by TRANSFORMATIONAL LIFE-COACH RIMA DESAI
It is no surprise that parenting comes with huge lessons of ‘overwhelm’ – the common feeling shared by almost all parents if not all. Life feels like an overflowing fountain of ‘demands’ – not demands from children all the time but demands from life. Come to think of it, parenting is a wonderful SPIRITUAL JOURNEY. Many people do not completely understand the word spiritual. ‘Spiritual’ is anything that forces your ‘spirit’ to grow by having to go outside its comfort zone. Spiritual is anything that teaches us better values or to be a better version of ourselves. Having walked a wonderful parenting journey for 7 years and mentoring many parents through articles and direct conversation, I will like to share 5 simple ways to lessen that ‘overwhelming’ feeling and reduce your frustrations.
- Organize your home and learn management skills
- Prioritize social life
- Plan your career life
- Realistic expectations from your child
- Realistic expectations from yourself
- Organize your home and learn management skills – Organization is the master of leadership skills. A great leader is the one who has the skills to multi-task, prioritize, put things in order, stay focused and organized. Remember that being a parent is a lot about being a LEADER.
What happens if your supervisor at work reaches work late, leaves work even later, doesn’t eat on time, has no proper places to file his work and has no idea what the day and week ahead will look like? Same is with you as a parent.
One part of organization is your physical space: how well are your things and your kid/s things kept? Can you tell me in your sleep, where ANYTHING is kept without having to get up – whether it is anything in your kitchen, bedroom, dining, etc. Use organizing bins, trays, holders to make sorting easier. E.g. I place puzzles in zip lock bags, her stationery in a heavy-duty organizer on her table, soft toys in a laundry basket, all bed sheets in one drawer, a drawer for art work, one for miscellaneous items, one for puzzles, etc. My bedroom and kitchen is super organized too.
Another part of organization is time management. How well are you with your routines? If you sleep and wake up more or less the same time daily, your life will be 80% better with your kids than you ever estimated. Your sleep-rest and body cycle has a huge impact on your mood, on your health and amount of energy you feel. Same is with your kids. Do not let them rule your routines, take charge, set time boundaries for them with T.V., eating, sleep, etc.
What you feel, you transfer to your kids. Mentally plan your meals for the next day rather than having to wake up with a huge frustration question mark of – “Now what to cook today?” Standing in front of the kitchen cabinets, scratching your head over breakfast and lunch deals for the day is poor management. Think of every minute of your life as a great investment towards your kids. How many minutes do you want to waste and how many do you want to multiply?
- Prioritize your social life – Yes, we love to party and meet, greet and laugh. But Parenting is a lot about learning to make adjustments, compromises and changes in one’s life. Before my child, I would be out every Saturday and Sunday with husband and his group of friends. Once my child was born, not only did I have to change my routines for the 1st few months, but I made permanent changes to my social life.
I don’t mean to say stop having fun but the AMOUNT and DURATION of your outings can be reconsidered. How much do you want to cook for your guests? Is it important to ‘impress’ them or to spend time with your children? Each day as a trade. When I plan a day in my mind, I ask myself- how many hours do I want to spend today with my child, based on that I make my other decisions. I may not be able to deny guests from coming home or having to attend parties but I surely DEFINE how much energy I want to put into preparations or having to stay at a party. My time with my child is not the time that is LEFT OVER after everything is taken care of, my time with my child is the 1ST thing I set aside or plan for the day and then everything else revolves around it.
- Plan your career life – Once again it is about need vs. demand. What do I demand from my life vs. what I need. For 6 years I dedicated my life, time, energy to my child because I CAREFULLY CALCULATED it this way – once she starts full time school at age 5, she will NEVER EVER AGAIN IN HER LIFE have a FULL WEEK with me at home. She will be spending more time at school than home and never again will I get to PLAN or SPEND 40 hours in a week with her. Hence, I rather set my career aside for those 5 years, even if there were financial challenges, I rather save money and my time with my child than give away that time to a stranger in a day care for whom she will be ‘one of the 20 kids’. That was my choice, you must make yours to what suits you bets. Do understand that time with your kids will never return and make a wise choice based on that along with all the other needs of yourself and your family.
- Realistic Expectations from your child – Would you rather have a ‘smart’ child who attends 5 or 7 different classes and tops in math, academics, dance, etc. or would you rather have a child who tops in ‘the language of love’. While classes can teach your child ‘skills’, sharing valuable time with the parent teaches the child invaluable lessons of love and self-growth. Exploratory play at home can be nurtured by the parent which teaches many skills to the child along with learning to build a bond, show and receive care, feel secure and important. Also, not all kids are made for the ‘A+’ game. Grades is not everything and success is not correlated to grades alone.
Don’t overburden them with expectations that their body or mind is not made for. Focus on their strengths, explore their talents and be realistic about their limitations. A rational and loving approach will make your parenting life easier, simpler and more successful.
- Realistic expectations from yourself – Now tell me that you do this – take over way too much than you can handle. You invite guests today and then accept the birthday invitation for tomorrow, then realize you had bought tickets to a party, then have groceries left to do, wish to be a super mom but also need to be super sexy, want a super skin, miss watching the latest movies and can’t stop browsing the entire world’s Facebook! P-R-I-O-T-I-Z-E !!!
Your kids do not need a super mom. Just be a M-O-M, that itself is great. Chose the top 5 important things in your life. E.g. here is my list:
- Spend at least an hour with my daughter on weekday and 5 total hours with her on weekend.
- Health – exercise 4 days a week, eat healthy 5 days a week, care for skin / hair twice a month (not the priority right now).
- Career – Advance in one’s career at a steady pace and build business slowly on the side.
- Socialize – Have an enjoyable outing 2ce a month if not more and call any close friends and family members every 2 weeks. (No receiving calls on weekdays or times when I spend with her).
- Learn – learn something new every month either from book, training, observation, etc. (No reading news or news channel, Facebook only to learn new skills).
I hope this article helps you settle down some of your frustrations and overwhelming feelings of parent-hood.
It is nice to be hopeful that life will continue well and it is wise to be realistic that life can change anytime! Make the most of today. Investment in your kids is the greatest investment you can ever make and that is not about how much money you invest in them or their future, it is about how much QUALITY INTERACTION you live with them in this very moment, HERE and NOW.
5 primary reasons for sibling rivalry:
- Gain your attention:Do your kids miss getting ‘real’ emotional care and time from you? If they do, boom, sibling rivalry is a SYMPTOM to that, not a problem!
- Stress at home:Getting along is an emotional problem. If there is emotional instability at home, this is one way it will show up. Are you or your kids overwhelmed (we call it stress) or depressed?
- Model Adults:Kids often solve problems in the way they view adults solve problems. Do you resort to yelling, back talking, arguing with the other adults in your life. If either of the adult does this at home, why blame the kids?
- Sense your energy: Do you feel life is being ‘UNFAIR’ to you? If it is, your kids are only REFLECTING or MIRRORING your feelings!
- The Bully:Is one kid ‘honestly’ a bully to the other? Is one smarter, more controlling or stronger in some way and overpowers the other? OR do you often ask the ‘older’ child to ‘give in’? If you do, it is 100% unfair to the older child!Solutions:
1. 1st recognise the true reason and root cause. Don’t jump to solutions until you have done proper diagnosis.
- Ask the kids what do they miss from you – the parents and what do they think is the reason for the rivalry?
- Allow them to solve their problems. Intervene only in situations of physical or emotional harm or any emergencies.
- Explain to them with real life people on how pappa and mumma show love differently and how the kids themselves are different with pappa and mumma. Use story books to explain how no two people in the world are alike, not even twins.
- Do a reality check, in your heart do you favor or admire one of your child over the other? It is ok if you do, that is called being HUMAN. However, be true about that in your heart and see if you recognise any objective reason for your discretion? Is one of the child more like you or more co-operative?
- Remedy your ‘unfair’ behaviors. If you have overloaded the older child with responsibilities and always or often asking the older child to make compromises and give in while you feel ‘bad’ for the younger child, you are responsible for the older child’s hatred and bully behavior towards the younger child. How fair are you being truly? It is never too late to make changes
- Talk to other parents, you may get some wonderful sugggestions.
- Ask kids for the solutions. They are the best problem solvers, ask each of them separately and then together, what would they do if they were the parents? Share your own childhood stories and be real. Did you find solutions to sibling rivalry with your siblings or you didn’t. Why did you not find solutions? Reflect on your own life and see what you can find.
- Does one child gain more approval and appreciation from the family over another? Is it because one is fat, the other is not, one is fair or smarter or more chirpy personality? Also, how severe is the rivalry. Do they hate each other outright or it is a love-hate or love-fight-love relationship? Seek professional help from a child counselor or psychologist when you just can’t find a way out.
Hope this helps. <3
~ This post is brought to You by Rima Desai. All rights reserved. You may also read this post on my fb page: Parenting Booth: https://www.facebook.com/parentingbooth ~
Dearest Dad, on your birthday we wanted you to know that you are
We know that your age is
Well, whatever, we think you are 41 so you are!!
Dad, you are special in so many ways! We love it when you:
– Give us a bath
– Drop us daily to
and the Sundays we spend with you because
You take us
to the MALL
Today is the day to tell you that we LOVE all the fun things you do with us.
…And Dad… who can be a better
You gets books, chocolates and toys for our stomach!! Ha ha.
You are the greatest!!
(Even though you cannot cook or clean like Mom!!!)
This is a Re-post of my article from ParentEdge magazine http://parentedge.in/teaching-your-children-about-the-natural-world/2/
Note that this article has been edited.
Teaching your children about the natural world
We introduce our kids to some common animals at a very young age. Which child will not know Cat, Dog, Monkey, Lion and birds like Crow, Pigeon, or Parrots? However, our children are not exposed to a wider range of the natural living world. How many children know Seagull, Vulture, Yak, Mongoose, Hyrax, or Wildebeest at an age of 3, 4, or even 9?
The activities I list below will open up a new world to your children and increase their knowledge of the animal kingdom. You can add other learning to these with Phonics and Alphabets as well.
These activities are designed for any child who can independently cut, glue, converse, and has a basic understanding of the living world around us. Alternatively, parents can conduct this activity for their toddlers or preschoolers.
- A large flat surface to work on: like the table or the floor.
- Print outs of several insects – uncut sheet: check image below for some of the insect names.
- Print outs of several animals – each animal cut into a square card. Make sure you have a variety of animal types like ones that live in the cold, in tropical or warm areas, mammals, non-mammals, etc. You may choose to keep the sheet uncut if you wish for the kids to do it.
- A pair of scissors per child.
- Glue stick per child.
- Markers and crayons for decoration.
ACTIVITY ONE – INSECT GARDEN
- Introduce children to all the insects you have on the sheet/s. You may share some fun facts about each insect at this point.
- Inform the kids that they are going to make an insect garden of their own, the way they like it. Show them an example from the image below and mention that different children make it in different ways and they are all ‘okay’. There is no one way to make it.
- Have children cut out all the insects. If you notice in the picture, I did not have insects printed in an aligned manner. This means it wasn’t as simple as cutting them into squares. Children had to work hard to cut around rounded areas without cutting into the next image. This helps increase attention, motor movements, eye-brain-hand co-ordination, and overall practice!
Allow them to stick their insects on a blank, white page to create their unique ‘Insect Farm’ or ‘Insect Garden’. They may use markers and colors to decorate the space and even draw.
5. Bring to their attention that they may categorize the insects as per their wish. In the image above, my daughter (age 5) categorized them as the ones she Loves and ones she Doesn’t Love. Some other kids categorized them by ones that can fly and ones that crawl OR they may not categorize them at all
6. They may create and share a story out of their garden if they wish to.
ACTIVITY TWO – ANIMAL and BIRD PLAY CARDS
- Have the animal and bird play cards either cut out beforehand or have the kids do it.
- DO NOT go over each animal or bird. We are going to leave it for the kids to discover that on their own.
- Challenge the kids to be able to separate the birds and animals in two sections in the shortest time possible. You may time the kids if you wish.
5. You may now play other games using the same cards and may even make groups to challenge the kids. Eg.You can see in my animal section, I have categorized animals that live in the cold, ones that are found in the African Safaris, and the rest kept separate.
Make up your own games with these cards. Below are some examples I have stated.
- Phonics: Kids must pick out all the cards that belong to the alphabet sound you make.
g. if you say the sound ‘Au’, they must pull out Ostrich and Ox. Focus on the sound here, not the alphabet.
- Alphabet: Kids must categorize all animals and birds mixed together as per their starting or ending letters.
E.g. Seagull, Seal go in one section.
- Letters: Kids must arrange cards as per the letters you mention.
E.g. if you say all the cards that have an ‘H’ in them go in the same category. So Ostrich, Cheetah, Hummingbird go in one section.
- Patterns: Kids must arrange all cards in altering patterns like one animal, one bird. You may time them for the same.
- Quiz: Take up to 6 cards at a time to help kids memorize names with 3-4 repetitions and then quiz them. Doing all the cards at once may be too overwhelming.
- G.K.: Share more information about each animal / bird.
E.g. The reason why bats are not birds and ostriches are not animals. How different animals adapt to their environment; offspring names, and so on.
Parents, share your responses on these activities. Do you find this activity easy, fun, and educational? How soon are you committed to perform this activity with your kid/s? Did your kid/s enjoy these? What are your questions and queries? Do write back.
ACTS OF KINDNESS
Often as parents we are frenzied over what to teach our kids and what to leave out. It seems the world’s encyclopedia cannot fit in everything that we may want our kids to learn. The most popular is of course, all the classes we want them to take; especially influenced by the ones their friends and cousins are taking. From all that could be possible under the sky, I give EXTREME Importance to teaching Kids KINDNESS and COMPASSION. These are ‘Qualities of Character’ which cannot be taught by ‘lecturing’ or by narrating ‘stories’. We – Adults, must be involved with the kids for them to see, to know, to experience. We must have a heart filled with Kindness which spreads joy and affection like a ‘contagious, irresistible hobby’.
Read this real life story, fresh from June 2015 ~ with Rima Desai
A story of 4 innocent hands powered by The Joy of Giving!
As the car screeched Stop by the beautiful waters, we could see how the heat at 37 degrees Celsius had left the place to a mere silence. Not a single soul! Out jumped the 4 little Heroes as I clamped their caps 1,2,3, .. The walk from the car to under the shaded tree was a bit of a journey, as the soaring sun stared angrily at our path. Finally under the shade, I removed our ‘packets of kindness’. With the intention to surprise the ducks, all of our 5 hands began offering bread crumbs in the water.
Kids were thrilled to see that ducks that were snug and rested on the other side of the shore, began peddling into a flock and soon into a raft of little hungry mouths. The excitement was contagious! We saw some of the ducks fly in a frenzy. Our act of kindness drew not just the animals but also many ‘hidden’ pigeons and other birds into this ‘feast’. Our expressions clearly screamed more enthusiasm- “Where did they come from!”
We stood there for a good 20 minutes making our offerings in the water and on the grass. Most of the kids (except mine) were experiencing ducks up close for the first time; almost nibbling at their feet! It was a bit scary at first but soon became a sense of thrill and joy.
We walked further looking for more ducks as we saved 1 full bag of the ‘kindness crumbs’. The lake was huge and so was our need to feed!
Walking further, we saw a pair of ducks swimming towards us. We realized that it was a ‘New Born baby’ being accompanied by its Mom. A cry of extreme excitement filled the air as all 5 of us were overthrown with joy to witness a new born baby duck for the first time! Our love for the cute baby spilled out ‘as if’ it could understand all that we said. We wished we had more food to offer and decided to return another day.
Back home, we shared the pictures with each kids’ family. Parents were thrilled and overjoyed to know their kids were involved in such an act of kindness and that their kids were eager enough to share more kindness in days to come!
This post is brought to you by Facebook/Parenting Booth by Rima Desai. It is inspired by ‘It is a Happy World’s’ motivation to spread Happy News. Thank You Mihir Upadhyay for your contribution and for inspiring me to bring more ‘life’ to the post.
This article has been written by me and re-posted with permission from Parentedge: http://parentedge.in/holiday-art-create-from-scrap/
Christmas or any another festival, we humans pretty much imitate the busy activity of a beehive during festive seasons. However, before the crowd attacks the shopping centers, newspapers speak out the Christmas Cheer loud and clear as a flurry of toys, lights, and gifts decorate flyers and pamphlets. Since I like to use everything to its best capacity, I could not think of throwing away the big heap of paper that came through my mail. And this is how a new art project was born.
Activity: A Simple Art Project, 45-60mins
Age group: 4- 6 years with parental help; 6 – 10 years independently
What you need
- A large piece of cardboard or plain white paper
- Glue sticks or glue
- Newspapers / flyers with any images related to Christmas or toys
- Trash can
- Curious kids
Creativity, imagination, organization skills, fine motor skills, competitiveness, spatial reasoning, decision making.
You can chose either ‘The Christmas Theme’ or ‘The Toy Theme’ or mix the two!
It is best to have two kids do this activity side by side to add a competitive spirit. Kids will have 60mins to complete the project. Their aim will be to create for themselves, a special room on the canvas or paper you provide. They will do this by choosing, cutting, and pasting the pictures from their own pile of newspapers. They could use markers to decorate their room and create any theme. It doesn’t matter if the snaps overlap, as long as each one is seen clearly and a minimum of 20 pictures have been used. They should use their imaginations to generate this special room as if it was real, a part of their real home. In fact, you can title your kids ‘Interior Designers’ for this fun project.
Collect all the newspapers and sit down in an area with enough room to spread the papers. Before you call the kids, filter the papers by yourself. Make sure there are 15 – 30 pages of newspapers / flyers that have photographs related to Christmas or toys. For example, a page showing decorative lights, a Christmas tree or an ornament, is worth saving. One that has a few toy cars, kids playing in a dollhouse or pretending to be supermen are excellent too.
If you are calling on friends or siblings for a project competition, make two different piles, relevant to each one’s age. I had a 9-year young with my 4-year young, which means the older one got a lot more newspapers to work with simply because she would be faster and more independent. I wanted to keep the curiosity as well the challenge alive for each one.
Once you have the newspapers sorted, spread out a large cloth / sheet / plastic to work on the floor. On that spread out the large white paper or cardboard and all other necessities in equal quantity for each child. Then, call the kids.
It is time to announce the rules. Let each child know that the competition is only in two aspects – to use everything that is given and to complete the project on time. Make it clear that there is no competing for better or worse. You won’t be judging the final project and putting a label of good or bad; rather you will see how well they use the resources given to them within the set time limit. Assure them that you are around for any back up or support. The ultimate aim is to LEARN & HAVE FUN. Read ‘The Plot’ section above to announce the rules.
This picture above was created by Kapila Khare, 9 years young. She made the toy room of her dreams!
Now that you know this activity has so much to teach your child (check above in the section titled ‘Learning Focus’), you can use this project with different things.
Here are a few ideas
- Save boxes of cereal, cookies, croutons, ready-to-eat packs, lentils, etc. Cut out food pictures from there and challenge kids to make a food chart. Use the classification of healthy vs. unhealthy or fats/ proteins/ carbs. Activate your creativity, parents!
- Save pictures of produces (fruits and vegetables) from several articles. They could make charts to classify fruits and veggies or ones they like vs. don’t like or even organize by the color or texture.
- Use your vacation photographs, vehicles, environment, or pictures of different roles that people play in the community.
All you need is a pile of newspapers and a watchful eye!