The Princess and the Role Model

Have you noticed a shift in Disney’s ‘classic’ female characters lately???

Disney is perhaps best known for its Princesses.

From Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, from Snow White to Rapunzel … children (little girls in particular) are fed the notion that we need our ‘Prince’ to save us and make us whole.

But lately, Disney has taken a shift in the right direction. With strong, female-driven characters that are certainly not waiting on any Prince for their redemption.

Moana – with nary a male suitor  in sight, the young girl travels across the seas, following her dreams and saving the world in the process.

Elsa – Yet again, not a sniff of a beau in sight … she comes into her own, embraces her full potential and spawns an award-winning anthem for ‘letting sh*t go’.

Merida – The rambunctious heroine of Disney’s Brave, who’s ability to learn and grow from her mistakes is the only thing greater than her strong will.

Mulan – From peasant girl to warrior, Mulan shows us that gender roles and cultural odds are no match for determination and hard work.

When I ask my girls what they want to be when they grow up I get all sorts of weird answers: Farmer, Barney, A tree, Doctor etc… But the one that tops the list is always: a Princess.

There certainly isn’t anything wrong with little girls watching classic Disney fairy tales and dreaming of being a Princess. However, as parents it is important to expose our children to strong role models as well, so they build a core of self confidence, and develop roots of tenacity and determination. They need to see independence in action, to know that they are special, unique, whole … completely by themselves.

It is a very powerful thing to be able to shape a young child’s mind. And with great power, comes great responsibility.

Advertisements

8 Screen Time Tips every parent needs

Screen time. How much is too much and how do we limit it?

It’s a question more and more parents are asking in his technology driven world.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids ages 2 to 5 spend no more than an hour a day with screens of any kind – TV, tablet, phone, or computer. The AAP recommends no screens at all for children younger than 18 months.

That being said I know that there are days when we are well over the 1 hour limit… and I have friends who’s kids are plonked in front of the TV for several hours a day.

There are some days when screen time just can’t be limited to the recommended hour… rainy days anyone? So how can we, as parents ensure that the time spent in from of the TV or tablet is still somewhat beneficial for our kids?

1. Set clear rules

Toddlers must be made aware of the screen time limit and must understand that this viewing time is a privilege.

2. Don’t use screen time as a reward

It’s easy to offer their favorite show as a reward for good behavior, but this only reinforces the idea that TV time is the ultimate indulgence.

3. Choose the content wisely

You are in charge of the content your child watches… ensure you choose fun but educational shows that will help your child learn and develop in an exciting way.

4. Make sure content is age appropriate

Age restrictions are there for a reason. Always ensure the programs your child watches are age appropriate. This is especially important when they are watching videos on an internet-based application like YouTube, where content isn’t widely monitored or censored and it’s very easy to click on the “wrong” video. Which leads to the next point…

5. Try as much as possible to watch WITH your child

I know that most parents don’t enjoy Barney or Tweenies, but whenever possible try to watch shows with your children. Apart from offering supervision, it can become a fun and interactive family time instead of them zoning out in from of the screen.

6. Make TV shows relatable.

Help your child connect what they’re seeing on screen to real life. If Barney is singing about his beautiful garden… remind them about your trip to the park last weekend and all the pretty flowers they saw. Take the opportunity to remind them that flowers grow in Spring, then relate to the other 3 seasons and discuss each one for example.

It’s so fun to watch them thinking critically about what they’re seeing on the screen!

7. Don’t allow “background TV”

As soon as your child loses interest in the screen, (as toddlers usually do), switch it off. TV should never provide background noise whilst busy with other activities.

8. Model healthy screen time behavior

If you spend a lot of time playing video games, scrolling through your phone/laptop or binge-watching your favorite TV series, it will be an uphill battle to get your children to comply with screen time restrictions.

Be a role model in this aspect for your children and you can Netflix and chill (literally) when the kids are in bed.

5 Tips to keep kids Rear Facing as long as possible #CarSeatFullStop

You’re probably already aware that having your kids in a rear-facing car seat is much safer than forward facing, right?

A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age two are 75% less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing, while other studies have confirmed that riding rear-facing is much safer than forward-facing.

American Academy of Pediatrics now advises parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until at least age two, but preferable longer (until age 4) if your car seat weight and height limits allow for it.

But one of the biggest reasons that parents (even those in the know) prematurely forward-face their care seats is that their toddlers just don’t like it. I’ve heard friends tell me about the epic tantrums their kids throw when their seats are rear faced.. One even had to stop her car en-route to the grocery store, just to turn the seat around because her daughter would not stop screaming hysterically and she just couldn’t concentrate on driving with her daughter in that state.

So I’d like to share 5 tips on how to keep your kids Rear Facing for as long as safely possible:

1. DON’T Forward Face. It may seem like a no-brainer, but if your child doesn’t know of an alternative, they can’t as well protest!
It’s import that family members, babysitters and anyone else who may drive your kids, are aware of this strict policy… as having your child ride forward face – even once – lets them know there is another option available.

2. Sing along songs/ audio books. Distraction is key. Whether it be their favorite nursery rhymes CD, or their most loved story in an audio book format, I find that distracting my kids on their trips usually means I face less protest about being in their car seats.

3. Rear view mirror. Available at most baby stores, the mirror allows you to keep an eye on your child whilst rear facing, but also importantly, allows your baby to glimpse your face when positioned well. We used ours to calm fussy babies, by making brief eye contact and as they’re older, letting them play peek-a-boo!

4. Big Girl/ Boy discussions. I find that my girls just love when I sit them down for a “Big Girl Talk”. They get all serious, like they’re being allowed into the inner circle of grown-ups, and they seem to take the lessons handed out in our “Big Girl Talks” very earnestly. Big Girl/Boy topics can include all the serious matters you want to discuss with your child, from Stranger Danger to the importance of sharing, and how to treat animals. But why not also include a session for Car Seat Safety? During our talk I stressed how much we loved them, how people can get very hurt in car accidents, that we didn’t want them to get hurt, and the best way to stay safe was to sit in their car seat facing the back as it was the safest way to travel..
I found they appreciated being trusted with that knowledge, and I rarely have any qualms about them getting into their car seats now.

5. Make it a habit. Consistency is vital! Again, kids should not be given another choice but to ride rear facing in their car seats for ALL car trips. I find that toddlers lean towards receptive behaviors and by enforcing the rule, they more often give up the fight when they realize this is not something that is up for negotiation.

#CarSeatFullStop Every Child. Every Time. No matter what.

Mind your own uterus

When news broke yesterday that a third royal baby was on the way for William and Kate, social media was awash with messages of congratulations and well wishes for the royal couple. But among the tweets of cheers and felicitations, there were also ones that went like this:

“Don’t they have TVs in the Palace?”

“Do they even know how birth control works?”

“She’s been pregnant for like….4 years straight”

“#RoyalRabbits”

Can someone please tell me how it is acceptable to comment on anyone else’s reproductive choices? Have William and Kate asked for public opinion on whether they should have more children? I guess being “celebrities”, their personal choices/decisions for always up for public scrutiny, but what about the average woman?

How many regular women like you and me, are judged daily for our reproductive choices?

When are you going to settle down?

Are you gonna have a baby soon?

The clock is ticking…

You’re not getting any younger…

And then the flip side of the coin when you’ve had ‘too many’ kids by someone’s random standard:

Are you secretly Mormon?

Trying for a soccer team?

You guys don’t waste any time, do you?

Apart from being incredibly rude and downright hurtful, these types of comments can do a lot of damage because we may not have any idea about what someone is going through in their personal lives, behind the closed doors.

That woman married for 5 years without any children…?; she may be undergoing infertility treatments, trying and failing month after month to have a baby of her own.

That couple with their fourth child? Maybe they always wanted a big family after growing up incredibly lonely. Maybe they planned and longed for every child they were blessed with.

You just never know. Which is why, the best thing to do is to always – ALWAYS – mind your own uterus and just keep any comment about someone else’s reproductive choices to yourself.

If in doubt, just keep your mouth closed!

 

* Photo credit: Mind your own uterus pro-choice by Boogiemonst

How we beat the winter colds and flus

Spring has sprung! And we have emerged from an uncharacteristically cold Durban winter relatively unscathed.

We have taken special care this winter to ensure that mild colds and early flu symptoms were kept at bay, and didn’t have the opportunity to develop into anything more sever. And while we had the occasional snotty noses and fevers, we avoided numerous trips to the doctor and thankfully did not have a repeat of last years hospital stay.

So I’d like to share the flu-fighting formula I swear by, hoping it will help you stave off the bugs next winter!

  • 5 ml Zinplex Junior Syrup (we use sugar free)
  • 1 TurboKidz Smart Multi Chew
  • Sterimar baby nasal spray at the first signs of blocked nose

beat colds and flu 1.jpgZinplex Junior syrup is a zinc supplement which has been proven to be a highly effective immune booster and support mechanism. a 5ml daily dose is said to keep colds and flus at bay while combating oral thrush and runny nose and incidents of diarrhoea.

TurboKidz is a Nativa product which I simply love as it is one of the only multi vits I found that also contain probiotics. In addition to this, it contains the necessary vitamins and minerals in far superior quantities than other leading multivitamin brands in the same price range. I am also thankful for the 1 a day formula that makes it easy-peasy to administer to the girls each morning.

Sterimar Nasal Spray is a staple in my home and we usually ensure we have at least 2 on hand in case we ever run out! A blocked nose can turn into something more severe, so a safe and effective nasal spray is our first line of defense. Sterimar is 100% natural purified sea water and contains no preservatives or additives.

The Twincesses were born at 36 weeks and although as healthy as horses, I always tend to worry that their premature birth may leave them prone to immune weaknesses or health issues… typical irrational mom fears, I guess.

But I truly believe the simple combination above has helped us through this winter, and now we say hello to Spring and hopefully and wonderfully long Summer ahead!

 

Disclaimer: the information provided here is merely a review of my own experience with these products. Please consult your doctor prior to commencing any new treatment.

 

 

Diana’s Greatest Role

I remember exactly where I was on 31 August 1997. Much like the day the Twin Towers fell, this date is forever etched in history, as the world woke up to the awful news that Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris.

I remember the outpouring of grief, the shock, the TV channels gripped by reruns upon reruns of her smiling face next to the mangled car.

In the 20 years since her death, the world remembers her many roles: reluctant princess, humanitarian, fashion icon, celebrity, activist. A Jane of all trades, she mastered them all, but wore one hat more proudly than any other: that of ‘Mother’.

She truly never looked happier or more at peace than when she was with her boys – and the world knows that happiness and peace were two attributes that she deserved more of in her short, often fraught life.

I feel an immense sadness for her children to have been robbed of her love and her influence. But I surely believe that it is precisely due to her early influence and unconditional love that they turned out to be such fine young men.

So on this day, 20 years since her tragic death, let us remember her above all, as the loving, protective mother she was.

“I will fight for my children on any level, so that they can reach their potential as human beings and in their public duties” – Diana Princess of Wales.

* Ghetty Images

White Lies Parents Tell Their Kids

Ever noticed yourself telling your kids a random fib to get them to behave or calm down?

I’ve become quite an expert at this so I thought I’d round up my funniest white lies in a handy list form. You’re welcome.

 

  1. My food is too spicy to share with you.
  2. They don’t sell replacement batteries for that toy.
  3. Every time you touch something in a grocery store, a puppy dies.
  4. The TV has a time limit and can only work for 1 hour a day. Choose wisely.
  5. Coke is actually dirty water. That’s why it’s black.
  6. If you misbehave in a clothing store, you will freeze on the spot and become a mannequin.
  7. The sun won’t come tomorrow up unless you go to bed.
  8. Tooth fairies pay extra for clean teeth, so brush thoroughly.
  9. The candy by the pay points of the store are reject candies that people have returned because they taste bad.
  10. McDonalds gives sad meals to naughty kids. Sad meals don’t contain toys.