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Is it okay to hit your children? It's amazing what I thought was a dead certain capital NO, is not 100% true in the UK. One of the last countries in Europe where it is legal to smack your child as reasonable punishment.

The debate here is less about the smack and more about the force exerted. To contextualise most adults remember being physically hurt in school by their teachers. It wasn't until 1999 that Engalnd banned punishment in the independent school sector. (Americans insert shock emoji face here)

And there were appeals. The heads of a number of Christian fellowship independent schools appealed, at length, through various courts, for the ability of teachers to have delegated authority from parents to physically punish their children should they wish. (Americans insert shock emoji face here)

A BBC report from 2005 says the heads claimed that boys would be hit using “a thin, broad flat paddle to both buttocks simultaneously in a firm controlled manner”. Meanwhile, “girls could be strapped on the hand and then comforted by a member of staff and encouraged to pray”. As a foreigner in the UK that surprised me quite a bit. So now I hear parents can legal smack their kids as long as it's not too hard. But who decides what hard is?

It's not just tabloid newspapers like The Sun that say some people do not know what a reasonable punishment is. It's also often the voice heard in parliament, that if we ban smacking we run the chances of living in a nanny state where we're telling parents how to be. Things such as age and weight of the child must be taken into account with the amount of force that is being exerted.

The good news is that the subject is in the headlines again, Wales is first in line in an effort to ban smacking altogether. 

Scotland is becoming the first country in the UK to ban all physical punishments on children. The new bill was set forward by John Finnie, Green MSP and Scottish government has confirmed that the proposal is now becoming a law. A vote will be held later this year, however, the bill is expected to be passed and become part of Scottish law. 

Psychologists around the world say that smacking children can impact their mental health and encourage violent behaviour. Parent's and carers are legally allowed to smack children lightly if it can be "reasonable punishment", according to Children Act 2004. In many countries such as Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and Portugal have placed a ban on smacking children.

However, what will be the criminal offence or punishment set to parents who do smack their child?

Sweden in 1979, became the first country to ban any sort of physical punishment towards a child. This was the first step to making smacking illegal internationally. Today Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Aruba, Austria, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Pitcairn Islands, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, South Sudan, Spain, St. Maarten, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Sweden, Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Venezuela all have bans on smacking children.

In October, 2017 a 25-year-old father was charged for smacking his child on the bottom for breaking a plant pot. The father claims that smacking his child was a reasonable punishment, however due to bruising (bodily harm) the man was sent to court. The father did not enter any pleas.

There are plenty of other ways to discipline your child without having to smack them. An example could be setting simple rules, praising good behaviour, and allow children to have some choice in their on decisions so that they don't feel controlled. 

One of our favourite parenting experts suggest simple tricks, like putting your hand on your child's shoulder to get their attention and developing great communication skills. Kids want to please their parents so it's really worth reading and understanding the non-violent communication ideals by the amazing Dr. Laura Markham. Read her Aha Parenting blog here.

The times I have applied her tips have been major breakthroughs in my relationship with my daughter. 

And if you want to join the campaign to ban smacking go here and sign the petition. 

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We love that Lottie dolls are inspired in real children stories and model some of their dolls after their favourite little ones. In this case the Activist Doll is inspired by Mari Copeny and her amazing plight to bring fresh drinking water to Flint.

See any similarities between Mari Copeny and the Lottie Activist Doll?

Teen Vogue met up with Mari Copeny AKA Little Miss Flint at the Womens March in Washington DC not long ago. Watch this:

Little Miss Flint Has a VERY Important Message for Donald Trump | Teen Vogue - YouTube

Little Miss Flit AKA Mari Copeny was at the forefront of the water crisis in Flint Michigan. When it was discovered that the public water had dangerous levels of lead that was giving people rashes and if drank could kill you. Mari wrote a letter to president Obama. He came to Flint to meet her. 

She told him how the water smelled like fish, feet and corn chips and bleach and everyone had to rely on bottle water. He ended up giving $100 million of government money to help Flint fix the lead pipes.

We love that she says that kids need to see themselves as superheroes. And couldn't agree more, anything is possible, if you let yourself imagine it. 

SHOP LOTTIE HERE

 

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Kid Activists Against Fast Food Plastic

Ella, 7 and Caitlin, 9 started a petition asking McDonalds and Burger King to stop giving away plastic toys with kids meals. With more than 342,000 signatures, it seems to have struck a chord. And feels impossibly fresh, like something that would never have happened when I was a kid. I looked forward to the free toy in my Happy Meal. I remember thinking how cool it was that Happy Meals were especially designed for kids. And to top it off for the price of a cheapy burger and fries you got a toy. I can still feel the excitement and joy the whole experience had on me. 

Organizer Rachael Wood and her daughters, Ella and Caitlin, created the online petition to say that most children only play with these toys for a few minutes before they get thrown out and end up in a landfill.

Not just that they went on to ask big, rich companies to not make toys from plastic at all. In this episode of BBC One's War on Plastic the producers piled up the amount of toys that McDonalds gives away every five minutes across the UK-- the quantity was enough to fill four flat bed trollers. Times that by 288, the number of 5 minutes in 24 hours, and that's 1,152 flat bed trolleys. You can begin to see the problem. 

And when they doorstopped McDonalds headquarter there's a really uncomfortable moment when security ask them to leave the premises and the girls are visually distraught. In the end McDonalds took a meeting with the girls and have promised to dedicate time and money to making a plan to reduce their use of plastic. 

 

What a super brave duo Ella and Caitin, it takes guts to stand up for what you believe in. And they seem to be a barometer for what kids are thinking today. I have 3 x nine year olds and 1 x eight year old in my kitchen as I type. When I told them I was writing this story, they unanimously without hesitation said this was a great idea. Within instants, they were logged into change.org and signing their names to the petition.

While I totally salute the sister's initiative and support less consumerism and plastic throwaway toys. I wonder if this is the root of the problem or if it goes deeper. 

Education is one thing, access to non-biodegradable plastic is another, but as long as there are parents who don't have wallets full of cash, there will be people making immediately gratifying choices. Like getting your kid a cheap plastic throwaway toy because it brings a moment of joy. Because sometimes you do it because it's all you've got. 

So if it's not McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Poundland or imported from China no-name toxic toy... there will always be someone who sees a market opportunity. 

And I think bringing a free toy to children who buy an inexpensive meal has in many ways been a massive achievement, that is has negative environmental repercussions today speaks more to the fact that we need to lift the world's poor out of poverty. If we weren't all so worried about keeping a roof over our head maybe we would have more time and space to develop ethical values that were inclusive and had global benefits.

UNICEF estimates half the world's children (or 1.1 billion) live in poverty, which is extremely worrying.

What about building a society that doesn't make basic wellbeing so hard to achieve, from the stats above we can see we are on our way. Luckily it's not all bad news, there has been progress, the World Bank forecasted in 2015 that 702.1 million people were living in extreme poverty, down from 1.75 billion in 1990.

We all want our children to do better than us-- but can we think of progress as achievements that don't step on people and our planet's well being. 

I think the next generation have got it covered. I predict that in the future, the next generations will invent a way to degenerate waste or make things disappear. Of course there's bound to be a potential negative to this too but that's nature isn't it?-- the yin and the yang.

 

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The trick seems to be to avoid soaps and moisturise. Here is a picture Suzanne Quinn's twins, Jemima and Ethan. Little Jemima suffers from eczema (see pictures) and she has found the Elave Baby products very beneficial. 

So what's the deal it seems that more and more baby's have sensitive skin, is there something in the water? We spoke with Karen Johnston, an Elave Baby safe skincare adviser and she says yes.

 

ENTER TO WIN 

Elave is giving away 3 x Packs, valued at £25.65 of Baby Products. Head over to our Facebook page to enter. See competition details below.

 

Two generations ago, only 3% of babies born developed eczema – today the figure is 25%.  What is going on - is there something in the water?

Medical experts say yes, there literally is, and baby skin is especially vulnerable to the many harsh chemicals to which we expose our skin.

As parents, we all want the very best for our children, but it is often difficult to decipher from all the packaging and labelling and marketing whether what we use is safe for delicate baby skin.

Many products are full of nasty synthetic ingredients, these can cause redness, itchiness and discomfort to delicate skin, resulting in red patches, typically on the face, inside of the arms and backs of the knees.

So we wanted to make a recommendation. Because we know how upsetting it can be. We found a product that actually helps and that is news in and of itself. Plus it's is safe for sensitive babies, even for premature sensitive babies. We asked Karen from Elave Skincare to tell us what is going on.

"When skin is dry and damaged, its barrier function is reduced and a flare-up can happen at any time, anywhere on the body.

Common allergens such as animal hair, pollen, preservatives, sulfates, soaps etc in cosmetic products trigger allergic inflammatory action.  Dry skin is also more vulnerable to a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus.

Currently, there is no cure for eczema.  We don’t have a pill, vaccine, diet or supplementation that works to eradicate it.  However, we do have effective, safe methods which help to control eczema."

Little Citizens, "So what can you do to protect vulnerable baby skin and prevent a mild attack of eczema becoming much worse?"

Karen Johnston, "A head to toe regime is essential. You can use all the moisturiser in the world, but if you’re shampooing and washing in soap and sulfates, your eczema will continue to wreak havoc.

Never wash with anything that contains soap, which strips the skin of its natural oils.  In normal skin these oils are replaced naturally within 5-6 hours, but in dry skin this may never happen leaving the skin dry and open to triggers.

 

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!  Do it three times daily with a heavy hitting cream with active ingredients like fractionated coconut oil that hydrate the skin barrier and are easy to apply.

Topical steroids have had a bad rap over the years, but dermatologists prescribe them as the primary treatment for eczema which is flared.  They are safe to use, as long as they are prescribed and monitored by medical staff."

We are proud that Elave Baby products, which are produced in Co Louth, have won Approved By status from TinyLife and we are in our second year of partnership with this very busy charity, which supports premature babies and their families.

Elave babyl donates £1 from every Elave Baby Essentials pack sold to TinyLife to fund research and training programmes. The entire range of Elave Skincare products is available at local pharmacies, or online at elaveskincare.com and Amazon.

Elave Baby’s Ecocert certified natural and organic sensitive skincare range is free from common irritants like soap, sulfates, parabens, alcohol, scents, colours, formaldehyde, lanolin, MIs etc."

 


COMPETITION DETAILS

Elave Sensitive Skincare have gifted us three of their fabulous Baby Essentials packs to give away to our readers– to be in with a chance of winning one all you have to do is to like and share this post on Facebook with your friends.

****Winners will be announced on July 1st at midnight.

Made from the finest ingredients, and with the promise of absolute purity, Elave Baby offers gentle, effective protection for sensitive baby skin from birth. The paediatrician and dermatologist approved products are free from sulfates, SLES/SLS, parabens, perfume, formaldehyde, soap, alcohol and more.

The pack, valued at £25.65, contains: Sensitive Baby Bath (400ml), Sensitive Baby Lotion (250ml) and Sensitive Baby Shampoo (400ml) to gently cleanse delicate baby skin from newborn and protect it from dryness and flaking. All products are Ecocert and PETA approved.

Elave Baby has Approved By status from TinyLife and Elave will donate £1 from each Baby Essentials pack sold to TinyLife, the premature baby charity. Available from elaveskincare.com, Amazon and local pharmacies.

 

 

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Where do moms shop?

Let's talk about it guys. 

We love to discover new designs in clothes, because we are huge admirers of style. What you wear goes a long way to how you feel. Plus choosing and combining can be fun and an expression of who are.

So much high street fashion seems to scratch a quick itch but as we get older (and wiser) time is at a premium and generally we want the pillars of our wardrobe to stand the test of time and trends. The genius definition of capsule collection right? A handful of essential items of clothing that are truly you and easy to update. Plus they need to be cool, edgy, feminine, wild, unique... and the material and cut that's super important too. Discerning moms at the ready.

We're on the hunt - not just for our kids - but also for us! Of course: us!  

Suddenly the idea of writing our favourite fashion brands down, compiling and curating them for our readers seemed really, really appealing. Too often we allow ourselves to reach for what's easy, does shopping at Tesco's while picking up a pint of milk ring a bell?

There are so many amazing designers and now more easily accessible than ever with great websites and Insta accounts...we would be foolish not to share this amazing mined pool of talent with our lovely readers. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. 

We'd love to know what you think? Let's start a convo because...Yes! From time to time we like to talk about clothes. 

Any delish brands we're missing? 

Below we are sharing our favourite Stylish Brands that we can only hope help us on our path to our own individual 'lewk'. Because...

‘Fashion comes and goes, but style lasts forever.’ – Coco Chanel

 

1. Pop & Suki

Started by best friends Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse Pop & Suki is a customisable accessories business. Leave your friend a message on their bag! Love the pill box purses and their flair with millennial pink, truly inspiring.

 

 

2. Jackie Smith

This brand is the champion of the so super cute accessories all the way from Buenos Aires. Perfect stand out bags and shoes that add a little oomph to any outfit, playtime even when you feel like wearing your PJs. Currently lusting after their new Tennis Shoes and always bowled over by their new bag designs each new one crazy funkier cool than the last.

 

 

3. Mara Hoffman

The best swimwear brand. Hands down. We love Mara Hoffman and visit her site even when not shopping or desiring wispy silhouettes and fabulous prints. Her imagery is so powerful And oh my word her Instagram for inspiration of truly female aesthetics. Channel your inner goddess. Oh. Yes. 

 

4. Hatch

I admit to have shopped here even when not pregnant. This brand is one of my favourites. Hatch it's pitched as clothes that will last before, during and after pregnancy. And it really does in quite a simple way. Silhouettes are comfortable while staying elegant and feminine. In our shopping cart right now are some of their trousers. Yum-my.

 

5. Bona Drag 

Imagine you are in a forest. Found trinkets are dangling from string tied to branches, beautiful souls are everywhere. Your favourite humans are saying I do to each other and you are celebrating with all your heart. Luckily for you, you're a Witchy woman who will cast a good spell on the new life of the ones you love, you shopped at Bona Drag. Because these are the outfits of the spirit, especially their buckle your knees jewellery.  

  

 

6. Built by Wendy

I used to lived around the corner from one of her stores in NY and it always felt like a gift and privilege. Carefully cut simple clothes with individual fabulous style. Wendy is someone who's taste I trust implicitly. She started by making guitar straps for Sonic Youth and opened up popups before they were a thing in downtown NYC record stores. Stores are now closed but thank goodness she's back selling online, NY cool available now to everyone around the world. 

 

7. Monki

It may be the little sister of H&M and the also fabulous & Other Stories but Monki is special. Humorous, young, insouciance, daring, at times, even OTT. At entry level a cute tee or accessory or a metallic coat. Too much? I implore you to look at the genius ways they combine outfits. It's the perfect mix of high low and we love it. 


8. Soeur

While shopping for my daughter I came across Soeur. Their girl's line was so good more moms than me were trying to squeeze into it. So they started a ladies line. Seductress aristo playwright this one is for you.

 

9. Maje

When you mean business, the simple well cut look of Maje will say more than a pair of shoulder pads ever could. Love their jackets and dresses especially. 

 

 

10. Tucker

If there's one blouse everyone could use in their wardrobe, it's a Tucker. Gaby Basora worked as costume design and stylist, she made and wore elegant stretch silk flowy blouses that looked comfortable and elegant and everyone who saw her wanted one. So she launched a company. Then came skirts and dresses in equally perennial seductive styles. One such dress has lasted me over 16 years. I've never tired of it, in fact I get ever-joy every spring and summer when I get to wear it. 

 

11. & Other Stories

Surprisingly great selection of dresses and cute accessories that rise above the high street as they surpass the season both in quality and style. And we love that new items are coming out all the time, so you can dip in and out looking for when inspiration might strike.

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We're looking for the next owner to take over this amazing award winning and totally loveable and profitable business.

Little Citizens is for Sale 

I am so grateful for you, every order, every customer, every child and family member who has become a part of our community. This business is more than our individual parts and in this way I feel like I am only a custodian of this amazing brand.

Little Citizens belongs to the children of today and tomorrow. With the aim of raising open minded and open hearted little citizens to be happy adventurers and creative problem solvers, this mission is bigger than us. And thank goodness for that.

I am on the hunt for the right person to head up Little Citizens to fill this very important gap of imagination and play. 

Little Citizens will continue to be an engine for creativity in new families, we'll make sure of that.

Please share so that we can find the right person for the job, my feeling is that while I have to pass the baton it could well be someone from our community who decides they'd like to contribute to something wonderful. 

On a personal level, I've had some metaphorical business babies and I’ve decided to invest more time into these but I promise to stay in touch and help the next stage of development. 

With all my love,

Alicia



>>>> thank you <<<<

Ever dreamed of owning your own toy store?
 
This is the perfect opportunity for someone to build on our success to date and own their own business. Being your own boss and managing your time in a creative environment that involves learning and play is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
 
Little Citizens is an award winning store that specialises in toys that are fun and smart. We have online customers around the world and a lovely local following in Holywood, Co Down, UK. The opportunity also exists to relocate or run this business from home.
 
Our community is more than 65k strong. Our loyalty rate is super high even while we’ve never really advertised. There is huge potential to increase profit, expand product range and scale. All business procedures are in a handbook, paperwork is in order and a handover and consultation period can be arranged.
 
Current owner has new business that requires more time and is keen to connect the right person to this exciting opportunity. To continue to grow as an engine of creativity for young families will always be paramount to our community and our team.
 
Please email hello@littlecitizensboutique.com if you are interested and we will reply with a Business Stat Sheet.
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 Mum and Dad you did a grape job raising me! 

A collection of articles, and different literature about Parenting that may make you laugh and hopefully inspire you to try something new.

1. Pump. Pack. Ship. Milk Stork 

Have you ever been on holiday or at work and had to pump and dump your milk for your baby or not pumped enough for the duration you are away? Well, Milk Stork is a new service that's pretty clever for busy mothers who have to travel without their babies. Mothers can pump as much milk as they want and pack it in a cooler to be sent to home, a hotel, or to anywhere that is needed. With simple instructions on how to pack to keep the milk cool, to coolers in the transportation vehicles, and being able to pump in the privacy of your own space, this new concept is ideal for working mothers. One step closer to the quest to having it all-- be a mom and have a career.

  

 

2. Why Not Let Children Choose Their Own Names? 

Here's some child led parenting to the extreme, some folks are waiting to name their kids until they are old enough to decide for themselves. But according to one expert, Dr. Lieberman, "these parents are rebelling against tradition just for the thrill of it without realising how much they are harming their kids." 

Dr. Lieberman goes on to say, "children who have a place holder name or no name would feel like they have no identity and would surely suffer psychological problems." A man named J. Martin Griffith was given the choice of choosing his own name at birth and to this day he still struggles on making the big decision on what it should be. He tried names that began with J and names that didn't start with J, but nothing stuck. Today he is called Marty or Martin by friends and family but he still hasn't settled on it. 

Take a look at the other people's stories and see how not having a name at birth impacts a child for the rest of their lives.

 

3. 'Just try it' - How to help a child eat healthily

Childhood obesity has never been this high. But Leeds has recently implemented some practical advice and has managed to reduce their childhood obesity rates by 6.4%. 

This article outlines some practical ways to encourage children to eat healthy and explain how these changes will not just happen overnight. It is something that will grow gradually and must be patient throughout it.

Having trouble getting your child to eat healthy food? With all the tasty looking foods that are not good for you being advertised and eaten by others around you, it is no easy feat to get your child to eat food that is healthy and maybe not so visually appealing. 

On tip is to give children an input into what they eat from an early age, by offering a choice of two healthy options. Hmm carrots or broccoli little Johnny which one do you like?

 

4. Smacking Children should be banned

Is it okay to hit your children? It's amazing what I thought was a dead certain no, is not always the case. It's actually legal in the UK to smack your kid as reasonable punishment. This really shocked me. Thank goodness we're starting to look at changing this-- Wales is first in line and has a proposal to ban smacking children.

Psychologists around the world are saying that smacking children can impact their mental health and encourage violent behaviour. Parent's and carers are legally allowed to smack children lightly if it can be "reasonable punishment", according to Children Act 2004. In many countries such as Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and Portugal have placed a ban on smacking children. 

 

5. How to raise successful kids -- without over-parenting

Over parenting can stress kids and be counterintuitive-- In fact Julie Lythcott-Haims gave this amazing TED talk where she explains how to raise a successful child, without over-parenting and you know what the secret is Unconditional Love! By using humour and wit, Lythcott-Haims explains to parents how test scores and grades do not describe your child. She goes back to the basics and explains how the simple concept of unconditional love can help a child's development and lead them to great success. 

 

6. How to Help Kids Learn to Love to Give

Is your child good at sharing? I had to remind my nine year old that sharing is a lesson we tend to learn when we're two and that she needs to work on it! Jason Marsh explains how his seven year-old daughter had no interest in helping or giving to those in need during the Holiday Season. He explains how part of the reason was his daughters motives and the other part may have been how he was as a parent. Giving back is extremely important to creating a well functioning society and it makes us feel good. How can we instil this in our kids?

As Lara Aknin, an assistant professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University in Canada says, “I think helping our kids experience the happiness that comes from giving to others is probably one of the most valuable ways we can nurture generosity in them. It sets off this positive cycle: Giving makes people happy and happiness promotes giving.”

Find out ways in which Jason helps a child learn to love to give. 

 

7. Tips on how to introduce a new baby to their siblings

This huge right of passage is one lots of growing families fear. Imagine you are an only child and then your parents bring a baby home. It's only natural to think about how to balance jealousy with love. And the amazing guys at What to Expect have drawn up a super easy guide on how to help make the transition smooth for everyone.

Introducing a baby to their siblings is a crucial step in developing the bond between the children. This step is often one that parent's fear the most and spend a lot of time worrying about. However Kim Conte, the author has some very smart and easy ways to ease the transition-- she recommends developing a bond between the two while the baby is still in mummy's tummy. And suggesting the older sibling pick out a unique present for the new baby. So what if I bought my brother a dog toy, we stopped at a convenience store on the way to the hospital and the toy was a cute purple bear and squeaky and became my little brother's favourite. 

This is a great read for any little family getting bigger. 

 

8. School Snack Selection 

Ever have trouble selecting school snacks that are healthy and comply with all the allergy rules? Like everyday? Chewymoon is quite clever, they try to fix this with a subscription service--  sign up to a 3, 6 or 12 month plan for ordering a variety of school snacks. Each month you can select different snacks and mix and match to suit the taste buds of your child. To trial the selection, you can order a trial box for £0.99. We might just have to trial these guys. One less thing to think about...

To organise your first shipment or order please visit the website.

 

 

 

9. Shy Children and how to get them out of their shell

Being shy and quiet are not a bad thing and often times works best for the child. However as a parent it is hard to sit back and watch your child become stressed and full of anxiety when in a social interactional situation. Often times as a parent in these situations we step in and help the child but it is important to force the child to learn how to fend for themselves and speak on their own accord. In this article Dr. Fisher, a clinical psychologist publishes his findings on how best to gently coax children out of their shells. One example is placing the child in an activity or club of something they like or are interested in. For example if a child is sporty and likes athletics, place them in an athletics club. As Dr Fisher says, “Athletics offer interaction with other kids and can really boost self esteem."

Find out more ways to get your shy child out of their shell.

 

10. The Importance of Travelling with your Children

Going on a trip with your children of yes please. Turns out it's also super educational, well thank goodness because it is hands down one of my favourite things about life. I am always telling my daughter, there is a whole world out there. We only know a little bit about a little corner of it-- Experts say that it is one of the most important activities you can do as a family. It is a great way for a child to learn a whole bunch of different skills that can be used through out their life. It open's their eyes to new opportunities and ways of living. It's not just having memorable experiences together but it's also a way to learn to celebrate differences and explore the unknown! 

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1- A Swan Night Light by Lapin & Me because even baby prince's could use some light in the dark £14. 2- We love this gorgeous blue & yellow Dreamcatcher by Meri Meri, instant room making and at only £18 it makes such a beautiful and substantial gift. 3- Something only Americans seem to be talking about is that this is the first Royal Biracial Baby so a little biracial doll would be super sweet and this Bibichou by Vilac is absolutely stunning, £82. And would prove to be a super intuitive way to raise a boy with a doll and bring out his caring side. 4- For the more classic gift giver this Aden & Anais double-sided Dream Blanket  is so soft and beautiful and we love the gold flecks through it, £62. 5- Bring some rays into one of the world's greyest skies with this charming Organic Sun Rattle, £16.50. 6- Also organic and by Meri Meri is the Octopus Rattle little ones love to hold onto the many tentacles, £19.50. 7- This one is a classic and would look good on any lawn, not to mention a Windsor lawn, the Pedal Car by Baghera, £220. 8- This little Bunny Cushion by Moulin Roty has favourite sleepy time written all over it, £20. 9- Sweet little tokens can be just as appreciated, look at this gorgeous little Angel hand made by Ambrosius, £11. 

Everytime a little bundle joins us on planet earth, the world rejoices. Baby's bring with them so much love. And are they not just the cutest things ever.  Wishing Megan and Harry all the very best in these first few weeks as a growing family and we hope you enjoy our guide to buying a present for Archie or your very own royal baby. 

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One of the most talked about topics is how to get children away from screens. When you walk down a main street we see people, both adults and children, looking down at their phone screens and being completely unaware of what is happening around them. When waking up in the morning, 65% of adults under the age of 34 reach for their phone upon waking up, according to A decade of Digital Dependency. Even at a restaurant, you notice most people engaged with their phones or tablets rather than enjoying interactions with each other. Communication has definitely changed and we have become dependent on technology.

It is easy to understand, phones are life's most thorough encyclopedia, constantly updating. Do you ever regret the time that you just spent scrolling? While it's engaging a part of us, it's also manipulating us to think it's more important than anything else going around. Phones and software has been purposefully been designed to addict us.

Luckily some technologists are waking up to this and likening it to the impact of the cigarette industry in the 1930s professed to be good for us but in the end was carcinogenic. Check out the amazing people at Humane Tech and help in any way you can to reverse what they call human downgrading.

Did you know, according to ofcom, 79% of children aged 5-7 are online form 9 hours a week?! Sure we can't deny the lure of screens as pacifiers, there are times when we need to keep our children quiet and a screen works really well. But we did manage without them, remember when we were kids?

So at Little Citizens we think it's up to us parents to work hard to creatively solve our parenting conundrums and promote connection. The rewards are immense. Just challenge yourself to deal with a tantrum without screens, it's likely that a few minutes after the worst of it, kids will discover something that sparks interest in them. I love seeing my daughter go from whining, I am booooorrrreeeed, to weeee this is so fun. 

We need to help spark our children's imagination, it's not just for the sake of fun but also super important for their development as we help promote communication, develop social skills and learning through play. 

Parenting isn't easy, but if we carve out time we can help our children learn through discussions, projects, drawing pictures, creating art, climbing, dancing and playing sports.

Below a few good ideas available at Little Citizens to get you offline and having fun en famille: 

1. Make something together--- Instead of getting on Youtube, learn something new like how to weave with wool using our dynamic Weaving with Wool set by Dejco 

2. Cuddle up and share your day--- Screens before bedtime lead to disrupted sleep, so why not disconnect from the screen and reconnect with your child and help them sleep well by reading a book together or cuddling with a cute Coin Coin Comete Duck

3. Build a tower--- Drop the device, enjoy some play time and engage your child’s imagination at the same time by building a fort with our Noook Get Creative Kit

4. Cook something together--- Spark some creativity in the kitchen, get baking using our Moulin Roty I am Baking Set

 

5. Teach what goes on behind the screen--- Go techno without a screen with kits such as the Electro Dough Kit and Mover Kit

So create some new memories with some of our play ideas. Your child will remember these moments for ever.

We're not saying the balance is easy because it's not but an honest conversation with ourselves and each other is a great first step. Young Minds have released a series of strategies to help begin the conversation. Tell us how the screen challenges or helps you at home, have you come up with a system that works for you? We would love to hear from you. So please share with us in the comment section below.

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It's the era of the 'selfie'. Every phone has a camera and there's barely a day that goes by without a few snaps...are we right? If we are...then carry on as you are. Facebook, Instagram and the app Timehop are proving that the memories in these photos really matter to us. This technology which allows us to see photos we took on the same date, 1, 2, 5, 10 years ago. And there's no doubt you smile (or cringe) at the memory and then share it with someone it matters to as well. 

As the famous French photographer, Marc Riboud said, “taking pictures is savouring life intensely, every hundredth of a second”. It's super important to document simple family moments because before we know these moments are history. Gone. Hair changes colour, kids grow up, we grow older. So even though we're taking more photos than ever, we say carry on!

Take photos of everyone you love or who you hold dear because right now it might seem like a "a nice/silly/fun/cute photo", in the future it will be an amazing part of your past. The trick I suppose is to pick a handful that mean something to you. And keep those pictures around for a long time. 

"What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” 
― Karl Lagerfeld

We put together a gallery of family photos that inspire us-- some of our favourite "moment in time" photos. All collated in our Pinterest Board. Hope you like these and hope they make you want to snap a good one this weekend. 

Photo Credits: Valentanna | Little Bellows | Dusty Burrito | The Mind Unleashed | Love Taza | Inspired by This | My Name is Andy | Just Be Splendid | Christopher Worthland | Misapyon

 

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