How to improve your child’s vocabulary from a young age.

How to improve your child’s vocabulary from a young age.

One thing i always hear from other people is how they are so impressed with how well Elijah speaks. People have always been shocked when i tell them Elijah’s age. I am proud of his language skills and how they have came along. Elijah at 6 months old could say hello. Lot’s of people didn’t believe me and then where shocked when i would show them a video or Elijah spoke to them and said hello. From this point his language grew and he could say many things by a year. At a year old he could count up to ten himself and by two he could count backwards and improved on to twenty. He can say every colour and speak in full clear sentences. He still has times he struggles as he is still learning but it is incredible how far he has come. I think it is so important that we spend time concentrating on vocabulary with a child because where else will they learn it?

I’ll be honest i’m no expert or anything but one thing that i have always insisted on is speaking properly to Elijah and not making up knick names for objects to make words easier. I don’t want to say my advice will help but you never know, my advice has helped friends. I also want to state children grow at their own rates, they will learn to speak when they learn. There is nothing wrong with your child taking longer to learn certain things then another and do not compare your child to others. If you are ever at all concerned just pop along to your health visitor!

So my first tip is to well, speak to your child as if they are an adult. Yes the appeal is there to coo, speak in baby talk but their is a difference to calm, loving tones of voice to talking gibberish. For example if someone spoke to you like a baby and making up random words you’ve forgotten how to say would you be able to repeat that word? I’ve also never shortened words. Although Elijah has as he was grasping words i would still always say the whole word even though i knew what he meant. I would never refer to a object he has named something different to what he says it is or he then learns that his word is the correct word. I would also always speak in slow clear sentences when talking to him. I would speak short sentences at times but always in sentences. I know some parents say thing like “bottle? “Shortening the sentence” would you like your bottle?”. If you teach them to shorten sentences they will only learn to shorten the sentence. I taught Elijah to count by counting everything we do since a baby. I would count 1-2 putting his legs through clothes and socks and shoes on. We would count walking downstairs. Count the toys, count anything we could. A few friends have told me their children have learned from this.

Another thing i use to teach vocabulary is use physical images and letters/numbers/ items to teach the words. Flash cards are your best friends. You can grab a box of first words cards for about 3 pounds in some shops like tkmaxx. I also used picture books too. I would tell Elijah what was on every card each day and as he got older i’d ask him to tell me what was on the cards and he would tell me. You can also teach colours and sound animals make too. I would pick up a card with a pig on. I would say it was pink and then i would make the noise of the animal. This really helped elijah to recognise animal sounds to the animal and helped so much with his colours.

Magnetic and wooden letters numbers/ these are fantastic for learning. Elijah recognises all his letters and we are starting to build up to words. Visual aids are so helpful too. Just incorporating letters and numbers into play helps too. Putting them in a tuff tray or putting in slime or anything worlds. I try to add anything i can into play so we learn more.

Read to your child, children can benefit from being in the womb. It forms a emotional connection as well as helping to learn. Elijah now reads a few books in full with us and recalls most of the gruffalo in different voices too. Pointing to pictures and explaining what things are helps too. As they get older ask questions about the book.

Let them have tablet time! Let them only watch things they learn from.. Put reading eggs on, watch videos where they talk. Even blippi has some educational bits to his shows. Children are sponges and love to learn so let them watch films and videos that teach them things and sing even if they are annoying. I’m not saying all day but a little a day helps.

Be around other people. Take your child out for dinner, take them to see friends, to play. Social skills and being around others all help to teach both confidence in using language but also allows them to pick up language.Elijah has many times said things hes picked up from others and i am all for it if it helps him to learn.

Anyway hope some of these bits of advice help! They may work for you or may not but they have worked for me and others! Thanks for reading! Charlie x

Being a stay at home mum – one whole year on.

Being a stay at home mum – one whole year on.

It’s no secret that after I had Elijah when he was about ten months old I returned to work. I was full of guilt and anxiety and I was riddled with stress from work too. When I stopped working it took away a bit of my identity and slowly I’ve been working to get my identity back. I don’t want to be known as just Elijah’s mum but Charlie too. A year ago I had officially left work and I look back with no regrets. Whilst I miss doing a job that gave me purpose at times I don’t miss the long days and being away from my family.

Now that it’s been a year my thoughts on me working have changed. At the moment as it stands it is financially better for me to not work. We do not take benefits or have any help just to clarify to those who think I just gave up my job and expected the state to pay. My husband funds everything. This was also a decision we spoke about and decided before anything was done.

Through me stopping work he has been able to earn way more than we earned collectively before I had Elijah and he is only getting more successful because I am at home. With me at home this means James doesn’t have to do the school/nursery runs and loose out on hours of work everyday. This means he’s able to work as early or as late as he wishes and we don’t need to worry about Elijah. Whilst Elijah will be starting nursery in January I will not be returning to work for now. Because nobody else can drop him off and pick him up and childcare is a big issue for us. Also if I went back to work it just wouldn’t really be logical aswell because with my career path I’d only want to work in healthcare again and the hours are nowhere near flexible which I learned before I left work. The issue would still remain most healthcare jobs need you to work 8-8 and that would mean again James doing the childcare run and I’d be on a crappy wage and we’d be worse of.

My view on stay at home mums has changed too. I invisioned it to be easy and happy. That I’d be doing all these fancy crafts everyday and baking everyday. But that was not the case. It was in fact draining mentally and physically. When you don’t have plans often you sort of fade into the darkness’s where everything’s a repeat and you feel like you’re on auto drive. I expected to have this perfectly clean house all the time but then reality hit. Sure my house was clean when I worked because I was never in it! Days off normally spent going out as a family or seeing friends so when I tidied up it was a quick and easy job. Now the house often looks like a bomb has hit it when I spend my day trying to survive and entertain a toddler who loves to make mess wherever he goes.

I underestimated what stay at home mums do too. Planning days out all the time trying to find new things to do so it’s not repeated is exhausting. There is only so much you can go for coffee before being bored of the activity. Not just entertaining your child out and about but also in the house is so hard. I’ll set up a activity I’ve spent ages thinking of and Elijah picks it up puts it down and walks of demanding something else.

There’s also a limit to how much I can teach Elijah before it becomes a chore. I try to spend a lot of the day teaching Elijah so we do learning games and play but sometimes I get so sick of repeating myself I want to rip my hair out. Like this is everyday. How many times can I repeat the same sentance before I turn insane.

There’s also the no escape from your child. One thing that lockdown has done is open peoples eyes to what stay at home parents really do. People really got sick of their kids crap and it showed. People understood what it was like to have no me time and children wanting their attention 24/7. They understood that silence was a thing of the past and you never get a moment to yourself even when they’re asleep you still tidy their crap up. There’s no escape and nowhere to send them if you need a time out so you just keep going hoping your head doesn’t explode with the stress at times.

However I try not to moan about my child too much there are elements I love. I love that I get this time with him and that I don’t have to share his milestones with others. I love watching him learn and knowing that I’ve taught him that. I love playing with him and making up games.

I love seeing him grow and watching how his mind works and grows with him. I love days where we have good days and we sit and play games nicely or cuddle on the sofa. I love that I am always there to wake him up and cuddle him before bed every night. I love that I’m always there to hear his stories and when he’s seen family for the day I get to be the one he tells me all about his time.

I like being able to be at home too and when I do housework around the house I enjoy it a bit more it’s not just a quick scrub ready to return to work where I’m cleaning the house at 10pm after being out 12 hours working and knowing I have the same the next day.

I’ve noticed a change in James too. He is more happy and likes not having to drop Elijah and pick Elijah up working silly hours and working twice as hard to get work done. He no longer has to come home and cook every single night and clean up all the time. I do not cook every night or clean everyday as we both understand that it’s our house and nobody’s responsibility to do everything.

I love that I’m able to see friends more and make more time for my hobbies. I. E this blog post I write now. I also love that I don’t have to miss out on a lot of things I used to aswell.

I also love the positive effect it’s had on my anxiety. I’m not full of stress and busy working all day making myself ill. I am able to concentrate on myself more and take more time for me and my self care. I take more care in my appearance and also in the relationships I have. I don’t hold on to toxic people anymore because I now am able to see my worth.

Although life can be hard and stressful as a stay at home mum I will always be thankfull to my husband for the opportunity. I know that when I’m older and look back on these hard times with fond memories of how perfect life really was.

Thanks for reading, Charlie x

Parenting is not a competition.

Parenting is not a competition.

For some reason the second you have your child the competition starts. Be it about how big your child’s birth weight was, how well they slept and how much they cry. People feel the need to compare every last detail about your child to there’s. Silly things like how much hair they have to if they’re reaching a milestone first. It is a totally toxic world out there. It doesn’t stop with parents though I’ve had grandparents make competitions of their children’s development thirty years ago and they try to out do you! My own Nan once told me she potty trained my uncle at six months when i was telling her how we where trailing potty training. I for one no its total BS considering he couldn’t talk or walk then. My grandma since confirmed too that was a lie. I honestly don’t see why people feel the need to compete their child against another.

Especially when children are young the development stage is something parents and carers cling to. People ask are they talking yet? My child could say this many words how many could yours say? Oh is he not walking yet? Mine has been walking for months!

It can be so damaging as well,parents could be worrying about their child’s development behind closed doors and someone who is not a professional saying your child should be doing this that and the other creates all sorts of emotions. Especially as around this stage in young childhood is when signs of autism can occur and it can cause parents to worry constantly. The truth is alot of children can and do develop at their own rate. They may be slow to do things like talk or walk but when they are ready they will do it. There is no rush and i wish other parents would accept that. And if your child does have autism then that isn’t a bad thing it’s just a part of who they are and more love to give you will not care for the many less.

There is unfortunately a lot of jealousy in parents too because if their child isn’t doing something they sometimes try to beat other children’s accomplishments down. Sometimes they also like to compare and say well my child can do this and yours can’t. I understand this need and have felt it myself when someone has been beating down my child’s accomplishments for their own satisfaction.

There is a lot of behaviour comparison to which i have been guilty of too but i just wish people would stop lying about how perfect their children are as if every day is sunshine and rainbows.

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what your child can or cannot do in comparison to other children. It doesn’t matter if your child is a angel or a child who is so badly behaved you wonder how you will get through the day. Because i can guarantee you that those angel children have their bad days too no mater how much their parents only want to project their perfection to the world.

Remember your child is perfect too and will get to where they need to be when they get there. Just so long as your child is loved, your child is healthy and they are happy then what else matters really? Do you look at your peers and think oh well you CLEARLY weren’t sitting up at six months old and it shows. When you grow up these things do not matter any more. Someone who spent hours upon hours watching tv when they where younger could grow up to be a doctor, the same as someone who read books every day and attended every group under the sun could end up the complete opposite. So lets keep our opinions and comments to ourselves because really our opinions don’t matter. Also lets not compare our children. They are perfect to us and that is all that matters. They will always be perfect to us and they will achieve great things no matter what.

Today I felt like a bad mum.

Today I felt like a bad mum.

Elijah is currently in that testing boundaries stage. He’s learning what is acceptable and what is not. Today he’s been arguing with me constantly and speaking to me like rubbish. It’s very hard to ignore when he’s being so naughty especially just because he has friends over or because he just doesn’t want to do anything. there has been a lot of him raising his voice and screaming and counting me down when I’m trying to tell him of. The most annoying has to be the sarcasm and the ignoring of me or telling me no in response. He knows he shouldn’t be doing this because his facial expressions or sometimes immediately apologises.

However I felt like a bit of a bad mum when Elijah decided to scream his head off in the middle of a shop today and try to pull all the tins down and laugh about it. It was hard not to take it personally when he screamed and shouted at me all day like I’d done something wrong to cause this awful mood towards me. It was hard not to feel embarrassed when Elijah refused to walk and decided laying on the pavement was better despite my telling and pleading. It was hard to not raise my voice when he found appropriate throw all his toys at me and against things.

I find it really hard sometimes to not take his mood seriously. Obviously I know he loves me and doesn’t mean to upset me but I think when you’re so close to someone and spend every waking minute of his day with him it is more than possible to take it personally. If it was an adult treating you this way you would feel quite hurt and angry. I’ve started to tell Elijah now that he has upset me when he is being naughty. I tell him if things he says or does is unkind and that I am upset by his behaviour. Normally this will make him apologise as I would apologise to him if I was rude or upset him. Sometimes I feel mean when I tell him of so often but I think it’s important to teach children boundaries when they start pushing them so that they learn what’s acceptable and not at a age where they can understand and it becomes their behaviour.

I know in reality its a stage and it’s not forever but it doesn’t half feel like forever. I just have to remember to focus on the positives and enjoy the lovely moments while they last! I know in reality i’m not a bad mother but i can’t help feeling like i am. Here’s to a positive tomorrow!

(ps… I wrote this a few days ago and his behaviour has been better today and yesterday! I was able to relax a bit and understand his behaviours and enjoy being a mum a bit more!)

Autumn art activity.

Autumn art activity.

Now that it’s autumn it’s colder out and we spend more time inside. Finding things to do with your toddler to entertain them can be a struggle at times. Why not find two activities in one to do!

Take a stroll in a local park and explore the leafs and conkers. Show your toddler the textures and get them to pick some that they like the look of and put them in a bag to take home. Make sounds crunching on the leafs and sing songs. Throw the leafs in the air.Take them home with you and get them out the next day for another days activity.

The next day was perfect for us as it was raining. We got out our tuff tray and played with the conkers first. We rolled them around and we practiced counting and crashing them into each other. Next I got some paper out and paints. We glued on our leafs and then prepared the paint. I shew how red and yellow make orange. We used autumnal colours like red, yellow and orange. We painted with paintbrushes for the first photo on top of the leafs. The second we used conkers and our hands to paint. We then used orange glitter to finish off. It was a fun activity and very messy!

Rainy day activities.

Rainy day activities.

The rain hit hard over the weekend causing floods in some places so we decided to stay in. We recently brought a tuff tray so I decided let’s use it to make mess!

Today we used paper and paint. We got out our dinosaurs, trains and cars to make tracks and prints. We set up the washable paint and cellotaped three bits of paper (A3) together. We got our sponge and normal paintbrushes out and set them up nicely. We put glitter and sequins ready to be scattered on too. We did it while Elijah napped so he saw something was new and got excited to play with it. He kept saying wow!

We talked through the colours and what the items were, letting him choose what he used and showing him how to make foot prints and track prints on the paper. His favourite thing was the large sponge paintbrush which he enjoyed the texture off. He loved soaking it with paint and saying ew and giggling as he brushed it over the paper. We painted his hands and he used his hands to paint and enjoyed doing so! He learnt how to do it himself and grabbed the paintbrushes and dipped the paint on and then painted his hands. He enjoyed the play session lots and lasted atleat twenty minutes.

Normally on rainy days inside we have some sort of themed play. We will normally get the colouring books out and colour. We will get a pack of stickers out and stick to some scrap paper of previous squiggled drawings and make new pictures.

We also get out play dough to shape and mould new things. We get his play dough sets out like his dentist kit and minions hairdressers salon and have themed play. We’ll pretend to make food and make animals and balls and just smash them.

We get out a set of toys at a time like a happy land set and play with them. Normally we get the train track out and pretend to be boarding trains. We will also get the house out and make pretend with the house. We play with the zoo and make pretend there too. We love playing with animals and dinosaurs and have hi speed races across the livingroom with his cars.

The toy kitchen and food is a good thing to do together too. We pretend to cook and stir in our saucepans and serve each other food. We do cutting and seasoning and lots of wash up up too. We talk through the food and what we’re doing too learn what things are and the words for a action.

We play with our puzzles, we work together to do these and he enjoys helping. We play snap and learning games. We always read flash cards together to learn words and colours and shapes. We play wooden magnetic fishing games and try to work the motor reflexes at the same time as spending quality time together.

We set up picnic blankets and have tea party’s and picnics indoors for lunch and sometimes we bring our teddy’s along.

We bake food together. Elijah sometimes helps with making lunch and whenever is bake he loves to help decorate and stir the bowl for me!

Anything can be an indoor activity if you let it be. Don’t let the rain stop the fun! A day in-front of a film with some supper yummy snacks is always fun too and it is important to unwind and relax.

The importance of adventuring the world with my toddler.

The importance of adventuring the world with my toddler.

Once they learn to walk there is nothing mote toddlers love to do more than explore. If you’re noticing your child getting increasingly more grouchy sometimes a trip out can be fun for everyone. One thing i find my toddler loves to do is explore. He loves to now pick up sticks and throw them and look for and point out all the animals. He also loves kicking around and throwing leaves in the air under a tree which has started to loose their leaves ready for the winter. Autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year and not just because of the return of gingerbread syrups and eating lots of comfort food. No i love autumn because of the temperature its cool enough you’re not hot or cold when going for a walk. You enjoy having a cup of tea after to enjoy where you’re warmed up and have that cosy warm inside feeling instead of being a hot sweaty mess. You get to wear cosy boots and wellies where you don’t get dirt under your toes of the sandels that look great on but have no practicality at all.

I always like to take my little boy for walks because that’s what me and his dad do. We always have loved walks and i want to teach him to love the world we are in. I like to go out and show him trees and wildlife. I like to point out pretty plants and views and tell him what they are. I want him to have a active life where we can instead of sitting around which we sometimes have no choice to do. I like to go to different places so we don’t get bored off the same view all the time.

Elijah loves running so we like to go and take him somewhere he can run loose and of course we chase as fast as we can to keep up with him. We normally take his trike with us so that if he is tired we can push him in his trike which he loves. We are quite lucky for where we live as there are lots of parks, nature walks, lakes, meadows and beaches short drives or walks away so we get to travel to new exciting places.

Walks are good for the well being and mind. Not only will you destress you’ll also feel more healthy. Its a activity of exercise for your toddler and you wont even know it! Talking toddlers through walks and pointing out things and chatting as you walk through is a great chance to learn. They’ll learn what things are and also chat to you as they go through with no distractions. It’s the perfect place for learning and taking in the full magnitude of the worlds beauty.

Sometimes we like going for walks to parks or places with play areas as there is nothing more our little guy likes more than completely going nuts. He loves climbing and going down the slide shouting “WEE” as loud as he possibly can. He giggles at high he goes on a slide and does a lot of exciting faces as he gets too excited using a toy stearing wheel on a model bike/ car or boat. We have one behind our house we try to go to regularly when hes good to have a run about and yes i mean behind my house i could jump my fence and be on the park. We like to spice things up tho we like to go to different parks so its different and the adventure is new. We like to try new places so it feels more like a day out and we will go with friends or weekends with daddy. The best thing about going for a walk is its a great bonding experience and memory making activity. Something ill always remember from my childhood is spending time in parks going for walks with friends and family. The fact that its free is just a plus!

What to feed a fussy toddler for lunch so they eat!

What to feed a fussy toddler for lunch so they eat!

As a mother I love talking to other mothers and getting advice on things, one of the most important things for me is what do you feed your fussy child? Every child eats different of course but sometimes you can pick up on what others eat and try and change it around to fit you and your child.

I try not to put to much pressure on meals as if he doesn’t eat or isn’t hungry I don’t want him to associate food with negativity when I want him to be a foody like his mummy and daddy! So today’s lunch was a dunker box. Breadsticks or crackers with spreadable cheese is always a favourite as he loves to dip! A cheese string. For little mouths cut up! A yogurt which is good for dairy needs! Hand full of raspberries and chopped mango. A glass of water to teach him we drink at meal times to get more fluid intake! And a slice of teddy bear ham he gobbled up earlier!

Some things I give at lunch time he enjoys.

  • Wraps.
  • Wrap pizza (outing tomato paste and cheese on a wrap and putting in over for three minuites to melt the cheese).
  • Toast
  • Toastier.
  • Pasta.
  • Rice.
  • Cous cous.
  • Shredded chicken.
  • Food that looks like things.
  • Breadsticks.
  • Cheese crackers.
  • Cheese straws.
  • Beans on toast or spaghetti.
  • Jam sandwiches.

We try to change it up everyday so he doesn’t get bored of what he’s eating which he seems to enjoy we do same for dinner times too!

Trip to Jimmy’s farm!

Trip to Jimmy’s farm!

We’re quite lucky to leave in a countryside town. They’re no shortages of beautiful countryside walks, farms and animals if you have a look about nature. We’re also very lucky to live quite near by (ten minute drive) to Jimmy’s farm! If you live in the uk it’s probably one of the most famous little farms there is. Jimmy the owner is friends with Jamie Oliver and has had a few tv shows.

It’s a lovely little farm that’s spread out. The animals all seem as happy as they can be at a farm and there is plenty to see and do. I would rate this probably one of the most toddler friendly places to go as there is so much for them and children to do. It’s not overly expensive either and there’s plenty of homey shops and cafes. The restaurant sells the best sausage and mash I have ever had! The pens are quite spaced out so lots of room to run around and no crowding on busy days. There’s lots of different pens with different animals. You can tell the farmers really look after their animals and clean up constantly as it doesn’t have that horrible farm smell you get when you go to a farm and you’re not having to watch your feet for animal poop!

The play areas are quite nice there’s a sandpit with a pirateship, sandcastle equipment, tires and a massive bouncy pillow for kids to jump on aswell as little slides. There’s also a really big play frame for kids too and more play equipment. There’s a little snack shed next door to play bits so can buy little bits for sitting round watching kiddos play. There’s also a little animal trail where you look for statues of animals and make dens with sticks. There’s a hobbit house complete with toy utensils perfect for little ones. The place is very inclusive aswell and has BSL signs for each animal to teach children the signs too aswell as hell those who are deaf! Plenty of space to run round too! There’s a little picnic area with pretend cars and tractors kids can get in and pretend to drive.

Some of the animals that we could see!

  • Ponys
  • Donkeys
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Tortoises
  • Birds
  • Emus
  • Ostrich
  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Wallabies
  • Pigs
  • Cows
  • Butterfly house
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Crocodiles
  • Reindeer
  • Llamas
  • Bunny’s
  • Meerkats
  • Camels

Overall a lovely day out and somewhere we go again and again. If you’re ever in Suffolk and want to see a farm this is for you!

A letter to my little guy at 22 months.

A letter to my little guy at 22 months.

Sitting here in bed with you watching hey duggee for the millionth time I feel so lucky to be able to spend my mornings with you. I love that you insist on cuddling close or putting a foot or hand on me to let me know that you are still there when your lost in the tv world. I love how kind you are becoming, I love that you love to spend time with friends and family and share your toys without any prompt. I love that you are so eager to share your knowledge and show other children and people what you have found and learnt yourself. I so love watching how your mind grows everyday, how everyday you say new words and I am so proud of you for even trying. You’re favourite thing to do is play with yours jungle animals and include mummy and daddy in the play. I love how you throw your head back and shout roar and we have a animal noise shout off even at 6 am when you’ve just woken up (not even sorry neighbours).

I love that you tell me if you’d like to go out and tell me you would like to go in a car or a bus which means go out. I love that when we go out you’re always so happy just to if left the house even if just to go to the shops. You tell me what you can see and get so excited even by the fat ginger cat that try’s to steal your buggy when we walk. You’re totally crazy and full of energy when we go soft okay or the park but you never want to be too far from me and I watch you look for me and happily shout mummy and run for me smiling when you get lonely.

Watching films and tv series something I’ve always do with my own finally happens. You will let me cuddle you for more than a second and my heart feels full once more while we watch the lion king AGAIN or something else. I enjoy how you play with toys differently. We used to just hold and look at cars but now we race them and push them and their buttons. We colour together now and use stickers and different colours now too! We play with okay dough and you will make shapes and play with the tools and not get bored and want to run around holding a blue ball for a hour screaming if taken off you. We use your toy kitchen and make fake food together and then you share with your guests when the come over and show them how to cook too. Animals are now given voices and people and not just something to run and hold now.

Even now as I lay here planning you and your best friends joint birthday party for two months time I’m still in shock you will be two. You may be already exhibiting the signs of the terrible twos but even when you have rolled around screaming all day over a toy, I will always miss you the second I put you to bed and check on you several times just to watch you sleep and kiss your sleepy head. How I wish time would slow down so I could enjoy you a little more.