Fam­i­lies with boys

Little Treasures - - FAMILY FOCUS -

“Par­ents can help nur­ture the brains of baby boys by talk­ing to them right from birth,” says Whit­combe-dobbs. “En­gag­ing with chil­dren face-to-face and re­spond­ing to their ver­bal cues with im­i­ta­tion and smiles helps them learn to reg­u­late their emo­tions. Nurs­ery rhymes and songs are also great for speech de­vel­op­ment.” As boys ven­ture into tod­dler­hood, it’s im­por­tant for par­ents and care­givers to be en­cour­ag­ing of their emo­tions and show them sym­pa­thy and com­fort when up­set, just like with young girls. This all as­sists in de­vel­op­ing their emo­tional in­tel­li­gence. “La­belling emo­tions and giv­ing chil­dren time to cope with them helps them un­der­stand their feel­ings,” adds Whit­combe-dobbs. “As ba­bies grow into tod­dlers, par­ents can help by lis­ten­ing to them, de­scrib­ing to them what they are do­ing and re­peat­ing their words back to them, which sup­ports lan­guage de­vel­op­ment and pre­dicts how eas­ily chil­dren learn to read and suc­ceed at school.” The key point to re­mem­ber, how­ever, is to con­sider each in­di­vid­ual child and their per­son­al­ity. Dis­cover their in­ter­ests, reg­u­larly of­fer new age-ap­pro­pri­ate ex­pe­ri­ences and al­low them to freely ex­plore your world.

It’s a daily prac­tice of which Wanaka mum Alice Ma­son is mind­ful. Ex­plo­ration and ad­ven­ture are top pri­or­i­ties for her two lit­tle lads, three-year-old Ri­ley and 14-month-old Monty. “The boys are al­ways very busy and full of ad­ven­ture, fun, noise, mess, laugh­ter and sandy, muddy, wet laun­dry – lots of it!” she says. “I feel like the boys bring out my silly, crazy side. They’re great mates and Monty cer­tainly looks up to his big brother. I’m con­stantly in awe of their creativ­ity, imag­i­na­tion, de­ter­mi­na­tion and warm hearts.” Alice and her hus­band Blake find that keep­ing the boys amused usu­ally re­quires phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity of some de­scrip­tion. They love to be out­side and en­joy go­ing for walks with their dog, rid­ing bikes, throw­ing rocks in the lake, play­ing in the sand­pit or jump­ing on the tram­po­line. But they’re also big on of­fer­ing in­door fun such as bak­ing, build­ing forts and cre­ative or imag­i­nary play. “What I’ve learnt from be­ing a mum to boys is that some­times it’s the sim­plest things that cre­ate the most joy. Dirt equals fun!” she says. “There’s also not a lot of drama with them – ev­ery­thing is pretty clear-cut. They do re­ally love ad­ven­ture and the out­doors, but they’re also very em­pa­thetic and af­fec­tion­ate and love cud­dles with their mama too.”

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