Tag: toddler

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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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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5 Things NOT to say to new mums

I had a good think back at what was said to me during pregnancy and after pregnancy and had a chuckle at some of the things I was asked or…

I had a good think back at what was said to me during pregnancy and after pregnancy and had a chuckle at some of the things I was asked or told. Admittedly, i’ve even said some of these to new mums and had an unwelcoming response.

Let’s see if you have ever received any of these comments!

what not to say to new mums

  1. Do not ever say to a new mum that you “feel tired“. I can tell you now, no matter how tired you are from an unusual late night or early start will be nothing compared to the tiredness that a new mum feels. Believe me, they are thinking in their head all of the reasons why you should not feel tired and they do.
  2. “What is your babies routine?” I was asked this one so many time whilst Mole was a new born. I don’t mind the question so much now, but as a new mum, I felt it added a lot of pressure on to me to be perfect. It was also impossible to get Mole into a good routine with her reflux being so bad.
  3. “What’s his/her name?” The majority of the time, Mole was always referred to as a boy. To be honest, I didn’t mind so much as it was an easy mistake to make. Babies all look the same when they are newborn. Mole wore unisex clothes and had no hair. However, I can see how other mums can take offence. There has even been times when Mole has been dressed head to toe in pink and still has been referred to as a “he”. I’m going to stick to questions like “What’s baby’s name?” or “What’s your name?” looking at the baby in future.
  4. “Have you tried feeding her?” when your baby is crying. Oh my word. Am I the only one who has been asked this question? Of course I have tried feeding my baby! What do you think I have been doing all night!  This was so annoying when Mole’s reflux was really bad. She would cry so much and I felt like I was being given an abundance of advice that I really didn’t need.
  5. “It’s just the hormones.” Blaming my hormones on my right now is not exactly what I need as a new mum. I remember just thinking, “I don’t care if its the hormones, I need a hug and a little help around the house.”

So do any of those comments sound familiar? I think it is super easy to forget how intense being a new mum is. I’m 12 months on now, and due to me being pregnant with baby number 2, I’ve only just started to remember things.

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A Fun Family Day Out at Intu Potteries

This Blog post is part of a paid collaboration with Intu Potteries (AD) Deciding on what to do for the day as a family can be challenging. We don’t exactly…

This Blog post is part of a paid collaboration with Intu Potteries (AD)

Intu Potteries

Deciding on what to do for the day as a family can be challenging. We don’t exactly live in a country that is blessed for good weather and we are not all made of money. It can be a challenge finding a day out for the whole family that does not cost an arm and a leg and all family members can have fun.

Intu Potteries

Until I went to Intu Potteries

Intu Potteries have hit the nail on the head when it comes to fun, free, family activities

Intu Potteries have hit the nail on the head when it comes to fun, free, family activities. I thought my shopping days were long gone since becoming a mum. I tend to have a browse online when I get a quick 10 minutes. No way did I think I could take my toddler around a shopping centre for the day without a few tantrums.

Why is Intu Potteries different?

Apart from over 80 shops, 6 restaurants and a 9 screen cinema, Intu Potteries understand exactly what I need as a mum:Intu Potteries

  • Parent and Baby room
  • Parent and Baby parking
  • Fixed £1.50 Parking rate on Sundays
  • Soft play
  • Affordable lunch locations with Kids Meal Deals
  • Fun buggy rides
  • Family club
  • Safe Hands scheme

Soft Play

Soft play in the middle of the mall is a perfect place to let Mole out of the pram and let her stretch her legs before hitting the shops again. Giving us both the perfect reset.

Intu Potteries

You can see by the look on her face and the sound of her cheerful laughter that she is having the best time. It is always nice to see other mums there too, as you can have a good natter whilst watching the children. Intu Potteries

Soft play has been purpose built. It is a free 30 metre square play area, with room to jump, move equipment around and play games. You can also see your child where ever they crawl or run off to inside the play area, giving you peace of mind.

Fun Buggy Ride

You can hire a fun buggy from as little as £2 at the customer service desk on the upper floor. There are plenty to choose from but I am sure your child will choose for you like ours did.

Intu Potteries

Honestly, at first I was a little hesitant to put Mole in the buggy. I thought she would try and climb out. She hates the pram too and I assumed that she would behave the same way. I was wrong. Both Mole and Oscar were as good as gold in the buggy. There was a real sweetheart moment from Oscar when he had his arm around Mole whilst cruising and tooting their squeaky horn!

From a Mums perspective, they were actually really easy to control and drive around. I found that Intu Potteries had plenty of room in the shops for fun buggies, pushchairs and wheelchairs.

There was a real sweetheart moment from Oscar when he had his arm around Mole whilst cruising and tooting their squeaky horn!

Affordable Lunch

Intu Potteries

I love a good cafe lunch when out with my family or friends. Debenhams Restaurant was affordable with hot meals at around £5 and it had a fantastic kids meal deal where you could choose 5 products. (As a mum, this is heaven).

You will know that having 5 different options of food for your child to have a good munch on not only keeps them entertained whilst you dine, but also, if they are in a fussy eating mood, you have other options to fall back on.)

Intu Potteries

Parent and Baby Room

Intu Potteries

Not to exaggerate here, my first thought when entering the parent and baby room was “oh wow!”.

Clean, calm, spacious. I have never been in a parent and baby room before where they would be my 3 words to describe it.

My first thought when entering the parent and baby room was “oh wow!”

Intu Potteries

I loved the fact that Jay could come in the changing room with me to give me a helping hand and he even said he would feel comfortable and confident enough to change her in there himself. A God-send really because usually I have to do it as changing facilities are usually squashed in the female toilets.

In the baby room, there was a fully equipped station to feed your baby, nappy dispenser (we have all been there i’m sure when we accidentally forget a spare nappy!) and a private nursing room complete with a super comfy nursing chair.

Intu Potteries

I can not actually wait to take Mole to Intu Potteries again. We have had a lovely day out on a friendly budget. If you are in the Staffordshire area, I would highly recommend you check Intu Potteries out for a great, affordable, family day out.

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First Trimester with a 1 year old

Considering I have been pregnant before, I assumed that the first trimester of pregnancy would have been similar to that experience. I was wrong… First Trimester with Mole My first…

Considering I have been pregnant before, I assumed that the first trimester of pregnancy would have been similar to that experience. I was wrong…

2 under 2 pregnancy

First Trimester with Mole

My first trimester with Mole seemed to drag on for ages! I found out when I was 4 weeks pregnant and I went for a scan at 6 weeks and saw my little Mole Bean on the screen. I waited to tell my family after 12 weeks and to my that felt like half a year.

My symptoms were mainly fatigue. I had never felt tiredness like it. To the point where standing up in a shower was too much.

Everything else was a breeze. I had gone shopping and got cute baby items and took bump photos every single day. I would wear tight clothes in the hope of being able to show off my pregnancy bloat as if I was 30 weeks pregnant haha.

First Trimester with Baby Number 2

My experience this time has been different. I found out when I was 9 weeks pregnant by taking a test, then I went for a private scan at 10 weeks. Even this experience was new to me. I actually was surprised by a little baby waving and somersaulting around on the screen and feeling shocked that the little baby was in my belly. I never got that feeling with Mole as she was scanned to early and we went for private scans nearly every week, so we could she her gradually develop. That’s when this pregnancy really hit me it was real.

That’s when this pregnancy really hit me it was real

2 under 2 pregnancy

The symptoms this time around have been very hard. The nausea was almost unbearable. And a completely different story having a baby turning one to look after. All I wanted to do was lie down as any movement made me feel like throwing up.

I don’t think this time around I have allowed myself to be tired and take a break. Having a one year old is hard work. Mole wants to be constantly entertained and in between all of that, she has to be changed and fed. As soon as she would go for her nap, I wouldn’t be able to relax as the house looks like it has been tipped upside down. Once I switch the hoover on thats it, i’m still cleaning an hour later.  Thanks Mrs Hinch.

I don’t think this time around my boyfriend has had a full understanding of my tiredness either. As I don’t work it can be seen as if I literally get to sit around watching TV all day which could not be further from the truth. Sometimes I feel I could catch more of a break if I was back at work!

Bad news

I received bad news at one of my scans which was I had a haemorrhage, where the placenta had started to come away from the wall. I was told to be on bed rest for a few weeks so they could monitor if the bleed has gone down rather than got bigger. Obviously bed rest with a one year old was not going to happen. I did try to stay in as much as possible with Mole and it was as if she knew at times because she was so good for me. The best thing for Mole whilst I have been in my first trimester is her baby classes. There is so much for her to do at them, I can see how happy she is and by the time her classes have finished she is ready for a nap. So there has been less pressure on myself entertaining her for the full day.

Gym

As most of you know, one of my biggest hobbies is the gym. The gym for me is “my time”. Hearing I was to be on bed rest did not feel great. I had to take some time off but then was back at it after the good news. This pregnancy is different as I’m not loving my tummy getting bigger. I have probably only taken 2 photos so far and I am 16 weeks. It feels a little strange to get my head into this new chapter as I was well into my post-partum fitness goals.

Hunger

This time, I have been SO HUNGRY! Omg, I just do not feel full. Ever. Poor Mole, I even start to pick at her food whilst she is taking so long to eat it. I am out of control. My last pregnancy, one of my biggest symptoms was having no appetite. I couldn’t look at any type of food and feel hungry. This time wow, even broccoli or salad gets my tastebuds going.

Time

Wow 16 weeks already. Time is flying! To the point where I can’t keep up with it. Every time I go for an appointment or scan, I feel like it was only just yesterday since being there. Im super lucky to have Mole in nursery because appointments can happen at the shortest of notice sometimes and I have family here who could baby sit her whilst i’m gone.

Mole

My life with Mole is so good now. I feel very blessed. I get a little anxious that I may change how good things are between us in a negative way. I hope she enjoys being a big sister. When I go out shopping, I can’t bring myself to buy anything for the second baby as I get guilty not buying anything for Mole.

I have a private scan booked this week to hopefully find out the gender of the baby. I feel like this time around it’s going to be a boy. Once I have found out, I know i’ll be on the baby train looking at nursery decor and clothes.

Thanks for reading

Zoe xx

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