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It is possible to raise generous children by setting a good role model and consistently using simple ways at home to learn behaviours that comprise Generosity.

Generosity needs a warm heart, social awareness and a giving nature. Developmentally speaking, it is too early to expect young children to be generous. However a solid foundation may be laid at preschool level, when they can be coaxed to share things, albeit reluctantly. It is only at kindergarten level that they become smarter and learn to compromise and share their possessions, in order to avoid their friend’s displeasure or parting of ways.
As a mother, you can infuse the habit of sharing with others, whenever you feel your child is ready. Later, you can start including other behaviours depicting generosity. You should not feel burdened with this task nor worry about taking out time for the same. Let us enumerate some simple ways to help you fulfill this role.

Provide a good model

  • Demonstrate your own giving nature and the habit of sharing things with family and friends, consistently.
  • Appreciate and praise your children when they are generous with each other or with their friends.
  • A warm hug now and then will also work wonders.
  • Show disapproval to selfishness in a firm and consistent manner.
  • Keeping your family values in mind, identify the most important behaviours of showing generosity, which your child can learn. Be practical and set simple goals which can be achieved by him, without any pressure.
    You may focus on behaviours such as sharing, showing kindness to animals and being sociable with family and friends. Slowly, you may advance to other behaviours, keeping your child’s pace in mind.
  • Fulfill the behaviours with simple actions
    Following are a few examples:
    3 Ask your child to help lay the dining table.
    3 And, to say sorry if he has hurt someone.
    3 Persuade your child to at least share one toy with his sibling.
    3 Also seek his help in sorting out toys to be donated to his school or given away to the maid’s child. Involve him while handing over the toys.
    3 Invoke family kinship as and when your child shows selfishness for instance, by saying “Our family believes in sharing, so let your little sister have that extra doll you have.”
  • Or with simple activities
    3 Help your child in making birthday or get well cards for family and friends. Encourage him to personalize them.
    3 Read books or tell stories to your child on the following themes:
    • Children who look after their pet animals and nurture adopted plants at home.
    • Siblings and peers who help each other and happily share toys, books and other things.
    • Children living in less fortunate circumstances may need some help from others. Pictures will help illustrate the story.
    • Have free discussions with your child as to why some people are more fortunate than others. Show pictures and give lots of examples at his level, to better understand the concepts.
    • Take your child’s help when sorting out material for charity. Take him along with you if you can, when handing over the material. This inculcates the value of giving to the ones in need.
    • If possible show your child a less fortunate neighbourhood.
      Ask him some questions later, to gauge what he has learnt from the visit.

Be ready!
Be ready to answer your child’s questions as and when he is learning the behaviours comprising Generosity, set by you. Be sure to be consistent in your practice.
Once he picks up the initial ones, advance to other behaviours.
A little effort from you will go a long way in helping your child become a generous person as he grows up.

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The post Simple ways to raise generous children appeared first on Mother And Baby India.

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Meta sentence: It is possible to live in a clutter free house by putting a system in place with the help of all family members

Moms always complain about their children driving them crazy with the mess and clutter they leave in the whole house. No amount of requests and admonishments faze their wards, so the mothers end up cleaning the mess and clutter themselves.
In such cases a system has to be put in place to make the house clutter free and relieve the mom of extra, clean up duties. Above all, the children themselves will be able to learn to pick up after themselves.
Do not fret moms! Here are some tips to help you work towards clearing up the clutter and mess in your house. Try them out.

Be a good model to your child.
Be systematic and clutter free yourself, as children learn by observing and modeling adult behaviours.

Use a democratic method of disciplining your child at all times.
This method will help your child understand that cluttering will always be frowned upon and invite some disciplinary action from you.

Purge one room at a time
Ensure that all family members work as a team at all times for cleaning up each room as it will save time and energy. First, select a room and gather all the redundant and useless materials from it. Segregate the materials that can be donated and throw away the rest without a second look.
Repeat this exercise for cleaning up all the rooms.

Have a place for everything
After you clean up the house of all the useless materials, designate a place for every category of materials such as, clothes, bags, toys, games and so on, in the given rooms.
If need be rearrange or install hooks, racks, cupboards and other storage items. After that ensure that everyone tries hard to stick to the maxim of “Place everything in its own place”.

Keep storage bins for temporary storage
To continue having a clutter free house, keep some bins at strategic places in select areas and rooms of the house. Each family member tosses things in the designated bin, for temporary storage. Stick a picture to help children identify the right bin .At a selected time all members can help put each material where it belongs. Repeat, till it becomes a habit.

Make a special system for your child

  • Assign a place for your child to play and make a mess.
  • Teach him to clean up from time to time and put things in their right place, instead of scattering them around.
  • When you buy new toys and games, either rotate them or donate the old ones with your child’s help. Thus, your child will not be overwhelmed with the burden of keeping a pile of things, systematically.
  • Store your child’s day to day clothing, toys, games and school materials segregated and within reach to promote self help. Label each category of storage place with a corresponding picture to the materials stored.
  • Everyday, before going to bed, you and your child can keep together his packed school or daycare bag, water bottle and lunch box for the next morning, at one place, for your easy reach. Your child’s uniform, school badge, socks and shoes may be placed together in his room within his reach.
    Use a checklist if necessary.
    Your daily inputs will save you a lot of running around and turning things upside down to search for things at the last moment.

The article offers tips to mothers to remove the mess and clutter, especially created by their children at home. If all the family members participate in this exercise, it will help conserve time and energy of mothers and develop in others the habit of picking up after themselves.
With a little patience and lot of practice, mothers will be able to work out their own system for keeping the house clutter free.

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The post Tips to live clutter free with children appeared first on Mother And Baby India.

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Learning is a concept which is unique to each person. Everyone processes and comprehends information in a different manner. This manner, referred to as a learning style, is distinct for each child. Their approach to learning is a reflection of their personality. Observing a child’s behaviours at an early age can indicate which learning style they will be most comfortable with says Mona Singh, VP, Sesame Schoolhouse

A child’s comfort level, their interaction with their environment, the level of interest exhibited, are all indicative of what holds the child’s attention and what doesn’t. This ultimately helps the caregiver in ensuring that the child is taught in a manner which will allow him to grasp concepts quickly. When children seem lost and disinterested it is most often because they are unable to follow or cope with teaching methods.  Instead of being called ‘incapable’ or ‘not bright in studies’ it would be better to spark the interest of child by understanding what holds their attention. Whether it is through games, music or dance, as long as a connection can be seen between what is understood and how it manifests, children are learning.

Here are the learning styles that children identify with:
Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence: This means an ability to understand things through bodily awareness, movement and touching. Learning is best grasped by these children when they engage in physical activities to understand the material. Some preschools have built their curriculum and infrastructure keeping such learners in mind.

Visual learning intelligence: This is a style which is adopted by children who respond very expressively to visual aid. They process information through print-rich games, puzzles, pictures, drawings, images and multimedia. It’s important that preschools use multiple platforms like TV, board games and digital games to teach such learners.

Verbal intelligence: Such learners respond to sounds and learn effectively by listening to multimedia programmes and hearing stories. They are more receptive to people speaking and are able to relate by talking as well. These children retain information because of their ability to effectively use language.

Logical intelligence: The logical learner follows patterns, rules, order and categorisation of work. Clear explanations which elaborate ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ keep them engaged and interested.

Intrapersonal intelligence:Intrapersonal learners have strong intuition, motivation and confi dence in their abilities. They do their best work when they are in a quiet space with nobody else around to distract them. They are guided by their own models of work and have the capacity to understand themselves, their fears and motivations.

Interpersonal intelligence:A child who can relate to people, understand their emotions, respond sensitively and maintain relations in an easy manner has an interpersonal learning style. This is a child who works well in teams and is good, clear and straight forward in her interactions.

Rhythmic intelligence: Musicalrhythmic learners are sensitive to rhythm, music and sounds. Rhythmic learners have a skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. They are often able to recognise structures and patterns from sounds and speech. This is the reason why most early education centres teach children through rhymes and music.

Naturalistic intelligence: Parents can identify if their child is a naturalistic learner by simply observing her affinity for the natural world. Naturalist learners enjoy observing animals, interacting with pets, exploring nature, gardening and hiking.

Some children may like activities while others work best through language and do well with reading. Some children understand things better through visual mediums than with music. All children have the potential to learn and excel. There are several patterns of learning and the best that a caregiver can do is step back, observe what seems to be working for their child and help them build their strengths and passions. Remember, what works for one child might not necessarily work for another. Be patient and you’ll be surprised to learn just how much your child  is progressing!MB

The post How to identify your child’s learning style? appeared first on Mother And Baby India.

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Help young children embrace the outdoors through creative use of space, play and related experiences. Your inputs will accrue benefits in different areas of their development.

In the current dazzling digital era, young children indulge in watching entertainment programmes and playing games endlessly on family television, laptop or a smartphone. This is done at the cost of active, physical play and the much-needed social interactions. By nature, children like to run free and explore everything which attracts their attention. It is thus very important to offer them outdoor play experiences and social interactions with other children. These activities promote many of their developmental needs albeit with some parental supervision and or intervention.

Benefits of playing outdoors

  • It provides young children with a healthy environment of fresh air and sunlight and, a place for free play. This combination primarily helps strengthen their heart, lungs, muscles and bones.
  • It promotes physical development when children use their sensory and motor skills in active play, with or without equipment. Their body balance, the stability of movements and flexibility of limbs are also enhanced.
  • It promotes other developments as well.

    Cognitive skills are developed when children solve little problems during their play experiences.

    Emotional skills are expressed by children for instance, when they feel happy and joyful playing with things they like or show sympathy or empathy towards each other.

    Social and language skills are promoted through interpersonal interactions. Some of the social skills learnt are sharing and waiting for their turn. Whereas, new words increase their vocabulary.

Examples of outdoor play spaces for young children

  • Your house patio, garden or the yard.
  • Clean patches of grass around your building, away from vehicular traffic.
  • Nearby gardens or playgrounds with or without play equipment.

Six ways to make outdoors inviting for children

  • Have a fixed time for outdoor fun activity in your child’s daily routine.
  • Once in a while, you may take your child for a short walk down the street. You will be surprised at your child’s positive reactions when he has so much to discover and talk about. Expand the experience by including a zoo for instance.
  • Have small group picnics which include fun and games with other children.
  • At fixed times and places, ask volunteers to conduct outdoor group sessions on storytelling and singing children’s songs, playing games and doing creative or physical activities liked by them.
  • Keep some play material at a common place in your building premises accessible to the children at any time. Alternately, children can bring their own play material outdoors.
  • Some play equipment can be installed in your compound, such as slides, monkey bars and so on at a common place in your building premises.

Tricycles and garden implements may be held safely on behalf of children.

  • Have a children’s green patch where they can see their plants grow and thrive with their inputs.
  • Let your child experience all the sensory experiences of all the seasons of the year in a safe environment.

>The first raindrops tickling his palms.

> The sun kissing his face.

> The cold giving him the shivers

> The wind tugging at his hair

> The flowering plants and trees laden with fruit

>The dry leaves crackling under his feet and the wet grass giving him the    giggles

> The wet clay malleable in his hands

The last word

  • Provide adult supervision to children at all times when playing outdoors.
  • Ensure that play materials are age-appropriate, safe and hygienically maintained.
  • Teach your child to be wary of strangers and to follow road safety rules.
  • Make sure you have at hand a water bottle, some snacks and a first aid box.
  • Promote respect for the flora and fauna around which your children play.

The article suggests ideas to encourage your child to embrace the outdoors on a regular basis. If you introduce creative play and experiences for him, it will contribute immensely to his overall development. As you go along, you may add your own innovative ideas liked by your child.

The post Here’s why children need outdoor play appeared first on Mother And Baby India.

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An important aspect when it comes to safeguarding your child against the harsh cold weather, is appropriate clothing to match. Here’s how you can choose what’s best for your child’s needs

BY ANANTA GOYAL

“Don’t forget to put on your jacket.” As soon as I heard myself yell out those words to my kids, I realised it was time to sort out the winter wardrobe. In a country where winter ranges from pretty much non-existent to chilly, how does one go about deciding the appropriate amount of dressing?

A simple rule of thumb, as guided by the American Paediatric Academy, is to dress your child in one more layer than you have on. In simple terms if you are wearing a t-shirt and a jacket, a child would need an addition of a sweater or sweatshirt. Avoid going overboard and having your little one all covered up and kept warm indoors through the day. Fresh air is important for babies even on cold days. As a mother, appropriately dressing the baby to get through the winters can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first. Use this as a guide to ensure your little one remains warm and toasty through the cold.

Layer ‘em up
Layers are a great way to keep them warm as the air pockets between layers help trap heat. Move with ease from indoors to outdoors by adding or removing layers and not having to choose between being too hot or too cold.

Base layer
The importance of a good quality base layer cannot be stressed upon enough. It should absorb body sweat and keep the baby’s skin dry. Avoid a full cotton base layer which will retain moisture and can lead to a cold. Instead, choose something in polyester or a superior quality merino wool that fits snugly.

Full Sleeve t-Shirts or body suit
Stock about six to eight of these, as you might need more than one a day. On days when it is not too cold, simply throwing on a jacket should suffice.

Sweaters
The quintessential piece for layering, a good knit sweater, is soft and breathable and fits snugly over a long-sleeved body suit. Two to three sweaters will see you through the winter.

Jacket
A day jacket and perhaps a warmer fleece jacket for mornings and nights would be a smart choice. It should allow for easy movement, so the kids are free to play and run around in it.

Socks, hats and mittens
Young bodies lose heat rapidly and they are unable to communicate that they are getting cold. Prevent heat from escaping from the extremities by covering your child up with a hat (preferably one that covers the ears), socks and mittens. Remove these once indoors to avoid overheating.

Tucking in for the night
For the nights, dress your child up in a long-sleeved romper or night suit, and swaddle or tuck him in a sleep sack. Overheating and loose blankets increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death  Syndrome (SIDS) so steer clear. Instead, maintain the temperature that you would be comfortable in and check your baby’s hand and feet to gauge if he’s too cold or comfortable.

When it comes to winter dressing, it is quality over quantity. Invest in a few good pieces that will see you through the cold months. Suchita Jalan who shifted to Toronto from Chennai at the onset of winter with her eight-monthold baby, says, “It’s been tough acclimatising her to sub-zero temperatures. On better days, we bundle her up and use a fleece cover up for her stroller to get some fresh air. At home, we crank up the heater and outfit her in cotton overalls. We make sure she always has her socks, mittens and fur hat on.”

For the rest of us who do not have to brave such harsh winters, stepping out in style with our little ones for a wedding or party, can be fun with intelligent dressing. Stockings, for example, are a great way to dress up those party dresses. Pretty summer dresses can be layered with a long-sleeved t-shirt for a day party. A cardigan is an essential piece of layering which can add to your winter style. Choose one with embellishments or add your little one’s favourite brooch to dress it up. Designer duo Ishita and Adity love playing with rich luxurious fabrics for their kids’ winter collections. “Keeping the weather in mind, we design long, beautifullyembroidered velvet jackets with palazzos or pants and floor length raw silk gowns, both of which can easily be layered with a body warmer inside. For little babies we complete the ensemble with matching mittens and booties.”

Remember, with appropriate dressing, spending a day out at a park or a party can be a wonderful change to cozying up indoors. Turn a chilly winter into a cheerful one by following these suggestions to keep a little bit toastier through the cold months. | MB

The post Winter essentials for babies and toddlers appeared first on Mother And Baby India.

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Want your youngster to come running when tea’s on the table? Making mealtimes enjoyable is easier than you think

MEET THE EXPERT
Dina Rose is a sociologist, feeding expert and author of It’s Not About The Broccoli, itsnotaboutnutrition. com

From the moment your hungry bundle enters the world, a huge amount of your time is taken up with feeding her. If you’re not busy satisfying her appetite, you’re probably thinking about how long it’ll be before you need to! So when the time to wean arrives, you excitedly imagine all the foods she’ll try. But how come she’s throwing her toast on the floor when for weeks she’s been trying to gnaw yours? And what do you mean she doesn’t like broccoli? It’s not exactly the Bisto advert you imagined, is it?

But there is a happy ending to this story. And to get there, all you need to do is remember that meals are a pleasure. “Mealtimes take a huge amount of effort and can be quite tiring,” says Dina Rose, author of It’s Not About The Broccoli. “To help set youngsters up to enjoy the times we eat, and like food as much as we do, we need to lighten the mood and reduce our expectations.” So forget those table manners, and try a  new set of dinnertime rules instead.

Wipe the slate clean
“If you expect your child to eat as much as you want her to, to enjoy a new food and to sit still, mealtimes are likely to be stressful because she won’t meet your expectations,” says Dina. “So don’t expect your young child to act like an adult, or even an older child, at the table. Expect her to be hungry and tired. Expect her to need a little extra help getting food onto her spoon, and to manoeuvre the spoon into her mouth. And expect her to drop some along the way. That way, you’ll come to the table prepared to give her the extra support she needs.”

Take her seriously
‘Don’t like it!’ ‘Slimy!’ ‘It’s green!’ If you’ve got a toddler, these will sound all-too familiar. But rather than batting these protestations away, explore them. “If your youngster says something outrageous about the food you’ve served, go with it!” says Dina. “You might think that by changing the subject, she might pop the food in her mouth while you chat about something else. But all that will happen is that you’ll become more frustrated when you realise she still hasn’t had a bite! Indulge what she has to say, however, and talk through her observations, and she’ll feel you’re listening to her and that her points are valid. If she still won’t eat it, fine—chat some more about what it looks or smells like instead. Just as children learn to walk by taking small steps, they learn to eat bit by bit. So think of even a small touch or smell—or even a taste— as a success.”

Eat with others
As soon as you invite someone round for tea, eating stops being a chore. So ask grandma to come round or arrange a playdate at teatime. Let your youngster choose a food to share with her friend and talk about how lovely it is to combine her favourite foods with her favourite friends. This helps mealtimes become just another part of the day where the fun and talk can continue, rather than a necessary task to refuel which has to be completed before she can enjoy herself again. Play games at the table too. “Research shows that children who enjoy mealtimes tend to be less picky,” says Dina, “so lighten the mood, play silly games and have fun with friends as you eat.”

Feed morsels not mountains
“Smaller portions make dinnertime less stressful,” says Dina. “Children don’t need to eat as much as adults think they do— and I mean even smaller portions than you probably think I do! Give her two bites of everything, and have enough left over on the table or on the side that she can ask for more if she likes it. Little ones are more likely to feel happy about eating what is in front of them if it doesn’t look daunting.”

Mix up meals
“Showing your child that different foods can be eaten at different times will begin to give her an open mind about eating,” says Dina. “Try to get your child used to variety by mixing up meals and how and when she eats the things she likes. It’s OK to let her have a pudding in the morning as a snack, for instance, if this is when she decides she’d like it. The key is to set limits on how much of a particular food she can have each day. So if she’s a yoghurt fiend, pop a magnet on the fridge that gets taken down when she’s eaten her pot—but let her choose when that is.”

Share your day
Over dinner, ask your toddler ‘What was a good thing about your day?’. And ask her what a not-so-good-thing was too. Studies show that as soon as children begin to speak, at about 16 to 18 months, they are able to participate in at least some conversation about the past. And even if she can’t talk yet, she can still be part of the conversation with a nod or a giggle. “The family meal is a great time for parents and children to interact,” says Dina, “and it’s fine to have your family time at breakfast, or lunch—whenever it works for you.”

Eat the same stuff
Research reveals that babies and toddlers pay close attention to what is being eaten around them. And they’re learning not just about the food, but picking up on people’s eating habits, and who eats what with whom. Mealtimes are an important factor in her social development and you can show your youngster that she belongs in this group at the table by giving her at least some of the same food as you’re having. Adopt a few favourite finger food meals you can all eat together.

Enjoy your tea too
Finally, take a step back from thinking about how much she’s eating, whether she’s getting the right nutrition or if she’s managing to hold her spoon properly, and simply enjoy your food. Watching you tuck happily into your tea, and hearing you appreciating how great it tastes, works like nothing else in the journey towards happy mealtimes for the both of you!|MB

The post Here’s how to end mealtime battles with your toddler appeared first on Mother And Baby India.

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Sibling bonding needs to be nurtured and guided to ensure that relationships are forged and last forever

BY RUTH DSOUZA PRABHU

How does one share life with a sibling(s)? I have heard of when my mother—the eldest of nine children, and her neighbours with a family of 11 children, all lived in the same compound. Mom says things were rather peaceful—with the older siblings looking after the younger ones when needed, all the customary fights, yet all of them privy to a circle of love and support that was impenetrable. Of course, the raucous playing with 20 children was a sight to behold! These are bonds that they have cherished through the years, despite moving on and away from each other.

I spoke to three mommies to know how they have seen their children bond and what they do to perhaps nurture that bond.

In it together
Preethika Peram is mother to a set of three-year-old twins—a boy and girl. Right from the get-go Preethika ensured that each child understood the value of personal space and sharing. “While both children have individual toys of their own, there are often things that we have only one of—for example spending time with an app on the phone—we have instilled in them that each child gets a turn to hold the phone and use it. Once they finish a turn, they give it to the other.”

To cultivate the habit of looking out for the other, Preethika ensures that if one child comes to her asking for something to eat or drink, the same is taken to the other twin. “This we did right from the beginning and today, it has developed into a practice for them. Even if I don’t make the offer, invariably one will ask for the other. This goes for just about anything they do and now they know that they have to be there for each other and it comes naturally to them.”

This, in fact, goes to the extent that if one has been given a time out for bad behaviour, the other sits down as well for the duration of the time out, because they believe that they are a part of everything for each other. They console each other and even cover up for each other.

But it is natural for children to fight over things. Preethika says that she waits for them to resolve it between themselves and agree on sharing it. “If they don’t, I simply take it away,” she says as she believes that this helps them understand that they need to be able to agree on things or they both lose out.

Nurturing independence
Thresy Alex has three beautiful girls aged 18, 16 and 12 years. Each with a distinctive personality of their own, the eldest and youngest often take the most initiative when it comes to getting things done. “My eldest daughter has always been the one to take charge, delegate and look after the younger ones, especially when I am not around. To ensure that the lines of communication are open between them, we have insisted that they sleep in a single room, despite my oldest having a room to herself. We have found that this has encouraged a closeness between them.”

Thresy finds that the fights are few and far between, especially between her eldest and youngest daughters, considering the age difference. The squabbles that do happen between the older two are usually over clothes and makeup. Thresy laughs when she says she cannot remember them ever fighting over toys, right from when they were young. She believes that this comes from having grown up with a large number of cousins, each one looking after the other and playing together.

The girls have grown up to be independent, bold young women who can take care of themselves and each other, should the situation arise. They also never fail to support one another.

Teaching by example
Zinetta Juanita D’Almeida has four daughters aged 12, 10, seven and five. Right from the start, the younger siblings have been taught to accord respect to the older ones and never address them by name, but as bai, the term for older sister. This does not change even when they are fighting. “I have always entrusted my eldest daughter  with responsibilities like serving lunch when I am not there,” says Zinetta. “We believe that if she assumes the role of a caregiver, the responsibility alone will bring down any fighting that may happen. We have a large home and each is asked to keep the room clean. Even the youngest gets the responsibility of the toy room. We encourage healthy competition between them and see who can make the room look like one of the resorts that we visit.”

The girls are encouraged to seek each other out for help with studies. In fact, the older ones have to take time out from their study schedules to help the younger ones. This, Zinetta believes, helps each one of them to work and cope with stress. “Each one of them is good in their own way—one at studies, one at sports, but we ensure   that we never compare them at all,” she says. “Also, as parents, we ensure that we are both on the same page when it comes to dealing with them. Even if we disagree, we don’t let the kids know. We also appreciate them for what they do. This way, all of them aspire for the same.” Teaching her kids by example, and setting certain ground rules has definitely help shape them, and has even instilled the qualities of being responsible and caring towards one another, something that’s become second nature for the girls.

In the end
What one must remember is that every sibling relationship is unique, bonding between siblings comes naturally in most cases, but it is also something that needs to be fostered and guided by parents at regular intervals. This is what encourages siblings to live, learn and grow with one another, but more importantly, become part of the same team. |MB

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Fortify their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Sometimes, you can use the reward system to motivate children and help them concentrate and finish their tasks.

When it comes to a child’s learning curve, parents tend to play a significant role in encouraging, fostering and enhancing their child’s abilities, says Richa Shukla, content expert, Sesame Workshop, India.

Anubha is one of many mothers who cannot get her son, Arun, to concentrate on one activity. It seems that Arun, keeps hopping from one thing to another, distracted and unfocussed. He gleefully seizes the next thing that comes his way, leaving the activity he was previously engaging in, unfinished. His room is a plethora of incomplete projects, games, books, drawings, etc. Anubha wonders in despair how she can woo her son to complete at least one task. This is a dilemma that is faced by many parents who often struggle to build their child’s attention span.

Parents play a significant role in helping their child develop executive functioning skills that is said to help them concentrate, focus and persist. These include skills of task persistence, problemsolving, conflict resolution, and delayed gratification. It is critical to instill and nurture these skills during a child’s early years as this is when the brain develops rapidly, with 700 to 1,000 new neural connections forming every second.  Here are some simple ways to help your child develop these skills:

SET A ROUTINE : If a habit of following a routine is inculcated at an early stage, a child can get used to it. Routines enable habit formation and time management, making a task at hand a whole lot easier. For example, if a child knows that he has to complete his homework by five o’clock every day and can then proceed to go outside and play outside till the clock strickes seven o’clock, only then will he be mentally prepared for it. Helping a child by allotting a specific time period in which the task has to be completed will help in streamlining his thought process and enable him to stay focussed.

THE POWER OF ‘YET’: Parents should help their child understand and keep faith in the power of ‘yet’. What this simply means is parents should explain. the never-ending belief in the fact that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, and that giving up is not an option. In simple terms, a brighter future is yet to come. As the saying goes, “Try and try until your succeed.”

As parents, you must remember to be there to help and support your child, and perhaps even give him examples of a task he once found difficult, but eventually managed to grasp. Providing a little nudge and words of encouragement in the right direction, can go a long way!

MAKE LEARNING FUN: It is important to make learning a fun time for your child. While it’s important to stick to a routine, steering clear from the mundane can keep things interesting, and might even excite your child. For example, if the aim is to help your child identify numbers better, you can try reciting rhymes and songs about numbers. Floor games like ‘hopscotch’ can be a fun and effective way, too.  While at the grocery store, you can ask your child to read out prices and quantities to you. This way, while the learning outcomes are achieved, you’ve kept the lessons fun, exciting but more importantly, different from the day before.

STAY ON TASK: In order to keep children motivated, make them understand why they have to follow a routine. Encourage them and help them find meaning in their work. Urge them to understand how important their work is for their self-esteem. Cheer them on and encourage them to take pride in what they do. Fortify their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Sometimes, you can use the reward system to motivate children and help them concentrate and finish their tasks.

BUILD READING HABITS: Read stories to your child regularly. Establish a reading routine, a specified reading time. Read stories out aloud to your child. This will help improve a child’s vocabulary, sentence construction and communication skills.

DELAYED GRATIFICATION: An essential skill that must be taught during the early years is delayed gratifi cation. It highlights how one must remain patient and wait to earn something of value. It helps children understand the concepts of restrain, patience and control.

BEYOND CONVENTIONAL LEARNING: Let learning extend beyond the school and home. For example, when you and your child are spending quality time together, or are out shopping, challenge him to identify all green coloured objects or all objects which begin with the letter ‘A’. Naturally, you need to set a timeframe and make a game out of it. In this way, learning is also made much more fun and practical.

A child’s early years are the learning and habit-building years of his life. Whatever a parent demonstrates, a child imbibes. Whatever a parent says, a child believes. Therefore, it is crucial to be a positive role model for your child. This way he will be empowered and equipped with the required knowledge, strategies, and skills to take charge of his own educational journey.

The post Role of parents in early childhood learning appeared first on Mother And Baby India.

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Knowing these game-changing facts makes all the difference

1  The let-down reflex only works when you’re relaxed
Shutting your eyes for five seconds and taking a deep breath before you start a feed can really help. Your let-down reflex— nature’s way of turning on the milk fl ow—works best when you’re relaxed, so by letting go of any stress, you let your hormones do their job. You can give them a head start too by having a skinon- skin cuddle before you begin, as this stimulates the release. With practice, just thinking about your baby will be enough to trigger a response. Hormones also kick in as your baby starts to suck on your nipple, telling your mammary glands to produce and release milk. You can mimic this by massaging your breast gently, helping induce the tingling sensation that signals milk is on its way.

2  Breastmilk is 88.1% water
Yes, it may be packed with all sorts of natural goodies, but breastmilk is almost 90 per cent water. And this means that it’s vital that you keep your body hydrated. Have a medium-sized glass of water to hand while your baby’s feeding to rehydrate as you go. And your urine will indicate whether you’re drinking enough: pale yellow is good, but any darker means you’re not drinking enough.

3 You are right- or left-boobed
More than three quarters of mums find that their right breast naturally produces more milk than their left—and this has no relation to whether you’re left- or right-handed. So you’re not just imagining that one boob is better at this feeding business than the other!

4 Tickling his ear will keep him awake
There’s a sleep-inducing substance in your milk called tryptophan, which means that your breastfeeding baby is likely to start snoozing on the job. This is often more noticeable during evening feeds, as your breastmilk brings your baby’s circadian rhythm (his natural 24-hour pattern of behaviour) in sync with your own, stimulating him earlier in the day and leaving him more relaxed towards night-time. But nodding off can mean he doesn’t drink his fill. To get your baby to drink more in one sitting to avoid an all-night sleep-snack-sleep cycle, wake him gently when he nods off at your nipple. Try tickling his foot and ear to see which works best at keeping him awake. If he still looks sleepy, try using a different hold, or stop midway through a feed to wind him and change his nappy. Switching him temporarily to the other boob, with its faster fl ow, then back, can also keep him busy suckling to make sure he has enough before he settles to sleep.

5 Empty boobs make more milk
Breastmilk is produced on a supply-and-demand basis, so the more often and effectively your baby feeds, the more milk you’ll make. It’s important to feed your baby frequently from the start. An emptier breast produces more milk and with a higher fat content, so encourage this by alternating which boob you offer first at each feed. Check your baby’s attachment —any clicking noises he makes could indicate a less-thaneffective latch, which will affect how much milk he gets out. And make sure he finishes all the milk in one breast before he starts on the second. Gently squeezing your boob will help him drain the last drop. An empty boob is a soft one, so use a breast pump if yours still feel hard after he’s fed, or pump your engorged breasts between nursing sessions to maintain a healthy milk supply.

6 Your baby likes a varied menu
What you eat can flavour your breastmilk for up to eight hours. Studies have shown that flavours pass from mum to baby, with scientists likening the process to a ‘brestaurant’ with a constantly changing menu. So eat a varied  diet, and let your little one enjoy his dining out!

7 His nappies tell you if he’s drinking well
The colour and texture of your baby’s poos will tell you a lot about how he’s digesting his milk. From the dark and sticky meconium produced for the first few days after birth, his poo should soon turn a bright or mustard yellow. It may be softer or looser and contain grains of undigested milk fat – all perfectly normal. Poo that’s lime green or frothy could indicate digestive troubles, perhaps because your baby is filling up on the highlactose foremilk and not getting enough of the richer, creamier milk at the end of the feed. Checking his latch and making sure he finishes on one boob before offering him the other should soon fix this, but ask your midwife or health visitor for advice if peculiar poo persists. Monitoring the frequency of your baby’s poos will offer more clues about his milk intake. Expect at least two poos a day for the first six to eight weeks—less could indicate he’s not getting enough fluid. | MB

The post 7 seven secrets of savvy breastfeeding every new mum MUST know! appeared first on Mother And Baby India.

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