FUN FILLED PARENTING
Flowers, butterflies, birds, puppies, there are so many things in nature that give us joy in various forms. The beauty of all these together are rolled into one amazing creation of God – the child. They are bundles of joy, innocence, cuteness, chirpiness, curiosity …the list can go on. Their innocent laughter, their playfulness are all simply intoxicating. The more we bond with the children, the more we fall in love with their world.
Surprisingly, even a five-six year old can be like a friend. In our years of planning and pursuing our careers, our childhood instincts retreat backwards and backwards, till it gets fully covered by adult complexities. It gets forgotten, but it’s not lost. With the birth of children, followed by their childish acts, we are once again reminded of our childhood days. Bringing up kids is certainly a big responsibility, but a fun filled one.
Generally kids up to the age of four years do not develop camaraderie to play and share with children of their own age group. We may keep telling them, ‘share your things’, ‘play with others’, etc. Even if they oblige, it is difficult for them to give their valuable possessions to others. Two to four years age is the time when children want all attention to themselves. Therefore they enjoy playing with elders, rather than someone of their age.
So, if in the evening our child wants to go cycling, but we want him to play with other children so that we can have our routine evening walk, there is a very good option. We can both go together. Let the child cycle, while we walk. To catch up with his cycling speed we will have to walk fast or even run. Isn’t it a good exercise? It is fun for the kids too, as he races with the parent on his cycle. With such walking-cycling routine, instinctively we tend to teach them traffic rules. Don’t speed, keep to your left, slow down at speed breakers, do not stop on the middle of the road, look both sides before crossing, etc. By the time he grows and wants to cycle independently, he already knows what is safe for him.
If the child wants to play badminton or football or cricket……., fine! We cannot expect other children of 4-5 years age to have the patience of taking 99% faulty bowling or service. So why not play ourselves? Not only are we teaching them a new game this way (lots of patience required), but our own body gets exercised too. With the ball\shuttlecock going in every direction except yours, you have to run, jump, bend forward, backward, and on all possible sides. No part of the body remains un-exercised. Is there then any need of a separate exercise regime?
Often parents complain about the holiday projects, charts, models, etc. Okay, a K.G. class student cannot make a Janmashtami chart! But if we are collecting, cutting, pasting and decorating the chart, with the child observing everything, he is bound to ask questions about the pictures on the chart. There’s a huge difference between, simply putting a ready-made chart in front of him and making one with the child’s participation. Young children cannot make the model, but they enjoy the procedure of making it. Gradually there interest develops, due to the interest shown by parents and they begin trying themselves. When they observe parents build a model by trial and error method, following certain procedures, analyzing the whys and hows, their own analytical skills too develop.
It is very natural for kids to want to do what we are doing. If we are sowing seeds or weeding, they will demand the ‘khurpi’. Give them a spare khurpi and some seeds. Its not that he will learn only about germination. He will actually sow only one or two seeds and then run after a butterfly or a ladybug. So while we are gardening (of course, with the little gardener’s help), the child is learning to appreciate nature with all the varieties of flowers, leaves, birds, butterflies and insects.
There are many such fun ways to teach and learn. They know that their favorite cartoon programme is at 7:00 P.M. When they ask the time, tell them, “when the short hand of the clock is on 7 and the longer one on 12, it will be 7 o’clock. And when the short hand is on 7 and the longer hand on 6, it is 7:30.”When you need to talk to your spouse on phone, ask the child to dial and talk from your phone, before you talk. This way he will learn his parent’s phone numbers. When it’s raining and you cannot go out and play, sit with the child in the balcony and observe the clouds and rain. Show her the different shapes of clouds. While looking for shapes, she will also observe the direction of the movement of the clouds, the various types, rain bearing black clouds, lighter white clouds, etc. Let the children splash, have a paper boat race, observe snails and frogs.
No extra effort is required to bond with a child. We just have to laugh and play with him. At times we ourselves will be surprised at the way we laughed and shouted like children, without any inhibitions, when playing with them. Parenting is funny and relaxing at the same time. So go ahead, enjoy your moment with your little buddy!