11 articles Tag children

5 Benefits to Having an Aquarium at Home for your Children

aquariumPhoto by David Clode on Unsplash

Have you considered using an aquarium as an educational tool? There are many ways that having an aquarium at home will positively stimulate the imagination and affection of your kids! While many parents look into getting an aquarium simply because it’s fun, there are many underlying reasons that reinforce why this is such a good idea.

If you’re wondering exactly what these benefits may be, read through the following article for some guidance and inspiration. You will also find useful links here comprising technical aspects of having an aquarium.

Aquariums Encourage learning

There’s something so new and exciting about having a live fish tank indoors that always fascinates children. As such, an aquarium is a great opportunity to pique the curiosity of your kids, which in term will help fuel their desire to learn more about the world. They’ll start by pondering simple questions such as how do fish breathe or whether they drink water, and from there their natural curiosity should entice them to learn more about fish species and underwater environments.

Stimulates imagination and creativity

Since an aquarium is a self-contained little world inhabited by peculiar creatures and plants, watching this unusual setting will stimulate your children to look beyond reality and imagine other possibilities. This is especially true if you allow them to play an active role in decorating the fish tank and helping with research – like finding the 3 best aquarium timers. It’s also a fun idea going on some field trips for inspiration – such as visiting a large public aquarium before getting your own.

Increases senses of responsibility

Even though they’re a great tool to stimulate imagination and creativity in children, aquariums are also a great way to encourage your children to keep their feet firmly planted in reality. After all, those are living creatures swimming around in the fish tank, and they have to be properly fed and taken care of. By recruiting the assistance of the young ones, you will manage to get them involved in the project while subtly exercising their sense of responsibility.

Helps with negative emotions

There’s something incredibly soothing about an aquarium that seems to have a positive effect on anxiety levels while promoting healthy bonding. Children who help manage a domestic aquarium will tend to connect with fish and regard them as friends. This on-going experience will provide a valuable outlet to help dismiss negative emotions such as frustration and sadness.

Creates moments of magic

For a growing child, a aquarium can be truly a magical and wonderful thing, since it’s so unlike everything else around them during any given day. Having the opportunity to interact with fish and observing them enjoying their underwater setting can be a magical and character-building experience. It will provide your kids with many happy memories as well as a window that allows them to peek into the underwater world to watch some of its fantastic creatures.

Vow To Involve Your Kids More With Your Wedding

Wedding planning when you have children around is never easy. And if they’re not yet school age, just getting to some of your appointments is a challenge. Of course, any ready-made family usually demands a different approach to these o

ccasions anyway. So why not make this a family wedding? Here are just a few ways you can involve your children of all ages in your wedding ceremony and reception:


The Registry office on the main road into town probably isn’t your best option when there are small children running around. Instead, pick a venue where the kids can run around a bit more safely. A beautiful estate or stately home like Clevedon Hall usually has sizeable rooms and grounds that could be perfect for family weddings. Make sure you can order child meals and drinks and that the toilet facilities are family friendly.

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If you’re wearing a wedding gown, you’ve got next to no chance of keeping hold of them or chasing after them. Pick someone from your wedding party to be on childcare duty for the day. Alternatively, consider an outfit that allows you to play games and hold your children. You can still be glamorous and beautiful. Slightly older children might enjoy being bridesmaids. Usually, dresses need to be made for little ones, and Page boy outfits can be hard to come by. Remember – they might grow between the fitting and the wedding!

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Jobs On The Day

Older boys are often selected to be Dad’s best man, and daughters like to be flower girls and bridesmaids. There are plenty of different jobs for the kids to get involved with. Little performers might love the idea of singing a song or starting the dancing off. Perhaps there could be a poetry reading or even a speech? Ask your kids what they would like to do to celebrate the family coming together. Of course, you might be nervous enough already. Make sure you’re not feeling nervous for the kids as well.

Official Roles In The Hands Of Your Kids?

DIY weddings are perfect for families. Everything can be covered by someone when you have lots of loved ones around you. You’ll need a photographer or videographer, a cake baker, a menu writer, and even a centrepiece maker. Children are often delighted to be asked to take on important roles for such a big event. Even if the results aren’t as professional as when you pay big bucks, you’ll love knowing that everyone was involved.

wedding with kids

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2 Families Become 1

When there are kids from both sides coming together, it can be nice to include them as part of the wedding proceedings. After all, they’re joining as siblings, and that is quite a commitment to make on their part! Maybe they can make promises to each other, just as you’ll make vows with your new spouse? They might even be offered a few gifts for their big day, just like you!

Weddings often include children, but not in a big way. If the children at your wedding are yours, why not make it their day too? How would you involve all of your kids if you were getting married soon?

Cannabis Therapy for Epileptic Conditions in Children

Epilepsy can be a very challenging health condition, particularly for parents who struggle with finding an effective way to manage seizures that comes with the condition. In response to the challenge of epilepsy, the FDA has authorized many medications. While these drugs are very helpful, they are still unable to prevent the occurrence of seizures which has led many parents of epileptic children to adopt marijuana which has proven to be the most viable option.

There have been many indications that cannabidiol is an effective treatment for a wide range of health conditions. For a proper understanding of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis on epilepsy condition, it would be necessary to understand the nature of the condition. Epilepsy is a neurological condition which is triggered by unusual electrical vibration in the brain which provokes uncontrollable disruptions of consciousness which is accompanies by mild to violent seizures. Sadly, there are people who have the resistant epilepsy which does not subside with medication.

Charlotte Figi was one of such cases of resistant epilepsy which showed no improvements with conventional medicine. However, medical marijuana was able to reduce the seizure completely. This and many more similar cases in which cannabidiol was administered have shown tremendous improvements with a reduced likelihood and severity of seizures. Charlotte had tried an assortment of conventional and traditional medicine to cope with unremitting seizures but after trying this therapeutic substance of Cannabis she began to experience dramatic improvements in her health. There are numerous investigations that affirm the healing benefits of Medical Marijuana in the treatment of the seizures caused by epilepsy. Among others CBD oil does not have any mind altering properties and has shown to be very effective in the treatments of anxiety, cardiovascular conditions, and cancer and so on.

The case of Anny who suffered from seizures which forced her parents to smuggle the precious CBD into the country for her treatment from the United States is illustrative of the powerful therapeutic effects of Cannabis. The medicine had shown to be very helpful in alleviating her seizures but it was illegal in Brazil at the time. After her mother(Katiele) was arrested for smuggling in Medical Cannabis oil, her parents filed a law suit against the government of Brazil which forced The National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil to decriminalize the use of Cannabis oil as well as its importation. CBD becomes day by day accepted from the medical community as it is proven to be entirely safe medication with astounding therapeutic properties.

The story of Anny became a very popular documentary also, you can watch it on youtube:


Maybe it is still early to get to a final and 100% scientific decision that Cannabis Cures Epilepsy.

But all those anecdotal evidence maybe is a good and optimistic start for the future of this horrible health condition.

The decriminalization of medicinal marijuana would certainly alleviate the discomfort and pain that many people suffering from various medical conditions endure. Medicinal marijuana has been decriminalized in many states with an increasing trend towards the use of CBD therapy for the management of numerous conditions.

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.

Living Up to an Awesome Sibling

Chalk-and-CheeseSince becoming pregnant, I’ve noticed that I’m already guilty of drawing comparisons between now and when I was carrying Sausage, given that the two pregnancies are so different so far. Then, yesterday, Husband and I were talking about the fact that we never really ‘baby-proofed’ when Sausage was tiny, we were just vigilant and taught her what not to do and Husband said “But what if we were just lucky with Sausage and the new baby turns out to be into everything?!”. It got me thinking – we really were lucky with Sausage, in so many ways…what if the new baby just doesn’t live up to the very high precedent that its big sister has set?

I really dislike it when people use the phrase ‘good baby’, as in “little Hermione sleeps through, she’s such a good baby” because it’s a completely unfair standard to set for a newborn; if they want to scream the house down then there must bloody well be a reason for it, in my opinion, and it certainly doesn’t make them a bad baby. However, in the grand scheme of things, Sausage was definitely what most people would call a ‘good baby’. She fed well, napped well, people would constantly comment on how content and happy she seemed because she rarely ever cried. As she got into the toddler stage, she never once had a tantrum in the supermarket (and probably only 2 or 3 at home; her ‘Terrible Twos’ seemed to last about three weeks!), I never had to worry about taking her anywhere because her behaviour was immaculate.

Even now, as a 5 year old, sure she has to be pushed to do things outside of her comfort zone but her current class teacher described her as having “impeccable behaviour and manners” – what more can you ask of a 5 year old, huh? I realise I probably sound like one of those nauseating parents who think their kid is perfect, but it really is true, Husband and I often take a moment to appreciate the fact that she really is a good girl and that we’re hugely blessed.

So, how on earth is a new child ever going to live up to this?! Husband have been well and truly spoilt by our firstborn, but what if this new child is the polar opposite – demanding, ill-tempered, prone to screaming matches in public?!

I have siblings, but there’s almost 9 years between my sister and I, and I was almost 16 when my little brother was born, so there’s not really any element of competitiveness with them as we’re of different generations. My sister and I are literally chalk and cheese, we could be more different and at times we rub each other up the wrong way, but I’m still fiercely protective of her and proud of how kind she can be. My little bro and I are probably more similar in a lot of ways, but I’m more or less old enough to be his Mum and we didn’t grow up together, so it’s not like a normal little brother/big sister relationship and my heart swells with pride when I think about how awesome he’s grown up to be.

I’ve no doubt that I’ll love this child every bit as much as I love Sausage and that will be unconditional, in the same way that my love for its big sister is. But Sausage really is a hard act to follow and I’ve got a feeling in the pit of my stomach which is a combination of worry at how different this child might be, especially if the differences are seemingly negative, and fear that I’ll spend all of my time drawing comparisons between my two children, putting Sausage on a pedestal. More importantly, I worry that other people will draw comparisons between my two children and it could affect their sibling relationship.

Do you have two or more kids? Do you do the comparing thing? How do you deal with other people making comparisons? Am I normal to be worried about this?! HELP!

Ranty Friday – Selfish Parents

smoking childIt’s Friday, which means Mummy Barrow is telling us all to get Ranty again, which is quite appropriate as I’ve had this post brewing for a few days, but didn’t know where to start.

The other day, I was in our local shop, buying some ham. I got to the counter and there was a man in front of me buying cigarettes; he bought quite a few boxes at once and as the lady at the till rang it up, I blanched at the cost of smoking. I smoked way back in my late teens and early twenties, but gave up before I fell pregnant with Sausage, and the price of tobacco products has gone up a lot since then.

When I got to the front of the queue, I struck up a conversation with the cashier and casually mentioned that I didn’t know how anyone could even afford to smoke in this day and age. The cashier was young, probably early to mid twenties and mentioned that she was also a smoker.

Let me just say here, I have no issue with people who smoke; it’s a personal choice and as long as it’s not hurting anyone else, I don’t care what they do. I know they say “an ex-smoker is the worst” but I’m not judging the actual act of smoking.

The cashier went on to tell me that she lived in one of the flats (there are two high-rises near the shops) and that her and her partner both smoked with the kids in the house.

(blood pressure starting to rise…)

She then said “We smoke on the balcony these days because my youngest has got asthma. We used to smoke indoors but in the nicer weather it’s easier to go outside”.

(blood pressure steadily on the up…)

The final thing, which completely floored me was “I really should try and give up. My partner and I spend at least £70 a week on fags and my kids have to go without somethings, but it’s just so hard. I go without dinner some nights, just so I can have fags”.

(head explodes, rage spewing everywhere)

Where do I even start?

If she wants to go without dinner so that she can continue to smoke, that’s her right and privilege as a human being with free will, but freely and in an almost blasé fashion, admitting that her kids go without because she wants to continue smoking just blows my mind. How can you put your own horrible habit above and beyond the needs of your children? I just cannot get my head around that. Looking at your kids and saying “You know what? I’m more important” is the ULTIMATE selfishness and makes me feel like these people don’t even deserve to be blessed with kids.

How can people behave in this manner? I simply do not get it. I feel so sorry for the kids being raised in these conditions, without a parent who’d put them first.

I’m not doing a Jamie Oliver here and condemning those in a lower wage bracket because of how they choose to apportion their income…if she wants to spend her money on cigarettes, it’s her money to spend, but surely in any family be they rich or poor, the needs of the kids should come before anything else?

Husband and I would go without anything if it meant that Sausage was provided for in the best way possible and I was under the (apparently deluded) impression that this was an attitude which would be shared by 99% of other parents.

Am I alone in thinking that this is terrible behaviour?

Click on the duck to see why Mummy Barrow is ranting about selfish plane passengers and all of the other blogs who’ve linked up this week.


Expectations of a Biological Clock

biological clockAlmost as soon as Husband and I got married, people started asking whether we had any plans for children. I’m aware that, traditionally speaking, people used to get married so that they could start a family, but I was surprised that the expectations of starting a family were still so heavy in the 21st century. And even once we’d had Sausage, the questions didn’t stop; people almost immediately wanted to know when we planned to have more children, as though we’d opened the floodgates with one child and would breed with unbridled abandon until my sagging uterus could take no more.

Just recently, one of my close friends admitted that, at the age of 34, she’d come to the conclusion that she simply wasn’t feeling all that maternal at this stage in her life. She loved her nieces and nephews, as well as her friends’ children, but she was happy with the way her life is at the moment and a baby simply didn’t fit into that plan.

When she told me, I was a bit sad that she and her Husband might not have kids, and I’ve since come to the conclusion is a completely irrational reaction from me. Why should I be sad that they don’t want kids?! My reaction soon turned to one of admiration, with my brain saying “Wow, what a brave thing to admit!”, but having had more time to think about it, I feel a bit cross on their behalves.

Why should anyone have to explain whether they choose to have kids or not? Even the fact that I used the word ‘admitted’ when describing our conversation shows a certain expectation of people within an age group, and that somehow anyone who chooses to deviate from the ‘marriage+kids’ path needs to explain themselves.

What I’ve realised now, is that I wish more people had the guts to admit that they don’t see kids factoring into their lives. There are so many people in the world who seem to take absolutely no joy from being a parent and I often think “Why did that person procreate in the first place?”. Having kids should be something that you know you want, with both body and mind, not a societal obligation that we should fulfill just because our biological clocks or peer groups tell us that “NOW IS THE TIME”.

Perhaps if people weren’t so base, and thought a little bit more about what having kids really meant, there would be less kids in care, foster care, or waiting for adoption? I’m not going to go all Jeremy Kyle and start parading the High Street, screaming “PUT SOMETHING ON THE END OF IT!” at people, but at the same time, I do wish people would at least consider what it takes to have a child and the sacrifices that need to be made. That’s the admirable part, saying “You know what? I’m happy as I am and I’m not willing to change that”.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that I have a whole new level of respect for people who say “I love kids, but they aren’t for me”. Other people (generally those who have or want kids, I’d imagine) may find it hard to reconcile that someone would choose not to have children, but I actually think it’s one of the most selfless conclusions that a person can come to, rather than the potential of having kids and none of you being happy, just for the sake of not missing that window of fertility opportunity.

What do you think? Have you always known that you wanted kids? Have you decided that kids aren’t for you? Leave me a comment below.

Should Ian Brady Be Allowed to Die?

This week, we’ve been hearing on the news about Ian Brady and how he’s appealing to be allowed to return to a mainstream prison, so that he’s no longer force-fed by tube and can resume his hunger strike. For those of you who don’t know (and I’d be surprised if there were many) Ian Brady, along with his then-partner Myra Hindley, committed a series of kidnap-murders during a two and a half year period in the late 1960′s. The killings, known as the Moors murders, due to the locations of the graves that two of the victims were found in, were five children, aged between 10 and 17, 4 of whom were sexually assaulted.

Brady has been described as a sadist and a sexual psychopath and, even during recent times, has shown little or no remorse for what he’s done, refusing to reveal the location of his fourth victim, Keith Bennett. He’s described his actions as an ‘existential experience’ and has mocked the criminal justice system by claiming that he’s used ‘method acting’ to maintain an insanity plea.

In 1999, he went on hunger strike, deciding that he no longer wants to be alive and claims it’s his right to be allowed to die. He’s quoted as saying “Myra gets the potentially fatal brain condition, whilst I have to fight simply to die. I have had enough. I want nothing, my objective is to die and release myself from this once and for all. So you see my death strike is rational and pragmatic. I’m only sorry I didn’t do it decades ago, and I’m eager to leave this cesspit in a coffin.“

So, readers, do you believe he should be allowed to die?

I wrote recently about the Woolwich murders and about how I’d seen and heard many people saying that the two attackers should face the death penalty for what they did. Yet, here’s Ian Brady asking for death and we’re force feeding him to keep him alive. How does that sit with you?

On principal, I don’t agree with the death penalty. I understand the arguments for it; the reduction of costs, the removal of risk of recidivism, the message to other criminals. However, we don’t have the death penalty, so this in itself is a different issue.

I, personally, think Ian Brady should be made to live out every miserable second of the rest of his life, even if it means force feeding him. My reasons are these:

1. Brady’s victims weren’t allowed to choose the terms of their own deaths. Their young lives were callously taken and their families left to endure the agony.

2. When Brady committed those crimes and was convicted, his liberty was taken away, therefore he’s not at liberty to make the decision to end his life when a judge has ruled that he be punished.

3. Allowing a violent criminal to decide when to end his life, when we ban legitimate euthanasia for people who’ve suffered long and painful illnesses would make an absolute mockery of everyone who’s suffered on their deathbed, unable to consciously decide when enough is enough.

(If you want to read about people who should have been given the right to die, read up on Terri Schiavofollow, or read about Robert Latimerfollow, a man imprisoned for euthanising his severely disabled daughter)

Given the fact that Brady has been witnessed eating soup and toast while on his supposed hunger strike, all of this strikes me as his last desperate attempt to whip up a media-circus around himself, giving him the attention that he thinks he deserves. The man is the embodiment of pure evil and shouldn’t be allowed a release from suffering, given that it’s not even a fraction of the suffering he’s inflicted on others. He should be left in a room with no means of entertainment or means to kill himself, made to live in purgatory for the rest of his days.

The picture below is a portrait of each of his five victims. These are the names and faces that we should be remembering. Not those of their killers.


 John Kilbride – Lesley Ann Downey – Keith Bennett – Pauline Reade – Edward Evans

The Same As Everyone Else

I got a bit of a bollocking last night. I got home from work and a rather grumpy-faced Sausage said “Mummy, I still have a white t-shirt in my P.E. kit”. Her kit got sent home for the Christmas hols and I dutifully washed it, ready to go back. Only, on the Tuesday of her first week back, P.E. day, I realised that I’d not gathered all of the items up and put them in her bag and said-items were now spread far and wide throughout my chaotic house. I managed to locate her shorts, drummed up a pair of white socks and dug her plimsols out from under a pile of new toys, but the yellow, logo-embroidered t-shirt was nowhere to be found. In desperation I shoved a plain white v-neck into the bag, knowing that this was just as acceptable under the school’s uniform code, with promises to Sausage to replace it with the yellow one later that week.

Obviously, I forgot. Skip forward to today and Sausage has had to endure four whole sessions of Physical Education in a white t-shirt and, apparently, this just isn’t good enough.

Having been previously oblivious to the importance of the yellow t-shirt, I enquired as to whether she’d been told off for wearing a white t-shirt instead.

“No” was her reply.

Hmm. So, I asked, does anyone else wear a white top?

“Yes, the twins do”

Right, so if you’re the same as the twins, what’s the problem?

“Because everyone else wears yellow and I want to be the same as everyone else” she said.

And suddenly, it all became clear and my childhood came flooding back to me. I think, as an adult, we get so caught up in defining ourselves as one thing or another that we forget that, for the kids, it’s mostly about fitting in. Conformity is key and anything different will have you singled out. It’s like an innate survival instinct.

As an adult, and even as a teen to an extent, being ‘a bit different’ can be a great thing. But to a child, it’s the worst thing in the world and it’s suddenly become clear that it’s our jobs, as parents, to do what we can to facilitate that conformity.

When I was a youth (around 11 or 12), the Adidas track suit was king and if your trainers weren’t Reebok or Nike, you were a total loser. I got bought a black Adidas track suit with white stripes and I lived in that bloody thing until it was swinging around my ankles. But, it was a uniform and it fitted in with what everyone else was doing. That track suit got me through some tough times.

So, tonight after work, I’ll be going home, searching through the ironing pile and getting the yellow t-shirt ready for tomorrow, when I’ll extract the offending white garment from Sausage’s satchel and make the world, her world, right again. Because, while conformity might not be my cup of tea, for the moment it’s everything to Sausage and that’s just fine.

When Did Your Parenting Instinct Kick In?

Don’t mess with this Mummy!

Last night, Husband and I went out for dinner with some friends after going to see a house that a couple of them had bought, and over dinner a few of us started talking about this post. I wrote it on Friday before last and since them my blog has seen its busiest day ever and the most comments I’ve ever had on a post. There were opinions from all angles, all walks of life and certainly lots of debate over the issue.

What was interesting to me though, was the opinion of my real life friends. One of my best friends, Jamillah, commented on the post and quite frankly, what she wrote is deserving of a whole post of its own, to follow later.

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