United parenting, the best way – tips and tricks

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Parenting in the same page is not an easy task for current generation parents as we all grew up with speaking our opinions out loud. But, when we see our parents back then, they are somewhat be in the same page when it comes to parenting us. At least my mum’s decision will be always correlate with dad’s decision without even they discussing with each other. Me in the other hand has to always discuss everything with my husband (generation change you know).

Parenting in united front is always a most discussed topic with no clear answers. There are a lot of questions around this topic like:

  • Is it healthy for kids when parents are in same page without expressing their opinion?
  • Will it make my kid grow opinion less?
  • Parents being in different page will bring any development issues?
  • Is is okay when one parent is involved in a kid? and the questions goes on.

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In my experience the smaller the child, the higher the unity of parents is important. It doesn’t mean parents should not have any dissimilarities, obviously every human have their own point of view. What I mean is healthy debates are always good which should be conducted calmly and respectfully in front of a kid. I would like to share my way of united parenting which helps my daughter in certain way. For some it might work and for some it may not. If you want to take it and give it a try then here you go:

Keep your child’s age in mind: As I said earlier, it depends on your child’s age. It is more important for parents to be in same age when your kid is in their early years i.e., below 6 years. This is because in this age they don’t really know to distinguish the world in black-and-white terms.  This will gradually disappears between the ages of six and 12. See to it that, it will make your child’s life lot easier if you work out your disagreements and keep them private.

Never pull your spouse down: Even for fun don’t use certain words like mommy is wrong or daddy is wrong to little kids. It will make them thing may be mommy is always right or daddy is always right. This will always give mixed messages to kids and not knowing what his/her parents expect can make things harder.

Find a common ground: When you and your spouse really have disagreements then find a chance to discuss the issue and try hard to find common ground and understand each other’s perspective on the issue. And keep in mind to talk it through outside zone of your child considering whatever age the child be.

Stop your ego and concentrate on your kid: When you both come to an agreement always keep in mind the starting place of your discussion (which is your child), which will help you and your partner stay on-message. Remember that your discussion is not about who wins the argument.

Involve your partner even in their absence: When your child asks for something and you are in the position to take your own decision or you both took the decision and only one parent has to speak about, then convey that “both dad and me think that it’s really important for you to do this or buy this.” But it doesn’t apply to older kids and also not with big decisions.

Be consistent: When you have an argument and whether it’s an agreement or disagreement, be consistent in it. Don’t change your decision after two days it will create confusion in your child. At times one cannot come to an agreement and even when you disagree, support your spouse’s  decision.

I hope these little tips helps your parenting and brings positivity in parenting. It’s not easy to be a pro in parenting. Parenting comes always through practice and it’s not always same. I always take advises and tips from different ends and end up with my own parenting, and I think it’s a best and effective way for parenting. According to me good parenting should always come from both ends and the involvement of both father and mother plays a key role.

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Must need household things for those who are new to Germany

When I came to Germany to start my life here, as an Indian few things were new for me and there were no proper guide, when it comes to household things. I couldn’t find any sites, forums or blogs related to it. As most of them live in rented apartments and it’s always necessary to keep the house clean and tidy to the core, because we can expect landlord visits and there are more chances for us being kicked out of the apartment, if your apartment is untidy.  I am not going to discuss about any cleaning products here. I am just gonna say about few affordable household things which will make your life easy in keeping your house clean. And I would say these things are pretty much considered as must haves in every German household.

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1. Stove Scraper (Herdschaber):

We Indians cook a lot and obviously it will lead to mess. The Glass stove tops become sticky with oil what we use. For me it was the best life saver and every time when I use, it makes my stove top brand new again. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove any excess crumbs or other mess. Next, add a liberal amount of the liquid cleaner and scrap it out.

2. Microfiber cloth (Mikrofasertuch):

It’s one of the best household thing for the whole house. It’s available in all stores. It can be used for cleaning stove tops, kitchen cupboards, sink, doors, television etc.. It can be used without cleaning products for a wide variety of cleaning tasks and it’s reusable. I will link my favorite and affordable brand.

3. Garbage bag stand (Müllsackständer):

This is very useful for places in Germany where waste separation is done. I use it especially for plastic waste (Plastikmüll). It’s cheap and works great for me.

4. Rubber Toilet and kitchen sink Plunger (Saugglocke pömpel):

 

This is a must have household thing when you enter Germany as we cannot afford for plumber here. This plunger is good for sinks both in bathrooms and kitchens but can also be used in bathtubs.

5. Stainless steel sink strainer (Küche Spüle Sieb Stecker):

 

This strainer is very for every Indian household as we tend to more solid debris. This strainer is highly recommended to filter out the solid debris in the water system. There are plastic and rubber strainers are also available.

6. House shoes (Hausschuhe):

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House shoes are more common German thing here and it’s really a must have in winter. It not only keep your feet warm but also protects your carpet from getting dirty.

7. Duster (Staubmagnet):

This is my favorite and handy cleaning thing. The duster is pushed onto the handle and holds it quite well. My daughter loves to clean with it. I especially like to use it to clean my keyboard and the electrical appliances as it can easily reach even the small gaps and dust well.

I just randomly covered few basic household things which is very useful when you move in to Germany. Will upload more in future. I hope it will help someone who is planning to move or newcomer to Germany.

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How parental insecurity affects the child and things to avoid it

Every human have some kind of insecurities and  it’s quite normal to have such feelings of self-doubt sometimes. Few carry those insecurities in some part of their life, whereas few live with those insecurities for their whole life. But in one stage of life these insecurities which you have will really start affecting the other person, it’s nothing but a parenting stage.  Yes, its starts affecting your kids very early in their life.

As a kid I always grown with some kind of social fear and always needed someone to push me forward (even now sometimes :)). So, before having my child I decided that, I should not show my insecurities to her and wanted her to grow independent and self deprived. But, once I had my daughter, I realized having the thought alone doesn’t gonna work because, even as a small kid she picked my fears whenever I stumble in something. Kids are highly intellectual when comes to picking even small nuisances from their parents, say it good or bad. These behaviors that children can easily learn through observation. Sometimes I stress how this behavior came to her, without even realizing that I am the person showing her how to behave like that, through my actions. We are the examples for our kids in each and everything.  I write this blog for myself as a greater recall down the line about the things I want to follow as a parent to avoid such insecurities affecting my kid. I hope this post helps parents like me.

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Calm and balanced parenting really works:

Kids are prone to questions. When our kids ask something, even a silly, no sense question, be sure that you don’t panic or get mad. The best way of hiding your insecurities is staying calm and balanced, and make sure to have a good interaction with your child, which will make your child to develop the same behavior you showed them. If you find difficultly in staying calm and balanced, you can always seek a medical help or through yoga or meditation.

Don’t take your social insecurities to your kid:

Nowadays everyone is facing some kind of social pressure, which is unavoidable but being insecure about certain things and taking those to your kids is not okay. For instance comparing your kid with other kid and constantly telling this to your kid will lead to worse. Your kid will start believing that others are better than him and that he is incapable of performing well or living to the expectations of the parents. This feeling will damage his/her self-worth and self-esteem.

Listening your kids:

Have a conversation with your kid and let your child tell you what he/she needs from you. You are indirectly teaching your kids to listen to others by you listening to them. Never underestimate their feelings. Always be their support system and make sure you don’t pass on your insecurities to them. Trust your kids which will make them to trust the world.

Don’t ever show your emotional imbalance to them:

Being relaxed  in every situation is not easy but being over reacting to certain situations like your child’s illness, injury etc., will definitely pass on your insecurities to them. Convey them that you are with them in whatever they do, thus you are teaching them to be independent and also safe and secure.

Use your experience to help your children:

In your entire life you’ve likely developed a toolbox of coping strategies for your insecurities. If you think your child have genetically inherited certain insecurities like yours then you can pass along to your children some strategies you’ve learned and developed.  In my case I always have the fear of unknown, so I always make sure I learn as much as I can about a new situation before I make that first leap. Now, I use that for my daughter in few instances.

As I always say parenting is not easy, when you decide to grow a strong minded and healthy child. This can be done only as a parent you override your fears and stand confident in front of them.

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3 Best English-German toddler bilingual books that works great for my kid

As I already told in my last blog, which is 5 Best books that helps my kid to learn German in daily basis, now I am going to reveal my 3 best English-German books which helps my daughter to learn both languages simultaneously.  If you are considering introducing these two language to your child at the same time then this blog is going to benefit you and your kid. For everybody trying to raise a bilingual/multilingual child, whatever your background and reason, it’s very important to realize that acquiring a language requires massive exposure to that language. This can be attained by parents talk as much as possible to their young children, to read a lot to them and sing to them.

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1. Englisch spielend leicht (mit CD): Ein Bildwörterbuch:

This book really work very good for my daughter. This is ideal for above 2 years old kids. It has small phrases which is actually easy for kids to catch up words quickly without getting bored. It covers all the basic phrases and words in day-to-day life. At every end  of the page, a small box with easy grammar explanations (see the picture below) are given which is probably useful for mommies like me out there. The exciting part is the CD with this book, which is really good and my little one loves to hear in the car ride.  It costs around 7.99€.

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2. The Toddler’s Handbook: Bilingual (English / German) (Englisch / Deutsch) Numbers, Colors, Shapes, Sizes, ABC Animals, Opposites, and Sounds, with over 100 Words that every Kid should Know:

This is one of the favorite books for many parents. It is little bit on the pricey side, costs around 15.00€. But the quality of the book is ideal for little kids. This book can be used in early months and babies get very excited about the colorful pictures. I couldn’t find good  and quality books like this a lot.

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3. Mein allerschönstes Wörterbuch (Kinderbücher):

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This is one of my favorite books and it’s a oldest book of all and many native Germans recommend this book. This book is on the pricey side, costs around 24.00€, but it’s worth the buy. I got this book from a second-hand shop for 10€. If you guys could buy it or just lend this from a friend or buy in second hand shop like me, then that would be great, because it really works for my child. I highly recommend for kids above 2 or probably 3 years old, as the book is a paper book. It’s designed for both genders, you can see the pic below.

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I hope this helps for mommies to choose the right book for their kids. Stay tuned for more English and German story books for little kids.

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3 Best Freizeitparks for kids under 10 in Germany in my experience

 

As summer is near, we all can’t wait to plan for family trips with our children. We all love to explore beauty of Europe by visiting places and enjoy the idyllic landscapes, unspoilt nature, dense forests, rustic pastures and majestic mountains, whereas our kids definitely need some real fun by letting out their energy which they saved throughout  the winter. One of the best way to entertain them is by taking them to amusement parks. Something which I love in Germany is, there are theme parks which is made also considering little kids. We are family who love theme parks and if you are one like us then definitely this blog is gonna help you. We have explored quite a few theme parks in Germany and the following three Freizeitparks will always pop into my mind as we enjoyed there to the core.

1. Phantasialand, Cologne

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Phantasialand in Winter is quite different with more winter attraction

Visiting Phantasialand with your little kids is the best option for your family in this Summer. Phantasialand is conveniently located between Cologne and Bonn. From Brühl train station, Phantasialand shuttle buses are available  for  3.00€ per person to and fro. The ticket prices for children and Adults can be found in the link. Children under 4 years old with ID proof can go for free. The exciting thing is that everyone gets in for free with the proof on their birthdays.

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The park is divided into various themes (Asia, Mexico, Africa). There are eatery joints inside and they are okay, so need not worry to take food with you. They maintain the park really tidy which attracted me for sure. The Black Mamba roller-coaster is best ride for roller-coaster lovers. We really had so much fun and I highly recommend it for Kids. The park opens this year by 1st of April.

2. Conny Land, Bodensee

If you are planning for Bodensee trip, then do include Conny Land into your list. This park is the fabulous place for children with great variety of rides, activities, nice animal shows and water play. Most of the rides were suitable for below 10 years old. The fact that it’s not too big is also a plus as you can take it easy and still go on all the rides in a day with no big queues unlike other theme parks. There are water rides really good for small kids, better take a swim suit with you. It has parrot and sea-lion shows which my little one enjoyed a lot. The entrance ticket is 29€, which is highly reasonable. Seniors and kids under 3 can go free. Children up to 14 years old on the day of the birthday upon presentation of a valid ID can go for free. For young kids it really a mini paradise. Food was really good in the food court. The park opens this year by 3rd of April.

3. Steinwasen Park, Freiburg

Best way to visit this park is by having the black forest red card, by which you can visit this theme park for free. This is one of the best attractions for kids when you plan for black forest trip. It’s not a big of an amusement park but definitely worth to go with kids and  the atmosphere in the middle of the woods is quiet attractive. It’s not only you enjoying rides but also you get some wonderful fresh forest air. Children under 10 will really have a great time. There’s a small zoo as well there. The interactive wild park is also a best attraction here.  There were lots of rides inside and out as well as a water splash, a luge bobsled type run, a sommerrodelbahn (mountain coaster) etc.  I highly recommend for a family outing. The entry ticket if you doesn’t have red card is 23 euros. Kids below 4 years old can go free. Children under 12 years old on their birthdays can go free.

This is really a small gist about these Freizeitparks which we love, as I covered all the three in one place I couldn’t give detailed description. But, I hope this will give an idea for you and your family to plan for best trips in coming summer.

Tschüss, Biss dann!!!!

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5 Best books that helps my kid to learn German in daily basis

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Raising a bilingual or multilingual kid needs a lot of commitment for every parent. If you decided to raise a child bilingual or multilingual (with the new language like German) there’s no harm in immersing them in the world of German from day one. When I had my daughter I decided to raise her multilingual from day one and the best way to expose her to languages is by books. I slowly started searching for books in German which should be simple and understandable with lots of pictures which should not only attracts my kid but also me. As I too learn with her.

The research shows that babies can distinguish between languages from the age of just seven months, use qualities like pitch and duration of sounds to keep two languages separate. German language can be exposed in different forms like nursery rhymes, books, lullabies, cartoons and television shows. I am not a native speaker and cannot speak very good Deutsch so, I decided to expose my kid to these forms and still working on it.

Take a look at some of my and my kid’s favorite books that I read and still reading to my daughter:

1. Wie heißt denn das?

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This is the first ever book I bought for my daughter. She started her German language with this book. It’s a small book and ideal from the age of 6 months. It’s a board book and I would say it’s worth a buy. I think it will last forever. Still mine look brand new.

2. Mien erstes Bild Wörterbuch

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This is one of my favorite books and it has about 500 words with pictures. The best part of the book is the quality of the book for a such a low price (4.99€ ) and the colorful pictures in it. It is ideal for 2-year-old kids. The attractive part of the book is that it has a small story in the beginning (like the pic below) and then lead to words so it’s very interesting for kids to read the words which connects to the story.

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3. Mein großes Bilder-Lexikon

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This book is ideal for 2 to 4 years old kids. On each double page a theme is presented, with many details and it is very helpful for us moms and dads who doesn’t speak German. Everything is labeled,  so while reading one will never gets into the embarrassment of not knowing what e.g., is an ein Bagger or ein Radlader. I therefore recommend this book to all who have small children. It is a great gift for boys and girls. It costs around 8.97€.

4. Soundbuch In der Wildnis: 10 Tierstimmen

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We bought this for our daughter on her 2nd birthday. This sound book is very high quality book,  that is, it consists of thick cardboard and the sound bar on the side really good and will lasts forever. Batteries are included and so it can go straight after unpacking. This book is little bit on the pricey side (14.99€) but it’s worth a buy I could say.

5. Ein Tag bei uns 

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This book is about little Theo’s daily routine from getting up, playing in kindergarten and going to bed. This book is really good for linguistic development and can be used from early months. The quality of the book is very good and the pictures are very colorful. It’s not expensive too (3.90€).

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It has great picture quality

I hope this blog is helpful for parents like me who try to grow their kids bilingual or multilingual. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog on best German story books for kids and bilingual books (English and German) for kids.

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Getting through sudden weaning from breastfeeding. My experience and tips

To start with my experience I was very satisfied mom in breastfeeding until my daughter was 1 year and 3 months old. Real struggle started after that. My daughter’s nutritional attachment has become more of emotional attachment and she started asking for milk all the time, which made me frustrated and exhausted.

I was all alone in Germany without family support and husband worked full-time and he could support only in evenings so, no distraction for her to stop asking for milk. I somehow slowly started reducing my breastfeeding sessions in daytime. I gone through all the articles related to weaning and everything seemed to be simple and experience of others weaning their kids seemed to be natural and easy. I know everyone’s experience is different, for some it’s easy and some it’s a struggle.

In my case, the struggle was real once I tried to reduce feeding in night-time. It was terrible when she started feeding more in night-time than before which lead me sleep deprivation. I couldn’t bear and as I didn’t have family support here, I decided to fly to India and finally stopped my breastfeeding cold turkey with the help of my mom and sister. I didn’t feel emotionally bad or depressed but more relieved and happy mama. It took only one week and she was all okay and happy. When I asked her whether she wants some milk and she just said no mommy and went, which surprised me!!!

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Take a look at some tips from my experience:

Wear a support bra. My first and foremost suggestions for moms who decided to wean is to choose a bra which supports your breast and not too tight. If you choose to wear tight bra thinking it will stop your milk production like me, then will definitely lead to clogged breast. Being bra less once you have engorged breast is also not a good idea.

Relieve engorged breast. Remove a little milk when you feel your breast are too much engorged. Too much pumping or hand expression of milk will make your body to continue producing even more milk.

Use only cold compress. I made a huge mistake by using hot packs on my breast which gave a short time relaxation but lead to more pain. Thankfully I didn’t use for longer. Later when I consulted doctor, he told hot packs will lead to severe damage in ducts. Cold cabbage leaves and ice packs relieve the inflammation and pain of swollen engorged breasts. It will even help to reduce the milk production. The product that I mentioned below is a life saver for me. These pads can be used both warm and cold and the cooling method helped a lot to ease the pain.

Plan to stay home for few days. Your breasts are definitely going to leak and the discomfort from the swollen breasts will make you highly uncomfortable so, just plan to stay home for few days.

Ibuprofen, Tylenol or Advil for help. There are some chances of getting fever so, keep meds in case. For me more than fever I suffered a lot from neck and shoulder pain due to my breasts engorgement.

Seek family or friends support. Seeking family help is the best thing happened to me. Your toddler will be totally distracted instead of clinging to you and crying. And most importantly, support with the house work will reduce the burden from your shoulders.

Reduce the physical touch. It doesn’t mean you have to avoid your child. Having too much cuddling time will lead to your child asking for milk. So, do some activities like coloring or puzzle instead of hugging and kissing.

Don’t skip eating. I was so scared to eat as I thought it’s going to make me produce more milk and ended up being hungry and frustrated along with the breasts pain. So, don’t starve. Better to avoid non vegetarian foods.

I weaned my daughter when she was around 2 years old, she was a toddler so, it is easier for me (technically my family) to distract and family support made me less stressful. Weaning from breastfeeding is not same for everyone especially with small babies. Going cold turkey will affect them as well as you from emotional depression so, consult your pediatrician before weaning.

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