Wish you a very happy Diwali! May there be light and all the demons of darkness stay miles away from you!! How are you? Hope you are well! It has been a long time! I was away for the half term and had a lovely time with my parents in India. I can’t explain where and how did the days go. It felt like watching a movie with the fast forward button on. People coming in, laughing, hugging, chuckling, eating, dressing up, compliments, complaints, suggestions, photographs, crying, going out – a montage of emotions and expressions! It was so busy that I couldn’t even hear the clock ticking and the day to pack the bags came tiptoed. Quiet and calm, you live a lifetime in those few minutes and realise that you could have just set down for some more time with your parents. There are still so many things to talk about but you can’t squeeze in all. The time between the hugs. Happens with me all the time. You know what I mean right? Anyways, moving on. Fast forward, New Delhi airport. Our flight to London was in the afternoon and we had some time to kill in the airport. Not an easy task with two energetic kids.
There was chaos and food all around. Kulche Chole (Chickpea with a form of bread), Masala Dosa, Vadas, Noodles, you name it! Things tend to calm down after you fill your stomachs. And it had the same effect on us. We were talking, well not really. I was instructing the kids with a handful of ‘no s’ when suddenly something caught my attention. A mother and son duo. The son was about 8-9 years old and the mum was trying to get him to read Harry Potter. ‘A nine year old must be reading Harry Potter’ must have been the argument. But the little one was not interested. He had a Marvel comic book in hand. The contest was on (Superhero Vs Harry Potter), the conflict at that age, when a child tries to push boundaries. I am very much aware of that stage. What should a boy read at that age? For me, even a comic book is fine as long as my boy is getting interested and talking passionately about the characters. I had a similar kind of dilemma a few weeks ago. As a mum, you want the best for your child and hence you try to sift and get the best and the most popular books in that age group for your child. But what if your kid does not find the genre or your choice of book stimulating? Forcing your kid to read something just because his/her friend is reading a particular book is not cool. As long as your kid is picking up a book (it may be a comic book) instead of the video game is a good sign. For me, it is a work in progress as well but here’s a list of the things you can do to encourage your child to read.
Read to them:
Even if your kid is 8 or 9 years old, it’s always fascinating for them to listen to you. Create voice overs for the characters. Read the book in a funny accent or a weird voice. It’s contagious and they would want to imitate you to read it in a funny intonation. It doesn’t matter how weird and noisy it may be, the idea is to generate interest in reading.
Even if you are not a voracious reader, at least show them that you are. You want to show them , what they are missing out on. Sit with a book or a magazine and get emerge in it.
A cosy place to read:
Have a little cosy corner to read. Comfy cushions, a mattress on the floor and books. A place and habit would give them lots of memories when they grow up.
Make them accessible:
If you have small kids, keep the books in places which are easily accessible to them. Ask them to pick a book for bedtime story. They love the idea of independence to choose.
Make it enjoyable:
I know it’s easier said than done when kids at that age try to push their boundaries and there is high probability of losing your cool. But once a routine is set, it gets easier. We can only try our best and you will be surprised what clicks with your child. Fiction, non-fiction, comics, biographies, auto-biographies, anything is fine and there is no need to force. Force will only lead to conflicts. Speaking from experience;-)
Above all, don’t make it an issue by comparing what others are doing with their kids. Enjoy the journey with your kids and you’ll get there.
May this Diwali be special and the relationships with your special ones shine and prosper.