chalk on sidewalk that says

Social Distancing: 5 things to do now that can make life better later

By Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 8 min

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

Want to know more? Check out our story and our products

Social Distancing

When life gives you more lemons than you know what to do with … make the largest, sweetest pitcher of lemonade you’ve ever made! 

As a pediatrician my job is to keep people safe, encourage healthy habits, diagnose health problems and provide solutions to those problems, and encourage parents to nurture their children from birth in order to create positive lasting habits. 

As a mom of three, I try to listen to my own advice (easier said than done)!

I’m homeschooling our kids. I am working night shifts as a pediatric hospitalist. And my start-up dinnerware line, Ahimsa, is hitting roadblocks like companies around the world. We know this virus’s impact is so far-reaching in so many ways. Our struggles pale in comparison to many. It’s important to keep perspective and we daily give thanks for the blessings in our lives. 

If we look at what is devastating right now, it’s easy to miss opportunities we’ve been given. We are getting time with our families like never before. Moments to cherish. A time in our life we will never forget. So, how do you want it to be remembered? How do you want your children to remember it? I know I want them to remember home. Family. Love. Laughter. Togetherness.

Here are a few takeaways to consider - things that can have a lasting impact on your children in a positive way. 

1. Family Meals

Did you know that having at least three meals together as a family each week is proven to lead to healthier habits in children as they grow up? According to the Journal ‘Pediatrics,’ children are “more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together. 

Most of us have no choice but to be at home for dinner these days. Whether it’s a home-cooked meal or takeout, just sitting around the table together sharing that meal is impacting your children more than you might imagine. So, turn off the TVs, ask each other questions and get your children’s brain juices flowing with conversation. Residually, you may learn something about each other that you never knew! For dinner topic ideas follow Ahimsa on social media. We’ve created a #DineAndDish campaign with dinner conversation questions. Ask your family just one and you’ll be amazed at the answers and follow-up questions that may follow!

2. Less is More

There really is no room for superficiality these days. We’re just trying to survive. No place to get all dolled up to go to, no one to impress (regular showers don’t hurt though!). All we need is each other. Our families. 

During this time, you may be feeling different kinds of pressures like financial stress, cabin fever, etc. But just stop for a moment and take a deep breath. There is NO one you have to impress right now. You can just be yourself and completely tap back into the person you may have forgotten. I encourage you to reach deep into yourself and “meet” yourself all over again. You might be surprised who you find and how that can make you a better, in-tune parent. This also ties into self-care. Instead of a date with the nail salon, have a date with your bathtub, good book or your meditation/prayer app. Just a few minutes can do a world of wonder on your psyche. This can help with your patience and stress management once real life starts back up.

3. Cultivate Family Traditions

Often times, the things we would enjoy most with our families take a back seat to the overwhelming obligations of work, travel, activities etc. Right now is a perfect time to define what is most important to you and your family and stick with those priorities once the world begins to function again.

According to Childhelp, traditions help “bond us to those we love” and “play a role in shaping a child’s personal identity.” Ellen Galinsky, author of Ask The Children and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute surveyed children, asking them what they would remember most about their childhood. Most of the kids responded by describing everyday traditions like family dinners, bedtime stories and watching television shows together. Happy childhood memories offer positive benefits that children take with them long into adulthood.

This “tradition” can be something simple. At our house we have “pancake Saturday” every single week. It’s something my children look forward to and they are now beginning to help me make the batter, etc. Friday Family Game night has been a long standing tradition of ours as well. But If pancakes and games aren’t your thing, maybe it’s a movie night, a song you sing each morning … anything to provide some sort of ritual. What do you remember most about your childhood? Think about that and know it’s likely something your children would remember too.

4. Hygiene! 

Right now we are hyper aware of germs. Instead of using this as a time to instill fear, make it a time for teaching best practices when it comes to hygiene. Frequent hand washing shouldn’t stop once social distancing is over. There are many, serious diseases that still lurk all around us that can be kept at bay with simple measures that are front of mind these days.

My children have two doctors as parents so proper handwashing is engrained in them. We hear the "Happy Birthday" song a lot each day! (click here for an adorable handwashing tutorial from one of our March blogs). Now’s the time to reinforce that. We don’t need to associate it with COVID-19. Associate it with germs in general. Being clean so they can keep themselves and others healthy for years to come.

5. Sleep

Right now is a great time to get your family on a sleep routine! If this is something you have historically struggled with, right now there are fewer excuses. Sleep has healing powers that are immeasurable. Here is a great guide from about how much sleep your child needs at varying ages.

It could be a good time for you to create some sleep structure for yourself as well. Routine isn’t only beneficial for children. It is crucial for we adults as well. According to Harvard University, Scientists have discovered that sleep “plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions.”

So while I know these are challenging times, maybe it’s an opportunity to slow down, reprioritize, reconnect with our families and focus on our health. With so much out of our own control, let’s do what we can do … Let’s love more than we have loved before … 

“Where there is love, there is life” - Gandhi


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Using Meals to Teach & Connect

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

Mealtime Essentials from Ahimsa

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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