WHY WE NEED TO LEARN FROM OUR NORDIC NEIGHBOURS REGARDING CHILDCARE

 

So, you decide to have a family.  Great.  You are given maternity leave.  Great.  You are then told you need to go back to work or you decide to continue with your career.  Great.  You then search for childcare that you can afford.  Not so great.

 

The UK has the most expensive childcare models in the developed world.  It costs on average £218 a week for full time care.  The cost is every increasing, yet wages don’t keep up.  This has forced many parents (particularly women) to reduce their hours at work or leave work altogether.

 

childcare

 

In Scandinavia, access to childcare for younger children is a formal right.  They also have restrictions on the maximum level parents must pay which is set by their Government.  Not in the UK though.

 

The difference between the countries is plain and simple.  Public support.  Public support for reduced childcare in Sweden, Norway and Denmark is high whereas in the UK it is low.  I am a mother and maybe I would say this, but I strongly believe in publicly-provided childcare for everyone.  My reasoning is that childcare is an investment.  An investment in children no matter where they live, no matter what the socio-economic status of their parents, no matter what their abilities.  Good quality childcare has a proven track record of setting children up for the best start in life.

 

It is disappointing then that Westminster decided to scrap the childcare voucher scheme.  Over 450,000 parents use the Childcare voucher scheme.  Employees can receive vouchers worth up to £55 per week in lieu of their salary making it very tax efficient.  They have had a reprieve though by six months.  This is because of the glitches in the HMRC website which has meant people haven’t been able to set up their accounts for the alternative system.

 

This is just one of many problems that parents are experiencing as they try their best to keep a job while providing the best support for the children.

 

There is one other issue that we also need to be aware of.  How we treat women and mothers.  Affordable and accessible childcare allows mothers to take part in or continue to take part in the labour market.  After all we are all told to be part of society we must work!  Yet the lack of affordable and accessible childcare means mothers often must reduce their hours or leave work altogether.

 

I would therefore like us all to learn from our Nordic neighbours and treat children and young people as valuable members of our society and continue to improve gender equality for women who want to work.

 

 

 

 

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A GUIDE TO THE SCHOOL RUN

Mornings can be a stressful time of day – sleeping in, getting ready, rushing around trying to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. Then comes the added stress of sitting traffic, hoping you manage to make it on time. The same applies to the school run, except you are now responsible for more than just yourself. According to a recent survey, 77% of parents describe the school run as more stressful than work or grocery shopping, and 80% confessed to losing their temper with their children on the drive to school.

 

One in five cars on the road during the morning peak are doing the school run. This is no surprise – in 2014, nearly half (44%) of primary school children travelled to school via a car. However, this could be about to change. Following recent reports about the UK’s attempt to reduce air pollution from fossil fuels, by banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040, parents who drive the school run could be fined up to £130 under a new pilot scheme. The scheme aims to improve road safety and crack down on air pollution.

 

With parents admitting the school run routine is stressful and chaos, surely there is a simpler alternative to complete the school run. Here at Motorparks, we strive for a better motoring experience. As September approaches, it’s almost time to start another school year and for the daily school runs to resume. Therefore, this guide will outline how you can do the daily school run with ease.

 

drive kids to school
Keep stress to a minimum

Plan ahead! It might sound obvious, but organisation is key. Planning everything the evening before will save you a lot of time and stress in the morning. Lunches, PE kits and uniforms – set them out, prepare them and pack them on an evening. This will help your morning run smoothly without any blips. If possible, try and leave five minutes early as well to get a head start in the morning traffic.

 

When you’re in the car, keep spirits high. Don’t let whatever happened before you left the house get under your skin – losing your temper with your children before they go to school will leave things on bad terms for the full day.

 

The best cars for the school run

 

To make the school run a comfortable drive, Motorparks recommend a few models which particularly stand out as ‘family cars’ that are perfect for the school run. From the Ford S-Max to the VW Golf estate, packing size into a road-friendly car will ensure you have enough room for the whole family. However, you don’t need a big car for the school run – the new Ford Fiesta is ample size to take the kids to school. Available with five doors and a substantial boot, there’s room for you and the kids plus their PE kits, football boots, lunch boxes and homework bags.

 

Alternatives

With a new scheme set to be put in place for school run drivers, you could also consider travel alternatives for the school run. 80% of seven and eight year olds walked to and from school alone or with a friend in the early 1970s – however, two decades later, this figure has decreased to 10% of children walking to school, most of whom are now accompanied by their parent or guardian. With 28% of children under the age of 16 now classed as overweight, encouraging your children to walk to school is a good start.

 

Currently, only 4% of children are cycling to school. This small percentage is a result of parents not allowing their children to cycle on the roads, with traffic danger being a parent’s main concern. However, cycling to school helps children to develop road safety and independence.

 

 

The school run doesn’t need to be stressful – the key to a smooth school run is organisation. Prepare as much as possible the evening before so that you aren’t running around on a morning. With careful organisation, you’ll be able to leave on time or early to make the morning traffic more like a walk in the park.

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4 FUN WAYS TO ENGAGE WITH YOUR TEENAGER & GIVEAWAY

Keeping in touch with your teenager as they grow can be challenging.  However, there are a few tactics which will strengthen your relationship and be fun too!  While some activities you may not be too keen on, it’s better to think of the bigger picture and why you are doing them.  It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know your teenager all over again, what they like and don’t like and your relationship will also be more relaxed.

 

Go Walking

walking as a way of having fun with your teenager

Walking is good for you and the fresh air is also great.  The leaves are starting to fall from the trees so it’s the best time to go for a walk and kick up some leaves.  My son loves doing this still and it’s the perfect time to have a chat without the constraints of sitting side by side.  This also helps if it’s a topic they feel embarrassed about!

 

Cooking & Baking

cooking and baking ways to have fun with your teenager

Everyone loves making buns, and even better is eating them!  Get your teenager in the kitchen and cook together.  It also improves communication skills.  Remember it is a fun activity so don’t get too hung up on any mess that is made!

 

Watch a Movie

watching a movie ways to have fun with your teenager

Let your teenager choose a movie and watch it with them.  It may not be Shakespeare but that’s not the point.  Get your popcorn and be ready for an action packed movie.

 

Arts & Crafts

arts and crafts ways to connect with your teenager

 

Making things together is another great way to engage with your teenager.  It can be anything for making Christmas cards or painting and drawing.  You could even taken a course together.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult engaging with your teenager but if you engage in something fun together connecting will start to improve.  Having fun together most certainly increases that connection.

 

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Are you a parent of a teen? Here are some ways you can continue to engage with them plus a giveaway. Head over to read the post now.

 

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6 TOP TIPS TO HELP YOU DISCIPLINE YOUR TEENAGER

Disciplining is difficult as a parent at the best of times.  It becomes even more difficult with teenagers.  Having a balance between instilling independence in your teenager to setting boundaries means as a parent we have a fine line to tread.

 

Below I’ve listed some ways to help you with discipline for your teenagers.

 

Stay calm & don’t overreact

In the heat of the moment this is the most difficult thing to do but it’s also important.  If you need to give yourself time to calm down, remove yourself from the situation for as long as you need.  Also, do you need to say anything at all?  For example you may not agree with your teenager’s haircut or fashion so let it be.  Of course talk to your partner but some things are best left alone as saying something can cause more problems.

 

Be clear & precise

If you have rules make sure your teenager knows about them and they are clear and fair.  This means if your teenager breaks the rule they know exactly what the consequences are.  I would also suggest you make the ground rules together and talk about what is fair and unfair consequences.

 

Listen first, act second

Don’t go rushing in to a judgement or a punishment without listening to what your teenager has to say.  They may have a valid reason for something but you won’t know until you listen.  Hear what your teenager has to say and then take time to respond in a calm manner.

 

Appropriate punishment

Be fair with your punishment and let the punishment fit the crime.  Of course it will depend on the seriousness of what they have done but again have in your mind what kind of punishments would be suitable for different situations.

 

Follow through

I find this is tough, not just for me but for most parents.  Believe in the ground rules you have set and always follow through.  If you don’t then your teenager will start to take advantage.  Consistency is key to this.   Ask for your partner’s help with this.

 

Don’t forget to praise your teenager

If your teenager has done something good or has consistently kept within the rules, praise them.  This will help your teenager’s self esteem.

 

I hope these tips will help you with disciplining your teenager.  Remember teenagers will want to do different things from what we want them to.  They will also want to find their own way in the world and will rebel against you.  It’s a normal part of growing up.  Before you do discipline your teenager, remember to ask yourself if the situation warrants it.

 

Good luck, let me know how you get on.

 

Head over to 7 top tips for a thriving relationship with your teenager to find out how you can connect more.

Want to learn how to connect more to your teenager?  My connecting to your teenager 101 is here to help.

Want some tips to be a great parent to your teenager?  Head over to my 8 Top Tips to Help you be an awesome parent to your teen to read more.

 

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Need help with disciplining your teen?  My top tips will help you on this journey.  Head over to www.elfeelgoodsvintage.uk to read how.

 

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HOW THIS GAME PLAN CAN HELP YOU PARENT YOUR TEENAGER

 

 

I don’t know about you but there are days when I need a little bit of help parenting.  I try my best to have a great relationship with my teenager as it seems to help with everyone in the household being happy and content.

 

I’ve pulled together what I’m calling a game plan for anyone who needs that little bit of support parenting a teenager.

 

parenting teenagers

Game Plan Priority 1:  Eat dinner together

Meal times, especially dinner is a great opportunity to catch up with my teenager and talk about what has happened during the day and whatever other things are going on in his life.  It’s also a great opportunity to spot any problems that might arise.  I find this connection to be an important part of staying connected to your teen.

 

Game Plan Priority 2:  Establish together time

As well as meal times, I try and check in a few times a day.  I find that open communication seems to help especially if my son has any issues.  Of course there are times when he doesn’t want to talk but I try and go with the flow on that one!  Also, there are times when I go for a walk with him.  This is a great opportunity for a chat but I just wish he would walk slower!  You can find more ways of communicating with my blog post here.

 

Game Plan Priority 3:  Appropriate Parenting

This has been the most difficult aspect of parenting a teen.  Having an appropriate way to deal with the issues which are sometimes presented.  Understanding that you teenager is growing up and needs more freedom is the first step to being able to parent in an appropriate way without over-reacting.  An example of this was when my teenager wanted to dye his hair – I decided to let him and also help him do it!

 

Game Plan Priority 4:  Keeping the communication going

No matter what is going on in our lives, I try my best to keep the lines of communication going with my teenager.  It’s an important tool to know what is going on – after all if you know then you can help them.  At the moment I am trying to be a better listener and ask open ended questions to encourage my son to continue engaging with us.

 

 

 

I hope the game plan helps you parent your teen.  This is an exciting and challenging time for us as parents.  It’s especially challenging when teens shift their focus from us as mummies and daddies to their peers and other passions.  It is critical then to ensure we remain connected to them and continue to guide them.

 

I’d love to know what challenges you are facing as a parent of a teen.  Feel free to get in touch.

 

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Help with parenting your teenager.

 

Need some tips to help your teen on their shaving journey?  Head over to my blog post on Top Shaving Tips 🙂

5 TOP SHAVING TIPS FOR PARENTS TO PASS TO THEIR TEENAGERS

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