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Image by Miika Silfverberg via Flickr

4 Types of Music your Child Needs

Music for babies begins when you first coo to them, or when you are rocking them to sleep whilst humming, or singing a quiet, gentle lullaby. Babies have even heard your music in utereo, including the ‘music’ of your beating heart!

 

Parents often sing little songs or rhymes to them whilst changing their nappy or bathing them – reciting ‘This little piggy went to market’ or entertaining a young child with ‘Round and round the garden’, on their hand. Music is such a great connecting mechanism between the parent and child. Music provides comfort, familiarity, physical closeness, anticipation and often laughter.

 

There are four components to music: singing, listening, dancing and playing.

Here’s how you can help your child to learn….

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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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Being a P.A.R.E.N.T.

Over 40 years the small European country of Denmark has consistently ranked as the having the world’s most happy people. Numerous studies have been done to ascertain why this is the case. Many believe it stems from their rich childhood, where children are valued, where they are ‘allowed’ to be children and ‘just play’, and where formal schooling doesn’t start till around age 7 years.

The Danes also have ‘hygge’. Hygge is a Danish word which can’t readily be translated in to English as there is no counterpart. The best explanation is around the cosy, warm and friendly feeling of their homes – they are very welcoming and you feel relaxed there. Hygge extends to how you treat others too – that you are welcoming to them.

 

I’ve been reading a book which I think many parents would enjoy, about how the Danes rear their children. It’s called : “The Danish Way of Parenting” by Jessica Alexander and Iben Sandahl. Read more

Living in the Moment – or How to be Childlike!

Last week my playgroup families met in a local park for our first session of 2017. This park has mega slides, climbing equipment, a static train, and a small track they can ride their bikes on. The children always love it, as well as the parents who get to catch up with each other, whilst watching their children play.

On this particular day, as we got ready to go there, there were a few spots of rain – nothing of concern as no rain was predicted…. 26 degrees said the weather forecast. As we arrived there was light drizzle, and then more drizzle, and then rain.

At first no one was perturbed, as it looked like it would or should ease up.

The children got on with their adventures – climbing the steep hill to the top of the slide and taking the ride down the slippery slope. As the rain became more steady, they continued their fun – now enjoying a faster ride as the slide became slipperier. And then it was even more fun when the ground became a bit muddy and the bottom of the slide had a puddle to end up in. The children were having a ball! They didn’t even seem to notice the rain or the fact that they were wet – they just enjoyed the fun the rain bought. Read more

Together Time – How to enhance your relationship with your children.

 

Many parents I work with have a hectic schedule of appointments and activities which are fitted in and around work and home duties. These appointments and activities include things such as dental or hair appointments and sporting or cultural activities such a soccer, kindy gym or ballet classes.

Many parents want to give their children the best possible start in life and provide them with more opportunities than they themselves had, believing that these things will lead to more educated, healthy and well-rounded children. I admire their goals, dedication and commitment to getting the child to these classes.

 

Raising healthy, well-rounded children is so much more than just this.

One critical thing is the importance of ‘Together Time.’

 

Generally, when we take our children to music, dance or martial arts classes we hand our children across to a teacher or coach, and we, the parents, become spectators. And whilst there is nothing wrong at all with that, it is vitally important that children get time engaged with us. Read more

Remember to Play

As parent, there are a swag of ‘jobs’ that come with parenting… additional washing, cooking, cleaning, breast or bottle feeding, settling the baby, working through bed-time routines, sibling rivalry, introducing solids, solving problems, answering questions, reading to them, tidying up, talking with them…. and a hundred more jobs…

 

It’s no wonder that parenting is a tiring job.

In no other role are you on call 24/7, receive no set breaks and get no pay for your work!

 

Sometimes as parents we get so caught up in all that must be done… that we actually forget the most important thing… the little people around us!

 

These children didn’t come to us to be ‘chores’. Yes, caring for them can be time consuming and exhausting, but that’s not what they see…. Children see YOU and want to be with you, being part of whatever you are doing. I’m talking about young children here, not teenagers…. that’s a story for another day! Read more

Friends are the Sunshine in Life

I recently returned from a work trip interstate, and was able to finish the week staying with an old school friend. Meredith and I first met in Primary School, when my family moved to the area. It was a very small school, with just 12 children in my grade. Meredith and I seemed to ‘click’ very quickly. This relationship was also enabled by our parents, who fostered the friendship by meeting each other, by ‘allowing’ Meredith and I to go to each others homes for play dates, and later sleep-overs. As it was a small community we also connected via a church our families were involved in and and also in a community group for girls.

We continued on to go to the same High School, though in different classes. When we were 15years old, Meredith’s family moved from NSW to QLD – so for the first time we were separated by 900km!

However, as we’d developed a close relationship we were able to continue the friendship by writing letters to each other, with a phone call at times – this is before the advent of the internet, Skype and mobile phones.

We maintained connection as we continued our tertiary studies, dated, married and had children. On rare occasions we’d see each other on holidays. We may not see each other for periods of up to 5 years, yet we re-connect easily each time. We have a lifetime friendship, which is beautiful! Read more

Image by Mindaugas Danys via Flickr

No, No, No – Do you ever feel like that’s what you say all day?

Some days with our toddlers and children feel like they are filled with events which aren’t going well… the children are yelling at each other, or smearing paint on the floor, or hassling the cat, or jumping on the sofa. And we hear ourselves saying ‘No’ for the umpteenth time today… And the children don’t really seem to be listening to us!

Most of us ‘zone out’ if we hear words repeated over and over – meaning that they become less effective in their message because they are overused. ‘No’ may one of those words your child hears too often, and they lean to ignore it.

Do you wish there was another way? Well, here are some other ways to give the message ‘No’, without using that word!

  • The first is to tell the child what you want them to DO rather than what to ‘stop’. Instead of saying: ‘No, don’t jump on the sofa’… instead say: ‘Sit on the sofa, chairs are for sitting. If you want to jump let’s go out to the trampoline.’
  • Use distraction – Instead of saying: ‘No, don’t do xyz’ instead, ask them could they please get the cloth from the kitchen or get your glasses from the bedroom – most young children are keen to help.
  • Give them a choice. ‘Would you like to play Lego blocks now, or go out to the sandpit – you choose’ (to get them away from the dolls they are hassling over.)
  • Ask him to move away – ‘Please come here and help me with….’ Or ‘Please move away from Sarah and let’s read this book.’

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Image by National Assembly for Wales via Flickr

Activities to Enhance Literacy Skills

Do you often find yourself wondering what you can do for fun with your child today?

There are many simple activities you can do, which will also help your child’s emerging Literacy skills.

Literacy includes development in the areas of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

Here are some activities which you can start today:

  • Read the cereal box together – this may be looking at the picture, asking the child if they can guess which words say: ‘Rice Bubbles’ and asking them if they can see any letters which are in their own name.
  • Draw pictures (both of you) of your favourite foods – ask the child to describe hers, and whether she’d like you to write the words under her picture (showing her that spoken words can be put down on paper).
  • Go into the backyard or for a walk and collect leaves or rocks. Sort them into size groupings and using language to describe them eg small, big, biggest. Or sort them according to color eg grey, white, brown, dark brown. Or sort them according to weight etc. Count them – ‘How many do you have – do you know how to write the number 8?’

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Image by Travis Swan via Flickr

Magic Moments

Have you ever had your child calling: “Mum, Mum, come and look at this.” You go and it’s a dead cricket. At that moment in time you have a choice to make…. To either engage in the moment with your child or to dismiss it/ them. You can either talk with them about what they’ve found, ask questions about what they think happened or what they think they should do with the cricket, thereby making it a time of learning, understanding and connection. Or, you can dismiss it with: “Its dead, leave it alone” or “Is that all, I was in the middle of doing dishes!”

 

One way helps the child feel connected with you, that you have time for them, and that what they have to say or show you is of value to you.

The other way – if said often enough- gives the message that you aren’t interested in what they like, and that dirty dishes are more important than them.

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