HOME AS A LEARNING SPACE FOR KIDS

 

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Image Source Flintobox

Home is the first environment a child is exposed to socially and it is home where the child spends maximum time of his early years around his/her family. It is a great opportunity to utilize this environment to maximize the learning of a toddler. To do the same, it is important that we as parents and people around us who are involved in raising the child are actively adopting the behavioral alterations required to suit the learning of the child.Some of the easy to do and important ones are –

1.Improving the listening and responding skills – Toddlers have a habit of asking never ending questions, sometimes they repeatedly keep asking silly questions. There is no end to the whats, whys and hows but then, it is only natural for us to get irritated. The key to alter this behavior is obviously patience; if you consistently encourage the curiosity and raise the interest level of the child it will have many long term benefits. The child grows up to constantly seek new things in life, explore and experiment with changes. If we do it in an early age, it will continue in the long run.

2. Reading Habit – We all know reading is a great habit but it is a habit which cannot be inculcated in a child by preaching. This is something which can only be done by leading through example. There are two ways to do this – reading yourself and being an example to the child or reading the book aloud to the child every night through bedtime stories or any other means. This comes for my personal experience – whenever I read a book, V also has the excitement to hold a book and pretend to read. In fact this is how kids transition from pretending to read to actually start reading.

3. Declutter – Like most other parents, I am also guilty of getting too many toys and games for my daughter. Kids are spoilt for choice and eventually start to devalue things. Research also proves a child’s learning is maximized when it is uncluttered and organised. Prioritizing and organizing skills can really be imbibed in the early years. Time capping for certain games is also a great idea where you only give one set of toys for a particular period of time. Involve the child in the de-cluttering process and let him/her choose the next set.

4. Demonstration – It is always a great idea to ask kids to assist you to do things. Household chores or outdoor tasks, working as a team always helps raise a more responsible child. The activity is also perceived as fun activity by them and not a task.

5. Let them try – Unless it is a big hazard, let the kids try to do things independently. Parental supervision is good but instilling the confidence in the child really means a lot. I have seen the such kids to grow up as very confident and fearless individuals.

 

 

Readiness of a child to go to Preschool

As many of you would have seen the toddler parenting series that I am doing on my IGTV channel on Instagram,this is the second topic we are talking about after “How to decide on a good preschool for your child”. To watch the video, please follow missvogueviolet .There are many parents who decide against sending their child to school even before they turn 3 but for most working parents, this seems to be a good option.

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Image Source – Pinterest

 

Some of the reasons why we decided to send V to preschool are –

1.Social Skills – We thought that if V is surrounded by kids her age and has a structured school environment, she will develop her social skills better. I can vouch for this now as I see she has developed a positive acceptance to people around her after a couple of weeks spent in school.

2. Energy Channelization – Like most toddlers, V is always beaming with energy which needs to be used in a productive way. At home,while we try our best to engage her in whatever possible way we can,  school definitely provides numerous positive ways to use the energy.

3. Balance for working parents -Off late, I had been finding it really hard to focus on my professional priorities because of the endless tasks at home.So the couple of hours off in the morning with V gone to school, I definitely am able to plan my day better and work more efficiently.

4. Learning through playing – It is always better when there are trained professionals who know best how to make learning fun and therefore, a good preschool is definitely important.

Now coming to the most important point of discussion which is readiness of the child to go to the playschool, there are a few things that I looked at before taking the final decision.

  1. Communication – While it is impossible for a toddler to clearly communicate all of his/her emotions properly,he/she should be able to ask for basic things and express the displeasure whenever needed. This helps to ensure that he/she is understood in his school and any kind of discomfort can be dealt with immediately.
  2. Curiosity – Every child is curious but curiosity should be higher than the fear of being unfamiliar. If the child is very uncomfortable to new environments, maybe you could wait for a few more months. If the child is fairly receptive to new things in life, it is a good time to go to play school.
  3. Love to socialize – There are many kids who love to socialize yet cry every single day while going to school. If your child longs to spend time with other kids, enjoys play dates and shows some interest towards team work I think they are the first signs of readiness for play school.
  4. Follow Simple Instructions – The child should be able to understand and comprehend what the teacher and other staff are saying. He/she may not be competent to obey and execute every single instruction but should show some signs of reception.
  5. Positive Attitude and health – A school could be a breeding ground for air borne and water borne diseases. You are exposing your child to a lot of other people who could be sick and if your child is prone to infections, you could wait for a few months till his/her immunity develops.

These are the few key points you could use as a reference to check if the child is ready for school or not.

TODDLER GOES TO PRESCHOOL! PART 1

Once you are a mom, life throws you new challenges in every stage. Just when the sleepless nights are coming to an end, you got to make way for tough decisions 😀 Lately we have been doing a lot of research on preschools in order to finalize the best one for our little one. In the process there are a few realizations we had and therefore, I have listed down the important ones to keep in mind when you are looking for the best preschool for your child.

The next few things that you read shall help you make a conscious decision on selecting a preschool for your child –

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  1. Match between the thought process of the parents and culture of the school: Every parent has a different set of expectations from the school. There are many parents who feel that a school must give a lot of importance on academics and theoretical method of learning because they benefited from it in their childhood. At the same time there would be parents who would be looking for more playtime for the children and a good platform to channelize their energy in the positive direction. So based on these expectations, you could check on which school has to offer what.
  2. Infrastructure:Most good preschools do have great infrastructure these days but our priority was a school with a larger out door play area because we strongly believe in outdoor playtime. Similarly, I am sure parents would be having some specific requirements on the amenities the school provides basis which they can take a call on the same.
  3. Hygiene: It is the most important factor to decide anything for your child. Irrespective of what the school authorities say, it is always better to personally go and do a check.
  4. Proximity : If you find a very impressive school far from your home and you do not have good options around your house, you can still take a conscious call of sending the child away. We thought it is the first time V was going to step out of home and spend 3 hours with a set of unfamiliar faces and hence decided on a playschool pretty close to our home/workplace. The idea was to be immediately available for any kind of emergency.
  5. Language : Since V was confined to the home until now and we speak the regional language at home; she was exposed to only 2 languages – English and Odia. Therefore we thought it is important that we send her to a school where the staff can speak these 2 languages and not just Hindi which V cannot understand. Basically we tried to pull in as many strings as possible to make her feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment so that there is no problem in basic communication between her and people around.

So here are the few factors that helped us decide on the best play school for our child. I hope these help you in some way. The next post shall be on how to check the readiness of your toddler for preschool.

WORKING MOM FITNESS TIPS

 

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As a working mom, there are a zillion of activities which fight to be on the top of your priority list. Constant pressure at work and never ending tasks at home can get really frustrating after a period of time. I get a lot of queries on fitness through my Instagram Q/A sessions which I do on Missvogueviolet . The answer to most of the questions on how to be fit after being a mom is very simple – MAKE TIME for it. It is important that you take advantage of every little time that you get towards a ‘healthier you’. Here are seven tips to help you out –

  1. Like any other Corporate professional, the first question I shall ask you is “What is your vision?”There has to be a driving factor to get you working towards your goal.It could be “Staying healthy to take care of the kids” or “Getting back in shape after losing the baby weight” or just plain “Want to look and feel good”.Every reason is justified but it should be strong enough to motivate you every single day.
  2. Take a small step at a time but stick to the routine. If you decide to set 15 mins minutes out for a workout, try and maintain it religiously for a week and then increase the time slowly. Taking big jumps on a single day wont reap any results and will demotivate you further when you cannot continue it.
  3. Make the most of your work time –  I am sure like most of us, you too would be lost in meetings and con calls through the day; and there are tons of calls when you are supposed to be the silent listener. So schedule your walks during these calls, put on your earphones and fix the 3 rounds around the premises when you can easily attend the call yet manage a physical routine.
  4. Get into the recreation room in the office and do a 15 minutes stretching. Get off that chair to walk around every 30-45 minutes.
  5. Make the most of Youtube. If you do not have the time to hit a Gym, watch online videos and start with yoga. If not anything, it will tranquilize your mind and make you feel better. If you have a toddler or  baby who enjoys music, you could dance together for a few minutes.
  6. Utilize the park trips on weekends. This is something that I personally loved to do . Baby V would come along in the stroller and I could easily go for a run(if the nanny came along) or a pleasant walk if I am alone. It absolutely refreshes the mind and body.
  7. DO NOT STRESS: Yes, these are in bold letters because stressing will only make it worse. Watch motivational videos or talk to people who have achieved fitness goals and keep going. It is not going to change you overnight and remember, any progress is improvement so you will get there sooner or later.

Lastly, this is not about losing weight, it is about keeping fit and having the energy levels to manage the hundred thousands things you do. Always remember, YOU ARE A SUPERWOMAN!

THE NEW JOHNSON’S BABYCARE LAUNCH

When I started my blogging journey, I was pretty confused on what niche to focus on. I have always loved to write on anything and everything but it was very difficult to decide on one particular category that I would love to continue writing about. Thanks to that phase of my life where all I could think of is my little one, I decided to focus on writing about all my experiences of being a new mother. Thus started my journey as a Mom blogger and my never ending hunt for everything that’s best for my baby. Historically,J&J has been the most trusted brand for babies and one of the few companies who has published more research than most other global skin care companies in the last five years. Their products are designed and manufactured keeping in mind the needs of baby skin. While they were already best at it, they have bettered themselves and re launched a whole new range catering to the ever changing needs of mums and babies and I was one of the few privileged bloggers who was invited by Baby Chakra to attend their launch event.

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Before I take you on a virtual tour of the whole event, let me introduce you to BabyChakra which has been a one stop platform for all kinds of queries that I have had since I conceived my little one. It continues to be a real time support to all mothers across the country.

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The event décor reminded me of everything that a new mum or baby would need. From a child care room, to fairytale décor of clouds and a kiosk filled with toys, it was so much fun. While the mums got to experience the all new products, there were numerous experiments and activities organized whose results stand testimony to the fact that they were the gentlest of all. The senior management had flown all the way from Singapore to Mumbai who unveiled the new line with great pomp and show. They were kind enough to answer all the questions the audience kept shooting at them during the Q&A session. Not to forget, we got to see the commercials before the rest of the world did and the experience was just exhilarating. In the end, it was clear that the trust of J&J baby brand continues to stand strong for years and shall continue to do so in future as well.

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The new products are all gentler than the previous range and claim to be as gentle as water. As a privileged one to have experienced this in the J&J event, I could not help but appreciate the following –

  • All new packaging with the convenience of a pump dispenser bottle and pastel colors.
  • The fact that they are free of Parabens, Sulfates, Dyes and Pthalates.
  • Interestingly what has not changed is the smell of the lotion which still brings in an air of nostalgia. After all, it is fun to be a Johnsons baby and a Johnsons mum, as gentle as the mother’s touch and smelling just like a baby – isn’t that the perfect combination.
  • They also meet the highest IFRA certified standard for fragrance, the only baby care brand to do so.
  • 8000 clinical assessments have been done on these products globally.
  • The products are also pH balanced and hypoallergenic.

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As a blogger, it was a great opportunity and I would like to extend my thanks to Babychakra, Johnson and Johnson and ITC Maratha for the great hospitality.

HOSPITAL BAG OF AN INDIAN MOM-TO-BE

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Pic courtesy : Quickmeme

I can still feel the excitement and anxiety of the day I was getting admitted in the hospital eagerly waiting for Baby V to arrive. Weeks of planning had gone into it and I would be happy to share the packing essentials for the big day.

  1. Photo ID, Insurance Info, Hospital Forms – First and foremost, important stuff to be filed in organized folders and kept ready at least a month before the due date. Insurance formalities can be a real pain if not managed properly.
  2. Cell phone and charger – You will need it to answer to all the wishes you get J
  3. Comfortable night gown – If you are someone like me who is used to wearing PJs and shorts, let me tell you that is not an option. Even mums who have been used to wearing sarees and salwar suits, you might like to choose comfort for a while J
  4. Headband – However trivial it may sound, it is an essential. Post my CSec I was asked to lie down without a pillow for straight 20 hours. I had taken just one clutcher which poked me all night through until the time I had to borrow a headband from someone else.
  5. Maternity Bra – Feeding a baby every now and then is no easy job. The only thing which can make things better for you is convenience. There are plenty of options in the maternity shopping section which can be explored.
  6. Hipster panties – CSec mommies will have to be extra careful with the stitches and avoid any friction on the incision. Hence, it is highly advisable to wear plus size panties which go all the way up to your upper abdomen.
  7. Breastfeeding cover – Indian friends and relatives do not hesitate to drop in generously once the baby is born. After all, our culture is such that we always rejoice and mourn together. For a new mom, it can get really hard and embarrassing to manage the crowd while she is still coming to terms with feeding a baby. So a good cover is a must (there are tons available which can be worn later in many different ways). P.S I still wear mine as a kaftan and sometimes roll it up as a scarf.
  8. Nursing Pads – Not everybody would need it right away but being prepared for leak protection will save you a lot of trouble.
  9. Adult Diapers – Heavy bleeding in the first few days comes as quite a shock to most moms but it’s all normal. Generally, recommend adult diapers which can manage heavy bleeding unlike the usual sanitary pads.
  10. Nipple creams – Sore nipples are going to be your friends for the next few months, applying good quality nipple creams could relieve some bit of pain.
  11. Toiletries and personal items: The must haves for every woman – Toothbrush, hairbrush, toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, contact lens case and solution. Travel size packs recommended as they are easy to carry.
  12. Comfortable loose maternity clothes and flat slippers for the discharge day- I had swollen feet for the most of my maternity. While it magically disappeared just after the baby was out but I would still recommend very comfortable slippers/shoes as you are yet to gain complete stability and control over your body post-delivery.
  13. Food – Your doctor will best prescribe what diet you should be following post procedure. Also, Indian moms tend to carry Shatavari and other Ayurvedic supplements for lactation supply, make sure your doctor is aware and okay with it.

Soon, I shall come up with a packing list for the Indian baby to arrive.

RAISING A BABY WITHOUT GENDER BIAS

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Image source : Steemit

When we were expecting V, we often debated the idea of knowing the gender of the baby before she was born. While it is a common practice in many countries, much to my delight it is a big ‘NO NO’ in India. I always wanted it to be a surprise and I can vouch for the fact that it is totally worth it. People around me often expressed their views on how knowing the gender beforehand helps you plan better – buy clothes fitting to a specific gender, do up the nursery in a particular color or for that matter even buy toys which are of particular interest to a baby boy/girl. It made me realize how these stereotypes are ingrained in our minds so deeply that we cannot help but create that bias with kids as young as a new born. While there is nothing wrong with girls loving dolls more than cars, I feel we should give the opportunity to explore everything until they are of the age where they can begin to work out for themselves what it means to be a boy or a girl. Few of the options that I am going to explore with V to avoid the gender stereotypes and would suggest you to try out are as follows –

1.Integration of  Toys

Research says the earlier kids learn that there are no boundaries in their playtime, the quicker they will understand that it is okay to experiment, to explore and express their instincts. I was really happy to see few baby carrier brands advertising toddler boys carrying dolls in their doll baby carriers – after all, if boys learn to care and display the so called ‘maternal instinct’ it only helps them evolve as kind and loving people.

2. Using neutral meaningful words

Having a daughter and seeing all things pink and purple automatically makes you utter the word pretty multiple times in a day. Lately, I realized that there are so many more meaningful words which can help me express my excitement and boost her confidence better. So, I have consciously moved to phrases like “Hey V, you look so confident! I love your smile, you look so happy!You are such a brave child!” These are all neutral words and after all, it is more important to be kind, brave, generous , wise – definitely more important than being just pretty.

3. Leading by example

We often assume that babies do not understand much but the reality is they are very observant and really grasp things which they notice on a regular basis.Hence, from the very beginning it is important to show them that there is no specific role to a gender.For example, the kitchen can’t be the mom’s spot all the time and in a very similar way the dad can’t be fixing the plumbing issues at home on all occasions.

4. Appreciating Interests

We as parents must not encourage or discourage our babies towards a particular interest area which is based on our choice. The best option is to just let be and observe how the baby develops his/her likes and dislikes with time.

5. Promoting common sports

Sports could start pretty early in childhood. I have a toddler who can hit a ball with the bat and I am open to let her watch and experience the game of cricket or baseball if she likes. Children must understand early in their age that extracurricular activities are really great for overall personality development and they are absolutely free to choose what they enjoy playing.

6. Using neutral colors

Let’s get out of the blues and pinks. While I strongly feel that blue would look as great on girls and it does on boys and vice versa for pink, I do understand the plight of parents whose kids get teased by their friends for not wearing a ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ color.We can go for neutrals like yellow, grey and the whites or for that matter any color that we really like irrespective of the gender stereotypes.

7 Questioning our own attitude

This is something really interesting that I picked up in one of the articles that I read recently. The way our society is saturated with gender stereotypes, we tend to adapt ourselves and cultivate the same mindset with time.I think there is absolutely no shame is introspecting and challenging our own beliefs when it comes to gender stereotyping. Probably , that would only help in getting more ideas to make this world bias free.

Stereotypes are very well entrenched in our minds and in the society .It really takes a lot of conscious parenting  to get rid of the biases with which probably we have been raised too. Starting early would only be a good decision towards making the future free of stereotypes!

ORGANIC CLOTHING : BERRYTREEINDIA

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It’s been a while since I have been debating whether paying the premium for organic clothing is worth it. We always want the best for our kids and choosing safe clothing is no different.My initial thoughts while contemplating the same was primarily for the reason that in commercial farming methods used, ordinary cotton contain impurities which could trigger allergic skin reactions in babies and hence, organic cotton should be used to avoid that.In due course of time, when I got introduced to Berrytree India line of clothes, I got to know that there are many more reasons why we should opt for organic cotton only. Berrytree India has a wide range of products available for shopping online and I got this cute whale print sleep suit for V. It totally justifies the reasons I chose to opt for babies’ organic cotton clothing.

  • No issues with skin sensitivity – Since baby skin is very delicate, I always make sure the clothes are dipped in water before the first use and soft enough to be worn  but with Berrytree India sleepsuit, I was sure to go ahead the first time itself as organic cotton is not machine cleaned with chemicals which helps retain the quality as a finished product.
  • Soft and comfortable – The fabric was so soft to feel that I could notice how comfortable V was in her sleep suit. She had a good night’s sleep and woke up  counting the number of whales on her suit.
  • Bright fun prints – I absolutely love the prints Berrytree India has chosen for its clothing line. The one we got had multiple bright colors making it look fresh and beautiful. V loves the word ‘fish’ and she just can’t stop repeating it ever since she wore this for the first time.

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Besides being a happy customer and new consumer for organic clothes, I thought I must share few ways how we contribute to the environment  –

  • The main benefit of organic materials is that the toxins which are generated during pesticide treatments and genetically modified organisms do not harm the farmers or the wildlife ecosystem.
  • Organic cotton uses lesser fuel and energy – so less carbon.
  • It is a chemical free process, hence it prevents water contamination as well.
  • This could be our contribution to the environment. It helps the consumer to become a responsible citizen who is fully aware about his/her responsibility towards helping preserve a sustainable environment. Organic cotton clothing also serves as a reminder to everyone in the society that anything natural is healthier and also cost effective in a long term perspective.

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Hope you too make a wise choice to move to organic clothes and do not forget to check out the wide range of fun prints https://berrytree.in/ have to offer.

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SEVEN TRUTHS NO ONE TOLD YOU ABOUT MOMMYHOOD

Motherhood

Motherhood is the most beautiful feeling in the world – We have heard of this since ages, haven’t we?  Even when you google maternity shoot pictures, you get photographs of beautiful women(with no dark circles) in white flowy dresses posing with absolutely quiet and angelic babies. This is the image which was stuck in my mind till reality hit me hard right after Little Miss V was born.

  1. Guilt is your middle name : I haven’t met a new mom yet who hasn’t felt this way. We are racked with guilt when our work commitment prevents us from spending enough time with our little ones. We associate almost everything in our lives with the way we are raising our kids. On most occasions, even the best doesn’t seem to be good enough. We always find faults with ourselves and when we don’t, people around us help us find few.
  2. Hormone dance is for real : When we were counting days to our pregnancy acne to end and sore legs to be back to normal, our hormones had different plans for us. The hormonal balance throws most of us off the track right after the baby is born. The mood swings, depressing thoughts and baby blues start to get worse and just when we hit the 3 month mark and start to get better sleep, we start to lose chunks of hair. Ever wondered, why is it just us women who get to go through all of it?
  3. Time moves incoherently: When we are away from our kids, the clock stops ticking and when we are with our kids, the whole weekend passes away in the blink of an eye. No amount of planning and prioritizing can get us close to being perfect time managers when it comes to spending enough time with our babies. We constantly feel that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done and Monday blues get worse. The struggle is real.
  4. Stop shopping for yourself: Shopping was fun once upon a time. Remember, how window shopping and even scrolling through online shopping sites felt therapeutic. These days, we just pass through the apparel section and land straight in the baby care section. Baby dresses look way more alluring than the Little Black Dresses we wore all our lives (fitting into it or not is still a question though).
  5. Bye – bye to sleep : Honestly, this does not deserve to be on Point number 5. Sleep was my first and foremost priority for the longest period of time. There were enough number of articles to support my argument of direct correlation between sleep and a healthy life. Unfortunately, the dream shattered for me soon after V arrived in our lives. I lived like a zombie for months with a little less than 2 hours of sleep every night. I kept patiently waiting for that magical age when she would start sleeping through the night but each time she did, she made the following nights worse.
  6. Get used to a messy house : Until now,we thought leaving the wet towel on the bed and the shoes on the floor was called a mess. Say hello to the new idea of mess after having a baby.Kids and clutter go together like glitter and glue and we just cannot do anything about it. So, we have to make peace with a messy house. Good news is studies say, messy houses raise immuned, strong and independent children.
  7. All the parenting strategies go for a toss – Remember the last time we saw a wailing baby in the flight and gave the mother a frosty stare? Or the last time we saw a mom handing over a bag of chips to her kid while we smirked and wondered how she could be raising her child with junk eating habits? Well, now the whole universe is conspiring against us – it is all coming back, one after the other. The biggest thing I learnt as a mother is to “NOT” judge another mother. Everyone has a different way of parenting and sometimes we just give in to the whims and fancies of our child for the sake of peace of our minds. It is ok, everything is not going to be perfect all the time, it need not be.

These were the top 7 shocks motherhood gave me but the reasons to the joy of motherhood are infinite. I will be happy to know more about what shocks did my readers get post motherhood?