Blog : Little Lilypad Co
The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or our baby bloggers and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.
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We have spoken openly about asthma and the affect it has on us as a family, so we have been working closely with Asthma UK about children starting school and are therefore delighted to share this information on their behalf.You know the location of every spare inhaler within a five-mile radius. You know exactly when the neighbour’s birch trees start releasing their pollen. Even before your child starts to wheeze, you know the signs that their asthma symptoms are getting worse.You are an expert at your child’s asthma – and it still catches you out. So it’s understandable to be nervous at the thought of handing them over to a new teacher on the first day of the school year.Make sure you’re all on the same pageLots of parents tell us that they worry about leaving their child with other people – and it’s a fact that children are much more likely to go to hospital with their asthma in September than in August. But there are things you can do to make sure that you and your child’s school are working together to reduce the risk.Sharing and talking through your child’s asthma action plan with the school is a great start. At a glance, a teacher or classroom assistant can see exactly what they need to do if your child starts feeling worse. And because it’s personalised to your child, you know they’ll get exactly the treatment they’ve been prescribed. If your child doesn’t have one yet, ask your GP or asthma nurse, or download an asthma action plan here. Your GP can help you update the action plan every six months to make sure it includes any new triggers or changes to their medicines.Prepared, not pushyParents sometimes tell us that they worry about being seen as ‘pushy’ or over-protective if they speak to their child’s teacher about their asthma. But more than a million children in the UK are affected by asthma – so the odds are that there’ll be a couple in your child’s class. A few minutes’ discussion could help your child AND their classmates to stay well, and make sure they don’t miss out.Every child’s asthma is different, but asking a few key questions can help you make sure the school is prepared.Keep lines of communication openIt’s not just about the start of term, though. Starting the conversation about your child’s asthma now makes it easier to update teachers during the year – for example, if your child is more tired during the day because symptoms have kept them up at night. And teachers can feed back to you too: maybe your child benefits from the warm, humid air of the swimming pool.We’ve collected more back-to-school tips from asthma experts and other parents at www.asthma.org.uk/back-to-school - you can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.And if you’re concerned about your child’s medicines, feeling under pressure or have a question you’ve always wanted to ask, call the Asthma UK Helpline. Our friendly asthma expert nurses are on the line Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm – just call 0300 222 5800.Thank you Little LilyPad for donating this space to Asthma UK – we wish ALL parents and children a happy and healthy new term.
We’ve all been there, that feeling of impending doom when we realise that the children’s summer holidays have again crept up on us unannounced, followed by a sense of panic as you wonder just what you’re going to do with your children over the six weeks’ holiday.
When we have children, it’s easy to build up a routine, so when the summer holidays do raise their head, it can seem like there’s so much to consider. I have a theory about this and make a consicous decision that the summer holidays don’t have to be associated with stress and panic.
Children Don’t Worry About Money, So Neither Should You
During the holidays, it’s not unusual to have a series of requests fired off at you, all more expensive than the last. Instead of buckling under the pressure and turning the summer holidays are a financial commitment, think of some free alternatives that can be allow children to spread their wings.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a day out at the zoo or amusement park, but children only need two things to prosper outside, and that’s space and freedom. So if you have a local park, make full use of its facilities. A big park nearby, then why not schedule a picnic?
The summer holidays are not about how much money you’re able to spend on your children, but how much quality time you can instil into the school holidays. As such, children are very rarely going to hold you to account as to how much their day out cost.
Just Go with The Flow
When the children are off school, it’s very easy to try and come up with some sort of schedule to ensure the children are fully entertained at all times. However, while having a number of activities prepared can only be a good thing, try not to instil a heavy schedule onto the children themselves.
Of course, ensure you still employ your own rules around the home as you normally would, but remember children are having a break, so the last thing they need is more schedules to contend with.
Instead, why not have a few days where you watch some family films, or have them lounge in a paddling pool in the garden?
Remember, just because you may not be doing what other parents are doing from a financial point of view, it doesn’t mean that your children are enjoying themselves any less. Children are programmed to have fun, it’s a default setting and a child can make fun of almost any situation as long as they are given the tools.
The summer holidays are not only for your children to enjoy some relaxing time, but also for parents to spend some real quality time with their children, that’s just not possible when they’re attending school. As such, you should ensure that you enjoy the time as much as your children do. This state of mind not only allows for greater clarity, but it also ensures that you are not left exhausted and stressed by the thought of it all.
School is out for the summer and the relief of the end of term is felt by both parents and children (and I am sure a few teachers too!) This year has been especially emotional as the Year 6 children are not only leaving the comfort of their junior schools but have had to deal with the new SATS grading. The children and teachers put in a lot of effort when it comes to their SATs, and not achieving the scores they’d hoped for can be heart-breaking. Fortunately, there are a number of steps parents can take that ensure SATs result don’t spell the end of your child’s goals.
Ensure SATs Are Kept in Perspective
It’s easy for children to base their entire future on the SATs results, but it’s up to us as parents to ensure our children are able to have a realistic viewpoint on their results. Reassure your child that there is no such thing as a pass or fail, and the pressure that children sometimes feel can also make an impact. Helping your child realise what they’ve accomplished in preparation for their SATs can do wonders for their confidence moving forward.
Don’t Compare Children’s SATs Results with That of Others
It’s not only children who can be disappointed with SAT results, as parents can also worry that SAT results that fall below expectations will have a huge impact on their child’s life. Children have many different strengths, just like adults, so it’s important to focus on where improvement is needed, rather than try an assess why one child achieved something another didn’t.
Similarly, those who attained a high SATs result should understand that on-one is inferior to them, and that everyone learns in a different way. Many children who were unsure of the impacts SATs results would have in high school have gone to become a success, simply by working on their weaker areas.
Focus on The Benefits
Like many adults, a lot of children have become a success simply be learning from their mistakes. As such, not reaching the desired SAT level shouldn’t be all doom-and-gloom. Of course, it’s natural to feel disappointed, but the reality is that a lot can be done to ensure your child’s future is a bright one. Working harder moving forward also ensures that school life is rarely passive, meaning that not only are they gaining vital knowledge, but actually enjoying doing so.
Ensure Your Children Are Prepared for Senior School
While SAT results can mean that a school will streamline a pupil, many don’t base a child’s ability on this alone. Some schools may place children based on cognitive ability tests and SAT results, whereas others may have a different internal system altogether. If you do have any questions, it can be useful to contact the school in question and ask them what measures they have in place.
It’s also important for children to understand that there’s no reason as to why they can’t progress, even if they didn’t get the results they wanted. How a child is placed within a school will allow them to work on areas that need improvement. This in turn will instil confidence, meaning that a more solid foundation is in place when it comes to a child succeeding.
Many children may fear falling behind as a result of their SATs, but all that will occur is that extra support will be put in place to help your child prosper moving forward. Sure, it may take longer to reach the destination, but everyone ends up at the same place.
And finally ...... let them enjoy the summer, free of timetables (and times tables).
Childbirth is like the Land of Oz. You leave in black and white and arrive in a world saturated with glorious Technicolour. Being a parent has made me feel more vividly than I ever imagined could be possible, colouring my days with an emotional rainbow so bright I can’t remember what it was like to live without.
My kids make me see red far more often than I am comfortable admitting. Sometimes it is because they are pushing all my buttons, other times it is because I don’t have the patience I need to deal with things calmly. I hate getting angry with them even if they have misbehaved, because the guilt which follows is terrible.
School mornings are frequently a simmering pot of anxiety we will be late because small people move at their own tempo and have a timetable that is completely unpredictable.
Thankfully for my sanity, yellow flashes through my days with delightful frequency. The spontaneous displays of love and affection, the joy when my girls develop a new skill or sleep through the night, and the fits of laughter over nothing in particular shine brightly to dilute the darker hues.
Adults can be jaded. We forget the excitement and wonder that comes from exploring and discovering something new. Green represents how I have learned to see their surroundings through the eyes of my child, and the warm happiness I feel when I see how excited they are about things I have taken for granted.
Calm, serene days when there is no arguing, bickering, or nagging, and everyone is happy in each other’s company, are an oasis. I can never predict when it will happen but find myself taking quiet pleasure in the fact that, for now anyway, everything is perfect.
When my children are sad it is as if the umbilical cord was never cut. Their experience helps me remember with clarity how much life can hurt. One of the hardest tasks I have found as a parent helping my children to develop the resilience to deal with disappointments, friendship rifts, or the simple fact that not everyone you like will like you back.
Hormones, exhaustion, and guilt can throw a shadow over my life, sucking the colour from my days and leaving me feeling bruised and vulnerable. These are the times when I question my ability to be a parent, a partner, or a valuable member society, and when I rely on my family and close friends to help me through until the spectrum begins to lighten.
Every parent - every parent - runs this spectrum of emotion - often several times a day! Just like a real rainbow it is something I am happy to witness without questioning basking in its beauty with open-mouthed wonder that something so indescribably amazing happened in my life.