Wednesday, May 11, 2016




Parenting Toddlers is hard work.

 Days are full of activity and mess and chores and noise.

It is a season of setting patterns and boundaries and foundations.

Toddlers are wanting to be in charge of their day, and parents are gently showing them that they are in charge.

It is a busy season.

Wherever possible, say yes.

Say yes to fun – having a ‘midnight’ (closer to 8 pm) ice cream from a drive thru restaurant.

Say yes to new experiences – like experimenting with blocks of woods and nails.

Say yes to mess – like jumping in puddles while it is raining.

Say yes to memory makers – like eating lunch in the blanket house made in the playroom.

Say yes to stopping – like watching the snail or ants in the garden.

Say yes to learning – like reading a children’s picture dictionary together.

Say yes to silliness – dancing wildly to a special song.

Say yes to make-believe – sit and really play with them for 20 – 30 minutes a day and really enter the imagination with them.

Say yes to enjoying these precious moments of this season.

Say yes!




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

School Holiday Fun For Families

School Holiday Fun for Families

Do you look forward to the school holidays or dread them?
Do you end up spending more money than you planned?
Does your house end up a huge big mess?
Do you tire of being the argument referee?
Are you concerned about the amount of screen time you r children have each day?

Well, let’s make these holidays different!
Let’s have more fun, spend less money, keep the house a bit tidy,
work towards promoting sibling friendship and reduce screen time.

How?

Have a pattern for the week.
Try the pattern of having a day at home followed by a day out.
Aim for one cost event per week, with the other outing days focused on visiting parks, beaches, rivers or a friend’s house.

Have a pattern for the day.
Include outside play (2 hours in the morning and then two hours again in the afternoon). Let them use their imaginations and make up their own games to play. Have bats and balls and bikes and skates to encourage physical exercise. Maybe once a week have messy outside craft or painting or ‘building’ with nails and scrap wood.

Include independent play (1 hour in the morning and again in the afternoon). This gives each child a chance to play without interacting with another child. Make this non-screen time. Find a quiet place in the house for each child. Set some boundaries. Books and blocks and quiet toys are best for this. Your creative child may prefer to draw or write in this time. Leering to play independently is a great skill for life. It also gives you a break from negotiating sibling issues.

Include table play (30 – 60 mins twice a day). Have a set seat for each child at the table and have a small selection of activities to choose from according to their age. Playdoh, sewing cards, sticker books, activity books, board games, peg boards, threading beads, water painting, sorting activities and so on.

Chores time (15 – 30 mins twice a day). Holidays are a great time to train your children in new chores. Having a set time for this will ensure it is done and the house is kept tidy (well, tidier J). Having some loud, up-beat music playing during this time can help it get done in a set time and makes it fun too.

Family time after dinner each night is a lovely way to end each day. Sock Wars, board games an outside walk, a picnic supper in the back yard, charades, karaoke, acting out Bible stories, family concerts where everyone does an item and so on. Finishing it with a reading time can be a nice way to quiet everyone down for bed.

Have a plan for dealing with sibling conflicts. Have clear consequences that are meaningful for the age of your child. Isolation can be a helpful starting point and restitution is also important. If they have spoken an unkind word to a sibling, they can then make a card that contains five nice things about that sibling. Early bedtime was the most effective strategy for my kids, they enjoyed reading just before bed and were most reluctant to lose that special time.

Plan ahead, have a few surprises and enjoy these precious weeks J










Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Teaching Toddlers with Kindness

Teaching Toddlers with Kindness
Toddlers are concrete thinkers.

They live in the moment. They want what they want right now. They see things in black and white. They love repetition. They will put all the pegs into the container, and then take them all out of the container, over and over. They love to ‘read’ their favourite few books over and over and over. They enjoy having a daily pattern that is familiar and secure.

They learn through calmness and consistency.

So it is important to ensure that a ‘yes’ is always a ‘yes’.

It is also important to ensure that a ‘no’ is always a ‘no’.

Can they touch the remote control for the TV? If your answer is always yes, or always no, they will quickly learn to touch or not to touch  the remote control. If it sometimes a yes and sometimes a no, that is very confusing for their developing minds. The same action sometimes receives a smile and praise, and sometimes receives a frown and angry words. It seems unkind to them.

Can they jump on your bed? If the answer is always yes, or always no, they will quickly learn to jump or not to jump. If it is sometimes a yes and sometimes a no, they may jump when the bed has just been made or if there is neatly folded washing on the end of the bed. The same action sometimes receives a smile and attention, and sometimes receives a shout and harsh words. It seems unkind to them.

Do they get what they are fussing for when they throw a temper tantrum? If the answer is always yes or always no, they will eventually learn to tantrum or not to tantrum. If it is sometimes a yes and sometimes a no, then they will probably keep throwing tantrums in the hope that this time might be a yes. Sometimes receiving a consequence and sometimes not, is inconsistent and seems unkind.

Gentle authority that has clear boundaries, of ‘yes’ and ‘no’, are kind to your toddler. They can feel safe and secure knowing that yesterday’s boundaries are the same as today’s boundaries and they will be the same as tomorrow’s boundaries too.

Most importantly, the toddler is learning what your values are. 

Is integrity important? Then your ‘yes’ will be ‘yes’ and your ‘no will be ‘no. 

That is kind parenting.




Sunday, March 13, 2016







He has shown you,


 O mortal, what is good. 


And what does the LORD 


require of you?

 
To act justly

 
and to love mercy

 
and to walk humbly with your God.


Micah 6:8

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fun with your Toddler






Do you plan a bit of fun into each week?

It is nice for you and your toddler to have something to look forward to.
Dress up day on Friday.

Movie and popcorn watching on Saturday.

A trip to the lake to feed the ducks.

A discovery walk around the neighbourhood to look at the flowers.

A visit to the building site to watch the trucks at work (a huge favourite with one of my boys!)

Messy craft morning on Thursdays (keeping the clean-up to just once a week!)

Story time when you dress up and act out a story.

Picnic lunch at the park each Wednesday.

Or just have one day a week, e.g. FRIDAY FUN DAY, with a mystery fun time that you can organise on the spot or the day before depending on the weather or finances or current interests.
Enjoy having fun J



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A New Year






It is usually about this time of the year when the new pattern is finally established.

The training days for soccer are set, the dance class times are chosen, and the music lesson is booked.

I always like to have the weekly plan sorted for the new year.

Then I can work out the chores schedule for the week, and which little one would be helping 'cook' dinner on which night.

Having a plan is a helpful guide.

Having a flexible structure for the week is a helpful platform for ensuring all the bits and pieces of the week are fitted in and ensures that life is balanced.

Now, with young adult children, it is interesting to see how they choose to structure their week. Some have a little more planning than others!

Enjoy the year.

Enjoy the little moments.

Enjoy the milestones.

Have fun!