Chalking the change in handwash!!!


We have so often heard ‘Practise makes perfect’. That’s a saying most of us live by and also try to inculcate in our kids as we know that an action when repeated multiple times gets etched into our memories…more so becomes muscle memory. This is true for any habit.

One of the key habits which we teach our children from the time they are infants is the habit of washing their hands- after using the toilet, before eating meals, after playing and so on.


But getting children to make it a part of their routine is not easy. I personally have availed of multiple routes to inculcate the habit in my son. Some play-way methods that I adopted with my son were:

  • Created a story around germs and how they are like demons and can be harmful to us
  • Stocked up colourful and color-changing handwash liquids to make hand washing a fun-filled affair
  • Associated rewards with handwashing – giving sticker stars to being marked positive on his behaviour chart at home
  • Prepared worksheets around the benefits of handwashing and coloring sheets for the same as well


In the urban areas, we are aware of the benefits of handwashing and do multiple things to inculcate the behaviour in our children. In the relatively remote areas the awareness about the criticality of handwashing prior to meals is quite poor. The parents are unaware themselves leading to a ripple effect on the children. I find this to be true even among my maid’s kids.


Even at school in the remote areas, the children at best use only water to wash their hands before meals which leads to a whole range of diseases they are exposed to. Additionally the children mostly use chalk to write whose remnants are mostly left behind as well and doesn’t get washed off completely.


The challenge of increasing awareness of handwashing has led Savlon to a simple yet ingenious idea – introducing soap in the chalk that the children use to write on their slates!!! So when they wash their hands even with plain water before meals, the soap in the chalk lathers up leading to a handwash scenario. This short-term campaign can be a successful way to bring about a behaviour change and inculcate hand washing as habit.


You can watch the video about the lovely initiative on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWUlWEfJ1k

#SavlonSwasthIndia

Summer 2016 – Magical time spent at HK!!

Picture2

Summer holidays are THE time of the year which is spent doing a lot of activities and the main attraction is our annual holiday J

This year we selected Hong Kong mainly because my son, Amogh just turned 5 and we thought it was the right age for him to enjoy Disneyland J

So we set aside 10 days to cover HK, Macau and Disneyland (2 days exclusively for Disneyland J)

We did pack in a lot in each day but also incorporated some leisure days to relax as well. Following is the itinerary we followed which worked really well for us:

  1. Day 1: We landed in the morning around 9:30 am at HK. We ventured out in the evening to The Peak. We reached the Peak by the tram, visited Madame Tussauds and the 3D Museum all located in the same building. Also the same building houses a 360 degree view of HK. These were easily covered in 3-4 hours comfortably. 3D museum is a recent addition and was a relatively new concept. Madame Tussauds doesn’t house as many Asian celebrities as its London and Singapore counterparts.
  2. Day 2: We explored Ocean park. It is a large area and needs time to cover. Its great for kids. It houses the Giant Panda, Penguins and many many more animals. There are designated feeding time for the various animals which if interested you can explore. The biggest attraction for us was the Dolphin show. That was the cherry on the cake for us J
  3. Day 3: We headed off to Macau in the ferry. Excellent ride. We checked into 4 Seasons hotel and explored the city. We visited the Ruins of St Paul’s, Museum of Macau (which is right next to the ruins), the Grand Prix museum (me being a diehard F1 fan – esp Schumi’s) and the wine museum (which was in the same building as the Grand Prix museum). We limited our sightseeing to these places. In the evening we attended Franz Harrary’s magic show which was worth every penny spent. We were lucky that Franz was present in person himself to conduct the show!! J

A special note on 4 Seasons Hotel. Their service was awesome. They provided a Spiderman toothbrush and paste, special blue color slippers and small seating stool and bath robe for my son. These were small things but delighters for us and my son. A Happy child = A Happy Holiday J

  1. Day 4: We started the day with Shrekfast which is a breakfast buffet + interaction with characters from Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train my Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. It was an absolute treat and surprise for my son. We enjoyed too. The breakfast spread was good and most of the menu was themed around the various characters. Then we explored the Venetian hotel cum mall which houses almost all the big brands and then enjoyed the Gondola ride in the mini Venice they have set up J. In the evening we attended the Dancing Water show. It was a brilliant show – a treat to the eyes and such brilliant performances!! We were lucky to get 1st row seats which ensured we were splashed with water during some parts of the show!! That was a delight given the heat!! J Also it allowed the actors to interact with us during the show
  2. Day 5: We returned to HK via ferry but unfortunately it was raining and hence the ride was very choppy!! We relaxed that evening!
  3. Day 6: This was a relaxed day. We purposely avoided too much sight seeing over the weekend to avoid crowds. In the evening we ventured out to the Space Museum which had an interesting space related 3D show which kids enjoyed! We experienced heavy rainfalls and got stuck in them too!! We availed of the MTR as well to commute faster and get a local flavor! Then we visited the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade for the renowned music and light show in the night. But frankly, the music and light show wasn’t really that great. We ate dinner at Saravana Bhavan but the food again wasn’t as great as in its Indian restaurants.
  4. Day 7: Another relaxed day. We went out with my friend to have breakfast at Starbucks. Then we proceeded to Stanley market, did some shopping at the local market, had lunch at Pizza Express and then back home J
  5. Day 8: We proceeded to Lantau island which houses the Big Buddha and Disneyland. We checked into the Hollywood Hotel. We availed of the Disneyland train to reach the cable car for Bug Buddha. The train is really pretty because it has Mickey ears on the coaches and all different Mickey characters within. It has a lounge seating which is also lovely. The cable car ride was lovely. We took a crystal cabin one way (which has a transparent floor J). We ate at the Hollywood hotel. All the meals at Hollywood Hotel and Disneyland Hotel are themed around the Mickey characters J. Kids are given special cutlery and plates and bowls which is really awesome!
  6. Day 9: We availed of “Breakfast with Chef Mickey” which entailed breakfast and photo session with Mickey in a chef’s coat and cap J Soooper cute J Then we proceeded to our 1st day at the Disneyland park. We had a lovely time with all areas well designated and characters interspersed across to spread out the crowd as well. As we went on a weekday, the crowd was relatively less. So our max waiting time at the rides was around 20 mins which is very low. As we had planned 2 days at Disneyland Park, we were able to cover all the areas leisurely without any hurry. We watched the Lion King show which was spectacular!! The quality of international performers is outstanding!!
  7. Day 10: We availed of the breakfast at Disneyland Hotel which entailed the presence of some more characters – Minnie, Goofy, Pluto. Then to our final day at the Disneyland Park. We also saw the customary parade at 3:30 PM in which the visitors are also encouraged to participate and Amogh did too J. We also availed of the Disneyland train around the park. There was a show called “Mickey and the Wondrous Book” which was spectacular on so many counts!! Beautiful visuals, 3D impact and a showcase of all of Disney’s stories!!! Creative way of showcasing their properties!

We left Disneyland Park with a heavy heart. As my husband rightly said “There is a sadness felt when leaving the Disneyland Park which is not felt for any other park”. Am looking to the addition of “Iron Man” game by end of this year

Our experience with Disneyland was awesome but if only their hotel staff was more congenial and happy when interacting with visitors the experience could be way more superior. After all they are the first in line visitors come in contact with.

  1. Day 11: We took a flight back to India!!

 

The trip was brilliant and we have made awesome memories during this trip!

If you plan to travel to HK some things you need to keep in mind:

  • If you are a vegetarian, food might be a concern for you unless you are staying in a big hotel with varieties of veg and non veg foods. Some local restaurants do heed your request to make a dish veg by not adding the meat
  • HK is expensive so use the Klook app to get good discounts on entry tickets to various places
  • The Disneyland hotels offer good room + park entry rates
  • The city is very well connected by its public transport system. So do make use of the same to save money and also get to interact with the locals

Do let me know of interesting places you have visited and even your experience in HK if you have visited the same!!

 

Engaged Kids = Happy and Free Moms!!

summer

 

As the summer holidays approach, all mothers start scouting for summer camps and a plethora of classes to keep their kids engaged. This is of course to keep their hyperactivity in check. But more so I sometimes wonder if it is not to relieve ourselves of the time required to be spent with them. Do we ever ask ourselves – is this what our kids want?

Summer holidays are the time for kids to have fun, without any specific routine, visit grandparents (if not in the same city), enjoy a lot of free play which they otherwise are unable to do.

Above all, this is also the time you get to have those conversations and spend quality time with your kids which is impossible on regular working days. And it really isn’t as cumbersome as it seems :). You can have as much fun as your kid.

Some ideas which I am putting to use this summer vacation are (in addition to the annual holiday):

  1. Regular playdates with  friends (at the park or someone’s house)- this keeps the kids engaged with their friends and also helps us mommies catch up. So its a win-win situation for all.
  2. Visit places of interest – museums, parks in different parts of the city. These places are generally out of bounds on school days owing to the schedules of the child. This will broaden their horizons and yours too!
  3. Picnic at the beach – Nothing better in summers than to reach the beach early morning with a picnic basket and spend 2-3 hours before the sun is at its peak. It provides a lot of opportunities for free play. If other kids and parents can join- nothing like it! The more the merrier!! And its rejuvenating for us as well!!
  4. Farm visit – Today’s children hardly understand the concept of a farm. So some of us mothers have arranged a farm visit during a weekend. Its a learning+fun opportunity fir kids and an awesome way for us parents to have fun as well!!
  5. Visit grandparents  – My parents live in Kolkata. So in the summers around 10-15 days are spent there. Its great for the kids to interact with their grandparents and learn new things from them and we too get some time to relax as a payoff 🙂
  6. At home – worksheets are not as boring as they sound! Include cut-paste activities, reading and writing, painting (allow them to get messy) – these pique their interest. Also games are a lovely way to interact with your kids while having fun and also improve their attention span :). Else, just relax with their favorite movie enjoyed with a big box of popcorn 🙂

There are learnings embedded in all these activities which are more important life skills and cannot be taught in any classroom. These also help you spend quality time with kids which is a dire need currently.

Even for working women, some of the above can be put into action if not all!

Let children be children and enjoy their summer holidays as we did without the pressure of summer camps, mid brain activation classes etc. Lets rediscover our childhood through them

Do let me know how you are planning to spend your child’s summer vacation 🙂

 

My decision to be a Mother was right!

As a mother, you would agree, we never really know what its like to be a mother before you actually deliver a child. It seems like a rosy picture perfect life with a cute bundle of joy, lots of cuddling, turning up perfectly dressed at birthday parties and play dates….of course then reality hits you!!

No one warns you about the difficulty of breast feeding, the sleepless nights, living in pyjamas, loose t shirts, living like a zombie – definitely for the first 3-4 months at least…

But, the perks outweigh all the troubles we undertake – the sweet baby smell, the cuddling and kissing, the delightful massaging and bathing ritual, watching the munchkins attain their milestones – turning, crawling, walking, baby talk….there are such endless moments which are the essential joys of motherhood 🙂

Motherhood is definitely tough – times are different from those we grew up in, challenges are extremely difficult and quite unforeseen at times; as a first time mother, there is always a doubt on your own decisions which somehow I have not managed to outgrow yet, I believe I will keep learning always (there is no end to it)..

These challenges seem miniscule due to the physical affection bestowed on me by my son- multiple hugs and kisses (even when I am disciplining him) which is a constant affirmation for me – I definitely made the right decision to become a MOM!!

Signing off now, as my son calls me for our “hugging and kissing” sleep ritual …:):)

My Child’s tryst for Independence

My 5 year old son started going to play group since he was 1.5 years old…my intention behind the same was to ensure that he sees and realizes that here are other human beings other than his mamma and daddy :)..that worked well..his social skills improved, his speech improved and he has learnt a lot which probably I might not have been able to teach him at home.

Being independent myself, I always wanted my son to be independent as well…so it gave me immense happiness to see him doing his work on his own – putting his clothes in the wishing machine, opening his socks and shoes and putting them at their respective places, putting his plate and spoon to wash after eating..and the list goes on. But now his independence has gone to another level…he wants to walk independently on the road, wants to decide his own routine, says ‘NO’ vehemently if he doesn’t want something…also goes to the extent of throwing tantrums to achieve the same.

On one hand, I love the fact that he says NO and wishes to be ‘the man of his world’…but the other actions are indications of him wanting to branch and try and face the world on his own without our help…. I trust him to do a great job at that..but what do I do about the mother within me who is so skeptical of the world around her child which is unpredictable, untrustworthy??

Given today’s scenario, I really feel the need to be the 21st century’s Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot…to ensure no harm befalls my child….there are mistakes that he definitely needs to make to learn some critical lessons in life …but I would like to safeguard him from the other bigger errors which might be led by the environment and not my child… Don’t fear my child….your mummy and daddy are hear to fear for you and protect you…you enjoy life to the fullest and branch out in any way that you wish !!!!!!

Forced Feeding vs Pleasurable Feeding

Iam sure all mothers have gone through this conflicting feeling within themselves….should I be a “good mother” and ensure my child eats 4 square meals or should I be the “easy going mother” who feeds her child when he/she is hungry??

I have faced this conflict within myself since the day my son started eating semi solids….I have never forced him to eat at regular intervals…I do give him food during mealtimes and if he is hungry he does ask for food. He is fussy but enjoys what he eats …I dont even feed him (he likes to eat on his own since he started eating solids) 🙂

This is completely contradictory to how I was raised as a child….I was required to eat at all mealtimes irrespective of whether I was hungry or not and my disliked foods were forced on me for the “goodness” that they bore…but all that it led to was complete hatred towards food…

I started discovering the pleasures of food and eating only post marriage where food wasnt forced on me and I started relishing what I ate..luckily this progressed into my pregnancy which has been my “healthiest eating” phase where I ate all the vegetables and fruits out of sheer happiness and liking…..that seems to have passed on to my son….

He is not a big eater but he enjoys what he eats…even though his mealtimes are irregular (which Iam sure will stabilize with age)…

I have been under constant pressure from elders for letting him be and not being the “good mother” who feeds her child for 1 hour each mealtime irrespective whether her child is hungry or otherwise….

Iam willing to be this “bad mother” as I find my son loving food which I dont find in many children nowadays….or should I be the “good mother”???

To each her own I say 🙂

Confidence vs Self Doubt

As a parent, Iam always self doubting my job as a mother…Am I doing enough? Am I exposing my child to all elements that he should be exposed to at this age? Hope I am doing the right thing for him to progress in life without any hindrances…and so on

Iam sure as a parent all of us go through these feelings which get further enhanced when we interact with other parents and hear about all that they are doing. A couple of things that I have learnt over the last 3.5 years of being a mum is that no parent is perfect. What is important is your intention behind what you do for your child.

You need not have to show off or get fancy things for your kids to prove yourself as a good parent. Even daily interactions with your child teach them a lot of things with respect to behavior, attitude, self respect which will serve to be life learning lessons for them. Doses of cuddles, hugs and kisses regularly lead to a happy and content child….

Isnt that what we want finally? To raise a child who is happy, confident and loving :).

Lets unleash ourselves away from the societal norms and identifiers of being a good parent and follow our hearts and be confident of ourselves as parents :):)