Seema Shetty wrote to us about a concern she has for her child, her son refuses to go to play school and throws tantrums when he is in the playschool. She is worried and asked us to advice her on the same.
We asked our community of moms for their suggestions to help solve Seema’s problem and have included their advice below.
It is quite normal for some children to resist a new environment like playschool. Many of them suffer from separation anxiety when taken away from their parents. Usually this fear goes away in a few weeks, but you can help your child adjust to new environment by introducing him to it gradually.
Spend some time along with him in the playschool so that he realises it is not something to be afraid of. Allow him to become familiar with his new surroundings and the new people in his life before you leave. Once he starts to have interact with his new classmates and have fun with them, he will not mind your absence as much.
Ask the teacher to entice him with play, toys and fun activities so he knows that it is a fun place to be. Soon he will begin to look forward to his time in school and with his friends.
We are grateful to the parents below for their input.
Pooja Sandhu Choudhuri, Aditi Jagtap Deshmukh, Cristyl Murray, Insiya Makda, Insiya Makda
This is very important as playing helps the baby grow and learn about the world around them. In fact, it gradually shapes the overall development and personality of a child.
The development of sense of colors, textures, sounds and other senses takes place in most kids through play. They are drawn towards bright colors and parents can use this platform for teaching them about those senses.
Try and cut out large and attractive shapes and hang them around in the house. Your child will love to see them flying in the wind and learn all about colors too.
Some kids are very fond of music from a very young age. They enjoy listening to various kinds of music and respond to them as well. It is like a game to them. Take this opportunity to recite nursery rhymes to your child. Try and make the rhyme sound rhythmic and musical so that the child develops interest in the words and rhythm. Also try reading to the child as this is a very good habit to inculcate.
Make eating time interesting to the child. In a small bowl put some healthy food and provide a spoon as well. Give the bowl to the child, while you feed him from a separate bowl and spoon. See how the child learns to hold the spoon by imitating you and how he learns the skill of taking food from the bowl with the spoon and attempting to eat it. Things might be very messy at first, but your kid will love the learning process.
Take the baby to the park and let them enjoy the sounds and smells of nature. Do not interfere with his movements, but keep a strict watch on what he is doing. Let him move around, play with kids of his own age and interact. This will help him in developing interactive and communication skills. Even if he falls down while playing, as long as the injuries are not serious, let him get up on his own. Let his confidence level build.
Kids learn about the world around them through interacting with objects, people and things. Games and play are some of the best ways to teach them about all these in a fun and memorable way.
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Nitu Singh wrote to us and told us about a concern she has for her son who is almost 4 years old. She says that he is violent and aggressive at home as well as in school and has also started hitting people wherever he goes. She wants to know how she can handle this behaviour of his. She is concerned and has asked us for some advice.
We asked our community of parents online for their advice and have incorporated their feedback below.
Although it is shocking, aggression can develop even in normal kids, who may react to fearful incidents or to other people with violence. A lot of the time it happens because kids are unable to express themselves in healthier ways, such as verbally.
Most kids outgrow such behaviour as they learn to express themselves verbally. However, this does not mean it is acceptable behaviour.
First, assess whether it is something in your child’s environment that is causing the aggression. Too much exposure to violent cartoons can cause behavioural changes in kids. Limit his exposure to television and any violent games or influences.
Ensure that he is not being abused, either physically or emotionally, by a maid or a member of the household. Ensure that you and your spouse are dealing with your differences in a healthy manner. If there is any abuse or violence in the household, the child will pick it up as acceptable.
Respond quickly to any aggressive or violent behaviour. Do not wait until it gets too bad and never lose your own temper. Stop your child calmly, but firmly, and give them a brief “time-out” to cool down. Remove them from any situations where they may cause harm to themselves or others.
Be consistent in setting limits. Do not give in at any time and never allow them to get away with hitting or any other acts of violence. Ensure that there are consequences, like missing out on fun with others, or taking away their games or toys until they calm down.
Try to get your child to talk about their frustrations when they have calmed down. Make a genuine attempt to understand what they are going through. You could also keep a behaviour chart and reward good behaviour with stars and a treat at the end of the week.
Make sure your child is expending his energy in a healthy way. Let him take up a sport, perhaps something that you can be part of, so that he vents in a healthy manner. Spending more quality time with your child may also help.
If all your efforts fail, take your child to a child psychologist for an evaluation.
Our thanks go out to all these helpful parents:
Puneet Wadhwani, Nivedita Poddar, Misha Bhattal, Pooja Ahuja, Vyona Lobo Ribeiro, Pooja W. Mazumder, Bharath Reddy, Madhusmita Mishra, Misha Bhattal, Aman Tiwari
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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.
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Parents end up spending a huge sum of money on preparations and once the baby arrives, a great deal of attention is spent on meeting the new baby’s basic needs.
Unfortunately, all this can become really taxing for the first child. It is very important to communicate with the elder sibling and let them known their importance.
Parents can prepare their first child for an addition to the family by appropriately discussing it. It is important to be patient and to also answer all their curious queries.
For example, a 4-year-old child may point at your belly and ask you what is there in side or is this where babies come from? Such questions may be difficult to answer, but you can try explaining it at your child’s level of comprehension.
In order to prepare your first child for their new sibling, read on for some tips that maybe helpful:
Have your child experience the child kicking and have them touch and hold the baby if they want to, but don’t force them, only let them do it if they like and want to.
Go through the child’s own baby photos with and tell them how excited you were when they were born. This will be fun for them and help them understand and learn what a newborn looks like.
Make your child understand that they will have a new member joining the family who would be sharing everything with them, including the parents time. It is important to make them feel equally important and loved.
Handle all disruptive behavior firmly and fairly. It is usual for siblings to behave crankily as they feel displaced by the younger sibling. This is primarily because the parents tend to spend more time with the newborn to satisfy his or her needs.
Most children feel uneasy when they see mothers focusing on the birth of a new family member. All that you really can do at this time is provide lots of love and support so that they regain their confidence.
Tell the child, that they will now be an elder brother or sister and must set an example for the younger one. This will make the child feel more confident about their position.
Finally, at this crucial point of your life, do not make big changes like changing your job or shifting to a new house, as these will pose additional pressure on your already-stressed child. Try maintaining the same routine that you had been for the last few months.
So what was your experience introducing your first child to a new baby? Do share in the comments below.
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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.
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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.
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Although tantrums are part of daily life with most toddlers, they are much less frequent with some. However, you can definitely prevent many meltdowns by organizing your toddler’s life so that they end up throwing fewer tantrums.
Why Toddlers Have Meltdowns
Parents need to understand that, as your little baby grows and explores their world, they begin to realise that more and more things are within their control. They are also naturally exploring their limits and those of their caregivers. There is a reason why the Terrible Twos deserve that name.
Tantrums or meltdowns are a natural process of your toddler gaining more independence and control over their functions and actions. Parents should not take these meltdowns personally, but instead avoid creating situations that can exacerbate them, such as when your child is tired, hungry or just cranky.
It isn’t easy to deal with tantrums, but there are few tricks which could help you deal with such scenarios. The key is to get inside their little heads and outfox them before you get to the stage of failing to win with grown-up logic.
Don’t Lose Your Cool
A tantrum is definitely not a pretty sight. Kicking, screaming, pounding the floor, throwing and hitting things are quite common among toddlers. If you find yourself getting frustrated, then just calmly leave the room for a few minutes and return to your child after they have stopped crying. By keeping your cool, you will help your child to calm down too.
Bring Out The Toys
One of the many reasons why kids don’t always want to do what you ask them to do is because they are engrossed in what they are already doing. For example, a child who doesn’t have any underlying bath time issues might ignore you if you ask them to take a bath; yet would come along willingly when you ask them which toys they would like to take along. The same works for going from bath to bed or for any other matter.
Don’t Try Reasoning
Trying to approach a child’s anger logically will not work. Toddlers are not logical creatures and when they are in the middle of their tantrum, talking is not going to work. Thus, the best possible thing to do would be to divert their attention from what it is that is upsetting them. For example, try giving them a hug or a toy to distract them. As toddlers generally have very short attention spans, it just might work.
Cut Down On Junk Food
Certain foods can make your little angels turn into complete rascals. For example, sweets generally trigger blood sugar fluctuations which can cause mood swings and caffeine in drinks makes them hyper. Avoid sugary foods and never give your child energy drinks, tea or coffee.
If your child’s tantrums seem to be occurring on a frequent basis or if they are hurting themselves or other people, then seek help from an expert. The expert would be able to discuss your child’s behavior with you at routine checkups, help figure out reasons for such behavior and ways to deal with it.
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We asked our community of mothers for advice and these are the suggestions they came up with.
Adapting to Playschool
Sending a child to school at 1.5 years of age may not be a good idea. The child may not be equipped to handle school at this tender age. It’s quite normal for a child to cry at this age due to separation anxiety and the stress of meeting strangers at school.
However, you can make the transition easier by narrating fascinating stories about school, teachers and activities, to help your child look forward to going to playschool. You could also try first sending your child to summer camp where they have fun activities, so they get used to the idea of going to school.
Take the child to school half an hour early to show them how all their friends come to school without crying. Stay with the child until they are calm. You can try giving some small gifts to the teacher that they can then hand to the child as they come in. This will help them look forward to going to school.
Ask the teachers to help them adapt by allowing them to play only as it is not time to study at this age. Share your child’s likes and dislikes with the teachers as there is no issue with letting them indulge the child at this age.
Most kids love to be with other kids and they should settle down and start enjoying school in a month or so. You could ask your baby if there is some aspect of the classroom that is bothering them. It may be cold, or they may not like the teacher, or perhaps they are being bullied by other kids.
Taking a Bath
Proper time management is essential to get kids into a routine. Early to bed, early to rise is a good practice to follow. Teach them that brushing and bathing are good habits. YouTube has some nice videos for kids showing why cleanliness is important. You can find ones featuring characters like the Teletubbies that your child loves.
Try getting the child some fun bath toys to play with in the tub while bathing. Let them have fun and only start cleaning them with soap when they are enjoying the water. You could wait till afternoon to give them a bath. Not everyone likes taking a bath in the morning, especially in winter.
Thanks to these amazing moms for their input:
Geetanjali Kirti, Seema Kukreja, Grishma Jeegar Doshi, Neelam Das, Dr.Kirti Bansal, Neelam Das, Prerna Mahajan, Papiya Dawn, Panchami Praveen Shamain, Radha Vishwanath, Lavanya Reddy, Deepti Chaturvedi Roy, Pooja Sharma, Shweta Koul, Jayshree Banerjee, Aditi Dahiya Khera, Sindu Anand, Papiya Dawn, Savita Chaudhary, Chitrashree Harsha.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.