#AskMeAnything with Kuhoo Gupta – an Early Learning Expert

Let’s start our very first #AskMeAnything with Kuhoo Gupta

Kuhoo Gupta is an early childhood educator, Montessorian, vocal coach, energy healer, author, blogger & a mother to a 3-year-old boy & once-upon-a-time-an-IITian.

She founded The K Junction in 2016 to connect with the tribe of conscious beings on this planet & share her learnings & experiences through her blogs, videos, live chats, workshops & consultations. The key areas of her work are conscious parenting, early childhood education, alternative learning, holistic living & music.

You can join our Facebook group here to participate in future sessions. For now, here is the conversation that happened last Tuesday (10th July, 218).

#ReadingToKids

Question: It would be great to hear your thoughts on how soon should we start reading books to kids. And, what types of books should be introduced at what age.

Answer: One can start reading books to children as young as a few days old. Or even in the womb. But it should be taken care that the child is not over stimulated with the reading. For infants, just 5 minutes a day is enough.
As they grow, one can introduce board books and let the babies handle the books themselves. It will give them an opportunity to handle books without the fear of tearing them. One can also introduce interactive books like sound books, lift the flap books etc to help generate interest for books in children. For starters, choose books that have very less text and more of pictures. And then move ahead as per the child’s preferences.

#ParentingMomVsDad

Question: I see there are many parenting sites with active participation by moms. However, dads have been missing the bus or I should say they don’t speak up openly about this topic. In my son’s PTM, I see a similar pattern. In your interaction with parents, do you also see the same or is my sample (or experience) skewed? And, how can dads get more involved in parenting?

Answer: This is such a deep and apt question as far as parenting in this era is concerned. This social conditioning of moms being solely responsible for child rearing is obsolete in this era. It was the belief when fathers were breadwinners and moms were responsible for household chores including kids.

But now both the parents are at an equal stage as far as running the house is concerned. And husbands are equally contributing in the house. And when they become fathers, they share parenting duties.

But as far as online forums are concerned, moms still rule and I think this will also change few years down the line. Fathers are perhaps not open enough to admit that they are equal parents.

To answer your question, how can fathers be more involved in parenting, fathers should ditch the gadgets once they are back from work and spend quality time with children. Also on weekends, it is a great idea to take the child out to a park, just father and child. At my home, we can it papa beta special bonding time. And during that time, I get a breather and finish the weekend household tasks.

But to top it all, fathers should trash the inhibitions of opening up to the parenting journey… Online and offline.

Children NEED both the energies – male and female to grow into whole beings.

#Social

Question: I see there are children who are not easily mixed up with other children and not comfortable to share their thought with others. Sometimes even while playing with their close friends, still they hesitate in sharing their thoughts. How should parents deal with this situation?

Answer: I feel it’s best to leave to it to the child as to how social he wants to be. Ultimately it all boils down to the happiness and comfort of the child. Why force the child just because we have this social conditioning that one HAS to be social in order to be successful.

#ScreenTime #Toys

Question: I would like you to guide me on a thought that as a parent the overpowering need to shower my child with toys, gadgets and some unnecessary stuff is spoiling her to no extent. How should I say NO to my lil one? How should I make her understand the importance of playing outdoors?

Answer: I hear you, momma! This generation parents have so many choices for toys & gadgets that it is easy to fall into the trap of buying them for our kids, even when we know how dangerous it can be. For that, first we need to understand ourselves, what kind of toys are we buying? Are they really necessary? If you go to a typical toy shop today, most of the toys are battery operated or toys that entertain the child. It should be the other way round. The child should decide how to play with toys. And those toys are called open-ended toys. Such toys keep the children engaged for longer and every day is a new play because of their open endedness. So before you buy a toy for your child, check for yourself if it is going to serve her for longer, is it going to grow with her age? If not, ditch it. That way you will yourself cut the clutter in your mind, before even buying it actually. This will also stop your inner parent’s need to shower with more toys because you would know this particular toy is of no use to her. Read this blog post for more on this – http://the-k-junction.blogspot.com/…/how-to-choose…

Also, it is a great practice to use a toy library, and rentoys is something we love! they have a great collection of open-ended toys & this way you don’t stuff your home with so many toys & your child gets to taste a lot of toys too. And she learns that the toy will go back after some time. A great skill to teach little ones.

#ParentingMomVsDad

Question: Sometimes kids scream if we say no to them. I have seen many kids do at play area… My daughter is 3 years old, she also does so… want to understand how to tackle them at that time n make them understand we are doing for their good.

Answer: Any one would feel bad when told a NO, even we adults will. Just that we have a better emotional makeup, we dont scream. Children are not mature emotionally.

The key is to transform your NOs into conditional YES.

Also, ask yourself the reasons & situations you are saying a NO to. I personally do not say a NO to my child unless it is a safety hazard or a health issue. Sometimes I do say a NO on strict moral grounds but then again most moral practices are our social conditioning that we ourselves need to get rid of.

#Kids #Emotions

Question: How to teach kids, (my son is 3.8) to handle their emotions?

Answer: Let their emotions flow through them. Do not try to stop their emotions. We often tell them – don’t cry, stop crying etc. Why? Why can’t we let them cry? Why can’t we experience unhappiness if they are facing so? It is a part & parcel of life. Let them scream if they wish to scream.

Other than that, the only way to teach them to handle emotions is by example. The way you handle your emotions sets example for them for future.

#Bullying

Question: My question is related to “Bullying.” I am in a dilemma – should I tell my kid to ignore or respond? Ignoring once or twice is ok but can’t let it happen if repeats. If “respond” is the only option then it needs to be done in a right way because it’s not only about my kid but the other kid too. What are the ways we can deal with this situation? 

Answer:  The person who is bullying is insecure about himself and that is the reason he is bullying others.

Now the person who is getting bullied will get affected only if he has doubts about his own self, his own identity, his own standing. If he has a great backing from his parents, a great sense of self-esteem & completeness, he won’t be affected.

If I may ask, what are you fearing for when your child is getting bullied? That will give you answers yourself. That fear is yours, not your child’s. Most of our parenting is fear based, and the fears lie within us.

Between 7 – 14 years, the child is learning through imagination. Tell him stories (if possible real) that relate to this topic where you can indirectly convey to him how & why people get affected by the bullying people. That is enough to kindle the fire of thought how to handle himself

#FeedingInfant
Question: Hi Kuhoo, mother of an year old daughter. I have tough times feeding her. I still give her hand mashed spoon feeds. I sometimes feel she is not interested in eating. I distract her and then she eats. Wanted to ask if this is normal. Also how to introduce Sabzi n chapatti without mashing..

Answer: Pls do not expect too much from her. Make the transition gradual. I’m assuming you weaned off breast milk gradually after she turned 6 months. Do not force her for completing the portions. Trust her hunger and satiation signals. But pls don’t distract while feeding and no screens at all while eating please. You may tell a story but no screens please. This won’t develop a healthy relationship with food.

After 1 year, you can start introducing your family food to her without mirchi. Start with dropping 1 mashed meal and gradually switch all meals

#Activities

Question: Hi Kuhoo…I would appreciate if you could give some ideas for keeping 18-month old engaged in some activities on her own?

Answer: Leaving her on her own will be a wrong expectation, sorry 

You might want to involve her in household chores as per her ability like helping in the laundry, watering plants, folding clothes, putting clothes in the almirah, putting vegetables in the fridge etc.
Then you can get her some open-ended toys that help fuel imagination and creativity. That would perhaps engage her for longer, which can be anything between 10-15 minutes.

I have lots of activity ideas on my blog and YouTube channel that you can try out. But pls keep it child led with no learning expectation outcomes and you will have a happy childhood for her   

#GirlPower

Question: Hi Kuhoo..I enjoyed reading your thoughts.. I need one advise… I am raising two girls and want to empower them with carefree and fail fast attitude…and don’t want them to settle anything less than the best as they deserve the best… share your thoughts on this pl…thanks

Answer: First of all, at the cost of sounding blunt, I would first like you to step back from the place you are coming that says your want their life in a such and such way.
1. They are their own destiny makers
2. They may or may not deserve the best but they definitely deserve the things that balance their karma. And those things might not all be the best and happy. It is wrong on the part of parents to hope always the best and happiness for children. Remember, pain is the biggest teacher. Pain teaches you different dimensions. That does not mean you expect pain for them. It just means step back, parent yourself first and be their partners in this journey together.So pls keep out your expectations for your children’s lives. Because you do not own them. Remember Khalil Gibran poem? 

To empower them, you first need to heal your own wounds and raise your own consciousness. They will automatically pick up the energy.

#Independent #Play
Question: I am living in US so daytime it’s just me and the baby  😊 My baby plays with his toys till the time I am sitting in the same room else he will follow me crying..any suggestion?

Answer: How old is your child? Usually, they start independent play after 2 or 2.5 years. That too they won’t stay alone for more than 15-20 minutes. So occupy yourself with something while he plays

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