Toys, toys, toys…

Wallets, drawers and cooking pots come across as the biggest smash items to the infants. All sorts of ‘funky’ and ‘spooky’ mass-advertised so-called “the-best-toys-ever” that try to penetrate into the child’s playroom sometimes get green with envy losing their way to these greater hits. The babies love the price tag dangling from a soft toy and the keys. Even a mummy’s old dress might not be spared. If the baby is ambitious enough, anything can be endorsed as a toy.

 

Certainly, when their birthday or their saint’s day comes, we will buy them all those colorful, able-to-move and sound-eluding items because they wish for them, they desire them and we want to make them happy. However, what gets plentiful also gets mundane with time, becomes too boring to play with, and this prods us to buy new, awesome super-toys, which will perhaps finally provide a “quality” entertainment.

Nonetheless, if the kid is being passively entertained by a TV or a computer, nobody plays with him, nobody enhances his imagination, then perhaps he doesn’t even know what to do with all those awesome toys. In this case, the only manual possible are the advertisements. But these last only a short while and they do not bring too many creative ideas.

 

The infants’ hits

 

Do you also recall how you bought a mountain of rattling, rustling and sound-giving toys for your baby only to entertain him later on at a doctor’s with your keys, wallet or advertising flayers? Yes, small children are for many purposes attracted to the totally mundane daily necessary items – the mobil phone, the keys, the toys’ price tags, a wallet,the advertisement flayers,the drawers with laundry, a rubbish bin, the cooking pots, the sticks and the rustling wrappers. Once the infant stage is over, the most attractive items are often those in the hands of other children. Nonetheless, only a few infants would despise a play with cubes or a ball especially if an adult engages in the play too.

 

The undying construction games

 

Various types of Lego or other construction or building games never fail to entertain. These games enhance imagination, enforce creativity and improvisation and they support a space visualization. They last for several years and then new complementary pieces of building blocks can be purchased. Actually most toys to which something complementary can be bought or hand-made later on are very “grateful” and the children play with them for several years. New railways can be bought for trains and tunnels can be made too. Dresses and other accessories can be bought or stitched for dolls and stables can be obtained for the little animals.

 

The fluffy soft toys

 

A sloppy teddy bear appears in the memories of our childhood for most of us. Why is this so? Soft toys are pleasant, soft, pacifying and they sooth us. They convey a parents’ touch when in a bed at night or on a kindergarten camping trip, they smell of home and feel of tears of sadness or even an anger. Shortly, they share all the good and the bad with the children. You must have one hidden for yourself too, don’t you?

 

 

Play With Me – How To Entertain Your Little Ones

At around the third year a child spends most of his time drawing. A game is serious work for preschoolers. It’s a path of personal development, a lifestyle and learning how to spend free time. If you also manage to make up a creative game, it will make the child use his brain, his hands and his nervous system. This will be beneficial when your child starts his first grade at school.

 

A 35-year old Sarah is a mother with a capital M. She has three beautiful, talented children that don’t hurt other children; they are nice, smart and attentive to others. They win competitions in drawing and reading. How did Sarah achieve this? Why are her children so talented and calm that it leaves us speechless? The answer is simple: „Since they were little, I would make up creative games and I initiated these games naturally, without force“, Sarah explains and adds: „I include them in everything me and my husband do. My daughters always helped me with cooking or baking, I let them clean or hang up the laundry and the boy helps his dad with hammering nails or assembling a new cabinet.

Basically, we never try to drive them away from these activities; instead we let them help us. The reward is children that know how to help and even enjoy it.” The preschool age is an important time for acquiring basic skills, knowledge, habits and experience. At this point in development, lifestyles and leisure time behaviors are also shaped. Therefore it’s very important to lead your child towards creativity. And games will serve you the best. A creative entertainment helps with mental, motoric and imagination development and strengthens the nervous system. Build blocks, paint, cook!

You probably noticed that your preschooler is no longer just interested in things and their function, but also in their parts, what they look like on the inside and how they do what they do. Your child first analyzes the toy and then plays with it. Typical toys for this age are puzzles or anything a child can put together. Are you thinking that there’s nothing creative about these games? On the contrary – a child learns a lot by building or putting together things. It’s a great exercise of analyzing a whole into parts and putting together parts into a whole – which is what your child will need once he starts learning to read in first grade. Even simple drawing has a significant influence on a positive child development. You don’t have to be a super-talented observer to see how your children’s drawings change over time.

 

At around the third year, children tend to draw people as a head with legs coming down from it. The face usually has eyes, while hair, mouth and nose come later. At around the fourth year a child starts drawing arms, hands and even fingers. Finally, clothing comes – at first the legs and hands can be seen under the shirt and pants, but that improves in time. Psychologists say that when a child draws a complete clothed person he is ready for school. „In preschool, we paint a lot and on anything that can be painted on.

Recently, children painted on their shirts and each shirt told a different story. The children enjoyed it and they’ll have it forever“ says children’s teacher Petra Sattlerova.

Unleash your imagination and let your children paint on – for example – raw pasta, eggs (even if it’s not Easter) or on windows.

The kitchen – a place to play

 

Let your children in the kitchen. The happiness and joy of your preschoolers are worth the mess. „Every year, we bake Christmas cookies. We start in September, because my daughters love it. This year, our little David joined us. I prepare the batter, give the kids cookie cutters and let them do what they want. It’s great fun even for us parents,“ says mom Sarah. Kids enjoy kitchen activities, because they love anything they can get messy with, anything with a sticky, crumbly or liquid consistency. Take advantage of this and get them involved in cooking.

Make a batter that won’t stick (mix flour with water and two tablespoons of oil) and make balls, little rolls or any other shapes that your children like. Decorate all of these creations with your children using for example cumin, poppy seeds or nuts. Such activities are very beneficial for children. Even at a preschool age a child still needs to perfect his fine motor skills and decorating cookies or gingerbread is ideal for this. A child also learns patience during activates like these. Just remember how mad you get during decorating cookies when it’s not going so well.

 

Back to the living room

 

„Everything a child learns at a preschool age effects his success in the first grade.“ Therefore it’s good if, for example, he knows how to properly hold a pencil,“ a children’s teacher explains. That’s why you should always correct your child while he’s drawing or coloring and sooner or later you’ll see that he will pick up a pencil the right way and it will stay with him.

 

A great game that will teach your child the analysis and synthesis of words (which his teachers will surely appreciate) is „word decomposition“. „I tell the children that we will play aliens, and that I will try to see if they’ll understand me…I spell out a word, for example t-o-y, and someone says it’s a toy,“ mom Sarah describes another creative game. She adds: „Thanks to this game, my older daughter didn’t have any problems with reading in the first grade.“ Everything a child does and what looks like a game is in fact a thoughtful exercise and development. Don’t be afraid to sing songs with your children, play the flute or thread beads. Your reward will be a preschooler that is curious, smart, and gets excited for any creativity that you parents think of. „In school, we see significant differences between children. We can immediately tell if parents play with their children, or if they just let them sit in front of the computer,“ Petra Sattler (a children’s teacher) explains.

 

How to entertain your child for 5 minutes:

 

a) Sit you child near a window and tell him to first count all the red cars he sees, then all the blue cars, green, etc. A child exercises not only counting, but also colors.

b) Play a word game (they are great for expanding a child’s vocabulary)

c) Let your child help you hang up the laundry or empty the dishwasher (he will feel important doing „adult“ things)

d) Make your child a gardener. Plant beans, watercress or parsley; basically anything that can be planted at home, behind a window. Your little gardener will enthusiastically watch the plants grow every day.

 

How to entertain your child for 10 minutes:

 

a)   Ask your child to draw your a picture of what happened at kindergarten that day. He can also describe the picture to you in detail.

b)   Play the game „Guess who I am” – somebody thinks of a fairy tale character or an animal and the others ask closed-ended questions (YES/NO) to figure out what he is thinking of.

c)   Buy a few bags of gummy bears and thread them together to make a necklace. A child can then give this necklace to somebody (his grandmother or his father) and they can eat it together.

d)  Take a medium-sized ball. Think of a category in which you will be competing (like animals, food, plants…). Throw or roll the ball to each other. Whoever sends the ball off must also say a word that belongs in the category. Whoever doesn’t catch the ball or can’t think of a word has to do a „dare“ (he has to jump, sing, etc.)

 

How to entertain your child for an hour:

 

a)   Decorate apples: put different kinds of cut fruit on a skewer and then stick these skewers in an apple. Leave the apple on the table, so that your child can eat it. He will enjoy it and also eat some vitamins.

b) Bake a desert with your child, he can put ingredients in a bowl, mix them and you can pour the batter into a form. You’ll see, how patiently he will be waiting near the oven and looking forward to tasting his creation.

c)   Use clay and play creatively! Animals, people, houses, lakes, anything that you can think of. The joy in a child’s heart will warm your heart.

d)  Take a large bowl or a pot and put in various small items that you find at home (make sure they are safe). Make your child close his eyes (or tie a scarf over his eyes). The object of the game is for you child to tell what the items are and what they are used for by touch.

 

Sleep, Please Sleep

What’s the source of all these sleep problems that we and our children are experiencing? 80% of these problems come from bad habits.    Fortunately though, they are several simple ways to help get our child’s sleep back on track.

 

So, Whose Fault Is It?

 

Parents that spend hours and hours every night trying to get their little one to sleep, get up in the middle of the night to calm him down and then still take their fussy child to bed with them, are finally at the end of their strength. But who is really the guilty one in this story? Is it really the child? What if he’s only the victim of the bad habits his parents taught him? It’s not easy for parents to accept this possibility, because they mean well and they are convinced that they are doing the best they can to help their child sleep. They sacrificed their privacy, their rest and their sleep – and everything still turned out differently then how they expected.

These parents need to know it’s ok, because child raising is a path that often has its questions, mistakes and dead ends. The good news is that it’s always possible to take another direction.

 

The start of a vicious circle

 

Of course it’s completely normal if a child wakes up at night. We have learned that such awakenings are caused by physiological processes and thanks to them, every child wakes up between two sleep cycles. For a child to calmly fall asleep again, he needs to have the same conditions as at night. We don’t need to stress that you have a big problem if your child falls asleep only if he’s riding in a stroller around the apartment or around the house, if you let him in your bed for a while or if he plays with his mom’s hair as if it were his favorite toy. Because then logically, your child will demand the whole „falling asleep process“ (in its every detail) every time he wakes up. This is truly cruel to all parents that let themselves be dragged into this adventure…

 

Missing boundaries

 

Another possible cause for sleeping troubles could be an absence of boundaries. We shouldn’t want a child to „test“ his parents to see how resistant they are. A child needs boundaries for a healthy development.  Contrary to what many people think a child expects a confrontation with a strong „no“. Without this obstacle, what are they going to rebel against?

A bottle = a trap

 

A bottle of juice, tea or milk, without which a child won’t fall asleep, can often become a trap. Every time a child wakes up at night, he demands something to drink. As a result of this, he will always have a full bladder, which will prevent him from calmly sleeping.

 

The pillars of peaceful sleep

 

The whole life story of a child basically revolves around the fact that a child needs to feel the same way as he did in his mother’s womb. We can achieve this by giving our child love and tenderness, while still setting boundaries that will define his living space. If a child goes to sleep at eight every night, it should not be open for discussion. If you let your child know that mom’s and dad’s bed is off limits, it should stay this way. It’s not easy to maintain these boundaries, especially if you’re tired, if you have a lot of work and you’re scared your child will loose affection for you if you’ll be too strict… However, if a child looses the sense of firm boundaries and rules, his sleep can become troubling

 

No other choice then to re-educate

 

What is cooked at home is eaten at home – you probably will need to teach your child everything from the beginning. At first he needs to get used to falling asleep without the help of another, without a stroller, a car or his mothers arms. Then, he needs to understand that at home, mom and dad have the final word.

During such a „re-education“, don’t forget to be gentle to your child and make time explaining everything to him. This is not punishment, but help that you are offering to the child. Don’t make him feel guilty – your job is to be a parent.

 

5-10-20”, the winning time limits

 

Richard Ferber, an American expert on child’s sleep, introduced a special technique „gradual learning“ to parents. He recommends following a bedtime routine and then leaving the child alone in his room, even if he’s crying. After five minutes, return to his room and tell him that it’s necessary for him to sleep alone; then leave again. Don’t touch him, don’t caress him and don’t give him anything to drink. If he keeps crying, wait ten minutes this time and then make another visit in his room. After you assure your child about your presence, leave again. Don’t come back before twenty minutes have passed; keep a watch in your hand. If the child is still crying, keep the twenty-minute intervals between each visit. If you try this shock therapy, the problem will usually be solved within four to five nights. But only if you follow all the rules and time limits! Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t change them a little if you have a particularly anxious child.

There are many circumstances that could bring on sleeping problems in a child: the birth of another sibling, death in the family, separation anxiety in the eight month, starting kindergarten or school, times when a child is learning basic hygienic habits of when he’s learning to walk.

What is the father’s role?

 

Some say that an overly tight bond between the mother and child can cause sleep disturbances. A child doesn’t want to go to sleep and separate from his mother and she also has a difficult time with physical separation from her child. That’s why a father can play a significant role. If a child cries, it’s up to the dad to calm him, because he won’t give in.  He should also help the child understand, that the mothers place is beside his father, not beside the baby’s crib

 

So many countries, so many customs

 

In many cultures, soothing a child is taken very seriously. Evil spirits could find a child thanks to his cries. For example, if a Chinese child cries at night, his parents write a magical formula on a yellow piece of paper. For this formula to have the right effect, it must be secretly put up on the street at midnight.

Naughty child…

“Being naughty” over and over for different reasons? What is a child actually trying to say by being naughty? The reasons and causes vary with age.

 

What we call naughtiness in two to three years olds is actually natural part of personal development of a child when the child is showing its personality to others. It’s natural expression where the child is becoming aware of its individuality. What if its disobedience lasts longer?

Important questions:

If the defiance period lasts till the age of four and further it is necessary to reconsider your behavior such as:

–          How did we respond to a child when he was trying our patience?

–          Did we show it that we love him no matter how its tantrum went?

–          Did we understand that it is its natural right to “keep testing” our love? Its right rises from the necessity of personal development.

It is important to give your child love with set boundaries which show the furthest point of direction for its temper.

Imagine how devastating wild water can be if it has no boundaries to stay within or how useful it can be if it has direction. As it is of substance to lead dawn pour to through it’s equally important for the child not to make from its bad behavior a tool to manipulate the adults. “They’ll do what I want if I keep misbehaving, I’ll get the chocolate at the end.” He or she’ll win for the time but it will also bring further problems.

 

Building a dam

This is the right moment when parent should reconsider if they were able to tame the ‘wild water’ to regulate the flow. To stir the life energy of a child the right way where it is useful and not wasted even though that is usually the easiest way.

Consistency

If you haven’t managed this yet it is necessary to start with consistency immediately: we will not behave according to our child in conflict situations (we will not succumb to its pressure); on the contrary child will behave according to us: we’ll help it to keep his temper under control. We show it that it can rely on us.

 

Naughtiness in older children

When we manage the defiance period a period of child’s personal stability sets in and child should be able to undergo variety of loads.

If a child is still naughty at this period we should assume this as a particular kind of communication, a coded language.

It could be a distress signal that the child’s delegating. Similarly, when a baby cries its mother is able to recognize the particular need (e.g. hunger, wetness, overtiredness…), it could be that it is an expression of unhappiness.

 

What is a child trying to say by misbehaving?

If a parent is able to ask this question it is usually the first useful step.

In principle we can find three major roots to child’s problems:

Inherited temper. The temper is relevant to the strength and to the endurance of our nerve system which we carry to this word since the day of conception (it could also be affected by premature birth). Some children are naturally more sensitive to be irritated and to be able to manage their temper is hard life-long battle. Not just raising a child plays role in its personality but also later self-control plays major part. ‘The naughtiness’ can be expresses by overtiredness that is visible during particular part of a day. Hug your child, hold it and let it have peace. This kind of irritation presents itself anywhere it is not affected by people or the environment.

 

Relationship to mother. If child doesn’t feel strong bond to the most important person in its life it will feel insecure, frightened and it can provoke its mum by being naughty to gain prove of her love. At this time the mother must show it that although she does not accept this behavior she is accepting fully her little person.

Don’t become angry. Try to hug your child tightly and let it live through its worries. Calm him or her down and show them that you are there for them (and only for them at the time). Not only when it is time for cuddle but also when the child is naughty. Do let it know that you are not accepting his bad behavior but also show you don’t condemn the child itself.

 

Interraction among key people. Whole emotional atmosphere in the family plays major role in child life. If mum will always be preoccupied by various thoughts (.e.g. she is preparing for an exam and takes the care of child as responsibility or even a hard work only) she will be stressed and irritable. This kind of emotions will pass on to the child’s sensitive barometer.

Similarly the child feels the tension between mother and other family members. They are most sensitive to the relationship between the mother and the father or the mother and the mother-in-law. Quarrels between father and other people don’t affect the child so much.

 

It’s not your fault!

How do you show a child that any misunderstanding is not relative to it but to something else? If a child is able to understand a little you can try and explain the situation: we were not able to come to an agreement with your dad last night, but it wasn’t because of you (even though it actually could have been so, like time management around the child or similar)

Sometimes your child can become unwell due to the tension in the family (psycho-somatic illness). It knows that if he or she will be unwell it will get loving attention of both parents. If that is the case you should approach a specialist to deal with this issue.

 

He or she is naughty only somewhere

This king of misbehaving is easily recognizable – the child is naughty only in a certain environment – he is well behaved at school but naughty at home or vice versa. (e.g. he is very nervous from their new teacher..) Very often the message is: do pay attention to me, I need you now…

We need to find the cause of the issue and deal with it. Once we fore fill the child’s needs and the behavior does not change we need to search further.

 

Obduracy and sulking

A period of disobedience comes and goes and we have to survive it. However if child is still at it at older age we have to try finding the cause; it can be naughty for the sake of others.

“A common appearance in children of divorced parents is when mother speaks badly about the child’s father (especially in boys) and the boy can ‘hold dads side’ and punishes her mum by misbehaving.” Says child psychologist Jaroslav Sturma.

Even in two parents family when one humiliates the other or act without love obduracy can occur in the members of the humiliated sex.

 

Syndrome of rejected parent

If a child is under a strong influence from one parent so called ‘brainwashing’ or rejected parent syndrome occurs. This mechanism ensures that the child is able to content its own private world.

It gives up on the relationship with one parent more or less consciously. For example it takes up mothers’ values and rejects fathers’. Long term disunity is unbearable, the child is not able to take the humiliation of the other and eventually a moment of taking one side comes and it erases the other from its mind.

Even this behavior can be taken as bad but to blame the child for this isn’t fair.

 

 

 

Touching

Before a child is born his body is imminently attached to its mother. After birth body is released but the bond stays very strong.

 

Only in time a crystallization of the mind slowly develops in baby’s body and more obvious perception of self separation from the worlds around it takes place. Just like the soul of the little one, which is almost visible in newborns, would imbed itself into the little body and the little person starts to become aware its own self. This process carries on till adulthood. First major turning point is between 2nd and 3rd year of child’s life where child is able to mark itself as “I”. It doesn’t perceive itself from the outside and doesn’t say any more „Annie wants…” but it says “I want…. Me too…”. The journey to autonomy of own self and to personal freedom it a hurtful process and takes all life.

A big help on this journey is experience in touching since the earliest time possible. Sense of touch helps to recognize the field of child’s body as well as to set the soul fully into it. On the other hand touch is the sense which helps to merge parts (or body parts) with its own. When someone strokes me I’ll feel their hand and also my own body. Self personality and the world is so far one unit. It is so different to other senses such as sight.

Lovingly stroking a child or cuddling it up lays comfort to the child’s body and cosy home to its soul. It is very important on the way of discovery of self identity. If the opposite takes place, such as insensitive or even abusive manipulation of baby’s body, the soul of the little one has a very difficult journey to become happy in its body. This can become evident in adulthood especially in the ability of emotional attachment. An example is when a person is not able to identify with him or herself in certain situation or it can manifest itself in immunity disorders, impairment of self integrity. This person would be prone to infections. Also some research shows that cancer cells are occurring more readily.

How can we help a child to understand its own body by touching? By choosing the right clothing which is a very intensive resource of touch experience. Well processed natural fibers are much more pleasant resource for touching that synthetic fiber. By oiling babies body after bath – important is that your hand and the oil has the right temperature. Pay also attention to the sample of oil not just for its content but also for the feel. It shouldn’t contain mineral paraffin. If child suffers from colic; give it warm massage of the tummy with appropriate vegetable oil. Massage it with warm hand from the belly button in spiral movement clock wise towards the left thigh. When the child starts walking don’t prevent it touching the world around. What can be nicer than helping you making the bread dough? Spreading the butter with its own hand? Using hands to paint with appropriate, edible colors? Jumping in warm summer puddle with bare feet? Investigate the mole heap in the garden by putting its hand down in it?

How To Give Children Advice

Parents often ask me if there is a time when it’s good for parents to give their children advice in a difficult situation.

 

Parents often ask me if there is a time when it’s good for parents to give their children advice in a difficult situation. Yes, sure, unlike our children we have the knowledge and experience that could help them, but the important thing is good timing. To figure out when it’s good to intervene, follow your child’s lead. Generally speaking, children can recover more easily than we think. An independent child probably won’t ask for advice – if we’re not asked, it’s best we don’t give it.

The worst time to give advice is when a person (no matter his age) who is full of pain confides in us. My experiences tell me that if we hear them out, confirm their pain and show them we accept it, our children will reach wise conclusions on their own. And if our advice is important to them, they will express this by giving us specific questions. In emotionally draining stress situations, my children act this way about once a year. During different situations it happens more often.

Who do some children ask for advice more often then other children in emotional distress?

 

Everyone is born independent and self-confident. But because many of us experience doubts during our childhood, we learn to not trust our feelings. In the same way, we teach our children distrust. Children that develop a constant need for someone’s advice need to hear expressions of trust and confidence from others. I recommend the following to all parents who would like to help their children regain independence and self-trust:

– Tell your child about your new approach and promise him that next time you will be listening without talking (he will be excited!). Be truthful and honest. You are learning too.

– If your child expresses signs of dependency again and asks you for advice in what to do, respond with: “And what do you think?” and confirm this with “I’m sure that you’ll be able to find a solution”, or “It’s a difficult situation, think it over carefully.”

– If your child gets startled or confused by this, he probably temporarily lost his self-confidence and is not able to offer his own solutions. You can help him with encouraging words such as: „You know what to do best.” If he still doesn’t know what to do, suggest several possibilities and end it with: „(…) and maybe you have a better idea.“

– If you decide to give advice, you can use these important strategies: Offer several ideas, without revealing which of them you prefer. Let your child know, that he could have a better idea and that he should do what he feels is right. Talk clearly and simply, avoid lecturing. Talk positively about solutions and don’t judge.


Gradually, give advice less and less and express trust in the skills and decision-making capabilities of your child more and more.

 

If your child starts crying or gets angry if you refuse to give advice, validate his feelings with something like: „You wanted me to offer a solution and now you feel abandoned and helpless. I love you and know you are capable…I know you know what to do. You may now feel helpless and incapable but in the end, I’m sure you will find your answer.“ Most of all, listen. Crying will help restoring your child’s self-assurance. As soon as the crying stops and everything becomes quiet, the child can start coming up with answers.

During a calm moment, talk to your child about how he wants you to act if he’s upset and set clear rules that he would like to establish. Do this between situations when he’s upset – never shortly after or during.

You can’t follow these rules rigidly. It’s important to be empathetic and to know how to respond sensitively. It’s not necessary to refuse to help, if the child is not ready to offer his own solution. As soon as we offer our child more opportunities to express his independency, we have to observe and respond to signs of readiness. We can’t force our child to be independent. Sometimes, empathy can mean trying to free our children from being dependent on our advice; other times, it means to yield to their dependency on our advice.

 

Once you succeeded, and your child stops being dependent on you – and you break your habit of rescuing him with advice – become a curious and respectful listener. His emotional state and behavior will improve and so will yours. Don’t forget that emotions are never wrong; all feelings are undeniable, real and right. Circumstances and actions may need to change, but feelings should be accepted and heard.

 

Do kids today grow up to be slackers?

It seems that kids nowadays can’t be bothered to work. A lot of parents are getting desperate. Why is it so difficult to intrigue our offsprings with something  sensible? To get them to  help out in the household or in the garden and often even to get them to do their school work?

 

Most probably we are not yet at the stage where it is a norm for young people to gather around in the streets out of boredom, as can be commonly observed in some of the more developed countries. However, in the eyes of some parents we are not too far from that. It is quite disturbing when a child or perhaps an adolescent or a young adult can sit around doing nothing the whole day, doesn’t seem to enjoy anything or be interested in anything, and according to his parents, is just aimlessly getting through his life without any direction and, at most,  sits at the computer for hours playing games endlessly or spending time on facebook. I’m not going to discuss the possible negative impacts of TV, computers, the busy life of parents, the complications in families or the small life perspectives of some children, because as we all know these things individually have a major influence on the child. Instead, I’m going to focus on how to look for other creative sources.

Examples for kids 

Throughout the entire duration of the kids‘ childhood it is important to serve as positive examples as parents. This is undoubtedly a common recommendation but it is still perfectly effective and at the same time it presents a simple medium. If the parents themselves are active, it is probable that they will encourage the child to be active too. However, this has several conditions.

The child should observe joy and pleasure on parents carrying out their activities and not just a responsibility, tiredness, exhaustion and dread in their eyes.

  • The child should observe joy and pleasure on parents carrying out their activities and not just a responsibility, tiredness, exhaustion and dread in their eyes.
  • The family activities should be diverse.
  • At least a some parts of the activity should be really joyful and entertaining even for the child. (If the parents spend their entire free time in the garden and they force the child to keep on watering, hoeing and weeding, then there is a lesser chance that they will get the child to enjoy this activity.) Although ambitiousness could be forced upon the child for some period of time, this could lead to a precarious situation in which the child not only refuses this activity after some time, but refuses all activities.

 

On the other hand, the child’s activity is encouraged by the fact that he takes part in as many hobbies as possible together with his parents.  As long as the parents are able to provide a safe, encouraging and non-competitive environment, the child is able to enjoy the game, finds it entertaining for a longer time period as well as more educational and has a greater chance to be successful. And success is a fabulous source of encouragement for any kind of activity.

It is necessary to keep and further develop the interests since the pre-school age. But it is not always obligatory for the child to be excited all the time and to eagerly demand them.

It is just nice to enhance his range of capabilities, by trying out something new and teaching the child something new – when he then grows into an adolescence age or a young adult age, he won’t have to feel outcasted from the group of his peers since he knows quite a bit of everything and has tried out many things. It doesn’t mean that all the interests will last till the kid‘s adult age but there is a greater probability of him coming back to some of his old hobbies, further developing them or using them as skill he has once learned. I hence recommend for parents to be tolerant towards an alternation between hobbies and interests under some circumstances.

Many individuals, after some time, tend to come back to the activities from childhood which they have once refused. In this later age, they come back to the work in the garden and they begin to find this highly delightful and pleasurable, they begin to play the piano once again and to do recreational sports. It is good when your kids  have something to come back to.

 

Burp

When a baby drinks, it often swallows some air with it too, although not always. There are two reasons for helping your baby to burp.

 

Firstly, the baby doesn’t feel comfortable since the trapped air causes crams in its tummy which leads to a glutted feeling. The baby is then annoyed, it cries and cannot fall asleep. Secondly, the swallowed air bubbles in the stomach can cause a false feeling of being adequately full. When the baby feels this full, it stops drinking and later on after the air bubbles escape, its empty stomach demands feeding again. In this way, the baby is hungry and it wants to drink earlier than what was originally awaited which could sometimes be confusing and bothersome.

The more hastily the baby drinks, the more the milk spouts into its mouth, the more air it will probably swallow while drinking – and the other way round. In case that the child drinks especially calmly, it might not be necessary for it to burp at all.

According to this observation, you can decide whether to hold him in a position to induce burping for a while or whether to offer him your other breast. If the baby becomes upset after a few minutes of drinking the milk, it lets go of the breast and starts to wriggle, it is important to check if it needs to burp quickly.

You should certainly hold the baby in a vertical position for a while after the feeding, in the case that it has not fallen asleep yet. If you think that he has had enough, you can let him sleep until he himself shows a need to burp. It might be a good thing to offer the baby your breast once more after it has burped. Keep this in mind especially if the baby’s burp is very prominent (which could be a sign of false fullness) or if it has thrown up a significant amount of milk. This has occupied the space above the air bubbles and was emitted together with it – in this case we should not presume that the baby has had more than enough.

 

How to help the baby burp

The air rises upwards and so, you should hold the baby in an upright position –  the air then rises towards the entrance into the stomach and then it can escape better. The classical position for the baby to burp is for it to sit on your arm looking over your shoulder or to sit on your thighs leaning backwards against you. You can also gently and repeatedly pat him over his back from downwards to upwards using your palm so that the air can rise up at a faster rate. Since a little bit of milk will also be purged out when the baby burps, try to keep it away from your clothes. Don’t attempt to wait for the burp “forever”. If it doesn’t come in a few minutes, you can forget about it, especially if the baby feels alright. If it will feel like burping later on, it will show this by becoming upset and behaving in a confused manner. Then you should lightly hold him up for a while and he should burp without a problem.

 

What to do if the burp doesn’t come and the air causes crams in the stomach

 

For babies who gobble down the milk in a hasty manner, it can take a while before they burp. As I mentioned previously, the air bubbles are causing crams in the stomach and they trap a lot of milk above it – more time is needed before it can rise up. Some babies need to burp several times before all the air gets pushed out. Until then, they are restless and tend to cry even though they have had enough and don’t want to drink anymore. In such cases, you should feed your baby as soon as possible, so that it doesn’t drink as hastily, and not to wait until it starts to cry out of hunger. It would also be good if the child could burp while drinking, but this is not always possible. It might help if your hold him more upwards while feeding so that its head lies higher than its buttock. If your breastfeeding let down reflex functions so well that the milk spouts out in large amount immediately so that the baby needs to gobble it down rapidly which causes him to swallow lots of air as well, then you could try to take him away from your breast for a few seconds after a few gulps. Keep a towel aside to wipe off the  milk that flows out and then place the baby right back to your breast once the milk starts to flow out a little slower.

The length of a child’s cry

The cry of a baby is one of the sharpest and the loudest sounds that we could possibly hear in a household (about 80 to 85 decibels)

 

It starts to appear around the second week of a child’s life, it grows in strength around the eighth to tenth week and then it lowers down towards the end of the third or the beginning of the forth month due to the baby’s brain development and a better mutual communication.

From several observations it is evident that a newborn around its first to second month of age commonly cries one to three hours a day. The length of the cry is individual for each child. About a quarter of children cry a lot and a half of them cries very often. The usual duration of a cry also varies a lot depending on the mother. On one end of the extreme, a mother might think: “I think that if the child was really happy, it wouldn’t cry at all.” And on the other extreme: “He can cry for as long as he wants. I don’t think that he is unhappy because in between of two turbulent cries, he can be cheerful and brisk.  Most probably, he is just exercising his lungs.”

The youngest children cry at various times during the day depending on their individuality. Some can cry five to six half hours before feeding or before sleeping while others cry only towards the end of the day.

Some children like to cry especially in the night. These ‘little owls’ love to exchange the night for the day. To its age of one to two months, a newborn cries during the night, because it is hungry. It is highly  inconvenient, but it is the case. It is not up to the parents, but up to the child when he stops requiring   feeding at 2am in the morning. Later on, the night waking up can be due to a discomfort (too hot, a thirst, a blocked nose and so on..) or due to a sudden pain. Both causes should be of your attention and you should take a look at the child. But take note – do not confuse such a cry with a cry out of sleep from which we should not wake the child up.  Also, do not confuse this with a cry of an older child who got so used to parents’ comforting in the middle of the night.

 

Afternoon cry

An afternoon cry is infamously well-known too. The day is coming to an end, the mum is tired and she would like to take some rest, daddy is coming home from work and this is exactly the moment which the baby, so cute just a while ago, choses to start crying endlessly. However, at the same time the baby’s immediate condition does not provide any explanation for this. We are playing with him, we talk to him, we offer him his bottle, we get him changed and praise him, but we can’t seem to quiet him down. The baby first starts to whimper, then it breaks into a cry and none of our attempts to quiet him down seem to work. “The early evening hour when the lions go to drink” is not such a vulnerable time just for the babies. The old and the sick are vulnerable to this time period as well and they need to overcome this depressive moment. Is this about some metaphysical syndrome?  Or about a need to discharge an extra energy? Or about a reaction to the surroundings or the mother’s tiredness? No doubt all of this takes its part.

 

All “normal” babies cry. Some of them objectively cry much more than the others even though some parents can bear with the cry better than others and so they complain less. We can try to avoid an excessive cry by understanding it better and by learning how to respond to it. However, it is impossible to prevent all the cry, because, as needs to be emphasized again, it is a sign of the baby’s good physical and especially psychological well-being.

Don’t forget that babies who cry a lot are generally more active and brisk. They develop well and at a faster rate physically as well as communicatively. Statistically, there is a smaller proportional of sudden death cases in these babies. These babies demand so much attention and we pay so much attention to them that they never fail to be a subject of cuddling and communication.

Once this crying phase is over, you will observe a fabulous and confident child who develops intellectually at a fast rate. Babies who cry often need more love, attention and patients. And just wait to see the result!

 

 

Fight Over a Princess

Should Fighting Be Incorporated Into a Child’s Game? Do you give your children the chance to learn to fight? Should a fair fight have a place in an upbringing of a child?

In every man’s hearth, there are three wishes: to undergo a battle, to experience and adventure and to save a beautiful woman. And that may be true for boys as well. Do we give our children the chance to fight? Should an honest battle be a part of raising a child?

Many children enter their peer group with a preconceived notion (brought from their families) that they shouldn’t be weak and they should establish their position in a group, even if they have to use force. Other children are told that they shouldn’t fight, that everything can be settled by communicating or by backing off and every little sign of physical aggression in these children is suppressed by their parents.

 

Which path should we choose?

Aggression cannot be excluded from a child’s life we shouldn’t try to suppress it. Especially, the younger the child is the more likely he is to try to settle his disputes physically (remember: aggression is not only expressed by boys, girls can be aggressive as well). Of course, it’s important to show our children alternative ways to solve problems. But is it right to control and suppress children’s aggression as much as possible?

Don’t run at school. Don’t fight anyone at school. Don’t push your brother…. But when do children ever hear: let’s go scream, lets pillow fight or wrestle? Children, especially boys need these kinds of games. Kids get a chance to physically express themselves if they attend judo, karate or other physical sport classes, where physical contact with other children is a part of the activity. But what about other kids? School age children usually spend most of their time sitting down at their desks, at afterschool activities or at home in front of the TV. Home games are usually reduced to doing puzzles or other “brain activities”, so that our kids don’t break something or make too much noise.

If a child needs to get out his energy, computer games or plastic soldiers are used. And so slowly but surely, their bodies and aggression are suppressed to a minimum.

Aggressive behavior is a part of life

Aggression is a challenge and we should approach the natural aggression of children creatively.  An over-organized time (organized and controlled by adults), passive fun, not enough time and space for simple games are all reasons why many children don’t challenge their bodies. Yes, we cuddle our babies, we tickle them, throw them in the air; but the older the kids are the less physical their games are. But all children need physical contact during games. Children should learn that stroking has different effects than a firm grip. They should learn to distinguish positive and negative effects of a contact with another person.  Children are often not able to use their muscle strength reasonably. And so, instead of a friendly poke, a painful hit comes when a child wants to be friends with other children.

If the body disappears from a child’s upbringing, then the child never learns that he should have respect the physical inviolability of others.

 

 Don’t be afraid to fight! 

Not that long ago, all children needed in order to play was a ball, a rubber or a few sticks. But most of all, their bodies. Hide-and-go-seek, chasing and all the variations of these games were all they needed for a fun afternoon. Kids today have so much toys, so much technology and over organized activities that the only times they feel their body is if they sit in front of the computer for too long.  But physical games can teach a child a lot – mostly to respect his body and control it. The aim of these physical games is to create a fair fight and not hurt anyone. These games should have clear rules that are agreed on in advance. Also, make up a sign that anyone can make if he wants to terminate the game; or perhaps the fight. Yes, a fight. That is  one the games that’s disappearing. A fight that we parents are sometimes so afraid of and try to prevent. Of course I am not encouraging the stronger one attacking the weaker one or fighting our way using force.  What I mean is a friendly battle that happens between friends in order to compare their strengths, or just for fun between fathers and sons.

We usually deal with our child being in a fight, starting a fight or being the victim of the fight after it happens – in the park or at school. But did we teach our children, that physical fighting can be a part of a game and not a medium of communication? In an Internet discussion, one mother asked what she should do with her son who fights at school? And what was that anonymous answer? „Do you have a father or a grandfather? Boys just fight. They always had to protect their tribe. It’s good when their father fights with them and teaches them what the boundaries are – that everyone involved has to enjoy it, no one should be in pain and that some parts of the body are taboo. Of course it would be ideal, if all fathers did this.”

 

 Battling while following rules 

A thirty-year-old Martin thought of a great idea for his son Ondra. „I have a new game. We will fight over the princess. And who else is a princess her, then your mother!“ Ondra ran to his mother and started hitting her with his little fists. „No!“ said dad, „we will not be fighting with the princess, but over the princess – me and you, Ondra. Whoever wins, get a kiss from mom. She will not be looking, instead she will be reading in the other room.“ Martin then explained to his three-year-old what is allowed and what not during this fight. Little Ondra agreed to the terms and wanted to play. At first he won of course – his dad held back. But the next day, dad won. And then the third day as well. And then, Ondra won. Mom gave kisses to each winner as promised. Dad was proud that he made up this game, and Ondra was proud that he could fight according to the rules as a good knight.

I personally like the idea of „mom is not looking“. Because honestly, what mother can handle watching their son getting beat?

Surely, a boy’s fight can end with “Stop it – your hurting him.”. Because our desire to protect our property is very strong! But what about men’s desires? As John Eldredge puts it in his book: “In the heart of all men, there are three desires: to undergo a battle, to experience an adventure and to save a beautiful woman.” I wish to all fathers that they can fight with their sons for princesses, and to experience an adventure full of love that way. This is one way to successfully handle children’s aggression. And I’m sure many dads will enjoy such a game.