Top tips on feeling confident about your children starting school

In the run up to children starting school, there can be a whirlwind of emotions. We focus lots on how much we want our children to feel happy and confident about starting school, but what about the grown ups? It’s also important to look after your own wellbeing and confidence as a parent when your child walks into a new era. So here’s some ideas about how to feel confident and happy when your child is now starting school.

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Will my daughters wonder why they look different to their mummy?

I know kids are never going to be spitting images of their parents (well some are). For some reason, I always imagined our kids to be mini-mes. As my daughters are mixed-raced, I wonder if they will think about why we all look so different as a little family? Daddy is English-Brummy and Mummy’s family is from Mauritius. It’s an easy explanation but will our daughters get it?  So will my daughters question why they look different to mummy or the other way around? Continue reading

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Parents suffer from separation anxiety too

As our babies and kids go through the different developmental phases we often come across separation anxiety. It’s normal for little ones to feel separation anxiety. It’s just part of them growing up. I remember reading lots about it when Big Munch was around 9 months old. I’ll be away from my two girls and Mr.H soon as I head off to the Mom 2.0 blogger conference in Orlando. I know I have mixed feelings about being away. We hear and read lots about children’s separation anxiety. So, what about the parents and their own separation anxiety? Continue reading

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Let’s talk about flex – Mother Pukka’s #flexappeal campaign for more flexible working

Flexible working. Over the last 15 years in my HR career, these words are becoming  more and more important.  As lots of people experience parenthood, different lifestyles or life changes, more flexible working conversations are taking place in the workplace. So what’s the #flexappeal campaign all about? Created and led by Anna Whitehouse of motherpukka.co.uk, it’s about raising awareness of the benefits flexible working brings to a business and its teams.

Thanks to @emilygrayphoto for this photo

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Top tips for encouraging confidence in children, by Livvy Gormally, Let’s Ask Livvy

In part 1 of Livvy’s guest blog for Lucky Things, we looked at children’s confidence as a behaviour and how confidence needs to be taught, learnt and nurtured, modelled and reinforced. She also talked about how it needs to be taught across environments and in different situations. Confidence can dip and how confidence can be boosted and the importance of praising the behaviours that we want to see more of. With this in mind, here are Livvy’s top tips for encouraging confidence.

 

  1. Break down big or daunting tasks or new activities into bite sized pieces and offer appropriate praise and reinforcement for each little step towards task completion. Breaking things down and praising the little steps helps build confidence by boosting the kids at every step along the way.img_9309
  2. Make sure you have realistic and age appropriate expectations for your children. Pushing a child into something that is not age appropriate, where they are yet to develop the necessary skills can have a negative effect on confidence levels. Similarly, pushing a child into something that you feel they should be able to do by a certain age can also greatly affect confidence. For example, leaving your little one at their first parents don’t stay party or your older one for their first sleepover, may not be easy, it may need preparation and work from all involved to enable them to have the confidence to try.
  3. Try to work out the function (the reason why) of any behaviours you see as result of trying something new. If your child experiences an increase in challenging behaviours when trying something new, try to work out why? Are they due to avoidance because the task is too hard, are they escape behaviours because they do not have the skill set to complete the activity, do they need increased support, are they getting too much support and want to do it themselves?
  4. Gradual increases in independence leads to confidence. It is essential to encourage your children to become independent, try new things knowing that to find something tricky is ok, have a go at something knowing that it is ok to fail as this is how we can learn and adapt for next time.
  5. Teaching your kids that sticking at something you find challenging can be so rewarding and even though they may find the activity difficult. Overcoming those difficulties with support and reinforcement along the way leads to more confident and independent learners.
  6. Reading is a good example of this as becoming a confident reader happens in baby steps it takes time, effort and practice and the child who refuses to practice is not necessarily saying I hate reading, they may just be really confused by the concept of language, feel frustrated they can’t read the book they want to or have a fear of failing. Teaching your kids how and when to ask for help. Knowing your own child, their levels of independence, resilience and how best to support them through their challenges. Knowing that each child is different and you have to work out what each child needs and play to their strengths, while trying to encourage further development by helping them tackle the tricky things.
  7. It is important to stress that we all lack confidence sometimes and it is not to say that if you feel like you lack confidence as a parent you are unable to raise confident children. Our children’s confidence comes from being loved and nurtured, from learning it is OK to fear things and that it is OK to fail at something. However, in behavioural terms every day is a learning day and I would encourage every parent to try and work out what makes them lack confidence. Is it the parents who make things look like a doddle, our parents, our friends, our partners or social media lives? I can assure you that each and every one of these people has their own struggles and lack confidence at times.
  8. I think it is important for our kids to know that even as adults we face struggles and lack confidence sometimes, but even as adults we are still learning and growing as people. That it can be strength to admit weakness, to ask for help and to being open to growth.

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Why I love going on a walk around the block with the kids

Whatever the weather, it’s good to get some fresh air. Sometimes there are days where the weather is unpredictable so you have to grab those opportunities to get some outside play-time with the little ones. A few parents have been asking me for ideas for free things to do. Here’s seven things I love about a walk around the block with the girls…

  1. We’re going on a mini-adventure...Let the kids know you’re going on a little adventure to see what we can find. Wrap up warm and bring the waterproofs if you need to. You don’t have to be out for long so it’s a nice activity before meal times.img_7200
  2. See your local area in the eyes of a child…Kids seem to spot things we may not notice. I love it when three-year old Big Munch spots new flowers or notices something different down our road. Acknowledge the random things they discover and talk about them when you get home. You can also praise them for their discoveries.
  3. You’re not far from home…You don’t have to pack the changing bag or other kit as you’re not that far from homely facilities and food supplies. This might mean you can get out of the house quicker. img_7182On the other hand, it could mean you decide to leave the house with a Frozen Princess or superhero. Guess I’m more relaxed about the dress code when I know we’re not venturing far. Check out Big Munch’s walking socks below. Serious business. Big Munch also loves bringing her umbrella as a prop.img_7178
  4. Walk slowly…There’s no rush when you’re having a stroll around the block (or down the road). Enjoy the slower pace. It’s nice to take your time and walk at the little people’s pace. We still take Toddler Munch in the buggy so she can watch things from her wheels.img_7180
  5. Number and letter spotting…This game is great for pre-school children. Ask them to spot “their number” (their age). Big Munch loves doing this.
  6. Colour spotting…Similar to Eye Spy, you can play another game where you spot different colours (or patterns). Usually Big Munch wins as Toddler Munch is too young to play! img_7185
  7. Letting them explore with their feet…When you spend time focusing on your surroundings, kids have the chance to discover new things. Big Munch spotted  a special building near our home the other week. Something I never noticed before.

What ideas do you have for getting out of the house with kids? Any ideas for free activities? Do you ever go for a walk around the block? What do you love about where you live? Leave a  little comment below…

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Top tips on kids’ routines from children’s behaviour expert Livvy Gormally, Lets Ask Livvy

As a parent, I know I will forever have questions about whether I’m doing the right thing when looking after, nurturing and teaching my two girls about everyday life. It was fab seeing Livvy Gormally from Let’s Ask Livvy talk about all things parenting at the Mothers Meeting at Shoreditch House in London. From sleep routines, weaning and navigating tantrums, we all hit some critical parenting topics. We also talked a lot about how to encourage our babies and children to follow routines or adapt to changes in everyday plans. The Mothers Meeting crowd in the house also had the chance to ask Livvy lots of questions.img_8779 Continue reading

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Will my daughters love how they look?

Through my eyes, my two daughters are of course beautiful. I will always see their beauty. But how will they appreciate their own beauty as they grow up? What will they be thinking about when they look at themselves in the mirror? I’ve started to think about this more for a number of reasons. Three-year old Big Munch starts school next year. She will enter school life and be exposed to all of the body-image issues it brings with being around so many other girls and boys. She will start building her own identity. She will become more aware of her personality as well as her looks.

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