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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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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.