The thing that I love the most about motherhood is that I get to relive my childhood with my daughter. The heart-melting innocence, the naughty yet chaste charm, the curiosity to explore the world around and the crazy, funny pranks – I thoroughly enjoy it all. My baby gives me a glimpse of what my childhood could have been like and very often I find myself thinking – “Maybe I did that too!”. Every moment we spend together is special and ties a knot more into this beautiful bond we share. Now that I am a mom, my mother takes pleasure in narrating interesting incidents and hilarious anecdotes from my childhood. Her stories and my memories tell me that I was given complete freedom to learn, discover and savour every bit of the growing years. I realize how important it is to have uninhibited fun to make the most of these golden moments. But, then it is also vital to be careful about the safety of children so that they can be unshackled and undaunted. The motherhood instinct in us invariably wants to protect our child from any kind of infections and injuries. But, for that we don’t need to stop letting kids be. As a mother, I always do my own research so that I can make informed choices and take care of my child’s well-being and immunity whilst giving her a carefree and uncurbed upbringing.
Since birth, my baby loves being outdoors. One of the few things she learnt to say when she started talking was “Baahar le ja” which means “Take me out”. I always look forward to my time outside with her, be it just at the park in our society or a long trip away from home. That is the time when I unwind too and we create beautiful reminiscences. I follow some simple hacks which help us be outdoor ready and I am sharing it hoping that this helps other parents too.
Carry Food and Water: The first thing I keep in my handbag when I have to get out of the house is food and a bottle of water, even if my daughter is well-fed before leaving. This is because one can never say when a child would feel hungry and a cranky, starving baby will not be able to enjoy outside. Instead of cutting short the outdoor play time to come back home and feed your child, just carry a simple snack if you are heading out for couple of hours. For longer period of time or if you are on a vacation, carry filling/multiple snacks depending on the situation and your child’s taste. Personally, I find finger foods to be the most convenient while travelling. And water is something I tug along everywhere, even if I am going down to the park for half an hour. That’s because they play, get drained and it’s natural to feel thirsty in between. Additionally, water comes in handy during other emergency situations as well at times – like to clean a minor wound/cut, help other kids, etc.
Dress appropriately: It is essential to dress the kids suitably and comfortably, keeping in mind the weather conditions, when they are out to play and explore. This may seem like an obvious point but I have noticed many a time that clothes or the footwear act as a deterrent in case of some kids and they are not able to do certain activities because of them. As an example, we were recently at a popular play area in my city for an hour and a child was wearing a well-fitted frock because of which she wasn’t able to engage in certain adventurous games. I always dress my child in a T-shirt/top (Full- sleeves during cold weather which is sufficient in a city like Hyderabad. Use layered clothing if you stay at a cold place) and cotton leggings when out unless it is a party or some other special occasion. The leggings also act as a cover for her knees in case of minor bruises resulting from falls on a rough surface. If she is out in the sun, I also apply a sunscreen meant for kids for protection. Ensure the shoes/sandals the child is wearing is apt and snug.
Don’t forget an extra pair of clothing: Please ALWAYS carry an extra pair of clothes for the kid if you are going out for few hours. We were out for a day picnic at a resort and my daughter could play freely in the mud and water, and could muddle around because I had a spare pair of her clothes. But, my friend’s son of almost the same age could not get involved because of the absence of extra clothing. Also, when on a trip, pack enough clothes, socks and other accessories of your child to maintain hygiene by not repeating dirty clothes, in case there is no laundry facility that can be availed.
Keep anti-bacterial wipes handy: By default, there is a packet of anti-bacterial wipes in my handbag at all times. It really aids in cleaning up dirt to a great extent, and also helps to make us feel fresh after all the sweating from a play session. I would highly recommend everyone to keep them handy while on the go.
Use patches and herbal repellents to keep dangerous mosquitoes at bay: Off late, most cities have seen a mammoth rise in the number of people affected by Dengue and other mosquito borne diseases. In our own society, we had a heart-breaking case wherein a young lady passed away due to Dengue leaving behind a 7 year old kid. This incident scared everyone to such an extent that people stopped going out with their kids to the park in the vicinity temporarily. It is then that I started using mosquito patches and found them quite effective. If there are a horde of mosquitoes in your area, you can also apply any herbal mosquito repellent lotion on the exposed parts of yours and your child’s body. These tips work well in keeping mosquitoes at bay and I never noticed a single mosquito bite on my daughter once I started following them.
Carry Dettol Antiseptic Liquid: It helps to take along Dettol Antiseptic Liquid so that you can provide immediate basic first aid by cleaning minor cuts and wounds with it. This has been used by generations in our family and I cannot imagine our home without this product. occasionally, I also use this liquid in the bathing water or while doing the laundry, after a round of messy play. This kills the germs, subsequently keeping us protected from illnesses.
Use the boon called Hand Sanitizer: A thousand thanks to the person who invented the sanitizer. It makes it so much easier for mothers to keep their children sheltered from bacteria and other germs. Hand sanitizer is a must have item during any outdoor escapade. Dettol Hand Sanitizer is our saviour to ensure hand hygiene for my whole family when we are on the move. Use it from time to time depending on the activity you have indulged in and this is your best bet if there is no hand wash provision around. We also carry our Dettol Hand Wash from home when on a tour. As a rule, all of us wash our hands using it whenever we come back from outside, to our home or to the hotel room during a trip.
Say no to saying “No” by taking care of these few basic things to make your outdoor experience with your child a fulfilling and pleasant one. Let them get messy, let them get grimy, let them monkey around, let them be wild – let them live childhood the natural way!