Telling Stories

As parents we know of the importance of reading to our children regularly, to encourage our children’s love of learning, and excitement about what books have to offer.

 

We also know that books can be a part of the night time routine, to help settle children down with quiet time before bed.

 

Reading to children is also useful when children have to sit whilst waiting at the Doctors, where they need to be quieter for a while.

 

Children often grow to love stories and books, via our enthusiasm and by the tone of our voice when we read to them.

 

Another thing which children grow to love is when you actually tell them stories. Read more

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 is now indicating the powerful role Dad’s 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. As with anything that is important to you, being a great Dad requires time, energy and effort!
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Image by Woodley Wonder Works via Flickr

Music and Maths – an Unlikely Relationship?

This morning over breakfast I was listening to the radio, and was aware how the different pieces impacted on me – some more upbeat, some more gentle and calming. I don’t know about you, but I play different types of music for specific moods – if I’m feeling a bit ‘flat’ I put on something like “Pink”, and if I’m feeling hassled, I put on gentle classical music, or “Enya”. We can utilise this with children too – you can use music to enhance their moods, to help ‘lift’ them when needed, or to calm them at other times.

From an early age we use lullabies to soothe our babies, and often sing them to sleep – this is true whatever your cultural background. It’s the tone of your voice, which settles them. As they get older, they like things with a stronger beat – you’ll often see toddlers bopping to a beat. Toddlers also like nursery rhymes and songs, and will join in with the words and actions. Even a 1 year old will often wave their hands in the  air, to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

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How Would You Go with the Marshmellow Test?

In the 1960’s an experiment was conducted regarding impulse control ie the ability to wait, even when you didn’t want to.

It was conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel, and involved sitting a 4 year old at a table in a room. On the table was a plate with one marshmellow on it. The Researcher told the child that she had to leave the room, and that the child could eat the marshmellow whenever they wanted, but if they waited till she (the Researcher) returned then they could have two marshmellows. For most children, marshmellow are a very appealing treat. The Researcher then left the room for 15 mins – an incredibly long time for a 4 year old to wait! The children’s responses to the ‘task’ were videoed.

If you watch the video on Youtube, you will see are the many ways the children try to not eat the marshmellow now, as they really want the second one. Read more

How are you Spending your Time?

As parents we often feel time poor. We can feel that we are always rushing – rushing to appointments, rushing to work, rushing the kids to get ready and rushing to get dinner on the table.

The reality is that life can be a busy time, torn between our roles of parent, worker, partner and family member. We can feel that we never quite make it!

There are many books written about effective time management and they offer practical solutions about organising your time effectively. Next week I’ll address how to balance time in relation to work and family.

Today I will focus on how to ensure the well-being of yourself, your partner, children and the family through a balanced approach to shared time. Read more

Feeling Loved?

How do you ‘know’ that your partner loves you? What is it he or she does which makes you know you are loved – that you really ‘feel’ it? Is it the way they look at you, or the way they touch you? Or maybe that they give you small gifts?

We’ve probably all had a partner in the past who was doing nice things for us, but we just didn’t really feel ‘loved’…. you know the one which you’d say to your friends: “He says he loves me, and he brings me flowers, but I just don’t feel it’s enough. I don’t feel like he’s the one.”

What’s possibly happened here, is that ‘he’ didn’t speak in your ‘Love Language’. This term came from a book by Gary Chapman, called The Five Love Languages. In the book he says that we ‘feel’ loved in one of five different ways ie we will have a preferred Love Language. If our partner ‘speaks’ in that Love Language, we will feel loved. If they use another Love Language, we won’t feel like we are loved.

I’ll detail the five ways shortly, but this doesn’t just relate to us as adults, it also has relevance for children…… Read more

Mother holding her child wearing defence force outfit

Moments of Defence Kids

I am a mum to three kids and I am a Defence force wife. These two things can make for a very busy and chaotic life but it can be an amazing time. Don’t get me wrong I have mounds of washing waiting for me and dishes in the sink and moments when I want to lock myself in my room and not come out, but making special memories when one parent is away for extended periods of time can happen, it’s about balance. The time away and coping with kids is a whole topic in itself, but creating special family moments doesn’t take much, involving the kids is key. For example the homecoming after an extended period away – and in this case I mean months – is something to be cherished. Yes my kids have made those big, somewhat tacky, signs with pens and paint and streamers and balloons – this exercise in itself was a great time to interact with the kids and most importantly sounds out what they were looking forward too, when their Dad gets home. Read more

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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How to Find Inner Peace, and Eat it Too.

We’re all busy, I hear it every day and see it as people rush to and fro, mobile phones in hands so as to not miss anything. We hold dear our need to immediately respond to the constant flow of social media commentary, text messages, appointments and deadlines – I’m as guilty as most there!

And don’t get me wrong, it is important to do your part, reply to messages, schedule the car service, grocery shop; we each have our individual roles and responsibilities, but being constantly engaged and ready to pounce is having a major impact on our health & wellbeing – we’re becoming more stressed with an alarming and costly 3 days on average, a year lost to stress and mental health concerns.

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Child sitting on the floor, intently doing puzzle

What are the best toys for children? One is…. Jigsaw Puzzles.

 

In my role as a Parenting Consultant, parents and grandparents often ask me about buying toys for their children or grandchildren. They want to know what are the ‘best’ ones. Obviously the age and ability of the child is a consideration, but 2 of my favourites are jigsaw puzzles and board games.

Puzzles can be introduced to toddlers around age one, with a toy which has balls to drop into a hole. This starts to teach them to hold an object, to position it, and then to let it drop through. The easiest shape to insert is a circle, as it will fit which ever way you hold it!

Next comes a shape sorter toy. You hold the container and let baby select a shape. Read more