Your kids are bored? Fantastic!


It's the second week of the school holidays, the weather is lovely yet your kids are irritable because they are bored, fantastic!


Psychologists and child behaviourists tell us boredom is good for kids as it encourages creativity whereas constant entertainment breeds irritability and restlessness under the law of diminishing returns. 
If you would like your child to develop their own creative interests they need the time and space to do just that.

Of course at first it won't be comfortable for them (or you)  if they are unfamiliar with the sensations and used to someone / something else creating a distraction. 

"I'm bored"


"I'm bored" are words that seem to strike fear into the hearts of many parents who then try to solve the 'problem' by suggesting all kinds of things, arranging yet another outing or allowing yet more screen time. 


Stop! 


This is a vital life lesson for your child. Boredom is not something to be feared, rather it is an opportunity, an opening into another world; the world of thoughts, of ideas, of quiet contemplation, the world of decision making.  


It is also about responsibility, about who is in charge of your child's feelings.  


So when your hear "I'm bored" instead of providing a list of suggestions, try something different such as "OK, what would you like to do about that?"

As that is an opened ended question you might have to put in qualifications such as " remember we are having an at home day today" or "Remember today we're having a screen free day".

At first there will likely be lots of complaining and even anger if the child is used to being constantly entertained. Here is where you stay calm and just hand the situation back to child.

"OK I hear you're bored, perhaps you can think about what you're going to do". Don't at this stage give in and start making suggestions such as "You've got all that Lego you could make something, or there's lots of craft material what could you make....."

Allow your child to sit with their feelings

Allow your child to sit with their feelings and decide what they will do about them, and yes it may be a very long day. If you are able to do this you will clearly demonstrate to your child you believe they can solve the 'problem' at hand. 


Changing patterns of behaviour is not easy for children or adults so be patient and keep your focus on the end goal. A child who is able to draw on their creative instincts and who has a wide range of interests and activities is in a position of strength. 

 Space and quiet time


 Space and quiet time will give your child the opportunity to develop the skill of listening to themselves, of finding their creative instincts and interests.

In the modern 24 hour electronic world quiet space can be hard to find.  

There's a great deal of money to be made out of convincing parents that children need constant entertainment, so this school holidays try something different, stick with quiet time for a few days and enjoy the results.  
 

Do you find parenting more complex than you ever imagined?

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Many people find everyday parenting is much more complex and challenging than they ever imagined.

When this happens they become stressed, anxious, disappointed in themselves and their parenting, unsure about where to turn or what else to do.

If that describes you, does it mean you’re a bad parent?

No it does not, quite the opposite.

What it means is you don’t yet have all the knowledge, skills or the support you need to parent your child in the way you would like to.

Here’s something which may help.

Throughout my website I talk about how important it is to meet the developmental needs of your child and people often ask,

What are the key developmental needs of my 2-6 year old?

They are:

  • Sensory exploration

  • Language

  • Order

  • Movement

  • Social skills

  • Independence

Misunderstandings and mismatched expectations lead to frustration and unhappiness, for both parent and child.

For great ideas about how to meet these developmental needs head over to my parenting blog page and Facebook.

There you’ll find really great parenting articles like:

  • Change your life, buy a coat rack!

  • Parents are you drowning in kids toys?

  • Practical Montessori parenting - 9 key elements to get you started

  • Kids love pouring, it helps their concentration - simple ways to help them

These articles, along with lots of other really useful articles can be found here:

If you have any questions or comments please message me, I’d love to hear from you.

The weekend is here and you have an active toddler

Have you noticed how toddlers LOVE big work!

The bigger and heavier the better, the greater the stretch, the steeper the slope the greater the attraction. Small children love testing their strength.

The weekend is here and you have an active toddler

I remembered reading, ages ago, about practical ways for toddlers to use their developing bodies and abundant energy so decided to write a short list to get you started.

Ways that toddlers can exert maximum effort 

Here are a few to get you started -- 

  1. Carrying round a large bag or backpack

  2. Using large foam blocks (the Melbourne Museum Children's Gallery has fantastic large blocks)

  3. Carrying wood

  4. Walking over pillows

  5. Move a bucket or watering can of water

  6. Pushing or carrying a loaded laundry basket

  7. Lift a large(ish) suitcase with some weight in it

  8. Move a piece of furniture

  9. Taking the largest steps possible (stepping stones)

  10. Carrying a large box

  11. Digging and filling a bucket with sand then moving that to a new location .....

I hope you find several ideas which help to make the weekend even more enjoyable for you and your toddler.

I’d love to see your ideas and photos, please post them to my Facebook page

A precious gift for your child

Give your child the precious gift of a wonderful start in life by creating a stimulating Montessori-inspired home learning environment.

You won’t need to buy lots of special expensive materials, though it may influence the toys you buy, and it’s not homeschooling.

Research indicates that children of all academic abilities show positive skills and behaviours when learning using the Montessori-inspired approach, including:

  • problem-solving skills

  • concentration

  • independence

  • creativity

  • initiative

  • social cognition (emotional intelligence)

  • a life long love of learning

Qualities which are valuable in every area of life.

A truly beautiful and precious gift which will last a lifetime.

Take the first step.

Are you tired of being surrounded by mess?

If you're fed up with being surrounded mess, I can help. 

I really can. 

I will work with you to establish practical order and teach you why it’s important and how to maintain it while still meeting the active developmental needs of your child.

This may sound impossible but it's not, and when it's done it will make a huge difference to family life. 

Practical advice tailored to the specific needs of your family is the fastest and most effective way for you to achieve change.

Making change without support is difficult, not impossible but difficult, especially for busy parents.

Would you like a calmer home with happier, more content children (and adults!)?

Together we can make that a reality.

Creating a Calmer Home

 I will: 

  • Show you how to assess and sort the toys you already have. Advise you on which best serve the current developmental needs of your child and which need to be discarded or stored.

  • Demonstrate how to use the toys you already have in new ways. Organised differently the toys will have new appeal and your little one will be happier and more satisfied. 

  • Show you how you can create new activities which will satisfy your child's drive for independence.  

  • Advise on storage and rotation systems needed to sustain the newly established order. 

  • Discuss reorganisation of spaces so your child has an area where they can 'work' independently. 

  •  Demonstrate how to put the motto 'Help me to do it myself' into practice and understand your child's drive for meaningful activity. 

  • Teach you ways to promote and protect your child's concentration. 

  • Provide practical information about what, if anything, is additionally needed.

  • Check-in phone call to see how you're going.

Transformation packages

Physical transformation plays a very import part in behavioural transformation.

  • Half day home consultation  + written plan for ongoing sustainability + follow up phone call

  • Full day home consultation + written plan for ongoing sustainability + follow up phone calls

If you don’t live within reasonable travelling distance in Melbourne I am always happy to support you via Skype or phone.

How to give your child what they really crave, calm simplicity.

What does your child really need?  

More experiences, more educational toys, more outings, more play dates, more, more...., more?

Perhaps what they really need, what would really make them happier and more satisfied is not more but less. 

Many adults are attracted to the philosophy of de-cluttering, and find that simplifying their life brings a sense of peace, the same applies to the young child.  

Less for most children would very definitely be more.

A simple Montessori-inspired approach to parenting has a lot to offer busy parents.

It offers practical, easy to understand strategies to simplify home life and most importantly it helps parents understand and focus on the needs of young children.

How to start?

Step 1. Press the blue button

Never miss an another article, register here.

How to help your child who wants to "do it myself"

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From the moment of birth, your child began their journey toward independence.  As a parent, you rejoiced when your child reached important milestones.  The first time they rolled over, the first time they sat up, the first time they crawled, their first tentative steps and first delightful words.  These are all vital steps in your baby becoming an independently functioning individual.

Then around 18 months to two years of age, things often begin to take a different turn.  Your child’s strong desire to ‘do it myself’ begins to conflict with your needs.  You’re rushing out the door and all your little one wants to put on their own shoes…  You’re in a hurry so you try to help and they become distraught.

You’re frustrated, they’re frustrated.  What can be done?  How can you help your child work toward independence so that they’re more satisfied and you’re less stressed?

What’s driving your child?

It’s important that as parents we understand what is driving our young child.  What developmental needs are they trying to satisfy, and how can we help them to meet those needs?  When your baby is learning to walk, all they wanted to do is be mobile!  When restricted they became incredibly frustrated and unhappy.  We understand they need to be mobile, and so we provide opportunity for them to practise their new walking skills as much as possible.  It’s exactly the same for other steps toward independence.

What’s really important to remember is that no matter how carefully or how many times you explain it, your young child cannot understand or appreciate your adult values, adult problems or adult time scales. They can’t, they really really can’t. Often it’s this mismatch of understanding and expectations which causes tension and unhappiness for both you and your child.

It doesn’t matter to your child that you will be late for work if they’re taking too long to put on their shoes. Or that spilling juice will ‘ruin’ the carpet. Or that their brand new top is stained by paint.

You are driven by one set of motives, and your child is intensely driven by completely different motives over which they have no real control. The young child really does need to put their shoes on themselves, and to pour their own drink and feed themselves.

How can you help?

It’s our job as parents to understand the needs of our child, and to work out how our needs and theirs can both be met (most of the time!). This is, of course, more easily said than done, especially if you have no experience in early education.  I recommend a Montessori-inspired approach, which is based on observation of young children and the study of their needs at various stages coupled with practical steps to meet those needs. Using the Montessori-inspired approach provides a supportive framework for parents to help their child to do it themselves.  So, where to start?
Firstly, take a little time to observe, what is it that your child most wants to do? Make a list of those things and start with the one which is easiest for you.
Secondly, identify a way you can see for your child to do that activity safely and independently.

The “I want to put on my own shoes” example

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If shoes are an issue (for example), you can:

1. Create a separate activity where shoes are placed in a basket on a shelf with toys and your child can practise putting them on and off as often as they want. Their skills will rapidly improve.
2. Ensure storage is practical so your child can access (and put away) appropriate clothing and shoes.
3. Purchase clothing and shoes which make it easy for your child to dress themselves and go to the toilet.
4. Provide a low stool for your child to sit on to make this easier.
5. When you have to leave the house, give your child enough time to allow them to use the skills they have, always ask if they want help before you step in, they’re more likely to accept help if it’s not forced upon them.
You can also do this with other items of clothing.

The “I want to help in the kitchen” example

photo courtesy of  The Little House (Montessori)

photo courtesy of The Little House (Montessori)

Children often want desperately to help prepare food, help with washing and use the hand basin.  In fact they will likely want to do all the activities they see around them, the activities which are important to the running of the household.
To be effective, your child needs to acquire the skills of the activity. So first visually demonstrate (rather than explain verbally) “how”, and then give your little one the opportunity to practise over and over if and when they want.
Also, make sure you have appropriate equipment so your child can safely participate.. This may include:

1. A Learning tower in the kitchen to provide safe access to kitchen benches and easy involvement in the preparation of food. If you are not familiar with a learning tower a quick search online will show many available to buy as well as plans for making one.
2. Child safe kitchen utensils (lots are available on the net) and a child sized chopping board, plus a place to work.
3. A sturdy child sized table and chair or a Tripp Trapp chair (Google it, they’re fantastic) so the child can use the dining table

The “I want to wash my hands by myself” example

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One of the first things children often want to do for themselves is wash their hands. This is simple to set up and you have many opportunities to demonstrate and to emphasis the key points.

1. A step to allow access to the hand-basin
2. A hand-towel at the right height
3. If possible, a tap your child can safely operate.
4. Later, when the child wants to use the toilet by themselves, a special step with hand supports helps them to feel secure and manage the process alone.

Final thoughts

Understanding your child’s strong and innate drive for independence can help you to see their behaviour differently. Parents often tell me that understanding more about their child’s developmental needs made a real difference to their parenting. You are the key to your child being able to meet this important developmental need, so be creative and find every way you can to help your little one “do it themselves”.

If you’re a little unsure about where to start or if it all seems a bit overwhelming, I can help you. Once you get started, you’ll soon see many ways you can create activities which encourage and support your child’s independence. When you do everyone will be happier as children thrive and are at their most content when their developmental needs are met.

This blog first appeared on the pop’d website. pop’d is an online marketplace and directory for parents.