Dec 29, 2009

Family Portraits

While I cooked in the kitchen, DD brought out her favorite doodle set gifted by her Uncle who stays in USA and told me that she wanted to draw the baby. The curious 'me', immediately dropped the ladle to catch a glimpse of our 'to-be-born' baby and this is what she drew.
Then, Mummy said, "Now can you draw Mummy and the baby?"
She said, "No, first I will draw Baba (Daddy)".
Mummy said, "Ok, you draw Baba first". Here's how Baba looks like.

Then, Mummy said, "How about drawing Mumma now?" (hoping to see a fat-fat preggy me)

"No. Now I will draw ME."
"Ok!," said Mummy. "It's my turn now".

"Ok!" She said....
....and this is how Mummy looks like...

Poor Mummy!!! Cheeky Monkey!

Dec 17, 2009

At Peace with Pastels!

Daddy's again having his spurt of creativity. This time its with pastel colours. Daddy just loves immersing himself in his world of solitude on some of those wonderful weekends bringing 'life' to blank paper. Ruhani too loves these times with Daddy trying her hand (with pastel rubbed all over her hands, dress and also on paper).

Here are some of Ruhani and Daddy's creations. While the duo are at work, the 'heavily preggy Mommy' (who else but me) relaxes on the sofa. The music in the background fills the air. The heart fills with pride. The hours pass and the seldom found 'silence' in the house is again lost in oblivion. Enjoy the pictures of Ruhani followed by her Daddy.

Dec 6, 2009


An artist uses his imagination to paint vivid pictures with his or her brush strokes. An author sketches the same out in words. When you read a book you are transported in an era where the author has decided to take you whether it is the dinosaur age, the modern times on Earth or on the Maritian land.

Nowadays children are too busy going from class to class trying to acquire various qualities that will boost their persona. Most parents forget that a child needs to play to be creative. Let your child play as much as they can.
Take your brain on a rollercoaster ride.

 DD's latest fascination has been aligning up shoes and socks to make a rollercoaster. She had recently seen the rollercoaster at Times Square. Since then, shoes and socks are taken out often inviting Mummy and Baba to sit in her rollercoaster. Anyone interested in a rollercoaster ride, just jump in.

A free mind loves to indulge in creativity. Watch your child as he merrily spins his own pretend games and plays to let his or her imagination soar.  

Nov 27, 2009

Honesty is the best policy

Its not uncommon for parents to commit mistakes. And when they do, its quite amusing when your little one points it out to you on your face. Our daughter had been reprimanded a few times for having tried out her drawing skills on this very wall.

The other day, daddy tried throwing an object on the wall which said it had vanishing ink, but the ink didnt vanish and left a mark on the the greatest annoyance of Mummy.

DD (already knows the answer coz she has asked it several times now): Mumma, Who did that?
Mumma: Baba did it.
DD (shaking her head in disapproval) : Oh Baba! He is very very naughty. (lol)
Mumma (pondering later): A mistake is a mistake is a mistake. Its better to admit it truthfully if I want her to be truthful too later.

Nov 10, 2009

Painting personalized cards

Occasions like birthdays are the best time for children to shower their love. What better to say it with when one can use one's own hard work and creativity to make something that is truly their own.

The world's most exciting achievement for my daughter is having a 'Birthday' - Cutting the cake, blowing the candles, getting birthday cards and recieving presents, something we adults also enjoy. DD hums the popular birthday song on Playhouse Disney Channel about Birthdays being 'special' with birthday parties, birthday cakes. "We love birthdays. Have a happy special, wonderful, magical Playhouse Disney Birthday".

Goes without saying that Baba's darling wanted to make Baba's Birthday 'special' too.
She insisted that we buy a cake and birthday card for Papa. So, I bought a cake while hubby was in office and a card from my side. She of course blew one side of the candles before Baba could blow them out.

As for the card, we decided to make it at home. I sat the earlier evening to help her make a birthday card for Papa.

She loves playing with watercolours. So, she readily agreed when I asked her if she wanted to paint a card for Baba. I decided to keep the water away so she doesnt destroy her painting by flooding it with water. She enjoyed opening the tubes, dabbling some paint on to the brush and putting it on paper. She would not let me touch her brush though. So, I let her do whatever she wanted on it. I asked her to make a 'sun' in the beginning but it turned out, she wanted to make 'Baba'.

And wasn't Baba pleased? Sure he was.

That's 'Baba' and 'DD' enjoying their dinner date together to celebrate the happy and special day.

Sep 22, 2009

How to make a Pirate Hat

Ahoy there! Recently we were invited to a pirate themed birthday party where DD had to wear a pirate dress.

Here is a pirate hat that I made for my daughter. Its quite simple to make.

1. All you have to do is grab 3 sheets of newspaper (two sided- no half sheets) for making a sturdy hat.
2. Spread it out infront of you sideways.
3. If you fold on the front at the middle from both sides (leave a little bit of space in the middle), 4. Take the first 3 sheets, fold them up and crease it. Do the same on the back side of the hat.
5. Measure your child's head size and staple it on both sides of the head so that it fits nicely on the head. Now the base of the hat is done.
6. You may use black construction paper or paint to colour the hat. I painted the hat black and sketched a skull on it to give it the pirate hat look.
7. I also added ribbons to the hat so that it could be fastened on her neck.

There you go, Mates! Your hat is done.

Sep 2, 2009

Dabbling with water colours...

Isn't it fun to pick up a paint brush and a box of water colours a jar of water and see your child pour his/her creative juices on paper. When letting your toddler enjoy watercolours, remember that 'Play' should be the keyword.

Let the flow of the brush, the dabbling of paint and water take its course on paper. Once they are done, you can pose a question, "I wonder what this looks like?"

These are some of the paintings that my two and half year old daughter created with her dad's participation over a period of two weekends and also the original titles of the paintings as she thought it depicted.

Title: A House in the Clouds

Title: The hiding sun

Title: A rose

Title: The Green Jungle

Title: 'Ellie' - The Elephant

Some of these paintings have been slightly modified to give it some shape to make it more meaningful for her. She is beginning to understand how a blend of colours can bring out a beautiful picture.

It is important to encourage them to enjoy the watercolours and 'discover' what they made instead of teaching them various techniques of handling the colours.

Aug 20, 2009

Your child has a lot of potential

Discover it. There was a 'Mommy and Me Weekend' held at Bangsar Village a while back where my daughter's School Principal requested me to take her to show her development on her 'Reading abilities'. Frankly, I was quite sceptical whether she would be able to say or read anything on the stage but her Principal sounded quite confident about her.
It teaches not to underestimate the potential of kids. Also, it fills my heart with love and pride. Her Principal was so happy that she took her to a cartoonist who immediately sketched out her caricature and also another girl who made a painting on her hand. My daughter was overjoyed.

May 15, 2009

An Artsee p'Art'y

What do you expect FOUR friends to do, that too 'women' (two married with no kids, one with a baby, the other with a toddler) when they come together on a lazy afternoon. No, they dont gossip about the latest scandal in town, they dont bitch about their friends and colleagues, or talk about how frustrating it could get at times with kids, or how respective hubbies haven't been taking their responsibilities seriously or how the maid spends hours chatting to her boyfriend on her phone.

They grab pieces of paper and create what may be called 'Art'. That is how it was on 13th May when my friends came over for a different sort of party. It was an 'Artsee' Party. Some even came armed with their own tools and paper and invoked Goddess Saraswati before they began (atleast that's my interpretation). That's my talented friend Vedanti all set for the show. (I've skipped uploading your drawing as per your request, but i think it was done beautifully and is worth sharing.)
It was heartwarming to see our new & busy mommy also pitch in to let out her creative spirit. Three Cheers to Mommy Sneha for being such a sport. She drew like a pro, just picked up the pencil and started sketching and was done in no time, while all of us still unsure what to draw watched with our eyeballs popping out. Talking of eyeballs, the one with the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen, Mouli drew her most favourite subject, 'the eyes'. She is not only a talented singer, a successful dancer, but also an artist, a 'truly creative' person amongst us. I was amazed at her drawing of the eyes.

Her art which she termed 'unfinished' had such magnetic charm I could just sit and admire it for hours.

I also could not resist myself from picking up the pencils and letting my heart out. Although I completed this the morning after when my daughter left for school.

Do you know that the age group of this fun afternoon party started from age two.
Yes, that's my daughter sitting with all of us, pouring all her creative juices on paper, (doing more of scribbling than drawing). She wanted everyone's approval after she made a stroke on paper. So, she was becoming more of a nuisance than anything else. She soon lost interest like all two year olds (with very low attention span) and ran off to play with her blocks.
Everything else beside the flower on the picture below is her masterpiece. :D
She had drawn daddy for the 'nth' time on her doodle set too. I am soo jealous.
We would have also invited our youngest and cutest friend, six month old 'Aarav', Sneha's son to join his artee elders. Anyway, next time Aarav! He instead chose to give us a different talent show altogether. Isn't he simply adorable?
Thanks everyone for coming over and being such a sport for the memorable party! It was indeed fun.

May 9, 2009

Drawing before Mother's Day

Just a day before Mother's Day, Mummy chanced upon a drawing lying on DD's desk while she was sleeping in her room.
Isn't it cute? I love the smile on the face. Is that DD herself with her chubby cheeks and cheeky smile or is that Mummy trying to guage if her daughter has been up to some little mischief again (with eyebrows raised)! hehe..
Mummy is soo soo proud of her. I admire her drawing while my little one peacefully sleeps... I will ask her once she wakes up about the subject of her drawing.

May 2, 2009

My Shichida Testimonial

I’m writing this testimonial to share with others the remarkable progress of my daughter after she joined Shichida at 7 months. Shichida is a school for right brain development which was started by a Japanese person Makato Shichida many many years back. The techniques used has been found to be useful and successful not only in Japan but also in other countries like Singapore and Malaysia.

At 12 months, she knew how to blow, paste stickers, said ‘Happy’ while I was showing her the ‘Feelings’ flashcards. She could also say simple words like ball, fan etc.

At 18 months, she started speaking many words. She knew the phonics song, the different sounds of animals etc.

At 20 months, she started talking sentences, could match and sort shapes, colours, etc.

At 24 months, she could sing the ABCD song and many other nursery rhymes, had letter recognition from A-Z, knew number counting till 15-20, correctly. A friend of mine (another Shichida parent) showed her a bird flashcard and she immediately said ‘Sparrow’. I do many flashcards with her - one category being ‘birds’.

Now, at 25 months, she has good photomemory, ESP, linking memory, loves drawing and singing, can write few letters and knows her opposites : tall-short, heavy-light, and simple addition like : 1+1, 2+1.

Sensei has played a major role by being very supportive and encouraging and making the activities enjoyable leaving a mark of her charming personality. Also, she has inspired me to keep following the program regularly at home.

Thus, I have experienced how a good program like Shichida, positive interaction by a good teacher and regular home practice can help in overall child development. I would recommend Shichida Method to all parents...and no, Shichida hasn't paid me for writing this. :D I am just too pleased with Shichida.

See your baby talk

Here is my reply to a query expressed by one of my readers, a mum of a 16 month old on how to encourage her 16 month old to speak more and how to communicate with one's child. The faster your child learns to speak, the faster you will be able to understand the needs of your child and reduce the frustration and crying of your little toddler.
There are lots of views on using sign language for babies. It could be interesting to see how fast your baby picks up some of the signs to be able to communicate correctly with you.
There are quite a few things that you could do to increase your baby's vocabulary.

1) First and foremost, don't pressurize your baby to speak. Just let her be while giving her lots of input on all the things that you see. Just keep TALKING a lot to her in ADULT language. It can seem weird but they grasp words quickly.
2) Use lots of picture flashcards (pictures on one side and text on the other) and show her at very fast speed. Note that you would need a thumb holder (available at the stationary section in Popular or other book stores). Gradually, you can encourage her to say the word instead of letting it out.
3) Teach her how to blow if she doesnt know already. You can make an octopus with threads hanging as legs and ask her to blow it. You can make various interesting craft work and ask her to blow. Once she knows how to blow, you can ask her to blow a candle. Also, ask her to blow a whistle to see how much strength she has in her blow. She will be able to pronounce words like P, Kh, etc. that require air to be blown out of the mouth.
4) Listening is the first step to speaking. Babies love nursery rhymes. Rhymes, Finger rhymes, Action rhymes are tools that you can use. Start with simple rhymes like 'Johny Johny' or 'Are you sleeping'. Finger rhymes like 'Two little blackbirds sitting on a wall', Action rhymes like 'Eensy Winsy spider'. Something that is very easy to pick up.
5) Sing regularly to her. Children love music and will start humming and then saying the words in no time.

6) Some children dont speak much because all that they want to say is being understood beforehand. Sometimes, act as if you are just not getting it (without telling her in words that she needs to speak). But, dont do it too often.

7) Read picture books to her everyday and point out the pictures while spelling out the words clearly.
8) Follow her focus of attention. This is something I did a lot while dealing with my child. Instead of asking her to say words that you want her see, you can follow her eyesight and keep giving words to her that SHE is looking at. Say when she is looking at a ball under the sofa. Dont ask her to see a 'bird'. Focus on her object of attention. Tell her, "Yes, get the ball".

9) How to speak to your child: Speak short simple sentences of 3-4 words in a sentence. Break up all your conversation into short sentences. For example: "I am hungry. I need food". Say a bit loudly but slowly with lots of intonation in your voice.

10) Use lots of play sounds while you play with him/her. Children love it. Let her be surrounded by lots of 'Swishhhh', 'vroom vroom', 'Crashhh', 'Splashh', 'baa baa', 'moo moo', 'tick tock' and so on.

11) Use a lot of repetition. Look, there's the ball. Its a blue ball. Can u throw the ball? Give the ball to Daddy.

12) Repeat what she says or is meaning to say back to her in meaningful words without showing that you are correcting her.
13) DONT ask questions. Dont let her feel the discomfort of being asked to speak. Let it come naturally.
14) DON'T comment on the way she is expected to speak or say that she does not speak to all your friends. Children catch messages very fast.

15) Make sure its not too noisy when you are speaking to her. Anything that could distract her attention can be tuned off, like the television, phone etc.

Activities for a 16-20 month old: Make a game of naming the parts of her body. Teach her the sounds that animals make. She would also love activities like scribbling with colour pencils, banging drums, building a tower of cups, fitting, filling emptying etc.
You will find many more activites in my blog earlier posts in the category 'Children Activities'.
Your baby will talk eventually. So, do not stress or over pressurize him/her to talk. And in case you suspect that your child has a speech problem, schedule an appointment with a speech therapist as soon as possible if the above techniques dont work.

Apr 25, 2009

ART@2years 2months: 'Daddy'

Drawing is something my daughter enjoys a lot. She enjoys drawing more on the DoodlePro than on paper. Probably its easier for her to draw and erase.

Today, Daddy's doll drew 'Daddy' yet again!

But...but...but....why is Daddy always in the sleeping position? Can u see Daddy's bulging belly? :D

Mummy is waiting to see herself too one day (hopefully slimmer atleast in the drawing).
Daddy was so happy to see her work that he agreed to pose as per her drawing.

Apr 9, 2009

Is Creativity A Gift or A Barrier?

Could life be topsy turvy for a child trying to be too creative? Sometimes I have been made to wonder if the other way of looking at things could make your brain go haywire.
Nowadays, parents prefer stimulating their little ones right from the time they inhabit their mother's womb. Research shows that stimulation does help in increasing the number of networks created in the brain thus leading to multiple intelligences depicted in a child.
No wonder that children are becoming smarter with every generation. Not only that, innovation has become the need of the hour for every profession. Thus parents are trying to find means and ways to give children as much exposure as they can from childhood. That is how the Baby Einstein cds are going off the shelves.
What could be the consequences of all this? Are we trying to go against nature? Could there be a negative outcome to this? Would you fail from being a normal well-functioning humanbeing if you started seeing everything differently? Could you mature faster than your age leading to other problems in the future? Could it be difficult for a child to cope up with his/her peer group at school? Could your child be subjected to ridicule or to the contrary have too much of expectation to live up to? Could your child be made to feel different? Could he/she become a loner/a snob? Could your child's teacher penalize your child for trying to think more than is required not following the codes acceptable in the traditional education system?
It is worth pondering on all this and find your best possible solution for parenting your own kid. So, what if your child looks at the creases on your bedsheet and spots mountains and valleys. So what if your child watches her own little TV screen, 'the cushion' while Mom watches her own favourite soap on TV! (Yes, its my friend's daughter's story). Isn't that what creativity is all about? Should that natural urge be curbed? Life would be so boring if we just saw things the way they are. Finding meaning in things in day-to-day life is what makes life so precious, so meaningful.
So, what-the-heck! Let them be their own selves and enjoy their creative power as long as it lasts! Gulp all your fears and fearful thoughts with a sip of kopi-tarik.
The other day my daughter was sailing in her boats of fancy. She was singing 'Row row row the boat' when she dropped two cushions on the floor while I watched with intrigue what she was up to.
She enjoyed her boat ride while I enjoyed watching her easily transcend into the world of her imagination from reality.

Do I smile when I watch the video. I must admit, "yes, I do".
So, is creativity a gift or a barrier? Do share your thoughts.

Apr 7, 2009

I Can Read Now

Flipping books has always been a fun pastime for DD. I am glad that she loves books as much as we do.

I have shared earlier on the types of books we've got for her in the past. She has seen loads of books on various categories in her two years of life, from soft cloth books to hardbound books to real books (with thin pages). She loves watching the pictures and listening to stories.

I show her flashcards and read aloud books to her and try to make it fun whenever we are with books. She often picks up a book and comes up to me wanting to know what is going on in the book. :)

Here's an update on her development. She has started reading a full sentence. She surprised me all of a sudden by reading the sentence, "N is for Nest" in one of her books about a week ago.

Here is a video of her reading@25 months from her playschool book. Thanks to the teacher too who made this possible. I am quite excited although this is just the beginning.

For parents who might want to know the secret behind teaching your toddler reading: It is important to look at the foundation before you start building an apartment. So, don't be too pushy or force your toddler to 'read'. It will come automatically.

Let the child enjoy the process of loving books first. It is better not to have high expectations as it will lead to a build up of stress in your mind that the child could easily decipher. If you pressurize your child to read, he will lose interest in the activity altogether. So, take it slow but keep on trying.

For parents who already know the secret to teaching your toddler to read, please do share your tips and learnings.

Drawing and Post Rationalization

While most of us draw with something in mind before we start, only few of us let the pencil take the flow.

My view is toddlers who are unaware of where the pen/pencil might take her, draw with an open, free mind. It is only with time that they start thinking that 'now i am going to draw an apple and then draw it'.

All they see is an empty space that needs to be filled. Their eager hands get curious of what wonderful thing can emerge with just a stroke of a pen. Its something similar now with my own toddler. She just scribbles something with no intention of drawing the same, and then wonders how the image came into being.

Here, she scribbled as usual and out emerged what she said is 'a sleeping man'. She kept saying, "Mumma look-sleeping man." Now, is that a pre-drawing skill or is it just chance? I wonder. :)

Apr 5, 2009

Visual Imagination

Children can see complex things in simple stuff. It is for us parents to understand, appreciate and encourage more such creative thinking.
While it is easier for us to just focus on the obvious, for example, tell her these are three balloons (see video below), by appreciating her ability to see a 'choo choo train', opens up possibilities to increase imagination, by seeing similar other objects in day-to-day life.
As Freud says that 'poetic imagination is a form of substitution and can be seen in the play of childhood. Fantasy is playfulness. Fantasy is the adult's potential for play. It involves a flight from reality'.

Let us all transcend into the world of fantasy and imagination and see the wonders out there, thereby encouraging our little ones to think alike.

Identifying Shapes

My daughter's favourite song on Shapes is 'Shapes shapes all around so many shapes in busy town, If you look then you can find lots of shapes of many kind'.

While having her piece of cucumber she suddenly pointed out with excitement, "See, Moon. See crescent". Before i could take out the camera to take the photo she had already taken another bite.

Mar 31, 2009

Drawing of the Day

DD has developed a sudden love for drawing. She loves making different pictures and showing it to Mummy. Most of the drawings did not make sense till lately. Does this look like a BIRD to you? If yes, then she sees what we see..., and if not she sees, what we don't see. :D She says its the OWL.

The Wings of Imagination

It is so wonderful to live in a world full of imagination. A child sees this world in his own light. He can think beyond what appears to his eyes and can connect to other non-exisitng images. But, we adults choose to stop living in this imaginary world and prefer reality instead.

Simple things that go unnoticed to the adult eyes, things that we take for granted, look so interesting to a child's innocent eyes.

Here is an example.

Yesterday we went for dinner outside. While my daughter was seated on her highchair she suddenly started making noises of 'Zoom Zoom Zoom'.

Then she pointed out that she had just seen an aeroplane. Look at the image below to spot her aeroplane.

Jamie Paolinetti quotes, "Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless."

I am reminded of the song by R. Kelly that I used to love singing once.
Listen to the song here

It goes something like this:

I believe I can fly...
I believe I can touch the sky...
I think about it every night and day...
Spread my wings and fly away...
I believe I can soar...
I see me running through that open door...
I believe I can fly.

Mar 19, 2009

Second Art Attempt

DD has been playing all day. She is enjoying her one week school holiday to the core. She ran into the room where I was sitting, singing some nursery rhyme and drew this dolphin. I was working when she called me to show it. Before she could erase it, I thought of capturing it for my memory lane. Atfer a while she drew the snake. She continued scribbling and drawing for about half an hour telling me what she had drawn everytime she finished. Her snake and dolphin look roughly the same but not a bad attempt.

Mar 17, 2009

Is your child right handed or left handed?

Have you ever wondered whether your child's dominant side is the right side or the left side, i.e. which side of his brain controls his actions.
There is a reason why I have been debating on this issue. I have lately been wondering whether my two year old daughter 'Ru' is left handed or right handed. Lots of friends have previously asked me the question, "Is she left handed?" while interacting with her. I had never really thought about it seriously till now. I have started looking at whether she is really left handed or right handed.

We have always seen that she has a strong left hand. But, her right hand is also strong enough. Hence, I taught her to hold the pencil/crayon with the right hand and also to cut with the right hand.

I have been wondering if it was wrong to teach her to hold the pencil on the right hand (i.e. if she is left handed). I do not want to force it on her.

I am confused. I searched the net on left and righthandedness. Here are some tests to check out if your child is left handed or right handed.
Some more tests

Here is my analysis of her left or right handedness after doing the tests.

She picks up spoon, box, bag from the floor or chair with left hand.
She holds the bat in her left hand while playing to hit the ball.
She throws the ball with her left hand when playing catching the ball.

She opens a jar with her right hand
Holds out her right hand to take a biscuit (but picks up a crumb from the floor with left).

She can hold the spoon with both hands and eat.
She writes with the right (as taught by me but can also use her left hand)
She uses the right hand for cutting (as taught by me)
She combs hair holding the comb with both hands.
She picks up a glass of water with both hands (So unable to test which hand is stronger)

She stamps with right foot.
She kicks sometimes with her right and sometimes with her left foot.
Climbing stairs with right foot first. Climbing down with left foot first.

Which eye is used by your subject to look through a tube? Left eye

My conclusion: Since she can use both hands, I think she is mixedhanded. I think a few more months down the line, it will be more clear whether she is right handed, lefthanded, mixedhanded or ambidextrous. Do share your views to help me sort out the issue.

Mar 16, 2009

Ru's First Art Attempt @2years 1month old

Look for the similarity between a 2 year old's drawing and a Noble Prize Laureate's drawing. A drawing of a two year old that is simple enough to be ordinary yet unusual enough to be an eyeopener.
This is DD's first drawing that has any recognizable shape whatsoever. She said she had drawn 'Baba' i.e. Daddy. Daddy was quite impressed and said that its called 'minimalistic drawing'. With only a few strokes you can give your drawing some meaning. Daddy remembered one of Rabindranath Tagore's famous Paintings,
Portrait of a Lady

Watch the painting to see the similarity. What would you say, except...'Great expectations!!!'...Hahaha... :)

Mar 15, 2009

The Love for Reading and the Joy of having Books

Both Mom and Dad have always been book lovers since childhood. Mum hardly gets time for reading nowadays. Inculcating the reading habit has come naturally to DD. She has seen us buying books, reading books, taking care of books, stacking books, discussing books and also sometimes debating over topics from books and arguing about 'buying more than needed' books.

Recently, we bought a bookcase to be able to handle the overwhelming love for books. Tip: Children learn by imitation. So, pick up your books now.

Since she was a baby, DD loved books. She can literally say when she grows up that that she could EAT, SLEEP and READ books. She had started with nibbling cloth books and then graduated to nibbling small board books, to 'touch and feel' books, puppet books, pop out books, flashcard pop out books, sliding ABC and 123 books. Its amazing to see the wonderful variety of books written for children today. Tip: Children who are spoken to and read to frequently have larger vocabularies and develop into better readers.

Recollecting an incident when she was just 7 months old. We had attended a preview at Shichida and decided to enrol her. We came home with the brochure and a small story book.

I put DD to sleep and sat reading the book beside her only to be woken by a nudge and find a half eaten book with all the sides and corners gone.

I was astonished, and partly scared that she would fall ill. That was her first interaction with a real BOOK. Fortunately, DD loves reading books as much as we love reading books to her. So, it is money well spent and quite satisfying to see her enjoy books.

She has her own little library of books. It is at her height so that she can easily reach out for them whenever she needs them and put them back too when reading is over. There was a time when she would just take out the books and stack them on the floor or on the bed not bothering about what is inside.

Daddy would wonder why she did that. Mummy would explain that its her developmental milestone at that point of time. They love stacking. That seems a long time back.

Tip: To inculcate the habit of reading, first of all, let the books be easily accessible to your child.

Today, I replaced many of her hard bound board books with a fresh set of thinner paper books. She has learnt to handle paper books. (Again, reiterates the fact in Mummy's mind that our little baby is growing up.)

Now, she loves flipping the paper of the book and looking at the pictures and pointing out the letters to us. Tip: If you are well versed with her reading developmental stage, you need to keep upgrading it with time and her level of progression.

We read to her whenever she is in the mood, (which she is most of the time - I am sure it'll be quite the opposite when she starts with serious academic books :D ) She brings her books to me or at times prefers to read alone. She loves listening to the stories and then repeating the story again by flipping the pages. Tip: Story time is more of a spontaneous activity at our home rather than a fixed time in the night.

A few months back, she used to love reading the story of Goldilocks, Papa Bear, Mumma Bear and 'Baby' Bear over and over again. Now, she has graduated to many more new stories like the Greedy Dog, The Lion and the Mouse, Cinderella, and some newer story books. Tip: If your toddler wants to hear the same story over and over again, let them enjoy the comfort of the same story while you build their vocabulary by adding in new words or pointing at the written words while saying the story.
I would like to specially mention here
They are an amazing collection that every beginning reader should have. These books are graded on the reading level of the child. So, the parents can buy accordingly. She just loves to see what PAT is doing in one of Dr. Seuss' books. PAT sitting on CAT or PAT sitting on the HAT, PAT sitting on BAT, ALL are SMALL, while ALL are TALL. ALL dancing on the WALL. ALL FALL. She also loves Ladybird's Peter and Jane collection too. She will open the book and point at Peter and Jane and fish and tree and also the written words but she doesn't know to read yet.

Toddlers enjoy a variety of books now. Some are based on rhyme and rhythm. Some have interactive stories with refrains, sound effects, or sounds to imitate or enact: Eric Carle's 'From Head to Toe'. Some are based on Cars, Trains and other moving objects: 'Chugga, Chugga Choo Choo' by Kevin Lewis. Some are based on familiar things and situations: 'Bebé Goes Shopping' by Susan Middleton Elya. Some books help with toddler fears and feelings: 1) 'No, David!' by David Shannon, 2) 'Llama Llama Mad at Mama' by Anna Dewdney. There are books that teach your child to follow certain rules and virtues. Then, there are lift the flap books like 'Dear Zoo' by Rod Campbell and sing-along books like 'If You're Happy and You Know It' by Jane Cabrera or Nursery Rhyme books like 'Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree' by Eileen Christelow besides other conceptual books on counting, opposites, colours, alphabets and fun concepts.

Another important to discuss here is 'attention span'. A typical toddler has very very less attention span. So, they will read a book for a few seconds or a few minutes and then close the book and again come back to it after a while. Tip: Do not fret if your child does that too. It is quite normal. Slowly their attention span will increase.
She also enjoys 'quiet reading times' at home just as she has at her school. She will sit with her book in her lap, open it and say, "One Day" if telling me a story. The first picture will be the subject of her story. Say, Teddy Bear....Then she will get engrossed in the pictures and keep flipping and uttering the words"And then" ..'teddy bear'.....'dog'...."And then"....."And then".....till "I finished reading the book" comes. I would like to quote James Bryce here, 'The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it'.

Nowadays, DD has started to discuss what she is reading with me, another developmental milestone in reading. It is said, "TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book.

Do your children love reading books? How often do you buy books? What books would you recommend for a 2 - 2.5 year old?