Monday, February 25, 2008


Hi There,

This is the old home of PlanningQueen. Please come and see her at her new abode:

You can find all the previous posts in the Archives and can now subscribe to keep up to date with PlanningQueen's latest posts.
Thanks for dropping by and look forward to seeing you at PlanningWithKids.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Moving to

Thanks for visiting my blog! I have moved it across to my own domain and it can be found at:
You can click straight throught to Planning with Kids here. Once there you will find all my previous posts and some new ones.
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Look forward to seeing you over there!
Cheers, PlanningQueen

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Planning the Term 1 Week

I have just started to put together a picture of what of the average Term 1 week is going to look like. I often spend time wondering about what is the right number of after school activities for the kids. Education Consultant Kathy Walker suggests one or two for children aged between 4 - 8 years.

This issue is not quite as simple as a number for one child, because the extra activities impact on all the other children in the family. We are a one car family and dad is usually not home in time to do the escorting to and from activities, so the younger children have to literally come along for the ride. This means in reality Babaganouski attends about 7 non school/preschool related activities. Two of these are specifically for him, as we attend a playgroup and Leaping Lizards session weekly.

When planning the week for the kids, I need to take this into account. Is there ways that I can share the drop off/pick up arrangements? Is this activity one where I can drop them safely and return later to pick them up? Can more that one of my children participate in the activity at the same time? All of these considerations help to juggle the scheduling and reduce the run around for the family as a whole.

Once the after school activites have been sscheduled, I then try to have an over arching approach as to how I plan the school hours for the non school children. I have found it incredibly valuable to have at least one day a week during these hours, which we have as a stay home quiet day. I find it valuable for a number of reasons:
  • The little ones can have a more restful day.
  • It gives me time to catch up on things around the house.
  • I can focus some time on what the children would like to do in an unstructured environnment.
  • The little ones can enjoy, not being put in and out of the car, and run to a freer time frame.

It looks like our stay home day will be Monday for Term 1. I will avoid in most instances from booking any appointments, play dates, shopping expeditions on this day. Knowing our home day is "Monday" in advance, helps me to prevent the overscheduling that can sometime arise when I accept invitations, plan activities etc, and then all of sudden realise that we have multiple weeks with no free days.

Do you plan a day at home?

Friday, February 1, 2008

When is a tantrum, not a tantrum?

I went back to a favourite parenting guide book this week Children are People too by Louise Porter. I wanted some reminders on how to deal with tantrums. My nearly two year old has been quite vocal lately in the tears and screaming department, and I wanted some age appropriate strategies to deal with this behaviour.

I looked up the relevant section and found the following:

"Having just described the protesting tantrum, it is worth emphasising that it is different from pre-verbal children's attempt to communicate that they are disappointed. That is not a tantrum: it is legitimate communication. A tantrum is where children who can usually say what they need, instead get so worked up that they cannot use words."
It is amazing that simply how we choose to view a problem can determine our success in managing it. I had been looking at Babaganouski's outbursts as tantrums, when as he only has a repotoire of about 10 words, the outbursts are his (very loud) way of communicating with me.

If I had thought about it more from this stance point at breakfast time this morning, I am sure his outburst would have been only short. Instead it continued on and off for about 15 minutes. During which time we tried to distract him, removed him from the situation and held him to try and calm him down.

It started when he sat himself on a different chair at the table. I moved him to his chair (it is covered with a towel to cope with mess). The squealing and crying began at this point, I automatically connected the two and assumed it was about the chair and held my ground on the issue. He had to sit in his own chair.

It was in fact nothing to do with the chair, and all to do with the type of bowl that was in front of the chair. He still has a small bowl, whilst the rest of the kids have a normal size bowl. After the aforementioned 15 minutes of pain for everyone, my eldest suggested that he wanted the white bowl. I tried this and Babaganouski gave me a very appreciative babble and set about choosing his cereal.

Through his only way of communicating he was trying to make his need known to me. Taking more consideration of this has already made some improvements in how I can successfully manage his behaviour. For example when it came to bed time and after I read Babaganouski his story, I went to sing his song and he started crying and wanting to hop down. I put him on the ground and asked him to show me what was the matter. He tottered off to his brothers room and came back with his favourite little car, placed it on his shelf and came back over to me. I finished the song and he went quietly into his cot and off to sleep.

Not all situations will be that easy to solve, because I am sure there will be a moment this week, when he will "tell" me that he wants to sit in the normal seat of the car and not his child safety seat and there can be no negotiation on that. By planning to go into these outbursts with a view that he is trying to tell me something, hopefully I can manage more of the negotiable outbursts with greater success. Then my head won't be pulsating quite so much, when he has the outburst about the non negotiatble car seat!