BIRTHDAYS, LOVE, MEMORIES, MILESTONES, PARENTING

Happy 16th Birthday Dylan!

We’re so proud of the young man that you’ve become, I don’t think any parent could wish for a better Son than you, or brother!

You’re clever, funny and handsome and 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 teen.

I also want to thank you for making us more ‘Present Parents’. 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!

 16 marks your first big milestone, an emotional time for us as parents.

Where did those years go?

Only a few months left in school and our boy will soon be a young man, (cringe I know) but you’ll always be my blue eyed baby boy!

Happy 16th Son!
BIRTHDAYS, BOOKS, CHILDMINDING, Learning

WORLD BOOK DAY

I can think of no better bed time routine than a bedtime story!

And not just because print books aid in a restful night’s sleep, as opposed to using electronics or TV before bed, but today the world celebrates World Book Day 2022.

This annual event was created on the 23rd of April 1995 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to encourage children to enjoy reading and to celebrate books and their authors. The first World Book Day in the UK and Ireland was in 1997 and its founder Baroness Gail Rebuck said;

We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives.’

I myself have so much to thank books for, as a child they were my favourite way to learn and to relax, and today that’s still true for me.

Today at Happy Childcare we are celebrating a wonderful author friend Sarina Siebenaler and her delightful book Do Not Wish For A Birthday Unicorn!

It’s about Kat a little girl who wishes for a unicorn-themed birthday party. When her mum says ‘Yes’ Kat carefully selects the perfect unicorn, but when she arrives from the Uni Express, they discover she hasn’t bathed in 21 days!

I loved the message in this book around thoughtful, kind and caring intentions, and in particular the sentence that resonated most was;

For, the spirit of kindness will always shine through- when we all work together to help someone blue.

It’s easy to see why all the children loved this book, it’s silly and rhyming and full of fantasy with mentions of clouds, rainbows, mermaids and fairies, even an ostrich.

The older children liked reading it to the younger ones who delighted in the colourful illustrations. And the children even compiled some questions to ask the Author which we have sent to her, and she absolutely loved them all. When we get her answers, we’ll update this post but here are the questions.

Tabi 

What inspired you to write the story?

Harry

Where did you write it?

Fin 

How long did it take you to write? 

Raya 

Where do unicorns come from?

Immy

Are unicorns real?

And if so, have you seen one?

Oscar 

Where can I buy a unicorn from? 

Ha ha children ask the funniest questions 🤣😂🤣

Thank you to the author Sarina for her wonderful answers as follows.

We can’t wait for book 3 and some more laugh out loud adventures!

Stay Present, Em x

BIRTHDAYS, MEMORIES, MILESTONES

HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY HOLLY

And just like that our baby girl is a woman.

Those 18 years have flown by but what fun we’ve had.

So now you can have your 1st (legal) alcoholic beverage, drive a car and attend appointments without a parent.

It’s a bitter sweet moment seeing you grow up into an independent lady.

We’re so proud of you and everything you’ve achieved. It’s been a challenging year or so for you, losing close loved ones, juggling a new job, A levels, driving lessons and some health issues but despite it all, you just get on with it and give it all your best shot.

You’re an old, wise soul, mature beyond your 18 years, but you’ll always be our little girl!

Motherhood is precious but childhood goes too fast.

Stay Present, Em x

PARENTING TIPS, STRESS-LESS PARENTING

5 Proactive Pointers to- STRESSLESS PARENTING

Back to school and work, where routine should now be falling back into place. But with this comes school runs, after school activities, weekend sports, homework and a million and one other things.

When tired or stressed simple things like not having their PE kit washed for school can easily tip us over the edge.

Being proactive is the only way to prevent this.

What exactly is Proactive Parenting?

It sounds like a word you would find in business books—that’s because it is!

We have to approach parenting like running a successful business, if we want to be a success at it and produce successful children.

Simply put, it’s; planning ahead and pre-empting our childrens needs, and taking action to prevent unwanted situations arising, instead of reacting to them once it’s too late.

I know as mums we’re too busy to read, so if you’d like to hear more about Proactive Parenting you can put you feet up with a cuppa and listen to the audio book, available now on Audible below.

Reactive parenting is when all the tears, tantrums, and struggles happen, making us feel powerless, as if our children and their behaviour is out of our control.

So here’s 5 Proactive Pointers to put you in control, without being a controlling parent.

1. The Night Before

To alleviate the morning panic and chaos, decide what everyone will wear and lay school uniforms, PE kits, bags, shoes, homework etc.. out the night before. And make lunches or put the dinner money in an envelope ready.

Ironing school uniforms in the morning when running late is a nightmare!

To save time and stress, choose an hour or so a week (I personally love Sunday mornings to do this) to blast through the ironing pile in one go, and ask your child to read their schoolbooks to you as you iron (of course never leave the iron unattended while children are around). Then that’s homework and iron ticked off in one go. 🙂

Alternatively, pay someone else to do the ironing?

2. Delegate Chores

Affordable ironing services will pick up and drop off ironing and the time and stress they save makes up for the cost.

Shopping online to save time parking and packing can also help.

So can getting the kids to help around the home. Children like to feel grown up. They enjoy sorting the clothes into colours, putting the washing machine on, and pegging the clothes on the line.

When we include them, we’re not multitasking them with chores because they’re enjoying the process.

The difference is the way in which the task is approached and how we treat them. Instead of our children competing with the vacuum cleaner for our attention, while we scream and shout at them over the noise, we can involve them in what we are doing. We stress-less and get help to complete chores, while  enjoying some fun ‘Us time’ together.

3. Do it Now

Make a habit of dealing with things as soon as you can, instead of saving them for later, so  they don’t all stack up to be an insurmountable mountain, that you have no energy to tackle.

Check your diaries and to do lists today, and do all the things that can be done now.

If there’s too much that can be done now, is all of it necessary?

If not, can you get rid or delegate it?

Having to buy or make a costume for our children’s Christmas concert, for example, is much easier and far less stressful, if we tackle it the day we find out about it. I’ve often set the school letters aside and thought; ‘I’ll do that nearer the time, at the moment, there’re more important things to do today.’

Then before I know it, the costume has to be taken into school the next day for the show, and I have no time or resources to make one and no time to shop around or get one delivered from the internet either.  

Think now or never when you get that letter!

4.    SAYNO’ TO TIME TAKERS

Time Takers  come in all sorts of disguises, they’re not always people but all have one thing in common, they need you, but you don’t need them.

They can be jobs that need doing, places you have to go to, commitments you don’t need, want or enjoy. Feel free to make your own list, as this will be invaluable in taking that time back in the future. Here are some examples to kick start you off:

• Your boss asks you to do over time.

• Your partner wants you to entertain their friends.

• The dog needs a walk.

• The school needs a volunteer.

• Family is coming to visit.

• There’s a course you must take.

• A friend wants a gossip.

• Email & Social Media notifications keep going off.

• Your Sister needs a babysitter.

• Your Dad needs help with the gardening.

• Your Mum needs a lift to the hospital.

• The housework/decorating needs doing.

All can feel like they urgently need attending to, and all are worthy, loving acts, but you don’t have to be the one who attends to them all, all the time. Doing too much can feel like you’re being stretched beyond your limit, and this scattering of time and attention, anywhere and everywhere, can result in you going nowhere and doing nothing fast.

It’s about learning to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty or upsetting other people, and like anything else, it gets a lot easier the more you practice saying it.

We need to practice saying ‘No’ more often to others, and stop saying ‘No’ to ourselves.

5. Routines

We know what we should be doing to help our children, but often, we just don’t know how or where to start?

Well, routine Muma is the place.

When we’re busy, stressed, and short of time, routines guide us in the right direction, so no one’s confused about what they should be doing, when, and why.

But what routines exactly do our children need?

A routine which includes;

Recreational play time,

Sleep,

Exercise,

Love,

Food.

Routines create a clear route for us to guide our children. You can read more about The UURSELF Routine here

Of course, no route is ever straight forward, so be prepared for the occasional detour in the form of a sleepless night or change in appetite.

In the meantime, if you’re struggling with a fussy eater, you may be interested in my latest article in mums and tot’s magazine, Autumn issue out now.

If you’d like more proactive parenting /childcare tips, don’t forget to sign up to our monthly newsletter 😊

Stay Present, Em x

BOOKS, Esteem, 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