Category Archives: Parenting

No Salt and Sugar for babies below one year | Recommended sugar alternatives for babies and kids

Salt does magic in making food more tastier. Sugar does magic in making food more addictive. But, both these magics are not required for infants under 1 year. Poor little babies do not know the taste of both until and unless you introduce them.

Researches show that babies who do not have salt in their first year are less prone to “Hypertension” in future and the same formula applies to sugar and future diabetes, as well. Talk to your doctor today and say no to salt and sugar for babies below one year.

What seems to be just a pinch(of salt) to you, might actually overload the tiny kidney.

Recommended sodium intake for babies:

0-6 months of age  – 0.1g(120mg) of sodium per day

7-12 months of age – 0.4g(370mg) of sodium per day

Avoid salt when preparing food for babies. Required sodium for baby are supplied via breast milk/formula. The slight increase in sodium requirement after 6 months will be taken care by the natural sodium present in vegetables, fruits and grains.

Also avoid salty foods like

  • Packed Chips
  • Papad(Appalam)
  • Crackers(salt biscuits)
  • Store-bought bread
  • Processed foods(like cheese, breakfast cereals)
  • Preserved foods(Pickles, tinned/canned food)
  • Fast foods(Fries,wedges,nuggets,sauces..).

If you buy store-bought food, do check for the presence of sodium in label and avoid such foods till 1 year. It is better to avoid above foods till 2 years.

Sugary food builds more cravings for it which might lead to “Sweet tooth” as well as “Decayed tooth”. Avoid sweets and chocolates. Not even a sip of fizzy drink or soft drink ! No refined sugar for sure, even after 1 year. So, what’s the alternate ?

  • 6-12 months – Add naturally sweet vegetables(Pumpkin, Sweet potato, Carrot), fruits(Banana, Apple, Pear) and dry fruits(warm-water soaked Raisins or Dates puree).
  • 1+ years –  Jaggery(Vellam), Palm jaggery(Karupatti), Palm candy(Panang kalkandu), Cane sugar(Karumbu/Naatu Chakkarai).
  • 2+ years – Honey (Though honey is recommended after 1 year, my Paediatrician advised to avoid “Honey” till she turns 2. Discuss with your doctor)

Slow and steady introduction of sweets make babies taste all varieties of food, which makes a stronger base to build good eating habit for the rest of the life.

Salt/Sodium related information in this post are referred from Medical Literature supplied by my brother Dr.S.P.Maharajan, Nephrologist, one who cares for human kidneys.

This special post is to mark the occasion of “World Hypertension Day“(May 17, 2017)..

Think twice before adding salt.. Re-think before buying sugar !.. Happy and Healthy Parenting..


Does my kid require child car seat ? | Child safety in car travels | Safe road ride with babies and kids | Car safety tips when traveling with kids

Summer vacation started and most of us would be planning for long drives with kids. Guess this is the right time to talk about child car seats and seat-belts.

It is not a strictly-obeyed rule/law in some parts of the world to either have a car seat for a child or to wear seat-belts. Do we really need a law to insist us to keep ourselves and our kids protected ?? Never ever give it a chance on family safety.

Accidents are unplanned and uninvited. Some impacts are irreversible too 🙁 You might be a wonderful driver, but the road safety is not just in your hands. Any dangerous driver or situation may put you at risk.

Even minor accidents can cause major injuries, if not properly buckled up ! Keeping kids/babies at lap during car travel is not a good idea. It might sometimes worsen the situation. Even mom’s lap is not a protected place during car travel. You will lose your control during collision and you might collide with the kid or suffocate the kid or just crash the kid with your weight and the force of collision.

Car seat is the safest place for babies and kids, traveling in car. We spend hefty amount on clothes, toys and education. Just few more bucks for their safety is for sure, affordable. Get the right seat that fit their age and weight. Read the manual carefully and fix the seat as directed. Double check if the seat is properly latched and tethered.

Also, do not give sharp objects like pen/pencil/straw in their hand as sudden brakes might cause eye injuries. Avoid any stuffs especially ornaments between seat belt and the body as seat belt holds the body so tight during collisions and the ornaments might puncture the body.

Many parents tend to keep the child seat belts a bit loose assuming that they are complimenting comfort to their dear ones! Please make sure that pampering doesn’t interfere with safe parenting deeds. The fact is that kids will be more safe and comfortable as per recommended postures and fittings. Please follow the instructions in the child seat manual and fasten the seat belt accordingly.

Do not let your child sit in front seat till he/she is a teenage(13+ age) passenger. The airbags are adult-friendly, but it might cause serious damages to kids. You might see it written in your car, if it has an airbag. If safety doesn’t want to take a backseat, let your kids occupy back seats for safer rides. And the middle back seat is more safer as the kid will be protected from side-collisions, if any.

Children are too precious to be lost in the roads. Let the drive be long or short, buckle them up! Each person’s life is more important in a family. So, first fasten your seat-belt 🙂 No big-belly excuses for pregnant women. Every life matters… Click here to check out the government website to know how to wear seat belt while pregnant ?

Always mind your kid’s arms/fingers before closing the car doors/windows. The window glass is actually so sharp than you might think.

Attractive and quality helmets are available for bike riders. Even if you are cycle training your kid, pls make sure that they wear helmet and knee pads.

Let your happy trips be safer too, to gift you loads of sweet memories to reminisce in the future. Wish you all happy and safe journey, both in roads and in parenting 🙂

In the pic is my 4.5 year old kid Nilaa buckled up in her child seat, posing with her favorite toy “Corduroy”!


100th Post – My Kitchen Garden – How to grow organic greens and vegetables at home ?

This is my 100th post and I am glad to take you a tour into my kitchen garden in India. I started growing greens just for my baby. It gave me an immense pleasure in cooking the greens and vegetables that I grew. This soon turned out to be an interesting and healthy hobby.

My MIL is an ardent gardener. She has planted many trees and they are our golden assets.. With her help and interest, I crowded our backyard with more plants. Involved my kid in sowing, watering and plucking(harvesting). We totally stopped buying greens and some veggies.


Most of the houses in our neighborhood had Drumstick tree. Owning a drumstick tree is much easier than you think! Just break a thick stick from a tree and plant in soil. Water daily and watch the growth. Flowers, Leaves, Vegetables – all are much nutritious. One of the branches of our tree fell down in last summer and there were 119 drumsticks(in the picture below) in that branch!!

Recipes: (Click the links to view recipes. Will update more links as and when I post )

Drumstick Leaves Dal Curry

Mango Tree – No one could pass a mango tree without having the desire for a tangy bite 😉 We share our backside compound wall with a school and every student will have an eye on our mangoes 😉 Though a mango seed would grow to a tree, it is advisable to get the sapling from farm/nursery as they would have selected the best seed to grow for you.


Raw Mango Rice

Chikoo/Sapota Tree – The fruit I love the most is sapota. When I was married, I was so happy to see this tree in my in-laws’ place. It was a huge tree with hundreds of fruits !! My mother-in-law always proclaims that it grew from the seeds thrown by my hubby after eating sapota in his childhood. This story behind the tree makes the fruit more delicious to me 😉

Neem Tree – The tree on demand for the society. Atleast one tree per street is required to breathe fresh air and to enjoy seasonal monsoon. My MIL started growing this in front of our house even before the house construction work started. Get a neem tree sapling and plant it in the site where you are planning to construct your dream home.


Neem Bath

Neem Flower Banana Sweet

-Neem Flower Rasam(Will update the link once I post the recipe)

Sundaikkaai/Turkey Berries/Prickly nightshade are good for Cold, Asthma, Anemia, Diabetics, Deworming and Digestion problems. If you have one plant at home, it will supply enormous berries for the whole street !! Plant a sapling or just crush a ripen fruit(Changes from green to brown color) in soil. We have one near our entrance and one in backyard.


Turkey Berry Gravy

Thudhuvalai – It is always good to have such medicinal herbs at home rather than swallowing chemicals for every sneeze!! The green fruits will ripen to red. If you just squeeze some red fruits in a pot, you can own one. It is a creeper and you just need a stick to support climbing.


Thudhuvalai Rasam

Mudakaruthaan/Balloon vine – A natural pain-killer. When most of the medicines can be grown at home and when your food becomes your medicine, you could enjoy natural living. Naturally heal-able minor illness could be dealt naturally ! Plant a small creeper with root to crepe through your garden. Just a pot with a supporting stick should also do.


Mudakathan Dosai

Omavalli/Sambaravalli – The best cough fighter I would say. A natural kids-safe mosquito repellent too. We do squeeze the juice and apply on hands and legs before evening walks. It requires less water and sunlight. Just pluck a part of stem(root is not required) with 2-3 leaves and plant in a small pot or shopping cover and that’s it..


Oregano Tonic – Kashayam

Oregano Fritters – Bajji

Holy Basil/Tulsi – Always occupies a holy pedestal in every home. A tulsi leaf a day keeps you healthy throughout the day ! If you don’t own one, get a sapling today and plant in a pot to purify air and your blood.

Hadjod/Pirandai – Also known as devil’s backbone but actually good for human bones 😉 A natural calcium supplement that easily crepes in your garden or terrace !! Yes, it grows well even in scorching sun. Just plant a joining edge in the soil(in pot or land) and it starts to crepe within few days.


Pirandai Chutney

Pudhina/Mint Leaves – Again a medicinal herb. Good for digestion and increases appetite. Whenever there is a symptom of diarrhoea/vomiting, first try this magical mint tonic. Next time when you get mint, use the leaves and just plant the stem in soil. It will grow fresh leaves again for you..


Mint Tonic – Kashayam

Pasalai Keerai – A fertile food for dads-to-be. A wholesome food for pregnant ladies. A healthy food for kids. Very proud to own this creeper as I had an extensive hunt for this in Bangalore when I was pregnant. Then I had this only in my last trimester when I went to my mom’s place @Madurai. Have fed this nutritious greens to Nilaa till 3.5 yrs in India. If you want to own one, you need to get one with root from a farm or any plant vendors.


-Pasalai keerai paruppu kootu(Will update the link once I post the recipe)

Ceylon Pasalai – This is also a pasalai variety but not a creeper. Local vendors call this as Pachai Pasali. I got this once from Vadavalli Uzhavar Sandhai(Farmer’s Market), Coimbatore. We used the leaves and just planted the stem as we do for mint leaves. It started growing 🙂

Kova Keerai – Kovakkai/Tindora/Ivy gourd is a delicious vegetable that we eat. Its leaves are also edible and much nutritious. It is a creeper and you need a root to grow. We got its root from a nearby fence. Yes, this doesn’t need much maintenance. Survives anywhere! The leaves are plucked and sold in packets in uzhavar sandhai(Farmer’s market) too.

Fenugreek Leaves/Vendhaya Keerai – Good Analgesic. Best for summer as it cools the body. Fertile food – good for both dads-to-be and moms-to-be. Recommended for morning sickness during pregnancy. Every woman should eat this during Menstruation to kick out tiredness. It also aids in natural deworming in kids.

I always advice everyone to start gardening with this keerai. Just sow some fenugreek/vendhayam/methi seeds available in your kitchen. Once you enjoy the growing bliss, you will broaden your kitchen garden happily.


-Vendhaya keerai paruppu kootu(Will update the link once I post the recipe)

Amaranthus Dubius/Arai Keerai – A natural laxative and an immunity booster. Also good for dads-to-be, pregnant ladies, feeding moms, kids and all of us. You shall get the seeds from Agro food shops. Once grown, just cut the stem above the root and enjoy 3-4 harvests.


Arakeerai Masiyal

Thandu Keerai – Kidney-friendly keerai. Both stem and leaves are edible. Best suited for poriyal(veg fry). Seeds available in Agro food shops. Like arai keerai, cut the stem above the root and enjoy 2-3 harvests.


Greens water for babies

Kaatu Thandu Keerai – Just another variety of thandu keerai that grows in farms and waste lands. The top flower part when dried and sown in soil, grows taller and crowds your garden.

Manathakkali/Milagu thakkali/Sukkatti Keerai – Magical Keerai that generates heat, if your body is so cold and cools your body, if it is hot ! It heals wound in mouth, intestine and stomach. Flowers, vegetables(green), fruits(red/black), leaves – all are medicinal. Buy seed or just crush the fruits in soil to grow one.


-Manathakkali keerai Muttai poriyal(Egg fry) – Will update the link once I post the recipe

Spinach/Palak Keerai – Palak is like atchaya paathiram(A bowl that doesn’t empty at all). Once sown, you keep harvesting several times. Just cut the leaf with lil stem and leave the root. Seeds available in Agro food shops. Easy to own and maintain. Grow this nutritious spinach at home to feed your little Popeyes.


Palak Parupu Kootu/Spinach pulses mash

Palak Masiyal/Spinach mash

Curry Leaves/Karivepilai – One ingredient that enhances the flavor of any recipe and improves the health of the recipient. Plant a sapling and it grows to a tree to supply you curry leaves for lifetime.


Idli Podi

Sambar Podi

Green chilli/Pachai Milagai – I got this vaanam paartha milagai(Chilli that faces the sky) from a nursery in R.S.Puram(Kovai). I had two other normal ones that grow facing earth. You can even sow the seeds of dry red chilli and once grown, you have to take with the root and plant apart. One plant will suffice for a family.


Ash gourd/Poosani raita

Banana Tree/Vaazhai maram : You need a small land space either in front of the home or backside. You shall even leave an open circle in the sides near compound walls and grow there. Get a sapling(kizhangu) from nursery or farm and grow. Leaves, stem, flowers, vegetables, fruits – all are nutritious.


Best bananas for babies

Avocado Banana smash for babies

Banana sweet Kachayam/Appam

-Vaazhai Thandu Paruppu kootu/Banana Stem gravy(Will update the link once I post the recipe)

-Vaazhai Poo vadai/Banana Flower Fritters(Will update the link once I post the recipe)

Avarakkai/Broad Beans: A creeper that gives you bunches of beans. Sow seeds one at a place. You can buy the seeds or use dry brownish black seeds inside dry bean pod. Pluck when tender and just include(cook) it in your babies food. You need to own 2+ creepers as per your family size.

Cluster beans/Kothavarangaai/Seeniyavarakaai – Just sow seeds and harvest the clusters. So tasty and our family favorite veg. Fry the veggie with lil sambar powder. Even dhal rice or curd rice would be so divine with this side-dish!

Brinjal/Katharikkai – The vegetable that attracts more worms. Sow seeds and once grown, take with root and plant apart. Buy seeds or just take a mature yellow brinjal and dry well to take out the seeds. To avoid worms, pluck it when tender and use. Tastes best when tender!

Ladies Finger/Vendakkai – Traditionally called as “Brain Boosters”. Good for dads-to-be, pregnant ladies and kids. Same as brinjal – Sow seeds and once grown, plant apart. Tender ones are highly nutritious and taste better.

I couldn’t click my tomato plants as they were amidst many other plants posing me threat to click. Growing tomato is same as brinjal. For hybrid variety buy seeds. For country tomatoes, just squeeze 2 tomatoes in soil.


Tomato Rasam

I have missed to click Radish and Cauliflower. Not covered in this post are my Yam and Tapioca. I have not posted my MIL’s flower plants collection as they are so huge and moreover I am interested only in edible stuffs 😉

I usually get seeds from Sakthi Agro Foods, Lawley Road, Coimbatore. I also get from an Agro food shop in Saibaba Kovil, Coimbatore. Sometimes I buy from Seed vending machine opposite to Agri University, Coimbatore. I got some from Isha, Coimbatore. I get seeds wherever I see 😉 You can get seeds/saplings, pots/growbags and soil in any Agro food shop or Nursery or a farm in or near your locality.

I do not use any pesticides. I just pluck the greens and veggies in early stage before pests attack them. When there is an attack, I spray neem oil mixed with water. Or grind green chilli & ginger , mix with water and spray them. These techniques make the pests to starve(as they can’t eat spicy or neem-smelling food) and go off. Owning a Kitchen garden is a pride. Maintaining it imparts peace of mind. Eating our own productions gives you a great feel. Go green !! Go Organic !!

I have published this post under Parenting articles, as I believe gardening is a great activity to involve kids. Even fussy-eaters would happily eat the greens and veggies grown by them !!

Click this link  to see how to clean store-bought fruits and vegetables..

Share this post, if you like …


Caution: Tiny Little Fingers

tiny-little-fingers-kids-finger-cut-injuriesStill fresh in memories are those moments when those tiny little fingers clasped mine and didn’t let it go, for a while. When trying to pull off, the swaddled beauty hardens the hold! Not even a month old, but she holds it tightly again and again.

This would have happened to every parent reading this. Are they trying to say something to us ? Give it a second thought ! They might be trying to get an assurance to safeguard those teeny fingers, till they mature enough to protect on their own ?! Still wondering what am I talking about ?!

I just wanted to shed some light on the most common childhood accident – Finger injuries. Those innocent babies and playful kids are ignorant of the hazards behind door/window/cupboard/object folds.

This mostly happens when 2 or more kids play in and out of a room. One closes the door and the other one shouts. Assuming this to be an usual conflict, when mom enters to compromise, on seeing the scene, pity parental heart skips a beat. I am word-strapped to explain this fingers-trapped tragedy.

In another scenario, much unknowingly, parents become the offenders. Such critsit is much worse as the guilt feeling would ruin them. To a parent, it pains a lot when baby cries in pain. To the same parent, it kills, when the reason is ‘thyself’. Slight carelessness might lead to heart-throbbing moments..

Scenarios to keep an eye on:

  • If you have kids at home, avoid the habit of closing doors quickly/hurriedly.
  • When kids are around, always check the folds before closing the doors.
  • When more than one kid is playing, put a folded blanket on the door, so that the door gaps(on both sides) do not close fully.
  • Be more cautious when closing car doors. Ensure kids head/hands/legs are not near.
  • In car, when opening or closing windows, instruct kids to keep their head/hands away. Car glasses are so sharp than you think.
  • Not only doors, even a folding stool/chair or similar objects can be harmful.
  • Educate kids about the fold gap hazards.

If finger-cut happened, what next?:

  • Any deep cut needs a Doctor’s inspection for sure. But for babies, even minor cuts or swellings needed a consultation as we cannot predict babies’ finger movements or internal damages.
  • If it bleeds, wash the wound, wrap the bleeding part with a clean cloth and hold it firm until you reach the hospital. Try to keep the hand raised to slow down bleeding.
  • If whole or part of the finger is separated from the body, take the separated part and put it in a clean plastic bag or a ziplock bag. Keep this bag in a bag of ice. If the ice is too cold and dry, add some water to the ice. Finger-containing bag have to be inside ice pack, so that the cells do not die. Caution: Do not put ice directly into the bag with finger. Ice should not directly touch the finger as it might damage the cells/tissues.
  • If you act smart and hospitalize asap, the same finger can be successfully re-attached. If the finger is severed or amputated partially or wholly, avoid taking to nearby clinics or small hospitals as that would waste the precious time. If you are insured or could afford, opt for any Multispecialty Hospital where both Paediatric and Plastic Surgeons are available. If not, take to Government Medical College Hospitals where both these departments will be available to assist.

I got advice from my brother Dr.S.P.Maharajan M.D.(Gen. Med.) D.M.(Nephro) regarding the medical advice conveyed in this post.

I personally heard 3 major finger-cut accidents in the past 2 years. Out of 3, 2 were successfully re-attached. When I heard about the 3rd accident where the separated finger not handed-over in good condition, lead to a plastic surgery fixing a nail-less, rigid thumb finger in the right hand. This drove me to write this post.

This post is not to threaten you. But to enlighten you. Share this post to other parents to protect more tiny little fingers !!


Parenting – Tips to keep kids engaged

How to keep kids busyWhen I published my last article on “Early Spectacles“, there were many mails and pings querying me on other ways to keep the kids engaged.. I followed some simple methods that flashed my mind to keep my kid busy.. Sharing those with you today…

I started introducing books from 6 months of her age. She loved to watch the colorful pages of the books and the repeated articulations/comments that I make on each page. I still remember that the first book I introduced her was “Fruits and Vegetables”. I do bring the veggies and fruits from the fridge and match the ones in the book. In just a month or two, she started identifying them both on the book and on the table..

Whatever stuff I have introduced her through books, I deliberately show her wherever I encounter. We both enjoy this relative study. Types of books have changed according to her interest and mental growth. Still, books are our best companions. In her 3.5 years, she identified 70+ pictures(On topics like National Leaders,Freedom Fighters,Poets,Scientists,Professions,Sports,Sportstars,Flags) and told them aloud in her pre-school Annual day dais. She recited a speech and thirukkural on the same day. Actually, at her early 3’s she was trained for 10 thirukkurals and it is really a gift to watch her reciting each kural in her prattling speech. Touchwood! My lil princess is turning 4 in exactly 1 month(Sep 1 2016) and this special post reminisces me of the past 4 lovely years 🙂

Clean clothes for babies and kids

Other than books, try to involve them in household chores. They can help in cooking from picking veggies, peeling onion/potato/peas skin, dusting chapathi balls in flour, counting cooker whistles, putting back dried vessels to the cupboard and whatever possible in your kitchen! Daily night, I do plan with my kid for next day’s menu. Nowadays, when I plan for some veggie and if I am skeptical about it’s availability, I ask her help. She slowly gets down the bed, strolls to kitchen, switches on the light, opens the fridge, cross-checks, switches off the light(everytime) and gives me the report! Our worlds are not different, indeed.

If I want to wash clothes the next day, I do ask her to remind me and she does. She brings her soil box and pushes me to bring ours. We do drop our clothes in the machine. When it’s done, she pulls me from kitchen. I have to hand over the clothes to her and she puts them in the dryer. Once dried, she walks all her way and brings cloth by cloth to the closet room for me to fold them. One day, she was sleeping(afternoon nap), she suddenly sprung up when she heard dryer ending sound and got down to start folding marathon!

Bath time – Choosing their dress, bringing their towel, putting the worn dress into soil box – all could be done by them and by this way we can make them more responsible. Do not miss hours of fun time in water during summer. Just fill a bath tub/a large vessel/bucket with water and let them enjoy splish splashing !!!

While you are ironing or doing something which cannot be done with the lil one, just try this color game to keep them engaged – Finding colors in the room – I say a color and she finds some object in the room with that color – Then she says a color and I find it with eyes – This goes on till all objects in the room are covered – Sometimes this will be a color splash – We pick a color and we keep on identifying all objects of the same color one by one – No rule or end to your creative playing !

Actually, Nilaa enjoys vocal games – we choose a topic and keep on telling names under that – famous topics we covered – fruits, vegetables, flowers, vehicles, friends/relatives names, birds, wild, domestic and sea animals – Alphabets word splash say A for Apple, Apricot, Aeroplane, Alligator, Ant, Arrow, Anchor, Apron, Ape – This way they learn more words, improves memory power and easily gains interest in learning.

I use this word game to keep her engaged in the car whenever she troubles. In car, there are many other ways like identifying shops and flex ad boards on the same route – Identifying area names – Counting a type of vehicle on the road say car is to me and truck/lorry adds to her count and whoever reaches 10 first is the winner.

There are specially dedicated play time for us at home. At that time, we always start with different types of walks. This might seem funny but I personally felt that this provokes their creative thinking skill. We stand apart and I narrate a type of walk say right hand pointing to sky and left hand pointing to earth, come jogging – we both do that and jog forward to change places – then she narrates left hand in the hip and right hand waving, come hopping – we play this for nearly an hour – I include opposites, action words, good habits & whatever strikes my mind in the same game to learn with fun.

Then we move to singing rhymes with actions, followed by hide and seek. We end with dancing to cini songs 😉 Fy Fy Fy is her all time favourite!!! When I am tired, we opt for play dough, building blocks, magic slate, copy colouring books. Activities books and worksheets make us more interesting.. Really they rock ! Bursting bubbles in bubble wraps from online orders offer hours of entertainment.

Dad’s time is drill time 😉 They shed more energy. With dad, she enjoys running race, chasing, throw ball and pillow games. He lines up all her toys and hides one – she finds the missing one and she hides one and asks him to find. I admire this missing toy game as she finds correctly everytime among 10 to 15 toys. He always tests her memory. He blindfolds her and asks the color or placement of any object at home. Spending quality time with kids is more valuable than buying them costly toys.

Other than this, take them out to the park and let them shed some energy there. Walking, cycling, swimming are add-ons. Often visit friends/relatives and let them mingle with other kids. Time spent with grand-parents are remarkable. Lending libraries exclusively for kids are becoming popular in most of the metropolitan cities. Become a member and do not miss the story times and other interesting activities.

Nilaani Shopping List

Shopping with kids seem to be an exhausting drill for many parents. My suggestion is just encourage them to plan and shop with you. Let them prepare the shopping list. The one in the pic(She has written M as W) was prepared when Nilaa was 3.7 yrs. Actually, she started gradually from 3+ yrs. Do not just dictate, but let them also check the availability of the item in your fridge or store room.

In the shop, kids could hold the list and tick the items taken. Finding the items that you search for and picking the items that they could handle are techniques to keep them busy. Much smaller kids can enjoy sitting in the trolley and having smaller items at hand. Elder kids can check the expiry dates of each product picked. After returning home, ask their help to keep the items in respective places.


Sleeping time – Briefly recollect the activities of that day with them – Recollect what fruits and veggies they had and what nutrients they got out of it and how stronger and sharper they are growing – Classify good and bad habits – we play this as a bedtime game where I tell all her good habits of that day and she tells her bad habits of that day – Appreciate the good habits and insist on rectifying the bad ones. Plan for tomorrow’s meals, games, dress and other activities. Telling or reading a story and sleeping with a good night wish and a sweet kiss ends your day happily for a fresh start.

Oooh… Wrote a long essay!!  Just wanted to insist that there are n number of ways to keep the kid engaged other than watching a screen. After few years, I wish to write part II of this article as my world would widen as per Nilaa’s age and interest. Pick the methods those seem to be sensible and are applicable to your kid’s age. Try and share your experiences. Happy parenting!

Every parent is an inventor. Share me the methods invented by you in the comments section for the benefit of all the readers..


Parenting – Early Spectacles

Early Spectacles - Parenting at MyhealthykiddoIn olden days, spectacles were very rarely seen. I still remember my great grandmother reading newspaper without specs till her last days at the age of 97!

In this modern era, spectacles are possessed by kindergarten kids too! The quest for Child Ophthalmologists has intensified. To meet the demands of increasing vision defects, colourful frames are being manufactured to entice the kids and it has become very common to see portraits of kids wearing glasses in Spectacles shops today.

Though malnutrition is the major cause of early eye-wears, the blame is equally shared by the advancement of Science and Technology.

My friend consulted a Neurologist for his son’s headache at the age of 4 and without prescribing any medicine, he just advised to take him out to revitalize his eyes. He added to refrain from watching TV/Computer/Tablet/Mobile screens.

Vision threatening gadgets have become a vital part of our life.

Working moms are busy with their schedules ..

House wives are busy with their household chores & serials ..

When mom is inside the kitchen, Cartoon network is tuned to keep the kid occupied.

When mom wants to watch her favorite TV show, mobile or tablet is offered to stare at a still closer distance!

Weekend .. Yayyy!! Time to take the kid out for shopping .. Oh, he is ready to view the colors of fresh veggies & fruits, dollies & lollies.. hurray!!!

When the kid pulls some chocolates, chips and other unhealthy stuffs to the trolley, he is offered a mobile to stay healthy! When he is still busy with his Subway Surfer and Temple Run, mom finishes her shopping peacefully and dad accompanies with no complaint of managing the naughty kid!

Back in the car, dad is driving, mom is tired of shopping but the kid is busy with the dashboard. Mom takes off the hand but it reaches again in 2 seconds 😉 AC is on but the vents are repeatedly closed.. FM is on but in deafening decibels! When parking light is on to indicate hazardous drive, dad shouts at mom to restrict the kid. To manage the situation, again mobile is offered to bring back peace!

Night time .. Ah, the Moon and stars are readily lighted in the sky stage .. The show has begun, but there are no spectators .. The kid is given a separate luxurious room where the moon and stars are painted with wonderful colors, yet they neither sparkle nor impart harmony!

Long ago, the performances of moon and stars were daily enjoyed by people from Terraces. Oh, I forgot .. Many terraces are occupied by Cell phone towers and Apartment terraces are occupied by Penthouses today! Still, there is a chance to peep through your balcony door 😉 where there is a will, there is a way !

Jokes apart! Smart phones are not smart for kids. TV/Tablet is not the only solution to keep the kid occupied. Involve them in your daily activities. My 3.5 year old is my best ever cooking partner, I swear!. Involve them in gardening, cleaning, arranging & whatever possible. Though there will be a mess initially, you could see a change sooner. In free time, get them involved in books and play activities. I should write a separate post on keeping them engaged 😉

In short, eyes are so precious .. Please protect them .. Expose them to mother nature and she will take care of them!

Broader the vision and do not confine the sight inside the walls of your living room ! Step out and see how Nature steals the show!?! Happy parenting 🙂

Click here to read my other Parenting articles…


Grand Parents

Grand ParentsIn our generation , most of us enjoyed the stories of thatha paatti(Grand Parents) and had Nilaa choru(Moon rice) in the Terrace with the whole family posing to Moon’s light and chewing healthy delights!

Grand parents added more values to our lives and have given us golden memories to reminisce. Especially, this vacation season flashes fun-filled fantastic pasts!

To my knowledge, they never told “No” to us. We get all affirmative responses and we wondered that we would have even got the moon if asked for !

They hilariously narrate the childhood mischiefs of dad and often relate our good deeds to dad’s. Though dad won’t be at home during daytime, the stories of his childhood bring us more closer to him and grandpa makes dad to be omnipresent! They tell us how they felt proud when dad performed well in Academics and impart us the feeling of giving the same pride back to our parents.

We get to know about mom during vacation times when we fly to maternal grandparents’ place. As we occasionally show up there, we will be treated as special guests and over-pampered there! We get all goodies in one shot!

We had no work other than eating and playing! We had an open atrium(Muttram) in the center of their house and during half-yearly holidays when it rains, we used to block the outlet and enjoy the instant swimming pool !

But now, kids’ summer vacations go in front of TV or mobile. As the synonym of playing is now changed to mobile/tablet games, this type of playing will still make Jack a dull boy!

With the increase in Old age homes and the demand for “Nuclear Families” , Grand Parents just remain as aliens to many kids today. Growing with Parents itself have become rare now as both are being bread-winners, baby’s bread is fed by baby-sitters!

If you have the chance to make your kid spend time with their grand parents, please do use the opportunity. In this summer vacation, cancel your visit to cottage and plan to add colors to their dotage(old age). They might not be good to your partner, but they can’t be bad to their grand children ! They might be uneducated, but their experience will sure be a value-add to your kid.

From birth, Nilaa is enjoying her days with the involvement of her grand parents. She spoke early at 1+ yr and the credit goes to my in-laws. In occasional visits, she spends some time with her great grand parents(kollu thatha paati) too 🙂

Back from her preschool, she narrates her school activities thrice .. Once to me just on the way back from school .. Once to her grand parents just after entering the home.. Once to her dad in the night ..

They have become an integral part of her life and she has in-turn added bliss to their life 🙂

Lots of stories & loads of glories are treasured by grand parents. Unleash your kid for the valuable Treasure Hunt ! Happy Holidays..

The chair in the pic is Sathya’s grandpa’s chair and I clicked this when I visited his native last time.. On the same day, I clicked the pic of calf suckling milk from cow and I still personally admire that pic.. Do check out by clicking here..


Mom is not a machine!

Woman is not a MachineHappy Woman’s day(March 8) to all 🙂 Its my prerogative to bring this topic today. Female freedom is an age-old topic and many of you might think this as irrelevant in this modern era as women have already come out of the kitchen to conquer the world.

If you explore deeply, she has not yet come out of the kitchen! Along with her kitchen work, she has taken additional responsibilities to pursue her interests hidden inside her apron strings. Mending her career, she started supporting the family financially. She is actually, over-loaded !

Firstly, I thank god for have gifted me an understanding hubby with lovely in-laws. I have seen/heard the miserable lives of many women, who have not been gifted as in my case. This penning is an initiative to shout out their inner voice, seeking for empathy and hoping for a change!

Though we are in 21st Century, where old-age homes have become more popular, still there are many women who respect the family values and mend the family web meticulously. This post is dedicated to those women. But, do the families realize/respect/acknowledge the multi-faceted role she plays ??

In a joint family(in most cases), a male cannot enter the kitchen even if he has the intention to help her. Kitchen is solely copyrighted to women. In many houses, still women(working women are not exceptions) have to cook and serve too. Honourable males enjoy their gender preference and remain as couch potatoes at home. Women in nuclear families who don’t have helping husbands face same problem.

From dawn to dusk, she works .. Her work place might vary, but she toils round the clock. She appeases everyone except her stomach. The number of chapathis she eat is not dependent on her hunger factor but depends on the leftovers. Still in many joint families, males should eat first and females should eat the rest. These are unwritten laws.

Working moms are too pity. They long for sleep. If the baby cries to sleep, the whole family will be sleeping except she, who will be making the baby to sleep with the last bit of energy that she has to survive for that day. She will be the last to sleep and the first to getup.

Fighting for woman’s welfare, we have eradicated many old habits like keeping her out of the kitchen and other household chores on those 3 days of the month. Our feminists voiced against it and got her the freedom to enter the kitchen on those days. As an aftereffect, her 3 days rest too was trashed and she has been burdened on those days too!

She is not a child-bearing machine .. She is not a salary-less maid .. She is a wonderful human and a determining woman ! She too needs ample rest , nutrition & special time for herself.  It is insane to expect change from the older generation. But, as a responsible husband, please open your eyes and see how she toils for you and your family.

How many males are ready to clean your baby’s pooh, when your wife is eating/cooking ?? Just don’t categorize womanly works.. You are her life-partner and you have the responsibility to share her work. If your parents do not allow you to share, try to make them understand. If not, just ignore them and keep helping her and sooner than later, they will adapt and accept the change ! Pls do not exploit her.. Share her work and gift some precious time for her.. Respect womanhood !

Hearty thanks to my college friend and a great Artist Mrs.Prabhavathi Perumal for contributing this drawing(Seen in the start of this page) exclusively for Myhealthykiddo, precisely depicting my topic today.. Thank you Prabha 🙂


Parenting- Copy cats

Parenting-Copy CatsEvery dutiful parent desires to grow a disciplined child. Their wishes to inculcate good habits in their children are eminently esteemed as they strive to yield a good human to the society as well.

But the fact is, more than teaching/coaching, children learn via observing. They try to imitate their parents as they perceive the world through their words & deeds.

If dad comes home with happy face, he spreads the happiness to the whole family for that evening. Rather, dad had missed a deadline in office or got poor rating and comes home with frown face, he spreads the same negative vibration to the family.

The situation gets worsen, if dad shows that frustration by giving grumpy responses to mom. Dad doesn’t wish to yell at the kid and just talks with a false smile. Do you think dad behaved well to the kid as he deemed to have appeased the kid with a smile ?? Not at all ! The kid had already noted the grumpy responses offered to mom and in turn mom’s lovely face losing the glow. I have just exemplified with dad but the same applies when mom behaves impatiently.

We presume that the child observes and reacts to the direct communications only but that isn’t the fact. The kiddie might be watching a cartoon or playing with the dolly when you both are quarreling, but the little one would smell something is wrong at home. This may damage her/his secure feeling of dad, mom and home.

The insecure feeling at home might either violate the child or cause depressions. Your child might be pushed to either of these extremes! If you want to avoid complaints of the violent or inattentive behavior from the school & neighborhood, create a safe and secure environment to the kid at home.

I do agree that in any relationship, there might be controversial thoughts that might demand hot conversations. My only advice is procrastinate. Just postpone till the child sleeps or the kid goes out to school/play. I hope your child’s temperament out-values your Tug-of-war.

According to me, dad and mom should possess and exhibit mutual respects , help each other & involve in sweet conversations and this ambiance will substantially increase the trustworthiness of the child in the earthly relationships.

As a parent, we know the pain and pleasure in nurturing the child. Our small and silly mistakes should not cause a major impact in child’s attitude. He/She is after all your copycat and imbibes your pros and cons directly! Let them inherit/imitate your amiable attributes rather than grumpy gestures. Corner your worries/arguments and enjoy each and every moment with the child .. Happy Parenting 🙂

Nilaa always takes her phone and imitates me whenever I talk over phone. This photo was taken when we were taking GDM pic. Nilaa wanted to wear bangles like me and there struck the idea of this copycat pic 😉


Parenting- Thumb Sucking

Thumb Sucking babiesThumb/Finger(s) sucking babies offer an adorable babyish look that attracts more kisses and cuddles. But, from a responsible parent’s perspective, it is a distressing deed to be culminated as quickly as possible.

What acts as a stress buster for babies turn to be a stress maker for parents. Poor parents are worried about the mouth and teeth alignments and language lisps.

I am writing this post as I was one among those pitiful parents! Yes, Nilaa had the habit of sucking 2 fingers(in the picture) from her first month of birth. Due to the threats posed by the society, I decided to kick out that habit in a week’s time ! I hid her hands using scratch mittens. The tiny baby searched for her teeny fingers and cried aloud for the calamity caused 🙁 I convinced myself thinking this scene would be short-lived and the trouble is just for her goodness.

My mom could no more hear the howl and she convinced me saying Nilaa is after all my copy-cat. I have enjoyed thumb-sucking till my age of 5 and my mom alleviated my habit just by teasing me and she reassured that the same strategy can be applied to Nilaa. Solaced by mom’s words, I unwrapped the mittens and the next minute, her fingers found their way to her mouth! She started sucking rapidly as if long-awaited for that soothing.

Now, I am glad that she is out of this habit just 2 months back when she was 2.6 years. Still I feel guilty for have hidden her pacifier(fingers) for a while!

This post is mainly to enlighten the like-minded parents. Never try your luck forcefully in advance. Please do wait for the time till she/he is ready to accept the change. You still have time before the permanent teeth protrude around the age of six.

It is said to be their natural reflex and plugging out the fingers forcefully would make them feel upset as finger sucking provides copious comfort to them. It just doesn’t mean that they are hungry. They opt for this whenever they feel isolated, scared, annoyed, disturbed from sleep and even when bored. Let them calm down and feel safe with their self-soothing !

Techniques to wean off thumb/finger sucking :

  • First try to reduce the timing and make it a night-time habit.
  • In day time, rather than consciously plugging out the finger, try to distract the baby by playing or offering something to hold so that the baby plugs out naturally.
  • Once the baby falls asleep, slowly pull the fingers out so that it is not soaked in saliva so long.
  • Associate one more sleep transitional object so that when you wean off finger sucking, the accustomed comforting object might compensate the loss. Nilaa had an elephant printed towel and she used to smell it along with finger sucking. When weaning off one, the other(smell of her towel) comforted her and still she never sleeps without her towel!
  • After the age of 2, you can playfully tease(puppy-shame) her/him for the habit and seek recommendations from her toy friends like Pooh bear, Mickey, Pingu who play joyfully without this nasty habit… Nonetheless, praise her/him when undone.
  • When they too feel to get rid of this,  it is really difficult for them to ban it as their fingers work impulsively. At this point, you can help them with Paediatrician prescribed solutions that discourage finger sucking and nail biting as that holds a bitter taste which compels them to stay away from mouth. But, do use it after clearing permissions from your pint-sized Prince/Princess!

I started thumb sucking within an hour of my birth. I would have developed this habit in the womb 😉 Be positive like my mom. Nothing is impossible for a willing heart. All you need are patience and perseverance. No worries and good luck ! Share me your stories …