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5 educational apps for your toddler!

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As quoted by Jim Comey, “Technology has forever changed the world we live in. We’re online, in one way or another, all day long. Our phones and computers have become reflections of our personalities, our interests, and our identities. They hold much that is important to us”.

Much like adults, kids these days are growing up with technology. Though there is no denying the fact that the screen time for kids should be limited; we cannot eliminate the screen usage in their lives altogether. In this case, why not put technology and screen space to the best possible usage – to aid the development of your child.

Here are 5 educational apps for your toddler:

1. My very hungry caterpillar

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a famous picture book by Eric Carle. The famous character in the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar™, has won millions of hearts the world over. My very hungry caterpillar is a 3D representation of the same. It encourages children to bring out the artist in them, and draw, paint and create colourful artwork.

2. Endless Reader

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As your child will grow, being fluent in reading will become increasingly important. Laying the foundation early on is essential.

Endless Reader helps in improving the reading fluency of your child. It introduces your child to the vast world of sight words. Sight words are the most commonly used words in schools, children’s books, etc. Sight words glue the sentences together, and kids are to memorize these words. Endless Reader makes it fun for kids through animations and creatives to memorize these sight words.

3. Tiny Hands

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Teaching your kid to sort and classify can be fun too. Get your child to play this game – Tiny Hands. The game comprises of multiple environments, each focussed on teaching your child to sort and classify objects using dimensions such as shapes, colours, size, vehicles, and animals. Tiny Hands is very engaging and enriching at the same time. It not only teaches your child to sort and classify but also improves his/her concentration and hand-eye coordination.

You can also use tips from this game and replicate a few environments from the game to teach your kids sorting and classifying in natural settings.

4. Tiny Robot Maker

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Want to cultivate the passion to create in your kids? Introduce them to the Tiny Robot Maker App. The App lets your kids create colourful robots from pieces of scrap metal, cogs and pipes. Let your kids unleash their creativity and build some cool robots. You can also print your child’s favourite creations – and maybe turn them into greeting cards, wall hangings and so on.

5. Animals Puzzle

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Puzzles are one of the best ways to exercise the mind. Having gone through their physical puzzles repeatedly, introducing your child to this wide variety of colourful animal puzzles occasionally, can be refreshing for them.

Though you cannot eliminate screen time from your child’s life, you can ensure that the screen time is adding to your child’s learning and development.

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5 benefits of imaginative play

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“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”. Playing is one of the most important aspects of a child’s growing years.  It not only allows the child to break free from everything that is holding him/her back and experience joy but also adds to his/her holistic development.

As rightly said by O. Fred Donaldson, “Children learn as they play. More importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.”

What is imaginative play?

Imaginative play is essentially a role-play. When your child participates in imaginative play, the whole world indeed becomes his/her playground. They assume various roles and act out various experiences. One day they are the superheroes of the world trying to save the planet and the other day they are the teachers. Their world suddenly becomes limitless. They are everything that they want to be.

As rightly said by Fred Rogers, “When children pretend, they are using their imaginations to move beyond the bounds of reality. A stick can be a magic wand. A sock can be a puppet. A small child can be a superhero”.

Here are 5 benefits of Imaginative play:

1. Social Development

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Imaginative Play plays a very important role in shaping the social skills of your child. Your child learns to interact and co-operate with his/her friends involved in the imaginative play. Participating in imaginative play helps your child overcome the hesitation/shyness and helps him/her express clearly.

2. Language Development

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Imaginative Play advances the command over the language of your child as it involves dialogue, expression, teamwork, conceptualizing characters and the role play scripts. Thus your child will be encouraged to experiment with words and stories.

3. Emotional Development

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The best way to understand someone else’s story is to put yourself in his/her shoes; and imaginative play lets your child do just that. Ongoing participation in Imaginative Play will make your child more empathetic. Imaginative Play helps your child in developing the self-expression trait and will add to his/her emotional development.

4. Physical Development

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Imaginative Play is a mix of both verbal and non-verbal forms of expression. It is as good as setting up a play performance. This may involve a lot of other activities for your child – creating charts, posters, props, etc. Through imaginative play, your child may assume the role of a dancer, a boxer, a gymnast, and so on. All these activities will help in strengthening the hand-motor skills and hand-eye coordination of your child.

5. Thinking Skills

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As rightly said by Abraham Maslow, “Almost all creativity involves purposeful play”

Imaginative Play encourages your child to go out of the box and let his/her imagination know no bounds. Your child is encouraged to assume different roles and different characters. These characters can have traits as defined by your child. The objects involved in the role play can have attributes that reality has not seen till date. Let your child’s creativity be nurtured and nourished through these imaginative plays. An entire Quidditch game in the famous Harry Potter series was the result of powerful imagination.

Children are not yet introduced to the realities of the world. They believe that everything is possible. They believe sky to be their only limits. Help them preserve this thought. Introduce them to the power of Imaginative play. And empower them with the skills of creativity, imagination, and creation.

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Seven ways to teach your child to be independent

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Parents want the best for their kids. They devote all their attention towards raising their kids well and are always focused on their development, growth, and happiness.

Parents assist their kids with almost all their firsts – their first word, their first steps, their first day at school, their first attempt at riding a bicycle and so on. Hand holding the kids come so naturally to them. It is but natural that kids look up to parents for almost everything – support, love, protection and so on; and amidst this, they become dependent on them. But, one of the most critical and significant achievements of parents would be to raise independent and self-reliant kids.

Parents must realize that the goal is to raise kids in such a way, that they can go about their own lives efficiently without them being around all the time. The kids need to learn to believe in their selves; they need to understand that they should be prepared to have their backs and that they can face the world on their own. Independence and self-reliance go a long way in determining the success of the child.

Here are 7 ways to teach your child to be independent:

1. Assign your kids age-appropriate responsibilities

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It is imperative for your kids to believe that they can assume responsibilities. For them to believe in themselves, you need to believe in them and assign them responsibilities. Let them decide on their own on how they want to execute a given task. You can choose to guide them, but make sure you do not dictate terms.

2. Appreciate your kids’ efforts

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Your kids are trying to execute the tasks and responsibilities assigned to them. It might be their first time. They might not be perfect with what they are doing but do notice that they are putting in efforts. Sincerely recognize and appreciate the efforts put in.

3. Let your kids make choices

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Life will present a plethora of choices to your kids each day. Be around them to guide, but do not make the decisions for them. Let them think through what choice they want to make. It will bring them closer to understanding their selves, and their likes and dislikes. It will make them more self-aware and confident to make more significant choices in the future.

4. Encourage your kids to come up with ideas and solutions

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Your kids might be a bundle of thoughts and ideas but they might be hesitant to share their opinions with the world for fear of their views being judged or mocked. Encourage them to overcome this fear and share their ideas, suggestions, and thoughts. Make them understand that not all ideas are supposed to be the best but brainstorming on the ideas with others will result in coming up with the best solution.

5. Teach your child the art of embracing failures

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Your child might think of failing as a negative thing. The fear of failing might deter your child from even attempting the task. Talk to your child about success and failures. Make him/her understand that success and failures are two sides of the same coin and failure eventually becomes the stepping stone for success.

6. Encourage your kids to forge healthy relationships

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The supporters that we have on our sidelines make a lot of difference on how far we go. Teach your child the importance of relationships and how to value those relationships.

7. Don’t always be there

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Reflect on how you are working towards raising an independent kid. Are you always there for your child to solve every problem for him/her. Are you always his/her magic wand? Do not always be there. Use your judgment to decide which situations your child can handle on his/her own.

Teaching your kids to be independent is crucial for them to be successful and happy throughout their lives. Raise your child to be self-dependent and confident to take on this world.

 

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Five ways to help children express their emotions

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One of the most beautiful things about us human beings is the ability to feel and to communicate. Every day, every moment, we feel a lot of different emotions, and our ability to express these emotions is the key to our well-being.

As kids grow up, they begin to become aware of the various emotions that they are feeling, and it can get overwhelming if they are not able to separate one emotion from the other. In addition to identifying the different emotions, children also need to learn to how to handle the various emotions and how to express them. Expressing the emotions in a right way is not only crucial for the personal well-being of your children but also for nurturing relationships.

As parents, you can play a very significant role in helping your children befriend the various emotions that they are beginning to feel and learn to express them.

Here are five ways to help children express their emotions:

1. Name the feelings

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Your kids are new to feeling emotions. You need to help them identify these emotions, especially in the initial years of childhood. Begin with naming their feelings. Ask questions that make them dig deep into what they are feeling at that very moment – Are you feeling happy because you met your friend? Are you feeling sad because you will miss your school? Are you feeling excited to go on the picnic? It will help your kids to identify and understand their feelings.

2. Let your kids know that feeling emotions is okay

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Your kids might feel a lot of emotions but might not know how to express them. It could be the case that your kids think that they should keep their feelings to themselves. You need to make your kids believe that it is not so and they can share those emotions with you. Let them know that it’s okay to feel the way they feel.

3. Talk about how to express emotions

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Have discussions with your kids about expressing the emotions. The best way to do this is by talking about the various emotions you felt in multiple instances, why you felt those, and how did you choose to express them. You can also have a weekly session with your kids where you give them different situations and let them talk about how they will feel in those situations and how will they express themselves then. You can then discuss with if that were the best way to express those feelings.

4. Express your emotions in front of them

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Children learn from what they see. Express your emotions in front of them. Tell them why you are feeling in certain way. Tell them what are you doing to handle that emotion and why.

5. Develop a deep connection with your kids

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Developing a deep bond with your kids will go a long way in making them emotionally stable. Express your love for them, be there for them when they need someone to listen to them and try to understand their perspective. It will help you in understanding the reasons behind their emotions and thereby respond better.

Learning to identify and express emotions from an early age will go a long way for the development and success of your child.

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5 ways to celebrate Independence Day with Kids

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Independence Day is one of the most significant days in the Indian history. It was the day when Self-rule or Swaraj became reinstated in this country after being ruled over by the British for over 200 years. Citizens celebrate this day with much joy and enthusiasm by hoisting the tricolour flag and singing patriotic songs. It is the day when we remember the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives to make the nation free. We are proud to be Indians. For our kids to have this pride deeply ingrained in them, it is essential for them to understand the importance of this day.

Plan various participative fun activities for your kids to make them understand the significance of Independence Day, and ensure that they look forward to celebrating the Independence Day each year.

Five ways to celebrate Independence Day with kids

1. Flag hoisting ceremony

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Flag-hoisting is one of the most important rituals of Independence Day. We pay respect to our national flag by hoisting it and singing the national anthem. The tricolour flag is hoisted almost everywhere in the country on Independence Day, especially in schools, colleges, and government institutions. The schools celebrate Independence Day and educate the children about the importance of this day through flag-hoisting, speeches, song, and dance, etc.  Housing societies also host flag hoisting ceremonies. Ensure that you and your child participate in the flag hoisting ceremony.

2. Conducting a skit/role play

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Children learn a great deal through skits, and role plays. Organize a get-together for your kids and his/her friends and make them perform a role play on their favourite freedom story.

3. Watching a patriotic movie

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Children enjoy movies. Cinema plays a significant role in shaping the outlook of children. Schedule a patriotic movie screening at your place on the Independence Day. Ask your kid to invite his/her friends. Pep the movie screening by arranging popcorn for the kids. Post the movie screening session, let the kids share their favourite Independence Day stories.

4. Organizing an Independence Day-themed get-together

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Children enjoy get-togethers. Organize an Independence Day get-together at your place for your kids and their friends. Get your kids to decorate the house with tricolour balloons, ribbons, flags and many more DIY tricolour things. You can ask the kids to be dressed up in tri-colours or resembling their favourite freedom fighters. Get the kids to sing patriotic songs and dance to patriotic numbers. You can also conduct a patriotically themed quiz. End the evening by sharing a few stories of the Independence struggle.

5. Taking a historical walk

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Find out the various historical places in your city and visit them. While you are visiting them, discuss the significance of these places with your kid. Also, include those places which have a link to the Independence Day.

 

Independence Day is a day of prominence for us Indians. It is essential for every Indian to understand its significance and celebrate it with joy and enthusiasm. Help your kids to recognize this day’s importance and celebrate it for years to come.

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4 ways to teach your toddler to share

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“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with”– Mark Twain

Sharing is an art. This art goes a long way in shaping your toddler into a kind and humble human being. However, your toddler might not necessarily learn this art on his/her own, especially in today’s day and age, when kids are used to all the attention in the world. Then how do kids imbibe this art of sharing?

The art of sharing needs to be taught to them from a very early age, and the same should be reinforced again and again, till your child imbibes the art.

4 ways to teach your toddler to share

1. Start early

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Most toddlers are alien to the concept of sharing. They are more likely to use the words “This is mine” rather than “We will share this”. Teach your toddler the importance of sharing from very early on. The earlier you start, the easier will it be for your child to imbibe this virtue. Start with simple things. Encourage your child to share his/her toys with friends. Make sharing a fun thing by turning it into a game. Appreciate your child, when he or she does share his/her things with others and tell them what was so good about that act. While at home, make the practice of sharing a ritual.

2. Set an example

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Children learn a lot from what they see. You need to be a role model for your child by taking a lead at sharing. Talk about how you used to share your food, toys, etc as a child. Share things with your little ones and make them do the same to form a habit. By doing this you set an example for your child.

3. Make family time – share time

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Let the art of sharing be common in your family. Share the household chores and the responsibilities. Doing this not only helps them to form a sharing attitude but also make them feel involved in family activities.

4. Be prepared

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It is not overnight that your toddler will learn the art of sharing. After all suppressing the feeling of belongingness and being open to others need time.  Making them learn this art will require a lot of persistence and patience from your end. Be prepared.

 

Building the right foundation in the early years of your child will go a long way in helping him/her achieve their full potential. Building this solid foundation requires teaching your child a lot of good values and habits. And the sharing is one such habit.

 

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5 ways to make flying easier with a toddler

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Flying with your toddler is hard. They are fully mobile, totally dogmatic, and incapable of being reasonable and logical and perhaps at the most inopportune moments. But why stop there?  If your travel plans take you and your toddler up in the air, read on the following tips on flying high and happy.

1. Book non-stop flights whenever you can

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Use timing to your benefit. Book non-stop flights, especially for long stretches. Also, try and schedule the flight timings around the nap time of your child. It’s true that flight delays can foil even the best-laid plans for flying with a toddler, but if your little one can get even a short nap while on the go, it will be a wonderful reprieve.

2. Bring extra supplies

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When travelling with your toddler, bring as much food and toys as you can fit into your carry-on luggage. Don’t count on meals being served on board as they may be none or very expensive. Even if your flight is scheduled during non-meal times of your little one, plan ahead for probable delays, and bring portable meals anyway.

As far as toys go, bring anything don’t bring anything which has tiny pieces and can get lost or miss if fall under the seat. You can bring easy to carry and noiseless toys or even use in-flight magazines to engage them in playing scavenger hunt.

3. Help them ease the ear pain

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Bring lollipops or Sippy drink for your child. Sucking them will help prevent your child’s little ears from hurting due to air pressure changes in the cabin during takeoff and landing. Crunchy snacks that require a lot of chewing are also helpful in keeping the ears clear.

4. Stock your iPad/Tablet

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Movies, music videos, educational games, learning apps – all hours of entertainment in a single device. Yes, we are talking about your tablet. Stock your tab and/or phone with your kid’s favourite games and programs so that you can tune them in some screen-time entertainment whenever they are about to throw a tantrum.

5. Get a window seat

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The best possible way to contain your little one is to get a window seat. Engage your little one in watching beautiful sky and clouds and tiny winy buildings. This trick is very useful for short flights as by the time your little one will be bored, your trip will be almost over.

Consider these suggestions and you will never have a tough time flying with your toddler.

Wish you a good luck on your next flight.