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Make your Child’s summer exciting with Summer Camps

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Summer camps are quite popular for Indian families seeking a wholesome experience for their kids. These are immense fun, opportune for learning, great for overall health and enhance a child’s personality in totality.

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Nature Time:

Summer camps let your child’s explore the outdoors; learn more about flora and fauna and the diverse wildlife. Set in rustic environs, kids get a taste of nomadic life, far removed from the ‘instant digital age’. Scientific studies prove the multiple benefits of being close to nature – increased immunity, sharper senses, physical flexibility, mental awareness, emotional happiness and also time to introspect on the big picture of life.

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Nurturing Independence:

The duration of summer camps differs with the organization or group you’re associating with and can be anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks to a month or more. This means children set up their own tents, cook their own meals with local produce without fancy gadgets or equipment, make their beds and have to learn to look after themselves. Supervisors and camp leaders are usually present, however a child is taught to use his wits and build willpower to survive in all weather conditions and adapt to different environments.

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Learning & Exploring:

Expect your child to come back with loads of new skills, hobbies and a diverse range of interests. Summer camps are a storehouse of activity with a lot of happening to keep your child engaged. From creative pursuits to athletic ones, a child can participate in everything from dance to art workshops, learn martial art forms, go trekking, sailing, experiment with new cooking recipes, and even discover his acting/singing/performing potential.  There’s never a dull moment and usually a child is encouraged to be actively involved in a variety of events to give him a wholesome experience.

 

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Social Network:

Feeling homesick on a summer camp is natural but you need not worry as your child will soon be part of a group. From sharing space with someone who’s his own age, to being around kids with varied personalities – expect your kid to find his own voice. Summer camp supervisors and leaders usually pair up like-minded kids to ensure safety and enjoyment. A mix of kids with different strengths and weaknesses is a good idea so they can support each other and be more emotionally balanced. Introverts and shy kids gain from such an arrangement as being part of a smaller and intimate circle helps them open up and express their inner self without hesitation. Expect your child to come back with lots of memories peppered with laughter, fights, silliness, gossip and unlimited fun.

Is summer camp part of your child’s vacay this year? What do you think of such experiences? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Summer Diet for Kids

Keep your child refreshed and belly full with these simple diet ideas for the sweltering summers in India!

Keep it Light

 Light meals are easier to digest for kids during the summers than heavy meals laden with oil, cheese or butter. Simple recipes with rice, whole wheat rotis, idlis, dosas, oats, poha, upma and other sprout based broths, whole grains, beans, lentils are great options. You could also just serve homemade soups with veggies for any time of day as these are filling and nutritious at the same time. For sandwiches and rolls, choose whole wheat, multigrain, brown, oats bread over white bread as the former options keep the gut clean as they are low on yeast and gluten.  Avoid meats as these are complex carbs, fats and proteins for a child’s digestive system to breakdown in the heat, eat eggs sparingly in case non-veg is part of your child’s usual diet.

 

Juice Up

 Being hydrated is key to good health in the hot and humid climate that India is prone to at least during the summers. So increase your child’s fluid intake with freshly blended juices, smoothies, and milkshakes to keep them refreshed and high on energy. Avoid packaged beverages and colas as these contain artificial sweeteners, salts, preservatives which can be detrimental to a child’s delicate immune system in the long run. Lemonade, sweet lime, watermelon juice, or even a glass of ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) containing electrolytes are ideal for all growing kids in the summer.  Coconut water and its inner kernel is naturally cooling and high in B complex vitamins which help kids remain hydrated while building their bone and muscle health. Nothing beats the goodness of water, so ensure your child is carrying his sippy cup or bottle with them at all times, and avoid sharing the bottle to keep oral allergies and infections at bay.

 

Snack-time

 Every kid loves chips, pizzas, biscuits, chocolates, toffees and just consumes them without any thought especially while they are vacationing and busy at play during the summers. These contain a host of artificial flavors, preservatives, salts and sweeteners which can lead to unhealthy addictions, eating patterns and obesity in later life. Try replacing these with homemade chips, baked goodies, flavored popcorn, homemade sweets in ghee with chocolate and other fresh fruit extracts instead. Seeds and nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios soaked in honey are great source of protein, manganese, omega 3 fatty acids and other healthy fat sources. 2-3 servings of seasonal fruits like mangoes, oranges, muskmelon, papaya, watermelon, apples in the summers are recommended as these are rich in Vitamin C. AHA’s and other water soluble vitamins which are necessary to keep your child’s skin and hair healthy. Warm and cold salads with cucumber, cabbage, carrot, beets, corn, sprouts, broccoli and lettuce are a wholesome meal by themselves are rich in multiple Vitamins A, B, K along with iron, calcium and other minerals.

Cool as Ice

Summers are incomplete without licking on an ice-cream cone! Children love the cool, melt-in-your-mouth sensation and the explosion of flavors that ice-creams bring. Waffles, baked cones and scoops made from soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk and fruit extracts are healthier as than those refrigerated for months and made from cow’s milk. These can be consumed by adults who are lactose intolerant as well and are a great source of calcium apart from being so indulgent. Slush’s, candy cones, cold coffees and homemade sundaes are beneficial for health than those available in packets outside, especially if you’re unsure of the ice/water quality.

Which are some of the things you enjoy and serve to your kids during the summers? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Encourage Kids to be Problem Solvers

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Your child looks upto you for all his needs, including emotional, mental and psychological ones. Being able to adapt, having a healthy approach to problems and staying calm through it all are positive traits of good parent-child harmony. Here are simple ways in which you can encourage your kid to be a problem solver.

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Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable

Parents are role-models for kids and your child will imitate your approach to life or rebel and find his/her own way to deal with everything. Be soft and sure in your approach and avoid being too bossy or critical. Keep your language clear and make use of positive words rather than using tags and labels such as “bad boy/girl”, “mischief-maker”, “useless” as these become their inner voice and they often end up defining themselves through such feedback. Avoid physically hitting them or throwing things when you’re edgy or angry as that’s how children learn to throw tantrums, being dramatic and ways of violence.

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Constructive Criticism

Your little one is learning the ways of adapting to the various stimuli in this big world so be gentle and see mistakes as a positive sign as room for learning and growth. Instead of saying, “That’s a stupid drawing!” rephrase your feedback as “You can do better than this. I believe in you”. Also avoid attaching moral values to everything your child does, for instance, “You’re a bad child as you made a mess during playtime”. Instead build your child’s character with statements like “You’re a responsible child and i’m sure you can put back your toys where they belong.” Creating fear of not being a good person is not constructive and could destroy your child’s self-esteem.

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Encourage Independence

Encourage your child to speak up and just say whatever’s on their mind without any fear of judgement, ridicule, punishment or hesitation. This helps them be strong and courageous enough to solve their own problems – be it requesting teachers or seeking their help, making new friends, dealing with bullies, walking to school from home and back on their own among other daily routines which are part of growing up. One of the best ways to encourage independence and autonomy is to let your child help you around the house and greet guests, make them feel welcome and comfortable, serving tea, snacks and other good manners.

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Take it Easy

As a parent you could find yourself frustrated as you juggle between home and work lives. Children are emotional sponges so stay calm through chaos and take it easy. Your calm and sensible approach to problems will inspire them to do the same v/s your nagging, cribbing or harsh attitude in face of crisis. Dropping things, breaking toys, ruining the living room or not being very organized are all part of childhood. See it as a process where your child’s butter fingers are still gaining a strong grip over objects. Remember these inanimate objects can be easily replaced so put your child’s care first in face of such small accidents. Look for your strengths rather than faults and imperfections even in simple things such as your child not being good at studies or coloring outside the lines. Take it easy as your child is still finding their feet and needs you as a friend, confidante and parent and not as a lecturer on perfectionism.  Include digital breaks, meditation, walks in natural environs and yoga to get into this zone.

Which are some of the ways in which you encourage your child to be a problem solver? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Encourage Children to Evolve

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A child brings immense joy, spontaneity and unconditional love to the lives of those around them. At times, though they need encouragement and gentle reminders to be able to evolve at every stage of growth. Here are some simple ways in which parents can help them evolve.

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Naturally Nice: Kids are naturally nice and empathetic, often reaching out to those around them with hugs and compassion. Don’t mistake their mischief or playfulness for a bad attitude or stubbornness as they are just following their natural instincts to explore whatever’s around them. Avoid calling them ‘brat’ or ‘bad boy/girl’ as they could become like that just to rebel or prove something to you. Bring them into awareness if you feel your kid is going overboard or just not ready to listen or hurting someone by being too daft. It’s probably rooted in fear of losing identity and need for constant attention, so allow your child to be vulnerable and express it to you without any hesitation – heart-to-heart communication goes a long way.

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Being Accepting to be Accepted: At times children give into the moment and may put someone else down out of fun, peer pressure or just envy of perceived notions of someone being superior or having better things than them. Make them understand that calling someone names or labeling them is ‘not cool’ even if he’s part of a group of friends who are doing this. Help your child see the big picture – realize that everyone’s unique and beautiful in their own way irrespective of how they look, weigh, own materially or marks they get in their report cards. Accept others without mocking their peculiarity as they could be in their place someday and also forgive those who’ve wronged them as mistakes are human nature.

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Gentle Reminders:  Sit with your kid for a few minutes when they are mentally alert and in a mood to listen ( preferably morning) and gently remind them that they are inherently good-hearted and sweet and reaching out to someone else is a reflection of who they are.  Avoid being too preachy and don’t make it a lecture in moral science as children get bored and see it as criticism for self. Share wisdom once a while without making it a rule to be followed; for instance, a quote like “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

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Being Empty: Scientifically, it’s healthy to be empty atleast mentally before going to bed, so talk to your kid before bedtime, and listen to their stories of how they spent their day. As they grow up, ask them to keep a diary or color pictures, create something with paper or dough, as this could help them vent everything healthily. If your child gets angry easily or throws too many tantrums out of excess energy or for seeking attention, ask him to pick a sport to be able to channel it out in a constructive manner. Emptiness creates space for a child to be spontaneous and happy and spread that happiness around them every time.

Which are some of the ways you help your child just be aware and evolve? Share your story with us and get featured on the blog.

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Winter Care for Kids!

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Winters are every child’s favorite. But the weather can be chilly for their delicate health. Here are simple tips from Simba to nourish & care for your kid.

Warm Woolens

Woolen clothing especially sweaters, turtlenecks and vests are recommended for all kids. These keep a child cosy all through the day and ensure he’s protected from the harsh cold. Apart from wool, thick cotton and suede jackets, thermal leggings, denim pants are great clothing options for little ones.  Mittens, gloves, socks, stoles, mufflers are essential add-ons depending on the degree of the cold climate you’re living in.

Right Shoes

Closed shoes, boots with thick soles and sneakers with insulation will easily help your child move about in ease and be comfy all through the season. These will sustain even if your kid is walking or playing on uneven paths or snow. If you’re indoors, slip-on shoes and thick soled slippers are ideal and ensure your child is wearing socks to avoid cold feet.

Skin & Hair Musts

Skin and hair-care is an absolute must for the winters.  Apply creams and oils to your child’s skin immediately after a bath to keep it moisturized. Petroleum jelly or homemade ghee is great for hydrating the lips. Regularly massage your child’s scalp with oil to boost the growth and strength of hair follicles. A beanie to keep your child’s head & ears covered in the outdoors is a great way to take care of him/her in the winters.

Good Food

A balanced and nutritious diet is an absolute must for all kids. Thick soups, sprout broths, lentils with rice, vegetables with roti are some things every growing child eats. In winters, the metabolic rate is faster, so let your child enjoy rich & indulgent things like Indian sweets, cream cakes and hot chocolate drinks as these will provide him with adequate energy and also keep his hunger pangs at bay. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pistachios are healthy snacks in-between meals.

Which are some of the Winter Care Tips you follow for your kid? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.