Nap Time!

Nap time at home and in the nursery is an important time that can help kids calm down, relax and recharge their tired body cells. It needs routine and rituals to make it enjoyable for everyone involved.e4852d0ae606d7e2446f73fa4693546d

Lana Button in the Exchange kit ( , offers these tips sure to make everyone rest a little easier during nap time at your day care centre:

  •          Always give the children a ‘heads up’ when nap time is approaching.  Keep your pre-nap routine consistent and your kids will start mentally preparing for a rest before they even hit their cots.


  •      Keep children’s cots in the same basic location each day.  Once you find a spot where a child is most likely to get a good rest, use that spot consistently.  Having to adjust to a new spot or a new ‘nap neighbour’ can make it difficult for a child to settle down.
  • Screenshot 2017-10-02 at 3.25.03 PM         Allow children a few minutes in their cots before the lights are turned out.  This allows children to transition from being very active to being very still.  Provide nap books  for children to explore independently for 5 minutes. 



  •         Adults are instrumental in establishing a calm mood at nap time.  Once you dim the lights you should lower your voice and keep it at just above a whisper for the duration of nap time. 



Important to know about young babies and SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The safest position to put young babies to sleep is on their back. Keep the following in mind:


  1. Babies placed on their stomachs to sleep are at greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 
 2. Place infants on their backs for sleep.


3. Provide a firm crib covered by a sheet.

4. Keep pillows and stuffed toys out of the crib.

5. Make sure the sleeping area is a comfortable temperature to keep infants from becoming overheated.

6. Do not let your infant fall asleep with a bottle in the mouth as this can cause choking. If you’re infant falls asleep while having a feed then do remove the bottle.

7. In India and many Asian countries instead of putting babies to sleep in cribs they use a piece of cloth tied at both ends to a pole, (like a cradle but made of cloth) it not only takes the baby’s body shape, but keeps baby safe from SIDS and gives baby the feeling of being safe and coddled just like in the uterus. So time to bring back the Indian/Asian cloth cradle

How much sleep do kids require?

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Age 1-4 weeks

Sleep- 15 to 16 hours a day


  •       Newborns typically sleep in two to four hour blocks both during the night and day. They are yet to establish their internal biological clock


Age    : 1-4 months

Sleep : 14 – 15 hours a day

  •         Usually able to sleep once for six hours in a row.


Age : 4 – 12 months

Sleep : 14 – 15 hours per day

  •          2 – 3 naps. Can sleep through the night by age 6 months  


Age : 1 – 3 years

Sleep: 12 – 14 hours per day.


Age : 3 – 6 years

Sleep: 10 – 12 hours per day.


When should children give up afternoon nap time?

A Queensland University of Technology study has found daytime naps beyond the age of two may have a detrimental effect on sleep at night. Study leader Professor Karen Thorpe says it’s widely accepted within the childcare sector that napping promotes growth, but research has found it has a negative impact on night sleep patterns, and the time it takes to fall asleep, in children older than three. “The evidence suggests that beyond the age of two years, when cessation of napping becomes more common, daytime sleep is associated with shorter and more disrupted night sleep,” “Daytime sleep is not a response to poor night sleep, but rather precedes poor night sleep.”

Wean of children from afternoon naps slowly, if your child sleeps for two hours then reduce to one and half hour, then an hour etc.

If you are constantly feeling tired and drained then once in a while do join your child at nap time! Happy napping!




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Babies don’t just coo and gurgle!

crawling baby

Parenting young babies is never easy. Parents struggle with feeding, nappy changes and lack of sleep! Well this blog is dedicated to parents of infants especially in the age group of 6 to 9 months. Babies coo and gurgle and make us smile but did you know that inside the brain of babies, neurons are being connected ? This brain development is visible if you observe babies and what they do.


During ‘babyhoood’ your baby will be able to –

  •       Identify Sounds: will turn and look at you as you approach or talk
  •       Produce Sounds: like cooing or playing
  •       Start Interacting:  appearance of social smile and like to interact
  •       Start paying attention: to toys and words or songs
  •       Roll Over: from the back to the stomach
  •       Grasp and Bang:  loves to grasp objects, hold one in each hand and sometimes even bangs them together.

So here are some terms for parents to remember and use in daily parenting with infants –

  •          Reciprocity-  This is the period of the onset of social smiling, which means your baby now consciously smiles to get your attention or to engage you, it is important to remember and practise reciprocity in all baby smiling 2your daily interactions with baby. Talk or coo to your baby and then pause and give a chance for your baby to respond. Sometimes it will be with a smile, or cooing and babbling. Reciprocity will be the foundation of social development for your baby.


  •       Tummy time –we tend to keep babies on the bed or cot or baby bags, but we must give tummy time to the baby too. So place your baby on its tummy often during play timbaby tummye. Remember sleep on the back and play on the tummy. Putting your baby to sleep on the back is important from the point of view of SIDS- sudden infant death syndrome, in baby cots. That is why I love the Indian cradle made of cloth, it not only takes the baby’s body shape, but keeps baby safe from SIDS and gives baby the feeling of being safe and coddled just like in the uterus. So time to bring back the Indian cloth cradle


  •        Floor play- infants and kids today are spending more and more time in baby bags, feeding chairs etc, which needs to change.  Floor play helps infants move and touch freely and also gives them the necessary feeling of free baby playing toymovement which restrained chairs etc are unable to provide . This is beneficial for brain development and overall physical growth and will also improve your baby’s eating and sleeping cycle.


  •        Face to face play- it is so tempting to leave babies to play with toys on their own, but at this crucial stage it is important that you engage your baby in face to face play, sing songs, peek a boo etc. This helps your baby bond with you, nurtures a sense of trust and communication in your baby.

mother baby playing

  •         Receptive and expressive vocabulary- your baby’s language development has two parts, first is receptive language skills which means before learning to talquote bubblek your baby should be ‘talked to’ so your baby ‘receives’ language much more than your baby is able to express. How much your baby will talk and how early depends on the receptive language that your baby is exposed to. So talk, describe and engage your baby’s vocabulary development.


  •       Grasping and releasing –  children-toy-collection-on-a-shelf_1306-284before 6 months your baby’s grasping was almost reflexive. Now there is focused grasping of objects, though releasing will still be slightly primitive. So they might ‘dump’ objects instead of releasing them. So play games that help baby grasp and reach for objects. Give different objects and toys for baby to grasp. Remember not to push for handedness, many parents want the baby to use the right hand and so offer toys placed more towards the right side of the baby. Always place toys or hold out toys in the middle and let baby choose the hand to use.


  •     Mouth the ‘lab’ of your little scientist – everything that your baby grasps will first land in your little scientists ‘lab’, the mouth! This is because the mouth of young babies has more sensory points then the hands or feet. So actually they feel with their mouths. Try not to stop them, instead choose toys that are safe, non toxic for your baby and help your baby to use the ‘lab’. Remember the brain thrivmouthses on sensory stimulation so the ‘lab’ is directly connected to brain growth.

Happy baby parenting.




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Te Whariki and your child’s toybox!


Te Whariki

Play needs to be constructive and healthy for children. ‘Monster’ toys like battery operated toys, computer games are not toys as they lead to many socio-emotional and cognitive problems. So then what kind of toys should parents select to enhance the play experience for kids?

Te Whariki curriculum framework for the early years, new zealanda New Zealand government framework is one of our favorites. At Born Smart one of our experts, Dr. Swati Popat Vats,  inspired by it has designed the following criteria based on it to help parents select the right toys and play material for young babies and toddlers.

  1. Empowerment– toys should make children independent rather than dependent, so avoid battery operated toys.
  2.  Holistic development– try choosing toys that develop more than one skill.
  3. Family and community– it is seen that the level of children’s play rises when adults join in the play with them. However, a word of caution- “joining in” should not be about controlling the play because controlling creates stress and will not lead to any cognitive development.  Choose toys that are like group projects.

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4.Relationships– toys such as role play kits are good for dramatic play. When children follow the rules of make-believe and push one another to follow those rules, they develop important habits of self control.

5.Well being–  toys should make children feel safe. Any kind of games of play that bring about fear or anxiety would not be good for the well being of the child.

6.Belonging– toys must belong to the child, let them put them away, let them decide and let them take care. Toys that always need adult supervision while playing will not inculcate a sense of belonging in the child.

7. Contribution– the child should be able to contribute in the play or in the use of the toy, toys that work on their own will breed boredom that leads to frustration and sometimes violence.

8. Communication– language development is one of the important skills developed through play and toys. Ensure that correct toys are selected to enhance this.

9. Exploration– allow children the chance to explore the entire toy, do not interfere or lead the game. A sense of exploration and excitement, is an integral part of all learning and play.

With brain research facts available to parents today, it is important that parents make the right choice of turning their child’s toy box into learning and nurturing spaces and not ‘monster play’ spaces. When enough people raise ‘Play’ to the status it deserves in our lives, we will find the world a smarter place for kids.


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A four letter word that helps nurture smarter, happier brains! Any guesses?

The word is PLAY. Learning happens during play because play is the work of childhood.  We can nurture children through play based learning and growth especially in the early years, the most significant years.

Girl playingFredrick Froebel, the father of kindergarten (kinder=child, garten=garden) invented games that he called ‘gifts’, there were 13 gifts in the Froebelian method that teachers were trained to gift children with related songs. Each gift taught kids important concepts of counting, math, concepts, science and math, all through playing with the gifts. This was learning through play.





Maria Montessori designed didactic equipment that involved children’s brain, muscles and senses. Children would learn language, counting, science, geography, all through puzzles, games and activities. This was learning through play.

Lev Vygotsky believed that play helps nurture social and language skills in young children and he stressed on the importance of play in early childhood environments. This was learning through play

Brain research has made significant discoveries about how the brain is stimulated through play. The hand and the brain need each other- Neurologically, “a hand is always in search of a brain and a brain is in search of a hand”- Wilson. Use of the hands to manipulate three-dimensional objects is an essential part of brain development. According to latest brain research when kids play with blocks, push around toys, throw balls, this is constantly fertilizing neural growth.

And the play personality of your child changes as per the age and development of your child. Observe babies in the first nine months as they manipulate toys, they reach for, hold, release, suck with the toy. The focus is on manipulation as their finger muscles are developing and their brain uses all the five senses to learn. This is learning through play.

From 9 to 18 months children will be involved in function games with their toys, tossing, pressing, throwing etc. they are curious to know what each toy can do. This is learning through play.

18 months onwards when the brain is now geared for imagination, children indulge in imaginative play; they give a functional twist at a symbolic level to the toy or object. So a long block is used as a mobile phone or banana. This is the beginning of symbolic play that is the foundation of learning to read and write. When a child can visualize an object as having another function then the child will be able to see the word ‘c-a-t’ and visualize a cat. This is learning through play.

So if kids don’t play, they don’t learn and that is why play is called the work of childhood.

So watch your kids play today and observe these schema in their play. What is a schema?  A schema is a repeated action in children.

  1. Trajectory – fascinated by the way they themselves or objects move through the air.
  2. Rotation– Children who just adore circles and anything that goes round
  3. Positioning- children who are always placing things in some kind of order
  4. Transporting- children who are always on the move, moving items and often carrying a bag
  5. Enveloping– children who like to cover themselves or objects as well as hiding
  6. Enclosure- children who love to surround or enclose either themselves or other objects
  7. Connecting– connectors simply enjoy attaching themselves or objects to other things
  8. Transforming- these children spend hours mixing


Yes, children thrive on play because their brains learn best with play. So even though play is a 4-letter word it is one of the best words that adults should speak around children. So tell your child to play today…and play along…it keeps you young!


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Let’s Get Fruity


Fruits are extremely essential in our diet and each fruit has something to contribute to our health. And there is a reason why some fruits only come in a particular season.

For those mothers whose kids say yuck, the minute you mention the name of a fruit, we would suggest give funky names to the fruit before serving it to the child and always cut the fruit differently, and then see your child eat the same fruit for 5 days but with a different shape and name!

Children love songs and when a puppet sings them, it’s all the more fun, so make your fruit a puppet by making the fruit sing and dance and then see your kids want to reach out and munch the fruit!

Some Do’s to make fruits fun for kids-
1. Give the fruit a funky name- so instead of apple say ‘abby dabby doo doo’.
2. Give it a funky look- cut with a jagged edge knife or cut slices instead of dicing etc
3. Mix two fruits together for colour effect
4. Don’t give fruits after a meal as kids would be too full. Nutritive value of fruits is best absorbed by the body when eaten atleast an hour before a meal.
5. Eat the fruit with your kids, kids learn by imitation so the more they see you enjoy, the more they will enjoy and want it too.

Some Don’t’s about fruit fun for kids-


1. Don’t make fruits a forced feeding for kids- ‘have your fruits or I will not give you your toy’ – avoid doing this.
2. Never add salt, or sugar or any salty or sweet additives to make fruits more acceptable for kids, this will only add more salt and sugar content in their diet and will take away the nutritive value of fruits, not to mention the deadly effect on their teeth!
3. Fruit juice and cut fruits are different; see that your child gets both.
4. Packaged fruit or fruit juice is not nutritive at all, don’t go for any tall claims made by the company selling them
5. Never give your child cold fruits to eat, let the fruit be room temperature.

Know more about your common fruit-

1. Papaya- has papain that helps digest proteins
2. Banana has calcium, good for the bones

3. Apple- latest research shows that apple is good for the brain! Regularly munching on apples can boost our brainpower and even fight off age related brain damage. It is thought that the antioxidants in the fruit help to keep key neurons alive and the juice seems to prevent a decline in brain functioning by maintaining acetylcholine, a vital neurochemical.

4. Orange- has vitamin c keeps you away from colds

5. Pear- it is an antioxidant and prevents constipation

6. Grapes– help good blood flow and keeps blood vessels relaxed

7. Mango- excellent for toning up heart muscles and improves skin texture

8. Strawberry- it is good for immune system

9. Guava- it prevents cancer and heart diseases

10. Watermelon- it helps control blood pressure.


Don’t you think it’s time to go fruity?


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10 Brainy Reasons Why Kids Should Play

Why should kids play?

Every educationist and educational philosopher has advocated the need for hands on play based learning. Our own Mahatma Gandhi who devised the 3 H method of education which involves the Hand, Heart and Head or good old Montessori who believed that play involves all the three aspects essential for learning, namely- the muscles, senses and the brain.


So here are 10 ‘brainy’ reasons based on brain research on why children should play:

  1. Touching, feeling, exploring, making, breaking are all activities that enrich the senses and this helps new synapses to develop in the brain.
  2. Free play or play that involves choices, logic and thinking helps enhance the frontal lobe.
  3. The hand and the brain need each other. Brain expert Wilson states that neurologically, “a hand is always in search of a brain and a brain is in search of a hand”.
  4. Use of the hands to manipulate three-dimensional objects is an essential part of brain development.
  5. Imaginative play and role play are part of symbolic play. Symbolic play is when a child can use a symbol or object to represent another item. For example, he uses a piece of block to be a telephone, etc. When a child is able to experience symbolic play, he will definitely be able to excel in reading and writing activities as reading is nothing but representing a picture or word in a symbol (all letters and words are symbols)
  6. All play should make kids enjoy, as positive emotions enhance memory and no play should be stressful or too competitive as our bodies release harmful chemicals under stress, these chemicals are not good for the brain.
  7. A play that is self initiated, involving trial and error, problem solving, has cause and effect is good for developing neural pathways.
  8. Play helps develop language skills as more the sensorial experiences the child has, the more the child will want to talk about it and hence language development will be enhanced.
  9. Memory increases by revisiting information frequently. Play often, as children like to play the same games every day. It is fine as long as the interest lasts.
  10. Cross lateral movements keep both sides of the brain working. Therefore, the more creeping, crawling, marching play activities the child is exposed to, the better for his brain – How? Cross laterals are arm and leg movements that cross over from one side of the body to the other. Since, left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa, the two sides are forced to communicate when the legs and arms cross over.


Sweet Dreams Are Made of These.

Sweet dreams ! “Bed-time-battles”, and how to solve them.


The most common every day or rather every night problem that all parents face is putting their child to sleep.You are indeed a lucky parent if your child goes to sleep without any fuss!


Most children resist going to bed because children are born ‘learners’ and feel that they will ‘miss out on the fun’ by going to bed and hence they fight sleep and try to postpone it as much as they can. And thus starts the “bed-time-battle” between the child and the parent.


A parent needs to set a bed time routine . Because children like repetition and can identify with a routine.So a regular bed time routine will help them go to bed without any hassles.


A routine can be keeping in mind your child’s likes and activities of interest. For example for a child who likes to play a game before bedtime, choose a game that will get over before bedtime. Avoid long one that takes time to end and  will not be able to complete,so that the baby will not be restless  in bed.

So the routine can be: game time,bath time,brush your teeth time and goodnight time for an older child.

Or it can be: bath time,brush time,story time and goodnight time for a younger child.

It is very important to keep in mind the child’s age while choosing the routine

A toddler who has been hyper active throughout the day now needs to wind down  before going to bed and hence doing activities like jumping in bed or  somersaulting etc will only help in getting him more active and will hence not serve the purpose.You need to have soothing activities like a soft rhyme session or a hug and cuddle time or a short and happy story.

Or a tickle time! Surprised? Well, have you ever been tickled? if you have ,you will remember the complete warm and ‘loose’ feeling that your muscles experience after a good session. A very good relaxation !

Stories are a favourite of all children and parents as a bed time activity.

Here again a parent must choose the right kind of story. If you will tell a frightening or scary story you will only end up making your child nervous and also be a reason for his bed choose stories which are warm and happy and can bring a smile on your child’s face.

It is very important for a parent to remember any routine has to be flexible and not set in stone. On certain days deviating from the routine may happen  because of a party or a guest  or illness but regardless of the interruption, it is essential to get back to your routine as soon as possible to let the child know that deviations are exceptions and not forever.

So have a good night’s sleep every night !


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Hear the hundred languages of children.

Loris Malaguzzi (Reggio Emilia, Italy) rightly said, “Children have  hundred languages, and parents  and society steal  ninety nine and then ask the child to use only one language”

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It is important for adults to learn how to communicate with children. Because children know 100 ways of communicating with you, but sadly we know only one- talking. What  happened to raised eyebrows, smiling, hugging, biting your lips, are these not forms of communication? Remember, communication happens on two levels, one with words but 80% is with body language. Accept  and understand both forms and life will be more happier and easier.

gb 3feed u and me

Before our children acquire language skills, we focus on and accept their nonverbal communications, but as soon as the child acquires language skills, parents stop focusing on the nonverbal cues and this some where frustrates the child and makes the parent-child relationship more stressful.



Parents insist that a child says sorry, thank you, please, whereas in the growing years the child sometimes speaks with  ‘expressions’ because to your child that is more important than words,

  • But we teach them  that it is more important to say sorry than to hug the person you have hurt.
  • It is more important to say thank you than to smile at the person who gave you the gift.
  • We teach them to ‘say’ the words and not ‘feel’ them.
  • We unknowingly teach them that it is fine to hurt someone, but never , never forget to say sorry!
  • Our focus should actually be on both, expressions/feelings and words.

 unwilling 3

Avoid using unnecessary questions.-

Questions like,’ Are you going to eat your food or not?’ in which there is no choice or actually no real choice, tend to confuse children and then they feel frustrated when you do not do what they answered. Sometimes many teachers ask children, ‘Do you want to listen to a story?’ and children may say ‘No’ but the teacher still continues with the story, this irritates children and they feel let down. Because  your question made them feel that they have a choice and when they opted for the choice, you still forced them to do what you want. Isn’t it frustrating?


Avoid Sarcasm-

We women, I feel are born with an extra gene! The gene of ‘sarcasm’. And we use it more often on the very people who do not understand it, namely husbands and children! So, when the husband comes home late, we say, ‘ Today you have come very early!’ and the husband comes even later the next day just to please you! Similarly with children, when a child breaks a toy, we get irritated and say, ‘Yes, break them all’, and he dutifully proceeds to do so and to his utter consternation finds that you are angrier!

So, weed out the rhetoric and the sarcasm, from your communication with children. Avoid sarcasm as a tone behind a sentence as children are too young to understand such ‘tones’ , as they tend to do exactly as the sentence says.

Give requests and directions positively, start a sentence with  a positive and not a negative words.

‘Walk slowly’ would be a better way of instructing, instead of saying,’ Don’t run’. Similarly, instead of saying, ‘Don’t sit there’, it is better to say, ‘Lets sit here as you may get hurt on that stool’. Yes it requires longer sentences and sometimes we do not have the patience, but imagine if your world is always filled with, ‘no’, ‘don’t’, ‘never’?

It is important to give instructions to children explaining the reason why you do not want them to do the particular thing or act in a particular way. Just telling them not to do it, is not enough.

Avoid repeating your instructions –

Repetition  is good for children, but the repetition should not be boring or it becomes drill and then children tend to switch off and ignore the message. When you tend to repeat yourself too much then it also teaches children that you are not serious the first time and they will learn to listen to you only after you have repeated the instruction a couple of times. So if you want your children to listen to you , get the attention first .Eye contact is very important for good listening and once you have their attention, give your instruction to the point. If you feel you want to repeat then questioning would be a better way to repeat.

Do not talk too loudly-

If the child is surrounded by adults who talk loudly and shout all the time then the child learns to listen to loud voices . But  if we surround the child with soft voices, soothing calm voices, it will guide him to make the right decisions.

So in short, for better communication with your child, Avoid too many instructions, keep language clutter free, and prepare your child to listen, because in education most of his learning will be done by listening.


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Play is not just a four letter word !

pg4toys 2


Did you know, ‘Play’, develops your child’s intelligence?

All work and no play make Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl! An often heard comment, but recently research shows that there is much truth in this simple saying. Dr. Stuart Brown says in his book ‘Play’ that people in jobs are not able to find solutions to problems or make new discoveries or survive a crisis efficiently all because they have lost touch with play in their lives or were brought up in a ‘play-less’ environment. He says that, “those who had worked and played with their hands as they were growing up were able to ‘see solutions’ that those who hadn’t worked with their hands could not. They couldn’t’ spot the key flaw in complex systems they were working on, toss the problem around, break it down, pick it apart, tease out its critical elements, and rearrange them in innovative ways that led to a solution.”

If play teaches us all of the above then what happened to play? What is leading to its slow extinction? Many reasons. Car parks have replaced ball parks, making children achieve trophies and medals has become more important than learning a skill or a game.



So how does play help us? Play has its impact in varying ways in all stages of life. As a baby lying in a cot, play is about the random movement of the hand hitting a toy hanging in the crib. Here this random play teaches the baby about cause and effect and he/she learns to internalise this action to get a reaction which is the movement or the sound of that toy.





As the baby becomes a toddler, play is about touching, shaking and throwing every object and this leads to the child understanding about holding, picking up, letting go, enhancing the neural networks of the brain as it helps excite the five senses, the pathways to the brain and it also helps child develop eye hand co-ordination and fine motor development.

As the child grows older toys become their play. Balls, dolls, teddies and cars involve them and they are able to explore, talk, relate to others and learn through trial and error.

Then comes the symbolic play stage, when a child is able to substitute a block of wood to be a telephone and they can play differently using each object to be something else. Not many adults know that symbolic play is what will eventually help a child in reading and writing.

Let me explain: first a child will use a telephone as a telephone in role play, then when they don’t have a telephone, the child will substitute it with an object that looks like a telephone and pretend that it is a telephone. So we can say that the child has learnt to represent the telephone with another object. Now let’s understand reading:  first a child recognises the picture of a ball, and then slowly he learns to read the word ‘ball’. For the child, the word ‘ball’ immediately brings to mind a picture of one. So reading is nothing but representation of letters to mean a picture! Now if this child is not allowed to play games that involve symbolic play, their reading and writing will naturally suffer.

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As the child grows older, play is about group games, games with rules and rough and tumble play. This kind of play is again important in our later work life, as rough and tumble play teaches how to recognise signals from playmates: signals about stop, or I am enjoying, or I want the play to end. In rough and tumble play, the players may be squealing with delight or with fright, and players learn to recognise and use these signals for social development and social skills development. These body signs will help in later work/life relationships. Have you seen teenagers indulge in rough and tumble play? When you watch them you might feel they are punching and harming each other, but it is nothing but harmless rough and tumble play and it is also helpful for ‘cardiovascular health’.



Play continues even in adult life when we joke with friends as part of play or play pranks on each other or have impromptu bets or challenges or play a game of estimation like, ‘guess how many runs will Sachin make today?’. All this is nothing but play. It relaxes us, helps us bond, helps relieve us from stress and makes us happy.

So choice is ours –play or grow or don’t play and rot the brain cells away! Then why not play?

10 toys and what they do for children. Check whether you have them all for your child.

  1. Cuddling toys- help a child feel secure, helps in general feeling of well being.
  2. Building toys- helps in logic, thinking, imagination, language development and creativity.
  3. Role play toys- help a child understand the adult world, how people behave and act and play out different duties.
  4. Creative toys- help a child develop thinking, creativity, giving the satisfaction of choosing what they want to create and also acts as an emotional outlet.
  5. Reading toys- help a child develop necessary vocabulary, reading skills, interest in reading, picture recognition and lots more.
  6. Puzzling toys- helps develop logic, problem-solving skills.
  7. Breaking and putting together toys- helps them to vent out emotions or aggression without the guilt, also helps them to achieve an important need of exploration and curiosity.
  8. Pounding toys- helps  release emotions and aggression.
  9. Riding toys- good for balance, sense of freedom and movement.
  10. Outdoor toys- nature, out in the open and so good for exercise of entire body; activities for crawling, creeping, jumping, digging, etc.

Lets Play, after all Play is the work of childhood.



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Look who’s talking.

child speech

Talk, talk, talk…look who’s talking!

Have you wondered why we, the female of the species talk so much? Well, there is an evolutionary reason for this; the human baby needs the stimulus of language to connect the neurons in the brain. The window for language development is in the first few years and since the mother is the primary caregiver in most cultures it is important that the mother uses the power of her voice and language to stimulate the brain of her child. The sound of a mother’s voice is naturally higher pitched than that of the father and the newborn baby’s ears are more responsive to this high-pitched voice called ‘motherese’. It is no wonder that babies naturally respond to females more than males.

But it’s not just about talk, talk, talk, but there is a science behind the talking that mothers need to implement. We need to nurture two different types of language skills in young babies, Receptive and Expressive language skills.

baby listening

Therefore, receptive language skills are what the child hears or what is spoken to the child and expressive language skills are what a child speaks.

Where receptive language skills are concerned, the rule to remember is- the more the merrier. ‘Talk’ and kids love to listen. But avoid baby talk as kids learn by imitation. Where expressive language skills are concerned, kids will talk when they are ready, don’t correct their grammar or pronunciation, this will discourage and frustrate them. Instead repeat the sentence with the correct grammar and pronunciation. So if your child says, ‘mummy, potty’, you can say, ‘baby wants to go to the potty’.


It is imperative that mothers focus on the stimulation of both expressive and receptive language in daily interactions with kids.  Here are a variety of language-stimulation techniques that will support receptive and expressive language skills development. These techniques are, description, parallel talk, self-talk, expansion and expansion plus.

baby talk


Description is a technique in which the mother or caregiver narrates or describes what is going on by putting word labels on things.  For example, if a mother is putting on a nappy on the baby, then she will say, “You are going to be cosy in this nappy. Mummy is making you wear the nappy so that you are dry and comfortable”.  Or while bathing a baby you can describe all the steps as they occur.

Parallel talk

Parallel talk usually begins with “You.” In parallel talk a mother uses a short sentence that focuses on what the child is doing presently. For example, “You are playing with the sand in the sand pit.” or “you are now drinking water from your sipper” is parallel talk. Since the mother is focused on specific actions of the child it helps the child to put word labels to actions and objects and to connect the two and make sentences.


Self-talk begins with ‘I’. During self-talk a mother uses short phrases that describe what a mother or care giver is doing or is going to do. For example, a mother might say this during meal time, “I am going to take the peas on this spoon and help you eat them.’  Self-talk is especially important in the early years as young children like routine and if there is anything that deviates from that routine it tends to upset them. So self- talk kind of helps a parent or caregiver prepare the child. It is especially important during activities like bath time or sleep time when tantrums are common. A mother can say, “I am going to ask you to keep your blocks away in 10 minutes, so that we can get ready for meal time.”

baby talk2

Expansion and Expansion Plus

As children’s vocabularies grow, we notice that they tend to use a word to signify a whole sentence or use incomplete sentences. This is where Expansion and Expansion Plus are important techniques to be used by the parent or caregiver. In expansion the mother takes what the child has said and expands on it, for example if the child says ‘blocks’ the mother expands and says, ‘Do you want to play with those blocks?’ In expansion plus the mother or caregiver adds to what the child has already said, so for example, the child says, ‘look crow’, the teacher or care giver uses expansion plus and says, ‘Yes, that is a crow and look, it is black in colour’. Expansion and expansion plus help children put their thoughts and needs in sentences.

Language is a skill that is learnt by imitation. How did you learn your mother tongue? You listened to the people in your environment, then you imitated and were motivated by others and so language development took place. You made mistakes and that’s how your mother tongue was learnt. No grammar taught separately. No teaching of nouns and verbs separately. No sentences given to turn into active and passive. You lived, experienced, and heard the language every day. That is the best way to learn any language. So let’s talk, talk, and talk to our kids.


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