Baby massage- a plethora of benefits

Touch is the first language babies are exposed to. Warm, affectionate touch helps your baby stay calm and joyful. Newborns are often placed on their mother’s chest for the same reason. These touches create strong emotional bond and brings your baby closer to you. Research suggests that massaging is the best way to bond with your baby. Gentle touches relax and comfort you baby. Among all 5 senses, touch is most developed right after birth. Massaging also improves circulation and boosts immunity in children.


A few tips and techniques for better massaging-


1. Don’t massage your baby when he is sleepy or tired or hungry or full. Best is to massage after your baby has taken a nap. Keep the room warm with low lighting. Keep clean clothes and a clean diaper close-by. Place your baby in a safe area and adjust in a way so that she can see you and can make eye contact. Ensure that your hands are clean. Try to make massaging last for 10-30 minutes. Use good quality oil. Avoid using lotions as it may cause rashes or red skin. Start by laying your baby on his stomach, and turn her head to one direction. Take a small amount of oil and begin massaging from head then down the nape of her neck. Then across each shoulder from the center of the neck out to the arm, one side at a time. Manage down to the hips. Avoid the spine. Then go to your baby’s legs with your finger pads. And repeat it on your baby’s arms. Turn your baby over on his back and repeat the same steps on his chest, front of his arms and legs. Then massage the ears, face, head slowly and gently. Throughout the process, connect with your baby through eye contact.


Benefits of massaging-
 Creates a soothing effect on your baby and reduces crying.
 Helps in baby’s digestion by relieving gas and constipation.
 Enhances awareness and sensation
 Relieves nasal congestion.
 Boosts baby’s immune system.
 Improves their skin quality.


Try to make massaging a part of your infant’s daily routine and consider massaging your baby around the same time everyday. Be gentle and don’t try to put too much pressure on your baby’s body. Understand your baby’s discomfort and cease it according to your baby’s convenience.

9 ways to boost social skills in children

When your child has grown up a bit and is ready for his or her foray into society, it is essential that they have friends to share these precious moments with. After all, man is a social animal. Friends help your child become socially adept and confident. Throughout our evolutionary history, the ability to make friends has been a crucial survival skill. But friendly nature and social skills may not ‘just emerge’ during your child’s development.


Children need to be taught how to make friends and sustain friendships, making it essential for parents to guide them on their every step in these early times. Here are a few pointers which could help-


1. Train your children in emotion control-
Everybody has negative emotions and selfish impulses. Studies suggest that children develop better emotional self-control when their parents talk to them about their feelings in a sympathetic, problem-solving way.
In contrast, kids whose negative emotions are usually trivialized (‘You’re just being silly’) or punished (‘Go to your room and cool off’) tend to have more trouble with self- control


2. Practice authoritative (not authoritarian) parenting-
Kids are more likely to be rejected by their peers when their parents practice authoritarian parenting –an approach characterized by low levels of warmth and high levels of control. Authoritarian parents discourage thoughtful discussion and attempt to control behaviour through punishment. Kids raised this way are less likely to develop an internalized sense of right and wrong.


3. Teach kids how to converse in a polite way-
The earliest lessons kids learn about communication happen at home, and it seems they make a difference. It has been found that parents who showed high levels of reciprocity in their communication with children had kids who developed more social competence and better negotiation skills.
• Trade information about your likes and dislikes while starting a new conversation
• Don’t be a conversation hog. When engaged in conversation, only answer the question at hand. Then give your partner a chance to talk, or ask a question of your own
• Don’t be an interviewer. Don’t just ask questions. Offer information about yourself too


6. Coach kids on how to cope with tricky social situations-
• Before making your approach, watch what the other kids are doing. What can you do to fit in?
• Try joining the game by doing something relevant. For example, if kids are playing a restaurant game, see if you can become a new customer
• Don’t be disruptive or critical or try to change the game
• If the other kids don’t want you to join in, don’t try to force it. Just back off and find something else to do


7. Monitor their social life-
Studies in a variety of cultures suggest that children are better off when their parents monitor their social activities. This doesn’t mean hovering over kids or getting in the middle of every peer interaction but it does mean supervising where kids play and helping kids choose their friends.


8. Wherever possible, let kids try to work things out on their own-
Toddlers need to be closely supervised. But as they get older, parents need to back off a little bit and give their young one a chance to develop their own social skills.


9. Watch out for bullying-
Always watch out for your child from behind the scenes and ask them to talk about their day with friends. If your child talks about any instance that resembles bullying, intervene immediately. You can choose to talk to the child and if that does not show any results, then be sure to forbid your child from remaining friends with that person


Also, carefully observe if your child is bullying or trying to bully another child. This behavior also calls for immediate intervention. Talk to them about their behavior and change this habit as soon as possible.


Above all, allow your child to be free in choosing friends and learning from their mistakes. Never criticize them harshly or scold them especially in front of their friends. Happy parenting!

My Daddy is the best!

Before birth, a child spends nine months in mother’s womb. Mom and baby, since inception, form a close bond. The father is the protector and nurturer of this bond.


A father is always his child’s first hero. Becoming a father can get a little overwhelming. Your child watches you, copies you and learns for you. Researchers have found that love or rejection from mothers and fathers equally affects kids’ behavior, self-esteem, emotional stability and mental health. In some cases, however, the withdrawal of father’s love plays a bigger role in kids’ problems with psychological adjustment, delinquency and substance abuse. And for others, the presence of a father’s love may do more to boost children’s sense of well-being and improve their emotional and physical health.


Let’s extrapolate how fathers impact their children.


Emotional Well Being
Fathers are central to the emotional well-being of their children and can be capable caretakers and disciplinarians. Studies show that if a child’s father is affectionate, supportive and involved, he can contribute greatly to the child’s cognitive, linguistic and social development.


Social Behavior
Children who bond with their fathers tend to have less behavioral problems and are somewhat inoculated against alcohol and drug abuse. When fathers are less engaged, children are more likely to drop out of school earlier and to exhibit more problems in behavior and substance abuse.


Academic Performance
According to a study at the University of Illinois, children of fathers who take the time to ask about what they learned in school and their day-to-day social activities and relationships do better in school than kids who don’t have that kind of input or interest. Researchers at the University of Oxford in England reached the same conclusion about the link between paternal involvement and academic success in their study of 17,000 British school children. Says psychologist Eirine Flouri, one of the study’s authors, “An involved father figure reads to his child, takes outings with his child, is interested in his child’s education, and takes a role equal to the mother’s in managing his child.” Children with this type of dad were more likely to get good grades in school, she found.


A Role Model for Sons & Daughters
University of Oxford researchers noted that girls who had more involved fathers were less likely to face mental health problems later in life. Genuine praise and admiration from a father can help his daughter grow up to be an independent, confident woman.


Boys model themselves after their fathers. They will look for their father’s approval in everything they do, and copy those behaviors that they recognize as both successful and familiar. Thus, if dad was abusive, controlling, and dominating, those can be the patterns that their sons will imitate and emulate. However, if father is loving, kind, supportive, and protective, boys are more likely to be like that.


Being a father is a big responsibility. Before becoming a father, one should take a moment and reflect on the kind of father they want to be and the kind of upbringing they want to give to their child. A lot depends on it.

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