On screen time

Well this has an interesting one.  Admittedly I am quite strict in this, of course this does not mean I don't allow it, but it is limited.

To give you some history as to why I make the decision I have.  My work.  I see clients with low motivation, limited social skills, and low self esteem, though not always, a majority will spend their days on line gaming.  As an adult, you can make whatever decision you like in this, but for me children need this time very limited.  I guess you might wonder why?

Kids are on screens for homework, social, gaming, video, etc.  The list goes on.  However we forger outside time, learning about the world around them, making random friends, heading to the local shop to buy lollies 🍭.  Riding bikes, playing unorganised sports, where you make up the rules.  These are skills that take you through adulthood as well.  Think about this for a second and how this helps you now?

I have seen whilst out for dinner young children including those in high chairs staring at iPads.  I think it is sad.  Does this make the job easier for parents, probably, but children miss learning and observing those social skills from watching you.  My lads will says but my friend is allowed, my answer is, well the rules are different for their family.

If you are wondering, it doesn't mean they do not play games, they do.  My boys have to earn time through the week, during school weeks.  Example chores and homework done or nothing.  If they do this they can have 45 mins Saturday and Sunday.  School holidays are different.  We have a daily chart and they can have computer time if this is completed daily.  They get an hour.

I know this is one of those hotly debated topics, these are the rules for my family.  They work, each family is different.  Do what works for you, but please do not use this as a baby sitting device, or your child may one day be my adult client.

My favourite conversation with my then 12 year and 9 year olds was them desperately trying to tell me how educational mine craft was.  My youngest stated you can even learn about gardening and farming, knowing that I love my little veggie patch.  I got them to follow me outside and gave them hand shovels, and said, looks like you can learn these things with me.  Queue the eye roll and groan.  I laughed at this for a while.

Good luck with this one.  It is hard, but I have stuck to it.  So far so good 😊 

How we answered the Santa Question...

Hi All,

I know it has been awhile since my last post.  So this time of year I thought I would tell you how we handled the Santa situation.  Now I hear about how children are told at school and this has ruined it, etc, etc... However I have never believed this.  Sure my boys were told, but when they asked with hope in their eyes, my answer was simple.

I asked them... 'What do you believe?'  Generally the answer was that Santa was real, so I would say, well that is all that matters and do not worry.  I have gotten to 12 years old, however being he was starting high school and had asked a few times this year, we decided that it was time to tell him.  I did this in the form of a letter to him.  Please feel free to adjust to suit your family, but it worked for fine

Dear D...
You’ve been asking some rather amazing questions as you’ve begun the long journey through childhood through to being a teenager. 
We’ve covered all sorts of things, however there’s one question you’ve been asked that hasn’t yet been explained. It’s been a difficult subject to cover but we feel this is the best way to explain it. We never told you he was real, we always asked what you believed and said well that was all that matters. 
It’s the subject of Santa.
You’ve asked whether or not we, your parents, are Santa. The short answer is no! We are not Santa, but then no-one really is. Santa is actually the real spirit of Christmas.
We, your parents fill the stockings, choose the gifts and even wrap them up. But we do it on behalf of Santa. Santa or St Nicholas was a real person and his legend of giving children gifts lives on. His spirit of giving and making one evening magical was real, so parents around the world continue this tradition.
Let me explain.
Santa is about believing in something that you can’t feel or see. I know you’re ready to learn about Santa because you have so much love in your heart, and even though you can’t touch it or see it, it’s there! Santa keeps the spirit of Christmas alive for children everywhere and now you can too.
It case you are wondering you will still get gifts, however from now it will be from mum and dad
You’ve known for a while that the task of reaching homes everywhere in one night was impossible and you’re right to be questioning it. The truth is, grown-ups help Santa, or the true spirit of Christmas along, by doing that job and we do it so we, too, can fill more hearts with the same love, joy and magic that you have felt every Christmas since you were born.
You’ll do it one day, too, and the magic of Christmas will be with your kids.
Well, now you know the truth. Santa is everywhere and lives in everyone through hope, happiness, joy and love.
Santa relies on your help too. Now that you’ve been told about the true spirit of Christmas, Santa will need you to let others keep believing like your brother R... so the love, joy, hope and happiness can keep spreading.
May Santa always live in your heart.
Mum and Dad.

I have also found the following websites very handy indeed over the course of time

https://www.portablenorthpole.com/en/ - Create personalised videos, they are wonderful.  I love this site

https://santatracker.google.com/#village - Santa Tracker, just a little fun too

http://www.threelittlemonkeysstudio.com/santas-special-delivery-printable-gift-tags/ - Gift tags with Elves details

Lots out there and enjoy seeing the eyes of your children light up.  My rule is your children are as innocent as you let them be.  Let them enjoy.  My older child is in on the fun too, and he is loving seeing this from our side now.

Food and Children

One of the biggest issues was getting a doctor to help me with a child that did not eat.  I was told that he was fussy, so for years I persisted.  My eldest from 2 years old decided that he would not eat.  The only food though always presented options were, dry weetbix, vegemite, apple juice, milk, milo, toast, sausages, chicken nuggets, and cake / brownies. (Chocolate only though)

My eldest up until this point ate everything, fruit, veggies, meat, etc.  Now to put this in perspective, I grow a lot of my own veggies, make my own sauces, and cook from scratch.  even though this seem hard to believe when I spoke with nurses and doctors.  One comment I received was 'I am sure you add extra frozen veggies when you are mixing in the jar of sauce...'

My eldest became scared of food, we have since found out the reason which I will get too.  What I wanted to say about this though was be persistent, it does work, however can take time, very easy to give up as I wanted to so many times.  Lucky I am a good wog girl and cook anyway.

It started slowly with my eldest turning away a banana which he ate most days of the week and then it was sandwiches, which I knew he loved, next grapes (I still cannot get him to eat), and then meat, all forms except for sausages and nuggets.

Now with this, I started to get creative, I started including veggies in anything I could hide it in. Chocolate cake had sweet potato and spinach in it, his choc milk had a raw egg added, as did his vegemite toast.  Apple juice in an unclear cup, had carrot or kiwi fruit in it, etc.

Now this is a lot of hard work, keep in mind I am working full time and when I got the chance was asking for help consistently.  Nurses would say he just fussy and I should just offer what ever and if not eaten send him to bed with a 1/2 cup of milk or water.

The problem was, my son was happy with this and was literally starving himself, I went to doctors, and was told to continue, a child won't let themselves starve, he'll eat.  He ended losing about 5kg, which is quite significant when he was only 4 years old.

I finally got angry and was strongly worded when I spoke with the doctor say I am following this instruction, however he is starving himself.  The doctor told me off for giving up.  I ended up with a Paediatrician  and explained what was happening.  He said find another doctor and recommended someone.  At the same time, a friend noted a program with Queensland University program for fussy eating.  I was pretty desperate by this stage, so called and spoke with the nicest person, told her what I was experiencing, and she was stunned.  She asked if she could come and film 4 meal times for us and would send one of her students.

With the help of the new Doctor and the Psych from the program, it turned out the my beautiful boy suffered with a fear of food or textures.  A food anxiety, he was also underweight, thanks to the not so great advice I was receiving as well.  It turned out this was brought on by a stupid Day care in Brisbane that was shoving food down his throat because he didn't eat fast enough, and he nearly choked, but this is another story which, that I will cover.

So I went to a course which was for fussy eaters, however she pretty much redesigned this for my eldest, an example was she would teach things to the other parents, and for me would give me new instructions.

My eldest is now 8 and eats and / or tries almost anything.  He still will not eat banana though.  We created with help little rules about trying foods, how to remove focus away from the textures and different actions for which, I am now so grateful for.  I still use this when introducing a new food or recipe.

The reason I wanted to discuss this, is I want you to know, not to give up.  As a parent it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, bad advice and being fob off as a panic new parent when I knew it was so much more, and because he was so young couldn't vocalise this.

Rules about food for kids, try different textures from 5 - 6 months, do not smooth it out, they do have little teeth, though hidden in the gum.  The food should be soft or become soft as they eat.

Examples of good food:

Toasted breads
Cooked veggies including Broccoli trees, anything a child can hold and is not too hard.

Avoid baby food if possible.  Buy some small containers and as you cook for your family add little extra and freeze

Rice cream is dead easy to make.  Cook rice until cooked through and drain.  Warm milk on the stove and add rice and vanilla.  From here add any fruit, stewed fruit for fruit needing cooking.

Once baby gets to 9 - 12 months you can start introducing meats, again use what you have already made and cut into small pieces.

Hope this helps