Half term- Cabin fever kicking in yet?

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School holidays can be daunting enough, trying to think of entertainment that doesn’t cost the earth but that keeps your little one happy. Then throw in miserable weather which more than halves the possibilities of an affordable time together.

I find it’s all in the planning. Do your research before the holidays begin to find out what’s on in your local area. This way you can be prepared for whatever is thrown at you.

Social media sites such as Facebook are a great place to look. Other parents and organisations are often posting about activities, and the majority are free. Contact your local council, they can tell you what’s on in your library and leisure centres: story time, messy time etc. My local council have the ‘play rangers’. They organise all sorts of outdoor activities throughout all the holidays in local parks and it’s FREE!!!

Great if the weather is good yes, but what if its not? Well don’t discount your own abilities in being able to entertain your children at home. Try this: section up your day,

morning activity: baking- lunch – afternoon activity: painting.

Things won’t seem as daunting if you have a plan.

These activities don’t have to be a huge deal but by spending time playing with your child you are providing them with lots of positive attention. This prevents the need for your children to gain your attention using negative behaviour.

All else fails, get wrapped up and head to the park…..

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Discipline

As a mum I’m my own harshest critic and never does that come into play more immediately after I have seen red and shouted “look what you’ve done!!!” I am immediately consumed with guilt.

In doing this all I have achieved is, scared my son with my outburst, made myself feel like a bad parent and taught my son that it’s okay to loose you’re temper as that’s what mummy does.  We all do it, it’s impossible to think we can be the best possible parent 100% of the time, but discipline is not about releasing your own frustration it’s about teaching and getting your child to understand.

Sound familiar? Try to keep these techniques in mind:

Always remain calm- Stop the behaviour when you are calm and first noticed the behaviour, making it less likely that you will blow up the second things inevitably go wrong. Plus children are less likely to remember the lesson when they are scared and being screamed at.

Think about the outcome-. Think about what you really want to achieve in the situation, the lesson you want them to take away from the experience, gaining the understanding that they won’t always get their way. When you think about your goal for the interaction, you can take more conscious, effective steps to get there.

Teach empathy- After a sibling falling out or a playground scuffle, rather than forcing empty apologies talk to your child and help them understand what the other person in the interaction was feeling. “How would you feel if someone took your toy without asking?” By getting them to relate, you set a foundation for learning empathy.

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Language delay

I stumbled across this old video I took of my son Louie, a couple of years ago, always a lovely ‘aaahhhh’ moment but what struck me the most was that I had forgotten just how much he struggled with his speech.

Louie is now 5 and a half and thriving. I’ve often been told by people that they would never have guessed he had language delay. However just a short 1 ½ – 2 years ago you could barely understand him and he only had a vocabulary of around 15-20 words and even these were incomprehensible most of the time.  By 3, a toddler’s vocabulary usually is 200 or more words, and many children can string together three- or four-word sentences. By now, we should have been able to understand about 75% of what Louie was saying, this was not the case.There are many factors that can influence why a child is late to talk. Once we had ruled out all serious possibilities I knew it was a question of hard work in bridging the gap.

Our biggest issue was the frustration Louie faced in making himself understood. We taught him Makaton which was great and did the job when he wanted to ask for something from us or others who new Makaton, but when faced with playing with his peers his frustration at not being understood often resulted in him lashing out. This was a huge concern for me, as like every other parent I didn’t want my child to be the ‘aggressive child in class’ or be labelled as the bully.

We communicated our fears with the teachers and together along with our speech therapist implemented a plan that we all worked from to give Louie as much consistent help that we could. Child behaviour advice comes in all shapes and sizes.

Slowly his speech strengthened and overtime he began to build relationships with peers which was lovely to see. But, throughout all of this what amazed us more than anything was that Louie’s confidence was never knocked, he had a wonderful ‘can do’, happy attitude. The frustrations would come and go but Louie’s attitude stayed positive. I believe that this is down to the way we have always told Louie that what he is doing was incredible and to never give up. So proud of you Louie!

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Be a good role model

It’s important to remember that children aren’t born with the skills to get by in life, we as parents much teach them. What a gift and a privilege…… no pressure!!!

A great way to kick this off is by being a good role model. We first often have to take a close look at our own attitude and be honest with ourselves about things that we want to change.

Be mindful about all you say and do, your children imitate what you say and your actions. Don’t lose your temper, shout and scream. I know as parents we all get to that point but as adult we have the capability to control this.

Show a good positive attitude in all you do, from staying healthy through what you eat and keeping active to reading a book. All are showing positive behaviour and attitudes.

Be dependable, if you say you’re going to take them to the park later, do so.  Always follow through with your actions, so many parents are hesitant to enforce consequences when their children break rules, but consistency is essential. Children thrive on consistency and reliability. Without it, they invariably feel aimless and unsupported…

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A book a day keeps the teacher away

child sleep adviceI’ve given up on trying to squeeze precious reading time in once we’re home from after school clubs and the rush of tea is over. We simply spend 10 minutes in the morning instead. My older son Louie is bright eyed, bushy tailed and focused. It’s so much more relaxed for both of us.

Before we start reading, I encourage Louie to look at and discuss what is happening in the pictures. This helps build a picture of what the story is about and predict what the words might be. Making predictions activates prior knowledge about the text and helps make connections between new information and what they already know. Why not give it a try, I’ve seen nothing but positive results.

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