8 ways to enjoy messy play at home

8 Ways to Enjoy Messy Play at Home

How many of you breath a sigh of relief, when the Playgroup or Kindergarten your child attends does Messy Play – I mean it gets you off the hook right? No paint at home, no playdough on the carpet, no glue stuck to the table – phew!

Have you ever asked yourself, why the Playgroup teacher/ co-ordinator seems to be so keen on providing messy play for the children?

Educators know that children learn through all their senses, of touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. We aim to provide activities which stimulate the senses – know as Sensory Play. Messy play is one type of sensory play.

It is particularly important for young children’s development, as it allows them to explore a variety of mediums; to develop their tactile skills; and in some cases also their fine motor muscles. It also allows an opportunity for language development (words such as rough, smooth, crunchy, cold, slimy etc) and for the child to expand their thinking skills.

Sensory activities facilitate exploration, and encourage children to learn while they play, create, investigate and explore the materials provided.

Here are some easy Messy Play activities to do at home to assist your child to grow and learn even more: Read more

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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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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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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Being a P.A.R.E.N.T.

Over 40 years the small European country of Denmark has consistently ranked as the having the world’s most happy people. Numerous studies have been done to ascertain why this is the case. Many believe it stems from their rich childhood, where children are valued, where they are ‘allowed’ to be children and ‘just play’, and where formal schooling doesn’t start till around age 7 years.

The Danes also have ‘hygge’. Hygge is a Danish word which can’t readily be translated in to English as there is no counterpart. The best explanation is around the cosy, warm and friendly feeling of their homes – they are very welcoming and you feel relaxed there. Hygge extends to how you treat others too – that you are welcoming to them.

 

I’ve been reading a book which I think many parents would enjoy, about how the Danes rear their children. It’s called : “The Danish Way of Parenting” by Jessica Alexander and Iben Sandahl. Read more

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