Archive for May, 2010

The Gift of Green

Its all about conditioning. You are what you are because of the the conditioning at home- to  a large extent. A lot of what you were exposed to in your childhood remains with you. Just think of all the good things you were introduced to as a child and as you grew up how these little nothings grew on you and stayed with you, as a habit.

So just imagine the impact children this generation will have on growing up, if you give them the gift of green. Catch them young, and inculcate green habits today, and secure a beautiful world for them. Teach them to love, nurture and appreciate. Here are my top 5 green things to do with your child –

1. Put together a garden kit with a little pot, a small shovel, a few soaked  bean sprouts and soil. Get them to plant the sprouts in the soil. teach them to water every day. And watch with wonder, the amazement in their eyes when they see the sprouts sprout!

2. Give a weekly prize for saving paper.

3. Encourage them to use a slate for practicing their alphabets.

4. Teach them not to waste. Not with a scolding, with a story may be? (Remember, your mom scolded you for wasting, but it had little impact on you 🙂 )

5. Recycle your toys – donate them, pass them over to friend’s kids, exchange toys your child is bored of with other kids’ toys. Am sure mothers will be more than willing to do this instead of making weekly/fortnightly shopping rounds at toy shops.

5. And last but most certainly not the least, buy them eco-friendly toys.

These are little things, but remember these things will amount to big changes in future.

Stay green!

Contributed by The Ketchup Girl


How important are toys for your child

How many times have you ended up buying the most expensive toys for your little munchkins only to find them more interested in a broken pencil, a steel spoon, a stray piece of paper? Plenty of times, yah?

The fact is that kids play by themselves with whatever objects they find around them. For all you know your toddler finds a little block of red wood, the most fascinating thing he has ever encountered, or your fingers for that matter. Wiggle them a little and watch your wee baby’s eyes widen and face break into the happiest chuckle.

Toys are mere facilitators. Doesn’t mean they have no role and are a waste of money. Heh, not at all. On the contrary, what I am driving at is the importance of child initiated play and the role toys have in it. Observe your little one and you’ll see them invent a whole lot of games by themselves. When they do that you should  introduce toys to aid the process. Toys can be great stimulators and help in enhancing your child’s all round development – motor skills, cognitive skills etc. To give you a quick example- remember how your kid dragged that pillow all over the house? May be if you introduced toys like  a train with a string/ a dog with a leash/a wooden horse/a cart etc, it will have the intended effect on your child’s mind. What you did only just furthered your child’s creativity. My girl, cuts her toy cake once, everyday. I gave her that one, when she turned two and had just enjoyed cutting her second birthday cake. With that toy cake, its a little unimaginable the kind of stuff she churns out- birthday parties, tea parties, quick snack for her ‘hungry baby’ and a few days back, she had me buy it from her ‘bakery’.

Having said that, please bear in mind, to introduce age appropriate toys and more importantly not to over stimulate them. There is not point in dumping toys of all shapes and sizes and giving them little room to discover each toy at a time.

We know you love your kid and want to give the world and nothing less. But may be you should re-consider your strategy of buying the entire store at a go! Like clothes, children out grow toys too. And when you introduce too many toys at a time, it might just result in the opposite- instead of engaging them, your child might just get plain bored, or as it happens often, stick to one toy leaving behind a mound of toys you affectionately bought for him last evening!

So, it might be a good idea to introduce one/few toys at a time, depending on the stage your child is in. Ensure the toy you are introducing are non-toxic, colourful , age appropriate and stimulating. And like we have harped earlier on this blog- recycle them! Children do not understand the meaning of new/old. Its in our head :).

May be, we can help you?

Contributed by The Ketchup Girl

Ma. I still go back to her.

I was gifted a hundred books about motherhood, in my baby shower. And when my girl was born, I think I subscribed to just about all the parenting sites online and got on a myriad mommy forums, read blogs, networked on Circle of Moms on Facebook. And of course, there was the mighty Google! You see, I just didn’t want to take a chance. I needed to know just about everything a parent/mom needed to know about their newborn. Who wants to suck at motherhood, now, tell me?

But, wait. Did I forget to mention something? Where’s ma? Yes, the same one who pushed me out of her over 3 decades back? Shouldn’t she be the first one on my must-consult list on motherhood? Actually she was- just that she was taken for grated. She was a given, after all. And might I add, despite the information overload and the treasure trove of knowledge available online, I always fell back on what Ma had to say.I had ma’s number on fast dial, so each time my girl cried, out went a call and in no time, I had not just advice, but so much comfort and reassurance that I was doing just fine as a mom. I needn’t panic, just yet.

I talk of Mum, because, I think all that I really learnt of Motherhood was wholly from her. And she was carrying in her the age-old ‘nuskas’ and tricks that were free hand-me-downs from generations before her. Sure, I had my set of qualms about traditional methods vis-a-vis modern, American Certified Pediatricians’ approach. But as I gained more and more experience as a Mother, I realised that the greatest lessons I learnt about Motherhood were not so much about whether water was an ok thing to give or not to an infant, but about patience, love, and perseverance. And these lessons, Ma taught me.

My mother is not modern in the literal sense, but is well ahead of her times. To me, Ma was my Google. She taught me what the online forums or even this little bit of maternal rant can’t teach. She taught me to be calm. She taught me the meaning of freedom. I knew along with what the word meant, it came with a whole bunch of responsibilities. She taught me about spirituality and righteousness, in her own little ways. And I try to instill these things in my 4 year old.

With every phase of my little one, Ma passes on to me Motherhood-isms, which to her is more a way of life.  I hope I pass them on to my mini-me with as much expertise as her !

While I am still active on every online forum and discuss ardently about issues pertaining to toddlers and babies, I still always run back to Ma first for any advice at all, on Motherhood.

Isn’t it rightly said, ‘As is the mother, so is her daughter’.

Hope you all had a great Mother’s day!

Contributed by The Ketchup Girl

Bed-Time Stories

Do you read to your lil one? Chances are that you do. But have you ever indulged in creating your own stories from your mini-champ’s everyday life and narrated back to them? Being an every night bed-time ritual, I’ll tell you, its one of the most fun filled bonding exercise with the tots. Besides, it gives them so much dough for imagination that soon, you’ll find them adding to the stories you tell them. My 4 year old and I don’t just tell each other stories- we build them together. I tell her a sentence and she adds another and together we make a hilarious, and sometimes stories with ‘morals’. Well, I am not one for preachy stories, especially the ones that instills fear in them. But the stories we make, are stuff that should indeed get published :D. (Now, that’s only a proud mother boasting :D)

Thought I’ll share a few fun things to do that makes for great bedtime conversations with your buttercup :-)!

1. Pick up an incident from that day – a fun, naughty, happy incident. Pick an incident that might have had a great impression on him/her. For example a play-time tiff, a birthday party she enjoyed etc.

2. Use the same story line with an ending that will make her happy. Its important that they sleep with happy thoughts. The happier the story ending, the better it is. Create happy images- a pink fairy with a soft pillow was sleeping with her favourite little friend ..

3. Sprinkle your story with big words. Big, complicated words amaze them. Even if they do not understand at first, it registers in their mind and with repeated use it makes sense to them.

4. Be funny. Make sounds. Twist your face. Widen your eyes. Use your hands.

5. Egg them with questions. Like, so do you think the thief escaped or got caught? Trust me, you’ll be amazed at their imagination and the outcomes they want from the story. My little one never lets the thief get caught by the police. Its always her dad that does the job! 😀

6. Create characters that inspire them- give them a name. Not a character from TV  or books. A character that you and your child create together.

Try this and watch your tot stump you with his/her absolutely resplendent imagination!

Wishing you happy times ahead with your bundles of joy!

Contributed by The Ketchup Girl

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