Baby Monitor: Finding Affordable Peace of Mind

Watching a movie or even having a conversation with your spouse once kids are asleep is one of the few things parents live for (Apart from their kids ofcourse :p). Making sure that your kids are asleep and you can hear them in case they need you is a huge relief. Baby monitors come to the rescue here.

These are devices which usually have two instruments, one transmitter and other receiver. You can place the transmitter near your baby and take the receiver with you to another room/floor in the house. Baby monitor will ensure that you hear immediately if you kid makes noise.

There are lots of types and versions of baby monitors, audio, video, radio based, DECT based,wifi enabled, with camera etc. The main purpose of a baby monitor is to indicate to you when you need to go to your baby. Thus video baby monitors may be a bit too much information when sound or light indication would do perfectly fine.

Phillips AVENT SCD560
I was planning to buy Phillips AVENT SCD560/10 (close to 80 Eur - >9K INR - Amazon), however a friend lent me his Motorola MBP 8 (30 Eur - 3.6 K INR - Amazon) and I must say I am mighty impressed.
Motorola MBP-8

In case you live in an apartment and have all rooms on same floor, you don't need to spend anything more than what you may pay for MBP 8. It is DECT based audio monitor and thus there is no radio static or disturbances, only pure sound from your baby's room.

The downside is that it can only be plugged directly to wall electricity point. Still the connection is fast and clear. The sound may be a bit on the lower side however  the lights make up for it. Also I checked the range from my houses corner to corner and did not find any trouble hearing the sounds.

However based on the online reviews the performance of MBP8 degrades significantly when you try to place receiver and transmitter on different floors. In this scenario i would recommend going for AVENT SCD 560/70/80. It is a well tested and excellent performing audio baby monitor with an impressive range. It also give you certain additional features such as talkback and music.

So in case you were thinking of buying an expensive Baby Monitor for use in a single floor apartment/house, try the Motorola MBP 8. You will be surprised by the performance it affords at less than half the price of competing monitors.

Stickers mania - keeping your Toddler engaged

Children can be tough to engage in boring situations like taking a flight, waiting at an appointment or just doing work at home when you can't play actively. They need an activity that can hold their attention and in the interest of their eye sight, we can't just let children watch TV for as long as they please.

Reading story books can be one way, however this may get tiring for you after a certain time. Thus we needed another activity which is not noisy and is simple enough to be done in any setting.

We came across a family member who used sticker books to engage their child. These are books with lots of stickers and lots of places to put those stickers. And I must say the idea has worked brilliantly. Tweety has taken to stickers very well and has a hobby now to create cards for her friends using stickers on coloured paper.

The good part is that it is a very affordable hobby which is easier to clean up as well. 

We have got a animal sticker book which is the main source of engagement. Additionally we keep getting small packets of assorted stickers regularly and use them when the book seems boring. She has a free hand to paste stickers in her book, high chair and toy rack. 

Tweety's Sticker book and cards she has made

Some Assorted Sticker Sets

Please make sure to get good quality stickers with light pasting gum so that they can be removed easily if needed. 

Do share if you have any other simple and interesting activities to engage a child.

Baby Biker - Skipping the training wheels

Image from
Learning to balance on two wheels is an important milestone in a child's growth. As a parent we would love to see our little one enjoying the fun of riding a bike. But usually it is a steep learning curve for the child, full of falls, scares and refusals that a parent puts up with in the process.

As Tweety turned 2.5 we started searching for a way to make her learn bike. The smallest available bike is just about right for her size. However i did not want to go through training wheels as these are easy to use but very hard to get rid off. Training wheels give you a false sense of assurance that you will never fall and thus the child hardly is able to learn balancing. Once the training wheels are removed you are almost starting afresh with learning and go through a few falls. Having seen a few parents in our friend circle struggle with Training wheels, we wanted to start with something different.

Then one day, we saw a little kid sailing past us on a busy crossing on a bike with no pedals (With his parent walking besides off-course! :)). The kid was no older than 3 or 3.5. He was just moving the bike with his feet touching the ground at regular intervals but mostly he was gliding with both feet up. It was a wonderful way to start learning. So we searched about these pedal-less bikes for kids and were amazed to find it is actually a great alternative to training wheels. 

We found out that these feet bikes help a kid get the hang of using a handle, a brake and balancing on two wheels all the while having the safety of feet touching the ground. There is still a chance the child may fall but its is far less likely as compared to a pedal bike without training wheels. 

We have had the bike for less than a few weeks and we already see Tweety happily taking her feet up in the air for a few seconds in-between.

We have the bike from FirstBike for Tweety and it is quite a safe model for kids. It is a light weight bike with a frame designed specially to prevent injury to child in case of a fall. The handle bar has limited turning capability to ensure that child does not topple because the handle turned all the way. 

However this is an expensive option with new bikes starting at over 100 Euros (Rs 7000/-). Also in case you are unable to find a pedal less bike, You may get pedals removed from a normal bike as well. Please try to ensure that the handle movement can be restricted to at least half of full movement.

Brilrider Balance Bike Available on
These bikes are also called Balance Bikes and are available in India for around 3000/- to 4000/- online (Amazon). You may check in local cycle markets and it may be available for a lot cheaper.

Having read a lot of positive review from all over the world about the benefit of starting with a pedal-less bike, I am sure Tweety will be able to manage well when the time comes for pedalling.

Try it and let us know if this was helpful.

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.

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