Playing with your kids – boring or fun?

I recently read an article that said playing with your children was boring.  Ok I thought when I first saw the headline I am not going to pretend I absolutely love playing with Little Mr A every minute of the day, his new ‘trumping on people’ game is certainly not one I enjoy joining in with, but I do enjoy playing with him.  The more I read of the article the more I was quite disgusted at the sentiment in it.  Why this person ever had children is beyond me!

Little Mr A reading and playing

Little Mr A reading and playing

In my opinion, when you chose to have children you give up your life for the next 16-18 years (or longer! )to be there for your child’s needs.  This is not to say you can’t still have adult time, however, your children come first.  Yes this will include doing things that maybe you aren’t too entertained by, but so what!  Even if I am not particularly enjoying a game we are playing/place we are visiting, seeing Little Mr A happy makes me happy.

Who's having more fun?!

Who’s having more fun?!

I think parents have a big responsibility to teach their children how to play both by themselves and with others.  How many times have you been to a playgroup and seen either a child sat on their own or running around taking toys off other children as they have not been taught how to play properly?  I am not professing to be the perfect Mum who drops everything as soon as Little Mr A says play with me.  Yes there are times that jobs need doing and I have to say no, however, at weekends we will often take it in turns to either go and play lego/trains etc in his room or bring a game downstairs for the whole family to play together.

Playing board games is a favourite Sunday afternoon activity

Playing board games is a favourite Sunday afternoon activity

I don’t consider ‘play’ to be just using toys.  I think anything you can make fun and do together with your child could be considered ‘playing’.  For instance baking, crafts, even getting them to help you with the cleaning can be made into a fun game.  Little Mr A is always asking if he can help with the cooking.

Little Mr A has always loved helping with cooking

Little Mr A has always loved helping with cooking

It is hard sometimes to find the imagination to play with your children and I must admit I do prefer playing actual games or doing jigsaws with Little Mr A, however, I try to remember what it was like when I was a child playing with Barbies etc and all the fun things me and my sister used to play.

Me & my sister used to have great fun (check out those matching outfits!)

Me & my sister used to have great fun (check out those matching outfits!)

I do think it is important for children to learn to play on their own too but sometimes I find Little Mr A needs starting off with something to play with then he will quite happily carry on playing on his own.  At the moment he is spending a lot of time in his bedroom building lots of little lego things for a ‘show’ he is going to do!

I join in with IzziWizzi playfest on a Tuesday night on Twitter which is a group of mums getting together to discuss different play ideas (and see my previous post).  If anyone is doubting how fun playing with your child is I suggest joining in with us!  I think us mums often get more excited about new toys and play ideas than our children!

How do other parents feel about playing with their children?  Do you find it a pleasure or a chore?

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Guest Post – How to combat allergies in children


Allergies hit many people hard, but children seem to be especially vulnerable. That may be because most allergies first appear during infancy or childhood, and some later fade away by adulthood. But children aren’t just more susceptible to allergies because of their bodies. They’re more susceptible because of their growing minds and their active lifestyles, which put them into more regular contact with potential allergens. Whether it be food, pet or outdoor allergies, children have a harder time than adults coping with this problem. But there are steps you can take to make life easier and safer for your child.

Here are a few:


1. Keep Yourself and Your Child Informed

Learn everything you can about your child’s allergy. Share with your child whatever they are able to understand. Help them do some online research of their own. Encourage them to ask questions of their allergist, and make sure they understand everything the doctor tells you. Encourage them to talk to other students with allergies and learn what they do to cope and prepare. Stay up to date on new developments and medications.


2. Plan in Advance

Of course, it should go without saying, but take whatever steps are necessary to learn the cause of your child’s allergy. Then make a plan with the allergist and involve your child in every step. Get an EpiPen and keep it near your child at all times, whether that be in their pocket or with their teacher, depending on school policy. Stock up on other necessary prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. Practice with your child to make sure they know what to do in case of an attack.


3. Learn School’s Food Policies

Does your child’s school label foods that contain peanuts? Eggs? Dairy? Does the school keep EpiPens on hand for emergencies? Is the school generally considered to be allergy-conscious? Most schools are improving in their awareness of childhood allergy concerns, but some are much better than others. These schools train their staff for emergencies, have snack policies that limit interaction with dangerous foods, and segregate foods in the lunchroom that contain allergens.


4. Avoid Triggers

If your child is allergic to pets, don’t get any. If you already have one, keep it out of your child’s room at all times and try to keep it away from your child as much as possible. If the allergy is serious, you’ll have to give the pet away. If your child is allergic to dust mites, cover their crib or mattress with a mite-proof cover, remove stuffed animals, keep their room clean, get rid of carpets and heavy drapes. If it’s an outdoor allergy, use an air conditioner to filter allergens and keep windows closed. Wash their clothes and linens frequently. If indoor allergens are the culprit, get rid of household cleaners, perfumes and other strong chemicals, and ban all smoking (which you should really do under any circumstances if you have a child in the house).


5. Learn the Seasonal Patterns

If your child has an outdoor allergy, you’ll need to develop seasonal habits. Avoid the outdoors during high-pollination times, which will depend on when their particular allergen is in bloom – whether it be weeds, grasses or trees. Pollination is usually most intense between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Keep windows closed during these times. You may also want to run an air cleaner and keep pets from leaving or entering the house.
Allergies can take a hit out of anyone, but they’re especially hard on children. Whether it be food allergies, pet allergies or dust mite allergies, their bodies are vulnerable and their young minds aren’t well prepared to deal with the problem. But that’s why you’re there to help, and these tips can make the job a little easier.


Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Homework – for 4 year olds?!

It seems these days children are not allowed to be children for long.  Even at nursery they are taught phonics and numbers.  I’m sure when I was young we did not start learning until we started school and even then I only really remember the playing!

When Little Mr A started school in September I knew he would bring home reading books when he was ready but I wasn’t expecting homework too!  At 4 I thought he would be too young and assumed that being at school 5 days a week would be enough.  I was not sure I agreed with very young children having to do extra work at home.  It’s not that I am not prepared to help him, I enjoy seeing how far he is coming on and how well he is doing it is just I know how tired he is when he gets home from school most days and I did not think he would be up for doing more work when he got home.

Since starting back after the Christmas holidays not only has Little Mr A started bringing reading books home but he is also getting homework.  OK so it is not hours and hours of work, just a few spellings/phonics to learn but it is still homework.  Little Mr A has completely surprised me with his enthusiasm for the homework.  As soon as he gets home, no matter how tired and grumpy he has seemed on the way home, the first thing he does is sit down to do his homework and read me his book.

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He is doing really well.  All the spellings he brings home he does perfectly without me having to prompt him too much and he is doing so well with his reading.  He really enjoys showing us how much he is learning and how much he knows and is really proud when we praise him.

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I do feel myself turning into my Dad a bit though!  He was always really good helping with our homework but quite strict and I need to remind myself he is only 4 and I need to chill out, he is doing really well and doesn’t need me to push him!!

Since he has started bringing work home I have changed my opinion – maybe homework for 4 year olds is OK after all!

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My pet hates!

WARNING some expletives were required in the making of this blog post!

Big Mr A's nickname for me at the moment seems to be 'angry bird' maybe I should take the hint?

Big Mr A’s nickname for me at the moment seems to be ‘angry bird’ maybe I should take the hint?

Maybe I am just getting grumpy as I get older but there are certain things that are really starting to annoy me and it is getting to the point where I think I may get into a proper fight with someone!

1. People using lifts when they don’t need to, especially when there is only one or two lifts in the building and especially groups of teenagers that are just pissing about. I have taken to pointing out quite loudly where the stairs and escalators are but haven’t quite had the guts to confront anyone yet!

2. People using parent and child spaces when they (a) either have no child, (b) have a grown up child that can get out unaided, (c) they have a child but are leaving them in the car and (d) disabled people! I challenged a couple once and got a barrage of abuse about their car getting scratched in normal spaces and how us people with kids get everything anyway!!

3. Older children with no thought or respect. I know Little Mr A is no angel but I try and instill in him the same respect for others that my parents did for me. It really bugs me when the parents don’t even acknowledge that their child has been a little shit!

4. Old people being rude. I thought it was supposed to be us young ones that were rude but increasingly I am finding elderly people being very rude. On a recent bus journey, on a packed bus, we made Little Mr A sit next to an elderly lady who had no intention of moving to make it easy for him to sit down. She then said to him that he would have to move if someone with a stick wanted to sit down! I quite loudly pointed out to Big Mr A that the seats were for the elderly and children and at 4 years old I was not having him standing on a busy bus. Thankfully she made no more comments after that!

5. People driving right up your backside, particularly when you are in a long queue if traffic. Can’t you see the baby on board sign arsehole!

Phew, that feels better!  Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels like this?!

Little Mr A’s Nativity – well Chrismas play!

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This week we went to see Little Mr A’s first school Christmas performance.  Instead of performing a traditional nativity, in years 1 and 2 they do an alternative performance.

 

Their performance was called ‘Santa’s new hobby’.  The basic story was that Santa was bored after Christmas and needed something new to do.  Little Mr A was one of 4 Santas (as Santa was the main character there was a bit too much for one 4/5 year old to remember!).

 

First, Santa entered Strictly Come Dancing but was no good at that!  Next he entertained guests on Come Dine with me, however, they were not impressed with his Christmas dinner!

 

Next came Little Mr A’s turn.  His ‘new hobby’ was to enter the X-Factor.  Unfortunately he was no match for ‘One Direction’ with his Jingle Bell Rock!  I thought he was the best!

 

All the children were fantastically behaved and remembered all their lines and the songs which they performed with real enthusiasm and confidence.  The teachers and staff must have worked really hard to get them to perform and behave so brilliantly.

 

We were very proud parents and are looking forward to showing off his video to all the family over Christmas!

 

Can’t wait until next year’s performance!

Am I mad?!

I’m beginning to feel like a bit of a mug!  I assumed this year as Little Mr A is at school and learning how to write/learning letters that he was expected to write his own Christmas cards.  Cue a couple of stressful hours over the last few weekends of me helping him lovingly write his friends names in the cards as well as his own name.  He was very proud of them and couldn’t wait to give them out to all his friends (in total I think we did around 30!).

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He has been receiving his Christmas cards this week and around 90%, maybe more have been written by the parents.  A couple of his friends have written their own names on them but that is it.

 

Am I the stupid one?  What did you do with your little ones?  Did you write their cards for them or did you sit down and do them together?  I would be interested to know if I’m the only one?!

A message from Santa

A couple of years ago my Mum found a website where you can create your own message from Santa.  The first couple of times we made one for Little Mr A he didn’t understand and it was more for our amusement, however, last year he really believed it was Santa giving him a message and it was very useful if we wanted him to behave as we would show him his video and Santa would tell him to be good!

 
It’s a great personalised message, which includes your child’s name, where they live and you can tailor it to include what you have asked them to do this year to be good.  You can choose whether your child has been naughty, nice or a bit of both and include pictures of your child.

 
The basic message is free or you can pay for certain extras/downloads.  I have never paid for any extras the free message is great and you can watch as many times as you like.

 
I loved the magic of Christmas when I was a child and now I have children of my own I am enjoying the magic all over again and love to see Little Mr A’s face when he receives his Santa message!  Next year Santa will have two messages to deliver, I just hope he’s not too busy.

 
Visit http://www.portablenorthpole.com/home to create your own message from Santa.

 

Proud mummy!

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Wow! What a great week Little Mr A has had at school! After a few difficult weeks before half term with him getting into trouble with his friends it looks like the weeks holiday has done him the world of good.

On Wednesday he came rushing out of school so excited to tell me he was ‘star of the day’ and tonight he was even more excited to have been given this achievement certificate for taking his class on a ‘tour’ of London!

Having read his weekly report it turns out he had built a train track all the way to ‘London’ and told the class about it which prompted them to have a class discussion about London landmarks. 

I think Little Mr A picked up his obsession with London whilst watching the Olympics and he seems to think it is a magical place. Maybe one day we will take him!

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