Tag: parenting

How Much Screen Time Is Appropriate for My Child?

Children between the ages of eight and eighteen spend an average of more than seven hours a day staring at screens. This is a concern for parents as excess screen time is being linked by researchers to a number of physical and mental illnesses.

Most of us are tied to our phones most of the time. In fact, we often feel a lack if we don’t have our phone in our hands.

Children are modelling (imitating) this behavior of ours, which can prove to be a hindrance to their mental and intellectual development. Very wrong, this mentality has flourished that when the child is playing, you leave the cartoon or rhymes on the TV in the background and the child learns from it. This notion is absolutely wrong, but experts say that even in the background, especially with babies or toddlers, don’t turn on the TV as it can interfere with their ability to play and interact. For older children, this can be a distraction. If we want to teach our kids to focus on one thing then it is good to turn off that TV running in the background.

No more than an hour of screen time per day is a good guideline until the age of 3-5. Also, pediatricians warn that not all smart phone apps are developed with the input of kid’s development experts and that they can do more harm than good if you leave your child to rely on them. More than this, it benefits more if the child plays with a care giver and other children.

If you are concerned about inappropriate excessive use of social media and phone, try to create a schedule that is suitable for your family. This may include weekly screen-time limits, restrictions on the types of screens children can use, and guidelines on the types of activities they can do or programs they can watch. Be sure to get your kids’ input so that the plan teaches media literacy and self-regulation, and use this as an opportunity to find out what they like to watch, and what kind of content they’re persuaded by.

Experts allow some screen time for younger children as well as emphasize parental involvement for all children.

In short:

  • Avoid using any type of screen media for children under 18 months of age. (Zero screen time recommended for children under 2 years old)
  • Limit screen use of high-quality programs for children ages 2 to 5 to an hour per day.
  • Create a family media plan with consistent rules and apply them to older children.

Sitting down together and having complete knowledge of what the child is seeing, to the parents is recommended for children of all ages.

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(Hindi Version of this article has been published in Indian esteemed daily. Read at – Pearl in Media )

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Helping people lead happy lives – Nileema Jhunjhunwala

Role play is important for your child’s holistic development

While searching for a right nursery for my three-year-old kid, lately I noticed almost all day-care, pre-school and early education centres have a costume box and role play stations. We all loved playing role play during our childhood, remember?

It is a known fact that children love role playing. They’ll pick get-ups, create dialogue, and use their toys or household items to create characters. Children will pretend to be almost anything they enjoy being. This process of taking on roles and discovering new identities is an important part of their personality and coherent development.

In our family and professional lives, when we need to think about a problem in our own way or understand other’s perspective, we sit back quietly and give it a thought. But how do we create objective thoughts? What tools we use to think differently, from an unbiased perspective?  People do have different perspective. Understanding how other could think is a logical skill, just like any other skill that can be honed, and the sooner it is introduced, the more beneficial it will be in child’s development. Playing a role is like ‘asking yourself’ how others might feel or reply or counter act in a particular situation.

Children enjoy it as a game but if you pay attention, you will find that they are using their understanding and trying to comprehend how the other person will think and react. This type of game includes applying emotional and logical intelligence and thus will help children be more reasonable, tactful and empathetic as they evolve. Not only this, role play also helps children in making career choices. Although we must never push a kid to make a haste decision and also not necessarily, they will become what role they assume while playing as kids, it helps them gauge their potential and makes them aware of possibilities in future.

They love playing doctors, pilots, teachers and many more, though mostly it has been found that children like to play doll-house or Kitchen-set the most in role play games.

Because home and family are the heart of human collaboration (interaction). They use their families, books and illustrations to make sense of what it means to be a ‘mamma’ or ‘papa’. These are not just games but an understanding, an experience that will stay with them for a long time and shape their relationships in coming future. Playing house or festivals with children from different cultural background and different family set up can serve to expand their meaning and expectations of the term ‘family’. The idea will help them have inclusive group, where they treat each other with equality and empathy despite of their gender or religious preferences. In this pretending play, kids reconnoitre what it’s like to be a contributing member of a family and understand family dynamics in a play way. And this, shapes their perception and idea of a happy family/society.

If you ask me, I love playing kitchen sets with my kid. It is a delightful and satiating experience to watch your little one pretend to prepare a dish or bake a cake for you. Cooking is a survival skill that is important regardless of your child’s gender. These small role plays based on household chores help them to assume responsibilities, understand self-control as an adult and shape a well-managed future for them.

Helping people lead happy lives. – Nileema Jhunjhunwala

Writing Skills – Positive Activity

Vacations are great time for kids to explore new activities. Enhancing writing skills is one such activity. You can encourage your child to start writing a journal or take up creative writing. I want to encourage children to write. Your child can benefit from journal writing in many ways, so go ahead and encourage them to start writing today.

Writing is a great way for children of all ages to learn who they are, what are their likes and dislikes, their interests as well as their thoughts and feelings.

These can help your child start journaling:

1) Gift your child a journal (diary, writing pad or notebook) of his own. And give the right to use as she wishes. Emphasize that the journal belongs to her and she can write whatever she wants, whenever and wherever she wants. Let her write freely. Let her put stickers if she wants.

2) Help your child write a life-book. If your child isn’t interested in journaling about herself, ask to consider writing a family journal or a log of a travel story.

3) For a very young child, a picture journal can be an easy start! You can support her by asking questions about what she did that day, then suggest writing something interesting that reminds her of that day.

4) Ask the child to write a thank you letter to help them learn journaling. Along with writing this way, it will also develop a significant sense of gratitude.

5) Give her the list of writing topics. Given here or any other interesting ideas, let her choose the topic that fascinates her the most and she starts writing!

  • If you could go anywhere in the world, on summer vacation, where would you go? And why?
  • Make a list of groceries that you think are essential for you.
  • Tell us about an animal that you would like to keep with you as a pet.
  • What is something that you would like to know more about?
  • Tell us about your favourite book and author.
  • What do you like about yourself and why?
  • Make a list of the things you are most grateful for in your life.
  • What would you like to say to the President of our country?
  • If you find a magic wand, what will you do with it?
  • Write a poem about your happiest memories.

Keeping a journal is a fun way for kids to develop writing skills at home. Apart from this, there are many ways which help in developing the intellectual and creative skills of the child. In case your child doesn’t like to write, leave it for a while and try something different. It might be more interesting for your child to talk about books or tell an oral story right now. Just offer a few different ideas and let your child writer make her own decision.

May you have a wonderful vacation filled with joy, love and laughter and yes, keep writing….

(Hindi Version of this article has been published in Indian esteemed daily. Read at – Pearl in Media )

Helping people lead happy lives -Nileema Jhunjhunwala

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