Remember to Play

As parent, there are a swag of ‘jobs’ that come with parenting… additional washing, cooking, cleaning, breast or bottle feeding, settling the baby, working through bed-time routines, sibling rivalry, introducing solids, solving problems, answering questions, reading to them, tidying up, talking with them…. and a hundred more jobs…

 

It’s no wonder that parenting is a tiring job.

In no other role are you on call 24/7, receive no set breaks and get no pay for your work!

 

Sometimes as parents we get so caught up in all that must be done… that we actually forget the most important thing… the little people around us!

 

These children didn’t come to us to be ‘chores’. Yes, caring for them can be time consuming and exhausting, but that’s not what they see…. Children see YOU and want to be with you, being part of whatever you are doing. I’m talking about young children here, not teenagers…. that’s a story for another day! Read more

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. 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 a demure, delicate, gentle child, 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.

Read more

Feeling Loved?

How do you ‘know’ that your partner loves you? What is it he or she does which makes you know you are loved – that you really ‘feel’ it? Is it the way they look at you, or the way they touch you? Or maybe that they give you small gifts?

We’ve probably all had a partner in the past who was doing nice things for us, but we just didn’t really feel ‘loved’…. you know the one which you’d say to your friends: “He says he loves me, and he brings me flowers, but I just don’t feel it’s enough. I don’t feel like he’s the one.”

What’s possibly happened here, is that ‘he’ didn’t speak in your ‘Love Language’. This term came from a book by Gary Chapman, called The Five Love Languages. In the book he says that we ‘feel’ loved in one of five different ways ie we will have a preferred Love Language. If our partner ‘speaks’ in that Love Language, we will feel loved. If they use another Love Language, we won’t feel like we are loved.

I’ll detail the five ways shortly, but this doesn’t just relate to us as adults, it also has relevance for children…… Read more

19 Ways to be a Positive Parent – Part 3

I’m sure as you’ve read the previous two articles covering this topic, you’ve realized that you are already doing many things which fall into the ‘positive parenting’ realm. My intention was to offer you a range (19 in fact!) so that you can add a few more to your Parenting Toolkit!  Let’s continue…..

 

10 Provide Incidental Teaching: When you are playing blocks with them, mention the colour names; when making a salad, tell them what you are doing and see if they’d like to help; when crossing the road, explain why you look both ways, and why they need to hold your hand. Almost every situation is an opportunity to share a simple fact with them – not to overload point, just a bit of information.

 

11 Clear Ground Rules: Keep rules simple. Have just a few general ones rather than a l-o-n-g list (which no-one can stick to!) Rules might be things like We don’t hurt people; We are careful with others possessions; and We speak ‘nicely’… change the wording to suit the age of the child. Read more

19 Ways to be a Positive Parent – continued

Last week we started delving into the many ways that you can show positivity in your parenting.

We looked at:

  • Spend quality time
  • Talk with your child
  • Listen to your child
  • Show affection

Let’s continue…..

Give Descriptive Praise. Often we acknowledge our children’s actions, we say: “good boy” or “you’re such a good girl”, without actually telling the child what specifically they did which was ‘good’. Is it because in the last few minutes they helped their sister pick up the toys, because they put them in the right place, or because they did it without being told????

If I say to you know: ‘You’re such a good parent’… what does that mean? Is it because you speak gently to your children? Or because you read to them each night? Or because you provide nutritious food to them? Or because you show them affection? Read more

19 Ways to be a Positive Parent

Most parents would probably state that they wish to do a good job of parenting and are working towards that in their interactions with their child/ren.

 

We all know some days are a challenge – we’re tired, the kids are tired, they’re difficult, we’re irritable, it’s raining for the 3rd day in a row etc – on those days it can be a lot harder to stay ‘cool’ and do positive parenting. But on the other days…..

 

There are many skills and strategies we can bring to parenting, and we do our best when we use the most appropriate one for the current situation. It’s a bit like a tradesman knowing when to use the pliers, the drill or the screwdriver, or the chef to know whether they need a knife, a grater or a vegetable peeler. The ends results are so much better when we use the right tool – or in parenting – the right strategy.

 

So what might parents need? Read more

Two young children playing in the creek

Developing a Curious Child

“Oh he’s into everything” complains a Mother. “She’s always pulling things apart”, states a Dad. It’s always said to me like a complaint, as if it’s a bad thing to have a curious child!

Curious children are GREAT – it means their developing brain is seeking to understand, to know how and why things work (or don’t work), to understand ‘what happens if I do xyz…..’ and does the same thing happen if I do it twice, or 12 times? A curious child is the result of a learning brain, and that’s a GREAT thing! People who are curious are the ones who become explorers, researchers, musical composers or inventors. This may be in any field of science, music, the environment, the arts etc Or it may be in the social world, or understanding how people interact or communicate – so many possibilities!

How do we assist the growth of curiosity in our developing children?

Read more

Communicating with Babies – What Parents Need to Know.

Babies begin communicating with us from the moment they are born – it’s just that we may not understand what they are saying yet!

 

It’s interesting isn’t it that if you were going to have an extended holiday in Spain or France, you’d probably make the effort to learn even a few basic words and phrases of Spanish or French. Yet when we are pregnant not many people learn how to communicate with the ‘soon to be here’ baby!

 

I’ve personally seen the huge benefits parents get when they DO learn how to do this, and the spin-off benefits to their baby such as: Read more

Every day when I spend time with you, my life gets better and better.

Yesterday as I was walking along the street in the mall area, I was walking near a Mother and her daughter aged about 4. They were holding hands, and the Mum looked at the little girl and said: “Every day when I spend time with you, my life gets better and better.” The daughter beamed a big smile to her Mum.

 

I said to the mother: “What a beautiful thing you just said to her – it’s such a positive message.’ And the Mum beamed back to me.

 

There are two things which are truly wonderful about the happening…..

 

The first is that the mother clearly cares deeply about her daughter and is taking steps to ensure that the daughter knows she is loved and valued, on a regularly basis. She told her daughter that this continues to happen each and every day – giving her daughter the message that their love and connection will continue, and that it is an important thing. Read more

Image by Woodley Wonder Works via Flickr

Music and Maths – an Unlikely Relationship?

This morning over breakfast I was listening to the radio, and was aware how the different pieces impacted on me – some more upbeat, some more gentle and calming. I don’t know about you, but I play different types of music for specific moods – if I’m feeling a bit ‘flat’ I put on something like “Pink”, and if I’m feeling hassled, I put on gentle classical music, or “Enya”. We can utilise this with children too – you can use music to enhance their moods, to help ‘lift’ them when needed, or to calm them at other times.

From an early age we use lullabies to soothe our babies, and often sing them to sleep – this is true whatever your cultural background. It’s the tone of your voice, which settles them. As they get older, they like things with a stronger beat – you’ll often see toddlers bopping to a beat. Toddlers also like nursery rhymes and songs, and will join in with the words and actions. Even a 1 year old will often wave their hands in the  air, to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Read more