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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

Blog-osity Guest Blogger and Child Psychotherapist Joanna Fortune writes about the important lessons for our children this Christmas, in giving to others less fortunate.

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Posted by on in Play at home

 

 

As the evenings begin to get shorter and we feel a slight chill in the air, Imaginosity will soon close its Roof Garden for the Winter months, as our loyal friend and mascot Eco Badger heads off to warner climes, leaving his Rooftop Den behind for the chilly season. There is still a short remaining week or two left to explore our garden in the city. Autumn is the most perfect time to get out and about with the family, breathe in the Autumn air and kick up a big bunch of brown and yellow leaves in your wellies. Blog-Osity Guest Blogger Joanna Fortune, writes about the benefits of the Imaginosity Roof Garden and exploring nature in general with the family.

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Modern family living has changed a lot in recent generations and as a result children and families have less and less opportunity to engage with nature and the natural environment. This is a great pity as research has demonstrated that parents who talk to their children regularly, explaining features about nature and social issues, or who read or tell stories at bedtime are more likely to foster pretend play (Shmukler 1981; Singer & Singer 2005), which is essential to children's development. Further researches into the benefits of children engaging with nature consistently show us that children's social, psychological, academic and physical health is all positively impacted when they have regular contact with nature. Try incorporating a weekly nature walk into your quality time with your children, if weather is not so good just wrap up warm and get outside even just to jump in puddles or go rainbow hunting!

Encourage them to collect conkers, acorns and leaves to do some leaf tracing at home (place a sheet of paper over a leaf and rub over it with the side of a crayon or chalk), to thread and play with conkers and tell them how you did this as a child and how much fun you had. Take a tiny acorn and show them how it grows into a huge oak tree, explaining how our trees become the paper we use to trace our leaves on and the copy books that we do our homework in. Collecting some nice stones from the beach and bringing them home to wash, dry and paint is a lovely activity for children too, as is having them plant a seed and take responsibility for watering and nurturing it every day so that it grows. Involve them when you are tending to your garden, give them a little corner they can dig in themselves.

 

 

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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

 

Blog-osity Guest Blogger and Child Psychotherapist Joanna Fortune takes a look at the Dublin Diner at Imaginosity, exploring its benefits for children and for families in terms of healthy eating, happy meal-times and children's confidence around food.

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 Involving children in food play and in actual food preparation at home are a great way to introduce them to a range of different foods and to help them grow to make healthy food choices. Involving children with food preparation is also an excellent sensory play experience for young children (up to the age of 8 years) who need a lot of sensory-based engagement to support their general development at this age.Situated on Level One, the Imaginosity child-sized The Dublin Diner is a great way for children to explore, investigate and experience all aspects of food and dining out. Here your child will get the opportunity to play at finding food in the fridge, cooking up the food and clearing their plates away afterwards. It will further help your child if you continue this experience at home by asking them to fetch something for you from the fridge, have them stand beside you at the sink and wash the vegetables before you chop them and involve them in clearing the table afterwards.

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Posted by on in General

By Joanna Fortune, Clinical Child Psychologist & 'Blog-osity' Monthly Guest Blogger

A walk around Imaginosity, Ireland's only interactive children's museum for the under 9's is like taking a stroll around your child's imagination, this is the inner world of a child brought to life. On offer is a myriad of rich interactive experiences for children to engage in; from meeting the Eco Badger up on the roof garden, and learning about how the unique 'green' building works, to making your way up the Climber past the Wizard's Lair and the Rocket Ship to Rapunzel's Castle. Of course, Imaginosity is a wonderful and fun place for children to be and we see this in how their faces light up when they are there, but behind the fun it is clear that Imaginosity is providing children with much more, a genuinely child centred learning, educational and development opportunity!

There is a Greek saying that 'Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play' and that is what we can all benefit from in Imaginosity.

There are 3 stages of Developmental Play (Embodiment Play; Projective Play; Role Play) which is how children develop their understanding of who they are and who the people and the world around them are, that sense of learning where the "I" ends and the world begins.

In summary, Embodiment Play is the first stage (from 0-3.5/4 years) and is essential to developing a sense of trust. Babies learn to trust in a physical way, not through words. This is a very sensory stage of play and touch plays a vital role. Imaginosity has two dedicated spaces for smaller children, 'Little me' on level 2 for under 12 months and 'Tir na n'Og' on level 1 for children up to 24 months. Both spaces offer smaller visitors a sense of security and safety in these specifically designed, soft play, tactile, enclosed areas.

Projective Play (from 3.5/4-5.5 years) comes next and here we see an increased focus on stories and narrations to further explore and investigate objects, people and their general environment at a deeper level. Engage your child in play with dolls and puppets in Imaginosity's theatre space and have the dolls/puppets play through things your child has experienced in their lives i.e. sharing with others, staying in their own beds etc. Level 1 in Imaginosity contains everything a child needs to "create their story" and is wonderful to encourage projective play.

Role-Play (from 5.5-7 or even 9 years) is the final stage and is about dramatic play, which children use to re-structure/re-arrange aspects of their life events to gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. There will be aspects of both Embodiment and Projective play evident in this final stage. Imaginosity's Performance area is perfect for this, as it allows and enables children to role play different characters and scenarios in a safe environment where they are in charge.

This is the seriousness of play and it is important that as parents we learn to play with our children and to become comfortable communicating with them at their developmental level, as a way of connecting with them and supporting their development.

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by Joanna Fortune, Monthly Blog-Osity Contributor and Clinical Child Psychotherapist

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Parents often ask me about pocket money and how they can use it as a positive parenting tool. Here are some tips on that.

There are many child development benefits to giving your child Pocket Money, including;

• It encourages independence

• It helps develop budgeting skills and an appreciation of the value of money

• By affording them the opportunity to decide on things they like and want, they

are developing a capacity for desire

• It can help them develop saving skills

The amount you give is absolutely up to you and should be influenced by your family's financial situation but also your child's age and stage of development. You can decide if pocket money should be earned by doing household tasks for you but I would add here that part of being in a family is the expectation that everyone helps out so I would suggest that there are set chores/tasks that your child is responsible for that they are not paid for, but you may offer them the opportunity to take on additional chores to earn money. If you do this then be consistent with it and if the chore/task is not done properly, they do not get paid for it.

In terms of what age your child should be to start this system, I would say that is your parental decision, but you could start it from as young an age as 5 years, but just ensure that the amount you are giving and the chores/tasks you expect to be done by your child are appropriate and reflective of their age and stage of development e.g. a 5 year old child can be responsible for feeding the goldfish every day and putting their dirty clothes into the laundry hamper but perhaps not loading your dishwasher.

What do you expect their pocket money to cover? Are they to buy their own phone credit or personal items (teenagers) or do you cover these and their pocket money is for extra or treat items. The amount you give should reflect this and you should be clear with your child from the outset, perhaps have a pocket money agreement you both sign up to. Do not be swayed by what you are told their friends get. You are responsible for parenting your child alone and you won't know what arrangement other parents have with their children regarding the pocket money they give so you must develop your own system and stick to it.

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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

We are delighted to announce our new blogging partnership with Joanna Fortune. Joanna will be writing a Blog-osity post every month, for 12 months and we are excited to have her on-board!

Joanna Fortune is a Clinical Psychotherapist specialising in child and adolescent Psychotherapy with over 12 years experience. She is widely recognized for her use of simple supportive language to make connections with parents and children. Among many other things, Joanna is a regular contributor in the media on issues of child development and parenting. Joanna founded Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Dublin in October 2010.

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Hi, I'm Joanna Fortune and I am delighted to be writing some blogs for Imaginosity's fabulous blog site. For those who don't yet know me, I am a psychotherapist and attachment specialist working with children, adolescents and parents in my Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Sandyford Dublin 18 ( www.solamh.com ). It has been said that I tend to view the world through the eyes of a 5 year old and this, I'm proud to say, is very true. Why not take a look at www.joannafortune.com to find out all about me and the work that I do.

So you can expect my blogs to be about child development, challenging behaviours and what they mean, as well as practical tips on parent-child play time. Whatever I am blogging about there will always be a practical tip for you to use at home with your child, ensuring15 minutes of quality play time together per day.

The weather is finally getting better and it's time to get out there and make the most of it with your children while you can. I noticed that Imaginosity were doing a great theme to welcome spring so I thought I would take their lead and talk you through a fun, sensory engaging parent-child spring time play tip. You can start this activity with a great nature walk and collect some items for your 'sensory basin' while out and about having fun.

 

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