Theory & Practise

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.  
 

What does it mean when Montessori talks about the work of the child?

"Play Is The Work of the Child” Maria Montessori

Research shows that 75% of brain development occurs after birth, most of it in the early preschool years.

Early experiences and relationships are vital as they stimulate and influence the development of your child's brain. These experiences influence the development of motor skills, language, socialisation, emotional well-being, creativity, problem-solving and learning ability.

To be positive the activities available to the child must meet the developmental needs of the child. If the activity is too hard or if it is too easy the child becomes either bored or frustrated.

It's important to regularly review your child's toys and activities to see that they are still appropriate, do they still provide enough challenge? If they don't then and they’re too easy, remove them.

Likewise, at times like birthdays and Christmas children often get lots of toys some of which will be too difficult. Put the too difficult ones away and use them later to replace those that have been outgrown.

If you take your lead from the child, especially with things they are desperate to 'help' with or to do by themselves you will see where they (and you) need to go.

Clothing is a good example. You can select some pieces of clothing which are easy to get on and off and put them in a practise basket so the child can choose to practise putting them on and off as often as they wish.

Giving your child a low stool to sit on when putting on clothing, slippers, shoes and such like makes it much more likely the child will be successful. 

Washing dishes may be a chore to we adults, to the young child, it is a deeply satisfying achievement. If a child is given the choice between pretend play and real tasks, real wins every time.

Find as many opportunities as you can for your child to participate in the real everyday activities of the family, if you can do this you'll all be much happier.  Things like: helping unpack or stack the dishwasher, sorting cutlery into the drawer, helping hang out the washing (on their own lower line) pairing socks, folding facewashers, wiping their own little table or chair, getting ingredients from the cupboard or fridge, and dozens more.

Also, by looking objectively at the toys your child uses and the ones they don't, and which activities they most enjoy and which they don't even when encouraged, you can begin to understand which are the elements of each. This valuable knowledge will help you to plan positive, meaningful activities and life will be more fun for everyone!

Enjoy these wonderful early years where each day the miracle of developing life unfolds before you. 

Your child is hard at work every day, working to construct the adult they will become.

A beginners guide to a gentle, more holistic approach to child rearing

The choices we make for our young children lay the foundation for all that is to follow. Such choices deserve our deepest consideration.

Like any good foundation the foundation on which you base your parenting should be strong and supported by good, credible information.

Guiding principles, agreed by both parents which underpin daily decisions, provide security through consistency.

There is a maze of parenting information to be navigated and lots of people offer any number of quick fixes.

Instead of quick fixes I advocate a thoughtful, practical approach to parenting inspired by the philosophy of Maria Montessori. 

Montessori parenting seeks to take a gentle, respectful, holistic approach based on understanding the developmental needs of the child.

As well as a unifying theory having a Montessori-inspired approach is wonderfully practical, it builds resilience and when the principles are followed, results in greater harmony for parents and children alike.

Understanding your child's ever-changing needs and creating a home which supports parents and children alike is a constant work-in-progress. 

A set of guiding principles act as a compass to guide you on your journey.

(Little) Kids in the Kitchen

 Kids love working in the kitchen and for that to be successful it's important to prepare ahead. 

Here are four basic steps to lay the foundation for success.

  1. A learning tower in the kitchen to provide safe access to kitchen benches for easy involvement in the preparation of food.
  2. A step to allow access to the hand-basin. A hand-towel at the right height.
  3. Child safe kitchen utensils (lots available on the net) and a child sized chopping board, plus a clear designated place to work.
  4. A child sized table and chair or a Tripp Trapp chair (google it, they're fantastic) so the child can comfortably use the dining table.

Now you are ready to get started, be sure you choose tasks which are suitable for the developmental level of your child.

Enjoy your time together passing on your skills.

Making changes to be a better parent is not easy, but it's much easier with support.

Become an even better parent

The warm days of Summer are coming to an end and most of us are firmly back in our daily routines.

Often, during a break we get time to think about our lives and the changes we wish to make yet when the break is over and we once again face the day to day reality it's so easy to slip back into old patterns and we realise change isn't always easy.

Having a clear goal, a practical plan and appropriate ongoing support greatly increases the chances of success.

If you would like to make some changes, I can help you.

I have more than 30 years of experience working with young children and their families, experience assisting parents create and implement practical plans to achieve their parenting goals, helping good parents become even better. 

I can help you too.

Paulene Richardson

If you adjust your expectations, your children will be happier - and so will you.

Are you expecting too much from your child, or too little?

Do you expect them to adjust to (your) adult values and time scales?

It doesn't, and shouldn't, matter to your young child that their parent will be late for work or if spilling juice will ‘ruin’ the carpet, the child is driven by their innate quest for independence, to put their shoes on themselves and to pour their own drink.

From birth the child is powered by their internal timetable, each step along the way a step toward the goal of independence and self direction. 

Your child is absolutely desperate to do things for themselves almost as soon as they grasp the idea of what it is that needs doing.

As adults it's our job to create an environment where the child can, wherever possible, succeed in their ever-growing quest for independence.

"Help me to do it myself" is the plea of the small child and is a phrase often used by Montessorians as a short-hand way to describe the Montessori approach to child rearing/education.

Parents can use this approach to meet the developmental needs of their child.

look around the home and find ways to create a pathway toward independence the child craves, what can parents do to make this easier?

As the young child starts to want to do things themselves there are changes you can easily make, simple things like: 

  1. Open shelves at child height with activities categorised and organised with all components needed. These activities are age appropriate.

  2. 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.

  3. A step to allow access to the hand-basin / toilet. A hand-towel at the right height.

  4. A learning tower in the kitchen to provide safe access to kitchen benches for easy involvement in the preparation of food.

  5. Child safe kitchen utensils and a child sized chopping board, plus a place to work.

  6. Practical storage so the child can access their clothing and shoes.

  7. Purchasing clothes and shoes which make it easy for the child to dress themselves and go to the toilet.

  8. Walk at a pace that allows the young child to explore their surroundings.

The more activities the young child can do by themselves (once they have been taught the skill) the happier the child will be and conversely, the parent too will be happier as there will be fewer battles.

What the child cannot do is understand or appreciate adult values and time frames - that's not their job, that's yours. 

Their job is to strive for independence and ever increasing control, so help them to do that and you'll all be much happier.