Tag Archives: Parenting

Finding The Right Childcare.

Collaborative Post

Childcare is one of those things every parent struggles with from time to time. Whether it is trying to decide what type of childcare works best for your situation, or trying to decide how best to provide childcare for a child who just needs after school care. Child care is such an individual choice. So, how should you go about deciding on what child care will be best suited to your needs?

What type of child care is available?

Consider what options you have available to you locally, this maybe a day centre, child minder, nanny or pre-school. Of course you may be limited by what is on offer locally to you, and what is best suited to the age and needs of your child. Personally, I found that asking other parents about their experiences was a great way of gaining ideas.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Deciding factors!

For my daughter I settled on a pre-school which fitted in well with school drop off and collection for my older children. I didn’t want to have to drive far between drop offs, so location was an important deciding factor! I needed to be able to drop her off before or after the school run. Pre-school also meant she got to mix with lots of children, and as she was talking from a young age I felt this was a really important thing for her! The hours the pre-school offered were very similar to school hours, so worked well for our needs, but may not have suited everyone.

Cost is obviously a big factor in deciding on what child care will work for you. Don’t automatically assume that one type of childcare will be better value than another, investigate all options! As you may be surprised by what you can afford – especially if you are looking for options which will cover you in the school vacations too.

What should you be asking when looking into childcare?

This is really one of those questions which I can’t answer as your questions will be specific to your needs and the needs of your child. Some questions you may like to ask are; Do you provide lunch? What types of activities do you offer? How do you document my child’s progress? What are your rates and how do you take payment? ( What payment do they want in advance!).

Where to find help on what childcare to choose?

Consider using a site like toddle.com.au they have over 40 years combined experience working in child care, and have a wealth of knowledge. They also have some great blogs on how to deal with problems such as separation anxiety in toddlers which is well worth a read! You can also ask local parents on their experiences, which can be especially helpful when looking at childminders. Just remember that every family is different, and your childcare needs may be very different to another family. You may also find that a combination of childcare options works best – and that’s ok to!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The terrible twos…

I think the terrible twos have arrived. Frustration of wanting to communicate, but not quite being able to has started to see tantrums being thrown by my youngest child. It feels as though he has gone from baby to toddler in the blink of an eye. Suddenly he is harder to entertain and fiercely independent. The pushchair is now redundant – he must walk everywhere. When he tires he simply sits down on the floor wherever he is – and will shriek when he is gathered up to be carried.

Toddler Climbing..

Today has been a challenge, he has discovered he can climb with ease up the radiator onto the windowsill. The radiator thankfully was cold, but he had scaled it within moments while I vacuumed the rug in the same room. I swung round to see him attempting to stand on the windowsill. Pointing with delight at the hen who was watching him from the garden. Having told him off, and distracted him with a toy car, the next attempt at climbing was over a stair-gate. I have never experienced a toddler attempting to clamber over the stair-gate, and he’s not even age 2 yet…he is 22months!

There’s also the biting, hitting and kicking. N has taken to hitting and kicking everyone when he gets told off. He has also started to try to bite. It’s horrible! I was hoping we might miss this stage! I’ve had to explain to my 8 year old that he can’t hit back, as it reinforces the idea that it’s ok! Currently, when N hits out the children will tell him to stop, and if he does it again then they will walk away from him. This usually results in N crying – but it does stop the hitting out.

Communication

I think, once N starts to talk a little more, the terrible twos may start to be easier to handle. I try to take a breath and talk to him asking him what he needs. One of the tantrums this week, was as he wanted to watch a certain thing on the television again. I spent a few minutes trying to work out what the problem was, then he started to point and say “Gen” ohhh he means “again?” he looked and excitedly replied “Yea” – iPlayer on and problem solved! But sometimes the tantrums are not so easy to resolve – especially when they are over someone elses LEGO car or a school book. But, they’re lessons which he needs to learn – not everything is his. I think though, Christmas may be very interesting!

My 20 Month Old

Looking back at photographs, there has been so much change in 12 months. I no longer have a baby, he is very much a toddler boy. It seems strange that a year ago he was still very much a baby. I feel as though we are racing towards being a pre-schooler.

Favourite things

Helicopters are a favourite. We see military air craft daily, so I think this is where his fascination has started. When N can hear one approaching he will run to the window and stand watching until it flies over. He will point and try to say “copter” or “ane”. This summer we went to the Bournemouth Airshow, and he was delighted to watch the planes and helicopters. I’m already planning ones to visit next year!

He also has a love for all things with wheels, current favourite toy is a Happyland Fire engine which my eldest son had when he was 2. I think it shows that plastic toys can be great, if they’re decent quality and built to last. We have looked after it for 9 years, and I hope once N has finished with it we will pass it on to another family to enjoy.

Food

So, we’ve entered a bit of a fussy stage. N has developed a dislike of pasta, and a love of rice. He seems to like strong flavours, and is keen to try food as long as it comes from someone elses plate! Breakfast seems to last most of the morning at the moment. He eats before the school run, after the school run, and then about an hour later too. It means we seem to miss having a proper lunch? Back to school has thrown our schedule out!

Sleep

The only reliable naps come on the afternoon school run. Which I understand as to be honest I’d quite like to nap through them too! Bedtime we are having to rigidly stick to 7pm, or he refuses to go to bed or sleep at all. Sticking with 7pm at the moment means it all flows nicely, and he is usually asleep by 7.30pm.

Communication

While we can’t hold a conversation, over the last week N has begun to really try hard to communicate. The natural pattern of a conversation has begun. He will attempt to respond to questions with great enthusiasm, mostly in babble with some hand gestures or pointing. He has also started to show a great interest in other children of his own age. Which means we are making friends wherever we go!

Counting the days to Half Term..

Homework. parent meetings, school trips. A variety of medical appointments. Plenty of out of school activities. A growing collection of bills. Oh,  all the germs seem to have wanted to visit us this term. This is why I’m counting down to Half Term.

While a little bit of routine is wonderful. I already miss the freedom of the holidays.

It’s fair to say that most of the stress of school days is actually my fault. Poor planning, or specifically trying to get too many things done in too few hours. I have crammed so many jobs into the last week, dashing from one place to the next. It’s led to a week of feeling utterly exhausted. Why do I do it to us? I’m not sure, but I need to change it.

Learning to pace ourselves.

My stress contributes to the mood of the children. If I’m happy they are happy. When I am stressed, they are generally grouchy. It’s time for us to stop and take a breath.

Certain things I put in place to help us all. Homework, we look at it as soon as it arrives, not wait until it is due. Music practice, 5 minutes every day is better than fighting to practice at all over the week.

Lunchboxes.. the boys empty them and leave them by the sink. I write a meal plan for lunch boxes, this helps with shopping for and packing them!

Half-term at home.

February half-term is always a tough one for us. The weather is always mixed, and money is not in great supply as it’s not long since Christmas and two Birthdays! So, February half-term is always spent at home. The first few days usually everyone wants their freedom. Then they get bored! So I always plan indoor activities to do in the holidays.

If the weather is good, we will pack up a flask and get out and about. I must admit I’m longing for Spring to arrive when it is easier being outside with all the children together!

Weaning – slowly does it.

I thought I’d share a little update on our weaning journey with Noddy. He’s 7 months now, and by this stage his older siblings were greedily eating all the food they could grab. N though, has always had a rather disinterested approach to food. It’s really hard when your child has little interest in food. I have battled for years with a fussy eater, and it is heart breaking, so I did panic when N didn’t want to try solids at first. But, we’ve persisted.

Weaning - baby in baby bjorn high chair

We started weaning a little early on the advice of our health visitor. However, it was a disaster and we gave up, deciding to try again once he was 6 months. Our journey began with trying to encourage him to eat finger foods, but he just threw them down. So we tried pureed carrot which nicely decorated clothes (mostly mine) and the floor. We had 5 weeks of pure frustration, weaning wasn’t meant to be this hard?! Noddy was unimpressed with everything we presented him with, looking at us like we were insane. It was hugely frustrating, and I did begin to wonder if I could ever persuade him to eat. He would try a tiny bit one day, and the next day keep his mouth firmly shut. While we were on holiday he ate more, but it didn’t seem very much still.

7 months arrived, and I decided to just carry on the weaning journey introducing more to his diet.

7 month old weaning

Noddy greedily ate a big portion of pasta with ricotta and tomato sauce, yes he smothered quite a lot over his face, but a huge amount went in his mouth and was greeted with happy noises. Stronger flavours are more popular with him, we have had success with foods flavoured with herbs and spices. He likes to feed himself, though finger foods aren’t always a success. I’ve noticed that he prefers to grab the spoon and help feed himself. Though, he is no where near co-ordinated enough to do it all by himself, he does try! We have started to try things like egg on toast over the last week, which has proved popular. He also happily sits in his highchair while we eat dinner, and will have a little of whatever we are having. This has mixed success – sometimes he will just throw it on the floor and other times he will try a bit.

Drinking..

He loves his sippy cup, though I think he loves throwing the contents of it around as much as he likes drinking from it! Everywhere gets soaked! Thankfully it is only water, so it is quick to mop up! I’ve started to think that he’s having a little too much milk, but he’s such a petite baby that I’m trying not to worry. This week he has a horrible cold, and perhaps that is why he is keen to drink a little more milk than “he should”.

So, all in all, while we have had a slow start, I think we’re getting there. I just hope he continues to enjoy trying different flavours!

 

New Mama.. it’s OK.

Someone once said.. “When a baby is born, so is a mother”. I’m not sure who it was that said those words, but they were very wise.  I’ve been referred to as “an experienced Mum”. I suppose as a Mother of 4, I should know what I am doing. However, sometimes I need the same direction as a first time parent. Sometimes, I am learning too.

 

Continue reading

Competitive parent V. The School Project..

Competitive parents, you are the bane of my life, as you spark my competitive side and that’s not always a good thing!

My eldest son is in year 3, and he came home with a school homework project a few weeks ago, which he was delighted to have. I went through the project and explained he needed to take ownership of it. He decided how and what to do, and we were all set. Then, at the school gates it all changed..  Continue reading

Does feeling “broody” ever stop?

Does getting that broody feeling ever stop? Do you ever wake up and know that you don’t want anymore babies? Or is it more of a gradual thing where you learn that you have your family and in reality it’s quite big enough? Being surrounded by ladies with babies, or glowing Mums to be, I’ve started to wonder about having another baby. Yes The Mumington Post, your baby photos have really not helped! Continue reading

Help! I’m Lost! (Lost in parenting!).

Help, I’m lost in parenting. Every morning, there is the same routine, I get up and make breakfast, make packed lunches, battle to get the children dressed, then realise I am still in my pyjamas.. I throw on jeans and whatever jumper is nearby and dash out of the house with my hair pulled back into some kind of top knot. Yes, I know I sound gorgeous right?  Continue reading

Is there ever a ‘right’ time to have another baby?

Given that today has been hellish, with both boys testing my Mummy skills to the limits with tantrums galore, it seems odd that I’m writing a post about my desire to have another baby. My hormones are raging, I am ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ over ever teeny tiny baby and looking at baby bumps with envy, is this Mother Natures way of telling me the time is right to try again? or am I just feeling this way with thoughts of Boo starting school in September filling me with that fear that my babies are all grown up?

Sensibly, I sit here and think to myself that I couldn’t possibly even consider trying for another baby for at least another 12 months as there are so many things we need to do first. I’m so lucky to have the two beautiful boys I have, I should enjoy them and follow wherever the parenting/life journey takes me. But then another part of me sits and wonders what if I can’t get pregnant this time? What if I wait too long and can’t cope with the sleepless nights and general exhaustion a newborn brings? 

I’ve also started to worry about the practicalities of having more than two children, space in the car, supervision when we go swimming that sort of thing. OK, so it sounds ludicrous but at the moment we have the luxury of one child to one parent ratio! I’m from a big family, and I wonder how my parents managed when we were small! 

So what do you think? Is there a ‘right’ time? Or should you just go with the flow and see where life takes you?