Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Growing up too fast

Today, in class, I asked the children what were their dreams and goals - what was the thing that they wished for the most? And one child took me quite by surprise.  After hearing the usual list of footballers, F1 racing drivers etc etc... one child said that the thing they wished for the most was to never grow up.  Finally I thought, a child who wants to be just that - a child.

All to often now, especially in my job as a teacher, I see children that want to grow up too quickly. Many children don't want to be seen as children: they want to act like adults, dress like them and do the things that they do.

Go back 21 years to when I was 13, I was a typical child in those times, out with friends playing Kerby, making up dances in my bedroom with friends, riding our bikes around the block.  Now don't get me wrong, I understand that times have changed and now a days children seem so much more mature than I can remember being at that age, but should we be allowing our children to grow up so fast?

I count myself pretty lucky, as, although my son is 13, he still loves to do all the things that children love to do.  He doesn't mind coming for a cuddle on the sofa; he loves going on days out to places that I am sure other teenagers would find 'boring' and most of all he acts and plays like a child still.

He loves tree climbing, playing with Lego, hanging upside down at the park,  making loom bands, dressing up, making play dough... the list could go on.

Now of course, if given the chance he would like other child choose technology over any of this.  If given the opportunity he would happily sit on his computer all day gaming, or sit watching T.V whilst texting a friend.  But the thing is, we don't given him the opportunity to do this. Yes he has a phone, he has a computer and a tablet. But we don't let him over use these.  And although he has been asking for social media now for over 2 years, and although he can now legally have a social media account, I won't let him.  Not only do I want to keep him safe, but personally, I don't believe that social media is healthy for a 13 year old.

So what can we do to try to stop our children growing up too fast? 

These are just a few of the things that have worked for us:

1. Parental Controls: Technology and the Internet can be useful resources for our teens, but used inappropriately can be detrimental.  Make sure that you have the parental controls set on all devices.

2. Encourage your child to be open with you: We have always been very open and honest with Titch. If he has a questions about anything we have always given him an age appropriate answer that doesn't  sway from the truth. We may not go into details , but an answer that he can understand for his age.

3. Play: Encourage imaginative play and join in with this. Play games with them. We love a games night in our house - it can get very competitive.

4. Limit use of technology: Titch knows how much time each day he has on any technology device.  That way there is never an argument about it when he is asked to come off.  These are the rules we put into place when he was bought them rather than making up the rule later.  If he does argue about it, he loses some of his time the next day.

5. Don't use grounding as a punishment: We have fell into this trap too. We have stopped him from playing outside with his friends for his behaviour in the past. But we should be encouraging socialising and interaction with peers and encouraging the play that occurs outside rather than stopping it. So we now use other consequences instead.

6. Adult conversations: Leave adult conversations for when they are not around.  You will be surprised at how much they pick up on. Do they really need to know everything?

Unfortunately, there are things beyond our control though that influence our child's life, the media? peer pressure? social media? Probably a bit of all three.  We can't stop our children from seeing these or accessing them and indeed would we always want to? But as parents and most importantly not forgetting as children once ourselves, we certainly can encourage our children to be children for just a little bit longer.

As Peter Pan once said, "Once you grow up, you can't go back."

Cuddle Fairy

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

We joined the Gym!


A lot of people make New Year resolutions to join the gym in January. Their aim - to better their lifestyles and to embark on a fitness journey.

For me the gym has always been a place that I find tedious. Some people love the gym; I would much prefer to go for a walk in the countryside or a cycle along the canal than to the gym. The only equipment I actually end up using whilst there is the treadmill, the bike and the cross trainer - oh and I may do a few weights if I feel in the mood.  You can see the reason why my membership to the gym was cancelled after months of not attending - I just didn't enjoy it. Plus finding the time with my work load played it's part. I could have gone on my weekends , but this is family time where we get our exercise from being out and about as much as we can.

That being said there is one sport that I love more than anything and that is Swimming.  I have been a swimmer ever since I was little, and even became part of a swimming team back in my teens. My mum still tells the story of when I was only 2, on holiday in Spain. I was sat in my pushchair, asleep, or so they thought until they saw me get out of the pushchair and jump straight into the pool with no armbands on.  Lesson learnt - they made me sleep in armbands for the rest of the holiday.

I have always found that Swimming gives me a sense of freedom, a place to go when things got tough. As I glide through the water it clears my mind and that is something that I have been craving lately.


So when we saw that one of our local gyms now does Family Membership,  we went to find out more.  Initially we enquired around a few different gyms, but they weren't for us.  Non would allowed Titch to use the equipment or go into the pool unless it was 'Family time.' We wanted something that we can all do together , as the time we have together is so precious.

This gym, however, not only had all the equipment of a normal gym: cardio, weights, classes, a ladies gym, spinning , but the bonus for me was that it also has 2 pools. Titch was also allowed to use all of the equipment apart from free weights. We if'd and ah'd about whether to join as £99 a month = £1188 a year and thats a lot of money that could go towards an holiday.  But when I sat down and really thought about it, £99 a month is 2 meals out for us as a family of 3, and we do eat out a lot. In the end we joined up.


This time we have joined the gym as a family.  This means that even Titch can access all the equipment that his dad does.  The gym is something that Titch has been talking about for a while , but only being 13 most gyms won't let children go onto the equipment. Here Titch and the Husband can spend time together whilst I swim. Having 2 pools also means that Titch can practise his swimming with me in the Family Pool after he has been in the gym with the Husband.

Another advantage of having family membership is that even if we don't want to go to the gym we can take Titch swimming and it won't cost us anything extra. Titch has been nagging us for ages to take him swimming, but we have just never gone seen as our local pool is not cheap for an hours swim.  Now we can go whenever we like.  

As we all be going to the gym together, we have no excuse, and trust me Titch won't let us get out of it.  We can still spend time together; we get to improve our fitness and health; Titch will get some 1:1 time with both the Husband and I ,and it will be something for us to do as Winter comes in on those dark nights or wet weekends.  

Since joining up we have been 4 times, and I hope that we continue to do so, as  I am really enjoying my 'Me' time which I don't get very often.

Confessions of a New Mummy
Debs Random Writings

Sunday, September 2, 2018

#My Sunday Photo

This week we had a pretty chilled out week preparing ourselves ready for work and school.  This photo was taken last night as we watched X -Factor. It is one of Titch's favourite shows and one of the few shows that we get to watch together as a family. And as you can see all four of us (including the dog) are squished onto one sofa even though we have two.  I love our family time together even if it is just watching the T.V.

Silent Sunday with MummyConstant
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