When your kids become old enough (and responsible enough) for an allowance, a parent is faced with two choices – should the allowance be handed over unconditionally or should the kids perform some chores in return.
Akriti came to us with this query. Should she pay her children to help our with chores at home? Will this help them learn the value of money?
Our star contributer Noopur Agarwal advises, “While it’s important to teach children the value of money, it is not right to pay them for doing small things. If you will start paying them for every chore, they will loose their innocence and will become money minded like us grownups!”
This is a line of thought that is generally agreed upon by most parents – and even some financial experts! Finance gurus say that if the kids learn that by working they get paid, on the flip side they will also learn that they can refuse to work on the grounds that they don’t want money! What’s more if they save their “earnings”, they may even realise that they have enough of their allowance to last them for a few days – and hence flat out refuse to do chores!
On the whole there are three major reasons why you should never pay your kids for their chores:
1. It sends the wrong message!
If kids are being paid to complete chores, they will no longer feel the need to do any chores “for free”. What’s more, they will learn to demand payment for any small favour or request. It takes away from the sense of achievement and moral obligation of caring for the home and doing what’s best for the whole family.
2. It could lead to a sense of entitlement!
When a child is paid for her work, she no longer thinks of his family as a cohesive unit – she will start thinking of herself first! Your goal is to foster an environment of family teamwork and not “every man for himself”.
3. They will ask for a raise!
Don’t you start resenting your boss when he doesn’t give you a raise despite how much work he sees you putting in day in and day out? Well now, is that a situation you want happening with your kids? Just imagine: “Mommy, I did more dishes this week than last week – so I deserve more money!” Now isn’t that a situation you want to avoid?
We hope our Mommy advice has helped Akriti find a solution. There are many other ways to present your kids with an allowance, and payment in return for services is not always the right decision!
We thank the SOS mom who came to Anamika’s rescue: Noopur Agarwal.
“Mommy, my tooth is loose!”
Every Mom with a 5-6 year old expects to hear this statement! But what happens when your little one’s teeth are still rock steady? When all of your daughters friends have begun losing milk teeth, and your angel’s teeth are still in place – should you be worried?
Mom Anita came to us worried about her daughter’s dental health. Her precocious 6 year old’s milk teeth show no signs of making way for permanent teeth! When all of her friends are proudly showing off gaps in their smiles, she is the odd one out! Anita is worried that her daughter isn’t developing the way she should and asked the FirstCry Mommies for their help!
Priyanka Pareek says that it is completely normal for a child to retain her milk teeth at 6 years of age! The general rule is that the younger your child is when her teeth come in, the earlier they will fall out! Some children lose their first tooth as early as 4 years of age or even as late as 7 years.
Noopur Agarwal agrees. She says, “Don’t worry at all my daughter is about to be 7 and her first teeth just fell out a few days ago!” There is probably nothing wrong – as some kids even reach the age of 8 years before losing a tooth!
Kaveri Arora Wadhwa advices that Anita should definitely consult both the pediatrician and the dentist – since the issue has her so worried! Get an X-ray done at the dentist’s to make sure there are no underlying problems!
Robe Samarth Gaonkar says, “You have to worry if her teeth are damaged in any way. Tooth decay is more important than worrying about something like baby teeth not falling out, which is not so important in the long run.”
Dooradarsini Sonita meanwhile recommends a healthy dose of calcium to ensure better tooth health!
We thank all the SOS moms who came to Anita’s rescue:
Priyanka Pareek, Noopur Agarwal, Kaveri Arora Wadhwa, Robe Samarth Gaonkar, Dooradarsini Sonita.
Many a times, it is seen that even though the kid is toilet-trained in the day-time, he faces difficulty holding pee in for a long period at night-time, when he sleeps. Such toilet-training accidents happen due to various reasons, while heredity being a major contributor.
If the parents have had a history of bedwetting that continued until their ages of five or six, it is highly likely that the kid will inherit the same tendency. Other possible reasons include, not being developmentally ready to sense a full bladder or having a tendency to sleep so deeply, that responding to the bladder’s signals and mastering night-time toilet control becomes elusive.
It is seen that bedwetting is more common in boys (about six to seven out of ten kids who wet their beds are male). Also, it is observed that by the age of five or six, 90 percent of the kids stop the bed-wetting habit on their own. Nonetheless, nobody knows for sure why the rest 10 percent continue to have a problem.
As always, we have our SOS Moms guiding you with a few bed wetting solutions
Shobha Suresh, a proud mum of two kids, says, “Stop scolding your toddler because they bed wet. They are just kids who don’t know a thing. If we can’t be patient with kids at our age, we can’t teach them to have patience later.”
While Somita Suri suggests, “Bear with him. Telling off a toddler is pointless as this is something out of his control and could cause anxiety problems.”
Next, we have Meenakshi Srikantan, who says, “I think it depends on your child’s age. If he is above two and a half, you can slowly reduce the liquid intake before sleep and also make him use the toilet before getting into bed. If you use an AC in your room or live in a cold place, then it is going to cause bed-wetting, despite doing everything until they learn to wake you up to use the toilet.”
Meenakshi further suggests, “If you are really worried, I suggest you talk to your paediatrician regarding urinary incontinence. But maybe wait until he is a bit older, perhaps and like mentioned here, try training him to use the toilet at night at some interval.”
Shantala Murugendra proposes her viewpoint by saying, “Few kids do it till the age of 10. So, better reduce liquid and cold intake at least 2 hours before sleep, but make sure they drink enough water at day time. And being a parent, it’s our duty to keep an alarm and make them go to the toilet at night. Slowly their minds get trained to get up and go to the toilet at midnight.”
Lastly, moms Georgina Jha, Pratibha Tyagi and Robe Samarth Gaonkar collectively recommend the use of a diaper for the kid and a rubber sheet to protect the mattress at night.
Make sure your child is ready for getting toilet-trained. Frustration on your part isn’t the key here! Your child has to be motivated to stop the bedwetting habit. If he’s not bothered, stick with disposable diapers until he’s ready. He’ll let you know when it’s time.
In families with more than one child, sibling rivalry is commonplace. At the outset, you just see two kids fighting, however on looking beneath the surface of things, you’ll realize the riposte feeling that is at the core of sibling rivalry in children.
Expression of retaliatory behaviour by the submissive one to counteract the sense of constantly being the victim of the dominant other, is what breeds sibling fights. This repugnant behaviour, clubbed with the feeling that he is loved less by his parents intensifies his pathos.
Nonetheless, for parents it is one of the biggest parenting struggles to sort. But it is upon them to turn the conflict scenarios into training opportunities. Parents should repeatedly teach their children to honour and speak well of one another.
When asked if parents should intervene in resolving sibling rivalry, one of our SOS Moms, Robe Samarth Gaonkar suggested, “Of course you should intervene and never let the time pass by without them consoling each other. It’s just normal fights in the beginning, but if you don’t correct them on time, then it will be worse once they are older.”
We agree with Robe on this and feel that parents should help their kids sort the fights by making them understand the art of managing their emotions. Otherwise, the mutual ill feelings will get carried over into their adult lives and become even more crippling to deal with later on.
3 Suggestions for Parents when Managing Sibling Rivalry
- When you intervene, you should hold both the kids equally responsible for the fight. It shouldn’t matter as to who started it or whose fault it is. After all, it always takes two to tango; a fight is never a one-sided affair, so stop refereeing.
- Use the ‘step in to step out’ method. Help your kids to identify their feelings at the moment of a fight (step in) and then leave them and let them work out a solution between themselves (step out). This is because, there will be times when kids would resolve the conflict in their own way and only need us to set up the navigation just a bit.
- Appreciate both the kids in their individual domains. Never pitch them up against one another. If one is good in sports and the other is a bookworm, recognize and appreciate their individuality.
Follow these few simple strategies, as you work with your kids to manage sibling rivalry and pioneer a peace treaty in your home today.
Losing baby teeth is something that most kids take as a matter of sheer happiness. They love showing their fallen tooth or discussing it with their friends. It gives them the feeling of growing up, as losing a baby tooth is the ultimate sign of becoming a big kid.
Baby teeth fall as their roots dissolve thereby making a way for permanent teeth. Most children start losing their milk teeth at the age of 5 or 6. But it is completely fine if a child does not start losing his teeth at this age. It can also happen when a child is as old as 8 years old.
Let us see what other parents have to say about it:
Kashish Dua, a dentist by profession says, it is not something to be worried about if your child has turned 6 years old and has not started losing milk teeth. The age at which children lose teeth may vary from child to child and may happen slightly late in case of some children.
Sowmya Anand says, that her daughter started to lose her milk teeth when she was 8 and is losing them.
Richa Vyas says, that the upper and the lower front teeth generally start erupting at the age of 6-7 years. So you might want to wait if your child has jusr turned 6.
The last factor but definitely not the least – sometimes milk teeth arrive late so they drop off late, so it is okay to wait, suggests Parminder kaur
We thank all the Mommies of our community for sparing their precious time and giving their valuable responses:
Richa Vyas, Parminder Kaur, Kashish Dua and Sowmya Anand
School-age kids have high levels of energy and have the capacity of carrying out work and play at their respective times. As a parent you might want to participate in the various games that school-age kids play.
Since this is their stage of development and growth, you can think of games that promote these in an effective manner. Children at this age love to indulge in physical activities as that gives them immense happiness and joy.
Here are some activities that you can always enjoy with your school-age kids:
• Chain game
For this game, the more the numbers of players, the more the fun you can have. One person is chosen as the tagger and he has to run and tag another person. Now both of them join hands and chase the others.
Children who are tagged have to hold hands and form a chain and run together to chase others. It is a game of coordination as all taggers have to run in the same direction. Sometimes the chain is broken into small groups so that children don’t trip or step on other’s toes. But often the enjoyment is in the uncoordinated fun that can result.
• Treasure hunt at home
Treasure hunts are great fun for any kid. Decide on various kinds of interesting things that you can hide in various parts of the house including the garden or the lawn. Keep smart clues for the hunt so that things cannot be found that easily.
You can also arrange for a jackpot so that anyone who wins the game gets a special reward. Explore the adventurous mind of your kids through this game and see your little detectives making their way in finding the hidden items. If there are many children, create groups for the hunt.
• Bowling with bottles
If you think that your kids do not know about bowling, you are wrong. Try giving them a bowling game experience at home so that they can display their target skills. Arrange plastic bottles in various shapes and sizes in a row or in many rows.
Take small soft balls and try to knock down as many bottles as possible with them. The numbers of bottles that can be knocked down will decide the winner. The game can be divided into two groups and a competition can be started. Adults can keep a note of the time.
Playing with kids of this age can take you back through memory lane when you used to play such games with your friends and your parents grinned with joy at your happy face.
Image courtesy of cuteimage / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Some of the kids literally struggle to walk with the heavy backpack and it can be a source of injuries to the child’s back, spine or neck.
Kids usually stuff their bags with all their books, notebooks and stationery items, making the bag very heavy.
Research all over the world has shown that many children carry backpacks, the weight of which is almost 10-15% of the body weight of the kid.
This is actually an alarming weight that is being carried by your child. Here are some of the problems that are caused by heavy backpacks, with solutions to the same:
• Many children take the backpacks on a single shoulder as that makes them look smart. However, this can cause grave injuries as the whole weight comes to a single side of the body.
There are high chances of shoulder and neck straining or there can be injuries to the lower back and spine while trying to adjust the load on single shoulder.
Parents should suggest their children carry the backpack on both shoulders to distribute the load evenly.
• Backpacks which have narrow and tight straps should be shunned completely. When the bag becomes too heavy, the narrow strap tends to dig into the skin of the shoulder obstructing blood flow and also puts pressure on the nerves.
It might lead to various kinds of neurological problems in the arm and shoulder area. Buy backpacks that have wide and soft straps so that the straps can take the pressure and shoulders remain relieved.
• Most the ordinary backpacks lack back support causing immense pain in the back area. While purchasing backpacks ensure that there is firm back support, such as padded protection to the back. That way your kid’s back remains protected from sharp objects that are inside the bag.
• Children tend to stuff all their belongings in a single compartment of the bag. The weight shifts to a single point and becomes too heavy.
It is highly recommended for parents to purchase back packs that have many compartments and ask the child to arrange things in different partitions. This will distribute the load of the bag uniformly.
• You can often see that children fall backwards if they cannot manage their backpack. This happens because the whole weight is towards the back side and losing balance will let the kid fall towards the back.
A waist belt in the backpack can be of help. It will help in distributing the weight effectively over the rest of the body.
For quality backpacks, you can choose from a large selection on Firstcry.com.
Kids who are aware of their strengths and weakness are more positive, feel confident, find it easier to handle pressures, and are more optimistic.
On the other hand, children with low self-esteem find it challenging and are relatively more anxious and frustrated than others.
A child’s self-esteem affects their day-to-day activities and affects their relationships with others.
A positive self-esteem helps the child to believe in their own values, make right decisions under pressure, confidently interact with others, handle stress and challenges and make healthier choices.
Read on for some tips to help foster your child’s self-esteem.
Love and Acceptance: Love your child to the utmost and spend lots of quality time. A child benefits the most when you are able to accept him regardless of their strengths, weaknesses and abilities. Give him or her plenty of kisses, hugs, cuddles, pats and affection.
Focus on the Child: By listening to them and playing with them. Show interest in things, games and activities that they enjoy and let them guide play. This makes them feel important and valuable.
Consistency: Decide and enforce clear rules that must be followed by the child at each stage of life. Tell him what you expect and what punishment would be given if the rules were not followed. This helps them to feel safe and secure and grow more confident in making own decisions.
Support Change: Encourage the child to try something new, like make a new friend or try a new food. There is always possibility of risk, but the chances for success are also equally same if not high. Try letting them explore and experiment to build their self-esteem by finding the right balance between the need to protect him or her with the want to embark upon new tasks.
Problem-Solve: Offer various chances to solve problems so that the child understands he or she has control over his or her own life. Help the child correct the mistakes and talk about how it can be done differently the next time.
Offer Empathy and Encouragement: If your child feels frustrated because he cannot do things like his peers, empathize and then emphasize on of his or her other strengths. This will help them learn their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Young ones also require ample amounts of encouragement from their parents and loved ones to feel good about themselves.
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Children learn new skills almost every day through interactive play and this is why it is important to encourage them to imagine different experiences and scenarios with toys, gadgets and outfits.
Most of the toys that develop imagination require the child to role-play and act out various scenes. By doing so, they are enhancing social skills and decision-making skills.
We tend to undervalue the importance of imaginative play in the development of children’s imagination. Kids tend to learn many practical skills with the help of such activities.
Read on to learn about some easily available toys that will help develop your child’s imagination through play and fun.
Open-Ended Toys: Blocks, Tents or Play-Doh
These toys include games like blocks and stacking toys, which can make up a castle one day, or a barnyard on another. Alternatively, a tent today may become a wild animal den and sometimes a secret reading nook.
Such toys allow the child to do most of the play, as they do not provide any sounds, instructions or actions for them. They allow you to think outside the block box, as there really is no limit to what you both can do together.
Consider playdoh or wet sand which also have unlimited potential when given to children. Most children love the sensory experience of rolling, squishing and manipulating playdoh or clay. Allow them to craft simple things they are familiar with like a ball or stick or their favorite food.
Open-Ended Activities: Painting Supplies
Painting or art and craft can be experimental. Encourage free or finger painting by giving them the supplies and let them run their imagination to make a tower, a happy family or their favorite meal.
Stock up on empty boxes and allow them to decorate them using some of the various art and craft kits that are available at stores.
Stuffed Animals, Dolls or Puppets
Teddy bears are just not for cuddling. Encourage your little one to feed their stuffed animal with a toy spoon or give it its medicine, hold a tea party for several teddy bears and dolls or create a mock school for them.
Puppets can be used in the same way as above. Encourage them to direct their own puppet shows and hold shows for the family.
Dress Up Games
You do not have to go to an expensive costume store to get your child a new play outfit every now and then. Simply look around for old purses, clothes and other accessories that could be used to create the costume. You can also buy a set of baby costumes or a Disney costume for an older child.
Let your kids exercise their imaginations to assemble their outfits. For example, a white coat with some accessories can make your little one a play doctor. No matter how much they might loathe visiting the doctor, they would love to become one and to be the one in control.
So what tips did you use to help your child practice imaginative play? Do share with us in the comments below.
We learn that infants often bite to relieve their teething or gum soreness, while pre-schooling kids generally bite because they haven’t developed good coping skills to deal with stress appropriately and to express their needs.
Whatever the reason is, we know that this behavior is inappropriate and very upsetting (especially for the person getting bitten).
As a parent, your job is to get rid of this annoying behavior before it becomes a habit. Here are few steps which you can use to get your child to stop biting others.
Be Calm But Firm
Speak to your child with a firm, “no biting” stance. Make sure you keep it easy and simple for your child to understand. Make it clear that biting is wrong, but also avoid lengthy explanations until your child is old enough to understand them. Lastly, stay as calm as possible to help resolve the situation more quickly.
Teach Appropriate Expressions
Teach your child to express themselves to you in more appropriate ways. When things calm down, help your child find a less painful way to express their feelings to you.
This generally works well with children who are biting to show affection to their parents. So, if your child wants to express love to you, teach them to hug instead, and not bite when they feel such strong emotions.
If your child has started biting, distract them with a toy or a book. For example, ask them to look out of the window or take them for a short walk outside. This would help reduce tension and shift the child’s attention from biting to other activities.
Substitute People with Objects
Give your child a substitute. When you sense your child is about to bite, give them a teether or toy to draw their attention away from the biting.
As kids grow older, they tend to learn how to express themselves in words and learn to control impulsive behaviour. If you are consistent with your control, chances are even the most determined biter would stop biting.
Just in case, your child does not stop biting, don’t rush to a therapist who might recommend different treatments. Sometimes, it just takes time, support and appropriate training from friends and family. Only, after a certain age should you consider taking medical help.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Learning disorders in children are not a problem with motivation or intelligence, or kids being lazy or dumb. In fact, most of these kids are as smart as their peers. However, it’s just that their brains work in a very different manner from the rest.
Often children being taught a second language show symptoms of a learning disorder as they get confused between the language of communication.
Thus, before any remedial steps are really taken, an assessment should be made to see whether the child is fluent in a particular language and a second language learner.
Here are some common symptoms that can help you figure out if your child has any kind of learning disorder.
Impulsiveness In The Classroom
In some cases, children might get impulsive at situations and tend to shout repetitively. For example, when asked to raise hands before speaking, they tend to get impulsive and shout rather than following discipline.
Additional symptoms include throwing books off tables or other stationary when they don’t want to complete a particular task. Such behavior is more indicative of a learning disorder rather than behavioral problems.
Difficulty Learning Numbers
Reading, doing math and writing letters might be tough for your child at first. But when those early troubles don’t fade away after a certain age and repetitive trying, it may be possible that your child has a learning disorder.
Some kids may have particularly language disorders, meaning they have trouble understanding language and understanding what they read.
Auditory Processing Disorder
If your child has a problem with distinguishing sounds from background noise and following spoken directions, or may find it difficult to remember things they have heard or have a problem in telling the difference between similar-sounding words, it may be a symptom of an auditory processing disorder.
As children begin doing print based work in kindergarten and have trouble focusing or paying attention to what is being taught to them, they tend to get distracted and avoid tasks.
Moreover, some also become aggressive and tend to behave as if they just don’t want to follow instructions. Distraction is a major symptom of a learning disorder.
If your child has trouble interpreting visual information, he or she will not be able to read or tell the difference between two things that look similar. These children usually have trouble with hand-eye co-ordination, which explains their visual processing disorder.
In simple words, children with learning disorders can see, hear and understand things in a different way as compared to their peers. These disorders are very difficult to diagnose because there is no definitive list of symptoms that fits every child. To add to the difficulty, many children also try to hide these problems, making it very difficult to diagnose.
However, if you sense a learning disorder in your child, it is important to take proactive measures about your child’s learning difficulties. The quicker you are able to diagnose, the sooner you would be able to deal with the child’s problems.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When your child is grown up enough to start cleaning their own room and begin attending school, it’s time for them to learn some organizational skills which would help them in succeeding at school and in their career later in life.
It is true that a few kids are naturally organized; but for many organization is a skill which requires learning over time. Most importantly you will be the perfect person to teach your child these skills. Here are some tips to help your child get more organized.
Help your child inculcate the habit of keeping a to-do list. With the help of checklists, they can post assignments, reminders and make a list of materials that need to be brought to class. Your child can also keep a small notebook which would be dedicated to listing homework assignments and other important tasks.
Planning For Each Task
Encourage your child to get organized by thinking ahead and planning their homework around other extracurricular activities. Time planning tools such as lists can help children keep schedules and help prevent them over estimate what they can get done. A weekly planner or diary will definitely help older students to get organized.
Finishing up means getting the work done, checking the work and putting on finishing touches. For example, remembering to put a homework paper in the right folder and putting the folder inside the backpack, so it is well-organized for the next day.
Try to reserve a shelf or a cabinet for your child by the front door for all the items they need to take to school every day. Label them with color stickers so that the wallet, bus passes and glasses can easily be found. Also you could hang a hook underneath them for their backpack and sports bag.
Time Management Skills
Teach your child time management skills. Your child should know how to complete a particular task within a specific time frame, which would help them to learn how to develop organized methods for completing those tasks.
Remind them when their tasks need to be completed or when their appointments must be met. For example, tell them that they must finish cleaning their room within 15 minutes or until dinner gets ready.
Lastly, reward and support children when they complete organizations tasks properly. Your child might find organizing a challenge, so help them develop their routine and give them a treat for a job well done.
Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This week, mommy Farzana Suhail shared her worries about her kids aged 4 & 6 years who have thin hair. Her doctor has advised her to not oil the hair. She asked FirstCry to talk to other mums and dads and get some advice and suggestions. Here’s what the parents suggested:
- In an empty bottle mix in olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, amla oil and almond oil in equal quantities. Apply it every alternate night
- Do not shave off your child’s head again and again. Many Indian families believe that shaving off a child’s head repeatedly will result in better hair growth, but this is not scientifically proven
- Take care of your child’s diet
- Check with the child’s doctor about iron supplements if they are fussy eaters
- Wash hair 2 times a week with curd
- Castor and sesame oil when mixed and applied give smooth and thick hair Continue reading →