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Development and discovery Parent Parent's Learning

10 things I’ve Lately Learnt as a parent.

Last time I wrote one of these posts things were different (find it here). We were allowed out of the house for non essential reasons, Munchkin was a tiny 8 month old, and our biggest fears were feeding Munchkin the right things. So at two years old, here’s the latest things we have learnt.

1. Even as they sleep through the night the tiredness continues

You fool yourself that tiredness will improve as they master sleeping through the night. But no, the days become more demanding, and as a result you are equally sleepy.

2. They grow up too fast

It’s a line you’ve heard before and its true. One minute they stay still, the next they are running from room to room. One minute they giggle and ‘ga ga’ and the next they sing full lullabys and demand what they want, when they want it. Time flies when you are a parent.

3. Parenting (at this age) improves lockdown

I think we are lucky we have Munchkin in lockdown. We haven’t lost our minds with boredom or completed Netflix. Entertaining him keeps us entertained and consequently improves our lockdown.

4. They copy every thing you do

This thought always takes me back to that old smoking advert showing toddlers smoking crayons as they copy their parents. But its apparent daily how munchkin picks up little mannerisms or turn of phrase. Often surprisingly quickly.

5. If they like to climb, every household object is a climbing frame

We’ve got a climber in Munchkin. Every time he’s quiet he’s either mounting a dining chair or jumping on the sofa. The world is his playground, which means we need eyes in the back of our heads.

6. Nursery is amazing for development, albeit blooming expensive

We can’t fault our decision to use nursery, although it costs a bomb. He learns something everyday, grows in confidence and it gives him the opportunity to see and bond with others his age (especially important right now!)

7. You will eventually get bored of certain programmes

Don’t worry Dugee, there’s always room for you, but move over Teletubbies and In the Night Garden, if I never see a Ninky Nonk or Tubby custard again it will be too soon.

8. The last stage always seems easier

When they progress through the developmental stages, you are always eager for the next stage. But when they come, you always miss the ease of the last. The important note here is to live in the moment, moving on from the past and not looking into the future. Just enjoy the here and now.

9. You shouldn’t feel offended when they don’t choose you

As they find their voice, they start to make choices, and this includes which parent should do what. Munchkin went through a 100% Mummy phase, to a 100% Daddy phase and now its mostly 50:50 again. It is believed that when your child begins to choose, its because they feel safe and secure, so it should never offend as saddening as it may be.

10. There is no parenting manual

This needs no explanation. All our children are different and therefore there’s no manual or rule book that dictates when things should happen. If there was, Munchkin would have been late for all the gross motor targets. But now hes running about like an Olympic runner so all is good.

Thanks for reading,

If you want to see what we learnt at Eight months, check it out here.

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Development and discovery Parent's Learning

Montessori Methods at Home

Montessori play is something I’d never heard about before becoming a parent but is something so great for development. What it means to me is giving Munchkin that freedom to choose what to play or do, making those choices accessible, learn through play and learn life skills.

Here’s a quick what to do to set up Montessori style at home and how we’ve done it, some of which by chance.

  1. Designate an accessible place for everything

This comes down to making things easy reach for your child. From toys, to books, to arts and crafts and snacks and drinks.

For us, we have all toys in low drawers and shelves, clothes for nursery days in bottom drawers, books under the TV for little hands to grab, and Munchkin level snack shelves so he can choose when he’s hungry and what to eat (within reason!).

2. Emphasize Life Skills

This swings on how even young children are capable of pitching in around the house in one way or another and by helping, it sets them up to be considerate and capable adults.

With Munchkin, this occurred naturally. Start to clean, he wants a cloth to join in too. Approach the dishwasher, he wants to help empty it. Hang out the washing, he would help ‘sort’ and pass the items to be hung. I always take him to show him jobs like watering the plants. I’m just too scared to give him a watering can indoors just yet!

3 .Teach Concentration

This is one I could question, but when you read, its about identifying your child’s interests and setting things up to keep them concentrating and thoroughly exploring for a period of time.

We know Munchkin loves the outdoors and a good sensory play activity. So we set up some time and some space and try to make the activity evolve to keep his interest and therefore concentration. For example, we set up an ice play activity, then introduced bubbles and coloured water later to evolve the play.

4. Give them their best learning environment


Discover where your child likes to learn and provide that space. Some children prefer solitude where others like the middle of the room. We have two spaces, a playroom and a play space in the lounge. Munchkin chooses where to go to play, and whether or not to ask for our hand to lead us to join him.

5. Focus on Inner Motivation, Not Reward

This Montessori method is about rewarding behaviour and progress with verbal feedback in moderation, over physical rewards such as stickers or sweets.

This is an easy one and one that we do naturally. Say well done, that’s great, we are proud of you and clap with him at big moments.

6. Use Child-Sized Furniture

For this one we have a tuff tray for floor messy play fun and a mutable for Munchkin sized table activities. We use the high chair when baking to bring the mixing and making to floor level.

If you’d like to know more about Mutable, see my review here.

7. Make Their Bedroom Child-Friendly

This echoes some of the previous points by giving them a play space, so if they wake early they can move from bed to play on their own.

Munchkin rarely uses it, but we have always had a third play space in his room ready for when he moves from cot to cot bed.

Future Montessori plans for Munchkin

One idea we’ve had to expand our Montessori offering at home is to create seasonal nature trays and more role play tuff tray activities, such as making a farm or zoo.

Do you have any tips or things you do at home? Let us know in the comments.

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Parent's Learning

The Constant Lessons with a Little One.

Everyone knows that parents either learn a lot or just constantly wing it. So now Munchkin is now a toddling, more communicative, more hilarious, ever lovable ball of pure joy, there’s a few more lesson’s I have learnt on the journey called parenting.

1. Weaning them = changes in mealtime expectations for you.

If you are a big fan of eating your toast hot and your Weetabix crunchy, you may have to adapt how you make food for yourself. By the time I have breakfast ready for the Munchkin, then for me and my wife, Munchkin in the highchair and styling in his Bibado then there’s no chance everything is in that perfect condition or temperature. Luckily, I’m not too fussy so all is good.

A little smiley one at breakfast

2. There isn’t a word in our language for how tired you are.

Its true, you can get to places beyond tired, but it doesn’t stop you developing that little human into whatever big human they one day will be. Role playing with his kitchen, singing and dancing to the Wiggles, or in sensory exploration through bubble time, splashing fun or painting with those little hands, tiredness stops nothing.

3. Welcome to repetition, repetition, repetition…

Munchkin initiated reading time in the mornings after his milk by passing a book to me. What a lovely idea I thought. We read five books, one by one. Well, when I say read, I more mean something like:

‘That’s not my fox its tail is too….that’s not my….The End’. As he rapidly skips through the pages.

By day three on that selection of books we had chosen a favourite. And that book needed to be read over and over and over and over. Again and again and again.

4. With increasing development comes increasing hilarity.

With ever developing language come ever funnier moments. Whether it be a perfectly timed giggle or squeak or a slightly imperfect pronunciation when copying us, there are daily moments Munchkin has me in absolute stitches. And, of course, he laughs along with me.

5. You learn a new meaning for the word Love.

We all think we know what love means. I love my family and I love my wife. But every day you experience a different type of love for your little Munchkin. It’s the same squishy mushy feeling you have for your partner, but at the same time, something different. Its inexplainable but perfect.


So with every new day we learn something new which only just adds to the marvellous job of being a Daddy.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Parent's Learning

Things I’ve learnt on this journey called parenting

After 8 months of Munchkin madness here’s a few things I have learnt along the way…

1: Advice is often conflicting

With a new baby comes a barrage of information. There’s the NHS website, NHS courses, private courses, staff during pregnancy, after pregnancy and post natal care. Oh and then there is other websites, apps and chat boards. Then with anything, be it weaning, sleeping, routines, or milestones there is different information on each source.

For us, we just took an overview of many sources, then just went with our hearts and did what we thought was best for our little muffin.

2: Enjoy every minute

Yes it’s a ballache (or a…breast ache?) waking up at 1am 3am 5am to get up for work at 6am however it doesn’t last long and before you know it, the days are over when they can fit in your arms for a nap and now it’s time weaning and rolling over or chasing them as they crawl and then run away. Time goes fast so saviour every moment, the good, the bad and the ugly.

3: Nothing can really prepare you

We skipped along to the antenatal breast feeding class and came away brimming with knowledge and confidence. Four weeks later our Munchkin arrived and it was all shot down in a day. Nothing can really prepare you. I’m not knocking the classes, but merely saying to take all the advice with a pinch of salt. Every baby is different and every baby will behave differently to the average baby in every little thing they do.

4: You don’t need everything or the best of something

If you’re left thinking ‘how am I going to afford everything I need for my baby’, one of the biggest things I have learnt is you dont need everything and you dont need the best of the best. We personally invested in a good travel system, but opted for a cheap rocker and play mat. Facebook marketplace is your friend too. There is many a bargain of baby bits on there!

5: It will get easier

You thought you had a bad day befor parenting? Oh how wrong you were. However, its always short lived. Me and Natalie had the worst first 5 days following our Munchkin’s arrival as he initially struggled to feed then forgot how to sleep, however it was just 5 short days. For every bad day there is equally a day of magic and joy.

6: Hurdles are there for leaping over

My biggest hurdle I found was that I was so used to being in my happy bubble where I would always have my wifey, family or my friends by my side. However, stepping into shared parental leave I was suddenly on my own. This made leaving the house with my Munchkin alone to go to a baby group where im the token daddy on shared leave a much bigger step than i expected.

But hurdles are there to be overcome. I started with small steps in getting out the house and going around the block and back home then it wasnt long before i could go anywhere. Whatever your hurdles may be, don’t fear them. Approach them slowly and you will jump across them.

Finally…

In most things there isn’t a right or wrong. There’s a choice. When it comes to parenting, choose what you want to do and how you want to raise your child. We are all different because of the different ways we are raised 🙃.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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