nurture the uniqueness in your child…

Discipline strategies for parents

When your munchkin flashes that adorable grin or reaches up for a cuddle, it’s easy to forgive his mischievous ways — even if he’s pushed your buttons a dozen times today. Breaking rules and seeing how far he can push you is a big part of how your child learns — in fact, it’s his job. Your job? To act as rule-maker, limit-setter, explainer-in-chief of all things right and wrong. Sure, doling out discipline isn’t the fun part of parenting, but it is the basis on which happy citizens are built. So whether your tot is biting his buddies or about to earn an Oscar for a meltdown at the mall, at least one of these discipline strategies should help.

Remove the audience (aka you).

When tots start hungering for attention (or candy or that toy they just saw on TV), they’ll do whatever it takes to get it. Cue the manipulation tantrum (millions of kids can testify to its amazing powers of persuasion). Don’t give in — when your child launches one, calmly remove yourself from the situation and ignore him (just make sure he can’t hurt himself). It may take every ounce of zen you have, but this discipline strategy sends a clear message that this type of behavior is unacceptable and — maybe more important — ineffective.

Catch ’em being good.

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of praise to motivate a person, big or little. When you see your cutie cleaning up her toys without being asked 12 times or doing the deep-breathing trick you told her to try when she’s feeling frustrated, give her a shout-out for a job well done. It’ll show her that you’re really paying attention. Plus, your pride will encourage her to feel proud of her actions, too — an important first step in self-discipline. There’s one catch though: It’s important not to go overboard with praise, especially for things that don’t require much effort. As your child grows, start raising your standards of good behavior and she will too.

Distract, distract, distract.

You may think this discipline trick is effective only with babies and young toddlers, but it works with older toddlers and preschoolers too. As soon as you spot the windup to a meltdown (the whines, the quivering lip, the crocodile tears), enthusiastically change the subject. “Hey! Did you know your cousins are coming over tomorrow?” or “I totally forgot to show you something…come quick!” The surprising turn in your response may just be enough to snap your darling out of his downward spiral.

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Three ways to tackle tantrums

Toddler tantrums are a fact of life when you’ve got a one-, two-, or three-year-old in the house. Why? Put yourself in your sweetie’s little shoes. It can be really frustrating to be unable to say what you mean or watch your carefully built block tower topple because your hands aren’t steady. And while there are dozens of reasons why your munchkin might melt down, some are directly related to things you can fix. Obviously, if your toddler is hungry, offer him a snack. If he’s tired, put him down for a nap. But if he’s clearly just blowing off steam, it’s time to resort to trickier tactics to stop temper tantrums.

Yuk It Up

Method: See a toddler tantrum coming on? Quick, Mom, tame that tantrum with fun by doing something silly! Your darling won’t stand still for a diaper change? Put the (clean) diaper on your head. He refuses to drink his milk? Pick up a banana and make a phone call. He’s losing it for no apparent reason? Climb under the table with a book. Whoever heard of Mommy reading under the table?

Why it works: Laughter releases all sorts of feel-good chemicals in the brain and stifles the stress-causing ones. The best thing about getting a toddler to giggle is that it’s not all that hard. Tots find the unexpected especially funny, so doing something outside the usual routine will more often than not distract yours long enough to diffuse his tantrum.


Method: Your toddler is screaming at the top of his lungs. Instead of trying to out-yell him, start whispering. (Tip: This will work only if he’s looking at you.)

Why it works: As soon as your toddler realizes you’re talking, he’ll probably quiet down to try to figure out why you’re using your library voice. Just make sure to be saying something soothing: “As soon as you calm down, Mommy will help you find the missing puzzle piece,” or “I’m sorry you’re so mad. Why don’t we go for a walk?” Don’t rely on this trick too often though. Your child will eventually be on to your wily, whispery ways.

Hold On

Method: Pick him up and hug him firmly but gently.

Why it works: When a tantrum morphs from a minor meltdown to a full-blown screaming fit, no amount of silliness or reasoning or even non-reaction on your part is going to do the trick. If he’s that upset, he won’t be able to see you or hear you, so relying on the power of your touch can be soothing, especially since losing control can be scary for a little kid. That’s why being wrapped in your loving arms can calm down a crazed critter. (Sometimes a little hug therapy is the best way of all to tame a toddler tantrum — it’ll melt any anger or frustration you have, too.)

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Chores for children

Think your toddler is too young to help around the house? Think again. Toddlers are the perfect age for pitching in — given their budding sense of independence and their desire to mimic everything you do. Of course, their help may slow you down, but resist the urge to finish the job yourself. By giving your child small chores, you’ll be boosting their confidence and making them feel like a valuable member of the family. Here are some age-appropriate chores for children, and tips for making them easy and fun:

Putting Away Toys: If the sight of all those blocks and stuffed animals all over the room makes you want to burst into tears, your toddler probably feels overwhelmed by the mess, too. Turn her into a pick-up artist by breaking the job down into manageable parts. Be specific — instead of telling her to clean up her stuffed animals, say, “Please take your teddy bear and put it on the shelf.” Or try to make a game out of cleaning up —”I’ll put the red cars away, you pick up the blue ones.” (You’ll be teaching her colors in the process!)

Watering Plants: Populating your rooms with plants is a simple way to detox your home. Your tot can definitely help out with watering duties. Let your toddler practice with a small plastic bottle or give him a little spray bottle of water and tell him to mist the plants s you do the pouring.

Putting Away Groceries: A toddler’s love of sorting things can also come in handy when it comes to putting away groceries. Let hims sort the fruits- apples in one bowl, oranges in another. He can also put the boxes and cans away on a low shelf, as long as you’re specific about what goes where. You can also point out interesting things about the groceries as he organizes them into smaller piles — mention that the apples are red or green, milk gives you calcium which is a bone-builder, etc.

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Basics of brushing teeth

Cleaning your baby’s teeth wasn’t such a big priority — after all, there weren’t many to worry about. But since the second and third years are busy times in terms of your tot’s tooth development, get ready to step up the toddler dental care. First, give your cutie plenty of good-for-you foods and beverages to keep those tiny teeth healthy and strong. Then get your child into an oral hygiene routine by following these steps:

Brush twice a day. Baby teeth are vulnerable to decay as soon as they break through the gums. The best line of defense? Brush regularly — and optimally, for two minutes at a time — in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after bedtime snack. Be prepared to be the brusher-in-chief — your toddler won’t have the motor skills to go solo until he’s between five and eight. But teach your toddler to brush and try tooth-brushing games to make cleaning teeth a whole lot more fun.

Get the right brush. Buy a colorful brush with his favorite character — maybe he can even choose it himself. Does two minutes seem like forever to your wee wiggler? Sing a song, tell a story, or ask a nightly riddle as you brush — anything to distract and make the time pass more quickly. Or buy a toothbrush that lights up, plays music, or makes a noise after the job’s done. Whatever type of toothbrush you use, replace it every three to four months.

Get the right toothpaste and mouthwash. Stick to water only or fluoride-free training toothpaste until your child can be trusted not to swallow it (that’s probably not before he turns two). After that, he can start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. When he’s around two, you can show him how to rinse post-brushing, and he’ll probably be a fast — and most enthusiastic — student when it comes to spitting. You can also use a fluoride-free mouthwash if the dentist or pediatrician gives you the go-ahead.

Get the right technique. Work on one tooth at a time, and use a gentle back-and-forth motion across the chewing and inner surfaces, then switch to a circular motion along the sides, holding the brush at a 45-degree angle. On areas that don’t have teeth yet, lightly brush the gums, and don’t forget the tongue — a popular hangout for bacteria.

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Top three healthy habits for children

You do all you can think of to prevent your children from coming down with a cold or an upset tummy — from feeding balanced meals to scrubbing the floors they plays on. But that’s only half the battle: they have to learn how to keep themselveshealthy. And there are plenty of lessons to teach them: Start by explaining that germs are responsible for the yucky feeling they gets when they sick. Then instruct them on healthy habits. You’ll have to demonstrate these hygiene lessons over and over, but pretty soon they’ll be able to grasp them — and follow through them. So what are the most important lessons to start with? The top-three healthy habits for children are:

HEALTHY HABIT #1: Give Hands a Good Scrub

Hand washing tops the list of healthy habits children should learn for one simple reason: Doing it often — and doing it right — can reduce the number of colds, flu, and other infections children get by 50 percent! A lot of sore throats and runny noses can be avoided simply by stepping up to the sink, especially at key times: before eating or heading to the playroom with a friend (this will keep germs on shared toys to a minimum), after coming in from playing outside, and after sneezing, coughing, petting an animal, or using the washroom.

HEALTHY HABIT #2: Do the “Sleeve Sneeze”

What’s next on the list of healthy habits for children? When your kid feels an “aa-choo” coming on and there’s no tissue in sight, show him how to let loose into the inside of his elbow, rather than into his hand or the air. This way, germs won’t wind up on his fingers — 80 percent of germs are transferred through touch — or spewed out into the air. This healthy habit applies to coughs as well — and to you too, so be a good role model whenever you sneeze sans tissues.

HEALTHY HABIT #3: Toss That Tissue!

Once your child has mastered the fine art of nose-blowing, get her into the habit of disposing of dirty tissues right away, rather than leaving them lying around on a table or the floor: Some bacteria and viruses can live for two hours or more outside the body, so getting rid of tissues is another healthy habit for children to learn. Make sure there’s a trash can in every room your child spends time in.

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Introducing new foods to toddlers

Toddlers get bored with the usual menu. Moreover, the calories obtained from breast milk or formula milk is no longer sufficient to meet the energy demands of these tiny tots. Introducing new foods to your baby in his or her early years is much easier than trying later on. Nevertheless, if you haven’t introduced new foods so far, it’s alright. It’s never too late to begin.

Let’s find out some ways to introduce new health foods to toddlers. Remember:

  • Try introducing only one new food item every week. Don’t overdo it.
  • Introduce one food item and then check for allergic reactions.
  • Give your child time to look at the food, touch it and examine it for as long as he or she likes. Don’t hurry them.
  • Depending on your child’s motor skill development, he or she may want to hold a spoon. Allow them to do so and let them feed on their own. It may be a messy affair; however, it will encourage your child to try new items.
  • Don’t pressurize your toddler to taste or eat anything. This will cause the little one to dislike food-tasting sessions.
  • Do not introduce new stuff when your baby is extremely hungry, cranky or ill.

You may get all kinds of advice from family and friends, regarding the best time to introduce new foods to toddlers. However, it is best to consult your pediatrician before doing anything. Moreover, be patient and persistent. Don’t be quick to assume that if your child has rejected most of these foods, he or she will be a picky eater. Let your child take his or her time to develop an interest in these new foods. All the best!

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How to Raise Happy Children

A happy person is the one who has loving relationships, who knows how to care for other people, who can give, be responsible and is ready to compromise, if the situation demands. A person is happy when he is positive, confident and values himself as well as others. As parents, it is very important to incorporate all these qualities, in kids, right from childhood itself.

Tips on How to Raise Happy Children-

Appreciation and Positivity: Appreciate your child. If he has learned something new or achieved anything, even if it is very small, point it out and praise him. Appreciating the child and positive reinforcement goes a long way in making a child confident and happy! At the same time, do not overdo it! Do not use words like “the best” or “perfect” or “brilliant”, as it will raise expectations, which can pressurize a child and cause him stress.

Allowance for Mistakes: Tell your child that it is all right to make mistakes as long as he remembers them and does not repeat the same! Childhood is a time of experimentation. Children are up to trying all kinds of things and in the midst of it, can end up making many mistakes. Instead of scolding and criticizing the children, parents should instead talk to them about it, explain to them why a particular action is wrong on their part and that they should not repeat it. Scolding, being aggressive with the children – these are some things that parents should completely avoid as they can have an adverse effect on a child’s psyche.

A Loving Family: A touch is very important in building relationships. So, hug your child, kiss him and embrace him, to show that you truly love him. Also, take out some “family time” every day and eat together, while discussing how the day went for everyone. This will also give you an opportunity to assess whether your child is facing any kind of problems in school or how he is faring, in terms of his relationships with his peers and teachers.

The Art of Giving: Teach your child to be “giving”. You can do this by taking him to an NGO and involving him in doing something for the have-nots of the society. Let him join some charity too and help him raise funds for it. If you want to keep things simple, get him a pet or keep a potted plant on his bedroom window sill and make it his responsibility to take care of it. These are some ways in which you can teach your child not to be individualistic and self-centric, but to help others, do something for fellow beings, animals and plants, without any kind of expectation. As true happiness lies in “giving”, your child will become happy from within, while caring for and nurturing, those around him.

A Fit Body: Healthy children are happy children. So, provide your child with healthy meals, which are preferably cooked at home. Suggest healthy food choices to your children. For instance, instead of sodas, ask him to drink low fat milk, instead of pizzas, give him fresh fruits to eat. Make most of his diet from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. If healthy eating habits are inculcated from childhood itself, it is much more likely that they are carried right through adulthood, thus keeping a person disease-free and happy.

As you can see, there are no fixed ways and rules with regards to how to raise happy children. Good parenting is all about being positive, giving time to your child, supporting him, being there for him and involving him in all kinds of activities which enhance his creativity, natural goodness, knowledge and intelligence.

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11 Resolutions for happy parenting!

Learning House, Jaipur strongly advocates good parenting as one of the most important factors in a child’s development. We understand that being a parent means working endlessly towards your child’s development and assuring a bright future.

To help you a bit, Learning House suggests you to take up these resolutions for better and stress-free parenting:

Resolution #1: Don’t try to fix everything.

Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save them, you teach them self-reliance and resilience.

Resolution #2: Say “I love you”

Express your love whenever you feel it, even if it’s 746 times a day.

Resolution #3: Gossip about your kids.

Fact: What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effective by letting your child “catch” you whispering a compliment about him/her to Grandma, Dad or even his/her teddy.

Resolution #4: Avoid food fights:

A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won’t starve.

Resolution #5: Avoid expensive “event parties”

Avoid throwing expensive “event parties” for your children on their birthdays. Instead, confine all birthday celebrations to your family, including extended family. Keep it uncomplicated: a special dinner of the birthday boy or girl’s favorite food, a cake, the song, and a few simple gifts, mostly clothing or other useful things.

Resolution #6: Play. Be silly. Act like a child.

Have fun with your kids by being a kid. You will notice the connection you form instantly.

Resolution #7: Get out of the way:

Adults sometimes need to get out of children’s way. Give your child unsupervised time, either alone or with friends. Teach your children to trust in themselves. Let them make mistakes and experience the consequences.

Resolution #8: Reclaim your home:

Resolve that one day each week will be a day without television, videos, computers and electronics of any sort. Shut the things off! Be present with your child without beeps, flashes, music and voices other than your own distracting you from one another.

Resolution #9:Talk about what it means to be a good person.

Start early. When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.

Resolution #10: Celebrate boredom.

Resist the pressure to become your child’s day planner, social secretary and entertainment organizer. Allow for days where nothing is planned. Don’t protect your child from a day with nothing to do. Day after day filled with adult-organized activities and events destroys any possibility of creativity or self-discovery.

Resolution #11: Get creative together:

Play together, fantasize together, and get creative together using only the simplest of materials: old clothes, a cardboard box, crayons, paper and glue. Pretend to explore a world under the sea or find wood nymphs and fairies. Make up characters and go on grand adventures.

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No More Mess!!

Kids can be the biggest mess-makers, so don’t mess around when it comes to teaching them good organizing habits! The sooner you can empower your kids with these concepts, the better. Preparing our kids to be independent adults will be much easier if they’ve been taught these skills and habits early on. And it helps make your life easier too. Here are a few tips to make them organize better:

Develop morning and Evening Schedules:

Though morning and evening schedules are more or less same every day, still it’d help if you articulate the steps to your kids. Stick a checklist on bathroom mirror or bedroom wall to list out things like packing your bag, getting dressed, getting lunc h box, etc to keep them a track of their morning activities. Similarly, evening routine like brushing your teeth, organizing your toys, etc, pave a smoother path to sleep.

Easy as A-B-C-D:

The A-B-C-D prioritization tool works for everything and helps kids and grown-ups:

An “A” toy is a favorite one that you love and play with all the time, as often as we eat or brush our teeth.

“B” toys are ones you play with a lot, as often as we go to the supermarket.

“C” toys are those you don’t play with very much, as often as we have a birthday or holiday.

“D” toys are ones you really are not playing with at all. And D also stands for donate.

We want to store our A and B toys where we can reach them and put them away easily, and our C toys up higher in a box or on a shelf.

Teach Kids the One-In-One-Out Rule:

Our children need to understand that storage is a finite thing, and that continuing to collect eventually leads to clutter and chaos. When you get a new toy, an old toy can be donated. When you get new jeans, your old jeans can be given to another child. They should also understand that donating our excess helps people and the planet. Birthdays and holidays are especially good times to teach the concept of “out with the old, in with the new.”

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Eat it Right!

Eating habits of your child is an insight to his health in his later years. If candies, chocolates, wafers, cakes, burgers are his first and only choices, get on your toes mommies! It’s time to act! Though junk food looks attractive and tastes better, but it will increase the chances of obesity and droopiness in your child as he grows in an adult.

Learning House suggests these points to be followed religiously:

1. Include servings of fruit in his diet every day.

2. Your kid should have at least one meal of vegetables, chappatis and daal everyday. Ask your kid to eat small but sure portions of every food type.

3. Expose your kid to different types of food at a younger age- give him tofu, soy, dahi, salads, porridges. Variety will get him interested and give some more nutrients too.

If you find it tough to make them eat nutritious food, try it with a twist. Decorate your servings of vegetables; fry your daal with lots of veggies; cook some stuffed paranthas and serve it with chutney instead of ketchup; replace plain dull-looking dahi with tasty fruity smoothies. There’s no limit to letting out your creativity in your cooking skills. Make it presentable; make it look delicious and your kid will learn love all the healthy eating options he has.

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