May 30, 2016

How does parent's reaction matter?

I was getting A ready when we had to go out and A was not coming to me immediately. I waited for quite some time, but, she's been telling she'll be right there after doing this, after doing that etc and I kept waiting. Then she saw something(edible but she doesn't like to eat it) in a plate and put her hand in it. Already having waited for long time, I reacted saying 'That's not something you like to eat, please come here, A'. For which she said, 'one of it fell off the plate and I kept it in the plate, that's all amma'. And I replied, 'Oh, I'm sorry, I couldn't see what you were doing'. She came back to me with a big smile.

Yes, she had a reason for putting her hand in the plate. But from a parent's perspective, we may feel that she is only whiling away her time eventually delaying us. We immediately react with anger/irritation in our tone as a result of which both our's and the child's mood are spoiled. Each of us can imagine what could happen with our own child if we reacted in a negative way.

This scenario only reiterates the following points:

  • Yelling is never the right way to react.
  • Take a deep breathe and try to pose questions to your child for which she replies and you understand her better.
  • Remember, every moment, every situation you are in by your child side, it is an opportunity to develop a stronger connection with your child.
  • Before shooting up in anger, take a fraction of moment to think from the child's perspective and your anger vanishes. 
  • When there is no yelling in parenting, you will start appreciating your own self, your child and the bond you share better every day.
  • When there is neither irritation nor anger nor yelling, you transform to a happier self, understand simple scenarios in life from a third eye perspective and lead a happier life. 
  • As the child is only seeing a happy-mommy personality rather than an angry mommy or irritating mommy, the child learns to be happy, learns to deal tough things in life peacefully. 

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May 22, 2016

Coloring on Seeds

Children are always excited with colours. Try to create different activities that involve colours and observe how keenly they work with them.

Materials used: Litchi seeds, strips of paper, sketches, glue, boxes with different colored lids.

Here, I only cut strips of paper and helped A do the coloring while she was trying her best at it.

Next is, A was asked to apply glue on paper, stick it to litchi seed, put the seed in each box, close it with the same colour lid.

And, she repeated opening the boxes and sorting them with the right colored lids for quite sometime.

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Explaining the property of transparent

This one came as a total surprise to me. A, herself inverted a transparent cup on a small stone and showed me that she could see the stone through the cup. That is when I proceeded with inverting a solid cup over the same stone and told her she couldn't see the stone now.

That is what is called as transparent in matter.

Simple examples, simple observations, simple activities keep the child busy and learning.

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Plastic cover - Mirror image

This time, A just smeared blue and yellow paint on a plastic cover while observing that the combination of blue and yellow changed to green colour.

Later, she was asked to place a sheet of paper over the cover, press gently and remove it. Upon this, the mirror image of plastic cover is seen on paper.

You could stick various shapes on the cover before placing paper, there seems to be no limit to imagination.

This one may be the simplest version of this kind.

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Alphabet stamping

We have been trying to figure out all possible ways of making use of colours while trying different media to paint as well.

Materials needed: paints, plastic ABCs

This time, I asked A to mix two colours to form a third one and now she knows, when blue colour mixes with yellow it gives green colour.
The green colour seen in pics, is not the one we actually used for painting. A mixed yellow and blue colours that has turned green.

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Dropping toothpicks

Materials needed: empty can, lid with holes pierced.

I pierced some smaller holes in the lid and one big one at the center. A was given tooth [icks to drop through the hole one-by-one.

She noticed that the tooth pick didn't fit in the smaller hole but went through smoothly through the bigger one.

And this became an activity for 5 minutes * twice a day for 2 days for her.

You could also check out a related activity here.

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May 18, 2016

Conveying your message to a toddler

It was sleep time. I was already down half asleep. A went across the bed to have some water where she saw the water bottle that we use(bigger one) and wanted to keep it on the table.

A: I will keep this bottle on the table.

Me: (Half asleep) No. Don't keep it on the table.

A: I will keep this bottle on the table.

Me: No,no. Don't keep it on the table.

A: I will keep this bottle on the table.

Me: I need the bottle to drink water from, A. Please keep it nearer to the bed.

A: Oh, you need it to drink water. Ok, I will keep it here.
(coming back to her place to sleep)

Some points to take away from this incident:

  1. Kids need explanation for doing what they are asked/requested to do by us.
  2. Having a negative answer does not emphasise the need for that task that is asked for.
  3. Explain to them what they are trying to do and why it cannot be done by framing your answer in a positive way. 
  4. Be gentle while talking, do not yell, do not get irritated.
  5. What kids do in action actually depends on how you talk to them, your tone and the way you frame your words. 
  6. To actually understand what your child wants to do and what you want to convey, you have to get into your child's place and analyse her thoughts/actions as a child. Only then you can answer in a pleasing way that will eventually convince your child. 
  7. To take your child's place, you need to be conscious of what is happening around you, understand what the situation is- this is again an example of conscious parenting

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Toddler behaviour: scream and screech

A usually throws a shout when she tries to do something and it didn't work out well. Like, she tries to hang a towel over the hanger but the towel keeps slipping, she tries for more than a couple of times and if it is still not intact, next moment we see her screaming while showing her inability to do it properly. Or, another instance is, she indeed tried to hang the towel, got it successful in a couple of attempts and someone passes by, unknowingly picks up the same towel to wipe something. She is again seen screaming out loud saying, 'I just put it properly and you have removed it, why did you remove it?'. Or, she asks me to not touch something, and, when I am out of my mind and I do touch it, she is again screaming saying 'No...don't touch it'. In all these instances, by the word 'screaming' I don't mean the usual yelling adults do with anger, but the message that children try to convey adults in times of their inability to do something. That kind of screeching tone that kids carry while saying something and the like. In all such situations, I immediately gauge the situation, understand what she is trying to convey or what she wants, get her close to me and tell her that she could ask for the same this way, or convey the message this way, by screeching, one does not really understand what she is trying to say etc.

She repeats all that I say after me, though there has been a change in the way she wants to convey her message, she still screeches when something really gets over her.

As an example, what just happened today is:

A took around 3-4 toys, put it at some distance from me and said she would give each of them to me one by one.

A: Wait, I will put all these somewhere safe, and get one by one for you. You can hold them.

Me: OK.

A: Went around me, took the longer path to reach to that point where toys were kept, got one toy, handed over to me.

Me: OK, thank you.

A: Again, went around me, took the longer path to reach to that point where toys were kept, got one toy, handed over to me.

Me: OK, thank you.

A: Again, went around me.
(As she was talking to me while walking behind me, I totally forgot what she said and reached my hand to get one of the toys.)

A: (screeching) Why did you take it? I told you I would give you one by one. Why don't you put it there?

Me: Oops, sorry! I just forgot about it and was trying to take it. Here, I keep it back where it was. You please give me now. I took it because I actually forgot what you said, A, please don't scream. Sorry again!

A: Ok, I will keep it here(moved it further from me) and get you the toy this time.

(And, as she was coming back to me)

A: I just saw you touching the toy and I screamed out loud amma. Sorry!

Me: (got that feeling of connection with my child) Took her close to me, told her again that I actually forgot and whenever such incident happens, she needn't scream, she could tell amma and amma would understand.

A: (Ended the scene with a tight hug)

I would like to convey the following key points from this incident:

  1. I actually never yell at my child, still, she has the tendency of screeching to express her inability to do something. Every time it happened, I only kept talking to her consistently and being consistent in my behaviour. Do not yell back saying why she wants to scream always, do not get irritated, do not ignore. Every time your child is upset with something, that is actually an opportunity for you to make a connection, an emotional connection that is unique only to parent-child. 
  2. The many times such screeching incidents happened, I tried to explain the situation to her patiently, what she did, what she expected and what actually happened. Everytime she nods to me. Still, such incidents do repeat, because kids want to communicate some or the other helpless state of theirs to parents. Being consistent is the key. If not immediately, some time later, you will see a transformed behaviour. Not because you yelled or ordered to behave so, but because you have taught your child by behaving yourself. 
  3. The 'sorry' that she said to me in above incident, was neither forced nor asked for. She observed me(not just in this one scene, but, observing since birth) in all aspects of my behaviour, my talk and put the same into her practice.

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May 15, 2016

Another busy day when child needs parent's warmth

It was another usual busy morning. Too many tasks to do, too little time. A takes time to shift between tasks. Obviously, contextual switching in a child's brain does not happen as quickly as it happens in an adult's brain. They need time to understand the situation, they take time to do something. Once she wakes up, she takes time to get off the bed, she wants to roll over for one last time(1 for her but it is 5 for me), once she is off the bed she takes time to go to the washroom, once in it, she takes time to actually start brushing her teeth, so on and on.

This morning, she was her usual sleepy self after she got off the bed, she wanted me by her side so that she could relax more. As there was pending work, I came running to kitchen to finish off some final cooking and this got her upset.

Accepted, kids want their mom for that comfort feeling, it is a highly emotional bond to realise that she actually feels comfortable when I am with her. And, I ought to be with her, because not very long from this day, will she  reach a stage where she no more needs me every minute right from the moment she wakes up. She may still feel comfortable with me, but, that may not happen every minute we both are one-room distance apart. She may need me even after she is grown up and come to me when she needs a warm talk to comfort her. I am sure, this does not happen every minute in a day and I would be longing to talk to her then. How comfortable your grown-up child is to talk to you in times of personal/emotional needs depends on the connection you make with your tiny child who, you may feel, is most of the time fussy, messy and irritating. Being irritating is again the parents' perspective, but, for a child, she/he is longing for something, she/he wants to be understood, she/he wants to be caressed and assured that the parent is always by her side. Ask questions when she is upset, encourage her to answer, hold her warmly, hug her, and ask her what is it that she wants to do and explain to her if it is an untimely activity.

So, what did I do? I did the usual thing that I do to handle any of her tantrums. A came crying while running towards me standing in the kitchen. I took her close, sat on the floor, as she sat on my lap, showed her what I was making(i was grating something), asked her if she also wants to do mix-mix. While talking to her about various other things, I finished with grating. Asked her to wait there for a minute so that I could arrange other ingredients and she could do mix-mix. And she replied 'I will wait here, I will not cry, I will only wait here'. As I got up, I named all the ingredients that are to be added and she repeated each of them after me. I gave her a bowl with some rice, grated mango, next was turmeric when A saw me opening the box and she wanted to put it in bowl, I let her with a spoon and she happily did mix-mix those 3 ingredients in her bowl. Meanwhile, I finished making the actual dish. Then I asked her if she enjoyed doing mix-mix, asked her what all she mixed together, she was happy she did something along with amma.

Remember, as an adult, we are always busy, we have a hundred things to get done once our day starts. That way, our mind is always occupied. Never is it idle even for a minute, and if it is really idle, we all know how bored we get and start longing for company to share our time. Whereas for children, they do not have any agenda in mind. It is the parent who has to engage the child. If not engaged, they will try to do something to grab your attention, again, not out of any bad intention, but out of emotional need of a child to have her parent by her side. You cannot leave a child idle and expect her to sit silently until you come back. They are driven by enthusiasm to explore things, not by an intention to stay idle. Enjoy this phase as long as it lasts. One day, for sure, they will not even have time to say a single word before leaving for school/college and we would be disappointed that they didn't even wave a bye to us. 

Next, is, I asked A if she could come for bath and she happily held my finger, dragged me to the bathroom and the rest is peace.

Sometimes, it is those quiet one-one moments that resolve seemingly big mental upsets. Take time to talk to your child, take time to share her emotions. And, if you are really busy, get her involved in whatever you are doing at the moment. Do not worry of any mess that's going to happen. If you are handling 10 things, give her 3 things, get her involved, engage her, assure her mother is always by her side. Remember, whatever you do to your child, however you are handling her tantrums is the same way she is going to handle situations that come across in her life. 


May 08, 2016

Playing with magnets

'Magnets' - My child's favourite stuff now.
She was last shown magnets when she was 18 months and now she is 2 year 3 months. She jumped with joy upon looking at the magnets and started sticking them in various ways, playing with them.

Following are the ways I guided her to play with magnets:

  1. Put them on fridge, door knob, door handle etc and check if it sticks to them.
  2. Make shapes out of magnets by sticking them on a magnetic board.
  3. Stick magnets by the circumference, make them stand on the floor, call it a bus or train depending on the number of magnets she put together. 
  4. Place a magnet on floor, hover another magnet just on top of it but do not go close to it and see how the one on floor keeps moving away from the hand(repel).
  5. Arrange magnets in shape on fridge.

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Empty foil roll

I had a aluminium foil roll that was completely used up and here's what I did:

1. Stick it on the wall in an inclined position, ask your child to pass a ball from its top end and ask her how it was coming out from the other end.

2. Materials used: empty foil roll, lan cable, empty bottle

Ask your child to insert the lan cable into foil, push it in and pull it from the other side.
Insert the same lan cable into an empty water bottle, push it in, there's nothing to pull from the other side.

The wire passes through the roll and comes out from the other end only because there is an opening/hole at that side, whereas for the bottle, there is only one opening and the wire cannot come out from the other side.

My child liked this activity of pushing the wire from one side and pulling it from the other side so much that she not only played for a long time but showed the same to couple of guests who visited our house the next two days.

For a while, she pushes the wire at one end and asks me to pull it from the other side and giggles at it.

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Finger Figures

This one is not exactly same as playing with finger puppets but similar to it. It introduces new ways of playing, creativity as you can ask your child which figure she wants to stick on their finger, what she wants to ask? etc.

I made limited number of these, but, you could make just as many as you like to. You can draw your child's favourite characters, animals to make funny animals sounds, whatever on a small sticky note and stick them to your/child finger. Then there are various ways to play with finger puppets/figures.

  • Make a story out of the figures and enact
  • Hide your finger behind you and sing the famous 'Where is doggy, where is doggy', here I am, here I am, and then ask funny questions like what sound do you make doggy? what do you want to eat doggy? how are you doing doggy? or anything else depending on your child's thoughts at that moment and try to keep it funny.

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Introducing fractions - Explaining Half

This one was very interesting for my child. She took time to understand my gestures as I was showing what half really means, but, once she could catch up to it, she answered all my twisted questions about what half is quite correctly.

I made the following pieces of rectangles, by using A4 sheet and different colours for each of it. Second step is to show another A4 cut into same number of pieces but with no colour so that she can relate to the concept of half without colour differentiation. Obviously, kids will recognise them as well. It is never too early for the kids to learn new concepts and it is never too late for us to learn new ideas.

Following are the ways I tried to explain what half is:

  • Showed what half a rectangle is with my hand put at the center of it
  • Then over lapped one of the halves separated by my hand with its half sized rectangle
  • Told her this is what it means, when I say, half A, half amma for anything
  • Overlapped a smaller sized paper (not half) and told her it didn't occupy the entire half, it is  another smaller piece and asked her to pick the one that occupied half of the parent rectangle)
  • Showed what half means using building blocks too so that she can relate this concept to various objects(not confined to just coloured papers)
  •  I use the word half not just by my mouth but a conscious mind and make her conscious too of my usage of the word 'half' by showing her how I cut a roti/dosa to half
  • Show her and ask her to fold a piece of paper to half

You could also paste these cut papers on cardboard for preserving them better.

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May 04, 2016

Filling up water bottle

My daughter simply loves to do all that I do around her, more so, if it has colours or water associated. Who doesn't like to play with water?

So, I decided, I could as well guide her in learning something and asked her to scoop out water from a bucket with glass and pour it inside the water bottle. I was amazed at the amount of concentration she carried all along the activity. Of course, some water spilled out, but, the amount that spilled out gradually lessened as she understood the mechanics of pouring water.

Also, once the bottle was filled up, she emptied it back in bucket, during which, she tilted the bottle from the edge of bucket that is across her, the opening of bottle was facing her which made the water pour out on her for which she said 'Ayyooo, I am getting wet'. That is when I explained her how she was holding and the direction of water pouring out and asked her to empty the bottle by holding it by edge of bucket not across her, but, by the side of her and water poured out right inside the bucket.

She played for quite some time.

Unfortunately, I could not capture many good clarity pictures.

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