June 9, 2017

Why Young Girls quit Sports

This is the era for youth to shine in Indian Sports. Sania Mirza, Ashwini Ponnappa, Jwala Gutta, Geeta Singh are all Stars of this generation of young women achievers. Achievement in any sport whether it's its wrestling, cricket, badminton or athletes. They push girls to believe that anything is possible. So naturally young girls from the tender age of 5 and 6 years enrol for gruelling hours in after school private clubs or group sessions to start their sporting journey. No sport is easy and the hours are long and practice sessions are undoubtedly montonous.
Football young girls soccer time

It was never going to be easy.  Who doesn't want the best for their Kids? Nowadays, parents make it for matches, cheering along the sidelines, offering advice and even find some bonding time with the coaches. But is this enough to keep interests levels vigoured and high? This is a serious investment of time and money.
Not necessarily enough. Is it burnout or just no longer 'Fun' anymore. For most girls, something changes at the age of 12. By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys. (Pls see here Girls drop-out at different rates depending on where they live. Sabo, D. and Veliz, P. (2008). Go Out and Play Youth Sports in America. )
Of course Girls as much as boys, need to stay in Sports, for the same exact reasons. Whether its building leadership qualities, team spirit, or confidence levels, how they view themselves, improve School grades etc there are many good enough reasons for kids to stay active and find their passion. It has always been a great way for Girls to form friendships outside of their own school. 
Lets see some of the reasons why Girls lose interest in Sports. 
Lack of Physical Education in School or access to physical playing facilities can be a major disadvantage when it comes to girls pursuing their sports sessions. 
There is also the social stigma. Bullying and social isolation are all important contributors to kids dropping out. 
As they grow older and move from Junior under 12s to Junior Under 13s, quality trained coaches may also be lacking due to less focus on that age group and the attention shifting to older boys where there is better funding. This is the reality in Sports today.
Another major influence for girls dropping out is the social media factor. Beauty is set by different standards and fitting into moulds are a struggle with the added pressure of playing sports and keeping it all together. 
Are there enough positive female playing stars that model and inspire our young girls?  As the environment gets highly competitive and there are some of the major Social and emotional changes that 11 and 12-year-olds experience that predispose them to abrupt and hasty decisions to quit sports. Do we have the Internet to blame for the way things are changing? Between the ages of 13 and 17, 92% of teens report being online every day and 24 percent are online almost constantly. As teenagers, their priorities change from who they socialize with and how they spend their time. 
The question is then how to get Girls to continue playing Sports?
Unfortunately, there is no easy, one answer fixes all, in this scenario. Being aware of these battles and the territories is important when dealing with young impressionable minds but giving them the space to grow and not pressurizing them too much is critical here. We do not want to create a negative connotation when it comes to Sports. Discussing why sports is crucial to their overall development, discovering a sport they truly passionate about or just going along with their friends to a sports practice session will be a good way to get back in. 

May 31, 2017

Learning to Drive Again

It's no mean task driving along Mumbai roads. It's literally an achievement to survive years without a warning, penalties and even more importantly an accident. It can be harder though if you're a woman driver in India. All eyes on you. You commit a mistake and get ready to be subjected to all sorts of gender discrimination. But have you driven on Goa roads? Take a Mumbai plate car to Goa and then drive through Panjim. Gender is not the issue here. It will somehow alter itself. The locals will have no reservations in shouting absurds words just for the sake of intimidation. It somehow gets justified when you envisage your options, the absolutely obstinate, illogically over priced Goa taxi driver.
So consider that after driving on any mean, tough Indian road you relocate abroad and you may have to resit your Practical and theory tests. Do you remember when and where your Driving Test in Mumbai even took place? Was it the reliable Bhogilal driving test or the shady Janata Driving class that was an unwilling aide to your own wheels. For most people, it's the quick road sign identification, some few questions of a chart, some visual aid, and the Practical manoeuvre. Seems harmless and accomplished in a jiffy.
driving tests

Well, all that comes back to haunt you when you re-sit those tests in a foreign land under stricter rules and tight guidelines. It makes me relive all those wrong turns, harmless honking, sharp u-turns, close shaves with pedestrians and the list goes on. Not insisting children wear seat belts or having them seated on our laps whilst being seated in front, have been the biggest burdens to bear. Do we subject ourselves to such carelessness that we risk peoples lives almost daily? Sometimes, our love needs to take a backseat and safety should be placed first. These are all rules that have been taught but they have never been rigidly enforced making it easy to forget they were ever there in the handbook.
There are things that kids make us do when driving deserves a special mention here. This is one of those hilarious WhatsApp forwards and one can almost relate to it instantaneously. Brings a bit of humor into everyday life skills.

Will all my earlier driving instincts assist me with my theory and practical knowledge or will I have to undo all my natural actions and work harder to understand why these rules are in the first place and the many reasons for their being?
After 20 years of driving, these tests will be a breeze and for others, it's a small bump. Because driving in Mumbai, with all the nonsense thrown at you daily, survival instincts kick in naturally.
We can fault our pothole filled roads, crumbling infrastructure but it's going to get us nowhere. There is always the hidden rules in Mumbai that take us that extra mile. Driving with the knowledge that aunty's crossing have their way, cyclists have little space, vegetable carts are pushed across large stretches and kids have nowhere else to play.
We all know the rules but along the way, we have learned to adapt. So now with all that adaption and adoption, rules will have a new found respect. Hopefully, this respect will result in a newly acquired license!
driving tests cartoons

May 29, 2017

Young Kids want Smart Savings

Who doesn't love the sound of a penny drop into their piggy bank. Its so gratifying whatever the age. I know that most kids would love the thought of owning a piggy bank every few years once the one they possess gets filled up and too heavy for anymore deposits. Nowadays they come in all sorts of sizes, colours and designs. Its no more the pig that owns this space. Traditionally, it probably had some significance but now it doesnt matter. As long as it has that all so famous slot, it can as creative and funky as it wants.
Piggy banks versus bank accounts

Where would all these savings go from time to time? I've heard they are dipped into for almost everything from toys to books and even for gaming consoles like an xbox. But is your money working hard enough for you?
There is the age old notion that its the place to go to if in times of an emergency. Maybe kids will count all they have amassed over the years and feel proud with their savings and their knack of preserving those coins for the future. However, there is a truth to this and it's something that was discovered during one of those T.V shows where families where asked to switch to more economical brands for household savings. Boring, right? Maybe, but in all that switching, one painful truth did emerge. Clearly every penny saved in the right way earns them far more than a piggy would ever do. Accumulation will no longer mean what you deposit equals your returns. There is the safety factor as well. And whats the best thing yet? The learnings that are unmatched with this option- The Bank Saving Accounts.
Its safe, reliable and your kid will pick up invaluable financial understandings that would definitely go that extra mile in making them financially independent.
So how would these work - primarily hand in hand. First don't let your deposits gather dust and simply no interest at home. It would be wise to turn them into meaningful tiny deposits and see how the money grows instead of just what you see is what you get.


There are many Indian Banks that offer Kids deposit accounts linked to your own. SBI PehlaKadam PehliUdaan, HDFC Kids Saving account, Kotak My Junior Account, ICICI Young starters, Citi Junior Account, IDBI Power Kids, HSBC Premier Junior . All of these offer attractive rates of interest with a bundle of goodies like an ATM card, withdrawal facilities and some do go that extra mile with movie tickets and discount vouchers

Grow their interest in ways that will benefit their future. These are pretty straightforward accounts with a few restrictions but this will offer them some access to learning along the way. 

October 3, 2016

Crazy For Sleepovers

There's a time right now that we can't get enough of the word 'Sleepover'. It's said almost every other day, over mealtimes, after playtime and even more when weekends are approaching. It's like a craze. What was once just an occasionally rewarding experience is now a habit hard to break. The kids can't stop and neither can the Parents. Every time we drop our kids off for playtime somewhere somehow we get pestered for that inevitable request and it happens so much more often than we would like it to be. Wasn't it a mere 2 hour playtime in and out? It is to be reciprocated which is the underlying pressure of sorts. How many times can my kid enjoy the sleepover without being counter requested the exact same thing. And of course she wouldn't have it any other way. Who do we blame for this Sleepover Craze? Some American sitcom 'Sam & Cat ' or Total Drama? Well , whatever 'kind' of Sleepover that will take place, when it's our turn the pressure is definitely on for a great Sleepover experience. So how does one turn a dreary regular night-in into a Fun Sleepover event ? Things to keep in mind?How many kids are turning up for this? Be prepared for Snacks,quick tidbits that kids can gorge on while enjoying their evening indoors. Popcorn, cupcakes, macaroons, doughnuts some of the favorite things to snack on. Stack up on Movies, get Netflix ready and have the movie pickings for the kids ready viewing. Dinner could be a takeaway Pizza or Homemade Pasta. Activities to keep the kids busy could involve some fun video shooting (lend them a camera !) of their evening or a game board like Pictureka. Some of the more competitive kids could turn to monopoly while others could play the Xbox if that's an option. Don't call in too many kids than you can handle and avoid children that you aren't familiar with.  As with the rest, go with the flow and let the kids decide for themselves since the Sleepover could be something that they remember and cherish through their independent formative years.  Find me at http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/the-big-outdoors/article/crazy-for-sleepovers