Operation : Get out of the house!!

Stage 1 : Our new fairy/gnome garden!
Master 4.5 was getting reliant on playing inside, which is okay when he is drawing but not as great for his brain development spending hours in his room playing with Woolworths cards or plastic toys.

photo 1
So we have started ‘forest adventures’ to collect materials, visited Pinterest for inspiration and started reading the Snugglepot & Cuddlepie books to see what it is like to live in nature.

photo 2
Our gnome house is still under construction along with other stick projects!

photo 3
Have you got a kid that gets stuck indoors? Could you fathom organizing a little play garden for your children?
ūüôā Heidi

How can our family’s health story help your family?

A little update on the ‘saving my family’s health’ tale with some ways to spot whether you or your children are also as sensitive. The end is getting happier for us ūüėÄ

Today I am thankful to have my son’s brain working so much better than it ever has. ¬†Many of you have seen how I have been on a journey with Master4, initially to eradicate his ECZEMA without the nasty creams, then to reduce his ‘brain inflammation’ (aka ADHD), then to improve his nutritional health and get rid of the DARK CIRCLES under his eyes and consequently, we got rid of his SLEEP APNOEA, improved his SLEEP out of sight, stopped the BEDWETTING and improved his IMMUNITY. ¬†It sounds quite extreme but we have had to remove gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, corn, sugar, some grains (such as white and brown rice), some fruits/veges (such as kiwi fruit and capsicum) and of course all food additives. ¬†We have also removed chemicals by way of many non-organic foods, soaps, sunscreen and regular toothpaste.

Yes Master4 is very sensitive! ¬†Master2 and I are also as sensitive. ¬†But instead this has made our family take on more of a NUTRITARIAN diet. ¬†Making everything we put in our mouths be filled with nutrients instead of foods that do nothing for our health (many of those above) and it is still very much a work in progress! ¬†And through thinking outside the box, I do manage to fill their lunchboxes each day ūüôā although I have spilt tears at making lunches some days!

After studying him closely, I’ve realised just one mouthful of gluten will inflame Master4’s brain for four weeks. ¬†Four weeks of STRESS for the whole family.

Master4 flies off the handle at what feels like every minute of his day. ¬†His brain can’t process language as well so you can’t talk him through his experiences. ¬†He has little empathy for others which makes interactions with his brother harder. ¬†He has no ability to direct himself to play nor much motivation. ¬†He is more aggressive and shows less eye contact. He has about a 2second window to give an instruction or explain something. ¬†I am forever saying ‘look at me, look at me, listen, LISTEN!’ His world is one big ‘gluten hangover’ (and what appears as Asperger’s Syndrome) and so we hold our breath and wait it out….

Last week, Master4 came out of yet another gluten hangover (from sampling a child’s Tiny Teddy at kindy). Can you hear our HALLELUJAH’s??! ¬†He is now much more easy going, is smiling, plays imaginatively for hours, shares and thinks (a little bit!) about his brother, comes up with brilliant ideas, draws amazingly and can actually listen and be reasoned with.

This is the reason I have realised my life’s goal is to ‘save’ more families from scenarios like this and to improve children’s potential through health and well being. ¬†All with diet and environment, not medications or putting up with it. ¬†Right now, spare minutes are filled with me studying and organizing business logistics.

I hope everyone will benefit from some of the information I will soon have to share, after all who doesn’t count their family’s health as their #1 priority? ¬†It is not easy but once you have seen the difference, you will never go back.

I am looking to start my health coaching business next year, but in the meantime, if you’d like any advice, please let me know. ¬†Or if you know anyone that may need some direction, point them in my direction ūüôā Heidi

Our backyard classroom

Did you see my post on our ‘creation table’?¬† We take it to different places in the backyard and the boys immediately start to use these different environments whilst they paint…¬† There’s been decorated passion fruit, painted tomato and basil leaf prints and some green cherry tomatoes used to roll over the paper and make a print.¬† Sometimes we paint or draw what we see..
IMG_9178[1]

Interacting with the outdoors provides children with a way to access mindfulness.¬† We talk about the sensory properties of the garden, take note of the clouds and birds we can see or hear and think about what we are focused on. ¬†Just try it and you’ll automatically feel calmer and ready to create!

 

Imaginative play; a milestone to celebrate

[~2years]
This should be a milestone that every parent looks forward to.  When your child first starts to talk and play imaginatively by themselves!
Your child will need to be ready with plenty of language to make up play actions and stories, that they have seen in their everyday life.
Here Master2 placed a piece of cake with his monkey and told him ‘here, I’m just going outside’.
Since then he has relied on others to show him more play actions whilst making some up himself.¬† He will create longer and longer play scenes as he develops more language, attention and understanding of the world……….and then I will get more done myself!
IMG_8634[1]

 

Our creation table

Cool parents = relaxed kids when it comes to art, craft & all the ‘messy’ play.¬† So I commissioned my husband into making our own outdoors creation table. ¬†Free to be loved and used JUST for creating, having fun, sensory exploration and learning!
We take it to all corners of our yard for different inspiration from a different setting. ¬†We don’t clean it so we don’t worry about mess.¬† And we chose to use blackboard paint so we can love our table with chalk too..
But yes I’ve still had some crazy sessions with little painted hands making it to the house.¬† I guess that’s what you get for painting with a 1 & 3yo. ¬†More on that later!
For now, let me know if you have a wonderful creation table!¬† OR if your husband has the skills to whip up a basic table…¬† Weekend project??

It’s time to entertain yourselves..it’s called ‘free play’!

Do your schedule time in your children’s day as ‘free play’?¬† Do you let your kids get bored (& let them find their own games)?
A few ideas I use to encourage free play:
– send them outside…and lock the door (just kidding, but it can sometimes be tricky to shake the kids off you)
– give your children tasks to complete outside (& with any luck they’ll get swept up in their own play)
You can find language in your backyard – my backyard treasure hunt that can entice kids outside
– set up ‘play invitations’ inside – think my weekly play themes or even just setting up a few toys here and there to encourage them to be discovered and play with
– encourage collaborative play with spare boxes or a pile of dress up gear or a big bag of blocks
Рmake yourself look BUSY! too busy to get involved in case the kids try to include you.
¬†Here is a link about the importance of free play by Dr Helen Street. ‘Why over scheduling kids is robbing them of a life worth living’. Worth a read!
Don’t forget to take a look around in the different categories to see if I Raise My Kids is worth following for you! ūüôā Heidi

Let your children learn with art

IMG_8783[1] 

Okay, so who encourages painting, drawing or other creative outlets within their children? I am going to try and inspire as many of you as possible to see beyond the mess and learn about the benefits of providing some art materials and all…owing your child to express themselves, receive sensory benefits and not to mention cultivating mindfulness.

We don’t have time for fancy projects, we just get in there and do art for art’s sake.
So who is with me….or open to becoming more inspired to bringing art into their homes…?

Becoming a play engineer – tip #7.

Kids play the best when toys are set up, ‘inviting’ them to play.¬† Once¬†your children¬†have enough language to play imaginatively, you can really invite them to play with a weekly¬†theme throughout the house.¬† Whilst it takes that bit longer to set up, you will be sure to get many more play hours from your little ones.

So!¬† What will your theme be?¬† It¬†didn’t take me long to pick animals + hospital/doctors/vets.¬† Master nearly4 loves animals and¬†he and Master nearly 2 are both into doctors at the moment.¬† And of course, an¬†animal theme is not too¬†unfamiliar for Master nearly2.¬† Pretend play – your child’s occupation¬†will give you more information on the different skills pretend play consists of.¬† Language means play will give you more information on the development of play and how language goes hand in hand.

Setting up

This is where you think about ALL the items in your house that might come under this theme.  So I went for everything animal, from our Aussie Animal cards to our baby dinosaurs to our farm animals.  And then you add in everyday items that would be useful props for the scenes, such as ribbons for bandages, cotton wool for the babies, wooden dish rack for the operating table/sick bay and pipe cleaners for their own imagination.  And then you can drag out any other props that might be useful, such as adding our cardboard box bus stop/airport and our Little People plane and bus for transporting the sick/recovered animals between the hospital and the wild.

Because I had so many sets of toys out, I created mini scenes in different rooms of the house.  The next thing to do was to introduce the boys to each scene and promote some different play actions, to get them started.  I also assigned doctor and nurse roles (big brother and little brother roles really!).  And then you sit back (or race to the kitchen or clothesline) and reap the benefits of excited play!  Here are some of the benefits..

Benefits of themed play

  • The story is halfway there, so the kids don’t have to create one from scratch (ideal for the younger ones)
  • You can easily give many hints at new play actions.¬† I have used: ‘go and check if bull’s fever has gone’, ‘I think panda needs his bath now’, ‘giraffe might be ready to go back into the wild, but before you put him on the plane, remember to check his heartbeat and temperature’, ‘the baby dinosaurs will all need a feed and why don’t you ask your brother to help you take them back to the wild in the bus’, ‘it might be time to help bull to get to sleep, it’s hard to settle when you have a fever’, ‘nearly your bedtime, go and give the¬†night doctors their handover, what they will need to do while you are sleeping’….¬† I have even rung their pretend phone (an otoscope) as an anonymous caller letting them know of a sick hippo out in the wild.¬† Next thing they are receiving calls from each other!
  • There is a variety of toys out so different ages are still catered to
  • A child can walk into any room and make up a mini-story there, OR play between several scenes in across different rooms

Here are some photos to share with you all!

broken legs, cut on the tummy, the flu....

broken legs, cut on the tummy, the flu….

Special Care Nursery.. for dinosaur babies.  Also like special care where Master nearly4 spent a few weeks..

Special Care Nursery.. for dinosaur babies. Also like special care where Master nearly4 spent a few weeks..

'The wild'

‘The wild’

back to the wild....

back to the wild….

'the ball forest'

‘the ball forest’

so the injured bush animal is...

so the injured bush animal is…

'X' marks the spot...?

‘X’ marks the spot…?

What will your play theme be this week? ¬†Be creative and drum up some excitement! Guaranteed it will pass over to your kids and you will have a fun week ūüôā Heidi

You can find language in your backyard!

Are you children interested in nature? Could they do with less screen time?¬†Does your child love ‘treasure hunts’ or drawing?¬†Do you need an activity that you can direct from the kitchen?

This activity promotes language-learning, getting outdoors, drawing skills and if need be, an opportunity for you to get the kids out from under your feet!  Of course you might find yourself out in the garden with your kids which is even better, providing you with fresh air and an opportunity to get to know your backyard better too!

Bring in the Backyard Treasure list! This is how we play:

1. Present your child with a special ‘notebook and artist pen’ and tell them they are going to find some treasures in the backyard. ¬†They will need to listen up closely!

2. Challenge your child to find an example of each treasure description you provide (see list below for each treasure description).  Note, each description includes a word that the child must understand to find the correct item, great for language development.  You may need to discuss what the descriptive words mean before they go hunting.

Just a sample of ideas!

Just a sample of ideas!

3. The child must go and draw what they find, not touch.  This is to avoid little hands dealing with spiders and other not-so-safe delights in the garden.  Older kids might be fine to decide what they pick/bring back, but the main aim is for the child to then draw the treasure.  This is great practice for drawing what they see with the motivation of having a collection of drawings of their findings.

4. The child brings their notepad back to show you the drawing and to check if it fits the treasure description. ¬†This is a great time to further promote your child’s language skills by discussing if the item fits the description and how they decided they would pick that particular item. ¬†If it does not fit the description, you may need to provide some examples of the descriptive word, for example ‘wet means there might be water on it, it’s¬†not dry‘).

5. Give the next treasure description.

For older kids, you could provide the written list, as above and let them go out and take on the task themselves.

This activity can then be repeated again and again, encouraging your child to find different items to match the descriptions.  Or think up a list of new descriptions!

Here is the list we have used so far:

  • a¬†brown¬†leaf
  • a ‘forked’ stick (one with a ‘V’ in it)
  • a spider
  • something¬†NOT green or brown
  • something¬†moving¬†(don’t touch)
  • something living
  • something when you look up
  • something you can eat
  • something wet
  • something man made
  • something that feels rough
  • something with a nice smell
  • something old
  • something new
  • a green leaf

Don’t forget even words like ‘NOT’ are descriptive words and are important for a child to understand. ¬†A child may not understand the concept of ‘something¬†new’¬† in the garden, so you may have to explain how ‘new’ relates to the garden. ¬†If your child is not old enough for understanding words such as ‘man made’, think about some other descriptions you could add. ¬†Here are just a few ideas to get you started – more descriptors of how items feel, look, colours, NOT….., quantity. ¬†Remember the more you play with the same descriptions, the more your child has to think outside the box to find something different.

a few 'picked' items

a few ‘picked’ items

And if your child really does like to bring back a collection for you, why not save these in a basket and leave out for later imaginative play!

Let me know how your children get on with this fun yet educational activity!

I Raise My Kids is also at Facebook and Google+!

Taking the time to be myself…and a parent

Is there anything you would change about the way you parent? Is there something you wish to do for yourself that would make you an even better parent? It’s not too late to make changes!
In the name of inspiring others to LIVE LIFE in order¬†to help your kids LIVE LIFE, I’m putting myself out there & sharing the piece of paper I went to town on with (hopefully) all of the things that matter to me PLUS 2014 ‘goals’ & ‘aspirations’ (I feel these terms mean business more than ‘new year’s resolutions’).
this is me on paper! what will the kids think?

this is me on paper! what will the kids think?

I’ve never done this before & have been surprised with the clarity it’s given me of what I aim to be, grow towards and model for my kids. It’s also helped to talk about this TOGETHER with my husband to increase unity, motivation and direction.
And of course, in good time, I’ll slowly be working away at defining each of the words in age-appropriate language to the kids & reminding them of how I am achieving these goals.

Will you take a piece of paper and an hour out of your schedule to write down what will matter to you in 2014? ūüôā Heidi