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How To Inspire A Love of Creative Writing

The capacity for children to be creative is continually surprising – they’re always coming up with new ideas and inventions. Yet, encouraging them to translate these to the page is often a challenge, and once the pens come out, kids creativity seemingly dries up. Encouraging kids to write can be a challenge, but it’s incredibly important for their development and can set them up well for later life. We’ll explore why creative writing is so valuable for kids and how you can spark their inspiration.

The Value Of Writing

Writing Is A Practical Skill

When kids grow up, it’s likely that they’ll be required to write, at least a little, every day. “Without a strong command of writing even mundane daily tasks can become insurmountable challenges for kids later in life,” says Kirsten Hicks, educator at BoomEssays and State Of Writing. “Whether it’s filling out forms at the DMV or participating in email correspondence, writing is a big part of life.”

Writing Promotes Education

If your kids are struggling when it comes to creative writing, this can have a knock-on effect in other areas. Many exams require a written element and if kids are lacking in writing skills, then they’ll struggle to demonstrate their potential. Further down the line, your kids are going to need to write college application letters and personal statements. Preparing them early will help them get ahead when these challenges are looming.

Writing In Employment

Whatever career path your pupils take, it’s likely that writing will be a relevant part of it. The process of applying for a job and being brought on board by an HR team often involves writing on multiple levels, from resumes to applications to internal forms. There are so many roles these days that have an administrative element that writing becomes inescapable in the professional world.

Writing Promotes Communication

Taking time to write down your thoughts, feelings and emotions can help kids going through difficult transitions understand what they’re feeling and communicate better with the world around them. Often, the simple act of writing crystalizes something that was abstract before. This helps young people regulate their emotions and interact with the wider world.

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Ways To Inspire

Writing is such a valuable skill for kids to develop, as we’ve seen above. Inspiring them to write can be a tough job, however. We’ll look at a few tips, tricks and games that can get them working on the page.

Create The Space

Creating a specific writing space in your classroom is a great way of indicating to kids that it’s time for some creative writing. This initiates a mental shift that helps them focus on the task at hand. This can be as simple as a single table set aside, covered in writing materials. Colored pens, various notebooks and other books for inspiration will get your pupils scribbling.

Showing Off

Kids love to see their hard work celebrated, so finding somewhere to showcase their writing will naturally encourage them to invest in it. A bulletin board on the wall can provide a space to pin kids’ work, sending the message that writing is of value.

Sharing Their Work

“If you have a digital blackboard installed in your classroom you’ll be able to bring your pupils’ work to the big screen,” says Clinton Martinez, writer at Write My Paper and EssayRoo. “Kids love to see their work shared in this way – it can help them inspire each other and even trigger collaborative efforts amongst the class.”

Writing Games

There are loads of writing games that challenge kids to combine their imagination and writing skills to produce a body of work. Kids can work together to write a story following a series of prompts. These can be incredibly simple, building a story by going back and forth between “fortunately…” and “unfortunately…” or more complex, introducing characters and prompting kids to produce dialogue with “he said…” and “she said…”

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Wrapping Up

Writing is an essential skill for kids to learn, and as they keep practicing and encountering new challenges they’ll get better at it. Starting this process with younger kids instils the value of writing and demystifies it, enabling them to take part in more writing projects later in life. Teaching kids writing can be tough at first but with a few tweaks to your classroom you’ll have them inspired in no time.

Katherine Rundell is an educational writer at Essay Services and Academic Writing Services services. She has been teaching elementary age children in some capacity for over a decade and loves the constant surprises that kids’ creative minds throw up. She is also a proof-reader at Paper Fellows.   

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Importance of Teaching Kids about Minimalism

Have you read ‘Confessions of a shopaholic’ or watched the movie, maybe?  This book is not only entertaining but to me it provided the assurance that I’m not a shopaholic. As someone who started handling shopping since my early teens, I often reflect on my retail habits and wonder if I have crossed into the obsessive shopper zone.

I was brought up in a family that believes in the minimalist approach to life, mostly. One of the first lessons that was imbibed in me is “don’t waste food” and you will not find on my plate more than I can finish. While growing up “buying what you can consume” was the mantra most people lived by. Then came the retail boom and shopping was the next best thing after cricket in India.

Why do I want to talk about this in the middle of a pandemic? 2020 has been a year of many firsts. This year has literally stopped the world in it’s tracks and made us question ourselves “how much do we ACTUALLY need?”  A balance of needs and wants.

WHO IS A MINIMALIST:

In simple terms a person/s who do not go beyond their needs and keep their spending to a minimum is a minimalist. A simple lifestyle of many minimums.

If you realize you don’t need a horde of clothes and repeating your outfits or shoes is responsible behaviour, then you might qualify for the term.

A few days back, I came across a documentary on waste management. The presenter climbed a hill of rubbish, consisting of all kinds of items that get discarded, used and even unused. He questioned “how would you feel if I tell you that on an average you produce this quantity of waste on a yearly basis?”  I felt bad.

Imagine, if one person can produce that much waste, a big percentage of it not getting recycled, what can a planet full of people produce? At the rate we are going, the ramifications will be huge!

I’m not a minimalist, far from it. Even though having never been a part of the “not-cool-to-repeat-outfits” movement, I too have been guilty of consumerism at times. Clothes still waiting to be worn, shoes never broken into. Episodes of impulsive buying are the major contributors to that hill of rubbish. I still believe in Gap Kids but now with some self-restraint.

Some might mock a minimalist as being a miser, but there is a huge difference between the two. A person who does not believe in wastage is not a miser.

WHERE TO START:

De-clutter.

It’s the very first step. If you have not worn it in the last six months you will not wear it, this is the honest truth. Donate what you can, it has many benefits. You make room, you help people without spending more and the mental satisfaction is huge.

Make kids a part of it because when kids donate they learn to let go and get rid of useless clutter, which might be of use to someone in need. The attributes of kindness and help strengthen their moral fiber. Children perceive material needs by what they observe. Being more mindful of our consumption habits teaches them to be more responsible.

Further, the minimalist way of spending goes a long way to help in general. Who are we helping? Practically everybody. First, you save your own money and sometimes the guilt of spending more than you intent to. You help those with less spending power than you. As we know it is all supply and demand, the more I spend the more demand I create and prices surge.

The most important are the environmental implications. Less waste is generated as you use what you buy, to it’s full potential. Most of what is produced impacts the planet in varying degrees, be it air pollution or killing the water bodies.

Even after trying our best there are some indulgences we can still be accused of. For me, it’s the gadgets that are my connection to the world. But now when I upgrade, I recycle the used ones responsibly or donate to those who really need them.

I collect books and never have the heart to donate those, as many to me are like old friends I keep revisiting. Though, I try to buy mostly at garden sales but a better solution is needed.

While shopping something never to be compromised on is nutrition. Healthy and fresh food should always be on the top of your priority list. You don’t have to eat fancy but always eat well.

In all honesty, even the pandemic has not deterred the shopping spirit, the mode is now online. To cut back here is an idea, add items you want to the shopping cart and sit on it for 24 hours. A day mostly cures you of the love for unnecessary pretty things and then buy what you need. Also we need to stop falling for the “it’s on sale” gimmick and not bulk buy. It might be on sale but it is still costing.

We cannot renounce all our habits at once but we can try to gain some middle ground. Minimalist or not our planet deserves a more cautious approach in terms of material consumption and waste generation. One small step at a time, if we try to cut back those hills of rubbish might get smaller.

Share with us the steps that you can take towards the minimalist approach?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Empowering Girls AND Boys to be Durga

Diwali is almost knocking at the door. Navratri and Durga Puja are festivities that transcend the barriers of religion. It’s an expression of happiness, creativity, spirituality, and above all empowerment. But wait, did you want me to say empowerment of women/girls only? After all, that’s the stereotypical idea that has been associated with these festivals for aeons.

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If we consider ourselves to be progressive, moved by information disseminated through the ever-evolving news mediums, we know by now empowerment is not the territory only for women or girls. Men and our little boys need empowering just as much.

Navratri, after all is the celebration of not only the triumph of female power but essentially of good over evil. During the days of Navratri, we celebrate the ‘gunas’ (the virtues); Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva that are prevalent in every human being. Our body is, essentially, a healthy amalgamation of all these gunas in the perfect balance.

Rajas Guna is the energy and passion that drives our life towards activity, the desire to achieve, be ambitious, and to strive ahead, the excess of which could subsequently bolster greed, selfishness, and self-pride. Tamas Guna on the other hand, symbolizes passivity and ignorance, too much of which almost leads to delusion and lethargy. And lastly, Sattva Guna is about being content, happy, being prudent, and poised. Our lives revolve around striking the right balance of all these virtues. Now tell me, are these attributes specific to any gender? Our little girls and boys – everyone needs to imbibe in themselves these traits and the onus is on us to teach them these, for building a well-rounded and grounded personality.

I ask, what does Durga mean to you?

For me, Durga is the embodiment of fearlessness, righteousness, decisiveness. When I was a little girl standing in a puja pandal looking at the Durga ‘Pratima’ (idol), awestruck by the fierce determination in her eyes, I had one question for my mother every year. What do I need to learn from her? Her words still ring in my ears, “You should learn to be passionate about your dreams, be resolute about what you think is right and stand up for that. If your ambitions call for delving into uncharted territories do not hesitate and come to the foreground and spring into action if a situation warrants so.”

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Is that not what Devi Durga did? Emerging from the role of a consort of the Shakta (the god), the Shakti (the goddess) becomes the all-pervasive power on sensing danger. I don’t know if you did, but I was a child who was ever amazed at how a few idols had a benign expression and a few were rearing with rage. Mom to my rescue here too! She explained the Soumya roop (kind and happy posture) and Rudhra roop {anger posture} co-exists in the same person and it’s the healthy balance of the two that shapes a person.

These values and principles lay the foundation for the making of a resilient, independent, passionate, and conscientious identity. The need of the hour has always been to assimilate the morality and life lessons that the festivals of Navratri and Durga Puja teach us, and that’s irrespective of gender! All would agree, that these are the life fundamentals and we strive to inculcate these in our children.

Then, how is Durga only about women empowerment? Every little boy and girl out there should be empowered to steer through their battles being gutsy and graceful, be dynamic and spirited in leading their lives, imbibe the virtue of patience, empathy, and forgiveness. Just like our very own ‘Maa Durga.’

So every girl and boy, shout out loud, ‘I am a kind soul and a brave heart, I am Durga.’

Hey all, I am Ananya. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a Master’s in Strategic Communication in 2018 I took to freelancing. Currently, I freelance as a SEO Writer. Writing blogs on travel, lifestyle, wellness, and food is my jam though I would love to write a campaign critique on any given day! I write blogs, articles, and sales web copies for websites. And when I am not fretting over a delivery deadline or running errands, I am probably trying to keep up with my ‘always-so-energetic’ 5-year-old girl or indulging in a bit of self-love on the elliptical at Planet Fitness or arranging furniture around the house for my Instagram home decor page YellowPoppyLife. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a MBA in Marketing, from India.

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Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Children

Many children, aged three and younger, experience separation anxiety. The term refers to a state of fear and nervousness.  This occurs when a child is separated from their caregivers or parents. This is common and usually goes away. According to a study, if separation anxiety impacts children above 6 for over four weeks, they might have developed an anxiety disorder. This is a severe form of separation anxiety. It is estimated by a WebMD research that at least 4% to 10% of children experience a separation anxiety disorder. This statistical analysis includes boys and girls.

Read on to learn more about separation anxiety in children and how positive parenting can help children with their stress.

What is Separation Anxiety?

A lot of early anxiety in children aged three and less is normal! As children grow up and learn to steer the world and people, they need to be assured that everything is safe. This is why they cling to their caregivers and cry. It is their way of expressing their fear and telling them that they want to be comforted. Considering how young they are, it makes absolute sense. They do not know how to protect themselves. Naturally, they look up to their parents or caregivers for comfort and protection. They need their caregivers to respond to their call of distress and tell them that everything is fine.

What are the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Children?

The first symptom of separation anxiety disorder, also known as SAD, is a refusal to sleep alone. In older children in grades 2 or 3, they might have repeated nightmares about being separated from their families. When children with separation and anxiety disorder see their parents or caregivers leaving home to run errands, they throw tantrums.

Public tantrums and crying are also common signs of separation anxiety. Their fear includes the possibility that their caregiver might leave them even when they are at home. Children who are going through this phase also worry that their caregiver or parents might not return home. They excessively worry about getting lost and refuse to go to school.

Children with separation anxiety often complain about stomach and headaches. They are fearful of being left alone, which causes muscle tension and physical aches. However, there is no need to panic. Most of the children get through this phase just fine. The anxiety can peak at different times and subsidize at others, causing parents and caregivers to stay at home.

Parents can be obliged to remain in the room if their children are crying. The best way to handle such a situation is with the use of encouragement and balanced validation. As a parent, you will want to teach your children that it is okay and capable of handling the separation. You might want to tell them that you are there for them and that they are strong and courageous enough to take a brief separation.

How Positive Parenting Can Help Reduce Separation Anxiety

When you start noticing the symptoms of separation anxiety, you can take the following steps to ease the process:

Positive Encouragement:

You can start to practice separation by leaving your child with a caregiver or babysitter for shorter periods. Doing so will help your child cope with a brief break by getting used to them. As you continue the brief separation practice, make sure to keep encouraging your child by gradually increasing the separation periods’ intervals.

In the case of toddlers and babies, ensure to schedule the separation periods after having fed them and after they have had their naps. This is because babies and toddlers are prone to experience separation anxiety when they are sleepy or hungry.

The Importance of a Goodbye Ritual:

This step applies to children of three years or older. Rituals are a sure way to generate reassurance. Goodbye rituals do not necessarily have to be complicated. A simple wave through the window can also work. The trick is to keep things short and to-the-point so that you can leave without making it a big deal. Going without stalling or turning it into a big deal is more uncomplicated. Your child will know that you will return and that everything is fine.

A successful goodbye ritual includes a promise that you can make to your child that you will return at a particular time. This will also boost your child’s confidence that they are brave enough to handle a short separation from you. Nonetheless, it is crucial to follow through with your promise and return at the promised time.

Keep Surroundings Familiar:

If you are hiring a babysitter to watch after your child during the separation period, make sure to keep the surroundings familiar. This will keep your child at ease. You can do so by asking the babysitter to come to your house and look after the child. When your child has to move to new surroundings, you can encourage them to take their favorite toy or a familiar object with them.

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Teaching Your Children the Importance of Morality

As a society we’re faced with a great many challenges. One of the aspects of our humanity that helps us to navigate challenges is a solid sense of morality. Wherever our morality is derived — whether from a personal set of ethics, social expectations, or religious doctrine — it tends to help guide our actions in ways we consider to be positive.

One of our responsibilities as parents, guardians, and mentors is to instil in the next generation a strong sense of values. That said, while subjects such as telling the truth may seem basic, knowing how to effectively teach morality to children is not always simple. The practicalities of morality in the real world can be laden with grey areas and subtle applications.

So, what’s the best approach to take when imparting ethical ideas to your children? What tools and devices can help strengthen this aspect of their character? How do we tackle the sometimes quite complex nature of morality?

Use Supportive Resources

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Chances are, your first foray into teaching children about morality is simply telling them an act is right or wrong. However, they’re likely to follow this up with questions that might well be difficult to answer. Indeed, children may well find elements of these lessons difficult to grasp and retain, if they are just being lectured — this is difficult enough for us as adults! It’s certainly in your best interests to use resources that support the information you’re trying to impart.

Books will always be one of the most versatile and accessible tools at your disposal here. Certainly, there are books written around specific moral subject matter, and others present situations that raise questions of ethics. The key in either case is to seek out entertaining and informative stories. For younger children, pop-up books can be particularly effective because these books use images in a novel way that encourages engagement and interactions. The Color Monster is an excellent example of a pop-up book that uses interactive imagery to reinforce how our emotions affect us and our actions.

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Alongside books, it’s also okay to use movies and TV shows as supportive resources. Build a book collection that allows you to respond to teachable moments. The point in either case is not to seek to have the resource do all the heavy lifting. Use them as conversation openers and examples. Ask your child how they thought a character should have acted and why, share with them your own takes about why an action was right, wrong, or in a grey area.

Incorporating Play

As any professional teacher will tell you, trying to keep kids’ attention on a subject by simply talking at them for any significant period of time is a recipe for disaster! They get bored easily, and are more likely to tune out from the great moral lesson you’re earnestly attempting to pass on. But this boredom can also serve a vital purpose. It gives them license to explore ideas, engage with more physical and creative activities, and grow as people. When the talking has begun to grow old, you can harness their boredom by incorporating activities that help solidify the lesson.

Role playing can be really useful here. Kids are often keen to act out their fantasies, and you could introduce scenarios that offer moral dilemmas or insights into behavior. Don’t make it dull or forced, but give your child a chance to see how situations can arise, and how to approach them.

For kids aged around 6 and over, table top role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons or No Thank You, Evil! provide a fun way to confront your children with difficult ethical situations, and talk through how and why their character is making certain decisions. Perhaps more importantly, they provide a safe forum to demonstrate what the consequences of immoral actions can be.

Sports have also long been an excellent medium of teaching children morality. We often use the term “good sportsmanship” when talking about conduct, but what we really mean is a moral and fair approach to our play. Sports provide us with a set of rules to observe, and you can use these to demonstrate how — just like in real life — they are not in place to restrict our enjoyment, but to ensure everybody gets an equal chance to thrive.

Lead by Example

Incorporating play and utilizing books are good routes into teaching children about morality. However, these pale in comparison with your influence as their parent. Children are always watching you, taking mental notes from your example on how to behave, and using it to inform their worldview. You can’t take a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to morality with kids; you have to walk the walk.

Obviously, this starts with paying close attention to the choices you make in their presence, and how your choices might be perceived by them or contradict your previous lessons. If you intend to hold them to a high moral standard, you must exhibit this yourself.

However, this doesn’t mean to say that you need to always act in a morally “perfect” manner. You’re human, after all! Involve your children in your ethical dilemmas, talk to them about events that have happened during the day, how you acted, and how you could have made better choices.

You can’t underestimate how important it is for your children to see you as an ethically flawed person. This shows that while it’s important to set high standards for ourselves, it’s also okay to fail as long as we learn from it. Invite them to let you know, when they think you’ve acted in a way that is contradictory to your lessons, and start a discussion.

This approach to morality encourages an open dialogue between you and your kids. They will have difficult moral issues themselves in the years to come, and they’ll feel more able to ask for help or guidance.

Conclusion

Our kids are taking their first steps into a world that is filled with moral dilemmas. It’s important to approach this difficult area in a way that both demonstrates practical application, and asserts that mistakes will be made. By teaching children about morality with a variety of tools, you can not only impart advice but also forge a stronger bond.

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer living in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to child development, parenting, and health and wellness. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter.