How to Buy: Toys That Develop Imagination

finger painting kitYou can nurture your child’s playful mind by promoting open-ended play, independence, inquisitiveness and creativeness through toys that develop imagination.

Children learn new skills almost every day through interactive play and this is why it is important to encourage them to imagine different experiences and scenarios with toys, gadgets and outfits.

Most of the toys that develop imagination require the child to role-play and act out various scenes. By doing so, they are enhancing social skills and decision-making skills.

We tend to undervalue the importance of imaginative play in the development of children’s imagination. Kids tend to learn many practical skills with the help of such activities.

Read on to learn about some easily available toys that will help develop your child’s imagination through play and fun.

Open-Ended Toys: Blocks, Tents or Play-Doh

These toys include games like blocks and stacking toys, which can make up a castle one day, or a barnyard on another. Alternatively, a tent today may become a wild animal den and sometimes a secret reading nook.

Such toys allow the child to do most of the play, as they do not provide any sounds, instructions or actions for them. They allow you to think outside the block box, as there really is no limit to what you both can do together.

Consider playdoh or wet sand which also have unlimited potential when given to children. Most children love the sensory experience of rolling, squishing and manipulating playdoh or clay. Allow them to craft simple things they are familiar with like a ball or stick or their favorite food.

Open-Ended Activities: Painting Supplies

Painting or art and craft can be experimental. Encourage free or finger painting by giving them the supplies and let them run their imagination to make a tower, a happy family or their favorite meal.

Stock up on empty boxes and allow them to decorate them using some of the various art and craft kits that are available at stores.

Stuffed Animals, Dolls or Puppets

Teddy bears are just not for cuddling. Encourage your little one to feed their stuffed animal with a toy spoon or give it its medicine, hold a tea party for several teddy bears and dolls or create a mock school for them.

Puppets can be used in the same way as above. Encourage them to direct their own puppet shows and hold shows for the family.

Dress Up Games

You do not have to go to an expensive costume store to get your child a new play outfit every now and then. Simply look around for old purses, clothes and other accessories that could be used to create the costume. You can also buy a set of baby costumes or a Disney costume for an older child.

Let your kids exercise their imaginations to assemble their outfits. For example, a white coat with some accessories can make your little one a play doctor. No matter how much they might loathe visiting the doctor, they would love to become one and to be the one in control.

So what tips did you use to help your child practice imaginative play? Do share with us in the comments below.

Pregnancy Health: The Importance of Prenatal Care

prenatal careA healthy pregnancy improves the chances of having a healthy baby. Early and regular prenatal care can go long way to ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

Prenatal care is the care that is received during pregnancy to keep you and your baby healthy and can be provided by an obstetrician. Pregnant women must schedule a visit to their health care provider as soon as they learn they are pregnant.

The first stage of prenatal care is the preconception stage care, which is an early stage of prenatal care. This is the stage at which you are planning a baby, and starts much before you actually conceive.

The first examination after you conceive would include a physical exam, urine test, an optional blood test and weight checks. Depending upon the stage of pregnancy, some imaging or ultrasound tests may be done.

Your prenatal visits will also allow you to discuss your health, healthy dos and don’ts, preparing for the baby’s birth and any other questions you may have regarding the pregnancy or newborn’s arrival.

A good prenatal care routine can prevent many complications that may arise during the pregnancy and will prepare women for the next stage of life. With a healthy diet, exercise and medication, as advised by your health experts, chances of complications decline significantly.

Regular prenatal care can reduce the risks of complications in pregnancy. Moreover, health experts know how to control existing conditions like blood pressure, thyroid or diabetes, which could cause serious pregnancy complications if kept untreated.

Your doctor will also be able to guide you on the medications you are already taking. For example, chances are your anti-acne medication might have a composition that is harmful to the developing fetus. It is imperative to have a thorough discussion about all health conditions that you may currently have or have had in the past.

Prenatal care can also reduce the risk of infant birth complications. Health care experts will warn you against the intake of tobacco, smoke, alcohol and certain medications during pregnancy.

With prenatal counseling, you will learn to balance your diet with appropriate protein, calcium, iron, mineral and vitamin substitutes. It is very important to consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid to reduce neural tube defects in infants.

In addition to this, many other vitamins and minerals are required by pregnant women to develop their fetus. Your health expert will be helpful in prescribing a prenatal supplement as per your daily diet requirements in your prenatal care checkup.

The expert at the prenatal care session may ask you to take some prenatal tests like chronic villus sampling, cystic fibrosis carrier screening or amniocentesis to ensure your baby is growing well.

Many prenatal care centers also provide educational classes to help understand what to expect and get ready for the baby’s arrival. The classes include, understanding your baby’s growth in the womb, what to expect during labor, caring for self and baby post-birth, breastfeeding, etc.

How Often Should You Go for Prenatal Checkups?

In the first trimester, aim to meet the expert at least once a month to discuss weight gain, blood pressure, pulse rates and for some basic scans.

In the second trimester, you may continue with the same frequency unless the heath care professional feels she needs to see you more often. At this time, there may be a requirement for advanced ultrasound testing.

For the third trimester, plan to meet your doctor once every week. Regular prenatal visits will help you bond with the doctor and make the labor and delivery process less stressful.

Image courtesy of patrisyu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moving Home: Help Your Child Cope With The Change

kid in a boxOne of the most important skills you can help your child develop is the ability to deal with change.

There are changes every day in a child’s life, such as adjusting to new teachers and friends, birth of a sibling, change of home or a divorce in the family.

On the other hand, few children have the excitement of moving to a new home and having a new neighborhood to explore.

When you are moving to a new home, there are lots of things you can do to help your child develop the skills to handle the change just by understanding their needs and offering encouragement.

Preparing Your Child

Prepare your child about the changes that are going to take place. Talk about what will happen and what the change will mean for them. For example, while moving to a new home, talk about how much fun it will be and what they should expect.

Involving Your Child

It is important to make this new change as smooth and easy as possible for your child. Get your child involved in whatever decisions you take about the change. For example, let your child choose colors for their new bedroom and let them arrange their things when you move in.

Be creative and encourage your child to decorate the room with pleasing and fun things. Generally, children have no control over the major changes in their lives, but by involving them in such decisions, you help them feel more in control.

Gradually Facing Fears

To a young child, the world is filled with things that are difficult to understand. They generally rely on familiar things to make sense of everything else. After a move they may become fearful and clingy and regress into certain childhood behaviours.

Let them carry around objects which they are attached to. Allow them to stick to daily rituals like regular mealtimes, reading stories before bed and watching TV programs. This will help calm your child and help them adjust to the change.

You must, however, be prepared as many kids don’t adapt quickly and there might be tears and tantrums when forced to accept a new environment. All children adjust to changes at different rate, so you need to be patient, and help them build valuable life skills along the way.

Finally, always remember, your child will be positive only if you are confident about an upcoming change. Do share your stories of helping your child adjust to major life changes, in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Safety For Little Ones: Tips For Newborns To 5 Year Old

safety lock for drawerChildren fall and tumble and this is a part of life. But there are few things which we could do to make sure that our kids avoid major accidents and injuries.

The house can be a very dangerous place for infants if it is not childproofed properly. Here are a few safety tips which parents should implement to childproof their home for infants and young children.

Newborns

• Try to change your baby’s nappy on a changing mat on the floor as they may roll off the bed if not supervised.

• Unless the baby is safely in its crib, don’t leave it unattended at any time of the day, even for a second.

• Prevent choking by ensuring nothing goes into their mouth except their own fingers, milk bottle or any safe and chewable teether or toy.

• One of the most common accidents for newborns is falling off high places. Avoid this accident by keeping one hand on your baby at all times or having pillows and cushions around it on the bed or installing a bed guard.

One To Three Year Olds:

• Always keep low furniture away from the windows. Install window locks or safety catches that prevent babies from climbing out.

• Cover all electrical outlets with safety covers and plugs so your little toddler cannot poke its fingers into the plug points and get a shock.

• Attach corner covers on sharp corners of furniture to prevent injuries.

• Don’t ever allow your baby to use a baby walker alone, as they are very dangerous and can cause serious accidents.

• Cover all the gaps between the balcony railings with boards or safety nets.

• Attach safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, so that the baby is not able to climb stairs without supervision.

Three To Five Year Olds

• Remove all small items that can easily get stuck in the child’s throat.

• Keep them out of the kitchen, away from kettles, pans and hot oven doors.

• Attach a safety lock on drawers so your child does not get its hand trapped or stuck in them.

• The backyard should be kept safe by having a soft surface underneath.

• Fence the backyard and keep power tools and garden equipment out of their reach.

• Keep all medicines safely locked away in a cabinet. Never leave them lying around the house.

Child safety continues to be one of the most important issues for parents even before the baby comes home from hospital. Most people think of their homes to be safe for their children, but unfortunately this is not true.

There are many objects and areas that adults can handle but might prove dangerous for kids. As a parent, you need to begin inspecting the house and taking measures for your child’s safety.

My Baby’s Legs Are Bowed, Will Massage Help: SOS Moms Reply

bow legs babies

Swati Shukla Mishra wrote to us and asked us a question concerning her baby boy. She wants to know how many times a massage is required for her 10 month old baby, whose legs are still not straight. We asked our community of mothers about this and incorporated their responses into the advice below.

The first thing to remember is that all babies are born with bow legs, and it’s not unusual for bow legs to be present even at two years of age. If, however, the condition persists till three years, you should take the child to a paediatrician to rule out any developmental abnormalities.

In case of rickets, the child would be suffering from a deficiency of vitamin D and calcium, so adequate sun exposure is important, preferable in the morning, in addition to any supplementation that your paediatrician suggests. However, in a child as young as 10 months, this condition is likely to be a part of normal growth and development.

There is no need to massage the child’s, but there is no harm either. If you want to massage your child, you can do it once or twice a day before the baby’s bath. Use olive oil and be gentle with your touch and pressure.

Thanks to these parents for their feedback:

Shokhi Agarwal, Sneha Rungta, Vidita Tayal, Sonal Chaurasia, Anita Seemar Mahi, Sommya Singh, Jyoti Rathi Toshniwal, Radha Mishra, Lavanya Reddy, Harman Sehgal, Vidita Tayal, Manisha Vij, Aman Tiwari, Srivimal Srivimal, Tarun Kesarwani, Ratnasree Saha Chakraborti, Vani Amarnath, Puneet Gurpreet Sethi, Preeti Jain, Gurbaksh Singh, Archana Srivastav, Shweta Rustgi Gupta, Sorbhi Mehra, Christina Harijan, Navita Sadani, Shilpa Vishal Ranjan, Annu Pattnaik, Malini Sircar, Poonam Gupta Yadav, Priyadarshini baidya, Bhavini Master, Pallavimahesh Halawai, Bhaskar Jayaram, Bhavini Master.

Step-Parenting: How To Adapt To Your New Role?

step childrenYou and your partner have made a decision to live a life together and form a new family that includes children from one or both of your previous relationships.

However, in addition to the rewards associated with it there are many challenges and hurdles that need to be overcome.

While you, as parents, are likely to approach remarriage and a new blended family with great joy and expectation, your kids may not be nearly as excited.

They probably feel uncertain about the upcoming changes and how that will affect relationships with their natural parents and also worry about living with new step-siblings whom they don’t even know.

To give yourself the best chance of success, here is how to make things easier as you adapt to your new role.

Start Slow

The most important role of a step-parent is to start slow. You are not aware of how things are going to work out for you in the future. Secondly, you could also create a suffocating environment by trying to be the dream step-parent, but actually coming across as fake to the child.

Ensure you take your time to adjust and give enough time to your step-children too. Over time, you will be able to develop a strong relationship with them. Of course, you must be prepared for the probability that it will not be the same as with their birth parents.

Limit Your Expectations

You might invest in a lot of time, energy and affection in your new partner’s kids, the rewards of which are not returned to you immediately. The key is not to expect things to happen quickly.

Introducing gradual changes in day-to-day living can help ease the new family chaos and make the transition for children much easier. Think of it as making small investments that may one day give you a greater reward.

Don’t ‘Buy’ Your Step-Children

“I’ll buy you whatever you want, even if you don’t like me.” Don’t take this attitude with your step-children. The more you act like this, the more you will increase the risks of ruining your relationship with them. Be yourself, and if you want to give them something, offer it as a gift or a surprise. But don’t go over the top!

The more time you spend with your step-children, the easier it will be to get to know and appreciate each other. No matter what the circumstances are, there are chances that there will be some bumps along the way.

Keep reminding yourself that every step-parent’s experience is going to be different. For some it’s stressful, and for other’s it is an easy transition to develop. What is important is that you have an open mind and patience with your step-children.

So have you been a step-parent? What was the experience like for you and how did you develop your relationship with your new kids?

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Getting To Know Your Child’s Preschool Teacher

three little girls and female teacher in kindergartenThe idea of preschool can be daunting for many parents and brings jitters for both children and parents. However, it is important to understand the importance and benefits gained during this stage of academic life.

Preschool is a time when your child will have lots of fun with children their own age and also learn many activities that would be helpful throughout his or her life.

Many parents wonder how they would leave their little ones with strangers in the form of preschool teachers. Thus, it is a good idea to put an effort to get to know your child’s preschool teacher at the start of the year.

Keeping in Touch Regularly

Ensure you make most of your first meeting to create a plan for staying in regular contact with your child’s preschool teacher throughout the year. Ask them for their home phone number or email address, in case of emergencies. Do assure the teacher that this information would be kept confidential private by you.

Volunteering

Teachers get really overwhelmed by parent volunteers. Hence, be specific in what areas interest you and come with suggestions and ideas for how you could be useful in the classroom. By helping out at school parties and performances, you will be able to see both the teacher and children in a more casual setting.

Convenient Time

Always imagine that your child’s preschool teacher is the busiest human on earth. Just stopping by the classroom, before or after your child goes to lunch is a reasonable time; but remember this is also the teachers lunch time. So ensure you only meet them at appropriate times or with prior appointments.

Appreciation

Don’t forget to say thank you and pass along compliments and suggestions to your child’s preschool teacher. Everyone appreciates a kind word. Thank her or him every time when they show special sensitivity towards your child and when they pay extra attention to them.

Respect Command

If you have a very serious concern about your child or the class, consult the teacher. Arrange a brainstorming meeting where you both could try to solve issues.

If you are still unhappy, let them know that you want to discuss the matter with their supervisor. But don’t forget to include the teacher in these discussions too, because it will show that you are being respectful of her relationship with your child.

It is very important to structure a good relationship with your child’s preschool teacher for both you and your child for many practical reasons.

Ensure that you approach the teacher with an open mind and with direct questions always. By doing so, you are sure to become an integral part of your child’s preschool experience.

My Child Refuses to Drink Water: SOS Moms Reply

baby drinkingSindhuja Pradeep Kumar wrote to us and told us about her 7 month old daughter who doesn’t like to drink water. She says that her daughter just spits the water out and starts crying if you try to feed her water. She is otherwise healthy but Mrs. Kumar is worried about this habit of her little girl’s and asked us for some advice.

We approached our community of mothers and asked them what they thought she should do about it. Here is what they said.

Do not force your child to drink water. She will form an unpleasant association with it. You could instead try putting mishri (crystallized sugar lumps), honey or palm candy in the water and reduce it over a period of time, or give your child fresh fruit juice instead of water. You can also soak khajur (dates) overnight, filter them and feed them to the baby.

Try boiling saunf (fennel seeds), mulethi (liquorice) or dalchini (cinnamon) in water to add some flavour. You could also wash a leaf of tulsi in her water bottle. It is healthy and might get her to try it out of curiosity. You can put roasted ajwain in boiled water, filter it and give it to your baby. You could also use Electral if they like the taste.

Ask all family members to drink water in front of the baby and say good things about it. Babies love to observe and imitate their parents. Also use a sipper cup as they might not like drinking water from a feeding bottle.

Thanks to all these helpful parents:

Bhawna Walia, Rutika Sevak Upadhyay, Nisha Sood, Sonal Kapur Sinha, Anita Arun, Jyoti Rathi Toshniwal, Roshani Hitesh Patel, Vinita Yadav, Jyoti Rathi Toshniwal, Rucha Kamble Shedge, Shikha Sourabh Dixit, Parul Sinha, Amtul AS, N Mukesh Vyas, Richa Arora, Sonal Maner, Nidhi Karan Garg, Anamika Mishra Jha, Brindha Karthikeyan, Brindha Karthikeyan, Rashmi Keshri, Vijayalakshmi Shanmugam, Arshiya Khan, Lavanya Reddy, Shilpa Munagavalasa, Neha Saxena, Greeshma Rahul, Pooja Suresh, Swati Shukla Mishra, Radhika Dhanrajani, Tejpreet Oberoi, Alice Bathija.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How Play Helps Your Baby Learn And Grow?

baby playingBabies generally develop at different rates, so it’s not an issue if your little one is a little slower than his or her peers. However, this factor can be altered, and to some extent, depends upon play time.

As a parent, you are your baby’s first playmate. Play is how children learn about themselves and other people around them. It helps them build confidence, relationships, communicating and other basic skills.

In fact, play is as important as feeding, bathing and dressing your child. So make sure to find time in your busy schedule to play with your infant.

Learning Experience

For the very first year of your baby’s life, play will not involve much of toys. Reading, speaking and singing would be some fun and easy ways to play with your baby.

Encourage babbling so your babies learn to make different sounds using their own voice. Keep on repeating these sounds and slowly turn them into real words. Moreover, read to your baby every day as reading ensures some rich learning and communication experience.

Outdoor Play

Outdoor play plays a big part of learning and development for your child. Playing outside the house will give the children a chance to explore another environment and create imaginary scenarios. It is also a good idea to include messy play which is enjoyed by most kids and gives them the freedom to express themselves.

Language Development

Play starts from birth. As your child grows and develops, play changes from you playing with your baby to your baby gradually learning how to play with objects and eventually other children. It is a good idea to closely follow your baby’s instincts with play.

If your baby is enjoying with a single toy, you can label what they are looking at and show them what they can do with these objects. Research suggests that talking and interacting with babies from the very beginning is very important for their language development.

Vision Development

Toys and accessories with patterns and contrasting colors, curves, shape and symmetry stimulates an infant’s developing vision. As vision improves, babies are able to control over their movements and will interact to a greater extent with their environment.

To summarize, you can support your children’s learning curve by introducing toys slowly and by spending a lot of quality time with them. Make sure to look for toys that match your child’s developmental stage and interests, as this will help in developing their learning and attention skills.

Image courtesy of Jomphong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My Daughter Won’t Stop Sucking Her Thumb: SOS Moms Reply

baby sucking thumbYogitha Dhanashekhar wrote to us and told us about her 1 year old daughter, who frequently puts her thumb in her mouth which leads to her thumb getting swollen.

She says that despite trying everything she is unable to stop her daughter from doing so. She is concerned for her daughter’s wellbeing and has asked for advice.

We put this query to our community of experienced moms and this is the advice they gave us.

Try rubbing some Pudin Hara on her thumb. The strong taste could make her stop sucking. You can also apply neem paste on the thumb as the bitter taste will prevent her from sucking it.

Castor oil or mustard seed paste also works for it’s bad taste. Apply coconut oil for the swollen thumb. You could also try homeopathy as there are medicines to stop this habit.

Try to get your child into the habit of using a soother or teether toys instead of her thumb as thumb-sucking can also become more embarrassing for her as she grows. Distract your child with a toy or put something into her hand when she does this. Or tie a cloth around her hand to discourage her.

You could put some fear of the consequences of thumb sucking into your little one’s mind. For instance, stories of thumbs getting cut off because of sucking might scare them into stopping altogether. But make sure you tell them the truth later.

Make sure she is not feeling insecure as thumb-sucking could be a sign that she is feeling neglected. Give her the attention she needs at this age. It is also a comforting habit at the time of teething. Or she may be hungry or need soothing.

All in all, thumb sucking is not really a big concern and goes away as the child grows up. Preventing it could cause her to repress her feelings, which is not healthy.

Thanks to all these super-helpful parents:

Pooja Sharma, Ankita Chandra, Amardeep Kaur Kaur, Ankita Chandra, Ankita Chandra, Swati Mohapatra, Narinder Kaur Hanspal, Yogitha Sundar, Vijaya Reddy, MaKaa Kabilan, Swati Mohapatra, Garima Grover, Yogitha Sundar, Arina Singh, PraTika NarVekar, Subhrajyoti Chakrabarti, Safina Ahmed, Appasamy Pradeep, Saman Farooqui, Ramzia Mohiuddin, Priya Tamang, Solomon Palani, Ramzia Mohiuddin, Nitin Motdhare, Aaparna Das Mohanty, Manvi Suri, Niharika Bedi Bilochi, Supreetkaur Arya, Kirti Jethava, Kavitha Kavi, Harkirat Singh Bedi, Ankita Chaubey, Sakina A Burhani, Sakina A Burhani, JJ Sonia Kathet.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Help Your Child Enjoy Preschool?

child preschoolPreschool offers many benefits. One being that it’s a great place for kids to interact with other children of a similar age group and learn how to share, take turns and follow rules.

However, going to preschool comes with its fair share of emotional ups and downs for both the child and the parents.

To ensure you and your child benefit from a good relationship with other kids, it is important for parents to take an active role in their children’s nursery life.

Read on to find out more about the developmental milestones of preschool years, as well as suggestions for how you could help your kids learn to enjoy their preschool years.

Easing Your Child’s Fears

Spend time with your child and talk about preschool much before it starts. Right before the first day of their school; introduce them to activities that would take place in their classroom.

For instance, a child familiar with scribbling on paper with crayons at home will find it comforting to find the same crayons and paper in their preschool classroom.

Interaction

On the very first day of preschool, spend some quality time understanding what your child did on the first day. This interaction is very important for you and will tell you about the child’s experience, activities, opportunities and games that can be planned for your child as they begin to settle in, grow and discover.

Also don’t be too anxious about leaving your child alone, if they start crying when you leave them. The most effective way of parting is to smile and explain to them that you will be back soon.

Support

If your child is reluctant to go to preschool, make sure that there is a staff member who is ready to help with the transfer from your care to the classroom when they arrive there.

Some kids might just get along really well with their classmates, while other kids might need a private cuddle or maybe a story from their teacher before joining the group.

Many children take time to adjust to their preschool days, but eventually they do settle down to the routine and form a good bond with their teachers and peers.

Moreover, it is very important for them to prosper in this area, as when he or she gets older; they will be expected to go through even more social interaction at other academic institutions.

 Image courtesy of Jeanne Claire Maarbes / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Is Your Child A Biter? How To Get Them To Stop

child biterDo you have a biter on your hands? This is among the most embarrassing of kid behaviors for many parents.

We learn that infants often bite to relieve their teething or gum soreness, while pre-schooling kids generally bite because they haven’t developed good coping skills to deal with stress appropriately and to express their needs.

Whatever the reason is, we know that this behavior is inappropriate and very upsetting (especially for the person getting bitten).

As a parent, your job is to get rid of this annoying behavior before it becomes a habit. Here are few steps which you can use to get your child to stop biting others.

Be Calm But Firm

Speak to your child with a firm, “no biting” stance. Make sure you keep it easy and simple for your child to understand. Make it clear that biting is wrong, but also avoid lengthy explanations until your child is old enough to understand them. Lastly, stay as calm as possible to help resolve the situation more quickly.

Teach Appropriate Expressions

Teach your child to express themselves to you in more appropriate ways. When things calm down, help your child find a less painful way to express their feelings to you.

This generally works well with children who are biting to show affection to their parents. So, if your child wants to express love to you, teach them to hug instead, and not bite when they feel such strong emotions.

Distraction Works

If your child has started biting, distract them with a toy or a book. For example, ask them to look out of the window or take them for a short walk outside. This would help reduce tension and shift the child’s attention from biting to other activities.

Substitute People with Objects

Give your child a substitute. When you sense your child is about to bite, give them a teether or toy to draw their attention away from the biting.

As kids grow older, they tend to learn how to express themselves in words and learn to control impulsive behaviour. If you are consistent with your control, chances are even the most determined biter would stop biting.

Just in case, your child does not stop biting, don’t rush to a therapist who might recommend different treatments. Sometimes, it just takes time, support and appropriate training from friends and family. Only, after a certain age should you consider taking medical help.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learning Disorders: How To Spot Them

hearing disorderLearning disorders in children are not a problem with motivation or intelligence, or kids being lazy or dumb. In fact, most of these kids are as smart as their peers. However, it’s just that their brains work in a very different manner from the rest.

Often children being taught a second language show symptoms of a learning disorder as they get confused between the language of communication.

Thus, before any remedial steps are really taken, an assessment should be made to see whether the child is fluent in a particular language and a second language learner.

Here are some common symptoms that can help you figure out if your child has any kind of learning disorder.

Impulsiveness In The Classroom

In some cases, children might get impulsive at situations and tend to shout repetitively. For example, when asked to raise hands before speaking, they tend to get impulsive and shout rather than following discipline.

Additional symptoms include throwing books off tables or other stationary when they don’t want to complete a particular task. Such behavior is more indicative of a learning disorder rather than behavioral problems.

Difficulty Learning Numbers

Reading, doing math and writing letters might be tough for your child at first. But when those early troubles don’t fade away after a certain age and repetitive trying, it may be possible that your child has a learning disorder.

Some kids may have particularly language disorders, meaning they have trouble understanding language and understanding what they read.

Auditory Processing Disorder

If your child has a problem with distinguishing sounds from background noise and following spoken directions, or may find it difficult to remember things they have heard or have a problem in telling the difference between similar-sounding words, it may be a symptom of an auditory processing disorder.

Disruptiveness

As children begin doing print based work in kindergarten and have trouble focusing or paying attention to what is being taught to them, they tend to get distracted and avoid tasks.

Moreover, some also become aggressive and tend to behave as if they just don’t want to follow instructions. Distraction is a major symptom of a learning disorder.

Visual Disorders

If your child has trouble interpreting visual information, he or she will not be able to read or tell the difference between two things that look similar. These children usually have trouble with hand-eye co-ordination, which explains their visual processing disorder.

In simple words, children with learning disorders can see, hear and understand things in a different way as compared to their peers. These disorders are very difficult to diagnose because there is no definitive list of symptoms that fits every child. To add to the difficulty, many children also try to hide these problems, making it very difficult to diagnose.

However, if you sense a learning disorder in your child, it is important to take proactive measures about your child’s learning difficulties. The quicker you are able to diagnose, the sooner you would be able to deal with the child’s problems.

 Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Teaching Your Child To Get Organized

school kidWhen your child is grown up enough to start cleaning their own room and begin attending school, it’s time for them to learn some organizational skills which would help them in succeeding at school and in their career later in life.

It is true that a few kids are naturally organized; but for many organization is a skill which requires learning over time. Most importantly you will be the perfect person to teach your child these skills. Here are some tips to help your child get more organized.

Use Checklists

Help your child inculcate the habit of keeping a to-do list. With the help of checklists, they can post assignments, reminders and make a list of materials that need to be brought to class. Your child can also keep a small notebook which would be dedicated to listing homework assignments and other important tasks.

Planning For Each Task

Encourage your child to get organized by thinking ahead and planning their homework around other extracurricular activities. Time planning tools such as lists can help children keep schedules and help prevent them over estimate what they can get done. A weekly planner or diary will definitely help older students to get organized.

Finishing Up

Finishing up means getting the work done, checking the work and putting on finishing touches. For example, remembering to put a homework paper in the right folder and putting the folder inside the backpack, so it is well-organized for the next day.

Reserve Space

Try to reserve a shelf or a cabinet for your child by the front door for all the items they need to take to school every day. Label them with color stickers so that the wallet, bus passes and glasses can easily be found. Also you could hang a hook underneath them for their backpack and sports bag.

Time Management Skills

Teach your child time management skills. Your child should know how to complete a particular task within a specific time frame, which would help them to learn how to develop organized methods for completing those tasks.

Remind them when their tasks need to be completed or when their appointments must be met. For example, tell them that they must finish cleaning their room within 15 minutes or until dinner gets ready.

Lastly, reward and support children when they complete organizations tasks properly. Your child might find organizing a challenge, so help them develop their routine and give them a treat for a job well done.

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Buy: Clothes For 3 To 5 Year Olds

toddler clothesIt takes a lot of will to not over-load your shopping cart with all the cute and trendy clothes that brand manufacturers are making nowadays. However, what really is important is having just enough comfortable clothing for your active 3 to 5 year old.

At the age of 3, your toddler would be walking and running. Moreover, they would like to stay independent by doing everything by themselves. Thus, it is important to buy clothes that do not obstruct their daily routine and make it easy to do things by themselves without your assistance.

Budget

It is important not to splurge too much on toddler clothing. It can be difficult with the amount of variety of clothes available in the market. However, with the rate that your toddler is growing, it is important to restrict over-buying so as to ensure everything is used optimally.

It is a good idea to wait for sales and other bargains and shop during them. Moreover, during off-season sales, consider buying clothes for the next season.

Quality

It is important to buy good quality or durable clothes for 3 to 5 year olds as, in addition to the wear and tear during play time, their clothes get dirty quickly and go through multiple washes.

Appeal

At the age of 3, most kids have certain choices of patterns, images, colors or their favorite cartoons. Try looking for clothes with their favourite characters or patterns to suit their liking to make them exciting and fun to wear.

Comfortable

Toddler skin is soft, sensitive and delicate and it is important to dress your toddler in comfortable, soft and breathable fabrics. Ensure all hooks, snaps, buttons and appliqués are well secured and routinely checked. Make sure there are no loose buttons or detachable objects that can pose a choking hazard.

Size

Buying the correct size is very important. As a general guideline a 3 year old would wear 3T sized clothes that are perfect for those who weigh between 28 to 32 lbs and are 35-37 inches in length.

If your toddler is bigger or smaller than the average peer size, you would have to consider buying bigger or smaller sized clothes.

Consider Your Child’s Independence

Most toddlers like to do things themselves, like pushing their own stroller, feeding themselves or wearing clothes by themselves. Thus, it is a good idea to buy clothes that they can easily wear or take off by themselves with as little frustration as possible.

Trousers or skirts with elastic waists are easier to put on and remove than zipped or buttoned bottoms, while shirts with wider necks or snaps are easier to put on and remove.

Do let us know what your toddler’s favourite clothes are and what you would like to see in the Firstcry.com store.

Image courtesy of Phaitoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Buy: Clothes for 1 to 2 Year Olds

todder clothesOnce your child is a toddler, they are more active and need clothes that can take more wear and tear. Soft denims, leggings and rompers are perfect for active toddlers and protect those tender knees while they are crawling around or taking their first steps.

When buying clothes for kids, it’s important to know what you really need before heading to the store as with a wide variety of colors and styles available nowadays, it can be very difficult to make a decision.

Moreover, finding the right size and comfortable style are other important factors to consider. Here are some ways you can choose the ideal clothes for your 1 to 2 year old baby.

Size Tag

Most clothing brands have a size tag on them. Therefore, in all probability a 1 year old would wear clothes with 1 year or 12 months written on them. However, as all children grow differently, a bigger baby might require a slightly bigger size, while a small baby could do with a size smaller.

Due to the confusion created, many infant clothing brands have started printing an approximate weight and length on their clothes, which is a better way to select the right size.

Type of Clothes

It is very important to buy comfortable clothes to complement tender skin. Turtleneck t-shirts with snaps at the neck make them easier to wear and remove them.

When buying pants for 1 to 2 year olds, check inside the waist for an adjustable waistband attached with buttons to adjust the waist size. This will ensure that you can use them for a longer time.

Also, it’s a good idea to buy pants with a snap closure rather than button closures as it would easy to handle put them on and take them off. Ensure there are no loose-fitting tags, buttons or strings on the clothes to avoid strangling or choking.

Budget

It is important to decide the budget for clothing and accordingly head towards an appropriate store. Departmental stores are reasonably priced but don’t usually offer variety and durability of clothes. If funds are low, it may be a good idea to find quality clothing at thrift stores.

Children specialty stores tend to price their goods slightly higher than others, but offer excellent variety and quality. Additionally, shopping during sales and off-season can help save you a lot of money.

Complementing Clothes

It is a good idea to team up your clothing with other clothes and accessories while you are at the store itself. For example, a shirt can be paired with matching trousers or skirts, along with some accessories like hats, shoes or headgear.

It is also a good idea to have some formal or dressy outfits for special occasions and going out. This saves last minute trouble of having to buy clothes in a hurry.

Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Buy: Clothes For 6-Month Olds

6 month old babyBaby clothing comes in standard sizes. However, all babies are of a different size and shape and moreover, each brand has a specific sizing standard. Thus, it is very important to consult a baby clothes size chart and check your 6-month olds weight before investing in clothes.

Some babies tend to grow quickly and fit straight into bigger clothes while some are slower at 6 months, and this it is best to decide individually, rather than buying a standard 6 to 9 month outfit. The article discusses basic smart guidelines to keep in mind when investing in 6 month old clothes.

Ignore Standard Sizes:

This makes it difficult for parents to buy clothes for their little ones. However it is not that difficult as most major baby clothes brand carry a tag on them that includes the weight and length information of the baby for which it would be apt.

Moreover, most brands have their own sizing charts that can usually been seen at the baby clothes section or on their websites. Considering the baby weight and length when buying clothes would eventually save you from wasting money on baby clothing that may not fit or be used for a very short span of time.

Buy Big:

You may also consider buying bigger clothes unless you are buying pajamas or sleepwear. It sounds absurd to buy clothes that would stick out or not fit appropriately.

However, babies tend to grow out so quickly that they would be perfect in just a couple of weeks. This should surely be followed when buying baby gifts and when you are unsure of how big the baby is.

As a general rule, most 6 month old babies can wear a 9 to 12 month olds outfit. However, it is important to take into consideration seasonal clothing as winter clothes are of no use in summer and vice versa.

Buy Early:

Consider pre-buying clothes of different sizes so that you have a variety of sizes to choose from at any particular age. This way you can also save on some money by shopping during festive or sale season or when you see some attractive bargains.

Do Not Overstock:

Ensure you only invest in what you really need and what you would really use. Do not overstock on any particular size and ensure you’ve got different sizes to cater to your 6 month olds growth.

As a general note, for the 6 month age group you will need a couple of long sleeved or short sleeved bodysuits depending upon the weather, a couple of turtleneck t-shirts or shirts and pants, some outfits for going out, long sleeved jumpers and jackets for cold days, comfortable sleepwear for the night, cotton or warm beanie hats, mittens (if your baby uses them) and lots of socks and booties.

Good luck shopping for your 6-month old baby. Let us know what your favourite items are from the Firstcry.com store.

Image courtesy of Phaitoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My Daughter Is A Fussy Eater And Resists Potty Training: SOS Moms Reply

toddler eatingSwati Patle Bisen wrote to us and told us about her daughter who hates to eat food. She says that despite trying new things all the time her daughter still refuses to eat.

She also says that her super active baby adamantly refuses to be potty trained. She is worried for her baby’s health and hygiene and has asked for some advice.

We asked our community of experienced moms for advice and these are the suggestions they sent us.

Most kids are fussy eaters. They would rather play than eat. Often they are just seeking attention and if you run after them, you will only be encouraging such behaviour. Keep them active so that they get hungry and want to eat by themselves.

Eat your meals in front of them and encourage them to feed themselves. Serve their food in attractive cutlery and make it look colourful and yummy. Some kids forget to eat and get cranky. Don’t wait for them to ask you for food. Set a routine for meals and feed them at the same time every day.

You can start cutting down on their milk intake, giving it only twice a day so that they feel hungry and eat more often. Milk takes hours to digest and fills them up very quickly. Keep a gap of at least 3 hours between meals. Try giving them different kinds of food, such as chapati with ghee, or salads with cheese.

Add more variety to their meals. Make up stories about their foods while you are feeding them. It will make the meal more entertaining. Some kids eat better while distracted by the TV, but its best to avoid getting them into that routine as it creates bad food habits.

Make sure they do not have worms. You can give them omum water for few days for deworming and to increase appetite. You can also give Bonnisan ayurvedic drops to improve their appitite. Also keep an eye on their hemoglobin levels and ensure they are not anemic.

Most kids do not respond to potty training until they are 2.5 years old. You can make them drink lukewarm water in the morning and after meals. Take them to the bathroom and make them sit on the potty with their favourite toy. Go here for more potty training tips.

There are no formulas or instant solutions for these two problems. It will take time and patience to change these behaviours.

Thanks to these parents for their helpful contributions:

Deepali Manthalkar, Radha Navin, Arefuzzaman Mohammed, Lilpieces Akaf, Rashmi Ravi, Shweta Rustgi Gupta, Azaad Chaturvedi, Siya Borkar, Radhika Dhanrajani, Lavanya Reddy, DrAnchal Singh, Grishma Jeegar Doshi, Nisshi Yadavendra, Sakshi Abbey Bhatnagar, Ritu Sharma, Sameena Suhail, Anita Salwani, DrAnchal Singh, Garima Grover, Kriti Verma, Monty N Gauri, Mamtha Yogesh, Sakshi Abbey Bhatnagar, Shahana Mv, Surabhi Verma, Neha Kshitij Sagar, Deepti Sahni, Ummi Amjad Ali, Afa Pervez, Ramona Castillo.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Buy: Clothes For Newborns

clothes for newbornsEven though shopping for newborns sounds easy, with all the cute attire that is available in the stores nowadays, a little planning goes a long way.

It is very important to cover and protect your baby from head to toe so as to help them adjust to life outside the womb.

Newborns can get messy and require a couple of changes of clothing every day. Thus, it is important to ensure their apparel is easy to change. Moreover, they must be comfortable with no hanging cords or ties that they can get entangled in.

The fabrics must be soft to complement their delicate skin. Always ensure that all buttons, strings and tags are on securely as if they come out there may be a risk of choking.

When buying clothes for newborns, it is difficult to predict sizing as many outgrow their newborn clothes very quickly and many large babies totally skip the newborn size and start from 3 to 6 months straight away while some smaller babies may require Tiny Baby or Preemie clothes.

How many outfits you would really require depends on how often you plan to do your laundry. Apart from that the tips below provides a brief guideline of what you really need in the first 6 weeks.

T-shirts and Pants:

You will require about 5 to 7 tee-shirts which have plenty of room in the neck area or alternatively have snaps at the neck to allow easy removal from the head. To pair the tee-shirts, pants or leggings would be required. Ensure stretch waistbands that easily fit over the babies belly and diaper, even when they grow bigger.

One-Piece Outfits:

Again 5 to 7 changes would be handy for sleeping and playing in. These are very convenient as most come with socks and a hood attached.

Warmies:

In warm weather, it can get uncomfortable for your tiny tots to have too many layers of clothing. You can consider investing in a sweater or jacket as per the requirement of your city’s weather.

If you live in colder climes, you may also want to consider buying a snowsuit depending on the weather and also whether you would be taking the baby out and about at such a tiny age.

Jammies:

No matter how trendy your play clothes are, it is important for babies to wear clothes without snaps or seams while they are napping. You may need at least 2 to 3 of these, if not more.

Fleece/Cotton Sacks:

Investing in a cotton or fleece sack, that zips over the baby’s clothes, is also a good way to keep them warm. Moreover, these are much safer than traditional blankets.

Footwear and Hat:

You will need lots of socks and booties to keep your tiny tot’s feet clean and warm. It is also a good idea to have a couple of warm bonnets to keep your baby’s head covered.

Do you have any more suggestions for newborn’s clothes? Do share them in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Are The Main Reasons Kids Can’t Sleep?

sleepy childSleep problems are one of the most common issues parents face with kids. Some children have chronic sleep problems and many are actually going through their days sleep deprived. If you too are facing such issues with your child’s sleeping patterns, read on for some information to alter the way your kid sleeps at night.

Bedtime Curtain Calls

Kids generally make bedtime curtain calls for many reasons. You can’t force them to stay in bed. However, it is a good idea to talk to them over these visits to your room.

Most bedtime curtain calls generally occur because kids are afraid of the dark. You can make them less frequent by helping your child deal with their fears or putting a night light in their room.

Food Habits

Make sure not to give solids to your kids before the age of 6 months. In fact, if you are giving your baby solids before they turn 6 months, their system will not be able to digest it completely, making their sleep pattern worsen due to colic and tummy ache.

Moreover, for babies that eat solids, it is a good idea to keep a gap before the child’s meal and sleeping time as a baby with indigestion is not likely to sleep throughout the night due to tummy discomfort.

Nightmares

Nightmares are common among kids between the ages of five to ten. At this age, children start getting a wider sense of the world and little worries can play on their little minds.

Watching unsuitable movies and serials can lead to scary dreams or nightmares which would definitely disturb their sleep. Avoid watching scary movies, even those made for kids, before bedtime. Make sure you discuss such fears with them and try to figure out what really is troubling them.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is another major problem for kids under three years of age which forces them to cry at night. By 9 months or so, they learn that their parents exist even if they can’t see them.

Nevertheless, kids start building their inner confidence only after the age of three. Waking up in the night mostly decreases quickly after this period.

Bedtime Routines

Many kids end up waking up in the night because they don’t have a fixed bedtime routine. Ensure, you set up a bedtime routine and stick to it every single day. This would help your child’s body and mind get ready for bed and increase the chances of them sleeping through the night.

Lastly, make sure that you tuck your child in. Spend some quality time and communicate with your child when you are putting him or her to sleep. Try reading a story or singing a lullaby and allow them to tell you about what’s going on in their minds so as to relax them. Following the above tips should surely change the way your child sleeps at night.

So how have you dealt with your child’s sleep problems? Do share with us in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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