Mother’s groups are popular in Australian society because they are a great place to develop strong friendships and share your experiences in life and in family with other mums in your area. But how can a bunch of other mothers help you, and where to look for this community?
- Mother’s group is typically a supportive community that is truly helpful for mothers since they can ask questions about their child’s development from other parents. This is a good source for finding first-hand information and support.
- Groups are usually open to all mothers, whether they are still expectant or have children in high school, but are commonly attended by those with newborns through to preschool age.
- This parenting source can give you that feeling that you’re not alone and is a great way to relieve many anxieties.
- Can help you regain stamina, sanity and strength.
- In this community, you will find support, advice, friendship and overall just have a good time.
Where to look for a Mother’s group?
- Midwifery & birthing departments at your clinic/hospital. Your midwife may be able to suggest a support network that will suit the needs of you and your baby.
- Parenting magazines and local events calendars.
- Childcare centers.
- Churches and other religious or community organisations.
- Referrals / Word-of-mouth from your friends and collegues.
What to expect in a Mother’s group?
- It can be a bit like a classroom wherein you are the student and the teacher at the same time. There may be the opportunity to learn from a trained professional, or it may just be round-circle discussions between the mothers. Every child is at a different developmental stage and each family has their own story to tell.
- You will most likely be offered unsolicited parenting advice, but there’s almost always an opportunity to enjoy engaging conversations.
- Depending on the ages of the children in the group, there may be craft and educational activities to engage them as well.
- These networks will meet at a variety of locations, with differing frequency and duration. It may be very informal weekly date at the park with BYO coffee, or a 2-hour session at a dedicated facility that costs few dollars to attend but provides the tea/coffee/food and activities.
On more than one occasion (this week) I’ve walked into a room to find an epic mess of blankets, pillows and stuffed toys. But once I’ve taken that first very deep breath I can see that the cushions are walls of a castle, the TV remote is a phone and the dog has become a horse (with a saddle and all). This is what young kids do to fuel their imaginations. As messy as it is, imaginative play is a very important step in a child’s development that will likely shape the person they are to become.
It helps nurture language skills
Ideally, children do a lot of talking and visualising when creating their own stories and they may draw on real-life experiences for some inspiration. This provides a great opportunity for them to boost their linguistic skills when learning the names of the different materials they are using and those that they are trying to recreate. It may also help them to explain their emotions and their actual understanding of certain situations that their parents have had trouble dealing with.
It improves social skills
We all loved imaginative play as children because it was our chance to be anything we could possibly dream of. That new kid on the slide is really a dragon-rider, not a shy new kid that I didn’t know. We would ride dragons (slides and see-saws) all afternoon in my imaginary world. The ability of create imaginative storylines helps boost a child’s social skills. It is like a state of euphoria where the child believes that nothing can go wrong so they are not afraid of anything. Perhaps from this, they will forge lifelong bonds and friendships.
It enhances problem solving skills
On more than one occasion I’ve walked into the dining room to find a cubby house under the table, strewn with blankets across it and the chairs. However, there’s always that one blanket keeps falling out of place. Rest assured the kids kept supporting it with all kinds of things until it stayed in place. I love that they don’t quit on that plan and they will always find solutions to these massive construction problems.
Within their imagination, everything is possible. You can become anything or anyone. This opens up so many channels to explore their creativity and you never know what they will come up with next. They may be a unicorn dancing on the moon, or a police officer chasing down the bad guy, or an architect creating a curved skyscraper out of paper. Every moment they are nurturing their creativity.
You will be amazed by how intricate and complex these little minds are. Spend some quality time together and get into their imagination. Who doesn’t love swimming with mermaids and dolphins under the ice? Try it!
Who doesn’t love travelling with kids? It’s so exciting throwing them in the back of the car and strapping them in for 8 hours of rolling hills, thousands of cows, millions of power poles and a very long game of eye-spy. Sorry my enthusiasm sort of waned at the end there didn’t it. These are the common first thoughts when you discuss travelling with the kids, but if you’ve done it more than once then you’ve probably got a decent idea what to expect.
I’ve got a friend who’s eldest child loves to travel; car, train, plane, anything, he loves it all and always has. Yet his younger twins were the total opposite. Even a short trip from Sydney to Canberra were torture. They constantly wriggled and annoyed each other and it was draining on everyone in the car. The family flew to Fiji and the twins tagged-team as to which one hated it more. My friend and her husband vowed to never take those two younger ones on a plane ever again. Then the weirdest thing happened, the twins turned four and were suddenly awesome travellers. In the space of a couple of months the family drove from Sydney to Brisbane and back twice without a single altercation from the back seat.
What had changed in that time? Mum & Dad learnt how to prepare for travelling with a hoard!
Here are my friends’ top tips for travelling with kids for longer than 2 hours,
- Individual lunchboxes filled with what each kid likes (tedious to prepare but worth it)
- At least one activity book per child with a small selection of crayons
- A comforting toy from home to ease potential anxiety
- 1-2 small interactive toys per child. Like a barbie/figurine (minus annoying shoes) or 2 matchbox cars or a rubix cube
- For longer trips and ipad/tablet or headrest dvd players
- One good sixe backpack for all their “stuff” to fit in. Therefore, they are responsible for keeping it all together and somewhat organised back there.
You know your kids better than anyone so it is important to listen to your own intuition when sorting out the travel arrangements. There’s no need to take a whole toy box along because kids are going to want to explore their new surroundings. You’ll also want to engage on the journey like our parents did with us. You can play good ‘ol eye-spy, or the game where you make a sentence out of the number plate of the car in front of you. Long road trips can be a marvellous opportunity to explore the creativity of your little ones.
Now pack up the car and go explore. But first, share with us your top tips for traveling with kids.