The ABC’s Of Conscious Parenting {Book Review}

I had an interesting discussion with some mama-friends a few days ago, as their almost two year olds are beginning to leave ‘baby’ behind, and welcoming toddlerhood. We discussed permissive parenting, and how it differs from conscious or positive or a word I really like, mindful parenting, and I wanted to share with you a resource that I found particularly helpful in understanding the desire in my heart – which is to gently parent my daughters – and balancing that against the fear of a thousand voices in my head, telling me I was going to ruin my children by ‘giving in’, by not ‘controlling’ and by treating them as equals. Or in other words, how I could parent them gently without being permissive.

One of the first things you learn as a parent is that what you thought you knew about having children and parenting and what you actually know about them are two different things. One of the biggest lessons for me in parenting has involved ‘shifting paradigms’ and changing my preconditioned ideas to a manner that suits my children better.

In this eBook and accompanying audio-session, Lori Petro discusses Conscious Parenting, what it is, why it matters to children, and looks at some myths about Conscious, Gentle or Positive parenting – the biggest one I’m confronted with in my own life being that these styles are ‘permissive’. (They are not). 

Conscious Parenting is a love based philosophy that doesn’t use punitive or ‘reward’ style parenting.

To me, it’s a follow on from Attachment or Natural parenting, and is pretty much the same thing as Gentle Parenting or Positive Parenting.

This audio class isn’t  about changing your mind or telling you how to parent, but about equipping people who want to try a different model of parenting – one of love based parenting. It’s not a set of rules for you to follow, and it’s less ‘hippy’ than most people assume, because it’s actually confirmed in a lot of science and research about child development, the developing brain, and how either traditional or conscious parenting affects a young brain.

Parenting isn’t done to a child, it’s a relationship, based on mutual respect and  understanding and developed bond.

Lori talks about the two ‘paradigms’ of parenting, the traditional and conscious.

We all know what traditional paradigm says is ‘right’ but in conscious parenting, we work on through empathy, and use guidance instead of control because control breeds resistance. Conscious parenting isn’t about coddling children but about teaching them how to manage their emotions and respect other people by respecting the child.

Speak to your children the way you would to your friends. Parenting without punishment requires connection.

Lori talks about how brain science has really exploded in the last twenty years, and how we now understand so much more about the developing brain, and how it informs so much of our lives – like for instance the fact that car insurance drops at 25, because we’ve (most of us) developed beyond the irrational and impulsive phase that starts in toddlerhood by age 25.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for parents, I think – in our home, at least – is having appropriate expectations. I so often hear my husband say ‘she’s x-years old, she should be able to… ‘ and it’s something we argue about, because you can’t determine development by chronological age, which is something the ABC’s of conscious parenting addresses beautifully too.

Whatever kids experience is what they will give back

A big lesson for me in this talk was about identifying the need that is causing the behaviour. Behaviour being a child’s way of communicating.  Lori says, “Start to see behavior as a form of communication and a strategy to meet a basic human need and you’ll begin to find it easier to stay in a place of compassion.”

Finally, this talk also looks at how we can approach the compassionate form of communication with our children, things like empathy, listening and also looking at our own pasts, and dealing with any painful memories from our own parents, so as to build emotional intelligence.

The difference between traditional and conscious paradigms of parenting lies in this: we want children to have an authentic drive to be caring, compassionate, kind etc, rather than to be those things because they are afraid of punishment. That’s where the difference comes in… the focus on behaviour only or the focus on relationship, which leads to desired behaviour.

Lori also gives you five ‘tools’ that you can use, if you want to, to ‘guide’ yourself through difficult interactions with your child.

It’s interesting to me, as I sit here evaluating my own behaviours as a parent, knowing exactly at which moment I have a choice as to whether I’m going to shout or going to follow the non-violent communication model, which I would use without question with students in my adult-classroom, back before children!  So now, it’s just about changing my paradigm, and treating my children the same way as I would another adult, in terms of dealing with behaviour. I sure couldn’t lean over a student shouting at them, and mostly, they wouldn’t accept it either. So why, oh why, would it be okay or acceptable to do it to my children.

Taking a little over an hour out of my day to listen to this talk by Lori Petro has given me a lot to think about, and reminded me of some of the areas in which I could do to take a breath and try again.

 

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The ABCs of Conscious Parenting

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Boost And Revive Your Parenting With The Mindful Parenting eBundle Sale

I’m very excited to promote the Mindful Parenting eBundle Sale, organized by Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama, Lauren from Hobo Mama, and Laura from Authentic Parenting!

The Mindful Parenting eBundle consists of 21 titles by esteemed parenting authors. This is a handpicked selection of e-books, workshops, e-magazines, and audio, with themes such as creativity and play, peaceful guidance, mindfulness for mothers, children and food, self-care and relaxation, and more.

The total value of these, if you bought them all yourself would be US$236/ £155.95/ AUS$245.05.

This whole bundle is for sale between 28 May and 10 June 2013 for US$24.95/£16.49/AUS$25.90

I’ll share with you the list of contributors, then tell you what excites me about this bundle:

 

 

  1. Parenting for Social Change by Teresa Graham Brett
  2. A Unique 7-Step Parenting Tool: Sleep talking by Marcy Axness (I have personally used parts of this technique and seen benefits from it. I highly recommend it!)
  3. Relaxation Meditation, audio by Amy Phoenix of Presence Parenting (Amy Phoenix is amazing. She is so wise, I often turn to her for advice!)
  4. Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting by Rebecca Eanes of Positive Parents
  5. Issue three of the Play Grow Learn magazine by Christie Burnett of Childhood 101
  6. Getting Back on Track! Why We Explode and What We Can Do About it, audio by Genevieve Simperingham of Peaceful Parent Institute
  7. Stress Relief for parents, audio by Genevieve Simperingham of Peaceful Parent Institute
  8. Creative Play Workshop, email course by Gina Kimmel of Connecting Family and Seoul and Katherine Lockett of Creative Playhouse
  9. Mindset for Moms by Jamie Martin
  10. Moods of Motherhood by Lucy Pearce of Dreaming Aloud
  11. 42 Rules for Divorcing with Kids by Melinda Roberts
  12. Mommy Overwhelm by Laura Schuerwegen of Authentic Parenting
  13. Nurturing Creativity, Guide for Busy Parents by Renee Tougas of Tougas Café
  14. The Playful Family by Shawn Ledington Fink
  15. Poetry of a Hobo Mama by Lauren Wayne of Hobo Mama
  16. Encouraging Words for Kids by Kelly Bartlett of Parenting From Scratch – I wrote about this book last year. It’s fantastic. One of my favourite ever!)
  17. Raising a Creative Kid by Jillian Riley of A Mom With a Lesson Plan
  18. Children and Food by Tara Wagner of The Organic Sister
  19. Coming of Age, audio by DeAnna L’Am
  20. The Parenting Primer, A Guide to Positive Parenting in the First Six Years by Michelle Carchae of The Parent Vortex
  21. A lovely freebie by Jennifer Saleem of Hybrid Rasta Mama: The Mindful Mothering Challenge.
There’s so much to learn and gain from this bundle, I cannot wait to get started reading!

This bundle is available from MAY 28 to JUNE 10.

 

 

Galt Toys Playnest Review And Competition

I am such a fan of Galt Toys, that I could, quite frankly, feature their products every month and not run out of things Iove for both Ameli and Aviya. This week, however, it’s an Aviya toy that we’re raving about: The Galt Playnest

At only 12 weeks old, we’ve no where near gone through the full potential of  uses of the Galt Playnest, and we’ll have plenty of use out of it still, but I’ll tell you what we love so far.

The Farm Playnest is an inflatable donut covered with bold, bright and colourful washable nylon cover. Galt says that it’s suitable from birth, and depending on your use of it, tend to agree.

With Aviya, I’ve put a thin pillow in the hollow of the ring and put her on her side to sleep during the day while we’re in the living room. I’ve also been using (and in fact recommending in baby massage class!) the playnest for tummy time from birth. Because you can put the baby at an angle, they can have gentle pressure on the belly while still having somewhere to rest their heads*.

Aviya’s been holding her head up pretty much since birth, so it’s been easy for us to do. Also, since the ring is inflatable, it is soft against the belly which I think would be ideal for babies who ‘don’t like’ being on their tummies* (they don’t like it because they’re not used to it. If put on their tummies from birth, most babies will prefer it as a sleep position as it continues their natural womb like positioning.)

I’ve also used it without the pillow for her to lean back on so that she can look around and be part of what’s going on in the room. I particularly like that if Aviya slides over to the side, she can’t fall off anything, like the sofa. It’s a nice, contained, safe space, and because she’s not flat on her back or in the same position for too long, I don’t have to worry about flat head syndrome either*.

I was a bit concerned initially that it would pop if Ameli tried to get on it with her sister, but after a few weeks of both of them in the playnest, and her bouncing in, out and on it, I no longer have that fear. It’s pretty sturdy and stands up to toddlerhood.

As for activities, we’ve not had to pay too much attention to what it offers yet, as Aviya’s not there yet, but it does have things like a squeaker in the duck bill, crinkly ‘flaps’, a squishy pig’s nose and fluffy sheep’s head. I think for a younger baby, I’d prefer it to have arches as at the moment there’s not much on it to entertain her, but then, she is 12 weeks old! As she gets older, sits up and becomes more engaged in her environment, I think she’ll love the playnest and I’ll love the security it offers.

On a slightly different note – I was concerned this would have a playpen feeling, like she’d be trapped in it, which I wouldn’t like. Having it inflated and in use, however, I don’t think that will be the case at all. It’s not something that could be used to ‘contain’ a crawler, so it should definitely be used with adult supervision, especially if you have a cuddly toddler and a baby and especially if baby is sleeping in it.

Overall, though, we love this Galt Farm Playnest.

*These are my thoughts, not Galt claims.

Competition

If you’d like to win a Galt Farm Playnest, visit the Galt website, then come back here and let me know what other Galt product you like.

For an additional entry, (which is not compulsory, and is not sponsored by Facebook and which has nothing to do with Facebook or its employees) you can like Galt Toys on Facebook, and leave a second comment below saying you have. Also, leave a message on their wall telling them I sent you!

This competition finishes at 23:59 on 18 June and the winner will be randomly drawn. Winners will be announced here and on the Diary of a First Child Facebook Page. Please check these to find out who won.

AND THE WINNER IS

Please read the competition rules.

You do not have to tweet or share this competition to enter, and doing so does not give you additional entries unless otherwise stated, but doing so helps ensure that I can keep bringing you competitions! You can subscribe to Diary of a First Child by RSS  or to our competitions only RSS feed or email. You can also follow us on Facebook or on Twitter. We hope to see you back again soon!

BecoFeeding Set Review And Competition (UK Only)

You’ll know from my previous posts about BecoThings that I absolutely love their products. Their BecoPotty is our potty of choice, and I love that we can use it as a plant pot when both our girls are toilet ready. I love the BecoStep too. It’s sturdy, strong and Ameli drags it from her easel to the sink to the change table to see what’s going on a few centimetres above her head.

Now BecoThings have brought out something new: A BecoFeeding Set. This is made from the same eco-friendly material – plant fibres from bamboo and rice husks – and are sustainably made. They are also BPA and Phthalates free – which when dealing with my little girl’s food, is a winner to me.

Available in the standard pink and blue, and also a lovely green, the set consists of a bowl, plate and cup, all with really unique shapes.

The ‘Slim Design’ cup is an oval shape, with raised sides to avoid spilling – if you can convince your minor to drink from the correct side! What is a bonus though is that the ‘slim’ design makes it a lot easier for little hands to hold on to than the standard round cup, which has on more than one occasion escaped from Ameli’s hands.

The bowl also has curves, which looks nice. It is quite shallow, but ideal for pasta and cereal, and the plate is a lovely flowery shape, with raised sides to prevent food from being shifted right off the plate in an attempt to get it onto cutlery.

The BecoThings BecoFeeding set is top drawer dishwasher safe, and food safe, but not microwave safe.

Available for £11.99, the BecoThings BecoFeeding set can be found online at BecoThings or in a variety of shops.

Competition

The BecoThings BecoFeeding set can be yours if you’re the luck winner of the set. To stand a chance of winning,  leave a comment below to let us know which colour you’d prefer.

For an additional entry, (which is not compulsory, and is not sponsored by Facebook and which has nothing to do with Facebook or its employees) you can like BecoThings, and leave a message on their wall saying I’ve sent you.

This competition finishes at 23:59 on 7 May and the winner will be randomly drawn. Winners will be announced here and on the Diary of a First Child Facebook Page. Please check these to find out who won.

AND THE WINNER IS:

 

 

 

 

Please read the competition rules.

You do not have to tweet or share this competition to enter, and doing so does not give you additional entries unless otherwise stated, but doing so helps ensure that I can keep bringing you competitions! You can subscribe to Diary of a First Child by RSS  or to our competitions only RSS feed or email. You can also follow us on Facebook or on Twitter. We hope to see you back again soon!

 

 

Cheeky Wipes Reusable Wet Wipes Review And Competition

While we’ve never escaped nappies, with a toilet averse toddler, we’re about to embark on the journey all over again. While I’m really keen to try part time Elimination Communication down the line, I know that our lives and our life styles, and the fact that I don’t actually have ‘maternity leave’ (I work part time so it’s not a crises) are not conducive to ECing a newborn. So, we’re back to nappies and setting up our supply to suit a newborn too.

While we made the switch from standard wet wipes to Jackson Reece Herbal and biodegradable wipes a long time ago, it’s still an expense, even if we only use them for dirty nappies. But we’ve slowly been making a change to cloth wipes for wet  nappies and dirty hands and faces.

Now, I know it’s entirely possible to make your own wipes out of old cloths, flannels and so on, I’ve just never got that far. I did, however, find something called Cheeky Wipes, and I absolutely love them.

For £40, the all-in-one kit includes 25 gorgeously soft 15x15cm terry towelling cloth baby wipes, which are now available in white, pink and blue, a Fresh Baby Wipes container, a Mucky Baby Wipes container with a mesh bag insert, a Fresh Baby Wipes waterproof travel bag, a Mucky Baby Wipes waterproof travel bag with a mesh bag insert, a 10ml bottle of Lavender and Chamomile oil blend for your fresh wipes and a Tea Tree and Tea Tree Lemon essential oil blend for your mucky container.

(Bits and pieces can be bought separately too.)

Cheeky Wipes are now on the 3rd version of their containers, which is a good thing because I really struggled with the lid on the 2nd version, but the clip on the new ones is much easier to use and operate one handed while holding on to a squirmy child.

So here’s what makes these wipes great:

You have two containers filled with water and essential oil. One has clean wipes in, the other dirty. In the dirty wipes container you have a mesh bag which you can pull out and pop your wipes into the washing machine, and dispose of the dirty water down the toilet. If you’re using it at home, we don’t even do that – we just leave dirty wipes in the washing basket with the dirty nappies ready to be washed.

The same goes for the ‘out and about’ kit – they’re waterproof – we’ve had no leaks, and when you get home you separate the mesh inside from the waterproof outside, wipe out the outside and put the mesh bag in your washing machine, so there’s no need to fiddle about with dirty wipes.

Out the machine you don’t have to wait for the Cheeky Wipes to dry as they just go in fresh water back in the clean wipes container and you’re set to start again.

So for us, Cheeky Wipes are a huge saving.While £40 seems like a big outlay initially, especially when we still use wipes for dirty toddler nappies, the saving on wipes is astronomical. We could easily go through a bag of wipes in just a few days – say five days, and while they’re sometimes on sale, they’re often up to £2 a bag… that means we can easily spend £40 in just three to four months. We’ve been in nappies for two years… that means we could easily have spent £240 on wipes so far. (My child has a very sensitive skin, so I can’t use the chemical-laden cheaper brands either.)

Competition

Cheeky Wipes have offered one Diary of a First Child reader the chance to win a set of Cheeky Wipes. In order to enter the competition, leave a comment below telling me which colour wipes and which essential oil combination you would prefer.

For an additional entry, (which is not compulsory, and is not sponsored by Facebook and which has nothing to do with Facebook or its employees) you can like Cheeky Wipes on Facebook, and leave a message on their wall saying I’ve sent you.

This competition finishes at 23:59 on 5 March  and the winner will be randomly drawn. Winners will be announced here and on the Diary of a First Child Facebook Page. Please check these to find out who won. 

 

 

 

 

Please read the competition rules.

You do not have to tweet or share this competition to enter, and doing so does not give you additional entries unless otherwise stated, but doing so helps ensure that I can keep bringing you competitions! You can subscribe to Diary of a First Child by RSS  or to our competitions onlyRSS feed or email. You can also follow us on Facebook or on Twitter. We hope to see you back again soon!

Top Reviews For 2011

Diary of a First Child grew so much in 2011 and the support we received from brands and companies was pretty amazing. While we try to keep things as natural and environmentally friendly as possible, we also live in the ‘real world’ and I’ll admit, sometimes I too reach for the convenient, the beautiful, the luxurious and so on.

Below are the best products we reviewed in 2011 in two categories: Better for Babies and Top Picks.Read more: Top Reviews For 2011

Green People Organic Toothpaste For Children Review

Toothpaste and toothbrushing. The nemesis of most parents, I think, and one we pretty much avoided by not brushing teeth regularly, but counting on night feeds of breastmilk  to clean the teeth – that’s been my totally unscientific solution, anyway.

We eventually started brushing Ameli’s teeth a few months ago now, but we made it into a game.  I decided to take a few months to make a few years simpler… and so far so good. So what we do now is that I brush her teeth as quickly but all-over as possible in the time she’ll not fight, and then let her ‘brush’ her own teeth – which is entirely unsuccessful in actual cleaning.
Read more: Green People Organic Toothpaste For Children Review

Hello Mellow Organic Massage Oil Review And Competition

I absolutely loved doing baby massage with Ameli as a newborn. I felt that it benefitted her, it gave us something special to do together, rather than me just staring at her in awe, and it gave me a lot of confidence in handling her:  I became a lot less frightened of her fragility and less scared of breaking her.

With the arrival of Squidgy, early next year, I’ve been looking at different massage oils and trialling them on a barely obliging 23-month old (in a week she’ll be two, so bear with me  as I relish still counting her age in months for a few days!)

Recently, we’ve been using Organic Monkey’s Hello Mellow Organic Massage Oil for the bed time massage routine. Overall, I love it.  But I’ll break that down into an actual review for you:
Read more: Hello Mellow Organic Massage Oil Review And Competition

VivoBarefoot Children’s Shoes Review & Competition

When Ameli was just starting to walk, I took her out onto the grass one day and she hated it. She screamed, wanted up and cried. I was mortified at the thought that my London-born, concrete jungle baby might not like the outdoors. I was assured by friends that this was not abnormal, and that she just needed to get used it.  Fortunately, they were somewhat accurate, but I did decide  there and then that Ameli would need to go barefoot more often. Read more: VivoBarefoot Children’s Shoes Review & Competition