Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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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 by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. 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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Category: The Toddler Years

  1. Playing the School Places Waiting Game

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    It could be argued that there are many “most” nerve-wracking times in a parent’s family life, from your child being born, to their first steps, leaving them with someone else and now, waiting to hear about school places for both infant and senior school (I didn't plan that very well did I?)

    LLP - Playing the school place waiting game

    Aside from having two new lots of uniforms to buy, the stress of actually getting the school place we want hasn’t exactly made us go grey overnight, but it has certainly added to my husband's silver stripes, as my youngest calls them (thanks, princess!) So. Much. Pressure. Will we get our first choice, or even our second or third? Are the horror stories from parents of previous years about massive oversubscription true? Is that red rated school really as bad as Ofsted say and, if so, can we afford private school, because I am quite certain my sanity can’t afford home schooling.

    Private School

    Fed up with the stomach-churning sensation that surely means an ulcer forming, I have come up with a variety of distractions.

    1. Play School Brag Bingo. Score points for every time you hear a nursery parent confidently name drop a governor they know. Score double points if they know a head teacher.
    2. Look into the cost of private education. Sit down. Debate whether avoiding a poor school is worth paying off a re-mortgaged house for the rest of your life.
    3. Investigate the process of home schooling.
    4. Investigate the cost of hiring a tutor to home school.
    5. Give evil looks to every old person you see living in catchment area.
    6. Consider moving.
    7. Write a list of reasons that “bad” school may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise. At least you won’t have to fork out hundreds of pounds for school trips each year.
    8. Eat cake. Not a new distraction, but a good one all the same.
    9. Start running. The endorphins exercise release feel almost as good as the smug satisfaction you get from arriving at the school gates in running shoes that have actually seen some action. And it will help negate the effects of that cake
    10. Try to avoid turning too much to wine for solace. Actually, do what you like - I’m not going to judge (though I bet you a bottle of Prosecco that there will be a parent at the school gates who will. It’s ok, you don’t want your child to play with theirs anyway).

    Keep things in perspective. Your child’s life won’t be over if they don’t get into your first choice of school. Life is all about rolling with the punches. Who knows, your child could turn out to be the next Muhammed Ali.

    Speaking of keeping things in perspective, I love this letter Harmony Hill Primary School sent pupils recently, reminding them that they are worth more than a grade. Whether or not your child is accepted does not come down to how good a parent you are, but factors largely outside your control.

    And in the end, while education IS a serious matter, don't take this blog post too seriously .... well except the bit about cake, I am very serious about that!

     

  2. 5 Clever Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Child to Swim

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    I’ve talked about the many benefits of baby swimming before. It’s a pastime I love sharing with my girls but I know that not all children are keen on going in the water. For example, my friend has a son who had an inexplicable hatred of water – even baths. Baby swimming sessions for them were fuelled with stress, and it wasn’t until he was older that he came around to the idea of swimming for pleasure.

    What can you do if you have a child who hates the water? Should you encourage them to swim and if so, how do you do it? Here are five effective ways you can turn your stubborn swimming hater into a frolicking fish.

    Lose the Structure

    You don’t have to have a formal process to swim. If swimming lessons are the worst half an hour of your week, stop. Take a breath. Start swimming for fun. Forget lessons and go when your child feels like it, just for pleasure. Take a pool noodle and have fun races, or tow them around the pool as if they were a speedboat.

    Play with Water

    I learnt this trick from my friend with the water-hating son. When even bath toys wouldn’t encourage him into the water she turned it into a game by incorporating it into their daily routine. He would “help” with the washing (some face cloths in a tub of soapy water), and get involved in his older brother’s water pistol fights.  A paddling pool in the backyard in summer was the bridge she needed to encourage him into a bigger pool, and now swimming is a highlight of their weekends.

    Try a Different Location

    It might be something as simple as a cold changing room, or a too-large pool, that puts your child off swimming. Try a different location, lots of baby swimming schools have a variety of locations that make this easier for you. Make the most of available swimming pools on your summer holiday, when they may be encouraged by seeing other children having fun swimming outdoors in the sun.

    Make it Social

    Peer pressure can work wonders with encouraging reluctant children into the water. Take them to watch older siblings, or arrange to go swimming with a friend who has children of a similar age.  Go into the water with your child so you can stay close to them and show them it’s nothing to fear.  Older children may feel awkward putting their changing bodies on show. Don’t make a big deal of it, just occasionally float idea (no pun intended) that they go swimming with a friend, and be sensitive to their feelings.

    Try Someone Else

    If you have tried all of the above and still can’t encourage your child to swim, get someone else to take over whether it’s a specialist swimming instructor who excels in teaching reluctant swimmers, or your dad who has endless patience where yours may wear thin. Though you may want it to be, especially if you love the water, it doesn’t have to be you that gets your child to enjoy swimming. We love our children more than anyone else on the planet, but I’ve learned that we’re not always the best people to convince them to do things!

    Have patience. Swimming is such a healthy pastime that it’s worth persevering. 

    LLP - 5 Clever Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Child to Swim

  3. Swimming: The Perfect Activity for Children and Parents

    Posted on

    Last weekend my husband had to physically drag me out of bed on Sunday morning for our daughters swimming lesson and according to many experts, the earlier you start your child in the water the better (although I am guessing this means in age rather than the time of the morning). 

    There are genuinely few activities that are quite as life enhancing as a morning (or afternoon) in the swimming pool. It’s one of the cheapest ways to get plenty of health and psychological benefits and is also a great way for children and parents to socialise. Swimming delivers a complete activity package that provides great fun and important physical exercise, something we could all do with little bit more of (especially after the Christmas excess). I know I have said it before, but it really is great for both children and parents, can improve bonding, develop self-confidence, improve health conditions and provides an ideal opportunity for mums and dads to destress and relax in safe surroundings.

     Swimming from an early age helps to build water confidence and safety

    Social and Parental Bonding

    New and challenging environments are brilliant for parents and children. The swimming pool is a place of great excitement for kids with plenty of opportunity to splash around and play with other children. Not only that, swimming brings an important opportunity for mum and dad to develop stronger bonds of trust and love with natural skin-to-skin contact as well as bunches of fun.

    Great for Physical and Mental Health

    Swimming is perfect for both your physical health and your state of mind. There’s nothing more natural than teaching your kid how to love and trust water, from the time you step into the baby area to that momentous occasion when you take them into the big pool for the first time. According to a lot of research, swimming is one of the top activities that creates a better overall sense of well-being. Parents love it just as much as the kids.

    Better Breathing and Coordination

    Learning to swim comes with all sorts of value added extras. I have blogged about my daughters asthma previously but children with breathing problems such as asthma actually find swimming makes a big difference – you might think the opposite but actually the warm humid air can often make breathing a lot easier. Swimming also helps to develop coordination and build muscle strength without being high impact and is one exercise that your children probably won’t moan about as they grow older. (My oldest daughter is testament to this as she is now part of a swimming club)

     Swimming helps to develop coordination and build muscle strength without be

    Boosting Confidence for Later Lessons

    How early you get your baby or toddler involved with baby swimming lessons could have long term effects on building their confidence. Toddlers are usually happy to splash around in the water and if you keep it up until they are ready to swim properly then learning to do the crawl or the breaststroke should be breeze. Getting in the swimming pool not only benefits the kids, it’s good for parents too. 

     Did you know ....?

    A study back in 2009 found toddlers that went into the swimming pool early developed better motor coordination and had improved balance over those that didn’t go in the water?

    Another German research project showed that toddlers who were introduced to water at a young age exhibited more intelligence and better social skills later on.

    If you need any other reasons to get your kids in the water as soon as possible, then how about the absolute fun you can have splashing around in the pool? We are planning a swimming birthday party for later in the year, so we hope that everyone else is as enthusiastic as we are about swimming!!

  4. How to recycle .... the Santa way.

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    5 sleeps and counting till the big guy arrives with the presents (am hoping my husband appreciates this description).

    5 sleeps until the lounge is filled with excited children and an unwrapping frenzy commences.

    5 sleeps until we suddenly have to house more toys .... because we obviously need more of them.

    My youngest daughter wants a doctors clinic and a few weeks ago we said to her that Father Christmas might consider that she had so many toys that he may think she doesn't have room for a doctors clinic. (I realise that this may have been a slightly mean tactic but it worked) Her response was "Mummy, shall I give some of my toys to the children who don't have any?" (she melted my heart a little at this point).

    But it got me thinking about getting rid of some of their old toys (without putting them in the loft when they are not looking) and I saw a post on Facebook about a mum who gets her children to select 10 old toys to put in their Santa Sacks on Christmas Eve and I LOVE this idea!

    Santa then takes them back to the North Pole and the elves then fix them up to give to other children next year.

    My mum has always recycled and the children love to sort the recycling out into the relevant bins ..... I am just hoping that they will be as excited about recycling the Santa way!

     LLP - How to recycle toys the Santa Way