Lessons-from-the-Beach

Lessons from the Beach

I had a mini-holiday recently, in a beautiful little seaside town. Daily I would walk to the beach, to absorb the sunshine and heat, as well as hear the sounds of the waves crashing, and the smell the scent of the sea and the bush surrounds.

On the beach were so many families from India, Asian, the Middle East and Anglos. There were Mums with kids, families with cousins & Grandparents, group of friends, surfers, and couples walking hand in hand.

What they all had in common, was a day of fun. There were so many smiles and the sound of laughter, and it was wonderful to participate in this event.

It made me reflect on all the amazing messages which were intentionally and unintentionally being shared with the children present.

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Image by ECOhen via Flickr

The Three Basic Truths about Parenting

1. If you are happy, your child is probably happy.

Have you ever noticed that when you are having a bad day – when the dog chews your new shoes, or it’s suddenly started to rain and you have almost dry clothes on the line or, you didn’t sleep well last night, and there’s no milk for your morning coffee – that this is the day your child seems to be really difficult – whinging a lot, accidentally spilling his drink, and crying because the puzzle piece won’t fit. Have you seen that correlation? It happens in the reverse too – when you’ve slept well, and the sun is shining and you managed to drink ½ a cup of hot coffee before you got distracted – that on these days, your children play happily with each other, they are more cuddly, and they use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ more often – have you noticed that?

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Image by familymwr via Flickr

Maths is Everywhere in the Home

Maths is everywhere in the home, and without you maybe even realising it, you are setting up your child with a solid Mathematical grounding.

How?

Let’s look at some of these concepts within the home and play environments and how it happens…

Shape recognition – at an early age we start to point out shapes to our children – ‘The orange is round and your plate is round’. ‘Would you like square or triangle/ sandwiches today?’

Volume – when cooking  – ‘We need ½ cup of flour and one cup of milk – can you help to measure and pour them, please.

Conservation of mass – When you have one lump of play-dough , you can show your child how to roll it into many different shapes – a ball, a sausage, a dish shape, lots of tiny little eggs, but the mass doesn’t change despite the change in shape!

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Backyard Garden at Home

Going Home

I hadn’t been interstate to visit my Step-Dad for a while, and I finally made it last weekend. It was so good to catch up with him, and to be back in the family home, sleeping in my old bedroom.

It’s funny how when you go home after a long time that you both notice the changes and the familiar. By changes I mean things like furniture that’s been moved, new china or freshly painted walls – they stand out, and make the place feel somewhat different, a little less familiar.

You also notice the things which are the same – your teenage bedcovers, the board games in the cupboard and the ticking clock… they all remind you that this is ‘home’.

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The Parental Crown  – Are you Wearing it or is Your Child?

When parents approach me regarding difficulties with their child/ children, I listen to their stories of what’s going on. Stories about what the child does (yells, demands, whines, ignores, defies, hurts)  and what they don’t do (don’t help when asked, don’t get ready for bed, don’t do their chores). The parents are presenting the idea to me that their child is the problem – that they are difficult and non-compliant and often parents believe that there’s something ‘wrong’ with the child.

 

I then ask: “How do you manage these situations?”  “What do you do/ say?”

 

This is where it gets interesting….. Read more

Image by Yoz Grahame via Flickr

The Social-Emotional Development of your Child: Part 2 of 2 From 8 months to 3 years

Last week I shared with you what is happening developmentally in the Social-Emotional domain of babies from birth to age 8 months. Today we’ll continue that journey.

As a reminder, Social refers to how the child interacts with others and the learning of social skills. Emotional refers to how they express their emotions.

 

From between 8 months to 14 months, babies start to initiate social interaction by looking at the engage the parents, or children who are nearby.

Often this is the age when separation anxiety is the highest. Even though it can be a challenge for the parents it is a normal developmental stage.

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Christmas Kids

All I want for Christmas is…

So want do you say to yourself at this time?

  • Yahhhh I love Christmas;
  • It’s so expensive;
  • I can’t want for it to be over;
  • I love watching the kids faces on Christmas morning;
  • Family disagreements – no thanks;
  • I love family get togethers, especially Christmas;
  • I love the excitement and special treats.

 

Which ever sentiments you have about Christmas, the reality is it is approaching fast! What can we do to make it a pleasant, positive experience for children and families? Here’s some ideas…

 

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Speech Development from 8 months

Speech Development from 8 months

Last week we looked at how language develops from birth to 8 months, let’s look at what happens next….

 

Between 8 – 14 months, babies become more interested in looking at books, and by 14 months they are often able to locate known objects eg ‘Where’s the dog?’ and they will point at it. They will understand often said words (known as Receptive language)eg Mum, Toby (the dog) bottle; and around their first birthday can say 4 -6 words (known as Expressive language). These ‘words’ aren’t complete, but may be ‘bo’ for bottle or ‘woof’ for the dog. Children of this age will listen, briefly. They may respond to simple requests eg ‘Come to Mummy’. They often jabber away to themselves or to you, and like to talk whilst looking at themselves in front of a mirror. They use gestures to make their needs known eg pointing at the fruit bowl when they want a banana.

How you can help: Share and read books to them, pointing out objects – the car, the big tree etc, and ask simple questions about the book: ‘Where’s the cat?’ Notice what you child is doing, and label it for him eg : You are playing with blocks’ or ‘You are eating porridge’. Let your baby sit in front of a mirror, to see themselves and ‘talk’! Sing simple songs to him. Listen when he is ‘telling’ you something – your smile and reponse encourages him to keep practising.

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crossing-the-road

Crossing the Road

In busy Sydney recently, whilst standing at the traffic lights, I was struck by the number of people who ignore the “Don’t Walk” sign. They dart in amongst the traffic,  in order to save about 20 secs off their walk, rather than wait for the “green man” to indicate that it’s their turn to cross.

I saw two important messages here for parents:

  1. MODELLING:

 

As an ex-Teacher and a parent, I can’t do this! I’m very conscious that my children (or yours, who might be standing next to me) are watching. At an early age they learn that ‘red’ = STOP, and I also know that they want to do what the adults do. So, if my Mum/Dad/Grandparents ignore ‘red’ signs, then I can too. So much of parenting is modelling – whether you mean to or not, children see and hear all that we do in their presence. Young children do not discriminate between the ‘good’ we do or the ‘less good’ we do – they don’t pass judgement, they just copy!

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Movement at All Ages and Stages

I remember the first time I visited an indoor play centre with my toddler. Although I did not like the idea of an indoor play centre after the third day of rain I was willing to give anything a try. House bound boys have a lot of energy, so off to the indoor play centre we went.

The first thing that struck me was how loud it was in there. Kids were laughing and talking and excited to be there. Indoor play centres are bright and cheery places where kids can run, crawl, scoot, jump, leap, slither and slide and get buried in balls. So can mums. For the mother it is a wonderful well rounded, whole body functional workout (see what I did there – I used all the words the latest and greatest exercise routines use). I recall feeling absolutely bone weary after 2 hours of following my child!

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