So it’s been more than a month since the last post on our travel experience in COVID. There is still no respite in pandemic situation but we are happy to be home with family. Vritima is happier than ever to spend time with both maternal and paternal family members; and we couldn’t be more relieved to take a break from some of the exhausting parenting duties for this short while.
This extended family time also gave us an opportunity to reminisce about our own childhood memories and upbringing. Going to school alone, riding our bicycle was a normal thing for us, we spent a lot of time outdoors playing, we never had fancy gadgets or expensive toys or so much screen time, a flying sandal disciplined us instantly and talking back to our parents was an invitation to being grounded. These days, technology has crawled in to our lives so much that 21st century kids have the world at their fingertips. Children outgrow their shoes from a very early age and parenting styles have also changed a lot with time. The new age parents have fancy titles like ‘Helicopter Parents’ or ‘Panda Parents’ or ‘Tiger Parents’. In fact, sometimes, all this freedom we are giving kids these days may not do any great favors to them.
While lot of new age parents discard the old ways of parenting or call them outdated or ineffective, we can’t deny the fact that a lot of old fashioned parenting styles are still relevant and help raise kids the best possible way. In fact, our parents and grandparents got lot of parenting right (you turned out to be a pretty good outcome of old fashioned parenting, didn’t you?). So let’s do a bit of time travel down our memory lane and bring back those classic old fashioned parenting rules that still hold true even today.
Eat Together – Dinnertime is Family Time!
With hectic work schedules, busy life and technological distractions, there is a good reason to bring back this old fashioned house rule. Let dinnertime be an opportunity for the whole family to gather together, make conversations and talk about their day. Family meals make kids physically and emotionally healthy. And with this COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy to plan and follow this classic rule.
Outdoor Games – Send them Outside!
Remember when we used to spend literally the whole evenings and weekends playing outside? These days, kids spend almost all days indoors, confined to 4 walls of their homes, but remember, fresh air never hurt anyone. Plus, playing outside is not only a good physical activity, it helps kids stimulate early brain development, improve creative thinking and intelligence, grow social competence & empathy, improves communication and vocabulary and even teach life lessons.
Tantrums Are Never Rewarded!
We know, sometimes as a parent, all you want is to stop your kid from whining and throwing tantrums for every silly thing, and we end up giving in to their demands. However, rewarding a tantrum simply gives your child a winning strategy. Don’t spoil your child while meeting all their demands, make them understand they won’t always get what they demand. This old fashioned rule can certainly help you to set rules as parent and distract their attention from unreasonable demands.
Set a Regular Bedtime!
Everybody gets cranky, including you, without enough sleep. The old saying holds true for a reason – ‘Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’ A proper bedtime routine helps them keep active throughout the day, while not getting enough sleep can severely affect their mental and physical health.
With Vritima, we have always had a hard time setting her bedtime, when its time to shut off lights and hit the bed, she feels hungry, thirsty, becomes rebellious and switches on her full throttle active mode. But, this old fashioned rule has helped us lately.
All we need to do is be a little strict and don’t let the kids have their way. Bedtime isn’t negotiable – lights out – period.
Assign Chores to Kids!
Doing household chores from a young age is one of the best predictors of success later in life. Assigning chores can help kids to develop a sense of responsibility and understand that no work is small or big. Even the littlest kids can do something to help out. You can also add a reward with the household chores – be it a dessert, a treat or weekly allowance/pocket money – depending on the child’s age.
We have written at length about Vritima helping with household chores in our earlier blog – Help Your Kids Become #ATMANIRBHAR.
You Get What You Get! Don’t Throw a Fit!
Well, here’s the hard bitter truth – ‘Life isn’t always fair!’. There, we said it. This is a great lesson to teach kids from early on. Your kid may not have the perfect toys or latest gadgets, they may not have enough clothes or shoes, they may not have enough chocolates and ice creams, and so on – their constant disappointment for the things provided by their parents is a red flag a parent should address immediately.
Stand by your old fashioned rule – ‘You don’t get everything you want!’. The sooner the kids learn to be grateful for the things they have and not what they demand, the better it is for their future.
Set House Rules!
While it is good to give your kids freedom, making some house rules very clear from the early age helps your kids be disciplined and responsible. Setting some house rules like bed time, dinner time, screen time etc. doesn’t mean you are being a strict parent, in fact, Family rules help children understand what behaviors are okay and not okay. It is normal for kids to break rules and test your limits, however, following rules at home can help children learn to follow rules at other places in future as well.
Don’t Interrupt When Adults Are Talking!
This simple rule not only helps kids learn to respect elders, but also helps them to be patient and improve their listening skills. Don’t let your kids speak disrespectfully to you, or anyone else, for that matter. When kids learn to actually listen rather than interrupt and push themselves to talk, it goes a long way and helps them be humble and kind in life.
Always Say ‘Please’ And ‘Thank you’!
This rule is a direct reflection of your own behavior and manners in your home. If ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ are not regular vocabulary words in your home, it will never be at any other place. The behaviors you showcase at home helps your kid develop good manners and habits for years to come. Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ are basic social courtesy that are necessary in everyday life. Extra brownie point if your child learns to say ‘Sorry’ when he makes any mistake.
Don’t Be Short-Order Cooks!
Most kids are picky eaters and it can be a daunting task to make them eat. Kids these days have a menu posted on family kitchen. But it is very important to not give in to their demands. Remember, parents are not chefs and can’t make meals based on everyone’s demand. When we were kids, we only had 2 choices – Take It OR Leave It. Setting this rule helps kids eat healthy food and a good way to make your kids be thankful for what they are given.
Good Manners – Set A Good Example!
Instilling good manners from early age helps kids stand out in a long run. And there isn’t a better influence on your child’s upbringing than you, a parent. What you do matters so practice what you preach, and set a good example. Even the most basic manners like respecting others, brushing up the teeth, wash up before coming to the table, changing and folding clothes etc. has a long lasting effect. Insist your kids to keep up the good manners in your own home and they will remember and follow it everywhere else too.
Tell Your Family’s Story/History!
This old fashioned rule needs a definite reintroduction, especially in today’s times of nuclear families and social awkwardness. Kids today have the world history on their fingertips but are slowly getting detached from their family roots, they feel lost during family gatherings and while meeting extended family members.
Make it a point to tell about your family’s history. Talk about the paternal and maternal family tree, show them photos of your grandparents, parents and even of you as a kid. You can go a step further to introduce a family tradition and follow it every year. Celebrate your family history and traditions – especially during this COVID pandemic where you get to spend quality time with the whole family.
Let Them Spend Time With Their Grandparents!
Spend more time than money on your grandchildren. These are the memories the kids will take with them into their adulthood. Spending time with grandparents creates healthy relationship and family connection. There is a quote from Joan McIntosh which goes: ‘They say genes skip generations. Maybe that’s why grandparents find their grandchildren so likeable.’ Simple moments with grandparents often becomes priceless memories for lifetime. So take advantage of the pandemic situation, let your kids spend time with their grandparents, and so can you, too.
Install Respect For Elders And Others!
Teaching your child to respect elders from an early age ensures they learn to accept everyone for who they are. This behavior will help kids throughout their lives and they will treat everyone with kindness and respect. Show them how to help people and be humble. It is good to teach kids the ‘respect of diversity’ as well. This will help the kids realize that people come from different backgrounds, have different culture or hold different beliefs, and they all deserve respect. After all, that is what makes the world a beautiful place.
Ground Your Kids Or Time-Out Punishment!
Remember the times when we did not behave and parents would ground us or force a time-out? Not only the time-out punishment, we used to get beaten up black and blue when we did some mistakes or talked back to our parents or disrespected them. These days, hitting your kid is looked upon like a criminal offense and time-out or being grounded is frowned upon and portrayed as too harsh a punishment.
However, time-out punishments are very effective to discipline your kids and improve their behavior. Never forget you are in charge. Take away their privileges, ground them – they will wail and throw tantrums, but that’s the whole point – let them understand the consequences. If your kids ‘hate’ you sometimes, you are probably doing something right. So, grounding your kids or sending them to time-out isn’t inhumane.
As I have always mentioned, there is no right or wrong parenting. We learn to adapt with changing times. On the bright side – when it comes to raising kids, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This seems little confusing on first glance, to simply put – technological influence, new gadgets and latest trends have no effect on core child-raising practices. The basic fundamentals of raising children have stood the test of times, old fashioned rules and core practices still hold true – especially during this pandemic times. We have seen first hand results of some of the above rules with Vritima after we came to our hometown and spending time with whole of family.
Every coin has two sides. If we keep aside the negativity and worse effects of this COVID pandemic, one of the positives for us and specially for Vritima is to spend so much time with our whole family. We have seen drastic changes in her behavior, her daily routine, habits and even social connect. The influence of grandparents and family members did have extremely positive effect in such short time.
While we do our best in nuclear family to instill some discipline, manners and set some house rules, it sometimes doesn’t seem as effective as the influence from grandparents and whole family can have on a child’s behavior. There are hundreds of such old school practices and rules which are relevant for different houses, cultures and families. We have listed 15 most effective ones which has helped our daughter Vritima and made our lives a bit easier in return.
So, you all can definitely take advantage of some of these old school practices while the world deals with this pandemic and not so happening year 2020. And, if not during this COVID pandemic, where else are we going to gather as whole family for an extended period time and create some more memories for our kids’ future?