Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Feb 18, 2009

Future of Childrens' Creativity

Are kids born creative? Do young creative souls lose their creative spirit and talent when they enter school? Does the word 'creativity' in school have to be restricted to a period of 'Art & crafts'? The education process is still very structured and caters to the needs of the society. There is no room for originality. We have learnt and re-learnt that there can only be one answer to a question. Any answer besides the desired answer will demark your child as a child with a 'learning difficulty'.

The recent Hindi Bollywood blockbuster Taare Zameen Par where an artistic boy loses his concentration and spirit of learning via formal education and is misunderstood by all including his parents and sent to a hostel labelled as a dyslexic child shows that society is not ready yet for creative talent. We can only fantasize of a society that is receptive to such children as the kid 'Ishaan' in the movie. (By the way, my younger brother's son who was born a few months back has also been named Ishaan and I wish him a creative journey for life like the boy in the movie.)

Formal education demands you to deliver like pre-programmed stereotyped machines. Is any child on the offbeat track heading for trouble. Yet, one can see the need for individuals with abilities for innovative problem solving abilities who have an edge over the others when a problem arises, due to his/her innovative way of looking at the problem in a job scenario.

Building on a child's creative genius requires an open mind that is ready and brave enough to beat the system. But will it leave a child directionless and confused? I think there is a great need for some experimental schools for nurturing creativity and the creative way of thinking. Until then, I hope as a mother that we can make a difference to our child's lives by keeping the creative flame burning despite the challenges of a rigid and structured formal education system.

Do take a look at this enlightening video by Sir Ken Robinson. It’s a little long but not to be missed. He’s funny, making you laugh while bringing in the importance of being creative! Also, contribute your thoughts. I am concerned. Are you? - INTERESTING VIDEO

Jul 21, 2008

Tips for Buying Toys

It's another outing to the nearest shopping mall on a weekend. And after lots of shopping for yourselves, you wish to buy something for your little one too. But shopping is no fun with a toddler around. You walk into your child's favourite toy store...and voila, you are surrounded by an ocean of toys. While your child squeals with excitement, and rushes in, touching, tugging and pulling anything and everything he finds interesting, you somehow get hold of a toy and also your toddler and walk out before things become unmanageable. Does this happen to your family too?

Take a deep breath. Here are a few essential tips to choose the right toys at a toy store.

While a whole range of toys are available, it is important for parents to choose the right toys for their children. Toys can help educate as well as stimulate your child's play and imagination.

-Age specific-
Many parents think that their child is much more advanced than others and go in for toys that are not age appropriate, and hence do not interest or intrigue the child. Age specific toys can not only be relevant to your child but also help build many core skills like fine or gross motor skills of a child.

Many toys have small detachable parts which may not be suitable for young children. A pointed edge in a toy can accidentally hurt the eye or an eyeball of a soft toy could be swallowed. So, always make sure that the toy you are buying is safe for your child.

-Appealing to your child's senses-
Toys can be appealing if the child can exercise his senses through it. See if your child loves holding the toy, (say a soft toy for cuddling) or seeing it (if it is colourful) or if it can lead to some games.

Stories can be built around a toy. Teddies can be bought and named as Papa Teddy, Mumma Teddy and Baby teddy and they can be made to do various activities round the house to help your child bring them alive.

- Simple yet F-U-N-
It is important for toddlers to be exposed to letters, letter sounds, and numbers. Look for brightly colored blocks, oversized flashcards, or puzzles with letters and numbers that may also have a tactile component like a fuzzy duck or shiny moon. Some phonological based toys also talk or sing to children. Parents always enjoy helping their child explore and create with oversized paper and crayons, or clay.

Having said that, you need not buy costly toys for your children always however tempting it may be.

Creativity can be enhanced from simple things too. A chair can become a bridge if your child crawls below it. A plastic plate can be a steering wheel. A rope can become a snake, a pencil for writing or it can take shape of letters and numbers.

Help your child play with his toys in various creative ways as possible.

Cardboard boxes interest all children. A throw-away cardboard box can become a doll's house, a cupboard for doll's shoes or clothes.

- Interactive -
A toy that aids your child's imaginative power is always a better choice.

Books with pop-up characters, board books for young children, touch and feel books that babies can scratch and feel or cloth books with mirrors for newborns are wonderful variations to the ordinary books available otherwise.

Below is a cloth book from Lamaze with legs that your baby can touch and play with.

This is a pop-up book that adds a lot of interaction and imagination as opposed to normal storyreading books.

This is a board book with touch and feel areas that are specially made for curious fingers.

Even a variation to the regular cushion can become an interesting gift for your child.

Here is a toy that helps build imagination too.

It is a cushion with a cow tied with a small piece of rope. This builds interactivity with the toy. Your child can hold the cow and place it inside its house and take it out to graze in the field when he is hungry.

To summarize it all, the few pointers to be noted while purchasing a toy to enhance creative skills are:

It should be
1) age specific (relevant to your child's actual or mental age)
2) safe
3) appealing to your child's senses (sight, sound, touch, etc) so that he/she can exercise her eyes, ears or hands.
4) F-U-N
5) interactive where your child can participate (stories can be built around it)
Happy shopping for the right toys for your child.

Have you bought any toy for your child that you think enhanced his/her creative or imagination skills? Share it here at the 'comments' section.

Jun 29, 2008

Creativity is about finding your own unique strengths

We live in a competitive world. Competition is going to increase ten times more when your child grows up.

Parents of today demand too much from a child. Right from the time your child takes birth, comparisons begin from health to looks to his weight and so on. Later, it extends to his abilities in academics and extracurricular activities.

While comparison in the good sense of the word can bring in motivation to improve, it can also bring in a sense of meaningless jealousy and a lack of confidence in the child.

Every child is different. Every child has his unique strengths. Every child is born with a purpose. Our children are like a bouquet of flowers. Each flower has its own place. Each flower has a role to play as part of the decoration.

As parents we need to look out for their unique strengths and recognize their distinct abilities for them to achieve success. Just because you love painting does not mean your child has to be a painter. He could do very well as a drummer. Every individual is creative and creativity is unique to every individual.

Nurturing your child's unique strengths and finding out the space where your child's creative genius is exposed the most is what can help him stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Jun 19, 2008

Building Bridges Between Two Unrelated Ideas!

Two unrelated objects or scenes can be joined together to create a meaning. It is the way one builds associations that brings creative harmony.

Here is a video that brings the thought across:

Jun 18, 2008

Times when you can let her be...

Provide an environment that allows the child to explore and play without undue restraints.

After having written the earlier post, my daughter wanted to teach me to practise what I preached. To let them play, let them create mess once in a while.

I remembered what I had just written and kept my cool when i caught her redhanded in this state. (lol)

Jun 16, 2008

It's all about Perspectives!


Believe it or not! It is true.

You call a spade, a spade! Your child doesn’t. She will dig out ten different things that a spade can do besides what it is known to do.

She does not have any predisposed judgments about things. She does not analyze. She does not search for logic. She does not look for the output. She just thinks the way she wants to think.

We need to think like a child and reverse the assumptions that are taken for granted.

“If my child sits facing the rear of her car, why do we assume that she is the one who is backwards, and not the car itself?”

A child questions things that we don’t. A child looks at things differently.

A ball has rolled out of your child’s reach while she was playing on the bed.
What will you do? You will reach for the ball. Right?

What will your child do? She will just pull the bedcover so it comes closer to her.

We need to accept unusual ideas from children by suspending judgment of children's divergent problem-solving.

Instead of nipping the creative bud right in the beginning by snapping at her, you can can accept it and encourage it to keep the spirit of thinking differently alive in your child (if possible).

Sure, it will need a little more understanding, a little more clearing of mess ups, a little more curbing your urge to smack her on the back and tell her to follow the ordinary norms that you are used to. But, that also doesn't mean letting her do whatever she pleases creating havoc in the house. A balance between the two; by giving her freedom to explore and experiment at times and setting the rules for other times, is what I find is ideal for both the parent and the child.

Gradually, you can extend this creative problem-solving bent of mind to various problems that naturally occur in everyday life.

Have you or your child solved any problems that occured in your day-to-day life creatively? Do you think disorder breeds creativity?

Jun 12, 2008


[I] Making a story

Every child loves listening to stories. But creating one's own story can be very exciting and thought provoking. You can take turns in telling one line of the story.You can make it interesting and amusing by bringing in different surprising leaps in the story so that your child has to connect to your piece of the story and build it further.

The story need not have any logic or make any particular sense.

The story could look something like this:

Child: There was a lion.
Adult: He was old and weak.
Child: One day he was very hungry.
Adult: So, he took the bus to the town to 'Pizza Hut' (Instead of saying, he hunted an animal, add elements to turn the direction of the story every time its your turn to make it a funny game.)
Child: But Pizza Hut was closed.
Adult: So, he called his friend, the elephant and asked him to come over.
(Soon your child will learn how to change the direction of the story without going the conventional way).
Child: But the elephant was too sleepy.

[II]: What's the ending?

Tell your baby a story and stop before the ending and ask him/her to complete it. Once you have heard his/her part of the ending, ask him/her that if Mummy/Daddy had to write the same story what type of ending would it be?

This will help him/her to think of alternative endings to the same set story.

Get hooked to story making!