It’s so important for our children to have friends their own age as they develop their social skills. Does it all start at Mother’s Group? But what about competitive parents? Today our mums talk about these issues as well as separation anxiety, shy kids and bullying and what we can do. And we end with a great segment on kids birthday parties.
Watch segments from Episode 7 of Mums & Bubs and access great articles about the topics discussed below.
Mother’s groups are a great way for our children to make friends their own age, to help develop their social skills. The reality is they are actually a great way for socialising a new mum and they can be a great source of support. But what happens when mother’s group doesn’t go as well as expected and you meet up with some very competitive mums who compare the milestones of their child with others? Tracey Corbin-Matchett, mum of two, recalls feeling like she had done something wrong and it was her fault when her babies didn’t meet the expectations of other mum’s in the group. This can be very detrimental to a new mum’s self esteem.
It’s important to surround your self with positive relationships and find like minded people in the group that you can interact with and gain support. Sophie Faulkner, celebrity mum, found that out of the 20 new mums in her mother’s group she really only connected with a few and sought their company at smaller gatherings. She also feels that mothers are very judgemental of each other and we should really give each other a break and try to be more understanding of another mum’s situation.
There are lot’s of ways to socialise your baby such as play group, baby gym classes, swimming lessons, music groups. You can gain lots of information about activities in your local community at your Early Childhood or Plunket centre.
Leaving our children in the care of others is never easy, but it does get easier over time. And it’s very normal for our children to struggle with the separation as well. Today the mums discuss separation anxiety and the techniques they have used to ease our children into daycare. Sarah Bryden-Brown, suggests that having a ‘goodbye routine’ helps the child to understand what is going to happen and there are no surprises. This helps your baby or toddler to feel secure in their situation.
Jenny Coen, child counsellor, explains that separation anxiety is not limited to the child, but more often than not relates to both mums and child or dad and the child. She recommends that the parent say goodbye in a positive way so that the child can feel that mum and dad are comfortable with the separation and they are more likely to feel OK as well.
Sophie Faulkiner’s tip for childcare drop off is to talk about the upcoming day’s events to give your child a sense of time and perspective. For example, “you will have lunch and a sleep, then it will be playtime and a story and then mummy will be back to pick you up.”
All the mum’s can laugh at the fact that the tears are very short lived and usually turned on for the benefit of mum or dad who are left feeling guilty for the rest of the day while your child has moved on as soon as you were out of sight.
Are we too quick to label our kids as ‘shy’? How can we help shy kids become more social? And at the other extreme, bullying can start at a very young age. What do you do if you are the parent of a child who bullies? When should you intervene? Child counsellor, Jenny Coen, helps with some useful advice.
Jenny suggests that if you have a toddler who is reluctant to join a group then you should be proactive and take them by the hand and lead them into a game and introduce them. Helping them to break into the group is usually enough to get them interacting with the other kids.
The term ‘bullying’ is quite harsh but some behaviours can start from a young age. If toddlers are exhibiting this ‘bullying’ behaviour it’s usually because they are not aware that the behaviour is inappropriate. Jenny says that parents need to teach their children what is socially acceptable behaviour and provide positive directions such as " use your words" or “we keep our hands to ourselves”. She reaffirms that young kids (up to about the age of 6) are not really capable of moderating their own behaviour so they may require time out from a game, or a situation, to prevent it from getting out of control.
The over riding message from Jenny and the mums is that our children learn by example and we need to be good role models.
With just a little bit of creativity and a touch of flair, you can create a great birthday party for your child. The girls, all agree that a modern day birthday party is all about the ‘bling’ (which entertainer, which venue and how many helium balloons can fit into one house?) The reality is, most of the party paraphenalia goes over the head of the guest of honour and what they cherish and enjoy is the fun of a party. Good old fashioned games like pin the tail on the donkey and musical statues are recognised as being among the favourites.
Tracey Corbin-Matchett brings her two girls onto the set to show us one of their favourite party themes, a magical mermaid’s cave. The decorations are made from things around the home and this provides some food for thought for all mums on what they can do themselves. YOu can read more of Tracey’s ideas here on the Huggies website.