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?
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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;
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.
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
Boost memory and concentration
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.
During lockdown we’ve all suffered from sleepless nights, whether that’s through anxiety, not enough exercise, unhealthy eating choices or disrupted routines. Added to that we’ve had clingier children who have picked up on our fears and anxieties too. In fact, lockdown has caused our children to become more dependent on us as parents and more needy than ever, leaving us at our children’s beck and call 24 -7.
Some children born into lockdown know no other way, others have just become accustomed to having us around doing everything for them.
But we need our U Time and rest as much as they do.
Friday the 19th of March is World Sleep Day, so here’s some tips to help restore a good night’s sleep for our little ones, because if they are sleeping, we can too!
CREATE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
Children need to feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed in their bed. We can make bedtimes more inviting and cosier for our children by addressing the basics and reviewing them from time to time, as our children grow.
That busy, blue, rocket wallpaper may have seemed a good idea when you found out you were having a boy, but how practical is it today now your toddler wont sleep?
We don’t want our children to be stimulated at bedtime, so instead of choosing the traditional bright colours for you child’s bedroom, opt for more subtle, green tones. Green is closer to nature and offers a relaxing, tranquil environment, which is conducive for sleep and much more soothing.
Have you noticed recently that your child has started to wake up earlier in the morning?
This could be due to the change in seasons. We may not have needed black out curtains or blinds during the dark winter months but now spring is on its way, bringing lighter mornings and evenings, this can prevent them dropping straight off or arouse them too early. Any signs of light will wake them easily and affect their body clock, so it’s a good idea investing in blackout blinds or curtains, while avoiding night lights or leaving landing lights on to comfort them.
As the seasons change so do the temperatures and what was once a nice, warm duvet in the winter, is now a hot, heavy burden in the summer, so changing duvet togs and the number of blankets or textures can help. Likewise adding extra blankets in the winter will ensure they are never too cold. Remember infants can’t regulate their own temperature so this is important for us to monitor. We can also regulate temperature by opening a window, using a fan or putting the heating on or off.
Lack of sleep can be detrimental to overall health and wellbeing, no one should be deprived of the basic necessity to sleep. Lack of sleep is also accumulative, so our children have to catch up on sleep whenever they can.
Even if this means a nap in the day to make up for lost sleep at night.
Parents sometimes avoid their children taking daytime naps, fearing they won’t sleep as long at night, but the reverse is actually true. Sleep deprived children have the worst sleeping habits, and those who nap in the day, actually sleep better at night. Children who need, but do not take a nap in the day, become overtired. Physical and mental capacity is impaired with too much activity and stimulation. This can be nearly as bad as none at all, making learning to relax a useful skill, so offering quiet time to rest, relax, and daydream throughout the day, is just as important as napping or sleeping at night.
MAKE IT INVITING
When my children were young, bedtime was our favourite Us Time together. We’d chat about the day, have a story and a cuddle and share with one another 3 things we were grateful for that day. By making bedtime an inviting, relaxing time, children will look forward to it.
WARNINGS AND REMINDERS
Children see bedtime as a fun spoiler, especially if absorbed in play or watching their favourite TV programme. But we can make it easier for them to accept by offering plenty of warnings and reminders. We need to gradually prepare them, letting them know fifteen minutes beforehand, with 5-minute reminders in between, e.g., if their bedtime is at 7pm then start at 6.45pm with- ‘Time to put your toys away.’ 6.50pm, ‘Let’s brush our teeth.’ and 6.55pm, ‘Let’s hop into bed for a story.’ This gives them the chance to mentally and physically prepare themselves.
ROUTINE IS KEY
Routines have gone out the window for many of us. Not having to get up for school has caused havoc and late nights and lay ins have become the norm. children’s sleeping habits have changed without the usual structure to their day so this will have impacted everything else, such as our children’s behaviour. To remedy this, it’s time to start or get our children back into a routine.
I recommend the U URSELF Routine to help restore harmony at home, as it covers;
U Time, Us Time, Recreation and Exercise, Sleep, Esteem, Love and Food, all of which impact a child’s sleeping habits.
You can read more about the U URSELF Routine on our web page by clicking the button below
Having a regular time to go to bed is vital. Setting a regular bedtime and sticking to it helps develop certain sleep wave patterns. These don’t change at the weekend; their body clock will send them to sleep and wake them up the same time on a Saturday, as it would on a Monday. So, bedtime needs to be consistent even at weekends.
We won’t be able to make them sleep while in bed, but our job is done when we make sure they are tucked up at a set time. There’s no need to argue with them to sleep, we are just setting a routine. They will fall asleep of their own accord when their bed becomes their cue to, and there’s nothing else stimulating on offer.
Keeping noise down helps a light or sensitive sleeper too, if they can hear you laughing at the TV downstairs then that’s where they’ll naturally want to be.
One child may be younger, making their bedtime different from their older siblings, and this is where difficulties can lie. Obviously, the younger child won’t want to be going to bed alone and will try to prevent this. There’s nothing we can do to make them sleep; however, we must still stick to their bedtime routine and make sure they go to their room at the appropriate time, ensuring all members of the family are respectful of their need for quiet.
If their physical environment is conducive to a good night’s sleep, and hunger or overtiredness can be ruled out, yet they’re still not sleeping through the night, the usual culprits are illness, teething, and general pain or enuresis.
Regressive behaviours like bedwetting don’t keep children awake, sleeplessness is usually a symptom of laying in wet pyjamas or bedding. We can help minimise the frustration to ourselves by changing sheets immediately, with minimum fuss. We can do this by always making their bed up twice, with two layers of waterproof sheets and normal sheets, just in case. This preparation means if they have an accident during the night, this limits the time and disruption of having to completely remake the bed. Simply throw off the top layer of wet sheets and waterproof, then underneath there will be more dry sheets and another waterproof sheet.
Regressive behaviours are their way of showing they still need us, or simply a coping mechanism to return to that time when they felt protected. In those moments, they need reassurance from us that everything will be ok. We must be understanding, reassuring any fears they have in a calm and confident manner, whilst still communicating to them that, what we are asking them to do i.e., go to sleep, is not bad but good for them!
Lock down has been bitter sweet for many of us. One thing I know a lot of us working parents can relate to is for once- having time.
Time to do what we want such as spending time playing with the kids.
Walking in nature.
Reading, writing, crafting or cooking.
Time to reflect on who we are and what we do and why?
In essence, we’ve had time to play, be creative and indulge in those things normally we have no time to waste doing.
But for some we’ve had to continue to work on the front line and keep our country going, working harder than usual. Whatever situation we found ourselves in during this strange time in our history, one thing is for sure, we’ve all felt a need to embrace some down time more and find ways to occupy ourselves and this is what most of us plan to hold onto leaving lock down when returning to our old lives.
Play is a word usually associated with children.
But the benefits of play are ageless, the only question is, can we remember as grown-ups how to play?
As a child, I had a toy called a ‘Jack in the Box. I loved nothing more than watching as a clown like head popped out to startle me. Despite expecting it, each time, I always felt surprised and delighted. It was simply fun.
Where did that joy of something so simple disappear to?
Where has all the excitement and anticipation in life gone?
Have we grown up and forgotten how to play and have fun for funs sake!
Play encourages laughter, which is well known for its healing and anti-aging properties, a useful side effect for us grownups. And if we enjoy physically active play, it can help keep us fit and healthy. Even non-physical activities release chemicals in the body, such as endorphins, which reduce stress and tension.
That’s why recreation (another grown up word for play) is part of the U URSELF Routine. You can find out more about The U URSELF Routine by taking a look at an interview I had, with the Shelf Life Blog this week where I was asked some really great questions by the lovely Jo.
Or you could win a FREE signed book Giveaway! For The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child (where the routine is covered in detail)
As a thank you to my readers and followers, I’m giving away absolutely free a paperback copy of my book -The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child worth £12.95, signed with a special message and sent to the person of your choice, anywhere in the UK, for the first 3 readers who purchase my paperback book- The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting from Amazon UK
Just email me firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know;
* How long it took for the book -The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting to arrive, from the day you ordered until the day amazon delivered it to your home?
* That you’ve left a book review for The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting on Amazon UK
* Who you would like me to send -The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child worth £12.95 to, including preferred name, special message and full address inc the postcode.
What a great baby shower gift for any new parent or simply a treat for yourself!
Winners will be announced on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on the 28/9/2020 Good Luck!
Or you can buy it today from Amazon above or these places below.
Recreation is vital because, when we take parenting too seriously, we miss out and deprive ourselves as much as our children of all the fun in life.
Life is meant to be fun!
If it doesn’t feel that way to you at the moment, then you’re not playing enough.
Indulging in frivolity when we are supposed to be working, however, can have negative connotations. Others may think we are immature or don’t take our work seriously. But if we stressed less and had more fun in work, we’d take fewer sick days off and look forward to going to work each day, resulting in more productivity.
Children instinctively know how to play. They understand the benefits and enjoyment it brings, it’s their main priority in life.
It was once ours too, so why did we stop playing and having fun?
As grown-ups, have we shut that box closed so tightly, that we are now more afraid of what may not pop out, than what will?
We are all capable of having fun, we just have to entertain the idea of opening that box and learning how to play again.
We are all born to be creative and with our own unique talents. And there’s no better time to express them, was there something you once did or would like to do such as; playing a musical instrument, singing, painting, writing, crafts, tennis, martial arts, carpentry, or gardening?
Have fun, and don’t forget to let me know what you’ve been playing this week? Why not share your fun on social media and inspire other grown-ups too!