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Dealing with a three-five year old

For all those who have been wondering, “What is going on in that tiny head?”; some fresh breath here. I don’t want to say 0-3years of your child was all easy peasy, no way! But 3-5 year olds are really something. All the sweetness, cuteness is now turning out to look different. No more is your child only imitating, for they, have also started to try things they have learnt all this while. Hitting, biting, yelling is now the basis of play with their mates.

It is for us to understand that in terms of development of a child, reactions and emotions seen are mere manifestations of how the child is feeling inwards. For example, a child who is being really rigid about something and is on the demanding side just to get you on your nerves only needs to feel secure. Adverse reactions like punishments or ignoring him for his so called ‘bad behaviour’ creates different explosions in the mind of the child.

 A typical day

Remember; you give your child everything, the child will ask for everything and more. Contrary to that, you give your child little to nothing, the child learns to make the best out of it and ‘searches’ for more. A screen-less day with some rest and lots of self-guided play is more than enough for them. They do not need academic programs as yet. Should you ‘need’ to send the child to a daycare, choose a place which provides them with ample space and time to play at all times of the year. Children gain more by playing outside at this age.

Magic in songs and movement

Tantrums are a way children want to communicate when they do not like something they are asked to see, say or do. Indeed! We end up overworked almost every day. When a child makes the most of that very moment you want to park yourself on a couch to rest your back or close your eyes, a tantrum coming your way is the last thing you expect. The need to fume or ignore is a common reaction as a parent/caretaker. While I don’t see anything wrong in getting angry; dealing with your anger first, calming down and then responding to your child is half battle. For all you know, the common response of shouting at the child or making a scary face and looking right into his eyes might just result in more mockery. Singing to your child during such times is rewarding. So is humming. These game changer tactics comforts the child and facilitates in evolving a sense of protection. He needs to feel safe to show such emotions with shades of gray. Remember, he is only imitating all that he has seen in those previous years.

Once upon a time…

With books or with puppets. With hand gestures or a musical. Now is the perfect time to start with stories (if you still haven’t) which takes them to an imaginary world where all the characters come alive. Simple nature tales, stories your parents told you when you were young, fairy tales, folk tales, etc… picking up a story is that simple. My 4-year-old is all ears when I start saying, “When I was a little girl, my mother used to tell me about a giant tree near her house…” and so on. I’d repeat the words and stories the same way my mother did for me. Books are a great medium too, if chosen according to the needs of your child. There is more to storytelling and here is where you want to read. Bear in mind; stories that are small with simpler words yet classic language has more benefits to look out for compared to the long and over-informative.

While many children want to run around, climb on everything they can or stay out in the sun as much as they can, you may also see children who want to sit down and do something quieter. Bring out safer, blunt knives, crinkle cutters from your kitchen, have them help you with chopping. Keep some blank papers handy for them to color or let them help you prep for the next day/festival/family event, so on… Yes! there are many such ways to keep such children interested too. Be creative.

All said and done, some of you readers have different views(Respect!) on parenting. There is no right or wrong. Feel free to take what resonates with you. Regardless of our ways and means, they all want the same – ‘your warm physical presence when in need’.

Warmth,

Pavithra

Posted on 12 Comments

Mama, I’m BORED!

“Enforced solitude along with a blank paper is a wonderful spur”

These words were cited by a comedienne turned writer. A beautiful quote rarely heard. Many creative heads from yester years believe stillness and being bored in their childhood years is healthy and has helped them enhance their creative thinking. As a caregiver, we often think our primary motive is to keep the child occupied and mechanize his life.

 

A piece of my everyday life

WhatsApp Image 2016-08-24 at 10.52.49 PM

I will start with my own 4year old this time. Almost every morning, he comes to me around 9:30 in the morning, hoping I am done with lunch prep. Typically, we go out and play in the mornings. I sit down and play for a wee bit after explaining him about how I will need his help in finishing up my tasks. Once done, we can go and spend as much time we want biking/playing (well, to be honest, in our case, staring at trains, construction trucks and other vehicles on the street). But, when it’s mostly my part of work pending, he is either playing by himself or sitting on our sofa bed; BORED. So, he starts to look outside the window and is pretty much occupied for some more time. I get to wind up with my work. While I have trained myself to let him deal with his boredom, sometimes I manage to steal those precious moments from him. I am sure a lot many of you out there sail on the same boat. If I may ask, why is it so difficult to accept a child sitting idle? It is for him to figure out what he can do with that little time he has for himself. Be it, small holiday breaks, little spaces of time during a day or summer and winter breaks.

 She is just staring, is she BORED?


Call him a child who is too shy to respond, a day dreamer or a child who is disinterested in the world around him, the truth is children love to stand, stare and they don’t like to be interrupted. Let them be and they will be present to you once they are done. This process is a great deal of inner work happening. That of observing his environment, developing his thought process around it and assimilating his experience through indoor or outdoor play.

… Some random rants

“My little one gets bored easily”, “He does not do anything for too long”, “I don’t know what to do with my child when he is home”, “I am too bored looking at him do silly little things” . These are some of the complaints from the adults regardless of what the child feels. Screen time deflates that ballooning cloud of creativity and imagination in a child’s mind. Let’s not tag “boredom” to be an uncomfortable feeling because children do not need to be occupied day- in and day-out and constant stimulation is way too overwhelming. Having said that, I have met many children (older ones) who say “I don’t know what to do”. The moment he says those golden words, he is bombarded with a list of ideas, classes and camps… the list goes on. But ever wondered what the child wants to do? Give him a chance while you are there to guide when needed. Of course, for those who are glued to their iPad’s and earplugs, there is good news! Create a loving boundary for the child about using those gadgets instead of restricting them or banning and then begin to work around things.

There are many examples of people who are thankful for having been given a slow childhood. They all claim that such solitude (aka boredom) fostered creativity in them and these are the people we see as artists/ writers and other creative professions. A renowned philosopher, Bertrand Russell wrote something very immense and meaningful in his book, ‘The Conquest of Happiness’ –

“A child develops best when, like a young plant, he is left undisturbed in the same soil. Too much travel, too much variety of impressions, are not good for the young, and cause them as they grow up to become incapable of enduring fruitful monotony.”