your baby cool in the car is trickier than you might think. Cars can, after
all, be quite stifling and unpleasant places to be when it’s hot outside, and
little ones are particularly sensitive to heat – that’s because they aren’t
able to regulate their body temperature in the same way that adults can.
Child car seats feature
generous padding to help provide youngsters with extra protection against
impact. However, this additional padding can also mean that these car seats
trap more heat, thereby potentially making them quite warm and uncomfortable
for your little one.
are, however, things you can do to help keep your baby from sweating in their car seat. Here are some of our
top tips on how to make your baby comfortable on their next journey.
Schedule your trips for cooler times of day. Obviously, the heat outside tends to peak in the afternoon, so if you can rearrange your schedule and run those errands in the morning or evening when it’s a bit cooler, that should help to make the experience more pleasant for your baby.
Cool your car down before strapping in and setting off. Where you can, give the air conditioning a quick blast prior to seating your baby in their car seat and heading off on your journey.
Try to park in shaded areas. Needless to say, this isn’t always possible, but if you can find a shaded place in which to park your car, you should consider doing so. You’re likely to find that when you come back, the car’s a lot cooler inside than it otherwise would be.
Put a sunshade on the window. Car seat sunshades are a real godsend in these situations – they help to block out the sun’s glare, thereby keeping the heat at a more manageable level as well.
Place a car seat cooler on your baby’s seat. Car seat cooling pads basically consist of ice packs in a cover specially designed to keep a child car seat cool. Put a cooler on an empty child car seat and after a while, it should be nice and comfortable for your little one to sit in.
Keep plenty of cold fluids handy. A cool drink of water or juice should help to keep your baby refreshed, which is just what they’ll need if they’re travelling in a child car seat on a warm day.
Make sure your baby wears lightweight clothing. Lighter, more breathable clothing can again help to keep your baby’s body temperature at a comfortable level. Cotton clothing is especially breathable for little ones.
the above tips should help to make those car journeys on warm days much easier
for your little one – and less stressful for you as well! Taking simple
precautions such as these can help to avoid a lot of unnecessary discomfort for
your baby, putting your mind at rest. Happy travelling!
When teaching your
child to ride a bike,
there’s a great deal you’ll need to think about. It’s not a matter of just
plonking them onto the saddle and then leaving them to work out the rest!
There’s inevitably going to be a lot of trial and error involved, and you’ll
need to provide both a great deal of patience and encouragement.
Learning to ride a
bike is an important rite of passage for any young child and helping them to
learn can also be hugely satisfying for you as a parent. Each child is
different, of course, but as a general rule they should be ready to learn at
around four to six years of age. Of course, getting to grips with riding a bike
is about their mental maturity as well as physical capacity, so make sure you
take this into account as well.
To help you through
this challenging but genuinely rewarding process, we’ve compiled some of our
top tips for helping little ones in their efforts to learn how to ride a bike.
1. Choose a bike that’s of an appropriate size. Selecting the right size bike for your child is very important. It’s not a good idea to buy a bike that your child will eventually ‘grow into’; this can in fact hamper their ability to learn how to ride. Their feet should touch the ground while they’re positioned on the saddle with their legs straightened. For more info, check out the Tweeks Cycles guide to kids’ bike sizes.
2. Make sure you teach them in a suitable area. Learning to ride a bike for the first time is difficult, and it requires plenty of space! Choose a flat and smooth area to teach them in, whether it’s a wide tarmac path or a flat and well-trimmed field. Soft grass can be difficult to pedal on, so might be less suitable. Avoid inclines and hills.
3. Coordination and balance are crucial. When starting to teach your little one how to ride their bike, the first thing you need to do is help them get their coordination and balance right. Pedalling comes after that. In fact, removing pedals altogether to begin with can help your child concentrate on balancing. Balance bikes are a great way to get kids used to the idea of riding a bike, so that they’ve got plenty of confidence when the time comes to upgrade to a ‘real bike’!
4. Learn to let go! As a concerned parent, it’s always tempting to keep a firm grip on your child’s bike as they try to learn, but you have to be prepared to give them some freedom. Let go gradually, but make sure you’re still in a position to catch your child if they look like they might fall off. Keep your hands under their armpits rather than holding onto the handlebars yourself.
5. Be careful not to pile on too much pressure. You might think you’re just being encouraging, but don’t try to push your little one too hard when they’re trying to get to grips with riding a bike. Be sure to give your child the freedom to learn at a pace that’s comfortable for them. Above all, keep it fun – the worst thing you could do is make it feel like a chore.
6. Get the right protective gear. It’s only sensible to prepared for those bumps and scrapes that so often come with learning to ride a bike. Most obviously, you’ll need to choose a suitable bike helmet. This should fit snugly, without any wobbling, and there should be around two finger widths’ worth of space between the brim of the helmet and your child’s eyebrows. Gloves, and elbow and knee pads, can also provide valuable protection in the event of a fall.
Teaching your kid to
ride a bike comes with its fair share of obstacles. But it can be lots of fun
for the both of you as well if you approach it in the right spirit, and it’s
also a great opportunity to spend some quality time together. Most of all, be
prepared to persevere! Learning to ride a bike for the first time isn’t easy,
but by showing patience and offering consistent encouragement, you can make it
much more enjoyable for your child.
Any parent will already
know just how fussy kids can be when it comes to eating. You can impose all the
ground rules you want – no sweets if you don’t eat your veg! – but most of the
time, the old disciplinarian approach doesn’t work as well as a lot of people
There are, in reality,
many ways to encourage healthy eating and get youngsters to take up the good
habits that’ll stand them in good stead well into their later life. The key to
success is helping your child to develop a positive relationship with food,
rather than simply instilling discipline into them. This means positively
supporting your child as they explore new foods.
It’s important to remember
also that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this: what gets one child to
eat healthily might not work for another. Nevertheless, there are some general
points to bear in mind when trying to entice your child into adopting healthier
eating habits. If you’ve ever found yourself fretting how to get kids to eat
veggies, here’s what we’d recommend.
The benefits of healthy eating in early childhood
Once your little one’s
ready to start weaning, you can begin introducing them to the joys of healthy
eating. There are numerous benefits to encouraging healthy eating from early
childhood. For example, it can help keep their energy levels well managed and
stabilise their moods. Plus, as we’ve already noted, starting healthy eating
early helps to inculcate positive habits from a young age. Kids who get
accustomed to eating healthily when they’re young are more likely to continue
doing so as they grow older.
So, how should you go
about introducing your baby to healthy foods? Once they’re weaning (from the
age of around six months), you can encourage them to try a range of nutritious
solids; these might include, for example, banana, mango, dried fruits,
breadsticks, or cooked sticks of broccoli and carrot. Make sure you provide a
good variety of healthy food, too: young kids are notoriously fussy eaters, but
if you can show them that there’s nothing to be afraid of in trying new foods
that are good for them, you’ll be doing them a big favour.
Getting the kids involved
When they’re a little
older, you can start to get your children involved in preparing meals. This is
a really good way of teaching them to appreciate what they eat – and it can
also help to overcome any fussiness, because kids who’ve gone to the trouble of
preparing their own food are much more likely to eat it!
But you can get them
involved even earlier in the process than the actual preparation of meals. For
example, it’s a good idea to actively involve children in food shopping, as
well as teaching them how to read and understand food labels. This is all
likely to give them a greater appreciation of the food they eat, where it comes
from and how it affects them, as well as (again) inculcating good habits for
Keep it positive!
When trying to persuade
young children to take up healthy eating, it’s crucial to keep the emphasis on
encouragement – so you need to make sure you keep the tone positive. Don’t make
it feel like a duty or a chore, because that’s a sure-fire way to lose any young
child’s attention. You need them to engage positively if those good habits are
to stick, so an encouraging and upbeat approach is the key.
Try not to be overbearing.
Don’t pepper your child with demands and requests about what they eat, as this
will soon start to become wearying for them. Instead, make sure you take the
time out to praise your little one whenever they make healthy eating choices
for themselves. If your child chooses fruit, vegetables or low-fat foods over
sweet and sugary treats, you should make the effort to recognise it. This
should encourage them to continue doing so.
Of course, this is not to
suggest that you need to freak out every time your child has a packet of
crisps. No child can be expected to eat totally virtuously all the time – so
don’t be too worried when yours doesn’t! Also, the more you make a fuss about
certain foods, the more tempting they’re likely to be for little ones. Cutting
down on sugary snacks is a good thing, but don’t go overboard. It is a good
idea, though, to keep a generous supply of healthy snacks to hand.
We hope this gives you
some idea of how to go about introducing your children to healthy eating.
You’ll soon see that making subtle changes can make a really big difference.
Good luck, happy eating, and don’t forget to check out our
earlier guide on how to live an uber healthy life!
Camping is a fantastic way
of getting up close and personal with the natural world, and in particular of
sharing its wonders with your children. It provides a unique perspective on the
countryside, allowing you to nestle among the wildlife and plant life and see
both in totally new ways. It can be a wonderful experience for the whole family
to share, creating all sorts of memories you’ll treasure for years to come.
If you love and appreciate
the great outdoors, then it’s only natural to want to introduce your children
to the experience of camping at the first realistic opportunity. Camping can be
lots of fun even for babies and toddlers, but if you are taking very young
children with you on a camping trip, there are some things you’ll need to
consider – after all, you’ll want to ensure that they enjoy the experience just
as much as you do.
With that in mind, we’ve
put together some of our top tips for camping with a baby or toddler. Read on
to find out more!
Timing is everything
If you’re keen to take
your little one camping, the first question you’ll need to ask yourself is
this: when’s the right time to do it? You might prefer to wait until they’re a
bit older so that they can explore more independently and appreciate their surroundings
a little more. However, it might be easier to take your child camping for the
first time before they’ve reached the stage of being an inquisitive toddler.
That way, you can introduce them to the outdoors while they’re still easy to
keep an eye on!
Of course, camping with toddlers can be hugely rewarding and enjoyable as well. But taking them before they reach this stage allows you to get more accustomed to camping as a family, so you’re better prepared for what to expect in future as your child grows.
Choosing the right gear for camping with a baby
When you’re taking a baby
or toddler camping, you need to make sure you’ve got all the right equipment.
This goes without saying for any conscientious parent, of course, but it’s
important to emphasise all the same. Draw up a checklist beforehand containing
everything you’re planning to take with you, and stick to it. First, you’ll
need to think about how to ferry your little one around – a robust baby carrier
or sling makes it much easier to tackle tricky terrain, as do some off-road pushchairs.
You should also remember to bring a decent selection of toys with you to keep your little one occupied. Keeping some of their favourite baby toys from home to hand should help your child to feel more comfortable in their surroundings. Make sure you’re prepared for changing as well; pack a generous supply of nappies and bring other essentials such as changing mats. Bottles must be properly sterilised and cleaned too.
You’ll also need to consider sleeping arrangements. Some travel cots are suitable for use in larger tents, as they’re designed to save on space and are easy to transport around. Temperatures are a particularly important consideration when you’re sleeping outdoors with babies or toddlers (they’re less able to regulate their body temperature), so make sure you bring thick swaddles and blankets with you. Don’t forget to pack plenty of warm clothes, hats and socks either.
How to choose the right camping spot
If you’re going camping
with a baby or toddler, you’ll need to think carefully about where you camp – choosing
the right spot is very important! Check in advance what facilities are
available on site and in the nearby vicinity. It might be a good idea, if
possible, to request a spot that’s closest to the on-site amenities so it’s
easier for you and your little one to access them.
It may also be useful to
choose a camping site that’s not too far from where you live, at least while
your little one is still young. This way, not only will you have less distance
to travel, but you’ll also be able to head home again if your child doesn’t
initially take to the camping experience (after all, there can be quite a lot
to adjust to).
Camping trips can be a
fantastic family experience and there’s no reason why babies and toddlers can’t
have a great time. With the proper preparation, many young kids take to camping
like ducks to water. All you have to do is make sure you’ve got the right
supplies with you and that you’ve done the necessary research beforehand. Happy
If you’re heading camping with your little one, don’t
forget to check out the Uber Kids range – where you can stock up on bottle
feeding and baby changing
essentials, as well as fun toys to keep them
Any parent will be able to regale you with all manner of war stories about simply trying to get some sleep soon after welcoming a new arrival.
The joys of parenthood are plentiful as those early months with your child can be some of the most precious you’ll experience together; the flipside is that it’ll be a while before you get to enjoy a good night’s sleep again! Sleep deprivation effects can soon start to take a toll, particularly if you’re not properly prepared for them.
Upon the birth of his first child, Archie, Prince Harry was jokingly welcomed to the ‘sleep deprivation society’ by his brother Prince William. Millions of parents with little ones of their own will know only too well exactly what he meant! Having a baby means that just at the very moment when you need to get those eight hours of shut-eye per night the most, they’re more elusive than ever before.
However, there are steps you can take when it comes to dealing with sleep deprivation as a new parent. Keep reading to find out about the effects of lack of sleep, as well as coping strategies and handy tips from the experts themselves.
How much sleep do new parents lose?
Research backs up the hunch that sleep deprivation is a serious issue for parents with young children. According to one study, new parents can expect to ‘enjoy’ an average of only four hours and 44 minutes of sleep per night over the first year of their baby’s life. Some new parents might say that sounds a bit optimistic!
Needless to say, losing this much sleep can soon start to accumulate. Another study, this time carried out by the University of Warwick, found that parents could be affected by sleep deprivation for up to six years following the birth of their child. The unpredictable sleep patterns and crying in the night might dissipate as your child gets older, but these can be replaced by new challenges, including sickness and nightmares.
This survey also found that the sleep deprivation effects impacted women worse than it did men. On average, new mums lost around 40 minutes of sleep each night compared with pre-pregnancy standards, while new dads lost a comparatively modest 13 minutes at the three-month stage.
What are the effects of sleep deprivation?
Persistent sleep deprivation can have a wide range of implications for your health, whether physical or mental, as well as your cognitive abilities and mental reflexes. We all tend to be a bit grumpy after we’ve had a poor night’s sleep, but over time this can potentially develop into more serious health issues.
Physiological issues which can arise as a result of sleep deprivation include eye twitches, blurred vision and dizziness, as well as higher blood pressure. It can also weaken your overall immune system, leaving you potentially more prone to a range of ailments including colds and bugs.
In terms of cognitive effects, sleep deprivation can hamper your ability to react (potentially putting you and others at increased risk of accidents, for example when driving) in addition to hindering simple problem-solving, verbal and comprehension abilities.
Sleep deprivation can also take a toll on your mental health if it persists over an extended period. Going without sleep can be enervating and frustrating, adding to your overall stress levels and rendering you more irritable than you’re otherwise likely to be.
Sleep deprivation coping strategies for new parents
So what can new parents do to deal with sleep deprivation? There are various coping strategies that’ll hopefully help you get a more satisfying night’s rest. We caught up with two experts to discuss the matter: Paula, who blogs at Mummy vs. Work, and Max Jennings, co-founder of Hoop, which lists a huge range of family activities suitable for children aged up to 11 years.
Discussing her own initial experiences of parenthood, Paula admitted that she hadn’t initially appreciated the full importance of getting a good night’s sleep. In time, she developed a well-honed, regular routine allowing her to put her two children to bed with the minimum of fuss, as well as enabling her to wind down and sleep better herself.
“From an early age we started with a routine, so for example when we had Ethan, we would settle Kayleigh down in her bedtime routine and then I would feed Ethan and settle him in his cot whilst watching TV quietly or reading in the room,” she explained.
“We never expected him to go to sleep straight away but the calmness allowed him to settle himself and he soon learnt to settle himself to sleep. We then took advantage of this and the early nights to catch up on sleep.”
Both Paula and Max emphasise that parents who find themselves struggling for sleep should remember that there are countless others in the same boat as them. Max suggests that meeting more of them through participating in classes and activities can help parents cope more easily:
“Being surrounded by other parents who are struggling too can really help in the early weeks of parenting,” he says. “The energy you get from being with other parents and children might just surprise you by helping you to face the rest of the day.”
Avoiding sleep deprivation as a new parent
There are other, practical and simple things you can do to help you get a better night’s sleep. Here are some methods we’d suggest for minimising and hopefully avoiding sleep deprivation while raising a little one:
Make your environment more conducive to sleep. Sleep-friendly surroundings can really make a big difference. As a general rule, cooler, darker and quieter spaces tend to be better for sleeping in. Minimise distractions, too: the fewer gadgets there are to bother you, the easier it should be to sleep.
Try to take naps whenever your baby sleeps. Newborn babies will need to get some sleep through the day as well as at night, so it could be a good idea for you to get some shut-eye yourself when your baby does. Even a quick power nap can leave you feeling noticeably fresher and more energised.
Get as much rest as you can when the opportunity presents itself. It’s not just a matter of getting sleep, as important as this is. You should also take the chance to enjoy some general relaxation whenever your baby allows you to! Try unwinding with a book or some calming music. This should help to decrease your general stress levels and counteract sleep deprivation.
Ensure an equal balance of household responsibilities between you and your partner. By dividing out those essential chores more equally, you should be better placed to avoid one parent becoming overloaded and overburdened, which can adversely affect your ability to sleep. Make sure your other half pulls their weight (but be nice about it)!
Use deep breathing techniques to calm your mind. As a new parent, it’s inevitable that your mind will spend much of the time buzzing with all sorts of concerns. This can, of course, make it that bit harder to drift off to sleep at night. Try doing deep breathing exercises to help relieve the stress.
Don’t be afraid to accept help! This is a really important point. It’s only natural to want a break from the duties of parenting every once in a while. If there are people around you who want to lend a helping hand, don’t turn them away! Make use of their generosity and give yourself some much-deserved respite in the meantime. It could be a great opportunity to get some good, solid sleep.
The most important thing to remember during this admittedly challenging period is that things can – and will – get easier. Over time, your nervousness (entirely understandable and inevitable in these delicate early stages) will dissipate, and your baby will sleep more consistently and for longer. This should help to relieve the pressure on you and allow you to really enjoy the wonders of parenting with less stress hanging over you.
Weaning is something every baby has to go through, and it’s something parents tend to view with a mixture of trepidation and excitement at the same time. After all, it’s a challenge but it also means your little one can explore all sorts of new textures and tastes.
In fact, this is the best way to approach baby weaning. It marks an important milestone in your baby’s young life, and many of the preferences they develop as they explore new foods for the first time will stay with them for many years to come. Of course, the weaning process will have plenty of nervy moments for you too, but that’s the joy of parenting!
Every child is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all blueprint when it comes to weaning. There are, however, a few general rules to bear in mind which can help you along the way in those very earliest stages. Here are our top tips on how to wean a baby.
Knowing when it’s time to start
The first thing you’ll need to get to grips with is working out the right time to start weaning your little one. Official NHS guidelines instruct you to wait until your baby reaches the age of six months to start weaning them.
It’s especially important to remember that at this tender age, your baby’s digestive system is still developing, and if you introduce them to the wrong foods too soon, they may be prone to allergies and infections. This is why you should wait, as the guidelines state, until at least six months before starting to wean your child.
However, as we’ve already mentioned, every baby is unique, and the weaning process is no exception. Premature babies should be weaned in consultation with a health professional. There are a few other signs you should look out for when trying to determine whether your baby is ready to start weaning. These include:
steady head and neck control
the ability to sit upright unsupported
a willingness to put objects in their mouth.
What weaning equipment do I need?
Before you start the process of introducing your baby to solid food, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got the right feeding and weaning equipment to hand. Food preparation devices are particularly useful, saving you time and effort – so steamers, blenders and food processors are all really handy for busy parents.
In addition, you’ll need a generous supply of children’s cutlery, cups and beakers, and plates and bowls to hand. These are all designed to be more robust and hardwearing than typical cutlery and tableware, as well as being easier for little hands to grip on to. And you can rest assured that there will be spillages galore, so don’t forget the bibs!
Choosing baby weaning foods
The priority in the initial stages of weaning is simply to get your baby used to the idea of eating solid foods, so don’t fret too much about what foods they take to and which ones they don’t – there’ll be a lot of trial and error involved!
In this early phase of baby weaning, try introducing your little one to pureed foods. Keep it simple: try fruit and vegetable purees like carrot and sweet potato, or apple and pear. At this stage, it’s wise to avoid flavours that are likely to be too strong or bitter. Once your baby is more comfortable with solids, you can then start to introduce them slowly but surely to new tastes.
Foods to avoid at this time include honey (unsuitable before the age of one year, as it can contain botulism), salt and salty foods including bacon, nuts (unless very finely ground) and added sugar.
The importance of weaning in a young child’s life is paramount: it’s a key rite of passage. Of course, there’ll be ups and downs along the way, but so long as you stay patient and pay attention to what your baby’s trying to tell you, you should both get through the weaning process without any major dramas. Good luck!
You are excited to become a mum, but there are some things that can happen in the first few weeks after childbirth that no-one really talks about – well, Uber Kids are about to change that! Becoming a mother is a magical time and nothing should distract from that, but being aware of what can happen after you give birth will make it much easier for you. A variety of things happen to your body that you weren’t told about. There are some things which, as a rule, are generally well-known such as some hair loss after the birth, sore or painful breasts and emotional outbursts that can cause you to burst into tears over an advert with a puppy in it or simply because you can’t remember where you put your keys. It can be a lot to take in and that is without having the gory bits added. There are those overwhelmed mums who genuinely can’t remember the grizzly details, with the memories only flooding back when they have their next baby, but others tend to keep it quiet. But why? We’re all in this together, and there are some things that are worth knowing ahead of the time. So, we’re here to tell you all the details.
Tears and Splits
There’s a high chance that you’ll either tear or have an episiotomy (be cut) during the birth. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about, as nine out of ten first time mums tear, with 60-70% needing stitches. You’ll be given a numbing injection before you are stitched back up, which is over quickly. Stitches have to be looked after and be regularly washed with plain warm water. They usually dissolve within 10 days. The best way to know if they’ve dissolved is to either feel them or get a hand mirror and take a look for yourself. Don’t worry if you can’t tell, as your midwife will do a check-up on them on your first home visit, and she will be able to help you with any problems or concerns that you may have.
The vagina is designed to stretch and tear and then repair, so it will go back to ‘normal’ sooner than you think. Don’t use a rubber ring to sit on as it will make the blood pool in that area and could cause bruising. Instead, use a wedge and supportive cushions to take the pressure off. The good thing about this wedge and cushion kit is that you can use it during pregnancy, after birth and as a breastfeeding support cushion, plus when your baby is learning to sit up.
Bleeding is completely normal after childbirth, it could go on for up to six weeks afterwards and is a bit heavier than a normal period – and a bit different too. It’ll be thicker, more mucousy and in most cases, a bit smellier too. However, if the smell is offensive, this is an indication that you may have an infection, so don’t hold back on raising this to your midwife’s attention. This discharge is called lochia, and you’ll have to have a good number of absorbent sanitary pads available to be able to deal with it. Lochia contains all of the uterine tissues which still need to make their way out of your body, so don’t be too disconcerted when you see clots. Generally speaking, if a clot is bigger than a 50 pence piece, this is when you need to get in touch with your midwife or a GP just to check that everything is going okay.
Keep your Lush bath bombs in the cabinet for now. If you want to have a bath, put in a few drops of lavender oil instead of anything that is heavily perfumed and contains unnatural ingredients – it’ll only sting when you get in and increase your chances of infection. As inviting as a bath may sound, be aware that while you are still losing your lochia discharge, you may have things floating around in the tub with you. That’s not to mean that this is a (quite gross) certainty, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind. If you have a shower over the bath, it may be better just to do a quick wash down of yourself first with the shower head and then run yourself something to relax in. If you’ve had varicose veins during pregnancy, the heat of the bath can help with blood flow and reduce the appearance of them, even if only temporarily. There’s no need to add salt to your bath, it won’t hurt if you do, but you’d need so much salt for it to be of any benefit that it’s not worth the effort. As relaxing as a bath can be, it’s advisable not to soak for too long with stitches in the early days, as this can result in them dissolving too soon.
Let’s just get this out of the way first – It.Really.Hurts! If you’ve had stitches, one thing that you can do to alleviate the pain of peeing is to take a bottle or jug of warm water with you to pour onto you while you’re doing the deed. It’ll help take some of the acidity out of the urine which is causing the immense stinging pain that you’ll be feeling. Some women get away with this and don’t have much pain afterwards, whereas for others it’s one of the worst things that they can remember after the pregnancy. It depends on where you tore during the birth, as some women get what we call grazes near the urethra that aren’t serious but sting like crazy when you pee for the first week. Drinking a lot of water throughout the day can also help – incredibly so, actually. It’s recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep your body fully hydrated. Try to aim for this or more (especially if you’re breastfeeding) to dilute your urine enough so that it won’t be as concentrated and give you such a hard time whenever you go.
Don’t try to keep it in – it’s easy to get scared of what’s to come, but remember that with each pee that you do, you’re a step closer to it all being a distant memory. Your first poo, however, can be a different ball game. The anxiety may grow if you haven’t gone in a few days, but rest assured that it’s nothing to be too worried about, just remember to eat fibrous foods and drink regularly. Okay, so for most new mums juggling motherhood is stressful enough without worrying about healthy eating, so, it may be that you are a bit constipated – and this is where it can hurt. If you have had stitches, rest assured that these will stay in place; there are different muscles being used for you to be able to defecate, and you won’t make the tear any bigger or put a strain on them. If you haven’t been able to go after three days, get in touch with your midwife, who can organise a prescription for a laxative to take to make things easier. There are also over the counter medications you can try but it’s best to check with your Midwife or GP first.
Most of all, remember that all of this discomfort is worth it for that bundle of joy you will have in your arms and although it might seem scary now, the memory of it will fade quickly!
If you’re dreading half-term because you just can’t think how to keep the kids entertained then firstly, you’re not alone! We’ve all been there, and many of us are having the same thoughts! Secondly, we’re here to help.
At Uber Kids we’re always talking about ways to keep our children active and entertained during the school holidays, and our very own Charlotte has put together this handy half term bucket list which includes some fun, affordable ideas that are great for entertaining your kids. See how many you can get through!
Half-term doesn’t have to be costly – or stressful!
With half term fast approaching the inevitable ‘I’m bored,’ ‘I’m hungry,’ ‘I don’t want to do that,’ comments are just around the corner. Entertaining kids isn’t always easy and day trips can lead to expensive, over-crowded venues which can feel like an endurance test; a very costly endurance test at that!
Even more challenging than trying to find cost effective ways to entertain your child is trying to find cost effective ways to entertain your older child. The ten plus age group are far harder to please than an eager-eyed toddler who is quite content with jumping in muddy puddles and feeding the ducks. Just because older kids have grown past the stage of wearing their superhero outfit wherever they go and carting their over-loved teddy around with them, doesn’t change the fact that they still want to have fun, even if they do proclaim that everything is ‘so uncool.’
My son, Luke, is not-so-little anymore and at thirteen his preferred means of communication is in grunts. His feet are bigger than mine and his knowledge of gaming worlds is outright impressive which makes trying to plan days out and activities with him very difficult. Even if it’s something he says he wants to do, trying to prise him off his games to go out and do it can at times feel like an advanced level challenge.
A bucket list feels different because it’s a challenge and older kids like bursts of activities that make them feel grown up and as though they’ve accomplished something. I’ve made sure that this list includes items that older kids won’t deem ‘too babyish’ while still being suitable for younger kids to join in too.
Try a food for the first time
When it comes to food kids can be fussy…very fussy! They like what they like and getting them to budge on this can be a challenge…a BIG challenge. For this one I bought some vegetable sushi. I decided that sushi was a good choice for a teenager because it sounds somewhat grown up. When it comes to food Luke is not usually adventurous, his favourite food is chicken nuggets and chips and trying to persuade him to try new foods is usually met with a frown and a grunt.
For the purpose of a bucket list challenge Luke wasn’t just prepared to eat sushi but he was excited about it. He picked up a round piece, studied it, and then took a cautious bite. He ate the whole thing, announced ‘it was quite nice actually,’ then looked at the other pieces, had a change of thought and announced that ‘he wouldn’t be eating anymore of it as it wasn’t for him.’ He gave it a try though and he enjoyed doing it.
Other first time food choices could include pomegranate seeds, lychees and avocado. Or you could have a look around the supermarket or market and see what you can find.
Watch a classic family film
Cue sofa time, a blanket and a big bowl of popcorn. For this one I picked a film I loved from my childhood: Jumanji. Somehow, in all of Luke’s thirteen-years I’ve never watched it with him…shocker! I’m not sure how that one passed us by! Anyway, older kids may act like they don’t want to hang out with their parents most of time but most kids (even grumpy teenagers) like movies.
Luke liked the stampede part, especially the slow rhino and the mischievous monkeys made him laugh. Despite the running commentary and at times ‘smart’ remarks, classic film time with Luke was a good, argument free time and an effective way to spend a lazy afternoon.
A movie day is great for a lazy late-afternoon chill-out time, for rainy, black-skied days or for an end of the week pyjama day. Other great classic film suggestions are Homeward Bound, The Never-Ending Story, Home Alone, The Wizard of Oz and any of course, anything Disney.
Create a monster sized sandwich!
Take a layer of stringy cheese, a layer of chicken nuggets and chips, a layer of scrambled egg and sandwich it all between white bread. Okay, so it might not sound that appealing but that was ‘the Luke sandwich’, (although his verdict was ‘I’m glad I didn’t include a layer of crisps.’)
So, I doubt ‘the Luke sandwich’ will be added to restaurant menus anytime soon and sometimes combining favourite ingredients together doesn’t work as well as expected, but it allows kids to be creative, have fun and try something new. If you have younger kids and you want to jazz up your monster sandwich experience you could use olives for eyes and cut up cheese for teeth. Also, this doesn’t have to be limited to sandwiches as you could also make a monster pancake, a monster omelette or even a monster pizza.
A few more half term activities to try
So they’re our top suggestions, but your child’s bucket list doesn’t have to end there. Here are some more half term activities that your little and not-so little ones might also enjoy:
Camp in the garden. Perfect for those awkward older kids, camping in the garden lets them feel grown up sleeping outside of the house. All you need is a tent, pillow, blanket and torch and you’re garden camping ready. As for telling spooky stories with a torch held up to their face, we’ll leave that one up to them…boo!
Read a book in a week. Pick your book and go! Perfect for a time-filler, improving reading skills and delving into new worlds.
Learn a few constellations. From Orion to Aquila, this is a great clear night activity. There are also downloadable apps out there to aid you on where up high is best to look.
Snail race. If the weather is friendly enough for snails to appear then this is a fun, free activity. Choose your snail and ready…slime…go!
Learn to play a classic card game. In the buzz of technology it’s easy to forget about a traditional pack of cards. Video games are great and all but sometimes it’s good to sit back as a family and learn and play a classic card game, such as Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid and Rummy.
For many years, parents have grappled with the challenges of raising young children in a multi-media world. Today, technology is more of an all-pervading presence than it’s ever been – which makes it more difficult for parents to know how to introduce it to their children so that it helps their development rather than, potentially, hindering it.
There’s often a tendency to focus on the downsides of children using technology, particularly excessive screen time. But technology can, when properly used and monitored, help to broaden your child’s horizons and expand their mind. The task for you, as a parent, is to find a way of striking the right balance – and we’re here to help you work out how!
Here’s how you can ensure your child enjoys using technology in a way that’s both safe and conducive to their development.
Technology and child development
Technology can play an important role in child development, when used appropriately. It offers more than just entertainment or a distraction and can make a big contribution to their intellectual growth and the development of a range of important skills. The potential benefits of technology for child development include:
Enhanced learning: Technology has come to play a much more important role in the learning process than it did in previous years. It allows for a more interactive and immersive learning experience, truly engaging children and firing their imagination in all kinds of ways. Brain training apps, to give one example, can help to sharpen your child’s cognitive control and develop their memory.
Better prospects: The jobs of the future will be heavily reliant on technology. Therefore, it’s more important to ensure that children are comfortable with using it from an early age – this is only likely to stand them in good stead in later years.
Improved problem-solving abilities: Technology encourages children in their efforts to understand problems they encounter and devise solutions for them. Some video games and apps, for example, require players to confront and overcome a whole range of challenges, putting their problem-solving skills to the test.
Encouraging independence and creativity: Technology provides children with the space to be more creative and helps to foster independence of mind. This helps to inculcate these important habits early on and puts children in a good position to keep developing them as they grow.
Kids using technology: introducing your child to tech
Every parent wonders about when the right time to introduce a child to technology is. But considering how technology – from tablets to laptops to smartphones – is so inescapable, we don’t really get to decide when that introduction takes place!
Instead, a better approach is to set some basic ground rules for your child’s use of technology. These should help to provide some structure and consistency: after all, children usually have consistent boundaries in other areas of their life, so it stands to reason that the same applies about their use of technology as well.
Here are some relevant points to consider in relation to how your child uses technology:
Set reasonable limits: It can be easy to leave your child in front of a smartphone or tablet screen for an extended period, but it isn’t necessarily healthy. Setting time limits (and sticking to them) is important for balancing your child’s activities and ensuring they don’t spend too much time staring at a screen. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has warned that this can have a range of negative effects on both physical and mental health. It might be a good idea to set screen time limits for yourself outside of work as well.
Don’t let your child become over-dependent on technology. You should always keep an eye out for indications that your child is spending too much time on smartphones or tablets. For example, they might become irritable or angry when told they can’t use them. Likewise, if your child’s concentration at school starts to suffer, it may be time for you to step in and further restrict their use of technology.
Use technology together with your child. Your child can get more out of technology by using it together with you, by playing games or watching videos together, for example. This can help to encourage a more interactive experience, and your child is likely to get more out of this than simple passive consumption. It also helps to ensure that you know what your child is doing.
Monitor their use carefully. Make sure you choose age-appropriate apps and games and keep a close eye on the content your child consumes. Obviously, this will change as they grow, and this will require ongoing vigilance on your part to make sure that what they’re watching and engaging with is appropriate for them. App blockers, for example, allow you to customise and control the content your child sees – important for keeping kids safe online – and to set time limits.
Technology for toddlers
As we’ve already noted, children today are surrounded by technology from a very early age – so it’s less a question of when we introduce them to it, but how. Curious toddlers will inevitably take an interest in tablets, smartphones and other such devices, and they can be remarkably quick to master them!
Needless to say, this poses a number of challenges for parents. It’s fine to allow toddlers to use these devices, but you should try to avoid allowing them to serve as ‘virtual babysitters’ – you might obtain a bit of peace for a while, but it may mean that your child becomes overly dependent on technology.
There are apps specifically designed for toddlers to use, which provide them with lots of fun while also serving educational purposes. It’s worth taking the time to research these and find ones which are appropriate for your little one; listed here, there are apps which can help toddlers with phonics, numeracy, problem-solving and more. Then you can spend some quality time with them as they play and explore, allowing you to help and guide them in the process.
As technology becomes ever more central to our everyday lives, it’s essential that children understand how to use technology – but also that they do so in a way that’s suitable for their age and beneficial to their overall development. From motor skills to literacy, this offers them a range of potential benefits. So good luck, and happy learning!
Stimulate and feed your little one’s innate curiosity – choose from the excellent range of educational toys here at Uber Kids.
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