The Incredible Years – Week Nine

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EFFECTIVE LIMIT SETTING CONT

This weeks session was a continuation of last weeks. We moved on to talk about the rules we have around the house, including the unspoken ones. You know something? There are rather a lot!! I like things to be done my way and as a result I have millions of little rules and regulations as to how things are done!!  However, the bottom line is that being pedantic about every single little thing is just downright stressful and doesn’t help anyone in the end. This can be especially confusing for children as, frankly, there is just too much to concentrate on. We talked about the rules that really mattered to us and how we can make these rules clear to our children. I guess the point is with children, and with life in general, is that you have to pick your battles.

Limit setting is also important. We were reminded that children need security but they also need freedom (confusing, right!). A good example is letting them play but making them aware of the perimeter to which they can play in. It is very easy to want to baby our precious ones (I myself have the habit of hovering over Little Man whilst he’s trying to play), but by giving them freedom we are also teaching them some essential life skills. It was pointed out that whilst it is important to keep our children safe it is equally important to expose them to ‘controlled dangers’. I guess a good example of this would be discussing road safety with them when out and about.

HOMEWORK

We were asked to focus on setting up a short list of house rules and ways of implementing them in a child friendly way. The list should contain no more than five rules to be decided between us and our partner (if applicable). By doing this we essentially focus on what is truly important to us. What I liked about this is that it gave hubby and I a chance to check we are on the same page. The thing that surprised me was that we have a different set of priorities. I was very focused on the house being tidy and he was more concerned with the table manners. It was nice to hear each other out and come up with a game plan.

  1. We tidy up after ourselves
  2. Food stays on our plate
  3. We play nicely with our toys
  4. Shoes and coats off in the hallway
  5. We say please and thank you

The plan is for this to be written up for Little Man to see…. complete with pictures!

The main problem I found with this list is that, to be a good role model, I need to adhere to the rules myself! Number 1 and 4 are an issue for me as I’m really messy and lazy by nature, ironic as these are the rules that are non negotiable to me. Looking at it from this perspective has made me feel like I’m a bit of a hypocrite. However, I’m well aware that a tidy house ultimately leads to an easier life so I’m sure that this is something I can get used to! After all, I can’t expect others to tidy if I’m not doing it myself.

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The Incredible Years – Week Eight

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EFFECTIVE LIMIT SETTING

Words…. good old words. This week at Incredible Years was infuriating as it has made me completely paranoid when it comes to the way I talk to Little Man! At the beginning of the session we were asked to think about the commands we use with our children during the day and also the amount of times we used the word ‘no’. Quite a lot so it seems!!

I always make a conscious effort to say no as little as possible and I still use it to much, agh! For the most part I allow Little Man as much time respond as possible but admit that this does fall by the way side when I’m in a rush. As you can imagine, this is always completely counter productive as things end up taking even longer!

One thing I was really upset to learn was that I can be sarcastic with Little Man (something that is honestly not done intentionally). I also tend to use an encyclopedia of explanations when giving him commands, something I’m well aware that I do! As a child I used to get really annoyed when I had orders fired at me and I always felt better when I knew why something was being asked of me. As a result I felt Little Man was owed an explanation for everything I asked him to do. Now, when looking at it from the outside, the lengthy explanations are a little over the top and confusing for one so young.

HOMEWORK

For our homework we were asked to limit the amount we use the word no in favour of more positive commands. Also, when giving commands, to be more informative and concise and to allow the child at least 10 seconds to respond.

This has taken A LOT of getting used to but, despite my reservations and worries, it actually does work! An example of this: BEFORE: ‘We’re going to creche today so you’ll need to get your shoes on, (2 seconds later), you need to get your shoes on , (2 seconds later), we’re gonna be late!!’. NOW: ‘Shoes on please (waits 10 seconds)’. OK so Little Man doesn’t always do what I say but with these new commands in place he now reacts 70% of the time as opposed to 30%. As you can imagine, this has reduced a lot of stress on my behalf and he also feels happier and less harassed!

Another example (Little Man not getting his coat on): BEFORE: ‘If you don’t get your coat on then it’s tough, you can’t go outside’ (sniff, an example of my sarcasm). AFTER: ‘When you get your coat on, then you can go outside’. The ‘after’ example looks back to time telling with children. By letting them know the after effect of their decision, it gives them a chance to react. I wasn’t very keen on using this, as I didn’t feel it would work, but with no other ideas I decided to give it a go! I was pleasantly surprised, Little Man looked at me (I could see those little cogs turning), and would then put his coat on. The whole point is that one is turning a negative into a positive, which is much more likely to elicit a response.

These methods are gonna take some work for me. This whole series has left me feeling like a computer being reprogrammed, which I guess is the whole idea! The way I talk is such a part of me I feel like I’m going against nature a bit. However, seeing the positive change in the household is enough to keep me persevering.

111 Skin Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask – A Review

It’s not often I get the chance to review or even use something ‘posh’. As a stay at home Mum I am on a fairly strict budget and I’m constantly looking for ways to save money. This, I’m sure you can imagine, can get incredibly boring. What I really crave at times is a bit of luxury and indulgence, just to keep me on the budget wagon. Well my moment came when I was pleasantly surprised to find out I’d been chosen to review the Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask by luxury skincare brand 111 Skin.

111-Skin-Bio-Cellulose-Facial-Treatment-Mask

The skincare range was developed by Dr Alexandrides, an American plastic surgeon. His aim was to have a skin range that would help sensitive skin heal faster after surgical procedures. After years of research, he came up with a solution hinging on a secret formula developed alongside Russian space scientists. He now boasts a skincare range that promotes a youthful, radiant appearance, and protects against environmental damage.

The first thing I noted was that the packet for the 111 Skin mask is HUGE (approx 6X7″), it would definitely make a statement in your bathroom! I found it tough to open with wet hands, so would recommend keeping some scissors handy or opening before you get into the bath. The mask itself is sandwiched between a thin cardboard base and gauze top. Once these are peeled away the mask has the consistency of a slimy surgical glove!! I found it a little fiddly to pull apart and place on my face but once on this mask felt fab. The ‘goo’ on the mask had a serum like quality, which felt really cooling and refreshing. During the recommended 20 minutes the mask felt significantly less slimy, particularly round my top lip for some reason (?!).

I am a big face mask fan, aiming to use one at least once a week as part of my ‘me time’. I normally use masks in the bath as they always need a lot of washing off, but with this mask there was very little fuss. When finished, you literally peel off the mask, maybe rub in any extra product and leave the rest to sink in, that’s it!! I accidentally forgot to put my moisturiser on after my bath, I usually realise this straight away as my skin gets really tight and uncomfortable. However, with 111 Skin my skin still felt gorgeous so in the end I didn’t bother!

111 Skin

My hubby thought I looked hilarious in my mask, so insisted I take a picture! I guess the only negative thing I’d say is that these types of masks can be a bit claustrophobic. If you’re not a fan of small spaces you may want to give it a miss, but if you’re not and you feel like a treat I’d definitely recommend. Would I personally use this masks again? Probably not as it’s way out of budget and I can pick up a several use tube for a fiver. However, if you have a special event or simply feel like spoiling yourself or a loved one I would say it’s definitely worth a go.

111 Skin Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask can be found at the higher end stores like Harrods for £20 for one mask or £75 for 5.

I was sent this product for the purpose of review – all opinions are my own.

We Love Knitting – Baby Blanket

Continuing on my theme of yellow wool. I have finally finished this blanket from a pattern I found in Baby and Toddler Knits by Debbie Bliss.

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Big needles are my friend as I am naturally impatient and I like to see quick results (not helped by the fact that I am still a super slow knitter, agh!). Using 3.5mm needles was painstaking and I will do every thing in my power to avoid knitting another bobble for a very long time!! That aside I am really proud of my hard work, it has taken me weeks to complete this and it is so good to finally see the fruits of my labours! Baby and Toddler Knits is full of some beautiful patterns that are very wearable, I would thoroughly recommend it!

The Incredible Years – Week Seven

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HANDLING SEPARATIONS AND REUNIONS

I guess separation anxiety becomes an issue for all children at some point. To be honest it’s only recently reared it’s head for me. Little Man is normally a placid little thing and quite happy to go with anyone, but I think he’s finally got wise to the fact that there are times I will leave him (when he goes to his grandparents etc).

Incredible Years is great as there is a lovely, well equipped creche for the children as the adults relax and learn. Being a stay at home Mum means that Little Man and I don’t spend much time apart so I feel this ‘time away from Mummy’ is really important for him. The first few weeks were fine but now he does have a little cry when I go (most heartbreaking for me is when he calls out ‘mama!’ as I leave). Luckily, from my past experience as a Nursery Nurse, I have learnt that this upset doesn’t normally last long and that the worst thing you can do as a parent is look upset. Because of this  I always try and look as happy and positive as possible.

Incredible Years has also taught me the importance of giving the child time for their mind to process these events (i.e. ‘we’re going to creche today’). Something I didn’t give much thought to is the fact that, as children can’t tell the time,  a consistent routine is very important so that they are aware of upcoming events and feel secure.

HOMEWORK

Our homework for this week was to focus on establishing a good bye routine by having a consistent bedtime routine.

I feel that Little Man and I have a lovely bedtime routine. From 5 o’clock it’s dinner, bottle, ‘bedtime TV’ for a little while, brush teeth, story and then bed. He’s never been too bothered by books but within the last couple of months he’s discovered a passion for them, which is lovely to see. Because we have such a lovely bedtime routine it makes me realise how disorganised I am in other areas! Our morning routine is pretty consistant (ish) but I feel it’s not very efficient (not helped by the fact I am normally completely useless in the mornings).

This week I have taken the time to write down weekly schedule incorporating housework and Little Man’s activities etc. I have found that by listing these things out I can get a better idea of what is realistic. It has been an interesting activity, mainly because I have found that I am completely unrealistic with my time. This in tern makes me feel pressured and means that even less gets done. By writing out a schedule I have spread things out throughout the week and have lessened the stress I put on myself, which is a great feeling. This means a schedule is much more easily achievable and leads consistency for everyone. It’s still a work in progress but has left me feeling a lot more positive.

The Incredible Years – Week Six

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SPONTANEOUS INCENTIVES

This week we talked about spontaneous incentives. Now the thing I really liked about this session was that we talked about not just rewarding our children but also ourselves and our partners (something that is often easy to forget)! We were reminded that toddlers are still small and don’t have the memory for reward charts and such like yet, so the more we catch them in the moment the more we can reinforce this good behaviour.

My thinking was completely turned on its head. I am so very negative towards myself. I never realised the extent of this and it has made me question my attitude to myself. A lot of food for thought here!

I think the difficulty is that a lot of people feel that over congratulating oneself can be a sign of arrogance and as a result we tend to put ourselves down.  Obviously it’s not a case of wondering around with an air of smugness constantly telling yourself how brilliant you are but on the other hand a ‘Mummy has done a great job cleaning the house, she’s very pleased’, doesn’t go amiss! Now I am happy with the knowledge that congratulating myself for a job well done is not only good for myself but fantastic for Little Man to see also. It’s a great ego booster. After all, I can’t tell him to be proud of himself but not follow through for me!

HOMEWORK

We were told to increase the number of time we praised our child, give a sticker for good behaviour, praise another member of the family, give ourselves a treat for good work done. As previously stated the praise has been working fantastically for Little Man and he is getting very good at blowing his own trumpet. He loves cars and animals  and, as luck would have it, I have kept hold of various ones from children’s parties that we have been to.

OK, so the sticker giving did not go down at all well. I caught him being good and praised him, this was fine but the second I gave him a sticker a tantrum ensued!! Not what I was planning at all!! He tore the sticker off him and looked at it with disgust. Lesson for Mummy? Might be quite a good idea to discuss these things with him first so he knows what’s going on!! Seems a bit obvious now!

Praising hubby went much better. I think we have both got stuck in a rut of taking each other for granted. Hubby helped me around the house and I thanked him. He looked a bit taken aback, smiled and pointed out all the lovely things that I had done to help. It was nice. Definitely something I will continue.

Pearl Drops Ultimate Whitening 4D Toothpaste – A Review

I am still on my mission to find the perfect toothpaste for me. Due to having Little Man I have had various problems with my teeth and gums so, as a result I am incredibly fussy with my dental equipment and hygiene! I was given the chance to review Pearl Drops Ultimate Whitening 4D Toothpaste. The blurb advises that your teeth will be up to four shades whiter in three weeks, I was curious to give it a go and see the results!

Pearl Drops Ultimate Whitening 4D Toothpaste

Pearl Drops Ultimate Whitening 4D Toothpaste comes with a colour gauge for teeth on the side of the box. I have to admit I didn’t really find this matched up to the actual colour for my teeth and as a result had to ‘guesstimate’ what colour I thought my teeth were, which was a bit annoying. On using the toothpaste I found that a little went a long way, which made me feel it was pretty good value for money. It was also pleasant to use and had a nice flavour.

There is one thing I would warn people of when using this product though. I found the toothpaste to be thinner in consistency than regular toothpaste and as a result it seemed to seep into more nooks and crannies of my electric toothbrush. I obviously always clean my toothbrush after every use and I have never had a problem previously. However, near to the end of the three week period I noticed a bit of a smell, at the time I was at a friends house and thought they had some mould somewhere. It was only when I noticed the smell back at home I inspected my toothbrush more closely to find there was some green gunk in the little hole below my toothbrush head. UUUUUUUURGH (cue eyes wide open in surprise and lots of screaching!)!! After my initial micro meltdown I got an old manual toothbrush (a useful thing to have!) and gave all the little hidy holes a good old clean and then wash, which left it good as new again. Whilst this was pretty gross I believe as long as one is aware of this potential factor and gives their brush an extra clean they should be fine!

Right, and now for the results! At the end of Pearl Drops recommend three weeks I checked my teeth against the gauge and….. nothing. Nope, I couldn’t see a difference. Bums. Would I use this toothpaste again? Probably not. I’d be happy enough to use the rest of the bottle as the flouride levels are good (1,300 ppm F) and it still does the job of being a toothpaste (always useful!) but for me that is where the good job ends! I do drink herbal teas (usually two a day) and do drink the odd coffee (maybe one a day) so maybe this could explain why it didn’t work for me?

I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from using this product, as whilst it didn’t work for me it may work for them. However, I would advise them to not get their hopes up! Pearl Drops Ultimate Whitening 4D Toothpaste is available from Boots and all major supermarkets and chemists for a RRP of £4.99 for 50ml.

I was sent this product for the purpose of review – all opinions are my own.