January 25, 2017

Show some love

All that one needs is love.

Every person in this universe wants to love and be loved right from the moment of their birth until the last breath and beyond. Where one finds love may vary with each person, but, ultimately it is love that everyone is looking for. One may find love with his/her companion. Another may find love with the parents. Another may find love with his/her pet. Another may find love with his/her career. Another may find love in some hobby. Another may find love within himself. Whoever it is and whatever their main job is, everyone wants to be surrounded by love.

Why? Because in love, there is warmth. In love, there is comfort. In love, there is trust. In love, there is understanding. In love, there is respect. In love, there is peace. In love, there is positivity. In love, there is bliss. In love, there is life.

When we do not like a specific environment we tend to stay away from it. We are always attracted towards something that gives us comfort and treats us well. There may be a feeling that it is an adult's right to feel so and choose as per his/her wish. The same principle holds true for children as well. All that the child looks for in their relationship with parents is love and support. Right from the moment the child is born(in womb) she/he craves for comfort and warmth. The child chooses to stay with people who provide warmth and stay away from those who she/he feels uncomfortable with.

Love is a form of energy and it can in turn take many forms. Your love can be expressed in many ways.

When the child is throwing tantrum, all that she needs is love(in form or understanding), not an impulsive negative frustrating reaction from her care takers. And, she is sure to continue the tantrum until she gets some comfort from her surrounding.

When the child has absent mindedly smeared paint all over her hand along with spreading the same on floor, all she is looking for is love(in form of support or guidance) as to how she could have handled it, not a big shout about why she did it. Even she doesn't know why she actually messed up. Messing up was not a part of her intention. Sure, if you had yelled at her first attempt, she would definitely keep repeating the same mess until she receives love from you. Until the parent calms down, sees through child's frequency and guides her on how she could handle her play, the child continues to do the same mess.

When the child has dropped something unknowingly which caused a crack, again, all that the child needs is love (in form of understanding), not an impulsive angry shout.

When the child is overly tired and cranky because of her inability to fall asleep, all that the child needs is love(in form of warmth), not screams and shouts.

When the child is crying over seemingly trivial things like not moving to brush/bath, not eating, wearing clothes etc, all that the child needs is love(in form of respect). You could ask questions, provide alternatives, ask what she wants to choose and respect her decision instead of enforcing her.

When the child is cranky/crying or showing irritation at the end of the day because of her inability to talk out her tiredness/discomfort/problem, all that she needs is love(in form of understanding), not a frustrating reply for her behaviour.

A wise man once said:
Love as Thought is Truth.
Love as Action is Right Conduct.
Love as Understanding is Peace.
Love as Feeling is Non-violence.

Let us not become violent and in turn raise our children into violent adults.

Hence, when something's not going well, or you are facing increasing tantrums, pause yourself, think over what has been happening over past few days and how your reaction was, judge if it was the right one and change it for the betterment of yourself, your child and the relation you share. Show some love.

January 23, 2017

Love multiplied!!



Dear second child(newborn/infant),

I love you as much as I love your sister. Though the way I show it for you may be different than the one your sister experienced, please trust me, with your arrival in our lives, my love has nothing but multiplied immensely. Though I wish to convey the same in my everyday interaction with you, I am not sure whether I am able to do it as perfectly as I think of it.

Today, as you dozed off to sleep in my lap holding my thumb finger tightly with your tiny palm, I encircled your palm with my other four fingers, held your hand tight along with all the tenderness, took it close to my heart, with the emotions hitting the highest peak, wept silently for sometime.
Yes, I have my whole life dedicated for your well being, just that, I may not be able to convey the same, right at this moment.

All through the time I am with you, as I recall how I was 2yr 10months back, I do notice good amount of difference between the way I handled your sister back then and you now. However, I do aim to perfect my role and doing my best for the present scenario.

I constantly want to talk to you, but, I may not be making proper eye contact all through the while since I am also narrating the story your sister had asked for. As I keep enacting the story for her, I am silently smiling at you only to listen to your coo as a response to my silent smile. Sorry, if you thought I didn't respond to you immediately.

I am saddened when I see you calling for me while I am busy feeding your sister. I do not wish to keep you waiting for any reason. I would always want to have continuous touch with you. Sorry, if you are disappointed with my response time. Please trust me. I ensure my presence for you in case of any need.

I keep counting seconds until I take you in my arms, while you are busy looking for me when I attend to your sister's needs. I wish there was a clone of me who would always stay close by and provide all the warmth.

You may be simply lying on my lap waiting for me to talk to you, while I am in a pretend-play with your sister. Believe me, my soul does concentrate on both the play and you in my lap looking around and drags my sight towards you intermittently.

As I also keep talking to your sister about how, in months time, you would be better able to play with her and do the many number of activities that she is doing now, she gets excited and adds that she would play with you and no longer call for me then. She would teach you the activity and play in your company. Everyone around you loves you and wants to spend time with you. As you grow from infant to a year old and beyond, hope you will be able to understand our intention and share your love and goodness around.

-
Your loving mother

P.S. Life is awesome, surrounded by two children, I am having goosebumps and wet eyes as I write this.

January 20, 2017

Providing opportunities or rushing things?

There are many instances when children would want to try their hand at doing things. We, as parents, need to mentally freeze time, should not rush things, and allow the child to do what they wished to.

Instead, if you get irritated and react with frustration in your tone, it sends out a disappointing signal to your child. Children look for encouragement. Give them your time and let them try new things. They may fail the first time and many times. The point that your child had actually thought of trying her hand at something is to be treasured and taken forward. Their failed attempts may make you wait eventually losing your patience. No matter what they are trying, do not react in a negative way, do not show your irritation in your face or voice. Encourage them. Teach them to learn things. And most importantly, learn from them. Children are great teachers.

A usually keeps pouring water from one bottle to other. If there is any water spillage, she simply wipes it off with cloth too. She is not scared that she's going to hear loud voice from mother if water spills, instead, she knows how the spill can be cleaned, the solution for it. And after few attempts, there is no more spillage of water. She is now able to pour water by holding up one bottle and tilting on the other in the right angle.

Even a while ago, when sleep time was nearing and I put on a sweater for her, she opened up all 10 buttons and closed them back herself. It took time. Lot of time in the parent's perspective. With an infant on my lap and eyes constantly looking at the clock, my mind said, it is getting past sleep time for A. I kept saying to A, try it one more time, if you can't, I'll close it. She kept saying, I'll do it, I'll do it. I waited. Waited for quite some time. She finished it and exclaimed. Even some time after the sleep process has started, she recalled this and told me with a wide smile that she buttoned up her sweater all by herself. Sometimes, and with kids, all the time (depending on urgency of situation, of course), you need to wait, close your eyes, relax, do not rush, give them time, encourage, guide them, and wait for them to finish it off with perfection.

When your child says,

I'll put the key in key hole, show her the position in which key is to be held and the way it needs to be inserted.

I'll pour water from bottle to glass, let her. Do not worry of the mess it would likely create.

I'll cut the tag with scissors, let her. Ask her to notice if that's hard or OK to cut, she is always welcome to try and if she feels it is hard you can do it.

I'll open the jar, let her. Show her how she has to hold the jar, how holding it inclined will make the content to fall out.

I'll wear my shoes, let her.

And many more...

Ice cubes painting

I offered this a couple of times and ananya enjoyed every time she played with. Also, her imagination and the kind of play with ice cubes kept changing every time she played with it.

Today, I made her do it from scratch.

Prepare coloured water for which I used beetroot for the red colour and edible colour powder for orange ones.

Pour it in tray carefully so that the water doesn't spill out the cube. She was a true expert in doing this which I had not expected. She stopped pouring right before the cube was about to get filled. Kids are awesome learners. They only crave for the right environment to be provided and a loving guidance.

Get a step stool, open fridge door, put the tray in its place. Wait for some time.

After around 20 minutes, get four toothpicks, insert two in each of the coloured cubes, show her that ice formation is not yet complete, it is still soft and watery inside. Put back the tray. Close fridge. Again, wait.

Open the fridge, remove the tray, play with the coloured cubes.

Paper stencils - painting

Fold paper multiple times and punch holes in uniform manner. Now open the paper, place it on an empty sheet and ask your child to colour all over the top one. When finished,  remove the stencil paper and show her the pattern in which paint was smeared on the bottom sheet. Explain the same by showing her the holes on the stencil sheet and dots on the bottom one.

You could make stencils of various shapes/objects by simple cutting. I tried making a  diamond, a rectangle and an ice cream.

January 10, 2017

Drop it down the cone

Drop it down the cone

This is a very simple activity that needs newspaper and some round shaped objects like bangles.

Make a cone by rolling the newspaper in a slant way and tape the ends. Ask your child to drop the rings/bangles into the cone. Older children may try dropping the ring from a distance.


January 09, 2017

Handling hyperactive toddler

Do you have a hyperactive toddler? Is your child being aggressive in his behaviour? Is aggression common in young children? How do parents deal with aggression in children?

Children have a WHOLE LOT of energy within them and have NIL knowledge about what they could use the immense energy for, how they could engage themselves and learn something from it.

Who else would guide them other than parents? Yes, it is again the parents' responsibility to guide their child, nurture her with love and show ways on how she could engage her enthusiastic and explorable self. If not provided with any creative activity or something new to be explored upon, children tend to expel all their energy in some or the other way which is most of the times destructive in nature - jumping on bed, hopping on cushions/sofa sets, running around wild all over the house, swinging legs in air, pulling things down and many more. Why do children do all this? Because, they do not know how to effectively use their time and energy, they do not know that they are infinitely many things in the world and they can learn starting with simple things, as simple as, punching holes on a sheet of paper, cutting soft fruit like banana with safe knife, filling the water bottles. They do not even know the existence of most of our daily utility objects. Overall, all that kids want, is to explore the world around them and for this, parent needs to spend time and effectively engage the child all the while. 

When a trace of aggression is observed in your child, first thing you do, is DO NOT panic. 
Do not yell. Do not open your eyes wide. Gently take your child towards you and ask her what she would want to do and offer her some choices as she won't be able to talk her mind out at that instant. 
Spending ample amount of time by not only engaging her with various activities but also talking lovingly about various things, sharing stories, sharing laughs would suffice a toddler who is hungry of affection and lovable moments.

Internally, analyse what situation your child might have gone through that she reacted aggressively? was she hurt by someone's words? Didn't she like the crowdy place? Was she not able to complete her play successfully? Was she expecting something that didn't happen then?

Try to learn about your young child, connect to your child. sync in your thoughts with her feelings and you would be able to decode the reason behind every action coming from your child.

If you think handling one child seemed challenging, teaching the elder child to control her actions towards her sibling seems to go out of your head.

It is all cool with one kid. all my time was entirely spent with her, talking, telling stories or providing some activity. And then, there came the challenge of engaging her while nursing the newborn. It was challenging for her too to adjust to the new phase. Although, I had done ample preparation for her play time right from when I was pregnant, there kept occurring situations when she doesn't know what to do with so much of active energy flowing within and tends to rely on physical means to expel her enthusiasm. The first thing I do is, analyse what was not going right and try to fill in the space. Most of the times, there was no trigger of any violence or anger from her surroundings. She simply has time, lot of energy and lack of knowledge of what she is capable of. This is what happens when children do not know how to put their resources to proper use:

I am running around cleaning the 2 month old's dirty pants and A pushes the swing(swings horizontally) with her full might that it hits the wall, vibrates and shifts its position. An having a terrifying face with hands held up is just about to cry when I come running towards her. 

An is in the other swing(swings vertically) and A just pulls it up to the highest she could and pushes down to the least level possible in a flash of a second by the moment I turn around to check on her.

I am changing An's undi, and by the time I move my head to the other side, I see An crying because A just pressed on her head.

So, why does a child want to hurt someone? Does she really 'want' to hurt? No, she doesn't know how it feels like when a person is hurt. Children lack empathy, they simply do not understand and do not follow your word when you say do not do that, do not hit, do not kick. If at all you raised your voice to control your hyper active toddler, not only did all your loud words just took their way to trash but also your child has started to lessen her respect towards you because all that she understood was that you shouted and not the reason behind your shout.

What can a parent do to nurture a hyperactive toddler?
As already mentioned, analyse the situation that your child had gone through and take corrective measures if the environment was one of the reasons. Do not immediately raise your voice saying 'No'. Instead, provide alternatives to what the child can do at that moment. If the parent simply keeps denying what the child is doing and not teaching what could be done, how would a child learn ways to handle their emotions?

Children want to see how we react to their actions, also, see if we react in the same way every time. The very reaction of you running towards the child to stop her triggers her to do the same thing repeatedly. For us, it is hurtful. For them, it is funny, funny to see our terrified facial expression.

What can the parent do?
First, stay calm. Hold the child's hand and move aside gently. Keep saying 'it hurts', 'it hurts', 'you could tell me what you wanted to do', 'can we do it gently this way?' in various voice modulations. Quickly think of some play that you can engage her with. Most of the times, it is a success. But the point is, such incidents keep coming back.

There were times, when I did show my overwhelming stress on my face and the next thing I observed is my child picking up my emotions for which I had head full of regrets. That is when I got back to my base and kept reminding myself of how I should respond to my child rather that quickly react.
Whatever your reaction is - calm or anger, the child keeps going back to the mischief. That is when I was thinking if my positive parenting is really bringing in any calmness among the three of us. Then, I noticed that though the change is not immediate, it is inevitable. Most importantly, my child is not picking up the negative emotions, hence not herself showing any anger towards her sibling. This was most important to me. I always have the thought that she would talk/engage her sibling in the same way I would with A. Hence, my reaction to A was important to maintain harmony between siblings. And I do see lot of loving words coming out from A when shes talking to her sibling. Point checked.

Next, the more calm I am, the more A provokes me by doing some mischief. The same would have been true if the parent was violent too. What I eventually notice is that, after a while, she calms down, she finds ways to engage herself or listens to me to what I say and offer something for play.

In the positive response scenario, journey as well as the ending is happy. In the parent-turning-violent (yelling,showing anger) scenario, journey and the ending would be happy only for the ego, not for our conscious self. All the negative emotions piled up turn to mental stress and next as physical pains. That is how the complaints start flowing from parents about how stressful parenting is, how much irritating children are and how hard a headache they give the parent. If you analyse the sequence in any situation, it can be understood that, all physical pain starts from the ego when you immediately want to react just because you were hurt and not think about why it had actually happened. It is important to understand and do what is ultimately right for us and everyone.

Start the day with love and your day is filled with love. The day I prepare myself by saying 'let's learn something from the challenges I face today', I am mentally set calm, respond wisely to my child's actions, learn more about her and her day(in school) from her behaviour and teach her how she can engage herself and effectively use her resources - time and energy.

Parents today easily understand what a child's favourite rhyme is or her favourite candy is but do not understand what she actually needs when there is a meltdown. You would be easily able to understand the reason why she is hyper, yelling or throwing things or being irritable unable to communicate only when you establish that soul-to-soul connect with your child. It happens when you realise that parenting is not just satisfying all physical needs but understanding your child's emotions as well. It does not happen when you keep handing down the smart phone whenever your child is upset. You should make an attempt to understand what made her upset, hug her, talk to her, tell her she could try telling you what happened. There are many things you could talk about and share to satisfy a child's emotional needs.

Tantrums are being controlled by offering gadgets. What the child needs and is most likely lacking in her relationship with parent is warmth and comfort. Spend personal time with your child and share your positive emotions.

January 03, 2017

How are you doing, as a parent?

Raise your child with good intention. With an intention to see her transform the world to a better place in future. For this, you need to grow towards positivity day by day. Lessen your momentary negative reactions and move towards the positive frequency. Be a gentle parent. Follow positive parenting.

Do not default your child's routine tantrum as another power struggle. Take time to think deeper into understanding your child's personality and emotions. Take time to know your child. Take time to know what your child needs and what she is missing out in return. May be, she just needs a hug or a little cuddle time. May be, if she had got her emotional dose in the morning, she would not be rolling on the floor crying when she had to just start for school. Look into your child's eyes, make an emotional connect and UNDERSTAND their needs. Raise better children. 

January 02, 2017

Physical needs and emotional well being

There were days/months when A would just say no to oiling her hair and even cry to a great extent upon the slightest trial of doing it.
There were days when she was saying no to applying body lotion.
There were days when she used to deny whichever pair of clothes I would show her and take almost 20 min of time just to decide which one she wants to wear.
There were days when she used to run away from the room immediately after bath.
There were days when she took very long time to go to sleep.
There were days when she had just one spoon of curry and get off her chair.
Now things are not the same. Situations have been changing gradually.
She wants to apply oil, lotion on her own now. She either says yes or says no and quickly decides which pair she wants to wear. It takes time to learn the decision making ability. You cannot expect a one year old to decide as quickly as you do. After bath, she patiently waits for me to dress her up and then moves out of the room. She wants to eat on her own at times mimicking the way I eat and says, Amma ananya same same, of course, other times, she is again tough to convince to sit at a place for so long to eat.
Its not the same all through. One day, things seem to be fine. Next day, they seem like have gotten back to impossible.
It is redundant to pour out our emotions when things don't seem to go in the right direction. Ultimately, after some years, the child will grow to be an adult who can dress, eat, sleep on her own. All the physical help that is being provided by you when the child is young will no longer be required. All the physical needs can be easily taken care of by the self. What matters most is how your reaction was to the tantrums experienced while you were teaching your child to take care of the physical needs. Your mental condition, emotional state and your response to her mess created while feeding, saying no to bath, struggling to sleep and many other tantrums is all that matters.
Your emotions are shaping your child's persona. If you are angry, your child will learn to be angry. If you are calm, your child will learn to be calm.
At any moment, parents should not be focussed only on getting the thing done. It is important how it is being got done. What emotions were created and experienced? Was there something to learn? There is nothing unique in providing just physical help to the young ones, but, is important that the foundation for their emotional being is well laid in the early years.

Learning Plan

How will the child sustain her interest in what she is doing? How will the child take up challenges? How will the child know what is the nex...