Category Archives: Conversations

How to get your child off digital entertainment.

There is so much discussion these days on children being over-exposed to television and digital entertainment. There are constant discussions on how we need to stop our children from excessive consumption of these devices. I have found that if you clearly define the timings when your child can use the digital devices, and control your own consumption of these devices, it is not that difficult to reduce their usage of digital devices.
Give your children and their friends games that will keep them engaged, give them a challenge, and it seems they don’t really miss the idiot box. That was a pleasant surprise for me on one of the recent rainy evenings. Three young boys, full of energy sitting together building towers out of Jenga blocks, and not once did they mention the TV.








This incident made me wonder whether the fault lies in us, not giving them enough opportunity to play together, fight with each other… make amends, upset each other. May be when you put children together they no longer need other devices to entertain them!
May be instead of enrolling them for endless classes and tuitions, we should just let them hang out together, play with real friends, and build bonds that will last them a lifetime.
That short stint on a weekend evening revived in me the hope that all was not lost, and that our children are not really that different from us. They too, like we did at their age love being together, playing the fool, ganging up and enjoying each other’s company. To more such unplugged evenings and indoor playtimes!

~Bharti Athray


School is boring, Mama!

05-04-11-dennis-the-menaceI stood with my five year old at his bus stop at 8 am on a wet June morning. Schools had just reopened and he was now attending Senior KG with a new batch of students. A. was a smart and bright young fellow, full of mischief and fun. He enjoyed hanging out with his friends and dangling from monkey bars. He loved his cartoon serials and his Chocos. He was a cool kid to be around and he had his share of temper tantrums.

As I stood with him waiting for the bus to arrive, I asked, “So do you like your new friends better than the last lot?”

“Hmm,” he made a face, as his little fingers picked at some wild grass growing in the wall behind. “They are all the same, they all fight.”

I had to stop myself from smiling. ”Oh, so who starts the fight – you or them?”

“Sometimes I start, if they won’t play with me, sometimes they fight with me.” He had managed to get some brown dirt under his nail and was examining it now.

“Hm-hmm, I see. So you enjoying school now in the new class?”

“No… it’s nothing special,” he continued in his lazy drawl.

The dirty little finger reached from more mud, even as I tried to stop him.

“I believe your new teacher is quite sweet, she tells you stories and all?”

He looked up with a questioning look on his face. “Who told you that?”

“R.” That’s his brother.

Up went the tiny corner of his mouth in skepticism, as he shook his head. “There is nothing sweet about new teachers, Mama, they are all nice to me only because I am new now. Just wait for a few days, and she will start scolding me as well!”

I stood stunned at his perceptive insight even as he looked beyond me down the road, looking for his bus. He dusted his hands as the yellow bus turned into our street and stepped up to the edge of the footpath, “I don’t want to go to school, Mama, it’s boring.”

The bus stopped, he stepped in, checked out his friends, and completely forgot that I was even there. His day had begun.

~ Bharti Athray

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