Magnetic Drawing Boards: Endless Clean (D)oodles of FUN

Sooner or later every child realizes the artist within. And then begins the inevitable scrawling on walls, books and passports (oops!!). 

Starting to draw is an important step in a child's development as she learns new shapes, objects, animals and especially colours. Soon you get graffiti across the house on every possible piece of paper, furniture and walls. All these are part of growing up, however you can introduce your child to the stories which teach her to draw or write only on papers, but this is easier said than done. 

A magnetic drawing board can be an excellent substitute for Pen/Paper. Your child can draw to hearts content and all can be erased with a simple swipe of the inbuilt magnetic strip. Please ensure the board is of at least 7X7 inch in size as otherwise it is pretty much useless to draw anything clearly and child loses interest quickly.

We got the following board and it is serving us well for last 2 months now.
Yes.. I drew that bird!
If you want to learn how this works then click on this link.

Indicative price range for these Magnetic Drawing/Doodle boards:

India: 500/- to 1200/- 
Europe: 10 Eur to 25 Eur /-

Mine was 11 Euros.

Agreed that unlike paper, it is not a good tool for creating memories but it was a great way for me to bond with Tweety as I taught her the difference between a circle and a line or tried my hand at drawing all the animals she asked for. 

So if you have a budding artist in your house then this may just well be the saviour for a lot of important papers and walls. Try it :)

A Baby's intro to world of Puzzles

Tweety is about to turn 2 and a lot has changed since the last post on PapaKehteHain. We have moved to a new country and due to the cold weather, Tweety needs to remain mostly indoors. 

Books, blocks and puzzles are her closest friends right now.

Picture/story books help in stoking her imagination and giving her new words to learn each day. Puzzles keep her engaged in a constructive activity. While blocks are just too much fun to stack and destroy.

We have brought a big boxful of Hindi and English story books which keep her company everyday while eating and before naps. An Ideal book for this age would be a short story with less words and colourful pictures. Will have a separate post about the books. 

Now puzzles and blocks are some of the most constructive activities a toddler can engage in. Tweety still has not got the hang of usual puzzles with 4 or more pieces, however she has developed a strong liking for the wooden ones.

We recently got above wooden puzzle for Tweety. The different shapes in the puzzle help her recognize new things. The fact that most of the shapes can be only fit in one way, gives her concept of rotation to fit things. Within a couple of days she was correcting our intentional mistakes. 

Last week our friends gifted Tweety a clock shaped wooden puzzle which is even better in terms of play and learning.

This single puzzle can help you teach your baby numbers, shapes, colours and time.

Digital Baby Thermometer types and their Usefulness

An unwell baby is a heart breaking sight for any parent, especially as due to heightened irritability, baby does not even cooperate in treatment. Now fever is the most common problem a parent faces with a baby and every parent will have their own tale of how difficult it can get to take a baby's temperature.

The conventional mercury based glass thermometers are a bit tricky and risky to use with babies as they can break with a sudden jerk. Thus we will not discuss them here. Also mouth, rectal and arm pits all are no-go zones as per babies. However these are still the places that provide the most accurate reading.

Today we have various types of thermometers available in the market which provide easier ways to take a babies (or an adults) temperature.
    • Touch based Forehead Thermometer
    • In-Ear Infrared Thermometer
    • Nipple Pacifier Thermometer
    • Digital Thermometer

Never let babies sit in car's front seat

In most parts of the western world, it is an offense to drive a car with a kid below 5 years of age who is not strapped to his own car seat. However in India or most of the developing world, kids standing between the front passenger seat and dashboard is very common. I have even seen the cases where parents proudly let their little kids handle the steering in a moving car in their lap. Its not a laughing matter. A child in the front seat can cause a serious accident or get seriously injured in case of an accident or even hard braking.

There is a reason for having such strict laws abroad. Children are curious by nature and they are bound to meddle with all the controls and buttons they find on the dashboard. And once they are bored with the dashboard, they will invariably turn their attention to the gear stick or the steering. In-fact the first time my car was hit from behind was due to a child playing with the gear stick in the rear car.

No matter how much you scold or ask a child to behave, such things are bound to happen and thus it is always advisable to make children sit in the back seat with an adult. If you do not have the luxury of having an adult with you all the time with a child, please invest in a car seat till the time your child is grown up enough to wear seat belt. Car seat can also be put in the front.

Even if the child is behaving at her best and silently standing in front, a hard braking may be all that throws the child onto the dashboard (or windshield) leading to an injury.

It has to be inculcated as a non-negotiable habit. The child should not feel that crying or requesting would help her get her way to front. It is a hard thing to do but please don't compromise with safety of your child even at her own protests.

It has been over 16 months since Tweety was born, and never has she sat in the front seat. Always an adult member of family sits with her in the back seat. In order to keep her engaged we have kept in the seat back pocket a few of here light and sound toys. She still gestures sometimes to come in front, but refusing to ensure her safety is more important.

Please ensure you follow this advice as nothing is more important than your child's safety.

Useful Apps for Nursery Rhymes

Nothing captures a baby's attention like a shining screen of a mobile phone. Generally our first instinct is to take the phone away from the baby, however with current number of applications being created specifically for kids in all prominent ecosystems (iOS, Android and Windows Phone) mobiles (or tabs) can act as a tool to engage your baby.

Rhymes are one thing every child is able to relate to easily. There are mainly three types of apps for rhymes:
  • Apps with only audio
  • Apps which have videos streamed from Internet
  • Third and rare type is where we have videos as a part of the app which can be run in offline mode too. 
I have used Android and Windows Phone devices thus jotting down the FREE apps I have used and found helpful.

Desi Ghee - The Best Diaper Rash Cream

Diaper rash is a worry of every parent with a baby. A diaper rash affects the skin which comes in contact with the diaper and may lead to intense pain to the child. One way to cure a diaper rash is to apply a layer of a cream of ointment which acts as a separator between baby's skin and wet diaper. However a cream is made of chemicals after all and may affect adversely if used too much.

We are using Desi Ghee (an Indian form of Clarified Butter) in place of any cream and results have been wonderful. We never had a problem of a rash in last 1 year. It is highly cost effective as well, with one ounce lasting you over a week.

Just keep some Ghee in a small microwaveable box, heat it and use it to spread over diaper area during every change. It does not smell bad and does a great job of preventing rashes. Even if you don't have a microwave, you can keep it in a small metal bowl and heat over stove. During summers it would remain in liquid form.

It not only prevents a rash but Desi Ghee is a great cure for an existing rash as well. Try using this and you don't need to worry about any side effects as it is after all a natural product made from only milk fat, used like butter in Indian food

If you are reading this in some western country and don't know what Desi Ghee is, just head to the nearest Indian grocery store and you will find it.

A Little Push for your Baby's First Steps

When Tweety stood up on her own 3 months back, we felt that she would start walking any day now. But whenever it came to moving forward, she would invariably sit down and crawl. We tried holding her hands and making her walk but she never took the step herself. Although she had started moving while holding on to the side of the bed but that was lateral movement.

Few weeks back going around a toy shop (actually a toy library... more on that later) we found an interesting type of walker we were not aware of. It's a push walker, where a child holds on to a handle in standing position and can pushes it to get a hang of walking forward.

Tweety took to it immediately and was happily moving around the house. Then after a week of it's usage she took her first shaky steps :)

I feel a push walker certainly helps a baby realize the possibility of being able to walk straight ahead and thus giving her a feel of walking before she takes her first independent steps.

However, as soon as your baby starts to walk, the walker will lose relevance so it may be a better choice to get it on rent, if possible. If you would like to try a home grown solution for it then, let your baby hold on to a plastic chair and pull from the other end. Slowly baby will herself start pushing the chair.

ELC Push Walker
The walker comes in varieties as cheap as Rs. 400 to as high as Rs. 4000/- for brands like Chicco, ELC. Please remember the walker should have a way to increase friction in the wheels so that baby does not fall by a fast moving walker.

The branded walkers also have lots of bells and whistles attached to keep the baby engaged, however go for a walker where these attachments can be removed, so that baby does not get distracted.

We got the ELC walker on rent and it had a removable ring with lots of buttons, sounds and lights which kept tweety well engaged.

So if your baby is on the verge of walking, then a push walker (or a plastic chair solution ;) ) may just be the push your baby is waiting for.

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