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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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Importance of Playing with Cloth Dolls

“Children often express emotions and thoughts while playing with dolls that they might not be able to convey using words,” says Allan Gonsher, a play therapist in Overland Park, Kansas.

I always do my best to source alternative things children can play with compared to the ones available in market. My aim is to reach out parents who are conscious about what they want to give their child, be it food, toys, books, education, gadgets and so on. In my journey of running My Little Bookshop, I have succeeded to meet so many like minded parents and I have learnt a lot from them too. One such person is Sudha Chakravarty, who is homeschooling her two lovely children in Mumbai. Sudha is a strong individual and follows her heart. I personally felt she was the right person to share her experience of giving cloth dolls to her children and she happily shared her views with My Little Bookshop on request. This is what she has to say

I am a mother of 2 kids aged 8 yr and 4 yrs .I have consciously given gender neutral toys to them and never excess, I constantly declutter. The thing that struck me someday was there was way too much plastic in their toys,when most things in the house are either recycled, upcyled.. why am I creating junk through these??? while these thoughts were in my mind I was gradually meandering towards homeschooling my kids… what should I teach ..how..were the questions clouding my mind. In one such search I came across Waldorf or Steiner philosophy. It blew my mind off I started meeting online such families throughout the globe and bingo came my answer NATURAL toys.They believe kids from a very young age should be given natural toys preferably unfinished ones and it can be anything….

Both the kids have been introduced to dolls very early and some were plastic ones (my daughter never hankered for a Barbie). I saw in one such experimental session the kids took away each part of the doll and didn’t really feel bad that the doll is destroyed… their demand was they wanted 1 more!! But I noticed one thing they never did any such thing with their cloth dolls.. my question was why such discrimination and after a chat with my son I discovered the following…
  1. The cloth dolls are soft to touch just like human body
  2. When they sleep with them they don’t feel the hardness of plastic
  3. Our cloth dolls are big they wear their their infant size clothes ,they love dressing them up with convenience…(it’s ok the hand gets twisted or neck gets twisted..atleast they will not break)
  4. They have named them and no one treats a friend like that ..specially a friend who sits near their head at night when the room is dark.
  5. They can be easily carried here and there in bags.
  6. We have quite a few dressed in woolens …they feel its warmth in the cold seasons.
  7. The couple of plastic  dolls they have all scribbling on their face… when I asked why you don’t scribble on the cloth dolls … the answer was simple people don’t scribble on their friends face …
The feeling of love and most importantly feeling of ownership and respect is what develops through this warmies ..another name for cloth dolls in our home. Parents here play a very important role after they choose the cloth doll they have chosen they should too respect it, we never put them in the drawer it’s always on their bed ..the dolls are refered always by their name, never thrown always gently handed over and they are very few in number, hence always get carried on vacations!!! they are clothes so easily maintained hand or machine washable !!! we now do not own a single plastic doll now but just 4 cloth dolls…they are treated in great respect and love. I would tell every parent to give a slight thought on all natural toys they go a long way teaching valuable lessons.
I hope Sudha’s experience will give a new perspective in your parenting journey. Thanks for taking time to read 🙂
You may visit our eStore to buy Cloth dolls which are handmade by villagers in Auroville. Some of the popular toys are
We are working on adding more soft toys this year and we welcome you suggestions too. Please write to us on mylittlebookshop@hotmail.com