I recently read, traveling the world is a huge part of multicultural families. These books allow elementary aged kids to travel the world. We travel to meet our families and learn about the world. We hope that our children explore cities, new cultures and understand their own better.
Food, festivals, customs and little things that make us all different and yet similar at the same time. Below and a list of books, my children and I have read and enjoyed. They act as little passports to the world around us.
Since, it is impossible for everyone to see everything, it is so much more important now than ever for us learn from each other and share stories of how our worlds truly are.
Elementary Aged Kids Travel the World with Books
Maya and Neel Series
Originating from Indian authors, this series is an authentic look at Mumbai and Delhi. The authors plan to add more books to these series and talk about lot of Indian festivals. Great for younger kids, learning about India and Hindi too.
A fun read for little kids who would love to see India. An easy read.
Travel Guide Series
These are kids who love a lot of non fiction. Gives a great look at different countries around the world with facts and celebrations.
Nick and Aya Series
A great book for parent bonding. Father and daughter take trips to different cities/countries around the world.
National Geographic Series
Who doesn’t know Nat Geo and their bid to empower the world with a real life look within countries. They have a lot of books about countries around the world.
Seymour and Hau Series
Books about Italy, Morocco and more, Seyomour and Hau is a great book for advanced elementary readers. Chapter books with images to boot! These make a wonderful gift too.
50 States Guide & Activity Book
You can learn all about America by buying this guide and their activity book combined. It is a great resource for social studies.
Flat Stanley Series
Another chapter book with images, these make a great read. Kids who like Judy Mody or Stink, would love Flat Stanley and all his adventures around the world.
Real Kids, Real Stories Series
Sometimes, learning about the world is not just about the cities, countries. It is about the people who are making courageous choices and bringing real change around the world.
Hello World Series
Perfect for little kids, these books give them a view of what different cities around the world look like.
To say that my son is a perfectionist would be a huge understatement. He does not like making mistakes. And the idea of doing something wrong paralyzes him so much that he won’t even try something unless he knows that he can do it.
So I do what every mom is supposed to do, keep reminding him that it’s OK to make mistakes and that learning from our mistakes helps us all grow our brain power.
On one such day of advice-giving, he looks up at me and says, “If I make a mistake, you get angry.” That was the day that I realized that his extreme reactions came from my unrealistic expectations.
That was also the day I understood that Moms can and often make mistakes.
So I started observing my behavior around my son. Every time he made a mistake, frown lines would appear on my face as if by magic. If the mistakes continued despite repeated instructions, my soft voice got louder. In a few days, I observed myself losing control more often than I would have liked. It felt as if someone else resided in me and she would take charge every once in a while.
Then, I had to follow up with the real work of catching myself while making those mistakes. It is so much easier to catch something once it has already been done. After-all, hindsight is always 20/20. The real challenge was to identify it right before it started.
So, every time that I felt I was losing control, I would count to ten, or start chanting Om. I also kept reminding myself that I was dealing with another human being, a little one who had his own share of feelings and emotions. And the little child’s expressions as he looked at my face was a bit too much to bear.
Shift Your Perspective
It took all my positive spirit to make myself understand that making mistakes was not the end of the world. I kept reminding myself and forgiving myself every time I lost control of my emotions. It took quite a bit of self-talk to come to terms with this side of me.
I even compared myself to the great Kramer in one episode of Seinfeld, where he decides not to talk. The guy would start talking and then in the middle of his speech, remember his oath, and state, “And it starts now!” That became my catch-phrase, my new mantra …It starts now!
But the most important thing that I did was to make a point of sharing with my son that getting angry over making mistakes was a huge blunder in itself. He had a huge grin on his face when he understood that I was the one in trouble for a change and that he got to “forgive” me.
And they live happily-ever-after
The day finally came, when both of our hard work gave us some tangible result. My son and I were singing a song at a pitch of G sharp.
As the song progressed, my son shook his head from time to time, even as he continued to sing. By the end of the song, I caught on to the fact that we were both singing in different pitches. I had gone down to F sharp which was not how we started the song.
I knew that all my efforts to teach him the value of making mistakes were not wasted when my little one waited for the song to get over, each of us singing in different pitches, and then exclaimed, “Mom you made a mistake … but that’s alright, you still sang well!”
We bring to you the fascinating Niyati Desai-Kadakia. During the day, Niyati runs her tech start up – Nulern. She is also an expert packer-of-lunchboxes, kid activity coordinator, chauffeur and PTA enthusiast. At night she moonlights as a story-teller, spinning tales to answer the darnedest questions posed by her twin daughters. Her stories are mostly inspired by her own experiences of being an immigrant student and then a first generation Indian-American mother. Her stories focus on questions, concerns and feelings children have as they are being raised by parents who grew up in a different culture than theirs, which encourages them to create their own unique identity that is whole and complete.
She founded KidzBelong to meet a pressing need to have picture books address needs of children of immigrant families who are particularly vulnerable to feeling marginalized and different.
Niyati holds a B.S. in Biochemical Engineering from USC, B.A. in Literature from Scripps College and M.A. in Biotechnology from Columbia University. In the past, she has worked as a scientist in several biotech start ups and innovation centers, that specialize in Brain Health and Drug Delivery. She has lived in 3 countries, 5 states and 8 homes (although not all at once) with her husband and daughters. She currently enjoys life with them in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
(A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away), I came to the US from India, to study for my bachelors. I met my husband, Niraj, during my under-graduate studies and we noticed that we laughed at each other’s’ jokes, when others around us didn’t and we liked the same movies, so we decided to get married.
Soon after we got married, we found every chance to camp, backpack, binge on TV shows and make moderately edible food together. Although all that was a whole lot of fun, we proceeded to bring twin beautiful girls into this world – Nivedita and Niharika. In our sleep deprived state, we went on to live in 3 different countries, 5 states and 8 homes. We continue to camp, backpack and binge on tv shows – we just do it with our 10-year-old daughters now. Life has never been more fun.
Which cities have your lived in/ visited in your lifetime? Which is your favorite?
It is virtually impossible to pick a favorite city. Each place that I have lived in has so many beautiful and cherished memories that picking one out of them would be unfair.
I have liked living in the following cities:
Baroda, Gujarat, India – this is home for me. I grew up here, went to school here and learn ow to ride a bike here. I describe this city with the words – home, roots, security, family, food and love.
Los Angeles, CA – I studied here at USC and Claremont. I also met my to-be husband here. I grew from a girl to a young woman here. It is also the first city I landed in as an immigrant student when I came to study in the US. So this city always brings back a lot of emotion. I describe this city with the words – studies, competition, immigration, homesickness and letters.
New York City, NY – I did my graduate school here, at Columbia. I decided to get married in this city – and have some beautiful memories from here. I moved on from being a young woman to a wife here and made some of the most important decisions in my life in this lovely city. I describe this city with the words – love, marriage, energy, immigrant crossroads.
San Jose, CA – I lived here soon after I got married. I was getting used to getting called someone’s wife. This is also the place where I started my professional life as a scientist and worked in several biotech startups in the bay area. I earned my first paycheck here and learnt what a 401K is here. I describe this city with the words – married life, natural beauty, adventure, money and profession.
Philadelphia, PA – My husband and I moved here, while my husband studied towards his business degree at Wharton. My twins were born here. 2 Biotech startups I worked for also got acquired while I worked for them here – so lots of activity here! I became a mom in this city and will owe a lot to the hospitals that helped my preemie babies. I describe this city with the words – motherhood, chaos, prayer and family.
Bombay, India – My family lives in Bombay, so this city is (sort of) home for me too. We also moved to Bombay with our daughters to try-out moving back to India. Although we enjoyed our life there, we could not settle down professionally and returned back to North America. I describe this city with the words – immigrant decisions, homesickness (but homesick for the US), citizen for the world, identity crisis and dual culture.
Toronto, Canada – My kids went to kindergarten in this beautiful city. And started elementary school here. I describe this city with the words – diversity, acceptance, home and friends.
Denver, CO – We live here currently and love the mountain that surround us. My daughters move from elementary to middle school in this city. I started my own startup here and am trying to manage being a mom-entrepreneur. I describe this city with the words – mountains, parenthood, entrepreneurship and family.
What brought you to what you do?
I run an online learning startup – Nulern. Nulern enables live, 1 on 1 learning in lifestyle based skill sets with globally accessible, vetted experts.
Since our family has moved a lot, we felt the need to start an online learning platform that makes learning proactive and removes restrictions like geography, time and location from accessing wonderfully nurturing experts in skill sets that are under-represented in our current learning environment, like music, language, cooking and art.
What is one aspect in raising multicultural children do we need to be MOST aware of ?
While raising multicultural children, I most emphasize on the empowerment of having a duality in the child’s identity. While it is easy and often natural to select one or the other definitions of identity for a child (I am Indian or I am american etc), it is important to emphasize the completeness in also having more than 1 identity (I am Indian, American and canadian etc) and still being whole, complete and unique.
My daughters have 3 passports and while they often talk about patriotism in confusing terms, I encourage them and those around them to see them as complete individuals without any 1 patriotic leaning or cultural heritage, but more than 1 heritage and still have a wonderfully complete and complex identity.
What is one personal challenge you have overcome growing up?
I learnt about how money works much later on in life and wish I had learnt those lessons when young. 🙂
Share with us two parenting hacks that have made your/child’s life easy.
My husband and I set rules that we never break – there is almost no argument in our home because of these rules (no phones around family, no tv on weekdays, read 30 min before bed, no shoes in the house, in bed by 8:30 etc).
We always sit together and eat for dinner (this enables us to connect as a family and talk about what is happening in each of our lives).
We write letters to family abroad (helps with practicing how to write a letter for kids and helps them keep in touch).
Door are never locked in our home (enables us to be open and receptive at all times)
We emphasize that school and grades are not everything. Believe it or not, this has helped them look at life quite differently.
What projects are you working on next?
I am the co-founder to an online learning startup – Nulern. I am consumed with that.
What is one thing piece of advice you would give to children?
Be good, kind and useful. Everything else is extra.
Tell us three things that are on your bucket list?
To hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim.
To backpack across the country.
To maybe one day, meet the Dalai Lama.
What 3 books/movies would you say changed your life?
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
The living Gita by Swami Satchidananda
Where this is love, there is God by mother Teresa
Millionaire next door by Thomas Stanley
‘It’s a wonderful life’ movie
Green for life – Victoria Beutenko
Do you have any freebies for our readers/listeners?
Buy one get one 1/2 off (non-amazon orders only)
Readers can place orders on firstname.lastname@example.org or call/whatsapp 720-899-2590/or my PMing of FB/Instagram
You can find & connect with Niyati on social media here —
Both of us might be right in our own ways but sometimes at the root of our disagreements – especially on raising children – are the conditionings and cultural cues that our upbringing and environment have ingrained into us.
Holi, the festival of colors will be here soon and like most of us for me preservation of our culture is imperative. Staying miles away from homeland can be sometime challenging, but It is utmost important for me to pass on our cultural values to my children. While we can’t do much about it, We can try to feel festive by doing following activities with our children .
What Is Holi?
Holi is a celebration of good over evil. Holi signals the retreating of winter and the ushering in of Spring. With it comes the vibrancy of Spring and all of its alluring colors. Hence Holi is also known as the Festival of Colors.
Looking to celebrate Holi this year with children? Here are seven interesting activities to do with children on the occasion of Holi.
1.) Holi Powder:
Use Holi powder to introduce early-learners to colors and textures. Every color has a particular meaning in Indian culture. This is the colorful powder that makes this celebration so exuberant and fun.
Set some rules about not targeting anyone’s face, only the arms. Also make sure to get Holi powder that is anti-allergic, skin friendly, washable, and non-toxic. You can get Holi Powder from Amazon or local Indian Grocery Stores.
2.) Water Balloons, Water Guns:
Every child loves water play. Get them some water guns to play with Holi colors onto each other. And they are great accompaniments to a Holi celebration.
3.) Books To Read On Holi:
Multicultural books are great ways to teach children about the festivals. So read a book on Holi with them.
We have planned a week long Holi celebration in our family. So we definitely look for crafts and games to play with kids. These activities are great for reinforcing the words used in the celebration in a fun and engaging way .Like my children learned about Pichkari, Gulaal and Holika by doing these fun activities.
I find the Holi Celebration Activity Kit by Culture Groove very useful as they have included Holi Crafts. Songs and dances , puzzles, Holi words games and Holi flashcards in it. You can get a FREE and downloadable Holi celebration activity kit here culturegroove.com/Holi.
(My Children had so much fun crafting Pichkaris)
5.) Make Some Amazing Foods:
No Indian Festival is complete without mouthwatering foods. So make some popular Holi dishes like Gujjiyas and Thandi ( the Indian milkshakes) with your children. You can find a kids friendly recipe of Thandai in the Culture Groove Holi Activity Kit. And also find a easy Gujjiya recip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_s0597AYYg
Enjoy the beautiful festival with family and friends by visiting nearby Hindu Temple or Cultural Centers. Check their websites or Facebook pages as most of these organizations host various Holi Events. Or you can host a Holi Party at your place to celebrate this colorful festival. Don’t forget to dance to the best Holi songs from Indian movies.
Don’t forget your camera or phone to capture all the Holi fun. And be ready to cheer everyone by” Holi Hai”!!
Nupur Biswal : A mom, wife, STEM Educator, children book reviewer ,blogger she loves to balance every role. With a educational background of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering and 10 years of working experiences as a software professional, she is passionate about teaching children coding and also share her love for STEM education with others. She organizes STEM activities in her local library during holidays and also conduct STEM clubs as a part of her daughter’s after school activities. You can follow her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nupurbiswal/ and her personal blogging page on Facebook “ Love My Game” https://www.facebook.com/Lovemygam/ where she regularly shares STEM activities and children book reviews with other parents and teachers
As a parent, it falls on us. To raise boys who respect girls. We are aware of this need. But do we remember that we need to be raising strong girls who are respectful? Who grow up to be not judgemental of other’s choices and situations?
International Women’s Day is a wonderful time to bring this home! Raising women who celebrate other women.
I have seen it. You have seen it. Every so often, we come across women who don’t understand our choices. Their snark comments and sly compliments leave us gaping and disheartened. What reels us more though is that this person is a woman.
At an early age, we see it in play-yard bullying. As we grow, we see it in our “frenemies”, when we get older we see it the judgment of our #momlife. In India, we see it from older women. A subtle condescension of our way of life when compared to the hardships they have endured. Women very easily forget that they have been girls.
I saw a video recently, that said that girls are as aggressive as boys and that aggression only grows emotionally, with age. It is only more visible in boys in physical action. In girls, it’s all about how to manipulate and vent on those closest to us. Namely the friends. And this is actually true!
Counter Mean Comments
This is so important to teach our girls, the effect that their words have on those around them. Mean comments, back handed compliments and snark responses are so potentially harmful. A great way is the toothpaste method. You take a tube of toothpaste and ask them to take out some onto a plate. When they do, ask them to put it back. When they respond helplessly, explain to them that this is how words are. When you say things that are unkind, it leads to a mess and that cannot be cleaned up no matter how much you desire or are sorry.
Ask your girl to compliment other girls as often as they can. Building others up and appreciating what other’s have is so very important to teach. Ask them to think about what they are going to say. Is it kind? Is it a compliment? Is it respectful? It is necessary to say? If not, it’s better to keep their comments to themselves.
No other time than now, to make sure our girls comprehend the ever lasting effect and consequences of words said in haste or spite!
Avoid Being Territorial
Girls, are very territorial. There is something innate within us, which protects viciously that which we consider OURS. Probably an instinctive thought that is a big part of our make up. This may be why we tend to feel threatened when our friends make new friends. But we need to impart to our girls early, that they need to be kind and nurture those we consider close to us.
A great way to do this is to be as social as possible yourself. By this, I do not mean parties every weekend but be friendly to every single person. Build your community with friends, acquaintances and strangers alike, caste, race, religion aside. The more our girls see US being open to new relationships, the more they open they will be.
Not everyone is a best friend. Little girls tend to think that every person they play with is their best friend. Specially if you have a people pleasure on your hands, who loves being the center of attention. This is what allows them to let slide a lot of mean comments passed by their so called friends. Relational bullying is the worst kind and our girls need to be able to identify that early. If your child is one, recognize and act on this instantly!
Not happy enough. Not thin enough. Not fashionable enough. Just not enough. These insecurities make us do a lot of weird things. Women, from the time we are girls, are often fearful of losing what we have. We need to counter this by letting our girls know that they can depend on themselves for their happiness. Jealousy is possibly one of the most dangerous things to harbor within.
A wonderful way of this is to cheer for others in their joy. Often, parents seeing other child succeed worry about why their own child is not doing the same. Verbally. If instead of that, we rejoice in the success of others and use that to positively inspire us our girls will learn to do the same.
Breathe, Assess Before Reacting
A book I read recently, “Men are Waffles, Women are Spaghetti” spoke about how when women react to something, it is a reaction with a lot of history behind it. That women minds are intricate webs where everything is connected to teach other.
That really need not be the case. When some supposed infraction happens, we need to first see if it really has anything to do with us? Was the decision one for the person’s personal gain/needs or was it some way to hurt us? And even, if it was going to hurt us, is this really going to matter in 5-10 years time? This silly thing that someone has done that will soon become a thing of the past?
How do we impart this to little girls? By making them understand practically why they weren’t invited to a birthday party or a play date or why they aren’t getting something they really want. By focusing their thought process to think logically about they WHY of a situation. To teach them to see the other side of a conversation or situation.
Often, when we grow we harbor resentment and use it in consecutive situations. That just leads to lot of build up. Not every battle is worth fighting. Not every situation needs a reaction. Also, when you see your child being overly emotional about something and that time, bringing up other topics, make sure you bring their focus back to the situation on hand. Talk to her about how precious her tears are and how important it is for us to be mindful about what we are crying about.
Participate in Healthy Conversations
Everyone talks behind you. Again, this is an innate thing that happens between people. Not just girls. But there is a difference between gossip and unhealthy conversations.
Vents what happened to them and works on a solution to figure out how to better handle the situation. Unhealthy gossip is where people talk needlessly about other people’s lives, passing on rumors which are probably untrue or saying vicious things about someone just because they have been wronged in someway.
How do we teach young girls to not do that? When your child tells you something, be practical in your response to it. Divert their attention to how to better the situation the next time instead of calling up the other child’s parent and being aggressive. Recognize when children are being children and the consequence of your own actions before acting out.
Also, make sure your child knows the importance of keeping a friend’s secret. And that before passing on information, to be a 100% sure it is true. For a misplaced rumor is damaging and it all comes back to you.
People, not just children are most susceptible to peer pressure. It all begins with what other kids have and just never ends.We need to teach our girls to be able to own their choices. To stand tall for themselves and for others, if need be. That we don’t need something or have to do something, just because another has it. Our actions are based on our family’s needs and the circumstances unique to us. This also helps build empathy and understanding of others, for everyone has their issues.
Give them ample respectful answers for things they are teased about and let them know we as parents stand behind them a 100%.
Make sure you read to them stories of friendship, love, caring and kindness.
If we want to raise girls who do not judge other, we need to first and foremost stop judging other women and celebrating them. Let those small things go and fight for what’s right.
I am neurotic about predators. When my kids started preschool and when they go to out for activities to the park or for classes, I’m constantly on the look out to protect them. To look for people who may not be “safe” or are “over friendly”. This is not just a fear thanks to the vivid, disturbing news we are exposed on a daily basis. It stems from memories.
At the age of 11 living in Madhya Pradesh (India), I opened the door to the postman and he asked for a glass of water. When I got it for him, handing it through the grill(thankfully) at the door, he caught my hand and held it to his crotch of his pants, then kissed it and smiled. Even at that young age, I knew that was wrong and ran to my mom to tell her. He was put in jail for a day before his wife came to plead for his life and he was released.
When I was 14 and used to walk home from school in Kuwait (Kuwait) with my mom a man used to often follow us all the way home in his car.
These are just two of the many experiences I’ve had personally. I don’t say this to scare you. Of course, it was scary and still leaves me feeling icky. These events taught me at an early age, that there are many deranged people out there.
While these are some of my worst memories, I think somewhere it made me hyper aware and at the same time stronger, knowing it’s not to be taken seriously. Maybe I got desensitized to it all (not a good thing). In India and Kuwait, there is an unsaid acceptance and allowance of such behavior. That is food for another discussion.
But this is why I’m a strong advocate that the conversation begin early so that children be able to recognize such behavior, understanding that sometimes even people you know are capable of horrible acts. Mind you these things happened while my parents were close. It is not the act but the reaction that carries significance.
My son is 8 now but I have been having conversations with him about personal safety since he was 4. Specially because he has always been an extremely friendly child who loves to make “friends”. Now, so is my two year old daughter. And I worry about their friendliness making them easy prey. On the other hand, I never want to them to lose their happy demeanor. To be too scared to say Hi to strangers. We need people who are friendly to make the world a warm place to live. Who aren’t scared to be the first one to break the proverbial ice. So how do we do it?
The below conversations we have at regular intervals in my household becaus for children repetition is very essential. Every child is different. You will find it useful to use the below as baseline to start a dialogue essential for proactive thinking. To start talking about this disturbing topic is the first step.
No Secrets Within Family
I believe this is the most important thing kids need to remember, in their early years specially. Of course there will be a time when their life is their own but when they are young they are to know that while they don’t have to tell their parents every single thing, it is wrong if someone, specially an adult tells them to keep a secret. My parents have always have open dialogue. There absolutely nothing I feel uncomfortable talking to them about. This I think is what helped me just go and tell my mom, ” The postman took my hand and put it on his pants. ” immediately after it happened. One should never feel fear in telling their parents anything.
I always say that no topic should be barred from discussing with kids, specially when they see something on TV (adults kissing) or hear something that may possibly confuse them about issues. Listening and letting them ask questions, no matter how uncomfortable that are answered as you may see fit is a great way to make sure kids trust parents.
“It’s Mom Dad’s Job to Protect You”
I write this because, I have often read, predators scare kids by saying “Stay quiet or we will hurt your mom/dad/family” or “Don’t tell anyone or I will say you did …. so and so” . Please re-iterate to your child that it is YOU who are supposed to protect them and that you trust them. And no matter what they do, they can always come and tell you.
Your body is off limits No one and I cannot emphasis this enough, No One should touch them inside their shirt or skirt/pants. Or kiss their lips. With some people being extra cuddly, it is okay that kids understand that saying no if they feel uncomfortable is just respecting their body. This is one of the reasons why I too personally always ask children for hugs. They can always be taught to show their respect and love in other ways. It means a lot more when it comes from them than mushing them anyway.
Permission is Must
We all tell our kids they should ask before going anywhere but many a times we forget to tell them not to walk off with a friend to an unknown place. They should always play where you can see them and they can see you. They should understand walking off into the horizon behind a balloon or ice cream cart is Not okay. Going to a secret exciting place with a friend or some adult they know is not okay. They should always ask for permission from the person in charge before going anywhere.
In the beginning, when I started this conversation my son asked me, ” Who is a stranger? ” And then we went on to discuss who all are considered family, friends and people we just meet once in a few months or a year. It is important that kids understand the definition of a family’s boundaries and relationships.
No Helping Strangers
It’s important to be nice. Say hi to strangers. Smile at them but remember to explain to your child that they are too young to actually help an adult. Many children feel very grown up in being able to do something an adult asks them to do. They are in a constant hurry to prove themselves or please others. So if an adult who is a stranger says,” Can you help me with … ” they are to respond with, ” Sure. Let me go ask my parents/teacher first. “
There is Enough at Home
Kids are greedy by default. It’s not their fault. They are drawn to that extra piece of candy or toy or whatever is their favorite thing. And many times we parents exploit this honest response by making lot of activities incentive based. But at the same time every child needs to know that their parents can provide everything for them. They do Not need to ask or take anything that any other person offers them in return for something.
Shout, Run away & Assault
Like honesty is the best policy. I believe running away is the best policy in any dangerous situation. Children need to know that when they feel uncomfortable, their first response should be to shout out and run away. If someone does try to or successfully does grab them then nothing is off limits. Nothing! You are allowed to hit, punch, bite, scratch and most importantly scream. We even practice the volume level at home.
Fear is not the solution to anything. The world is scary. The only way we can live is being constantly cautious. As adults we now are naturally so but we need to enable our children to do the same and know what to do in any given situation.
Have you already had this conversation with your child?
What age did you start?
Are there any other things you would make sure they know?
“Oh! Your kids are going to be born with lots of hair.”, said anyone to whom I cribbed about the acidity I experienced while pregnant. “I would rather have them come out bald.”, I would remark.
And sure as sunshine, they both were born with a full head of baby soft, fine hair. As they grew, their hair got super curly and thick and I started dreading the Mundan ceremony.
The process where you shave off all the baby’s hair at 7,9,11 months or 1 year or 3 years. They say it ensures thicker, fuller hair coming but has a lot of basis in traditional medicine too. What is ideally supposed to happen is that you take the baby to your native temple, the priest performs the ceremony, your family is of course there, you shave the baby’s head, wash it, apply haldi to it and then the hair is submerged in the water body near said temple.
Tonsure In USA
With my son, I was a new mom. So, going to India for the traditional Mundan ceremony was out of the question for me. So, on my mother in law’s suggestion, we kept it simple. When she visited a year later, we took him to a local barber shop, got all his hair trimmed off and then she took the hair with her to India. We prayed at home and wished him well. It was easy, no fuss.
Mundan in India
With my daughter though, it was hell on earth. The Indian barber came home, and seeing his scary razor I asked for him to use a trimmer. His trimmer was so much more worse. My daughter hated being made to sit still at 7 months. She cried and screamed as his horrid trimmer buzzed loud in her ears and then her hair was cut uneven because of course the trimmer wasn’t sharp. The whole family was crying with my little girl as she raised hell. It took a good hour to get it done.
If I could go back in time, I would just make sure to take her to a professional salon vs someone another suggests.
With all my experience in the past years, I’ve seen that kids, my kids have always had a better experience doing traditional things where I have known where to go through personal research.
I do not say, do not go the traditional route. I would however encourage you to keep things simple. Trim off the hair when and where the kids are most comfortable, at an older age and make sure to do the rest with a complete heart, having faith in the fact that no matter how you do something, the intention of giving your child the complete experience will stay true.
Have you had a Mundan or Tonsure done for your kids? Is this something you would consider doing? Have you had the traditional ear piecing ceremony done for your kids?
Why are harvest festivals celebrated at all? Does it really matter if we mark this time of the year?
Makar Sankranti is the time when new harvest is gathered. Not just that, it heralds the onset of new seasonal change, marking the end of harsh winters and welcoming the blossoming spring season. A slight rise in temperatures, warming and stirring the soul is what marks Sankranti. In fact, it’s not just makar Sankranti, every harvest festival marks a season of change.
It highlights change of weather, change of crop, change of some kind! And change is good! Change is inevitable and so we should learn to embrace it, whole-heartedly, with the right spirit and nothing better that embracing this change, right at the beginning of the year!
I will not talk about how the festival is celebrated because we have already shared all about this season here – Each culture brings about their share of festivities with this harvest festival and so do we, the Bengalis. We make the customary “khuchudi” with the first rice of the season, served with chutney and fried fritters to go along. Apart from that our range of sweets like “pithey” and “patishapta” all flour based sweets, made with “nolen gur” or date palm jiggery, is often the staple dessert menu on this D-day.
What I love most about the festival is that, I embrace the seasonal change and gear up my spring wardrobe slowly and steadily. The house looks and feels warm with the warm morning sun. The beautiful warmth of the streaming sun rays just makes the house glow with a magical spirit!
I remember the entire household décor would go for an overhaul. My mother would vacuum the heavy carpets and curtains and seal them in bags, stuff them in box beds, bring out the lighter curtains, followed by our light upholstery to mark the idea of living with change, while staying the same!
Small superficial things, would often undergo change around us, with slight change in routine too. For example, play time getting extended in mornings (provided there was no fog), a new school routine with more serious tone of work (post the large winter vacations) and less holidays to merry make. Although, in some way, we would feel sad, but the weather always told us to stay hopeful as another change would bring us a new routine!
For instance, for Bengalis, Sankranti is soon followed by “Saraswati puja” or popularly known as “Basant Panchami”, marking the full blown season of spring, dotted with blooming flowers and greenery everywhere.
My mother would often tell me that change to some, can get quite overwhelming, but when you celebrate it, it becomes a happy event and thereby, the change seems more welcoming and seemingly easy!
That’s why celebrating seasonal festivals is good, because it cleanses your mind and soul, and somehow preps you well for the upcoming change in season and maybe, even a routine.
That’s why even though, I don’t do anything more elaborate with these harvest festivals, but still I try and create a different aura at home, to make it feel different that before!
Even I see my son, responding well to the change via festivity of some kind. He looks forward to a different menu, different home décor, maybe a temple visit or visiting some festival related event or simply gathering with friends and family, to spread the cheer! The sheer joy and twinkle in his eyes are more than enough to convince me, that I am doing maybe something right, to make him feel happy!
After all, as parents, we need to create happy memories, to strengthen a happy solid foundation for our children. This will serve as the impetus for their solid growth in the future years! So to me, as a parent, seasonal festivals like harvest festivals are the perfect platform to teach them to value and embrace change, of any kind!
It is the time the days are on the coldest and when first harvest of the year is done in most of the parts of India where the food grains are worshiped in different ways.Are the festivals of Lohri, Makarsankranti and Pongal basically the same? Celebrated on the January 13th and 14th respectively and for the same reason, different states of India celebrate these auspicious day in different ways. Rejoicing in the fruits of harvest.
How can you tell who is celebrating which one? Make sure to save this so you can reference back to it later.
Well, firstly different people call it by different names.
Lohri in Punjab
Celebrated by Punjabi Indians on the 13th of January, this day is marked by a bon fire, colorful clothes music and dancing. Popcorn, sesame, chikki are enjoyed.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14 January every year.This particular festival is celebrated by many more states, in different ways. This day is marked differently by the element of traditional prayers and kite flying.
Delhi and Haryana – Churma of ghee, halwa and kheer are cooked specially on this day. One brother of every married woman visits her home with a gift of some warm clothing for her and her husband’s family. It is called “Sidha”. Women used to give a gift to their in-laws, and this rituals called “Manana”. The recipient will sit in a haweli (main palace where men sit together and share hookka). Women go to haweli to sing folk songs and give gifts.
Rajasthan and West Madhya Pradesh
“Makar Sankrati” or “Sankrat” in the Rajasthani language is one of the major festivals in the state of Rajasthan. The day is celebrated with special Rajasthani delicacies and sweets such as pheeni (either with sweet milk or sugar syrup dipped), til-paati, gajak, kheer, ghevar, pakodi, puwa, and til-laddoo.
Specially, the women of this region wear black as it absorbs heat the most and observe a ritual in which they give any type of object (related to household, make-up or food) to 13 married women. The first Sankranti experienced by a married woman is of significance as she is invited by her parents and brothers to their houses with her husband for a big feast. People invite friends and relatives (specially their sisters and daughters) to their home for special festival meals (called as “Sankrant Bhoj”). People give out many kind of small gifts such as til-gud (jaggery), fruits, dry khichadi, etc. to Brahmins or the needy ones.
Kite flying is traditionally observed as a part of this festival.On this occasion the sky in Jaipur and Hadoti regions is filled with kites, and youngsters engage in contests trying to cut each other’s strings.
Celebrated in Tamil Nadu, this is a grand festival of four days. Day 1 marks Bhogi Pandigai, Day 2 is Thai Pongal, Day 3 Maattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal is celebrated on day 4. The festival is celebrated four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.
This same festival is known as Kicheri in Uttar Pradesh and involves ritual bathing. There is a compulsion to bathe in the morning while fasting; first they bathe then they eat sweets such as til ladoo and gud laddo (known as tillava in Bhojpuri). At some places new clothes are worn on this day. It is said that if you do not bath on this day, you will fall upon bad luck the rest of the year. Khichi is prepared. Kite flying and (sesame seeds) and gud (jaggery) are found in the songs sung on this day.
In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known Poush Parbon (It falls on 14 January on the Western calendar.) All sections of society participate in a three-day begins on the day before Sankranti and ends on the day after. The freshly harvested paddy and the date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali is used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and ‘khejurer gur’ (date palm jaggery) and known as ‘Pitha’ . The Goddess Lakshmi is usually worshipped on the day of Sankranti.
So you see, even though celebrated for the reason, the colorful states of India each celebrate this day in numerous different ways and on different days. Observing the celebrations is a great indicator of the heritage of a person and what part of India they belong to.
Did you know this about these festivals? Do you know any more differences? Feel free to share the same below
The origin of Diwali is a wonderful way to explain to children, how good always conquers evil. The many stories that form the foundation of this world celebration, are a lesson in life about how to always stand true when faced with difficult choices. You may be surprised to learn, Diwali is celebrated across different sub cultures of India for various reasons. And thus, holds an extremely special meaning in the lives of many. Contrary to popular belief, not all Indians traditionally follow the same Hindu culture and yet, Diwali is one of the most auspicious days in the lives of many. People from different parts of India celebrate this day for different reasons.
Lord Ram, the most beloved prince and son is sent to exile by his father because of a promise he made to one of his wives (granting any two wishes when she wants). Laxman, his devoted brother chooses to go on exile with his brother and sister in law Sita. After years of hardships, Sita one day sees a deer she desires and on her behest Sri Ram and Laxman go after it. She consequently gets kidnapped by Raavan when she crosses the Laxman rekha (a spellbound line made outside their home to keep her safe by her brother in law). Ram and Laxman slay Raavan, saving her with the help of Hanuman an ardent devotee of Sri Ram. They all come back home to Ayodhya (on Diwali) among great pomp and show only to send her into exile all on her own when a citizen of the city raises a question of her purity after living with Raavan for so many years. She goes into the forest where she brings up her two sons. After years, when his sons cross his path in battle, Lord Ram goes back to bring his wife home. She in turn chooses to go back to Mother Earth instead. The Return of the Pandavas: Another story about the origins of the Diwali is within the great epic ‘Mahabharata,’ it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the five Pandavas (brothers Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva) appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.
In South India, Lord Krishna slaying Narakasura. Narakasura was a demon drunk with power stole the earrings of Aditi (mother of all Devas) and kidnapped 16000 women. The Devas were unable to stop him and so they went to Lord Vishnu to reincarnate as Krishna, so as to destroy the evil demon and save the women.
Marwaris and Gujratis
Diwali is the new year time for Marwaris and Gujaratis. This is when the merchants close the accounts of the old year and pray to the goddess of wealth that the new year should open with even bigger increase of trade. Kali Chaudas is devoted to the worship of Maha-Kali or Shakti as this is the day Kali killed the wicked Raktavija. Also referred to as Narak-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is the day to abolish laziness and evil. Thus, many regions pray to Goddess Laxmi (giver of weath) on this day. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, emerging from a feud between the gods and demons, who were tangled in a race to obtain the nectar of immortality. Consulting Lord Vishnu in this pursuit, they could successfully churn the nectar of immortality from Goddess Lakshmi, who chose Vishnu to be her companion, consequently Lord Vishnu carried goddess Lakshmi to the heavens.
To the Jains it marks the day after Lord Mahavira attained nirvana. He was released from his worldly body on the night of the full moon. So the people of Pavapuri, where he attained nirvana, lit lamps in their doorways as a symbol of their guru’s enlightenment.
According to Myth Gyan , Mahavira attained Moksha at the dawn of the Amavasya (new moon). He was cremated at Pawapuri. It is believed that many Gods were present there illuminating the darkness. But the following night was pitch black.
So people illuminate their houses in order to symbolically keep the light of their master’s knowledge alive.
This day for Sikhs celebrates the release of Guru Hargobindji along with 52 Indian kings who were imprisoned along with him at the Gwalior fort by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1619. This day is thus also known as Bandi Chorr Diwas (meaning the day of freedom).
Diwali is also celebrated in Nepal and the Indian states of Assam, Sikkim and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The five-day festival in these places is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows and dogs who maintain an intense relationship with humans.
It was the new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) when the 19th-century scholar Maharshi Dayananda, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism and the founder of Arya Samaj, attained his nirvana. Dayananda’s great mission was to ask humankind to treat one another as brothers through practices of nobility.
In history, this day is celebrated as the coronation day of One of the greatest of Hindu kings, Vikramaditya. He was crowned on the Diwali day. The legendary emperor, who may have been a historical figure or based on one, is thought of as the ideal king, known for his generosity, courage, and patronage of scholars. Thus, Diwali became a historical event as well.
And thus, this day is celebrated across five days,
1. Dhanteras.2. Choti Diwali (Naraka Chaturdasi).3. Badi Diwali (Laxmi Puja).4. Naya Saal (New Year).5. Bhai Dooj. Many today, celebrate this day the whole month as the only time to rejoice available is on weekends. What is your reason to celebrate?
What does this conversation about origins of Diwali teach kids?
His hands slid down his brief case and before I knew it, they were on me. He pressed and pushed and groped. I sat stunned, unable to move. Praying for my bus stop to come. In a bus full of people, I was paralyzed. Voiceless. The bus stopped, finally. I rushed out of there, went home and told my aunt what happened.
Her response, “It’s your fault. Why didn’t you just get up?!”
I felt like I had been slapped. Why didn’t I get up and leave? What had been stopping me? Nothing!
After this, I knew better. I would get up when I sensed a man reaching for me. Before long, I would turn around and snap at the people next to him. Or just turn away. Or worse, ignore and walk way.
From an innocent 17, I went to a 22 year old expecting men to assault me wherever I walked. In India, it’s a silent acceptance that this is a regular occurrence.
There is anger but NO surprise when men touch your inappropriately, lech at you, cat call or even masturbate in front of you.
This blind acceptance is one of the roots of all sexual assault. It is accepted. And so when such incidents happen, some people think, “It happens. Deal with it.”
It is only after I’ve had a daughter that I have come to accept that a teenager, unless told how to handle a situation will not know how to react in any sexual situation. Be it assault or otherwise. My call to action in such situation was tell dad and mom, and that is what I thought I would do. That THEY (our guardians) would take action. And it is only recently, that I have come to question this blind acceptance.
No one says, THIS SHOULD JUST STOP.
Every group of girls sitting around has war scars of being assaulted. There are a lot of hows, but no whys. Moreover why is it that us girls are blamed for what happens to us?
Of all these, the only true reason for victim blaming is denial. Girls who are assaulted are blamed or not believed is because those who are doing the blaming are thinking, “This would NEVER happen to me.”
They are sitting on their high horse, thinking they are above it all. Either they have been through it, accepting it as something that happens naturally OR they have never experienced it, secretly hoping they never DO. For they are following some set para-dimes that they feel will keep them safe.
Whereas the one and only solution to this is raising men with awareness. Raising women with empathy.
Today I understand that my aunt having two sons and being of a certain age had maybe forgotten the shame, desperation and disgust a girl feels.
I never forgot what happened. I also never forgot what was said to me after. About me. How it made me feel so much worse. For what the man had done was natural to him. But I had thought my aunt would be the one protecting me.
I never forget. Not because I have a girl.
But because I have a boy, who is going to go out in the world. I have the responsibility as a mother, a woman and most importantly a human being to protect those around us to the best of my ability. To teach my son what it means to treat girls/women with respect. To tell him, what it means to be a good boyfriend. A great husband.
PASSING THE TORCH
A couple of weeks ago, he (now 7) said, “I don’t want to get married because I don’t like kissing girls. I don’t know why people have girl friends.”
I responded, “The best age to have a girl friend or boyfriend is when you are 20 because by then you have some understanding on how to be a good boyfriend or girlfriend. You have to care for them like dad cares about me. They are your responsibility.”
“Then why do teenagers have girlfriends?”
“Because some people think it is a matter of being cool. Sometimes you just like someone, and want to be around them more. But if you want to be a GOOD boyfriend, you have to know it is work, just like studying or being married. You have to be kind, gentle and loving.”
“Yuck! I don’t want to do all that with girls now. I think I will wait for when I’m old enough. “
Yes, there will be those out there who tell me he’s too young. But it is these very conversations that add up to a mentality in a society.
The only way to stop the vicious circle of sexual assault & victim blaming is to understand, that is is someone’s child who is going through something. It can happen to anybody. And this is not something that ANY VICTIM just forgets. It haunts them for the rest of their lives. And shows up in subtle ways.
So, there is certainly nothing wrong when it haunts the person who does the assault either. That is what is called justice. We need examples for our children, that we can say, THIS is what happens when you take scar someone. And THIS is absolutely why when we put men in power who have disrespected women or stay silent when another is being assaulted/harassed, we exemplify this horrendous behavior which seems to have No consequence.
It is up to us, to be a gentle world. To believe. To act. To empower the children of tomorrow with kindness and respect.
To stand up and say, “No MORE!”
How are you stopping the cycle of victim blaming? What are you doing to STOP this vicious cycle of assault and blame?
Aditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children and IndiFusion Creative Academy. Impromptu dance parties and trips to the library with her little ones are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the HuffingtonPost, Thrive Global, RMB and is author in “When You Are Done Expecting ”. Her own book Strong Roots Have No Fear comes out soon.
I an Indian, born and brought up in a small north Indian town named Roorkee. Ours is a land where both modern and traditional way of life manage to survive hand in hand. Here medicine, science, modern technology, old wives tales and superstition all keep jostling each other for space on the same platform.
I always believed that coming from a family where education is valued above all else, I had left the ‘knock-on-wood’ world far behind. I believed this ,that is, until I thought the word “baby” out aloud.
Let me tell you having a baby is just not simply conceiving a baby and carrying to term. It is also not only delivering the baby and then focusing on keeping your sanity while raising the child.
Yes, having a baby is all this and it is also dodging landmines of dangers lurking in every corner, waiting to attack. Dangers that are above and beyond the explainable logical world.
No matter how educated or modern an average Indian family is, the minute a (much awaited) baby knocks on their world, everything changes.
[bctt tweet=”Most modern Indian families turn to old wives talesthe minute things go wrong for their bundle of joy. ” username=”contactrwc”]
I learned that an Indian baby is apparently a ‘magnet’ for all the roving evil eyes in the world. The minute I broke the news of the pregnancy to both the would-be grandmothers, all the possible dangers in the land of the evil became real.
Out came the spools of black thread, packets of chili, and salts. The only way I was allowed to step out of the house was with various threads and amulets hanging around my neck(to ward off the evil EYE) and armed with onion and garlic(to ward off evil SPIRITS ). It was at this point that I realized that I it is not just the seen that you are battling with but also the unseen.
At this point if you try to appeal to the progressive men in the family, they simply nod and go back to their newspapers. Afterall, why take a chance and it’s just chili that is being burnt and salts being thrown and neither is frightfully expensive.
Giving Birth to My Cute Evil Eye Magnet
So, after dodging all the dangers and managing to stay alive, you give birth to the precious baby. This particular tiny person has a magnetic field so strong that every roving evil eye on the planet finds it’s way directly and sticks to it.
Indian grandmothers come fitted with special antennas that come out the minute the baby is out of the womb. In a world where thousands of babies are born every second, these antennas can pick up the exact number of times their precious little person has been cast upon with the evil eye.
Even before putting clothes on the baby we put a black dot on the baby’s face. This is a very “smart” dot, which stares right back at anyone trying to cast an evil eye on the baby and provides round the clock protection.
Next level of security are the black and red threads, these come with the tag ‘protecting-babies-since-eternity’.
Only once all the security measures are in place is the baby introduced to the world. As a new mother leaving the house with the baby meant carrying the essentials like onion, garlic and of course the baby bag, might need a diaper or something.
As the world knows babies tend to fall sick, but not every sneeze, cough or crying spell can be explained through science or medicine. It might be the doing of one of the well wishers secretly casting an evil eye, and being the strong magnet that the poor little kid is, results in getting sick.
After surviving the initial zombie, new mom phase, I felt I now have the hang of things. I decided to go back to my life and was sent packing with bags full of chili along with the other security measures and the grandmothers teary eyed blessings.
Once we kind of settled down some of our friends decided to come and visit the baby. It was a pleasant evening, with us showing off our little person, until the last guest left. That was the moment the baby started crying, so we changed, fed and walked the baby. The crying turned to screaming so we checked for any fever or discomfort.
Still after one hour of trying all we can the screaming would not stop and we were on the verge of panic. We decided to pack up and run to the grandmothers and never return without one of them. That is when an alternate solution hit me and I went running for the forgotten chili and salts. Once again the unexplained rescued us. Baby just calmed down.
I have been playing part time sorceress since, as and when needed, because why take a chance. I have been surviving my mom life with the help of Google, both the grand mothers and of course the additional security measures of divine help, all in that order.
So even though none of us would call ourselves superstitious people but when it comes to our kids, we walk a very fine line. Iphones in one hand and chili in the other, we keep battling parenting. We try to balance logic with the illogical, because why would anyone want to take a chance?
Shalini Tyagi is an Indian,born and brought up in India,currently living in Dubai. She is mother of two school going children and is a stay at home mom. An avid reader, she has recently forayed into blogging to bring to light her writing skills. She hosts her own website tyagishalinid.com.
Transgenders! Around the world, the word itself still raises eyebrows. Various derogatory remarks even get passed about them. In recent times in India, at least, the acceptance towards them is slow but not enough.
For the past three decades, that I had witnessed, their inbuilt complex had stopped them from moving ahead in any direction. In India, their presence at the red light areas for begging or their dance during any family function (which is considered auspicious), just for the sake of money, is a common scenario. The fact that they traditionally have often harassed people to give them money has not lent to their credibility. One should wonder though why begging for money is their main resort to earn.
Only a few among them are seen at schools or any other institute of “repute” for getting education or any relevant information.
Sometimes, even their basic needs-using the loo or getting adequate education or even love, are not met. Many have faced violence and rejection from their families and religious communities. The litigation and people’s indifferent attitude has also lead to major social adjustment problems for them.
Why can’t we (the so called educated people) educate the transgenders along with other children, instead of making faces? Let them use the washrooms freely, instead of considering them with suspicion ?
It is ironical that their blessings / curse are considered superstitiously of great power but we dread to give them a standing in society.
We can certainly change that by passing on the lineage of respecting them to our children? We can provide job opportunities without any bias to the deserving candidate, instead of fearing about our reputation?
Yes, everything can be done. But when this ‘can’ will change into ‘should’, only time will tell.
The live example of the success of their community is Laxmi, a transgender who when provided with few opportunities and when she had overcome her own complex, had made heads turned wherever she entered.
She is a transgender rights activist, Hindi film actress, and a trained Bharatnatyam dancer in Mumbai, India. She is also the first transgender to represent Asia Pacific in UN in 2008.
[bctt tweet=”More transgenders need to take a stand like Laxmi and feel free to stand for their rights.” username=”contactrwc”]
A great example of – Where there is a will there is a way!
But for the other members of this community, this will needs to be generated and encouraged. It will definitely give a boost not only to their morale but also to the working potential of any country leading to more success and more respect. What do you think we could do to integrate transgenders into our society ?
Ruchika Rastogi, an Indian who was born and brought up in Delhi. She loves to explore the unexplored. A mother of two lovely kids, she works as a teacher and her passion for writing has helped her survive during her hard times. Her first non fiction book got published last year with the name-A Mystical Majesty-the woman. As a contributing author, her anthology with the title–Wait Till I Tell You got launched recently. With dreams in her eyes, she believes in living life optimistically.
Indian culture is rich with stories sharing life lessons, morals, traditions and values. From the time immemorial, stories have been a mode of instruction to emphasize values and morals. Not only to children but also to grown-ups. Stories are part of their lives.
In ancient days, stories were mostly told by people. From being written on rocks, stones and some leaves they were carried on by mothers and grandmothers as bedtime stories. Much later they were printed on books. Today stories are made into real with the aid of animations. The conspicuous fascination for stories has still been enthusiastically growing.
The folklore and fables have been an eternal part of every culture since ages. India, a country known for its diverse religions, languages and cultures has a monumental range of tales and short stories. Indian folklore has a wide variety of historical stories and mythological legends, which emerge from all walks of life.
Two epic stories Mahabharata and Ramayana are so popular not only because of their character but also for its abundant source of life lessons and moral values. There are many interesting and famous stories that range from the remarkable Panchatantra Tales to Hitobadesh Stories, from Aesop Fables to, from Grandma Tales of life to Stories of Akbar and Birbal.
Children really enjoy reading and listening to stories. Children are fascinated by stories of animals and birds, kings and queens, fairies and adventures. And Indian stories have all of these in abundance and more.
Kids get involved to a greater extent because their imagination derives from these tales. Each story gets deep rooted in the hearts of children with value.
Children love to dream. The world of fancy and fantasy is the privilege of their childhood. And stories justify these attempts to nurture their imagination and foster moral values. Mostly every story is concluded with an appropriate moral. The stories will not only entertain the children but also inculcate the sublime virtues and worldly wisdom in them.
Panchatantra stories, Jataka Tales, Thenaliraman Tales, Vikram and Vedhal, were my son’s favorites during his childhood. We enjoyed our nights through our bedtime stories.
As a mother, I am often disappointed though nowadays, because of the disappearing love for stories. Also I feel in the digital age there is a dire lack of value based storytelling.
Really story telling is an art and story teller is an artist. When told right, a story has the power to magically inculcate children with not only morals but bring them face to face with their culture and heritage as well.
Some personal tips on developing the skill of it.
Dedicated Reading Time
You can select any convenient time for you and your kids to tell stories. Mostly I prefer night time to share Bedtime Stories. Really the story time will be a bonding time for your family.
Enact The Story
While telling the stories, you act and make music. Parents making funny voices and getting the kids involved in the process makes the stories impact stronger.
Pause At The Right time
Let the kids guess what comes next. Ask them what they would have done in the same situation. This builds thinking power.
Leave Room for Discussion
Stories of long ago or a mythology have concepts hard to understand. Encourage kids to talk, discuss, share and express. Parents should respond, encourage, listen and guide. Parents should respect kid’s feelings and thoughts. Let them ask question and even disagree with what the story says. Don’t stop reading that story to them, though. That teaches them to learn to agree to disagree.
Painting and creating art work after they hear a story will let You see what the children actually thought of the story.
Share Your Memories
Let kids into your life with the history of your family and what you thought when you first heard the story. Discuss with the kids what you thought and ask them what they think of your opinion.
Games And More
For stories of mythology and history which have complicated names, it is a good idea to create games. Give points for guessing the protagonist of a certain story is and what happened. Another amazing way is to have the kids pretend to be they are one of the characters and play a game of dumb charades with them.
Story telling is the first and foremost step to introducing kids to any new culture, and specially their own heritage. Be the story teller of your family. And don’t just limit yourself to your own culture. Choose different countries and find what their mythology or history says!
Vasantha Vivek loves to call herself as a happy woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, friend, mentor, seeker, lover. She’s from Kovilpatti, a small town of Southern Tamilnadu of India. She was a teacher by profession. She worked as a professor at an Engineering College for nearly 15 years. She has learned a lot as a teacher. She hopes that she had inspired some hearts during that period. Teaching is her passion Reading is her love. Cooking is her heart. She enjoys reading and writing very much. You can find her @mysweetnothings on Facebook and Twitter.