UK mother and baby support network, ‘MamaBabyBliss’ has launched a national fundraising campaign in aid of the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal run by The British Red Cross Society.
In light of displaced families, bombed maternity wards and tragic loss of life due to the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, ‘MamaBabyBliss’ Founder Justina Perry has encouraged mums and babies, mums-to-be and franchisees across her UK network of pregnancy, mother and baby classes to stand in solidarity with Ukrainian parents.
I came across this post below on my WP feed and it’s just what I needed to hear today. Rosemary is the owner of Soul Essence and she writes about all things mindfulness. If you need a little calm in your life every now and then, make sure you have a read at some of her very useful posts.
If you’re not sure which S word I’m on about, it’s SEX. I wasn’t keen on using it in the title because my boy can read fluently now and I’m not ready to start the whole birds and the bees convo with him just yet. He’s already been asking where babies come from and how they’re made and I’ve just about managed to dodge it for now. He’s 7 by the way.
Let’s talk about S E X
Let’s talk about it. For me, it still feels a little taboo even though we’re online and I’m just writing all of this. I was brought up by very strict Asian parents so any talk that’s even remotely associated with sex and the sorts was banned. Luckily for them I wasn’t too much of a curious soul.
Sex since Lockdown 1.0 has not really been that different for us. We’d usually do it in the wee hours of the morning or at night when the kids are in deep sleep. However, there have been moments when we struggled with getting it on.
Your contraception can be a (libido) killer
Our sex life is pretty okay. We’re active and perhaps a little more now than in previous years. That may sound strange but I think it’s because I came off the injection (female hormonal contraception).
I loved being on the injection and used it for many years and between my pregnancies. I’m quite fertile and it just worked really well. I only needed one jab every three months which made it all convenient. I tried the implant and it left me with adult acne and the patch was great but it ended up irritating my skin. I tried the pill once when I was younger but could never remember to take it on time.
Apparently a common side effect for using the injection is loss of libido. I literally had no sex drive. I hated being touched. I was grouchy all the time. And down there was as dry as the Sahara desert no matter how much he tried to get me going. It wasn’t working.
That lockdown loving…
Naturally, I blamed it on stress. But when Lockdown 1.0 hit and I was unable to get an appointment my body started to ease up as it reverted back to its pre-contraceptive state. Being off any kind of contraception brought my libido back. I loved it. I finally felt like a human being again. That’s when I knew it had to be the contraception.
So now I’ve decided to give the hormonal pill a go again and it seems to be going well. My sex drive is pretty much back to normal and we’re getting it on a few times a month which works out to roughly once a week. We’re too tired and lazy to even attempt to do it anymore than that. Sex is tiring, you know!!
The stresses of lockdown, isolation, working from home, parenting can all get too much. As a result your sex life can suffer from it. So if you and your partner aren’t getting it on as much anymore, try to think why that might be. Have a talk about it as you might find that your reasons are not the same. If there’s one thing I learnt about our relationship (we’ve been together for 14 years) is that communication really is key. We talk a lot more about things we never did before. And being comfortable talking to each other about sex is one of them.
What if the sex is boring?
Sex doesn’t have to be a chore. Especially if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, having sex with each other can get boring. It happens! But there’s things you can do to help each other bring it back. Just remember to keep it down – I’m sure the kids and the neighbours don’t want to hear what’s going on after hours…
What if your partner’s not up for it?
This is a tricky one because it involves understanding how your partner is feeling and what their reasons are for not having sex with you. It could just be stress. It could be something more. YOU HAVE TO TALK TO EACH OTHER. It’s really the only way unless you’re psychic and don’t have to ask. I highly doubt that otherwise you wouldn’t be lacking in sex.
Even when we THINK we know what our partners are feeling, we don’t actually know so it’s crucial to talk to each other. If they’re not one to easily open up, find a way to be able to get through to them. If it still doesn’t work, perhaps speaking to a counsellor or therapist could help you both out.
PS. Don’t forget, it’s Valentine’s Day on February 14th – make an effort as we’re not able to go anywhere, you might as well make the most of it in the bedroom!
Your mini-guide to lockdown loving:
TALK IT OUT. The simplest of them all. Let each other know that the flame is burning out. That way, you’re both acknowledging that there’s something missing. Sometimes when we get too caught up in our own things, we assume our partner knows there’s something lacking but in actual fact, they don’t know sh*t all. So talk it out. Figure out what’s missing.
TRY SOMETHING NEW. This can be anything from buying sexy lingerie to introducing something new into the bedroom ie. a sex toy, oral sex, anal sex whatever you both fancy. It could even just be trying out a new lube for the first time! Whatever it is, find something that make you both feel good doing it. Being a selfish lover is never any good so make sure that you are both being pleasured – it doesn’t have to be simultaneously but it shouldn’t be one-sided.
PICK A NEW ROOM. Never tried it in the kitchen? Or always thought about it in the bathroom? How about outdoors? Be careful with that last one because, you know, lockdown and all but if you have a private garden or balcony it could be possible. The thrill of doing it in a new location can be quite exciting and is sure to be fun as long as you’re both up to it. Just be considerate of your neighbours or who’s around if you’re planning on venturing out.
RECONSIDER YOUR CONTRACEPTION. If you’ve lost your libido like I did, ask yourself if it could be your contraception. If so, would you be able to consider another method. You have to find a method that works for you so I wouldn’t promote any form of contraception over the other. You know your body best so if you’re unsure of what you can switch to, ask your GP or a sexual health advisor.
STRESS LESS. Most likely, if you’re not getting enough sex it’s because you’re stressed, or tired, or both. Exhaustion and irritation can be manifestations of stress which increases your cortisol levels. This will leave you feeling fatigue and you could experience a loss of libido because of it. Stress is also not good for the body, in fact it’s actually really taxing on your body as it puts it in a constant state of ‘fight-or-flight’.
So chill out. Give yourself some time. Have a hot bath soak. Listen to some music. Read a book. Do some yoga. Get some downtime in to really calm your mind and body.
KNOW YOUR BODY. Sounds pretty simple. You see your body every day, you know what it looks like therefore you know your body right? But do you know how it feels like? Self-love is not just about loving yourself from the outside in. It’s also about loving what your amazing body can do, how it can feel… and sometimes we have to discover that intimacy with ourselves first.
If you’ve never tried exploring yourself before and you want to, you to give it a go. I know not everyone approves of this so it’s up to you but if you want to, try it. Some women are unable to orgasm with a partner but when they’re touching themselves, they’re able to orgasm multiple times. And if you know your body well and know how to make it feel that way, you can help your partner figure it out too.
WATCH PORN. I wasn’t sure if I should list this one or if it falls under the ‘try something new’ heading but sometimes a good porn can get you both going. Or at least the one of you who’s watching. Watching porn together is something I don’t do – I still find that weird and it’s something we like doing separately, in our own time. It is easier to get aroused after watching porn so it could be an easy place to start, and it’s mostly free nowadays too. Woop woop!
Around 2 MILLION under 30s are in serious financial debt
A scary but realistic fact. The truth is chilling. Especially for the under 30s who have a child/children or are living on the poverty line – or sometimes both – it’s even more distressing. There are many people who are in debt and experiencing mental health issues ie. anxiety, depression, mental breakdowns and suicidal tendencies as a result of the looming debt they have over their head. I am thankful that I am clear of all my priority debts but am still paying off non-priority debts which I now manage much more responsibly.
If you are struggling with debt, speak from Citizens Advice Bureau who offers free impartial advice, or the National Debtline online. Both were great at helping me come to terms with my debt and figure out a reasonable and affordable solution.
How To Make Your Money Go Further
So how can you make your money go further?
There’s many different ways but here are 10 of the easiest ways I found possible. I’ve tried the majority of them and were successful in each one. Unlike other complex methods and techniques, these are so simple that anyone can do them and they don’t require much effort, know-how or any kind of financial investment.
1. Track your spending to understand your spending patterns
The first step to making your money go further is knowing precisely how much money is coming in and going out. Whatever bank you bank with, they should offer online banking services. This can help you identify and monitor your spending patterns to help you manage your money better by only spending on what you really need to buy. Some banks can show you a forecasted balance after all your outgoings so you’ll know roughly how much you’ll have at the end of the month.
2. Activate cashback for all your card transactions
Who doesn’t want money back when we spend? Now that we’re practically a cashless society, spending more on our cards and buying online, make sure that you are signed up to your card’s cashback scheme. If you don’t know whether your bank offers it, a quick search on Google can help. The cashback amount is dependent on the retailer but all you’ll need to do is check that your bank offers it on your card, select the participating retailers and activate the cashback scheme. Just make sure you use your card when paying with those retailers and the cashback will be automatically calculated and applied to your card.
3. Sign up to online cashback loyalty programmes like KidStart
These work a little differently from the cashback scheme above in the sense that you’ll need to sign up to the website that offers the cashback loyalty programme, search for the retailer you want to purchase from and then use the link provided by them to visit the retailer’s website in order to get your cashback. You’ll notice that you’ll also be able to get around 3-5% discount on new purchases and 0.5-2% discount rate on recurring purchases but it’s still saving you money at the end of the day. Just make sure you remember to use the link provided to access the retailer’s website to ensure your cashback is tracked. There’s usually a threshold before you’re paid back your cashback but it’s a pretty good loyalty programme especially now that we’re shopping online a LOT more.
4. Create a grocery shopping list with a budget and stick to it!
I remember when I was at uni, making a shopping list was my way of ensuring that my money and food would last well into the week. I was able to eat well (no beans on toast and tomato sauce pasta!) and spend less. How? You have to be smart with your shopping, create a budget and stick to your shopping list. Deviating a little from the list is fine but lots of unnecessary or impulse buys can quickly rack up your food spend very easily.
My shopping list always includes the food staples; milk, eggs, flour (if necessary), sugar, bread and butter. Then the ‘perishables’ ie. fruit, veg, meat/fish/poultry. I’d usually opt for veg that has more yield ie potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, frozen peas or frozen mixed veg, and buy meat/poultry/fish such as chicken, pork chops or mince, and frozen fish fillets which is cheaper than fresh fish. If I buy chicken I like buying the drumstick and thighs packs which are cheaper than fillets but provides more per servings. Then after that, I buy any household toiletries and items that are running low and try to look for promo offers to get the best deals.
My monthly grocery shop (food and household items) usually comes up to £80-120 for our family of four, which is £20-30 a week. Not bad right? It’s less than one takeaway meal for our family which his why we limit takeaways as much as possible. (more on this later). I buy food and think of meals that are easy to cook but has the best yield. More food for less money = savings!
5. Reduce food wastage by meal prepping or reinventing leftovers
I’m not a meal-prepping gal so I can’t give you much advice on this but I have heard from others that it really works. Meal prepping can be a great way of budgeting food so you’re not overspending on food or wasting it. As you cook a large batch then freeze the rest, it’s a really cost-effective way of eating.
For us, we usually reinvent our leftovers. For example, we’ll eat spaghetti bolognese for two days. On day three, depending how much is left of the bolognese, we’ll either add it to our new meal ie. lasagne, or we’ll have it as a side accompaniment ie. chilli bowl with macaroni cheese and chicken.
6. Sell your unwanted things online – DePop, Vinted, Ebay, Music Magpie, CeX
Got things that you’ve never used or worn? Is it still in good to like new condition but you just don’t have any use for it and don’t intend to? The best thing to do is to sell it! You can sometimes fetch a really good price, depending on the condition of the item and what the item is. If you’re selling clothes then Ebay, Vinted and DePop are popular sites to use. It’s usually free to create a listing to sell the items but you’ll be charged a small commission once it’s sold. If you’re using Paypal to handle your payments, be aware that Paypal also take a small amount of commission. Remember to calculate your postage correctly too as you’ll need to charge your buyers postage unless you’re offering free postage.
If you’re selling electronics ie. CDs, DVDs, games, phones etc then Music Magpie, GiffGaff, CeX would be your best bet. You can check their website to find out how much you’d get for your goods before deciding to sell. They can also be great places to buy electronics too as it’s cheaper than buying brand new – another way of making your money stretch further.
7. Sell your old clothes for cash (or vouchers)
There are a few cash for clothes companies still around for you to sell off your old goods to in exchange for some cash. The only catch is that they usually pay per kilo so you’ll need to have quite a lot of clothes to make a decent amount back. But then again, every little helps right? Retailers like H&M offer a clothes for store vouchers – you just bring in a bag of unwanted clothes in any condition and they’ll give you a £5 voucher in return which you can spend in store or online.
*Due to the current pandemic, H&M is not an option but there are plenty of ‘cash for clothes’ businesses still operating and they will come to collect your clothes. Search on Google for places you can contact.*
8. Find things for FREE on FreeCycle
FreeCycle is a site usually run by regular people and/or a local community. Similar to Ebay, it works by sellers listing their free goods and buyers register their interest. The seller chooses a buyer who they’d like to give away their stuff to and between the two, a collection date and time is agreed. You can find anything from there from clothes to odd things like a random spare shower head, to massive furniture like a wardrobe. It really depends on your area and who’s selling but it’s great and free!
Find Freebies on Facebook groups and pages
Just a quick search on Facebook and I found over 5 groups local to me and around London giving away freebies. It’s a fantastic place to find something you’re looking for or put out there what you’re looking for to several thousands of people. You’re sure to get a reply. I’d advise to join groups and pages that are local to your area so you can narrow down selections, it will also make it easier for you to collect as you’ll know the area. However if you can’t find what you’re looking for then perhaps try searching in your city instead of borough/district. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll find anything but it beats buying something brand new if you can get it for free and in good condition.
9. Cut back on the takeaways and coffees
Treating yourself every now and then can be really nice however treating yourself too often can contribute to unnecessary spending habits. A takeaway for our family of four sets us back around £30 so imagine if we had one every week, that would be £120 spent a month on takeaways alone – more than our monthly grocery spend! whether that’s for yourself or your family. A morning coffee cost roughly £2.50 – if you bought a coffee every morning for a week (5 days) that would cost you £12.50 a week, £50 a month.
Learning to make your money go further requires a little bit of discipline so you need to show some restraint. Everything really does all add up so do your best to cut back on the takeaways and takeout coffees to make your money last a little longer. To get a good coffee fix, invest in a cafetiere to press your own coffee grounds for an almost-authentic coffee experience at home. If you’re too lazy for that, instant coffee sachets might be a good alternative. Failing that, there’s nothing wrong with instant coffee, a good tea or herbal tea… or tap water. 🙂
10. Upcycle your old furniture to give them a new life and/or function
A lick of paint and some self-adhesive vinyl sheets can really bring old furniture up to date. We have an old dining table that we got from FreeCycle back in 2014 when we moved into our flat and couldn’t afford to buy a new table. We spruced up with a few tweaks and haven’t gotten rid of it six years on – all we did was sand down and repainted the dining table legs, stuck marble effect self-adhesive vinyl on the worktop and the table looked brand new. Little tweaks like this not only improve the things you already have, it saves you a LOT of money as furniture are quite heavy investments. Think creatively on how you can update old furniture and things in the house especially if they’re still in good use but just been a bit of a revamp.
Your pockets will thank you later.
I hope this post helps you out especially during these times of need when money is tight. Christmas around the corner doesn’t help either. Learning how to manage your spending is a great skill and it’s one that I am now trying to teach my children. It’s never too early to learn about budgeting and money management.
There is a widely-held belief that humans are omnivorous (both meat- and plant-eating), so eating a solely vegan-based diet with no meat, fish or poultry cannot be safe in pregnancy. However, I and many others, would disagree with that statement.
I was almost 40 years old when I was pregnant with my first child. At that time, my diet mainly consisted of whole vegetables, small amounts of wholegrain, tofu, lentils and pulses, nuts and seeds. I ate as I normally would throughout both of my pregnancies. I had no morning sickness, no particular cravings, no complications or deficiencies, and was able to deliver both of my children safely at home by home birth. During both of my pregnancies, I took multivitamins and folic acid as recommended by health professionals.
I then started to wonder if my experiences were rare ones, or were there many vegan women out there experiencing the same problem-free pregnancies like I did. So I did some research and found that there were many other new mums who were also vegan during their pregnancies.
All of the new mums I spoke to adopted a ‘wholefoods natural diet’ during their pregnancies
None of them experienced any cravings
Two out of the seven experienced severe morning sickness ate plain toast for their first trimester
Two were diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD) in the second trimester which was successfully managed by eating a wholefoods-vegan diet
Soups and stews were frequently mentioned as the main ‘go to’ meals
Marmite, tofu, tempeh, brown rice, aduki beans, miso soup, and ginger were also popular food options
“When I had morning (all day) sickness I ate a lot of baked potatoes, as I didn’t fancy much else. Luckily potatoes have vitamins in the skin, and so I felt they were better than other bland things. I supplemented potatoes with vitamins and iron. I also remember eating dried mangoes, cucumber, and miso at some points, and drinking orange juice. When I recovered from the morning sickness, I ate a lot of everything.”
For mum, Holly (one of the women diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes) said nut butters were a life saver for her special diet, thanks to the high-fat/protein and low-carb content in nuts, to sustain her through her pregnancy.
For Danielle, who developed cholestasis in her second trimester, meant she could only eat foods that were low in fats explained that “the vegan diet was great for this”.
Can you get the right nutrition from eating a vegan diet?
All the vegan women I spoke to were very knowledgable about vegan nutrition in pregnancy. They were all well aware of the need to increase protein intakes by 10-20%, and did so with greater attention based on eating good, balanced meals. Not all of them ate protein/rich foods like tofu, with many of them preferring pulses, grains and organic vegetables.
It is recommended in pregnancy for all mothers to take folic acid. With vegan pregnancies, it’s also highly recommended to take vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements as these are not found in plant-based products. Half of the women I spoke to did mention they take diet supplements, but the other half only took the recommended folic acid supplements.
Helen, who has been vegan for many years, said: “I always try to follow a balanced diet. Supplements are recommended to pregnant people of all persuasions. I took vegan vitamins and iron before, during and after my pregnancy.”
Angie, who was vegan pregnant then raised her children on vegan diets, said she “just ate sensibly – mainly fruit and veg. I’d been vegan thirteen years before I became pregnant and had never been unwell so I assumed it all was ok…” shows it is possible to be healthy and vegan during and after pregnancy.
This was reiterated by Lee, who has been through two pregnancies as a vegan; “I didn’t even think about nutrition, I just followed what my body craved and had zero nutritional issues”.
Do pregnant vegans feel well?
None of the women I spoke to reported of any nutritional issues or deficienciesa during their pregnancies, and aside from the complications mentioned by some of the women, all of the mum-to-bes said they felt healthy during their pregnancy.
Danielle stated: “I am very strong and the muscle of the household, even when pregnant if something needs lifting, I’m your girl”.
Another mum, Emma said she continued to be vegan whilst breastfeeding and had a wonderful pregnancy with no issues whatsoever.
“I wasn’t sick once, I had no cravings, I felt great the whole time, had energy, my skin was the best it’s ever been and I continued to work-out throughout the entire pregnancy. Postpartum I was told I had great colostrum, since my baby only lost 70g initially and I had a plentiful supply of milk, the health visitor actually said I had too much!”
Emma, new mum
What do health professionals think of pregnant women following vegan diets?
All of the new mums I spoke to remarked on how compassionate and empathetic their health care teams were of their vegan food choices. None of them was pressured or advised to eat animal products, including the women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Emma: “I didn’t tell my midwife that I was vegan because I expected a negative response which I didn’t want to deal with at that time. However, in hospital (after the birth) the team were very supportive in providing me with decent vegan food to eat.”
If you are vegan or vegetarian, don’t let the myth that you need animal products during your pregnancy put you off sticking to your plant-based diet. Eating a healthy and balanced vegan diet during your pregnancy can be good for you and your baby – and as long as there aren’t any vegan foods that are on the ‘no go’ list during your pregnancy, you won’t have to give anything up either.
This is a contribution post from guest writer, Louise Palmer-Masterton – founder of multiple award-winning restaurants Stem & Glory.
A contribution post by Sid Madge, author of the ‘Meee in a minute’ series of books
Goodness, 2020 has been a challenge so far. Both kids and parents have had a huge amount to contend with. It seems realistic to assume that we will be living with Covid-19 for some time to come. So, what do you and your family do to handle the rest of the year and enjoy the very best you can from it?
Here are three ideas to help you…
1) Developing Your Innate Growth Mindset
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck became obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures and setbacks. Initially her research looked at kids and how they reacted to puzzles they couldn’t solve. She found was that children, especially young children didn’t even consider not being able to solve the puzzle as a failure in the first place. It was just a game – a fun challenge. The outcome of Dweck’s research is now world famous and she proposes that our success and happiness in life comes down to one thing – mindset. According to Dweck there are only two – fixed and growth.
Those with a fixed mindset, have a fixed idea of what they are capable of, believing that what they are born with is the finish line. They tend to be more defeatist. Those with a growth mindset believe that what we are born with is just the beginning. What we are capable of is not determined by anything other than our own aspirations, effort and determination.
Interestingly, Dweck believes we are all born with a growth mindset. We get trained out of it by schools, social expectations etc. We’re taught that failure is unacceptable – even though all great success comes through failure not by avoiding it. If ever we needed to re-assess that growth mindset it’s now.
Take a minute to consider whether you have a fixed or growth mindset? Has Covid-19 made it more fixed as you sink into a gloom? If you imagine you had a growth mindset instead – what would you do? Looking at your life, your family and the rest of 2020 – what could you try? What have you always thought of doing but never got around to it? Lean into the uncertainty and adapt. Use it as a springboard to try things you’ve been putting off. Stay curious, flexible, and open.
2) Changing Today to Change Your Future
What have you done today? Is that getting you closer to your family and life goals or further away? If you want a different tomorrow so you find a successful way through the pandemic, you need to take steps to change what you do today.
Stop for a moment and reflect on how you spend your time. When did you get up this morning? How much time do you spend on social media? How much time do you spend learning something new? Do you spend time with friends? Are those exchanges enjoyable or stressful? How much time do you spend on your health?
Take a minute to draw a circle and divide it up into slices that represent how you spend your time during a typical day. Now draw another circle and divide it up to represent how you would like to spend your day. Identify the things you like or can live with and the things that you don’t like and can’t live with. How can you change the aspects of your day that bring you down?
Often, we don’t need to make big sweeping changes. Subtle little shifts can accumulate to bring about change.
3) Responding to Stressful Times
In 1967 psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed a list of 47 stressful events that could impact health and happiness. The assumption is logical – start accumulating stressful experiences such as a job loss, illness or divorce and you are more susceptible to physical illness, disease and depression. Global pandemics and economic uncertainty don’t help either.
However, the fly in their theoretical ointment was the fact that not everyone who experienced really tough life events were negatively impacted by them. On the contrary, some of those people actively flourished. This field of study is called post traumatic growth or adversarial growth and studies have shown that great suffering or trauma can actually lead to huge positive change. For example, after the Madrid bombings of 2004 psychologists found that many of those affected experienced positive psychological growth.
The people in many of these studies found new meaning and new purpose from surviving something terrible. Instead of seeing their situation as a failure or a problem they believed it will make them stronger. How can you use Covid-19 in the last months of 2020 to find new meaning and positive growth?
Take a minute to think about exactly what you are worried about most in your life and identify one thing you can do about it right now. Set that in motion. What positives could you pull from the turmoil? Get creative – think of at least three positives that Covid-19 could give you and your family. It might not be fun but if you can find the silver linings you can often move on quicker.
These suggestions are pulled from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work. As parents we can adapt and help our kids and other family members along the way. I hope the ideas above will contribute to you getting the most your can from the final weeks of 2020.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.
One of the most crucial life skills is learning how to communicate. Research shows that children with effective communication skills have a better chance of fitting in the community than their peers. They also learn better and are able to cope with stressful situations. Going through communication kids training can help improve your child’s personal development.
Communication is fundamental to kids’ development. It directly impacts your kid’s progress, more so in the information age. According to studies, effective communicators are more successful in life than those who aren’t. Now that you’re at home with your little one all day and night, you need to improve your responsiveness and look for communication games that you can participate in to stimulate their development.
We’re going to discuss some fun games you can engage in to build your kids’ communication skills interactively. You can also check must-have baby items for fun games to help you teach your kids to express themselves better. Let’s dive in.
1. The Telephone Game
This is a fun-filled game for children of all ages. And no doubt you’ll enjoy the game too. If there are not many children around, you can include other adults in the house to engage in these communication activities for kids. To play the game, have everyone participating sit close together to make whispering easy. Start with the child and whisper a simple message in their ear, then ask them to repeat the same message to the participant on their right. Make sure every participant gets a chance and make the messages complex as you continue with the game. This old school game is an entertaining way to develop your kid’s listening skills.
2. Show and Tell
This is one of the most interesting communication games for kids. It fosters confidence, eloquence, and vocabulary. Ask your little one to speak five lines and exhibit an item related to your topic of choice such as a favorite toy or meal.
3. Emotional Charades
Do you know some people struggle with understanding facial expressions? You wouldn’t want the same for your child. This is one of the communication skills activities for kids that helps them understand facial expressions. They also read body posture and signals that are a huge part of communication. You can write a few things on cards and hand them out, asking your child to depict the indicated emotion. It could be anger, sadness, or boredom. You can reverse the game and ask your kid to draw emotions that they experience daily.
Talking about emotional development, we need to mention that animal communication for kids is necessary to improve their empathy and respect for every living being.
4. Pointing Directions
Using communication worksheets for kids can enable your child to improve their written communication. It also helps them in successful navigation. Have your kid write down directions to a nearby place. Once that happens, start the journey with them towards that location. You can make suggestions on what they should have included.
You can use communication devices for kids to create a presentation. Inform your child that they’ll make a presentation in front of an audience. Topics could be about anything; for instance, a simple poem about something they love. This teaches your little one to present them and can be done with kids of all ages. Research shows that people who are comfortable speaking in public make more money and become more successful than their less eloquent peers.
6. Identify the Object
You probably played this game when you were a kid. If not, here’s how to do it. You can have a few kids around and blindfold one. The others will choose an item that can be described easily. They should take turns describing a feature of the item for identification. They can also take turns with the blindfold. This effectively helps them learn essential skills for communication with kids.
7. Storytelling Using Pictures
You know this by now that kids love telling stories. Here, you present your kid with pictures and ask them to arrange all the photos in a way they tell a story. Using one picture and asking your child to describe what he sees is an exciting game that improves communication for kids.
Unrehearsed speech is a vital activity that aids your child with communication. It sharpens their public speaking ability, improves how fast they think, articulate, and organize thoughts. This is one of the most popular communication kids’ activities to build both their quick-thinking skills and public speaking ability.
9. Change the Leader
This game helps your child recognize and identify body language. Here, you choose one child to perform a few actions, such as stomping their feet, jumping, or clapping. The other kids repeat this action. Through smiling or winking, your little one can choose another child to become the leader and keep the game going.
10. 20 Questions
Does your child struggle to ask questions? This is an excellent game to build this skill. Gather some kids—the more, the merrier. Here, children can stand in a circle with one at the center. The kid at the center will think of a place, and the others have to ask a set of questions to determine what he thought about. The child at the center responds with a yes or no to the questions. If the group fails to guess correctly, the child wins. Simple and fun, right?
When it comes to communication definition for kids, there are many ways to look at it. However, at the end of the day, you want to have a well-adjusted child able to communicate effectively. Playing games such as pointing directions, presentation, show and tell, using pictures to tell stories, or the telephone game can lay the correct foundation for building essential communication skills. Write to us and let us know about the games that you have been playing and how they’ve improved your kid’s communication skills.
Guest Post by Amalia Liberman
This is a contribution post written by guest writer. Amalia is a wife and a mother of two as well as a novelist and writer, the author has been featured in Women’s Health magazine and also written different articles in lifestyle magazines. Her passions lead her to search out knowledge with all her searching and she doesn’t mind sharing her findings.
Sheffield-based company, Twinkl Educational Publishing has just released an e-book which focuses on the experiences that children may have faced during the lockdown and the emotions they may experience when returning to school next month.
The free e-book called In It Together is aimed at children aged 5-7 years and introduces four characters who demonstrate how their life changed due to the school closures. The simple text and child-friendly illustrations show how the characters lived, learned and loved during the lockdown. They are seen practising social distancing, learning from home, clapping for carers, and missing their friends and family.
The Twinkl team understood that returning to school after lockdown would be a challenging and emotional time for all children. According to Barnardos, 88% of school staff said the pandemic is likely to have a signigicant effect on the mental health and well-being of their pupils.
Photo: Taylor Wilcox via Unsplash
A number of concerned parents and carers had also reached out to Twinkl through its social media groups and customer support, asking for resources to support their children or pupil’s return to class.
Twinkl encourages parents, carers and teachers to use the story to talk to children about COVID-19 and going back to school. The company also offers further free resources and advice on its site. The Twinkl Originals book was written, illustrated, designed and published in a matter of weeks as the team recognised the need to support children as schools re-opened in stages on the 1st June. The children’s story is available (for free) on the Twinkl website and the Twinkl Originals app, which is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
There is also a reading of the book from a former teacher and team member at Twinkl, available on their YouTube channel. Jonathan Seaton, Co-Founder and CEO at Twinkl, said: “At Twinkl, we understand how extremely challenging the current situation is for parents, teachers and children. We wanted to create a story targeted at young children to support them with their return to school. The team have worked incredibly hard to produce a story which allows children to talk openly about their concerns. We hope that it will encourage conversations and be useful to people at this time.”
Katherine Richardson – a parent and reader said:
“It helped my daughter to show empathy for other children’s circumstances during lockdown and how they might be different to hers. It has given her the reassurance she needed for the next step of this journey.”
Twinkl’s mission is to help those who teach and the company offers over 640,000 teaching and learning materials on its website. All of which, are teacher created and checked. The company has recently created a free Home Learning Hub, full of daily activities and materials, to support parents, teachers and carers during these difficult times. You can access your free account by signing up on their website.
This post has been adapted from a Press Release extract
Last week was the week of National Breastfeeding Week. It’s been sooo long since I’ve breastfed but can still remember the anxiety that it gave me both times. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with breastfeeding in public, it should be more encouraged but it’s the not-knowing of how other people might take it but you know what? SOD THEM!
Do what you need to do. Feed your baby, don’t feel ashamed to do your duty.
While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a baby, many mothers feel nervous about doing it in public. A recent study by breastfeeding company, Lansinoh (who’s been supporting breastfeeding mums for over 35 years!), found that three quarters of mums feel more cautious about breastfeeding in public, as a direct result of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions.
To help all new mums feel more confident about breastfeeding in public post-lockdown, Lansinoh teamed up with midwife and antenatal educator, Marley Hall, who shares her top tips for new mums:
Tip #1 – Go out with a breastfeeding mum
With lockdown measures easing slightly more, you can now meet up with several people outside your household so why not go out with a friend who is also breastfeeding? As the saying goes, there’s ‘safety in numbers’, and having another breastfeeding mum with you can help to give you the confidence to feed your little one in public for the first time.
Alternatively, if you don’t have any breastfeeding friends living nearby why not visit a baby-friendly café, where there’s more chance of being around other breastfeeding mums. There are also local NCT baby groups that you could join – check out your local community to see if there is one near you.
Tip #2. Know your rights
Many new mums who have given birth in the months since March will have never breastfed their child in public before. So it’s important to know your rights. The UK law gives mums the right to breastfeed their babies in any public place, such as shops, hotels and restaurants. You are also covered by the law to feed in cinemas, theatres, petrol stations, and hospitals.
While it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will question you for breastfeeding your child in public, this can often be a cause of worry for new mums who have yet to breastfeed in public, so it might be worthwhile to have a response prepared should the situation arise.
Tip #3. Plan your outfit beforehand
Make sure your clothing is as comfortable as possible, whilst also being easily accessible. Planning your outfit beforehand can make breastfeeding in public much more convenient, and also a lot more discrete for any mums feeling slightly nervous.
You don’t need to splash out on a new wardrobe either – you’ll most likely already have items in your wardrobe that will come in handy, such as tops and dresses with buttons or zips, wrap cardigans and stretchy tops, which you can easily pull down and back up again. A good breastfeeding bra with clips can also help to make breastfeeding easier.
My Emma Jane nursing bra was one of the best investments I gave myself as a new mum. It was super comfy, affordable and had those magical clips to make breastfeeding life easier. If you want a prettier style, these brands do some seriously nice nursing bras that can even match your outfit of the day.
4. Make sure to have a drink on hand
When you are out and about, ensure you have a drink and snacks handy. Breastfeeding can be thirsty work and there’s nothing worse than being thirsty or hungry when not in close proximity to a shop. It’s also very easy for both mum and baby to become dehydrated especially in the hotter, humid summer months so have a bottle in your bag.
If you want to be a little fancy, you can infuse your water with lemon slices and mint for a light refreshing taste. The smell of fresh mint too is delicious!
5. Focus on enjoying the moment
You might be surprised to hear that most people don’t notice when a mum is feeding her baby at all but, if you notice someone watching you feed, try not to worry or feel uncomfortable. It’s most likely they are simply intrigued by what you are doing. Just try to continue to focus on feeding your baby and enjoy the moment with your little one.
If you think you will still feel uncomfortable, bring a spare muslin cloth with you and throw it over your shoulder as you’re feeding to give you and baby a little more privacy. There are also cool nursing covers that you can buy – they look like an apron and you just put it on over your neck and there’s plenty of breathing space for baby to feed comfortably underneath. Do be aware with either of these things on a windy day as they can easily blow around.
Feeding baby in a sling is also another method but you’ll have to make sure you follow Tip #3.
Practice makes progress!
A good latch is vital for achieving a smooth breastfeeding experience, and this comes down to practise. Finding a comfortable position for both you and your baby will help to ensure that they are getting enough breast milk and prevent you from developing sore nipples. If you do have sore or cracked nipples lanolin cream is one of the best things you can put on. Lansinoh’s nipple cream is amazing and one of my top 5 breastfeeding products I couldn’t live without.
Some mums prefer to raise their baby to breast height, whilst other mums prefer to hold their babies diagonally across their bodies. To make sure that you feel comfortable and familiar with getting into position in public, make sure to try out a few positions at home and practice until you find the position that works best for you.
Forget the time-outs and the naughty step, many British parents are giving in to their child/children’s every whim during the lockdown and the repercussions could cause detrimental consequences for their health.
Did you know that…
• 1.9 million children at risk of obesity due to lockdown eating habits
• One third of UK children overweight or obese
• 97% of UK children at home during lockdown
• 45% of parents are being pestered for sugary snacks by children
Before the pandemic hit, one third of children in the UK, aged between two and fifteen were classed as overweight or obese, with the health crisis costing the NHS £6.1 billion per year. A recent study also showed that 45% of British parents were being overthrown with requests from their children for sugar-filled snacks and drinks whilst stuck at home during the lockdown.
Parents fight an ongoing battle between working-from-home, homeschooling and good parenting. Sometimes, it becomes easier to compromise on the little things help to offer some relief for the other things. So the children learn to use this to their advantage and get that sugary treat whenever they felt like it. Some parents might even do it out of guilt – feeling like they’ve subjected their children to these harsh times so a treat can help keep them happy and positive.
With around 4.5 million children in the UK – 97% of those were cooped up at home during the lockdown. We were one of those families – our children didn’t go out at all during the lockdown but since the easing, we’ve been able to get out and about a little bit more. We don’t always treat the kids to sugary snacks, sweets or drinks but can definitely agree that we have been giving them it more often post-lockdown compared to before.
The NHS could well see a spike in obesity in the next few years to come. Wayne Starkey, CEO and Co-Founder of healthy food and drink brand, The Skinny Food Co, said: Sugar can have detrimental short and long term effects on our children, from mood swings and anxiety, to depression, tooth decay and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
“As a Dad myself, I understand how difficult it can be to change bad eating habits once they start, so opting for healthier alternatives is a much easier way to limit high calorie snacking for everyone in your household.”
The Skinny Food Co is a food and drink brand dedicated to zero calorie sauces, syrups and healthy snacking options. They also offer Free-from food and snacks including sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, protein-heavy, diabetic-friendly and keto-friendly.
Best ways to AVOID consuming high sugars:
Eat the fresh fruit whole and cut down/avoid eating too much dried fruit
Avoid juicing as you don’t gain any nutritional intake, only sugars
If you make smoothies, include the whole fruit to make use of the pulp and flesh and add in a variety of vegetables for nutritious smoothie, a fruit-only smoothie is not ideal as it can be high in sugars
Eat high-sugar fruits like bananas, oranges and melons when they’re just ripe. Over-ripe fruits have a very high sugar content
Avoid or at least limit sugary drinks, foods and snacks – if you might, opt for sugar-free or low-calorie alternatives
For the full range from The Skinny Food Co, to place orders or for more details, visit www.theskinnyfoodco.com, alternatively pop into your local Morrisons, Holland & Barrett, Co-Op and Spar stores.
The kids love reading but it’s been a while since we sat down together and read a good book. Our lastest book that we read together was “The squirrels who squabbled“ by Rachel Bright which is such a funny little story about two squirrel friends fighting over the last nut. They both end up in a difficult situation and need each other’s help to get out of it. In the end they’re able to laugh about it with each other.
Peppa loves Doctors and Nurses book
Publishing house, Ladybird have recently launched a new Peppa Pig picture book called Peppa Loves Doctors and Nurses to help children understand about health and hygiene a little better. In the book, it’s ‘People Who Help Us’ day at Peppa’s playgroup and the children receive a special visit from Dr Brown Bear and Nurse Fox. Peppa and the playgroup learn the importance of washing hands, staying healthy and experience the brilliant work done by all doctors and nurses.
Children have been picking up on the stress, anxiety and challenges faced by their parents and people all over the world. From dealing with the stresses of working-from-home, redundancy or unemployment it’s a very difficult time for parents. However, with school closures, social distancing rules and the uncertainty of the world’s situation, children are also facing their own difficult battles.
It’s not always easy to talk to your child/children about the pandemic, the uncertain times we’re in and general health hygiene so this book might be an excellent conversation starter for you or anyone who looks after, or cares for child/children. It gives you a chance to speak to them about the changes in the world around them in a light, positive, caring and reassuring way.
Peppa Pig Doctors & Nurses Book Giveaway!
ONE lucky winner will get their hands on the new Peppa Pig loves Doctors and Nurses book. If you want to be in with a chance of winning, simply click on the button below to head over to Rafflecopter website to enter.*
For more UK giveaways, I’ve linked up with SuperLucky.me
*This competition has now closed.
If you missed the giveaway, you can purchase your own copy of the book on Amazon, Waterstones and other leading bookseller stores.
10% of the RRP print sales go directly to The Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, run by NHS Charities Together (reg charity no. 1186569).