Posts Tagged ‘parenting


We have had a bit of family illness to contend with recently and my son has dealt with it like a super hero.  I promised him that I would take him to LEGO Land Windsor and that we would stay in the resort hotel. To be perfectly honest staying in the resort hotel is incredibly expensive, for the same amount you could probably stay in a cheaper hotel for three days.

We had an early start on the morning of our expedition and many different trains to catch but we managed to get to LEGO Land in one piece.  The outside of the hotel did have a wow factor and was so child orientated that nobody needed to nag their children to stand still and wait while you checked in.  The greatest attraction in the reception area was a large sand pit full of LEGO, tearing Alistair away from that proved to be quite difficult and we hadn’t even entered the park.  We couldn’t go to our room until three o’clock so we spent the next three hours exploring the park.

It was a bit disorientating entering the park from the hotel because you are essentially entering it from the back into the quiet part.  We wandered towards the Viking area and went on the spinning log ride.  Most of our time was spent wandering around and squirting water on the people doing the wet rides.  We had some doughnuts and a drink then went to the shop to buy a big LEGO cube storage box.  We were both a bit tired and relieved to get back to the hotel so that we could enter our room.

The floor our room was on was fantastic and kitted out like an Indiana Jones set.  Our room definitely had the wow factor and the children’s bedroom bit was everything a little adventurer could hope for.  The carpet had pictures of scorpions, spiders and bugs on it and the walls were decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphs and Lego sculptures.   The adult side of the room was near the window and looked like a luxury hotel room with a really comfortable double bed.  There were two televisions so the children can watch Lego TV and the adults can watch Midsummer Murders.

On the side was a set of clues instructing the child to count four objects so that the answers could form the combination of a safe.  We were hopeless at counting and eventually managed to unlock the safe to reveal a Lego car.  We spent an hour resting and snacking on our packed lunch before getting ready to go into the hotel splash pool. It was great splashing about and extremely hot.  We went to the restaurant for dinner and entertainment – the entertainers did a sterling job of playing Simon Says and setting Duplo building competitions.

Finally it was bed time and I was so stiff I could hardly walk.  Alistair fell fast asleep without a fuss and I wasn’t long after him.  We slept soundly until seven o’clock in time for a 7.30 breakfast.  The breakfast selection was fantastic and you could eat as much as you wanted to.  We didn’t have a cooked breakfast and Alistair could only manage a small bowl of cereal because he was so excited.  We stayed in the lounge for a short while until we went upstairs to pack and check out of the hotel.  After handing my rucksack in to be looked after we spent the next three hours enjoying the park.

Lego Land has been designed to accommodate children of all ages and abilities and the staff are really good with children. Before 12.30 a Lego driving licence was acquired, we saw sharks, we went on a train, we saw the Star Wars exhibition and models of all of the major cities in the world.  We also had a play in one of the playgrounds which like the rest of the park had an inclusive playground design allowing all children to have the best time ever.

We spent the last half hour in the reception area playing with Lego and spending money in the shop until the Taxi arrived at one o’clock.  We were taken straight to Slough Station and had a tiring but good journey home.  It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror did I realise that I looked a complete mess.  My eyes were swollen and starting to go black the next day to the shock of my friends who said that I looked as if I had been mugged.  Anyway my son said that his holiday had been, ‘better than awesome’, which was all I wanted to hear.







I admit that I am pretty lazy at the moment and the thought of walking in the cold and rain doesn’t appeal to me what so ever.  Nine years ago I didn’t have any qualms about putting on wet weather gear and walking everywhere. That was until I finally passed my driving test and now I have become so reliant on my car,  walking seems to be so, ‘yesterday’,  in terms of transport.  It would seem that I am not the only lazy so and so in the land because the country as a whole has become more sedentary and we are all sitting on our backsides more.

Since technology has become more interesting and the internet is user friendly we can explore images and talk to people all over the world.  I have even noticed that I know lots about local Facebook friends lives but don’t actually say more than, hello’, to them when I seem them.  I waste more time now devoting myself to rubbish online than I ever did in the past.  My backside is definitely getting bigger and I need to get into my summer clothes this year.

There are many reasons beside having a huge bum as to why we should exercise more and these include:-

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
  • Source NHS Choices

This information is reinforced by an article by Playdale Playgrounds, ‘How to help your community with a trim trail‘, in it they discuss a study by Oxford university who found that ,‘Forty four per cent admit to not taking part in any moderate exercise meaning that British fitness levels are among the worst in Europe’. This means that nearly five million adults spend the majority of the day sitting down. 10% of adults admitted to not even walking for at least ten minutes a day‘. They also referred to a study by Cambridge University who claimed that sitting down all day was worse for our health than obesity.

As parents it is our responsibility to set a good example to our children, although they seem to pick up our bad habits better than our good ones. (That’s because underneath we are all pretty naughty pretending to be good!). There are some simple ways that we can encourage our children to put down their gadgets and get moving. As the weather gets brighter it will be much easier to go out and reduce the size of our big bums.





When you are a child the title of this post is likely to mean playground roundabouts and swings rather than a balance of good and bad events. Some children have the misfortune of experiencing the low points of life because their families either unintentionally or deliberately expose them to chaos and disorder. These poor children never manage to get a stable grounding in life because their childhood has literally been swings and roundabouts.

We are not talking about children not receiving the presents they asked for or missing out on expensive activities because limited funds does not equal limited love. We are thinking about children who are deprived of emotion and parental guidance causing them to be let down when they need their parents the most. No parent is perfect because we are all flawed human beings so we can only do our best based on the upbringing we have had. Sadly not everyone has had the benefit of parents who have been able to give them the love and care they need so there are no good examples to follow.

Being a parent is a constant flow of making decisions that can affect our children deeply. We can sometimes qualify bad decisions by believing that children are too young to be affected by adult issues. Often hiding the normal ups and downs of life and how we deal with them from children results in them having chunks of coping strategies missing so when they come across hiccups when they grow up they don’t have the resources to help themselves. Children learn by example so they way we behave is imprinted on their minds and that is how they also behave.

Therefore if a child has not observed or experienced care and compassion they will be unable to look after their own children. While there will always be exceptions and people from such backgrounds will move heaven and earth to make sure that their children will not suffer in the way they did. Christmas is a difficult time of the year for everyone, many don’t have ‘a wonderful Christmas time, domestic violence increases and children get caught in the cross fire. The mix of alcohol and financial woes can cause emotional explosions and issues to be magnified. Children are vulnerable because they don’t have the safety of the school routine to protect them.

Life is never just going to be swings and roundabouts but as parents we can try our best to make childhood the most wonderful time in our child’s life. Children just want our time and company because we are the mist important person in their lives, the best we can do for them is to try our best not to let them down and if we do have let them know its because that is how life is sometimes.

Last night I watched a pretty shocking and sad documentary on Channel 4. ‘Junk Food Kids: Who’s To Blame?’ . It would seem that now one third of British children are overweight or obese. Also, stemming from this, which you might not really think about is the number of kids who are having to undergo drastic dental treatment due to rotten teeth caused by their diet.

The show, unsurprisingly, sparked a lot of activity on social media. Twitter was filled with people angry that ‘Who’s to blame?’ was even a question that needed to be asked and I have to say I agree with them. Parents must take responsibility for their child’s health.

The basics of it are that junk food is cheap, quick and easy. Alongside that, for some people taking their kids outside and entertaining them rather than leaving them infront of the tv may seem like all too much hard work. Small amounts of exercise do wonders of good whether it’s running around the garden, a quick trip to the playground or something more structured like a sports club or class.

Did you see the documentary? Here’s a trailer if you missed it.

The more active a parent, the more active the child.

Makes sense I suppose doesn’t it? Your child’s exercise levels are directly linked to your exercise levels.

I found this article about a yoga buff who does yoga poses with her little daughter. Now I’m not sure if this is a regular thing but those photos are adorable and it looks like they have a lot of fun. However, unfortunately, it may be the case that not all of us can a) get ourselves into those positions b) have a photographer on hand to capture the moments c) have time in the day to slow down and relax enough to do some yoga…and also d) a co-operative child!

Have a look at all the photos below…


But it’s definitely fair to say that a little bit of exercise can be slotted into a daily routine in some sort of format. Even if it is just a walk to the park, a session running around in the garden playing on the swing or the slide maybe, a quick trip out on the bikes or a dance session in the living room!

…I’m off to get a yoga mat I suppose…

When watching kids play on the playground equipment at school inevitably there will usually be disputes for one reason or another (between the kids that is not the parents!) Maybe over something small, maybe over something slightly bigger. Sometimes they sort themselves out and sometimes it’s time to run over and get mummy or daddy to sort it out. It just got me thinking about sharing and the process kids go through when learning to be generous to others.

I have read that you shouldn’t really expect a child to share before the age of six, because before then they are not really capable of true empathy towards others.Toddlers and preschoolers go through that ‘it’s mine stage’ as they become more independent.

I think the main things to remember when going through that stage are not to force sharing. If a child is very attached to something of theirs respect that whilst still encouraging and setting an example, making a point of sharing things with them. Playing sharing games can also be great practice!

On a little side note, while researching the topic of sharing I little came across this which i thought I should share with you guys just for fun – A playground for adults! What a great idea…why should kids have all the fun?!


If the weather’s not so good (which it often isn’t in December in the UK!) there might be a lot of trying to keep the kids entertained inside over the Christmas holidays. So I thought I’d share a few of the little arty projects we have done in the past that have proved quite popular, plus they are all Christmas related so bonus points for that!

Paper Snowflakes

The classic paper snowflakes!. Most kids will do this at school as well but it’s something that is fun and requires a bit of skill. It’s great seeing them see what they have created when they open up the paper.


Making Christmas Cards

This is something we attempt each year for the families’ Christmas cards. Admittedly, some years we have ended up loosing patience, or at least the first few are masterpieces and then they steadily go downhill as we realise just how many there are to do!


Baking Snowmen

Really fun and easy to do. Simple biscuit recipe topped with a marshmallow and icing sugar!


Bead Candy Canes

This one will encourage some patience and hand-eye coordination!


Snowmen Feet

This could get a little messy so a firm grip on a child with painted feet is needed! It’s extra fun because it is personal to them, plus they get to get a bit messy in a way they probably don’t get to that much PLUS they can be creative and decorate their snowmen however they like!


Make Your own Snow

Now I haven’t tried this one yet but it looks like it could be really fun! Instructions here.

homemade snow recipe 1

For a few more ideas, check out this blog post and this website

The other morning before school, we had what can only be described as a small blizzard. I peeled back the curtain to see whether I needed to take an umbrella out with me for the walk to school (or if the wind was too strong for one to be remotely effective) and was met with a blanket of white stuff over the cars, trees and paths.

The snow obviously meant we had to make time for a quick play outside in the public playground across from the school. It’s amazing how a bit of snow transforms a place and makes it a different world almost.  Suddenly, a playground they know so well (although usually still fun and met with a good amount of excitement each visit) is a totally new and exciting place. What is it about snow that sends both kids, and adults too if we admit it, (so long as we don’t have to drive or travel anywhere as unfortunately we have to take a slightly more realistic and sensible approach to it!) a little bit crazy and very happy indeed?

Unfortunately as I look out of the window right now there are strong winds and a fair amount of rain so I’ll keep my dreams of a white Christmas fairly realistic at this point. Come on weather, you’ve got one week to produce some snow for us…but then make sure it disappears quite quickly please as I have to be back at work on Monday!


Oh, and I decided not to take an umbrella by the way…Oh, and also not to walk either!

Up until last week I had never heard the phrase helicopter parent before.  Actually, that’s not strictly true. I hadn’t taken the time to really think about the term until then. Watching daytime television (if I ever have a moment to, and more often than not it’s a better idea not to) it always seems that I am bombarded with parenting advice and explanations of different parenting techniques (some extreme, some not so much). When in between doing some other odd jobs around the house I passed the TV for a moment and  heard someone say ‘helicopter parent’. It sounded like quite a lively debate so I stopped and sat myself down to hear some more for a moment.

Just in case you are unfamiliar, helicopter parents are basically mums and dads who find it very hard not to get involved with every single aspect of their child’s life. You could describe them as ‘hovering’ around their little ones (hence where the name comes from) finding it hard to take a back seat. That’s putting it quite politely I think. In other words (which the woman in opposition on the TV used) they are controlling, overbearing and overprotective.


A few helicopter parent symptoms to look out for –

  • You spoil them
  • It pains you to drop them off at school
  • You think your child is perfect in every way and take every opportunity to tell people that
  • You’re like their security guard
  • You help a bit too much with their homework (i.e do it for them so they get top marks)
  • You are the germ police
  • You try to hand pick their friends
  • You often feel guilty and give into their every desire to shelter them from negative experiences
  • You’re over prepared and plan to every last detail


It’s fair to say that most of us will have been guilty of some of the things on this list from time to time. But I know that I am not a helicopter parent. Doing a lot of the things on this list will stop your child from learning valuable lessons.  Failure and challenges are important and teach kids  new skills and also that they can indeed handle failure and challenges. They need a certain amount of independence to develop and grow in the ways they need to. I’m a pretty big believer in letting kids get on with what they want to do (within reason of course) whether that’s playing outdoors, drawing and colouring, dressing up and being creative and making choices for themselves. This builds up their confidence and is, as they say, all part of being a kid.

Anyway, that’s my little lesson learnt to keep avoiding daytime TV! I stayed watching long enough to hear that apparently helicopter parents have now been replaced by snowplough parents! We’ll save that for another post…

Sitting in a still and controlled manner can be a challenge for any young school child as you may well know yourself through personal experience (if you can remember back to your first years at school) or through having your own child whose teacher is often telling you that your little one can not sit still in class. So why can’t some kids sit still in class?

Over recent year the number of diagnosed ADHD cases has increased dramatically. Through doing some research this is due to a couple of main reasons; we are now more aware and educated about the condition and children are also now expected to sit for perhaps longer periods of time, which inevitably leads to lapses in concentration. However, some people are too quick to push the blame towards ADHD for a child’s seemingly bad behaviour. It is also the case sometimes to blame genetics or the arguably less disciplined approach to parenting nowadays compared to times past, it could be blamed on sugary breakfasts and snacks, sleep deprivation or the fact you just have a so-called ‘naughty’ child.


But could some of this be down to the fact they simply aren’t expending enough energy at other points in the day?

It is highly important not to diminish recess time in favour of classroom time, and not all schools will be getting the balance right. Nowadays, kids may not get to play outdoors as much for a number of reasons such as; parental concerns, educational pressures and restraints and also now of course we have so much technology and screen time which can often become like babysitters. But hours of television or computer games can be a bad idea, sensory over stimulation can be just as much of a hindrance as under stimulation.

Basically, children are not moving enough. Restriction of movement and not enough time spent running around and getting rid of energy can mean more fidgety children with below normal core and muscle strength. We all know the health benefits that come from playing and exploring in a playground that will stimulate their imaginations and improve their skills – physical, mental, emotional and cognitive all included. It can definitely be more difficult in these Winter months to muster the enthusiasm and energy to tear yourselves away from the TV or computer screens in favour of getting outside into the cold, puddles and wind, but even some time spent in the garden or the school’s own playground at the end of the day may make a big difference and help a child concentrate more, and not only just in classroom.  Schools need to make sure that they are allowing enough unstructured playtime during the day. And if they aren’t? Well, that can be a difficult thing to change as many will already be feeling the time pressures of fitting in all of their curriculum in the allotted lesson times. But playtime deserves to be shown the same regard as academic time.

So I guess the bottom line is if your child is coming home from school with warnings for not sitting still in class, it is by no means a reason to panic and try to get a medical diagnosis ASAP, it may be as simple of a solution as a little more playtime!  No one solution will work for every child, as we are all well aware, but it’s definitely worth a try.

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January 2023

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