Category Archives: parenting toddler

The Incredible Power of Praise

presented by the ceo, matthew gray

Every time we interact with our children, we create a bond of love and nit the relationship with our children, the way parents speak and the words they say to them stay with them forever and creates a lifelong impression on the child.

A growing number of parents are aware about the impacts of their words leave on the children. A large number of population of parents have understood the importance of praise and have adopted to praise and motivate their children, yet the is lot more to the technique of praising children, it is not only to say ‘Wow you did a good job!’. It is the amount of praise and the way we appreciate them makes a huge difference and brings a massive difference on how they behave and deliver the best results.

Below are outlined some of  the basic and most common scenarios to praise and appreciate children and also outlining best way of communicating, that helps the little child to not only feel proud and confident about themselves but also gives them deeper understanding about their strengths and weakness.

Scenario 1:

General praise: Wow, you are  excellent at maths!

Impact: The idea that creeps into the child’s mind, through general praise maybe that he/she is excellent at maths, and do not need to focus or maybe not pay further attention in maths. These kinds of open ended sentences can maybe misleading or sometimes damaging to a child’s future ability in any particular subject.

Descriptive praise: I have noticed you have been working out hard to work out the right answers, to these problems, you have greatly improved your skills in maths.

 

Scenario 2:

General praise: You were being really amazing today!

Impact: makes a child to be self obsessed and overstating his/her own abilities. Does not give specific information on what they did well and how to repeat the good action again.

Descriptive praise: I really liked that you shared your toys with your friends and siblings, I can see that you are getting more responsible and caring, I am so happy about it.

 

Scenario 3:

General praise: You are quite active, You will be winning all the competitions on the sports day!

Impact: These praises might negatively effect the moral of children, when they do not win, and make them weak and morally vulnerable in the event of failure.

Descriptive praise: On most of the practice sessions you had a good concentration, which meant you could run fast than last time, well done!

 

Scenario 4:

General praise: You are a superstar in the class!

Impact:These praises can excessively boost moral of the child and may also lead to behavioural issues, as for little children are not completely experienced to handle vague and bogus talks. These praises also don’t give specifics to a child on his/her areas of improvements.

Descriptive praise: You pronounced the words clearly having a constant smile on your face and facing towards the audience, you looked very excited saying your lines. I loved to watch your performance.

 

Scenario 5:

General Praise: You could be an excellent painter when you grow up!

Impact: Doesn’t focus on efforts and present abilities of a child.

Descriptive praise:  You seem to have good knowledge about the colours and canvas, would you show me how to mix, these colours?

It is important that parents and carers are mindful of their praises and the idea they convey through their words. A descriptive praise is often more useful as it gives more understanding of the family values and rules, and gives children greater understanding of their weakness and areas of improvements. Descriptive praises are a powerful tool to help children become willing to accept failure and stand back up for a new challenge.

 

 

 

 

Big problem, Creative solutions, let’s keep sending our children to school

Every child has a story to share a song to sing. Whenever I look into their innocent eyes, I see fairytales of the future. On one such day, I narrate the songs in the little child’s eyes.

Childhood the blissful years of my life.

All I need is a big bright smile.

I jump, lay and run all day long, singing the merry go round song.

My days go by running in the meadows, hunting wild butterflies.

My favourite, is playing silly peekaboos.

Up I go in the slide trying to reach the sky.

Chasing my dreams, wearing mom’s high heels.

I walk to my school jumping in a messy water pool.

But, as soon I walk down the streets, on my way to work, I see a huge population living on the edge of the street. These people look different, we live in the same time zone yet it looks, like they live in a different decades. There are kids who are not going to school, working hard to make ends meet. I peep into these young eyes. I see a different story.

I am young, I believe I am small.

I wonder, if I really have to be in a big long factory hall.

I work all day long, in the dark tarnished room.

My heart cries for one last game of peekaboo.

If I could get a chance, out in the meadows running behind the butterflies.

Sitting under the sunshine, glancing at my soar hands and looking up in the sky.

I wonder, will I be a little child? For I was grown up even before I was five.

Dear heavenly father, if you could grant me a wish, grant me I should go back to school.

These little eyes said the same story every day and pierced my heart every time I cross pass ways with them. So, one day for my heart’s peace, I found myself talking to the children’s parents and trying to encourage them to send their kids to school and if could save even one small life from being ripped into the vicious cycle of labor and pain. I was surprised to know, a lot of them are keen on making their kids educated and ensure a good life for them. However, many of them complained that when they sent their kids to school, children ended up falling sick very often and ultimately didn’t go to school.

I wanted to learn more about this and inquired with a friend of mine, who teaches in a local government school. I couldn’t believe my ears for the reasons I discovered for children not going to school. It seemed so irrelevant to hear, but it had a huge impact. As children play, learn and write with white chalks at school. And class time is followed by meal times with no proper hand wash routine for little children. Pre-meal hand wash means only a quick rinse under the water, many children at times also tend to miss out on the rinse before eating. 

And along with their meals at school little children end up eating the germ’s and fall sick. 

And parents find it very difficult to keep up the medical expenses.

A truly disheartening fate for the future generation. The blossoming children are robbed their childhood only because of an incomplete hand wash!! After having known the reasons of dismay for children on the streets, on my way back I was still drowned in their thoughts and to looks for answer I started browsing my phone. Something struck my eyes, I came across a quote on creativity which said

”Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected” – William Plomer.

These lines seemed to me as an answer to all my mingling thoughts. I felt innovation, intellect and creativity can help us solve stagnant and hideous challenges.

And as I reached home, I switched on my laptop and still looking for a solution I came across a video and learnt about the Savlon Healthy Chalk Sticks introduced by Savlon. After using the chalk stick, the chalk powder left behind on the hands turns into a foam cleanser. Since, there is chalk powder on the hands, a child rushes to wash his hands hurriedly, but when he watches the chalk powder turn into soap like cleanser, he rubs the soap thoroughly before rinsing it off. 

This is an innovative invention to teach a child the importance of basic hygiene of washing hands.’

I felt, I felt so happy and fortunate as the Savlon Healthy Chalk Sticks, seemed to be just the creative solution to the issues of the children’s health in schools and answers that I had been looking for days now. 

video link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWUlWEfJ1k

After watching this video I also was assured and satisfied to know that there are many people worried and taking action to ensure to send the street kids to school so that these young people can cherish their childhood.

Savlon and me providing, simple solution to big problems and helping the community brighten up the dreams of the future.

Why I don’t eat the left over food on the plates of my children

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For ages we are tough that all our life activities boils down is to have “food”. The highest the greatest form of blessing could be defined, to have 3 meals on your plate. And therefore we are engraved with the idea of never to let food wasted.  And the best respect that could be paid to food would be “All food on a plate must be Eaten!”.

I have lived with this though for ages, however I have started deveating from this though and gone ahead and stopped eating the left over food from the plates of my children and have no carry forward regrets in trashing the left over food and I drain it with great satisfaction and content.
I would like to share the learning that I acquired which helped me achive a milestone change in my behavior.

To understand the idea I am going to talk in the following lines, primarily we need to expand our spectrum and look at the world being inhabited not only by humans but also other species of life like insects, animals, and many other microorganisms.
And then we must now expand the spectrum of the “respect for food” attached which we assume is limited to humans and we blindly over look the existence of any other forms of life.

“All the food on a plate must be eaten!!” But, by someone who is hungry and only then food will be able to fulfill its purpose of satisfying hunger if eaten by someone who is not actually hungry but eats it in an artificial vague to respect it, leads to food not being able to satisfy hunger, but  every over eaten bite of left over food is waste and an extra load on your system.

The food on your child’s plate does not get eaten at the first place because it is deserved by some other form of life actually meant for other microorganisms and insects which also have their share on planet earth.
But humans have overpowered all the other species to an extent that we have assumed that planet earth is inhibited only by the humans and the food on the plate will be disrespected if not eaten by superior race humans.

Lets just stop and think, if the left over food is not trashed how will it stand any chance to reach the hungry and waiting insects and earthen lives which will thrive on this food.
And not to forget to mention, that we also accumulate a curse of eating the left over food as over eating after one has satisfied hunger leads to weight gain which simply means we have overeaten someone else’s share. Someone else here could also be the hungry dragon fly.

Sujata’s printing imagination for word press

Trap of Poverty implanted by bed time stories

Money is bad

We must have heard that the most important ingredient required for winning is the attitude. Attitudes, behaviors and character are created by various sources.
All aspects of our life are governed by the attitudes we have towards our environment. If we tend to have a negative attitude, the blessings in life eventually fade away.
Money is a very important part of our surroundings and our negative attitudes as fear, detachment, or thinking it of evil all gradually lead to money vanishing from our lives.

“Financial Freedom is a Mental, Emotional and an Educational process” – Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad)

I would today like to outline the bad attitudes and negative behavior towards money and identify and learn how they are seeded in my personality.

Attitudes and behaviors are cultivated through various inputs from our surroundings.

1. Parents
2. Social system
3. Culture
4. Religion

Here, I would pick “CULTURE” and highlight how negative attitudes and behaviors are created by cultures.

Cultural background is imparted from one generation mostly through the means of storytelling. Bed time stories and moral stories learnt at school, are a rich source of culture.

Let’s take a look 3 stories we tell our children relating to money and the underlying beliefs these stories form in relations to money and values created.

1) The woodcutter and 3 axes:

This story starts with a background explaining, a poor honest woodcutter ( note: honestly and poverty are linked) looses his only, iron axe in the river mistakenly and refuses to accept the golden axe, the sliver axe and accepts his the iron axe.
This story, sadly underlines honesty leading to a lifestyle, where he continue to be poor.
This story lacks the imagination how a poor person was an opportunist, who availed a golden opportunity or a silver opportunity for a good life keeping in tact his honestly. Whereas the woodcutter chooses, to turn down the golden and silver chances and decides to live in his miser comfort zone.
These are character barriers which the above story narrates and implants blind and pessimist character in the audience towards golden opportunities in life.

2. A greedy merchant gets rid of his bloom of turning everything he touched turn into gold.

The background of this story narrates, a rich miser and selfish merchant ( linking “riches” with negative character being “selfish”) pleases the Goddess of wealth and receives a boom of turning any object he touch, should turn into gold.
On being blessed, by such a boom he becomes over joyed initially but his blessings soon turns into a curse when he is unable to eat or drink anything because his food turns into gold as soon as he touches it, and he starves, he also mistakenly touches his daughter who turns into gold. And finally he regrets and concluded that money is no good in life and gets rid of his boom.
Again, this story is weak, and has a negatively impacting attitude towards money and riches.
The story portrays an imagination that being financially strong translates to bad health and disputed family life. Also creates a mental barrier that those who work hard with dedication and become capable to turn all that they touch into gold will lead to unhappiness in all aspects of life.
This story lacks how the merchant coped with his boom to achieve greater prosperity for self and society, keeping up his health and family happy.
Here there is more a mental destruction, than enhancement.

I would like to narrate a story that contrasts with the above negative beliefs.

3. Story of wit and cleverness of Tenali Raman.

Tenali is described as a very clever and learned person. At the beginning of his successful career he was guided by his Guru ( mentor), to worship the Goddess of wealth to give him directions. He followed the advice and undertook a very diligent worship and was successful in pleasing the Goddess. She appeared and brought along 2 bowls to choose from. One a golden bowl containing milk, which will bless him with riches but he will not have any intellect. On the other hand the sliver bowl containing curd, which will bless him in being a learned person but being poor all his life. Along, with a condition to, choose and eat the contents of only one bowl. And since Tenali Raman was a clever person he mixes the contents of sliver bowl into the golden bowl and eats from the golden bowl. Ensuring he is blessed with riches and intellect both. And thereby fulfills the condition of eating from only one bowl.
This story is a true example of using cleverness to have a financial abundant life along with great intelligence.

Sujata’s printing imagination for word press

The Little Girl, whole day at nursery

I am a parent and I totally understand how it feels, when we part away from our children, even for a brief moment.
I wonder, how the little children feel when they see us going. I express, the feeling of a little girl and the words I saw in her eyes, who stays at nursery whole day away from “Mom”, through this short poem.

When I see the whole world, I find you away not with me Mom.
When I see kids playing with their Mums, I am constantly searching you Mom.
I have my fears Mummy, I feel I am not so strong.
I see my friends jumping with their mums,
I sit aside juggling with my big fears in my little eyes.
I wish you were with me on a Monday morning,
Sitting in the park, we would play hide and seek.
I seek you mother everyday, let’s not play this peeka-boo every morning until evening,
Live with me mummy! Soon I will not be here waiting to see you.
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Sujata’s printing imagination for word press

The change Game

Today at the Mastermind Training, I played this wonderful Game, where a person narrates a story and each time the word “change” is shouted out, the narrator has to completely change the theme of the story and continue with a new background. The activity seemed easy, however when I was actually narrating one, it was a complete mind googling experience.
On my way back, from the training, I was thinking about myself and my response to changes, and changes that have occurred in my life. I would always, cling on to my comfort zone, as most of us do.

However change is inevitable, life evolves, irrespective if you wish to or not. Changing cities, getting married, quitting job, relocating and being a parent, all are significant changes that took place in my life. And the greatest of all which I hated was relocating cities and parting from family and friends. Anyone and everyone who knew me since my childhood is certainly aware of my clinging behavior, and how much I hated moving cities and waying bye.

But, today I am a changed person, the sand beneath my feet feels eroding, but it doesn’t shakes me enough.
What is it that has changed inside me? Why I don’t feel the pain anymore? When I change cities, move away from my friends? I don’t shred a tear!! Instead I m prepared, I am happy.
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Well to pen down my thoughts, it is a clear vision of a “Better Life”.
Novelty is the course of life, anything that does not flow, renews along the course and adapts to the pace of time will become rotten. If we stick, to present and hold on, nothing will blossom.

For the ” Better Life “, the clear picture, that is what I see, when we move cities, change homes, part from our family and go miles away from them. These distances are actually the stepping stones for a better future for me and for me to be able to provide better living for my loved ones.

So, now whenever, I encounter departure, I believe it must be celebrated and welcomed instead of wept for. Because departure is the beginning of a new story, and not the end of the previous one.

Sujata’s printing imagination for word press

Toddler tennis at Woodford Wells club

I came across a flyer at my Kiddo’s nursery which read ” Tennis for under 5″. And like any other parent I was willing to try and explore what’s in it for my 2 year old son.
The following week I sorted out things for our Monday Tennis lesson @ 4 pm.
My son has just turned 2 and Tennis at 4 pm after school was a quite a big run, but mummy was determined.
I meet the coach Natasha Argent, who is a bubbly, smiling and encouraging and her learners were out performing at a very young age, and this got me determined even more, I was certain to work out something for lessons with her.
The Tennis under 5 did not work out for my little champ because he was in a group of under 5, which meant kids of 4 years and 3 years old and a 2 year old was quite young to pick up instruction meant for 4 years old.

Thanks to Natasha, she did not turn him down and to wait another year, instead she was welcoming and came up with a creative idea to have him placed in a group of students aged 2 – 3 years old. That is the day the “Toddler Tennis” was born.
In the following weeks me and my friend managed to get more children for Toddler Tennis.
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Natasha has always been a smiling and a motivating coach. Her lessons are always fun filled which keeps ticking the little brains and involving them and every lesson is unique and there is always something new each time.
As a Tennis coach she has a right blend of both mentoring ability and exact sense of students requirements.
The Tennis for Toddlers is combination of learning the game, knowing the basis and to keep it entertained enough for the young minds it involves intervals of play time, collecting balls, finding numbers, color spotting, squash the ball.
For a parent like me, who sits and watches the lesson, it a place where he not only learns to play tennis but a lot more skills which he will use beyond the playground.

Sujata’s printing imagination for word press

Workout – Work it out

Working out and keeping fit is not only a physical challenge however it is more of a mental challenge to various barriers you will face during your journey towards your destination ( your desired body shape).
Let me outline the ones I face and how I am keeping my spirits high and feel motivated.
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1. I don’t have time
Even before I started working out and always wanted to fit in the beautiful evening dress, and, I told myself I desire it however I can’t have it because I am a mommy now and I have no time, to trim my size anymore. This is just an act of covering up your negligence towards yourself by burdening your children. Doing so you will only create regrets when your children grow up. I convince myself I need only 30 mins of my schedule, I will ditch the internet/laundry/TV/ Coffee Chat etc and go do my work out. The first step to exercise is to have a mindset where you prioritize workout in your daily life and think that you have time to do it.

2. I am too old for it
So when I started exercising after a long time for the last time it was when I was in early 20s to compared now I feel I can’t do all the moves as I am too old for them. The fact is that is a myth. We can perform all moves eventually with perfection. To motivate myself I watched videos of older people and sick people loosing weight and I was convinced ” IF THEY CAN DO IT, I CAN DO IT!”.

3. I don’t have the resources
So the next big thing is even if I want to I don’t know where can I start? You don’t have to wander all you can do to start is use a little bit of your common sense start with small steps and start by attacking your unhealthy eating habits you consider you have. I did was 1 good and healthy eating habit for a week replaces 1 bad lifestyle habit stick to it for 3 weeks. The fact is it takes only 3 weeks to indulge an activity as an habit in your life. Make a list of all your wrong doings and their replacements go slow and keep researching and who knows you might catch up a good book/ article/ or a gym instructor. Start moving towards it things will fall in place.

4. What diet do I follow
As we think about weight loss we get obsessed with what should I eat? Diet plan? Appointment with a nutritionist. All I did was I started thinking I need to have a good balanced diet to lose weight and the best diet to follow is your kids diet where we make sure sufficient amount of carbs, proteins, fat, minerals and vitamins in form of small and nutrition meals through out the day to keep the little ones goings. That is all we need to be healthy and fit not the absence of food. Avoid pilling all food at once.

5. Body aces
I have started working out with all my might but my body gives it up. Oh god I started working out and it aches like hell. I was certain this will happen once I started exercising out and to keep myself going I track my weight on the first day and track it on the next day if I did have a slightest reduction I work hard feel happy and if I did not have any change feel challenged I work harder to get myself there.

6. Eat it be happy, you don’t need it –
Now that once you have taken care of your own mind and body’s opposition the biggest barriers now are coming from your surrounding friends/ family/ colleagues. They attack you with simple words” Be Happy eat all your food( ideally junk)”. The fact vs myth is it will only take you 6 months to transform or see a good difference in yourself and have a body you have been waiting for years, only if your consistent and committed. I wanna be more happier than ever I say to myself “I can live without the happy food”. Just in few days all your opposition will be your followers. Keep going with your beliefs.

Sujata’s printing imagination for word press

5 pretend plays you must let your boys play

As parents and care takers when we think of pretend plays, we immediately categorize our children as girls and boys and then define boundaries for pretend play. These boundaries when planted in childhood get so strong that the little ones can never do away with them.
Pretend plays are kids way of living the adult world. Let’s open a universe of pretend plays for our little boys. The following pretend play for a complete development.

1. Cooking
When ever we think of pretend play and quickly categorise our children into girls and boys and draw huge boundaries for our kids and refrain boys into the kitchen premises. Cooking is an activity through which we are capable of feeding ourselves and bring peace to mind and body. Every child must learn skills to satisfy the basic needs of life irrespective of their gender.
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2. Clean up
Living in a clean environment is vital for good health and life long prosperity, this can only be achieved when every child learns to clean up their own mess every time they play or spill around. The idea behind is to have a cleaner kid to have a cleaner planet. Having good clean up habits will ensure independent clean life long living.

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3. Arranging things
Involving your little boys in stacking  keeping and arranging things in order leads to an amazing logical thinking. Calculating and measuring the space with sizes and shapes. These skills every child must be capable of doing by the age of 5 and boys should also have their hands on this one. By doing little stacking at home.
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4. Negotiations
Like the above stated roles parents of boys must question and challenge the views of their boys instead of accepting this words as final verdict only in the grounds of being a male child. He must be encouraged to negotiate which provides a fair opportunity to boys to learn to validate and justify their opinions. Else in future he will always be short of words to talk things out. This is a life skills which will come handy in all walks or life ranging from corporate jobs to having a healthy married life.
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5. Taking care
Being loved is a basic human requirement. Pretending to play as caring nurse, will not hamper his image or destroy his ego of a being a male. Learning to take care of his toys and expressing love and concern will help him grow into a loving a respecting male, rest assured these plays will make him more human.

Cast of the social transcend image and let’s nurture his childhood.

Sujata’s printing imagination for word press

Girls who lost their core competencies

When I flip back the pages of my life, I remember the remarkable pride I felt about myself of being educated and my universe was complete after having a job. However today I realize i was just another girl in the loosing generation of India.
Who are the loosing generation? What are we loosing and missing out??

So, let me take up an example to elaborate. How absurd does it sounds when one compares apples and oranges and say ” both are equal”. Wired isn’t it? So how does the “Modern” Indian society comes up with this though and says “both boys and girls are equal?”. To underline this statement it does not imply any form of superiority to either. In context to this article, neither the boy is more superior nor the girls inferior.
However the population born in the late 90’s was feed with various complex mind blocks, in specific the middle class girl child. She was trained to participate in a marathon to be more similar to boys. Being able to drive cars and doing jobs. Nothing more. And the basic jobs which our mothers did as carers were being regarded as unworthy and useless. Therefore no emphasis was ever laid by the mother generation to transfer skills of cooking, stitching, knitting, crafting. But these are some of the important life skills which enhance creativity, rational thinking, management skills.

Wait a moment, why there is emphasis of the girls being left behind and not the boys? Because boys are taught to be boys. Boys in this generation lead the girls they manage to improve on their core competencies of basic tool handling, driving, getting to work, and practicing a hobby or a sport. To win over us, this generation boys also started venturing into our core roles of cooking and parenting.

Now to answer the question why and how are girls loosing in competencies if they are not cooking, knitting, creativity, practicing hobby and sport? The reasons are simple, I shall explain in the following contexts
Some task of cooking, home management and creativity were degraded as why would only the girl do? Negated.
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And the remaining activities of hobby and sport were removed from our list because we are a part of a conservative reforming society which swings to and fro between modernizing and traditions and restricts girls to play a sport and express oneself.

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So the poor girls on one hand no value to their skill set and on the other hand has no option to learn only because she’s a girl. The parent generation takes superior pride in having daughters educated and manage to get jobs, however they should also take responsibility for not being able to understand the effects of robbing away the opportunities to teach the core skills of being a girl. Which caused a huge loss of learning and development opportunities for our girl generation.

And to back it up with some fact it is only the Indian middle class girls who suffers, as compared to our counter parts in world over. These mothers take pride in imparting the knowledge of home management, as each one of their daughters do well not only in academics but are also master in some sort of arts, which is an aid for independent survival.

I write this article to lay emphasis to my loosing generation to take pride to in doing all the activities which are categorized for girls and makes you more feminine, which is a celebration of being oneself.

Therefore let’s be aware about the loss we are suffering and not increase its impact on the next generation and not feed the same rigid thought to our daughters and offer a deprived childhood. And train them to be losers and dependent on maids, cooks, laundry, tailor only because the whole social system is on a roller coaster of living like a Boy.

Sujata’s printing imagination for word press