General, Parenting

Blending digital and hands on hobbies

The ICE age is the age our children are born into ! Now, that’s a fact. Technology is pacing and so are they with them. Manoeuvring around any gadget is their forte and quickly figuring out information from these devices is something that they love! Notice how readily they volunteer to pull out information and how quickly they get the know how about any subject under the moon!

In this superhighway that their lives are, digital hobbies are almost a done thing. Kindles are everywhere ( if this really rekindles their reading habits would be great though!) then, checking live scores, streaming live music, complete and more knowledge about new cool stuff on YouTube, and other such digital and easy formatted tools are engaging their free hours. There is a request to go over to a friends place to PLAY PLAY with the X boxes, PlayStations etc. There is just NO ESCAPE!

It’s nice if we can somehow manage to squeeze in some hands-on hobbies in their digitalised minds. That’s something that they ought to DO DO. Learning to play a musical instrument is one such joyous hobby which my son pursues. It’s an absolute delight to hear those keys come alive with those finger movements! Another immensely creative hobby is one that starts with most kids with those coloured and shaped blocks . With some kids, like my little one, it carries on in the form of LEGO and it’s something that engages her mind for hours on end. It’s absolutely wonderful to see the creativity coming out in different forms and shapes and the imagination growing with it! Any physical sport / activity pursued by them today will always be there for them tomorrow.

Going forward , along with their digital pursuits, lets also blend in some good old pastimes like reading from touch and feel books, playing outdoors, exploratory trips with nature, unstructured free play at home, creative usage of redundant supplies , enough and more usage of art supplies and stationary and other such rather simple self created innovative hobbies in their schedules!

Digital world is already THEIR world, still, in small measures if we can reminisce our growing up years with them,we would feel wonderful!

 

General, Parenting

Food habits start young!

Fad foods, comfort foods, healthy foods, easy to assemble, easy to make, easy to feed…what all we try when it comes to food for the kids. So far, my experience with kids and food has been rather good if I may say so, and it’s satisfying to see them not culling peas, cumin seeds or tiny bits of beans from their plates!

We all have gone with the cycle of fret, fume, give up , however , what has worked for me is to again, take it easy with food. Where my toddler or my young kid has refused morsels, I have gone with the expert advice that no child will collapse if one or two meals are skipped and with the adage of ” This too shall pass” . We might feel restless and uneasy as a “mum failing on this very crucial chapter ” of their growth cycle and quickly try and rustle up this or that or whatever works at that point, BUT I have felt it’s nice to stick to foods that are a part of your regular palate and that you feel will sustain over time. I would be lying if I have not given in at times, but somehow by and large have succeeded in maintaining regularity with the food style and taste.

Succumbing to fancy and quick comfort foods will become their habit if YOU wish it so. It’s nice to be a little firm with yourself even at the cost of feeling a little harsh at times. Kids need to see more disciplined folks for them to emulate! Try and not feel helpless as kids pick up this cue very quickly and then they start their, “NOT THIS BUT THAT ” attitude towards foods.

From the cosy comforts of their dining table, the kids will move on to other tables at their friends houses, school halls and other social dos’s . What we can truly call our achievement is when we don’t have a picky eater amongst us with embarrassing moments and unpleasant situations we wish we could have controlled at the right time ! In saying this, I really wouldn’t rule a lot of good LUCK and maybe PATIENCE!!!

I am still dealing with trials which go as NOT NOW , LATER ! with many foods I would like them to sample! These are not the core food groups but the other extras so am not too fussed at this point, however, my attempts continue…

General, Parenting

TALKING TOMS

I am my childrens’ biggest sounding board for every minute detail of their lives so far! Maybe the age of innocence is still on or maybe I am an always available mum to them! Also, my two talk nineteen to a dozen! Yes , we all are aware that one has to be physically present when there is a need to communicate but I would like to believe that strong emotional ties would do the work just as well in their limited presence. It’s the feeling with which we reciprocate their banter that sets the wheel of communication in motion. This ” coming out of heart and honest ” feeling is very quickly sensed by the kids and the gates open up.

In this healthy exchange of words, their inappropriate language can be corrected, the usage of unnecessary words can be thwarted, the origin of their fears can be understood and so many other patterns of growing up can be sensed . The key here is to simply LISTEN and do so honesty and with all ears..anything less and their mouths will shut.

Some kids yes, are quiet and not so communicative by nature but they do send enough cues for you to pick up. Here, a good deal of patience is needed to extract those words from their mouths but it’s a given that they will pour out as long as the receptiveness is sensed by them.

So in an age where technology has consumed us in ways beyond our boundaries, may be worthwhile to rejoin the living rather than living in whatsapp and start to build strong communication channels for our kids and us to sail smoothly.

Beingmommy, Parenting

GREAT EXPECTATIONS!!

Human nature is one of expectations ( though many would beg to differ) about many things – looks , weight, wants, desires, friends, family etc. etc. SO!  why leave the kids alone from this enormous burden we all take upon ourselves ? Great to look at the picture down here and have that gentle smirk or even that subtle smile about it but am sure all parents out there are guilty of this little talk at some point or the other.

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So many expectations we all have of our kids. As much as I would like to think otherwise, in my own little way, I too fall in this trap! See them doing something nice and worthwhile and there goes the mind in telling me that this is it! This is my child’s calling! Then a few days on and this is dumped right under my nose! There goes my expectations on this front..why, just why did I think a MASTER will emerge from this new found and new loved activity or a passion?

A positive way is to ask our kids to raise the bar and their expectations of their doings in THEIR OWN EYES. The ball is thus in their court and lets allow them to serve an ace at their own pace. This may also bring in a sense of elevated self belief and confidence in them. We all would be happy too!!

Another experience I have had is that while it’s great to talk aloud about the many happy doings on their part , it’s equally beneficial to keep them to one’s mind only , to smile about the repeated successes or to quietly deal with the unexpected outcome.

So let’s just once again, breathe ( it’s become almost my go to word of late) , enjoy and savour the moments, take it easy, realistically EXPECT good behaviour and manners from them and for the rest, remind and affirm ourselves that nature will take its course! As long as we are honest about our behaviour worthy expectations ( and they CAN see them rather clearly) the battle is won! Let’s wait for time to unfold the many small joys and surprises. Till such time, as their custodians, let’s practice to say what we mean and mean what we say!!

Parenting

ONE on ONE LEARNINGS

Collective learning is a great tool in building the social quotient of the kids. However, the one – on – one learning brings in different elements. My experience with the kids in mindful engagement and new learnings has thrown in new lights! As parents, we always try and make lives easy and entertaining most times for our little ones. Always try and go to places which has some excitement for them and most important, company of other kids. So, whilst this serves very well for a rolling fun time, in terms of understandings of any new concept like an art pop -up, a cultural tour, a visit to a museum or even a zoo , somewhere, friends and company takes over! We have travelled to far off places with and without company and the children have absorbed a great deal under ONLY  the parents for company. It’s not like the little know-how’s has not been with pals around, but the degree varies significantly.The times they were with friends, it really didn’t matter to them whether they were in Paris, in Spain or any other place..the place ceased to exist in their minds and the play with friends took over! What is that that you remember of your trip to BALI and its ” awesome volleyball ” in the awesome pool! What about SPAIN? Its the many crosses and knots played at the biggg palace! The recalls from those trips written very sweetly in their diaries is where my belief that the “best teachings under forced and sometimes boring situations ” comes forth strongly.

So, for them to know the significant difference between a book reading or a literature fest or even a visit to the football stadium of their favoured club, an outing with NO friends may be a good idea  till they are of age to absorb stuff  even in distracting company. With same -age company, it would reduce almost to a sort of play date at anyone’s house or in a backyard. Anything more will seem a far cry! Of course, a few recalls will always be there to please you, but the larger picture is rather diluted!

On that renewed lesson, we are going to open our good deed jar which started filling up in the beginning of the year gone by and to look at all those colourful memo notes with the deeds the kids have felt were good in their understandings!! Cheers to newness and all things bright and beautiful in the year of the DOG!

Beingmommy, General, Parenting

MIX AND MATCH

I love football! I love skating! I want to try the drums! My friend is learning to run the hurdles! etc. etc. etc. So many choices, so much to choose from and WHAT WILL WORK!? Questions like these are very common.

My recipe for the right mix in learning and growing is rather conservative. Note please that this is ONLY MY RECIPE and am perfectly at peace with what others want to consume.

It’s not been very many years that my journey and experiments thereof have started with kids but in the limited understanding so far, the mix that I find good is a combination of a creative and a physical pursuit. My two go for one each of the mentioned mix. The creative energy is satiated by any art form, be it music, dance, drama, sketching and the likes and the physical part is addressed by a game play, be it structured or even an informal one works. In this, I have observed that the emotional,social,kinetics and the other 4 intelligence are all put to good use. So the theory of the multiple intelligence are , so far , going in the direction the many writers want it to! In this,my mention of the outdoor game play is of significance. It just brings out the joy of growing up even more! The little challenges taken by the children to UP their standards in their eyes is awe worthy..also, the social quotient significantly goes up..eventually it’s this growth which makes them soar in later years of their lives.

Another mention here is if kids can take up one each of an individual and a team sport, it’s even better..but here, I have observed that children are either/or in this department..either they love a team sport or they are quite comfortable in pursuing an individual one..I am still trying for a heady mix of the 2 and I know I will get there sometime soon.

Meanwhile happy decision making ( a cumbersome time consuming process ) in making our children grow up to be well rounded individuals capable of handling all that is tossed to them.

Beingmommy, Parenting

BORING IS NORMAL?

JUST the other day, between measured device time and outdoor stimulations, I asked my precious two to plough their minds into something very different with the rights given even to go bizarre, if they so wished! ( I secretly was hoping though that they don’t take my advise to be bizarre very seriously ,which they didn’t much to my great relief ! else the mommy in me would have taken a different shape).

With the first obvious resentments, I did see some good creativity..games were being made out of old used papers and these were put in my forthcoming daughters’ birthday planner! One thing led to other and a whole list of stuff was jotted down. Of course, in this, random head counts were also added as my little girl who’s turning all of 8 soon has many many girls whom she lovingly calls friends ( we will address this issue later!) What i saw and what I always knew is that the idle mind is no devil’s workshop in children’s case , it’s quite the contrary in fact.Boredom sometimes gets the best out of them..actually, I quite resent the word per se and I try and dissuade my kids from using it.At times, I also mummy other kids when I hear this word!

On and all, its a good sign if a TODAY’S child is feeling bored. In fact, at times, assigning boring tasks like laying the table, tidying up the place after meals, clearing and setting up their places like the cupboards, book shelves, corners which they label as their own etc. may not be a bad idea after all. It’s nice to give them these not very stimulating jobs as they may prove beneficial in the longer run..so, lets treat boring as normal and introduce this insipid flavour in their otherwise exciting and yummy lives.

Parenting

The UNCOMFORTABLE comfort zone

 

Who doesn’t like to feel comfortable in life’s daily grind! I’m settled, I’m sorted and I enjoy all my basic comforts..yes, great! But if this feeling seeps in for all of your life, it does mar or dampen your personal growth as a human being.Citing the example where children are concerned, here I go with my observations–

The little smarties have always a way with things, not willing to accompany their folks in places where their friends are missing in action or not wishing to try out any new food. While their trying to feel comfortable in their set up is a great feeling, but somewhere this becomes an impediment for new learnings..the best of the life teachings and learnings thereof comes when you are put in a tight spot..adults have witnessed this in many forms in their lives..then , to make the little ones feel overtly comfortable to the point of subtle “pampering ” if I may use the word , is something to be wary about..the more the mind is challenged, the more creative one gets. The more one is away from his comfort zone, the more adjustments are learnt. The more one is exposed to newer foods, the wider the palate becomes..

All these effects are really not felt in real time, but they go a long way in paving a physically and mentally stronger individual..the hidden benefits of learnings in uncomfortable situations can be quite something. Kids have an immense tendency for amoebic absorption , and as far as we can, we must let them experience many not- so- happy situations. As it’s an established fact with kids that learning first starts at home , the adults must make a good attempt at creating situations that are challenging and uncomfortable!

On that note, let me try and move from my comfort zone and get on with the many to- do’s!

 

General, Parenting

Confidence,competent,contentment

Confidence and Competency go hand in hand..the confidence with which we do something which comes very naturally to us, without making any significant effort,the ease with which we go about things that are ” normal” to us, be it cleaning,baking,clearing and the likes makes us all feel wonderful. Likewise, I
notice kids too feel supremely confident when the task they take at hand is completed with their own competent efforts.Kids today are tossed around in various classes and many extra curriculars, some because of their own likely interest ,some by seeing the interest in their peers, some mindless swaying with the current trends in activities while some seeing and getting carried away by the other childrens’ accomplishments .This, somewhere gives the child a confidence boost or a confidence low.The activity which your child eventually takes up after all your trials and his tribulations is the one which, I can say, will be  where his core competency lies. Once the path is chosen, you find the once sunken confidence being replaced by a bright face again.It could be a temporary high, but nonetheless it is something which could pave the way for future endeavours   for the child.The part that we can play here is to go completely with the flow, trust the child’s judgement and give his high a boost. In doing this, there is contentment for all concerned. After all, for your child, you can only show him where to look, what he sees there is entirely his ! This is stemming from his own sense where  of competency and this is what gives him confidence ! On that note, happy confidence building in happy recognition of competence and thereby happy contentment.

 

Parenting

Hail Netflix!

Hail Netflix ! Besides providing entertainment, it has also given me several insights to deal with issues, be it the life changing ones or the inspirational stories etc. Here, let me draw the attention towards “kids management”. Ever so often, while dealing with simple matters related to children, we often slip up only to regret it later on..let’s face it, the big career of pursuing kids management is fairly hands- on to most of us..why, we didn’t train to be parents at the word go but are ensuing this job hands on..so, many a slip between the cup and the lip is a part of the deal, but in hindsight when we look back, a sense of regret and a fair bit of remorse are the emotions we face. Here is where the super entertainment giant has come to my rescue! The simplicity with which growing -up matters has been dealt with is simply amazing! Of course, being stage managed and rehearsed several times over is why it looks and sounds the way it does, nonetheless ,I have taken certain leads from them and am trying my very best to replicate them in my day to day dealings!! The dynamics of handling situations differs vastly from person to person , but , in general, the laws applied remain the same..really appreciate the narratives of shows like ATYPICAL, THIS IS US etc. for paving the way for smoother transactions with children!