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

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

BOOKS, CHILDMINDING

Back to Business

Welcome back all 😊 we hope you had a lovely Christmas?

This year we have a new website address and email.

New Web & Email address but the same great, free, parenting & childcare content!

Don’t forget to add this new address to your safe senders list, so your newsletters don’t go to your junk email box, as from now on they’ll be sent from this new address.

It’s been a tough few month for all of us but we are slowly and steadily getting through this pandemic together. Thanks for all your support.  We would also like to thank the children too as we know it’s a very difficult time for them as well, especially with the schools being closed. Although we have endeavoured to make this time as ‘normal’ as possible, it’s not easy occupying children of various ages, altogether for full days, without any trips out to the park or soft play. There’s no break to the day, not even to go on school runs, so we have been couped up indoors due to Lockdown and the weather. I’m sure the children have had enough of hearing – ‘Stop jumping on the sofa.’ Lol 😊

It’s understandable that they’re trying to expend some energy and that they will bicker with one another too. We’ve made a special effort to instil the sharing mentality during this lockdown, this is a difficult concept for pre-schoolers. To help with these issues, we’ve practised some guided meditations to aid relaxation and to relieve worries. The children have taken to this very well and stayed the whole 25 minutes for each meditation, doing the actions and keeping their eyes closed.

Guided Meditations.

ACHIEVEMENTS & SHOUT OUTS

One of our little ones has done amazingly with her potty training, well done, we are so proud of you 😊

Our littlest has learnt to stand and walk independently and is increasing his steps day by day! He also recently celebrated his 1st Birthday.

Thank You!

A massive thank you to those parents who have taken the time to buy, read and review my books. I’m so grateful for the support received and very I’m proud that both of my books have achieved Amazon, worldwide best seller status. Notably, The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child received a staggering 2, 061 downloads over 4 days. The Confident Parents’ Guide also achieved International Best Seller Status across 13 categories in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, France and Germany [achieving at least Top 10]), including 8 #1 ranks across the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, France and Germany, and International Best Seller status across an additional 6 categories in the UK, Australia, France and Germany (by Amazon’s Top 100 standard).

Audio book now available from Audible, Amazon & iTunes!

The Powerful Proactive Parents’ Guide to Present Parenting, achieved International Best Seller Status across 9 categories in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia [achieving at least Top 10]), including 5 #1 ranks across the USA, UK, Canada and Australia, and International Best Seller status across an additional 7 categories in the aforementioned countries, with the inclusion of India (by Amazon’s Top 100 standard).

Audio books available from iTunes, Audible & Amazon.

I’m also really excited that both of my books will be featured in the spring and summer editions of Mums and Tots Magazine, following the Q&A I wrote for them on Managing Expectations at Christmas in their winter edition.

Mums and tots magazine, winter edition, out now to buy.

We hope that this worldwide situation will improve in the coming months.

Play is a tiring business so that’s all for now 😊

Stay safe, Stay Present,

Em x

ANXIETY / FEAR, BOOKS, CHILDMINDING, Esteem, Home Schooling, Proactive Parenting

Approaching children’s fears using Books with Heart Felt Messages

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying ; “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

Our world has suddenly turned into an uncertain place recently, causing a lot of anxiety for everyone but how will that impact our children both now and in the future?

The early messages our children receive will determine whether or not they grow up in a friendly or hostile world.

Life is not all doom and gloom, but if our children are being exposed to bad news every day, then they may start to believe it is.

We should take care to protect our young, innocent children’s impressionable minds. Regular exposure to such negativity could cause nightmares, and some sensitive children could become fearful, sad, or depressed.

We do not, however, need to hide the truth from our children or try to protect them from hearing about anything unpleasant. Quite the opposite, it’s actually beneficial that they are aware of both the good and the bad news.

Yes, bad things happen in the world but so do good things too. We just need to give our children a more balanced outlook and show them what’s good about life more often than highlighting the bad news, and inform them of the dangers without leaving them feeling fearful.

Recently I was asked how we can help explain ‘Stranger Danger’ to pre-schoolers without causing anxiety. You can find the full article in the autumn issue of mums and tots’ magazine. https://www.mumsandtots.ie/

Emma Grant holding Mums and tots Autumn 2020 issue.

But one of the best ways I’ve found to communicate messages to young children is through books. Being an author myself I may be biased but stories and picture books are more relatable to young children.

As parents we want our children to be able to relate well to others but we hear so much bad news that, we fear them being out of our sight for a second. And this fear can transfer onto our children. But this blanket fear can do more harm than good. If we tell our children strangers are dangerous, they will quite literally believe every stranger is and this can cause separation anxiety.

Most young children are naturally cautious of strangers, because they fear they’ll be taken or come to some harm when their parents are not around. This can become extremely difficult when they come to start childcare, nursery or school, and can often cause sleeping problems if the child has to sleep without the parent.

We can help our children overcome these fears or we can reinforce them. How we react and how we proactively prepare them for the unthinkable -they go missing, is also is key.

If on their return we panic, scream and shout or worse physically and emotionally punish them, we increase their fears. As Parents we may want our children to get this message so they don’t repeat the behaviour and go missing again but what happens when we need them to go to strangers without us, such as a new babysitter or starting childcare, nursery or school?

Then we will ask them to go to a new, unknown place or person, 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 our own anxieties, worries, or fears onto our children.

Stranger danger is a difficult topic to portray to pre-schoolers, so we have to approach it in a light hearted manner, even if it’s a heavy issue for us. We are so transparent to our children who pick up not only on how they see us behaving but also on how they feel our emotions (yes, our energy radiates outward and our young children pick up both our good and bad vibes) The best way to do this is to use stories, songs and rhymes that are age and stage appropriate for your child.  I love the old classic Never Talk To Strangers (Little Golden Books) by Irma Joyce 

Because it has pictures that are of animals which young children love and it’s also a rhyming book with the vital repetitive message ‘Never talk to strangers.’ which children love to join in with as I read it. It helps to encourage conversation on the topic of stranger danger too.

‘Never Talk to Strangers’ – Happy Childcare Story time!

Another simple way to try and explain stranger danger to a pre-schooler I found was, using a dog analogy using the example of a friendly dog they like, that’s familiar to the child and comparing that dog to a strange dog in the playground.

So, a typical example would be;

‘Well Zoë, you don’t need to be afraid of all strangers but you shouldn’t go anywhere alone with them or let them touch you. It’s a bit like Benji our dog, you know Benji… well, he’s friendly and wags his tail and jumps up to greet you to play, he never hurts you. But if you see another dog you don’t know, say in the playground when you are playing, he may not be friendly like Benji is, he may hurt you, so it’s best not to touch him or let him touch you. Not all dogs are unfriendly but not all dogs are like Benji, some do bite and it’s the same when you meet a stranger.’

There are many good children’s books out there, that can relieve children’s fears and increase their self-confidence and esteem, written by positive, motivational authors such as the late Louise Hay’s, The Adventures of Lulu or inspiring books by Dr Wayne Dyer such as Incredible Me or No More Excuses. All of these portray positive, life affirming messages. They also help our children to deal positively with the real problems in life too.

I recently read all the children I care for a wonderful new picture book, that encourages children to find their special talent called, Big Splash Circus by Karina Choudhrie. It is a beautifully illustrated and designed picture book that all the children ranging from 10 months to 8 years loved.  It’s an adventure in a fun-filled undersea world, full of characters and with a heart-felt message for young children about inclusion and using your special skills.

Happy Childcare Big Splash Circus Story time!

Big Splash Circus is a place of inclusion, where everyone can take part and discover what makes them special, from acrobatics to music to making people laugh. The sea creatures in the circus are like a classroom full of children – where they all get a chance to shine!  (Big Splash Circus is published by CandyJar Books and is available in hardback (£11.99) and paperback (£5.99) at all good bookshops and online retailers.)

As parents we have the power to direct our children’s attention positively. To help relieve anxiety at this unsettling time, instead of electronic devices and the media exposing our children to what’s happening in the world, we can counterbalance those messages by sharing positive books with heart felt messages in. You can read more about this in my book – The Powerful Proactive Parents Guide to Present Parenting

Until next time, Stay Present!

Em x

Thanks Photo’s by Kelly Sikkema Katarzyna Urbanek on Unsplash