Teach Children Self Reliance – Six Step Guide

kg 6

How many of us, as parents, ignore the fact that our children are capable of making sensible decisions? Most often we underestimate our children and their ability to take on responsibility. We cannot treat them like babies forever! So here’s a 6-step guide on how to teach children self reliance and is a must in early child development:

Step 1: Show respect

Even as early as 2 years of age your kids will pick up nuances from your tone of voice and the words you use while addressing them. If you converse with them as if they are adults, 99% of the time they will understand everything you’ve said and will follow your advice. Treat them like equals and with respect, and the response you will get will be surprisingly mature.

Step 2: Identify self-help tasks

What are the daily tasks you can let your small children do on their own? Make a list of things they can do independently, for example brushing teeth, making the bed, bathing, wearing ones clothes, wearing socks and tying shoe laces, carrying their own satchels, etc. Emphasize that these tasks are their own responsibility.

Step 3: Assign responsibilities

Even when children are 3-4 years of age, it makes sense to assign some tasks for them. They feel a sense of belonging and will take on the tasks willingly. It could be anything simple like sorting the laundry, watering the plants, setting the table, keeping toys back in the allotted place or any activity that will teach the child to help around the house.

But don’t try to teach too many tasks at the same time or they might feel diffident. Introduce one new responsibility per week or a fortnight and demonstrate easier ways of doing things.

Step 4: Keep reasonable standards

Don’t expect your children to learn a something new perfectly in the first shot. Give the kids time to use their own imagination so that they can find faster and better ways of doing things. They may make mistakes initially but they will learn to correct them on their own.

Step 5: Encourage independent thought

If your kids do things differently let them. Encourage them to think before they do something so that they learn to understand the consequences of their actions when they are still very young. On the other hand, you have to

Step 6: Listen, listen and listen

The more we listen, the more we will truly understand our children. Giving your children time and listening to them talk will give you a clear glimpse into their thought processes, likes and dislikes, prejudices, biases, talents that you can encourage, problem areas, etc. Listening will help to bridge the gap between your ideas and those of your children. It will also give you the opportunity to teach them to be independent.

Children learn a lot more by setting an example than by mere instruction. In early childhood you have the perfect opportunity to mould your children’s thoughts in the right direction. Spend more time with them and involve them in most of the household activities. And most importantly discuss issues with them as if they are adults. That’s the easiest way to teach children self reliance.


Gadbad Chicken Curry


Cooking something in a hurry can be stressful. But Gadbad Chicken Curry is easy and gets done in 30-45 minutes. I didn’t refer to any online/book recipe but just put in whatever I felt like at that moment. Everyone at home loved this easy chicken curry…

Chicken 1 kg (cut into curry size pieces)

Ingredients for the marinade:

2 green chillies
Handful of coriander leaves (kothmir/hara dhania)
1″ size ginger
6-8 pods of garlic (lasun)
2 tsp red chilli powder or to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste (approx 2 tsp)

Ingredients for curry

Whole spices:
1 star anise (chakra phool)
1 mace (javitri)
2 cloves (laung)
1/2″ size cinnamon (dalchini)
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder (jaiphal)
2 tsp coriander seeds (dhania)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

Other ingredients:
4 medium sized onions
2 medium sized tomatoes
2 tbsp grated coconut


Grind the ingredients of the marinade into a paste, apply on the washed chicken pieces and keep aside for 15 minutes.
In a deep non stick pan, in oil or ghee (clarified butter) saute the whole spices till they turn slightly brown.
Add chopped onions and saute till they turn little darker than golden brown.
Add chopped tomatoes and saute till dry.
Remove and keep aside.
In the same pan dry-fry grated coconut scrapings till light brown in colour. Please do not fry too much.
Grind the onion mixture and fried coconut scrapings with a little water till it is a fine paste. Keep aside.
In the same pan put the marinated chicken, ground masala, cover and cook till done.
It’s as easy as that but turns out delicious.

This curry has a number of spices, yet gives a mild aroma so that you are licking your fingers till the end.

Any suggestions/variations are most welcome. Do share your ideas in the comments below. I would love to try out new dishes. Eat yummy and enjoy life…

Oats Finger Millet Pancakes


After reading my post “HEALTHIEST CEREAL – FINGER MILLET (RAGI)” you must have seen how finger millet is a highly nutritious cereal. Here’s the truth – when I combined it with oats, it turned out to be a super delicious meal too, so I am sharing the recipe for oats finger millet pancakes…

Makes 4 pancakes

Ingredients you need

4 tbsp millet flour
4 tbsp oats (ground into powder)
1 egg white
A pinch of salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp Milk
Water to make a batter.

Method to prepare the pancakes

In a bowl mix together millet flour, ground oats, salt and sugar.
Beat egg white for a minute and add to the powders.
Mix well.
Add enough milk to make a pancake batter. The batter should be of pouring consistency, neither too thick nor too runny.
On a non stick pan spread some butter.
Add a ladle of batter to make pancake-size circle.
Fry for a minute.
Flip and fry for another 1 minute.
Serve hot with honey, chutney or pickle.

Note 1: You can add finely chopped steamed vegetables of your choice, mushrooms, leftover chicken, etc as a variation. In which case there is no need to add sugar.

Note 2: Finger millet, also called red millet, ragi or nachni, is the most nutritious cereal. It prevents distressing health issues like acne, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and many more. Being a gluten free cereal and combined with the goodness of oats, these pancakes are jam packed with nutritive value. Also, you won’t get hunger pangs too soon when you have millet because it has a low glycemic response.

Sabudana (Sago) Khichdi – with a twist

Uncooked mixture

Sago (sabudana) is a very popular snack item, especially in the Western regions of India. It is usually soaked for some hours and used to make delicious snacks along with potato and roasted groundnuts. This particular version has a twist – we used sweet corn kernels instead of groundnuts. Khichdi is avoided by those who are allergic to nuts but this recipe can be eaten by anyone.


  • Sabudana: 1 katori
  • Corn kernels: 1 katori
  • Salt: to taste (3/4 teaspoon, not heaped)
  • Sugar: to taste (2 teaspoons)
  • Lemon juice: 1 teaspoon
  • Chopped coriander Leaves: 1/3 katori
  • Ghee or oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Cummin: 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies: 2 (according to taste)
  • Freshly scraped coconut: 1/4 cup
Cooked khichdi


Wash the sabudana and soak it in water that comes about 1/2 cm. above its surface. Soak this overnight.

Next day:

Boil the corn kernels in a cup of water to which 1/4 teaspoon salt is added; for about 5 minutes till soft. Drain.

Heat oil or ghee in a non-stick pan.

Add cummin seeds and green chillies.

Add sabudana to which the salt and sugar is added.

Add corn. Stir and cook till the sabudana is transparent.

Cover for a couple of minutes.

Add coriander leaves and freshly scraped coconut.

Garnish with a little of the coriander and coconut.

Serve hot with a lemon quarter on the side.


1.Tastes best when eaten hot!

  1. The traditional recipe uses roasted and lightly crushed peanuts instead of the corn. The same may be added to this recipe along with corn as well, to make it more nutritious!!


Dealing With Hypothyroidism And Fatigue

Hypothyroidism Fatigue

Dealing with hypothyroidism and fatigue that follows is not easy. Sometimes one feels tired to even take steps to prevent tiredness. When a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism she felt very depressed. For a year she had been suffering from symptoms that are very difficult to deal with. We got together and came up with some very simple ways in which to keep them under reasonable control:

Eat suitable fruits

On the whole fruits are very good for our health. But some fruits will prevent bloating; which is one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Regularly eat: Melons, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, seedless grapes or pineapple.

Completely avoid: Pears, cherries, strawberries, apples, blueberries and prunes.

Eat foods rich in Omega 3

Salmon fish is not the only food that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. You must also consume 1 walnut and 2 tsp of flaxseeds per day to maintain a good balance of fatty acids. You can also add spinach, beef liver and egg yolk in your diet.

Improve your sleep pattern

Dealing with insomnia is another problem with hypothyroidism. Combine lack of sleep with bloating and you have a real disaster on your hands. Relax – here’s a very effective way to maintain a reasonably good sleep pattern and beat the symptom:

  • Reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Save your favourite slow audio tracks on your mobile phone or iPod. The focal word here is “slow”. Instrumental music will also induce sleep.
  • Go to bed at the same time everyday till your body-clock gets accustomed to it.
  • Just before going to bed have a glass of hot milk.
  • In case of lactose intolerance, you can have chamomile tea instead of milk.
  • If you have any nagging worry tell yourself – “I know how to deal with this. I’ll take care of it tomorrow.”
  • Settle down and listen to music till you feel really sleepy.  Focus on the melody and sweetness of the music and don’t let your mind wander back to worries.

Learn positive thinking

If you still find it difficult to sleep, teach yourself to always think positive. Are you wondering, “How does positivity control insomnia?” Here’s an easy suggestion – try to associate the songs/tunes with a happy memory. Save songs that remind you of your child’s antics, fun with siblings, your honeymoon, parental love, your first romance, and such memories that will give you a warm and happy feeling. The “song-to-happy-memory” association will help you to stay positive at bedtime and improve sleep cycle.

Prevent lifestyle diseases

You have sufficient lousy symptoms to deal with when you are undergoing treatment for hypothyroidism so why add other lifestyle diseases to the list! It is best to eat sweets, very salty and fried foods in moderation so that you can prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. Stay with safer foodstuff like fish, low fat dairy products, brown rice, gluten free cereals like finger millet, oats, fruits and vegetables.

Check for other deficiencies

Sometimes deficiencies in vitamin B12 can also cause fatigue. A secondary effect of hypothyroid is low calcium absorption and weakening of the bones and cartilage. So it is always advisable to check your B12, calcium and D3 and thyroid levels once in six months. Also check your hemoglobin levels and take the prescribed supplements to make up for any deficiencies.

Practice yoga and pranayam

Enrol in a yoga class near your residence. Learn the breathing techniques (pranayam) and asanas that are specifically meant for thyroid imbalance and practice them under supervision of a qualified instructor. They have proved to be extremely effective in controlling the symptoms and you will even be able to reduce your medication to the minimum maintenance dose.

And yes – stop smoking and don’t miss your medication. Stay healthy and enjoy life.

Age Defying Face Pack For Very Dry Skin


Most face packs are focused on preventing or curing acne but what about extremely dry skin? When dry skin is ignored the face gets wrinkles at an early age. Some of us have extremely dry skin due to thyroid imbalance, which is a common problem in women of 40plus. Ensure that your skin remains soft and glowing with this most effective age defying treatment:-

You will need

  • 2 tbsp Chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1 tbsp Thick cream
  • 1 tsp Rose water
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Honey

To prepare the face pack

In a bowl mix all the ingredients into a thickish paste. It should be neither too runny nor too dry. Add a few drops more of rose water to make it spreadable.

Change into old clothes to avoid turmeric stains.

Apply the paste gently with a brush all over the face and neck.

Leave it on till it completely dry, for about 20 minutes.

Rinse it off with water.

For best results do not use makeup for at least 4 hours after the treatment.

Repeat this application every 15 days and after a couple of months you won’t need to use foundation anymore. Stay beautiful…

Arthritic Pain Relief – Homemade Milk Cocktail


arthritic pain relief

Anyone suffering from arthritis is looking for ways and means to reduce the pain! I avoided travel for two years and stepped out of the house only for a medical checkup! It was horribly demoralising till I discovered this homemade milk cocktail in an old recipe book. It has helped to reduce my dependence on painkillers from one tablet per day to one per month, if at all! This easy-to-make home remedy for arthritic pain relief turned out to be a real boon.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1” size fresh ginger (grated)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 strands of saffron (or ¼ tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp honey (or a pinch of salt)

How to prepare the cocktail:

  • In 1 cup water add grated ginger and turmeric powder.
  • Boil till it reduces to ½ the volume.
  • Add the milk and continue boiling on a low flame till the quantity is about one cup.
  • Add saffron (or vanilla) and boil till it becomes approximately 1 cup.
  • Strain into a cup, add honey (or salt) and drink it while it is still very warm.

Drink this cocktail every night at bedtime. In a few days, you will notice that the arthritic pain has reduced considerably. I try not to miss my daily dose.

Note: Although all the above ingredients are natural and usually do not cause harm, please consult your physician in case of allergies.