61 articles Articles posted in Kids

How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

As kids grow up the influence that internet has on their lives increases. Though we are lucky to live in this world where information is just a click away, it can get dangerous and dark out there. With the large number of teens using social media in the current scenario, it is no wonder that internet safety concerns most parents in this information age. We worry what our kids put online and the effect it may have on their lives. In this world where the number of Facebook ‘likes’ can make or break a child’s self esteem, parents have to be sure that their children do not end up being vulnerable in the digital sphere. Here are a few tips you can use to make sure your child is safe online:

Talk to them about the dangers of internet: Let your children know from an early age that the internet can be a friend as well a foe. Tell them that they can talk to you if they something is odd or can be potentially harmful. Make sure you teach them about cyber crime and comfort them if they seek help.

Tell your kids never to share their passwords: Sharing passwords, even with seemingly trustworthy individuals, may lead to problems. Let them know that all passwords are to be kept secure as sharing may even lead to cyberbullying.

Have an antivirus suite installed: Regularly run a check on your computer for viruses and malware so that your safety is never compromised.

Use privacy settings: Teach your kids about privacy setting on social media and how they can be used to prevent strangers from seeing their posts.

We hope these tips will help you keep you and your kids safe on the internet. And as a parent if you are fond of playing online games or use bingo as a way to relax (which is highly recommended!) make sure you only play on sites that are safe and offer free bingo promotions as well.

Should You Ever Let Kids Choose Their Clothes?

Pexels Courtesy Of: Pixabay

It’s already 8.30 am, but the school bus hasn’t turned up, so you’ll need to drop Jessica off on your way to work which means you’re going to be late for the morning meeting. Having yelled yourself hoarse asking everyone to get in the car, checked the dog’s been let out and then popped the breakfast dishes in the sink. you grab your keys to walk out the door. Only to be faced with Debbie, your three-year-old proudly wearing her purple party dress, shiny shoes, and fairy wings. It’s now a toss-up between letting your daughter go to daycare in an outfit you know she’s bound to get dirty, or ripped, and going upstairs help her get changed which means that entire family’s going to be making sheepish excuses to why they’re late again.

If this scenario sounds in any way familiar you’ll be pleased to know that you aren’t alone. Countless parents have reported being faced with the struggle of a child who wants to wear a sundress when it’s snowing, or having kids as young as two, or three try to dress themselves despite being too young to tie laces, do up buttons or pull on jeans. In other cases, children can become easily attached to an outfit such as their favorite pajamas or a fancy dress costume and will refuse point blank to take it off. When this happens try to explain that the outfit is now dirty, and needs cleaning or suggest to your child they’ll be much more comfortable in a different dress or pair of jeans.

Parenting websites are always overwhelmed with tales of frustrated moms, and dads patiently dressing their children only to have them appear in what they just took off, clothes that clearly need washing or outfits that are unsuitable like their swimming costume. It’s not unheard of for kids to have full on meltdowns about not being able to wear something of their parents, having a tantrum over putting on socks and refusing to get out of the car when they’re wearing something that they didn’t choose.

However, attempting to pick out their outfits or refusing to wear what you’ve chosen for them can be a positive thing. Children who are becoming vocal in their opinions about what to wear are starting to test the boundaries, becoming more independent in their thoughts and ideas and leaving the baby stages of childhood behind. They’re also at the stage where they’re ability to express themselves creatively is increasing. They often begin to assert their minds through choosing different colors, fabrics, and styles as well as trying to imitate older siblings. If you’ve got one child at school and another at home, you may have already noticed the three-year-old showing a clear interest in the school bag, gym kit, and pencil case and then trying to copy even though they’re far too young too young to carry out the activities. Still, if you are going to let kids try to pick out their own outfits, there are a few ground rules you should follow, so they don’t end having constant colds!  

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Give Them Choice

Kids love having more than one option to choose from because it helps them feel like they have a greater sense of control. As parents know there’s nothing a three-year-old likes to believe more than that they rule the roost! Don’t just silently lay out the clothes you’d like them to wear, have a chat about clothes and ask your child for their opinion, but do it in a way, so it doesn’t matter what the answer is. For instance, if it’s a chilly day they’ll need to wear jeans, socks, underwear, a t-shirt and a sweater. It doesn’t matter what color the shirt and sweater are as long as they’re wearing one but by pretending it does your child will feel like they have a say in what’s happening. Saying ‘would you like to wear your green or purple jumper?’ gives them a choice, so they’ll be far less likely to kick up a fuss. 


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Smooth Not Scratchy

Some children will wear anything while others can be pretty fussy about what they have against their bodies. Sensitive, or autistic children sometimes have complex sensory issues that mean they don’t like any types of clothing as the feel of the fabric against their skin bothers them. If this is the case, it’s best to choose soft, natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk that are less likely to irritate them as well as bargaining with them that if they wear clothes outside they don’t necessarily have to be fully dressed when at home. Others, for some reason, prefer to wear no clothes and feel much more comfortable when wearing as little as possible. They will constantly try to take their socks off or end up removing their pajamas when in bed. The chances are that your child will grow out of this as they get older so try not to worry too much.

Try to avoid clothes that your kid has clearly indicated they hate, i.e. if they complain something’s too scratchy, check out what it’s made from as fabrics like mohair, polyester and elastane can feel tight or itchy against the skin. All children have their likes and dislikes so if your daughter’s not that into skirts, or dresses don’t force her to wear them as it will lead her to associate clothes with sadness. There are even ways to help overcome problem areas like annoying seams, irritating clothes tags, and stiff collars. Just turn items like socks inside out, cut out all tags but remember the washing instructions and wash collars until they start to soften up. Kids also like routine, so if Wendy wants to wear dresses for months on end, then that’s ok too. Pop leggings, tights or a t-shirt underneath in cold weather and always make sure she has a jumper or cardigan to hand.

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Practice Makes Perfect

The best way to get kids used to dressing themselves is by practicing when you’re not actually in a rush to go anywhere. By three most kids can put their underwear on, pull a jumper over their head, it may be back to front and put on elastic shorts or skirts. Kids like feeling confident, so being able to get dressed without your help is a significant step for them which shouldn’t be overlooked. Make sure you give them plenty of praise each time they attempt it on their own, and when they finally manage a correct, weather appropriate outfit buy them a special treat. Don’t worry if your child’s a bit more cautious as slow and steady wins the race, give them the space, and time to learn how to put their clothes on without being constantly watched and they’ll soon get the hang of it!


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Race You!

Because preschoolers have a only very vague, or no concept of time they rarely understand why you’re so stressed and harried in the mornings. To them, there’s all the time in the world to play with their dolls, watch cartoons, or listen to the Peppa Pig soundtrack. Getting dressed is often the last thing on a child’s mind, if they could have even older kids would go to school in their PJ’s. The best way to encourage kids to get dressed quickly is, like every other kid-related task, is turn it into a game.

You could see how long it takes them to get ready to go outside, starting off in their sleepwear, and give them a chance to pick an outfit that they think would be suitable for say a trip to the park. For example, they could be awarded points for remembering to grab their denim jacket and bringing you their trainers but be deducted points for forgetting to put their t-shirt on before their jumper. Why not make it even more exciting by using a stopwatch and pretend race flag? Set a timer that counts down in ten-minute intervals so if your child regularly appears in the kitchen before the buzzer beeps then they get a bag of sweets or a new small toy.


Pexels Courtesy Of: Matthias Zomer

Just Chill

Lots of us think there should be a special award for parents who manage to successfully button their children into heavy duty winter coats without a struggle. Children rarely see the point of it; they’re warm right now so why should they? However, as young children can’t make the link between the temperature inside and outside they rebel against something they think will make them hot and sweaty. Try not to make a big deal out of getting their coats on if the weather isn’t too bad as often kids are happier in cooler temperatures. However, make sure you take coats, gloves, and hats with you and don’t just leave them in the car. If the weather changes they’ll soon start to feel chilly and will ask you for their coat before too long. Gently remind them that their winter coat will stop them getting cold and sick, so it’s important that they wear it.

 

When Cancer Strikes: Helping Kids Cope When Someone in Your Family Gets Sick

It can be difficult for kids to fully understand or handle the situation when someone in the family is sick and needs medical help to try and help them recover.

Unfortunately, cancer visits many families and aside from the emotional trauma of contending with such a serious condition, there is also the prospect of endless visits to the hospital and the need to help provide some peace and quiet, all of which can be difficult for kids to cope with.

Here is a look at some ways to help kids deal with someone in their family getting sick. There is an overview of how to talk to your kids about the situation, making allowances for their age and expected emotional reactions, plus some tips on getting support outside of the family network.

We need to talk

There are many distressing and difficult scenarios that you might have to contend with when a close relative is diagnosed with cancer, and one of those challenges is what to say to the children and when to have that conversation with them.

Rather than just come right out with it at some unplanned opportunity, it is often a much better idea to plan what you intend to say to your kids in advance.

Working through the conversation in your mind and even discussing how to relay such traumatic information to a child with a health professional who understands the situation, can help you to deliver the news in the best way possible, considering the circumstances.

Keep it simple

The age of your children will obviously make a difference to how you talk to them about cancer and what is happening with a loved one, but the general suggestion is always to use simple language and give them ample opportunity to absorb the information.

It is often the case that you will need to repeat what you are saying several times and be prepared to answer any questions they come up with during the conversation.

Emotional reaction

Children will normally experience slightly different emotional reactions and school age children who have yet to hit their teens, are sometimes likely to experience feelings of guilt if it is one of their parents who is sick.

You will have to work on reassuring them that clearly, they bear no responsibility for what is happening.

 Teenagers are more likely to experience some noticeable emotional highs and lows, which means that they can display moments of anger, sadness, and anxiety, as well as feeling depressed about the situation at certain points.

It is worth mentioning the mandala coloring app by Apalon Apps which is an adult coloring book to help reduce stress. Suggest downloading apps like this that encourage mindfulness, as it could be a useful tool they could relate to when they are struggling with their emotions.

Keep their school in the loop

Dealing with cancer in the family is a deeply personal situation but it is important that if you have a child at school who is trying to cope with this problem at home, they know what is going on.

Their school can often be very helpful and understanding as they will be aware of how a family crisis can affect a child. They can make allowances for their performance and behavior, plus offer some extra support as and when they need it.

It is never going to be easy coping with cancer, but there are things you can do to help your kids cope with the situation as well as they can be expected to.

Sophie Horton is a whizz when it comes to keeping kids occupied. She is Auntie to 5 kids who range in age from 1 to 15. Her articles discuss looking after kids when they are away from home and keeping everyone happy.

How Video Games Affect Your Child’s Brain

The studies have proved that children’s minds are subjected to the influence of the external environment to much higher degree compared to adults. Today, when television and Internet have invaded practically every house and family in the world, the problem has turned to be extremely pressing. But if adults can still demonstrate their strong will and say no to the best online slots to stay out of troubles, children possess no qualities to do the same. More and more often we hear of the aggressive behavior among teenagers whose parents provide little control over their children’s hobbies and interests. Sometimes, this leads to problems in school and interpersonal relations. And sometimes… the consequences are much more severe than one can imagine.

Effect of video games on brain functions

To know how video games affect the brain activity, one simply needs to watch some kid play a game or a young man zealously hit the arcade/slot machine buttons. The words they usually murmur to themselves and face expressions during the ‘hard levels’ can tell you a lot of what’s going on in a head of a gamer. To understand what we are talking about you can just click here to find more about the games described and try them if you’re brave enough to conduct an experiment on yourself.

Think for a minute what will happen to a person who plays those slots/arcades for a while. All those moving pictures on the screen sink deep into one’s mind and break the established way of thinking. In case with children, they become irritated and depressed when distracted or dragged from a game, which becomes the first sign of the mental problems development.

Video games and mental health

According to the psychologists, children who play video games rarely use the prefrontal regions of their brains. They get used to exploiting the regions responsible for reaction and reflexes to higher extent. Thus, anger and deficit of concentration becomes a common mental disorder among these kids. The insufficient use of the prefrontal brain zone also tends to provoke an altered emotional state. This explains while hostile behavior becomes so widespread among the young gamers.

The occurring physical changes

It’s been proved that the cardiovascular system is subjected to a huge impact during the playing process. The dynamic game scenes make both heart rate and blood pressure raise forcing the vessels run ragged. The brain starts believing that body is in actual danger and responds adequately. Such physical changes act as premise to violent behavior as well. This physical and emotional state continues to develop even after a game is stopped since the pictures keep flashing making one recollect all of the fragments of a recent battle… Children stop noticing anything around them and live inside the world created by their own imagination. This, surely, looks menacing unless one puts limits to using electronics by their child.

Teenage Dream: Tips On Dealing with Tricky Tweens

Flickr Image At: Tammy McGary

Sometimes it can seem like that no matter how nicely we ask them to empty the dishwasher, set the table, tidy their rooms, or even come downstairs for dinner the response can be, well, not good. Due to hormonal changes taking place, both physical and mental, it can often feel like your good natured, peaceful and quiet child has been replaced by a stroppy, shouty being from another planet.

Remember Their Brains Are Still Developing

As a fully grown adult you’ll have all your cognitive reasoning skills, be able to see something from someone else’s view and have a firm grip on your emotional responses. Unfortunately, teenagers, not matter how much make-up they wear or how loudly they play their music, are still children and their brains are still very much developing. Puberty may also play a part in their emotions, don’t forget they’re dealing with some fairly stressful situations and will be fairly sensitive about their looks, emotions or even their ability to straddle the child / adult barrier i.e. they might want to curl up and watch TV with you, but their brains will tell them ‘that’s not the adult thing to do’.

Teenagers these days are quite obsessed with documenting every aspect of their lives on social media, so the last thing they want is for someone to snap them reading, doing homework or worse actually talking to their family. The good news is that this phase won’t last and gradually they will settle down and possibly end up confiding in you even more than they did beforehand. Surprisingly, even though it’s very hard to deal with the constant disagreements, arguments and back chat it does have a purpose as they are testing the boundaries and flexing their independence.

They may even develop some strange, out the box ideas or become introspective overnight. However this sudden pattern of deep thinking is important for their developmental response to complex emotional or philosophical questions. Eventually, if behaviour doesn’t improve it may be worth speaking to a psychologist or getting conflict resolution tips. For example, BHP Law have experience as family run solicitors and deal with dispute resolution and family law cases.

Use Your Communication Skills

First of all try to keep calm because most of the time they’re looking for a strong reaction, once they realise they can’t wind you up as much the chances are the behaviour will improve. You can even try using humour to diffuse a situation. Once they’re laughing they won’t feel quite as angry so it’ll take the heat out of the argument, lighten the tone of a difficult conversation or get siblings to back down from each other if they’re locked in a lengthy standoff. The chances are they’ll look at one another, ask ‘why’s mom or dad being so weird?’ and laugh together at your attempt to crack jokes.

Remember, humour is a great leveller but make sure they don’t perceive your diffusion tactic as an insult, think you’re mocking them or being sarcastic as that’ll make things much worse. Not every teenager knows that their being rude, mean, or stupid and we’ve all said things we shouldn’t have when our brain’s asleep. Gently, respectfully ask them if they meant what they said or say ‘that was offensive do you realise you’re being rude’, as chances are they had no idea or just weren’t thinking. Tell your child you value, and respect their opinions even when they aren’t respecting yours, as this way they’ll know that you are treating them like an adult, which sometimes is all they want so they might adjust their attitude accordingly. 

Let Them Know The Behaviour Is Unacceptable

Set clear guidelines about what’s acceptable conduct in your household and what it isn’t. if your child mentions that ‘ Amy’s mom let’s her eat sweets before dinner’ simply tell them that Amy’s mom is not theirs and ‘we do things differently here as you well know’. You may get a stroppy comment wishing Amy’s mother was, in fact theirs, but they don’t mean it, very few children actually want their parents to be replaced by someone else. Tell them why they have done something wrong but avoid focusing on them, don’t mention anything linked to their personality or character and instead use strong statements that show what you’re feeling.

Decide what the appropriate consequences for bad behaviour are in advance. For example, calling their sibling a swear word could involve a handwritten letter of apology, stealing money from your purse would mean equal amounts docked from their allowance for three weeks and being rude to relatives loses them their smartphone for the evening.

Age Gap Kids at Christmas

Age Gap Kids At ChristmasIt’s been a pretty eventful week for us, here in the Mum’s the Word house…I’m sad to say that this is the week that Sausage has become an un-believer. Sadly, a child who used to be in her class but has now moved up a year decided to spoil the magic for almost the whole class and tell them that Father Christmas wasn’t real and on Monday afternoon Husband and I had to deal with a very confused and upset Sausage who wanted to know the truth from us but was too scared to ask.

Husband, in his inimitable style, managed to explain it to her in a way that made her feel happy again, using a combination of history and humanism; the broad strokes that Saint Nicholas was a real man and the origins of that story, and that although there’s no “man in a red suit with a big beard” popping into our lounge each year, Father Christmas lives in all of us who want to buy presents and make our loved ones happy. I was actually quite impressed with how he managed to turn it around and make her feel happy, but I’m also gutted that it’s another stage we’ve waved goodbye to. She seems more grown up, somehow and I won’t deny that I shed a little tear.

I had a message from one of my oldest friends, Sarah, which actually made me feel a lot better. She has two much older brothers and said “If it’s any consolation, I don’t think I believed in Father Christmas post about 6 or 7 – (having brothers who are a generation above you makes it tricky!) BUT Christmas is still my favourite time of year I still think it’s magic and listen to Christmas music way before it’s acceptable. I know Sausage will still have lots of magical Christmas – just a little different. Proper gutting I know but lots of scope to create weird and wonderful new elements hopefully!”

Having one kid who’s well and truly ‘through the looking glass’ is all well and good, but we’re all still intent on keeping the magic alive for Burrito Baby, who isn’t even three yet, and is excited about Christmas like never before! Her first Christmas was a total washout – she was 10 months old and we were both horribly ill, spending most of the day asleep. Last year, she was coming up to her second birthday and still a little too young to properly “get” the whole idea of it. This year it’s totally different – she’s talking at length about Father Christmas and going to Nanny’s for dinner. She’s totally in love with the lights that we see on people’s houses and she’s enjoying grooving along with Sausage and I during our Christmas-themed car discos each morning. The Christmas bug has well and truly bitten our BB!

We’re lucky in the respect that Sausage is a really good girl and has absolutely no intention of ruining it for her baby sister, nor her friends who still believe, and she actually seems to enjoy being part of the “backstage” element of Christmas, where she’s being allowed to see gift we’ve bought for other people and keeping conspiratorial secrets with Husband and I. I think Sarah was right – it’s still possible to make the whole thing magical, even if Santa is suddenly fictional and I’m really looking forward to having our best Christmas ever.

In case I don’t get a chance to say it to you all in the next ten days, I’d like to wish all of Mum’s the Word’s readers a really Merry Christmas…even if you’re an unbeliever! 😉

Sure-Fire Ways Parents Can Ensure Their Child Has A Prosperous Future

Once you have a child, it makes you more aware of your spending. After all, one day your money will go to your kids. And you want them to have a secure future so that they can buy a house and build a career without any worries. However, a lot of parents are unsure what they can do for their kids. Therefore, here are some sure-fire ways parents can ensure their child has a prosperous future.

Create a savings account when they are born

When you are expecting, a lot of people will want to give you a present for the baby. And as much as that tenth baby grow is thoughtful, there is something a lot better for your newborn. You should set up a savings account in their name which you can put money in. Of course, they won’t be able to touch it until they are at least 16 or 18. But it’s building them up some money for their future. So before your relatives and friends buy stuff for the new baby, you should mention about the savings account. Even if they just pay a tenner, some money in there is a good start for your child. And then you should aim to put something in there every month for your little one. That way, they have a fund to use once they are old enough towards their first car or home.

   Public Domain Pictures

Make good investments now

Investments are essential for your kids future. After all, they are an excellent way to build up the bucks for your little one. A lot of people don’t know where to start with investment. For one thing, you could consider investing in stocks. Just make sure you read up about the return. Or a lot of people are opting to get a second property which they can then rent out. As this article says, you just need to let house price inflation occur and then you will have a valuable asset for your kid’s future. And you can read more about investing online on sites like The Fortunate Investor.

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Set up a will sooner rather than later  

So many people leave setting up a will until it’s too late. But you need to make sure your kids are protected for their future. You don’t want them to end up with nothing as you didn’t state clearly what they were entitled to. Therefore, arrange to set up a will as soon as you have your child. You can find information online about how to set up one to protect your family.

Create a university fund

As well as making real investments, you need to be investing in your kid’s education. Ensuring they go to the best school possible and are achieving excellent grades is the best thing you can do as parents. After all, they will then go on to have a great career in the future. To ensure they can go to the best university possible, you need to create a fund for them. Try and put money in the college fund and then you can put it towards the fees when the time comes.

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And make sure you teach your child about money management. Even if it’s just making them clean their bedroom for a quid, it’s helping them to understand about money.

Keeping Kids Germ Free During Cold and Flu Season

cold and fluYesterday, I was talking to a friend about Burrito Baby, explaining how my tactile almost-three-year-old doesn’t LOOK with her eyes, she looks with her hands. When BB says “Mummy, can I look at that please?” she doesn’t mean can she cast an eye over it, she means “can I touch it?” – I’m fairly certain that’s normal for a kid of her age but it does make me chuckle that she’s such a feeler and it also made this video by The Global Hygiene Council about cold and flu prevention ring absolutely true:

I’m ENTIRELY unsurprised to hear that kids are 25% more likely to catch colds and flu, which is exactly why both of mine will be having their flu jab this year. Many people seem to underestimate just how poorly flu can actually make you and often liken it to a simple cold but proper flu can be absolutely debilitating, especially for someone with asthma like Sausage, the young, old or people with a compromised immune system.

We had ‘proper’ flu in 2008 on Sausage’s first Christmas and honestly, it’s one of the occasions during my adult life when I can say that I felt more ill than almost any other time. Sausage’s temperature skyrocketed and she actually ended up in hospital on Christmas Day night because we were so worried about her. I was the next to come down with it, followed by Husband and between us we were basically bedridden for a week – not easy to deal with when you have a five month old baby and two sick adults.

Sausage has pretty good habits when it comes to cold and flu prevention, like flushing her tissues once they’ve been used and keeping her hands clean, but it’s not so easy with BB. She hasn’t had a dummy for ages but she still has a bit of an oral fixation, which means that we have to constantly remind her to get her hands out of her mouth and I’ve lost count of the amount of times that she’s sweetly caressed my face…with a SOAKING wet hand!

We find it really handy to keep disinfectant wipes around for keeping surfaces clean. They are so easy to use and don’t require a sponge or cloth to be kept on hand at all times, and they’re perfect for using on hard plastic toys which, quite frankly, are little germ farms if one of the kids has a cold.

How do you ensure that the spread of germs is kept to a minimum? Are you hot on hand-washing and a disinfecting diva? I’d love to hear any little tips and tricks that you use at this time of year to keep germs at bay, so do leave me a comment below.

Technology and Kids: Moderation is the Key

kids and technologyTechnology. It’s one of those things which can be SO good when it works but can also be the bane of your life when it doesn’t. We’re quite “techy”, here in the Mum’s the Word house, and all of us have various devices that we use on a daily basis. The girls have tablets and Sausage has a mobile phone which she got for her last birthday, mostly to allow her to go Pokemon hunting without needing to use my phone!

However, it’s not without it’s issues; I often find myself spending far too much time on Facebook or Reddit or playing some mobile game and sometimes I realise I’ve spent almost all day staring at a screen, and naturally, Sausage would be the same if we allowed her unfettered access to her phone. She only uses her phone at home, but just recently My Voucher Codes conducted a survey which found that 75% of parents feel that mobile devices have a negative effect on their children’s education and how social media platforms have become so distracting to students that they are less likely to concentrate during lessons.

I do think that a lot of the problem is the lack of monitoring that goes on – just because Sausage has her own technology doesn’t mean that she is able to use them autonomously – Husband and I have to approve every app she installs and we like to ensure she has a mixture of fun and educational apps. Pokemon Go encourages exercise, so we’re happy for her to use it, and she also has apps which help her to learn foreign languages, her times table and which encourage her to train her memory.

I also think that the issue is WHEN children are allowed to use their phones. Until she’s a LOT older, Sausage won’t be allowed to take her device to school because she simply doesn’t need it. Also, when she’s at home she has to have completed her homework before she can use her phone and we don’t let her use it for hours on end. She also has to put it down at least an hour before bed because it’s now been proven that looking at screens can interrupt a person’s circadian rhythm and we certainly don’t want her to be unable to sleep!

Chris Riley from My Voucher Codes thoughts on technology for kids echo my own:

“It’s interesting to see that three quarters of parents feel that mobiles, tablets and gaming devices have a negative effect on their child’s education, yet half admit that they do not restrict the time that their child spends on the internet.

“Monitoring your child’s internet and social media usage is now more important than ever. Although there is a range of benefits from spending time online, including increased communication and access to information, there is also the risk of online bullying, depression caused by online altercations and exposure to inappropriate content. Setting ground rules, checking privacy settings and monitoring what your child is sharing are good steps to take to ensure your child stays safe online.”

He added: “We find using our mobile or tablet devices can easily take over our lives and those of our children. Setting times when you children can use these devices means they are not on their phones 24/7. It will also be beneficial to their health if they are not on devices late into the night as well as improving their concentration in class.”

How do you feel about mobile devices for kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts so do leave me a comment below.

Waiting for Operations (or: Tonsillitis Sucks)

tonsillitis Pretty sure this is mandatory, post-tonsillectomy…

Waiting for your kid to be operated on is the weirdest thing. Sausage has had tonsillitis about 30 times and needs a tonsillectomy; we battled with our GP for years just to get a referral to a consultant to see if they thought she needed the op. Then, when we moved last year we also changed GP and he referred her pretty much immediately. She saw her consultant on the very first day of the summer holidays and last week, she received her appointment for her pre-op assessment and the actual operation.

Naturally, she’s shitting herself. She’s a lot like me in that the thing which is scaring her most is the element of The Unknown. She’s no idea what the operation entails, she doesn’t know how she’s going to feel afterwards, she’s scared of seeing the inside of the operating theatre and feeling freaked out by it all. Most of all, obviously, she’s scared of being in pain.

And it’s hard. It’s really hard. Because we’ve always been a fairly libertarian household, which means there’s no way we’re going to operate a “you’re doing this because we said so” policy, except Sausage really seems to be erring on the side of not wanting the operation at all. And, although she’s a logical kid, it doesn’t matter how many times we tell her that it will all be okay, that we’ll both be with her the whole time and Husband will be sleeping at the hospital with her, that it will be one or two weeks of discomfort rather than potentially another TEN years of getting tonsillitis at least 5 times a year. All she can think about is the fear.

Husband and I are WELL aware of what the operation entails (I had my tonsils out myself when I was 6) and that the risks are really very minimal indeed, especially when weighed up against the risk of continued infection and, because we’re adults, we’re capable of being pragmatic about the whole thing. However, it still feels really bizarre, willing your child to want to have an operation. Leading them to the scalpel and telling them that everything will be okay. The other thing is, her operation is scheduled on the last day of November, a little over three weeks before Christmas and the worry that she won’t be well enough in time to enjoy her Christmas is very real.

If you look at the bigger picture, it feels silly, in a way. They’re tonsils. The op takes as little as 30 minutes from start to finish, less time than it took for me to have two wisdom teeth removed. I’ve got a friend whose two-year-old has a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and has needed open heart surgery. THAT is something to fret over. But, when it’s your own child, it could be an ingrown toenail removal and I’d still be agonising over it.

Husband and I are fairly convinced that it’s the right thing to do in the long-run. A relative of ours didn’t have them removed until she was pre-teen and she really suffered with recovery, and everyone we’ve spoken to has said that the younger they have it done, the less time it takes to recover, so at eight years old, Sausage is pretty much prime age. But OUR conviction doesn’t seem to make the situation any simpler.

Have any of your nippers had their tonsils removed? Were they glad they had it done, once it was all over and done with? Would you still make the decision to have it done, given the chance to rethink it? We’d love to hear from you, so please do leave me a comment below.