We’ve all been there – our offspring has managed to drive us up the wall. Amazingly this can happen at all ages … and we just feel like lashing out and giving them a good old smack, right? It’s a natural reaction but it’s not that great for our children – there is endless research on the negative effects (short term / long term) of using physical force to discipline children. So what else can you do instead? Here’s a list of alternatives to smacking – just handy to know there ARE alternatives and we don’t have to use the same method of disciplining that perhaps our parents have used on us. (created by Barnardos and published with kind permission here).
1. Take a deep breath and gather your thoughts
2. Show them what they can do instead of what they cant
3. Taking them outside for a run around
4. Saying lots of positive things when they are good
5. Walking away, thinking about what you are going to do, but keeping them in your sight
6. Thinking about whether they are tired and or hungry
7. Keeping your expectations and rules simple
8. Accpeting mistakes and showing them how they can fix them
9. Clapping once to get their attention, then giving them a simple explanation
10. Explaining consequences (ge if they throw a toy it might break)
11. Putting them in a quiet safe place so they can calm down
12. Getting down to their height to avoid being threatening
13. Putting precious things out of reach
14. Singing some loud songs together
15. Ringing a friend or neighbour
16. Sharing stories with other parents
17. Turning tasks into a game
18. Speaking softly
19. Being firm, fair and friendly
20. Ignoring tantrums
21. Acting as you want your child to act.
Just loving this photo from one of our buddy blogs. Originally posted on icanhascheezburger (we don’t own or have created the material)
Mother’s Day tends to sneak up on us every year … if you’re anything like us you probably haven’t got a present yet or thought of what to get for your good lady. Panic not … here’s our last minute list of free presents to help you out:
NB: Some of these you can also use for your own mother … you’ll know which ones
1) Make a Mother’s Day card from anything that your kids have drawn or painted on (check with your day care, pre-school or school in case you can’t find anything suitable in the house). Make sure you get your kids to write their names on it or do it for them if they are too small
2) Give your partner a few hours of extra sleep – a recent survey found that one of the things most mums wanted for Mother’s Day was to simply sleep in or sleep a few hours with no interruption. So take your babies, toddlers or kids away for a few hours and give your partner a nice break.
3) Make a TLC voucher – e.g. for a back rub, or do something for her that you know she really doesn’t like doing
4) Pick some nice family photos from your phone or camera and print out at work and use to make a Mother’s Day “post card” – write a nice message and get your kids to write on it or sign it as well (or do it on their behalf if they are too small). Go down to your post office and get it stamped so it looks like a real post card … then tell her on Sunday morning that there was a special delivery.
5) Record a video of yourself (and the kids) with a special message for her (or sing a song if you dare) and upload to youtube – get your kids to give her a piece of paper (or card) on Sunday with the URL on it
Whatever you do it’s probably a good idea to go the extra mile on Mother’s Day to make sure your partner has a nice day. It also doesn’t hurt to tell her what a wonderful job she does and how cool it is to have her as the mother of your kids. Finally – don’t forgot to do something for your own mother as well!
Have a great Mother’s Day
ps.: Don’t forget to do something special for your pregnant partner this Mother’s Day
A good therapeutic massage is better than having sex … seriously, you get touched in places that you cannot reach yourself (unless you’re a contortionist). If you haven’t had a massage – splash out and experience it for yourself. Tell yourself that you have earned it and that with all the demands on a modern dad (or mom) you deserve a little treat. Try out relaxation, deep tissue, Thai or Swedish massages to experience the bliss of therapeutic massages.
Once you have done that and you know what it feels like to have a massage you can give massages to your kids, babies or your partner. Even if when you’re not professionally trained it’s still likely to be highly enjoyable for the recipient in your family. What you lack in skill you can make up in enthusiasm and devotion to looking after your family.
Massages are also a fantastic way to get your kids to fall asleep easily at night. You can start giving gentle massages to very young babies (literally from the day they are born). Babies rely on touch as an important form of communication … they love being touched and caressed. It also gives them a sense of security and knowing that someone is there to look after them. As your children get older you can still keep this up to relax them and take the stress out of every day life. Just because they are little doesn’t mean they don’t tense up or get stressed. There’s no better way to de-stress than getting a nice gentle massage from dad (or mom) at night.
If you want to go the extra mile get your hands on a book about therapeutic massages … you’ll be able to pick up a few basic skills in no time. If you don’t want to do the massaging yourself you can always give your partner a voucher from a day spa … a sure winner for Mother’s Day!
Parents have probably done it since Adam and Even had their first child (what was his/her name incidentally?) – we tend to tell every man and his dog about our babies and kids. Whether or not they want to know, have any idea of what we are talking about, have met us before or have just had an abortion is irrelevant … we will tell them anyway. And what with the wonder of social media and mobile communication that urge to keep everyone constantly up-to-date about our babies has increased several fold. That’s why Blair Koenig felt compelled to write a book called “STFU Parents” – based on his blogs about the bizarre and horrifying details that parents share. Pretty much a manual of “what not to do”!
The perfect Mother’s Day gift we think
(you can get it at all online retailers and most high street book stores)
Recently a number of toy manufacturers have put out “retro versions” of class board games like snakes and ladders, ludo and the amazing robot.
If you’re into a bit of retro – check these out! (the examples below are from a brand called “Retro Range – Toys and Games”). You can find them on eBay and many other online retailers.
Enjoy – Stefan!
Guest post by Alex Summers
Dads and kids can spend quality time together in a virtual world. It’s true! These days, it’s becoming more common for dads and their children to enjoy the same hobbies and that includes video games. So, this Father’s Day, grab the X-Box controller or Wii remote and strap in for a day of competitive bonding with these exciting new titles.
Available only in the X-Box arcade, BattleBlock Theater is brought to you by the same developers who created the award-winning platformer, Castle Crashers. Just like Castle Crashers, BattleBlock Theater is best enjoyed when played with a group. This makes it the perfect game to play with the kids, because it requires communication and has a sense of humor.
Dads and kids will find themselves in a fit of giggles, when the narrator sets the scene. The opening credits are some of the funniest game developers, Behemoth, have come up with. The hilarious narrator stays with players from beginning to end. With hilarious catch phrases and storytelling, this game is as funny as it is challenging. With hundreds of unlockables, dads and kids can waste hours bonding over this super-silly platformer.
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart can be played with up to four players, meaning most everyone in the family can get involved. If you have more players than controllers, then start a championship, swapping the losing players out for new players.
Even little ones can play this game, making it a great option for those families with pre-school aged children. Of course, these players may not do as well as dads and older kids, but after a while they will understand the simple concept of racing. Press down on the peddle and turn the wheel to win!
Rock Band 3
Start a family band and play your way through many of dad’s favorite songs. Rock Band even teaches kids to harmonize and work together, while everyone learns to hit the right notes at the right time. The point of this game is to play your way through concerts, without failing out. This requires communication, practice, and some musically inclined kids.
The great thing about Rock Band is everyone can choose the instruments they’re best at. If you’ve got one kid who is fantastic at the drums, there’s a drum kit included. If your daughter wants to sing her heart out, she’s up for some turns on the microphone. Dad has the option of playing any of these instruments or a bass or electric guitar.
Kinect Sports: Ultimate Collection
The Kinect is an excellent way for dads to spend time with kids, because it’s fun and provides much needed exercise. Kinect Sports: Ultimate Collection features many of the world’s favorite Kinect Sports games, all conveniently bundled in one game.
Families can challenge one another in a variety of sports games. These games include: baseball, boxing, golf, snowboarding, soccer, and more! Dominating dads will have to watch out when their agile kids return a kick that knocks them out of the game. With this title, practice makes perfect and the kids may be brushing up on their skills while dads are away at work.
As Long as it’s Fun…
As long as a game is fun, it’s going to bring dads and kids closer together. These days, ratings let dads know if a game is appropriate for his little ones. Parents should look for ratings that match their kid’s ages and seek out games they know will challenge them and get the entire family working together.
By Alex Summers
Guest post by Alex Ludgate
Malaga on the Costa del Sol is the perfect holiday hotspot to head for with your family. Filled with sun, sand and sea it’s a great way to get away from it all and spend some quality time with the kids. There are tons of different things to do while you’re there, but here are a few examples to give you an idea of what the place has to offer. Reaching the area is easy with plenty of operators offering flights to Malaga, particularly in the summer.
This is the largest family entertainment centre on the Costa del Sol. It’s about 25 minutes south of Malaga and reachable by car, bus and train. There are loads of great rides for everyone to enjoy, including the log flume and the 60m drop tower – hold on to your dinner with that one!
Most of the rides are suitable for all ages, though there are some that younger kids won’t be able to go on, so try and plan ahead to please everyone. It costs around €8 for entry, and you can pay a little more to get a Supertivolino wristband, which allows you access to all 38 rides without paying extra. If you don’t plan on going on everything though, you can pay per ride.
The people of the Costa del Sol really know how to do water parks, and Malaga is no different. Aqualand Torremolinos is a huge park with a huge variety of slides and pools to choose from. There are hours and hours of fun to be had here and not just for the kids. Everyone can let go and enjoy the water! And once you’ve worn yourselves out on the slides, you can head for a gentle swim with the sea lions that live at the park.
It’s open from May to September, so bear that in mind when you’re planning your trip. It’s around €25 for adults and €18 for kids, but definitely worth it – it’s easily a full day out.
The Maritime Museum
For a slightly more relaxed day without the high octane excitement of theme parks and water worlds, why not head for the Maritime Museum? There are some wonderful exhibitions that really get the kids involved in the secret world under the seas of the Costa del Sol. It’s a great way to make them aware of their environment and appreciate the beauty of their surroundings.
By Alex Ludgate
We have just received this casting call – please note we have not vetted or checked the organization behind the casting call. Apply at your own risk
Guest post by Matthew Pink
Along with our favourite sports teams, our sense of dress, our taste for domestic decorations and our preferred foods, the footsteps of ours that we want our children to follow most of all, are our musical ones.
One of my best friends, a peacock-proud new dad some 3 months in, with the very best of intentions, has already incurred the not inconsiderable wrath of the baby mother by sneaking online and secretly ordering not one, but three sets of baby pyjamas decked out in the colours and badges of his favourite football team. Safe to say she was not happy.
And deep down we know that the likelihood of this early conditioning is likely to backfire on us at some point – most likely when the hormonal surge of the teenage years comes on like the full force of rolling mosh-pit at a punk gig.
But we’ve got to try, right?
There is a difference, though, between imposing your musical taste on your children, and guiding them through it. It’s all very well slipping a pair of headphones on your sleeping offspring and inculcating your taste psychosomatically, but, to be frank, this is pretty sinister.
Also, semi-forcefully imposing your tastes can literally have the directly opposite effect and send them running and screaming to the arms of thrash metal, yodeling, boy bands or something equally hideous. Step carefully. No one wants that.
Nor is it a wise plan to try and enforce classical instrument learning upon them, just because your gran did and insisted that it must be passed down from generation to generation, or you think it might make them more employable, or of a higher social class or something. It won’t.
Some parents have been known to employ reverse psychology tactics in the home by banning or turning their noses up at the music they secretly want their offspring to like. But this is a risky business too.
A better way is to let them find their own way through music by getting them to pick up an accessible, simple to learn instrument like a ukulele. Instruments like the uke, or percussive instruments like maracas, are more colourful and immediate and invite touch and experimentation. Music is all about discovery and exploration. You discover your own musical tastes by trial and error and when you do, you treasure them for life.
Yes, even space jazz. Especially space jazz, in fact.
By Matthew Pink