Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Five Love Languages of Children

Have you got any suggestions as to how I can help my child to feel more loved, and grow up happy and healthy?

Parenting is hard, and we do our best to make sure our children feel loved and have a safe and secure home that will set them up for life. The fact that you’re even reading this says to me that you deeply care about your children, and want the very best for them. Generally, all parents do - but it’s taking the time to improve our parenting skills by reading, attending seminars, talking with experts and other parents and generally resourcing ourselves.

I want to recommend a book by Gary Chapman called “The Five Love Languages of Children.” In this book, Gary outlines five different ways that we feel loved by another person. He believes that everyone benefits from all five expressions of love, but there are one or two in which we feel most loved and is most important to us. This goes for our children as well. The five he has given are as follows:

We feel most loved when someone spends quality time with us. This is giving us undivided attention to talk with us or spending time together involved in an activity of interest. For a child whose love language is “Time”, it means the world to them if we go out of our way to set aside time especially for them: making it a regular weekly special time, scheduling it in our diaries or on the family calendar etc.

Acts of Service
We feel most loved when someone does something practical for our benefit. For an adult this might me attending to some household chores so that we don’t have to, or it might mean making us dinner or even just a cup of coffee. For a child, it might be something like fixing the tyre on their bike, helping them with their homework.

Physical Touch
We feel most loved when we experience physical touch from our loved ones. This might include massage (if appropriate), holding hands, an arm around the shoulder, having a child sit on your lap, lots of cuddles, even “rough and tumble” play. It’s easy for dads to neglect this when their son or daughter becomes a teenager because they may feel uncomfortable, but it is still extremely important to our teenagers - perhaps even more so at such an emotionally difficult time of their life.

Words of Encouragement
We feel most loved when someone praises us, giving us encouragement for how what we have achieved, what we are doing well or pointing out our attributes when we make a mistake/fail, or positive comments about who we are as a person. Both adults and children with this love language feel especially hurt when words are used to criticize or carelessly/mistakenly put them down.

We feel most loved when someone gives us a gift. This does not necessarily have to be an expensive gift. It might be something simple like a card, or a baking a cake especially for that person. It might be flowers or a thoughtful present having heard and remembered a conversation where they had expressed a desire for something.

As you can probably appreciate, each and every one of these expressions of love benefit our children. But there are one or two that speak volumes to your child about how you love them. So how do you know which love language your child most appreciates?

1. Observe how your child expresses love to you. People (both children and adults) generally give love in the way they themselves would like to receive it. Your child may well be speaking his own love language without you realizing it. Be particularly aware of those love languages that aren’t natural to you.
2. Observe how your child expresses love to others. Pay close attention to how your child interacts with the children and adults to whom your child most often shows affection.
3. Listen to what your child requests most often. Most kids are not shy about voicing their requests, preferences and desires. If you learn to “listen between the lines” to the things your child is requesting, you may hear his or her primary love language.
4. Listen to your child’s most frequent complaints. When you stop to consider their whining and grumbling, the results may surprise you. Their complaints may fall into a category corresponding with one of the love languages.
5. Give your child a choice between two options. Try introducing your child to situations where there are choices between two love languages. Pay close attention to the decisions made. The love language your child chooses most often may very well be the primary love language.

As adults, we too tend to show/express love in our own natural love language. And there are often one or two love languages that we find particularly difficult to express. It’s helpful to be aware of our child’s love language and to be intentional about expressing love in this way. It might feel foreign to us to express love in a way that we ourselves do not find especially beneficial, but we should not assume that our child naturally feels loved by us. For instance, our love language may be Acts of Service while our child’s might be Time. We might feel that because we cook, clean and care for their physical needs, our child feels loved - when in actual fact they are longing for some one-on-one time where they can talk with you for a while about what’s going on in their life - or play a game with you that they enjoy, throw a rugby ball around the yard with their dad or simply have you read a chapter each night of a book they enjoy even when they’re old enough to read it themselves.

If you would like to know more about the 5 Love Languages of Children - go to your library or see your bookstore and look for author Gary Chapman.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


My baby has reflux. What can I do?

Well first, it helps to understand what reflux is. When a baby has gastric reflux its when the valve at the top of the stomach doesn’t close properly. The contents of the baby’s stomach (food and digestive acids) are brought up/regurgitated so that the baby vomits/spills. The acid can burn and may cause the baby great discomfort and/or pain.

Symptoms may include:

  • Distress during/after feeding
  • Refusing to feed or comfort feeding (over-feeding otherwise unhappy)
  • Irritability/fussiness
  • Oversensitivity to noise due to tiredness
  • May hold their head to one side to ease discomfit
  • Spilling/vomiting
  • Change in voice
  • Upper respiratory infections/sore throats

There are lots of options for treatment depending on your baby’s circumstance. Some are medical interventions, and some are things you can try on your own. It’s important, however, to discuss your concerns and suspicions with your Plunket Nurse and your doctor. Your Plunket Nurse will offer helpful advice and but your GP is the only one who can formally diagnose your baby with Gastric Reflux.

Here are some things that you can do:

  • Try a dairy-free diet for two weeks if you are breastfeeding
  • Try a dairy-free formula for two weeks if you are bottle feeding or if that doesn’t work, a thickened formula
  • Raise the head of the baby’s bassinette/cot by 30 degrees
  • When feeding try a more upright position - this is especially achievable when bottle-fed. Baby can sit almost upright while being bottle-fed, and move the bottle’s angle to prevent baby from sucking in air.
  • Use front packs, jolly jumper or exersaucer to keep baby upright during awake-times

If you are finding that your baby is still distressed, it may well be that your GP recommends medication. There are a number of medication options available which your GP can discuss with you. There are also a number of alternative therapies available that are herbal or homeopathic remedies. Some families choose to try Osteopathy and find this to be very effective, whereas others do not believe it to be beneficial. For more detailed information about Reflux and Treatment Options, we recommend the website “Crying Over Spilt Milk”

When to seek medical advice:

  • If your baby is restless
  • If your baby has sore ears
  • If your baby has projectile vomiting
  • If your baby has chronic wheezing
  • If your baby has difficulty swallowing
  • If your baby frequently has hiccups
  • If your baby fails to thrive (growth measurements)
  • If your baby has chronic coughing

Seek urgent medical attention if you have seen signs of dehydration (you are concerned about their decrease in feeds, they have reduced wet nappies or they seem lethargic - if your baby is floppy, go straight to the hospital), your baby has a high temperature nearing 40 degrees.

If you are unsure or concerned and you want to discuss your baby’s symptoms, call Healthline 0800-611-116.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

A Quick Survey

Parents - we'd love for you to take part in our quick survey about childcare.

Please go to the following link:

Monday, 3 August 2009

Kids Learning Styles

New Zealand Nannies International discovered an interesting article on Kids Learning Styles based on their personality - borrowed from "Parenting" Magazine Issue #36. The article identifies the different needs children have and how they learn best according to their personality. Here is a summary:

Beaver (Melancholic)
Personality: Self-conscious, easily-embarrased, timid, bashful, avoids talking before a group, prefers to work and play alone, detailed, careful, deliberate, slow in making decisions, overcautious even in minor matters, may lack self-confidence and initiative, compliant, yielding, reserved, has a few intimate friendships, very sensitive, modest, creative, good at planning, organized, meticulous, analytical, conscientious.
Learning Style: Practical, observant, hands-on, methodical, precise, organized, conformers
  • Start with the facts
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Be praised for their attention to detail and good memory
  • Work to a plan
  • Understand one thing at a time
  • Tick off completed tasks
  • Observe rather than explore
  • See lots of examples
  • Repeat until skill is learned
Lion (Choleric)
Personality: Rational, decisive, strong-willed, independent, opinionated, natural leader (may be bossy!), most prone to anger - does not display compassion easily, goal/task oriented, irritated by details, determined.
Learning style: Logical, questioning, negotiating, competent, fair, analytical, achievers
  • Start with goal-setting
  • Praise for achievements
  • Be treated like equal partners in their learning
  • Be logical
  • Be challenged
  • Understand why it's important
  • Receive clear feedback on how to improve
  • Critique objectively without penalty
  • Investigate pros & cons
Otter (Sanguine)
Personality: Influences others, natural leader, receptive, outgoing, talkative, often affectionate, cheerful/bubbly, often messy or disorganized, emotional, lacks discipline.
Learning style: Imaginative, easily-distracted, spontaneous, creative, unpredictable, day-dreamers.
  • Spontaneous activities to interrupt routine
  • Start with their ideas
  • Praise for originality
  • Understand the big picture
  • Be given choices
  • Have big dreams with no penalties
  • Freedom to be creative/curious
  • Avoid repetition
  • Explore things they find interesting
Retriever (Phlegmatic)
Personality: Steady, idealist, easy-going nature, calm, timid, often uses humour to make points, observes rather than involving self in others' activities, lacks motivation (can even be lazy), lack drive and ambition, self-protecting (to the point of selfishness), very stubborn - though often hidden under mild manner, dependable.
Learning style: Caring, empathetic, affectionate, kind, loyal, willing to help.
  • Start with points of agreement
  • Frequently praised by people who care
  • Study in a calm setting
  • Feel supported and appreciated
  • Study assignments that relate to people
  • Study with a friend
  • Know how what they're studying can be helpful
  • Study the important values in any situation
  • Learn through collaboration
Though most of us are made up of characteristics from all personality types, there are two that stand out, and one that is strongest.

Choleric/Sanguine personality types tend to be extroverts, while Melancholic/Phlegmatic personality types tend to be introverts. An extrovert gets their energy from people. An introvert gets their energy from time on their own.

What Assists an Extrovert in their Learning: Start with discussion, praise for participation, works well in groups, speak more than write, learn by doing, think out loud without penalty, talk to confirm what's learned, learn in the outdoors at times, have energy and enthusiasm.

What Assists an Introvert in their Learning: Start with a quiet space, be praised for listening and thinking skills, work independently, work without interruption, given time to process thoughts, given feedback privately, write more than they speak, choose to listen rather than participate with no penalty, study topics indepth.

August Family Events in Auckland

Wednesday 5th (12th, 19th and 26th)

Library Pre-School Story Time

MOTAT Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland

10.30am - 11.00am. What better way to spend a cold and wet winter day than snuggled up on bean bags listening to captivating stories told by MOTAT's librarians! More info: 815 5810.

Friday 7th

Howick Plunket Seminars
- Jewellery Workshop

Boardroom, Westfield Pakuranga,
Level 4 Westfield Towers
(adjacent to Training Room)

11am. Gold coin donation. Brownsons Jewellers, in conjunction with Pandora, will provide a jewellery workshop explaining the Pandora product range. A great chance to preview the product for upcoming special occasions. Children welcome, morning tea provided. More info: Rochelle - 533 7852 or

Saturday 8th - Sunday 9th

The Big Night In Telethon 2009
- Giving to Kiwi Kids in Poverty

7pm on TV3. A spectacular 23 hour television event to remember. Proceeds go to the KidsCan StandTall Charitable Trust, dedicated to ensuring Kiwi kids less fortunate than others have a bright future. Money raised from the Telethon will provide New Zealand children living in extreme poverty with food, shoes and raincoats to keep them warm and dry in winter. To make a donation before The Big Night In visit:, call: 0800 BNI 2009 with your credit card details or visit your local ASB, who will take old coins and foreign currencies as donations too.

Saturday 8th August

Howick Plunket 6th Annual Quiz Night

Howick Pakuranga Netball Club Rooms, 451 Pakuranga Highway, Howick

7.30pm. $15. Entry includes nibbles and supper, plus a complimentary glass of wine or juice. BYO beer and wine. Get your team together now! More info: Laura - 576 5399 or

Pick & Mix: World Music Concert

Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Drive

11 am. Free. Zoh Zoh perform a fusion of Afro beat jazz and Reggae. Then it's your turn to learn some West African dancing! More info: 307 5435

Saturday 15th

Pick & Mix: NZSO

Auckland Town Hall, 303 Queen Street

11 am. Free. Discover the instruments of the symphony orchestra, then have a go at composing a brand new piece of music! More info: 307 5435

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Logan Campbell Centre, ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane Rd West

10am, 1pm and 4pm. Family Pass: $30. Live theatre exposes children to new levels of creativity and imagination. Exciting children's activities like face painting, freebies, photo session with the cast, etc… More info: 361 4500 or

Sunday 16th August

3rd Sunday of the Month at MOTAT

MOTAT, Great North Road, Western Springs

10am - 5pm. Visitors can get up close and personal with MOTAT's exhibits; take your pick from the endless array of activities - military vehicle rides, trip on a steam train or a guided tour of MOTAT's Aircraft Hanger. MOTAT's Lollymaker and Blacksmith will be demonstrating their traditional skills. You can also participate in a bookbinding workshop or take home a souvenir from MOTAT's operational printing press! More info:

Thursday 20th (runs until Sunday 23rd)

"Hello Music Land" Live Interactive Cinema Show

10.30am and 1pm, St Lukes - SKYCITY Cinema A magical mix of digital cinema animation movie and live stage show, coming to NZ after successful tours in Australia and Asia. Play the world's largest SNAP game, ride on a rainbow road, turn pages of a giant StoryBook, sing and dance in the aisles -fantastic family fun! More info: or SKYCITY Cinemas for bookings: 302 0002

Saturday 22nd

Pick & Mix: Calle Latina

Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Drive

11 am. Free. An exciting musical hybrid of Latin, Reggae, Salsa and more. Once the rhythm has got you, you'll learn the moves too. More info: 307 5435

Sunday 23rd August

Howick Plunket Baby Fair

Howick Recreation Centre,
563 Pakuranga Rd, Howick

10am - 12 noon. Entry by gold coin donation. Come along for great bargains on new and used baby/children's books, clothes, toys, nursery items and accessories and much more. More info: Laura - 576 5399 or

Saturday 29th(and Sunday 30th)

'Massive Company' Theatre Workshops

Corban Estate Arts Centre

10am - 5pm. FREE. Suitable for 15 - 25 years. The workshop will give an introduction to the techniques and exercises that Massive Company use when devising theatre. It will be highly physical and lots of fun. No previous experience required, just the willingness to try anything and to work with new people. More info: or 369 1864.

Sunday 30th

Po Kung Fu Panda Show

Centre Court, Westfield Manukau City Shopping Centre. Corner Wiri Station Road and Great South Road

11am and 1pm. Free. Great entertainment for all ages, heaps of prizes to be win. Don't miss the amazing characters live in action. More info: Monya van Wyk - 978 5310 or