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Cherish School Memories

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A new academic year gives children a chance to make new friends and increase their social circle. Here are simple ways in which children and their parents can cherish and treasure school memories right from the beginning of a new class.

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Form a Playgroup:

Parents can get in touch with their child’s friends’ families and form a group that can meet outside of school. Go on regular play-dates at the local park, invite them home for indoor games, go out for picnics and attend birthday parties. This helps children know each other on an emotional level and not just as a classmate they study with. Making friends without the pressure of a school set-up especially helps shy and introverted kids who can’t open up or bond with other kids in class.

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Common FB Page/Group:

Parents can get together and create an online group/page via FB or Instagram and other similar social platforms to regularly keep each other updated. These help in sharing milestones, events and daily happenings of their children’s lives like a common time capsule. Keep updating this every year and someday this will make a memorable online treasure box of memories to look back to at their growing up years.

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Personalized Creations:

Handmade is heart-made, and a personalized gift is sweet and sentimental. It could be a hand-painted bottle/vase, cards or just a keepsake for their spaces. Exchanging books and toys is another way of deepening the bond between friends and helping kids learn the value of sharing their material belongings. Another cute way is to let your child’s friend’s write/draw/paint graffiti or a picture in their favorite corner or spaces and vice-versa.

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Write Letters:

This is slightly old-fashioned but writing letters is really very personal and an art by itself. Allow your child to make pen pals and this will help him write out his feelings. Watch them take a much-needed digital break from the online social networking sites to stay in touch with someone from a different country/time-zone. This could eventually help your child be introspective but ensure this isn’t the only way he makes friends or opens up to people as it could be a sign of social anxiety and extreme shyness.

Which are some of the ways in which you plan to treasure your child’s growing up years especially in school? Share your ideas with us and get featured on the blog.

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Celebrate Fatherhood

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Celebrate fatherhood and all the lovely moments of this journey on International Father’s day with these cool ideas from Simba Toys. Young fathers can celebrate with their dads and kids; spread the love across age groups and generations.

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Food Events: Food is a great way to bond. If you’re a foodie and so is your dad and kid, you could attend live cooking events and tastings together. Explore the various food options in the vicinity or across the city as you gorge on the varied cuisines and flavours. Maybe even learn new recipes, cook together and if nothing else – experiment with street food or restaurants at the mall.

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Sporty Fun: Playing sports is a great way to de-stress and bond. You could visit your local park, gym, club or just step out in the building to play football, basketball, cricket, tennis, badminton – the options are endless.  Engaging in sports is fun and brings zest to your routine as well.

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Get Creative: Channel your creative energies to make something you can look back to with fondness. Plant saplings in your garden or in the colony, construct or repair furniture for your home, or create art that will be a great keepsake. This boosts your collective problem-solving skills and also adds warmth to your relationship.

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Just be Home: You could always just stay back home and take it easy. Enjoy a movie marathon with your favorite movies, challenge each other at video-games, go through photo albums, or just talk.

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Gifts: Gifts are a great way to make your dad or kid feel special and celebrate fatherhood.  Some popular ideas include spa vouchers to enjoy rejuvenating treatments, a fitness band, an insurance policy or even market bonds to secure the future. A handwritten card or letter is a sweet and sentimental way to express your love.

How do you plan to celebrate Father’s Day? Share your ideas 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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Motherhood Safety Through Pregnancy

 

Mommies-to-be need to be mindful of many things, from pre-conception phase to post-partum. Here are some useful tips/measures from Simba Toys to help you remain safe through it all.

Pre – Natal Care:

 For couples thinking of starting a family, pre-natal care for the mother starts at least 3-6 months in advance. This includes focus on right nutrition viz., fresh fruits, lots of veggies especially green ones to maximize on iron, nuts and seeds for antioxidants, grains & pulses for protein and also foods with good fats such as fish, mixed nuts, avocados and opt for olive oil and plant based dairy products for a wholesome meal. Avoid all kinds of foods with laden with preservatives, artificial flavourings, sweeteners, colorants, salts that are detrimental to overall health. Also quit smoking, drugs, alcohol as these could make your child susceptible to addictions and also trigger toxic gene mutations. Use natural items for skincare i.e. fresh aloe gel, rose water, sandalwood packs, homemade fruit scrubs and essential oils as perfumes as these are gentle on the skin v/s alcohol based fragrances and body care products with parabens, SLES and chemicals that affect the vital organs once absorbed through the skin. For those into hair color, use ammonia free based colorants and opt for natural agents like henna. Exercise regularly for optimum stamina, a strong immune system, normal B.P among other health vitals.

Pregnancy Care:

Follow the same diet and nutrition habits as your conception phase and increase your fluid intake i.e fruit juices, coconut water, vegan smoothies and yogurts to stay hydrated. Staying moderately active is recommended during pregnancy, so enjoy walks amidst nature, by the beach, in lush environs of parks and gardens, slow dancing and stay away from traffic prone zones with dust and pollution that could expose you to germs and bacteria. Meditating and deep breathing exercises along with light yoga postures and stretches are a great way to remain fit and calm all through your pregnancy.  Reduce waxing as your skin is already prone to sensitivity, itchiness and redness; bikini waxing in particular is discouraged to keep the vagina protected. Avoid using harsh hair removal creams or laser treatments as skin is the most vital means for bacteria to enter your system via allergies and infections. Take a digital break and reduce time spent watching TV, surfing your phone or other gadgets as these emit harmful UV and electromagnetic waves which are detrimental for the child in the womb. Opt for natural means of entertainment that protect your senses of sight and you could instead listen to music as scientifically it’s soothing for the senses. Regularly visit your doctor to keep track of your baby’s weight, growth, heart rate, position in the womb and changes affecting you all through.

 

Postnatal/ Postpartum Care:

This 3rd and final stage is the most important one as you’re now caring for your child and yourself. Align your sleeping/waking schedule with your child’s as it could help you gain maximum rest. Ensure your child is sleeping next to you in bed or if you’re using a crib or nest, place it as close as possible to make nursing easier. Keep essentials like diapers, clothing (child’s and your own), medicines, water, napkins, pacifier’s close by as you would need them often through day & night. Keep these handy in a makeshift nursery bag or drawer in case you’re shifting rooms through the day. For mommies who are expressing milk using breast pumps, take support from family & friends to help you look after your child and feed him using bottles while you rest. Also keep a check on breast health i.e. cracked/sore/inverted nipples that may hinder breastfeeding. Follow the same diet plan however, avoid meat completely as these are complex for the body to digest and may lead to unhealthy weight gain. Monitor your child’s temperature, weight, growth, potty patterns and also check skin texture & eye color to ensure everything’s normal. For skincare for both baby & mommy, oil massages are recommended for skin elasticity, firmness and radiance. Mothers can also use corset belts or use large cloths as belly wraps for gradually tucking the stomach in. For mothers who’ve had a normal/natural delivery, avoid tight clothing and regularly check with your gynecologist for vaginal skin tears, rashes or blood clots. Bleeding after delivery is normal but if you’re experiencing heavy blood loss, consult your doctor immediately. Also check for symptoms of incontinence i.e. frequent urge to pee or weak pelvic muscles that lead to bed-wetting. Kegel exercises post delivery are recommended and even yoga can help strengthen muscles and get back the toned look; start slowly at least 6 months after delivery. Although, most research has found that mothers actively involved in taking care of the child, lose the extra inches & weight naturally within 3 months. Seek help in case of postpartum depression or fear of not being a good mother or having  difficulty in coping with responsibility.

Which are some of the pregnancy safety measures you know of, 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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Skills Of Positive Parent – Child Communication

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Choosing to communicate positively is effective for building a harmonious parent-child relationship. Here are some way in which you could develop your skills.

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Playing in Co-operation & Harmony: We are social animals and a child can’t play or enjoy alone. To be able to live their growing up years to the fullest, kids usually form a group of friends. A group dynamic demands cooperation and respect for differences, and in times of dis-harmony you could start off by helping your kid see another child as a reflection or extension of self. Gradually, this process enhances their empathy and compassion for every person they meet.

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Bullying v/s Bonding: Kids bully at times to assert individuality & power, gain attention, or be leaders in the given situation. This is natural as kids can be very passionate and stubborn at times to just be heard or seen. As a parent you can rectify this behavior by being with your little one and talk to him about different ways in which they can bond with others and reach out to them. If your kid starts throwing attitude or just starts acting like a boss of everybody in a team, make him understand that a leader is chosen by those around him. So maybe he needs to relax his aggression and put down his ego when it is the question of the larger good of all.

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Total Transparency: It’s not healthy for kids to bottle up emotions and often when they feel unloved or unappreciated or ignored, they start being difficult. Be warm & understanding enough for your little one to open up and be transparent about the most hurtful/bitter things bothering them. Avoid the need to be judgmental and call feelings “right” or “wrong” as it’s just human nature and your child is still a tiny human in this big world. Allow your kid to openly speak up about everything as this aids the healing process naturally, and helps them evolve as a more authentic person.

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Seek & Speak the Truth: Be a friend rather than a parent and choose verbal communication even in situations where your child is being mischievous and difficult to discipline. Allow your child freedom to ask for whatever they want without acting up, whining, complaining, throwing tantrums so that they trust you more and grow up to be well-adjusted and understanding. Create an ambiance where your kid’s openness can flourish and avoid creating too many rules, because childhood is best enjoyed in freedom and surrender to the moment.

Which are some of the ways you communicate with your child? Share your views and get featured on the blog.