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.
Sleep has evaded us this week. It taunts parents with young children (which makes that about 99% of our readers) but it is not solely the endurance test of those with small babies. Nightmares can interrupt an emotional childs sleep pattern, a full bladder is never anyone's night time friend and let's not start on the introduction of a cough and cold that keeps everyone awake.
I feel exhausted. I have resorted to co-sleeping but do you know what? These are the things that loving, caring, nurturing mums do! I have no intention of feeling guilty about cuddling/holding/rocking/co-sleeping my little one to sleep – those are all things that mums do!
I just need to leave a little reminder to all those tired mums out there ......
The tooth fairy had a little problem last night. She couldn't find the tooth and was left with the dilemma of leaving a note asking for the tooth tomorrow night or just simply leaving the money without taking the tooth. Now I think there is a reason that the tooth was "missing" as a certain 10 year old is challenging the simple magical characters that have always been in her life.
She knows in her heart that the tooth fairy is not real (I think she just pretends now for her little sisters sake and for the £1 coin) and she has openly laughed about the validity of the Easter Bunny but as we get closer to Christmas, do I need to finally give in and accept she may no longer believe in Father Christmas? Most psychologists will suggest that children need to know they can trust their parents to tell them the truth, even about things like this. In other words, when your kids ask if Father Christmas, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny are real, you should tell them the truth.
That's obviously easier said than done.
What age should you tell them the truth?
This really depends on the parents, and to a very large extent, the child.
Last year she asked me if Father Christmas was real as one of her classmates had said it was his mum (they were 9 years old). It was one of those moments where I held my breath for a minute. I had hoped and wished this day would never come. But it did. And so with it brought another phase of parenting. It’s that phase where my baby girl is no longer a baby, she is no longer naïve and I have to accept that a part of her childhood innocence is a thing of the past.
If I am honest, I may have dodged the question last year but I know that I have to face it as much as she is going to. I don't want her to be ridiculed at school and whilst the age of every child is different, the truth about her childhood magic will be as much as loss to me as her.
How to deal with their new knowledge?
Encourage your child to help younger siblings, cousins, and other children keep believing in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas. This can be an great way to build nurturing skills in your own child, and help them feel more grown up. By having her join us in teaching her younger sister about these magical creatures, can hopefully help make the transition into a world where magic can still exist but in a more realistic context.
Let's be honest, everyone needs a little magic in their lives don't they?
What is the right age to let your child out to play on their own?
If I am honest, I am not sure that there is a "one size fits all" policy as it is difficult to set an exact age when it is safe for children to be out alone and getting the balance between independence and safety can be difficult.
When researching for this post, I found that the NSPCC say “We agree that children need to have time outside to play, but children under the age of eight are too young to be out unsupervised. We know that children under eight can’t judge speed and distance of moving vehicles. They still need help when crossing roads"
So I have a tween and a toddler, one who thinks they know better and one who wants to do everything her big sister does. The little one loves to be outside and is happy playing teaparties in the garden (with or without the cat!) but this doesn't have enough excitement for the tween.
The toddler plays under the kitchen window (usually shouting orders for drinks and snacks) but her big sister wants to be out playing. When the weather is good she wants to be out on her scooter, bike or skates (which always scares me) but the tween always has the toddler snapping at her heels.
We are lucky to live in a small development which is pretty much in the middle of no where and unless someone is purposefully coming to visit, then there is very little traffic, so it is quite safe for the children to play outside. So much to the chagrin of the tween, the solution to allowing the toddler to play outside is playing with her big sister, while I watch on from kitchen window.
I know that when the tween goes to her friends for "playdates" or "hang out" (or whatever the cool thing is to do) that they are slowly now starting to play outside but I have no control over the traffic at her friends houses so I need to make sure that she remember the three Ws! Even as they get older and think they are independent it is important to make sure that they always tell you:
Who they are going out with,
Where they are going and
When they will be back.
I was never allowed out to play as a child and whilst I want to protect my girls fiercely, I also understand that they need to learn independence and responsbility but in my mind, they will never be old enough for me not to watch over them.
It was a quick and easy way to update the room but fast forward to this year and the little one continues to grow (and grow up - sob) and she wanted a big girls bed. Now having the smallest room in the house comes with its own challenges for trying to actually fit a cot bed, wardrobe, small kitchen (!!) and her toys in there as it is, so finding room for a single bed presented a new challenge. In a moment of inspiration, we decided on a cabin bed and I made it my mission to find one that was affordable, good quality and fit for a little princess. So once we had it, I wanted to get the room sorted straight away.
So how do you complete a bedroom makeover in a weekend, here are our top tips
1. Make a plan! Know your budget, stick to it and don't get drawn into buying those additional items just because they are pretty! (I *may* need to take my own advice here).
2. Clear the space. Random teddy bears and pieces of lego will not be your friend.
3. Check that you have everything you need before you start. When dealing with flat pack furniture, make sure you unpack the parts and fixings carefully, checking that everything needed is present. Identify the parts against the instructions as you go. Handy Tip : Packaging can be used to protect flooring.
4. Accept help when it is offered (even if it is from a 3 year old)
5. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. They’re there to help, and no human has yet been born with a universal flat pack assembly manual downloaded directly into his or her brain.
6. Don't build or paint yourself into somewhere you can't get out of!
7. Add a wall decal (toddlers own choice in this instance). Decals are an inexpensive way to give your walls some personality and flair and add colour to plain walls.
Final tip! When buying a new bed for your child, make sure you have a single bed mattress to fit it and don't do what we did and realise that we might have to make a temporary one!! Thank goodness for next day delivery and online shopping!
The toddler is delighted with her new "big girl bed" and she is even more excited that she has a den underneath it but I am just pleased that it has curtains to hide all the toys away, so everyone is happy.
Completing a bedroom makeover doesn't need to be hugely expensive or time consuming, just a few small changes can make a big difference.