What are you grateful for?
May 24, 2013
by Kylie Gardner
May 23, 2013
by Kylie Gardner
I’m always on the hunt for simple play ideas using items found around the home.. I store these nifty ideas away for a rainy day, or an afternoon when Pebble is desperately needing distraction…. or for when I need a break too! Last week the Kids Co-Op had so many awesome ideas. Here are a few that you can whip up for your kiddos in a jiffy.
Rice discovery play from The Climbing Tree
Easy no-cook play dough (this is our favourite recipe too!) from Learning with Play at Home
Simple but addictive stacking cups game from Adventures at Home with Mum
Pipe cleaner bubble wands from Life with Moore Babies
Whiteboard marker and magnet fridge maths from Powerful Mothering
Salt play from Toddly Mummy
Cutest wooly monsters from Laughing Kids Learn
Note: I’m so sorry that the link up doesn’t load properly, and that last column keeps getting chopped off. I’m working on it….
May 22, 2013
by Kylie Gardner
I’m overjoyed to announce that I am representing Fisher-Price as one of their Play Ambassadors! Over the next few months I’ll be partnering with Fisher-Price to share parenting tips, toy reviews and super awesome giveaways just for Octavia and Vicky readers. I’m also joining a community of parents finding their tribe and sharing their favourite overjoyed, overwhelmed and overtired moments at the Fisher-Price website. I hope that you’ll join me there too! Upload photos, videos or stories of your own moments of being overjoyed, overtired and overwhelmed or click through to see what others have to share. No one will accuse you of oversharenting in this space. All of these features will also be available in the Fisher-Price App very soon, stay tuned for more info!
As a part of my partnership with Fisher-Price, Rocky and I went to Sydney last week to go to the launch of their awesome new range of products. It was a like a huge mothers group – with the added bonus of the most delicious breakfast buffet you can imagine! As we sat nibbling on chocolate croissants we joined in a chat with a panel of three parenting experts about what it’s like to be parents – the challenges, the triumphs and the joys. I walked away from that room of bubbly, chatty parents feeling a little bit lighter (in spite of the chocolate croissants).
We all know that parenting is a roller coaster ride of emotion. As parents we feel overtired and overwhelmed, we over-analyse and over-criticise ourselves. We’re overenthusiastic about our little bundles of joy and we over-share on their every pee and poop to our friends (oversharenting, anyone?). The one thing that makes it all worthwhile is that amazing feeling of being overjoyed. Overjoyed at the steps they take, the words they say, their peaceful sleeping faces, the love that they shower us with and the overwhelming love that we feel for them.
We are always being told about the importance of play for children’s learning and development, but playing with your children is also one of life’s greatest pleasures. Take time out of your day to just be in the moment and play together. Laugh, pretend, build, create, explore and discover through play and you will feel lighter, happier and more connected with your child and yourself.
Worrying steals your joy and keeps you busy doing nothing. Try focussing on what you can change, and let go the things that you can’t. I will admit that I find letting it go very difficult to do, but with practice I’m getting better. When I feel anxiety creeping in I find it helpful to stop and think about what I’m grateful for instead or to do a quick mini-meditation.
Friends make us laugh and listen to our troubles. Connect with others who are going through the same joys and woes that you are – whether that means meeting up for a coffee or clicking on your favourite social media site. Finding others who understand what we’re going through can lighten the load and help us to feel less alone.
While finding your tribe, remember to keep it real. So many of us feel trapped by pressure, from ourselves or from society, to be ‘perfect’ and to have it all. The truth is that none of us are perfect, none of us have it all. Start changing the culture of perfection and help lift a weight from your shoulders. Let down your guard and you’ll see others let down theirs too.
One of the biggest issues for many parents is the need for time to themselves – and finding it almost impossible to get it. Time to yourself doesn’t need to mean going on a spa retreat, or spending the whole day away from your loved ones. I have a friend who finds their time alone in those few minutes in the car before arriving home, cranking up their favourite tunes and singing along. Another friend enjoys that small minute of silence between buckling her children in the car and getting into the driver’s seat. Every minute counts. Acknowledge those moments for what they are, soak them up, and carry on.
May 20, 2013
by Kylie Gardner
Pebble’s child care centre recently started doing regular ‘relaxation’ sessions, and her carers commented on how much Pebble seemed to be engaging with these sessions, really listening to the words, changing her breathing and relaxing her body. I have always included relaxation as a part of my teaching week with junior primary children, and was grateful for the reminder to try it at home.
Relaxation does not need to be complicated or to go for a long time. It can be just a couple of minutes out of your day. You might be surprised at how it changes your child’s behaviour!
Choose a day when the sky is filled with white fluffy clouds and lay on the ground in a comfortable place where you can clearly see the sky. Show children how to take slow breathes, in and out, and let your mind and body relax as you both allow the clouds to pass over your gaze
Use classical music or instrumental music as a background for a few moments of breathing deeply and relaxing the muscles and mind.
Visit a national park or public garden, somewhere that you can escape the noise and bustle of every day life. Sit quietly together on a bench, or lay on a picnic rug, listening to the sounds of nature.
I found these simple guided meditations for children on YouTube. Try turning off the lights and lowering the blinds then get comfy as you play the videos and listen to the words together. I recommend turning off the screen, but you may find the images relaxing. Once again, focus on slowing your breathing. I hope you enjoy this Relaxation for Children playlist – just watch out for noisy advertisements before some of the clips, they are not very relaxing!
Yoga for Children
Finally, yoga is another wonderful way to relax the mind and body, and can be especially helpful for children who find it very difficult keeping still. Cosmic Kids Yoga has some fun videos for free online that kids will enjoy.
Remember, relaxation is important for mums and dads too :) You can try this free printable mini meditation by my gorgeous friend Mel.
Thank you to the wonderful carers at Pebble’s child care centre for inspiring this post.
May 19, 2013
by Kylie Gardner
Pebble – 3 years, 3 months – having a lazy morning in her PJs
Rocky – 10 Weeks – following Daddy’s movements around the room.
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013