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.

SEVEN TRUTHS NO ONE TOLD YOU ABOUT MOMMYHOOD

Motherhood

Motherhood is the most beautiful feeling in the world – We have heard of this since ages, haven’t we?  Even when you google maternity shoot pictures, you get photographs of beautiful women(with no dark circles) in white flowy dresses posing with absolutely quiet and angelic babies. This is the image which was stuck in my mind till reality hit me hard right after Little Miss V was born.

  1. Guilt is your middle name : I haven’t met a new mom yet who hasn’t felt this way. We are racked with guilt when our work commitment prevents us from spending enough time with our little ones. We associate almost everything in our lives with the way we are raising our kids. On most occasions, even the best doesn’t seem to be good enough. We always find faults with ourselves and when we don’t, people around us help us find few.
  2. Hormone dance is for real : When we were counting days to our pregnancy acne to end and sore legs to be back to normal, our hormones had different plans for us. The hormonal balance throws most of us off the track right after the baby is born. The mood swings, depressing thoughts and baby blues start to get worse and just when we hit the 3 month mark and start to get better sleep, we start to lose chunks of hair. Ever wondered, why is it just us women who get to go through all of it?
  3. Time moves incoherently: When we are away from our kids, the clock stops ticking and when we are with our kids, the whole weekend passes away in the blink of an eye. No amount of planning and prioritizing can get us close to being perfect time managers when it comes to spending enough time with our babies. We constantly feel that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done and Monday blues get worse. The struggle is real.
  4. Stop shopping for yourself: Shopping was fun once upon a time. Remember, how window shopping and even scrolling through online shopping sites felt therapeutic. These days, we just pass through the apparel section and land straight in the baby care section. Baby dresses look way more alluring than the Little Black Dresses we wore all our lives (fitting into it or not is still a question though).
  5. Bye – bye to sleep : Honestly, this does not deserve to be on Point number 5. Sleep was my first and foremost priority for the longest period of time. There were enough number of articles to support my argument of direct correlation between sleep and a healthy life. Unfortunately, the dream shattered for me soon after V arrived in our lives. I lived like a zombie for months with a little less than 2 hours of sleep every night. I kept patiently waiting for that magical age when she would start sleeping through the night but each time she did, she made the following nights worse.
  6. Get used to a messy house : Until now,we thought leaving the wet towel on the bed and the shoes on the floor was called a mess. Say hello to the new idea of mess after having a baby.Kids and clutter go together like glitter and glue and we just cannot do anything about it. So, we have to make peace with a messy house. Good news is studies say, messy houses raise immuned, strong and independent children.
  7. All the parenting strategies go for a toss – Remember the last time we saw a wailing baby in the flight and gave the mother a frosty stare? Or the last time we saw a mom handing over a bag of chips to her kid while we smirked and wondered how she could be raising her child with junk eating habits? Well, now the whole universe is conspiring against us – it is all coming back, one after the other. The biggest thing I learnt as a mother is to “NOT” judge another mother. Everyone has a different way of parenting and sometimes we just give in to the whims and fancies of our child for the sake of peace of our minds. It is ok, everything is not going to be perfect all the time, it need not be.

These were the top 7 shocks motherhood gave me but the reasons to the joy of motherhood are infinite. I will be happy to know more about what shocks did my readers get post motherhood?

 

DEALING WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY

As a working mom, dealing with V’s separation anxiety has been tough for me. Although I am well aware that it only speaks of an attachment and is a completely normal behavior, my heart breaks each time she cries her lungs out while I leave. With time, I learnt a few tricks and tips for surviving this anxiety. It demands preparation, brisk transitions and a lot of time. The fact is we parents suffer as much as our children do when we leave. The first time I stepped out for an overnight work trip without V, I kept mourning the parting whole night. While the next day I tried to keep myself as busy as I can to avoid the guilt and thoughts about her, I realized I will have to consciously work towards make it easier for both of us. And months down the line, after a lot of effort I could successfully stay away for a week last month. Here are few tips that worked for me and worth giving a try –

  1. Familiarity: Familiarity always breeds comfort. Sometimes, it gets difficult for adults to adjust to unfamiliar situations, leave alone the little ones who consider their parents to be their whole world. It is very important to keep one familiar person constant, be it one of the grandparents or a caregiver. It is inevitable that your absence is bound to make a difference in the mood of the baby, but good news is babies forget everything too soon if they are comfortable with the surrounding. So, if there is a routine around a constant person, it makes things easier. Also, keeping security objects close to the baby (any favorite toy, blanket etc) makes them feel secured.
  2. Reassurance : As a practice, I have played the game of “Peekaboo” with V right since she started being cognizant of her surroundings. The whole idea behind it was to reinforce the idea that even if she cannot see me for a while, she would know that I will be back. Also, when I am home and my husband is in office, I make video calls to him and let V interact with him(although she would any way get to see him in the evening) so that when I do the same while I am away on work trips, she doesn’t long for me and wouldn’t cry during the video calls.
  1. Good bye Rituals: Good byes should be kept short and sweet. If you linger , the transition time will linger too and make things more difficult eventually. As a practice, I try to keep my departure at the same time every day. So, we follow a ritual of her bidding me goodbye at the door and then she heads out straight to the bath. Gradually, she has realized that there is something to look forward to after Mommy is off to work.
  2. Keeping promises: We all feel heartbroken when promises are not kept, don’t we? These little darlings are no different and rather more vulnerable. So, whenever you promise that you will be back by 6 pm, try to keep it. If you promise to come back with a toy, then do it. This mostly makes a difference to toddlers because they understand what you say and actually look forward to your commitments. Keeping promises helps build trust and credibility with your child.
  3. Customized approach: Every child is different. What works for my baby may not work for you and therefore, you need to keep trying until you are successful. Lot of people insist on letting the baby sleep in a different room in order to build a sense of independence. It never worked with me and I never had the courage to let her be out of my sight through the night but if it does for you, go for it. I have believed in attachment parenting and I always ensure someone is around her at all times until she maybe learns to speak for herself.
  4. Practice distance: Even when you are home, try and practice staying apart while the baby engages in fun activities. I typically like to send her for playdates with other toddlers (of course under supervision of adults) or leave her with grandparents for an hour or so. This helps in adaptability with new faces and gradually they learn to enjoy some time off familiar faces.
  5. Do not impose the concept of “No crying” – According to me, crying is not a negative trait by any means. It is just a way of expressing an emotion and babies have every right to express their displeasure regarding something, The ability to be aware and express the feelings itself is a major milestone and an important emotional foundation. While, we mothers can’t stop feeling guilty about it, babies outgrow this feeling very soon(unless the baby is sick or has any other problem). So, next time the baby cries when you are stepping out, give her a tighter hug and say ‘goodbye’. She will be fine with the care giver, trust me. Just make sure she is comfortable with the care giver on normal days.

While I am no child psychiatrist, I can say that most of these things worked for me and the suggestion are purely based on personal experiences.