Tag Archives: families

Kids and technology

Technology – it isn’t the most exciting of topics is it. It is something we all just take for granted – we have unlimited internet access, Television 24/7 and mobile phones to contact anyone at any time. It’s something my family have always used often without even thinking twice about it.

My 2.5 year old is a bit of a technology whizz. She can already access Google on my IPad. She knows how to get onto ‘cat’ and she knows what Netflix (Leclix) is for, and how to find her favourite Mother Goose or Peppa Pig programmes on there. She also has a play phone and will often chat to ‘Dadad’ (Granddad) or various other family members on that.

We used to have strict limitations. With my 6 year old I would rarely have TV on in the day, and had strict internet limits. But over time these have relaxed; Having Amelia grow means that we let her use Netflix after School to catch up with her favourite programmes, which gradually increased to weekends too. It’s easy to think of the advantages:

  • They both enjoy using technology
  • It can be educational.
  • They will need to use technology throughout life, so they need to know how.
  • It’s a great way to make sure they are not causing chaos when catching up with housework.

When I really think about it though, for kids, there are no huge advantages to using technology. It is all about us parents; It gives me a chance to do jobs, its tidier than toys and I know where they are (the kids, not the toys!).

Rosie though has started to struggle. She has become a bit obsessed – she constantly wants the IPad or TV on. She has tantrums about me saying no. Her and Amelia argue about who is going to watch what. She was choosing this over playing or anything else.

As a Mum, I feel guilty. I feel that I have relaxed too much and suddenly realised how far things have gone. I should never have used the IPad as a babysitter, or let her go on it rather than play with her. But being a parent is about learning and reflecting. I’ve realised that the current arrangement just isn’t working and so we have done the following:

  1. Kept technology out of sight; Out of sight, out of mind. Not totally, but it makes it a whole lot easier to say no if they can’t get to it.

2. Led by example; It wouldn’t work if I said no to them then got my IPad out to use myself. I impose the same limitations on myself as on them (with the exception of my mobile, which I have within hearing range but have never used much anyway).

3. Don’t have it in bedrooms; Take TV’s or other technology away from where they sleep. I have to admit that this one wasn’t an issue for us – we have never had it in there. But if you do it’s worth considering.

              4. Give them limited access; I wont say that kids need technology. But in a world which is dominated by it, I think they do need some access. To be confident in using IT equipment. And just because in moderation it can be educational and fun. Amelia likes the Cbeebies App, Netflix and Paint. Rosie likes YouTube (yeah, I don’t know why either) and Netflix. They now have clear limits (cartoons for half an hour in the morning, the IPad for half an hour in the evening).

For us, we started last Friday. I expected tantrums from Rosie (who is in the terrible two stage) when I told her that we couldn’t use the IPad. Actually she loved it. We read loads of books, talked about colours, coloured in, played with corn flour goo and pasta and sang songs. I have to admit to it being a long afternoon; I am working on her level not my own, and slowing down to concentrate just on her rather than the housework wasn’t easy. But it was hugely rewarding and I felt like a ‘proper’ Mum to her.

Since then our family time has really improved. Amelia and Rosie are playing together, making obstacle courses, playing pirates or Lego. They aren’t arguing as much. I was worried they would get bored, but I didn’t appreciate how imaginative kids are. They have used their  imagination and found loads to do (including making some housework tasks fun, and having them join in. Ever played ‘Hoover tag?!’

We have laughed a bit more, been more together and just enjoyed each others company more.

I don’t know if this post will get read by anyone other than me in the future, but it is something I feel has made our lives richer in just a few days.

Thanks for reading. xxx

xx

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Black and white photography..

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I have chosen to join In with the black and white photography linky this week, after not blogging much for quite a while. The photo I have chosen is of my littlest girl Rosie when we went for an Autumn walk in the woods. Rosie kept running away, and I snapped this picture quickly before I had to chase her as she wanted to run into a ditch!

I love the way the light falls on this photo – sometimes as you take a photo it just feels ‘right’ doesn’t it – the picture might not be posed or have her face, but it don’t care, I still love it.

If you would like to join in, you can add a photo too at podcast dove
Xxx

Messy Play – Pastry

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The Activity

Using pastry dough (uncooked) as a messy / sensory play material (a bit like play dough). We made cakes and decorated them with sprinkles and spaghetti.

What we did

Sometimes I find that the best ideas for playing comes from children. I like to see what they seem interested in, and use whatever we have to hand to play. I am often surprised by how creative and resourceful children really are. Where I just saw pastry, they saw something they could really play with. Where I see things from a boring grown up world, children still see new and different possibilities.

When I was making the pastry, Amelia’s cousin who was here to play seemed really interested in using it, so I gave her some. She rolled it out to make a pancake, and their play evolved from there. Because Grace was doing it, Amelia wanted to as well, so I quickly made up a small batch of short crust pastry, split it into two and gave them half each at the table. I then gave them a rolling pin, a few utensils, some hard spaghetti, some sprinkles in a bowl and some cake signs.

It’s a bit like play dough, and both girls enjoyed it and played with it for about an hour. They made cakes, and used the pumpkins as ovens for them, and decorated them.

My Thoughts

This is such a simple and easy thing to do. I was so impressed with pastry as a play material, and I know that it is a material that I will be using again and in different ways. It’s cheap,  wasn’t too messy on the mess scale, and was really enjoyed by both girls.

xxx

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Halloween small world play

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It’s half term. I love the school holidays – a time to have whole days with my little ones 🙂 I hope to do a few different activities this week. I started with Halloween small world play.

I googled it first but didn’t come up with much, and so in the end I made it up! I used what we had – lentils for a floor,a few Halloween trinkets from last year, small pasta for a path and happy land figures.

Amelia loved it. She knew straight away that it was ‘Halloween world’ and I told her she could play however she wanted with it. She informed that that she is going to play with it all day.

I made a separate bowl of sensory materials for Rosie – tinsel, pasta, a couple of happyland figures and different tubs. However, she had enough quickly, so we moved to the floor. She enjoyed it then. And Amelia wanted to move to the floor with us, so they shared the small world tray (Rosie loved throwing everything everywhere!)

Overall, it was a lovely hour to spend playing with something different – both girls really enjoyed it. I’ve added some more photos below of my girls playing.

Xxx

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To my little ones,

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Another week has flown past. Where does time go. Everytime I blink you have both grown a little bit more, and your babyhood is another step behind you, with only my memories of your baby smell, newborn cuddles and dependence on me.

This week has been a funny one. Waiting for Daddy to be off with us this week, plans for the summer holidays. Saying goodbye to nursery in a few days. It feels like lots is coming and so we have been on pause a little.

Amelia, you slept out this week. Friday at nana Sally’s, and Saturday at auntie Sarah’s. You love sleeping out, you have so much fun and enjoy being spoilt. We are so lucky that we have such a fantastic family – you have aunties that couldn’t love you any more, and nana’s and grandad’s that would do literally anything for you because they love you so much.

We went to Hubbards Hills on Sunday. We went with lots of your second cousins. Amelia, you were a cheeky monkey. You are so different to me – so outgoing, a leader and never afraid to say what you think. I hope that you never change – I don’t pretend to understand how you came to be who you are, but I love your spirit – I know that sometimes I try to mould you, try to calm you down a little bit, but that’s because Im afraid for you sometimes. I’m afraid that your ‘leadership’ could become something mean. You never are, you don’t understand how to be nasty, but it worry for you.

You were being bossy with your uncle Shaun. He said he was going to eat you, and it was funny. You really Thought that he might eat you – you half liked the joke, half were scared about the thought. Shaun said it’s the first time he’s seen you wrong footed lol. You had everyone laughing – using your ‘no laugh’ powers, and telling Shaun that he can’t eat you because you’re a kind helpful kid. And that you will buy him an ice cream if he doesn’t eat you.

And Rosie, you were my little star. As good as gold all day – walking around everyone, looking for food and you never cried. Not once all day. You are as good as gold, my beautiful girl. You babbled, you toddled around and you enchanted everyone. You have an obsession with keys – you love them – I don’t know what it is but you just do. And climbing – this week at nana Rosie’s you climber onto her toy box and stood like it was a stage. We did laugh at you.

One thing that made me laugh this week was when you said how does our car know when we are coming.’ That did make me giggle. And you still love your magical powers – grandad pete showed you some new ones which you were impressed with.

Thank you girls for making me complete,
Love you always,
Mummy.

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The ordinary moments – writing

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I used to write about teaching my daughter to write quite often. But in the end it became stressful – it felt like I was forcing it rather than teaching her to enjoy it. So I stepped back and left her to lead what we did – and she didn’t choose to write. I had to trust that she would come back to it when she was ready.

And now she is. In the past three weeks she has got interested again. It started with her campaign about people dropping rubbish,which she made posters for. But since she seemed interested, I got her a phonics book for pre schoolers, with writing and activities. And we’ve built it back into the daily routine, in a relaxed way.

This is our current ordinary:
1. Rosie goes for her nap.
2. We get out the writing book (only if Amelia wants to though).
3 we do one page together at the table.
4. We find the stickers for each page when it is finished.
5. After the page, we will either do some colouring or writing in an exercise book.

It’s enjoyable, and a real pleasure to see Amelia taking an interest. She recognises almost all letters now, and now can write a fair few too. It only takes 10-20 minutes at most, but it’s something that we both are really enjoying at the moment. For me, it’s also bittersweet since I am very aware that I lose my afternoons with her in September. It already feels like a loss – I am so very envious of those who are able to homeschool as it is a dream I wish I could pursue but am not brave enough to take the risk.

Today she wrote ‘Amlia (love heart shape) mam.’ All by herself – I had no idea what she was writing. She practised a bit (on every page of an exercise book!) by herself but got there in the end. I was so very proud of her, and it made me smile a lot. I keep looking at this little bit of writing, and it makes me want to cry because it’s just so lovely.

I have joined in with http://www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk – a wonderful linky about remembering the ordinary moments.

Xxx

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To my poppets

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Hello my poppets,
Another week has gone by so fast. Last week I promised that I will try to be a better mum to you this week. I think that I have been – I’ve had a lot of fun with you both, and you have taken away my stresses and troubles with your beautiful smiles and general innocence.

I can’t say that we have done a huge amount this week -we’ve played Lego (we made a building with a random roof) and it was mostly colour co-ordinated until we ran out of the right colour bricks. And we have done lots of colouring, writing letters and playing hide and seek. It’s been a fun week.

Rosie, you have given the best kisses this week. You smack you lips together a few times then give a huge open mouth kiss – it’s new for this week and I love it. Until now you’ve ignored my kiss requests (and I have been requesting them about a hundred times a day!) but now you will give them. To anyone. Yesterday we went to see my work friends for cake, and as we left you did you lip smacking to give them kisses before we left.

You are little miss mischief this week too. Playing a basic hide and seek, peek a boo and giggling lots. You are starting to play with your big sister more now, and you often laugh at her silliness. You are into everything – nothing is safe from your curiousity. Cupboards are opened, washing is pulled off radiators and chairs are climbed onto. You are a monkey, but a very adorable one.

Amelia, I went to parents day this week. We saw your nursery head teacher. She has said about how well you are doing – she has no concerns and feels that you are ready for ‘big school.’ She said you can be shy at times, so I wondered if she had got you mixed up – I don’t think anyone else ever thinks of you as shy! But anyway we cam away feeling proud of you – you are a lovely little girl who I think will do well as you move on to school.

I took you to see a film this week too. How to train your dragon 2 in 3d. We went with Lydia and sarah, and you loved having ‘just the girls’ together. You did however wonder very loudly what daddy must be doing just as the film started. And you found the 3d effects funny at first. It was my first 3d film too and I really liked it. Most of all I liked your giggles, you snuggling up with me for the scarier parts of the film, and you saying ‘it’s a good job you’re here isn’t it’ when you came to sit with me. You also had a snuggle with your auntie Lydia which made me smile – your aunties all love you so much my little one – I know that you will never be without people to turn to for whatever you may need.

You’ve got more confident with writing this week too. You’ve been practising different letters and are starting to hold your pens properly. I bought you a writing book and you like tracing the letters, although I will only let you do a page a day to keep it interesting.

And we baked. You are clever at baking – you know that generally we need flour, you can crack eggs without help (well, sometimes I have to take a bit of egg out of the mixture) but other than that you are good. And you make it fun with your endless chatter and your testing of the mixture at regular intervals.

I love you both so much – my job often means I come home feeling stressed and worried, but smiles, chatter and cuddles from you girls never fails to make me feel so much happier.

Xxx

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The letter says ‘come back’ to her key worker at nursery in case you are interested 🙂

My girls..

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My beautiful girls,

This week has been a bit difficult for mummy. I’m sorry if I haven’t been all that I should have been this week. I haven’t felt like going anywhere or doing much – I feel guilty about it, but that’s just how it is. Work has been busy, and it’s been on my mind even in the time when I haven’t been there. I, sorry, I’ll be better this week. Just know that no matter what happens, you two and your daddy are what get me through. I love you as much as everything in the whole wide world – I wouldn’t be me without the three of you to make me whole.

Amelia, this week you went to see your ‘big school’ with nannie Elaine. Apparently you loved it – you wrote your name very clearly, and you enjoyed meeting your new teacher. I think you are going to settle in nicely there. I’ve seen huge leaps in your writing lately too – you are writing your name clearly now, and are having a go at other words too. It’s lovely to see your confidence increasing.

You have got it in your mind to run a campaign about dropping rubbish too. 4 and a half years old, and you have had us making posters about not dropping rubbish, which you want to stick to trees. You are a natural leader – I often think of you as bossy, but it’s more that you have clear ideas and are confident at how to achieve them. I’ve added a picture of our posters below.

Today we have been to a windmill. You loved it! You made a friend, an older little girl who you were playing hide and seek with. Then another 2 children joined in – I had to play too of course, to make sure you understood and were safe. You were fine though, you had them playing ‘freeze tag’ (a game you invented) and were running about and laughing lots. Then we went on a little train and you absolutely loved it – laughed all the way round.

Rosie, you have been a little star this week as always. You too loved the little train – daddy was holding you, and you smiled round the track. You are so vocal now – you say ‘teddy’ in your own way, but it is clear. And you play peek a boo with whatever you can get hold of – it’s very sweet to see you learning. You met your cousins this week from austrailia, and were surprisingly shy. You wouldn’t go anywhere near them, and clung to me and your nana and grandad throughout. You also have a thing about shoes – you like carrying Amelia’s shoes about and losing them, or taking your own off and carrying them around, like baby ET.

And you love birds. You look out of the window and squeal, shout and babble to the birds. I love watching you!

I love you two girls – you are my world.

Xxxx

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My daughters bedroom.

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Today I thought I’d share my daughters bedroom. I love her bedroom – it feels like a proper little girls room, that’s why I love it. When we moved in we pulled up an awful red carpet, sanded the floors (when I was pregnant with Amelia there was one day that I couldn’t get up from the floor doing this!) and got furniture for it.

I’m going to do this post in pictures as they show her room as it is. Hope you like it 🙂

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The ordinary moments – Saturday cleaning.

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For the past few weeks I have introduced a new routine. It’s kind of happened accidentally, but a few weeks ago I was tidying up Amelia’s room, and she wanted to help. And she enjoyed it so much helping me tidy, Hoover and Polish that I have been doing it each Saturday.

I think it’s good for her to take responsibility for her own room, and she actually gets excited when I say that it’s time to clean her room (that won’t last long!)

I took a few photos today of her hoovering – she sits for ages putting everything into the Hoover, she doesn’t Hoover the traditional way much. It takes me twice as long too as I have to do everything after her – I re Hoover the rug etc – but it makes it much more fun.

I’m joining in as always with
http://www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk who runs the ordinary moments linky. Please feel free to join in with it – it’s my favourite linky as it makes me treasure the ordinary times that I will miss in the future.

Xxx

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