Tag Archives: parenting

Identifying signs of stress in your child (and helping them cope with it)

Today I have a  guest post from Zara Lewis, a designer, freelance writer, contributing blogger for High Style Life and full time mummy of two little ones. I hope your enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Identifying signs of stress in your child (and helping them cope with it)

According to the data provided by the American Psychology Association, there are a lot of factors that influence children’s well-being and unfortunately – different stress triggers go unnoticed by most of the parents. We are used to associating stress with adulthood but the truth is – kids have their own personal reasons for worrying. They usually fear not being good enough or failing in school, or they struggle with motivation to study, which may be one of the reasons why there is an increase of 62% in the last decade regarding parents who choose homeschooling. Other worries include maintaining relationships with their siblings, handling peer pressure, and parents’ financial state. Here’s how you can help your child cope with stress.

Learn to recognize a cry for help

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Too often we perceive everything from our own adult perspective. While objectively, we may think there’s really no reason for our children to worry about anything, it is wrong to disregard their feelings. Your child might approach you and complain about feeling sick or worried and you should never try to solve this situation simply by saying – you’re fine. You need to encourage your child to express their feelings, and formulate what exactly is the thing that’s bothering them. By learning this, your child will set a cornerstone for developing emotional intelligence which is extremely important for mental health. Initiate a conversation, validate their feelings, and make sure you’re not pushing too hard.

Embrace the benefits of art therapy

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There is a beautiful quote by the famous painter Pablo Picasso: Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life. Kids are naturally artistic and creative and surely – many find communicating via words exhausting or hard. Expressing thoughts and feelings is a lot easier with a white canvas to start with and the possibilities hidden behind highlighters, crayons, watercolors or ink. Art therapy is very efficient for children on the autism spectrum as they usually have different ways of interacting with people, in comparison to neurotypical persons. Children with autism have a specific sensor system which makes it hard to cope with the overwhelming sensations from the outer world. This can be rather stressful both for the child and the parent, but art has proven to be a great, gentle way for handling sensory processing issues and encouraging creative thinking.

A good night’s sleep is crucial

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Sleep is extremely important for your child’s physical and mental health. Stress can often disrupt sleep and you need to address this issue as quickly as possible. Insomnia is nerve-wracking and it makes every problem seem larger than it truly is. To ensure a good night’s sleep, try establishing a bedtime routine that will help your child unwind. Always provide clean and fresh sheets: use soothing scents such as vanilla or lavender to induce sleep. Air quality is also important: vent the room regularly to regulate humidity and temperature. A warm bath right before bed will calm your child and prepare their body for sleep. If insomnia stays persistent, your child might be struggling with melatonin deficiency and, therefore maybe needs supplements, but prior to taking any further steps on your own you should contact pediatrician, who might suggest some natural healing methods.

Try different ways of relaxation

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Leisure time and light physical activity can help your child reach much-needed balance. Engage in a conversation with your little one in order to find a type of exercise that he will actually enjoy. It’s important to gradually build a healthy attitude towards these habits so that your child doesn’t perceive it as a boring duty. For example, cycling has multiple benefits and kids usually love it as a fun way to get to know the neighborhood or relax in nature. It triggers a healthy thirst for an adventure and helps with getting rid of any fears from the outer world. Also, encourage your child to enjoy quiet time and daydream. In this fast-paced world, we forget the importance of slowing down and just relaxing by doing nothing. Playtime is crucial for child’s healthy well-being as it helps kids develop their interests, discover new parts of their identities, build social skills, and handle emotions. It’s an irreplaceable source of happiness: humans are hardwired to enjoy playtime and it has proven to be a great way to reduce anxiety.

Encourage your child to find their own pace

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From the earliest age, children are prone to comparing themselves to others. This may trigger anxiety, feelings of falling behind or not fitting in. Make sure your child understands the beauty of the diversity and that the only right tempo to follow in life is their own. Lead by the desire to belong to a certain group, your child might suppress their own identity that started forming, but it’s all part of growing up. Most children learn to value authenticity later in life.

Children are sensitive and they are like little sponges, soaking in everything around them and processing it in a very complex way. Support them in any way you can, as they have it harder than we may think.

J is for Joy

For me joy is being with my children everyday. Watching them growing, learning and enjoying their childhoods. Having the freedom to spend whole days outside, exploring the wilderness, and being with friends.

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Joy is allowing my children to follow their dreams and interests. Learning at our own pace. Doing a maths workbook because they enjoy it, writing a story together or painting a picture. Learning about the stars and the moon by going out in the dark at looking up. Filling our minds with wonder, and asking question upon question. art

It’s baking a cake or making pancakes for breakfast. Staying up late to research Ancient Greece or finding out about The Tudors, knowing that we can have a lie in the next day.
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It is a complete joy to watch my children develop a love of learning, and a thirst for knowledge. They are discovering all about the world by being in the world, not solely by reading about it in a book. We surround ourselves with opportunities to expand our knowledge, push our limits, and learn new and exciting things.

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Joy is home education.

Joy

 

 

 

Me Becoming Mum

Blogtober – Timeline of my day

One day in our life can vary greatly from the next. During the week Daddy leaves for work at half past 6 in the morning. Sometimes one or more of us may be awake but usually we wake later. We get up any time between 6 and 9, and our morning’s are normally quite slow paced.

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We start with screen time and games. Minecraft, Roblox, Readingeggs, and Netflix are regular morning activities, as well as toys and lots of cuddles. Some days we have toast and cereal for breakfast, other days the children will cook pancakes or eggs for each other.

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On days we’re going out we’ll all be dressed by 10am, but if we’re having a day at home we may get dressed much later or stay in our pyjamas. Days out can be going to home ed group, to see family, a museum, an event, or just going shopping and to the park.

Our day at the park

Days at home are relaxed, we read, play, cook, and do housework. We might do science experiments, some art work, or sensory play. We grow food and plants in the garden, and we learn about nature. We watch wildlife documentaries, or history shows. We talk, a lot. We learn together through our interests, by what excites us, and what we find intriguing.

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Daddy gets home from work, sometimes we’re in and sometimes we’re not. We always eat a meal together at around 6pm, then we play, take a bath, or watch some tv. Bedtime starts with little S around 7pm, and they go up in age order. Once the children are in bed daddy and I spend an hour or 2 relaxing, before bed.

 

I’ve linked up with #Blogtober16

 

A winter week

One thing I’ve discovered since home educating, especially in the winter months, is that the days all seem to blend into one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it makes it difficult remembering what we did on what days!
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Last week we went to home ed group on Tuesday, I know it was Tuesday because it’s always on a Tuesday. It was in a new hall, a hall with fantastic outside space. There is also a swing park just outside. We’re really looking forward to exploring this new area. At club the children enjoyed making sweets, painting pasta necklaces, playing together and getting exceedingly muddy in the park.
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As for the rest of the week, the older 2 had their hair cut, and we’ve spent lots of time playing with Poppy.

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She was happy, honest!

E made some chocolate chip cookies, the best chocolate chip cookies I have had in a long time! We used a basic shortbread recipe which we adapted a little. Delicious.
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Thursday afternoon we had some home ed friends round to play. A little girl to play with my little two and two older boys who got on really well with my older two.

Granma and Aunty A popped round for lunch one day, homemade leek and potato soup and homemade granary bread rolls.
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The rest of the week we’ve spent time reading, playing, R has been practising her typing and spelling on the PC with a new game she’s discovered, whilst E has been learning about DNA and dinosaurs.

We have a few things to look forward to this week including soft play and pizza making.

A new addition

Back in November a fellow home educating mummy posted some pictures of her dog’s nine new born puppies. Instantly the children, hubby and I fell in love. A couple of weeks later we went round and the children picked which one they wanted. Thankfully they all picked the same blonde girly pup.

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Over the next few weeks we tried (and failed) to agree on a name for our puppy. We bought her a bed, a lead, bowls and too many toys.
Yesterday we went to pick up our new baby. Poppy was chosen by majority vote after it proved impossible to unanimously agree on a single name.

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The children adore her, even E has given her a few cuddles. Daddy stayed up with her last night to help her settle, so tonight I’m on night duty. Hopefully she’ll settle ok, she already seems very happy here.

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The children are looking forward to all sorts of adventures with her, and can’t wait until she’s ready to go out for walks.

My Random Musings

Skylanders, My Little Ponies and cosy days.

The last couple of weeks we’ve spent a lot of time snuggled up at home away from the ghastly weather. So far we’re fairing quite well, just the odd scuffle between the children as you’d expect being in an enclosed space for a long period of time. We have managed to escape a few times for a walk or a quick shopping trip.
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Daddy is off from work until the new year so the children have enjoyed using him as an indoor trampoline and I’ve enjoyed having a couple of lie-ins whilst he tended to the small ones.
E has received many, many skylanders this week and is thoroughly enjoying playing with them, both on screen and off. I’ve also enjoyed playing them with him, it’s been lovely spending good quality time playing together. We went to Smyths toy store yesterday and they had all Swap Force Skylanders on sale for £1 per pack. Needless to say, we stocked up!
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All the indoor time can be great for reigniting their love for playing with toys. R has bought herself loads of My Little Pony bits. Ponies, Equestria dolls, playhousesnd more. She’s set them all up in her room (which had to be rearranged to accommodate them) and is spending hours playing with them. Sometimes alone, sometimes with her sisters or a friend.
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The two little ones also got to spend their money and bought themselves so new toys. S was given a small CD player from Nanny and Granddad so has been able to listen to some of her favourite Nursery rhymes and Disney princess songs in her room.
As much as the children are enjoying playing at home, I am eagerly awaiting lighter, spring days. I long to be outside in the garden pottering about or out in the countryside. I have a while to wait I know, but it’s good to look forward to something.

Coughs, colds and chicken pox

We’ve had a very quiet week with all of us having a cough or a cold which seems to have been accompanied by ear ache. Little S also appears to have had a mild case of chicken pox.

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Most of this week we’ve spent a lot of time at home doing winter themed crafts and baking.
We’ve baked gingerbread men, made peppermint cremes, rice crispy cakes, and iced gingerbread star biscuits.

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We’ve made fluffy snowmen, and gingerbread people and houses.

History has been learned by watching horrible histories, we’ve practiced our maths playing monopoly, card games and monster maths. We’ve read stories and practiced gymnastics in the living room. We had lots of fun with paint too.

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We went for a lovely woodland adventure yesterday with Daddy. We found all sorts of goodies, great sticks for walking, a deer skull and foot, soft moss-covered trees and hidey holes. Plus there was lots of mud and puddles for jumping in.

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Stick man, birds and musical instruments

This morning started frosty but the sun was shining, so after breakfast we wrapped up and put on our wellies to go exploring. When we arrived at Moors Valley we decided to do the Stick Man trail, a walk through the woodlands doing activities based on the Julia Donaldson book. We picked up our pack and followed the arrows to begin our walk.
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Unfortunately E doesn’t cope too well with the cold so the first 45 minutes of our walk were challenging. Despite this we managed to make a nest, build a tower, do bark rubbings and more.
After we completed the trail we headed to the visitor centre to collect our certificates and stickers. We grabbed some hot chocolates to go and went off to feed the swans and ducks at the lake, one swan even let S stroke it.
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Next we headed off over the bridge to the play parks. The girls played house, and E and I played monsters.
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After a while I noticed a little robin following us, when it was quiet I crumpled a tiny corner of biscuit onto my hand and he hopped over and took some. R came over and got to have a go at feeding the robin too. She was thrilled and the robin kept coming back for more.
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After a few more minutes play we headed back to car and home for lunch.
Whilst I was preparing lunch the children spent time on their tablets, S played Monster maths, E played games and R watched some YouTube tutorials.
After lunch I made a cardboard box house for the little girls to play in, then caught up on some housework.
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E and I then had a quick game of Monopoly Junior before the girls and I made some musical instruments. We made shakers out of old bottles, lentils, rice and coloured beads. We also made a small water xylophone with coloured water.
Whilst I make dinner the little ones are playing with the Guinea pigs, E is playing on his tablet and R has a friend round to play. After dinner R and I are off to Morrisons to do the food shop and get ingredients for a project she wants to do tomorrow.

My Random Musings

Why I let my children talk to strangers

I used to worry that my children talked to anyone and everyone, I mean what if someone takes them. Now though? I think it’s fantastic that my children are confident enough to start a conversation with someone they’ve just met. Wouldn’t it be great if we were all like that? Imagine the stories we’d hear, all the knowledge we could access and the people we would meet. If I hadn’t spoken to the stranger in the bar, I never would have married him and had my four gorgeous children!
Just the other day my children saw a man flying a model aeroplane, they asked me if they could go and talk to him. I said yes and they ran ahead while I followed slowly. By the time I got there they had already learned all about his plane. I spoke to him for a while, we thanked him for his time and left. It was a great experience for the children and the man seemed really happy to have been able to share his hobby with others.

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As well as being fantastic at helping them develop their social skills, it’s also good for mine! Before I had children I hated talking to people I didn’t know, I still struggle with it now on occasion. I hope that my children don’t ever grow up to be shy adults.
Of course, I teach my children to be sensible. It’s always best to ask me (or Daddy/Granma etc) first and NEVER go off with anyone, familiar or stranger without first checking. They are also aware that there are people who are not kind out there, even if they may seem so at first.
The problem with telling your child to never talk to strangers is, what happens if they need help? The chances are that the police officer/shop worker/passer-by that could offer your child assistance would be a stranger. If your child is terrified of strangers they may be too scared to ask for help.
According to childabduction.org.uk ” Nearly 60 per cent of completed abductions recorded by police are perpetrated by someone known, but not related to, the victim. These include acquaintances, neighbours, boyfriends and ex-partners of parents.” So teaching your child stranger danger wouldn’t be effective. There is a good publication by childabduction uk called Beyond Stranger Danger which gives tips on how to talk to children about staying safe.

I want my children to grow up as confident and social people and not be terrified of the world around them, for there is so much out there that is exciting and wonderful. So many people to meet, stories to hear and adventures to be had.

My Random Musings

October half term

So this week all the local schools are off and that, of course, means that the weather has turned and it’s rained most if the week!
So what have we been up to this week? Sunday I spent most of the day gardening while it’s was dry, and then we went for a walk with friends at a local woodland.

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We’ve had a quiet week and spent time painting together, playing Just Dance on the Xbox, reading (myself and E are now over halfway through The Hobbit), and we’ve played together.

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The two little girls and I made some delicious soda bread yesterday, which we enjoyed warm for lunch.

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S got out her Alphablocks workbooks and did some of those. She is now beginning to blend letters and read more words.

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We also had a go at making bowls from autumn leaves. It’s much more difficult than it looks on Pinterest! I’m not sure we’ll actually be using them for much.

Me and R had a lovely evening yesterday. The younger 3 were in bed early and they’re coming down with colds, so me and R put on a film. We had snacks and snuggled down under a blanket. A lovely little treat.

My Random Musings