Monday, 18 November 2013

Santa Clause or Father Christmas?

Father Christmas was traditionally a personification of the holiday, emphasising generosity and the true spirit of Christmas.  The modern day 'Santa Clause' is essentially a U.S. adaptation, not shared too widely in british culture.  Instead, we favour the tradition of Father Christmas, a warm, merry, bearded old fellow with a belly that wobbles like a bowl full of jelly!
It is no wonder that nothing is quite as enchanting as watching your child experience the magic of Father Christmas & all the excitement of his mystical kingdom nestled deep in the North Pole.  Tiny Wise has a limited number of special edition 'Letters from Father Christmas' on offer.  
Your child's letter will be handmade & personalised to include their name, the road they live on, mention of good behaviour or a good deed they've done & not forgetting that all important note on presents!

You can also include the names of siblings or pets so that your child has a truly one of a kind letter that they can cherish as a keepsake for years to come.  To place your order simply click on this link and your Letter to Father Christmas will be on it's way!

Saturday, 26 October 2013


If you're the parent of a child who refuses to eat or puts up a daily fight when it comes to eating healthy, balanced and nutritious meals then the Tiny Wise guide to tackling Fussy Eating is a must read.

This week only you can access the guide and a family meal planner FREE of charge.  Get it quick, once it's gone, it's gone!

Alternatively, if you would like a more focused package of support on a one to one basis.  Please get in touch to discuss your child's fussy eating issues and we will work with you to address the issues.  Download your FREE guide here.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Fussy eaters? FREE Family Meal Planner and Guide to addressing fussy eating once and for all!

This Freebie Friday, Tiny Wise is giving away a FREE family meal planner and our 10 step guide to helping your child to change their eating habits one meal at a time!  

Simply visit our page here and 'Like' us. We'll then notify you on Friday about how to access your FREE download via our secure website like.

You can also post questions on our page about your child's picky eating issues and we'll respond to you ALL week for free with our invaluable advice and support.  

Check back regularly as I'll be adding some related blog posts over the course of this week.

Happy parenting!

Friday, 18 October 2013

FREEBIE FRIDAY - Potty training 101, a checklist for getting started

FREE potty training checklist to get you off to a flying start.  Please visit the Tiny Wise website here to claim your free guide to getting started.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Happy parenting!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Your pre-schooler - 4 tips for promoting independence

It’s obvious that your pre-schooler still needs lots of help from you but they’re far more capable than we often give them credit for.  You may find it challenging to get your child to help with clearing up their toys, undertaking basic chores or helping out when asked. However, at nursery or pre-school it can be a totally different child on show, often helping out and joining in when asked. 

Here's how you can encourage them to continue that behaviour at home:

1. Expect more from your child. Often, it’s easier to do something yourself than have a battle with your child over their ability to be able to do something when asked.  It is important that you keep expecting your child to do things that are age appropriate that they are capable of doing.  Without a doubt, if you raise the bar and encourage your child with reward and praise, he’ll stretch out to meet it.

2. Don't do it over again. If your child wipes down her dinner table after her meal, let her and if she leaves some mess behind, ignore it.  By ‘fixing’ your child’s achievements, you’ll undermine the effectiveness and the power of their achievement.  Encourage don’t perfect just yet.

3. They can do it. If you see your child climbing up on something or trying harder than usual to get to or do something on their own, don’t rush in immediately (unless there is clear danger) and try to help.  Stand back and let them do it, even encourage them.  Perhaps it’s not the ideal thing for them to be doing but what they’re learning is a skill, you can address their ability to get into the sweetie cupboard later on! 

4. Give them responsibilities around the home.  Putting your pre-schooler in charge of a regular chore around the house will help to build their sense of place and responsibility. The more responsibility you give your child, backed up with positive reinforcement, the more likely your child will be to want to do more and achieve bigger successes as time goes by.

Happy parenting!

Planning for fussy eaters...

Meal planning is an essential element to addressing the issues around fussy eating. It can help us to spend not only less time grocery shopping but you’re also more likely to spend less if you go in armed with a list and you stick to it.  Recent statistics suggest that we waste on average, 30% of the food we buy.   

So as well as being a good way to ensure that you’re planning well for your children’s meals, the long term benefits are good for the family as a whole.

The more organised you are about the shopping, the less stressed you’ll be at meal times. If you’re a parent of a fussy eater, you know only too well how difficult it can be to put a last minute meal together that is not only healthy but also appealing to your child.  Try to include some of what they eat and also make it a little more challenging for them by including a few new things for them to try.

Typically, by the time dinner rolls around, it just seems easier to feed that "picky" eater whatever they are going to eat rather than trying to come up with inventive ways to hide their vegetables somewhere in one of the limited meals you child will eat.  As you’ve probably figured out by now, children don’t miss a beat.  It is rare that you’ll get anything past them without them noticing!  

Mealtimes can be stressful for everyone if there is a picky eater in the house.  It can also feel like too much effort and might seem like a waste of time to bother with something they aren't going to eat but this of course, can a dangerous line of thought.  When serving only the food your child will eat, you are just reinforcing their choice to eat a limited range of food rather than a variety that will ensure a healthy balanced diet.  

One of the first steps towards dealing with fussy eaters is to come up with a meal plan and to stick with it.  Aim to have a balance between foods your child will eat and new food that they’ve not yet tried or resisted in the past.  It is important to get the balance right, they will become very distressed if the entire meal contains food they do not like.  

This is where meal planning is important.  Try to plan a week or two in advance, more if you have the time.  Meal planning gives you the opportunity to increase the variety of foods you offer your child.  You can then take the time to find recipes and ideas that will interest your child and also tempt them into trying new food.

Keep the following in mind when planning:
  • Keep the favourites- Meal planning allows you to make sure you have those comforting and familiar meals ready at each meal for your picky eater. I would suggest that you make an exhaustive list of all the foods your child will eat and put these meals into three categories- veg/fruit, starch/carbs, fats/proteins.  Most people are surprised at how many foods are actually on the list.  Include at least some of their preferred food at each meal.
  • Plan based on knowledge- Analyse the meals on that list you’ve compiled of all the foods your child will eat.  Is there a pattern of a particular type of food emerging? If so, try to plan some meals that gradually take them a little out of that comfort zone.  Try to slowly make small changes to some of the foods they eat, you can introduce an element of fun by making faces or interesting layouts on your child’s plate.  Better still, involve them in the preparation to keep them interested.
  • Make a note – Keeping a written record over time will help you to see the new patterns emerging and to spot areas where you can see progress or where a particular trigger such as tiredness etc… impacts on your child’s preferences at meal times.  It is important to see success in interactions with food, too.  Some children won't even look at new foods, if yours touched a carrot for the first time that is success!  Having your meal plan as a visual will let you see the progress your child is making, it will also remind you to go back and try some foods that you had some progress with.  Often, without this visual reminder, it is easy to get stuck in the same old pattern, going back to cooking the same meals week in and week out because it’s easier for everyone.  Unfortunately, it will only become harder in the long run.
The parents of picky eaters are more likely to be more stressed and disorganised at meal times, your child will pick up on this so that is another reason to plan ahead and keep calm at meal times.  Next week, I’ll be going over some strategies to help you address picky eating now that you’ve got the first step which is to plan, plan, and plan!  With a bit of support and some proven techniques to help you get on track, you can look forward to happier meal times and a more stress free day knowing that you are gradually building on the variety of food your child will eat.  Keep an eye out for my next blog post on fussy eating titled “Changing meal time behaviour one meltdown at a time!”
Happy parenting!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Are you a married 'single' parent?

There is a quiet, growing trend taking place in urban societies up and down the country.  The recession has hit some families harder than others.  Those lucky enough to have kept their jobs are acutely aware of how different life could be on the other side of the employment fence.  Watching family, neighbours and friends lose their jobs and seeing how their lives have been impacted by the loss of income, you can't help but worry.

If you are a stay at home Mum (SAHM) or you work part-time while your other half clocks up some super-human work hours each week, you'll know first hand what it feels like to parent your children alone, as working-class families, we carry on because we're so aware of how important our jobs are and what it would mean if we didn't have that luxury to support our life as we know it.

Perhaps you may be in a situation where you're both working and you've managed to engineer your shift patterns so that one of you is almost always at home to care for the children while the other is at work - this is sensible for many reasons, you don't have to rely on others to care for your children and you can reduce your childcare costs meaning there's more left over to live on.  

Whatever the arrangements, it's clear that in today's society, many married couples are facing the challenge of being married, single parent's due to the commitments and pressures of work and maintaining a lifestyle that prevents  your children from suffering the consequences of our country's current economic misfortune.

My own experience has been one of a marriage that's like two ships passing in the night.  One arrives home, the other is out the door and off to work.  Our children are still too young to know any different so they are pretty reasonable about our coming's and going's in general but I know that as they get older, this sort of arrangement may become challenging.

I naively mentioned to a friend in passing the other day that our current work and childcare commitments are akin to being co-parenting divorcee's, my husband's shifts are set and I work around them on a self-employed basis as well as juggling a full-time University degree.  We're both out at work or studying upwards of 60 hours a week each, literally passing for a quick kiss hello and a miserable nod goodbye.  Probably not much danger of any more children coming along!

My friend was quick to point out that I was misguided in my statement, if that were the case and we were like two co-parenting divorcees, we'd both get a break every second weekend and even more during the school holiday's!  My shoulders drooped as I realised the reality of our situation. We are married, single parents.  Fun times, I wonder just how sustainable this arrangement is?  I feel an expiry date looming.

I try not to lose sight of the fact that what we're doing is for the best of all concerned, there is an end goal in mind.  While our children are relatively oblivious to the mono-parent approach we've adopted, we have no choice but to carry on until I finish Uni.  Then, my husband can work more reasonable shifts that don't include over-time every week to supplement the loss of a good portion of my income while I'm studying.  Two more years and we're out of the woods, yay.  Let's just hope that in the meantime, while our two ships are out passing each other in the night, neither of us sink into the deep blue.

If you're in the same boat or if you're a REAL single parent, I would love to see your comments below.  This is such an interesting topic and one that is unlike anything that society has had to face before.  What does it mean for the future?  Women are achieving more equality in the work place, life is getting more expensive, there is more pressure on both parent's to work as many hours as there are in the day and we've all read about the government's new angle on reforming the current benefit system.  

This is all so very interesting.  Where do you think we're heading?  What will a typical family unit look like 100, 200 years from now? 

As always...
Happy parenting!