Tag Archives: toddlers

Toddlers and teenagers.

Teenagers and toddlers.

I was chatting with another mummy at a birthday party today and we were comparing stories about our children. I was saying how my little miss is pushing boundaries like there is no tomorrow (hello tantrums ) whilst she was talking about her teenagers.

What we both found interesting was the similarities in behaviour and reactions. My stories also bought back memories for her, from when her children were younger.

I know this may sound offensive, especially if you are a teenager reading this, however similarities in back chat, attitude and general rudeness are uncanny.

During our conversation we shared many a laugh with comparing stories, yet also shared ideas on how we can deal with our situations.

Disrespectful or rude behaviour in both toddlers and teenagers is pretty common. Although these phases do eventually pass.

Not all toddlers or teenagers are rude or disrespectful, but some disrespect is a normal part of both toddler and teenage growth and development. Otherwise known as pushing boundaries.

This is partly because your child is learning to express and test out their own independent ideas, so of course, there will be times when you disagree. Which in return may cause arguments.

You will find that having your child develop their own independence is a key part of growing up and a good sign that your child is trying to take more responsibility.

We both agreed that our children’s moods change very quickly and sometimes for no apparent reason. My two year old can throw a tantrum over me giving her the wrong plate colour at dinner time whereas my mummy friend said her teenager can throw a tantrum with yelling, slamming doors, ignoring her wishes or grunting at her when she has asked for a simple task to be done.

Because of how our brains develop individually, your child isn’t always able to express their changing feelings and reactions to everyday or unexpected things. This can also lead to over-sensitivity, and over reactions that may be seen as grumpiness or rudeness.

Sometimes disrespectful behaviour might also be a sign that your child is feeling particularly stressed, anxious or worried.

As a parent, you might feel hurt, worried and unsure about why this behaviour is happening. Your child used to value your interest or input and perhaps be ‘closer’ with you, but now it seems that even simple conversations with them can turn into an argument. My toddler most definitely hates when I suggest she do something different to what she wants. According to my friend, her teenager has similar reactions when she asks them to make their bed or put their used plate in the dishwasher. My miss, will proceed to tell me ‘no, I not, I no likey you’ whereas her teenager grunt and moans at her over a similar request.

What we must remember though is that both toddlers and teenagers are trying to express themselves. Toddlers generally struggle with words or expressing themselves verbally whilst teenagers struggle with feelings and emotions. Toddlers throw tantrums when they feel frustrated whereas teenagers may feel unheard therefore they shut down and this behaviour can be mistaken for rudeness or disrespect.

Around the age of 13 a child’s brain start to think in a deeper way than it did a few years earlier, they can have thoughts and feelings they’ve never had before which they may struggle with accepting, while some young people seem to burst into the world with a conflicting and radical view on everything. This shift to deeper thinking is a normal part of brain development. As with most things, people will always deal with things differently.

What we both conceded was in both our situations, mine with my bossy, Indepandant, argumentative toddler and her with her rude, abrupt and disrespectful teenager is that if we staied calm during these outbursts the situation was fused quickly.

It is important if your child reacts with ‘attitude’ to a discussion that you stop, take a deep breath, and continue calmly with what you wanted to say. By reacting with aggression or similar attitude, you may find that it escalates the situation. It can also confuse the child as to what behaviour is actually acceptable. If your irrational or aggressive, your child may think this behaviour is acceptable and behaviour in a similar situation.

In a difficult situation try to use light humour. A shared laugh can break a stalemate, bring a new perspective or lighten the mood and tone of a conversation. Being a lighthearted parent can also help take the heat out of a situation – but avoid mocking, ridiculing or being sarcastic. I find that with my kids, if she is in the thick of a tantrum, if I walk away she may escalate or if I change the subject and perhaps put her favourite show on TV it may diffuse her. Whereas my friend said that by Ignoring her teenagers shrugs, rolling eyes and bored looks it also diffuses the situation, but if she demands an apology for the ‘attitude’, it can be like adding petrol to a fire.

During these power struggles with your child, If you are feeling angry or frustrated try not to take it out on your child. They don’t understand what they are feeling and are most likely struggling with your emotions also. What we need to do as a parent is to teach the child, be it a toddler or teenager that their behaviour is not appropriate or acceptable. If you become defensive or agitated your child will then most likely react in a similar way.

Try not to take things that your toddler or teenager say personally. It might help to remind yourself that your child is trying to assert their own independence.

Even though you have more life experience than your child, lecturing them about how to behave is likely to have them stop listening to you. If you want your child to listen to you, you might need to allow them to speak freely to you also. Communication goes both ways and the child needs to feel respected in order to feel valid. Much like nagging, this is not likely to have a positive effect. It might increase your frustration, and your child will probably just scream at you or switch off. As with sarcasm your child may start to resent you and as a parent, I know that I do not want that type of relationship with my children.

Speaking with this other mummy today has made me feel like this ‘terrible two’ situation is easy in comparison to her ‘terrible teenager’. My eldest is only 4 but rest assured I’m planning on putting boundaries in place in hope that he won’t behave irrationally during his teenage years.

What are you experience’s of toddlers and teenagers?

Did or do you have a similar experience?

I’d love to hear from you.

Changing friendships

When friendships change after babies.

It’s a tough reality but it happens. Unfortunately when we have babies and our circle of friends don’t, things change. It’s not always the friends fault either, we as mums get busy, and the more children we have, the busier we become.

We have mothers group, early childhood visits, swimming lessons, reading class, gymbaroo, ballet, kick-a-roo’s, preschool and that’s just the start.

So we are not blaming our non parental friends at all. Well I’m not. I do however sometimes feel left out, like they are still out doing lots of amazingly fun things.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mummy more than anything ever in the whole world however I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I were single and childless?

Would I be still going out to night clubs or how would I spend my Friday and Saturday nights? I’m 35, I think that if I was to go ‘clubbing’ I’d feel like a granny facing with 18 year olds. So no I guess I wouldn’t be going out and ‘partying’ as such.

I sometimes feel like perhaps our ‘common ground’ has changed and that we no longer have similar wants and interests. Being a mother requires you to be 100% devoted to your children 100% of the time. You bought them into this world and they are reliant on you to help guide them, teach them and look after them. They are your responsibility.

So what happens when your the ‘odd’ one out now that you have children and your friends don’t?

I have many supportive friends whom I still regularly catch up with. My best friend loves my children and we often catch up and still have fun together. She is 8 years younger than I am and doesn’t have children herself. However she recently became engaged but even prior to that, we would catch up on a regular basis, easily fortnightly. We have been friends for over 9 years and I have been married 5 and have 2 children, a 2yo and a 4month old.

She loves my children and treats them as her own. I appreciate that our catch up’s no longer involve nights out drinking and dancing. But we still make the effort to see each other and we take the kids to a park or we go to a child friendly cafe or even just for a walk. My children love being outdoors and call my best friend ‘Aunty’. Which I love as she is like a sister to me. It’s a compromise. She understands my situation and is happy to do child friendly things with me to include my children.

She has also passed comment that she loves my children and enjoys seeing them and understands and appreciates that my priorities have changed since having children and respects that I’m no longer ‘into’ going out clubbing or partying.

So why is it that some friends are not so forgiving and those friendships change so much that you feel like perhaps you have the ‘plague’ or ‘ebola’ and that your single friends no longer have time for you in their busy lifestyles?

I was reading an article on this a few weeks back and the writer suggested that perhaps the friends don’t like children or could even be envious?

Yes children are hard work and myself as a mother of 2 really young ones will be the first to admit that but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I think that true friends will always make time for you and vice versa. They will accept that your life has changed but they won’t disown you.

It’s disappointing that we sometimes loose friends when our lives evolve but there are always some wonderful new ones just waiting to meet you. Other mummies with their own children and other common ground.

We all evolve and change as people lets take the positives with us and not allow the negatives or disappointment to hang around. True friends will always make an effort for their important friendships.

School Holiday Fun!

Fun for your little ones.

Which school holidays here, I often find parents, friends and children wondering what to do.

Weather they are looking for at home fun or fun away on holidays everyone seems to want to do something.

Not just school holiday periods either, I’m often asked for tips on ideas for occupying children of all ages. So here are my top few.

If you have some ideas you would like to share, please email me, I’d love to hear from you. Noordinarymummy@gmail.com

If you live in Sydney – as I do, are are happy to spend some cash.

Taronga Zoo
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Olympic Park
Powerhouse Museum
Luna Park Sydney
I fly down under

For those wanting to save cash or simply wanting to stay home but still have fun. Yes this can be done!

Go to the library – stay for story time

Bake something, anything a cake, cookies, whatever is in your pantry

Construct something with blocks or Lego’s

Read a book

Paint with water, get old brushes and paint on either the ground or on old newspapers

Draw/Color together

Host a play date with their favorite friend

Dress Up together

Build a go kart

Go swimming (indoor or outdoor, river, beach or pool)

Have a picnic (outside or on the living room floor!)

Listen to new music together

Do karaoke, you can ever use a hair brush as your microphone

Visit a museum

Visit a Zoo

Visit a pet store

Write and mail a letter to someone special

Play a card or board game

Take a walk

Get out baby photos and talk about them

Sing Songs

Take a class together at local art center

Go roller or ice skating together

Tell stories about when your child was a baby

Hug/hold your child

Build a blanket fort over yoir lounge or dining room

Tell your child what makes them special ( to you and others)

Teach/tell your child about your job – take them to work for a day if you can

Have a scavenger hunt (indoor or outdoor)

Go to a movie together

Visit your child at school

Dig out your year book and share about your experiences

Visit a nursing home or hospital

Finger Paint

Take pictures

Visit and learn about places in your neighborhood (fire station, police station, post office, dairy, etc.)

Clean out a room together (basement, attic, garage)

Work a puzzle together

Plan a vacation together – then GO!

Build a bird house

Play a sport together

Rake leaves and play/jump in them

Visit an apple orchard / pumpkin patch or any orchard and offer your help

Plant something

Have a water fight

Play hide and seek

Collect different leaves, rocks or sticks from around your home

Have a block party – invite your neighbours over for afternoon tea or a play or a BBQ

Take a hike, go for a walk, explore your community

Make puppets and put on a show for each other – these can be made from old socks with buttons for yes and simple wool thread as a mouth

Tell stories about your childhood

Attend a local athletic event

Learn about different cultures – get on the internet or read books

Take flowers to a friend

Go for a train ride

Go horseback riding

Climb a tree

Go camping

Have a family talent show

Draw a map and have a treasure hunt

Walk/play in the rain

Talk about feelings/emotions

Paint a picture by numbers together

Go to a theater performance

Complete a DIY project together

Wash the car

Play Frisbee

Pick up litter in your community

Fly a homemade kite

Jump rope

Exercise together

Have running races around your backyard or in a local park

Discuss your child’s favourite foods and then chat about nutrition and the 4 basic food groups

Start a savings account – talk about budgeting and saving money – very beneficial for their later years

Write a story (draw illustrations together too!)

Go fishing

Visit a relative

Visit the neighbors

Go bowling

Have an at home dance party!

Play Simon Says

Have letter or color of the week and look for them together – ie green grass

Play “I Spy”

Act out a favorite story together

Play charades

Listen to music and play homemade instruments together – this can be as wild as your imagination will allow. Use old cling wrap tubes for the base of a guitar, an old tissue box for the base of guitar then draw on the strings. Don’t forget to use cotton tips or cotton balls for the tuning 😉

Start a gratitude journal with your child – they can draw what they are thankful for

Let your child pick out the menu for a meal then get them involved in helping to prepare and cook the meal

Start a collection – stamps, rocks or buttons, what is of interest

Practice/teach something (reading, tying shoes, zipping zipper, sports, rhyming, sorting, telling time)

Draw with chalk on your driveway or footpath – it washes away with either a hose down it bucket of water

Go for a bike ride

Play pretend

Make a collage out of photos and/or clippings of their favorite things

Tell jokes

Spend time simply LISTENING to them.

Make a list of things you want to do together in the future!

Other fun craft ideas can be found at-
http://www.tinyme.com/blog/10-crafty-cardboard-ideas/?utm_campaign=blog-10-cardboard-crafts&utm_medium=social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_content=photo-wall&utm_term=2014-7-10
For more ideas on what to do in Sydney, click the link below.
http://www.sydney.com/things-to-do/family-holidays/top-attractions-for-kids

Fiji – Bula!

imageFiji Sitting beside the stunning pool on a wonderful holiday with my hubby and gorgeous toddler I feel very lucky!

We have came to Fiji Denaru Island and are staying in a lovely villa at the Sheraton. The sun is shining and the days are getting lost. 🙂 not a care in the works simply relaxing and spending quality time with my hubby and bubby! So let me tell you why we chose Fiji as our destination.

My husband and his family have been coming to this wonderful island for many years, my husbands mother recalls stories of bringing her children here when they were very young. My husband took his first steps at 14 months old in Fiji and for many years to follow they would continue to come here as their annual family holiday. It holds a special place in his heart which I find sweet and he has lovely early memories here.

My husband fell in love with it way back then and for the past few years we have made it our wonderful family holiday and am sure we will continue to come here with our next bubba also. I too have fallen in love with this place, it’s so convenient to get here only a 3.5hr flight (approx) from Sydney.

Here are only a few reasons as to why we will continue to come back to this stunning island.

1. The people are so accommodating, friendly, happy and a delight to deal with.

2. The sun is always shining!

3. The water is clear and blue,

4. There are 5 plus pools to choose from to swim in or lay by incase you don’t want to swim or lay by the beach 🙂

5. The sand is white 🙂

6. There is kids club for kids up to the age 14

7. The food is yummy

8. It’s relaxing and carefree

9. Bula – means hello, and that word to me sounds happy!

10. Everyone is always smiling and friendly

11. It’s family friendly

12. The amenities are always clean

13. There are various activities to keep you busy – only if you want

14. We get a 2 bedroom villa with a kitchen (easy for staying in and cooking for little ones)

15. It’s affordable

16. The fresh coconuts are delicious!

17. You don’t need to leave the resort if you don’t want too, there are 2 deli’s, many family friendly restaurants, bakery, multiple gifts stores and various recreational activities on-site

18. The Sheraton is associated with the Westin here so you have full access of all the Westins amenities also including their gym and recreational activities and restaurants.

19. You don’t need to carry around your wallet / purse. Within either Sheraton or Westin you can charge anything from any shop or restaurant to your room

20. The main port ‘Port Denaru’ is a easy flat 15 minute walk where you will find a very convenient mini supermarket and duty free store for all your needs.!

Positive parenting.

Positive parenting

I just came across this great article on positive parenting.

Worth a read. I’ve had a few scared and very judgemental moments where ice wanted to crawl and hide, wish I’d had read this sooner. Great tips on how to deal with such circumstances.

When Children Bite and Strike: 5 Positive Ways To Deal and Heal
Posted by Ariadne Brill

Hitting, pushing, shoving and biting are common ways for preschoolers and toddlers to deal with their emotions. Strikes and bites are often happening because something inside the child, some feeling, like a hiccup, just needs to get out. It could be frustration, upset, sadness, anxiety, fear or a mixed bowl of emotions.

What can we do about it? Very likely, you have heard many suggestions on how to deal with your child’s biting and hitting. Perhaps you have tried time-outs, yelled out of frustration, or taken away a toy. Maybe you have even heard the “bite back” and “strike back” bit of advice but don’t want to go down that path? Would you like to try alternatives based on love, empathy and gentle guidance?

Here are 5 ideas on how to positively deal with a child that hits and bites:

1. Observe: If biting, hitting, pushing has been going on for a little while, chances are you can pin-point some of the situations that bring it about. For a toddler, being upset and not having words to express herself is a common trigger:
For my 20 month old Bella, having toys taken away by her bigger brothers is a sure fire way to get a bite in return. We have worked as a team to instill a habit of “switching” and “asking” for toys as well as respecting when someone is not ready to share.

 

2. Be Pro-Active: Although understanding the reason behind the strike is not a pre-requisite to curbing the problem, being pro-active can reduce the strikes and help our children learn more positive ways to deal with their emotions.
At our weekly playgroup, one 30 month old toddler, Julia*, was keen on hitting my daughter. After the third time, I noticed Julia would strike when I was actively playing with my daughter and Julia was wandering around looking for something to do. Julia would come to strike, her mother would then rush across the room and sternly tell her NO and then walk away again. Julia would move onto the next child she could hit and this cycle would go on and on. The next week, when we started playing with some puzzles, I invited Julia to join us right away. Julia was very happy to do so, and soon her mother joined as well. Julia has not hit Bella for several weeks now – Instead, the girls are learning to play side by side with a bit of guidance.

3. Empathize: If we really take the time to look past the strikes and bites, we can see that the acts are not so much a pre-meditated crimes, but more so outbursts of emotion and a lending a loving ear can help heal the hurt.
When my soon to be 4 year old recently tried kicking and hitting me, I held him close so I wouldn’t get hurt and said “You may not kick or hurt me but I will listen to you. Do you want to tell me what you are feeling?” After some squirming, crying and huffing, he went on to tell me he was really mad. A friend that had been visiting was leaving and he just wasn’t ready to say good-bye. “I hate when people go to their house.” Crying in my arms and having a listening ear was all he needed to recover.

4. Play: For the toddlers as well as for the preschoolers, having an outlet for their frustration, anger or upset is all very important. From roughhousing to playing chase or pillow fights; games that actively allow children to release energy all help prevent biting, hitting and other aggression from building up.
During an unexpectedly long walk up our mountain, my five year old was getting really anxious to get home, he started pestering his brother and poking him (a sign he might start hitting if he gets more worked up.) I suggested we start playing animal safari as we walked. We took turns growling like bears, making elephant noises and lastly roaring like lions. The large breaths of the lion roaring helped Maxi re-focus and relieve some of his energy and soon we were home and nobody had been hurt.

5. Be Firm-Be Kind: Should your child strike you or bite you try to stay calm, show empathy and then with kindness explain the behavior is not alright. Short and descriptive phrases without loaded emotions seem to work best.
“You may not bite your friend. Biting hurts. How about we try to play together?“
“Do not bite. Please try to ask for help.”
“You seem very mad. Hitting is not ok. Do you need something?”

Biting and hitting are a normal part of early childhood and although many parents feel ashamed or embarrassed by this particular behavior, for children it is really just like learning to drink from an open cup, holding a spoon or riding a bicycle…it takes a bit of time, love and lots of patience.

How do you feel when your child hits or bites?

Have you been able to help your child curb biting or hitting?

What has worked for your family?

 

Entertaining little ones.

Keeping your little one entertained.

Let’s be honest here, we sometimes wonder ‘what next?’ What can we do now? How can I occupy my little one?

Well I have also often have these thoughts, so here are a few of my favorite things to do with my little man.

1. Outdoor exploring – my little one loves the outdoors so we often go exploring in the gardens. Showing him flowers and various plants, insects, trees etc not only keeps him busy but also teaches him about his environment. Get involved and smell flowers, walk on grass, sit and play with dirt, lay on the ground and make picture out if the clouds in the sky!

2. Drawing with chalk – again outdoors. Get some giant chalk sticks and let your children’s explore on the drive way or pavement. Chalk is not permeant so easily washed away with a bucket of water or with the hose. Unleash your creative side and your little ones also! Draw animals, write words, create shapes – anything is possible – explain as you go and your little will will absorb all your knowledge, remember they are sponges!

3. Singing and dancing – every night when little man is in the bath we sing songs. This is a little special time for us and it keeps him in the bath a little longer than 2 seconds. Which is his usual. So if your little one is too busy to bath – get singing. Lots of nursery rhymes have hand actions and clapping and stomping are great for motor skills communicating. Our favorite is ‘eyes,ears,mouth and nose’ – ‘gloop gloop went the little green frog’ and ‘Open shut them.’ These are super easy and fun. Keeps both occupied and promotes language skills. Of course you don’t need to do this in the bath you can do this in the lounge room or anywhere.

4. Cooking – I know this sounds dangerous but I never give him sharp objects or anything that he can be harmed with. When I am preparing any meal I pop my toddler in his high chair and let him watch me. I give him a bowl, spoon, whisk and other plastic non shape utensils and allow him to imitate. This really helps with their development and learning abilities.

5. Sensory games – cheap and cheerful. Get some small containers from your Tupperware cupboard. Go to your pantry and pull out some rice and pasta, then head to your driveway and collect some pebbles approx 20mm in diameter then a small jug of water. Put the rice in one container, pasta in another, pebbles in another and finally the water in another. Allow your little one to sit and play with these. Not only is this another form of exploring but it’s teaching them different texture, shape, size and materials.

6. Reading books – my little guy loves to read! So every day we sit down and read at least 2 books. Not only is this quiet time, it also helps him to learn words, objects, images, colors and turning pages. He also sits by himself and turns the pages in his books chatting away to himself.

7. Chases – this can be indoors or out. Play catchies! You chase them then allow them to chase you. Also allow them to catch you and when you catch them. Make it special – give a little tickle or kiss. Guaranteed this will be fun for all involved!

If these don’t keep you and your toddler busy I’m not sure what will. 🙂

Remember they are only little for a short time so embrace their ability to learn and allow them to crate and learn to their full potential.

Inspiration from Tone it Up & What Courtney Wore!

So I’ve just started following a few new blogs. When I say ‘new’ I mean, new to me.

I like to think of myself as a little stylish, others may beg to differ  – so this new blog that’s kinda inspired me to think a little more about ‘outfits’ that I put together is ‘What Courtney Wore’.

Courtney is a ‘southern bell’  so to speak. She has great style – but most of all what I like about her is that she is ‘real’. When I say ‘ real’ I’m not meaning it as a throw away line, I mean it as she speaks her mind and is not shy with what she wears. Not that she is wearing super revealing outfits, but that she is happy to clash colors, be bold and mix it up a bit! Be brave – take a chance. Be inspired by Courtney!

http://thecourtneykerr.com

Another blog that I’ve recently started to follow is Tone it Up.

These girls I also appreciated. Again they are real, as far as I can see 🙂 they are into their fitness, but not scrawny nor too muscular. They are toned, fit and healthy women.

This blog takes me back to the beginning of my career. Yes I was once upon a time ago a personal trainer / fitness instructor.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like to work out and keep fit, however working full time and being a full time wife and mummy, I don’t always get time to go to the gym.

Ok let’s be honest here – I have not stepped into a gym since I was 3 months pregnant and my little man is now 15 months old. You do the math. I have however tried to keep fit in other ways including walking with the pram – ESP up hills 🙂 thigh and butt killer! And also by generally playing with my little one.

Let’s face it – we would all rather play with our family than hit the gym right?

Why not incorporate them / our families in our work outs whilst in the comfort of our homes.

Karena and Katrina from Tone it Up have made so many easy simple work outs that you can do whilst your little one is sleeping or if they are awake – use them as your added weight. 🙂

When squatting or lunging hold your little one across your front – almost like they are bear hugging you! Extra weight equals harder workout equals more calories burned!

Or

When laying down on your back use your little one as a weight and play flying games with them – fun for them to zoom up and down but also a great workout for you. Just remember to keep that tummy in, butt and legs tight and don’t strain!

See more exercises on Tone it up blog / website –

http://toneitup.com

Just remember – be creative with your workouts! Don’t be boring, keep it fun – include your little ones and ENJOY!