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Ponycorn - Five Year Old Programs a Computer Game with Dad

By Sarah Liebetrau - 13th October 2013

Should kids learn computer programming as young as kindergarten? There is a lot of fear-mongering around kids and technology. Is it a case of fearing what we don’t know? In 2012, video game developer Ryan Henson Creighton and his daughter Cassie gave a 7 minute talk at Tedx Toronto about a game they had collaborated on, called Ponycorn, which became a worldwide sensation.

My Son Doesn't Want Surprise Gifts This Christmas

By Sarah Liebetrau - 27th November 2012

This year, there will be no surprises at Christmas time for my six year old son. No, he hasn’t been a ‘naughty boy’ and therefore undeserving of Santa’s generosity. The reason my son will have no surprises is that he will choose all of his presents and be with us when we buy them, in November. They will then be wrapped and put under the Christmas tree.

My Children Help Me Adjust to Expat Living

By Sarah Liebetrau - 4th October 2012

When you are new to a place, for that first little while you get to really see it, as if you are looking through the eyes of a child. Soon the sight of a squirrel pausing to nimbly pick up an acorn with its tiny squirrel paws will become something I have seen a hundred times before. But for now it is a novelty. “Squirrel!” the children squeal every time one makes a brave dash across the street or jumps from one tree branch to another. The Canadians seem bemused by our enthusiasm.

Fire Alarms are Scary - a Child's Perspective

By Sarah Liebetrau - 27th August 2012

Last week, the fire alarm went off in our apartment building. It was incredibly loud and didn't let up. The kids were getting ready to have their bath when it happened. My husband and I looked at each other and took a few moments to register what was happening...Mr 6 has been growing up so quickly lately, asking increasingly mature questions and showing great resilience. So it surprised me when he became panicked ...

Moving Overseas with Children - the Big Adventure

By Sarah Liebetrau - 1st June 2012

In six weeks, my family and I will be moving to Toronto, Canada from Newcastle, Australia. My husband was offered the opportunity for a transfer with his job, and after much discussion, we decided to take it. The initial contract will last for two years, with the option for us to return home after that time. The two-year time frame makes it doable for me – who knows what will happen after that? We don’t have to decide right now ... I think I have some expectations to manage, as they say in corporate-speak! I know my children are resilient, but I’m also prepared for some tears as their world changes.

Starting Primary School can be an Emotional Rollercoaster

By Sarah Liebetrau - 6th March 2012

It’s several weeks into the primary school year and my five-year-old son is experiencing his share of ups and downs adjusting to life at ‘big school’. The highs (for both of us) include waving me happily off each morning, and the beautiful hug he gives his sister every afternoon on their reunion at the school gates ... But then there are the difficult moments. Such a big life change has also come with its fair share of big emotions for my sensitive boy. After trying so hard to concentrate and control his impulses all day, those emotions often came home looking for an outlet. Any small thing has the potential to set him off ...

Children Saying Sorry - It's a Life Skill

By Sarah Liebetrau - 21st November 2011

According to Ali Macgraw’s character in the the 80s cult movie Love Story, ”love means never having to say you’re sorry”. Perhaps that’s because, according to Elton John, “sorry seems to be the hardest word”. I agree with the latter but not the former. While it can be hard to say, in our family, love means being willing to admit when you’re wrong. I apologise to our children ...

I'm Happy I Held Our Son Back from Starting School

By Sarah Liebetrau - 8th November 2011

This time last year I was in a quandary. I was trying to decide whether or not to send our then-four-year-old son to school this year. My initial feeling was that he would be ready to go – he had a large vocabulary for his age, and was very curious and eager to learn. He was also very tall for his age, got along well with older peers, and had good fine motor skills. His preschool teachers agreed that he would be fine ... I started to do some research about readiness for school.

How Children Teach and Learn Compassion

By Sarah Liebetrau - 26th October 2011

The past couple of weeks have been very stressful for me. A close family member has been ill, and the whole family has been thrown into disarray. When things are hard it’s easy to become irritable due to sleep deprivation, anxiety and sadness. It can be hard to maintain good judgement and even-temperedness. I felt angry at the unfairness in the world and felt my hackles rising when I heard any-one whinge about having been stuck in traffic or unable to find a parking spot. Thankfully I was able to keep my cool with my children and actually enjoyed doing simple things with them such as reading stories as a kind of stress-release. Being with them also reminded me of the good fortune in my life.

Shopping with Toddler - via the Path of Least Resistance

By Sarah Liebetrau - 30th August 2011

The other day I took my daughter to a shopping centre, and made a conscious decision to take the path of least resistance. I was interested to find out whether this made it a less stressful experience than trying to get ‘in and out’ in the shortest timeframe, saying ‘no’ to most of her requests in order to tick errands off the list. I made sure we had plenty of time so that I wasn’t rushing her. First stop was the rest rooms.

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