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When a gadget becomes a guru

When a gadget becomes a guru


Poonam Khaira Sidhu

EVER thought a gadget strapped to your wrist could give parenting advice? No? Neither did I, until my smartwatch started teaching me more about parenting than any book or seminar ever could. Here’s the lowdown on what my tech buddy has been whispering to me between those heart rate updates and notifications.

Let’s talk about two clubs: ‘Tiger’ parents and ‘Champion’ parents. ‘Tiger’ parents dish out criticism and challenges faster than you can say ‘timeout’. They love a good reward system, but aren’t shy about penalties. The ‘Champion’ parents are your cheerleaders, turning every little win into a ticker-tape parade. For them, failures are simply steps on the learning ladder. Their kids float on a cloud of confidence and high self-esteem, feeling unstoppable.

I have always wondered which parenting style is right. And guess what helped me see the light? The unassuming smartwatch. Picture this: I’m melded with my ‘retirement couch’, halfway through a TV show, when my watch buzzes. It’s like a gentle nudge from a friend, saying: ‘Hey, why not take a little stroll?’ It’s not judgmental; it’s encouraging. And when I get moving and target my daily goals, my watch cheers me on.

If this simple device can make one feel good about taking a few extra steps, imagine what consistent, positive encouragement could do for a child. That’s the ‘Champion’ method in a nutshell. It’s about setting those goals just right — not too high that they’re unattainable, but not so low that they don’t inspire growth. It’s a delicate balance, but when you nail it, you see magic happen.

My smartwatch doesn’t set my goals based on what it thinks I can do; it learns from what I have done and helps me set the next target just a stretch away. And that’s a tip we could all take for parenting. Observe, learn and then encourage with goals that are within reach but require that little bit of extra effort. Setting the bar a tad lower initially makes it all the sweeter when your poppet overachieves. You can always notch it up later, building their confidence and skills step by step.

The smartwatch is never harsh. It doesn’t scold me for not moving; it just reminds me of how close I am to my goal and encourages me to get there. It’s all about the positives. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, it’s about celebrating what went right and using any missteps as learning opportunities. So, here’s the deal: as parents, maybe we should aim to be a bit more like the smartwatch. Be the ‘champion’ your kid needs. Applaud their efforts, encourage their progress, and when they stumble, remind them of how close they are to their goals.

In the grand scheme of things, parenting isn’t about steering every move your children make. It’s about providing a roadmap, supporting them and celebrating their successes, no matter how small. And if they go off course, nudging them back, just like the smartwatch does, with every step you take, every goal you reach, and every little bit of progress you make.


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