Preparing C for Starting 'Big School'

I cannot believe that my little premature baby is turning five and will be starting primary school soon. Last summer, before he started preschool, all I really did was buy him some new wellies, a coat and a backpack so he could bring home any drawings that he did or crafts that he made. Now that he's going into Primary 1, I feel like I have so much more to do to prepare him.

If you are a regular reader, you'll know that we are currently awaiting an autism assessment for C. His preschool keyworker made him his own little transition book with photographs of his teacher and classroom assistant as well as work sheets to complete and photos of the classroom, lunch hall and toilets. He's also great with maths so I've picked up some workbooks and he's even taught himself to read so I'm planning on getting him some First Readers to have a go at throughout August. He does struggle with zips and buttons so I'm hoping we will get our occupational therapy appointment before school starts but until then, I'm trying my best to teach him how to do them himself.




C is pretty obsessed with anything character-related so his little Cars 3 backpack from Sambro is perfect for him. We saw the movie a few weeks ago and he instantly became obsessed. The bag is the perfect size for his age (32cm x 26cm x 10cm) and I love that the front is a wipe clean plastic. His preschool backpack would cause rain to leak through, making his books and pictures a bit damp, so this will be much better for the year ahead. He was very excited to see the large image of his favourite character - Lightning McQueen - and red is his favourite colour. It's definitely got him excited to start school and show it to all his friends. It's quite spacious too so carrying his pencil case, books and work will be a doddle.


In preschool, obviously he didn't need any stationery items as it was more of a free play setting. I know the formal setting of primary school will be a massive change for him but he's very logical and I know that when he sees his placecard on his table, he will realise that it's own little chair and table just for him. The Sambro Cars 3 stationery items are perfect for his first journey into this formal setting. The filled pencil case (remember those? I know I had one in primary school!) includes everything that he might need from a notepad to pencils and an eraser and sharpener. The super stationery set has even more of these items and lots of pencils - I know he'll need a ton to get him through the year but the four pack of gel pens are the most exciting for him because they are glittery! All of the Cars 3 items can be purchased from Very.



I've already ordered and received his embroidered school jumpers, polo shirts and PE t-shirt so all I have left to tick off my To Buy list are his school trousers, shoes, PE plimsolls and joggers, lunch bag and bottle and maybe a new coat. I don't think I'm doing too badly!Are you prepared for back to school yet?


(We received the Sambro items for inclusion in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Helping to Introduce Your Baby to the Bottle


There are many reasons why you might consider introducing your baby to a bottle. You may want to start feeding your little one some expressed breast milk; or, knowing that you will be returning to work, you want to ensure that they have some milk whilst you are away from them.

Whatever the reason, this guide will help with how to go about giving your child their first bottle, top tips in the early stages of introducing your little one to a bottle and tactics that you can use when your child refuses the bottle.


How to give your child their first bottle
The common issue for babies being introduced to a bottle is that they will need to use a different sucking action compared to when they were breastfed. It will take them time to get the hang of this new feeling.

To help, try to give your child their first few bottles when they are relaxed and happy as opposed to instances when they're hungry and more likely to want fed by a method that they are used to. It could also be wise to offer your baby a bottle in the evening once their regular feeding has ended - you don't have to give them much milk, as it will be more about getting your child used to the feeling of the bottle's teat.

Another tip is to get someone else to give your baby their first few feeds from a bottle - their dad or a friend or family member - as that way, your baby will not be near you and smelling your breast milk. It may also be best if the mother is out of the house while the baby is being bottle fed, as many babies can smell their mothers even from a distance. You only need to do this a handful of times until your child is used to drinking from a bottle.

Refrain from forcing your baby to feed from a bottle too much, and only feed them enough milk until they let you know that they've had enough. This needs to be a smooth transition, so your child will be more likely to refuse if they aren't enjoying their bottle in the early stages.

What to do if your baby is resisting 
If you are struggling to get your baby to make the transition from breast to bottle, there are some techniques that can help.

You should take the time to find a suitable product for your baby. A bottle with a nipple-like teat that is similar to your child's dummy will likely make it more appealing to your little one, for instance. A slow-flow teat can help if your child gags due to regular teats delivering them too much milk at once.

A First Sippee Transition Cup from Tommee Tippee ticks all of these boxes, not to mention the fact that they are specially designed for a baby's first sips and has a super soft spout that is gentle on your child's sensitive gums. These cups may be well known to you, following a dad's desperate search last year to find a replacement cup for his autistic son. The plea received over 12,000 retweets and the full story can be read on the BBC website.

It's not just the design of the bottle or cup that can help your baby with the transition. Your baby may start sucking from the cup or bottle's teat if you place some breast milk on it and your child recognises the familiar taste.

Let your infant get used to their new bottle or cup in their own time too. Don't be too quick to take it away and give up if they begin to just chew on the teat - let them do this for now as they may switch to sucking on it once they are familiar with the feeling.

Babies may also feel more comfortable drinking from a bottle or cup when they are held in a different position to how you breastfeed them. Feed them from a bottle or cup when they are in a semi-upright position in a car seat, for example, or by having them on your lap but with their back to your chest.

Hopefully with this advice, your baby will be reaching for their bottle or cup for their feed before you know it!


(This is a sponsored post.) 

 

Toddler Proofing the House with Fred

I have to admit that when it came to baby or toddler proofing the house, I did the minimum and just hid things away that could fall on the children, tucked away leads and put a stairgate on the bottom of the stairs. I tend to spend 99% of my time in the same room as my children so I always thought they'd be safe. 

My eldest, C who is almost 5 years old, was never a child who would go off and touch things he wasn't supposed to or attempt to climb the stairs (I don't think we actually got a stairgate until he was about a 18 months old!). Two year old E is another story. I swear she touches and climbs everything just to wind me up so I definitely felt that some safety measures had to be put into place with her around.

Fred is a brand that has completely revolutionised home safety products. Did you know that 75% of accidents in children under 5 happen in the home? That's a high statistic and it made me realise that a few things in my home that I'd never thought of before could cause an accident. I chose three products from the Fred range to help make my home a bit safer for the children: Adhesive Double Door Block, Plug Socket Covers and the Door Slam Stopper.


The Adhesive Double Door Block (£5.99) was something that I chose because whenever I'm in the kitchen cooking or doing the dishes, E will always open the cupboard under the sink where we keep cleaning products. I'm forever telling her not to but she's a toddler, of course she won't listen! 

When I first opened it out it seemed like because there were a lot of pieces, it may be difficult to actually install but I couldn't be more wrong. I simply wiped down the inside of the cupboard, removed the adhesive strip and stuck it inside at the top so that when I closed the door, the red plastic stuck out. From there, I simply attached the block and that's it! The only way that the block can be removed is by pressing the two sides and pulling it off - a dual action that children cannot master. It uses SecureHold and ExtremeHold adhesives so there is no risk of it coming off accidentally. 






The block sits right against the doors so there is no room for little fingers to get trapped. It comes with an EZ-Dock too so you can always place the block in it and find it when not in use.

I've used plug socket covers in the past (cheap ones from the pound shop) and they have been almost impossible to remove and I was always breaking nails when trying to pull them. Fred's ones (£4.99 for 6) are amazing! They have a little removal tool that you flip up which makes them easy to remove from the socket. They take a tiny bit of effort so that little ones can't remove them too. They lock with a click and the design means that there is no way that children can grab at them and pull them out.


The Door Slam Stopper (£5.99) is probably the one that I needed most. My children are forever playing in the hallway for some strange reason so would be constantly opening and closing the door to the living room. Both kids are also obsessed with making sure doors are closed so I always find myself saying "Watch your fingers!"




These are so handy and I can't believe I never had them before. The actually stopper is made of rubber and stretches to fit on your door. I keep them high up so that the children can't reach them and remove them but even if I did place them lower down, I don't think they'd be strong enough to pull them off the door. Again, they come with a little EZ-Dock holder with an adhesive back so I've stuck that beside the door to hold the stopper when it's not in use. 


All Fred products are bite and choke safe as they are made from non-toxic food grade material - we all know how little ones put everything in their mouths - so there is no worry of them biting off a chunk of anything. 

I can't believe how quick and easy it was to make my house 100% safer and at a really reasonable price too. I feel like I'm a little bit less on edge and can leave the kids to do as they please (well, kind of!) and know they are completely safe.

You can find out more about the range at the Fred website

(We received these products for the purpose of this post.) 
 

Win a BRIO Ant with Rolling Egg toy

Over the last year or so, we have done quite a few reviews of BRIO toys and each one has been loved by both children and they are always wanting to play with them.


In June last year, we did a review of the Ant with Rolling Egg. When I accepted the review, I wasn't really knowing what to expect as it doesn't sound like your typical toddler toy. As soon as I opened it out, E took to it straight away and still loves it now.

The Ant is effectively a pull along toy with springs on the neck and antennae so they bobble as you pull it. The egg sits on the back of the ant and as the wheels hit against the egg, they rotate it. The toy is great for encouraging early walking and coordination. You can read my full review of the toy here and check out my GIF below to watch it in action.

Want to win one for yourself? Just enter via the Gleam widget below. Good luck!


T&C's:
  • One winner will win one BRIO Ant with Rolling Egg toy
  • This giveaway will run from July 24th until August 27th
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries
BRIO Ant with Rolling Egg toy

 

We are Super Wings Ambassadors! (+ giveaway)




C, E and I are so excited to announce that we are Super Wings ambassadors! Throughout the summer we will be taking part in the #SuperWingsSummer campaign and I cannot wait to share it with you all.

If you aren't familiar with Super Wings, it's a wonderful preschool show that launched on Cartoonito in February this year. It's aimed at children aged 3-5 years and it encourages preschoolers to develop problem-solving skills and introduces them to different parts of the world. 

The series revolves around a jet place named Jett who travels the world and experiences different cultures whilst delivering packages to children. With every delivery, Jett and his friends the Super Wings (Donnie, Dizzy and Jerome) encounter a problem that they need to solve by working together. The Super Wings have the unique ability to transform from planes into amazing heroes who can run, climb, lift, dig and even dive deep under the sea.


The show has a lot of learning factors which are perfect for a preschoolers age. The friends must work together in the episodes so they build an awareness of what friendship means to preschoolers. It also helps them develop creative problem solving and teaches perseverance. As the planes visit lots of different countries, an early lesson in cultural diversity is taught. The show exposes young children to different traditions, languages and landscapes.

Alpha Animation have launched a new range of toys based on the animated series. From an airport playset to smaller Tranform-a-bot characters from the show - there's lots to keep your children busy and entertained. We will be reviewing some toys from the range and also sharing images and videos on my social media channels so be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date.

To celebrate the #SuperWingsSummer campaign, I have an exciting giveaway for you all. To be in with a chance of winning a World Airport Playset and two large transforming characters all you have to do is enter via my social media channels. I will run the giveaway over my Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram account. After the closing date, I will collate all entries from the three social media accounts and choose one winner at random.


Good luck!

     

Bigjigs High Level Expansion Set - Review #PlayPatrol

We absolutely love being a part of the Bigjigs #PlayPatrol. We have already reviewed three items of the Bigjigs Rail range and were so excited to receive our next item. We never know what we are going to get so it's always a lovely surprise. 
 

This time round, we received the Bigjigs High Level Expansion Set. As the name suggests, this works best as an add-on to a track set but if you already own some Bigjigs compatible trains, you could probably use it as a standalone. 
 

The set is comprised of 27 pieces; 17 pieces of train track and 10 girders of a different height. I have to admit that I got myself a bit confused whilst setting it up (although that could be because I had two excited children chattering in my ear). I made sure that I had each girder in height order to make it easier for me to know which one corresponded to the letter in the instruction sheet. They don't go in size order so I think that threw me a bit. 
 

Eventually, I got that track built and I was pleased with how sturdy it is. Each girder has little grooves to hold the track in place so I don't have to worry about the children playing a little too roughly and me having to fix it over and over again.
Both C and E really enjoy this track because it's so different to any other track that we have had. The circular shape is new, as is the fact that there are two levels to it. E gets very excited and refers to it as a "train slide" - super cute! She was also excited to see the little plant and animal images on the sides of the girders. These are made of plastic and I like that there are two different textures to the track. They also add a bit of colour to the plain wooden track. 
 

I've found that the children need to focus a bit more when moving the train around. If they take their eyes off for a second, they tend to lose momentum so it's great for hand-eye coordination and dexterity. They have been playing together with two trains most of the time and using their imaginations to construct a little scenario that is happening between them. 
 

If your children are fans of train tracks - they will love this! The Bigjigs High Level Expansion Set retails at £34.99. You can find out more at the Bigjigs website and you can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

(We received this item as part of our role as member of the Bigjigs #PlayPatrol. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
 

Tarquin and Troops Children's Prints - Review & Giveaway


Living in a rental home means that we are limited when it comes to how we can decorate. In order to make it a bit more homely and feel like ours, I tend to buy a lot of wall hangings and pictures to brighten the place up as we cannot wallpaper or paint. Whenever I heard about Tarquin & Troops, I was drawn in by their beautiful prints.

Tarquin and Troops prints are all about different animals from around the world in everyday uniforms. They are aimed at children and it's a bit of a tongue in cheek look at professions and celebrities. We received five prints from the Tarquin and Troops Etsy store and I couldn't wait to display them in the children's room; Stanford the Sloth Bear Sailor, Reginald the Rhino Soldier, Benjamin Bear Policeman, Chef Seymour the Snake and Bernard the Bengal Tiger Bus Conductor.


The prints come unframed but as they are A4 size, I was able to pick up five frames for only £1.85 each at IKEA that suited perfectly. I love a black frame as they really make the image pop. The quality of the prints is absolutely fantastic, no fading and they are so bright and colourful - perfect for any child's bedroom, play room or nursery. The animals are so happy and friendly and the children fell in love right away.





C was very excited to tell me where he wanted to put them in his room. I spoke to him about the names of each character and what their job is (although he does refer to Reginald the Rhino Soldier as the Grand Old Duke of York!). I feel that because each one already has a name and "profession", it encourages children to maybe come up with a little background for them and create a persona for them. C and E were familiar with some of the animals' occupations such a chef and policeman but they did ask a lot of questions about the others. I didn't even realise that they would be such an educational resource too. 




The prints are so fun and make me smile when I see them - something that the children do too! The Tarquin and Troops animal prints are available to purchase from Etsy via digital download for £4.80 each. You can view the entire range at the Tarquin and Troops Etsy page or follow them on Instagram or Facebook.

I also have a giveaway for my readers with two chances to win! To be in with a chance of winning two Tarquin and Troops prints for yourself, just fill in the Gleam widget below. Good luck!


T&C's:
  • Two winners will win two Tarquin and Troops prints of their choice which will be supplied via digital download for winners to print and frame themselves
  • The giveaway will run from July 18th until August 1st
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • UK residents only
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries
Two Tarquin and Troops prints

(We received these prints for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)  
 

Is My Son On the Spectrum? An Update




Way back in October, C was two months into preschool and I wrote a blog post entitled 'Is My Son On the Spectrum?" At that time, the preschool leader had spoken to me about some concerns that she had about his behaviour and I was due to have an appointment with the GP. The past nine months have been a constant stream of appointments, meetings, forms and letters so I just wanted to write a bit of an update on where we are now.

At the GP appointment, she said that she couldn't see any behaviours that would worry her but she gave me a Autism Assessment self referral form. I was pretty annoyed as how could she see what C is really like in just 20 minutes and by just talking to him, not doing any tests? I filled in the form stating what behaviours and concerns I had, sent it off, then I received a letter in February saying that I would get an assessment date through in four weeks. I thought that was a bit soon as usually the waiting lists for this type of thing are months/years long and here we are in July and I'm still waiting.

In the meantime, the preschool leader suggested applying for our local Children's Interdisciplinary Schools (CIDS) Team to come out and assess him. The way this works is a few different people come out and undergo some tasks and activities with the child and if they meet more than three of the criteria, they will give the child some help to make sure that their needs are met in their educational setting. I was worried because C has very good speech and language so I knew that that would be one criteria that he didn't meet. After all his tests, he didn't qualify for help and was discharged. In our discharge meeting, they mentioned that it definitely was a positive thing that we had put it a referral for an autism assessment and the preschool already had in place the things that CIDS team could help with such as a quiet room and his own box of fidget/stress toys. They did give us a few leaflets on things like Heavy Work, how to build confidence and self esteem, managing his behaviour, ideas of play and how to make friends - all because his issues tend to be emotional and social based.

After this, I sent a letter to the Education Board asking for C to be assessed for statementing. A statement is basically a formal document stating a child's learning difficulties and the help that they will receive. I have asked for this because I know that C will need one on one help in a formal learning setting as even in preschool where it was mostly free play, he was very dependent on his keyworker. I'm really lucky that C goes to a great school who are wonderful in dealing with children with special educational needs and the principal sent a letter too to sort of back us up. The Education Board replied saying that they would assess him and shortly after, we met with the Educational Psychologist. She told me that she thinks C will have no trouble when it comes to learning and will probably take to Primary 1 quite well, but does agree that from her a point of view, a one on one would be beneficial for him. She has also put in a request for an occupational therapist to see C as he struggles with things like zips and buttons as well as a behavioural specialist.

These meetings all took place at the preschool and right now, we are into summer here in Northern Ireland so I'm really just waiting on letters for more assessments to be done.

When I wrote my original post back in October, I have to admit that I wasn't completely convinced that C did have special educational needs or that he could possibly have ASD but now that I'm in the midst of these tests, hearing from professionals and looking up his behaviours myself, I do believe that we will get a diagnosis of mild autism or Asperger Syndrome when our official assessment time comes. All I can do right now is help him control his emotions and build his confidence. I've bought him his own fidget toys for home, a communication fan so he can explain to us how he's feeling without lashing out and some books to explain feelings and how to tackle them.

Behaviour is still one of the biggest issues because he doesn't know how to convey them properly. I'd be lying if I didn't say that every day was a struggle. He needs to have a set routine and the slightest thing can set him off. We have to use "First..., then..." daily. He doesn't really know boundaries when it comes to what to say to other people. He can be a bit full on and share whatever comes into his head at that moment. His mind is wonderful and I am in awe of it. He is very clever and great with logic - the educational psychologist actually suggested explaining everything logically to him because he is more than capable and would probably understand things better that way. For example, he is a very fussy eater and sticks to what he knows. She recommended that when I give him something new, tell him that his brain and taste buds don't like it right now but we need to teach them to like it because the calcium is good for our bones (just as an example!). His preschool leader said that he is "scarily good with numbers" and right now he is teaching himself to read. He's not even 5 yet! My very own little Matilda.

I will do another update when we know more - wish us luck.



#KISSSummerParty at the Merchant Hotel, Belfast

A little over three weeks ago (I can't believe how late this post is - apologies!), I attended the KISS Summer Party on the roof of the Merchant Hotel in Belfast. I was invited by the lovely ladies at Alex Silver PR and I just HAD to say yes!

I've only ever been to the Merchant once before for afternoon tea with my mum, so I was excited about the prospect of an evening blog event there. It was actually my first ever blog event too. I find them hard to come by here in Belfast! 

When I arrived, I met Hannah from Hi Baby Blog outside and we ventured in together. Hannah and I have been friends on Facebook for quite a while now and despite living in the same city, we had never met. It was so lovely to meet her in person and she is just a doll!
The whole event itself was amazing from start to finish. When we arrived, we were greeted by the beautiful Danielle from Alex Silver PR who asked us to sign in and we handed a drink straight away - you can't go wrong there! We were also told to help ourselves at the bar for the remainder of the event - something that every Irish person likes to hear! 



We made our way onto the roof terrace and there were stations to get your KISS eyelashes applied and KISS or imPRESS manicure nails done. I spotted the wonderful Paddy McGurgan at an eyelash station and I had to have him apply mine for me! As I wear glasses, I don't ever apply false eyelashes as I never really saw the point. Would anyone notice them behind my specs? Because of this, I had no idea what style of lash would suit me so Paddy chose a style he thought would work well and oh my goodness, my opinion on false lashes changed instantly. They were incredible and I've definitely found a new love. 
Excuse the wide eyes due to my lack of glasses but seriously, how amazing are these eyelashes?
As there were quite a lot of bloggers there and I had to leave an hour early, I unfortunately didn't get a chance to have any nails applied. I did however try some from the goody bag (I'll chat more about that below!) we received when I got home. I chose a KISS pair and you can either apply them with glue or sticky tabs - both are included in the box. I opted for sticky tabs as I thought they'd be quicker and I was really surprised by how strong they were. How great do they look? 

The KISS Summer Party was so much fun and I loved mingling with new bloggers who I was only familiar with online. There were waiters floating around handing out lots of fantastic food from burger sliders and fish and chips to bruschetta - the fish and chips were divine! 
Meeting the PR team and finding out more about the KISS brand was really interesting. They are a US brand which has recently brought their products to the UK market. I think they are absolutely fantastic, even for a busy mum like me, so I can definitely see them being a huge hit! Who knew that there were so many different styles of lashes and nails?!


We all left with a fabulous goody bag packed with nails and eyelashes to try at home. I do have some other blog posts lined up where I will focus on some individual products so keep an eye out for that!

Thank you for inviting me, Alex Silver PR!



Win a family ticket to PAW Patrol Live in London

PAW Patrol is one of those TV shows which has taken the UK by storm. My own children are obsessed with it and I find myself singing the theme song in my head on a daily basis. You can buy PAW Patrol emblazoned clothing, notebooks, anything you can think of so there's no doubt that it's very popular. There's no escaping the hype!



The PAW Patrol pups are now coming to an arena near you in their first ever UK and Ireland live tour! When Mayor Goodway goes missing during the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race, the pups come to the rescue. Families can enjoy Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye and Everest for an action-packed adventure that shows that no job is too big and no pup is too small.




The live show sounds absolutely fantastic and it's sure to be a magical day for all little ones.

I have one family ticket to the PAW Patrol Live 10:00am show in Wembley Arena, London on 6th August up for grabs! The family ticket covers 5 people (adult or child) and is worth £150.

To be in with a chance of winning, just enter via the Gleam widget below. As this prize is for an event at a specific location, please be sure to read the terms and conditions and only enter if you are available to attend.

T&C's:
  • One winner will win five A-Reserve tickets worth £30 each (children under 12 months are not required to have a ticket as long as they are sat on a ticketholder's lap and do not occupy a seat)
  • The tickets are only available for use at the 10am show at the Wembley Arena, London on August 6th 2017
  • The winner will receive a ticket voucher via email which they will have to bring with them to the box office in order to redeem their tickets
  • The is no cash alternative
  • There is no contribution towards travel expenses
  • The giveaway will run from 11th July until 24th July
  • Open to entrants aged 18+
  • One entry per person
  • No automated entries
A family ticket to PAW Patrol Live at Wembley Arena, London on August 6th

 

Ravensburger Disney Pixar Cars 3 Giant Floor Puzzle - Review

We are massive Disney fans and C especially loves the Cars franchise. Ravensburger have recently brought out a Cars 3 Giant Floor Puzzle to coincide with the third installment being released in cinemas on July 14th. I actually won tickets to a early screening so we have already seen the movie and it is fantastic - just as good as the first two!


When we received the puzzle to try out, C was so excited because as much as he loves Lighning McQueen, he has taken a liking to Jackson Storm and so he was thrilled to see him included on the puzzle too. There are 60 pieces and C can sometimes feel a little thrown in at the deep end when the pieces are small, but because this is classed as a 'giant' floor puzzle, each piece is about the size of his hand and the finished picture is large too.


It is recommended for children aged 4+, C will be 5 in September and this is probably the first puzzle that he's needed minimal help from me with. I gave him prompts such as finding all the pieces with blue and yellow on or "can you find the rest of Lightning McQueen's eyes?" but all in all, he was able to do the majority of it himself and boy, was he proud of himself!


The familiar characters definitely helped and I think they made him enjoy it more. Even though he could see what the puzzle would look like on the box, he couldn't wait to complete it and see it for himself. The puzzle pieces are bright and colourful and it's perfect for any Disney Cars fans!


The Car 3 Giant Floor Puzzle retails at £9.99 and can be purchased from Amazon and all major retailers. You can find out more at the Ravensburger website and you can keep up to date on Twitter.

(We received this puzzle for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
 
© Mum of a Premature Baby

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig