Small Things#26 – Distance learning on the go!

The third trimester in the U.S. schools is from April to June, when education is in full swing but this year, Covid 19 has changed everything.

Educators are scampering for smooth running of distance learning programs to complete the courses. Their efforts are laudable in reaching out to every student through apps like Seesaw, Starfall and Epic.

But really, onus is now on parents to coordinate and make sure that kids are doing their tasks rather than exploring stuff on the tablets and iPads – the devices that were once banned at homes.

At my place, the distance learning was a little haphazard with mixed up activities and responses in the first week but this week it is better. I believe, homeschooling kids would be tough for working parents (working from home due to coronavirus) who might have to to balance work while making sure the kids are doing their job in between meal times and other duties.

Parenting and distance learning are now going side by side. Task it is, but it’s for the sake of our kids, right? So, I am thankful and have started getting a hang of how homeschooling works.

Teachers post activities on the Seesaw app and communicate through emails while students are expected to respond and answer. There is also a timetable that divides the time to what they are expected to do every 30 minutes. It is hard to enforce the time table at home, so it is made flexible and that is a relief.

Also, the principal and teachers are posting some videos to make it all look normal to the kids. And they are asking for feedback and help to make it work. Great effort!

There are a few glitches which we need to handle because I believe this distance learning will last till the end of the term or may be more than that.

As for me, I am learning to handle my third graders math problems in the way he has been taught (which is so different from what I learned decades ago).

It should be remembered that there are no prescribed text books or answer copies in the U.S. Students do not carry books and notebooks to school. It is all hands on learning, which is different from how I studied.

I am also learning to manage the learning apps with my kindergartner. I am trying to make it all work. I guess, the distance learning is also educating me, in a different way.

Education is a shared commitment among students, educators and parents. In the current scenario, I feel, enthusiastic involvement of parents is required more than ever. “Children are the priority, change is the reality, collaboration is the strategy.”

The great thing is – We are in this together!

Images courtesy Google

 

 

 

 

 

Validation vs Coddling – Did you know the difference?

 

coddling

Your child is crying due to a conflict with kids in his school. What would you say?

Option 1 – Get over it! It happens to everyone; you don’t need to cry about it. (Denial)

Option 2 – Poor thing, you’ve had such a hard day at school. I will talk to your teacher about it. (Coddling)

Option 3 – It was a hard day for you. It is normal to feel this way. Tell me more about it. (Validation)

Which option seems best to you? Using option 1 was the most-used method by adults in the past. A child was expected to be small, insignificant and behave in a certain way. But joint families and strong social structure helped in well-rounded growth of kids despite lack of empathetic attitudes of some of our parents.

But times have changed since. Only mom and dad (or sometimes single parent) have stayed as solid family structures have collapsed around us. And option 2 popularly name as Coddling and option 3 or Validation have mostly stayed. In both cases, a child’s feelings are acknowledged. But option 2 indulges a child while option 3 makes him strong and confident.

Now Coddling and Validation seem very similar. There is just a thin line in between! Validation is a balanced approach while you go overboard with coddling. The trick is to identify the boundary.

spoilt boy

Parents who coddle offer to intervene on behalf of the kids, signalling thereby the child is incapable of handling his problems.

Coddling makes a child feel manipulative, helpless, victimized and entitled. The child feels controlled and babied.

Coddling parents indulge in helicopter parenting – a phrase coined for those who hover over their child’s every move in an effort to protect them from pain, disappointment, and failure. When kids are over-praised, they start feeling entitled and reduce their efforts to do something and be challenged.

And if kids are overprotected, they feel restricted, socially inferior and inadequate.

We all are guilty of doing this, aren’t we? The thing is keeping a child’s self-esteem intact while challenging them to rise and shine, is a hard task and it comes with practice.

validating

On the other hand, parents who validate empower the kid to make his own decision and find a way out of challenging situations in his life. Parents kind of mirror back his emotions and show their trust in his ability to deal with it.

Parents who validate do not overindulge or offer to make things right for their kid (unless it is some serious problem that requires intervention of adults). Also, they do not deny their kid’s feelings but show warmth and understanding. It is a kind of midway between denial and coddling.

Validation creates independence, emotional intelligence, better social skills and strengthens parent-kid bonding.

The book the ‘Power of Validation’ talks about it at great length.

The authors define validation as “the recognition and acceptance that your child has feelings and thoughts that are true and real to him regardless of logic or whether it makes sense to anyone else.”

Validating means acknowledging thoughts and feelings of your child without judging, ridiculing or abandoning them. It means listening and making him or her feel ‘heard’ – this conveys that you love and accept your kid unconditionally.

Hall and Cook, explain that validation is not the same as comforting, praising or encouraging your child. For instance, telling your child that they played great in their soccer game isn’t validating. What is validating is saying the truth, such as “It’s hard when you don’t play as well as you would like.”

“Validation is acknowledging the truth of your child’s internal experience, that it’s normal and okay to not always play your best, be the best player, or do all things perfectly or even well,” they write. So, just validating,  just listening, just understanding …works wonder.

Parenting is hard and identifying those fine psychological lines that can straighten or bend our kids is even harder. It is difficult to be understanding when we have so much going on in our lives. But then it is not impossible! And this balanced approach comes with commitment and practice. We owe that to our kids, don’t we? Happy parenting!

(Images courtesy Google)

 

 

Bedtime Book – The Boy Named Joy on Amazon!

Children’s bedtime book, The Boy Named Joy is now available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084DMGH8J). Download your eBook copies on Amazon.com or Amazon.in (if you are in India).
Here is the preview:
About the Book: Why is King Boo-Hoo always sad although he has everything? And why is the boy named Joy always happy although he has nothing. What is the secret? The magic painting or something else… Read this endearing tale to know all about JOY!
 
The Making: The story was written quickly but the illustrations were a problem. Then, my eight-year-old, Adiraj stepped in and created the characters. He was enthusiastically encouraged by my little kindergartner, Aviraj. And after the characters were drawn on paper, I digitized the pictures and put it all together. This is how we created the book.

Message: The Boy Named Joy has a message for school children and adults as well! This Children’s eBook tells us that happiness does not really depend on cool gadgets, apps, video games or fancy clothes. That kind of happiness is momentary. True happiness comes by choosing to be happy irrespective of what we have and what we don’t have.

The eBook will help raise, good, happy kids who would learn to make wise choices in life. It is my sincere hope that this special tale will entertain as well as teach the kids to stay positive despite challenges in life just like the main character Joy.

Our kids face many challenges in life and this simple book might help.

Your feedback is extremely important and very welcome. Don’t forget to write a review on Amazon if you like it. Thanks again for being a great support!
– Shivangi
 

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation for Kids

Today I came to know that there are two kinds of motivation for kids – Intrinsic and Extrinsic. As I read more I learnt why intrinsic motivation is far more superior to inspire kids and have a life long impact. Although extrinsic motivation is occasionally important too. The subsequent quotes will help you understand the difference.

And I loved this last one below that tells us how to encourage our children to be intrinsically motivated. Hope you will find these quotes as important as I find them. Good luck to you, dear parent!

Images courtesy Google

Small Things#16 – Little Known Dog Facts

Me – What’s the best thing about a dog?

Little One – He can eat by himself. The mom doesn’t feed him.

Me – Well, okay and not-so-good-thing?

Little One – He just stands on a treadmill, doesn’t run…and gets pushed out.

Me – That’s funny…tell me more…

Little One – They come in black, white and brown colors but if you are making art, you can paint them green, blue or red.

Me – How are you going to take care of dogs?

Little One – They only have legs. I’ll make robotic hands for them to grab things and do stuff…

Me – Okay, anything else…

Little One – (Thinks) Wait…it’s weird, sometimes they run after their own tails.

Me – Well, too much information to digest…thank you😀

(Image courtesy Google)

Small Things#14 – Ideal routine by a kid

While my seven year old is looking for physical changes that the New Year might have brought in him and others, with comments like – ‘Mamma, my nose looks bigger in 2019’, his kid brother has been talking about ideal routine for little kids.

Have a look at the IDEAL routine, based on his inputs –

1) Wake up, have chocolate milk

2) Play until breakfast

3) Bathing time then TV time or Ipad time

4) Lunch

5) Playing with brother time

6) Milk Time

7) Movie Time

8) Dinner Time

9) Sleep Time

“When is the study time?,” I asked him. “Playtime is study time for kids, Mamma,” he explained. Well, ahem, okay, ahaa!

(Image – Google)

Small Things#13 – Flying Kisses

Few days back, I had a delightful talk with the little one. I asked him, “When you, Vava (big brother) and Papa go to school and office, who will take care of mamma?” Pat came the reply, “Mamma, my kisses will take care of you! I’ll leave enough kisses flying around at home and send some from school too. The kisses will sit near the kitchen window and make you feel happy.” I laughed at the heart warming thought.

As the season of merriment and the New Year arrives, I wish we all receive such pure, luminous baby kisses in abundance to protect us from all evil and darkness. Wishing you many, many of such flying kisses always!

(Image courtesy Google)