Boys and Sticks

boys and sticksWhat is it with boys and sticks?  They love them don’t they?  From toddlerhood onwards every parent will know about the sticks being brought home.  Soon you end up with a pile of sticks in your garden or stacked up by the front door or the back door or both.  More disciplined parents insist that sticks are left behind in the woods/park/field, but that can lead to tears and tantrums.

If you are like me, you’ll let the sticks come home and then get rid of them later.  Every now and again some go into the garden waste bin as a little present for the council.  I take from the back/bottom of the pile so it isn’t too obvious.  The most recent sticks stay to give the illusion that nothing has gone.

Now there is a lot of good fun to be had with sticks: making pictures, den building and shapes with sticks (think treasure hunt with stick arrows and the like).  In many ways, they are the most popular of toys.There is also a lot of hurt.  Every time sticks get played with amongst friends they end up being a weapon, whether intentional of not.  I worry about eyes being poked.  I really wish they wouldn’t do it, but unless you have eyes in the back of your head, you will find that your child is using a stick as a weapon.

What do you do to combat the stick problem?  What rules do you have?  Has your child ever been injured by a stick being used as a toy by another child?  How do you tackle the stick issue? Is it just a boy thing or are girls just as bad?


Short on School Dinners

There was a problem with the school dinners at my son’s school this week.  There wasn’t enough food to go around.  I’m not sure what happened: maybe some food was dropped or spoilt in some way.  It almost doesn’t matter what happened as long as they take any necessary steps to avoid the problem in future.  My main concern was that they didn’t provide an alternative.

Some children just had green beans for their main course.  This might have been partly unlucky because they didn’t like the school fish and that was all that was left.  I guess if you are fussy about your food, then you might lose out.  That said they should have been able to fill up from the salad bar and they should have been able to get some sort of carbohydrate like potatoes or rice.  For whatever reason, there wasn’t enough of that to go around.

Surely if you know there is a problem with the food, you try to do something about it.  You get out some bread and make some sandwiches, or toast or even just bread and butter.  If there’s time you try to cook an alternative, but if not you find something to serve up to fill tummies.  If needs be you send someone to the shop and buy something pre-prepared and instant to give to the children.

Hungry children are often badly behaved and it affects their concentration levels.  They need to eat a reasonable lunch.

I can’t help wondering if the extra pressure of more children having the free school dinners for infants, isn’t having an impact on quality and the staff are struggling to keep up with the increased demand.  Have your school experienced any problems since the government introduced free school meals for infant children?

When To Let Kids Sort It Out Themselves

I think this is one of the trickiest parts of parenting: knowing when to let go and let children sort out problems for themselves.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when you should leave them and when you shouldn’t.  It’s a tightrope to walk and I think we all get it right sometimes and wrong sometimes.

When we go to a weekly class, J has experienced some problems with another boy of the same age.  When this boy does the same thing to a younger child or even to a girl of the same age, a serious view is taken of it and the parent intervenes.  When it’s J though, generally it is left as it’s ‘they’ll sort it out’.  It doesn’t sit entirely right with me.  The truth is they don’t really sort it out.   J gets upset or hurt (slightly) and the situation doesn’t move on at all.  The same thing happens next time too.

I’ve tried suggesting strategies for J to help deal with it and they sometimes work for a week or so, but then we find ourselves back in the same situation.  The problem is that J isn’t the one initiating the problems, so he’s often on the back foot in trying to deal or respond to it.  He has tried changing his behaviour, but the other child doesn’t seem to have made any changes.  I think for the other child it isn’t a problem as he isn’t getting hurt/upset and his parent doesn’t want to take action.  Sometimes you have to intervene.