Read to Your Child

Parents often ask me for advise on parenting. Some worry about a spirited child and want her to calm down while other stress about a quiet child and want her to come out of her shell. On almost all occasions I find myself telling them to just let the child be. Am I an expert on parenting? Ah well!… I am far from it (currently struggling with my own two year old who is on a hitting spree). It is extremely hard to bring up a perfect child. As parents we all aspire for our children to be all-rounders. Apart from getting excellent grades, we want them to be great orators, ace athletes, and obedient children. 

If the basic nature of a child is shy – we find ourselves forcing her to address an auditorium full of people? We feel humiliated when our only child, the star of the house, the apple of everyone’s eye, gets to play the role of a tree (with no dialogues – mind you!) In a school play. 

Why is everyone chasing the role of Snow White and Robin Hood? I remember when I was in school I was thrilled to be part of a play even if I got the role of bringing refreshments. I took pride in being just part of the production. And waited impatiently for the break so I could bring in tea and cookies from the canteen. (It had its perks!!) 

Sometimes I think we are stunting our children’s growth ourselves by putting so much pressure on them. I was alarmed to learn that there are coaching classes for two year olds!

My conversation with the person who enlightened me on the subject:

Me: Coaching classes for your two year old! What do they do there?

Person: They make them learn how to sit. 

I pause…stare in disbelief 

Me: (in my head of course and picturing my two year old sprinting all over the house): How can you teach a toddler how to sit? (Hehe)

Person (continues uncomfortably): They give them paper and pencil and let them scribble. They teach them alphabets and counting…they create a classroom atmosphere so that children settle well when they eventually start going to school 

Me (again in my head): Wait a minute!!! Won’t they learn that in school when they turn three anyway? 

Me (trying not to sound rude): But that sounds just like school?

Person: It is just for two hours everyday and my child has picked up so much. Knows A-Z, 1-25….

Me: (I look at the child who is fidgeting with something) 

Person: That’s the problem with my child; gets so easily distracted. These classes will teach my child how to pay attention…

Me (Well by this point I am speechless!)    

Well each to their own and I am sure she had her own reasons to put her child in coaching classes. As parents, I feel there is something we can do ourselves for our children and no coaching classes will be able to match up to it.

(Having said that I am aware that all of us may not have a lot of time – some of us are working parents (me included)). 

READ to your child! As parents, if we pledge to read just for twenty minutes to our children everyday, believe me, we are doing a great deal for them. All we need to do is tuck them in bed with a story (a bedtime story is every child’s right) and read to them whenever we have some time on us. These precious twenty minutes have the power to surpass any coaching classes any day. They may not calm down your spirited child or get your child the role of Cinderella in a play but they are sure to make a mighty difference to your child and only if you do it will you be able see how the magic potion works.

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