Saturday, 19 May 2012

Children and Repetition of Activities

Have you ever seen little children sweeping the ground with tremendous interest and concentration?

Going up and down the stairs for no reason countless times?

Arranging blocks in a particular pattern over and over again?

Washing their hands twenty times or more, long after they are sparkling clean?

Repeating activities so many times that you end up wondering from where they draw their energy and what pleasure repetition of the same activity could give them?

This is a phenomenon that is observed universally among very young children and if you are associated with young children you will have witnessed this at some point.

What do we do when this happens? There are just two options.

Let the child do the activity for as long as he wants to and for as many times as he wants to.


Stop him from doing it repeatedly.

What would prompt an adult to stop a child from repeating an activity? Probably he feels the child is wasting his time doing something that neither makes sense nor achieves a meaningful end result.  

But think about it. Does everything we do in life need an end result? Sometimes don’t we all do things just because we like doing them? In very young children, there seems to be an even greater force driving them to do things repeatedly, for no apparent reason.

As per Dr Maria Montessori (an Italian educator and doctor who is the genius behind the popular Montessori system of education that is followed world over today), it is nature that drives children to perform tasks over and over again. No one knows why this is so but this repetition of the activity seems to fulfil an innate developmental need in the children.  This is evident by the satisfaction one sees on a child’s face at the end of an activity that he has performed to his heart’s content.  

So, the next time a child is found repeating an activity that does not make sense to you and you feel like stopping him, pause for a moment to observe the child. Is he interested in the activity? Is he concentrating on the activity with all his might? Is it giving him a sense of satisfaction? If yes, let him have the freedom to repeat the activity to his heart’s content. Interest, concentration and a sense of satisfaction felt over and over again would also result in the development of confidence in the child. And if it is nature that is driving children to do certain activities over and over again, why should anyone stop them from doing it? Let nature run its course and the little child have his share of joyous moments, while we sit back to observe him in peace and learn to find joy in his joy!

Just as we do not like to be disturbed while doing something we thoroughly enjoy, let us not disturb children when they do the things they enjoy.  

Friday, 11 May 2012

Bonding with Children

Bonding with children goes a long way in building a healthy and happy relationship with them. Here are some thoughts on the same- four simple ways to bond with children. 

  • Smile- A smile can do wonders to establish a rapport with children. A smile tells a child that you are happy to see her.  A smile also makes an adult friendly and approachable. And being friendly and approachable by nature is precisely what would help adults bond with children. 
  • Make time to listen - Many children love to talk and to share several stories from their lives with adults. While listening to them at all times may not be practically possible, it is nevertheless important to make some time to listen to them.  Setting time aside to listen to children can work wonders to establish a bond with them. 
  • Laugh together- There’s nothing to beat a good laugh shared with a child. If you like to have a good time with your own friends, you will agree that some of your best moments with friends are moments of shared laughter! Laughing together signals friendship and is a great way to lighten things up in the adult-child relationship. So, whenever opportunity strikes, feel free to loosen up and laugh with children!
  • Respect their feelings, thoughts and views- Often, adults are subconsciously conditioned to not take children very seriously. As a result, we can end up disrespecting their feelings, thoughts or views unintentionally. While we may not be able to relate to their feelings and experiences, it is important that we at least empathise with them and acknowledge their feelings. This helps build trust and subsequently friendship.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Stories for Children:Number Story-Activity

This is a short story-activity to give the child gentle exposure to addition and subtraction. It begins as a story which can later be executed as an activity. Before you read the story, here are a few instructions for the adult in charge.

  • Start by narrating the story to the child.
  • Draw pictures of the leaves or use actual leaves as you narrate the story, so the child understands the story better.
  • After narrating the story, do the same activity with your child.
  • In the story, the leaves are restricted to three. You can use as many leaves as you want depending on the age and interest level of the child.
  • If the child is not interested in doing this activity immediately after listening to the story, do not force the child to participate. Keep it for another day when the child is more receptive.
  • Do not use the terms addition or subtraction. The aim is just to give a gentle exposure to those concepts and not to teach them in detail as done in higher classes.


Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Kim.

One morning, Kim was wandering in her backyard when she saw some leaves on the ground.

“Oh these leaves are so pretty!” said Kim, as she picked up one and looked at it.

She placed the leaf aside and said, “This is one leaf.”

Next she picked up another leaf and placed it next to the first one.

She looked at the leaves and counted them.

 “ONE.TWO. Now I have two leaves,” she said.

Feeling excited, she picked up another leaf and placed it next to the two leaves.

After looking at the leaves in a row, she counted them again and said, “ONE. TWO. THREE. Now I have three leaves.”

Suddenly, the neighbour’s puppy appeared and ran away with one leaf in his mouth.

“No! Hey pup, come back. I want that leaf,” shouted Kim.

But the puppy vanished next door.

“Never mind, said Kim, looking at the two leaves on the ground, “I can get another one.”

She stared at the two leaves on the ground and discovered something exciting.

“Hey, wait a minute. One leaf is gone and I have two leaves again!” exclaimed Kim, thrilled at her discovery.

She looked at the two leaves on the ground.

“Let me do what the pup did. Let me pick up another leaf and put it away,” said Kim as she bent down to pick up one leaf.

She kept it aside and came back to look at what was remaining.

“Now I have just one leaf left! And that is what I started with,” said Kim, “I loved playing this game!”

And she did this activity over and over and over again!