169 articles Articles posted in Parenting

The Next Big Thing in Parenting – Sleep Education

There is a lot of information out there that teaches you how to be a good parent. It talks about how to deal with tantrums, stubbornness, how to improve cognitive development, how to feed your child well and so on. There are so many issues you have to begin addressing as parents and the first thing to do is find the root of these issues. As with all roots, it lies in the dark.

Sleep, or the lack of it, is one of the biggest issues that need to be addressed by parents. It is a behaviour that is to be observed from infancy to the later years of the child’s life. It is one of the biggest contributing factors to the cognitive and physical development of the child. Here’s why all parents need to take a good hard look into the sleeping behaviours of their children.

Sleep and Cognitive Development

The cognitive development of a child begins in its infancy. It is observed that infants who slept less than 12 hours a day experienced poorer cognitive and language skill at two years. This is because there is a lot of activity in the brain during sleep and therefore, resulting in cognitive and memory consolidation. REM sleep is important as it is during this stage that the brain is active.

As they grow up, children who struggle to sleep have trouble paying attention in school. They have behavioural issues and are mostly irritable. During sleep, memories are reactivated and transferred from short term to long term. Sleep deprivation can make them forgetful, impacting their academic performance. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to provide a good sleeping environment for their child. Clinically proven products are available in the market to foster good sleep at any age.

Sleep and Physical Development

80% of the growth hormone ‘somatotropin’ is released during the Non-REM stage of sleep. Lack of sleep can create a deficiency in the production of the growth hormone. The growth of a child can be slowed down or stunned by sleep deprivation. It not only affects the child’s height but also the weight, lung strength and immune system.

It is important for parents to ensure that children sleep well throughout the night. If they have trouble sleeping, encourage naps during the day. However, the body functions much better while sleeping at night. It is critical for parents to check for good quality mattresses in the UK and compare features and reviews.

Sleep and Mental Illness

A lot of people are suffering from mental illnesses and many teenagers now fall under the category. Sleep deprivation has been perceived to be a consequence of mental illnesses like depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder and anxiety. However, it is also noticed that sleep problems can, in fact, be a contributing factor to mental illness.

Sleep deprivation can affect levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones causing the brain to go into chaos. It impairs thinking, emotional regulation and leads to psychiatric illnesses. The treatment of mental illness is also affected if the patient continues to lose sleep. Participants in a study with a history of insomnia were more likely to develop depression. It is important for parents to keep a watchful eye out for behavioural changes in their children. CDB oil for sleep is a revolutionary product to reduce anxiety, combat insomnia and help improve sleeping patterns. The product has no side effects and is approved by doctors.

Sleep and Obesity

Sleep deprivation is directly linked to weight gain and obesity. The hormones leptin and ghrelin become irregular with lack of sleep, leading to increased BMI. Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates appetite and increases with one night of sleep deprivation. Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite, metabolism and calorie burning. It essentially sends signals to the brain that you are full. Sleep increases the level of leptin, telling your brain that you have enough energy. Lack of sleep reduces the levels of leptin and motivates you to eat more than you need.

Parents need to notice unusual appetite changes and regulate sleep cycles. Uncomfortable mattresses can often lead to sleep deprivation. Before purchasing popular brands like Kluft mattresses, it is imperative to first compare brands by features and quality of materials.

Sleep and Immune System

Sleep is essentially important for the body to rest, repair and heal. The relationship between sleep and the effective functioning of the immune system is quite complex. Sleep deprivation fundamentally suppresses the immune system. With increasing sleepless nights, the body’s ability to fight germs and illnesses decreases, making your child more susceptible to ailments.

With each phase of sleep, our body builds the ability to function efficiently. In a completely relaxed state, our body takes the initiative to repair damaged tissue and regrow new tissue. It is not through sleeping more but with sleeping efficiently does the body function the way it needs to. Parents can visit mattress brands, carpets and rug stores and do sufficient research to create a relaxing, nurturing sleeping environment for their child.

Sleep and Risk of Injury

Children who don’t get sufficient sleep are groggy, clumsy and tired. They may not be able to react to emergencies at the same speed. This can lead to children getting frequently injured and requiring medical attention. It can also slow down the process of healing from an injury. A research conducted among student athletes found that sleep hours was the strongest predictor of injuries.

It is a vital part of parenting to take on an active role in determining the sleeping behaviour of the child. In case symptoms of sleep deprivation are noticed, parents need to immediately encourage the child to use relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises to help them sleep faster. The best way to combat insomnia is to create rigid sleep schedules from a very young age.

Healthy Sleeping Rituals

It is never too late to start healthy sleeping rituals. It can be beneficial for both, the parent and the child. Some healthy sleep rituals include relaxing music, warm chamomile tea, avoiding caffeine and sugary treats, a warm bath and an active life. It is a lifestyle change and would require you to take a closer look at how you treat your body. Physical exercise during the day can also help you fall asleep faster.

Reading stories in a tranquil voice to your child is not only a relaxation exercise but also a bonding opportunity. It is imperative to take time out to ensure that the child feels safe, comfortable and protected during the night. Anxieties during the day can often keep the child up at night if they are unable to process their emotions thoroughly. Therefore, it is important to spend time with your child every day, asking about their day and consciously creating a safe space for them to disclose information.

Modern Pregnancy Monitoring Solutions: 4 Advantages of Using A Smart Pregnancy Tracker

PregnancyPhoto by John Looy on Unsplash

Pregnancy has always gone along with procreation, and there is something mystical about the whole process, the creation of a human life where once there was nothing: genesis, so to speak. It is a natural and beautiful thing, but there are parts of it that can be uncomfortable and inconvenient for the woman, which is why it is so nice that advancements in technology have made things a little easier. Foremost among these innovations is the smart pregnancy tracker. There are different ones on the market, and it would behoove the modern woman to consider getting one, like those offered at bloomlife.com. Here are four reasons you should consider monitoring your pregnancy with a smart tracker.

They Will Warn You of Sudden Changes with the Fetus

The primary purpose of most pregnancy trackers is to monitor how the fetus is doing in the mother’s belly. As such, for the expectant mother who is wearing one, if the child is in distress, the tracker will alert her before she might be aware that anything is amiss. These trackers can let the mother know if what she is experiencing is only something ordinary like gas, or whether it is, in fact, the onset of early labor.

Your Partner Can Be an Intimate Part of the Process

With a smart pregnancy tracker, your partner can have an insight into what you are experiencing like never before. It’s true that they won’t be able to feel the mother’s contractions, for better or worse, but they will be able to quantify what is taking place. This is a way to create an additional emotional attachment to the woman who is carrying the child that you will both be rearing together.

You Are Less Likely to Go to The Hospital Prematurely

If you’re in the third trimester and you are getting close to the due date, then false labor can easily occur. This is where you are experiencing a bodily sensation that mimics the feeling of labor but is not the actual event. Through the use of a smart pregnancy tracker, you will be much more likely to identify when the main event is about to occur. That can save you multiple unnecessary trips to and from the hospital maternity ward.

When the Time Comes, You Can Precisely Track Contractions

A critical part of the birthing process is the tracking of contractions so that the mother knows when to push. This reveals how quickly the child is coming. With a smart pregnancy tracker, there is no guesswork. The tracker monitors uterine activity in real-time so that the frequency and the duration are there for all to see. This is useful for the birthing mother, her partner, and the medical team who are taking care of her.

Medical technology and prenatal care have progressed to the point where giving birth is so much more likely to produce a happy result in the form of both a healthy child and mother. The smart pregnancy tracker is another innovative tool that a mother can use to ensure that both the pregnancy and the birth go smoothly.

Why ‘Me Time’ is Important as a Parent

When you become a parent, it’s pretty safe to say that your whole world changes forever. No longer are you able to cater solely to your own whims and wishes; instead, there is a tiny baby relying on you for care, support, love and attention.

Of course, welcoming a new baby into the family is an exciting time unlike any other, but as the weeks, months and years pass by, despite your best intentions, sometimes things can become a little overwhelming.

Many prospective parents underestimate just how much work goes into raising a child, which is sadly why some find it difficult to cope. After all, it’s not just an increased level of care and responsibility. For most, it’s also sleepless nights and lack of sleep coupled with a disrupted routine and, in the early days, often a lack of adult social contact.

For these reasons, it’s important to remember to take some time out to just be yourself. Parenting is hard work, so sometimes, it will do you good to take a step back and spend a few hours as yourself rather than just ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’.

What Makes Self-Care Essential?

Of course, self-care is important throughout life. Taking the time to look after yourself will improve your mental health and wellbeing, helping you to become a happier, more confident person in yourself. Even just a few hours a week can help you to relax, unwind and de-stress, enabling you to refresh yourself ready for the upcoming week.

However, many parents struggle to find time for themselves. Young children require around the clock care, and the need to be constantly on hand can end up taking away your personal time. One solution is to find a trusted family member or close friend who won’t mind babysitting for a few hours every now and then. Alternatively, there is always the potential to squeeze in a couple of hours in the evenings once you’ve put your little one to bed for the night – as long as they sleep through the night!

What are the Benefits of Time to Yourself?

‘Me time’ allows you the capability to pursue your own hobbies and interests, as well as ensuring that you are able to adequately relax. Of course, how you choose to spend your personal time is entirely up to you, but it is a good idea to try and vary things so you can fit in everything you want to do.

While catching up on your favourite TV series or finally getting to finish that book is a good place to start, why not consider pampering yourself with a little indulgence? Whether it’s a full-blown home spa experience or just taking the time for a catch-up with a few friends, these are all great ways to unwind. For those parents who are regularly pressed for time, why not treat yourself to your favourite dish for dinner or take five minutes out to enjoy a luxurious cup of coffee? Investing in the best quality coffee equipment can be a nice way to treat yourself every now and then – after all, being a parent is the most difficult job on earth!

While bringing up children is an incredibly rewarding experience, it’s also essential that you are in the best possible position to be able to give them your all. Being stressed and overworked can be detrimental to your health in both the short and long-term, so it’s important to do what you can to combat the pressures of everyday life. At the end of the day, regularly taking the time to properly look after yourself is a surefire way to lead to a happier, healthier version of yourself.

Taking the Horrid Out of Horrid Henry

There’s no denying that Sausage and BB are very different in their personalities; Sausage has always been one of those kids who’s almost too well behaved and Husband and I have wished in the past that she’d been a little more outspoken so that she doesn’t just go with the flow and have her opinion disregarded. BB, on the other hand, is NOT the sort of kid to ever let her opinion go unheard and largely her strong personality is something we cherished (albeit through slightly gritted teeth at times!). Just recently though, we’ve seen a bit of a change in her personality and we couldn’t work out where it was coming from. Her normal strident approach to life was turning into a downright stroppy one, and it’s something which was impacting all of us.

One of the phrases which had mysteriously entered her vocabulary was “IT’S NOT FAIR”, which was usually accompanied by some sort of pout and throwing herself bodily onto the nearest soft surface, and I just couldn’t work out where it was coming from…until Sausage mentioned one of BB’s recent televisual favourites…Horrid Henry.

It wasn’t until Sausage mentioned how often Henry utters this phrase that we realised the direct correlation between BB watching the show and this phrase becoming her go-to protest. With age-gap kids, there was no doubt we’d face a bit of attitude from BB purely because Sausage is given a little more leeway and responsibility than her little sis – it’s normal; Sausage is nine, BB is three. However, the push-back has been so much worse of late and I’m definitely laying some of the blame on Henry!

I must confess, I’ve always been hugely sceptical when people blame things like TV or video games for kid’s behaviour. I’m a child of the Eighties, Husband of the late Seventies, so video games feel like they belong to OUR generation and I’ve seen far more evidence-based studies which prove positive effects of TV and computer games than the negative ones. We’ve always been pretty chilled out with what we let them watch and how much screen time we let them have, and with Sausage it never seemed to be an issue, but sometimes we forget that with BB, we’re not parenting Sausage Mark II, we’re dealing with a totally different kid…that and the fact that Sausage never watched a TV show, the entire premise of which was of a bratty little shit who no one actually likes!

So, in a somewhat unprecedented move for Husband and I, we’ve put a temporary ban on all things Horrid Henry for now, and if it makes a difference it will probably become a permanent ban. Instead of allowing BB to watch it when she’s using Netflix, we’re guiding her to shows where the characters aren’t mean and nasty all the time, where there’s no cries of “IT’S NOT FAIR” in every episode and where the main plot lines don’t revolve around mean-spiritedness. I never thought I’d be THAT mum, but it seems I am. And, after just a cursory search, it seems that we’re not the only ones either – I’ve found DOZENS of tweets from other parents about how they’ve banned Horrid Henry from their houses, making me feel a little bit less like Mary Whitehouse.

Horrid Henry Banned Tweets Horrid Henry Banned Tweets 2

Have you ever banned your kids from watching a TV show because of the effect it had on their behaviour? Did it make a difference? (we’re only 24 hours in and it already seems to be making a difference to BB but that could be a fluke) Do you think that it’s all nonsense and that TV doesn’t really affect the way they behave? I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions on this so please do leave me a comment below.

When Your Last Baby is No Longer a Baby

Burrito Baby is growing up. For many people, January is a time of new beginnings, however I always feel like September is that time for me. Summer is over and we move into a new school year and a new season of cooling weather and falling leaves. I always start September feeling inspired to do more, and my creativity seems to rekindle itself in Autumn for some reason. This September has been no different, and a lot has been happening in our house. Husband and I have both had new projects at work, Sausage went into Year 5 and 11+ prep, but perhaps the biggest change is BB starting nursery.

I’ve been adamant for months that nursery was the right thing for BB as she has some shyness that she needs to get over as well as some attachment issues, but it’s been a lot tougher than I anticipated. She was fine for the first two days of her settling-in week, then had tears on the Friday. The next week was hard too, with tears on Monday, culminating in almost-hysterics on the Wednesday which led to me taking her home early. The following week, she got tonsillitis so missed a whole week of sessions, and she even said to us that she was glad she felt ill because it meant she didn’t have to go to nursery. To say it was breaking my heart is an understatement.

For us, it’s a really fine line between getting her used to being away from us in preparation for school and traumatising her when she’s barely ever been away from us. Helping her confidence to flourish is a big part of the growing process. However, I also don’t want to give her the idea that she can have a tantrum and get out of ever doing anything outside of her comfort zone, and the point about her getting prepared for school still very much stands.

When Sausage started nursery, she was always quite happy to go, so leaving her was a lot easier;  it was only by the time she got to Reception that she started to hate it, and by then it was compulsory, so I didn’t have the option to just take her home again. Nursery isn’t compulsory, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m losing out on precious time with BB which I won’t have the option to have back once she’s at school next year.

I think the fact that she’s my last baby is having an impact on my mindset. Husband and I agree that two kids are enough for us and that we like the dynamic of our family the way it is, and besides, having the health conditions I have mean it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to have another pregnancy anyway. However, it means that I’m having to deal with the fact that this is the last time I’ll do nursery drop offs, the last time I’ll have a three-and-a-half year old, the last time I’ll do any of this. Our family is growing up and while I love that in many ways, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel slightly sad about it, too.

BB is pretty advanced in a lot of ways and having a big sister means she’s probably growing up a bit faster than Sausage did, so coming to terms with the fact that our last baby isn’t a baby anymore is tougher than I expected. She still loves a snuggle and still holds onto my ear when she’s tired. She still asks for help eating her porridge and putting her shoes on, and still wants company while she’s on the loo. But she also refuses to watch Paw Patrol anymore, because it’s “for babies”, and wants to be a “big girl” all the time. It’s an inbetweeny stage for all of us and she’s charging towards school-age a lot quicker than I ever expected her to.

She went to nursery again today after her week off ill and went in with minimal fuss – I waited around the corner and spied on her after five minutes and she was all smiles. She came out full of beans, having baked a cupcake and made a new friend, so we’re hopeful that this positive experience will help going forward. I guess I need to just enjoy the little remnants of her baby-hood while they last, because I don’t think they’ll be sticking around for too much longer.

Little Emergency Guide for When Mums Need Help

With mother’s day approaching, there are plenty of cards in the shops that are dedicated to the perfect mommy. Mom knows best, the best mother ever, wonder mommy, you name it, there’s a fair bet that the shops have it already! Or if they haven’t, you can probably make you own on an online card provider, so that’s you sorted in a matter of clicks. But to come back to the main topic, mothers, it does happen that sometimes even mommies need a little help to get by. So if you are a mom and you are going through a lot of stress to sort things out, here are the top 6 cases where you can ask for professional help without feeling guilty at all.

Even Mommy needs help

#1. Picking The Perfect Home

If you are looking to move house, you have probably already experienced the difficulty to find the perfect house at the perfect price for your family. For some families, finding their ideal nest can take several months up to a year, and sometimes even longer! It is often a hard task that requires a lot of research and a lot of visits and appointments. More importantly, there’s also the problem of getting a mortgage, preparing for the move and decorating the new place. It’s no wonder that moving house is the third most stressful event after bereavement and divorce. While you can work with a professional estate agency to get on top of the latest properties on the market, you can also set up notification alerts on real estate websites. This will keep you updated with the new houses available in your preferred locations, and it will also help you when you are preparing your application for a mortgage.

#2. Managing Money Effectively

Managing the household budget can be a tricky task, especially when you are facing sudden and unexpected expenses. Financial matters have become a lot more complex nowadays, with the introduction of credit cards, different interest options and dangerous loan scams that promise easy money and drain your budget in repayment. As if things were not complicated enough, the cost of energy and education are rising dangerously too! In short, moms have difficult tasks to keep the budget under control. If you find yourself struggling with repayment to multiple creditors, it may be time to ask for debt management support. This will put you in touch with financial experts who work out a repayment plan that is fully tailored to your personal case. Expenses are easier to manage when you can plan ahead for the end of your worries.

#3. Staying Healthy Every Day

Health is no matter to take lightly. Whether you are looking after your eyesight, your teeth, your skin or even your bones, there are very little elements that you can control about your health. In truth, what you can do is make sure that you have an active lifestyle and a healthy diet so that your body receives all the nutrients and energy that it needs. But you still need to book a regular medical appointment to check your health and the one of your family. Think of the big ETC: Eyes, teeth, and cardio. Additionally, if there is any known issue in your family, such as diabetes or allergies, it’s always a good idea to get it tested regularly for those who are likely to develop similar problems too.  

#4. Recharging Your Batteries

Sometimes everyday pressure gets you. Whether it’s stress at work or family problems, it is difficult to keep a cool head when too much is going on. You need to plan every week a few hours that are entirely dedicated to your mental health. This will help you cool down and relax. What you do during this time is entirely up to you, but it’s best to leave the house and let someone else look after your nerves. A visit to your local spa centre can be just the thing you need. If you’re not one for a massage, have a look at your local gym for yoga classes. Not only this will keep you fit and active, but yoga is great to soothe the soul and the mind during hard times. So make time for yourself and let someone help you relax.  

#5. Maintaining The Home

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, there are certain areas of your home maintenance activities that you can’t do by yourself. Checking the roof, the quality of the insulation and the plumbing and heating systems are some of the elements that need to be trusted to professionals. You will find the exact list of home maintenance and renovation works that you need to rely on professionals within your home insurance contract. Indeed, certain types of work can invalidate your home insurance if they are not performed by a certified expert. Additionally, if you are a working mom, there’s no reason not to hire someone to keep the house clean when you are at work. After all, you surely want to spend more time with your family when you are at home.

#6. Going On Family Holiday Together

There’s no such thing as easy family holidays. Indeed, when you are planning holidays for the whole family, it’s never easy to find the best deal and the best package for your situation. This is why you need to trust travel agencies to help you organise the best vacation at the best price for your family. Whether you only need children-friendly places, or whether you are also looking at specific travel insurances to cover for medical needs too, travel agents have direct access to hundreds of options and travel packages in a matter of a few seconds. They can find the best solution for you while you wait on the phone. This can save a lot of your holiday stress!

In short, whether you are looking after yourself, your budget, your health, your home, your holiday or your family, there’s nothing that says that a super mom can’t use a little help from the experts from time to time. In the end, you want to save as much time as possible to be with your family, so cut the stress and get in touch with qualified advisors.

Parenting Groups: Five Reasons for Quitting

parenting groupsFor a fair while, I’ve been part of a few different parenting groups on Facebook, places where mums and dads can go to ask questions about anything from “does this rash look like chickenpox?” to “which shops have Hatchimals in stock?” and largely it’s been good. I’ve asked plenty of questions myself and try to help others where I can. But, as of yesterday, I’ve removed myself from these groups (all but The Motherload) because it’s just messing with my head. There are questions which get asked over and over and OVER again and they’re things which make me so cross that I can actually FEEL my blood pressure rising. Here’s just 5 of those questions:

1. Vaccinations

This was the one which prompted me to remove myself yesterday and it’s probably the one which makes me the MOST angry. Someone asked “Have any other parents refused vaccinations for their kids and has is caused them problems with school and nursery?”. The comments are full of people who think they know better than the World Health Organisation (despite the fact that they get their info from American websites with URLs like VacTruth.com and nothing with any basis in actual science). Just in the last month, I’ve seen people cite the inclusion of mercury and aluminium in vaccines as a reason not to give them as well as one woman who claimed that the flu vaccine contained MSG which is, WAIT FOR IT…WORSE THAN GIVING HER CHILD COCAINE. (FML)Another woman claimed that she knew all about herd immunity and it meant that her child didn’t need vaccinations, thus proving that she actually knew nothing about fucking herd immunity.  I was one step shy of spamming the group of pictures of kids with smallpox, so I decided it was best to step away.

2. Baby Names

I’m aware that what people on random parenting groups name their kids is absolutely NONE of my business, but every time there was a “can I have suggestions of names for my unborn child?” thread, I’d read through with my head in my hands, feeling really sorry for the future generation of children who were going to have names like “Aliviyah” (pronounced Olivia, just in case you were wondering) and feeling like I was living in a real life Idiocracy.

3. Nub Theory

“Oh hi everyone. Can you look at this scan picture of my baby (who is probably too young to have even properly developed reproductive organs yet) and guess what their gender might be based on a totally theoretical and unproven method of working it out?”. Nub theory is a THEORY. Asking strangers to guess the gender of your unborn child is stupid.

4. Keeping Up with The Jonses

Do you know what I found myself Googling the other day? Matching Christmas dresses for me and the girls. Thanks to the people on Facebook parenting groups who go absolutely fucking OVERBOARD every Christmas with their EXPERIENCES and their CHRISTMAS EVE BOXES and their “BOOK-A-DAY” ADVENT CALENDARS and ALLLLLLL the other overblown shit that everyone MUST do and MUST talk about at length so that they can lord it over everyone else, I am seriously considering matching outfits for myself, my eight year old and my two year old for Christmas Day. And I’m pretty sure that makes me a massive twat.

5. Nastiness

I’m aware that what I’ve written above may seem like a bit of nastiness but this is NOTHING compared with some of the vile behaviour I’ve seen from grown people in parenting groups. There’s a LOT of stuff which gets discussed that I don’t agree with but I always try to be respectful and give replies to people based on actual knowledge and not just knee-jerk reactions. Often though (I assume on days when there’s a full moon and everyone’s menstrual cycle is syncronised) things can get NASTY. Simple threads about bottle feeding can lead to struggling Mums being called c*nts and being left wishing they hadn’t asked in the first place and it’s that kind of behaviour that I just don’t want to be a part of.

Are you a member of any of these kid of online groups? Do you find that they enhance your life or do you step away from your phone or PC feeling like your head is going to explode? I’d love to hear from you!

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.

The Real World Parenting Awards with Infacol

Sometimes, parenting can be a lonely business. Even if you have a loving partner to share the highs and lows, there are always times when we feel overwhelmed by the pressure of being a parent. Many of us are lucky though, in that we have that one person around to lend support, sympathy and occasional tea making skills, just to take the edge off and make us feel human again. Perhaps its a friend, family member or even a trusted health professional who went above and beyond their call of duty to support you.

For me, it was my Mother in Law. Obviously, Husband was around and we shared the parental responsibilities and stresses, but his mum was a godsend at times. From doing simple things like coming over and doing the washing up to letting me use her as a sounding board when the stress of dealing with a colicky baby with a cows milk protein allergy got on top of me, she was there through thick and thin…and still is.

If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I had no contact with my own mother throughout my pregnancy with Burrito Baby, nor since, which was hard. A mum is someone who is supposed to be there to listen to your woes and make you feel better, and I didn’t have that. Except, thanks to my Mother in Law, I did have it. She stepped in and became more than just a Mother in Law, she became more like a Mum to me, as well as a close friend and ally. She’s still the person I ask for advice about everything from how to make dumplings to whether I can get away with wearing a maxi dress!

You may wonder why I’m telling you this? Well, Infacol have teamed up with the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology to launch the The Real World Parenting Awards, designed to reward those real-life heroes who make those first few months of parenthood more manageable.

“Having a baby is a life changing experience and an incredible one, but it can be stressful,” says Dr. Hilary Jones, who will be part of the judging panel. “If you’re lucky enough to have a wonderful family around you, or great friends, it can make a huge difference.”

As well as honouring friends and family, the awards are also looking for nominees for the health care professionals who have gone above and beyond to help someone under their care.

“Becoming a parent for the first time isn’t easy, and the first six months can be especially tough,” explains PCSG Chair, Dr. Richard Stevens*. “That’s why families need support, and the encouragement they receive from their GP or health visitor can make all the difference. As professionals, we sometimes forget we can provide a lot by just being there and being constant.”

The Real World Parenting Awards will be launched this July with two separate categories: one for health professionals, which has been developed by the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology, and one for supportive family and friends. Both awards are supported by an educational grant from Infacol.

Ts & Cs

Launching in July with a presentation in September, the Real World Parenting Awards will be open to nominations from appreciative parents, colleagues or the individuals themselves. The entry criteria are simple: an individual who has demonstrated the ability to go above and beyond. Just let us know their name, workplace (if nominating a health professional) and why you want to nominate them by emailing competitions@satellitepr.com. The closing date for nominations is July 31st. Entries will be judged by a panel of PCSG Chair Dr. Richard Stevens*, GP Dr. Hilary Jones**, and Native Media founder and mum-of-three Jo Studholme.

The winning health professional will receive an educational grant of £1000 from the PCSG to further their career or chosen area of research. Those who nominate their superstar health professional will also be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a short break at Knoll House, Britain’s original family friendly hotel.

Do you have someone in your life who has gone above and beyond for you and your new family? Leave me a comment below, and of course, don’t forget to nominate them!

Visit www.pcsg.org.uk for more information

twitter.com/PCSGastro (@PCSGastro)

For further information on the PCSG please contact:

Kirsty – secretariat@pcsg.org.uk


Infacol, Britain’s Number One Infant Colic remedy (based on IRI unit sales data 19/03/16), is licensed for the treatment of infant colic, wind and griping pain. It can be used from birth onwards and comes with a handy dropper, making it easy to give your baby.

For the treatment of colic. Contains Simeticone. Always read the label.

Visit www.infacol.co.uk for more information.

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

I’ve always been a huge fan of kids using technology; I know lots of people think that screen time is negative for kids, and I agree that all things should be in moderation, but I strongly believe that children can learn a lot from various apps and programs and that they should have time on devices without us leaning over their shoulders.

Sausage is at an age now where her interest in the internet has evolved slightly. No longer is she spending ages on the Cbeebies website or using the Mister Maker app to make beautiful, fridge-worthy creations. Now, she’s also asking about websites (like the ones you see advertised on the TV) which allow users to not only play games, but chat with one another too, which really concerns me. I have no objections to her chatting with friends online, but these websites are SO often a completely unknown quantity and can be a portal to online bullying, which is why I was keen to help when a cyber-bullying charity got in touch. Here’s what they had to say:

To mark this year’s Stop Cyberbullying Day on Friday 17 June, anti-bullying charity Bullies Out has partnered with data analytics firm Online Them to raise awareness of the risks of cyberbullying and what parents can do to spot the warning signs in time.

Monitoring software such as Online Them enables parents and teachers to keep an eye on children’s online activities and highlight any causes for concern. Any monitoring of online activity tends to spark handwringing sermons about the right to privacy. But this is not another example of Big Brother clipping the wings of youngsters trying to explore the world and all the opportunities that brings. Nor does it give parents and teachers free reign to spy on children.

Tools using Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing can identify and highlight anything of concern or unusual to an individual child such as social media posts containing adult content, or mentions of crime, as well as flagging any new friends in countries outside the UK and a rank of who a child is interacting with most on social media. This is done on a consent-only basis, meaning a child has to agree to the use of software to monitor their high-level social media use. Consent can be given easily and quickly via an email invitation – all they have to do is click the attached link and authorize access to their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. They can connect all three accounts or just one or two.

Monitoring tools present a great way to hold a child’s hand as they enter the world of social media. Parents and teachers can both use these tools to safeguard children in a low-maintenance and non-intrusive way.

Sausage uses her own iPad and laptop, both of which are internet enabled and I really don’t like to be hanging over her shoulder the whole time, so using an online monitoring software would really give us peace of mind. She’s not allowed anywhere NEAR Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any of the other places where random people could gain access to her, and Husband and I will be thinking long and hard about whether she’ll ever be allowed accounts on these sites, while she’s under our rules.

If you want some really handy tips on how to keep your kids safe online, take a look at the Bullies Out site, where there is a whole wealth of information, and also links to allow you to donate to this excellent cause. Online Them are also currently offering a free one month trial for parents, allowing you to try the site before you commit to a subscription.

How do you moderate your kids online usage? Have you got any apps installed? Have you ever had to deal with cyber-bullying? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment below.