Posted in gaming, mom's life, Parenting

Why ‘screen time’ is good for my child 

As parents, we are always concerned about how much time our kids spend on the phones and tablets or watching the television. A few days back, I came across this TED talk addressing the fears of parents regarding screen time for their kids. I was amazed as the speaker pointed out so many useful things that can be done using digital media. I tried them out on my 4 year old son, who is extremely fond of my phone.

When our kids are engrossed watching their favourite stuff or playing some game on the phone, we often wonder that when will they go out and play and what about their physical exercise? My son is very fond of ‘fireman Sam and his adventures.’ So, one day I decided to ask him to role play his favourite character. And that’s exactly what he did! He went around the whole house, running and jumping, pretending to extinguish the imaginary fire in his imaginary fire brigade! And he still loves doing it. Some days, he also mimics ‘peppa pig’ and goes from one room to another playing different games.

Another very nice thing that he’s learnt from his screen time is the use of new words and his vocabulary has improved a lot. Just a few days back he told me, “Excuse me, I want to ride my bicycle. Can you sit somewhere else?” I was fascinated by his use of the word ‘excuse me’. So I asked him, “Where did you learn that?” He replied, “Mom, Grandpa pig was telling Peppa pig in the garden.” I made sure to reinforce what he’s learnt from time to time.

On another day, when I had taken him to the park, instead of running to the slides and swings, he went to see what the crows were eating. Of course he wasn’t very discreet and the bird flew away before he could actually see anything, but I asked him what he wanted to see. He told me that he had seen on my phone about crows and that they eat dirty food. So he wanted to check the same. I was surprised and actually quite proud of him that day, because the least likely thing to happen when you take your kid to the park is that they run to see what the birds are doing!

And I had learnt one very important thing as well. Talk to your kid about what he is watching and what he is playing. Interaction is very important. Otherwise the whole point of allowing screen time would be meaningless.

So yesterday, when I asked him what he was doing on my phone, he got very excited and told me that he was playing his ‘car wash’ game and then he went on to describe in details what he did and how he did it. This exercise made him more confident in recollecting his thoughts and speaking.

The key lies in talking. We need to talk to them and show interest in what they do in their screen time and not just merely hand them the phone and then forget about it. We live in a digital world. And when we use our phones for every single thing, we cannot deprive our kids from the same.

It is high time that we focus on the positive impacts that the digital media can bring instead of focusing on how to hide our phones from our kids. We should definitely harness the potential of digital media for the growth and progress of our kids. It is upto us to teach them how and why to use the phone.

P.S: I give 60 to 90 minutes of screen time to my son. Though everyone may not agree to it, but I have tried my best to do something good with the screen time for my kid and it’s definitely working for him!

Author’s note : This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform. 

Pic courtesy : Google images 

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Posted in mom's life, Parenting, siblings

It’s time for some ‘live’ Tom and Jerry

The last four months of my life have been quite interesting. Or rather adventurous. The day my younger son started walking, things have not been the same. And add to it the enthusiasm of my three and half year old in encouraging his brother to walk faster, my once peaceful house has transformed into a cacophony of yells and laughter.

Every single day as I get up in the morning wondering what my now four year old preschooler and sixteen months old toddler have in store for me, there’s always a surprise waiting. Some day all the diapers are out of the diaper bag scattered all over the house, some day all utensils are out of the kitchen and on another day, all their clothes are out of the cupboards! 

One evening, as I sat on the swing in my house (I consider myself very lucky to have a swing indoors) watching them play or rather fight with each other, I remembered the cartoon ‘Tom and Jerry’. I imagined the older one to be Tom and the younger one to be Jerry. And then, it was time for some ‘live’ Tom and Jerry. As I sat there watching them, various scenes unfolded before me.

Scene 1: 

Tom was playing with his favourite car and Jerry was trying to stack the rings. But he was not able to do it properly. He looked around for help. He saw Tom and started pulling his T-shirt to get his attention. But Tom was very busy. So Jerry decided to snatch his car away to get his attention. What followed after that was a maniacal chase throughout the house and Tom finally got his car back. Then I had to intervene to calm down Jerry and help him with his stacking rings. The chase wouldn’t have happened at all if Jerry would have come to me for help in the beginning only. I was sitting right there on the swing. But where’s the fun in resolving things quietly? In fact, I too, enjoyed the chase! I was actually laughing and telling them to stop. But they stopped only when they wanted to.

Scene 2:

Now, it was payback time for Tom. After Jerry was done exploring or rather scattering his stacking rings, he sneaked behind Tom and took a couple of his cars. Tom din’t realise that. Jerry came to me with his prized possession and started playing with them. He must have played for a few minutes, then he got bored and started throwing the cars in Tom’s direction. After that, all hell broke loose! Jerry was laughing hysterically and Tom was yelling at him and I was enjoying being a mute spectator. Before the violence started, I calmed them down and distracted them with other things.

Many new scenes unfold every single day. Sometimes, I enjoy watching the ‘live’ show, sometimes it gets on my nerves! Sometimes, I also participate in their antics. No matter how much they fight, they love each other equally well. When any third person threatens (albeit jokingly) to take either of them away for a few days, the other one gets all possessive and caring.

It’s heartwarming to see their love for each other blooming with each passing day!

Siblings won’t be siblings if they don’t fight with each other and then make up only to fight again!!

Although in the cartoon, Tom and jerry weren’t siblings, but they did show concern in each other’s well being. And they did put their rivalry aside, when they had a common goal to pursue.

Do your little ones keep you entertained? And do you also get to witness ‘live’ Tom and jerry in your house? Do let me know in the comments section below. 

Àuthors note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform. 

Pic courtesy : Google images 

Posted in mom's life, Parenting

My son’s best friends

My four year old and me were having a casual conversation about his school one evening. He becomes very excited and animated whenever he talks about his school and his friends. He kept on talking about what he did, what toys he played, what he painted and other things that he did with his friends. Then he said, “Mamma, D is not my best friend now.”

“Oh. Is it? So, A must be your best friend then”, I told him. 

“No, nobody in school is my best friend.” He told me looking very sad.

“So, who is your best friend then?” I enquired.

He pouted at me, thought a lot and suddenly his face was lit with joy when he said, “It’s Peppa and Sam! They are my best friends.”

Of course I knew who Peppa and Sam were, but to know about his fondness for them to the extent that he considered them as his best friends was shocking for me. But in a good way.

He is not fond of watching TV per se, but I allow him 30 to 45 minutes of screen time on my phone where he watches whatever he wants on you tube. Earlier, he used to watch all sorts of nursery rhymes and ‘Ryan’s toy reviews’. He would sometimes imitate what Ryan would do with his toys in the video. But lately, he is become very fond of Peppa pig and Sam, the fireman.

He watches Peppa’s adventures with so much interest, it is quite fascinating to see him like that. In fact, he introduced me to peppa pig and her family. I wasn’t aware about such a character myself. Similarly with Sam, the fireman. He watches Sam as he goes off in his fire brigade with his colleagues helping all those people in trouble in the town of Pontypandy.

Some days, when he is very engrossed in playing with his toys, I just observe him. He role plays the characters he loves. He calls himself Peppa and his little brother George. And then he imitates them. Drives his toy fire brigade and pretends he is Sam, and goes to save Norman Price with Penny and Elvis! Sometimes, he makes a garden with his lego blocks and plays with George and Rebecca rabbit! It is truly fascinating to watch him like that. The way he talks to himself, pretending to be the characters himself; it’s truly amazing. But the moment he catches me watching him, he abandons everything, starts laughing and runs out of the room! 

I really enjoy watching him play with his ‘best friends’ or rather imitate them and I have learnt to be discreet while he is at ‘work’.

Yesterday, as he was going to school, he told me, “Bye bye Mommy pig.. see you later..”

“Bye Peppa, take care,” I replied.

Then I told him, “No, wait. You are not Peppa. Peppa is a girl, but you are a boy. So now what shall we do?”

After thinking for a while, we came up with a solution. “Dear, let’s name you ‘Peppo’. So now, you are peppo pig and we are all your family members!” I told him.

He was so happy with his ‘new name’ that he literally went skipping to school!

He really has a wonderful time playing and imitating his best friends. Do your kids enjoy their play time with their best friends? Who are their favourite cartoon characters? Do let me know in the comments section below!

Author’s note : This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform. 

Pic courtesy : Google images 

Posted in mom's life, Personal

5 things that changed in me post motherhood 

It’s been eight glorious years since I got married, and four years since I became a mother. Over the last decade I have seen myself transform from the very shy, introvert girl to a little less shy and a little more outgoing woman.

But there are a few things that have changed a lot since I became a mother.

1. Cooking skills: Before marriage, I hardly entered the kitchen. After marriage, I learnt to cook some basic stuff and after becoming a mother, I’m always in the kitchen! Every day I try to make something that looks more interesting and appealing to my kids. I still can’t make round chapatis though! But that’s alright I think, because my kids now know all their shapes extremely well. (even those that do not exist!)

2. Memory: Earlier, I used to be known for my photographic memory, but now? Phew! If I don’t make a list of ‘to do’ things for the day, I end up missing half of them! And the worst thing is, I forget that I have put something on the stove for cooking! The end result being burnt rice, spilled milk and other things which I cannot even describe. So, I have to make sure that I finish off my kitchen work before doing anything else. Also, the next time I forget your name, please excuse me!!

3. Fashion sense: Before motherhood, I enjoyed dressing up everyday. Of course I still do, but considering the presence of a preschooler and a toddler around me it becomes a herculean task! My fashion sense has transformed from ‘a lovely outfit with matching jewellery, a nice hairstyle and heels’ to ‘grab what I can outfit with no jewellery, hairstyle not interfering with line of vision and flats’! I know that is just a matter of time and once they are are little older, I can resume my fashion centric activities!

4. Patience: I’ve realised the true meaning of patience only after I became a mother. Earlier, I would be the one telling others to ‘be patient and calm down’ among other things. But now, I hear this almost everyday! Such a drastic change! I try very hard to control my temper every day, but sometimes it just blows. Blessed are those souls who can truly contain their anger and be patient with their kids!

5. Time management: I never knew I could multitask. Actually, it was never needed before. And not just simple multitasking. Literally following the hands of the clock on a minute to minute basis! Any delay of more than a minute affects the entire day. And also decreases my ‘me time’ which I simply cannot miss or else I would go insane! So, following the hands of a clock seems a better idea. It works most of the time. Some things are unpredictable, not in my hands, and since I can’t do much about them, I simply go with the flow! I feel that learning to manage my time is a gift that motherhood has given me.

So, what changes have you seen in yourself post motherhood?

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform. 

Pic courtesy: Google images 

Posted in health issues, mom's life

Can I get a sick leave please?

The wife had a very restless sleep all night and found it very difficult to wake up when the alarm went off at 6.15 am. ‘Duty calls’, she thought. After freshening up, she realized that she is running a temperature. ‘Oh no!’ She cried. She kept the tea for brewing, and started searching for some paracetamol. As soon as the tea was ready, she took the pill and ate some biscuits. And then she proceeded for her daily routine. Woke up the older son, made him ready for school, gave him breakfast and finally she sat down. And all the while, the husband was blissfully sleeping completely unaware of her predicament.

‘Screw his beauty sleep!’ She thought. And so she went and woke him up and told him to drop off the son to school. The husband instantly understood that something is wrong as the wife never does that. He did as told without arguing.

The second they left, the wife was relieved. ‘Now I can rest a bit’, she thought. The moment she went to lie down, son number 2, who was still a toddler came crying, ‘mum.. mum..’ 

Aarrghhh’, she cried. ‘Couldn’t he sleep for a few minutes more for one day?’ She thought to herself. Now she was imagining her toddler with two horns on his head and giving her a devilish smile and telling her, ‘No mum, I was born to harass you’.

She shook the thoughts aside and tended to his needs. When the husband was back, he offered to take care of the toddler and asked her to rest for some time.

But where could she rest? The moment she lay down, she again started thinking about the things left to be done. And she almost got a heart attack thinking if the maid Madam decided to skip her work today. ‘No no no no.. please God, please God.. let her come today..’ She started praying frantically.

The husband was amused watching her and asked her what was going on. She told him what she was praying for. He laughed out loud and then told her, ‘Don’t worry, I’m taking a leave today. I have put a sick leave. You rest.’

The wife said, ‘Lucky you. Why can’t I get a sick leave? Even when I’m not well I have a hundred things to look after. If I’m resting physically, I’m going mad mentally!’

How she wished that she could rest mentally as well. Always on her toes, doing multiple things at a time and supervising the maid as well, she definitely needed a break. ‘But not by falling sick,’ She thought. ‘It is so irritating to fall sick. I can’t do much. But I’m constantly worried. What are my sons doing? What have they eaten? Who supervised the maid? Did she do her work properly?’ All these thoughts were on her mind constantly.

The wife was relieved about only one thing. As she was self employed, she din’t need to worry about going to work. Just a call to her assistant and things would be handled.

But she felt good that at least her husband volunteered to help her out on her sick day! Otherwise, she would have only two options. Either pray to never fall sick at all or fall sick so badly that hospitalization becomes necessary. Anything in between would be disastrous!

But being at peace mentally was solely in her hands. So she decided to let go of all her worries for at least that day and take rest as much as she can. Leave the house and kids on the husband and maid. Let them do whatever they want to. With that thought in mind, she went into a deep slumber.

So moms, do you get a sick leave?

 

Pic courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.

Posted in mom's life, Parenting

Tell me more, why why why?

It’s been three and a half years since I was blessed with my first son and I embraced motherhood.

The first year with him was terrifying yet amazing. Learning to breastfeed him and later learning to wean him off! From changing his diapers to bathing him, from charting all his ‘firsts’ to see him grow every single day has been an amazing journey.

Then came the next two years or the infamous toddler years. Sweet mamma became monster mamma. From yelling to throwing things to crying; we did them together! He started running, talking and talking and talking. Mamma stopped talking, but he would never and still doesn’t.

Now, in his fourth year, he thinks mamma is a living encyclopedia. So, everyday mamma has to brace herself for the storm of questions that may come her way absolutely out of the blue and at the most unexpected times. Sometimes, I literally dread his questions!

“Mamma, why is it raining?”

“Why did the rain stop?”

“Why is the sky blue?”

“Why is the crow black?”

“Why do we sleep?”

“Why do we eat food?”

Tell me more.. Why why why?

So, each day when I’m bombarded with all such questions, I try my best to answer them. And those which I can’t, I tell him that mamma will tell you tomorrow. I do not want to feed him the wrong information as it is very difficult to unlearn at their age. Sometimes, I feel like diverting him to his dad, but then I avoid doing that as he expects me to tell him the answers. Of course I help him to ask some amazing questions to his dad as well. 😉

Recently, he has learnt a new thing. Whoever goes to pick him up from school, he asks ‘why this person has not come’? For example, if his grandfather goes to pick him up, he will ask that why mamma din’t come? If I go to pick him up, he will ask why papa has not come? And so on.

In school, they are being taught to write standing lines and sleeping lines. So now, he comes home and asks me, “Mamma, why are standing lines standing?” And also, “Why are sleeping lines sleeping?”

And I’m left dumbstruck with his questions.

So here, I take your leave to figure out the answers to his amazing questions! Adios!

 

Pic courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.

Posted in mom's life, Parenting

When my son taught me ‘sharing is caring’

When my elder son had turned two, we had him enrolled in a playschool and from that time onwards, they were taught concepts of sharing. Right from sharing toys to their snacks; they were taught everything.

And then as he entered nursery, the concepts were reinforced. And additionally, he assumed the role of an older brother. So, it was drilled into him that he should share his toys with his younger one.

But, he only shared his stuff when he was in the mood to. And we did not pressure him either. And he shares his stuff only when he is requested to do so and not forced. 

I would like to explain this with an example.

He has about a dozen or so collection of cars of various sizes. So when I tell him to give a few of them to his younger brother, he refuses flatly. “These are all mine.” He says.

On the other hand, when I tell him, “Please, dear. See he is your younger brother. He is so small. Give him one or two cars to play with. Atleast for some time? Please will you share them with him?” After about 5 minutes, he willingly gives his cars to his brother and tells me, “See mamma, I’m sharing my toys!” And all of us are happy!

Similarly, even when we are out, say on a beach and he is playing with his sand toys, a few kids who do not have them come and try to take the bucket or the spade. So I simply tell them to not take the toys forcibly and instead just sit around for some time. And then, my son willingly shares those sand toys with the other kids. Again, everyone is happy and he has new friends to play with too!

One day, my mom had come over to play with the kids. And as I was searching for some ingredients to make her something, I came across a gulab jamun which was the only one remaining. Ideally, I should offer it to my mom, as she was the guest. But, there was only one gulab jamun remaining and it was too tempting to resist. As I was contemplating what to do, my mom came in the kitchen. And she saw it too. Both of us are mad behind sweets. As soon as she took it, I yelled, “No! That’s mine!”

For a moment, she was shocked as to what happened. But then she realised why I was shouting. And we both started arguing as to who should eat it. Hearing all the commotion in the kitchen, my elder son came in. And when he saw what we were fighting about, he did something exceptional.

He took the gulab jamun and broke it into two halves. He gave one to me and the other to his nani. He looked at me and told me, “Sharing is caring mamma! Remember?” And he went off to do his stuff.

Both of us were speechless at what he did. It was so heartwarming to see him do that. I was so proud of him!

I would like to sincerely thank his playgroup and nursery teachers for instilling this concept in him so well that he actually implemented it in a real life situation!

 

Pic courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.