Covid-19, LOVE, MEMORIES, Proactive Parenting, Stay Present, U Time

THE PRESENT- WHAT CHRISTMAS GIFTS CAN COME OUT OF COVID?

Well Christmas is fast approaching and New Year is looming ahead. Many of us I’m sure will be happy to see the back of 2020!

With My Mother and Stepdad being in hospital poorly with COVID-19 for a couple of weeks, I know I will. Thankfully they came home two days ago but their homecoming was a bitter sweet moment for me as, the day before I had received my late brothers ashes, a stark reminder of the balance between life and death and the glue of love that holds us all together. But with the UK being the first to administer this new COVID-19 vaccine last week, we’ve a lot to be hopeful for moving into 2021.

For that period when they were in hospital with Covid -19 everything seemed so uncertain and I just want to thank everyone at the Heath Hospital Cardiff for taking such good care of them both. I’d also like to thank everyone for your support and well wishes. I hope that you and your loved ones will be able to spend time in the ‘present’ together, enjoying the festivities in your own little bubbles.

WHAT GIFTS CAN COME OUT OF COVID?

More than ever before, I’m sure we can all now appreciate everyone in our lives and the gifts they share with us. If 2020 and COVID-19 have brought us anything positive, let it be the gift of awareness and being present at all times with those we love. This Christmas we can all appreciate that, it’s not about the ‘presents’ but about ‘being present’ that counts. Being grateful for those people in our lives that bring us love and joy and weighing up the real gifts we receive of health, love, friends, family, food and shelter.

This year has been heavily imbued with seriousness. COVID-19 has caused a lot of worry, stress and anxiety. But as parents this Christmas, let’s try to lighten up a little and not take everything too seriously. We won’t win any prizes for being the most serious parent, but we will win the support of our children if we have fun with them.

Who cares that; we’ve burnt the turkey, we couldn’t secure that one sell out toy or didn’t get the right gifts, or that there’s no Christmas party and our toddler won’t eat sprouts?

Lets try not to sweat the small stuff – and as Richard Carlson reminds us ‘…and its all small stuff’ anyway. In the grander scheme of things and with the current world pandemic, none of that is important. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t control everything that happens in life.  So, let’s let go of control and learn to relax and go with the flow a bit more to reduce unnecessary stress.

KEEP STRESS LEVELS DOWN?

You can do this by taking daily you time (U Time) for yourself to just relax. Whether that’s a soak in the bath after a long day or sitting down with a cuppa, taking time to breathe, in the here and now and get organised in your head, reduces stress.

YOUR CHILD IS A GIFT ENJOY THE PRESENT

Our children are the present, they are a gift to us, and they are here with us now, at this present moment in time. And Present Parenting (devoting our time and attention in the present moment) is the best gift that we can give to them.

It’s never about what we do as parents, it’s how we do it, how we feel, and how our children feel as a result that matters. And making sure our time together is happy and relaxed and that we look forward to it as much as our children do.

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. 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.

We can practise this whenever our children wake us up early in the morning. Instead of getting annoyed, we could welcome their presence as the best wakeup alarm there is, reminding us that it’s another fresh, new day, and that we are alive, well, and loved.

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?

Besides, the daily commute to work/school/shops or wherever else we need to go, it still takes a journey to get there, whether we stop to notice all the splendour around us or stress out about the traffic.

If only for today, let’s try to think more childlike.

It may sound a bit childish at first, but being more childlike is the core to being present.

Manage Expectations

As a Mum myself I know this can be difficult and Christmas comes with such high expectations from everyone, but Life, Covid-19 or not, will never be perfect. Neither will we ever be perfect parents or have perfect children. ( If you’re interested in why we wouldn’t want perfect children or to be perfect parents? Or would like to know the benefits of coaching behaviour and managing expectations while being a ‘Present Parent’, we are offering a limited amount of free, review audio books to our readers and listeners, from the release of our audio books on Audible and iTunes. If you’d like to review a free audio book of – The Powerful Proactive Parents Guide to Present Parenting, or you know someone else who maybe interested, email me

emma@happychildcare.club and I’ll email you a free code:-)

Stay Present

In the meantime, to remain calm amid the chaos, stay present- it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Christmas is a special time for family and friends to come together and enjoy. Forget everything and focus on the here and now. When mindful in the moment, you’ll start enjoying time with your child. Forget what you didn’t do or buy and stop worrying about how tomorrow will work out.

Christmas is a memory making moment, make happy Christmas memories your child will cherish, and enjoy this time yourself. Build that Lego castle, watch that family movie together and stay present in each and every moment.  

For more top tips for staying present this Christmas, you can read more in the Nov/Dec free issue of families Cardiff and the vale– the Christmas special https://bit.ly/familiescardiff_christmas2020 or in mums and tots magazine out now to buy https://www.mumsandtots.ie/

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and fun 2021!

Until next time, stay safe, healthy and present!

Em x

Photos by Tim Marshall olly allars

HiveBoxx Tanaphong Toochinda

Jonnelle Yankovich on Unsplash

BIRTHDAYS, MEMORIES, MILESTONES, Stay Present

A BIRTHDAY YOU’LL NEVER FORGET

Happy 14th Birthday Son, we’re sure this will be one you won’t forget (lock down 2020!)

We are so proud of the young man that you’ve become I don’t think any parent could wish for a better Son than you, your love and respect shines through in all that you do and your polite and caring personality makes us so proud to be your parents.

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

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

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. 

You taught me how to enjoy being a mum. And how to appreciate every minute as special.  And you always make us smile!

Can see you as the next Simon Cowell!

Your love made 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 of a great time. A 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. 

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.  Even the loss of their 1st tooth!

1st baby tooth to go!

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

Making Memories.

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, that 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. 

Always smiling.

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, and bear 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! 

Stay Present Em x

Behaviour, BELIEFS, Esteem, MEMORIES, Proactive Parenting

STUPID STICKY LABELS

What negative beliefs to you believe about yourself?

Photo by Cheron James on Unsplash

Self-limiting beliefs stack up, and children are constantly adding to them over the course of their lives as they discover more and more things they can’t do.

If not overcome, self-limiting beliefs can become the enemy to success and happiness. Especially potent are those beliefs created by authority figures such as from parents and teachers.

If a child is told that they ‘Will never be any good at_____’ fill in the blank with a subject, these negative comments stick in their subconscious mind. They then believe them to be true, even if years later they have proved them to be wrong. Often, they will look for ways to prove those authority figures right, albeit subconsciously. Then, when their negative self-beliefs and attitude inevitably causes them to fail, they’ll think ‘Well, the teacher did say I would never be any good at it, and look—they were right!’

We need to challenge our children’s self-limiting beliefs and find out where they came from and whether or not the source was correct or reliable? 

Seeking to prove them wrong, rather than right, and reinforcing the things that our children are good at and can do. There will always be things they find challenging, but they shouldn’t avoid them or believe they are unachievable, nothing is impossible with the right support and encouragement.

OUT OF DATE INFO

Children under seven are very impressionable, they particularly take in things that upset them or stand out as most significant, especially traumatic events. They then sort and store these experiences in their subconscious mind for future reference, which then becomes available to assist them in the future.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

This is helpful if the information is right or is intended to keep them safe in some way, but sometimes it can be wrong, misguided, and outdated. Information received while young is based on a young child’s perspective and may not be appropriate to them as they get older. Even when they have grown up and outgrown it, they may still be acting, thinking, or feeling based on those past experiences.

‘Self-limiting beliefs stack up, and children are constantly adding to them over the course of their lives as they discover more and more things they can’t do.’

This causes them to create fears and restrictions on themselves, and if others impose limiting expectations upon them, they add to a child’s own self-limiting beliefs, especially if they believe them or they remember situations or comments that reinforce them.

Fortunately, with the right encouragement, support, and belief, children can combat and overcome these self-limiting beliefs.

Children believe others over themselves most of the time, so, if they have fallen off a bike many times, their mind will tell them ‘You can’t ride a bike.’

But if we can convince them that they can. With some patience, persistence, and practice, they’ll believe us and start practicing until they eventually learn how to ride that bike. Because we have said and believe they can, they start to believe it themselves.

As Proactive Parents, we need to show them that their limiting beliefs are inaccurate and find evidence to support why they can do something that they believe they can’t.

If they say they are no good at sport, we can remind them of an occasion when they were, such as when they came first in the egg and spoon race. Our job is to question their beliefs and point out how vague they are being, by asking them in a confused tone;

‘Sport? … What sport in particular are you no good at?

 And; ‘What do you mean by no good exactly?’ This will make them think less generally.

If they reply; ‘I mean I’m no good at rugby.’

We could say; ‘Well that’s not all sport, that’s just one activity, but why do you think you are no good at rugby anyway?’

They might reply with; ‘I didn’t score a try last week.’

We could then ask; ‘Did everyone else score one?’

They may respond; ‘No only two people scored a try.’

We could continue; ‘So are none of the others any good at rugby also?’

To which they would have to honestly reply; ‘No some are good.’

STICKY LABELS

Regardless of talent, ability, qualifications, experience, money, or even if they follow ‘The Seven Steps to Success’ which we will reveal in later blog posts, none will make a difference without our children having Self-belief.

If they don’t believe that they can do something, then they won’t be able to do it, even if we are really encouraging and believe in them. Their self-belief influences everything, including their performance throughout school and academic potential.

These self-beliefs often lead to success in areas they feel confident and believe they can do well in, but in those they don’t, they’ll likely avoid or not do so well in.

There will be a variety of subjects in school, some they will not always enjoy, but they will be more likely to persist if they believe they can achieve good results in them, and we can help them build their self-belief by;

  • Believing in their capabilities — If we do, then they will.
  • Giving them responsibilities — Showing them that we believe and trust in them when it comes to important matters and giving them responsibilities makes them more responsible.
  • Helping them — If they are struggling in any subject at school, or any other area of their lives for that matter, mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally, we can help them overcome these obstacles and succeed by getting them the help, support, and resources they lack or need.
  • Encouraging them to be proactive — Taking action will give them the confidence to believe that they can achieve anything, even if they fail. It’s the fear of not being able to do a thing that stops them from believing they can. They have to gain confidence through achievement, and self-belief through doing and proving to themselves they can.
  • Complimenting them — Pointing out their efforts as much as their achievements and being specific. A general ‘Well done’ is not enough, we need to elaborate. Well done for what exactly? To replicate their success, they need to know exactly what it was they did so well in order for them to apply that to something else in the future.
  • Not over doing it — If we are too general or praise them when it’s not due, then they will not believe our praise to be genuine. Our children’s self-belief comes from the support and encouragement of others, including ourselves, but words of encouragement or trying to boost their ego with praise alone, will not work. They have to believe and feel good about themselves for genuine reasons. No matter how many times we tell them they are the best at something if they know they aren’t, they won’t be fooled. And the more they perceive us to be lying about what they think they can do, the less likely they will be to accept our genuine praise or compliments.

No matter how much praise we give or belief we have in our children, it’s what they believe and achieve, and whether it’s important to them or not, that counts, which is down to their own self-image. We’ll look at self-image in later blog posts too but over the last two weeks I’ve noticed the emails I’ve received from parents have revolved around sibling rivalry and arguments, especially during half term school holidays, so next week we’ll address The Art of Intervention.

If you would like an issue covered in next month’s blog posts, please email me the issue to emma@happychildcare.club

Until next time, Stay Present,

Em x

Thanks for featured image Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

MEMORIES, MILESTONES, PARENTING

SWEET 16

Well it’s happened the first coming of age milestone, our first-born turns 16!

It’s an emotional day.

We couldn’t have imagined the beautiful person you would become then!

Like all loving parents, our children are our life. Everything we do, we do it for you. But soon you’ll be doing stuff for yourself, now you’ll have your national insurance number you’ll be able to work and legally able to do other things we’d rather you didn’t. But so far parenthood has been a very rewarding journey, full of love and laughter, and we just want you to know Holly how very proud your Dad and I are of you.

Since the day you were born you just love to literally laugh out loud and to make others laugh too!

You had a tough entry into the world, giving me a tough time in the process, but since your initial birthday you have been an easy child ever since, and we want to thank you for giving us the best 16 years of our lives so far.

You’re funny, confident, caring, and full of that zest for life. You are always up to trying new things and giving anything a go, always facing your fears with determination, whilst always being thoughtful and empathetic towards others.

We’re so eternally grateful for everything you have taught us, especially all that’s good about this world.

We can all remember that moment we brought our first-born home from hospital. 

On tonight’s Snow Moon I will reflect on the day you were born. I remember that snowy February day like it was yesterday, my husband Paul putting the car seat down in the middle of the living room and us both staring at our new arrival Holly, for what felt like hours. 

We were just in awe of her. Scared and anxious at the same time. 

All those fears surfaced. 

How would we cope? 

What do we do if she cries? 

How will we know what she needs?  

When?  

And why? 

What if we don’t know how to be good parents? 

Now on her sixteenth birthday, as a Mum, I feel so proud, privileged and happy to have come this far, to have learnt so much but more importantly, to love and feel loved by such a smart, wonderful, funny, kind and crazy daughter. 

The pride and love I feel for her every day are overwhelming. Making that difficult birth and all those doubts and fears pale into insignificance. 

Yes, even the toddler tantrums and teenage angst has been worth every minute.  

So much so, I feel saddened that she is growing up way to fast, and I long for those baby days back. 

Yes, children change your life in many ways, but always for the better.  

It may be hard to imagine now when you’re in the thick of dirty nappies and sleepless nights, but it’s in those ordinary moments together, that one day, you’ll linger with your memories longing to go back.  

Parenting is a very rewarding time and can be lots of fun if we let it. Enjoy and treat every day as a special one, because while your child is young, every day really is special and full of firsts. First words, first steps, first pee on the potty, first day at school, first boyfriend, all of which are magical moments for you and your child to cherish.

Believe me, the time really does go so quickly, one day you are crying into your pillow, begging for some sleep while they are teething, the next you are crying into a tissue as you are waving them off to university!

When your baby becomes one of your best friends!
DAD AND DAUGHTERLY LOVE

One day in the not so distant future, those dreaded night feeds, school runs, class assembly’s, duvet days and trips to the dentist, will become the best moments in our lives.  

Today they are ordinary every day events, although tomorrow they’ll become the most extraordinary, priceless, irreplaceable nuggets of time in our lives. Time that all too often we take for granted because we are disillusioned that the work and worries that occupy our mind, 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. 

I wish they were both still this age!

Happy Birthday Holly Love Mum & Dad xxx