Raising Creative, Curious and Healthier Children

The American Academy of Paediatrics has been recommending doctors to write prescriptions that mention play. Play is extremely important for the promotion and development of cognitive, emotional, cognitive, language and self-regulation skills. This will help them manage themselves, foster relationships between them and parents and manage stress as well. It is only when play is made an integral part of the life that children grown into creative, curious as well as healthier individuals.

vse-Raising Creative, Curious and Healthier Children

There are many schools which are so much academic excellence oriented that they tend to cut down on extra-curricular activities like art, music, physical education and more. This can also happen due to insufficient infrastructure facilities. Another distraction from play is the heavy use of media in daily life. This includes smartphones, tablets, television, play station and more. This has led to a decrease in outdoor play to a lot extent.

Though, it does not mean that media is all that bad. If done properly, as in use of age appropriate media through co watching or co playing can be beneficial, yes. At school the teachers need to use the method of playful learning where the child follows his/her own curiosity. Games like peek-a-boo is a real good idea when you child is in infancy stage. As per expert doctors, play is the best thing a parent can do for the child and it helps the child hone social skills, maths and language skills as well as reduce stress levels. Playing with parents is actually helpful not only to parents but to children as well.

A survey carried out in around 2012 revealed a study of over 9K school going kids and that only half of them went outdoors to play or for walk during the day with one of the parent. There were umpteen reasons like safety issues, inaccessibility of parks and academic pressure. Many schools cut down physical activity and sports due to studies. This issue has already called for a national debate and there are new bills already passed towards the increase in play time in schools.

Well, understand that it is play only that can help your little flower blossom to the fullest. So, even when you do concentrate on academics, try giving ample time for play for your child.

Vydehi School of Excellence – An active child shows interest in everything. They display happiness and feel good. They perform well academically too. Physical activities are a must for children to make them active all throughout the day. At least an hour of physical activities per day is a must. Read more

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Screen Time Limits Required for Parents Too – Pediatricians

We’ve been reading about limiting screen time for children and how important it is to do so for the development of these children during their growing up years. But, as per pediatricians the same goes for adults too. They also need to restrict themselves from being on their phones or tablets or electronic gadgets all the time when off. An off hours-time or a timeout for these gadgets is needed as per JAMA pediatrics published resource.

The primary reason behind the same is that Children always pick up stuff from their parents. They pick up what they see their parents doing, the way they speak or behave. So, if parents themselves are hooked to gadgets and tell their children to stay away from them, it does not really make a lot of sense, isn’t it? Therefore, particularly when it comes to habits related to smartphone, they very much tend to pick up this habit too.

Screen Time Limits Required for Parents

As per a developmental behavioral pediatrician’s own research, parents who keep themselves tied up to their smartphones have very less parent- child interactions and even increased rate of conflicts with their kids. Over time they even find it difficult to manage behavior of their children.

As per her a bunch of researches she did, parents who watched more television had kids also doing the same. Also, if television was in the background on then it affected their interaction as well as play of kids negatively.

As per her and co-author of University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, parents need to give a serious thought about their relationship with their smart phone or gadgets. A good idea is rather to go for a walk when feeling stressed rather than getting hooked to the smart phone. Many of the parents to get over office stress, to avoid family interactions that are difficult or other similar reasons try to get engaged on purpose to their gadgets. So, whenever you are on phone try to keep track of the time spent be it on social media or email checking, etc.

Matter of the fact is that multitasking ain’t easy and many a times affects efficiency negatively. Same is the case with parenting say researchers. They also recommend that parents find a solution and a time when their time with their family and kids is not affected and they can do their phone related stuff as well. They need organize their time schedule and say strict no to smartphones during mealtimes, bedtime and specific time allocated for spending with family or doing certain tasks and activities together.

As per another researcher parental screen time can pose a safety issue for children as children could be left unsupervised at that time plus it could also take away the time that could be rather spent with children in a face to face chat.

In a nutshell, parents are the role models for most to the kids and keeping the point in mind, parents first need to improve their own behavior in order for children to follow.

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Do Genes Influence Academic Success?

A study has revealed that genes influence as much as over 60% on academic performance even after considering intelligence of a human being. We’ve have come across studies that connect happiness, health and occupational stature to life trajectory and achievements but this study reveals something completely different. Does that mean we are born smart or dumb? Not exactly but yes, it does mean that genes do have a substantial influence on your academic success. Almost two third of individual differences in achievements in school can be explained on the basis of their DNA as per the post-doctoral fellow of psychology, Margherita Malanchini. This study is helpful in a sense that it can be used to identify children who are in dire need of early intervention because if there are genetic issues related to academic success they are bound to stay through the schooling years.

genes influence academic success

The study was carried out over 6000 pairs of twins from primary and uptil the end of compulsory education. Genetic factors influenced as much as 70% while in twins it was 25% due to the shared environment and 5% due to non -shared environment factors. But, a significant drop in grades was non due to change in non-shared environment factors.

A group of researchers have worked on 1200 differences in genes that are used to measure the level of education people achieve. As per these researchers, their findings do shed light on the role played in human behaviour by genes.

These researchers have studied the educational history of over one million people across the age group of 30 plus from 15 different European countries. When they tried to analyze people on their mathematical abilities as per their education level, they could point out to many genetic associations to these traits.

Well that does not mean, that an individual cannot become a successful person if he or she does not have it in their genes but yes it does tell us that genetics is powerful enough and that the study can help researchers explore in depth the relationship between environment and genetics for shaping the academic trajectory of an individual.

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How to Deal with the Fact that Your Kid is LGBTQ?

It really a testing time for parents, when they come to know that their child is a lesbian, bisexual, gay or a transgender. However, broad minded you are, it does come as a shock to most of the parents. Well, understand that it is quite normal to feel that way. Anger, sadness, scare are all valid feelings that are bound to feel as a human. Though, there have been quite a few instances where parents have even felt happy for a reason that their child has opened up to them. In India, also more than in the west, parents find it quite difficult to understand the fact and digest it the same. But, most of parents are more scared about the outside world. Because as a parent they might even accept the fact but they always worry over how the outside world is going to treat their child.

How to Deal with the Fact that Your Kid is LGBTQ

Why go far, Bollywood is known to be an integral part of every Indian family and many Indian films are known to have made mockery of sexuality and characters that are gay. But, Parenting has the power to change things and situations and mold your child to grow up into a confident youth.

Acceptance – Once you come to know of the sexuality of your child, accept it even with a heavy heart but do it. Acceptance is the first step to make your child feel safe and supported inside his house. Talk to them in an age appropriate way and if you have more than one child, do not be bias to the one who is a different sexuality. If you are not comfortable talking to your child find a counsellor or an adult who can do so.

Get Familiar with LGBTQ terms – Never use any offensive language or sensitive LGBTQ terms, however angry you are or whatsoever the reason be. Make them feel that they are equal to other genders in every way.

Build a safety circle – Try to build a community support for your child, so that if ever the child is experiencing bullying issues then they can provide support. It’s like building a circle of safety that includes your reliable friends, relatives and family members.

Discuss about relationships – Tell them that they are not the only one in the world, but there are many like them and they can find friends who understand them and even close friends.

Correct others in front of your child – If others tend to pass negative or derogatory comments against your child, correct them there and then even if it means doing it in front of your child. This will only reinforce that you accept your children the way they are and also teaches them how to tackle these things calms and keeping your cool.

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Bullying – A Topic that Needs a Conversation with kids

Even if we try to avoid this word, the fact is that Bullying is prevalent in the schools in spite of the vigilance. Particularly when kids start school after summer vacation or get into a new school, this is one scare that does make rounds not only in the minds of kids but parents alike. But, its only conversation with your child that can help you reach out to them with these issues.

Bullying

Tell Them You’ve Been There too.
When you want to reach out to your child, you need to be on the same page as that of the child. Then only can you and the child connect? When it comes to bullying, you can reach out to the child stating that you’ve been in the same shoes as theirs and that you’ve trodden the same path when in your childhood days. It’s nothing new, it was there, is there and the only way is through, but smartly. Sharing your own stories makes kids comfortable and helps them feel that they are not the only one being bullied and feel supported.

Don’t Judge them. Listen to Them
Talk to them in a way they feel safe and comfortable speaking out their heart. You may directly ask them to share their feelings with you, without any worries. Tell them you just want to listen out to their say and that they can share anything that is on their mind without feeling awkward or scared. This helps in empowering them because you are respecting their voice. Once they share their thing, it’s important to feel it from within because it could be heartfelt or even outrageous as well.

Parental intervention – When you are on the side of the child being bullied or you’re the parent of the child who is into bullying, both ways you have to handle your child because your actions and words are going to help them work on theirs. So, if your child is into bullying he/ she needs to know how their words and actions can be life-changing and harming the life of that person not only for that moment but for years to come. You can ask them to apologize with their heart and not repeat your deeds again. You need not blame them or yourself but handle it calmly and critically enough. Tell them that apologizing might just help the people they hurt, feel better. For parents whose kids are going through bullying, can share their life experiences with them and also share their own feelings of scare and disgust, etc with the kids. They can also tell the kids that these things do happen and they pass. You need not take them to your heart and that life is going to be okay, and there will be good friends you are going to meet along.

Engage Your Child – This can help. If your child is engaged in activities he or she loves, there is less chance of any distractions as the child concentrates and channelizes energy into the right direction. Hence, enrolling your child in extra-curricular activities like sports, music, art or craft and more is a good way to also get them connected with like-minded friends.

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Well, conversations that are healthy and instill confidence in your children can help them stand strong for themselves and find their way through the bullying.

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Parental Conflict Affects Mental Health of Children

When a couple gets into fights seldom they think about the presence of their child there and how it could affect the mental health of the child adversely. Well, many of them aren’t really aware of this fact and many of the literate are aware and try to be mindful of the same, but fail at times due to their lack to control their emotions at that time. Well, here’s a study which reveals that brawls in a marriage tend to affect your child more adversely than a divorce.

Parental Conflict Affects Mental Health of Children

Around 30% of the children who witness parental conflicts at home are said to develop behavioral issues. This includes their emotional and social skills as well as academics. This can carry forward through their adulthood lasting a life time and even through the next generation.

Children of all ages irrespective of age are affected due to the consistent arguments amongst parents. A study has revealed that babies as young as 6 months of age show higher symptoms of physiological distress when subjected to inter parental conflicts. Outside it affects through high levels of hostility, violence, aggression and inside it’s through anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and in severe cases suicidal feelings.

The report of the study was published in 2017, by the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF). It says that unresolved conflict between parents can cause serious harm to child’s early development, mental health and all through life and beyond.

The fascinating part is that this inter parental conflict impacts on the father and child relationship more than mother and child. Though while devising ways to address the issue simply considering parent child relationship would not get you positive outcomes. Even couple relationships need to be taken into account and supported.

Another critical part to teach our children to cope or manage conflict and learn to move on. Well, all parents want best for their children but life is life and marital issues can crop up into your marriage anytime. The idea is to think about the whole family and not just individual life. Communicating with each other and getting external support to resolve issues while giving priority to your child’s well-being is the key.

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Gentle Parenting – The New Age Way to Non Misbehaving Kids

Also known as positive discipline, gentle parenting abstains from giving away any rewards or punishments to encourage good behavior amongst children.

No Compliments or Rewards
Many parents offer their children rewards for doing things or bribes may be in form of lollipops, TV shows, toys, etc. They even use statements like good girl or good boy. In positive discipline method of parenting, parents need to abstain from the above.

No Punishment
Parents also tend to punish kids on misbehaving or wrongdoing by giving a timeout, smacking, scolding, shouting or yelling at them. Positive parenting is about avoiding this too.

Using positive discipline, the idea is to make children empathetic, calm and capable of controlling themselves. Offering rewards or punishments to children apparently teaches them to behave in certain ways, for the purpose of either avoiding punishment or bagging a reward.

The New Age Way to Non Misbehaving Kids

The Gentle Parenting Approach
Positive discipline is about encouraging healthy partnership with children.

  • No Commands – The approach involves giving choices to children than commands.
    Eg. Do you want to brush your teeth first or wear your pajamas?
  • Play way Approach – This involves using play way styles to ask your kids to do stuff
    Eg. Let’s play a game of toy arrangement.
  • Concentrate on Behavior – Sometimes, parents tend to label a child as naughty, quiet, etc. But, more importantly, it’s about the behavior. You may explain to the child how you feel about something.
    Example – I feel frustrated when I have to arrange your clothes and shoes that you throw here and there.
  • Negotiate Limits – Negotiating limits can work well with inculcating positive discipline. For example – How many more minutes before we leave the park?
  • Have Trust – Trust your child and it applies to the behavior as well. If the child is misbehaving, it may be an indicator of some needs that are not met. Try to read between the lines.
  • Parental Timeouts – When angry, the idea is to give yourself a timeout and not the child. Reset yourself and then talk to the child.
  • Treat children as Partners – If a child is involved as an equal partner in the family, he or she has that sense of belonging and even develops responsibility. This also means that the parents apologize, if they go wrong somewhere.
  • No force – This approach is about avoiding from telling children to say sorry or thank-you. It even means not forcing to hug seniors if the child does not want to and listen to why he/she does not want to meet, hug or talk to the particular elder.

Benefits of Gentle Parenting
The believers in this methodology feel that children who are raised using the positive discipline or gentle parenting style tend to be sensitive to needs of others because their own needs are met, they are respected and treated as equal partners in the family.
Well, there is definitely more effort involved in raising children irrespective of using this method but rewards and punishments are only short terms solutions as per a child behavior management expert. Positive parenting helps children become productive members of the family

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Stay at Home Mom’s vs Working Mom’s – The Better Choice?

With the changing times, the society has changed and more and more women are working hand in hand with the male member of the family. While career is at the forefront for men and women both, it is the women who mostly have to choose between a career and the family even today.

Stay at home mom or working mom? Who is better – This is a never ending debate and every-one has a different say when it comes to what works better for the family. There are many who feel working moms can raise their children better and then there are those who feel stay at home moms raise their children better.

Home Moms vs Working Moms

Studies have shown some working women feeling guilty of not being able to give time to their kids due to work priorities. These are women who were raised by stay at home moms and have had experienced good upbringing. Then, there are women who were raised by working mothers and had their share of experiences of living without the mother around throughout the day. Many of them hated being looked after by outsiders while those looked after by an elderly family member like grand-parents had lesser complaints. On the flip side there are women who were raised by working women and are themselves alright working as well. Furthermore, there are stay at home moms, who want their daughters to grow up and pursue their dreams rather than staying at home. Everyone has their own reasons based on their experiences around what is better for good upbringing of kids.

While stay at home mom is definitely able to give more time to the kids, these days even working women get a chance to balance out their home and work because companies are offering more flexibility to women at work which includes maternity leave and work from home facilities. This ways women can raising your kids while being independent and pursuing your dreams. You can also contribute to the income of the household, thus raising the living standards and supporting your family financially.

There is no good or bad, or right or wrong when it comes to making a choice between staying at home because there are a lot of factors that govern these choices besides individual freedom and thinking. It’s your choice whether you want to be there all the time for your kids or you want to work in a flexible working environment which offers sufficient work life balance, enough to give your kids the time they need and deserve.

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Raise Kind Kids – 5 Child Rearing Techniques from Harvard

With the changing times, we humans are becoming more and more selfish and self-centred. Inculcating kindness, care and compassion in kids is becoming challenging than ever. Heavy exposure to media and pampering from parents, is turning kids into harsh and stubborn ones. Well, no parent wants their kids to be unkind as kids or as adults.

So, the question arises – is there a way out of all this?

Yes, there is a way out, but, primarily it is the parent who as the first role model for a kid, needs to display kindness,  for them to observe and pick it up.

If we go by statistics, a survey of 10000 students in the age group of middle school and high-school in the USA reveals 80% parents teach their children to concentrate on high achievements and personal happiness above kindness and caring. Off-course, the statistics throw light on the current state of mind of teenagers as well. But, the good news is that things can be brought under control. If you want your kids to turn out to be kind and caring as kids as well as adults, here are some techniques coming to your help straight from Harvard.

kind kids

Be a Role Model – Even if you are not a perfect parent, you can always be a role model for your kids. If you show kindness to others, your kids will automatically inculcate it. So be kind yourself before teaching them to do so.

Practicing is the Key – Nobody is born kind or perfect, right? It’s you as a parent who needs to instill it by way of practice. Try and give opportunities to your kids to practice acts of kindness like sharing their old toys to poor orphans, taking a juniors homework, to name a few.

Feelings Managment – As a parent you need to tell your kids that getting angry, feel anxious or jealous is quite normal in human beings. Further, you need to help them manage these destructive feelings efficiently,  based on their individual personalities. If needed you may seek the help of psychologists in school or outside.

Two Vital Skills – The two vital skills that will help your kids build a wider circle of concern are zoom in and zoom out. Zoom in is about concentrating when others are talking viz. listening to them. While zoom out is looking at the bigger picture and learning to put human experience in that context.

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Blame Game – Many parents, try finding faults in their kids and are not ready to introspect themselves around what sort of messages are they actually passing on to their kids. It’s a good idea to question your own behavior and ways first, rather than pointing fingers at your child.

It is not a cake walk definitely, to make your kids understand and instill the behavior of kindness in them, but if you try with full zeal it is quite an achievable feat.

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Is Your Teenager Depressed – Signs and Symptoms?

A statistical study of teenagers says that one in five teenagers is bound to undergo depression during his/her teenage times. Well, teenage is a time of life when you are at the peak of your youth and a lot of changes are happening within you physically as well as mentally. One issue which most parents face is a sort of disconnect between the child and them. This could be due to the age difference or bonding issues. Sometimes the child looks absolutely normal but the inside story could be very different. The child might be experiencing depression and pain. Hence, it is important for parents to keep a connect with their child and observe the child closely to find out if their child is actually well or not.

How to figure out whether the child is depressed, is a common question for parents. Here are few tips to help you know whether your child is caught in the depression trap.

Is Your Teenage Depressed

Self Esteem Issues– Children suffering from depression might experience intense feelings of unworthiness, ugliness, shame, and failure.

Internet/ Phone Addiction – To distract themselves from depression, children may stay online extensively or may be addicted to mobile phone games. But they themselves aren’t aware that in fact, this addiction could further lead to isolation.

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Unacceptable Behavior – Children with depression might exhibit reckless behavior like speeding, unsafe sex, excessive drinking, but to name a few.

Issues at School – Depression can lead to issues like poor attendance in school, feeling aloof, frustration with school-related work, drop in grades and more.

Violence – This issue is more rampant in boys suffering from depression. They turn aggressive, violent and self-harm themselves, besides showing disorders around eating.

Here are a few more symptoms that are common among depressed teens -
1. Feeling sad or hopeless
2. Feeling angry, irritated and hostile
3. Frequent crying
4. Poor performance at school
5. Lack of interest, motivation or enthusiasm
6. Fatigue or low on energy
7. Issues with concentration
8. Detachment from family and friends
9. Aches and pain that cannot be explained
10. Suicidal thoughts

Warning around Suicide

  • Google search history showing searches around suicide, death, pills and weapons
  • Showing reckless and self-harming behavior
  • Speaking about death, suicide even if in a jovial way
  • Giving away favorite stuff
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones
  • Writing poems or stories associated to death

As a parent you observe your child for such behaviors and if you feel that the child is showing any of the alarming signs around suicide act immediately.

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