Let your kids watch Television

I am sure many of you would veto the title. However, I am writing this article not out of research but out of my own experiences as a mother.

Over the last few days, I cannot comment on the number of articles I read which emphasized the damages made by television, the guilt parents underwent to let their kids watch television, the disharmony it created in families, popular bloggers flaunting about no TV homes and followers asking tips!!!

In my perspective, you should let your kids watch Television. Let me share my experiences here:

  1. What and how much?

The foremost important parameter we need to be mindful is how much of TV is too much? Determine a time-frame and let them have fun watching television during the decided time.

What is significant here is the quality of the content you allow your kids to watch? As my son grew from a toddler stage to a preschooler and now to a grade-schooler, the kind of content he watched also changed. He enjoyed Ninja Hattori to Boss Baby to DC and now have graduated to educational and science programs. He thoroughly enjoys watching Brain games, How things work etc.

So, what matters most is the Content and amount of time spent. When we are mindful and have a supervision of the same, it is going to be an enjoyable experience for the kids.

2. Do not deprive them of the fun

Can you imagine you and me sitting in front of a Television and laughing loud for a silly joke in a cartoon? Does it sound sane? At least not for me.

Kids are at an innocent age and they find benevolence in their superheroes. They develop compassion for people in difficulty and try to resonate with their super heroes, and it is absolutely okay as long as they are able to differentiate between the real and reel world which insists the Point 1 here.

3. Educational programs

If I say that the educational programs that my son watched improved his IQ and made him extremely smart, I am lying. The objective of encouraging him to watch is not so. It is just that, it gives them a new angle to look at normal things. Some kids might develop interest in researching about the same and end up even learning more about many interesting science topics too. Let them explore!!!

So, allowing the kids to watch a bit of television every day will not ruin their lives and also allows you to focus on your time so that as soon as the Television time is finished, we are prepared to have more Mommy and Son time!!!

Let me know if you agree J

This is my son enjoying his TV time.

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A Day Trip to MGM Dizzee World

Now that the summer vacation is coming up, I am sure most of you would be on a look-out for day trips in and around Chennai with your kids. With this post, I am giving details about a fun park “MGM Dizzee World” in East Cost Road in Chennai. 

About MGM Dizzee World: MGM Dizzee World is a theme park located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is located in East Coast Road. It’s an apt location for a fun filled day with your family.

Best time to visit: I would suggest  the best time to visit MGM is in the winter season, in between November to February, when the sun is not too harsh, this would help you to avoid harsh sunlight during the day as you would be predominantly taking the fun rides all through out the day. 

How to reach the place:

Nearest Bus stop: MGM Dizzee world. All the buses on the way to Kovalam and Mahabalipuram tend to stop at MGM.

Nearest Railway Station: Velachery which is 22kms from MGM. You need to take a bus from Velachery to MGM Dizee world.

Ticket price:

Entry Fee is in two categories, Adult and Kids, which is as below:

Includes all rides & water park

JUMBO PACKAGE – ADULT Rs. 699 ( inclusive of taxes)

JUMBO PACKAGE – CHILD Rs. 549 ( inclusive of taxes)

There are other attractions inside the theme park which are not included in the above price, like Devil’s house, Virtual Realty Theatre.

All kids below 2.6 ft are granted a free entry while kids in between 2.6 ft to 4.4 ft are categorized as kids, with a limited access to rides. Anyone above 4.4 ft has access to almost all the rides.

Park Timings:

  • Monday to Friday: 10:30 A.M. – 6:30 P.M.
  • Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10:30 A.M. – 7:30 P.M.

Rides:

The rides are categorized as Kids, Adults, Family and Water sports. All the rides are categorized basing on the height of the kid.

If you are going as a family, I suggest you go to the kids rides first as there are a quite a few rides which the kids would enjoy and then proceed to the adult rides. Some glimpses:

The best part of the whole experience was Water Sports. A replica of Koutralam waterfalls called Mini Koutralam, water slides were the best. Though the water was not super clean, the water sports were safe as the height of the water was less and felt safe for non swimmers like us.

There is a special show called “Alai Osai”, in which artificial waves are created for an hour. We had a great time flowing with the waves.

There are special changing rooms for men and women near the water park and if you forget to carry your swim costume, you can also buy one inside the park.

Some points to note:

  • Lockers are available on chargeable basis to safe guard your belongings.
  • Outside food is not allowed, there are couple of restaurants where decent food is available.
  • Do not forget to carry your coolers, apply sunscreens as you are going to be in the hot sun all through out the day.
  • Please carry a spare dress, towel and slip-ons. After your water-sports, you might want to change your dress in the changing rooms provided.
  • There are tea joints, chat counters all over the park.
  • All the rides are categorized based on the height of the kids.
  • There is ample car parking just closer to the park.
  • There is an open air disco in the evenings and it is an enjoyable experience dancing to the tunes with a huge crowd.

We had a fun filled day when we visited MGM during last holiday season. Hope you have some fun time too.

Do let me know if you want any specific information in comments and I can help you 🙂

 

Slow Down, be in the present – Mindful Parenting

Over the past few years, as a parent I have evolved, I have learnt every single day,  emotionally matured. I am sure most of you agree that parenting is most humbling, overwhelming experience where there is no dropping, no escaping or no finish line.

Fortunately, I feel blessed to have a level headed approach towards parenting. Neither do I juggle  between uncertainty of future nor brood over the sabotage of the past. I do not tend to race the mental multi tasking.  I try to live in the moment and deal with it.

My son is now 8 years old and I perceive this approach of mindfulness has grown with me since his infancy.  More often than not, our minds are programmed to be anxious, stressed or getting out of sync for even the pettiest of issues like our kids not finishing a bowl of vegetables. If I am allowed to be precise, this is what we need to deal with. Mindful parenting is a conscious effort in dealing with the present moment and not allowing our Adrenalin rush to take over. Some conscious efforts I make:

Play as a kid: My son loves pretend plays and more often than not, want me to be involved in his detective stories and in his super cop investigations. I am always the Koga Ninja for him, while he is the the Eega Ninja. For the benefit of the people who do not watch Ninja Hattori, Koga Ninjas are bad guys who try to trap Eega Ninjas and Eegas are the ones who try to protect the world. Though I am always hard pressed for time, I give my best  to be a part of it.

Impact: This helps us to slow down the rat-race of parenting and follow the pace of our kids. Most likely, I am not eager to run the race of raising multi talented kid. One at a time is our approach. Currently, he is a fan of Football and I would wait for him to choose any other sport over this.

Listen not hear : I am sure most of us are hard pressed for time, be it for doing our regular chores, the academic compulsions, so on and so forth. But, rest assured, try to listen to your kids than hearing them. Your kids are certain to act like  kids, which means they have different emotions, priorities, choices at different points of time. It is upto us to give it a listening ear, understand and empathize. After all, they grow up by seeing us.

Impact: This helps us to empathize with our kids and implants the confidence in them to reach out to us for any situation. Mindfulness does not mean anything beyond bringing our consciousness to the experience and avoid being judgmental about the situation.

No Yelling: Try practicing a methodology of not to yell at the kids. I am sure this demands a humongous amount of practice, patience especially when our kids are yelling to the glory.  Easy to say than done, I am just jotting down my approaches here and it might not apply the same to all. Every style of parenting is unique.

Impact: When you stop yelling at them, you come in conscience of yourself, understand the situation and approach with a balanced vibe.

Mindfulness is all about staying centered and not to react in the situation. This is not impossible but did I tell you, it needs a bit of  practice. You may want to make it a regular practice to slow down at instances which goes out of your control, instances which triggers you to yell. Try to make it a practice and you will not even realize when you are at the downhill. Trust me, it works!! 

Sharing a quirky conversations:

Amma: “ You know the maths olympiad results have been announced”

Dheer ( without a bit of excitement) : “ That’s nice”

Amma : “ Do you want to know what your score is? “

Dheer: “ Yeah, I don’t mind”

Amma: “It is 25/40”

Amma: “Your friend ABC scores 40/40”

Dheer: “ Vow!! That’s nice”.

He runs to his father and exclaims: “Do you know that ABC scored 40 and he is the international topper” totally forgetting that he scored much lower than ABC and need to work on it.

Such is the innocence of kids and such are instances we need to deal with.

Below is the picture of our date last week. I ensure we have a date together once in a while ( only my son and me, father spared) and do what he loves the most. On our last date, we gamed, watched Aquaman, ate ice-creams and totally loved the time together!!!
Plan your solo dates with your kids and trust me, it makes wonders both for them and to us as parents.

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You know what!!!

Me: “Hey you know what!!!”
My friend: “ What???”
Me: “There is this new flavor with great stay in the market, did you try it?”
My friend: “Really?? I never knew”
Me: “ You must try it tonight”
My friend: “ I think I should, I already feel so!!”
What could you think of?
In another conversation:
My friend: “ Hey, I got this new stuff from US”
Me: “ Vow!!!”
My friend: “ Yes, this is not available in India and it is known for its quick effect”.
Me: “ Would you mind giving me one?”
My friend: “ Sure, I bet you would want to use it again!!”
What could you think of this time?
Come on!!!! You dirty minds!!! I never meant anything else. We are all common migraine friends and we are talking about new balm, new medicines in the market.
Now, go back and read the above lines again and you will agree.

Only two people with migraine can feel the soul sibling bond between each other. Whatever the context is, we end up discussing, how our last migraine was, what new medicines could be used for relief and many other such common qualities.

We are usually shameless in taking rest in public while we have headache, leaving office half-a-day when we are down with migraine, seeking help to puke while we have headache. No choice on this!!!

I sincerely wish whoever is reading this must never ever know what migraine is and must not have gone through this. If you are one with migraine, read my tips below on how to avoid migraine:

  1. Avoid skipping meals.
  2. Avoid strong perfumes.
  3. Avoid harsh lights, cold breeze.
  4. Avoid eating chilled items.
  5. Identify constipation and treat it with home remedies.
  6. Try breathing techniques to relax yourself.
  7. Try eating easily digestible food.
  8. Avoid getting stressed, nervous or too excited.
  9. Have proper sleep schedules.
  10. Smile

In many situations, though we try our best, we do not have control on situations which cause migraine. In that case, just sleep.

5 Tips for getting back to school

Now that the summer vacation has come to an end, we need to gear up our kids for the reopening of the school. After this long holiday, children are most likely to be unenthusiastic about the school reopening. So, it’s a huge challenge for parents to motivate them. Today I blog about some tips I follow, which might help you:

  1. Getting back to sleep routine: This is the most important ground work for getting kids ready to the school. During summer holidays, by and large we do not follow a religious sleep routine and give the kids a leverage. A week ahead of the school, try retrieving their sleep routine. This might also help them stomach the fact that they need to get back to their regular school schedules.
  2. Creating the excitement: Let the environment of school reopening trigger at home at least a week ahead. Talk to the kids about the new class environment, new syllabus, new friends, new teachers they are going to meet. Do not make them feel sorry that their holidays are over or do not use school as a threat. Let them feel special about the school reopening, create an enthusiastic environment about it. At my home, we had a count down a week before and it worked. Not sure, if this would work for older kids though.
  3. Understand the anxiety: Many kids go through anxiety of new environment, new teacher, may not be able to express themselves or may be bullied by their friends. Parents play a very crucial role in understanding their emotions and giving them a helping hand. Try spending more time talking to them about their first day, what they liked and disliked on the first day of the school and address any issues they face.
  4. Make their favorite food: Most often, on the first day of the school, I make it a ritual to make my son’s favorite dish for his snacks box. I feel this is one way to excite him about the school.
  5. Not dumping with many classes : This practice is not only for school reopening but for overall academic year. Try not to dump them in different classes. Identify their interests and create an excitement about the extra circular skills that they are going to learn. At least, for the first few days of the school re-opening, allow them to settle down without other extra classes.

Hope these tips enable parents to get their kids back to school. Since, my son is 7 years old, these were relevant tips for me. For elder kids, it could be different things that excite them about school.

This is my son on his first day of this academic year.

Golden tips from his grand parents on his first day of the new academic year – “Be brave, don’t allow anyone to bully you, just enjoy your school and that will make you the best” . Experience speaks, do you agree???

Wishing all the little buddies loads of luck and parents a great parenting year ahead!!!

I did it – Wear sarees straight for a week

After a long hiatus, what better way to come back to the blog than to flaunt my own self?

A couple of my colleagues and myself decided to wear sarees straight for a week to work. The decision was a savage to my routine but yeah, I was motivated enough to do it. All the beautiful sarees I collected over years have been hibernating blissfully in my cupboard and I felt it’s time to flaunt them.

Getting into the details, I have never been a regular saree person to work. Saree has been my choice for religious/family occasions and nothing more than that. This of course did not stop me from buying them, I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to this and constantly amused by different fabrics and their niche.

Let me show you what I wore for 5 days:

Day 1, Monday:

Today being the Day 1 of the pact, I was enthusiastic. I planned what I wanted to wear well in advance and kept things ready for it.

What did I wear: A mul cotton saree with a contrast Ikkat blouse and finished with Tribal jewellery.

Experience: I was proud of myself to having chosen this saree as it was a breeze to manage. It was a very light weight, easily manageable saree.

Now, you think it was a great joyful experience. Read between the lines, the blouse had a real big neck, and God knows why I chose to wear a brassiere with thick straps!! Every time, you see me, I was only dilly-dallying to adjust it right. I was sure some of my colleagues must have assumed I am following a new stretching routine!!! After a point of time, I realized I could not help much but to ignore it.

If I ignore my dwelling around with my blouse, I managed to have a great Day 1.

Day 2, Tuesday:

The excitement continued. I woke up early to wrap up my morning cooking routine a little faster so that I can spend more time in the saree styling.

What did I wear: A self-designed Mangalgiri cotton saree with a pochampally blouse and beaded chain handmade by me.

Experience: The saree’s bright colors were appreciated by almost everyone and it was easy to manage too.

Now, don’t assume that was an easy breezy day. Today, from nowhere, I decided wear sandals which were lying abandoned in my shoe rack for longest time I ever knew. Why? Only to realize that they would get worn out as soon as I reach my office. This time, I am making it easier, you do not have to read between the lines, I will put it straight, I was bare footed!!! Stranded clue less for sometime, one of my pretty colleagues who was also supposed to be in pact with us, but ditched us, found a quick help with feviquick. That was the moment when I really wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to the guys who invented feviquick.

Day3, Wednesday:

Though it was getting little hectic to push myself with earlier routines, I was motivated to do it.

What did I wear: Kora cotton saree with a crocia blouse and a bun hair do.

Experience: It was an awesome day today, I almost got into the groove of wearing the saree perfectly without loose pieces of saree hanging around and without constantly adjusting the saree.

Day 4, Thursday:

By Day 4, I felt exhausted planning the saree schedule and was already waiting to finish it. All these days, I meticulously planned what I wanted to wear and so there was no pandemonium created. However, today, I missed out on in-skirt. Yeah, yeah a saree needs many accompaniments; you have to plan them too. So, in this attempt I changed twice and finally ended up with raw silk saree and a shirt blouse.

What did I wear: Raw silk saree with a shirt blouse and pure silver jumkas.

Experience: Today, saree was a total mess for me. I could not manage to drape it properly. By some means, I wrapped around the saree and reached the office (Read wrapped not draped). Thankfully, my most favorite colleague, rather a close friend of mine Preethi, helped me to get it alright and made it look more than a wrap around.

Day 5, Friday:

Today was the last day of the pact and I was so excited that I did it.

What did I wear: Mangalgiri cotton with floral print blouse and German silver jewellery.

Finally, the last day was a breeze without any mishaps.

What did I Learn?

For regular saree stylists, this might sound insane to just do the saree for a week and blog about it too. But for novice like me and two other colleagues for mine, who were part of it for the complete week, it was a great experience.

  • Effort – I have always had issues getting up early, push myself to wear a saree. But, this week brought the best out of me. I am now confident, I can do this more often.
  • Patience – This exercise pushed my patience levels up a notch. I had to try, retry, retry to do the saree to my known perfection.
  • Personality – I realized I am not an impromptu personality, when I had issues with my jewellery or with my blouse, I could no act immediately.
  • Responsibility – This idea was conceptualized by me and a colleague of mine. I took the responsibility of finishing the pact as it was conceptualized by us.
  • Creativity – Though I indulge myself in being creative on and off, I tried my best to be creative with the sarees and hair dos, which was applauded.
  • Finally, I learnt to pee without hassles in a saree!!!
  • Also, I realized I can’t pose without bending my neck. I am sure now you want to go back and check the photos.

Would like to thank Kavitha and Sandhya who did the pact for a week and other colleagues who pitched in for a day or two. Hopefully, we want to repeat in near future as we all pledged to make a conscious attempt to bring back the saree to work.

Cheers to the beautiful saree!!!!

Over Parenting – Identify and deal with it

As parents, we all have natural instincts to protect our children. And yes, we certainly need to. We definitely need to safeguard our children from running into a busy street or burning their hands on a hot stove. But, as parents what we also need to be aware of is , where and when to stop.

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Today, I am going to write about “Over Parenting”.  Google defines over parenting as “Be excessively involved in the day-to-day life of one’s child, typically in the desire to shield from difficult situations or help them succeed”.

But, in my opinion over parenting is much more than what google defines it to be. Read on.

Do you identify yourself with any of the below traits?

  • Not assigning age specific chores – I am sure it is very satiating to help your kids in their chores. Do you carry their school bags, polish their shoes, select their dress, do their projects? Please restrict it right away.  I identify these skills as life saving skills and we need to enable our kids to make their own basic meal, do their laundry etc etc. 
  • Take decisions on behalf of your kids –  Do you think for your kids and take decisions on their behalf. I am sure the cascading action is to convince them that it is the best decision taken. Children need to be given the room for their thought. Allow them to think for themselves and help themselves. 
  •  Help them before they ask – Do you end up doing their school projects? Do you prepare their bed, pack their school bags, clean their shelves even before they ask your help?  Please stop it right away. Let them be exposed to the need and call out for help.
  • Value of money – This comes into picture as your kids grow into teenagers. Do you allot an amount for pocket money and micromanage the same. Does it sound good when you read it? Let them have their space.
  • Nudging at every step – Do you decide what they wear? What they eat? What skill they should learn?  Stop nudging.  Teach them to think for themselves. 
  • Praising them at every step – There is a thin line of difference between appreciation and praise. Do not praise them for every step they take, this deprives their vision and lowers their expectations for achievement.

If you recognize yourself with any of the above, please stop it right away.  Does it not give goosebumps to visualize your kids growing into a confident, independent human being who can survive in any part of the globe? Trust me, this attitude could be rooted in your kids only when they independently handle their tasks at home.

As they say experience is the best teacher, leave a room for your kids to self-do things. Though it might be soul satisfying to do the tasks for your children, it has an extremely corrosive impact on their overall personality.

Over parenting is over indulgence and that necessarily means disabling your kids. Children with overly involved parents do not grow up with a realistic view to the world. They are in a bubble wrap of security, safety and comfort. They transform into poor decision makers, less confident human beings.

How to deal with it?

Very simple. Better late than never.  I am glad some of you have realized that you are over parenting and want to know how to deal with it. 

  • Realize you are over parenting. Stop it right away. Give them space to grow. 
  • Visualize the moment of how you want your children to handle the situation in your absence. Give them the right and balanced opportunity. 
  • Do not, repeat DO NOT take decisions on their behalf. It is a good practice to discuss pros and cons with them and get them involved in decision making. 
  • For me, personally, the most important task is DO NOT do their chores. Let them handle it themselves. 

Let us build a positive environment for our children to grow into confident independent human beings.

 

How to raise a shy kid?

“Send him to my home and I will change him like my daughter”

“Your son is absolutely not you!!!!”

“Hey, if he continues to be this, he will get bullied”

“He is not brave enough to come up and talk”

And many more were the remarks that are registered in my mind about my son at many social gatherings.

All throughout my schooling, college I had never feared the stage nor the mike. It just came naturally to me and  I presumed that my son would invariably be like me.

But on the contrary, I have a shy son. As a toddler, he was paranoid of a group meeting, he exhibited extreme shyness in a group and was always unwilling to talk to strangers and the shyness grew along with his age. I, like any other parent,  compelled him to go public, talk loud, make more friends etc etc. Every time I tried enforcing my thoughts onto him, I found him cranky, upset and sluggish.

It  took some time for me to understand the dynamics of a shy kid.

Socially, we are conditioned to believe that loud and clear human beings are leaders. Our minds are in complete acceptance to the fact that extroverts are better performers and they enjoy social life while introverts are not aware of the same joy in life. Shy people are treated as less eligible beings in a group while extroverts enjoy the leader status.

As a mother of a shy kid, I am making my attempt to help him overcome this trait.

With this blog post, I am bringing up some of facts on how to raise a shy kid purely based out of my experiences as a mother:

  • It is okay to be shy: Firstly, you need to embrace the fact that it is okay if your kid is shy. Many a time, I face situations where family members, close friends remark about my son’s shy behavior and I learnt to give a deaf ear to the same. Not all kids can be the show stoppers at a birthday party, some find solace in playing with their own group of 2-3 close friends and as a parent you need to be okay with it.  Do not compel your kid to participate in the group he/she is not comfortable with. We need to be aware of the amount of anxiety the poor kids go through to make themselves comfortable in the group.
  • Shyness is biological: As I started reading more about the root causes of this behavior, I came across many facts which substantiated that shyness is biological. Yes, it is biological and that means it’s all about the brain and it’s wires. It’s an innate nature of your kid and you need to give it time and situations to overcome the same. I notice that the kids who are shy are generally great self critics and judge themselves before they express themselves in public. So, we need to give enough room for the kids to understand the fact that it is normal to express themselves in public and they need not be self critical about it.
  • Slow introduction: Whenever there was a social gathering, be it a birthday party with classmates or a family lunch with close relatives, my son took ample time to get adjusted to the environment and be himself. It is always a good thought to prep him/her  a day or two earlier and talk about the event. Initially, during his first to fifth year, my son immensely shied away from a group of people and panicked to be part of the group.  Though he wanted to be a part of the group, he restrained himself and preferred to be with mommy than in the group. But, slowly I notice that he is able to outgrow the behavior and trying to make himself comfortable in public. We need to make attempts to introduce new friends / new environments at a slow pace and do not rush them into anxious situations.
  • Help him get away with it: In most of my school meetings, I consistently had a conversation with his class teacher only about his social skills. Academically, I was happy with his performance but I was always despondent about his social behavior. I was curious to know if he answered in public, if he was able to talk in-front of a group. Steadily, I acknowledged the fact that for certain kids it is a slow progression to get away with shyness. I plan to get him enrolled in skills like  theater workshop, dance class, story telling to help him express himself without fear of judgement. We need to create environments that help them get away with shyness and slowly out grow it.
  • Stand up for themselves: There were many instances, when my son faced uncomfortable situations with his friends but he did not express himself. I assume it is due to fear of being confrontational . He feared to express his disagreement though the environment is not to his liking. I preach on a regular basis that he needs to stand up for himself, express his discomfort. This is a slow progression for shy kids as they tend to be fearing judgement. Give a good listening ear to your kids and insist the need of being assertive. It might take two to three situations for them to realize the need to express themselves. Do not involve and advocate for them, teach them to self express their needs.

Over the past few years, I could see a considerable change in the behavior of my son and expect him to outgrow his shyness in an year or two. For whatever reasons, being shy is an innate nature of the kid and either they will outgrow it or learn to live with it. Let’s give them a non-comparative, neutral, healthy environment to grow up and let’s raise responsible citizens.

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