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Posts Tagged ‘child development


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Celebrate the small victories. Have they been fed? Put to bed? Are they clothed at all? {Dirty, clean, matching…it doesn’t matter.} Are they chattering, smiling, maybe even singing? If the answer is yes to any of these, you’ve done something right. Scooper.

Sometimes at night I dream that my son looks underfed, dirty and is really unhappy because I haven’t looked after him properly.  I think that this may stem from the fact that his umbilical cord was very narrow causing him to be tiny at birth and for many years he only tended to eat until his tummy was full.  Everyone always commented on how small he was and I really felt as if I was failing in some way because I didn’t try to force him to eat more than he could manage. His small stature meant that although he had all of the motor skills necessary do do things he didn’t have the strength or height.  I overcame this hurdle by waiting until he felt ready to do things – such as using the toilet instead of the potty or climbing up climbing frames.  He was never behind -just left it until the last minute. He has finally started to catch up with his peers and no longer stands out as noticeably smaller – also he uses words like starving, his appetite has finally exploded and he gets wakened by growing pains which is fantastic.

My son never looked like Oliver Twist and except for the minor little things that upset young children like; having to go to bed, me not letting him have the contents of Amazon’s warehouse or asking him to tidy his bedroom, he is a happy little boy. I often wonder if other mothers have dreams like that or it is just me being weird. Alistair is a cautions child which means that he will eventually be able to climb to the top of play tower and use the slide but not as quickly as some of the younger more daring children.  Luckily my son doesn’t get bothered about admitting that he can or can’t do something and seems to anticipate that eventually he will be able to do it.

All children are different, as are all mothers, they way my friends bring up their children will have similarities but will have many fundamental differences due to our own life experiences.  Alistair often claims that I am not very caring when he falls over and hurt himself compared to other mothers who rush to stop the tears.  This probably stems from me having to deal with other people’s children and trying to chivvy them along.  I also continuously do risk assessments of what my son is doing in my head with the intention of letting him takes risks in safety – sometimes this looks as if I am just letting him walk into danger when in fact I am ready to pounce like a cat to stop him from hurting himself too much.

I put the quote from a blog by Lisa Jo Baker because it made me realise that all our children want from us is for us to be there and deal with their basic needs.  One day we will solve our odd sock problem (I have a pack of seven new ones that I bought for the new term but have lost them already) and maybe he will stop being Oliver Twist in my dreams.

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When A.A. Milne penned his famous poem, ‘Now We Are Six’, he displayed a completely accurate understanding of the different stages of children’s interaction with the world.  Now my son is six he really does believe that he is, ‘as clever as clever’, and seems to require an awful lot of negotiating to get anything done, if things are not going his way he has taken to putting on a whiny noise or fake crying, which is profoundly irritating.  He frequently reprimands me if I have forgotten to use my telepathic skills to remind him to do something that only he knows that needs doing, and gets annoyed with me if I keep mentioning that he should be doing this or that.  He is a very good reader and good at comprehension so he doesn’t require my assistance very much when he does things on the computer because he can follow the instructions.  Most of the time I feel as if we are only getting away with him not turning into a complete horror because he is fundamentally a good child.

Alistair is a bit torn between growing up and staying a little boy, he enjoys his exciting dreams, digging in the sand pit, collecting sticks and stones, wearing face paint, baking  and talking to imaginary friends. He often says that he doesn’t want to grow up (I have told him nobody does – it just happens) but can articulate that feeling so well that I am impressed with his use of language.  For all of his bravado he still likes me to rescue him from the top of the climbing frame in the playground but is very comfortable using the Trim Trail in school.  I have to admit that I really like it on the very odd occasion when he is ill, not in a Münchhausen By Proxy kind of way, because he becomes my baby again and is soft, cuddly and isn’t bossy for a short while.  However once he is back to full health he is like a busy bee exploring the exciting world around him.

If you look up childhood milestones on any parenting site one of the main characteristics of a six year old is the desire to test boundaries and see how mad they can drive you.  Apparently you are meant to stick to your guns and not budge, we however fail on that parenting advice and still work on the principle of choosing our battles wisely and then putting our foot down when, ‘peas get above sticks’, as my Grand dad used to say.  One battle we seem to be having at the moment involves teeth cleaning and saying that all of his teeth will fall out isn’t washing because the little entrepreneur that he is just works out how much money he will get for his teeth.  Also telling him that the Tooth Fairy won’t take his teeth doesn’t wash because that is just silly.  We have talked to him about the long term health implications of not cleaning your teeth and allowed him to watch little snippets of ,’The Truth About Your Teeth‘, on BBC 1 and he is slowly coming round.   When we visited the dentist, the dentist was impressed with his teeth and was surprised that he had made them sparkling white himself – I think that the fact that he just drinks water or milk and only gets sweets in rare batches helps too.  Prevention is always better than cure.

Alistair is really looking forward to the school holidays and so am I – it is a time for enjoying life just because you can, not to tick off boxes so that you can be categorised.  The greatest thing I want for Alistair is that he enjoys being who he is now in every stage of his life and can find his inner-peace when I am not nearby.


When watching kids play on the playground equipment at school inevitably there will usually be disputes for one reason or another (between the kids that is not the parents!) Maybe over something small, maybe over something slightly bigger. Sometimes they sort themselves out and sometimes it’s time to run over and get mummy or daddy to sort it out. It just got me thinking about sharing and the process kids go through when learning to be generous to others.

I have read that you shouldn’t really expect a child to share before the age of six, because before then they are not really capable of true empathy towards others.Toddlers and preschoolers go through that ‘it’s mine stage’ as they become more independent.

I think the main things to remember when going through that stage are not to force sharing. If a child is very attached to something of theirs respect that whilst still encouraging and setting an example, making a point of sharing things with them. Playing sharing games can also be great practice!

On a little side note, while researching the topic of sharing I little came across this which i thought I should share with you guys just for fun – A playground for adults! What a great idea…why should kids have all the fun?!

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http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/09/wait-your-turn-for-the-swings-at-bostons-adult-playground/380355/


I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

I love new gadgets. I am an internet-oholic. I use social media regularly. I can spend hours on Youtube. I am always within close proximity to my smart phone.

Sounds like I’m a fan doesn’t it? For the most part yes I am but at the same time our dependence on technology is starting to worry me. I worry about it mainly for the effect it has on our kids. They are growing up in a very different world to the one I grew up in and indeed to anyone over the age of about 20. I’m thankful we didn’t have all this to deal with when I was younger! I dread the day my son wants to join Facebook and have his own phone and learns how to use the internet properly. I think most parents want their kids to stay kids and retain their innocence and happy outlook on the world for as long as possible but unfortunately that is becoming less and less easy nowadays. As an adult obviously I am less impressionable and more wary of the world and the people in it but now kids are exposed to so much more at earlier and earlier ages and it’s pretty difficult to prevent that.

We’ve all heard cases of online bullying, stalking people, jealousy, negative views and opinions, bragging, trolling, hacking etc – all of the bad things. Of course it can be a great and useful learning tool too. It helps raise awareness of certain causes e.g The ALS ice bucket challenge, Kony 2012 that otherwise we would not hear about but I would rather the vast majority of learning was done in school.

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You’ve probably read debates about social media making us less social and I would have to agree with that. It is uncommon to take a walk around and not see countless people on their phones/ipads etc playing games, checking Facebook or texting etc and forgetting how to actually talk to people. In all honesty I’m sure that without sites like Facebook I, and I think most people, would have a lot more face to face interaction.

 

There aren’t just the social issues to think about. For kids, spending time on devices can also lead to other health issues and concerns such as:

Childhood obesity – Unsurprisingly, use of technology, video games and TV is linked to obesity as it leads to decreased physical activity.

Sleep deprivation – Screens give off blue light which interferes with the production of melanin which controls the bodies sleep and wake cycle. Also, the brain can become overloaded with information from different technology sources which makes it harder to relax at bedtime.

Delayed development – Using technology restricts movement and often social interaction which can have a bad effect on development.

Mental Illness – Studies show that overuse of technology can play a part in a number of mental disorders in children including depression, anxiety, attention deficit, bipolar disorder and [problematic behaviour.

Addiction – With people becoming more and more attached to their devices and less to each other, addictions can develop between a child and their technology.

Aggression – Media and video games with violent content can lead to child aggression.

If you want some heavier reading on the subject here is the big study by Common Sense into children’s media use and the effects it has: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/zero-to-eight-childrens-media-use-in-america-2013

All of this sounds a bit scary to me and that is why I both love and hate technology and the internet. I just hope we don’t become any more dependent on it than we already are. I don’t know about you but I am going to encourage good old fashioned outdoor play for as long as I possibly can!

Are there any other parents out there who are share the same thoughts?

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