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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Backyard Garden at Home

Going Home

I hadn’t been interstate to visit my Step-Dad for a while, and I finally made it last weekend. It was so good to catch up with him, and to be back in the family home, sleeping in my old bedroom.

It’s funny how when you go home after a long time that you both notice the changes and the familiar. By changes I mean things like furniture that’s been moved, new china or freshly painted walls – they stand out, and make the place feel somewhat different, a little less familiar.

You also notice the things which are the same – your teenage bedcovers, the board games in the cupboard and the ticking clock… they all remind you that this is ‘home’.

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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

Christmas Kids

All I want for Christmas is…

So want do you say to yourself at this time?

  • Yahhhh I love Christmas;
  • It’s so expensive;
  • I can’t want for it to be over;
  • I love watching the kids faces on Christmas morning;
  • Family disagreements – no thanks;
  • I love family get togethers, especially Christmas;
  • I love the excitement and special treats.

 

Which ever sentiments you have about Christmas, the reality is it is approaching fast! What can we do to make it a pleasant, positive experience for children and families? Here’s some ideas…

 

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How Does Speech Develop in Babies?

Language begins to develop prior to birth, when babies hear the parents’ voices in utereo. When a baby, who has just been born, is placed between their mother and a stranger, and they both speak to the baby, she will turn towards the recognisable voice of her Mum – amazing!

 

From birth to 6 weeks, this recognition of both Mum and Dad’s voices continues, and the baby responds to sounds and voices, but aren’t yet able to localise them. Babies have different cries to indicate their need for food, sleep, or to be burped! When parents are able to correctly identify these cries, then they can quickly settle the baby .

You can read more about this, in a previous article I wrote: http://theparentingcafe.com.au/the-5-words-your-newborn-says/ 

You can help by: Look at your baby and talk with her. Smile at her. Surround her with gentle, pleasant sounds, and avoid sudden loud noises, which may startle her.

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A Story for Parents

Come and sit down parents, your fairy godmother wants to tell you a timely story…

Once upon a time a beautiful baby was born. The parents loved her dearly and took great care of her. They put boundaries around her, to keep her safe. They noticed her signs for when she was tired, and put her to bed, even though they wanted to hold her and play with her longer.

As she grew, the boundaries changed. They instilled rules about saying ‘ta’, limiting the TV time, putting in safety plugs and ensuring that the back fences were strong so that she could play safely in the backyard – all to raise a happy, well-adjusted child.

Then one day, a few years later, something different happened. When the parents said it was bedtime, she asked for another story. The parents happily read another one. The next night she wanted 2 extra stories, and the parents were pleased that she loved reading so much! The following night she wanted 2 long stories and then a drink of water, and then the toilet, and another cuddle. The 15 minute night routine was now 50 minutes!

But how did this happen, wailed the parents (who actually had enjoyed their night times together one their daughter was asleep).

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Movement at All Ages and Stages

I remember the first time I visited an indoor play centre with my toddler. Although I did not like the idea of an indoor play centre after the third day of rain I was willing to give anything a try. House bound boys have a lot of energy, so off to the indoor play centre we went.

The first thing that struck me was how loud it was in there. Kids were laughing and talking and excited to be there. Indoor play centres are bright and cheery places where kids can run, crawl, scoot, jump, leap, slither and slide and get buried in balls. So can mums. For the mother it is a wonderful well rounded, whole body functional workout (see what I did there – I used all the words the latest and greatest exercise routines use). I recall feeling absolutely bone weary after 2 hours of following my child!

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Family Rituals

Family Rituals

In traditional societies there are various times in a child’s life, where special ceremonies take place, to mark their growth and development eg puberty. This was often followed by a family or community gathering, and were an important way of acknowledging a milestone, and they were a time to make that child feel special and proud. In our modern society many people celebrate birthdays to acknowledge another years passing, but a lot of our rituals have ceased.

 

Perhaps you might like to consider introducing some rituals of family celebrations into your home.

 

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My toddler is slapping me!

Lisa asked what to do about her 19 month old son, when he slaps her on the face, for no apparent reason…

Oh Lisa, it’s so awful when our children respond with hitting us! Apart from any physical pain, we are often horrified at their behaviour, shocked that they would do it, wonder why they are doing it, and then if anyone is watching, we also feel embarrassed! What a mix of emotions!

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Problem Solving through Role Play.

Have you ever had a child throw a tantrum about having their hair washed?

Or had a child who is scared whenever they walk past a fence because once a dog growled behind that fence?

Or had a child who doesn’t want to go on the swing because once they fell off.

 

As parents, we’ve all experienced that sometimes our children seem to have what we see as irrational fears… fear of hair washing, or walking past a fence etc. And depending on how much patience we have that day, we either handle it well, or not. Sometimes too, these situations keep repeating, and we may become frustrated – I mean, we all know kids need their hair washed from time to time, eh?

 

So how do you help your child to move through these times, to learn to push past it? Read more