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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Image by Patrick via Flickr

Courage Precedes Confidence

I heard a great phrase the other day…. “Courage precedes confidence”.

Think about it… before you were a successful driver, you needed to have the courage to give it a go, to practice, and to keep at it even when you made mistakes or couldn’t change gears without ‘crunching’ it.

Or when you went for the job interview for a position you really wanted – you may have had mock interviews with your friend’s support, and even practised in front of the mirror, to make sure you knew what to say and how you looked.

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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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children-need-love-the-most-deserve-least

Children need love the most, when they deserve it the least

Children need love the most,
when they deserve it the least.

Controversial statement eh? Especially when Miss 4 has just cut the dogs hair, or Master 2 drew on the carpet with the texta or Miss 3 has put the car keys ‘somewhere’, when you need to leave now!

My statement still stands.

When children are misbehaving, it’s because they don’t know a better way to do it ie to use scissors ‘properly’ or that textas are for use on paper only.

I hear a lot of you saying: ‘Yes, s/he does know that! I’ve told her before!’

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Bright Shiny Things

I’m wondering what image these words evoke in your mind? For some it could be Christmas baubles on the tree, others might think of diamond jewellery, others the shimmer of the moonlight glistening on the water and others the magic of a sparkly rainbow.

 

For each of us, the words ‘bright, shiny things’ creates a different image in our minds, yet the words are the same for each of us. What it really means is something (an object) which attracts our attention and is something which we desire, and it also probably helps to create a smile on our faces!

 

I’m lucky enough to be having a mini-break for a few days. In Tasmania it’s winter, it’s cold and today has a grey sky. This morning I went for a walk on the beach, and as I walked my eyes were drawn to a small, beautiful piece of driftwood laying in the sand – pale in colour and well tumbled by the ocean. It was smooth to touch and for me was a ‘bright shiny thing’. It appealed to me and I bought it back, so I could continue to admire it. It definitely brings a smile to my face, and will continue to remind me of a few beautiful days here. Read more

What is it, that our Children Really Need from Us?

What do children need? As humans, we have five basic needs:  survival, love and belonging, fun, power, freedom… Let’s look at these in more detail….

 

Survival – this is about the basics we need to support human life – good nourishing food available including water, comfortable clothing which fits and suits the weather conditions, shelter from the elements and which also provides a home base – a place of safety, and warmth both physical and emotional.

Love and Belonging – Parents can show love in many ways- with our words of kindness, praise and compassion, by gentle touch and fun, rowdy touch such as high 5’s or tousling hair, by giving our time to another to engage with them, by small gifts of things which give them enjoyment and also by doing acts of service – cooking a favourite meal or fixing the flat tyre on their bike. As humans, we like to belong to something – to feel part of it. It may be a family, a community, a church, a sports group etc. Read more

Playing Helps Learning

When Children Play Freely, They are Learning!

Play is children’s ‘work’.When children are playing, they are learning valuable information.  This poem summarises it:

The Value of Play

Play is fun.
Play comes from within. Children love to play.
Play is an important part of healthy development.
Play is enjoyable and doesn’t need careful planning, or an end result.
Play means active involvement, not just watching.
During play, the child sets the rules, and there is no right or wrong way to play.
During play children practise physical skills and learn about their bodies.
They learn to use their imagination.
They learn about their own feelings and the feelings of others.
They learn about the world around them using all five senses.
Play is the work of children!

Through play children learn:

To explore materials
To be creative
To use language
To share (maybe!)
To make decisions
To test possibilities
To estimate
To concentrate
and so much more!

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Parent or Friend?

Parent or Friend?

Over the years of being a Parenting Consultant, I’ve spoken with may parents about what they see as their role, and what they want for their children. So many parents have said, that they want to be their child’s friend.

I believe that when you gave birth, you became a parent, and that is your role!

Over their lifetime, your children will (hopefully) have many friends – some short term, some long term, but they will only ever have you as parents – that is your role!

All children need parents to guide, teach and encourage them – and that is your role.

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