let’s not lockdown our minds – corona times

I believe we should raise kids with big caring hearts and strong minds. Corona virus times will be testament of how so many lives changed from running after things, being busy and locking our minds in mindless race to succeed , to be the best , to judge others , to find faults in others and being in a perpetual state of lockdown of things that really don’t matter in the long run. Corana virus has in one jolt made the entire human race to think of their survival something which we have been taking for granted. Mental health is being hit all over the world. To stay in a lockdown can play games with our minds and hence it is important to keep the focus on things that matter – family , love and caring for our mother earth. Below given in the slide show are some ways we can all keep our sanity intact.

Saakshi Kapoor Singla

Scared I am too , but I won’t let that make me let it get me!

I plan make this time count too !

I believe we should raise kids with big caring hearts and strong minds.

What about you?

Terrible Twos Or Terrific Twos?

Toddlers are the most unfiltered and authentic people  who are small , dependent and forever exploring new things . Cute little small people who don’t yet have the tools to regulate their emotions and who also have the most rapid  brain development in progress. 

 But we adults see their trying to find sense of this world as toddlers throwing tantrums, pushing our buttons . Being difficult to trouble us, messy, always trying to test our limits. forever clingy and a little impolite.

I go back in time many times … when I see parents with their kids today. Reminiscing the same stage of my kids. Hated the word terrible twos even then. Wondering if they were really amazing years for me or I have forgotten the tough times But no I don’t remember going crazy pulling my kids out of the power plugs or running after them endlessly . Rather I remember the block towers they made . The butterflies 🦋 they chased , rolling down from park small hilltops, collecting leaves 🍁 of different kinds from the garden and matching them, counting the stars 🌟 in the sky , running after the moon 🌒 to catch it, jump from the small sofas in our house ,  playing hide and seek etc etc . Okay some days might have been difficult but what worked was my being hands on , consistent routines of play, meal times, nap times and keeping them constructively busy.

Recounting here what did I do differently to now have memories of my two awesome beings they were then. I guess being a professional who understood child development and accepting the changes that toddler stage brings in and trying the best to make the most of them. Sharing here the understanding of the developmental milestones expected during the 2-3 years stage.

( These milestones are for 2-3 year olds. 3-4 year olds will be covered in the next blog post. Remember that milestones  have a similar progression occurrence is most kids but exact time might vary from child to child ) 

Do you have a doll at home.. Boy mom?

Toys have no gender🚺🚹 , they have no idea whose playing with them, a girl or a boy . Nor do the kids … they don’t think of their own gender before they start playing with a toy …. till we adults intervene. And either joke about boys with dolls and label girls as Tom boys when they are playing with cars.Making them wonder about gender too soon.

It’s up to us parents, kids do what they see and gender discrimination in toys is an age old accepted norm. We need to commit ourselves to keep this gender conversation open. Even if we have understood how harmful it can be, we still have a world full of marketers who put gendered marketing techniques to sell their stuff and then there are neighbours, peers and older people in our children’s life. What I have done in my capacity as a child developmentalist is to constantly remind my son, his friends , cousins, grandparents, and everyone around us who would listen that there is no such thing as boy stuff and girl stuff. It is high time that we change the narrative all around and hence I have been trying to reach as many people as I can through Lilsakos, a gender neutral space I have been building for last six months. https://www.instagram.com/lilsakos/

One issue of not giving our boys dolls to play makes me especially angry. If we can love a man rocking a baby or a doting father changing diapers , why do so many squirm or bully boys with dolls. Seeing a father caring for a baby makes us miss a beat and invoke a emotion in us. So why, when we like men to be sensitive and caring ,why do we discourage small boys to cry, play with dolls and never ever think how harmful our expectations from little boys are.

See below four powerful reasons that will convince you to let your boys and girls both play with dolls:

  1. It will help raise empathetic kids irrespective of their gender. A doll can be a great way to role play situations, talk about feelings or simply learn how to care for something.
  2. Dressing up dolls is good for fine motor skills of kids. The buttoning, zipping is good practice for them to learn to dress themselves up.
  3. Caring for a doll can be used to show kids how to hold someone smaller than them or how to be gentle with them. A doll can help a kids get prepared for a new baby sibling.
  4. Many of us women grew up playing with dolls, but not too many men did. We need to give dolls to our little boys to debunk the age old idea that caring is a woman’s job. Just like dolls prepared us to be moms, dolls can prepare boys to be dads.

Are your kids intrinsically motivated?

What do you think is better?

To remind kids to study , read , make their schedules and continuously be after them to follow YOUR plan.

OR

Let kids be free to make their own schedules, study , read etc on their own.

We got it right somewhat , beyond the initial years our children studied and read on their own , reminded me the timings of drop off for their activities. Some days were good , some frustrated me a lot to see them whiling away time , not sticking to their own routines but it all ended up great. As we have two intrinsically motivated young adults doing pretty well for themselves in college now. Not that any of this was easy but in hindsight making kids not dependent on praise and rewards worked. Not that they didn’t mind when their friends were rewarded by holidays, air pods, clothes and new phones. They did crib but we always told them the same thing consistently – that they are studying , doing well, making sense of their lives for their own good and not for us. We always believed in them to be their best versions and rewards were never a topic of discussion. They are grown up now and know that if they need something which is worthwhile and important for them , they just have to ask. Hence doing well in school and college,being kind and sensible are not negotiable or could ever warrant an award.

One of the things we did was to motivate them to think for themselves. We avoided praising them , instead always valued their effort. Describing what you see rather than praising helps our kids to grow, makes them autonomous, genuinely interested in things and feel intrinsically motivated. Praise like “You are so smart!” can leave a child at a loss when they don’t do well. Using “You CAN be” instead of “You ARE…” tells a child the effort and hard work can help them grow. See the following slide show to see some examples of how to use descriptions instead of praise.

Ada Lovelace Who?

Lilsakos was at Green Crusaders market last Sunday. Showcasing at a place where you end up meeting like minded parents, your kind of kids and see some examples of parenting done right is what makes this job I do amazingly interesting.

Green crusaders market is a sunday market in Noida that encourages green organic , meaningful companies to come out and display their passionate business ideas and products. The ambience and energy here is very different from the mall visits families are stuck with because of few available outdoor options in the city. When your work gets to you to meet the right audience it makes all the hard work worthwhile. I met some fabulous parents and kids who were thrilled to see Lilsakos products tickling their kids brains.

Lilsakos Achievers Coasters were the heros or should I say sheros of the display on Sunday. Ada Lovelace coaster was recognisable by a few kids and it became a wonderful conversation starter and we ending up discussing Charles Babbage, first computer, Ada being the first computer programmer in the world and lots more. Ada who? came from a few parents who lost out on undertanding the conversation. They also pledged to read up on her and went back appreciating the thought behind the inspiring products. Lilsakos is also proud to have a young fiesty budding designer who likes stories where girls save themselves and has designed some fabulous wall art to inspire kids that got rave reviews too.

Another hit product was the bathroom ettiquette wall art. Lots of parents engaged and discussed the perils of toilet trining, how important it is to put up signs that help in building good habits and help in educating about importance of hygiene in their kids.The continent cushions and continent coasters always find buyers who love to travel. Lilsakos has the essentials like bath, decor, accessories, mini learners products and also some not the usual kind of merchandise. These aren’t mainstream or focus on how kids look,these look beyond and* aren’t tiaras and bows,

* instead are conversation starters about the 🌎 , inspiring people & ideas,

* designed to make home environment more and more stimualting,

*made with love to motivate kids to be their unique selves &

*and inspire them to dream and work towards their dreams and read stories like that of Ada Lovelace, Emelia Earheart, Serena Willaims, Indra Nooyi etc

*there are no pink & blue brains here

*it’s a mighty little place for little strong, adventurous and kind kids and their conscious parents.

Saakshi Kapoor Singla

Rome wasn’t Built In a Day!

Growth Mindset comes from our willingness to put ourselves outside our comfort zone. Nothing is easy at least not as easy as staying at one place- being where we are and where we have always been.

There are lots of people who are willing to take the entrepreneural plunge out there & it was heartening to meet some of them during the TIE Start up Expo in Gurgaon last week. Buzzing entrepreneurs- some young & some not so young with stars in their eyes were talking about their wonferful ideas. Amazing elevator pitches, many worthwhile mentoring sessions and a hall full of many dreamers and some doers.  Inspiring success stories from the founders of companies which started just as some small ideas like Chayos, Biryani by Kilo ,Beer Café ,India Mart, Make My Trip.

 Loved every bit – What made these entrepreneurs tick?

How it isn’t easy?

How it isn’t for the faint hearted?

How money doesn’t mean success is guaranteed?

And a reminder that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Lessons Worth Remembering for me & Worthwhile enough for kids – yours and mine both!

  • Go out, invest time in your learning, take more courses and read about/listen to inspiring people.
  • Your own conviction in your idea matters not the idea so much
  • There are many people with ideas but only some have the courage to go all the way.
  • Seek a mentor, accept that you can’t know it all
  • Don’t expect quick results, hard work but done smartly is only thing that works.
  • Stick to it, perseverance is the only way to success.
  • Give your dreams all you’ve got, and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.

Walking outside my comfort zone is tough for me and I surprise myself every time the jitters push me forward towards a road less travelled. When in trouble, I sometimes curse myself for not staying put and taking it easy but what makes me go still is that i know my kids are watching. They might not see me succeed but they have to see me try at least. And it has helped as my kids are becoming thinking people, propelling themselves to grow and evolve always. Only problem is that when they are walking out of their comfort zones, the mother in me has bigger jitters & and they do that a little too often for my fragile little heart.

Rome surely wasn’t built in a day…It just was made by people who had a growth mindset.