time flies when you're being a mum

Time to Learn

This category is all about learning and development and things to trying with your baby or toddler. I’m learning too so if you have any suggestions, send them my way.


Cooking with toddlers

Oct
02nd
2014

Pea and Sweetcorn mini omelettes

02 Oct, 2014

So, Reuben is a fussy eater. He likes a few set meals and while his diet is balanced, it’s not what you would call varied! A good while ago I read nearly every post on a site called Your Kids Table, in which the author and Paediatric occupational therapist, Alisha, discussed what to do if you think your child won’t eat certain foods because they don’t like the texture. Apparently sensory activities are great for this and can dramatically improve what your child will eat. She has handily put together this fab post full of sensory bin ideas, and we have been starting small (and slow because there aren’t enough hours in the day!). Today I’m sharing a part sensory, part cooking experiment I did with Reuben a few weeks ago…I call it cooking with toddlers, but really this was more about learning through play than eating!

Cooking with Toddlers – Pea and Sweetcorn mini omelettes

1. Firstly, I gave Reuben a bowl of frozen peas (nice and cold sensory explosion!), a bowl of sweetcorn, a spoon and a mixing jug. I let him explore without interfering and the first thing he did was stick his hand into the peas and gives one a try. *punches air* Progress already!

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

This is a bit cold!

2. He then went about moving the peas, first with the spoon and then he just tipped the whole lot into the jug.

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

3. On to the sweetcorn – look at the lovely mix of colours! He didn’t want to touch or try the sweetcorn, but that’s OK, all in good time. He enjoyed having a mix and making a mess!

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

4. Then once he had made a good ol’ mess, we scooped everything up (the surfaces and his hands were clean!) into a bowl and cracked in some eggs. At this point I encouraged him to mix with the fork and kept an eye on him to make sure he didn’t put it in his mouth.

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

5. Then we cooked the mixture. Now this was the tricky bit, hence no photos, but I really wanted him to see how it went from a runny mess into little omelettes. I spooned some mixture into the pan but was very careful to keep him away from the heat. He was genuinely interested to see what was going on! Then once the mini omelettes had cooled a little, we sat at the table and he tried some. He didn’t eat it all or even much more than a mouthful but hands down, there is no way he would have tried some if he hadn’t been so involved…

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

So, a little success with our first attempt at cooking with toddlers. I find that it’s quite difficult to think of other things we could make together.

Do you do any cooking with toddlers? What recipes would you recommend?

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below and feel free to link to any posts you’ve done about it!

Jane Hissey // Word up

Sep
25th
2014

25 Sep, 2014

Around about this time last year we were sent two books by the author, Jane Hissey, and I’ve been in love with her stories since! So, in light of the fact that we have her latest book to review, I felt it ideal for today’s Word Up to feature this wonderful author.

Word Up! Jane Hissey is my featured author today - click here for a review of her latest children's book, Ruby and the Naughty Cats: http://mumsdays.com/jane-hissey-word-up/

Jane is probably most famous for her Old Bear stories, which were around when I was little. But, these new stories about Ruby are also lovely. I love the rhyming, I love the imagery and I love the gorgeous hand-painted illustrations. It’s nostalgic but new. And best of all, even though I thought it would only appeal to Gabby (my preconception is that they are girlie, perhaps because I loved Old Bear as a child!), Reuben also loves these stories and as a 14/15 month old, Ruby, Blanket and Blue was the first long story he engaged with.

Jane Hissey – Ruby, Blue and Blanket

This book is so powerful on so many levels. It is a story of 3 friends who playing dressing up…but Ruby can’t decide who she wants to be so she tries everything! I did a review this book and Old Bear last year with Gabby and Reuben but I feel like I’ve got more to say on it, so bare with me!

Word Up! Jane Hissey is my featured author today - click here for a review of her latest children's book, Ruby and the Naughty Cats: http://mumsdays.com/jane-hissey-word-up/

Reviewing Ruby, Blanket and Blue last year

I have pretty much memorised the book, which seems so much easier when the tale rhymes…Reuben loves when Ruby dresses up as a ghost, so I will recite it back to him if a tantrum is imminent!

“I would be all shapeless and floaty and white,

And tiptoe around in my sheet in the night.

And if anyone said, ‘Are ghosts really true?’

I’d jump out and surprise them by bellowing…

Boo!”

So, a good story for Halloween too!

It has travelled the world with us and soothed a tired toddler on planes, a cold toddler after swimming and even a grumpy toddler who doesn’t want his nappy changed.

So, yes, I love this book… How does the new one compare?

Jane Hissey – Ruby and the Naughty Cats

Word Up! Jane Hissey is my featured author today - click here for a review of her latest children's book, Ruby and the Naughty Cats: http://mumsdays.com/jane-hissey-word-up/

Bed head: We like to read in our pyjamas after breakfast!

The latest story, Ruby and the Naughty Cats, is everything Reuben would want from a story; naughtiness in many different ways! There are also things with wheels, big tick, cake, bigger tick, painting, balloons, bubbles, mess and sleep. It’s just a lovely bunch of things that Reuben is really interested in at the moment, so it’s perfect for toddlers to engage with.

Word Up! Jane Hissey is my featured author today - click here for a review of her latest children's book, Ruby and the Naughty Cats: http://mumsdays.com/jane-hissey-word-up/

Gabby also enjoyed reading it to Reuben but let me tell you, it’s not the easiest thing to get your mouth around! It took me several goes to work out the tempo and the rhyming. But I love the challenge and then once you’ve got the hang of the changing tempo, then you can start to remember it and add in your voices!

Word Up! Jane Hissey is my featured author today - click here for a review of her latest children's book, Ruby and the Naughty Cats: http://mumsdays.com/jane-hissey-word-up/

And, again, as with Sue Hendra’s Word Up last week, I just love the moral of the story – if someone keeps spoiling your game, maybe it’s because they feel left out… An interesting concept that has been running through my head all week!

Word Up! Jane Hissey is my featured author today - click here for a review of her latest children's book, Ruby and the Naughty Cats: http://mumsdays.com/jane-hissey-word-up/

Do you read any Jane Hissey books to your kids? Which is your favourite? And, do you like reading after breakfast too?!

I love to hear your comments, so please do leave them in the section below! And, if you have a favourite author you would like me to include in Word Up, do make your suggestions below too.

If you are a publisher you can contact me via this email: mumsdays@gmail.com

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Sue Hendra // Word Up

Sep
18th
2014

18 Sep, 2014

For any avid Milkshake fans (Channel 5’s morning kids TV – can’t get enough of it here), you will be aware that a brand new show will be hitting our screens on Saturday. I am thrilled not least because it is the TV show of my newest, most favourite book, Wanda and the Alien, by Sue Hendra (you can watch a clip here)!

Word Up! Sue Hendra is in the spot light for her wonderful books including Wanda and the Alien. Click here for this week's Word Up: http://mumsdays.com/sue-hendra-word-up

We picked up Wanda and the Alien a few weeks ago at the Library. I used my usual library tactic of not thinking too hard about it (because otherwise I get stressed!) and picked books that were light and had a picture I liked. Thankfully this paid off because when we got home and read it properly both Reuben and I loved it. Reuben even insisted on taking it with him to ‘read to Grandad’ on Monday.

Then I discovered it was by one of my favourite children’s authors (there’s a whole lot of coincidence going on here, I know), Sue Hendra of “Norman the Slug and the silly shell” and “No-Bot, the Robot with no bottom” fame. Sue writes the most wonderful and silly books, I just love reading them. And from that moment on an idea began to form in my head… I would start a new series here on the blog about great authors, and call it “Word Up” (meaning “I get/dig what you’re saying and agree”). Each week or so, I will highlight a different author and talk about their books and how fantastic I think they are*.

*I also quite fancy myself as a children’s book author, so this is good research for me!

Wanda and the Alien – Sue Hendra

Wanda and the Alien is about a Rabbit (Wanda) who is playing when an Alien crash lands his space ship. They take an instant liking to each other and the story is about the love that blossoms between the pair despite the fact that they don’t speak the same language.

The first thing about Wanda and the Alien that struck me was it is perfect for this time of year – they have a wonderful summer together and then Autumn comes and the leaves fall from the trees (revealing a twist at the end – no spoilers here!).

Word Up! Sue Hendra is in the spot light for her wonderful books including Wanda and the Alien, which is great for Autumn or Fall. Click here for this week's Word Up: http://mumsdays.com/sue-hendra-word-up

The other thing that struck me about the story is its moral. I don’t want to go too overboard here but I believe this is about cultural differences and not judging a book by its cover! Wanda and the Alien don’t look the same, they don’t even speak the same language and yet, neither is afraid of the other. They play, they laugh, they teach each other things – and when you get to the end you’ll see why this is so significant.

The tagline is “Friends comes in all shapes and sizes”. It’s a lovely lesson for our little ones to learn!

Sue Hendra’s other books include…

Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell, which is a book I bought for Gabriella when she was 3. She learnt the whole thing off by heart and would “read” it to us almost every night, never getting a single word wrong!

No-Bot, the Robot with no bottom. Any book which involves bottoms is a winner. Reubs and I also loved this book when we borrowed it from the Library and we’ve borrowed it at least 3 or 4 times since!

Supertato, which we haven’t read yet but I’m tempted to get it for Christmas! Reuben is a fan of potatoes (not eating them obviously), so a superhero potato sounds just up his street.

So that, my friends, is Sue Hendra. Word Up Sista.

Have you read Wanda and the Alien or any other books by Sue Hendra? What does your little one think of them?

Or if you have any suggestions for another author to spotlight for Word Up, please do leave a comment below!

 

 

Potty Training

Aug
20th
2014

Guest post from Sarah Boud

20 Aug, 2014

Having recently been through this with one gorgeous girl, Sarah is currently tackling the joys of potty training with her second, Eliza! She has kindly written up her wisdom to share with us. My approach to potty training thus far has been denial. But as we’ve just had the big T.W.O. it’s time to stop pretending. This sh*t is getting real. Literally.

Potty training from Sarah Boud

Potty training can be quite a stressful time for a lot of parents, but it’s the last big hurdle from baby to child.

How do you know when your child is ready? Well, they’ll tell you! They’ll start pointing at the toilet, watching what you’re doing, pulling down or taking off their nappies. The big thing is don’t rush it. It can take much longer if you do. Huggies has come up with a list of signs of readiness to potty train and your child needs to be doing at least three:

  1. Your child stays dry for two hours or more at a time, or is dry after a daytime nap.
  2. Your child tells you in words or by behaviour that wearing a wet nappy is uncomfortable, and needs changing.
  3. Your child asks to use the potty or the toilet.
  4. You usually know when your child is likely to have a poo.
  5. Your child asks to wear potty training pants or normal underwear.
  6. Your child can understand and follow simple instructions, like ‘bring me the potty, please’.
  7. Your child can show in behaviour, or can use words, to let you know they need a wee or a poo.
  8. Your child can put on some of their clothes on unaided.

I think it’s quite useful! You should also trust your gut instinct too!

Boys vs Girls

Boys notoriously take longer than girls. You might expect a girl to start anywhere from 20 months to three years and a boy from two and a bit to four (as a generalisation, obviously there are exceptions.)

What do I need?

Well, pants, kitchen towel and a cleaning spray of some kind! Make sure your child is included when you get their pants as it really helps for them to engage. You can buy potty training pants that have a bit of toweling inside, but we didn’t really get on with them.

Loo seat vs potty

Anything else is up to you. You don’t even need a potty! My eldest went straight to using the loo. We had a fab loo seat that is part of the main toilet seat and folds down. She just wanted to be like me. I’m now potty training my second daughter and she is using the potty, more because she doesn’t want to miss what her sister is doing.

Pull ups?

I found pull up nappies great, but they’re not essential. If you go on lots of trips, you might decide to get a Potette Plus – it’s like a potty with a sanitary pad inside so it soaks up the wee and you can just throw it away.

I’m ready! What next?

Well, that’s where it gets harder. Most children will wee quite happily, but poo takes longer. However, many children are quite regular – both my daughters would poo like clockwork – after breakfast and dinner, so I could just take their nappies off when they said wee and let them run around naked. For some strange reason, children think they need to be completely naked to pee! I found it quite frustrating but it’s another phase.

It’s definitely easier when they’re a bit older because you can ask them to sit on the loo before you go out or eat and they’ll understand. They might not want to, but I just made sure I left plenty of time and said that we weren’t leaving / eating until they had sat on the loo!

I think the most important things to remember are to listen to your child – if they say ‘wee now!’, they can’t hold it in, so go with it!

Don’t rush

They might not be ready and it can make the whole process take longer. My eldest just wasn’t interested until she was two and a half, but then she was dry day and night within two weeks!

Don’t scold

And finally don’t make them feel bad if they have an accident. It will always be at the worst time, but they didn’t do it on purpose!

Good luck!

Sarah, mum to Ava and Eliza

Potty training - 7 key ways to help you prepare! http://mumsdays.com/potty-training/

Thanks Sarah!

You may also like these articles from Sarah… BLW, Bottle Feeding – the Guilt, Baby Bond – when it doesn’t go to plan

Tarika Marshall

19 Aug, 2014

One of my twitter buddies Tarika from Cahootsy (a brand new recommendation site dedicated to products and offers for UK parents – watch this space as it’s launching soon!) saw I was looking for guest posts. She’s basically become an expert in sleep problems in toddlers as she’d recently under gone some serious training for her gorgeous daughter who wasn’t a fan of sleeping…read on for her experience!

Sleep Problems in Toddlers and why I’m now a fan of Princess castles

I’m mum to two toddlers aged 4 and 2.

Bedtime is the loveliest time of the day and also the most harrowing.  After the usual routine of bath time bubbles and cuddles and warm milk who wouldn’t want to get snuggled under the duvet and drift off into the land of dreams. I definitely would.

But oh no. Not my little girl, who is also going through her terrible twos. The past three months have wrecked any hope of sleep.

Sleep problems in toddlers - how to sleep train using a reward chart: http://mumsdays.com/sleep-problems-in-toddlers/

Every night we get the same record – I need water, I need a wee, I need a cuddle, I need another rendition Puff the magic dragon and then finally the dreaded I need mama’s bed. That last one is timed to perfection at the very moment I’m falling to sleep. After a full day working on my start up business, much as I love any excuse to have a snuggle with my little one, snuggle time between 1am and 5am after an hour or so of intense screaming is not one I can handle.

We’ve been through a number of the great help guides: Supernanny; the Baby Whisperer; and Gina Ford. And even watched youtube videos on the subject but none of the advice seems to work with our little one.

Then at 2am one night I came across a great article from Baby Sleep Advice on reward charts. With all the creative talent I could muster in the dead of night (motivated by the idea of sleep) I mapped out the next week and drew a princess castle at the end of it. I filled a jar of smarties and found some gold stars from the days of potty training my older one. Voila! A handmade rewards chart.

The next evening I enthusiastically explained the prospect of visiting a castle to my two year old. If we made it to a week of sleeping in her own bed, for which she’d get a gold star and a smartie as reward, then we would go on a family trip to a real life princess castle.

It worked! It wasn’t completely smooth and the first 3-4 days involved middle of the night negotiating, a lot of tears, and some mention (bribery) of no smarties in the morning.  By day 4 she was walking into our room, getting a cuddle, and then walking straight out to get back into bed and by the second week she was happy to get back to sleep herself.

I have to add I also re-introduced her daytime nap which always made her really cranky but keeping it down to only 45 mins seems to do the trick.

We’ve now had a full three weeks of sleep. All of us. I’m no expert but for anyone struggling with nighttime waking I’d highly recommend giving this a go.  So until the next nursery bugs arrive to mess with sleep time I think we might be on a roll!

Sleep tight.

Thank you Tarika!

Do you know much about sleep problems in toddlers? perhaps you’re experiencing it right now? Do share your experience/what worked for you in the comments below!

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