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!

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#IndieApril: Our Top 10

Wishing on a star!

Our #IndieApril competition came to a close on May 31, 2019, and so we have spent the past few days going over the near-hundred different entries and finalising our Top 10.

However, sadly, we have had two of our finalists withdraw from the competition, but thankfully for the very best reason: they have received interest from an external publisher and therefore cannot have their book in-process elsewhere. And so, with that said, our Top 10 has become a Top 8. We wish the two withdrawn Top 10 writers every success, both now and in the future!

To recap, this competition offers no small prize for the winner. You can find details here but, in a nutshell, the winning writer will become an author with Notebook Publishing, and receive book-publication comprising the following:

  • The Notebook Publishing exclusive Welcome Kit
  • Paperback availability
  • E-book-availability
  • Cover design through our exclusive and copyrighted Cover…

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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