Bright Shiny Things

I’m wondering what image these words evoke in your mind? For some it could be Christmas baubles on the tree, others might think of diamond jewellery, others the shimmer of the moonlight glistening on the water and others the magic of a sparkly rainbow.

 

For each of us, the words ‘bright, shiny things’ creates a different image in our minds, yet the words are the same for each of us. What it really means is something (an object) which attracts our attention and is something which we desire, and it also probably helps to create a smile on our faces!

 

I’m lucky enough to be having a mini-break for a few days. In Tasmania it’s winter, it’s cold and today has a grey sky. This morning I went for a walk on the beach, and as I walked my eyes were drawn to a small, beautiful piece of driftwood laying in the sand – pale in colour and well tumbled by the ocean. It was smooth to touch and for me was a ‘bright shiny thing’. It appealed to me and I bought it back, so I could continue to admire it. It definitely brings a smile to my face, and will continue to remind me of a few beautiful days here. Read more

8 ways to enjoy messy play at home

8 Ways to Enjoy Messy Play at Home

How many of you breath a sigh of relief, when the Playgroup or Kindergarten your child attends does Messy Play – I mean it gets you off the hook right? No paint at home, no playdough on the carpet, no glue stuck to the table – phew!

Have you ever asked yourself, why the Playgroup teacher/ co-ordinator seems to be so keen on providing messy play for the children?

Educators know that children learn through all their senses, of touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. We aim to provide activities which stimulate the senses – know as Sensory Play. Messy play is one type of sensory play.

It is particularly important for young children’s development, as it allows them to explore a variety of mediums; to develop their tactile skills; and in some cases also their fine motor muscles. It also allows an opportunity for language development (words such as rough, smooth, crunchy, cold, slimy etc) and for the child to expand their thinking skills.

Sensory activities facilitate exploration, and encourage children to learn while they play, create, investigate and explore the materials provided.

Here are some easy Messy Play activities to do at home to assist your child to grow and learn even more: Read more

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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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

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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Man and Woman hugging their young daughter

What Do Children Need from their Parents?

We all know that children need food, clothing and shelter to ‘survive’, but besides the basic needs, how do we truly grow them into curious, strong, resilient children?

When your baby cries, s/he is telling you something – eg I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’ve have wind. As parents our response determines what message the child gets. For example if the baby cries because they are hungry, and you feed them, they learn that you will give them what they need. As you consistently do this, they learn that they can trust you to continue to meet their needs, and this is called building Secure Attachment. When you do this, it also creates new ways of understanding for the baby in his/her brain, ie new brain cells (known as neurons) are formed.

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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. 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

Anxious Child

How do I Help my Anxious Child?

I was recently asked by a parent of a 6 year old, ‘How do I help my child who worries a lot. He’s anxious, but won’t always tell me what’s going on?’ First thing – give him regular hugs and tell him how much you love him – that’s always a good start!

The following will give you some ideas on how to assist your child if they have a tendency to worry or be anxious.

 

Where did the anxiety come from?

It’s always useful to look at the background of the child… the parents, the home and the past experiences. Sometimes there is an overly anxious parent who constantly gives children messages to: ‘be careful’, to ‘watch out’, or ‘you might get hurt’. When children are told this often enough, they start to believe that their world isn’t safe. In regards to the home situation – has there been a trauma? eg a death, a serious accident, or parents separating, where there’s been a lot of heightened emotions – some children tend to make this mean that’s there’s immediate danger to them or those around them – they fear ‘bad stuff’ will happen to them. There are also children who have been affected by alcohol or drugs when in utero. When a woman uses these during pregnancy, they can affect the developing foetus, and may cause brain changes, which can affect a variety of functions, including being anxious or lacking impulse control. Obviously we can’t change what has already happened in the past, so let’s look at what we can do now, and also in terms of building resilience in children.

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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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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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