A Month of Parenting Tips with Sony Vasandani

A Month of Parenting Tips with Sony Vasandani

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Raising children can be a challenge as there is no ‘one’ manual for parents. This April 2019, Sony Vasandani shared posts to support parents in helping them to understand and build better relationships with their children through parenting tips and #Montessori #Education.

Sony Vasandani, a passionate Early Childhood Specialist with 27 years of experience in working with children and training thousands of Parents and Teachers both locally (in Indonesia) and Internationally.

She is the founder of Sunshine Teachers’ Training, the FIRST and ONLY accredited Training center by BAN PAUD Indonesia.

Sony has a Masters in Education, a Bachelors in Commerce, a Diploma in Montessori Education, a Diploma in Special Needs Management and a Certificate in Daycare Services.

Over 300 parents and teachers from around the world are currently enrolled in her Montessori Diploma Course & Workshops both ONLINE and ONSITE in English & Bahasa Indonesia.

 

1 April 

Are you being Mind Full or Mindful? 🤔 Let’s learn the difference…
We live in a fast moving World. So much so that we often don’t realise that we are neglecting our children 😢
Let’s be present for our children ❤️

 

 

         

 

2 April

Have you dreaded the time when you child turns two? 🤔

Children Become More Curious at the Age of Two 😊

Children Become More Independent Around the Age of Two 👍🏼

Children Need Security and Consistency 👍🏼

Twos Don’t Have to Be Terrible 👍🏼

Reduce your expectations and enjoy your toddler as he grows, develops and learns to be an adult 😊😊😊

Remember, your child (even at age two) is a gift to enjoy, nurture and can even teach you a lot about yourself 😊😊😊

Enjoy the time you have because as you look back, you will realize just how fast the twos are over

 

3 April
Children are always so excited to share their accomplishments with us ❤️

They want to be noticed and we want them to feel great. But too often we get stuck with praising them saying “Good job!” which really means nothing to them! 😕

Montessori philosophy does not encourage praise nor punishment …

However there are ways in which we can give our children positive feedback to encourage them without judging them 👍🏼😊

Here are 5 phrases you can use to give your children, at home or in school, motivation & support instead of saying ‘Good job!’ 😉

1️⃣ You did that all by yourself!

2️⃣ What do you like best about your work?

3️⃣ I can tell you tried your hardest

4️⃣ You didn’t give up, even though it was hard

5️⃣ You did it! You look very happy!

When in doubt, silence is OK too. We don’t have to verbally praise every single thing our children do.

Simple… isn’t it?

So try this out – I can assure you that both you will be so happy with the reaction of your child ☺️

 

5 April
Hello Everyone!

I’ve already shared with you the importance of nurturing independence during the early years in my previous post.

Today I would like to share some easy tips for getting your child involved in day to day activities, leading them on the road to independence.

These are things I have tried out with my own children as well as the children in my preschools over the years and I can guarantee you – THEY WORK!

Raising children has its challenges – we have easy days and we have difficult ones. But at the end of it all – this is by far one of the most rewarding jobs for a parent.

Above everything else , all of us want to see our children grow into strong, resilient, confident and independent grown ups.

However, as we race through this fast-paced life, we don’t realise how much we or our helpers end up doing for our children and thereby robbing them of the opportunities to develop independence.

Think about it… how many times have you been in a rush and you quickly dress your child, or brush their teeth because the clock is working against you. Your child then loses the chance to practice learning how to fasten his own buttons or brush his own teeth!

I admit it – I was guilty of the very same things before I entered into the world of Montessori. My Montessori journey taught me one of my favourite phrases for children: “Help me to do it myself.”

To encourage independence at home take it step by step. One way I have found that worked for me is to start with offering children limited choices. For example during dressing time, “Would you like to wear the blue t-shirt or the yellow t-shirt today?” This helps your child to learn simple decision making skills at a young age and they feel in control and confident.

Try and introduce your child to ONE self-care skill at a time. Start with brushing teeth. Initially you can oversee their actions and once you feel they are able to manage it on their own you can leave them to do it independently.

Independence doesn’t happen overnight… but you are definitely investing in your child’s future by slowing down and giving your child those five extra minutes to develop skills that will make a huge difference to their future ❤️

 

6 April
Believe it or not… I was once a control freak and wanted to be a perfect mom and teacher 😀

Of course, my children had a lot to teach me…

If I am to choose my top 3 tips as a mom and a teacher… they would be as follows:

  1. Take on the role of a facilitator
    Instead of feeling like I always had to be in control, managing and being in charge of the little ones, I adopted the role of being their guide. This gave my children the feeling of being responsible for their own learning. I would offer them learning experiences and opportunities rather than ‘making’ them do an activity. As they would work I would observe and build on their interests.
  2. The best toy you can give your child is YOU
    I learned very quickly that it isn’t about the expensive or fancy toys… what my children valued and enjoyed most was the time I spent playing with them. A loving & nurturing environment is what every child needs. During our playtime I was able to find many teachable moments. These lessons turned out to be more valuable than time spent over workbooks.
  3. Read a story every day
    I started to reading to my own children when they were just babies and in my preschools story time was a daily activity. Reading to your little one from an early age will help them develop a love for language and set a strong foundation for school. I would always have story books in my bag and whether we were in traffic or at a restaurant, if the opportunity presented itself I would pull out a book and read a story. Stories always lead to great conversations, helping children develop a rich vocabulary and imagination.

These are some things that worked beautifully for me… as I am sure they will for you too!

 

7 April
Happy Sunday everyone…

I came across the book ‘The Conscious Parent’ by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, a couple of years ago and it is the one book that I find myself reading over and over again…. it is so much in alignment with Montessori 🙂

It is a total eye-opener to raising happier, more conscious children, understanding and building great relationship of trust and love with children from their early years right till they are grown up!

Allow me to share a snippet from the book:

‘There is no perfect parent and there is no perfect child’

As a parent, we do what we can for our child based on what we know and believe and most of that comes from our upbringing!

We try to raise our children to either be a miniature of ourselves or we try to raise them to be better than us and in the process we tend to mould them to become someone else… and not who they really are!

For example:
If we are successful, we expect our children to be successful. If we are not successful, we fear that our children will struggle like us and we push children to do things so they become better than us.. right?

We push our agenda and in the process we crush their individuality!

This books shows us a better way… a way of understanding our children, listening to them, helping us redesign our dynamics at home and in the process helping us connect and re-establish a great relationship with our children helping them to be successful.

There are a few YouTube videos of Oprah interviewing Dr Shefali and there are of course kindle, audio books and hard copies that you can purchase online!

Enjoy reading!

If you have read this book, do share your thoughts…

 

8 April
Hi Everyone… Hope you are having a great start to your week as I am 👍

As a parent, I used to suffer from terrible guilt when I don’t spend enough time with them due to work or other commitments

And many parents like me go through the same feeling.. irrespective of what ages their children are.

However, here is something that you may find useful…

I conducted a forum for parents here in Australia and educate them about the value of spending Quality time with their children… and how they can do that in their very busy life

And this is something I shared with them:

We don’t need to focus on children 100 percent of the time, all day, every day. We need to show them that we love them …

Neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp says that if you take these 9 minutes of your time with them very seriously, you will bond very well with your children and your children will feel very loved…

The 9 minutes:
💜 The first three minutes of their day-right after they wake up
💜 The three minutes after they come home from daycare or school
💜 The last three minutes of the day–right before they go to bed.

It’s all about quality over quantity … but done at the right time too! 😉

 

9 April

I was at the zoo in Sunshine Coast a few years ago and I witnessed this battle between a mother and her 2.5 year old! He was screaming in public and was pushing her buttons! You could see that she was thoroughly agitated.

She strapped him on to his car seat and left him there to have a smoke.

I asked her if I could talk to her son… she nodded … at this point she really did not care!

1️⃣/ I sat in the car beside him and very softly said hello. This is what we call ‘Pattern interrupt’. He did not stop crying but I got his attention.

2️⃣/ I said in the same soft voice ‘its okay if you want to cry … I understand you are angry’. When someone understands you, you feel better. This calmed him down to a big extent. Giving children the permission to cry when they are sad or angry is good. After all, we go through the same emotions and we know how it feels, right?

3️⃣/ I offered him his drink of water. Poor kid was obviously so thirsty … he drank a lot. This quietened him. When children are thirsty or hungry, their emotions often get heightened. Just like us.

4️⃣/ I then talked to him… what was he going to see at the zoo, what was his favourite animal etc… This is distraction. You direct his attention to something nice so it changes his energy. He started to respond.

5️⃣/ I listened attentively maintaining eye contact. And very soon he was all excited talking about the animals. Listening is key here. Children like to be heard…. just like us.

I then asked if he would like to go with his mother to see the animals and he said yes. I called to the mother who came and took over 🙂

Regulating big emotions can be very difficult for a small child. We need to be more sympathetic and control our emotions too 🙂

The mother left the child in the car to probably take control of her emotions… (not sure how the smoking helps 😳). Giving space is okay …however, isolating a child is not really a solution.

Never over react. The calmer you are the better chance you have of calming your child. Otherwise it is just a battle of egos 🙂

You can adopt, adapt and apply with children of any age … it always works!

Hope you find this useful!

My daughter who witnessed this has recounted this to everyone she knows 😀. She calls me the child whisperer 😉 Now you can be one too!

 

10 April

Sarah is a wonderful mother… she looks after her 7 year old son with love and meets his every need.

However, I observe that there is not much really not much that they actually communicate with each other other than instructing what he should do and rushing him for preschool and other after school classes.

When mother and son are together, she is on her phone and he is on his iPad or playing with his toys.

I provided her with these 5 positive things to say to her child and the result was amazing…

1️⃣ I love that you’ve learnt how to ….
Children are learning so much everyday. Acknowledge their learning.. it not only makes your child feel good and inspired to learn more everyday, but it is also a great conversation starter!

2️⃣ What do you think?
Children have lots of opinions. And they always feel valued when you ask for them. It gives them a chance to express themselves too.

3️⃣ It’s amazing when you…
If your child does something that you want him to do more of eg. tidy up his toys… just tell him ‘Its amazing that you tidy up your toys after playing with them’. Watch them glow…

4️⃣ What was your favourite thing from today?
This is a great way to end the day. It allows the child to share what he enjoyed most and you will be surprised how much you learn about your son …

5️⃣ I love you…
When you say this… look into your child’s eyes and say with conviction. Even if he was on his worst behaviour that day, separate his behaviour from who he is .. your child. And say it irrespective.

Try it out on your children of any age… it works wonders!

 

11 April
Navin, my 4 year old preschool student, always put me on my toes. He was smart and quick and I watched him closely at all times. As an educator, I learnt a lot from him…he was my teacher 😄

One morning I saw him extend his foot when his friend was walking. Of course his friend tripped. Luckily the child regained his balance and nothing happened.

I observed him closely and saw him trying to pull a mat off someone’s feet! That was dangerous! I stopped him on time and invited him to go to the playground.

As we walked hand in hand I asked him about what he did. He excitedly shared that he saw ‘Tom’ doing it to ‘Jerry’.

Aha! Now I know… he was watching Tom & Jerry cartoons and imitating Tom!

If I would have scolded him the first time, I would have never known the reason for his behaviour. Knowing this, I had the opportunity to nip this behaviour in the bud.

Here is what I did:

1️⃣ I explained to him that his friends could get hurt if he did that. There were of course questions about it. Navin needed details to understand natural consequences. I explained too that ‘Tom & Jerry’ were not real people and nothing can harm them … and of course more discussions followed 😄

2️⃣ I called his mother who met me the same morning and explained to her that children under the age of 5 cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality. And that ‘Tom & Jerry’ should be replaced by other cartoons such as ‘Winnie the Pooh’ or ‘Dora the explorer’ which are both non-violent. She was open to the suggestions …

What are your children watching on TV / iPad?
What are you watching while they are around playing?

Remember always:
Children learn through observation / watching … It is second nature to them.

 

12 April

Moving countries, growing up with 4 younger brothers and having a mother who is a minimalist, I did not have many toys.

So, when my children were born, I did what all parents do – buy them more toys than they need / can handle to compensate what I lacked 😄

I soon realised that my children did not care about all the toys/presents… and I stopped purchasing them. Instead I used the money to take them out – go to the zoo, beach, weekend aways or anywhere – where its just us. That has resulted in lifetime bonding and great conversations now that they are grown up!

Presence over Presents definitely works! You can never spoil them with your presence and love 🥰

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have planned activities with your children this weekend 😉

 

13 April

When my son started school (grade1), I had this expectation that they should score maximum marks in every subject.

Not sure at what point it was when I realized how I was stressing my son by this expectation… and I decided to let go.

I decided that as long as he was getting reasonably good grades, it’s okay 👌🏼

We were both definitely happier after that… since I did not have any expectations, there was no way he could disappoint me. Without pressure from me, he learned better and enjoyed his learning too 👍🏼

Today my son is a mechanical engineer who knows how to balance work and life and I am so so glad …

Montessori method is great because you learn to trust to let your child grow into the person he is meant to be. No comparisons and no pressure 👍🏼

 

14 April

When he was in first grade, my son came home saying that his friend hit him in the playground at school.

My in-laws immediately told him – ‘If someone hits you, don’t be scared … just hit him back!’. They believed that he had to toughen up – because he is a boy… And I said what if it happens to my daughter and they said the same – that she needs to learn to defend herself too!

I was not comfortable with that. I took my son aside and asked him what exactly happened and we talked about what he can do the next time someone hit him for no reason that he was aware.

He himself came up with the following:
1/ I can go to him and ask him why he hit me
2/ I can tell him not to hit me – because it hurts
3/ I can tell the teacher that he hit me for no reason.

Children are much smarter than we give them credit for! And they are peace loving too…

When there is problem, instead of telling them what to do … best to ask them what they can do … they normally have a solution already! Talking and listening is key….

It definitely is not our job to toughen our children – but to help them see the way to resolve issues in a better way. It definitely will make the world a better place!

 

17 April

Children always fascinate me … ❤️

Here are some interesting facts about them…

1/ A 3-year old Boy’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

2/ On average, a 4-year-old child asks 437 questions a day.

3/ According to research at Sheffield University in 2008: “Clowns are universally disliked by children”.

4/ The average girl child reaches half her adult height at 18 months. For a boy it is 24 months.

5/ Fathers tend to determine the height of their child, mothers their weight.

6/ The average age children begin to use a microwave is seven.

7/ According to research for National Teething Week (which is this week), 68 per cent of parents have left a public place because of a crying child.

😊😊😊

 

18 April

We want to give our children more love, more opportunities, more protection, more toys… more than we had when we were children…

However, Minimalism has a secret formula for Parents! … ‘Less is More’ 😊

1/ Entertain less – When we provide to much of anything to entertain children, then we are depriving them of boredom – which is essentially the opportunity to innovate.

2/ Hover Less – When we hover over our little ones, we are robbing them of the opportunity to learn to be independent.

3/ Buy Less – Did you know that too many things for children only cause them stress? Buy less so children will not get over stimulated and can focus on important things.

4/ Referee Less – If you jump in to help your child solve their day to day problems, you will be depriving them the opportunity to learn to problem solve.

Children really don’t need much of anything to thrive … only basic necessities and your unconditional love and presence ❤️

 

19 April

When I held my firstborn in my arms for the first time, I had this feeling of protection and love… that I would sacrifice everything for my child… give him everything that he needed and more….

I started my preschool for him too … to give him the best early education I could….

Then my school became a full fledged business…

And each time I brought my work home or had so much to do at the preschool… I had to keep reminding myself that…

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. THEY ARE the most important work”

❤️

Happy Good Friday Everyone!

 

20 April
Here’s what I share with parents….

At the rate our world is progressing, we cannot really predict a future for our children. Many of yesterday’s jobs are no longer there today. And we don’t know what jobs are going to be there for them in the future.. True?

Information is dynamic and available at our fingertips too … So there is no point in pouring information into our little ones’ heads …

So, then what should we teach children? We need to focus on preparing children for the future…to be leaders!

How? By providing them lots of opportunities that will help them learn and enhance leadership skills right from their early years in simple ways… Here are 5 important skills that you can help foster…

1/ Decision making skills … Provide them choices on an everyday basis. Eg.”Would you like to wear the red outfit or the blue one today?”

2/ Social skills … Prepare children when you are having visitors… ‘When aunty visits us today, let’s greet her good afternoon. You can give her a hug if you want to … otherwise you can just shake hands and say nice to meet you”.

3/ Listening skills … When you listen to your children, they will do the same. Listening is a very important skill.

4/ Problem solving… when you see your child stuck with an activity (eg. he/she is trying to sit on a chair) try not to jump in and help immediately. Wait till they ask for help. This will give the opportunity to problem solve and allows for creative thinking and fostering independence … just what leaders need to learn

5/ Negotiating skills…. never shoot a child with ‘Do as I say!’. Allow open conversations and negotiations … whether it is about going to bed or about having an ice cream for breakfast.

What other leadership skills can you think of that we can foster in children? Do share …

 

 

21 April
I received an email this morning from a parent asking if there was a Montessori way to punish a 3.5 year old if they do not listen…

Punishment (for children of any age)- whether it is verbal, physical or isolation (time-out) does not really help children learn good behaviour… well, they may start behaving because they will fear the ‘punishment’ but that is not what we want right? What we want is for children to learn… so that they behave well out of the desire to do so and not because of external fear/pressure.

Just to share….

When I was in school, my teachers used to physically shame me in front of my class when I received a low grade… to this day I cringe when I think of it… I worked harder to avoid the shame … but I didn’t really internalise my learning… I just crammed up for the exams to pass!

Have you had any such experiences?

 

22 April

I used to love snuggling under the sheets with my children at bedtime 😊

That was the time that I learnt so much about what they have been through during the day.. it used to open up conversations if required…

There were 3 questions we asked one another:

1/ What did you enjoy doing today?
2/ What did you like least about today?
3/ What did you learn today?

Then we hugged, kissed and said goodnight 💤 🌙

Spending a few extra minutes tucking your child in and asking a few questions about their day creates a special connection between the two of you and gives them a sense of security as they slip into their slumber. 🛌🏻

 

 

23 April

Now… this is my personal theory…☺️

ALL children are born visual and kinesthetic learners … i.e. they learn mainly through observing and interacting with their environment. I call this ‘Children’s natural early learning style’.

They may later develop a different learning style… but they still rely on their natural early learning style.

I personally never grew out of my natural early learning style….Which is why I learn best when I am involved / actively participating in something!

And there are so many like me…

Benjamin Franklin understood it then… and educators are realizing it now… the way that children learn is when you involve them ….

Let them be a part of your life… and involve them in activities, responsibilities, outings and things that you do … so they learn…❤️

 

24 April

We live in a highly materialistic world today ..,

So important it has become to give our children not just the best but the most money can buy 🤔

If only we can spend more time with them instead… they will be richer and so will we 😉

 

25 April

At the moment I am surrounded by parents who are spending money on so many unnecessary toys for their children… therefore I am kind of obsessed with this topic 😃

While I am at it, I thought I might as well share my tips on the #1 Rule on how to choose toys … whether it is for your child or whether you are buying a gift for other people’s children or for your nieces, nephews, grand children etc…

There are so many toys in the market today… Most of which are quite useless for your child 😊

So how would you know what to buy?

Snugggle Bears & Dolls are great for imaginative play … they are also comforting and provide security and is a must have for every child and we know that 👍

However, if you have to spend your money on getting your child something, my #1 Rule is to buy something that allows creativity or challenges your child’s brain

It would be best NOT to buy Battery Operated toys as most do not allow room for creativity and they are automated … so it is not challenging. I would much rather a box of crayons and paper any over any battery operated toys 🙂

What do you think?

 

26 April
As an educator, it is not uncommon to have parents wanting to talk to me about their child….

And they always like to share about what their children do/don’t do at home… which is okay 🙂

‘My child does not like to …. ‘
‘When I tell him to … he just doesn’t listen!’

But when do this in front of their child like he/she is not around that it makes me cringe….

However little a child is and whether they understand or not, they know that you are talking about them…

I think ‘When you don’t have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all’ is a great policy in front of children ☺️

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

27 April

Allow me to share with you a personal secret today … 🤫

I changed my children’s school 5x before University 😉

Each time I felt that they were not happy and the school was not serving them, I moved them to another school 😬

May seem a crazy thing … but I have no regrets ☺️

I know that when children are happy they always learn best 👍🏼

Enjoy your weekend everyone 😊

 

28 April

Did you know … children who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things?

They are more likely to try their best in everything they do and develop good self-esteem 👍🏼

Self-esteem helps kids cope with mistakes.

Self-esteem can start as early as babyhood when a child feels safe, loved, and accepted 😊

One way to help children develop good Self-esteem is to snuggle up with them during their bed time (irrespective of how your day or their day have been) and have some meaningful conversations, praise them, pray with them and let them know how much you love them ❤️

Do this while they are young… before they grow out of it 😀

 

29 April

Parenting is the most honorable and incredible job in the world; And it definitely need not be hard – says Dr. Nathan Perron ☺️👍

He has come up with these 4 C’s – strategies that are very simple for parents to remember and follow…

Allow me to share them with simple examples:

1/ Choices
Give your child simple choices to develop decision making skills BUT be firm about the choices you give. Eg: You need to practice your piano for 30 minutes today. Would you like to do it now or after you play outside?

2/ Consequences
Consequences may be good or bad. It is important that your child realise that they are a result of his/her action. Eg: I know you would like to go outside and play, but we need to tidy up your toys first.

3/ Consistency
Mean what you say and say what you mean. Children will learn to trust you if you do this. Be gentle and firm at all times with choices and consequences.
Eg: We decided that you should finish your homework before watching TV. So please let’s do that… (and stick to it – even if they sulk)

4/ Care
Your child should always realise that what you do is out of love… make that clear no matter what the conflict. Eg: I love you very much and need you to be healthy. That is why I cannot give you any more candies.

The above may be applied with children of all ages… I have tried them – I still use them with my step-grandchildren 🙂

Have a great Monday Everyone!

 

30 April

Hi Everyone…

This is my last post on Indoindians ☺️

I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes by Rumi ❤️

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

The first time I heard this quote I wondered what he meant by ‘Raise your words, not voice’ …

This is very profound. Rumi means to say: Choose words that has meaning and let your words reflect who you are as a person and not your voice.

As imperfect humans, we lose our temper… when that happens … especially with children… let us remember that “It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

I wish you all the very best!

Feel free to DM me or follow me on Instagram or Facebook … Let’s stay in touch!❤️

 

 

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