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Sibling Rivalry & the Green Eyed Monster

Since the beginning of time, siblings have argued, bickered, and squabbled over matters great and small. From petty jealousies through to territorial disputes and on to accusations of favouritism, the list of conflicts is interminable. For children this is a matter of pride and honour; for parents it is a political minefield that needs careful navigation.

You can choose your friends but not your family, and some siblings just don’t get on.

What is going on when your children are at loggerheads?

Here are some top tips on what to do when jealousy takes hold.

Watch, listen and think about what is really happening between your children.

What are they thinking and feeling inside? Is it perhaps, ‘I can’t seem to get your attention until I call my brother rude names’ or ‘why you are so happy about Helen’s dry knickers? Haven’t I done anything to make you pleased today?’

Sometimes, the shouting may be a way of saying they want time away from each other, but they need you to help them make a retreat.

When children are struggling, perhaps at nursery or school, life can seem unbearable if a sibling receives lots of praise.

Children also like to have something special for themselves. Trouble can follow if a sister wants to make a scrapbook just like her brother’s. Although this may be a form of flattery, it doesn’t feel that way to the sibling whose personal territory is being invaded.

It is impossible to treat all your children the same, because they’re individuals with their own personalities. Parents are responsible for treating children fairly and with equal concern and attention. Sometimes our own behaviour quite unwittingly can contribute to a fraught situation between the children.

The most important thing in any relationship is communication. Just slamming doors and screaming at each other rarely helps. Communication is executed in a family in two ways – it can be instigated by parents, or siblings can sort things out among themselves

Sporting Rivalry – The solution that works for many is to make siblings do something as a team – like preparing food or building something. Once that’s achieved, the rivalry becomes pointless…

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Top tips for Travelling by Air

The following are prompts rather than specific recommendations for Babies to School age children.

  • Ideas for What to Take
  • Toys: A familiar toy for every hour on the flight.
  • Clothing: A spare outfit or two in hand luggage. Layered clothing including a warm jumper for the air con on the plane.
  • Favourite Blanket / Bedding / Comforter
  • Food: Normal daily requirements plus an extra two bottles – one for take off and one for landing to decrease the risk of popped ear drums.
  • Spoons, bowls, bibs, & wipes
  • A cool bag and pack for any food
  • Lots of plastic ‘zip loc’ bags – for rubbish, anything wet etc…
  • Tissues/cloths
  • Teething relief product
  • Transport – buggy, pram, sling etc….
  • More changes of nappies than you think you will need plus cleaning materials, nappy cream and nappy sacks
  • If you use aromatherapy Lavender may help sleeping on the flight and also with the jet lag on arrival.

The flight attendants should have hot water (however it does depend on the power supply given to them in the aircraft kitchen, it may take 30mins after take off before they have it!). Remember to take a jug to warm bottles, although long haul flights will have hot water jugs that you can use. If you feel it is necessary to take a portable travel bottle warmer just in case.

Before Boarding the Flight
Take a last change in the airport Parent Room. Make good use of these facilities, as you never know how long it will be before you have these facilities again.

Top tips for the Flight
Children under 2yrs are not usually given their own seat, and for takeoff and landing sit on the parent / primary carer’s lap with a special belt which attaches to the belt that they are wearing. To avoid any unnecessary wriggling around and possible tears during take off, try to leave putting the infants belt on until the final call for flight attendants to sit.
Encourage your infant to suck on takeoff and landing, this can be a bottle, soother, drink or with older children a sweetie.
If you use a stroller or buggy, ensure it is fully collapsible and ask at check in if there is provision to store on the plane – this always helps to free up hands for luggage.
If you have any concerns or problem on the flight ask to speak to the flight Purser. The Purser will usually do their best to advise and help you through the flight.

Jet Lag
When travelling through time zones, Jet Lag in infants can prove very tiring for both the child and the carer. To limit the effects of jet lag remember these key points:

  • Rest and sleep as much as possible on the journey and flight to and from your destination.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – water is best, too much is never enough!
  • Allow your child to adjust to the new time zone gradually. Give them food in small amounts when they request food outside of the new meal times. Always give water / fluids when requested.
  • For each hour of time difference allow one day of adjustment. For example: 3 hrs Difference = 3 days adjustment, 1 hour each day.
  • Try to give your child plenty of natural light during the new day and make sure the new night bedroom is dark. This avoids confusion over the new night and day pattern.
  • Establish the same routine pattern that the child is already familiar with as soon as possible, working it into the new time zone.
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What to look for in a Nanny

Does she share the same views on childcare as you?

Sit down at the beginning of the employment and discuss everything, from smoking to boyfriends, making sure you are both clear about each others expectations.

Do your children get along with her – is the atmosphere around her happy, does she play naturally with the children.

Do you get along with her? Can you talk to her as an employer? Establish a good rapport. Before employing anyone spend a minimum of two days with them and the children. It’s really important that your children see that the person you are employing is trusted and liked by you.

After Qualifications, Experience and Reference Checks are all ok, go with your gut instinct. You should feel that you are forming a relationship based on trust, built on the foundations of references, recommendations, qualifications & experience.

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Top Tips for Raising Happy Healthy and Contented Children

If you are to raise happy healthy contented & self-confident children you have to put in time and energy yourself. If you try to stick to these simple rules and tips and you won’t go far wrong!

1. Laugh! You may find this silly but laughter and fun are great ways of alleviating stress, which children do suffer from more so in the winter months… wondering how to? Tickles & nose painting are to great places to get started!
2. Exercise. Do it with your children, this means taking part in their adventures at the park, that’s right no more book reading on the park bench!
3. Relax – together. When you are winding down it is important to spend this time together. Winding down is also important for a good nights sleep. If you child struggles to slow down, do it with them – read a book, watch the clouds or just watch the world go by.
4. Be Flexible. Think back to your childhood and how annoying it was to HAVE to do things. Yes it is good to have a routine, but please make it flexible! We all hate rushing around to get things done. Try not to do this, instead break free from the routine and make together time.
5. Listen. Listen to your children. STOP what you are doing and give your attention to them and then they will stop craving your attention for all the wrong reasons. Look you child in the eye and give them a response to their questions that provokes a conversation.
6. Independence over frustration. Allow your child to DO everything that they can (within reason and not compromising their safety). This will prevent those embarrassing moments of frustration.
7. Expectations. Don’t expect too much of your child. Children are like sponges, absorbing lots of information about their world. They are always learning. Be patient and try to understand that their mistakes and accidents are all part of this process. Never make your child feel like a failure, as then they will stop trying to learn at all.
8. Express Yourself. Allow your child plenty of opportunities to express themselves. Painting, Playdough, Plastacine, Free drawing, junk modelling, imaginative play, dancing to all different styles of music. Let your child INDULGE for as long as possible.
9. PRAISE. Never underestimate the value of positive praise. Whenever and wherever DO IT! Make sure you are always specific and glamorous with the praise given to prevent the child from becoming used to hearing a plain ‘well done’.
10. Healthy Eating Top Tips – this is more tricky…..Sitting the whole family down for a meal together can be a challenge. Recent research shows that families who dine together have stronger family bonds. Here are a few top tips for gathering around the table:

Turn off the TV. It may take a little while, but conversation will occur!
Ask the children to help lay the table. Bring the plates and cutlery to the table and let them sort it out into places.
Bring all the food to the table at once. Serve from dishes and platters to the plates.
Try not to get up for refills. Place jugs of water / milk / juice on the table. Try to refill glasses and plates at your seats.
Encourage the children to make their own placemats. These can be favourite magazine cuttings or a self portrait! Take the finished designs to your local stationers and laminate for easy cleaning.
Older children can learn simple napkin origami.
To make life easier when cooking homemade food, double the quantity and freeze half. The convenience of a pre-made meal allows for more quality time, and the family will still enjoy home cooked food.

Top lunch box tip: Help your child look forward to opening their lunch box with a special surprise……. A fresh flower, a placemat, a funny napkin or even a ‘love you’ or ‘joke’ note can help make the box extra special.