I am at home. Its summer time in Delhi. But the weather outside is hotter than the hot. I have a special liking towards such weather. what !!! Or maybe I am lying to myself. I like all of it more because my son is at school and I am in my torpid state. I have just another two hours to plan my day. If I don’t do it I will lose it to the situations of the day.
Let’s talk about planning and how it’s important esp. in child rearing. If an unplanned person like me is emphasizing about it then it’s worth a try. I learned harder way about a day planning with a child and my life became slightly contended. This planning in advance will save mothers from the unending meal time, touch and go play time and the wraths of a super hungry tired child.
Planning the meals
This single work can have a positive impact on us mothers. As by providing the right tasteful food can save us from the guilt of feeding unhealthy options. And the whole thought of preparing another meal in a very less quantity is daunting. Over two years of struggling with it I have worked on my ways to cut short a meal preparation time.
Keep aside a handful of cut and chopped vegetables before the meals are prepared for the family. If this work is done by a cook in any household, it should be informed to him as a standing instruction so as a child never misses out on any veggies. These cut veggies can always be used in making instant porridge (Daaliya, Khicadi), Upma, sandwich filling etc. and for a vegetable like a brinjal which is universally disliked by kids can also have a way inside a child’s tummy. It can be mixed with mashed potato and rolled into an Aloo paratha. Brinjal if slightly roasted will enhance the taste. It is a difficult vegetable for a kid to eat but is very nutrient like all others so should be tried harder for.
Alert! These cut vegetables should always be used for a day, no storing and refrigerating.
Prepare as many meal elements as possible in advance. Roast and store Ragi flour, semolina flour or any other flour used for making gruel (don’t do it for fragile grains like rice and gram flour). If the main ingredient is so handy then boiling water and adding sweetness will be done in no time. Roasted grains should be stored in a refrigerator. I always have a handful of Ragi, Semolina and oats( steel cut not instant) ready with me. it helps me in dishing out porridge, gruel, pancake or Upma.
Children don’t need sugar till a long time or can remain this way to have a healthy adult life. But what piques interest in food? Variety. Then why let a kid not enjoy it. A hot piping halwa without sweetness will be straightaway rejected.
One can make a date and Jaggery syrup at home or buy one from the market (read the label, lot of brands replace the term sugar with the more scientific and unrecognizable names). I prefer making one in winter, as the supply of Jaggery is fresher and easily available.
1 bowl – Jaggery (powered or pieces)
1 bowl – pitted dates
Boil Jaggery first and strain the mixture after cooling to remove the impurities. Again put the syrup on a boil, add dates, bring it to boil. Adjust the consistency with water, as everything is going to thicken soon. As per wish add cinnamon powder or black salt. Stir it on a low flame for half an hour. Use a ladle to crush the dates and strain the cool mixture and its ready. This can last for 15-20 days and should not be kept longer than this. With no preservatives it cannot survive the moisture in the air and Jaggery will start becoming bitter.
I almost add this mixture to everything, as a topping on a paratha, with curd, alongside roti etc.
This particular planning becomes more important at around one and a half year of age. By the time child is one we are aware of lot things and have accumulated enough material for kid’s development. Stacking toys, colour building blocks, touch and feel books and lot more. Also by now, we are aware of The Montessori way of bringing up a child.
Making a time table helps us recognise activity building and controls repetitions.
Below is an example of what I have made for my personal use. It can be changed as per materials at home and suitability.
All this can sound exhausting to us mothers. Sleep deprived and half fed minds can’t bring themselves to start making charts so my take here is if you make it for once and put it on a refrigerator. Chart will humbly remind you every day for the missed activity. Try it for once and it will change the playtime for good. Like having a song and dance session is exhilarating for both.
If you see there is an expression book in social emotional learning – to explain it further, it’s a book made of your baby’s close up pictures of his various emotions, happy, sad, funny, laughing, crying, angry, joyous laughter. Child can go through this and become aware of various emotions and taking control of them. I didn’t make this as for me right time is now. Will share the pics once is ready.
Planning sleep time
Often a cranky kid cries and then out of tiredness dozes off. We have to make sure that a child doesn’t miss on a meal for the day. He should be fed well before it’s a nap time. A filled tummy rests for long. Also if we don’t plan about various food groups we are essentially not doing it right. Like it’s said to have fruits in the day. I believe it to be totally true. May be science doesn’t prove it right but our grandmothers knew it right. Little exception of the fruits like seasonal mangoes, litchi, berries, melons are there but more risky ones like banana, guava and citrus family to be strictly avoided post lunchtime.
So we have to plan when we can feed fruits to kids, before a nap time or after (risky for few fruit groups and for colder weather)
I understand that before until two years of age its child led sleep time. But this is also a time when we can sow the seeds of a sleep pattern. If we want to binge watch a new series without interruption then plan it. A nap time by early noon will lead to an early good night time. This will foster many other benefits. One such as a lazy mother like me getting into a routine.
A school going child will have this pattern ready and he/she will not go through a bouts of anxiety once the school starts.
Planning play time
This is by the far the trickiest planning. Kids as we know get bored easily. No toys and no activities can keep them hooked for hours. Not their fault too, theirs is a short attention span and our is short patience, temperament span. How we make peace with both is the deal. To arrive at a common consensus is to have a plan for it. There it goes-
Mommies, please don’t give yourself away to motherhood. Having a special tea or extended bath routines will have a positive impact and further, it helps improvise our relationship with the child.
Decide on one good thing you want to do today. And start working towards it. Positivity will start rolling and body will be filled with new energy to get going with the play time.
Mommies, please keep the massage routines steady till a least two years .back pain, knee pain can be slightly taken care of with it.
Playing with a child is a like a high-intensity workout, you do one activity and jump on to another soon. Kids are small beings and get tired easily. Start with all jumping and running around in the beginning and then after tiring a kid out sit down with toys or books or any calmer activity.
When going out to park or walks around the house, make sure you keep talking to the kid and keep them engaged with the environment. Else small beings get overpowered with the surrounding and some kids totally shun the idea of seeing any new thing. It’s not a waste of time to have some meaningful one-sided conversations with the little human.
Disclaimer – Above ideas are coming from a mother. Totally workable and helpful for mothers.