Learning How To Play And Socialise Part 2

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1533092046067{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]In our journey in discovering how to interact with others there can be some ups and downs. People are complicated and that goes for our little ones as well. Sometimes we have no idea what has set them off on this or that huff, why for a reason utterly foreign to us, they are unwilling to play with their little brother or sister today. In most cases all it takes (yeah right, well, a lot it takes) is a whole heap of patience from both parents, some tricks up your sleeve and an awareness of what to look out for. Of course if you perceive your child’s difficulties continuing, seeking medical and professional help can be a great way to get insight into what your little one needs, and the steps that are available to you.

Here are some gentle approaches to help our little ones figure out interacting with human kind.

A Good Old Set Up

Sometimes mum or dad needs to get involved. Have a little scan of your little ones preschool peers and decide which one you think would be a suitable playmate for your child. It is best to approach the child’s parent and ask if you can “borrow” their one for a supervised play-date at yours. If your child has been unwilling to play with others, bribery is a completely acceptable method to get to to agree to the play-date.

Feel free to package the play-date as a special occasion, tea party or yummy foods bonanza. Once it starts serve the food first, there’s nothing so happy as a little tyrant about to feast. Then usher the two into a short play time. Center the play around an activity like making play-dough or a game. At signs of either child becoming bored or restless, you can end the play date. Ending on a good note will mean it is likely your child will be more receptive to more play dates and you can gradually build up to longer and longer social play.

Next Steps

If the scheduled supervised play dates are becoming more frequent and smooth, you can move on to the next steps. As both children become more used to the play and are showing signs of autonomy and carrying the play, you as a parent can step back and not be directly involved in play. Put out some resources like bubbles, clay or dress ups. If everything seems to be going smoothly you can slowly fade into the woodwork always keeping an ear out for exclamations of distress.

Next Next Steps

You can build on your success with friend number 1 and try the method with friend 2, 3 and continuing. If after time, things are going well, you can have bigger play dates. Try to avoid odd number as this can sometimes open up play to the dreaded cry of “they iz mean and left mee owwt”. If the play dates are going well, suggest the opportunity (after having a chat to your co-conspirator mum) of going over to play at friend number 1’s house. See how they think about that idea and build on it.

It’s all about little steps. Sometimes you may have to nudge but take note of how they respond to each situation and adjust as you see fit. Assisting as you can by providing food they like, facilitating a fun/engaged environment can be the steps that help you one start enjoying playing and sharing experiences with others. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Learning How To Play And Interact Part 1

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1533090188561{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]Getting used to people, interacting with them, talking to them, playing with them, dealing with them, it’s almost more than us adults can bear. Frankly, sometimes we just have to say, nuh-uh, I’m out and go home to a good wine. Socialising can be hard, particularly with people that rub us up the wrong way. Us adults can all use a helping hand sometimes, how much more our little ones who are learning to navigate all their unique scenarios for the first time? We’ll start our series by going through the rough stages of social development and then continue on to approaches to help, if we find our children are finding it difficult. There are usually options and ways to manage situations if things don’t go exactly as we expected.

There Are Social Milestones, Don’t Express Bliss At 1

It’s helpful to realise that there are milestones in a child’s social development.

Infancy

At infant stage most children play alone rather happily, babbling away to themselves thumbing this and that together, oblivious of the world around them. If anyone wanders into the scene inadvertently they are liable to a clunk on the head with whatever toy or block the little one was playing with.

A Little Older And Talking In Short Sentences

Next comes the stage when a child is able to allow another to join the play. This play will likely end with “Johnny iz da wurst mama, he is so mean” or “I will neva eva play with Cedric again, he wuz the meanest poop”. Yet remain steadfast dear parent, likely as not, within the hour both Johnny and Cedric will be merrily concocting a plan to get the cookies from the cookie jar without “meenie mummy stopping me”. Sigh.

A Little Older Still

The group children play in starts to grow as they get older. From being happy with only themselves, to adding a friend, the social play environment usually grows bigger. From two the group grows to three and four and usually by the time a child enters kindi, they are able to join and be happy playing in a group setting and experiencing collective play, despite the ups and downs of the bumpy ride which is child’s play. To be able to take rejection or criticism without dissolving is an important step in any humans life because resilience is an integral factor in human and social thriving. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Tennis And The Lessons It Can Teach

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1532657949489{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]Australians love a good spot of tennis. From January right at the beginning of the year we all get a little giddy with the excitement of the Australian Open and the highs and lows of the athletes that seek to take home the trophy.

According to a recent poll Australia is the top ranking country when it comes to loving and playing tennis. We are in good company, the same poll found that around 60 million men and women from around the world love the good game. Since it is such a popular game in our nation, we thought we’d do a little digging to find out why we love it so much and whether it’s good for us and our children (spoiler – it is!).

  1. Sweating It Out For The Prize

Most of us, if we really, really had to be honest, would have to admit that we’d rather just have a little pinch of innate skill, not work very hard, and then be brilliant at a sport. Oh that would simply be bliss! Our little ninky-noos may have voiced this desire once or twice when it comes to fractions or spelling. Yet countless tennis stars have gone on record to say that it was there commitment to working extremely hard, day in and day out that saw them achieve their success. It’s to the court we go!

  1. Discipline

As tennis is an individual sport, there’s no coach hounding you to go to practice. No team to keep strides with. Just you. Tennis players, even as children have to want to practice and persevere themselves. It is a sport that needs discipline and commitment. Some things in life have to be learnt from the self, we may want to always guide our children in the right direction but there comes a point where we have to give them the space to get in touch with what motivates them.

  1. Handling Pressure

If you look at a tennis player in their final, you’d be hard pressed to know the score. Players have to control their emotions, motivation and approach to the game regardless of being 5-0 up or 0-5 down. Looking at the likes of Djokovic and Nadal, you’d be hard pressed to know where they are standing in the game, it’s about focus and calm.

  1. Finding The Positive

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons and abilities for anyone to build is learning how to focus on the positive. In some tennis matches, some shots, whether it is your forehand, backhand or serve may not be working for you. To avoid throwing in the towel, professional tennis players speak of working around the shots they are struggling with and seeking to create wins from the shots that are. They attempt to create situations where they can utilise what is working instead of despairing at those that aren’t. This is a great lesson for any child, even adult. Regardless of how some aspects of life, sports and school, there will always be a positive that you can grab on to. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Eating Healthy And Grades, There’s A Link Folks

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1532656881154{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]Yes, that’s right. There’s another reason for all of us to cast one last longing look in the direction of maccas and draw out the resolve from that deep place inside we stashed it. A part from the general wellbeing side-effects of eating well, like feeling great, an optimal weight and rising energy levels, studies are finding links between healthy eating and grades.

It’s not just one study saying it, it’s four. Last year saw four independent studies find links between what children ate and the grades that they were able to attain afterwards. Researchers from Ohio State University conducted a study across three years and eleven thousand children. They tested between two components and wanted to assess any causal links in grade output. What they found, out of the eleven thousand children studied, was that between the children who consumed fast food consistently and those that did not there was a significant difference in grades reached fours years down the track.

Grade five children were asked how many times a week they ate fast food. The team discovered that the children who consumed fast food between four to seven times a week in grade five performed worse on their grade eight tests across reading, math and science.

The researchers wanted to discern if any other factors had come into play in dampening the grades. They looked at TV habits, exercise and type of neighbourhood but found that it was largely diet that was the causal link. They believed that due to some children not receiving food components that are vital for development, such as iron, their brains were not able to develop as efficiently as they could. Additionally, prevalent ingredients that are found in fast food such as high amounts of sugar and fat have been linked to reducing the brain’s capacity to learn, develop and remember.

On the other side of the world researchers from the University of Eastern Finland discovered that children who did not have regularly meals, i.e. frequently skipped meals and then consumed sugary snacks and drinks were highly likely to develop too much body fat. The team warned that this diet and body outcome would make a child susceptible to multiple health issues and learning difficulties later in life.

While it can difficult to prepare meals that hit all the nutrition notes, feeding our children healthy food will have significantly positive outcomes in the long run. It is best not to set the impossible standard of only healthy food but rather a food approach that focuses on nutritional nourishment with some treats thrown in sometimes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Let Them Frolic: Why The Outdoors Is Vital For Children

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1532656387435{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]A study conducted by a European university team focussed on the outdoors and the effect it had on a child’s development and wellbeing. The findings from the study highlighted the undeniable importance of outdoor play in a child’s life and upbringing. Cast your mind back to the days of your youth, how was it then? Outdoor play was the bom-diggity! Yes, there were greener hills and more melodic birds, a rainbow every second day and a unicorn spotted just by the school gate and while those days might be gone, our children need their time in the sun too.

The researchers found that outdoor play encouraged cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being. When a child was outside playing, particularly with other children, the environment facilitated natural and organic dynamics so that learning and thriving could develop without the need for regimented structure or enforcement.

What they found to be important was that the play could happen without structure, that the children could frolic and enjoy themselves without having to abide by a set schedule. Unstructured outdoor play allowed the children to take on the ownership of direction, to decide what they wanted to do and who to play with. If they wanted to play with other kids they had to formulate a plan to approach them, ask them to play and manage the dynamics of the game. The opportunity to enter into these situations allows the development of self-esteem, autonomy, confidence and social skills.

The researchers found that by playing outside the children were able to rough and tumble to their hearts delight. They were found to be curious, exploring natural elements and how they could engage with them. The children were able to experience freedom not just of play but the form of play. Many experts have spoken into the need for children to be able to boisterously exert energy and behaviour, that through doing so they are able to understand their need for physical activity but in the same instance learn how to control it when bouncing off play equipment is no longer appropriate, such as being inside a classroom.

Through playing outside children are able to get their dose of vitamin D, natural elements and fresh air, these components all assisting in bone development, stronger immune system and healthy physical activity leading to positive benefits in the long term.

Try to schedule in some park time for this coming weekend. Grab your favourite thriller, that you are just obsessed with, we know, and deliver your little ninkynoos to the great outdoors. It’ll do you and them some fabulous good.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Science helps answer all those tough questions kids ask, like ‘Why is the sky blue?’ and ‘Where do stars come from?’

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531189282831{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]Parent and former high school science teacher Wendy Stacey says science is the perfect subject to complement a child’s natural curiosity.

“It’s practical and relevant and kids embrace it without thinking about it,” she says.

“Science helps answer all those questions kids ask, like ‘Why is the sky blue?’ and ‘How come that pine cone falls down?'”

So when Wendy had the opportunity to help raise funds for science equipment at her children’s school through the P&C, she didn’t think twice.

“Everyone was enthusiastic, from the teachers to the parents. Because they knew that even simple science equipment can liven up a topic and make it easier for children to engage with it.”

Science teaches kids about life

The benefits of learning about science for young kids are enormous, says Kevin Squires, a teacher at Tamworth Public who is employed especially to teach science at the school.

“Science involves a lot of talking and listening to others; it develops patience, too – a lot of the time in science things don’t happen overnight,” he says.

Add to the mix are skills for life such as perseverance, problem-solving and researching.

It can teach children to form their own opinions, rather than taking those of others for granted. Camille Thomson Australian Institute of Policy & Science

“It helps kids to think about what could happen before they do it, to create a hypothesis in their mind. Then kids learn that not everything works the first time. Some experiments fall in a heap and you have to find out what went wrong, and try again,” Kevin says.

Science in school also teaches kids about the way the world works eg, how clothes are made or why volcanoes erupt.

It can spark ideas in kids’ minds that they, too, may one day be capable of creating solutions to big problems such as reducing poverty through the improvement of seed genetics to grow stronger crops, Kevin says.

Science jobs for the future

Camille Thomson, who works on Australian Institute of Policy & Science’s Tall Poppy Campaign, a project to promote science in Australia, says there will be plenty of exciting and worthwhile jobs for kids who study science in the future.

“When we look at science and the discoveries that come through, we’ve only scratched the surface,” Camille says.

Jobs in renewable energies such as solar and hydropower are increasing rapidly. Then there is the conversation that goes with it in terms of preserving plants and animals.

“There is always going to be the study of different habitats as well as the increase in technology in renewable energies,” she says.

Medical research is also going to escalate. Even now, scientists are developing the ‘shoulders’ that future scientists will stand on in terms of cures for diseases.

Importantly, encouraging children to become interested in science can also result in a healthy dose of scepticism, Camille adds.

“It can teach kids to form their own opinions rather than take those of others for granted. In science you’re taught to go about getting a whole lot of information from different people and sources – experts, teachers – it’s not just Googling for the answer online,” she says.

“It’s about saying, ‘I’ve looked at a whole lot of things and made my own opinion’.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]