The family that a child grows up in has lots to do with the child’s development. It is a space that the child is constantly engaged in and also constantly learns from. Family time is sacred to the development of a child, as it helps to strengthen bonds and make memories that can last a lifetime.
Here we have Ms. Rucha Tembe, aka @ruchatembe, to speak on ‘Role of Family Time in a Kid’s Development’.
See, since family is the first contact point for any child when they come into the world, how the family reacts within themselves and how the family reacts with the kid shows the kid the outside world, because the family acts as a mirror to the outside world. How the family interacts with the kid is how the kid will interact with society. So that way family definitely plays a hugely important role where we talk about the child’s development, both physical and mental.
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This is the 2nd year of lockdown and I would definitely like to bring this point up that not every time we can indulge in recreational activities. Some of the favorite activities that kids enjoy are definitely something to do with blocks. Both of my kids enjoy playing with blocks. They enjoy coloring. Being a parent who has always involved my kids in my work, I get them to work with me in the kitchen. They help me around with the other household work.
So it’s not only recreational activities like playing, or reading books, or watching an educational video or a movie, but I tend to involve them, right from the time they wake up from the time they sleep, in a lot of small bits and pieces where we all work or do chores together. So, I sort of try and keep a balance between their energy and my workload.
Yeah, I have seen that this happens a lot. From my personal experience, I even faced the same situation. How I came up with an answer is, I tried and understood different approaches that kids have towards having fun. Now for my younger one, if something is happening with big chunks of colors or some cars, even if we are talking about cars, he gets very excited. Whereas my elder child is interested if we are talking about games, or strategy building, or something suspenseful, or some book related to fancy dragons, science fiction or time travel.
So when I want to hang out with them, I strike a conversation that is relevant to them. Even when my husband and I are talking and we want to talk about something with our kids, we start a conversation with respect to their interests, so that once they are there with us then we can gradually move on to another topic.
For one thing, this has definitely been a blessing. Otherwise, my husband and I have such weird timings that once the kids used to go to school it is like a half-an-hour interaction with them, and after they are back from school, I would get busy with my work. So only during lunch, or when they go out to play, is it our time to interact. Now that we are at home, we get more time to interact with them, ask them what’s happening. They ask us, “Mumma-papa what’s happening with you guys?” So we talk.
The important thing is not to treat them as small kids, no they are not. Actually, you will be surprised as to how early they react. I will just give you a small example. When they see me pacing around or writing something very fast, they know Mumma is either busy or has something very important going around. So they will take it to themselves that okay, this is not the time to disturb Mumma with small things. And then they manage it on their own. In case that I am going live or I am recording something, I just have to tell them that “Beta, I am recording” and they know that we are not supposed to make noise because otherwise the recordings will be disrupted.
So over a period of time, they have sort of understanding how things work around them and they have learned to adapt. Adults take a longer time to do that but my kids have shown tremendous adaptability regarding this. So if you talk with them, tell them step-by-step, they are very adaptive in those scenarios.
A lot of them do happen. One is that your child will become more expressive in terms of their emotions, which we don’t see often because every time a kid wants to ask something, throw a tantrum, or has something to tell you, many parents are like “Okay, 5 minutes haa, we will talk”. Don’t do this. Many parents scold them, show a little bit of aggression or usually churn them down. Now, because we are spending time with them, we are listening to them, they become more expressive.
Now, when I tell them how my day went at the office, they tell me how they did in their class. Otherwise, initially, it was like only me asking, “What happened? Did you do this? What did ma’am say?” Now, it comes from their end as well. “You know mumma, this is what ma’am said.” “You know mumma, this is what we did.” “This is what we spoke to our friends.” So instead of that gap of being a parent and a kid, it is now more like "since you are discussing, let me also discuss". It is more on a one-to-one level, which is healthy for your relationship as well their relationship with others. Because then they can be expressive with you as well as with the teachers.
Definitely, this is a very big question for all the working parents who are stuck at home because if we are in a meeting and suddenly a kid will come and say something during the meeting. But the corporates have to understood that work from home is something which has become a norm now. It is a normal life.
So, initially, for a few couple of months, it was a very big struggle. And initially, I will not deny that I didn’t scold them. I did scold them that “okay please get out of the room, I am in a meeting”. But over a period of time, and as I said earlier, they have adjusted. What I did from my end is, now whenever I am doing something, I take a deep breath and explain to myself that I am doing it from home, my kids are at home, they are part of my life. So them coming in between is perfectly okay. If I react to it positively, the person on the other side of the screen would also react to it positively. And my kids would also react positively if I tell them politely that I am busy; let’s talk about it once I am done with this. So they also know that once it is over, Mumma or Papa are gonna come and talk to us.
So whenever it happens that I get excited, agitated, or angry, I count to 10 and explain to myself that this is normal, those are my kids and a part of my life. So this affirmation that you give to yourself really helps.
Definitely, there’s already so much pressure. They are spending so much of their time online because of their classes. And then for their homework again, they are spending so much time online. You don’t have an alternative.
So instead of telling them that "No, you have to do this", we have to give them a little space, because we also want a little space for ourselves. So, we need to encourage them to do things independently so that they create their own space, not to isolate them but to have some mental peace as well. Now, this is one time where the kids can harness their talents, they can explore their hobbies. And whenever there is some time, I ask to read books, listen to music, play around, or just run around as they like
So the first thing that parents need to accept is that this is going to last a long time. And the kids are equally frustrated as you are. So when you treat them as your punching bags to take out your frustration that is not going to help them. You have to treat them as individuals that are going through the same problems as you are. Once you realize that those individuals are going through the same thing you can show some sort of empathetic attitude towards them and things become really smooth-sailing.
As per my experience, I think that kids go through phases. One time they will have a phase where they want to be maybe obsessed with color, for example. Currently, my kids are obsessed with Godzillas and dinosaurs. So what I do is, whenever I talk to them I try to channel it. “Okay, if you are interested then these are the things that we can talk about.” My elder one is into gaming now, so I talk about different sorts of gaming platforms. He was initially interested in developing apps. So I was like, “Okay, let’s talk about that as well”.
So once you start talking to them you will realize that these are phases. And once you encourage them, in that phase, they will automatically explore and experience different things. So once you have their idea of what they want, it would be easy for them to tell that to you. So you need not dig into what they want but give them space, experience and exposure enough that they can come and tell you that this is what I want. Because when they show interest, they do it with passion. If we force something onto them, it is just gonna be a waste of time, effort and mind.