Posted in Education, Life, Parenting

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.


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.

Posted in Life, Parenting

What did you do for someone else today darling?

Some stories touch the deepest parts of your heart. Aditi Chaudhary’s did that to mine. I had the privilege of meeting her and hearing her talk at #imaginewithcf- Parenting with courage event. I haven’t yet seen the film ‘ The Sky Is Pink’ and wanted to write this before real Aditi Chaudhary became a reel character for me.

Aditi Chaudhary with Shailaja Sen@imaginewithcf

What does losing a child mean?Even a thought of a pain like that makes me miss a lot of beats in my heart…. i don’t think any of us can ever know exactly what dies in you to have a child like Aisha and living on an edge everyday. Aditi & Narain Chaudhary’s story of courage and looking at death in it’s face and accepting the reality, making it into a life purpose of helping others and giving back…… has changed something inside me.

Snippets of Aditi’s talk that left me awe struck:

” When Aisha asked me if she would still be alive at Christmas, I told her I don’t know if anyone of us will be alive till then”. Isn’t that true how do any of us know if we will live till Christmas.

” I have started feeling achievement is a dirty word. Do we ever ask our kid- what did you do for someone today darling”? Isn’t that true how we always want our kids to succeed , success and achievement is revered in our society. Aisha has gone but her motivational talks are still inspiring many to make stem cell donations. Aditi, her mother is now a mental health worker & activist who helps people through their emotional struggles. Narain, her father still sings in fund raisers to raise money for charitable organisations.

‘We grieved the loss of her life even before she passed away. But one day we woke up and made a resolution and we said we may not have the years but we will seize the moment…We will keep her happy” . Isn’t that true , no matter how long we live, it’s the moments we seize is what counts in our well being.

 “I don’t feel like she’s gone. I have a great sense of loss but I feel a lot of gratitude. I feel blessed that I have a child like Aisha. The strife has shaped us into the people we’ve become.” We run from adversity and yet it is always the tough times that shape us into our best versions.

AND another one from Aditi’s world, which resonates with my parenting sensibilities and what I do too is I tell my kids often ” No one can tell you which colour your sky should be. You are the one who paints your own sky.”

Hats off to you Mom..

Let’s all let our kids paint their own sky…

Let’s accept our kids as their own little persons….

Let’s parent with courage …

Let’s inlcude giving back in our achievement graphs….

Let’s inspire kids to give back…

Saakshi Kapoor Singla

(Aisha was the daughter of Aditi, a mental healthcare worker and Niren Chaudhary, the president of South Asia operations of Yum Brand. She had an elder brother named Ishan Chaudhary, a music composer. She was born with an immunodeficiency disorder. When she was 6 months old, she had to undergo a bone marrow transplant as a side effect of the medical therapy following bone marrow transplant, she developed a serious illness called pulmonary fibrosis a type of condition that causes irreversible scarring of the lungs.Aisha Chaudhary was giving inspirational talks on various platforms since she was 15. She was named an INK Fellow and spoke in the 2011 and 2013 INK Conferences.Aisha was also a speaker at TEDxPune in 2013. She wrote a book called My Little Epiphanies (2015)( that got released one day before her death) which included her thoughts about life and also wanted people to know about her journey that could help others going through such hardships in life Her book, Aditi and Narain’s story has helped in awareness for Stem Cell Donations )( credit: wikipaedia)

Posted in Education, Life, Parenting

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

Posted in Education, Life, Parenting

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.

Posted in Life, Parenting

Does Experience battle youth in your house too?

Remembering the times when as a teen , young adult and a new mom, I used to hear older people talk about how they know better because of the sheer number of years they had lived more than me. It used to infuriate me a little too much. What can a young person say in defence to someone’s grey hair ?

While growing up, my home used to turn into a battle ground sometimes. Voice of youth is shriller, more arrogant and supposedly more surer. So whenever there was an argument -there was only one winner and that was me. Looking back I realise, my parents didn’t seem to want to win the battles , instead always had a smile on their faces and calm in their eyes. I DIDN’T REALISE then that they always had an upper hand in our arguments because they unlike me had experienced youth and crossed over to another stage of life.

Got thinking about this today after so long and God am I amused? With many grey strands desperately trying to peep out, I am not young anymore. How much ever we middle aged people tell ourselves that age is just a number… we are getting older. Our society teaches us to compare often and use positive or negative adjectives like young is great,old is not, fat is bad and thin is good. But I am old and insist I am good too.

Why the philosophical rant today? I am here at my son’s college..came to settle him in his apartment. Second year college, he has settled well, found the balance and all is going good. He and me have come a long way in understanding how futile our arguments were an year ago. The battle of experience and youth has come to a consensus… it’s a tie as we both have what the other doesn’t. And nothing is more important than the other.

Last year was full of anxiety as my experienced self knew this won’t be easy but my young adult had confidence in his youth. I remember after endlessly ranting a very long list of advice and instructions, my son asked me this, ” How can you say all this will be a problem and what I should do or not do, if you have never studied in America, away from home in this particular university?” I stopped dead in my tracks and shook myself up to the reality of what he said to me. Because what he said was true, but what was also true that experience told me to keep quiet and stay close emotionally because something that young people think is easy peasy… is the one that makes them learn nothing can’t be taken for granted. AND THEN THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT EXPERIENCE MEANS AND HOW IT HELPS.

Second year and I am back here again, looking at many anxious parents giving a long list of instructions and telling their experiences to their freshmen and freshwomen here. Me & my Son, we are looking around and finding it difficult to dig our smiles because we know their battles have just begun and ours are almost over.

I understand now that my experience knows a little better but not everything as circumstances, places and ideas are all different in this new world. Also since my son is born in a different era, my experience cannot help as much as I thought. He has to make his own experiences count. And I accept that I don’t know more because I am older.

He understands that just confidence doesn’t do it, it’s the insights he carries forward of both good and not so good experiences that matter. And Mom is sometimes right if not all the time in a few points on that old instruction list she ranted millions of times.

With Love from a Middle Age Mom, who is happily growing old, BECAUSE OLD IS GOOD- no exams , no running , no self consciousness, no proving to someone my worth anymore and yes loads and loads of experience!

Posted in Education, Parenting

Kids can learn through Play whatever we dare to teach them!

“If you love your books, you tenderly put them together and then you just as tenderly find the right bookends for them”Charles Gruber , a book lover rightly said. Encourage your children to read and fall in love with books.

❤️Invest in a library, a corner or a roomfull or/ and beautiful bookends for your little ones table. However large or small space you allocate in your home for books, it must be a must.

❤️Select a few books every week with them and organise them in book organisers for easy reach.

❤️Encourage your chidlren to read more and more and tenderly put them away when finished in their designated space or bookends . Encourage them to read , to take care of their books , to organise their belongings , to do goal setting however small it might be.

❤️ Four books or seven in a week, make your kids set a goal. Make sure you do your goal setting too and you read too. Kids don’t read because they don’t want to, but because they don’t see you read.

Kids can learn through Play whatever we dare to teach them.Teach them to organsie their books, read regularly and take care of their books. Sometimes, you don’t need an entire wall of books to express you love books or define who you and your child are. A few bookends where you could change the books to be read in a week or month can also become your library. Make sure you have atleat one corner in a your home, which has books. Our website store www. has many playful bookends for your little readers. Check the pictures in the gallery below. The pictures at the end of the gallery are of Mahir & Dr. Pooja Srivastava Dewan who is an amazing conscious mom for who reading to her son daily is the most sacred activity of the day. The Eiffel Tower bookend she bought has another story which is worth a read. Read her testimonial at the end of the gallery.

Saakshi Kapoor Singla


Posted in Life, Parenting

Pick Ups & Drops are not wasted efforts!

Not all parents have the privilege of having their own vehicle for pick ups and drops for their children. Not all parents even when they have the privilege, want to do the mundane job. Many children are fortunate enough to travel in school buses and get a break from their moms questioning sessions after each school day. The others are ferried in their own cars with their house help and drivers.Some of them are happier because their didi’s and bhaiya’s are like their family members, old and trusted people who dote on them. The others not so fortunate as their drivers and didi’s faces are ever changing,  who are many a times just doing a job , well done or not. Most of them have their eyes glued to their phones instead of the kids in their care, some smoking their lungs off and others enjoying some not so nice jokes with their fellows in the queue. No judgement really, but some of them look too scary to entrust our precious children with.

Being a mom who has  been there , outside in the kids collection queue for most of the last sixteen years, I have seen it all. Sometimes it has been tough and limiting and not easy to juggle work as per the pickup drop schedules of my children from school ,classes , birthdays etc. But all in all it’s been a pleasure…one because I like driving and secondly being there with them during these car rides has been the easiest and sure shot way to connect with them. It has not always been pleasant though. Sometimes I’ve hovered too much, other times the kids have been not so polite.I have had my share of some very bad days, when I have cribbed and cribbed and the trips have not always been happy. Many car rides over the years have also ended up in big fights, tears, rage and extreme emotional outbursts from both sides. My love for doing it everyday doesn’t automatically mean, my kids must have enjoyed them forever too. Being ticked off for many reasons like untied shoe laces, ruffled hair, homework questions include some not so pleasant car prison like memories.

My car has been where the most meaningful conversations with the kids have happened over the years. It’s here, where none of us have had an option out….nowhere to run , or hide from each other. With two young adults , one who is ready to fly and has finished school and the other having just an year to go. Life has been good, as we are happily bonding and are not in each others hair or critical of each other anymore.Loads of teachable  moments thereafter with me doling out life lessons and advice in earlier days of my parenting , car rides with them have now become just pure fun connecting time. My car companions have taught me a lot too. I am happy about being ticked off for skipping a red light or being caught for being condescending in my discussions  by my very independent thinking children. From discussing news, ideas ,relationships, family ties,  ted talks to daily detours to get our favourite ice creams on the way back home …its been all worth it ! And I will miss it big time soon!

( Re posting the above article from 2016, reminiscing …. after hearing from a mom who said she can not make it for our event ,” because that’s my pick up time for my girl “.

I am now a mom of college going kids , studying far far away and yes i do miss all those pick ups and drops and terribly so !

Saakshi Kapoor Singla