This guest post is from Becky Goddard-Hill, co-author of Create Your Own Happy– a happiness boosting activity book for 7-12 year olds and their families. All the activities are based on scientific findings that explain why doing them will create happiness.
Going on holiday with a little one in tow can be incredibly stressful. Whether you are heading to somewhere hot and exotic, sunny Europe or the beaches of the UK, the key is to pack light and take the essentials whilst travelling and juggling a young child – even though we all want to take everything but the kitchen sink.
While it’s true that unconditional love is the most significant thing a mother could give to her family, time is also a valuable gift that she could extend to her children. Since being a mother is the toughest job in the whole world, you have to learn how to manage your time for work and special time for the kids.
I’m going to say it, and you’re probably not going to like me for it, but it’s only 98 sleeps until Christmas. Yes, yes, I know many of you are only just recovered from the long summer break, which at times has most likely left you pulling your hair out, but as we welcome a new season, it suddenly dawned on me how close Christmas Day actually is!
The summer holidays are getting closer, and while that means not long to go until that much needed getaway, it may also mean not long to go until you have to master keeping your toddler entertained on that upcoming flight/train ride/coach trip/car journey! Before you start getting pre-holiday jitters, take a look at these simple tips to keep your little one occupied during travel:
Make travelling fun
First things first; if your toddler finds travelling dull they are probably going to be a pain, so keep things fun! You can be as active in this provision of fun as you want – though the stresses of travelling may put you in an ‘off’ mood yourself – decide between engaging verbal games and role-playing, or equipping them with plenty of toys to. Make sure your toddler has their old favourites (like their teddy or comforter) to hand, but consider treating them to something new for the journey too. You can wrap it up as holiday present to add to the excitement or make a goody bag with lots of different treats to work through during the journey.
Prepare to be late, everywhere
Ok, so this one is more about keeping you happy… but prepare to be everywhere late and leave plenty of time to overcome this. Keeping your toddler happy largely relies on you being relaxed too, and there’s nothing that will make your blood pressure sky rocket like being pressed for time when you need to get to the boarding gate.
Travelling with children inevitably takes longer than travelling on your own, so assume you’ll need to make loo stops, food stops, what-is-this-over-here stops… Over pack for the scenario that you’ll get stuck in traffic or a delayed flight too. This means making sure you have more than enough nappies, toys and a change of clothes. Keep checking the flights from your mobile using a site such as Amadeus so you can be alerted to any delays as soon as possible.
Hurray for headphones
Music can not only keep your child occupied but may soothe them to sleep – bonus! Headphones will block out background noise on a plane or train and keep your toddler in their own little bubble for a while. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging a little screen time on a flight short-haul flight either, a great way to keep them distracted using an iPad or portable DVD player.
Suck to soothe sinus pressure
A quick fire way to get a toddler riled is on-flight air pressure. You’ve probably experienced the discomfort of sinus pressure yourself, so help them avoid it by offering a drink on take-off and landing. Sucking on a sippy cup, bottle or dummy will help alleviate any ear pain.
Avoid hunger grumbles
Does your little one get frustrated when they’re hungry? Pack plenty of snacks that will keep sugar levels up and make sure you don’t experience the wrath of a hungry toddler! If you go for fiddly snacks like raisins or mini rice cakes, that should keep them occupied for a little longer too.
What are your top tips for keeping your toddler/child happy whilst travelling?
If you’re the parent of a gorgeous newborn baby, the time when they’ll be crawling around on their hands and knees or toddling around on two feet may seem like a long way off.
However before you know it your little ones will be running rings around you and getting into every cupboard, nook and cranny they can find.
The best way to keep both your children and your belongings out of harm’s way is to kid proof your home, providing a safe and secure place for your children to explore.
Though we may not think of sofas and armchairs as being potentially dangerous objects, many pieces of furniture have sharp or hard edges, often at just the right height for a child to potentially hit their head.
To solve this problem, consider investing in some new furnishings from www.nabru.co.uk. Their child-friendly designs are perfect for young families, offering great aesthetics as well as a soft landing.
As electricity is potentially one of the most dangerous features of the home, making sure that your children don’t stick their fingers into sockets is a priority.
Use plastic cases to cover any sockets and try to move all cords out of reach to prevent a child being injured while accidently pulling a lamp or electronic device off of a surface.
Drawers and cupboards
To prevent kids from accessing any cleaning products, breakables or sharp objects that could cause them an injury, use easy to apply latches and specialist child proof catches to prevent drawers and cupboards being opened without your knowledge.
Of all of the rooms in the home, the kitchen holds the most potential dangers for babies and young children.
To minimise the chances of an accident occurring, always try to cook on the rear hobs of your oven and turn pan handles towards the wall; keep knives, cleaning products and plastic bags out of reach and cover any sharp corners with padding or remove the offending pieces of furniture altogether.
Making your home as safe and as child-friendly as possible is an important part of creating the best possible environment for your children to grown up in, while helping them to find out about all of the dangers in the world at their own pace and without having to learn the hard way.
It’s probably fair to say that the majority of craft activities tend to appeal more to girls than boys. While many lads love to join in with baking afternoons and art projects, many activities that you can buy in the shops target the girls instead – candles, jewellery, flower presses – it can be incredibly difficult to find sets that appeal to the boys as well.
Crafts should be just as accessible to boys as girls; they ignite creativity and imagination that can be demonstrated artistically rather than through play and craft sessions are great ways to occupy the time when the weather is drab and toys just won’t cut the mustard. A couple of hours in the afternoon, introducing craft activities to boys, can be a great way to bond with your child while having fun, too. Plus, there are loads of fun activities out there that will appeal to the lads, including these four gems!
Don’t all boys love getting a little mucky and gooey sometimes? You could easily keep a little boy entertained with making this easy-to-do putty recipe, and he’ll love the finished result! All you need is some school glue, some liquid starch and some food colouring. You may have to try different brands of glue and liquid starch, but the ingredients are relatively cheap to find.
You can also make a slimier substance with cornflour!
Custom Boy’s Jeans
Pick up an affordable pair of boy’s jeans from George and enjoy a little fashion design with your youngster. Fabric pens, paints and patches would be a perfect way of updating and personalising a pair of bog standard jeans, while also allowing your lad to be creative. You can find some super patches online that you can help him to iron or sew onto his new jeans.
Glow in the Dark Painting
If they fancy adding something different to their bedroom, this is a great way of doing it. The finished result will look incredible and all you need is some clean, clear jars and some glow in the dark paint. Pick up various colours of paint if you like, such as white, green and yellow, and paint add dots of the various colours to the inside of each jar. Pop the lids on, leave to dry and pop them in their rooms. The sunlight will ‘charge’ the paint and as darkness falls, the jars will glow.
How old your child is depends on how far you can go with this. Hama beads are a great way to keep all ages pleased, giving them the chance to create some awesome shapes and pictures. If you’re trying to think of something for a teenage boy to occupy himself with various beads and an oven or a blow torch can produce hours of fun!
The older boys get, the more difficult it can sometimes be to engage them in crafts. You need to think outside the box and think of fun crafts that they will find suitably ‘boyish’ – use online resources for inspiration and introduce your kids to some fun activities for you all to enjoy.
Another great Potty Training guest post on the blog today written by the lovely Georgy from Random Thoughts from a Random Woman – please make her feel welcome and leave a comment and if you like Georgy’s writing then you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks Georgy for a great post! Hope the potty training continues to go well x
We have been trying to potty train the boy for some time now. I had been asked from about 18 months when we were going to do it but we thought this was far too early to consider it. I’d heard stories of children who were potty trained at that age only to regress back to a multitude of accidents later. I figured that as potty training was one of the things I dreaded most about having children I only wanted to go through it once, so 2 years old was the earliest we were ever going to try.
The boy is now 3 and we haven’t got a great deal further. Every time we made any headway something happened to put us back like an illness or the time he was running around with no nappy & doing really well when he lashed out at his little friend who’d come for tea. The resulting telling off meant he lost all control and promptly weed an afternoons full bladder all over the floor. Poor little mite was then so confused at what the telling off was for he refused to use the potty again for weeks. No doubt for fear of getting it wrong again. I don’t need to tell you how awful I felt and what a bad mother I thought I was, but how do you explain to a toddler I’m telling you off for that, not this, especially one with the three second memory of a goldfish.
The boy is also a “proper boy”, high spirited, hurtles at play at 100 miles per hour but essentially lazy. I love him dearly but if he had his way I’d spoon feed him all his meals and he’d spend all day in his own filth. And therein lies the trouble. When I read about potty training, and believe me I’ve read a lot, all the advice says that the child will start to not like the sensation of being in a dirty nappy. Not the boy. Happy as a pig in the proverbial he is. Doesn’t bother him at all.
We first tried last year in the spring and summer, after his 2nd birthday. He wasn’t keen. You could tell. He just wasn’t ready. We’d read Pirate Pete’s Potty book and he’d say all the words with me. I’d take off his nappy, position the potty in the centre of the room and ask
“When you need a wee wee or a poo poo where do you go?”
“On the potty.” Would come the cute and compliant reply.
He’d then promptly wee all over the laminate and curl one out on the carpet!
So we stopped when the winter came, as we were getting no where, he was getting stressed and I remembered the health visitor said, at his 2 year check, not to even bother trying until he was 3. It was just that all his little NCT contemporaries were done. Not only potty trained but going to the big boy/girl toilet on their own and here was my boy still in Pampers. No one put me under any pressure but I felt it anyway. You can’t help it. As soon as you have children the Mum fairies come in the night and sprinkle guilt dust all over your forehead.
Recently the boy turned 3 but he has had quite a long spell in hospital with an abscess on his neck so we are only now returning to normal and have re-introduced no nappy time in the mornings and before bed. That way he can get the sensation of needing to go without the dulling effect of a massive nappy round his bits.
And this time, By George! I think he’s got it. In fact this weekend we have had a major break through. Four big wee wees on the potty on Easter Sunday alone and hardly any accidents (is it just me or do boys “dribble” a lot?). I’m having to reward with chocolate but hey I figured its Easter he’d be eating chocolate anyway so why not use the vast stocks we have accumulated to our own advantage.
So I’ve got the reward chart, stickers and chocolate buttons out and the nappies off. If the boy can crack it then so can I. I just might need to pinch some of his chocolate supplies myself to keep me going.