Boredom cards

‘Mummy! I’m so bored!’
A phrase that I hear a lot in my house; despite my girls having an abundance of learning resources, books, toys and attention, they still seem to suffer from boredom.
In some cases, boredom can be a gift; it can be the fuse that channels the spark of creativity and imagination. In other cases, boredom can be so intense that the child just can’t seem to escape the rut and this can lead to restlessness and frustration.

Ava can get bored very easily and tends to move from one task onto another, within minutes. There has been a few occasions where boredom has dominated the day and every suggestion that I made was rejected – for my daughter to still grumble the words ‘I’m bored’.

This is where the boredom cards come in! Here they are.

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But, how do they work? I hear you ask.

If I hear Ava mutters the words ‘I’m bored’ I get the boredom cards out, place them all face down and then she selects a card at random.
I think she’s more open to a suggestion that comes from (in her mind) a ‘game’.
For example, if I had just suggested to draw a picture she would be less interested than if she picked the activity at random. It seems to make suggestions fun and from the child’s perspective, they chose the activity of their own free will.

Below I have written some examples of the activities within our boredom cards but you can put whatever you like on your boredom cards, depending on your child’s hobbies.

  1. Read a book
  2. Draw a picture
  3. Potato printing
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Play in the garden
  6. Take care of baby dolls
  7. Build a den
  8. Play hide and seek
  9. Play a board game
  10. Learn something new
  11. Bake cakes
  12. Make someone a card
  13. Dance to some music
  14. Dress up
  15. Have a teddy bears picnic
  16. Create a puppet show
  17. Build with blocks
  18. Play ‘Shop’
  19. Make music
  20. Play with playdough

To make the boredom cards, I used editable templates from Twinkl.co.uk.

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L.R. Knost Book Giveaway

From tonight, I am running a Rafflecopter giveaway.

The particular book I’m giving away is, in my opinion, one of the best attachment parenting books I have ever read! The series of books written by this author have changed my life and my views on how children develop. L.R. Knost (the author) is an inspirational woman. Her books and her website have opened my mind and my heart to the idea that children don’t need to be punished to learn right from wrong. There was a time when I relied on time-outs. I cringe when I think back but sadly I wasn’t ever given the right information; I didn’t know better and with television shows (that I won’t name but I’m sure you’re aware of) I couldn’t imagine any other way – but there is!

I want to give away a brand new copy of this book to help someone out there. To gain the tools to find a more gentle way to discipline, if they wish to do so.

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About the book:
Gentle Parenting is about guiding instead of controlling, connecting instead of punishing, encouraging instead of demanding. It’s about listening, understanding, responding, and communicating. Written by children’s book and parenting author, L.R.Knost, ‘Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages’ is an introduction to the ideas behind gentle parenting and to its application in each of the developmental stages of childhood.

About the author:
Children’s book and parenting author, L.R.Knost, is an independent child development researcher and founder and director of the advocacy and consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, as well as a monthly contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She is also a babywearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, homeschooling mother of six. Her children are a twenty-five-year-old Pastor and married father of two; a twenty-three-year-old married Family Therapist working on an advanced degree; an eighteen-year-old university pre-med student on scholarship; thirteen- and six-year-old sweet, funny, socially active, homeschooled girls; and an adorable twenty-five–month-old nursling. Other works by L.R.Knost include the ‘Wisdom For Little Hearts’ series and the soon-to-be-released ‘Grumpykins’ series of children’s picture books which are humorous and engaging tools for parents, teachers, and caregivers to use in implementing gentle parenting techniques in their homes and schools.

Best of luck, everyone!

Why I love baby wearing!

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It’s no secret to my friends and family that I love baby wearing. I have never used a pram or a pushchair (to date) with my youngest, and I don’t plan to use one ever again, even with subsequent children. I am a ‘full time’ baby wearer. My only regret is not discovering baby wearing (and the benefits) sooner!

How I came to baby wear

When I was pregnant with my youngest, I was terrified about how difficult it would be, going from one child, to two children. I had so many friends telling me how hard it was going to be, which didn’t help. Anyway, I did some research and asked around. I basically asked friends with more than one child how they coped, a friend recommended baby wearing, so I bought my first wrap!

I remember the first time I wore Emily in the wrap. She was just two days old. I was so excited and yet so nervous. After a few tries, I had gotten the hang of it – it was incredibly liberating! It was like she had never left my womb, I still had her close. I still had a sweet little bump to lay my hand upon, but it was now my baby, just in a wrap! From that moment on, I fell in love with baby wearing!

Like any relationship, my relationship with baby wearing grew and changed. I found more reasons to love having my baby close to me. My youngest daughter is now 7 months old, here are my personal reasons for why I love baby wearing.

1. Allows you to carry on with everyday life – while baby is all snuggled up to you, you can carry on with cooking, cleaning and everyday activities in general. It’s really no different to pregnancy. Not only that but I personally love the fact I don’t have achey arms and an achey back from holding a baby for a long period of time.

2. Strengthens the bond with your baby – now, obviously the majority of mothers bond with their baby. However, speaking from personal experience, I feel there is definitely a stronger bond between me and my baby because of baby wearing. Again, I want to reiterate that I am basing these points on my own personal experiences. I am not suggesting that people who don’t baby wear, have a lesser bond with their babies, compared to those that do.

3. It helps you keep fit – with the extra weight of baby, you’re bound to be shedding those pregnancy pounds!

4. It gives you a break – you know those days where your baby just won’t stop crying? Teething, feeling under the weather, wind, reflux, over stimulated etc. These are all factors to an irritable baby, it can be extremely stressful when it seems you have tried everything. For me personally, 5-10 minutes (probably not even that) in the wrap will always do the trick. The wrap is great for bedtimes too!

5. A great fashion accessory – this is probably the only ‘con’ but it depends how you look at it. Wraps should come with a warning… They are extremely addictive! They are available in hundreds of colours, patterns, styles, materials and so on. Personally I love the variety, it just means there are more choices and you can have one for every outfit if you want to.

6. Can help prevent older children getting jealous – my wraps were a god send, especially in the early days. My biggest fear through pregnancy was of my eldest getting jealous. I have no doubt in my mind, the reason there was (and still is) no jealousy issues, is because I could still give my eldest the same amount of attention while my youngest was also getting closeness through the wrap.

7. Guilt free shopping sprees – I didn’t babywear with my eldest at all, and whenever I went shopping I was always conscious of getting in everyone’s way with my big bulky pushchair. Babywearing solved that worry for me, it has also made my shopping trips much faster, as I don’t have to let people past before taking up the whole isle with my enormous pushchair.

8. Happy babies – everywhere I go, all I hear is comments of what a happy and contented baby I have. How could I not love babywearing? It makes someone that I love really happy. I love anything that brings happiness to the ones I love. I love nothing more, than to see Emily’s face light up when she sees one of our wraps.

9. Compact – similar to my seventh point, wraps are extremely compact and some are even small enough to fold neatly into your handbag. That will definitely free up boot space, more room for those shopping sprees! Eh? If you don’t own a car, then no more waiting for buses in horrible weather. I lost count of the amount of times I was left in the rain, snow and hail because the buses had exceeded their limit of prams. One time, I waited 90 minutes in the rain, I couldn’t board any of the (five!) buses that past, as they already had their limit of pushchairs!

10. Cheaper than a pushchair – now, this one is totally dependant on the user because as I said before, wraps are extremely addictive, and most ‘full time’ baby wearers will, more than likely, own more than one wrap. However, a decent, brand new pushchair will set you back around £500 to £800. A decent woven wrap, brand new, would set you back anywhere between £40 to £100, depending on the style. You can pick up a stretchy wrap for as little as £16!

So there you have it! My personal reasons to why I absolutely love baby wearing. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, please feel free to follow my blog and like my Facebook page.

Here is a picture of the first time I ever baby wore.

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Here is a picture of Emily in our Erna Im Wunderland, woven wrap.

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Opposites attract..?

So, people say opposites attract… I’m not sure what people, but people do. From my experience, since becoming a mother, I have seen more animosity than anything when it comes to different parental approaches. Some people seem to behave like rowdy politicians in the House of Commons, but with far less tact or dignity.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I pictured a wonderful journey of bringing up this little person that was growing inside me. I imagined her, I was filled with excitement, love and pure joy. I never imagined I would be defending my parental choices to my friends, family and even strangers like it was some sort of political policy. I shouldn’t have to defend myself or validate my beliefs, nobody should. None of my choices are illegal or unethical, therefore, it isn’t anyone’s business how I wish to raise my children.

Isn’t it silly that friends and family can fall out and become hostile over a preference in parenting choices!? Parents feel they have to defend their methods almost. Would you defend the fact you liked to eat strawberry ice-cream to a friend that hated it and preferred vanilla? Would you try to make someone feel bad about preferring heavy metal if you preferred classical? Probably not!
So why on earth do some people feel it’s acceptable to bully others (because that’s what it is, let’s not sugarcoat it!) for their choices on how they wish to raise their children?

I’m far from innocent in this though, after all, we are all human and nobody is perfect. However, I have found that I have only disagreed with the opposition out of defence. For example, myself and a friend fell out when we had both just become new mothers. We both disagreed with one another’s (for some stupid reason) parenting approach, in particular this was about breast verses bottle – a common and often catty debate. I won’t go into the details of what was said on both parts, as it’s irrelevant. Anyway, needless to say, we achieved nothing from our disagreement.

I genuinely don’t care how people feed their child, educate their child, transport their child but when my methods were challenged, I became extremely defensive. Perhaps this is what is happening to a lot of people. Perhaps it’s a vicious cycle of defence mechanisms.

Even though I have fallen into the trap myself, I still don’t understand it. It doesn’t explain how it starts in the first place… I guess it’s a case of ‘what came first? The chicken, or the egg?’

I don’t know why people behave this way, all I know is, it is not acceptable. It’s nobodies business how someone decides to raise their children. Why can’t we all just get along and accept that everybody looks different, has different belief systems, holds different political views and everybody has different parenting approaches.

If you are someone who has criticised somebody else for their personal choices, ask yourself, ‘why?’
Ask yourself, ‘how does their choice affect me?’
If the answer is ‘it doesn’t’ and that person is causing no harm to their child, then I think you should perhaps consider the other persons feelings before you begin your shaming quest. If the answer is ‘it does’ then I highly recommend you seek professional help – or perhaps get a hobby or something!

Most parental decisions are not made on a whim and most parents generally research a lot. For example, I made the decision not to smack my children or use isolation methods (such as time out) as a form of discipline. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who have said that my children will become spoilt. I have also heard the line ‘the problem with society these days is the fact parents feel like they can’t smack, that’s the reason for so much crime…’ this is probably the most uneducated response to my decision because roughly 90% of parents use isolation techniques and smack their children, so it’s hardly likely that all the criminals in the world are the 10% of children coming from smack free homes. The point I’m trying to make is, just because one method may work for one person, it doesn’t mean it will work for another. Parenting isn’t a case of ‘one size fits all’.
Not only that, it is my choice on how to raise my children!

Parenting should be an enjoyable journey, not a competition. There’s already enough judgement out there from officials without fellow parents, friends and family making it worse for one another. We should be helping one another respectfully, not criticising each other disrespectfully.

Life is too short. Live and let live.

The ‘Calm me down’ basket

The girls are fast asleep, so I wanted to share our ‘calm me down’ basket. This basket is loaded and ready for when I feel a tantrum is brewing! I personally find once Ava is in a full blown tantrum, nearly every parenting tool is less effective. I am more for prevention than cure. If I can see my little one getting ratty, I will just take myself to our cozy corner and ask her to join me. We then have a rummage through the basket of goodies!

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Our basket has:
A pack of snap cards, our homemade glitter bottle, a cuddly elephant toy and several educational/moralistic books such as –
‘All Kinds of Feelings’
‘Hands Are Not For Hitting’
‘Guess How Much I Love You’
‘Understand and Care’
‘1001 Animals to Spot’

I will be adding more books as we go along. I will also be adding a calm task jar when Ava is a bit older and able to read. The jar is basically filled with ideas of how to calm down, they are written on small pieces of card – another fab idea from ‘here we are together’.

 

 

Our cozy corner

I just wanted to quickly share our cozy reading corner. This is where we have time in to just relax, snuggle and get into a good book.

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We live in a very small flat, it’s not much but we make the most of what we have. We have each other and that’s what really matters.

This is my favourite place in our home!