Mother and child walking through a japanese garden.

Going For a Walk

Today I went for a walk through a quaint little town, exploring it and the surroundings. As I walked, I noticed a beautiful feather on the ground and picked it up. Immediately it reminded me of walking with my young children some years ago.

We regularly went walking whether it was around our property (we lived in a rural area), around town, at the beach or in the bush. As we walked, I always seemed to have a ‘Collector’ with me….. at least one of my children would be in a collecting mode, and I learnt to always carry a small basket or bag for their collections. Sometimes it was leaves, other times it was shells, and sometimes it was stones – from pebbles to rocks! The child would decide if the speciman was ‘worth’ collecting….. maybe based on the colour, the size, the shape, some patterns on it, or just because they liked it! As they collected, they would be describing to me, what was special about it.

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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?

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Smiling young toddler eating breakfast

Our 5 Core Needs – for both Children and Adults!

As human beings we have core needs to survive, grow and thrive. Some core needs we are born with, some we develop. As individuals we needs these things in varying amounts – some people will need more of one than another person. We work in ways to have our needs met, so that we are fulfilled.

So what are these Core Needs? They are:

Survival;

Love and Belonging;

Fun;

Power; and

Freedom.

Let’s look in more detail…

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Image by Mindaugas Danys via Flickr

No, No, No – Do you ever feel like that’s what you say all day?

Some days with our toddlers and children feel like they are filled with events which aren’t going well… the children are yelling at each other, or smearing paint on the floor, or hassling the cat, or jumping on the sofa. And we hear ourselves saying ‘No’ for the umpteenth time today… And the children don’t really seem to be listening to us!

Most of us ‘zone out’ if we hear words repeated over and over – meaning that they become less effective in their message because they are overused. ‘No’ may one of those words your child hears too often, and they lean to ignore it.

Do you wish there was another way? Well, here are some other ways to give the message ‘No’, without using that word!

  • The first is to tell the child what you want them to DO rather than what to ‘stop’. Instead of saying: ‘No, don’t jump on the sofa’… instead say: ‘Sit on the sofa, chairs are for sitting. If you want to jump let’s go out to the trampoline.’
  • Use distraction – Instead of saying: ‘No, don’t do xyz’ instead, ask them could they please get the cloth from the kitchen or get your glasses from the bedroom – most young children are keen to help.
  • Give them a choice. ‘Would you like to play Lego blocks now, or go out to the sandpit – you choose’ (to get them away from the dolls they are hassling over.)
  • Ask him to move away – ‘Please come here and help me with….’ Or ‘Please move away from Sarah and let’s read this book.’

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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?’

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Image by scjn via Flickr

How to help our children learn about consequences

What happens when you pay your electricity bill late? – you get one reminder, and then a late fee is applied if you still don’t comply.

What happens when you bring your wife a bunch of flowers? – she shows gratitude to you!

What happens when you don’t prop the ladder correctly before climbing up? – it wobbles, putting you in danger.

All of these are consequences of our actions. As adults we know what the consequences are, and we choose to comply, or not comply, knowing there will be consequences.

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Image by familymwr via Flickr

Maths is Everywhere in the Home

Maths is everywhere in the home, and without you maybe even realising it, you are setting up your child with a solid Mathematical grounding.

How?

Let’s look at some of these concepts within the home and play environments and how it happens…

Shape recognition – at an early age we start to point out shapes to our children – ‘The orange is round and your plate is round’. ‘Do you want square or triangle/ sandwiches today?’

Volume – when cooking  – ‘We need ½ cup of flour and one cup of milk – can you help to measure and por them, please.

Conservation of mass – When you have one lump of playdough , you can show your child how to roll it into many different shapes – a ball, a sausage, a dish shape, lots of tiny little eggs, but the mass doesn’t change despite the change in shape!

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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

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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.

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