I stayed quiet last week whilst the smacking debate was raging through social media.
Fundamentally I agree with Scotland's decision to make smacking illegal. I don't think it is ever the right choice for discipline. I don't think it is a good parenting tool.
I agree with all the arguments that hitting adults is classed as assault and abuse, and so should hitting children.
I agree that there are a million other things we can do instead of using violence towards our children.
A guest blog from Holly Heather of Calm Birth, Calm Parenting.
that “me too” can be said by every female from the age of about 10 upwards. Either in some small (it’s never that small), everyday way or on a terrifying sliding scale to extremely devastating sexual violence, sometimes repeatedly. But as I raised my voice, it became oh so clear that there was a problem, and soon that became more than one. these need addressing and a solution is a must:
(A response to the telegraph article by Hilary French dated 10th October 2017)
Children and sleep. It’s always a topic that gets people going, with opinions and advice being bandied around to ‘fix’ whatever sleep problem parents are experiencing. Let’s face it, we’ve all been asked ‘Is he good?’ about our tiny newborn – which basically means ‘Does he sleep?’ And obviously, babies who don’t sleep are ‘bad’ - and this labelling continues through to toddlers who don’t sleep either.
Tonight’s Panorama (Sleepless Britain) was no exception.
Before I go any further, I would like to say that this post is in no way referring to those children who have a recognised, clinical sleep disorder. What I am talking about is children who sleep like normal children, who are being let down by out-of-touch advice and techniques. I’m also going to focus on the younger children featured in the programme, as that’s the age range we cover.
Let’s address some of the points made by the programme one-by-one:
He's going to find out who's naughty or nice...
Because formula companies don't care what you feed your baby - right?
You might feel like that mantra puts a lot of pressure on you and makes you feel like a failure when you can't provide the "best" for your baby. Well that isn't the only reason to hate it. The thing is that formula companies love the "breast is best" campaign, precisely because you hate it. They love it because it separates us into two categories (this is important). It pits us against each other: those who are breastfeeding and those who are using formula. Now those who are desperately struggling to breastfeed (and it can be bloody hard, especially at the start) and not getting much support, need to defend their reasons for this struggle (sometimes to themselves and close relatives even) by sticking to the "it's best" mantra, and those who formula feed feel attacked by this message. Now why do you think this benefits those who sell formula?
If you have children, you might have found yourself wondering at some point, 'Why didn't anyone tell me?', 'How am I supposed to know what to do?', or 'Which advice / opinion is the one I should be listening to?'
*fanfare* That's where BabyCalm and ToddlerCalm come in (if you're not sure what we're about, then this video will help):
Spreading the word - please vote for us
There are currently four directors (all teachers) running the business. We are extremely passionate about what we do and we want to spread the word to more parents and their children.
In an effort to help the company on its way, we've entered Voom 2016 in the Grow category. Making it through to the next round would make a huge difference to our business, but (and here's the catch) - it depends on votes.
So - if you liked our video and think we could have helped you in those first few years of parenthood, or think it might be something you'd consider in the future, please take a moment to vote for us: https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/babycalm-toddlercalm
Voting closes on Monday, and we need to get into the top 80 to progress to the next round. Every vote counts. Every family deserves the best possible start.
It's the 1st December, and in my house that means only one thing - the arrival of our elves.
Now before you roll your eyes and start muttering about people taking something fun and magical and using it for bribery and corruption, rest assured that our elves are here for fun only. They don't report back to Father Christmas or advise him on whether my kids are naughty or nice. They do mischievous things like eating my husband's advent calendar chocolate, or fun things like playing board games with the other toys.
My kids love it - so much, that last year we had to steal Grandma's decorative elf (which, rather handily, was the same as our elf George Jingle) in a bid to reduce the sibling rivalry over who got to the elf first. Now George brings his cousin Jim Jingle with him on his visits to our house, and my two smalls get an elf pal each to tote around and cuddle.
And that's another thing we do slightly differently - the typical 'rule' about Christmas elves is that you cannot touch them or their magic goes away. No such rule here! My daughter has gone to sleep this evening clutching both elves (I had to prise them out of her vice-like grip), and our elves frequently come out on outings with us in December.
Having two house-elves with us for 24 days certainly isn't easy - this is our third year, and I'm scraping the barrel for ideas of what the elves can do each evening (and in fact have zero clue what I'm going to get them to do tonight... better sort that out sharpish). I make my life slightly easier by having them bring advent calendars on night 1, and on the 23rd they leave us a Christmas Eve box. Some nights I delegate responsibility to my husband - and he tends to go for the toilet humour sort of stuff that 5 and 3 year olds find hilarious (like George Jingle pooping DUPLO blocks in the potty).
Another issue is that our elves aren't posable like some others, so in the past we've had to get creative with sellotape (which has raised questions from the littles). That was after a few incidents where we propped George up only to find in the morning that he looked like he'd cracked open the brandy overnight.
Other than having to think up ever more exciting japes for them as well as ways to imaginatively (and invisibly) pose them, they're actually easy house guests to have. There have been a few occasions where I've been tucked up cosy and warm in bed and have had to get back up as I've realised that I haven't sorted the %#~€£¥ elves, but often the simple ones are the ones that my children enjoy the most (usually it involves a bunch of toys playing with cars / tool kits / games / jigsaw puzzles / bicycles - and if your children have anywhere near as many toys as mine, you'll have an inexhaustible list of ideas).
The only word of caution I would give is - once your elves have left, make sure you hide them well. My husband was in charge of putting George away one year - which amounted to him flinging him on his office desk and forgetting about him. Until my son saw him and started shrieking excitedly that George had come back. Didn't make that mistake again.
Right now, elf duty calls, but I'm going to update the CalmFamily blog regularly with details of what George and Jim have been up to - starting tomorrow, when I've (hopefully) thought of something before I head to bed tonight! Wish me luck...
Last night, George and Jim got a bit peckish and decided to raid the kitchen cupboards. Seems they've got good taste. This was a husband suggestion because I (rather shamefully, considering we're only on day 2 - and actually it's really only day 1 as the first night just involved plonking them down with some advent calendars) was too tired to think about what they could do.
My two loved this one - lots of shrieking and excitement, and we got dragged out of bed to see what the elves had done. My 3 year old also had stern words with the elves about not making lots of mess (shame she doesn't listen to her own advice, really)...!
George and Jim and their pals, Frozen the spinosaurus (no prizes for guessing what my 3 year old's current obsession is) and Sabre-Tooth the sabre-toothed cat (my 5 year old is all about original names) played a game of Snakes and Ladders last night. Apparently Frozen won.
Last night, the elves set up the children's mini-tree, ready for them to decorate.
A word of caution to those who consider this one: if you have a child who wakes at night (like mine) and who comes through to your room (also like mine), you may want to rethink putting something like this in your child's room.
I learned this lesson at 2.45am this morning, when my 3 year old woke up and discovered the tree in her bedroom. She shrieked so loudly that she also woke my 5 year old up. Apparently they then decided that 3am is the perfect time to decorate a tree. I half-heartedly attempted to persuade them to wait until a more reasonable time, but honestly, I was still half asleep and just wanted my 3 year old to stop shining my phone torch in my eyes, so I left them to it.
The only saving grace of the situation was that they weren't fighting while they did it - and I actually heard my 5 year old exclaim 'Good teamwork!' That (almost) made up for the numerous visits where they asked me to detangle tinsel or retie baubles.