Being a single parent is usually not a choice you make; it is a choice that can be forced on you.
My parents spilt up when i was young and the mistakes my parents made i swore i would never make. They hurt each other with their bickering and name calling, and it only ever hurt us kids.
When i became a single parent i made a promise that i would NEVER say a bad word about my daughters father. I swore that i would make sure that we were a family unit, or as close as we could be.
This included (while my daughter was young) having family holidays together, talking each week on phone to discuss week events and always including her father in conversations.
I always told my daughter about her father’s good traits, always told the funny stories of what we got up too. Even though we as a couple didn’t work out, there were a lot of things we did together.
As a couple you were in love once, telling stories about your life before children helps them feel grounded and connected to you both.
Of course i know not everyone can do this due to all sorts of circumstances. Just always remember your child knows they are part of you both so if you bag their father essentially you are bagging them.
Make a rule and stick by it.
These were mine ( i hope they help )
1. Never say bad things about him in ear shot of child
2. Always talk about the good times
3. Weekly updates, Sunday at 7pm
4. Never stand in the way of him seeing child
5. Your child is the most important, always be accommodating and negotiate
6. Include him in your life, invite him to all child events.
Most children at schools get homework some schools give more than others. its usually reading, maths worksheet or some schools work out of a school homework book.
Homework for many years was a thorn in my side. To be honest i used to dread it when after a long day at work, i had cooked dinner and then i went to sit down and relax and my daughter would then need help with her homework. To me it used to feel like another chore. It wasnt even as if she had heaps of homework, it usually was one section of her homework book. My daughter would get do a topic each week. For the first few months we didn't have any problems but as time went on it really became a struggle to get her to even sit down to do the work book. I was at a wits end how to help her. It was almost a battle of wills and at that time of night, we both usually ended up frustrated and MAD.
Then my daughters last year at her primary school the teacher changed tactics and gave the children little projects to do by using the alphabet i.e A = aeroplanes and the children had to research aeroplanes or what ever A thing they chose. Suddenly my daughter was searching every Monday for something that would represent her Alphabet. She was inspired and it showed in her commitment to work.
IT was such a dramatic change that i got mad with myself for not seeing the real reason why she wasnt doing her homework. it was too boring. It just didn't stimulate her or inspire her into committing to the process.
Something i do with the treehut children all the time, i teach them in a way that will inspire them to want to learn about the subject.
So here i was fighting with my own daughter who just couldn't connect with a book, with no colour and all words, words, words.
One thing i learnt was that homework became a chore and not an adventure of learning.
As parents we can decide which way to attack the homework situation, we could quickly get it out of the way so we can spend the rest of the evening in front of the tv, or we could truly engage, search for answers and be there for your child. No one else is going to put in the time with your child, so why wouldn't you.
Homework now has become a family activity. We sit down and work through the problems, we do the research, ask questions, revise and study. It has become fun and my daughter has improved so much. She is now actively looking for answers to things she doesn't know. Our motto : knowledge is power.
It is so hard as a parent to come up with great party ideas when your children grow older.When they are young you have themed parties buzz light year, Barbie or who ever is the favorite around the time of their birthday.
Though when they get to 8 it becomes hard to find different things to do. I love birthday parties, I love organizing them and I love attending them. I have made it a point to make every birthday party special.
What could you do, I know you are sitting there thinking well if I only had money I could do amazing things. Well your wrong, I was a single mother and I op shopped everything. It isn’t hard to source everything you need.
So what birthday parties could you have? Well what couldn’t you do…..you just need a little bit of inspiration. Tv themed parties are a lot of fun, like The Amazing Race or Survivor, My favorite party is the Survivor party. Best done in the warmer months. This can be done in the back yard or if your more adventurous you could camp out for the weekend. Doc has amazing camp grounds that are very basic, cold water showers, long drops, all helps in Survivor.
I got all my material from an op shop, cut down some bamboo for their tribal staffs. We had challenges and tribal council and they had to each make a shelter (though they slept in tents).We even attempted to catch their own dinner, but if all else fails there is nothing like bake beans and damper for dinner!
The Amazing race we did locally and had the children in teams and had a parent driving them to their locations, each team had a digital camera and had to take photos of certain locations. This party I have had to recreate a hundred times with friends children, I tell you it gets better and better every time I do it.
Another great party is the Star Party. This one is a favorite with the girls. The girls get to have a photo shoot in a nearby park or beach with 2 to 3 changes of clothes. Then they get to practice for a music video, they pick a song and then we video them lip-syncing. This party was a huge hit because it not only didn’t cost much to do but all the girls got a cd of their music video and their images. I actually saved money as I didn’t do a party bag.
As a parent it is hard to come up with great ideas. I have had a camping party at home in the middle of winter. We set up the tent in the lounge and they children camped out.
Other parties I have done is a fashion design party, where the girls made wearable art outfits and then they had a fashion show. Airplane party for a 4 year old, we made our own planes and then flew them around! (lots of parent help needed) Drama production party and a movie party.
There are no limits really, you just have to have the inspiration and go for it!
Don’t forget to let your child get involved with the organizing, as they learn so many skills in helping you.
I tell my Treehut children this every day “Knowledge is power” If they say they want to be a clothes designer then we do the research! We find out what skills you have to have, we talk to fashion designers, we go to their stores, we learn about material, we do it all!
One Treehut child wants to be a writer, so we researched what you had to do to be a writer, we had a writer come in and talk to the children which inspired us all and we all decided it would be cool to writea book. So we set out designing and writing a book, which I might add is very artistic and makes no sense but it is beautiful!
Knowledge is power
I strive on giving the children the tools to achieve their goals, giving them opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get.
It empowers me seeing a child feel inspired, they get a look about them, it’s like when homer see’s donuts, their eyes sparkle, their skin glows and they appear lighter. As crazy as that sounds, it is true.
This term we will be working more on our radio station, which is a blast as they come up with some amazing ideas! I even thought we could make our own tv show..... I cant wait!
Day five of school holidays and I was blown away today to see a mother or care giver with 4 children running down the side walk. I watched with admiration, it was nice out, the children were laughing and having a ball. Mum or caregivers phone rang and they continued walking down the road. She had 2 young babies in the push chair and a three year old and maybe five year old walking alongside.
The two children walking alongside started to play tag while mum continued on the phone, I watched her approach the road and call the children in and then cross, but what happened next scared me to death. As she walked to the next lot of shops she stopped and looked into a shop window and got distracted, child five chased child three still and they ran all over the path. The path was 4 meters wide and I swear I could see it happening, in a moment I knew what was going to happen, sure enough child three headed to the road, bolted more like!
Screech of wheels and a large car came to a halt, from where I was I couldn’t tell if the child had been hurt but I bolted to the car and by then mum or caregiver had grabbed the child, screaming her lungs out swearing, screamed at the driver for being a f**king idiot and then ......wait for it.........she smacked the child, and I mean smacked!
I suggested she settle down, in which I was told to “F**K OFF” she grabbed both children sohard I was surprised their arms weren’t ripped out and she walked down the road screaming at the children telling them to “Shut the f**k up”!
By then four or five people were standing around me and we were all in utter shock, I was beside myself, the driver of the car was crying, she was beside herself.
What do you do in one of those situations? One of the ladies let me know that they were all her children and that she had two older ones at home.
All I could think of was “what could I of done?”
I strongly believe you should treat your child/ren with respect; none of this foul language, there is no reason for anyone to use any sort of bad language on a child!
This mum was defiantly in the wrong and she over reacted to the extend (I Felt) of abuse!
What is with some parents? I certainly don’t want this blog to come across as me all high and mighty telling parents what I think they should do, but when you see balent disregard for Children’s safety in suburban everyday life, you just feel so overwhelmed with anger you don’t know what else to do.
While driving along the highway today I looked over at the car beside me to a woman casually eating an apple, then when I looked again I noticed some movement in the passenger’s seat, at first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, so looked again and sure enough her toddler (I estimate 2 years old) was out of his car seat standing with his hands out the window. The mother was just driving along ignoring the child. In the ten minutes I followed alongside I didn’t see her talk to her son, or tell him off, she just looked ahead, eating her apple!
We were both driving at 80 km, I couldn’t believe it. If she had to slam on her breaks for any reason that little boy would have flown into the window.
While talking about the incident on twitter I was flooded with comments about how others see balent disregard for child safety on the daily basis.
How hard is it to keep our children safe?
Belting your children in has been ingrained into us since I was a little girl, I never go anywhere without belting up and the same goes with my child. Why would you teach a child not to belt in? Have you seen what a small crash does to a child that wasn’t belted in............. I can tell you it isn’t pretty and 9 times out of ten the child loses their life. Why would you even tempt it?
I was appalled to also hear about parents taking their children to the beach when we had a tsunami warning. How could you risk your life and your children’s like that? People argue it was a false alarm but isn’t that a little like crying wolf? It may not always be a false alarm and we have warnings to protect us and save human life.
I would have to say these acts of stupidity are basically “neglect”. If you do see these acts of downright neglect with children then I suggest you report them, how else is the message going to get through. If their own parents can’t be responsible then we as responsible humans will have too.
While on holiday at a cafe I had the chance to witness a mother and father with their daughter sitting at the table beside us. As you do you look over everyone and sip and drink coffee. I witnessed the child take a bite from her muffin and slam, it down and say yuck. She was around 5 or 6 years old.
Her mother tried to convince her to eat more, coaxing her, everything she could think of, there was a little bit of bribing going on. Then the father got involved and demanded she eat it, where she squared her shoulders puffed up and said no! Mother then got up and went to the counter and brought another flavour and offered it to the young girl. She grabbed the muffin had a little bite and then said no. I watched both parents sit back. They both looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders.
The little girl kept demanding stating she was hungry and dad said “you have two muffins to choose from” in which little miss went bright red and yelled “No” I then watched mum convince her daughter to then go up and choose something she would like and the little girl hopped up and went and looked at the counter and she then chose a pie.
I instantly wanted to jump up and tell the parents off! What are they teaching their child, they may have had 5 minutes peace and quiet but they have just instilled a life time of conflict. Now their daughter knows exactly how to get what she wants. The same situation will happen over and over again and the parents are going to wonder how their daughter got away with so much.
When you child reached the age of 2-4 years they push the boundaries, it is then they learn what they can and can’t get away with.
Never give in, you are the adult, yes they wear you down, yes they drive you crazy but you have to be stronger.
My daughter was incredibly strong minded, she would fixate on something and that would be it. Shopping suddenly became a nightmare and she would tantrum every time we went shopping. Supermarkets are a nightmare, she would grab items and want them and I was forever saying no and by the time I got to the check out, I had half a trolley of food and a screaming little girl and I was a mess.
I did everything, I tried everything and there was no avail, I decided to get her looked after while I went shopping just to solve the problem.Then I wised up, what was I doing, I was the adult and she was the child and in life you just can’t have everything you want, so I prepared myself and off we went.
We got to the second ilse and she saw a marshmallow rope hanging on the side of the isle, she grabbed it before I could intervene, both of us were holding an end of the rope and I strongly stated “no you can’t have this” she took one look at me and screamed! You should of seen all the old ladies suddenly appear in the isle! I told her why she couldn’t have it and she screamed louder. I suddenly had onlookers and I got very embarrassed, strangers asking me if I’m ok. Then I snapped I let go of the rope and in a loud voice said “it’s not fair, I want everything in the store and I can’t have it” I stomped my feet “ I want lollies, I want ice-cream,, I want, I want, I want!” I opened my eyelid to see her starring at me! I jumped to the floor kicking my feet and arms! “I want this and I want that, its not fair!
It was then that a small little hand grabbed my hand and said” Come on mummy, it’s ok” she helped me to a sitting position and said “Sometimes we can’t have things” I was blown away!
It was an incredibly embarrassing act on my part, I had about 20 onlookers, some where unimpressed with my outburst but some patted me on the back. My daughter never had a tantrum after that.
It is hard to stay strong to your child who you love and adore but some things you have to be firm on. If you say no mean no, never change your mind.
Everyone is feeling the pinch this Christmas and I have had parents ask me what they should do with their children when money is so tight.
Well what cant you do?
What ever you do plan it out, sit down and think of the options and put money aside for each activity.
We have six weeks and for parents who are home can do just about anything.
I always put the easy things first
I bake at least once a week, some days the children beg to bake more, if they want to do it, and then do it! Let them each choose a recipe each. Baking is so cost effective, try new recipes. We pretend we are famous cooks and we make chefs hats and when talking to anyone in the kitchen it is “yes Chef”
If you can’t get on holiday this summer why not explore your area. It amazes me how many people haven’t explored their region. I love checking out all the different parks and you can get that feeling that you’re on holiday.
Be courageous and give your children the map to direct you. Some days we would get lost but we discovered beautiful buildings, parks and beaches we would never have found. Your children will love it. It helps if you have a GPS so you can get home.
Adventures at home
Building huts, children under 11 never get tired of this. You have to be committed to making a mess, sheets blankets and lots of pegs. We love making huts. We would make different rooms and spend the whole day playing families. Most times the children would want to sleep in the huts overnight.
I love children’s imagination. They come up with the most amazing stories, from our hut we have been on such adventures, the Sahara to find gold with Indians chasing us to canoeing down a Canadian river with cowboys chasing us. We have laughed.
My daughter recently told me they were the best experiences and she remembers the ones we did when she was 4 years.
We couldn’t afford to go camping as a single mother so I would put our 4 man dome tent up in our lounge. Now this wasn’t easy as we lived in a 2 bedroom small house and the tent went wall to wall. We had the door open to the tv so at night we could watch tv in bed. We would play in the tent using our torches to make shapes and tell stories.
I loved the game where you make up a story, one person starts a sentence and the second ends with a sentence, our stories would have us laughing for ages.
Storytelling is a great way for children to use their imaginations, I cant emphasis it enough to parents to encourage their children’s imaginations. Get involved.
In Auckland we have so many beaches. I am constantly amazed at how many people travel to the Coromandel when on their back door step is hundred of beaches. The Hibiscus Coast is full of safe beaches for the children and the best thing about the coast is you can go to more than one.They have amazing parks as well; I’m surprises at people who don’t know about the Regional parks like Wenderholm or Mahurangi.How about taking your children up to Goat Island where all you need is a snorkel and you can see the most amazing wildlife, if you don’t like swimming you can see fish swimming near the rocks. Huge snapper, I was blown away.