Children Articles

Bedtime For Older Kids

sleep for older children

Bedtimes can be a real battleground between parents and their teens. Study, sleep and socialising all seem to compete with one another.

I asked my Facebook community what their thoughts were on bedtimes for teenagers. The discussion covered what time parents send their kids to bed on school nights, weekends and holidays. Interested to hear what the outcome was?

Well, the first thing I learned is that every family is different.

How To Throw A Great Children’s Party

party food

Avoid food that requires more preparation than “Open packet. Dump on tray.” If you absolutely must serve something you felt like you actually put effort into, slap together a fruit platter… then you can feel like you’ve offered a healthy alternative to put next to the sea of chips, lollies, and chocolate biscuits.

Pokemon Parents, GO!

We’ve been playing Pokémon Go for a couple days now, and my 3.5-year-old loves it. I can’t help but wonder if she likes it because, on some level, she’s somehow identifying with the game. She knows what it’s like to not necessarily want to be found

35 No to Low Mess School Holiday Activities!

cleaning out the kids toys

I’m sure I’m not the only person spending school holidays at home, we have no plans aside from a few play dates and a sleep over scheduled in, so I have a lot of time to fill in and a very busy 5 year old to keep entertained. I also don’t feel up to every day doing painting, baking, having paper cut up all over the floor and whatever else messy craft and activities strewn all over my floor for me to clean up. Especially when little miss two year old is pretty capable of making an enormous mess of the house on a daily basis, I’m trying to save my sanity at the same time as keeping the kids happy. Sounds like a plan, right?

In Defence of Star Wars Episode 1

star wars episode I

Star Wars Episode 1 is popular in our house in a BIG way. The kids want to watch it all the time. So maybe it’s not such a bad movie after all.

One of the proudest, most exciting moments for me and a parent has been sitting down to watch Star Wars series for the first time with my kids.

I’m Not The School Mum I Thought I’d Be

school mum

On some subconscious level I’d assumed that would be what being a school mum looked like for me. I’d be a super involved helpful parent. I’m pretty crafty, I like being helpful, I studied teaching so I assumed I’d be the first to put my hand up as a classroom helper. I imagined I’d be an organised and shining example of what it is to be a “School Mum”.

Please Is Not A Magic Word

please is not a magic word

I have a little bit of a bone to pick with the word “Please” as it’s snuck its way into my house lately and it’s getting on my very last nerve. “Please” is a nice enough word in itself, it’s reasonably innocuous, but when it’s used as though it has power, then it starts to grate on me a little.

The 7 Stages of Cleaning Out the Kids Toys

Today I cleaned out the kids toys. All them. Every single one of them. Starting by piling everything they own into washing baskets and then dumping it on the living room floor to thoroughly sort through and tidy up. That was the plan at least – I ended up experiencing a full rage of emotions.

You’re probably familiar with “The 7 Stages of Grief”. They apply to cleaning as well. They’re the “7 Stages of cleaning out the kids toys.”

Warning – School Parking Rant Ahead

school parking rant

To the Person who Double Parked in front of the school gate,

Hi, I don’t know if you saw me, I was 2 cars back from you while you unloaded your kids from the car so they could run directly through the school gate 4 minutes before the bell went. I don’t know if you noticed there was a parking space about 5 meters in front of you.

Micro Schooling

home schooling micro schooling

For a couple of years now, I’ve been contemplating my children’s education. I, myself, am a school teacher, which actually complicates things, because I’ve seen both the good and bad sides of traditional schooling. I like the idea of traditional school because of the community, plus the shared responsibility of taking care of children (it’s hard work being with your kids 24/7 and never having a break)

Religious Education in Public Schools

Religious Education in Public Schools

I was raised as a Christian, at different stages of my life I attended church or Sunday school with my family and up until moving out of home I said grace every evening before we ate dinner. I did Christian Education in primary school, and for my childhood and most of my teen years I had a very fond relationship with the idea of a Christian God.

Why All The Questions

questions

According to this study children ask a lot of questions. I know. Ground breaking. Who knew? The most prolific questioners are girls aged 4 years, asking a whopping 390 questions per day, which is an average of a question every 1 minute and 56 seconds while awake.

My daughter is nearly 3 and this sounds about accurate to me. Though 385 of those questions are simply “Why?”

8 Reasons I’ll Miss the School Holidays

school holidays

School is going back all over the country over the next week! My newsfeed is full of first days and new uniforms and parents announcing “FREEDOM!!!” There’s biggest babies starting school, and youngest babies starting school – and from what I can tell the latter is more difficult to deal with for the Mums and Dads.

My Kid’s Most Prized Possession

kids favourite toy

A fight broke out this morning between my 2 and 6 year old over a toy. It was about as intense as their fights get, started off with shouting and screaming and ended with a block hurled at someone’s head and the tears that followed. Both children needed a talking to and a bit of comfort, but after some creative negotiation they were reunited and returned to playing cooperatively again.

Thank goodness.

But what was this toy that could cause such a fuss between two usually peaceful siblings?

7 Gentle and Effective Ways to Respond When Your Child Acts Aggressive

child acts aggressive

It’s a stab to the heart… When your gently raised child starts biting, hitting, pushing and smacking. You always hear that children learn by watching their parents… but YOU do not bite, hit, push or smack, so why is your child? It’s baffling and it can become quite frustrating to deal with. Deep down in your heart, you know that you’re doing the right thing by not using authoritative punishment for your child, but you’re seriously questioning yourself and don’t know what to do.

Feeding a Fussy Eater

fussy eater

A long time ago, before I had children, someone told me they cooked their family multiple meals a night to cater to their family’s individual tastes. I thought that was ridiculous. I thought: one day, when I have a family, there is no way I’ll be making an alternate dinner for anyone.

Even later on when my son was a toddler a friend vented her frustration at the fuss of cooking two meals a night; a “kids” meal and an “adults” meal. I still thought heck no! That’s not happening in my home.

Introducing A New Baby To An Older Sibling

introducing a new baby

The idea of introducing a new baby to your first baby can be a little daunting. There’s no way to know beforehand how they’ll respond to an enormous change in their lives like becoming a big brother or sister. The best we can do is prepare our older child as much as we can and prepare ourselves to make the household run as smoothly as possible. But at the end of the day whatever will be will be.

School Lunchbox Ideas

school lunchbox ideas

Packing lunches every morning does become a bit uninspiring, my lunch boxes certainly don’t look like the ones on Pinterest. But here are some ideas that might brighten them up, without too much fuss and expense.

Firstly some simple (and not overly expensive) gadgets might help make lunch box filling easier.

Why are Kids Getting into trouble for being kids?

kids getting in trouble

The little boy at the playground could not have been more than 20 months old. Although I had seen him with his parents before, when he came wondering slowly over to the water play area, his parents were nowhere to be seen. My girls had asked for permission to get wet in one of the fountains. I told them it was ok because we had a change of clothes in the car.

Proudly Raising Dependent Children

dependent children

I’m raising dependent children. No, that’s not a typo. I know that independent children is supposed to be the thing that parents want to achieve, but it’s really the last thing I want to do. Like, literally the last thing I do as a parent will be when my child becomes independent. That’s when they move out, get a job, rent their own place, start doing their own laundry and when that day comes this Mumma is going to celebrate with a bottle of champers! But really, that’s at least a decade and a half away! Right now, with a 2 and 5 year old, independence isn’t the lesson of the day.

7 Tips for Gently Weaning a Toddler

gently Weaning a Toddler

My daughter is 2 and for me that signifies the end of “demand feeding”. I did the same with my son, after 2 years old of breastfeeding him on he was gently restricted to only feeding at home, at night, in bed.

This sounds so easily done, 2 years of unlimited feeding is a pretty darn good run – you’d think they’d be a little more appreciative and cut me some slack! But for my toddlers reducing feeds has been what I imagine it would be like trying to take away a toddler’s dummy, special comforter, sleep routine and favourite snack all at once; lots of resistance.

Learning, Playing and Expectations

Learning, Playing and Expectations

Children see no difference between playing and learning, as long as the learning is fun! ’Fun‘ does not mean things have to be flashy, shiny, loud, expensive or exotic (although they certainly can be). I swear, give a kid a cup and some water and they might play with it for half an hour. This learning while playing thing is not an easy concept for most adults to comprehend because we are so used to making meaning out of an activity. We are used to setting up purpose made activities to encourage a particular outcome.

(Little) Guys and Dolls

boys and dolls

My friend phoned me and was understandably upset about a situation that had just happened to her and her son.

She’d taken her daughter to school, bringing her 2 year old boy along. He was playing with a Barbie doll when they left, so Barbie came along for the ride. At school, while standing in the playground waving his big sister off to class, the little guy clutching a Barbie doll was surrounded by a small group of older boys, maybe 8 years old by my friend’s estimate. They began to taunt and tease him about his doll, asking him if he was a boy or a girl.

Do Kids Need Daycare For Socialisation?

The past week at the beach, Margo (nearly 4 years old), has been on a serious mission to make new friends. She’ll spot some kid (usually a girl dressed in pink), who is relatively her age, but often a quite a few years older and says, “Mom, do you see that girl waaaay over there? Is it ok if I go and play with her?” Of course, I say yes, if it looks reasonable, and then she bolts. Leaving myself and her baby sister in the dust.

How Was Your Day? – A Poem For Starting School

starting school

To my big school boy, I try really hard not to overwhelm you with questions but I just want I know and I want you to tell me,
How was your day?
And who did you play with?
Did you like your lunch?
Did you eat all your sandwich?
Do you listen to teachers?
Did you get into trouble?
What’s that scratch from?
Did you trip and stumble?

Baby Boy Starting School

In just 7 days my first baby will start school. It’s just starting to really hit me. I’ve been saying confidently for the last 6 months whenever I’m asked if I think I’ll cry, or how I feel about it, that I’ll be fine.

Say Your “Sorry”.

To me, just saying ‘sorry‘ is just lip service. Actually, in some cultures, the term ‘sorry‘ is rarely used because it is considered awkward and insincere. Of course, I’m not bashing anyone for ‘actually‘ teaching their kids to say sorry.

Learning to Read vs Loving to Read

I’ve always loved the way a good book can take you out of yourself – make you see and think things you’d never have thought of; make you reassess the world and your place within it. Aside from the joy of immersing myself in a story, I also love the instant bond of friendship you find when you meet someone who’s read the same books. My brother and I bonded over books as we grew up, but our journeys of learning to read and loving to read were very different.

Say What I Mean…

I’m still getting this wrong. I’ve had some pretty big fails with saying exactly what I mean to our 4 year old. This is sort of a continuation of “lying to children”, because more and more im finding my little boy needs absolute literal honesty.

“It’s a Pet!…..It’s a Pillow Pet!”

When I first saw these advertised, and on shelves, I wasn’t that keen on them, I thought they looked weird, but I can see the appeal, they look pretty comfortable for little people to snuggle up to, just that it wasn’t something we would buy. When the dream light ones were advertised on television ………….

Toilet Training

Stay Positive. This cannot be emphasised enough – toileting, or “toilet training” – should not be a source of shame, punishment, anger, or disgust from the parent. If you are getting frustrated and fed up take a breath (or maybe hold your breath) and think about the long term impacts…..

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