Tuesday 27 October 2015

Other Peoples Children

Other people's children are never quite as precious as your own. This is fact. I am a nanny and I truly love and have loved other peoples children but having your own is always the top. Other peoples children are significantly less precious when in public arenas. I'm not talking about that annoying child in a restaurant or on a plane. That is a whole different ball game. I'm talking about that child when you walk into a soft play centre that you just hope and pray is going to steer clear of your child. That's right, that one, the one kicking someone, or pelting balls at the younger children or (a real pet peeve of mine) climbing UP the slide.

So what do you when there is a run in with another child? Let me start by saying... I under no circumstances think that my child is an angel who does no wrong... in fact shortly after he turned 2 we had an instance where he was THAT child... shouting at other children, kicking a baby in the face (that's right, the face), pushing children off the bouncy castle. Suffice to say, we had to leave and thankfully have not an another day quite like that! 

So back to the point, do you tell other peoples children off? Personally, I tend to go for a reminder of the rules after ensuring the parent/carer isn't there to step in themselves, 'we only go down slides, remember!' or 'let's all go carefully, remember he's only small!' etc etc. I really hate that we are all so afraid of talking to other peoples children. If Seb was doing something wrong I would prefer he was reminded by another parent that this was not OK, or that they came an told me. Generally, I am always watching, but as they get bigger and disappear into enormous climbing frames and pirate ships it becomes harder and I appreciate that this is the same for other mothers. So unless you choose to stand next to your child at all times (which also... is not healthy - see my post on risk aversion societies!) then you have to accept that sometimes children are going to need to be reminded of the rules. 

I don't think there is an easy one size fits all solution to managing other people's children; here are my top tips:

  1. Don't berate other peoples children. That will not make you friends and will almost certainly result in a very stroppy mother appearing. 
  2. Do remind children of the rules or how to be safe - 'We only go down slides.'
  3. Do make generic statements that apply to all children rather than singling out a child - 'we all need to take turns,' 'let's not push one another'. Even if you look directly at a specific child when you say it!
  4. Do make sure your child is behaving in a manner you think is acceptable before worrying about what other children are doing! 

Let me know your thoughts on this in the comments below... maybe you think parents should never speak to other children? Or maybe you think we should be harder on other children.... let me know!


Wednesday 21 October 2015

Go Clock - Product Review

With the clocks changing back this weekend, it seems like an appropriate time to review one of my favourite baby products. The Gro Clock. It wasn't the first to market in terms of sleep training or time setting devices, there have been bunnies who wake up and sheep which light up in the morning etc etc. Over the years and I have seen several of them used with various families I have worked with. I decided to go for the Gro-Clock because I am a fan of the company anyway, I like their Gro-bags, their general ethos and one mother I worked with raved about it. 

So the idea is that when your child goes to bed you switch from the sun to the star, the star then has little stars around the edge which count down through the night until the sun comes back at the time you have allocated - like an alarm clock. We dress this up as Mr Sunshine and Twinkle Twinkle - if I'm honest, no discussion or thought went into these names, I think one of us said it once and it has stuck! So when Seb goes to bed we press the button and say 'Goodnight Mr Sunshine!' usually followed by 'Oh look! Who is there now?' To which the standard response is 'Twinkle Twinkle!' With surprising glee considering that this is a routine we have now followed for about 4 or 5 months. Seb, or ninja child as he is sometimes known, climbs out of his cot so we encourage him to stay in bed whilst Twinkle Twinkle is on the clock. Generally speaking in the morning this works and he often runs in to our room say 'Mr Sunshine's up!' Our once perfect evening routine doesn't always follow suit and for some reason he is currently a fan of climbing out of bed several times before eventually realising that we really mean it... it is bed time and giving into sleep. 

I think the clock is easy to use, though my husband would disagree (which one of us do you think read the manual?) and the graphics are large and clear. There are three buttons total, an enter or return button and two arrows, so it requires two button clicks to turn it to the Sun and then to the star; I think this is what he struggles with for some reason. There is a setting for day time sleeps but if I'm perfectly honest I have never really used this, if I do decide it's necessary because he's being a monkey and not sleeping then I usually just use the night time mode and switch it to the sun when I come back in to get him up. 

The Gro-Clock also comes with a book that helps you to introduce the clock to your child. Personally I read the book to Seb once and with our discussions about it he got it and didn't need it covered again, but other children might benefit from visiting the story a few times. It is not such an amazing story that you'll want to read it again and again though!

So with the clocks changing this weekend, you may find this clock is your best friend. Just make sure you change the time before you go to bed and in theory your little one will stay in bed until the Sun comes up! Otherwise you may find your little 6am waker suddenly shouting out or appearing next to you at 5am GMT! They are very reasonably priced at around £19.99, though if you buy on Amazon I have seen them there for £14.99 in one of their prime day deals. 


Wednesday 14 October 2015


I'm sure you are all getting ready for Halloween, the shops are bursting with costumes and head boppers, spiders and pumpkins, skeletons and monsters and frankly it is hard not to get carried away. I generally have to avoid these aisles because I would spend money unnecessarily on what is frankly... tat. Also, Seb is two. He doesn't wholly understand what Halloween is and I would hate for him to end up frightened!

My husband suggested that we took him trick or treating this year to a couple of neighbours as he thought he might enjoy the process of dressing up but it was with the condition that I was very careful about what costume I bought. Last year Claudia Winkleman's daughter was famously badly burnt on her legs after her witches dress caught fire. She has been on a mission since then to educate parents about how unsafe these outfits can be as by the regulators they are viewed as toys rather than clothing, meaning they are not required to pass the same testing procedures. This is also usually why they end up being so cheap, previously to our delight as they may realistically wear this outfit once or maybe even twice! You can watch Claudia Winkleman retell her story here and see for yourself how easily it could happen to your child.

This is not something I had ever given thought to before. We put our children in tule and glitter, hang capes and long sleeves all in the name of spookiness! So now, I have done a bit more reading up on the best ways to avoid fire incidents around Halloween and found Good Housekeeping to have some great tips along with a video of some outfits that they gave a fire test to (here).

I shan't be putting my lit pumpkin on the doorstep as I can't guarantee what other children will be wearing. I will either buy and electric candle or keep it indoors in the window out of reach. After a chat with Seb about what he might like to dress up as, he came back with the suggestion of Hulk. All the best looking costumes I found online said quite clearly - keep away from an open flame - or - highly flammable - in the description so those were a no go. Husband suggested PJs. Genius! He will actually love wearing these again and again after the event and it means I don't mind spending a little more as they will get the wear. So I headed to the Disney Store and found these PJs which will hopefully go down a treat and a mask from Amazon, which has arrived and he is terrified of.... so that was less of a win!

Don't take all the fun away from Halloween because of our need to be risk averse... but risk manage. Be safe, make sure your kids are safe. Make sure they understand the risks of fire and what to do if something does catch fire. Letting children knock on strangers doors is peculiar enough at this time of year, make sure your child isn't the one who gets rushed off to A&E with 3rd degree burns as well.

To end on a happier note... here is a picture of Seb at his first halloween two years ago.... awwww baby skeleton!!