Browsing Tag

child behaviour

Family Life

where to draw the line?

May 22, 2013
drawing in the sand

This is a post by Zanni

Having a newborn is shocking. It’s like turning inside out and reforming as a whole new person. But sweet belly laughs make sleepless nights and endless nappy changes worthwhile.

Age one is honey-kissed sunshine. You marvel as your little person totters on unstable feet around the house, like a bowling pin. But oh so adorable. They babble, and start making noises that actually sound like English.

Age two getts better still. Your bowling pin can now run and somersault and dance. They begin to throw tantrums, but sweet, wet chubby cheeks only make you feel sad for them when they lay on the floor.

Age three, your toddler is now a child. They can walk, talk, sing in tune, and throw tantrums to the skies. Every child is different, and every parent has a different way of interacting with their child, but for me, age three has thrown the biggest curve balls.

I am in constant negotiation with someone who is reasonable only half the time.

This little person has the ability and the desire to say No! Once so obliging, and easy to reason with, my three-year-old holds her ground until I crack, and lose my temper.

How can her will be so unyielding, in one so very small?

A friend recently reflected that I have rather loose boundaries. I do? I hadn’t thought much about boundaries. Maybe mine are loose.

I definitely try not to instruct. Where possible, I want my daughter to make her own decision. Maybe that’s a loose boundary?

We are pretty lax with things like eating. We encourage her to eat when we can, but we try not to make a big fuss when she doesn’t. We may or may not have come to depend on eating in front on the television or in the car for maximum calorie intake. Loose boundary.

We have made not a single attempt in the last year to encourage her to go to bed on her own. Nope, still lying there for over half an hour each night while she holds a parent’s ear. Loose boundary.

I guess boundaries are loose, in a sense. But things like not hitting other children, sharing with others, being kind to others, I am consistently insistent about. Only a couple of times has she raised a fist at another child, and both times I became stern. I wanted her to know without any doubt that I wasn’t happy about it, and neither was the poor child at the receiving end. Generally, she’s extremely socially aware, so there is little opportunity to intervene and reinforce boundaries.

Tonight, at the dinner table, though, I realised that in certain situations, boundaries are very effective.

Dinner times have become a bit of a struggle lately. We are eating at the coffee table in the lounge room, as our dining room table is currently stacked to the hilt with boxes, while we renovate. Although I repeatedly ask my daughter to sit still while we eat, and play after dinner, she is climbing all over us, completing craft projects at her craft table and making cake out of play dough. We never really get mad at her. But I have been progressively more insistent about sitting down and finishing dinner.

Tonight, my husband joined me, and we forged very clear boundaries about dinner time. No playing. Sitting in our own chair. Finishing our dinner. She sat. She ate. No further discussion needed.

Neither of us particularly cared for such rigidity or formality at dinnertime, but in the chaos of that dinner time hour, I am beginning to appreciate that put in place effectively, boundaries help a child by reigning in unfettered emotions and behaviours. Contain the behaviour, which I guess is exactly what a boundary is – containment.

Fortunately for us, my child doesn’t need a whole lot of instruction or purposeful guidance. She is a great observer, and as long as we are positive role-models for her, we generally have little trouble. She’s good at working things out for herself.

But on those occasions when three-year-old behaviours exceed tolerable levels and become a little too wild, clear boundaries, calmly implemented, work.

Much of this parenting gig has been spent working out where to draw the line. I guess the point is, it changes as quickly as little people themselves change.

Where do you draw the line? How do you create boundaries?

{image found here}

Family Life

how to tackle toddler tantrums

November 20, 2012
how to solve tantrums

Toddler tantrums…Some days are terrible, and other days seem to be quite pleasant. Every parent is always asking me, ‘how do I tackle the terrible two’s?’ But why are they called the terrible two’s you ask?

Two is the age that a little person begins to experience the world for themselves. They have begun to walk, talk and do everything that a toddler is meant to do. Climb the ladder, climb up the slide instead of going down, draw on the walls, draw on themselves and everywhere they are not meant to draw. And the defiance starts. The independence. “No Mine”; “I do it on my own”, stage.

“I want, I want” stage.

They live in the here and now. They see cause and effect NOW. Not in an hour, not tomorrow… now. So when they drop the ice cream from the cone, or can’t get the packet of chips they so desperately want, that is disaster in their eyes. Their world is crumbling down around them in that moment of time.

And it is the stage that they are beginning to understand about their emotions and develop understanding of what they feel. The ability for them to process these emotions as they speak is beginning.

But often they don’t understand what they feel. Often they don’t know what sad, frustrated, angry or upset look like. They just know something is not right. And us Mumma’s know it too. Labelling it is even harder. So what happens… they have a tantrum. They have a scream, a cry or a yell. In our situation, we often get the jumping while crying.

And sometimes it just happens out of the blue. With no apparent reason. The emotions get all too much, and just like an explosion, it goes off. With no warning.

And terrible it is because as parents, we are lost, helpless and often stuck as to what to do. Let alone confused as to a child that is trying to communicate something and you have no idea what it is.

And terrible it is because the defiance is there, the stubbornness and the crying and screaming over absolutely anything and everything.

So what can you do to help your little person, and you?

1. Stay calm: Yes, it is hard! But the calmer you are, the less reaction you are giving to the behaviour.

2. Less is best: The less reaction you give, the less likely it will continue to occur. Children are cleaver little creatures in that if they know they are going to get something, even a reaction from their Mumma, they will keep going back for more.

3. Be compassionate, and loving yet firm: Give a hug, give an embrace and acknowledge their feelings. “I understand you are upset, but you can not have any chips now sweety”.

4. Time out the behaviour: Reinforce that it is okay to be upset and that their outburst is often their way of expressing themselves. So let them have their scream. “You just need to sit here while you calm down”; or “Mummy will wait here while you calm down”. Now, given, this may not work for all. It may flare up the situation even more. But it coincides with not engaging with the behaviour.

5. Take a deep breath: In the supermarket it is hard. The scream while in the trolley or in the aisle… every mum has either been in it or will experience it (sorry mumma’s). But just take a deep breath and know this is a faze.

6. Reward good behaviour: Sticker charts or stamps are great. It encourages good behaviour and empowers young children too. And surprise them every so often too. “You are going to get a stamp now for being such a great boy in the supermarket”. When they don’t expect it, it keeps them on their toes.

7. Listen Listen an Listen: Listen to their words, even if you don’t understand everything. They may be young and not know exactly what they are talking about, but they ned to be acknowledged and heard just as equally.

Have you been through the terrible twos? What are your tips for surviving the terrible twos?

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Linking up with Essentially Jess


Family Life

what is sorry anyway?

July 24, 2012

When I was growing up I was alway told to say “sorry” when I did something wrong. Nothing much has changed really. Hitting someone else, not doing as you are asked, throwing things, pushing… my daughter is doing it all at the moment during her “terrible twos”. But does she really know what sorry means?

She can not say sorry. Her language is not 100% there. Yes, she has hit a few times, pushed, and done some not nice things to others. But does she really understand sorry?

I can not help but wonder if this is a word we expect our children to use whenever they have done something wrong? Is this a word we are using maybe a little too much?

The other day Little E pushed her cousin. They were having a little rough and tumble but she went that little bit too far. I took her aside. Spoke to her. Gave her some time out to calm down. And explained that we do not push anyone. What happened next completely took me by surprise…

“Is she going to say sorry?”, my sister-in law asked.

Yesterday my friend described a situation where one boy pushed another yet both were expected to say”sorry”. It was not about who was right and who was wrong. Who pushed who and who didn’t. Rather her rational is about teaching them both empathy and responsibility and even handiness.

Is this fair? Is this now the right way to approach such a situation?

I was always taught to say sorry if you mean it. Otherwise it becomes just another word. We can all say sorry (well… not my 2 year old), we can all use the word.. but doesn’t it become a little meaningless if we don’t mean it? Doesn’t it just become another word?

I am a strong believer that children need to understand when they have done something wrong. They need to know what is acceptable and what is not. Boundaries. Limitations. Consequences. Empathy and remorse for when they have hurt someone else. So does this include the word “sorry” every time?

Dad always used to ask me.. “what are you sorry for”? I then had to think about it. Rationalise my apology and understand for myself what I was sorry about. It was not just another word.

I want my children to grow up with compassion, understanding and empathy for others. Care for others and remorse. I don’t want there to be resentment for feeling they have to do something when they don’t believe it. I want them to own it. Take responsibility. And be proud for themselves when they can acknowledge their apology and need to be sorry.

But then again, what would the world be like if we all just a little bit more sorry?

What does sorry mean to you? Where are you sitting with sorry?

linking up with Diary of SAHM


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{image found here}

Family Life

emotional development in children – tips to help them

April 2, 2012
bubble play

I wrote this article for YourKidsEd the other week and thought I would share it here as well. Be sure to jump on over and check out some other fabulous reads, giveaways and info.


Teaching emotional intelligence for children is that little thing about teaching children about feelings and emotions.What is emotional intelligence you ask?  It is the ability to identify, access and manage the emotions of one’s self.

emotional development for children

Little E is nearly two – sigh. She is two in April. I watch her every day and ask myself how she grew up so quickly? It was only yesterday that she was this little tiny bundle so helpless, so reliant on me and so dependent on me.

Now… well, Little Miss wants to do everything on her own. Her shoes, her clothes, her hair, her breakfast, right down to what pair of socks she is going to wear. She is at that age where she is discovering her little mind for herself and wanting to explore her own boundaries and limitations. Mine too at that.

She is at that funny age where she thinks she is years ahead of her 22 months and thinks she can have everything her way, with no limitations, no boundaries, no NO’s. As she is not fully able to communicate she is getting frustrated. She knows what she wants but can’t express it. She feels something, but can’t express it. She is not yet able to tell me what she is feeling.

We talk of happy and sad with our children. Or maybe feelings of anger. But she is frustrated! Frustrated that she can’t have her way. Frustrated she can’t communicate. Frustrated that her mother does not understand. And just generally frustrated.

At two she does not yet have the skills to self regulate her emotions. She does not have the skills to understand, let alone know how to process her feelings. She is still reliant on her parents. And not being able to communicate makes it 100 times harder.

Children of all ages experience emotions differently. Toddler, preschooler, school aged, as parents we need to help them understand, process and cope with the range of emotions that they experience. What we may think as a tantrum or argument between siblings may in fact be a reaction and outburst to the frustration, uncertainty, and somewhat nervous feelings our children experience.

Emotional development in children encompasses the feelings and emotions that are experienced through the many stages of life. Teaching them about emotions is a vital step in helping them understand, regulate, and ultimately cope with life’s ups and downs.

Our instant reaction may be to yell a little in our own frustration or ask our children to stop fighting. However what may be a better response is to ask each child to have some “time out”, calm down, acknowledge their feelings of frustration and anger and then help them process this feeling once they have calmed down.

“I know you are a little frustrated. I can see you are frustrated. I can see you are also a little angry. Let’s calm down and then we can talk about it,” could be something we say to our children in the midst of a sibling rivalry.

We need to stop, think and listen to our children. Not jump to our own immediate reaction and give in to our own frustrations. Parents need to communicate emotions and feelings to their children regularly while similarly think about their own emotions and how they process them. Parents are role models in every way. How you cope with anger, frustration, anxiety and sadness are very examples to our children of how to cope. Feelings need to be acknowledged, and need to be heard.

How do you cope with frustration?

How do you help your children cope with their feelings?


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Family Life

my kids are chatting till 9pm

November 10, 2011

I heard a story yesterday from a friend of mine. She has a friend who’s little girl is talking talking, chatting and chatting till 9pm in her room. We all like to have a chat sometimes before bed, even 5year olds are the same…. hey, they might be chatting and downloading their day’s events to themselves or to their friends, or to the little people in the doll house….

Kids like to chat, kids love to talk…. but of course the concern is that they then are not having enough sleep and may wake up the next day a little tired.

So what do you do to encourage the sleep by 7:30pm and the chatting to occur before then?

With the continued story I soon learnt that this little girl is having all things stimulating before bed time. Play, more play, maybe a little tv, and more play.

I soon realised that this little girl needed a little more “wind down time” instead of “wind up time”.

We all need that little wind down time to calm our soul, calm the mind, calm the energy. Kids are the same. Just think about their day…


Wake up…. full of beans….

Play… PLay…. maybe some breakfast…

Kinder… play, more learning…. some climbing…. some drawing… some more play…

A run in the outdoor play area… lots of talking… more talking…. more chatting… more learning…

Home… maybe another play… another run… or an after school activity

Food… more play… more fun…

“SIGH****… after such a day… wind down time is just vital.

Calm, peace, relax, calm the mind, relax the mind

So maybe it would look something like this:


* After dinner, some play, some chats, get all the play out of the way.

* Then bath time… yes there is some play, but it the beginning part of this “wind down time” where kids know after this equals quiet time.

* A story or too.

* Maybe some milk or another story in bed

Sometimes we need to remove all forms of stimulating and make the bedroom a peaceful and soothing environment. With any toys around, maybe try putting them in boxes or in the cupboard.

Kids will soon appreciate the “wind down time” before bed and appreciate the quiet time that is set upon them.

A little quiet time, a little peace, a little relax is something maybe we could all benefit from before bed…


What is your bed time routine for your kids? Is “wind down time” something you do too?