Last Wednesday evening I did my final free masterclass of a series of 3 'The 3 Secrets to Managing Tantrums and Challenging Behaviour'. About 10 minutes into the class my powerpoint presentation totally jammed and I couldn't click on.
My husband – aka my tech department – is usually around to jump in and rescue me if something like this happens but he was out that night.
I may have told you that by nature I’m not calm and centred. I can easily get into flaps and panic when things go wrong.
Ask my kids - they get so irritated by me and ask: 'Why are you so stressy...?'
But, despite what my kids think, on many occasions, I do press and choose to react calmly.
And that's what I did last week.
I told myself ‘It’ll be ok’ and a really sweet attendee told me to ‘force quit’ powerpoint and start it again which worked.
Many years ago, in a former life in corporate training and development, I lead a programme on behalf of the Covey...
You know those weekends when you know you need to get out of the house, but nothing appeals?
The kids are whining and squabbling
And you can’t think of anything you much want to do.
It was on just one of those Sundays not long after we’d had our fourth child when we decided to go to Battersea Park.
You may not know Battersea Park but I have always found the layout really confusing.
Anyway, we went to the playground , had a hot chocolate at the café and we were walking back to car when the heavens opened.
It was like someone was chucking bucket loads of water over our heads.
We had the baby in the pram and Scarlett our toddler was in the toddler seat attached.
In our tired-to-the-bone, brain-fog state of mind, we dashed towards the carpark.
For about 5 minutes we ran along the windy paths and when we reached the car, we turned round and saw that neither Nico or Felix (4...
Do you consider yourself a morning person?
When my kids were little, all I longed for is a lie in as they frequently woke too early.
Now they are older, I have to drag them out of bed and I wake up much earlier than I used to.
Ironic isn’t it?!
My eldest daughter – she’s number 3 after my two boys – started a job this week. She’s taking a year out between school and university and is working in a primary school. I know it’s such a cliché but honestly it doesn’t seem long ago when she was starting nursery.
She asked me to drive her there.
My first reaction was to think that she’s perfectly capable of getting there herself as it isn’t too far away and what does she need me for?
Luckily I kept that thought to myself and instead I pressed pause and thought about how I might phrase the question.
“Just wondering if there’s a reason you’d like me to drive you instead of going on your bike?”
Do you love change?
I'm great with change when I am in a good emotional state but if I'm feeling at all wobbly, which often happens, then I start to get anxious and difficult to be around.
Not long after Nico, my eldest, had started in reception*, he came out of school in a really foul mood.
*Reception in the uk is the year they start school aged 4-5.
“Where’s my snack?” he barked at me.
“Here it is darling”
“Why have I got an apple and cheese squares. Why can’t you make nice snacks like the other mums? I’m not eating it” at which point he threw the bag back at me and said “I’m not walking home. Why didn’t you bring the car?”
Every ounce of me wanted to tell him that apple and cheese were nice healthy snacks and he liked them normally. I wanted to get tell him off for him being rude to me and tell him that he had to walk home or threaten to leave him there.
But I knew enough then to zip my lip and wait.
As summer draws to an end, it is also hard for children to get back into a normal routine and in my experience, it’s good to put things in place in advance of the first day.
Children don’t think ahead in the way we do so we need to do our best to help them adjust to changes and make it as easy as possible for them.
So I’ve drawn up a handy list – in this blog I’m giving you some practical tips and next week I’ll give you tips to manage your child’s emotional reaction to starting school. For school I also mean nursery, day care, kindergarten, pre-school – whatever stage your child is at.
So here are 10 things to do:
Do you ever feel jealous?
It’s not a great feeling is it?
But it is a normal, human feeling.
We need to remember that children's feelings are raw and they are learning to regulate them.
I was working with a client recently who was having such a struggle with her toddler adapting to life with a younger brother. Lily is 3 and Max was 9 months.
Anna had reached the end of her tether.
She said she was constantly reprimanding Lily and she realised it actually made her worse.
Anna was feeling so guilty as she knew the way she was handling Lily was damaging her relationship with her and she didn't want it to be that way.
As well as some private sessions with me, Anna also joined my The Tantrum Taming Toolkit course and said it transformed the way she parented. You can put your name on the waitlist for the next course by clicking the link.
Our second son Felix was a colicky baby who also had reflux. It took ages to feed him, he’d then throw it up and cry with pain...
It’s been a pretty dreary summer here in the UK with a lot of rain.
I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of rain, especially the quantities we've had.
I remember one summer getting caught in a massive downpour at the playground with my kids and their cousins.
There was absolutely no point in moving and there wasn't much shelter so despite starting off by telling them to come out of the rain, I decided to let them carry on playing.
They had the time of their lives.
That’s what I just love about kids, is their spirit, their vibrancy and ability to see fun in situations that we find stressful.
They dashed about screaming with laughter getting totally soaked and not noticing at all.
Months later they still talked about the fun they had there.
In this week’s blog I’m bringing you an interview I did with Dr Stephanie Oi, @thegpmum – Stephanie is a mum of two young kids and has a massive Instagram following. Click above to watch...
We were once returning from a trip to Italy many years ago when we just had the two boys.
Felix was 2 and Nico was 4 .
Felix had missed his nap and the flight was delayed so we were fairly doomed from the get-go!
He wouldn’t eat any of the food at the airport and by the time we go on the plane he had gone over the edge.
You know that situation they your child becomes a loose canon?
He arched back as we tried to strap him in the plane seat.
He threw any toys we gave him and he hit out at us any time we tried to placate him.
We’d hoped that when the flight got going, he might eventually fall asleep.
It was after all 10.30pm by this time.
But that would have been too easy wouldn’t it?
He became hysterical and started kicking the seat in front of him.
We held onto his legs and told him he couldn’t do that.
We tried distracting him with snacks – they went the same direction as the toys.
I’m sure you can picture it.
You are exhausted yourself. Your...
Sometimes it is just worth having a laugh with your kids.
I think a lot about parenting – well I guess I would as it is my work – and as I’m around my kids a lot (yes, all four still living at home) I am constantly evaluating and testing what works best.
You might think that as my kids are so grown up (youngest 16, eldest 23) that my job is coming to an end, but it doesn’t work like that. You still have to ask them to do things, they still need my help and support, there’s still negotiations, give and take, guidance… all that stuff.
Anyway, back to laughing.
My daughter Scarlett made her sister a gorgeous video for her birthday of lots of clips of them together. I was struck by how many laughs they have.
One of the clips was me, convulsed in giggles. I don’t even know why I was laughing.
It reminded me how important it is for our child to see us laughing. They also do so many funny...
At this time of year, quite a few parents are sending their kids to summer activity camps. If you are lucky enough to get away on holiday, there might be a kids' club there.
Some children skip off happily and others are a lot more reluctant.
When my eldest son Nico was 5, I signed him up for a summer camp called Arty Party. He wasn’t too keen to go but I felt that he’d enjoy it when he was there. I’d hadn't done an awful lot of the preparation work that I recommend (see list below) but he seemed ok, if a bit quiet, when I picked him up on the first day.
That afternoon my mother had come to visit. When we got back, she was in our living room sitting on the sofa with the younger children.
Nico said he was hungry so I gave him an apple. He took one bite and said he didn’t want it any more.
My mother said something to him about it being a shame to waste fruit and then, to my horror, he threw the apple at her.