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Supporting your child’s mental health
As a parent, you won’t be able to control everything that affects your child's mental health, but the way you act can make a big difference [1]. In this article we'll look at some skills you can use to support your child’s mental health. Using these skills can help your child feel motivated to improve their self-esteem, develop their social skills and do well at school. It can also improve your relationship with your child, your partner and even your community [2].   Causes of mental illness in children  Low self-esteem, an unstable home life and educational difficulties [3] can all cause mental health issues in children. Since Covid-19, many more children are struggling to manage their feelings and need social and behavioural support [4]. More than half of children don't receive enough support for their mental health, and issues can then carry on into adulthood. Giving children the support they need early on helps them to grow into healthy and capable adults [3]. What you can do to help Be interested in their interests  At school, children are often rewarded with a good mark or a teacher's approval. This can help them to do well, but when a child’s efforts go unnoticed it can be stressful for them. Taking an interest in other areas of your child's life can help them connect to a sense of purpose within themselves [3] and motivate them to engage in school. Talk to them about their worries, interests, likes, and dislikes.  Top tip: Ask your child how their day was after school – allow them to lead the conversation and ask them questions about what they want to talk about from their day.  Build a good relationship with school  Children spend a lot of their time at school. Working with their teachers can help you and your child address any challenges they may have in and out of the classroom. This can help you to understand what support your child needs to be able to thrive [5].   Consistency is also important. If there is a lack of trust between teachers and parents, it can lead to your child getting mixed messages [6]. Building a trusting relationship with your child’s school can mean more consistent care and better mental health for your child.   Top tip: Keep in touch with your child’s school and be open with teachers about any concerns you might have. Help them understand their emotions  The school environment can feel overwhelming for children and may trigger strong emotions. Learning how to effectively handle these emotions can help build connections and friendships with other children and teachers.   Being more aware of their emotions can help build a child's self-esteem [7]. It can help them communicate better, feel included, and feel more capable of solving problems.  Five ways to support your child’s emotional awareness:   Pay attention to your child's emotions, so you can recognise when they are upset.  Recognise your child’s expression of emotion as a chance to learn. Encourage them to talk about what they are feeling, and guide them before emotions escalate.  Be empathic and understanding. Listen to what is upsetting your child and let them know you understand their feelings and why they are upset.    Help your child learn to label their emotions with words. This can broaden your child’s vocabulary and help to soothe them. You can lead by example with your own emotions.  Set limits when you are helping your child to solve problems or deal with upsetting situations. All feelings and wishes are acceptable. Not all actions and behaviours are acceptable. When a child misbehaves it is important to help them identify their feelings and explain why their behaviour was inappropriate [8].  Top tip: A fun way to introduce emotions to your children is to watch the Pixar film Inside Out. It follows a girl called Riley whose emotions are characters in her head that control her behaviour.   Work on your relationship with your partner  How you and your partner interact has a big impact on your children. Having regular heated arguments and leaving them unresolved can affect your child’s mental health and their behaviour at school [9]. If your child is affected by your arguing, they might struggle to concentrate, feel angry and act aggressively to others, or avoid friends and the things they normally do for fun [3]. Couples in happy relationships work at keeping a good connection by talking regularly and seeing things from each other's point of view [2]. Working at your relationship helps to provide a stable home environment, which can help your child thrive [3].  Top tip: For tips on how to improve your relationship with your partner or co-parent, try See it differently [10], a website from OnePlusOne with advice on how to communicate calmly and clearly, avoiding harmful arguments.  Seek help  When parents are thriving, their children are more confident, happy, and more able to concentrate at school [3]. Thriving families typically have a network to support them through good and tough times [2]. Having a network of people you trust can help relieve stress, solve problems, and add to your child’s social life. You can also seek support from the communities you are part of, such as work, school, faith groups, or LGBTQ+ groups.   Top tip: Lean on friends and family for support: ask if grandparents can take the children for a while or have an evening phone call with a good friend.  If you're worried about your child’s mental health, give some of these ideas a try and let us know how you get on.   By Helen Molloy References Below is a list of references if you want to learn more about anything we have talked about.  [1] Music (2010). Nurturing Natures: Attachment and Children's Emotional, Sociocultural and Brain Development (3rd). Routledge.  [2] Barlow. A, Ewing. J, Janssens. A & Blake. S. (2018). The Shakleton Relationships project. Microsoft Word - Shackleton Report Master Copy Final Draft 28-06-18 JE - updated v2.docx (  [3] High speed training, child mental health training v4, CPD certified (2023). Child Mental Health Training | Online Course & Certification (  [4] National centre for educational statistics (2022). The Zones of Regulation. The Zones of Regulation | A Curriculum For Emotional Regulation  [5] Rachael Levy (2023) Home–school communication: what we have learned from the pandemic, Education 3-13, DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2023.2186972  [6] Ozmen, F., Akuzum, C., Zincirli, M., & Selcuk, G. (2016). The communication barriers between teachers and parents in primary schools. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 66, 26-46  [7] Harris, R. (2008). The Happiness Trap (2nd). Robinson.  [8]  Gottman, J.M., Katz, L.F. & Hooven, C. (1996). Parental meta-emotion philosophy and the emotional life of families: Theoretical models and preliminary data. Journal of Family Psychology, 10(3), 243–268.  [9] OnePlusOne. (2023). RPC Package: Reducing parental conflict. LA (  [10] OnePlusOne, Good Things Foundation. (2023). See it differently. See it differently 
Article | mental health, children
Parenting in a post-lockdown world
Even as lockdown restrictions are easing, parents may be feeling additional stress related to the pandemic. Our lives – and our world -- are not the same as they were a few months ago. Schools will reopen soon, but the experience will be different with physical distancing and other ways to reduce risks. Some families are dealing with health and money issues. And many of us have worries about the future. You want to support your children through this uncertain time, and that’s not always easy when you’re dealing with your own worries. But we can work together to create more resilience within our families and our communities. Coping together as parents Handling stress is the key to a high quality of relationship with your partner, and a happier family life [1]. Parents who focus on supporting each other as a couple are more likely to be able to deal with the stresses of parenting [2]. If you can listen to each other, share the burden, and present a united front, you’ll find it gets easier to come to agreements about parenting [3]. Your children will cope better too – they’ll be less likely to feel sad or anxious, or to act out through stress [4]. Especially during difficult times, it can help to make more of an effort to: Show affection and support: A major study discovered that simple actions such as saying ‘thank you’, touching base during the day with a text message, or bringing your partner a cup of tea could be the foundations of a long and successful relationship [5]. Make time for each other. Try to commit to at least an hour of couple time each week. That’s time without children, friends, or family members, when you can focus solely on each other. Express and share your feelings. When you talk to your partner about a stressful situation, try to describe your feelings as well. Tell your partner why you are upset, and what you hope will change. Offer emotional support. Rather than trying to solve every problem, emotional support helps your partner feel listened to and shows them that you are making the effort to understand what they are going through. Talking to your children Your children might have questions as lockdown restrictions are eased and you sort out what the ‘new normal’ will look like. Generally, if your child is ready to ask a question, they are ready to hear the answer. You don’t have to tell them everything – keep their age in mind, and only tell them as much as is necessary to answer their question. They can always ask a follow-up question if they want to know more. If you don’t know something, say so. There is a lot of uncertainty about the future now, and even the experts don’t have all the answers. Children are reassured by the information they get from their parents, and it’s helpful for them to know they can rely on you [6] [7]. When they feel informed about what’s going on, they can get on with being kids again. Dealing with conflict Conflict is unavoidable. In every relationship, there are always going to be things to sort out that you can’t agree on straightaway. And now we have the added stress of major global events. How you choose to deal with conflict can make all the difference to your relationship and to your children [8]. Children who are exposed to negative conflict can sometimes act out or become anxious and withdrawn [9]. Some tips on keeping your conflict constructive: Stay calm. When you’re calm, it’s much easier to see your partner’s point of view, which is essential to building a constructive conversation. Look for solutions. Trying to win won’t get you anywhere, so look for solutions that take everybody’s needs into account and choose a course of action together. Be accommodating. If your partner is being negative, you don’t have to respond in kind. Sometimes, it only takes one of you to start making the conversation more constructive. Be positive. Positive behaviour like finding a quiet space to work things out can sometimes help you get through a disagreement. Finding support This website has a wealth of resources on navigating relationship difficulties, including community support. You might turn to a trusted family member or friend. This often gives you a chance to explore issues safely, and see them from a different perspective. However, it can sometimes be more useful to speak with a professional relationship counsellor, as friends and family aren’t always equipped to deal with the issues at hand. A counsellor can help by offering emotional support, and encouraging you and your partner to see things from each other’s point of view. This can allow you both to see how you might be contributing to the issue and what you can do to help move things forward. References [1] Ashley K. Randall & Guy Bodenmann, 2008. The role of stress on close relationships and marital satisfaction.[2] Brown, 2012[3] Zemp, Milek, Cummings, & Bodenmann, 2017[4] Zemp, Bodenmann, Backes, Sutter-Stickel, & Revenson, 2016.[5] Enduring Love research project[6] Kennedy, V. L., & Lloyd‐Williams, M., 2009[7] Osborn, T., 2007[8] Goodman, S. H., Barfoot, B., Frye, A. A., & Belli, A. M. (1999). Dimensions of marital conflict and children's social problem-solving skills. Journal of Family Psychology, 13(1), 33.[9] Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (1990). Marital conflict and children's adjustment: a cognitive-contextual framework. Psychological bulletin, 108(2), 267.
Article | parenting, lockdown
Parenting courses and disabled children
When you’re a parent of a disabled child, it’s wise to take as much help as you can get. There may be more support on offer than you realise, so speak to everyone who might be able to help – your child’s GP and other clinical professionals, your local children’s services, the school, and even friends or family who might know what’s available in the area. There is still a lot of stigma around parenting support. As a proud parent, you might be tempted to talk yourself into thinking that you don’t need it or shouldn’t accept it. However, when embarking on the most important job you will ever do, you might as well take whatever help is on offer. Seeking support isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a smart, practical choice to help yourself be the best parent you can. If you’ve been asked to do a parenting course, it can feel like you’re being judged. Many parents worry that their parenting skills are being called into question, or that their child is in trouble – try to remember that parenting programmes are designed to support you in developing the positive skills you already have. They can help you deal with stress and improve your and your partner’s relationship with your child and with each other. If you can get onto a programme with specific content for your child’s needs, you may find content that’s especially relevant, but a general parenting course can still help. For lots of parents of disabled children, attending parenting programmes helps to create a sense of stability. Having a specific course of action mapped out can give you a feeling of security which can help your child to feel more confident too [1]. Personal empowerment  A parenting programme can also have a positive effect on how you feel, alleviating some of the stress in your life, and helping you to feel better about your role as a parent. One study found that parents of disabled children felt more empowered and more empathetic after undertaking a specialist parenting programme [2]. Disabled children may be more likely to display behaviour that challenges than non-disabled children as they may have no other way of communicating that they are distressed or unhappy. As a parent, you may feel very alone, and worried about the best approach to take. Getting expert help through a parenting class can help alleviate your concerns, and it can be a relief to discover that other parents are facing the same issues. If you are dealing with behaviour issues, you can also read Contact’s guide Understanding your child’s behaviour. Family support If you can’t get access to an appropriate parenting programme, or don’t feel comfortable attending a generic one, you can still get support from friends and family – you don’t have to do everything on your own. Caring for a child with additional needs can be physically and emotionally exhausting, especially when tackled alone, so don’t hesitate to call on your social support network. Parents of disabled children cope better when they work together as a family unit. Having a strong group dynamic can actively strengthen the resilience of each individual family member [3]. This means that you, if you are the main caregiver, can benefit from the combined strength of your partner, your parents, and other family members. Lean on whoever is available. Accept help when it’s offered, ask for it when it’s not, and build a strong unit of support around your family. Short breaks Of course, not all families have good relationships. Sometimes, the arrival of a disabled child or the realisation that an older child has a disability, can add to already strained relations. Other family members may go through the same emotions as parents – including anger, grief and denial – and some find it hard to move on and accept the situation. Even if you feel disappointed by the support you receive from family members, there are practical services which may be available to give you the chance of a real break and to make time for you and your relationship. ‘Short breaks’, which ensure a disabled child or adult is cared for while the main carer has a break, may include: Overnight care in the family home or elsewhere. Daytime care in the family home or elsewhere. Educational or leisure activities for disabled children and young people outside their homes. Services available to assist carers in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays. Most breaks are arranged by social services – the department in your local authority, which is responsible for providing help to meet the needs of disabled children and adults. Usually, social services will need to assess your child and the family’s needs before services can be arranged but getting a break can be a lifeline for some relationships. For more information about getting a break, see Contact’s guide, Services and support from your local authority – England. If you can’t access short breaks, you can ask your local Family Information Service about local organisations offering relaxation sessions for carers, as well as activities in the holidays and at weekends for you, your disabled child and any siblings. References [1] Nelson, P., Kirk, S., Caress, A., & Glenny, A. (2012). Parents' Emotional and Social Experiences of Caring for a Child Through Cleft Treatment. Qualitative Health Research, 22(3), 346-359. [2] Burton, R., Zwahr-Castro, S., Magrane, J., Hernandez, C., Farley, L., & Amodei, H. (2018). The Nurturing Program: An Intervention for Parents of Children with Special Needs. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(4), 1137-1149. [3] Suzuki, Hiratani, Mizukoshi, Hayashi, & Inagaki. (2018). Family resilience elements alleviate the relationship between maternal psychological distress and the severity of children’s developmental disorders. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 83, 91-98.
Article | disability, parenting
Loneliness for new parents
Being a parent of a disabled child keeps you extremely busy and changes the patterns of your lifestyle in ways that are hard to anticipate. You may not have the same access to your social circle as you used to, and many new parents say they feel socially isolated and lonely [1] [2]. “With a non-disabled child, you feel isolated, but with a disabled child that feeling is exacerbated. For the first two years of Nathan’s life, I had a lot to come to terms with, and at the same time I had to put an enormous amount of things into place like facilities and the professionals involved in Nathan’s care”. Why do new parents get lonely? A lot of the pressure of parenting comes from practical changes to your lifestyle – new working patterns, lack of sleep, more things to worry about, extra costs, and so on. Another reason you may feel more alone is that your couple relationship has to take a back seat while you adjust to your new circumstances [2]. Ordinarily, your partner might be the first person you’d go to if you’re feeling lonely – they may even be the person who stops you from feeling lonely in the first place. During the transition to parenthood, your best source of social support isn’t as available as they used to be, and you might be less available for them too. This can be magnified when you have a disabled child, or when you are concerned your child may be disabled but don’t yet have a diagnosis. Some parents worry that it is their fault their child is disabled because of something that happened before the baby was conceived, or during pregnancy. It is important to remember that it is rarely anyone’s fault, but it is still emotionally very draining to see your child suffer or struggle, and you may not have much energy left for your partner. It can be equally difficult asking for help or admitting that you need it. “I wasn’t brought up to ask – there’s enough guilt around having a disabled child anyway.” “Any difficulties between my husband and I are exacerbated by the additional stress and time lost to caring for a disabled child.” The pressure to be a perfect parent Another cause of loneliness in the early days of parenting is the pressure to live up to the standards that society sets for new parents. All parents face this to some extent but, when you’re dealing with the extra challenges of caring for your disabled child and figuring out what kind of additional support your child needs, the pressure can be overwhelming. You might look at other parents and wonder if you’ll ever be able to have the same kinds of experiences as them, particularly around issues like breastfeeding, sleep and potty training. When everyone around you seems to be coping better than you are, it can leave you feeling isolated and alone [3]. It’s important to remember that there is help available. You can find information, advice and further help in these guides from our partners at Contact: Helping your child’s sleep Feeding and eating Potty and toilet training Support from other parents Trying to access support can be very distressing. It can seem as though support is lacking and that the places parents usually go to meet are not accessible or even welcoming to you. This is when it’s particularly important to find other parents of disabled children you can talk to. Sharing practical solutions to shared experiences is a valuable source of support that many parents get from talking to others who’ve been there too. “Her condition has thrown us into a world that we never knew existed, we had to adjust. Me and my partner are forced into these new experiences, and we didn’t know how to talk about it with each other. I think that parents who don’t have a disabled children find it hard to relate to us and they don’t understand what we’ve been through.” Look on your local authority website to find out if there are any support groups near you – these can be a lifeline, and many parents talk about an overwhelming sense of relief at finding other parents like them. Getting in touch with other parents can also put you in touch with local support you may not know about. For example, you may be entitled to a short break from your caring role, which can give you and your partner space to be with each other and reconnect – this can be vital when you’re busy caring and fighting for support. “Taking time to be with yourself and your partner can re-establish relationships that are buried under doctors’ appointments, being told what they can’t do, and hopes and disappointments of life.” While feelings of loneliness can be very difficult to deal with as they’re happening, it’s often a temporary state [3]. It’s important to get support in place, but it’s also worth reminding yourself that this too shall pass. Your partner can help As a couple, try to be sensitive to each other’s needs. You’re both going through a huge change and dealing with news and practicalities that you haven’t had a chance to plan for, but your experience of these things may not be the same as each other’s.   Get together with your partner and talk about your experiences of parenting. Be honest about the disappointments and acknowledge how difficult the transition to parenthood can be. Opening up about the things you’re most worried about, including feeling lonely, will make it easier for your partner to understand what kind of support you need. Your relationship relies on each of you knowing how the other is doing, which means taking time to talk about thoughts, feelings, hopes, concerns, and needs. Each of you needs to know the other has heard them. That means really listening to each other – listening to the words and understanding the feelings that underlie them. When your partner shares their feelings with you, don’t judge them – listen and try to understand. Recognise your differences. Try not to make assumptions about what your partner is thinking and be as open with your partner as you can be. Look at where you might be able to make changes that might make things better. These conversations can help you feel closer as a couple, making parenting feel more like a shared experience and reducing the sense of loneliness felt by many new parents [3]. “Neither my husband nor I can imagine life without the other – neither of us could cope with the children without the other’s help. There is a bond between us that can never be shared by anyone else.” Old friends and new friends Another reason new parents can feel socially isolated is the sudden change in social circles [4]. When you become a parent, your life patterns change completely, and you may find it harder to spend time with friends, particularly as a couple. When your friends do invite you out, you may have to decline, or one of you may attend as a representative while the other stays at home with the baby. Try to use this time as a chance to connect with other parents in your local area. As you familiarise yourself with your child’s care team and other local services, you may find yourselves spending time with people in similar situations to your own. These new social connections can become invaluable sources of practical and emotional support. While clinical and therapeutic support is vital, there’s nothing quite like getting together for a chat with people who really understand you [4]. References [1] AXA Healthcare (2015). Social isolation putting first time mums at risk. Available at: [2] Keizer, R., Dykstra, P., Poortman, A., & Kaslow, Nadine J. (2010). The Transition to Parenthood and Well-Being: The Impact of Partner Status and Work Hour Transitions. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(4), 429-438. [3] Lee, K., Vasileiou, K., & Barnett, J. (2016). ‘Lonely within the mother’: An exploratory study of first-time mothers’ experiences of loneliness. Journal of Health Psychology, 135910531772345. [4] Toombs, A. L., Morrissey, K., Simpson, E., Gray, C. M., Vines, J., Balaam. (2018).  Supporting the complex Social Lives of New Parents. Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Paper no. 420. Available at:
Article | loneliness, disability
Children arguing with each other
As a parent, your relationship with your children may influence how well they get along with their brothers and sisters.  From Romulus and Remus to Kim and Kourtney, brothers and sisters have always had their disagreements. If you grew up with siblings, you may have your own experiences of rivalry from childhood – maybe even into adulthood! Why we ignore sibling rivalry It’s easy to dismiss sibling conflict as a natural part of growing up. We’re used to seeing warring siblings in the media, and we all have our own stories, so we might not worry too much when we see our children arguing. We may even trick ourselves into believing that nothing is wrong, particularly if they seem to get on well most of the time [1]. But, if you’ve ever had to pull two fighting children apart, you’ll know how difficult it can be to manage conflict that’s gotten out of hand. Some arguing is, of course, unavoidable but it is important to be aware that toxic conflict and aggression between siblings can have lasting damage [1]. Effects on health and wellbeing Sibling arguments are very common and may affect over a third of all children [2]. While it’s understandable that children want to compete for your attention or just to rule the roost, it’s important to keep an eye out for sustained conflict or aggression between siblings, as this can have a negative impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing, lasting well into adolescence and affecting the relationships they form as adults. If one of your children is being aggressive towards another, even occasionally, it’s important to address it. Seeking help early makes it easier to resolve the issue and can minimise the risk of negative effects in the future [3].  One of the most straightforward ways to find support is to ask your GP or paediatrician. Or, if it’s available in your area, you might find it helpful to try a parenting programme, especially one that includes tips on dealing with difficult behaviour. Your local Children’s Centre may be able to offer advice as to which programmes are available locally.  Positive parenting  If that all sounds like too much, you may be able to help by working on your own relationship with the children. Positive parenting is associated with reduced sibling aggression. You can have a positive impact on your children’s relationships with each other by working on your relationships with your children [2].  Positive parenting is all about empowering your children to develop their self-esteem and feel better about their role in the family. Set guidelines for the type of behaviour you feel is acceptable, explain why these rules are in place and answer any questions they have. This balance between authority and warmth can help your children feel more confident and has been shown to improve social responsibility and decision-making [4]. You can learn more about this in our article on parenting styles.  As with most issues, it’s always best to take action as early as possible, working to resolve the conflict as soon as you notice it. By acting early, you can help your children boost their social skills and increase their compassion and understanding. You can also help to reduce future conflicts, so your children may have closer relationships with each other now and as they get older [5].  References 1] Pickering, J., & Sanders, M. (2017). Integrating Parents' Views on Sibling Relationships to Tailor an Evidence‐based Parenting Intervention for Sibling Conflict. Family Process, 56(1), 105-125. [2] Tippett, N., & Wolke, D. (2015). Aggression between siblings: Associations with the home environment and peer bullying. Aggressive Behavior, 41(1), 14-24. [3] Tucker, C., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Shattuck, A. (2013). Association of Sibling Aggression with Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Pediatrics, 132 (1), 79-84. [4] Baumrind, D. (1991). The Influence of Parenting Style on Adolescent Competence and Substance Use. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 11(1), 56–95.  [5] Tucker, C., & Finkelhor, D. (2017). The State of Interventions for Sibling Conflict and Aggression: A Systematic Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 18(4), 396-406.
Article | children, arguments, siblings
Becoming a dad gives you a sense of purpose
Despite the challenges of parenthood, new fathers are taking to their roles with a growing sense of purpose. Up until now, fatherhood has been somewhat neglected in parental mental health research, but we are starting to learn more about how men adjust to parenthood, and the psychological benefits that can help balance out the tough times. A new generation of fathers are getting more involved in the care and wellbeing of their children and it’s having a transformative effect. Shortly after the birth of their children, many dads are redefining their priorities, reflecting on what is important to them and what they might pass onto the next generation [1]. A sense of purpose and wellbeing If, like us, you read a lot about parenting and relationships, then you could be forgiven for thinking that your life as you know it will end the moment you become a parent. And, while that might be partly true, it’s not necessarily going to change for the worse. Though you may need to turn your lives upside down to provide for your child, the change can give you a shared purpose and shared goals to work towards [1]. Much of the research into parenting and relationships has focused on the risks and challenges, but researchers are beginning to shine a light on the other side of the coin and they’ve noticed that parents, particularly dads, are experiencing an increased sense of purpose in life [1]. Becoming a father can be a time of personal growth – if you’re already a dad, you may be familiar with this. Mothers often start to feel these changes during pregnancy, but fathers are more likely to experience them after the birth, when the child becomes a tangible presence in their lives. As you work to deal with the challenges of raising your child, you may start to become more aware of what you’re capable of, and even reassess your sense of who you are. Previous research suggests that men can also experience an increase in life satisfaction, happiness, and pride when they become fathers. These changes can be more significant for dads than they are for mums [1]. Involved fatherhood For your relationship to stand the best chance of staying strong, you and your partner both need to feel that things are working fairly. According to a number of studies, women still do the majority of childcare and housework even when they also work outside of the home [2].  As the dad, you can lead this change by making sure you are pulling your weight when it comes to childcare and housework. You may already be on top of this but it’s worth repeating: fathers’ contributions to the household are the most important factor when it comes to relationship satisfaction for new parents [2]. Even if you are the parent who goes back to work, you can still focus your emotional attention on your home life. Stay tuned in to your partner’s feelings and try to anticipate the needs of the family and the household – arrange video calls on your lunch break, text to see if you can pick anything up on the way home, and don’t assume that your partner has had it easy at home with the baby. Your role is as varied as it is important, so step up, be bold, and don’t be afraid to take the lead sometimes. Ask your partner to trust you with the baby, and remind each other that if you don’t make mistakes, you can’t learn from them. For your parenting relationship to keep working as a couple relationship, it’s important that you both feel things are fair. This means that you both do your bit, but also that you value and respect each other’s contributions both in and out of the home. Communication is crucial to making this a success. You’re both going to be busy, stressed and tired, so try not to take each other for granted. Talk about who is going to do what, and keep checking in to make sure things are still fair. As your family’s needs change, you will need to keep redrawing the lines but, with a little flexibility, you can be part of a generation of men who are embracing the joys of fatherhood in a new way. References [1] Brandel, M., Melchiorri, E., & Ruini, C. (2018). The Dynamics of Eudaimonic Well-Being in the Transition to Parenthood: Differences Between Fathers and Mothers. Journal of Family Issues, 39(9), 2572–2589. [2] Matta, D. S., & Knudson‐Martin, C. (2006). Father Responsivity: Couple Processes and the Coconstruction of Fatherhood. Family Process, 45(1), 19–37.
Article | dad, Health
Adoption and couple relationships
Unlike the biological route to parenting, adoption is never unplanned. You and your partner may have done extensive research into how adoption works – we’re here to help you consider how the adoption process will affect your relationship and how you can prepare as a couple. No matter how joyous, every big life change presents challenges to your relationship. Becoming parents is one of the biggest, and this is no less true when adopting. The impact of adoption on your relationship You will find that you have less time for yourself and less time to dedicate to your relationship. Your priorities will change overnight and, while it can be the most rewarding experience of your life, it can also be exhausting. You may also face some additional challenges due to the processes that you need to comply with. Keeping the communication going can help you feel more confident as you enter the process of adoption. So, rather than seeing this as a list of things to worry about, try to see it as a list of things to talk about as you get ready for the change: Uncertainty. Before you can formally adopt a child, there is an initial period where the child comes to live with you for at least 10 weeks. After this, a court order can be granted, making the adoption permanent and giving you parental responsibility for the child [1]. Motivation. If one of you is more hesitant about adopting than the other, the placement period can shine a light on this in a way that doesn’t happen with biological parents. Scrutiny. Going through social service assessments can make it feel like someone is testing whether you are fit to be a parent. All this testing and waiting can make you feel powerless and may ramp up the stress early on. Bonding. The pre-adoption placement can be a tricky balance. One of you may bond closely with the child while the other holds back waiting to find out if a formal order will be granted. This can be a delicate matter if you have different approaches. Additional needs. Many of the children awaiting adoptive parents have complex emotional and behavioural needs. You may need to maintain connections with social services at first. Babysitting. During the placement period, your social worker may need to approve any babysitters you employ. Parental roles. Establishing parental roles, such as who will be the primary caregiver, can help avoid tension, and it’s an important conversation to have before the placement. This is particularly important to consider if adopting older children who might have preconceived notions about parenting roles and family dynamics. Preference. Your child may show preference for one parent over the other. While this might be connected to your child’s history, it can be comforting to remember that many biological parents also go through similar experiences [2]. These challenges are all real possibilities but they needn’t leave you feeling disheartened. Just be aware of them and keep communicating. A big change like this can be a wonderful shared experience that allows you and your partner to figure out new ways of working together. Many couples find that becoming adoptive parents brings them closer together [2]. Talk about your needs, your hopes, your fears, and your dreams. The level of commitment and cooperation between you and your partner can help you feel less stressed – even in difficult times, communication can build trust [3]. Even when the challenges are bigger than expected, it doesn’t necessarily take away from the rewarding feelings. For most parents, adopting is a positive experience, often more rewarding than expected [4]. References [1] Department for Education. (2017). Children looked after in England (including adoption), year ending 31 March 2017. Retrieved from [2] Goldberg, A. E., Kinkler, L. A., Moyer, A. M., & Weber, E. (2014). Intimate Relationship Challenges in Early Parenthood among Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Couples Adopting via the Child Welfare System. Professional Psychology, Research and Practice, 45(4), 221–230.  [3] Lionetti, F., Pastore, M., & Barone, L. (2015). Parenting Stress: The Roles of Attachment States of Mind and Parenting Alliance in the Context of Adoption. Parenting, 15(2), 75–91. [4] Neil, B., Young, J., Hartley, L., Sirbu, I., Morcina, M., Holmes, L., & Lushey, C. (2017). A Survey Of Adoptive Families: Following up children adopted in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. Norwich: University of East Anglia, Centre for Research on Children and Families. 
Article | adoption, same-sex
Resilience for kids with a speech impairment
If your child’s disability includes a speech or language impairment, one of the things you might worry about is how well they are going to make friends when they start school. Speech and language impairments can affect around 7-12% of preschool children [1] and around two children in an average year 1 class of 30 children [2]. Friendships and resilience Having a speech or language impairment can make it more difficult for children to make friends at school [2]. But, while there are some factors that you won’t be able to influence – like the nature of your child’s impairment, the school environment, and the other people involved – there are things you can do as a parent to help your child prepare.  Researchers have looked into what makes some children more resilient than others, and have identified three major factors that can help children cope: Hope. A belief that things will go well, or could change for the better. Agency. A belief that effecting this change is within their own power. Positive relationships. An experience of forming bonds with others [1]. Hope Hope is an essential part of how children build resilience and cope with challenging situations at school and in other social settings. Your child’s teachers and healthcare providers, and you as a parent, can all play a crucial role in encouraging your child to feel positive about what the future holds. Ask your child about their hopes and worries, and help them find a way through to the outcomes they want. Agency Children are likely to cope better if they position themselves in an active role in their social circle. This means taking responsibility for how their friendships are formed and maintained, rather than waiting for others to come to them [1]. You can support this by encouraging your child to develop skills like nonverbal communication, coherence, and knowing how to initiate conversations [3]. Talking point – an initiative by the communication charity ICAN – has activities, DVDs and top tips to promote children’s communication development from babies to the teenage years.   Positive relationships Children can benefit from having positive relationships in all areas of their lives, including with family members – that includes you as a parent, but also siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbours, and even pets. Your child will learn social skills from your examples. You can be a positive force by demonstrating warmth and empathy, and reassuring them of how capable they are. Your child may not be able to win everyone over, but if they can maintain some positive friendships, it will help build their resilience and balance out any negative experiences [1]. Encourage your child to invite their friends home and try not to be over protective. Children with severe learning difficulties Children with severe learning difficulties often have complex communication needs, but they communicate about the same things as everyone else – their feelings, their needs, their likes and dislikes, and so on. They are more likely to use gestures, facial expressions or behaviour to do this, rather than speech. If your child has a severe learning difficulty, you can support them to express themselves and communicate their needs in a positive way – see Mencap’s guide to communicating with people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (pdf download). If your child needs support to make friends The Circle of Friends approach was developed to help disabled children – who may be vulnerable to isolation at school – to be more included in mainstream settings. A group of the young person’s friends and peers are brought together at their school with the aim of creating a support network for them. Circles of Support is a similar approach to including people in the community, where a group of people meet to help someone achieve their goals in life. Ask professionals involved in your child’s care about putting these approaches in place, or find out more at Ways to support your child’s communication There are different ways to help your child learn to communicate their needs, and make sense of what is going to happen throughout the day:  You can use pictures and photos to explain what is going to happen if they have limited understanding or are non-verbal. You can show your child objects (such as a nappy if you are going to change them) before commencing the next step of your routine. You can demonstrate the routines visually. For example, if you are going out, show your child your coat and point to the door. Try to break down your sentences into single words and keep them simple. Many parent carers find they can help their child to understand and communicate using signs for basic needs, such as sleep, hunger and thirst. You can also learn to communicate by: Using picture exchange communication system (PECS) symbols. Learning Makaton (a mixture of signing and symbols). Showing photographs or other familiar pictures or objects. A social story describes a situation and possible sequence of events to a child to prepare them for what is likely to happen. There are also picture books for children to help prepare them for new experiences, such as going to school, travelling on a plane, moving house, visiting the dentist or hospital, and so on. Search for ‘social stories’ at You can get help to find the best communication system for your child by speaking to professionals such as Portage workers (for pre-school children) and speech and language therapists. You may be entitled to aids and equipment to help your child communicate, like voice recognition or eye-tracking systems, through the occupational therapy service. How to support your child’s resilience The social skills children pick up in their pre-school years become the basis for their friendships as they get older. The way you interact with your child at home will not only support the development of their social skills, but also boost their resilience to cope with the challenges of having a speech or language impairment [4].  Even if your child is still very young, it is important to give them an opportunity to make friends and practise their social skills [4]. Early meetings can allow your child to experiment while the stakes are low, so that they already have an understanding of how to make new friends when they arrive at school. Playdates may not be an option for some, but it’s important to find a space where your child can be involved with other children. Many disabled children are able to go to local playgroups and nurseries. Specialist nurseries may be a more suitable option for some children with complex special needs. Check your local area, or call Contact’s free helpline for more information. Other things you can do Other factors affecting your child’s resilience include: Self-esteem. Belief in their own abilities. An understanding of their strengths and limitations. Being able to solve problems. A sense of what their future holds. Knowing how to set and work toward goals. Humour [5]. Depending on your child’s impairment, which may call for some workarounds and adjustments, most of these skills can be learned and developed. Through warm, sensitive, and supportive care, you can help your child work on these qualities, so that they feel more secure and more trusting of others when they start school [5]. The following suggestions from parents and disabled young people may help: Reinforce with your child the fact that everyone is different. Remind them of the things they are good at. Encourage them to be assertive. There are more and more positive role models in the media – point them out to your child without making too much of an issue. Help your child to develop diversion tactics for any questions about their condition that they do not choose to answer, for example by changing the subject. Respect their opinions. Encourage them to learn about and manage their condition as they get older. Encourage them to make their own decisions about all aspects of their life as far as possible. This will help them to become more assertive and independent, and to feel that they have some control over the way they look and their life in general. Try not to talk about your child or their condition as if they were not present. This often happens in medical appointments. Give your child clear instructions as to what is expected of them, and lead by example. Demonstrate your own warmth, and encourage your child to have a sense of empathy and concern for others. When children understand how these things work, they can learn to cope better with the challenges they face. Although communication can take time to develop, and some children will always need support, with your help your child can build a sense of resilience, feel better about what the future holds, and start making friendships that matter [5]. References [1] Lyons, R. and Roulstone, S. (2018) Well-being and resilience in children with speech and language disorders. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 61. pp. 324-344. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0391 Available from: [2] Norbury, C. F., Gooch, D., Wray, C., Baird, G., Charman, T., Simonoff, E., Vamvakas, G. and Pickles, A. (2016). The impact of nonverbal ability on prevalence and clinical presentation of language disorder: evidence from a population study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 57(11), 1247–1257. [3] Laws, G., Bates, G., Feuerstein, M., Mason-Apps, E., & White, C. (2012). Peer acceptance of children with language and communication impairments in a mainstream primary school: associations with type of language difficulty, problem behaviours and a change in placement organization. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 28(1), 73-86. DOI: 10.1177/0265659011419234 [4] Estes, A., Munson, J., St. John, T. et al. (2018) Parent Support of Preschool Peer Relationships in Younger Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 48(4), pp.1122-32. [5] Hill, M., Stafford, A., Seaman, P., Ross, N. and Daniel, B. (2007) Parenting and resilience. Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Accessed online:
Article | disability, children
Disabled children: balancing childcare
When you become parents, you’ll need to make some decisions about how to divide up work and childcare responsibilities, taking into account the level of care your child requires. Before you make any assumptions, take some time to discuss your hopes and expectations with your partner. Many parents fall into traditional gender roles with women taking on the majority of childcare duties, even when the relationship was equal before parenthood [1]. A traditional setup may suit your family, but it may not. Have a conversation and make the decision as a couple, rather than drifting into roles you feel you’re supposed to fulfil [2]. Getting this balance right early on can help you establish a suitable routine for your child’s care and give your relationship quality a positive boost. “Making sure I kept my professional working life going [helped us most], even though it has been a real juggling act. It has kept my sense of identity rather than being ‘only’ mum to my disabled daughter and kept me fulfilled – so I think I'm more interesting to live with!” “[Work means] sanity. If I constantly stay in and have my life being revolved around the children and the house I think I'd go mad. [Work] brings out the creativity in my mind… I feel that I've found my niche and I'd really hate to lose it, but I've always been a carer… and I just wanted to be myself… and I am myself when I'm studying or when I'm at work”. Sharing the care For many parents it’s not possible to share things equally, so try to be patient and understanding with each other. If you are the main carer, remember that your partner may take longer to learn new skills. If you are not the main carer, be prepared to learn from your mistakes so that your partner isn’t left feeling like they have to do everything. If you have access to shared parental leave, consider taking off as much time as possible together. This will give you more time to get acquainted with your child’s care needs as a couple. Making the most of these opportunities to spend shared time at home can help increase your understanding of, and confidence in, each other. This can lead to more effective co-parenting and better relationship satisfaction [1] [3] [4]. “We know that we have to get on with it – we try to respect each other, learn from each other, laugh at one another and love one another. Oh, and on the odd occasion that we get a good night’s sleep we do all the above, with value added”. Balancing work and family when you have a disabled child Some of the main obstacles to working include: The unpredictable nature of certain conditions. Difficulties getting time off for hospital appointments. A lack of understanding from employers. Problems finding suitable childcare. Many parents want to work not just for the income it provides, but because working gives them the opportunity to make new friends and develop skills outside of their caring role. It can offer a space to recover from the stresses of home and family life, as it provides a change of scene from the often-frustrating demands of parenting a disabled child [5]. But others may approach it more like an obligation that takes them away from family life. “I come home tired and then I have to face caring for our child and I have a stressed partner to deal with”. “My partner helps a lot in the house and does the main caring plus a job. But we always worry about the future”. As parents, it isn’t always easy to strike a satisfactory balance between work and family. If you are working and your partner is on full-time childcare duty, you might feel like you have the tougher role, feeling excluded from daytime appointments and unable to provide support to a partner who cares full time. While work can of course be stressful, try to be sensitive to the idea that your partner may be feeling a different kind of pressure from being on constant parenting duty, and may feel resentful and isolated without the change of pace between work and home [5]. “There is a great deal of resentment – I resent that he doesn’t recognise the colossal effort I put into co-ordinating schedules, visiting school and fighting continuous battles to get what our son needs”. “Because I have to go to work they think it's a rest. They don't see that you are the one living with the child”. One way to avoid these tensions is to recognise each other’s contributions. If you are out at work all day, you can help your partner by showing an interest in, and an understanding of, their work at home. If there is conflict over who does what, find ways to share the work. Make sharing tasks part of everyone’s daily routine – adults and children. Make arrangements to cope with the practical aspects of your family’s daily life and troubleshoot problems in advance. This can help keep some of the pressures and stresses off your relationship. “One parent in our relationship is the investigator, explorer, questioner, driving force, and the other keeps the home fires burning and brings perspective to ideas that can be outlandish”. “Faith, love, grace, compassion... all these are present and manifest and we are close and love each other and feel fortunate too – but it's still a hard journey to face”. Working and childcare If you are both working, it can be a real struggle to balance things. Getting good quality appropriate childcare may affect the type of work you are able to do – and you may have to work extra hours to cover childcare costs or give up work to cover childcare yourself [5]. Distressingly, childcare is often a major obstacle for parents. Despite local authorities having a responsibility to ensure the provision of good quality childcare, many families caring for a disabled child still struggle to find appropriate childcare. Problems can emerge not only in paying for childcare but also in finding suitable childcare for your child. “I would like to work, if there was affordable and available childcare to look after my children with severe autism and learning disabilities”. You may find it helpful to talk to other families who have a disabled child to find out about their experiences of using childcare. Professionals you have been working with may also have some insight about suitable childcare providers in your area. In certain circumstances it may be possible to get help with childcare costs via working tax credits or via Universal Credit. It may also be possible to use direct payments to arrange childcare. Through the direct payments scheme, local authorities can give cash payments rather than a service. This can enable working parents to employ someone to look after their child after school. Direct payments can even be used to pay a close relative, although only in exceptional circumstances if they share your household. There are laws around childcare that local authorities and childcare providers must follow. If you’re struggling to find suitable childcare, or a setting has refused to take your child, you can use these and other laws to help you change the decision. You can find information and template letters to challenge childcare decisions on Contact’s website, plus a guide to help you understand your rights to childcare if you have a disabled child. It can make things easier if you’re able to arrange to work more flexibly. Under UK employment law, you are entitled to request flexible working arrangements, and your employer is obliged to consider your request seriously [6]. “I was working full time but it was too much. My employer was and is brilliant and allowed me to change my contract to term-time only, 18.5 hours”. “Getting a nursery place for my daughter when she was three made her transition to school much easier, as she had friends who understood her disabilities. It also helped me get back to work sooner, before I lost my confidence about being out of the job market”. Parental leave and other help at work Parental leave gives parents the right to take time off work to look after their children. Parental leave is normally unpaid but some employers have more generous provisions. Check your contract of employment. Both parents have the right to parental leave, so you each can take up to 18 weeks leave per child, to be used before the child's 18th birthday. Normally you have to take parental leave in blocks of one week or more, but parents of disabled children can take leave a day at a time. This means you could use parental leave for regular hospital visits. Time off for dependents You can also take time off work to deal with an emergency relating to a dependent, which includes your disabled child. It only covers the time taken to make alternative arrangements and any leave you take will be unpaid unless your contract of employment says otherwise. You are allowed time off if your dependant: Is ill and needs your help to provide assistance or to make arrangements for the provision of care. Needs you to deal with an unexpected disruption or breakdown in care such as a childminder or nurse failing to turn up. Is involved in an unexpected incident at school that you need to deal with. You cannot take dependants leave to deal with a situation that was foreseen or planned. In these situations, you would need to take parental leave, annual leave or other any other available leave. For more information about your rights to childcare and in work, see “Neither my husband nor I can imagine life without the other – neither of us could cope with the children without the other's help. There is a bond between us that can never be shared by anyone else”. References [1] Gao, M., Du, H., Davies, P. and Cummings, M. (2018). Marital Conflict Behaviors and Parenting: Dyadic Links over Time. Family Relations DOI:10.1111/fare.12322. [2] Jansen, M. and Liefbroer, A.C. (2006). Couples’ attitudes, childbirth and division of labour. Journal of Family Issues, 27 (1), 1487-1511. [3] Kolak, A.M. and Volling, B.L. (2007), Parental Expressiveness as a Moderator of Coparenting and Marital Relationship Quality. Family Relationships, 56(5), 467-478. [4] Rehel, E. (2014). When Dad Stays Home Too: paternity leave, gender, and parenting. Gender and Society, 28 (1), 110-132. [5] Brown, T.J. & Clark, C. (2017). Employed parents of children with disabilities and work family life balance: a literature review. Child Youth Care Forum. 46: 857. [6] HSBC (2012). HSBC lends a hand to back‐to‐work parents: Employees guaranteed part‐time work after maternity or paternity leave. Human Resource Management International Digest, 20 (16-17)  
Article | childcare, disability
Community posts
I am a dad age 25 really struggling
I never thought I post anything like this on the Internet but am lost I have a girlfriend been together 4 years she has a 6 years old boy and 2 years ago we had a beautiful little girl together my absolutely world and more! the problem is there's a few problems starting with her son I do everything for both of the kids she she thinks her son could have Behaviour problems he's horrible the way he speaks to me in front of his mam at times he can't do wrong in his mams eyes when I try speaking to him his mam always has a go at me so I am at the point where am like what's the point? I don't know if it's because he has not got a dad around sadly he committed suicide when he was 2 years old I do have depression my self where It has got bad in the past where I did try suicide this is before I got with my partner she knows about this few months ago I started feeling bad quite down bad thoughts am scared to say anything to my partner because she compares me to her sons dad if I ever say anything I have gotten help from my doctor am doing great now I work full time and no matter how hard I try she does complain to me about stupid stuff she says to me she does not see us being together much longer I try my best I don't know what to do I moved from my family to live closer for my daughter and its not a nice place to live my surroundings make me feel down because its not nice place it feels like am falling apart I tried speaking to her loads am scared incase we breake up not seeing my beautiful little girl every day will be heartbreaking
User article | stepfamily
Six jobs for stay-at-home dads
First of all, congratulations on breaking the stereotype of men not being fit to be stay-at-home dads. You're doing fantastic, and it is an excellent opportunity for you to bond with your children. Most of the time, parents who work 9-5 jobs tend to spend less time with their children, hence having a gap in their relationship. Most of the times, mothers are expected to stay at home and work from home as well. So naturally, the children are closer to her than their fathers. Second of all, it is essential for parents, especially single ones, to stay at home to get better jobs that can help support their families. Many job opportunities have been provided to people all around the world remotely. Reliable job options for stay-at-home parents: Mentioned below are some of the best options for stay-at-home dads to earn well without compromising on their relationship with their children. Moreover, if you are ever looking for tips or life hacks for dads to do their best, platforms like will help provide you with excellent tips to be a great stay-at-home dad without compromising yourself. 1. Content writing: Content writing is a highly saturated job option, but there are many high-paid niches in almost every job sector. Content writers are paid a lot in developed countries, and one can work for them while staying at home. To be a content writer, you need to have ample knowledge of SEO and keywords. When it comes to content writing, it is a straightforward job but requires a lot of research and good writing skills. One does not need to have high-end grammar to write great content, just a lot of agility and flexibility in their writing style. Content writing jobs pay a lot, and it depends on the number of hours or words you put into creating the content. Content writing includes articles, blogs, email content, social media posts, copywriting, etc. Explore these options and see what suits you. People earn six-figure salaries from copywriting alone, so you really need to niche down and do your research. 2. Graphic designing: Graphic designing is another excellent skill that pays a lot. You need to explore the market online to see which graphic designing jobs are more in trend these days. Gather ample information and see which ones suit you. If you already have the skill, then great! Just polish your skills and stay in practice. Apply everywhere that you see and make sure you secure an outstanding offer because graphic designers are needed pretty much everywhere! Just keep practising and prepare a portfolio to show your potential recruiters. 3. Fitness coach: Maybe it's time to break the "dad bod" stereotype and get back on the mat! According to, the average salary for a fitness trainer in the USA is $42,850 per year. Not bad, right? If you are a fitness enthusiast and can be a good coach, maybe it's time to get started. All you need is a yoga mat, a couple of dumbbells, and a truckload of motivation! People are more than willing to pay a good amount to get the kind of body type they always wanted, and achieve that without following unhealthy crash diets is a win-win situation for both of you. 4. E-commerce business: Nowadays, the e-commerce business is at its peak. People are earning billions (no kidding) from their Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Shopify, etc. accounts. You can either create your account there and start your own business or hire a virtual assistant to do all tasks for you while you get the profit! It is a great job opportunity for everyone, from students to stay-at-home parent. If you wish, you can also be a virtual assistant for someone with an e-commerce business and earn a handsome amount as your salary. 5. Virtual assistant: A Virtual Assistant handles all the small tasks of all kinds of businesses. It includes data entry, product reviews, uploading and publishing content, etc. These are the kinds of minor jobs that people with huge businesses cannot handle and need assistance. A virtual assistant can earn a lot if chosen by the right employer from the correct country. Many people earn a significant amount on remote work in developed states, but it still varies from company to company. Globally, customer service representatives earn roughly $37,000, as stated in 6. Customer service representative: A customer service representative performs the task of receiving calls and attending to all the people who called for their queries. A customer service representative job varies from email communication to on-call communication with the clients. Many businesses offer these services to people and pay really well to their representatives based on the number of hours they put in to answer all the queries and promote their business to customers. These jobs may have odd hours, but it all depends on the company you're applying to. Final thoughts: It is tough to be a stay-at-home parent, as it involves household chores and your own job to handle your family's finances. There are many options aside from the ones mentioned above that can help you earn an outstanding amount in the minimum hours of work you put in. The great thing about remote jobs is that they are primarily flexible and allows you to work at your own pace. So, it might be an excellent fit for you if you plan to stay at home long-term while you work. It is also essential to remain active in your children's lives and make sure you are there for them in every manner. We are confident that you will do a fantastic job and create a lasting impact on your children's lives. Author Bio: Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her at twitter: @ashrosa2
User article | work, parenting
"Create memories with your family"
There should be nothing more important than creating memories with your family. Positive memories increase the bonds between you and help us through the difficult trials that life can throw in our path. Those of us that can remember childhood fondly, with happy memories to share, tend to be healthier and in better shape mentally and physically. Children who enjoy happy experiences may learn more easily, and have better memories and less stress. Teenagers who continue to enjoy life with the family are much less likely to experience depression. In short, creating positive memories with your family builds resilience in us that helps us succeed more in life. While all this science is astounding, in reality, we want to create memories because it is fun. We want an opportunity to write stories of family life that liven up Christmas meals and birthday celebrations long into the future. Here are some tips and tricks to help you capture those memories with your family. Be grateful for the positives Human beings are predisposed to see the negatives. Our brains are wired for survival, and being happy does not keep you alive in the wilds of our prehistoric past. Although we are no longer at threat from large prey, we tend to find it hard to switch off this threat mechanism. However, to capture happy memories when they are happening, you must make a conscious effort to see the wonderful and the amazing. Consequently, as a parent, you need to do all you can to spot the good in your children. And, children, as you grow up, you need to look for what your parents did give you rather than what they could not. Keep the magic! As we grow up, we lose some of the wonders of creativity. We don’t allow ourselves to be fanciful or to get lost in the make-believe. But as children, we adored it. Therefore, to capture happy memories, you need to embrace play and fun. It is not something you are just doing for the kids either. If you let your imagination rip and abandon yourself to joy, you will find your stress levels reduce immediately. Go on… build that fort in the living room and pretend you are holding off the raging elves from the neighbour’s house. Take up sport Sharing a sporting interest is one of the most remarkable ways to build positive memories. Imagine how many people recount a day on the football terraces or an afternoon at the river fishing with a parent. These are rare moments of a shared passion that can seek to bond you together. It doesn’t have to be a serious hobby… mini-golf was the go-to Sunday afternoon competition in our household. Mum killed it at the windmill! Inside jokes Families all have a joke that only they understand and can start a giggling fit at a single mention. Treasure these shared funnies, as they are a powerful bonding agent. You might even want to think about buying some token that represents this joke, as a reminder of your love for each other. Share your garden If you have a garden, what better way to cement your memories than to work together to build it? Imagine growing your food together, harvesting and then cooking together. It is how people have bonded through time. Capture it all in an image Since we have all had cameras on our phones, we have stopped giving a special place for the photographs of our special moments. The memories live in the cloud but not on our walls or in photograph frames or even albums. Why not capture your family in a professional photoshoot and get images that will continuously jog positive memories? You could always buy yourself a memory book off one of the many online sites but getting a professional to do the work makes it extra special. It takes a village It is a long-forgotten phrase that it takes a village to bring up a child. The bank of memories that can be created could be even bigger with the help of your extended family. While the nucleus of those in our home is so important to use, so should our aunties and uncles, grandparents, cousins and more. Bring them into the story of your lives together and build even stronger memories.
User article | family, milestones
“Make your garden autism friendly”
These have been challenging times, to say the least, for countless parents. Going through lockdowns, then things reopening at a limited capacity, then talks of more lockdowns in some areas — such drastic changes in routine and the uncertainty of what life will be like next week, month, or year can take its toll. And when you have a child on the autism spectrum, you have additional challenges to consider.But, in whatever safe ways are available, your child needs to spend quality time outdoors. And, if you have a garden, it can be the perfect space for your child to enjoy outdoor activities. Along with understanding the benefits of your child being outside, you may have to make a few changes so that your garden accommodates your child's specific needs. Benefits of outdoor play There are many benefits to engaging in outdoor activities for children. Being outdoors can do wonders for improving your child’s attention span. Vitamin D is essential for the health of your child’s bones, muscles, nerves, and immune system, and sunlight is the best source for it. Along with providing exercise, outdoor play can help with the development of your child’s fine and gross motor skills. And there are also plenty of potential mental, social, and emotional benefits to playing outside Activities to consider Here are a few ideas for outdoor activities that can benefit children on the autism spectrum: Play 'sink or float' with items in the garden (e.g., leaves, rocks, flowers) for a good sensory activity. Put together a scavenger hunt for your child to engage multiple senses. Design a garden that will also provide your child with a great overall sensory play. Arrange a back garden camping night for the whole family to enjoy. Increasing safety and accessibility Of course, it’s critical to ensure that your garden is safe and accessible for your child. If you haven’t already, put in a fence or similar barrier to keep your child from wandering off. Make sure your garden is clear of toxic plants, standing water, pet waste, fertiliser, and other hazards. Add a safe place where your child can escape over-stimulation, such as a tube in which they can comfortably fit. If you are lucky enough to have a pool, make sure your child learns how to swim, and install a pool alarm. Now more than ever, children need to be outside. Consider the benefits of spending time outside, as well as the ideas listed here for transforming your backyard into an autism-friendly space. Not only will it help your child stay engaged in fun, educational activities, but it can also provide the whole family with ways to spend quality time together.
User article | disability, parenting, lockdown