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Celebrating Mothers Day at Home This Year

For most of 2020, most of us stayed indoors. 2021 was supposed to be different. It was supposed to be the year we reclaimed our festivals. But with the second wave of the coronavirus upon us, it looks like the reclaiming will have to wait a bit longer. For now, we will have to make do with staying home and staying safe. 

Why are celebrations important?

We might be tempted to just chuck it all, and decide not to have any celebrations, and that’s okay too if you want to take it easy this year. But studies have shown that the celebratory attitude works really well to keep your spirits up. It also breaks the monotony of the day for you and the family! 

One day where most mothers feel loved (maybe a bit more than the rest of the year) is Mother’s Day. And it’s a wonderful occasion to practice gratitude, togetherness and of course, have fun. Mother’s Day this year is going to be celebrated indoors for most of us but there’s no reason it can’t be just as special as the other years. Here are a few ideas to celebrate Mother’s Day, indoors:

Making the kitchen a Mum-free zone:

Mothers can’t seem to break away from the kitchen, especially during a lockdown. With help missing and everyone getting hunger pangs at odd hours. So, for a change, make sure the family steps up! From making tea in the morning to breakfast and lunch, the children can be in charge- with a watchful eye from dad. Granted, lunch may be sandwiches. Breakfast may just be toast with bread and butter. But it’s a great way to teach independence to the children, while they gain a healthy appreciation of just how much effort mothers put in for every meal. 

Movie marathons at home:

With the OTT platforms offering up a whole host of options, the need to go to a movie theatre has become quite redundant. To complete the movie-theatre experience, let mummy choose the movie. Pop some popcorn in the microwave, throw a few cushions, draw the curtains and Voila! Your movie -theatre experience just came home!

Art/Photography workshop for mum:

Mothers become our default family photographers and home decorators! They love nothing better than clicking pictures of the family on vacations, during festivals, on special occasions, you name it. Wouldn’t it be great to let them indulge in their hobby and book them for an art or photography class? There are plenty of classes available online – and some of them even focus on mobile phone photography. An ideal gift for a snap-happy mum!

Mother’s Day goodies:

It’s never been easier to create personalised gifts for mother’s day. From photo mugs to t-shirts with cheeky messages, it’s all there at the click of a button. Just a couple of things to remember: if you’re selecting a picture, pick one that mum loves (not one where you’ve caught her mid-sneeze), if you’re picking a gift, pick one she’ll use (don’t look at tea-pots for a coffee-lover) and check the delivery timelines (make sure they arrive before d-day!)

The way to a mum’s heart…

…Is definitely through baked goods- especially if her children are baking! Look up a simple cake/ cookie recipe on the internet and watch her melt into a mushy puddle when the children bake it for her. It doesn’t need to be perfect. I’m sure the fact that her children have made it will make it ‘the best cake in the world’!  

Quick art cards:

Use your child’s palm prints or footprints to make a very personalised, quick no-fuss Mother’s Day Card. If the children are old enough, they can write on the card, if not, daddy can write what they want to say on the card. Guaranteed to make every mother go, ‘Aww’!

Mother’s Day coupons:

Make a series of small coupons for things you think she will enjoy. For example, “good for one hug from any member of the family” or “good for taking charge of the TV remote” or even “good for one hour of me-time”. Mummy can then choose to use these coupons throughout the year, when she chooses (or use it all up in one day, depending on her mood). It’s also a great way to let her know that she’s appreciated throughout the year!

Whatever you decide to do on Mother’s Day, do remember that the little things count as much as the grand gestures. Helping out with chores, spending time together as a family and bonding over shared memories will carry far more value than buying a really expensive gift on that one day, but ignoring her needs and feelings for the rest of the year. Here’s wishing all Mothers a day full of happiness and love. 

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Lido Bytes

5 Times Children Said the Wrong Things at the Wrong Time

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve experienced this- when your children have no filter and go about happily saying the absolute wrong thing at the wrong time. It is a time when you wish the ground would just swallow you up! So here are some of the times when mums have implored mother earth to just take them into her fold! (*all names have been changed to protect further embarrassment of a mother, who has possibly never lived these down!)

When we had the talk about the birds and the bees

So, I was giving the little one, all of 3, a shower, and of course, we just had to play the body parts game. And being the worrywart that I am, I decided to have the Safe-unsafe; touch conversation with him. Which included telling him the names of all his body parts, including the private ones. That evening, an elderly relative of the husband’s visited us, and our wonderfully chatty boy decided to introduce himself – and his body parts to her. Imagine my mortification when I return with the chai and find the boy engrossed in telling her all about his ‘Pee-niss’ (because it’s where we pee from, apparently). Sigh. I don’t think I’ve seen that aunty visit our house again.
– *Neha

When they heard the one word in the movie they’re not supposed to

You know, how in the old day, before Netflix and Hotstar, we used to have movie channels? (yes, my children think it very quaint now.) well, when the younger one was learning to talk,
I just happened to put on a movie. It was a very funny movie, with a very ironic scene (you’ll know why in a bit), where the baby learns a very naughty word that they’re not supposed to. I chuckle. The husband and mother-in-law walk in. ‘What are you watching?’ they ask. ‘Meet the…’ I say. “Faulker’. Baby completes. Grinning. And just in case we didn’t hear it the first times, repeats it in increasingly loud volumes: ‘Faulker! Faulker!! FAULKER!!!’.
– *Bidya

When they had a fashion show for our guests

My son and his cousin are quite close in age and love playing together. So, at a rather large family gathering at ours, it wasn’t a surprise to see them running around, playing, plotting and conspiring. After dinner, as we were settling down rather comfortably in the living room, the boy and his cousin declare that they will now entertain us with a ‘fashion show’. Of course, we love the idea and clapped very enthusiastically. The kids disappear ‘Backstage’ – which was my bedroom, with instructions to their dad to play a particular song. As the beat of the song picks up, with all of us clapping, my son and his cousin re-appear. Dressed in my raciest lingerie. Leopard print thongs, cut-out bras… the works! And strut about with it in from of all the relatives. There was shocked silence for a second… followed by peals and peals of laughter. This is now part of family legend, retold to every new daughter-in-law joining the family!
– *Fariya

Also look up: Teaching Children Discipline in a Joint Family

When we were nearly arrested for child trafficking

We were on our annual trip to visit my in-laws. And my son loves his grandparents. After spending two whole wonderful weeks with them, it was time to head back home. But our son wouldn’t hear of it. So we booked a late-night flight. We put him to bed and picked up the sleeping child and headed to the flight. We knew that he’d throw a fit if he was awake and wouldn’t come. It was all great until we reached the immigration counter. My son woke up with all the noise and saw that we were leaving. He immediate started wailing – and screamed out in English ‘You’re NOT MY MUMMA AND DADDA. Help! I want to go back!’ We were immediately surrounded by a lot of officious looking people, who wanted to question us, and take my boy away from his ‘kidnappers’. It took us a good half an hour to convince them that we really were his parents, and we almost missed our flight!
– *Rosalind

When death threats were issued to my boss!

I’m a working mom. So after I put my daughter to bed, I usually check my emails and messages and respond to them on the phone. One evening, after my daughter fell asleep, I went to the bathroom leaving my phone by the bedside. When I return, to my horror, my daughter was awake and was busy pressing buttons on my phone! I quickly look at the messages and thanks to autocorrect and predictive text, she’s sent this to my boss: Ha. Die. With kiss.
Thankfully, my boss has children too, and took it in the right spirit! But I’m taking my phone to the bathroom with me the next time!
– *Sunanda

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Lido Bytes

Talking to your Child About Sex Education

It’s the talk most of us probably dread. And feel most uncomfortable about – the talk about the ‘birds and the bees’ with our children. Even saying ‘sex-education’ out loud makes many of us squirm uncomfortably. So, of course, we try to avoid the conversation or hope that schools take care of it, or push it to a later date. 

But here’s the issue. Children are naturally curious. They won’t stop asking questions. If you give them unsatisfactory answers or avoid the question, they will simply stop asking you any questions. And will look for other sources. Often these sources are their friends – who are possible as clueless as them or have been ill-informed by an older sibling. Worse still is if they choose to look for answers on that wonderful fount of all knowledge- Google! They may stumble upon sites that aren’t exactly family-friendly. So, it’s time to bite the bullet and have that talk. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

It’s not one major talk

Contrary to what we might think, it’s never just that one talk that you have with children. It will be an ongoing series. You might give some information to your children. And they might go off and not have any questions. But a couple of days later, when you least expect it, they might spring a question on you about what you’d discussed. But the key is to have all of those discussions so that the information they receive is accurate. The amount of information that your need to give can vary on the age of your child. And there’s no age that’s too young to start talking. 

Information you can give toddlers and very young children

At this age, we only need to make sure that children know the right names for their private parts. Don’t give them vague names – you can mention that these parts are your private parts, but give them the correct names. This is also important for children to protect themselves from unsafe touches and for them to be able to tell you if something is making them uncomfortable. 

Information you can give primary school-going children

Children at this age may be more curious – some of their friends may have a baby sister or brother and they will be curious about where babies come from. ‘How does the baby get into the mummy’s tummy?’ ‘Will the baby hurt the mummy when they cut open the tummy to take the baby out?’ We can answer these questions accurately – but without going into too much detail. For example, we can say that the baby is created in the womb when the sperm and egg meet. 

We don’t need to go into further detail. You know your child best, so giving information based on the maturity and understanding of your child is what will work. If your child is asking questions that you think they aren’t ready for, you can always tell them, ‘Let’s get back to this when you’re a bit older- for now, here’s what you need to know:…’

Information for tweens 

This might be the time to talk to children about puberty, menstruation, the changes they can expect in their bodies, and that all these changes are normal and natural. It is also important to address their emotions which might be undergoing some upheaval. Now is the time to set some ground rules for safety around their interactions – with themselves, with others and both offline and online. Start talking about consent early, and as an essential part of their sex education. 

Conversation with teens

Teenagers will want to have a conversation with you – not advice (even though you think they need it sorely). So keep the lines of communication open. Talk about your experiences, let them come and ask you questions. Let the conversation flow naturally about forming emotional bonds, respect, consent and everything in between. When conversing with teens, we tend to sprinkle our conversation with ‘don’ts’. Let’s throw in the occasions, ‘do’ – what they need to be aware of, how it can be difficult to navigate the world of social media, the temptation to gain popularity, peer pressure, and a whole lot else. They may not like to show it, but teenagers still seek their parents’ approval. Fear of disapproval might push them into silence or hiding things from you. Conversations about morning erections and how birth control works doesn’t mean that your teen is going to immediately run out to try all of these things. It means that they feel comfortable and safe enough to have these awkward conversations with you, knowing that they will get answers. Well, done, parent!

The more we normalise conversations like these in our homes, the more confident we can be that our children will not indulge in reckless and unsafe behaviour when it comes to sex. Some conversations may be more difficult to have than others- but they will be infinitely more rewarding when you see the bond you share with your children strengthening and growing stronger. 

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Lido Bytes

How to Have An Argument With Your Child – And Still Win at Parenting!

Let’s be honest – before we had children, we all had this idea of how they’d be perfect angels. And of course, not one of those ideas included you getting into daily arguments with your child. Never did you anticipate that asking your child to do something as simple as brushing their teeth could devolve into World War 3. Parent-child arguments are one of the biggest causes of stress for both you and your child, and often sets the tone of your relationship with your child in the future.

Strong-willed children are great!

Take heart, having a strong-willed child may seem like a lot of work – but with the right kind of nurturing they turn out to be grounded, not swayed by peer pressure and possess great leadership skills. Strong-willed children don’t accept the status quo and want to try things out for themselves. That’s why they are constantly testing their boundaries by questioning you. So how can you set boundaries for your child without coming off as authoritarian? How can an argument with your child turn into a life lesson that they take to heart?

Common argumentative fallacies

When we argue, we let emotions get the better of us – that’s natural. Everything about our children tends to make us emotional. But when we want to make our point, let’s watch out for and steer clear of these common fallacies:

Attacking the person, rather and the idea

Often, when we’re asking our children to do something, it sounds like we’re finding faults. Let’s identify the behaviour that we have an issue with, rather than the person. For example, if you walk into your child’s room and it looks like a bomb went off in there, instead of saying ‘You’re always so messy’, we could try, ‘This room looks quite messy, how about you tidy it up a bit?’. Not calling the child messy, or disobedient, or lazy, but calling out the act, or behaviour will help you get your message across, without it becoming an argument because your child doesn’t feel like it’s a personal attack!

Exaggerating the problem and attacking it

We’ve all been guilty of it. ‘You’re on the screen forever!’ ‘You never want to eat what I make.’ ‘You’re always playing, you need to be serious about your exams.’ Well, that’s not really true, is it? Children need you to break down the issue to a more immediate timeline. So if screen time is an issue today, or now, just state that ‘You’ve been playing for a long time on the screen today. I think that’s enough.’ 

Building improbable consequences to a small action

Let’s not kid ourselves – not eating vegetables for a meal is not going to give us debilitating conditions. Not doing the homework today is not going to make your child drop out of university. So we stick to the facts when stating our point – ‘If you’re going to continue not doing your homework, chances are, you’re not going to be prepared when they test you on this. That’s not what we want, is it?’ This stop is from becoming an argument where your child fails to see the point of what you’re asking them to do.

The either-or situation

‘You’re not sharing your chocolate with your brother. Do you not love him?’ This tells the child that there are only two options – either love my brother and share or hate my brother and not share. But in reality, she may love her brother very dearly, but just not want to share. Just, ‘I would like it very much if you shared that with your brother.’ is enough. If she’s still unwilling to share, maybe explaining how sharing helps strengthen bonds.

Because I said so

Sometimes we do tire of arguing with our pint-sized humans and resort to this. And yes, as adults, we would know more and are able to judge a situation better. But that’s why it is important to explain to them why your viewpoint isn’t just because you’re the adult, and they are the children. Back it up with rationale – it’s also a great way to build the logical reasoning of your child. 

What you can say so the children listen
  • Acknowledge their feelings: Children like us will have their own likes and dislikes. It’s okay to occasionally indulge in fantasies with them. ‘You really don’t like this daal, huh? I wish we would eat ice cream for every meal, and still be super-healthy! *sigh*’  (you might like to read: What is Journaling and how can it help? )
  • Engage cooperation: give factual information, without exaggeration ‘We need to brush our teeth because…’, rather than ‘All our teeth will fall out and the dentist will drill painful holes!’
  • Express your feelings without attacking your child’s character: ‘I felt really upset when you said that’ or ‘It makes me really sad to see both of you fighting’. 
  • Explain the consequences: Every action will have consequences. Calmly explaining the consequences, and following through on them, without anger or annoyance will help your child understand boundaries. ‘If you keep running over your tv time, we will have to reduce it by 10 minutes tomorrow. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.’
  • Sit with your child and figure out a solution together: If you’re unhappy with a situation, it’s fairly certain that your child isn’t too thrilled either. Sit together and jot down all the ideas you can come up with (yes, even the silly ones) and decide the best way forward together. 

Your child will feel empowered to take control of their actions, especially if they know that they have your love. Even though you may disagree, you can air your differences, talk through your problems and figure out a way together. These skills of negotiation, reasoning and emotional intelligence will build on their ability to navigate the world confidently as adults with you as their role models for conflict resolution

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Let’s Make Holi the Festival of Consent This Year!

The weather in the country is slowly but surely turning hotter. The last of the winter chill has disappeared. It can only mean one thing – Holi is around the corner! The festival of colour, of joy, signalling the start of the spring-summer season in our country.

My children love this festival – it allows them to run around gleefully in the society compound throwing colour and be as messy as possible. Sounds like fun, right? But there’s a worrying side to Holi that I’m becoming increasingly aware of, especially as the children grow older. The matter of consent. 

Why does this bother me?

Perhaps it’s because I am a mother to both, a son and a daughter, that I feel it very keenly when every year I read painful newspaper stories about children, women, and men having their consent violated when people around them forcibly apply colour or throw water on them. I’m sure you recall having read them too. I worry about my daughter (and even my son) being touched without her permission. To those who call it ‘harmless fun’ and ‘bura na maano holi hai, I ask you this: Don’t we teach our children about boundaries the rest of the year? Do we not insist that their body is their own and should be respected? So, what message are we sending to the children when we deliberately violate someone’s consent so we can have fun? 

There’s another group of innocent, voiceless victims who suffer the most during our festivities: It’s the poor street animals. It’s not uncommon at all to spot a helpless, scared-looking blue-and-pink dog streaking past you the day after Holi. These colours, laden with chemicals, were not meant to be used on animal fur or even human skin. But unlike us, these animals can’t hop into a shower and scrub themselves clean. So it’s our job to protect them and keep them safe! 

My kind of Holi

So what does it mean for us to celebrate a Holi that’s both fun and respectful? Here are a few things I’m going to ask my children to follow. I hope they help you set fun, respectful boundaries for your own family too! 

Always ask!

It takes literally just a couple of seconds to ask for permission, but just think of how respected and valued it will make the person feel! It doesn’t matter who it is — children, friends, elders, or family members. Always ask for consent before pulling someone into your celebrations. Learning about consent and agency starts in small ways right from childhood, after all! 

Learn to accept ‘no’ gracefully

It’s our turn to ‘bura na maano’ when someone doesn’t feel comfortable with having colour, water, or anything else applied to them. If they say colour is okay, but water isn’t, do as they ask. If they want to play with only organic colours, respect their wishes, the way you would want someone to respect yours. Let’s learn to live and let live.

Ask if they’re okay with you applying colour

Just because someone is okay with your friend or relative (or a total stranger) applying colour to them, does not mean they’re giving blanket consent to everyone to come into physical contact. So permission needs to be asked, even if they’ve said yes to someone else already. Think of it like this- just because you’ve said okay to go out for coffee with a friend, does not mean you’re okay to go out for coffee with your friend’s friend, or their cousin. 

Watch out for the animals!

Make sure you’re playing in a place that is away from animals: and if they do wander in, immediately move away so they do not get drenched in colour. It can be very harmful for them, and it’s our job to protect them! 

Make your festivities inclusive

Holi is meant to be a festival that includes everyone of all abilities and from all backgrounds. Let’s get our community involved in making sure we create a safe space for all. 

Let’s be eco-friendly

Only about 3% of the earth’s water is freshwater. Out of which 2% is locked up in ice and glaciers. Having a water-free Holi only seems logical in the face of these statistics. 

You may also like: Tips to Raise an Environment-Loving Child

Holi may have many mythological stories attached to it – but the predominant feeling through it all is one of joy and celebration. I’m going to make sure my celebrations don’t dampen anyone else’s joy. Have a happy, safe, and consent-ful Holi! 

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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. 

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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.

(*source: https://www.kaspersky.co.in/)

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: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/reviews
  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!

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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! 

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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

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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!