parenting

Tidying up!

Does your child tidy away whatever they are playing with when you ask them too?  First time?  Every single time?   Or do you sometimes feel as if you are talking to an empty vacuum whenever you utter the words ‘time to tidy up now’?

One of the most amazing parts of every single Family beans class is the speed at which over 200 instruments are quickly packed back into just 3 tubs – on average it takes just over 56 seconds – so why does it happen in class and not at home?

The answer is easy,  the children quite simply learn that whenever they hear a certain piece of music that means tidy up.  Cast your mind back to your Biology lessons at school and Pavlov’s Dogs.  The dogs salivated whenever they heard a bell, remember?  This is exactly the same thing, just children tidying up!  New members automatically copy existing children thus perpetuating the cycle and by and large it is a stress free system that works and is satisfying.  Sometimes new members do struggle with giving things back and I will step in at that point and if necessary uncurl fingers – never a nice moment but believe me, it is probably much better that I do it rather than a very overenthusiastic 4 year old who is helping!  It usually takes a maximum of 3 classes before they are racing to tidy up needing very little prompting.

So how can this be adapted to your home?  Choose a piece of music which you like, ideally about 3 minutes in length, and play it every single time you want your child to tidy up FOREVER.  Explain to your child that whenever they hear the music it means it is time to tidy away their toys and tidy up with them and just keep repeating the music until it is done then don’t play it again until the next time.

And, and believe me this is a big one, join in.  I can’t stress enough how important it is that you join in the tidying up, make it fun and don’t forget the high fives when it is done.

So are you ready?  Chosen your music?  Remember it can be whatever you like just stick to it for at least a week and I’d love to know how you get on

 

 

 

Heuristic Play, Uncategorized

Treasure Baskets and your baby

I love watching and supporting babies exploring Treasure Baskets.  Seeing the delight in their faces as they explore textures, tastes and smells that are so very different to the plastic that so many toys are made off.   Treasure Baskets have always been a part of my BabyBeans classes since they began in 2007 and as Jellybeans Music enters it’s 13th year of classes, new baskets have been created over the summer just waiting to be explored and loved.

I first discovered Treasure Baskets during my training to be a Montessori Directress back in the 1990s and I fell in love with them immediately.  When I became a mum,  Treasure Baskets became part of our world and my three babies and I spent many, many happy hours sitting contentedly together while they emptied and explored the contents.

So what is a Treasure Basket?  Essentially it is a low, wicker, round basket crammed full of objects full of different textures, tastes and smells, that can be found all over the house and in nature. From pine cones to wooden spoons. Lemon squeezers to doorstops. Silk scarves to leather purses, these baskets are full of wonder and delight as they are emptied, loaded, explored and mouthed.

Why is this sort of play important?  Treasure Baskets allow babies to discover and learn things by exploring every day objects, not toys.   Have a look at the toys in your house.  The majority are probably brightly coloured plastic or wood and while they can stimulate some of the senses they are unlikely to create opportunities for babies to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.  When a baby is exploring a Treasure Basket, this play is described as Heuristic, quite simply the interaction between everyday objects and a baby/child.  The term Heuristic was coined by Elinor Goldschmeid in the 1980s  and this way of playing encourages eye hand coordination, fine motor skills, muscle control and creativity and imagination.

Interested?  Intrigued? Here’s how to build your own Treasure Basket just for your baby

Find a low flat container – your baby will be exploring this container and will tip it over so ideally something they can lean on safely.  Wicker is perfect due to it’s texture but a cardboard shoebox is also a great way to start

Have a look through your kitchen drawers and around your home. Everything you need is already there!  Wooden spoons, shiny metal ladles.  Wooden egg cups, wooden curtain rings.  Nail brushes, loofahs, shells, keys, pine cones.  The list is endless, use your imagination and don’t forget smells, lemons, limes, oranges.   Your baby will examine, squeeze, shake, mouth, drop, shake, rub items so remember to check for safety and cleanliness.

Pop them into the container, turn the TV or music off and show the box to your baby.  Sit quietly next to them but don’t interfere with their play.  Smile as they show you what they’ve found, name it but don’t take over.  This is their play and you are there to give them confidence and security.   If you watch closely, you’ll see when they’ve had enough and at that point take the basket away for another time.

So what are you waiting for?  Use your imagination and let your baby discover our amazing day to day world

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

5 ways to make your maternity leave rock

Congratulations on the birth of your baby but now the flowers and cards are beginning to go floppy, how are you planning to spend the next few months?   Here are some ideas that might make this very special time even better as you get to know and fall in love with your baby

 Your baby is beautiful and you obviously want to remember as much as possible of their early months, but don’t forget to be in the picture yourself.  So, you might not like how you look at the moment but I promise, you will look back in years to come & not notice how your hair looked or the extra pounds you were carrying.  You’ll just see photos of you and your baby and you’ll focus on the love shining out of both your eyes, not your t shirt with baby sick on it.  And, while we’re on the subject of photos – not every single minute needs to be recorded, be present, build the memory from how it feels not just from behind a camera lens.

Don’t put pressure on yourself.   Some people slip back into their teeny tiny jeans immediately, always have perfect hair & make up and find time to not only tidy the house but cook organic food & probably arrange flowers as well.  Some people don’t and it really doesn’t matter either way.  Motherhood is not a race, it is not a competition.  Make the most of the time you have with your new baby to get to know them and fall in love with each other.

Take time to be ‘you’ not just ‘mummy’.   Yes, you are a mummy now and yes, you love your baby and want to make the most of every precious moment but you are also still you, so don’t neglect yourself.  If running makes you happy, once you’ve had your postnatal check with the Doctor, start gently running again.  If baking cakes makes you happy, bake cakes.  If you love reading, read books.

Get out and experience the world of Baby Swimming and Massage.  All three of my boys loved swimming from when they were just weeks old.  You can either join a baby swimming business or pop down to your local pool.  Just make sure the water is nice and warm.  Babies love being in water and it wears them out beautifully for a nice, long nap afterwards.  If the thought of being in a swimsuit brings you out in a sweat, what about learning Baby Massage and enjoy some very chilled time together.

And last but by no means leastcome to BabyBeans and soak up the music and laughter which will become the soundtrack of you and your baby’s early years.  From calming massage and lullabies perfect for sleeping, cosy bedtime, to giggly, bouncy lapsongs, we’ve got it all and lots more beside, you won’t believe how much we pack into 45 minutes.

And finally, if you don’t feel ‘you’, you don’t feel ‘in love’ with your baby, that is absolutely nothing to feel ashamed about, you are not ‘failing’.  If you can, talk about your feelings with people you trust and make an appointment to see your doctor

 

Uncategorized

Stop singing Mummy, Daddy be quiet

Hands up everyone who has ever been told to stop singing along by your child?  Yep, it happens to each and everyone of us who have ever spontaneously dared to sing along with whatever your child is listening too.  It might be a film, it might be their beloved Jellybeans Music Wriggly Giggly CD, it might an advert, it doesn’t really matter to your child, you are interrupting them in a way they don’t like and aren’t happy about.  

But, they are not channelling their inner Simon Cowell, they are not trying to hurt your feelings – they aren’t really old enough to recognise that you will be upset or irritated, they are still primarily egocentric.

Remember how you cheered when your child took their first steps and became a walker?  Remember how you supported your child as they worked out how to deal with separation anxiety?  It’s time to support and cheer your way through yet another developmental stage, the emergence of Independence and trying to stop you doing something they don’t want is part of that.

So next time you are happily singing and you are told in no uncertain terms to ‘shush’, try not to feel too upset or offended – easier said than done I know, I wasn’t allowed to sing at home for years when my 3 boys were growing up.  As one decided it was ok, singing with mum was acceptable, the next one would hit this stage and it would be back to silence on my part again.

Instead why not try these strategies

  • When you are told to stop singing, ask them to join in with you.
  • Give them a choice to direct how you are going to sing together eg do you want to sing the first bit and I’ll sing the second?
  • Let them feel involved in the decision making – “Shall we sing fast or slow?”
  • If they really won’t let you sing, agree to stop for that track but make it clear you really love the next song and will be singing the next song

There appears to be no research indicating that if your child restricts access to music it means they are either not musical or indeed a musical genius.  It is all about independence and gaining control over their environment.   I wish you luck and remember like all early childhood stages, it will pass.  You won’t be banned from singing forever by your small child.  Before you know it, they’ll be a teenager and you will be banned all over again because you are tragically too old and uncool to sing along or the music will be so awful you really won’t want too!

Uncategorized

Loving the lullabies

Ever since time began we, as a species, have been rocking our little ones gently each and every night.  Indeed it is arrogant of us, as 21st Century parents to assume it is us who have ‘invented’ the lullaby.  Cast your mind back, what song did your parents or grandparents used to sing with you every night?  My mum always sang ‘Mockingbird’ to me whilst my Dad favoured a more, shall we shall, broadminded approach, his favourite rugby song!  <BLOG_BREAK>

A few years ago, I was involved in a research project which  involved me asking two very simple questions to everyone in my Jellybeans Music classes – do you sing a lullaby to your baby/child everynight and if yes, what is it?

Wonderfully the majority did sing a song (and read a book) and unsurprisingly Rutland and Lincolnshire Jellybeaner parents, like the majority of UK parents, favour Twinkle Twinkle.  Sometimes though, wouldn’t you like a change?  Nothing too radical obviously, I understand you really want your little one to relax, settle and sleep but why not sing Twinkle Twinkle then snuggle up, rock gently and listen to one of these beautiful lullabies from around the globe before you very gently lower them down ……..

1.  Shang Shang Typhoon – Moonboat

2.  Mike Whitla – Onawa’s Waltz

3. Veronique Le Berre – Bonne Nuit

4.  Mark Erelli – Lullaby 101

5.  Rosie Thomas – Tomorrow

I hope one of these makes your heart sing, your eyelids weary but if you are a Twinkle Twinkler for ever, why not use the tune and change the words?

‘Little one it’s time for bed.  

Time to rest your weary head.

Have a wash and change your nappy

Snuggle close and let’s be happy.

Little one it’s time for bed.  

Time to snuggle up with Ted

What’s your favourite lullaby?  I’d love to know.  Are you a traditionalist or are you a make it up as you go sort of lullaby person?