MUM GUILT, PLAY, Recreation, SELF-LOVE, The U URSELF Routine, U Time

ARE YOU RECREATING?

The word Recreation means to recreate, and we can do that as much as children love to, actually, we’re re-creating our lives every day, but we are often unaware that we are doing so. Sometimes, this means we create experiences that are not always fun or just, well …. humdrum.

But if we can create the boring unwanted stuff, then it stands to reason we can also create more fun in our lives too.

Children are master creators with vivid, unlimited imaginations that allow them to become anything and anyone, from a random object such as a chair to an Alien from Outer Space, nothing is off limits in their play.

It’s this natural ability to shut off reality and enter play that offers them an essential form of escapism. A safe haven from stress, anxiety, and worry. Helping them to make sense of events and the world they live in, and to digest and learn new concepts at their own pace.

Recreation can be called many things such as; leisure, hobby, pastime, exercise, play, activity, amusement, sport, even work!

But play never actually feels like hard work.

How we feel and our concept of time, is how we can differentiate real play, from any other experience.

Play has the ability to immerse and stimulate to the point we lose track of all time and reality. Play throws caution to the wind and allows anyone at any time, to do anything, no matter how silly or unconventional.

Regardless of what we do with our children, if we are having fun, then we’re playing. It’s not the activity that counts, it’s how we feel when we do it.

Genuine play always feels good as it replaces control for freedom, anxiety for laughter, and learning for entertainment.

When was the last time you actually played?

U Time is not a luxury but a daily necessity that you not only deserve but NEED.

Do you work so hard that you forget to make time to rest and recuperate?

Do you feel guilty spending time or money on yourself?

You can read more about U Time and how to rid yourself of Mum Guilt in my article in the latest edition of Mum and Tots Magazine out now in newsagents, supermarkets or online. Mums & Tots – Ireland’s Favourite Maternity Magazine (mumsandtots.ie)

If you put U time off, you risk burning out, which actually stops you from working efficiently, productively or to the best of your ability.

More play prescribed!



When this happens not only will your work suffer but so will you and your family. Do something today just for you, that makes you feel good. Book that massage or hairdressers appointment, buy that new book or album you would like to listen to and relax.

🧘‍♀️ If you need help scheduling U TIME or would like some R & R, why not book a Mumatherapy session today and receive 20% off any booking for a Friday or Saturday in September.  There’s also PMR (PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION) sessions FOR ONLY £25 during September if you book now using code JULY-PMR.

What does PMR do for you?

It’s like a massage for your mind.

PMR -It’s like a massage for your mind!

email me Emma for info or to make a booking 👩🏼‍💻 emma@happychild.care

 Mumatherapy℠ – Happy Childcare

Stay Present,

Em x

AFFIRMATIONS, BELIEFS, Esteem

AFFIRMATIONS

Where negative statements can be accepted as true in our children’s mind, so too can positive statements. We call these Affirmations, and they can be used to counteract and overcome a negative, unhelpful belief, or reaffirm something wanted, bringing about positive thoughts and feelings. They’re positive statements said as if they are already true.

As adults we may feel a bit silly saying them at first, but children are less self-conscious. They’ll find affirmations a fun way to program their minds and to plant and grow positive suggestions in their subconscious. But what’s really great is if they can accept these positive suggestions while young, then there will be less reprogramming to be done as they get older. 

To encourage this habit, they need to think of a positive statement in the present tense that they can relate to. The language needs to be simple, using words they would use in everyday speech and that’s appropriate for their understanding. If too complex, they’ll be less likely to understand or take the statements on board. It’s better they choose their own affirmations they feel comfortable with saying, these can be written if the child is old enough, to compliment and reinforce the verbal affirmation but are best said aloud repeatedly. They need to be short, simple, positive, uplifting, motivating, and believable. Such as; ‘I am now learning more and more every day.’ Repetition is key to affirmations and the more they practise using positive affirmations, the easier they get and the better they start to feel about themselves and their capabilities.

This probably won’t surprise you to know, but while children are speaking and thinking positively about themselves, it’s impossible for them to think negatively, and then fear, worry, anxiety, anger, and frustration disappear.  This is useful if they are struggling in some area, such as learning how to read, instead of listening to their self-defeating mental chatter, they can replace it with positive self-talk and could say; ‘I enjoy learning how to read, reading is fun, and I am now finding it easier and easier to read.’ 

We can clearly understand how this approach is more helpful than what children usually say such as;

‘I can’t read, I hate reading, it’s hard.’ Convincing themselves with their own words that they cannot read, not realising that they are the ones holding themselves back. Children confuse lack of experience and confidence in something, such as reading, as a lack of ability, and believe they do not, cannot, and will never be able to do it. Any mistakes they encounter only reinforce this, knocking their confidence further, we can minimise the risk of this happening by introducing our children to affirmations.

I like the affirmation bowl. Write out some affirmations on some post it notes and mix them up in a bowl and ask your child to pick one each morning and evening before bed. Then notice how their behaviour and  language becomes more positive and how their self- esteem and confidence improves.

Stay Present,

Em x

MUM GUILT, SELF-CARE, SELF-LOVE, The U URSELF Routine, U Time

What will you be doing this weekend?

It’s finally the weekend!

A chance for us to shut off that constant mental chatter, stress, worry, work and woe.

A time to do those things we love to do, for the sheer enjoyment of doing them.

Freedom to indulge in our pleasures and be with those special people we love?

Hang on…. What do you mean you wish?

What will you be doing this weekend if not any or all of the above?

We all deserve a break, even You.

Work and Worries Never End!

There’s always going to be laundry in the basket and an un-surmountable pile of paperwork or emails harassing us. Our work doesn’t cease to exist because it’s the weekend either. And those work issues can dwell in our minds constantly if we let them, taking up our time and attention, even on our days off.

But when are we free to enjoy life and those we love most?

Totally free to be in the moment and do nothing without feeling guilty?

It’s a rare occasion for most of us.

But today if you only do one thing, free your mind with some U Time.

We all know this is easier said than done, but when we consciously make space and time just for U Time, like we would cooking tea for the kids or washing the school uniforms, then we allow ourselves the chance to relax into the present moment. When we focus on the moment, this very minute that we are currently experiencing, we can’t ruminate on the past or worry about the un-lived future. Although that seems so obviously basic, it eludes us all.

We get caught up in the humdrum, daily dramas of our everyday lives. The unimportant, insignificant details, that cloud our true purpose and reality.

Robbing us of our peace of mind that we are all seeking but never find for long.

Letting Go

If only we could just temporarily let go and have five minutes peace?

Why not try?

Find a space that’s relaxing, quiet and away from all distraction’s, switch off your electronic devices and phones.

My Meditation U Time Space

I have a space in my home where I place crystals, stones and candles. When I spend U Time there I let go of everything that’s mentally cluttering up my head and watch the fog drift away. Finding things that calm you or bring you joy will help, you don’t need buddha’s or crystals, if they aren’t your thing listen to a water feature or look at a painting, smell some aromatherapy oils, anything you feel comfortable with that signals to you this is U Time.

Make sure no one will disturb you and either sit or lay down somewhere, in a nice comfortable position. Surround yourself with cushions or soft warm blankets if that helps?

And take in some slow deep breathes.

Feel where your tension resides in your body?

We are all different, one person may carry their tension in their neck and shoulders, another in their jaws or buttocks. Wherever it feels uncomfortable breathe into it, focusing on that place, and allow it to release, as you breathe out gently and slowly.

There’s no -where to go, nothing to do, and no one to see, so you are absolutely free.

Free your mind of mental chatter and you’ll free your muscles of tense matter.

This is ‘U Time’ feel free to let go and relax. You can’t do this wrong, you just breathe.

Melt into whatever is supporting your body and just keep breathing, and as you do so, say to yourself;

‘Let go.’

‘Let go.’

‘Let go.’

Don’t just say the words, feel them, like a warm, comforting sensation flowing through you.

Practice this letting go and breathing to free your mind, until you get bored.

But I warn you, this state of pure relaxation and freedom of thought is addictive and hard to break, but it’s a great habit to make.

So, …. how will you spend your weekend now?

If you would like some help learning to relax and let go, then book your free Mumatherapy Consultation today! All bookings for September 2021 made in May will receive a 20% discount, please quote Muma May when booking.

Stay Present, Em x

HEALTH AND WELLBEING, PLAY, Recreation, The U URSELF Routine

The Power of Play

Puppy fat, as it was once termed was a way of describing a chubby child. In the past children would  lose this naturally as they grew into adolescence. Now though this is no longer the case.

According to research conducted by Dr Gavin Sandercock, Reader in Clinical Physiology at The University of Essex; the least fit child in a class of thirty school children tested in 1998 would be amongst the five fittest children in a class of thirty tested today.

The current pandemic hasn’t helped, but its our obesity epidemic that’s the real problem. That’s why Recreation is a big part of The UURSELF Routine.

The benefits of exercise on our children are numerous, helping them to;

  • Eat and maintain a healthy appetite
  • Lose weight
  • Boost memory and concentration
  • Sleep
  • Relax
  • Learn
  • Behave better.
  • Enhance their moods
  • Increase energy levels
  • Fight against infections
  • Increases self-confidence & self-image

Exercise releases endorphins, these are natural, happy, chemicals which can make children feel good and boost their mood.

Exercise can also change body shape, making children fitter, leaner, and toned, helping to boost their body image and physical confidence. This can reduce or prevent depression or anxiety.

Exercise doesn’t need to be a planned particular activity though; exercise is simply another word for movement.

Encouraging exercise shouldn’t be costly or hard work. If we have six children all wanting Karate lessons, that could get costly!

It should be fun, free, and easy.

Not all children enjoy sports, so it’s important to find activities they do like, such as gardening. This way, they’ll be unaware of the energy they are using whilst sowing and digging as they become absorbed in the activity itself.

Exercise is just another word for play time, so making it fun is key. The only thing that matters is they are moving their bodies.

That could mean playing with friends, going to the park or indoor soft play area, kicking a ball about in the garden, playing tag, hopscotch, riding their bikes, skates or scooter.  Simply playing, walking, running, skipping, hoola hooping, jumping, hopping, or bouncing on a Trampoline are all fun ways for children to keep fit and active. 

Exercising daily now will stand them in good stead, not only as children, but later on as adults too. Statistically, the chances are if they stay inactive now while young, they will grow up into inactive adults.

To quote Lord Sebastian Coe, today’s children are the ‘Least active generation in history’ and could be the first generation in existence to have a shorter life expectancy than that of their parents.

That’s a shocking prospect.

But taking regular daily exercise today, will benefit them later on, setting them up with healthy habits for the future.

We create their habits by making the rules and routines for them to follow. Making exercise a daily part of their routine encourages the habit of exercise.

You can read more about Recreation and The UURSELF Routine in The Confident Parents Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy and Successful Child, available from all good book retailers including Amazon and iTunes.

BOOKS, Esteem, Proactive Parenting, ROLE MODELS

EASTER ESTEEM -FEATURING HOP

The thing I’ve loved most about my job is that my children were always surrounded by other children of different ages. At some point in their lives, they were the youngest child, the middle child and the eldest. And they were never without friends to play with.

When they were preschooler’s they looked up to and learnt from the older children, when they became the middle children, they were role models, and as the eldest they were teachers for the younger ones.

They always had a sense of belonging and responsibility growing up. And it’s the same for every other child who enters child care young and grows up in that setting.

Children who are given roles and responsibilities in life feel important and this is what helps them to build self-esteem.

I’ve always given the older children tasks to do such as laying the table or reading the younger children a story.

To have an older child read to younger ones, boosts the older child’s self-esteem and can give the younger ones listening, a better experience. Children can make a story come alive and aren’t afraid to have fun with characters voices. Most adults find this type of enthusiasm unnatural or difficult when reading a simple picture book.

Esteem is so important to children. That’s why Esteem is part of The U URSELF Routine.

WHAT IS SELF ESTEEM?

SELF ESTEEM – How our children regard and acknowledge their good qualities and think and feel about themselves in general. Including how much they like themselves or believe that they are a good person, deserving of all the good that life has to offer or not. And how close their ‘real self’ is in alignment with their ‘ideal self’. That is—how they feel they measure up against the version of themselves, that they think they should or the way they want to be.

Being in a diverse world where everyone is different is a blessing but children do not see it this way if they are the unique ones, who look or feel different.

Children want to fit in and be like everyone else.

So how can we as parents help them to feel accepted and happy with themselves for who they are and how can we explain to young children that’s its okay to be different?

Books are the easiest way to naturally relay important messages to young children. Reading books with our children is proactive parenting.

Most books have important messages imbedded in the story. Uplifting books can motivate and inspire our children or can educate and help them to understand feelings and emotions better.

Books can also open up discussions.  Listening and talking to our children and understanding how they feel and view themselves is vital to proactive parenting — It’s normal to find they dislike something about their body, or they don’t feel good enough at something and if this is the case, we should listen and talk to them about it, using books to overcome any self-limiting beliefs they may hold about themselves. They may have an exaggerated view of something or even an unjustified one. They maybe comparing themselves with others, dismissing their own great attributes.

Learning to appreciate themselves and what they do have — instead of comparing what they don’t have, will increase their self-esteem, self-image and self confidence in all areas of their lives.

A tall person for instance may not make a very good jockey but they would make a great model. It’s about getting them to appreciate and work with what they have got going for them naturally, and using it. Stories can uncover characters vulnerabilities that some children can relate to, and by reading how the character in the book learns to overcome these, can help children do the same in their own lives.

Good books address losing, failing or feelings of inadequacy and how that is a normal part of everyone’s, everyday life at times.

Children come to understand that it’s not about winning or being the best, its about being a part of something and not being afraid to be themselves, even if they are different and approach thing differently to their peers.

Hop Children’s Picture Book.

Last week, one of the older children at Happy Childcare read a fantastic book to the younger children about just that. It was called Hop and was about a dog that had been adopted by kangaroos, so clearly had some differences to everyone else in her family.

For one, she was no Joey and she just couldn’t do the kangaroo bounce but she so badly wanted to join in with the other joeys, so they had a race. Despite her limitations she enjoyed it, and although she didn’t win the race, that didn’t matter because she had so much fun taking part and overcoming her differences, in novel and creative ways.

The book deals with self -esteem and self-image issues perfectly for young children, and the topic proved to be an interesting discussion for the older children too. You can find the book Hop by Cherise Cross on Amazon in paper back or Kindle format but I would recommend the paper back version as the illustrations by Francois Arnaud are brilliant.

Children are not born with confidence; it grows as they do. When learning to walk they fall down, but they don’t give up and bit by bit, the more they practice, the better they become. One day they are crawling, then toddling, then walking, running, hopping and jumping.   What once would’ve seemed like an impossible task, suddenly becomes normal. And by giving things a go despite any perceived limitations or beliefs, they learn that they can succeed.

You can read more about boosting your child’s Esteem in my book The Confident Parents Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy and Successful Child.

Happy Easter,

Em