Thursday, 29 December 2011

Unravelling the mystery of a healthy childhood.

Health is every one’s quest in life. Parents want to be healthy; they want their kids to be healthy. So is health all about food, exercise? Or is health a lifestyle that you teach your kids about?

The true secret of health and a healthy lifelong lifestyle is ‘keeping it simple’. We need to gift our kids simple everyday essential things to ensure that they remain healthy in mind, body and soul.

THE GIFT OF SIMPLE FOOD: The complexity of competition, stress, fast pace and chemical-laced lifestyle that we have got so used to giving our kids, needs to be shown the back door. When was the last time you really asked your child what he wants you to cook? And then actually gave him that without changing his choice to suit your convenience? Worried that your child will ask you for pizza? Great! Put on a chef’s cap for both of you—drag the dad if possible—wear an apron and start preparing a homemade pizza, with veggies, cheese, and wheat base.

Pack away all the excuses like- ‘I am a working mom’, ‘I don’t have time’, ‘My child does not like the food I cook’, ‘He loves packaged food’, ‘I don’t get time’ etc. This weekend cook a wholesome meal for your child, of his/her choice, with your child helping you if possible. Its okay if he/she drips, drops, spoils your million rupees designer kitchen! Then sit down and enjoy the meal together. See the smile spread on his/her face.

All that packaged food that we tend to give our children has additives and chemicals which are harmful for health. Moreover they have a higher salt content which can lead to early problems of high blood pressure and heart diseases. Scientific studies have shown that many of the additives can cause attention deficit problems and research on cancer has also shown that cancer cells thrive in conditions of high salt and sugar content.

THE SIMPLE GIFT OF WATER: Throw out all the soft drink, tetra juice packs and let your child drink water. Resist the urge to flavour it with sugar or additives. Just pure, simple, unadulterated water- the gift of a life time. Water has oxygen and oxygen is good for blood circulation and blood circulation keeps the brain alert and active. An active brain is good for intelligence. Intelligent children become achievers. Phew! Isn’t that what you want? Then stop listening to all those silly ads that claim that ‘this drink gives your child glucose’ and ‘this drink gives your child brain food’ etc, etc. Keep It Simple Silly. Drink water… together. It’s more fun!

THE SIMPLE GIFT OF PLAY: Buy your child toys, not gadgets! Yes, computer games, video games, even battery-operated toys are not toys. They are gadgets or rather monster toys. Why would you want to gift your child a monster? Your child is intelligent, active, sharp and can solve all video games? Then it means that your child needs toys that stimulate and challenge and as Vygotsky, the Russian educationist said, your child needs to reach ZPD - the Zone of Proximal Development.

Take your child to the next level of play, take him/her from what he/she can do to what he/she finds a challenge to do. This will stimulate interest, keep your child occupied, enhance thinking and problem solving and improve attention abilities and at the same time relax and calm your child. No video games can do all this. Video games teach children to win at any cost, to drive yourself to defeat others, kill others, destroy others. Video games make children aggressive, irritable and restless. Video games (computers, mobile games, play station all included) make children violent and more prone to stress-related diseases.

Keep It Simple Silly. This X’mas, gift your child toys: intricate jigsaws, board games, a cycle, a sports kit, a make-it-yourself kit. Don’t just buy… think, relate to your child’s interest, search and buy.

THE GIFT OF 'NO T.V. LAND': Analyse the kind of television programs your child is watching with you. A serial in which the protagonist is being raped, sold to a brothel? A wife having an extra-marital affair or a wife plotting to kill her husband? Or worse, a husband plotting against his family, having a mistress…. God! Is this what our kids are watching? Night after night? Sitting with their parents? At an age when they cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy? All this will affect their emotional development.

As well known child psychoanalyst Erik Erikson had said in his theory of emotional development, ‘They will learn to mistrust, they will develop low self esteem and will also develop self-doubt’. Young children are developing moral values at that age and if they are exposed to such immoral and unethical concepts then what will happen to the ethical structure of society?

This weekend switch off the television. Ouch! Even the thought is difficult? Okay, then at least switch it off at dinner and together time. No television droning in the background while you help your child with homework, or are playing a board game. Take a pledge that no family drama soaps or reality shows that make children the ‘bali ka bakra’ will be viewed in your home. Can’t stay without it? Then buy a television system in which you can record programs and then watch them when your child is not at home! Keep It Simple Silly. Make your own entertainment.

THE GIFT OF 'SIMPLY SLEEP': ‘It’s time to go to bed,’ was what traditional parents would say, and then the mother or father would bathe the child (a warm water bath helps relax muscles and relaxed children sleep faster) while talking to the child  about his/her day (bonding time with the parents helps the child develop positive self esteem)  put on fresh night clothes for the child, (fresh clothes help children relax, and helps the skin breathe) tuck him in bed, read him a story or sing him a lullaby and then as the child’s eyes slowly drooped shut, the parent would kiss them on the forehead, whisper complementary sentences like, my sweet girl, my brave boy, my good child etc (positive motivation just before bed time helps work on the child’s confidence and self esteem) and leave the child to sleep peacefully at nine o’clock at night! Sounds like a fantasy right? Do gift your child this fantasy instead of the horror of being told to ‘Go brush your teeth, while I watch this important serial’, ‘Now go and wear your pyjamas and come and sit with me on the sofa while I watch my favourite serial’ and then the child falls asleep on the sofa with a television set shrilling away violent dialogues or gory war images or sobs of soap heroines. This isn’t lovely background music for your child to sleep in. No wonder your child wakes up in the middle of the night with nightmares or bed wets or has a fitful night and is dull or irritable in the morning and drowsy in school. Brain research says that sleep time is when the brain organises information collected in the daytime. When the child’s brain does not get enough sleep then the child can suffer from inability to retain facts, get confused, forget information easily and chronic sleep deprivation also leads to irritability violence and inattentiveness. Keep It Simple Silly - make your child a ‘sleeping beauty’!

So, when you gift wrap all these simple gifts together, then you will be gifting your child the most precious gift: A safe, healthy, love-filled childhood and a fantastic life ahead. If all these simple gifts sound difficult to do on a daily basis, then at least gift this to them on weekends!


Pramila p said...

i fully agree that todays working mothers give more excuses, more so that too many packaged junk foods are available which slowly leads to more laziness and helath problems.Cooking is fun if not taken as a duty or burden.Instead of watching aimless serials watch a cooking show with the family and decide what you all would like to cook on a sunday where all get together and shop and cook it which is real fun and quality time is spent .
Water something as essential as breathing for our day to day life is not given importance only when there is a shortage everybody gets worried.How many times has one taken a glass of water and sipped it and tasted it .we drink water in a hurry and are clueless how it tastes.
Trust me its refreshing and soothing.

Snehal N said...

Absolutely healthy childhood is the right of every child & responsibility of every parent and relying too much on fast food and frozen dinners will effect child health rather than preparing fresh ,healthy meals make child active smart & healthy .
The gift of simple food, play, water, simply sleep & no TV land will definitely change the life of whole family for better understanding we all must read a book SUPER MOM written by Swati Popat Vats madam. So let’s try & experience all these non expensive gifts and see smile on our kids face.

Ayesha Baig said...

Research shows that a typical Indian household turns on the television for about seven hours a day and children between the age of two and eleven watch up to one full day of television a week.

Indu Chanda said...

Respected ma'am,

First of all thank you to start this Director's Blog which will be something we will look forward to read, with a surety that there will be something for all of us to learn and also to share it further with others.
When I read this blog today morning I related to every line that is written there. I related directly or indirectly to the comments given by working mothers, the games that our kids play, the T.V. serials craze, the vanishing of the quality time parent spend with their kids and last but not the least the monstrous gift of the games we gift our children.
I will pick up the last point and share a recent experience of mine. Just a few days ago I was coming to school, I saw a small child from my society of age 3 to 4 years carrying a small puppy in his arms. Suddenly I realized the puppy was howling with pain. I stopped to see what was happening and was shocked to see that the boy was hitting the puppy's head mercilessly to the wall, boxing and pinching the baby dog and with his mouth the child was making sounds exactly like they do in fighting scenes in movie or video games. I was shocked to see the intensity and the cruelty with which the child was hurting the little creature. This incidence compelled me to think that was is the cause of such cruelty with so much ease, where are the children gone who were innocent, kind, loving and sweet. Its is my request to all the parents as well the teachers to spend sometime and watch the cartoons and the video games that their children play. I can bet that most of us are not even aware of the crap that our kids are exposed to through these mediums. The language the actions, the cruelty that they are watching day in and day out are affecting them in such a way that violence, vulgarity, insensitivity has become acceptable for them. No wonder there the cases of criminal activities, mass killing, bomb blast and so many more of such activities are spreading like forest fire in our society and the best and the saddest part is we are responsible for it.

Rameshwar Choudhary said...

Congratulations madam,
A very good contribution for the society and the parents and teachers in particular. Very useful content and platform for the all of us. I am a great admirer of yours.

Radhika Joshii said...

This article is very nice to read.It is very simple but works as an eye opener to many parents and teachers like the life styles of families are changing very fast.It is important to keep things simple,and it is very important to look after the needs of the children's.They should be given the proper care and food for their growth.
By reading this article it make us think how small things make a big differences in child's life.

Swati Popat Vats said...

great to know we all think alike for children

Ayesha Baig said...

WOW! So if we all think alike for children, then how many of you would celebrate 'NO TV DAY' with your children on 28th January'12?

Sonali Karmakar said...

I completely agree to what you say Swati Maam. Thank you so much for starting directors blog, it is very informative
Anxiety and stress in kids can definitely lead to many problems. Parents as well as teachers should be able to handle anxiety in children in their own way by themselves not getting hyper and being stress free. It is important for them to know the depth of it and deal accordingly.
Inculcating healthy and balanced diet, avoiding junk food, sleeping on time and drinking plenty of water is very essential for children. This can definitely help them to live a healthy childhood.
A healthy childhood could be indeed the most precious gift for the children.

Snehal N said...

Yes, this is an very important issue about which very few parents & teachers are concern and as madam wrote there are the ways to resolve these issues & make children happy & stress free. Identify and remove or reduce stressful tasks or situations at home and school. Keep lines of communication open with your child's doctor & teacher. Work together with them to develop the most effective treatment plan for your child. Let us all join our hands together to come over anxiety in children.

sonali pailwan said...

madam I am very thankful for your suggestions in this Blog.As a mother & teacher i was about to ask you what should we do about this t.v.?
Now i got so many answers.
Thank you mam.
looking forward to read such knowledges things .

PJK Vadgaon said...

Thank-you Ma'am for sharing such a wonderful blog on this children's day, as a mother of 2 and as a educator i believe that if we gift wrap all these simple gifts together, then we will be gifting our child the most precious gift: A safe, healthy, love-filled childhood and a fantastic life ahead.

Kalpita Bhirud said...

I Ms. Kalpita Bhirud teacher at PJK plus Vile Parle would like to thank you ma'am for sharing such wonderful blogs. It is really motivating for me being a mother and also as a teacher to make children and parents understand the real meaning of gifts. Gifting such gifts will definitely make a child live a health,happy and a stress free life.

jayshree shah said...

Thank you Ma'am for re sharing this article.All the tips mentioned about gift of simple food, water, Play No T.V,Simply sleep is possible only if we have desire to gift our children a safe, healthy, love-filled childhood and a fantastic life ahead.

Namita Karve said...

I Ms. Namita Karve, teacher atPJK Ambegaon, Very true ma'am, your articles are truly guiding for us. It help us to become a good teacher as well a better parent. Children only wants your time and attention, rest things are immaterial for them. When patents are with them and for them, its world for them. When we had modifide our schedule for my child the understanding gap is reduced. And we became friends, and my daughter gave us a wonderful gift on this Children's day that she is going to practice Yoga daily for healthy lifestyle.she is just 8 yr old. Yes things will change we need to try.

Chindwara Pjk said...

Hello Ma'am
first of all thanks for this nice article. What is most important for our children is time time and time.In today's generation yes we all are lacking behind the time and all is moving towards more money, but the need is will be felt when these children grow and give no time to us because we haven't given them time when they needed.
With this article i memorized one thing that when my child was 3 years she made one paratha which was really triangle one and she made it by her own. she helps me in cutting but i make sure that she is not hurt.
Time is precious and give time to kids so that we can make there life full of good memories and good thoughts.

Unknown said...

Very true madam, and this is something that we all know but choose to ignore as per our convenience. I have been doing all of the above (losing control over the TV though) and can see visible results in my daughter. She is a healthy smart kid and makes me very proud when someone asks me that what do I do differently. Well ladies this is what I do :)

Neelam Jha said...

Very true madam, and this is something that we all know but choose to ignore as per our convenience. I have been doing all of the above (losing control over the TV though) and can see visible results in my daughter. She is a healthy smart kid and makes me very proud when someone asks me that what do I do differently. Well ladies this is what I do :)