Richard Bach had said " Children are not our property and they are not ours to control anymore than we were our parents property or theirs to control". Khalil Gibran too expresses these sentiments beautifully. (Click here to read it).
I have worked with children for more than 8 years. I used to conduct workshops on developing thinking skills in Children. I used to teach at schools. I have also taught street children. Somehow I have a way with kids, perhaps it is because I really like their company. But that really does not make me an 'expert' as each child is different.
So,when people ask me for tips and tell me to write on parenting (and I get so many such requests) I hesitate, because these are my own methods. This is what I believe in.These are not absolute diktats, as what I want for my children might be very different from what you want for yours. Recently I got a mail which asked me to please, please please (yes the please was repeated thrice :-)) write a series on what I do with my children. and why I don't share ! Earlier too I had got such mails. So with explanation and disclaimer in place, here goes the first post :
There is one thing that I feel every home with a child (by a child I mean those above 3. Till then they are toddlers) MUST have--- a white board and some markers available handy along with a duster or a wipe. Put the whiteboard at a convenient height where the child can reach it and write comfortably on it. Allow the child to do whatever he/she wants on it. Don't be bothered about scribbles, squiggles or whatever he/she does on it.
How does it help? Well, it is a very handy tool for expression. To the child, there is no tomorrow or later. It is NOW. If a child wants to draw, a resource is readily available. It is hard to resist a white blank space and markers available readily. It is easier to forget about it when it is tucked away in a drawer which is what happens with paper and crayons.
Also, it is neat and does not have to be 'put away' like papers, coloring books, paints and crayons.
Ever since my children were little, the white board has always been a part of their room. Both my children wrote so much and drew so much only because of the whiteboard being readily there. It was so much fun!
My daughter used to line up all her soft toys and play 'teacher-teacher'--a marvellous way to reinforce what she learnt at school but of course she did not realise that. To her, it was just fun. When my children's friends came over, they would love to draw on the board.
Learning multiplication tables also became fun on the board as writing on it was so much better than writing in boring notebooks with pencils. The whiteboard did not feel like a chore, it felt like play! So too spellings.
We would play the 'teacher-teacher' game where I was the student who always made spelling mistakes and my children would correct me. I would act silly and pretend I didn't know and they would proudly write the correct spelling on the white board. (Of course this was when they were much younger. Both read on their own now)
When my daughter learnt to write, this was one of the first things she wrote on the white board. I had to click a picture! (click on images to enlarge)
Sometime back,she again made this and I again clicked a picture.I am sharing that here as well.
My son also uses the whiteboard a lot.
Once when I was not well, this is what he had done.
Having a whiteboard readily available adds so much fun to daily routines with a child.
When a canvas is blank the possibilities are indeed endless! (and yes I mean that as a metaphor)
In case you are worried about how it will affect the decor, let me assure you, it makes a superb accessory in a child's room. This is how it looks on their wall:
So I have finally overcome my reluctance and shared one of the things that I do with my children, with all of you.
Depending on the response that this post gets I shall decide whether to post more of these or not. If you found this post useful and want me to write more such posts, please let me know :-)
PS: Some of my articles on children and parenting have been published in past issues of Readers Digest Joy.