It’s Easier to Build Strong Children, Than To Repair Broken Adults.
Welcome back to my blog. Continuing on from my Mental health series I have had the pleasure of reviewing My Happy Journal Searching through Instagram one night I came across the happy journal page. I instantly loved it. The feed was so beautiful and colourful. Defiantly expressing happiness. I started to research about their company, and had seen that they make journals for kids to help them express themselves. I contacted Kirsty who very kindly sent me a journal for my Son.
Being a child can be tough, and from experience with my own son, they can be really hard on themselves. Sometimes there is so much pressure on them to exceed in life, to work hard at school, to have good manners, to behave all the time, to be the best at everything, and to be better than everyone else.
Especially in this day and age, where social media and the internet is very much in kids/teenagers lives. I dread the day when my kids are old enough to access social media, and start to compare themselves to what they see online.
Mental Health in children is something that is rarely spoken about, but it very much exists. My own son was going through some anxiety, and there’s no worse feeling as a parent watching your child have to battle with themselves, and their own thoughts, and being totally helpless.
Something that I am a big fan of is early intervention. I feel if you can help a child at their earliest point, they are less likely to grow up fighting these battles. My Happy Journal is a massive part of this. It allows you to bond with your child, and discuss their worries, as well as celebrating what they found good in that day.
It arrived in beautiful packaging full of confetti with a hand written note to my son. This was so personal and thoughtful. Kirsty has also included positive quote cards which we so inspirational.
So we opened the journal, and on the first page their is a note for the adults, this tells us about Kirsty’s vision, and why she had made the journal. As well as a couple of inspirational quotes.
Working through the journal
There is a 90 days for your child to fill out, they don’t have to be consecutive, just whenever your child feels like it. There is a page for your child to fill out his or her details, write down some of their favourite things, draw or put a photograph of themselves in. Make it their own. One thing that I expressed to my son through this, was that this is his journal, he can put what he wants in it, can draw and decorate it how he likes, it was his to do as he pleased with.
There are then pages where they can log what they enjoyed about their day. As I said above, kids can be so hard on themselves, so I like that they can pick out three good things about their day, and to be able to reflect on the positive things in life, instead of just focusing on the negatives.
There is happy, inspirational quotes throughout the journal, with lots of pages where the can draw and colour, and express themselves through art, which was a big positive for my son. Drawing is one of his favourite things to do. So he loves this about the journal. There is also a variety of fun facts and some tasks for the kids to work through too.
There has defiantly been a lot of thought and time put into these journals, and I feel designed for all kids, whether they are battling with a mental health condition or not. It’s a great way to bond with your child, and to find out more about their day. My son isn’t a massive fan of writing at the moment, and that can put him of doing tasks, so we have decided he will tell me what to write down, and then he can draw and colour the pages. I actually quite like this too, as it allows us to talk about his day, and reflect on the positives together. I would recommend this journal to anyone that asked, even if you child is like my son and doesn’t like to write, you can still talk about the positives and write them down for them.
I also feel this would be super beneficial for children battling with a mental health condition. When a child is constantly battling with their own thoughts all day, it can be really difficult for them to focus on anything positive, and I really feel this would help. It’s not like homework, it’s not a chore, it’s something that you can enjoy with your child together, and as part of a family.
Finally getting around to my first blog of 2018! What a crazy couple of weeks It has been! I love the festive period and everything it brings, especially the family time, which has prompted me to write this post.
So as you know if you have read my other blogs, I have a 6 year old and a now 4 month old. When it comes to 6 year olds they can have a list as long as their arm for Santa, and my son was no exception!
We went to visit Santa while on a day out, and when Santa asked Ben what he wanted for Christmas, my son replied with “oh I want lots of things!” I was so embarrassed! Mainly because he knows how fortunate he is to have what he already has, and happily gives toys away to children who aren’t quite as lucky as he is. However I suppose he’s just a typical 6 year old kid, who was excited about Christmas and what it would bring.
Christmas Eve brought even more excitement, and off he went to bed with hope of getting a lightsaber! Well he had only mentioned it a few days prior, and it wasn’t anything that we had bought him, and there was no way I was running out to buy him one. I had already bought him too much! They both got far too much for Christmas, as you just keep buying incase it looks like there isn’t very much. Next year I am planning on doing a 12 activities present, where they will get to open a new envelope each month with an activity that we can do together as a family that month! Whether that be a paid or a free activity.
The first thing my son did on Christmas morning was look and see if Santa had drank all of his milk, and had taken away the pictures that he drew for him!
There it was, the reason I am so proud of my son. Instead of running to the presents, he wanted to make sure Santa got his! (I am so glad I remembered to take the pictures away!) He then took it in turns to open his presents and help his baby sister open hers. He was just as excited for her presents as he was for his! Christmas is about giving, and spending time with people you love. That’s why it’s my favourite time of year. We continued the rest of the day with family at my parents house, eating, laughing and playing games all night.
It’s so easy to let a 6 year old to sit on a games console all day long and not really interact with them, because it’s easy, they are occupied, and they are not causing any hassle! Now don’t get me wrong, I let my son play the Xbox every now and then, but it’s only for an hour at a time, at the weekend, and he has to earn his time on it throughout the week. I really think our time together could be spent better, than me watching him play a computer game.
Statistics also show that interacting and playing with your child is great for their development. If nothing else it allows you and your child to bond, and make happy memories together.
Most of my favourite memories are from family days out, holidays, and just being able to spend time with my kids, enjoying their company. Below are a list of my 5 top favourite activities to do with my children, most of which are free, or cost very little money.
1. Family Games Night
This is a new tradition that we have brought in for 2018, we love to spend time together and play board games, so every Sunday night, it’s T.V off, phones away, no distractions. Just myself, Kris and my kids. We love it, even though my son get “board game rage!” Especially with Monopoly! Anyone else’s kids have the game rage? Haha, but it also helps with his learning, he’s counting, reading cards, and learning to take turns.
2. Long walks and going to the park
I love going out on family walks, there are so many beautiful places near by to go and visit. As well as some great play parks. The fresh air always helps us feel better, and my son loves an Autumn walk, where he can go digging around in the leaves! He’s just learning to ride his bike now too, but is still quite nervous about falling off! So the plan is to get out as often as possible to help him achieve his goal of riding without stabilisers.
3. Visiting the beach
Oh I do love to be by the seaside! I love it, the fresh air, the calmness of the sea, the laughter of kids running in the water and making sandcastles! We don’t have a beach on our doorstep, but it’s just a short drive away. Ben loves it! He runs in the sea, no matter how cold, looks for sea shells, and buries me and his Step Dad in the sand! I can’t wait for summer to come, so we can get our beach trips back. This time we will have little Darcie to show the sea and sand too! Ben will love that.
Both of my kids are water babies, and we love the water! Swimming costs a little depending on where we go, but it’s totally worth it to see the pure joy on my children’s faces! We particularly loved when we were on holiday to Majorca, and had use of the outdoor pool whenever we wanted! Ben has been attending swimming lessons which he loves, and I will be looking for a swimming class for Darcie soon too. As much as they love swimming, I think it’s very important for kids to learn how to swim! You just never know when they might need to use that skill.
5. Spending time in the garden
We don’t have a particularly big garden with very much in it, and we don’t have many days in the year that we can just sit and relax, and play in the garden. But when we do, I just love it. My son will spend time jumping on his trampoline, bringing his action figures outside, and when we have the weather, playing in the paddling pool! In the winter we love playing in the snow, building snow men, making snow angles, but again we don’t get many days where we can, so we like to make the most of it.
What do you do with your children to spend time with them? What’s your favourite activity?
Much love 💕<<<< gt;<<< ><< p>< /p>
If you haven’t read part one, read that here first.
So after months of seeing each other, and getting to know each other we decided it was time to introduce Kris to Ben. I remember sitting down and talking to Kris, and saying to him that if he met Ben and realised it’s not what he wanted. then it was fine, to let me know and we’d just go our separate ways. I knew it must of been hard for a young single guy to come into a ready made family. I didn’t want him to stay because he felt he had to then months down the line leave. I didn’t want to put Ben through that, or myself. There really isn’t anything more nerve wracking than introducing a man to your child. I mean what if Ben didn’t like him!? I was already in love with Kris, so that worried me too! Ben would always come first, and if it was a no from Ben then it would have been a no from me.
Kris was more nervous to meet Ben than he was about meeting me for the first time. I think he had the same worries as me. What if they didn’t get on, or it wasn’t what he wanted. Would that make him a horrible person for not wanting to stick around. It must have been really scary for Kris. Like I said in part one, I’m not sure I could have done it. Walk into a ready made family, and meet and try and bond with someone else’s child. So I take my hat off to anyone, man or woman who can step into a ready made family, and help bring someone else’s child up. Only someone very special would be able to do that!
However I nor Kris needn’t have worried. Kris walked straight over to where Ben was sitting, and sat down playing with his toys together. Ben seemed to have a good night, and even hugged Kris goodnight when it was time for his bed. We were conscious not to have kris over all the time, it was to be a gradual thing, where we’d spend time together the three of us, and other times where it would just be me and Ben. He certainly wasn’t going to be staying over every night either. That wouldn’t have been fair on Ben!
About 6 months down the line came our first “family holiday” this was going to be the test! Kris only ever spent maybe 2 nights at most with us before going home, so 5 nights was going to give him a little taster, and for him to be sure this is defiantly what he wanted in life!
Our holiday was great, in fact the year after we went away again, Majorca this time, for a week! This was by far the best holiday I had ever been on, and have so many amazing memories from it. We did this all before Kris moved in with us. In fact kris didn’t move in with us until a year ago, after we had been together over two years and was engaged! Kris even involved Ben in the proposal, it was just perfect. He got Ben to ask me if I would marry Kris and make him his Step Dad! Just perfect.
It was gradual and Kris started to stay over more each week, to the point he was staying most nights but hadn’t officially moved in. Ben and Kris dote on each other, and Ben really looks up to kris, sounds like him, dresses like him, is into his computer games like him too! But don’t get me wrong, it’s not all roses and butterfly’s. It has had challenges too!
From our first holiday together, and when we are out anywhere really, people always assume that Kris is Bens Dad, and as much as I wish he was, he’s not. Ben has always spoken up and said that’s not my Dad that’s Kris. I used to think, gee thanks Ben for announcing to the world that I’ve had sex with more than one person! Haha! Even now people go, aw… and then there’s an awkward pause! People still stereotype single mums, and/or people who have kids to more than one dad. It’s crazy! I just smile and say yeah he’s not his Dad.
Ben and Kris have very similar personalities, it’s crazy, you’d think that they were father and son! As much as that gives them stuff to bond over, they are also both so crazy stubborn, and it’s literally like being stuck in between two kids sometimes! They fight, tease each other, and get mad at each other. Then I’m in the middle trying to sort it out. Ben doesn’t alway listen to kris, even though Ben can’t remember a time when Kris wasn’t in his life, but obviously knows he isn’t his Dad, he will sometimes not treat him with the same respect he does me. If Kris tells him to do something, he will just ignore him, or give him some sort of cheeky response. All I have to do is start counting to 3 and he does what Kris just asked him to do… well sometimes! It’s so frustrating, no matter how many times I sit Ben down and explain that Kris is the the other adult in the house, and he has to listen to him just like he does with me, sometimes he just doesn’t want to.
However I suppose that’s just what children are like sometimes, there is definitely more positives than negatives in their relationship, and our relationship as a “blended” family. Kris isn’t Bens dad, but choose to bring him up like he’s his son anyway. He’s always there for him when he’s upset, was there for his first day at school, takes time of work to go to school concerts, and his birthday. Kris gave up his bachelor lifestyle to move in with us, and live as a family. He brings laughter and nonsense to the house, and as much as he drives me crazy with Ben sometimes, you can see they love each other like mad! Ask Ben to draw a picture of his family, Kris is always the first person he draws! They way he runs and hugs Kris (sometimes as he’s too cool for hugs now) just melts my heart! And now we have added Darcie into this crazy mix, and all 3 of us just love her so incredibly much!
I’d love to hear other single mums experience of introducing their children to their now partners, what was your experience? Do you still have challenges like we do?