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:

  1. 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 my 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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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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Stress in children

Stress in Children

Stress is a part of our lives. We have positive stress – eg we have many things which must be completed today. The stress of that can give us the energy to not procrastinate, but to drive us to action, to complete the task. Negative stress can be when things happen which are out of our control, and we feel stuck or unable to deal with the effects.

We don’t like to think that our small children can experience stress, but they experience life as we do. A little stress, like having to wait for something is okay – it can teach them patience (eg to wait their turn) or to understand time and sequence (eg after the toys are away we’ll go outside), and that’s a good thing. Even the stress of seeing Mum and Dad angry once or twice (as long as there is no violence involved) is okay, particularly if they see that they make up and life continues as normal – this can help to show that conflict can be resolved. On-going major stress is not okay for children, and can cause later problems for that child in different ways. This article is about the daily stresses – which are different ones for everyone!

 

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The Second Wife

The Second Wife

I want you to imagine for a moment… Your partner tells you that he is bringing home a new wife to live in the family home. He tells you how exciting it’s going to be, and how much he’s looking forward to her arrival. He says you’ll need to help this new wife, and to share your things – your clothes and your room with her, and that he wants you to love her too. He reminds you that you are still special, but that there will be another special one there too! How would you feel? Most of us would be in disbelief, enraged, and feeling like we weren’t loved enough, or that we weren’t special enough.

Yet, isn’t this what we often expect of child number one, when we announce that’s there’s a new baby joining the family? As adults we struggle with the whole concept of a 2nd wife, yet we expect a 2/3/4 year old (with infinitely less mature social development) to understand, and ‘be nice’ to this new baby! It sounds unreasonable when expressed like that, doesn’t it? In some cases, the first few weeks may be a novelty for the first child, but then some reach a stage where they ask you to ‘send the baby back’!

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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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father playing with son

The Importance of Dads

For a long time now we’ve known the valuable role that mothers play in the development of children, through nurturing and play.

Research also acknowledges the powerful role which Dads play in the family dynamics generally, and in the long term well-being of their children.

The best gift a Dad can give his kids, is his time!

Being a Dad is probably the most important job you’ll ever do. The way you interact and behave with your children will have a huge impact on them – what they do, how they feel about themselves and how they turn out – both now, and down the track. As with anything that is important to you, being a great Dad requires time, energy and effort!
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brown teddy bear sitting

Why a Teddy Bear is a Parent’s Best Friend

How great it would be for all children and parents, if babies and toddlers were gently encouraged to have a ‘favourite’ teddy bear or doll. Both boys and girls need to learn nurturing skills and the beauty of having a ‘friend’ who is always there for them.

My three children each had one…. which they named Susan, Alexandra and Denis. They accompanied my children everywhere… in the car, to bed, for stay-overs at Grandmas, and for security when they were left with a baby-sitter.

Children don’t always select one for themselves – you can encourage it from an early age by introducing the teddy or doll, and talking about them eating with you, sleeping in the child’s bed, brushing their teeth together etc.

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Good-Kids-and-Bad-Kids

Good Kids and Bad Kids

Let’s imagine that yesterday you were pulled over by the police, for speeding. How would you feel if, at the time, they had told you that you were a bad woman/man. And when you got home and shared the story with your partner, that they also said you were bad for doing that. And if tomorrow you saw that same police, would you want a reminder not to be bad like yesterday? I know I’d hate it, and would probably feel angry at being reminded over and over!

Yet, isn’t this what we often do to our children when they misbehave….. we somethimes say words like: Naughty boy , or bad girl! And some parents then repeat the story to Daddy when he comes home….. “Sarah was so bad today, she did xyz”. Or tomorrow when the child is playing in a similar situation, we remind them not to be naughty like yesterday.

We wouldn’t like it if it happened to us, so why would we do it to our children?

The reality is that we all make mistakes… and that’s what they are ‘mistakes’, or poor choices. It doesn’t make us bad or naughty!

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What Does Love Look Like to your Child?

Many years ago a survey was conducted, asking young children (4 – 8y.o) the question: “What is love?”

Their answers varied considerably and were obviously based on what was modelled to them in their environment……

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy 4

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri 4

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby 7

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