Author: Zoe Waite

Qualifying for tax free childcare

The Government scheme that gives you up to £2,000 per child What is Tax-Free Childcare? It is the Government backed scheme to simply help parents with the cost of expensive…

The Government scheme that gives you up to £2,000 per childtax free childcare

What is Tax-Free Childcare?

It is the Government backed scheme to simply help parents with the cost of expensive childcare.

The scheme was launched in April 2017 and if you’re eligible, you can get an extra 20% towards childcare costs. If you are eligible, you can get up to £2,000 (£4,000 if your child is disabled)  a year per child towards the cost of childcare for free.

You can even use the funds to pay towards activities like summer clubs.

How does Tax-Free Childcare work?tax free childcare

For every 80p you spend in childcare, the government will add 20p. This essentially gives you basic-rate tax back on your payment.

You can open a centralised account to make it easy. So for every 80p you put into the account, the government will add their 20p. You can then pay your childcare provider directly from that Tax-Free Childcare account.

With the scheme, you will be able to pay for up to £10,000 of childcare.  This works out as you would pay £8,000 and get an extra £2,000 per child each year! If the childcare bill reaches the government maximum, you will not be able to get any more financial support that year. However, you can still pay childcare through the tax free scheme using your centralised account, just with no additional funding. If this happens, it may be easier to pay for your childcare directly with the childcare provider.

Do I Qualify for Tax-Free Childcare?

The scheme is open to all qualifying parents.

  • You (and your partner) need to be in work to qualify for tax free childcare – This includes self employment.
  • Available to single parents
  • Your child must be 11 or younger.
  • For children with disabilities, this is up to the age of 16.
  • You (and your partner) must be earning at least £131 a week. This is the equivalent of 16 hours/week at the national minimum wage for 25 year olds or over.
  • You’re self-employed and your income varies on a weekly basis, use your three month average to see if it meets the £131 a week minimum.
  • Each parent needs to earn less than £100,000 a year.
  • If you have been self-employed for less than 12 months, the minimum income requirement does not apply to you.
  • If you are currently not working but are due to start in the next 21 days.

If you or your partner is in work and the other is not able to, you can still be eligible, if you receive any of these benefits:

  • Carer’s allowance
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Contribution- based employment and support allowance
  • Incapacity benefit or long-term incapacity benefit
  • National insurance credits

Can I qualify for Tax-Free Childcare whilst on maternity leave?

Yes! paid or unpaid statutory maternity, paternity or adoption leave is still classed as being in work. You just can not apply for the child that you are currently on leave for. You can use the scheme for older siblings.

Example of Tax-Free Childcare

Lt’s say that if your total childcare bill was £500 a month, you would pay £400 and the Government will pay the remaining £100. Therefore, this would cut your £6,000 yearly costs down to £4,800.

If the childcare bill for one child is £1,000 a month, you would pay £800 and have £200 paid for by the Government. However once the maximum amount of £2,000 has been given by the Government, in this case, after 10 months, you will have to pay the full total.

Who is Tax-Free Childcare best for?tax free childcare

  • Self-employed or couples earning less than £100,000 each.
  • Families with more than one child and high childcare costs.

How to sign up for Tax-Free Childcare

First of all you need to create an online childcare account here: Government Tax-Free Childcare site.

You will need:

  • 20 minutes spare
  • National insurance number
  • Unique taxpayer reference (if you are self-employed)
  • Debit card

You will pay money in using your debit card through a standing order, or a payment from your bank account. Although both parents can use the account, only one parent can open it and you will need to decide who’s name you will use.tax free childcare

The government should top the money up hours later after you put money into the account. It can take up to five working days to pay the childcare provider.

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A career break: can this be positive?

When a pregnancy test result displays as positive, one burning question on the mum-to-be’s mind is “how will this impact my career?”.  Whether you are planning to have 6 weeks,…

When a pregnancy test result displays as positive, one burning question on the mum-to-be’s mind is “how will this impact my career?”.  Whether you are planning to have 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years off, time out of work can appear daunting.

positive career break

Although the financial strain of  a family is a huge factor in starting a family. Many women feel that having time off from their job may destroy all what they worked hard for. For me, I felt that my career was finally taking off after years of studying. To take the break initially felt like a positive decision for my family but, a poor decision for my personal growth. I couldn’t explain how I felt to anyone. I didn’t want to be seen as ungrateful for being  lucky to have time off from work to raise my family and that I didn’t bring in the most money anyway, so my job was not that important.

Focusing on the positives now, here are a few things to why taking a career break is positive:

Recharging your batteries

positive career break

Taking time off allows you to rest. Being out of the office or where ever you worked will give you that mental space needed to focus on other things in your life and have a mental break from your job. As a teacher, I remember before I would go to sleep, I’d start planning starter activities in my head or begin thinking about all the books I needed to mark. It has been lovely to truly have a break from these thoughts and reset myself. Now, when I think about work, I become excited as I feel so refreshed and ready to dive back into it.

The unexpected results

When you go from working full time to suddenly not working at all, even as a new mum you will find yourself with a lot of unusual time on your hands. Many women take this opportunity to study something new or start up a business venture they have always dreamed of. I started this blog as a hobby in my spare time, simply documenting my experience as a mum, I never expected that I would end up earning from this. If I was working full time I doubt I would have taken the plunge to start a blog.

“It’s not necessary to think of being away as a way to start a business or go to a new career,”. “The point is: What would you do if, for a while, you don’t have to think about making money?”

New Skills

positive career break

Work is the place where it has been drilled into your head: “this is where you develop skills and grow as a person”. As a new mum, taking time off, you actually gain an abundance of skills. For example, I have way more patience now than I have ever had in my life. Looking after a toddler, I have gained the skills of being extremely organised, resilient, level headed, punctual and my problem solving skills from figuring what she wants during  tantrum have progressed too!

Time for a change?

Having a long period off work gives you the space to think if that was the career for you. Now that you are having time away, you will be able to see clearly if that job was making you happy and you could see great potential in progressing in that job.

Even if you decide that you love your job after having time off, it will be nice to go back with a fresh mind set that you are in the right place without second thoughts.

More appealing candidate

positive career break

You may think that taking time off from will hurt your career. But, have you thought of this? Taking a well needed break, gaining life experience and being 100% committed to you again, will make you look like a more appealing candidate, in comparison to someone who may not know what they really want out of life yet.

 

 

 

Taking the time off can show that you want to further your skill set and try new experiences.

 

So when you feel that you may be hurting your career or you receive the comments “oh you don’t work?” or “you just stay at home all day.” look at the bigger picture. Remember that you have got this incredible time off raising your family whilst resetting yourself ready for your next step. If you decide never to return to work, remember that you are still gaining life experiences and developing skill sets as you would in the work place.

 

 

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First and second pregnancy: Differences I’ve noticed

No two pregnancies are the same however, in my mind, I still believed that the whole pregnancy experience would be similar. But I was wrong. The second time around, everything…

No two pregnancies are the same however, in my mind, I still believed that the whole pregnancy experience would be similar. But I was wrong. The second time around, everything has been different.

Here is how:

comparing two pregnancies

Finding Out

The first time around, I find out I was pregnant pretty much straight away. I just had that feeling. Even taking tests that were displaying as negative I still strongly believed I was pregnant.

The second time, I didn’t find out I was pregnant until around 10 weeks. The thought didn’t even cross my mind. I put it down to being so busy all the time with Mole.

Time

Time seems to go so much slower when you are pregnant for the first time. It feels like years waiting for a midwife appointment and counting down the weeks till your next trimester drags on and on. Now, I can not keep up with my midwife appointments. I feel like I have blinked and already it is single figure weeks countdown.

Sickness

My first pregnancy I was lucky enough to not experience morning sickness. This time, i’ve had days where just turning my head would make me want to throw up.

Restcomparing two pregnancies

During my first pregnancy I could take a nap when I wanted or watch a film on the sofa but, oh no, not the second time around. I am running around after Mole at a soft play centre or running up and down the stairs to change her or I am looking like I am on Super Market Sweep trying to get my shopping done before Moles patience time bomb goes off.

Fitness

The advice I was given during my first pregnancy was to “take it easy”. I spoke to a midwife about exercising it was frowned upon. I was in good health and had always exercise so taking the time off did not sit well with me mentally and I gained a lot of weight too. One of the things I said to myself was, if it was to go through a pregnancy again, I want to be as active as possible. When asking midwives now about doing a workout, I received a completely different reaction. A positive one. I have been able to workout without a guilty conscience and thoroughly enjoy feeling healthy and active.

Anxietycomparing two pregnancies

Every little twinge during my first pregnancy I was convinced I was going into labour or something was wrong. This time, I have been able to relax more and after knowing what a contraction really does feel like, I am not rushing down to A&E or ringing my midwife.

Bump Size

I was told that the second time around your bump is usually bigger as your stomach muscles have stretched. As I have been eating healthier and working out during this pregnancy, my bump is no where near as big as it was the first time. I feel like I need to take more photos of the progression as I get so busy with Mole or I don’t have the energy to take any. First time around my camera roll was full of bump photos.

 

 

 

Zoe

xx

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Should you tell your daughter she is pretty?

When the question “should you tell your daughter she is pretty?” first reached my ears, I was really confused. I started to question myself if I was doing the right…

When the question “should you tell your daughter she is pretty?” first reached my ears, I was really confused. I started to question myself if I was doing the right thing as a parent and began learning to understand the reason why so many parents of daughters today are avoiding calling their daughter pretty.should I call my daughter pretty

Mole is incredibly cheeky, she loves to dance and waves her arms to the music. Her favourite thing to do is to shout out different animal names or the noises they make when she sees them on TV or in her books. In my mind, Mole is the most beautiful person I have ever seen. My heart is incredibly full for her. But, I have decided that I am going to make a conscious effort to stop telling her she is pretty.

Here is why:

Every single morning, when Mole was dressed, the first thing I would do is give her a big hug and tell her how pretty or beautiful she looked. Once I realised I was doing this without thought, I caught myself saying it through out the day too. The more we talk about a topic to our children, they begin to understand that this topic is important. It could be anything from manners to sharing. Basically, I don’t want the topic of physical appearance to be something that Mole understands as important or more important that any of her other qualities she has.should I call my daughter pretty

Living up to expectations

Always making a point to someone that they are pretty or clever will give them the mentality on what they have to live up to. They can get stuck in a comfort zone and waste time and energy worrying about this. When instead, they could be spending their time and energy into being more knowledgable and opening themselves up to a full range of experiences.

What I do to boost my daughters self esteem:

  • I focus on praising her process rather than the outcome. I will praise her for her hard work and time and effort she has spent on something. This may even be when she is older and has spent time on her hair. Commenting on that rather than just saying “You look pretty.”
  • I Tell her how much she matters to me. Showing and telling her how important she is to me and how much she is on my mind will make her feel amazing and loved.
  • I will look at her other qualities. Make them stand out whilst also using words like “pretty” and “beautiful” so she can gain a wider understanding of how beautiful and pretty doesn’t just have to be based of physical appearance. E.G. “Mole you are beautiful for being such a good friend and sharing your toy.”
  • Asking her lot’s of questions. Not only does asking your little one lot’s of questions help to boost their memory and language skills. but, asking questions really shows that you have an interest in their life. I love to ask Mole questions on where her favourite toy is or which animal am I pointing at.

 

So focus on your values and how you can get them across to your children. Becoming aware of your words will help you to stop focusing on how looks are more important than how your child behaves or thinks. Even when it is unintentional.

 

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Building your confidence for baby classes/social events

I recently attended a “Mums meet up” hosted by Mama Society. I had an amazing time and when I posted about it, I couldn’t believe how many private messages I…


tips on boosting confidence for a baby classI recently attended a “Mums meet up” hosted by Mama Society. I had an amazing time and when I posted about it, I couldn’t believe how many private messages I had from other mums saying how much they would love to attend a social event, however, they felt too anxious and nervous. It saddened me because, I had such a great time. I would love other mums to feel confident enough to attend a baby class or a mums meet up event.

At the same time, I truly understand the challenges you can face with feeling nervous and anxious, to throw yourself into the deep end and go in a room full of people you have never even met before.

Just because you have anxiety- does not mean anxiety is all you are

A little background on myself. After suffering from social anxiety for years now I feel that I have started to turn a corner with myself and realise that just because I have attended therapy sessions and have had medication for anxiety, the label “anxiety” is not who I am and not my personality.

Confidence boosting tips for attending a baby class/social event

I thought I would share with you some of my favourite ways to help combat the feeling of being nervous or anxious before a baby class or a social event and hopefully I will at least help someone reading this.tips on boosting confidence for a baby class

  1. Plan. Plan everything either the night before or two days before. Even down to your outfit and your child’s outfit, what they will have for their breakfast, dinner or snacks and anything they might need there. Having a full plan will help you to feel like you have control over what you can control, resulting in confidence. If you wake up late, everything will all be planned for you to focus on straight away and get going. Or if you wake up feeling anxious, you have a plan to stick to, which will help your mind not wander off thinking the worst of everything which may result in you talking yourself out of going.
  2.  Arrive early. I love trying (I say trying because we all know how hard this is with a child) to arrive early for a class or event I am attending for the first time because, for me personally, journeys to new places are extremely stressful. It is like I get myself that worked up, parking my car in a space takes me 100 manoeuvres. Giving yourself time to chill out before you head in and beat the rush of all the other mums parking and fighting for a space will help you to feel more relaxed.
  3. Another reason to arrive early. If you are early or on time, you are more likely to be one of the first mums there. You will have more options on where you want to sit, get your child sorted incase they need a quick change before the starting time. But, most importantly, you are not going to be walking into a room full of people, with all eyes on you, feeling the judgement. (Even though no mum will actually be judging. Your anxiety will somehow convince yourself that they are). I personally find it easier to greet a mum walking in, than having to walk up to what looks like an established conversation between two people and have to stand their awkwardly smiling until you think of something interesting to say.tips on boosting confidence for a baby class
  4. Avoid Caffeine. Dare I say it, coffee is not your friend (in this case). Why? Caffeine is a stimulant. That is not going to help someone with anxiety. Caffeine’s effects on your body are similar to those of a frightening event. Caffeine stimulates your “fight or flight” response, and studies show that this can make anxiety worse and can even trigger an anxiety attack.
  5. Questions. Have an idea on what questions to ask the other mums. Take the opportunity to get to know them. Find out what their interests are and you will probably see how similar they are to you. Remember that not all mums want to attend a social event and talk about their babies and some mums all they want to do is talk about their babies. So if you feel that the conversation is awkward, just change the subject and don’t take the bad response personally.
  6. Try again. Once I attended a class at a local church, where I did not feel comfortable. AT ALL. It was one of the first classes I attended as a new mum, living in a new area. I left half way through as my anxiety got the better of me. I sat in my car and burst into tears – even took a selfie, to look back on as one of my lows and know that one day I would laugh and not take the experience personally.tips on boosting confidence for a baby classThe feeling of being anxious and having my expectations crushed on baby classes combined with the guilt of not being a good mum to Mole crushed me. I was super firm on myself to try a different class elsewhere, I did and LOVED it.  Fast forward a few months, I attended that class I originally felt so crappy at to give it a second chance. I hated it. The same thing happened again. I left half way and cried in my car. The point I am trying to make is, some classes/events will be for you and some won’t. It does not make you a bad mum if you need to leave and give yourself time. Remember, if you have made the big enough step to even make it out of the house, praise yourself.
  7. Wear your confident hat. A trick I learnt from drama classes. Pretend you are wearing an invisible confident hat. Sounds very silly doesn’t it? Believing you are confident, standing tall, smiling, making eye contact and asking open ended questions will make you look very approachable, friendly and most important make you feel like you actually are a confident person; even though you may have lived however many years of your life labelling yourself as shy.

Give it a go

Hopefully these tips come in use for you and you feel that you can attend a class/event. Attending will be worth your while. I have met some amazing people I can call my friends and I have been able to see my daughter enjoy herself too.

 

Images by https://www.truelightphotography.net/

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How to stay motivated to workout and eat healthy

We have all been there when we have had all the good intentions of keeping fit and healthy and struggled to stay on track but, is it easier said than…

We have all been there when we have had all the good intentions of keeping fit and healthy and struggled to stay on track but, is it easier said than done?

The truth is:

keeping motivated to workout

There are actual ways to help you stay on track with your fitness and healthy eating regime and I am going to tell you how.

During my first pregnancy, all aspects of healthy eating and working out went completely out of the window. I made up numerous excuses on “eating for two” so I could ridiculous size portions of whatever food I wanted or “craved“. Post baby I had to work harder than ever to get myself back on track, living a healthier lifestyle. I went from weighing my heaviest at 72kg to 56kg.  Now, during my second pregnancy, I have been able to stick to a healthier lifestyle and I have felt so much better for it.

Motivating tips to working out and eating healthy

Here are my top tips for staying motivated to working out and eating healthy.

  1. Set yourself a reachable goal. I love to set a goal that is small so I can reach it and feel good for reaching it. This can be a goal such as: “for today, I am going to not eat chocolate and only snack on fruit” or “for the next two weeks, I will do 20 minutes stair master at the gym 4 times a week.”  After completing a goal, push yourself further and make your goal more challenging. 
    post partum fitness
  2. Don’t go food shopping hungry. You are more likely to fill up your basket with all of the wrong things shopping on a hungry stomach. By the time you get back to your car you probably have already opened that packet of biscuits or crisps and undone your healthy eating efforts. Go food shopping with a plan. Stick to plenty of vegetables and fruit and if you need to, keep track of your meals in a food diary.
  3. Stop making excuses. This is my biggest one. I always get told “oh I would love to go to the gym but I don’t have time” or “I can’t workout when I have kids.” Sure, it might be difficult to get out of the house to a gym, but what is stopping you from doing a home workout? Some gyms are open 24 hours.  Could you go at another time in the day rather than watching tv? Even excuses relating to your diet. “I am having a chippy tonight as I have been good this week”. Why make an excuse to convince yourself that you can go off track and justify it because you have been healthy throughout the week. Sure treat yourself now and again. But stay conscious that it is very easy to fall off track, as a cheat meal can quickly turn into a cheat day and then the whole “i’ll start my diet on Monday…”excuse.
  4. Add variety to your workouts. Exercise doesn’t just have to be going running. There are so many different activities you can do to keep fit. Try out different classes like boxing or yoga and see which one you prefer. I love to have a workout day focusing on cardio where I will do 10 minutes on the bike, rower and then cross trainer. You may even prefer to workout once a week with a partner.
  5. Reward! Once you have reached your goal you need to reward yourself for all of your hard work. Rewards don’t always have to be naughty treats too. Why not get a new gym top after reaching a 6 week goal or get some new fancy bubble bath to have a long soak and rest your muscles.

    keeping motivated to workout

    30 Weeks Pregnant

  6. Take photos. Taking progress photos do not have to be for the rest of the world to see. They are a great way for you to keep a private track of your weight. Take them weekly, a front, side and back body shot and in a couple of weeks put your newest ones side by side with your first and you should feel so proud at the difference. Physically being able to see the results will help you stay motivated.
  7. Create a playlist. Music is so beneficial during workouts. Stick your headphones on and get your head in the zone. You may find different songs are better for different points of your workout. I love listening to a good podcast during my cardio to help the time go by and listening to an energetic upbeat track during my weight lifting sessions.
  8. Get support. Support from others is essential. Speak to other members of your household about wanting to change up your eating habits and see if they are willing to take on the challenge too. You could go on a clear out and get rid of any foods you are trying to avoid together so you are not tempted. You could always create a social network support group to encourage one another to stay on track.

So get your head completely in the zone. Start thinking of yourself as an athlete, and not a couch potato. Set a goal, enlist a friend, mark it on your calendar, and have some fun. You’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health, more happiness, and more energy for everything else in your life.

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Toddler Temper Tantrums

Crying, screaming, kicking, breath holding, hitting, kicking and back arching. Do any of those sound familiar in terms of your toddlers behaviour? They do to me! Since Mole has turned…

Crying, screaming, kicking, breath holding, hitting, kicking and back arching. Do any of those sound familiar in terms of your toddlers behaviour? They do to me!

Toddler tantrum help

Since Mole has turned 1, I have noticed a big shift in her behaviour. She will display a temper tantrum more frequently and although this is normal child development behaviour, I do feel like I need to learn and understand how to behave myself in the temper tantrum situation to stop it escalating out of hand.

I have done a lot of research in this and asked for all of your advice on instagram and I have had some incredible tips. I am already starting to see huge improvements in Mole’s behaviour.

So what can we do?

Understanding the temper tantrum

Toddlers display a temper tantrum from the ages of 1 to around 3. They are just as common in boys as they are girls…This has stopped me from using my favourite excuse: “It’s because she is a girl, they are divas compared to boys”.

Some children can display a tantrum more frequently than other children. You may be lucky and your child rarely has one.

The F Word

I have seen this word cropping up a lot whilst I have been doing my research into temper tantrums.

Frustration.

Frustration seems to be key to what this whole temper tantrum malarkey is all about. Toddlers are still developing their language, so they can’t always ask or communicate exactly what they want. This maybe that they want to go into a different room or be in need of a parent. It can also be that they are just over tired or hungry.Toddler tantrum help

“I do it!”

The hardest part is, as a parent, you can sense danger. So when your toddler is walking/crawling where they shouldn’t and you go to stop them from doing so, they don’t understand why and become frustrated that you are stopping them.

There is also the power struggle of wanting their own independence and learning for themselves. When toddlers discover that they actually can’t do everything themselves they may (in Mole’s case always) display a tantrum.

The experience of not being able to communicate can be tough for a toddler. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. As their language skills start to develop and improve, tantrums will start to decrease.

Going Wrong

I have been thinking where I may have been going wrong with the whole tantrum situation. Then it hit me. I have spent far too much time trying to to deal with the tantrum when it is happening and not enough time preventing the tantrum. I just assumed that tantrums are inevitable and there is nothing I can do about it. Which is true to an extent but, still these prevention tips have helped us cut down the number of tantrums.

6 Tips for preventing a tantrum

  1. Distraction. Take your toddler else where into a different room for something new to focus their attention on. Swap whatever they are not allowed to have with something they can have and make it sound really exciting and amazing. Start a different activity with them if they can’t do they activity they currently want to do.
  2. Hands off! I keep any ornaments or valuables completely out of reach now. At first, I wanted Mole to understand that she was not allowed to touch the vase, but realistically, I was asking too much of her and got sick of myself telling her “no” and dealing with the tantrum when all I had to do was just move the vase out of her reach.
  3. Routine. Having a routine helps to understand when your child is going to be hungry and tired. If it is around your child’s usual nap time, don’t expect to take them food shopping and have a pleasant time. Respect their limits.
  4. Responsibility. This one came very useful to me when I was a teacher. The more responsibility I gave to my students the more they respected me and felt like they had control. Offering your toddler a choice will help them to feel they have control and you won’t be confronted by the power struggle. Obviously, choose your choices wisely. Good examples are “Do you want a bath first or to brush your teeth first? Both will still get done, but, they will have more of a sense of controlling the situation rather than being told to do so.
  5. Positive reinforcement. Praise, praise praise. I can not stress this enough. Toddlers understand behaviours and actions they display will result in attention. Be sure to really emphasise on the good attention with them, by really praising their good behaviour and give as little attention as possible to their negative behaviour.
  6. Choose your battles. I noticed that I was becoming Nagging Nancy. It was just too much. Being so strict meant that everything through out the day was becoming a battle with Mole. By choosing my battles I have made more of an impact with her understanding what she is forbidden to do.

5 Tips for what to do when your toddler displays a tantrum

I was mortified when Mole started to display her tantrums one after the other in public. Especially in places that were really quiet and I felt like all eyes were on me to “sort” my child out. Not only that, tensions between my partner and I began to rise. Tantrums can be inevitable and it is all part of growing up, so no matter how much preventing you can do, one will still occur. Here are some tips on what to do when your toddler is having a temper tantrum meltdown.

  1. Stay calm. Easy said than done. I get so stressed out when a tantrum occurs I start to lose my head myself. Your job is to try and calm your toddler down, so you need to remind yourself to stay calm too as hard as that can be. Toddler tantrum help
  2. What is the tantrum really about? Understanding what the real problem is will help you to find a solution quicker. Is it that they are actually tired and need a nap? Or perhaps they are in pain with their teeth?
  3. Different tantrums need different solutions. Does your toddler is want something they are forbidden to have? try to not over explain why and move onto a new activity quickly. If your toddler is wanting attention from their mum or dad, try to ignore them. Is your child is throwing a tantrum because they are in pain? Then comfort them.
  4. Follow through. Mole’s favourite tantrum to have is one where she doesn’t want to complete a task that she has to do, such as eating her dinner. Let them have their tantrum but, ignore them as much as possible, then come back to the task once they are calm and try again. Following through will make them understand that they will not get away with it.
  5. Safety. If their safety is at risk and they are displaying a tantrum because they want to carry on, be firm. Take them away from the situation and use a stronger tone of voice. Never give in on safety. Older toddlers can sit on a time out step for a few minutes.

3 Tips on what to do with your toddler after they have a tantrum

  1. Do not give in. If they display the same behaviour for the same reason, you are going to have to be strong and not undo all the work you have done before. Eventually they will learn but they will 100% test you first.
  2. Make the most out of a bad situation. Try and reward their good behaviour. e.g. “Mole, what a good girl for calming down.” or” Thank you for playing with this toy”.
  3. Love. Once everything is calmed down it is extremely important to show your toddler affection. Give them a cuddle and let them know you love them. They will know they have just been naughty so will be feeling very vulnerable. This will not show that you are giving in to their behaviour.

 

I hope you find this useful and remember, as your child gets older they will begin to grow out of their tantrums.

 

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5 Toddler Summer Holiday Essentials

It is that fantastic time of year again when we are all excited as we probably have a summer holiday planned. Whether you are having a staycation or flying abroad,…

It is that fantastic time of year again when we are all excited as we probably have a summer holiday planned. Whether you are having a staycation or flying abroad, I’m going to share with you my top 5 toddler summer holiday essentials for a stress free holiday.

Toddler Summer Essentials

Toddler Summer Essentials

Cool Soft Baby Blanket

Instantly cooling to the touch, this blanket has been our number one summer holiday must have. It has been so versatile, from lying it in the pram to using it as a beach mat. One of my biggest concerns with going abroad with a toddler was “will the heat be too much?” Mole struggled badly with the UK heat last year as a newborn, so when I laid eyes on this product as a baby show, I had to have it. The cooling mat must have been so refreshing to lie on in the heat. She never showed signs of being too hot once. (It’s also super light weight for your luggage too.

Snooze Shade

Toddler Summer Essentials

This stroller cover was perfect for naps. The shade cover blocks 99% of UV rays and makes the inside of the stroller nice and dark making outdoor naps a whole lot easier. The shade cover has a universal fit for most strollers and prams and only takes a few seconds to apply to the stroller.

Mamas and Papas Stroller

We purchased the: Mamas & Papas Armadillo City² Lightweight Compact Pushchair.

The stroller has a light weight frame making it easy for travelling. When travelling the amount of times you have to fold up and down the stroller is crazy.

My experience from visiting European holiday destinations has been that not all destinations are pram friendly, with having lot’s of steps to access places. Taking our usual heavy two piece pram was not convenient.Toddler Summer Essentials This stroller folds up or down in just a click, you can even do it one handed. 

There is an adjustable seat which was great for naps times as she could lie back and be comfortable and the huge UV protective hood accompanied with the Snooze Shade blocked the sun.

Toddler Travel Plate

If you’re anything like me on holiday, a big part of that time will be spent dining at restaurants. We usually order Mole’s food from the children’s menu, but to keep costs down we also like to share the food myself and Jay orders with her. This super handy travel plate rolled up in her lunch bag and came with us to every restaurant. I didn’t have to worry about her trying to throw it off the table as its made of silicone and has a good grip against the table. We had the rubber duck design of course.Toddler Summer Essentials

Banana Boat SPF

I am extremely fussy when it comes to choosing a good suncream. I can say that I have tried and tested various creams and this one is by far my all time favourite for babies and toddlers.

What I love about this suncream is, the consistency is thick so I feel at ease when I am applying it, like I am really giving her skin protection. I can feel and see exactly where I put it on her body. The cream is non greasy has the sand does not stick to it so I can have the cream fully applied in no time. Mole has very sensitive skin too, this cream has been the only one out of the many we have tried that does not make her break out into rashes.

For her hair, I used the Malibu SPF 50 Scalp Protector. (I also used this on my head too!) its very easy to use, with it being clear, you can directly spray it onto your head and hair for full protection. Toddler Summer Essentials

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Travelling With A One Year Old: Your Questions Answered

Travelling with a one year old is not going to be easy. If your one year old is anything like my little Mole, they will not entertain being strapped in…

Travelling with a one year old is not going to be easy. If your one year old is anything like my little Mole, they will not entertain being strapped in for a long period of time. So whether you are travelling by a car or by a plane you have a challenge on your hands.

travelling with a toddler

What can you do?

Firstly, really have a think about your current one year olds development. All toddlers develop at different rates so one thing that works for one may not work for another.

How do you keep a one year old entertained on a flight?

I had a good think about what Mole currently loves to do. Reading, stickers, dancing and playing with my things like sunglasses. I focused her toys for around that, rather than something like stacking cups or teddies which she is not fully into just yet.

Toys and Books

I went shopping before the trip so specifically to find her some new activity books and toys. Although not cost friendly, this was great as she was fully interested in what the new toy did.

Here is a toy I recommend: Activity Toy

Here is a book I recommend: Three Little Pigs Touch and Feel

We also had a cheap pair of baby sunglasses for her to play with putting them on and off and I wasn’t worried if they got broke (which they did) but so worth it to pass the time.

Downloading TV Programmes

One piece of advice I was told time and time again was to download something for her to watch. We did, but this did not answer our prayers when she was playing up. Mole only watched something for around 6 minutes and then she lost interest. Which to be fair, is exactly what she does when she is watching something at home too. It was great to have the option readily available.

travelling with a toddler

We also entertained her with the “Peppa Pig App”. There is a painting section where you can swipe your fingers all over the phone screen to create pictures. (Easier on a tablet/iPad). This was far more suited for Mole as she was busy moving her hands.

Snack Options

Snacks are another great way to pass the time. Although not the healthiest option, Mole had crisps. I cant actually believe how well they entertained her. She loved trying to take one out of the packet. We did the same with raisins. Basically any snacks that take a while to eat. Avoid chocolate, chocolate gets very messy on a warm plane.

Tips for a child who does not like staying still?

This is Mole all over. On the first flight I felt like I had to be strict with her, making sure she was sat still on my knee, constantly occupied with one of her toys or books. It did not work. In fact, fighting against her wanting to move around just made matters worse. The tantrums were next level and being pregnant with a one year old having a full blown tantrum on my knee was no fun. Here is what I did instead:travelling with a toddler

For the flight home, we travelled early evening instead of mid day. The day of the flight, I let her crawl/walk everywhere. We were in the hotel lobby for some time watching her crawl around. I then made sure she had a nappy. Just a short one to prevent her being over tired. Then I did the same thing at the airport, let her crawl around everywhere (where it was safe and easy to do so). She was absolutely filthy but worn out.

On the flight, she would stand on my knees and peek her head over the top of the chairs to get attention off the other passengers. I let her do it for the sake of three easy hours of no tantrums.

I even let her sit on my seat whilst I sat in the footwell just so she did not feel as restricted.

Being calmer myself, seemed to have a big impact on her. I didn’t fuss over her once like I did going out. I didn’t keep handing her a toy until she really wanted it and the same for her snacks. I think toddlers can play up on your emotions.

What to do for the take off?

travelling with a toddler

I packed a bottle of milk to help reassure her and to help with her ears popping. She actually got really excited when the plane was taking off, turning around and giving the biggest smile ever like she was on the ride of her life.

When the air pressure changed, I tried to give her a dummy but she wasn’t interested so we just stuck with the bottle of milk.

What did you pack in your hand luggage?

I had one hand luggage for the plane which was my straw beach bag. I had nothing for myself except for my phone. Everything was for Mole, her lunchbox with snacks, water cup, milk, Calpol, 3 books (picture, touch and feel, and a sticker book) and any other toys. I also packed her favourite blanket but it was so hot on both flights we didn’t bother getting it out.

You can take as liquid for your child as you need to. At security I just placed all her liquids in a tray and that was that.

Did you take a Stroller to the airport?

Yes we did, this is the Stroller we took with us: Mamas and Papas Stroller

I highly recommend it! Very easy to put up and down, all one piece and light weight. No issues at all using it the whole holiday.

The reason I got a stroller is because our current pram was very expensive, heavy and not as easy to manoeuvre as a stroller. We did take this pram with us on holiday when Mole was a newborn and it was better suited.

What did you do about a car seat travelling abroad?

We took this car seat: Britax Romer Car Seat 

We mainly used the car seat for the taxi in the UK. I wanted to decrease the time Mole spent on my knee when I knew she was going to be on my knee for three hours on the plane.

In Portugal, they had their own safety regulations with car seats and our private transfer wanted to use their own. Some transfers stated that you need to bring a car seat or you can not travel with them

On the shuttle bus to the beach Mole sat on my knee.

What clothes did you take for your toddler on holiday?

I recorded a YouTube Video showing you all the clothes I took for my toddler.

I would recommend planning outfits for day time and evening on each day with a few spares so you know not to over or under pack.

What did you do about taking swim nappies, nappies and formula?

Formula

Mole is on whole cows milk. As I was unsure when the next time I would be able to pick up a fresh bottle, I opted to pack a couple of these ready made formula bottles.

This was super easy for when we arrived as I felt like I didn’t have to race out to find a shop for milk.

When Mole turned one I stopped sterilising her bottles. You can now buy portable sterilisers if you need one.

Swim Nappies

I packed two packs of little swimmers in our suitcase.

Nappies

The duration of our holiday was 7 days. I packed 18 nappies and ran out pretty quickly as she hated wearing a wet swim nappy and the first few days being in a wet swim nappy was making her sore.

If you can pack more in your suitcase or order them to be delivered from Boots in the airport. We ended up having to buy a pack of nappies out there for $25.00 and they may as well have been made out of tissue paper. travelling with a toddler

Final Advice

My final advice will be you can not control to an extent what is going to happen so please do not stress about it. On the flight out Mole was horrendous. She screamed the whole time and she has toys, snacks, Calpol, milk…everything.

You will never see the people on your flight again so if they turn around and give you evils (which we had a lot of) do not care. At the end of the day you can only do your best and toddlers are very strong willed.

The flight home was the opposite. Mole was a dream, giggling the whole way. I was dreading that flight to the point where I was feeling so sick, as the first flight was so bad and now I think back and it was all over nothing as she was fine.

Give yourself plenty of time in getting there and try to take turns with your partner if you can.

Feel free to read my previous blog on flying with a baby when Mole was younger.

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How To Encourage Your One Year Old To Talk

Your babies first word is a huge milestone. As soon as you hear the sound of their first word you will gasp, cheer and praise your little one. You will…

Your babies first word is a huge milestone. As soon as you hear the sound of their first word you will gasp, cheer and praise your little one. You will then be wondering how you can encourage your one year old to talk.

encouraging your one year old to talk

One of the biggest questions is: will your baby say “mama” or “dada” first?

In a few more months, around 15 months old, your baby will use simple consonant sounds such as “up” and “more”. When your baby reaches 18 months old, there will be no stopping them as they will begin to pick up several new words a day.

Gestures

One year olds understand a lot more words than you probably think. To encourage them, use gestures such as pointing or waving can really help them. When your one year old points at an object respond with “do you want your cup? Or “Yes, that is a light.” Especially if they are waving, it is easy to incorporate, “Hello”, or “Bye Bye”.

Real words

It is very easy to use words that your one year old can say such as “ba ba”. But, you need to focus on using real words to help their speech. As a parent you need to stay one step ahead of your toddler and not talk down at them. The end result will be helping your toddler expand his/her vocabulary.

 

Take your time

encouraging your one year old to talk

Admittedly I have been here myself, when I have been trying to read Mole a bedtime story, and I rush through the book as quick as possible before she becomes over tired. Change your reading time and take your time with reading to them. Let your one-year-old point as the different pictures in the book and respond to them with what they are pointing at. Pronounce a key word to them several times to let them practice pronouncing it.

Piggybacking

When your child can say one word and understand that word well, you can introduce the piggybacking technique. This is where you will expand their one word into two words like this: instead of “dolly” you can say “baby dolly” or instead of “brush” you can say “hair brush”. Doing this will again help them to expand their vocabulary, without overwhelming them with too many new words.

Pitch

encouraging your one year old to talkYou may already do this without realising. Changing your tone of voice when speaking to your toddler really helps to keep them interested. Mole was very curious of our pet turtle. So for a good 10 minutes whilst we were playing with him, the only word I used was “turtle” but in many different voices. In the end, Mole was able to say “turtle” and understand that was our pet.

If your little one shows interest in something, spend time with them talking about that object. You can show them what it does and repeat what it is called. That way, if they already have an interest in the object, you have already grasped their attention to start learning.

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