Keeping Toddlers Healthy Over Christmas

Simply having a Toddler-Sized Christmas time

Earlier this year I took part in the Toddler-Sized challenge, encouraging parents to use the evidence-based guidance on feeding toddlers, developed by the Infant & Toddler Forum, into something easy and practical. For me, it helped to take the guess work out of feeding my toddler healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks.  T

Along with my own ideas on how to create toddler sized lunch boxes, there were many others who took part in the challenge and you can meet the winners here. And the advice now extends to the festive season with the Infant & Toddler Forum’s festive menu to give little ones a healthy balance, while still enjoying some treats while the festive tips for active toddlers give lots of active play ideas.

Infant & Toddler Forum’s festive menu to gives little ones a healthy balance, as well as tips for active toddlers

Toddler menu and healthy hints and tips for a happy festive season

Christmas is a time for families to be together, to relax and to celebrate the season. It can also be a time of extra pressure as families get swept up in the holiday madness of parties, shopping and cooking! In such a busy period, everyday routines may go out of the window, and it can be hard to keep track, and make sure your toddler is eating the right foods in the right amounts and in the right balance. Some toddlers may become extra sensitive as routine changes influence moods. Nap-times are essential for toddlers but at Christmas these may be later or cut short, not to mention meals and snacks may be rushed and regular activity may get forgotten.

To help make the most of this busy period, the Infant & Toddler Forum has developed resources to help maintain a happy, active and healthy holiday season for all. Our festive tips for active toddlers (see below) have plenty of ideas to keep the little ones busy, and our festive menu is full of suggestions to give little ones a healthy balance at Christmas dinner, while still enjoying all the seasonal fun.

Facts and stats on parent toddler diet confidence

A recent parent survey (parents of children 1 – 5yrs) by the Infant & Toddler Forum found that:

  • Only 14% of parents follow the recommended serving frequency for each of the food groups when feeding their toddlers
  • Over a third (35%) are worried they do not give their children the right balance of foods and more than a quarter (26%) feel their child is not getting enough variety
  • Whilst 80% of parents correctly identified the key food groups that when combined form a balanced diet, only a third (28%) take the advice given to them by experts on what they should be feeding their children

Infant & Toddler Forum’s festive menu to gives little ones a healthy balance, as well as tips for active toddlers Infant & Toddler Forum’s festive menu to gives little ones a healthy balance, as well as tips for active toddlers

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Clever Christmas Shopping With Hawkins Bazaar

Is there really any need for the Christmas rush?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the last minute dash into town to grab the last few presents, it’s part of the final countdown. What I’m not happy about is the lack of time to mooch around the shops at a leisurely pace and buy things as I go, that seriously kills my budget! Or then there’s getting to Christmas eve and having a niggling doubt that I’ve forgotten to buy for one of my 2 children (once you get past 2 kids, it’s easy to overlook one! Or that just me?)I (try) to stick to a budget for each of my boys, all exactly the same and this in its self is a whole maths game as I write down what I’ve bought and tot up the numbers, sibling equality is a HUGE thing for me, as it always was for my parents.

I (try) to stick to a budget for each of my boys, spending exactly the same of each of them which, in its self is a whole maths game as I write down what I’ve bought and tot up the numbers. Sibling equality is a HUGE thing for me, as it always was for my parents. And guess what! I’ve found a much seasier way of saving time, making sure you’ve got the spending all fair and square AND no child is going to wake up on Christmas morning eyeballing their brothers stocking fillers while they sit peeling their satsuma, muttering “worst Christmas ever” under their breaths.

(Should probably add, that’s never happened and that my boys haven’t been brought up to be like that, but it’s still something I’m conscious of)

Why Choose Hawkins Bazaar?

So anyway, that thing I’m hinting at is a Hawkins Bazaar pre-filled stockings. I’ve had a gander at the teenage boys and young boys sets and am feeling very smug right now that I’m well on my way to completing my shopping, giving me more time for Christmas movies and finding a new set of sparkly heels to dance away the festive season.

Weighing in at £25 each and filled with over £50 worth of stocking fillers it’s a no-brainer really. This shop has been my go-to for stocking fillers for many years, so I was fairly confident at taking the plunge and letting them choose what would be suitable for my requirements. In the past, I’ve spent time trying to find the best offers and make the biggest savings. Buying a pre filled stocking, with double the value contents saves all that bother.

What’s Inside?

The Teenager boys (14 plus) stocking came with some great little presents which were perfect for my Marvel loving boys as well as a few thing I wouldn’t have considered buying but actually, I think they would like. I forget about getting toys now they’re older, but in reality, I think they’d quite like the silly little things like the wind-up zombie and model plane kit. Chalk mug, mmmm, not sure I’m looking forward to seeing what they write on these!

Is there really any need for the Christmas rush? The Hawkins Bazaar pre-filled stockings made my Christmas shopping a breeze.

As for the boy’s 3 plus stocking, this is just what I would’ve bought, I’m not keen on the tattoos, have you ever tried to get those things off? but it’s not about what I like, is it! Great to see some old favourites in there too. No childhood is complete without watching a wooden, fluffy haired bird pecking his way down a metal pole. Same goes for the collapsing toy and I’m sensing some Christmas day races with these glider kits!

Is there really any need for the Christmas rush? The Hawkins Bazaar pre-filled stockings made my Christmas shopping a breeze.

Actually feeling REALLY smug right now, that was such an easy a way to get a start on the Christmas shopping! Next stop, sparkly shoes

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A Review Of The Cosatto Hug Isofix

The new car seat laws have completed confused me and I know I’m not the only one, since February 2017, manufacturers aren’t allowed to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.(existing booster seats and cushions are not affected by new rules.) The states that children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first, so all is worth taking into consideration when buying one so you don’t find your having to keep replacing them, which is my main reason for the Cosatto Hug Isofix  being top of our choice.

Having a car seat which will see my son through to the next 6 years means I can relax and not worry about having to start my research once again in a few years. Next on my must have list were isofix fittings. To me, it’s a much more safer way to travel and so much easier when moving between vehicles as you don’t have to faff around removing seat belts. The Cosatto Hug Isofix also has a top tether for extra stability, and it certainly feels a lot more locked in with that top tether in place.

And then there’s finding something which my son will like. I’m very lucky t have quite an articulate toddler, but I’m also rather unlucky to have such an article toddler sometimes, as he will quite happily tell you if he doesn’t like it. And when you have a child with an opinion, then Cosatto designs are a blessing. I’ve been drawn to their fun and funky patterns for years. You can spot them a mile off! After a process of elimination we settled on the cutely named Cuddle Monster, with extra-cushioned Side Impact Protection and 5 point safety harness it looks the business too.
When being used as a stage 2 and 3 carseat (usually around age 3 or above 15kg) you can use the adult car seat which saves even more time getting in and out the car. Although my son is only just 3 and has a habit of moving his arms out the straps or an adult seat belt so I’ll be sticking with the 5 points harness for as long as is comfortable. Plus the unit wriggle system helps stop that happening even more.

5 point harness & anto escape set up (under the arms)
There’s 5 recline positions and an adjustable head rest as well as super squigy, padded seat (our old booster seat was rock hard and the kids hated it so shouldn’t have any problems this time.) And the removable seat liner is a great potty training protector, not that I imagine that’s what it’s for, but pop a plastic bag underneath and hey presto, you’ve don’t have to worry about an accidents.

A review of the Cosatto Hug isofix

padded seat and arm rests

Proof in the pudding is what my mini precious cargo thinks of it…….the smile says it all really!

The Cosatto Hug Isofix is currently on special offer at selected retailers check their stockists page to find out more

Disclaimer

I have been sent this car seat in return for my honest thoughts, all photos and words, unless otherwise stated are my own 

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Today I’m choosing not to be a shouty mum

Choosing is the most important action in that title. I should probably start by explains that it’s not that I never get cross or live on a bubble of zen with my legs crossed and rose-tinted spectacles, ignoring EVERY misdemeanour with a smile and a nod

 they’re just expressing themselves

type thing. I know when my kids have stepped out of line and that they do things which need pulling up and stopping. I just choose not to shout.

It’s a parenting style which evolved through understanding and looking at things from their point of view rather than my own. Once I realised that life can be just as complex and downright wobbly for them, the light bulb moment came that yelling (and smacking) was more about releasing my frustrations than teaching them right from wrong.

Need that clarifying? Here goes;

When I’m stressed my brain and my patience goes gaga. Little irritating things turn into big irritating things. All that cortisol and adrenalin rushing round my body stops my rational thoughts like a huge boulder on the track. for example, when I’m stressed and my toddler’s wiping my favourite hand cream all over the bathroom wall instead of washing his hands. That really pisses me off. I WANT to shout and ask him wtf does he think he’s doing? Does he not think I’ve got enough to do. (of course he doesn’t, he’s 2 and it’s perfectly natural to be egocentric)

But I know that’s my fight response taking charge. I’m cross and I feel like shouting to release that frustration. You still with me?

Sure it’ll make him realise that I’m fuming, it was wrong and maybe he shouldn’t NEVER do it again.

But here’s the problem.

I need to be showing my kids how to show some self-restraint

By nature, I’m not that shouty, stressed person. Most of the time I’m rational and would talk to my son in a calm but stern voice when he’s done something wrong. Explain why it’s wrong and give him an understanding of why not do it again (not just it’ll make Mummy scary) Those moments when I want to yell are the hardest by far. Those are the ones when I’m exercising every level of restraint not to lose my parenting cool.

But they are also the moments when I’m modelling to my sponge-of-a-son how not to lose your cool. When I yell (it has happened in the past, I’m not Mary Poppins!) my kids glaze over, they shut down OR they get angry back. THEIR brain stops working as it should & they go into a fight or flight situation, where any chance of rational understanding goes out the window. In short, they stop listening,

When I yell (it has happened in the past, I’m not Mary Poppins!) my kids glaze over, they shut down OR they get angry back. THEIR brain stops working as it should & they go into a fight or flight situation, where any chance of rational understanding goes out the window. In short, they stop listening, instead, consumed by their own feelings rather than understanding what they did wrong.

I need to be showing my kids how to show some self-restraint, so they can do the same when faced with similar situations. By not shouting at every annoying or naughty thing they do, they also know that if they do do something horrendous, then they’ve really crossed the line. But even those moments when I have to whip out the big Mummy voice, we still regroup and talk about why it was wrong. Like I said, I’m not perfect but I am the role model and trying my arm hardest to raise level-headed kids.

But the no shouting thing, that’s normal me, that’s what my kids expect and that’s how my kids learn right from wrong and go out into the world with little inner voices reminding them how best life works. Don’t always jump in with both fists.

That’s why today I’m choosing not to be a shouty mum.


 

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Reviewing The Sleep Tight All Night Bear

Sleep, babies, toddlers, blah, blah, blah. They have got to be one of the most talked about subjects on every parent’s lips at some point in their kid’s lives and I totally put my hands up, I have quite an unconventional approach to sleep. 3 babies in and I ripped up the rule book and stopped fretting about what everyone else did with my last baby and followed my son’s lead.

We co slept for 2 years as that was the only way he settled and even now he wanders into my bed most nights or mornings.  He’s a happy, sociable child and I’ve never had the sleep deprivation that I experienced with my older kids. So why am I reviewing a sleep aid device, if I don’t think my son has a sleep problem you’re probably thinking?

Well, as much as I have no problem with early morning or night-time snuggles. As a work from home mum, who’s most productive part of the day tends to be the evening. I could REALLY do with cutting down our bed time routine. In the past I can spend over an hour settling, reading and sitting with my boy waiting for him to nod off for the night. He’s such a busy little thing at the best of times and seems to pull every last snippet of energy out the bag just before he heads off to dream land.

Which is why I’m testing the Sleep Tight All Night, I was curious to see if it helped cut down bed times.


Looking light a normal teddy, it’s a cuddleable sleep aid which helps teach your child when to sleep and when to get up by using different coloured lights and sounds to differentiate day and night. There’s a selection of  soothing white noise and nature noises for night and cute phrases for day.

We started off by keeping the Sleep Tight All Night  bear downstairs in daytime mode for few days while my son got use to it, then we moved onto to introducing it to our bedtime routine. Each night, after the usual round of stories, I remind my boy to get his sleep teddy, he pull’s out the unit which sits under a velcro’s patch of material at the bottom, set the timer, then go through which noise he wanted.

reviewing the sleep tight all night bear to helpmeet toddler settle more quickly at bed time and improve our bedtime routine

After a few days or so, he’d always opt for the heart beat sound but only after he’d been through every other one. I really started to notice a difference to how quickly he settled after a week. There’s was much less resistance and tossing and turning as he went through the same routine ending with selecting his noise, putting the monitor back in the teddy and telling me the light is red so time for bed. Then laying down quietly, drifting off in half the time he’d done previously.

reviewing the sleep tight all night bear to helpmeet toddler settle more quickly at bed time and improve our bedtime routine

I’ve not seen any change to keeping him in his bed all night yet, but if I’m honest, I’ve not really enforced this as I don’t have a problem which him coming in to sleep with me as he drifts straight back off. So I can’t comment on how effective it is in that respect, that said, I will be trying it out when he’s a little older and able to understand that he needs to stay in his bed and go back to sleep.

In a nutshell, the Sleep Tight All Night teddy has cut down bed time by helping my toddler settle and wind down to relax off to sleep. It’s given my son some independence and control over his bed time routine and is now a permanent feature on his pillow, I’m hoping it helps maintain some normality when going on holiday too!

Disclaimer

We were sent this product for the purpose of this review, the Sleep Tight All Night is available to buy  from Golden Bear Toys 

 

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