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Modern Values for Kids

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Values are often confused with moral conduct of behavior. Here are some modern values which can help children elevate their consciousness and grow into more aware beings.

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Being Religious v/s Being Spiritual:  Today, a lot of kids are not too keen about going shrines or religious discourses; however fascinating mythological tales may be, they are still esoteric in content and difficult for children to grasp.  Religions can be very dogmatic and binding i.e. demand the follower to live by certain rules and within certain boundaries of moral conduct.  Being spiritual gives kids more freedom of choice to find for themselves which ideals and concepts fit into their life and are aligned with their higher self. Being spiritual, atheist, agnostic is again a matter of choice and the idea is to allow a child the freedom of expression and not label them as moral/immoral, good/bad based on that. Being spiritual thus simply implies being in touch with their higher self which can be based on qualities of truth, authenticity, compassion, service to others and so on.

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Awareness & Apathy: Narcissism has crept into the modern lifestyle and largely so because of the societal pressure. Following a certain code of conduct to fit into a “good child” label is too tasking. Also, the new age education system has become so demanding that it often isolates a child from what’s happening in real world. At times, they get so bogged down by these pressures that they just ‘don’t care.’ This provokes apathetic responsiveness towards others by them. We need to instill values of compassion such that they can just be aware and reflect on it so that next time they will be ‘actively compassionate’ and not just bystanders to someone’s pain or discomfort.

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Acceptance: Acceptance is an attitude of complete non-judgement. Bullying and ragging are common in school/college life and a child can get socially anxious or awkward for being ridiculed or not fitting in with their peers. It’s essential to help a child develop an attitude of ‘acceptance’ i.e. accepting those different from you, befriend or just get to know people from various walks of life. This will help them in adapting to different cultures, conditions, classes and work environments in later life. Also if differences or dislike does creep in towards someone and they cannot be comfortable with, they could simply be and let the other be. They can avoid being judgmental or label others solely on their individual experience of incompatibility and should keep respectful boundaries to maintain harmony.
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Dignity for All: Every specie on the planet is essential for ‘balance’ and deserves to be treated with dignity. Make a child aware how we are all connected to plants, animals, birds, cosmic energies and how each of these are precious and beautiful in their own way.  Caring for the environment is a very rewarding experience as it makes a child compassionate. Going green in simple ways like recycling used paper, donating toys, minimizing plastic use, saving water, planting trees can keep them rooted and connected to the society at large.

Which are some of your values that help you live in harmony and adapt to those around you? Share the values you want to pass on to your kids and get featured on the blog.

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Freedom for Kids

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Freedom is everyone’s birth-right; and parents often are torn between how much freedom they need to give their kids owing to their safety concerns, fears and insecurities towards their children.

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Age-wise Appropriateness: The biggest conflict to decide how much freedom to give is because of the “conservative’ and “liberal” dynamic in parenting. At every stage and age the amount of freedom a child is given varies. For instance, a toddler needs constant adult supervision whether at home or outdoors; whereas, a young child between the ages of 6-12 years, can be allowed to be out with a familiar peer group. As children grow, you may have to have a dialogue with them explain how freedom comes with a responsibility. You can always keep a check on them through messages and phones to know their whereabouts and some deadlines won’t harm. Thus, your discretion at every stage and age of their physical/mental/emotional development would decide the appropriate amount of freedom they need and how much you can support and guide them.

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Establishing Boundaries:  Freedom does not imply shirking responsibilities and being a nomad. Children often feel ‘free’ to do anything they want because they are allowed to do whatever catches their fancy. As they grow up and begin to understand the world, they need to make their own choices and to make mindful decisions in any situation, you need to communicate the ‘why’s” and “why not’s”. For instance, making a child understand why they are being told to be indoors or to be home within a certain time. Inviting school/college/colony friends over and going to theirs at odd hours or wearing risqué clothing while they are out with friends are something they consider ‘being free-minded’ or cool. It’s not about what they are doing; it’s about the mentality with which they are doing certain things. Inculcate Independence and Self-Reliance and check on how responsible they can be in any given situation. Time-management, space management, completing their assignments within deadlines all reflects on how prepared they are to eventually be on their own.

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Keeping Them Rooted:  It helps to share your own experiences and how despite some rules being there, you enjoyed your freedom and youth. Today, many children, especially teens are in a hurry to experience everything as soon as they can and want instant gratification. The reasons could be peer pressure and the need to fit into a group, to look cool and be ‘in’ with the times. Kids are also highly impressionable because of the celebs they admire from a young age and dream of a life as glamorous as theirs. It’s essential to give your child a reality check. This does not mean binning their dreams or goals but to nurture those and helping them pursue those which are within their capacity and physical/mental/emotional makeup. They will eventually begin to see things the way they are rather than the way they ‘should’ be. Avoid cushioning them from hurt or telling them stories about good/bad people or it being a fair/unfair world. Freedom means allowing your child to make mistakes so they can ‘grow up’.

Which are some of the ways that allow a child to enjoy their freedom and be free-minded? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Sibling Rivalry

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A sibling is a secret-keeper, friend within the family and also a competitor whom you have to out-smart to win over your parents. Sibling Rivalry is not irreparable, here’s how parents can help their kids resolve conflicts and retain harmony.

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Human Nature: Competitiveness is human nature as each person wants to achieve their goals and be the best that they can be to live the life of their dreams. This is also found in sibling relationships and these are often fueled by parents, relatives, friends, social circle and even the educational institution they are in.  Apart from academic and professional achievements, siblings often compete with each other to win over acceptance, love, and appreciation from those around them. Petty fights often begin
with which child has better things to wear, whose the parents’ pet v/s
the troublemaker who gets yelled at all the time, and the one who gets ignored while
one gets glorified for being better in every sphere – to name a few instances.

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Order of Birth: Psychological case studies have identified as order of birth being an important trait to understand sibling rivalry. An elder child is most loved and remembered by everyone, is responsible, ambitious, often the one to follow rules and set a standard – often becoming a ‘role model’ for siblings. A middle child on the other hand is pressured and pursues something different or may be rebellious to get attention and be heard, these kids are usually found to be creative, have various interests and can dwindle between careers. The youngest child is often carefree and pampered by parents and siblings and is usually both emotional and stubborn. In contrast, twins are often found to be aligned and telepathically tuned into each other’s frequency and very supportive of each other through life.  Gender also influences the rivalry aspect but mostly, sibling relationships are found to be ‘loving yet argumentative’. Parents can prepare the older child before bringing the new-born into the family and an emotionally sensitive and supportive approach from early childhood years is found to be effective in resolving any problems that could arise in the future.

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Healthy Competition: To resolve conflicts stemming out of rivalry, parents can avoid favoritism and give each child equal amounts of time, attention and unconditional love.  Parents can often help each child excel at their chosen field or be the best they can be by just motivating strengths and help them overcome weaknesses. Talk in the open in a casual family meeting of sorts and let each child know what makes them so unique and special. Nurture their sense of individuality and not praise one child as a role model whose footsteps the other has to follow. Make them see that their sibling is not someone who’s better than them but just good at what they do. So just be focused on personal goals and channel their drive to what they want to become.. Make them feel loved and appreciated irrespective of how well they do at school/college or work as there’s more to life than that.

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Love-hate Relationship: Interestingly, siblings have the same genetic structure, yet abilities between siblings or an only child can differ from that of their parents. The nature & nurture aspect is highly influential in deciding which sibling does better. Hence, a loving approach by parents and those around them that recognizes each child’s unique potential is recommended to help siblings retain the love and camaraderie they share. Love and hate are sides of the same coin and fights between siblings are common – just like any other human relationship! If matters can’t be fixed, it’s better to be tolerant if you’re sharing spaces and parents often get involved to play peacemaker. It’s good to remember to keep things within a family, including past hurts as it eventually reflects on a family’s core foundation and value system if siblings become bitter enemies.

Do you remember how your parents sorted out fights between you and your sibling? Which are the things you’ll fight over? Share your stories with us and get featured on the blog.

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Solve Child’s Homework Woes

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A school-going child’s biggest woe is the homework. Almost every child has some difficulty or dis-interest in completing their assignments and this often leads to tensed parents. Here are some simple ways in which you could help your child complete their homework w/out being frustrated or tired.

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Time Management:  A child’s school homework becomes priority on a daily basis and this keeps them away from play-time. Parents could manage their child’s daily routine in a way that they have enough time for their fun activities and games. Stepping outdoors for running, enjoying swings in the park and cycling also rejuvenate the child. Studying till late nights can also be stressful for kids as they start the day early and so do you. Keep aside maybe 2 hours around mid-day which would easily fit into your child’s usual schedule (and yours) and also ensure he gets an hour’s nap-time to feel rejuvenated.

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Reward and Praise: A child’s morale is influenced by appreciation from parents and so reward and praise your little one if they manage everything well. Give them a sense of accomplishment and treat them to sweet surprises; for instance, “You’ve been so great. Let’s go to your favorite park to play”. Instead of punishing your kid if they haven’t been able to cope up, and support and evaluate where they need help. Coping mechanisms like taking short breaks between study-time, completing homework with their favorite toy next to them, and you sitting beside them and finishing your tasks really help in extending support.

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Help and Don’t Obsess: Parents often take it upon themselves to do everything they can so their child can achieve academic success. Help your kid with projects w/out obsessing over every minute detail of their capacity to do things. Avoid completing their assignments as it reduces their levels of competence and could encourage dependency on you because of a low self-esteem. Motivate your child instead and set short achievable goals w/out being bossy or a perfectionist. Also drop comparisons and expectations – maybe your child is gifted in another field such as creative arts or sports, so nurture that instead.

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Know Thy Child: It’s natural to be emotional and sensitive when it comes to your little one, but it’s also essential to be realistic and objective to understand what your child’s capacity truly is. Parents often set very high standards for their kid to live up to and this comes from their personal needs to be over-achieving. This sort of parenting style often results in a timid kid who just shies away from experiences or a rebellious one who breaks all the norms just to prove something to you. Allow your child to finish things at their pace and maybe you could just create an environment that helps them focus better such as keeping distractions like TV or games away while they are completing assignments. Gradually, help them see homework as a fun learning activity rather than a daunting task which if incomplete could lead to failure.

Which are some of the ways in which you encourage and support your child to complete their school home-work? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Ways to help a Bed-Wetting Child

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Bed-wetting is a natural process and part of growing up. Here are simple ways in which parents can toilet train their children.

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Find out the Reason: Bed-wetting is a natural occurrence in kids and may continue till they reach puberty. The reason for this response could be fear, anxiety, or a bedtime story/cartoon they got scared of. Many a times its difficulties at school, home-work woes, peer pressure or just timidity that makes them pee in bed when they’re asleep. A bed-wetting child may have a genetic predisposition or maybe needs help in regulating their hormone levels through medication. Often consumption of aerated drinks/coffee/juices which don’t agree with their delicate system because of their high sugar and preservatives level is a cause of this. Constipation and irregular bowel movements could also lead to frequent urination. Your child could also be bed-wetting if they have ‘cold feet’ because of weak immunity or because of sleeping in an air-conditioned room.

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Talk it Out: See it as a natural process and communicate with your kid rather than shaming  him as ‘dirty’ or ‘weak’ as it leads to emotional baggage and your child could distance themselves from you. You could try being gentle and gradually toilet-train them. The simplest way is to wake them up in the middle of the night and take them to the loo to pee – till they do this on their own. Keep the night-lamp on so your child doesn’t get scared when they do this independently. You could also keep extra nappies by their bedside for them to change and feel fresh.

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Taking Precautions: Keep mattress protector or a quick dry mattress underneath your little one’s bedding to avoid discomfort and to ensure the entire bed isn’t soiled. Make them wear thick nappy or a diaper if they’re too little; generally toilet-training starts during toddler-hood, after the child turns three. Avoid snug pyjamas/shorts/leggings as they could cause rashes, redness or skin irritation. Wash up immediately with soap and water. Keep child’s bedding separate and wash their clothes in antiseptic detergents separately to avoid spreading germs and bacteria. As they grow older, teach them about the same.

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Praise and Encourage Transition: Waking up on their own and going to pee in the middle of the night is a sign that kid has understood and responds to their body’s signals. Be happy that your child can relieve themselves on their own and tell them how happy you are to see this change. Give them time to settle in and gradually they could also start sleeping in their own room alone. Follow the same routine though and keep the night-lamps on and extra nappies and pyjamas on their bedside. Keep your bedroom door open so they can sleep next to you if they’re scared in the middle of the night and just need a snuggle.

Which are some of the ways in which you are helping your child through this transition? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Make the Most of Monsoons

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Make the most of the magical monsoon weathers with these simple guidelines from Simba Toys.  

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Right Raingear: Monsoons can be enjoyable if you’re comfy and protected. Raincoats, carrying an umbrella, wearing ankle-length pants/shorts with long-sleeved tees keep a child warm. For footwear, closed sneakers and shoes are not recommended and instead kids could opt for flip-flops, gum boots, kitos, crocs, loafers with anti-skid grip and similar open sandals which allow their feet to breathe and also ease of movement. Avoid making your child wear socks as they could get smelly when wet and also lead to fungal infections because of exposure to dirty rainwater in puddles, swamps and gutters.

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Diet-wise: Doctors and health care practitioner’s advice boiling veggies and drinking water as waterborne dis-eases such as gastroenteritis, cold, cough, and swine flu are on the high in the rains. The monsoon weather also demands a diet that keeps your kids warm and energized – vegetable broths, soups, dal-rice, curries are wholesome and better options than fast foods like pizza, sandwiches and fizzy beverages. Include lots of fresh fruits, nuts and seeds as well as these are a quick source of energy and also easily digested.

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Hygiene Matters: Maintaining a high level of cleanliness is of utmost importance in the rains. Keep hands and feet clean by regular washing after every time you’ve been outside to avoid germs that cause bacterial and viral infections. Use neem, aloe, and lavender, soaps/bath gels which are anti-bacterial and also natural moisturizing agents to keep your child’s skin clean, fresh and supple. If your child experiences itchiness while wearing school shoes, sprinkle foot powder to keep feet protected and dry. Avoid swimming pools and public parks as they could be full of unclean water, mosquitoes and worms.

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Enjoy the Magic: The monsoon weather is quite dreamy and ambient. Try visiting a park/scenic hill-side for a picnic or short getaway to explore and enjoy the lush green environs. Trekking/hiking for 12+ year old’s is quite popular as it offers them an outdoorsy and adventurous experience. Just ensure they are constantly under adult supervision to avoid accidents and injury from other unforeseen events.

In which ways do you and your family enjoy the beautiful monsoons? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Ways to Deal with a Lying Child

Children are too young to understand why they are lying. Similarly, teens could lie to keep secrets. Here are some ways with which you could deal with a child’s lying behavior.

Identify the Behavior: Parents often discover a little late about a child’s lying behavior and the reasons for this is many. It’s tough as little children especially toddlers and older kids between 3-9 years are very impressionable and often in their own sweet make-believe world. Many times little kids don’t even know when they are talking to themselves or to a parent. At times kids lie just to escape responsibility, to rebel or just to save face from shame and from harsh punishment imposed by very strict parents. Kids also lie to gain attention and favoritism i.e. want to be teacher’s pet or be parents most loved among siblings and put up a front of good behavior. Teens often lie to keep certain emotional matters and “friendships” private as they often find it easier to confide in peers.

Imaginary Friends & Story-telling: Kids often have imaginary friends and use their names to shift blame. The lie or ‘story’ could be something they heard or saw in a cartoon or at school and are just acting it out in real life. They often do this out of fear of ridicule or create fake scenarios and fabricate truth as it’s easier to digest. Lies are often child’s wishes and fantasies which they want to come true as they often can’t cope with school work or are very emotionally needy and need extra attention from home. An alternate reality becomes an easy escape with which they express themselves. Often children learn this tendency from parents who use lies to get away with unpleasant people/situations. For instance; avoid phone-calls from visiting guests as they are tired or not in the mood to socialize. Children could also just be following suit to match up to their parents’ and peers standards.

Ways to Transform:  Gently/humorously catch them in the act and like a friend explain right/wrong behaviour. Avoid being religious/dramatic about it as a child is still adapting to the world and needs time and nurturing to fully understand what’s going on.  Explain to your kid that truth resolves conflict and builds trust between people and to speak it without being blunt viz; ” If you can’t say something nice about something or someone, say nothing at all. Replace fearful feelings with love and courage to be oneself and praise child’s individuality. Allow them space to express oneself w/out hesitation and as parents avoid keeping something taboo/restricted and let children choose wisely for themselves. A certain level of privacy for teens is essential as they are going through a transition of physical, mental, emotional changes. Allow them time to open up to you and a friendly approach could help to communicate better. As an exercise for kids of all ages, a way to transform lying behaviour is to ask them to write confessional/apology letters and bury them away as a release. If matters worsen ask them to apologize for wrongdoing as it’s a sign of maturity and responsibility for one’s behaviour.

Which are some of your observations about your child’s lying behavior? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.