The Real Truth About Dealing With A 4 Year Old (well mine at least!)

Okay,  I don’t mean all four-year-olds are a problem. But damn, my one is challenging. I guess that is the beauty of parenting. You take the good, the bad and the tantrums. I always believe that there is no manual. There are some common themes, but all of our children are unique. This is my little rant so bear with me.

RELATED: My Daughter is Bossy, Here is Why I Am Okay With It

Firstly, we had the terrible two’s and threes, and things were finally calming down at age four.

However, it was a false sense of calm. Little did I know what lies beneath. Also as she is ‘Big Sissie’ this comes with an additional set of challenges.

Although the tantrums have become less, they have become higher grade tantrums.

[bctt tweet=”Although the tantrums are less, they are now Higher Grade tantrums” username=”cherralle_”]

More intense.

Stronger opinions.

Bigger emotions.

Endless questions.

Questions asked all the time.

Things that don’t work anymore:

Bribery

Bribes don’t work, because she can work it so that she gets the thing that you are bribing her with and still go for what she wants.

Talking her out of things

Try to reason with a four-year-old.

Don’t worry I’ll wait.

You have the spunk of a three-year-old (that does not go away guys), and the vocabulary of a four-year-old, and the mood of a thirteen-year-old on your hands. Plus sometimes the energy of an energizer bunny.

Then again, sometimes the energy of an older person. “I am so tired. I can’t walk”, she pronounces. Suitably timed to be when things are not going her way,

Distraction

Distraction does not work. She is focused and determined. Wild horses cannot take this little one off her path when she has set herself a goal.

 

Tips for managing your 4-year-old’s behavior

At every stage, it is essential to get to you know your child. There is no manual. Here are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with your four-year-old

Focus on the positive, always reinforce positive behavioural traits

Catch them doing something right and recognise that. If they go ahead and brush their teeth, why not say something encouraging?

Maintain a routine for your 4-year old

Waking up, eating times, bedtime, etc.

Give your child choices whenever appropriate

Example, getting dressed give them two acceptable choices. Just for the record, this does not work out with Big Sissy. She looks at my two ‘acceptable’ options and then goes to her cupboard.

Try to always respond calmly

This is so HARD! I am a shouter mom, but I am working on it!

In conclusion

Each phase has its challenges, and this too shall pass!

I also stumbled across this article about tantrum taming phrases to use with a 3 – 4 year olds that might give you some tools to use.

RELATED: Don’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

A Stay At The Cavern Drakensberg Resort & Spa: A Family Friendly Holiday

the cavern family friendly

The Cavern Resort: A Family Friendly Holiday Destination (A Review)

When I say The Cavern is family friendly – I mean it. The resort has everything that would make  your life easy if you are a family who lives an active lifestyle (a lot of walking). It was perfect for our family of four.

For me, family friendly is a destination that is built to entertain children and adults alike.

[bctt tweet=”A family friendly holiday destination, catering for adults and children alike!” username=”cherralle_”]

The resort and its amenities are also built to give parents a little bit of a break to relax. Because, let’s face it sometimes a holiday with kids is still pretty much  still work.

The Family Friendly Features that stood out for us:

  • Safe and fun play area for kids (outside and inside)
  • Kids’ dining room
  • Free childcare and fun for kids while adults eat alone (don’t hide it, we all want to eat alone!)
  • If you prefer, you may eat with your children
  • Childcare for times other than meal times
  • Structured activity times for kids (30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon)
  • And last not least, three AMAZING meals per day for adults and children. My one-year-old and four-year-old both ate at all meals! Well, of course at certain times play was more critical to my 4-year-old.

 

Here is a full review of our stay at The Cavern.

A Stay At The Cavern Drakensberg Resort: A Family Friendly Holiday

the cavern drakensberg family hike

Travel

Situated in KwaZulu Natal, the Cavern is adjacent to the Royal Natal National Park and the Amphitheatre. We live in Johannesburg, and it took us about 3.5 hours to get here.  We also met a few families who flew in from Cape Town or overseas.

The drive was pleasant, and we made a stop or two along the way to stretch our legs.

Arrival

It was our second time visiting The Cavern. Again it has not failed to impress. From the moment you arrive, you feel welcomed. The beauty of the surrounding valleys and mountains is breathtaking.

Well kept and fresh rooms welcomed us after check-in. We stayed in a two bedroom cottage which was right for us! Coincidentally, it was the same cottage we stayed in when we came the first time in 2016.

the cavern drakensberg family friendly

Food

All I can say is that the food is delicious.

All meals were sit down, and the elegant menu caters for all tastes. Breakfast was sit down, and it also differed each day. From Eggs Benedict, Omelettes to Salmon and Crème Fraiche. Lunch was a buffet (different each day).

Dinner was a three-course meal.

The children’s menu was a kid-friendly version of the adult meals.  With kids, you never really know, as it can be a hit an a miss despite your efforts. The kids were treated to a marshmallow braai on the weekend, which was EPIC for my four-year-old.

Eating times were set, but there was some flexibility.
Example kids eat breakfast at 7h30am, lunch at 12h30pm and dinner at 17h30pm. The only issue here is that Caitlyn was not hungry at 07h30am and only ate a bowl of cereal. A bowl of cereal would not last beyond 10 am. However, we usually kept her real breakfast of egg, bacon, etc. packed away in the fridge until she was hungry after 10h00am.

Activities

The cavern has a full range of activities available.

Activities we partook in were:

  • Pony rides for kids aged 3 +
  • 10:00 – 10:30 Structured activities for kids 3 – 7 years
  • 15:00 – 15h:30 Structured activities for kids 3 – 7 years
    These are fun activities for the kids guided by a class nanny. The outdoor activities involved outside walks and fun on the slippery slide on the warmer days. On cooler days it involved art indoors.
  • Light Family Hike/ Walk. As Ava is still little, we did a gentle walk/stroll on two days on our own. You may also request a snack bag to be prepared for you. Caitlyn (who is four years old) absolutely loved the walking!
  • Horse riding
  • Guided hikes (at varying degrees of difficulty)

 

the cavern drakensberg review play area

For the adults

The Cavern has a whole host of activities available within the resort or nearby.

The Cavern also has a bar/ lounge area where you may have a drink at your leisure. In our previous visit, we went for drinks. Caitlyn was 2.5 years old and she was okay with childcare. However, this time Ava (who is 18 months) was not ready, and so she did not want to be left with child care. This time, we did not manage to go for drinks!

Nonetheless, we had a fantastic break as a family.

Would I go back?

Overall, The Cavern exceeded my expectations. Holidaying with kids is rewarding but at the same time demanding. The Cavern makes it easy for you to make sure that your kids eat, sleep and play!

I do believe this might be an annual thing. Overall a pleasant stay and a yes from our whole family!

 

 

Flying With Children: What To Pack For a Toddler on a Plane

This post was created in collaboration with Travelstart

Flying With a Toddler Can Test Your Limits

My husband an I have this theory. The flight attendants book families with young children in the same section of the plane.

We have noticed that when we get on a flight, we are surrounded by babies and toddlers. I guess it is because we can understand each other and so that we are ‘kept away’ from the others.

Knowing what to pack for a toddler on a plane has been a life saver for us in surviving flights.

Parents on a plane

I must admit, as a parent with two little children I prefer being in the company of other parents with young kids. Less judgment to deal with from flight attendants and fellow passengers.

That being said, when we fly with our little family we do prepare as much as we can.

The power of the carry on for a toddler

We have flown many times with eldest daughter when she was toddler, and I have learned my lesson pretty early on. We typically fly to Cape Town International Airport for family visits.

In fact when we have flights coming up, packing her little backpack (carry on) was a mini project on its own.

Keeping a toddler entertained on a plane is a combination of activities, snacks, and importantly knowing your toddler.

[bctt tweet=”What To Pack For A Toddler On a Plane To Save Your Sanity” username=”cherralle_”]

Here is my list of what to pack for a toddler on a plane (to save your sanity). Further on I also share more tips from the experts.

What To Pack For a Toddler on a Plane

what to pack for a toddler on a plane

1. Crayon and a Colouring Book

A good old fashioned colouring book and crayons always go a long way. Surprise your little one on the plane, with a new colouring book.

Golden Rule of Toddlerhood: Does not matter what it is, if it is new, the entertainment value of the item goes up. 

Trust me. Pop into The Crazy Store, and purchase a few cheapies that you can bring along.

2. Stickers will never let you down

Oh man, I cannot tell you how amazing stickers are with little kids (at least our little ones). Again, buy a new set (go to The Crazy Store). Whether it is cars, dinosaurs or princesses.

Again, what has worked for us is to ensure whatever we present is new. The novelty of even a small thing grabs her attention and keeps it for longer.

However, do not get too many things.

3. Snacks and Drinks

Try to ensure that your toddler is fed before you get on the plane. Then pack additional snacks.
We pack biscuits, biltong, chips, fruits and of course a water bottle.

Related Post: Tips For Juggling A Three Year Old And a Newborn (Our Story)

4. Wet wipes

Always be prepared. Even if your child is now potty trained, do not forget your wet wipes. You need that for all the sticky fingers and faces. Also to quickly wipe up spills.

5. Pack an Electronic Screen: Phone of a Tablet (Kiddie or Adult Variety)

For my phone, I would pre-download a few episodes from a kiddie show. Or we would pack the LeapPad.

In our experience, the plane is no time to enforce screen time restrictions. Please do pack a set of kiddie earphones. Using earphones will be more comfortable for the little one and more considerate towards other passengers.

6. Your baby bag is a must for baby’s comfort

If your baby is still a little toddler (closer to age one than three), then, of course, you have to pack your required essentials (milk, nappy changing gear, etc.)

7. Pack something for yourself

Once your toddler is settled down, you may find yourself with time on your hands (this can happen!).
Bring along a book, magazine or Kindle for yourself.

Toddlers are toddlers and life happens!

Toddlers are toddlers. They are not made to sit still for long periods of time. They are in a phase where they want to explore, talk and engage with their surroundings. Hence, adjust your expectations to this.

[bctt tweet=”Toddlers are not made to sit still. They want to engage their world. Prepare to entertain them, but also be prepared for tantrums.” username=”cherralle_”]

However, prepare as best you can using the tips above to figure what you need to pack for a toddler on a plane.

You know your child. You know what they need to remain entertained.

Remember, if your child ends up screaming, and people stare at you, just ignore them and focus on your child.

What do our expert have to say?

Here are a few general guidelines from Travelstart.

Here is a brief video containing more tips from parents

Disclaimer: This post was done in collaboration with Travelstart. If you are looking for additional travel tips such as Passport Renewal processes please do visit their website.

Tips for Juggling A Three Year Old And a Newborn (Our Story)

Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn in tow will test your parenting skills!

I had written before about how chaotic it was for me when I came home with my second baby. It was a complete shock to my system.   My life was utter chaos. Sweet chaos. But chaos nonetheless.

It was hard on everyone, including Caitlyn (my three year old).

For the first few weeks, it felt as if we were only telling Caitlyn:

– to ‘be quiet.’
– that I can’t carry her
– that she cannot sleep with me.

Only telling her things she cannot do.

Patience was very thin; energy levels were low. I was not prepared.

[bctt tweet=”Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn will test your parenting skills.” username=”cherralle_”]

Caitlyn threw the most intense tantrums during this time

During one epic tantrum episode, a ‘concerned neighbour’ came by to ‘check up on us’. At this point, I already SOSed (whatsapped) my husband to:

‘Please, COME HOME NOW! I don’t care what meeting you are in.’

Ava on the other hand, was a relatively calm baby. She needed to be continuously held and needed a lot of cuddling to fall asleep (as a newborn that was expected). Till today, Ava remains a very affectionate toddler, I think that is her vibe.

Regression hit us hard

Caitlyn reverted to waking up at 4 am during those days, and she wanted only me.

I only have two hands!

My thinking was that Caitlyn was three years old and she can remember. How I engage with her will have a lasting impact on her relationship with me and her bond with her sister.

Although Ava needed a lot of care and attention, I had to find a way to maintain a connection with my eldest.

Creating space to find one on one time with my three year old was vital for me

Although I felt overwhelmed, I carved out playtime with Caitlyn during my maternity leave.

Caitlyn was also on school holidays when Ava was six weeks old. So I had them both to myself. All day! Luckily I was not alone during the day. I had a helper in the day.

Here are six tips on how to juggle a three-year-old and a newborn.

6 Tips For Juggling a Three Year Old and a Newborn

 

newborn and three year old

 

Wear your baby

Wearing your baby provides you with an extra set of hands. I had a cloth wrap and a Tiny Love – Tiny Hugs Carrier. The Tiny Love Carrier was freaking amazing!

I loved it so much.

I could carry and cuddle  our newborn baby while playing with Caitlyn.

RELATED: Are You Thinking Of Hiring A Sleep Consultant? Here is Our Story To Help You Decide

Recreate your family’s routine

Establish a new family routine. Before Ava came home, we had a lovely organized family evening routine. We had dinner together and cleaned up together.  However, we could not sustain it.

We changed our whole routine. Brought Caitlyn’s supper earlier, so that at least she can be done eating by the time the bath routine started for the baby (around 17h00 ish). Then Caitlyn still needed to bath.

At that point I was not okay to do bath them together.

Come to think of it, this routine did not work out. Only when we placed the girls on a synchronizes evening routine, we started to settle. Now they eat and bath together.

It does not matter how chaotic it gets, at least I know there is an end in sight. Early bedtimes are a non negotiable in our home (unless there is a special occasion).

Let your older child help out and get involved

Get your older child involved by asking her to fetch things for the baby.

When I put the baby down, and we sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ I also got Caitlyn to sing it with me. It was much better than saying ‘keep quiet please, mommy is putting the baby down.’

When it was time for the baby to sleep, of course my three year old never kept quiet. She always seemed to appear needing something (loudly) at the very moment the baby was settling down.

[bctt tweet=” #3 Let your older child help out, by asking them to fetch things or sing lullabies to the baby.” username=”cherralle_”]

When the baby is sleeping, spend alone time with your toddler

When the baby slept, I was with Caitlyn. No sleeping when the baby sleeps for me.

I watched TV with her, brushed her hair, ate with her, etc.

If you have a caregiver, use them

If you have a caregiver, leave the baby with the caregiver for thirty minutes will be okay.

I started leaving Ava for short periods from about six weeks old. If she was fed, rested and happy it was cool. Taking Caitlyn outside (just the two of us) for some play time was great (tiring but it was necessary).

Watch a movie together

If you have to keep the baby on you, that is okay. Chill watching a movie and kill two birds with one stone.

Caitlyn and I get to watch TV together, and Ava gets her cuddles in as a newborn too.

Figuring out how to juggle a three year old when I came home with my newborn, was a challenging and chaotic time.

Caitlyn and Ava at out Family Photo-shoot. Caitlyn is 3 Years Old and Ava is 3 months

 

To be honest my first reaction was to prioritize the baby’s needs and let Caitlyn take a back seat. However, these actions made me feel sad and it saddened Caitlyn too. So I changed the situation.

It was stressful, but we needed to go through it, to create our own unique rhythm as a family.

Now, these two girls are so in love with each other. My favourite cheesy ‘sisters’ quote is:

Sisters are friends forever

Mommy, Please May I Sleep In Your Bed? Why I am Okay To Say Yes (My 4 Year Old’s Sleep Routine)

My 4-Year-Old’s Sleep Routine is a Give and Take

It started around the time Caitlyn was two years old. After moving her from cot to a bed, sleep became a challenge. She needed us to stay with her while she fell asleep. The reason this became an issue for me initially, is because I know myself and I know I need structure in our family life.

In this post, I will share a little bit about how we got our kids on routine and why I am okay with laying with my four year old at night.

[bctt tweet=”This post does not contain any advice or tips (I am not qualified), this is just our story.  ” username=”cherralle_”]

Related PostMy Daughter is ‘Bossy’, Here is Why I am More Than Okay With It

To set the scene, when it comes to baby sleep, I do not play.

I am a firm believer in the fact that having a baby on a routine, helps the whole family.

I am with my babies when they are awake, but when it’s time to sleep, it is time to sleep. With two kids, this time is even more precious.

[bctt tweet=”Having our children on a routine, helped our whole family. Here is our current situation with our 4 YO.” username=”cherralle_”]

Our Family’s Approach to Sleep and Routine

I know myself, and therefore I invested time and energy into building sleep routines for both my girls.

I read a lot of baby routine books. In fact, when I came home with our second baby, I struggled with the new family dynamic. It urged me to work with a sleep consultant which I spoke about over at The Rookie Parent Society. I highly recommend a sleep consultant.

Both my girls slept through pretty much since they were a few months old.

And no, they were not ‘sleepers’.  I don’t think we were ‘lucky’ either, we just put a lot of effort into it.

Through gentle, consistent guidance they always slept.

We worked hard on their routines.

We tracked their routines daily in a book for the full first year, bought block out curtains, white noise CDs, special blankets, etc. On top of this we gave up outings, events and we left functions early.

All in the name of sleep.

We never ever did family dinners out, ever. And I was okay to pay this price to have sleeping children.

Caitlyn wakes up at 5am most days, so I guess it is debatable whether it is sleeping through. Ha! Small price to pay for an early bedtime in my book.

Now for the last 1 – 2 years, she says every night, ‘mommy, I want to sleep in your bed’. We tried some techniques to get her to stay in her own bed, which all worked. Up until a point.

Consistency is key in maintaining a routine

We maintained consistency with bath and bedtime (I will never mess with our early bedtime!). However, ‘how’ she fell asleep was inconsistent.

She would sleep in her own bed for weeks, but any bit of inconsistency on our part (or illness) took us back ten steps.

So these days,  when she asks ‘Mommy, Please May I Sleep In Your Bed? I am saying yes. Here is why.

 

She always slept through the night

This may sound silly.
Because my four-year-old always slept well at night and for naps, I feel that now I really don’t mind to give her the extra time she needs.

Her whole existence since she was baby, she has never required me to sleep with her. So I feel when she asks me now to sleep with her,  I a more than okay to do it.

I still maintain an early bedtime

Although Caitlyn needs us to lay with her, she does go to sleep by the required bed time. Well, provided we maintained her routine (which means no naps for her at this age). After she falls asleep, I get up and carry on with my night.

So it is not such a huge price to pay. We will maintain an early supper, bath time, stories and sleep.

She will go to sleep. Majority of the time it takes only 5 – 10 minutes for her to fall asleep by 19h00 (most of the time).

We talk

When we are in bed, it is pretty much one of the few occasions that we have one on one time during the week. I ask her every night, what made you smile today? And what made you sad? Sometimes she says she doesn’t know.

But most of the time she tells me about her special friends at school. Or she tells me about a game gone wrong at school (made her sad).

 

Making the moments, we have count

As I work full-time, I do not have much time with my girls. Coupled with the fact that I am the sort of person who needs a lot of alone time.

Even though I am at home on weekends, I do not spend every waking moment with the kids. I do stuff that does not involve them at all.

And so, it is essential for me to make the moments I have count.

If I have 10 minute of chatting before bedtime, I want to make the most of this time.

She may not need me so much in future

Right now, Caitlyn is still pretty much attached to me. I want to enjoy each moment for now. Although at times, I throw my husband dirty looks, because she only wants me. It does get too much at times.

“I can’t sleep without mommy,” she utters.

However, on balance, I am okay with it. She may not need me again in this way.

I sometimes have an early bedtime too

Yep, if I have had a hard day, and I am lying with Caitlyn, I will decide to call it a night too. An early bedtime can do wonders for your mood and energy.

Limiting our bedtime battles

So we have stopped implementing techniques to get Caitlyn to fall asleep back in her own bed. We stopped about a year ago.

I have decided based on the fact that she DOES fall asleep within her allocated bedtime and the other reasons stated above, I am cool with what she needs. And I hope that our bedtime becomes special memories.

Baby sleep Resources

Here are some of our baby sleep resources that we used, there is a lot more (which is another post), but a short version for now:

 

[bctt tweet=”My 4 Year Old’s Sleep Routine is a give and take. Here is Why.” username=”cherralle_”]

That is our sleep story for now! No advice, or tips (I am not qualified)- just us.

 

‘Bring The Wet Wipes!’ The Wail of Every Parent Faced with a Blowout {CLOSED GIVEAWAY}

“Bring the wet wipes!” My husband bawled from inside the girls’ room when he went to fetch our one-year-old from her cot. “She made a mess all over the place,” exasperation evident in his voice.

“Bring reinforcements!”.

So dramatic.

Anyway, that turned out okay.

I don’t know about you, but wet wipes are a necessity in my life with a toddler and a preschooler!

Not only for diaper changes but for life in general.

That is why I loved the adorable hamper that was sent to me by Cherubs.  It was so well presented.

I loved the little details and the extra sweet treat was packed for me.

I am giving away three of those hampers on the blog today. You can get your hands on one for yourself, for a mom to be or  a mom with a little one.

Read the below post and find out of to enter at the end!

Besides cleaning a baby’s bottom here are five other weird and wonderful uses of wet wipes.

Child with paint_clean with wetwipes

1. Get rid of deodorant marks on dark clothing.

Really handy to have at hand, when you are are rushing out the door!

2. When kids’ toys need a wipe down

Kids’ toys get grubby fast. If the toys need a quick clean, wipe them down with a few wet wipes to get the worse off.

3. Wipe down dirty cookbook pages

I always thought a dirty cookbook shows usage.
However, it can get quite grimy and then it loses that authentic vibe. Give your cookbook pages a gentle wipe down to get your cookbook looking good.

4. Wipe your remote controls

Talk about germ city! Remote controls can get quite dirty as everyone is touching them. And guess what a baby’s favorite toy is? Yep a remote, that they put in their mouths and take with them everywhere.

5. Wrap around an earbud

Wrap a wet wipe around an earbud to clean something that has a very teeny tiny space. Example, in between keyboards.

 

GIVEAWAY! WIN one of THREE gorgeous Cherubs baby hampers.

CHERUBS HAMPER DESCRIPTION_wetwipes

 

To Enter Follow This one Easy Step

Comment on this post. What is your most common use for wet wipes (besides wiping bottoms!)

That is it, you are in. Good luck!

Rules:

  • Competition is open until Friday 20 April.
  • Winners will be contacted directly by latest 25 April.
  • Only open to SA residents.
  • Prizes will be shipped by the agency.

Good luck!

KidloLand Preschool Math Games Review

The KidloLand Preschool Math Games Can Complement Learning

Did I tell you guys I have deleted 90% of Caitlyn’s games off my iPhone?

I could not find anything that I felt was worth the subscription fee. And to get to the really good stuff (you know what I mean) you need to subscribe.

I was invited to review the Preschool Math Games from KidloLand, and saw it as a good opportunity to try out something new.

After trying out the games for a good month, here is my (our) balanced review of the app.

Related Post: 7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Kids

KidloLand Preschool Maths Games Review

kidloland preschool math games download

 

What we loved about KidloLand Preschool Math Games

The graphics of the app is fascinating. From the moment I downloaded it and sat with Caitlyn; she was hooked.

What I liked most about the app is you can choose K or Pre K. Pre K being age group 3 – 5 years. And K being 5 – 6 years of age (well, my summation).

Caitlyn is four years old and was very comfortable with the ‘Pre K’ games, but for certain concepts we went to the next level.

Different maths concepts covered

The KidLoLand Preschool Math games covered a number of math concepts. We played with games addressing the following concepts:

Number recognition and tracing

The complexity of the counting games and number tracing games were at level that was easy for Caitlyn to master. And so, she could progress to more challenging games.

Before we received this game, I was spending time with Caitlyn on number recognition. And this game helped with grasping some of the concepts.

Identifying different shapes

We had fun naming and categorizing different shapes, from basic shapes to more complex ones.

Comparisons

Comparing objectives based on their properties, such as long, short, big and small, and so forth.

Patterns

Caitlyn needed a bit of guidance on this one, however it was fun nonetheless. A new concept  for her that we have not tackled at home.

The games are endless. They are fun, colourful and has educational value, if used correctly.

What could be better

Three points.

1. Each time you start a new game, you have to download it. Hence, watch out for space comsumption on your phone.

2. Secondly, there are so many games it is easy to become overwhelmed.   The vast amount of games can be a strength too.  We tackled one concept at a time.

3. The narration on the games I felt could be better. Example, we have a LeapReader. Each game on the LeapReader is clearly narrated so that Caitlyn can figure out herself what to do. Whereas with the KidloLand Preschool MathGames, I did have to step in quite a bit and explain what needed to be done.

Altogether, not a train smash, but just a heads up.

That was it! It is incredibly hard for a kid to get bored with this game. Provided the complexity level is right for them.

My conclusion on the KidloLand Preschool Math Games

Get the app. I sit with Caitlyn  doing paper-based ‘activities’. However, the app has enhanced her understanding of specific concepts.

Especially, patterns and counting games. I do not see the App as replacing our paper based games. In conclusion, it ampliefies her learning experience.

What is your favourite app for your kids?

Learn More!

You can learn more about the Kidloland here or if you want to download the Math Ganes:

Disclosure: We were sent the PreSchool Maths App To Review. We received an annual subscription to the Kidlo Learn English app in exchange for the review.

My Daughter is ‘Bossy’, Here is Why I Am More Than Okay With It

‘Caitlyn is bossy. She likes to direct other children during playtime’.

The teacher delivered the message with some caution. I guess she was not sure how we would react.

She had nothing to be worried about because I was okay with it.

The teacher acknowledged that she does not have a concern with it. We need to remind about Caitlyn boundaries, and explain when it is okay and when it  isnot okay. You know, be a decent human being and respect others. I am cool with that.

Related Post: Bad Mom Confessions: My Child Swallowed a Birth Control Pill and 9 Other Parenting Fails

I do want to get too caught up in semantics, like the message in the ‘ban bossy campaign’. I do not personally think of the word ‘bossy’ as derogatory.

When I hear a girl or boy referred to as ‘bossy,’ I think ‘Leader’ and ‘Confident’.

[bctt tweet=”My Daughter is ‘Bossy’, Here is Why I Am More Than Okay With It” username=”cherralle_”]

Here are 5 Reasons Why I am Okay with My Daughter Being Bossy

My daughter is bossy why I am okay with it_mydailycake

1. You say bossy, I say Leadership

I see it as the little one displaying early leadership skills. Heaven knows, that after going through terrible two’s; tiresome three’s; and ferocious fours – all of this ‘attitude’ has to amount to something!

2. Stand up for herself and others

I  want my daughter to be able to stand up for herself.

For her to be brave and stand up for yourself and others.

In fact, her last year’s teacher wrote in her report card ‘Caitlyn stands up for her friends.’ That was the best teacher FEEDBACK EVER! I was proud of her.

my_bossy_daughter mommy blog
3. Be Confident and Proud

Caitlyn has BIG hair. She told me that one of her friends laughed at her hair. So was teaching her a comeback. ‘Everyone’s hair is different and my hair is beautiful because my mother said so.’

Mic drop.

I never know how to deal with these type of situations. I always think, what can I say that reminds her to be strong and proud. And then I come I up with these gems.

Afterward, I look at myself in the mirror.

Shaking my head, reflecting on my pop psychology brand of parenting. Where is the PARENTING HOW TO GUIDE when you need one?

Related Post: 15 Funny Mom Sayings (for moms with a sense of humour)

4. Independence

Caitlyn is very hesitant in new situations, I wrote here about why you should not call my daughter shy. However, when she warms up, she can be something else.

By growing comfortable in the situation, she also learns to engage in her surroundings without much assistance (on her own terms).

At one party she took over one hour to get comfortable.

As we were about to leave she transformed into a ‘Woohooo girl’. Jumps in and out of the pool (I was panicking of course).

Ultimately, she is developing her unique brand of confidence. Simply put ‘let me be, I will let you know when I am ready.’

5, Ask

I hope my daughter feels confident enough to always ask questions. One of the things that hold us all back in any situation is being hesitant to ASK the question. Well, if being bossy gets her to ask the question, then I am behind it.

Putting her hand up in class to ask a question. Speaking up whenever something needs to be said.

Trust me she has never had any issues steering me to the Spiderman clothes when I am standing in the Barbie aisle.

So, I think we are covered.

In conclusion – Let girls and boys be bossy (and whatever else they need to be)

The point, I am making is this: Let girls and boys be bossy! Embrace it and encourage it. The world needs independent thinkers and doers.

Allow each child an opportunity to develop their voice. And respect others while they are doing it of course.

[bctt tweet=”The point I am making is this: Let girls and boys be bossy! Embrace it and encourage it. The world needs independent thinkers and doers” via=”no”]

Leaving Your Baby At Daycare For The First Time: Top Tips for Mom and Baby

Leaving Your Baby At Daycare For The First Time is Challenging, but there are ways to make it easier.

Leaving your baby at daycare has to be one of the most terrible motherhood milestones. If it can even bear the title of a ‘milestone.’

My eldest went to daycare when she fifteen months old (now thinking back it seems so little although some babies go earlier).

With all the illnesses and all the guilt, we made it through.

For a brief period, my daughter was sad when I would leave her at daycare. I felt as if I was damaging her ability to create meaningful connections for the rest of her life! I experienced a new level of guilt.

Placing your child in daycare is a family decision.

Do what is right for your family and do not let anyone ever make you feel less than for this decision. There is enough mom guilt around.

Here are 12 Tips to make it easier when you are leaving your baby at daycare.

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Leaving Your Baby At Daycare For The First Time: 12 Tips for Mom and Baby

mom and son leaving child at day care

For The Parent

1. Research daycare centers and make a decision

You need to be comfortable with your choice of daycare. Do your research.

You will never have the perfect amount of information. But, make decisions you must.

Make decisions based on the information you have available.

What do you deem necessary when choosing a daycare?

  • Low caregiver-child ratio
  • Opening and closing times
  • Location: Close to home or close to work
  • Are meals included or not
  • Go through your priorities and decide.

I did online research and visited the daycare centers.  I also chatted with the teachers.

Related Post: 7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Kids

2. Be optimistic at the drop off

Your child will very quickly pick up on your mood. If you are sulky and depressed when you are leaving your baby at daycare, it may rub off on your baby.

Projecting optimism will do wonders for your temperament as well your child. Notably, for that first day drop off blues.

3. Don’t hang around

When you drop your child, be present, affectionate and calm.

However, when you are leaving your baby at daycare, do not hang around too long. The more you drag it out, the more difficult it may be for yourself and your child.

When I dropped off my one-year-old, I made sure she was settled but left promptly. The more I stayed, the more difficult it was to go.

4. Connect your child with a caregiver

Here is what I mean.

Ensure your child greets and connects with her caregiver before you depart. If your baby is young, ensure that you place your baby in the arms of your caregiver. In this way, your child will feel that she is being ‘handed over’ with love and care and not ‘dumped.’

5. Do not sneak away, be transparent about leaving

Never sneak away from your kids. It breeds distrust. Tell them when you are leaving. Even if they cry, it is okay. They will learn that sometimes you need to go, but that you will return.

Don’t sneak away from creche. Ever. Say goodbye, firmly and with love. Then get your behind out of there.

Related Post:Dear Working Mother: Here Is How To Leave Work On Time

6. Build a relationship with your baby’s caregiver

Connect with your baby’s caregivers and make sure that you know how to contact the school.

Establish a warm and friendly relationship that extends beyond a meet and greet.

Chat with the caregivers regularly during pick ups and drop offs.

You will be surprised at how much additional feedback you can gain on your child. You can also use the opportunity to provide extra feedback back to the caregivers.

7. Make the pick up exciting (for you and baby)

When collecting your child, make a huge deal about it. Give a big smile and a warm hug. You might be surprised to find a happy child waiting for you at daycare.

8. Leave your phone behind or in your bag when you pick up or drop off your child at daycare

Be present and engaged during this moment. It will be hurtful to your child if you are picking them up, or dropping them off but you are on your phone. Especially after a day away from you.

This is basic. Do not chat on your phone when doing a pickup or a drop-off. It is just not on.

Tips for your baby

mom and toddler leaving baby at daycare

1. Have a unique toy or blankie as a transitional object

My daughter slept with a muslin square. Lovingly referred to as the ‘sleepy blankie.’ We had a few ‘sleepy blankies,’ and we sent one of them to school. Also, we also sent her blanket for sleep time.

Therefore, she had something familiar to draw comfort from. Her naps went utterly haywire during this time.

However, she had her ‘sleepy blankie’ to comfort her.

2. Talk to your baby and explain what is happening

Even if your child is little, speak to her about the new daycare. Tell her stories about the kind aunties she will meet. And the little friends she will play with.

Your calm and confident demeanour can have a positive impact on your child.

3. Get your baby to bed early

Attending daycare makes a little on extra tired. And presumably, you are also getting them up a little earlier.

Make a concerted effort to encourage an early bedtime.  An appropriate bedtime for children under 5 years old is 18h30 – 19h30.

An overtired child being dropped off at daycare will make it worse for you and baby (and caregivers).

4. Start with baby steps – introduce daycare gradually

Many parents take their child to daycare for a short period in the morning, and then slowly work their way up.

I recommend this approach if it is feasible for your family. Slowly introducing a new experience allows your child time to acclimatize. It may also reduce resistance.

In Conclusion: They may be more adaptable than we think

To be honest, although there was some sadness, my toddler got over it very quickly.

I, on the other hand, remained torn about my decision to put her in daycare for months.

I have learned to accept that as long as she was loved, fed and safe at daycare, she will be okay.

How did you cope with leaving your baby at daycare?

5 Things That Speed Up Our Family’s Morning Routine

A month into the new school year and we are settling into our new morning routine. Caitlyn’s school starts at 07h30 (thirty minutes earlier).

That means everyone is out the door at 07h00 ish.

We have our fair share of morning drama, but our morning routine helps.

Like when my husband decides that a Monday morning is a good time for a haircut! Yip, a DIY haircut on a Monday morning.

Never mind that we all have to be out the house by 07h00!

Our morning routine is not perfect, but we get where we need to be on time.

Living our new early morning routine, also had an impact on my coming home time. Which is a huge win!  Leaving work on time has always been a real struggle as a working mother.

As I get to work a little while before the work day starts, I have no issue completing my priorities at work and leaving on time (most days!).

[bctt tweet=”We have our fair share of morning drama. Here is how we speed up our family’s morning routine” username=”cherralle_”]

5 Things That Speed Up Our Family’s Morning Routine

 

 

 

1. We get up  much earlier as school starts at 07h30am

Firstly, since when does school start at 07h30 a.m?

In my days it was 08h00 a.m.

Anyway, my husband does the drop-off, which means they must leave the house by latest 07h00am. By default, we all wake up a little earlier.

Getting up earlier helps.

Related Post: Bad Mom Confessions: My Child Swallowed a Birth Control Pill and 9 Other Parenting Fails

2. School clothes are taken out the night before

My daughter’s school clothes are taken out the night before.

As she and Ava share a room, we cannot afford to have drama in their bedroom. So we pack it in the ‘study’ (aka the room of requirement*).

*any Harry Potter fans got that reference?

And no looking for a swimming kit in the morning. If it’s swimming, we pack the bag the day before.

We do have our morning issues, but we get it right most of the time and that is all right with me.

Related Post: 10 Things A Working Mother Needs to Survive

 

3. School lunch is kept very simple

I had to park my lofty ideals of home-made, well-balanced school lunches for Caitlyn.

What started out as homemade mini boboties is now a sandwich.

Lunch consists out of a sandwich of whatever there is with fruit, yogurt, and snacks such as biltong, etc.

4. We allow some TV

If Caitlyn is ready before its time to leave, she may watch tv.

If she asked to watch TV, we would let her. If I need to do her hair, the TV goes on so that she can sit still.

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5. I prep the ‘day’s meals’ in the morning

I prepare the children’s food for the day. Sometimes I have meals prepared the day before or there are frozen meals which were made on the weekend.

I prepare lunch and supper for both girls (with snacks in between) and leave the day’s ‘menu’ with our helper.

Caitlyn has a school lunch plus a second (proper) lunch when she comes from school.

The girls eat dinner together at about 17h00, and I get home by 17h30 (normally). I do miss supper with them.

Long story short, but based on our family’s routine, they must eat by 17h00.

Otherwise, everything runs super late, and the whole house is grumpy (by the entire house I mean me).

When I get home, I focus on bath time and catching up with them on the day. Once they are down, my husband I will eat, and catch up on what we need to do.

The new morning routine seems to be working for our family (for now).

Here are 5 tips to help you speed up your morning routine

best part of having two girls

1. Any activities you can do the night before, do them the night before! Simple. Whether it is making sandwiches, taking out clothes. Every little bit helps!

2. Build in extra time for mishaps! Like when we discover there is no bread and someone has to pop out to the garage to buy a loaf.

3. Do you want to drink a cup of coffee before the day starts, or do you want  little extra time to do your make up? Build in extra time for your little luxuries.

4. Take it easy. Sometimes when we lose our cool, it delays the process even further.

5. Take it easy on weekends. Throw routine out of the window on weekends and just be!

Any tips that help you speed up your mornings?