Child behaviour

boy balancing on Community Playthings hollow blocks and plank

What's wrong with an active child?

“The teacher just informed me that my three-year-old boy isn’t the ‘perfect fit’. They say he’s too active,” the lady related over the phone. “Is there something wrong with him?”

Angela Hanscom, a paediatric occupational therapist, was shocked. “My blood boils at the notion that something is wrong with an active three-year-old boy,” she writes. “We are expecting children to sit still when they are just barely out of nappies?” Children require full body movement, risks, and challenges in order to grow into balanced, healthy, and resilient adults. How can we overcome our fears to give children the outdoor play and unrestricted freedom of movement they desperately need? As a therapist, Angela has successfully treated many children with attention, balance, and sensory issues. What is her unconventional remedy? Read the article.

two children balancing on Outlast planks and blocks

Connecting the two sides of the brain

“Jimmy found it incredibly difficult to sit comfortably at the table; he was a right fidget-bottom, moving about trying to get into a comfortable position. He also found it difficult to grasp the thin pencil in the correct manner and write on a small piece of paper. He was struggling. Jimmy sat at the table for 25 minutes and had written three plausible js. His peers had all left, but Jimmy knew he had to cover the whole page, so he sat there watching his peers go about their learning choices….” (Neil Farmer, Getting it right for boys)

Children must become physically balanced by crossing the “centre line” which runs down the middle of their bodies. They will be unable to read and write until they have achieved this. Here’s how you can help them cross the centre line.

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child and teacher playing clapping game together

Learning through music

Grant, five months old, attends a nursery where the staff and children love to sing. One day his key worker lost her voice, and she noticed that Grant was fussy and discontented.

“We have all experienced crying, fussy, or sick children in our care who become calm when quality instrumental music is played. They are listening!” writes Elizabeth Carlton, music consultant at High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

“If we sing to our three- and four-year-olds, we will probably be asked to sing the song again…and again. Many listening experiences during the first two years of life are necessary before children actually sing or talk with us…Songs, instruments, and instrumental music are wonderful ways to develop children’s listening skills and awareness of different words and musical pitches.” Read the article

Schemas

Rewards of repetition

Why does Thomas tie everything up in string? Why does Lynn always twirl in circles? If you are puzzled about a child’s behaviour, you might be seeing a schema in action: “Children have a natural urge to do the same thing again and again…this is a vitally important element in young children’s development and learning.” Writes Stella Louis in her new booklet Schemas for parents.

This booklet “will make parents feel empowered to enjoy their children.” says Professor Tina Bruce. Parents and practitioners “will find comfort in seeing that some of the puzzling things their children do can be explained and made educationally worthwhile.” 

Read more about Schemas.

imagination for breakfast

Imagination for breakfast

Roger, just two, has never been very interested in breakfast, although he loves his lunch. His flights of fancy during breakfast intrigue his parents, when they’re not worrying about how he’ll get through the first couple hours of nursery. He sets his fork on its side, “A gate!” He turns his cup upside down, “I could sit on it!” He walks his half-eaten bread across the table, “A rooster! No, a horsie!"

Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Is it also more important than breakfast?

For more on open-ended play request our free resource I made a unicorn.


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