Showing posts with label toddlers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toddlers. Show all posts

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

5 Things I'm Ashamed to Have Done to My Kids (that I still see happening all the time)

There's never been a time when I considered myself a "bad" mother. Since I've been one for fourteen plus years now though, I'd be remiss if I hadn't done some learning along the way, and if there's a parent who has not changed their style at least a little bit in the course of raising an adult, I really don't want to know them.

So there's no judging going on here. OK there's a little bit of judging, but it's the internal sort, whereby you judge, and then think I used to do that until I found a better way so you stop being critical. Still, you feel sad that they haven't learnt, or have and then decided they were fine all along, and you feel guilty for judging and a little bit superior and smug.

Yeah, I over think things quite a lot.

1) Telling your kid not to snatch, then forcefully removing said object (snatching) from the child to return it to the snatchee
I see this all. the. time. Parents and teachers do it obliviously. They must do, because I never see the furtive, embarrassed glance-around afterwards that would occur if they realised the hypocrisy. Actually, one time I stayed at daycare with my youngest to settle him for the first half hour because he was becoming more and more unhappy being there. The carer did this twice while knowing I was there trying to figure out why he was unhappy. And then she...

2) ...said hey, can I have a look at that? and prised a toy from another kid's hands. He then tried to take it back, so she held it away from him, where he couldn't reach, and made him parrot "please can I have that toy?" after her.
She looked at me for approval after that. A look that smugly said: see how I teach them manners? We left then. And after two more times of my little one screaming and crying when he realised we were going (not when I was leaving; it's not a separation thing at all), we withdrew him from that place completely. But I've done it too. I can point at that daycare and say: "look, how horrible" but the truth is, for my eldest, that would have been situation normal.

3) Spanking, smacking, physical punishment, whatever the kids are calling it these days.
This is a hard one to admit, but there was a time when I even advocated for it. I decided myself and tried to convince others that it was the only way to reprimand a child who didn't have the vocabulary to understand your, what I considered must be, lectures. Until one day about 10 years ago, when my daughter was curled on the floor with her hands over her bottom and I realised I was angry at her, really furious at her, for trying to stop me from smacking her. And I recognised that for the atrocity that it was. It genuinely took another six or seven years for me to get to a point where I didn't feel like smacking - to change my brain chemistry to the point where I automatically thought "how can I help?" instead of "stop it you little...."

4) Sat with my kids at the table until they'd finished every last bite of their dinner.
At the time, I thought I was doing right; teaching them not to be wasteful and such. What I ended up with though, was one child, my poor first born who wore the worst of everything, who now finds it difficult to leave anything on the plate, even if she's so full she feels sick. I should have known better, I think. I myself am unable to eat when I have a blocked nose, because I'm unable to breathe. Breathing through my mouth is not an option for me whilst eating. Thankfully I didn't do this for very long. Just long enough to do damage, obviously, but now, at 14 years old, she's just beginning to figure out the food quantities that are right for her.

5) Told them if they didn't hurry up, I'd leave without them.
It seems fair on the face of it, but the bottom line is that I now have an 11 year old who panics when we say we'll wait for him in the car. It's not the relatively good sort of panic where you do things in double time, but the awful, paralysing kind where you can't think, let alone act, and everything just becomes too hard. Poor guy. We're working on it.

This isn't a full list, by any means; I'll probably write another post next week entitled, "5 MORE things..." and I could maybe even write a third post. But there are a lot of things I've done right, as well. And one of those things I've done right, is learning from all the things I've done wrong. Well... all the things I've come across anyway.

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image credit

Friday, 12 October 2012

10 Times The Rainy Day Toddler Fun

Make Playdough!

playdough photo credit

It's completely easy to make. You do need to use boiling water, but kids can help with all the rest and they can help knead it all together when the dough has cooled enough to touch. Here's a recipe:

1 1/2 cups salt
3 cups flour
6 tbsp cream of tartar
3 cups boiling water
3 tbsp cooking oil
food colouring

Mix all ingredients together. Store in a plastic bag or airtight container. Makes approximately 1.5kg.

You can add glitter for sparkle, or even powdered cordial in place of the food colouring to create different colours and smells (though it's still going to taste disgusting if it gets in their mouth).

Play with the playdough you just made.

'Cause let's face it, everyone loves playing with the dough. For the littlest fingers, it's sensory fun, cause and effect and learning motor skills. Older kids, (and me) learn to think spatially, plan their creations, stretch their imagination and strengthen their concentration. Who could ask for more?

Well, since you do ask for more (because I assume you're a smart-a*se like me) they also learn through role-play (think pretending to be a baker), about shapes and which ones are stronger, physics - how to strengthen their structures, and about art.

Playdough is epic.

Build a fort

fort photo credit

A classic activity for all kiddos, but most of the time we forget, being the adults that we are! Forts are awesome fun to make up, and knock down and make up and knock down, pretending to make a house of cards out of the cushions and using them as gymnastics mats. And then when you have the fort perfect, it's time to clamber inside with a book and torch or some picnic food. Stories and eating are what people do every day, but they're made just that bit more special and memorable in a different place.

Feed the ducks and jump in puddles

duck photo credit

Really, there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes for the weather. Kit out in raincoat, umbrella and boots and find some ducks to feed. You'll probably be the only ones there, and ducks, funnily enough, think it's great weather!

While you're at it, jump in some puddles. Hunt for and count all the worms that have emerged onto the paths. Shake droplets out of tree-branches onto each other's umbrellas. Pick flowers. The outdoors in the rain is just as much opportunity as it is obstacle.

Take pictures!

take pictures photo credit

Get your digital camera or cellphone out and take photos together. Look at them and talk about them. Pull funny faces at the camera, dangle from the sofa, sing songs and let your little ones video you. Play it back for them. Play it again the next rainy day, and the next! Let them initiate how to take the pictures. Let them push the buttons. Keep the best pictures as a screen saver for your computer.

Chase raindrops

raindrops photo credit

Have raindrop races down window panes. It's not an activity that will keep kids occupied for hours, or even more than a minute or two, but it's something everyone should do and a memory every kid should have.

It's something they can look back on fondly during rainy days of their own, and repeat. A feeling of warmth that might hit them twenty years from now, stuck in traffic in the pouring rain. It's one of the little things in life.


dancing photo credit

Dance! Use up some of that wiggle that's driving you mad. If it's the middle of the year, then break out the Christmas tunes for something different and to jog everyone's memory back to awesome fun times. Play something bouncy and jiggly. Something that kids can remember and scream the words to. Join in! Try to dance just as crazy and sing just as loudly as they are. A favourite song at our place for this, is Snoopy's Christmas!

Blow bubbles inside.

bubbles photo credit

Blowing bubbles isn't just for sunny days. It's for days in the kitchen when you're going to mop the floor anyway! And you get to pop far more bubbles when the wind doesn't carry them away anyway. Probably best done after you've made and eaten your pizza!

Make pizza together, then eat it.

pizza photo credit

Pizza dough is almost as simple as playdough to make, and while it's rising you can be chopping up the toppings ready for everyone to create their own masterpieces.

Dough Recipe:
1 packet of the instant yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar, dissolved in 1 cup of warm water
Add it to 2.5 cups of plain flour and 2 tbls of your oil of preference.
Knead, cover and leave to rise.
When about double in size, shape into one big or several little pizzas and add toppings.
Bake in a medium oven for about 15 mins.

Easy peasy!

Let the kids decide and play along

Children need the opportunity to make decisions of their own. Maybe they have a favourite game they want to revisit, or perhaps they want to invent something completely new? Chances are they remember something they did while away from you that they might want to show you but don't yet have the words for. Allow them to direct their own play. They're the experts at it.

Play along. Enjoy the ride. It's OK for adults to be kids too, now and then.

When I was thinking these up, I remembered I haven't done some of them in a very long time, and it's time I stepped up and remembered how to be a kid again. They're the ones who know how to be free and unselfconscious. They get the job done.

Got any ideas you'd like to add? I want to hear them!

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