Mindful Parenting with Harpreet Kaur Suri

As a mother of two beautiful babies, Harpreet Kaur Suri of @Momwearsprada, knows a thing or two about getting kids to eat well. The lifestyle blogger from Delhi is one of the most-searched mom blogger and was recently associated with a well-known magazine as beauty mentor for their ongoing talent hunt.“Before blogging happened, I had a successful career in one of nation’s leading hospitality brands. I’ve always been a socially active, well-connected person with a gift of the gab and sense of humour. So blogging was not something I aspired to take up, it just happened in the process of juggling multiple responsibilities as a young mother and full-time working professional. Sharing my stories and life with people gave me strength and courage to believe that I can do it all,” Harpreet told You & Iabout her blogging journey.This month, she discusses teaching kids’ good ethics, how to deal with picky eaters and much more.

What’s your response to picky eaters?
A picky eater is a mother’s worst nightmare. With kids, it’s not possible to always make them eat all the healthy things that they need for their nourishment. And as a mother, it can get really frustrating. All mothers would attest to that. First things first, whatever you do, never power struggle with your kids over food. When we say something like, ‘two more bites and you can have dessert or play on the phone; it makes dessert/phone look valuable and the greens not so much. That needs to stop. Secondly, always alternate the menu, so your child develops a relationship with all kinds of food. Give them options to pick from and don’t excessively fuss, make them feel that the food they are going to eat is important and why.

How to teach children a good work ethic at a young age?
Instilling values like patience and dedication is a must. These children are the next generation, so as parents, we must ensure they have a good work ethic and respect for it from an early age. Give them responsibilities at a young age, like making their bed, clearing their plates, organising their desks, etc. All these small things add up to a larger solution. It’s so much easier to introduce a good habit with a pre-schooler than to break a bad habit with a tween. Also, never forget to encourage them and praise them for a job done well.

What is influencing families’ decisions around screen time for kids?
There are a lot of factors, and every family has its way of dealing with things. Largely, based on my interactions with parents - online and offline, its surrounding education and academic for their children. Children’s education is a significant thing in parents’ lives, and since the pandemic, everything shifted online. Since then, the decision of screen time has narrowed down to the necessities of how much we need to. Along with that, parents also consider health and security reasons when discussing screen time for children.

Many parents think of screen time as a black-and-white issue; kids can either have screen time or cut it out entirely. Is that the way they should look at it?
No. I believe in balance. In today’s digital world, where everyone is on camera, be it your selfie cam or CCTV, we all are on camera. We can’t give our children access to the internet and phones. Come to think of it; their whole world is online. We must teach them how to use this powerful tool, and the sooner we begin doing it, the better it is.

On the other hand, as a digital influencer, I’m aware that the internet is not a bed of roses. That’s why I make sure I supervise what my children are doing during their screen time. Don’t take me wrong; I don’t intend to sound like a matron, but I am talking about a relationship with my children to discuss what they are doing online. We do have certain rules at home, however. We have a deal wherein my children do not spend physical playtime; they do not get their leisure screen time. Likewise, in our household, dinner times are a no-phone zone for everyone. It’s just us and conversations. Setting such rules helps kid prioritise family over tick-tacking on the phone.

How do you inspire tweens to organise their rooms?
As a mother, I believe that if you want your children to do or learn something, the best way is to show them how. And that’s something I’ve learnt from my mother. I try and make sure I’m organised and everything around me is planned. My diaries are updated, my lists are ready, and my meetings are pre-lined and my children see that and learn that from what we, parents, do.

Also, I’m a big believer in personal space and self-nurturing. We need to give our children space to learn and grow. And that can be achieved by encouraging them to take up hobbies, sports and activities. So if you want your kids to keep their room tidy and neat, help them with some DIY storage boxes, give them the ownership of creating that and taking care of it. Most tweens, as we all have been once, go through a lot of changes in this phase, and these activities together would also help you bond with them. Trust me that is going to be better than a cleanroom. After all, we all have been there, right?

Is it important to change the way we do parenting? Where is it we should start?
I feel we can really not change parenting. The way I’ve learnt it and the way my parents brought me up, all I have realised is parenting is nothing but wishing best for your children and doing whatever you can, within your reach and out of your abilities, while losing mind and sleep, for our children make us parents. People call it a responsibility, but I disagree with them; it’s a journey. We also grow, as do our children. We learn as they learn. I never claim that parents are perfect, but in this gamut, parenting is about trying and being there, learning and unlearning. And it’s ever-changing, ever-evolving. There’s no ideal way to be a perfect parent or trick to successful parenting, but only good humans. So be kind, be nice, and have manners. 

                      – as told to Anisha