I so clearly remember the non-stop nature of a day with a toddler.
One mess after the other to attend to.
The daily cycle of meals, washing and cleaning.
With the constant training, correcting and encouraging on top.
Yet, also committed to enjoying those precious moments each day that created treasures of the heart that I cherish today.
I was most intentional in my day.
I wanted a structure that would promote self-control and the teaching of internal virtues such as kindness, obedience and helpfulness, and a hundred more.
Time was precious.
I wondered if that season of intensity would ever end.
Now, I have three children who have finished school.
They are out and about with their studies, part time jobs, church activities and friends.
As they should be. It is an exciting time of transition for them.
It is a time of quietness for me.
I still teach four days a week, grade counselling papers every two weeks, speak about toddlers once a month, play tennis three times a week and run and play basketball weekly too. I am studying to complete my Masters of Biblical Counselling and am privileged to disciple a young lady. I attend my own church every Sunday morning and another one every second Sunday night. I enjoy reading, doing cryptic puzzles and playing my keyboard (very slowly) each evening. I am contemplating taking an art class next term. (Just for fun - my school students would ask me to draw just so they could laugh at my attempts!) I aim to do one fun thing with a friend or group of friends each weekend.
Yet I still have many hours on my own.
It is okay.
I am enjoying the solitude and the prayer time.
Time is still precious.
I want to use it wisely and for good.
So, young mum, take heart. Seasons do come to an end.
Each season has challenges and beautiful moments.
Embrace them all.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.
God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions.
We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks. . . . It is a strange fact that Christians and even ministers frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them.
They think they are doing God a service in this, but actually they are disdaining God’s “crooked yet straight path.”
I love this quote.
As mums, especially mums of little ones, our day seems FULL of interruptions.
We start a task several times, attend to numerous requests, and finally complete the task, if we remember what it was we were doing in the first place!
Or we set our child up for free play or room time or outside play, and then they call for our attention, and we feel frustrated that 'our' time has been eaten into.
Or, most frustrating of all, they come out again and again after we have put them to bed for the night and we fume - we have worked hard all day and now deserve some rest time.
Having our eyes set on eternity, changes all of this.
The constant requests are opportunities to teach into the lives of our children.
The calls for attention can be opportunities to create moments to treasure.
The night time issues can be an opportunity to evaluate the day and see where the boundaries are too loose so we can adjust and teach self-control into the heart of our children.
This is a most precious gift to give our children for ALL of their life.
Yes, our day is full of interruptions. However if we plan for them, then we can be prepared. My day never went as planned, a good day was 80 - 90 % on track. Many days were much less.
Our day is full of opportunities.
Monday, October 26, 2015
:)Open your eyes today.
In the midst of your fatigue, frustration and fog.
Look for that one special time in the day that is a memory maker.
Hug your precious wee one.
Run your finger over their soft cheek.
Enjoy the news they are sharing.
Breathe in the scent of your day.
Hold on to the moment.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
"But a shallow life lives on its
and largely on its circumstances.
Those with profound character, however,
look beyond all these,
and move steadily ahead,
seeing the future,
where sorrow, seeming defeat
and failure will be reversed."
from 09/09 STREAMS IN THE DESERT devotion book.
This thought really stood out for me this last week.
I work with teens who live each day based on the feelings and desires of the moment.
It leads to chaos and pain.
I work with other teens who are beacons of integrity and conviction.
They stand firm for truth against the tide and their peers.
It leads to light and life.
Helping our children see the big picture,
to look to the unseen things that last for eternity is a challenge.
It is a daily choice to focus on the things of God rather than the things of the world.
May you walk faithfully with eyes firmly on eternity.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
What is your expectation of your life journey?
Do you expect mostly sunshine and smooth roads?
Do you expect mostly rain and rocky paths?
Or are you expecting a mixture of terrains and circumstances along your life journey?
Well, that’s obvious, you think.
Of course life is a mixture.
However, what are you preparing your toddler for?
Do you entertain your toddler for every minute of the day or do you have a balance between focus play, side-by-side play and independent play?
Do you meet their every demand immediately of do you build in opportunities to develop patience by having them wait for a moment or two throughout the day?
Do you rush to help when they are frustrated or do you give them a minute or two to work it out themselves?
If they have a minor fall, do you fuss over them excessively, or do you encourage them to pick themselves up and keep playing?
If they wake in the night will you allow them 5 to 10 minutes to transition from one deep sleep cycle into the next or do you rush in immediately to comfort them?
Even at this early age, you can be laying a firm foundation for resilience in the tween and teen years.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Parenting Pre-schoolers: A Positive Practical Parenting Seminar
Questions from Dapto, NSW, Mums
If you take their dinner away uneaten, do you keep it in case they want to eat it later?
This is up to you.
I just gave them their milk at the end of the meal and moved on with the day. They would then eat at the next meal. This helped my toddlers learn very quickly that meal time was for eating. It also stopped food dominating the evening. Once dinner was over it was over.
How do I deal with my 4 year old’s bad response to my decisions?
You will do this with calm consistency.
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Do no change your decision. Stand firm and do not dialogue over the issue. Have an east-to-implement consequence and enforce this every time.
In times of non-conflict talk about appropriate ways to respond and the reasons why you need this response. Praise good choices.
How can I make toilet training a positive experience for my 3 year old?
Shopping together for big boy/girl pants before you start can add to the anticipation.
I did not expect my child to initiate at first so I simply added toilet visits to the pattern for the day.
So the chart would indicate when it was time to visit the bathroom.
Charts with stamps and stickers were helpful at first to motivate the new behaviour.
A small treat (e.g. one jelly bean) for each success was greatly enjoyed J
My 4 year old gets out of bed multiple times in the evening with excuses for another drink, toilet visit, a runny nose, itchy bite etc, etc, etc. What can I do?
This can be a cry for attention. This may mean they are either getting too much attention during the day and so are continuing to demand it at night. Or it may mean they are getting too little attention during the day and so are demanding it at night.
For both situations, it is important to balance the day with independent play activities and focused activities in-between the side-by-side activities that will dominate the day.
Independent play activities will ensure that the child is learning self-play adaptive skills and can learn to be content with their own company. Examples include room play, outside play and video watching.
Focus play activities will ensure they feel loved and important. A few minutes of undivided attention from the parent will ensure their emotional love tank is full and they do not need to act out to receive attention.
Before bedtime role play the expected response and explain the reward for obedience and the consequence for disobedience. Your calm consistency will reap fruit.
My little 3.5 year old wakes up at night from her dreams. She is not hungry or thirsty. How should I respond?
This could be the result of a number of issues.
First check that there is no physical reason for this such as illness or being too hot or cold, an outside noise or too much or too little light.
Then check to see if she can explain what is happening.
Then check her input during the day. Is it a screen image or book story that has caused the upset? An active imagination can be quite sensitive to this.
Then check your weekly schedule. Are you out every day? Over stimulation can cause disrupted sleep.
Finally check your daily schedule. Is there a balance between quiet, alone activities and noisy, busy activities with others? Constant noise, movement and people stimulation can also cause disrupted sleep.
When she does wake, calmly, quietly and quickly resettle her. This will teach her that night time is for sleeping.
Parenting Pre-schoolers: A Positive Practical Parenting Seminar
Questions from Dapto, NSW, Mums
How do I night toilet train a 4.5 year old?
Check out my website
for a long answer to this question J.
How do I encourage self-play that is not with an electronic device?
This is so important. If they are small, you can start with one or two playpen times each day. Just have a few toys in there so not to overwhelm them with over-choice.
If they are toddlers or older, start them in room play for a small section of each day. Choose the same time each day (I chose straight after breakfast) and choose one bucket of toys (e.g. blocks or cars or animals) for them to play with. Explain that they can play right here until the music sounds. Keep the time short at first and gradually increase it.
Have outside play each day. This is important for developing gross-motor skills
Have table time each day for colouring, pasting and cutting. This is important for developing fine-motor skills.
Have a set time each day for electronic device play with a set start and end time. Not just before bed!
What should I do if my 3 year old just sits and will not eat dinner?
I would give them their milk and move on with the evening. If this is a pattern, then observe their eating pattern for the day. Ensure that snacks and juice are limited so they have a good appetite by dinner time. If it happens only occasionally, then don’t be too concerned. The appetites of the under 5’s can vary greatly due to growth spurts, teething and illness.
What do you do if your child is still fussing a few minutes after you have isolated them?
Just leave them.
They are not in pain or in danger or in need.
They are simply expressing their displeasure at your decision.
When they are calm, you can pick them up, give them a big cuddle and continue on with your day.
How do you get two parents on the same page?
This is so important. It is very rare to have both parents with exactly the same ideas on parenting. There needs to be lots of discussion. When an issue arises, it is okay to take a few minutes to work out how to respond. You will both have to compromise a little and come up with ‘our’ way of parenting rather than ‘’my’ or ‘yours’. No one response will make or break your child, so even if you later think you were too hard or too soft in one situation, it is totally okay to adjust for the next time.
How do you leave your child in crèche if they are unhappy?
It is best to leave quickly. Prolonging the goodbye usually escalates the situation.
If possible, hand your child to the same carer each time. That will help create familiarity and security for your child.
Say the same thing each time. I would say, “Have a happy time, I will be back soon.” This again creates familiarity and security and is the verbal cue for your departure.
Let the carer know that you are happy to be called back if your child hasn’t settled in 10 – 15 minutes. This time frame gives them a chance to hopefully become interested in a toy or activity that will distract them from your absence.
It can also be helpful to practice leaving and returning in other situations during the week. This helps your child learn that mummy always comes back.