I have a feeling that every parent at some point has felt that all they do is nag or shout at their children before they seem to listen and do what they’re being asked to do.  The thing is, so often the answer to the problem involves looking at our own actions and behaviours.

It’s so easy to get frustrated and think ‘my child never listens to me’, but the best way to help the situation is to stop and think about how clearly we’re actually communicating with them.

Here are some things we can do to get our children to listen, without ending up shouting.

How to get your child to listen to you

 

Think before you speak

You can’t expect your children to listen to you if you randomly shout instructions to them from another room.

So before you speak make sure you’re standing close to them, or at the very least are in the same room.  Then make sure that you have their attention by using their name and speak clearly while looking directly at them.

 

Keep it simple

When you need your child to do something, keep your instructions as simple as possible.

Young children especially can find it hard to remember 2-stage requests, so stick to asking them to do one thing at a time.  So if  you need your young child to put their shoes on, instead of giving a long-winded speech about it, stick with a simple “shoes on please!”.

Older children may well start to tune you out if you ramble on too much about them needing to do something.  So again, keep it short and snappy when you ask them to do something.

 

Focus on what you DO want

This is a piece of advice my sister gave me years ago and it’s brilliant.

Children often focus on and remember the last part of what you say to them.  So if you say “please don’t run off ahead of me”, what they might actually hear and focus on are the words “run off ahead of me”, and so off they’ll go.

What you need to be doing is tell them what you do want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do.

So in this example you’re much better off saying “please walk nicely by my side” or “let’s skip along together”.  You’re basically looking at switching from negative “don’t do that” instructions to more positive, “do this please” versions.

How to get your child to listen to you (1)

 

Put yourself in your child’s position

Again this is about slowing down a bit and thinking before asking your child to do something.

If they’re in the middle of an activity, is it really fair to expect them to stop it immediately just because you say so?  How would you feel if someone came and demanded you do something, out of the blue, while you’re in the middle of doing something?

Try to give a bit of warning whenever you can that something will be happening or if they’ll need to do something.

So let them know 10 minutes before dinner is ready that they only have that much time left to play before they’ll need to stop and come to the table.

Now, this can also be applied in a way to situations like children running off in the park or messing around in the library.  As parents we need to stop and put ourselves in their shoes a bit.  To remember that they don’t necessarily know how to behave in these situations.  So we need to talk to them in advance as much as we can, to set our expectations for how they need to behave.

 

Explain things rather than just give demands

Following on from the last point, we need to remember that children don’t know everything we know, and they see the world differently from us a lot of the time.

They may not understand why we’re asking them to do certain things, so it makes it easier for them to go along with it if we explain the why behind our requests.

If we want our children to tidy up their toys it’s helpful to explain to them that they might get lost or broken if they’re left out, that it makes it easier for them to find them next time they want to play if they’re put away nicely and that other people want to use the space and it’s nice to consider their needs and feelings.

Give them options

Children often feel that they have no control over what happens in their day to day lives, and sometimes saying ‘no’ and refusing to do what we ask is simply them trying to assert some control.

One way around this is to give them choices, to help them feel that they have a say in various things that happen.  The key here though, is to only offer a couple of choices and make sure you’re happy with either option.

So, “put this top on, we need to go” becomes “it’s time to get dressed now, would you like to wear the red top or the yellow one?”

“Brush your teeth and put your shoes on” changes to “would you like to do your teeth first or put your shoes on first?”

You can also use options like this to give consequences to your child’s actions.

So, rather than getting frustrated when your toddler won’t listen and hold your hand while walking, you give them option of holding your hand or being carried.  If they won’t put a hat on in the park then you tell them that they either wear the hat or you both leave the park.  It’s their choice.

Just make sure you follow through with any consequences you talk about.

 

Acknowledge when they do listen

When your children do listen and cooperate with you, make a point of acknowledging it.

Give them a big smile and a hug and thank them for doing as they were asked.  When behaviour is acknowledged it’s more likely to be repeated in the future.

 

Not all of these things will work with all children, all of the time. 

But that’s true of most things when it comes to parenting in my experience!

Hopefully though with a bit of time and consistency, you’ll find something in here that works for you and your family to get your children to listen without anyone nagging or shouting.

 

I often look at my children and wonder what they’ll be like when they’re older.  What they’ll choose to do with their lives.  What parts of their young selves will stay with them through to adulthood.

One of my biggest hopes for them is that they just grow up to be kind.

To be caring and thoughtful, to look out for other people.

There’s a quote that I really love that sort of sums up how I feel about this:

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”

I think that, to some extent, kindness is something that we’re born with, but there are also quite a few things we can do as parents to teach our children how to be kind people.

5 ways to teach your children to be kind

 

1. Be kind yourself

Our children are constantly watching us, and learning from what they see.  So make sure they see you be kind as often as possible.

Be kind to them, be kind to your partner, be kind to the various people you see as you go about your day.

As well as this, try not to do anything unkind in front of your children.  I mean, try not to be unkind at all, but especially not in front of your children.  None of us are perfect and we all have our moments where we maybe gossip about other people, and say not so nice things, but try not to let your children hear it.  Otherwise if you’re not careful they’ll start doing the same.

 

2. Read books about kindness

Reading books together is a great way to introduce all sorts of topics with your children.  We’ve done with it starting school and when I was pregnant with Nerys we read lots of books about new babies with Rhys.

Look around to find books that are age-appropriate and that are focused on the idea of being kind and caring.

Take a look at ‘Have you filled a bucket today?‘ and ‘Ordinary Mary’s extraordinary deed‘ to get started.

 

3. Give them plenty of chances to be caring

As often as you can, allow your children to practice being kind and caring.

Encourage them to help around the house, ask them to look around and see if they notice any little jobs that could be done to help other family members.

Talk to them about helping their friends at school if they’re finding something hard, and comforting another child who is upset or hurt.

One thing to remember is to acknowledge these acts of kindness, but to not necessarily reward them.  We want our children to grow up doing kind things because it’s a nice thing to do, not because there’s something in it for them.

 

teaching our children to be kind

4. Notice and explain

Following on from the last point, it is important to notice and acknowledge when your children do nice things.

Tell them that you’re proud of them for all the little kind things they do.

Then go one step further and explain what it was about the act of kindness that was so nice.  Children are still learning about the world so we need to explain the reason behind things sometimes.

So explain the reasons behind your actions too.  When you put your change in the charity pot at the supermarket explain to your children what the charity is for and how giving money to them can help other people.

 

5. Perform acts of kindness together

Look for opportunities to carry out acts of kindness with your children.

They don’t have to be big, extravagant gestures, and actually more often than not it’s the little acts that mean the most to other people and really brighten their days.

If you have the money to spare then you could tape a envelope with a few pounds inside to a vending machine, or hide a few on the shelves of the pound shop with a note instead telling people to treat themselves.

There are all sorts of things you can do that don’t cost any money though.

If you see someone drop something then encourage your child to pick it up for them, share your bag of duck food with another family at the park and let the person behind you in the queue at the supermarket go through the till ahead of you.

 

Ultimately, raising kind children comes down to bringing as much kindness into their lives as we can.

Then hopefully we’ll help to create the kind of world that really is a little less cruel and heartless, one that’s full of people who are kind and caring and look out for each other.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

With the change in seasons recently I’ve been going through the children’s clothes, making sure we have enough tights and jumpers and seeing if last year’s winter coats still fit.

Now they’re a bit older it’s easier to adjust to the different seasons and I don’t worry so much about how to dress them appropriately for the weather.

I remember when they were babies though, and the stress of trying to work out what to put them in and how to keep them warm but not too warm.  When you’re pregnant you see all these gorgeous pieces of baby clothes and designer kids wear, but don’t always realise how hard it can be at times to know how to dress your child through the year.

You need to consider a few different things when choosing what to put your baby in during the winter, including where you’ll be going, how you’ll be getting there and how long you’ll be outside in the cold for.

So here are my top tips for dressing your baby in the winter.

Top tips for dressing your baby for winter

 

Use layers

Babies can’t regulate their body temperature the same way that adults can.

Dressing them in layers is a great way to easily help them warm up or cool down when you’re out and about.  So consider a vest, trousers, socks, top, jumper/cardigan and then a coat or snowsuit over the top.

One good tip if you’re not sure how many layers to put on them is to go for one more than you’re wearing yourself.

And just make sure to remember to take a layer off them if you head inside where it’s warmer so they don’t overheat.

 

Keep them safe in the car

If you’re heading out somewhere in the car then don’t put a bulky snowsuit or coat on your baby until you get to where you’re going.

Car seat harnesses need to be fitted close to your baby’s body to be effective, and padded clothing can stop you from being able to tighten the straps enough.  The best thing to do is to strap your baby into their seat without the coat/snowsuit on and then pop a lightweight blanket over them (just up to their armpits) to keep them warm.

Just remember to take their coat with you to put on them if you’ll be outside for any length of time once you’re out of the car.

 

Keep their extremities covered

If it’s really cold out you want to make sure that your baby’s head, hands and feet are covered up.

Babies are notorious for pulling hats off but it’s worth persevering with them, or getting a jumper or coat with a warm hood that you can put up around their head.

Then pop a pair of mittens on their hands and warm socks on their feet.  Most snowsuits for babies have little feet on them too to keep them warm.

If you’re taking your baby out in the buggy then you can get a cosytoes liner that will keep them well covered and that you can tuck little hands into if they’re not too wriggly.

 

If you keep these three things in mind then dressing your baby for winter shouldn’t be too tricky.  Once you’ve mastered the art of doing it quickly enough that they don’t get frustrated and annoyed with being bundled up before you get out the front door that is!

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

There’s a chill in the air, conkers on the ground and leaves slowly changing to gorgeous shades of orange and red on the trees.

I think it’s safe to say that autumn has well and truly arrived.

Don’t let that keep you and your family cooped up inside though.  This time of year is great for getting out and about, but if you’re stuck for inspiration then try some of these ideas for outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy this autumn.

outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy this autumn

Head to the coast

I absolutely love visiting the beach all year round.  It really doesn’t have to just be something you do in the warm summer months.

Just wrap everyone up warm and head down to the coast for a bracing walk in the sea air.

If you put wellies on then you can all still have fun splashing in the water.  You can build sandcastles and dig big holes to keep warm. Or grab some shells and stones and try your hand at skimming them.

Then find a good fish and chip shop nearby to warm yourselves up again afterwards!

 

Try a new sport

Tennis is a great option to try this time of year.  In the summer Wimbledon fever tends to take over and the local tennis courts get pretty busy.  By autumn though the effect wears off a bit so there should be plenty of availability to give it a go.

Golf is also worth a try as a family.  It’s a great way to get out in the fresh air and there are various options depending on skill levels.

You can keep it really fun by hitting a crazy golf course, or you can really go for it and join a local club. If you want to take it seriously you’ll need to look into getting some clubs and it might be worth taking a look at the Callaway golf clothing available online to kit you and your family out in the right gear.

 

visit the woods in autumn

Go on a nature trail in the woods

We absolutely love going for walks in our local woods.

Most of the time we just wander round, exploring different routes and finding interesting landmarks from when there used to be coalmines in the area.

What you can do though is make a list before you go out of things to look out for and find.  Things like acorns, conkers, and different coloured leaves.  Or you could take a look and see if there are any special trails you could visit.  I’ve heard about Gruffalo trails in a few different woodland areas that look like so much fun!

 

Go brambling

In other words, go out and pick some of the yummy blackberries that are everywhere this time of year.

You can go to an established blackberry farm if you want to, where you can pick blackberries and other fruits and pick up some other bits from the farm shop while you’re there.  Or you can go the DIY route and just go out for a walk in the countryside with a tupperware pot and collect what you can.

Then head back home a cook up a delicious blackberry crumble.

 

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas for ways to get out and keep enjoying the great outdoors with your family this autumn.

What are your favourite things to do outside at this time of year?

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

Have you ever had a great idea, or thought about trying a new sport or hobby, but then talked yourself out of going for it because you were scared that you’d fail at it?

I think we’ve all been there at some point.

The fear of getting things wrong, making mistakes and failing can stop us in our tracks.  Quite often before we’ve even started.  But the thing is, we’ll never do anything or achieve anything if we’re so scared of failing that we don’t even try.

Here are some tips on how we can all let go of that fear of failure and stop worrying so much about making mistakes.

How to let go of the fear of failure and making mistakes

 

Change how you view mistakes and failures

We all seem to think of failing as something really bad.  For some reason we seem to believe that we always have to get everything right.

I’m not sure when this happens though, because if you look at babies and toddlers you can see that fear of failure and getting things wrong isn’t something we’re born with.

Toddlers learning to walk don’t have this fear.  They fall time and again, but each time they get back up and try again until they can do it.

We need to get back that mindset that in order to grow we need to allow ourselves to fall, to fail, to make mistakes.

 

Make mistakes on purpose

One way to change our way of thinking about mistakes is to make a few on purpose and see that it’s really not as bad as we think it is.

Now I’m not saying you should go and mess up a deal at work on purpose that would lose the company a fortune.  I’m saying look for something small and safe that you could fail at or do badly.  If you work in an office then maybe you could skip that optional meeting that’s just not important to your role.

Find something small, mess it up and see if the consequences are really as bad as you think they’ll be.  Chances are the impact of you failing will be less than you think it’ll be, which will then make you a bit less scared of making mistakes in the future.

 

Look at other people’s failures

If you’re still feeling scared then try looking into other people’s failures.

Some of the world’s greatest inventions came about either because someone made a mistake, or because someone failed again and again until they got it right.  From penicillin and post-its to the light bulb and artificial sweetener, all sorts of things have been discovered and invented by mistake or after repeated failures.

Athletes and sports stars are also great to look at to realise that success so often comes after multiple failures.

Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”.

 

Let other people make mistakes

It gets a lot easier for us to make mistakes, and fail at times, when we create an environment where these things happening is OK.

A while ago I wrote a post about the things I’d like my children to say ‘yes’ to, and failure is one of the things on that list.  I think it’s important to let our children know that it’s OK if they try things and get it wrong.  Or if they take a risk that doesn’t quite pay off.

We should let our children know that they won’t get in trouble if they make a mistake or if they try and fail at something.

 

I think for most of us the idea of making a mistake or failing at something will always be a little bit scary.

For some people it can be so scary it stops them from ever trying anything new.  It could be that you have mental health issues to work through in order to let go of your fear, in which case talking with a counsellor at thrivetalk.com could help.

As a general rule though, we can take steps to move past this fear ourselves.  The more we try things and push ourselves and allow ourselves to get things wrong, the more we’ll realise that it’s nowhere near as bad as we think it will be.  And the best way to learn and improve at anything is to fail along the way.

 

 

In the summer I managed to get together with my brother and my sister and their children.  It was so lovely to see all the cousins together, getting on really well and just enjoying each other’s company.

What really struck me though is how old they’re all getting.  The older two suddenly seem so much more grown up, and it sort of hit me that they’re really not far off becoming teenagers.  I was chatting to my mum about it afterwards, about how hard those teenage years can be and how I wish there had been more information available when I was younger.

I think a lot of my knowledge about  typical teenage things like crushes, skin care and make up was pieced together from copies of Just 17, episodes of Heartbreak High and chats with my sister.  I would have loved to have a book that covered everything I could want or need to know to navigate those tricky years.

So when I was asked if I would like to review a copy of a book just like that I jumped at the chance, thinking if it was good I would be able to pass it on to my sister for her daughter.  Honestly though, now I’ve read it I’m almost tempted to keep it, it’s full of such good advice!

The book is called ‘The Teenage Girls Survival Bible‘ and is written by make-up artist Jane Bradley.

The teenage girls survival bible book review

 

The book covers pretty much every topic you can think of that might be helpful to teenage girls.

The first chapter is called ‘It’s all about survival’ and covers things from staying safe when you go out to advice on coping with panic attacks.  There is also a good amount of information in this chapter about alcohol, smoking and drugs.

It’s very real, and lists out all the dangers and harmful side effects, which will hopefully help girls to really think about whether it’s really worth experimenting with these things.

The other chapters in the book tackle a whole variety of things, all broken down into themes.

To give you an idea, here are some of the chapter titles and some of the things that are talked about in them:

It’s all about your body

  • Acne
  • Unwanted hair
  • Self-tanning
  • Hormones, periods and pregnancy

 

It’s all about love

  • Relationships
  • Heartbreak
  • Kissing and sex

 

It’s all about you

  • Self-esteem
  • Body image
  • Self-respect
  • Manners

The book also covers really helpful, practical things like washing and caring for your clothes, and a few basic recipes for cooking at home.

Sample pages from teenage girls survival bible

 

I really love the way this book is written.

It’s not patronising at all, and instead comes across as if it was written by your older sister who just wants to give you honest, real advice on life.

The text is broken up nicely so the information is there is bite-size chunks which makes it much easier to read and to find the information that you really want.  There are fun, vibrant illustrations throughout that have an almost 90s vibe which I love.  It actually reminds me of my old copies of Just 17 in a way!

There are quite a few quotes scattered through the book too, that help to break up the text even more and that I know I would’ve loved to read as a teenager, like:

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be kind.  Always”

 

This book is just what I would have wanted as a teenager, it’s fun, informative, and covers all sorts of things that I might have been embarrassed to ask my mum about.  If you have a teen or even a pre-teen in  your life then this book would make a really great gift, it’s the type of book that will be referred back to again and again.


You can get a copy of The Teenage Girls Survival Bible from Amazon.


Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.

It’s a common scene up and down the country. Those poor parents facing the morning chaos as they try and get their kids out of bed, into their school uniforms, and out of the doors before the morning whistle blows at school. Oh, and let’s not forget trying to squeeze in breakfast as well. Tough? Those people who aren’t parents don’t know the half of it.

So, if you’re looking to avoid morning chaos in your household, here are some tips I think you will find useful.

How to beat the morning chaos

Get your kids to bed on time.

It’s common sense, but the more time your children have to sleep, the easier it will be to get them out of bed in the morning. This means ensuring they cut down on screen time before they hit the pillow, refusing to let them stay up a little bit later for whatever reason, and offering a little bit of incentive, such as reading them a story when they are finally tucked up in bed.

 

Organise the children’s things before you go to sleep.

The more you can do the night before, the less you will have to do the following day. So, ensure you have the school uniforms out and ready, set the table for breakfast, and ensure the kids have what they need in their school bags well ahead of time. The more prepared you are, the less chaos there will be, especially when your child is complaining that they can’t find their shoe, or can’t find the book they need for their school day.

 

Get your beauty sleep.

If your children are in the habit of ‘sleeping’ through their alarm clocks, you need to be ready to wake up to yours. Go to bed at a decent time, set your clock for an hour before your children have to get up, and you will give yourself a fighting chance when the new day begins.

 

Get up early.

Getting up before your kids will give you time to manage your tiredness. You will have time to eat your breakfast, without worrying about your children’s demands. You will have time to take part in a little exercise, ensuring you have a buildup of energy to cope with your children. And you have the time for a coffee, to give you that final spurt of energy you need for when you have to get the kids out of bed. Learn about coffee subscriptions here to ensure you never run out of your caffeine supply when you need it the most!

 

Teach your children the skills they need. 

By giving your children responsibility for looking after themselves, the less there is for you to do, and the greater chance of them being ready on time. While you might still want to do a few things to hurry them along, such as making their breakfast, you can still teach them how to dress themselves, such as tying their shoelaces and putting their coats on, and then give them lessons on how to hurry themselves along with their routines, such as when they are busying themselves in the bathroom.

 

And by doing all of these things, the less chaotic your morning will be, and the less risk of your child being placed on the ‘naughty list’ for being late at school again. Well, that’s the theory anyway, but I hope this advice has helped. Let me know your thoughts, and tell me how you survive the morning chaos in your household.

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post