Category "2019"


It is commonly said that this is the age of competitions. The word Competition is derived from the word ‘ competing’- usually for supremacy, winning, getting a prize.

When can this be possible? Only when you are ready for the act that is going to be performed by a group where you are one among many trying to be the best, the winner, the supreme!

Now when this comes to young children, do they really understand what the competition is? Are they really ready to compete?

Is it really apt to get children as young as 3-8 years into competitions?

Are they really independent and creative in what they are doing for the competition?

Simple examples such as a fancy dress competition or mad hats competition, how much is actually the child’s role in it? Certain gestures or dialogues are given to the children and they enact what is practiced. How can that be considered for competition? The child who is smart or trained well receives the prize.

There are so many side effects of competitions for these children of a tender age. At times the waiting time, the costumes they are made to wear, the long hours of rehearsals, is quite frustrating for them. Adults take a lot of enjoyment by watching these tiny performers, but who knows the frustration they have. They cannot speak for themselves.

I always compare these type of children’s competitions with the cockfights and bullfights organized for the pleasure of adults.

Have you ever watched children performing a ‘shringarik lavani’ in a dance competition? They do not even know the meaning of the lyrics and the actions given to them. But they perform what is told to them. They get a huge applaud for the performance.

Are there competitions of activities that are related to the children’s interest, capacities, capabilities?  Most of the competitions are based on adult selected topics.

A very simple thought about the readiness of children is very important when we talk about competitions but often ignored.  Children need to be given enough time to explore their environment, use art material, enjoy free play, listen to kid songs (not nursery rhymes), time to make their own poems, own artifacts? We want our children to be all-rounders and it is very important to give them enough exposure to understand and make choices of their interest. If we want them to sing, dance, play instruments, shine in sports, be toppers in academics we have to let them listen to good music, watch authentic dance and acting shows, read books, poems, watch games. Discuss the highlights with them and give them opportunities to show what they can do. This will build their confidence and they will be much prepared for the competitions.

The major concern about today’s competitions is the adult world is not only creating stereotypes but also killing children’s natural creativity and innocence.

Have you ever watched the Master Chef Junior Competition? I bet you will understand the real meaning of a competition.

Competitions can be healthy and fair only when children have acquired the necessary skills and proficiency. Giving them a feeling of stardom at a tender age will not only hamper their development but also create an unhealthy ego and pride in them. This might also restrict their further growth and instinct of learning more. They are at a growing age and they should only be given exposure to try their hands out until they show proficiency in doing anything.

These days it has become a fashion to conduct competitions and in the end declare all participants as winners. This is not the right way to conduct competitions. We need to have patience until children attain maturity to understand the real meaning of competition and then face it. They are so innocent that they do not even understand if they don’t win, it is the parents who get upset.

Let us give our children the exposure and choice to select the activities of their interest and to develop the necessary skills before they enter a competition and compete.


When I was a Primary teacher in one of the renowned schools here in Pune, we used to ask children to write essays. The topics varied according to the grades such as My mother, My Father- for Grade 1, My School, My Teacher- For Grade 2 and so on. For Grade 4 we had given a topic, ‘How I spent my weekend?’ As I started reading I figured out that most of the children wrote about either going for a movie, dinner in a restaurant or in a Mall, which was the greatest attraction of the time. The another common activity they mentioned was playing with toys. As I discussed this with my co-teacher who taught the other class, she too had similar responses. At that time we did not think anything further on that.

But today when I am writing a blog about Parenting and how to address children related issues; this incident came to my mind prominently. As children we were taken to the grocery shop, vegetable market, zoo which was in the heart of the city,( we were the fortunate Punekars), hill tops and parks where we could run and play and enjoy to our heart’s content. We also got to get some treats such as bhel, pani puri and occassionaly a kulfi or ice cream. Things started changing so fast in the last 2 decades that we did not even notice the changes in the children’s world that is impacting not only their lives at this moment but is going to have a huge impact on the society at large.

Parents find it better to take children to Malls over weekends for various reasons-

  1. The latest attraction and buzz 
  2. Safe environment
  3. The whole family gets to do activities of their interests
  4. Comfortable environment
  5. Engaging displays
  6. Play zones for kids
  7. Food courts 
  8. Discount offers
  9. Variety of products to select from

Coming to the point of view from building childhood- do these experiences really add any value to the child’s knowledge, value to the child’s time, his self-development, social and cognitive development? And at what cost?

Instead if children get an opportunity to do activities where they can get real life experiences and hands on activities to do, they will become more productive and smart. They will become more responsible as adults and have the right kind of maturity per age. The practical knowledge that they gain will make them confident individuals. This will all result into a society of responsible and sensible citizens. We will get to see a disciplined and well-behaved society, which will be in harmony.

What are the weekend activities we can currently do with kids-

  1. Take them to historical places and initiate simple conversations about history- historical characters, names of warriors, places, etc
  2. Join activity clubs which cater to theme based activities over weekends
  3. Kids cooking activity such as involving kids for Sunday b’fast/dinner
  4. Reading night play date. Involving your child’s friends to bring a story book to read and have activities build around 
  5. Engage children in some home gardening activities
  6. Take children for field trips to the vegetable market, dentist, art studio

Time to bring awareness amongst the adults and act accordingly to save the coming generation and generations there after.


We all know that formal education begins in school. In order to begin this formal education there are needs those form a base for this formal learning to begin. This base is expected to be built right from the child’s birth until he is admitted to school. There are studies, which have proved that right from conception a child can be groomed in various ways. But that is another subject that can be addressed separately.

The first three years are the crucial years of every child’s life where the child achieves his basic developmental benchmarks. These need to be understood and taken care of with utmost priority by the parents. The child needs to be prepared (pre-requisitions of entering school) to enter this new environment. He needs to be empowered and supported to develop the competency of various skills before he goes to school. The awareness of developmental milestones and child psychology play a very important role in this.

It is very interesting to see how these children and the parents change their focus and attention as well as expectations from the child, the school as well as the teacher, as they start attending school. The child is expected to bid goodbye to the parents with a smiley face on the very first day. Yes, this is possible only if the child is having the awareness of what is coming up for him, in a very positive manner. The re-assurance of the parents that they will be seeing him in a short time is very important emotional cue that the child needs to have couple of days prior to attending school. Reading books related to separation anxiety and a positive talk about school is highly helpful.

Typically parents with children who are self-centered complain that the child does not want to go to school or complains about his teacher if she tries to discipline him. School is the first place where the child is beginning his lessons of healthy socialization. The need to share, taking turns, empathy, love and care for peers and teachers is very important at this age. The teachers are doing this job diligently and parents need to understand this and co-operate. Sharing at school but being possessive with belongings at home is commonly seen in these small children. Consistency about applying the rule of sharing has to be applied each time the child comes across such situations. This will build in the quality of sharing in the child. The school is not wholly responsible for this.

Same is the case of independence. Parents usually feed their children and expect teachers to do so. In a class of 20 to 30 children this is totally impossible. The child sits down helpless, hoping someone to come feed him. The teacher tries to inculcate the habit of feeding himself independently but if this is not supported at home, the child will find it very difficult to develop this habit of independent eating. 

Basically, Early Childhood Education has to focus on areas of development that help the child prepare for his formal education that begins in the Primary school. Academics have to be formally started only at the age of 6 years. This is because the child has to be fully prepared for the Primary education.

Skill sets such as a well-developed attention span, good eye-hand co-ordination, the pincer grip (pencil grip), age specific patience, empathy, sharing and caring, phonemic awareness, etc. Basically the shift from 3 R’s(Reading, Writing and Arithmatic) to 4 C’s to begin with( creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration) is the key to success for these 21st Century kids.

Parents and schools need to take a serious note of this.


‘Confident kids are competent kids’

In my last blog, we saw the chores we can engage young children in. We will now take a look at what are the important things we need to remember in order to engage them meaningfully and consistently.

  1. Awareness- Parents need to develop the awareness to imbibe the habit of independence in children and letting them do small day-to-day chores. This will build self-confidence in them along with dignity of labor. These also have to be gender neutral.
    Eg- Getting their own plate or cup and putting it away after use, helping in setting up the dinner table.
  2. Consistency- Providing children a consistent opportunity to practice self-independence in day-to-day activities is very important.Children need to follow a certain activity every single day as a part of their routine to make it a permanent habit.
    Eg-Cleaning up their room by putting away used toys or material before leaving the room.
  3. Achievable and Age Appropriate goals- The tasks set up for children should be age appropriate and achievable. They should not be overwhelmed or feel the fear of failure while attempting the task given to them.
    Eg- Watering the plants with a can, drying washed utensils, re-filling groceries in a jar.
  4. Positive reinforcement- Children should be motivated by positive reinforcement on attempting and accomplishing the independent tasks given to them.
    Eg- making positive remarks about the work done by children using phrases such as “ I can see you are a very good helper”, “Thank you for helping me out in bringing the plates and glasses to the dining table”
  5. Encouragement- Consistent encouraging words will help children remain focused and accomplished doing the assigned tasks. In case you see that the child is about to give up on a task use encouraging words.
    Eg- using words such as ‘you are almost there’, ‘you can do it’, ‘cannot wait to see you finish’.
  6. Firmness- Parents(adults) have to be firm themselves. Seeing their children struggle or even fail at times make parents give up on their expectations and patience and they rush in for help. Accepting the struggle and giving children the necessary time to succeed is what parents need to understand. This resistance to tasks might also result in unpleasant interactions; fury and throwing fits and emotional mellow down can be seen at times, but parents should not give up.
    Eg- Using words such as “I am proud of the hard work you are putting in”, “Its ok even if you have to do it again”, “You need to give it a try and I am sure you will succeed”.
  7. Clear expectations- Parents have to have a clear idea about what are the expected outcomes of the tasks given to their children. The same need to be communicated to the children before they start the task and intermittent reminders are equally necessary for successful outcome.Eg- “I expect you to keep your shoes and school bag in the assigned place properly every day”.

Developing a routine for the house will help children develop a system and discipline by themselves. This will have an everlasting impact on their lives. Let us take a step towards making our children confident and competent!


 ‘Self help is the best help’.

Early years independence is a crucial part of our adult life. Do we really care to make our children independent? It is often seen that adults conveniently want their children to be independent. They do not have enough time and patience to give their children. So they do things for their children and this often ends up into dependency at the kids end. Children tend to get lazy, lack motivation, inability to do things on their own, lack confidence, develop fear of failure, develop anxiety, throw temper tantrums, become demanding or even socially non adjustable.

Being successful in fulfilling one’s needs makes an individual confident and aspiring. They look forward to adventures positively without fear. They are the best risk-takers.

Dependency these days comes out of the insecurity parents have about losing the child’s love and affection. Secondly, some of the parents also think that since they had to share parents time with other siblings, they did not get as pampering as they should have got if they were their parents only child. Hence they want to do everything for their kids. They forget the most important thing that since they got a chance to do things on there own they are at a benefit at this moment. Whereas if their child gets used to their help, he will always be dependent on them and will not develop his self-confidence or may develop laziness or can even become demanding.

Getting into the habit of helping themselves or doing things independently helps children to move ahead faster in all they do. Earlier the better.

Kids Who Do Chores Grow Up To Be More Successful & Happier Adults

Few examples of what are the tasks that we can assign to children for the development of independence in the early years.

2.5-3 years

  1. Starting to feed themselves independently with a spoon or hands,
  2. Holding their milk cups
  3. Keeping away (handing to adults) their cup, plate
  4. Zip and unzip their coats
  5. Wearing underpants, shirt or frock
  6. Getting their shoes to an adult to put them on and put them back in place once removed.

3-4 years

  1. Feeding themselves with spoon or hand
  2. Helping setting the table for dinner
  3. Helping in cleaning up after dinner
  4. Wearing their own clothes including buttoning, zipping
  5. Packing and unpacking their school bags
  6. Making a small snack eg- assembling a sandwich
  7. Keeping the school bag, shoes and socks in the appropriate places
  8. Watering plants, cleaning weeds
  9. Unpacking grocery
  10. Cleaning veggies eg- peeling peas, cleaning coriander
  11. Brushing teeth and bathing

4-5 years

  1. Feeding themselves independently
  2. Helping in the kitchen with cleaning veggies, making a salad, setting the dinner table, cleaning after dinner etc
  3. Sleep independently
  4. Using toilet independently
  5. Tiding up their room and arranging toys
  6. Manage a sleepover at a friend’s house/grandparents house
  7. Attending overnight camps
  8. Staying alone at home for a period of time
  9. Interacting with strangers
  10. Taking care of pets
  11. Keeping the trash cans for collection
  12. Putting their beds
  13. Washing the car
  14. Scrubbing doors and windows

Regular involvement of children in chores will help develop INDEPENDENCE along with-

  1. Develop sense of self dignity
  2. Develop sense of belongingness
  3. Develop sense of responsibility
  4. Develop confidence
  5. Develop awareness of work ethic
  6. Develop ability to work together

For a bright and healthy future for a healthy Nation

Let us make it a fun way by making a chart where they earn points which fetch them a prize such as a book, a field trip or a special healthy treat, visit to a friend, etc.

Let your imagination roll and enlist a few tasks that you would like to start with to initiate independence in your child. Do share what you are doing already or have started after reading this blog.

To be Continued…………


‘We are dealing with a Spoon fed generation’

Currently, in a TV program the anchor shared a letter that was written by a boy to his mom, who had gone abroad for higher studies. He had expressed his anger, dislike and……… about his upbringing. You guessed it right. The boy was upset because the boy was not able to cook for himself. Buying food there was super expensive and at times unreachable. As we all are aware most of the boys in Indian homes are brought up with the concept of being the bread earner and cooking is not their job. But once these boys set their feet abroad they realize that they have to do all their jobs by themselves. Had these boys had a chance to do their own chores by themselves from childhood they would not have faced this challenge.

In another such incident, I was shocked when one of my colleagues mentioned to me that she was super stressed with the packing she was doing for her son. He was going to Australia to do his Masters. She herself was doing all the packing including his clothes packing and both of them were ok with this. The boy, who had crossed his 20’s, was still comfortable with his mom packing his bag.

Children going in kindergarten and grade 1 are often seen walking beside their parents empty handed while the parents carry the backpacks. At dispersal time the moment kids see parents either they hand over their backpacks to parents or parents take them immediately from the child and happily carry them. This certainly is the beginning where kids should be made aware of their responsibility to carry their own stuff.

Same is the case when the kids get back home. They tend to throw their stuff here and there and get to play or watch TV lying down on the couch. They pay no heed to the caretaker’s requests of putting stuff away in place. At times I have seen a group of moms proudly discussing how their children have developed these kinds of habits. These habits are not only harmful for the child’s future but also becomes a headache for the parents. Habits of independence in doing small chores have to be developed intentionally and at times by remaining firm and stern until the child does what is been told. Positive reinforcement plays a key role in this.  Positive disciplining is an absolutely essential thing for the future of our children and society at large.

This independence is quite often a normal routine training/ in the Western countries where the small babies are made to sleep in separate room than of the parents. The child starts feeding himself by holding his own bottle/cup. In India however a common scene is that even a Grade 1 student is being fed by his mother moving around the entire house. And stories of this are happily shared with friends and family.

The same story is found in schools. In pursuit of showing children’s neat work, most of the cutting, pasting, assembling is done by the teachers. The children do not have opportunity to handle material and explore them. As a result we see all the display on classroom boards very well manicured. The children lack the necessary coordination and skills that have to be developed at that age.

The concerning fact about all the above mentioned examples is, children who do not get an opportunity to do things independently tend to be dependent as adults as well. They lack self-confidence. They lag behind in various skills key to life. They might even develop fear and anxiety when it comes to do something independently.Children who get to work by themselves get a chance to improve and excel in what they do. Develop confidence which gives them chance to boost their self-esteem. They may even become good leaders.

To be Continued…………


Trying to understand the exact reason why we fall sick is important rather than just blaming the weather. You all must have heard the word ‘immunity’ and it is the keyword that really defines the vulnerability of getting your child sick often or rarely. Climate change is not directly responsible for illness. It does provide conducive environment for the growth and spread of disease causing germs.

Let us understand what is immunity and what really makes your child sick.

Let us look at the dictionary meaning of Immunity. It is the condition that permits either natural or acquired resistance to disease. We have an inbuilt immunity system in our body which helps fight the germs (bacteria and viruses) that get our children sick every now and then these days. This immunity is directly related with the food that we eat, exercise that we do, healthy habits that we inculcate in our children and not to forget the emotional balance of the children. Heredity does play a key role but understanding this we can take precautionary action and build up the child’s immunity.

Due to the busy schedules parents have, kids are often pushed into their (adult) kind of routine, food and exercise. The emotional and social needs are not very well taken care of. Enough time for the children to understand and act is not given to them.

We are over focused about our child’s safety and hence we try to over protect the child. This eventually catches up with the child and turns it into his habits. Making the child wear scarves and sweaters, not allowing natural play in water, rain, mud does not really help the child to keep healthy.

With the increasing pollution in air, water, food there are increasing diseases spread everywhere. Once you get the bacteria or virus, then begins the fight with the disease. If the immunity is good the antibodies in your body will fight and kill the germs and keep you safe. We all breathe in the same air, drink the same water but why only some of us get sick. This is the reason behind it. At this point of time the immune system in the body has weakened and hence cannot fight the germs. The germs then grow into the body and we develop symptoms such as fever, cough and cold. We then say we have caught infection.The weather condition prevailing at that time help growth of these germs and thus we get sick. By wearing scarves and sweaters, not getting exposed to cold air, keeping the kids warm we thus take precaution that the germs do not get a conducive environment to thrive and multiply.

We resort to the quick healing remedies such as antibiotics and similar medication for our children. But mind it that they are a temporary cure. The antibiotics also have a long-term effect on the child’s health. Also keep in mind that usage of anitibiotics often, reduces the child’s power to fight against the disease naturally. This might result into the child getting sick frequently.

Instead of going for medicines resorting to home remedies such as eating tulsi leavesdaily( we relish them in our Thai curry and Pizza toppings in the name of basil), making special herbal soups, including veggies in a delectable form for kids will help them build their immunity.

What are some home remedies you should practice on daily basis-

  1. Use of turmeric milk
  2. Use of licorice
  3. Use of lemon and Vit C rich foods in your child’s diet
  4. Use of panchamrut( mixture of curds, ghee, milk, sugar, honey)
  5. Eating almonds
  6. Avoid sweet foods with sugar
  7. Early to bed early to rise
  8. Washing hands with antiseptic soap after the use of play material as well as before and after eating.


Healthy eating + Exercising = Building a Healthy body