Tuesday, January 6, 2009

10 things to make your child an achiever

Don’t we always believe that we are blessed with a super kid who is going to be the next “tennis sensation” or “fastest pianist” or “youngest entrepreneur”? Well, let me assure you that there’s no need to believe others who would rather not have you think so…here are some tips for raising your super kid:

  1. Feed him right – Have you heard the quote – “We are what we eat”. Well, it’s true. Be sure to refer to diet chart that not only explains the food pyramid on carbohydrate to fat to protein ratio, but also what foods to eat/not eat at particular times. Age old Ayurveda is a good reference point to know which foods should not be eaten in combination eg. curd and mango, which foods are best consumed at what time of the day eg. fruits before sunset and which foods to eat in which season eg. dry fruits in winter.
  2. Let him be himself – Do not force him to be left or right handed. Respect the way he is, let him believe in himself and also encourage age-appropriate independence eg. expect a 5 year old to know how to tie his shoelace.
  3. Teach music at a young age – The right kind of music is known to have a calming effect on children. It also helps to raises sensory prowess. It is advisable to expose a child to start learning to play a musical instrument by age 4-5 years.
  4. Psyche him with positive sentences – Whenever he watches an athlete cross the finish line to become first – tell him that he needs to do the same; when there is a singer performing on stage, tell him he needs to sing the same way; while watching a tennis star on TV, tell him that he needs to play the same way.
  5. Use both left and right brain - Expose him to extra curricular activities that use both the left and right brain. It is believed and found to be true after scientific research that brain cells that are not utilized, die. By age 14, all areas of brain that we have not been able to use become unusable – they rust. So teach your kid to do math AND art, chess AND as painting, sports AND reading. This will ensure that he is using both the emotional side of the brain, as well as the fact based side.
  6. Promote physical and mental activity– This is to ensure that both motor and sensory skills get developed. A child needs to start by writing with jumbo crayons, and only later should he be asked to graduate to a pencil. It is incorrect to let a 2-3 year old, write with a pencil – the motor skills are not developed to use it then. To foster development of motor skills, stringing beads together, picking up and placing huge wooden blocks, form part of Montessori teaching. Taking your child to a park to run around and play is as important as making him do his letters or numbers.
  7. Create a healthy atmosphere – It is important to create a conducive atmosphere at home. Eg. Use bright colors on the walls of the room, put up fresh flowers, make him listen to inspirational and divine songs – like Gayatri Mantra. Just like we try to dim or switch off the lights when going to bed and pull away the curtains to start the day in the morning, the right atmosphere fosters exceptional results.
  8. Try to teach him yourself – even if you were not the best at Geography while at school, make an attempt to spend time with maps yourself. Studies reveal that kids grasp better if they are taught by people they know and trust – and who could be better at it than parents. The expert, expensive tutor might seem the best Subject Matter expert, but if Mom/Dad teach him, he is likely to grasp and retain it. This holds good for studies as well as extra curricular activities such as sports and art.
  9. Create a Time Matrix – Plan the day and week while always leaving some time for recreation. It feels great to tick off items in your shopping list, right? Just as it gives you a sense of accomplishment to tick off tasks completed, planned time table and striking off activities completed, will give your child a sense of control and achievement.
  10. Listen, listen, listen – Parents tend to always keep giving advice, scold and explain to their kids. It’s more often than not a one-sided conversation with kids. It’s actually better if you can let him talk and you just listen - not hear, mind you - listen. Give your child undivided attention when he is telling you how he turned around a football match or how she recited a long poem in class and won the adulation of school mates. It will help build confidence in your child.

Here are the Top 10 things to make your child an achiever – happy super-parenting!

Monday, January 5, 2009

How to get (back) a purpose in life

Do you sometimes think - why I am where I am, doing what I am doing and living life the way it is now? Is this what I was meant to do and be? It is not uncommon in the human life to be in the highs or lows and forget or lose sight of purpose in one's life. Here are some tips I'd like to share on how to get a purpose (back) in your life.

1. Ask yourself questions - What do I want to do? What do I enjoy doing? When am I most happy? What keeps me most satisfied? How would I like to be remembered? Why am I doing this? What should I do instead? How long ago was it that I last learnt something new? I'm sure you got the hang of it by now....all questions leading you to know more about yourself. Ideally this itself could be a blogpost...maybe I will come back and write it out later...

2. Stop thinking, start doing - If you believe that this should have been the last point on this blog, well - it's good to start with the last sentence first...and that's why I have put it here. It is easy to say - I will start doing what I like someday. Instead, begin it now. Whether it is learning to play the piano or start blogging - do not wait for everything to fall into place before you start taking action - begin NOW.

3. Assume you are a third person and look at your life - Look at yourself and your life as if it is someone else - your neighbor or friend's life. What would you think about it then? What would be your guess on the purpose of this person's life? This will force you to think differently and regain composure of yourself - find ways to define your purpose.

4. Close your eyes and imagine your near and dear ones gathered in your funeral - What are they saying about you? Are they talking about the things that mattered to you? Do they think you contributed to them in some way? Do they remember the time you soaked yourself wet in the rain instead of sitting in traffic to make it to their birthday party on time? Sometimes we might not be giving the appropriate time to relationships that matter and fret over ones that need not necessarily mean alot to us. This imagining exercise will help you refocus your energies and realize importance of the relationships that matter. Take your time on this one. Think of every individual close to you while doing this exercise, to gain maximum benefit.

5. Eat healthy - Now you're wondering - how can that help me get insight into my purpose in life. Well, unless you are healthy and fit, your life will remain purposeless - you will continue to spend your time in trying to get well - doing doctor's appointments, trying new remedies etc. So the real purpose of your life will be lost. It is extremely important to eat healthy and exercise to ensure that a fit body will lead to a fit mind. Only then you will be able to think about your goals in life and how you want to accomplish them.

6. Set small goals and write things down - It might be difficult to think of our ultimate purpose/goal/aim in life - it is easier to break it into smaller immediate goals and then work on it. For example, you might think that the purpose of your life for the next 5 years is to be a good parent, the next 5 might be to be a good programmer or whatever. The idea is to take small steps, think and act. Most importantly - write it down - it will give a great sense of relief when you have your thought process out of your system. Also, if you write down and put it in a place where you can see it, chances are, it will help you get back focus to it when you are lost.

People often think, when one is successful, they do not sway and need to refocus - this is not true. Whether we are achievers or would-be-achievers, there are always times, when we lose focus and need to shake ourselves up or pick ourselves up from an experience in life and get back on track. Please share your stories on how you managed to get (back) purpose in your life.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Best of Mommy Bloggers Carnival - Balancing motherood and life

I won the contest!! External link here

Work-Life balance” is the new buzzword of today. “Easier said than done”, right? When you have a wailing baby trying to catch your attention every time you sit in front of the computer screen, where does the “work” fit in the “work-life” balance? When the washing machine beeper beeps aloud, just as you are about to complete your big sales call, all you can do is despair, isn’t it?

I have tried to follow these simple golden rules - “easier written than done”, you’ll say, but give it a shot:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate – Let all at home know your work timings. In case you have help to look after the baby, ensure that the caretaker is aware what your “Do not disturb” timings are. In case you go out to work, be sure to write out all your contact numbers in big bold letters on the wall near the phone, so that they are handy in case of an emergency. I meant on paper and stick it on the wall ok…no messing the wall….set a good example for your baby!
  2. SOHO - “Small Office Home Office”…well, it need not necessarily be a separate room in the house…a cozy corner to snuggle up with your laptop or work tools such as a phone, would be good enough. Having a designated work area helps the mind concentrate on the job at hand!
  3. To-Do List with a twist –Being a Mom, there are always umpteen things to accomplish in a short time. Try to list down the To-Do’s of the day. What’s the twist, you ask…well, note down the priority or likely timings for the job, next to it. For example, if the store near you gets fresh veggies on Thursdays, buying vegetables would be a Thursday chore. The rest of the week can be gainfully spent on work!
  4. Turn off that beeper – Reduce distractions as far as possible. This will ensure that the hours spent at work are productive. That way, one can accomplish an 8-hour day in just 6 productive hours! Your boss is just interested in a complete job…not how much time you took to do it.
  5. Stretch your legs, drink lots of water – No…I have not mixed up the points from my article on healthy living! Water helps to stay fresh, cool and generate new ideas…try it and get back to me on the results (if nothing else, it’ll help build my statistics for the healthy living article!)
  6. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – applies to us as well. If you just work and not take adequate breaks, the productivity suffers. After all, it’s the new experiences that we have, that help us grow as a person, right? What we see is what we learn. So make sure to take vacations and spend adequate time outside the work environment.
  7. Use the “turn-on”, “turn-off “ mechanism – At work times just think of work. Similarly, at family/play times “turn-off” the worker switch. It won’t throttle your thoughts, trust me…will ensure that when you switch on the next time, a reinvigorated you will emerge.

On an ending note…the points listed above are in no particular order…so try doing them all at one time and happy balancing!

Brief Bio

I am working mother of a seven year old boy and two year old girl- software professional who loves reading, writing and spending time with my kids. Apart from writing computer programs at work, also write poems/articles for magazines/websites. I love to travel and my work gives me the opportunity to do that… I know how difficult it is for one to try being a super woman – juggling home, work and kids! It is doable though…so I encourage all to give it a shot. It is a rewarding experience and though there are those times when one feels like quitting since the pressure is too much to handle, it takes just a little bit of courage to carry on, as things do change….and soon. Having a supportive family is the key and I have been fortunate to be blessed with that. My loving husband and his family with his parents, brothers and their families, is my backbone and support for taking on the challenges of life.

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