This is a guest post by Aryssa, a family coach who works with parents and kids.
It may not feel like a big deal to you but it’s a big deal for me!
Child: I fell over in school today and hurt myself. Parent: Oh really, these things happen, it’s not a big deal. Now what would you like for dinner?
This may seem like a harmless everyday conversation and you know what, you’re right!
However, for your child it looks a little different.
Here your child is trying to communicate that he or she fell over and they want you to show compassion.
However, your casual response may indicate that their emotions are not valid and that you have more pressing things on your mind like – What to cook for dinner.
In your mind, you probably don’t want to make a “big deal” out of it and move forward.
However, your child may want you to ask more questions so he or she can tell you what they are thinking and feeling.
It could be that your child tripped and everyone started laughing which made them feel embarrassed OR It could be that he or she was pushed which is what caused them to fall.
Who said parenting was easy?
Our role as parents is to be conscious of all of the things our children are saying as well as all the things which they aren’t.
When we move on to talk about something else, they interpret that as “mum doesn’t understand me”, “dad isn’t listening to what I’m saying” or worse “my parents don’t care”! When of course you do!
Imagine you are talking to a friend about something that really upset you and they switch the conversation to talk about something else, how would it make you feel? The same is true of a child; only they are likely to be a lot more sensitive and take actions literally because of their level of understanding.
So, I invite you to be conscious when your child is talking to you and try not to brush them off. The more you connect with them, the closer your bond will be!
About the writer: Aryssa is a family coach who works with parents and children to support them with their daily struggles. Her work is recognised for being fun and thought provoking. She creates a shift in mindset so individuals feel connected and inspired to live with positivity in this ever changing world. You can visit her website www.ryssdom.com and connect with her n Instagram here.
NO. NO. NO. NO. Is this the current favourite word of your toddler? Especially, when it comes to meals! My toddler is 2 years and 9 months old (at the time of this post) and she uses this two-letter power word the most from her decent vocabulary.
Ah, how happy I was when I got that booster seat to encourage baby led weaning when she started sitting and eating well. She started eating by herself for a while and if you have a one-and-half-year-old kid, you know the joy. Ah, the dreams that finally she and I will enjoy the mealtime joy of eating together instead of one big person spoon feeding a little one first! Welcome to reality… It’s not happening anymore yet.
So if all those beautiful Instagram posts by moms whose kids are eating by themselves are making you feel the pressure, relax. People tend to post more about achievements than otherwise. If your kid is being a picky or fussy eater, what is the probability that you will post that all over social media? See what I mean? Some kids, especially in the 2-3 years age group, are exploring the power of the word NO and using it effectively… Lol. So yes, all little toddlers who start self-feeding, might take a little/big break at this stage. Don’t stress it out too much. If you notice, they will mostly eat fries, chips, chocolates and cakes using their hands without any effort from us. So they are capable of eating without help. They are just not keen on having the daily routine healthy food 😜
I am not going to bore you with how you should keep trying different types of foods, different plating and presentation, creativity, new place to eat, gaps between meals, etc. If you have read until this point of this post, it means you might have already tried it all, right? So all I want to say is relax. It’s stressful, I know, I have anxiety issues and I have been really bothered by the recent fussiness. But I realised today that this will not be the case forever. She will eventually eat without me hovering around her head, reminding her constantly to eat / chew or feeding her those unending morsels. It is, in all probability, a phase… a boring, irritating but this-too-shall-pass kind of phase.
So, well, join me in relaxing a bit. It’s okay of we are still feeding our toddlers with our hands while other kids of same age are all eating independently. Let’s not compare for our own peace of mind. Few years from now, we will simply remember how our toddlers took a little while to reach this milestone. There’s no point losing sleep over this by worrying too much. This is the stage when kids explore power struggle (and maybe we too!). So keep trying at intervals and this too shall pass. Enjoy feeding your kids when necessary for now, as we all know that they grow up so fast! Savour the moment instead of giving into peer pressure and stress.
And if you managed to pass this stage, let us know after how long and how exactly did it happen! Let’s be honest, we all need some useful, tried and tested tips!
With schools closed in India for over a year now and schooling restricted to online education, it is getting tougher for parents to plan the academic year for kids, especially for toddlers and little kids.
Oh how I started researching schools and boards even before I tested positive for pregnancy in March 2017! Exactly one year later, Covid arrived in India and countrywide lockdown began. Mishika was just one year and four months old then. Who knew that this pandemic will have such a long unwelcome stay? The dream of dropping her off to a colourful playgroup with kids her age and then a preschool just remained a hope. So I started homeschooling her early on… what else to do at home all day with strict, yet necessary, lockdown that resulted in closing everything from parks, zoos, malls, places to visit… even walking down in our housing society in the initial months! Let me be honest, I didn’t even know the term “homeschooling” until last year!
Should I send my toddler to a school in Mumbai / Navi Mumbai in the next six months (i.e. in the second half of 2021)? Now Mishika is four months shy of her third birthday, and there is no sign of schools reopening. Even if they reopen in a few months, with the Covid case count here and absolute negligence of safety precautions by some people around, it will not be possible for little kids to stay safe from coronavirus in the preschools here. That’s my opinion based on my personal experience of visiting a popular preschool he1re (before the pandemic) that gave me a great insight on the hygiene levels observed. I also had a discussion with a few friends who have kids of the same age group as Mishika. Based on the current situation, even if schools reopen by end of 2021, I do not plan to send my then 3-year-old daughter to a school. I will assess the situation again in December and revisit this post.
What about online school for two-and-a-half-year olds? Ah, this is a tougher decision and many factors need to be taken into consideration.
The judgement by those who are not on social media, or active out here, can be frustrating. Often, the people who comment, “Oh you are always on Instagram / Facebook,” are the ones with active social life, lots of loved ones in their life, lots of people to talk to and vice versa, absolutely busy people mostly with full time jobs, people with a huge family, people who are simply not interested in social media and then some more.
For me, social media is a community I connect with. It gets really lonely when you can count on one hand the number of people who you can always talk to. This was not always the case with me. As much as I can remember, I had the most number of friends in college and when I used to work full-time. Both my weekdays and weekends used to be busy. I was a chatterbox, a fun-loving person, healthy and very active with loads of energy. Until around 15 years ago, there were some Sundays when I would watch two movies in a theatre with different set of friends. I would dine out with friends from school, college or work at least twice a week. I would travel by train to work daily, work until late, even workout, meet so many people and what not. There was a decade in my life when I didn’t feel sick or lonely. Birthdays were days when my phone would not stop ringing. The next day would be spent returning calls I couldn’t answer (this year, I received 4 birthday phone calls other than my immediate family)! Ah, those were the days!
In 2009-10, everything changed. I got sick and my life changed in a span of one year. Fibromyalgia and depression hit me bad, real bad. Recently, I was also diagnosed with anxiety disorder which was not actually surprising for me. I was (still am) in excruciating pain all the time. By all the time, I mean 24×7. And around 10+ other symptoms that you can check on my Fibromyalgia Awareness blog. Gradually, I couldn’t travel to work much or work full-time. It even affected my finances terribly. I started working part-time and it was tough as my successful career really took a back seat. I couldn’t travel to meet people like before and gradually started losing touch. Friends, family, colleagues… everyone eventually gets busy.
When you are suffering with a chronic and invisible medical condition, it is but natural to talk about it. It slowly starts consuming you however you avoid, in the beginning at least. Especially, if your illness is not (sad to say this) a ‘popular’ one and when people do not believe that you are really sick. This is 2021 and it is so unfortunate that depression and fibromyalgia are not taken seriously. So you end up either not talking about it at all or talk about you being in pain and unable to do so many things, at least once, when you talk to people. Later, you realise that people do not like to hear about your sorrow or suffering. They liked the older you – the one who could make them laugh all the time, the one who could rush to them whenever they needed you. I used to be a very funny, active, energetic and dependable person. Then I became someone else consumed by never-ending pain and depression. I felt utterly lonely, still do, at most times.
People started misunderstanding me, a lot. And started distancing themselves from me. I also learnt some hard facts about life. The moment I stopped being useful to some people, I was not of any importance to them. Yeah, you get used to it eventually and so I did. But I am a people person, I need to be around people, have friends, have someone to talk to. And yes, when I meet people now, I do not talk about my illness at all. If asked casually, my answer is consiously limited to 3-4 words… I have trained myself to do so. It might not appear by this long post though, but then the reason of my being on social media is around that part of my life.
I joined Instagram pretty late and became active months after becoming a mom. I am glad to connect with so many moms and amazing women, who may or may not know that they have kind of become my support system. These are people from across the world and such amazing ones. So now I don’t care when people judge me for being online. These are the ones who are and will never be there for me.
Facebook and other places are more about people mostly sharing how successful they are, their achievements, and of course some fun and serious stuff. But I find Instagram a little more better. People share about their life, often unfiltered and real life. It’s relatable, believable and you come across more people you don’t know already.
10 reasons why I spend time on Instagram: 1. I meet amazing people from across the world 2. It is nice to talk to moms with kids of the same age group as yours 3. Once you meet a few people here, you continue believing that kindness and goodness still exist 4. I get to learn and share so many things – activity ideas for kids, recipes, photography, painting… 5. Since this is a image based media, I end up clicking lots of pics with my daughter 6. I reconnected with a few old acquaintances and it feels so good 7. I started writing regularly again 8. I get inspired so much 9. I started reading books when I saw so many people promoting their work 10. I don’t feel lonely or depressed as long as I am here
Are you active on social media? What are your reasons? How do you deal with judgements?
Follow momandideas on Instagram for my motherhood journey (mostly no Fibromyalgia and depression talk there!)