Bedtime, Parenting

15 ways to ask your kids about school 

Starting school is a big milestone for a child as well as the parents. It’s the beginning of your child having a life independent of home and family. Most parents look forward to this big step and almost all parents are anxious to know what their little ones do at school. Parents religiously ask the child what he learnt at school only to receive vague replies, if anything at all. 

What I have learnt over the last couple of years since darling daughter started school is that children get bored answering the same “What did you do at school today?” everyday. If we want detailed answers from them we need to get creative with our questions.

Here are some tips and questions to get your child talking about school and more:

  1. Make it a point to know the names of other kids, all teachers and nannies in your child’s class/school van. With random names ask questions like Did your friend XYZ come to school today? What color was Miss ABC wearing today? 
  2. Did you have fun at school today? When the child answers usually it’ll be accompanied by what made the day fun and vice versa. If not, you can ask what made the day fun.
  3. Did you play any new games at school?
  4. Kids are usually very excited about birthdays. You can ask if any of their friends are having birthdays in the next few days. 
  5. Who did you sit with today? Did you enjoy sitting with this friend?
  6. Did you learn anything new from a friend today?
  7. Did you learn anything new at school today?
  8. Did you learn a new word today?
  9. Did anyone get a timeout at school today? Why did they get timeout?
  10. What was the best part of your day at school today?
  11. Did anything make you sad at school today?
  12. Did you help someone at school today?
  13. Did someone at school helped you today?
  14. What did you play most with today?
  15. What was the best thing your teacher did today?

These work well if asked at bedtime as well since many kids are usually chatty just before they sleep. Don’t go about asking all the above questions in one day, pick a few randomly and play it by the ear. 

Do leave us a note on the tactics you use to get your kids talking. 

-A

Bedtime, Parenting

Most Favourite Time of My Day

There is never a dull moment when you have 2 young kids in the house. Thanks to my 2 littles I have my days generously sprinkled with laughter and fun…. But the most favorite part of my day comes right at the end.

Bedtime!! Yes it’s every mother’s favorite as past bedtime we can get some peace, clean up the kitchen without getting pulled every 30 seconds, catch up on our online activities, watch telly or finally talk to our husbands. But I love bedtime for one more reason. It is the time when I get to end the day as a happy one irrespective of how it really was. 

We  have our share of difficult days when the baby doesn’t nap or the older one doesn’t eat, when one or both of them get cranky and I lose my patience. And when I lose patience it doesn’t end well… I yell, I get a little rough and edgy, I ignore my kids until I cool down or I take a time out. Whatever it is, it doesn’t leave pleasant memories for anyone.

Bedtime is when there is peace almost always. Any unreasonable behavior of kids is termed sleepiness and I feel my patience levels almost double with this assumption. As a result we go to bed happy almost every day and then comes my most favorite part. 

As I lie in bed with my daughter (my younger one is still a baby so he nurses to sleep and doesn’t have a bed time routine besides that) I really focus on her. It’s probably the only time in the day when I am not distracted, not rushing anywhere, don’t have anything waiting to be done or cleaned or cooked, don’t have the baby to share the attention, don’t have the temptation to check the blinking light on my phone…. At that time I am 100% with my daughter, and we talk. I ask her about school, her friends, how her day was. I try to teach her some important lessons keeping recent events in context. I share my feelings with her regarding things. I apologise if I was irrational during the day and I try to explain why her behaviour was unacceptable. She listens and understands, she talks and shares, and we both bond with words, hugs and kisses. 

Some time ago I taught her to pray at bedtime, mainly to thank God for her blessings so as to instil gratitude in her. Now as she says her prayers I get a glimpse of how her mind is working. The things she talks about tell me what all she notices and how her little mind processes information.

Since we recently moved countries our bedtime conversations couple of months ago revealed how much she missed India and her friends back home. Then one day couple of weeks ago she prayed “Thank you God for moving us to San Francisco” and I knew my princess is now happy in her new home. 

No matter how bad a day was , we end it on a happy note and as my daughter falls asleep she is secure in the fact that she is loved and cared for, and I feel content that even if I made some mistakes, I did give her a good ending to another day. 

-A


Bedtime, Newborn

How to sleep train your newborn

Almost everyone warned me of the sleepless nights when they got to know I am pregnant. And honestly I was scared a bit. In my last trimester hubby and I attended a 1 day parenting workshop organised by my Gynae and her team. One session was dedicated to new born care by a lady Paediatrician. Why I emphasize on the lady bit is because being a mother herself she gave very practical advice unlike what most male Paeds give, like it is okay to keep your LO in diapers as long as you do leave her in nappy for a few hours every day… maybe right after she has pooped so the skin gets air dried and chances of getting rashes are less. Anyway, coming back to sleep training. The Paed shared a trick to help get new moms a better night’s sleep. See, your baby will get up every 2-3 hours for feed and that cannot be prevented but you can train your LO to sleep at decent time and go back to sleep right after a night feed so you can sleep peacefully until the next hunger pang. I am only sharing what she shared with us at the workshop. It is a tried and tested method and ensured peaceful nights for me and hubby.

Newborns do not have the concept of day and night. It’s something you need to teach them. During the day keep the house well lighted and maintain normal noise levels. Talk in normal tone and don’t stop yourself from watching TV because the sound might wake up your sleeping baby. Close to bed time, dim the lights and reduce the noise level. Don’t play with the baby, don’t make much eye contact and don’t talk in loud voice. Soon the baby will begin to understand that when its light and noise around, it’s time to wake up and play and when it’s dark and quiet it’s time to rest and sleep. With VMJ, we used different lights for day and night time. Close to her bed time we used yellow light of night lamp in the bedroom. Tubelight was switched on only when we needed to look for something. We also didn’t let her spend much time in the bedroom during the day, except for bathing and napping. The idea was for her to associate bedroom with sleeping only. It worked very well for us and she would sleep within half an hour of going in the bedroom, no matter what time we took her there. You can make a bedtime routine of light massage, lullaby, feeding or reading a bedtime story as the baby gets older. 

With VMJ, we used to sing only one lullaby every night so that she could associate that with her bed time too. You can pick a particular spot, a particular blanket or a sleeping buddy for your LO to make bed times easier.

Wishing all new moms a good night’s sleep.

xoxo,

-A

Bedtime

Putting your little ones to bed

Every mother has 3 concern areas for her child that stay constant throughout her life…. her child’s sleep, food and education/learning.

I remember growing up I never wanted to sleep. I felt I might miss something if I did. On hot summer afternoons when there was nothing to do – no cable TV, no electronic gadgets, no fancy books or toys, my mom would get me and my brother in the bed, lay down herself between us with our heads on each of her arms and tell stories hoping we’ll sleep and she would get 40 winks of her own. But my brother and I were never in a mood to sleep and while she told stories we planned on how to get away. At the end of each session my mom would either accept defeat and stop trying to put us to bed or was sleeping herself until I went crying to her for one or another thing.

Now that I have a child myself I realize how much a mother craves for her little one to take that afternoon nap. There’s a long list of things we mothers intend on accomplishing during the 1-2 hours we get to ourselves… laundry, tidying up the house, catching up with friends and family via phone or internet, getting a daily dose of facebook or TV, getting dinner ready or enjoying a hot cup of afternoon tea in peace.

My daughter is the same as me… she fights sleep for as long as she can, trying to find just about anything that wards off sleep. I know if I get her to close her eyes even for 30 seconds she would sleep for a couple of hours but how to get her to do that was an everyday challenge for me until recently when my sister in law (SIL) shared a magic trick with me.

My LO was not even 2 when we took a road trip with my SIL. The trip had upset her routine and it was getting even more difficult for me to get her to take her nap than ever before. My SIL pitched in and she asked my LO if she likes fairies. Now, I hadn’t introduced the concept of fairies to my daughter until then so I was surprised when she replied in affirmative. My SIL then went on asking my LO if she wanted to see the fairies and got an eager nod. She then asked my daughter to close her eyes, saying fairies only come when we close our eyes and my daughter obliged. Then then sang a song calling fairies and the brat slept within moments. Since that day I have been using this trick to put her to bed in the afternoon and night. I ask her which fairy she wants to call each time and then we sing a song which goes like this…

Blue blue fairy, where are you

Blue blue fairy, how do you do

Blue blue fairy, Vaanu’s calling you. (Vaanu is my LO’s nickname)

Blue blue fairy fly quick quick

Blue blue fairy hurry up please

Blue blue fairy, vaanu wants to sleep

We change the name of the fairy depending on my LO’s mood that day and sing it over and over again till she falls asleep. Only condition is that she has to keep her eyes closed if she wants the fairy to come visit her 🙂 Its so much fun, so far she has asked me to call Circle fairy, Hot fairy, Flower fairy, New fairy and what not…

Must try with your little ones between 1.5-3 years… should work for sure. Might work for elder ones also but can’t comment since I haven’t tried myself.

Good luck with the nap times, hope you all get to enjoy a hot cuppa like I am doing right now!

xoxo

– A