Yellow Daisies and Blue Skies

The Sun Comes Up Again Tomorrow

I remember my mother talking to me as a child, about disagreements within the family – How sometimes my sisters and I would argue about something or other, and one of us would end up saying (like many 7 or 9 year olds): ‘I’m not talking to you ever, ever again’! The ‘injured’ one would be lamenting to Mum about how mean or unfair our sister was, and after she’d soothed us, she would then say: “The sun comes up again tomorrow” – meaning that tomorrow was a new day, a fresh beginning.

When I was older, she talked about how she never went to bed without saying: “I love you to my Dad” – even if they’d had a disagreement – she refused to take the emotion of anger or hurt to sleep.

I was reminded of this last week, when I went to a Joan Baez concert – a folk singer from the 60 -70’s who was performing in Hobart. One of the first songs she performed had a line it it which resonated for me…. it was: Every new day we have is another chance to get it right”. Now it could be many things… your relationship, an assignment you’ve been working on, or a handyman job you’ve been struggling with. I really like these sentiments as it’s a reminder that indeed the ‘sun does come up again tomorrow’, that yesterdays situation is gone and today is a new opportunity to move forward, to get it right. This also has relevance to parenting and the relationships within our families….

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Image by Pawel Loj via Flickr

Are you a DO or a DON’T parent?

Don’t touch that!

Don’t spill your drink.

Don’t take off your hat.

Don’t throw the ball in the house.

Don’t forget to put your school bag away.

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Image by Luz via Flickr

‘When’ – One of the best parenting tools ever!

I’ve presented many talks to parents over the past 18 years, both to groups of parents, and also to individuals when doing a home visit. For more information about Skype or home visits, see http://theparentingcafe.com.au/home-visits/#.VI0CAr5Ic8E

 

Parents often want me to wave a magic wand, and change or ‘fix’ the difficulties they are having in their parenting. I wish such a tool existed! I can’t give you that, but…. I can give you a fabulous parenting tool… the word ‘when’.

 

Now this will sound incredibly simple, yet it works!

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Image by Pete Markham via Flickr

Why We Must Set Boundaries for our Children

I want you to imagine you now own a horse, and you put it out on the land. It’s on an area where there are no fences – none, anywhere! You call the horse to come to you, and it runs away. Another time you see the horse misbehaving, but before you can approach it, it runs away. Another time, there is danger about, and you attempt to get the horse for it’s own safety, but it runs away. In all of these cases, a fence would have been really useful.

It is the same with ‘fences’ for children. Obviously we aren’t going to fence in our child, but it is vital that we establish boundaries, which are just like fences. A boundary is like saying to your child: ‘Within here you can run/ play/ do, but then you can go no further.’ Let me give you a few examples.

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Helle & Sonja – Sisters reunited after 40 years.

The Missing Sister

In honour of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, I’m reprinting my personal story of a mother’s love…. my mother x x

I was born as the eldest of three girls to my parents Bill and Marie. Dad was British, Mum was Danish, and they met in Norway while they were both working there. My father then travelled to Canada with his work, and sent for my Mother to travel there to marry him. I was born there as was my next sister, and then we migrated to Australia, where another sister was born.

I had a happy childhood in that I was loved, and had two parents who wanted to provide for us, even though they were starting from scratch here. They bought a house, and we were all settling into our new homeland when tragedy struck – my Father died at age 39 from a cerebral haemorrhage. My mother was left alone in a foreign country, with no family support, three children aged 9 months, 7 yrs & 9 yrs, and at that time my mother didn’t qualify for any Govt benefits as she wasn’t an Australian citizen!

Life was tough – we lived on food parcels and clothing vouchers from charity organisations for six months, until legislation was passed in Govt allowing foreign residents to claim benefits. Even though we had so little, my Mother surrounded us with love and good home cooking. She nurtured us and included us in both fun and work activities around the house whether it was gardening or doing the dishes. People would have said we were poor – but it truly was only in the financial sense. Mum taught us how to cook and sew and do repair jobs around the house. She also made magic happen – putting our food on the plate in the shape of funny faces, or hiding little elf figures in pot plants. For birthdays she’d make a treasure hunt, with clues for us to find our gift. The neighbourhood children also loved her because she loved and nurtured them too with hugs and stories. She was the best mother!

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Temperament Part 3 of 3

Temperament – Part 3 of 3

Last week I detailed four of the nine traits which make up your temperament or personality, and the ways in which as a parent, we can cater for our children’s temperaments, when life isn’t always going to go their way. Let’s look at the other five traits:

Regularity:

Support children who are highly regular by maintaining schedules, where possible. Talk to them, if things are going to be different today.

When children aren’t predictable in their needs for food, sleep or toileting, watch them for indications that they are uncomfortable (tired, hungry), as they may not read the signs themselves.

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Temperament Part 2 of 3

Temperament – Part 2 of 3

Last week I listed the nine traits which make up your temperament or personality. Basically you are born with them, and it’s believed they don’t change that much over time – the idea that ‘who you are’ is it.

As a parent, how do we cater for our children’s temperaments, when life isn’t always going to go their way?

Let’s look at each trait.

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Temperament Part 1 of 3

Temperament – Part 1 of 3

You often hear phrases such as: ‘He’s easy tempered’, or ‘She’s got a hot temper’… What does it actually mean?

It’s your personality – the way you act, feel and think. Your temperament, or style of behaviour, is present at birth, is generally resistent to change, and affect our lives into adulthood.

Why do parents need to know about temperament?

As a parent, this is vital information… many parents get upset or annoyed when their child (or partner) behaves in a certain way, because they don’t see the reason behind the behaviour eg why a child gets clingy in a new situation, or why a child doesn’t persist at a task. If you would respond in a similar way, then you will understand why they do things the way they do. But, if they are behaving in a different way to how you would, the child’s reason for their behaviour isn’t always obvious.

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Motor Development 8 months - 3 years

Developing Motor Skills: 8 months – 3 years

Last week I wrote about the development of motor skills from birth to 8 months old. Let’s look at how they next develop…. 

During 8 – 14 months babies learn to pull to standing, walk along furniture, and may walk alone. There are known as Gross Motor (GM) skills. They can stand and then lower themselves to the floor (not drop down), and they begin to go up and down stairs, usually by climbing. They now use the  pincer hold – they pick up objects using their fingers (instead of the palm of their hand), and are beginning to stack blocks. These are known as Fine Motor skills (FM).

 

You can help your toddler by: Once the baby is able to pull to standing, you can encourage the next level of movement, by placing an interesting object just a few steps along the sofa or whatever they are resting against. Finger food is great once they start using the pincer hold – give them small piece of appropriate food, whilst supervising in case of any choking hazards.

 

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Motor Development

Developing Motor Skills: Birth – 8 months

Motor development refers to the muscles – both large and small, in our bodies.

Gross Motor (GM) are the large muscles in our head and neck, arms and legs.

Fine Motor (FM) refers to the small muscles in your fingers, and eyes.

 

Children develop their muscles from top to bottom, and inner to outer. This means that babies’ muscles develop and strengthen first from the head, then torso, then legs; and from their arms and then out to their fingers.

Remember that wobbly, very heavy head when babies are first born? Gradually over the first few weeks they are more able to control their neck muscles to hold their head upright.

Children develop their muscles through opportunity to exercise them, at the appropriate time. Here’s a summary of the muscle skills they are developing, the approximate time frames for them, and how you can help them:

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