April 17, 2016

Vegetable art

Anything related to clours, more specifically to paint, would interest a child. You could try various media and methods to use the same colours on paper. One of such is this:

  • Cut any vegetable
  • Dip one side in paint 
  • Stamp on paper 
I tried using ladies finger, Ridge gourd and beetroot to create:




Numbers - Tracing and Colouring

A really liked to do this one as she wanted to do everything on her own.

Materials needed: Gum/Glue, Pencil, Paper, Coloured powder

What I did was:


  • Ask A which number she wanted to trace
  • Write the number on paper
  • A applied glue with the applier by finely moving the bristles over the shape of the number while simultaneously telling out what she was applying on - standing line, sleeping line, curved line
  • Pour some amount of coloured powder over the glue and spread evenly. 
  • Remove excess powder by gently tilting the paper to one side 
  • And she exclaims, ' Oh! we got number 3 shape' , 'Oh! we got number 8 shape' etc.


Here are the pictures:



This is the glue bottle that was used. (The applier has bristles that the child would be interested to use)


April 14, 2016

Time - kids vs adults

As usual evening routine, yesterday too, A said she wants to go to the swim pool and  I took her. She spent around 50 mins in the pool, playing actively for little time but for some good amount of time, she was just resting her chin on the swim tube and floating around while smiling all the way, raising her toes to above the water level and touching them with hand, moving by the water flow and not actively swimming.

I tried to talk to her and get her attention to swimming but noticed her unwillingness for an active play. May be she just wanted to relax in the pool, is what I thought as I kept watching her enjoy the time. One thing she actively did was turning around in the pool water - was just amazing to see her giggle doing it. She wants to rest some time, wanted to do something else another time, neither of which I expected her to do nor did I ask her to do. An adult could feel, the kid is not actively swimming, they could as well leave the pool that moment and do something else, her time is only going waste, etc.

I also recalled similar such instances when A is not very actively doing what she wants to do. Reason is not lack of her interest but kids do not want to hurry, they enjoy every moment in their own style. But for us, adults, time is precious, time is never enough for us.

As an example, A wants me to take her to the park, but she once walked very slow towards the lift. Upon asking her what she wanted to do, she said she was walking slowly like a tortoise. So, it is not a lack of interest that she was walking slowly but she simply wanted to walk slow, that's all. No big reasons. Kids want to do a particular thing in their own style. They expect encouragement and guidance from an adult, not rules and rushing up at the moment.

In a related context, let's talk about this scenario: it's time to go out, you prepare your child, get ready, wear your shoes and your child refuses to wear shoes, refuses to move a bit, say, from the chair. She is playing something, she wants to continue doing it. Contextual switching in children's mind doesn't happen as fast as it happens in adults. It takes time for her to put the toy aside, get down the chair, come to shoe stand, wear her shoes - for her it is just time and she is enjoying every moment, for us, it is TIME, most important, cannot waste even a minute, we just need to rush and get the thing done. The parent yells to just get out of the chair, kid is hurt because of the yelling, as a response, she, with an increased will, starts refusing to do that is asked to do. It becomes a battle between two individuals. What did the child want? Gentle talk to understand the need of the situation. What did the child get? Battle of words. What did the child lose? Calm and happy mind. What did the parent get? Temper tantrums. And we say, children are annoying and difficult to handle, children do not listen to us at all, children always want their way, my kid is becoming adamant, my kid is becoming rude and much more.

Kids need time. Give them time. Give them YOUR time. All that makes them happy is the connection they develop with parent and to achieve a positive connection, you need to invest time in children, not only while feeding, bathing or doing regular chores, but also when they are upset, when they want your support, when they need your emotional bond.
You could read related articles empathy, parenting and bonding with your child.

Solution:
In many such situations, questioning and talking to your child is the key point. Ask her what she wants to do. Ask her if she can leave the toy in a minute and wear shoes, for which I usually receive replies like 'OK, this is one last time I am going to press the key and wear my shoes'. I wait for her, here patience is the key. Sometimes, the last time lasts for 5-6 times :).  Remember, kids may be easily diverted, say, she saw something else on her way to door and she wants that. You could tell her she can always come back and play with it. She will have time for everything, just that, now it is time to go out.

Keep a set of hand-sized books/toys handy that your children could carry around when outside. This engages them as well as keeps them entertained for some time. Remember, you might be having work outside, say, in grocery store, you have an agenda to do, you have a list to buy, that way your mind is engaged. But, how is your child's mind engaged? Continue to keep talking to her about everything around, all items in the store, tell her what each one is used for, involve her in taking an item out of the rack and tell her to just take one of it, the house needs just one of it. show her those items like floor/toilet cleaners that are dangerous and she should not immediately touch them . That way, she keeps learning what items are safe for her to carry and what are not. Once the child's mind is not engaged, it is when they want to catch attention of parent, they suddenly start a temper tantrum, sole reason being their mind was idle and they need their parents' time.





April 03, 2016

Play and Mess around - What is your role?

This time A wanted to wash dishes. And, yes, I let her do. Of course, with my supervision and it was plain water that she used. But, soon she will also be offered a scrub with soap, for her to actually observe the effect of what washing is.












Here, she had a make-believe play. This is one play methodology children implement. She imitated me warming a glass of hot milk by putting it in water. She claimed that the water was milk and she was stirring it up to warm it a bit like how amma does.



Well, this was not a planned activity. She asked me for some water and a vessel. As I was over looking her waiting to see what she would be doing, she started with taking each bowl from the basket of utensils and washing them one by one. As I observed her keenly on how focussed she was while doing what she was doing, I was really surprised and started asking questions on what she was doing and what she noticed was happening. She, very eagerly told me she was holding the bowl in one manner and poured water until the bottom was filled, wiped with hand and poured the water out.

Then I noticed that she poured water very carefully only until the rim of the lid, wiped the lid off and poured out the water. Repeat. There's a whole lot of concept behind whatever children do. Lot of coordination goes into what they are actually doing. They have got immense energy to explore their surrounding, learn from what their parents do, imitate them, have keen focus, more than what the parent usually has, observe why things happen the way they happen, try their hand at it and learn a whole lot of new things practically.

There is also a Montessori system of education where they impart practical life lessons to children like making them mop the floor, wash the dishes etc., that is called as child-led learning and there's a reason for all this. You can read some articles that highlight the importance of such lessons:

http://childledlife.com/washing-dishes/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWe7eLt6NQY
http://www.montessoriservices.com/practical-life/washing-cleaning
http://montessorionthedouble.com/2013/09/10/2-5-year-old-washing-dishes-and-loading-the-dishwasher/
http://www.infomontessori.com/practical-life/care-of-the-environment-washing-a-table.htm

On a related context, A enjoys mopping the floor.
She first notices the water on floor, wipes the water with a dry cloth, notices that the water vanished from floor, that is when I explain to her that the water got absorbed into this dry cloth and hence the cloth has become wet. She again tried to wipe the floor with the same wet cloth and I again explained her that, wet cloth cannot be used to wipe water because it is already filled up with water, you can squeeze the water out and use it for wiping. She enjoys this part.

Recently, when she sat down to paint something and she accidentally spilled out some water that she was using to paint, she immediately looked for a wiping cloth, wiped clean the entire floor with not even one spot of wetness or colour remaining and put away the wet cloth. All this while I was peacefully sitting at a visible distance from her, with neither any hint nor yelling nor irritation from my side. She knows what happened and what she has to do to clean it up. I never yelled for making a mess nor ordered her to clean up. She learned to do what has to be done only by observing a patient parent and not by rules.

Always be willing to offer various activities, play time for the child to experiment. Do not worry of the mess they are going to make of it. If you are patient the first time and clean up the mess without getting irritated or yelling at them, they will be more than ready to learn your way of cleaning the mess and clean it up themselves the next time. It is only a matter of time. Stay calm and see your child bloom to her/his full potential filled with positivity.

So, next time your child messes around or spills over some water, please stay calm. It is the immense energy that they have and they do not exactly know how to use it. Do not get irritated, do not go murmuring or yelling saying, this mess is exactly the reason you didn't want to give water/paint/any play to your child but she insisted and you had to give her, and now you are the one who has to do the cleaning etc. and lot more similar yelling that usual parents do.

Be a unique parent and you will definitely see a unique little child with beautiful soul growing up in your guidance. 

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