Enjoy the Natural Elements this Summer...
Wow, summer is here again (wasn't it just Christmas?!), and I am so excited that this looks like a summer where we might be able to go out and enjoy ourselves a little further afield, and with a few more friends and family members! I send the warmest wishes to you and your family, and hope that you are ready for some freedom, and some fun! The summer is here, so let's try to make the most of it - let your children be your inspiration!
The summer is always the best time to start potty training, and I am sending out free PDF copies of my potty training guide free all this summer - check out my Instagram page for weekly potty training tips starting next week! During June I will be doing an Instagram Live session with holistic healthy eating coach Joan Abebe, creator of My Detox Deli all about Mindful Mealtimes, so keep an eye out for that if it sounds like a chat you need to hear! I also have a couple of new packages available this summer - Blooming Blissfully (Parenting While Pregnant), and my newest package, Conscious Uncoupling, which empowers you to approach your divorce as positively as possible.
I am also now running free coaching taster sessions in the grounds of the beautiful Forty Hall in the London Borough of Enfield (my local historic house, and probably my favourite!), so book yourself (or a friend, or why not come together!) in for a free slot on a Friday if you fancy coming to meet me, and enjoying the rest of what Forty Hall has to offer - a farm shop, a working farm, a play area, a lake, a walled garden, a cafe, a historic house, and best of all, free parking! I love coaching outdoors, and will always encourage you to kick off your shoes and join me for some earthing and mindful thinking on the grass (picnic blankets, babies and toddlers also welcome)!
Summer with little kids is all about getting outdoors, exploring the natural world, experiencing new things, and of course, plenty of suncream, sun-hats, and ice cream. I include some of my favourite recommendations for these later in this post!
The summer is the perfect time for you and your child to get outdoors and explore the natural world around you. Let your child use their senses, imagination, and natural inquisitiveness to explore the natural world. Pack up a picnic, a blanket, a ball, a few books and toys, a change of clothes (and potentially a potty!), and head outdoors. Doing this with another family who also have kids can make the hours pass amazingly quickly. And try not to worry if the children are not all in the same age groups - mixed age play has huge benefits for both the oldest and the youngest, and will make things even more memorable for them.
Let them stay up until it gets dark, try to eat outside as much as possible, and light up the dark and their imagination with lanterns, torches and campfires. This is the perfect time to introduce your child to the safest way to handle fire (one of the four natural elements that will all add little magic to your child's summer holidays - earth, air, fire and water). Allowing your child to experience a small amount of risk will teach them independence, show them that you trust them, and this in turn will work wonders for their self-esteem and sense of self, and their role within the family. Toasting marshmallows and s'mores is always a good place to start (just let them cool down a little first, or you will burn your tongue)!
The same is true for water, and while letting your child go into the water is always a little scary, there is nothing quite like learning to row a boat, surf, body board, or even just go for a peddle boat or river boat ride as a family! Make sure to get your kids out on the water at least once this year, and fill up that paddling pool (kids are never too old for a paddling pool - and what is a hot tub if not a grown-up paddling poo!?)!
During the daytime, try to stay in the shade and play in the shade - take books, toys, drawing paper and writing tasks outside, they will take on a whole new range of possibilities outside their normal realm. For some extra shade try setting up a tent-like canopy or den structure in your back garden or in the park, and let your child experience being inside, outside!
I highly recommend doing the following with children of any age over the summer (remember the four natural elements - earth, air, water and fire):
camping (even if just in a den in the garden!)
visiting a farm (a petting zoo will do, or if possible a working farm B&B)
climbing a tall hill (find your local highest peak)
experiencing boats and swimming
staying up after dark with a campfire, lantern, or torch!
While fairly commonplace to adults, these things really are the stuff of magic to children. I have listened to many a child telling me a story about encountering a bull in a field, and it always makes me smile, because I can tell exactly the same story from my own childhood!
Outdoor music, theatre, and film is also a magical experience in the summertime - if you have never done this before why not take a chance and try something new - check out Going on an Aventure's guide to family friendly festivals in the UK this year, and the Mother-Hood guide to outdoor cinema for families, or for outdoor theatre check out the Open Air Theatre in London's Regents Park. You might think your kids are too young, but there is it never too early to bring a little bit of the arts into your child's life, and in any case, there will usually be ice cream available too!
Museums are open again (for now at least!) and they are usually a nice cool place to be on a hot day - check out MummyTravels guide to the best London museums for toddlers and kids. And a top tip from an ex nanny - soft play is also often a good choice for the very hottest days (they usually have air conditioning and slush machines!). Make sure to check the Covid-19 updates and book ahead!
School catch-up classes or extra tuition may be on offer at your child's school this summer - I encourage you to take advantage of this where possible (an 8 or 9 week break is a long time to fill!) - they have missed out on so much classroom time and peer interaction that I think a little extra at this point won't do any harm! They might even make a new friend!
But most importantly this summer, make sure there is plenty of time to let your child get a little bored. Out of boredom comes the potential for imagination and new ideas - don't fear empty time, your child will find ways to fill it! As Winnie the Pooh said, "Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something."
You really don't have to travel very far (or spend very much money!) to give your child a wonderful summer to remember.
Here are a few of my favourite summer necessities for parents:
I love Toddle Born Wild's Sun & Wind Balm - vegan and SPF50, and perfect for a day at the English seaside, climbing a fell, or simply a day at the park!
Want to find sun-hats that provide the best coverage and sun protection? Check out Made for Mums best kids sunhats guide.
Find buying endless ice creams rather expensive? Spend a cool afternoon indoors making your own no-churn ice cream, sorbet, or frozen yoghurt with these fab recipes from BBC Good Food. I can tell you for a fact that your child will be just as happy with thehome-made version. And I highly recommend you try s'mores this summer, your kids will adore them (but it has to be outdoors, and preferable after dark and by candle or firelight)!
Try my new favourite baby essentials brand Wild Ayanda (love the colour scheme!) for all your weaning needs - I have been using their baby bowls, plates and spoons for my new feeding pics and they are gorgeous (you can see some more of my tasty pics on Instagram)!
If you know an expectant mummy or breastfeeding mum then look no further than Myrtle and Maude for the perfect gift! The Breastfeeding Gift Bundle is my absolute favourite, and includes vegan and organic lactation tea, reusable bamboo breast pads, and a 100% pure muslin cotton cloth, all beautifully presented in a stunning gift box. Grab yours with an exclusive discount with the code Isobel10!
I wish you and your family many happy times this summer! Keep an eye on my blog later this summer for more advice from Pre- and Post-Natal Exercise Specialist Emma West about pelvic floor exercises, Joan Abebe gives my pantry a makeover, and there will be more from Shelley the Midwife, this time we will be chatting about baby reflux!
If you need a chat, or feel that you are struggling with a certain issue, don't hesitate to get in touch. I can provide support by telephone, by email, and where possible, hands-on support in person (depending on location).
All the best,