Three reasons I prefer parenting older kids

3 reasons parenting older kids is easier|HarassedMom

I am not a baby mom. I have never felt comfortable with a newborn, even after doing it four times. I felt totally out of my depth, I felt I knew what I was doing and I generally flailed around until they started communicating with me (and pooping in the toilet).

I am enjoying the older two a lot more now and finally feel like I can actually do this parenting thing, even though it is seldom that I feel like I know what I am doing but I do feel like I am getting more right at the moment.

I can now honestly say that I prefer parenting older kids, here’s why;

You can TALK to them. I can now have actual conversations with them about whats going on in the world.  We can discuss the news or what they are learning at school or whats happening in their lives.  If they are upset, I can talk to them, (reasoning is still an issue) and try to explain the situation or offer some advise. It is also nice when decisions have to be made to get their input, it takes a bit of the pressure off from having to make a decision on their behalf.

They don’t need you for every single thing. This is a bit of a bitter sweet reason because it does signal them walking away but it is still nice that they can make their own breakfast, brush their own teeth and are happy to sit in their room and chat to their friends, giving you a bit of a time out.

Baking cookies actually becomes fun. Pinterest may be under the illusion that baking with your toddler is fun but the reality is it is fun, if your idea of fun is mess everywhere, toddler tantrums and invariably too much salt or an extra egg thrown into the mixture. When they are older and can actually concentrate for longer than a nanosecond, reach the counter and read a recipe, things like baking or cooking do become more enjoyable. This applies to things like going for walks, swimming at the gym or even a trip to the shops.

I also feel like I am actually getting to know them now and not just trying to make sure their physical needs are met all the time.

Are you a baby mom? Or do you also prefer the older kids?

Active Kids and Diet – Should my child take supplements? Juniva gives us the answers

Diets for Active Kids

  1. Should active kids be given a supplement? If so, when?

Ideally, nutrients should be taken in as food. A healthy diet is the best way to meet your child’s nutritional needs, in terms of energy, protein and fats (macronutrients), as well as micronutrients, which are your vitamins and minerals.

It is possible to meet your child’s nutritional needs through diet alone, provided that he or she does not have any nutritional problems.

Athletic children do have increased nutritional requirements as they are using up more nutrients through exercise than they would if they were sedentary. In cases where a child is very active, multivitamin-mineral supplementation can be especially helpful in meeting these high requirements. Many parents also feel that through giving their child a good supplement, they are ensuring that they are covering all of their child’s nutritional bases, so that they can grow and develop healthily along with supporting their sports activities.

  1. What kind of supplements are the best?

As mentioned, a multivitamin mineral supplement can help to provide the basic essential nutrients that we need. In general, it is best to choose a multivitamin-mineral supplement specific for your child’s age like the Animal Parade range. Nutritional needs vary, and age is one of the factors taken into account. A supplement that provides 100% of the daily value (DV) for your child’s age for each nutrient in the supplement is best.

Some important things to remember if you do choose to give your child a supplement are:

  • Supplements can’t replace a healthy diet – so giving your child a multivitamin-mineral supplement doesn’t mean that their diet is no longer important. Supplementation can be very helpful if given as part of a healthy diet, not as a replacement for a healthy diet.
  • Always follow the recommended dosage or the dosage prescribed by your health care provider. Check with a knowledgeable person first before taking different supplements at the same time too, as they often contain the same nutrients – and taking too much of any nutrient is not recommended.
  • Remember that some fortified foods can contain the same vitamins and minerals as the supplement contains – so always inform your health care provider if you are giving your child fortified foods to ensure that you don’t give your child too much of any of the nutrients.
  • Treat supplements as medication and take the same precautions that you would take when keeping your children safe from medication – for example, make sure that supplements are stored out of your child’s reach and teach your child that supplements are not sweets.

It is best to discuss supplement options with your health care provider, such as your doctor, dietitian or clinic sister, especially if your child has any medical conditions, is taking any medication or has allergies, as certain medical conditions or medications can interact with nutrients and supplements. While supplements can be helpful or even essential for some people, it is important to remember that taking too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and that exceeding the recommended supplement dose can be harmful, even when it comes to vitamins and minerals.

  1. Should meal supplements (and replacements) be given?

Ideally, food should provide all of a child’s nutritional needs. Meal supplements or meal replacement drinks are not necessary for most recreational athletes, however for a child training at approximately 20 hours per week, it may difficult to get all the nutrition in via food in today’s busy life.  Because we know that protein stores in muscle, and carbohydrate stores (as glycogen in liver and muscles) are broken down during exercise, we know that eating sufficient protein and carbohydrates is important for healthy recovery. Very active children may need nutrients during exercise so packing in appropriate snacks and drinks is recommended so that your child has what he needs during sport

This is where a meal replacement and energy supplement will be useful.

Unfortunately there are many drinks and supplements available which are not good choices of drinks containing carbohydrates. Instead of giving him a drink that is pure sugar (for example, fizzy drinks), it is better to consider using a scientifically formulated sports drink.  When choosing a drink it is important to make sure it is free from caffeine and other stimulants or hormones. Sports drinks can be a good source of quickly absorbed carbohydrates, which your son will need if he is doing prolonged exercise so that he doesn’t become fatigued, and can help to replace electrolytes and fluid lost during exercise.

Some examples of drinks you could consider include (choose one):

Alternatively, you could also consider energy chews rather than a sports drink (your son will need to include other fluids, such as water, in this case). There is a product called GU Chomps, which your son could eat during exercise as they provide carbohydrates and electrolytes too and can be a convenient snack if you don’t have time to pack a snack. (Some of the flavours do contain caffeine, which is not recommended for children, so please do check the ingredients list to ensure that the product you choose does not contain caffeine. On the Juniva.com website, the Blueberry & Pomegranate and Orange flavour do not contain caffeine).

It is recommended that these carbohydrates are combined with protein so that your son has a post-exercise recovery meal that will both replenish his glycogen stores and ensure healthy muscles.

The previous post gave some good ideas for appropriate post-exercise snacks. Another alternative to providing a post-exercise snack would be adding a scoop of protein powder to a smoothie.

While some supplements that many people call “protein supplements” are certainly not recommended for children because they contain hormones, stimulants and other harmful ingredients, adding a small amount of a high-quality, pure protein product which does not contain these harmful substances can help a young athlete to meet their high nutritional requirements.

An example of a complete post-exercise snack for your son, which includes protein and carbohydrates, is as follows: add 1 scoop of pure whey protein (examples of good products include Evox 100% Whey, SSN 100% Whey and Body Logix Natural Whey) to 1 cup of milk and add some fruit such as a banana, apple or pear. Whizz it up in a blender and you have an easy snack to pop into your son’s tog bag.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics

Today’s Dietitian Magazine

American Dietetics Association

 

5 Reasons I let my children go on holiday without me.

5 reasons I let my children go on holiday without me

I have never really had an issue with leaving my children with family or friends I trust. From about a year, when they didn’t need me so much or require four hourly feeds, they all had sleep overs at granny and the older two have both had numerous sleep overs at friends houses.

Disclaimer – while they have both enjoyed sleep overs, I don’t just say yes to any and all invites, it is generally people I know and trust.

The older two spent the July holidays with my folks for the first time about 4 years ago when they first moved there. It allowed me a chance to bond with Jack, who was a teeny tiny newborn back then and they got to have a really great holiday. They have gone to my mom every year since then, I went with last year and the year before but this year Jack and Kiara went alone. Jack is just four and my mom was a little concerned, as I suspect are many of you, that he would cope without me for 2 weeks. I wasn’t too worried, he was with Kiara and he enjoys being there as much as she does.

I think it is important for the children, their grandparents and me to have these types of holidays, especially since my folks don’t live close by, so these holidays really are the only time they get to spend with the kids.

I know that a lot of parents prefer to keep all their chickens in the roost but sometimes this does more damage than good.

1. This past week I have really enjoyed having some uninterrupted time with Emma. Cameron is here but he gets on with his own thing so Emma and I can enjoy some one-on-one time that we do not get when all four of them are here. The same applied to Jack the first year he was born, I was able to spend 3 weeks adjusting to having a baby again.

Holiday Fun

2. I trust my parents and Davids mom to look after all of them. Unless you lucked out in the parent department or your parents are a lot older, then I don’t see how you could not trust your parents? My parents managed to raise my brother and I and Davids mom his brother and him, I think they all have a pretty good idea of what they are doing. Sometimes we have to ask that things are done in a certain way but you know what if your kid has ice cream for dessert every night for a week at granny’s  – so what? Its a few weeks out of the year, it really is not going to cause much damage.

3. The bond between grandparents and grandchild is important. My kids are lucky enough to have two sets of grandparents who want to spend time with them. It is not always possible for me to up and leave and spend a care free weekend on the beach and sometimes I just don’t want to go with.

Holiday Fun

4. I am not going to lie but I also really enjoy the break! This particular holiday has been nice. I have had all four, just one and then two. It also allows David and I a chance to catch up and reconnect and not have to run through schedules and commitments at warp speeds in between putting kids to bed, work and the general evening chaos.

5. They are creating memories. Jack went to Afriski with Davids mom last year, he still talks about it and while the memory may fade, he will always have the photos to remind him of how he went skiing and 3 years old.

Happy Holidays

Being separated from your children is not easy, I do miss them terribly and am very excited to have all my chicks back in the basket tomorrow afternoon. That said, this time we have a part is not a bad thing, it is not damaging them nor do they feel like they have been abandoned by David and I or sent to granny because we don’t want them.

Loosening the chord between you and your child is a part of life, letting them experience things without you is important for them.

Do your children spend extended periods of time away from you?

 

 

So my child won’t eat, now what?

I like to eat, so much so that I am currently on Weigh-less, in an attempt to not eat so much! David likes to eat. We both come from families with healthy appetites which is why the fact that I have 3 kids who don’t really seem to like to eat (except when they are at my moms house, then they seem to make up for reluctance to eat).

I have tried the whole baby led weaning thing with Emma, its worked but also not worked, she still doesn’t like to eat a whole lot. There have been days, in desperation, I have offered her biscuits, unless it is an Oreo, she turns it down. She doesn’t like cheese (who is she even) and she isn’t much of a fan of chips either (she slapped a packet of Flings away the other day?!). Jack will live on marmite bread and pronutro if given half the chance. Everything else is hit and miss, some days he will and some days (most days) he won’t. Kiara has never really been an eater, she seldom has breakfast (we have been through every breakfast option there is)

I have for the most part made peace with the fact they don’t really eat much. All three of them are healthy and they are far from being underweight but obviously it is still something I do worry about because obviously it is not really that healthy to have marmite bread for breakfast, lunch and supper.

I can’t log on to Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram without a mom mentioning her child won’t eat and she is worried. It is probably one of the biggest things moms everywhere worry about. I have stopped obsessing about it though, my current plan is to send my kids to my mom for 2 weeks once a year for them to get their annual boost!

Seriously though, I really have stopped trying to force feed my children food they do not want and are not going to eat. It causes huge amounts of stress for all of us. This said, I do not ignore the fact they are picky eaters, instead we now manage it and try to work around it to get to a place where they do eat.My kid wont eat, now what?

So what do we do?

We offer them choices. No I don’t cook huge meals with 5 different veggies, 3 starches and a choice of beef or chicken but I do try to offer them as much as I can with each meal and allow them to choose what they want. They have to have one vegetable, so they can chose the one they like the most. When it is possible I do offer Emma, especially, as many things as possible so I can see what she does eat and she is exposed to as much as possible. For me this is important. I don’t like the idea of cooking a lasagne knowing a child hates it and then forcing them to eat it, it doesn’t make sense to me. I wouldn’t force David to eat something he didn’t want to, so why do it to a child?

I have stopped forcing but there are still rules. Jack seldom wants to sit down and eat with us. He will often wait until we are done and then sit down and eat. I don’t fight this anymore but while we eat he has to sit with us. He can’t watch TV or play, he has to sit at the table and be a part of the meal. It is not ideal but we get to eat without a massive tantrum and he does also eat and will generally eat everything on his plate.

They eat more than I think. Just because they don’t sit down and eat their entire plate of food doesn’t mean they aren’t getting any food. Jack eats at school, Kiara eats her school lunch and Emma does eat with Jane so they are actually getting food in at all 3 meals. I offer both Jack and Emma snacks throughout the day, probably not the best habit for them to get into but at least, for now, I know they are getting something in.

I trust my instinct. I do watch their weight but  not in the weigh-them-daily sort of way, more in the look-at-them-and-see-if-they-are-loosing weight kind of way. You can see it, you will notice it and you will know if there is a problem! If you think something is wrong then check it out but I can say with certainty that your child will be ok, even if they miss a meal or two and don’t finish their  broccoli.

If you are looking for some fun recipes for kids, check out the series of recipes I shared a while ago.

5 Reasons Why My Kids Do Chores

5 Reasons Why My Kids Do ChoresOur dishwasher broke last week. I came home last week Thursday to a flooded laundry. The next day the children went on leave. We only had it fixed yesterday.

So in case you didn’t get it – we had no dishwasher for a week, 4 kids were on leave AND Jane was off on Wednesday.

In case you STILL aren’t getting it – there were 4 kids (plus myself and David) at home for 50 something meals using enough crockery and cutlery to stock Boardmans! AND THE DISHWASHER WAS BROKEN!

Got it? Ok good.

My children have to pack and unpack the dishwasher daily on alternate days so despite some moaning and groaning they both did wash their share of dishes and you know what? They are still alive to tell the tale. My kids have always had chores, we had a chores growing up.

Both David and I agree that it is important for kids to have chores and do their fair share around the house for a few reasons.

We are a team. Regardless of the size of your family, you are still a team and in a team everyone has their part to play. There are a lot of people in our house and a lot of stuff that needs to be tidied up. If I had to do it all on my own no one would get fed because all I would be doing is tidying up, so we share the load!

It teaches them how to tidy up. This may sound ridiculous, how can anyone not know how to tidy up or do chores, well it is possible. Chores include things like packing the dishwasher or hanging up washing or even vacumming, these are things that have to be taught and they are good life lessons to have because there wont always be someone else to help do it for them!

It teaches consequences. The older children are slowly (very slowly) learning that if they use 6 glasses they have to pack 6 glasses into the dishwasher and unpack 6 glasses, so slowly (very slowly) they are using 5 glasses instead. But I know it will come, they will learn to clean up, throw things away and not use every single piece of cutlery we own to make a sandwich.

You create order and respect. Chores help them to learn to respect things and create order. Creating order in our home is of particular importance because we have a lot in a small space. Learning to put things away where they belong and clean their rooms helps children to learn to have respect for their things and those of others.

You get to enjoy a glass of coffee. Ok so maybe this isn’t a valid reason but it is a reason. When the kids pack the dishwasher or Kiara bathes Emma, I get to enjoy a hot cup of coffee in peace.

On being a mom to a teenager

This year I celebrated a first birthday and a 13th birthday. Both milestone years. Both with very different emotions. With the first birthday it is sort of a case of “been there done that” but I did pause for a moment back in February and appreciated that that was the last first birthday party my children would have. The thirteenth, however, was a first and totally unchartered territory.

I think I have said it ad nauseum by now, but this teenage thing is super scary. Unlike the wealth of information out there about dealing with sleepless nights and tantrums and what not, there is very little on how to deal with teenagers.

On being a mom to a teenager

In many ways I am extremely lucky that Cameron is my guinea pig child because he has been so easy to parent up until now. I am acutely aware that this could all change with one boost of testosterone which I think is what makes this age so frightening. Its not the cute changes of a toddler that starts talking or dressing themselves, it is the more aggressive changes of boys turning into men and girls becoming women. It is no longer testing the boundaries of wanting one more chocolate but rather staying out an hour later or sneaking a drink in. It is changes that shape where they will go and what they will do.

I am also afraid of becoming a “my child would never do that” parent. Of course we want to believe our children will always make the right choices but just like we did at that age, there are going to be times they make stupid decisions. I don’t want to assume because my child is generally a good child that he won’t try a smoke at a party or have a beer or give in to whatever temptations life throw at him. I also don’t want to helicopter parent, it has never been the way I have done things and I don’t really think it is the right way to go anyway.

The next few years really do come down to the implementation of the lessons I have taught him, the moral compass he has and the character he has developed. (That and regular access to his phone, emails and anything else I think I need to have access to.)

Its tough, I am not going to lie. It’s the best stage of parenting for me but it is also the toughest.

When your child turns 1 you cry because they are growing so fast but when they turn 13 you cry because they are growing away.

Active Kids and Diet – Juniva helps with Foods that Fuel

Diets for Active Kids by Juniva

This is the second in this three part series dealing with the diets of active kids. If you missed the first post you can read it here.

Eating enough

A very active child like your son will have higher nutritional requirements than a sedentary child has, and will need to eat more food to meet these requirements.

If a child is not getting in what they need, they may become tired, which affects sports performance and enjoyment and can make concentrating at school and during homework time difficult. If you do find that your child is struggling with tiredness, one of the possible causes could be nutrient deficiencies – where a child is not getting in enough energy from food, and not eating the correct foods after exercise to promote recovery.

Carbohydrates

The most important foods needed for energy are carbohydrates. A child’s diet should include mostly higher-fibre carbohydrates like whole wheat breads, pastas and brown rice. Carbohydrates which are more quickly absorbed, which have a lower fibre content, may be needed during exercise as they can be digested and used quickly when they are needed. It is a good idea to spread carbohydrate intake over the day, so that a child is having frequent carbohydrate snacks to keep energy levels up.

Hydration

Being even slightly dehydrated can also make your child feel tired, so encourage him or her to drink sips of water throughout the day to keep energy levels up. Eating small meals regularly will also help to keep energy levels up, as it helps to prevent blood sugar dropping which causes tiredness.

 Foods that help recovery after exercise

Examples of complete, appropriate snacks are:

  • Wholewheat crackers or bread with peanut butter, cheese (hard cheese or cottage cheese), chicken or tuna
  • Yogurt with fruit and granola
  • Muffins containing nuts and seeds
  • Ricecakes or pitas with hummus and salad vegetables

Another alternative to providing a post-exercise snack would be adding a scoop of protein powder to a smoothie. This can be a real help for busy moms so that they can still ensure that their child gets what he needs after exercise to promote recovery and muscle health.

While some supplements that many people call “protein supplements” are certainly not recommended for children because they contain hormones, stimulants and other harmful ingredients, adding a small amount of a high-quality, pure protein product which does not contain these harmful substances can help a young athlete to meet their high nutritional requirements.

An example of a complete post-exercise snack for your son, which includes protein and carbohydrates, is as follows: add 1 scoop of pure whey protein (examples of good products include Evox 100% Whey, SSN 100% Whey and Body Logix Natural Whey) to 1 cup of milk and add some fruit such as a banana, apple or pear. Whizz it up in a blender and you have an easy snack to pop into your son’s tog bag.

We know that during exercise, protein (in muscle) is broken down – and if protein intake is insufficient, muscle isn’t replaced and our bodies don’t recover adequately. Therefore, the general expert consensus is that protein intake after exercise is important. This is when our muscles are most sensitive to the protein in the food we eat, and therefore this will boost muscle and body recovery.

Glycogen is the storage form of glucose (the most important carbohydrate used to fuel exercise) and is found in the liver and muscles. In a young athlete, capacity to store glucose as glycogen is more limited than in adults, which means that young athletes especially need to consume carbohydrates throughout the day to maintain good glycogen stores.

This means that taking in enough carbohydrates before, during and after exercise is important. Just as important is eating a protein-containing food after exercise, to promote muscle health.

Very active children may need nutrients during exercise so packing in appropriate snacks and drinks is recommended so that your child has what he needs during sport.

It is recommended that these carbohydrates are combined with protein so that your son has a post-exercise recovery meal that will both replenish his glycogen stores and ensure healthy muscles.

Stimulants

It is best to avoid foods or drinks containing stimulants like caffeine as these are not healthy for a child’s growing body.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics

Today’s Dietitian Magazine

American Dietetics Association

 

Lessons from hosting a 13 year old’s party

It was party central at our house this long weekend. Jack celebrated his fourth birthday and we held Cameron’s 13th party on Monday evening. Both parties went off well and both boys were very happy.

I am very comfortable hosting kids parties, you chose a theme, Pinterest it to death, print out all the pretty things, buy a cake and Instagram the whole thing. When Cameron said he wanted a party at our David mom’s house (her house is a lot bigger than ours), I was a little thrown and when he said he wanted to invite 40 kids I actually started twitching nervously! I can handle 40 four year olds because they all come with their parents, so they aren’t really my responsibility but 40 13 year olds get dropped off and collected and for the duration of the party are my responsibility.

Cameron turns 13

Despite my nerves the party was a huge success, the kids (all 30 of them) had a great time, Cameron was super spoilt (obviously with 30 guests comes 30 presents) and also had a really great time. I know some of you are approaching this age, so I thought I would share a few things I learnt from hosting a teen party.

  • It was a lot less fuss. There wasn’t really a theme so I didn’t need to stress about finding themed stuff. Even with a theme I think it would have been a lot easier to manager.
  • Don’t over cater. I didn’t put out a lot of food at all and they didn’t even finish it all. I basically just did chips, a few sweets and cupcakes. We did serve wors rolls which were a hit and disappeared in seconds.
  • Kids will arrive who didn’t RSVP – plan for it, accept it!
  • If you are going to host this many kids make sure you have an outside space for them to run around in and entertain themselves. I think this is one of the reasons the party worked so well. There was a little outside pool room that we set up for them and the garden is huge so they didn’t have to come inside much and they could spread out.
  • Don’t get involved unnecessarily. I was so worried about what they were going to do for 4 hours. Cameron organised a ping pong table and we had music that was pretty much it. At 16h00 on the day I just let it go and you know what? They were not bored for a second. They just got on with it. They danced, ran around the garden, sang, sat on the grass and chatted. It was so great to see them just making fun out of “nothing”.
  • Pay attention. We didn’t really walk around checking dark corners but we did make sure we were aware of what was going on. Your kid may be a good kid but put in a group situation you never really know what they will do, so just keep your eyes open for anything suspicious.

Organising this party was new experience and I am not sure we could host such a big one each year but it was great fun and nice to see that despite what the media says, kids are still able to be kids.

Party packs and school – a cool idea

Jack received a party pack this week. It was basically fulled with everything artificial and laden with as much sugar as they could squeeze in between the MSG and lumo green food colouring. He loved it, of course. The big kids begged, bribed and stole from it.

Party Packs

I was a little annoyed. We have received so many party packs like this this year. All very pretty and clearly not cheap but all jam packed with as much crap as is possible. The school obviously don’t allow the kids to get stuck in at school so we get them, usually eaten in the car on the way home unless I get to the bag first, but I don’t always know.

I have never sent actual party packs to school. I have always sent a cupcake for each child. Doesn’t that make more sense? Cupcakes are less effort, less expense and enjoyed a lot more (or at least I like to tell myself that). Maybe it is because I simple can not afford to make party packs for 20 kids plus for all the kids at the actual party that I find this rather excessive but is it really necessary?

What do you do? Do you send party packs? Cake? Cupcakes? Or nothing?

One of the teachers had a great idea and  I will be doing that on Friday for Jacks party. She suggested I send the cupcakes with no icing on, give the teacher a tupperware of white icing, some colouring and some smarties and jelly tots and then the kids can decorate the cupcakes themselves. Isn’t that just a lovely idea?

Fiery Fours – what not to do.

I wish I could competently title this post “Fiery Fours and 10 tips to tame them” but unfortunately David and I are wading in a swamp of tantrums and defiance with our four year old (well almost four) and the light seems very very dim right now.

While I can’t, with any confidence, tell you what to do to deal with  toddler, I can tell you what not to do.

High Five

Do not give in. If you do you will find your four year old running around the lounge wielding a steak knife wearing only 3 day only underpants in freezing temperatures. Stand strong! Do not allow them t skip bath time every night or jump like a bunny rabbit on the back seat of the car or run Flash Gordon like across the parking lot. However tempting it is, do not do it. Drink if you must, inhale chocolate if need be but do not give in.

Do not suggest anything! Even if the child does want the suggestion, he will let out a shriek of resistance that will break the windows of the glass and rouse your deaf neighbour from their daily slumber! Rather wait for them to ask for something. Even if it means they don’t eat for a few days, the aftermath from suggesting the wrong meal/drink really can leave lasting psychological effects on you.

Do not underestimate the strength of a four year old. Do not feel like a failure because it takes two of you to dress the child. One to hold him down and one to force clothes on. You are not. They have super human strength when they are determined.

Do not shout. Your four year old has a set of vocal chords that really are second to none and when he feels hard done by he can shout louder than you ever dreamed and the fear that sound instills in you causes you to consider giving in (see no 1). So do not shout, do not let the beast out of your child’s mouth.

Do not negotiate. You will loose if you try. Trust me! Really you will, so avoid all negotiations unless they are in the form of bribery (Go bath and I will give you a chocolate or a car for your 16th just please for the love of all things special GO AND BATH). Four year olds may not be able to wipe their own bums yet but they have mad negotiating skills and before you know it you agreed to let your child watch another movie while the rest of the house goes to sleep.

I don’t know what your four year old was like but mine is like a walking, talking ball of tears, determination and defiance. He fights us every single step of the way. We are exhausted. He is exhausted. It feels like a battle field of wills over here in our world!