Book review ~ ‘Clever Tykes’
Let me walk you through it
How to make a Father’s Day card with a difference
There really is nothing like a home-made card from your child is there?
And when it’s a card for an occasion like Father’s Day, it’s somehow even more special!
Our 7 year old has got all creative and turned her Father’s Day card into a book-card. A different take on the traditional card but if she’s happy, I’m happy!…
It will be kept as a treasured memory for years. Want to make one too? Here’s what you need and how to make it: Continue reading
We’ve been well and truly caught up with the lego cards craze!
It all started when one of our daughter’s friends gave her a duplicate. And that duplicate was a sparkly koala card. “Aw it’s so cute!” were the words that animatedly came out of our 7 year old’s mouth. Had she been given a duplicate of the odd-looking and sounding ‘alien villainess’, I’m not sure the craze would have taken off in quite the same way!…
But it did.
And we happen to shop at Sainsburys for our convenience. So do other family members!
Just in case you’ve no idea what I’m talking about (which is quite possible if you’re not UK-based and/or don’t shop at Sainsburys and/or don’t have children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews to educate you on lego cards…) here are 5 reasons to get caught up in the craze:
Pocket money – an alternative approach
I recently introduced a regular feature #IfShesHappyImHappy and this week I’m talking about pocket money. #IfShesHappyImHappy is all about the cycle of happiness – you being happy, making your child happy and it coming full circle to make you happy again! You can read it here if you missed it.
Our approach to pocket money is probably not the most common one. But perhaps it’s more common than I think. Maybe you can tell me!…
Whichever way you look at it, money is something that our children will have to get to grips with in some form. Be it physical money or by bank transfers or ‘plastic’.
Money makes the world go round…
Money is said to make the world go round and even if she has modest amounts of it when she’s older, hubby and I both agreed that our daughter needs to be empowered by it and not see it as a ‘problem’ or even worse, ‘dirty’.
We both agree that our daughter should understand that generally you have to work for it. Yes, it’s nice to have some given to you, but more rewarding to have earned it.
To that end, we introduced weekly jobs for her. In the early days, she earned 1p for each box she ticked on her weekly ‘job sheet’, of which there were 5 boxes a day.
So that’s potentially 5p a day, if she chose to do the job. We’ve never put any pressure on her to do a ‘job’, simply telling her that she wouldn’t get her money if she didn’t do the job. Of course, there are days when she’s sick and on holiday from school. In which case, she gets her money anyway, because most people get sick pay and holiday pay after all!
So, what are her jobs?
We started with tidying, putting clothes in the linen basket and helping to hoover her bedroom. That takes us up to the present day when she also sets the table for tea (by that I meaning putting the cutlery out.)
It works really well and there have only been a few occasions when she has ‘opted-out’. At the end of each week, she counts how much money she’s earned by counting the boxes on her job sheet. Sometimes we purposefully over pay or short-change her to see if she’s really counting and notices – which she does! She’s honest when overpaid too!
What’s the point?
The point is not the jobs she has to complete but that she’s empowered, just like we are (generally!) in the real, grown-up world of work. She has free-will and has experienced the consequences of choosing not to do a job (or 2…). But she’s also felt empowered from earning her money.
Just the other day, we were out shopping, she saw something, knew she didn’t have enough money and said she would pay me back. I felt mean by saying ‘no’ but otherwise, there’s little point in doing this little exercise at all… It’s about earning money, maybe saving and spending as you earn it. Not about spending it before you’ve earned it.
Unwittingly, our 7 year old is already learning about the value and power of earning money and that fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve saved for something or simply ‘earned’ something.
And that’s good enough for me because…
How do you approach pocket money? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere
How a group activity can grow your child’s confidence
I recently introduced a regular feature #IfShesHappyImHappy and this week I’m talking about a group activity that our daughter enjoys and has helped to build her confidence. #IfShesHappyImHappy is all about the cycle of happiness – you being happy, making your child happy and it coming full circle to make you happy again! You can read it here if you missed it.
Our daughter’s 7 and typically, she loves to dance and sing. Very soon I’m sure she’ll be singing into a hairbrush.
For now, she loves to express herself by dancing and singing. And so when she got a place in the cheerleading club at her school, I was really pleased. She’d been asking to go, to join in with her friend. And she loves it!
I even found some cheerleading pompoms in Poundland. Of course, her eyes lit up when she saw them and off she went.
What I love about her little cheerleading group is that not everyone’s her age. The group of around 15 range from 6-11 years old I think.
There’s a boy from her class who joins in just as eagerly as the rest, and she’s always shattered afterwards so the teacher is clearly getting a lot from them!
And it’s turned into a family affair. Oh yes, one rainy Saturday, we were all up on our feet waving pom-poms around and strutting our stuff to the cheerleading moves! I was shattered, I can tell you…
Seeing their confidence grow
A few weeks ago, they did a little performance for us which was lovely to see. As with anything, we’ve been building her confidence by using encouraging words, by telling her well done and by playing music in the house which she generally sings and dances to. Her confidence has been growing and growing. It was great to see her performing to the songs with her friends.
Whichever way you look at it, this group activity is good for our daughter and though it doesn’t need to be cheerleading, an activity like this could be good for your child too…
What group activities does/did your child do that helped their confidence grow? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere
5 Ways To Share the Happiness of Books
I recently introduced a regular feature #IfShesHappyImHappy and this week I’m talking about sharing the happiness of books with your child. #IfShesHappyImHappy is all about the cycle of happiness – you being happy, making your child happy and it coming full circle to make you happy again! You can read it here if you missed it.
I’m passionate about encouraging children to read. Laying a good foundation in literacy really does have its advantages – increases vocab, increases interaction and increases bonding. With enjoying books comes the joys of bedtime reading and mini libraries. You don’t need much to instil a love of reading into your child – just grab a book, and away you go! These books (see the picture below) hold such a special place in my childhood and the warm, fuzzy feeling I got when our daughter began to read about Silky, Moonface and Saucepan Man in The Magic Faraway Tree was beyond words.
- Read the book to your child ~ From an early age, we read to our daughter every single day. As a newborn, it doesn’t matter if you read them something that’s not a board book or that goes way over their heads; the point here is that reading to them is a bonding experience and increases their vocab, laying vital literacy foundations as they grow.
- When your child is old enough to read themselves, give them the books you read (and that were read to you). We did this when my Mum unearthed some of my childhood favourites (as seen in the picture above). My copies are well-loved and that just adds to the charm for me.
- If you don’t want your own copies to be used, consider borrowing from a library or buy another copy. But also consider that charm of seeing your child read the very book that you read and that was read to you.
- Ask your child what their favourite part or character is. And then tell them yours. Our daughter was amazed that I had read the same books that her Grandma had now given her!
- Do a ‘Create Make Do’ activity around your child’s favourite book from your stash of ‘oldies’ (or if they haven’t got your stash, choose their favourite from their own collection). Perhaps a puppet show, thinking of a different ending to a chapter (what could happen in the next chapter now?), a new take on a pivotal point in the story…
The only limit, as they say, is imagination!
What happy memories have you got of reading to your child(ren) or being read to when you were a child? What was/is your favourite childhood book? And your child’s? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere
5 Ways To Build Your Child’s Confidence
I recently introduced a regular feature #IfShesHappyImHappy and this week I’m talking about building your child’s confidence. #IfShesHappyImHappy is all about the cycle of happiness – you being happy, making your child happy and it coming full circle to make you happy again! You can read it here if you missed it.
All Children are different
We all know that children are different, that siblings can be like chalk and cheese and that children develop at different rates.
Yet most children will benefit from activities that include the same factors; the factors that encourage their own development and more importantly, that encourage them to develop at their own speeds. They may include activities that encourage:
And all of these factors encourage development in so many other ways. In fact, they all come together like a big jigsaw puzzle.
All like pieces slotting in together.
And the middle piece?
That could be you – the parent or carer.
The piece that nurtures, guides, encourages that vital independence to enable your child to develop in a way that’s healthy for them.
And of course, when our children have these pieces slotted together, it does help them to have a more confident, happier outlook on life.
We could sometimes all use a little help to have a positive outlook!
By giving children the opportunity to get involved in the activities involving the factors listed above, we’re laying their foundations for healthy development.
What are your thoughts on building confidence in children? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere
Easter Craft ~ how to make an Easter egg box
We love crafts in our house and Easter always brings out our creativity!
So when our 7 year old’s school ran a competition for the best decorated Easter egg, you can imagine the making and creating that went on…
…and here’s how she made it. (I say ‘she’ because apart from boiling the eggs, she pretty much did it all by herself!)
You will need:
A standard empty box
Hard-boiled eggs (it depends how many you’d like to decorate!)
Glue ~ pritt-stick type glue is better than gloopy glue because of handling the egg while decorating it… unless you want to look like a decorated easter egg yourself!
Felt-tips and/or paint ~ depending on whether you like really messy or not!
Paper for drawing pictures to cut out and stick on the eggs
Crafty things ~ anything crafty that you’ve got knocking around
Get a standard egg box
Then get the glue
And some green ‘grass’ for paper
Stick the ‘grass’ anywhere on the outside of the box (the corners work well)
Pour some glue inside the egg box and stick some yellow ‘nest’ paper inside
And there’s your Easter egg box! (our daughter won a prize for hers!)
What do you like to make for Easter crafts? I’d love to know! Tell me by commenting below and then tweet me @AllSortsHere.
The Cycle of Happiness #IfShesHappyImHappy
Today, I’m introducing a regular feature #IfShesHappyImHappy. It’s all about the cycle of happiness – you being happy, making your child happy and it coming full circle to make you happy again!
There are 2 schools of thought here, as far as I can see.
1… as a parent, you can only be happy if your child/ren is/are happy
2… as a parent, you need to be happy first before they can be happy
I fit into both of these schools, which is why I said above that it’s about the ‘cycle’ of happiness, the big jigsaw, the ‘happy circle’ (as cheesey as that sounds!)
It’s a 2-way street
We all know that our children (especially young children) can really feel our emotions – good or bad. No matter how hard we try to hide our anxiety, we still show it through our feelings.
Children can be sensitive little beans and pick up on these feelings. A classic example could be the first day or school – you drop them off into their new classroom, you’re all smiles etc and when you’re out of the school gates, the floodgates open (usually yours, not theirs). I’ve been there myself.
To my mind, or school of thought, it’s about empowering them, giving them the confidence to be happy. And that’s where the cycle comes in. Because we feel our childrens’ feelings just as much as they feel ours (arguably more at times!). So we feel each other’s happiness or otherwise.
Here’s the point
So, here I am finally getting to the point of #IfShesHappyImHappy
I make no apology for saying that my daughter’s happiness and good mental health is the most important thing to me. I’d do anything within my power to make her happy, as any parent would. And I know that if she’s happy, I’m happy, and if I’m happy she’s happy. There’s that cycle again!
I will be sharing posts on things that our daughter has said, done, made, given, shared that’s made her and me – us ‘happy’! I do this anyway but I wanted to dig a little deeper and make a little feature of it.