bacteria. Just like how venom helps create the anti-venom.

Now you may be wondering how is this supposed to work. When your immune system is given something to work on then your body won’t get attacked because it knows what to do. On the contrary when your body comes from a germ-free environment you have a weaker immune system and it doesn’t know how to battle against it to protect your body from disease. [Read more…]

Stay at Home or Work Full Time? A Human Perspective

Stay at Home or Work Full Time? A Human Perspective

By Jayaram Rajaram

I am sure women are wondering what I (being a man) am going to say about a debate that is always highly polarized and one that has been done to death. Here I am digging into ancient Indian roots & wisdom and am going to offer a perspective for all human beings, in a gender-neutral manner.

Parents and Child

Ambition and competitive education with little or no introspection or self-awareness have harmed the human race and its peace of mind, irrespective of gender. It’s really time to move to a self-awareness, inward looking, duty-bound education system that nurtures creative thinking and collaboration while taking mental health very seriously (With an emphasis on yoga and meditation). A system that asks children what problem in the world they wish to solve and what their primary duties as sons/daughters/fathers/mothers/citizens of the world are, rather than what they want to be, with material gains, power, social recognition and bank balance being the primary objective.  Seriously, material gains and ambition are no benchmarks to judge people and it’s time society (every mother, father, grandfather and grandmother) understands this, as the damage that consumerism and materialism over the last 2-3 generations have done are already showing up in several nasty ways in most countries. Spiritually looking at things, we have to nurture a generation that is grateful and contented, but not lazy, while acting to make the world a better place. Delving into the Nishkama Karma approach, we as parents have to lead by example. As parents if we prioritize staying away from kids emphasizing the importance of earning a living and making money, that’s what our children will feel is socially rewarding and emulate us later in life. If every father and mother prioritize needs from wants and look beyond their small ego-centric lives (that depend largely on social validation) to nurture the future generation with the right values, we might have a chance of nurturing balanced, happy, confident and emotionally stable citizens of the future who are sensitive to others’ needs also.

So all this sounds good but where to start?

  • Every mother and every father currently working or not, have to assess how much time they get to spend with their children. I mean quality and quantity time with your children. We decided to bring our children into this world didn’t we? They are our purpose, duty and joy and not a distraction from our office work.   If a job demands more than 8-10 hours per day at work, start looking for a better job. Always remember that we work to live and do not live to work – no matter how fulfilling one’s job, business or career is (To put things in perspective, even a doctor has to take care of himself/herself to provide optimum patient care.).
  • Avoid taking up jobs that require late night phone calls, if you can avoid it, or work out flexi timings that let you spend time with your kids in the evening before your calls. A globalized-world is great for economics but disastrous for families. If it is a necessary evil, the least you can do is work around it without being a parent who is sleeping when your kids leave for school, and whose kids are asleep when you get back home. You will not be thinking about your American or Brit client (Or Indian or Chinese client if you are from the western hemisphere) who you never skipped a late night call with, on your death bed – I promise. :-)
  • Schedule maximum number of days so your child gets time with his / her mother and father.
  • Ensure weekends or at least Sunday is 100% family time
  • Dedicate time for family meditation / quiet time everyday before bed time or first thing in the morning. Time for prayer / puja / God is also recommended for the parent if you wish to bring up a child who understands that there is a higher force within all of us and external rituals/routines help calm stressed minds and bring about one-pointedness of mind. The benefits of meditation and rituals include clarity of thought, focus, intuition and creativity and are today being recognized even by the so-called modern-scientific fraternity.
  • If you have all your needs and lifestyle requirements met, allow one partner to stay-at-home full time. I am not even entering the gender debate but putting kids’ needs ahead of parent-needs which is the beauty of the Indian parenting system has gotten horribly diluted along the way. This is a tough one as most of us have forgotten to be grateful for what we have and confuse needs from wants and justify all our wrong actions by looking outside for validation rather than looking inside and listening to that inner voice.
  • Reduce travel for work as much as possible. Both in terms of proximity to work place and work-related travel out of town.
  • When you attend your next work interview (whether you are a mother or father), keep your children’s needs ahead of your own. This might sound tough initially but this is where contentment begins and you will not regret the decision in the long run. Some parents say I am doing this to give my children a better life. The truth is children need us to be present more than the money (beyond basic needs and saving for their future along the way, which we must do as a duty too). Never forget that once they enter the teenage zone they won’t need you much anymore. No point having regrets at that point.
  • Travel as a family at least once a year. If possible, do short weekend breaks. None of your breaks have to be expensive and over the top for you to have a great time with your children.
  • Try to start your own lifestyle business, if your situation permits it so you have control over your time and how much you wish to earn (If your business works out well ). One partner can do this while the other brings in a steady income at first.
  • Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’, Jagans, Janes or Janakis as they might be looking at you and trying to keep up with you in some aspects of life. So stop! This gets people nowhere. Use Facebook only for entertainment and don’t worry if you can’t do an international holiday every year like some of your friends. They probably have hardly anytime with their families. Even if they do- STOP thinking about others except when you can do something to help a fellow human being. Even when you help someone do not expect quid-pro-quo and give for the sake of giving like it is your blessing from God that you have been given an opportunity to help someone.
  • Stop hoarding things and buying unnecessary stuff. Minimalistic living helps using resources (time and money) in experiences with your loved ones. Order of priority (Most important left to Least Important right) that we should aim for, work on, live daily and teach our kids is :

(Most Important) People–>Food, Shelter, Clothing–> Simple Experiences –>Money to impact ones family and world positively (even if it is in a small way like educating one underprivileged child)–>Bigger Experiences–>Things (Least Important)

 

  • Take care of your and your spouse’s ageing parents and show your kids that this is how India works and that’s why the whole world looks to India for its solid family support system. You should not ask the kids to take care of you, but do your duty towards your parents (the child’s grandparents) and allow your child to watch it happening day in and day out. Nishkama Karma at every stage- where we do our duty without expecting anything in return. Very tough but this attitude has to be work in progress on a daily basis for all of us.
  • Last but not least, nobody can have it all and nobody is 100% right or 100% wrong so stop comparing yourselves with others and do what works for you. Whether you choose to stay at home or work full time, always remember to find a job that helps you to spend more time with family. Indra Nooyi said women can’t have it all. I say nobody can have it all (Not men, not women because what does all mean? One has to sacrifice something to gain something else. Isn’t this the law of nature?). If we are to nurture a better future generation and really cherish the process, we have to spend more time with our children (This applies to mothers and fathers).  If you don’t like what someone else is doing, or it irritates you, it probably means you haven’t come to terms with some aspect of your own personality and are allowing another’s actions or lifestyle to affect your mental peace.  Introspect, meditate and course correct.

So what’s the essence of this entire article from an ancient Indian Wisdom and Sanatana Dharma standpoint? In two words – Reduce Desire!

Unfulfilled desire leads to anger and then disillusionment and depression (Kama – desire, Krodha-Anger, Moha – Maya/Disillusionment). Desire fulfilled leads to more desire or greed (Lobha).

I will leave you with a lovely piece on Maturity by Adi Sankaracharya:

*What is maturity? – by Adi Shankara*

1. Maturity is when you stop trying to change others, …instead focus on changing yourself.

2. Maturity is when you accept people as they are.

3. Maturity is when you understand everyone is right in their own perspective.

4. Maturity is when you learn to “let go.

5. Maturity is when you are able to drop “expectations” from a relationship and give for the sake of giving.

6. Maturity is when you understand whatever you do, you do for your own peace.

7. Maturity is when you stop proving to the world, how intelligent you are.

8. Maturity is when you don’t seek approval from others.

9. Maturity is when you stop comparing with others.

10. Maturity is when you are at peace with yourself.

11. Maturity is when you are able to differentiate between “need” and “want” and are able to let go of your wants.

and last but most meaningful,

12. You gain Maturity when you stop attaching “happiness” to material things !!

Writing for other parents helps me introspect and course correct as a parent myself. I learn by writing and am in no way perfect. Let us all cherish every moment of the journey rather than hanker after some fictitious destination.

Image Credits: http://www.stockphotosforfree.com/

4 Activities Children Can Do Until School Re-opens

19thmay

 

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…]

Raising children with positive attitude

24thapril

 

Parenting, as most of us have had the occasion to find out, is a thankless job. When our kids do well, the world praises them for their achievement. And when they behave badly, well, it is the parents – especially mothers – who get to bear the brunt of criticism.

Kind of makes sense why our mothers tended to be on tenterhooks at social gatherings we were taken to. Kids tend to be a little too gregarious at times and end up being a little too obnoxious and ill-disciplined for the standards set by mothers. While dad soon got engrossed in a conversation on sports or politics, it was left to mother to keep her flock in check.

[Read more…]

Advantages of home cooked food

17thapril

How often do you get the urge to eat out? Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings are the most likely candidates. The former because we feel we deserve it for all the hardwork we put in during the week. The latter is a result of a feeling that we are also entitled for a break from the household chores at least once a week. Well, you are justified on both counts.

If you are a single working professional, then chances are that you either depend on a food vendor in your neighbourhood in the afternoons and settle for a home-delivery from a fastfood joint in the evenings.

However, it is essential to know about the harmful effects of eating out on a daily basis. Outside food tends to have the following disadvantages:

  • Use of inferior quality ingredients and left-overs.
  • Use of additives and preservatives.
  • Over-priced as they pass on the overheads to the customer.
  • Food is repeatedly cooked robbing it of its nutritional value.
  • The most important, however is hygiene or the lack of it with restaurant food.

The advantages of home-cooking are many and we will look at some of them in an effort to encourage you to try your hands at home cooking.

  • Hygiene: With home-cooking, you are in-charge of quality and that is one less thing to worry about.
  • Freshness: Get fresh ingredients on the way home. Cook just about enough food for your needs. Never buy a large fridge as it tempts you to cook more food for later use.
  • Nutrition: Your well-being depends on what shape you are in physically. Home cooking allows you ensure that you eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Finances: There is never enough of this precious stuff. Home cooking allows you to start saving money and teaches you the importance of money management.
  • Hobby: Cooking is a great way to unwind after a hard day’s work. You will find that it is also a great way to make friends with like-minded people in the community.
  • Life skill: Cooking is an important skill that is often overlooked. But it can come in handy when you are on your own in an alien place.

It is essential to point out at this stage that the aim of this article is not to suggest all outside food is of inferior quality, but to point out the advantages of home-cooked food. There are enough honest and hardworking people out there who serve delicious and hygienic food.

Finally, home-cooking as an activity is priceless. It helps to strengthen family bonds and has something to offer to everyone. It is an activity that involves more than just cooking food.

  • If you are a professional and single, just pick up the phone and call your mother or a favourite aunt to consult about a recipe. Any excuse to get in touch with family is a good excuse.
  • If you are a married man, there is no better way to express your love for your wife by helping her out in the kitchen.
  • If you are a married woman, there is no better way to spend some quality time with your husband.
  • If you have kids, there is no better way to instill discipline in them by pointing out the virtues of home-cooked food and its superiority over junk food.