Most new parents in today's age and time are the people who were born in the 90s. And we all take immense pride that we belong to the age of cassettes and Walkman, Door darshan and Chitrahaar, Chacha Chaudhary and Shaktiman, Kismi bars, Rotary dial telephones, sleeping under the sky and playing Antakshari.
Oh! What mesmerizing time it was. We were not privileged to have ‘things’ that we own now, yet we were happy. Weren’t we? Our generation has witnessed the technological transition. But have we ever thought that what this technological transformation has done to us and our younger generations? Have we got what we actually wanted? Because the level of education has gone up. People are smarter than ever before. They have access to all kinds of information and knowledge they seek. The families are earning more because women have started giving time to their careers.
The millennial couples have become more independent to make decisions for their kids in whatever way they wish. They are the only ones to set an example in front of kids. They are the ones to draw the lines and make kids follow certain benchmarks. Obviously, because of the growing trend of nuclear families.
But wait a minute. Are we heading in the right direction? Is this what we always thought for our children?
For some of you, the answer would be Yes! While some must still be in dilemma. Wondering what is that one thing we overlooked. What is that ‘ONE THING’ our parents did, but we are not. Hold on and let us help you identify that ‘ONE THING’.
First, let us talk about what kids want vs what they need?
Loads of Toys Vs. Your Time – Buy them all the expensive toys in the world but if they do not have anyone to play with, all of it is a waste. So, for once just skip the buying part and make a routine to spend 2-3 hours with your little wonders every day. It will help you in multiple ways –
1. Digital Detox – Most of our days are spent sitting in front of laptop screens. But this way you would be away from the screen for that particular time.
2. Bond well with your child – Absolutely! They would start looking up to that time slot.
3. Save money – Why not? I mean if you do not have to buy a stack of random toys every month, it will surely help you save a little more which you can invest in hobby classes and skill development.
Gadgets Vs. Human Interaction – Studies show that the human brain triples in size during early childhood until adult years. And gadgets, being an inseparable part of our lives, are committed to make a negative impact on a child’s brain and its functioning. Not just that but it can also cause attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity, and decreased ability to self-regulation.
On the other hand, human interaction helps the child develop language skills at an early age. The interaction with family and caregivers affects the rate and quality of language, speech, and communication development of children.
Facilities of all Kinds Vs. Innovation – Hire the best babysitter for your child or get them everything they ask for; nothing could ever replace those special moments YOU spend with them. Like splashing water on each other during bath time or maybe making silly faces in the mirror together, or dancing together, filling color books. It could be anything that is innovative, keeps them happy and helps in developing new skills.
New age parenting recommends parents to read stories, sing lullabies, keep kids engaged and ask for their help in day-to-day chores to help them enhance language and behavioral skills.
Attention Vs. Involvement – According to a research, 10 million Indian children are diagnosed with ADHD annually. Yes! These numbers are daunting; especially in a society where mental wellbeing is not given as much importance as physical wellbeing.
We will not discuss the numbers and figures here. We are here to help you understand that how and why your child needs your time. Try getting involved with them as much as you can.
We totally understand that with such hectic routines where managing everyday chores seem to be a tedious task, it is difficult for parents to take out time especially for kids. Still, we would recommend you do that. How?
1. Take small breaks from work. (With WFH comes several other perks)
2. Plan your day – Coordinate with your partner and other family members and make sure that one of you is involved with the child at regular intervals (not all the time obviously).
3. Manage Activities – Sort the toys and activities in a way that kids do not get access to all of them together. Make different bins according to your kid’s choice and nature of the activity and use those bins in rotation. This way the stack of toys will get more life as chances of kids getting bored would be grim.
Packaged Food Vs. Home-cooked Food – Okay! Let’s face it. We all miss that Maa ke haath ka khana. Name a single person who does not have fond memories of childhood that are associated with home-cooked food. Be it sharing your box of happiness with hostel mates or shedding tears in the mess, be it making a video call to mommy and taking live cookery classes or that heavenly feeling after dining in with the family at your home after a long time. We have done it all. Right?
No matter how old you grow, or how fancy a lifestyle you have, home-cooked food has a special significance in everyone’s life. But wait a minute. Will our kids ever ask for that special ingredient that magically makes the food super delicious if we continue feeding them packaged or outdoor food? Will they ever get to experience that fascination that our generation has for ghar ka khana?
Skip instant meals and try cooking together. Involve them. Let them help you wash vegetables, clean the kitchen counter, keep things back in place, serve the food and whatever interests them but under proper supervision. The kitchen might not look as organized as it usually looks but you trust us. This experience will be special for both of you.
Care to take a self-assessment test of your parenting policy? Go on and all your questions will be answered. Yes!
That ONE THING that kids born in 90s received in abundance, but today’s generation is deprived of is nothing but TIME. Time of their parents and family members. In your house, you need to normalize playing with them, taking interest in their tiny achievements, their stories and everything they do all day long.
Believe it or not but several mental health issues, behavioral problems, learning disorders can be cured beforehand if given proper attention to these little wonderful humans.
‘Children are like clay, we need to mold them', they have said. An entire idea is described beautifully that how important is it for parents to know and understand their children. Nobody is asking you to quit something or leave everything else for kids. But at least give them what they deserve and need the most – your Time.
Put aside your mobile phone and play with them, take them along when you go for a walk, give them some tasks so that they feel an important and responsible member of the family, appreciate their little efforts, listen to their stories, and do things that make them feel connected to you.
The moments you spend with your kids are priceless. You do not get a second chance to witness your child making their first move, calling you for the first time, learning new skills every day, and mimicking you. So, make sure you make enough memories with your children to cherish for the future. Happy Parenting 😊
(The author is a freelance writer)