Keeping the kids entertained over the summer seems easy enough at the start of the school holidays. A few weeks later and social media is full of parents worrying that their children keep complaining that they are bored. Boredom can actually lead to your children coming up with their own creative ideas for learning and play. However, on the days where you are tearing your hair out, here are some ideas to put the smiles back on your children’s faces.

Get outdoors

Getting  outdoors is good for us and boosts our mood with that wonderful Vitamin D magic. Go for a nature walk picking up items of interest and discussing them. I used to love doing this with my Dad when I was a child and learned so much. Even if you are not particularly sporty, there are fun and affordable ways to get more active whether splashing in a paddling pool or checking out the fun-filled items from  SkateHut or supermarkets.

Cook up a storm

My tween is easily bored and going through puberty which does not help his mood one bit. However, he will always respond positively to spending time in the kitchen and has ambitions to be a chef one day. We used to just bake sweet treats but these days I am showing him the joys of cooking family meals from scratch. Yesterday we made the most luscious turkey burgers. Activities like these are great for relieving boredom but also teach essential life skills.

Old favourites

Think back to what kept you entertained as a child. Was it building Lego creations or colouring in?  Increasingly as children spend more and more time on screens, they are disconnected from the old pleasures of school holidays. It doesn’t have to be that way! Might I suggest you disconnect the screens instead and indulge in the pleasures of the real world for a change. Get to the seaside to build sand castles, to skim stones and to paddle. Build a den outdoors using natural resources or make a duvet fort on rainy days.

Finally check out what is happening in your local area by visiting your library and council offices.

Happy Holidays!

 

Change is tough for anybody to get to grips with, especially children. Even the smallest of transitions can cause them to question their standing in life, and those that are genuinely life-changing can have the potential to make or break them.

You can help your children when it comes to these sorts of changes in life, though, by preparing them for them. For advice on how to do just that in regard to certain situations of change, read through this article.

Preparing them for moving school

Whether it’s through choice or whether the decision was made out of their control, there will come a time in their lives where your child will move school. Some take it better than others, and some make it far more challenging than it needs to be.

If your child challenges their school move, it means they are not ready or prepared to make the change being asked of them. If you feel your child might challenge you, then you need to prepare them beforehand. You need to take action by discussing the move with your child well in advance of it happening, you need to show as much enthusiasm as you can for the move yourself, and you need to discuss with your child everything about the move that is making them uneasy. By listening to them, you can understand exactly what they are concerned about, and you can counteract this by talking about the positives of the change. If it is moving from lower school to upper school, this will be a particularly emotional upheaval, and there will be opportunities to work with the schools involved, as well as other children and pupils, to help deal with the transition.

Preparing them for moving house

Moving home is stressful for adults and kids alike, but it’s the latter that are likely to suffer the most with this change. It can make them feel powerless as their whole world is flipped upside down, and it is for these reasons why you need to prepare them as best you can.

You should visit your new home with your kids long before you plan to move into it, just to get them accustomed to it and to give them something to look forward to in the venture — you could even allow them to make tentative plans in regard to their bedrooms. Focusing on the positives in this manner will make your kids look to the future, something that is much better than holding onto the past.

Preparing them for a divorce

 The divorce of their parents is a life-changing time of transition that more and more children are facing these days, and those that face it need to be prepared for it.

Should you ever find yourself in the situation of negating a divorce with your partner, first, you would have to get in touch with a solicitor, attaining a family law solicitors London free consultation from them quickly when you do, in order to nip any arguments in the bud — the fewer arguments there are between the adults, the better protected the kids will be. After that, you would have to sit your children down to have a frank and open discussion with them, whether you or they want to or not, to ensure they are fully aware of what is happening, as well as to gauge how they are taking it all. You should also seek to answer all their questions clearly and honestly.

Even the sweetest of relationships can turn sour, and it’s not good for anybody involved when they do, least of all the children.

Children do not always take to change well, but they will take it to it better with a bit of preparation.

Cuddle Fairy

When the temperature heats up, we seek a cooling tonic and that often comes in the form of a swim.

There is the sea to cool off in and the cooler temperatures of open swimming in lakes to enjoy too. Increasingly, we are buying swimming pools to enjoy in the garden too.

Unfortunately, we aren’t always prepared for the cold water shock that comes with plunging into a deep swimming pool, lake or the sea.

Even strong swimmers can get into trouble quickly in cold water so it pays to be safe around water, whether that is a pool in the back garden or a dip in the lake.

Being Pool Safe

From small paddling pools to larger, deeper family swimming pools, the range of temporary and semi-permanent swimming pools has grown in recent years.

But being safe around water is something we should all be vigilant about but do you really know how to stay safe around water?

This clever infographic Staying Safe by the Pool is a family-friendly guide to pool safety and why we need to take more notice of how we use the pool.

It gives clever hints on what to look for around the pool area, as well as what you should be looking out for when your family and friends over enjoying the sunshine and the pool in your backyard.

Staying safe

Staying safe is not difficult when you know what to look out for. It also helps us to understand why our behaviour changes so much for other times – in the summer, when the sun is shining, we want everyone to relax and enjoy the pool.

But sometimes that means we relax too much leading to some dangerous stuff happening before our very eyes! But with these hints and tips, you will enjoy the summer in the swimming pool, or at the lake or a swim in the sea – just make sure you are really safe!

Winnettes

We all dream of the perfect family holiday. We have scrimped and saved all year to allow ourselves time out somewhere lovely for some quality time as a family. If you are like myself, you will have cherished memories of your own childhood holidays and want to ensure your children have amazing times when travelling  too. I find holiday cottages give us the best time as they give a feeling of space and relaxation like back home.

Planning

Of course it is easy these days to find holidays at the last minute. However, I have taken my Dad’s example and like to do some good planning in advance. This means talking with every family member about their dreams for their time away and looking at pictures online. If you read reviews you can also find out if the accommodation is really family-friendly or is just using that as a marketing tool. As part of my planning I also like to ensure I have looked into options for days out whatever the weather. Perhaps sadly but inevitably, I also check whether Wifi is available so the children can access their beloved screens and I can do a bit of work if necessary. Finally if you want some adult only time you can research kids clubs and so on. They  are not my cup of tea but each to their own. Talking of cups of tea, I also like to ensure a supermarket can deliver shopping ordered online in time for our arrival.

Packing

I always smile when I think of packing as my Dad wouldn’t let me or my Mum get involved in it due to our slightly chaotic approach.  Moving on, there are lots of things you should pack to save a whole load of hassle. These include things like sticking plasters, Calpol, sun protection, antibacterial handwash and any medication your family require. Always have plenty of baby wipes which every parent can tell you are worth their weight in gold for cleaning surfaces from restaurant tables to toilet seats. You will have your own ideas of what makes the perfect holiday wardrobe. I like to include some older clothes that I won’t worry about if they get covered with sand, sun tan lotion and food spillages. Always ensure you have a jumper or cardigan for everyone and a coat for rainier days.

Coping with long journeys

Children get bored easily and all the more so if they know they are going somewhere really exciting.  Firstly make sure you have regular stops for snacks and drinks and bring them from home as buying en route can be really pricey. Make a goodie bag up for each  child with books, games, activities, pens and treats. Again think about health and ensure you have travel sickness products to hand too.

Memory-making and the perfect family holiday

Since losing my parents, I have worked out that the only really important thing in life is making great memories. They are fun whilst they are happening and they sustain us in challenging times. So ensure you have some equipment to capture those memories whether that is a journal, scrapbook or camera.

Do you have any great tips for planning the perfect family holiday?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum Muddling Through

If you know a boy aged 10 to 21, then there’s a good chance you’ve witnessed them sink whole days into playing video games. You might even have accused them of being “addicted” to video games. As it turns out, you might have been right. Under new guidelines established by the World Health Organisation, “gaming disorder” will be recognised as a medical condition for the first time.

Gaming

What is gaming addiction?

Gaming addiction will be listed as “gaming disorder” in the 11th edition of the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD). In the ICD, gaming disorder is described as a “severe pattern” of gaming behaviour in which the participant’s gaming “takes precedence over other life interests”.

The entry demonstrates that the WHO understands the potential harm of uncontrolled video game use. It’s a recognition that people can experience video game addiction in the same way that they can experience gambling addiction or addiction to other kinds of harmful behaviours.

There are often real-world consequences to gaming addiction. Patients with gaming disorder often want to cut down on their gaming, but can’t. They often fail to fulfil social obligations and miss activities or events organised by friends. Sometimes there are serious consequences, such as when doctor’s appointments or professional appointments are missed due to gaming.

What are the signs of video game addiction?

Under the WHO guidelines, doctors will need to see evidence of at least 12 months of abnormal gaming behaviour to make a diagnosis. In extreme circumstances, a diagnosis can be made in a shorter period of time if the gaming is more intense.

The symptoms of gaming disorder are as follows:

  • Impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity and duration)
  • Increased priority being given to gaming
  • Continuation or escalation of gaming, despite negative consequences

If you’re worried that a loved one might be affected by gaming disorder, there are signs to watch out for. Are they tired as a result of staying up late and playing video games? Are they withdrawing from their social circle and real-world responsibilities in favour of video games? Do they talk or think about video games even when they are supposed to be doing something else?

It’s important to be rational when looking for warning signs. Many teenagers (and adults) will stay up all night playing video games with their friends and spend the whole of the next day talking about it. It’s not gaming disorder if this happens rarely or happens in a controlled way. Distinguishing between a normal enjoyment of video games and a disorder is crucial.

When do video games become harmful?

The physical warning signs of gaming disorder are the signs associated with excessive computer use. These are as follows:

  • Backache
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Disturbances in sleep
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Blurred or strained vision

There are also consequences to the gamer’s mental health. Excessive gaming has been linked to depression and anxiety. Excessive gaming can also cause insomnia and people who spend a lot of time in front of screens can find it difficult to interact with people face-to-face.

 

Think you might have gaming disorder? It can be treated

The framework for treating gaming disorder is similar to the treatment for other addictive behaviours, such as gambling. Treatment will involve therapy of some kind. The therapy can take place at an outpatient centre, but in extreme cases, the patient might prefer intensive treatment in an inpatient centre.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an approach to treating addictive behaviours which has been recognised by the NHS. Through CBT, a patient and a counsellor will examine the patient’s thought processes and identify triggers for negative or addictive behaviours. Together, negative thought processes will be challenged and replaced with healthy ones.

Alongside one-to-one sessions, the patient will also often be invited to group sessions. If gaming disorder has damaged familial or marital relations, then patients might benefit from exploring family therapy and couples therapy. The patient could also attend group therapy sessions in a supportive environment.

Author Bio: Obi Unaka is the Treatment Director at Charterhouse Clinic. He has 16 years of experience in a clinical setting. Obi has developed successful addiction treatment services in a variety of settings.

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