Lite Blogs Parenting

‘Our brand is inclusive in every sense of the word’

Ed-a-Mamma prioritizes state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques that ensure comfort and care…says Alia Bhatt

Alia Bhatt’s brand Ed-a-Mamma brings it one step closer to creating an ‘Ed-a-Mamma’ world by introducing its latest infant clothing. Encouraging children and their mothers to prioritise the environment, Bhatt who is the investor and founder, feels the environment has always been a top priority for her and that one owes a healthy planet to our children. The actress speaks about how the brand is getting closer to its objective of changing the world one garment at a time.

What motivated you to launch an infants’ wear collection? Why wasn’t it launched earlier, when the brand was first established?

The brand was launched with a vision to create an all-encompassing Ed-a-Mamma universe with earth-friendly products for all age groups. Our first offering is Ed-a-Mamma clothing, which we launched in the middle of the pandemic. Our strategy was to launch in April 2020, but then the lockdown was announced and the earliest we could launch was in October. Despite having the wrong merchandise launch in the wrong season, the product was really appreciated by parents. And it was this encouraging response – towards our product and its positioning – that helped us know we were on the right track.

Maternity was born out of a personal need – I struggled to find good maternity wear in India and realised a gap in my wardrobe reflected a gap in the market. After the immense love garnered by Ed-a-Mamma for its first-ever maternity and nursing collection, infant wear felt like the natural next step. Again, the decision to launch this collection was a deeply personal one.

Alia Bhatt talks about the world of Ed-a-Mamma.(photo:IANSLIFE)

As young mothers, we want to give our children the best of everything. And so, on my quest to find the best possible clothes for my baby, we embarked on the journey to create this infant wear line, which I am so happy to share with you. The idea is to build and reinforce the same narrative across the child’s journey – and there’s no better time to start than when they’re young and plant the seeds for a better planet.

What distinguishes the company’s newborn line from other brands?

Our brand is inclusive in every sense of the word. We walk the talk by using fabrics that are natural and fully biodegradable. All garments are pre-washed and tested to ensure they are pH safe for babies. Ed-a-Mamma prioritizes state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques that ensure comfort and care. The brand only uses AZO-free dyes that are safe for kids in addition to buttons and trims that are plastic and nickel free.

What about the fabrics used to make the outfit? What were the difficulties you encountered?

The Girls and Boys infant-wear ranges are 100 per cent cotton and the Unisex range is a premium line where 100 per cent GOTS-certified organic cotton is used and the graphic treatment & garment details are minimal. Sourcing the right fabrics has never been a challenge but maintaining premium quality at these affordable price points is tough.

Tell us a little more about the three themes: Jungle Joy, Cute-a-saunas, and Woodland Wonders.

Our first infant wear collection is inspired by nature. Jungle joy is an outdoor adventure, exploring all things nature. Cute-a-Sauras is all about dinosaurs, with playful, happy prints. Woodland Wonders is a personal favourite and features adorable animal graphics.

What are your thoughts on the offline space? Do you want to expand across India?

While the brand is currently available across 22 Lifestyle outlets, pan India and we’ve launched at Azorte as well. But, hopefully, we’ll be able to launch our exclusive stores later this year – a place where the kids and their parents can truly experience the world of Ed-a-Mamma. Yes, and after doing well in India, the brand is set to expand the business beyond India starting from the Middle East, where we will be available in the next 6 months.

Ed-a-mamma forays into Nature Inspired Infants’ Wear

Anything that you’ve learned or been inspired by while creating the line?

I get involved in design and communication – to ensure we’re truly maintaining the brand narrative across categories. Both maternity wear and baby wear are deeply personal for me.

The former was born out of a gap in my personal wardrobe. We then realised there was a need for comfortable yet functional nursing wear – this was something that our consumers highlighted. This is why a couple of months later, we launched a line of nursing wear.

As a young mother, I always want what’s best and safe for my baby, which is how our infant wear line came about. And just like our other products, this line is good for your baby and our planet. The environment has always been a big area of concern for me and as a mum, I am even more mindful that we owe our children a healthy planet.

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Lifestyle Lite Blogs Parenting

Have you heard of Social-emotional learning?

Importantly, the imparting of communication skills as part of the exercise, both verbal and non-verbal, help the student express himself clearly and thereby connect with others better…reports Aarul Malviya

Education goes far beyond helping students in acquiring cognitive and intellectual abilities. The usual verbal and numerical skills, physical and motor competencies along with general and spatial reasoning that students pick up in a school-learning environment are not quite enough.

In an increasingly multi-lingual and multicultural classroom where learners come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, conventional academic learning must be complemented with social-emotional learning for students. Otherwise, their education remains incomplete and they remain under-prepared, if not unprepared, to take on the challenges of the real world in the future.

After all, students when they grow to be adults eventually have to function in a social context. This becomes particularly relevant in light of today’s constantly and fast-changing learning, career, and economic landscape galvanised by the advent of new-age information as well as educational technologies. The so-called VUCA[1] world awaits them!

Underpinned by the idea of emotional intelligence, advancement on the rather outmoded intelligence quotient, social-emotional learning envisages gaining a wide array of social skills, beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviour that a student can successfully apply in the real world where they also necessarily have to engage with other individuals. Typically, social-emotional learning trains a student in five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills.

Why social-emotional learning must form a part of the school curriculum?

Makes a complete, self-sufficient, and socially-sensitive individual: Social-emotional learning transforms an intellectually and academically competent student into a socially responsible as well as self-sufficient individual. The social and interpersonal skills not only help him navigate everyday personal and professional challenges better but also inculcate in his empathy and compassion for others.

Importantly, the imparting of communication skills as part of the exercise, both verbal and non-verbal, help the student express himself clearly and thereby connect with others better. Eventually, the student develops autonomy and a sense of self-dependence in everyday affairs and is all set to grow into a complete, self-assured, and socially-responsible individual.

Helps students understand the diverse and complex socio-cultural milieu: For a student to succeed in any pursuits of his liking, he must fully grasp and appreciate that people around him – whether at school, the neighbourhood where he stays, or the workplace where he might work later – come from diverse socio-economic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. He must also understand that the frontiers of learning actually extend to the family and the wider community. This is very significant given the collective social and community settings that a student has to operate in the real world. As a result, the spirit of teamwork, an essential ingredient in any successful enterprise, becomes one of the critical learning outcomes of an exercise in social-emotional learning.

Equips students with age-appropriate strategies for conflict resolution: One of the integral components of a social-emotional learning curriculum is that it trains and prepares students for all kinds of adverse situations. Through real-life stories and examples, they are exposed to the idea that life can throw up the most unexpected challenges at the most critical junctures.

And as such, not only are they taught the value of keeping their spirits up and maintaining calm and composure in a challenging situation, but they are also equipped with practical strategies to tackle any situation. With social-emotional learning case studies and examples, they are trained in conducting assessments of an open-ended, conflicting, and subjective situation and taking objective problem-solving decisions eventually.

Sharpens students’ ability to make realistic self-analysis and evaluation: A lesson in social-emotional learning also makes a student understand himself and who he really is, at both philosophical and practical plains. In understanding his emotions and thoughts and how they influence his behaviour, he recognises his true strengths and weaknesses. As a result, he can prioritise well and maintain a sense of balance in his overall approach to life, career, and other pursuits.

Learning gaps in children post-pandemic. (Photo Source:IANSLIFE)

Inspires students to follow a moral or ethical compass: Training in social-emotional learning also makes students more evolved in a moral sense. They learn to make a distinction between what is right and wrong drawn on accepted wisdom, beliefs, and practices. While they learn to follow established social rules, norms, and even laws, their understanding and judgment are derived from logic and reason. They also learn to choose the right role models for themselves and not get swayed by the so-called razzle-dazzle.

In sum, social-emotional learning helps students not only better ‘actualise’ or self-realise themselves, it also teaches them to live their lives with a higher social purpose. [1] Acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

ALSO READ-‘Wellness is the key to holistic health’

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The magic of parenting and character formation

Those who are reared by such parents are prone to depression and anxiety. They tend to be overly anxious or needy in relationships. Aggressive outbursts are also common in this cohort…writes Neha Jain

Parenting has evolved unimaginably over the last decade, and it can be a rollercoaster ride, no doubt. The way that parents raised their children 10-15 years ago is drastically different from how parents raise their kids now. Unfortunately, modern parents are reeling under the pressure of being perfect. But here’s the thing: there’s no such thing as an ideal parent. For those new to parenting, the pressure can be overwhelming and confusing. While the methods deployed by their parents are most likely to be considered outdated, new systems may seem perplexing and challenging to imbibe.

As a result, there is much debate around parenting styles. Parenting styles refer to the techniques and methods parents employ to care for and discipline their children. These approaches are crucial as they may have a lasting impact on the child’s psyche and the kind of relationships that they form later in their lives.

The parent-child relationship: Laying the foundation

The relationship with parents is the foundation on which all other relations are built. Almost all major schools of thought in psychology highlight the importance of this early bond and its contribution to crafting the “self of the child.” For instance, the object relations school postulates that we internalise our parental bonds, and we carry them with us as “internal objects” for the rest of our lives. So a strict and harsh parent may be internalised as a unitive voice that tells the child or adult that s/he is not good enough and give rise to anxiety and depression. This adult may forever live in fear of abandonment from the partner or may leave the relationship before this imagined abandonment occurs.

Given the importance of these attachments, this article discusses the various parenting styles and their impact on children in the Indian context.

Authoritarian parenting style

This refers to a parenting style characterised by a high regard for rules to the point of unquestioned adherence. Such parents have high expectations of compliance and little room for divergences from directions. They provide a rigid structure without any explanations or considerations of the child’s preferences. Children raised in such families are dependent, critical of their choices, anxious, and tend to display aggressive behaviour.

Authoritative Parenting style

Although it sounds similar to the authoritarian parenting style, it’s not. Parents displaying an authoritative type of parenting try to strike a balance between order and nurturance. They have rules in place, but these rules are flexible. The child’s voice is factored in, and the importance and reasons for these rules are explained. Affection is not frowned upon, and the children are appreciated for who they are. This includes setting realistic standards, communicating effectively with the child, and empathising with her/him. Children who come from these families are more confident and responsible, as opposed to those that come from families practising other styles of parenting.

Permissive parenting style

Such parents are high on warmth and low on order. They tend to be indulgent and fail to provide the required structure to their children. There are no specified rules, and parents act more like friends. Although such a parenting style may seem beneficial, this judgement might be superficial. Children need guidance and regulations to help provide a sense of stability. Children raised in such an environment tend to have problems with adjustment and low self-esteem. They may also be anxious because of the ‘psychic creation of a punitive parent’.

Uninvolved Parenting style

These parents are low on both order and warmth. They usually neither set rules nor show any interest in the lives of their children. More often than not, these are people who are suffering from a mental disorder or substance abuse disorder. Communication is often absent in these households, and the children are forced to assume the parental role of caring for their parents. Those who are reared by such parents are prone to depression and anxiety. They tend to be overly anxious or needy in relationships. Aggressive outbursts are also common in this cohort.

Ideal parenting style

The task of picking an ideal parenting style is challenging. Experts indicate that different situations warrant the use of different parenting styles. However, uninvolved parenting can be seen as the worst and lead to serious mental health concerns in children. A healthy combination of the other three parenting styles may be ideal for raising a responsible well-rounded adult.

In conclusion, one can say that parenting styles play an important role in determining the mental health of a person. However, this relationship is not the only factor. Many people who grew up in abusive homes turned out to be accountable and emotionally attuned adults. As a parent, it is also essential to remember that there exist no certified standards of perfect parenting. An involved parent, who aspires to fulfil the emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioural needs of the child while providing a stable and secure environment, can be regarded as a good parent.

ALSO READ-Effective parenting Vs child’s academic life

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Joy of Diwali with kids

Step into the kitchen with your children and share the joy of cooking with them. Sit and mould ladoos in perfect and not-so-perfect ways but create memories in the process…writes Mansi Zaveri

This is the season of celebration and there’s joy, light and happiness everywhere around us. As we look to take a break from school and work to spend time to indulge in the festivities, the idea is to have a good time, together, with family and friends while devouring our favourite treats and reminiscing our childhood memories!

Celebrate the Diwali break with your kids in a way that is relaxing, engaging, entertaining and safe. Go ahead and bookmark these points.

Choose Comfort Over Style

Yes, Diwali is all about those designer lehengas, sherwanis, sarees and dhotis. Go ahead, pamper yourself and the family and opt for a sustainable designer wear brand and get the photo-ops done and out of the way. But after it is done, choose clothing that is comfortable. Especially when bursting fire crackers say yes to comfort and safety and no to over flowy dresses.

Join Hands With Your Li’l Masterchef

Step into the kitchen with your children and share the joy of cooking with them. Sit and mould ladoos in perfect and not-so-perfect ways but create memories in the process!

Bond Over Rangoli

Another safe and fun way to engage kids is to bond over colours- another beautiful custom we have in Indian culture. There’s some serious focus and dedication kids learn when they design colourful Rangoli or the simpler alternative- Kolam in South India. Hand them over a pack of colours, and some Rangoli stencils and give them a dedicated space. If they are too young, a corner of their room would do. For the older ones, trust them with the space near the entrance of your house. They will feel happy! P.S- remember not to deck them with the prettiest or newest clothes when doing Rangoli!

Book Your Time For Movie Nights

After a tiring schedule of celebration, parties and endless selfies, wind the day with the best activity with your kids. Bookmark a list of the best family-friendly movies you can watch with the kids on OTT. There’s nothing better than cosy cuddles with your kids and a bowl of makhanas or popcorn- try it!

Create Best From Waste

From discarded pista or groundnut shells to old leaves and flowers to pencil sharpenings, there is just so much we can do to decorate the house and the child’s room, to proudly display our attempts! Try it, it is a lot of fun!!

Answer Their Whys

Kids need answers. All the time. Every time. When they see you making those laddoos, or the Laxmi Pooja or lighting so many lamps- they are going to be asking you all the questions about why we do what we do. Why not answer it in a language they understand? Tune into kids podcasts or watch exclusive kids videos on YouTube with a puppet show on Ramayan to answer their questions. Read books on Diwali, listen to podcasts on stories that answer the whys and hows. Search for the I Am Not Bored podcast that answers all of your child’s questions and addresses that curiosity.

ALSO READ-Trump, Harris to celebrate Diwali

Lite Blogs Parenting

Children unsafe in cyberspace?

The GCF 2022 Edition is returning under the theme ‘Rethinking the Global Cyber Order’, and runs between 9-10 November in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia…reports Asian Lite News

A new global report from The Global Cybersecurity Forum (GCF), has found that 72% of children around the world have experienced at least one type of cyber threat online.

The ‘Why Children Are Unsafe in Cyberspace’ report, developed in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, focuses on raising awareness on the critical issues facing the protection of children in Cyberspace, at a time when over 90% of children aged eight and above are active on the internet.

The report surveyed over 40,000 parents and children, across 24 countries in six regions, with results overwhelmingly showing that protection of today’s youth in cyberspace is falling short, impacting children globally and requiring urgent collective action.

Those surveyed revealed that unwanted ads, inappropriate images and content, and bullying and harassment are the main threats experienced.  Globally, children are most active digitally at home or at school however, the report found that only half of children feel safe online, with one in five children expressing that they have faced bullying or harassment. Of the regions surveyed, Latin America and the Middle East reported the highest number of threats experienced by children.

83% of children claimed they would alert their parents for help if they felt threatened online however, of the parents surveyed, only 39% noted that their child or children had ever expressed concerns to them. This raises the question of how children can be protected when parents are not always aware of the dangers they face. ‘’Educating parents on these issues is crucial. Survey results clearly indicated that parents do not monitor the online activities of their children closely enough, nor do they report incidents to authorities often enough’’, report noted.

The report calls on all stakeholders including parents, educators, tech companies and law enforcement agencies to join forces to ensure that robust solutions can be found to meet the threat to children online.’’ Some countries have adapted education programs and curricula to cover digital skills and competencies. But even these programs fail to provide tangible training in, and solutions to, online risks— what they are, where they exist, how to react to them, and how to avoid them. Moreover, education systems are not working with parents to keep them informed and up to date on the latest threats’’, report says.

Ms. Alaa AlFaadhel, Initiatives & Partnerships Lead at the GCF commented on the report: “With 72% of children facing cyber threats, we believe the protection of children is crucial in a rapidly developing Cyberspace. The solution to the pervasive threats that children face is to raise awareness of the issues and ensure united action, from educators to the private sector, can be put in motion. We all bare a responsibility to create a safe place to learn and connect in Cyberspace as it becomes more entrenched in everything we do.”

David Panhans, a BCG Managing Director and Partner commented on the report: “With almost all 12-year-olds now online and virtual learning on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping children safe in Cyberspace is an urgent problem that requires an immediate solution. Everyone involved in the online and child protection ecosystem has a role to play, from international organizations, regulators and law enforcement agencies, parents, caregivers, and education providers to technology companies in the private sector.”

UAE hand in selecting 400 UK mobile phone numbers for spying (File Pic)

The upcoming GCF will bring together key decision-makers and executives from around the globe to discuss the prominent issue of child protection in Cyberspace, amongst other key topics including disruption frontier and geopolitical considerations.

The GCF 2022 Edition is returning under the theme ‘Rethinking the Global Cyber Order’, and runs between 9-10 November in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

ALSO READ-Awareness is best defence against cyber crime

Dubai Parenting

Al Jalila offers awareness activities for kids’ life skills

These activities included three workshops that were presented at AJCCC, held on 19 July, 27 July and 9 August…reports Asian Lite News

As part of its efforts to educate children on basic life skills throughout its 2022 summer programme, Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children (AJCCC), an entity of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), offered awareness activities in cooperation with Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) as a means of spreading awareness among children of various emergencies and how to deal with them safely.

These activities included three workshops that were presented at AJCCC, held on 19 July, 27 July and 9 August. The workshops were attended by 118 children of different ages, who gained insight into the work of firefighters and rescuers as well as listened to fire safety instructions and learned the steps and measures to take regarding home fires, such as contacting DCD on 997 to report the fire and seek help in addition to identifying ways to get out of the fire, the priority of self-rescue, and how to reduce the fire’s spread.

The activities and events of AJCCC’s 2022 summer programme commenced on 4 July and will continue until 26 August, in cooperation with partners Iqraa Arabic Language Centre, ‘Project You,’ and the Centre for Musical Arts, introducing children and adolescents to a variety of cultural, artistic and recreational activities aimed at developing their creative talents and unleashing their imaginations within four age groups: 4-5, 6-8, 9-11 and 12-16. To register, please send an email to or call 055-1822510.

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Creative and fun activities for kids

Laugh-Out-Loud Fun for family And friends as players try to find It fast and find it first! The game features 9 game tiles filled with whimsical pictures that players race to find as directed by their mission cards…reports Asian Lite News

The rainy season has arrived, and children adore rain more than anyone else. We instantly smile when we see them enjoying the rain and splashing around in puddles. However, playing outside can result in kids getting wet, sick, and picking up infections.

Here are a few creative and fun activities and games for the little ones to keep them occupied during rainy days:

Skoodle Quest Quinto, Brain puzzle and strategy board game: The objective of this Board game is pretty simple “Line your Five Marbles in a row before your opponent does”. Not the traditional boring black and white marbles, Marbles in Quinto board game are given a colour twist with some funky colour combinations. Carry all Quinto marbles without any worry of losing them in a smart eco-friendly cloth bag provided in the box.

Funskool – Play & Learn Everyday Time Puzzle: Puzzle that is simply fun but also helps your kids learn. A fun little puzzle game with around 104 pieces to learn the time of the day! A game that not only entertains but also teaches well. Learn and play the little puzzle game.

Skoodle Dough Star: 6 colorful fun cans with squishy dough for endless fun and creativity. Make a flower, house, star, or tree with the free cutters, or explore your kid’s creative horizons with DIY shapes and animals. The modeling dough set is colouful with all non-toxic and mess-free formula not only to give peace of mind to the parents, but it is also easy to clean once your child is done playing.

Mattel Games- Fast Fun Tumblin’ Monkeys: Cute little monkeys tumbling and hanging around palm trees, what fun! A steady hand and a little luck go a long way in this kids’ game that’s easy to learn and fun to play. Create a stick web, take turns while playing just make sure the monkeys don’t fall away. Simple yet amusing game, to play anywhere at any time.

Hasbro Pictureka: Laugh-Out-Loud Fun for family And friends as players try to find It fast and find it first! The game features 9 game tiles filled with whimsical pictures that players race to find as directed by their mission cards. If they find the object they keep the mission card. The player with the most cards wins the game!

ALSO READ-Inflammatory diet may lead to depression

Lifestyle Lite Blogs Parenting

Kids with mobiles at risk

It is only when they develop mental/physical disorders, they are brought to the clinic…reports Asian Lite News

Psychiatrists have warned parents against their children’s mobile addiction, following the murder of a young mother by her teenaged son in Lucknow when she tried to stop him from playing PUBG.

According to experts at the special clinic to treat online addictions at the psychiatry department of King George’s Medical University (KGMU), several cases are reported every month in which kids are found to be turning violent because of such gaming addictions.

Adarsh Tripathi, assistant professor from the psychiatry department of KGMU, said that on a weekly basis, KGMU clinic receives about eight to ten cases where children are addicted to gaming.

It has been found that though they are addicted to an alarming level, these children do not consider their behaviour a problem. In fact, even their parents do not react to their behaviour.

It is only when they develop mental/physical disorders, they are brought to the clinic.

“The number of children addicted to gaming might even be more as the parents only visit when these children become very violent. If such children are counselled on time, such issues can be resolved easily,” he said.

The most worrisome fact about these games is that there is no end to it.

“If you clear one level, you are introduced to another challenge. This keeps the young people captivated round the clock, and they get socially alienated,” he said.

Further elaborating on battle games, Tripathi said that in most of these games, after a certain stage, you are given a rank like ‘Colonel’, ‘Brigadier’, ‘General’, which acts as a motivator.

The young mind begins to think that he is getting powerful in the real world also. This illusion of power creates a negative impact on the mind of a child.

“In such a state where they feel empowered, if they are not able to play for the lack of money or other reasons, they take other routes,” he added.

The parents need to watch if the child is getting aggressive when he is not allowed to watch a show or play an online game on mobile, laptop.

“If they refuse to eat, and get stubborn with their demands, consider the situation alarming,” he said.

Shockingly, the 16-year-old who killed his mother because she stopped him from playing games, is unrepentant. He admitted to killing her when confronted by his father and did not display any emotion.

Dr Devashish Shukla of Balrampur hospital said that addiction begins with seemingly harmless games and then the child goes on to play battle games where he gets commands.

“This stage is dangerous because he crosses over from the real world into the virtual world and parents must identify behavioural changes before it is too late,” he added.

Dr Pawan Kumar Gupta of KGMU said that during the pandemic, mobile addiction had increased to abnormal levels and parents did not differentiate between online studies and online gaming.

ALSO READ-Behavioural, learning-related, and sleep difficulties in kids

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Behavioural, learning-related, and sleep difficulties in kids

Children in remote schools showed significantly more signs of hyperactivity, peer problems and overall behaviour issues compared to those attending in-person school, the study suggests…reports Asian Lite News

According to a new study, elementary school-aged children enrolled in remote learning experienced greater behavioural, learning-related, and sleep difficulties compared with children receiving in-person instruction.

The findings of the study were published in the journal, ‘Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrics.

Researchers surveyed roughly 300 parents with children ages 5 to 10 – ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade – across the state between February and March 2021.

“In the early days of learning about how the virus spread and who was at risk, everyone made the best decisions they could with the information they had,” said lead author Kimberley Levitt, M.D., a developmental-behavioural paediatrician at the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Michigan Medicine researcher.

“We wanted to explore differences in parent and child well-being at a time when some school districts had returned to in-person school, while others remained remote or hybrid.”

An estimated more than 55 million students in the U.S. were impacted by a change in school formats during spring 2020 of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many in fully remote schools that school year.

The study authors said they focused on younger children who are still building foundational academic skills and require more adult support during instruction.

“We’re now seeing the manifestation of these disruptions in families’ lives and how different school formats affected our kids, not only academically but emotionally and socially,” Levitt said.

“Our findings reinforce challenges families faced during the pandemic and suggest children in virtual school had more behavioural issues at home, social challenges with peers and may have potentially been less motivated to learn.”

The new study is among few specifically examining how family well-being varied by school format.

Researchers compared several areas of health, including:

Behavior Problems

Children in remote schools showed significantly more signs of hyperactivity, peer problems and overall behaviour issues compared to those attending in-person school, the study suggests.

Among potential factors: Fast-changing demands and expectations as they navigated new school platforms and workloads. Adjusting to interactions with teachers and classes through screens. Being home for extended periods of time with fewer outlets to let off energy and less interaction with positive role models at school.

“COVID dramatically disrupted schedules,” Levitt said. “There’s a certain amount of comfort and safety in knowing what to expect and having routines to fall back on. In general, any sudden changes to routines can trigger stress and emotional dysregulation in kids.”

“We want to be mindful of changes in family support systems and how we can support those children and families moving forward.”

School Experiences

School was an overall more challenging experience for remote learners, researchers found.

Virtual school attendees were less likely to be academically motivated or socially engaged and more likely to show defiance and resistance in doing schoolwork.

“Remote learners appeared to be less excited about learning,” Levitt said. “We know that children’s enthusiasm and engagement in school helps predict how they cope with academic challenges throughout the year.”

Families in both hybrid school and remote formats also reported children having more difficulties with socially relevant learning. Parents of remote learners were less likely to report that the teacher knew their child well, the child knew their classmates well, was motivated to get ready for school in the morning, has enough opportunities to socialize, or has a best friend. “Some kids experienced a loss in the school setting beyond academics. At these ages, many children develop friendships or even get a new best friend, hallmark childhood experiences,” Levitt said.

“Children often build a sense of community, identity and independence from parents through classroom environments. But some children may have missed out on opportunities to further develop social skills through school interactions.”

Sleep Challenges

Sleep issues were also common among the remote learning population. Kids ages five to 10 who attended virtual school were falling asleep later and were more likely to co- sleep with parents than those attending classes in person.

Compared to before the pandemic, about a third of parents said their child took longer to fall asleep, about a seventh reported more overnight awakenings, and more than a fifth said their child had more nightmares.

Among potential explanations: Greater anxiety and stress, increased screen time and exposure to certain types of media exposure or possibly increased family conflicts.

“We can’t say for certain why these sleep disruptions are more prevalent among kids who attended remote school. There are several possible factors at play,” Levitt said.

“Providers should consider tailoring interventions for families who would benefit from a sleep hygiene reset. We know disrupted and poor sleep can affect all areas of health, including mood, behavior and both physical and developmental growth as well as academic performance.”

Potential Disparities

Researchers also looked at how school format-related challenges differed for families with material hardships and stressors during the pandemic, such as food or housing insecurity, and whether structural inequities may have led to a greater burden of stress for underrepresented minorities.

Nearly a third of families surveyed included families from underrepresented racial or ethnic minorities. Underrepresented minority children were more likely to attend a remote school format than non-Hispanic white children, lining up with other studies.

Surprisingly, associations between remote learning and behaviour difficulties were stronger for children without material hardships, researchers found.

“It’s possible that families with material hardships may have more emotional and behavioural challenges at baseline associated with chronic poverty and structural and social inequities,” Levitt said.

“Children with material hardships showed more behaviour challenges overall, but less associated with school format. Parents may not have detected a noticeable difference in the home setting during remote learning, but we need further studies to understand how to better support these families.”

Parent stress

Researchers didn’t find any differences in parent depression or stress based on children’s school format, but more than two-fifths of parents overall reported elevated depressive symptoms.

But parents in previous studies have reported worsening mental health and more negative mood following COVID-19-associated restrictions.

The authors note that providers may consider screening parents for mental health concerns and material hardships in order to identify those who could benefit from community mental health resources and social work assistance.

“Children being home more due to remote learning was among several factors that likely impacted parental stress,” said senior author Jenny Radesky M.D., a developmental-behavioural paediatrician at Mott and researcher at Michigan Medicine.

“Many parents in our sample reported material hardships, such as poverty, job loss, and food insecurity and reported more parent-child conflict. We heard this from families we treat at Michigan Medicine, but our survey showed that the experience was widespread throughout Michigan.

“This school year, we hoped that things would improve with consistent in-person learning and increased educational funding,” she added.

“However, some children are still struggling behaviorally, and unfortunately, we are hearing that schools are not able to staff positions that support social-emotional health. We hope these results reinforce how important it is for schools to receive the support they need, so kids can heal after two challenging years.” (ANI)

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Shaping today’s generation for an equal tomorrow

Gender equality means that there are no rules that are specific to men or women. They are things that you share equally. A woman is as valid in the workplace as a man is in a domestic scenario…Soha, Kunal interact with N. LOTHUNGBENI HUMTSOE

“One should avoid using gender to define a job, play, or any other activity. We’re all products of the social conditioning we’ve received as a result of our upbringing”, says actors Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu.

A one-day #WeSeeEqual Summit hosted by Procter & Gamble India brings together influencers from the government, corporate sector, media, and entertainment industries to discuss gender equality issues ranging from driving equality in education and economic opportunities to LGBTQ+ inclusion at work and shaping today’s generation for an equal tomorrow.

The summit demonstrated the brand’s ongoing commitment to making the world more equal and inclusive. The event brought together distinguished advocates and personalities to discuss the challenges that society faces in terms of equality and inclusion, as well as how different stakeholders can work together to accelerate progress.

Some of the key topics discussed throughout included actions needed today to shape the minds of future generations, the challenges and solutions to addressing equality in education and economic opportunities, and the importance of building an inclusive workplace.

Actors Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu, who were part of a key session for the day titled “Shaping Today’s Generation For An Equal Tomorrow,” revealed to exclusively how parents can shape the minds of young children today for an equal tomorrow.

A piece of parenting advice on “Shaping Today’s Generation For An Equal Tomorrow”.

Soha & Kunal: We joined the conversation about ‘Shaping Today’s Generation For An Equal Tomorrow’ at the #WeSeeEqual summit, organised by P&G India to drive meaningful change.

One parenting piece of advice on shaping today’s generation for an equal tomorrow is that we should raise our children as children and not based on their gender as a boy and a girl. We must avoid discrimination by saying that a boy can do this, and a girl can’t do this, This is a colour and not that this is a girl’s colour, this is a boy’s colour. These are the toys that boys play with and suggest different toys for girls. You should raise your children and allow them to do what they enjoy. This will help them in accepting themselves and not believing that they’re different.

Of course, physically and anatomically they will learn at school and if they have questions, answer them, as opposed to shying away from them or denying them as taboo topics. Evolution is anyways going to be responsible for a lot of change. We as parents can be a part of that change, especially by making sure we avoid defining any job or any play or any such thing on the basis of gender.

We need to practice what we preach, and we need to be careful around things because everything is based on social conditioning. We may not be perfect. We’re all products of the social conditioning that we’ve had in the way we’ve been brought up. If we do recognise certain things that we want to change, we have to make sure that we present them like a normal for tomorrow. So, our children grow up and are products of their right form of social conditioning.

To begin, what does gender equality mean to both of you?

Soha: Gender equality means that there are no rules that are specific to men or women. They are things that you share equally. A woman is as valid in the workplace as a man is in a domestic scenario. We’ve incorporated gender equality in our parenting style as well, by avoiding defining individual roles as per the criteria of gender norms. We share the parenting load equally and there are no tasks that are segregated by gender.

In fact, I try to do what I enjoy more like reading bedtime stories or taking Inaaya for Bootcamp classes and doing workouts together. And Kunal does what he enjoys more like cooking for her because they both are such foodies. We try to also ensure that when it comes to the way we behave around Inaaya to the way that we do our tasks, duties and our chores, she sees Kunal and me as equals, as equal partners, as both of us go to work and enjoy our work and at the same time we both enjoy parenting and the different things that it involves.

Do you think that including LGBTQ+ people in the workplace and other activities will help to end gender inequality? If not, what additional steps do you believe are required?

Kunal: To answer your question, including the LGBTQ+ people in the workplace, and similar such activities may not help in ending gender inequality because you have to make sure that you know organisations and individuals are not doing it out of the guilt factor, but it is definitely a step in that direction. What’s of utmost importance is for people to be open to accepting it.

Not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. People at large need to be accepting of the community and the moment it starts becoming normal is the moment we will be able to accurately navigate the steps to move in that direction. But yes, it is one of the steps, which is important in the process, as a whole, but it has to come from the right place.

It is no secret that there is a higher rate of prejudices in the field of female entrepreneurship. What advice would you give to women in the industry and those considering a career in it?

Kunal: There are gender-based prejudices in every field. I am aware of the fact that women face it a lot more. And hence I am of the opinion that anywhere you feel that you have been ill-treated or are facing inequality, it equates to injustice. The first step when you come across injustice is to raise your voice against it.

Personally, my advice would be if you ever see something that is wrong, or is unjust, you have to raise your voice or put up a stand against it. I think that what you need to do in any industry, any field is to not be scared, know what you’re capable of doing and do your best. When I say what you’re capable of, when you have the right to say something is wrong, you need to be clear-headed about it, to avoid any confusion, since with great power comes great responsibility.

Soha: Life is full of people judging you. And I’ve been boxed many times. It’s not fun to be stereotyped, because that means you’re consigned to living a life, that you may not want to live as a person that you really aren’t. That can happen at different stages in your life and certainly when you become parents.

The choice of becoming a mother late in my 30s was something that a lot of people felt was shocking, because of a lot of assumptions. And then of course, once you become a mother, they automatically perhaps feel that your work is going to take a backseat, or that it’s very difficult to be a good mother, a good professional, and to be equally committed to more than one thing, which is something that I’ve faced. And many women face it.

Soha, you’ve often talked about your parenting style. What actions do you take to instil kindness in Inaaya?

Soha: In terms of our parenting style, Kunal and I share the load equally and there are no tasks that are segregated by gender. In fact, I try to do what I enjoy more and Kunal does what he enjoys more. He has a keen sense of style and they both enjoy dressing up so they both choose her outfits for school together and try new hairstyles. One habit that we really wished to develop is for Inaaya to be around animals while behaving respectful to them and extending kindness to them and now she really loves them. It’s small habits like these.

The little things we do at home to instil the right habits in Inaaya. We also make sure that we take care about how we behave around Inaaya, things like watching our language and trying to use gender-neutral language. We must also encourage interactions by having play dates with girls and boys playing together. Inaaya’s friends come over, which includes both boys and girls and they play together in a healthy and kind manner.

It’s very satisfying to see a positive outcome of our own actions, and as we all know, children learn from the actions of their elders. What is it that Innaya picked up on subconsciously from your parenting style that blew your mind?

Kunal: We are bringing Inaaya up in a way that we feel will contribute to her becoming the best version of herself. This involves a lot of listening to her and understanding what it is that she wants, instead of constantly saying no to her requests. We give her a lot of choices that are healthy for her development, and she can choose from these options. We follow a form of child-led parenting.

Some things that are non-negotiable for me are things like bedtime because I do feel it’s important for her to go to bed at the right time so that she’s well-rested and wakes fresh the next day. This has become a habitual pattern which Inaaya has adapted to and adheres to going off to sleep at an appropriate time, daily. This ultimately benefits all of us. We’ve also habituated Inaaya to healthy foods from a young age and she enjoys indulging in a range of nutritious food options. From time to time, we also provide her with desserts and treats that are not always healthy. She understands that and likes to try new foods while enjoying a wide range of tastes when it comes to her palate.

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