How To Keep Your Marriage Strong After Kids -Stay in love with your Spouse

Raising children involves a lot of hard work on a daily basis, we all know that. But what some people don’t realise is that while they are busy raising their kids, they forget the most important aspect of their life- their marriage! Don’t beat yourself if you do this. Its very easy to forget the romance and marriage when you are spending time with your bundle of joy and being rewarded by toothless smiles and smelly nappies!

Nevertheless, you still need to maintain your marriage and your relationship with your spouse. Don’t get alarmed if you haven’t been doing so, here are some top tips on how to keep your marriage strong after kids.

Spend time together- Alone

If you have got a child whose less than a year old, it will be difficult to do this. If you have got help of grandparents or friends who are willing to look after your child for a couple of hours, take their help. Just do simple things like going out for dinner or going for coffee. It will go a long way. Make sure that when do go out – have proper husband-wife conversations. Don’t play with your phone or fight about trivial issues.

Help each other out

If one of you is sitting idle and the other is just overloaded with housework or nappy changes, this might lead to animosity between the two of you. Be considerate, help out the other if you are idle. That way if both of you have finished all your chores and your baby is asleep, you can spend time together, for example watching television together.

Early bedtimes for kids

From a very early age (as soon as possible after birth), try to follow a fixed schedule every day for your child especially evenings- Establish a routine. Dinner, bath,bedtime. If you cultivate this habit in your baby or child to go to sleep early (7ish) , you and your spouse will have plenty of time to relax and spend time together every evening. What would seem impossible like putting your feet up, would be easy to achieve!

Appreciate each other

In every relationship, appreciation for each other is very important. Same goes for couples. If your spouse helps you with your share of chores, just so that you can relax after a hard day, make sure you appreciate the help! Kind words always work wonders.

Remember your pre kids days

Once you have a child, try remembering the fun and romance in your life you had before you had a child. In case, you used to do certain activities together like playing cards – continue the same after your child is born. Make time for yourself and your marriage.

Think of yourself too

Once children are born, parents tend to think of the child only. They do not think of themselves and their marriage which in my opinion,is not a good parenting skill. If you are happy your spouse is happy and then your children will be happy too ! I am not saying that you think of yourself only but it is ok and normal to take some time out for yourself and for your spouse. Initially you will find it hard to juggle time for everything and everybody but if you make a conscientious effort, you will not only succeed but also be very happy!

Keep your bedroom child free

By the age of 1, try to shift the cot out of your bedroom. Let your child sleep in their own room. Again, this will be hard but keep persevering. Your goal here is to make your bedroom free of children and their items! This is necessary as you need to have your own space as a couple. When your child gets older teach them to knock on your bedroom door before entering. As your children get older and more aware of things, you have to teach them to respect your (parents’s) privacy.

Have faith in each other

Whether you have children or not, having faith in your spouse is a must in every marriage. Continue the faith once you have children. Respect each other even if you are very tired and frustrated with bringing up kids. Respect each other especially when kids are present. Even if you have disagreements do it in a normal tone and don’t get into a shouting session.

Keep the romance alive

Keep the romance alive. Buy your spouse a surprise gift, nothing expensive, just a token to express your love. Don’t stop cuddling or kissing each other or even holding hands when you go for walks in the park with your kids. When my husband and I hug each other, the kids come and hug us and it becomes a family hug. Children like it when parents express their love for each other in their presence. This also provides more security to your child and therefore they will feel even more loved.

Always keep in mind each others likes/dislikes

For example if you are cooking dinner , don’t always cook what your children like or eat. Try to remember and cook your spouse’s favourite dish and your spouse would then show her/his appreciation and this would do wonders to your relationship. Children on the other hand would learn to eat different dishes and not be fussy eaters!

As per my previous post, parenting tips for children, children always copy their parents. If they see their parents having love and mutual respect for each other- they will also learn to love and respect their parents. Even though you haven’t been doing any of the above – it’s never too late ! You can start today or now! In case, you would like to share some more tips please put them in the comment box below. I would love to take suggestions from you too !

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

Why is Family Time So Important? – How and Why?

Living together under one roof as a family is inadequate if you are not spending time together as a family. People ( adults or children) who live together must experience happy moments together as well . So why is family time so important? And how do you achieve this? I do understand that every family has got very tight schedules throughout the week but I believe that every family must make time to spend together. This is will create the foundation of your children’s life. Weekend’s or school holidays are the best times to achieve this. For working parents, try taking part of your annual leave during the school holidays. Try to keep at least 1 weekend of the month free of social engagements. A few things that can be done together as a family are:

      • Family meals together at home or in a restaurant
      • Going to park, beaches or theme parks in good weather
      • Going to a place of worship together example: church or temple or mosque
      • Playing team games like cricket, football, basketball etc.
      • Playing board games
      • Watching a movie at home or in the cinema together
      • Doing household chores together
      • Weekly shopping in the supermarket

 

Benefits of having family time are:

Bonding with children

As per one of my previous posts, Parenting Tips for Children, I have mentioned that it is important to spend quality time with children. The reason being that you will know your child better. In case, they have any issues/problems, they would be able to talk to you easily, instead of hiding it from you or trying to solve it on their own. You will know your children’s likes and dislikes too.

Bonding with spouse

After having kids, it is very important that you should spend time with your spouse. This can be achieved while you are doing family activities together. If you have a lot of children or very young children, it is very easy to drift apart.

 

Children feel secure

Children feel very happy being in a fun environment with their parents and siblings. This happiness translates to being secure.

Children learn to be selfless

As a family if you are deciding which activities to do together, children learn how to accommodate each other’s choices and therefore think of others too. For example, if one child wants to watch one movie and the other wants to watch another, the parent would have to explain to them to take turns and thereby accommodate each other’s choices.

Children will listen to parents

Parents always complain that my child isn’t listening to me. But if a child is secure and feels loved, he/she will definitely listen more to their parents. Please bear in mind no child will listen totally to their parents!

Siblings will fight less

If you have got more than one child, you would know how much children fight! One way of keeping them busy and occupied is to do family activities together!

Children learn social skills

If a parent is aloof from his/her children, children will be aloof from the rest of the world. If parents are social and involved with the child, the child will do the same.

Teaches children how to handle their relationships

Children learn how to care and share for each other by looking at their parents. They also learn how to handle their emotions of jealously or anger especially towards their siblings.

Inculcating cultures and traditions

Every family follows certain cultures and traditions depending on the religion they follow. It is the duty of the parents to teach their children, cultures and traditions of their family. For example, going to the church or to temple or to the mosque together as a family.

Respect for others

If parents spend more time with their children they can teach children to respect elders (parents ,grandparents, teachers) . If the child behaves in an improper manner in any way , parents would be able to notice and explain to the child why his/her behaviour was improper.

Parents also learn a lot from their children

It is my opinion that parents too have got a lot to learn from their children. If you spend time with your child, their innocence will definitely teach you something.

Provides relaxation to the whole family

In this fast life, where the whole family is on the go throughout the week, be it work for parents and school and extra activities for kids, family time together – fully of laughter and fun is a good time to relax and unwind.

Children will be less fussy about their food

By eating together as family, children learn to eat the same food their parents eat. Whether you have family meals at home or in a restaurant, children will learn to eat different varieties of food that the parents are having. But it is necessary that the parents set the correct example for their children and not be fussy eaters themselves!

Children tend to copy their parents

What I mean here is if we as parents give a secure, fun filled and loving environment to our children, our children will also give the same to their children. This kind of environment can be achieved through lots of family time.

When Children grow into adults

When children grow into adults, they will continue to bond deeply with their parents as the family time spent together will have a very long-lasting effect. It will then become “easy” for children to become “friends” of their parents.

Spending time together as a family is a win win situation for all the members of the family, both adults and children. If you can think of some other benefits or if you do things differently as a family, please put  your comments in the comment box below and  I will reply to you as soon as possible.

In the meantime, have a great family time !

 

How to Potty Train a Child – Tips and tricks to potty train your child without stress

 

Potty training can be a daunting task especially if it is your first child. It can also be very stressful for you and your child but if you try to make it fun, it will be a lot easier. Accidents will happen while your child is learning, even my child pooed on the carpet to avoid pooing in the toilet! It might sound funny right now but cleaning the mess was horrible! I have put together few tips and tricks on how to potty train a child and hopefully it should work for you as well! Before I give you the tips you need to first know if your child is ready for potty training .

How do you know if your child is ready for potty training?

  • Is your child between the ages of 18 months and 3 years ? Some children are ready by the time they are 18 months others won’t be ready till they are 3 years of age.
  • Have they got dryer nappies between nappy changes. This shows bladder control.
  • Is there any pattern of them wetting their nappies? What is the time interval? It has to be at least 1 hour or it will be very difficult for you.
  • Does your child tell you before/after  they have done a wee or poo ?
  • Does a wet nappy make them uncomfortable?
  • Do they look for a quiet place or a corner just before they poo(in their nappies)?
  • Are they ready to sit on the potty or on the toilet using a child training seat(child toilet seat)?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, then you can at least try potty training them. Before you start, you would require a few potty training  items:

  1. A potty or a child trainer seat with a foot stool
  2. Few books to read to the child
  3. Cheap knickers or pants

Now you are ready to start the potty training so here are a few tips and tricks which might help you:

Keep your child involved

It is a good idea to keep your child involved in the whole process. Before you start maybe you can read them children’s books on potty training to make them mentally prepared for it. For example Princess Polly’s potty(for girls) or Pirate Pete’s potty(for boys).

 

 

 

 You can take your child with you when go to buy the potty or child trainer seat. Maybe ask them to choose which colour they would like. 

No Pull Ups

I wouldn’t recommend pull ups as the child will never learn to wee or poo in the toilet or in the potty. If you think about it, a pull up is similar to a nappy. It is better to get some cheap pants which you can throw in case of an accident!

Don’t get frustrated with accidents

Doing wee and poo in a potty or a toilet is a big mind shift for a child and is a part of their mental and physical development. It depends from child to child how quickly they get trained. In case, you feel there are too many accidents happening, don’t show your frustration to the child. Just put on nappies for few weeks and then try again. It is possible that your child is not ready for potty training.

Choose a convenient time

Always start potty training at a convenient time that is when the child has holiday in the nursery or pre school and you have got time off work. Preferably do it in the summer so that the child won’t feel cold while sitting on the potty and also if there are accidents the clothes will get dried quickly.

Comfortable bottoms

During and after potty training make sure

your child wears comfortable bottoms like tracksuits which can easily be pulled down. You do not want your child wetting himself just because he couldn’t open the trouser button.

 

Don’t tell your child off for any accidents

Potty training is a very sensitive time for a child. The child’s confidence will go down every time he/she has an accident. So if you tell them off it will break their confidence. In case of an accident just hug them and reassure them that it’s ok and that you have to keep trying.

Praise the child every step of the way

Whenever your child successfully wee’s or poo’s in the potty or toilet make sure you praise them a lot. It boosts their confidence big time.

Potty or Child Trainer’s Seat?

This will be a big question in every parent’s mind, before they start potty training. My health advisor advised me to potty train both kids directly on the toilet by using a child trainer seat (also know as child toilet seat) that clips on to the seat of the toilet. This makes the toilet look more secure for the child.

If you use a potty then once the potty training is established, you would still need to train the child on a toilet(using the child trainer seat). So instead of doing potty training in 2 steps (that is potty training on the potty first and then training them to sit on the toilet), you can directly put them on the toilet. But it is imperative to use a small stool if you are using the toilet  seat so that the child can step on the stool and reach for the toilet. Without the stool, the toilet will be too high for the child.

If Nothing Works

If you have tried potty training your child unsuccessfully and your child is nearly 3 years of age, the last resort would be to keep your child without any nappies or pants or trousers/tracksuit when you are at home so that they will feel the sensations more easily. But try this method as a last resort and only if your child is nearly 3 or 3 years.  Make sure you keep a plastic sheet on the floor or keep your child on a laminated or a tiled floor. Again, try this in the summer or your child might catch a cold.

Night Time Training

Always first focus on getting the day time training right. Once that has been established, monitor the night time nappy – how heavy is it? Depending on the child, the night time nappy would start getting lighter in few weeks or months after the day time training has been established. If that happens, you can start putting on pants on the child at nighttime. However, take a couple of precautions:

  • Make the child go for a wee last thing before going to bed.
  • Put a waterproof sheet/cover on the child’s mattress.

In case, you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me by putting your comments in the comment box below.

Goodluck parents!

 

 

How to be a Great Father -Tips for Dads(including new and to be Dads)

A Dad is equally important for a child as much as a Mother. In the olden days, only mothers used to be involved in the upbringing of the children. Bringing up children used to be considered only a mother’s job. But now times have changed and fathers are equally important and involved in their child’s life. Here are some tips on how to be a great father- at least these are the things which my husband does with my kids and they do work! I would like to help dads too as I feel that being a daddy is equally hard as being a mummy. Hence, I decided that the topic of my post should be about dads.

Stay involved in looking after your child

Staying involved in looking after your child is very important. This should start from the day you come to know that your are expecting a child. Even if you didn’t – don’t worry. It’s never too late. Dads should be involved in everything which is required in looking after the child- feeding meals, bathing, changing nappies, entertaining the child, putting child or baby to sleep. This will create a very deep bond between child and the dad, for sure.

Play with your children

Whether your child is a baby, a toddler or a school kid, play with them. Babies love ‘peekaboo’ games. My husband used to crawl with my children when they were toddlers and this fascinated the children a lot. He also used to make funny faces, funny sounds and also tickle them. You can also play rough and tumble play with your child – please be cautious and play only on carpeted surfaces if your child is young!

Have conversations with them

If your child is old enough, have conversations with them. If you are working full time, ask them how your day was, when you come home in the evening. If you do this regularly, they will ask you the same question, “how was your day , Dad?” Tell them if something funny happened at work. This will keep them involved in your life too!

Watch TV Programs With Them

If you are dad who works full time, I know it’s very hard to spend time with your children after a very gruelling day at work. If you want to relax and at the same time spend time with your kids, watch TV programs with them. This is a great way to bond with them as well and you get your relaxation too !

Read to your child

Experts say that when a father reads to his child, the child absorbs more than when a mother reads to her child. It also helps the dad relax and unwind after a hard day at work.

Be Firm with them when required

In case you work full time, you would be tempted to let the kids have their own way – since you get to spend so little time with them. But do not do that. Just be firm. Set boundaries. If you don’t do that as early as possible, children would think it’s ok to mess with dad.

Family Meals

Family meals are very important. Children not only learn to eat different foods but also it is a great way to bond as a family. If you are working full time, this way children will understand that “dad is also part of the family”. Family meals are a must- at least once a day.

Know their likes and dislikes

In case you decide to buy something for your child as a gift, be sure to know what they like. If you gift them something they really want or like, it will go a long way.

New Dads and To-be Dads

This tip is for new dads or to-be dads. Sing or talk to the bump or the baby. Let the baby recognise your voice in the womb itself. After the baby is born, if you sing or talk to him/her, she/he will recognise your voice. Babies can hear everything in the womb. Your bond starts here.

Solve your child’s problems/issues

No matter how small or big your child is, children always rely on their parents for guidance and support. If you have conversations regularly with your child(as advised above) , it will be easier for your child to talk to you if he/she has got any problems or issues. Talk it out with them and this will create some great bonding between you and your child.

Networking with Other Dads

Just like moms, even dads need to mingle with other dads from school/preschool. This can be easily achieved if you are doing school drops or pickups. If you are unable to do so you can always meet the other fathers (without children or moms) for a drink or dinner or even a football match. Networking with other dads is important because you will get ideas from the other dads how they bond with their children or how they spend quality time with their children.

Spend time with the kids in moms absence

Try to spend time with your children in the absence of their mother. Then you will know each other better. This can be achieved by you going out(to the park or to the beach or for movies or even having a meal out) with the kids so that you can spend time with the children and at the same time, mom can get her break too!

Meditating together

You can also do meditation together as family. This will increase your bonding with your children too. Please check my post on Meditation Benefits for Children if you would like to know how to make children meditate.
If you do all the above, you will earn your children’s respect and trust and you will be an integral part of their life. Just remember being a dad is equally important as being a mom. A dad brings different influence in a child’s life than a mom -both influences are equally important especially in this age when families are becoming more nuclear.

Have you got any experiences or opinions to share ? I would glad to hear from you even if you are a mom – you can share with us what the father of your child does to be a great dad! Just put your comments below!

All the best Dads!

Priya

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Get Children To Eat Healthy- Tips For a Healthier Lifestyle

In this fast life, it is very hard to be healthy for adults. For children, its even harder as they do not understand the repercussions of an unhealthy life. An unhealthy diet can lead to obesity in children which can cause several other health issues throughout their life. Childhood is the foundation of our adult life. Therefore, it is imperative to have good eating habits in childhood as it will set the tone for the rest of your life. But the important question is how to get children to eat healthy? If you are a parent, you would probably say ” easy to write but difficult to apply it with the child!” Agreed! I have to say that despite me having these tips – I do sometimes struggle to make my children eat healthy! There- I have admitted it – it is hard! But we, as parents have to persevere! Parents are responsible for laying the foundation of their child’s life which is very much connected to the first tip that I want to share:

Parents – you have got to eat healthy!

If you have read one of my previous posts- Parenting Tips for Children, I have mentioned that children always follow their parents- they “copy” whatever their parents do.If parents have got good habits children will have good habits. Naturally it follows that if parents have bad eating habits children will do the same. Parents should be willing to give up or at least reduce their bad or unhealthy eating habits only then their children will eat healthy.

No Sodas or fizzy drinks please!

I may sound a bit too harsh but don’t keep any fizzy or sugary drinks in the house- or at least make it a “once in a while” treat! If you don’t have any sugary drinks at home, your children won’t ask for them ! Encourage them to drink water when they are thirsty. But this will also mean that parents won’t be able to have it either- which is good as even parents need to mind their sugar intake ! Please give crisps and chocolates as treats-. Baked crisps are better than fried crisps. But all crisps have high levels of salt(unless they are the unsalted ones). I keep reminding my children that too much sugar will rot your teeth!Repetition gives results!

5 A Day!

Children, like adults, need to eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. You can make them eat with their meals or as a snack. For example instead of giving them a chocolate or a biscuit for snack, offer them a piece of fruit instead. Keep a chart on the fridge- make the younger children put a tick on the chart every time they have a fruit or a vegetable!

Don’t Eat if you aren’t hungry

Like adults, children should eat only if they are hungry or eat until they are full. Overeating leads to many health problems. If you feel your child is overeating keep reminding them to stop eating when they are full.

Balanced and Regular Meals

From about 9 months onward- you can offer your baby 3 meals a day. If babies and children are taught from a young age to have balanced and regular meals, they will follow this in their adulthood. But its never too late to start having regular meals a day.
Breakfast is the most important meal. Make sure your child doesn’t miss breakfast unless they are ill. As a parent, try to have cereals, fruit or wholegrain bread instead of having a greasy egg breakfast! Your children will do the same as you

Family Meals

Make the same dinner for everyone in the family. Don’t make different dishes for the children just because they don’t like the dish you have made for the adults. Your children should always eat what you eat. Try to have at least few meals a week together as a family. Children will learn to eat dishes they don’t “like”.

Cook your meals- don’t buy ready-made

As much as possible, always cook meals at home. If you have made some soup for example, you can make extra and freeze the rest for next time. Ready made meals have got a lot of preservatives, salt and sugar which are not good for health. Cut some salad on the side for dinner every day ! That will give you your 1 a day at the very least. You can also make juices at home. Just wash and put the fruits or vegetables in a blender or a juicer! Do not put any sugar in it.

Involve Your child in cooking

Make your child help you cook meals. If you have a younger child, let them peel the lettuce for the salad, if you have an older child let them help you cut a cucumber or other ingredients of salad .

Give Reasons, Be firm and consistent

If your child is used to having foods less healthy, getting them started onto healthier options will be tough. Before you stop giving them fizzy drinks and crisps, explain to them why you are doing this. Give them reasons why the fizzy drinks are harmful. Talk it out with them. Give them a long term picture of how their life would be if they adopt a healthier diet. Initially it will be hard to convince them but if you remain consistent and follow the healthier lifestyle yourself – they will come round and follow you.

Give Incentives

If you have younger children give them reward stickers every time they finish their fruit or vegetables. If you have older children, explain to them the repercussions of having an unhealthy diet. Tell them that just like you would like Mum and Dad to listen you, Mum and Dad expect the same from you .
Be warned that, if your children are older it will be harder to make them change their diet. The younger the child, easier it is ! Even if you have just started weaning your child or are about to start, make sure you give them only water for drink (other than milk)- avoid juices. According to medical professionals, under 5’s should be avoiding salt and sugar completely! This will give them good healthy teeth too!
In case, you feel I have missed out on any healthy aspect or if you have done things differently please share with me by putting your comment below. I will be happy to hear from you!

All the Best,

Priya
 

 

 

Working Mom And Stay At Home Mom – Which One is Better?

The discussion about Working Mom and Stay at Home Mom has been going on for a long time. Every mom has an opinion on it. I would like to give my opinion on it too! Every mom is a person, a human being. Every human being has got a set of priorities depending on their circumstances and environment. For example : A single mother has got to do two jobs together, one of earning money (to put food on the table) and also bringing up the child. Another mother might feel that earning money and paying for a child’s expenses is more important than staying at home and looking after the child. Yet another mom might feel that bringing up a child and spending time with them are more important than a career. Or, having a job or working is a security for some moms.

Working Mom – Benefits

  • Salary – if you can manage to earn more than the childcare costs, extra income is always welcome in the family. Especially so if you are a single mom! It is very beneficial financially if the grandparents are willing to look after your child. Then you would have no child care costs !
  • You would feel very satisfied with yourself if you enjoy your work.
  • Social interaction – you can have adult conversations for the hours you work – part-time or full time.
  • You are out of the house- and have got your own space.
  • Your children might learn from you, the benefits and importance of a career in a person’s life.
  • You are less likely to be depressed after child birth.
  • You have something to look forward to every morning.

Stay At Home Mom – Benefits

  • You can spend time with your children- you will not miss any growth milestone of babies and toddlers like crawling, first step, talking etc which are priceless and invaluable moments for a parent!
  • You would “always be there” for your child either for school events or when your child is sick and needs you. You would be able to make them finish all their homework on time.
  • You can decide the way you want your child to be brought up- your child will have your upbringing – not that of a childminder or a nanny or even grandparents.
  • You would have time to finish the laundry, go to the dentist and do all other household chores.
  • You have the option of having your own business which will give you an income and flexibility.
  • You have the option of serving healthy meals to your family as you have got time on your hand
  • You would have the social interaction from other moms.
  • No childcare costs.

Make Sure You Accept and Stick to your Decision

Whether you are a Working Mom or a Stay at home mom, the important thing is to accept your decision from within. You can’t decide to go to work and then feel guilty about not spending time with your child or if you are a stay at home mom don’t think that you are wasting your time while your child has gone to school. Move on .

How Do you Make the Most Of your Decision

Working Mom

  • Plan your annual holidays carefully. Make sure that on your days off you spend quality time with your children. Even during the weekends don’t get spend all the time finishing chores. Do activities which the kids would like to do with you.
  • If it is possible request your Employer to give you some flexibility – like working from home on a certain day of the week.
  • Keep in touch via phone or messages with the other school moms so you have an inkling what’s going on in the school
  • Time management is very important. If you are cooking dinners every night make sure you do some preparation work the night before(after the kids have gone to sleep).
  • Explain to your child why you need to go to work(financial reasons or career ).
  • Keep your child involved in your life by talking about your work life with them (things they need to know) like some funny incident which happened at work today.

Stay at Home Mom

    • Make sure you take a break from household chores. Order a takeaway at least one night in the week.
    • Take some time out from the children – even if it means sitting in a different room and doing what you like or go out for a coffee or to the movies with a friend if your spouse or partner can look after the kids .
    • Engage in an activity which will keep your mind occupied. It is very important for people of all ages to be mentally stimulated.
    • Consider working from home.

More Mothers are Opting to Stay at Home

The are many reasons:

  • Increasing childcare costs. This will eat up your salary. Is there any point working?
  • Lack of flexibility at work.
  • When moms go back to work after maternity break, they might not get the same position or level of work they had before they gave birth- even though the pay package is the same.
  • With the increase in popularity of online businesses- a stay at home mom can enjoy the benefits of working and earn an income as well!

Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, the important thing is to be happy and satisfied with your decision. Some things have to go to give way for new things. There are only 24 hours in a day- so its not possible to do everything. Be nice to yourself too! Remember kids always imitate their parents. So take your decision based on what you want your child to learn from you.

Meditation Benefits for Children – Improve your child’s life!

I would like my avid readers to know that I meditate daily. Though my post is about Meditation Benefits for Children, Meditation helps adults in their life too! Some people might visualise meditation as an exercise only performed by monks on mountains! But that’s not true! In my opinion, just as your body needs exercises and workouts in the same way your mind needs its workouts ! Meditation also helps you reconnect with your soul. It’s a “me time”. Children too have issues like adults but maybe they don’t realise! It’s only when they do tantrums or their behaviour changes drastically, parents get an inkling that the child has got some issues or problems.

Though meditation has got innumerable benefits- some are tangible some aren’t! In my opinion,here are few things that children might benefit from meditating:

Increases Attention Span

How many times have you asked your child to do something and they say “you never told me to do it!” . The other day my daughter walked straight into the door as her eyes were glued on the Television while walking towards the kitchen to drink water! You may have instances when your child’s Teacher may have complained that your child isn’t paying attention in the class(I would bet it was the Maths class!). If all of this is true for your child, try making them meditate!

Reduces Laziness

A lot of children,especially during the school holidays are slouched on the sofa for hours watching television instead of playing. Even during Term time, they become lazy the moment they come home. Meditation gives a lot of mental and physical energy. It also makes the mind work more efficiently. It gets rid of the unnecessary “clutter”.

Temper Tantrums

There is always some reason behind Tantrums in children. Children do not know how to express themselves so they do a tantrum. Meditation relaxes and calms the child and even in the future if they have any issues they would be able to deal with it better and therefore their tantrums will be much reduced !

Reduces Stress or Anxiety

Some children are very competitive and as result if their classmate is ahead of them in reading or mathematics- it creates a lot of stress in them, “Why is she able to this and not me?” Stress in children may also come from siblings – due to sibling fights etc. Meditation will help reduce or even eliminate the stress.

Improved Grades, Better Results Overall at School!

If children have got better attention or better focus- it follows that they would get better grades and better results overall in school. This will instill new confidence in themselves. Meditation also increases your self-confidence.

 

Helps Children Control Their Emotions

Meditation helps children control their emotions- be it tantrums as a child or emotional upheaval during puberty in teenagers. It also helps them overcome any frustration or fears. It also helps eliminate petty worries from their mind.

Helps Realise Their True Potential

Meditation de stresses and unclutters the mind. This brings clarity of thought and vision for the future. If children are encouraged to meditate at a young age, they would be able to clearly think for themselves what exactly they want to become in their lives when the time comes for them to decide.

Helps Overcome a Trauma or a Major Incident

Every parent would want the best and safest upbringing for their children. But certain incidents/accidents do happen which are beyond the control of parents. For instances, Parents divorcing, death of a parent or a sibling, children surviving car accidents or children having experienced sexual or physical assaults. The Doctors or Caregivers will recommend Counseling sessions for the child which can help upto a certain extent. But the emotional upheaval of these major incidents will be too much for a child. Meditation can help to reduce the trauma by making the child accept the situation and move on. They will never forget but perhaps the negativity associated with the incident might be eliminated or reduced to a considerable extent.

Live in the Present

One of the most beneficial aspects of meditation is that it enables you to live in the present. Whatever you are doing at this very moment, you will enjoy and be in that moment. If you are not enjoying your present, that is because you are worrying or thinking about things which either do not exist or have not happened or have happened in the past.
This will apply to both children and adults.
Having said all the above, parents can’t snap their fingers and make children meditate. The younger the children the easier it is to teach them to meditate. I prefer doing a non guided meditation –

  • Sit down on the bed or on the floor with your back straight
  • Close your eyes
  • Breathe in and out slowly

With children, you have build it up slowly. I started with 1 minute for my children. The technique I used was simple. I told them “Let’s play a game. Let’s see who can sit still the longest ? Who can become a statue? Close your eyes. Breathe gently. No talking and no moving until the timer goes off.” I put on a timer of 1 minute on my Smart Phone. It went very well and both the kids sat throughout the minute. The next day I extended the meditation time to 2 minutes. From there on you would have to monitor how long your child can sit. Don’t do it for more than 5-10minutes. If you feel your child is struggling to sit,reduce the time a little. Most importantly, children always copy their parents. If they see you meditating, they will readily sit down with you to meditate when you tell them to do so.

The best practice would be for the whole family to sit together- Dad, Mum and all Children! Make sure you don’t make meditation feel like a time out session or like punishment or a chore! Remember parents also benefit from meditation!
If you would like to share your meditation experiences with your children please put them in the comment box below! I would love to hear from you!

All the Best,

Priya

Indian Parenting Styles – How Different Is It?

Being born and brought up in a bustling suburb of Mumbai, my child hood was a happy and peaceful one. The neighbourhood was very pleasant with lots of families and had about 90 percent Gujaratis(people from the state of Gujarat speak Gujarati language and are known as Gujaratis) . In this environment, a child would not be influenced by their parents only, there would be grandparents, uncles and aunties from maternal and paternal side, cousins, neighbours, school mates etc. Everybody knew everybody .

Daycare/ Nurseries?

Day care/ Nurseries are always frowned upon if a child is sent there at a very young age.  The minimum age would be about 2 years at least before the child starts at a nursery.  Indians believe that it is the responsibility of the whole family (extended family ) to look after a child. Therefore, a child is always looked after all the members of the family. In the worst cast scenario, if nobody is available to look after the child there are always lot of friendly neighbours who would look after your child as their own. Of course, when the neighbour’s child would need to be looked after, you would have to help them as well. It is a two-way street in this regard. Is there any need for a daycare then?

Pampering The Child

The biggest con of this environment would be that the child would not remain under the control of their parents. Different people would teach different and even contradictory things. For example: a grandparent would offer a chocolate for a snack to a child perhaps to get the child out of their hair. But when the Mother offers a piece of fruit as snack the child would refuse to eat it and would demand for a chocolate instead!

Children Become Good Eaters

In joint Indian families, there are a lot of traditions. Even meals are traditional. A child is not given much choice- ” do you want to eat this?” or “do you like that?” Eat what you are given or go hungry! As hard and ruthless it sounds, it sometimes works as a child learns to eat more variety and will be a less fussy eater.

Cultural Influence

This would be an advantage in any culture. Children are very good at observing things. They would notice how all the members, including their parents look after each other. This would teach the child how to care and think of others, how to be considerate. Especially in the Indian culture, where it is a norm to touch feet(take blessings) of all elders. Children observe and learn. Children also understand the value and importance of human relations. It is my opinion that children should have the influence of people other than their parents and teachers.

Too Much Reliance on Others

Parents are overly reliant or shall I say they always expect someone else to look after their child when they are busy. Parents would never really be accustomed to instances where they have to take their child with them to the supermarket or to the bank or to the vegetable market.

You Will Get A  Break When You Need It!

It is necessary for both Mothers and Fathers to take time out from their parental duties regularly. This can be easily achieved in a joint family without having to pay expensive babysitting fees. I do know grandparents from other cultures also help out with looking after their grandchildren but in joint Indian families it would be more convenient as they are all living together.

It Is Necessary To Understand Your Children

Due to the fact that there is always somebody available to look after or feed or play with your child, parents might feel lazy or might be habituated not to spend some alone time with their child/children. Due to this, parents may not able to understand their children. It is also possible that even though parents do want to spend time with their children, they might not be able to do so due to demands of a joint family life.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

In case you haven’t heard of the above phrase it means that like-minded people tend to follow each other. Similar thing tends to happen in Indian families. What is good for one child is good for the other as well. I have been guilty of that as well at times. Parents don’t tend to think for themselves whether it is the right thing or a right decision to take for their child. As long it is been done by somebody in the family – it is fine!

You Might Not Have A Say in Your Child’s Upbringing

In some traditional Indian families, parents might not have a say in their child’s upbringing. For example, in certain Indian castes it is believed that a child can only be given a name chosen by his/her aunt(Father’s sister) only. Parents would not be allowed to name their child. Any major decisions for the children are taken by the elders of the family (Grandparents and Uncles and Aunties on the Paternal side).

Education Is Very Essential

Indians believe that a child has to be academically inclined – there is no option about it . He/she can be good in other extra activities but he/she still needs to get top grades in school . Parents tend to be very competitive . They would want their child to achieve high grades even if it means to get extra tuitions for their child.

Every culture has different styles of upbringing. There are pros and cons for all of them. Each environment will bring different aspects to your child’s life. But finally the buck always stops at the parents- for both the success and failures of their children.

Have you got any incidents/experiences to share? Please put them below in the comment’s box.

 

 

 

 

Parenting Tips For Babies -10 Tips For New Parents

Having a baby is the most joyous time for anyone. For a new parent it can be also a daunting time as well if you have never handled a baby before. I remember the time I had my first child, I didn’t even know how to hold a baby! Remember your baby is like a blank slate so you can “write” what you like upon it. As crude as it sounds, this is the time you start setting routines for your baby, the fruits of which you will reap few years down the line. Below are a few Parenting Tips For Babies which I can offer from my experience which I feel are the most important:

Breast is Best

Breast milk is the best. If you are a new mother you will probably say “yeah right” or “I can’t cope” or “It will ruin my figure” . Let me point out to you some very beneficial things about mothers milk:

  1. No washing or sterlising bottles
  2. No buying expensive formulas, bottles or bottle sterlisers
  3. Breastfeeding helps reduce weight as it burns a lot of calories
  4. Makes it very easy for the Mother to bond with the baby
  5. Breast milk is all the baby needs until six months of age- no solids, no water required. Breast milk is free!
  6. Reduces chances of Ovarian cancer in women
  7. Breast milk contains everything a baby needs in terms of vitmains and protein which formula milk cannot provide
  8. You can use a Breast Pump for more flexibility

Massaging the Baby

Massaging the baby builds a bond with the mother. Put on some soothing music and massage the baby with baby oil. This will relax you as well. Try to massage the baby before or after a bath. Beware , babies will get very hungry after a massage . Babies are very slippery at bath and massage time so be careful.

Always Keep a Stock of Nappies


You should always have at least 10 nappies in stock at any point in time. Whenever you go to the supermarket always look out for offers. A baby will need about 8-10 nappy changes a day. In case your baby gets a sore bottom or a nappy rash keep some nappy rash cream. Another very handy tip is, if your baby has got nappy rash and the nappy rash cream doesn’t work (meaning if the cream doesn’t heal the rash) , put Vaseline Petroleum jelly on the rash. The petroleum jelly will not let the faeces or urine touch the rash. It acts as a barrier between the baby’s skin and the faeces or urine. Do frequent nappy changes especially when your baby has got a rash. Also, it is a good idea to give your baby “nappy free time” everyday(whether or not they have got a rash) . Nappy free time means do not put nappy on the baby for a little while everyday so that the baby’s skin can breathe. This reduces the chances of a nappy rash and if they have a nappy rash it will help heal it faster.

Tummy Time

Give babies tummy time meaning gently put the baby on their tummies for about 3 to 5 minutes per session and then gradually increase the time with each session. This encourages movement and also prevents them having a flat head as a baby’s skull is very soft. After they are 3 months old, they will learn how to roll over. Please note :give babies tummy time only when they are awake. Babies always have to sleep on their backs!

Floor Time

Give the babies a lot of floor time. Put a baby blanket or a baby gym and let them kick away! This encourages a lot of movement. Also, put a few baby toys near them and watch them try to grab the toys! This will increase their determination to persevere and is beautiful to watch.

Weaning Your Baby at Six Months

Medical professionals always advise to start your baby on solids at around six months of age. Start your child on soft fruits like Avocado ,Banana or cooked fruit like apple or pear. Few things to be kept in mind when you start weaning:

  1. Always ask your GP or Health Visitor for advise you if you feel your child has any allergies.
  2. If you do give any nuts, make sure you thoroughly ground them. I didn’t give my kids any nuts until they were 2 years as nuts are very hard to swallow.
  3. You can give babies finger foods which are foods that are easy for them to pick up and feed themselves like banana or rice cakes and carrot sticks(baby snacks). Encourage them to feed themselves by leaving the finger food on the tray of the high chair. Let them explore the texture of the food .
  4. Its better to crush and soften food rather than putting them in a blender. This strengthens their jaws and muscles. Being a vegetarian, I would put small pieces of chapati(Indian Roti) in a vegetable – no blending, If you give a cooked fruit like apple or pear, make sure you take the skin off, cook it until it is soft and then mash it with a fork. This will save your money as well by not buying those blenders for weaning.
  5. One very important tip is this- as soon as you have established weaning for at least one or two meals – at around 8-9 months, give your baby whatever you eat. For example if you are eating daal and rice, give the baby same thing as well. I would give my children daal and starchy rice(extremely well cooked and soggy) . You have just got to make sure that there is no salt or sugar or spice in the baby’s food and this would be a good time to reduce your salt and sugar intake too. Around this time also try to build it up to 3 meals a day.
  6. Last and most important tip – for drink always give them water in a cup. Don’t give them any juices. Let them get into the habit of drinking water. Juices contain lot of sugar which is not good for them.

Changing Bag

Don’t leave home without your changing bag. You will need the following in the changing bag:

  • Changing mat(travel mat)
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wool
  • Baby wipes
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Nappy sacks
  • Fresh pair of clothes

Never Leave your Baby Alone on the Changing Table

Don’t do this even for a second because that’s how long it takes for the baby to roll over and fall off. Its better to leave the baby on the floor provided it is not near a staircase as the baby might fall off the staircase.

Don’t Forget to Look After Yourself

Parents and especially Mothers often forget to look after themselves and forget to take breaks. You can ask your friends or granparents if they can look after the baby for couple of hours, go out and have a coffee or watch a movie ! Me time is very important! Make sure you are well rested too. Try to sleep when the baby sleeps.

Trust Your Instincts

If your instinct tells you your child is not well go to the Doctor. Don’t ignore or disregard your instinct.

A parent can understand their child the best. You would probably get a lot of unwanted advice from everybody around you. But follow an advice only if You feel it is suitable for your child/baby.

Please put your comments below if you would like to give your suggestion/opinions on my post.

How to Stop Siblings From Fighting – Get Some Sanity In Your Life!

Picture this .. You and your partner have had a busy weekend(full of chores and kiddie birthday parties) and finally on a late Sunday afternoon you finally get a few minutes to put your feet up and grab a cup of tea… you are feeling relaxed as kids are busy playing upstairs and all is quiet…. MUMMY! DADDY! she scratched me! he grabbed my toy! Arghhh! You spill tea on your best white trouser.. Grrrr!! Ever wondered why siblings fight or more importantly, HOW to stop siblings from fighting before it sends you into meltdown? That too before you pull all your hair out… already you have lost a lot of hair !

Children fight for various reasons such as wanting parents’ attention, jealousy, not getting enough space from their younger sibling or even feeling victimised.. here are few tips on how you can prevent/reduce your children fighting based on my experience and maybe it could stop you from throwing your face in your hands repeatedly:

Don’t Compare Your Children

Don’t compare your children to each other or to anyone for that matter. Each child has his/her own identity and personality. Recognise their way of thinking .. their mindset. If one child is good at something don’t tell the other(s) , “look, she does this so well, why don’t you do this” or “he always listens to me, you don’t “. Each child, just like us adults excels at something and is not too good with certain things. Find out what each child excels at and encourage them, praise them for it.

Do Give Lots of Individual Attention

You could say I spent the whole day playing and eating with the kids etc but you need to spend time individually as well with each child. You may claim where is the time for that??
What I would do is this. In case, you have two children like me… when one goes to a birthday party or a play date, play with the other child. Let him/her choose the game or activity and play with them for at least half an hour… do the same for the other.. Also, by doing this you will also see each child’s identity shine through which helps on the previous point. Husband and I take turns going to birthday parties for each child and have found over time that our bond had grown stronger with each child and also our understanding of them.

Boredom Leads to Fights

When children have nothing to do especially when the weather is bad during the holidays, they will fight more .. the reason is Boredom..

Keep a mental note (or if you are forgetful like me, write on a paper and put it on the fridge!) of all activities they like doing, excluding watching television and computer/iPad games. Structure their day with different activities or even board games so they get mental and physical stimulation. If they are busy they won’t fight.. if they don’t fight you will have a lot more hair left on your head!

Kids Need Their Own Space Too!

One of the Mums in my daughter’s class said to me “She is only 5, why does she need her own space?” In my opinion even children need their own space, spend time with themselves without their sibling .. have their own peace and quiet .. play their own games .. This will also make each child appreciate the other ..However, give them the space without making it feel like a punishment. Don’t enforce playing separately…

Set A Good Example

Children always consider their parents as their role model. For example, if children see the parents sharing and caring for each other, children will do the same towards their parent as well as their siblings..

Praise Their Good Intentions

Whenever your child does something good/positive for his/her sibling, praise him/her. Children get encouraged to do good things for each other when it is recognised by the parent. Also, it will make the other child copy these positive actions.

Explain Your Actions

In case, you are buying/giving something to one and not to the other, make sure you explain to both/all your kids why you are doing so. Sometimes children might feel you are favouring one child over the other. That can have a negative impact on the child and can cause a lot of resentment towards his/her sibling(s).

Set Rules

If you feel that there are always fights regarding certain things like who washes their hands first before meal times, make rules for them, for example take turns as to who washes their hands first. Make sure that the rules are followed and turns are taken.
Despite your best efforts and intentions kids being kids Will Fight! What you do then?

  1. Stay Calm- Remember kids are kids and they will fight. If you shout at them, it’s not going to help matters at all. If you are a Dad, please bear in mind that kids might get scared because of your masculine/louder voice.
  2. Don’t take sides- you have to be diplomatic unless one child is blatantly causing hurt or grief to the other.
  3. Give them more attention- Have you been too busy lately? Perhaps you have moved house? or you have had too many deadlines at work and have been coming home past their bedtime? Your kids might be quarreling more due to lack of attention. Remember Dads are as important as Mums. Just spend time with them, go for a picnic if the weather is good.. or play some good old footie!
  4. You be in charge- When you are trying to mediate between your kids, chances are they will keep putting the blame on the other and not do what you tell them to do. In that case, be firm. Don’t let them step all over you!
  5. Use positive methods to discipline them- Explain to them calmly why their actions would hurt others or what was wrong with what they did.

Kids will fight, but it is up to you as a parent on how you will deal with it.You can either shout and scream at them or punish them but this could create a negative environment which unfortunately will not resolve anything. Another option is to calmly make them listen to you. After every fight, I tell both my kids to hug each other and say sorry to each other. Kids forgive very easily and then there are no ill feelings towards each other.

 

In case, you have any other suggestions/ideas based on your experiences please put your comments below.