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

Would it matter on the moon?

We go through struggles everyday between the 2 boys over things that ‘don’t really matter’. But actually, who am I to say it doesn’t matter? ¬†For them as a child, in that stage, maybe it does matter… ¬†Or maybe they don’t know how to understand the situation any differently.

So I might:
– label their feelings – eg ‘you are frustrated he won’t give it back to you’ or ‘you had in your mind you were¬†going to sit in that are disappointed’
– show them how to deal with it – eg ‘do you think you could show him a better way with different pieces, then he might not care about the ones you want?’ or ‘ask him “could we swap chairs?”‘
– OR I might say to Master4 ‘if we went on a holiday to the moon….do you think we’d care about this problem right now?’. ¬†Thinking, he usually agrees ‘no we wouldn’t’. ¬†So now I can say, ‘if we were on the moon…?’ and if he’s happy to leave it, phew! ¬†If not, it probably does matter to him!

Do you go through these struggles over small things with your little ones?  How do you deal with it?

Turn-taking rules

How do you explain to your child the ‘rules’ around turn-taking?

Here is my turn-taking cartoon strip to get the steps straight in your head but also a great visual tool to explain it to your child from about 3 years of age onwards.¬† Rather than drawing it ahead of time, I draw box by box and talk while I draw to explain what is happening and who is saying what.¬† I find it helps to keep children’s attention, rather than them seeing a page of cartoons all at once.¬† ‘When in doubt, say it with a pen’ includes more information on the benefits and ‘how-to’ of helping to explain situations to your child through drawing.¬†¬† For the littler ones, it is important to keep your language VERY simple.¬† ‘Sarah’s turn then Jake’s turn’ or ‘wait’.

So let’s go through each of the pictures…

1. Use your words! ¬†One of the keys to sharing and turn-taking is learning to use your words instead of your hands, which ends up in ‘snatching’ and squabbles.¬† You will at first need to model the words ‘can I have a turn?’ or for the younger ones ‘mine?’ or ‘my turn?’.¬† It would be too simple if child 1 (with the toy) would simply hand it over to child 2, but normally this doesn’t happen.¬† Instead, you get ‘NO!’.¬† You may not need to step in, but ‘no!’ is usually an alert for a parent/carer to be there if needed.

do you need to step in?

do you need to step in?

2. The warnings.¬† Once child 2 has used their words, I explain to them that they can step back and wait or otherwise ask for help from an adult.¬† This is usually to place ‘warning #1’.¬† Otherwise, child 2 will generally find ‘words haven’t worked for me, so I’ll take it with my hands’… Warning #1 usually goes ‘2 more minutes, Master 2, then Master 4’s turn’, keeping the language as simple as possible.¬† After a minute, ‘warning #2’ gets issued – ‘nearly Master 4’s turn!!’.

warnings and waiting

warnings and waiting

3. Waiting.¬† In the meantime, child 2 can choose to wait there in case they get lucky and child 1 decides to hand the toy over OR they can find another toy to play with while they wait.¬† Occasionally this starts an opportunity to ‘swap’ if child 1 decides they then like the look of that toy!

intervening or independence?

intervening or independence?

4. Intervening.¬† By this stage, you’ve given your final warning to child 1 and it’s now time to intervene.¬† Again, warn with words before you take out of their hands (or they could point the finger at you for snatching!!).¬† Keep the language simple with something like ‘Master 4’s turn now’.¬† Of course there might be tears and this is¬†where you will need to set the rules for child 1 now, ‘Master 4’s turn, then Master 2’s turn….wait…’ (and stick with 2 minutes).¬† If the child is struggling to wait, you might try distraction instead and present a different toy or encourage them to leave the area to do something else with you.

And this is all assuming child 1 hasn’t already handed over the toy in which case I encourage ‘thanks’ (with an ‘eye connection’, that is, establishing eye contact) and enforce this for children 3 years and above. Kids have a lot to learn before manners explains when children are ready to learn about manners.

Ready to start?!  Look at the pictures again and see if it makes sense.  It might take practice to remember simple wording or to not step straight in, but a learning parent is an interested one!

You can find I Raise My Kids on Facebook and Google + also ūüôā Heidi



Have you got a child who just LOVES to talk? ¬†On the positive side, good verbal skills is always a great quality to have. ¬†The child that isn’t afraid to say what’s on their mind or gain some attention through their stories will certainly benefit. ¬†However, constant talking can drive a parent to drink!

How do you deal with your little chatterbox? ¬†Firstly, remember it is in your child’s personality to talk. ¬†They are not doing it to be annoying! ¬†Having understanding can give you a tiny bit more patience. Does your child know the ‘unwritten rules‘ about conversations? ¬†When is it appropriate to talk? ¬†When is it inappropriate to talk? ¬†How does your child know when they’re getting a bit boring? ¬†And how do they ‘wrap up’ what they are talking about?

Here are some conversations to have with your child.  It might be worth whipping out a pen and paper and drawing it, cartoon-strip style.  My post When in doubt, say it with a pen goes into more detail about the benefits of drawing to explain to your child.

see, mum isn't looking at you here... what will you need to do?

see, mum isn’t looking at you here… (before you’ve drawn the rest of the drawing) what will you need to do?

  1. Make sure you have the person’s attention!¬† This is an essential social skill that is almost vital for the child that loves to talk. ¬†If you’re going to talk, make sure someone is actually paying attention ūüôā¬†You might encourage your child to say the person’s name first and then WAIT. ¬†Wait for that person to look their way or acknowledge them with a ‘yes?’ or another word. ¬†If the person isn’t looking at them, they might need to call their name again. ¬†Or even tap them (show your child what to do). ¬†But if that person looks busy with someone else or doing something else, your child will need to WAIT. ¬†You will need to run through some examples, such as ‘Daddy is busy brushing little Josh’s teeth, when he has finished, try calling his name again’. ¬†And then there is the time when your child is still talking as you buckle them into the car and close the door and the story is STILL going as you get into the car – remind your child to take note if you are looking at them and able to hear them. ¬†If not, they need to stop talking and wait. ¬†This point could definitely use a drawing to accompany and would only be understood by children 3 years or older. ¬†And will need plenty of practice!
  2. Take turns at talking, remember to LISTEN. ¬†Without being a Nazi about it, you might really have to spend some time pointing out when you have started talking first if your little one interrupts. ¬†Young children need some time to get used to waiting and not interrupting, but it is a good social skill to persist with pointing out. ¬†You might remind your little one, to be a good friend, you have to remember to listen too ūüôā
  3. No talking when I’m on the phone! Except..¬† Explain to your child that when the phone is ringing, you have to answer it then and there. ¬†And you can’t talk to two people at once. ¬†Your child will have to wait until Mum puts the phone down. ¬†UNLESS (start thinking of all the times when you’d want your child to interrupt your phone call). For younger children, you might start with just a few examples – if you get hurt, you come and tell me if I’m on the phone… This leads into ‘what is an emergency’ talk down the track.
  4. Mummy needs a break from listening sometimes. ¬†Some children honestly believe they have the right to your attention whenever they need and it can dampen their spirit when they are not feeling listened to enough. ¬†But they do need to learn when enough is enough, particularly by the time they start school! ¬†You might start by giving a warning ‘just tell me what happened next/just one more question, then Mummy needs a break for a bit’. ¬†Then be specific about what your child needs to do to ‘stop talking’ (short of saying ‘close your lips!’). ¬†For example, ‘Cooper can have a break from talking and play in his room with his cars for 10 minutes, while Mummy goes to the toilet’ (and don’t start further conversations if they follow you there!). ¬†You might need to physically separate your child and yourself for even just a few minutes for your child to understand ‘being quiet’ and you ‘taking a break’. ¬†This can then build into longer periods of quiet play where they are encouraged to talk to their toy friends and make up stories with them. Bring on pretend play!
  5. Sometimes a sibling might need attention or you are just a bit busy for a good talk. ¬†¬†If¬†your little one is getting enough one-on-one time with you and still vying for your attention at other times, this is when you can teach them that besides you needing a break, a sibling might need some attention or you might just be a bit busy for a good talk. ¬†Always give them a tangible time to come back and try again. ¬†‘Let me just watch this bit of the news and when I turn off the TV, I will be all yours’, ‘I’ll just finish on the toilet and when I come out, you can tell me your story’, ‘Josh is pointing at something, but when I have worked out what it is, I will let you know..’. ¬†If you find you are fobbing your little one off a lot, this is when you will have to make up for it by offering them some full attention in between.
  6. Help your child to get to the point! ¬†If your child is spending five minutes trying to work out how to ask the question in their head, you might need to simply ask ‘so what is your question?’. ¬†Or if they are telling you a five minute monologue, try guiding them with questions, to help them ‘make their point’. ¬†You might need to keep summarising what they are saying, just to keep on top of the whole story!
  7. Remember, talking is a way for your child to process. ¬†If your child is asking the 100th question, go through the story or the reason over and over, even if you have to say ‘let’s talk about this again after lunch (or tomorrow morning)’. ¬†The questions are important to them and repeating them is necessary for some children to really understand what might have happened to them, what might happen to them or information they want to know about. ¬†It can be exhausting, but bring in your understanding and you will have more patience!

So go out and practice your strategies with your child, certainly not all at once! ¬†Whilst they may still talk more than the average child, remember that there is still some ‘taming’ that you can do especially for them to succeed in the classroom. ¬†Aim for your child to be very familiar with the above points by school age.

I Raise My Kids is also at facebook ūüôā

Language means play

[12 months to school age] ¬†Did you know pretend play is directly linked to your child’s language development?

Let’s look at how, when and why pretend play develops. ¬†Whilst there are many types of play,¬†pretend play is concerned with using imaginative-type toys (such as dolls, teddies, trucks and farm animals) and also using objects as something else¬†(for example a block for a phone or car, a stick for a sword or a hand action for a screwdriver). ¬†Once a child has learnt enough words and concepts, they will start to yearn to play, to practice what they have seen in the real world. ¬†Pretend play is SO important in a child’s development, it has sometimes been referred to as a ‘child’s occupation‘.

Master 15 months testing the drink on himself

Master 15 months testing the drink on himself

How does language development contribute to pretend play skills?

Any time from 12 months old, your child starts to take in a lot more of the world around them.  This newly found attention to objects, people and what they are doing helps your child to understand more and more words every day.  Around 12 months, they will practice the actions they have seen (for example, attempting to brush their hair, putting a phone to their ear or having a drink from a dry cup) to make sense of their world.  This making sense of their world can only go so far using real objects on themselves, before it turns into pretend play, using pretend objects on other toys.  This is when the child no longer uses the brush on their own hair, but turns to dolly or teddy and brushes their hair.  This is quite a significant milestone in that your child is starting to move away from only seeing the world from their own perspective!

In order to develop more and more play skills, a child’s brain needs to start becoming more and more interested in language. ¬†What does ‘sleep’ mean? ¬†How is that different to ‘tired’? ¬†In what context do you use ‘wake up’ alongside ‘sleep’? ¬†Initially, your child will begin to understand ‘sleep’ means ‘cot’ but may later start to act out teddy going to ‘sleep’ because he is ‘tired’. ¬†And later sequence another step by ‘waking’ them up.

Another play action might be to give dolly a ‘bath’. ¬†Initially, to a young child, ‘bath’ may simply mean ‘wash’. ¬†But once they have taken in more of what ‘bath’ entails, they might start to ‘wash’ dolly and then ‘dry’ dolly with a towel.

Just as your child will start to put two words together once they have so many words, your child will start to sequence more than one ‘play action’, once they have so many play actions, such as those listed above. ¬†This might be putting teddy in the bath, drying off with a towel and then to bed or creating a story about a pirate with many, many play actions. Sequencing more and more play actions together creates longer and more complex play scenes, as though your child is creating stories in their mind. ¬†This is how language development is reflected in a child’s pretend play. ¬†And so much so that once a child gets towards school age, they will have the ability to stick with the same play theme and story they have been creating for days on end…if given the chance.

As it should be pretty self-explanatory by now, TV and other branded toys, which have become more and more accepted in today’s society, do not allow for such imaginative play. ¬†Let’s say your child has been watching Dora and is given a Dora doll, or Toy Story and is given a Buzz Lightyear ‘doll’. ¬†Instead of the doll being a blank canvas to do anything they like with, your child will be more likely to perform actions they have seen on the TV and thus their brain is in no way challenged. ¬†The more children rely on TV scripts for their play scenes, the more they have no idea what to do with an ‘unbranded’ toy. ¬†This results in a lot of lost skills, as you will see in the benefits of pretend play below.

When should I promote pretend play?

Once your child starts to copy everyday actions such as mowing, putting on lipstick or answering the phone, this is when you can introduce early play. ¬†Provide your little one with a few everyday items (a phone, cup, towel) and some ‘characters’ (doll, teddy, little people, toy/stuffed animals) and make suggestions, in very few words. ¬†For example, ‘teddy drink?’, ‘phone for dolly’, ‘kangaroo sleep….wake up!’.

give' Jay Browne' a drink!

give’ Jay Browne’ a drink!

What are the benefits of encouraging and making time for my child to play imaginatively?

  • It helps your child to¬†learn about feelings¬†and express these when they do not have the words. ¬†This may be in acting out ‘bye bye’ and hiding behind a curtain before reappearing. ¬†How many times have they watched you say ‘bye’ to them? ¬†It may also be a child acting out bullying with their figurines, even if it was only something they saw happen to another child at daycare. ¬†You can really learn a lot by watching how your child plays and what they are acting out. ¬†Play provides a safe place for your child to express themself.
  • It develops¬†problem solving and sequential thinking. ¬†The more sequences your child makes when playing, the more their brain is sequencing a ‘story’ and eventually with problems that need to be solved.
  • It promotes more¬†language development¬†just by your child having to use concepts, words and phrases they have heard in their day and consolidate the meaning of these.
  • It develops¬†social skills and empathy. ¬†The more your child takes on roles and needs other children to play alongside, the more your child has to get along with others and see things from their viewpoint. ¬†The milestone that is¬†still¬†developing!

Stay tuned to learn about how play themes develop as your child gets older, where doll/teddy play moves to and how object substitution progresses.

We are over on facebook too. I raise my kids…

Kids have a lot to learn before manners

So when do you spend the energy enforcing ‘please’ and ‘thank you’? ¬†Did you know it is average for a child to say ‘thank you’, when appropriate, between 3 years and 4 months and 4 years and 4 months? ¬†And ‘please’ with a reminder between these ages…

That’s much later than when most parents start modelling (or expecting) these words and yes, of course your child needs to hear these words in context long before they will understand and then use them.

But consider this, when your child is two years of age, they are still using their brain power to get a few words together. ¬†Sure, you can enforce that ‘please’ or ‘thankyou’¬†or you could model an extra word in their sentence that they will be able to understand at that time. ¬†Or just not worry about ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ for awhile. ¬†Kids have a lot to learn before manners!

Being polite

You see, the only reason we actually use ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’ is to be¬†polite to the other person. ¬†This involves understanding the people and scenarios in which we need to be polite¬†and understanding¬†why we need to be polite. ¬†Being polite involves taking the other person’s viewpoint – that they will feel ‘better’ and be more willing to help us if we use a nice word.

So if you can explain the above paragraph to your two-year-old¬†and¬†they get it………. Well I can safely say they won’t! ¬†But not to say you can’t start modelling it here and there, for them to see how you use it.

it's okay for no 'thanks'!

it’s okay for no ‘thanks’!

Let’s look at both words.

Please – “I am asking you to do something and realise it’s a bit of an ask (but hang on the world revolves around yourself when you are a toddler, so they are not actually thinking of you!), so therefore I’ll remember to tack on that word”.

Thank you – “You have just done something¬†for me which is out of the ordinary..” (but hang on, what is out of the ordinary?). ¬†Something to think about – how does a young child decide when you need to be thanked. ¬†Yes for giving them their lunch, but not for running the bath or flushing the toilet for them?

It’s a funny concept, the more you think about it!

Here is an example of replacing expecting ‘please’ with modelling a different word:

2yo Child: ‘biscuits’

Mum: ‘biscuits¬†please

Child: repeats ‘biscuits please’ – what Mum has said, but doesn’t really know what on earth ‘please’ means and therefore is very unlikely to use it themselves next time!

What about..

2yo Child: ‘biscuits’

Mum: ‘Max want biscuits’ or just ‘want biscuits’ or ‘biscuits Mummy’ (still using a social word, but one that will relate more to them)

Child: will repeat when their brain has the language skills to use the words you have modelled. ¬†If they don’t repeat it, don’t worry, they are still learning to understand your model. ¬†That is OKAY!!

So PLEEEEEASE do yourself and your child a favour and give them a bit of a break on the manners – let us inspire you with other ways to engage your child until they are more ready to understand the concept!

ūüôā Like us on Facebook – I raise my kids, to check out more information ūüôā