How to Develop A Sense Of Belonging In Children

(Note – This article was created by me a year ago, when there was no pandemic prevailing in our lives, and everything was normal as usual. So presenting the same post as it was.)

As usual, I called up my elder sister yesterday, living in Jaipur. Usually, like every homemaker mother, she gets busy in the morning with all the hustle-bustle of finishing the chore on time. She bears the responsibility of sending the two kids to school, making them ready every day before the bus arrives. To cook breakfast for them as well as for her husband and make the lunchbox ready.

Here arises a little problem that, most of the time, she has to prepare food separately for all of them, as someone is reluctant to spinach, chili, or almonds. It makes the situation tricky for my sister.

Apart from that, she has daily chores of filling the tank with water by first checking it by going on the third floor as she lives on the ground floor of the apartment and returning then filling the drinking water tank separately for RO water supply. She is an early riser so that, it can be said, ‘the whole block of the building remains dependent on her for this social service.

Now the point is while dealing with all the hustle-bustle of daily life in the morning, ‘She shared the morning incidence with me.

Her younger son Himank, Who is eight years old, has little relaxation from school because of extreme cold weather. Due to this, the management has extended the winter holidays in his school. But his elder sister Dakshayani, Who is ten years old, had her school opened, and she had to get ready to catch the school bus.

As it was morning time, and my sister had all the morning duties on her head, she asked her son Himank when he was still asleep in the chilled winter morning, to buy paneer (Cottage Cheese) from a nearby dairy shop.

‘Generally, ‘it happens, that ‘Himank sleeps so deeply we can not make him come out of his bed immediately after his awakening, and even after waking, he again goes to sleep.

But when his mother asked for help, he exclaimed the sense of urgency, and in one call, he opened his eyes and sat on the bed saying ‘yes mamma.

There was no dizziness or sluggishness in his body, which Normally remains When the kids wake up. Himank rushed towards the bathroom, quickly washed his face, and asked his mother to get him money and a carry bag.

In chilled weather, he took out his bicycle and rushed towards the paneer shop.

Even after coming, when he saw mother was busy making her sister’s hair, and gravy was on the kitchen stove to cook and milk on another side to boil, without a call for help from his mother, the boy took care of the gravy. And he stirred it continuously so that it did not burn, as well as taking care of milk at the same time so as not to fall after boiling.
My sister was busy making her elder daughter, Dakshayani, ready in another room. When she rushed towards the kitchen to take care of gravy and the milk, she was shocked watching, little hands taking care of mom’s work and innocently saying mamma, ‘I did not let gravy burn, now you can add paneer to it and milk is also ready for didi. {Dakshayani}

My sister hugged Himank and cuddled him. Kissing his mom, he went back to his routine. Then, while everything was almost done by, my sister had yet to pack lunch for Dakshayani, the school bus horn honked at the corner of the street. The bus had arrived. My sister said the lunch box is still pending, it will take two minutes, and today was also the due date to pay the bus driver.

When Himank again judged his mother needed help, he took money from her mother by enquiring where it was kept and rushed towards the bus. Until the time Himank’s mom and sister were coming from behind, he said to the bus driver to wait for two minutes. Even he made the bus driver put off the engine as it will create pollution and wastage of fuel. He paid money to the driver. He owed Rs 2400. Mother had given one Rs 2000 note and one Rs 500 note, in total Rs 2500. While giving money to the bus driver, he said to the driver, Rs 100 change, please. Till the time his sister had boarded the bus, and his mother had also arrived. The driver said he would be returning Rs 100 the next day as he was not carrying change. But might be Himank did not hear this he again asked for Rs 100 change.

His mother laughed and made him understand that the driver will give it back tomorrow.

When my sister told me this story, I realized how healthy the upbringing she is giving to her children. But children are innocent, and it does not come in a single day.

I remember the day, ‘When Himank was a newborn and my sister and jiju (brother-in-law) the first time brought him home. To this, Dakshayani’s reaction was showing quite an insecurity towards her brother. And after some time, she said mamma bhaiyyu bha dhum ( in her language, she said, mamma let her brother throw out).

But my sister always maintained a balance between both the kids. She made her understand that the little boy is her brother, with whom she can play. Although Dakshayani was very small, Still, my sister put Himank in her lap, saying her brother wants to go in didi’s lap. Coincidently Himank smiled, and my sister said, see, your brother is liking you, and he loves you. He is happy in your lap.

Since day one, Dakshayani understood that her brother is no harm to her.

As they were growing my sister always took care of giving them food together. So that another child never generates the feeling that the mother is giving preference to another one first.

The funny thing is when my sister used to buy accessories for her daughter, say suppose a hairband, she always bought two because she knew Himank was too small to understand the difference between a girl or a boy and their accessories also. So she bought two same things, one for Himank and one for Dakshayani irrespective of their gender.
Whenever it used to be their birthday, she used to bring two cakes so that one child does not feel why not for me as they were too small to understand.

In this way, With a balance of upbringing, children grew up. Gradually, they understood that what was for them and what was not.

It was funny when they little grew up, and my sister was applying nail paint on Dakshayani’s nails, and after finishing, when she asked Himank to show his nails to coat nail paint, he innocently said, ‘Girls apply nail paint. I am not a girl. Hearing his reply, my sister laughed that a boy who used to ask for lipstick because his sister had applied has now the sense of what things meant for girls and boys. Then she slowly stopped bringing two things as children better understood what was for them.

Apart from this, my sister always talks with children about home. And also about how did she and her husband run home. She talks about how it is every member’s responsibility to keep their home tidy and clean. She makes kids understand that their home belongs to each one of them. As a family, they belong to each other, and helping each other will enhance love, care, and affection among them.

There was an incident that my sister had to go out for some work. The next day was Himank’s maths test at school. Dakshayani and Himank were at home. When Dakshayani came to knew Himank has a test at school, and her mom was out for work, Dakshayani not only took charge of her brother by not going out to play, but she also made him prepare for the test.

The next day when Himank came home from school, he was happy, as he got the full marks and realized it was all because of her sister. Then brother’s and sister’s love for each other was raised more with respect. And in time of need, they stand with one another whenever they have a bad day with their friends.

This thing also generated the feeling that if elders are ever strict to them or scold them or forbid them for something, it is for their well-being. So they never rebel back or show their anger or argue with their elders. Arguing with elders is now a day a big problem for parents for their children.

So taking care of your every step and keeping balance, letting the children do as per their mind by rendering little responsibility, you can develop a sense of belongingness among them.