Posted May 1, 2013
Lately, the weather in Calgary finally feels like spring. I've heard from many parents who can't wait to send child outside to play, for a change. Knowing what we do about temperament differences we can predict that some kids will probably dash out and not look back. Others, however, may not remember last summer and may need to be re-introduced to your yard. Going out with your child will help speed this process along. Greta P. gave me this idea as she recalled last summer when her three year old was afraid of birds, spiders and even ants! Read on to see how Greta tackled the problem:
"We walked hand in hand out into the yard on the first sunny day. The snow was almost melted and we looked for grass (none) or sticks (a few), plus we found some rocks. We toured the borders and I commented that this was where he kept his yellow truck last year. We went into the garage and found his yellow, rusty truck. Once we were in the garage he spotted a few other things that looked interesting like the rake, the hose and balls. I told him we can take the balls out but the rake and hose have to wait until the snow is all gone. I asked him if we should check every day to see if the snow is melting. He agreed, of course, and now we have a new ritual of going out right after lunch to measure the snow. Slowly, we'll investigate green things growing, count the ants, give the spiders a new home and look for bird's nests. I'm hoping that in a month or less, my son will be comfortable heading outside alone, on his own investigations. Can't wait!" (Thank you, Greta.)
Advice on Choosing a Preschool
Childcare, Nannies, Choosing a Dayhome
Stay at Home Moms
Baby Prefers Mom/Dad
Highly Sensitive Child
Anger, Temper Tantrums, Throwing Toys
Breastfeeding and Sleep
Twins, Twin Sleep, Twins fighting
Sibling Fights, Sibling Relationships
Two-year Old Behaviors
Crying it Out
Thumbs and Pacifiers
Managing Infant and Older Child
Prep for 2nd Baby
Time-Out, Time In, Naughty Matt
Toilet Learning and Training, Constipation
Sassy Talk, Talking Back
Aggression, Biting, Pushing
Helping Your Child to Play Independently
Sleep after Illness or Travel
Filed under: Play
Posted November 26, 2012
I learned this weekend that Grandview Elementary school in Vancouver and Donnan Park in Edmonton both have natural playgrounds. Similar projects by the same Canadian company (Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds) which is based in Dundas, Ontario are underway in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton.
In the above cities these creators have ditched swing sets, slides, monkey bars and jungle gyms for boulders, rolling topography (grassy hills), logs, stumps, pathways, large trees and bushes. This sounds like where I used to play as a child! The idea is to have a space where how to play is not predetermined. The children use their imaginations to lead them. And, playgrounds such as these tend to alter the way kids relate to each other. No arguments over who is taking too long to climb up the slide or how to use equipment correctly. Every child in this playground can find their comfort level.
An even more important discovery has been that parents do not hover as closely, in these playgrounds, in their effort to be sure their child doesn't fall or miss a step on a ladder. This means children are free to design for themselves what risks they feel ready to take. They can easily make their play more challenging any time they wish, without hearing "be careful!" all the time.
Now, how does playing in a natural playground protect a child from bullying? By building physical confidence in your child at a very young age. The more age-appropriate risks a child is allowed to take in early childhood, the better knowledge she has of what her body can do. With this kind of confidence built in, she or he is less likely to send "I'm a victim" messages to other kids once she is in school.
In fact, do you know where your child's first natural playground is? On your couch! Universally, toddlers want to climb up on your couch and jump off of the arms. Universally, parents try to prevent them from doing this for fear of injury. In my Setting Healthy Limits seminar, I advise parents to cover the hardwood with something soft and then step back and let your toddler experiment with this age-appropriate risk-taking. Yes, there will be tumbles and tears to which you should try very hard not to overreact. But you'll watch your child's confidence grow every time they get back up and try it again. This is a very "natural" way for toddlers too play.
December 4 Prenatal Postnatal Class for Savvy Parents is postponed to the January 8th date. Click here to register for January 8, 2013
Toilet Learning the Easy Way will still be held on December 11, 2012. Click here to register. (Will be offered next on February 19 2013)
Telephone counseling appointments with Kitty are available every week up until December 18. NEW! You may now book 30-minute appointments with Kitty. These are useful for follow-up issues after attending a seminar or having a regular phone appointment. As well, a 6:00 PM Wednesday evening appointment is posted to allow parents to get home from work. To see this week's openings click here.
Filed under: Play
Posted November 15, 2012
I often speak with parents who are stressed over their feelings of fragility about their baby who is trying to walk or climb on the couch and might fall. A mother recently admitted she "can't bear it" when her 7 month old gets up on the couch and teeters at the edge. Another parent, a dad, has bought every safety gadget he could find, like corner pads for the coffee table, drawer stoppers and pinch protectors. "I don't want anything to happen!" he said.
No parent does, but how far should we go to protect an exploring baby from benign bumps and bruises? At what point will we be interfering with that baby's growing ability to judge distances and tell where the edges are?
You have become a parent at a moment in time which is unprecedented in it's marketing of child safety items and parental responsibiity for not allowing your baby to tumble or cry. The idea that a baby needs to explore, take little chances and become more resilient with each try - causes shudders.
In my effort to help you relax and trust your baby, I would like you to watch the following videos, taken during a playgroup at a marvelous parent education program designed by Magna Gerber in Pasadena called Resources for Infant Educarers. I was fortunate to be able to visit her program as an observer in 1983.
Here is the first one. Be forwarned, you may get the jitters. Note that the 'table' is just a few inches off the floor. Clever idea!
Sometimes when we are not intending to interfere...we do so anyway, primarily because we are 1). worried about our child's safety 2. feeling sorry for our baby or 3. worrying what other people will think. Next time you are observing your baby or toddler at play, try really hard to stay where you are and avoid the panicked intake of breath! as your child takes a mild tumble. Wait and see if you are needed, and if you are, give your support with the least fanfare possible.
Thank you to Janet Landsbury for these videos from her wonderful blog.
Also, check out http://www.facebook.com/raymondparentingnews
Posted November 7, 2012
Readers have heard me talk about the importance of giving your child your unquestioned leadeership at all times. However, still within that framework, I think it's a great idea to have short playtimes when your child gets to be completely in charge. By 'in charge' I mean calling the shots. Determining the play. Assigning the roles. Telling you where to sit and even correcting you if you say or do the wrong thing - according to what their imagination has planned.
Once every day or so, the parent takes 15 minutes to be completely available to the child for play - with no adult agenda. The parent plops him/herselfon the floor and by both body language and literal language says "You are in charge. You tell me what we will play."
Saying nothing, your child may bring a book or toy to you. If the silence continues, you can have a one-sided conversation with yourself, asking shall we read? Is this my doll? I wonder if I should sing her a song? On the other hand, your toddler may chat a mile a minute, telling you that she is the mama and you are the baby and you are crying because "I said "NO!" "Now you cry, daddy. I go get you a band-aid."
You play along because your child is in charge. What a sense of strength and self-importance this sends to your child! For this reason, of course, we have to call an end to this kind of delicious availabilty on your part when about 15 minutes has gone by. Calling a halt to this very special playtime may result in a tantrum or protest, but it was worth it and will come again tomorrow.
In case your child starts begging for this kind of special play time all through the day, it's wise to have a set answer such as "The timer will tell us when it's time for the special playtime." Using a kitchen timer leaves the issue between your child and the timer instead of between you and the child.
One parent told me "My two-year old tells us where to sit all the time! My husband and i are constantly moving chairs, trying to have a conversation and keep him happy at the same time." I think this is very different. Many kids try to boss parents around about where they sit, who puts the child to bed and who does the bath. ("I want mommy to do bath!!!!") These are demands I believe a parent should resist. Going along with these inappropriate power grabs can lead to a demanding child. Who does the bath, who does bedtime and where adults should sit in a room, are adult-only decisions.
So it's important that YOU are the one to set up the special play time and You are the one to end it.
Children Scientists Wanted! The Ch.I.L.D. Research Group at the University of Calgary
require children aged 2-months to 6-years to participate in fun, game-like projects in
order to learn how children develop language, concepts, and social understanding. For
more information please call 220-4955 or visit http://www.childresearchgroup.ca.
KITTY'S BLOG IN YOUR EMAIL INBOX
Our Facebook Page