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February 13, 2008

Ashu's school routine.

Continuing the previous post, here's our schedule everyday. Hope it helps Noon.

Ashu is in a programme for kids between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2. Almost all of them will be continuing their pre KG in the same school this year. I enrolled here because the transition will be smooth when she starts Pre KG and I don't have much options in Zurich for English schools anyway! Her class is from 1 pm to 3 pm four days a week. At first, I was really not so keen as Ashus nap falls dang at the same time and nobody messes up with her nap time. Nothing whatsoever will keep her away from her precious sleep. But fresh out of options, I decided to try it. I wanted her to quit the afternoon naps anyway. Add to this that the school is 30 mins drive. So she has her lunch at 11.30. (Rice and vegetables with Rasam and a cup of yogurt.) We finish by 12. Then we get ready and leave home at 12.30. We reach the school at 12.55. Most of the time, she does nt go to sleep. So shes OK. The days she goes to sleep in the car, shes all cranky and grouchy when I leave her in class. But the teachers tell me that she is OK soon afterwards. So to reply to the anons comment in my previous post, theres no time to let her take a nap in the morning. (She gets up at 7 am.) After school, I pick her up at 3 pm and drive back home. 99% of the time, she sleeps in the car and I come home and put her in the bed. She continues to sleep until 5.30 pm or even 6.30 pm sometimes. So eventually, her night sleep time has been postponed to 9.30 pm instead of 8.30 pm. That is, I start reading to her at 9.30. She sleeps anytime between 10 to 10.30. I am OK with this schedule for now since its hassle free. But from August, she ll be going to school in the mornings and the schedule will obviously change. The disadvantage to this schedule is the weekends. She will be active and alert until 4 pm and go to sleep after that which means bed time is at 11pm. And on those days when she does nt go to sleep in the car while coming back home, she goes to sleep at 5 pm and screws up the routine. But then, I need some thing to worry about right? ;)

And coming to the subject of Tamil, I think I ll go back to India in a year. I'm counting on that actually. But is there absolutely no one whose kids talk in their mother tongue while living in a foreign country? Is that really impossible? Of course, none of my friends school going kids talk in their mother tongues either. So what happens when you go on vacation to India? Do they speak there? Are the grand parents and other relatives able to understand their English? Or do the parents have to translate? Does it bother you people? Or do you get used to it after a while? Please do tell and let me get used to the idea. Is my wish really hopeless?


Anonymous said...


not sure if I have ever commented before, though your blog is one of my daily reads!

Re: speaking Tamil/mother tongue at home: I live in the US, and my kids (ages 7&5) do speak Tamil at home and English to their peers, even the ones who know Tamil. They are comfortable switching between languages, talking Tamil to visiting grandparents, for example. I think it is definitely do-able - we insist on Tamil-only to parents, and by now it is routine. Of the folks we know, there seems to be a clear split - if the parents insist on the kids speaking their mother-tongue at home, the kids seem to learn it is expected (of course, that depends on the kid!). Our neighbours are a Chinese - French couple and their kids speak both languages, plus English.

We use Hindi at home as a "code language" - unfortunately, my kids are picking up on some Hindi as well, so we're thinking of swapping out languages frequently!



Anonymous said...

hi boo! my friend has been living in the US for more than a decade and both her kids speak flawless tamil (as against my kids' chennai cheri tamil), including a handful of thirukurals and bharathiyaar kavithai. don't ask me how exactly it helps those kids to know tamil but i find it all very endearing.

Preethi said...

A friend of mine has a 9 yr old. She talks to her in tamil at home, but the kid responds in English. However when she goes to India she can converse with her grandparents in tamil. I made her talk to me in tamil and her tamil is pretty good. But then they live in California and the kid is now going to tamil classes over the weekend!
Having said that, if you are going back in an year, you wont have this problem. It usually starts when they start attending full time school only.

Savani said...

1-3 is an odd time for a prechool - bang in the middle of naptime.. I can imagine the logistical problems associated with that.

As far as language is concerned.. I talk to Chip in Marathi at home. He speaks more of his mother tongue than most kids his age. We translate stuff from English for him, we tell him we speak Marathi at home, English at school.. Sometimes we translate for me.. both ways - marathi to english and english to marathi. I think consistence is the key. Most parents switch to using English because it will be easier on the child, the child speaks better english anyway...Chip might take time to master bothe languages compared to someone who is speaking only one - but hey, I was speaking 4 languages before I was 5. I don't know how I will handle the situation when he is older and image and ego issues cro[ up. But my cousins born and rasied in the US are super fluent in Marathi and speak it just like I do.

noon said...

Hi Boo - thanks. This schedule just won't work for KB I think (his aftn slot will be 12 to 3) - I just cannot give him breakfast and lunch before he leaves - the rate at which he eats, plus having to feed kutti girl and possibly cook proper meals in the mornings also after my FIL looks like I have to go with the school that will give me an afternoon slot so I can give him lunch after school or may be miracles will happen and he will eat on his own at school lunch time! :)
About Tamil - it is a challenge - but key is parents refusing to talk english at home...then they do speak their own lang for sure!

Anonymous said...

Hi boo,
Lovely blog. Regular reader. Posting comment first time.
Regarding ashu's school routine: If you don't want her to nap in the car while riding to school try skipping the cup of yogurt for lunch. Instead give applesauce or cut fruits. Save the yogurt for dinner. Yogurt induces sleep hence the suggestion.

Maggie said...

Reassurance on the mothertongue front - I spent about 10 years of my early childhood abroad, but because my parents would ONLY speak Malayalam at home, I can speak fluent malayalam today. It worked for us because both my parents spoke the same language. For Moppet though, it's a harder road, since her father and I have different mothertongues and mostly speak to each other in English.

Tharini said...

Boo...I am going to reply to the last bit with a post of my own. But yes, I do think its possible to raise a child that switches comfortably between english andtamil. More in the post.

B o o said...

M - Thats heartening to know. I assumed that the kids will talk in their mother tongues if the parents talked it at home. Now I know that it depends on so many other factors too. Let me wait and watch!

Inba - Exactly. Hubby is of the same type who asks "what if she does nt talk in Tamil". But for me, it means loads. Hope Ashu is in my side on this one! ;)

Preethi - I guessed as much, that it will start when the kids go full time. but was shocked when Ashu tried english at home. Hence the post. Im counting on going back to India and not letting this bother me for now. Hope the Guy up there is nt laughing hearing about my plans!! ;)

Dotmom - I have the same idea as well. That kids will learn English by default. We dont hae to aid them on that one. Right now, Ashu speaks very fluent Tamil and a smattering of English. Im afraid when thats going to change. I also translate books from English to Tamil for her. I think TV and Books also play a large role in this situation.

B o o said...

Noon - 12 to 3 is neither here nor there. You are right to wait. Good luck. And miracles do happen!! :)

Seetha - thats one very useful tip. Thanks a tonne. No more yogurt then! :)

Moppets Mom - Dont we all speak different tongues than our partners?! ;) Thanks for the reassurance though. So theres still hope!

Tharini - Looking forward to the post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

My son is almost 6 and still has no sensible routine to speak of. I have stopped getting hyper about it and am just going with the flow. Bedtime no later than 9 pm during school week as he HAS to be up by 7.30 AM. Sunday's is sleeping in day which means, of course, he is up with the lark. sigh

Speaking Tamil, hon, I hate to break your heart but mine speaks zilch. Last summer we spent 6 weeks there - during which time his 4 and 1.5 year old cousins picked up tons of English from him and he learnt to call autos: "vada, vada" ensuring we never got an auto in Chennai heat! I periodically start moaning that he doesn't speak a word of Tamil but as I don't persevere, I have only myself to blame. Maybe you'll have better luck!

Anonymous said...


sorry, second comment, but language is a favourite point of mine: like most people who grow up in India, both my husband and I grew up learning languages unconsciously, so speak 5 -6 languages between us. Here in the southern US, Spanish as a second language is introduced in pre-K.

Our logic is that the kids shoud know one Indian language well, in addition to the one "foreign' language (Spanish) that they learn. English by now, is a given in this world :-) My daughter balked at the Tamil-at-home rule initially (she's VERY strong-willed and anti-establishment :-)) but suddenly realised that if nothing else, it gives her a code language in public, when she doesn't want to be overheard/understood (Like if she needs the bathroom in public for example - she's very shy about that for some reason). On trips to India, the kids pick up street Tamil *very* quickly. We visit B'bay everytime as well, and they've actually picked up enough Hindi/Marathi to get by with the security and other staff at my BIL's apt complex - but they lose this after each trip since we don't continue with that language.

What we have seen is that many kids who hear Indian languages around them, do understand, but become very shy of speaking the language (unless their nature is such that they don't care about making mistakes while talking) - enforcing speaking the language at home helps dispel that shyness.



Anonymous said...

hmm.. Can you make her sleep a little longer in the morning so that she does not feel sleepy at 1:00? I know it will be tough when the schedule changes again, but kids adjust to the timings quickly.
As for the language, what can I say? Me and LH don't speak Hindi that much ourselves, you know why. And D goes to a bi-lingual school where they teach mandarin. So, we are one confused set ourselves. At times, I talk to her in hindi and she replies in chinese. At least thats what I think.

But, whenever you move to India, she will pick it up. Atleast in the growing years. Yours truly is a living example :) :)

the mad momma said...

sigh. wish i had words of wisdom.. unfortunately zilch. despite speaking only english and hindi at home, my brother and i have picked up enough tamil and bengali to make ourselves understood and to understand. it just came from hearing others speak it. with a mixed up family like mine there were no two ppl speaking the same language at any time. i guess it doesnt matter to me as far as the brat and bean are concerned, i just want them to speak what is spoken here so that they are comfortable with classmates and the help. that is happening. all the best :)

Anonymous said...

I have been a regular lurker, on a per day basis :) I have 2 sons, aged 6 and 2.5. The older one used to talk only in English since that's what we spoke to him ( I have no clue why we did that :) ). Everytime the grandparents visited, we did translate to the ones who couldnt understand the accent. But last summer, I went to Chennai and stayed at my parents for 8 weeks. My older son, began speaking so fluently in just 15 days. I guess, the language was always in his brain, since we spoke to each other in Tamil all the time, but the connections in the brain were made in those 15 days. He switches comfortably between English and Tamil now. My younger son, speaks only Tamil now. I guess, I will wait until he starts school and he will just pick it up :)
on another note, you have a wonderful sense of humour !

Anonymous said...

To add to the languages coming at her at home, i assume your daughter is also speaking/learning german and/or french . What a wonderful multilingual upbringing!

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