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Effective ways to communicate with your son or daughter

Effective ways to communicate with your son or daughter

You look at your children’s angelic little faces, feeling overwhelmed by how much they mean to you, and you just wish they’d come with a manual; a blueprint so that you could be sure you were doing everything right!  Unfortunately that’s not possible but there are effective ways to communicate with your son or daughter, to encourage them to communicate effectively with you, which will help you to meet their needs and make being their parent a worthwhile experience.

First the basics:

  • Take a genuine interest in what your child is saying to you. The subject may seem trivial, even silly, but remember it is very important to them.
  • Never fake a laugh or other reaction, your child will know and will not appreciate it.
  • Encourage and allow them time to communicate, never try to finish their sentences or tell them to hurry up. This is their time, their chance to talk and to share with you.
  • Do not try to fix problems for them. Remember your child will just want to share their day but usually they will not want you to change things for them.
  • Give them your undivided attention. Do not have the television on, attempt to do housework, talk to their siblings or your spouse, or allow yourself to be otherwise distracted at the same time.

Tips:

  • Set aside a time each day that is your talking time together.
    • Some people find family mealtimes effective, where each family member takes turns at sharing their day.
    • Others find it more effective to have individual talking time with each child when they come home from day care or school, before other older siblings arrive demanding attention.
  • If you have a number of children, individual chats with each one of them when they are in bed is a good time for chat.
  • Use an activity such as baking or colouring in to encourage your child to communicate and express their feelings to you.

 

effective ways to communicate

 

Why my toddler doesn’t want to share!?!

Why my toddler doesn’t want to share!?!

Is there a reason why my angelic, soft haired little toddler turns into a red faced, foot stamping, screaming entity if I ask him to share?

The answer could be more obvious than you think

His brain is not wired to share

Research shows that your toddler’s brain is not wired to share. Play is the most important thing for a toddler and the toy they are absorbed in at that time is pivotal to their world.  To ask them to share it therefore, is like asking you to share a good book after 5 minutes of absorbed reading. You would feel confused, interrupted and frustrated. Wouldn’t you?!

Why then, should we expect our children to do what we would find extremely difficult, somewhat unfair and unnecessary?

He feels a strong sense of ownership

Toddlers feel a much stronger sense of ownership to their objects than we do as adults. They therefore find it legitimately challenging to share their belongings, especially favourite items.  Research shows that your child does not understand that if someone else plays with his toy that it is still his. He feels that for the toy to be his, he must have it in his hands. Therefore he feels he might lose it if someone else is holding it.

Taking your child to toddler group or sending them to nursery lets them socialise with other toddlers, teaching them the concept of sharing and turn-taking. By using the toddlers group or nursery’s toys they understand that not all toys belong to them exclusively. That each child has equal rights to every toy; thus better understanding the meaning of ownership.

He has not yet mastered the cognitive skill of empathy

Toddlers have no ability to see things from adults’ perspective and let’s be honest, sometimes that ability is not something that adults find easy to master either.  Why then should we expect it, just instantly, in our children?

Instead of asking our children to share, we could encourage them to empathise by saying such things as: “It looks like Elizabeth is interested in the toy you have”.  If he isn’t ready to hand it over then ask him to tell Elizabeth that he is playing with it but that she can have it when he is finished.  In other words we respect people’s time with stuff.

If he does share then let him know that it made you feel good when he shared.

Allow him to have special toys that are his alone

There will be times when your toddler absolutely has to share. For example if he is hosting a playdate.  Tell him so and point out that this is what being a good host means.  However, allow him to put away special toys that he really doesn’t want to share. This will show him respect and encourage the same in return.

 

*The good news is that this stage will pass. Your child will not always be possessive. As he gets older and starts to socialise more, he will learn the social and cognitive skills necessary to allow him to become more apt to share

 

HAVE PATIENCE!

Learn to share

Toddlers learn to share through socialising

Help!! Which childcare should I use?

So you’re on maternity leave, sitting with your feet up; having just gotten your head around being a Mummy to the small person who just arrived in your life, when you realise that in no time at all, you will have to go back to work. What options do you have out there for childcare? The very thought of it is making your head spin! Is a childminder better? Are relatives better? Is a nursery better?
You just relax, drink your tea and let me help you with that………
It is daunting to think that you will have to hand your baby to someone you barely know and not see him all day. All the questions going through your head make you feel sick, is he crying, has he eaten, is he loved and given hugs? These are thoughts all parents have had at some stage.
However, whatever option you choose, your child will be loved, well cared for and definitely hugged. Childminders and nursery staff are qualified, experienced, registered with Social Services which means that they are police checked and vetted. They also are obliged to attend several training courses to do with child development, child protection and areas of learning. Most importantly, there are no childminders or nursery staff out there who don’t love babies and children. So love and hugs are guaranteed.

Childminder

Pros:         

  • Part of a small group
  • More individualised attention in a home setting
  • Children of all ages in one setting
  • All your children cared for together by the same childminder.
  •  Family friendly service, creating friendships that often last for years
  • Flexible pick up and drop off times
  •  Same opportunities for learning and development as children in other childcare settings.
  •  Childminders go on many training courses and are inspected regularly
  • Cheaper than Daycare nurseries
  • Could offer evening/weekend childcare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cons:

  • No back up childcare if childminder is ill or on holiday
  • Babies and toddlers may spend long time in a car if childminder has to do school pickups and drop-offs
  • Childminder may not have other children of your baby’s age to play with
  •  You will have to use annual leave or unpaid parental leave if your childminder is unavailable at short notice
  • Will the childminders own children be given preferential treatment over your baby?
  • Child safety could be an issue sometimes. Someone once asked “How does it work when the childminder goes to the toilet”.
  • Some don’t do weekends and bank holidays
  • You have to provide your baby’s food. So a lunch box needs made every day.
  • No superior to complain to if not happy with small issues

Nursery

Pros:

  •  Structured learning and set routines which is ideal for babies
  • Staff work with you to settle your child in
  • Trained staff create a safe, happy and stimulating environment
  • Wide variety of planned activities provided age appropriate
  •  Social, creative, communication, listening skills and physical development promoted
  • Play and learn in a group
  • Setting registered and regularly inspected by local authority
  • Your child’s development and milestones are recorded and reports are made for you.
  • Good knowledge of child development and you are kept informed
  • If your key worker is sick, there is always someone available to take over
  • All staff are trained in childcare, Paediatric 1st Aid, Child protection, Child Development ….
  • You have management to complain to if not happy with something
  • Healthy eating is promoted and children copy and learn from each other to eat well
  • Healthy meals are provided for your baby every day.
  • Able to accommodate dietary requirement
  • Inspected by Environment Health Department annually
  • Outdoor play is part of everyday activities
  • Children interact and make friend with other children of their age
  • Tax credits and Childcare Vouchers available for low income earners
Cons:

  • Set opening and closing times.
  • Closed weekends and bank holidays
  • Extra charge if late pickup
  • Some Day nurseries take one to two weeks off in summer
  • Alternative childcare required when child is ill – Although some think it’s good for your baby’s immune system
  • Mixing with lots of children – illnesses are more likely
  • Less likely to get one to one attention than with a childminder or an aupair
  • Cost more than childminder
  • Some don’t offer flexible hours
  • Waiting list at some well established nurseries
  • Your toddler may not want to come home with you at the end of the day. But don’t feel disheartened

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relatives

Pros:         

  • Cheapest childcare option
  • Someone both of you know and trust
  • Personalised standard of care – relative always in child’s life
  • Familiar surroundings – can stay in own or relatives home
  • One to one care
  • Less children in the setting therefore less colds and flus
  • If child is sick relatives are happy to mind than childminders or day nurseries
  • Possible visits to other family members
Cons:

  • May be harder to establish a working relationship
  • Different ideas about what’s best for your baby – may cause tensions
  • Relatives are not usually trained in childcare so you will have to provide age appropriate activities
  • You will need to take time off if your relative is sick or on holiday
  • Relatives may have less energy
  • Your child may not have other children to interact with – Not as many options for socialising

 

My advice would be:

  •  to ask around, search online and in social media.
  • visit different childminders and day nurseries months in advance to make your mind up.
  • You can visit twice if you want, good nurseries will not mind that.
  • Write down all questions you want to ask and don’t be shy asking lots of questions.
  • Look for the ones with Open Door Policy, those are the ones who do what they say they do, they don’t have to polish it up for your visit.
  • Always check the time of year a childminder goes on holiday.
  • Some nurseries are open all year
  • Some nurseries have a waiting list and you may get disappointed if you contact them last minute.
  • If you go for a nursery, here is an article about Signs of a Good Daycare Nursery to help you decide.

Remember when deciding which childcare to use, bear in mind that what you see as a disadvantage could be an advantage to someone else. It’s best to base your decision on what feels right for you and your baby.
Sand Pit

The Importance Of Outdoor Play

The Importance Of Outdoor Play!

Do you remember as a child, those long sultry days playing in the sunshine; running around with the dog; playing ball; climbing trees; picnicking in the woods or skipping rope with your siblings?  Remember your Mum saying “away you go out and play” and staying out until it got dark or you were called in for dinner?  Did it do us any harm?  No, not even when we ate wild strawberries or carrots without washing them or used a blade of long grass for a whistle that had ‘cuckoo spit’ on it.  We had frequent snotty noses and permanently cut knees but we were happy and healthy and nothing really bad ever happened to us.

Can the same be said for our children??  Sadly the answer is no!  More and more in recent years children are finding more sedentary indoor play, more television, video and computer games.  Technological advances have led to greater access to social media on phones and tablets and this coupled with increased fear amongst adults in relation to children’s safety, mean that sadly it is becoming increasingly rare to see children laughing and playing together out of doors.

Here’s why the benefits of outdoor play outweigh the risks

  • Outdoor play supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being.
  • Outdoor play improves mood and helps with depression and stress – things which are increasing problems for our children.
  • Learning outside gives children contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons – making the rain gauge and measuring the rainfall; splashing in the puddles and standing letting the snowflakes fall on your face
  • Playing outside helps children to understand and respect nature, the environment and the interdependence of humans, animals, plants, and life cycles – remember when we used to watch bugs on the grass; ants scurrying along; spiders with their babies on their backs; hold butterflies and count the spots on ladybirds?
  • Outdoor play also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness – remember making that tent with sticks and an old blanket or the den with cardboard boxes?
  • Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences and outdoor
    play with its sensory smorgasbord and vast opportunity for physical play supports brain development and the creation of neural networks.
  • Outdoor play helps children learn to assess risk and develop the skills to manage new situations.
  • Learning indoors can be developed outdoors – biology and geography about the world around us can be built on, thus the teaching becomes real, creating much more interest and enthusiasm in learning.
  • Anyone who takes children outside regularly sees the enjoyment, and sense of wonder and excitement that is generated when children actively engage with their environment.

FACT: Outdoor play creates healthier, happier children, who suffer less physical and mental illnesses!

The importance of Outdoor Play

Bedwetting

 

Bedwetting can be distressing for both children and parents. Understanding what the possible causes might be will help to reassure both parents and children that it’s a common issue, no one is to blame and, most importantly, that it’s out of a child’s control. Here are some reasons for bedwetting in the older child…

  • Family history – if one parent had history of bedwetting as a child, there is around a 40% chance that their child will too. If both parents wet the bed, the odds can rise to around 70%.
  • Missed signals – for some children the connection between the brain and the bladder to signal it is full has not yet been developed.
  • Small bladder capacity – some children have a smaller than average bladder capacity.
  • Lack of hormones – some children do not produce a high enough level of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), produced at night to slow down the production of urine by the kidneys so we don’t have to wake up to urinate.
  • Constipation – the constipated bowel literally “leans” on the bladder and causes the bladder to empty before it is full.
  • Urine Infection – if having a wee is causing your child pain or if they are passing urine much more frequently than usual, talk to your doctor.
  • Caffeine – it is a scientific fact that caffeine stimulates the bladder to produce more urine
  • Individual/Specific intolerances/irritants – everyone is very different but it is worth keeping a food/drink diary to make sure that a specific food or drink isn’t causing the bedwetting. Some have argued that spicy foods or citrus foods and fruit juices cause bedwetting whereas a personal friend found that all juice, diluted or pure and especially blackcurrant juice caused bedwetting in her older child.

 

So what should we do to help with bedwetting.

  • Rule out any medical reasons – take the child to the doctor if you suspect urinary tract infection or constipation.
  • Rewards – use this if it works for your child but not if it appears to make him feel inadequate or disappointed, if he “fails”.
  • Offer support, understanding and encouragement – make sure he knows he is not to blame!
  • Increase bladder capacity – give your child plenty to drink during the day (medically proven).
  • Limit caffeine intake late afternoon and evening – Give tea, cola, energy drinks, chocolate/hot chocolate/chocolate ice-cream/brownies etc. early in the day only.
  • Take head to the findings of your food/drink diary – Limit foods that cause problems for your child, either to earlier in the day or if this is still a problem then cut them out of your child’s diet altogether.
  • Double bubble – make the bed using plastic protection and sheet then plastic protection and sheet, so the child can get himself a fresh bed in the nighttime. Remember to leave fresh underwear and pyjamas too.
  • Alarm system – wearing an alarm at night which sounds on feeling wetness.

 

Above all else remember that most children grow out of bedwetting all by themselves, so hang in there!!Bedwetting

 

What is Christmas to our children?


Remember the excitement of wakening up on Christmas morning and realizing Santa had been; the running fast down the stairs to see what he had brought and playing all day with your new toys. Your parents trying to get you to eat some breakfast in among the excitement and the smell of Sunday dinner which somehow seemed to permeate through the house all day. Remember how it was even more exciting if there was snow – building a snowman together and dressing him up or pelting each other with snowballs; going down slopes on a sleigh, a plastic box, basin or whatever would slide; the cold on your hands and your nose and then coming inside for hot chocolate and warm up beside the log fire. The sparkle of the Christmas tree lights and eating chocolate from your selection box. Everything seemed so exciting and you just didn’t want the day to end!

What is Christmas to our children?

Is it the same as Christmas was for us or has Christmas 2015 become something totally different?
• There is so much more internet shopping now –Children can look at all the toys right at their fingertips on laptops and IPad; they can go browsing in Argos or Smyth’s toy store, just with the flick of a switch and the touch of a button; children have more of a selection to choose from.
• Everything is either a gadget or involves technology – if it doesn’t make a noise, have flashing lights, move or have some function, it’s not wanted; and that applies from the youngest child to theeldest – ‘A mum watched as a young child began to bash his book off the floor, and not understanding his frustration asked him for an explanation, to which his answer was “turn it on Mammy, turn it on.”
• But, do children need lots of toys, the latest gadget, loads of sweets and the latest must have technology, in order to be truly happy? Do we need to put ourselves into debt, max the credit cards and end up paying off Christmas for the next 6 months; in order to feel like we have given the children all they need/want/deserve? – The answer was given to us by the children themselves in a recent survey where children were asked what they wanted or needed for Christmas! Some of the answers were “soft towels that smell good”, “school books”, “Dad not to hurt Mummy”, “white socks size 3-8,” “school bag,” “drink bottle,” “my sister to be well,” “somebody to love me and spend time with me.”
So don’t worry if you can’t afford the latest and greatest or the most expensive toy in the toy shop, research shows that all is well if children’s basic needs are met and all is OK in their world.
Your children will be happy if you spend time with them, bake or colour in or craft activities; take time to really hear them and respond to their needs. Time is the greatest gift you could give your children!
Annettepresents

Hi folks! I thought perhaps I should introduce myself to you all. I do hope you have been enjoying the blogs I have been writing since October, as much as I have enjoyed writing them! My name is Annette and I am Mum to a 17yr old daughter. I have a degree in Early Childhood studies and I have worked in the Early Years sector for some 20 years; as a child minder, sponsored child minder and foster carer and during that time have had a great deal of practical experience in working with children. My interest remains firmly in the Early Years sector and issues surrounding children! If you would like to see any specific topics covered in the blogs, email through the contact tab, and let me know. Thanks!  Annette

Eight reasons Why is socialising important for children from baby stage?

You’ve just got the housework done, the daily load of washing on, the baby down for her nap, and you’ve finally managed to get your face washed; and all before midday, yippee!!  You’re contemplating a nice cuppa and a well-earned rest when you realise the time, give a groan and think do I reaaaaaaaalllllly have to take my toddlerto Mums and Tots??  Here’s why it’s important……

Eight reasons Why is socialising important for children from baby stage?

  • Helps to develop children’s confidence around other people – makes them less anxious about being away from their prime caregiver. Even if you are worried about something negative happening, for example, pushing or biting, these incidents are all part of developing life experiences.
  • Social skills can be learned and developed – the more opportunities your child has to develop that skill, the more comfortable and confident they will become in forming relationships with others.
  • Prepare children for when they start at nursery/school Socialisation helps children to become less anxious about being separated from their parents. If your child is used to being at home with you for the majority of the first few years of their life you may meet some resistance to leaving them for a school day!
  • Helps develop positive friendship bonds and emotional connections later in life – Child psychologists say that from birth children need to feel a sense of belonging and safety and this initial security will then help them to feel comfortable when forming positive friendship bonds later in life. If you are happy to befriend these other people your baby or toddler will be too.
  • Helps him to learn to share and take turns – socialising with other children will teach him how to share adults attention; the play space; and toys. It will also allow him to learn how to take turns with different toys and play equipment.
  • Encourages child to think of others – they learn that other people have feelings, needs, and desires just like they do. This means that if a child does not like the way someone is treating them, they can realize that that means that if they treat others that way, the other person is likely to get upset and feel hurt.
  • They can watch you and their carers modelling good social skills – they can see from the way you or their carers interact with others what is appropriate social behaviour.
  • Children learn acceptance of others – when children socialise with other children with varying abilities and disabilities they learn to accept everyone in exactly the same way. They learn to find ways of adapting play sothat everyone can join in; and helping others to enable participation becomes a natural part of life
  • DSCF1404DSCF1202                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

Ten tips to help your child overcome fears

As we approach Halloween with its bonfires, masks and folks dressed up, our thoughts, as ever, turn to the little ones in our lives. Dunking for apples, playing trick or treating around the neighbourhood; never to mention toffee apples, apple pies and all sorts of homemade treats (getting hungry here and that’s never good for me!!  ) Small and big kids love it! Seriously though, what do we do if our child is more scared than scary, more frightened than frightening, more fearful than fearless? What do we do if every time they see someone dressed up or wearing a mask we find we have difficulty walking because we have a small person attached to our leg or behind our back?!? Thankfully there is loads we can do to help them overcome their fears…..

Ten tips to help your child overcome fears

Listen to your child– make sure you listen why your child is afraid, or if he is too young to tell you then be sensitive to when he becomes clingy, and offer reassurance.
Talk to your child – make sure you tell him it’s ok to be afraid; tell him of a time in your life when you were afraid and what you did to overcome your fear.
Never belittle his fear – never tell him to “stop being a baby” or “stop being silly”. This will only make him stop sharing his fear with you.
Model being brave – never show your child your own fear – children will copy you so if he realises that you are not afraid he will not be afraid either. Your child believes if something is safe for you it is safe for him too. If he is scared of a mask or other object, buy one, touc
h it, show him what it is made of. Allow him the opportunity, if he wants to, of touching or wearing the mask or other object too.
Do not force your child to do something he is afraid of. Allow your child to take his own time to adjust and overcome his fears. Support him with all the love and care that you can.
Don’t freak out every time you think the child might hurt themselves – instead, just walk to him to assist and explain what he should and shouldn’t do for ensuring safety, in a calm manner.
Turn off the scary TV shows – (my own child was having nightmares and it turned out to be because she was watching Scooby-Do with her brother when she was too young and becoming afraid of fantasy; so we turned that show off for a few years). Also, let your child understand the difference between fantasy and reality by explaining to him, if possible, how movies and cartoons are made in a simple manner.
Offer to walk with the child through the house/room/area that they associate with fear – Open all the doors, look under the bed; use light to show that nothing is there. If your child is frightened by sounds or shadowy images, discuss what could actually be causing these sounds in a non-judgmental way.
Use humour to lessen the fear – Have the child describe to you the monster that he or she is imagining. Add silly things to that image, such as checkered underwear or a silly hat.
Read books about friendly ghosts and monsters or stories of Halloween – find and read stories about other children having similar fears and how they overcame them.

Above all else, make sure to have fun!!DSCF1001

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Fussy eater

For nearly a year after she turned one, my niece only ate sausages and dry Weetabix and drank lots and lots of milk every day! We worried about her health but she seemed healthy and in good form.
My son however ate whatever I gave him. Both were born in the same week and we spent lots of time together so they were offered fairly the same food at the same time. We couldn’t understand what made my niece such a fussy eater from a very young age.
Now 9 years old, both my son and my niece are of similar healthy built and eat a big variety of food.
Most parents will encounter the fussy eater at some stage in their toddler’s development, and the key thing is not to worry. Remember being a kid and maybe a fussy eater too? Remember how you never ate your greens until you were a teenager (perhaps not even then?!) and you seemed to turn out okay.
When it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner, kids will be kids, in that they’ll let you know exactly what they will eat and what they won’t. However, at this young age, it’s usually because they’re experimenting with lots of different flavours, food textures and yes, even colours, that makes them fixate upon certain foods.
Everything’s new when you’re young and being asked to taste all these dishes for the first time, it’s a bit stressful. So if your child sticks on a certain food, don’t make a big deal of it. If it’s a healthy food, great – encourage them to eat what they will, but try also to introduce small amounts of what you’d like them to eat alongside it. One fruit or veg at the time. No more!
No child can like all foods however, so when it comes to finding out what your child will eat, it’s all about trial and error. It also helps if you leave off bringing high sugary snacks into the mix until they’re around school-age. As they say – what you haven’t tasted yet, you can’t yet crave…

Fussy eater

Tantrum at three years old

‘I do it myself’ – we’ve all heard it, and it’s a phrase that can elicit everything from a knowing smile, to a shiver of dread. At three, our kids want to be just like us – they’re that little bit more independent and don’t they just love showing it? If they don’t get what they want, well, then it’s Tantrum at three years old time. And three-year-old tantrums are a little more epic, shall we say, than the twos’…

Two-years-old, we now realise, were nothing compared to this. Once they hit three, they’ve acquired a usable vocabulary – and boy, do they like to use it. Okay, they might not always make sense, but let’s face it – when you’re in the supermarket and your child’s cooking up a storm, is that really the point?

Speaking of supermarkets, a three-year-old no longer accepts what you try to feed them. Gone are the days when your adorable toddler will happily consume what’s good for them. No, at three, they become picky. They choose a food they like and they stick with it. If you’re lucky, they might settle on three foods they like (there’s that number again!), and woe betide you if you try sneaking anything else onto the plate!

Three-year-olds are great, but now that they’re potty trained (a minor miracle at the time), it means little accidents are an ever-present danger. Oh, and the toilets are never handy when you need them.

At three, kids want to dress themselves (slowly), attempt to do everything you do (very slowly), and quite frankly, when they don’t get their way – their Tantrum at three years old are on a whole new level. At three, kids can manipulate like there’s no tomorrow and bless them – it’s a talent they practice to the maximum. As for their motor skills? Improvements in that regard are usually best observed during a yelling and kicking-in-the-shins fit in the car park. Preferably a busy Saturday car park. Or maybe a quiet coffee shop…

The early years can definitely be trying, but look on the bright side – it’s only a phase, right?