Sunday, September 25, 2016

Website review: Niume.com


I recently joined Niume.com and I must say I am enjoying the site very much. 





What are Spheres?


There are 20 Spheres on Niume or Channels ranging from 

•  Animals
•  Architecture & Design
•  Art
•  Business & Finance
•  Culture
•  Fashion
•  Food
•  Games
•  Humour
•  Interesting
•  Lifestyle
•  Literature
•  Movies & Series
•  Music
•  News
•  Photography
•  Science
•  Sport
•  Technology
•  Travel


What are Hypes?

Hypes are basically Likes and Dislikes. You can help increase the Hype by pressing the Like button. These votes are anonymous.


How Do you Earn?


You can earn money on Niume by submitting sharing posts. For every 1000 views you earn a dollar. Money is paid by Paypal when you accumulate $10.

The posts do not need to be long and can be as short as 5 sentences but they need a picture or a video. Interesting content gets shared very quickly. 


Referral Link:



If you wish to share Niume,please use my referral link:

https://niume.com/?ambassadorID=54571

With Niume's referral program you will receive $1 for every user you bring to the platform who creates at least one post. Any user we bring will also receive $1 straight after creating their first post.

On many other websites, you have to write long articles but Niume is fun. I have not seen a daily limit as yet and some posts are stunning and very beautifully presented. 

Two other things I like about Niume is that we can have the freedom to delete our posts and we can keep on earning on our older posts if we keep sharing them.


Check out My Posts



Coke Studio: Bringing you the Best of Pakistani Music


See you there!

UPDATE:

There have been some changes to their analytic system and now views to our articles have dropped drastically. It takes a long time to accumulate the required views to reach payment threshold. Not so much fun any more :(




Tuesday, September 6, 2016

10 Tips to Prevent Spread of Infectious Diseases

Most infectious diseases are passed from person to person, or get transmitted via bites from insects or animals. Other ways of getting infected are by eating contaminated food and water or coming in contact with virus and germs present in the environment. 




Our habits play a big role in determining whether we stay immune to infectious diseases or get infected easily. Here are some tips to prevent the spread of infectious diseases at home, school and workplace.
Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol sanitizers frequently especially before eating, before and after preparing food and after going to the toilet.

You should also wash hands thoroughly if you have been to a public place, have been gardening, petting an animal, taking out trash or handling garbage.

Hands should be washed thoroughly after cleaning up body fluids such as vomit, nasal secretions, blood or saliva.

Do not share personal items such as tooth brushes, towels, undergarments, shaving razors and combs with other people. Be especially careful, if you live in a dorm, hostel or any other shared residence.

Stay at home and avoid crowded places when you have flu and cough.

Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly to get rid of all germs, dust and traces of pesticides
Keep toilets and kitchens clean. These places can harbor a lot of germs and prove to be breeding ground for many infectious diseases.

Use antiseptics and disinfectants when necessary. Antiseptics are things that destroy disease carrying germs without harming body tissues such as Dettol while disinfectants are used on kitchen counters, floors, bathrooms etc to destroy disease carrying micro-organisms.





Get vaccinated for flu, hepatitis B, chicken pox and make sure your children get vaccinated against childhood diseases such as polio, mumps, measles and rubella.

If you are suffering from flu, cold or cough, always cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. Dispose off used tissues properly and avoid close contact with other people.

Even if you cannot stay healthy every single day of your life, good hygiene and thorough cleanliness ensure that you spend more time enjoying life than visiting hospitals and getting medical treatments.

Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning

During the summer season, bacteria and fungi can cause food to rot or decay and make it unfit for human consumption. Mould can grow quickly on bread or oranges and cause them to rot and turn green. Similarly bacteria can breed quickly in milk or curry that is left at room temperature and cause it to turn sour.




Some bacteria like E.coli can cause food poisoning which can result in diarrhea, vomiting, severe stomach cramps. It is very important to know how to store food so that we and our loved ones are safe from food contamination and food poisoning.


→Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling food, before eating and after using the toilet.

→Cook food thoroughly at high temperature.

→If you are buying packaged food, then always check the expiry date.

→Avoid canned food in which cans are badly dented or bloated.

→Avoid food with torn seals or open packaging.

→Wash all fruits and vegetable thoroughly once you get home from shopping. Let them dry on a rack or basket with holes so that water seeps out before storing them in relevant fridge compartments.

→Do not leave fresh milk or cooked food at room temperature. Always store it in refrigerators in proper containers.

→If you are re-heating food, do so thoroughly till steam appears.

→Do not let blood of fresh meat drip into other frozen foods. Again use proper containers.

→Wipe kitchen tops with hot water after working with raw meat, raw eggs, fish and vegetables. Wash chopping boards, knives and other utensils too.

→I always wash my kitchen cloths and sponges in hot water with little detergent and hang them in sunlight because it kills odors and bacteria.

→Don’t let leftover food stay inside your fridge for long. Otherwise they will turn into specimen for science experiment.

Food poisoning can be fatal so be extra careful in summer.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Work Interrupted!






“Nothing will work unless you do.” Maya Angelou

  • Why doesn’t my work get done?
  • How could I miss such an important deadline?
  • Why is everything such a mess?
  • Where did the time go?

If you feel frustrated, behind schedule and a little lost all day long, you are not alone. Today’s world is full of things that kill our focus and make us inattentive. Due to these factors, we may feel exhausted at the end of the day and yet unsatisfied with what we have accomplished in the preceding 24 hours. The pile of responsibilities never seems to diminish making us feel stressed out and dispirited.

Let’s look at some of the reasons and how we can fix them:

Too Many Distractions:


If you find yourself wondering, “Where did the time go?”many times a day, you better take a closer look at your social media addiction. Every update ping from Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber and Twitter wrecks your train of thought making it difficult for you to concentrate on the chore at hand and even making it look dull, boring and totally unappealing in comparison.

If you interrupt your work to check every email and SMS that lands in your Inbox, you are not going to get much work done, whether it is office related or something as simple as vacuuming the TV lounge. The remedy too is in your own hands. Keep your phone hidden in a drawer if you are working on something that does not require its constant presence. Train yourself to ignore unimportant or personal emails at work and at home designate a specific time for this purpose.


Too Much on the Mind:


Many people nowadays juggle too many responsibilities. A working mother may be thinking about her daughter’s costume for the school play or her son’s grades. Maybe someone is worried about paying bills or taking a family member to a doctor. An altercation with a colleague or a family feud can destroy our concentration because we play the same words over and over again in our minds. 

It is very hard to focus on work when duties, errands and unpleasant thoughts are buzzing around in our head. The best way to tackle this distraction is to write things down and make a to-do-list. Then force these distractions off your mind and focus on the task at hand. And for the people who cause you endless trouble, someone said it best, “Don’t let people who annoy you occupy a rent-free space in your mind.”

Too Haphazard in your Approach: 


How many times do you slap your forehead and say, “I didn’t do XYZ and now it’s too late?”

If you wake up with 20 things to do and go to bed with 50 things still left undone, you are not going to feel very happy with life. Every day, make a list of things that need to get done and set a deadline for that task. Whether you use apps like Wunderlist or Todoist, or the plain old pencil and notebook, jotting things down helps you to separate the unnecessary from the urgent and the important.

You have to call someone to offer condolences, make an appointment with the doctor, pick up children from school, buy grocery, get a haircut, go for a walk or gym or clean the fridge, write down a schedule and set a rough deadline for each task. As soon as one task gets done, strike it off. After a few weeks you will be surprised at how many things you can get done in 24 hours without them seeming like a hassle. Don’t procrastinate or put off boring work. 

Too Much Fatigue:

Lack of sleep and fatigue can make it difficult for you to concentrate on work or find the will power to get it done. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep. Eating proper meals and keeping yourself hydrated are also necessary for good physical, emotional and mental health. 

And here’s what experts have to say:


Experts say that there are four golden rules of getting things done:

Know what you have to do. Whether it’s baking a cake, cleaning the fridge or giving an office presentation, you should know what tasks need to be done on a given day.

Have a firm deadline for getting it done. Remember “Someday” is not a day in any calendar. 

Know exactly what “done” looks, feels, sounds and smells like.

Understand the negative consequences of not getting the work done and the positive consequences of accomplishing the task.

These four rules should be enough to galvanize anyone to tackle their work with a more positive frame of mind. So spend more time getting things done than just doing them. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Teaching your child good manners


Teaching your child good manners

Remember the kid who came to your son’s birthday party and turned it into a nightmare with his incessant demands, tantrums and loud bawling. Care to think about the child whom you saw kicking and screaming at McDonalds because they were out of his favourite toy. 

Did you hear about a distant cousin’s son who is in the habit of overturning the dining table if his favourite meal is not served? These examples are just a few cases of children who are being brought up without the slightest idea of what having good manners entail.

Good manners are more than just saying “please” and “thank you”. They are a way of showing respect to others and a sign of a good upbringing. Instilling good manners in children is one of the most important aspects of parenting and this should begin as soon as the child becomes cognizant of his surroundings and the people around him. 


Be good role models:

When children have good role models to pattern themselves after, they are much more likely to acquire good manners. Children naturally emulate their parents so make sure that your own manners are the manners that you desire from your children.  Say "please," "thank you" and “I am sorry” often and your children will naturally begin to say them, too.

Be careful of the language you use in front of your children as they will copy your words. If you don't want certain words to become a part of your child’s vocabulary, don’t use them in their presence. Never abuse or ridicule other people in front of your kids. Allowing or encouraging children to be disrespectful towards their teachers is one of the worst things that parents can let happen as it totally mars their personality.

Teach them as they grow:


Teaching good manners to children is a continual process. It begins with teaching them “please”, “thank you” and “sorry.” Even a 2-year old is perfectly capable of understanding the use of these three words. By the time a child reaches the school going stage (3-4 years), he should understand the concept of asking for permission and “May I” should be a part of his vocabulary.

An older child must be taught not to interrupt while elders are talking, answer the telephone properly, behave properly in public and have respect for other person’s belongings and public property. Some other good manners that a child should be aware of are giving up a seat for an elderly person in public place, holding doors open, have good sportsman spirit, empathy for those who are less fortunate and owning up when he/she makes an error. Good table manners, whether inside the home or away and helping to clean up the table also constitutes good manners.



Always praise good behaviour:

Children love to copy their parents and older siblings and if they display good manners, praise them lavishly. No matter how minor the achievement, make sure that you let your child know that you appreciate his efforts and good manners. Correct behavioural mistakes when they occur but never humiliate a child in front of others. Gently remind them to mind their manners as the situation requires.


Use positive re-enforcement:

As a mother, I have found that frequent use of the word “don’t” often sets up a child’s hackles. So instead of saying “don’t be rude,” try saying, “I find this type of behavior very upsetting. Is something troubling you?” Always be firm and consistent. Let your child know that you won’t stand any nonsense. If your child is in the habit of banging doors or kicking toys in anger, make him go back and close the door softly or pick up the toys each time till this habit breaks.

Never encourage rude behavior:

In our society, the tussle between daughters and mothers-in-law in the home usually forces young children to take sides. Any display of temper towards the offending member is considered a source of amusement for the other party.  If you laugh off small acts of rudeness and answering back to adults as “cute” or “clever”, the chances are that these incidents will snowball into bigger issues later on. It is very important to set firm standards of respect in the home. Fight your own battles but leave your children out of them.

Never overindulge your child:

Tantrums never look good not even if the child who is throwing them is 3, chubby and cute. Be firm with your kids and don’t give in to their every whim and demand. The world will not come to an end if the child does not get his favorite toy with a Happy Meal or the latest action figure or the coolest gadget and the sooner he learns this “bitter truth” the better for his future personality. Being an only child or the only son should not be one way ticket to excessive parental indulgence. Children, who are allowed to get away with bad behavior when young, are not adept at controlling their anger when older. 

We must remember that it is not only our social equals who command our respect and esteem. We must be equally courteous towards those who work for us like our maids and gardeners and those whom we meet in the course of our daily lives. The traffic sergeant, salesmen in the grocery store, the receptionist at a doctor’s office, the school peon and waiters in hotels should be addressed courteously too.  

As parents, we do our children no service if we pamper and spoil them to such an extent that they become manner less monsters that everyone fears. Being taught good manners is as necessary for our kids as feeding them so make sure that they get both essentials in equal measure. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Earnably: An Easy way to earn some Money

I have written about this site before but now I am writing again in case anyone is looking for an easy way to earn some money.
There are numerous ways to earn money here but two ways are fun and easy.
One is using the Promo Code. After every 2-3 days, the site displays a Promo Code which gives you 1-5 free points.
The second is through referrals. Refer a friend using your unique referral link (Mine is Dawnwriter ) and you'll get 20% of their earnings for life.
Also get 10 points for every referral. It doesn't matter if your referral doesn't earn any points, you'll still get 10 points for every referral that signs up using your referral link from the US, the UK, Canada or Australia.
The referrals get 100 points to kick-start their account as an incentive . Also you can earn 5% from second level referrals.
The site pays very promptly with lowest cash out at $2. I have earned $6 so far. Do try it out and please use my link to sign up:)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Brave Little Dog


Little Sally whined softly while Susan bought an ice cream from the ice cream seller. Sally, the little puppy did not like the look of the scruffy guy who was smiling shiftily at the children crowded around his cart. Her doggy senses were giving her bad vibes but the children chattered happily as they handed coins and notes to the ice cream seller.

Susan’s father had brought Sally as a present for her sixth birthday and the two adored each other and were always inseparable. The only time the two were apart was when Susan went to her kindergarten school. 


Sally would wait mournfully all morning with her silky head on her front paws till she would hear the horn of the school bus. Then she would tear down the street to welcome Susan home. All day long, Sally followed Susan like a faithful shadow. She even slept in a little basket in Susan’s room at night.

After buying their ice creams, the children went away in ones and twos. Susan also turned away, tugging at the wrapper with her little fingers.

“Hey, little girl, you forgot your change,” the ice cream seller called her back. “Come with me, I’ll get you the money from my van.”

Busy licking the ice cream, Susan followed the man to the back of the van. She looked up with fright when another man pulled her quickly inside the van. Before she could yell or react, the man had put a sack over her head and closed the doors of the van. The ice cream seller quickly got inside too and drove off.

Sally barked and yelped but the street was quiet and deserted. Sally started following the van as it sped away. On and on it went, past the dainty houses, the tiny shops, the green fields and the farm-houses. Sally’s little legs felt tired and heavy but she knew in her doggy heart that her mistress was in trouble.

Finally, the van stopped outside a ramshackle house. The two men dragged the frightened little girl inside where a shabby old woman was busy washing dishes.

“Here she is, ma,” said one of the men. “Take care of her while we send the ransom note to her rich daddy.”

Meanwhile, Sally tried to follow the men inside but found the door locked. Her keen nose picked up the smell of her beloved mistress. She turned away from the door and started running back all the way to Susan’s house.

Susan’s mother stood in the garden, looking extremely worried. She had asked all the children whether anyone had seen Susan but nobody had a clue. All that could be seen on the street was melted ice cream. She called Susan’s father who immediately informed the police. By the time, the policemen arrived, Susan’s parents were sick with worry.

Sally limped up to Susan’s father and tugged at his trousers. He was talking to the policeman and tried to shoo the little dog away and even kicked her once when she wouldn’t let go.

Susan’s mother picked up the little dog. “Do you know where she is?” she asked with tears in her eyes.

“Were the two of them together all afternoon?” asked the burly policeman “Oh yes, they are inseparable.”

Sally would not calm down. She barked and yelped and kept on running towards the door and then returned to tug at their clothes.

“I think she knows something. Come on little dog. Tell us where your mistress is,” the policeman patted Sally on her head and opened the door. Sally tore outside and barked excitedly.

Without wasting a moment, they all got into a couple of cars and followed Sally. Sally ran and ran once again past the houses, the market and the fields till they reached the farmhouse. She stopped near the fence and whined softly. The police then took control. They made Susan’s parents wait in the car while they approached the house from all sides. One of the constables kicked down the door and quickly nabbed the two men and their mother while they were still quarrelling over the ransom note.

As soon as the door went down, Sally rushed inside and made a beeline for one of the rooms where she could sense her mistress. A policeman unlocked the door and found Susan inside. The little girl was frightened, but unhurt. Her parents were extremely happy to have found her and hugged her and her brave little dog tightly.

When they reached home, the neighbours and their children had all gathered outside Susan’s home to welcome her back. The police chief looked at the young group and addressed them:

“Children, you must remember not to stay outside on the streets alone. When outside your home, you must stay together in a group and older children should see to it that younger ones go home safely. It is better that your parents or some other adult buys ice cream and toys from street vendors for you. Never accompany a stranger to his car or inside a house.

“I am sure you know that you should never to talk to strangers nor accept toys, gifts or any sweets from them. So from now on, will you all look out for each other?”

“Yes, we will!” the children replied in a loud chorus. I hope you all will too!





Friday, March 11, 2016

Socks are evil creatures.

Sometimes I think socks are evil things. 


In fact, I am quite convinced that they are sinister beings, whose only purpose in life is to make me miserable and spend precious time hunting them down.



Image credit: Pixabay.com


Why is it that you take off a pair of socks, put them in washing-machine or tub to be washed and when you bring in the dry clothes, all you have is a bunch of mismatched socks.


I have a whole bag of mismatched socks whose twins I am unable to locate. I do not understand how and why this happen but I do have many theories regarding their behaviour.


One theory is, the socks simply do not get along well and one sock walks away from the clothesline leaving its twin behind.


Or maybe they take revenge from us for keeping them on our smelly feet all day long or squashing them in dirty shoes . When one disappears, you cannot wear the single sock and so they are both saved from a smelly day at work.


Or, maybe, the birds carry them away from my clothesline to make their nests prettier and more cozy. I really cannot think of any other reason for their disappearance.


Do your socks misbehave or disappear like the socks in my household?

Good speech!

One book that is often read in my home is titled “Good Character” published by Darussalam.

It contains short stories and anecdotes with moral lessons to inculcate good habits in children and the stories are something children can relate with. It deals mostly with character building, controlling anger, telling the truth etc.




Picture from my own camera


Last night, I read a story to my younger son who has a bit of a temper. I found the story very touching and wanted to share it here (summarized and written in my own words)


A young boy went into a forest instead of attending school. While he was passing through the trees, he sang songs and poems he had learned in school. From afar, he heard sounds as if someone was responding to him and calling to him.


The boy stood still and called out, ”Who are you?” and the voice said the same thing.


He then shouted, “Where are you?” and the voice said the same thing.


The boy thought another boy was teasing him and started shouting bad things at him. He called out bad words and every word was repeated back at him. In a fit of rage, he cut a tree branch, meaning to teach the other boy a lesson. He searched the forest but found no one and came back home tired and angry.


He told his mother about the incident and complained that another boy had been saying mean things to him in the forest. His mother told him that what he heard was actually an echo his own voice. If he had said good things, he would have heard good things only.


Real life can of course be different but I found the story rather profound. What do you think?

A great lesson!




I read this inspirational post on Facebook :

Once a group of 50 people were attending a seminar. Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity. He gave each person a balloon . Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.

Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing around others and there was utter chaos.

At the end of 5 minutes no one could find their own balloon and there was chaos all around. Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.

The speaker explained that this is exactly what is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.

Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness. And this is the purpose of human life. 

________________________________________


I think this is a great lesson . In our everyday life if we help someone then we also benefit. Knowledge, skills and experiences grow when we collaborate rather than compete and there is less of rat race.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Big Fat Pakistani Wedding

A few weeks ago, I was invited to the wedding of an old college friend. I could not attend the wedding but went to my friend’s house at the earliest possible time to congratulate her mother on my friend’s marriage. As I was served tea, Aunty heaped gilded photo albums on my lap and proceeded to tell me all the nitty-gritty details of the auspicious occasion.

Very graciously, she invited me to a dinner that was to be hosted next weekend in honour of the bridal couple’s return from their honeymoon. As we talked some more, it became known to me that the coming feast was to be ninth function to be hosted by the bride’s parents for the groom’s family in a course of less than two months.

Ninth feast! I got a bit of a shock.  We all know that weddings nowadays take place over a period of 4-5 days but nine functions from one side were a bit too much for me to swallow.

“Well, the first dinner was for the date fixing event,” aunty was delighted to enlighten my ignorant, uncivilized soul.” All the elders of the two families were invited; you know cha-chas, mamoos, khalas etc. The guest list comprised some 60 people just from their side.”

“Couldn’t such things be done over the phone?” I ventured timidly knowing that the two samdhans were first cousins.

“No, no,” exclaimed the shocked aunty.” That is not how things are done nowadays.” She was clearly nettled by my outdated notions.

“Of course, I understand now. And the next function?” I asked in a placating tone.

“Well the next event was the Quran-e-pak khatam that I hosted for Ayesha. All the women from the two sides were invited and we gave such a wonderful lunch right here in these lawns,” she said nodding towards the spacious green garden visible from the drawing room window.




“Of course all the young girls later wanted to have a dholki so we arranged for a little music. It was such fun.  We had to arrange dinner later when their men folk arrived to take them home. It would not have seemed decent if they had returned without eating. Thank God the caterers co-operated. We had over 100 people in the house to feed.” Aunty seemed quite pleased with her impromptu banquet.

“And then one week before the wedding, we had a very grand function for mayoon. Ayesha’s mother-in-law brought such an expensive yellow outfit. It was a very costly affair as we decided to serve fried prawns and finger fish,” she added naming one of Lahore’s most elite wedding caterers as the food providers for that event. 

“And then of course, there was rasm-e- hina and then barat which was at Lahore’s finest 5 star hotel. Larkay walay would not settle for anything less. The groom has friends in high circles and it is important to create a good impression.”

While I was mentally trying to estimate the cost of just feeding the same guests over and over again, I was struck by a certain thought. “And weren’t any functions hosted by the groom’s side?”

“Well, of course, there was the Valima. What other function can they host?”
What indeed? I thought a little cattily. At least the Valima is still in vogue.
But the recital was not yet finished.

“And then there was the Muklawa. You know when Ayesha came over and her husband and his family came to take her back to their house. They demanded that everyone from their family must be invited and not just the immediate family. See how pretty she looked,” she added fondly, flipping open the photo albums.

“Of course, Eid-ul-adha was soon afterwards and we decided to host a grand dinner for the groom’s family. Such dinners strengthens the girl’s position among her in-laws. It was Ayesha’s first Eid after marriage, after all.”

And doesn’t her good character, sound education and excellent upbringing count for anything? Once again I could not help thinking.

“Your uncle had to sell his plot to meet the expenses of this wedding,” Aunty confided to me softly. “I hope they live happily together forever.”

By this time, it was not only the tea that was cold. I felt that my brain was numbed too. It is true that weddings in our culture are a reason to celebrate and enjoy with family and relatives. Indeed it is they who add all the colour and life to such important events in our life but at what cost nowadays?

Why is the entire burden on the bride’s side, I wonder? Are these rules and norms dictated by society or are they pitfalls made by our own hands? Why it is that simplicity is not something that one even wants to hear about as our daughters and sons embark upon the most important journey of their lives?

There was a time when our grandmothers carefully put away silk bundles and white georgette dupattas in steel trunk for their daughters’ dowries.  Our mother relied upon saving certificates and her gold jewellery to see us married. But now it seems that nothing less than 1-2 kanal plots would do to meet the wedding expenses of daughters in a way that would enable parents to hold their heads high in society.

As I took my leave, Aunty once again repeated her invitation. “Now don’t forget to come when Ayesha returns from her honeymoon. We were running out of ideas and venues so we are inviting everybody for high tea at…..” In a daze, I waved goodbye with the name of one of Lahore’s most expensive restaurants ringing in my ears.



Violence all around

We tend to associate television with entertainment and some fun time after a hard day’s work, but have we ever observed the effect that media has on our children nowadays? Bomb blasts, gun fights, street riots, public rage, strikes, murders…all day long news channels bring into our households depressing stories of bloodshed and violence all around us. 

While adults seem to have become immune to such horrifying reports, our children are becoming adversely affected and this is reflected in their speech and actions.



Image credit: Pixabay.com


It is an alarming fact that words and phrases related to violence are fast becoming part of our children’s vocabulary. For example, a friend who teaches in a school in Islamabad told me that while writing an essay about a shopping experience in a supermarket, few children wrote about customers being robbed at gun point while one child wrote about it being bombed. The worrying fact was that young children had given extremely graphic details of guns, bullets and dead bodies in their essays.

During a parent teacher meeting in my children’s school, parents were advised not to discuss load shedding, petrol prices and politics within their children’s hearing. The reason given was that it was promoting negativity, anger and abusive language among children who were absorbing their parents’ frustration with some of the adverse circumstances that have gripped our country in recent times.

While watching television, the lines of reality can often get blurred for young children. At this impressionable age, they cannot separate fiction from real events.  A number of studies have reported that watching media violence frightens young children, and that the effects of this may be long lasting. When children accept violence as part of life, they also accept it as a means of getting their own way. This attitude can have a very negative impact on their personality as they grow up.

As parents, we want our children to be shielded from the hard realities and tragic facts of life. At the same time, we want them to grow up into informed and educated adults. So how does one strike a balance?

Teach by example:

A wise person once said, “Whatever you want your children to be tomorrow, be that person today.” If grown-ups are frustrated, angry and negative all the time, we cannot expect our children to grow up into emotionally healthy and stable adults. 

Children learn by example and they are strongly influenced by the behavior, values, and attitudes of parents, teachers and other adults in their lives. Values of respect, honesty, and pride in the family heritage and our country can be important sources of strength for children, especially if they are confronted with negative images and tragic news stories on television.

Celebrate small things:

Teach your children to enjoy small things in life. Good marks in school, victory in a cricket match, a new friend, rainbow in the sky or small milestones accomplished by children are all reasons to smile. Once we learn to celebrate and be grateful for small things in life, it becomes easier to resist pessimism and overcome frustrations in face of adverse circumstances in life.


Manage your own frustrations:

Everything is expensive, there has been no electricity all day long, you had a tiff with your boss and there is a mountain of housework to be done…these everyday challenges can put one in a very bad mood and domestic quarrels can flare up easily. Parents who are always angry and always yelling are teaching their children to be angry and abusive too. Whether you attain your serenity from yoga, music, exercise or by sitting on a prayer rug, try to manage your anger and not vent your frustrations on your children.


Teach compassion and responsibility:

Children who like to help others and have a strong sense of responsibility are more likely to have a positive attitude towards life in general. They believe in making the world a better place for themselves and others. 


Discourage aggression in children:

Superman beating villains into a pulp or Ben 10 using special powers to defeat the alien forces…these cartoons and television programmes sow the seeds of aggression in children who feel might is right. As parents we must monitor the content our children watch on television. Try not to buy toy guns or toy military tanks for your children. If you find them smashing cars and shooting siblings in a mock battle, intervene at once and direct their energies towards some other games like riding a bike, reading books or playing cricket etc. 


Keep an eye on the company your children keep:

Make an effort to know the friends your children hang out with. Even if your child is innocent, he could get mixed up with bad company who might make use of his cell phone or computers for fishy reasons. Talk to your children about dangers of peer pressure and how they can overcome it without losing their friendships. 

Children absorb a lot from the environment they are brought up in. While things around us are far from perfect, by giving them a safe and happy home environment and teaching them to adopt a positive attitude, we can literally create a more positive world for them.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Take care because you are worth it



Our home is a place where we feel safe, secure and surrounded by things and faces familiar to us. But sometimes we hurt ourselves around the house accidentally while we play or are just going around doing our daily routine.

Studies tell us that accidents commonly occur in the living or dining room areas but the most serious accidents happen in the kitchen and on the stairs. Most of these accidents can be easily prevented if we are careful. Keeping ourselves and our homes safe is not just our parents’ duty but ours too. So let’s see what are the most common accidents that occur in homes and how they can be averted.

Where’s the fire?


A small fire looks nice if it is under the pan in which your mum is cooking your favorite dish. However, you should never underestimate the devastating power of domestic fire. It can spread very quickly, get out of control and cause a great deal of damage in a very small amount of time.

I am sure you know that children are not supposed to play with matches or lighters. If you have to conduct a science experiment involving matches or candles at home, ask an older brother, sister or your parents to help you. Never leave candles burning when you’re going out of a room or are about to sleep.

In winter, heaters are used in most households. Do not poke at the rods with sharp objects or put clothes, toys, papers or blankets on top of the heaters.

Watch out for creepy crawlies


Insect bites can be very painful. You should not leave food stuff on the floor where it can attract ants, cockroaches or rodents. Clean your room regularly to keep out spiders and lizards.

If you spill something sweet, clean it up at once. Never touch any strange insect with your bare hands. If one finds its way into your home, use a piece of cardboard or broom to dispose it off, or draw the attention of an adult towards it.


Don’t get shocked!


Electric switches, wires and sockets are not something that should ever be taken lightly. You should never insert metallic objects in open sockets or touch them when your hands are wet. When you insert a plug in the socket, the button should be switched off.

Toddlers like to chew plastic wires so if you have a younger sibling in the house, be very careful to tie up any wires that operate your appliances.

Do not use one extension for too many plugs otherwise it may heat up and melt. When not in use, it is best to pull the plugs out of the sockets. Check the cords of your lamps, computers and mobile phone chargers regularly. If they are frayed or damaged, alert your parents at once.

Look out for sharp objects


You might see your mum or grandmother work with scissors, needles, knives and other sharp objects every day. It does not, however, mean that they are safe to play with.

You should never carry a sharp item facing you. The blade or the tip should be pointed outwards. Also, never run while you are carrying scissors, knives or glass items. Even if you are in a hurry, always slow down and be careful.


All fall down


Toys, pillows, roller skates and other stuff should never be left lying around on the floor or on stairs. Other people in the house might not know and trip over them, which can cause them a lot of pain.

It is a matter of common sense not to hang down from balconies or jump from high chairs, beds and other furniture.


Putting things up the nose


Have you ever put small objects like peas, beads, pebbles or M&Ms up your nose? Or stuck your pencil or any other thing in your ear?

Bad habits like these can take you to the emergency room of a hospital and cause much pain and anguish.

What’s that funny taste?


There are many dangerous and poisonous things that are commonly used in homes to get rid of germs, bacteria, insects and stains. Never try to taste anything that is not meant for eating.

If a household cleaning agent spills on your hands, wash them thoroughly. Taking wrong dosage of a medicine, eating pills that are not meant for you or ingesting things like shampoo, detergents, your mother’s cosmetics and your dad’s perfume are also big mistakes. I am sure you are smart enough to know this but keep an eye on the young ones.


Choking:


How many times have your parents told you not to eat, drink and talk at the same time? If you talk, laugh or do goofy stuff while eating and drinking, the food that is meant to go down the food pipe can go down the wind-pipe, causing you to choke, cough badly and have trouble breathing.

You have to be extra careful while eating things like carrots, nuts, pop-corns, small candies and macaroni. Never put small things like coins, round batteries and small parts of toys in your mouth.

Other stuff to know


• If you see your younger sibling playing with matches or candles and he or she does not listen to you, get your mum or any other adult right away.

• After playtime, make sure that there are no small objects scattered on the floor where younger children can find them.

• Never dare your young brother, sister or cousin to do anything dangerous. What may not look like big distance or much height to you can be very dangerous for them.

• Any liquid or food spilled on the floor should be mopped up immediately to avoid slips and falls.

When Tom and Jerry chase each other around the house and fall, tumble and get banged up, they look cute and funny but in real life there is nothing amusing about getting a bump on the head or falling down the stairs. Remember your life and health are great blessings so take care because you are worth it!



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