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Archive for the ‘parenting tips’ Category

What’s in your lunchbox?

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ham sandwichI listened to a feature on packed lunches vs school lunches on the radio this morning. I’ve started off this school year with packed lunches for everyone – in previous year’s my initial enthusiasm for packed lunches has been replaced with the convenience of what my kids like to call a ‘pay lunch’.

What’s your preference? I can see the benefits of both – the school lunches can offer a hot and healthy alternative, but they can also present children with choices they’re not ready to make. On the other hand, packed lunches can contain carefully selected healthy options, but if you’re anything like me, the repertoire of offerings can get a bit boring.

Nutrition is so important both in terms of long term health and wellbeing and also on a day to day basis to keep energy levels matched with the physical and mental requirements of the school day. Trying to get the right balance can be a struggle some days, especially if there are any food fads on the go!

I’m going to stick with the packed lunches for now and throw in the odd ‘pay lunch’ for a bit of variety. What do you like about packed lunches or school lunches? Do you have any tips on keeping lunch boxes healthy and interesting?

Related posts
If you’re looking for ideas, Netmums have a good feature on lunchbox ideas.

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Written by adoptresources

September 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Support over the summer…

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summer written in the sandSummertime is associated with relaxing, taking time off, having fun and recharging batteries. But it often doesn’t live up to the expectations, especially for those of us who are parents to children who’ve experienced early neglect or trauma. The thought of all that free time can seem like a dream come true for some kids but ironically, the lack of familiar routine can lead to more confusion and the occasional meltdowns.

I’ve written about some tips and strategies that can help over the holiday season: Surviving the summer holidaysChecking inA weekend away

For a bit of extra support, this summer I’m running an online ‘Adoption summercamp’. It’s a 6 week programme that can work around your schedule and includes:

  • weekly video blogs and teleseminars to introduce the topic for each week and cover some key points on attachment and parenting and look at tips and strategies for dealing with issues that are important for you.
  • a weekly group Q&A call for you to discuss any issues with me
  • downloads of supporting materials
  • access to all the recordings to listen to/watch when it suits you best.

rabbit figures in classroom settingOver the 6 weeks we’ll cover:

  • finding your holiday friendly routine
  • troubleshooting – what are your challenges
  • working on what’s behind the behaviour
  • tools and strategies
  • the ‘back to school’ transition
  • looking after yourself

There are some bonuses for early birds who register before 9am on 18th July, including your first week for free, a copy of the Boosting Self Esteem in Adoption ebook and, for the first 5 who register, a one-to-one call for more individual attention.

I’m really looking forward to running the course and hope that you’ll join me for a bit of extra support over the holidays… I’m sending out more info later today, in the meantime, email or comment below if you’ve any queries.

Written by adoptresources

July 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Holiday time, again!

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It’s school holiday time again, and most children in the UK are only at school for about 6 days this month, and not even that for some!

I’ve blogged about holiday times before and no matter the holiday season – summer, festive season, even unplanned breaks due to the weather – the main message is to build a bit of routine and predictability into your holiday time.

You don’t have to be too rigid but lots of the stress and anxiety for children (and so lots of the difficult behaviour) can be reduced by taking away the stress of not knowing what’s happening next. Involve the kids in planning what’s happening, schedule in some free time (with suggestions for what can be put in the free time) and if family visits are part of your holiday think ahead and build in some coping strategies for any of the challenges that might crop up!

My favourite top tip for holiday (and not holiday) time is to use visual planners to make it easier if your child finds it hard to process information…

…and my other one is don’t worry if it doesn’t go to plan!

What are your coping strategies for school holidays? Hope you have a fab time…

Written by adoptresources

April 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Life story round the clock…

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This article was in this week’s newsletter, if you’d like to be on the mailing list subscribe here

Last week our youngest asked me at breakfast “which land was I born in… not whose tummy but which land…” so we had a chat about where she was born and then got back to getting ready for school. She wasn’t on the look out for anything deep and meaningful, just a few facts on the geography.

Conversations about adoption can happen anytime and are not just confined to scheduled sessions with an album of photos or letters. Life story work for me is something that weaves itself around normal day to day stuff. People and places can pop into our minds at anytime and questions about who I am, where do I come from, who do I look like can crop up anytime. Obviously, it’s not always going to be possible to devote time to discussing some of the things that come up but it’s important to be able to be ready and to respond, even if it’s just to  say when would be better to talk about things.

Talking about these things isn’t always easy, especially if there are other things going on in the background, and it’s important not to tackle big conversations if you’re not in the right place emotionally or practically.

So what can help…

  • around the time of placement ask any questions that you think might help build your child’s life story, and find out what the process is for asking questions at a later date
  • keep photos in easy to spot places for life story chats on the spot – some of the multi frames that you can put lots of photos in are good for putting in lots of important people, places, stages in life (obviously, you choose what photos are appropriate, depending on your family’s circumstances and approach to talking about adoption)
  • keep things age appropriate, use drawings or stories if your child finds it hard to talk about the facts
  • you can use memory boxes to store things as well or instead of  a life story book/album 
  • keep copies of anything important or special, some children can destroy things that are really important to them in an outburst and regret it later on
  • remember that life story work is not just about things and people in the past, it’s about helping your child make sense of who they are and how all the bits of their lives fit together
  • life story memories involve feelings as well as facts and it’s important to make sure you and your family are getting the right support if things are difficult for you or your child.

I’d love to hear your comments on what you’ve found helpful in your child’s lifestory work…

Related links:

Connecting with kids through stories a teleclass with Fiona
(1st April 2011 live call; recording, call guide and action plan available for download after the call)

Telling healing stories by Melissa Nichols

Telling about adoption a one day workshop (2nd April 2011)

Bruised before birth

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The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT) are running a series of conferences in the UK for professionals, parents and carers about the complexities faced by a child with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and strategies and supports that can help.

FASD affects a number of children who are fostered or adopted and it can affect things like speech and language processing, cause and effect thinking and ability to concentrate. Awareness of different strategies and supports will help both children and families to deal with the impact of FASD.

There are still places left for the conference in Edinburgh this week (Thursday 10th March) and there’s another conference in London on 30th March if that’s closer for you.

I’m going to the Edinburgh conference – let me know if you’re going too…

Written by adoptresources

March 7, 2011 at 7:33 am

Holiday time

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We’ve just had our half term holiday and it’s back to school tomorrow… I know lots of others are just starting their week’s holiday so I thought I’d post a link to my surviving the summer holidays blog. There’s a few tips in there that might help, especially if your child is one that finds the lack of familiar routine hard to handle.

cycling in parkIn a nutshell, the things that can help are building a sense of what’s happening next. Using visual cues – planners, calendars etc. Avoiding overwhelm, keeping things simple. Another biggy is to take the pressure off yourself to have perfect family moments all day, every day. Savour the moments of magic no matter how small they seem…

Enjoy your holidays, I’ll be thinking of you on the school run tomorrow!

Written by adoptresources

February 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

A weekend away…

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map and keysI was away this weekend, leaving my husband and the troops at home…

It can be difficult for any child when one or both of their parents is away but, for children who have had significant separations and loss in their life, even a short and well planned absence of a parent can be stressful. Some of the things that can help are:

Before you go

  • time when you introduce the idea carefully – if you do it too early they might get more stressed in the build up to the trip, and this could affect behaviour. But if you wait too long, it may come as too much of a surprise
  • talk about where you’ll be and how you’re travelling – this helps build up a picture of where you’ll be. Show them on the map or show a photo if it’s somewhere they’ve never been
  • talk about what you’ll be doing, who you’ll be with – again this helps give them a picture of what you’ll be doing when you’re not with them
  • talk about what you’ll do when you get back, plans for the week etc – this helps reassure any anxieties that you might not come back!

I sometimes leave post it notes or a note with my phone number on it – this gives something physical to hold to reinforce the message, they can take it to school etc and also gives a bit of security that they can phone you if they need to.

While you’re away

  • make sure you ‘check in’ when you can throughout the trip – chat on the phone, text or email
  • let them know when you’re likely to phone and try where possible to stick to the schedule.

When you get back

  • don’t be surprised it you’re given the cold shoulder, or if after the initial welcome home, a bit of rejection or button pushing sets in
  • they might be a bit clingy and not let you out of their sight, just keep things as normal as possible and reassure them by talking about what’s happening for the rest of the week…

Visual cues with weekly planners, calendars, diaries all help and physical things like notes, photos, comfort blankets or a tissue with your perfume (or after shave) on it all give reassurance on more than just a talking or language level.

How does your child cope if you’ve been away? Add your comments below on what’s worked for you.

Written by adoptresources

January 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm