Asking your children questions and receiving proper replies is no easy feat. Don’t let your interaction with your child suffer since the communication bridge between parent and child is one that should be strong. Here are seven tips for effective communication with your child.

Remove distractions

Connect with your child before starting the conversation itself. If you keep glancing at your phone, TV, or book while talking to your child, they will feel like you’re ignoring them. Take care of all your priorities and prior commitments before you begin talking to your child.

Even if you are good at multitasking and can still hear what your child has to say, keep the focus on them and only them. Make them feel like they’re the only thing of importance in the room and they are more likely to open up to you. Also, stay in the same room as them and never have conversations from across the house. If your child comes up to talk to you, stop whatever you’re doing and listen.

Maintain eye contact

Maintaining steady eye contact while asking them questions shows that you are serious. Establishing proper intent is very important when attempting to communicate with someone. A small gesture like eye contact may not seem significant, but it means the world to your child.

Eye contact can get the truth from your child. It also helps you spot subtleties in your child’s dialogue. They might be trying to tell you something without directly saying it, and you would have missed this if you were distracted.

Ask open-ended questions

Try asking questions that warrant a more informative answer than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. At the same time, keep your questions short and simple so the child doesn’t get confused.

It’s better to avoid asking the generic “How was your day?” which will result in “fine” or “okay”. A better question would be “What did you learn?” or “What interesting events occurred?”

This way, you show your child that you are interested in their day. Another technique is to start off with a statement or to talk about how your own day went before asking them about their own.

Let them speak

If you bombard the child with three or four questions at a time, they are less likely to respond properly. Badgering your child with lots of questions will put them on the defensive and it will seem like you’re against them, which is the complete opposite of what you want.

Talking about school with their parents shouldn’t feel like a chore to them. Some of the questions you have may be answered along the way. Always wait to hear the complete story. Granted, the information will come from their side so it might not be 100% true, but at least you’ve heard all that your child has to say. Looking at the scenario from their point of view gives you perspective about them.

Also, avoid interrupting them when they are talking. You should give them the benefit of the doubt. Side with them on any arguments or conflicts that occur unless you are absolutely sure they are in the wrong.

Keep your cool

Arguing wastes time and energy and causes both you and your child to get upset. When you yell at your child, it makes them nervous. When they get nervous, they get scared, which is when problems happen. They have now forgotten everything you said and are focused on defending themselves from your wrath. It could even generate a feud between you both.

More often than not, the child will realize their error and will apologize. Just take a deep breath and help them resolve the issue. We know this will seem like a tough task to ask as children are difficult to handle at times, but you have to stay calm.

Forgive them

Children make mistakes. You certainly did when you were young, and so will your child. It is a part of growing up. It’s okay for them to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. This doesn’t mean that you should let them off the hook, but that you should mentor them on right and wrong.

Be proud of their accomplishments and don’t harp on their faults. You are the most important person for your child. More than their friends or teachers, it is you, the parents, who shape your child’s future the most. Forgive them, but at the same time remember that letting them get away with minor mischief may lead to bigger problems going forward.

If keep pestering them about something wrong they did, they will revert back into their shell and refuse to reveal information again. After all, how can you expect them to forgive you if you don’t do the same to them?

Set an Example

Kids learn a lot from watching their parents act, and are sure to pick up your mannerisms and adopt them. Therefore, always be courteous and honest with them.

If you’re using cuss words or fly into a fit of rage, your child will emulate this behavior when they grow up. Stop everything and listen to them, no matter how important the other work is. If you absolutely have to attend to something else, excuse yourself for a few minutes and complete it.

Instead of an order like “Do your homework now”, say something like “Do you want to do your homework now or in five minutes?”, and hold them to their word. This makes it seem like a friendly conversation and gives them a choice. This method is much better than bossing them around.

If you inculcate these habits with your child when they are small, they will be much more willing to tell you stuff when they’re teenagers.

Let’s Practise has many more articles on parenting tips. We wish to help children excel not just in studies, but in life. We specialize in students from classes 3-9. You can visit our contact page if you want to get in touch with us.

Kids and reading in this mobile age!

“As a kid, I would get my parents to drop me off at my local library on their way to work during the summer holidays, and I would walk home at night. For several years, I read the children’s library until I finished the children’s library. Then I moved into the adult library and slowly worked my way through them.” ~ Neil Gaiman

It was very difficult to finalize just 6 libraries in Pune for kids from the choices available but we took the risk to antagonize some of you!

Our choices were based on reviews, their social media presence, kid-centric, safe location, flexibility and the collection available.

So here are the top six according to us:

  • Justbooks CLC

Justbooks CLC

Timings: 10am – 9pm; Monday Closed

Justbooks is a chain of bookstores all over India. The advantage is that you can have the books delivered to you or you can go and pick one yourself. They sell monthly memberships and generally have a great selection of books available for kids.

They have 13 locations in Pune which means that there is a Justbooks centre always close to you! Get the locations and fee structure at justbooksclc.com

  • Unnati Library

Shop No 1 Building 6 Moraya Residency Phase III,

Pashan Sus Road, Pashan.

Ph: 9967013101, 9967019401

www.unnatilibrary.com

Timings: 10.30am to 7.30pm; Monday closed

Unnati is a recent entrant to Pune with their other centres being in the Mumbai region. While their collection is smaller, they have toys too. Looks like a place to pick if you want to wean your young kid away from his or her mobile browsing or gaming activities.

  • Waari Book Cafe

Ground Floor, Choice Institute,

Macdonalds Lane, Near Karishma Chowk,

Karve Road, Kothrud.

Ph: 9822666550

www.waaribookcafe.com

Timings: 10am – 9pm; Monday closed

For the slightly older kid but a great place for the bookworm and the serious ones. Inhouse cafe also takes care of hunger pangs with tasty snacks and beverages.

  • Junglebook

Avni arcade, Gaikwad Nagar,

Aundh.

Ph: 020 25882223 020 25893223, 8805202828

http://www.junglebookpune.org

Timings: 10am – 7pm; Thursday closed.

The Junglebook has morphed into an activity centre but still has a good selection of books for young kids. Call Jas or just walk in.

  • British Council Library

917/1, Fergusson College Road,

Shivaji Nagar.

Ph: 020 456 9000

https://www.britishcouncil.in/library/about/pune

Timings: 11am – 7pm; Monday closed

The British Library has an incredible collection of books not just for adults but for kids too. A membership fee is required to check out books.

The final one is a mobile lending library!

  • Bookspace

Shop No. 1, Silver Arch Apts, opp. Kamal Netralay,

Lane no. 3, Dahanukar Colony,

Kothrud.

Ph: 8408020606,  9890658387

https://bookspace.in

Call Prasad  Kulkarni and his book lending library will be at your doorstep!

Adult Libraries

For the adults, apart from the British Council Library, we recommend a visit to the following libraries:

  • Balasaheb Ambedkar Library, SB Road.
  • Pagdandi Books, Baner.
  • Samit Library, Sadashiv Peth.

“I had no books at home. I started to frequent a public library in Lisbon. It was there, with no help except curiosity and the will to learn, that my taste for reading developed and was refined.” ~ Jose Saramago

So what do parents need to look for before enrolling their kids into one of these libraries?

  • Allow you to browse all day without shooing you off!
  • Adjoining cafe for that snack and beverage
  • Clean restrooms
  • Flexible working hours on holidays
  • Low membership fee
  • Book reading sessions, workshops and other activities
  • Great atmosphere for your kid to imbibe reading values

“Bad libraries build collections. Good libraries build services. Great libraries build communities.” ~ Tim McCormick.

At Lets Practise, we encourage parents to nudge their kids to get into the reading habit. If there are any good libraries in your neighbourhood that need to be featured, let us know. Like us on Facebook, contact us or just give us a call to know more about our solutions and services for ICSE & CBSE kids.

Time for a lets Practise Summer tip. Summer is here again and is usually seen by children as the time where they can wake up late, fiddle around on the phone / computer / TV for the whole day, and generally be lazier than during school days. While this is partially true, it is important not to let the child slip past the point of no return.  

Of course, summer is the time where your child can enjoy and have fun, but make sure they don’t get too carried away. After all, school is fast approaching and it is important to stay on top of the next year’s class material. You don’t want to fritter away your child’s summer days.

Here are four things you can do to make sure your child has a productive summer:

Read

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ George R. R. Martin, Author

Reading is one of the great activities your child can do during their summer holidays. Reading expands your knowledge and lets you create new worlds and characters. It improves your child’s creativity and imagination.

Make sure your child reads a lot of books during the summer. Reading a good book is better than sitting at home and watching a television or playing on the computer, smartphone or other electronic devices all day. Electronic gadgets make children strain their eyes more than books. Also, video games, movies, and shows don’t force the child to be creative as the visuals are already on display. Reading in this case doesn’t have to refer to school books. Just reading novels and storybooks can help improve your child’s vocabulary as well as teach them good life lessons.

Many stories such as Aesop’s Fables, Amar Chitra Katha and Panchatantra teach morals to children in an entertaining manner. Reading also lends perspective on the cultures and ideas of other people.

You can even go more in-depth and ask them to discuss the books they read during dinner. This way, the whole family gets involved and your child can improve their oratory skills. Older children can keep a diary for their books or write reviews for a book detailing their favorite and least favorite moments.

Strengthen Weak Subjects

Summer is the best time for your child to strengthen their knowledge on school subjects, especially the weaker ones. Catching up on weak subjects helps the child be on top of their game and they will be sharp mentally for the next year of school.  When school starts, they will be bogged down with new material and will thus lag behind. Studying during summer helps them get a head start on the material and makes sure they are ready by the time school comes around.

You should sit down with the child and set a timetable where they take time out of the day to work on math problems or revise their Geography. This can either be one hour every day, half an hour every day, or two hours every other day. Be sure to set something that both you and your son or daughter can agree on. However, remember that studying is probably the last thing that a child wants to do during the summer holidays, so don’t make them spend a lot of time on it. Be fair with them and they will be happy to be your kid!

Join a Hobby Club

There are many activities that your child can join during the summer. Try to find a group or club nearby where your child can learn a new skill or hobby. Some examples of activities include chess, swimming, singing, cricket, and football. There is also karate, dancing, art, singing, and much more. The advantage of these classes is twofold. One, your child can learn something new. Two, they now have their own clique of sorts and have found children with similar tastes as them. This helps them make more friends and expand their social circle.

If your child is old enough, consider enrolling them in a summer camp. Camps are full of action and interesting pursuits for your child. They will learn how to live without their parents and develops their independent growth. They can learn new abilities and improve upon their existing ones. In a way, summer camps can shape how the child grows up to be. If you are worried that they will be alone or won’t fit in, ask a friend to enroll as well. The best part is that they are separated from technology, but will be too busy having fun to notice.

Community Service

You can make your child volunteer at a place like a temple, clean up the beach, or park.  They can also help out at an old age home. Volunteering teaches children the value of hard work. A trip to a place like an orphanage lets the children know about those less fortunate than them. It makes them feel thankful for what they have and not take things for granted. If possible, take your child to a farm so they can learn more about farming techniques and how vegetables are harvested.

We advise just telling your child to go outside and getting fresh air. We know it’s tough to beat the heat, but don’t just let your child stay inside the house. Make them go outside and play and be physically active. You don’t want them to be a slouch once the next school year starts.

The main goals for your child in the summer are to make more friends and gain knowledge. The key is to minimize the time they spend inside the house as this will put them into a rut that is difficult to get out of when school begins again. Summer is the only time when they can freely play outside and not worry about homework or tests on the next day.  

If you follow these tips, you will end up with a summer that makes both your child and yourself happy. Let’s Practise wishes everyone a fun and productive summer!

Our emotions can have great impact on our behaviour and life skills. Emotional imbalance not only affects adults but also kids. Their academics and overall development can be harmed. Should emotions be taught in schools?

“Nobody ever taught me to manage my emotions, I have learnt it myself, then why not my child?

Does this question arise in your mind?

Parents – you will agree that the scenario of your childhood days and that of your child is completely different. Today’s competitive lifestyle and the influence of technology has increased the threat for children. Unlike earlier, children tend to spend their maximum free time on electronic gadgets or PlayStation and rarely interact with others. The way they socialize, study, play, etc. only reduces the chances of developing social-emotional skills.

Facing the outside world won’t be easy for your child where they must deal with stressful situations. Academic pressure, peer pressure, homework stress, etc. will make him anxious. This situation may lead to unanswered questions that will only complicate the situation. Lack of emotional skills can also develop the feeling of inferiority in him.

“Building emotional awareness, self-control and relationship skills are master skills, when we nurture them, children do better in all areas of their daily lives, including school.” – Mark Greenberg, PhD, director of the Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Lets Pratise Experts recommend that schools should include social-emotional training in the academics, which in turn will help students regulate their emotions. Schools should introduce Social-emotional Learning program that teaches students the following:

Self awareness

Self awareness is knowing yourself completely and this includes your likes, dislikes, behaviours, emotions, etc. Students who are aware of themselves can understand others and socialize better. Children should be taught to analyze their feelings. Meditation and talking about their emotions are great ways to develop self awareness among children.

Self management – Controlling anger and frustration

Once students learn to identify their emotions, the next step is managing them. Self-management is essential for kids to lead a healthy lifestyle and children are usually sensitive and get affected by minor issues. Teachers and parents should help the child in dealing with emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety and fear.

Taking responsibility

Parents and teachers should encourage children to take responsibility for their actions and this also includes accepting your mistakes. Teach children be responsible and ask them to avoid blaming others for their behavior and this will make them turn into a  honest and more responsible individual.  

Managing stress

If a child is stressed, then the parents and teacher should help him overcome the stress. A student may have stress in many forms – homework stress, exam stress, family feud, quarrel with friends, etc. Children should be taught to solve these problem, to relax themselves or share their problems with the one they trust.

Instead of teaching children to suppress their emotions, we should teach them to talk it out and understand them. A child who receives great social-emotional skills training will turn out to be a successful adult with a wonderful personal and professional life.

Experts at Let’s Practise support the idea of including social emotional learning in academics. What do you think? Let us know here.

Are you, as a parent, more anxious to check the results than your children? Of course you are, and why shouldn’t you be? The CBSE ICSE mark sheet is an encapsulation of the entire year’s work, which makes it a very important document.

Do you know how to read the mark sheet? Viewing a mark sheet can be overwhelming and confusing. You may not know what is important and which factors you can ignore. Let’s understand what certain phrases mean and what to watch out for.

Here are five aspects you should look for while evaluating your child’s mark sheet:

The Grade Point System

Mark sheets have a point system for the child’s marks. Alongside a number for the exact marks, there is also a letter for the range of marks. Sometimes, there will only be a letter and not the exact score. Here is an explanation of the grade point system and what it means.

Below is the current CBSE grading scale for classes 6 – 8:

CBSE grading school

It is important to note that these are the general letter grades on a mark sheet but may vary depending on school and board of education. The scale differs for class 9 and 10. Check the mark sheet for a key with the exact values.

Attendance

Marks are important but be sure to look at the attendance section as well. It will tell you if your child has been cutting classes. If there is less attendance than you expected, look in the teacher’s notes. Poor attendance may indicate low interest in school or in a particular subject.

Teacher’s Notes  

Often in the case of younger students, teachers will leave personalized remarks in the mark sheet. Does he pay attention in class? Is your child following instructions? Is he getting along with others?

The answers to these questions can be critical to identify your child’s behaviour in class. As a parent, you should not neglect this behavioral aspect. It shows their attitude towards other students, teachers, and learning in general. Marks are not the only important factor as the child can learn life lessons and get practical experience for the future.

If your child has not performed well, these remarks can also point out the reasons. You will get notes on their personal attributes, communication, behavior, work habits and social skills. If they talk a lot in class or be very silent, do not dismiss it as something that young kids do. The problems may continue unless you remedy them now.

Percentage vs. Percentile

These are two terms which you will probably encounter on your child’s mark sheet. They are often used interchangeably, which is wrong. Both of these have different meanings.

Percentage is more common, and it means, in the simplest terms, ‘a representation out of 100’. The word ‘percent’  can be divided into ‘per’ and ‘cent’, which literally means ‘a part of 100’. The values are being converted to a total of 100.

You should note that percent is indicated by ‘%’ but percentile is not. If your child has scored 20 marks out of 40, they have scored 50%.

Percentage is usually used in general terms whereas percent is for more specific purposes. One might say ‘A large percentage of the children aced their exams’.

Percentile is a bit more complicated. It denotes a measure of distribution through statistical means. If your child is in the 60th percentile, this means they scored higher than 60 percent of the kids who took the exam. You can use percentiles to compare your child to their peers. Was the exam for everyone or just your child?

Percentage – Representation of data out of 100

Percentile – Representation of data in comparison to the rest out of 100.   

For example, a child scoring 95% on the exam means they got 95 marks out of 100. However, the exam could have been easy and many others could have scored 100 marks. Percentage doesn’t tell you anything about the others.  

If the child was in the 95th percentile, you know for sure that they did better than 95 percent of the class. Therefore, a high percentage is good, but a high percentile is better.  

In the end, percentile seems to be the fairer way to judge your child’s performance and know where they stand in class.

Extracurricular

There are periods apart from the main subjects that are on your child’s schedule. Karate, music, swimming, art, singing, and dance are just some of the other activities that your child may excel in.  It is important to test the waters and ask your child what they like to do. Look at their performance in areas such as PT, writing, and public speaking.

Schools also conduct programs and tournaments for sports, drawing, chess, etc. See if your child is interested in any of these. You may have uncovered a hidden talent and found an athlete or singer.

Other Tips

Try not to compare your child’s marks in front of them as this is off-putting. Not all children learn the same way and someone who excels in one subject may struggle with another.   

Do not scold or verbally abuse your child for missing out on marks. Try encouraging them and asking them a genuine reason for failure rather than berating them. This will only make them dislike studying even more.

Knowledge is the top priority but marks are a way of measuring that knowledge. The system is not perfect, but as of now it is the only one that exists. Apart from this, meet the teachers so you can know more about what your child does in class.  

Focus more on whether they are learning rather than memorizing and regurgitating information. If they only study so they can do well in exams, the knowledge will get stored in short term memory and be forgotten after the exam.  

At Lets Practise, it is our constant endeavor to keep you abreast of what’s happening in the educational scene. If there is a topic you want us to write about, do let us know. Fill in the contact us page or send us an email.

Never forget that these are the formative years for your child and will shape the rest of their life. Keep this in mind and your child is sure to go places. Happy parenting!