Two Languages at Home

Two Languages in Your Home?

When parents have two (or more) languages, they often discuss whether they should introduce them to their children. They wonder if it is confusing for their little ones to hear two languages spoken in the home environment, and may worry that it’s too difficult for their young children to learn to speak both their native language and English also. In fact the opposite is true!

Babies are born able to hear the sounds of all languages, and are able to link together the ‘like’ sounds which they hear, in their brain – eg they store Danish sounds together, and the English sounds together. Isn’t that amazing?

It’s been found that children who have two languages spoken in the home tend to be more creative and more flexible in their thinking than children with just one language!

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Lessons-from-the-Beach

Lessons from the Beach

I had a mini-holiday this week, in a beautiful little seaside town. Daily I would walk to the beach, to absorb the sunshine and heat, as well as hear the sounds of the waves crashing, and the smell the scent of the sea and the bush surrounds.

On the beach were so many families from India, Asian, the Middle East and Anglos. There were Mums with kids, families with cousins & Grandparents, group of friends, surfers, and couples walking hand in hand.

What they all had in common, was a day of fun. There were so many smiles and the sound of laughter, and it was wonderful to participate in this event.

It made me reflect on all the amazing messages which were intentionally and unintentionally being shared with the children present.

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The 5 Essential Things to Grow Healthy, Active Children

The 5 Essential Things to Grow Healthy, Active Children

We become healthy humans, not just through the foods we eat and the activity we engage in, but also though the messages we receive and the raising of our positive self-esteem. You can assist your children by:

1. Being a role model yourself.

We all know that children are like little sponges – they copy what we say and do – regardless of whether we are doing something ‘good’ eg eating an apple, or being polite; or something ‘not so good’ like yelling, or smoking in the car. Young children don’t screen or filter this information, they just copy it – ‘If it’s good enough for Mum or Dad, it’s good enough for me!’ So, if you want healthy children, lead by example with the food you eat, the exercise you do, and the attitudes you display.

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crossing-the-road

Crossing the Road

In busy Sydney recently, whilst standing at the traffic lights, I was struck by the number of people who ignore the “Don’t Walk” sign. They dart in amongst the traffic,  in order to save about 20 secs off their walk, rather than wait for the “green man” to indicate that it’s their turn to cross.

I saw two important messages here for parents:

Modelling

As an ex-Teacher and a parent, I can’t do this! I’m very conscious that my children (or yours, who might be standing next to me) are watching. At an early age they learn that ‘red’ = STOP, and I also know that they want to do what the adults do. So, if Mum/Dad/Grandparents ignore ‘red’ signs, then I can too. So much of parenting is modelling – whether you mean to or not, children see and hear all that we do in their presence. Young children do not discriminate between the ‘good’ we do or the ‘less good’ we do – they don’t pass judgement, they just copy!

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Child biting on lid

YIKES – My Child is Biting Others!!!!

Why do they do that? And, what should I do about it????

After work, I picked up my 2 year old daughter, Grace, at her sitters – my best friend, Nola. I was greeted with a glum face from Nola, who ashamedly told me that her 2 year old Nancy had bitten Grace on her back, when she couldn’t get her way. And she’d left teeth marks and drawn blood!

You can just imagine the feelings that all of us were experiencing – pain, horror, embarrassment, protection – both as Biter, and Prey! It was an absolutely horrible experience for all 4 of us!

The reality is that many young children do bite, and not just food! Those little new teeth are so sharp, and can inflict a lot of damage!

Anecdotal evidence suggests that about a quarter of children bite others, usually between the ages of 2-3 years.

Babies may bite, as they are teething, have sore gums and are learning to chew – very unpleasant if they are attached to Mum’s breast at that time – Ouchhhh! Usually we give them suitable toys to chew upon. You’ll find that a baby will not bite at the beginning of a feed, when they are most hungry. It’s usually when their tummy has been filled a little, and they get distracted. The key is to be alert!

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boys-need-to-play-with-dolls

Why Boys Need to Play with Dolls

How many women do you know who complain that their partners or husbands ‘never’ help around the house? Over the years as a mother and a Parenting Consultant, I’ve heard far more complaints, than praise about the men’s housekeeping participation. This also seems to be born out by researchers who claim that females still do the bulk of the housework.

Why do you think that this is the case?

I believe part of it stems from the early messages children take on board from their parents. We know young children are almost like sponges, picking up on all we, as parents, say and do. Children don’t filter the messages, they just see it as ‘the norm’ – meaning that this is how we should behave. Therefore, if  we as children grew up with Mum doing all the housework, then I will believe that’s how I must behave. And, that’s what I will teach my children. So, our children will also have received the message that housework is for females!

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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

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Pre writing skills - dougbelshaw

Pre-Writing Skills

How does writing start?

In education, the stage before writing is referred to as Pre-Writing, and it starts with drawing.

Initially the toddler will draw continuous scribbles, with whatever implement you give him and on any surface! (more about that later!). He will grasp the pencil by clutching it in the palm of his hand.

At some stage, the child will make ‘separated scribbles’ – this happens when the child scribbles, lifts the pencil, and then starts again elsewhere on the paper.

The next stage is when left to right scribbles are done in lines. (May be right to left)

Next, letter-like shapes are drawn, though far from ‘perfectly formed’.

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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?

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