Why Playgroup? Its hard to know what to commit to, when so many pre-school programs are available. But as a parent of 3 teenagers, I look back now and can vouch for the local playgroup hands-down. It hooked me into a local network that was only a pram push away. Over the years we got to know each - a type of 'in the trenches' type friendship that grows through doing time together. Week in, week out, you can't pretty up a toddler tantrum or hide the shattered look from a sleepless night. Pretences eventually drop and there you are comrades with toddlers in arms. I made some life-long friends that even if I don't see them so much now, they would drop sticks and come if I called. Belly-laughs and tears, we've shared them all. Today our children are still catching up with some of their mates they made through playgroup, and the great blessing is, most of them are in walking distance.
If you want to hook up with a playgroup in your area, go to playgroupwa.com.au
FamilyWorks comes to Playgroup Sharon has recently been attending a few different playgroups around Perth to help support parents with a range of challenges in those first few months. If there are a bunch of you in a mothers group or playgroup that would like a visit - contact Sharon - she can present strategies to address a variety of early parenting issues or simply visit and respond to your questions.
Is your child calm, focussed and learning? Children are exposed to all sorts of stimulation in their environment, both positive and challenging. How your child deals with their environment depends on your child's capacity to self-regulate. Stimulation can come in all shapes and sizes that stir a different responses in a child's thinking, feeling and body. For example, one child might find loud music energising, another might find it overwhelming. Even though a child may be raised in a similar setting as a sibling; they may well have differing abilities to understand and manage strong emotions and impulses.
Protecting children from excessive stress and helping them to manage strong emotions provides a foundation for healthy development and learning. Check out this short video by Dr Jack Shonkoff.
Now we are full swing into the festive season, don't forget to take a a breather.
Are you racing from one event to another, one shop to the next, feeling pretty driven? Underneath the festive bling, advertisers are working hard to spend our money, flashing images of success, beauty, power, urging us to feel like we are not 'enough'. We can be swept up in a mindset where we are are left feeling like we want more, we need more and desire to 'be' more.
What is the Christmas message you want to pass on to your children?
Who's standards and expectations are you holding?
We designed the Expecting Masterclass to give pregnant couples a crash course in what to expect when they get home with their baby. Another important part of the Masterclass is the opportunity to reflect on early child development and the critical parent-infant relationship. A key mechanism of building this relationship and fostering optimum brain development is sensitive responsivness - described in this video as 'serve & return'. This is just one of the messages we explore in the 1 day Masterclass.
There is something very special about the way a child experiences the excitement and adventure of a relationship with their Dad.
Getting to the ‘truth’ of family relationships.
I’ve just returned home from presenting at a couple of conferences on the east coast: National Men’s Health Forum & Infant and Early Childhood
Social & Emotional Wellbeing Conference. On the flight home I took up a colleague’s suggestion to watch a documentary style movie, “Stories We Tell”. This powerful portrayal of a family happens to capture really well the heart of the messages I gave in my talks.
Sarah Polley’s film manages to give insight into the multiple meanings and truths her family construct around their relationships. In particular, she takes us on her journey of discovering who her father is.
A parent’s role is not to cotton-wool our kids from reality, but rather to equip them with skills to live it well. Children who can recognise their strong thoughts or feelings and respond to them in a safe way are more able to cope with the pressures of life.