Category Archives: Uncategorized

4 practices for anyone parenting quarantined kids

– Erika Bocknek

Millions of children attend schools that have been closed or are being directly affected by the new coronavirus social distancing rules. For this reason, many schools have shifted to the online mode of teaching. During this time, anyone parenting quarantined kids need to focus on the 4 R’s: routines, rules, relationships, and rituals.


  1. Routines

    A good routine should create a pattern each day for a predictable child. But there are many ways to do that besides setting up a traditional schedule. New strict schedules may increase anxiety for some kids, especially if the transitions between one activity and the next seem arbitrary. To create predictability outside the constraints of a traditional school schedule, consider holding daily morning meetings to set priorities. Families can use that time to clearly communicate, sort out expectations, and remind one another of what’s ahead, from online chats with teachers to when lunch will be to who will do which household chores or where to go on an afternoon walk. Older children can write those priorities down to use as checklists. Little kids benefit from daily reminders about what they can look forward to throughout the day.

    Several studies, including some I’ve conducted, have consistently found that sticking with dinnertime and bedtime routines, in particular, is good for positive mental health outcomes throughout childhood.

    Even if families opt for a model that’s more flexible than what kids are used to on school days, consistency is key. For example, kids and adults should have at least one meal at about the same time every day together. That meal is a good opportunity for everyone to spend time together free of electronic devices and other distractions. To be clear, the gathering itself matters as much as what’s on the table. These types of routines anchor the day, and research shows that they organize children’s external worlds in ways that support self-regulation, the building block of good mental health. Also, predictable family environments help children feel like their homes are stable and supportive – which is especially important when under stress.

  2. Rules

    While parents and other guardians may see fit to reduce expectations and ratchet down demands, they should stick with the rules that matter most in the long term for their families. For example, it may be reasonable to relax expectations about tidiness or screen time. However, families should maintain rules about safety and kindness and be consistent with consequences. Children of all ages feel and behave better with predictable family rules.

    Parents and other caregivers may want to set new family rules at this time, such as requiring kids to do more chores and share in household responsibilities. Such rules may instill some of the independence, community obligation, and social engagement that students otherwise experience at school.

  3. Relationships

    As families find themselves spending more time together, responsible adults should reflect on their own mood and behavior. Children don’t need perfect parents to thrive, but they do benefit from parenting they find predictable. For example, children should be able to anticipate how their parents or other caregivers will typically interact with them and how the most important adults in their lives will respond to stress. It’s OK for those adults to let on that they’re feeling stressed out, as long as children see them coping with these feelings in safe and appropriate ways.

    Kids fare best when their moms, dads, and other caregivers are warm and responsive when directly interacting with them. This doesn’t require nonstop attention and, in fact, attempts to sustain direct attention throughout the day may detract from adults’ overall capacity to provide this kind of positive attention. Aim instead for planned moments of focused, positive interaction even if brief and repeat throughout the day.

  4. Rituals

    Any special routine can become a family ritual – which is predictable and help every family member feel like they belong to a special group. Research shows that rituals support good mental health in childhood because of the previously mentioned sense of family organization and the added benefit of family cohesion that gives children a positive sense of their identity.

    Taco Tuesdays and regular movie nights work, as do religious practices like bedtime prayers. It’s found that rituals that connect children to previous generations may be particularly powerful, so this could be a good time to revive and adapt a beloved ritual from your own childhood. Or create new family rituals together. Especially during periods of uncertainty like this pandemic, rituals make it clear to kids that their families are stable and strong.


Adapted and abridged



Can I not ask for Suchitra to be the same again?

Can I not eat snacks from jovial Jyothi’ s tiffin box?

Can I not snatch a chocolate from the melody queen Madhuri?

Can I not admire my sweetie pie Sujana?

Can I not see the pretty nods of Priyanka?

Can I not exchange presentations with popular Sara?

Can I not see the ever-smiling dimpled Deepthi?

Can I not see the silver-rimmed sparkling Sireesha?

Can I not stride across the lush lawn to reach Anne?

Can I not meet Trisha as I walk in thoughts?

Can I not listen to loyal Lalitha’s laugh?

Can I not touch the pink Poonam?

Can I not get that personal attention from tech-savvy Shweta?

Can I not see the fashionable Hindi department?

Can I not see the gentle Telugu department?

Oh! How can I forget Nayan Ma’am, a patient listener who I have always leaned upon?

This, I know…..I may now never be able to peep in to see Deepa Ma’am draped in her elegant saree for I am sure I might now have to walk a mile to get a glance at her.

But still, I ask…….Can I not have my good old teaching days back?

So, dear brothers and sisters can we not pray for the good old days to be back?

– Latha Vaidianathan, English Mentor


Thank you God for teaching me technology.
Distancing myself, yet socialising!!
Teaching is my passion,
And Corona brought along Ctrl !! Alt !! Del !!
So, I thought it was time to Reboot and Restart!!
Nope… Not our computers,
Reboot! Restart!
Our Lives
Have we ever done it?
Let’s, Do it now!! 
Reboot Restart!!!
Nope… Not our Anger!
Reboot Restart
Our Compassion!
Have we ever done it?
Let’s, Do it now!! 
Reboot Restart!!!
Nope… Not our hatred!!
Reboot Restart!
Our Love!!
Have we ever done it?
Let’s, Do it now!! 
Reboot Restart!!!
Nope… Not our fear!! 
Reboot Restart!! 
Our courage!! 
Have we ever done it? 
Let’s, Do it now!! 
Reboot Restart !!!
Nope… Not our ego!!
Reboot Restart!!
Our humility!!
Have we ever done it?
Let’s, Do it now!! 
Reboot Restart!!!
Nope… not our fights and differences!! 
Reboot Restart!! 
Our Human Race!! 
Have we ever done it? 
Let’s, Do it now!! 
Reboot Restart!!!
Covid 19…..the little one
mending our ways!! 
Each one of you is equal!! 
None is supreme, it says !!
Covid 19…..the little one
The human race, it censures!!
To create a better world with a better sense
Hopefully, this is the path it paves!! 
Covid 19……the little one
Forcing us to Reboot and Restart!!
Everything about US!!! Every single thing about US!!!
Have we ever done it?
Let’s, Do it now
breathe in….and breathe out……
Before the shutdown!!
To Restart and continue dear God
 In this big bright world !!
Latha Vydianathan
English Mentor 

Can your child tell fact from fake online?

– Summer Batte

It’s a simple question with no simple answer: What makes information trustworthy? For parents who grew up doing research with library card catalogs and encyclopedias, or in the early days of the internet, it’s a challenge to advise kids researching a school paper online. “Stick with reliable sources” is not very helpful advice if you can’t define reliable.

You might assume (or at least hope!) your digitally savvy offspring are better equipped than their parents when it comes to filtering the reliable from biased and outright false information online. They aren’t.

Think like a search engine

If we are going to use our browser as the main portal to the world and information, we have to think like Google. There are some simple tricks your kids can use to get meaningful, reliable search results.

  • Put it in quotes. To search on a contiguous term, like a name, you should search for “Suchitra Academy.” Without the quotation marks, you could get results with “Suchitra” but not “Academy.” Not super helpful.
  • Go to Google News (under the search bar in your results, toggle from “all” to “news”) for controversial issues or things you’ve seen on social media that seem kind of outrageous. Google News pulls feeds from publishers and can help weed out unsubstantiated rumors.
  • Use Google Scholar for academic subjects. This is a place to find peer-reviewed journal articles, citations by other scholarly sources, and whether some guy with a Ph.D. is really considered a thought leader on a topic. (Hint: You’re looking for scholarly articles by said guy and appearances of his work in university syllabi.)
  • Restrict by domain. You can limit your Google results to Indian universities by adding site:edu to your search. Add site:gov to your search to get only Indian government sources in your results.
  • Keywords are… key. So choose them carefully. Think about which words will help you narrow down the search so that you get the information you’re looking for.

Don’t litter

Until you’ve checked a post out (Looked up the source on Wikipedia or checked the claim on a fact-checking site), don’t share it on social media. Model this for your kids to get them into the habit, too. The world doesn’t need garbage spread around.


Adapted and abridged

IQ, EQ, SQ, and AQ: Which Quotients Are Really Important?

ALL PARENTS and EDUCATORS, please be reminded of the following.
There are three types of intelligence:
Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Emotional Quotient (EQ) & Social Quotient (SQ)
1. IQ is the measure of your comprehension ability, solve maths; memorize things and recall subject matters
2. EQ is the measure of your ability to maintain or be at peace with others; keep to time; be honest; responsible; respect boundaries; be humble, genuine and considerate
3. SQ is the measure of your ability to build a network of friends and maintain it over a long period.
People that have higher EQ and SQ tend to go farther in life than those with high IQ but low EQ and SQ. Most schools capitalize on improving IQ levels while EQ and SQ are played down.
A man of high IQ can end up being employed by a man of high EQ and SQ even though he has an average IQ.
Your EQ represents your character; your SQ represents your charisma. Give in to habits that will improve these three Qs but more especially your EQ and SQ.
EQ and SQ make one manage better than the other.
Now there is a 4th one:
A new paradigm…
The Adversity Quotient (AQ): the measure of your ability to go through a rough patch in life and come out without losing your mind.
AQ determines who will give up in the face of troubles, who will abandon their family or who will decide to quit life’s journey.
Parents expose children to other areas of life more than academics. They should learn to work and share the gifts of their understanding in whatever work that they will deal with (never use work as a form of punishment), sport and art.
Develop their EQ, SQ, and AQ. They should become multifaceted human beings who can do things independently of the parents.
Finally, do not prepare the road for children. Rather, Prepare children for the road.

Too Many Screens Are Hurting Our Tweens’ and Teens’ Eyes.

– Jenn Horton

Digital screens are here to stay—and they’re impacting us, especially our kids. You might have heard that kids who regularly get headaches, have neck pain, and rub their red, itchy eyes are probably looking at screens too much. But is that really a “thing”?

The short answer is yes, and there’s a name for it, too: digital eye strain.

We can help our middle and high school students pay closer attention to signs that they might be experiencing digital eye strain. Here’s what you need to know to be proactive about student eye health and its impact on your students.

What is digital eye strain?

Digital eye strain as when a person suffers from eye discomfort from extended use of, you guessed it, screens. That screen time—specifically, more than two hours a day—is causing many classroom learning difficulties for students. And that, in turn, is creating many new challenges for teachers.

Digital eye strain is the kicked-up version of the visual fatigue optometrists have long discussed with you at your annual visit. But now, it’s more than TVs and desktops or sitting under fluorescent lights for too long. Kids have had hours (and years) of access to smartphones, hand-held video game devices, tablets, etc. Nearly one in four kids spends three hours or more on a digital device. So perhaps it’s not a coincidence that nearsightedness has also increased 66 percent since the 1970s.

What are the signs of student digital eye strain?

Headaches, neck or shoulder pain, irritated eyes, reduced attention span, a negative shift in behavior, and an increased lack of focus.

What can you do to help?

You already know how to monitor your students’ focus and attention. So that means you’re in a great position to spot student vision issues. Here’s what you can do when you see it:

  • See something, say something. Tell parents what you see. No need to diagnose your students. Just say something like, “Your son has been rubbing his eyes a lot lately.”
  • Encourage eye exams. Only 30 percent of families say they’ve talked to an eye-care provider about their kids’ digital habits and eye health. Sometimes parents are embarrassed to admit their kids spend a lot of time looking at screens. Whether it’s in parent conferences or general communications sent home, get the word out that eye exams are as important as well-child visits.
  • Set up eye-healthy digital workspaces. Do what you can to make their digital learning environment ergonomic. Screens should never be too close and ideally, be placed a few inches below a student’s eyes. A student’s chair should be positioned so that the student’s arms are parallel to the desk surface. The chair should also be adjusted so that the student can keep their feet flat on the floor.
  • Take screen breaks in class. Depending on what you teach, screens may be an integral part of your curriculum. Eye doctors suggest that teachers use the 20-20-20 rule whenever possible during the school day: Make sure there’s a screen break every 20 minutes. Focus on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds to lessen digital eye strain.
  • Go outside for that screen break. Studies show that kids who spend more time outside have a lower risk of nearsightedness.
  • Talk about good digital habits with your students. Do they recognize changes in their classroom habits after they’ve spent a weekend screen binging? Do they notice they are more attentive or alert after a day off or time spent without screens? Teaching them to be their own health advocate includes encouraging them to be aware of their digital habits.

Adapted and abridged

School Is Not Supposed to Be Fun All the Time

– Kimberley Moran

Indeed, there’s a relentless pressure on social media and teacher Facebook groups that every single lesson we design should not only meet a learning standard but also be SUPER ENTERTAINING. We’re always on the hunt for those unicorn activities that teach curriculum but in a way that feels like a game!

I think somewhere along the line, we’ve confused fun with engagement. Because the truth is, hard work can be the most engaging work of our lives. And by saying things like we’re writing informational reports that are going to be super fun, we’re giving students the message that if it doesn’t feel fun they must be doing it wrong. The truth is that hard work benefits kids just as much as play does.

Here are five ways to talk about hard work more truthfully.

1. Hard work gives you dignity.

Give your students dignity by having high (but reasonable) expectations that require hard work and perseverance. Kids naturally want to make a meaningful contribution, so you need to give them the opportunity. Doing hard work “because I say so” is not meaningful. Brainstorm with kids reasons why hard work is necessary as a process. Start where they are and guide them into thinking about why reworking math problems or essays is doing the hard work as well.

2. A hard-work habit is a good strategy to develop.

When we take our kids seriously, they take themselves seriously and rise to the occasion. Developing the habit of hard work requires opportunities to practice. If we’re always making things fun and easy, there is no practice. Be sure to assign hard work that helps kids practice and feel challenged by the lessons you teach. Tell them it’s going to be hard but also tell them that you believe they can rise to the challenge. Teaching kids to set appropriate goals for themselves is a great way to get them to think about what to put work hard toward achieving.

3. Identify the problem and then work on solutions.

Explicitly teaching kids how to identify a problem and develop solutions is an excellent way to get them going. All too often people are reactive instead of slowing down to identify what needs solving. When problems become concrete, the possibility that hard work will pay off can help kids persevere. That said …

4. Hard work doesn’t always pay off.

I’ve noticed a startling trend of kids believing that if they put work into something, they will always be rewarded, and that’s just not always true. Some kids are going to get amazing grades without much work. Other kids are going to do poorly even though they put in the hard work. The key here is to be realistic and acknowledge that there will always be a degree of failure in our lives. It’s not such a shocker to have worked hard only to have failed when someone has already warned of its possibility.

5. Hard work comes before fun.

When we tell kids this mantra to use in their heads, we give them a tool for when we can’t be there. This statement also reminds them that there is a difference between hard work and fun. I remind my own children of this all the time. I’m not having fun all day long at work, but I love how hard work challenges my brain, and I love making money. I don’t lie and pretend to love the hard work, but I do explain how connected it is to things I love.

Developing a good work ethic is a never-ending process, so you should be able to find no shortage of instances of hard work to share with kids. Modeling the hard work that goes into maintaining a house or a job shows them firsthand that hard work is necessary and important. Check out these books for talking to kids about hard work and perseverance.


Abridged and adapted