Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |Volume 5, Issue 46, Tuesday, November 23, 2010



Special feature

Lunch for toddlers

As fussy as children are about food, parents can never seem to come around to feeding them well without putting up a little fight or running around the house with a bowl in their hands.

And then comes giving them lunch for school. Children never seem to be satisfied with what you give them for lunch. After coming back home with a lunch box at least half full, if not completely so, you feel pretty lost as a parent as to how to give your children the perfect lunch that will keep them happy and healthy.

Your main objective, when it comes to school-going children, should always be to keep them energised. Waking up in the morning and spending half their day at school takes a lot out of them and as such, breakfast is never enough.

Feeding toddlers to their satisfaction is, mind you, a very risky business to deal with. You have to think of things that will get them excited about their meal. Thus, the fact that they get bored with the same food over and over again should be taken into serious consideration! Keep things exciting and healthy to make sure your children enjoy their meals as much as they gain from them nutritiously.

Yes, giving them snacks like a burger or a hotdog might lead to the box coming back home with just the bread lying there. The trick you could use is chop the hotdog, steak or whatever that's inside into little pieces. That way, it's too much work for them to pick each and every piece out and they'll eventually eat the bread along with what they really want out of that sandwich.

There are other ways of tackling such issues, though, instead of being tricky. Small children are known to love sweets and candy. Bread, butter and a good fruity jam can make a good combination of taste and nutrition for your child. From that they get carbohydrates, dairy, and a whole lot of energy. Other things like sweet bread rolls, muffins and cupcakes can make up for the energy they require. Pancakes with maple or chocolate syrup will also be just as beneficial.

But then again, there's their love for fried food. No matter how much we try to ignore them, we have to give in to them sometimes. However, let's not opt for deep fried products with oil dripping everywhere. We're going to stick to some light and crispy things that are easy to make. Finger food like nuggets, fish fingers, chicken bites, kebabs would be ideal for a child to eat during lunch at school. If you want, you can add a form of carbohydrate like bread or some fried rice. Or, you can just give some tasty dip to go with it.

When children are asked what their favourite period is at school, more often than not, they'll end up saying 'lunch'. But finding a lunchbox with everything intact just the way they were put in can be heartbreaking. Try any or all of the above, and be sure to avert such disappointments.

By Naziba Basher

Knowledge Speaks

Homework pressure

It's late afternoon, the children have just returned from school after a tiring battle with traffic -- and they're already working on homework. Math problems, science reviews, reading assignments; this could go on for hours. Are they getting too much homework? "Borderline," one parent says. "It's a lot more than I used to get."

Today's educators are under pressure to cover more material and in greater depth -- all without a corresponding expansion of the school day. Also, competition-driven parents are placing "homework pressure" on teachers to ensure that children will get into the best colleges and universities when they graduate; but not all parents agree that more homework is the correct approach.

Indeed, homework was invented for a good reason.

For youngsters, homework exists to teach them proper study skills, how to apportion their time between hard and easy tasks, and how to test themselves. They need to learn those kinds of skills because it gradually shapes the child's behaviour.

The point of homework -- especially for young children -- is review. Children are bombarded with information during their school day, and it's a lot to process. That is one of the benefits of a homework assignment -- to review what was not understood and prepare for the next day. It's not so much so the child will get into the best college later, but just so he will be successful in school.

When parents get involved in homework, it sends children a message: that the parent values the learning experience, but they should never do the homework for the child. If the parent feels the homework is too lengthy, too demanding, they need to let the teacher know that and find a solution to do what's best for that child.

My message to parents:
Children should have a nominated study area and a set routine.

Children should have books and stationery handy (please make sure that they don't have to get up frequently to sharpen their pencils).

Children should not have any distractions during study time (like the television should preferably be turned off; there can't be frequent visits to the refrigerator).

Children should be encouraged to know more about the subject they have learnt in class by finding new information from the internet together.

Live long and prosper everybody!

Special Feature

Reading habit on wane

Wasi, a BBA student of a private university, spends his spare time watching TV, playing the guitar or chatting with his friends. “After finishing my university classes, books do not attract me; rather watching television is more refreshing” Wasi said.

This is the general picture among today's youth. The habit of reading is waning rapidly among the today's youth. They are spending more time watching movies, talking over mobile phones, exploring the Internet and playing video games.

Now, people read, or more accurately, study, to obtain certificates with a view to achieving a respectable job. Reading for pleasure or as recreation, sadly, is very much out of fashion.

If we look at Dhaka New Market, once a haven for bibliophiles, we find that in the last five years seven bookstores, out of around twenty-five, have been transformed into shops selling stationery, homeopathy medicine, and into banks and gift shops.

Aziz Co-operative Super Market has around 25 bookstores that opened till 1993 since its inception in 1984. Other shops have developed in the last five years at Aziz -- around 15 sweetshops, 15 mobile and computer accessories dealers, 50 shops of surgical instruments and 200 boutiques; the ground floor is entirely dominated by leather goods' shops. The picture is quite clear.

At other plazas across the capital city, we hardly find bookstores, which reflect a lessening interest in reading, particularly among the younger generation.

According to sellers dealing in pirated books, only 1000 copies (pirated and original combined) of the first edition of Harry Potter was sold across the country when its price was Rupees 795 in India and Tk1300 in Bangladesh. The price of a pirated copy was Tk 200. On the other hand 10 thousand copies were sold only in Calcutta in a week.

Dr Dilruba Afroze, a psychology teacher of the University of Dhaka, has been a keen observer of people's lack of interests in reading for pleasure. “There was a time when people used to present books as wedding gifts, but now people frown at their sight even as a birthday present for a child. The culture of reading good books and sharing its contents is vanishing nowadays and overall the social value of books is on the decline.

“Besides this practice, due to technological advancements, people are less prone to both reading and writing. They get pictures, movies and other reading material on TV, the Internet, documentaries and films” Dr Dilruba said. “They get everything easily, while, in reading books people have to make time to concentrate and they have to think, which requires an extra effort,” she added.

“Besides these factors, non-academic engagement of today's youth has increased. They are more involved with music, dance and other extra curricular activities,” she also observed.

Price increases of books, the result of imposing high tax on book import, is another cause for declining reading habits, said some booksellers of Dhaka. There is a 4 percent Advance Income Tax, an Advance Trade VAT and a 5 percent tax on book import while computer imports enjoy an exemption from tax in Bangladesh.

There is no duty on book imports in India, said the aggrieved booksellers.

According to the traders in original editions, piracy is another reason for decreasing demand of original titles, because the pirated copies are sold for one-tenth the price of originals.

Mohammed Alauddin, another bookseller of Aziz Co-operative Super Market has been running his bookstore, 'Bidito' without any significant profit for the last eight years. Besides running the bookstore he also works in an advertising firm. “Running a bookstore is a passion for me. The families of my four staffs are dependent on this shop. For these reasons I have not closed this enterprise as yet,” said Alauddin.

A knowledge-based society cannot be developed without the habit of reading. As a nation it is a matter of great concern for us that this valuable culture is on the verge of vanishing. Thus concerned authorities related authority should work on to bring this culture back.

By Mahtabi Zaman
Photo: Lifestyle Archive

Ls Pick

Reading list

I if you're one of those bookworms who love to have their noses buried in a good book from time to time and you're done with all the books on your shelf, this is just the thing for you-a reading list of must-read classics, which will enrich your collection whether you have read them before or not.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley- Brave New World was written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540, the novel anticipates development in reproductive technology and sleep- learning techniques that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of futurism.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell- This is a 1949 dystopian novel by George Orwell about an oligarchical, collectivist society. As literary political fiction, Nineteen Eighty- Four is a classic novel of the social science fiction sub-genre.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad- Before its 1902 publication, Heart of Darkness appeared as a three-part series in Blackwood's magazine in 1899. It is widely regarded as a significant part of English Literature and part of the Western Canon.

The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James- This novel by Henry James was first published as a serial in the Atlantic Monthly and Macmillan's magazine in 1880-81 and then as book in 1881. It is one of James' most popular long novels, and is regarded by critics as one of his best.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy- Anna Karenina was published in serial instalments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical, The Russian Messenger. Tolstoy had disagreements with it's editor Mikhail Katkov over issues that arose in the final instalment; therefore, the novel's first appearance was in book form.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne- The Scarlet Letter is an 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered to be his magnum opus. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin and guilt.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert- Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert's first published novel and is considered his masterpiece. Though the basic plot is rather simple, even archetypal, the novels true art lies in its details and hidden patterns. Flaubert was notoriously a perfectionist about his writing.

Devdas by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhaya- The novel was published in serials in Bharatbarsha, a monthly magazine. It was published by GCS as a book on 30th June 1917. Devdas represents the mellowness of the adolescent passion, which is assassinated by the customary chains of the contemporary ethico- moral tradtition.

Gora by Rabindranath Tagore- This novel by Rabindranath Tagore is very complex to simply summarise in a few lines. The story is full of debates, arguments, comtemplation and reflections that may be interpreted in various ways. Rabindranath Tagore ideally attacks social taboos in this remarkable work.

Krishnakanter Will by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya- In this book, Bankim Chandra Chattapadhaya produces a complex plot. In that complexity, critics saw resemblance of western novels. The plot is somewhat akin to Poison Tree.



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