Showing posts with label social norms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social norms. Show all posts

Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic playdate

(Goblin is 33 months)
Today is the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. I thought we would celebrate by having an Olympic themed play date with Bubble and Squeak. I made some Olympic rings from Hula hoops. I wanted to buy some in Olympic colours but in true Monko style I left it too late and ended up having to buy candy striped generic hula hoops and cover them in crepe paper. 
Inspired by JDaniel4'sMom blog's olympic breakfast post I also made some Olympic snacks, strawberries, cheese, cucumber, raisins and ricecakes dipped in blue food colouring (a bit of a cheat!). Unfortunately I put them out too early and Goblin decided to make himself cheese and cucumber sandwiches using every last slice of cucumber and every last babybelle.
I made some gymnastic ribbon sticks thinking the boys could twirl them. I often let Goblin play with these sticks in the garden but as I made them I did contemplated in the back of my mind whether giving all three small boys these pointed sticks to play with was a good idea. But Monty Python overruled my concerns and I concluded at least I wasn't giving them each a piece of fruit.
I should have listened to my concerns because within seconds of the boys discovering the sticks Goblin had accidentally whacked Bubble on the arm while vigorously twirling his stick. And the horror of seeing my son belt another child meant I did't respond well at all. Positive Parenting went out the window as I bellowed at him for hitting despite knowing that he hadn't done it on purpose - he just didn't realise how long the stick was and how close Bubble was. Bubble was very brave and didn't even cry. I surreptitiously removed the sticks from the equation.
My plan had been to introduce a series of games including jumping through the hulahoops; throwing balloons through the hoops; having a race etc. We did do a small amount of this type of play but mainly the boys were happy to play with all the vehicles, the toy lawnmower, and the paddling pool. One of the nice things about Goblin, Bubble and Squeak is that they all have very different toys at their houses, so visiting each other is an opportunity to play with different stuff and often play in a different way. 
Playdates with Bubble and Squeak have another very positive aspect. Although all three of us mummies have different parenting styles we all seem to be happy to let the boys work out their problems themselves. I often find when Goblin is playing with kids of parents I don't know so well, I will feel I have to step in and referee. But with Bubble and Squeak I am confident that the boys will be able to find their own solutions (even if a few toddler punches are thrown in the process) and I am not 'expected' by their parents to protect them from my son or my son from them. 
As a result of our ability to sit back and watch, I think Goblin gets some invaluable lessons in social interaction from Bubble and Squeak. He is slowly learning how to share (or more accurately how to take turns) with his toys. He is learning what the social etiquette is when another child is upset (even if it is your turn). And he is learning conflict resolution - which is something that I think children are often prohibited from learning because their parents step in too early (me included).
While most of the day was spent pushing trolleys, prams and a lawn mower around; playing with diggers and cars; squirting each other with water; and having a tea party, there was finally a bit of athletic zeal when Squeak's mum broke out the bubbles.
Look at them go!

I'm linking this post to the Olympic blog hop where you can find a whole host of Olympic ideas over the 18 days of the Olympics. And keep your eyes peeled back here for a special Paralympic post on 29th August (the opening ceremony of the Paralympic games). 

I'm also sharing this with 
For the Kids FridayCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallI Can Teach My Child

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Do you insist your toddler uses manners?

(Goblin is 31 months)
I never thought I'd be that mum who constantly says "and what do you say?", prompting their child to say thank you to complete strangers. But I am. And I'll tell you why, people respond more positively to kids that are perceived to be polite.
I think Goblin it quite a nice kid for his age, he is pretty good at sharing most of the time (although writing that down has probably jinxed it), he gives great hugs to people he knows, he likes the company of other kids and chats away to adults. But I have noticed that if he asks for something and doesn't say please people assume he is being bossy or rude - even if they know him. They seem to apply adult values instantly and pull a negative face, or even make comments like 'don't be greedy' or 'you're very demanding'.
The simple addition of the word 'please' into this sentence, even if the tone is identical, seems to completely change peoples perspective. Suddenly they are smiling and saying oh what a sweetie he is (well actually they usually say "what a sweetie she is', - see my post on his hair).
I find this reaction quite odd. People don't think he is being rude if he does a poop in their living room. They accept that he is a toddler and hasn't learned to use the toilet yet. So why do they think that if he doesn't use an arbitrary social convention correctly it is because he is being impolite rather than acting his age.  
Some of my mummy friends started teaching their children to say please and thank you as soon as they started to talk. I didn't. I'd read something (which I can't find now) which suggested that it was not right to demand that your child adhered to social conventions like this. At the time this resonated, but now I think the post failed to distinguish between insisting and prompting/reminding/teaching. Now I think I should teach Goblin to say please and thank you at a young age. Not because I value the words please and thank you, and not because I want a polite child (or want others to think I have a polite child). But the words please and thank you grease the wheels of this society. If Goblin can learn these 'not so secret' codes early in his life, his life will be easier. I would never force Goblin to say the words. I don't withhold things if he refuses to say please. But I do stand behind him reminding him "don't forget to say thank you" and when he screams at me "chocolate milkshake" I do say "how do you ask for that nicely", to which he screams in my face "chocolate milkshake PLEASE" and I respond, "that's better!". 
It feels odd. It doesn't sit comfortably with the rest of my parenting approach which tries to avoid the quick wins in order to help Goblin develop a more reflective approach where he chooses the right option for his own reasons rather than because 'Mummy will be cross if I don't'. But on this particular issue I think making my child life a little bit easier and ensuring he gets smiles rather than sneers from adults (especially the older generation) is worth a little compromise.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and whether you teach your little ones to say Please and Thank you?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Learning with Lamby

(Goblin is 26 months old)
Up until about a month ago Goblin would switch the cuddly toys he took to bed every night. It was sort of part of the bed time thing (I wouldn't call what happens in our house a routine as such). We'd read Goblin a story and then ask which cuddlers he wanted to take to bed - he gets two. We'd show him every single toy and he'd say no to every one, then we'd do it again and this time he'd choose which ones he'd take to bed.
However this changed about a month ago when Goblin made a best friend, Lamby. Lamby has always been part of Goblin's plethora of toys (he was actually mine before Goblin was born). But suddenly he has become Goblin's favourite. He wants him down stairs with him during the day, and in his cot at night and during naps, and sometimes we even have little tantrums if Lamby isn't allowed to come on walks and outings.
The good thing about Lamby being a favourite is that Goblin will play games 'with' Lamby.
If Goblin is playing with his vehicles, I will sometimes animate Lamby to join in. Goblin is currently learning about turn taking. However his interpretation of this is often that as long as he says "Goblin's turn" then it is his turn. I have tried to explain that sometimes its not his turn, but the problem with it being 'Mummy's turn' is that Mummy already has authority to make that decision. But if its 'Lamby's turn' Goblin has to make the decision whether to let it be Lamby's turn. If Goblin decides he's not going to let Lamby have a go, Lamby gets upset - like another toddler would. Its a bit more realistic than Mummy bursting into tears. And it enables me to explain how Goblin could make Lamby feel better by letting him have a turn. Its a safe environment for Goblin to learn social norms.
Lamby is also helping Goblin learn colours. We play a game where Goblin gets Lamby to load bricks into a trailer. Either Lamby will ask Goblin what colour brick he is carrying, or I will ask Goblin what colour brick Lamby should pick up. Lamby will then go for a brick that is not that colour and Goblin will have to point Lamby in the direction of the right coloured brick.
 Goblin now consistently recognises yellow and orange, and most of the time blue. He still doesn't recognise red or green but he knows the Makaton sign language for both colours. I use the signs as a clue when he is struggling to remember. Sometime Lamby does the sign (Red - touching his mouth and green - stroking his arm).

I'm linking this to

Tot SchoolMontessori Monday I Can Teach My Child

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