The First 5 Years Matter The Most

Posted on May 26, 2014 by Lubica Misevski



The first 5 years matter the most.

Every parent wants the best for the children; in fact more often than not you want more for them than you had yourself. Your reason is simple and it is one of love. You hope they achieve more, are happier, and fulfilled, and believe in possibility.

What we know now about early childhood development is a substantially more than our parents knew. And knowing this gives us an advantage in helping our little ones receive the right early childhood education and development.

We now know that the first 3 years of our children’s livesaccount for 90% of the brain development. And the quality of the relationships and learning environments are critical in these early stages for babies and toddlers.

The experiences they have in the initial years very much lay the foundation for their lives. And as we want to create a strong foundation for our children it is important that we provide a safe, nurturing, and learning environment.

Some things we can do to help set up this foundation are to provide our children with good nutrition, nurturing and predictable environments. Simple things like cuddles, reading to them, using more complex language, explaining things to them, and being responsive and warm.

We need to play with them, and encourage play, and know that they are watching us all the time and learning from what we do, not what we say. Our children are born ready to learn, and exposure to language, mathematics, puzzles, and safe social environments all add to their early development and help establish a strong foundation for the future.

How we parent matters, and whilst we all have access to different means and resources, some have more than others. We all have the most valuable resource available for our children, and that is love.

So to recap your little one is born ready to learn, and if they are exposed to love, good nutrition, a safe and secure environment, reading, and interactive play you are off to a great start.

There is a lot to cover in the area of early childhood development and we will do our best to bring you the most up to date and practical information as we continue this blog.

And please let us know if there are any areas you would like us to cover in coming posts?

Posted in child education, Early child education, zero to five

Developing the Creative Child

Posted on May 24, 2014 by Lubica Misevski

The Creative Child
The Creative Child

Developing your child's creative nature through different mediums, will help them learn skills that will last a lifetime.

How do we solve problems we face? We come up often with creative solutions. How do we improve the world? We come up with new ways of doing things. This all stems from creativity, and being open to doing things in new ways. It is a skill we all need to improve continually and to learn how to develop these skills is of benefit to us all, especially our children.

Art and Music are usually associated with creativity, but there are many ways to develop your child’s creativity. Even simply asking them what the things they would like to do on the weekend, encourages free thought and if probed will present many ideas and develop the pathway. It could be as simple as asking what would you like to do on the weekend? And then following up with what else? And then what?

To take a more structured approach to the ages, the following might be useful to you.

Age’s 2 - 4

A drawing, painting, play doh age. This age is when your child learns they can create, make pictures, try to write their name, make shapes from play doh, do finger paintings, and otherwise. They also develop their motor skills in performing these tasks, and get a great sense of enjoyment from the task.

Age’s 5 - 7

At this stage children are fascinated with the colour range of a box of pencils, how you can draw a person, or a car. They can see the connection between art and the world and are very eager to learn ways of doing and creating. Encouragement will motivate them to do and learn more, and recognizing the bird in their drawing will fill them with confidence.

They are looking for ways to express themselves and their ideas.

Age’s 7 to 9

At this stage children are starting to develop an association with symbols, for example, red heart for love, orange sun, or a blue sky. The details of their drawings and art become noticeably better and more detailed. They might give dad a hat, that he always wears or mum her favourite handbag. They have increased attention span and are developing their fine motor skills.

To develop your child at each of these stages, provide them with a wide variety of choice and materials to work with? Ask them what they want to create and why and avoid any project has to be done a certain way. This is about free form thinking and creation and should not be boxed into rules or ways.

Letting them know that you love what they do by hanging their picture on the fridge. Putting their drawing on the cupboard or wall goes a long way to encourage and build their confidence.

Some Material Suggestions

Play Dough or Clay
Pencils and Paper
Chalk and Crayons

Of course if you have painting’s and pictures your children have done, we would love to see them. Maybe even post them online for your little one’s to see. Please send them through.

Posted in child education, creative child, Early child education

Tips to disciplining your children

Posted on May 23, 2014 by Lubica Misevski

Early child education

How do I discipline my child fairly? How do I know that it will work, and I am doing it the right way? For many parents, these are the questions we ask ourselves.

How do we create the best values, and do the right thing by our children and help mould Adults who are responsible, caring, and have strong values. The best place to start is to define what discipline is. Discipline is about teaching and helping them regulate their own behaviour, emotions and actions.

Usually when our kids, are acting in a way that we do not agree with, it can be the simple fact that they do not yet understand what we expect of them. Also, it can be a way of expressing their feelings that they do not know how to express any other way.

A great way but one that can be challenging is to ask them questions. For example:

Is there something wrong, are you feeling bad or upset?
Do you need a cuddle, or some love?

Identifying the cause of the behaviour is the best place to start, as when we identify this we can also help our children express what is going on. If you want your child to do something, explaining why is often helpful to the outcome. For example “When you eat vegetables, you are making your body strong and healthy.”

Having a routine and structure also helps, as does allowing your child to be involved in decisions. For example in our home, we brush our teeth before bed that is a rule we all follow, so this has become easy to implement. We tell our daughter, she has only one more show to watch on television, and to come and tell us when it is over. She always proudly runs in the kitchen to tell me she has finished watching the show, at which point we both turn the television off.

And if she is misbehaving we have found it best to ask her why? She is strong willed, so we are and will have some debates :).

Our children learn by our actions, having rules, and being involved in the decisions. When your child simply won't behave and you feel there needs to be consequences, they need to be aligned with the behaviour.

They need to happen soon after the event as practical. As the longer you leave it the less likely the child will know why they are being punished. They need to know what the best behaviour is, and what you expect of them. Your child always needs to feel loved, safe, secure and listened too.

The Ages

Your Baby (0-1)

Your baby needs no discipline at all they do not yet understand the world and they are simply trying to communicate with you. Another misconception that we will touch on is that you cannot spoil your baby with too much love. That is right, it is impossible.

Terrific Toddlers

They need to learn new skills, you are their teacher, and showing them the way in a calm and well-communicated manner is the best approach. At this age, the do not understand consequences, and if they express their feelings it is best to acknowledge and listen to them. For example, they might say they do not feel like breakfast, and the best thing to do is gently prod them throughout the morning, and ask them if they are hungry yet? Eventually, they will eat, and there is no point forcing them.

3 to 4 years old

We are still very much teaching at this age, and we need to show and explain to our children what we expect of them. If they feel loved and understood, they will be more likely to go along with your request. It is a lot like the Television example we gave above. If you tell them in advance or show them they will be more inclined to follow.

5 - 12 Years

At this age, your child certainly knows more about consequences, and they have started to understand a lot more about themselves. At this age, you can start to tell your child about your feelings, and what makes you behave in certain ways. This helps them understand other perspectives and behaviours.

It is also helpful to ask them about their feelings and thoughts, so that they may share with you how they see the world. Remember we are all-different, and just because they are your child does not mean they are going to see the world they way you do.

At this age, it is important to understand your child and build an open and healthy communication channel.

Discipline is a tricky subject, but in summing up the consequences need to match the action. Before the age of 4, it is best just to build trust and communicate with your child. And from five onwards, if they are running around the house and knock over a drink, then they should clean it up. But taking their bike off them for a week is not aligned with the action.

We hope these ideas are helpful, and would welcome any questions you might have. Staying calm is sometimes a challenge, but one that will reward you and your child for a lifetime.

Posted in child education, Early child education, zero to five

Music And Child Development

Posted on May 22, 2014 by Lubica Misevski

Music & Child Development

As you know music is one of the most magical forms of entertainment and enjoyment, from the moment we are born. And for most of us this entertainment never ceases.

The wonderful thing about music is not only is it enjoyable but it taps into a number of areas for child development. A study by “Joyce Eastlund Gromko” found that children who receive music training will develop aural skills. They learn words faster than children who do not learn music.

I guess when we think about this further, I do not know about you, but when I recite the alphabet I sing it in my head. I enjoy the song, and because I enjoy I am sure I sang it many times. When I was younger, I probably wanted to learn it, and was motivated to do so.

I don’t know if such a test exists, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see how different children performed. One hearing the alphabet through instruction, and the other learning it through music? My guess would be that the one who enjoyed learning the alphabet through music would learn it quicker, and hold onto the information more permanently.

In fact there are a number of things that music is commonly believed to have an effect on, when it comes to child development;

Creativity - when your little one, makes words up because they forget how they go

Dance - Motor skills

Team Work & Social Skills - Playing music with other children

And let's not forget fun.

Music plays a crucial role in child development, as it builds and develops social, emotional, and intellectual skills.

So go ahead sing to your little one, bang the table with a wooden block, play music to them, and listen to it until you know the words yourself.

I often find myself these day’s driving along listening to nursery rhymes singing the songs to realise I am the only one in the car. Only sometimes do I then put the radio on :).

I love the enjoyment music brings my children, and how quickly our daughter learned her ABC through the song. Could there be a more enjoyable way to learn them?

We would love to hear about what your little one has learned through music, their favourite song, or instrument?

Music is magical and so are children, it seems like the perfect combination!

Posted in child education, creative child, Early child education, music and children

It Starts From Birth

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Lubica Misevski

Early child education
It starts from birth

Childhood education starts from birth, and from the moment your little one is born they start learning. Think about this for a second, they learn very quickly that you love them, you will protect them, you will keep them warm, and you will feed them.

This all happens within the first 24 hours of their little life, and they continue to learn every single day. And hopefully we do too. This means that you are your child’s teacher, and their very first one, and no-one is better placed to educate your child then you. Because your starting place is pure love, and the desire to give your child a better start and life than you had.

And very early on there are many things you can do to start to begin the process of teaching your child.

This include’s joining playgroups so they may interact with other kids, and start to develop social skills.

Read to them, and whilst you may think that they are not absorbing this, they certainly are. We have been reading to our daughter since birth, and at 3 1/2 years of age, her ability to communicate to us and others is something we are very proud of.

Play music for them, as this will help develop creativity as well as providing enjoyment for you both. Especially when they start to move to the music, or hum their first tune.

Take them for walks and show them birds, dogs, a bus, trees, shops, homes, and the world. Explain those things to them, and try to determine what captures their interest the most.

Encourage them to express their emotions as they grow, so their ability to communicate develops.

Start to teach them the alphabet from an early age, and also the numbers, and you will be surprised at how quickly they pick this up. A great little book we used with our daughter was Coco.

Our children are sponges and they want to play, learn, and experience the world. From the moment, they are born they are learning, and this never stops. We have a wonderful opportunity to help them learn, and look at life through the eyes of a child again, with amazement, wonder, and possibilities.

We are truly blessed to have access to more materials, knowledge, and methods than you and I had when we were growing up. But the greatest asset of all is our love for our children.

We would love to hear stories about how you teach your little one? And please share any ideas you have that you think other parents would value.

Posted in baby, child education, Early child education, zero to five

My Baby, Their Future

Posted on May 20, 2014 by Lubica Misevski

my baby their future

My Baby, Their Future

From the very moment your little one is born, they start learning and developing. They realise that someone is there to care for them and love them. They recognise your face, how you smell, your touch, and that you will be there for them when they need you.

And there are many things you can do for them from the moment they are born, and as they develop. We will just cover the first three months in today’s post.

Initially just holding and singing to them and talking to them is a great start. They will feel safe, comforted, and protected from a very foreign place. You can look for early signals of their needs, by the tone of how they cry. Do they just need comforting? Or are they rubbing their eyes and tired, or is it a cry of need because they have to be changed, or are they are hungry?

This is certainly a challenging and very rewarding time. One where the bond and communication between you both develop. And they learn that when they communicate they can be heard and more importantly understood.

Soon they start to smile:), and there is nothing more heart-warming than watching this happen. For two reasons, you know they are happy, and you taught them how to express this, it is your smile you are seeing.

Very soon they can hold your finger, and grip things. This is when we should give them books, teddy bears, different textures and toys to hold onto. And wow what a day when they start to discover their feet and little hands, the look they get in their eyes is just magical.

Despite some misinformed opinions, you cannot spoil your baby with love. In fact I do not think you can spoil anyone with love, so helping them feel good, comforting them, helps them trust and manage their own feelings.

We also feel it is important that you read to them from the very beginning, as your little one is born with 100 million neurons (brain cells). And when you spark activity in the brain you are starting to develop their synapse’s (which is just the road or highway between the brain cells). You are obviously developing their minds.

So right from the beginning you can start to develop their mind through touching, reading, music, love, smiling, feeding and comforting.

They are your precious gift to the world, and you are their world. We would love to hear about your early experiences, and also what you have learned along the way?

Posted in baby, child education, Early child education, zero to five

Fact's About Our Baby's Brains

Posted on May 18, 2014 by Lubica Misevski

Fact About Our Baby's Brains
In today’s article, we look at your baby’s brain development and highlight some key facts that we feel are crucial to know.

Of all the energy your baby consumes, 60% percent of it is concentrated in the brain. This means that your baby is consuming 60% of all they eat directly to the brain. As we have expressed before, nutrition is critical at any age. But none more important than the early stages of your child’s brain development. So the more natural the food, the better. “There is a saying, if it was not food 100 years ago, it is not food today."  Whilst there might be exceptions to this rule, it is a pretty good yardstick to use as a measure.

The birth to three-year-old period is the fastest period for brain development across your child’s entire life span.

Just by talking with your baby, by the age of two, those babies will know 300 more words than babies who’s parents rarely speak to them.

Allowing your little one to explore and engage with others will develop their learning at all ages, and their social skills.

Anyone who looks after your baby, is part of their development, and will have an impact on how their brain develops.

Having a good relationship with your child will help them feel more confident about themselves, and allow them to better handle the challenges we all face in life.

Your little one will take cues from your facial expression on how to feel, so go ahead and smile at them all day, it might just be good for you too :)

Giving your little one a cuddle, and holding them will help your baby to produce important hormones that allow them to grow.

Reading aloud to your baby, will help stimulate brain development. So even though you are not always getting feedback with this especially in the early stages it is important to read to them. As I have said earlier we had to chase our son around the house for the first year of his life, but now he is handing us the books.

And wow by the time your child is 3, your child has formed 1000 trillion connections between their neurons.

The best way to help develop your little one’s brain is to read, play, sing, play music, build with blocks, explore outside, talk to them, and fill their body with healthy nutrients.

Let us know if you have questions? We would be more than happy to answer them in future posts.

Posted in baby, child education, Early child education, zero to five

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