Walking is a great way to explore, exercise and have fun in the fresh air. These tips will help you get the most out of walks with children.
- Let the children help plan the route. This way they will feel more a part of the walk and will get to see landmarks and places that are of interest to them, rather than to just the adults!
- Let the children take a friend if possible, sharing new sights, sounds and experiences with a peer makes them more enjoyable and increases the chances of learning something as children do tend to discuss and question more when there are others around.
- Draw a map of the walk and encourage the children to follow it. Giving them an independent task like this is another way of making walking something special. For younger children maps could have drawings on them, for older children, distances or even clues!
- For longer walks take a drink and a snack and stop off somewhere suitable for a break. This adds another layer of fun to the walk and gives anyone who is tired a chance to rest before setting off again.
- Stop off somewhere for an activity if you can, a park for play, or a grassy area to play football or fly a kite. These things all add to the fun!
- Collect leaves, twigs and another seasonal goodies to use for art-work later. For older children the task of identifying different leaves (etc) can be just as fun.
- I-Spy books are great for walking out and about, for finding different animals, plants, trees, insects or even buildings and things seen more commonly in build up areas. Ticking these off can be great fun. If you don’t have an I-Spy book, make up a list instead.
- Let your child be responsible for their own things and carry a backpack. This adds to the sense of adventure and saves the adults carrying excess baggage!
- Sing!! If your children are at an age where they can still be seen with you without cringing, the chances are they won’t yet get embarrassed by having a good sing-song as you walk along. Silly songs are always favourites!
- Document your walks. If possible take a camera. Let the children take pictures of the things they find most interesting. Printed off or developed these make great keepsakes.
Nicki Cawood, Mum, Freelance writer and blogger at Curly&Candid
When Louie, my eldest, was two I was in a cafe and he threw his first almighty tantrum! I stood completely thrown as he thrashed about on the floor screaming. I came home and read everything I could about how to deal with this behaviour. I tried various suggestions, some worked, others didn’t.
Drawn from these experiments these are my top five suggestions for what to do when tantrums strike.
1.Distract:”Look there’s a bird, flower, cloud, dinosaur”(ok there’s probably not going to be a dinosaur). Whatever interests your toddler that you can draw their attention to in that moment to get them to forget the urge to throw a strop.
2.Ignore: If distract isn’t working then the best thing to do is ignore the behaviour. If you’re at home and your child is safe, walk away. If I’m in public and my child is safe I usually just turn away. I honestly don’t care what other people think, after all they were once (probably) toddlers screaming and kicking on the floor themselves.
3.Stand your ground : Do not give in to the demands of the tantrum. For example if the tantrum was over sweets in a shop and the sweets get bought, guess what your little darling is going to do next time they want sweets.
4. Comfort: I find that when a tantrum reaches a certain point, and you will know when, because you know your child way better than I, I go in with a cuddle. My son at that point would gladly cuddle me and calm himself down.
5. Praise: When the child has calmed down praise them for calming down. When the child meets the same situation next time and doesn’t throw a tantrum, praise them for being so good.
Now I have to add that while being extremely effective these tips only work if you stay calm. On the occasions when I have used my other parenting technique of losing my cool and muttering expletives the response from both the children and onlookers, has not been as good.
Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I have been using cloth nappies for nearly five years now. I have had two kids in cloth nappies. Twice. Adding up to 1.5 years of coping with two in cloth.
I use cloth nappies for a number of reasons. First off they are cheaper, I have saved literally hundreds of pounds using cloth. This is money I have been able to spend on cake, gin, and prawn cocktail flavour crisps, so totally worth the hassle just there.
Secondly they do not end up in landfill. Yes yes I know the arguments re whether they are actually better for the environment due to the carbon footprint of washing them yada yada. Obviously I wash them in my pedal power washing machine with soap nuts and air dry them, so there!
Thirdly I much prefer cotton or bamboo next to my baby’s peachy bum than the chemicals in disposables.
Fourthly (hmmm) and finally, I love the waddle of a big cloth baby bottom, it’s extremely cute.
So here are the tips I wish I had found when I started out.
1. So basically there are loads of styles and makes of nappy available now. Do not buy a huge amount of the same nappy until you have an actual baby to put them on and have tested them. Different babies have different shapes legs, bottoms etc. Therefore what works on one will not necessarily be leak free on another. Buy a few kinds (or even better borrow) and try them out to see what suits your family.
2. Have a plastic bin (preferably outside) with a cloth nappy net inside. Bung the nappies in and when you are ready to wash put the whole bag in the wash. That way no pooh handling is involved (apart from, when your actually changing the stinky bottomed one obviously)
3. Wash at 60 (I’ve tried a few temperatures and this in my experience is the lowest temp that gives you stink free nappies) without fabric softener (yes I made that mistake)and an additional rinse (don’t know why, but this helps with aforementioned stink).
4. When you can, get the stained nappies outside to dry. The sun gets rid of the stains in a surprisingly short amount of time.
5. Avoid change bags with lots of small pockets. Cloth nappies take up a lot of space in a change bag. I have tried many kinds of change bag and have found one with less pockets and more space works best. Also a large wet bag is an essential for in the change bag.
So these are my tips hope they prove helpful.
For what it’s worth I use Mother Ease one size nappies and Mother Ease wraps (waterproof outers).