Learning Through Play and Education and Child Development:
As most of you have noticed by now, I am very passionate about children learning through play; especially in early childhood. Children are wired to learn, create and discover through play and it is important that we never underestimate what a child is learning when playing with water, sand, blocks, instruments, bugs, craft, outdoor equipment etc. Learning isn’t all about reading, writing and maths (although these are important too but they are not everything).
Learning encompasses so much more and it is important that we allow our children to learn and express themselves through a variety of play environments with a variety of tools and toys.
Over the next year you will hear more on learning through play from OTs (occupational therapists), teachers and other professionals who are just as passionate as I am about giving our children a play focused and holistic approach to learning and education.
Acceptance and Supporting Mums:
Acceptance is also something I hold very close to myheart; more so after becoming a mum and doubly so after having my two children diagnosed with Autism.
On the most basic level I value differences. And I value equal opportunities for those with differences where possible.
On a deeper level I value mums. I value the everyday struggles that we face in a very unsupportive and over-opinionated society. It often feels like one step forward, two steps back. Especially when you have a bubba that doesn’t do what the books say. Or boobs, or hormones that don’t do what the books say. Or when things just don’t turn out the way that the health nurse says, or the post on Facebook or that well-meaning-but-ever-so-not-understanding friend.
While I’m at it I don’t have the answers; sometimes it just sucks to be a mum. Sometimes we should just be allowed to say this – end of story, no advice needed or wanted (and no it doesn’t mean we don’t like our children). To not be ashamed to say how we feel on the days/weeks/months that we are struggling and just can’t seem to get this baby business mastered.
I will say now that I struggled hugely as a new mum with what was seemingly the most difficult child on the planet; even Ngala said he was born without an ‘off switch’. I remember the nights feeding my little man for 45 mins on each boob every two hours – yes that is 30 mins sleep (for me) every two hours *argh* and I still cringe just thinking about it now. Oh and deduct time from the 30mins ‘break’ for nappy changes and to clean up all the explosive poop of me, him and the surrounding environment…EVERY 2 hours. No I am not exaggerating. I have pictures to prove it too… but will spare you those for now haha. (Don’t you wish they put these stories in those lovely pregnancy books?!)
I will also say that I now have a great support system of crazy mums with crazy children; just as crazy as me and mine. I have friends that understand. Friends that can laugh with me at the ridiculousness of it all (if we don’t laugh we’ll cry and we might not stop). Friends that I can say the bad stuff to and they say ‘Me too’ instead of looking at me like I’m a monster. But I have also become aware that my ‘support system’ is not normal. Many mums do not have this; many mums struggle alone.
So what does this have to do with selling toys?
I spoke to my team about this at our last training; what I want it to mean and to look like for Little Wooden Toybox, particularly at parties. I have encouraged our team to do the following;
Be slow to judge.
To stop and think that maybe the mother with child climbing the walls and destroying the toy display perhaps didn’t get any sleep that night …or any other night for the last few weeks/months. Maybe she’s at her wits end with how to manage her child. Maybe just getting out of the house today was a huge achievement for her and a smile or a kind comment from you could make her day. We don’t know what is going on in her life or her
child’s; so hold back judgement and replace it with something kind – whether
you think it is deserved or not.
To accept that we all have days where we probably would have achieved more by
staying in bed.
But she didn’t – she got up and faced the day and that in itself is a choice to fight back and get through the hard times.
To acknowledge that parenting is hard.
And on a more practical level to make our toys and services
accessible for those with special needs and/or differences.
Real Mums. Real Struggles. Real Stories
This is something I am really looking forward to launching and it is very closely linked to The Morning Tea Project. One half of the Morning Tea Project will be the monthly meetups (read more here) while the other half will be right here on the Little Wooden Toybox blog.
I want more mums to know that they are not alone in their struggles. That the best of us have hard times (whether we admit it or not). Very soon you will be seeing regular posts from real mums with real children and real struggles. Some will be focused around special needs, postnatal depression and expectations vs. the real thing. Some will make you
laugh and others will make you cry. Some you will relate to and others you might not.
My goal is to provide content that you can say ‘Oh me too’ and know that you are not the only one with those thoughts/issues/challenges. These posts will remain anonymous to protect the writers and allow them to post on a more deep and meaningful level, leaving in
the ‘bad bits’ and the real bits that we have probably all thought or felt at some time or another.
On that note it is time to chase up some of these writers and get the content up for you to read! Stay posted J