An Open Letter to Parents and Teachers!

Are We Adding to Emotional Stress of Our Children?


Dear Parents and Teachers

Did you ever think that you can be the reason of your child’s emotional unrest or distress?

Yeah! you read it right.

Few days back, just listening to young children on National Platform of MANODARPAN, an initiative by Ministry of Education, India, my belief that the young growing children need a sincere understanding from their parents and teachers got validated.

I am sure, we all as parents and teachers wish to see our children growing into happy, responsible and confident adults. We sure do. But how do we help them to achieve that goal? By constant reminders to study hard, if they don’t score well; they are screwed up for life, comparing them with their friends, judging them on the basis of their marks with scant regards for values and other skill sets that they need to develop, pushing them to live your dreams rather following their own. Right?

You know, dear parents and teachers, we need to acknowledge the following facts  to connect better with our children and support them grow into their best versions.

# 1. Different Time & Context

We must appreciate and acknowledge the fact that our children are living in totally different times and context than ours. Consequently, our very own understanding of their world is very limited. What worked at our times may not work in their times. Try to look at the things from their perspective; there is so much competition and judgement around. Growing up in a digital world we are on a juncture when we no longer can expect from them to not use digital devices. All schools have been banning mobiles into the classrooms and irony of the time is that entire schools are now being run on mobiles. It means we must focus more on teaching the right usage of digital devices in place of not using them altogether.

#2. Living in Hyper Inflated Balloons of Virtual World

Children today are living in social media created hyper inflated balloons where your image and reputation is more important than the real strength of character. How many likes and hits they get, defines their sense of worth. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real feeling for them. We need to be appreciating their real worth in real world so that they are less influenced by the falsehood imagery of virtual world. It simply means they must feel appreciated and loved at homes through our words, actions and behaviours.

What Can We Do?

Don’t Judge Children

As the old norms change and give rise to new normal, let us decide not to judge our children based on their marks. Let us value them for what they can do and achieve to their best. Instead of results, let us develop the vision to appreciate sincere efforts.

Don’t Compare Children

We are all unique. Let us understand the meaning of this sentence in its completeness. All children are born to be different. Imagine the world where everyone is the same. How boring would it be? Also understand that we can’t get children customized as per our wishes and desires. They are the products of so many factors taken together beyond our comprehension.

Appreciate their Uniqueness

Educate yourself to know the research backed information. The theory of Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardener makes it a common knowledge that we are all innately designed to be good at different tasks. Some of us would be good at interpersonal skills, some at musical abilities, some at mathematical and reasoning abilities, some at linguistic abilities while some other at scientific enquiries. In nutshell we are all unique and it is no rocket science to understand this.

Support Them be at Their Best

Knowing the theory and real-life manifestation of MI, our job as parents and teachers is to support our children be at their best. It means we must focus to strengthen their innate talents rather than spending our time on improving their weakness. It means, if your child is good at Languages and Social Sciences and struggles at Mathematics; you must focus on further strengthening the strengths and manage the weakness. In this case, a career must be carved out of humanities rather than Sciences.

Provide Opportunities to Explore Beyond Academics

All children must be provided ample opportunities to explore their interests and skills beyond academics. It means creating and availing opportunities for your child to identify what interests her. Let children play and engage in dance, music, arts and craft and sports as well. The very notion that children good at academics are successful in life is being challenged by every day proofs that most successful people around you were not all toppers in their schools.

Trust Them

Children must be trusted. Habitual distrust leads to low self-esteem. Don’t assume that your child is out with friends to indulge in wrong doings only or you must know everything about them for the time when they are away from you. In order to know them better, engage positively with them rather than spying on them. Remember, teenagers hate being distrusted. The more you show distrust the further they get away from you. Your trust in their capabilities and sincere appreciation of their efforts helps them develop self worth, so essential to their growth.

Don’t Tag or Label Children

The worst thing you as parents can do is to tag or label them. While growing, children go through various phases and stages. If you label the normal naughtiness of your child as notoriety and always bring that out in to your conversations with others, believe me your children will prove you right for the same over time. If you ever have heard the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy, Read More you would better understand it. If you ever have to tag, consciously tag them with good labels. That also would be fulfilled over time.

Treat Children with Respect

Always treat your children with respect. Just because they are younger to you in age, does not mean that you have the right to find faults at all times with them. They might not be right at all times but they deserve respectful guidance and corrections. Also remember you can never get the right settled in anyone through making them feel miserable. In order to help them discover the right, your job is of mentor, coaching, guiding and being there. You never slap your children when they  fall down and are injured. You pick them out of love and comfort them. Just try to understand emotional fall. Be there to hold hands and guide through when they  go wrong, no body makes mistakes intentionally. How you guide them out defines how they value themselves.

I believe, educating and updating ourselves with research facts as per the changing times and context, we sure can understand our children and support them be their best versions.

Let us be at our best!


How can Parents Support Emotional Health of their Children?

Another academic year and children are yet not going to school.  We must acknowledge that this year it is tougher than the previous year so we all must be doing our best to keep our children emotionally stronger and help them build resilience. Of course, academic learning of our children is on the back foot but we educators and parents can support them in learning Life- skills; courage, resilience, empathy, compassion, kindness, reaching out, humanity…all values so essential for the survival. Let us look at this tough time as a mandatory class planned for all of us by Nature so let us support our children in growing emotionally stronger and resilient!

So what can we do as parents?

Understand that children are the worst impacted. Their routines and schedules are all disrupted. Though many schools are taking classes online yet no digital mode can take the place of face to face interactions. The children are missing their friends, their meals together, their pranks, their sports, their hobby classes…everything that made their lives full of life. So be  compassionate. Involve them in home chores with you. Listen to them. Engage them in physical activities. Let them connect digitally with their friends. Promote reading and writing. Promote some activity. Above all, build on through your faith and conviction that This too shall pass!

Though this blog was written last year when we all faced the Lockdown first time and experienced its vagaries most of it is still valid, perhaps more than the last year, so sharing again.


Maya Angelou

Read More…

How to Choose the Right School for Children? Parental Guide

What Aspects must be looked into?

Every year the most stressful time for parent community is when the new school sessions are about to start and you struggle to find the right schools for your Pre-schoolers.

Or maybe you have relocated and are trying to select a good school at the new place.

Or maybe you are not happy with the current school of your child and trying to look for some other school at the same place.

Most of you young parents are confused as to how must you select the school? Should you go for a big established school or an upcoming one? What all must you look for in a school? Do the results define a school? Should you go for State Boards, CBSE or ICSE Schools?

Selecting a school implies that you are putting your child on a learning trajectory. Through this article, I am sharing the insights based on observations and experience which will help you to make right choice.

In order to make the right choice, you must make your observations on the following parameters and look deeper in to these aspects.

Competence of the Faculty

Are they well qualified and trained?

What methodology do they follow?

How to check that?

In case you are physically verifying, visiting the school, it is obvious when you talk to them. You can see, feel and get vibes of the same. Experience & expertise speaks for itself.

In case you are looking into the schools through websites, try to find more about them by asking the parents of the children who study there.

You must ensure that the school meets the highest standards of excellence in terms of its teachers, their methodology of teaching learning, academic curriculum and moral standards.

 Ethos of the School

Is it loving & caring?

Does it radiate concern for children?

How to check that?

Choose to visit the school if possible. You can feel positive energy and vibes.

Also take notice as to how are people in general talking to each other, do they talk politely and with courtesy to each other? Are they comfortable with each other?

Most importantly, how do the seniors relate with their subordinates? Is there a feel of fear? There may be a feel of authority but if it is wrapped in love and concern, it is okay. But if it is only authority without humanity, you may have to reconsider.

Class Strength and Teacher Student Ratio

Big Class Strength, Multi-sectional School with Super facilities

Average Class Strength, 2/3 section school with basic facilities in place

How to decide?

In a class with 30-32 students, the teachers will be personally able to attend to every student’s individual learning needs.

In big class sizes and in very big schools, individual attention starts fading out which is so crucial at least up to class 8th.

So, consider this factor based on the need, age and class of your child. How does your child learn; in group settings or individually? How much attention does she need to understand and master any concept?

Usually, in junior classes, the children need more of individual attention and ample practice to master the skills of reading writing and arithmetic. By secondary classes, children are grown up enough and have already mastered the basic skills so class size does not really make up much difference to the learning curve of children until there are real discipline issues at class level.

Teaching – Learning Experience and Overall Focus

Traditional old-fashioned teaching & focus on rote learning (memorization). Only academics are focused on.

Innovative, experiential learning with focus on learning by doing along with promoting multi-dimensional growth of children. Extracurricular activities like sports, music, arts & craft, dance &drama etc. are equally focused on.

How to find out?

Try to talk to the parents of the children or the senior students of the school. Look out for real evidences in and around.

For beginners and students up to class 8th at least, evidences of learning by doing must be a very important factor to make the choice of the school.

You can ask to see the school on some random working day and see it for yourself. Innovative, ever growing organizations have a vibrancy about themselves and opportunities of learning by doing are provided to children to help them explore their talent and skills.

What are the Motives of School?

Pure Education/ Pure Business

 Education with understanding of business/ Business with an understanding of real education

Pure education means the schools totally committed to the cause of education and are actively engaged in the growth and development of children.

Pure business means the schools are concerned more with the business aspects of running a school than the quality of teaching learning and growth & development of children.

But the point is pure educationists won’t ever have so much resources to run the school. So, there is least probability of coming across a school run for pure education. The school committed to the cause of education with understanding of business is the ideal choice. See, in real world any organization has to be economically self-sustaining. Such schools engage in real education with good quality faculty and nurturing ethos. In other words, the real value for the cost offered is delivered honestly.

How to check?

Try to find facts who are the people at the helm of affairs? Are they committed to the cause of education? Ask to see the people at key positions in the school. Talking to them and sharing your aspirations would give you a feel of what do they stand for, what philosophy do they follow. Appearances may be deceptive so talking to the parents of students already studying in the school will give you a fair picture.

Infrastructure & Facilities in the School

Basic Facilities

Five Star Facilities

How to decide?

The schools with basic infrastructure and good standard of cleanliness and greenery around serve the purpose. Neat and clean toilet facility, safe drinking water, a playground, laboratory and library also come under the basic facilities.

Some schools provide awe creating facilities which most of the times become the basis of your choice. You have to think critically as to how do such facilities add to the growth and development of your child. A.C classrooms, Buses, canteen etc. do not engage in real education so their availability and non-availability must not be a factor to select a school. In case you are considering the availability of such facilites as a factor to choose school, try to find out whether these facilities are for showcase or children are actually allowed to use them and develop. Find out whether labs are used or just stacked? A normal lab with ample uses is better than a well stacked big lab but minimal uses.

See during pandemic, we all have witnessed that buildings were at their own places yet the schools with focus on education have been able to provide an admirable teaching learning experience. So rationally you must select a school with all basic facilities in place, properly functional and utilized to the maximum.

Which Board the School is Affiliated to?

State Board/ CBSE/ ICSE

How to decide?

The choice of board will depend on the age & class of your child along with how often do you relocate. As a matter of fact, all schools up-to class 8thare recognized by the State Boards. For the board classes the schools are further affiliated to either the State Boards or CBSE or ICSE.

 Usually, the concepts taught in all schools are same as they are based on NCF (national Curriculum Framework) but pattern of asking questions in Board Classes is different.

So up-to class 8th, your choice must be governed by the other factors discussed (quality faculty, teacher-student ratio, education or business, and nurturing ethos.) and not by the Board.

But in case if you relocate (change place due to any reason) every two years, you may prefer a CBSE school as almost all of them follow the same pattern so your changing school will not impact your child’s studies although other factors would still make a difference.

Also, if you stay permanently at one place and aspire your child to go for state govt. jobs or seek admission into state colleges of higher studies in future, a State Board School with keeping other factors in mind can be a good choice.

Distance of the School from Home

A Big School with all facilities

A small school with normal facilities

How to decide?

Your selection of school in terms of distance from your home must depend on the age of your child. For preschoolers and primary classes, a school near to your home provided it has a caring ethos and focusses on learning by doing can be a good choice as it saves the child from tiring commuting schedule.

For beginners, the aim of starting school is to be able to develop a routine and spend some time away from home independently in the care of school and engage in creative activities.

For middle and Senior classes, you sure must look for lab, library and advance sports facilities. By that time, your child might have grown physical strength to bear the long travel and average time management skills to cope up with the time spent in daily commuting.

So, considering all these factors and mapping them to the age, need and class of your children will help you make a practical selection. Other factors, what do you base your decisions on, hearsay or your own needs and critical thinking, what values to you the most, what kind of environment do you look up for your child also will definitely impact selection of a school for your child. Whatever factors govern your choice, the minimum you must ensure is the real healthy growth and development of your child.

Making an Intelligent Choice is Imperative to Your Child’s Future!

Enjoy Happy Parenting!