Browse Category by natural parenting
babies, baby, education, Montessori, natural parenting, pampers, parenting, parents

How to select a playschool or Pre-school- Quick Guide For Parents


Why would you write a post on selecting a school, someone asked me. Well that someone has kids who are my age and that someone doesn’t know the challenges that we face. 

 

Being an army kid, my parents had to move cities every 2-3 years, which meant changing schools that often. Was it difficult? Well no, it was rather like a cake walk, easier for them than for me. Fewer schools, even fewer boards and our safest bet was a KV(Kendriya Vidyalaya) or an Army School. Things have changed drastically and choosing a school is as crucial and as confusing as making a career choice. 

 

Before move further, let us first know what exactly a play school is? A playschool as you may have guessed, is an informal set-up where a child learns through play. Pre-school is a term often interchangeably used with playschool. However, preschool is from 3 years to 5 years before a child starts his formal education at 6 years of age. A play school can start as early as 1.5years of age. 

 

Parents are flustered just by the thought of leaving their tiny baby in a play school or Pre-school, all by herself. They are confronted by many fears.  Here are a few things that you may look at before finalising a play school or a Pre-school for your child.

 

  Continue Reading

eco-friendly, education, engagement, Lifestyle and health, natural parenting, parenting

Eco friendly Return Gift ideas

What is a birthday party without party favours or return gifts? Kids look forward to bday parties for 2 reasons; 1. The Cake 2. Return Gifts
Last year we celebrated our son’s birthday the eco friendly way.  It was pretty doable, from décor to return gifts, all was either wood, paper or cloth.
You can check out the post here.  I am always on a look out for sustainable gifting options and hence this post on eco-friendly return gift ideas. Some of which I have personally tried and tested!

1. Piggy bank- A ceramic or wooden piggy bank. Piggy banks or Gullaks as we would call it have been one of my priced possessions all through my childhood and teenage years and that is what precisely I chose as party favours for my son’s first birthday party. The Gullak (piggybank) was a wooden house shaped box with lock and key. I sourced these from Sarahanpur in Uttar Pradesh known for artisans making brass and wooden artefacts and furniture. The gift was super-hit, everybody loved it.

2. A sapling or a plant with a pot- for Little A’s second birthday. I had a mix of return gifts. For kid’s above 3, I chose plants like ajwain, mint, tulsi etc and gave a pot separately, with a message ” plant me, water me and watch me grow”.  The plant was given separately so that kids can engage in potting exercise and take ownership, learn to nurture, watch it and relate to the lifecycle of plants and what is required for them to grow.

3. Wooden puzzles/toys- Unlike plastic toys, wooden toys last longer and look better.
There are few Indian brands selling wooden toys puzzles etc.  I have written a dedicated post on why we prefer wooden toys, you can check it here .

Also my personal favourites are Chanapatna toys. Chanapatna toys are wooden toys made in the town of Chanapatna near Bangalore. Channapatna is also known as GOMBEGALA OORU ( toy-town) of Karnataka. The toys are handcrafted and have a unique appeal to them, these can be used as art pieces or just as toys to play with.

Chanapatna kitchen set

For kids under 3 years I chose to give wooden puzzles/puzzle books and regular books. I bought puzzles from “little fingers at work” they have great variety of educational toys that are also reasonably priced. You can find more about them at their website. 

4. Small Terrariums or a Terrarium “make and take ” activity. – Terranium is a sealable glass container having soil and plants, the container can be opened for regular maintenance. These look wonderful, though slightly expensive these  can make a perfect return gift. Check this post to know about different varieties of terrarium and how they aren’t so difficult to make. Bigger Terrarium can make a good b’day/ house warming gifting option too.

image credits- whatagreenlife.com 

5. Craft kits- Craft kits are always a hit with moms and kids alike. You could gift a quilling set, DIY craft set for making paper bags/envelopes or just a kit with variety of craft supplies for open ended work. We absolutely adored the craft kit that we recently got in a party.

6. Terracotta clay with steel moulds or cutters- I love how clay can take any form, terracotta clay is natural as it is sourced from the riverbeds and prepared to produce various articles. It can be baked for strength or just used as it is. You can now buy terracotta clay at Amazon too.

The cutters can be bought at snapdeal or amazon. I found these at a throw away price for a set of 20 cutters. (click here )
You could alternatively buy cookie cutters and give 2 each to a kid along with some (250/500gms) clay and paint.

Here is a picture of me with my amateurish work at handbuilding pottery, I find working with clay therapeutic, you can tell that from the smile on my face in the this picture.

7. Books to choose from- You could keep 2-3 sets of different books and have the kids choose one from them.

8. Cloth hand puppets or dolls – hand puppets and cloth dolls look really cute and can be used as props for story narration and for pretend play. Not only the kids will love it, your mommy friends will love it too.

9. Plush toys – keep a counter/table with a placard saying “adopt a friend” and have 2-3 varieties of plush/soft toys, the kids can choose one and take it home as a return gift. The fibres used for a soft toy may not be natural, however it is better than giving plastic toys/tiffins/boxes that would soon break

10. Gardening kit- The real learning happens outdoors and there is nothing better than growing your own garden. Sowing the seeds of greener practices early on in life will have a positive impact on little ones. A gardening kit makes a great gift for young kids aged above 3. 

 A gardening kit for kids may include Rake, shovel etc, include a pack of seeds too to complete it.
These were 10 eco friendly gifts that I could think of, if you have anything in mind please do share here in comments.

The purpose of your gift will fail if you choose to give it in a plastic bag, try to use eco-friendly packaging for your return gifts. We have been using home made newspaper bags and for heavier gifts repurposed clothbags ( made from my old kurtas and pyjamas). I am going to do a dedicated post on packaging gifts the eco-friendly way!!

 

 

Continue Reading

back to basics, cloth diapers, eco-friendly, natural parenting, new mothers, prepping, stripping, sustainability, washing the cloth diapers

Prepping, Washing, Storing and Stripping the Cloth Diapers

You have landed on this page, probably because you are keen on starting to cloth diaper your baby or you are already doing it and want to know, how others deal with cloth diapers’ nitty-gritties.
We begin with prepping the diapers.
Your fluff mail has arrived and you can’t wait to see the little bums dressed bright and beautiful; but  heyy, hold on; you’ve got to wait! It is important to prepare the diapers for use, mainly for two reasons:
a.       Hygiene: Just like you wash any other piece of cloth before putting it on to your baby’s sensitive skin, these diapers too need to be pre-washed.

b.       Absorbency: The natural fibres (cotton and hemp) have residual oil that restricts the absorbency, hence you need multiple washes before you can use them
Now, the question is how do you prep the diapers? Mostly you will find the prepping and washing instructions mentioned on the packaging that the diapers come in.
However, the simplest way to prep is giving a wash in detergent and then run a few (2-3) more wash cycles in regular (without detergent) water. This will get rid of the residual oils and any detergent from your first wash. The synthetic fibres like polyester and microfibres can be just washed with detergent and given a second run in regular detergent-free cycle.
Washing the diapers
The solids are to be knocked off before putting the diapers for wash. For pocket diapers, what I follow is just knock off the solids, good if it falls off easily, if it doesn’t then I gently take the insert out and use hand-faucet to get rid of the remaining sticky poop. This helps in avoiding the inserts from staining. Once the solids are taken off, I just wash the diaper with regular water and put it in the diaper pail.
Initially, I hand washed all the baby clothes, but I have found machine wash better than hand washing. I use regular detergent (Tide/surf excel/Ariel) and they seem to do pretty good job for me. You could also give a try to the eco-friendly detergents that are available in the market. Conditioners and fabric softeners are a big No-No for CDs, as they tend to leave a non-absorbent coat on the fabric, which may affect the absorbency of the diaper.
After machine/hand wash it is always better to sun-dry the diapers, the ultra-violets rays from the sun helps killing the bacteria. Sun drying also helps in lightening the stains; you know how a piece of colourful cloth or plastic lightens in colour once left in the sun for too long? Similarly, the CD stains too get light or vanish post sun-drying.
 Folding and keeping the diapers
For some time initially, I would just keep the inserts and diapers separately; but I realised that stuffing the cover/pocket diapers and then storing saves much time and is extremely convenient during diaper changing sessions.
How I fold the diapers:-
Step one: Stuff the diaper with the insert

Step Two: Lay the diaper flat, wrong side up

Step Three: Fold the front part towards inside, and keep rolling until it becomes compact like the picture below (in step 4).

Step Four: Button it up tight.

I stack my stash in a drawer Konmari style.

Stripping the Cloth Diapers

If you have just started Cloth diapering, then you need not have to worry about stripping for many months to come, until your diapers start stinking awfully bad like ammonia. The diapers start stinking mostly because of the detergent build-up or if they aren’t being cleaned properly. Initially I was handwashing our diapers and in few months, they started smelling bad; I had to strip them and now I have switched to washing machine completely.
Stripping is mainly getting rid of the detergent build up. Please read the warranty (if any) of your diapers, because sometimes the warranty may get void if you strip the diaper.
How I stripped our diapers; well, I soaked them (clean diapers) in hot water for more than 30 minutes (we don’t have any hot water connection to our washing machine) and then ran 2 wash cycles (without detergent). I found bubbles in the water, which is an indication of detergent build up. I then line-dried them, n they haven’t smelled that bad again.
Sometimes you may have to add bleach if simple hot water stripping doesn’t work. Adding ½ cup of bleach to the first wash cycle and then run 2-3 wash cycles and an extra rinse cycle will help you get rid of any bleach residue.
To avoid diapers from smelling bad it is advisable to rinse right after use and store them in an airy container or pail. Wash them thoroughly and use warm water cycles and an extra rinse cycle. Washing them everyday or alternate day helps tremendously.

Other things that have been great aids in my CDing journey so far are:-
1. A Diaper Pail









2. Eco-friendly CD liners









3. Wet Bag









That’s it from me.

This was my experience of cleaning/storing/washing and stripping the diapers. If you have more to add, please share it here with me.

Happy Diapering!