WALK OF LIFE # 5: OUR SON’S BIRTHDAY

Do you know that as parents, you’re likely to be the most significant influencer in your child’s life? Kids demand time, love, affection, and uninterrupted attention from their parents, and when they lack that attention, they can lose self-confidence and social interaction in the long run.

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children,”. Charles R. Swindoll

As parents, we’re responsible for our children’s training and teaching. We believe that we’re quite successful in doing that. Within our over-occupied schedule, we regularly attempt to make our kids feel special and loved. However, there are rare times when we feel guilty of neglecting our kids, too, such as during exams or with additional home/work consignments.

Children demands attention in routine days, and when it’s their birthday, their urge for our time rises even more! Our son hoped to visit the Taronga Zoo on his birthday since last year, right after returning from the opulent tour of GoldCoast. Though we’ve seen other zoos all around Sydney, visiting Taronga Zoo is still on our travel wish list.

You may have heard about the famous Taronga Zoo before. It’s the largest zoo in Australia and is located at a height, offering breathtaking views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge at its highest point. We can imagine the splendid sights already, even without visiting.

Though sadly, we haven’t been lucky enough to make a trip to Taronga Zoo yet, because of the lockdown situation. The zoo is closed until further notice, so we’re waiting till it opens again. But since our son’s big day was arriving this week, we’ve chosen to make a mouth-watering, home-made Mud cake for him for the first time! (Our sons can go nuts for a mud cake!). A minor effort to make him feel special on his birthday.

The delicious, double-chocolate layer Mud Cake. Made by Mummy and Daddy.

Our younger son, Ayaan, turned seven this month! It’s so exciting for us to see him grow and developing maturity as the years pass by. Our son is an intelligent and talented, 1st-grade student. He’s working to building his channel ‘Ayaan’s Fun World‘ on YouTube. Please read the full story of initiating his YouTube channel Here.

We made the Double-chocolate layer mud cake with Green’s Cake Mix‘ in Chocolate Mud (we’ll review the cake in our upcoming posts). We celebrated his birthday at home, keeping the social distancing rules in mind. 

We’re pleased to see that our son enjoyed mixing, decorating and serving the cake, specially made for him by his Mum and Dad! He was full of the joys of spring. He showed his gratitude later in the night.

Cupcakes by Ayaan’s Aunt

Final words

As parents, there should be no excuse to neglect our kids even in the lockdown. What’s the big deal? If we can’t take them to the outdoors, park, play area, attractions or for sports. What matters most for your kids is your time, attention, care, involvement, and communication. Expressing your prudence by simple things such as cooking their favourite food, playing a board game, or watching their favourite movie, can be a real game-changer for your journey of parenting.

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7 TIPS FOR MOMS TO STUDY WHILE RAISING KIDS

Considering going back to uni, but worried about studying with kids?

Hi, I’m Sana, a full-time student and a mum of two. I started studying in 2012 and graduated 3 years ago. With the support of my husband and his family, I’m currently studying a postgraduate course. Here’s my journey as a student.

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Let’s set the scene. You’re a stay at home full-time mum, and you love what you do. You’re fulfilling all your responsibilities towards raising your kids. Whether you’re thinking of enrolling in a course or you’re a returning student after pregnancy and birth, it’s like a fantasy to start your education, isn’t it?

As a mom, you have a few options, such as if you ask your husband to help with house chores, or you can choose to study part-time. But again, studies can be occasionally overwhelming.

I certainly understand what you’re more worried about: Studying with kids! ‘How can I concentrate on studying while the toddlers are around? Will I fail to balance between my responsibilities towards my children and study? How will I cope up with other chores and family commitments during assessments?’. These are the concerns you often have.

Hey Mom! Don’t worry at all. In this blog post, I’m sharing how I’ve been able to balance between studies and kids from the last 8 years!

1. Schedule your study time

I used to leave study time until the end of the day, in the hope of kids falling asleep at night. But it was impossible to make it a reality because after a long tiring day of house chores and job, I had no more energy left to focus on the assignments.

Then, I hung a day planner on the fridge door. Since then, I’ve been able to manage my study time within house chores as I get reminded of my day plans every time I use the fridge (Must be at least 100 times a day!)

This simple planner sheet I found on Nurse Clara’s Blog has been beneficial. Just write your tasks for each day, and tick whatever is completed. Ticking all the boxes provides a sense of accomplishment in general. You can also schedule your study time around your kid’s napping time. Find more ideas HERE.

Taken from Nurse-clara.com

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2. Study small portions

You’ve got a written organizer on the wall to remind you of everyday tasks, but remember, you need to plan it wisely. If you believe in studying all at once, consider changing this habit. Because it’s impossible to study for long hours when you’re a mum.

Formerly, I often set a specific day to study all four subjects. It was stressful, as I was continually running out of time to prepare for the assessments. Later, another mum in my college (now my best friend!) advised me to divide my week into shorter chunks of study rather than piling all tasks for one day.

Graduation ceremony 2017

I then achieved my study targets, and I felt prepared for the assessments way before they’re due, without rushing for time.

3. Avoid longer travel time from home

As a mum, you have limited time to study. When you study on campus, you’re leaving behind plenty of tasks at home, including your toddler’s nappy change! If you’re considering enrolling in a new program at a university, your best bet is to search in your local area.

If you can’t find a preferred program around your residence, try to get as closest as possible to your area.

Shorter distance to commute between home and college saved heaps of my time. Such as it used to take 50 minutes from my former suburb to the city on a public train. It was such a waste of time! But instead of changing the college, we moved suburbs. The present house just takes 20 minutes total travel time. It was an utter relief, as I had the opportunity to spend more productive time with my family.

4. Be attentive during the lecture

I absolutely understand that the thoughts of your kids and home often don’t leave you alone when you’re away from them. Though you shouldn’t, you still feel guilty.

Trust me in my experience, if you focus on the lecture and actively participate in the class activities you’ve already prepared half-way for your next test. I adapted this strategy since I began studying.

You can prepare notes if you have gaps between the classes, search resources in the library, and brainstorm for the upcoming assignment. If you add up all, you’ll actually save multiple hours on studying at home, which in turn allows you to rest and brings the opportunity to spend quality time with kids.

5. Schedule shorter classes

On-campus study has its own drawbacks, including when you leave your kids behind at home. But you can still find the right balance between your tasks if you choose shorter classes. You can do this by dividing various lectures on different days.

Let me explain this further: A few semesters back, I selected two, 4 hour-classes for 2 days in a row, considering that I’d save money on public transportation. But quite frankly, I made a significant mistake, as I was away from kids for 8 hours straight! In the later trimester, I selected 4 lectures on separate days. With all honesty, I was better able to stabilize time around my responsibilities, as I was spending longer hours at home each day.

6. Keep the study pressure low

You were a high achiever of your school, you’re a strong competitor, and you study hard. But when you’re a mommy of young ones, the circumstances are entirely different.

As a mother raising a toddler and a 7-year-old, I find it especially tough to compete for high grades. A few years back, I continued to feel pressured to excel for a couple of trimesters, excessively craved for high grades, and urged to beat the competition in the classroom.

But one day, my husband felt that I was off balance between personal commitments and my study time. He saw me getting anxious, frustrated, and disrupted by kids. Of course, it was unhealthy to remain like this in the long run.

I followed my husband’s advice to stop fretting about grades and instead to just focus on what I’m achieving in the long run while balancing the study and personal life. His advice works really well, and since then, I’m learning to gain knowledge and understanding of the subject. I often feel eased, and I plan my study structure meaningfully.

7. Don’t wait until the deadline

Quite often, your lecturers and tutors have asked you to complete your assignments way before the deadline to ensure you don’t miss the due date. But right now, I’m advising you this as a mother and a homemaker.

Of course, you have to fulfill responsibilities round the clock, so you’ll leave the assessments for the last minute. Quite confidently, you’ll feel rushed, panicked, and upset as the due date will get closer.

Last year in April, I was busy socializing too much that I was leaving my assignments till the due date. It was pretty hard to catch up on all the unfinished work, along with caring for kids.

All in all, I don’t want you to get in the same sort of situation as mine. Plan ahead for your assignment and complete bits over the week. Specify a day for research & sourcing, and write at least a paragraph or two each day.

Final thoughts

Balancing your personal and study life is tough. You need planning, hard work, and the support from the loved ones to achieve your goal. As long as you’re willing to take risks and grab opportunities for learning that arises by the time, be confident you’ll gain what you dreamt of.

We hope these 7 tips will be helpful to you in this journey, and it creates value for your time.

In the end, I’d like to share a quote for all parents out there:

“Raising children is a creative endeavor, an art rather than a science.”

Bruno Bettelheim

Thank you for reading. We’d love to learn your thoughts on this post in the comments box below.

5 TIPS ON HOW TO TEACH SELF-DISCIPLINE TO YOUR CHILD

Did you notice a gradual shift in the behaviour of your child lately? Ever wondered the reason you’re being spoken about your kid’s behaviour in every parent-teacher meeting?

Do you know the difference between controlling your child and teaching them to learn self-discipline?

Educating our kids about self-discipline was discussed pretty often between both of us. It has been a focal point since the birth of our elder son, almost 7 years ago.

As working parents, both of us wanted our kids to learn self-discipline and anger management skills at an early age so that we don’t face much trouble later in life.

With our little knowledge and some exploration, our elder son learned to make healthy choices, self-discipline, patience, pressure management, self-care and manners.

Saif and Ayaan, our two adorable sons

In this blog post, we’re sharing 5 clever tips by which our elder son has become the star of his school and our family.

1. Establish a daily routine

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

You’re a busy parent and certainly trying to balance between work & home, your health and between your kids. So, how would you make an effective home routine for your kids to follow each day?

Planning and organising your child’s daily routine isn’t a fairy tale, though it requires three main elements: planning, effort and consistency.

Though we often didn’t reiterate the household rules since we had already set up a day and evening routine for our kids. Sticking a day to night schedule on the ‘fridge door’ has been incredibly effective in sticking us and our kids with the planned routine.

Ayaan having entertainment

This exercise created a feeling of target-achievement, pressure-handling and responsibility in our elder son. Additionally, we noticed that he became happier, more creative and more talkative.

2. Limit screen time

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It’s not a rocket science to understand the fact that today’s generation is a digital zombie.

It’s healthy in a way if they’re learning about digital devices as a subject or they’re studying online (essential). Though we believe that going beyond those limitations could potentially turn around their behaviour, making it even harder to teach self-discipline.

We learned a few years ago that both our children show tantrums and disobeying tactics to get the devices back in their hands.

Saif doing playful activity

Since we’ve been setting and reiterating the limits on screen time almost every day, our children involve themselves in productive, creative and learning activities. Though it’s a gradual process and we do get hiccups, yet we’re consistently training.

3. Communicate the reason behind rules

We often seen parents setting the rules at home without adhering the cause of its establishment with their kids. We ask them a simple question of whether an adult would follow the rules regardless of the background?

We’ve been trained the same way, consequently, went through huge problems soon after our elder son turned into a toddler, as he won’t follow what both of us instructed him.

Not long after, we started stating the cause of the ruling, such as stating ‘You should complete your homework today because it’s due tomorrow and your teacher will be upset if you don’t complete one’ rather than saying ‘Do your homework because I’m telling you’.

It appeared much easier to understand the cause of our instruction for him.

4. Compliment and reward good behaviour

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Since your child is following a guideline set by you and understands the reason behind a limitation, you should move a step further and encourage them to repeat the same behaviour.

We believe that offering reward varies within age groups. For example, our toddler (younger son) sees the bottle of milk and a pack of chocolate as a reward while the junior gets encouraged if we offer him a 30 min session on his Xbox or take him to the Mcdonald’s.

Saif enjoys outside home

Praising and rewarding our children makes them feel good about themselves and motivate them to repeat their action.

5. Communicate effectively

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, your time and attention matters to them as it raises their confidence, self-esteem and communication skills.

Due to our overly burdened and occupied life, we never had a chance to peacefully sit with our elder son to speak about his day, school and his friends.

We’d think that he’s a shy individual though he was a chatterbox! And interestingly, we learned this trait a few days after his 3rd birthday since we took one week off from work and stayed at home.

Our son felt respected, proud and developed more self-disciplinary behaviour. He showed greater patience level and developed excellent hearing skills.

Conclusion: Be Patient

Building and teaching self-discipline skills will take plenty of effort, commitment, consistency, attention and above all, patience. Ticking all the boxes to make them a responsible adult is not a piece of cake though consistency is the only key. In this blog post, we’ve revealed the ways that brought positivity in our son’s life and shaped him as a responsible person.

We hope it helped you in some way.

Can you tell us of a helpful tip to build a healthy parent-child bond? Let us know in the comments below.