‘We are living in a gadget driven world, and kids want their own gadgets.’ This usage of gadgets is depriving kids of a healthy environment for a balanced growth of body, mind and soul. The increasing use of gadgets is making the brain of the kids work faster than a machine. Both the body and the mind are being harmed in the bargain. So, the question arises here is, why are we doing this to our kids?

About a week back, I attended an event organized by Abbott which had an intriguing concept at its heart – Grow Right. As soon as I entered the hall in St. Regis, Mumbai, I saw the posters of children growing taller and I couldn’t wait to hear what the experts and Lara Dutta had to say.

The panels had expert paediatricians and nutritionists who talked about how as modern parents we should look beyond physical growth markers to ascertain how our children are growing. To ensure that they are growing right, we should look at nutrition and play time because only when the right nutrition meets right play does the child grow right

One incident that Lara Dutta narrated was her feeling of pride when her 3-month-old baby could unlock an iPad and go to the app of her choice. While I completely understood her pride, what one of the doctors said left me shocked. He said that we may feel pride at what this baby could accomplish but it was only learnt, repetitive behaviour– it had no intelligence attached to it.

He then went onto explain that play is the highest form of research. Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. It is a necessity. The mental and physical growth of the child can take place at its fullest, only when it is exposed to the right kind of environment

Excessive usage of gadgets hampers the child’s mental and physical growth. Children are more likely to become obese, develop vision problems and other health issues. Lack of mobility and constant sitting with a mobile, iPad or video games retards the growth of both the mind and the body.
So I decided to give my daughter at least an hour every day where there are no activities planned. I let her decide what she wants to do and so far, it has really surprised me! The amount of fun things she decides to do like pasting coloured paper instead of using her crayons, making up stories as she plays with her toys, etc. It has been super fun to watch!

During the meet, we also learnt that only play is not sufficient for the healthy development of a child. Providing a healthy diet and focussing on the child’s nutrition is also of importance. In the growing years the child should have the right amount of nutrients for a healthy growth of both body and mind. Children need high levels of energy to meet the growing requirements. Parents should focus on giving a balanced diet rather than depend on junk food. Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, later on in life too. Combined with physical activities, the diet of a child helps to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of chronic diseases and promote overall health.
Once the panellists finished discussing the markers for right growth – they also revealed the Grow Right Guidelines which was formulated keeping mothers’ experiences and science in mind. The guidelines was like a roadmap to guide mothers on how to ensure that their child is growing right.

The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they become. That is why understanding the need to invest in very young children is important in order to maximize their future well- being. Thank you PediaSure and the expert panel for redefining what it means to #GrowRight

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