Why Is Unstructured Play Important For Kids

In today’s times when parents are very much concerned about over all development and even schools offer a holistic approach, structured activities have somehow replaced unstructured or free play for children. Ask parents if their child gets to play, most of them have the excuse of no time available due to study or structured play where kids learn sports like skating, badminton, tennis and more.

Why Is Unstructured Play Important For Kids

Even traditional preschools and kindergartens are into more of structured activities or play and more of indoor ones that too. But a recent study carried out at San Diego State University by Jean Twenge has revealed that there has been a rise in the rates of depression and anxiety in children during the past half a decade. This is due to the lack of unstructured play as well as recreation in kids. The almost wipe away of unstructured play in schools as well as hope has led to children scoring well in exams but increasing levels of anxiety.

Free play forms and integral part of child development. It allows them to explore their own interests and develop them and decreasing social disorders or depression. So how do you use the available time for play that’s not only fun but relaxing and beneficial too? Here are few tips.

  1. Play is Fun – Don’t treat unstructured play very seriously like you do for study or structured play even though it is important to include it in daily activities of your child. Let the time just flow by its own and allow your child to take charge of the same and have a good time playing.

  2. Praise honestly and frequently – Children need some boosting every now and then. It’s motivates them to make new friends, play and try new things too.

  1. Use creative toys – While playing make sure you provide a generous supply of brushes, paints, crayons, clay and more to your kids so they can explore, engage and have a great time.

  1. Do not pressurize - Forcing children in situations they aren’t comfortable with is not a good idea so while into play just let them be and supervise them.

  1. Music and play – Music inspires your imaginative and creative thinking so when playing you might as well play the favorite album of children or let them decide what they want to play.

 

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Kids Under 6 Years Age Should Drink Only Milk And Water As Per A New Guideline

It’s a known fact that infants need to be fed over mother’s milk for first six months and upto 2 years. A new guideline from the nutrition research group of American Heart Association, called Healthy Eating Research in their do’s and don’t’s for kids diet mentioned the need for drinking milk and water for infants and toddlers below 5 years of age.

Kids Under 6 Years Age Should Drink Only Milk And Water

As per their guidelines children below the age of six months need to be fed only on breast or formula milk and water should be given only after seven months.

For infants who are given mothers milk or are fed on formula milk could be given cows milk as well once they are one year old.

The doctors conducting research around toddlers nutrition and diet also said that toddlers need to be fed only milk and water uptil the age of 5 years. Sweetened beverages or products with artificial sweeteners like chocolate shakes etc should not be given to children. They should be kept away from processed food too. Even formulas as well as powders should be avoided. If your kids are provided with juices then it should be less than one glass as less is better.

As per the researchers these guidelines are easy to follow not only for the parents but also help in preventing obesity in children. As such, it’s a fact that childhood obesity is gaining momentum across the world and sugary and processed foods are definitely the root cause.

Apparently kids develop food and drink choices at a young age. So, it is essential to put them into habits of eating healthy food early on so that the same food becomes their lifestyle later on when they grow older.

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All You Need To Know About Article 21 A

The act Article 21 (A) was included in the constitution in the year 2002 and is about the fundamental and free right of children in the age group six to fourteen years. Though it was brought into force from April 1, 2010. Free education as per the RTE act is that every child except the one admitted to school by parent has the right to full time free elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a school formally as per the standards and specifications that are essential.

All You Need To Know About Article 21 A

Lets look through the highlights of act

  1. It is the fundamental right of children in the age group of 6-14 years to get elementary school education in the nearby schools

  2. Provision for students who don’t take admission in schools to be given admission

  3. Clarification about the term compulsory education meaning the government is obligated to take the responsibility of providing free elementary education with compulsory admission, attendance as well as completion of the same for every child mentioned in the above age group.

  4. Even the duties as well as responsibilities of the parents, local authorities and mainly government are also specified in detail around compulsory elementary education, its finances and the responsibilities of State and Central Government.

  5. The prohibitions are also listed and include screening procedures for children, capitation fee, mental harassment as well as private tuition fee.

  6. The constitution also has provision for curriculum development as per constitutions consonance ensuring all round development, child knowledge development and talent building as well as helping the child be free from trauma, fear as well as anxiety.

Well, this initiative has definitely taken India a step forwards in ensuring a rights based framework puts a legal obligation on the Central as well as state governments to implement this policy as per RTE act.

 

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Early Years Are The Most Crucial Years Of A Child’s Life

Grassroots is where we need to put maximum effort so that our child is ready for the adult life. It’s the time we need to work the most so that your child can grow up and manage himself/ herself in the best possible way. Consider it as once in a lifetime opportunity. Hence, you need to make optimum benefit out of it.

Early Years Are The Most Crucial Years Of A Child’s Life

As parent we need to ensure that everything about that food, their habits, their growth and behavior is on track right from the beginning of their life. Well, as far as growth is concerned after 1 year of birth the growth slows down. So, we need to ensure that the child gets proper nutrition in form of breast milk mostly in the first year.

Even the 70% of child’s brain development happens in the first five years and of those the first three are the most critical. These years have the maximum impact of how the child’s life shapes out to be around learning, social and emotional abilities too. Children learn the fastest during their early years and the development is faster if they are given love, care and attention as much as possible.

Every child has a right to grow in an environment that is out of harm’s way and is filled with love with access to nutrition, education, play and health all the way. It is also the responsibility of parents, the community as well as the government to do what it takes to ensure that the child’s fundamental rights are preserved. As per experts if a child is tended by parents who are attuned and good enough, 30% of the times the child develops secure attachment, that helps him or her provide the resilience to face the challenges of life.

So, it is extremely crucial to pay adequate attention to your children in their early years, it’s like creating their roadmap to a happy and content life.

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Safe Diwali For Kids – A Few Tips

Diwali is one of the most celebrated and significant festivals in India. Diwali is a festival of lights and everyone right from kids to the elderly await it all year long. Crackers are also an integral part of Diwali celebrations and kids especially are very eager and fond of them. But, accidents are also a common with children around Diwali. The happiness on faces turns into sadness when such incidences occur. But, these can be avoided by taking few precautionary measures. Here’s run down few tips on avoiding accidents this Diwali and making it a happy one for one and all –

Safe Diwali For Kids – A Few Tips

Quality – Quality of crackers is of utmost importance. See to that so that you ensure safety of your kids at the preliminary level.

Clothes – Wearing cotton clothes is recommended while bursting crackers. Though Diwali is all about wearing new and silk clothes in particular, while lighting the crackers keep it cotton.

Less Noise – Noisy crackers like Bombs not only cause noise pollution, air pollution and disturbance for animals but could be unsafe for children too.

Shoes – Many children light crackers and throw crackers like sparklers here and there. At times children get burnt because they light crackers bare footed. So, children have to wear shoes so their feet are intact and safe from burns.

First aid – Always keep water and first aid handy so that in case of any mishap, quick action could be taken and further damage could be avoided.

Measures – Never light diyas in areas near to upholstery of the house or any fabric. Keep fire crackers safely and away from diyas in order to avoid any kind of mishap.

Supervision – For children supervision is most important. The risk of accidents is increased by multifold if left on their own. So, ensure that your children are lighting up cracker under adult supervision come what may.

Though, even after all the precautions, accidents can occur but taking all the precautions needed makes it a very rare occurrence.

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Old Buses To Be Converted Into Creche’s For Construction Worker Kids

We all have been seeing the construction workers slogging their day out to earn the daily wage that helps them have a meal of the day. We have also seen how the kids of these construction workers are left around by them at the construction sites while they work without much of a supervision or developmental facility.

These kids grow up without educational or recreational facilities that help them grow but there’s this novel idea that government of Karnataka is going to implement and could be a step in the right direction because there is a huge chunk of construction workers and anyone would not deny that the condition in which these kids grow up is far from safe, secure or anything around the lines.

Old Buses To Be Converted Into Creche’s For Construction Worker Kids

Here’s how an idea about converting old and worn out buses into creches for kids of construction workers in Bengaluru is a ray of hope for construction worker kids. The government of Karnataka, has taken up an initiative that has never before thought off. The idea is to turn the old and broken down buses into mobile creches. The creches will have toys and books for children so that they can play, explore and learn. Bengaluru government is going to make use of the KSRTC and BMTC buses that are discarded, transform them into new and colorful places to have fun. These buses will then be handed over to NGO’s for kids so that they can run them around the city and helps these kids.

Furthermore, the creche’s will also include snacks for children and would be stationed near construction sites so that the parents can drop the kids to play. Presently, the Chief Secretary has already approved for conversion of 100 buses into Creche’s in Bengaluru.

The idea seems novel and if it is implemented to perfection it is surely to be a boon to these kids. Worth applause for sure.

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The Teched Families – Parenting Leveraging Technology

Present-day, technology is penetrated through every single strata of India right from the low income levels to the high income groups. Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives and we cannot shy away from the fact that children are exposed to the most. Be it games or music, children do use parents mobile phones and keeping children away from gadgets is one of the major challenges parents are facing today. Even parents look for solutions to their children’s needs on the internet. There are many apps already available online to help people around parenting be it before or after the birth of the child. A few examples of apps including pregnancy care, baby growth monitoring, sleep tracking apps and more. Furthermore, there are brands who are already in the process of a making child possessions like Prams and mobiles into smart devices. Hence, we could aptly say that technology has influenced education to a great extent. Now, the question is how can we leverage technology and make it a win-win situation for parents and kids as well. Mr Jairaj Bhattacharya, MD ConvenGenius says “ Parents are choosing to provide digital devices to children. This is because children are exposed to gadgets like smartphones for entertainment and games anyways. If these gadgets could further learning outcomes and improve them psychologically, it serves as a win-win for the parent and the child. Also this serves as a great approach to fill the gaps that working parents face today due to lack of time towards their study.

The Teched Families - Parenting Leveraging Technology

So, apps that educate children can really work well. There are already a few there that include apps connect Parents, Teachers as well as students on one common platform. Then there are one on one tutoring apps also already there for tutoring the child while there’s a facility for the parent to monitor progress of the child as well. Apps like appystore.in objective is to provide quality content for kids of different age groups right form 1.5 years to 8 years.

Having said that, continuous exposure to smart phones is not a good idea anyways. Smartphones of parents could have other content not suitable for children plus their eyes could be at risk as well. Tablet manufacturers have already taken this problem into account and have created tablets exclusively for kids with hard cases for resisting a few bumps as well like Eddy tablet by Intel. It’s a treasure trove for over 100 books referred by Educators and over 160 applications for children. Another innovative initiative is toys on rent initiative. No parent would disagree when we say a child cannot play with the same toy for long and does not have the interest to keep it safe for a long time. Rent a toy is the only easy way out to this problem. You can rent toys for your child and return them once the child is done playing. The toys available are sanitized for the safety and hygiene of children and come with amazing rental plans as well. Many of us are already aware of tools like video baby monitor that help parents monitor their baby remotely day and night.

Well, technology could be a boon only if it is used for the betterment and development of your child smartly. Though, it could never be a substitute for the time parents provide to their child or spend with them. So, using smart apps as well as technology for the betterment of your child is okay but balancing the same by spending quality time with your child is of utmost importance and no gadget or app in the world can ever be a substitute for the same.

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Strong Parental Bonds Help Children Adapt Well To Relationships

As per a new study published in Developmental Psychology, the University of Illinios, if a child has a strong bond with parents the child, even if the child has to deal with a difficult peer, they can easily adapt as they turn out to be positive and responsive playmates.

As per Nancy McElwain, a U of I professor of human development a child who has a secure attachment with parents is more responsive and comes in with positive expectations. The study involved 114 children after 32 months. The parents were asked to report their child’s developmental changes at the 33rd week with respect to social fearfulness and proneness. Further, after completion of 39 months, same gender kids were paired randomly with others and again observed for one month period over three laboratory visits.

Strong Parental Bonds Help Children Adapt Well To Relationships

If a child who is securely attached is paired with a child who gets angry or frustrated fast, then this child will respond with requests rather than commands during the first two week. A simple example could such behavior could be grabbing toys etc. But by the last visit, a securely attached child seems to adapt with the anger prone peer due to the controlling assertiveness by improving his/her own control levels.

The study revealed data around the child’s attachment security level with parents, how well the kids knew one another, partners tendency to be angry as well as predictability during before and after visits. As per McElwain even the temperament of the child played an important role in understanding the behavior of securely bonded children with their peers.

Having said that, she also added that it does not mean that there is any connection with difficult temperament and insecure attachment. For example even if the infant it fussy, it does not mean he or she wouldn’t develop any bond with the parent. If tried definitely the child can develop strong bonds with his parents and enjoy positive as well as close relationships with others.

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Summer Vacations Are Equally Necessary For Kids With Special Needs

Even though kids with special needs require some extra help with their overall development and some particular areas where they are challenged, their basic needs are same as that of their abled peers. This stands true even when it comes to taking summer vacations. Specially abled children also need to have their summer vacations spent doing interesting recreational and activities. These activities not only help them enjoy their time and engage but also aid their social development and skill sets. Be it creative activities or recreational activities both help your child grow in one way or the other besides them having fun while doing so. Many parents with special needs are more comfortable putting their children in group activities that are designed for children of special needs because of their concern around the safety of their children as well as because parents feel at times their kids do need help around doing certain activities and groups for specials needs children have special educators who can help the kids around with their activities. Having said this, there are parents who prefer to have their specially abledkids indulge in activities alongside their abled peers also and it’s a good idea as per experts also because an inclusive environment helps improve the communication and social skills of children in a better way. Though having them enrolled in a normal group or special group for activities may depend on individual choice, the objective is always the same, viz. engaging your children into activities that enable your kids to develop their fine motor skills, communication skills and explore what could turn out to be their passion and even their occupation for life. Summer activities like indoor sports, cooking, pottery, adventures, outdoor sports, photography and creative activities like dancing, painting, sketching, music, help them come out of their shells and explore their interests, hone their fine motor skills, social skills, communication skills and more. There is every possibility that these explorations and experiences could turn out to be life changing for many kids.

Summer Vacations

So, if you are a parent of a special abled child, make optimum use of their summer vacations by engaging them into various different group based activities that they enjoy and learn from at the same time.

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Popular Games That Find Their Roots in India

ndia is already a land of many inventions be it in the field of mathematics, physics, science, culture or literature, music or sports. We all play games as kids and even adults or senior citizens for that matter but many of us are not really aware of the origins of these games or the roots of these games. Here’s are short tour into the games that actually originated or have been known to be originated in India.kho kho

Kho Kho – Played less now, but just till two decades ago, it was a common and well known Indian Game. This game is known to have been played a lot even in the ancient times particularly by the Emperors on their chariots and was known as ‘Rathera’ because of that.

Kabaddi

Kabaddi – One of the most popular games in India now, thanks to the Pro Kabaddi league, this sport finds its origin in Tamilnadu, India and is known to be over 4000 years old with five different forms namely Amar, Circle, Goongi, Gaminee and Suranjeevii.

 

chess

Chess – Known as Ashtapada in ancient India, Chess is one of the oldest games to have originated in India. During the rule of Gupta Empire it came to be known as Chaturanga and later the Persians who travelled to India named it as Shatranj. There is also a mention of a similar board game in the Indus Valley Civilization archaeological sites. No wonder, even today India is topping the world charts in chess competitions.

ludo game

Ludo – Played for the first time in the 6th Century, Ludo was earlier known as Pachisi and was derived from another ancient Indian game called Chausar. Chausar has its mention in the Ramayana as well as on the carvings of Ajant and Ellora too.

Polo game

Polo – Many of us aren’t aware that Polo also has originated in India though it was later propagated by the British across the world. The game find its origins in Manipur where the monarchs there played it on Elephants for recreation in 33 AD in the court of Kumpapa Cheitharon.

Well, there are many more games including Badminton, snakes and ladders, cards and more that find their roots in ancient India and its quite surprising and awe-inspiring to see that these games even today are ruling the hearts of people, even in the times of electronic gadgets, they are not wiped off completely.

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