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Why good parenting is like gardening: Article by Twinkle Khanna, Sunday Times

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Twinkle Khanna has a subtle writing style that is consistently funny, real and hard hitting at the same time. Her contributions under Mrs. Funnybones on the Sunday Times are worth a read. Here she writes on one of her favourite topics - parenting. Go here for the full story: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/mrsfunnybones/why-good-parenting-is-like-gardening/

posted Jan 15, 2017 by anonymous

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Photo Source: kqed news

As a new parent, Jack Gilbert got a lot of different advice on how to properly look after his child: when to give him antibiotics or how often he should sterilize his pacifier, for example.

After the birth of his second child, Gilbert, a scientist who studies microbial ecosystems at the University of Chicago, decided to find out what’s actually known about the risks involved when modern-day children come in contact with germs.

By Lulu Garcia-Navarro

https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/07/18/dirt-is-good-why-kids-need-exposure-to-germs/

“It turned out that most of the exposures were actually beneficial,” Gilbert says. “So that dirty pacifier that fell on the floor — if you just stick it in your mouth and lick it, and then pop it back in little Tommy’s mouth, it’s actually going to stimulate their immune system. Their immune system’s going to become stronger because of it.”

Gilbert is now the co-author of a new book called Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System. Presented in a Q&A format, the book seeks to answer many of the questions Gilbert has fielded from parents over the year

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Interview Highlights

What are some things that parents get wrong?

Some of the main things are over-sterilizing their environment, keeping their children from ever getting dirty. So going out into the backyard and playing in the mud, and then as soon as they’re filthy, bringing them in and sterilizing their hands with antiseptic wipes, and then making sure that none of the dirt gets near their faces. Also, keeping them away from animals. The dogs and cats, sure, but also, other animals. It’s fine to wash their hands if there’s a cold or a flu virus around, but if they’re interacting with a dog, and the dog licks their face, that’s not a bad thing. In fact that could be extremely beneficial for the child’s health.

What about hand sanitizer? Good or bad?

Usually bad. Hot, soapy water is fine. Even mildly warm, soapy water is fine, and it’s probably less damaging to the child’s overall health.

How about the five-second rule? The idea that if something falls on the ground and is there for under five seconds, it’s clean.

The five-second rule doesn’t exist. It takes milliseconds for microbes to attach themselves to a sticky piece of jammy toast, for example. But it makes no difference. Unless you dropped it in an area where you think they could be a high risk of extremely dangerous pathogens, which in every modern American home is virtually impossible, then there’s no risk to your child.

Wash a pacifier or lick it if it falls on the ground?

Lick it. A study of over 300,000 children showed that parents who licked the pacifier and put it back in — their kids developed less allergies, less asthma, less eczema. Overall, their health was stronger and more robust.

Are things like allergies an unintended consequence of trying to protect our kids too much?

Absolutely. In the past, we would have eaten a lot more fermented foods, which contain bacteria. We would have allowed our children to be exposed to animals and plants and soil on a much more regular basis. Now we live indoors. We sterilize our surfaces. Their immune systems then become hyper-sensitized. You have these little soldier cells in your body called neutrophils, and when they spend too long going around looking for something to do, they become grumpy and pro-inflammatory. And so when they finally see something that’s foreign, like a piece of pollen, they become explosively inflammatory. They go crazy. That’s what triggers asthma and eczema and often times, food allergies.

Give us some advice. What should I allow my child to do?

Oftentimes, it’s hard to get your kid to eat a healthy diet. I would strongly try to encourage the consumption of more colorful vegetables, more leafy vegetables, a diet more rich in fiber as well as reducing the sugar intake. But just generally, allow your kid to experience the world. As long as they’re properly vaccinated, there’s no threat, and they will actually get a stronger, more beneficial exposure.

 

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Vital growth signs of children's early years of infancy and growth are so important to watch, monitor, track and correct if required. But not surprisingly a big challenge today for super busy parents, where juggling double incomes, careers and home front with little or no support system in place is a monstrous situation. And as you will find in this article, if you miss a vaccination milestone or do not notice an emerging pain point in the child, you and the little one may end up paying a heavy price. So what is the solution to this? Several start-ups in Bengaluru and elsewhere are building a suite of cool apps that help monitor your baby and also track important events to remind parents of what needs to be done. Full story here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/no-parenting-blues-apps-keep-track-of-children-every-day/articleshow/56244568.cms 

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Photo Source: PQ

By Peace Quarters

https://www.peacequarters.com/harvard-psychologists-say-parents-raise-good-kids-5-things/

5 CRITICAL STEPS FOR PARENTS TO TAKE

SPEND QUALITY TIME

Be there. Not just physically, but also emotionally. Listening to your child and making conversations helps you to bond with each other. Also, turn off all the electronics and give them your time without any disturbance. Doing things together will teach your child to be a more caring and considerate person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Play their favorite game together
  • Read them a book
  • Ask them questions about their day

BECOME A ROLE MODEL

Children learn from things they see and experience. Many parents may not notice how much of their behavior young kids see and understand. This is why you should think about your words and actions. When you make mistakes, admit them and apologize. Be the example you want your child to become.

Another important thing is respect, which can only be earned. So always be honest, show that you are a human too and people make mistakes. Also, try to see everything as a lesson and a chance to grow and become a better person. Teach this to your child as well.

Practical things you can do:

  • Always admit your mistakes and apologize for them
  • Talk about problems and finding solutions
  • Find time to take care of yourself, only then you can take care of others

TEACH THEM VALUES

It is important that your child communicates with others and learns to share in the young age. Taking other peoples’ feelings in consideration and being selfless is an essential feature and can become beneficial in the future.

The Harvard study found that caring about others is as important as one’s happiness. This is something that parents need to teach their children consistently because sometimes the message is not received quickly.

As a parent, you must always be an example. This means taking responsibility and doing the right thing (even when it is not the most convenient thing to do). Be a role model and confirm your words with your actions. Remind them, that others are counting on them and it is not nice to let people down.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach them every day to be kind
  • Make them take responsibility for their actions and stick to their commitments. Do not just let them quit a sport or end a friendship. It is always easier to just give up, but it is not always the right thing to do.

     

TEACH THEM GRATITUDE

Teach them to appreciate people and things in their life. Tell them about the history and trying times, so they would understand how lucky they are to live in this time with plenty of opportunities. Teach them not to take their life and possibilities for granted.

The study has shown, that people, who practice gratitude in their everyday lives, are more helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving. What is most important – they are more happy and healthy. So it is a key feature in a real person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Remind your child to be grateful in everyday life
  • Teach them to show respect and appreciation for people (family members, teachers, neighbors) in their lives
  • Be the role model and do not take individuals and things in your life for granted

SHOW THEM THE BIGGER PICTURE

It is a commonly known fact that children care about a small circle of family and friends. This is normal, but the difficult challenge is to teach them to empathize with people outside their circle.

Children need to learn that it all starts with people and that they can make a big difference in someone’s life. So it is important to show kindness towards people you do not know so well (new kid in class, the shopkeeper, the cleaning lady).

The Harvard study suggested that children should learn to zoom in and listen carefully to those, who are part of their inner circle but also to zoom out and take in consideration the bigger range of people they interact with on a daily basis.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach your child empathy – teach them to comfort a crying kid and reach out to a new classmate
  • Have conversations about different people and their lives. Talk about people with different religions, beliefs, communities, and countries
  • Teach them not to have prejudices and to show kindness to people around them
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Photo Source: Motherly

By- Christina-Clemer

https://www.mother.ly/child/7-key-phrases-montessori-teachers-use-and-why-we-should-use-them-too-

Montessori can be hard to sum up in just a few words—it is a philosophy on education and child development that runs deep. It’s a way of seeing the world. I think one of the easiest ways to get an idea for what Montessori means is to listen to the language that Montessori teachers use.

Montessori teachers use language that respects the child and provides consistent expectations. Words are chosen carefully to encourage children to be independent, intrinsically motivated critical thinkers.

Here are seven common phrases you’d probably hear in any Montessori classroom, and how to incorporate them into your home life.

1. “I saw you working hard.”

The focus on process over product is a key tenet of Montessori. We avoid telling the children “good work” or “your work is beautiful” and instead comment on how they concentrated for a long time, or how they wrote so carefully and their work could be easily read by anyone.

Praising your child’s hard work, rather than his results, helps instill a growth mindset where he believes he can improve through his own efforts.

Instead of telling your child, “You’re a good boy,” tell him “I noticed you being kind to your little brother yesterday when you shared your truck.” This shows him you see his good behavior, without placing judgments on him. Instead of telling him, “You’re such a good artist,” try, “I noticed you kept working on your picture until you got it just how you wanted it.”

2. “What do you think about your work?”

In Montessori, the child is his own teacher. The teachers are there as guides to give him lessons and help him but he discovers things for himself through the carefully prepared environment and materials.

Self-analysis is a big part of that discovery.

When your child asks you, “Do you like my picture?” try asking her about it instead of just saying you love it. Ask her what she thinks about it, how she decided what colors to use, and what her favorite part is. Help her start to evaluate her work for herself, rather than looking for your approval.

3. “Where could you look for that?”

Independence is another key value in any Montessori classroom or home. Our goal as teachers is to help the children do things for themselves. So while it’s sometimes easier to simply answer a child’s question about where something is or how to do something, we often answer questions with another question such as, “Where could you look for that?” or “Which friend could you ask for help?”

If your son loses his shoe and you see it peeking out from under the bed, try asking leading questions, rather than just handing it to him.

“Where were you when you took your shoes off? Have you checked your room?” This may take a little more time, but it will be worth it when he starts taking more initiative and coming to you less.

4. “Which part would you like my help with?”

In a Montessori classroom, children are responsible for many things, including taking care of their environment. Children often take great pride in this responsibility, spending time arranging flowers to put on tables, watering the garden, and happily washing the windows and tables.

Sometimes though, a job is just too big and overwhelming. In these cases, we ask the child how we can help. We don’t want to swoop in and “save the day,” sending the message that the child is not capable, but we also don’t want to leave the child overwhelmed.

For example: If your child is tired, but needs to put her Legos away before bed, all of those pieces can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing though. Try “which color would you like me to put away” or “I’ll put away the yellow pieces and you put away the blue” to show that you’re in it together.

5. “In our class, we ….” (Or at home— “In our home, we…”)

This little phrase is used to remind the children of any number of classroom rules and desired behaviors. Phrasing reminders as objective statements about how the community works, rather than barking commands, is much more likely to elicit cooperation from a child.

“In our class, we sit while we eat” is less likely to incite a power struggle than “Sit down.”

Like all of us, children want to be a part of the community, and we simply remind them of how the community works.

If you have a rule about walking in the house, instead of “stop running,” try saying “we walk inside our house” and see if you get fewer arguments.

6. “Don’t disturb him, he’s concentrating.”

Protecting children’s concentration is a fundamental part of the Montessori philosophy. Montessori classes give children big blocks of uninterrupted work time, usually three hours. This allows children to develop deep concentration, without being disturbed because the schedule says it’s time to move on to learning something else.

It can be tempting to compliment a child who is working beautifully, but sometimes even making eye contact is enough to break their concentration.

Next time you walk by your child while he’s focused on drawing a picture or building a tower, try just walking by instead of telling him how great it is. You can make a mental note and tell him later that you noticed him concentrating so hard on his creation.

7. “Follow the Child.”

This last one is an important one. It’s something Montessori teachers say to each other and to parents—not to the child. We often remind each other to “follow the child,” to trust that each child is on his or her own internal developmental timeline, that he is doing something for a reason.

This reminds us to search for the reason behind the behavior. It reminds us that not all children will be walking by one or reading by four—they haven’t read the books and couldn’t care less about the milestones they are “supposed to” reach.

Following the child means remembering that each child is unique and has his own individual needs, passions, and gifts, and he should be taught and guided accordingly.

If you can’t get your child interested in reading, try watching what he does love—if he loves being silly, it may be that a joke book is what piques his interest, not the children’s classic you had in mind. Remembering to “follow your child” can help you see him in a different way and work with him instead of against him.

One of beautiful things about Montessori is that it is so much more than a type of education—it is a way of seeing and being with children. Even if your child does not go to Montessori school, you can easily bring the ideas into your home and watch your child’s independence and concentration grow.

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