The Incredible Years – Toddlers workshop

Thursday 26th April

My local children’s centre, Paradise Park held a seminar a few ago to see if parents would be interested in joining a 12 week course to learn more about being a better parent. There were quite a few people there and the thinking was that it was likely to be over subscribed. I was informed that it those selected would more likely be struggling families, low income, single parents or those without a support network or family nearby. I didn’t hold out much hope of being selected, but I did explain that naturally priority should go to others but that I am a very willing mum who is aware of her faults but not entirely aware of all of them perhaps and am always wanting to learn more.

Well imagine my surprise when I got a phone call at 10am this morning to say I had been selected and the registration was at 10am today! Clearly someone dropped out and I moved up from the waiting list but no matter, I’m delighted to be on the course.

So I went along without baby (granny’s looking after her as I was working yesterday morning and tomorrow morning) so rather than having to leave her in the crèche at the children’s centre (something I’ve never done before but will have to do next week – eek!) I flew solo and could relax for the first session.

There were a range of mum’s there, and a dad, and I can honestly say, I learnt something straight away. They showed us a short video of a mum directing her toddler son at play. I recognized myself in her method immediately, she was really telling him what to do, limiting his own freedom of expression and making the whole experience of playing naughts and crosses with big pieces generally a chore rather than fun. To see the little boy eventually lower his head and go in for a cuddle with him mum was heart breaking. She had literally taken the zest and pleasure out of the experience and defeated him. Knowing that I can be a bit of a control freak (I do hate that phrase) at times, I vowed there and then to make fun the priority and let Cara lead the way when we have play time.

I was given homework – never did like homework – but this seems doable:

To Do:

  • Play for 10 minutes each day with your child

Be child directed  and follow your child’s lead

Try some pretend play

Express your joy to your child when playing

Sing with your toddler

(totally doable, I’m willing to do this)


  • Keep track of play periods on the “Record sheet: Play times” handout and bring to the next session

(Groan, I don’t need encouragement to play with my child but I won’t be keeping a log of when I do. I’ll probably fill this in at the end and make up the times)


  • Record your child’s development milestones on the “Things I can do” checklist

(This is starting to feel and look like a lot of homework!)

  • READ – Chapter 1, How to Play With your Child, in The incredible Years.

(No biggie, will do this first)


Looking forward to the next session in a week.

April 26, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

16 weeks and 3 days

My my how time flies the second time around in pregnancy. Long gone are the days of my first pregnancy where i could put my feet up and relax, go to bed at decent times, take long luxurious baths and eat aplenty. Now it’s a very different story for obvious reasons but one thing remains absolutely the same…the uncomfortable nights’ sleeping! Lordy, the body is genius at getting you used to sleepless nights right from the beginning isn’t it?

So I had my second midwife appointment today and i couldn’t wait to get in there and check on the heartbeat. If I could I’d have one of those machines at home but it would be lethal in my hands as i’d check every hour. What i didn’t now is that it’s actually distressing for the baby, because the ultra-sonic waves hurts their ears so best i don’t have one. hearing the heart beat nice and strong is an incredibly emotional experience i find, i was tearing up before i even lay on the bed. Dreamt about the experience last night in one of my periods of sleep, there’s just so much to worry about. But I’ve been assured that from now i should experience plenty of movements that i should keep track of, I wasn’t particularly good at it last time but the midwife explained it’s a good indication of all being well so it’simportant to keep tabs on it.

Hey ho, next appointment is at the hospital in the Imaging department where we find out what we’re having this time. Can’t wait!!!

September 6, 2012. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Customer Service!!

It’s my biggest gripe, it baffles me sometimes when there is a lack of basic courtesy.

We bought a rather expense Motorola baby monitor with a screen and less than six months later, the battery life was zero, the screen kept freezing intermittently and then it started to turn itself off. Receipt in hand i went back to the store in Brent Cross and explained this to the store manager. She duly plugged it in and naturally it worked fine. She said without seeing a problem there was nothing she could do. I explined the problem was intermittent and as a heavy sleeper it wasn’t satisfactory to use it confidently. She said i should take it up with Motorola. in fact, she responded with that line to everything i said, a total of 10 times. She gave me the number for Motorola and it turns out the number she provided was a department totally unsuitable for a consumer to be contacting. The guy at Motorola said that my consumer rights were that i was entitled to an exchange. In fact, check this out: it actually says that the shop must deal with it not the manufacturer so i was well and truly palmed off!

I proceeded to call the shop’s head office and voiced my anger and they actually dealt with it promptly and sent a new one to a different store for me to collect. I have to say, had i have purchased from John Lewis, their customer service is impeccable, i would have had a much smoother experience!

Gripe over…for now. 

June 10, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Praise, Praise, Praise

Week 3 of the Incredible Years workshop and i picked up a really handy tip from one of the mums today. By interacting with Cara more when reading to her bedtime has become a nightmare as she just doesn’t want us to stop! So one mum suggested we introduce brushing teeth straight after reading then bed. This distraction is genius and we shall give it a go tonight.

Today’s session was all about using social, emotion and persistence coaching. In essence, giving encouragement when they’re building blocks rather than jumping straight in and doing it for them. Not asking them too many questions but describing what they’re doing. We watched a video where the mum was asking question after question and the child was non responsive, “What shapes are they”, “what colour is that?”, “which one is bigger”. The preferred format which generated a better response from the child was, “That’s a beautiful yellow square box with big red circles on top”.  This prompted agreement from the child and some description of his own.

We bought some chunky crayons for 12+ months and got out some paper and encouraged Cara to scribble. At first I suggested we do it on the floor, but daddy said she should sit at her high chair to avoid her thinking she can draw on our floor boards.  It was interesting as she didn’t know how to hold the crayon having never seen me hold one so no surprise there. Obviously it went straight in the mouth, the paper was lifted up, turned around, scrunched up, inspected and ripped.  Daddy was busy putting the crayon in her hand and telling her what to do, how to hold it and how to draw. Recognising that she was losing interest, I stopped him and said, “Let’s just scribble and show her how to do it”. It worked!! She was absorbed by what we were doing then was itching to give it a go. So she used the wrong end, so she didn’t draw very much, doesn’t matter, it was a start. Without that workshop, I would have done the same as daddy and instructed rather than enjoyed.

Oddly, she got quite frustrated both times and started throwing the crayons, I honestly don’t know why. So we stopped the activity and tried again the next day. The throwing started again. I’m wondering if she’s too young for this activity yet, all the kids in my workshop do seem to be a bit older.  We’ll keep at it for now I think.

Homework is a questionnaire called Your Child’s Temperament. It’s based on a theory that each child has 9 traits or characteristics that are present from birth and there is a 5 point scale to rate them :

v  Activity level

  • Very active to Quiet and relaxed

v  Adaptability

  • Adapts quickly to Slow to adapt

v  Child’s approach

  • Eager initial approach to Innitial withdrawal and reluctance

v  Child’s physical sensitivity

  • Not sensitive to Very sensitive

v  Child’s intensity

  • High emotional intensity to Mild calm reaction

v  Child’s distractibility

  • Very distractible to Not distractible

v  Child’s mood

  • Positive mood to Negative mood

v  Child’s persistence

  • Long attention span to Short attention span

Then I had to do the same exercise for me and my personality traits. It will be fun to see how close we resemble eachother!

May 16, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Teeth Grinding to make you shudder!!!

Our little bean only had one tooth poking up from the bottom gum for such  long time – so cute. When the second one came next to it, then suddenly 4 popped out from the top, I can’t help but feel that her look has totally changed. She has a little gap between the front two at the top, indicating a sign of success I’ve heard – like Madonna and Victoria Beckham!

But now, she does this awful thing that quite literally makes me shudder, teeth grinding! The sound of her chiseling her gorgeous porcelain stubs this way not ony makes me want to tear my hair out – is this the first of many habits I have to look forward to??? – but I’m worried about the damage she’s doing to them. Does the grinding help make them smooth across (something that never happened with mine?) Will keep an eye on the grinding, may even book a dentist appointment for her and get some professional advice. Will be sure to update here.


May 8, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Promoting Toddlers’ Language Development – week 2

This week I can’t help but feel my 13 month old is a little young for all this but I certainly feel I’ll be prepared for when the time is right.

This week is all about understanding the cues your child uses to communicate with you, and to help them vocalise their feelings by using words to describe what they must be feeling. This promises to help them by relieving their frustrations / anger / sadness and will hopefully enable them to use these words in future rather than have a tantrum.

To be honest, the mums in the group, are beginning to feel more familiar and comfortable with each other that we’re having discussions about our toddler tantrums and suggesting solutions to help them cope. One mum described how she disciplines her toddler and has done since he age of 10 months when he coul walk (walk at 10 months!!??). If he misbehaves, she comes down to his level and explains what he’s done wrong and physically places him in his bedroom when he stands there until he’s ready to come out and apologise. Too harsh? I honestly don’t know. I do like the idea of discipline but I feel that mine is too young to implement. Then again, Supernanny does say that you can implement the naughty step from the moment they can count. There you he it, Cara can’t count just yet so i can lay off the discipline for now.

Another mum remarked how she has never exposed her 19 month old to television. The tutor also backed this up by saying that general rule of thumb is no tv before 2 years old! Erm….spectaular fail on my part then. To b fair, i also had that mentality before i became a mum but I’m afraid, whilst I recognise it is easy parenting, i do feel it’s also useful in moderation. In The Night Garden does form part of our bedtime routine and she genuinely gets such pleasure from Mr Tumble and others on CBeebies. Admittedly I will not expose her to any of the channels that feature adverts,  There are just too many ads and i don’t want her to be marketed to just yet thank you very much! I’ll make a conscious effort to limit the TV time further but watch this space!

This week’s homework is:

  • Play with your child being child-directed and using descriptive commenting, modeling and repetition. (Modeling meaning where you say the words you would like them to use e.g. You would like the red block please?)
  • Read with your toddler or colour using interactive reading


May 3, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.