Tag Archives: Kids

Stop Saying ‘No’

A post from my wife Maya. 

Parental discussions at parks tend to focus on how kids say ‘No’ for everything. Yes, some kids are more difficult than others. Yes, kids who say ‘No’ to most things that are suggested can be frustrating.

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Small child plays on the porch 2 by simpleinsomnia

The solution is not to shout back at such kids, because it might easily be reduced to a shouting match. The trick is to diffuse the situation using humor, or distract or use any other trick available in the parental arsenal to break the status quo.

Lead by example

As parents, it’s our job to lead by example, however trying it might be under certain circumstances. After a full day at work, it’s easy to let the kids to play online games to keep them occupied and say ‘No’ to most things a child suggests. When we are too tired to run behind or play with our child, there is a tendency in us to say ‘Don’t run, just sit and play here where I can keep an eye on you.’ Play is important for kids, and it’s one of the best ways to bond. This should involve activity, and running around which is good for both the physical and mental development of a child. So, however tired you are, pull out the energy from deep within to play with your child. By playing regularly, a child internalizes play and it becomes natural to want to play. Kids who play regularly, especially outdoors are generally less frustrated. There is a reason why forest bathing is being followed by so many.

Over using ‘No’ and ‘Don’t’

Parents need to stop over using these word while kids play or explore. They must be watchful and stop kids when they feel something’s risky, but they must not stop a child from trying things or regular play. Kids are meant to run around and be with other kids. By testing their boundaries, they learn to judge for themselves. This also help them go beyond what they are capable of. Such activity also helps them burn energy, leaving them calm and happy. If kids play with peers in wide open areas, they also learnt o help each other if they take a tumble. It’s also interesting to see kids team up naturally to so something which they might not be able to do on their own. It’s not uncommon to see kids push up one kid, who then bends over to pull up another.

Kids who grow up playing are generally well balanced and rarely lose their cool. As they haven’t heard people around them using ‘No’, they don’t use it extensively. Nurture curiosity in them. When the mind is alert, happy and occupied, there’s nothing they want to say ‘No’ to.

It’s our job

Parental responsibility is not just about stopping our kids from hurting themselves. It’s bigger. We have to nurture our young by equipping them with what they need to go out into the wide wide world and make it theirs. For, in a way they are not just ours. As Khalil Gibran wrote,

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

Put Away Those Reading Games

Yes, get the kids to put away those reading games and pull out their walking shoes. Spring is officially here 20th March on. As new life blooms in nature, it’s time to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

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Sakura tunnel by akaitori

Spring’s in the Air

After the miserable cold, spring is welcomed with open arms. This is celebrated across the world in many different ways. Some are new age celebrations, while others have a history of thousands of years. Vitamin-Nature is something which kids need massive doses off. As our lifestyle changes, lives are getting busy and kids as well as adults spend very little time outdoors. This is not a good sign for younger kids. Hit the park or the playground. Younger kids need to spend a lot of time in nature. This is crucial for their sensory development.

Getting a big dose of Vitamin-N

Kids need to run about with shoes and without. They need to jump, tumble, hop, skip and spin with abandon. This helps in their health and development.Movement is crucial in the developing years. Many of the problems associated with kids’ development and health, like childhood obesity and sensory processing disorders, can really be helped with large doses of nature. Interestingly in Washington DC, children are prescribed doses of spending time at the park! Yes, it’s called Park Rx and it’s a communtiy initiative.

Swinging by themselves – basic playground stuff

Many kids much beyond preschool do not know how to swing by themselves. Parents rarely give pumping on a swing any thought. It’s complicated and crucial to developing musculature and coordination. Once the child is confident to sit in a regular swing and they are ready to follow your direction to hold the chains tight, start them slow. Coach them to stretch their legs and fold it as the swing starts up. Before you know it, they’ll get into the rhythm of swinging, and you’ll see the kids jumping off in mid-air and 2-3 of them swing all at once on swing! Make sure they are careful around others swinging high.

Enormous benefits

The benefits from nature are enormous for the development of kids. This does not mean going and living in a forest with your family. It just means increasing association with natural environments. Apart from parks, families can start small gardens. Watching something grow can fascinate kids. Get a pet. Buy fresh ingredients to make a meal and involve the kids. Soon they might be involved in cooking a Thanksgiving meal!

Encourage them to enjoy the rain, wind, sun and the snow. Do some activities which involve nature – hapa zome, flower drying, planting seeds, vegetable printing or anything that interests the kids.

Winding Up

My parents have always told us stories about the simple things they played with – cartons, tins, pieces of wood, bottles, sticks, newspaper etc. With massive doses of imagination, they got really inventive with their playtime. From such open ended play to the high levels of structured play that kids get, the move has been rapid and not fully beneficial. It’s time for a prescription of Park Rx!

 

Good Night, Sleep Tight!

Sleep is super important for kids. Yes, sleep. That state, where kids do nothing? At least it appears that way, but it’s that state where the mind builds memories and the body repairs itself. It’s so important that if kids don’t sleep in regular cycles parents should worry. Kids get cranky and their health deteriorates. Adults need 8 hours of sleep, but kids can easily sleep 10-12 hours a day depending on their age. Kids can practically sleep anywhere and anyhow!

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“L1009788 Kids, they can sleep anytime any place:)” by DaiLuo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A routine helps

Most kids who play and eat well, have no problems falling asleep. When kids do find it hard to fall asleep, a routine helps. The picture book Goodnight Moon, is a slow elaborate procedure of saying Goodnight, by the end of which a child could be asleep. Families can build their own routines. Darkening the sleeping area is a good idea. Sometimes a hot drink before going to bed helps. Other times a soft song does the trick. Watching a screen definitely does not help.

Frequently sleep disruptions could be temporary. Parents just need to talk to their kids to find out if something is preying on their minds. It could be a simple worry, which can be fixed easily. The importance of good quality sleep cannot be emphasized enough for kids – as parents we need to ensure that our kids get enough.

What do you want to do this Mother’s Day?

The kids asked me what I was going to do for Mother’s Day. I replied, ‘The usual’.

My kids decided I do too much of the usual stuff. They want all of us to do something unusual for this Mother’s Day. They started with a trip to the Arctic Circle. I countered with the beach. You can imagine how the conversation went from thereon.

When I was younger, we generally got my mother a card or a flower. Now kids buy their mothers flowers, gift or sometimes both.

About the Founder

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By Olairian – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26708917

The lady in the picture, Anna Jarvis, might not be well known, but she is the person who campaigned for Mother’s Day to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May. It culminated in a Presidential Order being passed by Woodrow Wilson in 1914. It was in the memory of her mother, who had said – I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.

Commercialization

Anna Jarvis had meant for Mother’s Day to be a sentimental observance. Kids would write sweet notes of tenderness to their mothers and give them a carnation. They were her mother’s favorite flower. What happened a few years down the line was rather sad. Florists would increase the price of carnations just before Mother’s Day. Card makers made sappy cards for Mother’s Day. People went out for big lunches with their mother and bought them gifts. In the melee the sentiment behind Mother’s Day got lost as early as the 1920s.

There was a point when Anna Jarvis called greeting card manufacturers and florists “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations.” After years of campaigning to start the observance, she now collected signatures to stop the whole thing.

Going back to the roots

“A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world,” Jarvis reportedly said. It is true that most of us just buy a card, flowers and a gift for our mothers. We don’t even spend time with her.

As we understand more and more of the world around us, we realize that all the toys, online games, candy, music, comics, gadgets, flowers in the world, cannot be as precious as the time we spend with our mother. It is a relationship surfeit with love and  tenderness. Mother’s Day is a day when we let our mothers know about how much we care for them.

This Mother’s Day, we decided to stay simple. I would write a note for my mother and the kids would make cards for their mother. We would sing their favorite songs and play their favorite movie. And together we would bake a cake for them. This Mother’s Day would be memorable and all about strengthening family bonds and showing our love for our mothers.