Early Years: Early Foundation! A Strong foundation!
|   May 11, 2016
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Early Years: Early Foundation! A Strong foundation!

Becoming a mother was like a dream come true. Conceiving after 4yrs of marriage seemed like a blessing. I always thank god for giving me this opportunity to become a mother. I had promised myself, god and my baby that I will always take good care of her. She would be my top priority. And the day came when I was handed my little bundle of joy!

My family feels that I am a very fussy mother. But I would say that’s the wrong word. Describe it as cautious, protective, caring and well-read mother. During pregnancy, I had read and researched a lot on parenting & child care. I still monitor the growth milestones of my toddler.

The concept which excited me was that the ‘foundation of a child takes place between the age 2-6 years’. So our role is not only limited to giving birth but extended in giving a strong base to our children for their future life.

Early years of toddlers are very crucial and require complete involvement of mothers in giving the right nutrition to kids. This is where 90% of brain development is completed since children in this age group do a lot of physical and mental activities. Some are smart, active and few super-active. The growth in children in this age is very rapid. One can hear parents saying, ‘kitni jaldi bache bade ho jate hain’. So true! Can’t believe my daughter has become a 2 year old toddler. I still can feel the tiny infant in my arms.

A lot of development milestones get covered between age 2-6yrs, which not only helps them to become independent toddlers but lays a strong foundation for their self-determining & successful future.  Few are:

1.       Language skills: Children develop & explore their vocabulary.

2.       Gross motor skills: They become physically active like running, climbing, jumping, cycling, etc.

3.       Fine motor skills: They can recognize objects & differentiate between colors. They learn to write, draw, paint, make crafts, etc.

4.       Social skills: A lot of emotions are expressed. They learn to share & corporate with others.

5.       They want to do everything on their own. Like taking bath, eating and imagine even wearing clothes.

6.       Optimal physical & cognitive skills development takes place. Why, what, when, how?, are some of the many questions we face daily.

7.       Since they now play with other children, go to school & interact with people, are more prone to infections.  So it’s important to take extra care for building their immunity.

These are all age specific and every child’s development is different. Some achieve it earlier some late. It’s like you can’t even take a blink. Once these years are gone, they are never going to come back. Their growing body and increasing activity needs special nutrition. First time moms are usually bombarded with various suggestions on feeding their toddlers and we always try to cook the best healthy recipes for our kids.

I always gave special attention to my toddler’s feeding needs. When she turned two, we started with her play school and she is quite regular in playing outdoors & indoor play activities. Time had come to give her additional nutrition apart from her regular diet. We all know when it comes to play, children just don’t want to eat and don’t even get any hunger pangs.  They become very fussy eaters.  Every mother battles it out, when it comes to making toddlers eat.  Though I try to cook the best gourmet for her, she will have only what pleases her. Also, many children do not have milk at this age. And it becomes a need of the hour if their intake of food is less.  It is important for children between 2-6 years age to have a minimum of 200ml of milk daily. For picky eaters it is an important need to look out for a supplement which adds nutrition and taste to milk.

It’s not only important for kids to have healthy food, but also consume healthy drinks. So how can we ensure that our children get the right set of nutrients required in this growing age?

Market is full of health drinks .What they need is ‘A right start for the right growth’.  And any regular drink won’t meet our toddler’s nutritional requirements.

Some of these additional nutritional requirements & their benefits are:

DHA: It is a major building block of the brain which is found in high levels in brain & eyes. It is an important polyunsaturated omega-3fatty acid. To support children’s brain development and function, an additional daily intake of DHA should be included in a balanced diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids: These are healthy fats that the body needs to function.

Choline: To humans, choline is an essential as its role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects, fatty liver disease, and other pathologies has been documented (1).

Proteins: It is the best source of energy & building blocks of the body. It is also responsible for growth and repair of the body.

Calcium: It is essential for building strong & healthy bones and sustaining a normal development of the body.

Other vitamins & minerals: These are vital for building strong immune system, metabolism & energy production.

As a mother I am assured my daughter gets a daily dosage of all of the above apart from her regular home food, since she has a glass of milk mixed with my selected brand of Health drink! Her first health drink and a brand name which is the most trusted choice & it has a special place in my family.

We as a parent can assure that the gap between their nutrition and overall development is filled.One should remember that health drinks are not supplements for food. They provide additional nutrition to children which are required for building a strong foundation right from early years.

It makes me content & smile every day on looking at my 2 year old toddler finish her daily intake of milk. At least as a mother I am relieved that she is getting the right set of nutrients for her development.

What are you doing for your child's right growth, would love to hear!

References-(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choline

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