Image by Miika Silfverberg via Flickr

4 Types of Music your Child Needs

Music for babies begins when you first coo to them, or when you are rocking them to sleep whilst humming, or singing a quiet, gentle lullaby. Babies have even heard your music in utereo, including the ‘music’ of your beating heart!

 

Parents often sing little songs or rhymes to them whilst changing their nappy or bathing them – reciting ‘This little piggy went to market’ or entertaining a young child with ‘Round and round the garden’, on their hand. Music is such a great connecting mechanism between the parent and child. Music provides comfort, familiarity, physical closeness, anticipation and often laughter.

 

There are four components to music: singing, listening, dancing and playing.

Here’s how you can help your child to learn….

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Motivation, and the Power of Words

Motivation, and the Power of Words

There was once a group of tiny frogs, who arranged a competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very tall water tower. A big crowd gathered around to see the race, and to cheer on the contestants. The race began…

Honestly, no-one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. You could hear statements such as: “Oh it’s way too difficult. They will never make it to the top.” And “Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high”.

Some tiny frogs began collapsing off the wall, one by one.

A few others had a fresh burst of energy and were climbing higher and higher… The crowd continued to yell: “It’s too difficulty! No-one will make it!” Gradually more tiny frogs got tired of the effort and gave up.

But there was one who wouldn’t give up and continued higher and higher until finally he reached the top.

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TheYears-Elliot-Bennett

The Years Fly By, but the Days Last Forever!

You often hear grandparents, or parents of older children say: ‘I can’t believe my daughter turns 32 in September’ or, ‘I can’t believe he’s going to be a teenager next week’; and it’s usually followed up with: ‘It’s all gone so fast, it seems like only yesterday they were starting school.’

These parents have noticed how quickly the time passes.

Yet when you’re a parent to an active 6 year old, or a 2 year old who has spent the day having tantrums, the time (till bed-time) seems to pass so s-l-o-w-l-y!

There’s a lot of fun to be had with babies and young children – hugging and smiling, reading books, playing with playdough, building towers, and ‘magic’ things like blowing bubbles or lying on the grass watching the clouds pass by. When this is happening, it’s such a beautiful feeling, and we are strengthening the bonds with our child/ren.

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Serious Child

Parents… Please don’t Punish Your Children

Recently I’ve been presenting some ‘123 Magic and Emotion Coaching courses’. This is a 3 session course which provides parents with simple and effective ways of managing their child’s (aged 2 – 12 yrs) challenging behaviours – things like nagging, yelling, throwing toys etc. We know these are often ‘normal’ responses which children do when they don’t get their way; when things go wrong; or when they are tired or hungry. The sessions give parents the best tools to get positive results without the need for them to bribe, justify or yell, and importantly it’s done in a manner which respects the child’s ‘right’ to assert what they are experiencing. It is our job as parents to ‘Calmy and Consistently’ (The Parenting Cafes’ motto) assist our children to learn what is acceptible behaviour and what is not.

One thing which always comes up for discussion in the course is ‘punishment’. The dictionary definition of the word ‘punish’ is to: “Cause to suffer for an offence.” Have our children committed an ‘offence’? Do we want our children to ‘suffer’ for this?

Surely what we want, is that they ultimately learn what is acceptable or not.

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8 ways to enjoy messy play at home

8 Ways to Enjoy Messy Play at Home

How many of you breath a sigh of relief, when the Playgroup or Kindergarten your child attends does Messy Play – I mean it gets you off the hook right? No paint at home, no playdough on the carpet, no glue stuck to the table – phew!

Have you ever asked yourself, why the Playgroup teacher/ co-ordinator seems to be so keen on providing messy play for the children?

Educators know that children learn through all their senses, of touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. We aim to provide activities which stimulate the senses – know as Sensory Play. Messy play is one type of sensory play.

It is particularly important for young children’s development, as it allows them to explore a variety of mediums; to develop their tactile skills; and in some cases also their fine motor muscles. It also allows an opportunity for language development (words such as rough, smooth, crunchy, cold, slimy etc) and for the child to expand their thinking skills.

Sensory activities facilitate exploration, and encourage children to learn while they play, create, investigate and explore the materials provided.

Here are some easy Messy Play activities to do at home to assist your child to grow and learn even more: Read more

Toilet Training by grassrootsgroundswell

What do I need to know about toilet training my toddler?

You need to know how to prepare for toilet learning ;what the signs of readiness are; and you need to know how to actually do it – and, of course patience while your child learns this new skill!

As you know, every single child is different, and each child learns in their own time.

Preparation:

If you and your partner are comfortable, let the child see you using the toilet.

Teach them the steps, by description… Eg pull pants down, wipe, flush , wash hands etc – using appropriate language for your child.

Start talking about: ‘When you are a big boy/girl, you’ll wear big boy/ girls pants like… (someone they like) and use the toilet.

Buy a potty and place it next to the toilet if possible. Tell them this is what you use to start. Let them get comfortable with sitting on it, fully clothed. Let them take it to the lounge room, bedroom, if they like – you want them to be ‘happy’ with it.

Buy some big boy/ girl undies. Get them to help you put them in the drawer ready for when they need them.

Teach them the words for the body parts and functions. Think carefully about the words you choose. It is recommended by  sexual health personnel and also child protection people, that children learn the correct terminology.

Have some story books about toilet learning as part of your library.

Be ready yourself. When the child is ready, they can learn fairly quickly, but they need your support and patience during the learning.

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Teaching your Child to Use Scissors

Three year olds can cut using scissors. If you have a three year old child, you know they are fascinated with scissors and their potential to cut anything and everything from paper to clothing and hair!

 

Using scissors requires a lot of skill and fine motor development, and these start to develop well before the age of three.

 

How do you help your child develop the muscles in their hands?

Anything which involves squeezing or pinching type actions will be good, for example:

  • Squeezing the water out of bath tub sponges;
  • Rolling, flattening and shaping playdough;
  • Pinching clothes pegs open;
  • Using small tongs to pick up pieces of salad, or small items such as pompoms;
  • Using an eye dropper with coloured water in to drop onto paper;
  • Squeezing water out of empty, clean plastic bottles and;
  • Using a plant mister with a trigger action.

 

Regular play as above will strengthen the small muscles in their hands, ready for scissors and writing. Read more

How do I Talk to my Children about Death?

Death is part of life. It needs to be presented to children in this way also.

We start simply, by pointing our things in the environment which haved died – leaves which have turned brown, the ant that you trod on, flowers you cut from your garden which have now died, the road kill we see as we drive along, and even toys which are broken (ie they aren’t working any more). In this way, you can explain the fact that they aren’t breathing anymore, that they aren’t growing anymore. As the events descibed aren’t ‘close’ to you, death can be explained in an unemotional way. Children may want to look at a dead animal – use your discretion, but be aware that they are coming from a point or curiosity and a wish to understand. It is likely that young children will ask questions, in their attempt to understand at their level – answer honestly and simply.

 

Avoid saying the person has ‘gone to sleep’ as they may lead to fears about sleeping. It’s best to explain that their body stopped working and they stopped breathing.

 

If you wait to explain death until someone close to you passes away, then there is likely to be a strong emotional response in you, making it harder to explain to your child, and to be emotionally available to them.

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Looking after Mum: Me Time

Looking after Mum: “Me-Time”

Many Mums are awesome at looking after their children – nurturing, feeding, loving, playing, educating, disciplining and laughing.

Many of those Mums are also great at looking after their partners – again, loving, caring & laughing.

Why then, when we are the ‘experts’ at looking after others, do we often do such a poor job of looking after ourselves?

This is a concern, on a few levels.

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Go to Bed

Go to Bed! – How to Get Children to Stay in Bed

Okay, so you’ve read three stories, tucked them in, kissed them goodnight and switched off the light.

Just as you settle into the comfy chair with a cuppa… “Mum, I’m thirsty” or “Dad, I just need to tell you something” or even little footsteps coming down the hall!

How do we get children to stay in bed once you’ve completed the bed-time routine? (As a reminder, a routine generally is something like… Bath, milk, teeth brushing, toilet, stories, kisses and cuddles.)

Basically the answer is consistency. Once a child is put to bed, with the established bed-time routine, then you follow through with consistency. If a child gets out of bed, you take their hand, walk  them back to bed, tuck them in, saying  “It’s bed-time”. If they get up again, you repeat. And repeat as many times as is necessary. Once you try to rationalise (“you’ll be tired in the morning”; you’ve already had a glass of milk”; “you should have eaten more dinner”) – then you have opened the door, for the child to engage in a conversation. They will feel the need to justify how hungry they are, or how important it is to tell you something – which then leads you to reply, and so it goes on.

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