Posted in Education, Family Life, Parenting

Reward Charts – Do they work ?

There is a lot of controversy within the parenting communities about reward charts. Some parents swear by them and others think that they are a giant waste of time.

Now what would you say if I told you they can be both.
I will explain…

Pros and cons of reward charts

I love reward charts for Hamish. I think that being used in a consistent manner they can help a child reach a goal as they are able to see and track their progress.
I love that they motivate a child to perform better and that often they are just total fun.
There is always a danger in a larger group of children that a reward chart will in fact damage a child’s self-esteem as they compare their progress to that of their peers and instead of motivating them, the reward chart will demotivate and set your child up for failure.
So, do I personally believe that reward charts should be used for every child, in every situation ….no!

Personal experience

However,we have personally had great outcomes for potty training, school work goals, bed training, and reading with Hamish using reward charts.

He is the only small child we have in the house and has no one to compare his achievements with, allowing us to use the reward chart to build up his self-esteem, highlight his achievements and assist him to reach a personal goal.
When I had 6 little ones in the home, things were a lot different. I hated reward charts.
As a family, we weren’t consistent enough to stick to one. My younger children were not motivated to learn from their older siblings’ success and I found the reward charts brought about low self-worth and a multitude of sibling rivalry as the kids judged and compared themselves.
So. I think if you are going to use a reward chart …..
  • Be specific.
  • Consider if it is the right kind of motivation for your child or children.
  • Discuss how the chart does not measure who we are, what we are good at or our worth with your children.
  • Keep the goals short and reward quickly so that your child does not get demotivated.
  • Build self esteem daily through words of affirmation, praise and acknowledgement of good behaviour, kindness, etc so that the reward chart is not the sole check list of how well you feel they behave.
We use these Reward charts and stickers from Tower products avaliable in most retailers.
Posted in babies, Parenting

7 Trending baby names for 2022

As is customary, each year brings a new season of fashion, food, outrageous Tiktok trends, and baby names.

I decided to take a look at the popular baby name website, Nameberry to see what their predictions are for 2022.

Defining trends

It was interesting to see that they have identified 7 major trends that will influence baby names in the coming year.
these are:-
  • Playful names
  • Bridgerton inspired names
  • Names with the letter R
  • Names that give a feeling of retro nostalgia
  •  Euro Chic names
  • Names ending in an S
  • Names inspired by nature
Nameberry make their predictions based on American social security administration, user behaviour on their website, current events, pop culture, and several other defining factors including categories from TV, music, nature, letters, and sounds.
So, if you are expecting take a look at these name suggestions.

Baby Name Suggestions for 2022

1. Playful
It is believed that after the harsh pandemic months many parents may want to lighten the air and will choose playful names like Birdie or Pixi
Other suggestions are
Bear
Dovie
And iggy
2.Bridgerton – inspired names
It seems the ever-popular Netflix Regency Era novel adaptation – Bridgerton has proved extremely popular among future parents with name choices like :
Francesca
Benedict
Cressida
Eloise
And Daphne
3. The letter R 
Short names that are powerful in their simplicity and strength will appeal to the parents of 2022
There has already been quite a trend of short unisex names starting with R,  mostly as middle names.
Names like
Reeve
Revel
Reign
Roux
And Rome
4. Retro nostalgia
Much of the time what is old becomes new again and many retro names evoking happier, simpler times are making a huge comeback this year.
Old names like
Betty
Bobby
Mae
Ned
And Nellie
5. Euro chic
Euro chic baby names appeal to the sophisticated worldwide traveler and would be comfortable anywhere from Copenhagen to Cape Town
Chic names like
Astrid
Bastian
Cosmo
Oona
And Stellen
6. Names ending in S
Names that end in S are quite rare and Nameberry predicts a change in this for both boys and girls.
Some examples are
Emrys
Lois
Wells
And Ozias
7.Nature
With the pandemic keeping us all indoors for most of the year, it is predicted that many a wanderlust parents will draw inspiration from nature and use names like
Horizon
Koa
Lotus
Prairie
And wood
Which is your favourite from the lists above?
Posted in Education, Family Life, Parenting

Getting ready to go back to school with Tower Product

With Christmas barely over, parents are starting the annual Back to School shopping rush of uniforms, school bags, and labels.
Even as a homeschool family we often label much of the kids’ items. I love the wide range of school labels and stickers Tower Products have and these products have been part of our annual Back to school prep for years.
Some of the products on the Tower Product Back to School catalog are :-
  • DIY bag tags
  • Shoe labels
  • Pen/Pencil labels
  • Waterproof stickers for lunch boxes
  • Lunchbox sticky notes
  • Iron-on labels for clothing
  • Multipurpose book labels

Products

DIY bag tags that can be used for easy identification or to add contact or emergency details onto your child’s bag. I’ve actually added one of these to our car seat safety belt with Hamish’s info on so that if we are ever in a crash, the medics can identify him and assist him quickly. I have his name, my contact number, allergies, medical aid number all listed on the tag.
Shoe labels are not only fantastic to help little ones to label their left from their right. I use two different labels for that (for example Left could be a yellow label and Right a blue) but they also help your kids to know they have the right shoes on and teachers know whose shoes are left behind in the classroom.
Pen/pencil labels for easy marking. Use a ballpoint pen to write your child’s name and affix the label. I have to confess, I absolutely hate labeling pens and pencils. It is always such a long process. This way you can write all the names and let your child fix them on. Hamish was quite adamant that we match the colour of the label to the colour pen.
Lunch box sticky notes. How cute are these? I honestly think that they are my favourite and such a nice way to send a little love with your child to school. Tower Products also have a variety of waterproof labels to mark lunch boxes, juice bottles and lunch bags. These are dishwasher safe.
These Iron on labels for clothing take me back to my own school days. They are so easy to use and cost-effective. Write your child’s name with a ball point pen and iron onto the garment with a hot iron. For me personally, these labels are great for if you have a bigger family and don’t want to order 100 name label stickers per child at a time.
Multipurpose and book labels because all textbooks and exercize books deserve to look good and Tower Products makes it easy to label these with a variety of self-adhesive stickers. Simply write your child’s name, subject, or year on.
Back to school has never been this much fun.
To learn more about Tower products go to www.towerproducts.co.za
Posted in Christmas, Family Time, Parenting

8 ways to save for Christmas

Every year I’m determined to start saving for Christmas early and each year I get to December without actually saving or shopping early.

This year, I’m determined to beat the Christmas rush and get an early start to saving for the Christmas we want.
So how can I start now ….

1. Savings account

Decide on how much you want to spend on gifts, decor, and food and then divide that amount by 11 months and deposit your amount each month into a savings account.
Depending on how much willpower you have you should have your amount by Christmas. ( If you are like me you also may be tempted to spend this saving during the year)

2. Checkers card

So, knowing I have no willpower, a Checkers card is a much better option for me.
Checkers have a savings card and allow you to top up the card in increments of R20.  You can add a little each time you go shopping.

3. Gifts cards

Another option is to purchase gift cards throughout the year to gift.
Some of my favourites are Woolworths, Mr price and Toys R us
You could also purchase a Pick n pay gift card in October or November to use towards your Christmas meal.

4. Pep money

Pep money works the same way as the Checkers saving cards and if  you added R20 to an account a day until December you would have just over R7000

5. Butcheries

Some butcheries allow you to purchase cards to top up from R20 a time. Just ask your local butcher if they offer this service.

6. YSense

Ysense is a survey site that actually works. I joined a month ago and made $10.68 ( about R170)in the month by answering surveys and playing games occasionally. What’s really great is that you can cash out from $10 into your PayPal account and you could honestly leave your amount until Christmas.
Sign up on my link here 

7. Layby

Many stores offer a layby system where you can purchase your items with a deposit and pay the rest over 2 or 3 months. You then collect the goods when your amount is fully paid. This is a great way to buy those Christmas outfits.

8. Buy gifts monthly

Another great idea is to buy or make gifts monthly and store them until Christmas. I have a large family and this is the best way for me to spend more money on each child as I can budget R500 a month for example but couldn’t budget R4500 at one go for gifts in December.
Can you think of any other ways to save ?
Posted in Parenting

The Dangers of Magnetic Toys

A few years ago I spotted a magnetic construction set and fell in love. It seemed like the most perfect open-ended toy to buy for Hamish, who at the time was about 2 and a half years old.

The toy however had an age rating of 6 + and after reading many horror stories of children who had accidentally swallowed magnets, I fully understood why.
Magnetic toys are fun. They are wonderful for STEM development and open-ended play and they open up a world of learning through play possibilities but they do need to be chosen with care and supervised in young children.
High-powered magnets, also known as rare earth magnets, are more powerful than other magnet types. These rare earth magnets are also used in objects like MRI machines, household vacuums, and washing machines.

Why magnets are dangerous

The danger in magnetic toys lies mainly in a child swallowing the magnets as they are much more complex than button batteries to extract.
If more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets will attract each other inside the body, trapping tissue between them and cutting off blood supply which will cause internal injuries, specifically to the intestines and bowels, and result in life-threatening injuries.
A child would then need surgery to remove the magnets and dependant on the extent of your child’s injuries, they may need additional surgery, bowel reconstruction, and time in a pediatric ICU.
Another danger to a child ingesting a magnet is suffocation as the magnet may get lodged in their throat, even if removed this may cause permanent damage to their digestive tract.
Knowing this you are not going to be buying small children strong magnets and even those within a casing need to be checked for quality to see how easy a young child can break it.
So how do you allow your child to play with magnetic toys and still ensure that your child plays safely?

Magnet safety

1. Keep small, loose magnets away from young children.
2. Supervise any magnetic play with young children, especially if these are small enough to swallow.
3. Keep track of how many magnets your child is playing with and count again before packing away.
4. Keep all fridge magnets higher than your child can reach.
5. Talk to your child about the risks of swallowing a magnet and let them know it’s safe to tell you even if they have swallowed one.
6. Choose quality safety tested magnetic toys. Those that are encased or too large for a toddler to swallow.

Signs and symptoms

How will you know if your child has swallowed a magnet?

1. They may tell you.
2. You will notice one missing when you pack away the magnetic toys.
3. You have discovered a broken magnetic toy casing and can not locate the magnets.
If any of these occur your child may experience the following symptoms:
– nausea
-vomiting
-stomach pain
-fever
If you suspect your child has swallowed a magnet, take them to your medical practitioner straight away.

About magnetic toys

All magnetic toys should have passed toy safety regulations, however, with a large number of fidget toys and magnetic toys now available online, there are no guarantees. It is best not to assume that a toy has passed a safety standard and to take necessary precautions when your child plays with it.
Always check the instructions and product labels and the age applicable guide when buying magnetic toys.
Ensure that when choosing a magnetic toy for little ones, that there are no small magnetic parts. Anything with a magnetic Flux index of > 50kg2mm2 should be avoided.
Magnetic toys offer hours of creative and imaginative play but should be chosen with care and supervised accordingly.
Posted in Parenting

What to do if your child is kidnapped?

The last few weeks, as mother’s we have collectively sent up prayers for the safe return of the 4 Moti Brothers who were kidnapped on the way to school.

Each of us, imagining the fear these poor parents must be going through. Whilst we will never understand fully their emotions or anguish we know how we feel if our children are hurt or in danger.

Losing my child

Many years ago on our first holiday to Cape Town, my then father in law, was keeping an eye on one of my boys as we popped into a book store and I looked again to find him gone in a busy Canal walk mall. My heart died. I remember the panic welling up in my throat as I was overcome with fear and the need to vomit. I found him 5 minutes later at the information stand. Someone had helped him get there but it could have had an awful outcome.
So, I could only imagine the sleepless nights and panic these parents were going through.

Kidnapping in South Africa

Kidnapping has seen a rise in South Africa and we as a collective society, know that we need to be more vigilant. I read a report saying that our kidnappings have also become more violent which immediately leaves us as moms in a panic.
According to this article the crime statistics for 2019/2020 are as follows :
Kempton Park ( Gauteng) has the most incidents of kidnapping 122
Followed by 
Tembisa ( Gauteng)74
Inanda ( Kzn) 74
Randfontein ( Gauteng) 67
Johannesburg central ( Gauteng) 66
These statistics are shocking but also don’t paint a true picture. The reported amount of kidnappings for this period was 930 people. 
The reasons for kidnapping vary, as crime has increased there has also been an increase in crime-related kidnappings like occupants in a car hijacking or in a robbery but others are kidnapped human and sex trafficking, sexual offenses, mob justice, and criminal vendetta.
As a mother, these reports are gut reaching and my biggest question is not only how do we protect our children from these predators but what would I do if my child was kidnapped?

What to do if your child is kidnapped ?

When researching for this article I came across the website www.lawforall.co.za who has listed the following as a guide on what to do if your child is kidnapped.
The first 24 hours in kidnapping are the most crucial. It is important to act as quickly as possible as this dramatically improves the authorities’ ability to assist in finding the missing child.
1. Find a recent, clear photo of your child. One that shows their face clearly.
2. Most importantly remember there is no waiting period to report a missing person. Go to your nearest police station with your photo and open a case.
3. Give a full description of your child to the police
– age
– height
– weight
-distinct features like birthmarks, etc
-what they were wearing
-where and when you last saw them
4. You will need to complete and sign the SAPS 55 ( A) form and importantly get the name and contact details of the investigating officer.
5. Contact missing children South Africa to help distribute flyers with all the relevant information.  This information is then circulated to volunteers,  social media and social networks. The service is free and they stay in touch with the family and the police and report any tip-offs or information they receive.
6. Keep in contact with the investigating officer and report any new information to them.
7. Get psychological help. If you can’t afford this many police stations have Trauma rooms or can refer you to a free service to assist you.

How to protect your child from being kidnapped

As moms, we also know that sometimes a situation is beyond our control and I personally do not believe that there is one parent out there who isn’t looking after their child as diligently as they should but here are some helpful tips to protect your children even more.
Teach your child their name, age, birthday, address, parents names, and contact number
Teach them how to call emergency numbers like 10111
Teach your child to use a cell phone and how to make calls.
Be vigilant when you are out. Especially in public places.
Have a tag or bracelet with your child’s details on them if they are younger. This shouldn’t be things like a huge name on a bag, but rather something they could show a safe adult if they are lost. Perhaps in a bag or jacket.
If your child is old enough to play at parks alone or go to the store, let them wear a whistle and teach them to use it if they feel afraid. A younger child could wear a whistle and learn to use it if they are lost.
Teach your child to scream or shout out No! I DON’T KNOW YOU! THIS IS NOT MY MOM/DAD! if they are lost, afraid, or in danger.
Never let a child go somewhere alone. Even tweens and teens should rather attend events, go to malls or parks in groups for safety. Teach the buddy system.
Practice safety plans, without adding anxiety. For example, you could tell your children,  we are going to the mall if you get lost find your way to the information center and then walk them through the steps before starting your day at the mall.
Talk about important topics like kidnapping, abduction, rape, etc at your child’s level of understanding. Answer their questions as matter of factually as you can without instilling fear and anxiety in them.
Teach stranger danger
Share age-appropriate information with your child regarding safety and dangers to children.
Carry a recent photo of your child with you. I often take a photo of my child before we head out to a public place so I remember what they have on. Often in an emergency, it can be easy to freeze and not recall if a shirt was blue or purple.
Fingerprint your child and keep these in a file.
Never leave a child alone in a car.
Have a safe word for collecting your children. Inform them of who will collect them. Keep this as consistent as you can.
For older children and teens have them phone / WhatsApp their location if out with friends. Let them update you if plans change and check-up.
Remind a child never to accept a ride even if they know the person and to never leave home without permission.
Always have an adult supervise small children when they are outside playing.
If you or your children walk home teach them to never just wander off, not to take shortcuts, to avoid lonely places, and to find safe areas for example a shop, a neighbour, etc.
Thankfully the Moti Brothers were returned home safely but there is still a huge database of children and missing people who have not been found. As parents, we need to step up a village and keep an eye on our children. If you see anything suspicious report it and more importantly let us educate ourselves and share our knowledge with other parents to help keep our children safer.
Posted in Education, guest blogs, Parenting, STEM

Why you should teach S.T.E.M. to children from a young age By Jonathan Drake, Head of Accessories at The Core Group

The world today is changing rapidly. Technological advancements are unlike anything we have seen before. We have entered the fourth industrial revolution and can only speculate about the future of workplaces and the required skill sets.

 

Children need to prepare for an exciting and tech-driven future, and we need to enable them to acquire the necessary skills to build their careers. The education curriculum is adapting to meet this need by introducing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) in the school syllabus to help children develop creative problem-solving, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and other vital skills. Many early learning brands like PlayShifu are creating incredible toys that help children master S.T.E.M. and all these essential skills early on.

 

However, S.T.E.M. is more than learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. At its core, S.T.E.M. is the process of integrating these disciplines to help children develop new ways of thinking that interlink science and mathematics to technology and engineering and how it all fits into our daily lives. This holistic approach to learning encourages children to experiment with concepts and develop critical thinking, logical analysis, curiosity, and inquiry through trial and error.

 

Although educators and parents are generally aware of the importance of S.T.E.M. and its benefits, until recently, S.T.E.M. initiatives have been limited to children that have demonstrated an aptitude for subjects such as mathematics. Further, funding is often set aside for higher grade levels and overlooking the benefit of S.T.E.M. for younger learners.

 

When should S.T.E.M. be introduced to children?

Children are naturally curious, explorative, and eager to learn. All these qualities are crucial for S.T.E.M. learning. By their very nature, they are scientists at heart exploring the world around them, organizing items, and trying to figure out how and why everything works the way it does. PlayShifu’s Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto offer children a safe and sound space to play, tinker, and learn. PlayShifu’s Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto offer a safe and sound space for children to play, tinker, and learn.

 

Introducing children to S.T.E.M. experiences helps establish a critical foundation early on and fosters a positive attitude towards learning. Children as young as three can be introduced to S.T.E.M. learning as suggested by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Next Generation Science Standards, and International Standards for Technology in Education[1].

 

What are the benefits of introducing S.T.E.M. at an early age?
From language development to collaborative learning, there are several significant benefits to introducing S.T.E.M. to children at an early age. The most pertinent benefit is that it prepares them for the workplace of the future. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, non-S.T.E.M. occupations are predicted to grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028, while the number of S.T.E.M.-related jobs are expected to grow by 9%, creating 10.6 million jobs[2].

 

Children who are introduced to S.T.E.M. early on could perform better academically and could pursue a career in S.T.E.M. comfortably. Early S.T.E.M. learning helps develop critical thinking, creativity, and other essential foundational skills. The Joan Ganz Cooney Centre at Sesame Workshop study[3] asserts that closing the gap between preschool and elementary school practices is necessary to prepare children for a better digital future.

 

What can parents do to encourage S.T.E.M. learning at home?

Many schools have started implementing S.T.E.M. learning into the curriculum from preschool through to Grade 12. However, parents have an important role to play in encouraging S.T.E.M. learning at home from an early age. Parents’ guidance at a young age could impact children’s attitudes toward learning in the classroom and beyond.

 

The study from the Joan Ganz Cooney Centre at Sesame Workshop found that many parents felt anxious or lacked confidence in their knowledge of S.T.E.M. and thus found it difficult to implement and encourage S.T.E.M. development at home. Fortunately, more tools like PlayShifu’s Orboot and Plugo are becoming available to help parents foster S.T.E.M. activities at home.

 

How to introduce S.T.E.M. to young children?

 

Many innovative S.T.E.M. toys integrate tech seamlessly with rich storytelling and gameplay that encourages curiosity and learning.  However, screen time is a major concern among 21st-century parents. Extended screen time is known to cause behavioural problems and sleep disorders.

 

That said, the focus of screen time is shifting from avoiding screens to harnessing their benefits as learning supplements, providing opportunities to learn through play, and changing the role of children from being passive recipients of information to participants in learning alongside a screen.

 

PlayShifu’s innovative use of Augmented Reality and tactile toys brings phenomenal educational games for children. These games are driven by hands-on play that enriches and brings new meaning to screen time. They have developed smart S.T.E.M. toys that work in conjunction with a phone or tablet device to help foster critical thinking, grammar, logic, social-emotional learning, cultural awareness, and problem-solving skills. The products have physical components that children can touch, connect, and build with. And the companion app has super fun games that teach children various curriculum-based concepts.

 

The PlayShifu range includes Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto, which start at R899 and can be purchased from iStore, Takealot, and Toys’R’Us. Designed for ages 4 to 12, all the product platforms are supported by free-to-download apps that work with a range of devices on iOS and Android.

 

About PlayShifu

PlayShifu is a leading early learning toy company offering a variety of immersive, educational toys that connect the physical and digital worlds. The play experiences are specially designed for kids ages 4 to 12 years, and build foundational STEAM skills through fun. Founded in 2016 by Dinesh Advani and Vivek Goyal after they saw a need to provide meaningful digital play experiences for their kids, PlayShifu is now loved around the world. With offices in the U.S. and India, PlayShifu products are available in more than 35 countries through online marketplaces including Amazon, and brick-and-mortar locations including Sam’s Club, BestBuy, Argos, Toys‘R’Us, Hamleys, Virgin Media, and Rakuten.

 

To purchase and find out more, visit PlayShifu.com.

[1] http://cadrek12.org/sites/default/files/DRK12-Early-STEM-Learning-Brief.pdf

[2] https://soeonline.american.edu/blog/stem-in-early-childhood-education

[3] https://joanganzcooneycenter.org/publication/stem-starts-early/

Posted in Parenting, pregnancy

Hypnobirthing -What you need to know

When you are pregnant, one of the first things you will need to think about is when and how you will be giving birth.

From your first antenatal visit you will be given valuable information on how your pregnancy will progress, the first signs of labour, what to do when you are in labour and the many birthing options you can choose, in order to keep you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy.

You may also be given a list of pain management options, one of which is hypnobirthing.

What is Hypnobirthing?

Hypnobirthing, in short, is an educational program that uses breathing techniques and relaxation to teach self hypnosis to enhance your birthing experience and provide effective, mindful pain relief without  the need for medication.

Many women who have used the hypnobirthing techniques advocate for them as they have been able to breathe effectively through contractions and have been able to avoid interventions. Hypnobirthing also allows a woman to fight the fear of childbirth, releasing emotions of joy and happiness rather than those of pain and anxiety. Taking this into consideration, it is easy to see why hypnobirthing is growing in popularity.

Putting mom in control

When it comes to labour and birth, many new moms often feel like they are not in control and may feel almost detached from the experience.

For nine months she has carried a baby, adjusted as this new life has changed her body without warning and then in her antenatal classes she has focused primarily on delivery for the new baby and how to manage the pain, without much thought to how the new mother can embrace giving birth. in contrast, hypnobirthing, teaches the new mom how to take control and be in charge of events during birth.

Hypnobirthing is also highly recommended for women who have experienced a negative or traumatic birthing experience. This allows them to feel more in control, allowing them to release any negativity or anxiety that pain medication cannot illiminate.

How does hypnobirthing work?

When you sign up for a hypnobirthing course , the content covered will often include aspects of labour and delivery that may not be covered in a more traditional antenatal course.

Topics such as:

  • Breathing techniques
  • How to reduce the need for pain relief and medication
  • How to reduce the need for intervention such as an episiotomy
  • Learning how to feel empowered throughout your delivery and in control
  • Learning how to have confidence and how to speak with knowledge to the medical team in a hospital setting
  • Dispelling the fear around childbirth
  • Learning to stay positive

Hypnobirthing uses self hypnosis and relaxation techniques to reduce the pain of contractions and aid in a positive and safe delivery at birth. Hypnobirthing aids in teaching a woman to have confidence in her bodies natural ability to give birth and relaxes her body and mind to a place of welcoming contractions and embracing the process of giving birth.

The benefits of hypnobirthing

There are numerous benefits to a mother using hypnobirthing during labour and delivery.

  • A shorter labour
  • Less risk for surgical or other intervention
  • More success in turning a breech baby
  • A more positive birthing experience
  • Emotions of elation after birth
  • Retaining the learned techniques for later births
  • Feeling empowered to choose a birthing option, type of birth and setting
  • Being in control of their body
  • Being more present during the delivery and enjoying the birth
  • Using the relaxation techniques at any stage, not just during labour and delivery

Although during childbirth nothing is ever assumed or guaranteed and a complication may arise leaving a mother needing an intervention or added pain relief, hypnobirthing does however equip you with the skills you need to have the calmest, most positive birthing experience.

The benefits of hypnobirthing for baby

We all know that a calm birth allows a baby to enter the world calmly and hypnobirthing assists to keep mom calm resulting in a calm, positive environment for a happy calm baby to be welcomed into.

The absence of pain relief also means that the baby is more alert and able to feed faster and more efficiently. Studies have shown that APGAR  scores for a baby  delivered without medication are higher as well.

My experience

Whilst I personally, have never attended a hypnobirthing class, I have had 7 vaginal births, 6 of which were without the need for pain medication because I used breathing techniques learned. One of the biggest factors in me deciding to go “drug free: was because of how not in control I felt in my first pregnancy.

With the birth of my second child I felt more in control before, during and after labour. Emotionally I was able to attach and bond to my child faster and able to get out of bed sooner to attend to him better.

With my third child, I was able to breathe through not pushing as the midwife removed the cord from around his neck during birth and with my fourth I delivered him alone, unafraid and in control thanks to my breathing techniques.

When I went into labour with my fifth child, I was taken to the hospital by a work collegue of my husband and emotionally I was increadibly anxious. By breathing and focusing on the birth, I was able to calm my own anxiety, manage the contraction pain and deliver a happy baby a few minutes after arriving at the hospital.

With my sixth child, I was able to remain calm as I found myself 10cm dialed and she had not yet descended. With controlled breathing I was able to stay focus and work with my mid wife to deliver her safely and with my youngest child I was able to correctly assess my own body to know when I was in labour after a very long and prolonged induced labour.

So, whilst doing research for this article, I was able to resonate with the moms who had chosen hypnobirthing as an option.

Conclusion

Giving birth should be a positive experience and which ever option you choose it should suit you. Empower yourself with the knowledge needed to make the right decision for you and your baby.

Posted in Family Life, Parenting

How to keep a sick child entertained

Hamish caught a cold over the weekend and with a slight fever, I decided to keep him in bed today. Now, if you’ve ever tried to keep a 5-year-old in bed all day you will know just how hard a task I took on. We settled down in my room with some snacks, flu meds, and a lot of liquids.

To begin with, he was happy to watch his tablet and indulge in far too many episodes of Power Rangers on YouTube kids but all too soon he got really restless. It was time to get creative in order to see that he rested. Here is how I kept him busy.

 

Ways to keep your child busy when sick

 

  1. Read together

This is always my go to and we grabbed his new books from Little Book nook and the Wimpy.

 

  1. Colour in or draw

After reading together I brought through his lap desk and I read him the jokes from the crazy book of laughs from the crazy store while he completed the fun activities. We also coloured in his colouring in book. Butterfly products sell a wonderful range of kids colouring in books if you are looking. These are also very reasonably priced.

 

  1. Playdoh

It wouldn’t be a day in bed without playdoh and he sat for a while cutting shapes and creating characters.

 

  1. Magnetic toys

We have a few magnetic toys but his favourite is currently a magnetic skeleton model by Melissa and Doug which kept him busy as we discussed the different organs and parts of our bodies.

 

  1. Podcasts

Kids podcasts and online stories are also a good way to keep a child entertained. We haven’t yet started listening to podcasts with Hamish but I have a wonderful selection of read with me cd’s that he loves to listen to.

 

  1. Photo albums

We took a stroll down memory lane and I pulled out his baby book, book of baby scans and other albums I have of pictures. I love looking at old photos and Hamish thoroughly enjoyed seeing himself as a baby.

 

  1. Forts

To keep Hamish lying down and in bed I allowed him to set up his Bush baby tent in my room and this gave him a great space to lie and watch his movies whilst not feeling like he was in bed.

 

    8. Play hospital

Misery loves company and so we doctored his favourite Build a bear teddy to be sick with him. Teddy had to take medicine and nap just like Hamish.

 

  1. Yoghurt pops

To soothe sore throats making homemade water lollys from fruit juice or yoghurt pops will encourage your child to eat more and ease the pain.

 

  1. Board games

Board games always keep us busy and as a family we could keep busy for hours playing new games.

 

Some of our favourite games are :

Chess

Uno

Scrabble

Snakes and ladders

Checkers

Ludo

Domino’s

Card games

 

  1. Eye spy

Playing eye spy is a lovely way to keep Hamish still and we will often lie on the bed taking turns to spy or guess.

 

  1. Scavenger hunt

Another great way to keep house-bound kids busy is a scavenger hunt. I’ll often change these up to follow a theme like colours, food, shapes, etc and we search through a room to find the items.

 

  1. Take a walk

Even the best-behaved child will get tired of 4 walls. Instead of fighting with them go for a short walk around the house, garden or in our case the complex where we live, to smell flowers, photograph the birds and spot insects.

 

However you choose to keep your child entertained, remember to keep them comfortable, offer a lot to drink, give extra cuddles and encourage them to rest by sleeping as often as they will.

Posted in Education, Entertainment, Family Life, Parenting

Safe Online Games for Children

I sat with a friend the other day and as we have both raised adult children and are once again bringing up little ones, we discussed how things had changed with the introduction of technology, technological devices, and technological toys being so readily available today.

Ten or fifteen years ago we allowed our teens to get cell phones at 16, bought specific learning programs for our PC for younger kids, and only let them play games if they were on a console like PlayStation or Wii.

Nowadays my 5-year-old has his smartphone, used under supervision and mainly for youtube kids. He also owns a kids tablet, several smart toys that require technology to work, and can use a laptop as well as we can.

Naturally, screen time is a concern and we balance his technology time with other activities like playing, crafting, reading, and being outside.

but

We do encourage him to play educational games and as a homeschool mom, I firmly believe that his general knowledge, reading skills, maths skills, and logic are developed through the use of online educational games.

Finding good quality online games

So, I am constantly looking for good quality, trusted sites where I can find new games that will both stimulate and entertain Hamish. One of the great sites I’ve come across is http://www.plays.org

Plays.org is a user-friendly site that offers you a wide assortment of free, fun games that you can quickly play on your browser.

Unlike many other game sites which have a ton of ads or require downloads before you start to play, I discovered that Plays.org did not require you to register or set up an account before playing. You also do not need to download an App first, instead, you can simply log on and pick a game to start playing any time you like.

The games are simple, easy to beat, and reminiscent of the old Nintendo console games.

Their simplicity, and lack of ads and upgrades needed, for me as a mom, allows me the knowledge that Hamish is playing a game intended to let him have fun, learn something and retain the innocence of childhood, even in such a fast-paced modern world.

Top 3 Games that we are enjoying

I have only been using the site for the last month and we’ve tried several games, however these are the games we are currently enjoying for entertainment and learning at home…….

Pac-Rat

I love this game, inspired by the arcade classic Pacman.

The object is to eat the cheese whilst avoiding the cats. Your child will use the arrow keys to move the rat and a level is complete when all the cheese has been eaten. However, if a cat bumps into you are dead, unless you ate a power pellet which turns you into a ghost and lets you eat the cats.

Unlike the original Pac-Man, this game is easier with just 6 levels and slower speeds.

This game is fun and great to replay until you master a level. Hamish at 5 thoroughly enjoyed this and did not find it too difficult.

AGE; 5+

Complete the Sequence

This cute kindergarten maths game requires your child to put the numbers in the correct sequence. With 3 levels of difficulty – easy, medium, and hard- your child can pop the bubble that contains the correct number to finish the sequence.

A great beginner numbers game that allows your child to practice maths skills, number recognition and develop their hand-eye coordination as they look to find the correct bubble. A graph underneath shows if the sequence is in ascending or descending order and all sequences are randomly generated.

We are currently using this game as a brain break in our homeschool maths lessons.

Age: 3+

 

Dinosaur Train bridge builder

This has to be Hamish’s favorite game. He loves dinosaurs and has watched every episode of Dinosaur Train and so finding a fun game with his favorite dinosaurs from Troodon Town was a bonus.

Designed for preschoolers, your child will help the dinosaurs to cross the chasm by breaking down numbers and adding them up, finding the length of the chasm, and choosing the log bridge units that are the same length as the chasm.

When your child has found the right length the dinosaur will cross the bridge. This took some time for Hamish to master but it was easy enough for him to grasp after I initially showed him how to measure.

Age:3+

Comments

I was impressed to find that there is a game for everyone. From educational games that help your child with reading, spelling, and maths to character games like Avengers, Tom & Jerry, and Batman to simple old-school fun games like Tetris.

The games are both PC and smartphone or Tablet compatible, allowing you to play anywhere and the games save to your web browser for you to log back in and replay.

Overall I was really impressed to find such a comprehensive library of fun and educational games on a safe site to use for Hamish.

Have you tried this site before? If so, what was your favorite game?