Finger painting is great for letting go. Make sure you cover the surrounding surfaces with plenty of newspaper and let the child wear old clothes or an apron. There is no fun in it if she is terrified of making a mess. (See overall p.176.)

Bubbles. Bubbles have a magic all of their own, and blowing them never loses its charm. You can make your own bubble mixture that makes the bubbles last extra long. Mix washing-up liquid with a little water and add enough glycerine to make it feel slightly sticky. Blow through a wire twisted to make a circle and a handle.

Books and records. By now your three year old should revel in story time. Tape recordings or records of nursery rhymes and stories can be used to add variety.

Television. During the first two years most children have too short an attention span to be able to spend any time in front of a television set. But by three they will probably be able to watch with some attention. Like most of the other experiences to which your child maybe exposed, television can have a negative as well as a positive effect. The younger the child the greater the supervision of viewing is necessary. If you make a point of being with your child while she watches you will have an excellent opportunity to expand her knowledge and add new dimensions to her concept of the world. Talk to her about what you are seeing, discuss whether what is happening is real or imaginary; use it as a tool to expand the boundaries of her experience.

Remember that her understanding of what is happening is often distorted and can lead to misconceptions that may be frightening. A child has no business watching adult programmes even if the box is a convenient baby-sitter. If a child is always more interested in watching television indiscriminately than in playing, it is time to review her regime. If she is not coping well with the business of growing up and learning new skills or practising the ones she already has, she may spend a great deal of time in front of the TV because it is so easy and undemanding.

1 Draw up overall and pocket pattern-pieces to size 1, 2 or 3 as required on brown paper or graph paper and cut out.

2 Cutting layout. Fold fabric in half, lay and pin pattern pieces in place- overall centre front to fold – and cut out exactly i.e. with no seam allowance. Cut 1 pocket piece only.

3 Fold binding over all raw edges of both overall and pocket and machine in place.

Lay pocket to overall (see picture 1 for placing) and machine down round lower curved edge.

4 Cut velcro into 2 strips of about 5 cm. Separate 2 halves of each strip. Pin and machine 1 half to right side of shoulder front round all 4 edges, pin and machine corresponding half to wrong side of shoulder back. Repeat with 2 halves of 2nd velcro strip at other front and back shoulder. The overall-in-one is worn with back shoulders crossing over and fastening to front shoulders. Add more pockets if required in same way as above and if using canvas or soft fabric you may like to machine embroider a design or initial on a pocket.

It is a moot point whether violence depicted on television predisposes children to violence; but it is certain that it does introduce an element that should not normally be part of her experience. Although you may be able to explain cowboys and indians shooting it out on the screen as just play-acting, excusing the news is not so easy. Dont ignore the issue of violence on your television screen; interpret it in the same way as other issues. Without any kind of explanation, your youngster is likely to grow up thinking that violence is the norm and become conditioned to respond passively when she should be protesting.

If you make sure your child sits the proper distance away from the set according to its size and see that the room is not darkened too much, limited television watching should have no adverse effects on her health. Some parents put infants in front of the television set and although it is unlikely to do any real damage, it can be overstimulating and is certainly no substitute for your attention.

A potential hazard of watching TV, especially in susceptible children, is photosensitive epilepsy when the flickering images on the screen trigger epileptic attacks, particularly if the room is darkened, and the child is sitting close to the set. Should the child suddenly seem to go blank and be in a daze and not answer when spoken to, or if she suddenly begins jerking or twitching, switch off the television and support her until the attack passes. Do not try to give her anything to drink until it is over. Warn an older child to cover her one eye if she feels strange when watching television. She should not approach the set or change stations as it is the flickering light that causes the attack. It is more common in girls than boys and later on the lights in a disco could have the same effect on her. There is usually no need for drug treatment in these cases.

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