3 parenting “fails” I feel slightly socially judged and guilty about – but also don’t really care!


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3 parenting "fails" I feel only slightly guilty about!

3 parenting “fails” I feel slightly socially judged and guilty about – but also don’t really care!

OK, so there are some things I do that I feel a bit guilty about. I’m waiting for the cognitive dissonance to kick in. I don’t even know if “others” do judge it, or if it’s just in my mind about what’s “bad”. Wonder where I got these views from? Anyway, here’s some things I do that I wonder about (but don’t really think it’s a “fail” – I just wrote that for attention)

 

  1. Watching television

My child is 18 months old. He was never interested in television in the past but has been able to watch it in the last few months. I can’t remember exactly when this started but when I realised he could be mesmerized by the television and distracted for a few moments it was brilliant (I won’t lie, after giving all my waking time to another, small, person for the previous 12-15 months, this was good). He likes a few programmes such as The Clangers, and In The Night Garden. We don’t watch television that much. Sometimes, it’s at 6am, which is when he likes to wake up, and I’m not awake at all. It’s usually in the evening just after bath and before bed to relax him and so that I can get things ready for bed. It’s sometimes after we’ve been out all day and I need to sit down for a bit and he’ll be occupied.
Interactive television watching is probably better – if I want to feel less guilty I attempt to have a conversation around the programme, asking questions such as what colour is that, or what do you think is going to happen, etc. But also, just sitting together and spending time watching and modelling emotions and expressions can’t be a bad thing, right?

 

  1. Things I do as a parent I feel guilty about - Placating with food

    Have a snack, darling

    Giving food to placate or stave off further tantrums/crying/grumpiness

So we’re on the busy bus, hot, cold, whatever, busy, screaming, child trying to get out of his buggy straps ALL the time (a recent thing), or he’s tired but refuses to go to sleep. Have a biscuit. Peace for a few moments. I stop feeling the annoyance of all the other bus passengers.

 

  1. Eating in McDonald’s?

    Things I do as a parent I feel guilty about - Going to Mcdonalds

    Fun times at McDonald’s

     

This is a new thing. I realised they give you balloons, they have free crayons and paper, good highchairs (on wheels!) and sometimes offer to carry my tray while I push the pram to the table. Plus, I like chips (fries) and milkshakes. Don’t worry… he only has a few chips (*gasp*) and then I give him separate food like fruit, a child friendly sandwich etc. And they don’t seem to mind me bringing him in his own food. We also explored the feel and coldness of ice from my drink last time we were there (picture).

 

So… not really fails, but I don’t feel 100% comfortable with them. But sometimes, they are convenient, and this is probably normal.

Happy Father’s Day 2015!

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Happy Father's Day 2015 - what did you get up to? Baby-brain.co.uk

What did you get up to? We had lunch out

Happy Father’s day all! What did you get up to? We had lunch out – fish and chips, tasty tasty, and a trip to the park. Hope everyone had a nice day!

We are 18 months old! Child development and update at 18 months

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Typical baby/toddler development at 18-24 monthsWe are one and a half years old! Time has gone quickly; it doesn’t seem like that long ago I was planning his little first birthday get together.

 

What have we noticed? Well in the last few weeks he’s:
  • Been using more than one word at a time and
  • Making small sentences.
For example, he might say “off the bus”, or “kiss owl” (kiss his toy owl).
  • He can also repeat short sentences and strings of 2 or 3 words that I say to him, although I don’t know how much he understands as it’s only repetition and not generated by himself in context. But, that said, this seems different because recently he’d only say one word at a time.

 

Typical developments at 18-24 months:

This timeline of typical development from birth to five years old from the NHS outlines skills and milestones at different ages. There’s also this PDF from the Zero to Three website on child development at 18-24 months, what your toddler can do and how to support emerging skills.

 

 

child development at 18-24 months: toddlers start to learn ball skillsAccording to the NHS:
  • Apparently it’s typical at 1.5-2 years old for children to start to put at least 2 words together.
  • At this age toddlers will also learn to kick or throw a ball.
That’s great because we’ve signed up for football classes and have been going for a few months. Initially he wasn’t kicking the ball but was picking it up and putting it in the goal (at least he understood the concept). But more recently he has been able to kick the ball, plus we’ve been out with the ball at the weekends too, which I think has helped because of the added practice of those motor and coordinator skills.
  • From 1.5 to 4 years children start to develop bladder control
We bought a potty but haven’t started any potty training yet. For a month or even two now he’s been able to tell us when he’s done a poo which I assume means that he is more aware of his bodily functions and can communicate that. My plan is to buy a story book about using a potty to start to introduce the concept to him. I don’t know if he can tell us in advance yet that he needs to do a poo. We haven’t discussed that with him but I suppose I could start talking with him about “tell me if you need to do a poo”, or something, and reinforcing or rewarding if he says something.
Zero to Three write that
  • at 18-24 months toddlers are starting to use their imagination, e.g. feeding a toy pretend food, making car noises when playing with cars
I’ve definiately noticed this. The Little Lovely has “fed” his milk to some of his toys before. Not sure we’ve heard car noises though. Extend on these skills by pretend and imaginative play!

 

I will drop this banana. Child development and update at 18 months

I will drop this piece of banana on the floor! For no apparent reason!

I’ve noticed increased “obstinate” behaviour!! 

OK, not a fair way of putting it, but what I mean is that when I ask LL not to do something, he pauses and does it anyway, like “drop” his food on the floor (he throws it sometimes, but then looks up and says “dropped”), or touch on the television screen. I repeatedly ask him not to do it and issue a consequence like turning the television off (*gasp*, yes, we watch some television) and asking him to pick up the food off the floor and put it in the bin (which he does). But he still repeats the same behaviour.
  • Apparently at this young age he might understand what i’m saying, but not have the self control to do much about it (according to the Zero to Three handout on 18-24 month old development). And this is a skill that can take some time to develop. I guess I’ll have to remain consistent, firm, and give clear instruction and consequence anyway.

 

For other areas of development at 18-24 months (and from prenatal to 36 months old) see this brilliant “baby brain map”, (zero to three) that outlines different areas that are developing in the brain (e.g. social and emotional) at this time.

 

 

 

Monster “feed me” bottle lids slot game, for baby and toddler

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Monster Feeder slot game - fine motor skill development - fun DIY baby/toddler activity, from baby-brain.co.uk

This is a Monster “feed me” slot game, using bottle tops and an old plastic food pot

Another DIY, “junk” toy we made and had fun with!

 

  • Great for imagination

  • Curiosity

  • Developing fine motor skills with baby and toddlers

 

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Take one old plastic container…

What I used:

  • An old plastic container with a lid (old raisin pot)

  • Masking tape

  • Colour pens and stickers for decoration

  • Lids from old milk jugs and other plastic bottles

 

1) Take plastic container

 

2) Cut a slot in the top

 

3) I covered the edges of the slot with masking tape to ensure any sharp edges were covered up. The tape also made it easier to draw a mouth on

 

4) I cut up some old stickers to use as eyes (or use any baby-safe decoration/feature you like)

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Using stickers to add details

 

5) No picture for this but I coloured in some details on the eyes and drew teeth around the slot. I was going to do scary eyes and sharp pointy teeth but then decided maybe that was a bit too scary so toned it down a bit

 

6) Et voilà! He is done – a “monster” lid eater. I decided not to decorate the rest of the pot but I might put some coloured card around the edge, draw some hands on, stick feet on etc in the future

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

 

And here’s some pictures of my Little Lovely playing with the Monster Pot. He was 17 months here but he’s enjoyed slotting and sorting things for several months now and has had the motor skills to do it, so this activity might be suitable for babies and toddlers younger and older than this. We don’t know colours yet (we’re starting to learn) but we could extend the game in the future by asking baby to post certain colour lids.

 

Monster Feeder slot game for  babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

Practising that slotting!

 

 

Monster Feeder slot game for  babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

More fun with the game

 

Experimenting with what else he can do with the pot: what’s inside, what does it taste like and, can I wear it as a hat?

 

Monster Feeder slot game for  babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

Exploring the game further – what’s inside, tasting and hat wearing

 

 

Safety first: This activity was supervised. Please be mindful of sharp edges, choking risks with small parts and materials used to decorate the pot. Please decide based on your own baby and stage of development as to what might be appropriate for them.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

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I understand it’s mother’s day in some parts of the world! It was mother’s day back in March for us, but regardless, hope everyone is having a lovely day and having their maternal achievements and input recognised, if that’s what you wish for.

Happy Mother's Day from baby-brain.co.uk
Have a nice day

Baby talk – helping infants and children with speech

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How to help speech and communication develop with babies and infants. baby-brain.co.uk

Hello?

16.5 months – we are copying a lot more words. Yesterday he learnt to say “cheese”, and “ring”. He can copy quite a few words now and use them appropriately. For example, today he went to the fridge, found the cheese and asked for cheese.

He doesn’t always pronounce everything “right” though. I’ve also noticed him trying to “talk” by saying nonsense words, with the odd real word in there like “bus”, usually relating to something we’ve just been playing with or is in front of him (e.g. toy bus).

 

What should I expect of baby talk?

 

 

Verbal communication and all those other related skills (non-verbal, facial expression, gesture, words, etc) are SKILLS. Babies and infants need to understand communication and words before they can learn to use these skills themselves. How can you teach and build these vital skills with infants? The site above writes:

You can help your child learn by holding them close, making eye contact and talking to them as soon as they’re born.

They will look back at you and very soon begin to understand how conversations work.

Even making ‘baby noises’ will teach your baby useful lessons about listening, the importance of words and taking turns in a conversation.

When baby gets a bit older and starts to notice and take interest in their surroundings:

Start naming and pointing at things that you can both see (‘Look, a cat!’). This will help your baby learn words and, in time, they’ll start to copy you.”

 

Putting words together: 

We haven’t started this yet, but apparently it doesn’t happen until around age 2, when toddler can say around 100 words.

 

Other baby talk tips:

  • From day one – asking questions such as, “are you hungry?” or “would you like some milk?”

  • When you’re out with baby or around the house – pointing out objects and saying things such as “look, there’s a dog!”

  • If baby can partly say a word, e.g. “poon” (spoon), then repeat the word in it’s correct form – “yes, spoon”, rather than copy baby so that they can hear the full pronunciation

  • Give baby choices and questions to increase their vocabulary such as “would you like a strawberry yoghurt or an apple”

 

Concerns about your child’s speech?

This website, Talking Point, has a lot of information about children’s communication, broken down into ages and stages from 0 to 17 years old, such as this page here about development at 12-18 months.

They also have “progress checkers“, such as the one here for 12 month olds, and one for 18 months old (other ages available), that asks a series of questions about what baby can do.

 

  • For the progress checker please note they write that: “This Progress Checker has been written by speech and language therapists, based on typical developmental milestones – It is intended to be used as a guide only. No diagnosis can be made as children are not seen face to face – It is possible that concerns may be highlighted when there are not issues with children’s speech and language. If in doubt, check with a health visitor or speech and language therapist – If your child has just had a birthday, you might want to look at the age-group younger than them. Similarly, if your child is coming up to a birthday, you might want to check the age-group older than them.

 

So enjoy a nice little chat!

Baby Friendly London – The London Aquarium

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Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities and days out reviewed! from Baby-Brain.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sightseeing in London with baby, toddler, kids in tow, or just looking for a fun family day out?

 

The London Aquarium is a reasonably baby-friendly place to visit

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

View of the London Aquarium from across Westminster bridge (river Thames)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The London Aquarium (website)

County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB

  • **Children under 3 years old go FREE*** (according to their website at the time of writing this – but check before you go for updated information)
  • Nearest stations: London Waterloo and Westminster tube (**step free access at Westminster station** – meaning you can use the lifts to get your buggy up from the train to street level, no need to take steps or escalators).
  • Nearby attractions: London SouthbankThe London Eye (next door), The London Dungeon (next door), the river Thames (opposite), Westminster, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey (where WIlls and Kate got married)… and more (you are basically in the centre of a lot of interesting London sights).

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

See the penguins!

What is there to do?

See a range of sea life including the walk-through tunnel with sea life swimming over your head, the large shark tank, stingrays, turtles, jungle themed tanks including a crocodile, and the “Antarctic Ice Adventure” (this includes penguins but I personally wouldn’t call it a giant “adventure” – it’s ice themed and then there is one penguin area, behind glass, which is cool but the space is limited and when we visited there were quite a few people trying to get a look at the penguins).
There is a small area with an assistant where you can look at and touch some non-threatening sea-life. Otherwise, you’re asked not to touch the fish or use flash photography.
There is also a lot about sea life conservation and protecting the seas.

 

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

What to eat?

Food

We visited as part of a group nursery trip so we were able to use a small group dining room that including little chairs and tables for the children. I don’t know if this is freely available. There were a few snack machines as we went around the aquarium.
  • Outside the acquarium there are many food options. Just next door as you exit the gift shop, without having to go outside the building, there is a McDonalds.
  • If you just pop outside there is a fish and chips place inside “county hall” which I think houses other eating options including – for more information on eating options see this page from trip advisor on local cafes and restaurants.
  • There are also food and drink kiosks outside near the London Eye and by the river Thames with some seating, so you could get a drink and snack and look out at the sights.
I personally went round the corner and had a nice hot chocolate from the Starbucks whilst my Little Lovely slept after his day of running around the aquarium shouting FISH all the time (aged 16 months).

 

Baby and Toddler facilities

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Watching fish

There are changing facilities and toilets dotted around the route inside the aquarium. I didn’t see any specific bottle warming equipment or breastfeeding areas but there are areas you can sit, for example by some of the large display tanks, if you wanted to feed there.

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Fish!

Accessibility for prams and those less able to use stairs

There were no steps at the main entrance. If you enter from Waterloo bridge there are steps down to the aquarium, London Eye and general riverside walkway area, but there is a step free entrance if you walk around back and come out facing the London Eye. Walk to the left past the Eye and you will be at the aquarium.
There are lifts to all areas inside the aquarium.  I didn’t have to take any stairs with my pram. Most of it seemed to be on one level but I remember at least 1 lift that replaces one short flight of stairs, and then a lift at the end up to the gift shop.
There were about 3 small steps as I left the building (going past McDonalds), but maybe there is a step free exit point if you ask staff. I bumped the buggy down the 3 or so steps.

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Eye, River Thames. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities and days out reviewed! from Baby-Brain.co.uk

The London Eye is just “next door” to the Aquarium

 

 

better motor skills – updates at 16 months old

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We are nearly 16 months old.

Motor skills and developments at 16 months. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Spoons

What have we noticed? Well in the last few days it seems like his motor skills and abilities have really improved. Maybe they actually levelled up a while ago, but I didn’t notice. I’ve noticed increased spoon related abilities in particular. He was never so great at getting food on the spoon in the past; he could direct the food into his mouth ok if you put some on the spoon for him, but he wasn’t able to scoop much up independently. He more kind of just poked the spoon into the food or rammed it into the bowl in the hope that something would stick to it. This worked ok for something like thick yoghurt, but less so for scooping scrambled eggs or less sticky food. Anyway, more recently he’s developed some good scooping and spoon action.

 

Motor skills and developments at 16 months. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Wooden counter activity

He’s also able to coordinate himself with this game of putting wooden counters onto pegs (increased hand eye coordination), whereas previously he was able to get the counters off the pegs, but was less successful in threading them back on.

Unsure why the “sudden” change. Maybe it’s about that time, but it’s great because it means more independent eating skills for me so I can get on with doing some things around the kitchen while he eats! We are still rather messy with the yoghurt, however.

 

More on child development milestones: Here’s a nice, interactive birth to five years old development timeline from the NHS:

“An interactive guide to child development from birth to five years old, including videos and advice to help parents along the way”.

Includes information and ages you might expect certain skills and developments including walking alone (10-18 months), eating solids, taking an interest in words (12-18 months), learns to hold a crayon, and so on.

 

 

 

CBT and promoting mental health in young people

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CBT and promoting mental health in young people. Links to resources. Baby-brain.co.uk

I came across this website today:

http://www.juvenilementalhealthmatters.com/Welcome.html

 

I’m not affiliated with it or anything. I just thought it looked interesting. They claim their aim is to:

“Conduct high quality scientific research and develop high quality intervention programmes that promote mental health in all young people. We make all of our resources available free of charge” 

 

There are some free CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) workbooks and sheets that you can read about here

→ Access the workbooks here

 

Please use your discretion and common sense when using self help therapeutic resources and things such as this that are available freely online. If you are concerned about any issues you or your child may be experiencing then you might wish to consider a visit and chat with your GP, midwife, healthvisitor or any other relvant health care professional who will be able to advise further.

Painting (not so) fun

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Today we tried some toddler/baby finger painting!

 

When baby tried to paint, baby-brain.co,uk

The paint materials

When baby tried to paint, baby-brain.co,uk

Cover, paper and painting on the floor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When baby tried to paint, baby-brain.co,uk

 

THE END

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