Help your child deal with anger

14 ways to help your child deal with anger

No matter what age your child is, it’s likely you’ve witnessed a melt down or two. When children become angry, they often become irrational and it’s difficult to get through to them. That doesn’t mean they should be punished for feeling or acting this way. However, as a parent it’s hard to know how to manage the situation.

Here are a few tips on positively helping your child to deal with anger.

14 ways to help your child deal with anger

 

Remain calm

It’s easy to lose patience with an angry child who won’t see the wood from the trees. You can do everything within your power to help your child fix the problem, but until they are ready to find a solution all you can do is remain calm and set a good example. Anger will trigger the fight or flight reaction, making your child either look for a fight or a reason to flight. Don’t give it to them.

 

Listen

The worst thing you can do is dismiss your child’s feelings. Even if their anger seems irrational and unreasonable to you, it’s stemming from somewhere very real for them. Trying to ignore the problem until it goes away just tells your child that you’re unwilling to listen to their feelings. By not listening, you could escalate the problem. Be ready to listen and acknowledge the way your child feels so they have the chance to become calmer in your presence.

 

Put yourself in your child’s shoes

Remembering yourself as a child, you probably can recall times where you didn’t agree with your parents or felt that something was unfair. Your child will go through the exact same feelings. Even if you’ve got the help of family law solicitors during a divorce, your child will still struggle with the situation. It can hurt if your child blames you for feeling angry, but you should still acknowledge the feeling. You don’t have to necessarily agree with it but telling your child that you’re sorry for the way he feels will help to open lines of communication.

 

Don’t bite

When your child is angry, it’s likely he’ll say things he doesn’t mean. You may be the unfortunate recipient of a personal attack or perhaps your child will be very rude. All this can also happen in public because sometimes, the more hurtful the better when your child is trying to make a point. It’s hard to not take this personally, but you have to think of it from your child’s point of view. He is using the most hurtful things he knows of to explain how upset he is. Try and diffuse the situation by understanding instead of biting back.

How to help your child deal with anger

 

Stick to the rules

Your child may be very upset, but that doesn’t mean the rules go out of the window. Sometimes children become physically violent when they’re angry. If you or another member of the family ends up on the other end of a slap or kick, it’s okay to correct your child. Letting your child know that you can see she is upset but slapping and kicking are still not allowed will reinforce your rules while letting her know that you acknowledge the upset. If you have to remove your child from the situation to keep others safe, do so.

 

Let the melt downs pass

If your child is in a full on melt down, it would be pointless to try and reason with her. Trying to explain why it’s okay or why she can’t have what she wants is futile at this point. The only thing you can do is try and help her to calm down. Reassurance is what she needs at this point, even if you don’t feel like it. Saying, ‘I know it’s hard’ will let your child know you register the hurt she’s going through and may have a solution when she’s calmer. Depending on your child’s age, you may be able to sit her down and explain your own thoughts once the storm has passed.

 

Allow the tantrum

Tantrums are so often punished by parents, but the truth is, they are how our children learn to deal with bigger problems in life. Punishing a tantrum could essentially teach your child how to handle bigger stresses later on. Many child psychologists have referred to tantrums as a child’s way of blowing off steam. Whereas an adult may reach for a glass of wine or go run a bubble bath, children aren’t developed enough to know how to handle difficult situations. Supporting your child through a tantrum is the best way to develop trust and help your child develop the control he needs to manage his emotions in the future.

 

It’s more than the moment

It can seem like children have a tantrum in the moment. Something may spark them off and suddenly they’re in full blown melt down and there’s nothing you can do to soothe them until it’s over. What you may not know is that children often remember other things that have upset them when they’re having a tantrum. It’s often more than just what’s on the surface. It could be something that upset them months ago re-hashing itself in your child’s memory and you’re both having to deal with it all over again.  Children don’t process things the same way we do, so it’s wise to expect a melt down to be more than it appears to be.

How to help your child deal with anger

 

Create a safe place

The beautiful thing about the relationship between a child and parent is that it’s healing. As a parent, you have a unique opportunity to create a safe place for your child to express himself. Once your child knows that he’ll be listened to and not judged, there becomes less need for anger. Your child knowing that they’re allowed to vulnerable is the best thing you can do for him. Once the hurt and sadness has been expressed, it makes room for healing.

 

Stay in the same room

Young children that go through tantrums may hit out and become physical. Instead of putting your child in a different room or exiting the room yourself, take a few steps away instead. Let your child know that you aren’t going anywhere but you won’t let her hit you. Many young children may shout ‘Go away’ despite your efforts, but still don’t leave the room. Tell your child you’re going to sit down somewhere since she asked you to go away but reassure you that you aren’t leaving. Your child will try and push you away but staying and showing support and love will break through the hurt.

 

Yes, your child is over-reacting

It’s okay to think, ‘why should I stand here and let him do this?’ Your child is clearly overreacting and there are times when you’ll think that’s not okay. The problem is, as an adult you’ve learnt to express your feelings in a way your child can’t comprehend yet. You don’t melt down over the colour of a cup anymore, but your child will, just because. It may be that your child is overtired or trying to process something or sometimes it’s just because your child needs a good cry. Embracing the melt down and staying calm is exactly what you both need.

 

Get to the root

If your child is screaming on top of his lungs because he can’t find a toy he hasn’t played with in decades, it’s not about the toy. Don’t be tempted to tear the bedroom apart to find the toy. It may be the only thing that will shut him up right now, but it won’t deal with the underlying problem. It’s okay if you can’t find that toy for him. If he allows you, give him a cuddle and a kiss and let him know that you understand it’s difficult when you want something but you can’t find it. These are the biggest problems our children go through and to them, they seem like impassable mountains. Let your child know you’re there and you can fix the problem together.

 

Avoid the ‘I told you so’

It may be tempting to explain to your child why you’re always right and why he should always listen to his parents, but that won’t do much for your child.  Lecturing your child will likely go in one ear and straight out the other- save your breath. Instead, explain what happened to your child. Let him know that he asked for something, you said no and he got angry. Let him know that you saw that he was upset but things got better when he calmed down. There’s no need to remind him that you were right.

 

Learning the lesson

Won’t you need to teach your child through these tantrums? The great thing about kids is that they absorb so much through their emotions. The better you handle their tantrums, the better they will. Encourage your child to make choices next time she feels angry and each time will get easier and easier for you both.

 

Dealing with a child’s anger isn’t easy but it can be done positively.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Tips for busy parents to save time

Time saving tips for busy parents

Whether you work full-time, or part time, or stay at home with your children, life as a parent is incredibly busy.

So any shortcuts you can take or tricks you can use to save yourself some valuable time and energy are well worth knowing.

Here are some of my favourite time saving tips for busy parents that help me claw back some of that precious time and feel a bit more in control.

Time saving tips for busy parents

 

Let people come to you

Wherever possible get people to come to you with their services instead of you going to them.

Order your food shopping online and have it delivered to your home.  If you need anything doing to your car get them to come to you.  Whether it’s a diamond cut alloy repair or replacement window glass, you can find someone to come to you rather than spend precious time sat in a garage.

There are more and more services popping up that can help you, so next time you think about going somewhere to buy something or fix something, have a quick look online to see if there’s a way you can get someone to bring it to you instead.

 

Batch cook

When you’re cooking dinner make enough for a few meals.  It won’t take you much longer that day but will save a lot of time in the future.  You can pop the extra in the fridge to reheat the next day or portion it up and freeze it for nights when you’re really short on time.

Another great way to save time in the evenings is to use a slow cooker.

You can just chuck in all the ingredients in the morning, leave it on low all day and have a delicious meal ready for you in the evening.  I love using our slow cooker for various soups, baked potatoes and sweet potatoes and even ‘roast’ chickens for a super easy Sunday lunch.

 

Prep ahead

If you know that your mornings are always hectic, trying to get everyone out the door for school and work on time, then do as much as you can to prepare the night before.

Make sandwiches and pack lunches.  Make sure all the bags are ready and any forms or letters that need to go back to school are sorted.  Check the weather forecast and get suitable clothes and shoes/boots out and ready.

Basically do anything you can the night before to save stress and time in the morning.

 

Get organised

Following on from the last point, you can save yourself a lot of time in the long run by getting more organised and putting systems in place.

If you know that you always waste valuable time looking for your keys in the morning, then pick a designated spot for them to be put every single time you walk in through the front door.

Do the same for all the important things you need to keep track of.  Having a central family calendar where you can write down everyone’s appointments, clubs and key dates is so important to keeping on top of everything.  You could even go one step further and set up a home command centre so everything is kept up together, saving you so much time in searching for things when you’re in a rush to leave the house.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you save some time and feel a bit less rushed off your feet. 

Do you have any other brilliant time-saving tips?  I’d love to hear them in the comments!

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Benefits of outdoor play for learning and development

The importance of outdoor play in learning and development

Most days after school, if it’s dry enough, we stay and let the children play for a bit before heading home.

They play in the school yard which has a brilliant wooden fort and little obstacle course which is fantastic for them to burn off some steam after a day at school. The outdoor space and facilities are great at our school, and there is quite an emphasis on outdoor play and learning there that I really love.  The children are encouraged to get out and get stuck in and often come home muddy and dishevelled.

The school is really on to something with this I think, because there are all sorts of benefits to outdoor play in terms of our children’s learning and development.

The importance of outdoor play in learning and development

 

Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget once said “Play is the work of childhood” and that is a sentiment that I really love.

Mr Rogers actually took this idea a bit further when he said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”

 

The thing is, children aren’t built to sit still and focus on learning.  Apparently up until they’re at least 9 years old children learn best when their whole self is involved in the process.  So sitting at a table and listening to a teacher talk isn’t going to help them learn as much as actively getting involved in something.

 

Young children in particular learn best through play.

When they’re playing they’re learning how to solve problems and they’re being creative and experimenting in all sorts of ways.  Play does so much to support our children’s cognitive development.  It’s through play that they learn skills like understanding and communication, as well as things like risk assessment and cause and effect.

 

What seems to be really important though is that the play needs to be unstructured.

Children don’t learn in the same way if adults are directing their play.  They need to be left to explore and play the way they want to play to really get the benefits.

This is one of the things I love about the play equipment at our school – it’s not obvious what each piece should be used for.

There are quite a few wooden structures that can be a fort, a stage, a family home, or whatever else the children can come up.  There are also shapes and tracks and games painted on the ground too which are brilliant for creative play and learning.

ESP play produce all sorts of play equipment and playground markings like the ones our school has, and have spent a lot of time researching the benefits of them.  If you pop over to ESP play’s website you can see their findings into the effects that outdoor creative play can have.  They have playground equipment for all ages from pieces suitable for early years play all the way up to secondary school.

They recognise findings from various studies that show that children need this kind of play environment where they aren’t restricted in the way they play.

So the children are free to come up with their own ideas and use the equipment creatively.  When children have this freedom to make up their own games, either by themselves or with other children, they learn so much.

Imaginative play outdoors

They learn to figure things out on their own, to communicate better and to negotiate.  These types of skills are known as executive function skills and they’re so important for our children’s development.

Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, explains that the best way for children to learn is through free-play.  He says:

“No coaches, no umpires, no rule books…Whether it’s rough-and-tumble play or two kids deciding to build a sand castle together, the kids themselves have to negotiate, well, what are we going to do in this game? What are the rules we are going to follow?”

When children play in this way new pathways and circuits are built in the prefrontal cortex that help them navigate these different social situations.  So playing actually creates changes in our children’s brains, wiring up its executive control centre, to set them up to be able to handle these complex situations in the future.

 

One big developmental benefit to outdoor play that us parents can sometimes find a bit hard to cope with, is the way it teaches our children about risk and about their own personal limits.

Our instinct as parents is to keep our children safe and to protect them from any possible harm.  But if we constantly hover around them while they play, shouting pleas for them to be careful, they’ll grow up scared to ever take risks or push themselves to see what they’re capable of.

When we take a step back and let our children climb that tree or try a new way of getting down the slide they learn so much.

They develop risk assessment skills and learn about things like physics and gravity!

And from trying things and failing they learn to get back up again.  To try again.  To be brave.

Outdoor play face fears

This photo of Rhys was taken at the park one day when he faced his fears and climbed up to the top of this wooden climbing frame.

He had been so scared to do it, and I realised that me standing right by him wasn’t actually helping.  So I backed off a bit.  Gave him the space he needed to take a deep breath and go for it.

Those are the clenched fists and determined face of a boy who achieved something he wasn’t sure he could.

And that is the beauty of outdoor play.

It gives our children the chance to try things.  To have fun.  To explore.  To take risks.  To push themselves.  To develop in so many ways.

 

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post with esp play.

outdoor activities for gamers

Outdoor activities that are perfect for gamers

One of the things I’m trying to teach my children as they grow up is how to find balance in life.

My son in particular loves to play on the computer, and would happily spend hours and hours doing just that.  So we make sure he has a balance between computer time, other indoor activities and getting out and about in the fresh air.

If you have slightly older children who absolutely love playing computer games I can imagine it might be a bit of a battle at times to find other things for them to do that they would enjoy just as much.

Here are some activity ideas that will hopefully tempt the gamer in your life away from their computer.

Outdoor activities that are perfect for gamers

 

Escape rooms

Escape rooms have become really popular in the last few years, with rooms popping up all over the country.

The basic idea is that you and a few friends or family members enter a room and then have an hour to solve clues and puzzles to be able to ‘escape’.  Each room has a detailed back story to it, and you normally need to either complete a heist or escape from a situation.

This kind of activity would be great for gamers who love problem solving and lateral thinking.  The whole concept was actually originally a type of video game so gamers would probably love to try the idea out in a more hands-on way.

 

Laser tag

This is a brilliant option for children and teenagers who love games like Fortnite and Call of Duty.

They can see how good their skills actually are in a game of laser tag, which has all the fun of the games they like to play at home, with the benefits of physical activity.

You could even book a laser tag party for their next birthday, so they can take on all their friends in a laser tag battle.

 

Geocaching

A more outdoorsy alternative to escape rooms for gamers who love problem solving games is geocaching.

This is where you use an app and a gps device to find hidden containers, or geocaches.  They have little log books in which you sign to say you’ve found it.  They might also contain little trinkets or toys which you can take as long as you leave something of similar value in its place.

 

40/40 and manhunt

I’m going right back to my own childhood with this one.

Younger gamers who love playing strategy games and things like fortnite may well love the action of these kinds of outdoor games.

40/40 is basically a variation of hide and seek, where you have to hide and then make it back to ‘home’ or base (this tended to be a particular tree when I played) without being spotted.

Manhunt is another version where most players have a head start to run and hide, before the hunter (or hunters) start looking for them.  The aim is to last as long as possible without getting caught, so you don’t just pick one hiding place and stay there.  You keep moving, evading capture as long as you can.

 

Whether you go with the latest trend of escape rooms or keep it old school with a game of 40/40, these ideas are all great fun for gamers in need of a break from their computers.  And the real beauty of them is that they’re brilliant fun for non-gamers too, so everyone can get involved.

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

Things to consider choosing a university

Things to consider when your child is choosing a university

As someone who has been through university, I am very happy to say I have been there and done that. I absolutely loved my time at university, and found a good balance between working hard and having fun.  I’m so grateful that I was able to have the experience I did at uni.

The course of higher education through college and university is one that I believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience, and despite the negativity that is often in the media these days, I believe that many young people are still keen and excited to make this journey for themselves.

Although my children are not yet ready to embark on the journey, I know that one day they will and there are many parents out there with older children who will be making big decisions very soon.

Things to consider when your child is choosing a university

 

Whether you are helping your teen by making a PRO/CON list to choose between Harvard and Yale or are trying to determine which Oxbridge university offers the best learning environment, there are many other considerations that do need to be factored in when making such a big decision.

 

Subjects on offer / Reputation

One of the most important considerations has to be the courses that are on offer and the reputation that the college or university has for this subject. Review recent student satisfaction surveys and look at university rankings to determine the best options available.

 

Learning environment

Another consideration should be the environment that your child prefers to work in. Some thrive in independent study, others prefer group oriented sessions and lectures; some courses are very big which means mentor time may be limited so if this is an issue, perhaps a course with fewer students might work better.

 

Assessments

The way in which higher education is assessed varies from institution to institution. Some are purely academic – with written coursework and exams, while others also incorporate presentations, observations and practical submissions.

 

Location

Location is a very important factor to consider. Firstly, proximity to home and emotional support when needed, but also the location of student halls of residence and the teaching campus is important, too. While many students can drive before they move away for university, taking a car might not be practical depending on the end destination and associated costs.

 

Library facilities

As any student will tell you, a lot of university time is spent in the library reading. The facilities on offer can vary from college to university, so it’s always a good idea to go to a tour and have a look around at the university library. Are there quiet spaces for independent study readily available?

 

Competition

A big factor to consider, especially when applying for Oxbridge or Ivy League status universities is the level of competition for places. There are always statistics available to determine how many places have been available versus the number of applicants available, so use this information to your advantage when making applications. For example, if all your options have a low ration of applicants receiving offers, then it may be worth considering applying to an institution with a higher ratio.

 

Nightlife and Societies

With any university application, the social life opportunities need to be considered, too. It is important to find a university that is right for you academically and on a personal level, and you must enjoy living in that town or city, too. Research the locale in question to see whether or not this will fit with your son or daughters expectations of how uni life will be. For example, many universities have a lot of sporting societies which is great if you like sports, but if your child likes photography then an institution with access to galleries or dedicated society will be an obvious contender.

 

Choosing a university is a big decision, but with a little guidance it should be easy to choose the right one for your child as they start the next chapter of their lives. Good luck and if you are choosing universities over the next year, then let me know how you get on!

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

ways my life has changed since becoming a parent

3 ways my life has changed since I became a parent

I’ve been a parent now for nearly 8 years, and can honestly say that my life now is nothing like it was back then.

So much has changed, in so many different ways.

Here are 3 ways my life has changes since I became a parent.

3 ways my life has changed since I became a parent

I have less time.

Or maybe it’s a case of having more to do and keep in top of in the same amount of time.

Either way, it feels like I have a lot more on my plate since having the children.  So I do find myself looking for short cuts and ways to save precious time where I can.  I tend to do my food shopping online rather than spend 2 hours on a round trip to the supermarket.  And I love finding sites like love catalogues that help you compare prices and availability on various items to save you time doing it all yourself.

 

I have less sleep.

Before the children came along I loved to sleep.

I would quite happily get into bed around 9pm and doze off for a whole blissful night of sleep.

Now, even though I’m lucky and Rhys and Nerys generally sleep well through the night, I don’t get anywhere near the amount of sleep I used to.  I think it’s due to that classic parent thing of working all day, then sorting the children out and then trying to fit your adult life into those few hours after they’ve gone to bed.

So I end up staying up much later that I should.  Just to be able to relax a bit and watch Game of Thrones episodes that I’ve seen several times before.  Or squeeze in a bit more work to feel like I’ll have a head start on the next day.

 

Putting those changes first makes it seem like everything has changed for the worse since becoming a parent.

But honestly, there are so many other things that have changed, in more subtle ways perhaps, that have made life so much better.

 

I have more love.

More patience, more understanding.

In a direct contradiction of what I’ve already written, I also have more time.  Children, especially when they’re young, force you to slow down.  To take life at their pace.  To stop every 2 minutes as you walk to the park, to look at a stone or a flower or a particularly sticky stick.

Before I had the children the seasons would change and I would almost miss it.  I remember one year looking up on the way home from work and realising that the trees were almost bare, and I hadn’t noticed.   I hadn’t seen the gorgeous reds and oranges of autumn.  I’d been in such a hurry to just get home each day, I’d missed it.

Now though, I feel like I notice so much more.  We have time to watch the seasons change.

And watching my children watch these things happen, fills me with even more love and joy than I could have imagined.

 

So yes, I have less time and less sleep now than I did in my pre-children days.

But I have so much more of so many other things.  Things I didn’t even know I was missing out on.

What changed the most for you when you had your children?

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

top tips for moving house pregnant

5 top tips for moving house when you’re pregnant

Whenever I take the children into town on the bus I like to point out the block of flats that my husband and I used to live in before they came along.

They find it strange to imagine us there, and I suppose hard to think of us in a world without them in it!

We lived in those flat for quite a few years, but moved to the house we’re in now when I was about 8 months pregnant with Rhys.  Studies have found that moving house is one of the most stressful things we can do, so maybe doing it while heavily pregnant wasn’t the best idea.  Although, I don’t remember it feeling all that stressful when we did it.

I think we planned things quite well and were lucky enough to have a lot of support from friends and family.

If you’re pregnant and planning on moving house, then these 5 tips will hopefully help make it as easy and straightforward as possible for you too.

5 top tips for moving house when you're pregnant

 

1. Plan ahead and take your time

Start getting organised to move house as soon as possible so that you can take it slowly.

If you’re anything like me then making lists of everything you need to sort and get done will help you make sure you don’t forget anything important.

Sit down and write detailed lists including things like key dates for picking up keys and installing services like phone lines and broadband.  It’s also worth making a list of all the places you need to update with your new address once you’ve moved.

 

2. Pack carefully and strategically

Start packing up your belongings sooner rather than later.  You don’t want to be shoving things in random boxes and bin bags in a last minute rush.

Think about packing up room by room, and keeping like items together.  Then make sure you label boxes clearly with what’s in them and what room they need to go in at the new house.  Any boxes that contain delicate or breakable things should be really clearly marked as fragile so you know to handle them with care.

For real peace of mind pack up all your valuables and important documents together in a box that you can take with you in the car on moving day.

 

3. Accept all the help you can get

We were lucky when we moved house that my in-laws were able to give us a lot of help, along with a few good friends.

If you have a similar support network then don’t feel bad about accepting any offers of help they might give you.  It might be an offer to borrow a van for the day, or for them to physically help you move all your boxes or furniture.  It could be an offer to take care of any older children you may have for a few hours so you can pack or unpack in peace.  Or it could be a meal prepared and brought round for your first night in the new house.  Whatever it is, accept the offer graciously.

If you don’t have family nearby who can help, or if you’re moving to a completely new area then it’s worth looking at some removal companies who can help pack everything up and move it safely for you.  You can go online and find moving quotes to find the best deal and the service that best suits your needs.

 

4. Be careful and don’t lift any heavy boxes or furniture

It can be really frustrating not to be able to help, but be sensible when it comes to lifting and carrying heavy boxes and furniture.

When we’re pregnant our ligaments loosen making it more likely that we’ll strain our backs or pelvis if we lift things that are too heavy.  There’s also the issue of a big bump shifting our centre of gravity and making us potentially more clumsy and off-balance.

If at all possible let other people do the real heavy lifting while you carry the lighter items.

 

5. Keep your hospital bag packed and accessible.

If you’re getting towards the end of your pregnancy make sure you have your hospital bag packed and accessible, along with your notes, just in case you go into labour.

It’s also worth packing a box of essential first day and night items that you can unpack first when you get to the new house.

This box might include a kettle, tea/coffee and toilet paper.

You could also pack any of your pregnancy must-haves in there too.  These might be your body pillow to sleep comfortably on the first night, any prenatal vitamins you’re taking, favourite snacks and drinks and medicine for things like acid reflux.

This box can then go in the car with you on moving day so you know you have all your essentials on hand.

 

Hopefully with these tips moving house will go as smoothly as possible and you can get on with nesting in  your new home and getting ready for your new baby to arrive.

Did you move home when you were pregnant?  Do you have any other bits of advice to help make it as stress-free as possible?

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post