Pink for girls blue for boys by janetmck

So, What’s Wrong with Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys?

This week I needed to purchase some new toys for a Playgroup I run. ‘That’s easy’, I thought, as I headed to the nearest toy store. Now, I should add, that my children are all adults and I don’t have grandchildren. The various Parenting Consultant positions I’ve held over the past 14 years have all come with fully set up rooms. So, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a toy store! Frankly, I must say that I was horrified at the sexism and consumerism I was confronted with. Aisles and aisles of pink toys for girls and blue/ green for boys. And, the vast majority of toys had TV/ movie characters on them as logos. Is this what we want for our children – to be pigeon holed into gender based stereotypes, and to be on the consumer trail from 2 years of age?

The pink, ‘girl stuff’’ was basically projecting images of demure, delicate, gentle children, and many toys were of a domestic nature. The ‘boy toys’ projected toughness adventure and, with bold or military colours.

This push towards ‘girly pink’ or a ‘baby blue’ for boys,  begins at birth. No, actually, it begins prior to birth when many parents want to know the gender of the child so that they can decorate the room pink or blue. (And yes, I know there are many other reasons why parents want to know the gender). Then once baby arrives often gifts are received, and again the parents have the gender of the child defined by colour , with pink and blue as predominate.

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No More Food Fights by carbonnyc

No More Food Fights!

It’s a scene played out in may households every day… Young children refusing to eat food, and parents getting stressed about whether the child is getting enough – bet you’ve all been there… I know I have!

Let’s look at it from a developmental point of view.

Around 14 months of age is when children learn to say, or indicate, the word: ‘no’. They will push away the bottle or spoon and refuse to take more. This is the beginning of their ability to make choices, and that’s a good thing. It is the beginning of their move toward independence. Children need to learn to make choices. And, just like us, sometimes they make ‘good’ choices and other times not. It is only though trial and error that we learn.

In the beginning, they often say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’, while they are learning these new words. This makes it super challenging for parents when they go to put the banana away (which the toddler just said No to)  and then the toddler cries because he does want it, he just used the wrong word. Like many transitional times in children’s life, this is when they need extra understanding from us – even when it’s a challenging situation for us!

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How You Can Establish Healthy Sleeping Patterns - katrinket

How You Can Establish Healthy Sleeping Patterns

You know how great you feel after a good nights sleep… You smile more, you have the energy  to take on the day with enthusiasm, and you cope better if things don’t go well. Isn’t that what we want for our children too? Whilst we can’t make children sleep, we can create an environment that is conducive to sleep.

A good nights sleep assists the growth and development of a healthier body, a better concentration and attention span, improved strength and co-ordination, and more emotional balance.

A good nights sleep also makes the next day better for both parents and children!

It is important to establish good sleep routines early in a baby’s life, so that they quickly learn ‘how’ to go to sleep. It is even easier for the child to learn this, when the adults are consistent with the routine – regardless of whether it is Mum or Dad who are preparing the child for bed. When you follow the same routine each night, you establish a pattern in the child which gets them ready for sleep. Does it mean they will be happy about it – no, not necessarily! But, who is the one who knows how much sleep children need, and what they will be like without it… You! Young children generally do not know when they are tired. It’s rare for a child to say “Yes” when asked “Do you want to go to bed?” As adults we are the responsible ones!

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exploring mistakes blmurch

Exploring Mistakes

A while ago I went to a 4 day creative workshop called: “Colour and Collage”. My tutor was a wonderful teacher. She explained the principles of colour and design carefully, and then described the tasks to be done. As we completed each series of exercises, she’d ask us simple questions such as: What do you think of your piece? Where is your focal point?” – which made us critically evaluate our own works. What a wonderful teacher – she didn’t cast judgement, but rather, encouraged us to think?

She could have stepped in as we were working, pointing out the errors we’d made, or parts which we’d omitted – which would have been discouraging. Instead she taught us what to look for ourselves – creating independent workers

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Pre writing skills - dougbelshaw

Pre-Writing Skills

How does writing start?

In education, the stage before writing is referred to as Pre-Writing, and it starts with drawing.

Initially the toddler will draw continuous scribbles, with whatever implement you give him and on any surface! (more about that later!). He will grasp the pencil by clutching it in the palm of his hand.

At some stage, the child will make ‘separated scribbles’ – this happens when the child scribbles, lifts the pencil, and then starts again elsewhere on the paper.

The next stage is when left to right scribbles are done in lines. (May be right to left)

Next, letter-like shapes are drawn, though far from ‘perfectly formed’.

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The Influence of Media

The Influence of Media

A few years ago, I heard Dr Catherine Neilsen-Hewitt from the Institute of Early Childhood at Macquarie University speak on the topic, “The Effects of Media Violence on Children.” She spoke about the statistics of media violence, the reactions of children and how media violence affects children’s development.

Following is a snapshot of what I learnt…

Children watch an average of 2 – 4 hrs of TV daily. This means by the end of Primary School, they will have seen 8,000 murders, and 100,000 acts of violence – this is from the news you watch, the shows you watch, the ‘cartoon’ violence in kids shows etc. A horrifiying statistic. Over time children become desensitized to it – meaning that they can see a violent act being committed (on TV or in real life) and have no response to it.

Just as every exposure to cigarettes leads to an increase in the risk of developing cancer, every exposure to violence leads to an increase in the risk of behaving violently. (due to the desensitization mentioned above).

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Kid asking questions

How (and why) a 3 year old drives you nuts with their constant questioning

Written for Cheryl, Mum to 3 y.o Annabelle

Q: Where’s daddy?
A:  At work.

Q: Why?
A: To make money.

Q: Why?
A: So we can buy food and toys.

Q: Why?
A: Because it costs money to buy them.

Q: How much does Daddy get?…

Sound familiar? Or when in the car, Annabelle asks you for the 4th time where are we going?” You think maybe she’s a bit deaf, but you had the Dr check that last week.

So, why do 3 y.o. children (in particular) ask SO many questions?

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little-sponges-little-ears

Little Sponges, Little Ears – How we talk in front of kids

Young children are like little sponges – they copy what we say and do:

  • we wash the dishes, they want to wash up too;
  • we read a book, they want to read too;
  • we’re cranky and they become cranky too!

You can use a kitchen sponge to wipe up water, oil, or dirty spills – the sponge just ‘sucks’ it all up. Young kids are like this too …. they just absorb what is around them – they don’t stop to think about whether it’s good or not. They figure, ‘if Mum/Dad/Nan is doing it, I can too!’

This includes the language they hear. Kids learn words and emotions from what you say. If you regularly smile and laugh when talking to a friend, kids think this is what you do with friends. If you have someone who you are regularly angry and swearing with, kids think this is something to copy too.

If you want kids to not swear, then the first thing to do, is to check what they are hearing on a daily basis. As adults and parents we need to protect young children from all sorts of things which aren’t good for them, this includes swearing, and conversations which might scare or worry them.