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Your One-Stop Guide to Conscious Gifting

Are you gifting right?

Do you find yourself in a last minute scramble when it comes to gifting for children you know? Do you just end up buying whatever you spot first on Amazon? Do you buy something just because it was on sale! If your answer is a yes for one or more of the above questions, then you really must read on! This is definitely your one-stop guide to conscious gifting.

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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

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Indian Story Books Recommended for 0-2 Years

I am often asked, what story books do I recommend for infants and toddlers. So here is my story… My toddler wakes up very early in the morning, this allows her to watch all the morning activities at home. Brushing, preparing coffee, cutting vegetables, preparing breakfast and so on. She then eats her breakfast (typical south Indian breakfast) and sets off to play in the balcony, there she watches the birds chirping, dogs barking and if she is lucky, she will sight a cat too. The days when my mom or mother in law visit us, they would prepare the breakfast and she loves both of them pampering her! In my mother in law’s house, she loves to walk in the garden and look at the flowers, bees and butterflies. After her lunch and nap in the noon, we usually try our best to walk down in our society and also play in the park. My daughter loves to explore sand rather than swing or slide and I just let her be. We would return home and have a quick wash followed by an early dinner and then we have our storytime with her favorite stash of books before she is off to bed.

Considering this being a typical day in an infant or toddler’s life, I would pick books that have well-thought illustrations of stories that speak about the child’s immediate surroundings and rhythms. Like preparing dosa, beautiful red flower, chirping birds, warmth of family, lush green garden, pets following you and so on. These are more appropriate content for 0-2 years as children are still exploring their environment and they can relate well when the stories speak about things they can physically see, feel and hear.

Children pick up language so quickly when you say stories regularly to them. Do refer to my earlier post on how you could start reading to children. It’s best to begin saying stories in your mother tongue or translate the English stories in your own words. Indian books from Tulika and Pratham have a large variety of books in regional languages.

I have shortlisted the best books available for 0-2 years. I hope your child enjoys them as much as mine did 🙂

 

Akkad Bakkad: Adorable book for toddlers! It is themed after the Indian rhymes/songs like Akkad bakkad bumbai bo- A wacky lot of numbers have the time of their life in this all-time favourite Punjabi rhyme! A must have!

Gajapati Kulapati: This is one of the most popular book, so popular that they have part 1, 2 and 3 🙂 This book has a mention of all the people we see on our street regularly.. banana seller, flower seller paati, akka, anna, postman. All children and adults love Gajapati, kudos to Ashok Rajagopalan to come up with this lovely series.

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Goodnight: Baby Elephant has decided to sleep in his parents’ bed tonight. But, despite his inventive arguments, Papa Elephant is categorical, our young hero must sleep in his own room. But when it’s time to sleep, the little fellow decides to sneak in…a whimsical and charming tale!

Mala’s silver anklets: You can find Mala in every house literally, adorning the jingle-ful silver anklets! It is one of our favorites… we love the common man’s scooter that appa has, simple everyday clothes that Mala dresses up with, Mala’s two plaits with ribbons and Ajji’s traditional tawa and dosa! Imagine how a child will feel to hear a story about little pleasures of life 🙂

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Where is Amma: Oh the beautiful watercolour illustrations! Little Kiran looks for his mother all through the house… room, balcony, kitchen… just take a look at the kitchen, richness of an Indian home can be seen here…. my little one recognises the grrrr…(mixer), kauck(coconut), kakari(tharkari) and all the little things this book offers.

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Pooni Pooni: A charming find-it book for toddlers, from the creator of the other bestselling Pooni books, ‘Where’s That Cat?’ and ‘Pooni at the Taj Mahal’.

Let’s Go: Perfect book for children who love vehicles, we see them around us and a child can associate so well, also has numbers if you want to introduce it to your toddlers.Remember not to expect a toddler to understand the value of numbers yet, he may only repeat the numbers just like another sound he learns.

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Juniour Kumbhakarna: Every night, Kukku wants his father to tell him his favourite story. It is about the giant Kumbhakarna who sleeps non-stop for six months — and Kukku falls asleep just as Kumbhakarna does. In Kukku’s dream, everyone is trying everything to wake up the giant. Nothing works . . . A lively retelling of an episode from the Ramayana with wildly funny pictures.

Little Fingers : When ten little fingers come together, they make many things happen. In playful verse, with bright uncluttered visuals, this story draws children into a game of all that their busy fingers can do.

You may buy these books from my eStore www.mylittlebookshop.in I will add more titles to this list as and when I find the books are available and have appropriate content.

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Introducing Books To Little Children

Frankly, there is no one formula to raise children. Each child is different and we all know that! Yet, we adults compare our children with others with regards to achieving milestones – eating, sleeping, reading, writing, and so on.

Here, I will talk about reading story books!  Yes, not all children have an interest in books and it should not be forced because we want them to read books. Having said that, books if introduced at an early stage is definitely an advantage in the long run!

My association as a teacher with a popular kindergarten in Bangalore helped me develop an interest in children’s storybooks and how it supports their development. I began to buy storybooks from the local stores in my city and gifted a stash of books to my 2.5 years old nephew back then. Every day, we sat down for our story time and read out the same 4-5 picture books. Translating the words in our mother tongue, simple and easy words to recollect and their repetition helped him connect to the books instantly. Eventually, he started to come to me with those books after his outdoor play. We had a fixed time and space for reading books.

Kannada Books from Tulika
This set of Tulika books is a good recommendation if you’re looking for stories in Kannada.

I gradually added a few more books and as he grew bigger and joined kindergarten, he was compelled to communicate in English and he did not like it a bit! I then started reading the same old stories in English and he would understand as he already knew the storyline and did not need an explanation.  He would often ask me to use our mother tongue and I would do so but continued English until he was comfortable. He then learned phonics and started recognizing words in the storybooks, he eventually read all the books on his own and that is when we got him a large collection of books! Today, he is 9 years old and loves sports more than books 🙂

With my daughter, we introduced picture books when she was 9 months old and she instantly loved the pictures and could associate words/sounds with pictures in the story book. She is 15 months now and continues to enjoy us reading books to her in our mother tongue. When we are not around, she flips through the pages herself during the day and tries to repeat certain sounds with the pictures she sees. Our usual story time would be just after her dinner time. Board books like Pooni, Pooni Where Are You? are also some favourite first reads with little ones.

Reading

There are numerous ways to introduce books to little children. Do try what worked for me and let me know if it helped. Tweak as you go along to suit what you and your baby are comfortable with.

You may introduce picture books, books with simple vocabulary, content which children can relate to their day to day surroundings, books which have rhythmic lines, and so on. I’ve included some favourites recommended by parents on the MLB Circle of Parents community:

Using props like the My Little Bookshop finger puppets, wooden animals or wooden peg dolls will help you enhance story times with your little ones in a really creative way. Also, our Story Kits are another fun option to try out with children. Bringing stories alive in your own way will create priceless one-of-a-kind experiences for your child. So do not hold yourself back, read aloud to your child, laugh together at the stories, and make memories for a lifetime.

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Best-selling Books at My Little Bookshop

In my journey of curating children’s story books from Indian publishers, I have come across several books (Mainly Tulika and Pratham) and it has been an immense learning experience for me. There is so much richness in Indian books which cannot be found in any other foreign publications. Our illustrators and writers have really done a great job and it’s definitely worth having a good number of Indian story books in your child’s library.

People often get overwhelmed when they look at my Stock list although I try to limit the collection, some look for options and variety and I try to satisfy my customers/buyers as much as possible. In terms of Storyline and Illustrations, I have tried my best to arrive at the best-selling books at My Little bookshop. Trust me it has been a hard selection and I hope you all appreciate them as much as I did.

Fifteen Best-selling Tulika Books

  1. Sunu sunu, snail in the garden (2-7 years)
  2. Where is Amma (1-6 years)
  3. Mala’s silver anklets (1-6 years)
  4. A Book is a Bee (2-7 years)
  5. A Home Of Our Own(2-7 years)
  6. Gajapati Kulapati (0-6 years)
  7. Why Why Girl (6-10 years)
  8. Let’s go (1-6 years)
  9. A Walk with Thambi (6-10 years)
  10. Raindrops (2-7 years)
  11. Kasturba (6-10 years)
  12. Junior Kumbhakarna (1-6 years)
  13. The Red Umbrella (1-6 years)
  14. Carry me mama (1-6 years)
  15. Tiji and Cheenu (1-6 years)