Foundation Years of Child Development: What Parents Can Do to Ensure Our Kids #GrowRight

September 4, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Food & Nutrition,Health and Wellness,Toys, Books, Activities

Foundation Years of Child Development: What Parents Can Do to Ensure Our Kids #GrowRight

Raising a toddler is no child’s play! The first 5-6 years of a child’s life are fundamentally important and lay the foundation for the entire life. These are years of rapid physical and cognitive growth. Good nutrition, nurturing, encouragement to play and learn in the early years of life can help children grow to their full potential in the future as physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally sound and socially competent.

It is understandable then, given the significance of the early years, that toddler moms have concerns about the nutritional needs and overall development of our kids. A recent survey by Abbott revealed that a staggering 9 out of 10 Indian toddler moms have concerns about the growth of their child. 60% of moms believe nutritional intake and physical growth is a top concern, while more than 50% of moms expressed concerns over cognitive and social development.
With this in mind, Abbott has launched the #GrowRight initiative to support parents. The Grow Right guidelines are a comprehensive set of resources covering child nutrition and physical and cognitive development. The four cornerstones of are Right Nutrition, Right Play, Right Nurture and Right Impact.

Foundation Years of Child Development: What Parents Can Do to Ensure Our Kids #GrowRight
Foundation Years of Child Development: What Parents Can Do to Ensure Our Kids #GrowRight

I had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the guidelines last month and an enlightening discussion on toddler development. The panelists included experts in paediatrics, nutrition and behavioural science – Dr. Samir Dalwai, Dr. Dharini Krishnan and Dr. Mukesh Sanklecha as well as eminent personality and mom herself, Lara Bhupathi.

Launch of Pediasure India Grow Right Charter
Launch of Pediasure India Grow Right Charter


Sharing the biggest takeaways from the event for me:

1. Right Nutrition: 

Don’t encourage food biases:

After 1 year of age, the child should eat the same meal as the family. If the child does not like a new food right away, don’t give in and offer something else. Repeatedly exposing children to a food item increases their willingness to try it 

Also read: Introducing Solids – Part 1: How We Transitioned Baby to Family Food by 9 Months

Portion control:

Avoid force feeding and distraction feeding. You decide what the child eats, let the child decide how much to eat. Kids who listen to their own fullness cues are less likely to become overweight

Ideas to deal with fussy eaters:

Involve kids in the entire process of sourcing and cooking meals to generate their interest in the meal

Also read: How I Got My Kid Interested in Eating Healthy Food

Don’t overthink it:

Once children start going to school, the normal frequency of illness is 8-10 times a year. This is not a reflection on their nutrition or immunity

2. Right Play:

Know when to unplug:

Limit screen time. Lara Dutta gave on-point advice in terms of giving the
responsibility of limiting screen time to the children themselves

Growth happens offline:

These days we are constantly trying to keep kids engaged in classes and activities, but unstructured and outdoor play are especially important for a child’s physical and social development

Also read: 11 Simple Things I Did Everyday to Boost my Baby’s Cognitive Development

3. Right Nurture:

Practise what you preach:

Lead by example, follow healthy eating habits yourself

The power of “No”

Good parenting is not about saying “Yes” to everything your toddler demands, but about knowing when to say “No”

4. Right Impact:

Keep calm and parent on:

Your child’s growth is not your report card! Every child is different so refrain from comparing your child, for your own sanity and their’s too!

These are like stepping stones towards parenting the right way. Remember to keep calm and yet remain firm on your decision. When you believe and follow what you believe, wonders happen!

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