Behaviour, Powerful Parents, Proactive Parenting, The U URSELF Routine

Surviving the Christmas hols with kid’s!

As the build-up to Christmas begins, we dream of cosy nights cuddled around a fairy-lit tree in a onesie, warmed by tipples and rich treats, while surrounded by gifts and carols. However, the reality often is that, what should be a time of joy and laughter usually ends up in tears and drama!

Why?

Because we are trying so hard to be perfect parents, purchasing perfect gifts, in order to make the perfect Christmas day special for everyone, frivolously spending, organising, cooking, cleaning, writing cards, wrapping gifts, amid the chaos of dirty nappies, sleepless nights, toddler tantrums or teenage angst!

Being home all day in pj’s watching movies and indulging in food and drink, may sound like a perfect day when we are stressed at work, but after a few days home with all the family, and unhelpful visitors coming to stay, the Christmas spirit soon fades and the only spirit you’ll want to feel will be in a glass with a dash over ice.

Drink anyone?

Children easily get bored, they need their tiresome routines to keep them stimulated, exercised, rested, healthy and content.

THE U URSELF ROUTINE

No matter how many hundreds of pounds we’ve lavishingly spent on toys and entertainment in the hope of some peace, squabbling with siblings will always be their preferred past time, especially when fuelled with sugar, late nights and too many new toys to choose from causing stimulation over load.

But there is a way to survive these Christmas holiday’s with our kids when feeling in despair or when you’re losing control of your children and don’t know how to get it back.

Stop fighting them.

Fighting against them in a constant battle about everything and feeling defeated all the time will get you nowhere.

End the battle & win the war.

My advice, which may surprise you is to go along with your children whenever you feel totally powerless and see what happens.


I’m not suggesting you leave your children to their own devices and let them walk all over you, encouraging them to take advantage of your apathy. I just want you to try and accept and allow their demands temporarily, while you regain your confident composure and sense of authority and self.


This will undoubtedly show your children that you’re not accepting their behaviour powerlessly. Instead, you’re showing them that you don’t mind either way how they behave.

What? I hear you shout; you most certainly do mind how they behave?

Bear with me on this. This reverse psychological approach not only confuses children somewhat, but as intended, it equips parents to deal with their childrens behaviour, trust me, it works. But it does mean letting go and going with the flow.

LETTING GO OF CONTROL

Our aim as parents should not be to control our children, but to allow them the freedom to be themselves and to grow as unique individuals.

Too much control can restrict our children’s potential to become autonomous, decision making, happy, and healthy individuals.  And the reality is, we can’t control our children’s every action or emotion even if we try. It’s difficult enough trying to control our own actions and emotions, let alone our children’s. That’s why the only solution we really have is to release some of that control.

We can do this by acknowledging that our children’s behaviour can be inappropriate and hard to manage or understand sometimes and accepting that’s okay—we don’t have to control it.  If we persist in trying, we’ll only end up frustrated and exhausted. This is when all the toil and struggle in parenting occurs.  As soon as we learn to let go, we will feel a lot lighter, calmer, happier, and oddly enough, a lot more in control.  

Our children won’t end up out of control if we cease to be controlling.  As long as they have fair, reasonable rules and consistent routines in place, there is no need to worry. Rules and routines replace control with love and guidance and discipline for coaching. Creating less restraint and resistance. 

We can feel safe, then, to let go of some of that unnecessary control by trying out the following exercise.

LEARNING TO LET GO EXERCISE

  • Today, choose fifteen minutes to spend with your child when it’s safe to let go of control and relax. The only time you should intervene is if they are about to do something dangerous to themselves or others. As a proactive parent, your home environment should be a safe place to do this exercise but be more aware and vigilant outside.
  • In that fifteen minutes, choose to let it be okay for you to let go of controlling the situation. If, for example, your child is painting or making a mess, pulling all their toys out everywhere, allow them to. It’s okay for those fifteen minutes, you don’t have to control anything.
  • Really feel relaxed. If you are finding it difficult, remind yourself it’s only fifteen minutes, and whatever it is your child is doing, it’s not the end of the world. They are just having fun, and you’re enjoying the freedom of not having to stop them or tell them off. You know that you can easily clean any mess up later on. If your child gets dirty, they can have a bath afterward, and washing machines were invented to clean dirty clothes. But for now, you don’t need to worry about any of that. Yes, even the crayon on the wall or playdough on the floor. You can just RELAX!

This is your chance to let go for fifteen minutes. Relax and refrain from throwing fuel on their fire. Just step back and watch them and silently say to yourself ‘It’s okay’ as you take in a few deep breathes and exhale slowly. Try not to breathe in and out too quickly or too shallow though, you don’t want to end up hyperventilating.

Over time, as we practice doing this exercise, we will soon realise that nothing catastrophic has happened. Then, gradually, we will master this art of feeling relaxed around our children, no matter what, even when we venture outside in public. 

The more often you practice this exercise, the easier it will become. Even if they are throwing a tantrum in the supermarket, it’s still okay.  When they finish throwing a tantrum (and believe me, they will probably stop before the fifteen minutes are up, especially if we are staying relaxed and not reacting to them) then we can just carry on as normal and do our shopping as if nothing happened.

We’ve still got 4 weeks to practice this exercise before Christmas is upon us, so let’s start today, take a deep breath, and go with the flow, you’ve got this!

Stay Powerful,

Em x

#Gowiththeflow #PowerfulParents

Tweet me https://twitter.com/EmmaGrantAuthor

Thanks to Unsplash for images 🙂

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Photo by Jaime Spaniol on Unsplash

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CHILDMINDING, Learning, Starting School, Stay Present, Us Time

WHY I LOVE MY JOB?

As a Childminder, whenever one of my little ones start school it’s always a proud, yet emotional moment for me.  

Those bonds we share everyday are strong and although they are not my own children, a piece of my heart goes with them on their 1st day at school, as I fondly remember them as babies and; their first babblings, to articulate words and sentences, leaning to feed themselves, spag bol up the walls Picasso style, potty training, learning to crawl, walk, skip, hop, jump, make marks on paper (or furniture, floors and walls!)  sing their first nursery rhymes, funny comments, and building their first brick tower or puzzle.

They are all mini moments in history, etched on our memories forever.

In these moments of reflection, I feel proud that I’ve helped them, along with their loving parents, get this far. Helping to build foundations I know, will set them in good stead for their futures of unlimited possibilities.

Who knows what each child will become?

Every child has the potential to benefit society and even change the world.


Right now, you’ll never know the impact your child may have upon the planet?

In the absence of other people’s opinions and limiting beliefs, children can realise their dreams. If we felt when we were younger, that becoming Prime Minister wasn’t an aspiration that we could achieve, that doesn’t mean our children can’t. I suspect Margaret Thatcher’s parents didn’t expect her to become the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the first female Head of National Government in Europe, but she did it!

From humble beginnings we all grow!

Yes, today one of our little ones, starts her first day at nursery, and I’m reminded how very lucky I am to share in their life, and to have been given such a great responsibility and privilege, as we have with all the other children before them and yet to come.

Not one child we have cared for over the past fifteen years has just been another child. Each child is special, all unique individuals, impacting our lives in numerous different ways, all thankfully good.

I can remember every single one, even those in their twenties who refuse my Social Media friend requests today lol!

And we are proud to be Godparents to many too.

So why do I love my Job….?

Because.

Today I was told I was loved, and all it took was a custard cream.

Today I felt the love and all I did was read a short story.

Today a child fell over and all I could be was loving.

I COULDN’T WORK WITH KIDS

People joke, ‘I don’t know how you do your job; I couldn’t work with kids all day!’

And I ponder why?

As I swing in the sunshine at the park, listening to all the children laughing and playing.

SIMPLE THINGS

I get to walk through nature every day, alongside little inquisitive people, who see everything with fresh eyes and awe, no matter what the season.

They get excited by the allure of a puddle of rain water, they notice the clouds that pass them by, the ever-changing trees swaying in the breeze, and the birds singing, while balancing on its branch with ease.

Such simple things tend to please.

IT’S ONLY THE SCHOOL RUN

Yes, it’s only the school run and a normal day just like any other, we may be all hurried and worried and racing to get it done, but young children find it fascinating, amazed but such simplicity and beauty. They see what we’ve forgot to notice.

Everyday I’m blessed to have little friends who point these gifts of nature out to me, for without them, I would be oblivious to all the splendour around.

TREES ARE GREEN

All too often I hear a child asking a grownup;

‘What colour are the trees?’

And the grownup will smile knowingly and say;

‘Well, trees are green.’

But a child will know better.

Yes, children are younger and wiser, their mission always fun, naturally happy and full of possibilities, of things not yet done.

Love, laughter and joy is always present, especially when working with children, that’s why I love my job!

Stay Present,

Em x

Proactive Parenting, Recreation, Stay Present, Us Time

THE SCHOOL RUN

Back to School and back to routine, YAY!!!

But also, back to that dreaded school run every day!

I know all too well how you feel, I’ve been doing those school runs for fifteen years and about five years ago I began to dislike them myself, usually when I was skating down the lane with a pushchair and tribe of little people, through the winter ice and snow or when it started bucketing down with rain at precisely 3pm when I was leaving the house, or on those sweltering summer days stuck in morning mayhem traffic, while getting a tribe of little ones in and out of the car.

But then I realised one thing, the daily school run or wherever else we need to go, still takes a journey to get there, whether we stop to notice all the splendour around us or stress out about the weather or traffic.

I know we’re tired, busy and don’t have the time to waste, standing and staring at trees and clouds. But do we have time not to?

This beautiful love of life and nature, is the reason why children wake up so early in the morning.

THINK MORE CHILD-LIKE

Children are naturally present in each and every moment. They see the world and are in awe of its beauty and newness, they’re not tired of life. They enjoy exploring all it has to offer and have all the time in the world to stand and stare. The school run is a chance for them to appreciate the beautiful blue sky, with white, fluffy clouds, making unusual shapes. They muse at the sun shining on the dew drops, glistening as they dance on the lush green blades of grass. This beautiful love of life and nature, is the reason why children wake up so early in the morning. They are excited about the adventure that lay ahead each day and they don’t want to miss out on anything or waste time sleeping.

THE RAINBOW IS THE TREASURE

They’re more interested in the beautiful colours of the rainbow itself.

To children, the journey is as relevant as the destination. They couldn’t care less about the pointless pot of gold, at the end of the rainbow, they’re more interested in the beautiful colours of the rainbow itself. If we can remember to think more like them again, as we once did as children, this makes life a lot easier and more enjoyable, not only for our children but for us too.

 FRESH AIR & ADVENTURE

We all need a bit of daily fresh air, but by simply taking our children out for a walk- in nature, we offer them an adventure. From bug hunting to blackberry picking, adventures don’t feel like exercise but fun. Yesterday while walking home from school in my neighbourhood, despite a sprinkling of rain, we foraged for Blackberries.

Adventure waits at the end of your street! ~ I took this pic yesterday on the way home from school.

LOVE OF NATURE

Taking them out in all weathers, wet, windy, snowy or sunny conditions will encourage or rekindle a love of the elements. This way, their surroundings become an opportunity to explore, rather than an exercise or inconvenience.

Whatever the weather there’s no excuse not to go outside.

‘There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes!’

As long as they’ve got a raincoat and wellies, jumping in muddy puddles will be all the exercise they need. 

A FORM OF MEDITATION

Being in touch with nature is said to be more beneficial, than any exercise they may do while outdoors.

Taking a stroll can clear their minds like a form of meditation too, reducing their thinking activity and providing them with a form of freedom and escapism.

FOCUS & PRODUCTIVITY

They also need regular outdoor break times at school, to provide some relief from all that concentrating in the classroom.

Taking a walk or having a run around the yard helps them to go back into lessons, with a clearer more focused mind, improving their productivity.

HABITUAL EXERCISE & SLEEP

While ditching the pushchair and allowing toddlers to walk on the school run with siblings, is a great habitual form of exercise.

It may take a little longer to get where we’re going, but rest assured our children will eat and sleep better, and be in a better mood for it, making everyone’s life happier. Nothing beats fresh air when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.

Nothing beats fresh air when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.

VITAMIN D

Exposure to sunshine is also great for providing children with vitamin D, which is good for absorbing phosphate and calcium, for healthy muscles, bones, and teeth. It’s unlikely they’ll get enough vitamin D from their diet, so sunshine is important.

Walking to and from school is a great way to start and finish each day. And best of all it can be fun and free!

Stay Present,

Em x

Proactive Parenting

Starting Childcare or School

Starting School or Childcare for the first time, is just as anxious a time for us parents as it it is for our children so, it’s just as important to plan ahead and prepare ourselves as much as them.

It is vital that we paint a positive picture beforehand to our children when it comes to starting school or childcare and that we make sure they view any changes optimistically as a positive, enjoyable experience. We can do this by telling them about all of the fun things they will get up to at school such as painting, play dough, and meeting new friends.

Giving them something to look forward to builds excitement and helps them to understand what to expect. A proactive approach would also be taking them to visit the school environment to meet the teachers or carers before they actually start. Also, explaining to them why they are going there, when they are going, who else will be there, and what is expected of them when they are there?

It is also a good idea to encourage them to ask any questions that they may have, such as where are the toilets?

Or where is the Lego kept?

Answering their questions and making it clear to them that we will be back to collect them after they have had a play, helps to alleviate any fears or concerns that they may have.

This preparation is essential before they start. School, nursery, or a child minders home, are always full of new people and unknown experiences. At first this can be daunting for any child, especially if they have never been left with anyone, other than family members before. Being proactive means, we expect that our children may not take to a new place or person straight away, we understand that we are asking them to go to an unknown place, full of unfamiliar strangers.

We may know it’s a safe place but our children may not, so we have to communicate this to them, this means being careful not to project or transfer our own anxieties, worries or fears onto our children.

TRANSFERENCE

Our children pick up automatically on how we are feeling. We may be telling them how much fun it is going to be at school, but if we are anxious and fretting over whether they will enjoy their first day or not, they will sense it.

When they sense our apprehension, they will think that there is something to be afraid of, and that they should be scared or worried too. Equally, if they excitedly run into school on their first day with not so much as a backward glance or goodbye, then that’s okay too. They don’t have to be happy or sad whenever we are not around. It’s natural that our children will not want to leave us because, they love us and want to be with us. We provide them with warmth, safety, comfort and love, but if they can’t wait to leave us and try out new things, it also shows what a great job we have done in helping them to feel secure and confident without us.

We just have to allow them to settle in, in their own way, in their own time. Providing we feel relaxed and optimistic about the changes, eventually they will too.

This can mean leaving our children, despite their kicking and screaming protests, all incidentally staged for our benefit. If this is too much to bare then, finding someone else to drop them off, until they get used to being left may help.

Guaranteed they will not perform so much, in front of an unemotionally, detached, audience, especially if they know that person is not going to give in to them, or lavish them with attention.  As a childminder, I have seen it hundreds of times over the years, whenever I drop other people’s children off to school, they skip in happily, yet if their parents take them, it’s a full on, award winning Oscar performance, of tears and tantrums.

KEEP A CLEAR PERSPECTIVE

 Keeping a clear perspective of the situation, and remembering that we are sending our children to school, and we are not evacuating them as some children once endured in the war, helps.

The worst thing we can do is, show our children our own anxiety. Being mindful of how our own emotions have an effect on our children and refusing to offer them any undue attention when they are over reacting is critical.

As children, we may have felt insecure at times, and there may have been occasions that caused us apprehension, such as going to school, but they were our issues and feelings not our children’s. Even if our children do display anxiety or emotions that are distressing, we need to be able to calm and reassure them that, everything will be okay. We cannot do that if we are panicking or emotional ourselves.   Keeping in mind that children who experience the most separation anxiety, usually are those whose parents are anxious about leaving them.

We convey our fears by; continually kissing our children more than once when dropping them off, calling them back for a kiss or a cuddle once they have gone off to play, picking them up or carrying them in our arms and apologetically confirming how they are feeling with words like ‘I know, I’m sorry Mummy won’t be long’.

All of these behaviours are going to naturally upset our children further. This is made especially worse if, a teacher or child carer has to physically prize our children off us as though they are taking our children away from us against our will.

Once we stop feeling anxious, we can actually help to proactively prepare our children for change, and they will relax too.

#ProactiveParenting #ProactiveParents #PowerfulParents #PresentParents #PresentParenting

Esteem, Recreation

Does The Grass Have to be Greener?

Over the past fifteen years as a Childminder, I’ve had the opportunity to observe different age groups of children, all playing together. At the beginning of my career, I felt the need to structure and plan activities and to keep them all busily occupied.

Now, experience has shown me that children require as little adult intervention as possible, and more free choice and opportunities for spontaneous play.

This is when they have real fun and enjoy each other’s company, and when you hear real laughter and joy.

When we interfere or try to entertain them constantly, they don’t learn how to amuse themselves, and inevitably get bored when left to their own devices. This can lead to negative or positive attention seeking behaviours. 

Our children crave our time and attention and delight in any we offer. They look to us for acceptance that they are doing it the right way. But when it comes to play, there is no right or wrong way, so we can encourage them to do it their way.

Even if they are technically wrong, we can allow them to think for themselves and show them that we don’t mind. If they colour the grass purple when drawing a picture, then that’s okay, it’s their picture, we can approve of it exactly as they want it to be. The grass doesn’t have to be greener!

Show them that we don’t mind if they colour the grass purple!

There’s a time and a place for formal learning and fact finding and a time and a place for freedom, love, and acceptance. Our children won’t grow up believing the grass is purple, because we haven’t corrected them or criticised their picture when they were three years old. They’ll soon learn its green by themselves, if given the opportunity to play outside. But they will grow up to feel creative, confident and with a healthy level of self-esteem, when we give them the freedom to express themselves in way’s we don’t think are correct.

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U Time

Returning to Work after Children

Going back to work after spending time at home, looking after the children, can be nerve wracking. But there comes a point for most of us, when we feel ready to get back into it, or feel we need to financially return to work.

There’s also those mums amongst us, who may never have had a job or career before and now feel ready to take on a new challenge, and that can be a scary prospect initially.

It’s also a very exciting time!

Nerves and excitement are much they same, those fluttering butterflies you feel in your stomach when you fall in love, feel the same as those you feel when going for a job interview.  So, let’s not confuse our excitement for the journey ahead, as all bad.

IT’S AN INSIDE JOB!

Still feeling like a bag of nerves contemplating job interviews?

Well time to turn your anxiety and fear into courageous confidence instead!

Read on to discover how, when it comes to job interviews, getting hired is an ‘inside job’ that can work for you.

YOU’RE WORTH MORE

When looking for employment people tend to stay within financial income comfort zones, and cap the amount they think they are worth.

When clients who are looking to find a new vocation come to me for coaching, they nearly all have one thing in common; they never set their sights high enough.

When looking for employment people tend to stay within, financial income comfort zones, and cap the amount they think they are worth, overlooking those positions offering higher salaries. Don’t just limit your search to a job that is in your current earning bracket, when you realise how precious your time and skills are to others, your earning potential increases.

WANT IT!

Think of things you enjoy doing, past, present and future, and seek possibilities in those areas.

However, you must want the career not just the money it brings, if your motivation is job satisfaction then you’re more likely to get the job you want, and to do it well. Know what you want from an occupation and what you have to offer. Think of things you enjoy doing, past, present and future, and seek possibilities in those areas.

Interviewers can smell the difference between candidates desperately needing a job, and enthusiastic people who passionately want the job. So, take a deep breath and relax!

BE SELF- AWARE

That is why being self- aware of your own motives can help in getting hired or not, it can also help in coming across as confident.

Interviewers want to see how quick you can think on your feet and how self- aware you are. It’s not what you say that counts, but how you respond to a question, so be conscious of your strong and weak points in advance, because they will ask you about them. Ideally think of a weakness beforehand that you can turn into a positive, for e.g. you could say:

‘In the past I always had to work late, but now I’ve learnt how to prioritise my time more effectively.’

This will say a lot more about your strengths than your weaknesses, and will help you to stay present in the moment at all times. If you’ve planned well, then there will be no need for you to think of an answer, while the question is still being asked.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin:

‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!’

BE PREPARED

So be prepared and research the company and role, the more information you have the better. Also look at what similar posts and other companies have to offer, this is useful to know, especially if you get offered the position.

Beforehand visualize the interview in every detail as you would like it to be, and focus only on what you want to achieve. Arm yourself with an abundance of your strengths, so you will be ready whenever an opportunity arises to tailor your skills to the job role.

Buying a new suit or getting your hair cut will also prepare you and boost your confidence, and will be one less thing to worry about. Moreover, when you are looking good, your confidence will shine through, and building rapport will be easier.

BUILD RAPPORT

Remember you are both there for the same reason- to fill the vacancy, so relax and show the real you. If you are feeling anxious and nervous take some deep belly breaths, and say to yourself ten times ‘I am the right person for this job’

If you are feeling anxious and nervous take some deep belly breaths.

Subtly match the interviewer’s body posture, tone and speed of speech, this way you will build rapport a lot quicker. And once that connection has been made, you will feel more comfortable and able to concentrate on the conversation.

A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY

Ask for some feedback, and when you get home write a few notes on what did or didn’t go so well, so you can refer to them in preparation for next time.

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the job though, it’s not always the best candidate that gets the position; it’s who the interviewer feels are the best interviewee on the day.

Afterwards ask for some feedback, and when you get home write a few notes on what did or didn’t go so well, so you can refer to them in preparation for next time. Remember to keep things in perspective, it’s not a life or death situation, no matter how important it may feel to you at the time. View it as practice and experience, leading up to the real thing- your dream job.

Good Luck!

If you still need help with job interview nerves and confidence then get in touch, maybe Mumatherapy https://happychildcare.club/mumatherapy%e2%84%a0/ can help you get hired?

Learning, Proactive Parenting

BORN LUCKY!

We are all born lucky, lucky to be alive.

But we also create our own luck in life and this is a valuable lesson to pass onto our children.

Last Friday, I won a once in a lifetime Writing Competition with Notebook Publishing https://www.notebookpublishing.co.uk/the-notebook-family/ in their #IndieApril competition. The prize was a premium, very exclusive publication solution, meaning my book would be professionally designed and published, and made available across the world!

I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would actually win!

It was you could say; lucky I was chosen?

Only, I don’t believe in luck. I was poised and prepared already. Now I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would actually win, because, not believing in luck, I knew there was an element of chance, that I would be picked. But I had been chosen from the near hundred different entries because, I had practised what I call ‘The Four P’S in a Pod’

To explain what I mean by this, let me share with you a true story.

PATIENCE BRINGS GOOD LUCK

One day, when my daughter was younger, she was having a particularly successful day. Not only had she received a Certificate and a sticker for being ‘Star Pupil of the Week’ at School, (meaning she had the privilege of bringing the Class Teddy home for the weekend) but she also won some stationary in the School Prize Draw.

Later that afternoon, she then went on to receive her next level, Gymnastics Badge and Certificate at the Leisure Centre.

All in all, she was having a really good, successful day!

Then on the way home from Gymnastics she said to me;

‘Mum, I was losing at everything and not doing so well for a couple of weeks, but now I’m doing good at everything, all in one day!’ 

I explained to her, that it did indeed seem to be happening all in one day, but really, when she felt as though she was not doing so well, and ‘Losing at everything’ She was in fact, doing better than she thought.

Taking those necessary steps on all those days leading up to today, and not giving up, even when it looked like she was losing, had led her to successfully winning so much today, through her practise, patience and persistence.

If she had lost her patience and quit Gymnastics, when she wasn’t doing so good, or gave up trying so hard at School, when she felt like she was losing, then she would never have succeeded in getting better.

Understanding the concept of the four P’s and how they had worked for her, helped her to realise that, even though it looks as if she’s not doing well at times, or doing really well at other times, it’s all in fact, a result of her succeeding.

It was clear for her to see that, it was her patience, practise, persistence and positivity in the past, that had created her successful day, not just a lucky day.

This realisation and knowing how important these Four P’S are, in succeeding to learn, will help our children to persist in their learning endeavours. Whatever they maybe?

THE 4 P’S IN A POD – POSITIVITY, PRACTICE, PATIENCE & PERSISTENCE

It’s important our children know that, practise is key to acquiring new skills and learning, not just their ability, socioeconomic background or luck.

They need to understand that, it’s those who keep trying that are the most successful in their endeavours, not just the gifted or fortunate.

Whether it’s learning to tie their shoe laces or becoming a world class chess champion, in any endeavour, no matter how difficult a task may seem, following the four P’s creates results.

  1. Positivity
  2. Practice
  3. Patience
  4. Persistence
Who’s feeling Lucky?

When it comes to learning anything, these are like four magic peas in a pod. When these -four -combine, there’s no such thing as failure, and success is just part and parcel of the process!

There is a fifth P for us Parents too,

 Stay Present!

Stay Present, The U URSELF Routine, Us Time

BONDED BY LOVE

It’s those everyday acts of love, such as, cooking tea and chatting about their day, that strengthens the bond we share with our children.

Expressing our love a little longer than expected reinforces our love.

Next time try hugging your child a couple of minutes longer than usual and feel the love transmitted back and forth. That’s our bonds strengthening and reconnecting us to one another.

Sometimes, stuff happens in life and we may find ourselves parted from our children, whether through work, divorce, illness or whatever else.

In those circumstances it’s vital we look for ways to get back together, as soon as possible and reconnect, repairing any bonds.

If not, our children could look elsewhere for comfort and support and may turn to the wrong people or past times in our absence.

As parents, we sometimes worry that we won’t get parenting right. Believing that someone else such as a partner, grandparent, aunty, foster carer, child-minder, nursery worker or teacher will do a better job of loving or raising our children the right way.

The truth is, no one could ever do a better job than you can, at loving your child.

It’s not what happens in life that’s the problem, it’s how we choose to deal with what happens.

Problems and disagreements are part and parcel of parenting, which we can’t eliminate, but we can learn how to deal with and overcome them.

Offering a reassuring hug, kiss or smile, is all it takes to repair a chink in the chain of love that connects us.

The truth is, no one could ever do a better job than you can, at loving your child.

Disagreements will always occur in loving relationships but if we take action to resolve things as soon as possible, and are willing and able to work through issues with our children, we strengthen our bonds. 

We can’t just set aside an hour a day as part of the U URSELF routine, to show our children how much we love them, then forget to maintain that connection for the other twenty-three hours of the day.

It’s constant connections that keep bonds strong.

Work, bills and other daily worries won’t disappear. They will always be there demanding our attention, but without time and energy, those loving bonds could gradually start to dissolve over time. The good news is, bonds are harder to make than they are to break, and fortunately being related instantly bonds us to our children.

We just have to Stay Present!

Us Time

CLEANING IS CLUTTER

If those visitors are important in our lives, then they won’t mind we prioritise spending time with our children over a tidy house sometimes.

In my experience, dust never disappears, but our children’s youth does.

There’s always going to be laundry in the basket, dishes in the sink and dust on the TV.

Quite simply, as long as we are alive it never ends, so we needn’t feel the housework has to be done before we spend time with our children. I know its embarrassing when an unexpected visitor turns up and the house is a mess, but living life is more important than looking good to others. If those visitors are important in our lives, then they won’t mind we prioritise spending time with our children over a tidy house sometimes.

Our children will not always need us like they do now, but the time we spend with them today will make a big difference that will stay with them for a lifetime, unlike that worn-out jumper that always needs washing and ironing. 

Unlike that worn-out jumper that always needs washing and ironing. 

We can vacuum and polish, until our heart’s content when our children have grown up and flown the nest, admittedly we won’t have as much mess then, but who will we be keeping the house clean and tidy for?

An empty house is just a house, not a home.

Our homes are our family space to feel safe, relax and play in. Children need enough space for playing with their toys and belongings. Sometimes games, puzzles, dolls, and figures need to be left out in order for them to pick up playing where they left off last. They don’t want a Feng Shuied bedroom, with books and toys neatly stored away like ornaments just to look at. That’s just a waste of money. Useless, unused boxes of toys gathering dust, just create more unnecessary cleaning. Toys that are loved and used often don’t gather dust, only memories.

Tidying and cleaning is best done little and often each day. The more prepared and on top of things we are, the more time we have to enjoy with our children. Knowing the importance of Us Time with our children, helps us to organize our time more effectively around our children’s needs.

They don’t want a Feng Shuied bedroom, with books and toys neatly stored away like ornaments just to look at.

Everything else in our life apart from our children is pointless clutter, even the cleaning.

Your Child is a gift, enjoy the Present!

Em x

SLEEP, The U URSELF Routine

The Sun Has Got His Hat On- My Child Won’t Sleep, No Way!

Summers on its way, Yay!

But when the Sun has his hat on, then the children want to play!

For many parents of young children, this means sleepless or late nights, and early mornings.

ITS NOT FAIR

I remember my own two little ones complaining at bedtime, about the children playing outside in the street, younger than them.

And questioning me why they had to go to bed, while the sun is still shining?

Often using guilt as their preferred tool of triumph, protesting;

‘I don’t want to go to bed, it’s not fair, the sun is still out.’


I remember my own two little ones complaining at bedtime, about the children playing outside in the street, younger than them.

But I was confident that, keeping to their bedtime routine was good for them. That’s how I managed to remain calm and stay strong and persevere.

It was hard though, I must admit.

But had I felt guilty and uncertain, I may have succumbed and given in, allowing them to stay up a little later?

That would have been a BIG mistake!

If we succumb to our childrens guilt trips, and move the goal posts just once, we can expect our children to make us move them even further the next time, as they try to find out how far they can push things in their favour?

Guaranteed, next time, they will use that as their trump card.

So, prepare yourself for most childrens favourite phrase, you know, the one that makes most parents cringe in annoyance at themselves of;

‘It’s not fair, you let me yesterday, why not today?’  

To which, no parent can ever find a justifiable explanation.

So, we either end up giving into them once again, creating another unwanted habit, that’ll be hard to break?

Or, we become annoyed and upset with ourselves, for giving in to them in the first place?

Resulting in a no win for us parents! 

REVELLING IN THE RESULTS

That’s why, it’s best to persevere and stay strong from the outset.

If we can persevere with routines until we get the results we want, then life will become much easier for ourselves, as well as our children.

Other parents and their children, (such as those playing outside at bedtime) may take a different approach?


You will be responsible for your children, no one else’s!

And that’s fine for them.

After all, they are the ones who will be responsible for their own childrens health and well -being and managing their own childrens behaviour.

But you will be responsible for your children, no one else’s.

Focusing on the most beneficial, proactive approach, that’s suitable for you and your child is always best.

This I may add, is not the easiest approach initially. But I promise, long term you’ll be revelling in the results.

KEEP IT POSITIVE

It’s a good idea to keep a good balance between, the positive reasons for following the routine, and the negative reasons for not. This means, if our children refuse to go to bed, we can point out the positive reasons why they should, and highlight the negatives of staying awake.

 A typical example could sound something like this;

‘Go to sleep now Sam or else you will be too tired to play with your friends at nursery tomorrow, and that won’t be any fun. And don’t forget that you’re going to need plenty of sleep to give you energy, so you can climb that big climbing frame when you go to the park with Granddad in the afternoon too! But you won’t be able to if you are too tired. And I know you are really excited to do all that so, the sooner you go to sleep, the quicker tomorrow will come, and you can show him how high you can climb.’


You’re going to need plenty of sleep to give you energy, so you can climb that big climbing frame.

Always try to end on a positive.

This may seem like a long -winded way to say;

 ‘Go to sleep!’

But it’s the quickest and most effective way in the long run.

Highlighting the positives and negatives, encourages our children to want to follow routines, a lot more than just telling them to comply or else.

Providing an explanation helps them to know, exactly why it benefits them and why we want them to go to sleep?

Routines then make sense.

And when they make sense to our children, the sun may have his hat on, but our children will try to sleep anyway!

Your Child is a Gift, Enjoy the Present!

Proactive Parenting

Did Your Child Get a Space at the School You Wanted?

Yippee School Admissions Time!

It’s that time of year when, we discover if our little ones have got a place in the preferred school, we’ve chosen for them.

As I chatted to a friend at the school gates last week, who was devastated her child didn’t get into the primary school his siblings attended, I felt her pain.

I remember that dreaded anticipation myself many years ago!

Would my first born get a space in the School, I perceived to be the best in the area we lived in at that time?

Oh, the joy when I finally received that letter telling us she had got a place.

Off we went excitedly to buy her new school uniform. Such a proud first moment was her first day at school.

Then I had to relive all that stress, anxiety and worry once again two years later, when my Sons turn came to find out if he had a place?

The sleepless nights and despair I felt when I discovered that the catchment area boundaries had changed, and a new Welsh School which was opened within twenty feet of our house, threatened his place in his Sisters school, which we all loved because, I hate to honestly admit it, but all the parents seemed affluent and the learning league table for results was high.

On top of that, the school was rated a green for very good. The rating system was based on four colour coded categories; green, yellow, amber and red, this colour coding was to demonstrate how much support the schools needed. But relying on that colour system would have been pointless because that all soon changed anyway, as the School colours slipped down when the headteacher changed, something not too uncommon for lots of schools.

Again, the relief, when I received that letter saying my Son had a place in his Sisters school was exhilarating.

I wanted to throw a ‘Thank Goodness Party!’

DOUBTS FEARS & TEARS

Yet looking back, there was no reason to celebrate, and all that stress, worry and anxiety was for nothing, as I removed my children half way through primary school, from that much sought- after, Welsh Medium School, to an English Medium School, (nothing to do with the language may I add).

Initially when I chose the Welsh School, I was happy with that decision.  A few years later that decision no longer felt like the right thing for my children, leaving me to make the proactive decision of changing their schools.

A lot of parents felt the same way as me at the time, and also wanted to remove their children, but they didn’t as they were fearful how it would affect them.

I on the other hand feared how keeping my children in their current school would affect them?

But it was a decision I needed help with, so I proactively involved my children in the decision-making process, every step of the way.

This took a lot of the pressure off me to make the decision and gave them a choice.

My Daughter was keen to change schools, my Son however, was not so keen.

I asked them both to individually list the pros and cons for staying in their old school and moving to the new school. This was discussed verbally, then I drew up a pros and cons list (putting it in writing helped us all to physically see the outcome.) Both children had more pros for moving and more cons for staying put.


list the pros and cons

The decision was made instantly based on those lists.

I didn’t dwell on it or give them time to worry about the consequences, I took immediate action and within a week, they had both moved to a new school.

Today they are now in High School, but they have never regretted moving schools and the only affects it had on them at the time, were positive.

They’ve made great best friends that otherwise they would never have met and are both confident and sociable, and despite joining a new school mid-way through their primary years, their academic ability has soared. 

Children are much more resilient than we give them credit for, it’s us as parents that have the doubts, fears and tears, not our children.

PARENTAL INTUITION

The initial idea to change schools came from my own parental intuition. I could have taken the easy option and ignored what I felt. I could have found many excuses to keep them in their old school but that would have kept me reactive as a parent, not proactive.

I probably would have been complaining to the school over issues that I was unhappy with for years, and would have always wondered, what if they had gone to a different school? 

Proactivity quashes regrets before they fester.

Feeling confident to take -action, comes from that parental intuition that we all have, which arises from knowing and loving our children. 

This insight is invaluable to tune into, as it helps us to know how our children will respond to certain people, events, or situations in advance. This gives us time to take the necessary steps, in order to avoid situations turning out undesirably.

Fortunately, this proactive approach arising from instinct or intuition, is something we naturally do as parents, most of the time anyway.

Although my Husband and I made the right choice in moving our children to a different school, and both of our children excelled in their new school, none of us regret them having gone to the old school.

My children made some great friends there (as did I, I’m still friends with some fab parents from their old primary school today)

And my children also learnt how to speak Welsh fluently at a young age (which I’ve no doubt is the reason they do so well in this subject now, as its now a compulsory GCSE subject in my Children’s English Medium High School.)

In addition, my children learnt how to change and adapt to new circumstances, build on their self- confidence and form new relationships, all invaluable skills to learn at a young age.

ACCEPTANCE

We all learn from experimentation and experience.

That’s why nothing happens in vain. When we view any experience, circumstance or relationship this way, we free ourselves from worry, stress and anxiety. Its all a learning opportunity. This helps us to accept what is, even if what is, isn’t what we want!

As parent’s, we need to accept that we won’t always make the right choices or decisions all of the time. And that’s ok, because we can, and will learn from all of them, good or bad along the way.

As long as we keep moving, we will make progress and rid ourselves of paralysis by analysis. By doing what we can, we can feel confident in the knowledge that we are always doing our best.


Its all a learning opportunity.

We will then be free to relax knowing that, we cannot control everything that happens to our children.

And this is a good thing, because we cannot learn everything for them, there will be times when they will have to learn for themselves, often the hard way.

Therefore, the most proactive thing that we can all do as parents, is to decide today to stop worrying about our children’s; behaviour, education, health, happiness, safety, success or whatever else is worrying us at the moment, and take- action to do something about it.

If its out of our control and we can’t do anything about the outcome or circumstances, as in the case of not getting a space at a preferred school for our child, then acceptance is the only choice we really have. This means letting go of the illusions of how perfect that school would have been, and how our children have lost out. There’s no loss, as they never had that space to begin with. There’s no loss, as there are alternatives, and alas, other schools that could end up being just as good, if not even better in the long run?

We can only do the best we can do, at any given moment in time, with the knowledge, experiences and resources we have at that time.

Circumstances change and so do we.

My priorities and perspective on my childrens initial primary school changed. So did the influential people at that school, and the school’s performance and colour coding. Had I known all that years ago, then I wouldn’t have worried for a second whether my children got a space at that school or not?

You may be experiencing joy and exhilaration, as you open that envelop that says your child has a place at your preferred school?

Or you may have doubts, fears and tears, as you hear your child has not been accepted?

But fear not, things are not always as bad as they seem. And years from now, like me, you may look back with relief, that actually, what you thought your child was denied, was in fact the best thing that could have happened?

Stay Present,

Em x

Proactive Parenting

Proactive Parenting Prevents Panic!

What exactly is Proactive Parenting?

It sounds like a word you would find in business books, that’s because it is.

I’ve found that we have to approach parenting sometimes, like running a successful business, if we want to be a success at it and produce successful children.

After all, our children are our business.

We can’t leave how they turn out to chance, or allow anyone else to take credit or responsibility for who they become either. As parents we have the most power and control to influence them, and if we do so positively, we will end up with happy, healthy and successful children.

Simply put, being proactive is taking action in advance, and pre-emp-ting our children’s moves and emotions. In essence, its hands-on parenting.

A lot of us parents are reactive.

We react to situations and our children’s behaviour in the moment. Now I’m an advocate of what I call ‘Present Parenting’, which is all about living in the present moment and being conscious of the time we spend with our children, but what I witness on a daily basis is far from that.

I see parents reacting unconsciously, out of habit, to unwanted behaviour and situations, usually fuelled with emotions.

As busy parents its hard not to react this way, but as proactive parents, we want to prevent those circumstances arising in the first place.

I know it’s hard not to get upset and angry with our children sometimes, but we can lessen the chances of that happening by, pre-empting problems before they affect our children and planning ahead in advance. Taking -action to prevent problems, as opposed to dealing with them or reacting once they have occurred.

It’s thinking ahead of situations and how they may affect our children, and being sensitive to their individual needs and emotions. 

This approach enables us to take steps to make things easier, not only for our children, but ourselves too. Helping us to feel more organised and in control, and as a result, increases our self- confidence.

Resulting in a lot less stress for everyone.

As a childminder, caring for children varying in ages, from eleven months to eleven years and over, being proactive is a necessity.

I have to be one step ahead at all times, as a matter of health and safety.

A simple day out at the beach, can be like a military operation.


A simple day out at the beach, can be like a military operation.

But always, all the children know;

  • How I expect them to behave?
  • What will we do before, during and after our visit?
  • What to do if there’s a problem, such as someone goes missing or is lost.

Thankfully and lucky enough, that has never happened to a child I care for (other than my own).

But if it did or should it do so in the future, I know I would have told all the children what to do in the event of that happening.

It’s not being paranoid or overly anxious, it’s being proactive.

Now you may only have one child to care for, so may not feel a back-up plan necessary on an outing?

But there’s been numerous times where I have found many lost toddlers, wandering around a supermarket in tears, while their parents are frantically searching for them.

It happens every -day.

A simple; ‘If you can’t find me, go straight to the security guard on the door dressed like a policeman’ Helps reduce this stress, and prevents our children crying to a random stranger or wandering out to the car park to find us, where, different danger could present itself.

I say this because it happened to me with my own child, when they were younger. And I don’t want it to happen to you, if you can avoid it.

I can still feel that panic as I realised, I didn’t know where my child was, what they were doing or who they are with?

As a parent, I bet you can imagine that feeling now?

It’s a sinking, sick feeling of impending doom and disaster, as a whole host of catastrophic images flash through your mind.

Then relief suddenly washes over you, as you spot them holding hands with a lovely lady, who’s helping them search for you.

While your little one’s innocently smiling, clutching at a bag of sweets that had tempted them to wander off!

Stay Present,

Em x

Behaviour

Team Work Makes the Parenting Dream Work!



Team work really does make the parenting dream work.

My children’s Primary school had the perfect motto and that is; TEAM.

Which stands for – Together Everyone Achieves More. You could really feel the sense of that message resonating with staff and pupils.

When we feel part of a team, we feel like we are all in it together, to help and support one another. This is important to bear in mind, that we are on the same side, when Coaching our children’s behaviour. 

Working together makes you both stronger, happier, healthier and more successful.

Parenting is not a battle of us against our children or vice versa.

Neither should there be any competition between parents, there’s no good cop, bad cop. It takes both parents, as well as any other carers who are involved in our children’s life, to come together and agree on rules and routines.

If not, our children will become confused, angry or upset, and eventually they will end up playing us off against each other.

This tactic is the most common cause of parent’s arguing with one another. Therefore, we need to join and stand together as a team. Remaining consistent, firm and fair together.


This tactic is the most common cause of parent’s arguing with one another.

Making sure that everyone who cares for our children does the same, by sticking to the rules and routines that we expect our children to follow.

This team effort approach ensures, we are all on the same side, working towards the same goals. But what happens when the team breaks down due to divorce or separation?

SINGLE PARENTS

I have found it common for parents who have recently split up, to turn to their children for comfort, allowing them to stay up later or bed share with them, saying that their children are feeling insecure and need them. In most cases the truth is, the newly single parent needs the child to need them, as they are feeling rejected or sad. There’s nothing wrong with needing some love when we are feeling low, as long as we know what is happening and why?

And we also understand that it’s not our children’s fault when we find happiness again or decide we no longer want them to stay up late or bed share with us, and we try to change that.

Now I’m not picking on single parents here. I admire them most, (I myself grew up in a one parent family without my Mum) as they have to do all this parenting routine stuff alone, often with little or no support. But I couldn’t help but notice that when some parents split up, a competitive game can ensue between the two.

I have heard that children always suffer when parents use them in their games (really this is a game no one ever really wins) but if anyone, I’ve found children are the only ones who really ever win at this game, as they learn how to play one parent off against the other.

Parents wanting to be the ‘Best Parent’ often give in to their children, and that normally means allowing them to stay up late, eat treats and have gifts for no reason. Routine especially falls by the wayside, when the absent parent, who only has limited time such as weekends to spend with their child, wants to; ‘make the most of their time together’.

The poor parent who spends most of their time with the child tirelessly providing a routine, then has to suffer the rest of the time with a tired child who prefers their other parent, as they do more fun things and give them what they want.  If you are at the receiving end of this from an ex- partner and parent to one of your children, then as a proactive parent you have to address it. This is a stressful situation as the other parent may use this against you. You may worry they might deliberately go against your wishes and flout your routines as a way of getting you back for past hurts.


They have to do all this parenting routine stuff alone, often with little or no support.

It’s likely they may try? On the other hand, they may be totally unaware of the problems they are causing and may well apologise and try to help you. They may have only been doing it out of genuine misguided love for your child, and wanting to spend quality time with them?

Or they may have tried to compensate, out of guilt for not being around as much anymore?

In either instance, your child’s health and happiness is what’s most important. If in any doubt suggest they read this blog post or drop them the link, so you are both on the same page.

By creating one team, we also get our children on side too. They won’t enjoy being the only person in a team against many for long. Eventually learning to get along with everyone, and playing by the rules and routines, will become their goal too.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have family and friends living close by and there’s probably more single parents today than married. As we’ve seen in the news recently with Cheryl Tweedy hinting that she would like another child solo, there’s also those choosing to parent alone. But a A strong network of family and the support of friends and other carers, including teachers, will help to build a winning team together. Creating the foundations that will become our children’s greatest support and security in life. Providing a safe base to turn to, where they can rely on consistency, familiarity and comfort.

Our children knowing that, everything we do is for their own sake, not for our own, and knowing we’re are not trying to spoil their fun but help them, is key to getting them on side

This helps them to see that we’re all united, and have rules and routines for good reason, for their happiness, security, health and safety. Rules and routines help us to communicate with our children positively and effectively, whilst they are learning how to connect and communicate with us, and others.

Stay Present,

Em x

Behaviour, Routine

Parenting Peace at Easter

Why do you throw rocks before you, the path ahead is smooth?’ A wise Sage once said, he must have been describing parenthood?

Old Habits Die Hard

Habits can work for or against us.

When it comes to routines in our children’s lives such as brushing their teeth, going to school and sleeping and eating at a set time, these are all good for our children.

They are in essence healthy habits.

Even if they fight it, all children need and like the predictability that routines offer. But routines are also good for us parents too.

Routine’s help to eliminate uncertainty, stress and unnecessary arguing with our children, while giving us the time for ourselves that we all need. When we all follow the same routine harmony follows us. It gives the day order, and time serves a purpose in our lives. We become more organised and productive and are able to plan ahead and pre-empt things ahead of time.

That’s why routines are such effective and valuable parenting tools.

They make it easy for us parents to deduce a lot from our children’s behaviour, when followed consistently, on a daily basis.

For example, if our children have had enough sleep, we can rule out them being tired when they misbehave or get upset. But if we know that they have not had enough sleep, then we will be able to see where the problem lies.

Routines also help us to proactively pre-empt beforehand, our children’s likely behaviour. Helping us to better plan and accommodate for those times when there have been interferences in their routines. For example, if we know they have not had their nap, we can avoid taking them to soft play until after they have had a nap.

Having this knowledge helps us limit a lot of unnecessary upset, for not only our children but for ourselves too. Over time with a consistent approach to routines, our children becoming over tired, hungry, bored or over stimulated, will be almost eliminated, as routine’s will meet those needs in advance, before it’s too late.

Also, by offering our children food before they are hungry or by putting them down for a nap before they desperately need one, we help them to feel understood, cared for and content. This prevents tears and tantrums for both ourselves as well as our children, because trying to soothe an over tired baby to sleep, is a very stressful time for all in earshot, so it’s never a good idea to wait until it’s too late.


When we find our children’s behaviour bad, it’s usually because we are trying too hard

Even when we have solid, well established routines in place, our children will still push those boundaries along with our patience. But parenting needn’t feel like a constant battle or struggle.

What if there was an easier way to control our children’s behavior, without being a controlling parent?

Easy does it!

When children are proving hard to control, the easy path often seems …. well …. too easy!

So, we dismiss it as an option and carry on the hard way out of habit.

This is when habits can work against us and become bad.

But when we find our children’s behaviour bad, it’s usually because we are trying too hard.

End the Battle & Win the War

One long summer school holiday (you know, the ones that seem to go on for ever, or you soon will!) A Mum came to see me in despair, saying she had lost control of her children and didn’t know how to get it back?

She felt as though she was, (in her own words);

‘Fighting against them in a constant battle about everything, and feeling defeated all the time.’

My advice which surprised her, was to go along with her children whenever she felt totally powerless, and to see what happened?


I wasn’t suggesting she leave her children to their own devices, and let them walk all over her, encouraging them to take advantage of her apathy. I just wanted her to accept and allow their demands temporarily, while she regained her confident, composure and sense of authority and self.


While she regained her confident, composure and sense of authority and self.


This was to show her children she was not accepting their behaviour powerlessly. Instead, she was showing them that she didn’t mind either way how they behaved.

This reversed psychological approach, not only confused her children somewhat, but as intended, it equipped her to deal with their behaviour.

POWERFUL PARENTS

There was no more struggle.

Instead of feeling powerless and beaten, she was able to manage normally challenging situations, easily.

By her thinking that she was choosing how to feel, she felt empowered, rather than feeling powerless.


Feeling powerless suggests, there’s isn’t a choice how to act or feel, and nothing one can do.  

The truth is, there’s always a choice and parents are never powerless. We have all the power, all the time.

I assured her that her children would soon get fed up of misbehaving, once they realised, she did not care and they weren’t getting any attention for their behaviour.

PEACE AT LAST

What she soon noticed was, her children had stopped wanting or asking for the things that previously she was not allowing them. By her not disallowing her children the things they wanted, the battle was over.


They hadn’t won the war though, because really, they didn’t want those things they were fighting for in the first place. All they were interested in was the battle. So, she ended up peacefully winning the war.

SIBLING RIVALRY

If its not us battling our children in a war of wills, then its our children fighting with one another. Nothing drives parents more crazier, than refereeing their own children. You love them all equally but when they are squabbling with one another, its hard to be calm, collected and fair.

The temptation is to blame one child, usually the elder as they should know better or tell them all off, even if one child is innocent. The secret to this common parenting dilemma is, learning to go with the flow more (as in the previous example, where the Mum let go of control) as we practice the Art of Intervention.


If its not us battling our children in a war of wills, then its our children fighting with one another.

The Art of Intervention

We are not ignoring their petty bickering; we are merely being a silent observer, intervening only when absolutely necessary.

Knowing when to intervene in our children’s behaviour and when not to, is a fine art to master. It takes a lot of thought, patience and practice.

We have to stop ourselves from flying off the handle at every incident and decide if it’s really such a big issue?

Does their behaviour warrant a reaction from us that is likely to upset not only our children, but ourselves too? 

If it’s not that important then, we have to learn how to let it go, nine times out of ten, none of its really that serious anyway.  This is not an excuse to get out of correcting our children’s unacceptable behaviour though, they have to abide by the rules, in order to keep themselves safe and healthy. 

It’s knowing the difference between those times when we need to correct them, and knowing when they have to learn how to correct themselves. For example, when they are squabbling with friends or siblings, it’s not always necessary or helpful for us to jump right in and intervene.

It’s important to step back and let them get on with it at times, and let them argue amongst themselves as they learn how to resolve their own issues. This is the only way they’ll learn how to get on with other people and how to resolve conflicts, in a safe, nurturing environment. 

When our children hurt the ones they love, it teaches them when they have over stepped the mark. It offers them the opportunity to apologise and make up, or forgive the other person too if they feel they were justified. Silly little squabbles can be resolved between children with -out adult interference, so if it’s not our battle, then we don’t need to fight.

Going with the flow means allowing peace and acceptance. We may not associate the two with parenting? But they are utmost, when it comes to moulding desirable behaviour in our children.

What- ever our children do or don’t do, we can still feel at peace in ourselves.

Wishing you all a peaceful Easter, until next time,

Stay Present,

Em x

Routine

Help it’s the School Easter Holidays!

Children all over the country are jumping for joy. Schools out for Easter, YIPEE!!!!

Or maybe ‘No way!!!?’ If you’re a parent crying into your coffee?

Its not that we don’t want to spend time with our delightful cherubs, eating chocolate eggs and playing the days away. It’s just we know how difficult its going to get after day three, when the sun stops shining and we’ve run out of art and crafts/ films/ books and things in general to entertain them.

And if you’re fortunate enough to have more than one little cherub to love and entertain, then you know that sibling rivalry and warfare will ensue. In this blog this week, we’ll cover entertainment, next week we’ll tackle sibling rivalry and staying sane.

Our children crave our time and attention and delight in any we offer. So, with their normal routine disrupted, if we just try to leave them to get on with it, they’ll probably misbehave in order to grab our attention. Partly because they just won’t know what to do, other than get hypnotized by a screen or digital device. Believe it or not children actually like being told what to do? It’s usually they way we go about telling them that’s the issue, not the instructions themselves.

School and childcare are great for our children because it gives them a structure to their day, which is broken up into various activities. They are also in the company of others their own age and they know what is expected of them, when and where and more importantly why?

At home through the holidays, this all goes out the window. They wake up too early or too late. They eat treats and snacks at various times of the day. If they have siblings they bicker, if they don’t have other siblings, they are alone or in adult company, which soon gets boring. Often, they lack the physical and mental exercise, as they’re not running around the playground or walking on the school runs, or stretching their brains. Meaning that at bedtime they are not tired and end up going to bed later, as there’s no school the next day. After a few days they don’t enjoy spending time with us as much, because the novelty has worn off, and our nagging is irritating us as much as them.

But stress not, there are ways to ease all this.

Following (and also in next week’s blog post) you’ll find a few pointers to restore some balance, keep them happily busy, keep you sane and help you regain your composure these hols.

Keep to Routine

Our childrens Routines are simply their everyday activities such as going to bed or eating dinner at a certain time.


Lack of routine causes confusion and that results in misbehaviour.

Children especially like the predictability and stability that routines bring in an otherwise chaotic and confusing world. Lack of routine causes confusion and that results in misbehaviour. If our children don’t know what is expected of them, when or why? They get confused, angry and upset.

It scares them not knowing when or what to do, or not to do as the case maybe? It’s best to have a routine in place that they are used to. Giving them a set of instructions that they can learn to follow, until eventually they become an automatic habit is best.

Once they are in the habit of say, having their tea at 4.30pm and going to bed at 7.30pm, let’s not break those healthy habits because it’s the school holidays.

If we do break them then, re-establishing that routine again when they return to school won’t be easy!

US Time

It’s great to spend family ‘Us Time’ together, but trying to please more than one child at the same time can be difficult. Each will have different interests from the other, and will likely try to compete for individual attention, but being blessed with more than one child can make finding time for each one challenging.

Although, generously giving of our time can become a stretch, each child will benefit from the attention of one on one time, making them feel special and important.

That’s why it’s important to factor in ‘US- Time’ for each individual child, by asking each one to write a list of the things they would like to do during US Time. One child may be a football fanatic but if your other child isn’t, then taking them to football matches isn’t going to be the time they will enjoy. Of course, they’ll be times when they will have to tag along, but this isn’t what we class as ‘Us Time’. Maybe the child who doesn’t enjoy football  can stay at a friends for a few hours, while you take the other child who enjoys football to the match?

But also try to find some common ground, family Us Time together is still important and finding things we all like to do, is a lot easier when we have a list to look at and can see where everyone’s preferences lie. So get all those individual lists together, including your own, and plan to do those things you all enjoy together, alongside individual Us Time.

But Us Time is not all about doing a certain activity or going anywhere in particular, it’s about being together. What’s most important is that you enjoy each others company and look forward to spending it together.

However, there are times when we all need some alone time too.

All children with time can grow to enjoy their own company, as long as they are given the opportunity to do so and receive adequate US Time, with us.

We’ll soon discover that after adequate Us Time that, our children soon bore of us and demand our attention less, naturally stepping back a bit, and giving us the space we need for U Time.

U Time

U time is exactly that, time just for YOU.

The truth is, even if we could give our children  a hundred hours a day, it would never be enough. Our children’s need for our time and attention is insatiable, and can never be constantly met, no matter how hard we try, or how much time we dedicate to them. We need to clearly communicate the importance of time just for ourselves to them, in a way that stops them from feeling rejected.

We can do this by explaining that, we won’t be able to devote time just for them later to do whatever activity they want to do with us, if we don’t finish what we need to do first.

We have to let them know in no uncertain terms, that we expect them to leave us alone to get on with it. Our children need more than a playmate from us, they rely on us for everything, including their clean clothes. So finding time to do chores, as well as time to pursue our personal goals is vital.

It’s not selfish to satisfy our own needs or do what we have to do, to provide the best life for our family. It’s the one thing that prevents us feeling resentment towards our children, for taking up all our time and energy. Therefore, it’s the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and our children. 

Sometimes we can fall into the parenting trap, of being so focused on our children that, we lose the desire to pursue our own dreams and ambitions.

If this sounds like you, then now would be a good time to list as many things as you can in ten minutes that you would like to do, if only you had more time. This is where writing your own list, when getting your children to write their lists for Us Time, is also handy for some U Time ideas and inspiration.

This will give you the clarity you need to discover what it is that you really want to do?

This list is not to include things such as spring cleaning your children’s bedrooms; this is the time to list those things that will make you happy when doing them, for no other reason than pure pleasure or relaxation.

Things like investing in a spa day, taking up windsurfing or whatever else happens to be your cup of tea. Try to be as adventurous as you can, but it’s not necessary. Even reading a book or going for a walk are great ways to spend time on you. All that matters is that it’s something for ‘You’ that ‘You’ really want to do.

MY U TIME LIST

  1.  
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  7.  
  8.  
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  10.  

Having things to do that you look forward to will keep you balanced and refreshed, so don’t neglect U Time.

This will help provide some free alone time for our children to ponder and daydream, but it’s also a good idea to plan some activities to occupy them too, until they learn the skill of occupying themselves.

Free Play

Over the past fifteen years as a Childminder, I’ve had the opportunity to observe different age groups of children, all playing together. At the beginning of my career, I felt the need to structure and plan activities and to keep them all busily occupied.

Now, experience has shown me that children require as little adult intervention as possible, and more free choice and opportunities for spontaneous play.

This is when they have real fun and enjoy each other’s company, and when you hear real laughter and joy.

When we interfere or try to entertain them constantly, they don’t learn how to amuse themselves, and inevitably get bored when left to their own devices. This can lead to negative or positive attention seeking behaviours. 

Give them the props, materials and resources, and leave them to it. A bowl of water in the garden and some plastic cups, never ceases to entertain little ones. Or some junk household recycling, can be used to build and create any number of things from their imagination.

Its not about technology or toys or going to expensive softplay areas or days out, an afternoon in the garden or trip to the local park is just as good. School holidays needn’t be expensive, the best things in life really are free.

However, If you have children of varying ages, or you want to keep them happily entertained for longer, a little intervention or guidance and some structure can be good.

Finding ways to stretch an activity, as well as their imagination and concentration is useful. Like suggesting they paint a treasure map and write a short story to go with it, while writing some clues to find hidden treasure for us to find, that they can make from junk materials such as bottles and boxes or play dough. This can extend an activity and prolong their interest and creativity.

Sometimes we can give our children too much choice and this can overwhelm them. We may think that by giving them lots of toys or laying out different types of creativities to do that we are keeping them occupied, but this can have the opposite effect.

If we follow their every desire and whim, then no sooner than getting the paint brushes out, they will be onto the play-dough shouting ‘Finished what’s next?’


No sooner than getting the paint brushes out, they will be onto the play-dough shouting ‘Finished what’s next?

Leaving us exhausted and frazzled by the end of the day, as they un-contentedly and continuously flit from one activity to another.

Adding interest to an activity as in the above treasure map suggestion helps, but sometimes, we have to let them just get on with their own business of playing.

Until next week, enjoy the hols, stay sane, Stay Present,

Em x

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Who Actually Gets Paid More A Footballer Or A Mathematician?

What a boring world it would be if we all liked doing the same things, the same way?

Without variety and differences conversation would soon dry up.

Yet we still expect our children to endure subjects that just don’t interest them.

One day I believe or should that be, I hope, the school curriculums will include more variety and options. Offering more choice for children, especially for those who aren’t naturally academic, to enjoy their learning, doing things that inspire and motivate them.

Hidden Talents

A lot of current issues that are happening on our streets today concerning children and crime, I believe, are due to children not feeling unique and special as they are, with the abilities they’ve been given. A lot of children don’t realise their true potential or hidden talents because they haven’t been given the chance to discover them. Many children feeling overlooked or rejected by a school system that makes them feel less than what they really are.

Times have changed and the way we teach and treat our children needs to change too.

We have to be more creative in our approach. Allowing for more sporting and artistic talents to be a part of the school curriculum, giving them equal emphasis and recognition as the more traditional core subjects.

I mean who actually gets paid more, a footballer or a mathematician?

You do the math? (I was never good at that subject in school…oops… Thanks to Mr Jones, there pops up my biggest self-limiting belief again!!!)


life is about being happy and healthy, not unhappy and wealthy!

Not all children aspire to be in intellectual careers.

Most just want to enjoy what they do using their hands and creativity, such as flower arranging, making fancy cupcakes or building impressive structures, such as those that house schools. Life is about being happy and healthy, not unhappy and wealthy. Money and future aspirations aside, its about how our children are experiencing life right now at school.

All the GCSE’S in the world, won’t empower our children in the future and make them happy. In today’s world they aren’t even a guarantee of job security either.

Happiness is a state of being cultivated from a young age.

We come to expect what we get and get what we expect as we grow older.

Happy optimistic children, who follow their own dreams and enjoyment, succeed and find rare opportunities, that are otherwise hidden from those clutching at hard earned grades, who settle for a safe job for the sake of money, in fear of failure or lack.

Some children just can’t stand sitting in a classroom, memorising facts that are of no relevance to them. However, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taught these subjects, alongside the things they do enjoy learning.

We just have to find more interesting ways, to make those subjects that they dislike, more enjoyable. We can start by fuelling their passion. Encouraging them in those areas they enjoy and are good at, and by finding each child’s preferred learning method. Some simply prefer a more hands on approach rather than theory.

After all, life is about putting learning into practice. Little use knowing what to do but not knowing how to do it, is there?

So, money and future aspirations aside, lets focus on the present and on how our children are experiencing life right now.

Stay Present,

Em x

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What Will You Be Doing This Mother’s Day?

Mothering Sunday is days away.

A chance to spoil our Mums if we are lucky, or remember them and all the good times they gave us if they are no longer with us.

But its also a time for us to get spoilt too!

Even if its only breakfast in bed, time to relax in a bath full of bubbles, read a good book in the garden or buy ourselves a new outfit.

Its the simple things in life that mean the most!

If you’re a MUM it’s time for YOU!

U COME FIRST

You not only deserve this time for yourself but your child does too.

 ‘You’ are the most important person in your child’s life.

Anyone who has ever flown on an aeroplane will be familiar with the safety drill, where the Stewardess asks you to make sure you put on your own safety vest and masks, before your children’s or anyone else’s.

Taking care of ‘You’ is a priority because if you don’t, then you won’t be able to care for your child or anyone else.

Yet many of us selfless Mums still think it’s ok to put the needs of others, especially our children’s, before our own.

We are not being selfish by taking care of our own needs before anyone else’s, it’s essential.

If we take care of our own needs and wellbeing and pursue our own interests, then not only our own happiness, health, and success will be positively affected but noticeably our children’s too.

Nothing beats a good book and a bath!

A happy Mum, equals a happy, contented child.

That’s why, we should never neglect or underestimate the importance of time for ourselves.

LET’S BEGIN

And there’s no time like the present!

We needn’t wait for Mother’s Day, right now is as good a time as any to begin. So, before we go any further grab a notebook, pen, and a cuppa and let’s start our U Time now by taking some time to reflect on how we would like to spend our special day this Sunday?

As they say;

‘No plan is a plan to fail!’

So, let’s write down some ideas and make it a concrete promise to ourselves.

Who else wants time just for themselves to;

  • Have a bath?
  • Read a book or magazine?
  • Watch a Film or Box Set?
  • Enjoy a glass of wine?
  • Go out for a meal?
  • Visit the cinema or an Art Gallery?
  • Go for a massage, manicure, facial or acupuncture?
  • Have a new Hair Style?
  • Go for a Makeover?
  • Take up a new hobby?
  • Start an Educational Course?
  • Write, Paint, Play an instrument or sing?
  • Work out at the gym?
  • Meditate or try Yoga?
  • Participate in a sport?
Relax it’s YOUR Special Day!

There are so many ways to make your day special, so start dropping those hints to your partners or children (if they are old enough) now. Give them time to arrange a treat you really want, because they know you’re worth it.

If you don’t have anyone able to treat you, then go treat yourself now.

Make that appointment, order that book, enrol in that course, or book that table for you and a friend.

MAKE EVERYDAY SPECIAL

U time doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions such as Mother’s Day though.

We can make our whole life more enjoyable, if we use our time doing things that we like and want to do.

If we’re honest, doing anything other than that is a waste of our precious time.

It’s pointless only ever enjoying time for yourself just because its Mother’s Day, and enduring 364 days of tending to the needs and desires of everyone else.

It’s like living for the weekend to arrive or our summer holidays, in order to relax and be happy.

This just robs us of the opportunity to live and enjoy life to the fullest.


It’s living less than half a life.

Let’s meditate on that for a moment.

If we could only plan our lives like we do Christmas or our summer holidays, then all that attention to detail, time, energy, money, and motivation to make it good, would create a fabulous life.

Decide now not to reserve those fun times for special occasions, celebrations or holidays.

It’s about enjoying and appreciating every day, including those ordinary boring days like today, when nothing extraordinary or special is happening…. just your life!

Your time is the present, Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Birthday Dylan

I have to thank you Dylan. You were easy from the start.

Easy conception, easy pregnancy, easy birth and easy to love.

Today on this special 13th birthday, celebrating you becoming a teenager, I also want to thank you for making me a more present parent.

First time around, as a new mum everything’s new and frightening. You just don’t really know what to expect or know what you are doing?

It’s a learning process full of doubts, tears and fears!

So caught up in dirty nappies, sleepless nights and parenting anxiety, it’s hard to enjoy those first few years as a new mum.

But by the second child most of us are feeling a bit more confident, but alas, sadly for some, complacent and busy.

You taught me how to enjoy being a mum. And how to appreciate every minute as special.

Your love makes ordinary moments most would take for granted, as precious and unique.

You made me notice them.

You made me present to the joy of being a parent and of being your Mum. A privilege I’ll always hold dear.

Such as the time when you were just three years young. I was taking you to the Dentist, when as we were holding hands and crossing the road, out of the blue you said;

 ‘I love you Mum.’

I can still remember to this day, thinking that this was such a good moment in my life.  I wanted my mind to photograph it forever, so that when we were both older, we could look back upon that ordinary moment, with fondness.

A great time, when we were both truly present together, enjoying one another’s company.

We were just going about our daily business. Yet, it was such an extraordinary, emotional moment for me. So much so that, I can still feel those positive, loving, warm, fuzzy feelings deep inside me, whenever I recall that moment now.

Even now, you still greet me on the school yard every day with a kiss, hug, pat on the back and a ‘I love you.’

I know I’ve said you don’t need to do that in public now, in case it’s embarrassing?

And you said ‘No I want to. It’s not embarrassing’.

And I melt inside with pride, that you are not afraid to openly show your love.

I don’t know what I have done to deserve such beautiful, loving children but I’m glad I’ve be blessed with you both.

As normal and mundane as a trip to the dentist with your child may sound, I can guarantee that in years to come, you too will realise how special those everyday moments in time really are. Even if those moments do not feel like it today.

One day, those simple everyday memories, will be where you will linger longingly, wishing you could go back to. 

Noticing, appreciating and being fully present in those moments we are spending with our children today, is what Present Parenting is all about. Because one day those moments, will be some of the best moments in our lives.

They truly are priceless, irreplaceable nuggets of time.

Time we all too often take for granted, because we are disillusioned by the concept that, the work and worries that occupy our minds, are the things that need our attention the most. Yet, neither now nor in the future, will anyone or anything, ever bring us the joy, fulfilment or happiness that our children do.

It’s who we are with, and the love and time we give that counts! 

If today was the only time we had left on Planet Earth, chances are we would not want to clean our house or work overtime, schmoozing our boss for a pay rise?

Chances are, we would want to spend our time with our loved ones?

Having fun and letting them know how much we love them. While appreciating, how much we too, are loved by them.

We don’t always remember the dates or details in life, but we always remember how we felt. This is what our children will always remember too.

It doesn’t matter what we have or achieve in life, it’s all a waste of time, it’s who we are with and the love and time we give, that counts! 

Childhood doesn’t last forever. When our children reach their teens, it’s going to be too late to regret, not having had the time to; paint, play, cook, read, sing, dance and enjoy our time with them, while young.

Make the most of now, and start to live in and enjoy each and every moment with your child, from now on. 

Tomorrow is promised to no one, stay present and be generous with that time.

If you knew this was your last day ever with your child, you would hang on to their every word and not waste a single second of that time. Always keep in mind, one day will be the last day you spend together.

There’s no time like the present, and no present like time!

Happy Birth- days!

Recreation, Us Time

ONLY BORING PEOPLE GET BORED

I’m sure many of Us Parents have heard that dreadful saying ‘I’m bored!’ since the children have been off school, over the past week or so?

The school summer holidays pose a real challenge for most of us, as we compile packed itineraries, lists and mind maps of where to go and what to do, to entertain our childrens endless wants and desires.

As a child, I loved nothing more than our Sunday walk through the forest or hike up our local mountain. We did it every Sunday without fail but my brother and I never bored of it, in fact all week we look forward to it.

As a child, I loved nothing more than our Sunday walk through the forest or hike up our local mountain.

Granted we only had 3 TV channels back then when I was a child, where children’s programmes were only aired for an hour at lunchtime. And we didn’t have computers or phones then, so I never felt as though I was missing out on my screen time. Walking up a mountain or playing tag with the other children in our street was our entertainment.

Playing tag with the other children in our street was our entertainment.

Often, I hear ‘It’s boring we’ve been here before.’ when I take children out somewhere.  As though every trip should be somewhere new and exciting. I fear, Children are just losing their ability to entertain themselves and have fun naturally these days.

And childrens play places are cashing in at our expense. When I was a child a trip to the farm or zoo was a once a year treat, we were lucky to get a bag of sweets or a pencil with a rubber from the gift shop at the end of our visit. Now children expect expensive toys at the end of every day out. It’s not our childrens fault these venues strategically place the gift shop full of toys, at the end of an attraction where we must walk our children through to leave.

But the result is, as parents, we no longer feel a fun family day out is good enough, when our children are clutching onto a fifty-pound toy, demanding they want it!

We know that we can get the same toy half the price from the supermarket, but we also know, all our children will remember is how horrible we were for denying them that toy, not all the fun we had having a picnic next to the peacocks!

WHATS NEXT?

Its vital children have the chance to relax and unwind, this doesn’t mean sleeping. Stimulation overload is a very real problem facing our children, affecting their mental health. Encouraging them to listen to relaxing music, read a book or comic and take time to daydream is vital. Most children today see this as being bored but there’s a lot of benefits to boredom.

As parents we are so busy in our own lives, we feel guilty when we are not providing busyness for our children, but what we all need and crave is time out from this busyness. One Monday morning about twelve years ago, I remember asking a parent how her weekend had been, here’s how she replied.

‘Friday after school I took the children to football and gymnastics, then Saturday morning they had karate, and in the afternoon, I took them swimming at that new pool with all the big slides, but they got bored after half hour so we ended up in the park. But then they had worked up an appetite so we went for a burger, then onto the cinema. I think they are getting too old for animated films now though, as they soon got bored mid- way and all they did was fight with one another then all evening. Then You’ll never guess what?’

One Busy Mum!

I shook my head in disbelief thinking, what there’s more?  

As she continued

‘Sunday, I found out they had a big homework project that took most of the day up, I’m just so tired, I can’t wait to get back to work today!’

One TIRED MUM!

Wow, Wow, Wow!

All that nonstop entertainment, time and expense and at the end of the day none of it made them happy.

What would I wonder?

Too much can be just as bad as not enough. This conversation took place many years ago but over the years I’ve found, children are becoming a part of ‘The What Next Generation?’ of dissatisfied children. An enjoyable picnic in the park is just never enough. Children seem to be asking their parents ‘what’s next?’ before they have even finished doing what they are currently doing.

Leaving most of us worn out, skint and frazzled by the end of the day!

There’s not much left to the imagination anymore, and the absence of a TV, mobile phone or computer, can make our children feel bored. Unfortunately, being constantly occupied with people or electronic things, prevents contemplation and creativity.

Being constantly occupied with people or electronic things, prevents contemplation and creativity.

Children are so used to this type of stimulation they cannot play alone or even with each other anymore, they just don’t know how to occupy themselves without these props, so they say they are bored. I have an answer for that; ‘Only boring people get bored.’

There’s more for children to do today, than any other time in history. There’s so much choice, variety, toys, opportunities, and experiences, it’s hard to believe that the word bored still exists in the English language.

Back in the Depression and Wartime days, children really did have nothing to play with, nowhere to go and little to do, yet they never seemed to get bored like the children of today do. They had no other option, they had to amuse themselves and they knew how to play and have fun naturally.

My children learnt early on, never to utter those words ‘I’m bored.’ As soon as they did, they knew I would find them a list of things to occupy them, such as cleaning jobs or homework.

On hearing what I had to offer to alleviate their boredom, they suddenly remembered they had lots to be getting on with and got on with it!

We help alleviate boredom, by allowing them to become bored. This means occasionally removing toys and electronics.

Ironically, we help alleviate boredom, by allowing them to become bored. This means occasionally removing toys and electronics. This is not a punishment, so to prove that to them, we have to join them in this practice too.

This is probably something we will struggle with more than our children; I mean can you actually imagine a day without your phone, computer or TV?

We’d fall so behind on the soaps, social media, and junk email!

Boredom would eventually disappear, however, and our children would come to realise all there is naturally around them. They may struggle at first to find things to do, but given the alternative, such as cleaning their bedroom, they would soon find something to do which is more fun.

What could you be doing that’s more fun instead?

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