Five things we need to unlearn as parents

As a parent, I have often found myself lecturing my kid for no reason. I think we take it to be a package deal that comes with parenthood to keep reminding them of dos and don’ts, rights and wrongs, morals and ethics, so on and so forth. Poor kids!

Well, this is just one amongst the long list of terrible things that many of us are guilty of including being over-protective all the time or burdening them with too much academics. Honestly, these are the things that we parents need to unlearn immediately. Because only then, we’ll be able to make space for a new kind of learning, a new understanding of the dynamics of the parent-child relationship that’s much more than what we know of it.

So here are five things we need to unlearn as parents that can help us have a new insight into the beautiful world of kids around us.

  1. Rule-book: There are no manuals- be it parenting or childhood. They are just experiences. We all learn by living it not by reading from some rule-book. So nurture your relationship with your kid not on the basis of how it “should” be but how it is.
  2. Failure is bad: Failure isn’t the end of the world. Don’t let your anxieties over-power your kids. Fear of failure hampers creativity and has an adverse effect on a child’s physical and mental development.
  3. Technology is the culprit: This seems to be the fad these days with the parents to blame everything on the technology. Technology is a necessary evil of this generation and it’s foolish to think that you can do away with it. Instead, find a way to limit its intake. Plan weekend getaways, go for a treasure hunt and you won’t find gadgets ruling your kid’s mind again.
  4. Academic success is what matters: We all want to see our kids successful but success isn’t limited to academics. Your definition of success could be different from your child’s. Do give it an ear.
  5. Life would be happy, if only we were richer, skinnier, fairer, etc etc. This list goes on and on. Happiness has no terms and conditions. So, don’t postpone it for any excuse.

Live it, explore it and be it!


Team Kshitij brings #SelfieWithMom contest


Kshitij-Redefining Fun is presenting #SelfiewithMom contest which can earn one lucky kid a free trip to our next big adventure camp. All you have to do is upload a quirky, crazy and madcap selfie of the mom with her kid in the comments section and the picture which gets the maximum likes will be the winner. Come on mommies!! Don’t let your little brat miss on this fantastic opportunity. Good luck from all of us at Team Kshitij.

The rules for the #SelfieWithMom contest are-
1. Children aged 6 to 12 years can only participate in the contest.
2. Only one entry will be allowed per person. If anyone posts multiple entries, she will be disqualified from the contest.
3. After uploading the selfie, it is mandatory to tag at least three other mommies and use the hashtag #SelfieWithMom.
4. The contest will be exclusively valid for Mumbai residents only.
Click here to participate in the #SelfieWithMom contest.

Are we raising happy kids?

Every parent wants his/her kid/s to be ‘happy’. Their well-being, both
in the present context and the future, is of the supreme concern to
them. But how do we know if we are raising happy kids?

As a 21st century parents, many of us often feel proud about raising
smart kids who can walk and talk technology. Easy availability and
accessibility of smart gadgets also mean that we don’t have to slog it
out with them to teach basic school things and experiments.

With the coolest ever generation of parents that initiate them to the
social media world at a very young age itself, they couldn’t ask for
more. But, amidst all this, the real question is- “are they really

Knowledge can be gauged in quantifiable terms to a certain extent, the
same is not true for happiness. While our kids may be tech-savvy and
pro-at swiping on the gadgets, they are not pro at handling real-life
issues. The scintillating, vast expanse of virtual world have dwarfed
their real-life into insignificant shadows. This is perhaps the reason
why issues like low self-esteem, depression, ADHD are on the rise
amongst this generation.

‘What’s in the best interest of the children’ and ‘what makes them
happy’ often become a conundrum baffling many parents. But the problem
isn’t as difficult as we sometimes make it to be.


Raising happy kids is like an art, a way of life. There aren’t any
rules or prescriptions, just new perceptions, a willingness to learn,
unlearn and re-learn. These are just a few ways in which we can make
small beginnings towards ensuring our kids learn to be happy, learn to
find happiness in hitherto unknown things and ways:

•    Be happy yourself– Charity begins at home. Be happy yourself
first, and it’ll soon start reflecting outwards in your family. Family
time like dinners or a game of Ludo is a perfect way of feeling happy
and making your kids feel the same too.

•    Pack your bags and step out in the real world– There is no better
way to happiness than by travelling and exploring this beautiful world

•    Teach them life-skills– This is a corollary to the previous point
about travelling and exploring the real-world. Nature-trips or
adventure trips give them a new horizon to learn things like focus and
self-control, critical thinking, perspective taking, communicating,
making connections, and taking decisions.

•    Appreciate efforts– Appreciating effort is any day more important
than rewarding results.

•    Let them be kids

Well, as we said above, these are no prescriptions. Parenting doesn’t
have a manual. Each child is unique, and every parent needs to find
ways that work for their family.

At Kshitij, we endeavor to give children and parents an alternative
world of experiential learning, breaking free from the world of
gadgets. By creating interesting, joyful and meaningful experiences,
we help children discover happiness from within themselves. This not
only makes them more skilful and capable as individuals but also
enables them to discover different facets of their own personality,
making them more complete as individuals.

Why children SHOULD travel on their own?



I still remember the times when power cuts were looked forward to. A power cut, especially in the evening, meant uninhibited play time when your mother couldn’t call you back with the pending homework excuse. Well, that was nearly two decades back. Fast forward to 2018, when our kids don’t even know what are power cuts thanks to 24*7 power back-ups. The only time you find them searching for power is when their iPads or smartphones notify them with ‘Low Battery’.

The irony of our present day connected world is that children know how to interact, communicate in the virtual worlds of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram but find themselves inadept at forging meaningful bonds in real life including parents and siblings. Thus it becomes important that we find ways to encourage our children to explore the real world where human worth is not gauged by the number of likes or hearts one gets for a photo post but by how many goals you did in that Football match with friends.
Travelling is important for any human being. It is our way of exploring the infinite expanse of this world. Stepping outside the painted, done to perfection, secured walls of our homes opens up a new space for children where they create their own little nests, learn from nature, find new relationships, improve the present ones and most importantly get to know their own selves.

Here are 5 reasons you SHOULD encourage children to travel, to explore, to experience and to be.

a87a7-img_1033Freedom from gadgets
Busy work schedules often force parents to compensate time and love by handing over gadgets to their kids not realizing the true impact of it. Children today consider gadgets to be their most valuable possessions. They can’t think of themselves without them. Adventure trips amidst nature can help them break the vicious circle of technology and explore real world out there.

At Kshitij, redefining fun, it is out constant endeavor to give children and parents an alternative world of experiential learning, breaking free from the humdrum of day to day life. And we do it all in the most fun way!

When children step out of their cocoons, they realize what all they can do. Instead of packaged consumable experiences, travelling gives them an opportunity to create, invent what they don’t readily have.
990d6-workshopTeam spirit
Our kids belong to the selfie generation. They all are so self-obsessed and narcissist to understand what is team-work. Be it an adventure trip or a family outing, Kshitij world promotes joyfulness of working as a team sometimes with unknown people and sometimes with our own kin. It’s a way to help children discover a new facet of their being helping them grow as individuals.

Adventure and learning
The charm of a treasure hunt amidst woods cannot be put into words and should not be. It is an adventure that every child deserves to have in his/her childhood. Gift your child the adventure of a lifetime with our upcoming summer camps across India and the world.
13775579_10157331592745372_8865593904531439523_nSense of ownership
Travelling solo gives a child a sense of responsibility towards himself and those around him. Interacting with unknown people who become friends soon after instill in children confidence and street-wisdom which no classroom can ever teach.

So, let these young souls fly free and explore the infinite canvas of opportunities in the real world. At Kshitij, redefining fun, we strive to create safe yet thrilling environment for children where they can indulge in meaningful engagements through enriching experiences without any compromise on the fun and play quotient. Travelling exposes them to cultures, communities and socio-economic diversities. Which helps them to engage with the world with newfound insights and observations. It is like, learning on the go.

EXPLORE, EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESS with Kshitij, redefining fun

Why Empathy Holds the Key to Transforming 21st Century Learning


Like other aspects of modern life, education can make the head hurt. So many outcomes, so much important work to do, so many solutions and strategies, so many variations on teaching, so many different kinds of students with so many different needs, so many unknowns in preparing for 21st Century life and the endless list of jobs that haven’t been invented.

What if we discovered one unifying factor that brought all of this confusion under one roof and gave us a coherent sense of how to stimulate the intellect, teach children to engage in collaborative problem solving and creative challenge, and foster social-emotional balance and stability—one factor that, if we got right, would change the equation for learning in the same way that confirming the existence of a fundamental particle informs a grand theory of the universe?

That factor exists: It’s called empathy.

To make that argument requires a deep dive into the profound nature of empathy. Right now, empathy roughly equates to “I like you and am willing to tolerate you regardless of differences because I am a good person.” But the textbook definition hints at something more profound: It’s ‘the feeling of being able to understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.’ That all-encompassing definition means empathy results from a complex mix of other meaningful emotions and attitudes that fuel human personality, such as openness, curiosity, self-restraint, vulnerability, sensitivity, awareness, respect, appreciation, and even love. Add this list to the fact that empathy can’t manifest unless we have had our own experiences and emotions to contrast, compare, and connect with others—and we can see that empathy is more than a simple connector; it’s the subterranean, fundamental glue that holds humanity together.

Thus, it shouldn’t surprise us that such a potent emotion resonates across mind and body, influencing behavior and brain function. That is exactly the case. Empathy has the potential to open up students to deeper learning, drive clarity of thinking, and inspire engagement with the world—in other words, provide the emotional sustenance for outstanding human performance.

I see this regularly in my work with project-based-learning teachers who create classrooms that hum with good vibes and focused work. But to understand the full potential of empathy, let’s connect some dots. Those dots may appear unrelated at the moment, but they constitute a scatterplot with a trend line, predicting that empathy will eventually not be an add-on or ‘soft’ skill or one component of a middle school advisory program, and in the process confirm that a school system focused on cognition and testing alone cannot bring forth the greater purpose, focus, collaboration, and creativity necessary for 21st century students.

I see seven ‘dots’, if you will, that begin to paint this emerging picture of schooling in the future:

Empathy underlies collaboration
As social-emotional learning becomes more necessary to help students navigate life and work, empathy is getting more popular by the day, for good reason: Empathy lies at the heart of 21st century skillfulness in teamwork, collaboration and communication in a diverse world. Speaking or listening to someone without radiating empathy narrows the channel of communication or blocks connection altogether. Particularly in the new reality of a global world, without empathy you’re not ready to engage the 21st century, either in the workplace or across cultures. It has to be taught, practiced and coached.

Empathy is healthy
In the last twenty years, discussions about emotions have taken a radical turn. For years, negative emotions dominated theory and research. Today we know that positive emotions enhance well-being, health, relationships and personal strengths. At the top of this pyramid are the emotions associated with empathy: curiosity, openness, appreciation and gratitude. Empathy simply powers up the mind, body and spirit.

Empathy promotes whole-child learning
A critical dot, overlooked in our brain-centric world, is that empathy may activate the heart. As I’ve written many times, the heart has a role in learning equal to the brain. In fact, science does not support the mistaken notion that the brain does all the work. Research on heart rate variability and emotions shows that the heart engages the brain in constant conversation, using the language of emotions to direct the ‘state’ of the brain. To perform its role, the heart contains upwards of 40,000 neurons identical to nerve cells in the brain; eighty percent of nerve traffic then travels upward from heart to brain, making it clear that the heart influences brain function. While we don’t fully understand the implications of this partnership, two findings have been confirmed: Anxiety and negative feelings alter the coding of the messages sent by the heart to the brain, resulting in stress or fight or flight responses; at the same time, positive emotions such as gratitude and appreciation—close cousins of empathy—show pronounced, positive effects on brain processes.

Empathy ‘opens’ us up
The frontal lobes of the brain, at least as much as we know now, are the seat of planning, execution, problem solving and creativity—and when the frontal lobes are working well, so are we. In that well-documented ‘flow state,’ humans function at their peak, moving into a whole-body feeling of openness, relaxed focus, and creative possibility. If we know empathy activates the frontal lobes, why can’t we imagine intentional lessons about empathy and openness designed to put students in an optimal state for learning?

Empathy powers up inquiry and project based learning
Instruction is clearly headed in the direction of student-centered approaches such as inquiry and PBL. These approaches succeed in an atmosphere of care and positive relationships, both between student and teacher, and student and student. Classrooms that lack this foundation cannot succeed at project based work or open-ended questioning that relies on students’ ability to care about their learning. Setting up a culture of care is very much an exercise in making empathy central to daily work.

Empathy triggers creativity
Beyond rounding out the skills of collaboration and communication, empathy, design and collaboration are interconnected pieces of the creative puzzle. Empathy is now identified as the first step in the design process, whether crafting new software for a user or creating form-factors that inherently please the consumer. Right now, empathy is described as ‘step.’ But that easy designation belies a very deep process in which a designer must, for lack of a better term, ‘sink into the mind of another and take on their persona’. That is a deep descriptor of an ultimate form of empathy—and it may be a necessary component of an educational system increasingly tilted toward design and inquiry.

Empathy unites
The list could have started here, but on a planet that is now close to completing the globalizing process, empathy assumes a special role as the key emotion critical for seven-plus billion people to live in harmony and cooperative relationship. For our Stone-Age brethren, fear and separation were appropriate mechanisms for survival. But that has been flipped by sheer numbers, technology, resource scarcity, and environmental impact. Empathy is required curriculum, and without it, eventually our current focus on high test scores and fulfilling college requirements will be rendered meaningless by untoward events.

The takeaway? Ready or not, education is entering an age in which social learning is the new norm. Pure academics are giving way to increased opportunities for students to work together; teachers increasingly take on the role of co-learner and facilitator; listening, learning, and teaming are the new core skills. At the heart of this new skillfulness for everyone is the ability to forge deep connections lead to creative problem solving and positive pursuits. Taken all together, this makes empathy critical to schools. In fact, very soon we will need to invent a new taxonomy of learning that makes empathy the base of the learning pyramid.

Source :


Teaching Your Child Emotional Agility



It’s hard to see a child unhappy. Whether a child is crying over the death of a pet or the popping of a balloon, our instinct is to make it better, fast.

That’s where too many parents get it wrong, says the psychologist Susan David, author of the book “Emotional Agility.” Helping a child feel happy again may offer immediate relief for parent and child, but it doesn’t help a child in the long term.

“How children navigate their emotional world is critical to lifelong success,” she said.

Research shows that when teachers help preschoolers learn to manage their feelings in the classroom, those children become better problem solvers when faced with an emotional situation, and are better able to engage in learning tasks. In teenagers, “emotional intelligence,” or the ability to recognize and manage emotions, is associated with an increased ability to cope with stressful situations and greater self-esteem. Some research suggests that a lack of emotional intelligence can be used to predict symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Emotional skills, said Dr. David, are the bedrock of qualities like grit and resilience. But instead of allowing a child to fully experience a negative emotion, parents often respond with what Dr. David describes as emotional helicoptering.

“We step into the child’s emotional space,” she said, with our platitudes, advice and ideas. Many common parental strategies, like minimizing either the emotion or the underlying problem or rushing to the rescue, fail to help a child learn how to help herself.

Dr. David offers four practical steps for helping a child go through, rather than around, a negative emotion and emerge ready to keep going — feel it, show it, label it, watch it go.

Feel It. While it may seem obvious to feel emotions, many families focus on pushing away negative emotions. “When we’re saying ‘don’t be sad, don’t be angry, don’t be jealous, don’t be selfish,’ we’re not coming to the child in the reality of her emotion,” she said. “Validate and see your child as a sentient person who has her own emotional world.”

Show It. Similarly, many families have what Dr. David calls “display rules” around emotions — there are those it is acceptable to show, and those that must be hidden. “We see expressions like ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘we don’t do anger here,’ or ‘brush it off,’” she said. “We do it with very good intentions, but we are teaching that emotions are to be feared.”

Label It. Labeling emotions, Dr. David said, is a critical skill set for children.

“We need to learn to recognize stress versus anger or disappointment,” she said. Even very young children can consider whether they’re mad or sad, or angry or anxious or scared. “Labeling emotions is also at the core of our ability to empathize. Ask ‘How do you think so-and-so is feeling? What does their face tell you?’”

As children get older, she adds, we can talk more about emotional complexities. “We can be simultaneously excited and anxious and frustrated, and we also need to learn to recognize that in other people,” she said.

Watch It Go. Even the hardest emotions don’t last forever. Dr. David suggests helping your child to notice that. “Sadness, anger, frustration — these things have value, but they also pass. They’re transient, and we are bigger than they are. Say, ‘This is what sadness feels like. This is what it feels like after it passes. This is what I did that helped it pass.’”

We can also help children to remember that we don’t necessarily feel the same emotion every time we have a similar experience. The high dive is scariest the first time. We might feel a lot of anxiety at one party, or in one science class, but have a different experience the next time.

“We’re very good, as humans, at creating these stories around emotions,” Dr. David said. “‘I’m not good at making friends. I can’t do math.’ Those are feelings and fears, not fixed states. People and things change.”

Finally, she said, help your child plan for experiencing the emotion again. “Ask, ‘Who do you want to be in this situation?’” she said. “What’s important to you about this?” Children feel stronger as they begin to learn that it’s not how they feel, but how they respond to the feeling, that counts.


Bonding over a Hike


Mumbai is known for its beautiful, mesmerizing monsoons and this year the rains just don’t seem to stop. This is motivation enough to let go off the sunday sleep and get set on a trail in the backcountry to explore the mountains, get away from the city chaos, weekend traffic and find some time with family and spend those tiny moments of contentment.

Today, began in a similar way. Everything was set and arranged for, to visit some ancient buddhist caves that date back to the second century at a village called Kondane , about two and half hours from the city of mumbai. Our joinees were kids tagged along by their dads or mums or both. Some kids wanted to have fun all by themselves, so they came solo. These caves also have a small waterfall around them which becomes a major attraction for the young bees and a great stress buster for the parents. The hike being simple in grade doesn’t really wear one out,but the slippery muddy feet and little patches of rocks do add in their share of adventure. The trail begins through a small village that makes one wonder of how life would be , living in a far off place that doesn’t have local transport, no constant electricity and houses that don’t have doors to their rooms! Now thats surely a starter to be grateful of having the lifestyle that we have!

This small troop of hikers explored the hills and the forests to finally reach their highest summit point after an hour. All through that hour there were so many little moments of meaningfulness that transpired amongst them. Our team witnessed these, and their hearts glowed with warmth and love. Kids went all out to help other kids, make sure that they were safe, their friends were safe. They were ready to take on adventures and face whatever came on their way. The curiosity that arose on seeing insects, different shades of greens, small water lodges, algae covered rocks, slimy mosses were interesting to witness. The conversations that happened between kids and their parents had that extra element of fun, and nurture of being in the outdoors. Like some unsaid ties had broken loose and the parent bird can give a slight push to the baby bird to realise the strength of their wings. As facilitators, the minimal intervention works best in an outdoor hiking setting. A few loaded questions sets up the momentum in a different direction and you know the families are going to be in a different state of mind all day. The beauty about this experience is the great sense of achievement that they feel individually and as a team together to have accomplished what looks like a massive task.  To overcome thirst, hunger, full bladders, fatigue, buzzing insects, slippery paths, sleep and yet come back having the best experience when all this washes out owing to those chilled gushing waters from the fall, relieves all the anxieties and angst, the kids and even adults feel the exuberance from a state of self reward. It works wonders.

As parents we always want to try and give the best of the things to our kids, be it education, extra curriculars, gadgets, accessories etc. The emerging era of parenting has now started showing a shift in their approach of learning for their kids, and it’s commendable to see young parents go out of their way to engage their kids in various experiences beyond classrooms. They say, kids have an outrageous potential for exploration, and if that is mentored and supported by an adult, it can become a great transforming tool for the kids overall development in their various forms of intelligences. Spending time with your kids in the outdoors in a hike like today is a great booster for them. It changes the quotient between kids, their parents and even siblings.

Bonding over a hike surely demands efforts, but every bit is worth is !

By : Charmi Gada

28th August 2016