As young parents we have huge dreams for our little one. The child means the world to us. We wish to do the best. Mums take a break from professional lives to be with the child. The baby becomes the centre of our world. We become mums cum teachers. I meet so many of you buying teachings kits, CDs and games to teach the one year old all about the alphabets, numbers and concepts. Your child looks amazing with gadgets that sing rhymes and tutor her. Stop! Yes stop to ponder. Why do you want to teach the school curriculum at home? Yep! Let the home be an abode where the little mind is at peace…left free to explore and expand.
Are We Introducing Children To Stress?
Children live in the present moment. Watch your baby to understand she is so close to nature. Look at your one year old to see how engrossed she is when she is playing with water or being a tiny gardener in your lawn. Just capture the peace and happiness on the child’s face. Whoa! she is also learning to hold, pour, dig, sprinkle and above all take care of fellow living beings. Now teaching them school curriculum at an age when they cannot be admitted to a school is not a great idea. Yep! Ironically we are the first ones to introduce stress to our own baby. Just like we can’t enjoy lunch immediately after a sumptuous breakfast similarly a child gets bogged down when she is being fed with the same concepts at home, school and practically everywhere.
Understanding The Role Of Schools
As parents we need to know and understand that a child spends 14 years in school. With every promotion to the next class, challenges increase and a certain amount of stress is a norm. Nowadays most of the schools are well equipped to take care of your child. Teachers are doing a great job and are on a learning spree to make lessons more and more interesting. Every school conducts workshops to equip teachers with latest skills and technology. Being your little one’s teacher is no ‘child play.’ You don’t believe me then just be a primary teacher for a week to know that the teachers have lesson plans and daily logs to make learning pleasurable for the child. She is well equipped to deal with different type of learners. Group dynamics is less stressful and more of an enjoyable exploration. Let your child learn at school with her peers.
From class 1 to class 5 they learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, the environment science book talks about family, neighbourhood and environment issues year after year. Children have enough of years to learn at their own pace. Please do not push, compare performances with others or tutor them. Be patient as sooner or later every bud blossoms into a flower. My daughter refused to study at home as a four year old. She would tell me that books and bag are for the teacher and classroom. I too wanted her to revise her lessons at home. I met her teacher who chided me for my worries when she said, “she is learning for three hours in school. Do you want a four year old to study more than that?’ I never bothered after that and completely let go.
Children Are Individual In Their Own Right
I want to confess here that as a kid or later on as a student I could never understand why we measured the growth and development of every unique individual child with the same yardstick. Why was it important to know the tables so well for all of us? Why weren’t we given time to settle with concepts? Why was the quickest considered the most intelligent? Why the confusion when the tortoise established the moral for all times that slow and steady wins the race? I exhausted myself further with yet another query, “Why should there be a race?” Yes! why a race that makes us competitive, cunning and stressed out rats? Why can’t we do a catwalk on the ramp of life? Yes a catwalk that showcases our individual style statement, our uninterrupted charisma and our healthy aura. Why can’t we allow our children to exude an inner confidence with soft and shining eyes and a persona that spells out, “I know my strengths and here i am to make a mark at what i can do best.” Life becomes easy and enjoyable with simpler minds. Like this we move ahead as individuals as well as societies.
What should a home look like?
Parenting Tip : The home must be comfortable. Here I am not talking about luxuries but yes an aura where children feel comfortable. Children feel very comfortable in less of clutter and more of space. It is easier to maintain a home where empty spaces are more. Declutter your homes on a regular basis. If you don’t wear a dress give it to someone. Buy one and discard one…this rule is applicable to toys, clothes, utensils etc. Do not hoard …give away. Do not buy if you don’t need things. Its like blocking your money in products that are not giving immediate gratification. Allow your home to breathe. Yes a home where children explore the world with toys that bathe with the baby, are soaped and wiped with love and tender care… a world where mum and pop are able to give undivided attention for some time … a nest where the little one closes her eyes to pray with the family for a couple of minutes … an abode where smiles warm up the hearts and life remains simple… a sweet home where things may be out of place but love stays put in every heart. Yes! Let’s not have spick and span hotel like homes where children are prim and proper. Please allow them to chat incessantly like tiny chicks, sprawl on the ground to look at the stars and sleep off with a sense of wonder.
Learning To Relax
Parenting Tip : A relaxed mind holds the key to learning as well as performing on the stage to life. Just look around to observe that a time comes in every person’s life wherein they wish to relax as they realise the crumbling realities of mental and physical health. We come across fitness holidays, yoga programmes and silent retreats like never before as people yearn to relax before stress breaks them completely. Multitasking that became a norm is being replaced with giving 100 percent to the job at hand. Being in the now or the present moment are the traditional norms that are getting recognition once again to keep mental clutter and anxiety at bay.
Let’s give our little ones the peaceful tips early in life. Children can be easily moulded at this stage….let us shape them to become free and healthy individuals. Let them relax and introduce ways and means to let go. Let’s shop for a picnic basket and bask in the morning light with our children. Yes! Being laid back on weekends is the great way to unwind with the little ones. My daughter loved to carry a variety of cookies and dunk them in a cup of chocolate shake as we would often sit idle at the Worli Seaface in Mumbai. As the sluggish waves picked up momentum she would gaze into the eyes of the sun and feel the cool morning breeze. Doing nothing yet being together strengthened our bond in a special way. She would break the silence with, “Mama… shee birdie” (read see birdie or “Hoooo! baarish(rain) as the waves turned sprinklers. Oh! at 13 she is still a bird watcher and loves to be on the terrace to welcome the early morning sun.
Say NO to Gadgets
Parenting Tip : Gadgets are akin to stress. Portable play stations introduce little boys to shoot out games, murders and theft. Those little eyes don’t blink and the mind gets cluttered with vain ideas. Put the gadgets away as they kill the baby’s creativity. From television shows to laptops and mobile phones …just put them away. Yes! if already hooked then wean the child away as soon as possible. Family time should mean an outdoor activity. Outdoor trips can also mean the terrace or the park in the vicinity.
Take your children out, let them sweat, play and get tired every evening to come home, take a shower and snuggle close to you with food and a bed time story. I would read out little stories and believe me my little one loved every bit of it. As a primary school teacher I introduced her to crumple a sheet of paper into a ball as it strengthened her palms and fingers to hold the pencil. As a two year old she was happily making big and small balls.
Even today an outing like the book fair or a craft bazaar or painting a corner or a pot give a lot of peace to both of us. Walking in the rain, cycling with dad or lazing around are a must for her and even us. Now gadgets COEXIST but do not govern her life as she has a wide variety of activities and hobbies to keep stress at bay.
Relaxed children are cool and are able to beat stress. Parents who invest time to groom children to be relaxed and happy are blessed with happy children, memories, smiles and valuable moments. Time flies and once our children pass out from school most of them fly away to live on their own in hostels in far away cities. Let’s equip them with relaxation techniques, loving memories of the golden retreat … yes! Their cosy nests where their childhood dwells. Let’s gift them peace, creativity and naturalness as inheritance which guarantees a life and not mere existence. Happy Parenting!!