Easing Back into School Routine – A Bag of Tricks and Tips for Parents


For children, going from days of lazing around, sleeping late, waking up late to stuffing themselves with ice-creams and mangoes, to having to rise with the sun and keep a smiling face for the first day at school can be a major shock.
Here’s how you can help them to make this transition easier, if not enjoyable.
Reset their body clock. Chances are that your children are staying up till late and sleeping only when their eyes can no longer stay open. You can help them by starting to put them to sleep earlier than that. It has to be gradual. And no. Don’t except it to be easy either. They will resist, give excuses and generally give you a hard time about it. The trick is to shift all their activities to half an hour earlier, so that their bodies learn to recognize the pattern before sleep. Gradually keep increasing this time till you get them to their usual sleeping time. Ideally, this practice should start 2 weeks before schools reopen, but if you have missed that mark, then never mind. The sooner you start the easier it will be.
Dealing with “I don’t want to go to school”. Some children may start off like this. It usually happens because all human beings resist change, unless the change is perceived to be more fun. To deal with this, you will need to gently probe to find out why your children don’t want to go to school. Generally, there is no clear answer, but if they genuinely have a problem, make sure you lend it an ear and help them sort it out.
In other cases, like the ones listed below, it is best to be non negotiable and yet empathize with them wherever possible.
·         I don’t want holidays to end! Well who can blame them? Don’t we feel the same way towards the end of a vacation? The best way is to remind them about the good things at school like clubs, theatres, their best friend or favorite teacher.
·         I’ve heard my friends say school is going to be very boring. Point is your child feels it is going to be boring. He just wants to put the blame on someone else. Be emphatic and remind them that they will find out only once they go to school. 
·         I don’t want homework. The first few weeks at school are revision time. Remind them that it won’t be hard work at all and that their teachers understand that and are always going to be there for them whenever they need help.
·         I’m worried I will have no friends. Social worries are difficult to address. There may be real reason behind them. They may have felt left out during the last session. Try and arrange with his best friend’s mother for them to have lunch together. Or meet them after school so that your child has enough time reconnecting with his old buddies
Going back to school after a long hiatus can be very trying for children. But you can help them get on the right track with the suggestions given above!

Why Humor is Good for Kids



Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine – Lord Byron
How does a child develop a sense of humor? Is it inherent or is it learnt through observation or is it a combination of both? We will deal with this aspect later. But what is known and scientifically proven beyond doubt is that humor and laughter play a crucial role in the development of resilience and well being, and can help children navigate through and cope with the different stages of life.
Nature vs. Nurture
It is widely believed that no one is born with an inherent sense of humor, a lack of sense of humor or even a poor sense of humor. A sense of humor is learned, just like all other skills we possess. But how is this particular skill learnt? Well, it is mostly by observation. And parents are the greatest influencers.
When a child’s humor development is encouraged, meaning praised and appreciated by words, it will flourish. But this does not mean that parents have to feel unduly pressurized. Children, though not born with a sense of humor, can appreciate funny instances (mostly physical in nature). So even if you consider yourself to be a somber parent, there is no need to stress.
The only way to help your budding comedian is to laugh along with him in things that he feels are funny, without letting him go overboard. It is also up to the parents to steer their children in the right direction if humor starts getting cruel or unpalatable.
The benefits of laughing
Franzini says a keen sense of humor is linked to:
  • Higher intelligence.
  • More extensive creative abilities.
  • Flexible thought processes.
  • Greater sociability.
  • High self-esteem.
  • Better self-control skills. McGhee says it is also widely believed that having a good sense of humor can make kids more resilient.
Here’s an age-appropriate humor guide during the comedic formative years of six months to seven years.
  • The first year: The first belly laugh comes from something primary carers do, such as pulling silly faces.
  • Ages 1-4: Littlies can find using objects "wrongly" – such as wearing a bowl as a hat – hysterical.
  • Ages 2-5: With a growing grip on language, naming objects or people silly names – like saying your nose is your belly – often gets a giggle.
  • Ages 3-5: Word play and making up nonsense combinations is very funny.
  • Ages 6-7: This age loves a "knock, knock" joke – and they will laugh their heads off at their own jokes.
Children use humor to dispel stressful situations quite naturally. Maybe you could take a leaf out of their book and adopt the same strategy next time you feel stressed. Happy Laughing!

Teaching Kids About Good Touch and Bad Touch



Teaching your kids about Good Touch and Bad Touch is the single most important item in any mother’s to-do list today. Only a mother will be able to explain to her child that difference between a Good Touch and a Bad Touch without letting the child feel that the world is an unsafe place.
So we decided to speak to a few mothers (just like you) and ask them how they teach their children (ranging from 18 months to 10 years) about this difficult subject. Let’s hear what they have to say….
Teaching them what each part of the body is called. Anitha, mother to 18 month old Suriya says that as soon as Suriya grew curious about his body during bath time, she taught him the correct names for his anatomy. She says, “I really think it helps him to have knowledge incase he ever wants to tell me about anything”.
Give them ownership of their body. From an early age Sarveen started telling her daughter (now aged 3 years) that her body is her own and certain parts are private that nobody has a right to touch. In fact even when it is something like holding hands or hugging, Sarveen allows her daughter to have the right to say NO if she doesn’t want to.
Keep conversation around private parts light and easy. If children feel that it is taboo to speak about their private parts, they may never open up to you in case they want to tell you something. Komal, mother to 4.5 year old Sanand has always kept conversation light and easy. Just as one would be if one was talking about their hands or fingers.
Think beyond the swim suit rule. Lisa, a child psychologist, was taught about the swim suit rule when she was young. The rule is whatever part of body is covered by the swim suit is private and no one should be seeing or touching that area. Now a mother to 2 and 6 year olds, Lisa says,” Most criminals have constant contact with the children and develop a relationship with them over time. Sexual molestation begins by rubbing backs, stroking the hair of children and then move onto sensitive areas so there is no warning. Instead the child should be taught to repel or complain against any touch that makes him/her uncomfortable.”
And finally, Don’t force affection. If your child doesn’t want to give a hug, don’t coerce him/her into it. A loving hug from an adult isn’t a bad thing at all. But it should definitely not be forced.

The Real Value of Education by Anitha, HSR Extension


The Real VALUE of Education

It’s alright for us as parents, teachers and educators to instruct our children to become good human beings, kind and considerate to all, to refrain from fabrications and prevarications, to be just, to respect elders in the society and family, to always be ready to serve for the common and greater good. We seldom actually provide a road map to develop, practice and perfect a set of virtues to our children. In the real world these values are honesty, integrity, conduct and behavior.
Theodore Roosevelt pronounced that, To educate a person in the mind but not in the morals is to educate a menace to society. “ Well, maybe not a menace, but certainly, a misfit. What is equally glaring and hard hitting is that beyond school success is no longer guaranteed by grades. While technical education undoubtedly has its place, what is gaining greater significance is the establishment of values in children during their growing up years, both in school and at home.
It is understandable that values cannot be taught, but can only be imbibed. Any child, who is exposed to an environment where there is constant reinforcement of values and morals, will stand a better chance at internalizing these values. The responsibility of the teacher today is not simply about guaranteeing excellence in academics, but also, a commitment to create a role model for students to follow.
At Mount Litera Zee School, the entire methodology of imparting education is based on teaching core human and social values and principles. The effort is always towards achieving that balance between academics and real world values.
New and modern educational institutions should seek to integrate value-based education together with mainstream subjects.  Our children, today, are more in need of an education which stresses on building personal characteristics along with bookish knowledge.
Of course, the way ideologies are imparted and values are instilled depends on the educational institution.  
At MLZS, we believe that the best way is by setting the right maxims and examples, which makes it possible for our students to emulate and follow.
This article has been the work of Ms. Anitha, our Moral Values Coordinator at MLZS HSR Extension branch. This article reflects her thoughts and her follow up actions that she has planned in the new academic year for all our children.

Keep Your Family Cool With These Tips In Summer

Fill up on these nutritional power houses to stay healthy in hot weather. Summer is the best time to switch on to flip flops as well as the right time to take care of your family’s diet. It is an amazing time of the year when fresh products abounds and so nutrients are at peak.

Hydration is the key factor to be taken care of in summer. As we lose a lot of water through sweating we need to replenish it, especially children who would like to play outside in sun during their vacations.
1. Water and Water based drinks: Dehydration is the most common problem in summer. One should drink at least 10-15 glasses of water per day. Water helps to regain the lost electrolytes from the body. Children who generally  do not drink water should be given light beverages like lemon water, fresh fruit juices, bel juice, coconut water and raw mango panna daily.  
2. Watermelon: As the name says, it’s a hydration hero. It is very high in water content and so keeps you cool and hydrated. Children should be given a bowl of watermelon daily. 
3. Cucumber: Cucumber is high in moisture content and keeps the body cool and hydrated. Include cucumber as a salad in your daily routine. 
4. YogurtYogurt is filled with loads of probiotics and protein power.  Yoghurt provides lots of nutrients to your children and will help to digest the food properly. 
5. Strawberries: It keeps the body cool and healthy with lots of antioxidants. Antioxidants are the vitamins and minerals needed for the body.  
6.  Coconut water: Coconut Water is the richest source of sodium and potassium. It is helpful to bring back electrolytes in the body.  
7. Garlic and Onion: These foods contain polyphenols and flavonoids which have antibacterial properties. These prevent stomach infections which are very common in summer.  
8. Dark green leafy vegetables: These are undoubtedly rich in all nutrients and making them a part of the diet will help to keep everyone away from diseases. 
9. Oranges/lime/sweet lime: These fruits not only have high moisture content but also are rich in vitamin C which boosts the immunity of the body. 
10. Tomatoes: Raw tomatoes are rich in lycopene and various antioxidants which help to prevent various diseases in summer. 
Just a few more things to be kept in mind before stepping out of house in hot weather.
· Never go out in an empty stomach. 
· Carry a water bottle always. 
· Avoid eating fried food. 
· Have coconut water, lemon juice, and fresh fruit juices to regain electrolytes 
· Try to eat or drink every two hours. 
· Avoid eating outside frequently. 
· Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. 
· Tulsi /Basils keeps the bodies cool so keep it in mouth before going in sun. 
Here’s what Parul, Nutritionist at HSR – MLZS has planned for our children.
As a Nutritionist, I feel for a healthy future it is very important to lay a healthy foundation which can be done at Home and School. According to me more than parents it is important to make students aware about health, wellbeing and its relation to foods.
Keeping this in mind; we would like to conduct many nutrition camps and workshops for our students. Here in school we have planned the menu according to the nutritional requirements of the children of different age groups. All the food groups are included and a balanced plate is served. In School, we are playing our role for a strong and nutritious future by making students understand the importance of health and nutrition. 
Parul  Nutrionist- MLZS-HSR Bangalore

21st CENTURY LEADERSHIP SKILLS IN CHILDREN

Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves. Is that not also an essence of good teaching? ” – Stephen R Covey

How do we build leadership skills at Samsidh MLZS?
We at Samsidh MLZS understand that building leadership skills is critical for the 21st century leaders. We invest in inculcating this skill in the students by exposing them to variety of programs, organizations and opportunities as a part of the curriculum. These inspire them to get involved and grow into the leaders of tomorrow. This in turn will help them to improve their complete personality and compatibility therefore enabling them to secure a respectable position in the world.

This is why we have The Life Skills Program. It is an interactive program to promote personal development by means of narrating stories and realistic situations, which are role-played by the children in a team after discussing the solution with their group. Team games are conducted to observe group participation, communicating ideas, experience difference in opinions, listening skills, empathizing and to realize the potential in each child.

"Aim for success without compromising on character"
Is what we are educating each child in life skill classes.

Do Children Really Need Life Skills to be Future Leaders?

In today's world, where the survival of the fittest is the norm, it has become imperative to sharpen one's technical skills, and more importantly, one's Life Skills.

Technical skills can be learnt, applied and measured to an established degree. But the same cannot be said of Life skills. Life skill is a sociological term for an individual's Emotional Intelligence (EQ). It can be broadly defined as personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job and career prospects.

Whether it involves face to face customer interaction or even indirect correspondence over telephone or e-mail, employees adept at Life skills will achieve both individual as well as organizational success. Hence Life Skills is critical to showcasing one's hard skills; both can be considered to be two sides of the same coin - one without the other has no impact.

How do Life Skills translate into the work situation in the future for our children?

According to Serby Richard (2003) modern corporate requirements are such that they look specifically for those candidates who can add value to their organization with their Life skills and the ability to develop and use Life skills which can make the difference between a job offer and enjoyment of new employment.

This requirement of Life skills in a job has made the competition for job acquisition and job sustainability tougher. All those candidates who wish to get an edge over their competitor are expected to refine their Life skills.

Can schools help by running Life Skills program as a part of curriculum?

For inculcating Life skills in children, they have to be provided with trainings as a part of their curriculum. This in turn will help them to improve their complete personality and compatibility therefore enabling them to secure a respectable position in the corporate world.

Hard skills contribute to only 15% of ones success while remaining 85% is made by Life skill (Watts M and Watts R. K, 2008).

In spite of such great relevance of Life skills in the present corporate world some of the institutions are yet to introduce Life skills in their curriculum. There is a dire need of incorporating Life skills trainings in their curriculum, to ensure commendable placements.
                                                                                                                       
Jayalakshmi- Life Skill Educator at Mount Litera Zee School

Math In Nature

“Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe” - Galileo 

What do you dream to become when you grow up??? 

A Doctor, an Engineer, a Fashion Designer, a Forensic Expert, a Scientist, a Banker, an Astronaut, an Architect, an Interior Designer, a Businessman, a Pilot, a Sports Announcer, a Professional Photographer, or a Computer Games Designer?
For all these you need Math!

Children love the opportunity to work in groups, experiment and play in the lap of nature. There is brilliant potential in learning for children when nature is used to explore Math. Suddenly Math becomes a magical journey when you take the children outside and point out that Math is inherently present in nature.
Have you ever wondered  about the  HEXAGON shaped cells  of the honeycomb or the various patterns and symmetries in the plants, leaves, flowers, fruits and vegetables?  There is even a rotational symmetry in the globe!
Math is all around us; and at Mount Litera Zee Schools, there are imaginative activities for each age group planned and studied carefully to liven the imagination of children.
The point is children need Math in their daily life. But the dreary routine of being confined to an indoor classroom all the time can make it sound like work.
Imaginative classes planned around teaching Math concepts to children don’t just involve pointing out the presence of Math in nature. Our teachers regularly use these opportunities to ensure the children can:
ü  Feel inspired and motivated to want to learn more
ü  Gain practical ideas and reflect on problems and their solutions on their own
ü  Develop their understanding that Math goes beyond classrooms and examinations
ü  Sow the seeds of curiosity
Engineers use Math for construction of buildings, tunnels, bridges, dams, for laying pipelines, for designing and building vehicles, aircrafts, and ships, for tapping the energy from sun, wind and water.
Computer graphics are based on principles of geometry. 
Math is required in the Medical field as well, like medical imaging, protein modeling etc.
Math is also present in Music with the composers incorporating the Fibonacci series and golden ratio into their work. 
Our aim at MLZS is for children to have fun with MATH 
As it gives reason to hope that every problem has a Solution!!!!! 
 Article by Praseela Vimal- Math co-coordinator at MLZS- HSR  

Bad Words from Good Kids – How to successfully stop your child from using bad language

Nothing can really prepare you when your child uses a bad word or harsh language with you for the first time. After the initial shock wears off, you are left thinking how to best address this issue before it gets out of control!

Here is how you can approach this issue calmly.

Toddlers

For children under 4 years of age, just ignoring it is the best practice. They may not even understand the meaning of the bad words. But if they know they can get a reaction by using bad or harsh words, they will continue to do it. Whereas, ignoring it will take the fun out of the game. Eventually they will know it’s not something important enough for your attention and stop.

Another technique is to substitute the bad word with a similar sounding word. Eg, if your child says “shit” change the word around with something like “Do you want a shirt?”

Young Children

Young children probably do understand the meaning of or the context of the bad words. Of course, if you demand directly that your child stops using that word, it is not going to work and neither is anger.

Try to observe when is it that your child uses bad language. Is it when he/she is stressed, tired or hungry? In that case, simply attend to that immediate need.

Older Children

Children usually mimic adults or people around them who they look up to. If bad language is common around your child, then punishing is not going to solve the problem. It is probably better to sit down with an older child and explain to them that bad words cause hurt and pain on people. Next you could try to explain why people around them swear a lot by offering explanations like “It is not ok to swear but Uncle Ajay swears sometimes because that is the way adults cry”

Another alternative is to get to the root cause of why your child is swearing so much. He/she maybe experiencing some undue peer pressure to fit into a particular group or he/she maybe trying to appear cool. Alternately, they may be using bad words in the wrong context. In any case, it is best to sit down with your child and get talking to find out what has brought on this kind of behavior.

And last but not the least, start with yourself. If you react with anger or sudden outbursts, you will not raise a child who can have control over their negative feelings. So if you believe that your child is mimicking you, start by correcting yourself.

Then Observe why and when your child uses bad language. It could be a major change in their routine, new friend circle or situations that they don’t enjoy being in. Often the root cause is easy to identify and fix.

Spend special time with your child every single day. This is a great way of knowing what is going on in their life. That way you and your child will feel more connected to each other and easy to open up about issues.

And lastly, relax! A few bad words doesn’t mean that your child is going to turn out to be a criminal! They just needs you to be there for them!

Is It Okay To Lie To Your Kids?

The earliest lie I remember telling my daughter was that the dead bug she found in the garden was actually sleeping!

We all do it. Lie to our kids so that life becomes easier, not just for us but for the kids too! But is it an acceptable form of parenting? We believe not. Parents lie about death, bad news, etc to protect their children. But in reality, children understand much more than we think! Whether we like it or not!

So what’s the alternative? Read on to find some alternatives to lies which we put together for you.

If you don’t do this, I will…

Making up a consequence and threatening your kids with it is negative reinforcement. For example, ”If you don’t listen to Mamma, the monster will come and take you away”

Alternative: Motivate instead of threaten. Kids can eventually see through our attempts and will not trust our responses in future. Instead use positive reinforcement. “If you listen to mommy, we can play together in the sand pit” (or substitute with something your child likes doing.)

The Cover-Up Lie

Sometimes we lie to make things easier for us too. For example, when you don’t want to buy that unnecessary toy in the supermarket a typical response is “I've forgotten my wallet at home.”

Alternative: We agree that this is an easier response. I mean who wants a wailing child in the middle of a supermarket! But instead of avoiding creating a scene, tell your child the truth. “I think you have enough toys so you don’t need anymore. But we can have an ice-cream together” It’s better to tell the truth and allow your child to experience and live through the feelings of controlling their impulse.

Different rules for children

You hated math as a kid, but want your child to love math, so you tell him/her “I loved math as a kid” in a bid to have him/her take to it.

Alternative: Don’t be tempted into this kind of lying because honestly it won’t really affect the kids’ opinion of Math and you will be wasting your precious words. Instead, don’t say anything. When they realize on their own whether they want to love or hate or remain neutral towards math, respect that feeling.

The Protective Lie

“Daddy and I are not fighting, we’re just talking..” Shielding children from uncomfortable circumstances will never teach them to confront such situations later in life.

Alternative: Instead, state facts. “Daddy and I are having a discussion and we don’t seem to agree.” Follow your child’s lead. If telling only a bit of truth seems to satisfy him/her, leave it at that. Else, keep giving facts till he/she appears satisfied.

And finally, no matter what your kids ask you, try to answer their questions truthfully. Keep answers simple, don’t overburden them with lots of unnecessary information.

At MLZS, we believe that every child is born with an inherent integrity that always makes him/her say the truth. That is why children are so innocent and truthful most of the times. We strive to keep the inherent integrity of every child intact through role modeling. Our teachers and our entire staff lives through this value every single day.

Understanding ADHD: Information for Parents

The most marked behavioral trait of any child is impulsiveness. There are many times when a child’s behavior veers out of control. And at other times he/she may seem to be constantly day dreaming.

Both behaviors are usually quite harmless and a part of growing up. It is only when such behavior becomes repetitive and starts interfering with normal day to day life, is when parents have cause to worry. ADHD usually affects children more than adults and 4 % of all children suffer from some type of ADHD. A real diagnosis is only given by a child psychiatrist.

What is ADHD? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is a condition of the brain that makes it difficult for children to control their behavior. It is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood. ADHD is diagnosed in about 3 times more boys than girls. 
The condition affects behavior in specific ways.  But how to determine if a child has ADHD. Here are a few symptoms of ADHD

·         Inattention
ü  Had hard time paying attention and day dreams
ü  Doesn’t seem to listen very often
ü  Easily distracted from work and play
ü  Inattention to detail, silly mistakes
ü  Is disorganized
ü  Frequently avoids doing things that require mental effort
·         Hyperactivity
ü  Is in constant motion, as if driven by a motor
ü  Difficulty staying seated
ü  Squirms and fidgets constantly
ü  Runs, jumps and climbs things despite not being permitted to do so
ü  Can’t play quietly
·         Impulsivity
ü  Acts and speaks without thinking
ü  Runs around without checking surroundings first
ü  Cannot wait turns
ü  Interrupts others frequently
ü  Answers before the question is complete

Children with ADHD may not show all of the above symptoms. If a parent or the child’s teacher observes any symptoms, the initial intervention is to be made by the Pediatrician. Unless and otherwise diagnosed and certified by a psychiatrist, the child is not labeled as having ADHD.

If you happen to interact with a child who seems to be hyperactive, here are a few tips:

·         Do not use the word “do not”, instead put your instructions in  a positive note

·         Give simple instructions to divert the attention

·         If the child throws tantrums, just ignore the tantrum and try diverting

·         Don’t embarrass the parent by staring or giving suggestions. Parents are the best teachers  in this situation. 

The article has been written courtesy Ms. Abirami Umashankar, Special Educator at MLZS HSR Extension. Through her valued insights and continuous support, we have been able to nurture a successful inclusive environment at Mount Litera Zee School HSR.