5 SEL Strategies to Practise at Home

A growing body of research suggests that helping children to develop good social and emotional skills early in life makes a big difference in their long-term health and well-being. According to Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence”, he says that through family life, “we learn how to feel about ourselves and how others will react to our feelings; how to think about these feelings and what choices we have in reacting’ how to read and express hopes and fears.” Therefore, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) first takes place at home. When parents are able to interact with their children by helping them to work through feelings constructively and engage in respectful and caring relationships, children will then be able to navigate emotional challenges such as a disappointment, hurt or anger successfully.

Besides enrolling your children for DolphinPODs’ Social-Emotional-Cognitive (SEC) school programs, here are 5 strategies which you can consider doing on a regular basis to help improve your child’s SEL. These suggestions are also not an exhaustive list, and some may require advance thought and planning to put into action. Begin with one item and add on more as you gain comfort and confidence with using these strategies.

Providing children with opportunities to use their voices and make decisions are great ways to boost your child’s autonomy and confidence. It teaches them what it means to build respect, cooperate and develop their own problem-solving skills. Avoid overwhelming them with too many choices and make certain choices “rituals” where they get to choose consistently., e.g., What do you want to do on Saturday morning? Go to the park or the library? Get them involved in fixing problems and learn to trust that your child may be able to find a good solution to the problem with some careful consideration., e.g.,If there are books all over your child’s bedroom floor, ask her how she thinks the floor could stay clear.

Apologizing does not mean that you forget whatever your child did that was upsetting. Actually, it means that you clarify that some of what you said was hurtful and had to do with your own frustration. “It’s not whether you make a mistake, it’s how you handle that mistake”. Parents’ ability to acknowledge mistakes and accept responsibility for actions is imperative in helping their children to do the same. An effective parental apology involves a deep understanding of our child’s feelings, a great deal of self-control, and good social skills.  They are demonstrating that taking action to accept responsibility after a mistake is more important than the mistake itself.

It is normal to feel irritated or angry at times. Yet it is important to bear in mind that modeling is a powerful teacher. Learn to recognise triggers and make a plan to do something before you lose control. Allocate a “quiet spot” where family members can go when they are upset, or stop talking and leave the room for a while to calm down. Discuss as a family about what everyone can do to stay calm by creating an emotional safety plan.

Make yourself a good example, and teach your child the importance of making time to eat properly, exercise and rest. Make sure your child has time to have fun, and make sure that your child hasn’t scheduled every moment of his or her life with no “down time” to relax. Caring for oneself and even having fun will help your child stay balanced and better deal with stressful times.

In order to have friends, we have to learn to be a friend. Teach your child the skill of empathy or feeling another’s pain. By learning to connect with others, children can feel empowered and strengthen their resilience. Brainstorm with your child on how they can help others, e.g., you and your child can prepare food in a homeless shelter, go on a fundraising walk-a-thon or simply ask her to collaborate with you on household activities. This teaches children that by sharing and helping, they can make a difference in the lives of others.

Lastly, don’t forget to work together with your child’s school than work alone. Both schools and parents contribute in different ways to make the child’s learning effective. Learning SEL skills is like having an insurance policy for a healthy, positive, successful life. When children are able to master them, they are more likely to succeed in school and life.

Early Childhood Education

According to UNICEF, the early childhood period is considered from the time of conception to eight years of age. The earliest years of a child’s life are also considered by scientists, child psychologists, and other such related organizations as quite crucial in terms of the child’s growth and development. During this period the child learns the necessary cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills required for future success. Children benefit when the environment around them (household primarily) is supportive, proper nutrition and healthcare, and learning opportunities are provided. Early childhood education positively impacts attendance, retention, and learning of children as they progress and go up grade levels.

There is no denying that learning of physical, social, emotional, and cognitive begin at home, however, with the changing waters of the 21st Century and more and more people joining the work force, young children are being sent to daycares and preschool. These centres have now come to be the child’s second home, where they spend most of the waking hours of their day. Therefore, it is now salient that these preschools provide the essential learnings and education for children so that they may adjust relatively easily as they move on to higher levels of education. With this, a great deal of pressure has befallen preschools – the responsibility of equipping little children with the necessary skills and meeting developmental milestones which would otherwise take place in the household.

Dolphin Under 5 is a preschool, fully equipped to meet the needs of the child and parent when it comes to early child growth and development. The early child education program provided by the Dolphin Under 5 team is based on the POD methodology of Play-Others-Downtime founded by Dr.Shimi Kang, a Harvard-trained Psychiatrist, situated in Vancouver, Canada. Through this methodology, children learn the competencies of social and emotional learning in a fun and unique manner. Play allows children to explore their environment, understand themselves and others (such as their likes and dislikes), what it means to play fair, and refine their gross and fine motor skills. Others is where the core concept is taught to the child, during the preschool years, a child learns different shapes, colors, objects, alphabets, etc. all that help create a link with the real world so that the child can think critically and communicate effectively. Lastly, during the Downtime period, children as given various means to help relax themselves, such as deep breathing techniques, meditations, coloring, etc. These techniques help slowly but surely teach the child the importance and effects of relaxing, especially during times of overwhelming unwanted emotions.

Located at the heart of Delhi, Dolphin Under Five is a, early learning centre in Vasant Kunj, surrounded by a very safe and supportive neighbourhood. The internationally designed facility is packed with various physical and mental exercises to ensure the workout of both the body and mind. Here, we believe the more doses of POD the child gets, the E.A.S.I.E.R (Emotional Wellness, Adaptability, Social Awareness, Innovation, Ethics, and Resilience) things become!

Activity Centre for Toddlers

Early years of a child are crucial to meeting and developing necessary milestones, which are usually achieved through a variation of play and socializing (within an age-appropriate spectrum) with others. These developmental milestones can be broken down into three salient aspects of focus – social, emotional, and cognitive. Social development and learning work towards an awareness of others, responses and behaviour that are befitting such scenarios, and the learning of concepts such as empathy, compassion, kindness, etc. through everyday interactions. When it comes down to it, searching, inspecting, and choosing the right space for your child makes up for a huge decision!

Through integration of international research, methodology, and infrastructure Dolphin POD is a toddler activity centre in South Delhi that has it all! Dolphin POD prides itself on creating an environment that fosters growth and success through the POD (Play-Others-Downtime) methodology, allowing children to really explore not only the external space but also the internal self. The activities that children engage in link closely to achieving the purpose of learning, whether a concept or a physical skill. A lot of work with refining the child’s emotional and social concepts of Kindness, Gratitude, Compassion, Empathy, etc. as well as more cognitive skills through physical play in strengthening fine motor and gross motor skills, balance, hand-eye-coordination, etc. to provide overall development within in and every child are the step-by-step goals.

This is an activity centre for kids in the heart of Vasant Kunj, with a trained staff to take care of your child’s every need! From engagement in a variety of activities dealing with physical and emotional development to provision of healthy meals and snacks which fulfil your child’s nutrient requirements! The infrastructure is built to support all forms of development as well, built for quality indoor and outdoor play, working on problem-solving skills, contribution, creativity and collaboration. Working on all the spheres of the child’s development is a strong belief at this activity centre. We understand that your children deserve only the best, especially during the early years of their development and here at Dolphin POD we promise nothing less!

Personality Development

Understanding of personality is most definitely not a unidimensional concept, in fact there are a variety of factors, external and internal, that affects the personality of the child. A child’s personality is affected by both ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ – the gender, heredity, environmental, and psychological. Though every parenthope and prays for their child’s happiness and wellbeing, they also crave for the child’s ability to ‘fit in’, to be adaptable and resilient (situational based requirement) towards the society and their community. As children grow older and face the realities of adulthood, at times harsh, they want to know that their child will be equipped with the ability to persist and overcome the hurdles and struggles that life has to offer. This is where the Consciousness Quotient (CQ) comes in!

The Consciousness Quotient (CQ) is what is now being considered essential to develop the ‘new intelligence’. Much like the IQ and EQ, CQ has now come into focus to help navigate the changing waters of the 21st Century in order to accomplish overall success. CQ comprises of five salient components – Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Contribution, that when mastered will ensure that children are well-rounded contributing members of society. In a rapidly changing, technologically inclined, creative world, it’s important that everyone, not just children, are skilled with thinking critically and creatively, to come up with new and unique solutions to dragged old problems. That we can communicate and contribute our points effectively as well as listen actively to the points of others and therefore work together and collaborate as a team to move forward positively! Here at Dolphin POD, that is what we consider to be personality development for kids!

Here, we’re not just looking at how well-behaved a kid is, whether the child is disciplined or not to determine and make judgements on their personality. We believe in working on both spectrums – discipline and CQ, however, CQ is on the driver’s seat and takes utmost priority. Ensuring that the CQ of a child is developed will ensure that discipline will come too. The development of CQ skills, require that children are socially and emotionally developed through social and emotional learning. This is where children learn to become emotionally and socially aware (of the self and others), learn to make responsible decisions, develop relationship skills, and manage self and others. Each one of the mentioned skills set ensures a positive personality development within children!

Through the Dolphin POD Philosophy and POD (Play-Others-Downtime) methodology, both the Dolphin POD as well as the Dolphin Under 5 Preschool programs, are equipped to help gauge your child to become the best critical thinkers, effective communicators, creative innovators, and productive contributors and collaborators they can possibly be! This evidence-based, scientifically oriented program has shown tremendous results in the overall wellbeing of the child and ensures a positive personality development to cater to the growing needs of the 21st Century!

Why PLAY is Important!

Play is very important here at Dolphin P.O.D – the ‘P’ in P.O.D stands for play, that’s how important! During play, the child is free to explore their environment, both internal and external, as well as get to know more about themselves and others! Play is crucial to reaching the developmental milestones of children; refining their gross and fine motor skills, their balance, hand-eye coordination, to name a few. Along with these, children get acquainted with their own likes and dislikes, their own shortcomings and strengths, grasping appropriate ways to express themselves, etc. Through various group activities, children learn certain etiquettes of play, such as fair play, following rules, collaboration, contributing and communicating their own ideas to enhance the experience. Play is so essential (not just for children) that it is the purely innocent essence of children! Without play, children would seize to be the fun and adorable little humans that we know and love!

Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of National Institute of Play, has divided or broken down, rather, play in 7 different types and mentions the varying benefits of each:

Attunement Play

Regarded as the earliest forms of play, has a lot to do with facial expressions, gestures, tones and sounds, which the child picks up from the adults around him or her. Learning activities for kids such as peek-a-boo, mirroring games and such, builds awareness and fosters happiness. Entering your child’s world shows that you are listening and understanding him/her.

Attunement Play
Social Play

Social Play

Until your child starts going to school, you, as parents, are their whole world. They learn HOW to play by your playful interactions with them and this helps them learn how to play with and treat others when the time comes. Some great activities for kids and parents can be baking/cooking together, doing a fun jigsaw puzzle, using building blocks to create, or starting some other art project. Some tips to follow; don’t be too instructive with your child, giving too many instructions may hamper their own imagination and creativity, don’t let your child boss you around either as this may in fact turn him/her into a spoilt brat – find the right balance through experimentation and keeping these tips in mind!

Pretend Play

Imaginative or pretend play is where the creativity really comes to the forefront and your child uses this opportunity to make sense of their world, their mind, and the world and mind of others through this play. Some common group activities for kids tend to be playing ‘Teacher’, ‘Doctor’, and other such real-life re-enactments. Even though you may not want to play pretend with your child, take the time to discuss with them nature or social issues, or maybe read a fun bedtime story instead.

Pretend Play
Movement Play

Movement Play

This mode of play gives our children a better spatial understanding; the effects of gravity, refining our balance when we dance, not to mention the physical efforts to get a movement right strengthens our resilience and adaptability. Some fun learning activities for children can be; hide-and-seek, running and chasing games, rough-housing games involving a lot of tumbling and tickling can help release any pent-up stress hormones in children and parents alike which would otherwise find release through tantrums!

Object Play

Play such as building and creating through the manipulation of objects; blocks and legos, puzzles, dolls and figurines, allow children to explore the functions of various everyday objects. These learning activities are great to teach and evolve the child’s ability to problem solve and rely on their critical-thinking more than on others!

Object Play
Storytelling-Narrative Play

Storytelling-Narrative Play

The nature of this play helps develop children’s divergent thinking, being able to think creatively or out-of-the-box. Different stories provide children with different information on self and others; cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. This mode of play helps in improving the child’s sense of well-being and self-identity. An interesting learning activity for kids can be where parents make up a beginning and let the children explore and take it forward, if they find themselves stuck or repeating the same ideas and plot, provide an idea or two.

Creative Play

Creativity is fostered and developed in children initially during pretend play and role-playing, this encourages them to think of new ideas and ways to do things, adding function and progress for the future. Stimulation of creative ideas can be done by asking your child to come up new ways of using everyday items and objects, or toys. Express your openness and curiosity by asking them to come up with more than one idea and add on your own.

Creative Play

Social Emotional Development

We are very aware of the importance of intellectual development for academic success in our little ones, but what about their social and emotional development? What about their ability to adapt with changing times and circumstances in a manner that is emotionally healthy? What role does social and emotional development play in their overall success – academic and otherwise? Research has shown that it in fact plays a very big and impactful role!

According to Roger Weissberg, Chief Knowledge Officer of the Collaboration for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, states that social and emotional learning can positively impact the student’s ability to succeed in school, careers and life. Fostering SEL (social and emotional learning) in children from a young age can also prevent many mental health issues that may develop later on, as children will learn to be better equipped with emotional and social management. SEL has proven to reduce anxiety, substance abuse, violence, depression, while increasing attendance, test scores and prosocial behaviour such as kindness, compassion, empathy and personal awareness. The earlier the introduction to social and emotional development in children, the better the capability to adapt and find balance in high-stress situations.

As toddlers, temper tantrums and mood swings are very common, so is a possessive nature and difficulty is sharing with others. And in just a matter of years children shift from spending most of their time with family and close friends to spending large chunks of it interacting, playing and learning with other children at school. This makes learning to get along with one another, along with other social skills and emotional development, essential to school readiness.

Social and Emotional development has been well-researched and is an evidence-based science that has shown tremendous positive results in children of all age groups. The purpose of Dolphin POD, a one-of-a-kid Achievement Centre located in South Delhi, is to instil this learning in children through various meditation and deep breathing techniques, proactive games, and collaborative activities. Through the POD (Play-Others-Downtime) method, kids acquire a positive mindset and life skills that develop emotional wellness, social connectivity, innovation, resiliency, and adaptability, needed to achieve success in both tangible and intangible parameters.

Constructing the foundation of social and emotional development in our little ones must begin at home, the environment they are engaged with for the longest period and familiar with during their initial developmental years. A helpful tip to help guide children towards positive SEL skills is to practise empathy. It’s normal for a child to feel alone when facing adversity for the first time and practising empathy can keep their self-esteem intact. Share with your little one about your childhood, the mistakes your once made and the same feelings you faced too, as a way of expressing empathy and promoting positive social and emotional growth!

Back to school tips to keep your child smart, strong & happy while staying off technology!

5 Tips to get you started on a healthy tech diet

As a society, we have been spending more time than ever watching videos, browsing social media and swiping our lives away on our tablets and smartphones. According to a new study by market research group Nielsen, an average adult spends more than 11 hours per day on consuming media. Unsurprisingly, teens, tweens and children in general are on their screens for 6 to 9 hours on an average, daily. And as parents, one is also most likely concerned about your child’s technology usage. So as the new school semester approaches with its own set of challenges, let’s consider adapting a healthier use of tech!

What is a Healthy Tech Diet?

Just like the food we consume impacts our physical and mental health, so does the technology we consume. A healthy tech diet comes from moderating screen-time usage and consuming healthy tech (i.e. creativity, education), limiting snack tech (i.e. certain highly addictive video games & social media), and avoiding toxic tech (i.e. cyber-bullying, pornography).

Getting Ready for Change

Many of us would probably agree that consuming a healthy tech diet is beneficial but we may not be ready to put it into practice yet. Perhaps we may think that it is something hard or impossible to achieve. Change is often scary and letting go of old habits is tough. So before you decide to give up the idea of changing your tech diet, read the following 5 tips that can help you get ready for the #techdietchallenge coming this summer to you, from Dolphin POD!

1. Understand Your Motivation

Are you looking to improve your physical, social and mental health? Better sleep, attention span, social interactions and reduced anxiety and stress — these are just some common benefits of a healthy tech diet. Evaluate how your current tech diet has been affecting your life and explore your personal reason(s) for wanting an improved tech diet.

2. Be Aware of Your Obstacles

What makes you return to your old tech diet habits? Boredom? Loneliness? Convenience? Can you replace your screen time with a screen-free activity? E.g., sports, music, arts and crafts, reading, socialising. Or if you are consuming a “toxic” (i.e., cyber-bullying, pornography) or “snack” (i.e., certain addictive video games, social media) tech diet, can you replace it with something healthier (i.e., educational, creativity)? Identify your own needs and explore as many options as possible.

3. Do it with Others

Studies have shown that individual learning and motivation emerge from collaboration and participation in groups. Let your friends/colleagues/family members know that you are taking on a new challenge to change your tech diet. This way, you will be more accountable to your goals and inspire others to set their own!

4. Start Small

A Chinese philosopher said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Transforming your tech diet will not be a one-time effort. You have to be consistent in order to reach your goal. First of all, by breaking down your goal into smaller, easier-to-accomplish ones makes the seemingly impossible, possible. For example, if you are used to reading on your smartphone before bed, spend half the time on it and/or try reading a book instead.

5. Be Kind to Yourself

If you happen to relapse, don’t beat yourself up about it. Research has shown that self-critics are much more likely to be anxious and depressed and have lower self-confidence in their abilities, which undermines their potential for success. However, if you have a compassionate response to your struggles, you are recognising that failure and mistakes are inevitable. When we are kind to ourselves, we have more intrinsic motivation — the desire to learn and grow. Therefore, we not only take responsibility for our mistakes but acknowledge them with greater equanimity.

Change is tough, but you are tougher! Pledge to a healthier body, mind and soul by joining our #TechDietChallengewhich begins this Summer 2019.

Tools to overcome the stress of exams

Time flies when we’re having fun and before we know it, the terms almost over and the exams begin to rear their ugly heads! At this time, many students may feel a sense of dread or anxiety, because with exams comes a lot of pressure and absolutely no fun and games. Parents may also feel the same way following a somewhat relaxed and smooth semester. With increased pressure, and academic demands, exam time is bound to get very stressful. However, with a little preparation and understanding of what to expect, parents can help their children cope with exam-time easily. Here are 5 tips to get you started:

Create Routines

When your child’s environment is disorganised or lacks structure, stress and anxiety tend to increase because nothing is predictable and no one knows what to expect. Create a routine that includes the basic building blocks of physical health – regular sleep, meals and exercise. Next, build in P.O.D (Play, Others, Downtime) into their schedules instead of just packing it with academic activities. Having a purposeful schedule at home can act as a guide and give some sense of order to reduce anxiety. When your child is healthy and relaxed, she will be more likely to do well during her examinations.

Watch for Warning Signs of Stress

According to Dr. Shimi Kang, children do not usually tell parents that they are stressed. However, they may act up by displaying physical and mental signs, consciously or unconsciously. These signs can include complaints of headaches, tummy aches, tiredness, distractibility, irritability, crying spells and general unwellness. When this happens, parents ought to investigate to see if the complaint is a manifestation of stress or not. Dr. Kang also added that it is important to recognise the child’s feelings and behaviour and help the child discuss what’s happening and why, which brings us to our next point.

Empathise First, Then Problem-Solve

Before jumping into advice-giving, pause to listen to your child’s concerns.
Ask yourself, “What is she worried about?” Why does she expect that to happen?” Hold yourself back from judging and let your child share about what’s on her mind. When you can understand your child’s troubles, develop a coping plan with them. When children are stressed, they doubt their ability to cope. Address what’s bothering them by brainstorming together and creating an actionable plan with concrete solutions. Think about worst case scenarios together and coach your child on how to cope and analyse both real and imagined stressful situations.

Use Positive Coping Statements

Teach and encourage your child to master the power of positive self-talk. Studies have shown that positive coping statements can help us cope through stressful moments. When your child is able to use positive words to lift themselves up, they become their own personal motivational coach. Make this a fun activity by creating “Coping Cards” with your child. Ask them to write down a variety of positive coping statements to help them through the difficult times of exam preparation. They can carry it in their pocket or bag to help remind themselves.

Below are some examples of coping statements:

  • Stop, and breathe, I can do this
  • This will pass
  • I can be anxious/angry/sad and still deal with this
  • I have done this before, and I can do it again
  • I’m stronger than I think
  • I will learn from this experience, even if it seems hard to understand right now
  • This is difficult and uncomfortable, but it is only temporary
  • I choose to see this challenge as an opportunity
  • I can learn from this and it will be easier next time
  • Keep calm and carry on

Communicate with the School

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is usually one of the most commonly overlooked ways to manage stress. Speak with your child’s teachers, principal and other relevant school staff about your concerns and ask if they can assist in any way possible. Before doing so, it is important to ask your child for her opinion because some children may be self-conscious and so it is necessary to talk to your child about your intentions first. If you think that you have applied every technique possible and still find yourself at wits’ end, working with the school counsellor to discuss more alternatives may be useful. Besides, counsellors can also help you identify an underlying mental health disorder, that may need professional help in order to get treated.

Having exams just around the corner can be overwhelming and it is normal for our child to have some worries and concerns. However, it is important for them to attend school regularly and learn to face their fears head on. Not doing so will only increase stress and anxiety because in not doing so, your child is avoiding her worries and not taking the opportunity to problem-solve them. Model proactiveness as a parent and teach your child life-long lessons of resilience and adaptability!

Storytelling-Narrative Play

Besides improving children’s sense of well-being and self-identity, storytelling plays an essential role to children in understanding their environment. Through listening to stories, they learn to understand the differences to others’ feelings, culture, backgrounds, and experiences. When children can create their own stories, they also show better divergent thinking. Try coming up with a beginning of a story and let your child think and explore as much as they can. If they get stuck or repetitive, suggest one or two ideas on what can happen next.

Creative Play

Children start developing their creativity in role-playing and pretend play, and when they do, they are able to imagine new ways or ideas about doing things that can add function and progress to lives in future. When you are with your child, stimulate creative ideas by encouraging them to come up with new and unusual uses of everyday items, art materials or toys. Try to remain open and curious to new and original ideas, and encourage children to come up with more than one solution or answer.

Play is in the Everyday

Play offers connection, bonding, and co-operation. Opportunities for play can happen everyday with common daily activities. The quality of time spent with your child is the factor that makes a difference. As Lawrence J. Cohen, author of Playful Parenting puts it, you need to be “tuned in” to your child’s needs and wants. Give your child your full attention and follow their lead by letting them direct and control the pace of the play. Relax and have fun while being in the moment with them. Whether it’s baking cookies together, or washing a car, it’s the spirit of playfulness that we bring to daily activities that turns the mundane into play.

7 Ways to Engage Your Child in Everyday Play

The “P” in Dolphin Kids’ P.O.D.  stands for PLAY! Why is play important? From learning problem-solving skills, to creative thinking, processing emotions and building resilience, play offers great opportunities for growth and parent-child bonding.

Children love to play and have an endless capacity for play. However, parents’ ability or willingness for play may not be as consistent. Sometimes, after a long day of work and chores, getting down on the floor to play dollhouse with your child or going outdoors for physically active game may seem exhausting. But the truth is, play does not have to last long and it can also be part of everyday life.

According to Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute for Play, there are 7 different types of play that accomplishes different benefits. Here are its definitions and some tips to get your started:

Attunement Play

Communication with your child happens all the time, and a large percentage of what we perceive in communication is non-verbal signals. Eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice and bodily gestures can be easily sensed by your child as to whether or not you are genuinely interested in them.
Attunement play is therefore the foundation of all forms of play and can be used in all kinds of interactions with your child. Respond to your child’s actions by mirroring her movements and expressions, make up a song or do a dance with the action. Enter into your child’s world and show that you are listening and understanding him/her.

Social Play

Social Play

Social play helps children establish social norms. Play with parents set the stage for children’s ability to successfully play with others. Strive for an even distribution of power — Be careful not to take over and give too many directions when playing with your child. Likewise, it is also important not to let your child boss you around. When we allow children to dominate us in play, to be inattentive to our needs and desires, we may, in fact, be turning them into spoiled brats. Cooperate with your child in play by sharing a common goal and having complementary roles, e.g., fixing a jigsaw puzzle, building a bridge with blocks, making art, baking/cooking together.

Pretend Play

Imaginative and pretend play is where creativity begins. Playing the pirate, doctor or teacher — acting out stories which involve multiple perspectives and determining ideas and emotions, pretend play can help children to create their own sense of their mind, and that of others. If make-believe play is not something you feel comfortable doing, try talking to your child regularly explaining features about nature and social issues, or read to your child at bedtime instead.

Pretend Play
Movement Play

Movement Play

Leaping in the air teaches us the effects of gravity. Dance teaches us the various ways that our bodies can move. Movement play helps us think spatially, and the physical exertion and effort to get a movement right fosters adaptability and resilience. Chase games, hide and seek, tickles, and rough-housing games make children laugh, scream and sweat — which can help release pent-up stress hormones that they would otherwise have to tantrum to discharge.

Object Play

Object play allows children to explore the functions of objects and develop tools. By manipulating objects such as building blocks, puzzles, cars, dolls, etc., object play allows children to try out new combinations of actions, and may help develop problem solving skills. Sometimes, object play also involves pretend play, e.g., building a house or feeding a doll. Some household items can also serve as fun and interesting objects for play, as long as they are safe.

Object Play
Storytelling-Narrative Play

Storytelling-Narrative Play

Besides improving children’s sense of well-being and self-identity, storytelling plays an essential role to children in understanding their environment. Through listening to stories, they learn to understand the differences to others’ feelings, culture, backgrounds, and experiences. When children can create their own stories, they also show better divergent thinking. Try coming up with a beginning of a story and let your child think and explore as much as they can. If they get stuck or repetitive, suggest one or two ideas on what can happen next.

Creative Play

Children start developing their creativity in role-playing and pretend play, and when they do, they are able to imagine new ways or ideas about doing things that can add function and progress to lives in future. When you are with your child, stimulate creative ideas by encouraging them to come up with new and unusual uses of everyday items, art materials or toys. Try to remain open and curious to new and original ideas, and encourage children to come up with more than one solution or answer.

Creative Play
Play is in the Everyday

Play is in the Everyday

Play offers connection, bonding, and co-operation. Opportunities for play can happen everyday with common daily activities. The quality of time spent with your child is the factor that makes a difference. As Lawrence J. Cohen, author of Playful Parenting puts it, you need to be “tuned in” to your child’s needs and wants. Give your child your full attention and follow their lead by letting them direct and control the pace of the play. Relax and have fun while being in the moment with them. Whether it’s baking cookies together, or washing a car, it’s the spirit of playfulness that we bring to daily activities that turns the mundane into play.

The Power of Positive Mindset

Having a positive mindset has a bigger impact on performance than what researchers have expected. A recent study by Stanford University found something surprising. Researchers observed the brains of students to understand how attitude influence achievement, and it turns out that having a positive outlook on learning, plays an equally important role as IQ.

When children do well in tests, they would naturally enjoy the subject more and feel more confident about it. However, the study has shown that the other way around — starting off with an expectation that they will like the subject and are capable in it, can help their brains to problem-solve better and improve their achievement too.

How do we as parents, help children foster more positive mindsets towards a subject or their potential then? Here are some suggestions:

Be self-aware

To help children establish a positive mindset, we have to develop one ourselves. When parents or teachers respond to children’s struggles and mistakes with “anxiety or over-concern”, they unknowingly teach children to fear failure and prevent them from learning from trial and error.

First of all, make an effort to recognise your own unhelpful or self-defeating thinking , e.g., an overemphasis on getting things right, trying to please everyone, or fear of losing out (to name a few). Secondly, be conscious about making a choice in shifting your negative thinking by reminding yourself to strive for progress rather than perfection. Model a positive mindset in your lifestyle and interactions with your child and he will learn its true value.

Praising appropriately

Praising appropriately

Don’t praise your children for being smart. Research by psychologist Carol Dweck has shown that by doing so, it can cause children to be fearful of taking risks or pursuing tough goals that might make them feel vulnerable and less intelligent. Praise them for making effort by saying, “I’m proud that you tried really hard!” or “You really practiced that, and look how you’ve improved!”

Take advantage of mistakes

Build your child’s resilience by instilling in them a belief that our mental capabilities are not fixed and can be improved with effort. When your child makes mistakes, tell them that they are giving their brains opportunity for growth. So if your child comes back to you with a D on his math test, respond with something like, “What did you do?”, “what can we do next?” Don’t just tell your child to try harder, offer strategies or skills to overcome a challenging task.

Take advantage of mistakes
 skills to overcome a challenging task

Use the word “yet”

Instead of saying “I can’t play basketball or I can’t do multiplication,” adding a “yet” to the end of the sentences changes their meaning and promotes growth and opportunity. The word “yet” gives children more confidence and lead them on a path that encourages persistence. By saying “yet”, it leaves possibilities open instead of just saying “I can’t”.This simple linguistic trick implies that children will master these skills eventually with time and practice.

Find meaning in things that happen

Help your child bounce back from disappointments by encouraging them to talk about their emotions and make meaning of the events that happened to them. Life is unpredictable and filled with ups and downs, and by nurturing spirituality, we can find direction and hope during difficult times. Connecting with nature, meditating, sharing stories, creating something or helping others in need are some ways to develop spirituality, which can give a greater purpose to life.

Express gratitude Kids
Express gratitude

Express gratitude

There are so many benefits to having an attitude of gratitude and one of them is helping us to develop a positive outlook. Teach your child to see the positives in everyday life, no matter how big or small. At dinner or bedtime, share stories with each other about the simple pleasures of your day. Create a “gratitude journal” together as a family by gluing pictures from magazines, drawing or writing down things everyone is grateful for. These activities do not only build close relationships, they also can create a positive environment at home.

Having a positive mindset is one of the most important strengths for building resilience, which can eventually bring greater success and happiness in life. When children learn to perceive a difficulty as a manageable one, it makes them feel more confident and gives them hope. Besides, it also acts as a shield from anxiety, depression and poor health. Teaching your child how to respond to problems positively can make all the difference. Try to find the cup half full and be on the lookout for the bright side — your kids will also do the same.

Positive people don’t just have a good day; they make it a good day. People who think positively usually see endless possibilities.

-Richard Branson

Meditation for Kids

The need for meditative practice and/or mindfulness for children was an unheard-of concept until a few years back. The sudden influx in academic pressure with a need to balance that with their social and emotional needs, changed the way the world functioned before. Taking a toll over the young and unbent minds of the innocent. We can seek solace in this situation with the thought that humans are the only species who have the ability to pay attention to their surroundings and breathe deeply, no matter how far they travel, how much trouble they are in, or how busy they are- humans never fail to remember, to notice their surroundings.

Deep, controlled breathing is the first and most powerful key to self-awareness and self-control. Breathing is completely instinctive but breathing deeply is voluntary and can be controlled. We at Dolphin POD strive to guiding children towards mindful, deep, controlled breathing offering them a lifelong tool for when they feel stress, upset, worried, anxious, angry and just out of control. We not only work on providing them the emotional vocabulary but also the means to channelize their negative feelings through positives self-expression. Meditation or mindfulness for kids will help them regulate their bodies and mind and help build problem-solving and critical thinking abilities as well. Mindfulness takes us off auto-pilot and make us more fully alive and aware, bringing the attention back to our internal processes such as feeling and thinking combined with external responses such as touching, hearing, tasting or smelling! Being mindful is known to improve focus, sleep, concentration and performance; increase in creativity and most importantly- establish a connect with oneself and others. And what easier way to be mindful is to simply breathe, deeply!?

Communication Skills Activities

We live in a world where digital media is moving at an unfathomable pace. It is slowly impacting the way we express ourselves, interact with others and manage our relationships. In the age of Facebook, WhatsApp etc. – increasingly becoming the most frequented interface for building and establishing rapports with people around, the role and importance of face-to-face communication seems to be diminishing completely! Many research studies have shown that to do well in today’s fast-paced, highly social, ultra-competitive, and globally connected world our future generation needs skills such as- Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity & Contribution. These core skills comprise Consciousness Quotient (CQ) which is becoming the ultimate determinant for success in adulthood, because it is with the help of this tool that individuals can gain complete access to other facets of their development such as Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Intelligence Quotient (IQ). CQ can be best described as the impervious catalyst to personality development for kids.

At an alarming juncture where one can have all the raw intelligence in the world but if one is unable to express their thoughts effectively they’re seen as “lagging”, we at Dolphin POD strive to foster and build 21st century skills in children for a future fit tomorrow. We not only understand and boost effective communication skills and strategies through various forms of activities, as effective communication is known to lead to success-related outcomes. They’re also mentored individually to gauge a better understanding of the importance of these communication skills activities and the positive impact of an amalgamation of digital media and in-person meaningful interactions. Communicating about thoughts and feelings strengthens children’s empathy, emotional regulation and positive relationship management. They learn to question everything and have a passion for challenging the status quo and pushing boundaries. Through activities such as balloon tower building, loop-da-loop, octopus tag etc. that call for collaborative functioning and cooperative dialogue, children learn to be mindful of the way they ‘deal with the world’ invigorating adults who are more resilient, adaptable and confident

The Role of Mother’s: Insights and tips on how mothers contribute to social-emotional-cognitive (SEC) learning

Mothers are most often the primary caregiver who support their children’s physical, emotional, mental and social development. As such, it is no surprise that mothers play a significant role in every aspect of their children’s growth. We at Dolphin Under 5 want to recognize and strengthen the maternal role and relationship that contribute to social-emotional-cognitive (SEC) learning in their children.

Children often take reference from their mothers when it comes to the expression, understanding and coping with emotions. Even early in infancy, your child can already express themselves emotionally through their body language, vocalizations and facial expressions. When mothers respond with positive emotions, infants begin to regulate their emotions and gain a sense of predictability, safety and responsiveness in their environments, that will eventually contribute to a sense of self-confidence as they grow up.

Provide a positive role model of emotional regulation through your behavior and through the verbal and emotional support you offer your child when managing their emotions. Don’t be afraid to apologise to your child if you have lost your cool and reacted in an inappropriate way to a situation. Use feeling words when you talk with children about everyday situations, “You scored a goal! How exciting was that!”; or “It’s pretty disappointing that your friend can’t play with you today.” Invite children to describe their own feelings, “I’m feeling quite nervous about going to the dentist. How about you?”, or “when I am angry, I try to take a few deep breaths to calm down.” Demonstrate and explain to your child how to identify, label and manage emotions in a calm and helpful manner.

When young children are able to experience, express and manage emotions, they are equipped with the ability to establish positive and rewarding social connections with others. Positive emotions enable relationships to form, while struggles with expressing and coping with emotions leads to problems in social relationships. Research has also indicated that a mother’s advice and guidance about peer relationships significantly reduces aggression in boys, while improving girls’ prosocial behaviours, i.e., helping, sharing, caring and collaborating with others. In other words, social competence improves with mother’s coaching and positive responsiveness.

Talk to your child about how people’s feelings, beliefs, wants and intentions to improve your child’s social understanding and empathy. Use TV shows, movies or story books to talk to your child about what the characters may be feeling as a result of what others do. There are also many teachable moments available everyday. For example, if you notice your child being refusing to share his toys with a friend, you can say, “That makes him sad when you choose not to share,” instead of just saying, “stop it,” or “don’t do that”.

Research has shown that a mother’s EF, e.g., short-term memory, self-control, and cognitive flexibility contribute to their child’s development of EF.  In other words, high level cognitive tasks, including planning, problem solving and decision-making are essentially EF. For example, when a child shows an undesirable behavior, a mother has to use her EF skills to focus on relevant information, control her response in the presence of her own stress, plan and act as necessary according to situational demands. Rather than having negative or hasty reactions, she has to analyse the various situations through logic and emotions to plan and make decisions.

Besides role-modelling EF skills as a parent, you can teach and encourage your child to develop their own plans as they encounter new experiences –  for everything from celebrations (e.g., creating a plan to make a birthday fun and meaningful) to the most difficult of life’s challenges (e.g., creating a plan to remember the loss of a loved one). Let them practice writing out their plans, and then trying to execute and when necessary, adjust their plans. Set a few guidelines and try to allow them to explore as much as possible (Be a DOLPHIN Parent!) without overly correcting them or imposing your ideas on them. This way, children are given opportunities to integrate the key systems of the brain that boosts EF.

From the above, we caught a glimpse into how each aspect of SEC development in young children are supported by their relationship with their mothers. However, because mothers have such great influence on her child’s well-being, they too, feel often blamed for the way the child turns out. As such, mothers carry the burden of the responsibility of caregiving, which includes the struggle of dealing with expectations from themselves and others. Therefore, it is always important to remember that as a parent, you are also every bit as human and hence, will make mistakes from time to time. Children do not need to grow up in a “perfect” environment, rather they need to experience, understand and learn from how you adapt to problems and deal with your struggles too.

Becoming a Successful Parent through Future Fit Learning

Contemporary parenting is hard! Bombarded with expert advices & societal expectations, we have an ‘information overload’ because of an increased access to understanding how others parent. Just when we think we’ve got it ‘right’ someone will cast doubt into our minds, because what is right for some is not right for others. Indeed, the responsibility of raising healthy, happy, successful future-fit children can sometimes feel overwhelming for parents.

Add to this the fact that the dynamics of education, learning, work and living is changing. It may be a truism that the future will be different, but with rapid development of artificial intelligence and digital systems in the 21st Century, I see no reason to not believe that almost every aspect of our children’s lives will be different to ours.

So, when we know that the future of work & life is going to look very different, why not be ready for it? Why not prepare our children to be future-fit?

With a vision to transform learning and raising future-ready kids, at Dolphin POD key 21st century skills like Creativity, Critical thinking, Communication, Contribution & Collaboration are delivered with an aim to make personal and professional achievement easier.

Through their research-based activities, it’s not only children who cultivate these 5 critical achievement centre to be future fit, but also Parents get ample opportunities to be successful in raising children who are future ready. Here’s how:

1. Match your parenting style to your child’s personality

Families today face increasing time pressures with both parents working, and more expectations on children to perform at school (not to forget the added distractions of technology). Well, welcome to modern parenting! With budgeted time and limited opportunities, an effective way of helping our children to be future ready is by understanding how to maintain a constructive engagement with them. From learning through exploring to connecting with each other to relaxing & recharging, POD sessions can help you learn explore the broader horizon in your child’s learning curve and will let you get more involved in your child’s learning experience.

Match your parenting style
engage with your child

2. Learn how to engage with your child

Families today face increasing time pressures with both parents working, and more expectations on children to perform at school (not to forget the added distractions of technology). Well, welcome to modern parenting! With budgeted time and limited opportunities, an effective way of helping our children to be future ready is by understanding how to maintain a constructive engagement with them. From learning through exploring to connecting with each other to relaxing & recharging, POD sessions can help you learn explore the broader horizon in your child’s learning curve and will let you get more involved in your child’s learning experience.

3. Gain confidence

Let’s face it- being a parent requires a whole lot of mustering courage. In fact, confidence is crucial to good parenting. And it is equally critical in raising future-fit children. Through research-based activities conducted at Dolphin POD, as a Parent you get confidence in the exposure and activities your child experiences, so you can telegraph that confidence to kids.

Gain confidence
Stay updated of the latest research

4. Stay updated of the latest research

As a busy parent, it can be hard to stay up-to-date on the latest scientific findings, but it’s so important to learn what you should be doing to set your children future ready. Research findings, scientific discoveries etc. pave path for good parenting skills and help finding answers.

At Dolphin POD, the 90-minute POD sessions are coupled with one-on-one sessions with parents to keep them updated not just about their child’s performance but also helps Parents stay abreast of discoveries and latest findings. One not only gets to learn about best parenting practices from experts but also get a chance to ask them their parenting concerns and questions.

Over the years, one thing has remained same when it comes to Parenting: there is immense pressure to keep up with the unrealistic and often unhealthy expectations that we, as parents, put on ourselves and feel from others. Some of these pressures have always been a part of the parenting journey, but there continues to be more and more pressure bombarding parents today.

Now amidst all this, wouldn’t it be comforting to have someone’s undivided attention, especially when you’re pouring out your heart and unpacking all the layers. With the age-specific after-school activities offered at Dolphin POD, you can be assured of your child’s development in the right environment and ideal direction to grow up as healthy, happy and successful adults of the 21st century.

Ways to help kids overcome fear of failure

You have cooed, cuddled and coddled your babies since birth and raised them with tags like Superman or Power Puff Girl. Well, to every parent their child is the winner!

But then there comes the time of reality check- your little one is growing up, getting familiar with the school of hard knocks. From not winning fancy dress competition to failing getting a grip on the bicycle

to forgetting his lines at the school play…It’s hard to see your little champ fail & get hurt.

As parents, we want to protect our children from anyone or anything that could cause them pain: illness, injury, hurtful words or situations. In a way, we don’t want them to feel the pain associated with failing because we know how it feels. As an over-protective loving parent, you want nothing more than to intervene and make his troubles go away. However, we also know that the best lessons in life are learned through experience. If we don’t let them fall, how will they learn how to get back up? And if we don’t let them fail, how will they learn to pick themselves up and try again?

The process of making and learning from mistakes is an extremely valuable life skill because learning involves risking. Every time children risk, they will not always be right. But, because they’ve tried something new, there’s always the chance they will succeed. Each new success enhances self-esteem. Each esteem-enhancing experience refuels their desire to try again and again and again.


Going back to our own childhood, I am sure you would agree that fear of failure ties down the mind. It makes a child mentally weak and tired. In fact, it can make them incapable of achieving anything in life, even though they are capable of reaching the highest levels of success.

But then avoiding failure in life is almost impossible, right?

So how can we as parents help erase the idea that ‘mistakes are bad’? How can we maintain that thin line between protecting our kids from pain and teaching them to handle it; between supporting them where they are and challenging them to stretch themselves; between encouraging them to ‘play to win’ and preparing them to handle failure.

Redefine the Meaning of failure

Instead of making it sound big, scary and end-of-life kind of situation, show your children that failure is more about self-development than about defeat. Start drilling this into them from an early age, so that it’s the rule rather than the exception in their books. Introduce the concept of ‘trial & error’ and ‘learning & adapting’ in every activity kids indulge in, whether it’s sports, art, music, learning to eat, writing, talking and walking.

How about defining failure as ‘not trying’? As Parents one can stress upon the fact that the only way to fail is to not try. As parents of today, redefine the meaning of failure for kids as-

  • Cheating, lying, not taking responsibility for themselves is failure.
  • Not giving their best effort or not doing what is in their interest is failure.
  • Looking out for short cuts to do work or getting influenced by peer pressure Is failure.
  • Disrespecting elders, not being empathetic to others and being selfish is failure.

Develop the concept of “Plan B”

Let’s face it- one of the inevitable facts of life is that everyone makes mistakes. But we know that there always exists a worst-case scenario. Start practicing this with your child. Sit and brainstorm together for “what if” situations. Ask them questions- “What if you fumble while reciting the poem…or miss the goal, what’s the worst thing that could happen?”. Eventually kids learn the skill of handling a situation with a several possible ways out.

Develop the concept of “Plan B”
Encourage self-sufficiency

Encourage self-sufficiency

Today’s overprotective, failure-avoiding parenting has undermined the competence, independence and academic potential of an entire generation. I’m as guilty as most of you- I’ve extended my children’s dependence in order to feel good about my parenting. Something as basic as lacing up their shoes to packing their school bag sends the message to your child that they’re slow and incompetent. So instead of being a savior, be a guide for your child. This will build self-confidence and bring happiness when one is able to see one’s achievements through trying and learning from mistakes or obtaining what was deemed impossible.

Encourage Positive Self-talk

Fear of failure is a psychological phenomenon. In such a case, encouraging and positive words help raise self-confidence and motivation. That works like nutritious tonic to your children. If you notice your child is very tense and concerned about making mistakes, help him/her learn to say inside his/her head a positive, affirming statement such as ‘I am calm and in control’ or ‘I will try my best’. The more your child says the statement, the more he/she will begin to believe it.

More Self-talk phrases can be: “I can do it”; “I am capable”; “I have the ability”; “I am as good as my classmates”.

Encourage Positive Self-talk
Have Conversations about Success and Failure of Famous Personalities

Have Conversations about Success and Failure of Famous Personalities

Did you know Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers? Well, look around and you would see the most successful adults are rarely those whose childhood were one long string of victories, accolades and gold stars. Rather they’re people who’ve had their share of bumps, bruises and battles along their path to adulthood. With grit, confidence and clear vision, they stretched and went beyond failures to pursue their dreams. Talk about such personalities with your kids. See documentaries, TED Talks and make them believe that failure is an event not a person. Have Conversations about Success and Failure of Famous Personalities

As parents, we’re wired with an inbuilt desire to protect our children from the harder realities of life whether the sting of rejection or the disappointment of failure. But left unchecked, this can deprive them from learning the most important life skill, and one they will inevitably need: how to find the courage and motivation to get back up. So how do you help kids fail, or rather, how do you help kids deal with fear of failure?

When learning a new skill, like public speaking or playing chess, there are many steps children may find difficult to execute. If we allow them to struggle and let them fail, we may be surprised to discover they can find a solution themselves. At Dolphin POD, the activities are designed to provide an appropriate level of challenge. Activities that shouldn’t frustrate children and offer a balanced approach towards learning with elements of Play (P), Others (O) & Downtime (D). This gives them a sense of accomplishment they can be proud of and can call their own.

The more children try, fail, and try again, the more they will learn how to solve problems, overcome adversity and to deal with failure; all critical life skills that will be needed to grow up as happy, healthy and successful beings.

By RoopikaSareen (Parenting blogger- Go Mommy)

Unique After School Activities you Must Try for Your Child

As the school academic year comes close to end, many parents are thinking not only about the new classes and syllabus, but also what their kids will do after school. And why not? Keeping your child occupied in the time between school and bedtime is one of the biggest challenges facing a parent today. And undoubtedly, the time children spend after school deeply influences their development.

After-school activities offer opportunities for kids to learn new skills, explore different areas of talent, deepen existing expertise, get support for areas they aren’t as strong in, make friends, and form relationships with supportive adults.

From Public Speaking to art & crafts- there’s an after school activity out there for every child. And the best thing about them is they’re brilliant for all sorts of reasons- not just learning a new skill. So if you want to let your child’s creative instincts fly, improve their social spirit or get them active in fitness, check out these unique after school activities that you must try for your child.


Unique after school activities you must try for your child


1. Meditation

Kids Meditation

Think about it. How many times you say it to yourself that it’s hard to be Parents in today’s times? Probably several times, right? But is it okay to ignore the fact that it’s equally difficult being a kid today! Children deal with so many distractions, temptations and overstimulation. So why not give them the best gift of their life- something which they will cherish lifelong and be grateful, for it will change their life for the better. A simple yet very effective technique called Meditation – one of the most valuable skills we can teach our children.

Regular practice of meditation has several beneficial effects on our children’s emotional, mental and intellectual development.

Designated ‘Downtime’ lets the child focus and enhance attention span by not doing anything! By just sitting around & listening to music or staring at the ceiling looking at beautiful mandalas, it’s a wonderful way to manage stress and work on emotional wellness. This is a superb way to let the children tune into themselves, reflect own thoughts, reset their minds and bodies.

Studies have also found that meditation is a wonderful medium to improve behavior, focus and reduce impulsiveness.

2. Story Telling

Story Telling

We all love stories! There’s a magic weaved around a good story.

It improves the listening, speaking and overall language skills of a child and encourages creativity.

Also, Storytelling is a unique way of teaching them about life, values, develop an understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands, races and religions.

Actually I would say of all the benefits of storytelling- of connecting children with far-flung places, extraordinary people and eye-opening situations- I think the most wonderful fact is that it connects children with their creativity. In a way Storytelling is an important piece of the literacy puzzle. No wonder from babyhood to the early teens, children have an innate love of stories and thus sparing some after-school time in a story telling workshop is totally worth the effort and time!

3. Outdoor Activities/ Sports

Outdoor Activities/ Sports

Teamwork, trust, fitness, confidence, strength- these are just a few of the traits that children can learn with Sports & Outdoor activities.

Exposing your child to various activities like rock climbing, hurdle jump, tug-of-war etc boost a child’s social, emotional and intellectual quotient.

Physical activity helps reduce stress and anxiety.

While playing in the green outdoors, children observe nature first hand. They look at things beyond the screens.

From- learning to take turns on the slide to making decisions while making teams to dodging the hurdles in a race- kids benefit from every aspect of outdoor play.

Competitive sports are also great for learning difficult life lessons like being a gracious winner – and loser.

4. Listening to TED Talks!

Listening to TED Talks!

Well, who says extra curricular activities need to be only about “doing” or “creating” something? At times children need plain inspiration too and trust me, in today’s times there is nothing easier and better than exposing kids to TED Talks.

It works as an excellent medium for children to better grasp topics they might not fully understand at first glance.

The topics and discussions help the child think critically about how they think about the world, and discuss other big ideas alongside their own academics. In a way TED Talks make us pause and listen to the percolation of ideas- art, engineering, technology, the humanities, spoken word and more.

With the wide area of topics covered, they can create the spark necessary to stay creative lifelong for a child. What better than inspiring kids with the story of people who achieved fascinating projects, often guided by passion!

The idea of an after-school activity is not just to keep restless kids busy or entertained. They offer great developmental benefits that will help them academically and socially. Also, for working parents, after-school activities are often more than a luxury with an assurance of safe, supervised structured place where kids can spend time some time doing their most important job of all: being a kid!

But in the midst of all this if you ever felt that you’ve somehow become your kid’s personal chauffeur, constantly ferrying them to numerous after-school activities, you’re not alone. And you’re totally forgiven for wondering whether all those activities are more hassle than they’re worth.

How about having a one-stop-solution to this? A place that offers variety of age-relevant activities that aim at making children smarter, healthier, happier and better equipped to operate in the constantly evolving ambitious and cohesive society.

At Dolphin POD, we believe that after school activities that are carefully designed to enable all round development of children help teach the key 21st Century skills of Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and Contribution which in turn are the building blocks for a happy, successful and meaningful life.

And somewhere if you see, as parents, that’s all we desire- we want our kids to stay positive and active after school and at the same time have peace of mind that they’re in a safe environment.

Dolphin POD is a world class-achievement centre that provides a fun, interactive and inspiring education unlike anything children receive anywhere else.

To know more about Dolphin POD and their philosophy, click here.

Source: Go Mommy!

How to Help Your Child Deal with Shyness

Shyness is completely normal in children and most of the times nothing at all to worry about. In fact, a new study conducted by the University of Colorado and the University of Connecticut examined shyness. They found that shy children know the answer to questions just as often as outgoing kids, but they are just not as eager to state the answer out loud. However, if shyness interferes with what a child wants to do — like play a game, or interferes with what the child needs to do — such as give a presentation at school, parents can help kids overcome it.

Start with displaying some empathy for your child — which means putting yourself in your kid’s shoes. Let them know you understand how they feel and you are not mad or disappointed in them for being shy. Perhaps state something like, “When I was a kid, I was shy too. I remember sometimes it was no fun and got in the way of things I wanted to do. Sometimes I even get shy now.”

Then ask if they would like your help in dealing with it. This will lead the child to feel in control and take ownership of their problem rather than becoming accustomed to you swooping in and solving problems for them.

Simply ask them, “Do you want me to help you deal with this problem?”

Your child will likely say yes, so the best way to make your child learn something fast is to have fun with it — try coming up with ideas together or a role play! Encourage your child to think of ways they might handle a situation that makes her nervous: “If you feel nervous at school, what could you do to make yourself less nervous? Could you hang out with one of the kids you feel most comfortable with? Could you offer to help the teacher? What do you think you might talk about if your teacher asks you a question?

A role-play is like acting and it helps your child practice situations where they may feel shy before they happen.

Brainstorm different scenarios where your child may feel shy — for example they become shy when saying “thank you” to the host after the last birthday party they attended. First, ask your child to show you how they would say thank you next time, then praise them for what they did right and offer to correct them where they need some help. Teach them social skills like how to look somebody in the eye, project their voice, and say thank you with confidence. Have your child practice this and you can pretend you are different parents who react in different ways to your child’s thank you.

Do this type of role-play in other areas where your child may be most shy. When you notice that they are being shy in real life, encourage them to act exactly how they practiced. If they could use more practice, then just try it again.

If your child is shy about making friends, try to provide daily opportunities for interacting with others. For example, your child doesn’t have to be interesting to others, just interested in others. Teach him or her to ask other kids questions about their lives and listen to their answers.

Of course, try your best to always model confident behaviour with other people. If you are ever shy yourself, point this out to your child and tell them what strategies you are using to overcome your own shyness. Kids learn the most from watching their parent’s behaviours!

Displaying empathy, role playing and probing the kids are essential ways that prove helpful in bringing out their personality and shaping it in a positive manner.

Dolphin POD program is tailored in a way that it brings out the best in children via its unique curriculum and educationist who help kids understand the importance of saying out their mind loud. Along with this, trained psychologist provide parents with ways to deal with kid’s behavior and instilling the qualities that are important for a healthy and successful living.

Eight Ways to Make Public Speaking Easier for Your Child

Butterflies in stomach, sweaty palms, shivers down the spine- well, you would certainly know by now what I am talking about! If you are wondering why your otherwise confident, outgoing child goes in a freeze-mode when all eyes are on her, read further to know ways to make public speaking easier for your child.

Compelling, confident public speaking is a crucial skill that is often overlooked and under-developed in a child’s formative years, yet it can strongly impact how your child views themselves and how they develop and succeed. A self-assured child who can effectively address their classmates or an audience is likely to be seen in a more positive light by their peers and develop a stronger sense of self. Being able to speak confidently in front of a group of people is a valuable skill.

Frankly, aren’t we wired to be impressed by those who can express themselves better? Those children who can’t express themselves effectively are unfortunately left behind.

But as a parent, you can play an active role in assisting your child to survive and even thrive in these pressure-packed situations.

Here are 8 ways to make public speaking easier for your child:-

1. Give Wait Time

Most of the time we don’t give enough time to the child to respond and jibe in to finish what we intend to say. Now this works as a double sided sword. It not only breaks the flow of thoughts of the child in framing a sentence/response but also breaks the child’s confidence.

A great rule of thumb is to pause for at least 5-10 seconds for your child to answer. It gives your child time to process what they want to say.

Give Wait Time
Don’t Over Correct your Child

2. Don’t Over Correct your Child

Over correcting is the exact opposite way of how to improve communication skills. The more you demand they say something right, the worse it may likely get.

3.Treat Your Child as a Full Communication Partner

Sounds tricky, right? That’s where you need to strike a balance. You need to talk to them as if they are adults but still remember they are children. ‘Talking with them like an adult’ doesn’t mean use adult vocabulary or information they won’t understand. It means take turns, use eye contact, and value what they say.

Don’t talk to them in baby talk all the time. It’s O.K. every now and again, but after they are about 10 months old, try to limit how much you do it.

It’s common among younger children to talk gibberish, which you don’t understand, but again, take your turn, make the best guess about what they are trying to convey and respond accordingly….even if you’re not sure what they’re talking about.

Treat Your Child as a Full Communication Partner
Practice Emotions

4. Practice Emotions

An important component of effective communication is the tone. Show your child that the same set of words can carry different meanings depending on her inflection and presentation. Pick up a phrase like – ” stop, don’t move ahead”. Now have your child say this phrase using different emotions -excitement, fear, shock, or anger, for example — and make up a scenario in which each expression of the phrase could be appropriately used.

5.Ask Open Ended Questions

Open ended questions are when the answer can be a variety of things and not answered by “yes” or “no”. These questions will teach your child how to think “hard” and reason for themselves.

Here are some examples of how to turn simple questions into open ended ones:

A. Question: Did you go to the store?

     Open Ended: Where did you go?

B. Question: Was that book good?

     Open Ended: What did you like about that book?

Ask Open Ended Questions
Play Fun Games

6. Play Fun Games

Remember the all-time favourite game of “antaakhshri”? While that was all about thinking of a song on-the-spot, incorporate games like extempore in your routine. Pick up a toy or object and let your child describe it in 1 minute (show & tell). On a road journey, ask your child to speak about a particular car that he spots or describe the weather outside. It’s all about gaining confidence of speaking on random topics.While watching television together, talk about minute things like body language, articulation, expressions etc.

7.Talk Talk Talk

Make the most of daily activities where your child can build his comfort level naturally. For example, the next time your family goes out to eat, encourage him to order his meal from the waiter himself using a loud voice and clear articulation.

Talk Talk Talk
Praise Your Child for Talking

8. Praise Your Child for Talking

This is another one that needs to be balanced. You don’t need to tell your child how great they are talking after everything they say. Space it out. Tell them at least a few times a day. More when they’re younger. When they call something by the right name, say “Nice talking” or “You’re right that is a…” or “You are such a good talker”. For older children, you might compliment them when they use a new vocabulary word. You might say, “Hey, look at you using such a big vocabulary.”

Now, if you ask me when’s the right time to assist your child’s communication skills, I would say the right time to learn any life-skill is N-O-W!

You see, the right time to learn swimming is before you fall in the deep sea. Public speaking is an essential life skill every child needs to learn. If you ever get the right opportunity to pick up this invaluable life-skill from the right person, just don’t wait for the right time! And that would be one of the best investments for your child’s future and he/she will be grateful for your timely guidance.

And one such place that inculcates public speaking in children in a fun and natural way is Dolphin POD. Their carefully curated content and methodology, based on neuro-scientific methods, is aimed at makingchildren smarter, healthier, happier and better equipped to operate in the constantly evolving, ambitious and cohesive society. The pedagogy they follow of Play, Communication and Downtime involve activities and classes that helpchildren develop as confident and smart public speakers.

To know more about Dolphin POD and their philosophy, click here.

Being comfortable talking to others- whether one-on-one or in front of a group- will allow kids to better convey information, appear more confident, and make stronger social connections. And this acquired poise and increased command of public speaking will not only help them in school, but also empower them in any situation they encounter in life.

Source: Go Mommy!

A Sneak Peek into Asia’s First Life Skill Development Centre – Dolphin POD

Our little ones are constantly growing, learning and evolving, every single day of their lives. But children don’t need to be sitting behind a desk or computer screen to learn new skills. As parents, we need to nurture and inspire our child’s innate intelligence by empowering them to be self motivated through social connection, positive communication, critical thinking, creative expression and purposeful contribution- basically the 5 Cs that comprise the Consciousness Quotient of Life Skill.

Source : Go Mommy

Read More

Five Basic Life Skills Your Child Must Learn

As a mother I am always on a look out for something extra when it comes to the health of my children or their education and learning. Think of those health drinks- the ones that promise an extra dose of nutrition to boost your child’s health. Or those summer camps and art & craft classes- the ones that are categorised as ‘extra’ curricular activities. But what about those extra life skills that our children need to lead a successful, content and happy life?

Source : Go Mommy

Read More

Are You Parenting ‘The Dolphin Way’?

Many of the prevalent parenting styles today describe parents that “take over.” Whether it is the Tiger parent pushing piano, the Helicopter parent hovering over homework, the Bubble Wrap parent over-protecting, or the Snow-Plough parent shoving all obstacles out of the way — all of these models create an environment of external control and thereby diminish a child’s sense of internal control and self-motivation. Thus, I call ALL these styles “Tiger parents” because they are all authoritarian in nature. Children of such authoritarian tiger parents are at higher risk of anxiety, depression, entitlement, poor decision making, and difficulty establishing healthy independence.

On the other extreme, permissive Jellyfish parents’ lack rules, discipline, and expectations. Children of Jellyfish parents may turn to peers for guidance and fail to develop self-control. They are at higher risk of poor social skills, risk-taking behaviors, and substance abuse. Many modern parents flip-flop between Tiger and Jellyfish leaving their child with no consistent message.

The Dolphin Way is an intuitive approach that uses role modelling, guiding, and a healthy lifestyle to help children develop internal control and self-motivation. The Dolphin Way has two distinct parts: 1) A balanced authoritative parent-child relationship and 2) a balanced lifestyle, including what many of today’s kids are missing-play and exploration, a sense of community and contribution, and the basics of regular sleep, exercise, and rest. The very basics of Dolphin POD technique and it’s life skill program. These are the things Dolphins do every day that keep them healthy, happy, and motivated!

We all feel more motivated when we have had some sleep vs. being sleep deprived, I still spend a lot of time prescribing sleep to kids and parents alike. Other intrinsic motivators like play, exploration, social bonding, and helping others may be less obvious but they are just as effective in bringing us that sense of well-being.

Parents must stop overscheduling, overprotecting, and being over-competitive to allow their children the time and space to activate their own intrinsic motivators.

The Dolphin Way is based on the neuroscience of how the human brain works so if you are a human, it is guaranteed to work! Here are some guiding principles.

The Seven Guiding Principles of the Dolphin Way:

1. All parents love their children, but not all are bonded to their children. Bonding means seeing and knowing children for who they really are as individuals. Dolphin parents know the most effective and powerful parenting tool.

2. Dolphin parents are not authoritarian pushing parents or hovering Tiger parents (who stifle internal motivation) nor are we permissive spineless Jellyfish (who fail to cultivate impulse control),we recognize we are authority figures and use guidance, role modelling, and a balanced lifestyle to ensure the development of internal motivation, impulse control, and independence.

3. Dolphin parents know that health always comes first and thus we make a balanced lifestyle a priority. We do not compromise balance for anything and we bring back the three things many of today’s kids are missing. These can be remembered through P.O.D. = free unstructured Play, a sense of connection and contribution to Others, and Downtime of rest and sleep.

4. Dolphin parents do not live in fear of modern day pressures and we do not over-gather, over-protect, and over-compete. We believe life is a journey through ever-changing waters and cultivate internal motivation and the ability to adapt to navigate the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing 21st century.

5. Dolphin parents value IQ, EQ and especially CQ. CQ is the integration of IQ and EQ and are the core 21st century skills of creativity, communication, collaboration, contribution and critical thinking — all needed to constantly adapt for lifelong health, happiness, and success. Dolphin POD focuses on the development of these 5 Consciousness quotient skills.

6. Dolphin parents are holistic in our parenting. We look inward towards our intuition for answers and we also we seek knowledge and learn from others. We make decisions that “feel right” for our families and not because of “what everyone else is doing”.

7. Dolphin parents have the highest of expectations for our children and intend to guide them towards health, happiness, and a balanced life with meaning and purpose.

Although The Dolphin Way is called a “parent’s guide,” any human can benefit from it. The metaphor of the overbearing Tiger, permissive Jellyfish, and collaborative Dolphin can be applied to any interpersonal interaction — including the workplace. The neuroscience of how the human brain is naturally motivated is something that anyone can benefit from, and is something I speak frequently about at corporations, banks, and businesses. In a fast paced, ultra-competitive, and globally connected 21st century world, The Dolphin Way provides us the tools to stay balanced and acquire creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking (CQ) – these skills are the key essentials for futuristic leaders. Dolphin POD works in collaboration to aim at a holistic development of kids and a guide to parents.

Downtime: Is your Child Getting Enough Real Downtime?

Children’s lives these days are fast-paced. With the increase in technology and various electronic gadgets, they no longer know how to give rest to their brain. Even in the free time, children of the 21st century indulge themselves with Xbox, mobiles, tablets or watching TV.
But where is the downtime? The time to just relax and enjoy their own company?

For most kids, life is far too fast-paced and overscheduled. They’re juggling homework, extracurricular activities, play dates and birthday parties.
And when a parent is told that their child needs downtime, the response usually is he is getting enough of it. He plays video games 2 hours or watches TV.
The surprise for most parents is, that this is not actually downtime. When a child is sitting in front of the screen or is indulged in games, he/she is still making optimum use of his critical thinking, problem solving and reasoning. The mind is still at work. This is one of the reasons that a child is unable to sleep properly or be attentive because scientifically brain needs time to be idle and kids are missing out on that aspect these days. The activity that they partake in are over exhausting rather than calming and the wavelength from them triggers the mind to stay active than retire.

Children these days are often bored easily because of their innate need to do something at all times. Practically proven that if a child is being asked to sit idle for 5mins that is the most difficult task to accomplish. Children need a little time with themselves in order to understand their emotions. Only when they understand it will they be able to comprehend and manage it.

Children nowadays are at higher risk of anxiety and depression due to lack of relaxation time. Kids – and especially teens – aren’t adept at regulating their own time, often sleeping too little and packing in too many activities. True downtime is an important opportunity to de-stress and relax.

Everything these days has become structured even the play. Kids have lost the sense of taking up tasks which has no instructions but are for the wellbeing. It is very important for the child to indulge in unstructured quiet times to understand their traits and nature in order for a brain development and emotional wellbeing.
If you see your child sleeping less, or having a lot of tantrums or is lazy, or moody, then it is time for you to re-evaluate his downtime to help him feel calm, happy and relaxed.

We at Dolphin POD, give immense focus on Downtime Activities which will help kids be successful, self-motivated with ease and no stress making them realize their potential to be great visionaries.

Want Successful Kids? Teach Them Gratitude

What are you grateful for today? This is the question I try to ask my three children before I tuck them into bed at night.

When I was younger, my mother established the same bedtime routine. Some nights I was more grateful than others, but the question always challenged me to think deeply about the positive aspects of my life. As the youngest of five children in a “non-privileged” immigrant family, everything I owned was a hand-me-down, so I learned to be grateful for other non-material things: a loving family, sincere friendships, inspiring siblings, helpful mentors and connection to my community. The powerful dialogue my mother and I generated about gratitude is among the keys to happiness and self-motivation. These discussions taught me how to count my blessings rather than add up to my problems.

Continuing with this bedtime tradition, my hope is to inspire my kids and the other kids at Dolphin POD centre the attitude for gratitude. I hope to teach them that gratitude is more than just saying “please” and “thank you.” Gratitude involves personal values, beliefs and the expression of appreciation toward others and the world we live in. Unfortunately many of today’s children do not grow up in environment that fosters important lessons about gratitude.

According to a national survey on gratitude commissioned by the John Templeton Foundation, gratitude levels are declining. A whopping 60 per cent of people are less likely to express gratitude than 100 years ago. Sadly, the national survey also indicates that 18- to 24-year-olds were less likely to express gratitude than any other age group and when they did display signs of appreciation, it was usually for self-serving reasons.

The Cisco Connected World Technology Report found one-third of college students were more grateful for their mobile devices than their access to food, shelter, or safety. When youth find value for their iPhones, MacBook Pros and GPS systems more than the necessities for survival, we can understand how the term “Generation Entitled” came to be.

Why are children becoming more entitled and less grateful? Perhaps, it’s because children are growing up without really knowing what gratitude is. In the national survey, 8-10 per cent of respondents indicated that no one has ever taught them the meaning of gratitude. Research shows that a child’s gratitude has its roots in a nurturing family environment. Given this, a good question for parents is: Is gratitude an attitude you are promoting for your child?

Let’s think of the perfectionistic “tiger” parent for a moment. I think it would be difficult to foster gratitude in an over-scheduled, over-competitive, and “#1 at all costs” tiger environment. Tiger parenting tendencies of building a child’s “outside” (i.e. external resume) take priority to developing the child’s “inside” (internal character and values). Can you imagine the tiger parent telling their child to not focus on the results of a task (i.e. winning the piano recital) but to have gratitude for the opportunity to learn to play music? As an adolescent psychiatrist, I’ve worked in sessions with countless kids who have achieved their cherished external goals, such as acceptance into a dance academy, sports team, or college of “their choice”– but whose lives are utterly devoid of internal joy. They tell me they feel that they’re just going through the motions of life for a fixed result, not living the journey of life. POD sessions help children understand that internal satisfaction is the most important aspect of life and with internal peace we lead a happier, successful and sustainable external living.

Throughout my new book, The Dolphin Way: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids Without Turning Into a Tiger (Penguin Books), I show that instead of pushing towards “the best of everything,” let’s equip our children with the attributes they need to be self-motivated for health, happiness, and success. Time magazine did a comprehensive review of the subject of gratefulness and concluded that the scientifically proven benefits are many, such as better sleep, less depression, better ability to cope with stress and an improved sense of social relationships and happiness. At Dolphin POD centre, we use these tools for emotional wellbeing of the kids and to teach the kids importance of being grateful.

Create gratitude journals. A gratitude journal is a wonderful and scientifically proven way to guide your child towards health, happiness, and internal motivation. Kids proved me wrong and over the years, I have seen first-hand how a gratitude journal has been a consistently effective tool to shift kids thinking from negative to positive.

Role model and guide towards gratefulness. Remember the bedtime tradition I mentioned before? This is just one way to display and guide towards gratefulness. Discuss and share the things you are grateful for with your children. Write thank you cards, phone friends on their birthdays, and model other small acts of kindness in front of your children. Modelling gratitude will show your kids some of the ways gratitude can be expressed personally and towards others.

Serve others. A contribution to one’s community is a powerful tool for health, happiness, and self-motivation and I use it in my sessions. There is a reason why it feels so good to give. Connecting, sharing, and giving all stimulate happy hormones in our neural circuits.

Your role as a parent has a major impact on your child’s understanding of the word gratitude. Take the time to reflect on your own attitude of gratitude and how you project your views onto your children. If you think you are taking gratitude for granted, ask yourself the same question my mother asked me and I ask children: What are you grateful for today? Being grateful is one of the major aspect of POD sessions.

Why Making Mistakes Is Good For Your Kids

Dr Shimi K Kang(co-founder Dolphin POD)

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky often said “You miss every shot you don’t take.” The same is true for learning opportunities: if children decide against trying something, they will never know what they may be missing out on. However, trying new things means being comfortable making mistakes and failing. As children try new things, make mistakes and fail, they learn that not everything works out on the first or even the tenth time. Mistakes allow children an opportunity to stop and assess what they’re doing, and to consider what they can change in order to succeed next time.

Children who are exclusively rewarded for right answers or who are shunned or punished for making mistakes may become afraid of trying new things. Children are more open to learning and more willing to try harder when they are praised and rewarded for their efforts, not their results. A study by Dr. Carol Deuck and her team at Stanford University determined that children who are praised for their effort instead of “being smart” yield better test results.While parents often focus on a child’s successes, teaching a child how to take risks, and handle mistakes and failure is integral to your child’s growth.

This type of overprotection stifles creativity and deprives children of exploring their true potential. On the other extreme, permissive Jellyfish parents lack direction and guidance. Thus their children end up making too many mistakes and far too often. The balance of these extremes is the Dolphin parent who gives their child room for learning from exploration, trial and error and taking reasonable risks while still being connected and available when needed. For example, dolphins in nature purposely beech their young to teach them how to find a way back to safety — but all the while, they stay close by to help if needed. Similarly, at Dolphin POD centre, the coaches guide the kids and give them full freedom to create something new and make mistakes thereby being innovative and resilient.

Failure that spawns from experimenting is not actually a failure at all, but rather a learning opportunity for eventual success. Children who understand that failure is a necessary step towards success perform better. In fact, a study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that children are more likely to succeed in if they view failure as a step along the path to gaining knowledge.

Furthermore, when kids make moral mistakes — like cheating or stealing, parents would be wise not to rush in and judge them. Separate your child from the mistake and give them a chance to explain the situation. When you do, you are not shaming them as a person, but clearly not accepting of their behaviour. You can say “I will always love you, but I don’t like what you did.” This reinforces the fact that you are on their side and will be there to guide them in the future.

Although tempting at times, it is important that parents also don’t run in for the rescue. It is important for children to learn not to cover up their flaws, weaknesses and mistakes. Instead, they must learn that owning up to their mistakes takes courage and leads to personal credibility, as well as the eventual trust of others. It is inevitable that mistakes will occur.

Nevertheless, it is so important that children recognize the negative effects that stem from dishonesty and cover up. Ask them how they would like to make amends for what they have done and help them follow through. Guide your child to determine how they would respond in a similar situation next time. These open discussions can enhance your child’s schema of proper responses, and demonstrate to your child how much you value openness and honesty. Dolphin POD provides different ways in which a parent can guide their children and an insight for kids to recognise their mistakes and learn from it.

Making mistakes allow children to experience new things, fail, get back up, and figure things out. Ultimately, the ability for a child to handle mistakes and failure effectively will lead to the growth of their key traits learnt at Dolphin POD centre -critical thinking skills, creativity, independence, adaptability and resilience and character traits — humility, courage, empathy and respect.

#credits-huffing ton post

Why Social & Emotional Learning is the “Secret Sauce” to Success!

Social skills are falling, while child anxiety is on the rise

Time the Me Me Me Generation

Ninety-two percent of today’s super-connected youth (often dubbed “The Internet Generation”) go online daily, while 88% use a smartphone. Children are growing up in a world where social connections depend on a strong WiFi signal, and communication through text, instant messaging, and Snapchat are becoming the norm.

Research by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology from San Diego State University, indicates that the social and emotional skills of youth are depleting, while rates of youth depression, social anxiety, and stress are on the rise.


A solution: Teach kids’ social & emotional skills early

In an article for Edutopia, Roger Weissberg, the Chief Knowledge Officer of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, & Emotional Learning (SEL), writes that social & emotional learning can enhance a student’s ability to succeed in school, careers, and life.


SEL can be the most proactive initiative for mental health illness prevention, as research shows that this type of learning can reduce anxiety, substance abuse, suicide, depression, and violence, while increasing attendance, test scores and prosocial behaviours such as kindness, empathy and personal awareness.


But, what are the benefits of SEL?

Show them what empathy looks like.

Challenge your child to be curious about other people’s feelings, perspectives, & actions. Use relatable figures, like their favourite storybook or movie characters, to discuss how they could be feeling during a conflict or challenge. Giving the opportunities to practice empathy can guide them to understand how they can step into someone else’s “shoes” to understand how they would feel or react if they were in the same situation.


Discuss emotions regularly.

Feeling nervous, scared or anxious can be uncomfortable emotions to experience. Help your child navigate their emotions through healthy discussions & role modelling. If you’re feeling stressed, role model how you handle your own emotions, by letting your child know how you are feeling and positive steps you take to manage your emotions.


Start a gratitude journal with your child.

Gratitude is connected to emotional stability and internal control. Sit down with your child and write or draw positive aspects of your day or things they are grateful for your life in a journal. This type of reflection aids in helping kids look on the bright side when they’re feeling down or overcoming a challenge. And, to see their parents are doing it too, might be the most powerful SEL trick of all!


Watch Dr. Shimi Kang discuss the importance of emotional intelligence & find out more ways social & emotional learning can be integrated into your daily routine.


‘It’s not about bookish knowledge; it’s about being prepared for the future’

Dolphin Pod isn’t just a centre. It’s a path of new learning. It’s a new dimension that incorporates 21st-century tools to prepare children for their paths ahead. We don’t teach academics. Schools are doing a good job of that. We partner with the kids to realize their potential and prepare themselves mentally and emotionally. We have 12,000 sq ft of a free and protected play area with different modules for different age groups. Balance beams, tree houses, visual art therapy for sensory integration, hydrotherapy for revitalizing and maintaining good health, sand play therapy, and art therapy amongst our offerings. We have built new and dynamic ways to allow maximum growth with minimum stress.

Source : The Education Post

Read More

Why Dolphin POD?

Dolphin Coaches and Pod Sessions: Why Two Fins are better than one –
Dr Shimi K Kang (Psychiatrist and Author)

The National Education Association (NEA) deems collaboration as an essential skill for students to learn, because it is inherent in how work is accomplished and how our workforce functions. In my research, I have found the characteristics of one of the world’s most altruistic mammals, the dolphin, to be a powerful metaphor for collaborative teaching and learning approaches.

Now, if dolphins could enter the current work world, they would blow the competition out of the water (no-pun intended)! Dolphins are famous for their highly social behaviour and collaborative way of life. Living in rich social communities called pods, dolphins use collaboration skills to hunt, play and survive in the deep depths of the ocean. For a second, imagine our education system as the ocean; how can our children survive the deep depths of group work, discussions, sharing, or playtime without the foundation of strong collaboration skills? One of the first places children can deeply explore collaboration is in the classroom. Twenty-first-century classrooms are more about competition and comparison. On the contrary, Dolphin Pod is a method of learning in which the Pod coaches aim towards greater collaboration, discussion, and group tasks in order to promote cooperative learning in a POD like environment. As long as the coach remains a dolphin (and not a strict tiger or permissive jellyfish), the development of pod-like environment will have your children swimming towards success.

A wealth of shared knowledge.

While hunting, dolphins do not fend for themselves; they consistently work together and share their intellect with one another to enhance the vitality of the pod. Children are no longer seen as “empty vessels” that can easily absorb the transferred knowledge from a lacklustre “sage on the stage.” In the Dolphin POD centre, children are invited to discuss new knowledge in light of their personal experiences, ideas and inquiries in the session. Of course, coaches still behold important content about a given topic or subject, but the collaborative approach allows students’ to take part in their own learning processResearchers suggest that when students see their experiences and knowledge as valued, they become empowered and motivated to listen and learn in new ways. For my kids, it is always a big confidence booster when they are able to educate and teach something to their own teacher and classmates!

Shared authority fosters autonomy.

If you witness the dynamics of a dolphin pod, you can tell there is not one sole leader or distinct rule-maker. Take a look around a collaborative session room, and you will see this same type of shared authority. Shared authority allows students to take more autonomy over their learning. By participating in establishing session room rules, setting goals and co-creating rubric guidelines, some shared authority can teach children the skills they will need to master in the near future (i.e. organization, time-management, communication, etc.). Research indicates that if students understand they are capable decision makers, they are more likely to take advantage of autonomous and collective learning opportunities outside of the session room.

Gently guide rather than direct.

As soon as a baby orca is born, its mother gently nudges it to the surface while modeling swimming motions, which encourages independence right away. When kids have more shared responsibility in the room, the coach is seen as more of a guide toward knowledge rather than a director of knowledge. Rather than directly stating factual information, educators (like mother orca’s) gentle nudge students toward opportunities where they can freely ask questions, provide insights and construct their own understanding. Mediated learning helps kids become problem-solvers and high-order thinkers; students are encouraged to use creativity and critical-thinking skills to explore alternative solutions.

Small-group learning and discussion.

Through signature whistles and unique sounds, dolphins are great underwater communicators. Collaborative session rooms often encourage communication through student discussions, group investigations and the development of shared understandings between peers. Peer-to-peer interaction involves more than just working with others; it involves being respectful, reliable, social, motivating, challenging and competent. In Tom Wujec’sTEDTalk “Build a Tower, Build a Team”, he discusses how group collaboration during an instructive “marshmallow tower” design competition can encourage teams to find innovative ways to collaborate and develop a shared understanding.

The development of social bonds.

The unique communication of dolphins allows them to develop strong social bonds with members of their pod, as well as other species. A community provides an environment within which rich social bonds can form – including those of friends, mentors and role models. The only way to learn essential social skills is to try them out; a collaborative session room should invite students to learn how to communicate, display teamwork skills and resolve conflict (through trial and error). Developing social bonds with peers and coaches will help kids foster their own social identity and social responsibility. Here’s another bonus: social interaction and social bonding both increase dopamine levels in our brains – and what person wouldn’t want a room filled with happy, healthy and motivated kids?

As a metaphor, dolphins remind us of the value of collaboration and how it can extend beyond the work world. As parents and educators (coaches, role models, mentors…) we want the current generation of children to derive a great satisfaction from working with others while fostering greatness, inspiration, and encouragement.

Dolphin POD gives children, a collaborative POD (Play-fun, Others-communicating, Downtime- mindfulness) session which offers rich learning opportunities that teach kids the dolphin-like social skills they will need to be able to function successfully in a collaborative world.

Dolphin POD – a Thoughtful Initiative to Make Every Child a twenty first Century Leader

Shobana Mahansaria is born entrepreneur. Her drive to create and start many new ventures has been an inborn quality she has always used with passion. Born and raised in Thailand, Ms. Mahansaria graduated from the prestigious Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and later, received her Master’s degree from Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Shobana started a chain of prestigious spas; Aromathai Day Spa, that now has presence across the country. A co founder and keen crusader for the cause of wellbeing, Shobana oversees the daily operations of more than 22 outlets in 6 cities. Constantly updating treatments and services, she is totally involved in making it the To-Go to spa in the country.

Read More