The Biggest Worry Of The New School Year – Sorted!

This is a sponsored post for Kellogg's Chocos #Khuljaye Bachpan Campaign and was first published on 

“Mum, what if no one wants to make friends with me?”
It was the week before school reopened for the new academic year and I was sitting with my little one, covering and labeling his school books, as he helped me with scissors and cello tape as and when I asked for it. We were generally chit-chatting about nothing in particular, when suddenly, this is what he sprung on me!
Now, both my husband and I boast of having loyal, will-come-running-even-in-the-middle-of-the-night friends, who can be counted on the fingers of one hand each. But our little one (obviously) is different. And despite repeated assurances from both his parents that it is not the quantity but the quality of friends that matters, he somehow believes in having lots and lots of friends! For him, going to school is equal parts about play and education.
When he went to playschool with this idea, I was really happy. But as he started grade-school, his obsession to make friends grew; and we found ourselves pleasing other kids just so they will make friends with him. And yet, after all this time, here we were again, with his perpetual fear, just when we were about to begin the new school year! 
“What do you think you need to do for the kids to be friends with you?” I asked him.
“I don’t know…maybe if I had some special powers or something, they may make friends with me?” he ventured.
“Well, special powers are clearly out of the question, you know that – however, think what you do have, that is special, that might make your classmates notice you or be friends with you…you know, you are good are drawing, you are good at puzzles, jokes…” I began.
“You know Mum, not everyone thinks knowing “fun facts” or being able to solve math puzzles or winning at tic-tac-toe is cool – it’s just you.”
“Come on! You are amazing at puzzles, you know that! In our times, they called kids like that “geniuses!” I said.
“Oh, yeah? Well, now they call such kids nerds and geeks Mum!”
“But you love “fun facts” and…”
“I do! But Mum, it’s not “cool!”
And that, as it dawned upon me finally, was the heart of the matter! 'It’s not cool!'
“Okay, so what would be really “cool” in your class? Give me something, come on…” I was grappling at straws now… as my little one sat lost in thought for some time.
“You know, you could give me cool food in the tiffin!” he suddenly had a 'Eureka moment!
Phew! At least this was something I could manage!
“See? That’s a great suggestion! What sort of cool food are we talking about? You aren’t getting any junk, you know that.”
“Of course Mum! But see, you could give me veggies, fruits anything you want; just dress it up real nice – like they do in Masterchef Australia!”
Now that was a tall order! But, the good news – this was doable – and more importantly, he had come up with a solution to his problem himself!
“Sure, we can do dressed up food, but you have to help me get the recipes and “the look” right; and we have to get it all done this very week if we are to have the menu ready for school starting Monday…” I said.
“Yes! Let’s begin!” he jumped.
And thus began our week long “experimentation” with food!
That week we made sweet Oats pancakes, savory multigrain pancakes, mini masala dosas with a twist, veggie cheese sandwiches, corn –n – peas quesadillas, fruit skewers and many other lip-smacking, yet easy snacks and main courses using the usual veggies or fruits but dressed them up in style; and really, it was such creative fun!
The best part (apart from really good looking food) was the bonding opportunity this provided me with my little one. However, the biggest takeaway was that my little one had learnt to find a solution to his problem, all on his own! And had also learnt an important lesson – that every problem has a solution and you can reach it if you are willing to work towards solving the problem!

That week, I realised, that the time we spent together dressing up our food Masterchef style, helped him get the confidence that he had this “ace up his sleeve” – and that too, something he had come up with himself! And that, I think, will play a big part in empowering him and enriching his childhood! I was happy I could make the most of this opportunity to ensure ke Khuljaye Bachpan uska!


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