Humans are defined as a species bearing “Brain” and “Hands”. We can put both of them to use simultaneously in ways that are productive, creative and useful. An exercise of pottery is one such example for the same. As a parent, one exercises pottery on their kids and along with their kids.
Children are similar to a piece of clay. They are molded by those who surround them. Their atmosphere shapes them and they adapt. They are the reflection of those that have created them. Parents leave a lot of influence on their kids while shaping their behavioral routine, thinking, and mindset.
When I say let’s make the children smart, I nowhere mean to give them access to smartphones. I refer to the essential life skills that are required for each and every child when they are grown up. I refer to the smartness in their personality that becomes evidently visible and leaves a mark on whosoever gets in touch with them. Let’s talk about those qualities of being SMART.
The sensitive or emotionally intelligent child is one who can express their emotions truthfully, adjust them and control reactions on the same. For example, the child can put into words if he’s angry or frustrated. The child with a higher emotional intelligence thinks of ways to resolve their feelings instead of throwing objects against the wall. A child with a relatively higher EQ can handle more difficult social situations and build significant friendships. It is because of the capability to relate to or have compassion with peers.
A “Big Data” approach was used to assess the significance of emotional intelligence around the globe. The research used a random-sampling process from a database of over 75,000 people. The result can be seen here:
The emotional-social level of a child defines their behavior in their surroundings. According to Chapman, “Kids learn to understand the social world through storytelling—it helps them relate to a situation and learn how to handle events and emotions”.
This may sound like basic stuff to tell the kids story. But for kids, to focus and to behave appropriately in class and to make friends, it’s vital to master these thoughts. No one wishes to play with the child who doesn’t share or take turns.
As the child grows into an adult, the social skill turns into social responsibility. This further makes good citizenship. And, you obviously want to raise a good citizen for your country.
A lot of parents come to me at my school asking to make their child-focused and attentive. The mothers are tangled in the network of a job, numerous household chores and making sure the child is growing at its best. Amongst all this, mothers are often worried about their child’s ever wandering and never willing to sit with peace habits. If you too are a mother who has such worries, read out the next few lines very carefully.
Brain Break Routine: We should apply a few tactics with children that break the monotony of their work and they remain focused.
Concentration Based Activities: Like playing Jenga, creating buildings with blocks, spotting differences, and reading picture storybooks increases their concentration.
Get them Moving: Involving children in active physical plays is the best way to bring focus.
Other than these you can engage the child in a dance-off for a few minutes. Play pop and stop in which you have to pop on a ball to the next person while the music is on, and have to stop as the music stops. Mother or fathers can even engage the child in Rock-Paper-Scissors game for some times. These activities bring back focus and attention of the child.
Let me show you a picture of a heat map of brain scans. The left scan is of a child who has been sitting quietly and taking a test. The right scan is of the child who has taken a 20-minute walk. This research also shows that a child’s brain is much more active after some form of physical activity at brain break.
It’s very disheartening to observe the evil behavior of society towards children. Parents these days are forced to teach their kids about the dark side of our society at an early stage. Teaching them to stay alert does not mean to scare them with any potential threat. In fact, children must be made to feel comfortable but aware.
We keep on doing “Be Safe” sessions at my Preschool. Wherein, we talk on general to specific stuff with our children in which they have to be safe. We cover so many subjects such as how to be safe in their class by not sliding down the table or chairs, or avoiding to put fingers inside the door hinge, or making sure to report to teachers if anybody touches them differently.
My Preschool teaches them to be safe on roads while walking as they need to hold the hands of their parents. My preschool teachers teach children to be safe in malls by not going anywhere without their parents.
We teach them to stay away from strangers and not accept anything from them. Our school children are promoted to scream and run away from the people who are making them feel uncomfortable. They are taught to go to a safe zone and tell the same to people of their safe zone.
For immediate action, staying alert is the most imperative which we must teach to our children. Teaching the Pre-schoolers to stay alert is a big challenge. Talk to them about “Bad” people, they’ll get it. Children above Grade-1 can be explained how abduction works, to make them aware of surrounding. The bigger children can understand the concept of child-abuse and stay alert for reporting the same.
Life of a child just as any other adult is full of responsibilities and challenges, in their own ways. What helps kids in navigating these kinds of challenges is resilience. Resilience is a process of adapting positively to enduring harsh conditions and is held together through safe, stable, and nurturing environments.
Children and young people at risk of mental health are of growing concern. As per research, around 17% of children and young people between age range 4-17 & 27% of young individuals between age range 16-24 experience at least one mental suppression.
Teaching the concept of resilience to children begins at an early stage of their life by the parents. Being empathetic and placing their foot in someone else’s shoes and feeling that what they’re undergoing. Managing emotions, controlling anger, showing resistance to bad thoughts to come out and affect someone else.
I always am a firm believer in learning quality concepts from books and applying to our lives. Resilience can be imbibed in a child by applying a few great book’s learning on self-improvement:
You may read a book, ‘Self-Compassion’ by Kirstin Neff
‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck and apply a few basics of resilience from the texts.
“Thank You”, “Sorry”, “Please”, and “You’re Welcome” are the Golden Words must be taught to a child early in their life. Saying these words isn’t enough unless the child learns the meaning of the same. Only practicing chanting of words is not sufficient. Being actually grateful and then saying these golden words in response is what makes a child/person full of gratitude.
The University of California at Davis conducted a study in the year 2003 and inferred, ‘grateful people report higher levels of happiness and optimism — along with lower levels of depression and stress.’
A child when is a toddler, by nature he’s self-centered. He cannot be taught the gratitude concept as he considers everything around him is to make him happy only.
By the age of 2-3, the child begins talking. Make a practice at the dinner table to acknowledge one thing that you’re thankful for. Let every family member respond to it. The child in their own language will either communicate verbally or point fingers at every person. This reflects the child is thankful to each member of the family.
As the child reaches the age of 4, he can understand to be thankful not only for material things like toys but for acts of kindness, love, and caring.
Children model their parents and surrounding. Make sure that we are using words like “Thank-You”, “Please” frequently while talking to them. You may include some conversation like, “Thanks for the hug, it made me happy”.
Make them participate in regular house chores. Instead of jumping in and finishing it off quickly as watching your little one (A) taking forever to perform the chore (B) making it even dirtier stuff can be daunting. But we should let the child do household chores on their own and be thankful for family members who regularly do the same. Increasing the responsibilities of children by the time makes them work on their executive function skills.
We can not have a rulebook for making the child SMART. Our every day’s practice to instill good conduct in our children is what makes them the same. As the little one starts to develop characteristics like empathy and sympathy, it reflects their sense of gratitude. These attributes make up their value system for life.
Teaching a child to be SMART is a lifelong process not to be attained in a day or two. So be patient and let’s make our children SMART.