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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Young baby boy being fed with a spoon

Nutrition for your Infants

On my home visits with families, one area of concern for parents is that of nutrition – in terms of when do I start to introduce solids, what to feed their growing child, and how much to feed them. Let’s start at the beginning, with pregnancy.

During pregnancy, it is important that the developing foetus receives adequate nutrition via the mothers diet. When the mother eats a mix diet of healthy foods and adequate intake of water, she is giving her baby the best start.

There is a lot of evidence to show that breastfeeding is the best possible food for your new baby, with all the nutrition they need. There are many cases where breastfeeding is not a possibility, and an appropriate infant formula, when it is made up as per the instructions on the label, can provide the required nutrition. Both breast and formula milk contains a particular fatty substance which is essential for the optimal development of neurons (brain cells) – this is why formula milk should not be diluted.

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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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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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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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the-terrific-twos

The TERRIFIC Two’s

How often do you hear people saying: “She’s in the Terrible Two’s” when they are rationalising their child’s behaviour? It’s a statement which is often heard.

Imagine for a moment… If I was your close friend, and I told you that you were going to have a bad day tomorrow, with the weather, the traffic, phone calls etc. Your brain would automatically go onto ‘red alert’ – you would enter the day, prowling for problems, ready for action. You would notice every little thing that was wrong with the day – the postman was late, the weather man got the prediction wrong, the coffee wasn’t as hot as it should be etc. When we ‘pre-condition’ our brain to see problems, we become almost like an expert in finding them – it’s as if we are wearing special ‘problem’ glasses which enable us to see all the problems in our day, and to hardly notice the things which go well, as we’re too busy looking for what’s wrong.

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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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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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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. Now, I should add, that my children are all adults and I don’t have grandchildren. 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 demure, delicate, gentle children, 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.

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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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