Image by National Assembly for Wales via Flickr

Activities to Enhance Literacy Skills

Do you often find yourself wondering what you can do for fun with your child today?

There are many simple activities you can do, which will also help your child’s emerging Literacy skills.

Literacy includes development in the areas of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

Here are some activities which you can start today:

  • Read the cereal box together – this may be looking at the picture, asking the child if they can guess which words say: ‘Rice Bubbles’ and asking them if they can see any letters which are in their own name.
  • Draw pictures (both of you) of your favourite foods – ask the child to describe hers, and whether she’d like you to write the words under her picture (showing her that spoken words can be put down on paper).
  • Go into the backyard or for a walk and collect leaves or rocks. Sort them into size groupings and using language to describe them eg small, big, biggest. Or sort them according to color eg grey, white, brown, dark brown. Or sort them according to weight etc. Count them – ‘How many do you have – do you know how to write the number 8?’

Read more

Veggie Garden Image by Hazel Owens via Flickr

A Flourishing Garden

Last weekend I stepped outside and headed to the veggie patch, as I needed some parsley for my cooking. I was surprised to see that it was turning yellow, with only a few green tufts left. Glancing around I saw that the rhubarb was bolting, the tomatoes were tiny and had been eaten by a grub, and the other plants were looking wilted. How did this happen to my once lush, productive garden? I stopped to think…..Mmmm, it had been a week since I’d been out there. No wait …. maybe it was 2, or even 3 weeks! I realised that I hadn’t tended to the garden for such a long time due to my work and personal commitments, and as a result it was neglected.

12 months ago that same garden had given me large quantities of tomatoes, parsley and zucchini which I happily shared. 12 months ago I was regularly out in the garden weeding, watering and nurturing it. What a difference!

 

How does this relate to parenting?

Children need to be nurtured. Just like a plant which needs good soil, water and sunshine to grow, our children also have needs. These must be satisfied in order to grow into healthy, ‘productive’ children.

Their needs are simple….. and it doesn’t involve trips to the toy store or expensive excursions to the latest theme park! Their needs centre around you. They need the basics as all humans do of food, clothing, shelter AND they need love and connection in order to thrive!

Read more

Image by Harclade via Flickr

Learning Styles

Have you ever noticed that learning new things isn’t always easy? That sometimes you ‘just get it’ quickly, and other times it feels hard to learn?

We all have different ways in which we learn best.

 

There are four main ways in which we learn, and once we know and understand our preferred learning style, it makes learning so much easier – it doesn’t matter whether it’s learning how to make a new recipe, or to change a tyre on the car, or to master something new on the computer…

 

The different ways are: Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic and Auditory-Digital

Read more

Gratitude in Parenting: Being grateful and teaching our children gratitude.

I recently had a trip overseas to see my family in Denmark. While I was there, I was away from the busy-ness of my daily life and so had more time to relax and think.

Flying gives me great pleasure – I get excited just like a child – the thrill of taxiing down the runway, and the glee when the plane lifts and soars above the ground – I sit there, almost grinning like the Cheshire Cat in ‘Alice in Wonderful’.

The next day I’m lying on the grass in my sister, Anita’s backyard, in the sunshine with my niece, gazing through the dappled light of the giant tree at the moving clouds. I felt grateful and blessed to be there, for Cecilie’s company (I only see her every 4-5 years), for the sun when it was mid-winter back home in Tasmania, for being able to laze about instead of working, for the fact I had enough money to take such a trip, and for the joy of being with family again – so many things to be grateful for! Read more

Playing with Blocks

Playing With Blocks

At 1, I taste the blocks, and throw them.
At 2, I stack them or line them up, noticing the edges of the blocks.
At 3, I build towers or trains, and can tell you about what I’ve made.

Blocks are one of those toys which last for years, and can be used in a variety of ways by children of many ages.

Read more

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!

Read more

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

Read more

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).

Read more

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?

Read more

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.