Before they grow up – Activities to enjoy today!

6-81142-14-1415057748Let’s face it – the parenting journey is chaotic to say the least. There are days when you’re dead on your feet and have to drag yourself in a slow zombie-like stupor. There are days when you have yelling matches with the kids because they want it their own way. There are days that come after long sleepless nights. There are pee stains on the bed, there are food stains all over the couch, there are crayon marks on your favorite purse, there are bald spots from where you have unconsciously pulled your hair out.

6-81134-7-1413244646And then there are days when you laugh so hard you feel like your lungs will burst, there are days when you smile from ear to ear at the sound of their giggle and their tiny footsteps running around the house, days when you wish you were as good a storyteller as they are. When you’re cuddling your little one as they are breathing softly in your arms you realize that you would have it no other way. Let’s face it – parenting is an amazing journey!

I love this phase of my life when the kids are still home and haven’t fled the nest yet. When we mark their heights on the wall, it’s a reminder of how quickly they grow and how deeply our time together needs to be savored. Enjoying your child in the ‘right now’ becomes a priority. Here are some simple things you can do with your little ones that don’t make you feel like you’re missing out on them.

Play their favorite game with them –

I’ve done everything from trying to beat their temple run scores to watching them raise virtual pets and playing MMOs where the whole family has raised dragons together, grown farms, built great architectural wonders, thrown down a block of Jenga bricks and played so many board games, I’ve lost track. There are adventures to be had online and offline. Bonding becomes deeper when you make the effort to be interested in something they love.

Hold hands and go for a walk –

My kids have a timeline of hands where they draw the outline of their own hand every month on a scrapbook and then compare it against the size of my hand. Their thrill at knowing they’re growing up and will soon be as big as mommy is astounding. They then insist on holding my hand and going for a walk, occasionally stopping to see if their hand has gotten any bigger. These memories are now safely stored away in a pensieve! :D

Get lost in a book together –

Speaking of pensieves (and I have play acted Harry Potter to them many times), pick any one of these kids’ books and practice your acting skills. One of my favorite memories of my dad is of him enacting the whole of Oliver’s Twist much to our delight – I can still picture the way he’d take a shirt lying around, turn it into a hat and pretend to be Fagin!

Have a Staring Contest –

Silly, simple, effective – don’t you just love making your kids laugh? Everytime I challenge them to a staring contest, they become serious. The urge to win drives them to play the game like it’s a matter of life and death. I use that as an opportunity to flare my nostrils, wiggle my ears, cross my eyes. As a bonus, go to the bathroom and practice making faces together in the mirror.

Dance, dance, dance –

Before school gets hectic, before they’re off doing their own thing with their friends, use as many opportunities as you can to dance. So what if you have two left feet? The kids love when we blast Macarena from the system and do our silly dance. I enjoy it more when they get to pick a song and they get to teach me their dance moves. The sillier the better!

How to Teach Children to be Pragmatic

It’s very important for kids to learn the language of pragmatism from an early age. The pragmatic language involves specific ways of communication, sometimes also known as ‘social skills’. Kids must learn the use of language for different reasons such as greetings, farewells, asking questions, narrating anecdotes, etc. It’s important to change the language based on each type of communication, for example that with a teacher, a peer, a parent, et al. Pragmatic skills also involve turn-taking while talking and not interrupting, introducing new topics, correcting errors or altering something in a different way when a message is not understood the first time, maintaining eye contact and correct body distance while talking, and knowing how to talk to different groups of people (peers versus adults). So what’s the best way to introduce kids to the pragmatic language and help them master it? Check out the following.

Inside My ClassroomImage Source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/knittymarie/4802941163

Day-to-day happenings at home contribute significantly in developing a child’s pragmatic language skills. Encourage your child to greet parents and siblings at the breakfast table, say goodbye to whoever is at home while leaving for school, and wish a ‘good night’ before retiring to bed every night. Praise your child if she exhibits good communication skills.

Have you ever thought that the scientific method may be useful in contributing significantly to a child’s pragmatic skills? The scientific method is more than just a way of approaching sciences; it’s a way we live. The scientific method of studying has been developed taking into account our day-to-day lives and therefore devising the best possible way to approach a solution. The approach of the scientific method includes five very pragmatic steps – hypothesis, formulation, experiment, and conclusion. The four steps will help any child even beyond her science lessons – to understand life with a pragmatic approach. So have your child solve such scientific method worksheets which explain each step in detail and inspire her to adopt the approach in her day-to-day life.

Role-playing with children is another great way to help them becomes pragmatic in their approach. Pretend to be a teacher, a peer, a parent, or a stranger and converse with your child. Talk about various problems that are specific to each role and try to elicit a reaction from the child. Here are a few questions for two of the roles mentioned on which you can base the role-play.

Teacher

  • How long does it take you to reach school? Is there a better way to commute?
  • If you forgot to get your stationery on a math project day, what would you do?
  • If there’s just one chalk in the classroom and your friend is using it to demonstrate a problem on the board but you need it urgently for a project that the teacher has assigned to you. How would you approach your friend or tackle the situation?

Peer

  • Your best friend is going for a movie with her neighbor-friends. She insists you accompany her even though you not comfortable with them. How would you react/what would you do?
  • You are appearing for an exam and you notice your neighbor has not got a single pen/pencil with her. You haven’t got any spare stationery either. What would you do?

Practice story telling with the kids. Provide kids with connecting clues and sequences and help them string them together to form a story. For example, to weave a story on a day out to an aquarium with family, supply her with clues such as ‘when did you wake up’, ‘how did you go’, ‘who went with you’, ‘where did you go’, how were the animals at the aquarium’, ‘have you bought any souvenir from there’, ‘would you like to go back to the aquarium on another day’. Give her the freedom to use her imagination to tell the story, so don’t interrupt her if she sneaks in unreal events!

It’s important to be pragmatic and give your child the opportunity to develop her pragmatic side of personality with these tips.

Dear Madam Alien

I love your car. I wish that we had that kind of transport. Google maps could have a UFO option just next to its car, bus, train and stick man options. How cool would that be? Then we can holiday whenever we feel like it instead of only once or twice a year. I bet you have seen planets we haven’t discovered yet. Maybe when I grow up, I’ll be allowed to. I heard Pluto was a planet again. Were you happy about that?

I wonder if you look down on Earth and find us weird. I know I would. So many people wearing different types of clothes, working different kinds of jobs, talking different languages, believing different things. We fight all the time and we love all the time. If you watch us long enough, I know that you will love us. As strange as we are, we will grow on you.

For example, if you look down this month you will find us all wearing different costumes. You might wonder why people are walking around like skeletons and animals. You may wonder why little humans dressed as monsters go from door to door collecting sweeties that are obviously bad for them. When you come to visit, I will give you my collection of Mars and Galaxy Bars. I bet you will find that funny. I wonder if you have a Halloween in your planet. If they do, wouldn’t it be nice if they dressed up as humans?

Mum makes us give her ideas of family Halloween costumes at the end of September. I told her she and dad should be bread and the three of us can be bacon, lettuce and tomato. Have you had a sandwich? It’s one of the things that makes Earth special.

Robbie says aliens are actual super intelligent, time travelling humans. If that’s true, you already know why Earth is so great. But here it is, just in case you’ve forgotten.

Hope you will visit soon.

This is the post my DD wrote up for the blog. She has a journal where she practices her writing. One day when she was stuck for ideas, I told her to write a letter, as a prompt. She now writes letters to random people and the results are amazing, even if I am a bit biased myself! Hope you’ve enjoyed this experimental first post!

Late night conversations with my daughter

I was sitting down to write another article this weekend when my daughter cuddled up to me and said she wanted to write something as well. I often give the kids writing assignments – I’m blessed with kids who not only love to read but also love to use their imaginations creatively. So I gave her a few sheets of paper and went on to make her some hot cocoa. I find hot cocoa always makes me write better.

When I got back to my work haven, I found her, pencil in hand but not a word on the paper. “Mom?” she hesitated and then continued, “I don’t know… I mean … I want to write a story … like you do … I mean … I want it to be published … Can I … Erm … Write one for you?” I smiled. I told her that she definitely should write for me. Happy and with a belly full of chocolate warmth, she dozed off on the couch while I finished my article.

That night, when I was preparing to sleep, I had a sudden panic attack. I had said ‘yes’ to my daughter without actually thinking it through. Writing articles is one thing, putting it up on the World Wide Web is another. We all know that this space can be dangerous and anything unmonitored can lead to situations you don’t want her to be in. So I had to think over whether I should allow her to write on my space or allow her to start her own blog. I went to sleep, troubled.

I am a huge fan of using new age technology for learning and didn’t want to discourage the use of the blogging platform. I talked to my daughter the next day and asked her what she had in mind with regards to writing. She said that she wanted to stories for me occasionally that I would publish on my blog. Considering I will have control over what goes up, what comments come through etc, I thought we’d both go for it. She will weave her magic stories and also learn about the intricacies of blogging (She is fascinated by WordPress stats – where the views come from, what search terms are used to reach certain articles etc)

We’re making this our monthly mother-daughter bonding activity.

What do you think of the idea?