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Parent Circle Volume 2 Issue 10 February 2013 Price `60

Give your special child an early start EXAM PREPARATION STRATEGIES

Creating a

child-friendly

p

environment to o h

fe at ure

S BABY’Y MANDS MOO

for the Parent in You!


editorial

For the Parent in you To know, to understand, to connect Parent Circle Volume 2 Issue 10 February 2013 Price `60

for the Parent in You!

Give your special child an early start EXAM PREPARATION STRATEGIES

Creating a

child-friendly

p

environment ho

to fe at ure

BABY’S MANYS MOOD

Find us on

Y

asoda, seeing Thee, who didst captivate the mind like a fresh Kalaya flower, did at first drink in Thy beauty with her eyes to her heart’s content. Then she immediately gave Thee her breasts with great joy and caressing Thy charming body, she surpassed in good fortune all the meritorious people in the world. - An excerpt from a translation of Sriman Narayaneeyam by Shri S N Sastri describing the scene when Mother Yasoda first held Lord Sri Krishna in her arms. This scene vividly depicts the instant bonding that often occurs when a mother first holds her baby in her arms. However, this instant bonding does not naturally happen in a lot of motherbaby relationships. Bonding is usually a process that occurs over time, sometimes when the mother sees the baby’s first smile or hears the baby’s coos and laughter. Bonding also happens with the father, grandparents and other caretakers of the baby. This bonding is nature’s way of facilitating nurture. It is essential to the emotional and physical development of the child. Our cover story, ‘Bonding with Baby’, does away with the myths associated with bonding and explores ways in which you can further nurture this bonding between parent and baby. Recently, on a visit to my parents’ home, a calf was born with weakened legs and could not stand up. After some local vets had written the calf off, a little bit of investigating on the Internet revealed that putting a cast on the newborn calf’s legs for 5 days would strengthen its legs. We immediately had the vet put the calf’s legs in a cast and today, the calf can not only stand on its own, but is running around! Similarly, when a baby shows signs of developmental problems, it is vital to investigate, and identify the problem early so that the necessary care can be given to the child. Our special feature, ‘Give Your Special Child an Early Start’, discusses ways in which early intervention can help a child in need. For most children, exam time is approaching. Our articles, ‘Exam Preparation Strategies’ and ‘Exams? Take Care!’, provide tips to help your child navigate this period with more confidence. February 14 is Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. May you spread your love and happiness to those around you!

NALINA RAMALAKSHMI PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nalina Ramalakshmi MANAGING EDITOR Nitya Varadarajan ASSISTANT EDITOR Chitra Satyavasan SENIOR EDITOR - COPY DESK Shashwathi Sandeep CONTENT COORDINATOR Asita Haq

CREATIVE HEAD Rangashree Srinivas SENIOR DESIGNER G Swarupa GRAPHIC DESIGNER M Ravisankar PRODUCTION CONSULTANT S Venkataraaman ADMINISTRATION Sheeja Sasindran

VICE-PRESIDENT SALES & DISTRIBUTION M R Jayakkar GENERAL MANAGER - ADVERTISING S Visalam MANAGER - ADVERTISING G Suresh Kumar CIRCULATION C Ganesh S Thirumalai SUBSCRIPTION Dolly Preethi Martina M S Saravanan

Parent Circle is published by Nalina Ramalakshmi, Director, Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd. All editorial material including editorial comments, opinions and statement of facts appearing in this publication, represent the views of its respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the publishers. Information carried in Parent Circle is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed. The publication of any advertisements or listings is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered.

PUBLISHED BY Nalina Ramalakshmi Director, Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd. (A Ramco Group Associate) 8/14, First Cross Street, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020 PRINTED BY Canara Traders and Printers Pvt. Ltd. Type II/33, V.S.I. Estate, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai 600 041 To advertise in this magazine call 044 24461066/67/68 or email advertise@parentcircle.in

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contents

SPECIAL COVER STORY

Bonding with Baby

12

REGULARS 6

INTERVIEW Rockstar

TEEN CIRCLE The

Give your Special Child

an Early Start FORUM

Undaunted Teen Spirit

MINDSET Creating a Child-Friendly Environment

28

44

20

48

ROOTS Toy Story

55

NUTRITION Zingy Ginger

4

Letters to the Editor 56

CENTRESPREAD Baby’s Many Moods

32

RESOURCES 50

52

2

Exams? Take Care! First Things First

Parent Circle / February 2013

PARENT CHEF The Dish I Love

HEALTH CIRCLE 34 38

CHECK IT OUT Good Reads for All Ages

LEARNING Exam Preparation Strategies

VIEWPOINT Making India a Safer Place

or Rocket Scientist? 30

YOUR WORD

60

KALEIDOSCOPE What’s New?

58

DISCUSSION POINT No Gadgets to School

ON THE COVER LAYA RAGHAVENDRA & PRIYANKA RAGHAVENDRA PHOTO BY S VENKATARAAMAN


mindset

CREATING A CHILD-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT BY SUJATA VASANT DEWAJI

Simply alter the environment to get your child to behave better

The Raman family is looking forward to the weekend dinner outing. They arrive on time and sit at the table reserved for them. They browse through the menu and discuss what to order. Their 5-year-old daughter Sana, excited by the array of sauces on the table, begins opening them up one by one. A firm ‘No’ gets her to sit quietly for a minute. Next, she picks up the cutlery and makes music. The spoon and fork are quickly snatched away from her. Restless, she begins to tug at her mother’s dupatta. She is shushed for the moment. She is hungry, irritable and starts to whine. A stern ‘behave yourself’ look from dad is enough to set her wailing! Could this tense situation have been avoided with some planning? One way to address such situations is to modify the environment. Once we recognize the circumstances which trigger ‘inappropriate behaviour’, as parents we can change the situation so that the behaviour does not occur at all. In the above example, Sana’s parents should have realized that during the waiting period, Sana would have been happy if she was colouring a book or if the entire family was playing a verbal game. As parents, we need to think: ‘How can I prevent or minimize unnecessary hassles by modifying the environment?’ You can alter the environment by:

ENRICHING THE ENVIRONMENT Boredom and less challenging activities can lead to excessive TV viewing or gaming. This may result in conflicts between parents and children. What follows then is inappropriate behaviour from both sides! But when we engage children in meaningful activities, the risk of inappropriate behaviour is reduced.

M

eena realized that when she provided her son Ankit with play materials, building blocks and ageappropriate educational kits, puzzles, clay, or books, he would become

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Parent Circle / February 2013

cheerful. She and her husband, made car journeys enjoyable for Ankit by keeping him busy with toys, or by playing CDs that narrated stories, thus preventing him from becoming restless, irritable or bored! Waiting at a restaurant or at the doctor’s office can be tiring. So, a colouring book or a word game activity in the limited physical space can help pass the time. To address the children’s need for movement, go to places that have special areas for jumping, an impromptu dance, or acrobatics, to expend their bubbling energy! n Thus,

parents can enrich their children’s environment by providing challenging activities which their children find

enjoyable and productive. Such a move will promote learning and minimize inappropriate behaviour.

SUBDUING THE ENVIRONMENT

S

unil loved spending time with his son Rohan when he returned from work. But he was perplexed because his son howled when he was lifted high up in the air and jostled around! Over-stimulation or over-excitement due to boisterous play, watching an actionpacked movie just before bedtime when the child is tired and sleepy or before mealtime when he is grubby and hungry overwhelms him and leads to ‘misbehaviour’. The child needs to


cover story

BY CHITRA SATYAVASAN

O

n a rainy afternoon in Chennai, mothers bring their babies one by one to a cottage on the East Coast Road. Andrea Domotor, who conducts the play programme PEKiP, greets them warmly as they enter. Once the babies are set down on the soft mats, they scramble in different directions. Little Elias crawls towards every toy shown to him. He even makes an attempt to stand before the mirror, but lands on the floor with glee. His mother Sarah Hansen mirrors his expressions of delight at his activities. After confidently exploring the surroundings, he plonks himself on his mom’s lap. As Andrea says, “Sarah’s praise and pleasure at his attempts to stand or when he looks at her for approval lets him know that she supports and loves him. That’s bonding at work!”

Bonding matters What exactly is bonding? “Bonding - the formation of a close, emotional connection between you and your baby - provides the baby with a sense of love, comfort and security. It is

12 Parent Circle / February 2013


special

Give your special child an early start BY ARUNA RAGHURAM

T

here is a reassuring cheer and bustle about the Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children (MNC), Chennai. Mothers sing or hum to their infants, shaking a rattle to spark that special smile. Some offer toys to their toddlers – dolls, wooden blocks or even tubes of toothpaste, all the while keeping up a constant chatter. Action songs and flash cards are common learning tools here. Anything to stimulate the children and aid in their development. The centre provides early intervention (EI) services to children with developmental delays/mental retardation, autistic tendencies, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Microcephaly and Hydrocephaly. Some children have additional problems like visual, hearing or physical impairments. There are

20 Parent Circle / February 2013

children here who have suffered brain damage because of antenatal/natal problems in mothers, birth asphyxia, or illnesses in children during infancy and early years. It is estimated that about 6% of India’s child population (ages 0-6 years) suffers from mental retardation. Prevention, early detection, indentification and early intervention are the four pillars of a strategy to combat developmental delays and disabilities. EARLY INTERVENTION IS VITAL Early detection, identification of the problem and early intervention (EI) are very important. They help parents understand their child’s problems. Then parents are able to tailor their expectations from their child and avoid comparisons with other children, regarding milestones. Parents also understand what progress means for their special child. As for the child,

Early Intervention is a wonderful ammunition in the fight against childhood disability, but only if done correctly. It requires a multi-disciplinary team. DR ANJAN BHATTACHARYA, Developmental Paediatrician, Child Development Centre, Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata


health circle

EXAMS?

Take care! BY DR JYOTSNA CODATY

W

hen it is exam time, the last thing you want to do is to run to the doctor, with your child in tow, because she has puffy eyes, a rash coming up, or a severe headache. Anything that may disturb her, and prevent her from studying, can make you bite your nails as you wonder whether she will be able to appear for Illnesses that the exams. So, how can crop up during you ensure that she stays fit, particularly during exam time can be this time? And are there stress-induced, specific illnesses that appear or are the only during exam time? Well, there is a class of sickness that has nothing to do with exams - it is sheer chance that both the events happen at the same time! One can place any accident, like broken bones or fever, in this category. Such troubles have to be attended to immediately, even if it means absenting your child from the said exam.

consequences of certain habits.

Sometimes, despite an illness, your child can appear for an exam under certain conditions. For example, a young girl about to appear for her Board exams came down with chicken pox. She wrote the exam under quarantine rules of the board in a separate room, with a personal invigilator. Needless to say, she stoically bore the itching sensation and the isolation.

Exam-specific troubles There are, however, illnesses that crop up during exam time. Some of them are stress-based, and are the consequences of certain habits. All of us attach great importance to exams, and that belief itself is a big stress-inducer. It would be better if all of us treat this ‘tense’ period as just another school day.

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Though it may be too much to ask for in the given milieu, it can set right many ills.

Aches Aches are a frequent complaint, particularly of the neck and calf muscles. Often, a wrong posture adopted while reading for long hours, is the cause. Likewise, lack of exercise and a static position can cause pain in the calf muscles. A proper chair and table that are age-appropriate, insistence on a good posture (sitting erect while studying) and occasional walking will help avoid such aches. A young student can walk around every now and then with a notebook and study. A little cooling off in the evening in the form of an outdoor activity will help, even if it is for 15-20 minutes.

Eye troubles Pain or burning around the eyes, other eye-related issues and headaches are a frequent complaint. They are either stress-induced or caused due to eye strain. First, take your child for yearly eye tests to ensure that he is not myopic. Reading continuously for hours can cause eye strain. Simple exercises like looking at the horizon, and closing eyes every now and then will help. The student can do this while recapitulating what he has read. A harmless


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