Saturday, 17 February 2018

Guest Post - The Modern Day Dad

Today we have a guest post from Han-Son at DaddiLife

The modern day dad - are we really ready?                      

I tried something different on Saturday. A dad’s club run by a local nursery. It was brilliant - not just for the kids - I mean who wouldn’t love Den Making, Sand Pits, Story Time, and all wrapped up with a lovely hot chocolate!?

But it was also great to simply socialise with a few other dads in the local area. As a dad who works full time, it can be tricky to get out and meet other dads, especially in a new town - so these moments are actually pretty good all-round.

I’ve spoken to a fair few other people about the experience since, and I’d estimate around 70% have seen it as a joke in some way - “what, really?” “Why do they waste their money on that,” and my personal favourite - “I don’t get that at all.”

I tried to explain that it’s there to encourage more bonding time with our children, and also meet new dads (and it was also free!).

But the whole thing also got me thinking about where things are at with the modern day dad.

Dads want to be more active

It’s a subject with a huge range of different factors, and with over 250,000 stay at home dads now, it’s clear that a shift is starting to happen rapidly across the UK.

But even though study after study shows how fathers want to be more actively involved dads across almost every area of their parenting life – there’s still a strong sense that the wider attitude in business and society is anything but.

Mums are not the only target

Everywhere we look, the world is parenting is still a vastly mum dominated world. And, hey, that’s not really a complaint as we have to realise that mums have been, over the last few decades, the de-facto primary caregiver.

But as more mums are breaking barriers of their own (and quite rightly), dads need to be doing the same. And some dads are starting to make their voices heard – where something as previously unquestioned like a ‘Mother and Baby’ aisle are now shifting to convey a more balanced sense of parenting.

Why did it take so long?

There are however, still a huge range of areas that need more dad’s focus. Everything from changing rooms, baby screenings at the cinema, and products from health through to even everyday items like the kids water bottles– it’s time we got our heads out of thinking as mum as the only caregiver, and start to reflect the facts of modern dad life.

It’s not just a UK issue ofcourse, but when you consider that New York is now ahead of most UK cities when it comes to nappy changing rooms being more accessible for dads, you realise quite how far we have to go yet.

Can dads find their voice in 2018?

As we embrace 2018, I hope that more dads can make their voices heard and get the organisation’s thinking about the parenting balance that our modern day attitudes really reflect.

Only through that will we start to evolve the way we as a larger society talk, see and hear about parenting, and who knows, perhaps we’ll even start to take the humble dad’s club even more seriously.

Author Bio

Han-Son runs DaddiLife – a parenting website for dads with a range of tips and advice across health, things to do, and reviews  - exclusively focused on the modern day dad.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Siblings February 2018

Welcome to the February post for The Siblings Project. 

This month my boys have been busy going back to school for James and starting playgroup for Freddie. When they are not in school or playgroup then Freddie is James little shadow. In the mornings as soon as Freddie sees James he goes absolutely nuts and so hyper! However once we get home from school, he still does get a little bit upset some days as he really does miss having him around to play with.

The photos this month were taken one day after school and playgroup. The boys were sat on the sofa watching Cbeebies after their snack, although James was actually still eating part of his! They were both utterly exhausted as getting back into the swing of school and starting playgroup has taken it out of them!

James is not the biggest fan of having his photograph taken at the moment, but Freddie well he is such a poser and if he sees the phone he shouts cheese before you even have the camera app open!

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Guest Post - Toddler Tantrums by BattleMum

Toddler tantrums are part of the parenting course and for me Freddie is definetly in the "Terrible Twos!" 

Today we have this fantastic post all about dealing with them from the lovely BattleMum

5 top tips for dealing with toddler tantrums.

Unfortunately, tantrums are part and parcel of having children. You show me one child that hasn’t had a few in their little lives. Even the best-behaved children have them from time to time and we, as parents, have to accept this fact.

I have had to deal with many, from low-range tantrums because our son wanted to close the dishwasher to a full on screaming meltdown because I dared to put his post-nursery snack on the wrong plate. How was I supposed to know he wanted his Mickey Mouse plate instead of Thomas the Tank Engine?

I have a few tips for dealing with toddler tantrums. Some may work, some may not, but these are the ones I employ when our son goes off on one.

1.   Distract them. There are certain situations at home when I know a tantrum could manifest itself and during these times I do my best to distract our son, so it doesn’t happen. For instance, if I switch off the TV before bedtime I always have something else to do in reserve, so he will hopefully not notice it going off such as getting his George teddy bear and his dummy ready, when he had one. Distraction can also work during minor tantrums. Our son often helps me unload the washing machine but once the clothes are hung he’ll often want to put them back in. If I say no, he might kick off, so I ask him to help me with something else. If Mr. Independent thinks there is something else he can ‘help with’ the tantrum usually dissipates.

2.  Talk to them. This can either be used to distract them or to try find out what it is they want or what is upsetting them. Sometimes our son gets a thought in his head and if he can’t do it/find it he kicks off. He also sometimes gets frustrated that he cannot relay what it is he wants, and this can sometimes set him off. I find if I get down to his level, hold his hands, make eye contact and speak to him calmly, he’ll try his best to tell me what it is he wants. It often turns out to be a toy he put down in the morning that he suddenly remembers and wants again. Also, gently talking to them during a tantrum such as “I know you are tired, I’m sorry we were out so long” can help calm them down if you remain calm and talk to them in a gentle voice. We don’t give toddlers enough credit for understanding more than they can say.

3.   Avoid situations where they can arise. This may not always be possible and continuing from my first point there are things I avoid to prevent tantrums. I don’t eat or drink anything in front of our son that I don’t want him having, such as chocolate. This might sound mean, but sugar has a big effect on him. I don’t force him to eat when he doesn’t want to, and I let him decide if he’s had enough at meal times. I try to let him choose his own bedtime stories to avoid tantrums then. I also try to make the minimal fuss before bedtime, sticking to our routine as much as possible. Little things like this have helped me avoid some tantrums, some but not all.

4.   Let them have the tantrum. Sometimes you just have to let them get on with it. We must remember that toddlers don’t yet understand their emotions, let alone know how best to deal with them and sometimes you just have to let them get it out of their system. We all know the benefits of having a good cry and the same can be said of toddlers. If we get to this stage I do one of three things. A.  Walk away from our son. B. Stay silent but in the same room. C. Sit silently near him if he’ll let me. Once he’s calmed down he’ll usually come in for a cuddle, and it never lasts more than a few minutes.

5.   Mimic them. This is either used as a last resort in our house or if the tantrum is a mini one. Copying him sometimes shocks him into silence with the confusion of what mum is doing. But be warned, this can have the opposite effect so use it wisely and sparingly. When it works in a positive effect we usually end up laughing together and the tantrum is gone and forgotten about.

These are by no means the only ways of dealing with toddler tantrums but are the ones I’ve used to try to avoid or stop them in their tracks. I’ve used them since our son was one and a few are still valid even today, aged 4. These have worked best for us between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old. I’ve found as he gets older, talking to him and getting down to his level have been most effective, as has distracting him. And although the tantrums continue today, they are much fewer and far between than in previous years as we can communicate with one another better. I doubt they’ll ever fully stop as the pre-teen and teenage years are yet to come.

Thank you for this brilliant post! I will definitely be trying some of these out on Freddie! Most of his tantrums are normally about James going to school!!

You can find BattleMum on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest

Monday, 12 February 2018

Living Arrows 2018 7/53

Welcome to week 7 of Living Arrows 2018! 
This weeks photos of James and Freddie were taken by Nana and Gaga when they were looking after the boys last week! Mummy and Daddy had had to go away for a few days for a family funeral so the boys went to stay with Nana and Gaga. The poor boys both ended up ill with viral infections so missed school and playgroup. Freddie even managed to carpet burn his nose while getting distracted looking at photos on Nana and Gaga's wall!



This week its half term so we are visiting Daddy's family for a few days and so far we are having a brilliant time! The boys have met Nanny and Pappy's cats Zippy and Cecil who they both adore!!

Living Arrows

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Mobile Phones in Primary School Yes or No?

James is now in his second year of primary school and he is ver aware of the technology in the world around him. A topic that keeps creeping up is mobile phones. Now both me and his daddy have them and also both sets of his grandparents. Now James keeps saying he wants one because his friends do. I have no idea if or how many of his friends do have them but we don't feel James can have one till he is much older!

Having been in his school on a morning I have seen first hand the older kids from year five and year six who are ten/eleven years old coming to the office and handing over their mobiles to be locked away. This got me thinking about phones in schools, especially primary schools. 

As our school does not let kids walk home themselves unless they are year five or six then a phone is a good idea especially in an emergency for example if they are meant to be staying for an  after school club and it gets cancelled then the child can ring a parent and tell them they will be home earlier etc.

I asked around to some other parent bloggers to see what they thought and this is what they said:

Helen from says Our school let them have them but not use them in class it’s only for Year 5 and 6 IF they walk to and from school. That’s fine with me - they are there for emergencies or if we need to contact them. Other than that not sure why they’d need them I guess? 

Pete from says I think they should be locked away. Kids have no need for them in school, and I think they can only cause a distraction. 

Star from Https:// says  I think in primary school they should be allowed them for getting to or from school but not while they are there. It is a good idea to put them all away somewhere safe like the office, to stop them getting stolen or broken.

Cherry from says Former primary head here and we allowed kids in years 5 and 6 who were walking home alone and had permission (written) from parents to have a phone in school. It had to be turned off and handed in at the office every morning and they signed a contract (with parents) to say they wouldn't take photos of others in school and post them on social media (as many of them had social media accounts sadly) - in all honesty we had about 2 children bring phones- most parents made the sensible decision that if they lived close to school it wasn't needed! 

Julie from says I'm a primary school teacher - I don't think there's any need for children to have their mobile phone in class. I think it's reasonable for them to bring them to school if they walk home alone but agree that they should be locked away during the day - this helps protect the phone's owner from potential theft and the other children should the owner feel the need to misuse the phone, for example by posting photographs on social media. It also prevents the phones becoming a distraction during lessons. 

Adam from says  We have a few bring theirs in, but like others, it's a case of locking them in the office all day and then they take them home. They're not bothered, and it's fine. 

Emma from Https:// says Our school have a no phones on-site applicable to parents and presumably kids as a safeguarding thing in case of photos. (Although doesn't apply at school performances when you can take photos for personal records only). The school is small, the village is small, so even kids who walk alone (very few of any) would make use of one). I think the rule is fine and avoids them getting lost, stolen or putting pressure on the owner. 

Rachel from says I’m not aware that any of the kids in my son’s primary school have mobile phones. My son won’t get one until he’s eleven, which I think is pretty standard where we live. Perhaps it’s different because we live in a rural area, no children walk to school alone. 

Carol from says I see no need for primary school children to have mobiles at school. The only time they'd need them, surely, is if they're older children and they walk to and from school alone.

And our view is: At the moment James is only five and in Year One. As previously mentioned our school does not let kids walk home alone unless they are in Year five or six, James will definitely not be getting his own mobile phone till he is in at least year six. As I will be still going up to the school to collect Freddie, James will probably walk home with us. Once he is in year six, especially towards the end of year six when they do their transition to secondary school we will see about getting him a phone then as the secondary school he will most likely go to finishes before the primary school so he will most likely get home before me and Freddie. 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Spring Term First Half Term Over!

How fast is this term going!! It only feels like five minutes since we went back after Christmas and now James is on holiday again!

He went back on 8th January so this half term has literally only been five weeks long and he's already had two school trips! 

The first trip was on the second day back after the Christmas holidays and they went to Thornley Woods! James couldn't stop talking about all the carvings on the trees!

The second trip was to Washington Wetlands Centre and again he had a brilliant time!! James thrives on being outdoors! We sent James into school with his school trousers and socks and shoes in a bag but they didn't actually get back to school till just after three o'clock ready for us parents to collect them at quarter past three! He never stopped talking about the trip the whole way home and for the rest of the night!!

Each class does an online blog and James loves sitting down with mummy and looking at all the photographs of the things he has done with his friends!

We are still doing his school reading every night after school and we have only missed a couple of nights when James has been totally exhausted!! Now that Freddie has stopped having a nap, he is in bed much earlier which means mummy gets some quality time with James to do his reading!

His school gives each year group an essential question at the start of term that they have to answer in their project outcome at the end of term! This term the question that Year One has is "What Makes The Earth Special". Last term it was "Fire: Friend or Foe".

When he got his first homework after the Christmas holidays it was a piece of writing and he was struggling quite a bit to start with, but once we put a pencil grip onto his pencil he seemed to do a little bit better. 

This last week of half term has been quite a hard one for James as mummy and daddy have been away for a few days for the funeral of the boys great nanny who we lost at Christmas. So Nana and Gaga have been on school duty with James.

James really seems to have come on in leaps and bounds since he went into year one! Roll on the next half term to see how he goes and of course the outcome of "What Makes The Earth Special"

Thursday, 8 February 2018

First Half Term of Playgroup

So Freddie has completed his first half term at Playgroup and its actually gone ok. He is pretty lucky that a little girl he has known since he was tiny from Sure Start comes in the afternoons after she finishes in the school nursery!

On his first couple of days he got quite upset, although on his first day he ran in and then cried after I had left. They actually called me to come and collect him early but by the time I got there he had settled right down and was having a ball in the water tray! On his second day he burst into tears as I went to leave. Both days though he soon cheered up and enjoyed himself! Although on his first day he found the water tray and absolutely soaked himself from head to toe, But thats Freddie for you! He absolutely loves playing in water!!

His second week he was only in one day as we had a prior engagement with Messy Little Thing. He was very excited on the way up as it was snowing a little bit! He also kept stopping to look at trees, cars and basically anything that was a vehicle as they are a massive distraction to him! When we got to playgroup, the outside door was open so we went in and put his lunch box on the cart and went to hang up his bag. He had a few tears when he went in, but the staff are brilliant and knew to distract him straight away with water and sand!! By the time I got to the outside door and into the yard he was no longer crying! When I went to pick him up he was crying a little bit, but they said he had only started crying when they put his coat on him to come home. 

His third week started with tears when we got there! All morning before it was time to go, Freddie had been going to our front door shouting I go now! Once he had his coat on he was pulling me towards the door! He was full of chatter all the way up, but once we walked through the game he literally tried to turn around and walk away! Mummy had to pick him up and carry him into the cloak room. We put his lunch on the cart and went to hang up his coat. Luckily one of the staff members came out of the classroom and greeted him and picked him up saying come on Freddie lets go and watch some Peppa while we wait for everyone else to join us! They know that Freddie LOVES Peppa so its a good distraction! When I collected him, he was standing in one of the windows looking for me and they said he had a few tears when he went to put his coat on, but that is normal for Freddie, hes definitely not a fan of putting his coat on!

His second weekly session had a much easier start. He still had a few tears but he actually got into the building and coat off before he cried! But he had stopped crying before I had even left the room! At pick up he was absolutely brilliant! He was chatting away and no tears at all! This was the first time I had collected him and he had not been in tears! The next day we were in Sure Start and he saw some of the staff in the yard with the children and he got so excited to see them and was shouting hiya!

His fourth week well this week started with tears before we even got half way up the road towards the gate! Mummy had to pick him up and carry him into the cloakroom to hang up his bag and coat! By the time mummy was out the door and into the yard I couldn't hear him crying at all! When mummy collected him he came bouncing out with one of his little friends that he has known since he was tiny all chat!! 

His second weekly session started the same as the first! Lots of tears before we even got to the gate! We were a little bit early that day, so had to wait about five minutes before he was able to to in and in that time he stopped crying all together and was full of chat, however once the door opened for him to go in he started crying again so one of the staff had to pick him up and carry him in! At pick up though he was so happy and full of chat!

And his fifth week, well poor Freddie actually didn't go to playgroup this week as the poor boy ended up with a nasty viral infection while he was staying at his nana and gaga's house. He was up screaming the house down with pain in his ears.

Over all I think starting playgroup has been a huge success for Freddie and he definitely needed it to get used to being away from mummy and daddy ready for starting his free hours this time next year once he has turned three!