Saturday, November 29, 2008

Protect kids from crime, stop them to be criminals

Our hearts go to the Mumbai terrorism victims and families. It's inhuman and barbarious . Seems all the terrorists were the age group of below 30 years!

You can find more on the main website on this. However, here's on 'Protect Kids from Crime - Stop them to be Criminals' - Children are watching! Today, just before half an hour ago, children were laughing and talking on terrorists. They told me that they had dry fruits with them and must be fun there, hiding and eating almonds and cashews! They fancied many things and their tiny brains led them to believe it was story shoot of a movie that they saw on the television.
Now, here's we need to guide children. Invest time for children, communicate, explain, teach them safety measures and sure, lot goes to upbring a child. Build the Pillars of character and teach them tolerance too.
Read Ed notes and more on Kidsfreesouls.

LIGHT A CANDLE Join in to pray for victims, Light a canle and take a pledge to fight terror
Sign the Petition
- ilaxi patel

Author of Guardian of Angels

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Saying 'Thank You' & helping kids to write Thank you notes

Thank You comes in an amazing way to be fondly appreciated and who else can be so happy than parents or teachers when children bring in a creatively made note with the courtesy words 'Thank You'!

Teaching children to write 'Thank You' notes is teaching them simple social manners of expressing gratitude. Just as much as we value the experience of gesture when somebody writes a 'Thank You' note, children too can receive our 'Thank you' notes for their good behavior or any positive attitude. This can be the first step in teaching them to consider writing Thank You notes to others. Most of the children need to be encouraged to write Thank You notes, as a child will not initiate to write on his own. How often, we forget to send our 'Thank You' notes and especially, when the tradition of 'Thanksgiving' is completely not observed in many places like India. Sometimes, merely we say words. However, writing notes has its own charm and has an educational value when children learn to write them.

So, how do we help kids to write these lovely 'Thank You' notes? Maybe a few Thank you note guideline tips for kids might help:

1. Talk to the child about Thanksgiving Day. Discuss what manners are all about. Explain why writing gratitude notes makes a difference in lives of people whom you love and care. When you receive a gift, your word 'Thanks' means you appreciate the person who gives you. However, merely saying is often brushed away but written note is cherished and remains in collection drawer, filling in memories.

2. Provide material. Provide appropriate paper, pencils and decorative color pens. Children like creativity and dabbing in colors on paper. Let them draw, paint and write notes with creative words expressing gratitude or write just 'Thank You'. Children can be encouraged to add flashy stickers and ribbons to decorate. They can even make cards, posters with 'Thank you' - simply appreciative!

3. Writing the message. Help children to express themselves by writing simple Thank You notes. Let them write simply 'Thank You' or help them write kind thoughtful words of appreciation. They can even follow quotes books and add related quotes with 'Thank you' for the gift or even thanking parents or teachers for what they do for them.

4. Educational value. Provide tips on how to write. Make the children understand the importance of being gratified. Kids can be explained on EQ - Emotional quotient and why feelings of other people is of concern when they love you and shower gifts or care for you.

5. Writing notes should be fun. Do not force children to write when they can't and is a boring activity for them. However, join in with fun or let them make crafts with simple 'thank you' chit attached to the piece. Writing notes is great way to put a child's creativity - reading, writing or arts and crafts skills. Let the message be clear and what it specifies.

6. Sing along fun. A great way to encourage writing is singing tunes esp. one like 'Manners' - Thoughtful Manners. Children who don't like to write can sing along or listen to music while they get to write. This will ease their inner stress of not wanting to write and readily be creative with other children. Singing is music to soul and soft tunes vibrate the soul.

7. Set an example. Get together and write the stuff. Sometimes, we preach kids but often miss writing notes with simply saying, 'No Time' or rather say it in words. Recharge self and let there be an inner feeling of child like vigor back to add color on paper and be creative to write 'Thank You' notes to children or others. Sometimes, some people just mean a lot - an inspiration, a word, a glance means a lot and makes our day. When we say 'Thanks', kids too follow our example as kids are Watching.

I remember, I got a 'Thank You' note card and it still means a lot to me as it lies on the magazine rack beside me. Human beings crave for love and appreciation and our live revolves round the people we like and admire.

I thank all my readers and well wishers who pass this way, and as I keep going day in and out to be actively and your visits inspire me to fulfill my commitment and mission to spread the message of love, faith, peace and unity among human beings. Somebody did ask me How and maybe the answer is in kidsfreesouls itself! Here's on Thanksgiving with a note. Enjoy!

- ilaxi patel
Author of Guardian of Angels: A practical guide to Joyful Parenting

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Family Reading Report and Kids Reading

A new study reveals that 75% of kids age 5-17 agree with the statement, “No matter what I can do online, I’ll always want to read books printed on paper,” and 62% of kids surveyed say they prefer to read books printed on paper rather than on a computer or a handheld device. The Kids & Family Reading Report, a national survey of children age 5-17 and their parents, also found that kids who go online to extend the reading experience – by going to book or author websites or connecting with other readers – are more likely to read books for fun every day.

The 2008 Kids & Family Reading Report, a follow up to a similar 2006 study, both of which were conducted by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and TSC, a division of Yankelovich, a leader in consumer trends research, again found that the time kids spend reading books for fun declines after age eight and continues to drop off through the teen years.

In US, more children above 8 years are having web experience with two thirds of children aged 9-17 years who go online have extended the reading experience via the Internet. These online reading extenders say they learn what other people think about a book, learn new things about an author and connect with other readers.

Parents are strong influence on kid's reading habits. They overwhelmingly view reading as the most important skill a child needs to develop, but only about half of all parents begin reading to their child before their first birthday. The percent of children who are read to every day drops from 38% among 5-8 year olds to 23% among 9-11 year olds. This is the same time that kids’ daily reading for fun starts to decline.

A video presentation of the results from The Kids & Family Reading Report is available at

Here's the Survey results in brief:

Kids and Reading:
>Kids overwhelming (89%) say “My favorite books are the ones I picked out myself.”
>Sixty-eight percent of kids say they love or like reading books for fun a lot (72% of girls/ 63% of boys).
>Half of all kids say there aren’t enough really good books for boys/girls their age.

Technology and Reading:
>Both boys and girls (age 9-17) say that they prefer to read books rather than read things on the Internet when they want to use their imagination (63% vs. 37%).
>Boys are more likely to say the Internet is better than books when they want to read for fun (54% vs. 46%). Girls choose books (63% vs. 37%).
>Two in three children believe that within the next 10 years, most books which are read for fun will be read digitally – either on a computer or on another kind of electronic device.

Parents’ Role:
>82% of parents say they wish kids would read books for fun more often.
>Parents who read books for fun daily are six times more likely than low frequency reading parents to have kids who also read for fun daily.
>Parents are a key source of book suggestions for their children, but nearly half of all parents say they have a hard time finding information about books their child would enjoy reading, and especially parents of teens age 15-17 (62%).

I believe, parents can be role models as they enhance their own Reading experience. Though kids like to choose their own books, helping children to select books for reading is a good idea. Reading need to be a routine, together with the family, in a cozy comfort of a Reading room or at a Library in the schools. Children need to be aware that if they are not a strong reader, they would face problems when in higher studies.

Over 41% Parents vs 55% kids say that there are not really enough books for children of their child's age and gender. Finding appropriate books is a problem. Children need to pick their choice with instincts or parents esp. mom is the source provider followed by friends, teachers and libraries, to pick the books.

Well, I agree, books are many but we need to read to guide our children to read. And, what better can we suggest than all Classics? There you find a list of websites in Kidsfreesouls Search to make your choice. Just put the keywords 'kids books' or classics for kids, best selling kids books, etc.

Btw, Problem with kids reading habits? Encourage children for reading and follow the some common troubleshooting signs here. Sit back as your child reads online on Kidsfreesouls Fairyland pages or even teach the child on How to write a story or a Poem. Parents and Teachers can encourage children to make scrap books to jot down Literature Profiles too. Enjoy!

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Children's Day with Kidsfreesouls Picture Gallery

14th November is Children's Day in India. A day to remember Nehru Chacha who loved children and a day For Kids.

To celebrate Children's Day this year, Kidsfreesouls added more sections For Kids and created Kidsfreesouls Picture Gallery and Paste Board. A time for all of us to go back to memory lane of our childhood when we loved to draw, color and paint rainbows! Kidsfreesouls welcome readers' contributions as well as your kids collection to paste on the Color Paste Board. Creativity blooms as we encourage children to take part in competitions or send online their poetry or art piece to appear on Kidsfreesouls. Children can even send Jokes, Riddles or make a 'Quotes Scrap Book' to add Kidsfreesouls Quotes or Real Stuff.

Well, I once took a competition at a Deaf Dumb School and Blind School in town. We sponsored Drawing books, pencil, rubber, erasers, sharpeners and color boxes to children and the teachers supported us by encouraging the children in a sign language telling them that this is a competition. The children in the age category 3rd-7th Grade screamed with joy and raised their hands in gestures and talking to each other in those tricky signs. In no time, there was a pin drop silence as the teachers explained the rules and the children began to explore creativity on paper.
I was amazed as they had great determination, confidence and unity. They seem to share a great Camaraderie. They were talented and had a sense of pride as they shared each other's work. They poured their emotions on the drawing sheet. They made scenery, cartoon characters and more; even poured their ambitions as what they'd like to be when they grow up - it was just amazing to dive into their tiny minds that revealed a lot.

I feel, these children need no pity. Rather, we need to motivate and encourage them. Sometimes, even teachers or parents disappoint a child with their comment and it is here we need to remember that children are like flowers in the garden of loving god. We are blessed with normal kids who have talents beyond our comprehension.

As teachers or parents, we need to adopt an Art Therapy which can bring down stress levels in us as well as children. Drawing, coloring, crafts, singing, saying and telling jokes, riddles and such activities - even like doing worksheets together is always fun. This improves mental and emotional health apart from creating awareness and even focusing on cognitive abilities. Through this Art and Play fun, children can express thousand words unsaid. I engage myself with my children reducing my work stress related to my other areas of interest and Profession. Parents and Teachers need to be kids again as age is almost a number. Dig into childhood days and with the wonderful memories, you can motivate and encourage to Create a Genius in your Child.
You may visit the For Kids and Paste Board here. Send in your drawings or your child's painting by post or email - Relax and Enjoy!

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

'How much do children know about Politics? Guide with Kidsfreesouls steps

Barrack Hussein Obama is the first African-American President who made a History as he won the 44th US Presidential Election. With the Post Elections, here are Seven Big Questions, "How will Obama Govern?" Change Can Happen with Challenges he will have to face and emerge a winner ever. One thing is so offending or racist to say, as it seems, is Obama's middle name 'Hussein' that I came to read across in one of MJ Columnist post and another at New York Times Headlines. Whatever, I am curious if we can just leave as President Barrack Obama!

Btw, reading on the Slate is an interesting story by Emily Bazelon on Halloween experiment on Voting preferences of 551 kids. Yale economist Dean Karlan had a way to set up a big McCain sign and a life-size cutout of the candidate on one side of his porch, and a big Obama sign and the corresponding cutout on the other. A squad of graduate students sat behind two tables, recording the kids' ages, genders, and responses. 78% of Kids chose Obama. What is more interesting is that Karlan and his minions asked a group of children a different question, "You can get two pieces of candy from the Obama table or four pieces of candy from the McCain table. Which do you prefer?" A boy picked up his choice for more candies! Read more on this on Slate here.

Now, what I feel is 'How much do children know about Politics? How do parents or teachers make children aware of the candidates and who is a right choice? Well, in our town, ask a child and he's blank on such Political scenario. Ask to vote, and the choice comes - who is the least corrupt of the Candidates and you can cast your vote to him! Most of the children find it too tough to understand Civics which is almost a fast read-learn lesson in the classroom.

Political preference is one domain where parents views do matter. They influence kids which have a lasting effect as they grow up. If you call a Politician corrupt in front of a child, he is going to carry the impression and fail to offer his choice. Childhood innocence do not last long as children grow to learn values and make their own choice and decisions. However, here are simple steps to guide Children and make them know on politics and elections:

1. Keep them simply informed by simply talking to them on the current political scenario.

2. Do not criticize or make weird comments showing your mind. Instead, discuss the candidates, parties and what the present country needs.

3. Seek to proper television channels or websites to find sources as you may not be well aware of what to kid appropriate source. Surf with keywords 'teaching children about politics' in Kidsfreesouls Search here.

4. Watch Television together. Make it interactive and inform of current affairs and global issues. Ask or reply to questions in a simple manner.

5. Read newspapers and magazines. Let kids explore interesting cartoons on politics and explain them. Make the child know about the news piece and help him read political news.

6. Discuss. A major influence is a parent who interacts with the kid on politics. Talk about Administration that begins with home leading to countries. How do leaders manage and what it means for the nation.

7. Talk to Teachers and find what they are discussing about Politics in the class. Encourage making Posters and encourage, polite, open and honest debate.

8. Support content. Provide news, magazines, websites that teach on politics. Take them to Libraries or Museums. Watch documentaries or read on leaders.

9. Don't let the child be overwhelmed during Election. Most of the television, newspapers or people speak Politics and talk of parties - Be cautious. Kids can be overwhelmed and anxious to happenings around. Take a break. Switch off the continuous bombarding of politics.

Lastly, teach a child to absorb. All that glitters is not gold. Politicians are human beings and can break promises, say lies too or be corrupt. It is values to imbibe and hope brings in rays of sunshine.

Kids polish their research skills and increase their political knowledge. They will be informed voters in time to come when they grow up and be responsible, powerful leaders in their life - be in profession or politics, why not?

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids

Barrack Hussein Obama : Change has come to America

Change had to come to America - And, America is a place where CHANGE CAN HAPPEN!
Pic courtesy: Getty Images
Barrack Obama wins the 44th US Presidential Election. A first African-American, Barrack Obama, in his oracious victory speech, cheered supporters saying, "Change has come to America" and called on Americans to back a spirit of unity to tackle challenges. He emphasis on Democracy, Liberty, Opportunities. He promised a new 'Dawn'.He promised to overcome problems. He promised to non partisan administration.

Read more here, here and here

Obama, 47, will now begin his transition to the White House. He will be sworn in at the 44th president on January 20, 2009.

Stay Tuned! Also find on Google Live News Feeds

Find Barrack Obama Photo Stream here.

You can Search with keywords, 'win presidential election, obama's victory speech', 'obama's victory speech video', 'Transcript of Barrack Obama's victory speech' in Kidsfreesouls Google Search

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids

Times of India founded as Bombay Times and JC in Nov 1838

November 3, 1838 - The Times of India, the world's largest circulated English language daily broadsheet newspaper is founded as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce. (search wiki in Kidsfreesouls Google Search)

A Kidsfreesouls major source of Inspiration, I started my Journalism career as a Voluntary Freelancer - Interviewing Voices column. Later on, became an Editor, Freesouls (now in Sambhaav Newspaper and it became, an endless journey to Journalism.

You can find my About and Mission Page here. Find Kidsfreesouls - In the Press Page.

Search The Times of India & The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce in Kidsfreesouls Google Search

Btw, you can find the Bombay Times Party of the Year with the Retro theme as celebrities and stars made an impression. Sushmita Sen was well dressed with the retro look and so was Priyanka Chopra. View Aishwarya, Abhishek Bacchan and many more at the party video. Enjoy.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids with resources for parents and teachers