This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in a technology project run by the security software company Trend Micro, to receive a free iPad and to share your online experiences. The project named Digital Joneses is open to families that enjoy spending time online, whether talking to friends, playing games or testing the latest technology gadgets. The Digital Joneses will show how everyday families use the internet, any problems and issues they face, as well as life changing experiences gained as a result.
The families will be given a number of simple tasks and challenges throughout the year, designed to illustrate how they are using the internet to aid their everyday lives, how they spend their time online, what they enjoy, and what their main concerns are.
The families will also receive a new iPad, a range of security software as well as free identity theft insurance.
"We are looking for ten families from across the UK to act as our eyes and ears on the
ground, to provide insight and feedback on how technology impacts both positively and negatively on their everyday lives" says Karen Hicks, Consumer Product Marketing Manager, EMEA.
You don't need to be a gadget freak or technology geek, although of course you can apply too, and there can even be people who sometimes really struggle with technology.
The decision on the participating families will be made by the end of January, so if you or members of your brood are active online and together as a family are willing to share your digital experiences, visit www.facebook.com/digitaljoneses and the Trend Micro website for an application form, or email email@example.com
To help prepare you ahead of the Festive holiday, the Geek Squad Agents have pulled together their top ten tips to avoid tech disaster and disappointment on Christmas Day!
· Buy lots of batteries – the last thing you want is to unwrap your shiny new gadget to realise nobody can switch it on due to a lack of batteries
· If you’re buying a tablet or smart phone for somebody this Christmas consider taking it out of the box and setting it up before Christmas
· If you plan on taking a lot of pictures this Christmas consider investing in a way to back them up so all your memories are not lost
· Some digital cameras come with a very small memory card (some can only store 4 photos!) – if you’re giving a camera this Christmas make sure you also invest in a big memory card so you can start snapping immediately
· If you’re planning on giving (or receiving) a shiny new Android phone, make sure you make a note of the Googlemail Address when you register – passwords can be easily reset or recovered if forgotten, but your email address cannot be so it’s important to keep a record of it!
· If you’re giving or receiving a new phone or tablet, make sure you leave it on charge for the manufacturer’s recommend time;
· If you have been given a phone on a brand new contract be aware that it can take up to 48 hours for the network to set up your line. There isn’t much you can do to speed this up, but try turning the phone off and on every couple of hours as this will force it to connect to the network when it’s available
· If you get a games console then you’ll want to connect it to the internet as soon as you can to get the most out of it. Not only will you be able to play online, you’ll also get access to online content like game downloads and streaming video, plus important system updates that ensure you can always play the latest game releases. However, watch out for in-app purchases. Many “free” games allow the purchase of additional content from within the game itself and will usually be billed to the account holder’s credit card. Some devices allow you to turn off the ability to buy things in-game, but for added peace of mind keep passwords secure from children and monitor the transaction history to make sure things aren’t getting out of hand.
· When sales shopping online, don’t shop when connected to mobile networks or public hotspots. Although the risk is small, a mobile connection is less secure than wifi, and whilst most hotspots will be perfectly safe and secure, you’re still sending your payment details through someone else’s network.
Sleep is one of the big topics when it comes to babies. How to make sure your baby is getting enough of it and how to manage the lack of sleep new parents suffer from as a consequence. Whole books have been written on the topic but one thing all the experts agree on is that a rested baby is more likely to be a happy baby, so it follows that helping your baby get the sleep they need means more fun and relaxation for you and your baby.
Without trying to write a book on the subject Solvej Biddle, mum of 2 and owner of quintessential travel brand Content&Calm has teamed up with baby sleep specialist and midwife Vicki Scott RM to create a set of top tips to help your baby get the sleep they need over the busy festive period.
The single most important tip is to help your baby to settle himself to sleep. If he can go to sleep by himself in the first place, he’s much more likely to be able to resettle himself during the night or during his daytime nap.
A darkened environment is essential for many babies to sleep, especially as they get older. When your baby comes into a light sleep during the nap, if it’s dark he or she is more likely to resettle himself back and continue to have a longer and more restful sleep.
A familiar environment is very important when away from home, staying with family or friends over Christmas. The more you can do to make your baby feel safe and secure, the more relaxed they will feel and more easily they will sleep. We call these sleep associations: darkness, familiar bedding or toys, music or cuddles whichever you usually use. All these help your baby to know that it’s sleep time and so to settle more easily. So no matter where you are, once in his cosy, darkened cot he’ll feel able to sleep.
If you can, use the holiday time to recharge your own batteries too. If you’re lucky enough to have extended family or friends around over Christmas, give them a chance to bond with your baby while you catch up and enjoy the occasional lie in or daytime nap.
When you go away, of course it’s a holiday for your baby too! However too many late nights and early mornings will take its toll on all of you. Babies are much happier, more able to have fun when they get enough sleep and all this adds to your enjoyment too!
Organic Babies have just launched their gorgeous Newborn Hamper, filled with organic skincare goodies for babies and new mums.
We are offering one lucky member the chance to win a hamper worh £34.99 and will be giving away three tubes of No Scent Baby Wash & Shampoo as runner up prizes.
To enter this competition you'll need to between 19th and 25th December:
1. 'Like' Organic Babies and Mums Like You on Facebook
2. Be a registered member of Mums Like You. So if you are new to this site, all you need to do is sign in.
The Newborn Organic Babies wicker basket is lined with unbleached cotton and contains top selling lines for the Organic Babies Range including:
· Scent Free Mum & Baby Rescue Balm 100ml great for babies with dry skin and for soothing sore cracked nipples before and after breast feeding
· Scent Free Baby Oil 100ml perfect for a bonding baby massage, moisturising cradle cap and keeps mum's bump supple and soft
· Scent Free Baby Wash & Shampoo 150ml carefully formulated for babies delicate & sensitive skin
· Chamomile Nappy Cream Baby Balm 40ml protects bottoms from the dampness that can lead to nappy rash
· Soft and Cuddly Organic Cotton Bib with a cute picture of Budsie or Organic Babies mascot.
All products are mild, gentle and suitable from birth although we recommend just water is used for the first month of baby’s life.
Organic Babies products are suitable for little ones that may be prone to eczema, skin allergies and psoriasis.
Accidents. More accidents happen in the home than anywhere else and, shockingly, more children die annually because of accidents rather than illnesses, such as meningitis.
Bathroom. As children become more independent and curious, the toilet often becomes a new ‘toy’ and the bathroom is a favoured playground. Use a toilet lid lock to prevent valuables being lost down the toilet; it is also fundamental you make sure that all bottles and medicines are stored away in a locked cabinet. If cabinets don’t lock, simply fit cupboard and draw latches to make it secure. Remember that children can drown in as little as one inch of water so it is critical that your child doesn’t enter the bathroom without your knowledge.
Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). CAPT is a national charity committed to reducing the number of children and young people killed, disabled and injured as a result of accidents. For more details visit www.capt.org.uk.
Draws and cupboards. Curiosity usually leads to accidents and for many toddlers and children what is hiding behind cupboard doors and drawers hold the most fascination. Store potentially hazardous substances in wall cupboards and securely lock drawers containing any sharp or dangerous objects. Keep little hands out of hidey holes with Lindam’s extensive safety accessories range, including catches, covers, locks and latches.
Electrical sockets. In 2008-09, 60 children (under 15) were admitted to hospital after an electric shock however nowadays children are at very little risk from electric shocks as electrical sockets are designed to be safe. Electricity can be dangerous in other ways; old electrical appliances and wiring and children playing with electrical appliances, can cause burns and house fires.
Fireplaces. Needless to say, children should be kept well clear of fireplaces. You can keep them out the room entirely with safety gates or you can protect them by putting a fire or hearth guard around the fireplace. If you have a gas fire in place of your fireplace, be sure to prevent little hands from touching any of the glass or metal around it as it will be very hot.
Grandparents. According to a recent survey by CAPT, a quarter of grandparents caring for a crawling baby or toddler don’t have a safety gate fitted in their house. With one in three mothers in the UK receiving help with childcare from grandparents, it’s important to ensure that your child receives the same level of safety with their family as they would at home.
Heat. Six toddlers are admitted to hospital every day because they’ve been badly burned! Remember, a baby’s skin is 15 times thinner than an adult’s and it can take only five seconds for a toddler to suffer third degree burns from water from your bath’s hot tap. Also, hair straighteners can stay hot enough to severely burn a young child 8 minutes after being unplugged.
Inspect. Inspecting the world through a child’s eyes is a good way for parents to be more aware of the possible danger points and make their home safe. Get down on your hands and knees and look out for sharp corners, plug sockets, trip hazards and falling objects. You will often spot things that you wouldn’t even notice when standing.
Just say no! All children are naturally inquisitive but parents and carers have to help them with the boundaries so that they don’t get themselves hurt by trying something just a little too high or a little too fast. It’s important to let children to explore their surroundings and try out new experiences but help them to do this at your pace and not theirs.
Kitchen. As one of the most hazardous rooms in the home, toddlers are at risk from burns and scalds, potential poisoning accidents and it’s also a place where sharp objects lurk. Prevent burnt fingers by using the back burners on your hob rather than the front ones and always making sure that the handle is facing backwards and not overhanging. Store cleaning products in wall cupboards so they are out of reach or use draw and cupboard latches to secure the area. Make sure the cap is turned to the ‘off’ position on cleaning products and where possible buy products which have child safety lids. Try to limit the number of utensils you use, so you don’t lose track of any or risk knocking one on the floor.
Lounge. In a recent survey of 3,000 parents conducted by Lindam, the lounge came out as the most dangerous room in the home. Many of us go to relax and feel comfortable in there and children can often spend a lot of time playing with their toys and watching TV. Sharp corners on furniture can be overcome by fitting corner cushions, loose wires on the ground should be covered or removed from reach if possible and breakable objects should be moved out of your childs reach.
Make life easy. Being safe doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s important to assess your environment and take a few minutes to make it safe both for you and your child. It might take time out of your day but it could save heartache in the long run.
Never leave. Suffice to say, you should never leave your child unattended where potential dangers lurk. The kitchen and bathroom in particular should be off-limits to children if you are not around to supervise. For added peace of mind, you can fit a safety gate to the doorways of these rooms or simply use a play pen to secure your child in a safe area if you need to leave the room.
One second. It only takes a second for children to have an accident but remember it also takes only a second to prevent one.
Ponds. During 1995 to 2005, 68 children under the age of six drowned in the back garden. During 2005 alone, five children drowned in garden ponds – this is still about the average per year. Teaching your child how to be safe and confident in and around water will go a long way towards ensuring their safety in the garden or even in the park.
Quick thinking. Problems and accidents can often be out of your control but you can do your best to equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to act fast in a situation that requires quick thinking.
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). RoSPA is a registered charity that has been at the heart of accident prevention in the UK and around the world for more than 90 years. It promotes safety and the prevention of accidents at work, at leisure, on the road, in the home and through safety education. www.rospa.com.
Stairs. Research carried out by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 2002 found that falls account for 44% of all children’s accidents – with falling down the stairs being one of the most common toddler accidents. Fitting a safety gate such as the Lindam Easy Fit Plus safety gate at the bottom and top of the stairs and removing trip hazards, such as stray toys, will help to stop your little one taking a tumble.
Trips. Slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents in the home and lead to more than a million people going to hospital annually. Where possible, remove loose objects and clutter from the floor, and make sure electrical equipment wires are securely tied out of reach.
Understanding. Lindam recognise that children should not be prevented from learning and developing naturally but they need to grow in a safe environment protected from serious harm. Whilst toddlers are blissfully unaware of the dangers that hide behind every door and in every room, it is vital that parents are fully aware of these dangers and most importantly how to remove them.
Visibility. Talk to your children about the importance of being seen and encourage them to wear reflective items when they are out and about, especially in winter when it gets darker earlier.
Water. Bath water should be approx 6cm – 8cm for a baby and no higher than the waist of an older child when they’re sitting down. In water, babies can roll or topple over at anytime as they can’t control their movements. If they slip under the water, they might not struggle or make a sound at all. A momentary lack of supervision can lead to disastrous consequences so it is fundamental that babies are never left alone in the bath.
X-Ray Vision. It would be extremely helpful for parents to have X-Ray vision if unfortunately your child has an accident so we would know exactly how to help. However as none of us are superheroes then it’s important to know some basic first aid so that you help to treat your children in the event of a minor accident before seeking proper medical help.
You. You are the only one who can prevent accidents. Children are not aware of the risks that everyday items and situations present to them. By educating them and putting preventative measures in place both in and out of the home you can help to prevent serious mishaps occurring.
Zzzzz. Yes, you even need to be safe in sleep! Most children will roll out of bed at some point – be prepared by fitting a padded bed rail to stop falls on to the floor. A safety gate is also a good idea to attach to the door so your little one cannot get up and wander in the night.
Lindam is the UK’s Number 1 home safety brand and offers safety solutions for the home. Lindam has created a virtual tour on their website where you can test your baby safety knowledge, visit www.lindam.com or join our facebook page on www.facebook.com/lindamUK
A story in Daily Mail has shown that rickets, until recently considered a long-gone problem of the Victorian era, is on the rise in 21st century Britain. Four-year old Toby Ault complained of severe leg pain, until a hospital test revealed him to have extremely low levels of vitamin D and consequently was suffering from early-onset rickets. The full article can be read by clicking on the following link:
‘Sunshine’, vitamin D is vital to help children develop healthy teeth and bones and also strengthens their immune system. Mind the Gap, a new report by the Feeding For Life foundation, has also revealed a growth of vitamin D deficiency in the UK, especially in children aged five and under.
Short days and cold weather means that everyone’s exposure to vitamin D is very low during autumn and winter, as a result it is vital to top up children’s levels of this vital vitamin through their diet or though a daily dose of a good quality vitamin D3 supplement.
Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Source of Life GOLD is a kid's supplement tha helps top up children’s Vitamin D levels during the dark winter months. The fruity supplement contains 500 IU of Vitamin D3, comes in fun animal-shaped chews and contains natural XYLITOL instead of sugar, a healthier alternative, and good for teeth and fresh breath.
It also contains:
• Vitamin K2 for superior immune, blood and bone health
• Over 20 certified organic whole foods
• All essential vitamins and minerals
• Complete intestinal, oral and dental probiotics
• Lutein for eye and skin protection
Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Source of Life GOLD is available from health food stores nationwide including www.nutricentre.com.
RRP: £21.80 for 120 tablets
Suitable for children aged two and over
This Christmas The Body Shop has got an extra special festive treat – Joy Vision, a fun online Christmas personalisation photo booth that will give your pics a sprinkle of seasonal cheer.
Renowned illustrator Serge Seidlitz has created a festive dressing up box filled with a host of Christmas inspired goodies. Choose from Santa’s coat, reindeer horns and elf hats to baubles, tinsel and lights, and a whole lot more. A time for sharing, Joy Vision also includes a simple to share feature. So you ccan spread a bit of joy with your creativity to friends and family through Facebook, Twitter or email. You can even directly embed the picture to a blog.
Available on Facebook and www.thebodyshop.com, you can try Joy Vision here - http://www.thebodyshop.com/_en/_ww/christmas/joy_vision/?
For many of you, planning Christmas spending is a prelude to setting the next year’s family budget. And two of the biggest challenges are keeping track and making sense of the heap of paper receipts. Add to the mix an inquisitive two year old who mischievously adds receipts to her own purse and reviewing your spending can be a challenge to say the least.
A brand new mobile application Snapprize solves these problems. The application is the brainchild of the team at Shopitize, created to make it easier to understand what we buy and to make sure the sale offers we receive are personalized based on things that are relevant. While the Shopitize system is still being created, for this Christmas season, the first step in the journey to savvy shopping is to make managing your receipts easier.
So, no more sorting through paper receipts. Just snap a photo of your receipt, upload it from your computer, send it via an email or capture it using a special Android app. Your receipts are then automatically stored for you on-line. And safely out of reach of curious toddlers.
In true Christmas spirit, Shopitize is conducting a £25 weekly prize drawing and a £500 grand prize drawing before Christmas for uploading your receipts.
· To participate in the competition you can either download the Snapprize app from the Android Marketplace or if you do not have an android smartphone, there are three new ways to enter:
- Submit receipts using a personal @Shopitize.me email address:
- Register on the website (https://shopitize.com/registration/)
- A personalized @shopitize.me email address is created during the sign-up process; (for existing accounts, the address is created automatically)o This address enables you to snap receipts in whatever manner you choose and send by simply attaching to your personal @shopitize.me email address;
- Please note that for security, the email must be sent from the same e-mail address which was used to register with Shopitize.
- Upload receipt photos from your computer:
- Log into your account on the Shopitize site
- Go to the ‘my account’ tab and click on the “Upload from PC” button
- Select the receipt images which you want to submit and select “Submit”;
- Upload receipt photos from Evernote:
- For users of the Evernote application (https://www.evernote.com/), you can upload receipts that may be stored here. This works as follows:
- Log into their account on the Shopitize site
- Go to the ‘my account’ tab and click on the “Upload receipts from Evernote” button
- Select the receipt images which you want to submit and select “Submit”;
Helpful tips for mums from Dr Lin Day, founder of www.babysensory.com
Most mothers have days when they feel really down. This is perfectly normal. Looking after a baby, being constantly on call and coping with the daily demands of life is not easy. However, mothers who are starting to feel more lethargic than usual and perhaps socially withdrawn as the winter season draws in could find themselves experiencing the ‘winter blues’.
The ‘winter blues’ (also known as sub-syndromal seasonal affective disorder), affect about one in 15 adults in the UK. More women suffer from the winter blues than men, although children and adolescents are also vulnerable. The winter blues are extremely rare in countries where daylight hours are long, constant and extremely bright.
The winter blues typically start in September when the nights grow longer and disappear when day length increases in April. Symptoms may include tiredness, lethargy, low concentration levels, social withdrawal, increased appetite, reduced libido and mild depression. Sufferers may also be more vulnerable to infections and other illnesses during the winter months.
If you need more sleep than usual, have difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning, find it difficult to cope with work or normal everyday tasks or suffer from any of the above symptoms, the following tips can help you get back to normal:
As darkness falls, the pineal gland (located near the centre of the brain) produces the hormone melatonin, which increases the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Bright light has the opposite effect. The rise in melatonin also suppresses libido. Some scientists believe this to be an evolutionary survival response. It means that babies are more likely to be born in the spring or summer than during the coldest and most physically stressful time of the year.
Shorter days and longer nights also reduce the production of serotonin in the brain, giving rise to lethargy and low concentration levels. Conversely, sunlight promotes the release of serotonin, which increases libido and feelings of happiness and well-being. Therefore, the most effective treatment is to get as much sunlight as possible, especially in the early morning. If it is impossible to get outside, use full spectrum bulbs (about 2,500 lux) in the house and keep the blinds up during the day to increase light levels.
Going on holiday to a winter destination or brightly-lit climate, whether skiing or somewhere hot, can be beneficial too. However, the winter blues may return when you get home.
A healthy diet
A diet high in carbohydrates and sweet foods increases serotonin levels, which is why you may crave them during the winter months. However, over-consumption can be accompanied by fatigue and depression. Intake of protein from meat, eggs and cheese is important, because it increases the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, which promote alertness and motivation.
Some studies have found a daily intake of B vitamins to be beneficial. Whole grains, eggs, green leafy vegetables and berries are high in vitamin B. Other essential dietary requirements include omega-3 from oily fish, vegetables and nuts. Omega-3 speeds up electrochemical signalling between the brain cells and increases the ability to think clearly and retain information.
Hydration can also help to alleviate the winter blues. A two percent drop can trigger fatigue and mood changes. The recommended daily intake is between 8 and 10 tall glasses of water. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, which can keep you awake when you need to sleep.
Dark chocolate is another great food for producing a sense of well being. Eating a small bar daily can improve blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which speeds up thinking, concentration and alertness. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are vital to health.
Exercise is a great way to beat the winter blues. Evidence suggests that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week regulates the production of endorphins in the brain, which alleviate stress and depression. Exercising outdoors provides a change of scenery and it increases the opportunity to meet other people.
Milder forms of exercise such as walking can be beneficial too. Just 15 minutes of walking burns about 75 calories, which can prevent a weight gain of up to 4 pounds over the winter months. A good old-fashioned snowball fight, tobogganing, ice skating and making a snowman are other great ways to exercise, keep spirits high and have fun with the family in the fresh air.
Meeting up with other parents on a regular basis can be one of the best therapies for the winter blues. Having a night out with friends or family, chatting over the telephone, networking online or talking to the neighbours can also put you in a positive, constructive frame of mind.
Relaxation and plenty of rest are important for emotional health, strength and energy. Meditation, yoga and massage therapies can be very effective ways to relieve stress. Even if you don’t have the time to treat yourself to a massage or bubble bath, simply cuddling up with your baby or child, sharing a story or DVD together or listening to a favourite piece of music can help you to unwind.
Aim for at least 8 hours sleep and keep bedtime and waking up routines regular. Limit over-sleeping as this can make you feel tired and lethargic during the day. When you get up, a warm shower can help to lift your spirits and prepare you for the day ahead.
Clipsafe's top 10 Christmas safety tips
1. Your home may be looking like a winter wonderland with its sparkling lights and shiny, colourful baubles, but don’t forget that they are just as attractive to little ones! Ensure all decorations, especially glass baubles and tempting candy canes are well out of the reach of inquisitive toddlers.
2. Kitchens are often the busiest room in the house over the festive period. It’s essential that little ones are kept well out of the way of hot ovens, boiling water and sharp knives, so make sure that the kitchen is out of bounds by fitting a removable safety gate to the door.
3. Young children learn through touch and feel, and Christmas trees with beautiful decorations can be particularly intriguing to them. Make sure your tree is fitted with a strong base so that it can’t be pulled over.
4. Don’t overload your plug sockets – this is a major cause of household fires. Also, keep little fingers out of sockets and prevent them from removing plugs by fitting socket covers and protectors.
5. On cold winter nights there’s nothing more festive than a roaring fire, however make sure your children are protected by installing a fireguard around hearths and heating appliances.
6. Christmas is for adults too – just make sure those festive tipples are kept locked away, and any alcohol remaining at the bottom of glasses isn’t left unattended.
7. New toys often come in lots of packaging that can pose a danger to small children. Dispose of any wrapping paper and plastic as soon as presents are opened, and make sure that no hazardous bag ties or fittings are left on toys.
8. Ensure all toys and gifts are suitable for your child’s age before you let him play with them. If you have any older children, make sure they tidy their presents away once they’ve finished playing, as they may be dangerous to younger siblings.
9. Christmas is often a time for visiting friends and relatives, so if you’re planning a long car journey this festive season, remember to pack a breakdown kit with blankets and bottles of water. Travelling with young children isn’t always easy, so taking some portable and comfy travel pillows is always a good idea.
10. Don’t forget that although your home is equipped for little ones, friends’ and relatives’ houses may not be. If you’re out and about this festive season, take a few moments when you arrive to carry out a quick safety check. Clippasafe’s Home Safety Starter Pack (RRP £11.99) contains everything you need to make any home a safer environment from plug socket covers to cupboard locks.
For more information on Clippasafe and its products, or to buy online visit www.clippasafe.co.uk
We wanted to share with you the results of the latest study on family happiness by Butlins. Although for most part it confirms what we already know, it still makes for a worrying reading. For as we get on with our multi-tasking, stress charged working lives, we miss on precious moments that cannot be claimed back.
How much quality time do you think children spend with their parents by the time they reach 18?
What stops parents from enjoying more time with their kids?
What is the key barrier to kids feeling happy?
Parents admit that on average they spend just 68 minutes a day with their children, adding up to just 44 weeks in total before a child reaches adulthood.
Parents say the need to work longer hours is getting in the way but children would rather forgo extra pocket money to get an extra hour with mum and dad. Children even want the Government to shorten the working day so they can see more of their folks, research shows.
"The research shows happiness really is the new wealth for people which is why the Government is keen to measure it. We wanted to dig deeper into family life by asking both parents and children to rate their happiness and what they thought got in its way. What is surprising and heartening is that in an age where we think kids want the latest gadgets and gear they actually rate time with mum and dad way above material things,” Mark Hunter, director of happiness at Butlins says.
Parents barriers to happiness:
- Not having enough money (61%)
- Having to work (59%)
- The pressure to ‘have it all’ (25%)
- Appearance (24%)
- Not having enough time with my children (21%)
Kids barriers to happiness:
- Not seeing enough of my parents (51%)
- Homework (40%)
- Not having enough money (34%)
- Parents fighting (21%)
- Mum and dad not understanding me (14%)
The research also shows that mum is the key driver of happiness at home with three quarters (72%) of households questioned saying that mum takes responsibility for family contentment. In 42% of households, mum takes on the task alone, whereas only 7% of parents said that dad was solely responsible for maintaining a happy home.
www.butlins.com/happiness features advice from a range of experts for families looking to add additional sparkle to their lives. Help on areas such as gaining a better work/life balance to how busy mums can do their make up in minutes.
Mums Like You teamed up with Freya Design to offer you a chance to win one of their gorgeous personalised keepsake boxes for either boy or a girl worth £39. (We're great fans!) Made from solid wood and beautifully designed, it will make the ideal Christmas present for your little one.
The box can be personalised free of charge and will be the perfect place for your kid's precious things.
To enter the competition, simply:
1) 'Like' Freya Designs facebook page and leave a comment saying you've been sent by Mums Like You, and
2) 'Like' Mums Like You on Facebook
The competition will run for the next two weeks until 4th of December, so just in time to get your box for Christmas!
Freya Design offers a range of beautifully solid wooden keepsake boxes.The boxes have unique three-dimensional designs made from natural materials such as wood and textiles. All the wooden boxes are designed by Marie Ekerholm who takes inspiration from her native country Sweden, where simplicity, functionality and style are the essence of Scandinavian design.
Next year, millions of avatars created by young people, celebrities, teachers and parents from around the world, will digitally march with placards across global websites to deliver a petition to a virtual United Nations (UN) building in New York asking that the UN make it a child's right to live a life free from bullying.
The Big March 2012, will be the world's first global virtual march connecting communities from all corners of the globe in the fight against bullying and, if successful in its aim, it will mean that schools, Governments and families the world over will have more power to stop bullying from happening.
Jedward and Beatbullying ambassadors Pixie and Aston, all publically against bullying, are asking young people to create their very own avatar at www.beatbullying.org/bigmarch to support The Big March 2012.
You can choose eye colour, hair and clothes to match their own individual look and can even make banners with your own anti-bullying message for your avatar to hold as you march alongside Pixie, Aston and Jedward and a whole host of other celebrities.
We have joint the Big March 2012, have you?
As part of Anti-Bullying Week, The National Autistic Society (NAS) is providing advice for parents of children with autism who are worried about bullying in school. NAS research suggests that over 40 per cent of children with autism and almost 60 per cent of children with Asperger syndrome have been bullied at school and recent research from the University of Manchester has also found that children with autism are two to three times more likely to be bullied than other children.
People with autism can struggle with communication and often have difficulty forming social relationships, making it hard to communicate about and overcome playground bullying. Unfortunately, bullying is not something that can be left behind at the school gate, and two-thirds of parents of children with autism who have been bullied say that it has led to mental health difficulties for their child.
It is vital that your child’s school has a zero-tolerance bullying policy and it is their duty to encourage pupils to report bullying and investigate reports. Here are some strategies that you and your child’s school can put in place to help overcome bullying:
1. Help your child to tell someone
Telling someone about bullying is tough for anyone, but for a young person with autism it can be particularly difficult to express emotions and anxieties. Sometimes it can be difficult for children with autism to even recognise that they are being bullied. It is important that your child knows they can talk to someone; if your child can’t communicate verbally about bullying, ask them to write it down or draw you a picture to explain what happens at school. You can also ask if your child’s school has a bully box, this lets your child write or draw their experience of bullying to tell an adult in school, without having to talk to them face-to-face.
2. Buddy up
Young people with autism can struggle to make friends, they can find it hard talk to someone they don’t know and may not always understand what they should say. Buddying schemes at school can be a great way for children with autism to learn how to develop friendships. Ask if your child’s school has a buddying scheme and, if they don’t, see if they will set one up. Your school can ask another pupil to stay with your child during breaks. Some schools also have a buddy bench where pupils can sit to show that they need someone to play with or talk to.
3. Make a plan for break time
A young person with autism may struggle with a lack of structured activity at break times and can become anxious at not knowing what to expect. Ask the school what structured activities your child could take part in during breaks and whether they have a quiet space or “safe space”, such as a library or classroom, where your child can go if they need to get away. You or your child’s teacher could also sit down with your child to write a “social story” for break times. A social story is a description of a particular situation, such as lunchtime at school, which explains what to do or expect.
4. Practice talking to bullies and understanding emotions
A young person with autism may struggle more than most people to know how to react to conversations, comments and bullying. Try talking to your child to help them understand body language and eye contact – both their own and that of the bully. You can also practise with your child how to respond to bullies and what they could say in different situations. A child with autism may also find it difficult to recognise emotions like fear, so it might also help to spend some time teaching your child more about different feelings and what to do when they experience them.
5. Get in touch with The National Autistic Society and talk to your child’s school
As the leading charity for people affected by autism, the NAS provides confidential advice for parents worried about bullying. Call the NAS Autism Helpline (0808 800 4104) for advice on coping with bullying and approaching your child’s school to address the problem and put the right strategies in place. The NAS Autism Helpline can also advise professionals and schools on strategies to help prevent bullying. You can also speak to other parents who may have been through similar challenges by calling the NAS Parent to Parent advice service (0808 800 4106). The volunteers - both mothers and fathers - have a wealth of experience, knowledge and insight and can talk through your concerns.
Inspired by the great advice coming from the members, Thelma & Louise have drawn up a survival guide for travel with teenagers:
1. STAY CONNECTED: For the Facebook generation nothing is more important that staying in touch with their friends. Allow teens an allotted amount of time each day to read their mail and chat online with their friends. If they have this time to connect and chat, they will be more willing to do family activities as well.
2. PRIVACY & SPACE: Give teens some space to be themselves. Consider booking them their own room, or interconnecting rooms so supervision is close but not too close. Give them the opportunity to learn to do things on their own, obviously making sure that they are safe. They should learn that responsibility will bring trust and freedom.
3. CHOICE: Ask teens in advance to make a contribution to the holiday in the form of ideas and suggestions. Ask them to draw up a list of things that they would like to do, and try to dedicate time to activities they've chosen. A fresh approach to travel or a new activity might bring joy to all the family.
4. FREEDOM: Discuss your rules with teens, and listen to their objections. Denying them the right to freedom altogether is setting up for a failure. Tell teens where they are and where they aren’t allowed to go, what behaviour is acceptable, and what time they have to be back. Be strict about these rules, but be reasonable too.
5. TECHNOLOGY: Take at least two mobile phones on holiday, ensuring they function abroad, so a teen can carry one if they spend time away from the family. Explain that they’ll have to pay the bill themselves if they use the phone to call their friends back home.
6. WOW FACTOR: Think of a way to give teens a special experience during the holiday, something that they will never forget. If they are looking forward to something that will make their friends say, "Wow, I wish my parent would do that", their interest will be peaked. Look out for a local concert, a theme park, an adrenalin sport or an activity popular with their idols.
7. CRUISE: On a family-friendly cruise line, life on the ocean waves is a fantastic holiday for teens. Many modern ships are filled with activities, special attractions and experiences that appeal to a young crowd. Encourage teens to make friends as they will be in a fairly safe environment and can be independent for most of the time.
8. PATIENCE: Avoid escalating fraught situations by learning what is really important and what doesn’t matter in the bigger picture. Conflict isn’t always avoidable, but be reasonable and don’t lose your temper. And keep in mind that teens will eventually grow out of it.
As one member said, “I'm sure I was a horrible teenager to travel with, but now I'm really grateful my parents dragged me around lots of incredible places and gave me many amazing memories.”
Thelma & Louise is a free, online community where women, friendship and travel come together. For more information or to become a member, please go to www.thelmandlouise.com
Each year we are on the lookout for special and unusual presents for our Christmas gift lists. This year we've decided to back the NSPCC fundraiser Letter from Santa initiative.
It gives parents, grandparents and anyone else the chance to nominate someone special to receive a magical Letter from Santa for a suggested donation of £5. The letter is personalised with the child’s name and age and confirms his sleigh stop in the child’s home town to wish everyone a merry Christmas. The letter is written in a hand script font and is beautifully illustrated on quality colourful paper. The envelope shows that it’s been safely delivered through ‘express Rudolph Mail’. The person ordering the letter also stands the chance of winning a trip to Lapland*.
Also on offer is a Baby’s First Christmas letter, which is the perfect keepsake for newborns celebrating their first festive season.
Everyone ordering a Letter from Santa this year will automatically be entered into a free prize draw to win a family trip to Lapland* thanks to the generosity of lastminute.com.
By making the suggested donation of £5 you can ensure that not only will you be bringing joy to a child you know, but you’ll also be helping the NSPCC bring hope to a child you don’t.
The fundraiser closes on the 16th of December, so to order your personalised letter, click here
*The family trip to Lapland will include:
- A family holiday consisting of two adults and two children (child ages must not exceed 11 years on day of departure).
- 3 nights stay including accommodation (on a minimum bed & breakfast board basis) and flights departing from Gatwick or Manchester.
- Selected date options will be made available departing in December 2011 subject to tour operator’s availability at the discretion of lastminute.com.
- Details will be confirmed during the time period of 1 August – 31 August 2011, all passenger names are to be confirmed at this time.
- Suits and boots will be provided in resort.
- A visit to Santa’s post box included in your trip
- The prize is non transferable and non refundable.
- Full terms and conditions for the free prize draw can be found at www.nspcc.org.uk/santa
Today’s economic climate is putting increasing pressure on family spending. But one London start-up company, Shopitize, is working to save mums time and money by better managing their weekly shop.
“When we looked at the marketplace, it seemed no one was making it easier for families to manage their weekly purchases.“ said Michael Bullion, the Chief Product & Marketing Officer at Shopitize. “Given the time and money spent on the weekly shop, we set out to transform this process.”
With the Shopitize system, you will be able to take snaps of your receipts using a mobile phone and send them via a personalized e-mail address or using a smartphone app. The Shopitize system then presents personalized savings opportunities.
Shopitize recently released the first part of this system called Snapprize. Snapprize enables you to experience the ease of snapping and sending receipts with the touch of a button. You'll also be able to keep track on what you've spent by accessing your receipts on-line at any time.
And for participating, mums are automatically entered into the weekly £25 prize draw, which culminates in a £500 grand prize draw before Christmas.
To participate, sign-up and begin snapping or download from the Android Marketplace
This is an article which was kindly contributed by By Dr Lin Day, founder of Baby Sensory (www.babysensory.com). We love the ideas on encouraging your baby to play and exlore the world around and would love to hear what you think about free flow play.
Babies have a biological predisposition to play. The evolutionary importance of play is survival. It is how your baby learns about themselves, the world and other people.
There are two types of play: free-flow (unstructured) or structured. Both contribute to your baby’s development, but in different ways. Structured play is planned, organised and adult-led. Free-flow play is not directed or structured. It is a flexible, self-motivated activity that is initiated and controlled by your baby. There are no set rules or guidelines. Your baby decides what toys interest them the most, how they explore them, how long the play will last and when they need support or help.
During free-flow play, your baby may look at you as if to say “Be there for me, but don’t do anything unless I need help.” Your reassuring presence and encouragement will support the play and build up social skills, but your baby will let you know if they need a helping hand.
The following activities offer endless opportunities for exploration, discovery, problem-solving, imagination and creative thinking. They will keep your baby busy, happy and interested and provide an emotional outlet for tension and frustration. Your baby will also entertain themselves for short periods, which will become a beneficial life habit.
A drawer, box or bag filled with different objects, which your baby can take out and put back.
- A handbag filled with safe items such as a scarf, a soft nailbrush, a squeaky toy or rattle.
- A cardboard box filled with soft toys and textured fabrics.
- Wooden spoons to bang on pots and pans.
- Balls, building blocks, musical instruments, plastic containers that fit together, plastic tea sets and other age-appropriate toys.
Toys have the advantage of being safe and specially adapted to your baby’s age and stage of development. Your baby will look at them, listen to the sounds that they make, touch, smell and taste them, which builds neural pathways in the brain and develops intelligence.
Your baby will also want to understand how the world works by exploring the environment on their own terms. You can set the stage by making the environment safe and by providing tools to support and extend their mobility, thinking and reasoning skills. The following resources may be helpful:
Toys that can be pulled around the furniture.
- Stroller trucks that can be pushed while walking.
- Tunnels that can be crawled through.
- Cushions or pillows that can be crawled over or around.
- Toy cars that can be crawled after or rolled across the floor.
A ball will encourage a whole range of mobility skills as well as hand-eye coordination and sensory exploration. Balls that are lightweight, bouncy or make playful sounds can provide an endless source of amusement and fun.
Free-flow play is serious business, but this does not mean that structured play with carers, family members and friends is any less important. Reading books, singing, playing peek-a-boo, showing your baby how to put rings on a stacker or shapes in a sorter builds social and language skills and provides the emotional security that your baby needs for healthy development. However to fully utilise their ingenuity, creativity and problem solving skills, your baby also needs to explore and make discoveries on their own.
Mums Like You teamed up with Buyapowa to bring you discounted deals on family products using the power of mums buying together ('co-buys'). This week we will be spreading the word about their latest family deals - the award winning Organic Monkey set and Snazaroo face painting kit.
BuyaPowa is a new website that makes the bulk-buy discounts which have previously only been available to retailers available to everyone - and on the products they really want (including, of course, parenting products). They call their sales ‘co-buys’ because they're all about people coming together to drive prices down. Every co-buy lasts for a limited time and has a limited number of units (often 100) - when it's sold out, it's sold out.
Once you join a co-buy, you’ll want to spread the word - because, as more people join the co-buy, the price will get lower, and lower, and lower. But, when the co-buy closes, everyone who has joined will pay the final price. So it doesn't matter whether you're the first in there or the last in line - everyone gets to pay the lowest price achieved. Best of all, whoever brings the most number of friends into a co-buy receives their product absolutely free.
BuyaPowa is all about helping mums access great bulk-buy prices on the things they want, and they base their co-buys on the products mums have requested. So if you'd like to get a buggy, baby equipment or something special for yourself for less, you can make a request here!
Mums Like You teamed up with Nursery Value in our latest competition. We're giving one lucky winner the chance to win an Aruba Travel System from Petite Star.
Nursery Value stock a brilliant range of Petite Star baby products including some exclusive ranges you won’t find anywhere else. We think the Aruba Travel System is amazing value. £129.99 buys you an easy to use, compact and lightweight stroller that’s suitable from birth. Plus a group 0+ car seat that locks onto the stroller as and when you need it, a warm cosy footmuff and raincover.
There’s a removable padded bumper bar that comes into its own once your baby’s sitting up, and a generous shopping basket for all the bits and pieces you need to take with you. Everything you need to be out and about this winter with your baby, and leaving you more money in your pocket for Christmas.
To enter the competition, between 17th and 27th October 2011:
1) like the Nursery Value and Mums Like You on Facebook and
2) leave a comment here on what you like most about the ARUBA
For more information on Nursery Value and their range of products go to nurseryvalue.com