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Nature or Nurture – and Eureka!

You hear ever again the argument: is nature or nurture the most important influence in childhood, or is it both? Yes, of course both are important, and the more research that is done the more we find how much the environment a child grows up in, not just physical but even more important emotional, will influence the child for life. Yet something important is still missing.

In a roundabout way, it provided me with inspiration for writing about the ‘third year’ in early childhood (in previous blogs I have written about the first two years). It came together with something else:

We’ve all had such experiences: sudden thoughts, inspirations, helping us find a solution to something. It turns out the Eureka moments have greater insight and accuracy than lengthy analysis*. A puzzle – it would seem to contradict our modern rational order of things! Something inexplicable happens – something new enters. Continue reading Nature or Nurture – and Eureka!

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Massaging Away The Differences

Having been an infant massage instructor for the last 2 ½ years I have been privileged to meet many parents and their babies. I feel touched to witness such an intimate bond and see parents from all walks of life learning this skill to take forward well into their little one’s.

As a parent myself I have attended my fair share of baby groups. In fact, with my first daughter I went to at least 6 a week. They were my salvation but also the place I would compare notes, establish if what my daughter was doing was ‘normal’ and a place to meet other mothers. However, they were also a place where, unwittingly, we would all compare.

Myself included. Asking one another if our babies were rolling/ clapping/ crawling/ smiling/babbling yet. And mostly if they were sleeping. The groups that offered me so much in one way were also a place where I often felt alone if my baby was the only one not doing any of these things. Another thing I noticed as my daughter grew was that there were hundreds of ways people chose to parent, and whilst at first these were discussion points, for example, “oh you don’t breastfeed?” or “you put your baby to bed at 9pm”. They also became judgements. I too was guilty of this. Imaging those who made different decisions to me to be ill informed or plain wrong. Sometimes these different approaches seemed insurmountable and almost like a barrier to friendships.

However, this was a stark contrast to massage classes. In these classes there are of course different approaches. Some mothers co-sleep, whilst others had babies in their own room from 2 months. Some mums breastfed on demand, others fed to a schedule. Some believed that cuddling a baby may spoil them, others felt that you cannot spoil a baby and chose to use baby wearing as a way of constantly having contact. Continue reading Massaging Away The Differences

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Encouraging Thankfulness In Children

thankfulness in children

I remember quite clearly being twelve, my mother had been in hospital for a long time. A family from school had been helping to care for my brother and I after school and overnight. So too had a neighbour who had lost her own young son, and whom we had only just met. An unexpected visit home from hospital brought my mother, stepfather, brother and I to the house of some wonderfully kind friends for Christmas, where we all opened Christmas gifts which had somehow made it to their house.

In amongst all the excitement of present unwrapping, both my brother and I were gifted hand knitted dolls, a girl and a boy, from our great grandmother, Nanna. These gifts were wonderful, even at the ages of nearly twelve and nearly ten. Our friend’s children felt less satisfied with their gifts and complained about the colours, the sizes and that things weren’t exactly what they had asked for at all.

Since becoming a parent, I have often pondered and have asked my own Mamma, how did she raise us to be appreciative, for us not to question gifts and to be so very thankful for what we were given? Some days, when I feel my own four children are less than appreciative of what we as parents help them with, but are also not quite so tolerant of their own siblings or of what other families struggle with on a day to day basis, it makes me question even more so how my own mother raise us to be thankful? There is a world’s difference between being able to say thank you and being thankful.

Encouraging children to count their blessings can mean that they feel happier about life in general, that they have greater self-esteem, hope and optimism; and moreover more positive attitudes towards school and family in general. Continue reading Encouraging Thankfulness In Children

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Learning to speak – one of life’s miracles

Learning to speak

Life’s greatest miracles happen in the first there years. That is certainly the impression you can have as parent. Birth – wow! The absolute miracle of this little being full of life. Then in the first weeks and months the eyes and facial expressions come to life, so full of love and trust – they are enthralling and enrapturing. Then after the first year, grasping hold of the physical body, the child stands upright and makes those first steps.

Following those first steps, another momentous stride takes place: learning to speak! At one year your baby will most likely just be experimenting with a few one syllable ‘words’, quite definite about what they mean but you may be scratching your head. How we’ve all listened in spell-bound charm as our toddlers emphatically say something like, ‘mmaah’, ‘daahh’, ‘nnaah’, twice, thrice, perhaps pointing to your nose to make clear to us unintelligent adults what is meant.

The profound significance of the mother tongue

By 2½ years we ‘suddenly’ become aware our child is speaking in sentences, giving expressions to joys, pains, observations – experiences of his inner self can now be communicated. Naturally this is still in simple form, but the foundations are there – for life. We adults have a hard time with new languages – all those vocabulary lists to learn, the verb conjugations, the intonations, etc. And it all comes naturally for the child. Continue reading Learning to speak – one of life’s miracles

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