I love babywearing, well, I guess I should call it toddlerwearing now as Alex is definitely not a baby anymore. I was ignorant to how useful wearing your baby in a sling is when I had my first child, I was part of the naïve ‘you’ll make a rod for your own back’ camp. I know, I was stupid. Babywearing does the complete opposite, your life as a mum isn’t hindered by carrying your baby in a sling, it all becomes so much easier! Don’t believe me? Well, here’s a list of five things that are so much easier thanks to babywearing. View Post
Something happened this afternoon that made me stop and question how well I am actually doing at teaching my four year old about life. I am always trying to educate and encourage good morals and values in my children, I want them to grow up into kind and respectful adults and I know it’s mine and their dads job to make that happen. I’ve fallen short though, completely unintentionally, I have failed to educate my child about race.
This afternoon Leo was watching Go Jetters after school (that Cbeebies programme with the theme tune that gets stuck in your head for days) and he made a comment about one of the characters. This is how our conversation unfolded –
Leo: Mummy, Grand Master Glitch is brown.
Me: Yup, he is. What do you think about that?
Leo: I think it makes him weird.
Me: (slightly horrified) Why?! Why would the colour of his skin make him weird?
Leo: Because he looks different and that’s weird.
Me: (despairing to myself) Different doesn’t mean weird. You have blonde hair and mine is brown, does that mean I’m weird?
Me: Our eyes are blue but some people’s are green, does that make them weird?
Me: So, the little boy in your class who has brown skin, what do you think of him?
Leo: He’s weird.
Leo: Because he looks weird.
Ahh! It’s safe to say by the end of the conversation I was trying to calm down the voice in my head that was telling me I am raising a racist child. Obviously this isn’t the case, Leo is only four and just starting to really get a grasp of the world and all the people that live in it but I can’t help but wonder where this assumption that people who look different are weird has come from? I have certainly never said anything like that, neither has his Dad or any of our friends and family as far as I am aware. Has he heard something at school or is it just him starting to notice these sort of differences and just assuming different means something negative?
I have to admit, my friendship group isn’t very diverse. I can count on one hand the amount of friends I have who are not white and British, that’s not because I have any issue with those who aren’t, it’s just how it is. My family are all white and British, as are Oli’s and Leo has never really been around anyone from a different ethnic background before. We don’t really have conversations about race and that isn’t because I have been avoiding the topic, it is just up until recently I haven’t really had any reason to bring it up. I hope what I am about to say doesn’t get misconstrued or offend anyone but race is such a non issue for me, I mean that in the nicest way possible. I will treat everyone the same, I like or dislike you because of your personality, the colour of your skin does not play even the smallest role in how I form an opinion of someone. I have been foolish though, just because I see everyone on this earth as ‘human’ and not white/black/Asian etc doesn’t mean I don’t still need to teach my children to share this same outlook.
I’ve not been burying my head in the sand about this somewhat hard to explain life lesson, I have just been ignorant to how important it is to have these conversations even with very young children. I would be absolutely mortified if I picked Leo up from school tomorrow and his teacher told me he had called one of his classmates weird, purely because their skin is a different colour to his. I told Leo he is never to be nasty to someone just because they look different and he says he understands but it just worries me that those thoughts that different skin = weird were even there in the first place.
Trying to navigate the often highly emotive and easily misconstrued conversations around race can be really difficult, even when you are trying to talk about it with other adults. so trying to teach a four year old about it isn’t always as easy as using an analogy about different hair and eye colours. I turned to the blogging world for advice on how to talk to your children about race and here is a list of their really useful tips.
How to talk to your child about race.
Hold you arm up next to your child’s and point out that no skin tones are the same colour, some are darker some are fairer but everyone is beautiful and worthy of respect. – A Slummy Mummy
Print off images of different faces and make up stories with 2 or 3 at a time where the people are saving / helping / educating him. Magical etc. So he learns to see and value the person and not just the face. – Our altered life
Read lots of books with a range of people ages/abilities/ethnicities, sexual orientation etc and in so doing show your child the huge beautiful diversity of the people who populate our world. – Simple parenting
I would encourage kids programmes or videos where there is a mix of different races in one family or group of friends – My bump2baby
I have had a chat with my eldest about this in the past. I have explained that people come in all different shapes, sizes and colours, but underneath it we are all human, & it’s personality that counts. I am trying to reinforce this in relation to awareness of any physical difference so that my kids understand that it’s not about what you look like, but who you are and how you behave. – The Mum Conundrum
We’ve been reading the Oliver Jeffers book ‘Here We Are’ its a beautiful book with a beautifully simple message about how everyone looks different and sounds different but we are all people living on one tiny planet so we need look after each other and the planet. – Sinead Latham
My son shouted out ‘look at that black man’ on the train when he was 3. I had a big chat with him about how he wouldn’t feel comfortable with being made to feel different by him pointing out something that doesn’t need to be pointed out. Skin colour is just that and it makes people no different to us so that we have to point them out as different. He hasn’t done it since and when he talks about his coloured friends now he honestly sees them as no different to him. I stress that we must treat everyone as an equal no matter what their colour and that their race and colour doesn’t make them different as we are all human beings. – Our bucket list lives
Its really tricky to get the terminology right as what is and isn’t acceptable changes all the time. I have used the term mixed race to explain how HE (my three year old) can describe someone if he is talking about them to me and I make a big point of making sure we talk about similarities– lots of things we have the same as well as things that are different. – Arthur Wears
There are so many really good tips here, I am definitely going to start having more conversations about race with Leo and I would love for him to get to the point where he sees each and everyone of us as human and deserving of the same love, respect and treatment as people who have white skin like him. Go Jetters may be a seriously annoying TV show but it has helped me see that I need to start talking about the big issues with my little one and, for that reason, I will always be thankful to Grand Master Glitch.
Do you have conversations with your children about race? Got any advice you would like to share for parents like me whose children have started to notice that we don’t all look the same? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Last year Rhossili bay was voted as the best beach in Europe and my family and I are lucky to have this gorgeous sandy beach right on our doorstep (well, almost). Since moving back to Swansea we have spent loads of time at the seaside and exploring the Gower peninsula, this is where you can find the idyllic Rhossili bay. It may be breathtakingly beautiful, but is Rhossili family friendly? In this first post in my ‘Exploring Swansea with kids‘ series, I am going to share all my local knowledge of different places we have visited in and around Swansea so if you are planning a family holiday here, you will know where to take the little ones for a day of fun. View Post
I’m back! It feels like forever since I last hosted the #BlogCrush blogger link up, I have moved house and things have been CRAZY!
Alice and Lucy have done an amazing job (as always) as hosts and I am very sad to report that Alice will no longer be co hosting the linky. Lucy is on the look out for a new co host but I am still going to be here, reading, commenting and sharing all your posts once a month.
I hope you are all well and I am looking forward to seeing all the blogs you have been enjoying recently and reading your fabulous content.
Today, I have to decided to write a post not for my usual demographic. This post is not here to offer advice and solidarity to other parents as is the norm here at Naptime Natter. Child free parents, I am speaking to you. Have you got babies on the brain? Maybe you are trying to conceive or are already expecting your first ever little bundle of joy, I am here to offer you a friendly reminder to start appreciating what you now probably consider ‘the little things’. Once your gorgeous baby comes along, all these day to day activities will suddenly not be as simple as they once were and when you hear parents say things like ‘going to Tesco on my own feels like a spa day’, they are not being dramatic, it’s the truth. Don’t think of this post as a mum moaning about life with kids, think of it more as a bucket list of things to enjoy now while you still have the chance. I love my kids but, I am not going to lie to you, it would be nice to not have to use the toilet with my little ones either watching or sat on my knee. View Post
Want to hear something a bit ridiculous? I have 3756 photos on my iPhone, I have only owned this phone since September 2017. I have snapped almost 4000 photos in just 8 months, that’s insane. Out of all those photos though, I probably only have 200 printed, 200 physical copies I can hold in my hands, store in family albums or frame and display proudly on the walls of my home. View Post
We’ve moved house! It has all been a bit crazy, what with packing up a million boxes while my kids try an unpack them at the same time, and I haven’t got around to sharing our news on the blog. We have moved back to Swansea, after 2 and half years away from here it feels so good to be home. Although we are all so excited to be back living by the sea and closer to family, Leo is a little bit nervous and sad as he will be starting a new primary school very soon. It was very hard saying goodbye to his old school, it really was a lovely little infant school, the staff were amazing and Leo had a great group of friends that he is missing loads already. We are currently waiting to hear back from the council to find out where Leo will be placed, in the meantime I am doing all I can to prepare my little boy for starting a new school. I want the transition to go as smoothly as possible and I have asked some fellow bloggers to share their tips with me on how to help your child settle in to a new school. If you are in a similar situation, I hope you find this post helpful and I am wishing you and your little one lots of good luck with the move. View Post
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, a week for open and honest discussions about mental health. I have said this a million times but the only way we can make those of us struggling with mental health issues feel more comfortable and confident to seek help and support is by talking openly about our own struggles; normalizing an issue is the best way to help break the stigmas that surround it.
If you read my blog regularly then you will know that I am currently taking anti depressants to treat my post natal depression and perinatal anxiety, something I was at first very nervous to admit. When a loved one or friend is struggling with depression it can be difficult to know what to say and sometimes you may say something in kindness but actually your words can have the opposite effect. For mental health awareness week I have decided to share a list of things not to say to someone struggling with depression, not to make anyone feel bad who may have made these comments in the past but to help those who know someone with depression to not end up accidentally hurting them further. View Post
Taking the kids to the cinema can be a bit hit or miss can’t it? Especially taking a toddler under two, they are unpredictable at the best of times, let alone in a darkened cinema room, with a big screen, booming sound and loads of people about for your little cherub to throw popcorn at. We have been taking Leo to the cinema since he was about 20months old and he loves it. Alex is 18months and he is more into the whole popcorn throwing thing than watching the film but I think he enjoys it too. We were invited to a preview screening of Sherlock Gnomes at Showcase de Lux in Southampton and we actually managed to all have a really lovely family trip to the cinema and I definitely think the cinema itself and the film we watched were key in making or day out such a success. If you are planning on taking your kids to the cinema for this first time soon, here are my top tips for taking young children and toddlers to the cinema, along with my thoughts on the Showcase de Lux cinema and Sherlock Gnomes. Spoiler alert: We loved it all! View Post
It is hard to watch the ones we love in pain, isn’t it? When a loved one is hurt, physically hurt, sometimes there is nothing we can do but more often than not there are practical steps we can take to help them to feel better. If your baby is teething you can give them some calpol to ease their pain, if your toddler has cut their knee you can clean it up, pop on a plaster and seal it with a magical mummy kiss. When someone we care about is struggling with their mental health, when they are in pain but we can not see the cause, it can be really hard to know how to help them. Post natal depression is awful, in fact, it’s agonising. When you want nothing more than to be happy and enjoy your baby but your brain has other ideas? Well, it is a really painful time for mums but also for their family too. If you have a wife, sister, friend (or any other mum in your life) that is having mental health struggles , here is a list of things you can do to help a mum struggling with post natal depression. These things are simple yet effective and it is often the smallest things that can help mums going through depression the most. View Post
Starting primary school, it’s probably one of the biggest milestones for parents and their little ones. Leo started school last September and the day he first tentatively stepped foot in to the classroom was the day our lives completely changed forever. School is, obviously, an essential and necessary part of every child’s childhood but for all the amazing things that an education brings, school life also restricts your family life to a certain degree too. Now Leo is in the classroom five days a week, there is a long list of things that we can no longer do and enjoy together and there are some things I wish we had done more of before his life as a schoolkid began.
If you have recently found out your child’s school place and feel like you are too scared to blink because you’re worried September will be here when you open your eyes and you’ll be waving your child goodbye as they take their first nervous step into school, wearing their brand new shiny shoes and oversized uniform, then this post is for you. I know parenting a three/four year old is hard and there may be lots of times you are desperate for a break from parenting. I am not telling you to cherish every moment of these next few months before school begins but there are definitely some things you should make the most of while you can. View Post
When Leo was two he was obsessed with Thomas the Tank, I mean ob-sessed! His bedroom is still full of various bits of track, he has about five little Thomas trains and a James, Gordon, Harold the helicopter, Percy and, well, you know all the rest right? We took Leo on a Day out with Thomas at Eastleigh miniature railway when he was two and he loved it so when we were invited along to go for another Day out with Thomas, this time along the Watercress Line, I knew my Thomas super fan would be desperate to go. Last week, during the Easter holidays and on the sunniest day Hampshire had been blessed with in months, Leo and I headed out for a Day out with Thomas, singing the theme tune the whole way there in the car. View Post
If there is one thing all parents are obsessed with, it is getting our kids to go to sleep. My main concern when I had Leo 4 years ago was how on earth was I going to get my baby to have a good nights sleep so we could both get some much needed rest. Struggling to get your little ones off to the land of nod and then actually getting a decent stretch of sleep once they finally drop off is one of the biggest challenges faced by parents and is something we are all keen to find a solution for. Well, I have two kids now and I have been using a very simple routine at bedtime ever since Leo was 6 weeks old and, I am pleased to report, it really works. The bedtime routine we use with our toddler and four year old is bath, book, bed. Jo Frost and Book Trust have teamed up together for the third year running to share tips and advice on the best bedtime routine with their successful Beth, Book, Bed campaign. A good bedtime routine really is the key to a successful nights sleep, here are my tips along with some great information from the Bath, Book, Bed campaign to help you are your little ones have a happy bedtime and a peaceful nights sleep. View Post
Hey there lovely bloggers! Welcome back to another week of #BlogCrush, I have had a manic week with Leo being off school for Easter and that is why I am soo late getting this post written – school holidays have a lot to answer for!
I hope you all had a wonderful week and had a great Easter. I probably ate atleast six eggs so I am on a serious chocolate detox for the next few weeks.
Thanks for stopping by and if you are new to #BlogCrush, please be sure to check out the rules before linking up. I am looking forward to reading all your posts this week.
Happy linking! View Post
Guess what? I have now been blogging for three whole years! Just like I say every time one of my kids has a birthday, how does the time go so fast? Three years ago, I put 19 month old Leo down for his nap and felt that all too familiar loneliness and boredom begin to creep in. Leo always napped for at least 2 hours every day and it meant that I spent most afternoons trapped in the house while he snoozed away up in his cot. I used to fill that time with housework, watching TV and baking but as the months went on I had started to dread naptime. I do enjoy time to myself but I could feel my brain starting to turn to mush due to the monotony of stay at home mum life. I needed a new project, something new to learn and help reignite my creative side. I wanted to do something in those hours every afternoon that stopped me feeling so bored and alone. That project was this little blog of mine and when I typed out my first ever post I had no idea I would still be writing it three years down the line and that it would become such a huge part of my life. View Post