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Farida Dahee

Certified Image Consultant & Etiquette Expert

Are we too eager to send our kids to school?

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We Indians will teach kids even before they are born!!! Parents have such big aspirations from their kids, some have their own unfulfilled dreams & some are way too eager to produce the next Einstein!!!

With so much competition, some of them getting a perfect 100% it’s not surprising for parents to be eager to start sending their kids to school before they have learnt to walk or talk.

My own experience of sending my daughter to a big school which was up to the 10th grade, when she was in the nursery turned out to be a huge mistake. I’m not trying to degrade any school or parents perspective, all I’m doing is sharing my opinion through what I experienced.

It’s time we end the rat race & understand that each child is different & cater to them accordingly. It’s important to understand a child’s readiness through their cognitive, social, and emotional ability. Not every 2 year old will start talking and not every 3 year old will be able to hold the pencil, so watch your child’s development independently & not by comparing with other kids. Overall health and well-being may be compared to a general comparison chart that the pediatrician gives but if they don’t ‘fit in’ doesn’t mean they will not grow or put on weight. Sometimes genetics do play a role in overall development, so give them time & be patient.

Now the question remains when is the “right age” to start school?

There are a lot of things to consider before selecting a school for your child, and this may vary from parent to parent on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration social, emotional readiness, as well as cognitive ability. For many parents, evaluating a child’s kindergarten readiness isn’t easy. Most parents decide on kindergarten readiness based on the child’s age, which has been the base for many years but is it right??

Getting admission to a well known school is definitely not easy. Most parents prefer to push their kids to bigger schools, even if they are not ready, in all other aspects but are ‘age ready’, as admissions to most reputed schools start age wise. No sooner the notice board for new admission is put up there will be a beeline of parents waiting to get their hands on the enrollment forms to ensure their child secures a seat.

In my opinion it’s not good to rush to a big school especially for Nursery to Jr. and Sr. KG.

Here are some of the reasons to ponder on before taking that big step.

  1. A school is a new environment for the child, unknown people, separation from the parent, even though it may be for a few hours, it’s a very important step in a child’s life so make sure the school is nearby
  2. Teacher child ratio should not be more than 1:10 as each child is seeking  attention. Do you think it’s justifiable for the teacher to pay attention to so many kids, when we find it difficult to handle one child!
  3. In high schools it’s possible for the little ones to feel lost especially during breaks, seeing so many bigger kids can sometimes be scary for the smaller ones.
  4. Playschools that cater only from Nursery to Sr. KG pay a lot of attention to the décor, ambience, child security, child friendly surroundings, ample of toys, some even have a special kitchen to serve home cooked food to kids, a resting area etc. All these things may not be available with bigger schools. (It was definitely missing where my daughter was enrolled, had boring classrooms)
  5. Teaching method also plays an important role, does the school emphasise on a play-based program, or is it academic focus, to ensure the child gets admission into a higher school
  6. Does it have tie up’s with bigger schools to help in easy transition/admission to Higher Secondary Schools
  7. School timings play a crucial role as small children cannot wake up early, my daughters school started at 8.30 am & we had to leave the house latest by 8.00 am. This was very taxing for her and many a times she would go to sleep in the class which again was a problem.
  8. Last but not the least ensure that the teachers are certified in early childhood education and care. Teaching at a playschool should not be a part time job!!! A preschool teacher must love kids & have utmost patience to deal with them, so its essential to have good knowledge of early childhood care.

Ensure you make your child’s first school experience a memorable one where the child looks forward to attend school. Happy Schooling to all the little ones!

The END can sometimes be the Beginning

Career Dead End
Have you reached the dead end of your career?

Yes, it is possible, in the world we live in, to reach the dead end of one’s career!

Many things can attribute to the end of a job or career. From taking a career break to losing the job to AI, to what you once did has become obsolete! This can happen to anyone men or women, and it does happen. The job you once loved may now no longer be exciting, the people you work with many not contribute towards a healthy relationship, having a bad boss, company shutting down…… the list can go on but is it really the end????? If one looks at it as the “end” then it can be fatal.

There are many people who have hit the dead end and have bounced back with something even better or more exciting. How one copes with such a situation will vary from person to person. The interesting thing about us humans is that we have ‘brains’ and the ‘will’. These two are not enough but definitely important.

When one has given many years to the same job they automatically move into a comfort zone. The thought of losing the job can be scary, yet many brush it off as something that can never happen to them. Life is uncertain, what we once thought is secured, stable, lifelong, may not be.

Is there a foolproof way to secure ones career? Yes & No.

How much ever one upgrades their skills, keeps up to date with the latest technologies etc. there will come a time when we hit the ‘dead end’ & at that time what one needs is the ‘will’. Like Muhammad Ali rightly quoted –“the will must be stronger than the skill.”

If we look at the end as the beginning of something new, it’s strong will, but if we look at it as ‘the end’ everything we have will be of no use.

When faced with such a grim situation, first and foremost accept the truth. Let go of the ego and accept that it has happened and there is not much one can do to undo it but have the courage to face it. Let your loved ones know & make them understand that there will be a way out. Support is one big gift a person needs at such times. Support from friends, family, ex-colleagues, which one gets only if they are willing to ask for it. Do not shy away from talking about it. The more we speak about it the better it is as it helps to        de-stress and figure out a way to move on. We humans are after all social animals, if we don’t talk how is anyone going to help?

The next thing to do is list down strengths, skills and qualifications. Each one has something to bring to the table. Even if it was not used before, we still have it. One doesn’t have to be a master at it. The very fact it’s there make the most of it. It could be anything from good communication skills to good management skills. I’m sure we all gather something good once we start working.

If money is not a constraint then one can upgrade their qualification or skills to meet the new market demand. However, if finances are a big concern then take up something that will meet the monetary needs. Don’t have to get stuck with that job or profession, it’s an ‘interim relief’ till one manages to come out of the situation.

Get some professional guidance, agreed people are ready to give their free advise but that may not be enough, a professional will be able to help in ways a layman cannot. This includes getting a professional profile/C.V.

Last but not the least don’t give up! It’s really not the end……………………………….

Only child is ‘not’ a lonely Child

There is an old saying that ‘only child is a lonely child’  which is not true.    When I had my 1st child we had decided to have only one child boy or girl did not matter. When my daughter was a toddler many people advised us to plan for a 2nd one to give her company, even strangers would give us free advise  “it’s good to have 2 kids”….”they will give one another company”…. “they will be there for one another in times of need” ….blah…blah…blah

Well, we stood our ground & my daughter is the ‘only child’, but by no means, is she lonely.

I’m also the only child but I grew up in a boarding school so I never felt the need for a sibling. I had too many friends who replaced the sibling love & I’m happy that most of them are still my friends. Surprisingly my daughter never asked for a sibling too!!

Most parents feel that two is family, siblings grow up together & later can be of great help, I don’t disagree but in current times having one child is more than enough.

If you are a parent to only one child & you are happy with your decision then give yourself a pat. There will be a few instances when your child will ask “why I don’t have a sibling?” & you may have your own explanation in place, but by and large make sure you make your kid understand the advantages of having just one kid!

Here are a few tips on bringing up your ‘only’ but not a lonely child :-

  • Don’t over pamper your child. Just because they don’t have a sibling does not mean you spoil them. This is the first thing that most  parents succumb to.
  • Allow your child to make as many friends as possible, in school, in the neighbourhood wherever they go encourage them to make friends.
  • Most of us have large families with children of the same age group, cousins are the best replacement of siblings.
  • Don’t give into every demand of your child just because you don’t have to spend for two or more
  • Make your only child emotionally & mentally strong so that they can fight their own battles in life
  • Many times we have to replace their need for a sibling by playing with them, talking to them in their language, competing with them & it’s a     no-brainer, just have to become a child for sometime & believe me it’s fun.
  • Teach them to ‘share’ as this may not come naturally since they don’t have a sibling to share with, so make sure if they are having a chocolate or their favourite food they share it with their parents or any family member.
  • Allow them to go for school trips so that they can become independent and make more friends.
  • Finally if they still wish to have a sibling you can always adopt one or get them a pet.

There are a lot of wonderful things one can do with their only child, make sure as a parent you spend not just quality but quantity time with your kids, be it single or many! Happy Parenting.

Love for Strays

‘A dog is a man’s best friend’. We all know that dog’s are the most common pets that give humans company and unconditional love. Many bring in pets when they are barely a few months especially on the demands of their kids. My daughter loves dog’s & she has been asking for a pet ever since she was 5 years, however we haven’t given into her wish, reasons best known to us. Our denial to get her a pet hasn’t deterred her love for dogs; in fact she has found her way to loving them even more by making the stray dogs her pet. She just has her way with them. Its not just the society dogs even the dogs where she goes for tuition are her friends. Everyday after coming from school she spends 30-40 mins playing with them.

I used to be extremely scared that they will bite her or harm her but she is fearless. I’m not particularly fond of strays, used to be scared too but she made me overcome my fear of strays.

Its so easy to love a pet especially the cute ones we get from the market or as an adoption but very few people truly care for the strays. Some will throw stones or hurl abuses at them to shoo them away . If we are kind to them & don’t hurt them I don’t see why a stray will bite us. After all it’s an animal they have the flight or fight instinct much stronger than humans. If someone tries to harm them they will either run away or defend themselves by biting.  It’s the way we treat them. If one doesn’t love dog’s best is to leave them alone or try to stay away from them.

Loving a stray or a domesticated pet can help one fight depression. It’s simple when we love someone we start taking care of it and when we take care of something our mind is diverted to the good & positive things around us. The companionship of a dog can offers us comfort. It’s a proven fact that dogs have healing powers. They can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve our health. Caring for a dog can help children grow up more secure and active. It even provides valuable companionship for older adults.

A dog can add real joy and unconditional love to our life. So next time you see a stray please don’t hurl abuses or stone them, but try to make friends & you will have a companion for life.

Etiquette in the Indian scenario.

Namaste

Wishing everyone a very Happy & Prosperous New Year!

Writing this blog has been on my mind for a very long time but it took me some courage to publish it, especially when it comes to writing about your own country folks!

Do most of the Indian’s lack basic Etiquette?

If you answered ‘Yes’ then we are on the same page!

If you answered “what do you mean by that?” then you must continue reading this blog!

While most of us learn good manners at home & some at school, very few schools & homes will teach their children Etiquette. The purpose of this blog is not to belittle anyone, it’s my own observation & opinion. I believe that it’s imperative to bring about a change to see a better tomorrow & it has to start with our children.

Here are a few instances where we might wonder if there is anything like ‘Etiquette’

  • Entering a lift/bus/train

If you ever thought education has anything to do with etiquette & manners then you will be in for a rude shock, when you see the way men & women enter a bus or train in Mumbai or for that matter anywhere in India. In the Mumbai locals you have to forget about etiquette!!!

  • Driving Etiquette

Try driving anywhere in India, the traffic, the taxi drivers, the rikshawala’s & some rash drivers will either make you forget your driving etiquette or you will start swearing like you  have had the worst fight in years! Jumping the signal, cutting a lady driver & honking like you switch FM channels is considered a part of everyday driving.

  • Bathroom Etiquette

Using a public toilet is the biggest nightmare!! So if you are doing a long distance travel please avoid having too much of water. Some men were never taught to lift the toilet seat while using an ‘English toilet’ & some women don’t even know how to sit on an ‘English toilet’. “Please flush” has to be written so that people clean up after using!

  • Cell phone Etiquette

Cell phones have just added to the misery, we can hear what will be cooked for dinner to what clothes someone will wear for the party to who has had a break-up & the reason for a fight with dear mom in law….everything which normally is spoken behind closed doors, is all out in the public.  Talking loudly in public places is a thing of pride as people around you need to know how busy you are. If you have a cell phone you might as well use it!

  • Audience Etiquette

Winners have to be applauded, this goes without saying, unfortunately if you watch any award functions our glamorous hosts have to repeatedly ask the audience to “please give a big hand” & I thought it was understood that anyone receiving an award deserves the appreciation & applaud even if he/she is your competitor (this is not just constraint to award functions). Talking loudly or speaking on the cell phone is a right, who cares if others are getting disturbed. As long as someone has paid for the ticket they think they can do whatever they like!

  • Public Etiquette

People have so much money that you will find the best luxury cars on the road from BMW to the Merc  but the driver/owner will still open the door & spit, yes it is ’Ycuk!!’ Please don’t get me wrong it’s not about uneducation it’s about the mindset & ‘Who cares’ attitude.

  • Walking your pet Etiquette.

Walking your pet can be a way to relax or a chore, but in India its full of etiquette faux pas. Walk time means ensuring that your pet empties everything on the road, who cares about training the pet, the roadside is the best place to have your pets pooh. Picking up your own pets pooh is considered dirty & ‘not my job’ so what if people walk over it & get their shoes dirty

  • Punctuality

Making people wait is not just a fashion but a matter of pride. How can the chief guest arrive on time? They have such a busy schedule! The worst are our dear politicians, less said the better. An entire flight can also be held up by them, that is the extent of honour we give them, at the cost of everyone’s  money & time.

  • Dinning Etiquette

Eating with hands (without fork & spoon) is an Indian tradition & it’s also believed to satisfy your hunger. Fair enough but, at least when you are at a restaurant don’t sit on the chair with your legs up & close your mouth when you chew! These are a few things that will make you want to stop eating even if it’s your best dish or you are at one of the best restaurants

  • Parliament Etiquette

The icing on the cake is when you see the members of the parliament. The least said the better. It only shows that the more money you have the more power you have you can just do what you please & get away. Who cares about etiquette & manners (not sure if they were ever taught).

Today India has progressed leaps & bounds, but not in the real sense. According to me we are far behind when it comes to discipline, etiquette & basic manners. It’s easy to become a software engineer in India get a job with a top IT firm & go abroad for a lucrative career opportunity, feel awesome about the foreign countries, their cleanliness, their way of living etc. But these same folks will come back & mess up the country by spitting, smoking & swearing.

Majority  of us are well educated from reputed  schools but unfortunately manners & etiquette has to be taught at home. Indian education is all about rote learning and scoring good in exams. Doesn’t matter if the concepts are not understood!

What needs to change is the mindset & attitude of the people, discipline & good manners have to be ingrained by proper upbringing for which the parents & to some extent even the teachers are responsible

Helping people make an impression from outside will only work when you can compliment it with good manners & etiquette!

Manners will make your child!

Parents are often faced with this question, “when is the right time to start inculcating good manners in my child?” Well, the sooner you start its better for you.

We as parents are more worried about which school should we select for our children than enjoying our little bundle of joy & giving them their own space & time to do things. Home should be the first & best school for every child. Schooling is extremely important but teaching your child the basics, especially manners has to start at home. Don’t expect teachers to do that, it’s every parent’s responsibility. However going overboard may make you sound like a nagging parent, so do it in a very subtle way.

Let’s take an e.g. you have guests at home & they have got a gift for your child, even if your child is yet to start speaking we need to make them accept the gift and say “thank you”  Yes they can read your lips!

Most of the time we fuss over & get stressed about our kids food & eating habits. Hand feeding kids & running around them to feed them is a common scene in most of our houses! Put on their best cartoon TV & feed them that is another wonderful alternative, isn’t it. Well if we have inculcated such bad habits in our kids it becomes extremely difficult to get out of it. Here the best suggestion I would give is get a high chair as soon as your toddler has started to sit. Let them mess up as much as they want to, they will eventually learn.

Similarly there are many good things that need to be taught at home in a way that the child realizes its importance & would want to do it over & over again.

Good luck with your manners & start them now!

Personality Enhancement

Kidiquette workshops are designed to empower children, to develop strong social skills that will help them gain respect for themselves and take control of their destiny by making good choices.

Enroll your child in one of our upcoming classes.

Dinning Etiquette

In today’s fast paced world parents have taught their kids how to speak correct English but somehow have left a gap when it comes to manners & etiquette. How many times have you judged someone’s child while eating at a restaurant & commented ‘Oh my God why don’t parents teach these kids how to eat? Or how many times have your own kids been judged by others in the same way?

At Kidiquette your child will not only learn the right dining etiquette but will also be more respectful towards others, build self confidence through role plays as they learn the importance of manners.

Let Kidiquette help all those parents overcome embarrassment & anxiety while they dine out with their kids, be it at a restaurant, a party, a family function or even while having guests over.

A solution for all you kids dinning problems- Kidiquette!

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