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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.
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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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 –
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This winter has been very tough for me as far as V’s health was concerned. We struggled for nights with blocked nose, persistent cough and sore throat. I had to do an extensive research on how to deal with baby’s cough and cold , how to boost immunity and how to get rid of recurring flu. While I was not successful in the initial attempts, I learnt a lot through the failed attempts. One of the biggest myths that burst for me was that babies/kids should be kept indoors to avoid any kind of health issue. Contrary to this popular belief, there are in fact hundreds of benefits for kids who play outside regularly, it is also advised that kids should spend more than 3 hours outdoors each day. Some of the reasons why you should let your child spend time outside are listed below –
- Confinement breeds diseases: While rest is extremely important for the sick and we are perennially worried about our kids catching cold when they step out, the reality is virus is easy to catch in closed environments. In open areas, there are lesser chances of kids catching the virus and in open air.
- Emotional and social competencies: Outdoor play has brain-boosting benefits for kids, starting in infancy. It strengthens the language and communication interactions among children who play together in the park. The more they socialize, the faster their learning is.
- Vitamin D Levels : Vitamin D has several health benefits like strengthening bone health which is a key parameter for growth in kids. Since, most of our kids have minimum exposure to sun these days, we try to supplement through food and tablets but sunlight is the most natural and effective way of receiving Vitamin D. Ofcourse, the precautionary measures must be taken for children who get sun burns easily.
- Channelize energy and increase curiosity: Kids come with a huge amount of energy which has to be channelized in a productive way. Kids who are confident about their physical abilities tend to be more positive about their lives in general. When they are exposed to newer things, their curiosity levels rise up, their tendency to ask questions increases and all of this contributes to the overall energy levels of a child.
- Increased attention span : Green outdoor settings always appear to reduce Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms amongst children, that includes the exposure they get to natural settings through different outdoor activities.
- Concept of leadership and team work – Outdoor play is extremely important to the social development of children particularly for building self-confidence. In addition to it, children also get more empathetic through social play, and they develop more skills for coping with conflict. Group activities also help develop team skills and leadership/moderation skills at a very early age.
- Boosting creativity: Sensory inputs help boost creativity and imagination. It also helps with quick learning – we all know we learn to do by doing and there is no substitute to experience. So, if you touch the sand, you would understand the concept of coarse and fine and there is no other way to explain it by seeing or reading. Hence, we must encourage our kids to step out and enjoy the sun, grass and wide skies.
I would be so happy to receive inputs from other moms who are willing to share their experiences and tricks which have worked for them.
Although baby wearing is an old concept, it has gained a significant momentum in the recent times as researchers have validated the benefits of this timeless practice. The studies have confirmed that our children’s social, physical and emotional development are all affected by human contact. Like many other mothers, I too have been told not to wear the baby often as it makes them clingy but if I go by my personal experience, I and V thoroughly enjoy the whole process. I cannot even begin to express how wonderful I feel when she falls asleep so close to my heart. After all, she is a piece of my heart beating outside of it.
Coming back to the benefits of baby wearing, let me list out the 3 most important ones which have helped me immensely in my motherhood journey –
Bonding and emotional security: The intimacy associated with the baby and mother/caregiver is multiplied exponentially with baby wearing and is directly proportional to the understanding and communication between the two. When you have a strong foundation, it leads to a healthier relationship in times to come. Holding the baby close comforts him/her, this has been a boon for colic babies as well. So, the next time someone tells you that you are spoiling the child by holding/picking him/her, think twice.
- Multitasking: They say being a mother is a job where you get no holidays. It is true, we get no breaks, no leaves and no time offs – so basically every other task needs to be completed along with managing pretty much everything related to the baby. With baby wearing, I was not just able to do the household chores but also travel conveniently with her wound around me. V was not too comfortable in the stroller when we went on a trip in her first few months but wearing her made both of us comfortable.
3. Eco friendly option: The third less thought about benefit of baby wearing is it offers an option to cut down on the plastics used in strollers and chairs. People have been making their own baby carriers since ages but now, even in India we get ergonomic carriers in the best quality with the ease of online availability as well. My favorite one being Soul Slings!
Having said this, I must emphasize on the fact that baby wearing is a good experience only if the baby is worn correctly. So, while choosing the baby carrier, there are certain conditions that you will have to keep in mind, few of them listed below –
- Ergonomic baby carriers – An ergonomic baby carriershould distribute the child’s weight evenly and comfortably for the wearer while giving good support to the child. The safety of the baby and the wearer is of prime importance, so it should give proper support to the baby and not inhibit the growth of spine in any way.
- Carrier suitable for the age – One carrier does not fit all ages and weights. A stretchy wrap is ideal for a new born as it takes the shape of the new born whereas a stronger structured one is more suitable for a toddler. Soulslings has a droolworthy collection of Onbuhimo, wraps, full buckle carriers and ring slings in the most amazing prints and soft breathable fabric.Here you can see me using the Standard Full Buckle Carrier from www.soulslings.com –
- Purpose of babywearing: It is important to firm the purpose of baby wearing and then choosing the carrier which best fits the position suitable for the purpose. So, if you want to nurse discreetly you would probably opt for a wrap, if you want to go hiking with the baby, you would probably opt for a full buckle which is ideal for back carries.
I personally have had the best experience with www.soulslings.com, you should definitely go check out their collection.
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