We stopped using time outs in our household about three years ago when we discovered Janet Lansbury’s wonderful blog and began to follow Magda Gerber’s RIE parenting philosophies. Prior to that time, we followed popular advice to enforce a short time out (1 minute per every year of age) to try to steer our spirited and strong-willed child towards more suitable and compliant behaviour.
Just under a year ago, as I looked across the room at my then 2 and 3 year old girls staring numbly at the television screen, I began to contemplate what life would be like here without TV.
We didn’t use it all the time. I mean, it came on once a day, maybe, for 30 minutes to possibly an hour. The shows were always screened for suitability and it was usually something pretty tame like Playschool or Dora or Peppa Pig. Continue reading
Children create mess, that we can be sure of. But how much mess is too much? Should children take more responsibility and tidy up after themselves? It obviously comes down to the ages of our children and our own tolerance levels but when children upend baskets of toys, take their art work to the wall, pull towels out of the linen cupboard as props for their play and empty the clothes out of their drawers to make jumping castles, there comes a time when it is ok to say ENOUGH!
Why teenagers don’t talk to their parents…
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 of the ‘little things’ they face in their early years (which are actually big things to them) then chances are they will have a hard time opening up about the big things when they grow older.
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?
Dr. Therese O’Sullivan is a dietitian, lecturer and mother to two young boys. She also happens to one of my closest friends, having spent many mornings and afternoons sharing a commute with her to and from school each day on the train, playing in sporting teams together, sitting through classes together and hanging out every lunch break.
Over the years, life circumstances and distance meant our relationship grew apart somewhat until the powerful bond of motherhood drew us back together. I was so grateful and honoured, therefore, when Therese agreed to write the very first guest post for PPCK on a topic that I am sure we have all struggled with at some point – nappy changes and tooth brushing.
Upon hearing about RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) from Kate when my first-born was little, many of the principles made sense. However, it wasn’t until my cheeky monkey started pushing boundaries that I really saw RIE work its magic.
Two experiences have stood out – nappy changing and tooth brushing.
We have been through our fair share of sibling toy fights with our daughters’ fiery personalities and close age gap. Thankfully, since following the wise advice of Janet Lansbury and the RIE parenting philosophy, we are now seeing less and less of these battles as our children are both developing in emotional maturity and have now had significant practice at working through conflict before it gets to the kind of all in brawls we have been used to in the past.
But what do you do as a parent when your children enter the ring for a wrestling match over a toy? Whilst it is important that they are given every opportunity to work through the conflict themselves, they do require parental presence and guidance to help keep them safe. Parental support will also give them the confidence to see the conflict through and find their own resolution.
There’s something truly special about Christmas; magical even! I defy anyone not to turn their head in awe as they drive by a brightly decorated house, lit up in all it’s Christmas splendour or to feel that extra bit excited seeing the shopping mall Christmas tree standing proud, adorned in its ornate beauty.
Having children makes Christmas all the more enchanting. Their trusting innocence brings Christmas magic to life. Their eyes bright with wonder, they believe in all the enchanting fairy tales that accompany the Christmas story, and so, it is hard not to get caught up in their excitement and joy. Sometimes, though, the excitement and joy that we feel on their behalf is not quite what children feel. It is important that we stay mindful during the festive season and remain sensitive to the perceptions and needs of our youngsters.
My tips for keeping the Christmas Season Joyful and jolly for the whole family are based around enjoying the time to the full whilst remaining mindful and treating children with respect. Continue reading