Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Keep Calm and Enjoy Christmas

Are you looking forward to Christmas day or dreading it? Do you have high unrealistic expectations? Do you imagine the day as being full of love and co-operation, lots of fun and happy children?
What is your previous experience, was it beautiful, fun, full of laughter, a “Hollywood” Christmas or a disaster?  - More likely somewhere in between. 
Whether this is your first Christmas as a family or tenth, the key to having a great day is to have realistic expectations.  If your children squabble and bicker most days – don’t expect Christmas day to be any different.  Christmas can be a very stressful experience and leave you feeling disappointed.
I have put together my top tips to help you have a lovely fun day.
1.     Plan ahead – “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Benjamin Franklin

By having a plan and sticking to it you will feel in control.  Simplify Christmas dinner; children just want to play with their new toys! Prepare the trimmings the day before and consider buying a boneless ready stuffed turkey.
2.    Ensure you have a selection of batteries available for those toys that need them.
3.     If you have really young children, Christmas morning present opening can be overwhelming. Consider spreading opening presents over the course of the day.
4.     We often invite relatives for Christmas that we don’t really want, out of a sense of duty. If you feel you have to see them, then consider inviting them on another day over the Christmas period, when everyone is likely to be calmer.  And remain realistic.
5.     Put the glass tree baubles away for a few years, it’s not forever.  Buy some child friendly soft, fabric decorations, so when your toddler pulls them off you won’t get stressed out.
6.     Don’t do everything yourself, Enlist the help of your partner, older children and parents.
7.     Get outside, even if its raining or windy.  Wrap up and enjoy the outdoors, being outside helps get rid of pent up energy and irritation – leaving you all feeling much calmer.  Remember there is no such thing as bad weather only the wrong clothes.
The key to a great Christmas day is Planning and Perspective.  Have a great Christmas.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Loneliness of being a new mum

All through my life I’ve had periods where I have  felt really lonely. I have tried to understand why I should feel like this.  I have some lovely friends, great family and brilliant work colleagues and yet I still feel isolated and lonely at times.

One of the loneliest periods in my life was when I was a new parent, my son was 4 months old, my husband was working away two weeks at a time and we had just moved to a new area, so on the face of it I had good reason to feel lonely and isolated.  And I’m sure I’m not the only person to feel like this!

These days it is even easier to feel lonely; the extended family is a thing of the past.  If you are a single mum with only young children for company, it’s very likely you are feeling isolated. With social networking, like Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to have loads of ‘friends’  but  there is no real connections.  You really can’t beat a telephone call or meeting face to face fo a good chat.

So what can you do to overcome these feelings and meet new people and make more friends.  Here are some suggestions:

Join Parent and Toddler Club, sometimes called Mother and Baby Club or Play and stay club; check out for details of local clubs.  This is what I did after spending weeks feeling isolated and alone, I came to the decision that no one was going to come knocking on my door to be my friend, why would they, they didn't know I existed. It was the best decision I've ever made and yet I still had to work at making friends.  I got to know some of the mothers over a couple of weeks and then plucked up the courage to invite them to my home for coffee and the rest as they say is history.

You could enrol your child in a group such as Sing and Sign, not only good for you and baby but also useful for meeting other mum’s with children the same age. For a local club check out or Baby Gym, again good for you and baby, a good website is  There are many activities you can do with your baby and clubs to join, you just need to do a bit of research on the internet or check out the local free magazines like ABC which is pack full of essential information for parents.
And don't forget the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), they have regular coffee mornings and nearly new sales so lots of opportunities to meet other Mums, their website address is
If you have had experience of being isolated as a parent, it would be great to share your story and offer any tips on how you overcame this issue for other blog readers.
Check out my website for free ebook and Taster coaching session.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

What Other People Think

I found myself chatting about the benefits of getting old with the sales lady in Marks & Spencer today. It’s my 60th birthday and we decided that the older you get the less you don’t worry what other people think of you.

That got me thinking about how when my children were young I used to be very concerned about what other people thought about them , me and my parenting skills.  I now realise that this is not helpful. It put me under a lot of pressure and it didn't encourage my children to consider their actions.

By worrying about what other people think I am not going to be doing what is best for my child.  For instant if my child is running around in the supermarket (not bothering anyone) and because I am worrying about what other people think of me, I am likely to tell the child off. My focus is not on what is best for my child but on what other people are thinking of me or my child.

It isn’t that I want my child not to care about what people think, that isn’t the point. The point is that their worth and value is not a function of what others think.

What we need to teach our children is, to consider what the consequence of what they are about to do, is. To ask themselves “Can I live with the consequences?” We need to encourage them to look inside and consider what might happen If I do this or that.  It allows children to take responsibility for their lives and to look inside and not outside (worrying about what other people think).
Fast forward to their teenage years....
So instead of doing things as teenagers, like having unprotected sex or getting into a car with someone who  has been drinking, they are not worried about what their peer group think - they will consider the consequences and make better decisions.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Are you looking forward to the school holidays or dreading them?

School holidays can be very stressful and the British weather isn’t going to help.  So how do you survive and stay sane and even better enjoy the six plus weeks.

Here are a few tips to help

# 1 – Make a plan – involve the children, find out what they like doing and make a plan for the holiday period. Some suggestions – library visits; parks; museums; swimming.

# 2 - Swap your children - arrange for your children to spend an afternoon with friends and reciprocate.  Take advantage of the time your children are with their friends and spend the time doing something you want to do.  Remember when they have their friends around they are often easier to manage.

# 3 – Some ideas for indoors – have a treasure hunt.  Hide spare change; sweets or lollies; notes with activities on like: PlayStation challenge; Play a board game of your choice; Bake a treat with Mum. Give fun written or verbal clues to help them uncover the treasure.

# 4 – Remember the old favourites games: Kim’s game; What’s the time Mr Wolf? Simon Said;

# 5 – Bulld a camp in the living room - use the cushions from your sofa; cloths horse; sheets - let them have their tea in their camp.

# 6 – Go exploring in the park – look for insects; birds; animal footprints; different size, shape coloured leaves.  You could collect the leaves and make a scrap book and spend time finding out what they are etc.

I hope you found this blog useful.  If you want more ideas for surviving the school holidays, I am running a free “Surviving the School Holidays” workshop in Hove, East Sussex on Thursday 2nd August 2012, 7.00pm – 9.00pm.  To reserve your place of find out more email me or check out
If you have any tips you would like to share with other parents, please feel free to add a comment below.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

What is a Parent Coach?

What is a Parent Coach is a question I am often asked. It’s a very good and relevant question. The dictionary definition of coach is “A person who trains or directs athletes or athletic teams.  A person who gives instruction, as in singing or acting.  A private tutor employed to prepare a student for an examination.”

This definition is not very helpful. In essence, coaching is a conversation, or a series of conversations between two people.  It is a form of learning, where the coach supports the client to develop in a way that benefits the client.  The coach works with the client on his goals, aspirations or desires on ways to move forward in his life and achieve his ambitions.

A parent coach helps parents with any issues they have around parenting; it could be the parent finds herself/himself constantly shouting at the child, resulting in everyone being unhappy or maybe they are running out of patience because their child refuses to go to bed/have a bath/do their homework etc.

Seeing a Parent Coach means you know that what you are doing isn’t working and that there are other ways of dealing with the issues and you need that extra help. You want to ensure your child gets the best start in life. Needing a Parent Coach does not mean that you are a bad parent or that your child is out of control, far from it, you have your child’s interests at heart.

Some of the benefits are:

·         Having fun again

·         Learning alternative tools and techniques

·         Finding effective way of listening and being heard

·         Discover that being a parent is easy

Try a free taster coaching session, now. Call 07958 467817 or email

Check out my website –

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

What do you think about the naughty step?

In recent years it has become very fashionable to punish children by making them sit on the naughty step for time out. I am really interested to find out what you think about this as a discipline method?
I understand that there are occasions when it is in everyone’s interest to have some space and I think there are other ways to get this.  My issue with the naughty step is, that far from the child focusing on what they have done to merit being on the step and coming to the conclusion that what they did was wrong, that they are sorry and then decide not to do it again, it actually has the opposite effect.  
Think back to your own childhood and to something you did that evoked a negative reaction from your parents.  My experiences usually involved my younger sister and I would be sent to my room (the naughty step hadn’t been “invented” yet) to “think about what I had done” and to cool down! I wan’t allowed down until I had said sorry!
What might you be thinking about in this situation?  Would you be contrite or would you be seething?  Would you decide, a) I’m never going to do that again or b) I’m going to make sure I don’t get caught next time?  Maybe you might spend the time deciding how to get your revenge on your sibling or maybe you just felt helpless and decide life just isn’t fair.
Whatever your experience was, I’m guessing it didn’t have the desired effect.  
Some other ways to ensure better behaviour are:
  • Praise positive behaviour
  • Set a few clear and fair boundaries
  • Be firm, but also listen to your child
  • Set a good example
  • Show your child you care with positive comments and lots of affection
  • Use a reward system as these are also a positive way of encouraging good behaviour 

Remember, if you use the “Naughty” step often enough, your child will conclude that he is naughty and will play up to this label. 

You now know what I think of the Naughty Step but what do you thnk?  Please post your comment below.

Happy parenting.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Positive Impact

I am been really busy and am so excited, because I have been pulling together my new workshop for parents and the first one of these workshops is about  having a positive impact on our children.

A lot of adults have beliefs about themselves which are negative, such as “I’m not good enough”; “I’m not important” or “I’m a failure” but where do these beliefs come from?  These beliefs are formed in childhood, they come from the interactions you had primarily with your parents. But the vast majority of these adults will have had loving, caring and helpful parents.
So what sort of interactions would result in us growing up believing “I’m not good enough” etc?
Imagine you’re a child of around three years old and you’re at that “me do it” stage.  You want to dress yourself but you’re struggling with the buttons and your mum is in a rush to get out of the house, so she helps you with your buttons, she takes over. On another occasion you’re trying to pour milk onto your breakfast cereal but you’re making a mess, so you mum takes the milk carton from you, saying “look at the mess you’ve made” and on another occasion you’re playing with your Duplo and you’re dad comes in and you tell him you’re building a house and you’re dad sits down to help and very soon he’s build the house for you. What might you conclude? If these scenarios are repeated often enough you’re going to conclude “I’m useless” or “I’m a failure” or “I’m not good enough”.
These parents are loving parents, they want to help their child but inadvertently they are laying the foundations for these negative beliefs.  As the child grows up with these beliefs, he starts to filter his experience of the world through these beliefs and so they really do become his reality.
 Let’s look at the example of Jane and Sam:

Jane believes
Sam believes
I’m not good enough
I am good enough
I’m not important
I’m important
Mistakes and failures are bad
Mistakes and failures are learning opportunities
I’m not capable
I can do whatever I set out to do
What makes me good enough is other people thinking well of me
My worth is not a function of what other people think

Who is likely to be happier?        Jane or Sam? 

Who is likely to have more nurturing relationships?         Jane or Sam? 

Who would be more likely to have a successful career? Jane or Sam? 

I believe raising our children, the next generation, is the most important job in the world and yet we get no training. Would you offer me a job as an accountant or a lawyer if I hadn’t passed my exams?

For a free copy of my ebook; Seven Secrets of Successful Parents go to my website and complete the form.  Please feel free to share this blog.