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7 ways to teach kids big stuff

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Teaching them big stuff tying shoe laces
Give your children the means to deal with some of the big things they'll encounter in life through play. Just follow our ideas:

1. Express emotions

Choose a mood and get them to draw what it looks like. Do the same with music: put on a rousing classical symphony, a blues track and some chart sounds. How does the music make them feel? It helps them express feelings without thinking you're prying. Talk just about the good feelings and they'll feel more comfortable talking about the bad when they need to.

2. Tolerate others

Big messages can be put across really easily in a great story. Look at the pictures; talk about the characters and the issues the story raises.

Barefoot Books have some really special ones. We love Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon by Jules Bass (£5.99, www.barefoot books.com; 0800 328 2640). Herb is captured and needs the other dragons' help, but they'll only do so if he eats meat. It's perfect for teaching about understanding and accepting differences.

3. Learn patience

Bake some bread together. Go through the whole process and get them involved with every aspect: use fresh or dried yeast that needs soaking. Mix, knead, prove, knead and prove again. Oh, yes, and then bake it. All this requires lots of patience, care and attention, great qualities to learn in life. Just make sure they help you wash-up and tidy the kitchen afterwards!

- Next: more 'big stuff' to teach your kids

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More help and advice

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- 15 ways to be a (nearly) perfect parent 

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Lynda

My grandson keeps getting into trouble at school. I know he's my grandson and i'm not finding excuses for his behaviour but another child will do something to him and he retaliates, he's only just 6 years old, but he's the one that is always caught and unfortunately he seems to be the one that is in the wrong because he doesn't tell the teacher what has been done to him. I've tried to tell him that he should report to the teacher what they have done to him but he just says he's accused of 'telling tales' when he does this!!! He is a lovely caring child, all adults love him to bits, he is so caring towards people that it's very noticeable by adults, unfortunately children don't see this image, or they do and find it hard to understand why he is popular with 'grown-ups'!! Can you give me any advise please on how to deal with this?

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