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Fluffy Monsters

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You made it to Friday of midterm, yay!!

Today’s 15 minutes of parent-child play is more about focus and engagement, which can be good after such a highly stimulating day as Halloween!

To make your own “Fluffy Monsters” you will need: two Cardboard discs with centres cut out, wool, scissors (to make the pom-poms) stick on eyes and an added sprinkle of glitter (if you want).


Sensory Play

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This weekends play tip is a Sensory one that all ages will enjoy (you too) and as always please share with your parent friends!

For SCENTED SPARKLE BUBBLES you will need a basin of warm water, a whisk, washing up liquid, sprinkle of glitter, spoonful of either cinnamon or ginger.

Add spoon of ginger/cinnamon to water with squirt of washing up liquid, add sprinkle of glitter and have your child whisk up a sensory delight with bubbles and a shaft of ginger/cinnamon in the sparkly water.

*Tip: place a towel or open a plastic sack under the basin

Halloween pumpkin

Happy Halloween

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At a time when we are despairing about how our children are using the Internet, bullying one another and dressing up like movie stars at 4. It’s easy to get sucked into a place where you wonder are children still happy, polite and enjoying the simple pleasures of growing up. Certainly if you were to listen to everything in the media, you would think NO. But my experience of Halloween last night was YES. Armed with a tray of all kinds of goodies, we were on full alert at our house to meet and greet Vampires, Gouls, Ghosts and Goblins of all shapes and sizes. What fun. “Thank you, you are such a nice lady”. “Can I really take two treats?”. “Yes it is cold, but we are having great fun and if you don’t mind, can I take an orange instead of more jellies? I love oranges”. These were the words of the groups of kids that came to our door. My personal favorite though was the tiny walking skeleton who called with his Mum. Proudly concentrating on his newly adapted walking skills and still mastering the art of conversation, we had to stay at the door for 6 minutes as he carefully and thoughtfully pondered whether he wanted the bag of crisps or the individually wrapped cake bar. The most important decision of the evening, when you are only 2. So, to every other household that shared our experience last night of a very Happy Halloween. Here’s to next years festival and the fun and joy it brings to our children. Especially the children who love oranges!

Loud, screaming  young boy

Discipline… to punish or to teach?

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Joanna Fortune, Clinical Psychotherapist and co-founder of the Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic, discusses the best strategies to use to achieve the behaviour you want from your children

I am frequently asked about discipline what it is, what’s its purpose and what the best methods are. My answer is always the same: Discipline is about teaching not punishing and not coercing and it must be consistent and logical. When I say that discipline is not about punishment, it may be appropriate that punishment be a part of the discipline – in which case it should quickly/immediately follow the misbehavior, be brief and respectful of your child’s feelings and stage of development. It’s also very important to reconnect with your child in a positive way soon afterwards. However, the main purpose of discipline should always be to teach your child a lesson and not just to punish the misbehavior!

What message do you want to teach?
If you take this approach then you should ask yourself, “What am I teaching my child in this discipline?” Is it time out, grounding or losing privileges or something else? Be clear about the message you are teaching and ensure your discipline measure fits this chosen agenda

Testing boundaries
A child who needs attention will get it, even if it is with negative behaviour. Assess your child’s ability to self-discipline before deciding on the discipline measure. For example, a child under two years will show a lack of boundaries and will require consistent and repeated reminding of what is appropriate and what is not – consistency is vital here. Sometimes an older child will also display a lack of boundaries and act out so you must decide whether your child knows if there is a boundary and has crossed it on purpose and are testing your limits. Perhaps your child cheekily smiles while they break the rules/boundary; the message here is that they need you to step in and hold the boundary without getting angry at them. This may look like defiant behaviour but it is not; your child is displaying a need and a sense of inner turmoil in that they know they are breaking a rule and want you tosee them do it. Try to pro-actively deal with this one in terms of stopping and saying, “It makes me so happy when you show me and everyone else what a great friend you are when you play nicely with other children,” and give them a high five and do this before you take them into a birthday party where you know they have a tendency to get over stimulated and act out

Be consistent
Communicating clear and consistent boundaries takes away uncertainty for your child. Focus on teaching as opposed to punishing and your child will begin to develop an internal system of self discipline, which allows them to develop the capacity to shape and manage their own behaviour including making good and positive decisions.

Avoid a battle
We all know that if you enter into a battle of wills with a small child, you

girl looking at the sky in inflatable armchair

My child is always dawdling, and I get so irritated by it

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  • Keep your cool, stay calm: Explain “I have asked you twice, maybe you didn’t hear me so I need you to turn on your listening ears and put your toys away and go get you coat right now”

  • Explain the consequences: “If you don’t get your toys put away and get your coat your sister will be waiting for us wondering where we are, I wonder how that would feel?” or “If we are late you will miss your play time before school starts”

  • State step-by-step what you want your child to do: Be specific “Now it is time to get dressed, now it is time to brush our teeth”

  • Allow extra time: If your child takes longer to get going, build in extra time to your routine
  • Above all: Reflect on your own relationship with time. Are you anxious when you are late? Are you rarely on time yourself? Be aware of how you can role model good and respectful time-keeping so that your child can learn from and mirror you.
Mess in son room

My children never listen to me about cleaning up their toys

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The next time you hear yourself asking your child to tidy away their toys and get ready to go, for the 2nd, 3rd, perhaps even 4th time stop yourself before you raise your voice and take a look at the scene because it is more likely that your child is engrossed in an activity and is finding it difficult to transition out of it. Come down to their eye level and say “I see you are having lots of fun. Now it is time for us to go and collect your sister. Show me how you can tidy and up and get your coat on and when you meet me at the door to go I will be smiling so big because I am so proud of your great listening”.


Mask Making

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It’s a day of dress-up (great for Role-Play with your children so go for it!!) & Masks. Today’s Midterm 15 minutes of play activity is “Mask Making”.

You will need; Masks (you can use paper plates that you attach elastic to or lollipop sticks to), glitter, [child safe] glue and scissors, pipe cleaners, markers, things like buttons/cut up coloured paper/confetti etc to stick on. Get extra value out of this by role-playing out characters with the masks using names, voices and feelings different from yours/your child’s own – have fun and share onwards with your parent friends.


Make your own Halloween Bat

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Another idea for a Halloween themed 15 minutes of play with your children. You only need some scissors, black card, some glue and a pencil.

Put your childs’ hands on the black card and draw the outline of both hands.

Cut the hand shapes out (they will be the wings of the bat), then cut out an oval shape for the body and a circular shape and two small triangles for the head and ears. Piece them together and glue them!

For some extra fun why don’t you get your child to draw the outline of your hand and create the “parent bat”.

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