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Is early learning beneficial for your child? Or could too much early learning actually be stressful for children?
A designated break from being a mother, an interlude from the habitual chaos at home, a weekly reward of brief solitude I give to myself. Sometimes though, a ripple of thought upsets the tranquility, awakening an inner conflict, making it hard to be at peace even at a place where silence dominates.
My volunteer work at the library is purely out of love for books. Week after week, I look forward to spending those 2 hours in the world of paper and ink, characters and stories, color and print. Most Wednesdays, those 2 hours go by in methodical sorting and shelving of children’s books and in near silence. Once in a while someone comes looking for a specific genre or author and I point out the right direction. The highlight of my day is when a patron comes up and says thank you for taking time out for the community. Makes me feel like even the little bit of effort that I take every week, doesn’t go unnoticed. Those rare intrusions make my day.
One such Wednesday, as I pushed a cart full of books towards the children’s area, a lady came over. She asked me where she could find some books for her 4 month old boy. The question caught me off guard and I fumbled. “For a 4 year old?” I asked back, not sure whether to believe my ears or not. “No”, she replied coolly, “4 months old”. Okay, I thought to myself, don’t be so shocked, I mean parenting experts have advocated reading books to children when they are in the womb, so this should be no big deal.
I escorted her to the area where all board books for the younger kids were arranged way down below to reach out and grab. She settled there on the floor and began her search. A couple of minutes must have passed when she came up to me again and asked if there were any classes in session for infants as young as her son. More specifically, she said, she was looking for classes which taught alphabets and numbers. Politely, I told her I had no knowledge of any such class in session for a 4 month old at the library.
After that, I found it hard to focus on the job at hand. It wasn’t just her inquiry about books and activities; it was the determined look on that mother’s face that got me thinking.
From giving a head start to monitoring their free time to getting them occupied with every possible activity class, we have taken the concept of learning to a whole new level when it comes to our children.
And that is why we have infants trying to learn alphabets, toddlers attending classes to play chess and school goers trying their hands at taekwondo, swimming, Bharatnaytam, gymnastics, piano and painting, simultaneously! (jack of all ??)
Does an early start guarantee better results? I would say, not always. Children have curious minds and are eager learners but that doesn’t mean they can be pushed in any direction at any age. For certain things like musical instruments or particular forms of dance, it has been said, the earlier you start the better your mind and body adapts to it, which I agree and accept. But can the same result be achieved if ten different things are also added to the “learning” list? What happened to pursuing an art or a hobby and conquering it?
It would be interesting to find out what has prompted this sudden surge in ‘activity classes’ in the past couple of years. Is it the need of the hour, our own unfulfilled ambition or a status booster? I think a part of it is also a paid escape from engaging the child yourself. Either ways, I find it hard to believe that it is the child’s wish firstly because children do not have the resources to come up with this list of diverse things to do AND given a choice they would probably just like to play with their friends then take on half the things mentioned above.
Talking about play, a few days back, I was in company of a few moms who were seen exchanging schedules to fix up play dates for their children. Yes, not their own but their children’s timetables and they come to a conclusion that the first slot available for the kids to meet and play is after 2 weeks!!
And so to reiterate my initial observation, the goal that we have set up for our children these days is to start learning as much as they can, as early as they can and as fast as they can. We want to teach them to run before they can learn to walk.
Whether or not it is detrimental for your child is not for me to decide. Exposing a child to various pursuits is a good thing; falling prey to the current ‘fad’ is not. So provide your children with the opportunity to learn new things but try not to burden them with too many choices. Let them begin right on time or when they are ready, instead of giving them a premature shove. Learning is different from achieving; let us keep that in mind.
Pic credit: Courosa (Used under a creative commons license)
An avid reader and a hobbyist writer, my sanity and survival depend entirely on the written word. I find inspiration in the ordinary and prefer crowds to solitude. Always on the go, technically speaking I read more...
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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