Wisdom Vine

6 Must-Read Science Books for Your Young Scientist

So, your child is a science geek! That’s amazing – they’re going to change the world someday! But do you also find them giving you a really tough time when you ask them to read? We can understand – after all, why would they want to spend time in the world of witches, wizards and demi-Gods when they could be spent exploring the wonderful mysteries of the Universe. But what if we could scour the universe for science books that your science-mad child will love? Wouldn’t that be amazing?… We’re going to give a go! 

1. Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day – Jennifer George, Ed Steckley (illustrator)

Ages 5-7

If Rube’s inventions are any indication, “normal” means something very different in the Goldberg household. For Rube, up is down, in is out, and the simplest path to accomplishing an everyday task―like brushing his teeth or getting dressed―is a humorously complicated one. Follow Rube as he sets out on a typical school day, overcomplicating each and every step from the time he wakes up in the morning until the time he goes to bed at night.   This book features fourteen inventions, each depicting an interactive sequence whose purpose is to help Rube accomplish mundane daily tasks: a simple way to get ready for school, to make breakfast, to do his homework, and so much more.

2. Animal Architects: Amazing Animals Who Build Their Homes – Julio Antonio Blasco  (Author), Daniel Nassar (Author)

Ages 7-11

From gladiator frogs to chimpanzees, learn about how animals all over the world build their homes. Each spread contains a beautiful, colourful illustration of each animal and its home, plus a unique fold-out information panel, with stats and a simple architectural diagram showcasing the creation of the ‘architect’.

3. Kate the Chemist Series – Kate Biberdorf

Ages 8-11

The Kate the Chemist fiction series features a 10-year-old Kate the Chemist who, along with her friends and little brother Liam, solves problems in her community with the help of science! This series shows children that science truly is everywhere. One of the many great science books out there for children!

4. Super Cool Tech by DK

Ages 8-12

Following on from the original multi-million seller How Cool Stuff Works, this cutting-edge visual guide for children comes packed with top-notch technology for state-of-the-art buildings, record-breaking transport, mind-blowing entertainment devices, and advanced Artificial Intelligence. What’s more, this jam-packed book even looks into fantastic future technologies, including teleportation and invisibility cloaks.

5. Wrinkle in time – Madeleine L’Engle

Age 9-11

A Wrinkle in Time is the story of Meg Murry, a high-school-aged girl who is transported on an adventure through time and space with her younger brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin O’Keefe to rescue her father, a gifted scientist, from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet.

6. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Reader’s Edition)- William Kamkwamba  (Author), Bryan Mealer  (Author), Anna Hymas (Illustrator)

Ages 10+

A terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba’s tiny village in Malawi. His family lost all of the season’s crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family’s life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William’s windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.

Retold for a younger audience, this exciting memoir shows how, even in a desperate situation, one boy’s brilliant idea can light up the world. 

Wisdom Vine

Internet Safety for Children

The internet has changed the way we live our lives. It has opened a whole new world of opportunities for us – and with almost 3 million users, it has emerged as the single, most important means of communication. However, as with all things, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. The internet also has a side that is unpleasant and sometimes even dangerous- and it becomes increasingly important to protect our children from these and ensure internet safety.

The dangers of unsafe internet usage

If you thought it was tough to keep children off the internet before COVID-19, it’s almost impossible now. Between school assignments, playdates, online classes and meetings, our children’s social lives are increasingly being dominated by the internet. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), 66 million Internet users in the country are in the age bracket of 5 to 11 years. Even if they do not have their own device, they have access to the internet. Internet safety is a growing concern amongst young users. Here are some of the threats* that parents should be aware of when they are online:

Contact with undesirable people, including:

Predators — for example, in social media messages or gaming lobby chat rooms.

Cyberbullies — children can be targeted by online bullies, including real-life ones.

Phishing scammers — they trick your child out of sensitive info about themselves or you.

Inappropriate content, such as:

Sexually explicit content — notably pornographic images and video.

Violent or graphic content — such as gore or acts of assault.

Obscene or age-inappropriate content — like foul language or drug and alcohol use.

Downloads of pirated materials — including music or video files.

Computer security issues:

Drive-by downloads — whereby simply visiting a website can result in malicious programs being automatically installed on your child’s computer.

Malware infections — can give other people access to your child’s computer. May appear in peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, web links, attachments and more.

Unwanted advertising, pop-ups, and adware programs — often automatically installed when freeware or shareware programs are downloaded. These can also carry spyware.


How to keep your children safe online

Your children may be internet pros who could teach you a thing or two. But it is always better to make sure that you are around them, especially if they are navigating through a website for the first time. There are some basic tips you can follow as a family:

  1. Make sure websites are secure: Every website address starts with the letters “HTTP.” You know a site is secure when you see “HTTPS.” That means the website itself is taking measures to keep users and their information secure while they use the site.
  2. Keep everything updated: this is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your browsing is safe – companies are constantly updating their software and firmware to make sure your data is protected from viruses and malware. Security patches keep you safe from the latest threats. 
  3. For younger children, ensure that the place where they access the net is in a common access area – like the living room or study. That way, they always have you around in case something unwanted pops up. 
  4. Set up and establish rules for the family – in consultation with the children. This could include anything from the time spent on the internet, or playing games or times and places where devices are off-limits (for example mealtimes). Each family works differently with a different set of challenges, so set up rules that work for you as a family. 
  5. Bookmark your children’s favourite sites for easy access – it’s safer for children to access the site via the pages you’ve bookmarked as well. 
  6. Spend time with children talking them through safe internet practices.
For young children (below 7 years of age)

5- 7 year-olds are generally very trusting and are eager to learn more. They want to be able to show their newly acquired reading and numeracy skills and will tend to love conversations. These are wonderful traits to have and while these shouldn’t be curbed, there are certain predictions we need to take. 

  1. Always sit with your children when they are online, especially if they want to navigate the site themselves. For example, if they want to click on a link or a notification that shows up, or are drawn to advertisements that play in between the videos. 
  2. Use a child-friendly search engine like kiddle, or content providers like ABC Kids, CBeebies, YouTube Kids or KIDOZ.
  3. Disable pop-ups in your browser, so they don’t see any unpleasant images by accident. You can also use ad-blocking software. 
  4. Check that the games they play are age-appropriate. You can check the age-rating of any game or show here:
  5. Check privacy settings on all devices that your child is handling. Ensure that the location services are off when they are on it. 
  6. Your payments and payment portals need to be password-protected, so your child cannot make in-app purchases by accident. 

Always talk to your child through what is safe and unsafe internet behaviour, so they will understand how to behave online, even in your absence. 

For children from ages 8- 12
  1. Set out rules for what your children can and cannot do online. Take them through the rules- and revisit them every six months to tweak them, remove some rules or add new ones. 
  2. Be the online role model for your children. Children at this age will only take a rule seriously if they see you modelling that behaviour. 
  3. Teach children about the importance of keeping personal details private. This includes names, birthdays, addresses, photographs,  places of work, names of schools, details about members of their family, their daily schedule (for eg: what time they go to play every day, or where) or anything that could reveal a personal detail about them. 
  4. While playing games, make sure the chat feature is disabled, or that your child is able to block a particular chat or player. While the game itself may be age-appropriate, there is no way of knowing who’s chatting to your child from the other side of the screen. Remind your child not to share names or personal details on games. 
  5. Ask your child to check with you before downloading a new app or game. You should check if parental controls and app permissions are okay. It is important to explain to children why certain games may be unsafe, even if “all their friends are playing it”.
  6. Set your searches to ‘safe searches on’. Ensure that pop-ups blockers are still enabled. If they want to disable it on any sight, they should ask you first. 
  7. Keep lines of communication open. Talk to your child beforehand about what is appropriate and inappropriate internet behaviour and what to do if they face cyberbullying or an unsafe conversation. Don’t wait for something untoward to happen before you have this conversation. 
  8. The basic rule at this age should always be – don’t share or say anything that you would be uncomfortable sharing with an absolute stranger in real life. 
For teens

This is the trickiest age for parents to monitor internet usage. Teenagers are at an age where they think – and probably do know more than us about us. But they are still children and discussions on safety and being a responsible netizen is essential to have.

Cyberbullying, sexting, pornography and identity theft are all on the rise, and it is essential to talk your teen through safe behaviours. 

  1. Set up ground rules – outline what you expect of them, and what is inappropriate. Make sure your teen is involved in these decisions, and give them your rationale behind the rules. Explain that once something is up online, it stays there forever, however much they may want to erase it. 
  2. If your teenagers have their own devices, make sure they know how to keep it updated. Have an antivirus programme running and to know that they should visit only trusted sites.
  3. Social media – this is often the place where parents and teens have the biggest difference of opinion. But it’s important that you are aware of their social media activity. Make sure your child accepts friend requests on social media only from people they know. Ensure they know about privacy settings and that their information, photos and feed aren’t visible to the public. 
  4. Make sure they’re not using a public wifi network when accessing their accounts. This is especially tempting for teens who seem to feel the need to be connected 24/7. 
  5. Talk to your teen through a what-if scenario. Make sure they know what to do in case they think they’ve been hacked, or if they want to report inappropriate content, or face cyberbullying. If you’ve been talking to them from an early age, they will most likely be quite responsible when they go online as teens.

The internet is here to stay

The internet is a powerful tool if used well and its influence is only set to grow. It is unreasonable and impractical to ask children to go completely offline until they are adults. It also means missing out on information that is vital to their education in this day and age. The idea is not to instil fear but to equip children with the skill and knowledge for them to be able to navigate safely through the online world – Just like one would, in the real world!

Wisdom Vine

6 Fundamental Rights We Enjoy as a Republic

India may have become a free nation on August 15, 1947, but it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state only on January 26, 1950. We adopted our written constitution on this day – that’s why it’s significant. Here are some of the fundamental rights you enjoy thanks to our constitution!

Right to equality

This is a fairly basic right, right? Here’s what it means, in short: Every citizen is equal in the eyes of the law. there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender or caste. 

Violation of these could be punishable by law. The principle of equality and non-discrimination guarantees that in equal circumstances, everyone is dealt with equally.

Right to freedom

The right to freedom includes a whole host of freedoms. It includes the freedom of speech and expression, the right to practice any profession freely, the right to live and move anywhere within the country and the right to assemble, and form unions or cooperatives. It ensures that all people of the country can live a life of their choosing with dignity. 

Right against exploitation

The right against exploitation prohibits all forms of forced labour, child labour and trafficking of human beings. Children under the age of 14 are not allowed to work (this does not include helping your parents out with chores at home, haha!).

This is a vitally important right as it protects the most vulnerable segments of society. It prevents misuse of services or exploitation of an individual by force or coercion. 

Right to freedom of religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This includes the right to change one’s religion, to practice your religion freely and observe its customs. Since India is a secular state, it is officially neutral in matters of religion and supports neither religion nor irreligion.

Cultural and educational rights

This preserves the rights of any group of people to conserve their culture, language and script. 

Considering the diversity in languages and scripts in our country, this is a pretty important right. Under this right, minority communities also have the right to establish and run educational institutions. 

The right to constitutional remedies

In the event that any citizen of our country is denied any of these basic rights, they have the right to move court. This is considered one of our most important rights because it ensures the protection of our fundamental rights. The courts can issue writs to protect the rights of its citizens. 

But, as with all things, it is just as important to remember our fundamental duties as much as our rights. Each of us has a role to play in building a healthy and prosperous nation, and without them, we cannot hope to have a better society and nation. Let us all strive to be responsible citizens of our country! 

Wisdom Vine

5 Books for Children who Hate Reading

“If you don’t love to read, you just haven’t found the right book.”

-Tim Green

Does this sound like your child? Do you happen to have a reluctant reader at home? The one who would rather watch a video than read? Take heart, dear parent, all is not lost! We just need to find the right book to ignite their love for the written word. And we have just the very thing for you. Here are our recommendations for 5 books for children that will help them fall in love with reading:

 1. Fox in Socks – Dr. Seuss

Here’s the note that comes with the book: This is a book you READ ALOUD to find out just how smart your tongue is. The first time you read it, don’t go fast! This Fox is a tricky fox. He’ll try to get your tongue in trouble.

This is a great book for you to read along to your young reluctant reader that will have them giggling away. Of course, it’s a great one to practice your pronunciations too! 

Why children love this book: Children love it when you read to them – and this a great way to encourage them to start reading as well. With fox in socks, Dr Seuss puts the fun and giggles back into reading and it doesn’t seem like a chore anymore! 

Ages: 2 Upward for reading aloud, 4 upward for assisted reading.

2. The Adventures of Captain Underpants – Dav Pilkey

The first in this series of books by American author-illustrator Dav Pilkey, it follows the life of Harold and George, a couple of elementary- schoolers who write, illustrate, distribute and sell homemade comic books called “The Amazing Captain Underpants”. 

Why children love this book: Children are drawn to the illustrations, the silly jokes and of course, sometimes hilarious misspellings that Harold and George make. They love that the book is at once relatable, and possibly frowned-upon by adults! 

Ages: 6 upward

3. Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse – Chris Riddell

Meet Ada Goth. She lives in Ghastly-Gorm hall with her father, Lord Goth, lots of servants and at least half a dozen ghosts. The book is beautifully illustrated. The jokes and the fast-moving pace of the book keeps everyone entertained right until the very end. 

Why children love this book: The story is unconventional, and it’s an illustrated book for older children – which is a rarity in itself. The language is simple and easy to read. And of course, the jokes are funny! 

Ages: 7 upward

4. The Name of this Book Is Secret (The Secret Series, Book 1) – Pseudonymous Bosch

Brave 11-year old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest set out on the trail of a magician who has vanished under strange (and stinky) circumstances. The book is about the hair-raising adventures that follow and the nefarious villains they face. 

Why children love this book: Isn’t the title just amazing? It instantly draws children’s curiosity and the 11-year-old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest solve a plot that full of puzzles that’ll get young minds ticking! the unconventional style it’s written in, further helps that reluctant reader along. 

Ages: 8 Upward

5. No Talking – Andrew Clements

No Talking is a 2007 children’s novel written by Andrew Clements. It is about the noisy fifth-grade boys of Laketon Elementary School, who challenge the equally loud fifth-grade girls to a “no talking” contest. This competition turns out to be really hard.

Why children love this book: The book is a light read – it talks about the natural boys vs girls rivalry that springs up around that age. It also looks at the rules made by adults from a children’s point of view, making it very relatable. 

Ages: 9 upwards

Wisdom Vine

Simple, Everyday Ways to Improve Your Child’s Math Skills

Math is a part of our everyday lives. Without realising it, we use concepts and skills learnt in maths to function normally. Math skills also nurture your communication and cognitive skills. Research shows that children who know maths can recruit certain parts of the brain more reliably and have more grey matter in those regions!

But most children shy away from honing their maths skills. Children struggle with more complex math problems in high school simply because they are unsure of their basics. And poor performance results in further lack of interest! So, how do we get them to improve their math skills without it seeming like more drudgery? Thankfully, because maths in part of our everyday lives, these everyday tasks can help! 

Helping with cooking and baking

Cooking and baking start with sorting of ingredients, weighing them our, checking and adjusting for proportions – and a whole host of other things that involves math skills! You can even teach your younger ones to tell the time, so you know when to switch off the over for that perfectly baked cake! Once they are able to see the application of an abstract subject, it suddenly becomes far more interesting. 

Helping you shop

You can ask your children to help you with grocery shopping. Start by making a list. Put quantities against each of it and let them help you pick out the items. There’s a lot of math skills being put to use when you realise that some cereals don’t come in the 2-kilogram packs that you needed, but in packs of 500 grams instead. Or that perhaps buying packs of 1 kilogram may be cheaper than buying packs of 500 grams. Handling over the right amount to the cashier and getting the right change back – that’s more math skills, along with a healthy dose of economic planning thrown in! You get the picture – helping you and learning maths in the process. Its a win-win!

Playing family games

You don’t need to convince your children to do this one – they’ll love it! Your weekly session of family board games can encourage your child to home their math skills. If you’re the scorekeeper for any game, your addition is being polished. If you’re the banker in monopoly, mental math skills come to the fore. Even memory games help children test their skill with zero resistance and maximum fun!

Books and videos that include math

There are a whole range of books available that incorporate maths an logic in their storyline. This is a fantastic way to sneak in some maths love into their lives. There are even programmes on the web that help explain concepts in a visual form with a gripping storyline. Helping your child see maths as a part of everything encourages them to remove any mental blocks they might have. 

Know that your child is currently doing

Knowing and familiarizing yourself with the topics that your child is currently covering might help your child with brushing up on their math

skills. If, for example, it is the addition of big numbers that week, talk about cricket scores. Fractions? Ask them to divide a cake equally amongst all members of the family. 

Once children see that they are able to do these tasks that involve maths, they will realise that there is nothing to be apprehensive about. Children learn best during play. Looking at maths in a fun way can open up a whole new world of possibilities for them! 

Wisdom Vine

5 Things That Will Help your Child with their Coding Skills

If you think this post is about coding skills – you’re wrong. Well, at least partially. This isn’t just about coding. This is about helping your child develop the ‘coder’s attitude’. You see, coding isn’t just about learning to code. A good coder encompasses a whole lot of other skill which are essential to being able to write a good programme. Here are 5 skills that your child can develop to help her along:

1. Patience and perseverance

A good code isn’t just written once. It’s is written again and again – you account for little tweaks, eliminate the bugs. And just when you think it’s great, it possibly needs a bit more. Needless to say, the entire process can be quite vexing. And that’s where we need to teach our children not give up half-way through. Bugged by something that’s making you lose your cool? Take a break. But get back to it and keep at it. If you can’t get it right the first time, it’s not the end of the world!

2. Learning empathy

Coding finds a solution to a problem. But if you can’t figure out the problem, you won’t arrive at the right answer. So a good coder needs to first and foremost listen, understand and empathise!  

Help your children observe the world around them. Guide them in understanding that compassion and caring for others is as important as the ability to score top marks in class. And most of all, let them start with a bit of empathy for themselves. Caring for themselves is an absolute must!

3. Being a problem solver

The ability to think creatively for out-of-the-box solutions is something that can be developed. And this can be built in a host of ways – from playing creative games to expanding your mind with varied interests. Another great way is to let your child’s mind wander with ‘what if’ scenarios. This might lead to absolute flights of fancy – or the sudden urge for your child to research a particular topic. Both are perfectly fine, and both help her build her problem- solving ability and coding skills!

4. Learning to work collaboratively

Coding might seem like lonely work, but actually, it’s all about collective work. Coders learn from each other – and the more you collaborate, the faster you learn. Learning to work in groups and sharing your learnings are important to be able to work on your coding skills efficiently. Group work also gives rise to new ideas and often, a fresh pair of eyes are able to spot an issue that you might have missed. Let’s learn to share, collaborate and cooperate.

5. Resilience

Not everything you do will be successful – and not every code you write will be fruitful. But it is important to know that this does not mean that you or your work is pointless. Learning to bounce back from failure is vital to your child’s well being. And sure, it may be disappointing when things don’t go according to plan. But sometimes, that’s how things go. At work, a project that you spent months on may suddenly be shelved – only to be picked up years later and developed. That’s the nature of work sometimes – across the board. Your child needs to learn that her worth isn’t tied to a particular project or outcome. She is much more than that! 

These life skills are something that your child can’t grasp from textbooks – they can only be taught by experience and example, guided by an adult that they trust. Coding skills will come with practice. But to master these skills is to be able to handle anything life throws at them – whatever they choose to be.

Wisdom Vine

Things I Look Forward to in the New Year – A Parents’ List!

I’m usually quite sad to see a year go by – it flits by so quickly! It feels like you’ve just recovered from the rash New Year resolutions you made on January first and before you know it, the end of the year comes galloping along. Not this year. This year seemed to drag on. I can’t wait to see the back of the year that seemed to bring a new horror every month. So, optimist that I am, I’ve made a list of the things I’m looking forward to next year!

Some alone time

I have become a believer in the adage ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’. There’s only so many art-and-craft activities and lip-sync videos you can do with the kids. Besides, asking you for a snack every 30 minutes isn’t endearing them to me either. Don’t even get me started on the fights over the TV remote – and now, the gaming console! I sometimes find myself hiding in the bathroom just so I can browse the phone without a tiny person crying out for attention. So, once this whole pandemic-induced family-bonding is finally over, all I want is to send the kids packing to school, the husband off to work and have the house to myself. Ah! The blissful sound of silence. 

You might want to read: How to help your child cope with the stress of Covid – 19

Dressing up

I am not a dressy person. I am more of a throw-jeans-on-with-anything kind of person. But thanks to the pandemic, I’m just waiting for an opportunity to get dressed and go out! Even if that means getting dressed to go to the nearest mall. Or even the local Kirana Shop. I shall be there, bargaining over the fresh produce, liner-lined eyes flashing at the opportunity to grab a bargain on the coriander. And I promise never to make fun of the dressy aunties I see stepping into these places. I feel you, dressy aunties. I am dressy aunties. 

Greeting people with hugs

Imagine meeting people you know without having to do the six-feet-apart with masks on ‘hi’! Or imagine them being finally able to see you smile, not just think that you are, beneath your mask. Now imagine giving them warm hugs and telling them you miss them, or chatting with them face-to-face rather than on Zoom calls. We seem to take these things for granted, and it’s only when it’s been prohibited, do we realise their importance to feel more connected. Humans are social animals, and never do we feel that more than when we are forced to practice social distancing!

Gorging on street food

If there’s one thing I missed the most, it was this! I don’t think I have ever gone this long without visiting the local paani-puri vendor. I sometimes dream of the tantalising aroma of hot vada-pavs that our street corner chap used to sell. And no, whatever you say, when you make these at home, it doesn’t quite taste the same. It’s not just the food – the whole idea of standing at the stall, and soaking in the scene is something I miss. The shy new couple sharing a sandwich, the hungry little boys returning from their schools, the elderly ladies discussing the latest soap they were watching… it’s the city showing you glimpses of its heart. I want to see my city’s heart beating again. 

Watching movies on the big screen

I’m old-school when it comes to the movie-watching experience. Of course, I love the wonderful convenience of the OTT platforms, but nothing comes close to the thrill of watching the movie in theatres. Complete with popcorn and drinks. The teens swooning and whistling as the hero makes the entry, the little children jumping out and dancing in the aisles when a hit song comes on, it is magical. I can’t wait to experience that in the flesh once more.

The pandemic isn’t over – although there is hope on the horizon with the vaccine. And that really the one thing I look forward to the most in the New Year, being able to go back to some semblance of normalcy with our life. I realise that I am one of the fortunate ones to be able to tide through the pandemic without too many major disruptions in my life. But clearly, that isn’t the case with many others. So here’s my wish for all of them – may the New Year bring happier tidings, and see them in a far better place than they were this year! May this be the year that brings you peace, joy and many happy memories with your loved ones!

Have you read: Christmas with a Difference – Setting New Traditions this Year ?

Wisdom Vine

Christmas with a Difference – Setting New Traditions this Year

Christmas, for my children, is, quite literally, the biggest festival of the year. I mean, think about it – they get gifts from a total stranger called Santa, they get to gorge on chocolates, cakes and cookies that magically keep appearing in the house for the whole month. They get to have ‘Christmas parties’ in our schools and apartments, there are twinkling lights and colours everywhere, there’s a pleasant nip in the air – and they have an excuse to stay up late for carols! 

Of course, this year, there is going to be none of that. And left my two little minions feeling rather sorry for themselves. This wasn’t how they planned this year would end. But here’s what we will be doing instead, this Christmas:

We’ll be giving presents this year

The children, quite honestly, don’t really want for much. They really do have enough and more of what they need. So, instead of spending on that extra toy, I’ve asked each of them to select one cause they feel strongly about. And we’re going to let the children donate to that. It’s a good time to remind them that Christmas isn’t just a time for getting, but for giving as well. Especially to those who’ve had a particularly tough year. 

We’re going to be planting trees

No Christmas trees up this year at ours – simply because we are deciding to be more environmentally aware. We want to reduce the use of plastics and reduce our use-and-throw habits. So, anything that we can’t use through the year, or year-after-year, we’re not buying this year. These include big Christmas trees – they look great – but aren’t great for our environment. We will, instead, plant sapling in big pots. That way, they have the pleasure of watching something they are responsible for grow and thrive. 

We’re making the goodies

It’s a great time to teach the little one a few basic cooking skills – and have fun in the process. We’re looking up recipes for cookies, and no matter how they turn out, it’s going to be unforgettable. The elder one has graduated to making mains, so, in all likelihood, this year our Christmas dinner will include Pizza! Or possibly some form of noodles. Either way, it will be absolutely delicious, because it is a labour of love!

(Also read: Chores your child can help with around the house )

We’re crafting

With a bit of time on their hands, drawing greeting cards will definitely feature on our to-do list. It is to remind the children of all the people in their lives who love them and care for them. And it is such a great reminder to us as well – to thank everyone without whom we wouldn’t be where we are today. The ones who make our lives so much better, with their actions, with their work and their words. 

We’re spending family time

This year, more than any other has served as a reminder for the things that really matter. We’ve all become a bit more understanding, a bit more mature and a lot more loving. So whether it is family games or watching a movie or even arguing about what flavour of ice cream is best, we’re going to enjoy it as a family. Of course, there will be times when all we want is to run away from each other. But we realise that these are the people you can count on. They could be friends, they could be your neighbours or just be the folks you work with. They’re your family, your tribe! 

This has been a strange year for many of us. It has changed the world in more ways than one. But change, as they say, is inevitable. Maybe this will be the most memorable Christmas for any of us, with new traditions set that will carry through generations. What new traditions are you setting with your family? We’d certainly love to know! Wishing you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year