Independent eating-encouraging young children to self feed

Meals are sacred times- to nourish our bodies as well as have a social interaction with people around us by eating together. We already know why force feeding ought to be avoided. But how does one encourage independent eating in young children? This is especially difficult in the Indian millenial setup. Here is what helped us, and what I recommend parents too.

1.Revise expectations

Although this is about independent eating in children, the role of the adult is most important. Yes, there will be messes. Yes, the child may eat 3 bowls today and just 2 spoons tomorrow. It’s okay. What helped me was, reminding myself that my job was to offer, show, be patient and trust that V’s understanding of her body. My happiness is not linked to the size of V’s belly.

2. Dedicated eating area

Always have a dedicated area for mealtimes. It could be a weaning table or a dining table or a corner of the living room floor.… Click to read the rest

What makes an activity, montessori?

The easiest way to start montessori practices at home, is to start with structured activities. Although, not the earliest. Montessori, like I keep reiterating is a lifestyle, and you can read more about incorporating it, here. But what makes an activity, montessori? How does one sieve through the million ideas available on Pinterest and choose activities for the child? I hope to answer that in this post, and the ones that follow. For now, here is a checklist that would help you set up an activity for the child.

1. Child- directed

First off, montessori activities are child- directed. The child is free to choose the activity, work on it at their own pace for as long and as many times as they would like.

2. Hands-on

Activities that involve doing actively, do a lot more for the child than passive activities. This also follows the principle of concrete to abstract.… Click to read the rest

Gentle-weaning my toddler


Did you know that in mystic thought forty symbolizes the ascent from one level to a higher one and spiritual awakening? When we mourn we mourn for forty days. When a baby is born it takes
forty days for him to get ready to start life on earth. And when we are in love we need to wait for forty days to be sure of our feelings

Eli Shafak, The Fort Rules of Love

I have always wanted to write about our breastfeeding journey, but it has been too personal a bond, that writing about it seemed like sacrilege. However, after 40 days, today I feel differently.


At the outset, let me clarify that this post isn’t intended to belittle any parent’s personal choice about weaning-when and how. That is a personal choice every parent makes. It isn’t intended to make anyone feel superior or horrible about how long or short a time one breastfed for.… Click to read the rest

How to read to your infant

So you already know why it is important to read to your baby. But the quintessential question arrives- how do you go about it? Fortunately for you, I made a list.

1. Go by your child, not the clock

This is a universal rule applicable for almost every situation, no? So there are going to be days (sometimes stretching for weeks), when your baby would be interested in the book for 30 seconds, and sometimes it may stretch to half an hour. Either ways, follow your baby’s lead.

2. The surrounding

Have a dedicated reading corner. It helps if you have a routine, probably before sleep-time. But then again, follow your child’s lead.

Ensure that there are no other distractions or loud noises to over stimulate your baby.

Although we had a reading corner and started out reading in the morning and before sleep, owing to the house filled with my books, we sometimes picked them up at any point of time too, including, during travel.… Click to read the rest

This entry was posted in Books.

Toilet learning- the Montessori way

Phew! Just when you think you have diapers and a poop routine figured out, people start asking if your child is toilet trained yet! The woes of  a parent never end eh?!
Why toilet learning? Why not toilet training?
Toileting is more than just a milestone. It is an everyday skill that is about independence and self esteem.
Toilet learning, is more child-led, more about a child learning to use the toilet and less about an adult telling the child “you’ve gotta pee now, the way i want, when i say so”.

1. Readiness

Obviously one cant expect a 2 year old to write 4 languages. Similarly, the sensitive period for starting toilet learning happens somewhere around 12-months, give or take.
At months baby V finally started showing signs of readiness. By this, I mean, she started being aware of when she wanted to pee and when she was peeing (this started with a keen interest in pee).… Click to read the rest

Motherhood and the Jekyll-Hyde paradigm

There is this saying in Tamil, that a delivery is equivalent to rebirth for a woman. Someone told me it is because, a woman goes through excruciating circumstances and puts her life at risk during birthing. I now realize, that it is because, motherhood changes you into a different person.

Birthing changes you

When Pooja told me that she was attempting the herculean task of bringing together 41 moms from around the world to share how motherhood had changed them, of course I jumped at the opportunity, because I can write about this with my eyes closed, right? How wrong I was. This post is a result of many nights of soul searching and digging deep.

So apart from the very obvious ways in which motherhood has changed me – jeans size, changed priorities, lack of time, exhaustion and the works, I’ve realized that I have become a bundle of paradoxes. Read on.… Click to read the rest

LEARN THROUGH PLAY

 

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. 
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.” – Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

 

Indeed, the doing matters more than the outcome! How often, have you wanted that promotion so bad, and worked hard towards it, to realize that the toil you put in and experience you gained helped you bag that promotion? How often have we visualized the perfect marriage; but aren’t the everyday moments we choose to compromise, forgive and understand what lead us to that 50th anniversary celebration?

Similarly, when children set out to learn a certain “something”, the journey to learn that is critical.

How my child goes about learning to add 2 numbers, for instance.… Click to read the rest

Das Din – A baby book with a difference

As conscious parents who want to introduce quality regional language books to our littles, we are always on the lookout for good baby literature.
Ditto me! I was hunting for good Tamil and Hindi books to introduce to baby V. There are quite a few publishers who do this ( we will be covering all in a series) but most of them were for slightly older toddlers.
That is when I chanced upon T4Tales, or rather Tiny Tots Tiny Tales.
Retold by Pridhee Kapoor Gupta and illustrated by Alicia D’souza, this book is a must have for your child’s library.
Read on to find out more about the book and author.
Listing down what we loved about this book
  • Extremely catchy illustrations, including the bright cover page.
  • Interactive. – So this doesn’t just have lift the flaps! From opening doors, to pouring 5 spoons of medicine to measuring the temperature, this one has a wide range of activities.
Click to read the rest

Thats not my Amma.

So I sat and thought (and thought and thought) about what my first post should be about. I wanted it to be an introductory post for those who do not know me. About what kind of Amma I am, and why amma in the first place. But I am horrible at introductions.

And finally, as always, inspiration struck while reading to Baby V (2 of my favourite creative outlets. And inlets)

Here is Baby V introducing me in Usborne books style. This is also a list of the most surprising and unexpected ways in which motherhood changed me. I was prepared for the sleepless nights and physical changes. What I wasn’t prepared for was the way I reacted to these changes.

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Much as I would hesitate to admit, I still cant resist beautiful and colorful clothes. I still love shopping for clothes (although Ive gone up by a size or two) .… Click to read the rest

Best books to read during pregnancy – Personal favourites

Of course, there are a gazillion apps, blogs, and websites now to take new parents and parents-to-be through pregnancy. But nothing beats the comfort of a good book. It is like a good friend who has your back throughout the transition. Here are my top favourite books, based on my personal experience. Do note, my experience is limited, and I prefer wholesome and positive books that can be read by both parents (if applicable).

pregnancy books india

My top 2 books to help through pregnancy

Strong as a mother

Most books focus on the size of the growing baby, and the physical changes in the mother. Strong as a mother talks a lot about the emotional changes, upheavals and anxieties, and how to heal.

The Big Fat activity book for pregnant people

If you are a parent-to-be with a sense of humour, this is a must-have for you. With sections like things you cannot do now, practical pregnany shoot tips, it is interspersed with fun quizzes and mazes along with information.… Click to read the rest

Montessori from birth: 4-6 months baby play

Between 4-6 months, the baby starts achieving new milestones, and everyday she learns something new. Her motor skills are evolving – she can grasp and kick with purpose now. She understands direction, and can lift her head up well, while on her tummy. If ready, she may also turn over at this stage. I have outlined a few of our favourite activities and montessori materials for 4-6 months here. This is just a guideline, and you may not need everything from this list in the same order.

montessori baby

Tactile mobiles

mobiles baby

By now, V2 was well into tactile mobiles. Once she started batting her gobbi, we introduced the ring on ribbon, and the wind chimes mobile. You can simply hang a puzzle ball or regular ball or some coloured ribbons above her (ensure they do not overstimulate and are developmentally appropriate). You will notice the baby enjoys batting, clutching and kicking the material.… Click to read the rest

Mythology for children- how to introduce cultural stories?

Let’s face it- the opportunities to introduce stories of mythology and folk tales to our children are not as many as what we had when we were growing up. We do not visit native spaces as often. I do not follow religious occasions as much as my parents. I certainly was uncomfortable explaining stories of politics and war to my toddler. But the disconnect makes it even more important to introduce cultural stories to our children. Here is a simple list on how we go about it in our family and a round up of my favourite resources. I hope this helps you.

For the sake of simplicity, I have included ithihaasas like Ramayana and Mahabharata in this discussion along with mythological stories.

Involved celebrations

I myself am not very religious or ritualistic. We spend time finding out the meaning of rituals and making it accessible to our children.
For example, the focus is more on related mythology stories and food for us, every festival.… Click to read the rest