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How can I improve my child in studies and activities?

Q: My daughter is 5 years old. She is very naughty and out spoken. When I am around she does her studies nicely but when I go away in the kitchen or somewhere else she forgets everything. I want to develop more confidence about studies in her so that she can do her homework and studies on her own. How can I interest her in all activities, such as casio, skating, swimming etc? She does not have any particular interest. She says she will play casio but has stopped doing it. I don't know what kind of activity she likes. Please suggest some good general knowledge books for her so that I can tell her about the world. I want her to be one step ahead from other kids. How can I do that? Is it only studies or activities?

A:Your daughter is only five years old. Treat her like a 5-year old, not a ten-year-old! Children learn best when they are playing. Concepts of size, colour, shape, utility etc. develop when a child plays with blocks, with sand, water, dolls, puppets, crayons and so on. When playing with other children they automatically learn the rules of social relationships. There is absolutely no need to have the child play the casio, skate and swim and be smarter than others. Over ambitious parents sometimes make children feel inadequate, because they can never live up to parental expectations. Just reduce what you expect from the child and let the child play and chat and sing and tell stories; in fact let her decide what activity suits her best. I think it is unnecessary for children of five to have to do homework. You are probably forced to see that she does by the school she attends. Earlier is not always better. More writing and reading under duress is not a predictor of later school success. When children are happy and can do some creative things (like drawing or clay models) they feel fulfilled. Conversations can be centred around their activities and their feelings. We tend to worry too much about the future and forget that there is today, now, which is important for the child. Being loved by parents and others in the family and being treated tenderly and with kindness is the best insurance policy for the child's sense of self and emotional and cognitive health in the future. Watch yourself and see if you laugh with your child even once a day about anything funny or if you are so earnest about instructing and improving the child, that you make it difficult for the child to have a feeling of enjoyment. Chat with the child, sing songs and tell stories. Children should be allowed to grow happily rather than be deliberately reared with specific objectives. Relax and have fun with your parenting! Your child sounds lively. Keep it that way. The homework she gets is probably repetitive and not aimed at keeping her interest. Make up your own homework which you can do with her and both of you can enjoy (like looking at an old family album and identifying people in the pictures). Think up new ideas yourself!

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