Monday 29 October 2018

5 Parenting Challenges That You May Not Be Prepared For

Being a parent is the greatest job in the world. Fact. But that doesn’t mean that the journey is all plain sailing. There are a number of challenges along the way and, while you will have prepared for some, others may take you by surprise.
Here are five of the most common, along with how to manage them in the most suitable fashion.

Family, Parenting, Together, People, Child, Mother
#1. Child Behavioral Problems   
As our understanding of ADHD and related conditions grows, the number of diagnosed cases shoots through the roof. While getting your child tested at the earliest stage possible will help the cause, you may need to push the issue. Otherwise, your child’s case can be lost in the system. If an issue is detected, the diagnosis will point you in the right direction of treatments and coping mechanisms. However, one of the best things you can do is connect with other parents in a similar situation.
#2. Limited Home Space
Times are hard, not least with regards to affordable housing. A property that is a little smaller than you’d ideally like for a family of your size can cause a few issues. Bringing a sense of stability to the child’s bedroom should be at the top of your agenda. Meanwhile, bathrooms are surprisingly important. In truth, sticking to a minimalist design and getting rid of clutter should work wonders throughout the home. When the home is blessed with a happy vibe, the impacts will be palpable.
#3. Relationship Troubles
The harsh reality of life is that roughly one in three marriages ends in divorce. When your relationship breaks down, finding a fair solution for both parties is key. You'll also need to ensure that you are both able to provide your child with the best life. Family law solicitors can take care of the legalities and financial aspects. Your job as responsible adults is to sit down and explain the situation in a comforting way. Providing a united front is essential, even if you no longer get on.   
Family, Divorce, Separation, Before, Marriage Divorce

#4. Internet Safety
While they’re still toddlers, the kids are likely to be limited to a few iPad Apps. However, they’ll soon be playing games with friends via the internet. Whether it’s playing on the PlayStation or using the laptop doesn’t matter, they need to be safe. Reading support from experts in the field of online safety will help you stay on top of this challenge. Even if your child isn’t at risk, it’s always good to put your mind at ease. Prevention is always the best form of protection.
#5. School Admissions
Once upon a time, the process of getting your child into a school was the simplest of tasks. Nowadays, not quite so much. Therefore, conducting the necessary research in advance is vital. It is another option to think about homeschooling. One way or another, ensuring that your child receives the best schooling is vital for your child’s early years. The ‘fun’ doesn’t end there, though, as you’ll have to do it all over again once senior school, college, and university admissions arrive!

*Collaborative post

Monday 22 October 2018

Victorious Festival Portsmouth - The Perfect Festival for Kids

Back in the Summer Holidays, Elliot and I headed down to Portsmouth on Bank Holiday weekend to spend the day the Victorious Festival.

The Victorious Festival, now in it's 7th year, is a three day family friendly festival held on Southsea Common. Featuring many different stages and big names in music such as the Prodigy it really has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.

The music side of it wasn't really a draw for me as I'm rubbish at current music and haven't got a clue who's in the chart these days but the kids arena sounded fantastic and this is what swayed our decision to go!

Leaving Erin with my parents, we headed down to Portsmouth on the train from Poole. I've only been to Portsmouth a couple of times before so I was looking forward to going somewhere different - Elliot was excited just to be going on a train!

We arrived in Portsmouth just after 10am and we hopped on a Hover bus from the station which took us directly to Southsea Common. It was a beautiful sunny day and the view over the water to the Isle of Wight was stunning.

The festival itself was massive and I definitely underestimated how large it would be - we seemed to walk forever around the outside barriers to get to the entrance! Entry was nice and fast, our bags were checked and I picked up a lost child wristband to write my number on incase Elliot and I lost each other. We had a wander as we got inside the festival and it was the perfect time to get our bearings as it was still nice and quiet.

We decided to head straight for the kids area, where we quickly discovered that all the activities (including the face painting and bouncy castle!) were free - how amazing is that?! Featuring a whole variety of local businesses, all with children's activities we were spoilt for choice. Elliot decided to go on the bouncy area while there were no queues - this area was continuously busy all day so if you're thinking of coming next year, make this first on your list to do!

Some of the other stalls we visited were the RNLI where we learnt about safety in the sea, the Mary Rose museum where we were able to see and hold actual items that were on the ship, we played with ALOT of Lego with the team from the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and we couldn't resist getting a giant slush drink!

One of the things Elliot was looking forward to was the meet and greets and he was quite excited to spot Paddington Bear. He's always loved meeting characters and mascots...Erin is the opposite however, she runs a mile if shes anyway near someone dressed up! Through out the day we also met Finn & Jake from Adventure time and even some Princesses.

Just before lunch we headed to the stage where our favourites, Andy & The Odd Socks were due to perform. The sun was shining and it was a lovely atmosphere - there were rows of hay bales for the audience to sit on and space for the children at the front to dance. There was a children's entertainer, Ross Presto who was very funny and Elliot even got picked to join in with a game. He won a bag of sweets so that made his day!

After Ross came the Princesses who sang and danced to lots of recognisable pop/Disney songs - they even did Baby Shark much to the delight of the kids in the audience!

Finally the moment, we'd been patiently waiting for - Andy and The Odd Socks! We had a spot right at the front of the hay bales and Elliot had loads of fun dancing around and flossing to his favourite songs. It was probably one of the smaller stages the band have played but they certainly had a large enthusiastic crowd! The band have so much energy - they must have a pre-gig snack that includes weetabix and redbull because they do not stop! As always we loved seeing them rock out and it was great to hear Unique again. We love this song and the important message it puts across - and it's so blimmin' catchy!

As the band came off stage, eagle eye Elliot spotted Andy at the side saying hi to some of the audience so he dashed on over for a high five!

After all that excitement we decided to head out of the kids arena in search of something yummy for lunch and we were so spoilt for choice that it took us almost half an hour to decide! In the end we had ostrich burger and fries which was lovely, we sat under a tree with the Common Stage in the background and it was a nice moment of calm in the busyness of the festival. I have to say it was so lovely in the kids arena and then coming into the main festival where there were so many people was a bit overwhelming!!

After a quick stop at the Coca-Cola stand to try out the new zero flavours, we decided to head back to the kids arena where there was a ton of things still to be looked at! Top of Elliot's list was the Rebel Yarn Bombers - these lovely ladies had a massive selection of knitted monsters that were all lovingly handmade and even named. All the monsters were available to adopt for a donation and the money was being raised for the Roald Dahl Charity. Elliot took a l-o-n-g time to decide on a monster...and we even had to come back later in the day so he could get a couple more!

Some of the yarn bombers work on display - impressive!

The next few hours were jam packed with lots of making in the arts and crafts tents, Elliot played some football with Little Kickers, he built some sandcastles at the beach area, he checked out the instruments at the Ready to Rock school and we even got to sample some really really yummy Montezuma chocolate...guess which bit was my highlight ;)

I have to say that everyone we spoke to on the stalls was so friendly - we met a really lovely young lad on the Foster Portsmouth stall who spent ages colouring with Elliot and helping him choose about a thousand stickers to go on his sheet! He told us all about how Foster Portsmouth had helped him throughout his childhood and how passionate he was about getting the word out about fostering. He was called Elliot too!

Elliot and Elliot! Foster Portsmouth
Our final activity of the day was another Andy & The Odd Socks set - I think this one was even busier! We bumped into some friends of ours, Laura and her son Max from Max and Mummy and we had a fab time sat with them. The boys were off down the front throwing some shapes whilst we sat and relaxed on the hay bales!

After the show Elliot managed to get selfies with the band so he was one happy boy, always nice to chat to them and they are always so friendly to us.

With a fond farewell to our friends, it was time for Elliot and I to head home. As the kids area was drawing to a close, the rest of the festival was starting to get even busier with crowds of people streaming through the gates. Perhaps we'll stick around for the evening entertainment next year!

The Victorious Festival was bigger and better than I'd imagined and we were absolutely blown away with how amazing the kids arena was. There was so much on offer and you literally could spend all day in there - pretty much like we did!

We look forward to seeing what next year has to offer :)

Friday 12 October 2018

Bring Order To The Chaos Of Your Kid's Bedroom

As any parent will tell you, their kid’s bedroom is often in a state of chaos. And while this
may appeal to the child themselves, other people have to go about family life in the
knowledge that part of the house is permanently off-limits.

Is this acceptable?

If you ask many parents, it’s not. But many are at their wits end figuring out what to do about it.

Fear not. Here are some ways that you can bring order to chaos in your kid’s bedroom.

Give The Child Ownership

Part of making a kid’s bedroom less chaotic is to give the child some ownership over
what’s inside it. If they want a wooden dolls house, then let them have one. If they want to
put their pictures on the wall and organise their toys, then let them do it.
The reason for doing this is simple. If the child believes that they have some control over
their environment, then they are much more likely to keep things tidy. Although you may
not agree with their tastes all the time, being able to design their room connects them to it.
As a result, they will want to make it as good as they can.

Start Seeing The Room Through Their Eyes

Image result for messy bedroom

There’s no shame in seeing your kids bedroom from your perspective. After all, seeing
things from your perspective is what you’re used to. But now many experts, like
Maryana Gryshpun from Mammoth projects, thinks that parents should change their tact.
Rather than viewing rooms from their perspective, she argues that they need to start seeing
them from a child’s-eye view. Only then will they be able to appreciate why it’s so hard for
children to keep things tidy.

Her approach is to change the layout of the room to suit a child. Rather than having full-size
chest of drawers, she suggests moving everything a couple of feet down so that it is easily
accessible by a young child.

Create A Theme

This point cannot be stressed enough: make a child’s bedroom thematic. Not only do themes
help to create interest and make a child feel at home, but they also develop a sense of
continuity which can otherwise be sorely lacking.

Themes are also great for children who have a passion for a particular subject. As a parent,
you could create a butterfly-themed room for a child who loves all things insectoid, or a
race car-themed room for a child who likes to watch Formula 1. The possibilities are virtually

Use Tactile Cues

As adults, we see the world visually. But for children, the world is explored with all the senses,
including the sense of touch. One of the reasons children’s rooms become so chaotic and
messy is because the child themselves feels agitated in some way. Children tend to act out
their emotions. So parents who want to avoid the perpetual mess of their kid’s bedroom can
use warm and soft textures to inspire calmness. Plush pillows, soft rugs, stress balls and
calm lighting will all help.

*Collaborative Post

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