Why I value “Early Literacy Skills” as a developmental milestone:

As children grow, they reach milestones every other day. And I have witnessed first hand, as a teacher as well as a mom, how strong foundational skills are so very critical for children to attain their developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are things that most children at a certain age should be able to do. Children achieve these as they observe, explore, play, move, act, learn, speak, and so on. Broadly speaking, developmental milestones can be grouped into 5 major areas: physical growth, sensory and motor development, emotional and social development, language development and cognitive development. Given that these milestones are well researched and scientific in nature, parents, teachers, doctors and nurses refer to these in the form of a checklist for screening purposes. Observing, testing, assessing and recording these milestones from time to time helps parents and professionals to monitor the children’s growth and development. Ideally, attaining these milestones is supposed to be a joint venture for parents and teachers wherein both parties provide the children with umpteen opportunities, consistently, so they can learn and grow in an age appropriate manner. Taking that a step forward, as a teacher mom, I believe that milestones are also about preparing the children for their next milestone. And I have seen that the pandemic is unfortunately having a terrible effect on the growth and development of young children as both parents and teachers are struggling to cope. To address this issue, we, as parents and teachers, need to modify our roles as well as expectations and adapt to the new normal. We need to step up because our children deserve to learn and grow regardless of the pandemic. They have a future and they are the future.

A good place to start would be by finding out “what my child is supposed to do and know, at his/her age. And how can I help?” Although developmental milestones are common to most children, each child has his/her own learning journey. Not only do they have their own strengths and weaknesses but also their own learning styles. To add on, they have their own interests and inclinations as they learn at their own pace. I have a 3 year old, turning 4 soon and thanks to my teaching knowledge and experience, I am well versed with what she’s supposed to do and know at this point in her life. To be honest I am not as concerned for my girl’s physical and socio-emotional milestones because she is generally doing well out there.

However, during the course of the pandemic, I started to get a little concerned about her formal schooling skills: reading and writing skills in particular. Call me traditional, but I do believe that these skills, even today, serve as a strong foundation in education. In my experience, the perfect blend of the traditional and modern educational skills and practises have shown the best result in raising well rounded learners. We don’t know what the future holds, so we need to prepare our children in every way. Young children need to be exposed to all sorts of learning opportunities so they can discover their strengths and work through their weaknesses as they learn and grow. Yes, the pandemic has been rough on young children as well as early childhood educators. And as stressful as it can get to balance the roles of a parent and a teacher to the same child, I still give it my best shot because my child doesn’t deserve to loose out on her developmental milestones just because we are in this global pandemic. I feel so blessed to be a teacher mom and that’s why I choose to make time in our busy schedules to use my expertise and help my child strengthen her formal schooling skills.


How? For starters, to enhance my girl’s reading skills at home, I make it a point to read her a book everyday. My first go-to-activity for her has always been “Let’s get a book.” Why? Her reason will be “because its so much fun!” My reason is “because reading a book has so much value in it.” Through that she learns how to handle a book, how to track the pages from left to right and top to bottom, how to turn the pages one at a time, how to hunt for letters of the alphabet and now even for high frequency words like you, the, and, is. She even understands and appreciates the job of an author and an illustrator. We talk about the story line, evaluate characters and their actions, take turns to ask and answer simple questions and talk about our favorite part of the story. She’s gotten so good at it by now because I remember reading a book to her every single day even back when she was younger… we explored sensory books together, we read picture books, I spoke about the pictures to her, we pointed to identity characters and objects in those pictures and gradually she started to speak about the pictures herself, as she turned 3. She then started to sequence the events of the story and even associate the story with her own experiences. Now, she is interested in not just the pictures but also the print. This is a kid who started recognising her own name so early in life because she was repeatedly and consistently provided opportunities to identify her name. We even sang songs to learn the letters in her name like in the BINGO song. Now, she can not only identify but also spell out and write her name by focusing on each letter in her name. She is sounding out letters, pronouncing the words properly and expressing herself in complete sentences by now; at times even modulating her voice to suit different characters and their emotions throughout the story. I feel so very proud of her as she is learning to experience the “joy of reading”, to not just expand her knowledge but also her imagination.


Coming to writing skills which is the least looked forward activity for any parent, teacher or even children, as they start approaching kindergarten. It’s hard, it needs precision and can be time consuming. Children between ages 3-6 generally love to express themselves by speaking it out and they can go on and on and on…But when asked to pen it down in some form, they tend to make it brief, vague and abrupt. I did get concerned when I noticed my girl lacking behind in her fine motor skills. She has immense curiosity for print around her but didn’t quiet show any curiosity for penmanship: be it through scribbles or drawings even. So here’s what I did. I tapped on technology for this skill. I introduced her to my Apple Pencil and showed her the “power of penmanship” on an iPad. It blew her mind off and got her so ready to pen things down. Hands-on, engaging, creative and exciting for the both of us. I spent time trying to guide her how to hold a pencil correctly which is so very important for her to draw efficiently. Before the pencil, she did use crayons and markers to scribble around, but that was with a reflex grasp called the “palmer grasp” which is great for exploration. But now at age 4, she needs to convey meaning through her drawings and writings which requires her to use her “pincer grasp” and even her “dynamic tripod grasp” for stability and detail. While teaching her about the correct pencil grip, I realized that she does have strong fine motor skills thanks to all the play dough we played with in her toddler days but I had somehow not guided her to apply her fine motor skills on paper. Probably because writing as a skill is something that we as adults rarely use these days. We type, but thats not a writing skill. And I do want her to learn writing as a skill. I do believe in the science of graphology. So, we worked hard and yet kept it fun and interactive with activities involving tracing, colouring, erasing, and simple drawings of people and things around us. Now, she is excited to write her name, and even other’s names by asking them to spell it out for her. She has learnt to write from left to right too. We play fun games like “Copy”, where we take turns to copy each other’s drawings, shapes, numbers and writings. Sure she mixes uppercase and lowercase letters during her writing exercises and makes some directional errors too but that’s just a part of learning at this stage. The perfectionist in me, makes her fix it but then again sizes and formations are something that takes a while to develop. I’m being patient and also am so very excited that we are finally heading forward in our writing quest, and what makes it even more exciting is that she shares my excitement as well!


Here’s what I believe in: Whatever day and age we live in, everyone should have an opportunity to learn reading and writing as life skills. One does learn to write better by reading, and read better by writing. Reading and writing as skills work together to enhance our thinking and communication skills. “The more we engage with these skills, the better we get at them, the better we get at them, the more we like it and the more we do it. Let’s not forget that these skills make all other future learnings possible and I truly believe that learning is a not only a lifelong process but also a skill in itself. What better way to prepare for life than get a head start in the early years of life.

Why not to compare children and what I do instead

Stay unique… and make your own mark!

As mothers, we start comparing our little ones, the very minute we conceive them. Understandably so, because as moms, we want to know whether we are on the right track, doing the right thing. And if we experience any sort of deviation from the normal, we start or continue to compare even more. Why? If you are anything like I am, its because I want to ace it… give it my best, be the best (or at least the closest possible to the best). Thankfully so far, I am not comparing my child to any other because I personally don’t like being compared to anyone. I don’t like that feeling and I’m grateful that my mom didn’t do that while raising me. However, coming from a culture where comparison and competition is still common, I did experience it nevertheless. But as a mom, I try my best to refrain from the tendency to compare my child to any other.


Having said that, I don’t live in a bubble. Sure, I am in touch with the world and its expectations. Instead of competing and comparing, I learn from my experiences and from the people around me. Although I don’t feel right about making direct comparisons, I do, however, use benchmarks and milestones. I have learnt to not obsess over them anymore because we are all unique and we need to value that about ourselves. EG: I remember my baby was not showing any interest in rolling over, scooting or crawling like other babies her age did but then she skipped a couple of milestones and started to stand and even walk in no time. That’s when I knew that my child is capable of knowing what she wants and focuses all her energy on achieving that goal. Ignorance is bliss for babies. Now, just because I don’t compare my child doesn’t mean that I believe in “lazy parenting”. (I’m not judging parents here but that term is a legitimate style of parenting now and I respect that). There’s nothing lazy about lazy parenting style but its not my style. I am a borderline helicopter parent who is trying hard to stay with the positives of that style of parenting. I do have great expectations from my child and those I have based on my knowledge and experience as an early childhood educator. And in my 12 years of experience in the field, I have consciously refrained from comparing my young students too. I, however, find ways to turn around those statements of comparisons.

So here’s how I do it and why:

When saying “Why can’t you be more like XYZ?”, we are blatantly telling our child, that he/she is not good enough. Instead, I can turn it around by looking into that specific trait or skill that XYZ exhibits. And if that is something I feel my child can benefit from, I will introduce that trait or skill to her. I would focus on the process of becoming, rather than the outcome and be a part of her learning journey. Play a responsible and equal part in that process rather than isolate her to reach the outcome and find a way to be like XYZ.

Every time we habitually or even casually praise someone else and then immediately follow it up by criticising our own child, we are making a direct comparison. On purpose or not, while doing so, we are not only damaging the bond we share with them but also the relationship they might have with the XYZ. This might lead to some passive aggression that gets projected toward the person criticising and also the person being praised. And this could cause some deep set emotional and social bruises for life where the child as an adult might have trouble appreciating the good in others because somewhere its gotten linked to their own self worth.


I would like my daughter to see the good around her and make her own decision of whether or not to imbibe that as a part of her individuality. When I say, “Did you see how XYZ did that? Would you like to do that?”, she learns that just because someone is good at something, doesn’t mean that she is not. And if she chooses to, she can do it too. That’s when I, as her mom, am all in, for setting her up for success. This is a positive mindset at work and I would like her to internalise this mindset to function and succeed in the competitive jungle out there. Praising someone doesn’t need to have a toxic effect on her personality. In fact, when I praise someone else, I am bringing her to notice the good around, making suggestions, and even sharing my personal preferences about what I like and what I don’t. Now as she’s turning 4 soon, there are times, I even highlight the not-so-good things around and gently guide her to make the right choices. Most of the times, she does get the difference between good and bad choices.


And when she makes her choices, I would like her to make it for herself, because she finds it right. Not because she wants to please me or anyone else. We tend to make comparisons because we want to motivate our children to succeed and be like or better than an XYZ. But somewhere this teaches the child to follow a herd rather than be their own uniquely productive self. Following a herd mentality also teaches a child that we have to be a part of the group, come what may. So, what happens when my daughter encounters a group of people making poor choices together? Does that make it right? That’s why I like to emphasise to her that just because someone is making poor choices, we don’t have to join in, even if it’s a friend we like or a lot of friends we might want to be liked by. We need to use our own beautiful mind to make good choices because we find it right. And its amazing how she’s able to make those choices… again, most of the times.

Children are much more capable than we think they are. We need to give them more credit for that, at least I do. Their minds absorb like sponge…the way we speak to them and speak about them gets internalised in them overtime and we should choose to look at that as a big plus point.

Speaking of capability, my child has her own interests and abilities which I, as her mom, need to encourage and facilitate. I try really hard not to enforce my own interests on her. I also try hard not to make her take up a skill just because everyone is doing it. Again, following the herd mentality can be counter productive. I not only respect her personal interests but also keep the expectations realistic. Let’s face it, trying to achieve something that one isn’t interested in and is not capable of, can only lead to frustration and stress. She rather be frustrated and stressed learning something that she actually wants to be good at. That kind of stress is good because those frustrations and mistakes only make one better.


This brings me to the aspect that’s so very important when my daughter is succeeding or even failing forward : LOVE, unconditional love, at all times. I always make it a point to appreciate her choices, her efforts and her struggles, however big or small. That doesn’t mean I don’t get disappointed when she makes poor choices. And I rightfully express that disappointment to her by saying “I love you a lot and I always will. I am feeling sad right now because I am disappointed in your choices. I know that you can do better than that! How can we make this better?” Right there, was love that’s unconditional, real feelings that are momentary consequences, faith in her abilities which didn’t reflect in her current choice, a confident resolve to fix it as a team. This routine keeps her more grounded and motivated to be her best, than me having to make comparisons. This is about her, and only her. We talk about her choices and their consequences while speaking of her and her only. She learns that she is capable of making better choices, by herself and for herself . This is a personal growth mindset that focuses on her and her alone.

Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” And that line has stayed with me for years. Comparison does take away the fun of learning to discover and be the best version of ourselves. If we do have to compare, let’s compare us to ourselves as we challenge ourselves to learn and grow for life!

Pleased with being a “One and done parent”

The Awesome Threesome…

It’s so very unflattering to be questioned or even to have to explain why my family size doesn’t seem to match the “stereotypical” portrait of a “happy family”. Since I have a 3 and a half year old now, this is supposedly the “right” time for me to think about having another baby to “complete” my family. If not saying it, people are definitely thinking it, specially on days when I’m sick with “pregnancy” like symptoms. And when I do say that I’m pleased with being “a one and done” parent, there’s always the implication that this statement just momentarily holds true for me and that I would soon change my mind, for reasons best known to them. The most popular one being, having a sibling for my only child and its trillion advantages. Sure, every decision in life has its pluses and minuses, but to assume that a family unit of 3 isn’t as good as it can get, is something I find pretty patronizing and ill-informed. I’d say, to each, their own. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable to give my opinion to anyone about how many kids they should or should not have. I’m amazed at how people so righteously find it their place to even share a passing remark or even “that sorry look” on this (no)issue. If anyone does get to have an opinion, that place sure belongs to members of my family: my husband, me and my daughter – the people who actually have to do the hard work at making it a truly “happy family”. (On a side note, my daughter recently shared her list of reasons why she doesn’t like babies J It was interesting, no doubt!)

To me, no family size is perfect! A family is still gonna have to go through it’s own unique journey filled with successes, surprises and struggles. Having one child suits us and in words of my little one, we are a “happy family” living in the “best home” ever. (Yeah, she is into using a whole lot of superlatives in her rapidly growing vocabulary these days. BEST THING EVER!) 

So here’s why we are pleased with being “one and done” parents: 

It’s our call: 

If my husband and me, both are onboard with the decision to have one and just one child, nothing else matters. From the beginning, we have been very clear about this being a very huge responsibility. If anything, as years pass by, we just get more and more sure about our decision. In fact, we tend to enjoy and savor every moment with our daughter because we know its gonna be just this one time and the milestone-like moments are gonna pass in a blink. The fact that there is gonna be “no redos”, makes it all even more precious to cherish. 


We feel complete: 

And that it! It feels just right! We don’t seem to be missing out on anything. The 3 of us feel like a great team, our personalities and temperaments complement each other and we keep each other as happy as we can be. Sure, we have our low days as a family, but again, we can deal with those much better with just one child to care for. People often talk about “more the merrier” but there’s a down side there which is often not spoken about. Heard of Double Trouble?


We believe in quality of life:

Once we commit to something, we give it our very best! I personally just don’t like that feeling where I am struggling – be it with the task, with time, with sleep, or anything at all. 

Also I have the Type A personality traits: I like things to be predictable, structured, organized, clean, well planned, well paced and generally as close as possible to being perfect. And I love to be like that, well… at least most of the times. I like to be in control, if not, I get flustered and stressed. Basically, I don’t function well with spontaneity and chaos.

So given my personality, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to juggle multiple kids with their multiple needs and schedules. Frankly, I am constantly exhausted with just one. Yes, I am an early childhood educator by profession and I do this kind of multitasking with young children all the time. But thats work and I have been repeated told that I’m pretty good at it! But this is my home and my personal life. Hats off and nothing but respect to those moms who can pull this off in their personal lives, day in – day out. But its just not my cup of tea. And accepting that, makes it much easier for me to make my decisions. This way, I can focus on putting my best foot forward and providing the best for my one and only child. No excuses to goof things up but then again parenting by itself involves a lot of goof ups … regardless…


It’s practical:

Easy and less expensive. I already find myself overspending on all the things that I buy for my only child. Over the years, I am learning to be more sensible in leaning out my purchases and I can only imagine how me, having more than one kid, would have only made the spending worse. Add to that, I am generally not good at making shopping related, efficient decisions. Period.

And that’s just the basics and the everyday luxuries that we can thankfully afford, for now. Let’s not forget how expensive education and co-curricular activities for children can be. I’d rather be in a comfortable state of mind as far as the financial management for one child is concerned, given that I am not good at planning finances myself. Simply put, I wouldn’t be able to manage this kind of stress now or in the near future, be it for one or more. So I’d rather keep it simple.


We don’t want to live it again: 

Although I had a smooth pregnancy thanks to the “textbook” baby I carried for  9 months, I had a traumatic delivery and some intense postpartum anxiety. So no, I didn’t get to enjoy the new mother bliss one bit. To add on, my baby wasn’t an easy baby, if anything she was just as distressed. It was the most toughest thing I have ever had to overcome, and I have been through a year of chemotherapy in my teen years (for real). I remember, as a new mum, I was always tired, sleep deprived, stressed and sad. Looking back, I feel like it was just as depressing for my little baby and so out of both our control. I often ended up questioning my decision and preparedness for this journey that I so-wanted to take on. But I simply couldn’t think straight back then. 


And my obsessive, compulsive personality made it all even more worse. I constantly worried and panicked about anything and everything that led to the chaos of having a newborn at home. “She’s not feeding well”, “If she does, she spits it all out”, “She’s not sleeping well”, “She’s crying way too much”, and on and on and on…. Eventually things did get better and I fell in love with my little girl and there was no looking back since. But the thought of having to do it all again, scares me to my very core! I’m just grateful that the 3 of us powered through those days and are at our strongest best today – physically and emotionally. And I don’t want to make any changes to that. I know the whole trauma we lived through probably wouldn’t happen again if we tried, but the risk is not something I’m willing to take. I don’t find it worth it given that I have another beautiful soul to care for this time around.

We don’t go by stereotypes:  

Since we are both comfortable with this decision, there’s no way anyone can make us change our minds, specially when they have so little to do with the whole experience that they want us to go through. And why? Because of the stereotypical image of a “family”. Thanks but no thanks, we are not building our family empire to “fit into” anything. And NO, my daughter is not going to be lonely, no she’s not going to be spoilt, she will learn to share, care and socialize just fine. There’s no guarantee that children with siblings are better off on these traits anyways. Look up some research out there, its true! To be a happy family, every member of that family needs to be happy and I have my doubts about how much of this happiness will remain when the stress and chaos of having to raise multiple children starts to play its part in our currently stable lives. We are happy as we are, even if we don’t “fit in” with the majority.  

There’s more: 

Right now, I’m in such a happy space with my daughter. We share a solid bond and yet live our own separate lives through the day, only to reunite and reconnect at the end of each one. Best feeling ever, specially now that she can’t stop talking! Exhausting and challenging as it may get, I only come out stronger as a mum. Bottomline is that our lives are going to revolve around my little girl, for the rest of our lives, and making sure she’s at her happiest and healthiest is going to be our number 1 life goal for as long as we live. BUT, I am also coming to the realization that we, as parents, are individuals too. Individuals with our own interests, needs and aspirations. On the brink of burning out as a mum, I learnt that it is very important for me, as an individual, to stay in touch with myself in order to be able to be a happy mum. Happy Mum = Happy Child, remember? So no, I don’t think it’s a good idea to lose our individuality as parents and make our child, our only goal. It’s only gonna suffocate us, and probably even her later, as she starts to get her own life up and running. So, when she sees us as hardworking parents, prioritizing ourselves as individuals too, she is simultaneously learning to discover and value her own individuality as well.

Now, some of these reasons above hold more true to me than for my husband and vice versa. But at the end, we agree to it as a whole, as a team. And I’m so grateful for that, because if that was not the case, it would have led to a lot of complications in our relationship. So I speak for all 3 of us when I say that having one and only one child in our family suits us and works the best for us, as a unit. We love this awesome threesome and look forward to our beautiful lives together, just like any family does!


Life with a ‘threenager’ : As I know it.

Head in the clouds, Feet on the ground…

The urban dictionary defines a “threenager” as a 3-year-old spouting attitude like a teenager.

“I love you , Mom. You are my best friend.” “Mama! I’m busy, leave me alone!”

“You are the best grown up in the whole wide world, Mama.” “Mama, your name is on the board.. Are you ready to be nice?”

“Are you free, Mom? I need your help.” “NO! Go away! Let me do it myself.”

These days, I am constantly bombarded with a mixed bag of contrasting statements like the ones above. It feels like a LOVE-HATE relationship already… and the switch takes no longer than a couple of minutes to take place. All thanks to the ‘threenager’ who lives in my home, rent free and in my heart, condition free. One minute I feel like squeezing her cheeks and kissing her like there’s no tomorrow. And the next minute, I feel like shutting down her stubborn, rude, and self-centric display of down right arrogance. It gets cyclical in nature.

That’s when I try my very best to gather all of my unconditional love and ever-enduring patience from the deepest compartments of my heart and mind to remind myself that she is growing up to be an independent personality. Isn’t that what I want as a parent ? Yes, and these are also learning moments for the both of us. As she takes this time to grow into a person of her own, I should be encouraging the same WHILE guiding her to do so respectfully and gracefully. And the best way I can do that is by being a mindfully good role model. Easier said than done… because this requires me to deal with:

1: A threenager who needs attention RIGHT AWAY:

Everything is an emergency and it simply can’t wait. My words are heard, the rules are reiterated yet there’s this uncontrollable impulse to be interruptive and a nagging urge to be heard, ALL THE TIME. And the words “NO, NOT NOW” works it’s magic only for a couple of minutes before it all resets.

How I deal with it:

Deep breath, 1, 2, 3… talk about how manners work, one more time.


Request “Please wait and be a little patient.”


Snap back “No means No.”

How I should deal with it:

Accept that a 3 year old doesn’t quite understand the concept of “now and later” as well as we want them to – she is trying and I need to be patient through her learning journey.

2. A threenager who is on an emotional roller coaster:

Everyday, she will go through a whole load of emotions, followed by words to explain them and concluded by behaviour to match those intense emotions. She is observing all the time and this is where I need to be a good role model for her to understand how to deal with her own emotions appropriately. If something is funny, her laughs are loud and out of control. If something makes her mad, her shouts are louder and out of line. If something makes her sad, her tears are overflowing and inconsolable.

How I deal with it:

Deep breath, 1, 2, 3… talk about how emotions work, one more time.


Request “Too loud, calm down.”


Snap back “That’s enough!”

How I should deal with it:

Accept that a 3 year old is not entirely ready to understand and control emotions as well as we want them to – she is trying and I need to be patient through her learning journey.

3. A threenager who is having fun with the concept of humour:

Oh! She is funny and how. It’s not the content that’s funny to me, but just how she says stuff, how she behaves, and how she laughs at her own ‘jokes’ at most times. It’s priceless! However, not always appropriate. It’s kind of hard to lay down the rules here, for me as a mom. Eg. Me patting her bottoms and calling it my drums is funny in an intimate family moment… it makes us laugh and giggle like cheeky teenagers. It’s so very adorable! BUT she doing the same back to me in public ? NO WAY! That’s where it gets hard to describe boundaries.

How I deal with it:

Deep breath, 1, 2, 3… talk about how humour works in context, one more time.


Request “Please don’t, not here, not right now.”


Snap back “NOT FUNNY, STOP IT!”

How I should deal with it:

Accept that a 3 year old doesn’t quite understand humour as well as we want them to – she is trying and I need to be patient through her learning journey.

4. A threenager who is always geared for a fight and make up routine:

Yes! Every action has a reaction.We argue, fight, sulk and then feel terrible for saying and doing what we did. This is my way of trying to keep it all realistic. And I love that because she not only gets to experience but also gets to see how emotions and empathy work hand in hand.

How I deal with it:

Deep breath, 1, 2, 3… talk about how feelings work, one more time.


Check in “How would you feel if I was to be mean to you?”


Snap back “FINE. I don’t HAVE TO be nice to you either.”

How I should deal with it:

Accept that a 3 year old doesn’t quite understand empathy as well as we want them to – she is trying and I need to be patient through her learning journey.

5. A threenager who loves to socialise, ALL THE TIME:

I love socialising with her. L.O.V.E. IT! It’s like interacting with a mini version of my husband and me. We play, we sing, we dance, we draw, we chat, we enjoy doing just about anything and everything together. BUT JUST NOT ALL THE TIME. It’s as if she doesn’t know how to play by herself anymore. Sometimes I find her talking to me even when I’m not in the same room as her. She keeps following me around and “socialising” with me even when she can literally see me talking to someone else or doing something completely unrelated to her.

Not so long back, I remember how she used to be engaged in parallel play, doing her own stuff while I did mine. I used to love to passively observe her being so busy role playing, or building something, or just simply singing to herself. Back then, as a mom, I wanted her to be more social and I used to find myself interjecting in her play for that very reason. But little did I know that, that stage will pass by so soon and this new stage would involve NON STOP SOCIALISING AND ENGAGING kind of play. To add on, if she doesn’t get her way, we are back to going in circles with deep breaths, the talks, the repetitions, the requests, the check ins, the snapping, the emotional meltdowns, the raised voices, the fights and the make ups.

How I deal with it:

Deep breath, 1, 2, 3… talk about how “me time” works, one more time.


Remind “We are not talking right now. We are doing our own stuff.”



How I should deal with it:

Accept that a 3 year old doesn’t quite understand the concept of “ME TIME” as well as we want them to – she is trying and I need to be patient through her learning journey.

Please note that although I try my very best to keep the snapping option as my last resort, SHE somehow always uses the harsher options first and works backwards towards the more calmer options. But I rather have her be like this than an isolated, fearful, subdued and a robotically polite 3 year old. As rude, as erratic or as chaotic as it may get, it’s heart warming to see her growing into a person of her own. She has her own feelings, preferences, demands, needs, words, tantrums, attitude, and a never ending curiosity for life lessons. Yes! She likes to be in the limelight, yes she likes to call the shots and yes she wants to have her way most of the time. As frustrating as it may get at times, I love that attitude on her. I am trying to enjoy it while it lasts, with lots and lots of patience, guidance and consistency. I can see that she is learning and experimenting with that beautiful mind of hers & it’s my job to create a safe space for her to do that. Most of times these days, I do my bit and give her the space to figure it all out (while I watch her from a distance). I don’t get personal and I don’t take her attitude personally either. I try to keep my cool and allow her to observe me while I do so. Like I said before, I am the grown up in this relationship and I need to model good behaviour for her. It’s hard work and she sees that in action…she watches and learns, first hand! Yes I give up many a times but she learns through that too. I feel no shame in losing in front of my threenager, because as long as she learns from watching my breakthroughs and struggles, I am all in for the BIG WINS!

How I learnt that “Enough crying” should be one of the last things to say to my crying kid.

Never fear those mountains in the distance …

It literally crushes my soul when I see my 3 and a half year old crying, well most of the times when it is for a genuine reason. But at other times, when it is for no reason in particular, I often end up saying “Stop crying, that’s enough!” That’s just because I assume that there’s no good reason for her to cry right now. Now, who am I to assume that?

Crying is a powerful mode of communication. It’s a sign of one being hurt in some way. It’s a feeling and ideally feelings should not be judged as being right or wrong. Genuine or not, we have all said “Stop crying” in response to a crying kid, believing that it’s the quickest way to make that emotional response go away. But is it really? Is it really healthy for kids to hold back their tears ? In my experience, it’s not. Instead, I simply allow it to flow and say a couple of things while my kid vents out her emotions. Here’s what works for me:

“Come, let me give you a hug.”

Sometimes, a simple holding of hands or a tight hug is all that my kid needs to calm down for starters. Investing quality time in the form of a gentle, intimate touch has scientifically proven to release “positive hormones” and induce a feeling of being cared for. TLC (Tender Loving Care) Therapy!

“I’m sorry you feel sad but it’s going to be okay.”

There’s nothing wrong in feeling hurt or upset. IT’S NORMAL! They are strong emotions and could lead to a stronger sense of discomfort. And stepping out of ones comfort zone can be a memorable learning experience. Learning to handle disappointments is a critical life skill and as a parent, I take these moments as opportunities to let my kid know that crying (although distressing) is just “Step 1” in the whole process of bouncing back from disappointments. Feel that emotion, accept the situation and work through it. This too shall pass!

“I am right here, with you. Let’s talk about it.”

Knowing that we are not alone in times of crisis, can be a very uplifting feeling for our spirits. Crisis for one, may not be a crisis for another. It’s only a matter of perspective and experience. Letting my kid know that she’s in a safe space with me and we can get over anything together can work magic. I respect her state of crisis (whatever it may be) and help her to ease that feeling of being overwhelmed with emotions. Gradually, as the emotional cloud clears and the heart settles down, the mind starts to work it’s logic to understand and overcome the crisis at hand. EQ CHECK, IQ CHECK! Now, let’s talk about it.

“Up for a Baby Mama story?”

Walking my kid through my personal experiences as a kid fascinates her in a very obvious way. Stories (real or not) with real emotions always tend to touch her heart as she resonates with the experience. More real life characters (that she knows of) makes it all even more intriguing for her. What one did, what one said, how one felt, how one helped, makes it all even more real for her. Just knowing that her mom went through a similar “crisis” and came through just fine, gives her a sense of hop and confidence that she can do it too. This bond I share with her also helps her to pick out some strategies from my experiences to overcome her current state of distress. She learns from my life stories (and even mistakes) and there’s no better teacher than life itself.

“What do you want to do next?”

Once the problem has been accepted and understood, CHOP CHOP! Let’s move on with it… Do something that makes us feel better and move on with the happy life that we are blessed with. I suggest and then she gets to choose what’s gonna make her feel good. Not acknowledging the problem and suppressing the feelings that go along, is just as unhealthy as is to keep pondering over the problem and the accompanying feelings. Moving on… is also a life skill that’s hard to cultivate but necessary for survival in the mad mad world out there.

As hard a work as these may be, all these efforts do help me in diffusing the state of crisis for my kid faster than saying “Enough crying”. It shouldn’t be about being in control in the power struggle. Feelings can’t be stopped, emotions can’t be enough-ed. It’s about preparing my kid for the larger crisis or disappointments in later life where throwing a tantrum or simply crying isn’t going to be enough to overcome struggles. It’s about empowering my kid to realistically expect hurdles, confidently manage situations, and maturely tackle the the bigger challenges in her beautiful life ahead – physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. BIG PICTURE, is what I like to call it!


Spoilt Child ? I don’t think so …

So often I see my threenager do or say something that shows a blatant sense of entitlement or no sense of gratitude or even a cordial acknowledgement for the privileges available to her. I love her confidence and perseverance but that’s something I will encourage only as long as it’s healthy. When that very quality turns into stubbornness and a full-of-herself kind of attitude, she needs to take a break and re-work on her basic manners and skills that seem to have gone out of order. I take this matter oh so seriously because I know that she is at that vulnerable age where she is at a great risk of growing into a spoilt brat. And I am not raising a spoilt child, come what may. It’s all about accountability and consequences…And it starts right here, right now… in that very moment. Here are some promises I made to myself because I want my child to be the best version of herself … with no regrets, pride only!

#1 : I am not letting this little human boss me or anyone around in a disrespectful way. NO WAY!

With great power comes great responsibility. My responsibility as a parent is to be in-charge. I am not letting my child manipulate me PERIOD. As soon as she starts to seek attention in wrongful ways, as soon as she tries to use her words and actions to guilt me into letting her have her way, I have to put my foot down. Give respect and gain respect … through your choices. It’s a 2 way street!

#2 : I am not always going to give her everything she WANTS.

I am going focus on her capabilities first and then give her what she NEEDS in order to keep up her momentum to becoming a grateful human being. She might not like limits and structure, but it’s necessary for her to understand the value of freedom and choice. When she’s reached there, limits can gradually turn into options, suggestions and advice.

#3: I am not going to clean up her mess.

I can patiently wait for as long as she needs me to, but she needs to organise and put back her stuff after she’s done with it. She is also responsible for where exactly they go because that will help her to locate them when she needs them later. I give her enough time, guidance and reminders throughout her playtime so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed, tired, or too hurried into cleaning up later. Thats all I can do.

#4: I am not going to do everything for her.

I have started to realise that as she is growing up, she is becoming more and more willing to be self sufficient. Me doing every little thing for her gives her the message that she doesn’t NEED to be self sufficient. She could just as easily get used to the privilege and not bother being independent. So I have started to resist the temptation to help her when not needed. Instead I spend time to guide her how to do those things safely and efficiently. I have also started to give her simple responsibilities in the daily chores while she watches her parents do the same at home. Work hard and play harder is a philosophy that teaches the value of and relationship between work and play.

#5 : I am always going to follow through on disciplinary consequences.

No such thing as empty threats, only reasonable consequences. You do the crime, you better do the time. Great choices = endless shout outs and rewards; Poor choices = nagging boo hoo’s and instant loss of choices. If I don’t follow through on disciplinary actions consistently, every single time, she gets an inconsistent message and therefore doesn’t follow through on her good choices consistently either. Words have meaning and she needs to respect that.

#6: I am not going to excuse her rude or bad behaviour.

Because she knows better. She might be just a little kid, she might be a girl, she might be tired, she might be playing silly, she might be too excited, but nothing is an excuse for disobedience or disrespect. Whatever happens, she needs to be aware of and responsible for her behaviour. Consequences will follow.

#7: And lastly, I am always going to make my child think and reason out.

Although the chain of why’s and because’s can be endlessly frustrating with an enthusiastic threenager, it’s still an amazing sign of understanding and reasoning. Walking me through the choices and consequences is the best thing my child can do to learn about accountability. Intentions and motives are the building blocks for choices. My goal is to make her understand how all of these connect together so she can find it all reasonable for herself and not just because I said so!

Its not easy to do the above and I do come across as a “mean mom”. But as a “mean mom”, I mean well and hopefully my child will realise that, sooner or later. I love her to the moon and back and she knows that it’s unconditional. But by now, she also knows that her sad choices hurt my feelings and tries her best to not break my heart. She knows that the softer I talk to her, the more hurt or serious I am. Seeing me hurt, I can see her feel the pain right away. And that very bond makes her reset her attitude and turn her choices around. That’s the little light of mine and I am gonna let it shine! LET IT SHINE, LET IT SHINE, LET IT SHINE!!!

To Parents of Preschoolers : Ready or not, here it goes !

Preschool readiness is more important than you think it is. For your child’s sake, please don’t take it for granted. First and foremost, a school is an institution for educating children, under a uniformly established routine and a common set of expectations for all children. Simply put , preschool readiness means your 3 year old NEEDS to be ready for preschool. Whether you or they want it or like it or not, they NEED to have a set of well established foundational skills for a comfortable transition into a learning environment. It’s your job as a parent, to set up your child for success in order for him/her to be an integral fit into a preschool setting. These basic skills make it easy not only for your child’s educator but more importantly for your child to expand their already well established abilities. Remember, it’s the parents role to create and build so that the teachers can expand and scaffold that very ongoing process of raising your little humans. Trust me… I am a parent, I am a teacher and I do both.

Honestly, without preschool readiness in your child, you as a parent, are unknowingly causing a huge delay in your child’s learning journey from preschool into kindergarten, which further transfers into first grade, second grade and so on. As a kindergarten teacher, I see children struggling to catch up on their learning milestones all the time. That is NOT the kind of academic and social pressure situation you want a 5 year old to learn and grow under. And as a preschool teacher, I have seen the struggles of children who are coping with the lack of preschool readiness skills. Including my own child.

What struggles one might ask? It’s hard to watch your child constantly struggle to follow simple instructions in daily activities. You don’t want to see your child get easily frustrated when sudden expectations are placed upon them. You are not going to like your child being desperately dependant on an already busy teacher, for his self care needs like dressing, day time toilet training, hand washing, eating, and so on. It hurts to see your child being socially immature and not knowing how to interact with their peers. With limited play skills, they might even find it difficult to play constructively – alone or even with peers. It is heart breaking to see your child struggling to understand or even answer simple questions asked (who, how, what, where) because they find it challenging to form simple sentences. It hits you even worse when your child responds to simple questions unclearly because somewhere you didn’t give him/her enough opportunities to develop that skill back home. With limited vocabulary, they become difficult to understand and work with. Further, it gets more challenging when they have a hard time understanding the consequences of their behaviours because you let them have their way each time back home. They don’t know how to hold or work with books or do any table activities because you didn’t introduce them to those kind of activities back home. Ultimately, they don’t want to engage in new activities or even learn about how to develop new skills because they have pretty much been their own teachers, designing their own lessons back home.

We as teachers, will always sugar coat these concerns when sharing it with parents like you, but to be brutal, that’s not helping your child at all. We sugar coat it because we do WANT to focus on the small successes and the positives in your child. But at the end of the day, even though it might not show on your child’s happy face everyday, your child NEEDS you to make it better for them. Think about it … with the difficulties listed above, how is your 3 year old going to succeed at attaining his/her preschool learning milestones?

Your child NEEDS you, their parent and their very first teacher, to make better (sometimes hard) choices early on itself, in order to avoid this delay in their learning journey later. So please do read between the lines when your child’s educator is sharing about your child’s performance at preschool and always think and ask about how can I make it better for MY child. They deserve a comfortable present and a successful future. And YOU AS THEIR PARENT owe it to them. I know I do!


As a “teacher mom”, early childhood education is very important to me. I always wanted my child to have that strong foundation, at the right time, to set her up for success. I believe an early start is what one needs. And I have seen it work wonderfully in action, not just on mine but also on children with moms like me. It’s a belief, it’s a choice, it’s the actions …which are worth making, well… most of the times !

My 3 and a half year old is capable of having fun, meaningful conversations with me about anything and everything. I see her developing an IQ as well as an EQ. That balance of Early Childhood Care and Education is very important to me. That’s why I chose to be an Early Childhood Educator. I learnt how my personal beliefs as a hands-on mom can be so very critical in getting my child ready and curious to learn at school. And that appetite for learning is what any teacher would love for her students to have so that it can be built upon.

Mom on the job: As a mom, I want nothing but the best destinations on my child’s itinerary for life. But wanting that isn’t enough! I also need to make sure that my child is well prepared and well equipped to take on that journey filled with ups and downs.

Teacher on the job: And as a teacher, I want my students to meet their learning objectives as per my lesson plans. But just wanting that isn’t enough! I need to plan out an exciting journey in the most healthiest, safest and adventurous ways possible in order to achieve age appropriate learning milestones.

Double Shift on the job : As a mom, a lot of my personal “needs” might endlessly stay at the back seat while my child is engaged and exploring the world of education, at all times… at home and at school. And as a teacher, a lot of my professional “wants” might get endlessly overlooked when in reality, most of those wants are what I need to succeed as a teacher.

Complicated yet mostly true for teacher moms. And what I, as a teacher mom, would really want is for moms and teachers to work in true partnership to make this magical learning journey a true success. How? When? More in the next…