TV, Mobile & Kids. Is that you?

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I have a kids book reading club and most of the time I have the parents asking me this question time and again, ” How to make the child interested in reading books?” So  I have written this article for them which I am sure can help.

Two decades back it was an easy sight to watch a child with story books in hand. We have grown up reading Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Enid Blyton and Mills & Boons. Reading books had been part of our lives and there was so much we imagined when reading these books. Right from fairy tales, to magical world to adventure stories of the sea, books had given us a big world of imagination. The characters stood alive in front of our eyes taking us to a new adventure along. Our summer vacation always started with a to-be-read list of books. Comics like Amar Chitra Katha, Chacha Choudhary, Tintin, Phantom were a big favorite of children at that time. Even the adults indulged in story telling sessions. I remember my childhood when all the children of the colony would assemble in my granny’s room in the evenings to listen to her stories. She would narrate tales of mythologies, folklore and fairy tales and all of us would just listen to her mesmerized.

Things have changed today. Granny’s storytelling sessions are now replaced by games on iPad or smart phones, books have been replaced by YouTube and TV channels and our living rooms, which decades back used to be the meeting place of all the family members in the evenings has now been replaced by smart televisions that have two screens running with two different channels at the same time. Whatsapp and Facebook updates have replaced our family discussions. It’s only the TV or apps on Smartphones that do the speaking in the living room now while the family members are mute spectators only.

Children don’t read books nowadays because they have never seen an adult reading a book. I remember my parents always with a novel in their hand most of the time when at home. Whenever they got a time out of their work they would love to indulge in reading books, magazines or newspaper. So as a child, I was familiar with the presence of books at home. Right from spiritual to Epics to thrillers and dramas, the collection of books, by my parents was huge. However, if we talk about today, most of the parents don’t read books at home. They read emails, whats app messages or Facebook updates most of the time. So a child easily becomes familiar with these instead.

So it is us, the parents, the adults at home, whom the child watches and behaves accordingly. If you want your child to love reading books then you got to love it first. You can easily start this by choosing a reading den in your house. Remember, how your daddy loved to spend long evening hours sitting in the easy chair in the corner of the drawing room reading his favorite author. Find out a similar corner for yourself in your home. Here are few things you need to make yourself comfortable there. A chair to sit comfortably, reading lights and a book shelf where you can keep your favorite author’s book. Once you are ready, sit with your favorite beverage and make yourself comfortable with a book in your hand. The first day, the second day, the third day I bet your child will follow you there with his favorite story book.

Kids are like the wet cement. Whatever you imprint on their mind will remain with them forever. Your work does not end here. Once you find your child has shown interest in reading books you have to make his books accessible to him everywhere in the house. The reason because children are restless and they won’t spend more than few minutes in one place, unlike the adults. So make a similar den for them in those areas where they access more like the living room, balcony, their room, dining area or play room. Unlike adults they don’t need much, just the bookcase, couch or rugs with few throw pillows on the floor are more than enough for them. kids-1136296__340

They will shift their positions many times while reading so they need space. One thing that you must always take care of is the reading light. Whichever place your child choose to sit and read should have adequate reading light otherwise it may affect the eyes. A bookcase near the child’s bed is always a good idea. You can always read him out a story before putting him to sleep. This will help him develop the habit of the reading book before going to sleep. As a parent, you have to ensure a good supply of books for your child. If the bookshelves don’t have new books the reading habit may suffer. You can do that by taking your child to bookstores once a month, or book fairs or you can even sign up with some children book clubs online. There are several Book Clubs online nowadays. Choose one which is nearby your area and join in the physical meetups. This will help increase interaction among the like-minded souls and the children will develop an interest in books in a better way.learning-164332__340

Today ebooks are the trend in the market. When the world is digitized so are the books. With free reading apps, it is very easy to read books on iPad or Smartphone or any other gazettes. Moreover, it is easier to make children read ebooks as they are already gazette freak. Ebooks ease the need of stacking physical books. You can carry thousands of books at a time with the ebook readers like kindle, kobo, nook. Audiobooks are also in trend these days wherein a book is in audio format and the reader is a listener. This is especially useful for those kids who are unable to read on their own. By listening to the narration they can enjoy the book. It also enhances their listening skills.iPad-Mock-up-ebook1 copy

Below is the list of few Indian writing paperbacks and ebooks that can be an interesting read for your child.

  1. Grow Up Messy! by Paromita Goswami ( Ages 10+)
  2. Malgudi daysby R. K Narayan  (Ages 10+)
  3. The Rusty Series by Ruskin Bond (Ages 10+)
  4. The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, (Ages 8+)
  5. His share of sky by Rashmi Narzary (Ages 10+)
  6. Amar Chitra Katha is all time favorite of the kids and can also teach them mythology, Indian history, and moral stories.
  7. Bookasura #2: Koobandhee by Arundhati Venkatesh (Ages 3+)
  8. Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon (Ages 11+)
  9. Famous Five by Enid Blyton (Ages 11+)
  10. Nancy Drew by Carolyne Keene (Ages 11+)

All these books are available on Amazon.in.

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Holla All!!

So still catching up on the valentine day blues. Don’t worry. Just enjoy a bit more.

I had a very different notion of The Day of Love from my son D. A preteen that he is, sometimes his actions give me hiccups. Lately when he was so impressed by the Flying Jatt Akka Tiger Shroff that D started imitating him. He would stand in front of the mirror for hours to make his hair style or watch his dance moves. I was so irritated sometimes.

D even made sure that his friends both at school and at home acknowledge him by that name. And there was no stopping for him. His hair was already touching his shoulders when I had to literally pull him into the salon for a decent hair cut. All the while as the man worked on his scissors D’s tears never stopped rolling down his cheeks. In the mirror, he was looking into my eyes and spitting venom for bringing this into him. I had to beg everybody in the salon to praise my son’s new look. And thankfully they did as long as we stayed there. That did pacify D a little. And on our way back home walking I coaxed few more of his friends to praise him. Finally when we reached home and he stood in front of the mirror to check upon his new look, the crew cut. It took him weeks to fall in love with his hair style again.

I mentioned the above incident to show how children grow up sooner now a days. At his age few decades back we were pretty dumb to understand what was Valentine’s Day. But today’s generation know it. THE DAY OF LOVE is pretty well observed by them. Fair enough!

So I watched D board the school bus. He had taken little bit more effort to get dressed that morning. Lately, he had been asking questions about girls and females. So I had no doubts that my son was going to school on a mission.

While he was away I drowsed myself in watching Pretty Women on TV. It was the nth time I was watching it and somehow it always succeeded in grabbing my attention no matter what. I forgot the count of time. I watched Richard Gere climb up the iron ladder to rescue his love of life, Julia Robert and it stole my heart as usual.

Damn! My son wasn’t home yet? Where has he been? He is never late. Most of the students skipped school because of the final examination preparation that was due on 17th. So I had no clue where to look for him. He had the habit of collecting kites from the terrace that the wind brings in sometimes, so I was hoping he will be home any minute with one or two more kites in hand. But even after five minutes of pushing myself over the balcony railing to have a good glimpse of the road below I had no sign of D. I grew restless and ran down the stairs.

I found D sitting on the stairs just above the ground scribbling something on a piece of paper. He didn’t answer me when I asked what he was up to sitting there. He asked me to wait for him. I joined him and saw what he was doing.

On a small craft paper he was making some designs that looked more like a greeting card. So he was making a card for one of the girls in the colony. I didn’t have to guess who it might be. I had seen him talking about her to B, my husband his father, many often. So I guess he was pretty excited about the whole thing.

I went inside the house again to prepare food for him. Soon he joined me and informed that he wants candle light dinner. I sighed. Then all of a sudden he asked me to stand straight looking at him. I did.

In front of me was a boy with a shy smile on his face almost avoiding my gaze to surprise me. He bent down and touched my feet. Before I could understand what had happened he handed me the hand made greeting card and stood back longingly for my reaction. I opened the card that read in one of the most silly handwriting,

WISH YOU BOTH HAPPY PARENTING ON THIS DAY OF LOVE. LOVE YOU BOTH MOM AND PAPA FOR LOVING ME SO MUCH. I PROMISE TO DO GOOD IN FINAL EXAM. YOUR’S D.

The small note stole my heart. Love can have lots of meaning and one of them is parental love too. And how lovingly my son had chosen this day to declare his love for us.

HAPPY DAY OF LOVE to you all!

 

 

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Love is all about caring.