Sweet Dreams Are Made of These.

Sweet dreams ! “Bed-time-battles”, and how to solve them.

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The most common every day or rather every night problem that all parents face is putting their child to sleep.You are indeed a lucky parent if your child goes to sleep without any fuss!

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Most children resist going to bed because children are born ‘learners’ and feel that they will ‘miss out on the fun’ by going to bed and hence they fight sleep and try to postpone it as much as they can. And thus starts the “bed-time-battle” between the child and the parent.

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A parent needs to set a bed time routine . Because children like repetition and can identify with a routine.So a regular bed time routine will help them go to bed without any hassles.

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A routine can be keeping in mind your child’s likes and activities of interest. For example for a child who likes to play a game before bedtime, choose a game that will get over before bedtime. Avoid long one that takes time to end and  will not be able to complete,so that the baby will not be restless  in bed.

So the routine can be: game time,bath time,brush your teeth time and goodnight time for an older child.

Or it can be: bath time,brush time,story time and goodnight time for a younger child.

It is very important to keep in mind the child’s age while choosing the routine

A toddler who has been hyper active throughout the day now needs to wind down  before going to bed and hence doing activities like jumping in bed or  somersaulting etc will only help in getting him more active and will hence not serve the purpose.You need to have soothing activities like a soft rhyme session or a hug and cuddle time or a short and happy story.

Or a tickle time! Surprised? Well, have you ever been tickled? if you have ,you will remember the complete warm and ‘loose’ feeling that your muscles experience after a good session. A very good relaxation !

Stories are a favourite of all children and parents as a bed time activity.

Here again a parent must choose the right kind of story. If you will tell a frightening or scary story you will only end up making your child nervous and also be a reason for his bed wetting.so choose stories which are warm and happy and can bring a smile on your child’s face.

It is very important for a parent to remember any routine has to be flexible and not set in stone. On certain days deviating from the routine may happen  because of a party or a guest  or illness but regardless of the interruption, it is essential to get back to your routine as soon as possible to let the child know that deviations are exceptions and not forever.

So have a good night’s sleep every night !

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Hear the hundred languages of children.

Loris Malaguzzi (Reggio Emilia, Italy) rightly said, “Children have  hundred languages, and parents  and society steal  ninety nine and then ask the child to use only one language”

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It is important for adults to learn how to communicate with children. Because children know 100 ways of communicating with you, but sadly we know only one- talking. What  happened to raised eyebrows, smiling, hugging, biting your lips, are these not forms of communication? Remember, communication happens on two levels, one with words but 80% is with body language. Accept  and understand both forms and life will be more happier and easier.

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Before our children acquire language skills, we focus on and accept their nonverbal communications, but as soon as the child acquires language skills, parents stop focusing on the nonverbal cues and this some where frustrates the child and makes the parent-child relationship more stressful.

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Parents insist that a child says sorry, thank you, please, whereas in the growing years the child sometimes speaks with  ‘expressions’ because to your child that is more important than words,

  • But we teach them  that it is more important to say sorry than to hug the person you have hurt.
  • It is more important to say thank you than to smile at the person who gave you the gift.
  • We teach them to ‘say’ the words and not ‘feel’ them.
  • We unknowingly teach them that it is fine to hurt someone, but never , never forget to say sorry!
  • Our focus should actually be on both, expressions/feelings and words.

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Avoid using unnecessary questions.-

Questions like,’ Are you going to eat your food or not?’ in which there is no choice or actually no real choice, tend to confuse children and then they feel frustrated when you do not do what they answered. Sometimes many teachers ask children, ‘Do you want to listen to a story?’ and children may say ‘No’ but the teacher still continues with the story, this irritates children and they feel let down. Because  your question made them feel that they have a choice and when they opted for the choice, you still forced them to do what you want. Isn’t it frustrating?

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Avoid Sarcasm-

We women, I feel are born with an extra gene! The gene of ‘sarcasm’. And we use it more often on the very people who do not understand it, namely husbands and children! So, when the husband comes home late, we say, ‘ Today you have come very early!’ and the husband comes even later the next day just to please you! Similarly with children, when a child breaks a toy, we get irritated and say, ‘Yes, break them all’, and he dutifully proceeds to do so and to his utter consternation finds that you are angrier!

So, weed out the rhetoric and the sarcasm, from your communication with children. Avoid sarcasm as a tone behind a sentence as children are too young to understand such ‘tones’ , as they tend to do exactly as the sentence says.

Give requests and directions positively, start a sentence with  a positive and not a negative words.

‘Walk slowly’ would be a better way of instructing, instead of saying,’ Don’t run’. Similarly, instead of saying, ‘Don’t sit there’, it is better to say, ‘Lets sit here as you may get hurt on that stool’. Yes it requires longer sentences and sometimes we do not have the patience, but imagine if your world is always filled with, ‘no’, ‘don’t’, ‘never’?

It is important to give instructions to children explaining the reason why you do not want them to do the particular thing or act in a particular way. Just telling them not to do it, is not enough.

Avoid repeating your instructions –

Repetition  is good for children, but the repetition should not be boring or it becomes drill and then children tend to switch off and ignore the message. When you tend to repeat yourself too much then it also teaches children that you are not serious the first time and they will learn to listen to you only after you have repeated the instruction a couple of times. So if you want your children to listen to you , get the attention first .Eye contact is very important for good listening and once you have their attention, give your instruction to the point. If you feel you want to repeat then questioning would be a better way to repeat.

Do not talk too loudly-

If the child is surrounded by adults who talk loudly and shout all the time then the child learns to listen to loud voices . But  if we surround the child with soft voices, soothing calm voices, it will guide him to make the right decisions.

So in short, for better communication with your child, Avoid too many instructions, keep language clutter free, and prepare your child to listen, because in education most of his learning will be done by listening.

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Website:http://www.born-smart.com/                                              Reach us:8291371873

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Play is not just a four letter word !

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Did you know, ‘Play’, develops your child’s intelligence?

All work and no play make Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl! An often heard comment, but recently research shows that there is much truth in this simple saying. Dr. Stuart Brown says in his book ‘Play’ that people in jobs are not able to find solutions to problems or make new discoveries or survive a crisis efficiently all because they have lost touch with play in their lives or were brought up in a ‘play-less’ environment. He says that, “those who had worked and played with their hands as they were growing up were able to ‘see solutions’ that those who hadn’t worked with their hands could not. They couldn’t’ spot the key flaw in complex systems they were working on, toss the problem around, break it down, pick it apart, tease out its critical elements, and rearrange them in innovative ways that led to a solution.”

If play teaches us all of the above then what happened to play? What is leading to its slow extinction? Many reasons. Car parks have replaced ball parks, making children achieve trophies and medals has become more important than learning a skill or a game.

 

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So how does play help us? Play has its impact in varying ways in all stages of life. As a baby lying in a cot, play is about the random movement of the hand hitting a toy hanging in the crib. Here this random play teaches the baby about cause and effect and he/she learns to internalise this action to get a reaction which is the movement or the sound of that toy.

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As the baby becomes a toddler, play is about touching, shaking and throwing every object and this leads to the child understanding about holding, picking up, letting go, enhancing the neural networks of the brain as it helps excite the five senses, the pathways to the brain and it also helps child develop eye hand co-ordination and fine motor development.

As the child grows older toys become their play. Balls, dolls, teddies and cars involve them and they are able to explore, talk, relate to others and learn through trial and error.

Then comes the symbolic play stage, when a child is able to substitute a block of wood to be a telephone and they can play differently using each object to be something else. Not many adults know that symbolic play is what will eventually help a child in reading and writing.

Let me explain: first a child will use a telephone as a telephone in role play, then when they don’t have a telephone, the child will substitute it with an object that looks like a telephone and pretend that it is a telephone. So we can say that the child has learnt to represent the telephone with another object. Now let’s understand reading:  first a child recognises the picture of a ball, and then slowly he learns to read the word ‘ball’. For the child, the word ‘ball’ immediately brings to mind a picture of one. So reading is nothing but representation of letters to mean a picture! Now if this child is not allowed to play games that involve symbolic play, their reading and writing will naturally suffer.

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As the child grows older, play is about group games, games with rules and rough and tumble play. This kind of play is again important in our later work life, as rough and tumble play teaches how to recognise signals from playmates: signals about stop, or I am enjoying, or I want the play to end. In rough and tumble play, the players may be squealing with delight or with fright, and players learn to recognise and use these signals for social development and social skills development. These body signs will help in later work/life relationships. Have you seen teenagers indulge in rough and tumble play? When you watch them you might feel they are punching and harming each other, but it is nothing but harmless rough and tumble play and it is also helpful for ‘cardiovascular health’.

 

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Play continues even in adult life when we joke with friends as part of play or play pranks on each other or have impromptu bets or challenges or play a game of estimation like, ‘guess how many runs will Sachin make today?’. All this is nothing but play. It relaxes us, helps us bond, helps relieve us from stress and makes us happy.

So choice is ours –play or grow or don’t play and rot the brain cells away! Then why not play?

10 toys and what they do for children. Check whether you have them all for your child.

  1. Cuddling toys- help a child feel secure, helps in general feeling of well being.
  2. Building toys- helps in logic, thinking, imagination, language development and creativity.
  3. Role play toys- help a child understand the adult world, how people behave and act and play out different duties.
  4. Creative toys- help a child develop thinking, creativity, giving the satisfaction of choosing what they want to create and also acts as an emotional outlet.
  5. Reading toys- help a child develop necessary vocabulary, reading skills, interest in reading, picture recognition and lots more.
  6. Puzzling toys- helps develop logic, problem-solving skills.
  7. Breaking and putting together toys- helps them to vent out emotions or aggression without the guilt, also helps them to achieve an important need of exploration and curiosity.
  8. Pounding toys- helps  release emotions and aggression.
  9. Riding toys- good for balance, sense of freedom and movement.
  10. Outdoor toys- nature, out in the open and so good for exercise of entire body; activities for crawling, creeping, jumping, digging, etc.

Lets Play, after all Play is the work of childhood.

 

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Look who’s talking.

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Talk, talk, talk…look who’s talking!

Have you wondered why we, the female of the species talk so much? Well, there is an evolutionary reason for this; the human baby needs the stimulus of language to connect the neurons in the brain. The window for language development is in the first few years and since the mother is the primary caregiver in most cultures it is important that the mother uses the power of her voice and language to stimulate the brain of her child. The sound of a mother’s voice is naturally higher pitched than that of the father and the newborn baby’s ears are more responsive to this high-pitched voice called ‘motherese’. It is no wonder that babies naturally respond to females more than males.

But it’s not just about talk, talk, talk, but there is a science behind the talking that mothers need to implement. We need to nurture two different types of language skills in young babies, Receptive and Expressive language skills.

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Therefore, receptive language skills are what the child hears or what is spoken to the child and expressive language skills are what a child speaks.

Where receptive language skills are concerned, the rule to remember is- the more the merrier. ‘Talk’ and kids love to listen. But avoid baby talk as kids learn by imitation. Where expressive language skills are concerned, kids will talk when they are ready, don’t correct their grammar or pronunciation, this will discourage and frustrate them. Instead repeat the sentence with the correct grammar and pronunciation. So if your child says, ‘mummy, potty’, you can say, ‘baby wants to go to the potty’.

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It is imperative that mothers focus on the stimulation of both expressive and receptive language in daily interactions with kids.  Here are a variety of language-stimulation techniques that will support receptive and expressive language skills development. These techniques are, description, parallel talk, self-talk, expansion and expansion plus.

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Description

Description is a technique in which the mother or caregiver narrates or describes what is going on by putting word labels on things.  For example, if a mother is putting on a nappy on the baby, then she will say, “You are going to be cosy in this nappy. Mummy is making you wear the nappy so that you are dry and comfortable”.  Or while bathing a baby you can describe all the steps as they occur.

Parallel talk

Parallel talk usually begins with “You.” In parallel talk a mother uses a short sentence that focuses on what the child is doing presently. For example, “You are playing with the sand in the sand pit.” or “you are now drinking water from your sipper” is parallel talk. Since the mother is focused on specific actions of the child it helps the child to put word labels to actions and objects and to connect the two and make sentences.

Self-talk

Self-talk begins with ‘I’. During self-talk a mother uses short phrases that describe what a mother or care giver is doing or is going to do. For example, a mother might say this during meal time, “I am going to take the peas on this spoon and help you eat them.’  Self-talk is especially important in the early years as young children like routine and if there is anything that deviates from that routine it tends to upset them. So self- talk kind of helps a parent or caregiver prepare the child. It is especially important during activities like bath time or sleep time when tantrums are common. A mother can say, “I am going to ask you to keep your blocks away in 10 minutes, so that we can get ready for meal time.”

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Expansion and Expansion Plus

As children’s vocabularies grow, we notice that they tend to use a word to signify a whole sentence or use incomplete sentences. This is where Expansion and Expansion Plus are important techniques to be used by the parent or caregiver. In expansion the mother takes what the child has said and expands on it, for example if the child says ‘blocks’ the mother expands and says, ‘Do you want to play with those blocks?’ In expansion plus the mother or caregiver adds to what the child has already said, so for example, the child says, ‘look crow’, the teacher or care giver uses expansion plus and says, ‘Yes, that is a crow and look, it is black in colour’. Expansion and expansion plus help children put their thoughts and needs in sentences.

Language is a skill that is learnt by imitation. How did you learn your mother tongue? You listened to the people in your environment, then you imitated and were motivated by others and so language development took place. You made mistakes and that’s how your mother tongue was learnt. No grammar taught separately. No teaching of nouns and verbs separately. No sentences given to turn into active and passive. You lived, experienced, and heard the language every day. That is the best way to learn any language. So let’s talk, talk, and talk to our kids.

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Website:http://www.born-smart.com/                                              Reach us:8291371873
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