Why you should think about your baby’s language development

[6-12 months] This is such an important, interesting and exciting time for your baby’s language development.  Your baby goes from feeling the day by ‘sensations’, to understanding their world by ‘words’ (be that verbally or gestures).

This is the time to REALLY watch your little one.  When they pay attention to something, be it what you are doing, an object or another person/animal, you can help to teach them language with a few simple steps.  My first vocab list – 6 months+ and My second vocab list – moving to 12 months will give you tips on how to make language learning simple and also the first words your baby is likely to learn.

The sooner a child has language, the sooner you can interact even more with them, entertain them more, negotiate with them and help them to learn more about their world.

Dealing with tantrums..with love

Stay on your child’s side!  When your child is having a TANTRUM, the ones where they have truly lost it, FIRST help their brain to calm down by:
– staying calm in what you say, how you act & your volume
– offering a hug
– seeing the problem from your child’s point of view, no matter how inconvenient the tantrum!
– identifying with your child & labeling emotions (‘it’s hard isn’t it’, ‘that was disappointing wasn’t it’)
– don’t offer lectures – the lesson learnt can be discussed when your child is cool
– don’t keep saying ‘no’ or ‘rubbing it in’

Whilst your child needs to learn lessons, they also need understanding that their emotions can be BIG and difficult to get over.  No matter much you think it shouldn’t matter!
If you can help your child to regulate their emotions, they will get better at this as time goes on.  And eventually you’ll be able to talk them out of even going down the meltdown road!

Tuesday 27th May 2014. How I spent the day..


The serenity...

The serenity…

Recently, I was inspired to write down how I filled one day, when I read a similar post from Shannon at A Game of Diapers.

And so, because I have this blog available to me, I’m going to record one of my days, at home with the boys, more for my own interest in looking back in years to come and remember ‘the good ol’ days'(??)!  But I’m interested to see similar posts from others too.

So here it begins

6.30am  Alarm goes off.  Give boys a cuddle.  Fill out journal with intentions for the day.  Make our eggs breakfast.  Wash dishes.  Intermittent entertainment with boys.  Put a load of washing on.  Prepare snacks and lunches for later.  Intermittent entertainment with boys.  Put bird outside.  Gather eggs from chickens & feed them.  Break up fights with boys.  Hang out washing.  Bring load of washing in.  Break up another fight between boys.

8.30am  Prepare shopping list.  Get us all dressed and teeth brushed with much negotiation.  Pack swimming bag.  Clear up toys along the way.  Pack car with bikes/helmets, picnic gear, swimming bag etc.  Liaise with boys dancing to The Wiggles music.

9.00am  Drive to swimming lessons.  Toilet trip and more negotiating to be ready on time.

9.30am  Master 4 starts swimming.

9.45am  Master 2 starts swimming.

10.30am  Morning tea at swimming lesson whilst Master 4 helps to re-write sign on whiteboard that he erased earlier.

11am  Quick trip to supermarket.

11.30am  Lunch at bird park.

no pictures of the chores!

no pictures of the chores!

11.45am  Bike ride at park.

12.30pm  Home.  Master 2 into bed.  Unload picnic gear.  Toy picked up from Ebay sale.  Load of washing on.  Wash dishes.  Pre-prepare some of dinner.  Roast veges for lunches later in week.  Washing out.  Other washing in.  Start to pack and think about lunchboxes for daycare for rest of week.  Prepare some snacks for my lunches for rest of week at work.  Make daycare-friendly pesto.  Intermittent attendance to Master 4, chatting, providing him bags he needs for his play and calendar to talk about our next holiday so he can tell his pretend friends.  Eat some more food.

1.30pm  Make birthday card for Grandma with Master 4.  Sort washing.  Read book with Master 4.

2.15pm  Washing in.  Take rubbish and compost scraps out.  Mini-tidy of toys.

2.30pm  Master 2 awake.  Encourage to take nappy off/go to toilet/get dressed before visitors (he did).  Encourage Master 4 to tidy his room a tiny bit (he didn’t).  Prepare more dinner.  Wash dishes.  Liaise with boys about going outside/watching them being careful with chickens.  Get one daycare bag prepared with spare clothes.

3pm  Visitors arrive.  Talk/play with them.  Boys have afternoon tea.

4.30pm  Continue with dinner preparation. Clean up outside.  Feed chickens again (preparation for busy rest of week at work).  Boys watch Play School on TV.  Clean up kitchen.

5pm  Boys eat dinner.  Boil eggs.  Peel some for breakfast tomorrow.  Prepare more lunchboxes.  Pack away roasted veges and other leftover snacks.  Wash dishes.  Pack away boiled eggs.

6pm  Master 2 wants bath.  Master 4 has shower with me.  Prepare other daycare bag. Pack away washing.  Much negotiating to get them dressed and teeth brushed.  Read books.

7.15pm  Boys into bed.  Pack away more toys.

7.30pm  Eat dinner.  Read emails, Facebook.

8pm  Call husband who is away.

8.30pm  Blog post.

9pm  Study.

10pm  Meditation.

10.10pm  Bed.


Yes to crying!

We encourage crying in our family.  Not alone but with someone providing ‘love’ at the same time.  This might be a hug, labeling how they feel to show empathy or even just being there with them.

Crying is a physical way of releasing the energy from emotions that you feel.  And as emotions are ‘energy in motion’, it is very important to let these feelings out so that they don’t get trapped in the body.  Children innately know to do this.  It is only by adults telling them not to cry that we as adults forget how calm and clear your head can be when you’ve cried all the feelings away.

Of course we then talk about the situation that lead up to these emotions to understand better what just happened.  All in the name of better emotional intelligence!

How to add greens and more greens to fried rice

Stuff a couple of peas in fried rice as the daily greens!  Here is how I pack broccoli and kale into my boys’ dinner.
Basically the principle being – when you’re introducing a new food, you might as well dress it up well.  Not so they don’t notice it, but make it too good to knock back.
IMG_9532[1]First steps are making sure the boys accept the greens easily (they did).  Then my future aim is for cauliflower rice instead of any rice (cauliflower being more nutrient dense than rice).  Usually I go against tradition and use brown rice but didn’t have enough so I used basmati rice, next best option.
Of course you can add other veges or meat and herbs of which we had none today.

Does anyone else have some healthy and delicious ways with fried rice?

Natural Toothpaste

Does your little one swallow toothpaste?  I’ve always questioned why it says ‘do not swallow’ on the tube, yet we brush our children’s teeth with it, knowing that it takes ‘years’ for them to learn to spit it out.And what for that matter is in toothpaste that is not worthy of swallowing?  And aren’t we absorbing it through thin mucous membranes in our mouth anyway?

Well when I came across an article about triclosan, linking it to pesticides, I had to double check that yes, toothpaste’s active ingredient is in fact triclosan.

And also knowing the negative health effects of fluoride, I started to question just what was the important ingredient in toothpaste?  Was there any ingredient we truly needed to use?

Add in colour and artificial sweetener and Colgate no longer has the same ring to it’s name.

That’s when I turned the boys to natural toothpaste.  Toothpaste really just needs an abrasive and an ingredient to ideally alkalise the mouth and kill off bacteria and thus plaque.

But then I heard about the antibacterial, antiviral, anti microbial properties of coconut oil AND the fact it remineralises teeth…

I found this recipe to make your own toothpaste.

Soften 1/2 cup coconut oil with gentle heat, add 2-3 tbs bicarb soda, xylitol to taste and 15-20 drops peppermint essential oil and mix well. Place in a glass jar and allow to cool.
IMG_9556[1]You will have to try it for yourself to believe me.  I have the smoothest, most polished teeth; the kind you get after the dentist and I have a super-clean tongue.  And just by using my toothpaste in front of the boys, they decided they wanted to use it too.  Whilst we could’ve tracked down food grade peppermint essential oil or added xylitol, we went for the ‘salty coconut’ and have just mixed bicarb with coconut oil.  They did it and now ask for this toothpaste each night.

Colgate is a thing of the past and I feel confident our teeth AND our bodies are healthier for having avoided colour, artificial sweetener, fluoride and triclosan.
You just have to see past marketing and ‘the done thing’.

** This is not a paid presentation for what are natural ingredients  🙂

Tantrums are a milestone, a good one!

Whilst it is tricky negotiating a two-year-old some days, I do get excited that my little boy is working how to think for himself, be independent and make his own choices. Working with children with disabilities makes you realise what an important milestone this is.

Sibling roles

Does your little one know where they fit in in the family?  Particularly if they have a younger sibling?
Here are some drawings I did with Master 4 when I noticed he felt like attention was always on younger brother and he sometimes felt like he didn’t know what his role in the family was.
Not so easy to see the drawings, but you 'get the picture'!

Not so easy to see the drawings, but you ‘get the picture’!


I drew these drawings with him as we talked about how important he was AND also how his younger brother would also have similar roles, particularly as he got older.
This really helped so when I then had to say ‘you’ll have to wait for your brother’, ‘wait for your turn with Grandma’ or ‘show your brother how to pack away’, he had more of an intrinsic motivation as he knew this was one of his roles as big brother.

Much better than ‘you’re the oldest, that’s just how it is!’.

Would what you say your children’s roles are in your family?

The share plate

[Improving social skills]

In order to help my boys learn how to share, particularly when it comes to table manners, I sometimes provide a share plate.  The aim is to only take one piece at a time and to still take the time to enjoy and be thankful for our food.

To help them along, I don’t provide highly desired items on the plate as this only encourages grabbing!

Here is our apple with tahini…


Helping your child to talk – take the time

[from 6 mths]

Just like with reading, exposure to words does all add up to the ‘more you put in, the more you get back’. Picture two children at a cafe.  The first child’s parents get on with their coffee, smile at the baby and give it a few toys.  The second child’s parents label what the child is looking at, playing with and even take the time to point out say a dog or a bus going past.

Then take this scenario to the shopping trolley, driving in the car, in the bath, while you’ve got visitors and out in the pram.  It takes more effort but you will be sure to have a child with a larger vocabulary and stronger relationship with you than those little ones who have spent more time by themselves.