parenting

  • mainly music is a fun and social time for the whole family – but it’s also much more than that!  There’s  physical, spiritual and educational connection points in what we do.

    Here’s a summary of an article from the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa about how we can help our children develop in a complicated world.

    Why Parents can be Real Super-Heroes!

    You probably don’t need to be told that parents need to have super-powers – just getting through the night sometimes requires super-human strength!

    Superman and Wonder Woman are called upon to Serve, Rescue and Protect.  And while we may not wear a cape (although…you may!) our role as parents also requires us to be the servers, rescuers and protectors in our children’s lives.

    In her article “Our own set of scales:  risk and protective factors”, Sue Younger from the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa describes how we all live with an unique set of scales – with risk factors on one side, and protective factors on the other.  Young children need us to try to minimise their risk factors, and maximise their protective factors.

    Risk factors for young children include poverty, stressed or depressed parents, family conflict or violence and alcohol or drug abuse in the home.

    Some of these things we have little control over – however the good news is that there are protective factors which can even out and counter the risks.

    According to Younger, protective factors for children include:

    • People around you who listen to you.
    • People who talk with you in a positive way, in language you can understand, and who encourage you when you do something good.
    • People who sing to you.
    • People who read to you.
    • People who spend time with you.
    • People who play with you and make you laugh………………and many more!
      Sue Younger, Brainwave Trust Aotearoa

    You really don’t need super powers to be your child’s protector.  But if you are there for them, minimising their risks and maximising their protection – you are indeed the real super hero in their lives.

    To read the full article from Brainwave Trust Aotearoa, click here.

  • mainly music is a fun and social time for the whole family – but it’s also much more than that!  There’s  physical, spiritual and educational connection points in what we do.

    Here’s a summary of some research from the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa about healthy parenting in these moments of connection:

    Backbone Parenting:  Love and Limits!
    We know every child and family situation is different, but if there was one sure recipe for happy, healthy kids it can come down to two key factors:  love and limits.

    First comes Love.  Our first primary job as parents is to love – to love fully and unconditionally.  Caring for a child’s emotional needs is every bit as important as their obvious physical requirements.  You cannot love a child too much – you can not spoil them with too much love.  Love, expressed through physical touch, talking, smiling, singing, dancing, telling stories, mucking about together and just being silly – all builds a strong foundation for a secure, happy child from which they can grow, learn and explore their world.

    “Every bath, every nappy change, and every cuddle are opportunities to help a child feel loved”

    • Keryn O’Neill, Brainwave Trust Aotearoa

    Limits -  providing structure to their world.  Secure on a love foundation, every child needs to have their world constructed with clear and consistent limits.  Your children look to you as their guide to discovering their world – and they are not stifled but rather flourish under firm but fair limits.

    Limits needs to grow with your child – the more they are able to understand, the more we need to explain and help them understand the rules.  When they are younger, boundaries tend to be more physical (preventing our young explorers from hurting themselves); but as they grow boundaries and limits are there to help them learn acceptable and appropriate behaviour.

    Love and Limits:  the two go hand in hand.  They form the backbone of our parenting journey – and it’s not a short trip!  Parenting is often described as a marathon – not a sprint!  And the best possible start for your family begins with both Love and Limits.

    To read the full article from Brainwave Trust Aotearoa, click here. https://www.brainwave.org.nz/love-and-limits/

  • The concept of “attachment” has found its way into much writing and talking about parenting, but what does it mean, and more importantly, how can parents help their child to develop a secure attachment?

    Attachment is the lasting emotional bond that a child forms with a specific person that provides safety, comfort, soothing, and pleasure. Almost all children will develop an attachment but the nature of attachment varies, depending largely upon the care-giving style of their parents. Children who are securely attached are more likely to be resilient under stress, have better relationships, and enter school ready to learn.

    Drawing on attachment research a group of American psychotherapists have developed a user-friendly graphic illustrating the different needs children have of their parents, named the Circle of Security (COS) (Cooper, Hoffman, Marvin & Powell, 1998). The hands represent the parent, and the circle represents the child moving away to explore and coming back when necessary.

    Interested in more? Download the full article including the graphic from The Brainwave Trust  - CLICK HERE

    To develop a secure attachment, children require their parents to fulfil two key roles. First, (on the top half of the circle) the parent’s role is to be a secure base from which the child can move away and explore their world. For a baby this may be subtle, looking away from mum as something catches their interest, for a toddler with new-found mobility, it may be more obvious! This is an important role as it is through exploration that a child’s learning occurs. Children are more likely to explore when they feel safe and look to their parents for cues that it is OK.

    Being emotionally available to our children is necessary, just being physically present is not enough and even very young children will spot the difference, as adults do. For example, imagine how different it feels to talk to your partner who is really ‘with’ you compared with when they are listening - while watching TV!

    It can be helpful to consider what lies behind our children’s approaches to us. For example, asking for help with a task like putting on their socks may be more about seeking emotional support than actually requiring our help. Recognising this helps parents to respond more effectively to their child’s needs.

    Maybe you have found sufficient help from this short portion of the article. We’d recommend you check it out completely by referring to the downloadable resource.

    Written by: Keryn O’Neill, MA PGCertEdPsych
    Brainwave Trust Senior Researcher
    Published in the newsletter of Brainwave Trust 2016. First published in June 2010.

    Used by permission in partnership with Brainwave Trust.

    For more information about the brain – www.brainwave.org.nz

  • Are you expecting too much from your toddler?

    Take a deep breath and read Miriam McCaleb's words of wisdom on how to parent a willfull two year old.

    What gives? What makes us think it's acceptable to label two year olds as "terrible"? "The terrible Twos" is a common phrase used to describe our divine children as they negotiate the rocky path of toddlerhood. Just when toddlers need their adults to be at our most compassionate, understanding and helpful, we turn on them with our language and expectations. Within their earshot, these groovy toddlers are described as "terrible".

    If i knew i was being described as a "Tragic Thirty-something" rapidly approaching my "Foul Forties", i would be highly likely to lay my most awful behaviour on you. Really, you wanna see terrible? I'll give you tragic! You aint seen foul like i can deliver it....

    We've certainly moved on from thinking it's okay to use such terms when describing gender, ethnicity or ability. So why is it socially acceptable for two year olds?

    Rise up, dear readers and join me in a campaign to say "NO!" to using this unfortunate moniker. Yes, friends, beware the power of the fulfilling prophecy.

    Bye bye baby, hello toddler

    Let's explore some of the developmental tasks of children as they near the age of two, and how we as adults need to adjust our expectations. After all, when we know what is going on for children during toddlerhood, we have no need to label their behaviour "terrible".

    Toddlerhood can emerge as a shock to many parents. You've adjusted to the needs of infancy, you have been brave and giving as you negotiated sleepless nights, sore boobs, and the constant aroma of baby vomit. But along with the challenges, you've enjoyed the rewards of parenting a baby: the admiring gazes of folks on the street, the convenience of the non-mobile infant (still in the same spot where you left him, 10 minutes later!) and the glorious baby grins and giggles. Seemingly all of a sudden, this portable and somewhat malleable baby is replaced by a toddler, determined to practise his newfound walking (running, and climbing) skills, a toddler with his own ideas about where to go next and what he would rather be doing, wearing or eating. This shift must be met with a shift in your skills, or conflict will arise.

    Dr Ron Lally, one the founders of the Program for Infant/Toddler Care, a research-based training organisation in California, talks about the tension that occurs when adults continue using the same skills that were successful in caring for a young baby when they're engaged with an older infant or toddler.

    He explains that the main development task of a very young infant is to experience security and that the ultimate caregiving style for a very young infant is modelled on a warm, bosomy grandmother. Calm, gentle, sensitive love delivered by an attuned and nurturing adult with tons of time to snuggle. Perfect!

    But as that little baby grows into a mobile infant, the envelope of the cost embrace becomes more of a part-time residence. The main developmental task of the mobile infant is exploration, and a child of this age (who has made the cognitive leap that "mummy ends and i begin") has a ton of work to do in figuring out how his body works. He must learn to roll, commando-crawl, rock on hands and knees, pick things up with a pincer grasp, stand up, walk and climb. Huge work!

    Step up, coach

    Now that the middle infant has started to walk, he is, by definition, a toddler. And toddlers have a whole new world to negotiate. They've mastered much of their physical work, and they're moving into a complex world of understanding relationships, emotions and identity. ("Me! Mine! I do it!") This learning is profound and important, and Dr Lally uses the analogy of a coach to describe the type of skill set that will serve a toddler well.

    The coach is encouraging, clear and patient. The coach recoginises that some skills will need to be practised over and again, without becoming frustrated. A skilled coach wont become angry or take it personally when they receive messages, "I need your help. No, go away! I can do this on my own! Actually, hey, i really do need your help!" recognising that the need for support ebbs and flows when negotiating new skills - sometimes within moments.

    No need to get mad about it - it's not naughtiness or willfullness, its just how it is. Sue Gerhardt repeats this language in her excellent book Why Love Matters. She talks about the role of a skilled adult as an "emotion coach". Our toddlers need us to identify what they seem to be experiencing, to weave it with some empathy, and to avoid judgment of their emotion.

    A threatening toddler storm in the supermarket checkout can be responded to with something like: "Oh, I Know! All of those chocolates look so interesting and it's hard when you can't have what you want, eh? Looks like you're mad about that! Oh well .... sorry, babe, no chocolate today."

    This is quite a different message to, "Stop being silly. You don't need chocolate. Stop it!"

    The limit is the same (I'm not buying a chocolate bar), but while the first response acknowledges that human desires and emotions are normal (and lets be honest, whose not tempted by the beautifully wrapped treats?), the second serves to add an unhelpful layer of shame to the mix (It's silly to feel like that). When we are honest with ourselves, we realise that it's entirely reasonable to feel discomfort when faced with the yearning for something desirable that we cannot have. New car, anyone? Coveting another pair of impractical shoes or beautiful handbag? Yes, it's hard when we can't have what we want.

    Local parent educator and university lecturer Nathan Mikaere-Wallis has another terrific analogy when talking about supporting children through this time. He talks about a child's need for an emotional apprenticeship. Just as the master mechanic wouldn't mock the junior for not yet knowing how to manage a blown carburetter, wise adults know we must share our experiences, to avoid abandoning children in the complex world of emotion.

    Recipe for brain development

    Exploring the work of Dr Bruce Perry, a Texas-based neuroscientist, author and child psychiatrist, gives us another lens through which to view this idea. Dr Perry developed what's known as the neuro-sequential model, a fantastic tool for understanding the way our brains develop. The neuro-sequential model demonstrates that toddlers are working with an incomplete brain. Their brains have a way to go before being totally organised. Is it any wonder they need our help?

    This model teaches us a hierarchical nature of brain growth and function. Dr Perry uses the analogy of a layer cake: The bottom layer must be firm and cooked so other layers can rest upon it.

    We now know that our brain uses a foundation of simple functions and later develops more complex functions. The first region of our brain to develop is the brain stem, focusing on survival functions, for example: breathing.

    Next, the neuro-sequential model teaches us that toddlers do huge work to develop control over their bodies, as they wire up a region known as their mid-brain. Then, the "layer" of the limbic system is developed, and this is the home of emotion.

    Anyone hanging out with toddlers will recognise that they often feel deep emotions, and they move from one to another for reasons that may seem illogical to adults. Most grown-ups have access to a region of the brain known as the cortex, which enables logic to override an emotional response. Research indicates we don't fully wire up our cortexes until we're in our mid-20s. So, to expect a two year old to "calm down" just because you say so is unreasonable.

    Toddlers have an emotional brain, but they don't yet have a logical brain. Robust cortical growth happens most readily when it rests upon a strong foundation. This can't happen when the "layers" of the "cake" that sit underneath have raw cake batter in the middle.

    It is arguable, then, that the best way to ensure a healthy wiring (and perfect bake time) for the limbic system is to engage emotionally with toddlers as they do the work of learning about feelings.

    Imagine your 20-month-old wants to wear the green T-shirt and it's wet on the washing line. He's disappointed, maybe sad. Perhaps a tantrum is looming. While it's great if you take the time to talk with him about the wet fabric and the fact that he'll get cold if he wears it now, he will not be able to hear your logical messages and explanations while he's in the midst of his emotional reaction.

    Instead, start with his emotion. "Oh, I can see your face looking really sad about that. Are you disappointed about the T-shirt being wet? Because you really love that T-shirt, don't you? But do you know what, honey? It's all wet! It was dirty, so I washed it, and now it has to get dry before you can wear it again."

    See - all those logical explanations are in there too, but we must begin by allowing, acknowledging and explaining the emotion. Over time, children become more skilled at recognising the emotions that pass like clouds across their consciousness ("Yes, I'm angry!"). Knowing what they are, as well as having been coached about how to manage them, is essential in learning to regulate them - to calm oneself down.

    Understanding tantrums

    Speaking of regulating emotions, let's take a moment to talk specifically about tantrums. Tantrums are usually a result of a child not having yet learned to deal with their powerful emotions in more of a socially acceptable way. They are not usually about naughtiness or manipulation - remember, these children don't yet have much of a logical brain, so they're not able to plan, plot or control their parents.

    Most tantrums are what author and child psychotherapist Margot Sunderland calls a "distress tantrum", and these children should be thought of as having the words "I need to be soothed" or "Help me to handle this" printed across their beings. These children need empathy, language to describe their feelings and perhaps some distraction.

    The minority of tantrums are described by Sunderland in The Science of Parenting, as "Little Nero" tantrums. A child having a Little Nero tantrum is usually older, there are no tears or stress chemicals in his brain and body. Only a minority of tantrums are about manipulation. This is the child who needs clear limits and a calm, firm parent.

    Which brings us to the final point. In order to be the sort of parent our children need us to be, we must strive for calm, warm, consistent parenting. This is very hard to do when we are stressed ourselves. Our buttons are pushed much more easily when we're tired, when we haven't learned to process our own emotions, or if we just need a snack.

    So just as you're practising kindness and acceptance of those toddlers (the Terrific, Tantalising Toddlerific Twos), practise a little kindness and acceptance of yourself, too.

    Miriam McCaleb has been working with children for 20 years. She reckons the coolest among them are toddlers. The last decade has seen Miriam concentrate on teaching the adults in children's lives (who are also cool) and in caring for her whanau (the best of the lot!).  She works with the Brainwave Trust, blogs at www.baby.geek.nz and this February delightedly welcomed a new baby. 

     Special thanks to OHbaby! magazine for providing us with the content of this piece.

    Republished with permission – www.ohbaby.co.nzweblogoohbaby

  • Conflict is common to all of us. The problem is we often struggle to handle it well. To be fair, we all know how to handle it badly, and we do so on a regular basis.  We can fall into the trap of getting aggressive or we can just try to avoid it all. At one level conflict is simply the disagreement of ideas; what makes it harder are the meaning and emotions we load it up with. Some people avoid conflict, saying they want to keep the peace, which isn’t actually true, they just want to avoid conflict. You often have to go through to conflict to get to real peace. To resolve conflict well, here are four steps to apply.

    1. Own your zone.
      One thing that all people in conflict have in common is they are very aware of what the other person is doing wrong. As they focus on this, the relationship stalls. Before addressing another person's behaviour first make sure you've tidied up your side of the fence. Own your emotions, your reactions, your interpretation, rather than blaming others for what you're feeling, assuming and the way you are behaving. It is easy to fall into a ‘reactive’ mindset rather than a ‘responsive’ one. People with a ‘reactive’ mindset do three things: [1] they blame the other person for how they feel; [2] they then justify any reaction they make; and [3] they wait for the other person to change, or at least apologise. People with a ‘responsive’ mindset however, do the opposite: [1] they take responsibility for how they feel; [2] they then take responsibility for how they react; and [3] they initiate to address the issue.
    1. Know your need.
      Often conflict is the clash between two people's solutions or preferences that seem mutually exclusive. However, if you peel back their preferences you discover what is actually important to a person; what they are valuing or needing. Usually what each person is valuing or needing is equally fine.  It is here that you can brainstorm together how both can be upheld – you become a team rather than competitors. Or you can negotiate as to what you require to be ok with accepting the other person’s preferences, or equally what would they require to be ok with accepting yours.
    1. Address the person.
      As obvious as that sounds, we will often talk to everyone else except the person we have the problem with; or we clam up and say nothing at all. Often people play the conversation through in their minds and conclude that saying something won't work. They never let the other person into the conversation. When we do this we stall ourselves. We need to play our part, which is to address the person, say what we need to say, and let their response be their responsibility.
    1. And finally, communicate constructively.
      Learn how to speak the truth in a respectful way. Some people are all ‘truth’ but there is no respect in the way they are speaking; they just let the person have it. Others are so focused on being loving and respectful that they never say what they really mean. When you speak, do so from a soft heart, speaking calmly, clearly, using “I” and focus on the behaviour rather than attacking the person. One helpful pattern to use is:

    I appreciate…
    I don't appreciate…
    I would appreciate...

    For example: “I appreciate that you have been working hard. What I am struggling with is the way you arrive late each night and I really need your support. What I would appreciate is if you could do whatever it takes to be here on time. That would mean a lot to me.”

    Resolving conflict well empowers your life and deepens your relationships. Why settle for anything less?

    Richard Black
    Strength to Strength
    www.strength2strength.co.nz

    s2slogo_white-on-green-03

  • Have you looked at 'how' to speak love into your child using the love languages? While a child is young, it's good to love them through all five love languages so here's some practical ideas you could try this week.

    Time – take a moment to have a ‘date’ with your child. If you can, one parent with one child – at the park, go for a walk, make a craft; if you can’t, set aside a chunk of time to complete a project with your children.

    Act of service – does your child look after a job around the house? Maybe they feed the cat or dry the dishes. Why don’t you take their turn? Make sure you tell them WHY you’re doing this or it will go unrecognized!

    Physical touch – easy as! A rough and tumble on the floor. Read a book snuggled on the couch together.

    Words of encouragement – write a note to tell your child how much you love them and why. “I love the way you smile.” “I love you because just because you are my son – no other reason.” “I love the way you care for your sister.” Speak out what you see for little ones who can’t yet read.

    Gifts – children don’t have a ‘value’ for money. Something small – something big but cheap; children view the item’s value to them rather than what you paid for it.

    We’re grateful to Gary Chapman who wrote the book, 5 Love Languages, and recommend it to you as an essential parenting title.

  • Self-esteem. Parents are sometimes placed on a guilt trip. We measure ourselves. The critics say, the child's self esteem is all up to parents.

    It has been recorded that worry does not add a single moment to your lives. That wherever our treasure is, there our heart and thoughts will also be. And that each of us is more valuable to God than the birds of the air.

    How can we, as parents or influencers of these youngsters, present a bigger picture so they know we 'choose' them, that they are held in our hearts as 'loved'?

    Firstly, we can reduce the 'worry' factor. We can take stock of the atmosphere in our home, not talk about wrongdoings in their hearing, and stop ourselves from confiding our own fears to them.

    Secondly, we can encourage them in treasures beyond themselves - let's help them find a passion - dance, sport, art, literature. They don't have to be 'first' or 'best' - instead be satisfied with a job well done, a game well played.

    Finally, we can explore with them a picture beyond ourselves. If Gods finds us and our children more valuable than the birds, we can relax in that knowledge. Look at birds dressed so finely; they have detail far beyond our nakedness; they worry-not. Sure birds don't have schedules or iPhones, rent or mortgage, bills nor credit cards. Birds' lives are relatively care-free. But listen to their song - they sing as the sun rises, they sing as the sun sets, and whether its raining or sunny, they find something to be thankful for. Have you considered and 'i'm thankful' list !

    Start by doing  what is necessary. Then do what is possible. And suddenly you are doing the impossible.
    Francis of Assisi. 

  • When you're at mainly music, there are songs and rhymes that involved props. Sometimes those props are given out to everyone, like maracas or scarves. And other times, there are props given out to only five children who come to the front to hold them.

    And then the crying begins!

    If your child loathes being left out, rather than scold them, ask the team to 'not forget your child in future', or wish there were only five children in your session, here are some ideas to help your child learn from a very young age about being a team player. This is going to take time. With the end in mind [I want to develop a team player], keep persevering in the process of teaching your child.

    Distract your child by whispering into their ear about the props at the front. "Look at the colours of those ladybugs - what colour do you see?" "I wonder if Sophie will drop her ladybug. Do you think she will?"

    Celebrate the other children who are at the front. "How cool is it that Marcus got to hold the duckling? Are you ready to clap when he holds it up?"

    If your child will not calm, take her out. But first, give her the change to make that choice. "Samantha, we cannot enjoy the mainly music session if you are going to scream about the lollipops at the front. You can either stop screaming or i will take you out to the foyer. It's your choice. "And make sure you follow through. No counting or no bargaining from you; no semi-screams from your child. Out in the foyer you can advise your child, "We can back into music when you are ready to participate. Other children are having a turn this week. You will have a turn another day. I will wait with you until you calm down. Tell me when you are ready to go back in with a smile."

    Delight in your child when it is their turn. Don't look at your phone. Make eye contact and smile while they're at the front. When you child returns, triumphant that it was their turn, smile and give a hug or high five. Tell them what and amazing job they did holding the big picture. Delighting in your child is a key attachment activity. When they know you love and adore them, no matter what, they feel secure and find a sense of belonging.

    If your child is cautious but willing about going to the front, go with them. At mainly music, we're about the connection you can have with your child in the session. Don't force them to be confident. Help them gain confidence in holding a prop. Make sure you child has some degree of willingness though.

    And during the week, practice. In the car, talk about how excited you'll be to see Amy and Oscar at the front with puppets. At home, have your child hold something related to a song or rhyme you can remember or play a song from the Greatest Hits range. Practice turn taking - have teddy or dolly hold one of the props, then your child. Encourage your child to be the session facilitator at home with the soft toys. Congratulate toys who take part. And if any soft toy cries because they want the prop, take it into another room and with a voice loud enough for your child to hear, state what you'd be saying if it was the real thing!

    Hope you have fun.

  • When we think about adults spending quality time with children, i wonder if it's just me, or does your mind go straight to sentimental sorts of scenes: cosy board game by the fire, baby crawling through the daffodils of his first spring, perhaps a slow-motion shot of a family laughing as child toddles through lapping waves.

    If i were to ask you to imagine and adult spending quality time with a child, to consider a rich opportunity for relationship strengthening or visualise a learning interaction, i don't reckon you'd visualise a nappy change.

    But perhaps we should. perhaps the journey to self begins on the nappy change table.

    If you're reading this, you are probably fairly interested in child development and  you will know how powerful early relationships are in impacting our social skills: our ability to read cues, to respond to and empathise with others, and that these abilities serve as powerful predictors of things like school success and later relationship health.

    Those of us who are interested in brain science understand the repetition is one of the key principles for reinforcing learning and building brains. We know that infants and young toddlers are particularly malleable at a foundational level: their 'habits of mind' are being formed, they are waist-deep in the fundamentals of identity formation.

    So while our memories might grasp onto "special occasion" moments as examples of quality time, our brains are actually built on the everyday minute, the day-in, day out activities so often disdained for being just routine.

    Please join me in rethinking this idea, just for a moment. Consider that most children are reported to enjoy around 5000 nappy changes in their lifetime. There are interactions that are happening anyway - these are, if you choose to think if it like this, tasks that must be done.

    A nappy change interaction can be swift and clinical, making maximum use of distractino as a tool for getting jobs done. The distraction might be that of the adult (cricking phone under neck or sending a text message) or it might be the child who is distracted, encouraged to lavish attention on something other than the adult.

    Instead, imagine the way that nappy change routines can be an oasis of relational connection in a busy, busy world. They offer the change for adult and child to share gaze and conversation, smiles and song.

    Children who are consistently handled with kind hands and good humour are far more likely to radiate those gifts back to the world. Imagine how you might handle a nappy change routine differently if you weren't consistently rushing to get it finished, but you were instead seeing it as an opportunity for unhurried, relational strengthening (with poo-be-gone benefits).

    These daily acts of mothering/fathering/caregiving provide an inbuilt opportunity for children to experience intimacy - especially when their adults hold an intention to build and nurture the relationship, to attune to the needs of their children, as well as achieve the practical goal represented by the routine.

    Children who are consistently handled with kind hands and good humour are far more likely to radiate those gifts back to the world.

    It is helpful to view all care routines in this way, to see that feeding a baby is an opportunity for shared intimacy, warmth and the beginnings of conversation - and to consider that nappy changes are an extension of the feeding and nurturing routine.

    Babies aren't necessarily aware of a separation: what happens at the top half of their personhood in comparison to what is happening in the bottom half, but they are certainly aware of how good it feels to be held gently, spoken to warmly, smiled at by a loving and familiar face. And we are aware of the power of the repetitious.

    Remember, children don't delineate their experiences into "educational and relationship enhancing opportunities" and "other" - the act of supporting a toddler into gumboots is just as full of rich learning as the splashing in puddles to follow.

    Let's pledge to say the word "routine" with reverence, and imagine that the very familiarity of the event creates a framework that allows us to pay even closer attention to the person we're caring for.
    Miriam McCaleb, Brainwave Trust Educator.

    Reprinted by permission of The Brainwave Trust. To obtain a copy of this article, we recommend you go to: http://www.brainwave.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Nappy_2.pdf

  • I’ve never taken much note of the claims cleaning products make but when you’re looking along the supermarket shelves, you being to wonder about what you read.

    The claims give the impression that mould and grime, window streaks and dirty marks will disappear the moment they see the cleaning product poised for action. Forget elbow grease – that went out with the last century. Forget your grandmother’s recipe for stain removal – that’s been superseded with chemicals in a bottle.

    I got thinking about this at the same time as I was facilitating a parenting course and I began to think about our expectations. We microwave our food; we drive through for our take out; we check our bank account for our ‘real time’ balance; and that product we ordered, it arrived before the weekend.

    All this speed and little effort spills over, unconsciously, to other areas of our life.

    We expect parenting skills to be applied with no elbow grease. We try a new idea and become disappointed when our child’s behaviour hasn’t changed in 24 hours. 24 hours? Like within the moment.

    And yet, deep down we know from personal experience that change takes time.

    And if we’re a little reflective, we recognise that a little elbow grease applied in the form of perseverance and effort actually results in a job well done, in a skill learned, or in our character being formed.

    Our pain-free, elbow grease-less, ‘now’ world actually needs a little pain, a smattering of elbow grease and some extra time to ensure we and our children grow character, achieve goals and make a difference.

    As parents, we need to slow cook our parenting and give time for those changes to take place. When we persevere, our children realise we mean what we’ve said. So become a broken record. Don’t budge even when the tantrums occur. Apply elbow grease. Your life will become better for it … in the long term.

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It's a birthday
Did you want to contribute to the growth and influence of the UK?
Our founder's birthday is in December and instead of sending her a card, here's where you can put the money into the support mainly music is providing to families in the UK.
We value your contribution to the establishing groups that provide community to those who find themselves isolated.
Fires, floods and other nasties
If there has been a natural (or man made) disaster in your country, like fires, floods or even terrorism, and you'd like to support the groups in that area, depending which country you give from, we'll make sure these groups get help. The money will go to celebration items (like Christmas books or birthday gifts) and financial support of the local groups affected.
Families at risk
We're connecting with families who don't always see the value of mainly music sessions first off - but when they attend other services provided by agencies and participate, their smiles return as they connect with their child. It fills mum's life and develops the bond with her children.
Donation amount:

$