Parenting

Monsoon, Kids & Ayurveda with Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra

Ancient India believed and followed Ayurveda in their daily routine for thousands of years. When it comes to Ayurveda, it is all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle with wholesome foods and exercises like yoga and meditation. But with changing times and modernization, people have forgotten what it means to have wholesome seasonal foods and their benefits. What effects do our late nights and late mornings have on us? What eating junk food often does to our body?

I got in touch with Dr. Varalakshmi, who is an internationally reputed Ayurvedic Doctor. She is the current director of AyurWellness and Pain Centre in the United Kingdom. She teaches Ayurveda to many people through her online webinars and is also a faculty at Prana Academy since March 2020. She was a formal faculty at Europe Ayurveda Academy till 2019. Having suffered from severe hormonal and gut problems during her teenage and healed through Ayurveda, it became her mission to spread the word and teach women Ayurvedic practices for healing their bodies & lives. 

Healthy Ayurveda Practices For Kids By Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra

When I came across Varalakshmi, she was such a delight to talk to and shared alot of information that I did not have any idea on. One thing led to another and I asked to her incredible knowledge on my blog.

The changing weather and coming monsoon season effects us alot. Cold, cough and flu is right around the corner and kids suffer the most because of them. Being a Mom always gets me worried for my children and so I asked Varalakshmi about the same.

What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, the ancient science of life, is not merely a system of medicine, but it concentrates on all aspects of life. One of the fundamental concepts of Ayurveda is called the Pancha Mahabhoota theory.

Image courtesy Google

At the subatomic level, all the living organisms are composed of five elements of nature: Air, Ether, Fire, Water & Earth. They exist in the form of three fundamental functional units inside our body called doshas: Vata, Pitta & Kapha. 

Image courtesy Google

These three doshas are like DNA present in each of us but in a different ratio like some might have more VATA and less of the other two doshas and so on. A person’s physical, emotional and mental characteristics depend upon the unique dosha combination or Prakruthi. 

There is a theory which states that we are one with the universe and a part of nature. Hence, factors like diet, lifestyle, and the environment we live in, influences the Tridoshas and lead to illnesses. 

Hence, our first step to lead a healthy life is to honor the subtle changes of nature by following & adapting our diet as per the movements of Sun & Moon. 

What is Dinacharya?
Dinacharya includes simple everyday practices aimed at improving the health and well-being of a person. Having a good routine helps our nervous system to feel safe and helps to handle any stress better. Diet, lifestyle, and sleep are the main factors that keep children in tune with their biological clock. Besides proper diet, it is good to create a routine for sleep. 

Waking up early in the morning helps your child be active throughout the day and keeps in tune with the circadian rhythm. Build a habit of using the bathroom first thing in the morning. Cleaning the tongue along with brushing teeth is essential to maintain oral hygiene. Following with bath can keep your child healthy. 

Good sleep is essential for all growing children. Encourage reading a book or prayer before bed. Avoid screens atleast two hours before bedtime.  

Which Dinacharya practices can kids follow in their routine?
Gargling with warm water, nasal drops with ghee or oils, ear drops, body massage with oil, meditation, exercise or playtime and maintaining a journal are some healthy practices for children.

Gargling with warm water, nasal drops with ghee or oils, ear drops, body massage with oil, meditation, exercise or playtime and maintaining a journal are some healthy practices for children.

Why is gut health important?
The gut/ Gastrointestinal tract plays an important role in the overall health of a person. It starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum and hosts trillions of bacteria which influence several functions including our digestion, metabolism, happiness, and even our immunity. 

Long before gut health became a hot topic, Ayurveda described Agni as the epitome of health. Agni which translates to fire is a unique concept in Ayurveda. Having a balanced Agni is the key to our Digestion, nutrition, assimilation, immunity, emotions, and strength. Agni is present in every part of the body and is responsible for transformation. 

What are probiotics and why are they important?
Our Gut is filled with trillions of bacteria which play a huge role in maintaining our health and well-being. These bacteria inside our gut are called the microbiome. These bacteria are working on the clock to protect our gut from bad bacteria and help with functions like digestion, immunity, and much more. 

Probiotics are the food or supplements that contain this live bacteria which we can consume. Incorporating good probiotics in the diet is a great way to enhance gut health. 

What are the best probiotics for kids?
Ayurveda considers Takra/buttermilk as one of the best probiotics. Takra is made by churning curd and diluting it with 1/4 th water by adding good spices like jeera and dhaniya. Instead of using curd which can often cause congestion in kids, Takra is a good alternative that is easier to digest and helps with common digestive woes. Teaching kids to end their meal with buttermilk is an easy way to incorporate it into their diet. 

Other natural probiotics include sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi. Sauerkraut is pickled cabbage with salt for a certain period of time. Vegetables like carrot, beetroot can also be added to make your own recipe of sauerkraut as per your taste. I love adding fennel and turmeric to my sauerkraut. Keep a ratio of 75% cabbage to 25% other veggies and flavors. 

Kefir is also easier to make at home just by adding kefir grains to cow milk or goat milk. It tastes a bit sour than yogurt but is considered more nutrient and good. 

What kinds of food should children have according to Ayurveda?
As per Ayurveda, childhood is a Kapha dominant phase, and hence balanced diet that is not too heavy or ultra-processed is good. We aim to feed kids a wholesome and dosha balancing diet. For the same, following some basic guidelines while preparing a meal for children is the key.

✓ Favor Pungent, bitter, and astringent tasting foods keep Kapha in balance.

✓ Find an alternative for the ultra-processed foods which are healthy yet liked by children replacing chocolate with homemade sweets using jaggery. Make meals attractive by using colorful vegetables and fruits such as pomegranate, sweet berries, melons, etc.

✓ Encourage more seasonal & local fruit and vegetables more than exotic ones. Avoid ultra-processed foods like frozen meals, instant pizza, canned food, carbonated drinks and, swap these with homemade items like baked sweet potato, homemade crackers.

✓ Include grounding foods like cow’s milk, ghee, yogurt, rice, whole grains, jaggery and honey, whole seeds and nuts, pulses and legumes and, green leafy vegetables like spinach.

✓ Add a small number of spices like ginger, turmeric, and pepper as it helps in digestion and metabolism.

✓ Lastly, be flexible with your child’s choices and acknowledge that it is an exploring age for them.

Explain the importance of following a healthy routine and lifestyle to your children. Give them time to understand and also lead them by example. Remember that parents are the biggest influencers and role models for their kids. Don’t just teach them but adapt them personally too!

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla and sponsored by Queen’s Brigade.

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How to take your child to the Pediatrician during Pandemic

Pandemic or not, Pediatrician’s visit cannot be avoided. Changes in weather or a stomach bug can get you there. Even vaccinations need to be given to our infants and kids in due time. They should never be avoided. A little bit of delay might not hurt but your pediatrician’s advice is what you should follow. But how do you make sure that your kids are traveling safely and do not get infected. Going out for us is a job in itself these days. The safety measures, the elbow touch and the disinfection after coming back home. Too many things that a baby won’t understand and has to be made easier on us to handle.


I wana share some safety steps that help me out a lot.

1. Mask up.
Mask has become an essential in the current day. You and your older kid can wear masks. They should be instructed in the proper ways of wearing mask and that it should not be removed or touched at all.

Image credits Google

2. Sanitizer in your pockets.
A sanitizer should always be handy even with your kid. We follow a rule of “No Touch” with my daughter. So when we go out, she goes into that mode, where she does not touch the lift doors, lift buttons, car door or the doors at the doctor’s chambers. These kind of rules can be set up and explained to kids on a regular basis. Sanitize together for them to get a hang of it as they might tend to forget as they do not step out on a regular basis.

Image credits Google

3. Wear your baby
Baby carriers are the best these days. My son is very fidgety and is a baby who wants to touch and mouth everything he sees and finds so I find it best to wear him in our Aseema carrier from Soulsling India which makes it easier for me to handle him and my daughter at the same time while keeping my hands free for safety purposes.

4. Wear a scarf/feeding cover
A scarf or a feeding cover will help you easily cover your baby since little ones cannot wear masks but covering them is equally important.

5. Surface sanitization at the chambers
Doctor’s are following the guidelines of disinfecting the surfaces where they place the child for check up but to be extra sure, you can opt to hold the child in your arms during check up and vaccination or take a shawl or a bed runner and lay it before you place your child there. After its done, bring it back home and don’t forget to sanitize that too.

6. Take a shower
Make sure you and your baby take a shower after coming back home. One of the most important things and even for the baby, even though you wore him the whole time.

Nowadays, doctor’s advice to get help online unless medication cannot be done at home or is a vaccination. Get a list of general medicine for fever, cough, cold etc from your pediatrician and use them after online consultation.

Stay Home Stay Safe

This blog is a part of #LBWP – Let’s Blog with Pri, Season 2. You can also check out blogs written by my fellow bloggers Sindhu and Arti .

Hosted By : Prisha Lalwani Mummasaurus.com IG: @mummasauruss FB: /mummasaurus1

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Book Recos by my Baby

Babies are like a clean slate or an empty book. Upto the age of three they pick up their basic vocabulary and languages for communication. Introducing books to your newborn helps them in a lot of ways. Even if they do not talk, books are a great way of some learning and bonding time. All they are interested in are a lot of colors and shapes and pictures and you reading aloud the story or making up your own is an added bonus. 

Books are considered as a great gifting option too. They make wonderful return gifts for birthdays and other occasions as well. While buying or gifting books for babies and toddlers, first thing to keep in mind is that it has to be sturdy. Babies like to explore. They pull and rip, chew and munch on everything they find. So board books are the ones you always want to go for. 

I introduced the concept of books and reading to Eric even before he was born. It has made a huge difference in his interest later.

This image belong to https://myworldwitheira.com/
and reuse is strictly not permitted.

Eric has some favourite reads which have been constant over time and I’m happy to share them based on his interests and recommendations. 

1. Black and white/ High contrast books: Don’t you see too many black and white items in the baby’s section at the shopping malls these days? Why do you think so? These black and white or high contrast items and books are bound to have a great impact on newborn especially from 0 – 3 months. They visually stimulate your baby’s vision and brain growth. It doesn’t hurt to continue keeping them included even after that as they will always have your baby’s love being their first books. You can even find playgyms and toys of these colors. Our favourite is the “Baby’s very first black and white book of animals” from Usborne even after . a year. When asked for Eric’s choice, he always picks this one first. 


2. Baby faces books: Books with babies in it just click in no time. Babies relate to faces very soon after birth and these kind of books go a long way.  Books with real baby faces and having different expressions will make your baby very happy and respond more. You can even make a personalized book of your own baby with different expressions or milestones or a book with all your family members. I got “This Little Baby” from Bookstart publications. It has more of black and white contrast images and I chose this book as it would relate more when my son was 2 months old due to the contrasting pictures. After a point the mirror at the end of the book was a wonderful thing that he discovered. As if he was a part of the book.

 


3. Cloth books: Kids just love to mouth everything and books are no different. Cloth books are a great way to increase the interest and make sure they do not take a bite. Crinkle cloth books are one of the best and I got “Baby Touch Snuggle Book” from Ladybird for him. The bright colors and crinkling sound is the perfect way for him to play and read at the same time and if Mama has a hard time during his bath, this book makes its way to our bath tub too. Best thing about cloth books are that they are washable. 


4. Touch and feel books: These books generate curiosity in babies. They start exploring the use of their senses and how these textures feel different. These books being different than a regular board book makes them one of his favourites’. Eric has the “Baby Touch Flip Flap book” by Ladybird. The bright pictures and colors in this book is loved by babies and toddlers alike. 


5. Story books: Books with cute pictures and great stories are a hit with kids who are not babies anymore and are soon gona hit one. They love books with characters which they follow and find along the story as you turn pages and they explore. “The very hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle has been a favourite for both my kids. “Goodnight moon” by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic and another of our favourites. The simple yet contrasting images and one liner story makes it a perfect bedtime read for toddlers and beyond. 


6. Sound books: These are also a great option but since we have some sound toys, we want to keep books more to reading and listening rather than to musical sounds. “Peppa’s super noisy sound book” is one of the amazing options available.

Its never to early to start reading to kids. The sooner the better as reading is the best gift you can give to your child.

You may like to know about Early reading importance and how I introduced this habit in my kids. Kids’ books also have different stories which deliver different morals. You may like to know more about Beautiful Themes in Children’s Literature.

This blog is a part of #LBWP – Let’s Blog with PRI, Season 2. You can also check out blogs written by my fellow bloggers Hansa and Avin.

Hosted By : Prisha Lalwani Mummasaurus.com IG: @mummasauruss FB: /mummasaurus1

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Say It Right – Positive Parenting

Parenting is one of the most difficult thing on this planet you might say but so is being a kid. Every little thing is new for those tiny brains. New things, new experiences and new tasks everyday. Sharing a thought from their minds or telling what happened with between them and a friend is a task altogether as they do not know how it will be taken as by us. Their parents!!

It is our job to make it easier for them to express their feelings, their emotions and their questions. But how can we do that??? As an overtired parent handling home and work life, you might find yourself complaining and nagging but that won’t work on them. It happened for me too but it got my daughter upset and she just didn’t want to open up to me. There were days when she chose not to do play or do activities when something had gone wrong at school or with a friend while other days she was in a peppy mood. There were some days when her paintings were amazing and somedays everything she did looked like chicken dance. It was a code that needed to be cracked and me expressing my feelings and emotions to her made things easier. She became more confident when she was able to predict my reactions towards her. She started sharing more and knew I would listen. That confidence of her in me gave me tremendous peace of mind and heart and I had a happy child.

I’m sharing some of the phrases that I use with my kids on a daily basis and that made a huge difference. Using them at instances everyday will help alot and you will be able to see a positive change in your kiddos too.

  • I love you no matter what!
    Would you not love to hear this over and over again. So do kids! Think of it as a reminder. Especially for little ones. They can’t hear enough of it and will always share the feeling back. There is no better booster than a dose of love from Mama and Papa.
*Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels
  • I’m grateful for you.
    Having you is the best thing that happened to me. Mom and Dad have been blessed. You can even share with them the story of the day they were born with few hidden details of course. They feel special to know that you’re happy to have them. My daughter loves to hear over and over again how Dadda flew back to India from another country and was the most happiest Dad ever to have a baby girl.
  • I believe in you.
    When you say this to your kids, it boosts their confidence in you. They believe in you, trust you with their shares and secrets and want to come back to you with their problems. Even the things where they went wrong and everything went upside down.
  • You make me proud.
    This motivates kids to do better knowing that their effort is being appreciated. All they need is a pat on their back, a smile or a hug. These gestures shows that you notice their growth and they keep up with their efforts.
*Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels
  • You can always come to me.
    Everyone does mistakes and kids learn through mistakes, trials and errors. If as an adult you’re not left out of it so how can a kid be. But they need to know that they can always come back to you for comfort and that belief is very important.
  • When in doubt, follow your heart.
    Teaching them this value is gonna keep them rooted. Always choose the path that your heart believes in and gives you happiness but is also right and just. The best test for this is, “Think about how would you feel if the same was done or said to you and you’ll have the answer”. A thing that I’ve taught my daughter.
  • You did an awesome job.
    Appreciation goes a long way. When kids put efforts and proudly share it with you, it is very important to appreciate.
  • Be yourself.
    Be you. Be the way you are. You need not be like others. You are just perfect. All these make a huge difference and help them accept the differences they see in them and their friends and that no matter what, you love them.
  • I forgive you.
    One of the most important thing to say to kids. Forgiving kids in their mistakes and then letting them know that helps them a lot to come back to you. Of course you should have “The Talk” but there should be no punishments or consequences. You also teach them a value of forgiveness.
  • I’m sorry. That was my bad.
    When parents accept their mistakes instead of hiding them, kids learn the habit of admitting. Apologizing to them never goes unnoticed. They understand that they are not the only ones saying sorry every time. They get a chance to bring the value of forgiveness in use. They learn that everyone does mistakes but it is important to accept them, learn from them and forgive them.
*Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels
  • You are right.
    Won’t you love to know that you were right! Hear it! Especially when others were wrong. Kids love to know that they are right too. It makes them proud and makes them feel they are now growing up and able to take the right decisions.
  • Can you teach me to…..
    Its a moment for kids to enjoy when adults do not know something or atleast they pretend to. They love to teach their Mom and Dad. Learn how to make a drawing/craft or how to read a difficult word that they have mastered and see them bloom in happiness.

All we have to do is share our feelings with them, support them in their little issues and let them know that we understand. For them their issues are super huge and they need a little attention and a few kind words to make their world easier and tantrum less. Give them the joy of feelings and understanding.



This blog is a part of #LBWP – Let’s Blog with PRI, Season 2. You can also check out blogs written by my fellow bloggers Hansa and Avin

Hosted By : Prisha Lalwani Mummasaurus.com IG: @mummasauruss FB: /mummasaurus1

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🎯Beautiful themes in children’s literature

When it comes to children’s books, we usually look for a moral or a message that kids can get from them. It might be just about understanding their family and friends or being kind or just about being themselves. All these and many more come under different themes in children’s literature.

First books are generally simple. Emotions like joy, love, fear, etc that make us human can all be inculcated in a story. But when a book has many themes blended together they turn into favourites!

Here is a list of themes that you can easily come across in children’s books:

Love
Happiness
Friendship
Courage
Growth
Faith
Equality
Fear
Jealousy
Anger
Imagination
Kindness
Hope
Curiosity
Humor
Peace

Illustrations are also a wonderful theme in books. There are books with no text and just pictures. Those books encourage kids to use their own words and form a story and they tend to love it. Haven’t you heard a toddler just make up something when he/she looks at their favourite animal in a book 😊

There are many more themes under fiction to explore and all of them are wonderful.

Here are some examples from some of our favourite fiction books to get you thinking:

  1. “The hungry caterpillar”, shows growth and development from an egg to a butterfly and some foods and days of the week for kids to pick up easily.
  2. “Room on the Broom”, portrays friendship where animals help the witch to find her lost things and save her from the dragon.
  3. “Guess how much I love you” shows love and how deep it can be and how to express your love to others.
  4. “A patch of black” portrays the fear of a child and how turns into a world of whimsical fantasies. This book helped Eira move into her own bed with less fears to no fears at all.
  5. “Aliens love underpants” is full of humor and imagination where aliens come to earth only to get everyone’s underpants.

Introducing more themes to your kids makes them understand their emotions as well as learn about others emotions as well. They tend to understand and adapt to the characters and try to follow them in real world.

Do the above listed themes relate to any of your kid’s favourite books?

🎯🎯🎯