Modern Parenting

Reena Singh, Founder & CEO, Khushi Pediatric Therapy Centre Khushi Pediatric Therapy Centre is a Multi-Speciality Clinic which provides a wide range of therapeutic expertise and emotional well-being sessions to children and their families with intervention approaches.

The human brain by far is one of the most fascinating and innovative technology in existence. It is a product of 500 million years of evolution. As the new structures developed, they relied on the lower structures to support them. The precise information and faster processing can happen only when the lower structures support the higher structures and all of them work like a team.However, the human brain is now facing extreme peril. Yes, there is an increasing incidence of kids who are being diagnosed with ADHD, Autism, Sensory processing difficulties, depression, eating disorders and sleep disorders. There are more and more kids who have difficulties with reading, writing and spelling. Most kids also have difficulty paying attention, sitting at one place and listen to what is being asked of them. There is increase in childhood obesity.

What is the reason for the same?
There is no single factor responsible for this rise, but genetic factors, environmental factors, our diet and our lifestyle play a role towards its contribution. As we eat food to nourish our body everyday, our brain also needs nourishment. And ‘sensations’ are food for the nervous system. They flow into the brain like streams flowing into a lake. Every single muscle, joint, organ, skin and sense organ sends inputs to the brain every single second. The brain needs a wide Variety of sensations to nourish and develop.

It is the movement in the space around it, which helps the brain to develop. These movement experiences help the child to build a base on which the child develops skills of reading, writing, speaking and even emotional regulation and self-esteem. So, anything that restricts movement steals away the time that the baby needs to develop. While car seats are essential for a child’s safety, the opportunities to move are confined when a baby is placed in it for long periods of time. Similarly, the rockers and
bouncing cradles are godsend to parents, but they too restrict movement. The same is the case with prams where babies are looking away from their parents instead of looking at them. Tummy time is the best gift that you can give to your baby and help them to develop their exploration.

And for kids between 2-7 years of age, if you really want to develop the lower structures of their brain, gift them with movement opportunities to climb, swing, trek, cycle, run, wrestle, dig, skip, jump, hop and so on. It is a wonderful investment to let the child develop connections with nature and mother earth and reap its benefits as he grows. This happens when a child spends time outside in nature playing. Play is the child’s work. So, it goes without saying that the worst and the sad sight to see is children and even babies staring at tablets, television screens, mobile screens and ipads.

"Play is the child’s work. So, it goes without saying that the worst and the sad sight to see is children and even babies staring at tablets, television screens, mobile screens and ipads"

Children do not need expensive toys. Empty cartons, kitchen pots, bottles spoons, pillows offer valuable opportunities for play. Do not think what the child will do with it. Let the child think and they will certainly do something with it. The games that have been played for centuries like hopscotch, hide & seek and many more are excellent for elder children. Bumps & bruises are all right if they experience mastery. Of course, it is important to give them the emotional support at such times, but it is also important to help them realize that body heals.

What is the Second Most Important Gift to Your Child?
It is the social engagement with parents and family. Children thrive when they are with people who love them. The connections they develop help them to grow the emotional resilience and the emotional regulation, which is so very vital to building their self-esteem and ego. There has been a technological revolution that happened since the 1970’s. With the telephone, then the computer, then the mobile phones, then the tablets, and then the internet and the wifi. Things have changed at a very fast pace. We need to become mindful about what have we gained and lost because of the change. We have been made to believe that our kids need cognitive stimulation at an early age by staring at the screens or making the kids join extra-curricular activities. Kids join school at a really early age.

We over schedule them and rob them of the movement opportunities, which actually help our kids brains to develop. Even though technology has changed, the developmental needs of the kids still remain the same. Our kids are not agendas and their development does not have deadlines. We work on them like projects instead of relishing the moments, we spend growing with them And when some of these kids grow-up to become teenagers, they are broken adults who have poor self-esteem, poor decision-making ability, poor mechanisms of coping with stress and poor self-regulation. It is very easy to build strong kids rather than to repair broken adults. Some adults that I worked with were broken beyond repair who are carrying loads of emotional baggages.

The Remedies
1. Provide opportunities for your children to be in nature and just play everyday.
2. Provide rich and nurturing social engagements with parents, caregivers, relatives and friends.
3. And above all be a great role model for your child.