Things to Do with the Children

I always wanted to do so many things with the kids but never `found’ time for them. I expect that the same is the case for many parents. Then, I realized that I need to fix the activities I want to do every day, versus the ones that are occasional. The occasional things vary from person to person and from family to family, but daily activities should the ones that can cast a life long impression in their lives.

Here are the things I (try to) do everyday with them.

  1. Exercise:
  2. Being the health fanatic I am, exercising daily is something I want to drill in their minds. So I have a very simple set of exercises that all of us do in the evening, i.e., x star jumps, x squats and x pushups, where x is a number that is supposed to get incremented by 1 each week. But it is increasing rather slowly and for good reason. My purpose is not for them to build athletic bodies at this age but to make regular exercise a part of their future life. Something they do everyday without thinking, like dinner.

  3. Sport:
  4. It is the same concept as above, but playing a sport generates many additional dimensions into a child’s development. We play table tennis or play area cricket in the evening for some time.

  5. Maths Question:
  6. Solving maths problems inculcates better problem solving skills for life. Each evening, I write on a blank paper one mathematics question for each child to solve that is one or two levels higher than their age. If they cannot solve it, I help them by showing the steps.

  7. Reading a Book:
  8. They have their own books and I also bring some from the library. Reading a few pages of a book with children is a family bonding experience while gaining the numerous benefits of reading and listening. What I particularly like about it is how it slows down the time, as opposed to a movie or a cartoon.

  9. Story:
  10. For several years, I have been telling them a story before sleeping. The story eventually contains a lesson related to kindness, love, empathy or bravery that gradually programs their brains into adopting these traits.

The most important point about all this is that there was never a day when I succeeded in doing all 5 of the above. And this is the point. Some days I have done only 3 or sometimes just even 2 of these activities. But over a long period of time, they have sufficiently sampled enough maths questions, stories, books, exercise and play to gain benefits from all of them. Perfection is not really required to do good things.

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