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I was invited to go into “The voice”, Barnstaple, a local radio station in North Devon to chat about my blog.

I have been on the radio several times before; when I was campaigning to upgrade my local park (read more about this in my post titled power to the people-battle to upgrade Rock park) and when radio Devon asked me to comment on one of their parenting discussions, so I wasn’t feeling at all nervous this time.

First of all my sister who was pushing my wheelchair and I entered the building by the wrong door but a kind gentleman soon put us right and made me a coffee as we were early.

At 10.15 the appointed time we went into the studio where I sat in front of the microphone.

I asked the D.J. Paul Hopper if I was going to broadcast live, to which he replied,”Yes”.

He asked me a few questions, such as why I blog and what I write about. I think I answered the questions quite well and tried hard not to speak  too quickly ( which is something that I am aware that I tend to do).

Afterwards I realised that I had forgotten to mention during the broadcast that as well as writing parenting/child minding tips and advice I also review related products, but it was too late now.

After the interview had finished I asked Paul if he would be kind enough to send me a copy of the recording- here it is:

A few friends and relations told me afterwards that they had listened to the show when it went out and that I did well and sounded great (personally, I don’t like the sound of my own voice).

I would recommend other bloggers to contact their local radio station, as it is a fantastic opportunity to promote your blog.

As always comments/questions are welcome

Karen

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Before I suffered a massive stroke 10 years ago I used to ride every weekend. I was extremely fortunate in that I had a friend called Sue Barker, who owned 2 thoroughbred ex racehorses, she had obtained them when they failed to make the grade in the world of horse racing. I rode an amazing gelding, who went by the name “Scruffy” ( although he wasn’t in the slightest) his racing name was Wind Span.

Since my stroke I have been lucky enough to visit a friend’s horse, Luke from my wheelchair.


My youngest son bought me a disabled riding experience at the Calvert Trust, Exmoor as a birthday present.

On arriving at the stables I was asked to sign a disclaimer before riding, I was then fitted with a riding helmet and a nylon sling for the hoist was placed underneath me, my horse, Teddy, was a 20 year old piebald ( black and white to non horsey folk) cob, he was led into the indoor arena closely followed by myself in my chair, which was pushed up a ramp, the sling which I was now sitting on was attached the hoist and while Teddy was moved into position I was lifted into the air with some help from 3 remarkable assistants I was soon in the saddle.

It felt a bit strange at first and my stroke leg did ache quite a lot but as I walked my horse around the school a few times to get the feeling of riding again I began to enjoy it next I was allowed to go outside as the weather was warm, we ambled around a track, while my sister took photos, then it was back inside to be hoisted off again.

It was definitely different to the sort of riding I did before stroke when I would gallop, hell for leather on a fast mount, but this gave me a chance to once again get a taste of a hobby I once loved. I would recommend it to everyone.

An hour’s disabled riding at the Calvert Trust, Exmoor cost £30, all opinions are my own

As always questions/ comments are welcome

Karen

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Samantha has asked me for some tips to make food shopping with her children a bit easier.

Food shopping at the supermarket can be quite stressful if you have young children with you.

When my 2 sons had to accompany me every week to the supermarket, my youngest who was almost 2 years old would have a temper tantrum as soon as I attempted to sit him in the trolley, he would make himself stiff and lie on the floor screaming, the reason behind this was because his brother who was two years older would walk around the shop rather than ride, in those days there were only trolleys available with one child seat. I tried to negotiate with him but this made matters worse, eventually I let him lie on the floor kicking and screaming inside the supermarket and we walked away letting him think that it was not a big deal. I must point out that I could see my child at all times and he was quite safe. He looked up, saw us walking away then jumped up ran after us and held up his arms asking to go into the trolley, I never encountered this problem again!

As my children grew older I came up with an idea to make shopping more interesting for them, we made shopping lists at home together before going to the supermarket. I would say that we needed sugar, for example, my 4 and a half year old would write an S mark on his list. When we started the shop and collected the sugar, he crossed the S from his paper, my youngest son, who was now sat strapped into the trolley didn’t have an S on his list to cross off, so the tantrum reared it’s head again, he threw the paper and pen onto the floor in frustration. In hindsight, if I had more time and energy I could have cut pictures from magazines and made him a visual list to use that he would have found easier.

When I was a child minder I didn’t attempt to do a full food shop with the children in tow, but occasionally we would pop in for a few items, I would encourage the older children to help weigh any fruit and vegetables. I once made a time consuming mistake of allowing a girl, of around 3 years to scan my shopping for me at the self service check out, she thought this was wonderful and wanted to scan the groceries of the customer behind us too, who was more than happy to let her oblige, if I hadn’t insisted that it was time to leave I think we would still be there!.

Once I was walking through the town after visiting the library with a child in a buggy, when I noticed that my favourite clothes store was having a sale, I took the child in his buggy into the changing room so I could try on a dress I gave the boy the token that the shop assistant issued stating how many items I had to look after, he thought that it was really important and held tightly onto it. As a reward for being so good while we were in the clothes shop I told Sammy that  we could either visit the toy shop or the pet store as a treat, he chose the pet shop and when he saw some cute baby guinea pigs he presumed that I was going to buy him one, luckily he was content to just watch and talk about them with me.

Back to the supermarket,on another occasion I was shopping alone before starting my day of child minding when I came across one of my minded children with her mother on seeing me the child informed her mother that she wanted to help me with my shopping as it was more fun and that is what happened , the girl came with me and the parent disappeared!

My tips, Samantha for successful shopping are try to make it fun by involving your children and reward good behaviour with lots of praise, there is more about this in my post on behaviour management.

As always questions/ comments are welcome

Karen

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Road safety should be a concern for parents.

Your child is never too young to start learning how to cross the road safely. Always set a good example, even when they are in a buggy ; they will observe how you cross the street.

When I was childminding we always used the pelican crossing when crossing the busy roads near to my house. I recall once while we were waiting for the green man to appear, another pedestrian crossed the road before us. One of the children shouted out “Look at that silly lady Karen, she hasn’t waited for the green man. That’s stupid, isn’t it?” At the time I was slightly embarrassed by her out burst, but she was right, wasn’t she?


When walking with a child beside you put, them on the inside away from the road. I am a fan of using reins on a walking child, rather than the wrist straps which they can undo with their free hand.

When childminding I used to insist that the children hold my hand, or hold onto the buggy if I Was pushing one. When we went along footpaths or quiet roads, and the children were being good I would let them run a small distance ahead of me. I would give an instruction such as “You can run as far as that red bench, but then stop and wait for me” If they did this correctly, then I would give them another pointer to run to. I found this worked really well and once was asked by a passer by “How come your children are so well behaved?”


Teach children the “green cross code” for crossing safely when there are no pelican or zebra crossings to help them. Explain to children the dangers of crossing the road between parked cars and never to run across the road. Hopefully by following this advice, your children will be safe when walking with you along the road and will gain a life long respect of the dangers of roads.

As always questions/comments are welcome.

 

I am the first to admit that I don’t like the dentist at all. In fact I always say I would rather have a baby, than go to the dentist (and I really would) At least when you go into hospital to give birth you come out with something amazing, when you go to the dentist all you get afterwards is a large bill. I am really proud however, of not passing my fear to my children. When I took them to the dentist they used to argue in the waiting room; as to who could go in first!


Start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as he or she gets their first one. Use a nice soft brush so that they get use to the sensation. As they get older encourage your children to clean their teeth by brushing yours at the same time. This will set a good example; and lots of children like to copy their parents anyway .Use a toothpaste especially made for children as they are made especially for children’s teeth and also tend to taste better. Let your child chose her own toothbrush, brightly coloured ones are usually popular, but you can also get them with characters on. My grand children use an egg timer when they clean their teeth as a reminder to do it properly. My eldest grand daughter, took great pleasure in telling me that “Daddy doesn’t use the timer when he brushes his teeth!”


I recall taking my youngest to the dentist with me when I was having just a check up. We were lucky in that we had a really good, child friendly dentist and he asked my son if he would like to have a ride in the dentist chair while he was there. He then asked him if it was ok if he could to have a look at his teeth with his special mirror, which he let my son examine first. When we came out the receptionist let him choose a sticker; he couldn’t wait to go back for another visit!


Encourage children to drink milk or water and try to avoid fizzy drinks which are full of sugar. Get your children into the habit of tooth brushing by making it part of their daily routine. e.g. bath, pyjamas, clean teeth, bed. Keep sweets to a minimum. One mum I knew used to give her son dried apricots, telling him they were sweets! REMEMBER, IF WE LOOK AFTER OUR TEETH THEY SHOULD LAST US A LIFE TIME.

 

As always questions/ comments are always welcome.

Many parents admit that they can cope better if they get a good nights sleep. My biggest tip to achieving this is ROUTINE.

Whilst childminding, I looked after a boy whose mum said was difficult to get her son to go to bed. When I prepared to put him down for a nap, I would give him prior warning by saying something like “when we finish snack time, it is time for a ok?” Then when he was in my arms ready to go of a nap I would ask him to say “night, night” to whoever was there – the other children, my husband, the dog,etc. When putting him in the cot I would give a quick kiss and say “go to sleep now, I’ll see you later.” This really worked so I did the same sort of thing each day and explained it to his mum.


When my own children were babies, bedtime would follow a bath and evening feed. As they grew older they would have bath, warm milk and a bedtime story read before they went to sleep. If a child is given a routine to follow it usually makes for a happier household. Try to avoid over stimulation with things such as television; a warm drink and story is much more calming. My eldest son suffered with nightmares for a while, I cut out orange squash from his diet and they stopped. My youngest son was too clever for his own good; he knew he went to bed at eight after Coronation Street finished. I recall one occasion; it was on later than usual and he put up a fight for a while, until it was explained to him. Another child whom I minded was too frightened to go to sleep in my room as he said there were monsters. It turned out that he had been watching the film “Monsters Inc.” at home. I solved this by putting the cot on my large landing so he didn’t need to be in the bed room.


As always questions/comments are welcome.