Toddle About Blog

7 Steps To Having The Best of Both Worlds and Succeeding as a Working Mum

By Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert

Working mum

Juggling work and motherhood is tough – succeeding at both requires giving up on perfection. It doesn’t exist anyway.

As a working mum, you’re on the clock 24/7. It can seem there’s always too much to do … and never quite enough mum to go round. Juggling the demands of career and family is tough. We all have days when we feel we’re failing as a mum and employee. That’s natural.

There’s no such thing as the perfect working mother so give yourself a break. It’s normal to feel guilty and worry – our recent Parent Coaching Academy survey revealed that on average working mums spend between 1 and 2 hours worrying daily and 8/10 mums say they ‘often’ feel guilty. The more you think or talk about feeling tired, guilty stressed or worried, the worse you feel.

Here are my Top Tips to help you get a better life balance.

1) Look after Yourself

When you are looking after yourself, you’re looking after your family. If you are positive and energised, it will impact on all your relationships. A healthy diet, exercise and relaxation will all make a difference. Always eat breakfast, drink plenty of water and get at least 10 minutes fresh air a day. You don’t need the gym – with a child you have your own personal trainer. Take up yoga, meditation or mindfulness. Continue reading

5 Practical Ways To Nurture Your Toddler’s Independence (and avoid those exhausting power struggles)

By Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert

Encourage your toddler to step outside their comfort zone. If, for example, they are hesitant about getting onto a see-saw at the park, stand behind them and hold them so that they know they are safe.

Encourage your toddler to step outside their comfort zone. If, for example, they are hesitant about getting onto a see-saw at the park, stand behind them and hold them so that they know they are safe.

When “Me do it!” becomes your toddler’s favourite phrase and they begin to assert their independence, it’s an exciting and challenging time for you. It’s a vital learning milestone in their development as you see them beginning to do things for themselves and developing their own identity. But it is also tough, as they flex their muscles and push the boundaries to show you who is boss and that they are OK on their own. Nurturing that independence in a positive way is one of the most important jobs you’ll do as a parent.

 

Defiance is a Normal Sign of Toddler Independence

When your baby is born, they are totally dependent on you for everything. But, once they become toddlers, the rules change and they become desperate to do as much as they can for themselves. “Me” becomes their enthusiastic mantra. As a mum, it’s rewarding to see them wanting to be able to do things on their own. After all, independence is high up on our list of priority in terms of what we want to teach our children. But those toddler steps towards independence can also be stressful. They’re beginning to make their own decisions about what they want and don’t want to do. And their choices may not always be the same as yours! Expect your toddler to refuse to do what you want – it is absolutely normal in this stage of their development!

  

Give Directions Instead of Ultimatums

When your toddler is determined to demonstrate their own mind, Continue reading

How to spend time with your child when you have no time

Written by Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert.

mum

Focus on the benefits of creating time with your family. How will it make you and them feel? What difference will it make to your lives?

I regularly deliver workshops for parents for companies, charities and schools. I think it is a real sign of the times that my most popular session in 2015 is ‘How To Spend Time With Your Child When You Have No Time’. It is an issue every mum and dad struggles with – whether they go out to work or stay at home. There always seems to be too much to do and never quite enough mum or dad to go round. It’s also an issue I work on myself on a daily basis.

You can’t create more time, but you can budget your time differently to do what you want to do. If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.

We parents waste a lot of time feeling guilty and worrying when we could be using it in a much more positive way. At The Parent Coaching Academy, we conducted a survey of 300 parents and found that 8/10 parents say they ‘often’ feel guilty and 8/10 mums say they spend at least 2 hours a day worrying. It is absolutely natural and normal. Continue reading

When Only Mummy Will Do… How to give Dad a look in and give Mum a much needed break!

By Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert

Quality Dad and Child Time

Give Dad a looking in by identifying some fun activities that your toddler loves and make them dad’s responsibility.

“I love Raff to bits,” said my client, Tom. “The only problem is that he way prefers his mum to me and whatever I try to do instead of her ends in tears and tantrums.  Usually mine.  I really try not to take it personally but it is hard, especially at the end of a long day at the office.”

Tom’s challenge is a very common one.  It is totally normal for most toddlers to go through a phase when they only want mum and no-one else will do.  Many dads struggle to get a look in.  It also means that mum is on call 24/7.

It’s a phase that will pass but in the meantime here are some tips to help dad share the limelight – and just as importantly – give mum a break. Continue reading

Fed Up Of The Daily Fight To Get Your Child Dressed? These proven techniques will help

By Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert

Getting dressed can become a war zone

It’s easy to get into a battle with your child over getting dressed. Fortunately there are a few simple techniques you can use to make this trying time less stressful.

You may think that in this freezing weather everyone would want to wrap up as warmly as possible. But if you have a toddler, you’ll know that once they start learning how to dress themselves – at around two years – there will be times when your little one stubbornly refuses to put on her clothes. Not only that, she may well want to go out in the pouring rain in her shorts and t-shirt … regardless of the temperature! It can be really frustrating for you as a parent – so here are some tips to help you avoid wardrobe wars

 

Avoid the Morning Rush Hour

If your toddler knows you want her to get dressed as quickly as possible, that’s usually the time she’ll take as long as she can. She wants you to know that she has a say in what’s going on in her life – and this is a great way to demonstrate it. It’s also a fact of life that toddlers don’t like change. You can understand why. Your daughter is quite comfortable in her pjs so why would she want to get out of them?

So try to give yourself time rather than rushing towards a deadline. Wake her up a little earlier so that you both have as much time as possible and you can enjoy her dressing routine – not dread it. Her concept of time is different from yours. You may think that 10 minutes will give her lots of time to get dressed. But it doesn’t. You’ve had years of practice, she’ll take much longer than you think even when she’s trying her hardest. Her fingers are enthusiastic – but can act like sausages on the end of her hands. Be realistic about what she can achieve and give her lots of praise when she does. Continue reading

Does your child have an embarrassing habit? Here’s how to deal with it…

By Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert

Children will often perform their favourite embarrassing habits when they are bored.

A lot of toddlers tend to pick their nose when they are tired or bored

“Please take your hands out of your pants!”

“Stop picking your nose!”

I frequently talk to parents who are tearing their hair out over habits their little ones are developing that they desperately want to stop.  It wouldn’t be quite so bad if they only did it at home.  But toddlers usually save their most anti-social behaviour for special moments – with their grandparents, at the nursery door, performing in the nursery play or at the supermarket checkout.

It’s natural to feel under pressure as a parent, especially if your toddler is performing in public.

Take a deep breath and remember, lots of seemingly unsavoury toddler habits are just a natural part of growing up.  They show that your little one is developing normally.  Like most parents, you may get really embarrassed (especially if other people see it happen and comment) but your little one can’t understand what all the fuss is about.  The chances are, they may not even know they’re doing it.  Your toddler will have very different ideas from you when it comes to anti-social behaviour.  You’ll notice that this becomes very obvious again when they become a teenager. Continue reading

Top 10 New Year Resolutions For Parents

Happy New Year 2015!

Resolution #2: Love Bomb your little one with some 1:1 time every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

It’s the new year. A time of new beginnings and CHANGE. You’ve no doubt made some resolutions for 2015, but maybe you have room for one or two more? We asked parenting expert Lorraine Thomas to share with us her Top 10 New Year Resolutions for parents… and we think she’s done a great job.

So, while you’re enjoying your newly implemented daily run or getting used to sobriety during your dry January (only 24 more days to go!), we hope you’ll find some inspiration here on how to be an even better parent in 2015: Continue reading

Do You Have a Shy Toddler? These ideas will help bring them out of their shell

By Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert

Shy Toddler

If you want to help your toddler to be less shy, you need to commit to banishing the word ‘shy’ from your vocabulary.

Carole came to see me because her toddler Harry had just started nursery and his social life had really taken off but she was finding it very stressful. “He is much more in demand than I am with a party invitation or play date every week. I was really pleased to begin with. But now I dread them. He’s very sociable at home but refuses to mix with other children when he is out. Instead of playing, he usually goes into meltdown. So do I. What can I do to help him be less shy?”

 

Every Toddler Is Different

Some toddlers make socialising look easy. They can work the room like a seasoned professional – laughing, chatting and giving high fives. But for lots of toddlers mixing with other children and adults can be overwhelming. If your toddler prefers his own company, he may behave in a range of different ways. Continue reading

The Secrets to Sibling Harmony – A must read for parents with more than one child

By Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert

Sibling Rivalry to Sibling Harmony

If you ever wonder why they never seem to get along – you aren’t the only one! But even their arguments and fighting can have a silver lining…

I will always remember the words of Sonia, a mum I coached and I always quote her when I am running seminars on the subject of Sibling Harmony.

“The thing is,” she said to me, “that Tom was really looking forward to having a sister. But a lot of the time he acts as though he really doesn’t like her.  He’s 4 and at nursery. She’s nearly 3 but his behaviour’s really regressed and he’s going through the terrible 2s again. He really doesn’t like it when I am looking after her and can’t give him my attention. Their constant arguing is getting me down. But I suppose it is a bit like my husband bringing back another woman and expecting us all to live in the house together!

I think Sonia’s analysis was spot on.

Having a son or daughter is one thing. But when you go from one child to two, it’s a whole new experience for all of the family. Learning to handle tantrums, resolve conflict and create sibling harmony is tough but so important for parents and children. Continue reading

How to Help Your Toddler Overcome Their Fears

By Lorraine Thomas

Child scared of dentist

If your child is scared of the dentist,you can prepare them by role playing or reading a book about a child’s visit to the dentist.

I was in the park at the weekend, walking Bonnie, my miniature schnauzer. As we got close to a mum and her little son, I could see that she was getting very upset.  She wanted to leave the park, but her toddler was clearly refusing to do so and in the process of going into meltdown.

In desperation, the mum pointed at Bonnie and said to her son, “If you don’t leave with me right now – that dog is going to bite you!” It took me a moment to realise that she was talking about us and I am sure that I saw look of amazement cross Bonnie’s cute, fluffy face. Bonnie, by the way, looks like a grey teddy bear, is very gentle and loves children.

I wanted to help this mum who was at the end of her tether (we’ve all been there) and also wanted to make sure that her son actually had a positive ‘dog’ experience rather than one that may frighten him of dogs for years to come. Continue reading