January 26, 2016

Miraculous Magnets

This activity was a totally unexpected one!!
I had bought some magnets for my craft work and didn't get a chance to work on them yet. It suddenly struck me to observe my toddler's reaction to magnets and it was super awesome.

The excitement and thrill that she carries all through the activity is simply adorable.

I placed all magnets on the floor and asked her to keep picking up one by one. The moment she was trying to pick the second one up, holding the first in hand already, the second one started moving away from her due to the cumulative magnetic field created by all other magnets (there were 10 magnets in total). And, this, surprised her. She giggled at how it moved and continued to catch hold of the magnets one by one.

As I was explaining that magnets were something that stick together and asked her to observe, she was purely amazed and continued playing with magnets for a real long time.

I also asked her to put them on the fridge along with giving her few currency coins that are also attracted by magnets.

She arranges the magnets in circular shape with one at the centre and says that's a flower!!








Even today, she loves playing with magnets and asks for them whenever it gets in her mind.



Look at how keen she looks when detaching the magnets. The interest that children have to learn something new should never be ignored. Make it a point to organise creative plays with them every now and then.

Hope you enjoyed reading this!

January 24, 2016

Are you teaching or controlling your child?



Does your child want to interfere in your daily house hold tasks? Does your child want to put her hand in the flour, try the knife, make some noise in the kitchen, handle the scissors? Do you find yourself always reacting with a sudden 'No! Don't do that'?

In all that your child wants to do, it is important to look for the intention behind her activity. It is only that she finds something new, being curious by nature, wants to try her hand at it, wants to learn how things work out. She would have been more happy if we showed her what that is and taught her how to handle it. It boosts her confidence, it boosts her trust in the parent, it boosts her self-esteem.

Is your crawling baby pulling down all the utensils in the kitchen and making sound? 

Show her how to make sound in a pattern. Give her a combination of plastic and steel bowls/spoons and ask her to notice the difference between the sounds she hears from plastic and steel. Give her few cups so that she could stack them up and punch them down. Give her some seeds, two bowls so that she could play pouring out.

Is your baby who is months old trying to pull out the kitchen cabinets and you are scared she could hurt her finger unknowingly? 

Teach her how to handle the drawer.Show her where the handle is, tell her that it is called as handle and that we need to hold it to pull it out or push it in. Explain to her that holding the drawer in any of the edges would hurt her finger. Show her while you try to gently close the drawer with your finger at the edge and then saying 'ouch, my finger was on the way and it hurts'.

Are you worried that she may keep opening/closing the drawer continuously? 

Well, you should let her understand the main purpose of drawer. Show her the things that could be stored in it. Tell her that we open a drawer only if we need to take something out and close it once our work is done. When she is trying to open the drawer, ask her what item she is interested to take from it, this provokes a thought in her gentle mind. If she answers, ask her to take it and close the drawer back. Mostly, she won't be able to answer what she wants concretely, in that case, following your question, suggest something too, would you want to take this spoon? Okay, take the spoon and put back the drawer. That is it! You are done. 

Is your baby who just began walking picking up stones/dirt along her way as she walks? 

Do not immediately scream 'No!' and forcibly pull it out from her. Be calm.  Okay, she picked up a stone. She was walking over and she spotted something on the way that she wanted to put her hand on. Be quick in reaction but don't panic, Before she wants it to put the stone in her mouth, come up with something like this.Oh, you picked up something! Do you want to look at it'? What is it? Just have a look and see how it feels. Oh! It is a stone, it is very hard and it is not clean. I don't think we can eat it. Just have a look at it and throw it away because it is not something we eat. You could then give examples of what we eat(like you can quote some fruit that your child likes). What do we usually eat? We eat apple, grapes, rice, curd, etc. But, this is neither an apple nor rice, we cannot eat it. 

Does your baby try to put her hand in hot (not very hot, of course) water as the bucket is being filled up for bath?

Show her the water, ask her if she wants to know how it feels, suggest her she could quickly dip in her finger and remove. Ask her if it is too hot. Tell her you could add some cold water to it to make it warmer. 

Does your child want to handle scissors/knife?

Well, you may need to wait for a while, but, 2 year old can be taught to handle scissors and knife (could be butter knife, or need to be more careful if it is the original knife).
You could read this - using scissors and using knife

Is it very cold and your child refuses to put the sweater on?

Last night it was very cold and A refused to wear her sweater for sleep. I put it on after she fell asleep. In the middle of night, she felt the zip to be uncomfortable and asked me to take it off. I did what she said. Also, she moved out her blanket. I didn't put it back on her. And it was still cold. After sometime, she asked for the blanket because she realised she was feeling cold. This - leaving it to your child to realise the purpose and importance of things we use is very important. Do not always force your child to be your way. 
Of course, if it is very cold, we try to put some winter wear on, but, make sure you try only to a limit. 

Does you child try to meddle with the cylinder or tries to reach up to the stove in kitchen?

These are not something that we intentionally keep at a child's reach, yet, I see my child trying to reach the stove when I am there. Explain to your child, stove is something that is very hot and dangerous. We cannot touch it with bare hands. It is very hot because we use it to cook rice and vegetables. 

Does your child stop by the walkway when you want to continue without interruption?

Go by her lead. Stop by her side. Ask her what she wants to observe. Ask her if she's hearing the birds chirping. Talk about the grass, the sky, the water and the clouds. Because, not every time does your child want to listen to these so-called trivial things in life.

Does your child stop by the window that she spots along the walkway?

Show her the reflection on the window pane. Tell her that there is shadow only when there is light. Explain to her what reflection is.

Remember to keep your tone low and rhythmic all this while. You have to speak in a frequency that the child understands, not your usual loud voice. 

I cannot really make the complete list of all that children try to learn, but, most of the time in a day, I can see A being curious about something and me explaining her about it. Give them the freedom to handle new things, by guiding them to handle the same in an organised manner. Their mental development is hampered when there is too much of control on what they should - shouldn't touch.

(I will try updating this post with what more we can try teaching our child instead of controlling them in their experiments)

Teaching how to handle knife

If not for parent's encouragement, there is nothing that can slow down a child's learning.

Well, I gave 2 yo A a banana and butter knife. She peeled the banana open, put it on a tray and cut pieces with the knife. She was very excited to do this as she learnt how to hold the knife and pierce it in the banana.

(Could not take pictures, will try to repeat this activity and get pictures this time)

January 22, 2016

Responsible vs Control - The fine line between them

Do you think you want to take control of your child's behaviour or do you feel responsible for your child's behaviour?

The first 6 years of any child's life is very crucial. These are the formative years of child's later life. During this period, their physical organs are still growing, the neurons are still making some new connections continuously, their mind is developing, they are constantly learning what's going around them and what they are supposed to do. Immediate family members play an important role in their learning experience. So, what do you think should be the parent's lifestyle?





Conscious parenting plays an important role in the parent-child relation. Being aware of yourself, being aware of your child, being aware of your behaviour, being aware of the way you talk, being aware that your child is saying the same words that you did, being aware that your child is talking in the same tone as you did, being aware that your child is learning how to lead life from the way you lead yours, being aware that you are responsible for your child's experiential learning.

Being responsible for your child is something very big to imagine, like, you are responsible for another human's behaviour? Isn't each of us responsible for our own behaviour? Who is ready to take the responsibility of another human's behaviour?

Think of it like this. When your baby is restless, whatever be the reason, the way to calm her down is the parent being calm about it first. Else, when baby is restless, the parent becomes restless, baby who is very quick and already observing what the parent is doing, how he/she is reacting to her needs, learns to become even more restless seeing her parent.

Now, think of how it had been if you were calm. If you were calm in your voice, consistent in what you are saying, it may definitely take time for your child to understand what you are saying but the immediate reaction that she learnt is not 'being restless' for sure. She takes time, she cannot comprehend all that you are saying in words, she needs affection to be shown at the moment, she needs some comfort, she needs the assurance that you are always with her to help her understand the situation and react accordingly all of which seize to exist once the parent reacts in a negative way(yelling or being restless) to child's behaviour.




Hence, the key point to understand is that when the child shows irritation in her actions, it is you who has to stay in control, forget about controlling your child. Read a related post here.

The primary point is, it is necessary to have the sense of responsibility that the child is learning every behavioural aspect from you. The way you talk, the way you eat, the way you act. All through the day, you are involved in many tasks of your child. Your child is constantly learning something from each of them. She learns how to eat from the way you feed her, she learns how to stay calm from the way you stay calm even when tired, she learns how to engage time in creative things from the way you engage your time, she learns, learns and keeps learning. More importantly, it is also required of us that we learn from our children.

Talking about just one point - the child learns how to engage time in creative things from the way you engage your time. Did you have T.V. time with your months baby lying beside you on the sofa and you glaring at the T.V.? She is just months old, most of the time sleeping, does not have ability to move or play much with an adult and more importantly, she is not calling you to engage her, she is just lying there looking at the roof for sometime, feeding and sleeping for the rest of the day, how else would you kill time? So, the parent resorts to T.V. or chatting over phone etc. But, the child is continuously watching what the parent does. She is learning what life is by looking at how their parents are living their life. She is learning that having video time is one important thing to do once she grows up.

All this while, if the parent was conscious of her parenting style, more aware of what the child learns and how the child learns, he/she would have spent the same video time in doing something more creative. Every moment that you spend with your child right from their infancy stage is very important and plays a crucial role in how they are going to spend their early childhood.

Some link to read about here.

I don't think anyone would disagree when I say - Kids never remember and cherish their favourite serial that they saw on television, instead they cherish every intimate moment spent with parents all through their life. They may not have the ability to express the same, but, their behaviour plays a major role in holding cues in this regard. Taking responsibility in the way one parents the child is very much needed right from infancy stage.

Do not focus your energy on thinking about how you can control your child. Do you think of controlling your child while feeding, controlling her while playing, controlling her when she becomes irritable, controlling her when she doesn't listen to what you say? Just leave about controlling your child. When the parent starts to realise the situation and stays calm about it, reacting in the right manner, the child herself starts learning how to stay calm and there doesn't arise any situation where one would have to control another.

Staying calm is the key here. Again, staying calm is not equivalent to permissive parenting, same as addressed in this post.

Having this affirmation in your mind may be helpful - I should be not be the reason for any of my child's negative thoughts. Also, I should always try my best in screening her from any negative thoughts by teaching her how to ignore and grow out of negativity present around us.



Hoping this post helps in creating more parents who become aware of their lifestyle, their children's' learning and lifestyle and experience the joy of respectful parenting.

January 21, 2016

Crawl under - Jump Over

This is a definite win-win game to play with toddlers.

Children for sure love jumping. They have immense energy within them with which they just want to keep exploring various ways to use it.

Offer an organised play and guide their energy towards learning.

This activity requires just a simple rod/stick.

I hold it to a certain height above the ground over which my child can jump.



And then, hold it little higher so that she needs to crawl to get to the other side




Also, more high so that the child would have to bend while walking to get to the other side. 




Your child will surely love this activity. Let them jump. Let them get dirty. Let them explore. Our duty is only to direct them towards learning.

January 20, 2016

Deco Banner

"for admitad velfrns12 23.02.2017"
Fabric painting done for A's 2nd birthday that can be used as background banner on the wall.


Art of Cutting

Scissors and kids. Do not scare children away from something that needs to be handled with extra care. Teach your child how to do it. If they don't get it at the first time, they will get it at the nth time, they are sure to learn more when they see more.

I explained to my daughter about scissors, the blades, that the blades are sharp with which it can cut paper etc. and showed her how to hold them right. She was excited to handle them and try cutting some paper. I guided her all along and it was some fun learning time for her.


Ice Painting

This one was very interesting not only to my daughter but also to me as I was trying to paint some ice cubes. That colour that was smeared over the ice cube seemed to be penetrating from within the transparent ice cubes due to multiple reflections of light rays that happen between our eye and the coloured ice cube.

Overall, it looked interesting to observe the coloured ice cubes.

Stacking Spoons

I usually collect the big sized spoon that comes along with detergent powder. After collecting a dozen of them, they are now used by my child to stack them up. Oh! Kids could create a play out of anything that you give them. You just need to have an eye and encourage with a positive mind.

Just observe how keen she is when separating the stacked spoons. It is not just with one but every child. Give them something to play that leads to their learning. It will surely interest them and help them stay focussed.

Spot On

Interesting one to play in the open area. This play helps in developing spontaneity in children.

On the ground, draw an approximately 3x5 square matrix and write down letters/numbers on each of them. Then ask your child to step on the letter that you would be calling out.

Start with calling out letters that are closer in proximity and gradually keep increasing the distance within every two letters along with speeding up the time you take to call out the next letter.

Your child is sure to find this interesting.










(Apologies for the poor quality of images)

January 19, 2016

Train with empty tins

Materials needed: Empty tins, thread,

Make holes across all the empty tins and pass them through a thread. Your toddler can hold on to the starting of the thread and pull it along as a train.



January 10, 2016

Bonding with your child


How do you spend time with your child? Let me start with listing all the to-do tasks that are routine as well as mandatory to be done everyday:
  • feeding
  • napping
  • cleaning
  • brushing
  • bathing
  • changing
  • cooking
  • playing
Do you have any time left for some one-on-one emotional bonding? Make sure you include this as well in the list as it is something more important than all the routine tasks that we do for children.

Yes, it is true that you are already tired and down with all the listed tasks along with some additional tantrums that you may have to handle on the way. But, bear in mind that every moment you are with your baby, your baby is connecting with you. She is learning what life is and how to handle things in life by seeing how well you handle your tasks in hand.

In a way, you can always be positively connected to your child while doing any of the routine tasks. Having much needed parent-baby time is also important for both parent and the baby.
By staying focussed on your baby, you help her stay focussed on her task and share some lovable moments even while carrying out all the routine tasks. Let me talk a little on each of the activities:

Feeding:

Do not use any techniques to divert your baby from food during feeding. Let her be involved in the process. You focus on your child and your child can focus on what she is supposed to do. Gradually, she will learn and do what is supposed to be done. It is only a matter of time that you need to be patient along. Talk to her about food. Talk to her about what she is going to play next. Talk to her about various things. Connect with her. Give her a hug when she's trying to take food with a spoon, reach until her mouth and she's happy that she could achieve it. Give her a hug even when she dropped the spoon half way through. Focus on your child and you can feel her happiness.

You can read more on feeding time here and here.




Bathing:

Well, you could create another play time while bathing. There are many bath toys available or you could get creative in your own way. Give her the soap if she asks for it. Tell her how to go about it. Talk to her about various things. Let her stay for a while if she still wants to play with water even after completing her bath. Do not forcefully get her out of the bathroom. Let her explore things with water, mug and a bucket. When it is really time to get her out , explain to her slowly that she could play the same the next day and it is now time to do this, or go out or whatever it may be. Be slow in your tone and the child is sure to understand. Be loud, your message is sure to go into deaf ears and hit hard on gentle minds.

This activity may be useful during bath time.

Brushing:

Well, brushing is something that looks very weird as well as exciting to a child. You show her how to brush by not just forcibly putting the brush into her mouth, or commanding her to brush, but, by you brushing your teeth in the same time and explaining her what it really is for. She is sure to learn by example.

Changing:

There is no limit to what you can talk to your baby. Your baby is definitely curious to learn more from you. While changing her, you could talk about what pictures the shirt has, which colour it is in, where you are going next and so on. Again, you could make any story out of the pictures present on the shirt. Stay focussed on your child and you are sure to connect more and more with her.

Napping:

Be gentle while putting a child to sleep. The thoughts they get while sleeping are very important. Do not threaten your child to sleep. Talk about her day, talk about the next day, tell bed time stories, try whatever, but, do not yell at her. The child develops an insecure feeling when she is being yelled at. Stay calm. Though a bit cranky and restless, late or early, she will surely fall asleep.

Cooking:

Have good thoughts while cooking. Never cook in frustration or disappointment. How much ever tired you are, stay calm, cook whatever is required with happy thoughts of your child in mind.




Playing:

After handling a restless baby for nap, tired baby for feed, cranky baby for bath, brush and cleaning, tired body while cooking, a baby who never stays at a place for more than a minute for changing, you may already be tired and down for the day, and may end up giving your child some blocks here and there, wishing to relax for a while before your baby wets her pant again. You may tend to have some TV time, or hang on the phone with someone, or just chat on the messenger.
But remember, some play time is also important for the baby. Try to be creative in what you offer your child for play.

You can find various play time ideas here.

Parent-baby time:

Is there any time left to fit this in your day? Your baby is already habituated with your feeding and napping habits. She wants to connect more with you. She wants to know more about you, learn from what you are and have some personal bond with you. Make sure you have some time for cuddling with your baby, talking about various things in life, what you both will be doing together some day and so on. There is really no limit to what you can talk to your child about. They are keen listeners and curious learners. You could tell her and teach her anything and everything. It is just a matter of time.





Remember, every minute in your child's life counts, she is constantly learning, every moment she spends with you is important. And, it is impossible to get back her childhood. Make sure you spend some quality time with her. Make sure she is offered some creative play, help her in doing things, show her new things around the house. Do not scare her from anything, but, explain to her what each item in the house is for and how we should use it. Always stay calm and gentle with your baby. She is still learning how to live. Lead by example and show her how colourful and happy life could be. Her thoughts are developed by your actions towards her. You may read this. She learns only by seeing you and not when you dictate rules to her.

You have to love your life, live your life lovingly, love the way you are living and your child is sure to learn how beautiful and loving life is.



You could read related posts here and here.


January 06, 2016

Teaching your child how to eat





We all have read and heard enough about how one should eat, why eating slowly is the way to eat, benefits of eating slowly and similar. But, how many of us implement the same in our eating habits? How many parents implement these principles while feeding their babies?


To quote a few articles here:

Often times it is very difficult to discern when it is that you are actually full. Because it takes time, not only for your brain to realize you are full but also for your stomach to become full.

Our stomachs initially are a lot smaller than we think, probably the size of your two hands placed on top of each other. It's just that our bodies are very resilient and will try to keep you alive no matter how much abuse you do to it. Whether it's drugs, physical damage, mental or emotional, or with food. You will somehow keep trucking.

You eat food, and you don't save any room, you eat and eat until you are full and satisfied. This is when the problem begins because, your stomach still needs to make room for water to hydrate you, and also room for the expansion of gases so you can digest the food. Basically meaning now that you have eliminated the room for digestion and water, your stomach has no choice but to expand. But this is also when sometimes you will have people vomit or run to the bathroom.
(Source: http://www.allouteffort.com/2013/04/why-eating-until-your-full-is-bad.html)

Conscious eating means eating with intention: intention to nourish your body, intention to honor your body, intention to respect your body, intention to love your body, intention to love your life. Don’t you want to live your best life possible? This starts with your body functioning at its best with the most energy possible

(Source: http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/7-ways-eat-consciously-transform-body-life/)


So slow down. Eat in a calm state. Chew your food. Savor each bite. Put your fork down in between your bites. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it’s full. When you slow down, you not only work together with your digestion, rather than against it, but you also absorb more of the nutrients from your food (meaning fewer cravings later). Stop eating in the car, on the phone, and on the go.
(Source: http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/7-ways-eat-consciously-transform-body-life/)

Aim for conscious eating every time you eat. Remember how wonderful and satisfying eating can be when you are fully conscious and fully aligned emotionally, physically and intellectually.
(Source: https://experiencelife.com/article/conscious-eating/)




The crux is, eating consciously, slowly with enough chewing is very important for both spiritual, mental and physical well being of the body.

We need to be involved while having our meal, have good thoughts about the meal, chew every bite, experience the taste and then swallow before going for the next bite. When eating along side watching TV, you are only focussed on what is happening on screen rather than seeing and experiencing what is present in your plate. You just keep pushing food in to your mouth. You are not making a conscious effort in chewing and swallowing, your taste buds do not fully experience the joy of eating, food is just pushed down the food canal and you end up over eating. Also, for whatever quantity that you have eaten, it is just that it passed down the food canal but neither your physical self nor spiritual self has experienced the real joy of eating.

Eat consciously, experience the food(by the senses of tongue, throat, stomach), listen to your body and you will stop eating at the right time.

Now, think about how you are feeding your child? What are you teaching her about food and eating?

It is not surprising to know that majority of parents divert their infant/toddler to video time and try feeding to their maximum capacity. And, when the child pauses eating as she is watching the video, she is immediately told to just eat what is put in the mouth so that she can have the next spoon.  Are we doing the right thing? Is the child asked to bite, chew and then swallow? Is the child asked to feel the taste of the food? Is the child taught to experience the joy of eating? Are you doing it right?


1.  The aim

Your aim in every feed should not be to get your child finish the entire meal that you have prepared for her, but, to teach the child to develop interest in the food that you prepared. While blind feeding your child, you may believe that whatever be the circumstance, your child has eaten and your job's done. Sadly though, it may not turn out to be the right way in a longer run. Think of what is the right thing to do. Once the child develops interest in the food you offer, even if she had just 3 spoons today, you can be sure that she would have 6 spoons the next day and then 10 spoons another day. She is a child. Give her time to learn. Learn to not just eat, but learn the tastes of all types of food that is prepared, learn how to eat right, learn to enjoy what she is eating.

So, your aim should be to get your child interested in the food you offer. Tell her what vegetable it is. Show any picture of the same. Try to relate her with that vegetable in multiple ways. You could tell her any story that involves her favourite animal eating the veggie and how good it enjoys the taste and so on. Ask her to just try tasting the food initially. Remember, the tone of your voice always matters when talking to children. You should have a curious as well as exciting tone while explaining things.

2. Show the meal

Before just putting the spoon in your child's mouth, show her what is in the plate. Explain to her how the veggie looks and tastes. Tell her how she has to eat it right.

3. Bite - Chew - Swallow

Get your child involved in her eating. Ask her to take a bite, chew it slowly and then swallow it gently. Ask her how the taste was. Let her explain in her own words.

4. Request, not order

How you talk to your child is always important in teaching the right behaviour to her. Do not summon your child to eat, do not threaten her while eating, do not raise your voice. Instead, tell her gently to just taste the food and see if she liked it or not. Meanwhile, you could also have a spoon of it and start explaining that it is really yummy in taste and she would like it too if she tried. As you build up her curiosity level, she is sure to follow your steps!

5. Talk about the food

As your child is having her meal, keep talking about the food she is having, how it is got from the field and that we have to be thankful for having the ability to eat whatever we are eating. She will surely learn more about the importance of food and also learn to be grateful in life.




Remember, as with the adults, even for children, physical health depends on the health of the mind. Children who tend to vomit while eating are not being taught to eat consciously. They are simply dumped with food and forced to swallow it quickly. This causes mental stress in the child that in turn is shown as vomit, cough, etc. while eating. 

You may also be interested in similar posts: feeding children lovingly and stressed out toddler in mealtime

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