With children especially of age 2-5 years, it is very important to be consistent while applying some ground rules. It is very confusing for them if you let them do something some days and not allow the same to be done another day. They begin to seek reason and when none is forthcoming, they get further confused. Also, when disciplining them, never overlook bad behaviour which you disapprove of. Bad behaviour is best stemmed from the beginning itself. Make sure you speak to other members in the family beforehand, especially indulgent grandparents, so that everyone in the house is on the same page and discourages the child from doing the same thing. Be careful, children intuitively know who to turn to when reprimanded! All your hard work at setting limits will come to naught if others in the family give in to the child’s wants.

As parents we are focused to notice and stop bad behaviour in our children, so much so that after a while the child begins to find it monotonous and irrelevant and does it anyway. Very often one comes across a parent yelling at his/her child, “Don’t throw/ don’t hit” but the child still throws and still hits. Don’t give up – developing good behaviour may take time, but it stays with the kid for long. Do not forget to reward their positive actions so that they know what is expected of them rather than just telling them what to do or not to do. Notice and appreciate your child when he/she does something you expect him/her to do. Tell him and show with your actions how much you love him – a hug or a kiss goes a long way in building their self-esteem.

Often, we find parents in shopping malls failing miserably in handling their cranky child. The child is more often than not on the floor, flaying his/her hands and legs and shrieking at the top of his/her voice. There is just one way to avoid such an embarrassing situation – do not let it occur. Catch the warning signs – 90% of the time the child throws tantrums either due to hunger, boredom or fatigue. Make sure your child is well fed and has had a nice refreshing nap before you venture out. Always carry a pack of healthy snack and water.

Children are intelligent! They whine to make you give in to their demands. With experience they are also able to conclude what kind of whine will trigger irritation in you and when you will start to give in! This enhances their attention seeking behaviour. So, the next time your child whines or sulks just don’t pay any attention, no matter what. When the child sees that the trick isn’t working, he/she will stop.

Parents try and engage pre-schoolers in some activity or the other throughout the day, thinking that the child will tire and easily fall asleep. But the actual opposite happens. The more the activities the child engages in, the more time he/she will need to unwind and calm down. Before its time to get the child to bed, ensure you do not include too many activities. Give him/her time for free play so that he can go to bed peacefully and relaxed.

Keep these parenting tips in mind and see for yourself how well behaved your child turns out to be!

Why are we in a hurry to see our child write? No sooner does he/she start scribbling with crayons, that we extend a pencil or worse still, a pen for him/her to grasp. Do you know when is the right time for a child to hold a pencil and the numerous stages that a child from 15 months to 3 years must undergo to develop his/her pincer grip so that he/she is ready to begin formal writing?

This is where pre-schools come in with their endless range of art and craft activities that involve creative stimulation and help children become thoughtful, inquisitive and confident learners.

When a one-year-old child grabs colourful crayons and tries to create an impression, it tunes his/her creativity and imagination. As they grow older each month, they develop more control and complexity in their strokes. Useless scribbling becomes purpose driven and children begin to feel excited. Realisation dawns that there is an outcome of the movement they create with crayons. With motor development, they begin to hold crayons comfortably in their fist. Sensory information which is passed on to their brains through the touch and feel of the crayons, their squishiness and the smell of the paint stimulates children and their excitement further. Their strokes are large and uncontrolled. They start to colour a piece of paper and end up colouring the entire table!

By the time children cross 2 years of age and head towards their third birthday, their fine muscles develop and the strokes become smaller and controlled. They are now able to make circles, diagonal lines, curves, sleeping lines and standing lines as well. This is when it is time to introduce similar patterns. During the same period children also advance from holding crayons in their fist to holding them between their thumb and pointer finger, but the tripod or the pincer grip is still not developed. However, they now start to use a variety of colours to draw something and then name it later.

It is important that every child has access to art – easy to grip crayons, washable paints, glue, child-safe scissors, apron or clothes which he/she can easily spoil with colours and old newspapers to cover the floor. Join the child as he/she experiments with cotton balls, sponge, pencil top, chalk, balloons etc. Believe me you will end up having more fun than the child!

Remember, refrain from giving instructions of how to make or how to colour. Allow children to take independent decisions when using colours and resources to create their own masterpieces. Be around to watch out for health hazards but never ask ‘what is this?’ ‘Name the colour’ etc. Do not try to correct the child if his/her tree is not green in colour. Children may or may not be willing to share their thoughts, but never interfere. What you must do however, is shower them with compliments. A child’s artwork is his/her closest expression, so always display it so that he / she knows that his/her work is valued and appreciated.

Over time you will find that when colouring, not only does the child understand that he/she needs to colour within the outline, but his/her strokes too are much firmer and darker. By now the pincer grip would have developed and he/she can hold a pencil in a tripod. Also, as the child becomes familiar with patterns it is time to introduce alphabets. The child now tries to imitate them in his/her own writing. At this stage, the child is able to draw a picture and scribble a name under it. By now the child understands that there is a meaning attached to the strokes he/she is writing. Since the child moves towards finding meaning through something as abstract as his strokes, he/she feels more interested in writing further. Gradually he /she becomes confident about his writing skills and thus a new journey in learning starts!