Kids, instinctively, take to colour. Give a child a crayon or a tube, don't impose any rules of usage and you'll witness delight in its purest, most unadulterated form. Children and colours, there's a happy connection there. However, while it's great to lighten up and let the kids run-amok with the colours, there are some basic safety rules you should follow. Also, it's best to use organic colours made from vegetables and flowers (better still, make them at home. To learn how, click here). There are immense benefits to this. Not only are these much easier to wash off afterwards, but they are not harmful for the skin.
Here are a few safety measures to take this Holi.
Before going out, put mustard oil on the body.
My first memories of Holi are of my mother preparing us for the "war" outside. She would rub oil on our hair and bodies, despite our united protests. Later, of course, we'd thank her. The oil keeps the colour from penetrating into your hair and skin. It basically forms a protective layer and makes post-Holi scrubbing much easier. This is an important first step you must take because some the chemical used in the colours are harmful for the skin.
Don't let them into public places without an adult
Anyone who has played Holi will tell you that there is this free-for-all environment that a lot of people take advantage of. It can, many-a-times, be difficult to duck the crowds who want to lather you with colour and manhandle you in the process. Do not send your child unaccompanied to public parks. It's best to stay with the kids-play as a family in the colony and keep a watch on them.
Don't let them drive or even ride in cars with their friends
If you have teenage kids, chances are they'll want to do their own thing with their friends. It's time to play bad cop. Holi tends to have this thrill-factor and older kids sometimes get caught in situations where they are all in a speeding car that some friends' parents have allowed for the day. Don't be that parent and don't let your child get into one of those cars. Allow them to play together, but in your presence. They'll rebel, of course, but stand your ground. Letting them out of your sight on a day when there is bound to be rowdy behaviour is not a great idea.
Protect their eyes
Gulaal is terrible for the eyes. The truth is that most of the Holi colours found in the market, barring the natural ones, are not meant to be used on people. They are made from, amongst other toxic chemicals, acids and powdered glass. At all costs, your kids' eyes must be protected from the Holi colours. Tell the kids to avoid the eye area while playing. If, by any chance, colour does get into the eyes, wash them thoroughly at once. Watch for redness and take her to the doctor if irritation and persists.
Say no to balloons-no means no
Water balloons are fun, maybe, but they have the potential of injuring people, especially if hit on the ears or eyes. Discourage your child to play with these. Instead, get some fun pichkaris-the markets are full of them these days. A bit of water squirt is a much more civilised way of playing Holi. Also, it's far more eco-friendly. To read more about eco-friendly ways to play Holi, click here.
Holi does not need to be a raucous event. By all means, let your children run around and enjoy the day, but there is a fine line between fun and offensiveness. It's for you to point out that line to your kids.