February 23, 2017

QOTD - February 23, 2017


Look here, look there

This is a very entertaining activity for infants. You could hang a tiny soft toy from a pencil and make stories or sing songs to keep your infant engaged and looking at it's direction.








Paints and Ear buds

Materials needed: Ear buds/swabs, paints, paper

Draw out some figures and ask your child to colour using the ear buds dipped in paint.

You could also ask her to make dots with the bud. Simply fill a drawing with dots, or arrange dots in a pattern.
















February 22, 2017

Books for infant


I have started showing picture books to both my children right from infancy stage. I started with showing black and white patterns first to a new born and then moved on to picture books with bright colours. You could try this one:


Books for 3 year old








Short talk on children and parenting

Date: March 4, 2017
Venue: ARK Towers


Cutting Toy


By around just less than 3 years to 3 years, child is interested in doing ALL that the parent does. Along with teaching how to handle a knife or scissor, you could also offer this play cutting set for fun.

February 17, 2017

Teaching your child how to write

Quite often I hear many parents talking about how uninterested their child is to write something that is asked to. Parents have tried many ways and failed to light up that passion of writing in their child.

How can we teach the child to write?

At around 4 years of age, children will be physically and cognitively prepared to learn and implement a new way to express themselves, that is, by writing. Before pushing your child to pick up the pen and write an alphabet, rewind your memory of how her play time was spent until this age.


Was she handed over the gadget more frequently than a pen and paper?


Was she exposed to video time more than being read from books?


Was she exposed to watching stories on TV/tabs rather than being depicted on paper?


Was she, when months old, shown your flashy phone first rather than drawings on paper?


Did you silence her tantrums by always handing over smart phones?


Was she exposed to colours on the smart device rather than the various media of introducing colours, water colours, crayons, colour pencils, sketch pens, glitter colours, acrylic colours etc.?


Was she provided with ample play activities that make her develop her fine motor skills which enable her to hold the pencil and curve through artistically or was she just tapping her finger on the smart devices?



Swiping on the gadget will not teach writing. Clicking on the correct colour on the smart screen will not teach the way to hold a colour pencil and drawing. Children learn from what parents do and what parents show them most of the time that is spent together.


The first step to begin writing is to develop a passion for making art by holding a tool with the fingers. For the child to do this, she should first develop love for art, for making shapes, for simply putting dots, joining the dots to make shapes, drawing lines, drawing curves, simply making a line by joining two dots, For the child to develop love for all this, she has to see the parent do all this. Where is the time for this gen parent to sit with child and show beautiful things on paper? Most of the time child is with parent, all she notices is the usage of smart devices.


When can we teach the child to write?

Right from when the child is months old when she just started sitting on her own, there are plethora of things that could be shown to her. There is just no limit to what you can teach a child. All you need is the passion to teach and learn continuously. On another note, even before the child begins to sit, there are various things that could be taught. Sitting is just a milestone where the child reaches to a level of having a comfortable view alongside the parent. Show coloured papers, coloured tools, coloured pencils and pens to your child. Begin drawing simple objects around the house. Draw a spoon, fork, just lines, shapes, sun, moon, cartoons and many more. Draw, draw and draw more. I clearly remember how much I used to draw since the time DD1 was months old. There are tons of used books out of which I have saved the first one as a keepsake. You will gradually reach the stage where you start drawing out the story that your child just asked you to narrate. Show your child how we can use the existing tools to convert our thoughts to paper. Parenting is the key factor. Developing an interest takes considerable amount of time and effort and delivering your job just mechanically does no good. Do it for the love of doing it. Teach your child for the love for your child and for the love of teaching your child. Sit with your child and show her the entire world of drawing right from her early days. If you had mostly given the gadget to her until 3 or 3.5 years and always said no if she picked a pen for the fear of her making mess with it, and suddenly, out of nowhere, ask her to write A on the paper, she simply CANNOT do it. Any learning needs a bit of preparation, both, mentally and physically, not to forget, emotionally as well i.e., there has to be love for writing. Parent needs to inculcate love for doing things by SITTING with the child and doing it themselves.


When can the child write alphabets and numbers?

Most importantly, do not rush. As mentioned earlier, the child must first be exposed to drawing lines and making shapes. Then gradually, move to tracing. Tracing may not directly be done with pen on paper. Start with interesting ways. Ask the child to trace with paint brush. You could make the child trace in sand or some flour. Make shapes of alphabets and numbers with long cloth on floor and ask your child to walk over it. Explain what shape each alphabet is, like A has two slanting lines and a sleeping line. Introduce stamping with alphabets and numbers. Last comes, writing an alphabet or number on the paper. Until this stage, the child is only falling in love with writing. Make the journey enjoyable. Do not always stress on the outcome.


However the journey is or was, child will definitely pick to writing in her own time. Give them ample time. Do not use shame words or hurt them. Encourage your child. Guide your child. 

February 16, 2017

What could you teach a child?

Ananya sat down to have her milk and asked me to blow into the glass because the milk was a little hot for her. I blew into the glass while replying 'ok,now it's warm'. To this, she asked me why the milk was moving when I blew into the glass. Simple concept for us seems to be something magical to children. I explained to her how we blow air and how the force of air can move light things not very heavy ones. What followed was a series of experiments on what she could blow away, starting from tiny plastic cap, syrup cup, to considerably big lid of a plastic box that she could not blow away.

There are plenty of simple activities that can be explained to kids. Show them just one and they will implement the principle further. You don't even need to tell them what they can do next. All you need is time.

Are you spending enough qualitative time with your child? This is a BIG question to today's parents. All the time we are in a rush, in a hurry to do things, in a hurry to complete all things.
It's wake up time, get off the bed in a rush, bath time for child - just get it done, no talking, no smiles, no giggles, no fun, no knowledge transfer. Feeding time - mute the child with gadget and get it done. Sleeping time - threaten the child and get it done. Are you doing any of such things? Please rethink how you would want to shape your child and spend qualitative time for the same.

This reminds me of another instance where 2  yr old DD1 observed the tongue cleaner vibrating. It happened that her finger pressed and immediately released one end of the tongue cleaner(that is in V shape, within the wall stand) which made the tongue cleaner to vibrate a little. She didn't know what happened. She observed for a while. I was silently noticing what she would do. She repeated what she had just done. It again vibrated and made a little sound. All through the while, looking at her face, I understood that she neither knew what happened nor knew how she could ask me about it. I told her what it was and how it happens. I then glued a stick to the edge of a wall with half of it protruding and showed her how things vibrate when we press and immediately release one end of it.
All this and a lot more learning will not happen if the parent is continuously in a rush to get things done or when the parent is always controlling the child by saying 'don't touch this, don't touch that' or when the parent spends very meagre amount of time with child that usually gets spent in finishing the mandatory tasks in a rush.

So, what are you teaching your child today ?

February 11, 2017

Pretend Play - Fry in Oil

The other day DD1 happened to see the ladle that has pores in it and asked me what it is used for. I explained to her that we use it to scoop out something from oil by giving examples of relevant dishes.

What's next? Trying her hand at it. Then, make a play for it.





Sieving

'Which activity can I give you?' was the question in my mind and this followed.

Materials needed: Filter, Water, some seeds, 2 glasses

Explain to your child how the filter prevents the seeds to get through it thus purifying the water. Ask various questions as your child gets involved in doing.










February 07, 2017

A Child's letter

Dear Mom

I wish I could convey all my feelings to you at every stage of my life. I cannot do so due to the lack of necessary emotional and sensory connections in my brain. My brain has not completely developed, it is still growing, learning and making new connections based on what I see around me and how you treat me.

Let me tell you about my journey.

You were elated the moment you knew you were carrying me in your womb. You termed the start of our beautiful journey as painful when you had morning sickness. And then, couldn't bear me within you further when your back/legs started to ache. The more you wanted to see me, the more you were tired of your heavy tummy.
Little did you know, that even I was feeling stressed out when you felt bad.
However your thoughts were, your body was being tuned accordingly and I experienced the same emotions. Being calm and positive would lessen your physical pains, raise your level of mental happiness and in turn keep me happy inside.

Then the day came, when I stepped out of your tummy into this beautiful world. You were again elated carrying me in your arms and showing me all your love. The first two months was learning period for both you and me. You had your so-called postpartum depression and I was coping to adjust in this new world. All this while I was in your womb, it was dark and silent there. All I did was gulp all the food that you sent me. Now, I can sense many things around me, My eye sight has not developed to see objects lying far. I can barely see your face when you carry me. I don't know where I am when I am not carried in arms. I feel content in your arms right now because, though not completely, it gives me a womb-like feeling. Hence I cried and always longed for someone to carry me in my initial days. But, you complained of tiredness to satisfy my need of being carried and nursing often. Love could be shown only by carrying and nursing in that phase.
Little did you know, that even I was feeling stressed out when you felt bad.
However your thoughts were, your body was being tuned accordingly and I experienced the same emotions.

Two months passed by, I can now see a bit clearer and am happy on my own even if not carried. I look around, look at my arms, my fingers, play by joining my hands and legs together and I am happy. Still, I depend on you for my emotional and hunger needs. I call for you when I am hungry. I call for you when I am sleepy. I call for you when I am dirty. I call for you when I want to look at your face. I call for you when I want to hear you. My method of calling you is by sending shrieks of cry. You sometimes attend to me lovingly, sometimes come to me distressed, sometimes feel I am calling you repeatedly. I do not understand how you react each time I call you. I look for your love, mom. You may be tired with your routine chores, but, this time, this moment of young me bonding with you will never come back. Please come to me and show some love.
If you are tired, I feel stressed out too. However your thoughts are, your body is being tuned accordingly and I experience the same emotions.

Now, I can crawl. I crawl to you when you are in kitchen. I want to explore my little world. I pick utensils, make sound with spoons and vessels. You are tired of listening to sounds and ask me not to do it. Show me ways to play, mom. Guide me. Please do not ask me to stop exploring. 

You are excited and loving when I am playing, tired and frustrated when I cry for some emotional need of mine. You don't realise the reason of my tantrum and I do not have the physical and cognitive ability to express my feelings. You give me gadgets so that I stay quiet. I need you, mom. I need your time with me. Teach me emotions, teach me feelings, teach me life.

Most of the time you are with me, I see you talking with something held at your ear. When I call for you, you show me some toys to play with. Other times, when you are feeding, putting me to sleep or doing the daily chores for me, you are either too tired or irritated to talk to me patiently and lovingly. I want to spend some quality time with you mom.

I am now 1.5 yr old. I wake up to see you are not beside me. I cry for you. Already tired with cooking in kitchen, all you want me to do is get off the bed, brush and bathe as and when you ask me to. I cannot do that mom, I am still developing emotional neural connections in my brain. I crave for love. I long for a hug. I want to be consoled. I cannot share with you if I had a disturbed sleep or bad dream. All I can do is, cry, ask you to stay with me or carry me. Please help me in building my emotions. Show some love.

A 2.5 yr old me who can speak your language fluently will still cry for you when you are in kitchen because I cannot talk my feelings. I can talk many words, sing songs, recite poems, but, I cannot talk feelings. Please understand. I will still cry when I do not see you beside me after I wake up. I will still drag myself to kitchen and ask you to carry me because I don't know what I can do in the kitchen and how I can spend time with you. All I want is you and your time with me.

I am now 3 year old. I understand better but still lack some skills. I try to express myself better but still fail in doing it correctly and hence throw tantrums. And now, when you are in kitchen I come there and ask you what you are doing. I ask you if I can handle some of the things. I ask you why you are doing what you are doing. I ask you how long does it take for you to finish. I ask you when you can come to play with me. I can plead you to finish your work fast to play with me. This ability of asking what,why,how has now come into picture and thus I explore. Earlier, when you got irritated upon my repeated intervention in your kitchen chores, neither you realised my state nor did I did have the ability to 'ask' you and talk to you. All I wanted then was being carried.

Soon, I will be better able to do things on my own, no more needing your help. You sure would be happy with it. But, remember mom, if you were only looking at the physical level of this help that I was needing for which you got tired and irritated, let me remind you, beneath the physical help, I was also looking for emotional support. I developed my emotions basing upon your reactions. Rather than just being carried by you, I wanted to be loved by you. When I threw a tantrum, I wanted to be understood by you. I wanted you to understand the reason behind my tantrum and assure me of your support by showing love. But, you brushed away my tantrum and silenced me by showing a fancy item(gadgets).

If you had noticed, behaviour changes as my brain grows. Soon, I will be able to share all my emotions with you in a matured mind set and well formed statement. But, will I want to? Answer to this question depends on how you felt when you had to carry me, nurse me for long hours, how you dealt with my tantrums. how you spent time with me during my childhood (or silenced me by yelling), how you treated me while I was growing, how you taught me what life is, how you showed me the world around.

Sincerely,
Your child.
Thanks for bringing me into this world. 

February 02, 2017

Gentle Parenting Tips


Gentle Parenting strategies and suggestions.
How can you inculcate gentle parenting in everyday conversations with your child? Following are the simple ways to make meaningful communication with little ones:

Instead of
Say
Child picks up a stone

  • No! Don’t touch the stone.  You see the security there? He’s going to hit you.
  • ·         Ah! You picked a stone. Look at it. See how hard it is.
  • ·         Notice the dirt it smeared over your palm. That’s ok, just wipe your hands. Do not put them in your eyes or mouth.
  • ·         Back to the stone, do you see how hard it is? It is called a stone and it doesn’t seem to be clean.
  • ·         It is not something we eat. Stones are used to build this wall. You see the wall, how hard/strong it is? There are stones inside the wall.
  • ·         Do you know what we can do with them? You could count them, arrange them a row or any shape. Let’s count the stones now.
  • ·         Make sure you don’t hurt anyone with it.
  • ·         Another game we could play is, throw the stone couple of feet away, run towards it, pick it and repeat. Just make sure, your way is clear before you throw the stone. And be gentle, not a harsh throw.
  • ·         Can you think of any new ways to play with these stones?

What is being conveyed:
  • ·         That there is always someone who punishes for exploring the world.
  • ·         Immediate culmination of thoughts and doing what was supposed to be done.
  • ·         Do not touch anything that kindles you to explore
  • ·         Do not touch all that is told not to by me
  • ·         Do as I say, do not think on your own

What is being conveyed:
  • You are allowed to explore your surroundings!!! (MOST IMPORTANT for a child)
  • You teach what it is and what it is used for
  • You teach how it should not be used(not edible) and how it can be used for
  • You light the fire to become able to think of new ways of looking at things
  • You initiate new thoughts
Child repeatedly opens the kitchen cabinets
  • Hushhhh… Don’t do that
  • Stop making noise
  • Stop doing it
  • That’s a cabinet and we open it if we need to take anything from it.
  • Do you want to pick a spoon? Open the draw, take the spoon and close it. That’s all.
  • We open it only when we need something from it.
What is being conveyed:
  • ·         Immediate culmination of thoughts and doing what was supposed to be done.
  • ·         Do not touch anything that kindles you to explore
  • ·         Do not touch all that is told not to by me

  • Do as I say, do not think on your own
What is being conveyed:
  • Teaching what a cabinet means and purpose of its use
  • Teaching how to operate it

Child puts her hand on scissors
  • Don’t touch it
  • Children are not supposed to hold it, I can hold it
  • It doesn’t harm me because I am elder than you
  • Ah! That’s scissors. It has a sharp edge. Let me show you. You touch your finger against the sharp edge and convey the message that sharpness could injure your skin by means of your facial expression
  • We should only hold the handle here; never touch the sharp edge because it hurts.
  • You could just try to hold the handle once and cut paper with it. If you are unable to cut through, you could try in some days. As people grow, we tend to be more careful and that is how I am able to do it correctly. When I was young, even I was susceptible to injuries, with time I learnt how to handle things
What is being conveyed:
  • ·         Immediate culmination of thoughts and doing what was supposed to be done.
  • ·         Do not touch anything that kindles you to explore
  • ·         Do not touch all that is told not to by me

  • Do as I say, do not think on your own
What is being conveyed:
  • Teach the parts of scissors and the purpose of it
  • Teach the way it has to be handled and the way it should not be handled
  • Teach the probability of failing to do it correctly in the first attempt
Child tries to handle knife
(Same points as above)
(Same points as above)
Child meddles with sand in the play area
  • Do not touch sand
  • If you are going down to the sand, we are leaving this play area right now
  • I told you not to and you are still playing with sand
  • That is sand and you could play in numerous ways with it.
  • We shall get some sand play kit
  • Only be careful to not put your hand or the sand in your eyes or mouth.
  • When pouring the sand from one bucket to the other, do not raise your hand high. Because of the wind, sand could be blown to your eyes.
  • Make an imagine play out of it
  • Make shapes with moist sand
  • Play hide n seek with a toy in sand
  • Can you come up with a new game in the sand?
  • What is being conveyed:
  • ·         Immediate culmination of thoughts and doing what was supposed to be done.
  • ·         Do not touch anything that kindles you to explore
  • ·         Do not touch all that is told not to by me

  • Do as I say, do not think on your own
What is being conveyed:
  • Teach the texture of sand
  • Teach ways of playing with sand
  • Teach how not to play with sand
  • Trigger thought process of your child
Child just spilled water
  • You again spilled water
  • How big a mess you create
  • I told you not to do it
  • Oh! Water is spilled. Did you lose grip in your hand.
  • Try to hold it firm with better grip the next time.
  • When you hold the glass and you tilt it in one direction, water flows out. Do you see this? Show how it happens to your child.
  • When drinking water, we need to hold the glass firmly
  • That’s ok, next time you will hold it better
  • Try not to get your dress wet the next time.
What is being conveyed:
  • I am being shouted at
  • I just don’t know what I did
  • I just don’t know how it happened
  • I am not being taught how to do things right
  • I don’t know why I am being yelled at
What is being conveyed:
  • Teaching that failure is common in few attempts.
  • Teaching that we can always reach perfection in the next attempt
  • Teaching the way to do right
  • Teaching what actually caused the water to spill
  • Teaching that surroundings/dress becomes wet when water is spilled over
Child spilled food while eating
  • How big a mess you create
  • I told you not to try
  • I will feed you quick, open your mouth

  • Oh! Food is dropping down.
  • Hold the spoon firmly
  • Do not tilt the spoon
  • Try eating without spilling food the next time
What is being conveyed:
  • I am being shouted at
  • I just don’t know what I did
  • I just don’t know how it happened
  • I am not being taught how to do things right
  • I don’t know why I am being yelled at
What is being conveyed:
  • Teaching that failure is common in few attempts.
  • Teaching that we can always reach perfection in the next attempt
  • Teaching the way to do right
  • Teaching what actually caused the food to spill
  • Teaching that surroundings/dress becomes dirty when food is dropped

Child tries to open the lid of a jar
  • You cannot open it
  • Give it to me, I will open the lid
  • You will spill the contents, don’t open it
  • The lid might be tight to open; do you want to try once?
  • Give me if you are unable to open it, I’ll show you how to
  • Hold the jar straight and steady when opening, if tilted, the contents could spill off
What is being conveyed:
  • Do not attempt to try anything new
  • Do as I say, do not think on your own
What is being conveyed:
  • Teaching how to open the jar
  • Teaching how not to hold the jar
  • Teaching the importance of making an attempt at something
Child tries to close a cupboard
  • You will hurt yourself, do not close it
  • Leave it, I’ll close it
  • See where your finger is, do not place it between the two doors, it will hurt you
  • First close one door and next the other
  • You need not push it very hard
What is being conveyed:
  • Do not attempt to try anything new
  • Do as I say, do not think on your own
What is being conveyed:
  • Teaching the way to handle things
  • Teaching the way how not to handle things
  • Teaching the point that the child can learn new things

Knowledge, Wisdom and Learning

I have been reading a lot about knowledge and wisdom lately. And, if you have been following my posts, What is music for kids? , Is there an...