Tuesday, 25 October 2016

How to throw an awesome birthday party for your kid!!!

Birthday parties during my childhood involved calling all my friends living in neighborhood, cutting cake and having fun. In our colony we had laid strict rules that no one will bring gifts and no one will give return gifts. What parents really wanted was all kids should enjoy, eat and have fun. Since we had bigger homes we could accommodate all neighborhood kids and terrace could be used for playing games. I really miss my old days. Yesterday was my son's second birthday. Gosh, I can't believe how 2 years passed. It seemed like yesterday I was holding him in my hands and now he is all grown up.

These days theme based birthday parties are in trends which includes elaborate celebration and entertainment options. Also, owing to our hectic schedules, birthdays which fall on weekdays have time constraints as most of the guests join after office hours. In metro cities travelling through traffic to the event location drains half of you energy and time. This article is about planning a birthday party for parents staying in metro cities.

Birthday party business is a fastest growing business. Banquet parties, big guest lists, entertainment options are the only hot topics in birthdays. I have seen middle class parents spending 1-2 lakhs on the kids first birthday. I understand the hullabaloo around the first birthday and even I am of an opinion that yes first birthday's should be grand but I want to make parents rethink when they spend so much amount on their kid's first birthday.

My advice is to keep the celebrations short. If you are planning to throw a party in a party hall/banquet hall choose the one which is closest to your house. Don't go looking for that perfect venue, which is at far end of the city especially if the birthday falls on weekdays. These days event management groups provide you different packages like theme celebrations, clown, dancing groups etc. Before splurging money on all these packages rethink what is really required. Check the age group of kids which are going to be a part of guests and only then invest in stand-up comedians or clowns etc.

It is observed that parents overdress their children for their first birthday. Costumes are as per themes so sometimes they are not comfortable for your kid. Choose an outfit as per your kid's comfort. Bear in mind that your kid is going to spend few hours in that dress, so it should not restrict your child's movements. In order to get the perfect shot by the professional photographer you have hired, we put restrictions on child's activities. If your child is not ready to pose for photos till you get perfect shot, let him go. Make sure the place you choose for venue is child-proofed and has no hazards.

To sum up all the above suggestions:
1)Choose a convenient venue.
2)Keep the guest list short
3)Choose a menu which is kid friendly
4)Child proof the venue
5)Dont overdress your kids, let them be in comfortable clothes
6)Keep entertainment options like clown, activity games based on kids interest

Happy Parenting!!!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Spending Quality time with kids

Sometimes, I don't understand if weekdays are more hectic or weekends. Every Monday after coming to office I keep wondering how these two days passed away without much of any utilization. Mostly my weekends are meant to be doing all the pending house hold works. I do have a full-time maid to support me for my daily chores but that still requires supervision. I usually buy vegetables weekly, so some of my time goes in buying veggies. I have to make sure all groceries are in place. Weekdays I don't cook meals, so I make sure that I cook meals on weekends this ensures that I have not lost touch of cooking, I am able to feed my son meals that are cooked by me. Though I have a maid for cleaning house and doing laundry, there is lot of cleaning which is not done by the maid and I have to take care of it, such as cleaning wardrobes, kitchen trolleys.

As a working mom, I stay away from home on weekdays for around 12-15 hrs. Hence, I have very little time to spend with my son on weekdays. So I think I will catch up with him on weekends but I have noticed that I am not able to give him much time on weekends as I may not have any office work but the house work is pending and I need to do complete all that work before Monday arrives. So technically working mommies don't have any holidays as weekdays we have office and weekend home is also like an office where house hold works needs to be completed. After some of the interactions with my son, I felt I am not spending quality time with him. By quality time, I don't mean watching TV together and being together at home. It means you both should connect with each other and have each others undivided attention.

Spending quality time together doesn't mean that you have to arrange for expensive dine outs or take vacations to Disneyland. It can be as simple as cooking together, having long strolls in parks. Doing things that you both like. One more important point is to listen. You have to listen what your child has to say. He may tell you about his day, or a story which is just babbling and doesn't have any logic in it. Listen what your child has to say, it will give him confidence that though my mom is not with me, she is always there when I have to say something and I can easily connect with her. Even if you get a call when you are in office and your child feels that he wants to talk with you, let him call you and speak with him for sometime.

Other option is you can plan a dine out. I usually don't like this option as I like to cook myself instead of planning a dine out at McDonalds. But occasional trips to restaurants are not bad and it will give your child an exposure to public places. If you are planning to cook delicious meals at home instead of taking kids out for dinner, setup a restaurant like experience in home. Use special dishes for serving, create a good ambiance and ask you child what he wants to eat and take his views for setting up the ambiance. You also need to identify what is it that your child is interested in and accordingly plan a quality time event with him. I will list out few quality time activities for reference but bear in mind you have to chose an activity on your child's interest.

1)Road Trips
2)Plan a dine out
3)Go to Parks
4)Play games
5)Listen to their stories

As weekend arrives, make sure you keep some time aside for this quality time activity. For two days you have to plan something that only you and your child are going to do for that time. This might mean that you have to postpone few errands. Try doing things together but make a slot for quality time a part of you weekend schedule.

Happy Parenting!!!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

How to choose the right clothes for your kid !!!

A baby's skin is delicate and sensitive. It needs to be taken care. This is the reason why traditionally newborns are always made to wear used clothes. As used clothes are washed multiple times they tend to be softer on baby's skin. New clothes can sometimes be stiff and harsh on baby's skin. However, now a days, we don't get used baby clothes so easily so my tip is buy new infant clothes, wash them multiple times and then use on your baby.

Make sure you choose 100% cotton clothes for you baby. India being a tropical country cotton suits best to all of us and it is organic. If you don't find pure cotton clothes then go for Cotton/Polyester Blends. The material used in vest is also good on baby skin and is blend of Cotton and Spandex which gives comfort of cotton and elasticity of spandex. In winters, you can choose sweaters having fleece, baby wool or acrylic material. I would advise to invest in one or two pieces of winter wear as our winters are not that harsh and your baby will grow in size by the time next winter arrives.

Sometimes festive clothes which we get in market are very glittery and have heavy seams. Especially frocks for girls look super cute with all the laces and stone work but they might be uncomfortable for the child. One day my mom was traveling by bus and a baby was crying too much and the parents were not able to calm the baby. The frock that the baby was wearing was having lot of stone work, unfinished hems and laces and my mom asked to change baby into something comfortable. The moment the baby wore pajamas she stopped crying. So avoid all these clothes and even during festivities try to buy some comfortable festive clothes.

The elastic which is used while designing clothes for Indian baby market is of very low quality. When you buy socks or pajamas or trousers make sure that the elastic is not too tight for you child's skin. Try to avoid tight clothes for the baby which will hamper his movements. Also, the accessories used while designing frocks should not cause choking hazards for the kid. So to sum up all the above thoughts.

1)Choose the right kind of fabric for you child
2)Avoid unfinished hems/ seams
3)The clothes should not be too tight
4)The accessories used while designing clothes should not cause choking hazards.

Happy Parenting!!! 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Save the girl child !!!

I used to always wonder why in India so much importance is attached to a male progeny? As a girl, I pondered over this question when people saw girl child as a burden and a boy child as hope. Over the years I have found that there are two types of parents, one who are honest about wanting boy child and other who will say all sorts of equality stuff but secretly wish for a boy child. The alarming drop in female: male ratio clearly states that women empowerment, dowry ban and various other laws have failed to check this gap. What is the root of this psyche and how can we uproot it? There has been already said so much but still no visible signs of changes.

I have tried to dissect this mentality. It is said that the son will support the family,he will always stay with his parents even if he gets married, he will take care of parents in old age blah blah. Now consider this scenario, parents are working in one city, son is working in another how the hell this fact assures that boys will always stay with parents?There are times when children get settled in another country so visiting parents becomes even more difficult after that, so the first myth is busted.

The second concern is growing crime against women makes parents worried about the girl child's safety. As we hear increasing number of cases against women we feel the girl child as a responsibility. In order to ensure her safety, we start having curfew after evening. I remember my mother used to stay awake till I reach my destination if I am going on an overnight journey to other place. My point is, if you have a son don't you think he can also get victimised? He can also be prone to abuse and any kind of abuse. So the second myth is busted and be a boy or girl parents are always concerned about their safety.

The third issue is parents of a girl have to invest in her education. They have to raise her, make her independent and economically self reliant. However, this doesn't assure that the marriage expenses will be shared or the dowry amount is reduced or abolished. They have to save for her education, her marriage, her dowry, buy gold for her, so somewhere economically, they are under burden. And to add to the woes, our society doesn't look favourably if a girls parents take financial support from her. Hence, for a girl child its only give and no take.

Thus, to avoid all this pain, they want son. However, a boy child means he has to work and we expect him to be the prime bread winner of family. In no case can a boy be a house-husband. The responsibility of buying a home, setting up home, managing family expenses lays on a boy. A woman can think of staying at home, but for boys this is not the option. So all in all, everything is on same level. Be it a boy or girl, you have to make all sacrifices take efforts and bear expenses as parents so the last myth is busted.

So what is it that makes people so happy by a boy's birth and a girl's birth is frowned? The psyche of Indians is deeply rooted with prejudices. So much that they don't get the other side of the coin, that is having a boy child doesn't guarantee, you can sleep peacefully without worrying about his safety or future. Believe me, a child is a child, no one should discriminate it on basis of the gender. I have been extremely lucky that I have such a wonderful set of parents who have always given me the freedom, education and good values. And I feel even more lucky when my in-laws are also like my parents when it comes to giving me all the freedom and support to pursue my career. But, we need a great paradigm shift in our thinking and only then can we achieve a truly equal world.

Save the girl child!!!