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Let us EAT….together!c4f262b9a7c92ff3faf5d43c09b48fce

Family that eats together lives together. I shall try to point out some of the goodness around family dinners. The key factor necessary to achieve this is a great amount of patience and time from us elders. As parents of young children, we need to have a cool head about the mess and wait for them patiently to do the task assigned to them. This shall nurture independence, responsibility, sense of belonging and the feeling of being respected in children which is intrinsic to the development of their character

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Language development

It is found that conversation over dinner time has a profound influence on having a great acumen of vocabulary for young children and  a great ground for honing the intellect for older children. Make it fun and have conversation about their day and yours. For toddlers, talk to them about a bird, animal, a car or someone or any incident. The vocabulary should be a melange of known and some unknown words.

Great social skills

Make them invite people to the table for dinner time. Give your child the opportunity to eat with people who love them. They learn to share the food that is there on the table. They learn to listen to experiences from everyone, this develops bonding and fosters intellectual development. The real power of dinners brings out the interpersonal quality of everyone. Having dinners together as a child evolves the relationship between parents and children, this transforms to great partnership between the two during the tough teenage years.

Practical life skills

Give the child the opportunity to lay the plates, cutlery, and napkins. Fill the glasses with water. This requires skill and they shall become adept with habit. Prepping the table  by bringing the dishes prepared for dinner. And allow them to clean up the table after dinner time. This makes them feel wanted and important. They love helping mothers at the kitchen which is a key habit that needs to be fostered amongst children these days.

Health benefits

Children learn by example so if they see you eating a variety of foods, they are more likely to do so as well. On the table do not offer them a wide variety to suit their taste. It’s proven that children who eat with their families are likely to try and eventually consume a wider range of foods that are high on nutrient value too. They learnt to relish what is served along with others. They would learn the value of food.  Value for the person’s effort and time  who prepares the food and how not to waste food.

NO SCREEN while eating

Studies have well elucidated over and again that the association between TV-watching during meal times and being overweight as children.

I’ve just penned a few points to ponder upon this habit at home. Having your child engaged in preparing the meal, procuring items from the market, cleaning etc., will open a wide range of conversation and knowledge about things around them.

Nostalgia

It had been an early tradition in India where we ate together as family sitting down while the mother of the family served food to all of us. And during the summer vacation, the house used to be filled with cousins. The grandma of the house sits with a big vessel of mixed sambar rice and the children of the house sit in a semi circle formation around her. She makes small balls of rice and puts it in the hand of each child. And every child must have eaten the ball by the time her turn comes. And the spirit of playful competition to eat was super fun.

Times have changed. We are running all the time as a family. We barely know what we ate for last meal. As adults, most of the morning meals are something that we gobble up on the go, while we are multi tasking on cooking and having the child to eat something. Afternoon meals with colleagues or are in front of the TV. Most of our evening mealtime is shared with some screen – T.V, Tablet/ Mobile device. There is always something important than the stomach. So let us pledge to give our children the same simple pleasure we experienced as a child.

Enjoy your meal.

Bon Appétit

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Your child can read.

Mental growth of a child is directly related to the physical growth of a child. The proof of physical growth is seen through creeping, crawling, sitting, standing, walking and then walking sans help.  Each of these milestones is external and it implies in turn the neurological  growth of the brain. The development of senses – good sense of smell, taste, sight, touch and breathing  facilitate the child’s learning experience of the world. The knowledge is first perceived through the sense organs then translated by the brain.  If we stimulate the child’s visual and auditory pathways simultaneously, the child could read well and early. The two essential sense organs for reading are ears and eyes.  The eyes see and the ears hear, yet it is the brain that translates the data. I.e; it is the brain that assimilates what is seen and heard to culminate a single idea.

So what is reading?

The perfect sync of the eyes, ears and the brain is called reading.

How can I teach my baby to read?

Dr. Glenn Doman developed and systematized the use of flash cards where the baby is flashed cards containing words of huge fonts that the baby can see clearly. Each word is called out loudly . Thus, the visual & auditory stimulation is achieved. This is a very simple and effective method.

When Can I Start?

Anytime after birth once the mother and the child is settled after the childbirth.

How is this done?

The video below is an expert explaining how to flash cards.

How to Flash cards for babies

This method is simple to start with a baby. Take 10 cards and pen down/ take a print out of words that use regularly with your child. .  Example : Eat, Bath, Bubbles, water, Milk, mom, dad, toy, bear, massage, brush, comb, pillow etc. Take 5 such cards and flash them for just 3 times a day. Use these 5 cards for 5 days shuffling them each time you show them. After 5 days, change the set retaining 2 old cards. Thus the baby is exposed to new words regularly. This keeps it interesting for her. Make more such words from the books you read to them. (Children need to be talked to continuously . I shall discuss on the same on another post)

We are pressed for time ….so how long does this take…. 5 cards x 1 second per card x 3 times = 15 seconds each day. is all that takes. To effectively deliver this, all you need to be is organized and have a plan in hand.

What kind of books can I read to my child?

Babies love watching known objects and people. It would be great to make your own personalized books made using pictures of her day to day activities, family relationships. (A sample is in this link below)

14 month Baby reads

Books that contain big & clear illustration with just a small sentence would keep their experience lively. (Sample of how babies enjoy reading are in the links below).

15 month Baby reading with mom

18 month Baby Reading -Quantum Physics for Babies with Dad

You can read about anything as long as you enjoy reading it, the baby shall enjoy the experience too. Once you are done, hug, appreciate your child as much as you can. You are transferring this love for knowledge to you child. It his this joy that that child wants to make it her own. So relax and enjoy your amazing journey. This journey that you undertake with your child shall astound you continuously.

Happy reading to you all.

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Early Education…how early ?

All of us have often wondered what is all this gyan about early education. There is a lot of theory on What early education is and how it impacts the learning curve of children.As a mother and as a preschool educator, I’ve tried to keep myself  informed of some latest trends on early education.What I am about to share is a gist of what I comprehend and what I’ve experienced as a parent on the lines of early education.  To put it in simple words, early learning is what a child learns during the early years of his life. Children have a natural thirst for  knowledge.

Children have the capacity to learn anything that is presented to them in the right and factual way. This defies the concept of “Age Befitting knowledge”. For example, common “wisdom” says that phonics is too abstract for a 1-year-old. Multiplication is much too complicated for a 2-year-old. Algebra is much too difficult for a 5-year-old. But Early educators believe it has more to do with how it is taught than what is being taught.  Practically arguing on this point, we can see that our child’s source of knowledge about the world is no more controlled by these age appropriate rules. We have barely begun to comprehend technology that they are so proficient in handling. Let us consider their scope of knowledge they amass through programmes on T.Vs, games on  Ipads & Phones, Advertising Media – we can see that their capacity to comprehend a conversation/ concept is way ahead when compared to us as child about their age .

We are the generation who need to prepare our children for a different kind of future that projects unfathomable growth.  The way our parents’ imparted knowledge may not work with our children, we need to be adroit in how to keep up with the growing world for our growing up children. It is now an established scientific fact that the sooner the baby receives sensory stimulation and opportunity for mobility and language expression, the more likely that brain growth, development, and skills will be optimized. When we as parents understand how our child develops, we become the best teachers  our children will ever have. Best of all, this journey of knowledge brings parents and their children closer together, establishing a life-long bond of learning and love.

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I dedicate this post to mothers around the globe. Mothers are the most creative people in the world. Our most prized possession is our child and what we make of them is the most beautiful exquisite piece of art. Mothers, YOU are creating something immensely valuable–you are carving a life, you are protecting a life.  A mother is the child’s first teacher. Sincerity, honesty, straightforwardness, courage, unselfishness, patience, endurance, perseverance, peace, calm, self-control are things that are taught infinitely better by example than by beautiful speeches. So the first thing one has to do, in order to be able to educate a child, is to educate oneself, to become conscious and master of oneself so that one never sets a bad example to one’s child. This step is initiated by the parents. When this is achieved, naturally the child has respect and admiration for his parents.

One common question

My child is very  playful while I read to him or try to teach a concept, is he really going to grasp so much?  Is he not really small ? And do they really know anything?

Scientific studies and our personal experiences have proved that little babies are extremely observant and adaptable. Haven’t we seen them use an object differently in a way we haven’t demonstrated to them? They are very adept in problem solving as they are not conditioned by the limitations as we know it. And their capacity to learn languages is very unperceivable. We have seen this in their capacity to reproduce words in languages  with the perfect tone and intonation in more than one language.

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So to sum up,  a child can be exposed to early learning by:

  • Presenting your child to lots of interesting  and a variety of subjects in a gentle, playful way
  • Believing that the child is capable of learning and he wants to learn
  • Creating an environment that naturally helps your child learn, develop, and build foundational skills

I can say this with conviction that early education gives great joy, pleasure, pride and adventure in learning and discovering the varied beautiful, interesting and  engaging things together.