Depositing into the minds of our children

There isn’t a 100% sure shot method of ensuring that children don’t get into messy situations while growing up. The only thing I know is that if children are engaged in enough productive activities that keep them busy, nurture their creativity and help them feel accomplished, they may not wander off looking for time-fillers or friends that could be a bad influence. Also, as a parent, we need to spend time with our children in activities they enjoy so they feel respected. Often times, we try to fulfill our dreams and desires through our children instead of focusing on their interests and talents. Every act of ours is a mental deposit into the minds of our children. Only time will tell how well we did as parents. For now, we’ve got to keep them close to our hearts and our presence.

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Can you make your child sing?

Recently at our school open-house, a few parents talked to me about having trouble getting their kids to read and if I could suggest an “app” or technological technique to enhance their interest. So I told them how some kids read because they have to and some kids read because they want to. Some kids feel fulfilled when they read. Some take it to the next level and become avid writers.

At recess, I see some students who find a quiet spot under a tree or on a bench, engrossed in a book, eyes moving intensely with the words, and I can almost see them become a part of the pages, and when the bell rings, I have to tell them to go back in. While I’m secretly impressed by that passion, I’m also fully aware of the fact that sources for passion are different for everybody...

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Eating and drinking right

Should that even be something to talk about? Kids need to eat and drink abundantly, don’t they? I suppose they do, but if you’ve taken time to understand nutrition, you’ll know that even children need to eat the right foods in order to grow with good health! With obesity and other disorders plaguing the world today, it only makes sense to start early. But like anything else, we as parents need to set the right example by making the right food choices.

Here’s a few things I learned over the years:

  • Variety is the way to go. Offer your children a variety of foods, cooked in different styles so they can learn to enjoy mealtimes and experience different flavors.
  • Control your portions so they see the value of not overfilling a plate...
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Let’s brush it under the carpet

When parents don’t have appropriate answers to queries our children shower on us, or if we’re too busy catching up on our TV shows, we hush them up and change the topic hoping the child forgets and the curiosity gets sucked in a black hole.

It doesn’t really happen. Kids are clever, smart and receptive. They may appear distracted but deep inside, their curiosity lives on. And with the endless resources available to children these days, it may be a mistake to brush their questions under the carpet. I prefer to be the person answering my children’s questions in a well designed format, not a random website or an equally confused classmate of my child.

What has worked with me is — not be a reactive parent...

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Teaching and Learning

I don’t believe that a child can learn through intimidation. I don’t believe a child can learn through  sarcasm either. I am not sure why some teachers never appreciate a child’s efforts or for a moment, think about understanding a child’s mindset. And I’m not talking about a teacher in a class of 30 students.

Recently, I had a firm word with my daughter’s online religious studies instructor. I put my mother’s hat down and spoke to him, teacher-to-teacher. Needless to say, he was shocked at my suggestions. He’s old school and thinks we can make a child learn by instilling fear in them. I told him a child can memorize prepackaged lessons via that method but never learn, understand or appreciate...

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Resistance is futile…

Have you heard of iPotty? The Consumer Electronics Show in 2013 unveiled a portable potty trainer that comes with an iPad holder to keep a child entertained during potty-training moments. I’m not sure if this invention is necessary. It seems more like a tool for our already prevalent parenting predicament, and will make us lazy parents, given that many homes have practically left child-rearing to electronic gadgets.

Technology isn’t a replacement for parenting or for personal interactions, but leave it to us human beings to abuse any good thing that comes our way. Tsk Tsk.

Like food, it’s up to us to choose the whats and hows and know the whens and whys. And as parents, it is our responsibility to set the rules and guidelines...

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So what if there’s a little mess…

Children are little people. They are allowed to spill, to make a mess, to break things, to play, to make noise, to play with more than one toy at one time without putting the others back in place…it’s all part of growing up. That’s how they learn, that’s how they get in touch with their inner feelings. When a favorite toy falls apart, a child struggles to fix it or to find an alibi or to discover ways to replace it. It’s a mental exercise towards problem solving. Even someone as old as me loves to buy houses in Monopoly and see my opponent pay rent. So what if I scream when they get to go to jail and miss a turn.

Yes we all need some quiet and alone time, but just imagine if all our homes were empty. The silence would be claustrophobic. There wouldn’t be any random, out of place laughter...

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“Back in my day”

A few days ago, I heard a parent yelling at her 5 year old kindergartner. “Stop crying! Back in my day, I used to walk to school alone, and I didn’t have my mother drop me off and take care of my crying business!”

The little kid, hurt and torn, then waited quietly in the gym for the school bell to ring.

I hear that more often that I’d like to hear. What happened with me back in my day is my memory, my circumstances. It isn’t my kid’s fault. It is also not fair to expect my child to go through what I went through, good or bad, because the times have changed. If I walked to school alone at age 5-6, it’s probably because I could do so without getting hit by a drunk driver or a mad rush. If I had only 4 outfits in my closet it’s probably because that’s all my parents could afford...

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Time Capsule

If I could record every lovely act or every beautiful story of my children, it would take time, pages, but mostly tears of joy and gratitude. It isn’t that they don’t have their share of tantrums or moments of breakdown. Trust me; we have plenty. They are little people with real emotions and feelings, but maybe I’m the kind of parent who looks at problems as opportunities for character enhancement so I try to focus on them with an open mind and even a challenge to make a better connection with my children.

The bounties, though, are heart-warming. And I collect them in my mental time capsule, relishing each memory and saying a prayer for more blessings.

One day I will be old, and my children will be big people...

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Mom, a human after all

It’s heart-warming to know that your children realize you’re human and can make mistakes too, that underneath the supermom status, you’re very capable of breaking a cup, or spilling coffee, or even forgetting that they wanted something else for lunch. Even more humbling is when they tell you “it’s alright mama, everyone makes mistakes.”

I think that while it is important to set standards for children, it is necessary also to stay relatable, so somewhere in the middle of it all, they can find themselves.

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