June 2014 archive
Managing built up stress had become somewhat of a favorite subject for scientists, media and various lifestyle gurus lately. In fact, it is mentioned and referred to so often that the word “stress” itself had come to signify stress overload and health problems related to it as well, which is one of the reasons we tend to relate it solely with its negative physical and psychological outputs.
In order for a parent to tackle problems related to it and teach their children how to do the same, it is necessary for us to understand its inner workings to the best of our ability.
What exactly is stress?
Stress is nothing more than an instinctive reaction of our body to any type of challenge. In other words, stress is an “all hands on deck” sign to all of our internal mechanisms that helps our body to prepare for the challenge we are faced with.
Seeing thoughts and emotions play a big part in the way information and stimuli from the outside world is processed by the human body and, consequently, the brain, it is not that uncommon for those information and stimuli to take a wrong turn somewhere and end up transformed to physical discomfort and anxiety, or worrying almost arbitrarily about just about anything. To put it simply, instead of helping us be more alert, energized and to access all of our physical and mental capacities, stress can have the opposite effect if not handled properly.
The same happens when we are faced with too many unwanted challenges – the body is unable to translate stress into positive action and it simply turns it into negative energy.
Inspect and introspect
Solving your child’s problems in most cases must start with our solving our own, or at least carefully examining how some of our actions or lack thereof affects our kids in everyday life. Amazingly, adults tend to forget how keenly and instinctively kids feel and copy everything we do, right down to the subconscious mechanisms for dealing with challenges we ourselves are most often not aware of. It may be an obvious point, but it is worth repeating that you cannot trick a child unless he or she desperately wants to believe you, and even then you cannot outflank their instinct. Our kids are programmed to read us like an open book and consequently memorize and apply that knowledge to a letter, just as we are programmed to care for them and protect them. They will simply know in their bones if something is not right, even if, on the surface, it seems you have tricked them into believing otherwise.
Where to start
In order to maximize the positive effects of stress and minimize the negative ones, it is best for us to start from the outside, so to speak. Experts agree that healthy nutrition, regular meals, physical activity and overall balanced and orderly lifestyle are the prerequisites for us to be able to handle challenges as smoothly as possible.
This is even more important for our little ones, as their young bodies are going through bigger and more violent chemical and hormonal changes than us adults and their chemical balance is that more easily disturbed.
The other part of the equation is coaching our children to properly reroute the stimuli into positive action, to recognize the right moment for blowing off some steam as it is up to us to provide them with a healthy way to do so.
Excitement vs. Anxiousness
Anxious kids or kids that tend to transform stress into fear, worrying and feeling of great pressure, think differently to other children. Their first reaction is thinking about everything that can go wrong in a certain situation, which, in essence, is worrying by default. In order for us to reverse that trend, we must first teach out kid the difference between thoughts and feelings and how first in most cases leads to the latter.
In order to do so, encourage your child to speak openly about his or hers concerns and to write them down, preferably connecting a particular thought with a corresponding feeling.
Then teach them to rationally examine those causal connections by writing down questions that will help them to determine their internal stress pathways and to build a mechanism for recognizing, singling out and confronting those thoughts before they transform into emotions. Be patient and allow enough time for this process to become a reflex, automatic response to a challenge.
Although right approach to challenges is imperative, there comes a time for us all when we have to relax.
Recognizing that moment and applying the preferred method of stress relief without hesitation is a delicate art that is to be nurtured throughout our whole lives. It is important our pride and joy has a way of blowing off some steam and they will naturally rely on your guidance in that regard, especially while they are in the single-digit years. If we adopt healthy habits in stress relief, our little one will do so, as well.
It would be great if every parent could include yoga, some type of sports activity and meditation in their daily life. Contrary to what most people assume, most children take up meditation effortlessly.
Breathing exercises are also an extremely powerful tool for achieving almost instant relief and you could perform them just about anywhere and anytime. Half an hour of video games is also great for children to blow off some steam, but not more than an hour.
Last, but not least, it is advisable to provide your child with a physical stress-remover appropriate for studying and mental effort in general. Stress balls are a great example, as they provide another way of channeling the energy stress provides us with without having to stop with what we are doing in order to take a breather.
The right approach to handling stressful situations is a crucial tool for overcoming challenges in any area of human endeavor. Stress is a formidable force, but it should not be feared. We should respect it, learn to utilize its good sides and avoid the bad ones as much as possible. The sooner our little ones learn how to handle it, sooner they will be able to harness it, use it to their advantage and to enjoy its numerous benefits.
If your child has a birthday party coming up, then you obviously want to make sure that they have the best time EVER. Birthdays are 10 times as exciting for kids as they are for us adults, so making them special is a must. Yes, you could simply hire a hall, invite their friends, and hope for the best, but what makes a truly amazing party are the entertaining extras! Need inspiration? this post will give you plenty of ideas:
Image taken from Flickr
A Fun Photobooth
Fun photobooths are all the rage, and can be placed anywhere within a party venue ready for both kids and adults to pile in and have their picture taken. It might look like one of those booths where you get your passport photo taken, but it’s much more fun and can even come with props to make the photographs twice as hilarious!
A Karaoke Machine
Who doesn’t love to sing on the karaoke? You’ll get hours of entertainment, plenty of entertaining videos, and some very excited children. Take a look at these karaoke machine reviews to find the perfect one for the party!
Clowns can be lots of fun, but do be careful that no one at the party has a phobia. Some children hate clowns so check with their parents before booking yours. However, some children love clowns, and some of them can do some great tricks/offer great entertainment packages. You might even want to take it one step further if your child loves to be scared, and hire a clown to follow them around like this crazy service. Just be warned: you might end up paying for counselling afterwards.
A Face Painter
Most children love having their faces painted, as they can be anything they want to be; a butterfly, a smurf, a tiger, or something else even more fun and creative.
A Bouncy Castle
Adults and children love bouncing on bouncy castles at parties – who’d have thought that some rubber filled with air could provide hours of entertainment? It’s even a great workout too, so you don’t need to feel guilty about plying the kids with sweets and cakes!
A Balloon Artist
Great balloon artists can make all kinds of fun balloon toys; dogs, hats, balls, butterflies – you name it, they can make it. The kids are fascinated watching them, and they get some lovely souvenirs to take home with them afterwards.
A Confectionary Cart
Confectionary carts look amazing even as just a decoration at a children’s party, but they’re also perfect for giving the kids a sugar rush they’ll never forget. You can get traditional Pic ‘n’ Mix sweets with them, and even some little bags for the kids to take a selection home along with the traditional slice of birthday cake. We think their mums and dads will even love this too!
Are you hiring one of these entertaining extras for your child on their birthday? Let us know in the comments…thanks for reading!
It seems there are a lot of children’s TV shows and a lot of grown up family shows. But what about those TV programs you used to watch as a child? You know, the ones that seemed daggy at the time, but in retrospect were full of wholesome values? Your parents would gather you around the TV every Saturday night for some classic family bonding coupled with the latest Warner Bros release.
There are a stack of great TV shows to show your children – but can you remember the names of any off the top of your head? That show you used to watch every afternoon? The programme you laughed to? Cried to? Grew up with? Check out these classics that you and your children will love!
Little House on the Prairie
The simple life. A family that works together, plays together, lives together, laughs and cries together. Set on the backdrop of the American frontier, your children will marvel at the Ingalls family as they struggle and succeed in this harsh environment.
The Wonder Years
Who could forget this classic coming of age TV series? We all joined in teenage angst with Kevin, Paul and Winnie as they navigated the stormy waters of growing up. From first kisses, parents, school troubles, driving and a liberal dose of humour, The Wonder Years had it all. Look past the classic 80’s clothing and your kids will discover that some things never go out of style!
The Cosby Show
The Huxtables brought us into their Brooklyn home and into their hearts. We could all relate to and laugh with the whole family. Based on classic values, the Cosby Show brought down many racial barriers in US television, showing a normal, loving, clean-living family into our living rooms. What made the Cosby Show a great program for your children? It’s hilarious! Bill Cosby’s seamless humour and candour will certainly resonate with your children.
No-one, but no-one can look at a paperclip, gaffer-tape or Swiss Army knife the same way after watching an episode of MacGyver! You were amazed at the way MacGyver could get out of any situation using his bare wits and simple gadgets. Your children too will be amazed at how MacGyver used smarts to get out of almost any situation. A classic TV series that shows violence is not the answer to problems, and that clear thinking, education and a paperclip can get you out of any difficult situation!
There are heaps of classic shows that are perfect for you and your children to watch. Shows that you don’t need to worry about covering your children’s eyes or ears. Shows that won’t give them nightmares. Classics you can snuggle up together and spend a night in front of the TV with. As any parent will attest, there are so many programs that don’t support those values you hold close too. Why not check out some of the classics to enjoy together?
As any mum will attest, the gifts that our young children give to us are sometimes disappointing. Of course, we appreciate their efforts in attempting to give us the perfect present, but more often than not, we are left with a plethora of tacky photo frames and fridge magnets. While this does sound rather ungrateful, and that is not our intention, there are some things that all mums would love to receive on gift bearing occasions. Here are my top five gifts, that I wish my kids would buy me on my birthday:
While this may seem a little odd, I love relaxing while being bathed in candlelight. I have candles in my bathroom, so that when I have those rare moments of ‘alone time’ I can sit back and relax in dimly lit surroundings, while being immersed in hot soapy water. It’s idyllic to say the least. A candle gift is essentially the gift of relaxation. Relaxing is so essential for our emotional well being, but as busy mums with hectic lifestyles, this seems more like a luxury than a necessity.
The gift of music is seriously underrated. There is nothing more wonderful than receiving a new CD, or an iTune’s voucher. Music is the ultimate mood lifter, so if I’m having a particularly rubbish day, I like to dance around to my favourite songs to lift my spirits. Of course, giving the gift of music is very personal. I’d be happy with a mixed CD, or playlist, that my children had compiled themselves. While their favourite songs may not be to my musical taste, I would thoroughly appreciate the effort that they had gone to.
I love gardening, so having lovely ornaments in my garden is essential. I love adorning my outdoor furniture with gorgeous centerpieces. Bark lanterns are perfect for the outdoors as they suitably match with their surroundings while Zen gardens are perfect for making your outdoor space a more peaceful place.
Reading is a form of escapism, so delving into a riveting fictional piece allows me to take a break from reality. I don’t think that there is anything more enjoyable than reading a cracking yarn. You can get lost in the pages; you fall in love with the characters and, more importantly, you are exercising your brain. A day of watching children’s cartoons can seriously take its toll, so it is important that I take the time to read.
Of course, perfume is a difficult gift to buy, so I don’t expect my kids to know what scents I like. When I’m getting ready for a rare night out, I feel that the perfume completes my outfit. More importantly, smelling good inspires confidence within. You look amazing and you smell amazing. What could be more perfect? That said, nights out are few and far between these days!
Whatever your children buy you for your birthday, you are sure to love it regardless. My advice is to drop hints to your partner, so that you get exactly what you want for your birthday.
If your child is lucky enough to have an iPhone, there are a million and one apps they could choose to download. There are educational apps, games, and even apps to do with gardening! But do you just let your child get on with it and download whatever they like, or do you like to make sure they’ve got a good mix of everything, so they aren’t stuck playing games all day? The following apps are extremely handy for kids iPhones:
SurfBalance Safe Browser for Kids
This app allows your child to develop better web usage skills by filtering how they use the internet. You can then look at total usage, usage by category, and get an idea of how they are spending their time with their iPhone. You can choose from 3 different levels, depending on how old your child is. You can also receive a free weekly email report of how your child browses the web! It’s the best way to monitor them and keep them safe.
Photo taken from the App Store
The Hidden app is the kind of app we’ve all been waiting for. It allows you to install it on your Apple devices (however many you like), and you can then recover the iPhone if it ever gets lost or stolen! You can take pictures of the thief with a built in feature, so you know who has the phone, watch their actions, and even track them.
Photo taken from Hidden
This app is one of the best out there for parents, as you don’t need to sort through page after page of symptoms. It’s got plenty of first aid advice and information that you can really use when your child gets injured or feels poorly.
Photo taken from the App Store
Reading is definitely one of the greatest pleasures in life, so it’s important that we get our children into it from an early age. As the saying goes, ‘a reader lives hundreds of lives, while a non reader only lives one’. You can browse and download a plethora of books with this app, making bedtime, daytime, and any time reading for that matter, so simple, fun, and effective! No more books taking up too much space either – hooray! If you’ve got a Kindle, you can even access your current Kindle library by syncing the app to your account.
Photo taken from the App Store
Not every child is lucky enough to have an iPhone, but if yours does, these apps will help them to use their phone much more productively. Not only will they be able to browse the web safely, they can read to their heart’s content, and find their phone if they ever lose it. Not only that, if your child ever shows signs of illness, you’ll be able to grab their iPhone and work out what’s wrong with them and what you can do about it in an instant!
Have any of these apps helped your child to do the things mentioned above? Let us know in the comments!
A nursery is probably one of the most exciting rooms to decorate. You’re going to have a baby in the house soon, and decorating the nursery just makes it all seem that bit more ‘real’. Sometimes you can even make a nursery for a toddler, to help them learn and play in their own exciting space! The smallest room is usually best for nurseries; the spare room. In this post, you’ll get some helpful tips as well as some cool inspiration to get you started!
Photo Author: Flickr
Planning the Nursery
First of all, you need to plan what you’re going to do. You can’t just make it up as you go along! What’s already in the room you’re going to decorate for your child? Can you reuse them in the nursery, or will you need to move them to another room? You’ll need to consider how much space you have, and the budget you have too. You may need to consider home improvement loans if you have lots of renovations to make.
Selecting a Colour Scheme
What kind of colour scheme do you envision for your child? It doesn’t have to be blue for a boy and pink for a girl; you can think outside of the box and do whatever you like. Green and yellow are popular shades that work well for either sex. A light tone will give a lovely peaceful atmosphere, so whatever colours you choose try to keep them light. Research how colours change moods in order to select the best colours for your child.
Now you’ve decided on your colour scheme, you can either choose your paint or buy wallpaper. There are loads of different wallpaper designs that are ideal for nurseries and kids bedrooms, but you can use stencils and wall stickers to customise the walls yourself if you like! Kids love looking at stars, teddy bears, clouds, moons, and flowers. Why not paint a popular cartoon character to make the wall even more unique?
Now you can move on to furniture you’d like in your baby’s room. You’ll need a crib/bed, a nappy changer, small wardrobe, and perhaps a toy box. Shelves might be useful too. You may already have furniture you can use for this; simply brighten it up with a lick of paint if you need to!
Look for carpets, bed linen, cushions, and curtains at this point too. Always keep your colour scheme in mind for the best effect!
Shades and dimmers are your best bet for the nursery, as you don’t need anything too big or fussy. The baby needs a relaxing atmosphere in their nursery in order for them to get a good nights rest.
Now you can add the finishing touches to a room; teddies, frames, toys, and other things that can help to create a nicer atmosphere.
There are so many things you can try in order to make your baby’s nursery beautiful and unique:
- Make your own prints for the nursery using a wooden block, string, and paint. Simply tie the wooden block with the string and secure it in place with tape. Now you can brush paint onto the string, and practice stamping this onto paper. Once you’ve made a pattern you like, you can turn the block different ways to create something cool and intricate looking. By experimenting with different patterns, colours, and block shapes, you’ll come up with a work of art. A toddler could help with this project too!
- This project works for butterfly shapes, stars, and flowers. All you need is some acrylic paint, a blank canvas, watercolour paper, watercolour paint, butterfly shaped (or whatever shape you like) paper punch, and pop dots or another type of glue. Paint the canvas a colour of your choice, and then paint the paper with patches of different colours. Leave this to dry, and then stamp out the butterflies from the paper. If you bend these slightly in the middle before gluing, you can make them look 3D on the canvas!
- If the spare room doesn’t have much natural light, then you can always create the feeling of natural light by using a high resolution camera to take a picture of the beautiful blue sky. Blow the photo up, print it on shiny paper, and frame it!
- You can create a modern looking nursery without it looking too grown up. Try shades of pastel pink and grey, with triangle patterns on the wall. If you’re good at origami, why not create an origami rabbit head or two to back with card and hang on the wall as a cute looking ‘trophy’.
- A black and white room really lets gorgeous patterns pop and come alive!
- Go for a classic looking room with shades of cream/white and a few gold accents. Dark wood furniture will give this room a great look.
- Thick yellow and white horizontal stripes look amazing on a nursery wall, especially when paired with large stuffed animals and furry rug for interest.
- Instead of coming up with a simple colour scheme for the nursery, why not come up with a theme? An Alice in Wonderland nursery would look simply magical and could even spark an early interest in your child in books and stories. It doesn’t have to be crazy and colourful either; a neutral room with drawings of Alice and the White rabbit on the walls would work.
- Wall art can look amazing, so why not have your baby’s name on the wall just above their crib? You can use all kinds of things to create this yourself, including colourful tissue paper to make a cool floral affect. They may even be able to write their name before the other kids in their class due to seeing it regularly!
- Different shaped/coloured photo frames can look amazing when all arranged together on a wall. They can have any pictures you like in them too, from photos of loved ones to hand drawn pictures.
What do you think of these ideas for your baby’s nursery? Be sure to leave a comment!
Are you starting to get nervous at the prospect of entertaining your children for six weeks during the summer break? You are not alone; parents all over the country are bracing themselves for weeks of endless activities with their children.
Here are some suggestions for things a mum can do with her children to keep them happy on a daily basis. If you are that mum, treat this as your bible for the holidays, it could help you hang on to your sanity.
Parks are underused facilities when you consider what they have to offer. They give wide open spaces for the kids to run around and burn off energy, there is some great play equipment, and most of all they are free. Make a trip to the park part of your daily routine.
The Swimming Baths
Kids love the water, so make a visit to the swimming baths a weekly event. There is one in most big towns, and it does not cost a lot of money. The little ones will be happy to play in there until they can stand the cold no longer, which could take a couple of hours.
Once or twice during the summer, take them on a trip to the seaside or to a theme park. As an island nation, we all live within a couple of hour’s drive of the beach. The will probably be expensive, but cut down on the money you spend there by taking your own pre-prepared food.
There will come a time when the weather forces you all to stay in the house. It is a perfect time to dig out all of the crafting materials that you have gathered over the years. Why not try something new this year? Decorate a ceramic plant pot with glass beads. Simply stick them on with some glue gun sticks. The glue cools very quickly so they can cover the container in under an hour. That idea isn’t suitable for very young children, only those who are over ten years old.
Younger children are happy to craft with paper and safety scissors. They can make paper chains, or snowflakes. The snowflake is made by folding a circular piece of paper into four, and then cutting shapes out of the edges. When they open it up, the cut-outs become symmetrical, making intricate patterns.
Go On Holiday
Use one or two weeks up by going on holiday. If you can only afford a caravan by the seaside, the children will love it. They love to get away on adventures, no matter how plain the accommodation may be. What appears as a run down seaside town to us looks magical to them, it is all in the eye of the beholder, as they say.
Even if the holiday seems to pass at a snail’s pace, you will reap rewards from your hard work. Your little darlings will expect the same next year now that you have set a precedent, but that is a long way off. For now, put your feet up and have a well earned rest.
When children have to enter the foster care system, they are often traumatised, scared, and confused. The first foster parents that care for a child in this situation are referred to as short term emergency foster carers, and it’s important that they’re well equipped to deal with the children that could come into their care temporarily. Foster parents are carefully screened by foster agencies, so if you want to become an emergency short term foster parent read this guide for help:
Image taken from Flickr
Call your department of social services and request information on emergency fostering. You’ll be able to find the information online on DirectGov.co.uk too, so read up on it.
The foster carer’s role is to provide high quality care for a child. You may be required to work with therapists, teachers, and doctors to help children deal with any emotional trauma or disabilities too.
A wide range of people are needed to care for foster children as children have very different needs. You’ll need to be willing to understand a child’s heritage, ethnic origin, culture, and language. You can become a carer from any type of background. You don’t need to be married either; you can be single, divorced, or living with a partner. Gay men and lesbians can become foster carers too. Providing you have a good support network and in good health, you should be fine to become an emergency foster carer no matter your age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Preparation and Training
People who want to become any kind of foster carer need to go through preparation and an assessment. Usually, this is what you can expect:
- Having to attend groups where you’ll learn about the needs of children coming into foster care.
- Visits from a social worker.
- A social worker will then prepare a report which will be presented to an independent fostering panel, which recommends whether you can become a foster carer.
- You should expect an annual review and training to ensure you’re still fit to be a foster carer.
- All foster carers are given an allowance which should cover the cost of caring for the child in their home.
- If working for an agency, this amount will be set by them.
- Fostering is now being seen as a more ‘professional’ role, and a lot of local authorities are running schemes, which pay carers a fee. This is sometimes linked to the child’s needs, but also a reflection of the skills, experience, and expertise of the foster carer.
- Foster carers also get tax relief on up to £10,000 of their earnings, plus allowances.
However, if you’re considering doing this for the money then you’d be best off finding another job. You should foster children because you want to help, certainly not for the money.
If you like the sound of becoming a foster carer, then you need to take the first step and contact your local fostering agency. You can also join forums like the Fostering Information Exchange Network to share knowledge with other foster carers. Good luck!
With video games being so popular nowadays, it can seem like books and reading are a thing of the past, as they fail to compete with the thrills that come with modern-day gaming. In spite of this, there are still some books out there; that have the capacity to capture the imagination of your children, and leave them spellbound, forgetting that they ever had a gaming console in the first place. Of course, the only challenge that remains is finding these books. So what can be done, in order to find these remarkable reads?
Ask Other Parents
Often at times the best source available, other parents will be able to guide you in the right direction when it comes to finding awesome books. There is a chance that they too have faced the same dilemma you’re facing right now, in terms of finding a good book for their kids. If they’ve successfully dealt with this challenge, you can learn from them, and get the titles of the books that they discovered. Of course, keep in mind that each child is different, and so what entertained their kids might not entertain yours.
Check Out Bestseller Lists
Books on the bestseller lists are there for a reason. They’re often amazing books to read, and have the sales figures to back this up. By picking from the books on these lists, you’ll be able to increase your chances of success. However, keep in mind that though these books for children are entertaining, each of them caters to a certain demographic. Even if books about vampire romance are selling in huge amounts, there is a possibility that this is the last thing a ten year old boy wants to read about.
By using review websites, you’ll be able to get a better understanding of whether or not the book you’re going to purchase is any good. Many review websites will point out whether or not the book was entertaining, and if it kept them wanting to read more. Review websites should be taken with a pinch of salt, as there is no telling if the person who wrote the review enjoys the same kind of literature as your children. If you find a book with a bad review, but think it is a book that your children would love, it might help just to see what your kids think of it, and get it for them.
A New Favourite Hobby?
Reading can be something fun for your children, once you find the right book for them. Of course, finding the right book can be a quest that has many hurdles along the way, and can prove challenging to those who are doing things for the first time. Nevertheless, by keeping a close eye on the bestseller lists, and asking other parents, you’ll be sure to find an amazing book in record time. In fact, it could be the case that the book you find is so amazing, that you choose to read it before you give it to your kids!