HOME AS A LEARNING SPACE FOR KIDS

 

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Home is the first environment a child is exposed to socially and it is home where the child spends maximum time of his early years around his/her family. It is a great opportunity to utilize this environment to maximize the learning of a toddler. To do the same, it is important that we as parents and people around us who are involved in raising the child are actively adopting the behavioral alterations required to suit the learning of the child.Some of the easy to do and important ones are –

1.Improving the listening and responding skills – Toddlers have a habit of asking never ending questions, sometimes they repeatedly keep asking silly questions. There is no end to the whats, whys and hows but then, it is only natural for us to get irritated. The key to alter this behavior is obviously patience; if you consistently encourage the curiosity and raise the interest level of the child it will have many long term benefits. The child grows up to constantly seek new things in life, explore and experiment with changes. If we do it in an early age, it will continue in the long run.

2. Reading Habit – We all know reading is a great habit but it is a habit which cannot be inculcated in a child by preaching. This is something which can only be done by leading through example. There are two ways to do this – reading yourself and being an example to the child or reading the book aloud to the child every night through bedtime stories or any other means. This comes for my personal experience – whenever I read a book, V also has the excitement to hold a book and pretend to read. In fact this is how kids transition from pretending to read to actually start reading.

3. Declutter – Like most other parents, I am also guilty of getting too many toys and games for my daughter. Kids are spoilt for choice and eventually start to devalue things. Research also proves a child’s learning is maximized when it is uncluttered and organised. Prioritizing and organizing skills can really be imbibed in the early years. Time capping for certain games is also a great idea where you only give one set of toys for a particular period of time. Involve the child in the de-cluttering process and let him/her choose the next set.

4. Demonstration – It is always a great idea to ask kids to assist you to do things. Household chores or outdoor tasks, working as a team always helps raise a more responsible child. The activity is also perceived as fun activity by them and not a task.

5. Let them try – Unless it is a big hazard, let the kids try to do things independently. Parental supervision is good but instilling the confidence in the child really means a lot. I have seen the such kids to grow up as very confident and fearless individuals.

 

 

Readiness of a child to go to Preschool

As many of you would have seen the toddler parenting series that I am doing on my IGTV channel on Instagram,this is the second topic we are talking about after “How to decide on a good preschool for your child”. To watch the video, please follow missvogueviolet .There are many parents who decide against sending their child to school even before they turn 3 but for most working parents, this seems to be a good option.

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Image Source – Pinterest

 

Some of the reasons why we decided to send V to preschool are –

1.Social Skills – We thought that if V is surrounded by kids her age and has a structured school environment, she will develop her social skills better. I can vouch for this now as I see she has developed a positive acceptance to people around her after a couple of weeks spent in school.

2. Energy Channelization – Like most toddlers, V is always beaming with energy which needs to be used in a productive way. At home,while we try our best to engage her in whatever possible way we can,  school definitely provides numerous positive ways to use the energy.

3. Balance for working parents -Off late, I had been finding it really hard to focus on my professional priorities because of the endless tasks at home.So the couple of hours off in the morning with V gone to school, I definitely am able to plan my day better and work more efficiently.

4. Learning through playing – It is always better when there are trained professionals who know best how to make learning fun and therefore, a good preschool is definitely important.

Now coming to the most important point of discussion which is readiness of the child to go to the playschool, there are a few things that I looked at before taking the final decision.

  1. Communication – While it is impossible for a toddler to clearly communicate all of his/her emotions properly,he/she should be able to ask for basic things and express the displeasure whenever needed. This helps to ensure that he/she is understood in his school and any kind of discomfort can be dealt with immediately.
  2. Curiosity – Every child is curious but curiosity should be higher than the fear of being unfamiliar. If the child is very uncomfortable to new environments, maybe you could wait for a few more months. If the child is fairly receptive to new things in life, it is a good time to go to play school.
  3. Love to socialize – There are many kids who love to socialize yet cry every single day while going to school. If your child longs to spend time with other kids, enjoys play dates and shows some interest towards team work I think they are the first signs of readiness for play school.
  4. Follow Simple Instructions – The child should be able to understand and comprehend what the teacher and other staff are saying. He/she may not be competent to obey and execute every single instruction but should show some signs of reception.
  5. Positive Attitude and health – A school could be a breeding ground for air borne and water borne diseases. You are exposing your child to a lot of other people who could be sick and if your child is prone to infections, you could wait for a few months till his/her immunity develops.

These are the few key points you could use as a reference to check if the child is ready for school or not.

TODDLER GOES TO PRESCHOOL! PART 1

Once you are a mom, life throws you new challenges in every stage. Just when the sleepless nights are coming to an end, you got to make way for tough decisions 😀 Lately we have been doing a lot of research on preschools in order to finalize the best one for our little one. In the process there are a few realizations we had and therefore, I have listed down the important ones to keep in mind when you are looking for the best preschool for your child.

The next few things that you read shall help you make a conscious decision on selecting a preschool for your child –

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  1. Match between the thought process of the parents and culture of the school: Every parent has a different set of expectations from the school. There are many parents who feel that a school must give a lot of importance on academics and theoretical method of learning because they benefited from it in their childhood. At the same time there would be parents who would be looking for more playtime for the children and a good platform to channelize their energy in the positive direction. So based on these expectations, you could check on which school has to offer what.
  2. Infrastructure:Most good preschools do have great infrastructure these days but our priority was a school with a larger out door play area because we strongly believe in outdoor playtime. Similarly, I am sure parents would be having some specific requirements on the amenities the school provides basis which they can take a call on the same.
  3. Hygiene: It is the most important factor to decide anything for your child. Irrespective of what the school authorities say, it is always better to personally go and do a check.
  4. Proximity : If you find a very impressive school far from your home and you do not have good options around your house, you can still take a conscious call of sending the child away. We thought it is the first time V was going to step out of home and spend 3 hours with a set of unfamiliar faces and hence decided on a playschool pretty close to our home/workplace. The idea was to be immediately available for any kind of emergency.
  5. Language : Since V was confined to the home until now and we speak the regional language at home; she was exposed to only 2 languages – English and Odia. Therefore we thought it is important that we send her to a school where the staff can speak these 2 languages and not just Hindi which V cannot understand. Basically we tried to pull in as many strings as possible to make her feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment so that there is no problem in basic communication between her and people around.

So here are the few factors that helped us decide on the best play school for our child. I hope these help you in some way. The next post shall be on how to check the readiness of your toddler for preschool.

WORKING MOM FITNESS TIPS

 

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As a working mom, there are a zillion of activities which fight to be on the top of your priority list. Constant pressure at work and never ending tasks at home can get really frustrating after a period of time. I get a lot of queries on fitness through my Instagram Q/A sessions which I do on Missvogueviolet . The answer to most of the questions on how to be fit after being a mom is very simple – MAKE TIME for it. It is important that you take advantage of every little time that you get towards a ‘healthier you’. Here are seven tips to help you out –

  1. Like any other Corporate professional, the first question I shall ask you is “What is your vision?”There has to be a driving factor to get you working towards your goal.It could be “Staying healthy to take care of the kids” or “Getting back in shape after losing the baby weight” or just plain “Want to look and feel good”.Every reason is justified but it should be strong enough to motivate you every single day.
  2. Take a small step at a time but stick to the routine. If you decide to set 15 mins minutes out for a workout, try and maintain it religiously for a week and then increase the time slowly. Taking big jumps on a single day wont reap any results and will demotivate you further when you cannot continue it.
  3. Make the most of your work time –  I am sure like most of us, you too would be lost in meetings and con calls through the day; and there are tons of calls when you are supposed to be the silent listener. So schedule your walks during these calls, put on your earphones and fix the 3 rounds around the premises when you can easily attend the call yet manage a physical routine.
  4. Get into the recreation room in the office and do a 15 minutes stretching. Get off that chair to walk around every 30-45 minutes.
  5. Make the most of Youtube. If you do not have the time to hit a Gym, watch online videos and start with yoga. If not anything, it will tranquilize your mind and make you feel better. If you have a toddler or  baby who enjoys music, you could dance together for a few minutes.
  6. Utilize the park trips on weekends. This is something that I personally loved to do . Baby V would come along in the stroller and I could easily go for a run(if the nanny came along) or a pleasant walk if I am alone. It absolutely refreshes the mind and body.
  7. DO NOT STRESS: Yes, these are in bold letters because stressing will only make it worse. Watch motivational videos or talk to people who have achieved fitness goals and keep going. It is not going to change you overnight and remember, any progress is improvement so you will get there sooner or later.

Lastly, this is not about losing weight, it is about keeping fit and having the energy levels to manage the hundred thousands things you do. Always remember, YOU ARE A SUPERWOMAN!

APPAREL:VOUGEVIOLETXWISHALLEY

The greatest feature of a kurti is its versatility. It can be worn to almost every occasion. Be it a casual gathering or a formal party, kurti can make its way through to all such events.

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While pairing a kurti is almost hassle free since it goes with patialas, loose pallazos, leggings, jeans etc; I tried creating a look with this flared skirt. The kurti is from one of my favorite online shopping websites Wishalley.com ; made of the softest crepe fabric and the perfect combination of subtle colors just suiting my taste.

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Crepe fabric is anyway known for its varied appeal and when you get the finest crepe kurtis at affordable prices, you can only thank your stars. I loaded the look with lot of silver jewellery and went for a light makeup.

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The second kurti is a combination of peach and coral bringing in both soft and bright touch to it. While most of us like being fashionable without being in a straitened situation, very few of us actually manage to be chic without burning a hole in our pocket. Thanks to wishalley.com who offers the best options in an economic range. Whether the occasion is grand or not, the wise combination of colors in this attire makes it perfect for any event. I have teamed it with a bright orange pallazo and an orange dupatta which makes it appropriate for a formal occasion as well. For a more dramatic look, you can go for traditional hand accessories and an Indian choker. Thanks to the versatility of kurtis, you can add your flavor as per your personal style and enjoy sporting different looks.

If you feel the tranquilizing vibes of kurtis and want to breathe new life into your wardrobe; it is time to head to wishalley.com and pick some from the amazing collection.

RAISING A BABY WITHOUT GENDER BIAS

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Image source : Steemit

When we were expecting V, we often debated the idea of knowing the gender of the baby before she was born. While it is a common practice in many countries, much to my delight it is a big ‘NO NO’ in India. I always wanted it to be a surprise and I can vouch for the fact that it is totally worth it. People around me often expressed their views on how knowing the gender beforehand helps you plan better – buy clothes fitting to a specific gender, do up the nursery in a particular color or for that matter even buy toys which are of particular interest to a baby boy/girl. It made me realize how these stereotypes are ingrained in our minds so deeply that we cannot help but create that bias with kids as young as a new born. While there is nothing wrong with girls loving dolls more than cars, I feel we should give the opportunity to explore everything until they are of the age where they can begin to work out for themselves what it means to be a boy or a girl. Few of the options that I am going to explore with V to avoid the gender stereotypes and would suggest you to try out are as follows –

1.Integration of  Toys

Research says the earlier kids learn that there are no boundaries in their playtime, the quicker they will understand that it is okay to experiment, to explore and express their instincts. I was really happy to see few baby carrier brands advertising toddler boys carrying dolls in their doll baby carriers – after all, if boys learn to care and display the so called ‘maternal instinct’ it only helps them evolve as kind and loving people.

2. Using neutral meaningful words

Having a daughter and seeing all things pink and purple automatically makes you utter the word pretty multiple times in a day. Lately, I realized that there are so many more meaningful words which can help me express my excitement and boost her confidence better. So, I have consciously moved to phrases like “Hey V, you look so confident! I love your smile, you look so happy!You are such a brave child!” These are all neutral words and after all, it is more important to be kind, brave, generous , wise – definitely more important than being just pretty.

3. Leading by example

We often assume that babies do not understand much but the reality is they are very observant and really grasp things which they notice on a regular basis.Hence, from the very beginning it is important to show them that there is no specific role to a gender.For example, the kitchen can’t be the mom’s spot all the time and in a very similar way the dad can’t be fixing the plumbing issues at home on all occasions.

4. Appreciating Interests

We as parents must not encourage or discourage our babies towards a particular interest area which is based on our choice. The best option is to just let be and observe how the baby develops his/her likes and dislikes with time.

5. Promoting common sports

Sports could start pretty early in childhood. I have a toddler who can hit a ball with the bat and I am open to let her watch and experience the game of cricket or baseball if she likes. Children must understand early in their age that extracurricular activities are really great for overall personality development and they are absolutely free to choose what they enjoy playing.

6. Using neutral colors

Let’s get out of the blues and pinks. While I strongly feel that blue would look as great on girls and it does on boys and vice versa for pink, I do understand the plight of parents whose kids get teased by their friends for not wearing a ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ color.We can go for neutrals like yellow, grey and the whites or for that matter any color that we really like irrespective of the gender stereotypes.

7 Questioning our own attitude

This is something really interesting that I picked up in one of the articles that I read recently. The way our society is saturated with gender stereotypes, we tend to adapt ourselves and cultivate the same mindset with time.I think there is absolutely no shame is introspecting and challenging our own beliefs when it comes to gender stereotyping. Probably , that would only help in getting more ideas to make this world bias free.

Stereotypes are very well entrenched in our minds and in the society .It really takes a lot of conscious parenting  to get rid of the biases with which probably we have been raised too. Starting early would only be a good decision towards making the future free of stereotypes!