AdoptResources's Blog

blogging about adoption, attachment, parenting & family life

Posts Tagged ‘top tips

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.

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

Checking in…

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One of our boys pushes against routines and longs for free time with no structure. So the summer holidays are his idea of heaven, or so he thinks. In reality though, he’s not sure how to handle the lack of structure and we’ve learned over the years that putting in a bit of a framework, chunking up the day into blocks of time and giving him options for what to do when, gives us all an easier time.

As he gets older and more independent, playing out with friends has become a big part of the holidays. He’d happily disappear for the whole day but too much time away can see him disconnecting from us. You can almost see him putting a bit of distance between us… a bit of bravado, bad language and attitude all helps keep everyone at arms length.

stop clockSo we’ve built in an invisible checking in system – giving him a 2hr check in time – either in person or by phone. So he can still play with friends and feel like he has the freedom that the rest of his peers have. The end result is that things don’t unravel so quickly and we keep a better connection even with more freedom.

What strategies help you keep the balance over the holidays?

Related posts:
surviving the summer holidays
a weekend away

Coming soon… Adoption summercamp – a weekly programme to help you keep your sanity over the holiday season… email fiona@adoptresources.co.uk for more details

Written by adoptresources

July 11, 2011 at 3:17 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

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

Top tips for a tip top festive season!

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winter landscapeI’ve just finished a teleseminar discussing some things to think about over the festive season.

You can listen to the replay on the event page and here’s a quick run through of what was covered…

Things to think about:

  • Expectations: ours’, children’s, family & friends’
  • Excitement and anticipation
  • Overwhelm
  • ‘if you’re good…’ or ‘if you don’t behave…’ messages
  • Birth family:  memories, contact
  • Triggers

Some of the things that can help include managing expectations, not aiming for glossy mag perfection; using calendars, planners, albums and visual cues to help build a sense of what’s coming next

and the Top tips:

  • keep it simple
  • talk about what’s happening next
  • stick to the plan/routine if you can
  • look behind the behaviour, think about what’s driving it
  • aim for fun, not perfection…

Essentially, it’s all about understanding the potential triggers and things going on behind the scenes, and finding ways to manage expectations and feelings. Leave a comment with your survival tips for Christmas…

PS as mentioned on the call, here’s the link to the bbc news video where an adoptee discusses his feelings on his birthday…

Written by adoptresources

December 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm