The Diverse Harvest Festivals in India – a closer look

 

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The Diverse Harvest Festivals in India – a closer look

With the harvest festivals like Makar Sankranti, Bihu, Lohri and Pongal right around the corner, we are all excited to see what this harvest season has in store for us. We were taught that these harvest festivals are one of the most fun-filled but equally important festivals for the farmers across India.

Therefore, it is our duty to educate our kids about these harvest festivals and their significance in India. This will be a fun-filled opportunity for them to see how these festivals are celebrated and why they are important.

Here are some ways that people celebrate these harvest festivals across India:

Pongal O Pongal!

Pongal is one of the most celebrated festivals in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is a 4 day long festival during the season when rice, turmeric, sugar-cane and other cereals are harvested. Typically, the celebrations consists of boiling rice in an earthen pot and making a sweet dish out of it, in the process allowing the rice to boil out of the pot while the people shout ‘Pongal O Pongal’.

The word Pongal means ‘to boil’ in Tamil. The first day is celebrated as Bhogi where useless house articles are thrown in the pyre and burnt.

The second day is when the rice is boiled in a pot outside of the house accompanied by sugarcane and other sweets for consumption. [Read more…]

4 Activities Children Can Do Until School Re-opens

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Summer holidays are drawing to a close. All good things in life must come to an end and so must this. Come June and it is time to go back to school.

Hope you enjoyed every moment of your holidays. What is left of your summer holidays can be put to good use by taking a moment to reflect on the highlights of the summer holidays and also by planning for the year ahead.

Moment for reflection: Were you able to do all the activities you had planned during the vacation? What was the best moment of your holidays and what was the not so good moment? You have been probably lazing about quite a bit in the summer holidays, which is perfectly fine because you have earned it by working hard all year.

[Read more…]

The Importance of Self Directed Play in Toddlers

Consider the following things and how important they are in your life.

  • Successfully finishing a meeting and coming closer to winning the contract.
  • Having close buddies that you can trust with your life
  • Getting the best deal out of your interior decorator/land contractor or other similar expensive deals
  • Having a great relationship with your parents and siblings

The above pointers are largely broad generalizations, but I’m sure you understand the gist of it.

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[Read more…]

Why you shouldn’t say “Good Job” and other similar things to your child

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Your child manages to complete a particularly difficult task and you applaud her with “Good Job”!

Your toddler shares her snack with her friends and you want to positively reinforce this good behavior so you toss out a “Good Job”!

 

We read plenty of books that warn us against using punishments and spankings to model behavior so we instantly rely on a “Good Job” for positively reinforcing any example of good behavior or accomplishing a worthy task. Seems easy enough, right?

[Read more…]

Montessori Method of Teaching and Why Should Choose It For Your Child

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In the 1900’s when Maria Montessori began teaching children with special needs, she noticed something spectacular. Her specially curated methods of teaching were showing extraordinary results in these children with special needs. So much was the difference that her children outperformed other children educated in schools for regular children!

After this she was convinced that if regular children were allowed play independently and choose the activities that they were interested in, they fared much better.
Much has been written about the Montessori method of teaching and its benefits. But today we bring you an account by a former Montessori teacher and a new mother to a 4 year old girl, Shalaka Mahadik.
I have learnt a lot from my Montessori teaching days. I do believe that I am a better mother to my daughter than I would have been otherwise. I was able to recognize when my daughter was going through a developmental phase and needed my support. When she started crawling, her best game was to climb up on things. Whatever came in her way was like an obstacle that had to be conquered! I remember my friends telling me what a little adventurer she was, but I needed to protect her from falling as well. So here was a typical dilemma that many mothers face.
The child has not yet acquired a sense of danger and obviously needed to be protected against a potential fall without hindering her explorations. She was also learning a new skill at that time and quashing her attempts at any perilous climbs was going to hinder her development if stopped repeatedly.
We were living in a apartment where there weren’t any stairs so I made a makeshift climbing base for her with cushions on each side for a soft landing. Well my daughter went up and down through the day for an entire week!
Not surprisingly, Shalaka enrolled her daughter in a Montessori Playschool. She also emphasizes the importance of mixed peers groups in a balanced development of a child.
The mixed age group creates an environment where I have seen children become more patient, helpful and able to interact freely. Not only do they learn a lot from each other but it also allows them to have a sense of community inside the class. The world is not full of people who are the same age, so why should children be kept in a learning environment that doesn’t expose them to a varied age group?
Is there a downside to Montessori? We asked Shalaka.
Well apart from the fact that it is harder for teachers to teach a varied age group instead of one, I personally haven’t seen any downside to Montessori Method of teaching!
It is always great to know what you think! Please share your stories with us below.

How to manage a working pregnancy

How to manage a working pregnancy

Ever heard stories about women who worked till the last day of their pregnancy? Then highly likely you have heard of women who couldn’t even manage to get out of bed most days, leave alone, get ready and work through the day.

Most women, who do not suffer from sickness and nausea can and do work through their pregnancy. If you plan on working through your pregnancy, we have a list that will help you along the way! [Read more…]

Parent Teacher Meetings and How to Get the Most Out Of It


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Many of us look at Parent Teacher Meetings (PTM) as a window into our child’s academic life. There is your chance to understand your child’s strong areas and developmental areas, from the teachers. But if you want, with a little bit of planning, it could be much more rewarding for you and your child.

We put together a checklist for you that will make PTMs more fruitful for you and your child.

[Read more…]

Coping with Cyber Bullying: What Every Parent Needs to Know

When you and I were in school we might have experienced bullying, either personally or from a distance, in the classroom, the playground or recess time.  For our children today, bullying has taken on another dimension…the virtual dimension. This is something that you and I as adults may not even be aware of. But parents, this is out there and it is REAL for our children, especially our tweens and teens. Part of the reality is that digital technology and the internet play a huge part in the lives of our children as they use it for school assignments and their social life. This social connectivity can be online or via their mobiles, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social media sites.

 So, what is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber Bullying has been defined as when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

It can include abusive texts and emails, hurtful messages, images or videos imitating others, excluding others online, nasty online gossip and chat.

The fact that cyber bullying can happen 24/7 [and not just in person], can be done in anonymity, and once out there can go viral, makes cyber bullying even more damaging than traditional face-to-face bullying.

 As a parent what should I know?

Signs that your child is being cyber-bullied and how to handle this

The first thing is for you to get acquainted with your child’s cyber world. Find out where your children surf, what are the popular social sites amongst kids and talk to your kids about the possibility of cyber bullying and safety. Do reinforce that even if they see a post that is targeted at another child, by their ‘liking/ sharing/forwarding’ it they are guilty of cyber bullying by association.

The next thing is to look for signs that might point to your child being cyber bullied. Some of these might be:

  • Changes in online behaviour– is your child suddenly spending less time online? Has he asked you about closing down his account, or about security features to block others out?
  • Distress does your child become annoyed, upset, stressed or angry after he has been online? Has his school attendance or performance reduced?
  • Secrecydoes your child act secretively when using the internet or phone? Does he close down the computer when you walk into the room?

 Also Read: Keeping your Kids Safe Online

 As a parent how can I help if my child is being cyber bullied?

If you worry that your child is being cyber bullied, talk to him. Assure him that you are on his side, that he did not do something wrong and he does not deserve to be bullied. Here are some tips you could share with him:

  • Do not respond or retaliate. Tell him to talk to you about it, rather than ‘letting off steam’ online by seeking revenge online. It could make things worse and he might be accused of cyberbullying.
  • Tell him to block the bully and change his privacy settings. With your help he can also report this to the site administrator and the school authorities.
  • Help him save these abusive messages as evidence, like phone messages, print emails or social networking conversations/photos. He can also tell their friends that might be privy to these messages to collect this too.
  • Encourage him to be involved in anti-cyber bullying campaigns. There are many such initiatives online. This will give him a sense of control and empowerment. If he knows of a friend being bullied, remind him not to join in. If he feels confident, he should also stand up for his friend online.

Bottom line, parents you have to be aware and get familiar with the virtual world that your child is a part of.  In this case, ignorance is not bliss!

Happy Parenting!

Also Read: Teens and Social Media

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children. This blog was written by Aparna Samuel Balasundaram. She is a USA- Licensed Psychotherapist and Parent and Child Expert with 10 years of experience in the USA. 

5 ways For New Parents To Get More Sleep

bril2The joy of a new baby is something so special that only new parents experience. However, lack of sleep is collateral damage. New parents notoriously get very little sleep, if any at all. Fortunately, there are some strategies and tips to help new parents get snatch snippets of sleep once the new baby arrives. Of course, with a baby you will never get an over abundance of sleep, but these tips will help you to at least get enough sleep to keep your sanity intact.

The key here is to be prepared before you get to that phase. Forewarned is forearmed. This adage is true for all new parents.

Tip #1 Take Turns:

A new born baby has no sense of day or night. Irregular feeding time, potty and pee are a never ending cycle that keeps new mothers awake all night. For the first few days, time the baby’s waking and then takes turns waking up. There is no point in the father waking up to a crying infant who only needs to be fed. Similarly there is no need for a mother to wake up when the baby needs a change of diaper. Generally, taking turns is really the best option and will help everyone get just a little more sleep.

Tip #2 Nap With the Baby:

If you are the only one caring for the baby, then when the baby goes to sleep, you should take a nap as well. This will allow you to get some rest. So, whether the baby naps in the morning, afternoon, or early evening you should also get a little rest because you never know when the baby might wake up. Don’t be tempted to do chores in this time. The laundry basket may overflow, the dishes may need doing, or the house may look generally like a hurricane just hit it. Don’t bother about these things in the first three months. Just remember, this will pass when the baby regulates her sleeping pattern naturally.

Tip #3 Accept Help:

When you have a new baby, there are plenty of people willing to help, be it parents, siblings, friends, and other family members. So, when you really need to get some sleep, just accept some of the help that is being offered. Having your mom or mom-in-law care for the baby for just a couple of hours will allow you to get some much needed sleep. If enlisting the help of a part time help is feasible, get it immediately. This will allow you to rest when the baby is napping.

Tip #4 Keep the Baby in the Nursery:

The baby should sleep in the nursery and not with the parents. Although there is another school of thought that promotes co-sleeping. Many times it is tempting to allow the baby to sleep with the parents, but this may form a habit that is difficult to break in the later years of the baby’s life. After the baby is six months old, you can slowly start the transition of making the baby sleep in the nursery. A video or an audio monitor is a must in these cases.

Tip #5 Feed the Baby Before You Sleep:

If your baby typically wakes up just before your sleep time, it is safe to wake the baby up for a feed and then put her back to sleep. This way she won’t interrupt your sleep immediately and hopfully sleep for longer. This is a long shot, but worth a try. All the best!