Being a bridesmaid is something that I always wanted to be as a child, but alas all of my parent’s friends were already married couples as were family members so I never got to fulfil my goal of being a bridesmaid. Until now!
My very dearest friend, Kate, is set to marry her partner in July of next year and has asked me to be one of her bridesmaid! I am so beyond honoured that she would think of me in this way, and in my hormonal state I did burst into tears immediately upon receiving my request card (which you can see pictured above). The thing is when the wedding comes around (and particularly in the months running up to it) I am going to have a new baby who will feeding and probably be pretty much strapped to me twenty four seven. On top of that, as Kate is the boys godmother she would like them to be at the wedding too.
So two toddlers, one new/young baby and bridesmaid duties to perform.
How the hell am I going to manage!?
Well, I have been giving this a lot of thought and although it sounds pretty daunting, I don’t think it is as bad as people make you think. I have already had the “Rather you than me” comments and one friend told me that she would be devastated but would be too worried about causing a scene and would respectfully decline. Isn’t that sad? If you google ‘Being a bridesmaid with a newborn’ the top results are about women’s fears and potentially declining!
So, I have put together a little check list of what I think you can do when you find yourself with a breastfed baby and children to look after when you have been asked to fulfil a special role at an event. It doesn’t have to be a bridesmaid either, it could be a christening, a big birthday bash etc… or it could be your partner who has been asked and you are worried about doing it alone in front of all of those people!
Oh, and yep, this is me using the blog again to make my own checklist that I won’t loose so I can come back to it in times of panic after baby is born… hopefully it will help others too!
- Talk to the bride (or whoever’s the party planner). This person loves you enough to understand your concern. For Kate’s hen do she was thinking along the lines of a weekend spa break or something, and for the evening before the wedding she would love to have all of her bridesmaids stay over at the house she is renting to get ready in before she goes on the to the venue. It’s important to realise that if this person didn’t think the world of you, they wouldn’t ask you to fulfil that special role, so if you have concerns talk about them. Kate actually raised the issue of the baby and me being separated before I got the chance and suggested I take baby along, the other alternative was for us to have a special mini hen party for the two of us and me meet them at the church instead of spending the night with her. At the event if I need to sort out the baby that won’t be an issue, baby can even stay in a sling at the front of the church with me (though I’m sure he/she will sit with Daddy or someone else if Daddy isn’t available). The same goes for the toddlers.
- Ask for help at the event from other friends. If you have a role to play, ask for help from other people. The chances are at a big bash of any kind you will know other people there and well, ask them if they would mind holding baby while you do something, or if they could have your toddlers sit next to them. Ask. I know that my son’s god father won’t have a specific role to play at the service so I’m sure he won’t mind offering a helping hand.
- Take something for the toddlers and older kids to do and to eat. Something so that little hands can be occupied is always a good idea. I usually take a banana each, plus a box of fruit cut up to nibble. As for things to do, something like a sticker book is great. No one wants toddlers to be left with pens while there are expensive suits and dresses around, so avoid the felt tips, but pencil crayons are fine.
- Have a talk with the toddlers and older kids before hand. This is something that I will be doing with Reuben, though Toby may still be a bit young. I will explain to him that he will be able to see me, I’m right in front of him but I will need him to sit and watch what is happening with Aunty Kate. That’s pretty simple and he should get it no problem. Daddy and whoever else can reiterate it to him. Repeatedly. I would also suggest avoiding toys that cause noise… I won’t be taking any cars for the boys to play with as I doubt Kate will appreciate “beep beep” and “vroom” being shouted out while she says her ‘I dos’.
- If you are breastfeeding, talk to the bride about the dress being suitable, or may adjusted. Though a high neck silk number would be stunning, it isn’t going to do any good if you need to feed your baby during the day and they won’t take a bottle. We are hoping to have this baby taking breastmilk from a bottle, but without my time machine, I don’t know if that will happen. If not, it’s booby all the way. Which means considering the dress. It’s pretty amazing what seamstresses can do with a dress so if the bride has a style in mind then why not ask her if she minds you having it adjusted to make it compatible with your needs.
- Have a Plan B. Life doesn’t always go to plan. I could get to the wedding and find that the boys are in a terrible mood and the baby has decided to have a bout of wind. Having a plan B is always helpful, and organising that with whoever is going to be helping you with the kids on the day is important. My husband and I have discussed and if the boys are causing a commotion, he will take them outside. You have to realise that when you have children it isn’t always so easy as making a plan and expecting it to go ok, so whoever is looking after your children at the event needs to be prepared to take them outside or to the back of the venue to have some time to cool off. They are only children when it’s all said and done, and sitting for 45 minutes is a big ask at under 6.
- Booking a room at the venue is a really good plan. It gives you somewhere to escape if you need to, if the kids are misbehaving or have had an accident, the baby needs changing and there is nowhere to do it, you need to express… so many things could be necessary at any one. It also gives you a place to store extra changes of clothes for the kids, especially if they are still in those accident prone years. If there is no way you can book a room at the venue, ask the bride if they have a bridal suit that she is staying in that she would mind you borrowing to put your necessities and to feed/pump in. If you do though, make sure you don’t leave a trace! Alternatively ask the venue before the day if they have a room you can bit private in.
Does anyone else have anything to add to that from past experience? I would love to know.
I honestly can’t wait to be a part of Kate’s special day and I wouldn’t dream of missing it for a fear of how things will work. I do think it’s worth mentioning that if the wedding has a strict ‘No Babies/Children’ policy then you may have to think more carefully. My best suggestion if you still want to participate would be to ask friends or family if they can come and babysit for you (preferably in a room at the venue for ease or nearby), and ask the bride if she would be happy to have you disappear every 2/3 hours to express or feed baby.
Haven’t you noticed the change in weather lately?! It’s getting so cold here in the North of England, and I for one think the slippers are being broken out for good reason.
I can’t help but think that slippers for kids are essential in a house like mine where we have wooden floors and refuse to keep socks on for any length of time! So when I came across these beyond adorable felt slippers from Sew Heart Felt (see how clever that name is?) I couldn’t help but add them to my Autumn must have list for the boys. The sizes range right from birth up to 5 years, and they come in the sweetest styles, all animals that the boys would love.
Reuben would love a pair of fox slippers I’m sure, and I think Toby would probably jump at the chance to get his toes into some piggies or sheep!
You can check out the wonderful selection of gifts and things from Sew Heart Felt here.
I am a religious baby book keeper… or should I say I was. With Reuben I NEVER missed an entry, every week I would document my pregnancy, then after he was born every minute detail was recorded, probably including the first time he burped properly, at what time and how everyone laughed… until he threw up. I even kept the thing they used to break my waters in the hospital AND my original pregnancy test. I know.
Then came Toby and I was still pretty good, all of my friend’s told me I just wouldn’t have the time to document a pregnancy journal, and certainly not afterwards (‘You want to do another 1 to 5 years book? Are you kidding? That will never happen!!’) but I was pretty good. Ok, I didn’t get his first fart or the minute and nanosecond of the day that he had his first pre-birth kick, but the usual stuff I got. I definitely got it.
Then came pregnancy number 3. You may have noticed that my Pregnancy Diaries start at week 16… there is a reason for this. It’s because I haven’t had the time! I have a pregnancy journal, it’s empty. And to make matter’s worse, this is a little girl, so chances are she is going to be reading her baby book in years to come as opposed to using it to support a pool table! So after a long hard talk with myself I decided to set up a weekly blog post so when I have a moment or two I can fill in her baby book by being sneaky and going back through the blog!
But seriously, what about people who don’t have children’s blogs, who are just strapped for time and really don’t have it in them to commit to baby books?
Lists. Lists are what happen. You have them on your phone, in your diary, on scrappy pieces of paper and on the fridge. Everywhere. All with the intention of writing them in a safe place. I know you do, don’t be shy!
Well now you have Parenthood Listography: My Kid in Lists. Yes, it’s here, a place to put your lists! From the day to day to the hilarious and cute, there is a list page for EVERYTHING. And you can keep the book in your bag and jot down in one word or two a memory that will no doubt create an hour or two of stories in your child’s future.
So, I challenge you, parent who has no time to record and regrets it later, to buy listography and get recording in a word or two all of your child’s special (and insane, hilarious, not so hilarious, frustrating and magical) moments. Do it. Now.
What’s happening to baby this week?
Baby is now about the size of a bell pepper and is busy making lots of movements with his/her arms and legs that you might feel already! The blood vessels are visible through the thin skin, and the ears are now in their final position. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around baby’s nerves, and surprisingly this will continue for a year after baby’s born. Whether you are having a boy or girl all of the reproductive organs are present and in place – amazing right?
The reality: How have I been feeling this week?
This week has been a real jumble. Obviously, there are the hormones which have given me a mixture of extreme excitement and happiness all the way to genuine exhaustion and quite formidable lows. I still haven’t got the ability to sleep the night through (something that I haven’t done for a time with these boys, but it seems worse at the moment) so that level of tiredness seems to give me bouts of real lows. I have to use the word depression because I don’t feel it is anywhere near that bad, but the week has been up and down. As a family we have had some shocking news and that seems to have rocked the boat for everyone. On a positive, I have had no signs of dizziness, sickness or anything else! Hooray!
II’ve still got my slightly more nutritious food bug, though baby does still seem to appreciate fatty rubbish! I think because it is coming to much colder weather now, and I love having things like warming stews and hearty home cooked meals, that has made a huge difference in my taste buds.
We had our official 20 week scan this week too, and it was awesome, despite the fact that my husband had to work yet again! That is every scan now he has missed, I feel so sorry for him that he has missed the opportunity to see our amazing little one grow! The pictures are fab though, we have some lovely ones of little ones foot and a great 4D version!
None really this week. I’m trying to encourage myself to eat more with the boys, I enjoy the food I’ve cooked for them and I get the same nutritional boost that they do. I’m also trying to eat more yoghurt, we make our own using Easi-yo, which you can read about here.
The bad, adorable and downright funny.
Reuben and Toby have both been so funny this week, especially as I had to take them along to the scan with me. Toby wasn’t too interested but Reuben kept trying to show him the baby. The next day he asked me if he could have a baby in his tummy and when I explained no, he said ‘Can we make one then Mama?’ No baby, Daddy and Mummy have already done that!
Reuben has been asking me a lot of questions this week, especially after he scan and he has decided that he has to say bye to mummy and baby every time he goes anywhere. He climbed into the bath with me earlier in the week and asked me if he could give the baby a big cuddle! So sweet!
The sleep, the moments of hormonal lows, the fact that my maternity jeans are feeling snug of late. All trivial, but coupled with hormones, extremely frustrating from this pregnancy!!
Sometimes there just isn’t enough space on the sofas for all the kids in the house, am I right? You ill no doubt have noticed this over the summer holidays if your children have had an influx of little friends over to play, maybe sleepovers too.
One thing that I think is a great solution to this, and a fab accessory for a child’s playroom or bedroom is a floor pillow! What can’t you do with a floor pillow like these from Cheeky Monkey Home?
They are a table for your dolls tea parties, a cliff for trucks to do stunts from, a place to do your homework and a spot for your friends to sit when they come over and there is no more room on the bed or sofa.
You can find these fab handmade floor cushions from Cheeky Monkey Home here.
Last weekend Reuben had his first trip to the cinema!! He had so much fun! We went to see Disney Planes 2, while Toby enjoyed a quiet afternoon with my mum at home.
Do you remember going to the cinema as a child? Wasn’t it magical? There is something so exciting about the big screen, the smell of popcorn and the happy, smiley faces.
To start our special trip out we headed for a quick bite to eat before going off to the cinema, where we indulged in a treat of ice cream (Reuben wasn’t sold on the popcorn) and some sweeties. Reuben loved the promo posters that are always featured in the cinema lobbies, he thought they were so cool and was captivated by the extra large Thomas the Tank Engine ones!
Initially, getting sat in the seats and seeing such a big screen was a touch daunting for him but he snuggled into me and my husband, until the film started and then he was in a world of his own! The delight in his eyes and the excitement in his little voice when he saw the ‘Moose Tractors’ and Dusty Crophopper as a fire plane was far more entertaining for us than the film itself, though that isn’t to say the film wasn’t great in typical Disney style! The cinema was pretty empty with it being a mid day showing, but he was so well behaved, kept his voice down and sat (for the most part) on his own seat! Towards the end he came onto my lap and we had a lovely cuddle while we watched the planes save the day. He’s still talking about it, and he is already adding the various characters to his Christmas list!
Afterwards we treated him to a trip to the toy store, where he picked out a Planes character to take home to Toby and one for himself. We finished off back at the cinema for some hotdogs to eat on the way home!
I don’t know about you but with Reuben only being 3 years old and being a typical young boy, I was concerned that he wouldn’t sit still, would ask to leave, might be scared of the big screen and lights, but he LOVED the whole thing. I really do recommend you taking your little ones to the cinema, especially when they are young enough to be absorbed by the magic and wonder! If I could offer a tip, take some nibbles like fruit or sweets if you allow it in your bag, take water and be prepared to be asked for a toilet trip! We actually forgot to take Reuben’s favourite teddy and a blanket, I think that he would probably have preferred to have his ‘Harold’ teddy there, and maybe a blanket to combat the air con, although it depends on what your child is like!
Either way, I challenge you to give the cinema a go!
P.s – Most cinemas have a kids club early on a saturday or sunday morning. It’s for children of any age and they are usually movies that are older but presented at much lower rates, so if you want to give it a go then this is perfect!
If you are anything like me then you will probably be cringing at how fast your children have dared to grow since last Autumn and look at their rather sparse collection of warmer attire, if you aren’t then please impart how you stopped them growing so fast!
I really became aware of Reuben’s growth spurt when his preschool informed me that his summer shorts were getting too tight and I ought to think about something elasticated because he didn’t get his shorts down in time for nature’s call… I had only bought them 6 weeks previously! Needless to say I headed out and bought him a few simple elasticated shorts for preschool and all was well, until the weather started to turn a few weeks ago and I pulled out all of his trousers for cooler weather. They were all, without fail, too short or too tight around his waist (predominantly the latter!). Forutnately, Toby has his brother’s clothes so we don’t have two chunky monkey’s to buy for, but I do like for him to have a few items that are just new for him.
Que a trip to get some loose tracksuit bottoms until I could sort out a new wardrobe of awesomeness for him to enjoy and wear. Fashion for kids is out there and it is wonderful!
When I finally go the chance to sit down and order some new clothes I hopped over to one of my faves Shak-Shuka, and oh wow they didn’t disappoint at all! The new Bobo Choses range can be found over there and I am swooning over it. From funky onesies for Toby to keep him warm under a really nice thick cardigan to awesome unisex jumpers, leggings and tights for Reuben.
You can check out the full range here, I have shared a few of my favourite pieces on the blog, but there was so much more!
Hmm, the days are getting colder and the boys have nearly finished their mini summer break from preschool and nursery, and although this doesn’t affect us too much, I’m imagining next year when Reuben will be heading to school and we have to get him ready, get his things ready and work to a tight schedule the night before, morning of and afternoon of too.
With that in mind I was thinking about what I do when I know I have heavy weeks on at work, and the answer is, I really rely on my sous chef, otherwise know as the slower cooker. So I have put together my favourite slow cooker recipes to help other parents get through that first week back to school!
Every one knows how to make Cottage pie, but let’s be honest, very few people think about doing it in the slow cooker and it really does improve the fast completely. You can click the image to be taken to the recipe via BBC Good Food, this is very similar to my own recipe and something that I can guarantee the kids will fill up on.
Another one that I do all of the time in the slow cooker, and every one loves it! The thing is, bolognese is one of those dishes that can be cooked within 30 minutes and it is tasty, but if you prepare it in the morning and cook it throughout the day on a slow cook, it is divine. 12 minutes to boil the spaghetti when you get home isn’t too much to ask for anyone!
Curry flavours are usually a big hit with children, and so is chicken. This recipe is mild and creamy, and it was a huge hit with my whole family, especially the boys. Perfect for guaranteeing something slightly different at the dinner table, despite the heavy week!
Chilli Con Carne
Another family favourite, this one though can work with you for a couple of days! For Chilli Con Carne you can serve it with rice one evening, and the following evening you can make wraps or tacos… totally different meal! The other thing you can do with this is serve it with the old jacket potato favourite, though they take a while to cook in the oven, but with little effort. A final word on chilli con carne, I prefer mine minced, though you can cube yours like in the recipe for a slightly chunkier stew.
Country Style Beef stew
Ok, what could be simpler than making tomorrows dinner the night before, or even on the morning and leaving to slow cook for hours… especially when the meal inside is a COMPLETE meal, packed with nutritious vegetable for you and the family to munch on. All you need to accompany this beautiful style of stew is some chunky bread, which I’m pretty sure you or the hubby can pick up on the way back from work (along with the wine!).
I have been a huge fan of Sunuva products for a long time, I love their stylish swimwear for kids and the way that they really work to promote staying safe in the sun.
In case I haven’t mentioned it enough (maybe just once or twice, right?) we are heading off to Greece in a week or so for a little family break, and I know that the return to school month is a really popular one for holidays with babies and preschoolers, but there couldn’t be a more at risk group than young children when it comes to sun exposure and the damage it can do, so I wanted to share my experience of Sunuva and their wonderful products.
When we took a family holiday last year I ordered Reuben one set of Sunuva rash vests and shorts and we borrowed one set that was leant to us by a close friend, just a cute high street brand. The high street brand was still UPF50+, just like Sunuva, but had short sleeves and the shorts were slightly shorter, something I never considered to be an issue. When we part way through our holiday we decided to have a day by the pool because it was simply too hot to walk anywhere with two little ones and a pushchair, it was easier to enjoy the amenities at the hotel. We dressed Roo in a swim nappy (he wasn’t yet potty trained), and his short sleeved rash vest.
Reuben spent the whole day playing in the pool, and I spent the whole day applying and reapplying our super-duper factor 50+, water resistant, extra safe suncream. That evening after an early dinner we took the absolutely exhausted boys back to the room for an early night, but as I was tucking Reuben into bed I noticed that his arms were a bit pinky. By the time we woke up the next morning, his arms were bright pink and hot to the touch. Despite my best efforts, my little boy had burnt in the sun! Obviously, it goes without saying that I was horrified and absolutely devastated. I felt incredibly guilty, but when I really thought about it, aren’t we always told the only real 100% protection against the sun is to stay covered up if we are in it?
If you ever really look you will find that it is incredibly difficult to find a rash vest with long sleeves on the high street, let alone one that is UPF50+ or has a unique and stylish design. Sunuva rash vests are made to the highest quality, they are designed to cover and protect the parts of the body that are most often exposed to the sun. The fact that they are recommended in countries like Australia for their sun protection should tip you off as to why this brand is a favourite of so many holiday makers. You really can’t compromise on the safety of your little ones in the sun, so this year when you take a holiday, make sure you take a Sunuva rash vest, that way you won’t feel as terrible as I did!
To view the fabulous range over at Sunuva, you can check them out here.
Alternatively, you can follow my instagram page here to see the boys wearing their Sunuva swimwear during our holiday.
What is bright, funky and slightly weird looking? Pipsquigz!
These toys are perfect for babies 6 months plus and really do seem to keep baby’s attention for longer than a minute and a half, which lets be honest, is pretty impressive! The pipsquigz come as a set of three, each with different textures for baby to explore, and all with suckers to stick to the floor, the table, the wall… you get the gist.
The bright colours of the pipsquigz makes them stand out to baby and each one rattles to explore the sense of sounds. The best thing is they are BPA free and made of that material that is perfect for helping your little one deal with the mammoth task that is teething.
So a teether that is also a sensory toy that can be used anywhere and sticks so they can’t play drop it? Yeah, thought you’d want one!
You can find them over at fat brain toys here.
What’s happening to baby this week?
This week baby’s skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and the umbilical cord is growing stronger and thicker. Baby now weighs about 5 ounces, and is around 5 inches long! Joints can move, and the skin is getting thicker too, not to mention sweat glands are forming!
The reality: How have I been feeling this week?
This week I have had a mixture of real energy and extreme tiredness. I haven’t been sleeping as well as previously, not because I am uncomfortable, but just because I seem to be waking up about 3am and unable to sleep again afterwards! It’s crazy, and usually takes me an hour or so to drop off, guarantying a good hour and a half to two hours before it’s time to get up… I can honestly confess that I was delighted when Reuben insisted I came to bed with him at 8pm earlier in the week!
I’m still not really eating as much, though I seem to have developed a taste for more nutritious food again and I am looking forward to things like sunday dinners and vegetables with chicken etc… makes a change from the terrible fatty food I am been indulging! I’ve also been able to enjoy getting ready for our holiday with a spot of holiday shopping, ASOS and Isabella Oliver sales have been well utilised!
We also had another scan this week, so exciting and I can’t express how wonderful it is to see baby! We won’t be having our official 20 week scan until later next week but I had to have a quick peek when the opportunity arose at a local scanning unit!
Sadly, ASDA chicken spring rolls are still a firm favourite. I seem to have replaced my fatty foods with a desire for vegetables too, which I am delighted about! I hate fatty foods like McDonald’s and the such, but I really have been drawn to it… hopefully that ill stop for the remainder of this pregnancy!
The bad, adorable and downright funny.
Reuben seems to have noticed that my breasts have grown this week. Earlier in the week during a shower he came and patted me, only to inform me that these were for babies to eat from weren’t they Mummy? Yes sweetheart, yes they are!
Toby has been patting my bump a lot this week and I’ve been trying to teach him to say baba. We don’t go for long because the patting turns a touch extreme after a while!
The lack of ability to sleep the night through properly. As if my sleep patterns aren’t shattered enough with two toddlers, I now have a delightful period of sleeplessness at about 3am! Joy!
I really love the concept behind Little Mashers, a London based company that specialises in clothing and gifts for cool kiddos and their parents. The company was originally inspired by the owner’s allotment, where they came up with the idea to create a series of cute characters to help their little boys develop an interest in all things food, from growing to cooking!
As a fan of the vintage, I love that they have taken their inspiration from the vintage style food adverts that were always so much fun, but given them a modern twist. So cute!
Personally I’m all for anything that gets kids interested in food and especially fruit and veg (though I am so lucky because my boys LOVE fruit and most veg). One of my favourite pieces from their collection is the fab chalkboard t-shirts, which you can really draw on and become your own little fashion designer!
Check out the full range of Little Mashers clothing here (and their awesome gifts too!)
These helmets are just a little bit awesome! I live in a very quiet residential area in a small market town, so there are always lots of little ones out and about, especially and the moment with it being the summer holidays. One thing you always see is little ones riding their bikes, and because it is so quiet they frequently don’t have any safety gear on, but if it was on a street or on the way to the school that safety gear is of the utmost importance… so why is it always designed to be so boring?!
These safety helmets from Crazy Stuff are the exact opposite of boring. The helmets are all shaped like animal heads and transform the wearer into a ‘mutant’ (or so the very fun packaging says! Though the helmets have a novelty style appearance that kids will love, parents can love them too safe in the knowledge that they are fully compliant with British and European safety standards, and tested and approved to meet German and US safety standards.
As if that wasn’t enough, they have gone one step further and made matching bike locks so it is cool to ride safe, but it’s also cool to lock your bike up so no more worries about stolen bikes every time they leave the house!
You can find these super cool safety helmets on the very fun Bird Kids site here.
This book is really sweet and the illustrations are just blow your mind!
If you imagine when you were a child digging away in the sandpit, your family members would no doubt make jokes about you ‘digging to China’ or coming out the other side of the world, but with this book your child really can explore what is happening around the world in one moment.
What are the people doing in Vietnam or even in Paris? The book displays, from day to night, each of the 24 hour time zones in the most beautiful way with stunning illustrations and imagery.
This really is one to add to the Christmas list if you don’t already have it, and certainly one to open up all sorts of fun with your kids!
I loved little earrings as a little girl, they were the ultimate in cool and I wanted to where them all the time, but I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced until my mum felt that I was old enough to understand what I was actually doing. I think that she eventually relented when I was about 7, but I was made to keep them clean, look after them properly and still to this day I love my pierced ears.
But what if you these had been around?
b*INK’d temporary tattoo earrings are perfect for little girls who are desperate to get their ears pierced but aren’t quite ready to understand the implications or look after the piercing. They are sold in matching pairs, and are the perfect size to fit on the ear lobe, which is what really sets them apart from most temporary tattoos. One of the things I find really appealing is that they last up to 7 days, and then you can change them, unlike brand new piercings that you should leave in for at least 3 months before you can think about changing the style, you can even use these on toddlers if they want to dress up like mama or big sister, because they are made using FDA approved vegetable based inks!
Not only are these perfect for younger girls, but what about during sports or dancing? These would be the perfect solution to a dance recital that just needed that little bit more pizazz, without the health and safety risks!
You can find b*INK’d tattoos here at Mimosura.
Sometimes heading back to school can be really nerve wracking for kids, especially if they are moving from one school to the next, or even if they are moving classes with different teachers and different friends, so I thought it might be helpful to put together a little list of what you can do as parents to help children going back to school with any nerves or worries.
So what are the main worries with going back to school or the first day at school?
- What if my teacher is mean?
This is one that troubles a lot of children, especially those moving from the early years schooling to the main part of the junior school. What if the teacher isn’t very nice? Well, the easiest thing to do here is to take advantage of the schools orientation days, which most schools have, and if they don’t then you can always ask if your child can meet their new teacher at the end of the previous term so they see a familiar face when they return. Simple things like reminding your child that teachers are there to help you learn and to guide you, and if you follow the rules your teacher will be pleased. This is what I did with Reuben when he first started preschool, and though it took time, it did work.
- What if I don’t make friends?
I remember this feeling myself, don’t you? It’s like a terrible sinking ship in your stomach, and it sucks. The only way a parent can help with this is to remind your child that everyone will be feeling the same way, and that the best way to get meet others is by saying hello and possibly offering to share toys. You can always have a chat with the teacher as well if you have a really shy child and they will usually be able to offer some help matching them up with other kiddos. The other suggestion I have is finding out where the other children at your child’s preschool or play groups are going to school, that will set you up with some friendly names for your children to remember.
- Missing home
This is one that is really common with young children, especially those who haven’t been to nursery or preschool. I know when Reuben moved up to preschool we had the whole scenario of tears and ‘please don’t leave me’ cries over again. It comes as a surprise but I really believe that you have to understand that a change in environment is scary for us as adults, never mind for little children. Explaining that the school has your number if they need to call you, that you are only at work or home and will be back at the end of the day, the same as you always have been before.
- What if the other children pick on me?
This is probably a huge worry for you, as well as for your child. You hear so much about kids being bullied at school, and it is a scary prospect, and one that will be a weight on everyones shoulders. The best thing I find in these situations is to explain to your child that once they make friends they will feel much more confident, and confident is something that bullies tend to stay away from. Teachers are there to help too, they aren’t going to allow the children to be picked on by older kids when they first start and are a source of comfort if your child is scared.
What can you do to make the thought of going to school more exciting?
- Shopping for school supplies
It might not sound like fun, but shopping together for school supplies is known to help provide a sense of independence in your child, and that’s pretty fun right?! School is a scary thing, but if you have a cool pencil case and bag that you chose it somehow seems like an opportunity to enjoy. I know it sounds silly, and of course it is to us, but think back to those worries you had as a child, something that you chose is almost like a security blanket and shopping for things for yourself is always fun.
- Ask for a school handbook.
Another one that sounds silly, but to a preschooler, you reading to them is comforting and sitting down together to read a book all about their new school could well be the comfort they need to get excited.
- Be organised the day before
I have really forced myself into the habit of this for all things we do, from football to swimming, preschool to days out at Grandmas. Rushing cause stress, you know it and I know it, because let’s face it, we do nothing but rush. So if rushing causes stress in us, imagine what it will do to an already stressed out 4/5 year old. Be organised and prepared the day before and then on the morning you can just get a natural routine going.
- Talk about your own (positive) school expeirences
I remember loving learning at school, in fact I think that is one of the reasons I have done several diplomas and things in my free time since I left full time education. It’s fun to learn, and its even more fun to learn with others of your peer group. The other things you can talk about is how much fun you had at playtime – referring back to their own experiences at playgroups.
That is about it really from me, I have used a lot of my own experiences with preparing Reuben for new things, however i also think it’s only fair to credit sites like babycenter, parents.com and others that are wonder sources of information for parents at whatever stage of parenthood.
These are just a little bit too cool, and what a way to get kids learning how to use chopsticks!
If you are anything like me then rice, noodles, thai and asian food will be a regular at your table, and I think this would be a real novelty that I know my boys would enjoy. The chopsticks take the form of a fearsome shark, snappy alligator and a pterodactyl, all in brightly coloured, sturdy plastic that will stretch and bend as your children desire.
I just think these would be a great way to spice up dinner time (no pun intended) while teaching the kids a new level of co ordination that escapes most adults!
You can find these awesome chopsticks for kids here.
Hmm this is a difficult one, and something that I often find myself conflicted with as a parent. How do you teach your children life lessons and discipline? What is the best method and what is too far?
As parents, we all have different ideas, and we all do things in our own way and find our own rhythm. Some of us look at our parent’s methods and think, ‘Ok, yeah, that worked for me, we’ll do that’, others remember things their parents did and think, ‘Gosh, I will NEVER do that to my kids, it’s horrible, never going to happen’.
But what is too far?
Recently a Swedish man has been in the news because he made the decision to take his 10 and 11 year old sons to a war zone (specifically Israel and Syria) when they asked for war games, to show them the consequences of war. The boys were told they could have the game when they returned IF they still wanted it. He said he feels he ‘owed it to them to show them the consequences of war’, he didn’t feel that he had gone too far and felt that they were being given an education on what war really means. He took them to a clinic in a refugee camp and made them interview the manager, who told them the truth of what they were facing.
He has been dubbed by other parents as the ‘Worst and most pompous Dad ever’ but guess what? It worked! This Dad ended up teaching children that war is not a game in a very honest and poignant way. The boys came home from their trip and decided on their own they didn’t want the game, war isn’t a game and in his own young son’s words ‘Watching the children who were dirty and surrounded by garbage’ he couldn’t enjoy a game like that. So is this too far? I think it is important to say that the man in the story is a journalist, so was aware of how to navigate war torn areas and will have been probably safer than you or I, but still, for 10 and 11 year old children to witness death and destruction in such a real way?
Personally, I was shocked by the story, I didn’t know what to make of it. After sitting down and thinking about it though, I think my approach would be similar. If my sons wanted this kind of game at this age I would want to explain to them that war is not a game, it’s not fun and it’s not cool. I’m not suggesting they will never play shooting games, but I wouldn’t want them to be doing so until they were old enough to understand fully that life doesn’t have a reset button. War is real, god knows, we live in a time where you can seldom get away from it and it renders a vast amount of our world torn and brutalised. So for me, maybe a slightly gentler approach, I would talk to them about war, possibly sit them down to watch the news, ask them to do some research about the reality.
What would you do?
I love this little bucket! It is so cute!
The bag is completely collapsable, so fits in any of your bags or under your pushchair without any trouble, and because it is made from a durable polyester fabric it is perfect for collecting shells, stones and all sorts of treasures!
I don’t think it is just for beach time either, what about those awesome treasure hunts during Autumn where you find treasures like conkers, pine cones and golden leaves? This is perfect for that too!
You can find this collapsable bucket bag in most places because it’s made by the very brilliant Melissa & Doug, but this is one of the places I really like here.
I have written about Little Carousel Gallery before, I admire the way that this gallery seems to feature artwork and heirloom pieces that not only speak to children but are beautiful enough to treasure for generations to come.
The latest artist to join Little Carousel Gallery is Emily Bornoff, a renowned children’s book illustrator. Her pieces are stunning and now 8 of her original story book art works are exclusively available through Little Carousel Gallery. The prints are all handmade and small enough to be the perfect finishing touch to any nursery or children’s space.
If you want to find out more about Emily and her wonderful art you can visit Little Carousel Gallery here.