The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky (and very entertaining) daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or my gorgeous sister in law as part of our baby blog 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) and baby swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.
Do you remember while you were growing up, falling over and crying ..... like a girl?
Do you remember wearing pink and pretty things ...... like a girl?
Did you ever throw a strop ...... like a girl?
Did you ever stop and think that girls are so much more than pretty pink dresses and girly emotions?
As women, we all know that being "like a girl" is something much more empowering, so last year, Always launched the #LikeaGirl campaign, challenging the negative perception of what it means to do something “like a girl”, so often used as an insult. The video went instantly viral and has been viewed more than 85 million times in 150 countries and shared by more than 1.5million people around the world. Yesterday, Always launched the next exciting and ambitious phase of the global campaign, unveiling bold partnerships and long term commitments to the education of young people around the world.
Always asked if we limit girls and tell them what they should or shouldn’t be? Do we box them into expected roles?
I want my girls to have the freedom and confidence to be who and what they want to be.
I want them to paint their room blue, wear trousers and play with trains if they choose to.
I want them to be fearless, comfortable in their own skill and ability.
I want them to be strong and passionate about the things they love.
There is no escaping the warm weather recently (not that I have tried to) but children don't seem to appreciate the effect that the sun (and the heat) can have on them. So after a recent bout of heatstroke with the tween due to a particularly sunny afternoon on the school playing field, here are our top tips for keeping children protected and cool whether you travelling or staying at home this summer.
This seem fairly obvious but even I can forget to keep hydrated when I am involved in work something interesting. Like adults, babies and young children need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Trying to get children to drink water can be challenging but you just need to get a little creative when trying to keep them hydrated. If they're over six months old and they are bored with water, try giving them a combination of very diluted fruit juice, ice cubes and homemade fruit juice lollies throughout the day. For older children, plenty of fruit and salad will also help keep their fluid levels up.
Playing in a paddling pool is a good way of keeping babies and children cool. Keep the pool in the shade during very hot weather and supervise the children carefully at all times.
I remember never applying sunscreen in the UK when I was a child but it is the same sun and Factor 50 is my friend. When applying sun lotion we tend to forget the scalp, hairline and ears - especially if we are blessed with a full head of hair - assuming that this will act as a barrier. This is not necessarily the case, so to ensure no embarrassing red or inflamed scalp burns, apply sun spray to these areas generously, or look for specialist non-greasy Scalp Protector products like Calypso Scalp Protector which offers instant protection to scalps and partings and can be sprayed directly through the hair onto the scalp.
Cover exposed parts of your child's skin with sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above and is effective against UVA and UVB. Don't forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks and the tops of their feet.
You need at least 35ml of suncream to ensure you cover your entire body and receive the correct level of protection - reducing this quantity will leave you more exposed to skin damage. We have been using the all day Calypso All School Day Long recently and after the toddler initially insisting it was itching her, we now regularly use it on a daily basis. Finding the right sunscreen for your child can be like finding the right moisturiser for your skin, don't assume that one type will suit every member of your family.
Children should be encouraged to adventure and be a child but it is always worth reinforcing caution. That paddling brook, river or even a pond may seem like a good idea to a small child but even the strongest swimmer can be affected by cold water shock, which affects your ability to control breathing. This can lead to gasping, panic and – in the worst cases – drowning.
Holidays and the summer months are a great time for children to learn swimming and water safety skills, I know my girls can't wait to get in the pool in this heat.
Hang wet towels over chairs or windows when it's really stifling. The evaporating water will help the air to cool and if you can keep your child's bedroom cool during the day by closing blinds or curtains, this will also help keep the temperature down
A nursery thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of your baby's room. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16°C (61°F) and 20°C (68°F).
And finally, make sure that any waterproof sheets are removed and only cotton ones are on the bed. Dress them appropriately for bed and keep your fingers crossed for a restful nights sleep!
It’s often said that you should never resort to buying the good graces of anyone – sadly this is a rule that never has and never will apply to kids! When it comes to younger children in particular, there’s really nothing wrong with ‘greasing the wheels’ from time to time to motivate positive behaviours. After all, it’s likely to be some time before the old ‘any good deed is its own reward’ adage means anything to them – in the meantime, making good with the more tangible rewards tends to work much better.
Of course there is a line to draw as to reward each and every positive thing any child does would be to instil a rather bad habit of then expecting too many rewards long-term. Nevertheless, in instances where habits are either hard to break or in any way difficult for younger kids to understand, a little deal-sweetener here and there can be a wonderful thing.
Brainwaves, the leading provider of high quality rewards for children (stickers, badges, certificates, stampers & pencils) have written the following article for our readers highlighting some areas of children’s activities that parents may like to monitor and encourage good practice through positive reinforcement.
For example, trying to explain to any younger child why it’s of such importance to practise good cleanliness habits can be tricky. This covers everything from the state they keep their room in, to their own personal hygiene and so on – all of which are lessons that aren’t learned overnight. These are therefore perfect examples of instances where positive behaviour could be grounds for a reward. For each night the little one keeps their room clean, she gets a sticker…for example. And if she gets five consecutive stickers in a row, she gets something even better – a badge, toy, etc. It’s a fantastic way of motivating positive habits, which once instilled have a delightful habit of sticking long-term.
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to make the subject of teaching better table manners fun for all involved. Just as soon as your kids are old enough to begin feeding themselves at the table, set them the challenge of not only finishing their whole meal, but doing so without spilling or splashing a drop. Invest in a simple sticker chart and give them a sticker for it each time they manage a clean meal. Then, just like above, every time they chalk up say ten clean dinners, they’re rewarded. This way, positive habits are encouraged by pure recognition, as opposed to being scolded for failure.
In terms of social interaction, it’s important to nurture things like kindness, compassion and generosity in all kids - though this, again, can be difficult with words alone. Monitoring a child’s interaction with others therefore can be a great way of picking up on key points worthy of rewards. If there’s only one ice cream and he or she lets a friend have it, big gold star. If they let their friend use the slide or swings first, another gold star. Sharing their bag of crisps is another perfect reason for a reward. Again, you’re not looking to create a system where good deeds are only done for rewards, but to instead nurture the development of positive habits that will stick for life.
You’d be surprised how far a few stickers and badges might just get you!
We have therefore teamed up with Brainwaves to offer you a great prize of their Saver Cards and accompanying stickers. All you need to do is enter below.
UK Entrants Only. The winner will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Rafflecopter and notified within 5 working days by email Brainwaves will make every effort to provide the gift set requested but this cannot be guaranteed By entering this competition, you understand that your details will be retained for future mailings. You can unsubscribe from this mailing list at any time. There is no monetary equivalent. Little Lilypad Co take no /responsibility for loss or damage in the despatch of prizes If the prize is unclaimed within 7 days we reserve the right to redraw the winner. End Date 18/07/2015 at 12am
The hot weather is here. The children will be breaking up from school shortly and in our case have 7 (!!) weeks off school. The warm weather in the UK means that we don't need to get on a plane to enjoy some sunshine, so here are our top things to do with the children this summer.
Go Swimming > Outdoors
Why should outdoor swimming be reserved for holidays abroad? There are lots of holiday parks in the UK that have outdoor pools or you could try somewhere like Droitwich Spa Lido in the West Midlands. Droitwich Spa Lido is one of the UK’s few remaining open-air saltwater swimming pools, and with a 40m pool, wet play area, sun terraces and Lido Café you’re sure to have a memorable day out that won’t break the bank. It is only only open during the summer months, so it is a great time to go and enjoy while the weather is warm.
School may be finished but there is no reason to stop reading with your children over the summer. It is a great way to keep their minds active but also a good way to wind down at the end of a fun packed day.
There are some fabulous child-friendly festivals out there, and it's not just about the music these days - there are some brilliant boutique festivals which offer great food, dressing up for the kids, crafts, workshops, comedy and so much more. Here are a couple that we are coveting.
Standon Calling - Hertfordshire - Not only is there a swimming pool, the kids' area has everything from yoga classes to drama workshops. There's also a chance to compete in the annual themed fancy-dress competition. The music line-up comes in the form of Basement Jaxx, the Dandy Warhols and Little Dragon. Find out more: www.standon-calling.com
The iconic Camp Bestival returns for another year in Dorset. This year there's a great line-up, including an appearance from TV favourite Mr Tumble and the Cat In The Hat live. Under 5s can let off steam in the soft play section while older kids can enjoy an insect circus and fairground rides. There's music from acts such as Underworld, Kaiser Chiefs and Professor Green. Find out more:www.campbestival.net
Go underwater > The Deep
We are unusually not talking about swimming here but "The Deep" is heralded as one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world. Home to a whopping 3,500 fish including a stunning pair of Green sawfish, spectacular sharks, rays and a colony of Gentoo penguins. It gets busy in the summer months so definitely worth trying to book tickets in advance as you save £4 for a family of four if you buy in advance. As we are not local to Hull, there is always the thought that you could make a weekend of it and stay in Hull, especially as there are some great deals at the moment with
The Deep reportedly has a huge aquarium with over 3000 creatures, including sharks and sawfish, plus an evening restaurant - if you get a little peckish after strolling round for 2 or 3 hours.
If the weather is getting too warm for the kids, there are lots of summer deals to be had in local cinemas with discounted childrens mornings and even baby cinema to keep you cool and keep the children occupied. Take a look at your local cinema for their offers or look on voucher sites to see if there are any deals.
Arts & Crafts
I am not a big fan of arts and crafts in the house, mainly due to the mess all over the dining room table but when the weather is good, it is a perfect opportunity to get the children outside and being creative. I have resolved to buy the girls some large chalks this summer, so they can create outside drawings and hopscotch on the pavement.
What will you be doing with your children this summer?