from breakfast to bedtime
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DESCRIPTIONHelping you and your toddler through the day.
FROM BREAKFAST TO BEDTIME
Helping you and your toddlerthrough the day!
This leaflet was sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government
Original text by Sophie Linington, Anne Page and Gill Keep,with thanks for assistance from: Tesco; ChristineBidmead, Community Practitioners and Health VisitorsAssociation (CPHVA); Dr Stephen Scott, Reader in ChildHealth and Behaviour & Consultant Child and AdolescentPsychiatrist; Anne Saville, National Council for One ParentFamilies (NCOPF); Eileen Hayes, Parenting AdvisorNSPCC; Parentline Plus Funded by DoH Sept 2003.
Children in Wales is the Nationalumbrella children’s organisation inWales, bringing organisations andindividuals together to:
Make the United Nations Conventionon the Rights of the Child a reality in Wales
Fight for sustainable quality servicesand fair shares for all children andyoung people
Ensure special attention andtreatment for children in need
Give children and young people a voice
Children in Wales works in partnershipwith the National Children’s Bureau inEngland and Children in Scotland, andworks internationally with Eurochildand The International Forum for ChildWelfare.
Children in Wales has worked inpartnership with the National Familyand Parenting Institute.
The National Family and ParentingInstitute is an independent charity setup to enhance the value and qualityof family life.
Being a parent to a young child who isfull of energy can be a roller coasterride of amazing moments and tearingyour hair out! All parents know thegood times with their children; it maybe just that today’s busy lifestylesmake them harder to see.
Understanding your child’s needs andhow to meet them will help you havemore of the ups and less of the downs.
This booklet focuses on positiveparenting, encouraging children to feelgood about themselves and promotinggood behaviour through establishingroutines and setting boundaries.
Difficult times are more likely tohappen when children are bored orfrustrated. How you respond to themand how you are feeling cansometimes turn a simple task into abattle of wills. Obviously, these can’talways be avoided but a few, simpleideas may help you and your childrento have more of the good times!
Parents of disabled children may faceadditional challenges and pressures,which cannot be addressed within thisbooklet. However, there are details oforganisations that may be able to helpin the Contacts section.
Growing Up 3
Self Confidence 5
Meltdown Moments 6
Early Evening to Bedtime 8
Looking After Yourself 9
More Help & Contacts 10
If children really get into an activity,they are less likely to be posting theremote control in the bin or wrestlingwith a brother or sister!
If you’ve got a lot to do in a shortspace of time, set up an activity thatwill give you that all important extrahalf an hour:
Painting, drawing and colouringEven very young children enjoycreating works of art and themessier the better! Put downnewspaper and cover up clothes toprotect them and cut down ontidying up.
WaterA washing up bowl of water and acouple of cups can keep a toddlerbusy for ages. Water activities needadult supervision.
ImaginationGet out some teddies and dolls andcreate a tea party or set up a zoomade up of all sizes and shapes oftoys – let their imagination run wild.
Join inOnce you’ve got everything out ofthe way, take five minutes to getinto what your child is doing – showthem that what they’re doing isimportant.
Keep it simpleIf this all sounds too complicatedand time consuming, try to keep abox of toys, crayons and play doughhandy and make the most of bathtime for playing with a couple ofcups and a sponge.
Children’s needs and levels ofunderstanding change as they growand what might be expected of a fouryear old can’t be expected of a twoyear old:
ExploringYoung children find out about theirworld by touching, shaking, tasting, pouring, squeezing… the list is endless!
This isn’t naughtiness, but a way oflearning about their world. Makeyour home ‘toddler proof’ by tryingto store valuables and breakablesaway from your child so they canexplore safely.
The mess of life with a toddler canbe exhausting, but think of all thelearning they’re doing!
IndependencePart of growing up for your toddlerwill be testing boundaries andbecoming an individual. You canhelp them by letting them do asmuch for themselves as possible –store toys at child height, let themchoose their clothes, and give finger food.
EncouragementYour child will learn what’s OK to dofrom you so give lots of praise andattention to good behaviour – try“you’re using your spoon reallywell” instead of “stop making sucha mess.”
If you only pay attention to your childwhen they misbehave, they’ll learnto misbehave to get your attention.
Talking and listening to your child helpsthem to understand what’s going on:
LanguageTell your child what you want themto do, not what you don’t want themto do – instead of “don’t make such amess”, try “tidy up your toys please.”
RespectChildren learn from what you do andsay. If you want your children to bepolite and respectful, think aboutwhat you say and how you say it –raising your voice will have themshouting back, and put downs aren’tgood for anyone’s self confidence.
ExplainingIf you have to say‘no’ give your childa good reason andoffer an alternative- “Rosie is playingwith the doll now,let’s find youanother toy.”
ListeningYour child is trying out her newlanguage and needs to be heard.Have a conversation with her – even if it feels a bit one sided attimes she’ll get a lot out of it andlearn about talking to others.
Try getting down to her level – she’llfind it easier to talk (and listen) toyou if you’re not towering over her.
FeelingsHelp your child’s frustrations bytrying to put how they’re feeling intowords - “you’re really angry that youhave to go in your buggy now, butyou’ll be able to get out when we’reat the park.”
Building your child’s self confidence willhelp them to try out new things, makefriends and manage the upsets andproblems they meet as they grow up:
Finding out: Give your child thechance to face new experiencesand challenges with your support.
Love: Tell your child that you lovethem and show them by smiling,cuddling and kissing.
Independence: Don’t try and solveevery problem for your child –sorting it out for themselves can bea boost to their confidence.
Praise: As a general rule, try andgive five times more praise thancriticism.
Yourself: If you feel your confidencecould do with a boost, try listing allthe things you like about yourself.
Most parents walk the line betweenbeing ‘too harsh’ and ‘too soft’ everyday.Thinking about how you are as aparent and how you react in differentsituations can help you have an evenbetter relationship with your child.
All children are different – what workswith one child does not always suit abrother or sister in the same family.Children have different temperaments.Some are easy-going and will soonjoin in activities; some are slow towarm up and need gentle persuasion,while others find things more dauntingand may not join in at all.
Even with good intentions there arestill times that are difficult for everyfamily – usually when there’s too muchto do in a short space of time or whenwhat you need to do clashes withwhat your child wants to do.
The Morning Rush
“I try to get clothes out and make uptheir packed lunches the night before– it gives me a bit of extra time in themorning.”
“Getting them to do a bit forthemselves always helps, even if it’sjust getting a bowl and spoon. Theyfeel like they’re helping and it’s oneless thing for me to do.”
Come on,come on,HURRY UP!
Other things to try:
If you have to be at work at acertain time see if you can negotiatemore flexible hours – for instancegoing in later, leaving later. If that’snot possible, try getting up a littleearlier to avoid the rush.
Be the first to get up and have fiveminutes on your own for a quickcoffee.
Ask older children to pack their ownbag and say thanks when they do.
Establish a morning routine andmake sure everyone knows what itis and what they should do.
I need to get
you washed and dressed, get your
breakfast, make the packed lunches,
get ready for work, leave a note
for the milkman, put the cat out,
defrost tonight’s dinner…
I’ll eat t
maybe read a
book and watc
Butit’s mine, get
your own, I don’twant you to have it,I haven’t finished
I want it!
At the Supermarket Checkout
“I try and find something else tointerest her before we get to thecheckout – sometimes I even sing justto keep her from asking for sweets!”
“When he’s sitting in the trolley I passhim things to put on the counter andhe really likes that.”
Other things to try:
Give your child something to lookforward to once the boring shoppingis out of the way – a trip to thepark, a video when you get home.
If your child does have a tantrum,trying to find a solution or reasoningwith her may not help – she couldbe too upset to listen. Try and ridethe storm, keeping your child fromhurting themselves and waiting untilthey are calmer before trying to doanything else.
“I put his favourite toy away whenother kids come round – it saves themfighting over it.“
“If she’s really got herself upset, I tryand take her somewhere else so shecan calm down – she still has to knowshe can’t fight, but it’s better doingthat somewhere quiet.”
Other things to try:
Let children sort out their ownsquabbles as long as no-one isgetting hurt, but do separate them ifthey hurt each other and explainfirmly that you won’t allow anyoneto hurt another child.
Let your child know that youunderstand why she is angry, butthat hurting is not allowed.
Helping your child to talk about theirfeelings when or after they areupset may help to reduce thechances of the same problemhappening again.
“When I get in from work, I try andhave five minutes just for them – once I’ve heard about their day, it’seasier for them to let me get on andcook the tea.”
“We’ve just started giving him a fiveminute warning so he knows that he’s got a bit more time to play thenit’s bedtime.”
Other things to try:
Try to explain that you have to cooktea, sort out packed lunches etc, andinvolve them in things like setting thetable or basic cooking – they’llprobably want to stay close to you ifyou’ve been apart during the day.
Get into a routine of bath, book andbed that your child feels happy with.
Listen to your child’s fears about thedark or going to bed and help them tofind ways to deal with the fear, e.g.,making up a story, chasing themonster out of the bedroom.
If possible, share the routine with apartner or other family member.
Try and give each of your childrensome special time just with you –read a story or catch up on theirnews.
Early Evening to Bedtime
As much as you love your children,they can also drive you to distraction,dawdling when you’re trying to getthem off to school, or asking for toysin the supermarket.
All parents will struggle at some time;it’s normal not to cope and to needhelp so don’t be shy to ask for help.
If you make sure you get a break torelax, or to go out and enjoy yourself,then you will be in better shape tocope with being a parent too. Gettogether with other parents - childrenoften feel happier if they have a friendfor company.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by tryingto change too much at once – takeone tip and use it until you’veworked it out and then try another.
Nobody gets it right all the time.
Flexibility is fine – life can bechaotic and having a flexibleapproach will help your childrenlearn to do the same.
Looking After Yourself
If you feel overwhelmed by havingto cope with everything all at once,take a deep breath and count to ten.If it still feels unbearable, make sureyour child is safe and take fiveminutes to yourself in another room.
The most important thing is thatyour child is loved and happy amidstthe chaos of day-to-day life!
There is a lot of information and advice available for parents, but finding it can be tricky.Look in books, leaflets, videos and the internet. Ask your health visitor or doctor. Askother parents and friends what they have found useful. There are a few suggestions below.
Fathers Direct national independentinformation service www.fathersdirect.com
Gingerbread bringing lone parents togetherfor mutual support 0800 018 4318www.gingerbread.org.uk
Disabled Parents Network helpline0870 241 0450www.disabledparentsnetwork.org.uk
Contact a Family helping families who carefor children with any disability029 2049 8001 www.cafamily.org.uk
SNAP Cymru is an advice centre for familiesof children with special educational needs029 2038 8776 www.snapcymru.org
YoungMinds the national charity committedto improving the mental health of allchildren and young people0800 018 2138 www.youngminds.org.uk
RoSPA Provides information and advice onmaking your home safe and child friendly -029 2025 0600 www.rospa.org.uk
Relate offers advice, relationshipcounselling, mediation and support, bytelephone or face to face 0845 130 4010 www.relate.org.uk
Learning Wales A website which givesparents information on all aspects ofeducation in Waleswww.learning.wales.gov.uk/parents
Working Families is a UK wide charity whichaims to help children, working parents andtheir employers to find a better balancebetween home and work 0800 013 0313www.workingfamilies.org.uk
More help…Books to read with your children:
Naughty Nigel by Tony RossNot now, Bernard by David McKeeCan’t you sleep, Little Bear?by Martin Waddell. But I Waaannt It! by Dr Laura Schlessinger
The Behaviour Directory
An NFPI publication reviewing books, leaflets, videos and websites, from arange of organisations, on behaviourand discipline, including a section onmanaging difficult behaviour.
Available direct from NFPI on: 020 7424 3460
Barnardo’s Cymru run several parentingprojects 029 2049 3387www.barnardos.org.uk/wales
NCH Cymru support children, young peopleand their families 029 2022 2127www.nch.org.uk
NSPCC operate a bilingual helpline forchildren and parents 0808 800 5000(calls are free) www.nspcc.org.uk
Children in Wales manages and supportsthe Fforwm Magu Plant which aims tosupport voluntary and statutory agenciesto develop and improve support to parentsin Wales 029 2034 2434www.childreninwales.org.uk
Parentline Plus freephone helpline 24 hours aday 0808 800 2222www.parentlineplus.org.uk