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Want to cut your child’s screen time? Here’s how this plastic surgeon tackled it

Dr. Priya Bansal, mother of a kindergarten student at Rhythms Kinderworld, advises parents to engage their child into creative activities and interesting pursuits

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Juggling consistently between home and work, Dr. Priya Bansal, an established plastic surgeon, got a break from her busy schedule once the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Having more time on hand to spend with her daughter, Naisha who studies at Rhythms Kinderworld Pre-school, Greater Kailash – II, Dr. Bansal decided to make the best of it by working towards her daughter’s skills and personality development.

To those who think it is too early to be thinking about developing personality in a kindergarten student, the smart doctor-mom with her practice at Rosewalk Healthcare in Panchsheel Park and CK Birla Group of Hospitals in Punjabi Bagh and Gurugram, says, “At present, education goes beyond acquiring knowledge. It is imperative that a child begins to develop interpersonal skills at this early age itself.” In an interview, Dr. Bansal talks about how her daughter is readying to step into a new school with renewed poise.

Why did you choose Apeejay for your daughter over other schools?

Before her admission, I had read and received good reviews about the school which seemed very different from what is imparted in regular pre-schools. The curriculum at Rhythms assimilates internationally acclaimed early childhood practices such as hands-on learning, self-directed approach, and problem-solving. I wanted my daughter to be outgoing and confident right from the start, and therefore my aim was to let her venture beyond usual kindergarten learning. She has been with Apeejay since 2.5 years as she started with the [email protected] programme.

Given your long association with the school, what difference have you felt in online vs. offline classes?

While she was going to school, I couldn’t be part of her classes. However, in the last couple of months, she has learnt a lot in her online classes. These have proven beneficial because the teachers at school have given one-to-one time and greater engagement towards my daughter. With time, she has come to love her teachers a lot, and she misses being with them. Offline vs. online has been a mix of hits and misses for children and parents.  

What would be some developmental traits you observed in your daughter during this time?

She is now able to read and write everything very efficiently. The way she reads books surprises me and I also find her taking up some of my books and journals. Through the activities and Inter-school competitions organised by her school, she has been able to perform well. I recall a Show-&-Tell Online Live Competition, where she became a pangolin and spoke about how the pandemic developed. The activity focused on saving animals and the environment also made her aware about Covid-19 and how it peaked. She learnt to speak in front of people at the competition.

Any special initiatives you took up so that Naisha learns at home?

I limited her screen time and dependency on television and mobile. Of course, if I am doing so, my daughter expects complete involvement from my side, which I gave. I also got her into dance lessons and art classes which kept her busy throughout the day. With kids being home from 1-1.5 years and due to the limited exposure they receive, they can become shy and introverted. It is, therefore, important for parents to spend time with them.

Would you be keen to send her back to school?

Yes, physical interaction is much needed. Naisha is an only child and doesn’t have many cousins close to her age. Her interaction with peers is limited to the online classes she is taking at school. So, keeping in mind all precautions and safety measures, I would want her to be at school. Playing with friends, interacting with them, and knowing what friendship stands for is necessary for her. When she changes her school after kindergarten, she would enter into a new environment, therefore, I feel she should be ready for change.  

Mrini Devnani is Senior Correspondent (Newsroom). She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has a passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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