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Benefits of Setting a Child’s Daily Routine

 

A child’s life is full of spontaneous moments and free-flowing discoveries. Setting a daily routine can give it some structure and make things easy to manage for parents. Here are simple ways in which a child’s daily habits can be set into a routine.

Sense & Structure:  A child’s day can never be fully planned as they slowly explore the world around us, learn to communicate and build bonds with every person they meet. The world is a fascinating place for kids where every moment carries wonder and joy that they want to experience. Setting a routine however, helps parents manage their time & commitments at home and work and it also gives child rootedness.  Daily habits such as waking up, brushing teeth, going potty, bath, dressing up, playing with toys, putting them back, meal-times, nap-time and more are a part of a child’s usual daily routine.

Family Bonding: Following a routine gives working parents more time to spend with their kids and just bond. Working parents often enjoy daily walks or a visit to the park with kids and rejuvenate. Shared experiences apart from play-time such as baking, just being with each other, telling stories or just watching a child grow up and discover the world one step at a time are highly enriching. This also releases the need to rush through life as parents savour moments of growth & development at every stage and are better able to cope with stress.

Healthy Habits: Both parents and kids with routines have been found to have better health. For instance, sleeping and waking up at a set time is better in the long run for the entire family. It aslo imbibes a sense of security in kids as they know what to expect and do incase they are confused.  Things run more smoothly around the house and the channels for communication are more open and peaceful.  A lot of parents maintain reward charts to add an element of fun for their kids but maintaining them regularly can be a bit daunting.

Self-Reliance:  Routines help a child be more independent and assured of their own ability to do things. Parents can just supervise them now and then to make sure they’re doing ok. This greatly reduces tension and power struggles between parents and kids as they are in better harmony as tempers don’t shoot up and everything can be managed more calmly with greater amount of love, patience and trust. This helps parents and kids work towards shared goals for instance completing school projects and planning a family vacation in advance.

Do you follow a routine or have daily activities for your little one? Share your story with us and get featured on the blog.

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Ways to help a Bed-Wetting Child

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Bed-wetting is a natural process and part of growing up. Here are simple ways in which parents can toilet train their children.

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Find out the Reason: Bed-wetting is a natural occurrence in kids and may continue till they reach puberty. The reason for this response could be fear, anxiety, or a bedtime story/cartoon they got scared of. Many a times its difficulties at school, home-work woes, peer pressure or just timidity that makes them pee in bed when they’re asleep. A bed-wetting child may have a genetic predisposition or maybe needs help in regulating their hormone levels through medication. Often consumption of aerated drinks/coffee/juices which don’t agree with their delicate system because of their high sugar and preservatives level is a cause of this. Constipation and irregular bowel movements could also lead to frequent urination. Your child could also be bed-wetting if they have ‘cold feet’ because of weak immunity or because of sleeping in an air-conditioned room.

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Talk it Out: See it as a natural process and communicate with your kid rather than shaming  him as ‘dirty’ or ‘weak’ as it leads to emotional baggage and your child could distance themselves from you. You could try being gentle and gradually toilet-train them. The simplest way is to wake them up in the middle of the night and take them to the loo to pee – till they do this on their own. Keep the night-lamp on so your child doesn’t get scared when they do this independently. You could also keep extra nappies by their bedside for them to change and feel fresh.

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Taking Precautions: Keep mattress protector or a quick dry mattress underneath your little one’s bedding to avoid discomfort and to ensure the entire bed isn’t soiled. Make them wear thick nappy or a diaper if they’re too little; generally toilet-training starts during toddler-hood, after the child turns three. Avoid snug pyjamas/shorts/leggings as they could cause rashes, redness or skin irritation. Wash up immediately with soap and water. Keep child’s bedding separate and wash their clothes in antiseptic detergents separately to avoid spreading germs and bacteria. As they grow older, teach them about the same.

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Praise and Encourage Transition: Waking up on their own and going to pee in the middle of the night is a sign that kid has understood and responds to their body’s signals. Be happy that your child can relieve themselves on their own and tell them how happy you are to see this change. Give them time to settle in and gradually they could also start sleeping in their own room alone. Follow the same routine though and keep the night-lamps on and extra nappies and pyjamas on their bedside. Keep your bedroom door open so they can sleep next to you if they’re scared in the middle of the night and just need a snuggle.

Which are some of the ways in which you are helping your child through this transition? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Make the Most of Monsoons

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Make the most of the magical monsoon weathers with these simple guidelines from Simba Toys.  

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Right Raingear: Monsoons can be enjoyable if you’re comfy and protected. Raincoats, carrying an umbrella, wearing ankle-length pants/shorts with long-sleeved tees keep a child warm. For footwear, closed sneakers and shoes are not recommended and instead kids could opt for flip-flops, gum boots, kitos, crocs, loafers with anti-skid grip and similar open sandals which allow their feet to breathe and also ease of movement. Avoid making your child wear socks as they could get smelly when wet and also lead to fungal infections because of exposure to dirty rainwater in puddles, swamps and gutters.

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Diet-wise: Doctors and health care practitioner’s advice boiling veggies and drinking water as waterborne dis-eases such as gastroenteritis, cold, cough, and swine flu are on the high in the rains. The monsoon weather also demands a diet that keeps your kids warm and energized – vegetable broths, soups, dal-rice, curries are wholesome and better options than fast foods like pizza, sandwiches and fizzy beverages. Include lots of fresh fruits, nuts and seeds as well as these are a quick source of energy and also easily digested.

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Hygiene Matters: Maintaining a high level of cleanliness is of utmost importance in the rains. Keep hands and feet clean by regular washing after every time you’ve been outside to avoid germs that cause bacterial and viral infections. Use neem, aloe, and lavender, soaps/bath gels which are anti-bacterial and also natural moisturizing agents to keep your child’s skin clean, fresh and supple. If your child experiences itchiness while wearing school shoes, sprinkle foot powder to keep feet protected and dry. Avoid swimming pools and public parks as they could be full of unclean water, mosquitoes and worms.

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Enjoy the Magic: The monsoon weather is quite dreamy and ambient. Try visiting a park/scenic hill-side for a picnic or short getaway to explore and enjoy the lush green environs. Trekking/hiking for 12+ year old’s is quite popular as it offers them an outdoorsy and adventurous experience. Just ensure they are constantly under adult supervision to avoid accidents and injury from other unforeseen events.

In which ways do you and your family enjoy the beautiful monsoons? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Ways to Deal with a Lying Child

Children are too young to understand why they are lying. Similarly, teens could lie to keep secrets. Here are some ways with which you could deal with a child’s lying behavior.

Identify the Behavior: Parents often discover a little late about a child’s lying behavior and the reasons for this is many. It’s tough as little children especially toddlers and older kids between 3-9 years are very impressionable and often in their own sweet make-believe world. Many times little kids don’t even know when they are talking to themselves or to a parent. At times kids lie just to escape responsibility, to rebel or just to save face from shame and from harsh punishment imposed by very strict parents. Kids also lie to gain attention and favoritism i.e. want to be teacher’s pet or be parents most loved among siblings and put up a front of good behavior. Teens often lie to keep certain emotional matters and “friendships” private as they often find it easier to confide in peers.

Imaginary Friends & Story-telling: Kids often have imaginary friends and use their names to shift blame. The lie or ‘story’ could be something they heard or saw in a cartoon or at school and are just acting it out in real life. They often do this out of fear of ridicule or create fake scenarios and fabricate truth as it’s easier to digest. Lies are often child’s wishes and fantasies which they want to come true as they often can’t cope with school work or are very emotionally needy and need extra attention from home. An alternate reality becomes an easy escape with which they express themselves. Often children learn this tendency from parents who use lies to get away with unpleasant people/situations. For instance; avoid phone-calls from visiting guests as they are tired or not in the mood to socialize. Children could also just be following suit to match up to their parents’ and peers standards.

Ways to Transform:  Gently/humorously catch them in the act and like a friend explain right/wrong behaviour. Avoid being religious/dramatic about it as a child is still adapting to the world and needs time and nurturing to fully understand what’s going on.  Explain to your kid that truth resolves conflict and builds trust between people and to speak it without being blunt viz; ” If you can’t say something nice about something or someone, say nothing at all. Replace fearful feelings with love and courage to be oneself and praise child’s individuality. Allow them space to express oneself w/out hesitation and as parents avoid keeping something taboo/restricted and let children choose wisely for themselves. A certain level of privacy for teens is essential as they are going through a transition of physical, mental, emotional changes. Allow them time to open up to you and a friendly approach could help to communicate better. As an exercise for kids of all ages, a way to transform lying behaviour is to ask them to write confessional/apology letters and bury them away as a release. If matters worsen ask them to apologize for wrongdoing as it’s a sign of maturity and responsibility for one’s behaviour.

Which are some of your observations about your child’s lying behavior? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Ways to Deal with Habit of Theft in Kids

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A child stealing material things is an underlying need for love and attention. Here are gentle ways in which you can help your child evolve from this negative behavioral tendency.

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Identify the reason/cause: Identify the cause or reason because of which your child is stealing from you. It’s often an attention seeking behavior and an underlying need for love which is unfulfilled. So they start substituting money for love and end up giving more importance to material possessions that can be bought. It could perhaps be that they are not getting their rightful recognition in family, latent anger at a parent or sibling who is being pampered more than them. Children often steal because of peer pressure or ragging/bullying they face in school or social situations so comply to be part of a group. Stealing could also be because of a lack of self-control, the thrill of rebelling against set social norms of behavior. Maybe they can’t identify between right/wrong and preschoolers often do it out of curiosity rather than a habit. An older child or teen however, needs immediate attention and needs to be gently explained about right/wrong behavior in any given situation concerning what’s “mine” and “other persons”.

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Introspect on Parenting Style: Children notice parent’s behavior and follow the example in front of them. So as a parent or influential figure in the child’s life, introspect if you avoid paying for things even though you can afford them. Do you hoard “freebies” from hotels or any other public place out of a sense of false entitlement? Do you avoid tipping because you’ve paid service tax? Identify and re-evaluate what’s your relationship with money to set a more acceptable example in front of your child. Also check if you’re a miser and give your child less pocket-money that keeps him away from enjoying his school/college life. Are you strict/angry/in-attentive when it comes to pampering your child?  And if you’re someone who loathes the rich or have negative feelings about money or those who are affluent – you’re creating a prejudice on your child’s mind. So instead develop an attitude of gratitude and abundance as gaining that affluent stature involves optimism and a lot of relentless work.

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Ways to transform: The best way to transform this situation is to talk/communicate without judging and give your child a chance. Clear the air about right/wrong and also about ownership – things that are theirs and those that belong to someone else or things that are commonly owned by everyone in the family.  Also explain to them about ‘entitlement’ what they are naturally entitled to as citizens and what they have to pay for in every social/professional setting. As a simple exercise, send them to a shop to buy something and check if they give you back the exact change. Teach them about savings and individual pocket money and buy them a piggy bank to help them build their own. Avoid labels of “bad child” “troublemaker” and instead reward good behavior with love and praise. Avoid being too dramatic and ensure you keep this conversation private. Don’t be ashamed as it kills child’s morale and instead be patient and appreciative of how good he is otherwise.

Which are some of the ways in which you can help your child give up stealing? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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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.