Can a child learn to swim without engaging in regular swimming lessons at a young age?
Before I attempt to answer this question I want to make something VERY clear. I believe learning to swim is an important development for all children. It is completely up to parents how they wish to approach swimming ‘lessons’. I completely understand that for some family circumstances, taking children to formal swim training is an important weekly activity and I am in no way against it. This post has been written to allay the fears of parents that their children will never learn to swim if they do not institute formal swimming lessons at an early age.
It could be argued that all children have high energy levels. Whilst we, the parents, would give anything to curl up in our favourite chair with a good book or even for a doze, our children fight sleep (energetically), and go and go and go as if they are endlessly plugged into the recharge dock.
But not all children are the same when it comes to energy. I know because I have one child who is most definitely high-energy and one who does not seem to possess the same incessant need to be on the go and active from dawn to dusk.
We are so lucky to be bringing our children up in a world full of some truly amazing and inspiring music. There are so many wonderful forms of music for children that it is not hard to find something that our little ones will enjoy. The thing is though that music is such a powerful tool but many of us simply let it wash over us as we go about our days, never fully appreciating its power to help us through our lives.
We all know that children can benefit greatly from listening to music. For years, studies have been conducted linking exposure to various music genres early in life with increased academic performance through schooling and beyond. But I have witnessed music do considerably more than just increase academic intelligence.
I once read that the teenage years can be likened to the toddler years. Both stages of life are a time of significant developmental change. Toddlers and teens alike experience significant body and mind development that can have them behaving in ways you have never seen. Just as they are figuring out who they are, we, as parents, struggle to understand the child we once thought we knew inside out.
But the thing is, that is what they need from us most of all; to understand. The way we interact with our young children, the words we use, the intonation in our voice and even our body language can have a huge impact on whether they will feel comfortable talking to us about the big issues they will inevitably face as teens. If we are not empathetic and understanding to the ‘little things’ they face in their early years (which are actually big things to them) then the chances are they will have a hard time opening up about the big things when they grow.
When we make the decision to provide an experience for our children that we feel will enrich their lives and bring them joy, happiness and fond memories, we really need to take a moment to stop and ask ourselves: Who is this experience for really? Is it more about satisfying our own need to see our children engaged in meaningful play? Do we seek to gain more from the experience than our children and if not, have we done everything we can to ensure they will not become too overwhelmed with the nature of the experience?
We tried in earnest to be mindful of the children; their routines and their sensitivities, but unfortunately we were not always at the top of our respectful parenting game during this period. Occasionally we put our needs and wants ahead of our children’s, ensuring no one’s need or wants were actually met.
We ran into trouble with one particular social event (Christmas lunch, no less) at which our children really struggled to relax and enjoy themselves in a
new environment. With the benefit of hindsight we have devised a plan to help our children cope more confidently when placed in unfamiliar places in unfamiliar circumstances.Continue reading →
Today, I choked back tears as I picked my youngest daughter up from her Family Day Care Mum for the last time. These emotions caught me by surprise as I was sometimes critical of this Mother’s care-giving methods, knowing they did not always align with my peaceful and respectful parenting philosophies.
What I realised today as I embraced this wonderful carer in what seemed like an empty gesture of gratitude, was just how thankful I am that she came into my daughter’s life. I understand now that when the care of my children is coming from a place of true kindness and love, the methods adopted do not always have to align with mine. This is an honest letter to her… Continue reading →
My child is not afraid to defy authority and I am not afraid to let her.
Ever since she could talk, my daughter has had something to say about the expectations placed upon her. Keen to stamp her independence firmly on every task or undertaking, L (3.5 years) has always ensured that if it involves her, she has a say in it.
Luckily for her, early on in her life we discovered the work of Magda Gerber and chose to adopt the respectful parenting practices that have guided new parents for decades, RIE. This practise has encouraged her freedom of expression and given her the opportunity to voice her opinion on matters big and small, whilst still being guided gently by her parents.