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A professional Makeup Artist, a Style and Image Consultant, an Etiquette Trainer and a Fashion Educator... striving to get the best out of people who seek help and to make everyone look and feel their best!!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Kids Corner- Playschool at 18 months? or not?

As my champ was approaching the 18 month milestone, I was concerned about whether to send him to a playschool or a playgroup or not. And believe me, it wasn't an easy decision to make as everyone you talk to will present their view for or against your thought and many a times will leave you reconsidering your decision. However, to begin the whole process, I thought of enrolling my champ into a playgroup and started talking to a lot of mums.
I had my reasons to have come to that decision and when shared with my Mr. Scientist, he also found them sensible and then started our search for a good playgroup close to our house. But in the meanwhile, when I shared my thoughts with other mums, not every one was on the same page with me on that and there were always a lot of discussions centered around whether I should go for it or not.
I wanted to send my champ to a playgroup because of certain reasons and let me share them with you all as well-
  • Since he was used to being with only two of us that is me and my husband, he was becoming shy of strangers and didn't feel very comfortable in company of any other adult. I wanted him to get used to being around with other people as well.
  • I wanted him to socialize with children of similar age group. That can provide him with experience that he's been missing in the company of adults for the whole day.
  • Being in different surrounding, away from home and parents for some time may help him to become more confident and independent.
  • There will be a routine set for him and he'll learn to be better organised in life later.
The counter arguments that came across for doing so were-
  • He's too young to go out and stay away from home and mum even for a short while.
  • He'll cry initially and may not settle well and how would you handle that?
  • He may develop insecurities.
So this was what I experienced and since then I have been reading a lot about what is the right age to send your child to school, how to cope with various initial difficulties etc. I have also been talking to experts on the same issues and will share with you my findings in the following posts...
But with all this We started sending him to this Playgroup close to our place, for two hours, five days a week. Yes, We faced some initial "teething problems" and believe me they can persuade you to change your decision but we survived through them (How? Will let you know in next few posts...) and now We are happy with the way things are moving. Our Champ is enjoying his school, teachers and friends and learning as well!
Keep reading for more!
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Monday, 29 April 2013

Kids Corner- Veggie Vermicelli Recipe

Veggie Vermicelli is variation of a South Indian recipe usually prepared as hot breakfast. It is a yummy dish that can be given to the child for lunch or dinner and you may also have it for breakfast.

Serves- 1 Toddler

Roasted Vermicelli- 1/3 Cup
Ginger (finely chopped or grated)- 1/4 tsp.
Onion (chopped)- 1/4 Large onion
Frozen Mix Vegetable (Carrots, beans, corn and peas)- 1/4 Cup (grind once in grinder)
Water- 1 1/4 Cup
Salt- as per taste
Black pepper- as per taste (optional)
Oil- 1 tsp.

1. Heat oil in a pan and add chopped ginger and onion. Fry for few minutes.
2. Add the vegetables and 1/2 cup water. Let it boil and simmer for  minutes.
3. Add roasted vermicelli, salt, black pepper and remaining water and cook till almost dry on low flame.
4. You may add more water if you feel the vermicelli is not cooked properly.

1. Again the veggies can be more or less, but more the better. You may add broccoli, mushrooms bell pepper as well.
2. Vegetable or chicken stock may be used in place of water.
3. Chicken or fish may also be added.

Original Recipe 
Ingredients (Serves 2)
Oil- 2 Tbsp.
Mustard Seeds- 2 tsp.
Ginger- 1 inch piece chopped
Split Black Gram (dehusked)- 1 Tbsp.
Whole dry Red Chili- 2
Onion- 1 small (finely chopped)
Mix vegetables (Carrots, beans, peas and corn)- 1/2 Cup
Roasted Vermicelli- 1 1/2 Cup
Water- 3 Cups
Salt- As per taste
Red chilli powder- 1 Tsp or as per taste
Desiccated Coconut- 1/4 Cup.
Cashew nuts (Crushed almost to powder)- 1/4 Cup


  • Heat the oil and add Mustard seeds, ginger, black gram and whole red chilli. Fry for one minute.
  • Add chopped onion, fry till light pink in colour, then add vegetables and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add roasted vermicelli and fry for 1 minute and add water, salt and red chilli. Cook on low flame.
  • When it is 70% dry, add desiccated coconut and crushed cashews and cook till dry on low flame.
Hope you enjoy this with your li'l one and/or family and let me know how it turns out!

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Friday, 26 April 2013

Kids Corner- Age Appropriate Toys for 18-24 Month Olds

Now is the time when toddlers start to polish their acquired skill and the most important thing that you will now hear or experience very often is 'I'll do it myself" or want to do things on their own. They are now capable of showing and expressing their emotions. Walking is more stable and experimentation starts here as well... am I able to walk sideways? backward? with eyes closed? (yes, my champ does that...!). The vocabulary may range from 50-200 words. He/she can follow what you are saying in an efficient manner. The toys at this stage should help them in their social and emotional development and building their vocabulary as well let them to be physically active. Some of the appropriate toys for this age group are-

1. Pretend Play Toys
These toys introduced at the previous stage of 12-18 months can continue through this stage and even after that for a long time. The only difference is the play becomes more sophisticated and interesting for us to watch. You may like to give toy kitchen set, tool kit, shopping cart, dolls to take care of (great idea if you are planning for another child), models of household equipment like vacuum cleaner etc. These toys let the child imitate his/her parent(s) and also help to develop his/her social skills.

2. Blocks
Here they come again. Nothing can beat the creative and imagination development that takes place while playing with blocks. The structures get more advanced with advancing age and also the child may never get tired of blocks and they may accompany him/her through the adulthood as well.

3. Toy Musical Instruments
Children love to create music and what would be better than to give them a toy guitar, drum or a keyboard to create their master-compositions.

4. Balls
Balls of various materials and sizes can be given to the child to kick, throw and run after them. At this age, with practice, they can learn how to kick a ball and then later come running and kick. All this helps in sensory coordination.

5. Puzzles
Along with wooden on piece puzzles, you may introduce puzzles with 2-3 pieces. The feeling of victory that comes after putting the pieces into their place is great for them and will motivate them to go for complex puzzles and also help them to develop their problem solving and organizing skills for life.

6. Ride on Vehicles
Now the child will be more comfortable  in using these as he/she becomes more confident in getting on and off from it.

7. Vehicle Playsets
Children at this age definitely enjoy their collection of vehicles and if they have a playset like car tracks or train set, their joy knows no bounds when they see their cars or trains running along them and making some noise or generating some other response like lights or wave. These help in sensory and motor coordination.

8. Crayons and Paper
To help the child develop his/her writing skills for later, crayons help them to get the grip and their hand muscles become more flexible for writing with scribbling. Only make sure the crayons are non toxic and also washable as you never know when the scribbles from paper will also start showing on walls and other surfaces.

9. Books
Books if introduced early can become the child's best friend for the rest of the life. At this stage, board books work as well as the picture books and as the child grows, reading to them becomes more fun. It also help them to develop their vocabulary and understanding of various things.

Apart from Toys, physical play like in the playground on slides, swings and running around is highly recommended as is swimming.

What's your child's favorite toy? Leave a comment...

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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Kids Corner- Age Appropriate Toys for 12-18 Month Olds

Active is what your child is now! He/she is now almost walking well without support and hence get more opportunities to explore greater heights (Be careful and make your home safe for your li'l one)! Hes/her movements are more co-ordinated. The child is now able to use his toys from the previous stages in a much better way, as in he/she is able to use the toy sorter in a proper manner, able to stack blocks to make towers much taller than before, is able to scribble using pencil or crayon (Be careful of your walls; to prevent scribbling on walls, you may like to tape a paper similar to the colour of wall upto the height your baby can reach, so that all his/her masterpieces are on the paper and not on the wall.). Now, the baby also starts showing affection by giving hugs and kisses and also like to imitate adults in simple household routines. Toys at this stage should enhance the motor skills as well help in balance and co-ordination. They should promote problem solving skills, imagination and creativity. Some appropriate toys for this age are-

1. Large Building Blocks
Blocks which can be built up into a big tower or a fort. The blocks which fit into each other (like Mega Bloks) can also be introduced now for more creative designs.

2. Sorting Toys and Puzzles
Shape sorters, now make more sense with the child and also you can now introduce wooden knob puzzles, where one piece has to be placed in its place. This acts like advanced version of shape sorting with shapes being more abstract in outline.

3. Balls
The toddler can now play with a ball by kicking it, throwing it or by running after it while it rolls. Different types of balls may produce different sounds on hitting the ground, which also amuses the child. A favorite game in my house is we (me or my husband) will pretend to hit our champ with a soft ball and he loves dodging from it. We'll throw the ball away from  him and pretend to miss the target and he feels he's successful in his dodging attempts and will bring the ball back to us and this goes on filling the whole house with his squeals of joy and laughter.

4. Ride on Vehicles
These could be electronic (like cars and bikes) or manually controlled with a handle for an adult to maneuver if the child gets tired. These help them to practice getting on and off the vehicle as well as practice peddling if it's manually controlled.

5. Pretend Play toys like Tool Bench or Kitchen Set
These will let the child to imitate what adults are doing but with safer tools. These can be used for much longer time and their play will get more complex and imaginative. It helps them to develop their imagination and creativity and also will promote sharing and harmony in later stages.

6.   Non Toxic and washable crayons and paper
Kids now love to scribble and it's better to give them a crayon and paper otherwise be prepared with a sponge and soap solution to clean your walls and floor, although writing on walls may still happen even if paper is kept in front but let's hope for the best.

7. Books
Board books, cloth books and all types of books. Picture books work the best as the child now starts identifying the objects and telling him or her the correct word now will help in long run. Your li'l one may even now pick up his/her favorite book for you to read to him/her.

8. Cars and other Vehicles of various Sizes
Kids now love to play with anything with wheels. They love to drive them up and down the bed, sofa, table and sometimes even on your body. The whole world may look like a car track to them.

Apart from all these toys, you may like to take your child out to a play area with climbing gym, slides and swings but make sure to be attentive all the time and never let your li'l one out of your sight. It's also a great time to start with swimming using floating devices. Introducing sandbox is also a good idea at this stage. Give them a bucket and shovel and watch them get dirty!

What's your child's favorite toy? Leave a comment...
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Friday, 12 April 2013

Kids Corner- Understanding your Toddler (Part III)

Continuing from the previous post Understanding your Toddler (Part II), let's know about the other 4 personality types commonly observed in Toddlers.

5. The Bully
  • Intimidates others
  • Share and exert his personal rights.
  • Low self control
How to Handle?
  • Give him/her a chance to do something simple for others to make him/her feel important.
  • Allow him/her to open up with you by acknowledging his/her feelings after receiving negative feedback from teachers. Then take your time to explain why what he/she did was not right.
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6. The Mouse
  • Observe first and participate later
  • Needs time to open up and feel secure.
How to Handle?
  • Create opportunities for him/her to come out of his shell
  • Encourage him/her to communicate with you on a common topic but make sure to start interacting first so that he/she can observe and participate.
  • Instead of using the words like shy or slow to describe your child, use positive words like careful and toughtful to build his/her positive self image.
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7. The Smart Aleck
  • A keen learner
  • Has a lot to say and contribute.
  • Often the first one to answer the question.
How to Handle?
  • New things with more difficult concepts should be introduced to them frequently.
  • Make sure to broaden his/her horizons and expose him/her to more in depth information.
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8. The Clown
  • Attention seeker
  • Usually liked by everybody
  • Never seem to be serious enough to sit and complete a task.
How to Handle?
  • Make him/her understand what is socially acceptable and what is not.
  • Divert his/her energy towards music, drama or theater to fulfill his/her need for attention. 
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Hope by now, you must have got a better idea about your child... how he/she behaves and why and how to handle him/her to get the best out of your child and also to reduce the negative qualities and convert them to positive ones...  Do feel free to share your parenting experience!

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Kids Corner- Understanding your Toddler (Part II)

Continuing from the last post Understanding your Toddler (Part I), let's understand the various Toddler Personalities and also the tips and tricks to handle them well.

1. The Leader
  • Curious and a sense of wonder
  • High level of Confidence and self-esteem
  • First to volunteer for activities
  • Domineering
How to Handle?
  • Let them make small decisions concerning themselves at home like which clothes to wear? Which book to read?
  • Sometimes, the teachers should help others to take lead and suggesting the 'Leader' to co-operate.
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2. The Pet
  • Happy to do what parents or teachers say and will make an effort to impress them.
  • Loves to socialize and please others.
  • Could be domineering at times, specially when asked to take up roles and responsibilities.
How to Handle?
  • Praise their actions and not them for being nice, clever or smart.
  • Expose them to more learning experiences which can develop them into good leaders.
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3. The Socialite
  • Loves to be center of attention.
  • Independent and friendly
  • Helpful to peers
  • Adapts well to changes
How to Handle?
  • Pair them with quieter children and with those who may need help to bring out their best.
  • Educate them about dangers of being overly friendly.
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4. The Follower
  • Cooperating team player
  • Wait for others to make decision.
  • Shy and less confident
How to Handle?
  • Let him do simple tasks to build up his confidence.
  • Pair them up with somebody who can lead them and boost their confidence.
  • Praise and encourage them often.
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Hope you are getting some idea about how to kids are and how to handle them to bring out their best qualities...  keep reading for other personality types and share your parenting experience!

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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Kids Corner- Understanding your Toddler (Part I)

Toddler refers to child from one to three years of age. It is a great time for physical, motor, intellectual and social development for a child. Now as your child starts socializing, you also get to see a lot of other kids and then starts the process of thinking... is my child different from the other kid?  and let me give you a simple answer for that 'Yes! Your child is different from any other child and so are other children from each other.' Each child needs to be handled keeping in mind who he/she is.

In 60s and 70s, the toddlers were either "Easy" Child, "Difficult" Child or "Slow to Warm Up" Child.

  • The "Easy" Child is cheerful, social, tolerates change well, has predictable eating and sleeping routines. Parents should ensure that they do not neglect the easy child since he/she adapts to any situation with ease and often go unnoticed and easy to ignore.
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  • The "Difficult" or "Spirited" or "Spunky" Child is strong willed, rigid and impatient. They often need to be engaged in some or the other activity to burn their energy and keep them from getting into something not so desirable.
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  • The "Slow to Warm Up"  Child needs more time for transition from one activity to another and does not take strong or harsh criticism easily and can become more introvert and fearful. Avoid rushing them into any new activity and let them take their time to get accustomed to change.

Having said that, your child may not clearly fall in any one of the types and may behave differently in different situations but that is absolutely acceptable.

As a Toddler, children often experience another totally different environment from home... that is school! It is the place where they meet lot of other kids of the similar age and not so many adults to pay attention specifically at one child as they have at home, where parents tend to focus all their attention to their child. In school, a lot of time it happens that your toddler may show a totally new aspect of their personality, which usually comes out in a situation when they see a lot of kids of their age around them and an adult (or few adults) who is/are equally interacting with all of them. These personality types are given as
  • The Leader
  • The Pet
  • The Socialite
  • The Follower
  • The Bully
  • The Mouse
  • The Smart Aleck
  • The Clown

Will talk about these personalities in next few posts... keep reading and share your parenting experience!

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Monday, 8 April 2013

High 5- Food for Healthy Hair

What we eat affects our skin and hair. For healthy hair and skin, we must try to eat healthy food. Some of the important nutrients for hair are Iron, Vitamin B12 and C, Zinc and Copper. Some of the food stuff which are good for hair are-

1. Carrots & Dark Green veggies
2. Nuts and beans
3. Whole grains
4. Eggs, Poultry and Salmon
5. Low Fat Dairy Products

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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

High 5- Common Hair Problems

Hair can be long or short, straight or wavy, fizzy and unmanageable or smooth and silky; whatever your hair type is, you may face one of the following hair problems at some point of the time. Some common hair problems could be

1. Hair Fall
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2. Dandruff and other scalp problems like itchy scalp or flaky scalp

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3. Greying Hair

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4. Dull, dry and unmanageable hair

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5. Damaged hair due to excessive treatments and chemical use

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