My daughter is now 2.5 years old, and has started going to playschool since the start of June. She has been a lonely child, with minimal interaction with other kids. Hence, I thought a playschool would be ideal for her, as she would have the three hours of playtime with other kids.
We have a neighbor who has a two year old son. Yesterday, when I stepped out of the house with a list of the grocery shopping for the week, I met the mom who began interrogating me on everything. “What school does your daughter go to?” “Has she started the alphabets yet?” “My son has barely started speaking yet. I want to put him to school so that he can learn to talk”. “I hope they teach writing during the playschool”, and many other things. Her elder son is now in second grade and he hardly steps out of the home. He is always indoors, doing his homework or playing on the iPad. It made me pause and think.
As parents, we have an immense responsibility – it is on us to bring up a human being, to teach him how to live and love, to share and care – all the values and everything. The onus of providing a better home environment for our kids us on us parents. But I think that nowadays, parents are so caught up in the rat race, that they forget to teach their kids the most basic of things. Pause and think – when your relatives or friends come home, don’t you show off that you kids can say the alphabets and rhymes and can also dance and paint? Don’t you show others, and are proud of the fact that your kids can speak more words than your neighbor’s kids? Your children get more marks in the tests than everybody else in the colony?
Marks and everything will come – teaching the subjects and curriculum is also a part of your job as a parent – but it is such a miniscule part. As parents we need to focus on much bigger things –
1. Teaching the value and importance of ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’. We need to make them understand that these words are not to be spoken lightly, and are to be meant every time it is said.
2. Instead of buying games and toys, we need to teach them how to play in the world of make-believe. I remember when I was a kid, I would play with only 3 cars. But I would improvise and use my books, and my dolls, everything I could ever lay my hands and eyes on! Children need to fuel their imagination.
3. The meaning of the word ‘No’. As parents, we need to stop over indulging our children and teach them this, they will grow up to be people who will not take rejections close to heart. Breakups, job search, etc will not affect them much, because they will know that it is only a phase of life. Teaching them how to handle rejections will make them stronger.
4. Exercise / outdoors play time. Cycling, walking, running etc should all be encouraged from childhood, and if possible, made into a habit. If you’re used to something since your childhood, it will be very hard to wean away from it when you’re grown up. This habit will hopefully make our younger generation healthier and wiser than us!