ThinkleBuds provides a refreshing new take on developing holistic skills that encompass social-emotional growth as well as life skills in children. The company, founded by Meenu Dalmia & Pratima Vallur offers parents and educators a host of products that focus on the mental and emotional well-being of children, vital life-skills like effective time and money management, understanding emotions, self-love, empathy, gratitude etc.
The products include guided journals, digital kits on leadership development and character-development, posters with positive and affirmative messages, conversation cards and emotion cards. Bookedforlife converses with Pratima Vallur to know more.
ThinkleBuds has a host of products that could be classified as resources that aid in development of the EQ as well as Life skills such as time management, communication, money management etc. What is the inspiration behind this concept?
My Co-founder Meenu and I during our corporate careers used to conduct workshops on topics like Time Management, Leadership skills etc. for the employees of MNCs. During that time, we observed a lot of otherwise promising youngsters coping with issues that plagued their mental health and well-being, such as body image issues, fear of failure, lack of gratitude, the regret of having made wrong career choices etc. When we started thinking about the root cause of these issues, we stumbled upon the stark fact that our contemporary education system is completely focused on math & science grades, seats in IIT’s and GPA’s.
Focusing on the mental and emotional well-being of children, a respect towards their wants and needs, vital life-skills like effective time and money management, understanding emotions, self-love, empathy, gratitude etc. are surprisingly given a back seat. We wanted to bring about the change in this scenario by developing resources which instil strong values & help children become happy, confident individuals who can make a difference in the world.
We accessed two journals that have been designed by ThinkleBuds. One of the marked features of the ThinkleBuds Daily Journal are the guided prompts. It somehow makes the task of journaling less daunting. Let us in on the process that you employed to zero in on the prompts?
Our focus was on mental wellbeing & development of vital life skills in the child. Our prompts are thus divided into 3 categories. Firstly, ‘Questions’ which inspire children to look at positive aspects of life and become grateful on a daily basis. This everyday practice is scientifically proven to increase the happiness quotient. Second, ‘Prompts’ about issues they face in their day to day life, which inspire focus on solution rather than problem, thereby developing essential skills like leadership, resilience & confidence. And last, ‘Activities’ (called as challenges in the journal) which help children move out of their comfort zone and explore new skills & ventures. This improves their self-awareness and also helps them grow as individuals.
This journal is designed for use for about 3 months. What are the specific changes that you expect to see in the child assuming they have diligently stuck to working on the journal?
With scientifically proven methods, our journals are designed to increase happiness & confidence in children. Children become positive individuals with a happy outlook towards life & also develop strength to overcome obstacles and shine on. The prompts are created in such a way that it helps children to explore their hidden talents and uniqueness, and celebrate it.
We have received reviews from parents saying that they have experienced a heightened sense of calm in their kids and that they are much more open in discussing about their day and sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Once the child completes the journal, what is the next step? How would you advise them to continue the habit?
After the routine is established, we suggest parents can use the time set for journaling to have a happy family discussion about each of their days. Parents should encourage kids to document their day to day experiences in a simple way based on the child’s age. We also plan to come up with continuation journals which will help kids continue the practice for longer durations.
One of my favourite aspects was the introduction of self-development concepts such as growth mindset, affirmations, resilience and so on. These are presented beautifully and one does not get the impression that the journal is moralising. How did you maintain this delicate balance especially for this specific journal that is meant for teenagers?
We never intended to teach the kids anything but we wanted to make them aware of different concepts. We are strong believers of Socrates’ quote “I cannot teach anybody. I can only make them think.” We chose to introduce these topics with thought provoking questions because we didn’t want to inflict forced thoughts. We question a lot of myths & deep-rooted beliefs. This helps the child to reflect and think about it and form an opinion of their own, rather than we forcing our thoughts & opinions on them.
The ThinkleBuds journal for the 6-12-year age group, is understandably more guided in nature than the ThinkleBuds Daily Journal that is meant for teenagers. You also recommend that parents work on the journal with the child. What is the primary reason for that?
Working together on the journal will help create stronger & deeper bonds. When a story or an activity pops up, we wish for the parents to share their life experiences with their child, similarly encourage the child to share their part of the story which would be an enriching experience. Few of the activities will suggest interest of a child that a parent wasn’t much aware of & sometimes also their insecurities. As a parent it is very important to know these things & have these conversations with a child and so we suggest working on the journal as a parent child duo.
Do share a bit about the feedback that you have received from children and parents who have used the journal. Is there something especially poignant that you want to share with readers?
We have received some amazing reviews from parents, teachers & also psychologists & counsellors. Something that specially stands out in our reviews is parents telling us how their children opened up about issues they faced after reading similar stories in the book. All our stories are about real-life situations kids face & relate to. After each story we have a reflective exercise asking kids if they have had any such experiences in their life. This helps the kids open up about so many issues which they couldn’t talk to their parents until then & we absolutely love hearing this from parents.
What are your suggestions for using both the journals in larger settings like schools or classes? Do you believe these would work well in a larger setting where each child would have a copy, or are the journals more suited to individual exploration?
We most certainly believe that the journals would do amazing in a classroom setting as well. They can be used as a start-up activity where students discuss about a story/ activity in the journal. This would be a great starting point to encourage thoughtful discussions. This will help enhance the bonding amongst the students as they will get to know each other on a deeper level & will also provide a safe space to discuss about issues like anger management, cyber bullying, right use of social media which is extremely important. Later students can use the space in the journals to right their own thoughts, reflections and takeaways which sums up the discussions in a beautiful way.
Give us a sneak peek into some of your future products….
We have a couple of projects in the pipeline but nothing is finalized yet. We would love for you to stay tuned to our facebook/Instagram pages @thinklebudsjournal for the updates. Readers may purchase the journals from the website, www.thinklebuds.in or from Amazon.