GUILT FREE GOALS, MEMORIES, MUM GUILT, PARENTING TIPS, Powerful Parents, The U URSELF Routine, Us Time

CLEANING IS CLUTTER

New year, new expectations and more to juggle.

But you can’t do it all.

Sometimes, you need to prioritise your time with those people and things that are most important to you. As mums we all feel guilty for doing anything other than parenting. But when we are spending Us Time with our kid’s, ironically, we tend to feel guilty for neglecting our other chores.

But even cleaning is clutter.

In my experience, dust never disappears, but our children’s youth does.

There’s always going to be laundry in the basket, dishes in the sink, and dust on the TV.

As long as we are alive, it never ends, so we needn’t feel the housework has to be done before we enjoy time with our children. I know it’s embarrassing when an unexpected visitor turns up and the house is a mess, but living life is more important than looking good to others. Besides, if those visitors are important in our lives, then they won’t mind we prioritise spending time with our children over a tidy house sometimes.

Our children will not always need us like they do now, but the time we spend with them today, will make a big difference that will stay with them for a lifetime, unlike that worn-out jumper that always needs washing and ironing. 

We can vacuum and polish until our heart’s content when our children have grown up and flown the nest.

Admittedly, we won’t have as much mess then, but who will we be keeping the house clean and tidy for?

An empty house is just a house, not a home.

Our homes are our family space to feel safe, relax, and play in. Children need enough space for playing with their toys and belongings. Sometimes, games, puzzles, dolls, and figures need to be left out in order for them to pick up playing where they left off last.

They don’t want a Feng Shuied bedroom with books and toys neatly stored away like ornaments just to look at. That’s just a waste of money. And useless, unused boxes of toys gathering dust, just create more unnecessary cleaning.

Enjoy some guilt free ‘Us Time’ playing today because toys that are loved and used often don’t gather dust, only memories.

Stay Present,

Em x

Christmas Calm, Managing Behaviour, STRESS-LESS PARENTING

TIPS FOR KEEPING CHRISTMAS CALM

It’s that crazy, chaotic time of year again, when we spend a couple of months preparing for one big day!

And with so many expectations around the ‘Perfect Christmas’ its no wonder we all feel so overwhelmed.

But here’s some tips for keeping Christmas calm this year.

PREVENT OVERSPENDING AND OVER BUYING

Children don’t understand the financial cost of gifts, they value things on the value they have to them entertainment wise.

They like to play and experiment with toys, which usually means expensive things get broken. So, a good trick is to look at any new toy that we give a child as broken already. This money saving technique will prevent overspending on expensive toys while gift shopping. Making a list of what you’re buying beforehand, also helps. Then, wrap gifts straight away, keeping a note of what you bought for whom and how much it cost, to prevent over spending and last-minute panic buying.

PREVENT OVERSTIMULATION AND OVERWHELM

Routines are key. Children need to know what to expect, when, where and why more than ever during the holidays.

Work things around your child’s regular routine, not around anything or anyone else.

Stick to regular bedtimes and mealtimes, while offering plenty of warnings and reminders of what’s to come.

And spread the joy, anticipation and appreciation for visitors, sweet treats and gifts, over a few days, rather than in one go.

MANAGE YOUR OWN STRESS LEVELS

All that shopping, spending, wrapping and prep can be stressful, so don’t forget to take some daily 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.

Take our Mumatherapy Stress Checker Quiz now to check your stress levels

TRAVELLING TO VISIT FAMILY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

This year many of us will want to visit friends and family to make up for last year’s Covid restrictions but the mere thought of this maybe making you feel anxious.  If so, plan ahead now to ensure you and your partner are not stressed with one another. Your energy (and anxiety) will rub off on the little ones, so calm kids need calm parents when travelling. But you can still expect some bored and restless behaviour along the way and if you have more than one child, there’ll be squabbling too. This is normal but you can help alleviate some of it by making regular stops for a feed, to stretch legs and take toilet breaks and making the journey a fun experience, by listening to their favourite songs or pointing out the scenery and playing games such as; count how many red cars you can see or spot the mini, and taking along activities such as colouring books or digital devices.

AVOIDING THE EMBARISSMENT OF TODDLER TANTRUMS WHEN VISITING FAMILY AND FRIENDS?

Be proactive in pre-empting your child’s moods and emotions and get everyone in your team. Let friends and family members know your child’s routines and triggers. And to prevent any undue attention, remind everyone beforehand that your child may act childish (kids are childish, so you don’t need to feel embarrassed by other people unrealistic, expectations of your children) and encourage grownups to just ignore any carrot flinging episodes or melt downs at bedtime.

HOW TO BALANCE EXPECTATIONS WITH REALITY?

Keep your own expectations realistic and stay present in the moment and 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, that’s the real gift that keeps on giving.  

Until next month,

Stay Present, Em x

MUM GUILT, PLAY, Recreation, SELF-LOVE

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 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, 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