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Why We Shouldn’t Compare Our Kids

Written by Payal Malhotra, Lipa Consul for India

Everyone hates to be compared to someone else. It hurts to be judged based on someone else’s strengths when we have our own unique traits that make us special. But when it comes to children, sometimes we forget how much comparing can hurt. Our kids undergo the same adverse effects of low self-confidence, questioning their identity, and their worth. The only things comparing seems to accomplish is instigating competition between children, so that they try to perform or behave better. But we tend to forget that no two individuals are the same they have their different talents, interests, strengths and weaknesses and different rates of development.

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Back then, it was worse

I still remember when I was a child in India, becoming a doctor or an engineer were the two fields considered as a benchmark for measuring your intelligence and success. Many of us were compared to our siblings, friends, or cousins who had succeeded their careers. If someone couldn’t secure a seat in these fields, they were left with the feeling that they were inferior. Hardly any children were encouraged to become dancers or painters – because of the push for doctors and engineers, many great talents were brushed away and neglected.

 

We still make the same mistakes

The scenario has changed over the years, but academic success still plays a very important role. We still tend to pressure our kids to keep up a brilliant academic record, and often we compare kids to those who are getting better grades. But we should encourage kids to do their best, and not make that a reason for their success or failure.

Maybe my friend’s son has won gold medals in swimming, but that doesn’t mean that my daughter should do the same. My daughter might become a good dancer who can steal the show at any get-together. So instead of forcing my daughter to be a swimmer, I should rather encourage her to excel in her interests and utilize her social development in a positive manner.

 

Why exactly is comparing so bad?

If you’re wondering what makes comparison so terrible, here are a few negative effects that can leave a lasting impression on your children:

1. Comparison leads to low self-esteem and self-confidence. Children feel incapable and wonder why they are not able to perform well like the kids they are compared to.

2. Kids begin to foster sibling rivalry and distance themselves from you. A constant comparison to a sibling, especially one considered more successful, leads to anger and hatred towards that sibling. As our comparison of the child also hurts his/her feelings, they tend to avoid us and maintain a distance to avoid being hurt.

3. Kids begin to shy away from others. As kids fear being compared to others in social gatherings, they tend to stay away and become more reclusive.

 

What should you do instead of comparing?

Since our aim is give our kids the best life we can, instead of focusing on what our child cannot do, we should focus on what they can do. We should follow a positive approach.

1. Compare your child’s performances with their own previous performances. Appreciate any progress they’ve made in their own performances or behavior, without comparing them to others. When they see themselves as the only challenge, they become motivated.

2. Praise your kids for their strengths. Avoid scolding them for their weaknesses – we all have weaknesses, even adults. Provide kids the support they need in coping with weaknesses while motivating them to pursue their strengths.

 

Encouragement goes a long way

We desire the best for our kids. It’s ok to push them to do better, and sometimes to instigate some healthy competition, but we should be wary of crossing the line and hurting their self-confidence. Every child has strengths – you may have to look a little deeper, but you will find them. Let’s help our kids recognize why they are special and unique, and encourage them to challenge themselves and be better people overall.

 

Recommended articles:

How to Be Kind to Each Other (Not Only) at Christmas

What Do Kids Really Need for Christmas?

 

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Why You Should Give Kids Digital Apps This Christmas

December 11, 2017

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or a sibling of a youngster, you may want to consider giving the gift of digital apps this Christmas. Apps with educational value inspire active learning, whereas watching TV is purely passive, and apps that encourage children to work together are more educationally effective, according to the Association for Psychological Science. Even the Australian government is giving over $5 million for developing apps that will motivate preschool children in STEM activities. It’s true that in the ever-expanding market, many kids’ apps contain levels of violence, poor educational value, and even negative stereotypes, so it’s important to research specific apps that hold true benefits. But in today’s modern world, apps are everywhere and kids know what they are and how to use them, and they would probably appreciate some fun learning apps under the tree this year. Read the full article from The Conversation.

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We’ve Launched an IndieGoGo Campaign to Educate Kids Globally!

On November 28th, we launched our crowdfunding campaign get support for Lipa Adventure, our app prototype that teaches children skills for better development.  

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With 123 million children worldwide who can’t access pre-primary education (UNICEF 2016), we believe technology is the answer to the educational disparity, and we’re creating Lipa Adventure to help solve this global problem. In today’s modern world mobile devices can be delivered to even the most rural areas, giving children the chance to improve their future while they’re still waiting for schools to be built and teachers to be trained.

Our crowdfunding campaign will help fund the creation of the full Lipa Adventure app, and all donations will go towards:

-perfecting our Curriculum through research and the latest studies
– developing additional educational content
– translating all content into 50+ languages
– customizing content to be as culturally adaptive as possible
– pre-installing the app on tablets with the help of partners and NPOs
– delivering Lipa Adventure into the hands of poor children worldwide

Lipa Adventure (LA) is unique because it balances digital and real world learning. LA contains a vast amount of content that includes not only a range of games, but also bedtime stories, fun facts, and activities like crafts, puzzles, role-playing, and physical games. LA isn’t only for kids themselves; the parent/caretaker section holds numerous expert articles and tips about child development, as well as clear progress tracking so parents can see exactly how each child is learning.

Using Lipa Adventure, children without access to pre-primary education will be learning with our curriculum, which is made up of 8 core areas: social-emotional balance, academic competence, environmental awareness, physical health, hygiene & safety, history & culture, healthy lifestyle, and autonomic capabilities. Children will gain skills in these areas not only through the device, but beyond it, with the many supplemental real world activities provided. Children will get a solid foundation for their early years’ development and be better prepared for primary school and a better future.

To support our cause of giving kids around the world the early years’ education they deserve, please visit: https://igg.me/at/lipa or contact us at alexane.said@lipalearning.com.

 

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What do kids really need for Christmas?

Written by Jana Klinderová, Educational Specialist at Lipa

Nowadays, Christmas is often seen as a holiday full of consumption, over-decorated shop windows, an abundance of food and sweets, and fabricated joy and happiness. The media makes us think that it is necessary to spend lots of money on food and gifts (not only for children). It is difficult not to follow this trend, especially when we have children, as we want to make them happy and we love how happy they look when they enter the living room, full of beautiful Christmas decorations and gifts waiting for them.

But is this the type of Christmas we want to instil in our children?

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The true essence of Christmas

The way we behave during Christmas time determines the way our children will perceive this holiday in the future and how they will pass the traditions on. Without a doubt, Christmas is a time full of emotions, both good and bad. In some families, Christmas is a period full of stress, rushing, and vain efforts to fulfil the impossible perfect Christmas ideal, fear of overeating all the food we cook and bake, and many half-whispered wishes for Christmas to be finally over. Who would laugh and smile when they have a tired mum and dad who don’t have time for anything and snap at each other from all the stress?

 

How to do things differently and what do children truly appreciate?

I remember that as a child, the most precious moment for me was when our family watched the same TV fairy tale every year together. My mum brought sweet-smelling tea and delicious Christmas cookies and we spent time together. Or we baked the cookies with my grandma and coated them in vanilla sugar.

Every Christmas we went for a walk to the town centre and one particular church which always had a nativity scene on display. I never wanted to go out in the cold streets of the town, but I always loved looking at the displayed nativity scenes made from wood, glass, clay, or gingerbread. The best thing was that we always went to see them together, as a family.

The sense of belonging is extremely important to children. They love Christmas not only because of the gifts, but also because it’s a period when the whole family comes together for a while and they all make time for one another.

 

Let’s try it differently this year

Let’s try making a small change this year. Forget that you “should” clean the house perfectly, bake 20 trays of Christmas cookies, decorate everything before the first snowflake falls from the sky, buy 10 gifts for everyone, and wrap everything in a professional manner with hand-made name tags. Forget the fact that you will not have time to buy the latest CD with Christmas carols this year and shiny decorations to put on your house.

Let’s try doing things differently, at least for this year.

During this year’s Christmas preparations and during Christmas Day itself, try to spend as much time as you can with your children. Involve them in all your activities. Go to the nearest town and admire the Christmas tree on the main square and the decorations everywhere, go to a park, go to a forest and give the animals something to eat, go ice skating or sledge sliding, take out all the puzzles and games that you have and play them together.

 

Be together as a family

Let the children help you with decorating your house, create a nativity scene together. Nothing will make the children happier than sharing the Christmas preparations with you. Let’s go for a mass or a concert at the church or talk about how baby Jesus was born.

Before Christmas, many theatres have special performances for children – go and see them together. Simply stated – be together as a family! Enjoy moments full of laughing, tickling, cooking, and other activities. Make gingerbread men together or any type of your favourite Christmas sweets.

You can also visit the local confectionary and let your children choose the sweets themselves. Children will not truly appreciate a perfect 5-course dinner, but rather your presence and time spent together is what holds true value for them.

 

And what about presents?

Let’s not overdo it. Presents can never replace the time that we consciously spend with our children. Talk with the whole family about what presents your children are going to get this year. If you have a large family and you all meet for Christmas, there is no reason children need to get a present from absolutely everyone. When children get too many, they are overwhelmed.

The actual unwrapping of the present and the rustling of the paper is often more enjoyable for them than the content itself. Sometimes we expect children to be happy from what they got, but they simply put the present away and start unwrapping the next one. They are not being ungrateful. It is simply a sign that they are overwhelmed and that we are giving them too much, which results in children not having enough time to really enjoy the presents they got.

The number of presents is not a measure of our love. A study carried out by University of Missouri and University of Illinois confirmed that children who receive too many material things from their parents often look for the meaning of success in material things in their adult life as well. They also connect their self-value with owning particular things. Children who are given too many presents tend to continue with the consumerist lifestyle of their parents as adults and also apply this attitude towards human relationships as well.

 

How many presents are ideal?

There is no magic number which would specify the right number of presents. We have to create a boundary ourselves so that children don’t receive too many presents and therefore have enough time to enjoy those they got.

“It is understandable that loving parents want to fulfil all their kids’ wishes; but the connection between parental love and materialism is exceptionally unfortunate,” say the authors of the aforementioned study. Instead of proving our love to children through piles of presents, let’s do it through our behaviour towards them instead.

It’s also very important for children to leave some of their wishes unfulfilled at Christmas. It will help them realise they cannot get anything they can think of. Even though we may find it unpleasant or unfair, we give them a much more valuable life lesson than by buying absolutely everything they want. We all should understand that children suffer much more when we don’t dedicate enough time and attention to them rather than by giving them fewer Christmas presents.

 

Recommended articles:

Teaching kids to manage money

How to Encourage Kids’ Patience

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Teaching Kids to Manage Money

Written by Jana Klinderová, Educational Specialist at Lipa

Kids copy everything you do and this is no different from how they see you handle money. How you deal with money, your attitude and your feelings about welfare, fortune, and poverty, will all have a large influence on how your children will manage finances in their adult lives – even in regards to their job, personal values, and potential fortune. The most effective way to teach kids financial education is to be a good example for them. When is the best time to start? Right now!

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Some parents worry about exposing their children to money too early because they want to protect them from adult pressures, but helping your child to understand and respect money from an early age will help them manage it better later on. You can start by letting your child see and handle notes, coins, and cards, and to pay for things and tip people, so that they can become familiar with money as a part of their everyday life.

 

Money and its value

Explain to kids what coins, money, checks, and credit cards are and explain to them how these forms of finances work. Explain to them where money comes from. For example dad and mum have money from their work, grandpa lives from money he has saved during his life.

Relate to them the notion of earning. Take your kids to your job and show them what exactly you do, talk with your kids about ways of making money and about different jobs. Explain to your kids how long you have to work so that you can buy those new shoes, that new bicycle, or go on a holiday.   

 

Kids love role-playing

Create “kid money” to play with. Play like you’re in a store, sell and buy toys, fruit, or use old boxes to pretend to be various items for sale. You can even bargain with your kids to help build negotiation skills. Talk with kids about the value of money. More items cost more money. An old car costs less than a new one and when you spend less on one thing you have more for other things.

You can also think about an extra activity or chore for your child and for which they could be given some small amount of money, like taking the trash to the dumpster, hoovering the inside of the car, and so on. But this shouldn’t substitute the housework which kids do as a contribution to the household.

 

Need vs. want

It is important to explain to kids the difference between what we really need–like buying food, paying rent, paying for electricity, school, and all the necessary costs for living–versus things that we want–like cool clothes, other toys, magazines, or movies. Kids should know what the family spends money on.

We can also mark a savings goal for the family like a weekend trip or a circus visit. This will support the family to work as a real team.   

 

Money management

Explain to your kids the difference between spending (on needed vs. wanted things), saving, and sharing money and the value of being charitable. Encourage kids to save money in a little piggy bank regularly. When they want to buy something with their own money, talk with them about their plans, but let them decide.

Encourage kids to share with others their time, ideas, skills, and not only things and money. Encourage them to support someone, choose a project or charity that as a family you can support together. Let the kids choose toys they no longer play with and clothes that are too small to give to neighbors, the homeless, and people in need.  

Use money wisely and your kids will do the same.

 

Sources:

Kiyosaki R., Lechter S., Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!,  Warner Business Books, 2000

 

Recommended articles:

How to Raise a Child with a Growth Mindset

How to Encourage Kids’ Patience

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