Signifying changes

Children have their own achievements. Each birthday signals that a whole year of learning has gone by and that the child is an older and different person from the previous year. Some parents like to spend time with their child, on or after a birthday, going through the child’s room and putting away or giving away those things they have outgrown — clothes, toys, books, pictures. (But be careful not to do this with precious or important possessions.)

This clearing out and remaking of their environment helps children to notice changes in themselves and to celebrate their achievements. The freshness and newness of their surroundings helps them to feel fresh and new, too.

Ways in which parents ‘signify’ their child’s growing up can include:

– At an appropriate time, take away or put away ‘baby things’ (special blanket, for instance).

– Expect and reward dry beds by giving your child a bed of their own.

– Change baby words you have used and remind them to use the proper words. For example, no longer ask: ‘Do you want a bowl of yummies?’ but: ‘Do you want some morning tea?’

– No longer rescue them in their play with another child, now that they have information about how to solve problems. Remind them that they know what to do and send them back to fix it.

– Buy a school bag, even though they are only in nursery.

– Start giving them pocket money and helping them to use it.