March 26, 2019

Why persuade for more?

Children have always been explorative, confident and persistent in their day-to-day tasks that kind of challenge them. Like, opening the bottle cap, closing the bottle, pulling a stool to reach out to the water outlet to fill a glass of water on their own, pouring water from a bottle into a glass, spreading out a towel on a high chair and many more.

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(Image from google)

Young toddlers, generally refuse help from elders, they stay persistent in their efforts and brim with happiness when they see that they have achieved what they were aiming for.

But, out of so-called 'concern' or maybe, because the long time taken by the child is often considered as time wasted(through the adult's eye), the adult starts to offer help, or, in other words, forces her help through to just get the task done.

Give me the bottle, I can open it. I'll fill your glass with water. Let me fill your plate with snacks. And so on.

Then comes the phase when the toddler-turned-young child has tried to open the bottle cap, understood that he couldn't, reaches out to the parent and receives 'Try hard, you can open it' kind of motivation from the parent around.

Wasn't the infant/toddler self-motivated in his attempts to achieve milestones as appropriate to his ability?

And now, the young child is persuaded to 'try more' and 'do more'.

When the child says, I cannot read this word. A reply comes, 'Try more'.
When the child says, I cannot reach the book. A reply comes, 'Stretch more'.
When the child says, I do not want to do this. A reply comes, 'Try to focus more'.
When a child is seen sitting idle in silence, we say 'Why don't you pick some books and do your work?'

and many more.

Ad the same 5yo, while trying to climb up a wall or a bed railing or something explorative received a blow saying 'why do you want to try all that?'.

To try? or not to try? - what are we communicating to our children?

Or rather, our response in most cases depends on our mood and our stress level - have you observed?

Why do we talk to children in a tone that is different than that we use while talking to adults?

When an adult says, I cannot open this jar. We immediately offer help by saying, 'I can try'.
When an adult says, I think this is heavy for me to lift. We say, 'leave it, I can try'.
When an adult says, Oh, I cannot take this more. It is getting boring. We say, 'I understand, you can share more on what you feel and what else you would like to do?'.
When an adult is seen seated idle in silence, we say 'What are you thinking about? Is there something that is worrying to you? Please share.'

Do you get the pattern?
Do you see the difference?
Is this the definition for childism?
Why are our minds so narrow when thinking about children?



March 13, 2019

Rhymes - The way they are NOT meant to be

Recently, DD1 had come across audio of some telugu rhymes. Attaching the video link, as I cannot find the audio version:

Chitti chilakamma
Amma kottinda

pandlu thechhaava

gootlo pettavaa

And, there were series of questions and thoughts from my 5yo and 2y4mo.
  • May be the the child parrot was hungry
  • Why should the mother parrot hit the child?
  • We will keep the child parrot in cage and fill the cage with many, many fruits so that the child parrot can eat
  • We will keep the child parrot in a cage, feed it with all her favourite fruits, then open the cage so that it is again let free outside. Whenever it wants to eat, it can come into the cage to eat the fruits. AND, we should not let the mother parrot inside the cage because it hit the child when the child had eaten guava.
  • If the girl didn't like the pomegranate, why should she throw it away?
  • She can just keep it somewhere so that people who need it can eat it
  • She can herself offer to any needy
  • She can just leave it there
  • Of the many things one can think of, why should she throw the fruit? It is just waste, if it is thrown


Effect of Cooling

DD1 got some steaming hot porridge and was eagerly waiting for it to cool down.
She was thinking if she should transfer it to a smaller bowl to cool it faster.

She recalled that, some time back, I took small portion of porridge from the cooking vessel and put it in small cup under fan. By the time, she came, it was cooled.

Now, she is just waiting for it to cool while stirring the porridge with a spoon under fan. She says, stirring makes it cool faster.

There was a blast of various thoughts from DD1 regarding how cooling happens in various instances.

I just sat there listening to her.

Give them time and they learn from their own life.


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Another Free Play

Children need no external curriculum, children need no external directions, children need no external initiators, children need no external motivation.
2y4m picks various items to experiment on filtering(sieving), and, that's not all, she puts all the stuff that she had picked, back in their places from where she picked.
She had picked up three kinds of strainers, some glasses, filled a glass with water herself, she sets the right amount of flow from tap so that water does not overflow the glass, settles down to explore. 
After all her play, she put back all the items in their places!

To put it in terms of labels - free play is an opportunity where children are the initiators, directors of their learning, responsible for the learning starting from collection of raw materials to putting them back in their places, accepting to fail in their experiment, trusting that they succeed even after a failure and many more. 
Giving labels to a child's activity or learning only limits their ability to the language of that label. 
Let's just let the kids be!

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