The art of our children’s hearts

There has been this big reaction about a young matriculant and his art. I am not going to share the video of the person who shared it for various reasons.
What I want to address is the way a parent handled this situation, mostly because we tend to parent this way and don’t even realise it…

Photo credit Photo by Jonas Smith on Unsplash

Just for those who missed the whole debacle, here is what you need to know as it pertains towards this specific incident.

An adult man, saw art pieces done by a matriculant (child) and felt deeply offended and upset and on the surface one could understand why he felt this way. He jumped to a conclusion, and disrespected the child’s work by making a video of it and basically shamed the matric for what he has done. He touched the art work and showed deep disrespect for the art itself.

In the video one can see that there is actually rationales added with each artwork as the theme is controversial.

The matriculant did artwork that is deeply researched and explained in the rationale. His artwork is displayed in an area where there is limited access to it and there was specific warnings put up. He has done everything right.
Art is subjective and usually tells the story of how the artist sees the world, or the subject matter. It is a journey and has to be seen as commentary about the world the artist finds themself immersed in.

So what does this have to do with parenting you may ask?

As an adult we tend to jump to “superior conclusions” when we deal with something a Child has done. We tend to do what the man in the video did.

There is a sign stating this content is controversial – Our kids put signs up with their behaviour or just the tone of their voice. It warns us as parents to tread carefully, mindfully and be ready to actually hear what is going on.

Our kids give us their rationale – yet we tell them to stop back chatting, fall in line and that their thinking isn’t as superior as ours. “Mother/Father knows best”

They share their lived experience with us, how it shaped them – and we dismiss their feelings and experiences. We tell them what they have to feel, think and that if only they would get with the program, they will see it our way.

They ask us to not share, touch or just respect them – and we make “videos” and share it with the world. We make it all about us and forget about them

That painful controversial art in the hearts of our children are being battered and abused by us, because we think we know best. We do not listen, we share their stories without their context and the hurt they suffer, ripples to others.

We wonder why our kids stop trusting us. Reactions like this, that is why. Why should our children trust us, when we negatively label their lives and jump to conclusions?
We as adults can do better. Our kids are thinking, living, experiencing human beings. If they open the hidden corner of their life to you, the best you can do is, keep quiet and listen and learn. Adults do not always know best

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Parenting Tantrums

Between the ages of 0 to 24 months a child’s most developed part of their brain is the Lizard brain…Yeah a bit of an unfortunate name, but alas that is what it is called. See picture below for the triune brain lay-out.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7d/eb/53/7deb53c56a8a79543c15b366e00ea6ff.jpg

Why Do Children Tantrum?

The lizard brain is in control of the survival. Physiological but also external. This part of the brain is also where fight, flight or freeze is located. (Our survival in the great big wild- basically outside of a mother’s womb). When this area of the brain is not triggered, the baby or child’s brain is in limbo and is able to rebuild neural pathways to the rest of the brain.

For a child this young, they cannot discern between need and want, their brain interprets it all as the same. If they need food and cannot have the food, their brain is telling them that they are going to die. Voila child cries and screams to get your attention, so that you respond and baby does not die. When they want a toy, the same feeling of upset triggers the “We are going to die” response and once again baby screams to get what they want.

Delayed gratification development lies within the limbic brain and only starts maturing from the age of 24 months. Thus it is usually recommended that you give a child what they want under the age of 2. We only start practicing delayed gratification and more strict boundaries after they have turned 2. 

Biology of a Tantrum

There is also a physiological aspect to the cry that we as parents need to understand as this still plays out in us as adults as well. With the activation of the danger center in the lizard brain the following things happen to the body:

Our body’s blood and oxygen supply route is deliberately changed. Going away from the brain to the larger muscles in the legs and arms. The capillaries narrows in the brain and widen in the muscles during perceived danger. This basically means that any access we had to the frontal lobe has now disappeared and we only have primal instincts to go on.

This results in an actual loss of words. The inability to speak and if we do speak we do so irrationally and almost obsessively repeating the words we have said before the center was triggered.

During this time the ear canal actually closes to only let in low noises. The reason for this connected to when civilization lived in the wild. A creeping lion in the bush will make soft low sounds and our brain needs to be able to hear where it is coming from. When we parent any child of any age during a tantrum, we need to speak to them calmly and in soft hushed voices. They will hear what we say, and the soft calm voice will help them pull back from the perceived danger.

Once our children have calmed down can we try to engage in a short conversation – no more than 3 sentences as to why the boundary is there. Ie, I cannot let you play with the knife. It is dangerous. You can get hurt. 

The impact of negative emotions on a child

A child’s main survival instinct is to be close to their parents or primary caregiver. They are completely vulnerable to the outside world, relying on us to help them make sense of the world around them and inside of them. As humans we are wholly flesh and wholly emotions. We use emotions to navigate the world around us. Basically deciding if something is safe by deciding how it makes us feel. 

We feel emotions with our whole body, it is not just in our minds, emotions triggers hormones that impact how our body functions. Negative emotions often expressed as a tantrum is something that makes our bodies feel “bad”. Children under the age of 3 perceives this “bad” feeling as a real life threat to them. It becomes a body snatcher as they have little to no control over this reaction. Their brain goes to survival mode and they only know that crying has made the primary caregiver respond quickly. When kids get overwhelmed with the negative emotion, they scream and tantrum. 

We see the remnants of the tantrum body snatcher in adults, when we ourselves stomp our feet or clap our hands to draw attention to our frustration or anger. Adults have a fully mature brain and can sense our emotions build up. We should be able to find a safety hatch to redirect our negative emotions too. Kids do not have that – That override switch actually only fully mature at the age of 25.

Why you never walk away from a tantrum

So why should we not walk away or throw a tantrum next to our child when they have a tantrum. Firstly a child has no physical or mental control over how they react. They feel threatened and their brain is telling them that they are actually going to die now. When we walk or run away, or even flop down next to them, expressing the same fear signals they are using. Our kids’ brains interpret this behavior as a sign of danger, we are exactly as scared as what they are.

So fight did not work. They might be immobile or strapped in, so flight isn’t going to work either, the next response then is, freeze. So they fall quiet. The problem is, they are just quiet, still in distress and the hormones that inhibits the oxygen to the brain is even higher. They are now physically preparing to die. This teaches a child that we are unable protect them. There is no reason to trust and believe that this person will be able to protect them.

If you have followed one of these strategies before. I would urge you to stop and rather lean into a tantrum. Allow them to express their fear and anger – remember anger is the gatekeeper of all the negative emotions.

Parenting tantrums in a healthy way

While holding them, if they are not flailing or fighting, whisper calmly that you are there and that you can hear their anger and fear.

Tell them that they are safe and you will not go away from them. They have all the time in the world to work through this emotion. When the tears and crying are done, we can start a rational discussion with our kids.

Join us in our Workshop: Parenting Toddlers (age 0 to 3) Click here and scroll down for more information.

You can also watch this video https://youtu.be/HX7JOEPcP58 on how to parent tantrums in a healthy way.

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Parenting 4 to 5 Year olds

Our 4 and 5 year olds are linguistic artists. They reason with the words of an adult and the understanding of a child. They copy and test and try. That said, we need to look at why our kids do things the way that they do. Sometimes it is something as small as a tweak here or there of how we engage with them, and sometimes it will take a bit more patience and understanding of where they are at as children.


Understanding ourselves as parents… We all have triggers, we all have moments where we just don’t know how to remain present. The reason for that is, certain behaviour from our children involuntarily takes us back to when we were that age. However, because we are the parent, we don’t tap into how that little child felt. No, we tap into how the adult in the room behaved and the irritation, anger and even sometimes the specific punishment doled out, comes to mind. Inadvertently we move to a position that seeks control in that particular instance. Our mind flashes back and before we can even register it, the thoughts running through our heads are panic and frustration and then we have only one goal in mind. “I need to get this child to do as I say.” Regardless of what the situation is, we are programmed to want to control kids. We experience it as a clash of wills. 

Age 4 to 7 should be the pinnacle of the clash, if you handle this right. If not, the teenage years will be a battlefield where all involved will leave the scene damaged, bruised, battered and some without limbs when the kids finally spread their wings and leave the home. This sounds dramatic, I know. However the reality is, if you as the parent remains of the mind-set that children need to be controlled, especially when they push back, the emotional scars inflicted during the teenage years, will take a lifetime to heal. If they do at all.

When we parent this age group there are some important questions you have to ask yourself as a parent:

What is the end goal? What is it that you want to teach your child within this particular situation?

Am I trying to control the outcome? Do I want my child’s will to bow to mine?

Do I feel like I have lost control over my child?  Are you feeling powerless in the situation?

Am I really hearing what my child is saying?  Did I listen empathetically to what my child is saying?

What is my intent?  Do I really want my child to understand or do I want them to just do what I asked of them?

Have I asked questions to understand better? When the conversation started did I at any time, jump to a conclusion or did I ask open ended questions to gain a better understanding of what they are thinking?

Is it safe? Is what they want to do safe? If not why? How can we find a way to address the safety aspect of the situation, without needing an outright no? Is it possible to give them the opportunity to try without fear of retribution?

Are the choices I have given real choices or just the semblance of choices? Giving a choice that confirms their autonomy is of vital importance. Real choices mean that whatever they choose they will not be overridden. Give them choices in things that matter, not just the clothes they wear. Include them in decisions that have an impact on them. That way you teach them reasoning skills and creative thinking. 

Understanding where they are as children?  Remember that children are capable of thinking, but they are only 4 or 5 years old. They may have a large vocabulary, but they’re still emotionally underdeveloped and the emotional and impulse control as well as self-regulation only matures at age 25. They are still learning.

During this age period they are at their peak initiative stage, allow them to try and execute plans. Things do not have to be perfect, but they have to try in order to fail and be able to learn from the experience. If we don’t allow them to try, we are hampering their development and actually killing their drive to learn and try new things.

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Parenting the parent – Concourt and breaking the cycle

Many South African parents are now struggling with the idea that they are not allowed to hit/spank their children. To them discipline = a spanking. It has always been done this way. There is a deep seated struggle for all of these parents. The main reason for this struggle is that the constitutional court has finally ruled that one may not hit a child to chastise them as it is not deemed reasonable and infringes on the rights of the child. Hitting a child will now be viewed as abuse, the same way hitting an adult is deemed abuse in the eyes of our laws.

Photo by Mimi Di Cianni on Unsplash


The struggle for parents now is two fold. Firstly, they are now called abusers and it does not equate with their views of themselves and secondly they are at a loss as to what they may then do to teach and discipline their children. (I am aware of the elephant in the room regarding religious beliefs, however that should be afforded a discussion of its own)

Let us chat about the first

If someone is a parent that has never read the studies or attended workshops and training that explained the damage hitting/spanking does to a child, it can feel extremely hurtful and demeaning to all of a sudden fall within the category of abuser. Most parents did not know better, or they have been following what they have been raised to do when a child misbehaves. 

It makes the parents feel as if there is now a belief that they do not love their children and do not care for their children. Which in most, if not all circumstances is not the truth. They do love their kids. They only want the best for their kids. They want their kids to grow up and have respect for others and be able to adhere to the rules and most of all, they don’t want their children to end up in jail or dead due to bad life choices. All in all they are doing the best job at parenting they know how to do.

If parents raised in punitive homes view acknowledgment that spanking/hitting a child as wrong, they inadvertently acknowledge that they have made a mistake. Mistakes in punitive homes are not usually tolerated, or assisted, but rather punished and at times lots of feelings of shame step into the conversation. 

Punitive households often struggle with the idea that adults and parents should apologise and change what they do when they make a mistake, because of an outdated belief that it will interfere with their authority and control within their home. 

In punitive homes admitting a mistake is often viewed as a character statement regarding that person’s morals and values and no one wants to see themselves as a horrible person and much less that their actions may inadvertently have been abusive.

That is how people raised in punitive homes view the world. Step out of line, you deserve punishment. Many will have anecdotal stories to tell of when they grew up and their parents heard they were in trouble at school, they will be punished at home, regardless of whether they have already been punished for their actions at school.

So taking responsibility for your missteps in life, usually meant that you will be punished some or other way. You are fearful of being honest about your mistakes, because we all know, you surely then deserve to be punished or hurt and most of all you bring shame to the family. 

As someone who broke the cycle myself, I struggle almost daily with this reasoning, this fear of making a mistake, owning my missteps and understanding that my authority and value as a person is not undermined by being authentic about being human.

The second is where the chaos comes in. Parents who practice corporal punishment honestly and whole heartedly believe that this is the only means to discipline. No spanking to them = non-parenting and will then have the opposite outcome for which they aim. They have been raised in homes where they were spanked/hit and they truly believe that they did turn out fine or okay. So they are wholly unequipped to start parenting in a different way. 

So now the expectation is that parents need to stop hitting their children and find other means to discipline their children. Where do they start? How do they get the necessary tools to instil discipline in their homes and children, when the only tool in their parenting toolbox has always been spanking? There are blogs and books and people like C3 Parenting that will gladly support and help parents to break this cycle of hitting children as a means of discipline. However you will have to start somewhere. The first place to start may have to be, to admit to yourself that in your heart, you never really felt at ease with spanking your child in the first place. Owning that reality and then reaching out and asking for help.

Changing the way we parent will take time. It will take education of parents and helping them in a proactive way. It is changing the way we engage with the topic while remaining within the scientific proof of what styles of parenting is effective without the detrimental effects that spanking has on children. 

If someone is a parent that has never read the studies or attended workshops and training that explained the damage hitting/spanking does to a child, it can feel extremely hurtful and demeaning to all of a sudden fall within the category of abuser. Most parents did not know better, or they have been following what they have been raised to do when a child misbehaves. 

It makes the parents feel as if there is now a belief that they do not love their children and do not care for their children. Which in most if not all circumstances is not the truth. They do love their kids. They only want the best for their kids. They want their kids to grow up and have respect for others and be able to adhere to the rules and most of all, they don’t want their children to end up in jail or dead due to bad life choices. All in all they are doing the best job at parenting they know how to do.

If parents raised in punitive homes views acknowledgment that spanking/hitting a child as wrong, they inadvertently acknowledge that they have made a mistake. Mistakes in punitive homes is not usually tolerated, or assisted, but rather punished and at times lots of feelings of shame steps into the conversation. 

Punitive households often struggle with the idea that adults and parents should apologise and change what they do when they make a mistake, because of an outdated belief that it will interfere with their authority and control within their home. 

In punitive homes admitting a mistake is often viewed as a character statement regarding that person’s morals and values and no one wants to see themselves as a horrible person and much less that their actions may inadvertently have been abusive.

That is how people raised in punitive homes view the world. Step out of line, you deserve punishment. Many will have anecdotal stories to tell of when they grew up and their parents heard they were in trouble at school, they will be punished at home, regardless of whether they have already been punished for their actions at school.

So taking responsibility for your missteps in life, usually meant that you will be punished some or other way. You are fearful of being honest about your mistakes, because we all know, you surely then deserve to be punished or hurt and most of all you bring shame to the family. 

As someone who broke the cycle myself, I struggle almost daily with this reasoning, this fear of making a mistake, owning my missteps and understanding that my authority and value as a person is not undermined by being authentic about being human.

Let’s talk about the second

The second is where the chaos comes in. Parents who practice corporal punishment honestly and whole heartedly believe that this is the only means to discipline. No spanking to them = non-parenting and will then have the opposite outcome for which they aim. They have been raised in homes where they were spanked/hit and they truly believe that they did turn out fine or okay. So they are wholly un-equip to start parenting in a different way. 

So now the expectation is that parents need to stop hitting their children and find other means to discipline their children. Where do they start? How do they get the necessary tools to instill discipline in their homes and children, when the only tool in their parenting toolbox has always been spanking? There are blogs and books and people like C3 Parenting that will gladly support and help parents to break this cycle of hitting children as a means of discipline. However you will have to start somewhere. The first somewhere may have to be, to admit to yourself that in your heart, you never really felt at ease with spanking your child in the first place. Owning that reality and then reaching out and ask for help.

Changing the way we parent will take time. It will take education of parents and helping them in a proactive way. It is changing the way we engage with the topic while remaining within the scientific proof of what styles of parenting is effective without the detrimental effects that spanking has on children. 

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Parenting the Parent

“I was spanked and I turned out okay. Kids these days needs to be disciplined more, by discipline we mean spanking, hitting, smacking or removal of things that matter to them.” At least that is what we are told. “A child without punishment, becomes a child who sits in jail or ends up dead because of drug abuse. Without punitive parenting kids have become disrespectful and a social ill”… These are just some of the claims so often made by society. Unfortunately these claims are also so far from the truth. The reality is that punitive parenting leads to social ills and creates a fear driven society.

Living a life with social media has opened the floodgates for parents to ask other parents about parenting. Today we are going to look at some of those questions and reasons as to why these questions are being asked. 

Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash

“I did not want to give my child solids yet. Research has shown that before a certain age it is not good for them. Now my mom said that we were given solids at x amount of weeks and nothing went wrong with us. Should I give my child solids now? How do I tell my mother/father or in-laws that I am not going to follow their advice?”

“We are recently married. We wanted to buy a couch set. My parents said we shouldn’t. We bought the set and now my folks are angry at us.”

“We don’t want children. My parents are angry at us for not wanting children. Should we just give in and have some?”

“My boy child wants long hair. I want to respect it, but I have loads of pressure from my family to cut his hair.”

“My mother cut my child’s hair without my or their permission. What now?”

“We decided to school our child differently, now my parents are angry because we did not consult them.”

These are the type of questions asked so often. The sense of powerlessness these parents feel comes across so clearly! These adults, fear their own parents, still! They fear going against their parents’ wishes. Some grandparents will even overstep the boundaries of parenting and do as they see fit with their grandchildren even when it goes against the wishes of their own children. The adult child then struggles to find appropriate boundaries or even fails to address their parents about the lack of respect, out of fear. Where does this fear stem from? 

I have often wondered why parents struggle to say no to their own parents when it comes to living their lives. Why do adults struggle to stand up for their own life choices when they are in the company of their own parents and often even someone who is older than them? So often we see that an adult becomes like a child in the company of their parents. Partly because of relationship dynamics, but the larger elephant in the room is the power dynamics between parent and child, no matter their age.

As a parent of a small child, we as parents have the executive power over most of their life choices. What they eat and wear, who they visit, when and how. We try to manage their relationships platonic and romantic. We are the “boss”. (No wonder children who feel powerless often state “You are not the boss of me”) We have control and as they grow older we are supposed to slowly let go of that control, but the ability to do so becomes a minefield. 

We are scared of letting go. We tell ourselves that it is because we love them and we only want the best for them. However, the reality is, it is because we are scared of losing our power and control over them. We are afraid that if we do not have the final say, they will make choices that we disagree with or cannot live with. We say we want them to be safe, but we only want them to remain in the spaces we deem as safe. We measure safety according to our own life experiences and feel threatened when they venture on paths we have not tread or do life differently than we have done. We know our own pains and mistakes and want to control their lives in a way that will prevent them from making the same mistakes we have made. We are running scared, so we try to maintain control the way we were raised to maintain control, we do it with punishment, threats and violence. Yes you read that right, violence.

So often we believe we respect our parents, however we were raised to conflate respect and fear. Respect is accepting someone’s intrinsic humanity, punitive respect is fear of punishment for not toeing the line. 

How often as a parent have you had a discussion about your child with your own parents or a parental figure in your life. Your parents make a “suggestion” on how to do things and you almost feel bullied into having to do it their way? You know in your heart you don’t want to do it their way, but you have this fear in your heart that if you do not do it their way, you will upset them? That isn’t respect, that is fear. Not being able to make decisions as an adult that go against your parents wishes, especially if you know that the choice you want to make is the best choice for you and your family, is a fear that was created by punitive parenting.

An adult should never be afraid to make their own decisions and live with the consequences of their decisions. They should never feel that they cannot disregard advice given by their parents. For an adult to be able to embrace this, they need to be able to learn from a young age that their voice and choices will be respected.

How do we change the cycle? It starts when children are young. Allowing them to make their own choices and be part of the decisions that impact their day to day lives. From what they wear, to who they engage with. How they engage with others and respecting their boundaries. It is not a free for all and age will always play a role, but we as parents will have to start giving over executive power to our children as they grow up. BUT we as parents also have to deal with and address our views of children. How we engage with them. Where do we place them in their role in society? Are they to be seen, have to be obedient and not heard? Or do they have a voice, a mind and a personhood of their own.

We need to stop punishing our children for being human and being themselves. Punitive parenting or fear driven parenting creates the idea that love is conditional. If you toe the line, you are accepted and deemed worthy. If you do what I tell you to do, you are accepted and part of the family. If not… Well you will be punished and love will be withheld. You will experience isolation, humiliation and pain. Now think again why it is so difficult to say no to your own parents. It is not because of respect, it is because you fear that they will stop loving you.

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“Units of Rhythm” – Schedules and routines

Frequently parents are bombarded with the notion that “baby needs a routine/schedule.” The two terms are often conflated and it can become a mountain parents either avoid or choose to die on, and often to the detriment of the child. Both schedules and routines are needed, however it is how we manage them and engage with it that makes all the difference.

I am a mother who struggles to function within a schedule, but thrives with routine. My eldest is a schedule kind of kid and my youngest is cut from the same cloth as mother. How do we find a balance that speaks to the needs of all the family members? 


The first step is to clearly distinguish between the two terms:

Schedule: A schedule is usually an event or activity that happens at a specific time and on a specific date: Things that would be considered as scheduled events are extra-curricular activities or even a birthday party. 

Routine: Refers to the rhythm of a day. The happenings of a day have a certain order in which they take place, it happens every day, but the time frame of when can or may be adjusted according to how the day is going. Things that will shape a routine is brushing of teeth or bath time and even when we eat as a family.

(For differently abled families food may be scheduled instead of routine as some families need a set time of when a person needs to eat or even go to the toilet.) 

Most, if not all people are in need of routine. Routine creates safety and security. Routine creates comfort even for the most “free-spirited, doing things at the drop of a hat” kind of person. It provides enough structure to a day without confining it to a list of deadlines. Routine is flexible within its ordered predictability. Routines are most often not set in the stone of time – the routine will stay the same, whether you are away on holiday and get to sleep late or whether you have to rise early to go to work.

Schedules on the other hand are a deadline. It is set in stone and often cannot be altered without negative consequences, either real or imagined. 

Not all people have the same temperament, needs or even personality. For a person who thrives within order and structure, their routine can become a schedule. This is not always a problem, as they use this to then fight the anxiety and unpredictability that life creates. They hold dear their scheduled routines and this gives them a sense of control and belonging. It only becomes a problem if they cannot function in the event that their scheduled routine has been interrupted.  

For some people a schedule can become the bane of their existence and create vast amounts of stress as they experience it as deadlines and things they have to do, something they cannot escape. They need the freedom to be able to embrace the impulse of a moment.

Most families have a bit of both in their family unit and creating space so that the free-spirited individual can find their moments of impulse and freedom and the more structured can find their sense of control is vital. The grey space this occupies is what we like to call “units of rhythm”. It is those measured beats that makes up the melody of life. As music has the ability to impact emotions, so do these units of rhythm.

In our home we make use of timers. We have our units of rhythm up on the wall. There are a few up around the house. There are some that have time slots, and some that just have the order of what needs to happen. The members of the family who need routine to become a schedule have the freedom to make it so, either by setting timers themselves or asking for timers to be set. Those who need routine for the comfort, but the freedom to determine when, there is also room created for that.

One of the first things we do as a family when starting our day is to look at the units of rhythm and discuss the day ahead. We highlight the routine items and we talk about the scheduled appointments for the day. Each person gets an opportunity to offer something that they need to be done, even before we start our day. This has already become the first step in the routine.

How do we manage this when our children are still small and we are trying to figure out what their temperament is? It all lies within communication. Talk to your baby and talk through the routine of the day and the planning. Share the units of rhythm with them. A child in need of a more structured schedule will protest and ask for it. A child of free-spirit will complain at the structure. A child in need of the schedule will ask for times and timeslots. They will want to plan and they will want to schedule. Whereas the child who dislikes scheduling will ask for more freedom, they will even ask for order reversals within a routine, they will enjoy impulse trips to the shops or to visit others, or even prefer to play in between the moments of executing the list of routine events. For them if they eat after brushing their teeth, their wheels will not fall off, they completed the task that needed to be done. Allowing each child to choose the order and time in between each routine activity will be an indication of their temperament.

Kids will want to play in between activities anyway. Children are not supposed to be focused all the time, they need the freedom to manage their own routine order, while we as adults manage the scheduled activities.

Watch out for over scheduling your children, especially the free-spirited child’s time. They need the “non-planned” time to survive within the pressures of society and its expectations. By teaching our children that schedules and routines have a space and we need to accommodate each other’s needs within our family unit, we are consciously teaching them inclusivity and stress management.

To the free-spirited parent, find ways to create breaks within your own routine, so that the looming responsibilities of schedules do not overwhelm you. Plan your day in such a way that there is room for impulsivity and freedom of doing whatever you need to in order to manage your own anxiety that comes from schedules. This will in turn teach your schedule loving child that there is room for impulsiveness and that there is room for structure. The more fluidly our children learn to adapt the less anxiety they will experience growing up.

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Change is a given, teaching our kids how to manage it, is important

From birth it is important to allow our children periods of transitioning. Transitioning in this context is moving from one thing to the next. We as adults do it daily and usually fairly smoothly. We move from one activity to the next with very little thought as we power through our day. Infants and children are still learning how to do this. Very few people actually talk about this or even think about this as a skill to be acquired. However, just like learning to walk and talk, our kids need to learn how to transition from one activity to the next without experiencing anxiety.

There are certain personality types who are slow to transition and others who love the pace of fast transitions, however even though there are personality traits involved, the skill of how to manage, prepare for and embrace transition is still a skill to learn. When parents engage it as a skill to be taught, it creates the opportunity for the person who is slow to transition to experience less angst whilst going through a transition and it teaches the fast transitioning person to slow down a bit and think before moving over to the next thing or activity.

Why is this skill so important? Everyday tasks and life in general, is filled with transitions, there are minor transitions like waking up and getting out of bed and major transitions, like changing one’s career path. Teaching our children how to manage this will enable them to find their rhythm in life and also ease the adjustment period for major transitions in life.

So how do we teach them to manage transitions?

  1. Communication is the key: Talk through the changes with them. I.e. it is morning now, we are getting up and out of bed. Then we will change into our daytime clothes. Literally step by step verbal cues. There will come a time where you won’t have to be so focused on detail, but in infancy and toddlerhood, it is best to focus on the details of every transition and preparation for the next step. Knowing what comes next allows us to better manage life in general.
  2. Inform them what the “daily plan” is. Initially just focus on the major highlights, up to the first nap/sleep period. For example, we are getting up and will complete our morning routine, then we will have breakfast and we will play outside. After we have played outside, it will be time for your nap. Obviously as they get older, they will drop their naps, so what is planned for the awake period will have more information. Do not expect your child under the age of 4/5 to remember every step or detail. The aim is to help you plan your day and for them to have some idea of what to expect for the day ahead.
  3. Allow for time to transition between activities. This is such an important aspect of transitioning. In this space there is room for the slow and fast to complete their task or activity and then move to get their minds ready to focus on the next thing. Making use of timers can be helpful. Give a warning that the transition is coming and how much time they have left to focus on the task at hand. Remember you don’t want them to transition immediately, but only when the allocated time to prepare for the transition has been completed. Think of how it affects you when someone interrupts you and expects an immediate reaction. It gets mentally and emotionally exhausting to make the transitions so quickly and it increases our frustration levels. Knowing that you have a transition preparation period, also helps us as parents to plan ahead and rush less. It will help you as a parent to remain connected and present, but it will also teach children the concept of the need to wait for us to complete a task before we can engage with them.
  4. Remember that what kids are doing is not any less important because they are children. So many times adults tend to only focus on what is important to them and we dictate the flow of the day. We plan our days around our own needs and responsibilities and our kids just have to tag along and do as they are told. This is very problematic at its core. The moment kids feel like life is happening to them and who they are and what they do does not rank on the list of priorities, they will start pushing back. They will start acting out, because they feel invisible and disconnected. They also have priorities and plans for the day, so respecting what they are busy with is important. 
  5. Plan the day with your kids: Not all people like to plan, they prefer to take the day as it comes, however, there are some things that must be done during the day and can be fit into a day plan or routine. Eating is one of these, going to the shops or school is another. These are big disruptive transitions that has an impact on our kids. So find a space in the morning routine where you and your child can have a discussion of what has to happen during that day and plan it together.
  6. Prepare your kids for big events or transitions. If there is something like a big event/ holiday/moving or even a parent going away for work or holiday, it is important to discuss this with the kids beforehand. Here, having a calendar they can mark down works wonders. It creates a continuous conversation and space for you to check in with yourself and them about the coming change. It will also help your child prepare as much as they can for the transition. For the slow to adjust kids, when moving or going away on holiday, it really helps to have pictures of where you are going to. It helps them envision what to expect on a basic level.

Not all situations have space for transitioning periods, now what?

Life happens, so it will not always be possible to give transitioning periods before hand, however this should be the exception to the rule. The reason parents may believe that this is more the rule than not, is because we as parents get so wrapped up in the day to day life and ourselves that we forget things, and that places us in a rush or hurry and then we rush our children. So make use of timers for yourself as an adult as well. This may seem excessive, however having alarms set on your mobile device, enables you as a parent to have a less rushed transition yourself. In our home the alarms or timers are usually set to go off 5 min before we actually have to transition. That way we as parents can give the kids a heads up for the coming transition and they have 5 min to ready themselves. Since we have implemented this, our life is less stressed, and we are less flustered when we need to leave or go somewhere.

When there is an emergency and we need to leave immediately or stop an activity immediately, the kids are more likely to comply as they can sense the urgency in our behaviour and they know that this is not the norm. So they are more likely to absorb and manage the transition with ease. 

One of the most practical skills, besides learning how to manage transitions, that grows from this process, is the ability to plan the abstract of a day. This skill will also be able to permeate into school and work life. We all have the same amount of time, but we do not all have the same amount of energy, so learning from infancy how to plan a day or schedule and how to manage transitions, enables us to manage our energy spend and anxiety.

In course 1 – We look at how we do life with our children in deeper detail. Click here for more information and dates on when the next course will be presented. Follow us on Facebook for great videos and other information regarding parenting.


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I opened my mouth and out came the parent I never wanted to be!

I was so angry, fuming! Close to losing the plot completely. I opened my mouth and out she came, the parent I did not want to be. I screamed and ranted, threatened and had to use all my will power not to pick him up and give him a good smack. I found myself reaching over to him and at that very moment I caught sight of the look in his eyes, it wasn’t defiance, it was fear. He was scared of me! The anger drained out of me and regret set in. I never wanted my child to look at me that way, but there we stood, me a grown adult facing down with a toddler over a car seat. I dropped my arm and went down on my knees, my face filled with sorrow, regret and probably my own fear reflected. I was scared that I had reached the point of no-return.

That this was the moment the trust finally was blown to smithereens, but thankfully it wasn’t. I apologised for my reaction and for losing control. After a few minutes of hugging it out and mending our broken hearts, he got in the car seat and off we went. We have had a few more moments like this since then, moments where the parent I don’t want to be, suddenly slips out of my mouth. It happens and it happens because my focus is on the wrong goal.


We often have moments in parenting where we are the opposite of who we want to be. We often as parents have regrets of how we handled a situation. We see the mistakes our parents made and the mistakes others made and we vow not to make those same mistakes. Then in a blink of built up frustration, exhaustion and loss of control, we become what we vowed we will never be. Why does this happen? Why can we not break this cycle?

It all lies within the triggers of our own pain (experiences) and where our focus is.

The pain, is the things we were taught while growing up. The way we were raised to see the role and place of a child in society. Most parents were raised in the belief that kids are ‘lesser than’, that kids are the property of their family. Children are expected to jump at every command, because “well mother/father knows best”. Their identity is shaped by how well they fit into the family, they are expected to adjust and deal and understand far beyond their years and even beyond what is ever expected of adults when they have to accommodate themselves. The “do as I say and not do as I do”, mantra echoed through many a childhood, and here we stand as a result. Looking at our own children, clambering for control over them and struggling to see past the boundary between humans and objects to find an almost blind obedience.

So often it is stated that before having kids, “you may as well talk to the wall”, that is the best way to get used to being blatantly ignored. Ironically they are not ignoring you, they are distracted and probably not really even hearing you in the first place.

Oh, but then what about when they are looking into your eyes and not doing as was told. Surely that must be blatant disobedience, tendering for punishment. Blatant disobedience has to be punished right? Not at all. Before you stop reading, please, indulge me for a few more paragraphs.

Blatant disobedience is a sign that your kid is feeling insecure. Yes, you read that right. They are feeling insecure, and disconnected. They are trying to see if you actually, really care. Contrary to popular belief, they are not testing your resolve, they are measuring your level of care. If you explode and punish, they will be scared of you and not feel connected, actually quite the opposite. Punishment is experienced and interpreted by the brain as an attack, thus they go into fight, flight or freeze, or otherwise stated survival mode. The physiological reactions here actually close the ear canal as it shuts down their brain. So no, they learn nothing except fear and disconnection from the whole ordeal. Blatant disobedience is a cry for connection that has been missing in action for a while.

How do we parent it without punishment? Will they then learn that they can do what they want and never face the consequences of their actions? Not at all. We can parent blatant disobedience with connection. A person who feels connected will be open for correction.

Here lies the challenge for us as parents. It has to come from us. We have to parent ourselves first and we have to work on our own expectations and perceptions.

  • We expect our children to respond immediately when we address them – yet we don’t respond immediately when they talk.
  • We want our children to listen attentively when we ask them something – yet often we have glazed over eyes or tell them to hurry up when they engage us.
  • We expect our children to be honest – yet we love telling them little “white” lies because we feel out of our depth engaging with them.
  • We want our kids to answer us immediately – yet we need time to think and process and expect them to give us that space.
  • We expect our children to respect our time and what we are busy with – yet we make plans without their input and expect them to drop everything immediately and do what we want them to do on our own timeline.

We cannot expect our children to do life differently than us, they model what they see, hear and experience. They do not exist in a vacuum of orders, commands and jumping through hoops. They think, breathe, work, listen, play, do and watch everything we do, they have to, because that is how they survive life.

The reality of these moments, especially blatant disobedience, is that they feel invisible to their parents. They feel like they do not matter and as though they have lost a part of their humanity in the process. Blatant disobedience is a child asking if you still care. Do you still see them? Do they still matter?

When our children do not respond the way we want them to, we lose ‘control’. We experience that loss of control in a defensive way. We feel they are the adversary and we are being attacked, questioned and downright disrespected. We believe that we are in crisis, so we respond as such. We shout and scream, we dole out punishments and make idle, unrealistic and shaming threats. We become the parent we never wanted to be. We think the control we lost was over our child, but that is not the reality. Firstly because children are not objects to be controlled, you will never have control over a person. Secondly the control we lost, was the control over our own emotions and rational thoughts. We were raised to believe that adults control children and when we cannot control our own children, we feel like we have failed and that spins us into even further into the downward spiral. This is the pain of our own childhoods that rears its ugly head.

Our focus. In life when we focus intently on something that is where we will end up. Any biker will tell you that when you go through a bend on the road, you do not look at the bend, but instead you look at the end of the bend while leaning into the turn. Why? Because you will go where you look. So looking straight into the bend guarantees an accident. In the same way, when we start focussing so much on who we don’t want to be as a parent, we accidentally become that parent.

Where we invest our energy is where the output will come from. If we focus on who we do not want to be, we will become that person, because we are not investing energy and time into the person we do not want to be. The irony of this is, that if we focus so much on who we don’t want to be, we struggle to bounce back and move past the mistakes we made. That mistake starts to look like a mountain and this makes us feel even more ashamed and scared. This fear then becomes the driving force within your relationship with your child. This is when you start to fear every tear your child will shed when they do not get what they want. This fear will drive you to become a permissive and extremely punitive parent, because you will start to feel abused by your child’s behaviour and responsiveness to your input into their lives.

Parenting with the focus on who you want to be as a parent, opens you up to invite your child in. It opens up how we look at our children’s behaviour, it becomes easier to ‘read between the lines’ and respond in the way that matters to them. It opens us up to respond with connection first and correction second. It creates opportunities for us to have WOW moments with our kids. Most of all, it opens up the door for us as parents to break the generational cycle of guilt, shame, fear and punishment.

In Course 1 we spend time on how we were raised to view the role and place of a child and how to heal that. Contact us for more information regarding this course.

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Tips to help our children adapt to a new sibling

This is our third instalment on adjusting to growing a family. The first was; why kids take so long to adjust (click here) for the blog and the second one was tips for parents regarding adjusting. (click here) This blog will focus on things to look out for and what to do to help our kids adjust to a new sibling

We are aware that families do not just grow with adding babies, therefore we have focused on the addition of a new sibling in general, whether a baby or an older sibling, however there are things that will be specifically directed at a baby, but it is very possible to adapt those tips and pointers towards older children.

Thank you OA Kridge for this amazing photo

”Kids are resilient and adaptable” a phrase that is uttered to comfort parents when crisis hits the family or when their kids go through a difficult stage. It has become such a common anecdote that it is almost impossible to raise a child and not have heard this phrase said to you at least once. This phrase is true, BUT what everyone neglects to say is that, while they are resilient and adaptable, it takes time and the adaptations they have to master, if not handled with care and wisdom, may become the very reason they need to heal from their childhood trauma as adults.

The reality is that adding a sibling to the family is a form of stress and trauma for a child of any age. How we handle this, will determine how our children experience trust, connection, challenges and relationships in the future. Will they develop abandonment and trust issues or will they thrive and easily make new bonds with people they meet?

Naturally, there are children that seem to “bounce back” faster than others. There are also highly sensitive kids who will need support for a long period of time and loads more patience with the adjustment. That is the reality and nothing a parent can do will change that.

Why do we call it trauma? Trauma is classified as a life event that has a dramatic impact on your life circumstances, which sends it in a different direction. Adding a new sibling changes everything for a child. They used to be responded to almost immediately, now they have to wait. Their parents’ are more tired, thus their patience seems to be less. They now have to take turns being the point of focus for everything and they have to share everything. Add to that the developmental leaps and changes they are also still going through, it becomes messy, emotionally taxing and can quickly spiral into resentment, anger and fear. This is not a change like going away for a holiday where there will be an end to this new adventure, this is a lifelong adjustment and could possibly be a threat to their survival – as a child they perceive it as a direct threat to their well-being.

A kind mother of three shared this stunning anecdote with me when I was pregnant with our second child. She was kind enough to warn me that the adjustment may be tough on our eldest and the way she shared it has stayed with me. When her second was born, their eldest doted on the baby. Lovingly played with baby. When the baby was about 3 weeks old she casually turned to her mom and asked when the baby’s mother is coming to get her, as she would like to have her mommy back now.

Such innocence in that one summary of how she viewed the situation, but such a big reality check. To her this new sibling had taken resources from her and she would like it back now, the problem is, she won’t have the abundance of resources she had before ever again.

Before you ask, you will not ‘not’ have enough love for all your kids, but when helping our kids adjust and adapt, we need to understand that for them, this is a perceived threat, that somehow they will become less important to you when you start dividing your resources between them and a new sibling. Honestly stated in the beginning it is not even a 50/50 division, but rather a bigger chunk of resources will go to the most vulnerable of the family especially in the first few years. The older sibling feels it and experiences it.

How do we navigate this? There are amazing ways to help your older child navigate this and a few things that we as over tired and thinly spread parents have to keep an eye on, if we want this adjustment to happen with as little stress as possible. It may seem like an impossible task, but it is quite possible if you know what to look out for and how to manage it.

What to look out for:


1 .Watch your expectations of the older child/ren.

When the new sibling joins the family, your older child/ren did not suddenly mature beyond their age. They did not have a software update that suddenly enables them to take on more responsibility. They are still the same age they were the day before the new sibling joined the family, they are just now a day older. Keep that in mind. We have often had to field comments from well-meaning friends and family making comments to our eldest like: You are a big brother now, so now you need to do ‘XYZ’. Actually no, he does not have to do anything except be himself and his age. Why is there an increase in expectations regarding behaviour and responsibility from a child just because they are now the oldest? It is not just unfair to the child, but also creates additional unwanted stress for everyone in an already stressful situation

2. Be aware that when life gets going that they are still as part of life as they were before the new sibling arrived.

Try to keep them involved and in mind and not make them feel as though life is happening to them. They already feel very insecure due to the change, pay attention to how often you make them part of what life is – and no, that does not always mean making them help with a diaper change.

3. They will need more reassurance from you, keep track of how often you acknowledge them in kind and loving ways

Try to catch them in the moments where they are doing ‘good’ and reward or praise them for it.

4. Watch out for over compensating

The rules of the house remains the same, but create space for missteps and regression to be met with kindness, understanding and love. They are asking to be seen and recognised, they are not asking for trouble.

11 Tips for helping your child adjust:

1. Create Time:

Create time where you can spend one on one time with the older sibling/s without the new sibling. If the new sibling is a high needs child, invest in a proper baby carrier (you can contact us and we will send you the number of a carrier consultant) – expect the older child/ren to feel like they have not had enough of your time and be teary or clingy when the dedicated time is over, it is normal.

2. Ask them if the WANT to be part of taking care of the new sibling’s needs:

Ask them if they want to be part of taking care of the new sibling’s needs, like changing the diaper or playing or fetching something for the new sibling – If they say no, accept it and don’t push the point. They will find their own ways to bond with the new sibling. Not all people like to bond in the same way, create opportunities for involvement with no string attached. They are not the parent, so taking care of their sibling is not their responsibility.

3. Give them room to just be!

They do not have to love the new sibling from the get go. They WILL love their sibling and contrary to popular belief, the less you as parent involve yourself in their relationship, the stronger their bond will be.- obviously in the beginning you will facilitate opportunities for them to bond – keeping both children safe – but it is their relationship, let them build it for themselves.

4. Catch them when doing ‘good’, not just with the new sibling, but in general.

Kids wants to feel accepted and loved. When we recognise and praise their good choices it creates a positive connected bond with all who are involved.

5. Invite them in

This idea is often related to the ‘give them things to do for the new sibling because kids like to feel helpful’, but it goes further than that. Allow them to say what they feel about the new sibling. You may not always like what they have to say, but don’t judge what they say. Accept what they say and thank them for sharing. Never contradict what they are saying when they express their feelings. It will only lead to suppressed emotions and more fear. They may even say they hate the new sibling, you know that they do not really, but they are limited in how to express themselves and at that point in time, they are actually just stating that they dislike the change in the home environment.

6. Busy boxes

This is a life saver especially in the early weeks and months of having a baby in the home. Have a busy box for every room. This box may only be opened when you are busy with the new sibling and in that particular room. This adds something special to the moment. Add one toy for the new sibling into that box to facilitate bonding, that toy is for the older sibling to use to engage the new sibling with.

7. Special books

We had a variety of books, one in each room and when we were busy feeding or rocking or having to sit for an extended period of time with the youngest, we had books to read for the oldest.

8. Be present

You can sit with the new sibling in your lap and still watch your older children play. Be a sideline commentator while they play, making positive remarks or narrating what you are seeing playing out in front of you i.e. I see you picked the red block, where would you like to put it. That way the older sibling feels acknowledged and loved and in less of competition for survival

9. Hug it out

They feel the stress you feel, so hug them often and hug them long.

10. Laugh and play loudly

It is difficult for a young child to be quiet and often that is what is expected of them when there is a new sibling in the home. Create space to play loudly and laugh and just be. We live in the age of baby monitors, so if the new sibling is sleeping and is okay with not being in your arms, take the monitor, go to the other side of the home if possible and just be silly and loud with your older child/ren. The beauty of laughter and being loud is it releases stress the same way a good cry will release the stress. So all of you will benefit from it.

11. It takes time, and taking time is okay

Some older children (usually age 5 and up) will seem to adapt quite easily to the new normal, do not be fooled by it. Check in with them often, they may just be afraid or feel guilty for not really being okay with the change. They may think that because you as the caregivers are extra stressed that you cannot deal with their negative feelings as well, so they believe they must just be okay. They may also take 6 to 8 months to finally feel that they are out of the woods and then begin to act out. The acting out may come as a perceived over-reaction for something small, but they have been under stress the whole time and the ‘small thing’ is just the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back. It can come through as obstinate disobedience, being more challenging than usual. Be prepared that acting out because of the new normal may only manifest long after it seems that things are finally settling down. When this happen, before scolding or accusing them of deliberate disobedience, talk with them and get to the bottom of it.

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Tips for parents when growing your family

Kids need support when adjusting to change, so do parents, especially when we add another sibling to the family. In the previous blog (see here) we have discussed why. How do we ease the adjustment for us as parents?

We will discuss a few tips and pointers in this blog regarding the adjustment period.

First things first

If the only thing that you as a parent take from this is to remember that it takes a long time to adjust, that all emotions are valid and every person has their own way of dealing within their own time span of how long it will take them to adjust, then it becomes easier to manage our own expectations of this adjustment period.

Adjusting as parents:

Adding a new member to the family is tough on any relationship and often parents shift into survival mode without realising it. The reason is that adding a child to the family creates stress, and a whole new level of stress at that. As parents we often doubt ourselves, generally more often than not. We have to contend with yesteryears’ ideas of raising children and new research that gets released almost daily. From food to development, to emotional and societal health. It becomes a smorgasbord of information and it can become overwhelming. Here is the truth though, parents become ‘parenting fit’. You will grow with your kids. You will make mistakes with your kids and you will do things differently as each child joins the ranks. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, learn from it, correct it and move on.

Very often parenting support focuses on the child, and what to expect from your child, we will go into detail regarding that in a different blog. For now we will look at what to expect from our parenting journey during this adjustment period.

One of the key factors is that the jump from one child to a second is usually overwhelming and very difficult. The most obvious contributing factor of this is that the older child is usually under the age of 7, thus still in an age group where their primary needs are being fulfilled by their parents or caregivers. Just because we added a sibling, does not mean their needs have changed or that they will need us any less. There is an anecdotal belief that after adding a second child, adding more children to the mix is not as big an adjustment as going from one to two. However, it is undeniable that adding any number of children to a family creates its own emotional stress and an adjustment period where every single member of the family needs time to acclimatise to the new normal.

This is a learning curve and a steep one at that, for all parties involved. Some of the things we hoped other parents would have told us when we made our family bigger were:

  • It is okay to feel overwhelmed, you will feel it often.
  • What is fair isn’t always equal.
  • Feeling jealous is normal for parents and children during this time – it is tough and as much as you love the new addition, you may miss your freedom or even perceive the other to have more freedom than yourself.
  • Tomorrow really is another day.
  • Parenting guilt comes in big waves, if it hits, don’t let it drown you.
  • It is okay to wonder if you have made a mistake on the hard days.
  • Not all of the days will be hard, not all of the days will be good. Having average days is normal.
  • Your kid’s personalities may clash and it is okay if they do.
  • Your older child may express severe negative feelings or behaviour towards their younger baby sibling – It is normal and to be expected. The baby is the source of change and their discomfort with adjustment. Them stating their negative feelings about the new sibling is okay and to be expected. It does not mean that they don’t love them, they are just not happy about the change in that particular moment.

Tips for adjusting as parents:

  1. While planning or expecting the new baby, discuss as parenting partners the changes that lie ahead

Discuss the adjustment to parenting roles and expectations, the roles will shift and change due to the need to meet all the children’s and the parent’s needs. The secondary parent will have to become more actively involved with taking care of the children as well as the running of the home. This includes cooking and cleaning, feeding and bathing.

If you are a single parent, look at the above and work out a rough plan as to how you are going to a your expectations of how your home will look, how your day to day is likely to go. What things are vitally important to not only your own survival, but your own peace of mind? Can you get by for a while if you only wash dishes once or twice a week, if you can, how will you manage the dirty dishes so that it does not make you feel uncomfortable or anxious? Can you move some things around in your kitchen so that the older kids can help themselves to healthy snacks without needing you to help them? How can you adjust your home to accommodate self-reliance if needs be for your older kids? It is often the simple physical changes in the home that can make the adjustment easier and open up time to give the attention to the older kids that they so desperately need during this adjustment period.

Basically create a blueprint for the roles and responsibilities, it is not set in stone as each child is different and you need space to adjust your blueprint according to how the family will function as a unit, but having something to work from eases the conversations that needs to happen during this period.

2. Lean into the change

Parents and children alike experience “brain fog” or stress during this adjustment period, your child may show signs of regression i.e. was sleeping through or no longer wet the bed to not sleeping through anymore and wetting the bed again. It is normal for them to react this way and it will take time for them to master the skills again as the stress they experience starts to dissipate. Be honest about your own energy levels and plan your day to day according to it, ease into this and don’t be afraid to say no to an invite or even decline an outing when you are not coping.

3. Don’t expect a clean home.

While you are busy with your new addition to the family, your older kids may get up to mischief and make a mess in another room, try to minimise their access to things that cannot be cleaned easily and maximise access to things that can be cleaned easily.

Don’t scream or fight about the mess, ask them calmly to help you clean up. This is tough as we are already tired and stressed and it usually happens when we are at the end of our rope.

Kids are often mirrors of our emotional well-being. So when we have had enough of the stress, they have had enough and act out, physically showing us what we and they are feeling emotionally. Try to remember this and find grace in your heart and mind for yourself and for them.

4. Expect both parents to feel strain and exhaustion.

Rest opportunities are usually more limited when having more than one child as you don’t have an extra pair of hands to help ease the load. Take things slowly and day by day.

5. The older child can wait a minute or two

When they have to wait, expect whining and maybe even some anger. It is normal for them as they are used to very responsive parents and now they are experiencing the opposite. Breathe and remember that as much as whining can drive anyone dilly, they are whining because they are not used to having to share you and they do feel left out.

6. Try to make time to spend with your significant other.

In the first two years it may not be just the two of you spending time together, but even just lying on the bed next to each other with the children all over you, you still get time to connect.

7 .Don’t be afraid to ask for help or what you need

Even when a friend comes to visit and you need help with the dishes, ask them to help. It takes a village to raise a child, or so the saying goes. It does take a village to support a family and support often comes in overalls and hands in soapy water.

8. Communicate your needs clearly

Have grace with yourself and your partner. You are both going to make mistakes and sometimes big ones during this period. No person is a mind reader and we all have different ideas of what needs to take priority in the moment, so talk things through. Be open to suggestions from your partner and be willing to re-evaluate your blue print when necessary.

9. Have that cup of tea or coffee while it is hot.

Allow self-care to happen, initially self-care will probably be with a baby on your chest, while you take a long bath. Take time to relax and recharge. It lifts the brain fog and enables you to parent both kids with a more rational mind. = This one takes practice and should happen daily to get used to it and develop the habit even if it is just 5 minutes.

Please feel free to comment below or follow us on Facebook. Look out for our next blog on this vital topic, where we will discuss tips to help our kids adjust to the change.

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