What is the best thing parents should know about their kids?

ABCDE

Parents want their kids to grow up to be successful adults. They desire that their kids should excel in academics. As a parent I am not an exception to such a wish. Many a times, I asked my 11 year old about what she would love to choose as a career in future. When she was around 4 years, her reply used to be a ‘Teacher”, later on “Beautician” to “Pop star” to a “Scientist”! I would want her to choose a career that would make her happy. The other day one of my friend asked me “What is the best thing parents should know about their Kids?”. And I started thinking. Yeah I had never thought about that. The question seemed to be quite interesting!

After a day’s thought, I zeroed on one thing. I as a parent would love to know first about my kid’s character traits. Sir Albert Einstein had mentioned “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” So what are the character traits should a parent look forward to in his/her kids? I thought about “TERRIFIC” Kids! Whether my kid is Thoughtful, Enthusiastic, Respectful, Responsible, Inclusive, Friendly, Inquisitive, and Capable?

Thoughtful kids

Kids need to learn to balance their needs with the needs of others. When a guest arrives with a kid, they need to learn to share their toys. They need to make them feel comfortable. Few days back had met a friend’s kid, a 7 years old, who was making plans to share her room with grandparents on their arrival.  The other day, our daughter cleaned her wardrobe for donation as we had scheduled a shopping for her the next day. On my inquisitiveness, she mentioned that those clothes will be helpful to those kids who do not have many.

Kids must learn to contribute to others’ lives. They need to practice caring for others, and learn express gratitude whenever required by saying “Thank you”.  Studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving—and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy. Health and happiness are two important indicators of success in one’s life.

Enthusiastic

Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, loved science from the time he was very young.  He was interested in the science of sound. When he was a child, he used to sit in a field and listen to the sound of wheat growing. Later in his teens, he spent his  time studying the way the way our voices work. His enthusiasm lead to a successful discovery. I know of a teen who used to be enthusiastic about his travel by an aeroplane as a kid. He would ask tons of questions to his parents, and later try to find answers from various other sources, including teachers and internet. He started making his own gliders, and aeroplane models. He finally got a chance to visit NASA as an awardee, and is currently preparing to take up career in aerospace engineering. The real secret of success is thus enthusiasm.

Respectful

Respect is an attitude. Being respectful helps a child succeed in life. Teaching them to be respectful is important as a respectful child gets along well with peers, parents and figures of authority later in life. To teach respectful behavior to kids, parents must demonstrate respectful behavior, teach polite responses that include saying “Please” and “Thank you” often, avoid over reacting, lend a listening ear in case there is a difference in opinion, and set limits to disrespectful behavior.

Responsible

Many kids live a life of entitlement. Very little is asked of them in terms of responsibilities at home. Sometimes it is due to parental laziness or attitude problem. Kids need to be assigned small responsibilities like taking care of pet at home, arrange their toys, water plants, carry dishes to counter after food, help make dinner etc. This helps them to grow confident as adults, and take care of themselves well, again an indicator of success in life!

Inclusive

There are kids who  loves to include new kids in their team while playing. They  welcome cousins to the house, and share their belongings. Such character trait is very important when one has to work in a team.

Friendly

Friends are vital to the development of kids. The bonds that they develop with  peers bring pleasure, comfort, and  important opportunities to learn and develop in a social world.

Inquisitive

Came across a story the other day. A kid used to be scared of bees after getting bitten twice. Her mother suggested that she should learn about bees. She started doing that, finally became curious, and started visiting farms that nurture bees for honey. The Kid who is a teenager now has become an entrepreneur of a drink that uses honey as a natural sweetener. As I am writing this blog, our daughter asked me, “Why do not you write about Claude Shannon?” Who is he, I asked? “An American mathematician and engineer, its his 100th birth anniversary. Without his theories we would not have digital computers!”. How do you know that? “Learnt that from google when I was looking for Khan Academy”! Felt happy that she is inquisitive.

Capable

Many highly intelligent people are poor thinkers. Many people of average intelligence are skilled thinkers. The power of a car is separate from the way the car is driven.” – Edward de Bono. Capability is an important indicator of one’s success. Life is not a bed of roses. How capable a kid is in a situation of “bullying“, or when he/she faces “rejection” or “failure“! We have to remember that the absolute measure of success is through tenacity and hard work. Kids should be taught to foster their growth mindset. 

“What is the best thing parents should know about their Kids?”….to me the answer is CHARACTER TRAIT. I want my daughter to grow up into a “TERRIFIC” kid.

“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”…Bruce Lee

Do parents make the best teachers?

parents teachers

 

The first teachers we have in our lives  are our parents. They teach us to feed ourselves, to speak, take baby steps and learn to walk, ride a bike, know the environment, and many more. They even teach their kids the values of friendship, empathy, social skills, and emotion regulation. They are no doubt the best teachers for their kids.

Some parents argue that other than the traditional school curriculum, like science, arts etc, school has a limited role to play in the overall well-being of  kids. The other day there were differences in opinion in an well known parenting group. The debate was on “Whether preschools should provide lessons on abuse to kids”. Few parents were of the opinion that such sensitive issues can be discussed better by parents!  I personally know parents who feel that abuse should be discussed with girl child only. In this era, where there are daily reports of abuse of kids in the media. Is this not the time to spread awareness through schools, malls, apartment associations, and various social medias? As we know that prevention is better than cure, why cannot the society be little liberal in discussing such issues?

I was invited by an International School to address kids on “The use of TV and Gadgets“. I oriented the kids towards the “20-20-20” rule. The kids learnt that every 20 minutes, they should gaze through the window (spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away). Also, they promised not to indulge in TV and Gadgets for more than 2 hours daily. The kids enjoyed the session. There were many kids who wanted to meet me after the session to discuss their queries. I remember one question by a young kid: “My grandmother wears spectacles, even then she always sits close to the TV. What should I do?” There were many such interesting questions. I was glad that they understood the benefits/drawbacks of TV and gadgets. I was sure that many of those kids would adhere to the 2 hrs duration. This was something that they learnt in school. I am sure parents also try to restrict the TV and gadget time of their kids. But that is mainly by enforcing a strict discipline. How many parents would teach about the drawbacks using games, and medical facts?

Bullying is another topic that requires attention. Due to changing trends of the society, kids are overprotected. Many of them are not exposed to the adversities of life. They become vulnerable when bullied, also some enjoy to bully the weak ones. Our society has a reservation towards seeking the help of psychologists. I personally know parents who contacted me to connect to a psychologist for their kid who was regularly bullied at the play area, and facing low self-esteem. They contacted the psychologist but were willing for counseling sessions over phone, without revealing the identity. When we have so much concerns, why do we not equip our kids the skills to handle such situations before an actual scenario pops up?

The most important thing to realize is that we all have many teachers in our lives. Our parents teach us, our teachers also teach us, our peers books, newspapers, television, ipads, environment also teach us. All of them are valuable in their own ways! As parents we should identify our strengths and weaknesses, and seek help from experts whenever required. We have to remember that parents are the first teachers in the life of their kids, but they are not always the best teachers….

“Parents can only give good advice or put kids in the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”… Anne Frank

Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses

Happy kids

We all played the game “Ring-Around-the-Rosie” as a kid. We learnt playing that from our elder siblings, and friends. The game reminds me of the term “Milk and rice”. My younger sister is 6 years younger to me. My elder cousins would call her “Milk and rice”, and ask her to sit down at a corner. It meant dummy player. She was in that role till the elder ones thought that she was strong and steady enough to turn around with others in circles.

The other day, I observed small kids having fun playing the game. I thought the game required a lot of motor coordination. To play the game, one has to walk sideways, in a circle, while holding hands and singing. For kids, its a lot of physical exercise. Also, there’s a lot of patience and timing involved in Ring-Around-the-Rosie. One has to wait for exactly the right moment that teaches self control, coordination skills, and friendship. It actually fosters the physical, emotional and social development in them.

Ring-a-ring-a-roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down…..

I was curious to learn more about the history of the rhyme. The discovery was shocking. The rhyme “Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses” is all about the Great Plague. “The fatalism of the rhyme is brutal: the roses are a euphemism for deadly rashes, the posies a supposed preventative measure; the a-tishoos pertain to sneezing symptoms, and the implication of everyone falling down is, well, death.”

I felt bad for a while. The rhyme that is so close to my heart has such a sad origin. But then, the rhyme started echoing to my ears. The fun, the laughter, the happiness of myself playing the same with cousins and friends, is a memory that I will always treasure! Whatever the history is, ring-a-ring-a-roses, will always stay close to our hearts.

 

Dr. Ananya Chakraborty, BloomBrite

 

Hop-Skip-Jump!!!

hopschotch

Hopscotch was one of my favorite games as a child. I played the game with cousins and friends at home, and with friends at school during lunch break. This game was like an addiction. I remember collecting broken chalk pieces from the floor of our classroom, and storing them in a box. Those chalk pieces used to be my most valuable possessions!

Later when my daughter started playing the game with her friends, I learnt that playing hopscotch  has lots of benefits for a child’s overall development.

  1. Hopping on one foot helps develop physical coordination.
  2. Leaping helps in strengthening the muscles.
  3. The game overall instills spatial awareness. 
  4. The game is a natural motivator for eye/hand coordination.
  5. Planning and strategizing are life-long skills learned through the game.
  6. Hopscotch creates the framework for learning about peer relationships.
  7. The game has hidden benefits like cognitive, emotional, and social growth.

Hopscotch is thus not only a lore of the playground. It is a simple game that has so many benefits for kids: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. Overall, fun for kids!.

What is so special about “Special time”?

ABCDE

“Any child who can spend an hour or two a day or more if he wants, with adults that he likes……will on most days learn far more from their talk than he would learn in a week of school”John Holt. 

Parents like to give a lot of attention to their children. But in this busy world, sometimes they are not able to manage quality time with them. The guilt forces them to buy latest gadgets and toys. This quick fix might provide a temporary solution, but it could also give rise to greater problems in the future. So, it is advisable to dedicate some “Special time” daily for your child. It can be a half an hour’s time when you turn off your mobile, stop browsing the internet, and other activities but “actively listen”. This is important for the following few reasons:

 

  • You become more aware of the child’s passions and talents. The child, in turn, feels understood.
  • When you know your child’s interests and potential strengths, you can plan activities that support them.
  • Provides an opportunity for the child to open-up and communicate regarding his challenges, goals, and plans.
  • Instills the skill “active listening”, which is very important for the child to feel loved, secure, and eventually grow into caring adults.

 

Always remember, “Special time” builds a foundation of trust  between you and your child. It is a precondition for him to trust you with his feelings when he is upset.

Do you have a slot for “Special time” for your Child already? If yes, please share how you/your child  feel about that exclusive time?

Beat the summer heat?

 

summer-drinks

 

The mercury levels are rising to new highs everyday. Temperatures have been scorching high and humidity levels have raised. To beat the heat we crave for some icy refreshing drinks to cool our body. Imagine our Kids! In summer, they are usually in play mode. They attend  summer camps, go on trip with family, or visit grandparents. Whether they are outdoors or indoors, sometimes they forget that they need to stay hydrated.

Kids are required to drink 5-8 glasses of water daily. But, in summer, they should be trained to drink water at regular intervals even if they are not thirsty. Water is the best drink as it doesn’t contain any sugars that can add up to unnecessary calories. The other healthy options are lime water, tender coconut water, water melon juice, orange juice, and butter-milk.

This summer, let’s  ensure that Kids develop good hydration habits for a lifetime!

Jungle Jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai

mogwli

Yesterday on the occasion of Ugadi (new year festival for people from Karnataka), we visited a friend’s house. Her mom was busy preparing holige (sweet roti). She was helping her mom but talking to me all about the release of the movie “The Jungle Book“. After half an hour of discussion, her mom reminded us that we discussed nothing but Mowgli and his adventures!!!

Indeed, she was right! I was enjoying the discussions. It was nostalgic. It reminded me of my childhood days. Our family did not have a television. I along with my cousins and neighborhood kids used to gather at a relatives house in the vicinity every Sunday morning to watch the serial “Jungle Book.” Yes, I am talking of 90’s. I used to simply love Bhaloo, Bagheera, Akdu-Pakdu, Leela, Chameli, Kaa, Chil and above all, Sher Khan, and Mowgli. I guess, adults of my generation still can sing the theme song ‘Jungle jungle baat chali hai’. Jungle book remains in the memories of all those who truly grew up in the eighties and nineties.

I plan to watch the movie with our daughter. She has been asking about it for the last couple of days. I asked her today “Why do you want to watch?” She responded “Just like that!”

There are mixed reviews about the movie on social media. But I thought the movie is about positive messages for kids about friendship and finding family in unexpected places. Read somewhere “Relive your childhood or enrich your kid’s but revisit The Jungle Book you must“.

– Dr Ananya Chakraborty