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Is your child ready to start primary school in September?

It’s finally come – School Admissions Day. That long-awaited letter or email that informs parents which primary school their child is going to.

It can be a day of sweet relief or fraught with anxiety, but when your Not-So-Little-One starts Reception class, you’ll want them to be practically and emotionally prepared so they can enjoy going to school and get off to a flying start.

In my book Happy Baby, Happy Family I explain that children have five emotional needs as part of their learning and development. They are; Love, Security, Praise & Recognition, New Experiences and Responsibility & Discipline. The way you approach helping your child get ready to start school can also help their emotional development as well as practical.

Be Positive and show how much you love them

You want your child to have a good experience and feel positive about starting school but it can be a time of mixed emotions for you as your baby goes to big school. Be positive and upbeat when you talk about them starting school; chat about the new things they’ll get to do – there’s a whole new world of things to discover and do at big school.

Tell them how much you love them and that you’ll miss them; they are still your baby – just keep it light and reassuring. Many children have moments when they want to regress and play at being a baby. Let them; treat it as imaginary play and join in with plenty of goo-goo-ga-gas. This is very common if there is a new baby in the family – older children often want to sit in their bouncy chair, buggy or car seat.

Emotionally for you and your LO  it can be a bit daunting handing over responsibility of your child’s care and education to school. For children who are already at nursery or pre-school the routines of school life are sometimes more familiar and they often flow into the infants class without many worries. For children who have been mainly at home with you, the opportunity of starting school can be terribly exciting. They have built a secure attachment to you and know you’ll be there for them when they need you.

It’s a whole new chapter in your child’s life and a big change for you as well; feeling apprehensive and a bit regretful and emotional is natural but they will always be your baby – they really will!

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Small steps towards greater independence

September might seem ages off, but now is the time to start gradually helping your child to be more self-sufficient so they feel secure about starting school. Don’t worry about whether they know their ABCs and Numbers. Instead start practising good toilet etiquette and hygiene, buttoning up their coat and putting their shoes on.

Go at their own pace; they’ve got months to master simple self-care so they’ll be confidence about playtime and going to the toilet on their own once they start big school.

I remember when my own daughter, Amy started reception class. Her teacher scolded a mother who was understandably fussing over her child’s coat after the school bell had rung. ‘Do you think I’ve got time to button and unbutton 30 coats every break time?’ The teacher said, and I did see her point.

Sewing in their name tags and ensuring they can recognise their own labelled belongings will be an important skill from the very first day. They’ll know what’s theirs and what’s not.  A shopping trip for their new school things and giving them some choice, where you can, on their accessories will help them feel more secure and excited about starting school.

Praise your child when they learn a new skill

Praising and recognising their progress is very important but don’t be tempted to go over the top. They are developing the skills required for daily life and treats or excessive praise is not needed – you don’t want it to be a song and dance every time they put their own coat on. A smile, a kind word or a gentle touch is just right for encouraging and supporting your child.

Gradually increase the opportunities your child has to:

  • Get dressed and undressed on their own
  • Take their coat on and off and hang it up
  • Go to the toilet on their own and wash their hands
  • Put on their shoes and socks
  • Find their tissue and blow their nose
  • Pack up and take out their pencil case and books from school bag

Your child can rehearse these practical skills in small ways everyday, as you get ready to leave the house and come home again, without even realising they are gearing up for school life. Try not to have expectations, or show frustration. Give them two choices by saying, ‘Do you want to put your coat on or shall I do it?’ Use a casual tone like you don’t care either way.

Playing schools gives them a fun new experience

Many schools do taster sessions prior to starting full-time but there may be a big gap before they start school over the summer break. You can all have fun playing schools and being their teacher allowing them to practise their skills through imaginary play so they can become familiar with the shape of school routines before their taster sessions and over the summer holidays.

It’s a good opportunity for them to develop good listening, following instructions and learning to sit still – you might notice they seem to listen to their Teacher a little more than mummy or daddy! You could even swap roles and let them practice being the teacher and you the pupil.

Reading every day is the best thing you can do

The golden rule for all parents is to read to your child every day. This is so important and often starts from your child’s earliest days, through pre-school and into school until they don’t need you to read to them anymore. It is the most useful way to get your child ready for school as there are countless benefits, and just listening and keeping still to hear the story as well as awakening  their imagination is crucial to all learning. They’ll naturally pick up literary and numeracy skills through reading – no pushing is needed, just go to their own pace.

Responsibility and nice manners

Being in charge and taking care of their school bag and contents as well as clothing is an important lesson. Give them responsibility for packing the reader book that goes home daily and back to school with your child. You can practice this in your role play so they know exactly what to do when they are given this task at school.

The best way to teach your child to say please and thank you and to treat others with respect is to lead by example. When you talk to them, to your family, friends and people in shops or restaurants having nice manners yourself is the best way to get your child effortlessly copying your behaviour. Resist the urge to correct or tell them off too much, as it makes politeness into a chastisement, rather than a natural part of their behaviour.

First day at school

Your Little One’s first day at school is a big deal to you but play it cool Mama’s and Papa’s. They’ve had a really huge day filled with new experiences but they are more likely to need to crash out in front of kids TV than thrill you with their tales of school. Raconteur’s they ain’t!

So, let’s show them we missed them, get them rehydrated, nourished and chilled to avoid the post-school melt down with Sarah Beeson’s top three tips for meeting your child at the school gates.

First Day of School - CopyParents often have their own strong emotions to cope with on school admissions day.  If you haven’t got the school place you wanted I know it can hugely disappointing. But the greatest lessons your child will have will be from you, their parents. I hope this new adventure can be shared by all your family and you enjoy this new chapter. Give yourself credit for the amazing job you have already done and continue to do and all will be well.

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Got a parenting question for Sarah?

Ask Sarah Circle and text

If you’ve got a parenting questions just #AskSarah.

Sarah Beeson MBE is a health visitor and author with over four decades of experiences working with thousands of families. Her memoir The New Arrival and parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Baby are published by HarperCollins.

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Advice on games to play with your newborn baby

Parenting expert, author and health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE shares her top newborn baby games with Louisa Pritchard in this month’s Mother & Baby Magazine.

Newborn games

Name that tune-A baby often calms down to the music you played or sang while you were pregnant. See if she recognises the the tunes while you gently sway her in your arms.

Ring, ring, is that baby calling?- With your baby lying on her playmat, put her foot to your ear and pretend it’s a telephone. Have a chat with her on the ‘phone’ and lightly blow raspberries on the soles of her feet. This helps speech development . Plus, the gentle movement can also help alleviate trapped wind.

Who’s got the hat?- This is a lovely way to introduce your baby to visitors. Take one of the baby’s hats and put them on her head. Sing: “[Baby’s name] got the hat, now what do we think of that? She passes the hat to Mummy now Mummy’s got the hat.’ Put the hat on your head and repeat the song using your name and the name of a visitor. Pass the hat around the room and clap your hands in time to the song. Your little one will join in someday.

Follow the light- In a darkened room, shine a not-too-bright torch on the ceiling. Move the spot of light around and make up a story including the objects the light lands on. Your baby will enjoy following the light with her eyes and will learn about her surroundings.

Nude tummy time- Every now and then, try tummy time your baby nappy-free on a washable blanket with some toys in front of her. She’ll love the freedom.

What games do you like to play with your LO? Let us know which of these games they enjoy? Tweet @NewArrivalBook or Facebook us.

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Sarah Beeson MBE is a health visitor and author. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is published by HarperCollins (4 June 2015). You can read all about her nurse training in her memoir The New Arrival: the heartwarming true story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London. 

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Following your baby’s lead and slowing down (Gurgle Magazine)

Alison Tyler asked ‘Can slowing down make you a better parent?’ in an interview with baby expert Sarah Beeson MBE in this month’s Gurgle Magazine. Do you think gentle or slow parenting is your thing? Tweet @NewArrivalBook or Facebook us.

All aboard the SLOW TRAIN

“‘The pressures on parents today are immense,’ says health visitor and baby expert for more than 35 years Sarah Beeson. ‘We are more child-focused than ever, taking babies to classes, buying more toys, playing with them. And there is so much more advice out there it’s relentless.’

Join the slow lane

‘It’s about learning to trust yourself; you know your baby best,’ explains Sarah. ‘Almost all parents meet their baby’s physical needs, but we need to focus on emotional needs too. Don’t forget to voice the love the security that you give your child, right from the start – it’s the most important thing you can do.’

How to slow parent

‘From birth, children strive for independence. If you thwart them, they’ll become frustrated,’ advises Sarah. ‘Everything you do should be baby-led. Your job is to facilitate your child’s needs.’ She suggests all parents sing and play with their babies and young children every day, and offer lots of cuddles and love. ‘And read to your child from the start,’ she adds.

‘Children go at their own pace…All milestones are so wide – tick-box parenting isn’t healthy for parents or children.’

Don’t beat yourself up as a parent. All your child wants is love and security, so try not to get into the rat race. Sure, baby massage is nice, and support groups can be great if they’re sociable, but your baby doesn’t need them – remember: you should be having fun too.’

The result is a calmer, more confident and independent child – and more relaxed parents too. As Sarah so succinctly puts its, ‘Enjoy the moment,, every one. They go so fleetingly.'”

Sarah Beeson MBE is a health visitor and author. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is published by HarperCollins (4 June 2015). You can read all about her nurse training in her memoir The New Arrival: the heartwarming true story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London.

How to have a happy half-term for the whole family by Sarah Beeson MBE

Ask Sarah Circle and textI was asked by Tesco Living on whether it was important to main strict routines during half-term? My answer was, there is no answer to that. Personally, I think it’s nice to relax and have a break from the norm, but not everyone has the option. Many of us have to work during school holidays (I remember those days when my daughter Amy was little and the challenge of finding affordable but quality childcare was a nightmare). But just in case you were wondering whether you need to be strict Mum and Dad or fun Mum and Dad – do what make your family happy; it’s your holiday after all.

Do I need to maintain routines during half-term?

Just when you thought everything had fallen into place half-term comes along and disrupts your perfected weekday routine. You know what old saying, ‘A change is as good as a rest,’ well the same change can be said for this week-long break – there may not be a lot of restorative time but take up the opportunity to have fun and some quality time with your children when you can.

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New Experiences

Children thrive on new experiences and it can be a great time to do something new, revisit those long forgotten pre-school favourite activities or just have some relaxing home time baking cakes and watching movies together. Just because they are on holiday doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy helping to make the dinner or preparing and shopping for a day out – it’s how you do it, not what you do that counts.

If the elements are against you it would be good if you’ve got some crafty activities up your sleeve but don’t feel like you have to be Mary Poppins. A little bit of research can pay dividends – there are often free events on at local libraries, theatres and shopping centres that you can sign up to.

Whether the holidays bring snow or sunshine then blow the cobwebs away with a trip to the playground, a kick about or a long walk. Whatever you do, be part of it – you’ll benefit just as much as the children from a break a change of scene. Also more exercise and fresh air they get the more likely they’ll burn off that excess energy and sleep better and earlier.

Little Ones will be up with the Dawn as usual! But older children may like a bit more shut-eye. The scent of a nice breakfast cooking is more likely to get adolescents out of their beds then shouting and nagging. It’s a holiday and you all should have a little time to relax and be a little busy doing nothing. We all benefit from a some down-time after the stimulation of hectic school and work schedules so don’t feel that every hour needs to planned out. You can help influence good behaviour by keeping them topped up with drinks and healthy snacks. The odd treat is fine but sugary foods and drinks like coke or sugar-free squash may make them overactive and grumpy. When you’re out and about a snack bag will save you money, time and the odd tantrum.

Respecting one another’s choices

Five weekdays at home plus two weekends will not doubt disrupt your family’s usual routines but isn’t that what holidays are all about! Whether you’re going to be at home during the day with your family or not, planning ahead and being a little flexible about usual routines is the key for smiles all round.

If you do need to keep to a strict schedule because they may be on holiday but you’ve got to work, talk to them about what’s going to happen. Let them know the reasons why and agree on what you expect from them and what they can look forward to. Give them regular updates in the morning way before it gets to the critical point between being on time and very, very late.

If you are going to at home some of the time or all of the time having a conversation early each evening about what’s in store for the following day is a good opportunity to set expectations and give everyone a say in what’s happening. Having a rhythm rather than a strict routine for the week may help. So they’ll know you’ll be doing activities in the mornings, or every other day and they’ll get the chance to pick at least one thing. You don’t have to give them carte blanche – present them with two choices and let them have a little bit of personal responsibility on the decision-making.

Being positive and looking forward to spending time together is more likely to mean you’ll be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. A few treats are always welcome but it is your love, attention and listening to your child that will make the biggest difference of all. Don’t worry too much amount maintaining the status quo of bedtimes and mealtimes – as long as their needs are meant and you keep them well hydrated, nourished and they get enough rest it doesn’t really matter if things are a little earlier or later than during the school week.

Half-term, the days are long but it’s only a week. It’ll be over before you know it. Enjoy yourselves.

What do you think? Is your family happier if you stick to the school time routines during a break or do you like to go with the flow? Tweet @NewArrivalBook or leave us a message on our Facebook wall.

And if you’ve got a parenting questions just #AskSarah.

Sarah Beeson MBE is a health visitor and author with over four deacades of experiences working with thousands of families. Her memoir The New Arrival and parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Baby are published by HarperCollins.

Baby expert Sarah Beeson answers mums sleep questions in Mother & Baby magazine

Mother and Baby Cover Feb 2015Your sleep problems solved by Sarah a trained nurse, health visitor and author of The New Arrival: heartwarming true story of a trainee nurse in in 1970s London and Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby.

If you’ve got a concern or a question about your Little One why not #AskSarah to help you find the answer.

Q: What should I dress my three-month old baby in for bed now that it gets cold during the night?

Q: It’s so dark in the mornings that I struggle to get my 15-month-old up in time to get to nursery. What can I do to change this?

Q: I breastfeed my baby before bed, but then she doesn’t want to go in her cot. Help!

Q: Is a cot bed too big for a newborn to sleep in?

Q: Can I leave a bottle in my 15-month-old cot for her to drink during the night?

Q: Should I used a bed guard when my toddler moves out of her cot?

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Is your LO a good sleeper?

What does the trick when it’s time for your LO to go sleepy-bye-byes? Tweet @NewArrivalBook or drop us a line on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you and get a #BabySnap or two of your precious bundle.

Is your Little One a Christmas Baby?

All I want for Christmas is some peace on earth and time alone with my new baby.

If your baby is due during the holiday season you might be feeling like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve can pass you by. The greatest gift all those festive well-wishers with time on their hands between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day can give you is some space.

Whether it’s weddings, Christmas or how you welcome your new child into your lives – you can’t please everyone, so just for once, why not please yourself? Wanting time alone to adjust and enjoy this time isn’t selfish, it makes complete sense. So, if you are feeling like you’d like to turn off the fairy lights and block up the chimney, skip the visits to the relatives and just have time as your new family or as a couple, I say do it!

Pregnant over Christmas

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The thought of eating a big dinner might be the only thing keeping you going. If that’s the case let someone else do all the hard work. You’ll need to be near to the place you are going to give birth whether that’s in a hospital or at home. Having a house full might not be ideal if you go into labour so have conversations early on to and try and explain to close family what will make you feel the most supported.

If you fancy one last Christmas just you and your partner – what could be nicer. Sounds relaxing and romantic to me, and could be just what you need. Next Christmas is going to be all about your Little One, you’ll never get this chance again. So put your feet up, go for a walk, watch a little TV and enjoy quality time together, because soon that’s going to hard to come by. It might not be what your mum and dad want to hear but part of being a parent is putting your child’s needs first, and you’re still their baby.

Yule Tide New born

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It can very special to have a new baby at Christmas but it can also be overwhelming how many people are off work and want to visit. If you are in a relationship, or have a close family member or friend that you want to be with you give them the role of Gate Keeper. Let them answer the calls, emails and texts on your behalf and say no we aren’t ready for visitors just yet.

Or if you do want people to stop by, make it clear when and for how long they can stay. You don’t want people knocking on your door when you’ve just got the baby to sleep and are ready for some much needed shut-eye yourself. Be specific about when it’ll be OK for people to visit, say something like, ‘You’re very welcome. If you’d like to pop in for a mince pie and to say hello between 3-4pm on Thursday that would be great.’

Don’t be afraid to cancel. If you’re having a difficult day and really can’t face visitors than just cancel – good friends will always understand. Keep tabs on how you feel. After a new baby your emotions can be up and down. Whatever feels right for you, is the right thing to do. Whether that’s having people every other day, three times a week, or once a week. Suit yourself.

Don’t try and do it all

Entertaining people takes a lot of preparation. You also need to keep yourself well-nourished because you’ll noticed your day mainly consists of feeding, feeding, feeding. If funds allow get your shopping delivered. Food that’s easy to warm up is a blessing, and you’re going to need that energy giving nourishing food now more than ever.

If friends and family want to help out let them know a homemade stew or lasagne and of course cake and mince pies would be very welcome. It’ll give you the time you need to focus on taking care of your baby and yourself if you’re not having to worry about preparing meals.

Christmas Baby Checklist

Ooops, I forgot to get them a present

You’ve just given the gift of life what more could anyone expect and also money might be a little tight with all the new baby shopping. With a new baby on the way it’s understandable that buying presents and sending cards to loved ones might have slipped your mind. What could be nicer than a photo of your little Christmas angel and a text message or email letting everyone know how you are.

Do it your way

However you want to spend the holidays is the right way to do it. Whether that’s merry-making with loved ones or a cosy time just the two or maybe three of you.

It’ll make our Christmas if you send us some #babysnaps on Twitter and Facebook. I guarantee you’ll be taking hundreds this holiday.

You are the expert on your own child, lots of luck and Merry Christmas.

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About Sarah Beeson MBE

After four decades as a health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE and her daughter Amy Beeson co-wrote The New Arrival, Sarah’s true story of life as a trainee nurse in 1970s London. The follow up memoir She’s Arrived! (March 2016) and parenting book  Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby (7 May 2015) will be published by HarperCollins.

Did  you have or a are you expecting a Christmas Baby? Tweet us @NewArrivalBook or send us a message on Facebook – we want to hear about your experience.

 

Mother and Baby Mag Dec 2014Going to your first Christmas Party after having a baby?

See Sarah’s advice featured in Mother&Baby on leaving your Little One for the first time.

 

 

PL Magazine – Helping your Little Ones brush their teeth

Sarah talked to PL Magazine about how parents can help keep their children’s teeth clean and healthy in the December 2014 edition of the Plymouth lifestyle magazine.

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When your Little One’s first teeth break through it’s time to start brushing with a baby tooth brush and a smear of baby toothpaste (a few babies are born with a couple of teeth usually incisors). Use a little water and gently brush the tooth in small circles front, back and along the top of the tooth. Once they get all their teeth it only takes a couple of minutes and often reminds us to take care of our gnashers.

Do praise your child when they brush their teeth but resist the urge to overdo it. If you make too much of a song and dance about it and give them rewards and treats it often leads to children refusing to open their mouths because they know they’ll get lots of attention. Play it cool – brushing your teeth twice a day is just a part of morning and bedtime routines, like getting dressed or brushing your hair.

Smiling and tickling their cheek for a bit of low-key encouragement and getting on with it swiftly often works best with children who need a bit of persuasion. If you have the odd bad day it’s not the end of the world if you leave it till bedtime.

Let your toddler have a bit of responsibility for brushing their own teeth and lead by example by doing it together. Give them the choice ‘Do you want to brush your teeth or shall I do it?’ It doesn’t matter which option they choose – the result is the same.

Taking your Little One with you to the Dentist from an early age will help them become familiar with having their teeth checked and understand why we all have to take care of our pearly whites. During pregnancy and maternity leave mums can have free dental treatment and all children’s visits to the Dentist are free with the NHS.

Are you having problems getting your LO to brush their teeth?

Check out #AskSarah My toddler won’t brush their teeth

About Sarah Beeson MBE

Sarah was a health visitor for over 35 years and is now an author and baby expert. Her memoir The New Arrival (£7.99 HarperCollins) her parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby (Pre-order £9.99 HarperCollins 7 May 2015). Find out more in About Me.

Breastfeeding in public does not just benefit mothers and babies but our society

Sarah and Amy were asked to comment by The Evening Standard on the mother’s breastfeeding in public. Here’s what they had to say.

Letters to the editor: Breastfeeding in public does not just benefit mothers and babies but our society

Not only do mothers have the legal right to breastfeed in public but as explained in The Equality Act 2010, businesses have a legal obligation to ensure they tackle discrimination on their premises whether that’s from their staff or other customers. The purpose of the Act was ‘to give women complete confidence to breastfeed while going about their day-to-day business.’

We believe it is a woman’s right to choose how they feed their baby, whether that’s in public or private, at the breast or with a bottle; parents have an important job to do and must be supported. Babies who have a strong attachment to their mothers are more likely to grow into happy and healthy children, adolescents and adults and ultimately this results in better society for everyone.

Amy and AvaAmy Beeson breastfeeding during her daughter’s baptism at St Paul’s Cathedral – the photographer didn’t realise she was feeding when he took the picture

Every day you breastfeed is a massive achievement and for most women breastfeeding is a big challenge, though a very rewarding one. It is demanding both in the time it takes and the levels of energy it uses. Restaurants have a responsibility to make breastfeeding mums welcome and comfortable. You cannot feel relaxed if you feel judged and have to put up with unhelpful looks or comments from members of staff or other customers.

Breastfeeding in public can be a very liberating experience – it’s what breasts are for after all! It is also practical.  Babies are driven by an inner clock that demands food and cannot wait – they will scream, suck their fingers and work themselves up into a frenzy when they get hungry. New born babies feed every 2-3 hours and feeding takes time, so it is common sense for mums to take the opportunity to get a drink and something to eat – when else will they get the chance!

Sarah Beeson MBE Health Visitor and author and Amy Beeson author

Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015. She regularly answers questions from parents in her blog #AskSarah @NewArrivalBook

 

What have your experiences been like of feeding your baby in public?

We’d love you to share your tips for feeding your baby when out and about and who has been your biggest support as a mum?

Tweet @NewArrivalBook

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sarahbeesonthenewarrival

 

How to survive a Christmas shopping trip with kids

Sarah shares her top christmas shopping tips with Tesco Living.

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Christmas shopping with a baby

If you’ve got a newborn or a baby, the secret to Christmas shopping success is in careful planning and timing, says parenting author and former health visitor Sarah Beeson. You’ll want to coincide your shopping trip with when your child is sleeping, “So before you set off give them a really good feed, change their nappy and ensure they’re snuggled up and content,” she advises. “You will most likely only have a two-hour window to do a trolley dash, so make a list and plan exactly how to use this precious time.” If your little one wakes up, she does not recommend persevering. “There is no joy in walking around the shops with a crying baby, so park it if you can and come back another day.”

Christmas shopping with a toddler

If you’ve got a toddler or young children, the key is to avoid rush hour at the shops. “Go off-peak and avoid lunchtime and directly after school, as keeping the kids occupied in long queues is often the most challenging part of shopping,” explains Sarah. Before you leave for the shops, give your kids a drink and a snack, and ensure they’ve been to the toilet.

Make sure you’ve got everything you need with you too: “Have a few old toys that they haven’t seen in a while in your bag as a back-up to entertain them if they get fed up,” Sarah recommends. “Take a small banana and a bottle of water with you; tantrums are often related to dehydration, so a small, healthy snack can really help with good behaviour.” While it may be tempting to give in to your child’s pleas for a treat when you’re out, this is likely to backfire: “Sugary foods and drinks often make children overactive,” explains Sarah.

Turn them into Santa’s Little Helpers

If you will need to do the big Christmas food shop with your children, you can get a bit crafty, says Sarah. “Before you go, cut out pictures from the packet foods you regularly buy and create a list of items your children will be responsible for finding when you’re there,” she suggests. “Let them match the pictures on the shopping list in each aisle while you get on with the rest of the shop. Many places have little trolleys for children, which are great for making it a fun experience for them.” This approach may take a little while longer, but it keeps them occupied and out of your hair, and turns a chore into a learning opportunity. “Praise them when they find the items and you’ll have your very own Santa’s Little Helpers!”

Christmas shopping with older children

Your kids may be at that in-between stage when they’re not quite old enough to leave unsupervised. If you’re taking them along on a shopping trip, it’s still worth making sure they’ve had something to eat and drink and gone to the toilet before you set off. “Avoid bribery or threats to get them to behave,” Sarah advises. “Shopping for Christmas is part of creating a lovely occasion for the whole family, but takes planning and preparation,” she says. “This is a good opportunity to show them that it doesn’t just happen by magic.”

Help your child to feel included in the process by making a list together and letting them choose and make decisions on some of the things to buy. “This gives them some responsibility and shows you respect them,” says Sarah. If they’re busy looking for items and making choices about what to get, they won’t be bored and sulking. “Thank them for helping and give them praise – this shows them the standard of behaviour you expect and leads by example.”

Read the full article on Smart Shopping on Tesco Living

About Sarah Beeson MBE

Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Her expertise and innovation have been recognised with the MBE from the Queen for services to children and families, and her health prevention work received the Queen’s Nursing Institute Award but she’s happiest listening to mums talking about their baby.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys from birth to their Little One’s first birthday and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015.

Sarah second memoir about being a newly qualified health visiting in rural Kent in 1970s She’s Arrived! will be published by HarperCollins in March 2016.

Sarah talks to Mother & Baby Magazine about leaving your baby for the first time to go to a Christmas Party

Sarah gives Mother & Baby Magazine some baby advice on how you can have a good time but still meet your baby’s needs during the party season.

Mother and Baby Mag Dec 2014

Build up to leaving your baby

“Sarah Beeson MBE, co-author of The New Arrival (7.99, Harper Element) advises building up to the big night – leaving your baby for the first time can be difficult for you both. ‘Start by leaving your little one with the person who will be caring for them for 30 minutes. Then try an hour. After a few days, before your event, leave your baby for a few hours. You can use the time for a festive indulgence – get your hair done, so you’re feeling confident.’

Party Tip

Sarah’s top party tip for mums’ who are on the wagon is, ‘Mix elderflower cordial with sparkling water, served in a champagne flute. It feels much more chic than wandering round the party with a tumbler or pint glass.’

Expecting a new baby at Christmas?

Sarah will be writing a special Christmas Blog on having a New born baby at Christmas in her Baby Advice blog very soon.

Tweet us your Do’s and Don’ts for managing festive well-wishers when you come home with a new baby @NewArrivalBook

About Sarah Beeson MBE

Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Her expertise and innovation have been recognised with the MBE from the Queen for services to children and families, and her health prevention work received the Queen’s Nursing Institute Award but she’s happiest listening to mums talking about their baby.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys from birth to their Little One’s first birthday and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015.

Sarah second memoir about being a newly qualified health visiting in rural Kent in 1970s She’s Arrived! will be published by HarperCollins in March 2016.