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Interact with children during bedtime

(Excerpt from the book Creative Learning by Vijoy Prakash)

When young infants go to bed, they expect their parents to be with them. This is a good occasion to interact with them. It has been seen that songs and stories narrated to them at this time have great impact on the development of their brains. Earlier, we had folk stories for these occasions. Now, as parents are living in a nuclear situation and are generally extremely busy people, most of them do not remember these stories. As such, they are not able to make best use of these occasions. There is an urgent need to collect such stories or to write new stories and supply them to young couples.

Shampa learns Hanuman Chalisa at 3 years

Shampa was born in a middle class family. When she was a child of 3 years, her mother Sharda Sinha, a teacher educator, used to sing Hanuman Chalisa (40 couplets in the praise of Lord Hanuman), when she went to sleep. She used to start singing, when she was going to sleep and continued till she was fast asleep. As a result, Shampa learnt Hanuman Chalisa by heart, even at the age of 2 years, which is a commendable feat for any child. Today Shampa is a teacher at Teacher’s Training College, Patna. She feels that such techniques used by her mother had a great impact on her life.

Many parents have observed that if such stories are narrated to children before they go for sleep and is continued for some time while the child is half-asleep, it would have very good impact on the development of child. Children’s minds are free from distraction and are quite receptive at this time, so the messages and values imparted at this time become their life time values.

We had a very good tradition of early morning songs called ‘ Parati.’ Even now we can find people singing such songs in villages after they get up from bed. Parents can use these early morning interactions to teach various lessons useful for the child at school. They can also narrate value-loaded stories. Such values have been found to have life long impact on children.

Sing songs in the name of the child

Prabhat Ranjan was born in a middle class family. His grand mother also lived with him. He slept with his grand mother in early childhood. She used to create songs in his name by changing the name of the main character in the song. This way,  he learnt the art of making mental images, which helped him in developing a very good memory. He enjoyed it a lot. He also started creating such songs and in the process learnt the art of innovation. Today, Prabhat Ranjan is a leading physicist and Nuclear Scientist. He feels that foundation of creativity was laid in him through such bedside songs and stories. He used to keep his eyes closed and listened to his grandmother patiently. He still remembers a song after 37 years.

Tutal phatal ghar chhalai ohi men chhalai bhit
Ham Ranjan sutal chhaliye machhar gave geet.

Tanatan uthe geet

In turn, when Ranjan used to sing, he used to say
Tutal phatal ghar chhalai ohi men chhalai bhit
Ham Maan sutal chhaliye machhar gave geet.

Tanatan uthe geet

Recently I found the same technique being used in an internet programme in which the name of the child was substituted in place of the hero in a story. This helps the child in establishing proper emotional relationship with the key message of the story and creating long lasting impact on their behaviour.

Such interactions, if properly designed, may prove to be a good visualisation exercise and would be helpful in development of intrapersonal intelligence. As a matter of fact, stories with pictorial descriptions and logical sequences coupled with rhythmic intonation could be of great help in such situation. Since children keep their eyes closed or do not have much distraction, they start making mental pictures. This process of making mental pictures is of great help in the development of memory and logical thinking.

Learn the art of mental image-making in bed

Vishwendra Kumar Sinha, came from a rural family. His father was a teacher. He was an early riser. After he used to wake up, he used to go to their children in their quilt. It was period of lively interaction. He remembers that during this period his father used to teach them Grammar and Science, mentally. This had great impact on his mental development. Today, he is a leading orthopaedic Surgeon.

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