MAKE BEDTIME SPECIAL

According to your calculation, you know it’s time to sleep because your child has to be up in the morning for school or you have some other plans. But your naughty little darling doesn’t want to sleep. What do you do? Create fuss over his/her fussiness? Certainly not. So how do you ensure that his/her fussiness changes into readiness at bedtime?

Understand why children create fuss

When we force children to sleep at the time we want, they feel their independence is being taken away. In order to be in control of the situation, they rebel. So, always give them a choice to wait for 5 or 10 minutes or make it look as if they are sleeping with their own choice.

Be relaxed yourself

Don’t stretch yourself so much during the day that you are too tired at the time of sleep and you have no room for flexibility. Always start the sleep routine a little early and save energy keeping in mind the margin for your child’s tantrums.

Offer choice rather than orders

Make your child find fun in getting ready for sleep. Like do you want to dress up in a yellow or red night suit, do you want to sleep with a teddy bear or your dog and so on?

Do special things

Read stories to your children, engage in a warm chat, discuss their day, give lots of kisses and hugs before you put your child to bed so that the child feels special. Make bed-time a time when you can relax and strengthen your bond with the child.

Both the parents should participate

Children feel secure, loved, and complete when both father and mother join in with the child at the time of sleep. They enjoy the fact that at the end of the day the most important people in their life are by their side and they doze off with a smile.

HELP YOUR CHILD DEVELOP RESPECT FOR HARD WORK

Nothing comes in life on a platter; you need to work hard to earn it. We all nurse the desire to see our child grow up into a hardworking, responsible adult who is focussed to achieve success in life. For this, make your child realise the importance of hard work and develop respect for hard work in small ways, right from the beginning.

Don’t give everything they ask for

Every parent loves to pamper their children. But don’t go overboard buying anything they demand or else they’ll take everything for granted. May it be clothes, toys, movies, follow certain rules so that your children develop self-control and values whenever they get something.

Don’t give readymade solutions

Don’t make things so readily available for your children that they don’t realise how much effort is required to do a task. For this, ask for your child’s help in the kitchen or cleaning the bedroom. While doing the home assignments or school projects, involve your child in collecting stuff or doing research rather than making all the effort yourself.

Talk to them about the hard work in your life

Parents give their children everything from food, clothes to the luxury of outings, toys. Children often don’t realise that each facility they enjoy comes after sheer hard work. 

Develop respect for people who work hard

Show your child how people like the gardener, the servants of the house and other helpers are doing so much of work. Set an example by yourself respecting helpers so that your child begins to respect and realise the importance of hard work.

Develop respect for hard earned money

Make children realise that money should be spent judiciously and care should be taken of things bought from that hard earned money. Make it a habit for your children to stack toys after playing, not to waste food. Inculcate the habit to save and give freedom to them to use their savings the way they want to. This way your child will begin to value hard-earned money and also value what all they have in life. 

This article appeared in Hindustan Times

OVERPROTECTION DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD TO YOUR CHILD

As parents, being conscious of your child’s well being is natural. But check yourself if this concern exceeds its limits and takes the shape of overprotection. For this can alter your child’s impressionable mind and thus hamper their whole personality.

Don’t say don’t all the time

At times parents fear too much about their child’s physical safety. They don’t let them walk without holding finger, or play on swings on their own or jump on sofa lest they fall and get hurt. This attitude may save your child from getting a few scratches but mar their independence and confidence forever.

Let children be themselves

Parents often forbid their child to play with mud, clay or water worrying they’ll get dirty or become sick. But this is the way children have fun, explore new things and grow into happy confident adults.

Your anxiety passes on to the child

When parents worry and issue a set of instructions to their child while going out on excursions or on adventurous camps, children also get anxious and conscious of their every move. Let children enjoy and live life to the hilt.

Overprotection weakens a child’s mental strength

An environment of overprotection has an everlasting influence on a child’s personality whereby a child is unable to deal with the challenges of life. Such children always fear to experiment, and are thus always followers and never leaders.

Trust your child’s ability to handle their life

Let your child experience life in every way and learn from their mistakes. Remember, just guide your child from your experiences but don’t live their life. Let them have their share of ups and downs and emerge strong.

HELP YOUR CHILD DEAL WITH HIS FEARS SUCCESSFULLY

A fear in a child is as common as their being fussy about eating. Just like children grow up to leave behind their fussiness, their fears too go away depending upon how you handle them. Hence, deal with your child’s fears positively.

Accept your child’s fears

Don’t deny or force your children to hide their fears or else they’ll remain suppressed in their mind. If your children are afraid of dark stairs or refuse to go to the bathroom alone, don’t lose patience or ignore them. Try to think from their perspective.

Never scold the child

Don’t ever rebuke or ridicule a child for being fearful. Belittling them this way will only make them hide their fears and feel perplexed about their personality.

Think before you speak

At times, parents themselves are the cause of developing phobias in a child. ‘Finish your meal or the ghost will come’ or ‘Go to sleep or the monster will grab you,’ leave a lasting impression on a child’s mind and take the form of phobias.

Make your child courageous

Encourage your children to act brave even when faced with fear. Check out with them under the bed to reassure them that there is no ‘ghost.’ This way they’ll dare to look beyond their fears, go ahead and act.

Talk to your child about his fears

Let your child express when, how and why they feel afraid. Tell them even you had fears at their age. This will make them believe that they are not the only one going through this phase of life. This open communication, your acceptance and reassurance will make your children confident of overcoming their fears one day.

This article appeared in Hindustan Times

STRENGTHEN YOUR CHILD TO HANDLE PEER PRESSURE

Peer group has the most profound influence on a child’s life. The child’s opinions, beliefs and attitude are shaped according to his/her friends. Under their pressure, the child may lose the power to think independently and tend to go astray. As parents, give your children the strength of mind so that they live life in their own right and not according to their friends.

Be a friend to your child

The first step is to maintain trust and open communication with your children so that they can talk to you about everything and anything without any fear. This way you would know the good and the bad influences in your child’s life. Also be flexible with them.

Guide him constantly

In growing age, children under peer pressure may think wearing certain clothes, taking risks, breaking rules is the way to command respect from people. Share experiences from your and the life of others with your children so that they understand what it takes to become great.

Don’t control your child

One of the most important kinds of peer pressure is being teased for being “mama’s or papa’s boy.” Don’t issue instructions, act over protective or tell your children not to do something because they are incapable of it. Let them feel that they are in control of their life and are just seeking your guidance.

Boost his self-esteem

Be a source of encouragement for your child where you keep appreciating and identifying your child’s qualities. Express your faith in them rather than doubt their every move. This way they’ll not depend solely on their friends for love and acceptance.

Give him decision-making power

Infuse so much self-confidence in your child that others do not influence them. Let them decide what is wrong and what is right for them. Guide but never impose your decisions and allow your child to learn from his mistakes.

This article appeared in Hindustan Times

IS YOUR CHILD BEING BULLIED?

Bullying with your child can take place in the school, in the park, or on the school bus. Harsh comments, gestures, making fun of physical attributes or shy nature are not a very uncommon norm. This really shatters the confidence and self-esteem of a child, which parents can build up with their support.

Look for signs

Disinterest in school, sudden changes in temperament (too quiet or too aggressive), stress without any apparent reason, avoiding people – these are all possible symptoms of being bullied.

Form an action plan

After you have identified the source, take your children in confidence and ask them what can help them. You may talk to the teacher; seek support from the authorities or whichever way your child feels comfortable.

Be sensitive

Your children may be so ashamed after being bullied that they may act very unconfident. Don’t lose patience and criticize them for behaving that way. Children who are bullied blame themselves for whatever has happened and they need your support and not your criticism at this point.

Help them make friends

Good friends are a great source of confidence and support. Help your child in developing healthy friendships. You may organize get together, family day, etc.

Help them develop strong muscles of mind

Let your children express how hurt they feel. Assure them how everybody faces these things one way or the other and how they should believe in themselves and move on. This would relieve them of a lot of stress. Reinforce in your child how special they are. Count with them their qualities and create opportunities for them to exhibit them. This love and encouragement will not only heal their bruised self-esteem, but also give them the confidence to face such situations with greater strength.

This article appeared in Hindustan Times

THUMBS UP FOR HANDS ON LEARNING

Education is not limited to books and is not confined to classrooms. In fact, when children touch, see and experience, learning becomes not only easier but also much more fun. Make learning a part of your child’s daily routine so that he becomes knowledgeable as well as street smart.

Learning at home

Steam from the cooker, the timer on the microwave, smoke from the freezer, why the taps have a ‘c’ and a ‘h,’ why the duck floats while the elephant sinks in the water tub and so on. The kitchen, the bathroom, and the drawing room are great places where the child develops a questioning mind and gets to know facts.

Learning while shopping

In the super bazaar, ask your child to pick a few salad vegetables, buy the fruit that is red in colour, ask him/her which fruit has a sour smell, to guide you to the kids section and just see how your child starts observing things around him/her.

Learning while going out

The red light, the bill boards, different shaped swings at the park, the lifeguard, the tube at the swimming pool, the cutlery in the restaurant can give your child insights into different things.

Learning during visit to the hospital/doctor

Talk to your child about the tools of the dentist, the adjustable beds, role of the nurse and the chemist, why some medicines are liquid while some in tablet form, how some parts of the body are more flexible than others. The dull visit can become a platform for great learning.

Learning while on holiday

Why there is sand on the beach, why waves come and go, why trees are conical in shape on the hill station, what is fog? Holidays can certainly render knowledge besides giving pleasure to your child. Every possible place or experience can be a source of education if you encourage your child to explore, observe and question.

This article appeared in Hindustan Times

HOMEWORK IS AN IMPORTANT MEANS TO FOSTER A CHILD’S GROWTH

As parents, it’s important to broaden your perspective about homework to let your child grow fully. Homework is a highly effective tool to make your child independent, more confident and is an opportunity for the child to explore his/her abilities. Hence, let your child do homework on their own, instead of spoon feeding or constantly helping them. Give them freedom to handle this responsibility their own way. Don’t press for time or results. Eventually, you will see your child come out with flying colours.

Helps to become self-reliant

A child learns to work independently and seeks solutions on their own when they do their homework without the help of their parents. Be there only when your child has a query or is stuck up in a problem. Again, give clues rather than answers.

Develops analytical mind

Homework is an opportunity for the child to reflect, recall and retain what all they have learnt in class. When a child tries to do an exercise on their own, they use their reasoning ability and develop an analytical mind.

Advance self management skills

Let your child take charge of their homework. This way they learn how to organize their time and routine. Thereby, acquiring lifelong valuable life-skills of time and self-management.

Acquires self-confidence

Cracking a problem without anyone’s help gives the child a sense of achievement. They begin to believe in their abilities and are motivated to try doing things independently and more efficiently.

Cultivates desire to learn

Appreciation and rewards by the parents and teachers when a child manages their work, makes a child start enjoying their homework. Homework then no longer is a burden but an activity to enjoy and a way to learn new things.

This article appeared in Hindustan Times

DOES YOUR CHILD ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS?

Why does an elephant walk like that? How does rain come? Why is an apple red? And so on. Children never get tired of asking questions but parents do often run out of patience answering them. But you need to understand that these questions simply show the inherent curiosity of children and thus play an important role in their development.

Don’t snub the child when he/she asks a question

Don’t say ‘please don’t irritate me’ or ‘you ask too many questions,’ when your child comes to you with some curious, no matter how silly questions. It’ll break his/her heart and also discourage him/her from asking you in the future.

Appreciate your child for asking questions

When children ask questions, it means their mind is at work. Praise your child for being inquisitive and observant.

Show them ways to seek answers

Guide your children how they may refer to a dictionary, an encyclopedia, and search on net to find answers. This practice will pop up more questions in their mind and enhance their knowledge.

No question is wrong

Children may want to know about things which may not be appropriate for their age. In such cases, don’t ever scold the child. It’ll affect his/her self esteem and make him/her more curious about those things.

Encourage your child to ask questions

Read books to your child, talk to him/her about the environment, and show him/her practical things so that he/she develops a questioning mind. You may begin by asking a few questions from him/her. And you’ll see your child is not only learning more but also enjoying it.

This article appeared in Hindustan Times

GIVE YOUR CHILD EDUCATION FOR LIFE

It’s the desire of each parent to see their children have a happy and successful life. And the means to achieve that is education. But are we preparing our children to reach this destination? Let’s understand and recognize that education should have the balanced proportion of knowledge, life skills, and talents to make children move ahead on the path of success.

Focus on overall development of the child

Don’t give importance just to academic performance of your children but lay equal emphasis on co-curricular activities so that they get opportunities to explore and develop their talents and life skills. Life skills like taking initiative, being responsible, being emotionally balanced, ability to solve problems, self-expression, etc. are the invaluable key tools which will help your child achieve anything in life.

Build a strong foundation

children boys play with abacus toy indoors

Inculcate the lifeskills, and develop talents right from the start. Education at preschool level should be such that the child gets stage exposure, acquires social skills of sharing, independence, decision making, and becomes imaginative and creative.

Give ample freedom

Exploring is the best way to get education. Give freedom to your child to discover and experiment with the things around. Appreciate their every small discovery and creation. This’ll boost their self-esteem and reinforce faith in their abilities.

Look at long term and not short-term gains

If your child scores 70% instead of his/her usual 80% but has found a new confidence while leading the school club, remember he/she has gained far more than you think they have lost. Foresee how your child will emerge in the future.

Making the child powerful

Such education will give your child the power to control not only his/her life but also to make a difference in the lives of others and make this world a better place to live. Now you wish to see 90% on your child’s report card or see him/her shaping into an all rounder, the choice is yours.

This article appeared in Hindustan Times

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