Category Archives: Parenting

Ready To Pack Christmas Away?

ChristmasPart of me loves to see the Christmas decorations up after the big day and part of me wants to clear them away and move on.  I’ve always resisted the idea of taking them down before New Year, but this year I might think about getting rid of them earlier.

It feels like it’s time to leave Christmas behind and move on.  The tree and the cards and the decorations take up extra space.  It’s difficult to clean properly with all that stuff in the way.  I’m keen to get it all back up to the loft, where it belongs, and move on.

I think it’s partly because for one reason or another I didn’t feel particularly Christmassy this year and not really in the festive mood.  I felt I was going through the motions a little for the sake of my son who is now 9.  He didn’t seem to get into it as much as usual this year either.  The advent calendars didn’t seem too popular.  He gave up on getting the little penguin books out of the one calendar and I don’t think Joseph, Mary or the baby Jesus made it to the nativity scene either.  I think the magic has gone a little now that he no longer believes in Father Christmas.  That said, I think he was still pretty excited about getting his presents and his stocking gifts seemed to go down very well.

It seems a little sad not to have some magic though and I think next year I’ll try to revive it a little and maybe create some new traditions that are fun.

How was your Christmas?  Do you have any tips for bringing the magic back into the festive season?  What do you do with older children to keep some of the magic alive?

Child Car Seats

Child car seats are a bit of a pain in the neck I think we’d all agree, but a vital safety purchase to keep our precious children safe.  I recently saw on a friend’s Facebook page that a friend of hers had taken their children out of high-backed boosters (to normal ones) at 5 and 6 years of age.  It feels too young.  A child smaller than my son, but in his class, is going without even a booster. My son is just a touch under the legal requirement for a car seat.

J aged 9 (just) is in a high-backed booster.  It is starting to get a bit small for him as I have the height up to the max, but it still provides some protection and it keeps the seatbelt in the right place.  Most high-backed boosters can be used until the top of the seat is below the eye level of the child.  At some point in the next few years he will outgrow it, but for now, even if he goes over the legal height requirement, he uses it.

The lady I saw on Facebook was quite determined that her children weren’t going back into high-backed boosters, despite the uncoming change in the law.  This surprised me as I kind of assume that all parents will want their children to be safe.  I can see that you might have made a decision to take them into boosters in the past, but if things change then wouldn’t you revisit your decision for your child’s safety.  Using the change in the law as justification provides the perfect reason to give your child for the move back to a previous seat.  I think though before I moved seats I’ve had done a lot of research in the first place.  This lady didn’t even seem to be aware that high-backed boosters had side impact protection.

How Old For Facebook?

how old for facebookI was a bit taken the back the other day when I noticed that someone who I am friends with on Facebook was tagging in her son.  Her son is 8 years old.

She’s changed his date of birth to make him 40 something and she is his only Facebook friend.  I dare say she’s in control of his profile.  There are no posts on his page except the ones that she has tagged him into.  But still it doesn’t sit quite right.

Facebook’s own minimum age is 13. In a way 13 is a dangerous sort of age where you are starting to get involved with more complicated relationships.  On the other hand a child should be developing the skills to deal with these, although I think adding in the online aspect is a bit of a minefield.  You can’t wrap them up in cotton wool forever though.

Age eight seems a bit weird.  It’s his account, but it’s not his account.  He’s not running it.  Have they signed him up so he can play games on Facebook without it showing on their profile?  Or maybe just because it’s convenient to tag him into things they’ve done?  Or is it even to help her progress on Candy Crush or something?  I’m not sure and I’m not sure I want to get into a discussion with her about it.  I don’t want to be judgemental, but I am genuinely puzzled about the whole thing.  Any ideas?

Boys and Sticks

boys and sticksWhat is it with boys and sticks?  They love them don’t they?  From toddlerhood onwards every parent will know about the sticks being brought home.  Soon you end up with a pile of sticks in your garden or stacked up by the front door or the back door or both.  More disciplined parents insist that sticks are left behind in the woods/park/field, but that can lead to tears and tantrums.

If you are like me, you’ll let the sticks come home and then get rid of them later.  Every now and again some go into the garden waste bin as a little present for the council.  I take from the back/bottom of the pile so it isn’t too obvious.  The most recent sticks stay to give the illusion that nothing has gone.

Now there is a lot of good fun to be had with sticks: making pictures, den building and shapes with sticks (think treasure hunt with stick arrows and the like).  In many ways, they are the most popular of toys.There is also a lot of hurt.  Every time sticks get played with amongst friends they end up being a weapon, whether intentional of not.  I worry about eyes being poked.  I really wish they wouldn’t do it, but unless you have eyes in the back of your head, you will find that your child is using a stick as a weapon.

What do you do to combat the stick problem?  What rules do you have?  Has your child ever been injured by a stick being used as a toy by another child?  How do you tackle the stick issue? Is it just a boy thing or are girls just as bad?


When To Let Kids Sort It Out Themselves

I think this is one of the trickiest parts of parenting: knowing when to let go and let children sort out problems for themselves.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when you should leave them and when you shouldn’t.  It’s a tightrope to walk and I think we all get it right sometimes and wrong sometimes.

When we go to a weekly class, J has experienced some problems with another boy of the same age.  When this boy does the same thing to a younger child or even to a girl of the same age, a serious view is taken of it and the parent intervenes.  When it’s J though, generally it is left as it’s ‘they’ll sort it out’.  It doesn’t sit entirely right with me.  The truth is they don’t really sort it out.   J gets upset or hurt (slightly) and the situation doesn’t move on at all.  The same thing happens next time too.

I’ve tried suggesting strategies for J to help deal with it and they sometimes work for a week or so, but then we find ourselves back in the same situation.  The problem is that J isn’t the one initiating the problems, so he’s often on the back foot in trying to deal or respond to it.  He has tried changing his behaviour, but the other child doesn’t seem to have made any changes.  I think for the other child it isn’t a problem as he isn’t getting hurt/upset and his parent doesn’t want to take action.  Sometimes you have to intervene.