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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!

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.

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!

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