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Benefits of Setting a Child’s Daily Routine

 

A child’s life is full of spontaneous moments and free-flowing discoveries. Setting a daily routine can give it some structure and make things easy to manage for parents. Here are simple ways in which a child’s daily habits can be set into a routine.

Sense & Structure:  A child’s day can never be fully planned as they slowly explore the world around us, learn to communicate and build bonds with every person they meet. The world is a fascinating place for kids where every moment carries wonder and joy that they want to experience. Setting a routine however, helps parents manage their time & commitments at home and work and it also gives child rootedness.  Daily habits such as waking up, brushing teeth, going potty, bath, dressing up, playing with toys, putting them back, meal-times, nap-time and more are a part of a child’s usual daily routine.

Family Bonding: Following a routine gives working parents more time to spend with their kids and just bond. Working parents often enjoy daily walks or a visit to the park with kids and rejuvenate. Shared experiences apart from play-time such as baking, just being with each other, telling stories or just watching a child grow up and discover the world one step at a time are highly enriching. This also releases the need to rush through life as parents savour moments of growth & development at every stage and are better able to cope with stress.

Healthy Habits: Both parents and kids with routines have been found to have better health. For instance, sleeping and waking up at a set time is better in the long run for the entire family. It aslo imbibes a sense of security in kids as they know what to expect and do incase they are confused.  Things run more smoothly around the house and the channels for communication are more open and peaceful.  A lot of parents maintain reward charts to add an element of fun for their kids but maintaining them regularly can be a bit daunting.

Self-Reliance:  Routines help a child be more independent and assured of their own ability to do things. Parents can just supervise them now and then to make sure they’re doing ok. This greatly reduces tension and power struggles between parents and kids as they are in better harmony as tempers don’t shoot up and everything can be managed more calmly with greater amount of love, patience and trust. This helps parents and kids work towards shared goals for instance completing school projects and planning a family vacation in advance.

Do you follow a routine or have daily activities for your little one? Share your story with us and get featured on the blog.

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Money Matters In Childhood

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Money matters and here’s how you can make your little one ‘penny-wise’ as they grow up.

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Why it’s Essential:  Money may not buy happiness but it is sure essential to happiness. It’s the exchange we pay for goods and services of all kinds and is a mean to an end and a tangible necessity. Considering its importance, it’s essential to imbibe a sense of practicality in kids towards money from an early age. It familiarizes a child with the outside world and keeps them rooted in reality. A fun way to introduce monetary transactions is through toys. Smoby Ice-cream Shop by Simba brings play-value and learning to your child’s life as he enjoys selling sweets and treats through role-play.

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Pocket Money: Getting pocket-money to spend on your favorite things is something we’ve all done as we were growing up.  A child learns to manage their finances as they start getting aware about their surroundings and by watching you and others around them deal with finances. Whether it’s buying new things from a shop, meeting friends or just going out to eat – it all helps them understand how to adapt to everyday situations.

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Parents Discretion: When it comes to finances, tell them age appropriate things that the can grasp and which allow them to be responsible and yet enjoy the pleasures money can buy. Simultaneously, make them understand why being frugal is also necessary.  For instance, they could start ‘saving for a rainy day’ or even maintain a common family piggy bank for extra things around the house, for repairs and maintenance and other family purchases. You can encourage them to take summer jobs and internships to give them a real sense of ‘earning money.’
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Earning & Learning: You can send kids to shop and ask them to account for it. You may also ask them to help you around the house for which they can earn an extra pocket money. Though it’s not about making them work, but about making them understand the value of money and that they “earned” it.

Which are some of the ways you manage money matters as a parent? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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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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Ways to Deal with Habit of Theft in Kids

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A child stealing material things is an underlying need for love and attention. Here are gentle ways in which you can help your child evolve from this negative behavioral tendency.

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Identify the reason/cause: Identify the cause or reason because of which your child is stealing from you. It’s often an attention seeking behavior and an underlying need for love which is unfulfilled. So they start substituting money for love and end up giving more importance to material possessions that can be bought. It could perhaps be that they are not getting their rightful recognition in family, latent anger at a parent or sibling who is being pampered more than them. Children often steal because of peer pressure or ragging/bullying they face in school or social situations so comply to be part of a group. Stealing could also be because of a lack of self-control, the thrill of rebelling against set social norms of behavior. Maybe they can’t identify between right/wrong and preschoolers often do it out of curiosity rather than a habit. An older child or teen however, needs immediate attention and needs to be gently explained about right/wrong behavior in any given situation concerning what’s “mine” and “other persons”.

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Introspect on Parenting Style: Children notice parent’s behavior and follow the example in front of them. So as a parent or influential figure in the child’s life, introspect if you avoid paying for things even though you can afford them. Do you hoard “freebies” from hotels or any other public place out of a sense of false entitlement? Do you avoid tipping because you’ve paid service tax? Identify and re-evaluate what’s your relationship with money to set a more acceptable example in front of your child. Also check if you’re a miser and give your child less pocket-money that keeps him away from enjoying his school/college life. Are you strict/angry/in-attentive when it comes to pampering your child?  And if you’re someone who loathes the rich or have negative feelings about money or those who are affluent – you’re creating a prejudice on your child’s mind. So instead develop an attitude of gratitude and abundance as gaining that affluent stature involves optimism and a lot of relentless work.

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Ways to transform: The best way to transform this situation is to talk/communicate without judging and give your child a chance. Clear the air about right/wrong and also about ownership – things that are theirs and those that belong to someone else or things that are commonly owned by everyone in the family.  Also explain to them about ‘entitlement’ what they are naturally entitled to as citizens and what they have to pay for in every social/professional setting. As a simple exercise, send them to a shop to buy something and check if they give you back the exact change. Teach them about savings and individual pocket money and buy them a piggy bank to help them build their own. Avoid labels of “bad child” “troublemaker” and instead reward good behavior with love and praise. Avoid being too dramatic and ensure you keep this conversation private. Don’t be ashamed as it kills child’s morale and instead be patient and appreciative of how good he is otherwise.

Which are some of the ways in which you can help your child give up stealing? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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Encourage Kids to be Problem Solvers

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Your child looks upto you for all his needs, including emotional, mental and psychological ones. Being able to adapt, having a healthy approach to problems and staying calm through it all are positive traits of good parent-child harmony. Here are simple ways in which you can encourage your kid to be a problem solver.

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Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable

Parents are role-models for kids and your child will imitate your approach to life or rebel and find his/her own way to deal with everything. Be soft and sure in your approach and avoid being too bossy or critical. Keep your language clear and make use of positive words rather than using tags and labels such as “bad boy/girl”, “mischief-maker”, “useless” as these become their inner voice and they often end up defining themselves through such feedback. Avoid physically hitting them or throwing things when you’re edgy or angry as that’s how children learn to throw tantrums, being dramatic and ways of violence.

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Constructive Criticism

Your little one is learning the ways of adapting to the various stimuli in this big world so be gentle and see mistakes as a positive sign as room for learning and growth. Instead of saying, “That’s a stupid drawing!” rephrase your feedback as “You can do better than this. I believe in you”. Also avoid attaching moral values to everything your child does, for instance, “You’re a bad child as you made a mess during playtime”. Instead build your child’s character with statements like “You’re a responsible child and i’m sure you can put back your toys where they belong.” Creating fear of not being a good person is not constructive and could destroy your child’s self-esteem.

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Encourage Independence

Encourage your child to speak up and just say whatever’s on their mind without any fear of judgement, ridicule, punishment or hesitation. This helps them be strong and courageous enough to solve their own problems – be it requesting teachers or seeking their help, making new friends, dealing with bullies, walking to school from home and back on their own among other daily routines which are part of growing up. One of the best ways to encourage independence and autonomy is to let your child help you around the house and greet guests, make them feel welcome and comfortable, serving tea, snacks and other good manners.

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Take it Easy

As a parent you could find yourself frustrated as you juggle between home and work lives. Children are emotional sponges so stay calm through chaos and take it easy. Your calm and sensible approach to problems will inspire them to do the same v/s your nagging, cribbing or harsh attitude in face of crisis. Dropping things, breaking toys, ruining the living room or not being very organized are all part of childhood. See it as a process where your child’s butter fingers are still gaining a strong grip over objects. Remember these inanimate objects can be easily replaced so put your child’s care first in face of such small accidents. Look for your strengths rather than faults and imperfections even in simple things such as your child not being good at studies or coloring outside the lines. Take it easy as your child is still finding their feet and needs you as a friend, confidante and parent and not as a lecturer on perfectionism.  Include digital breaks, meditation, walks in natural environs and yoga to get into this zone.

Which are some of the ways in which you encourage your child to be a problem solver? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.