Hidden Hunger: The Perils of Micronutrient Deficiency Among Urban Kids

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Hidden hunger, also known as micronutrient deficiencies, afflicts more than 2 billion individuals, or one in three people, globally. Hidden hunger is a form of under-nutrition that occurs when intake and absorption of vitamins and minerals (such as zinc, iodine, and iron) are too low to sustain good health and development. While undernourishment is clinically evident in impoverished children living in rural areas, malnutrition is the “hidden hunger” in an urban setting. We may think that infants are eating healthy but they may not be consuming the required amount of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis, which may be the primary reason for their nutritional deficiencies.

According to National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau of India, over 50% of apparently healthy-looking children have sub clinical and biochemical deficiencies of micro-nutrients (like Vit A, B2, B12, vit C, iron, trace minerals like iodine, zinc, etc). Increasing dietary diversity by providing foods with adequate amounts of micro-nutrients is one of the most effective ways to prevent hidden hunger.

Shrouded symptoms of micronutrient deficiencies at an early stage

The percent ideal body weight index does not seem to be an adequate measure of nutritional status in children. In some cases, malnutrition is very mild and does not present any symptoms. Moreover, malnutrition can develop over a long period of time, so the symptoms may not seem obvious in the beginning. Early detection of deficits in nutritional status may result in the adverse effects of malnutrition on height and weight, and possibly clinical status, being prevented.

Infants fed on daily diet lacking enough micro nutrients do not meet the requirements for overall physical and mental growth, say doctors

In India, mothers generally focus on the physical growth of a child and not overall brain development and immunity levels. Diet normally followed in Indian households are rich in macro-nutrient supporting only physical growth but lack in micro nutrients essential for overall mental and brain development.  This translates to the fact that the child with normal height and weight may be suffering from a nutritional deficiency, which parents are not aware of. Gaps in daily nutrition with unsatisfactory nutritional quality results in nutrient deficiencies to set in at an early age.

Adequate nutrition planning by parents in early years is essential to complement child development

Micro-nutrients are a group of nutrients which are required in trace amounts for normal growth and development. Micro-nutrient deficiency is often referred to as “Hidden Hunger” because it develops gradually over time, their devastating impact not seen until it leaves behind irreversible damage. Millions of children suffer from stunted growth, cognitive delays, weakened immunity and infections because of micronutrient deficiencies. Primary food, therefore, must be nutrition dense as the need for nutrients are not fulfilled by mother’s milk after 6 months, making Infants susceptible to nutritional deficiency.

Eating patterns built during childhood serve as a foundation for life. More than 1/3rd of child deaths occurring annually, around the world, are attributed to malnutrition, specifically under-nutrition, which weakens the body’s resistance to illness. If a child is malnourished during the first 1000 days of life, the child’s physical and mental growth and development is slowed. This cannot be corrected when the child is older – it affects the child for the rest of his or her life. Fulfilling the micronutrient requirements of infants should be addressed on a priority basis, with parents and caretakers sitting up to the fact that a healthy and nutritious diet for infant is a requisite, not occasionally, but daily.

With micronutrients producing significant public health benefits, nutrition plays a vital role in the holistic development of a child. Moreover, good nutrition signifies a food which is a powerhouse of micronutrients.

Explore Magical Sea World with Colgate

 

The greatest thing ever in the history of the world and of all of human endeavour from time immemorial is stories. ― Rainn Wilson

Stories are an inseparable part of our lives. Stories are our window to the world around us. Stories are all around us. They are what move us, make us feel alive, and inspire us. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds.

We have grown up listening to stories from our elders. And we do the same with our kids too. We read stories to them at bed time and inspire them to fall in love with the magical world of stories and books.

Imagine a day when our kids starts telling us stories! Wouldn’t that be just great!!

Orson Scott Card once shared that anything can become a children’s book if you give it to a child. Children are actually the best  audience for literature because they have no patience with pretence.  How true is that!

Colgate is helping us do just that. Yes, Colgate has come out with limited edition Magical Sea World packs which the kids can cut, play with and learn about various sea creatures. Every character inside Colgate’s Magical Sea World pack has some interesting trivia which helps kids to learn about sea creatures too.

The four different Colgate packs named as Pirate Hunt, Treasure Hunt, Pirate Ship and Coral Reef, can let a child’s imagination run wild.

My nephew D loves DIY projects. So, I shared these 4 packs with him. He immediately got working and cut the box open. Inside of the box had different characters and shapes. Each shape has a dotted line around it. D gently cut each shape along the dotted line (with a little help from his Mommy and Masi). And soon he had all the characters in front of him. And the child in him gave a whoop of joy. He painstakingly arranged them on the table and admired his handwork.

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I then asked him to narrate a story based on these characters. He looked at them for a moment and impromptu shared his imaginative story #‎ColgateMagicalStories‬.

Blackbeard and his twin sister Sadie are pirates of the Caribbean. One day, Sadie sees a mermaid in the middle of the sea through her binocular. She tells Blackbeard that she wants to meet the beautiful mermaid. Blackbeard starts on a voyage on his ship to find the mermaid. As his ship sails through the sea waters, he meets some friendly creatures of the sea. He meets the Killer Whale, Sharks, Dolphins, Sea Turtle, Crabs, Sting Ray, Star Fish, Octopus, Puffer Fish etc. He chats with all these sea creatures and they share interesting things about themselves. For example, Sting Ray shared that it produces electric shock from its tail for defense or that Sea Turtles can grow up to 300 kg in weight or that Dolphins live in groups called pods.

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Blackbeard asks them about the mermaid. They all point in different directions and say that she is mysterious and elusive. All that does not deters Blackbeard for he is determined to find the mermaid. He even dives deep in the sea to look for her. While he is looking for her, he finds a lost treasure. He happily takes the treasure to his ship. His talking parrot that is perched up high on the ship’s mast shrieks and tells Blackbeard the place where he saw the mermaid. Blackbeard takes his ship in that direction and finds the mermaid sitting outside her palace on an island. The mermaid is happy to see a human and agrees to go with him to meet his sister Sadie. All the animals circle around the ship and cheer them. Blackbeard and Sadie become great friends with the mermaid and they all have some good times together.

We all clapped as little D finished his story on a happy note.

We smiled and noted with satisfaction that how this little DIY activity not only engaged the child and we got to spend some quality time with him, but also helped him to hone his story-telling skills, cognitive skills, imaginative skills and even creative skills.

#DoYourHomework for Your Child’s Future

Few years ago, if children were asked what they’d want to be when they grow up? Answers would range from doctor, teacher, engineer…

However, if you ask the children of today about their future career choices, their answers would be varied and go beyond the conventional options. Children today are aware of the innumerable career options they have in front of them and actually have a strong point of view on what they want to do in life. And this is such a contrast to the earlier times when children followed what their parents decided for them.

As parents, are we on the same page as our children when it comes to their future?

I came across this interesting #DoYourHomework video which has a group of parents and their children. Children were asked to draw a picture of what they would like to become in future while parents were asked to paint what they would like their children to become in future. They were told not to interact with each other during the course of the activity.

A lot of interesting stories emerged from the experiment. At the end of the experiment, parents and children were asked to reveal their ideas. And to everyone’s surprise the pictures were contrasting. Children expressed their eagerness to pursue conventional as well as unconventional careers and their parents saw their children pursuing professions different than what their children articulated.

As parents today, we would leave no stone unturned to make our children’s aspirations and dreams a reality. But, do we know what would be the cost of education ten years down the line? Or how much would it take to fulfil our child’s dream?

I think, as parents we need to do our homework too.

Incidentally, there is a Homework App which will make life simpler and easier for parents. Through the Homework app, parents can find out the costs of education across a multitude of courses in various countries at their finger-tips. The app not only gives info on the future value of the course which their children want to pursue, but also the estimated amount to invest to reach that goal. So, go on use this app and #DoYourHomework.

Children are our future. As parents let’s help them reach their career aspirations and goals and plan for our child’s future NOW by doing our homework.

Should Little Girls Wear Makeup?

Last month, it was my niece’s 9th birthday. The birthday party had some ten kids, all from her class. One girl got everybody’s attention. She wore a LBD with high heels, her waist-length hair open, dangling hoops in her ear, a touch of lipstick, blush on cheeks and an eyeliner. Every now and then she’d flick her head back to toss her hair over her shoulder. She looked smart and confident and was able to carry herself real well even in those high heels.

But something about her made me uncomfortable. Yes, it was her mini adult look. And one thought kept buzzing in my head, ‘could this type of dressing and makeup wait a while longer?’

I am back on Parentous after a hiatus.

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Do check out this post as I share my dilemma.

What are your thoughts about little girls donning the mature look? Is there a certain age where you think it’s appropriate for girls to wear makeup out of the house? What age is too young?

Pamper Me Soft

You know what’s the most beautiful thing about babies?

Babies are soft. Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger’s touch. But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-cheeked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands. Their joints are melted rubber, and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and seem never to find bone. Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body.  And isn’t that the most beautiful and heart warming feeling ever?

And what would you not do to take care and protect their soft tender skin?

You know those soft spots on baby’s head? There are actually two “holes,” one at the back of the head and the other at the top, called the fontanels. Baby’s skull isn’t fully united at first so he can make that trek down the birth canal. The soft spots may scare us in the beginning. Sometimes this soft spot pulses in time with the baby’s heartbeat, like a mini-rhythm section or bulges out a bit when the little one strains to poop. But they close up — the one at the back within two to six months and the one on the top by about 18 months.

As a mother you are forever looking at ways and means to protect the baby’s head. I remember keeping pillows and cushions on the floor of his play room, to avoid any injury as he tried to walk, jump and fall all around the place.

The pace with which a baby grows from lying down on his back all day to walking and running around is fast and furious. At five months, he’s rolling over. By seven months, he can sit up on his own. And as early as eight months, he can stand. And at 13 months, he may begin walking. And during all these stages, he is super curious. While he wanders without any fear all around the house to learn and explore on his own, it is super challenging time for the parents.

The three holes on the wall are meant to put his tiny fingers in, that’s what my baby believed. Or playing peekaboo was best when he closed the door of the room and I was expected to open the door and see him. That makes me realize that babies are so easily amused. Anything can become a play thing for them. Even bolting the door from inside is a fun play thing. So right from baby proofing the empty electrical sockets to, removing latches from the doors were some of things we did to make playtime safe and soft for our baby’s skin.

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail; when you are a baby, everything can be turned into a play game. Since, there’s no stopping them, there’s no stopping us to make their play time #SoftestForBabySkin

Do you hear the babies say, “Yeah, pamper me soft, as I crawl into a cabinet and make your heart grow a thousand times bigger!”

“This post is a part of the Pampers #SoftestForBabySkin activity at BlogAdda

Fun Activities for Kids

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all want our kids to have fun on their holidays, but looking after young children can be exhausting enough, without worrying about new and exciting ways to keep them entertained. Thankfully, the internet is your friend and there’s no shortage of wonderful blogs and websites with inventive ideas for kids activities. Because having fun with your family doesn’t have to mean leaving the house or breaking the bank, and here are five of the best tried-and-tested ways to help inspire your child’s imagination:

Mini Olympics

Burn off some of that excess energy by holding your own mini Olympics. Ask each child to Sack Race choose a country to represent and dig out any old clothes, fancy dress or face paint in their chosen nation’s colours. Here imagination is more important than either space or equipment, and your tournament can be made up of anything from racing laps around the house to a pillow-sack race, or even tug-of-war with a piece of old rope or a dressing gown belt.

Into the Kitchen

The best kids activities are ones that are as useful as they are enjoyable. Teaching your child Baking With Children new skills will fill them with confidence and improve their ability to help out at home and entertain themselves (win-win!) Kids love to cook – and eat! – so a great place to start teaching them useful skills is the kitchen. Choose a recipe that you can all sit down and enjoy together, varying the difficulty of the dish depending on your child’s age and ability. Simple cakes and bakes are great for younger children, while older kids can take on savoury dinnertime dishes and more advanced recipes. Studies often find that children who cook have a healthier approach to food and nutrition, so be sure to involve them in the whole process, from selecting a recipe and shopping for ingredients to chopping the vegetables and serving up to eat.

Build a Castle

Help your child transform the living room or their bedroom into a life-size play area by building Tent a castle from blankets, pillows, rugs, chairs and any old cardboard boxes or junk. Creating a space removed from everyday life will help spark a child’s imagination and provides them with the escapism they need to conjure up fantasy games and make-believe. Indoor tents, forts, tunnels and boats can all be fashioned from everyday household items, and you’ll be amazed at how inventive kids can be when they’re given the freedom to do so.

Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunts always make brilliant kids activities as not only can they be set up in advance, Treasure Hunt but they’ll also entertain any number of children all afternoon. Prepare clues based on the age and gender of the children taking part, and make sure you have enough ‘treasure’ for everyone involved (kids aren’t best-known for being the most democratic competitors when it comes to prizes). Small, inexpensive treats such as sweets, hair accessories or water balloons all make great prizes, especially as the real fun is to be had in the hunt itself!

Fashion Show

Children love to be the centre of attention so why not turn your corridor or hallway into a Kids Fashion Show catwalk and encourage them to put on a fashion show? Girls in particular will relish the opportunity to glam up in their favourite outfits, but it’s surprising how often boys love a bit of fancy dress too. Lend them any costume jewellery, extravagant hats or unusual pieces from your own wardrobe and help them choose a playlist to accompany them down the catwalk. Give them control of the light switch or torch (flashing lights are a must) and make sure you’re there with your camera to capture them as they strike their finest poses.

How are you going to engage your children these holidays! Hope you  pack in a lot of fun in their holidays!  And happy holidays to you ALL!

Travel with Kids

One day, a friend M who was in her family way lamented with a sad and desolate look on her face, “I think, I’d be losing all freedom in a few weeks from now. I’ll be tied down with baby care for a long long time. There’d be no cozy dine outs, movies in theatre and even the vacations would be on a back burner! What have I got myself into? For how long will this state last for me?”

Seeing her having baby blues before the baby arrived, we tried to cheer her up. And then another friend S, remarked, “Oh, you’ll be able to do all these things, whenever YOU are ready!

This made M sit up and listen. S could see an attentive audience, so she elaborated… Sharing some entertainment ideas, survival strategies, and practical advice, S shared that make travel with kids, magical and happy.

Agree that traveling with kids for a vacation is not as easy and simple when compared to travel that is solo or with friends. But it is not all that difficult and in fact having them around makes for some great fun times, with some beautiful memories.

The most important thing that needs to be taken care of is the needs of the children. Yes, that’s right!  If we pay attention to their needs which are actually 6Es, we are sorted, yes, even on a vacation.

Enthusiasm. Check. When we plan and talk about the forthcoming trip with excitement, it kind of rubs on the children too. After all nothing is as contagious as enthusiasm. Disinterested and uninvolved children can dampen the holiday cheer. Let them help in packing. I know, how much of a help that is, but still! The idea is that they too should be looking forward to the fun and exciting times. And half the battle is won.

Expectation Matching. Check. Going for a trek or a visit to a fort on a hill with toddlers can exhaust you physically and mentally.  (Of course, such excursions are pretty do-able and manageable, if you plan well!) Going for a vacation and doing things that all in the family enjoy and love results in happy smiles all around.

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Engage. Check. What do kids love the most? Playing games, obviously! Bored kids can be very cranky. So, how about taking their favourites along with you, like UNO cards or Beyblades or Chess or whatever interests them. For example, on one vacation with our friends, the kids played UNO and we too learnt it from them which graduated into marathon UNO sessions involving all the adults and children. Needless to say, who had fun beating whom… initially!!

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Enjoyment Galore. Check.  With our modern lifestyles, indoor culture and addiction to technological gadgets, our children are far more removed from nature than us. Vacations are perfect time to relax and let children be children and let them  recapture the simple pleasures of dancing in the rain or climbing trees or playing with sand.

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Explore. Check. Children are such curious creatures. They explore, question, and wonder, and look at everything with a different perspective. A trip to a museum was such an enlightening one, only because we had two ten-year olds with us. Their steady stream of questions made us read up and hire a guide and that was truly enriching.

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Expect the Unexpected. Check. Not everything goes as per the plan always. There would be surprises and there would be surprises. Like once a child had a tummy upset, so we had to take frequent breaks during our road journey. While the parents took turns in taking care of the child, rest of us made the best of our time by capturing memories in our cameras and chatted with the villagers around and soaked in the beauty around.

Rumi said, travel brings power and love back into your life… and children pack it with more power and love along with fun and happiness and lots of magical moments and memories!

See the world, with your children. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. So where are you heading these vacations?

This post is written for Indiblogger and Teddy Travelogues from Club Mahindra

All the pictures used in the post are personal.

Sending your Child to Boarding School

No matter how young your child is now, at some point you’ll need to start thinking about their formal education. For some of us, this means asking ourselves one crucial question: should I send my child to boarding school? While there are many great sources for online parenting tips on child development and schools (especially if your children are younger) the question of boarding school in particular is worth a closer look. So what are the pros and cons of sending your child to boarding school? Are the stereotypes really true? Is it worth the cost?boarding

The first thing to realize is that while boarding school fees may be high, some schools do offer scholarships and bursaries for talented students. If your child is lucky enough to get one of these, the costs won’t be as prohibitive as you might think. Regardless of the cost, many parents believe boarding school is worth these fees, because of the benefits your child will reap. Here are some parenting tips to consider:

Pros of Boarding School

  • Excellent academic education: One of the main reasons parents opt for boarding school is the academic reputation of these schools. With dedicated teachers and an optimal teacher-student ratio, your child will be able to intellectually thrive in an encouraging environment. Attending one of these schools may increase your child’s chances of entering a prestigious university.
  • Wealth of extracurricular activities: At the same time, if your child is inclined towards athletics, the arts, community volunteering, or other non-academic activities, boarding schools often boast fantastic resources where students can explore these interests. This may include extensive playing fields and athletic spaces, art studios, orchestras, choirs, or connections to professional organizations.
  • Independence and confidence: Your child could become much more independent at boarding school, without the immediate presence of his or her parents. In some ways, your child may grow up faster, leading to increased confidence for university and beyond.
  • Networking and reputation: And yet, your child will also form long-lasting friendships at boarding school, which can extend into their careers. The strong alumni community and good reputation of top boarding schools could prove to be a boost for your children as they build their professional lives.

Cons of Boarding School

  • Less time with your child: If you’re a parent who savours every moment you spend with your child, boarding school may be difficult for you, because you will naturally have less time with them. However, it may mean that the time you do spend together will be even more meaningful, and your relationship may become more positive as a result.
  • Conformity may be challenging for your child: Some children do not respond well to a strict environment, as it confines their unique view of the world. A child like this may suffer at first at boarding school, which often stresses conformity. If this is the case, try to find a boarding school which caters to your child’s interests (the arts, for example), and remember: any school (boarding or not) will have some element of conformity to it. There are also plenty of parenting tips available to help you choose an appropriate school.
  • A different social world: Boarding school students may come from a more privileged socioeconomic world than your child is used to. This may be daunting for your child, or may create a sense of envy for him or her. This isn’t any different from the adult world, though, and your child will be learning early on how to behave and succeed among people from different backgrounds.

These parenting tips should give you some food for thought when considering whether or not to send your child to boarding school. Whatever you choose, you want to give your children the best possible education, to prepare them for success and happiness in the future.

The above post is a guest article from Surf Excel Team.

A Healthy Child makes a Happy Home

Raising healthy children is topmost priority for all parents. And by healthy children we mean, focusing not only on their physical growth and health but mental and social well being too. We all know that the way we nurture our children in their early formative years, affects their growth and health later in life.

As young and brand new parents, twelve years ago, KG and I decided to give a healthy start to our lil baby. We decided that in order to raise a healthy child, we will make it a family affair ie both of us would be equal partners in nurturing our child (ok, I had a larger role to play for obvious reasons!) and secondly, we will keep it simple.

Eat Right : The first thing that was on our agenda was to give the right and balanced nutrition to our child. We all know that healthy eating habits helps to maintain healthy weight and growth. So, we followed a few rules religiously on our dining table.

  • We believe that the family that eats together stays together. So, we made meal time a family time, especially dinners. While, lunch is an affair between Aaryan and me.
  • Eat whatever is cooked at home. Finish whatever is in the plate… is the mantra that we have inculcated in our son and we follow it too.
  • Since KG is a chef by passion, a variety of healthy foods and snacks are a given in our home, making the dining table one happy place to be at. Ok, sometimes there were a few frowns but our meal times were never a battle zone.
  • Given the unhealthy temptations we are exposed to now-a-days, and we do have to give in to a burger today or an aerated drink there and not to mention the chips and chocolates. But we have opted for healthier options viz cooking with olive oil, milk and fresh juices over canned options, more fruits and vegetables etc.

Power of Play : Science has proven that a lot of brain development happen when a child is involved in a physical activity. Playing outdoors is not just a fun activity but helps the child to learn the rules of the game in the outside world, dealing with peers, wins and losses, and get the necessary mental, physical and social skills to succeed in his adult life.

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  • An hour of physical activity out with friends in the evening was something we encouraged for Aaryan. So, he would play hide and seek or cycle or play cricket or football or learn karate and come home happy with lots of stories to share and release of energy making him tired and hungry and ready to attack his food with gusto.
  • Jenga blocks, snakes and ladder, jig saw puzzles, reading story books, re-entered our lives as we played these games with our child, indoors. This not only helped us to bond as a family but also gave Aaryan that push to be more creative, expressive and imaginative too.
  • Family trips to parks, museums, zoos or just a drive around the city with the child helped to broaden his learning horizon.

Needless to say that maintaining these healthy habits ensured that our visits to the doctors were restricted usually to get the age-specific immunization shots. We amalgamated healthy nutritious food along with physical activity in our life and all this not only kept our child fit and healthy but helped us to be more disciplined and conscious of our health. Our involvement as parents in his early years gave him that sense of security and helped us become a close-knit family. Today, we have so many fond memories of growing up and growing close as a family —thanks to our child and our determination to give him the best.

It is true that a healthy child makes for a healthy and a happy home, indeed.

This post is written for Indiblogger.in and Dabur Chyawanprash

All the pictures used in the post are personal.

Finding the Right Balance

The Ultimate Parenting Question: How do you Find the Right Balance Between Protecting Kids & Letting Them Explore?

Every parent has a different parenting style, and each one of us knows a cautionary tale about a parent going to the extreme – being too overbearing or too passive can have equally negative effects on your child’s self-esteem and equilibrium later in life. With these issues, no one has the perfect answer for you and your kids – there’s no textbook to read, no teacher to mark you right or wrong, and what works for someone else may not necessarily be right for you. Online, you can find advice to suit every approach, from parenting tips on getting kids outside, to advice on avoiding the real dangers out there – so how do you translate the sea of parenting advice out there into something that works for you?

Research Parenting Styles

This is all about getting the right balance for you and your child, passing careful judgement on what you read and how it applies to your reality, and avoiding going too close to either extreme. A recent Times of India article points out the dangers of one-dimensional parenting styles and the long term impact they have on kids. For example, pushing our children to succeed is often rightly perceived as a positive thing; but set your expectations too high, and your child could end up feeling as though they have failed as an adult. Likewise, overprotected children can struggle to make independent decisions as an adult, and find it difficult to deal with real life once they’ve grown up and the cotton wool has been removed.

Trusting Parental Instinct

But how do we know when to step in and protect our children from danger or distress, and when to stand back and let them learn from their own mistakes, fight their own battles, and experience failure for themselves? Well, the truth is, we don’t. No one can predict how a situation will pan out 100% of the time. That’s why being able to tell the difference between a justified instinct and an irrational paranoia is such an important parenting skill to have. We must use our own knowledge of the world to make a judgement, and use our instincts to determine how best to parent our children in any given situation.

Building a Trusting Parent-Child Relationship

New technologies such as personal tracking devices make the question of how far we should go to keep an eye on our offspring more relevant today than ever. Social media profiles make it more and more tempting to check up on what the kids are up to. But where does one draw the line between virtual stalking and remote protection? There’s numerous benefits to be gained by just asking our children where they are going and what they are doing and trusting their answer, but how do you know they’ll be safe if you don’t know for sure what’s going on?

What modern parents need is a respectful, truthful, and trusting relationship with their children – and this must fostered from early childhood. One way to build this, as well as help develop aChild-parent child’s logic and understanding of the world, is to let them play and explore for themselves. It can be a daunting idea, but it’s easy to let them run wild whilst ensuring their safety (and your peace of mind!) if you know a few local play spots that provide a protected environment. And it can make a huge difference to the way your kids feel. You only have to look at the recent Kids Today project to see exactly what it’s like to be a child in a modern environment: head cameras on real kids show them enjoying exploration and play. Luckily, you can find tips on safe play environments even in the city, and you’ll soon see what it means to a child to be able to feel safe while they discover the world for themselves.

Letting Your Child Get Messy

Equally, it’s important to a child’s development to let them play and have the freedom to get dirty as they try new things out. Although your input and support as a parent is undeniablydirty_child_playing_outside essential at times, letting a child play and make a mess without interference is a confidence building exercise on both sides of the relationship. For the child, a bit of independence and freedom helps to boost their self-belief, and for us, finding that a complete mess results in a happy child and a quick clean up reminds us that a bit of muck isn’t the end of the world, and certainly has its benefits. Research suggests that eating the odd bit of dirt is actually good for a child’s immune system, and modern cleaning products make sorting out almost any mess relatively easy, so there’s really no need to worry about a bit of mud anymore.

As parents, we all know that there are dangers – like stranger-danger, or busy traffic — things in the world that we really do need to be worried about and should protect children from. But it’s not impossible to balance this awareness, and taking all the necessary precautions, with a realistic perspective. It’s important not to end up controlled by endless “What if?”s. We learn, as parents, by putting these fears into a real world context, and by talking to others with the same concerns and perhaps helpful experiences. So why not share your thoughts? What things in your child’s life do you worry about, and how do you deal with them?

The above post is a guest article from Surf Excel Team.

Linking this to July 2014 Ultimate Blogging Challenge and NaBloPoMo

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