Teaching a Toddler – Colours

Well August has been a terrible month for us. We have been sick with an awful cold that neither of us could seem to get over and a growing boy who is testing every fiber of my patience and the boundaries we have given him. For a kid who is only 18 months old he sure is acting like he has joined the ‘terrible two’s’ already.

Needless to say all my usual planning, prep work and routine has gone out the window and has been replaced with a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants attitude and way to many grumpy days. Although to be honest most of the grumpiness has been from me and not Mr B, oh whom I kidding, all the grumpiness has been from me ūüė¶

Anyhoo, spring has sprung down here in Australia and I’m determined to get over my grumps and move on.

We did get round to doing some afternoon activities. Our¬†theme this month was all about colour, which was great cause everywhere you go you see colour. So every outing was a chance to reinforce what we were learning at home. Throughout each activity I pretty much just let my son do whatever he wanted and while he worked/played I would talk about the colours and what he was doing. Most of the activities were about fun and playing rather than about dedicated learning ūüôā

Monday: Colour Wheel

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This was pretty easy to make. I took some plain paper and divided it into 8, then took some colour markers and coloured in the triangles. I then cut smaller triangles out of the scraps, coloured them in with the same colours and attached them to pegs with some tape. Since these activities only get used a couple of times they really don’t have to be very fancy or long-lasting. He loved this, but I think that may be more due to the fun of putting pegs on paper that the matching colours together.

Tuesday: Bicarb and Vinegar (OUTSIDE!)

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This activity speaks for itself and was lots of fun. We’ve done something like this before but it never gets old ūüôā All you need to do is add some food colouring to some vinegar and mix it with bicarb of soda then stand back and watch…or in my son’s case, get messy. I should warn you to put on crappy clothes as the stupid food colouring stained everything, which I knew would happen but I wasn’t prepared for him to literally sit in the middle of the path and then pour vinegar all overs his legs.

Wednesday: Colour paper tubes

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I took 5 pieces of coloured paper and¬†tore them in half. One half I rolled into small tubes and just taped them closed while the other half I tore into 3 more pieces and scrunched them up into little balls. I then taped the tubes to our pantry door and placed all the little scrunched up pieces of paper into a small basket. We had lots of fun talking about the colours and placing the right colours into the tubes. I’m not sure Mr B understood that the colour of the tubes is what I was referring too as he still can’t identify colours but he can say all the right words, so we are half way there ūüôā

Thursday: Matching sets.

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This is really easy to play and lots of fun, I walked around the house picking up different coloured items and putting them into his basket. Then I set out some butchers paper (seriously invest in some if you haven’t got any yet) and picked out items from the basket and asked him to match them to a colour. This really didn’t work at first but I think he got the concept by the last week although I wasn’t expecting him to get them all right at all. If you do this activity make sure you choose items that are predominantly that colour otherwise your kid might not get what you are asking of them.

Friday: Drawing

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Drawing is pretty new to us, even though I have exposed Mr B lots of times, he still hasn’t got the hang of it. I do all my prep work while he has his afternoon nap, that way I can put away other toys and it’s all ready for him. I drew small squares in different mediums (markers, crayons and pencil crayons) and gave him markers to try to match the colours. It was really fun and he loved scribbling everywhere, we have tons of sheets of butchers paper which I just stick to our coffee table with some tape so it doesn’t move while he is drawing.

Reading:

Reading is really important to me and my husband so we want to nurture a love of books in our children right from the start. When our son was first born my husband would read to him every night and we have kept that up ever since.

During the month we include books to our reading time with the theme we are doing at the time. Our local library is great when it comes to finding fun educational books however they are mostly for older kids and have a minimal range for young kids which is disappointing. But we love to challenge Mr B so we’ve introduced books that require him to sit still just a little longer and try to concentrate a little more, which are just a bit above his level. This means we’ve done a mix of difficult library and easy home books this month so he didn’t get frustrated with reading time.

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Teaching a Toddler – Zoo Theme

This gallery contains 7 photos.

To kick off our Teaching a Toddler series we did a Zoo theme through July. Although we don’t stick seriously to it, our days all have a pretty similar routine and these activities fit into our afternoon after a nap. … Continue reading

Is that really what I did?

I have the joy of having some amazing¬†mommy friends in my life. ¬†Some have kids the same age as my own, some that are older and some that are younger, which means they are a treasure trove of great advice and they always help me to not make the same mistakes they did. I love watching them interact with their kids, hearing the many different approaches to discipline and the many different ways you can show each individual child love.¬†Watching them really helps me to see how I interact and treat my own son and I couldn’t be more grateful for them all in my life.

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However over he past couple of weeks I noticed something I do that is not helping the development of my son at all but I know no one has ever mentioned it to me  or pulled me up on it.

I’m a hover mom! Yip that’s right I hover wherever we go and even at home, my poor child can never learn something new or try something on his own without me being there watching, so called helping and even doing it for him.

Mr B has been an introvert from the day he was born and he has been my velcro child from day dot. So I’m not really talking about how he interacts with others or how long it takes him to meet new people or feel comfortable in the places we go and the playgroups we attend. I’m so very happy to facilitate that side of him and slowly help him to learn how to make his introverted personality fit the situations we find ourselves in, the other more dominant personalities we encounter or especially the larger groups we attend.

What I mean is that he just has to look at me while he is trying to figure something out or learn something new and I am at his side in a flash telling/showing him how to do it and very often it’s resulted in me doing it for him and him no longer wanting to play with the item or try on his own.

Argh how annoying would that be?
I never wanted to be a lazy mom and I was so careful to not be neglectful and I do try really hard to treat my son like I would any other person I come into contact with. I think its valuable and important to make sure I don’t dismiss children or the way they feel, even if I think he is being petty or silly. I’ve always wanted to be really supportive of him and everything he wants to do. We practices attachment parenting and neither my husband or I believe in letting a child cry and we don’t think it’s a good thing for them to do.
But what I’ve done instead is go in a complete other direction and not let him grow and learn on his own. I notice it more and more as he is getting older and as he is able to do more things and it’s really making me step back a bit and let him be.

Thankfully I’m not to late to change my hovering ways. Instead of rushing to his side when he can’t climb off something or can’t figure out how to complete a task I have a few techniques I have had to use that I’ve had to teach myself:

  1. I tell him I’m coming, count to 5 and take a breath
  2. I walk over and I ask him if he needs help (although if he is on something high I move close to him straight away to prevent any accidents)
  3. (depending on his level of stress) I talk him through the task and support what he needs to do.
  4.  (once he achieves his goal) I celebrate with him

For example the technique play out something like this:

He climbs onto the bed and can’t get down so he usually starts to call me or express frustration (which in his case comes in the form of throwing something he has in his hand or lying face down):

  1. I count to 5 and ask him if he needs me.
  2. I sit on the floor below where he is trying to get off the bed and I ask him if he needs help getting off.¬†(I try and be really specific with my question so I know what he is trying to do), I usually try and do this until he responds to me in some form. He is old enough now (16 months) to say yes or no to a question I’m asking him and I find expecting and answer from him tends to stop the outbursts of frustration and bring him back to the task at hand. This may be different for your child so just try a few different things until you find what works for you.¬†
  3. I explain to him that he needs to lie on his belly and slide off or just keep sliding off on his bottom if he wants to get off the bed. I also usually say something supportive like ‘it’s okay mommy will catch you if you fall’. I try not to sound rushed, judgmental, frustrated or change my tone of voice too much and most of the time manage to keep a soothing tone if I can. Pick your moments to teach though, sometimes we are rushing out the door and it’s easier to just pick him up, there will always be another time to teach him with patience.
  4. Once he has managed to get down (sometimes this can mean holding my hand or jumping into my arms in this example) I give him a cuddle, high five or clap hands for him and say something along the lines of “you did a great job trying to get off the bed, I’m so proud of you for not giving up”. I try not to use general terms like ‘good boy’ or ‘well done’ because I don’t want him to look to me for praise at every turn but I want him to feel proud of his achievements and his ability to try ¬†instead of searching for acclaim from others.

It’s been a hard pill to swallow, I hate looking at what I do and realising I’ve been messing up. But I guess that’s all part of being a parent ¬†and it’s not like I can’t change my behavior and or that I’ve done¬†irreparable damage.

In fact, for me, that’s exactly what being a mom to this little man is all about. Evolving, changing, growing as he grows and making sure I check myself all the time. I don’t want to ever be the kind of mom that ignores her kid or neglects his needs and growth but I also think its really important to not over do and hover over everything he does and every interaction he has with other children. He needs me but he doesn’t always need my help, and that’s ok too

OMG 2 months old

I can’t believe I am already writing a post about our handsome little man being 2 months old!2 Months - blog
Our little man is hitting all the milestones for his age and more, which I couldn’t be more proud of!

He easily lifts his head and responds to sound, especially mine and Sean’s voice. His beautiful eyes follow us around the room and when we are doing tummy time on his play mat he loves holding his little head up, even doing mini push-ups if he is not too tired, and smiling back at us. There is even a bit of a giggle coming through but it sounds more like a pterodactyl screech than an actual laugh, I love it anyway. But oh boy has our little man found his voice!

Most of the time it’s just noises and sighs but every now and then he makes the cutest little Sounds. Like when he is done drinking he sometimes lets out the most satisfied little sigh and in the middle of the night I am often woken by his gorgeous little dream noises. They are so lovely to hear and it makes me so happy that it sounds like he is so content. There are however the days when finding his voice means a fair bit more screaming and moaning rather the cuter sounds we have been hearing of late. Even those sound beautiful to me, although hard to hear at the time, I can now recognize my darling son’s voice from across a shop or above any other screaming kid. It makes me feels so connected to him, like we have our own special language and bond that only I get!

2 months

This month has been a bit easier for me to get out and I feel like I can handle doing things and meeting up with people much easier. We had our 6 week check up with the doctors and she was very happy with our progress. He is slowly climbing the growth chart and is staying just above the average for his weight and height. But I will find out more tomorrow when we go and see the Early Childhood Nurses. We have even been getting better sleeps, which I am really grateful for. Our first sleep is from 9-2/2:30 and our second sleep ranges from 3 – 5:30/6ish, then we have another early morning nap till about 7/8am. I am loving this, although it doesn’t always happen as we have had a nights every now and then which are much more broken. It has however made me a much happier little mommy as I feel like I can take on the day much easier with one span of full sleep! I am putting this big sleep down to our new routine, every night he has a bath at 7:30, then a full body massage (lucky for him his mommy is nearly finished her course) then a nice feed and lots of cuddles, songs and a story. He pretty much always nods off during the story or feed and then we pop him in is cradle. I love this routine and I now know its good for him too as he knows what to expect and he drops off to sleep so much better than before. Our daytime routine and sleeps are terrible though, he pretty much sleeps wherever he wants and wherever he wants. I have tried to establish some sort of routine with him but as soon as I put him in his crib or cradle he screams so I end up with him on my lap or in my carrier sleeping. At the moment I think it’s more important that he is sleeping his recommended time rather than where he sleeps during that time. But that is my only struggle with him, his colic has settled down a lot, although I suspect it’s why his second sleep at night is a bit shorter cause he usually wakes up with tummy cramps. We had one case of slight nappy rash but that was soon sorted.

I have even decided to take the cloth nappy plunge and am using then more regularly during the day. Only when we are at home though cause I am not sure what to do with them when we are out. They are fantastic and I hardly have any blow-outs with them. To save us money and prevent too many toxins coming into contact with he soft and sensitive little bottom I have made our own nappy wipes. It was so easy to do and so convenient that I am off tomorrow to get more cloth so I can make some more spare ones.

The most amazing thing about being his momma is watching him grow and learn new things. It’s crazy seeing him realise stuff or smile when he figures something new out. Or even just noticing him reach a new milestone, like the most recent one when I saw him grab a toy for the first time! SO proud!
Well another month down and I can’t remember what our lives were like before he came along. It feels so right and I even though there are some hard times I am loving it.