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Category: Parenting!!

How we got rid of the kids dummies!

Getting rid of dummies can be a very daunting task. We took about a year to actually do the deed; making up excuses as to why we couldn’t do it. Our main reason was we had a trip to the Uk the following year, and the thought the flight without them was a nightmare!

Dummies/pacifiers can be an amazing settling tool for parents, and a life saver at times too! However I’m not sure I’d give the kids dummies again if we were to do it over again.

Pixie had a dummy from the age of about 2 months, but Bert didn’t want one. It wasn’t until Bert was around 18 months that he decided he wanted one. Both the kids had Gastro and were so sick, Pixie was finding comfort in her dummy and so Bert found one of her’s and started sucking. It really helped him settle, and after that there was no going back!

Pixie at 3 monthsPixie at 3 months with her Natursutten dummy.

Our main reasons for wanting to get rid of them was, damage to their teeth, and the dependency they had on them we felt wasn’t healthy.

My husband and I were thinking of different ways to wean the kids off. We did a lot of reading up on it, and there are so many ideas out there. I think it all depends on the child and what you think they’ll be happy with.

Snoozing in the pram at 20 months.

Here are a few ideas we’ve read about –

  • Leaving the dummies out for the fairies. We thought about this as we have a Lil Fairy door, so it could have worked well. However Bert is a bit more literal than Pixie, and there was a good chance he’d need to see the fairies take them!
  • I read a lot about cutting a small bit off the end of the dummy, and then a little more every few days. The child then realises that it’s not doing its job and don’t want it anymore.
  • Some people recommend just throwing them away – obviously with your child – but just putting them in the bin and showing the bins being collected by the rubbish truck.
  • I’ve heard of a few dummy trees! Where you tie the dummies to the tree and leave it there with hundreds of other dummies!

Dummy tree

  • Slowly reducing when your child has their dummy to just bed time. We tried this so many times and it never stuck!
  • Leave it out for Santa so he can give it to the baby reindeer.
  • Giving it to a baby who needed it.

We went with the giving it to a baby who needed it. We took a trip into the City to run some errands, and we had all the kids dummies in my bag.

The kids seemed excited and proud to be giving their dummies to a baby. We stopped off at a park so they could have a run around. I spotted a mum with an almost newborn. I secretly asked her if she’d play along, and thankfully she said she would. So the kids went up to her with their hands filled with dummies. They gave them to the baby and then ran off to play! I then took the dummies back and put them in the bin, so we weren’t tempted when it got hard later that day.

LoveTotally in love.

The kids were really good all afternoon, but at bedtime it all went a bit wrong. They were both crying lots and asking for their dummies – I was so glad we’d thrown them in the bin in the city, as I might have folded. It was pretty heartbreaking hearing them want something so much that we couldn’t give them. My husband and I ended up lying on the floor, with them both in our arms sobbing themselves to sleep.

Next day was really good, they asked for them a few times here and there, but as soon as we reminded them they’d given them to the baby, they were fine. A few days later – Which is today – they are both doing amazingly, we’re so proud of them.

Our Superheroes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For or against the Tablet & Smart-Phone?

Firstly, I just want to state that this article is based on my own opinion and experience as a mummy, I am not a psychologist, Doctor or Scientist.

This subject has been a sticking point for me since the kids were born – even beforehand come to think of it. Should we let our kids use Tablets and Smart-phones as a form of entertainment?

Before the kids were born I had this dreamy idea of what motherhood was going to be like, I looked up to my mum and how she entertained my brother and I. When we were younger there were no Tablets or iPhones, not everyone had TV – if you did there were only 4 channels, a fraction of the choice compared to today.

My idea of motherhood was that it would be fun and energizing, always creative and playful – now of course those moments are very much part of my life, but there are also the times when I’m pulling my hair out, when I’m so tired I can’t cope with one more moan from the kids, when my two hands, arms, legs and feet are just not enough to deal with all the demands the kids have (my feet very much became second hands when the twins were born!). So should I be blamed if I needed to put the TV on to give myself 15 mins to cook them dinner, take a deep breath, go to the bathroom without two kids insisting on sitting on my lap (yes this actually happens)! – I feel like the answer is no – although I hate myself every time I press that button, and the colourful pictures and music lure my kids away and they stand there zoned out in front of it! Read my previous post on How I reduced the kids TV time to see how I combated this.

The twins are getting older and becoming more and more interested in our iPhones, we have always tried to explain to them that they belong to mummy and daddy, which seems to work most of the time. However on the few occasions where they have got their hands on them they are able to use the phones, actually swipe them open, look through photos and even FaceTimed each other once (yes, I’m pretty sure this was a fluke)!!

There are so many Apps for kids these days that are meant to be ‘educational’, but are they really? Is that just to make us feel better about putting our child in front of a screen and not interacting with them. I have such a love/hate relationship with the idea – I thought I’d be one of those mums that took everything in her stride and was able to entertain my kids without the help of such things, after all my mum did it (all our mums did) so why can’t I?

I can completely see how having an iPad on a long car journey would be good, as there is nothing quite as stressful as travelling with kids that are crying and over being strapped into a seat. But again I just can’t bring myself to do it – I’m holding on by my fingertips and not giving in to ‘The way the world is going’ – how long for though I don’t know!

There are some quite eye-opening stats out there on how many kids own phones in Australia. This was researched by the Australian Communication and Media Authority.

  • The amount of 2 year olds using Tablets and Smart-phones on a daily basis has more than doubled in 2 years from 8% to 17%.
  • 35% of children aged 8 – 11 have Smart-phones, this has doubled since 2007.

Here are some statistics from other countries –

Sweden – 15% of 4 year olds and 24% of 5 year olds have their own Tablet. The average age that a child gets their own smart phone is 8.5 year, and by age 11, 88% of children have a personal handset. More than one-third of kids aged 9-11 owned a tablet as well.

America – The number of kids aged 8 and under who have used mobile devices has almost doubled since 2011, from 38% to 72%. In 2011 10% of under 2’s had used a mobile device, now that’s grown to 38%.

United Kingdom – 18% of 8-11 year olds own a Smart phone and 62% of 12-15 year olds. Around one-quarter of children aged 12-15 (26%), and 18% 8-11 year olds own their own Tablets. 28% of kids aged 3-4 use a Tablet computer at home.

It is all a little confusing with so many numbers, but you get the idea.

Early 2013 in the UK a 4-year-old child was treated by Dr Richard Graham (Consultant Psychiatrist) – from London’s Capio Nightingale hospital – with compulsive behaviour therapy for an iPad addiction! Dr Graham is quoted in saying he fears “There are a lot more kids out there with this addiction”.

Despite being shocked and quite frankly petrified by the above story, I thought I should have a look at some App’s so I can at least see for myself if they are ‘educational’ (I have done this without the kids help!).

              Bertphone

Bert and his new phone!

The first App I tried was ‘Play School’ which was free – I liked how it was set out, its carried on the lovely handmade/homemade feel that the show has and the presenters are the voice-overs. This App is about preparing Humpty-Dumpty for his Birthday – It’s a fun idea and each screen is simple but interesting. However the theme of this App is based on imaginative play, which ‘Play School’ are big on – I don’t understand why you can’t encourage your child to play this game themselves, in real life. I can understand that yes if you’re in the car then this isn’t really possible. For me I wouldn’t give this App to the kids to play, even though I like ‘Play School’, it just seems to be a contradiction of itself.

The Second App was Dirtgirlworld which was free  – I’m not ashamed to say I was a little excited to see this one, as its one of my favourite kids shows on TV. Sadly I was pretty disappointed. I don’t feel like I can give a proper review of what I thought as it didn’t seem to work! Every menu I went to it said I needed to swipe my ‘Plant maker’, this was to make any of the games work – you can also plant a garden but you have to buy the ‘seeds’ from the Website and this didn’t work either, I’m guessing you have to buy the ‘Plant maker on the site too. Like ‘Play School’ it carried on with the same natural theme as the TV show – which I really liked, but that was the only part going for it in my eyes!

The third App was Big Baby, this App cost $0.99 – This App was kind of sweet, you get to change the baby’s nappy, put cream on, feed them milk and food, tickle them and they laugh, put them too bed – you get the idea. Again I can’t really understand why children can’t do all of this with a dolly, you get to hold them then and push them in a pram etc – Being tactile is so important for a child.

The fourth App was ‘Dandelion’, the cost $0.99 – This App is more of a story and for slightly older kids, its about bullying and has quite a dark but beautiful feel to it, it’s artistic and imaginative and I enjoyed reading/listening and playing it. I’m not sure if a child would feel the need/want to play it unless they were being bullied themselves – It’s great to know that this kind of App is out there for children who need help.

These are only four examples and overall I wasn’t too impressed – When the kids are older it might be a different case, I’ll have to rethink things then. For the time being I’m happy with my choice to not allow the kids use of the Tablet or Smart phone – My hair might become a lot thinner but I’m sticking with it (for now).

Screen shot 2014-02-02 at 1.00.37 PM

How I reduced TV viewing for the kids

As parents we have a mountain of worries, stresses and guilt when it comes to bringing up our children. I know one of my biggest guilts is letting the kids watch TV. Most of us do it and probably most of us feel a bit guilty in some way too.

I’ve been trying to work out why I let the kids watch TV at certain times of the day, is it the need to have time on my own to just breath, the need to get a job done, to distract them because they are tired and cranky, or my biggest worry – am I just a bit lazy?! All these question whirl around my head far too often, hence tackling it head on.

I don’t know how it happened really but it ended up that the kids tended to eat in front of the TV, unless we had a family dinner – which was most weekends. Every time I put them down to eat I’d think, why am I turning the TV on? My response to myself was that I needed to get jobs done – make the cots up, put washing on, empty dishwasher from last night, hang washing out – I could go on!

It was getting to the point when the kids were asking for the TV to be on, this didn’t feel right in my gut at all – It used to be books books books and now it was TV! Time for a change I think Mummy!

There are lots of stats out there on the amount of TV time that is acceptable for a child – The Australian Federal guidelines recommend that children up until the age of 2 watch no television at all! This is a shock and when I found out my guilt level rose even more! Children between the age of 2 – 5 should be allowed no more than 1 hour of TV per day – again I found this very shocking.

I know that I’m by far not alone on this subject, so I decided to make a conscious effort to change – and this is how I did it.

  • Our living area is one big space so when you’re at the dining table you can see the TV, so I moved the kids chairs so their backs were to the screen.
  • In the morning while they have their breakfast I do allow them to watch TV, this does give me 10 minutes to run around and get dressed, put some washing on and have a cup of tea. As soon as they have finished though the TV goes off, whereas before it would sometimes be left on.
  • Some days I go to the beach and the park in the morning, I’m then home for 12pm and their afternoon sleep.
  • If I don’t go to the beach or park I’ll get the kids out in the back garden – We’ll paint, play in the sandpit, go on the climbing frame and slide, use sidewalk chalk on the footpath, have water play if it’s hot, I also take their toys outside and they drift from one to the other, it’s just beautiful to watch.
  • If it’s bad weather, we sometimes paint indoors or do drawings, make dens, build block towers, Play-Doh or set up Bert’s train set around Pixie’s dolls house and have some exciting imaginary play.
  • I’ve found having an idea of what I’m going to do that day has helped massively, this could be totally my personality and not something other people find difficult, or the fact that I have twins, I don’t know but if I didn’t have a plan beforehand, then once the kids are up and running around, pulling at me, needing nappies changed, and generally running rings around me, time slips by and not a great deal has been done – This is when they’d start to get bored and harder to handle, so the TV would sometimes go on – and the guilt returns!

The kids now watch well under 2 hours a day, probably more like an hour – Yes I know still ‘technically’ not what the Australian Federal guidelines deem as correct but it’s working for us. We have a few programmes/films that we allow the kids to watch, Dirt Girl World, Tinkerbell, Jungle Book and Thomas the Tank Engine. I’m desperately trying to get them to like Alice in Wonderland (my favourite story) but so far they are not interested!

The kids hardly ask now to watch the TV, if they do Pixie tends to want Tinkerbell or Dugerr as she calls her, we just simply say – not now, you can watch Tinkerbell later – and thats mostly the end of it.

I was really worried I’d made a rod for my own back and was dreading enforcing the ‘No TV rule’, but I’m so pleased to be able to say it’s been relatively simple, the best decision to do it now before they got a bit older and TV was more of a habit. Not having that guilt hanging around my neck too has made life a lot lighter with a happier Mummy and kiddies

TVtime.