How do I Talk to my Children about Death?

Death is part of life. It needs to be presented to children in this way also.

We start simply, by pointing our things in the environment which haved died – leaves which have turned brown, the ant that you trod on, flowers you cut from your garden which have now died, the road kill we see as we drive along, and even toys which are broken (ie they aren’t working any more). In this way, you can explain the fact that they aren’t breathing anymore, that they aren’t growing anymore. As the events descibed aren’t ‘close’ to you, death can be explained in an unemotional way. Children may want to look at a dead animal – use your discretion, but be aware that they are coming from a point or curiosity and a wish to understand. It is likely that young children will ask questions, in their attempt to understand at their level – answer honestly and simply.

 

Avoid saying the person has ‘gone to sleep’ as they may lead to fears about sleeping. It’s best to explain that their body stopped working and they stopped breathing.

 

If you wait to explain death until someone close to you passes away, then there is likely to be a strong emotional response in you, making it harder to explain to your child, and to be emotionally available to them.

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Go to Bed

Go to Bed! – How to Get Children to Stay in Bed

Okay, so you’ve read three stories, tucked them in, kissed them goodnight and switched off the light.

Just as you settle into the comfy chair with a cuppa… “Mum, I’m thirsty” or “Dad, I just need to tell you something” or even little footsteps coming down the hall!

How do we get children to stay in bed once you’ve completed the bed-time routine? (As a reminder, a routine generally is something like… Bath, milk, teeth brushing, toilet, stories, kisses and cuddles.)

Basically the answer is consistency. Once a child is put to bed, with the established bed-time routine, then you follow through with consistency. If a child gets out of bed, you take their hand, walk  them back to bed, tuck them in, saying  “It’s bed-time”. If they get up again, you repeat. And repeat as many times as is necessary. Once you try to rationalise (“you’ll be tired in the morning”; you’ve already had a glass of milk”; “you should have eaten more dinner”) – then you have opened the door, for the child to engage in a conversation. They will feel the need to justify how hungry they are, or how important it is to tell you something – which then leads you to reply, and so it goes on.

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Image by Patrick via Flickr

Courage Precedes Confidence

I heard a great phrase the other day…. “Courage precedes confidence”.

Think about it… before you were a successful driver, you needed to have the courage to give it a go, to practice, and to keep at it even when you made mistakes or couldn’t change gears without ‘crunching’ it.

Or when you went for the job interview for a position you really wanted – you may have had mock interviews with your friend’s support, and even practised in front of the mirror, to make sure you knew what to say and how you looked.

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children-need-love-the-most-deserve-least

Children need love the most, when they deserve it the least

Children need love the most,
when they deserve it the least.

Controversial statement eh? Especially when Miss 4 has just cut the dogs hair, or Master 2 drew on the carpet with the texta or Miss 3 has put the car keys ‘somewhere’, when you need to leave now!

My statement still stands.

When children are misbehaving, it’s because they don’t know a better way to do it ie to use scissors ‘properly’ or that textas are for use on paper only.

I hear a lot of you saying: ‘Yes, s/he does know that! I’ve told her before!’

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Playing Helps Learning

When Children Play Freely, They are Learning!

Play is children’s ‘work’.When children are playing, they are learning valuable information.  This poem summarises it:

The Value of Play

Play is fun.
Play comes from within. Children love to play.
Play is an important part of healthy development.
Play is enjoyable and doesn’t need careful planning, or an end result.
Play means active involvement, not just watching.
During play, the child sets the rules, and there is no right or wrong way to play.
During play children practise physical skills and learn about their bodies.
They learn to use their imagination.
They learn about their own feelings and the feelings of others.
They learn about the world around them using all five senses.
Play is the work of children!

Through play children learn:

To explore materials
To be creative
To use language
To share (maybe!)
To make decisions
To test possibilities
To estimate
To concentrate
and so much more!

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Parent or Friend?

Parent or Friend?

Over the years of being a Parenting Consultant, I’ve spoken with may parents about what they see as their role, and what they want for their children. So many parents have said, that they want to be their child’s friend.

I believe that when you gave birth, you became a parent, and that is your role!

Over their lifetime, your children will (hopefully) have many friends – some short term, some long term, but they will only ever have you as parents – that is your role!

All children need parents to guide, teach and encourage them – and that is your role.

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Developmental Domains

Developmental Domains

In my work as a Parenting Consultant, I support families in their parenting with through understanding child development, providing activities for them to do with their children, and chatting about the issues which can occur in parenting – bedtime routines, sibling rivalry, fussy eaters etc and we look at possible solutions.

When we look at child development, there are four common areas or domains we look at to ascertain where they are developmentally. They are:

LANGUAGE: Language is communication. Babies communicate through eye contact and watching faces. They also love the sound of your voice. Once they start articulating (the first ooh’s and ahhh’s) they quickly engage in ‘talk’ with you. If you say something to them and then wait, they will respond – they are conversing with you!

They cry to tell you when they need something eg a feed, or they are tired. Parents can learn to effectively respond to this, by learning the Dunstan Baby Language.

Babies soon start babbling, before moving on to more ‘word-like’ sounds (eg ‘bo’ for bottle). Around one babies may have 4 -6 words (such as ‘bo’) they use. The more you talk with them, and label items in their world, the more their brain takes in. Around 2 y.o children are putting 2 words together such as ‘me do’ or ‘Daddy car’. By 3 y.o they are mostly speaking in ‘regular’ sentences, with reasonable clarity.

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What Can I Do When my Child Hurts Another?

I was asked recently, what do you do if your 20 month old hurts a baby for no apparent reason?

Let’s look at what’s happening developmentally around this age…

Language – By about 2 years of age, they can put two words together, have a vocabulary of around 50 words, and speak clearly half of the time.

Intellectually – a two year old uses ‘trial and error’ to attempt things; knows how to utilise objects eg how to use a chair to climb higher; and likes to pull things apart and try to put them together.

Motor Skills – they can climb on things, kick a ball forward and carry a large object while walking.

Social-Emotional development – This is critical to know about, to understand why a child sometimes responds poorly. They have learnt to say ‘no’ to show independence, make choices, and show a wide variety of emotions eg jealousy, sympathy, fear and anger, and that can change suddenly.

So, back to the situation… Read more

Whinging Child

Whinging Kids – What Do I With Them?

Nerida asked via our Facebook page:
What do I do with my whinge-y 2 year old son?

We’ve all had those days as parents where it’s seemed like a battle field at home, with tears and tantrums all around and that can be from the parents as well as the child – when it all gets too much and you want to run away!

The first thing – and this may seem blunt – is to remember that you are the adult here! If you are struggling to deal with this physically and emotionally, and you’re an adult – then imagine how hard it is to feel so overwrought and at 2 you don’t have the capacity to self regulate.

Self regulation is the ability to feel stressed emotionally, and yet be able to manage it rather than lash out, eg when a driver in front of you keeps cutting in, changing lanes without indicating, and is gesturing at you and other drivers. We may feel enraged by this, but generally we’ve learnt that the best thing is to give them space and let them get away. If we react, it may be detrimental! This is self-regulation.

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The Importance of Nurturing Your Baby’s Amazing Brain

Did you know, that when a baby is born, his brain is ½ the size of an adult brain? By the time he is 3 years old, his brain has grown to 80% size of an adult brain. This is incredible growth, in just 3 years.

How does the brain work, and how can we foster this development?

The Working Brain

Within the brain are billions of nerve cells, known as neurons. The neurons have to connect with other brain cells in order to work. Some of these connections are present from birth – for example, the ability to breathe, to suck, to cry, and others occur as the baby grows and develops. The connections occur when experiences or skills are repeated over and over.

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