Category: Toddler

Transitioning a toddler from cot to bed

Hello toddler bed. You now let me roam free at bedtimes, jump out early at the crack of dawn and look for mummy or daddy instead of nap time…every toddlers…

Hello toddler bed. You now let me roam free at bedtimes, jump out early at the crack of dawn and look for mummy or daddy instead of nap time…every toddlers dream.

You are not the only parent that has probably tried to put off transitioning your toddler from a cot to a toddler bed for as long as possible. Now that time has come, I have a few helpful tips that will make the transition easier.

Mole was in her cot whilst Frankie was under 6 months old sleeping in the Snuz Pod next to me in our room. It suited us just fine as we were managing to get sleep and stick to the working bedtime routine. Our plan was to transition Mole when I felt like she was ready however, Frankie had other plans.

Frankie, as you know, is such a big boy. He out grew the Snuz Pod quickly. Our only realistic option was to move Frankie into the cot Mole was currently in, and invest in a toddler bed for Mole. (Rather than buying another cot, that would not be needed in a years time.)

Ideally it is best to transition your toddler from around 18months of age up to around 3 1/2 years old. The timing is different for every child. If your toddler is trying to climb out of their cot or asking for a big bed then its probably time to make the change.

A big move

Transitioning your toddler from a cot into a toddler bed is a big move for them. We were currently potty training Mole at the time and doing both of these milestones together was wrong as it would have been too much for her. Not forgetting that she was also adjusting to life as a big sister.

As the bed transition was our main priority, we put potty training on hold for a couple of months. I can now tell you, that break from potty training, to focus on her new sleeping routine, was the best decision ever. We started potty training again and made faster progress than before and Mole is now nappy free.

Change their roomtransitioning a toddler from cot to bed

I truly believe that changing their room from baby to toddler decor helps. We were lucky enough to be in a position to give the room a full make over from scratch, as her room was a spare (dumping) room.

I got her some fun artwork with big bright animals above the bed that she instantly got excited about. The walls were painted in bright colours opposite to neutral walls Mole had before. The reason was to make the room look noticeably different to her. All decorations were a mix between adult decor and children’s.

The bed we picked was perfect for her height to hop on and off with ease.

transitioning a toddler from cot to bedThe duvet set was purposely chosen as a bold Peppa Pig print that caught her eye immediately and was inviting for her to sleep in the bed rather than having an insta-perfect bedding set.

All of this added together built up Mole’s excitement and made the change positive for her. Once she saw the complete room, Mole started asking to sleep in the “big girl bed”.

I have seen parents simply change their toddlers cot into a cot bed and begin the transition, however, I would really recommend adding a few new touches to their “big girl/boy” room to make it feel more grown up to them.

Reference big girl/boy

Every now and again, I’d use the term big girl when describing something to her. This could be drinking from a big girl cup or sleeping in the big girl bed. It helped because Mole started to understand that the cot was now for babies and she wanted to sleep in the big girl bed.

Routinetransitioning a toddler from cot to bed

Stick to the same routine that worked for you before. The same bath time and bedtime story to bring familiarity to them in a big change.

Don’t be alarmed when your toddler decides to wonder around after 10 minutes of putting them to bed. That is normal and can be stopped with other methods that I will discuss later on, rather than changing their bedtime routine around.

Give them credit

I can guarantee your toddler will adapt to change.  We should have given Mole a little bit more credit for how well she took on the transition. I can’t believe I doubted doing it for so long. We started putting Mole down for a nap in her big girl bed first. She looked so grown up, it didn’t feel right when I saw her back in her cot for bedtime. Mole looked older (or more her age) and everything felt right to move her into the bed full time during the night.

Jumping out of bed

Mole was an angel for the first few weeks in her toddler bed then something changed. As soon as I put her to bed and started walking down stairs, I would see her bedroom door handle move and next minute she was running around the landing.

Do not give into giving them attention for doing this. We would say one word. “BED”. Take Mole back to bed, give her a kiss and then leave the room.

Some night I would be doing this till 11:00pm.

We even tried a stair gate on her bedroom door but that made her very upset and she was screaming “Molly stuck”.

If the one word “bed” would not work. I’d take Mole back to bed and tell her, “Molly stay in bed now, no open door.” and usually her reply would be that she isn’t tired. Which would be a lie as the time would be 9:00pm. Id simply then tell her that all of the animals, are in bed now, sun in bed, Frankie in bed and she would get the idea and stay in bed.

Early Birdtransitioning a toddler from cot to bed

Wow. 5:00am mornings are not for me. We are still working on this. My current alarm clock is Mole running in asking to watch Hey Duggee as 5:00am. i’ll keep you updated if I find a working miracle.

All I can say is, be prepared for the early starts.

Transition them at a weekend when you don’t have to be getting up early for work after getting a stressful night of keeping them in bed.

 

I hope you found this blog post useful.

Please share below any advice you have for other parents.

 

Lot’s of love

Zoe

xx

 

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Pedagogy| The Montessori Method

My time in lockdown had me exploring for new ideas on how I can educate Mole and Frankie at home. As a former teacher with background research in pedagogy, i’m…

My time in lockdown had me exploring for new ideas on how I can educate Mole and Frankie at home. As a former teacher with background research in pedagogy, i’m aware that different teaching practices work great for different personalities and activities. So there was no harm in stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new for my own children.

Pedagogy is theoretical part of education which helps teachers to know the objective, process, outcomes of the reaching process. Teaching is the practical part of education

One teaching method I found myself drawn to frequently: The Montessori Method.

Let’s explore it.

Where did Montessori come from?maria montessori

The Montessori Method was based on the observations and discoveries of Maria Montessori. An Italian doctor, who was the first woman to graduate from Rome University medical school. Montessori had a passion for treating children that needed extra care and assistance in the classroom. Later Montessori went on to establish schools for students with working parents. Montessori looked at the schools with a scientific approach, compared to your traditional education setting. She spent time observing the students behaviour then began to implement ways to help the students progress. To put it simply; the classroom was her laboratory.

What I like about her experiment was that she spent hours simply observing the children in a number of different activities. That line spoke to me that, for once, everything is paused, analysed and an approach is made. Compared to going with the norm of society when it might not be as effective.

What did Maria Montessori find?

The Italian educator and doctor, Maria Montessori, found that if children work carefully in a prepared environment, they are more focused and controlled.

Montessori’s work began to spread all over the world and influence many teachers. She wrote numerous articles and showed success in the children she taught.

This had me thinking about the numerous activities, I had previously planned for Mole that had gone wrong. From what I assumed was due to her lack of concentration. Not the environment she was in or me interfering. I was keen to learn more.

The Montessori Approach

The Montessori approach believes that children have the best capacity to learn from birth to 6 years of age. You will find that most of the Montessori tasks have this age range in mind.

Montessori offers a more holistic approach to learning. Where everything is real play (no pretend play with Ikea kitchens, fantasy – reading books with princesses and dragons in is a no go and as for plastic toys – that is a big no). But, the good thing about today’s  world, is that you can take what you want from Montessori without judgement.

Here are the principles of Montessori:

The Principles of Montessorimontessori activity

Principle 1: Respect

Respecting the child is the most important principle of Montessori. You wouldn’t actually think you wouldn’t have an issue with  not respecting children but, in many teaching cases you will find this can be common. Ways to respect children whilst learning are: do not interrupt a child’s concentration whilst on a task, give children the freedom to do something for themselves and learn for themselves. The teacher must have peaceful conflict resolution and to not be judgemental.

How I have applied principle 1: Respect the child, to my parenting

  •  Mole’s toys (educational & fun) are at her level. She can grab any she pleases.
  • I’m simply a guide. Before, if Mole was to make a mistake on a task, i’d immediately jump into help her. Now, I give her time to figure it out.
  • Clothes. I let Mole choose her own outfits to wear now (as long as they are weather appropriate). This was quite hard for me to do as I love styling her, but, she wanted to get involved one day and I couldn’t refuse.

Principle 2: Learning through livingmontessori

Montessori believe that children have an absorbent mind. They are constantly learning through just simply, living. Everything they see, touch, hear, taste, they are learning from.

How I have applied principle 2: Learning through living, to my parenting

  • I know make a conscious effort to involve Mole in everyday tasks. Tasks that you would not necessarily think a toddler would enjoy or a toddler can do.
  • Washing: Mole takes her dirty clothes to the washing basket, helps me colour sort items of clothing, fills the washing machine up and now that we are using natural soap, Mole adds the soap nuts.
  • Cooking: Mole will help wash fruit and vegetables, pour pasta or rice into a pan. Chop up fruits. Her favourite is whisking with a hand held electric whisk. I’m careful to observe her in the kitchen and guide her. It is amazing what they can do if you give them the independence.
  • Getting ready: Mole chooses her own outfit daytime and pyjamas. Again, if it is not weather appropriate or the outfit just looks absolutely crazy, I will guide her with different options.
  • Cleaning: Using natural products, we take it in turns to either spray or do the polishing. Sometimes, I do have to go back over and do it again but she has so much fun doing it, its worth while.

Principle 3: Sensitive Periods

The Montessori pedagogy believes that children are ready to learn certain skills at different times. They call this sensitive periods.

Each sensitive period is a specific kind of inner compulsion. They motivate children to seek objects and relationships in the environment. Children use these to develop themselves. A young child, however, is neither consciously aware of, nor capable of directly communicating, his or her potentials.

The sensitive periods only last for as long as the child is ready to learn the certain skill. The skill could be reading or writing. It is important for the teacher to observe when the student is in their sensitive period for a skill to then prepare resources for the child to help them learn.

What happens in a Sensitive Period?

Montessori believes that during a sensitive period the child will behave differently towards a certain task. Here are the different behaviours.

  • Behaving more sensible towards a task
  • An overpowering force and interest in wanting to learn the skill.
  • A commitment to learning the skill
  • Instead of showing signs of boredom, the child shows persistent energy
  • Never regained
  • Wanting to do more creative activities
  • When noticed by the child, the sensitive period ends.

What are the “Sensitive Periods?”

Montessori claim there are eleven sensitive periods in total. They occur from birth to to the age of six. They are:

  • Order (Ages 2-4, developing a passionate love for routines)
  • Movement (Ages 0-1, controlling random movements e.g. grasping or crawling)
  • Small Objects (Ages 1-4, Interest in small objects and tiny details)
  • Courtesy (Ages 2-6, Imitating polite behaviours to then make the polite behaviour part of their personality)
  • Writing  (Ages 3-4, children become passionate about letters and numbers and want to put pen to paper)
  • Reading (Ages 3-4, children begin an interest in the symbolic representation of a sound)
  • Senses (Ages 2-6, children become fascinated with their senses: touch, taste, smell, sound and weigh. They are eager to do sensory activities)
  • Expressive languages (Ages 0-6, begin to use babble sounds to communicate then develop their sounds to meaningful words to communicate)
  • Spatial Relationships (Ages 4-6, An understanding of common places and expanding this from their home to their wider surroundings)
  • Mathematics (Ages 0-6, formation of the concept of quantity and operations)
  • Music (Ages 2-6, an increased interest in rhythm, pitch and melody)

How I have applied principle 3: Sensitive Periods, to my parenting

  • Honestly, this one I struggle to agree with. My personal opinion is that, if you make a task fun and engaging, then children will love to learn.
  • But, I have noticed when Mole suddenly has an increased interest in things and I do follow her lead with thing. e.g. wanting to read more books.

Principle 4: The Prepared Environmentmontessori playroom

The environment has to be child focused. Children should be able to move freely and explore. Children must be able to reach for activities they want to do and teachers should prepare the environment in the best way for the child.

How I have applied principle 4: The Prepared Environment, to my parenting

  • Mole’s toys are all within her reach. Nothing on high shelving.
  • Puzzles are deconstructed with all the parts together on a wooden tray.
  • Snacks are kept at her level for her to help herself (I choose what snacks are available and guide her on timings for eating them e.g. if she gets one too close to lunch then I guide her to choose differently)
  • A footstep for her to reach onto high countertops.
  • Aiming for as many real life items for her to use as possible. Real kitchen appliances, real tableware.

Principle 5: Self Education

Montessori believe children should be educating themselves. The role of the teacher is to provide the environment and encouragement to help the child self educate and develop.

How I have applied principle 5: Self Education, to my parenting

  • Stepping back. Giving Mole the freedom to choose what she wants to do and letting her go about it in her own way.
  • Mistakes. I’ve noticed how often I use to step in before a mistake would have been made or how quick I would help to make something right for her. I now let Mole make plenty of mistakes where she can learn from until I guide her.
  • Trying something new. Your toddler will surprise you.They are so clever and independent. I let her do tasks that I never thought she could do, such as, using a blunt knife to chop vegetables or helping put clothes away.

The Montessori Classroommontessori classroom

The way a classroom is set up is very important for the Montessori method. They believe that the classroom has to be a specific way to encourage learning.

  • Real plants (great activity for children to water them too)
  • Minimising over stimulating toys or art work (neutral wall colours)
  • Plenty of storage (everything should have a place where children can store items neatly e.g. coat peg at their level, toy storage is accessible)
  • Peaceful, quite classroom with no clutter
  • Plenty of open space for children to move freely
  • No fantasy for children under 6 years old
  • Sensory resources
  • Natural and real life materials (wooden toys over plastic, playing in a real kitchen not a pretend one)
  • Separated areas for different tasks.

I love the idea of increasing the amount of natural toys. This benefits the environment too. The toys Montessori recommends are like wooden blocks and puzzles. We have some wooden shapes where Mole loves to use her imagination and they can be anything from a person to a tree.

Personally, although Montessori recommends to use real experiences. Having Mole play in our real kitchen all day is not practical for us. Using her pretend kitchen, we have still been able to make it as real as possible for her and she has enjoyed it.

I want to explore the reason for no fantasy under the age of 6 too. To take on this method, it would have a huge impact on my parenting. We have so many books with fantasy characters, wooden fruit and princess dress up costumes.

Why no fantasy in Montessori?

Fantasy Vs Imagination

Montessori wants to encourage children to use their imagination over fantasy. Many people often get fantasy and imagination mistaken for one another.

Fantasy is the stories and ideas drawn from a world which does not exist (fairies, dragons, talking horses, etc.). Where as, imagination is the ability to conjure images or scenarios in one’s own mind, separate from present sensorial input.

An example of fantasy would be, giving a child a book to read with a talking cat. Rather than an informative book about cats.

Or

giving a child wooden food to make a sandwich, rather than giving a child the real ingredients to make an edible sandwich.

An example of a child using their imagination would be, a child crawling on the floor barking pretending to be a dog, after seeing a real life dog.

Or

A child pretending to be a mum, as they want to practice a role model they have seen in their family.

Montessori believes that imagination is where are creativity comes from. It is important to focus and develop children’s imagination to help with their creativity.

The reason for no fantasy is that Montessori believe children have a difficult time understanding what is real and what is fantasy whilst growing up. Thinking about it, Mole probably does think unicorns are real.

Not only is it confusing for children, Montessori conducted an experiment where she found children preferred to play with real life items and do real life experiences over pretend play. e.g. Children wanted to play with real food rather than toy food.

Having the science explained to me, it all makes sense.

Ways to to develop imagination in children

  • Water real plants
  • Make meals with real food
  • Clean up real dirt
  • Help to wash real clothes
  • Read more non-fiction books
  • Feed real animals (make bird food or feed your dog)

Whilst writing this blog post, I can say I have learned a lot. I’m still not complete with my understanding of Montessori as i’m sure there is still so much to explore. I may not agree with everything Montessori but, I will be taking aspects of the Montessori pedagogy into consideration with my parenting at home.

*images sourced

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Two Year Old Girl Birthday Present Ideas

Mole’s second Birthday is approaching. Time flies so fast! I feel like it only yesterday when I held her in my arms for the very first time. I didn’t want…

Mole’s second Birthday is approaching. Time flies so fast! I feel like it only yesterday when I held her in my arms for the very first time.

I didn’t want to feel like I was buying her toys for the sake of it. It is easy to get sucked into buying toys that they don’t necessarily need.  This time, I was focused in finding items that she genuinely needed or toys that will help with her imaginary play or educate her.

All the rest can be left up to friends and family to spoil her with!

One decision I made was to save a budget for a birthday party. Unfortunately, i’m still unsure if this can still go ahead with the advice people should be isolating. The idea behind it was that she would have an experience to remember and a day full of fun that can be shared with the whole family.

The gifts

Liewood Dante Beach set – Sea Creature Mix

Liewood Dante Beach set - Sea Creature Mix

This bucket and spade set was going to be for our holiday. It rolls up and will fit easily into out suitcase. The design is beautiful and Mole loves sea animals. I thought she could also use it out in the garden with her water table or we could invest in a play sand pit. Failing that i’m sure she can have lot’s of fun with this in the bath!

Le Toy Van Honeybake Tea Set

Le Toy Van Honeybake Tea Set

Mole has been into her play kitchen more than ever. I figured seen as we will be spending more time indoors to make use of this with a new tea set.

In the past we have had tea sets that she has loved but i’m hoping this wooden set will last her longer. I can’t wait to show her how to play teddy bears picnics with this in the garden.

Olli Ella Play & Pack City Bag

Olli Ella Play & Pack City Bag

The Play’n Pack is a backpack filled with imaginative play. Whether we may be flying or not this year, this bag will come in handy at some point. It is packed full of games and puzzles for Mole to do.

Inside your City Play’n Pack Drawstring Backpack you’ll find:

    • 1  Mini Playpa Colouring Roll (2m)
    • 103 Stickers
    • 6 Non-toxic Crayons
    • 2  Wooden Toy Cars
    • 52 Play’n Colour Alphabet Cards

The excitement that it all comes in a bag as a surprise will be perfect for a rainy day. There are other versions too!

Liewood Vita Lunch Box in Panda Mustard

Liewood Vita Lunch Box in Panda Mustard

liewood lunchbox

An item Mole needed! This may sound silly but searching for the perfect lunch box took me the longest time. I needed to make sure that it was suitable for holding snacks as well as her lunch.

The silicone is free from BPA and safe to use for food. It has two big sections inside at the head and 2 small sections inside the ears.

Liewood Tobi Rain boot – Dino Mix

liewood rainboot

These short rain boots are perfect for playing in the garden or out and about on muddy walks. I love the unisex design. Another item Mole needed as her other shoes are canvas and not ideal in the mud!

Franck & Fischer Aske Backpack

Franck & Fischer Aske Backpack

Mole needed a new bag for nursery and her trips out. I love how this one is a little grown up but the bug design keeps in fun. It is large enough to fit all her items like a change of clothes or a lunch box.

The muted tones will match most of her outfits too, so there will be no colour clashing.

Plan Toys Water Way Play Set

plan toys water play set

This fun, natural rubber water play set looked perfect for creative play. Mole currently plays with a small boat and a baking pan that I fill with water so this will be an amazing upgrade for her!

Petit Collage Magnetic Play Scenes

petit college magnetic play scene

Another game that will use Mole’s creativity and imagination. I thought this toy will be nice for her to sit and play independently with. She really has taken a liking to figures and fiddly bits at the moment so this will be perfect!

 

I hope this have given you some new ideas for gifts. Remember, there are always cheaper alternatives for products out there and never feel any pressure into buying hundreds of presents.

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My Toddler’s a Fussy Eater: Tips

I can not begin to tell you how many meals I have made for Mole and they have ended up going in the bin. It’s like she can taste the…

Fussy Eating toddlerI can not begin to tell you how many meals I have made for Mole and they have ended up going in the bin. It’s like she can taste the smallest bit of pea mashed into meal. A shame really as when we started weaning Mole would eat everything!

We recently attended a dietician appointment. It was suppose to be for Frankie and his milk allergy but seen as we are already a dairy free household we switched the conversation onto Mole and her fussy eating.

I left the appointment feeling reassured and determined with Mole’s meal time issues.

Here are her tips and some of my own that have really helped us:

Do not serve up a different meal

The biggest mistake I was making was, when Mole refused her food, I would go and serve her up a completely different meal. My biggest worry was that I didn’t want her to go hungry. But more often than not, she would then refuse the next meal. It was almost like a game with her and the more she played up, the more attention she would get because I didn’t want her to be upset or throw her plate on the floor.

The dietician advised to ignore her tantrum. If she gets worse, take the plate away, calm her down and reassure her. Even if she needs to have a little break away but then go back, give her the same plate. This way she is not learning she can demand what ever dinner she wants.

Change location

Once in a while, I do an indoor picnic. I make it sound really exciting for her, we set a place up in the living room and I serve her simple foods like fruit and sandwiches. If I was to give her this in her high chair she would not eat it. Yet for some reason she eats every single bit of food this way. The important thing is, it gives us both a reset. Its stress free for me and I know she is eating. And exciting for her.

Sometimes she is distracted with her toys in the living room, I just make sure that even if it takes a while for her to eat, she does go back to her picnic and eat.

Family Timefussy eating toddler tips

The whole family eating together at the same time helps. It establishes a good routine and you are being a positive role model. Mole is then not distracted by what someone else is doing and trying ways to get their attention.

I like to show Mole i’m eating the same food as her too and how tasty it is.

Again if we hit a bad meal time, when she has been in the highchair long enough, I will put her on my knee and let her explore some of my dinner. This is only when I have finished eating too. For some reason, she seems to be more open to trying food off my plate than her own.

Don’t overkill the favourites

Easier said than done when you know what their favourite meal is. The fussier Mole became, the more I was serving up her favourite pasta dish. Then I realised she was eating it 5 times a week! Soon Mole showed no interest in eating it. Which at the time, you are so caught up in dinner time, you automatically think she is just being fussy again or teething when really, she is bored of it.

Back in time

One question we asked the dietician was “Why does she go three days eating loads of food, then another three days not wanting anything?”

Her response was interesting. Humans use to have to go for long periods of time not eating food as it was not available. In our nature we are trained to fast. This is so we would have been prepared for the hard times. As a baby, we are still programmed that way but as we grow older, we realise that food is readily available so we unlearn this behaviour and teach ourselves to eat everyday.

It’s completely normal for Mole to have an appetite some days and others not wanting much at all. Respect her and offer her food but, if she is not hungry, do not stress.

Common food

The dietician said: If you keep serving Broccoli, Mole will never see this as unusual, and one day, she might actually go to try it. It may time a long time, but, it will happen. Where as, if you never give her Broccoli, and then suddenly make a big deal about it to her she will more likely play up to it.

Personally, I felt a bit confused by this one as I hate wasting food and did not want to keep throwing away veg in the bin. I gave it ago and she was right, Mole took a few weeks to try it.

Fun food

Make food more fun. Cut it out into different shapes, make funny faces with it or get them involved in making it. This could be a make your own pizza night or simply putting the pasta into an empty pan for you. The more fun it is, the more likely they will eat it. Switch off any distractions like the TV so they can fully focus on the food.

 

I hope these tips help you. They have certainly helped us. Having a fussy eater can be hard but, I think it is important to know that because they have a label of a fussy eater, does not mean we have to accept this and have stressful meal times. There are ways we can have fun meal times where food is not thrown onto the floor on purpose.

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Potty Training: Tips before your child starts

It is usually advised to start potty training your child when they are between 18 months to three years old. This is when they are more emotionally and physically ready…

It is usually advised to start potty training your child when they are between 18 months to three years old. This is when they are more emotionally and physically ready for it.

As a first time mum, I had no experience on potty training before and my first perception of it was a task that could be done within a week. While this is possible for some children, it certainly wasn’t the case for Mole. With researching potty training, there were actually a few things we needed to do before we officially started.

Firstly,

You need to make sure your child is actually ready themselves for potty training. The signs below will give you an idea if you’re child is ready. Please note, your child does not have to do all of these signs, but by showing they can do a good few will make potty training easier in the long run.

Signs your child is ready to be potty trained

  • Pulling on their nappy
  • Say when they have a wet nappy or show signs of being uncomfortable
  • Taking an interest in you going to the toilet
  • Can say the words wee wee or poo poo or something similar.
  • They hide to do a poo or stop to do a wee
  • Can go a few hours with a dry nappy
  • Go to do a poo at regular times
  • Wants to be more independent
  • Enjoys praise and will do activities for praise
  • Understands your question of “do you need a wee?”

What to do before you start potty trainingtoddler potty training tips

Before you go ahead with the potty training, there are actually a few tips you can do first. This will help to ease you and your toddler into it.

  • Take you toddler to the toilet with you every time you go. Explain to them exactly everything you are doing, from pulling your pants down, flushing and washing your hands. This will help them to become familiar with the routine.
  • Let your toddler choose their big girl or boy pants. Make it fun for them. They don’t have to wear fashionable ones, just let them be in control.
  • Buy toddler friendly potty training books. I got Mole this one from Amazon: Princess Potty Book. It’s surprising how much they learn from a book and again making the process seem fun for them.
  • Invest in a sticker praise chart. Explaining how to get the sticker praise first will make them see a reason to start. Using stickers is a healthier alternative to sweet treat praise too.
  • Invest in a potty. We first got a potty and Mole was too small for it. So before you start try out different potty’s until you find the right one for your child.
  • Get a new toy or find new videos on your phone or tablet. This is a distraction technique to help them stay sat on the potty. Getting together new toys or videos will be more intriguing for them.
  • Have a word with yourself. Be prepared. The first few days will be messy so ask yourself is this the right time to do it before you start? It is best to stay in the house too, so ask yourself if you can handle that for a few days.

I hope you found this useful and remember, if you or your child is not ready there is no pressure. Start again when you both are.

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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

COMMENT BELOW YOUR 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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