#MyGloriousGardens October Link Party!

Can you believe it? It’s flown into October and I’m even a little late with the Link party this month! It’s been a busy, busy month with full-time work, kids, garden………etc etc

However enough of me! Let’s get linking….

Some Guidance for all your lovely linkers!

If are a new linker, the rules are simple…..just click on the blue link up button at the bottom of this screen and it will take you to a new page where you can copy and paste your posts.

Please add the #MyGloriousGardens button to your post -you can find it in my sidebar (widget). This helps me track who has been reading the other bloggers posts.

Tweet me @oldhouseinthes1 for a retweet. Retweet any posts you really love using the same hastag.

Spread the linky love by commenting on some of the other bloggers posts, including mine please. Please don’t link and run! It’s not what this party is all about. As a guide, try to comment on the post directly before your and one of the hosts post as a minimum.

I will comment on every post linked up and share on all my social media sites. I will put all posts on Stumbleupon as well as Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook -do check out my pages. I always post a round up post after the link party has closed so that you get further traffic from that. What’s not to love!?

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Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday is when you share six plants or things that are happening in your gardening and was started by The Propagator

I haven’t joined in before but after lots of bulb planting today, moving some perennials and sorting out the Greenhouse, I managed to take some good photographs that I am happy with.

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David Austin ‘The Generous Gardener’

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Nasturtiums

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Japanese Anemones

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Cyclamens under the old cherry tree

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Purple Asters

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Salvia Amistad

We enjoyed a cloudy yet mild day today in Wiltshire but there is a storm coming tonight so I’m not looking forward to that!

Happy Saturday everyone!

The Working Parents dilemma

I love my job.

I have said this before. I’m a teacher and I really love my job.

What I don’t love are the hours; the paperwork and the time commitment needed. There really aren’t enough hours in the day to be a good teacher and a healthy mum/partner. So many teachers are leaving the profession before they have really started. The holidays help but when you are working such long hours in the term time and don’t engage with your own children, something is very wrong.

So, here I am working more and finding myself at the same crossroads whether to work part time or full time. How did that happen, again?

Let me tell you a story….

Once there was a great teacher who worked hard at her job. She loved it. Then she had 2 young children of her own. Suddenly, there was the immense guilt of not always being there for her own children. She had an amazing partner but she wanted to be there for her children when they needed her. The teacher was also very committed to the children in her charge and would worry about them as if they were her own. She juggled and juggled and was promoted to a management position which meant more money but more juggling was involved. She was good at her job and because of that she was given more work which she juggled some more without complaint. The teacher went to university to study for a Masters during this time throwing more into the mix yet still she juggled. As her children grew they became involved in sports at the weekend so she couldn’t rest at the weekends as perhaps she should. But she was a working parent and that is what we do…until….

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The teacher looked up and realised that not all was well with her family. She realised that her family needed her at home. She also realised that she was unhealthy both physically and mentally and in order to sort out all of this, she needed to stop. Stop and breathe. Stop and live. Stop and take a pause from teaching.

After a whole year of being at home, the teacher began to enjoy life again. Her family healed and she felt present in all of their lives. A new fur baby arrived with a gorgeous brown nose which allowed her to get outside for long walks and to feel the fresh air for the first time in ages. She reconnected with nature; her first love and realised that this was living. She reconnected with friends lost due to having no time. The teacher began to exercise again and found that she needed it.  However, soon teaching called to her to return and she threw herself back into what she loved but what made her unhealthy. The reality of full time teaching had been forgotten and the same stresses returned. The teacher recognised this and luckily was able to work part time.

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Walking in the woods

Part time teaching is what the teacher needed and this worked out well as her children grew around her. However good teachers get asked to work more and being the sort of person who loves teaching, the teacher accepted all the new work given to her. However, full time work is bringing back all the same feelings and she feels at a crossroads again in her life. Will there be a time after her children have grown that she feels she can work full time or should she stay as a part time teacher? Part time teaching is not the career she imagined but perhaps is the career that she needs.

What is the answer? I honestly don’t think women can ‘have it all’ and survive!

What works for your family and do you have any tips?

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Mother of Teenagers

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Apples, apples everywhere!

We are lucky to have a rather lovely, old apple tree in the old house garden which is groaning with apples this Autumn. I expect it is the sole survivor of an apple orchard planted in the 1950’s or so but it is very welcome and we have been harvesting many, many apples this weekend. We had a cold spell in late Spring here in the UK and I have read that this has affected this year’s harvest. I think the old house garden is so sheltered that our apple tree was covered in blossom and didn’t seem to be affected hence the great apple crop.

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The old house garden apple tree is groaning with fruit

So what to do with all these lovely apples?

Last year, we failed at making cider or juice for that matter….I think as the apples are Bramley apples this was doomed from the start! This year, we decided to try Apple sauce.

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Washing the apples in the wheel barrow

After climbing a rather large ladder we managed to collect about half of all the apples on the tree into a wheel barrow. We couldn’t reach the apples on the top branches so we have left those. We washed the apples and selected the best to use in our apple sauce.

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Chopping the apples

We chopped and sliced the apples and put them in saucepans.

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We had 4 large saucepans in total.

We added lemon juice, water and caster sugar to each saucepan. I have no quantities for you as we just went with the amounts we thought were right! We brought this to a gentle simmer which we left, stirring occasionally as the apples softened.

Meanwhile, I made an apple and blackberry crumble with some blackberries we picked on our dog walk this morning.

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Lots of blackberries in the fields at the moment.

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Make sure you wash the fruit

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I admit that I bought a crumble mix from the supermarket! It cooks in the oven for about 30 minutes and its so easy.

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Apple and blackberry crumble doesn’t last long in this house (and it’s mostly eaten by me!)

Meanwhile, the sauce was coming along nicely. We added more sugar for taste and also some sweet cinnamon.

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The apple sauce was ready and left to cool.

After we had left it to cool, we put it into sterilised jars ready for the fridge!

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Lots of jars of apple sauce -yummy!

And what to do with all the leftover apples?

Help yourself!

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Free Bramley apples at the old house!

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My Random Musings
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OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

Bulbs to plant this Autumn

On a trip to the garden centre or DIY store at this time of year you will find a wide variety of bulbs that can be planted now for a wonderful Spring display. My favourites for planting right now are daffodils, snowdrops, English bluebells, Fritillaria, iris, hyacinths and crocus. You can plant tulips too but I tend to leave these until late October. This is because they can rot in the ground if it is too warm and you want them planted about 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes for winter.

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Pink and cream tulips in the old house garden last Spring

How do I plant bulbs?

  • Choose bulbs that are firm to the touch, free from any mould and make sure they are not rotten. I know this sounds common sense but I have bought packs of bulbs before that I didn’t notice were a little mushy! You can also plant bulbs left over from last year that you have stored in a dry place. As long as they are healthy, get them in the ground!
  • Choose you site and clear it of any weeds. You can plant amongst the other plants too to bring added colour in the Spring.
  • Dig according to the depth on your bulb packet. Make sure the hole is wide and deep enough for your bulb.
  • Your bulb needs to be planted ‘nose’ up and with the roots pointing downwards.
  • Replace the soil around the bulb and firm it down.
  • I always water the bulbs too so they can put down roots before the winter.

 

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Snow drops are such a welcome sight in January.

For a natural look, throw a handful of bulbs in your space and plant the bulbs where they land. This is great in larger areas such as woodlands.

My Favourite bulbs are:

For woodland or shaded areas: snowdrops, English bluebells and Fritillaria.

For cottage style planting: iris, daffodils.

For formal planting: globemaster alliums, tulips.

In pots: hyacinths, iris, tulips.

There are some lovely combinations that you can achieve with bulbs and it is so satisfying when they flower in the Spring.

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Which combination to choose?

Bulbs to plant this Autumn

 

My Random Musings
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Creating a Rose Garden

I haven’t posted a roundup post for the old house garden for a while because we have been busy creating a rose garden in the middle section of the old house garden.

I have blogged about the middle section of the garden before here

When we moved into the old house, the garden had been badly neglected but we could see what an amazing place it could be. It was dark and gloomy and we have spent the past 18 months concentrating on the garden before we can tackle the house.

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The sad and gloomy greenhouse Feb 2016

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The same greenhouse looking happier in Sept 2017

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The dark and gloomy middle garden Feb 2016

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The new rose garden Sept 2017

Now I could write a post explaining about how we created this garden but I must admit I find those types of posts a little tedious so instead I am posting lots of photographs so you can see the different stages. Do feel free to ask any questions though.

We tried to recycle patio slabs we already had but we did need to buy red pavers, a patio circle, cement, gravel, stones, compost and plants. As we did it all for ourselves we think we have spent about £800. We also saved money by going to a Nursery plant fair at the end of their season which saved us money on the roses and lavender.

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The space in August

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We used spray paint to divide the space and began to dig out.

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This was tough work but it soon took shape. We borrowed a laser level at this stage to make sure we had our levels correct as the garden is on a slight slope.

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The soil was added to the woodland area so that we could reuse it later (in fact we decided we quite like this ‘hill’ in the woodland area so have kept it and I have planted snowdrops and bluebell bulbs here.)

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We added hard core to the areas and compacted it using a compactor. This was tough work as it all had to be brought in with wheel barrows. We then started on the retaining wall at the back.

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We made the path next using pavers. The key here is to make sure they are level from the beginning. We had to use more hardcore and cement as we went along as the area was sloping and we wanted the path to be level.

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We carried on laying the pavers working into the seating circle near the raised planters we had built in the Spring. Luckily our calculations were spot on!

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We laid out the patio circle to see exactly where it had to go. It was important to match the lines of the slabs with the lines in the pavers.

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We laid the patio circle in cement using a plumb line from the seating circle to make sure the centre of the circle was in the correct place. We then added brick pavers around the edge to link the two colours of stone.

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We used gravel around the seating circle to neaten the edges here. The colour of the gravel and new stones matches the stones used in the raised bed.

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We added a stone edge to keep the soil and gravel neatly in place.

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We finally took the turf off and added manure and peat free compost. The area was almost ready for planting! At this stage we downed tools and went to a plant fair to buy our roses.

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We wanted to incorporate an old bird bath that we found in the garden so decided to make it a focal point by raising it onto blocks. These were cemented in.

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The bird bath was rolled into place -it is REALLY heavy!

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I love the bird bath here and the birds are already using it!

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The other seating circle was finished last.

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Planting is always fun and I love the traditional look of roses and lavender together. All our visits to other gardens really helped us design this section of the garden.

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The finished Rose Garden.

The roses we bought are: David Austin Olivia Rose, Generous Gardener and Brother Cadfael. I love the fact that these roses have peony type blooms and are pale to mid pink with a lovely old English scent. We also planted lavender. We have room for more so I will look out for other roses in the Spring but would welcome suggestions.

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Oliva Rose

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Dottie loves it too!

Already, I love this area! We hope to buy a couple of benches for the seating circle so that we can sit and enjoy this area. We are not sure at this point whether to add a table and chair set to the patio circle or we did think a large urn on a plinth may look better. What do you think?

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

#MyGloriousGardens September Round-up Post

Hello everyone!

This is the September Round-up of #MyGloriousGardens. What a busy month it has been in the old house! Back to school and work, my school had an inspection, my poor mum has been ill and we have been hard at work developing a new part of our garden which is almost ready to share with you! Phew….

This month we had 18 lovely linkers.  I will be sharing these posts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Stumbleupon. I hope that this brings you more blogging love!

Not every linker is commenting on the other blogs so that is something that you may like to do in the next few weeks. Please don’t just link and run. It makes it easier if you could please add the #MyGloriousGardens tag after you comment so that bloggers can see where you came from. Thank you.

Now to the linkers:

Mudcakesandwine

A lovely post about adding annuals via seeds to a border. I think the author was disappointed but I think this border looks great and will possibly reseed itself for next year. A little bit of colour in a dull patch is always welcome! I’m sorry I couldn’t find your name on your blog but welcome to this little community of the blogging world! I hope you can return next month.

thenextbestthingtomummy

Karen posted 2 posts this month. She has worked in Early Years and posted a post about being a childminder as well as a post about The North Devon Mini-run. Thank you Karen for these posts and for linking again this month. I couldn’t find any share buttons on your posts Karen but I have put these on to Twitter and Stumbleupon.

allthingsspliced

Nicola shared a post about her lovely holiday in Cornwall in a caravan with her family. I loved the photographs in her post and it actually looked like she enjoyed good weather! They stopped off at Dyrham Park, one of my favourite places near me, to visit. Thank you Nicola for linking again this month.

Thomasstone.blog

Hello Thomas. Thomas is a regular linker and gives us gardeners lots of great advice! This month he talks about hedge trimming with practical tips and do’s and don’ts which has proved very useful in the old house garden. We have a large beech hedge which is now looking trim and neat!

Growingself

Hello Roda. I am an avid reader of Roda’s blog which is so uplifting and positive. This post is no exception. She always includes beautiful photographs to brighten the soul which you can also find on Instagram for further inspiration. Thank you Roda. I’m glad I was a post-it note reminder for September! Hope to see you again next month.

CandeloBlooms

Jane is a regular so welcome back Jane! I love the fact that Jane lives on the other side of the world so she is just approaching the excitement of Spring whilst we are heading into Autumn. It will be lovely to watch as her growing garden in months to come.

greenfingeredblog

Welcome to Paul as a new linker. Paul’s post is about a visit to a garden I don’t know about called, Kingston Maurward. You know me readers, I love a good garden visit as they were the inspiration behind #MyGloriousGardens. I love the way posts like this one enables us to take away inspiration for our own gardens and this one is no different. Do take a look. Thank you Paul for joining in with the Linky! I hope you pop back next month.

Mypottingbench

Welcome to Craig and his wonderful post on the amazing RHS Wisley. I haven’t been yet but this special garden is on my list! I love the Exotic Garden with its straight lines and central pond….glorious! Thank you for linking this month. We hope to see you again.

30daysofwildparenting

Joshua is a regular linker so thank you for linking this month! I love the way Joshua blogs about jobs that are easy for fellow gardeners to be getting on with and his shed is one such project. I hope to see you again next month.

offtheedgegardening

This is such a cute post about Gill having little helpers in her garden and the lovely nature collection they made into a piece of art. Lovely to have you with us this month, Gill. Hope to see you again.

Vegplotting

Michelle linked last month so thank you for linking again. In this post, Michelle talks about the fact that we can sometimes be too critical of our gardens when we really shouldn’t be! After all this rain, my garden is looking a little windswept but it is still glorious. I’m sure you garden is too. Michelle.

Watching the Daisies

Hello Brigid and thank you for linking again to #MyGloriousGardens. Brigid has linked 2 posts and I love them both. If I had to choose I would say I love seeing her own garden and the changes that the seasons bring. Thank you for linking this month and hope to see you in October.

dogwooddays

Nic was a first time linker so welcome! I loved this post about the benefits at this time of year of having a cutting patch. I must admit that I may have to do this for next year! I love all the colourful Gladioli and Bells of Ireland that Nic is now enjoying in vases in her house. Right…now where is that bulb catalogue? Hope to see you next month, Nic.

Urbanvegpatch

A lovely round-up post from Caro about her garden and its fruit and veg. Like all of us gardeners she is excited about planning for the spring with….seed catalogues! We all love them don’t we? Lovely photographs in this post too.

 

Well that’s all folks…..See you in October.

Just one teaser photo for you….I can’t keep it to myself anymore…..Our new rose garden…almost finished!

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The old house new rose garden

My Random Musings

Could our children be anxious because of us?

There seems to be more children with anxiety in our society than ever before. This is something that I have been reading quite a bit about recently and the facts are quite staggering. In fact the research shows that as many as one in six young people in the UK suffer from anxiety. To look it another way, one in five teenagers in an average class will be suffering from anxiety (anxiety.org.uk). This is a frightening statistic frankly and it got me thinking about why this is happening.  As a mum, I know that there are many pressure of our teenagers which I have written about Here.

As a teacher and a mum I come across many, many children and their parents. I’m not a mental health expert and I’m only offering my opinions gathered from my experiences in this post. I certainly wouldn’t want to offend anyone but I wonder if the way we parent is adding to the anxiety that our young people are experiencing? In being such caring parents perhaps we are not helping our youngsters?

 

Here are my thoughts:

1. Perhaps by always telling our children that they are amazing at things, we are creating anxiety?

As parents and teachers, we want to praise our children for the things that they have done but I think the words we use are so important. Telling relatives that your child is going to play for a county team because they are amazing at sport actually creates tension, as your child is then expected to make that team. We’ve all done it; I know I have but labelling your child as ‘really good at maths’ creates a pressure for your child to always be really good at maths when their flair for maths may just be a stage. We want our children to enjoy what they enjoy or are motivated by, not become burdened by adult expectation.

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2. Do we overplay a ‘blip’?

As parents, we worry when our children get a bad grade in science or stick on a reading level but we really shouldn’t. All children plateau with their learning as that is the nature of learning! I’m often dismayed to hear that children as young as 6 years old are having tutor support because they received one poor maths grade. It may be just that they need to consolidate what they have learnt and then they will start making progress again. Tutors are great for children who need a little confidence or who have a barrier to learning such as dyslexia but all children will plateau at some point. This does not mean that they need extra tuition. If our children think the ‘blip’ is important enough to need support, they become anxious about their performance. Learning is a process that is complex and children must feel confident in their own abilities to make those next steps.

3. Do we overplay friendship issues?

One moment of unkindness is not bullying. Seeing you get upset when your child is working through a friendship issue will make them think the issue is more important than it really is. It really isn’t. All children have friendship woes, it’s a normal part of growing up. We need to help our children talk about their worries but not add to them by making small issues bigger than they actually are. I’ve noticed in my career that more and more parents are rushing in to talk about their child’s friendships when they should be allowing their child to figure some things out for themselves. Many, many children hit, scratch, kick, bite, pull hair and say unkind things. We need to teach our children tolerance, kindness and how to say sorry and forgive. Holding a grudge about a certain child that once pulled your child’s hair will also add to your child’s anxiety. They need to learn to get along with their peers and this anxiety about another child will not help them.

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4. Do we hide our feelings from our children?

I do this. I find it tricky to show my children if I’m sad or worried by something. I think that this is not healthy though. Obviously we shouldn’t be sharing things that are not appropriate with young children but if we are feeling sad we could tell our children that. ‘Mummy feels sad today but your smiley face is helping me feel happier.’ I think that children need to know that life can make us feel a range of emotions on a daily basis and that’s ok.

I’ve done all these things as parent at some time or another.
As a teacher, I know that praising effort is more important than praising attainment and I have always tried hard to do this with my own children. It does develop confidence and that is the one thing that young children need to try new things. Try it. Praise your children for the efforts they have made with a new skill rather than praising them when they achieve the end result. This is especially important for bright children when things come easier to them because they need the confidence to push themselves out of their comfort zone and learn that small failures are ok. Resilience to failure learnt young is better than feeling anxious as a teenager when exams hit.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Take care everyone. X

 

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Mum Muddling Through

 

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How can I help my young child learn to write? Building those muscles in 5 easy ways!

Writing is a complicated process that involves many, many skills yet we expect young children to become writers without giving it too much thought. We also know that parental involvement is crucial in supporting children gain the skills they need to become readers and writers. So how can we help young children to become confident writers enabling them to find their own voice and become successful communicators?

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Use different writing tools such as crayons, felt tips and pencils.

There are 4 stages of writing that have are clear and are backed up by various research such as Temple, Nathan, Temple 2012. These are:

  1. Drawing and making marks (scribbling). During this stage the child does not see the difference between their marks and their pictures. They do not connect their marks to meanings. They may give names to their pictures -“Mummy” but will happily paint or scribble over the top of their picture. This is from about the age of 18 months until the child is about 3. Children at this young age will often hold their crayon or pen in a fist grip.
  2. At this stage children begin to give meanings to their marks. They will begin to pick up letters that are familiar to them; these are often the letters in their names. They don’t always associate sounds with the letters but they may know their name. e.g that is an ‘a’ and its in my name. This usually happens at about the age of 4 depending upon the child. The correct pencil grip may not have been developed.
  3. Beginning sounds. Inventive spelling occurs at this age and children must be allowed to just write and not be too worried about the correct spellings. Children will write what they hear so ‘cat’ may be written as ‘ct’. This often occurs at the age of 5 but can be later depending upon the child. At this stage it is important to ensure that the child is holding their pencil correctly using the tripod grip as bad habits can form.
  4. Children add middle and ending sounds to make plausible spelt words. They will begin to add spacing to their sentences and have some awareness of commonly spelt words and simple punctuation.  This often occurs by the age of 6 or 7 but some children may develop this stage earlier or later depending upon maturity.

Scaffolding and supporting each stage can help children become more confident in their writing skills. There are many muscles involved with every stage of writing so developing strength in these muscles is essential to ensure young children become successful writers.

 

5 easy activities for building those muscles!

Young children need to develop the muscles in their shoulders, arms, hands and fingers before writing becomes comfortable for them. You know how your hand hurts when you have been writing for ages? Children get these feelings quickly when they write so it’s important to try activities that will help this. Try writing using your non dominant hand and you will quickly see what our children have to put up with!

My favourites are:

  1. Play dough. I love play dough! I use it all the time in the classroom because children love it too. Ask your child to make ‘worms’ by rolling the play dough between their hands and the table. Try rolling the dough into balls in between their fingers or hands. Think about the muscles this is helping.
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Play dough or Plasticine.

2. Play with hoops outside. Spin the hoop on your arm. This is super fun but is actually strengthening the muscles in your child’s arms and shoulders too.

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Playing with hoops

 

3. Play with beads or small toys such as Polly Pockets. The clothes of Polly Pocket are so tricky to put on aren’t they? But they are great for strengthening little fingers! Threading beads are also great for this too.

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Threading beads

4. Painting at an Easel. This is a great activity that develops the shoulder and arm muscles. Holding a paintbrush at this angle and whooshing it across the paper trying to put the paint where your brain wants it to go is skillful! Watch young children paint at an easel and they often are having to really concentrate. Encourage children to reach across the page as this helps to develop ‘crossing the midline’ ie being able to use your right hand on the left hand side of your body. We want to develop a dominant hand as this is crucial for writing development. The children who find writing tricky often have 2 mediocre hands because they haven’t developed a strong dominant hand (and it can be right or left of course). You can also see children later on turning their paper sideways to compensate for their lack of dominant hand strength.

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Lego

5. Lego. Children learn so much from Lego but have you tried putting those tiny pieces together? Tricky! I did not play with Lego as a child but love it as a parent/teacher! It is excellent for the development of the muscles in the fingers.

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I hope this is useful. Do get in touch if you want to know more.

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Monday Stumble Linky
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My Random Musings

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Tips for New Bloggers: Link Parties and which to join.

Link Parties are a great way to help your blog grow. A link party is a place to post your new blog post and read other posts in return. They are hosted by various bloggers and there are lots to choose from. I have a monthly garden one called #MyGloriousGardens.

Calling all Bloggers- Which Link Parties to join 2017

I love joining Linkies. It’s definitely helped me to ‘meet’ new bloggers but also helps your new blog posts to be exposed to more readers. You also ‘get to know’ other bloggers within the community which is also a way to expose your content to new readers as they will often retweet or reblog a great post for you.

Here are my top link parties that I regularly join.

Monday

Reflections From Me

Mummy Times Two
One Messy Mama
Two Tiny Hands

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All Mum Said
My Random Musings
Pink Pear Bear
Tuesday
3 Little Buttons
Mummascribbles
The Tactical Mummy

Mother of Teenagers

Wednesday
Run Jump Scrap
My Random Musings

ethannevelyn.com
Real Mum Reviews
The Pramshed
Potty Adventures
Thursday

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mummuddlingthrough
Suitcases and Sandcastles
Friday

ethannevelyn.com
Life Love and Dirty Dishes
Post Comment Love

Lucy At Home

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Saturday
Mission Mindfulness
Sunday
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Monthly link Parties
Oldhouseintheshires
This is my Linky and it runs from the 1st of each month and is dedicated to Gardens/Garden reviews/Garden products/outdoor posts. At the end of the month, I post a roundup post of all the entries.
I’m sure there are many more but these are the ones I regularly post to.
I hope you have found this post useful.