Do you ask yourself if you’re a good parent?

Sarah Beeson MBE author of parenting and baby advice book ‘Happy Baby, Happy Family’ thinks today’s mums and dads are the best parents ever.

In an article for The London Economic she lists 20 Reasons You’re The Best Generation of Parents Ever.

By Sarah Beeson MBE, Health Visitor and Author

After four decades working with babies, children and their families as a nurse and health visitor, I can honestly say that this is the best generation of parents there has ever been. One of the biggest reasons is that mums and dads work as a team; putting their Little One’s needs at the centre of family life.

Today’s parents often intuitively meet the needs of their baby in a natural way. Even small babies respond positively to being treated with gentle respect. More people understand that their child is a unique human being with the same rights as anybody else and that you, as their parent, are the custodian of those rights.

How many of these have you nodding along? If you’ve ticked off ten or more, then let’s face it, you’re a confident, caring parent.

1. Saying, “I love you,” – previous generations often loved their children but didn’t say it. Children need affection every day, more of today’s mums and dads do this naturally.

2. Being brave – today’s generation of parents are the rule breakers. More and more parents recognise there is no perfect way to parent and are flexible about finding methods and techniques that feel right for their family.

3. Telling it like it is – more parents talk honestly about the challenges of parenthood. Social media, blogging and parenting groups let people have a laugh, share tough times and know they are not alone or the only one that finds it hard sometimes.

4. Safe sex – as more couples use contraception and plan for pregnancy the result is more wanted babies.

5. Giving nature a helping hand – Gay parents, adoptive parents and parent who have fertility treatment have a more complicated journey to parenthood but are usually fully committed to making that wanted baby the centre of their world.

6. Proud to be a single mum – a loving single parent can meet their children’s needs just as well as a couple.

7. Childless by choice – it is becoming more accepted that not everyone wants children. People being honest and open about this means less unwanted children which is better for everyone.

8. Quality time – more parents invest in giving each of their children individual attention, education and experiences that enrich their lives.

9. More choice for women – today’s mums have a big balancing act but there are more choices available to them. When mums are happy whether that’s keeping a career they’ve worked hard for, or being at home full time – it leads to happier children.

10. Employment rights – flexible working, longer maternity leave and pay, paternity leave and shared parental leave gives parents the opportunity to be with their children more and demonstrates to society how important the role of the parent is, no-one else knows their child better.  11. Less teasing – more parents recognise that humiliating children in an attempt to toughen them up has the opposite effect and is emotionally damaging.

12. Praise – more parents praise their child consciously and unconsciously and see the way to encourage good behaviour is to actively recognise it.

13. Children are heard and seen – more parents today spend quality time with their children and there has never been so many opportunities for family friendly experiences.

14. Health – more parents look at their diet, health and fitness when trying to conceive and during pregnancy. This has big benefits for mums and babies for their physical health but also emotionally they are investing in their baby from the very beginning.

15. Free information – parents are able to access information from so many sources and prioritise reading, discussing and acting on the information available in a way we’ve never seen before.

16. Putting children first – more parents than ever put their baby at the centre of their lives in a way that used to be considered as spoiling the child.

17. Team work – more couples work as a team and there is increasing equality when it comes to childcare, household duties and work.

18. Dads – a lot of men are more hands on. Which is a win/win for the entire family.

19. Children are people too – more parents see their Little One as a person with equal rights and adults treat them with the respect they deserve.

20. Emotional needs – more parents are meeting their child’s emotional needs from birth as well as their practical ones, which results in happier more confident children.  I promise you, no matter who you are or how things might look from the outside, every good parent has doubts about their abilities or the choices they are making. There isn’t one perfect way of parenting; every single baby and family is unique. It is the parents or the person who is the main carer for a child who has the greatest insight into the needs of their Little One.

In my book ‘Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby’ I offer the solutions to help you find your parenting style and to give you reassurance when you need it, so you can be the parent you want to be. Feeling confident, authentic and positive about your role as a parent is the key to building a loving relationship with your child.

Sarah

Making the most of the last days of Summer 

Sarah Beeson was delighted to be asked by Maggie & Rose to share a few tips on creating memories with your children over summer.   

Children thrive on new experiences and summer can be a great time to do something new, revisit those long forgotten favourite activities or just have some relaxing time at home baking cakes and watching movies together.

You can help influence good behaviour in your children by keeping them topped up with fluids and healthy snacks. When you’re out and about a snack bag will save you money, time and the odd tantrum! The more exercise and fresh air they get the more likely they’ll burn off that excess energy and sleep better.

If the elements are against you it would be good to have some crafty activities up your sleeve but don’t feel like you have to be Mary Poppins. London is an amazing city with so much to offer children but not every day has to be a big adventure. Whatever you do, be part of it- you’ll benefit just as much as the children from a break and a change of scene.

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. You don’t have to give them carte blanche on activity choices- present them with a few options and let them have a little bit of 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. Enjoy your summer!

 Enjoy Sarah’s article and the rest of the Maggie & Rose Summer magazine.

Sarah’s baby advice book ‘Happy Baby, Happy Family‘ is a perfect read for new parents.

About sarah

If you’ve got a question about your LO check out Ask Sarah or get in touch.

Sarah Beeson is a health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family. She writes with her daughter Mumpreneur and writer Amy Beeson. Sarah’s memoir of training to be a nurse in 1970s London The New Arrival is a heartwarming true story published by HarperCollins.

Clingy Toddlers: Making small changes for happier families

Baby Expert Sarah Beeson MBE gives a family some one-to-one advice for happier mornings and no-tears drop off at the childminder’s in Prima Baby Magazine.

The solution

“It’s normal for toddlers to cling to parents and carers, it’s all part of their learning and development. They do it because they feel so attached to you, which is a positive thing, although it usually doesn’t feel that way at the time! Praise and encouragement works wonders, and while it won’t transform a clingy toddler overnight, it’ll help you both enjoy the journey through toddlerhood together.”

 

SARAH’S 8-POINT ACTION PLAN

  1. ROUTINE MATTERS

  2. GIVE CONTROL

  3. PILE ON THE PRAISE

  4. TELL HER WHAT’S HAPPENING

  5. OFFER CHOICES

  6. play it cool

  7.  avoid the blame game

  8. accept bad days

About Sarah

If you’ve got a question about your LO check out Ask Sarah or get in touch.

Sarah Beeson is a health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family. She writes with her daughter Mumpreneur and writer Amy Beeson. Sarah’s memoir of training to be a nurse in 1970s London The New Arrival is a heartwarming true story published by HarperCollins.

Prima Baby Magazine Book Of The Month

We are thrilled Prima Baby Magazine has made Baby Expert Sarah Beeson’s Happy Baby, Happy Family their book of the month.

Sarah’s parenting advice got the thumbs up from mums and staff as a perfect reads for first time parents.

Review

“Health Visitor Sarah Beeson MBE gives answers to key baby-raising questions while sensibly explaining that no one parenting style fits all.”

“A great read to boost your new parent confidence.”

 Order a signed copy from the author.

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.

IMG_9796.JPGABout sarah

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. 

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.

half term calm

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.

Author and Mumpreneur Amy Beeson shares her children’s birthday party ideas with Prima Baby

Prima Baby cover Feb 2015Sarah Beeson’s daughter and co-author Amy Beeson shared her tips for planning three-year-old daughter Ava’s pirate themed birthday party with Prima Baby.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's CourtAmy recommended choosing a theme for birthday parties to “help you organise all aspects of the party from invitations to decorations, games and food.

Amy Beeson, 33, from London is mum to Ava, 3 and co-author of The New Arrival £7.99, Harper Element). She says, ‘We had a pirate theme for Ava’s last birthday party, which we used for the invitations, bunting, tableware and activities – for example, we had a treasure hunt in the garden for pretend jewels and coins. We made a picnic table into a ship and Ava’s dad was a dastardly pirate who announced the games! We invited six children and they all dressed up.'”

The Pirates had a great day

Ava third birthdayYou can also see photos and read about Amy’s ideas for Ava’s second birthday party. Which went into decorating the room, preparing the food and drink and party games, birthday cake and costumes for 15 toddlers at a fancy dress party. She’s also had Ava’s 1st, 2nd & 3rd birthday cards featured on Cbeebies.

how to plan a child's birthday party prima babySarah and Amy Beeson’s new book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby will be published by HarperCollins (RRP £9.99) in June 2015.

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?

Mother and Baby Sleep Layout

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.

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.

tooth fairy

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.