Baby Massage Tips   A foot bath is a wonderful way to pamper the expecting mom at her baby shower, and allow her to rest her tired, achy feet. Here are some tips you can follow. 1. Fill a basin full of comfortably warm water and gentle soap. Allow her to soak her feet for a few minutes. 2. Add foot salts to relieve any aches in her feet and legs. 3. Sprinkle the water with flower petals or herbs. For example: rose petals, lavender buds, mint, lemon balm or calendula buds. 4. Remove one foot from the basin while the other still soaks and trim her toe nails. Put that foot back in and proceed with the other foot. 5. Now it's time to exfoliate. One foot at a time, gently scrub with pumice stone to remove tough and calloused areas on the feet and toes. 6. Dry each foot with cornmeal, a symbol of fertility, luck and protection, or dry with a towel. Please note: Lavender and Rose are generally considered safe for a woman in her third trimester. However, if the mom-to-be is suffering any complications or you wish to use any of the above mentioned herbs, it's best to consult their use with her doctor.

    Winter Care for Babies and Kids     Winter arrives in India and Autumn in the Western Countries, and it is time to bring out those warm clothes for everyone in the family especially the younger ones and kids as they are still developing immunity and they need protection from the changing harsh weather. Some parents don't bother much, they intentionally dont offer sensitive care to the younger ones. According to them, this kind of treatment helps kids become stronger and develop their immunity . Another approach towards Babycare is to offer intense care every day.     During these colder months of the year, especially during the first few days of sudden climatic change, it is important to protect children, in that case, everyone, as immunity gets disturbed. Colds, Sore throat and coughs attack easily and skin tends to dry out quickly too. Dehydration is assumed to be rampant during Summer months, but the Winter days can also cause dehydration and hence, colds intensify. Allergies are so common due to pollen grains, dust and they force fevers to spread. The right nutrition and hygiene is extremely important to develop immunity and maintain it inorder to fight these common seasonal climatic ailments.   Regular monitoring of a child's diet and physical fitness is so important and valuable in keeping track of their health changes and in protecting them from falling sick often. If it is a School going child, then utmost care to maintain their immunity is necessary, otherwise they get sick and the whole family could catch it, including a younger sibling. Starting from the right protective winter gear and outfits, to maintaining a hygienic environment at home and general surroundings, to consuming winter based vegetables and fruits to naturally boost their good health is key to Perfect Winter care for Babies and Kids.   ..Prathyusha

    Yes to Diapers or Not!     It is a fight between the generations, about whether to use Diapers for a Newborn or not..There are various opinions on if Diapers are really safe to use, if there is no chlorine reaction or any infection caused due to over usage of Diapers ? The older generations have used the home-made cloth diapers for ages...then, there was no worry about wasting water to wash so many cloth diapers, and there were either workmaids to help with the chore or some family member to help but with water supply issues, no household help, busy lifestyle and better financial abilities, using Diapers have become economical. So many famous and wellnamed brands marketing their Diapers, there is alot of competition, sametime, wide variety of options to choose from. Many designs, sizes, features like fast-drying, super absorbent, overnight use, specific colors for baby boys and girls too..and such features have made even Diapers the most sought after items for Babycare.     Many Environmentalists have had an opinion that disposable diapers are polluting, with their very low bio-degradability chance but after many studies proved that Cotton cloth diapers cause more monetary investment, the amount of detergent and chemicals used to pretreat and wash is more and they take many years to degrade biologically..hence disposable diapers do not much harm compared to cloth diapers....to raise cotton crop is expensive too, except that they seem to save money to the consumer if the water bills are not counted!     When the baby's health is taken into account, disposable diapers with high-absorbency features keep the child happy, compared to cloth diapers which if not changed on wetting, may cause rash quickly. However, other kinds of skin rashes are common if either kind of diapers are not changed regularly and yeast infections are a must-to-be-cautious about during the first 12months of a child's birth. Disposable diapers always come with the comfort of changing on-the-go...Mom doesnot have to worry about where to dispose them off or skillfully or awfully carry the soiled cloth diaper home after her day-out. Buying bulk from a retail store or from a wholesaler is the smart trick when using disposable ones...which brand to use is definitely your choice, friends and relatives will take care of the decision! These are not like medicines or babyfood, if you dont like a brand, change to another...research is the key...so which one on-demand, Pampers, Huggies or the Organic options these days like The Honest Company and BabyGanics etc...   ...Prathyusha

  Nurturing the Little Music Lovers     Raising Music Lovers is an art! Now where did that art of music come from..would you wonder for days..no, you won't, it came from your spouse or you or any immediate relative. In olden days, there were numerous music traning schools, tuitions found in every street and attending either a vocal class or an instrumental music class was so common. Even Parents who themselves were just good music listeners also encouraged their kids to not just enjoy music but also learn. Traditionally, in villages and towns, music was heard right early after dawn. These days, music still exists but not everyone is bothered about learning the art. I am personally a music lover, and i am not just writing these lines for fun...the Research has spoken too...that Playing Instruments or Singing as a habit prior to and during School years offers lifelong benefits to Children and helps them develop concentration in studies and congnitive skills too.     A recent study shows that Children who harbored an early interest in Singing and playing musical instruments displayed advanced reading and vocabulary skills, similar is the case with their attendance rates to regular school and increased chances to excel in examinations. Research also revealed that Schools and Colleges that had music programs in their curriculum has greater graduation rate and student attendance rate compared to other Schools and Universities. Music plays a key role in nurturing a child's self confidence and persona...at the sametime, it offers an employment solution to students, they earn while they study by teaching music to others or playing instruments and singing in social and corporate programs.  Parents need not force a child to learn music..but keenly observing whether the child has any music interest and encouraging it is key. Forcing the child to learn music, just because either of the parents is a music lover works negatively, hence accept the truth and let the child remain a good music appreciator only. Not every child is open to start singing, some are shy, they remain as bathroom singers, let them be...but if he/she likes to play instruments of any sort, explore the oppurtunities around your home or in the city and 'Get Set Go'. You will be loosing some restful time due to running between home, school and music classes too, but, the hardwork is definitely fruitful!!  This effort adds to your happy family bonding too, a child who knows his/her parents encourage their hobbies and interests, certainly loves them and feels thankful !   ..Prathyusha

Is your child being bullied by friends or peers?   Peer pressure is something which should not be taken lightly by parents in this age. This might also be a sign of you child being bullied in the school or while at play with his friends. There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help. Statistics show that 75% to 90% of students suffer harassment at the hands of fellow students at some point and 15% of students are severely traumatized by peer abuse. Bullying can create a climate of fear for the child at school and might also become a barrier for him or her to continue learning. Bullying is defined as a chronic pattern of abuse over time; physical or psychological harassment of persons less able to defend themselves than is the tormentor. It encompasses anti-social behaviors including assault, intimidation, extortion, some forms of vandalism, cruel teasing, and unwanted physical contact. The bullying may be direct with face to face physical or verbal confrontations, or indirect with less visible actions such as spreading rumors or social exclusion. It always involves an unequal power relationship between the bully and the victim. Reports also confirm that bullying is starting at younger ages and is more frequent and aggressive than before. And the cruel behavior increases with age. Chances are your child may be bullied.Repeated bullying causes severe emotional harm and can erode a child’s self-esteem and mental health. Whether bullying is verbal, physical or relational, the long-term effects are equally harmful. Both boys and girls report high levels of emotional distress and loneliness as well as lower self-esteem, loneliness, anxiety and depression. Some situations the outcome is tragic: the child may take his or her own life. Bullying is always intentional, mean-spirited, rarely happens only once and there is always a power imbalance. The victim cannot hold his own and often will need adult help. Your child may not feel comfortable telling you about his pain, but if you know these signs your child is being bullied and tune in closer, you might be able to start bullying prevention in your home. Children might always not ask for help while being bullied for various reasons, some coulee be that Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak. Kids may also fear backlash from the kid who bullied them. Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak. Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand. Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support. - Divya

     It is Important for Children to Connect with Nature     Nature truly is an amazing teacher. Mother nature, as we fondly call it, givesus so much, she nurtures and she bonds. It is necessary in this say of age of gadgets to give your little ones a chance to be free to explore nature’s amazing bounty. An opportunity to explore activities in the zone of nature,wildlife, adventure and development of culture and life skills is something that every parent needs to look into. There are numerous health benefits as well when it comes to a child connecting with the nature. Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and the sense of wonder. Wonder is an important motivator for life long learning. Here are some other important ways connecting with nature blesses us with.   *  It is said that the exposure to natural environments improves children's cognitive development by improving their awareness, reasoning and observational skill   *    Nature helps children develop powers of observation and creativity and instills a sense of peace and being at one with the world   *    There are Children who play regularly in natural environments show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility, and they are sick less often   *   Children with views of and contact with nature score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline. The greener, the better the scores   *   Children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are better able to concentrate after contact with nature   *    Outdoor environments are important to children's development of independence and autonomyPlay in outdoor environments stimulates all aspects of children development more readily than indoor environments   *     Nature buffers the impact of life's stresses on children and helps them deal with adversity. The greater the amount of nature exposure, the greater the benefits   On the other side there are a number of disadvantages of not venturing out into the nature, the biggest being obesity. Obesity is perhaps the most visible symptom of the lack of such play, but literally dozens of studies from around the world show regular time outdoors produces significant improvements in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning ability, creativity and mental, psychological and emotional wellbeing.   In a bid to save the nature for the future generations an affinity to and love of nature, along with a positive environmental ethic, grow out of regular contact with and play in the natural world during early childhood should be developed. Children's loss of regular contact with the natural world can result in a biophobic future generation not interested in preserving nature and its diversity. Experts say that children spending time in nature makes them more likely to protect the environment as adults. In addition to this, the most cherished childhood memories originate from direct experiences in nature together with a parent, grandparent or other relatives.   ...Divya

    6 Effective Ways to Teach a Special Needs Child     In this day and age of fast paced world, your child with special needs may need to you time to bond with you better and also for you to understand their needs. There is a need for you also to learn the ways in which you could connect with your child with special needs to teach him various things in life and here are some of the ways you could do that.     Bond with the child with a regular interaction:  These kids are just like any of us. They would respond to us when we interact with them with patience. Take time out to understand how they converse, then connect with them the same way. Depending on the child’s special needs, it may be necessary to take the child’s hand, place a hand on the child’s shoulder or even touch each other’s faces to make a proper introduction. Showing him some examples or giving some explanations will develop the interaction.   Be flexible:  Do not stick to one way of conversing with the child or making the child understand something you want to convey. Change your ways according to the child's needs. Understand the needs of the child and keep changing the way you interact with them for them to feel more accommodated, which will then help them to open up to you. If a child does not have the appropriate motor skills for an activity, help the child go through the motions by holding their hand or if they are unable to understand any concept in their studies, help them understand in a game or a story format.   Be consistent with routine events:  Establish a routine based on events and not time, like for example have a schedule lined up, like waking up,brushing, breakfast, schoolwork, lunch, play, dinner and so on. Knowing what to expect what comes next has a calming effect on both you and the child. This after a point of time will make the child get accustomed to this way of living life. And it would be more comfortable for them.   Use a multi sensory way of teaching techniques:  Use a multi-sensory approach to introduce or practice a concept rather than limiting instruction to whatever appears to be the child’s learning style like visual or audio. Studies of the brain suggest that the more senses and variety involved in learning something, the more avenues a person has for retrieving that information.   Do not force the child into learning something:  Your child does not require a mastery in everything you want to teach him. Some areas should have simple exposure as a goal so that the they are not under too much stress. You may decide to let them merely experience something now with the plan of building understanding in the future, or exposure may remain your goal in long term.   Being Positive is the Key in the bonding:  A positive attitude is the single most important quality for anyone who works with children with special needs. There are cases of highly trained specialists who are unable to interact with the child because of their negative attitude and assumptions about the state of mind of the child. But some people with no experience or knowledge of their disability have jumped right in and changed the child's life for the better. So the key to a wonderful relationship between the child and parent is to stay clam and positive.   ..Divya

    Nutrition Supplements for Children     Food quality has improved or reduced, is one thing we cannot comment about, these days but food manipulation has increased and ones appetite for nutritious food has definitely reduced. However, awareness for Organic farming and choosing Organic food has increased...if the items cultivated are truly organic or not is another big question...with all these things confusing our brains, should we offer nutrition supplements to children or not is something we cannot keep postponing to find an answer for and delay if they are necessary.   This is the time that parents need to be smart and calculate the number of fresh fruit, dairy and veggie servings children consume per day and realise if there be a need to offer supplements to cover for any deficient nutrition. For Children who are seriously picky eaters, they tend to lack necessary iron and calcium firstly, followed by other important vitamins such as vitamin A, B etc.     Assuming that all children these days have vitamin and mineral deficiencies is not the right thing...Parents need not follow the common trendy 'picking on the kids' pattern and behaviour..instead, they have to observe the meal and snack schedule of every child and assess their nutrient intake...if they feel the child is looking healthy enough and eating and drinking normally then there is usually no worry. For the same reason, it is important to visit a pediatrition atleast once every year, the best practice being 'a markup visit every year after the child's birthday', making sure the Doctor checks the weight, height, hearing ability and eye-sight, iron and calcium levels of the child's body, and confirms that the child is growing up healthy and normal.   Consulting the Doctor about offering supplements to the child is a smart thing to do before considering to start a regime on your own. The child may have allergic reactions to certain ingredients, or those multivitamins might clash with some other medications the child is already taking and such. Keeping these concerns aside, if you decide to give supplements and find the right kind, there are quite good number of options for every child, the most famous gummy treats kind, tonics, calcium-tablets kind and milk powders too, come along in multiple flavors and colors.   Considering a family that has atleast one parent who is health conscious and takes care of others in the family, there may not be any deficiencies atall, in that case, supplementing may cause over dose of vitamins and minerals as certain breakfast cereals and store-bought milk are sold with added vitamins and iron. Also, doing a thorough research on the ingredients of every nutrition supplement brand product is important..you dont want to end up buying a product that is famous, yet includes harmful and artificial chemicals that do no good to your child either. Be smart and choose foods and supplements correctly !   ..Prathyusha

Value of Summer Classes and Camps for Kids   Summer fun is exciting but in this kind of heat, outdoor fun is dangerous, and so sitting at home or planning for playdates to keep the children busy is a smart and safe idea. But how long will you handle a group of kids daily? There needs to be an alternate Mom-rescue option, to save her from the frustration of dealing with a bunch or even a single naughty one. During such times, Summer classes offer the best rescue options, and also keep the kids busy enough that they learn extracurriculars and get tired and dose off easily at night. Besides the traditional summer coarses such as Swimming classes (ofcourse, i wonder what the empty swimming pools are doing now because of the water scarcity), Music training, Spoken English, Pottery and such, there are quite some new courses to bring the new waters in... Some courses such as Horse riding, Chess training, Fun Math exposure help the kids build confidence to deal with life's different phases...and short term courses such as CPR, First Aid training, small Wood workshops to build toys and such, Etiquette and Ethics classes offer the kids lessons of Selfhelp and educate the, of their Social Responsibility etc. In some western countries, there are Summer classes to train for young adults in new born sibling care and a new pet training. Some societies organise Summer camps for kids and Young adults, inviting them to spend few days away from parents and family, at a Summer cottage, teaching them to be brave when parents are away, during such camps, they teach to make friends with new kids, sleep on their own without parents being around, etc...     Teaching kids simple culinary skills is also good selfhelp and 'Help Mom' ideas through cookery classes, baking classes, easy sewing classes...in the United States, they teach Preschool children how to handle a pair of scissors and cut paper and use Glue correctly for a specific reason inorder to prepare them for homework and hobby crafting. Some kindergarten schools and social clubs offer Grooming classes for Young adults, teaching them Simple Housekeeping manners, HomeSafety classes, Fun gardening sessions to help parents and also behavioral methods for self discipline along with Religious values. Are you also looking forward to find such fresh ideas for Kids' Summer classes that really help your kids and you instead of just extracting money from your wallet !! - Prathyusha

Need for a Sibling   Small family, a happy family...but too small, not so happy family...every child needs a sibling, to share, to care, to grown up with, and have a close friend in the family. However, due to many reasons, not every family decides to have a second child, some settle with only one child., i wonder how they manage everytime the child asks for a friend at home, for a sibling. It is not atall easy when your only child runs behind every other child in a mall, and sobbing or melting down everytime a friend leaves after a playdate or doesnot want to come home after a playdate at a friend's. It is so embarrassingly silly when your child asks why she/he doesnot have another baby to play with, why you dont have two kids like her friend's Mom has. And then everyone among friends and relatives asking you 'when is the next one arriving?', including 'Let there not be too much gap between the kids' kindof unwanted suggestions.   If you are not so ready to even think of another child yet, meet a friend or a cousin who is also a single child, they will share their positives and negatives of being the only child. That is when you are still not ready to start the journey but you can atleast be open minded., your child will train you slowly and suddenly....contrary, but it is true. The first request comes as a shocker but it happens so often that slowly you will get there and be ready. They say either of the partners is initially unprepared and unwilling but the first child is the driving force...you will want to do anything for their sake, end of the day ! I realise, a little friend at home doesnot come crawling or running and ready to play..it takes nine backbreaking months, hours of painstaking moments and then 2-3 years of wait while they grow up to be there, before they are ready to play with your older child including strange moments of fighting between the two and emotions of insecurity, neglected feelings of the first one, the same first child who asked you for a sibling. The pre-sibling prep is totally different to the post-arrival struggle...they are two separate challenges....so are you ready or your first one ready yet for a sibling? - Prathyusha

  Lucknow Chikankari Dresses for Cool Kids   Summer has been harsh this time, but we cannot escape the heat..how to keep the kids cool, how to dress them up for indoors and outdoor fun...is the question for all parents, every summer, during their vacation time. While the kids are home for more than a month, wearing the wrong dresses could make them feel the heat and sweat alot when playing too..Well, then think of the Super Cottony Chikankari dresses again..you should be gathering a few pieces for each kid during the Industrial Exhibition that happens every year during winter. Chikankari origins from Lucknow and has become so famous across India and Abroad too. The cool cotton fabric, intricate thread work makes me so nostalgic, reminding me of those early 80s and childhood days. Chikankari has been a trend ever since its origin. Not just cotton, it dresses up every other light material like Silk, Chiffon and the Georgette. Everyone in the family gets to cherish the flamboyance of Chikankari with dresses made for every age group. Those made in Cottons span a longer life, getting passed onto siblings and atleast one next generation. When Mom or Dad pair up with their little Girl and Boy, they all look super cute in these Chikankari dresses. Sarees and Dresses embroidered for Mom, kurta-pyjamas and Dhotis embroidered for Dad, along with the cutest Frocks, Lehengas and little Salwar suits for little girls, those cute cute Kurta-pyjamas for little guys offer a wide selection to satisfy all.   Maintainance was easy with light colors but with brighter and multi-colored patters appearing more in the market, washing them has become a trick. Hand washing is suggested for the bright and dark colored ones..pure cotton is the simplest, but the mixed-fabrics are creating bobbles and need a little more care. Price ranges from the most expected affordable to even the pricy numbers. Still, thinking twice before you grab one for you or your child is not necessary... chikankari is a pride to wear and flaunt ! Due to macbine-made fabrics and embroideries dominating the market, this amazing original hand-made treasure is loosing its life, speedily and pleads demand...lives of talented workers who depend of this art await better days. It is so necessary that we all think of appraising such lives and caring for their needs by opting for their works. Think of buying Chikankari dresses this time you shop for your wardrobe or your child's. - Prathyusha    

Dealing with Picky Eaters   Getting kids to eat food is definitely not a joke!,,infact, getting them to try a new veggie or a new dish is so tough. They have issues with foods that look green, that taste sour, which have tomatoes....everything is a problem..i just dont understand why they refuse to try anything..i wonder if the older generations were like this, or is it because i had a picky eater i feel this is the only tough generation ?! They ask for something to eat and by the time we prepare it, they dont want it anymore...ufff, thats it ! We have to do something about changing this frustrating pattern. Lets get started ... To deal with picky eaters, we have to start with very small portions. Use positive words such as 'This is a very small bowl of boiled green peas, it is so easy to eat', instead of threatening the child using words such as 'if you dont finish it faster, i am going to take away your toys'. Once the child finishes the offered peas, give him/her a favorite food. Appreciate even if they try just once or two pieces of a new food or vegetable, though it is frustrating and disappointing that you made it spending your time and they try only a bit. Offer new foods during snack time, incase they dont like it, their mood or after-taste will not spoil their interest to eat a meal. Keep offering a certain new item again and again, instead of asking once and stopping to offer again if they refuse the first time. Offering kids treats and drinks more than healthy foods such as fresh fruits, dairy and vegetables tends to decreas their interest to try the latter ones, as they know they have an alternate choice. You offer only healthier food, they will have no choice but to accept to try it. Spacing snack time and meals is also important..appropriately spaced snack time and meals do more good to them, compared to the too closely spaced schedules that force them to not feel hungry and end up not eating properly and leaving them disinterested to eat well. Making friends with healthy eaters is a smarter option, as kids learn silently and tend to mimic friends most of the time. I understand that a bad company spoils everything, friends of your kids may be good eaters but if their parents dont follow healthy rules, their kids end up eating more of unhealthy foods and then you child goes their for playdates and learns the same stuff...who will you explain ? Will you teach their kids to eat healthy, or will you explain their parents the harm unhealthy foods do to anyone..would they even listen, forget about following you ?! Hence, it is so good important to teach about nutrition and food values to our own children. Parents should be the examples for everything good...you eat fruits and veggies and they will follow...even if you dont like a certain food, kindly dont annouce your disinterest aloud. Also observe if your child has any food allergy or any irritation and if that be the reason he/she is refusing to try a certain food the second time. Go slow and steady with introducing new food. Follow a Step by step speed. Introduce another new food only after the child likes a particular new item she/he has tried and liked and eaten thrice. Eating together at a dining table, as a family brings alot of better change...right from the day of the child's first solid food, if they sit with the family for meals, they observe everyone having the family meals and register that they eat what the family eats. Meal time should be the best family time of the day, every day. Handling picky eaters is easier when we keep our cool, with no frustrations amd jitters. Pediatricians say that most children pass through this stage during their 3-4yrs age. Keep this in mind and dont worry...once this phase fades outs, you will naturally see your child trying new foods and asking for new tastes....very soon your picky eater will be a healthy eater. - Prathyusha

  Complain secretly of your child's faults     Parenting is one great job...it looks so easy and not big for those who havenot stepped in yet, but is difficult. I agree, for some it is so breezy easy ! Probably their kids make them feel so..however, i have seen tough days. It is also a tricky job, where you are given all the rights yet you cannot be the boss, you have to be a good friend and behave yourselves too, just when you loose control, you set a wrong example, and so there is no way you can vent out, no way you can chill out overly...one has to be so disciplined and dedicated to this task..however, until the foundation is set and the path is established for the children. When they get perfect, they make sure the parents are not going out of control or fall apart.     As i expressed, parenting is tough, almost like a military job...most parents vent out their frustration. It is a good idea to not keep ones emotions within and get stressed out. Sametime, expressing feelings of disappointment with the child's behaviour in the child's presence is definiteltnot a good idea. Even the famous pediatricians and psychologists suggest young parents to cultivate the habit of 'only talking the positive' once the child is born, atleast when the child is around or listening from a short distance around. Feed their little brains the positive comments, appreciations, recognitions, words of comfort, encouragement, gentle correction and good behaviour..there are all chances the child learns and does what you teach and do yourselves. If one keeps complaining that 'my girl is so moody', 'my son is a very naughty one', they tend to behave the same way...they are not like grown ups who realise that they are being complained about and try to correct themselves. If Mom wants to tell Dad about some naughty or rude act of the child, she should share only while the child is totally away or asleep. Dont chant the manthra of 'you are a bad girl', 'you are such a spoil sport'....they might end up getting convinced to do what you tell them every hour of.   You may want to share everything your child does at home with your family or friends, over the phone...kindly make sure you talk aloud about the good things your child does..and watch the limit not to start over praising the child always...they get so used to it and expect everyone to praise their every silly act too. If you need any suggestions or want to share your frustration or even about a funny or silly stuff your child did the other day,.you are free but when the child is away and not paying attention to your phone call or he/she is asleep..they repeat the same stuff. Like, you tell your relative that your child has attention issues and asks for treats or the ipad soon as your answer a phone call...and Lo, your child comes running to do the same, not letting you talk over the phone. Be it a funny, frustrating or a disappointing act of your child, lets not make it a public discussion...children are so sensitive, and even adults dont like others complaining publicly of their behaviour...so lets deal secretly ! ..Prathyusha

  Dealing with 3-4 year olds     The Preschoolers come as a package of smartness, eagerness, naughtiness and few other behaviours, which makes it difficult to handle them unless the parents learn to negotiate and get even more smarter than the kids. Parents have to learn the flexibility manthra as their kids grow...they cannot behave the same way with their kids as they were an year ago...as kids grow, the elders have to grow as parents to the next stage every year !   Kids at 3-4 years of age learn to get through difficult situations, like dealing with tough elders like teachers, negotiating with parents and older siblings, achieving success by behaving rigidly many times etc. Agreements and Win-Win situations are impossible and tough when the elders dont want to make things easier, as both the parties are adamant. Children are not experts, they learn things from others or their survival struggles teach them certain behaviours at times, which are power battles at home or disappointments and tantrums.     Patience is what the parents need, not what the children can learn at this stage. It is a smart technique to research about every stage-wise behaviour of children when someone becomes a parent...doing this, it becomes easy to handle kids at every changing stage and things wouldnot be shocking. Forget about the word 'comparison' atall....never dream of having an ideal child..and dont get depressed and overwhelmed when your child behaves differently than what you dreamt of. Dont compare them with other so-called 'ideal children'.   Children learnt to negotiate at this age, it is not only an indication that he or she is learning to express his/her own ideas, it also shows that he/she is discovering how to co-exist and work better with another person or as a team. Complimenting a child in public is a good thing, sametime, commenting or complaining publicly has wrong impacts...children may seem to ignore discussins among adults at times, but they observe and lend an ear always...they maynot be hurt as such, but they will tend to behave the same way you complained of the next time. Teach your child to express certain feelings to you personally instead of shouting out loud in public...encourage them to appreciate others by never wrongly commenting on others, yourselves as they like following parents mostly.   Remember always, with 3-4 year olds, their behaviour is a reflection of your personality...you change and thet will change, for good or for bad....loosing temper quickly teaches them to do the same, starting with you ! Dealing with 3-4 year olds becomes a breeze when you are patient and happy always,,,else it becomes so easy to vent out your frustration on them and the next day, they will do the same to everyone around ! Deal smartly with them. ...Prathyusha

  Sexual Abuse Awareness among Children   Something Parents dont want to talk about, something they want to keep away from their children, something that can happen to any child, something we all want to never happen to anyone, Sexual Abuse. It has been on an increase across the World and Children, irrespective of Age, Race, Economic status are being affected. 'How can we stop?' is something that we just dont have to keep questioning and worrying, instead, we can stop it from coming even closer to our children. Awareness is all what it takes, and Attention is all what it needs. Some basic and very important points if followed strictly can stop it happening. Provide a Safety Awareness to your children: Be it a girl or a boy, teach children to stay away from strangers, unless introduced by parents as well wishers..even then, Children need to learn to discern among the good and the bad depending on their behaviour towards children. A close relative can be perfectly fine as a great helper and a wonderful wellwisher but they may have a darker side. Read or narrate very short stories about how to identify such an inconvenient behaviour by strangers or even people whom the child knows well.     Learn to trust your Children: Your child might complain to you about someone's odd behaviour, or escalate a friend's odd experience at School. Dont ignore it, instead followup on the matter and trace it. Try a fool proof method of keeping your child or his/her friend away from that stranger for few days and notice their response..if they tell you that they feel safe, then that stranger is really a weed to be removed from the scene permanently. Show them signs that they can trust you no matter what happens, that they can tell you anything and express any feelings, and that they will not be punished for expressing matters. Spend private and dedicated time with your Child everyday: Giving undivided attention to your child, for some time everyday is a good practice to strengthen that bond with your children. Share your personal experiences of joy and sorrow, inorder that they learn to share the same with you...this way, they will never hesitate to express their feelings, good or bad, with you. Just dont ignore a child's change in behaviour, it can be any sign...either they become too silent or over defensive...as soon as you onserve a change, discuss with him/her and find out the reason behind the change and discomfort... Keep track of everyone who meets your child: Knowing your child's friends and their parents, his/her Teacher's and strangers they might have come across in a day during lunch time, while going to or coming from School etc., Not leaving your child with anyone is a better practice...it can be Daddy, but not your cousin or a good friend or Colleague..you never know. Protecting children from Sexual abuse is our responsibility...let not that bitter experience happen to any child just because we were ignorant or too busy to bother or even trust the child when they complain about your Cousin or Uncle !!   ..Pratyusha

Preparing Children for Siblings     First delivery is manageable to an extent although it is a first time 'inexperienced' experience ! Second time or later, it gets a little tough, to manage a child at home and getting ready for another cute arrival. Coping through the pregnancy stages, getting ready for delivery set aside, preparing the older child/ children is a big task and one very important job. That older child might be totally excited to have a friend at home but are they ready to share everything, even Parents' love and attention is the question. Most of us have been there, but as Parents now, are we ready to take up the task carefully and progress successfully ?! Part of it is also the duty of other family members, close family friends and the Doctor too. All of them play a crucial role in encouraging the older child to be nice and loving to the younger one and not feel threatened of their own importance in the family. Some basic amd easy ways can make it a breeze for you too. Keep asking the child if he/she wants a sibling..make sure not to stress much on whether they want a Sister or a Brother...if they amswer one and recieve another, thet may take longer to accept. Buying special quote t-shirts and dresses to make them feel proud of their elder child spot in the family is encouraging too. Taking your older child to Prenatal checkups is a smart idea, they get to see the Ultrasound pictures and videos and you can also introduce him/her as an Elder Brother/Sister to the nurses and Doctors. You should explain to the child that Mommy might feel tired quickly and that she cannot carry him/her as she used to earlier, because she is taking special care of his/her Baby Brother or Sister. Go for shopping together, let them select few items for the baby. Some of us have the habit of talking to the preborn babies, during idle times or sleep times, introduce your older child to the baby and let them a story or rhyme too. Babies remember voices, it would be a special moment when they identify the older sibling after birth. Showing their childhood, early days photographs during these stages will refresh their memories and thet will be more excited to see the younger sibling to grow and take pictures together. Take the child's help to arrange the baby's items for the grand arrival. Set up a gift chosen by the older child for the baby or have them pack the gift. Keep a Big Brother/Sister gift that you chose as a Surprise to reveal at the Hospital or when they see the Baby, first time. Make sure to handover the older child's responsibilities to a soothing adult in the family while you are away at the Hospital for a day or two, as during this time even Dad is busy with you. The older child will be missing Mom and Dad, so engaging them with fun activities or School is a better idea and taking them to the Hospital to visit the Newborn is a good idea if you are staying there for longer. After you come home with the Baby, instead of constantly telling the Older one to keep silent, give them a 'Silence keeper' job. They will do well.     Diaper changing, Lotion applying might be small jobs for the proud big one. Keeping a constant eye on them is vital too...with too much love they can even try to feed the newborn green peas or peanuts or anything...or feel jealous and pinch the baby...make sure to tackle such a scene with gentleness and not shout on them..it makes things worse...and thats the reason, prepping the older child for a joyful siblinghood is the smart and safe thing. There might be a special needs Mew born at home, thats when our job becomes crucial..prolonged hospitalization after delivery or to bring the baby home, might demand special education to the older child. Stressing out and yelling on the child may happen as you are not ready to accept the truth yet and you yourself are depressed and tired. The quality of empathy and patience shall be instilled in children for this reason too and many other better reasons in life. Whether baby no.2 or baby no.4, teaching the older children the joy of caring for another person and sharing too is important. If the introduction is good, the fun blooms well !! --- Prathyusha

Find Safe Art Supplies for kids Art is a therapy for kids of any age...6-60 or 1-100!! Once the child is two years old, we all want to see them identify colors, sit for hours and draw with colors...thats one activity most Parents seek to keep their kids engaged and safe, right infront of their eyes. Kids start to receive crayons, water colors, sketch pens soon after this age...and they get more as they grow..most of the time, when shopping for kids school supplies and art project items, we spend on buying colors, glues, paper and such. The World is now thinking of safe food, organic groceries, recycling, pollution-free environment, everything safe in the house starting from shampoos to non-toxic BPA-free water bottles...then why not bring in safe art supplies too. Arts and crafts nurture our creativity, offer great relaxation and they work as a therapy during those worst mood times when people irritate you or something goes not-the-way-you-expected. Yet, some allergies to few colors and glues, chemical sensitivities due to the smell around few markers can make our choices difficult. When playing with moulding clay, chalk, paint or crayons, no matter how keenly you watch the kids, they tend to sneak a small lick of their favourite colored clay or a bite of that bright crayon. Art trainers and Teachers who use colors, paints, oil pastels and chalks most of the day are also exposed to the harmful toxins and side-effects from using such products. Coughing, throat irritation and skin sensitivity, reactions are some frequent issues faced. Most art products manufacturers simply mention the word Non-Toxic on their products, as they are not required by rule to reveal the toxic preservatives, heavy metals or petro-based ingredients that they still use. It is our smartness and responsibility to research about the safe supplies available in the market and purchase only those to spend a guilt-free happy art time with kids or our own-self. Such environment-friendly and user-safe alternatives may not be easy to find in the stores, but they are worth the effort. Paper: We generally purchase white paper for any such purpose..for school, for arts, for office..most white paper brands use bleach to maintain that white look. But it is chlorine that is used there. Totally Chlorine-free (TCF) and Processed Chlorine-free (PCF) labelled papers assure that no bleaching occured during the making of that bundle of papers. Tree-free paper initative follows a wonderful technique of producing Recycled papers using post-consumer fibers, Eco papers using fruit pulps and agricultural residue. It helps reduce the agricultural and some industrial waste, wherever possible. Sustainable Forestry Initiative is a step taken to put a control on deforestation for paper production...for every tree cut down to produce paper, a new sappling is planted. Glue: Gone are the days of using Home-made glue made with All-purpose flour and water...i still remember, they used to bring pots of such glue to decorate our School with colored paper and strings for the Indian Independence day and Republic day celebrations. I haven't heard of it from anyone, in the recent times. That was an Eco alteranative craft product. The glues sold are more storage convenient, long-lasting, easier to use than home-made which was supposed to be applied with hand or using a wooden laddle. White glue is safer with no fumes emitted, but takes longer to dry. Examples are Elmer's, ordinary School-use Fevicol and Mod Podge. You can just wash them off your However, not everyone of us has the time to wait for an craft project to dry, we want fast -drying, quick- display items. Quick-dry instant glues, Epoxy, Spray adhesive, rubber cement, airplane glue, all emit fumes..and that is why they advice to use these glues in an open, well-ventilated area to reduce the harm. They are difficult to get rid of if stuck to fingers..a nail-polish remover with acetate can only help in this case. Art is a wide environment..we can go on discussing about nature and art, for hours...even the art-craft supplies used for such a project also are various...we shall learn more on Safe, Eco-friendly products in our next article, soon. --pratyusha

Find Safe Art supplies for Kids-2     There is lot more to know about Art supplies, when we talk about the safety they offer. Here are some more of what we learnt in our earlier article on the same matter. Crayons and Markers: Petroleum-based crayon sales might have slowed down but they are still available in the market. The word 'Non-Toxic' is quite popular with art supplies and kids toys but do you know what makes the others toxic? Oil pastels are usually petroleum-based, even ordinary crayons are so..these days, water-soluble or washable crayons have made life easier..they are more non-toxic than the others. Easy to use and can be washed off..just then they are more brittle than the traditional crayons. Unscented crayons are made more these days. Soy-based crayons are made from sustainable soybean oil. There might be an assumption among parents about the brightness of these friendly products...they are as brighter as the older versions.   In India, we are used to introducing letters and writing to children with the help of a Slate and Chalk, traditionally. Dustless chalk is better...even in a School or College environment, these dustless chalks can make breathing easier for the students and teachers. Colored Eco-Pencils, products of Sustainable Forestry Initiative and recycled wood are other options of coloring supplies. Just make sure to stay away from conventional dry-erase markers, they contain harmful neurotoxin Xylene, and Permanent markers emit fumes...Sketch pens come these days in Washable options, they are safer than the older versions with toxins and chemicals.   Paints: Water-based colors, Water-soluble and non-toxic Acrylic paints are beginning to be available in the market. Chroma Brand Tempera paints are safer as they remove some of the hazardous ingredients during the production process. Water-based Tempera paints are easy to use. Instead of using oil paints that emit fumes and require turpentine, a petroleum-based product to clean the brushes, it is better to follow the shine-less look with Acrylic and Tempera. Sametime, make sure the Acrylic paints you purchase donot have Formaldehyde or Ammonia. Even Aerosol paint sprays are harmful when inhaled, hence they should be applied in a well-ventilated space, using protective nose and eye masks. Canvas: Fabric used to make canvas boards or canvas screens can be made from recycled, unbleached cotton. Afterall, you buy a white canvas board to paint on it, then why look for a bleached, whitest white board ?! The board used to stretch the fabric can be made from recycled wood instead of fresh wood. Modelling Clay and such: Non-toxic clays are available in the market, these days. They are even Gluten-free, made from wheat-free to flour to avoid gluten allergies among children and adults. Even the colors used can be controlled when they are natural. Homemade modelling clay ideas can be found on the internet, they are more eco-friendly, safer and affordable versions. For school modelling projects, one can consider using paper mache, made from old newspapers, recycling used post envelopes, advertisement brochures etc. tutorials are numerous on the web. Store-bought paper mache might contain harmful chemicals and fibers. Polymer clays are available in the market but they contain PVC or Vinyl. Arts and Crafts if nurtured and encouraged bring out the most creative of the creative people there in the world...it is wonderful to cherish their works, even wonderful to realise that they dont leave a bad footprint on the Earth, by using the 'safest, eco-friendliest' supplies.   ..Prathyusha