Take a deep breath baby

Today my baby was in a grumpy mood. He is teething so it’s understandable, but he’d got to the point where he was just crying because he was crying. Do you ever have days like that?

I wanted to tell him to take a deep breath and calm down. Now I can tell him as much as I like but he can’t understand, he’s only 4 months old. Then I had an idea. I can’t tell him to take a deep breath, but I can show him. Maybe he’ll understand?

I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try so I bent down really close to him, looked him in the eye and took a big deep breath and let it out really slowly. I made it dramatic. He could see what I was doing, hear me and feel the breath on his cheek. Guess what? After a couple of breaths he was smiling again! I’m not sure if he understood, copied me and calmed down or if he just thought we were playing a fun new game. Either way it was a success!

Why not try it when you wish baby would just calm down? Even if it doesn’t calm your baby, talking a few deep slow breaths will calm you down and it’s great to show your child a strategy for controlling their emotions. Let me know how it goes in the comments!

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Free universal childcare, questions for Jeremy Corbyn

“Free universal childcare” is a phrase that is in the news again, this time as part of Jeremy Corbyn’s labour leadership bid. It’s a phrase that makes me very uncomfortable. It sounds great but it’s a headline grabbing phrase that leaves many important questions unanswered, even unasked. There isn’t any detail on early years childcare in his post arguing for a national-education-service. The detail matters. Research shows that under 3s are have raised cortisol levels in nursery and that spending lots of time in nursery in the early years predicts greater aggression later in life. The quality of the nursery provision also matters, with good nursery care doing less damage than poor quality. Unfortunately much of the nursery care in this country is not good quality. So my questions for Jeremy are

  1. Do you support parents right to choose what kind of childcare they want for their child?
  2. Will you ensure sufficient funding to allow nurseries to provide excellent childcare?
  3. How will you support parents, grandparents, friends, families and communities who are already providing free childcare in various ways? Will they be able to continue providing high quality and loving care in your national education service? Will you pay them?
  4. How do you feel about the decline in nannies/childminders and the increase in nursery care?
  5. Who cared for your children when they were under 3?

I very much hope that this policy will not lead to parents being made to feel that they should be sending their children to poor quality nursery care at a younger and younger age. Or worse parents being forced to send young children to nursery by a welfare system that considers a parent at home with a child a missed opportunity to collect taxes.

Teaching character

I’m taking a great online course at the moment called Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms. If you want to check it out you can do so here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/teaching-character/outline. It’s a free course and the instructor, Dave Levin, is really engaging so why not take a look? You can study at your own pace.

I’ll be writing future posts about some of the interesting things I’ve learnt on this course. Watch this space!

Are you taking an interesting course? Did you check out Teaching Character? Please share your experiences in the comments!