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Part 1

When I first fell pregnant, I never imagined how much of a physical and emotional toll raising boys can have on your body and mind. It is downright hard when you are a new mum but this never EVER stops. 7 years and 2 boys down the line and, I still have days where I wonder if today will be the day that I go insane. I have got to give credit to all those mums out there who are raising children but also working a full time job. You are heroes!

Raising any child is always a challenge but if you have boys, these are some of my key tips that might help. Please note they are not gospel. I am in no way a child psychologist or qualified to give advice. These are just my thoughts from my own experiences as a parent to 2 very bouncing, bumbling, loving, rambunctious little boys.

Give Them Structure – but have fun

Good Night, Sleep Tight

A relative once told me that it’s all about the routine. As babies, this took the form of the 3 B’s. Book! Bottle! Bed! At the time, as a Resource Planner, I was already about routine, routine, routine. If you’re raising boys you definitely want to have a good routine in place.

Like any other parent out there, we experienced sleepless nights. However, I strongly believe that the routines we put in place, and stuck to, are the reason they are such good sleepers today.

Now, at age 4 and 7, they have set bedtimes and, for the most part, they don’t fight it. We aren’t complete Hitler’s though; we do let them stay up later at weekends and holidays and we always have fun. At bed time we sing songs, read stories and do our “good night, family I love…” (Basically say I love “insert name”, for every member in our family. ALL OF THEM! We can be there quite a while. Why did I come up with this concept? LOL)

A Snuggle Pod Sleepover

In case anyone is wondering, these snuggle pods came from Aldi this Christmas. They are like sleeping bags but soft and fluffy like a teddy, perfect for the little boy who likes to snuggle down at night. Unfortunately I haven’t seen them anywhere else as yet.

We have been really lucky in the fact that, once in bed, they tend not to get back out again. This is all credit to the routine we put in place at the start. Although, Pup is scared of the alarm on the Angel Monitor so that could be a factor too. Yup! If you want your child to stay in bed, just make them too scared to get back out again. 🙈

It isn’t always a bed of roses though. As is expected with children, they go through phases. One such phase that raises it’s little head every so often is the “fear of the dark”. Both my boys have experienced this more than once; I think all children do. We found that it really helps them both to have a wee nightlight. (Affiliate Links below*)They also have fairy lights surrounding their ceilings, left up after Christmas.

If lights don’t work, a friend of mine recommended a wee Bluetooth speaker (Affiliate link below*) in order to play some soothing music at bed time. This just helps to relax their wee minds.

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This worked for us; however, it is important that you choose a routine that is right for you and your child.

Let’s Organise our Day

It isn’t just the night time routine that is important. I’ve established a routine throughout their day to day lives too and I use a large A3 calendar to keep track of everything. They have so many events planned in school and other extra-curricular activities. DIY Daddy and I also have appointments we need to remember. I have found that this is the best way to manage our lives. (Affiliate link below*)

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On school days, I prioritise myself. I always get up at 6am to make sure I’m ready first. It’s very rare that you get to shower in peace, without some little people popping in to pee, or god forbid, do a number 2. Why do they always have to go for a number 2 right when you are in the shower?  Once I’m ready, I can then concentrate on getting them organised.

One useful tip, if they can’t yet tell the time, is to tell a little white lie. Tell them it’s later than it is. 😉 This usually means I have them ready and out the door 5 minutes before they really need to be. As such, we have NEVER been late. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve cut it close. It’s typical that shoes go missing, someone needs the loo or jackets miraculously end up hiding somewhere, even after you have just put them on but, we always make it on time.

 Honestly though, I have only been late once in my life and that was due to a pretty unbelievable, red-faced, circumstance (I lost my shoe on the train track). Little white lies, that benefit them, don’t hurt if you can get away with it. 😂

Keep Them Moving

Another key tip to raising boys, and one that I really need to pay more attention to myself, is exercise. Keep them moving. Give them something to burn off all that boyish energy. My mum always drilled this into me from the minute she found out I was having a boy. I believe my brother was quite “challenging”. That’s the polite term for it.

As soon as they are old enough, get them into clubs. When at home, go plenty of walks, play football in the back garden, heck, just chuck them outside and see who can run round the garden 10 times first. There is nothing wrong with a bit of competitive behaviour.

Run Rabbit Run

I have really tried to get my 2 into sports. Tink goes to Football, Karate and Swimming, although he really isn’t the athletic kind. He does LOVE to dance. We recently discovered GoNoodle on YouTube. It is a fab channel to get them moving and also encourage them to concentrate and follow along with the dance moves on the screen. Tink also loves Kidz Bop (Affiliate Link Below*)

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The Karate Kid

Pup, on the other hand, would jump into any sporting activity feet first. Due to the Covocalypse, he doesn’t get to do much yet, although he is desperate to start. It is hard to rein him in at times.

If it wasn’t for physical activity, my boys would rip each other apart, a bit like 2 wolves fighting over a dead animal carcass. They are so competitive. Quite often they reach that point where you know that it is time to get them moving, burn of some steam and, on my part, calories. Yup, it is also time to get myself moving again. 2021! New Year; new me!

Speak Up

As a retired primary teacher, my mum is always full of advice when it comes to raising boys. Sometimes I actually listen. Quite a big aspect of my relationship with my boys is how we communicate with each other. As parents, DIY Daddy and I are still learning. Sometimes we make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. The same goes for kids. They are all learning but, communication is key.

As parents we all know the basics. You want your child to feel safe, loved and happy. We also want them to be well behaved and kind to others. I think that how we communicate with our children plays a large part in establishing what type of individual they will grow up to be. We want them to be able to “speak up”; be strong, confident and stand up for themselves.

So what do I do?

One thing I try to do every night is read to my boys. Simple tasks, like reading, colouring in and playing together, help to build that rapport of trust. I’ve already mentioned that we also do a lot of dancing, even if I have 2 left feet but, I’m all about bringing in the fun. 🕺💃

Dancing with GoNoodle

My greatest concern is that one day they need to talk and they won’t feel like they can. With everything you hear, see and read on the media, I always want them to know that they can come to us whenever they need to. We won’t judge and even if we have to get mad, we will always love them.

Don’t Get Mad; Get Even

We are also quite strict with the boys but then, when raising boys, you have to be. If you loosen the reins too much they would be off like a shot. I don’t know about you but my 2 are as stubborn as an Ass and, a lot of the time it’s their way or the highway. At least they think so. In this house, Mum’s the boss!

There are times when we all lose the rag and end up screaming at each other. This is normal; we’re only human. At this point, I need to take a step back and think calming thoughts, maybe chug a glass of wine.

Most of the time, I try to lower my voice and speak clearly. Don’t get mad; get even! If they step a toe out of line, they lose pad time which they then have to earn back or, in Pup’s case, toys are confiscated or it’s a timeout on the bottom step. We also have a rewards/chores chart. (Affiliate link below*) Although, I find myself jotting down my shopping list on it. 😂🙈

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 It’s tough though when you have one in each ear, screaming at each other whilst, at the same time screaming at you. All you want to do is stand up and screech “shut the f**k up”. Again, we need to think about communication. Speak up, but don’t shout. Easier said than done I know. It’s a learning curve. Being a parent is like being in school again.

What have I Learnt?

Over the course of 7 years I have learnt a lot about raising boys. To recap, boys need structure and plenty of exercise to burn of those boyish charms. In our household, communication is a work in progress. We are getting there but there is still plenty to learn. The main thing to remember with boys is to have fun; dance, laugh and love.

To finish, here are some thoughts from Tink and the Pup.

Tink’s Tips
  • Don’t put sweet corn up your nose, “I don’t know why I did that”
  • Don’t stick your head in the hole in the middle of the kiddie table
  • Running on ice will make you fall (the jury is still out on this one)
Pup’s Points
  • If you don’t lift your feet, you fall. He falls A LOT
  • Don’t put skinny chips up your nose
  • Don’t eat slime

And remember always AWAYS Dance like no-one’s watching.

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