Potty training during Lockdown

Let’s start with this “Oh yes a perfect time for potty training,is lockdown “ this was the response from most people when we talked about Thea beginning to use the toilet.

I’m going to save a fortune

My question to them is, how the bloody hell do you know, as far I’m aware this is the 1st lockdown and I’m sure if we had one before it wasn’t used for toilet/potty training but maybe I missed something.

Onto my second moan what the bloody hell do you call it, I got pulled up for calling it potty training but toilet training sounds not right either. I mean no offence but I am going to use the term potty training in this blog my anxiety levels are at full capacity after 3 -4 months of lockdown with a toddler.

So Tony get back on track, we decided to start Thea potty training when lockdown started aren’t we fun parents. It has been interesting to say the least we ran out of frozen pants use your imagination on that one.

But how did it go I’m going to bullet point some of our journey ( some people get to go on a journey around the world this journey was not like that).

1) Potty training is a journey some days are better than others. Thea was eager to learn but basically some days she just wanted to poo in her pants. The reasons I’m not happy, I’m tired and there is a monster in the potty.

2) We found having a routine helped potty beside the bed for morning and night,gently reminding her to go. This worked well but some days the potty would just get launched across the room.

3) Pees are way easier than poo’s well this is what Thea was like. Poo’s for along time were done in her pants in our closet in the dark.

4) Take a break if it gets intense, don’t stress and we don’t want our little ones getting upset. It will only take longer and you don’t want them being scared it will only make a bigger problem

5) Working with children I know that toilet training can be sped up with siblings and watching their peers in nursery. This were I think lockdown is not always the best time. Imagine all your life happy pooping in your nappy. Then your mummy or daddy says you don’t do that you do A,B,C your toddler if stubborn might tell you to do one as they don’t believe you.

Some days it’s not worth the battle

6) Reward chart again used in nursery or stickers we had stickers went down a storm. We spoke to Thea about potty training loads and loads. Thea loves stickers she wanted Peppa pig ones so pretty simple and we would hand them out at night and just encourage and praise her.

7)Nursery taught me this one children are all unique and different. Of course take advice but don’t get upset if it doesn’t work for you. Seeing headlines on social media saying my kid potty trained in a week is crazy good for them but in the majority it takes longer. I have potty trained someone in a nursery setting in a week but that’s totally different from the Lockdown situation. In my experience it takes as long as it takes you want them to be confident and independent not traumatised.

8) But really what do I know. I don’t even know if Thea fully trained. I mean the only toilet she has used is the one in the house. I have no idea in a social situation if she will ask her teacher or know to go only time will tell.

Stay calm even when others are having a melt

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

So this years theme “Kindness” and let’s be honest with lockdown in almost its 10th week as I write this we could all do with some lovely kind words.

Kindness

We are going through the unknown we have never had something like this in my generation .

Which means we don’t really know how to react or think . We are told by social media and the news to stay positive but on the same sites told of doom and gloom or worse you witness hate as people argue their points not willing to be wrong or knowing the damage they cause to others .

My question is why not just be kind or as I tell the children pay a complement,make someone smile or if you are annoyed take a deep breath and talk about it. Surely you would prefer to brighten someone’s day rather than ruin it. Often by being kind you will get someone to open up you may even find out you have helped them what a great feeling.

A prime example of kindness is our Thursday night routine of banging our pots and decorating our windows in support for key workers some gestures that bring people together when in isolation. What I have noticed is the smiles it brings to peoples faces .

This leads me onto my thoughts of kindness why are we kind ?. For me when I link it to my mental health . I want to be kind to help people. You never know what someone is going through are they suffering. You can look amazing and be faking it to Oscar level but inside be crumbling and drowning.

I guess we have had all experienced kindness and unkindness. Think of how you felt when you received this kindness I’m sure it was 100 time’s better than the unkindness you received.

Think isn’t it so much nicer to be kind

Think you can make people feel that by supporting someone or just listening to what someone is going through . You may of been through something similar. So if you can choose to be kind.

I want to round this off with why mental health awareness week is so important to me. It gives us a chance to talk about mental health so hopefully we can end the stigma behind. Obviously this takes time but my big driving force is Thea and working with children I want them to feel safe and secure when talking about their feelings.

Lockdown this year is going to have a massive affect on them anything up to maybe 5/6 months of missing school,nursery, playgroups is a massive amount of time to miss out on.

Missing out on social interaction and new experiences

I know lots of my training in Early Years Education was on the importance of social interaction for 2-6 year olds especially and what can happen if they miss out on this .

They will need our kindness over the next few months even when lockdown is raised . Our kindness will keep their chins up and encourage them to be open about their feelings and help us understand them.

But why stop with children if we can be kind to children we can be kind to each other too. During the next few months lots of us may go through difficult time’s let’s build each other up by being kind instead of tearing each other down . I think you may find it beneficial to yourself and the people you are helping

Don’t be a dick be kind

Having Dyslexia and not knowing you have Dyslexia

At the age of 29 years old I did a check/ test with Dyslexia Scotland to see if I had dyslexia or in my words “I’m I just thick and lazy” like many of my teachers had implied.

After the test which involved puzzles , sequences and words . The report I got basically said moderate / to severe dyslexia and I also had a processing delay , I found it hard to understand instructions and problem solve. I had felt that for years I would be asked to do a task but it was like I was being spoke to in a foreign language . I never said anything and took the jokes or the annoyance of co-workers or managers.

Why did I do nothing?.

Imagine every school report and teacher say your lazy, doesn’t study , complete homework and isn’t teaching their potential. To say my confidence was shot is an understatement , I’m actually getting quite emotional writing about it. 13 years of education the best time of your life, I don’t think so I hated it and have an anger towards the education system how could they let this happen and then the teachers yes it was the 80’s and 90’s but the way the spoke to me and treated me was a disgrace and has definitely affected my mental health as a teenager and young adult . How can you put a child constantly down and not help them?.

Right enough of feeling sorry for myself and ranting.

How my dyslexia and processing delay affect me ?.

I’m going to start with how it affects my Instagram . When writing a post it can take several attempts . Why well I sometimes miss out words and even when reading it through I won’t know it’s missing. You see my reading is horrible if I’m reading a book I need total silence or I just don’t take it in. I often read the same line or page over and over again. So my posts can take an age to put together.

Onto spelling , I could say I can’t spell but that’s not totally right. I can but it’s like my brain muddles up the words and spits them out back to front and plays tricks on me. It looks right to me and I have the right letters but in the wrong places. It is incredibly frustrating as I often can’t use words I want to as I have no idea how to spell them or I’m scared I will be pulled up for my mistakes .

When I’m writing I struggle to make it all link together , I struggle with the grammar and punctuation I just sometimes miss it out.

I think this can be related to my audrity processing delay. I struggle with instructions verbally but also understanding skills like writing. I remember trying to learn about writing skills in school I had no idea what the teachers were asking of me so I had to self teach myself and come up with defence mechanisms to survive . God forbid the teacher asked me in class or read out my work talk about an anxiety bomb.

So how do I cope for college I had a scribe I would tell them what I was trying to say and they would put it in to proper English I also got funding for a proof reader which was fantastic. I unfortunately never got this help at university . I felt they wanted us to be robots “to pass this course you must write the way we want you to” this was never going to work my content and understanding was good but it didn’t read like university papers I soon dropped out.

Day to day I will ask family and friends to check my work but I can’t do this for every post it just wouldn’t work. Also when somebody checks your work they change it . It no longer sounds like me.

Honesty I am up front now on forms I put down I will need support or extra time and in work situations I will tell people. I may take a little longer to respond . I feel this helps me relax and what else can I do ?.

I love writing and posting it’s amazing for clearing my mind and moving on. It stops me from overthinking and keeping my anxiety in check . I also have journals with lists and thoughts but sorry they are just for me .

I hope this post helps you understand the difficulties I have when writing and maybe encourages some others with dyslexia to start writing or share their experiences.

Featured

Returning to Work after having a Child

When Thea was 1 years old I have to admit , I was in not a great place. Due to a hell a lot of things but I have to say my work life was hell.

I had fallen out of love of the education system and needed out. Harriet had just started to work for herself so we decided for myself to take a time out and stay at home with Thea . I mean I was trained in early years so why not . I stayed at home for almost a year and loved it. I built an amazing bond with Thea and it let Harriet’s business grow and flourish .

While at home I did some chaperoning which is looking after children on set I really enjoyed it and when in June I got the opportunity to work on a new BBC kids drama (The Demon Headmaster check it out on CBBC on Monday’s at 5pm )full time it was to good to turn down. I thought going back  to work would change our home life  but it really changed and I guess that’s the same for all parents returning to work .

There is good points and bad points to this so here’s what have found out since returning to work .
Let’s start with the positives :

Money Money Money – Having another income is great we can save ,book a holiday and have treats with Thea at the weekend.

Adult interaction – It’s great to spend time with other adults saying that we behave like children most of the time .

Self worth – working for me builds my self esteem bringing a wage into the family home . Also the self satisfaction of working on a project from start to finish feels great .

Reflection- working long hrs makes you realise what is important in life. It also focuses myself .

Mental Health- I feel mentally much stronger . My confidence is growing meaning my self worth has gone up. On top of that putting myself into new and stressful situations has helped control my anxiety .

Right next up the negatives :

Being away from Thea at 1st it wasn’t bad, but now she knows. When I’m getting ready to leave I get “No No” and sometimes a slap and that’s if she is awake . Sometimes I only see her in the middle of the night to change her nappy that’s hard .

Physically knackered : Being out the house for 14-15 hrs a day brutal . It takes a while for your body and mind to get use to that. Walking 20,000-25,000 steps a day your diet has to change 

Quality time : I say I don’t see Thea it’s the same with Harriet . I’m knackered when I’m back home at the moment so it can be quiet in the house. Meals out and days out haven’t been happening as much. I need to change that and get in a better routine. 

Guilt- what do feel guilty about literally everything at first, but I feel this passes and once you talk about it that helps .

Stress/mental health I’m putting this in as I know in the past my work I hated and it brought on this. Thankfully on returning to work I haven’t suffered this. Why most likely it’s down to being  in a better place. I mean that’s why I went back to work . I’m also on medication so I’m guessing that should get some credit too. If your mental health is taking a battering at work please talk about it to someone straight away don’t let it affect your home life .

Right so overall :

I can sit on the fence and say just do what you feel is right , but deciding to be a stay at home parent or a parent returning to work has a major impact on not just you but your partner and your children .

A prime example is this I had a dad in the an old nursery doing a visit his child was going to start nursery full time at one years old. He couldn’t answer any of the questions I had but told me they had another on the way and the child had to go to nursery .

I’m not saying don’t work , don’t send your child to nursery , but you need a balance and you need to think what you really want. We all have different goals and priorities it’s your choice but remember they are not kids forever .

I like being self employed it’s flexible , I’m my own boss and it works for me and Thea . Could I earn more money yeah but the more you earn the more you spend in my experience . But I do think Day release sorry work is good for the soul and mind which will is good for you and also your family

How to Survive a Wedding with a Toddler

Life with a toddler in our experience can be hectic . The transition of Baby to toddler is shall we say emotional. Taking a baby out you can keep them entertained and happy with a pram and bottle when out socialising. A toddler goes somewhere new and becomes an emotional wrecking ball. A pram will not contain them and will not silence them .

Life does not stop though so when we knew our friends Kirsty and Emmett were getting married we thought we better get organised. Thea would be 20 months by the wedding and in full toddler mood.

So for a smooth weekend this is what we planned.

:Keep it simple stay in the hotel of the wedding The Piersland Hotel.

:We didn’t want to rush so we booked the night before and after. This meant Thea could get use to place and not be like a Taz Manian Devil when seeing a wedding for the 1st in a new place.

: We all deserve a break and weddings are always a fantastic occasion . With this in mind we got our friend Nikki to come down to babysit. We had booked a cottage so plenty of room and Thea loved Nikki.

:Do a food shop the day before, pick picnic foods and your child’s favourites it’s a break for them too. You never know how they will react to sleeping in a new bed. That can be bad enough you don’t want them hungry too.

At this point I have to say I was feeling quite chuffed with myself. We were going to smash this wedding .

The day before the wedding I left Harriet and Thea at home and thought I would get a gym workout,sauna and shave . As I was in the changing room about to go to the gym my phone rang … I very nearly didn’t pick it up I saw it was Harriet and thought it would be reminding as always pick up milk for Thea .

Thank God I did answer it was Harriet hyperventilating while trying to shout the wedding is today. It was now about 11.30 the wedding was 14.00 the next day . I don’t know why but I chuckled down the phone. You can guess how that went down, so off up the road I went knowing I was in for a world of pain.

When entering the flat I can only describe it as a chaotic war zone and I had walked straight into the middle of it with a big silly smile. Harriet was in full panic mode, red face,eyes filling,banging everything down and speaking very high pitched.

I think because I knew Harriet was panicked it relaxed me about it. When it’s your wedding your so caught up in the moment you didn’t even really know who is there,but I was quietly confident we would make it. Harriet packed and kept Thea happy and then packed the car and to cut along story short we made it to the hotel with 15minutes to spare but our story does not end here.

Thea had missed her nap. Never ever a good thing to miss for anyone. I don’t remember a parent ever saying I’m so glad our child missed their daily nap right before their 1st wedding.

The hotel is stunning and old with lots of rooms and stairs which would be fine if we arrived 24hrs earlier and Thea had explored them all. So getting to the bar was a battle as she fought to explore the men’s toilet .

But there should of been a babysitter and we should of been at the bar having drinks.

Thea was now at her 1st wedding. Inthe bar she ran about like a headless chicken but was not causing to much fuss. The ceremony though was a different ball game. How the hell do you get a toddler to sit still on a chair in a room with about 60 people let alone stop them shouting Daddy and Duck.

I took one for the team and escorted Thea out the room like a teen getting escorted by the police for drinking several bottles of Mad Dog 20/20. I didn’t want a scene the teen wanted everyone to know I was ruining there fun an they did not deserve this treatment. I left to the slap of my nose and raspberry.

So I missed the ceremony but caught glimpses as Thea heckled through an open window at the back. But it was worth it Kirsty was one of Harriet’s bridesmaids and loved watching her get married myself and Thea so her crying cue Thea banging the window.

Afterwards there was photos,drinks and then dinner.

This time was spent necking beer as fast as possible and running after a toddler trying to escape us . It was knackering work but Thea was in her element playing outside,talking to lots of new people eating sugar what else does a toddler want a dog… oh yeah Bruce Kirsty’s and Emmett’s dog made a guest appearance Thea loved that.

But she was getting tired and cranky about 8pm so we took her back to the room. Harriet was putting her down and I was in the other room making coffee. After a while of silence I went through and both were fast asleep it was 8.30pm and it was the end of the night for all of us. What a day.

So to survive a wedding with a toddler 1st things 1st make sure you have the right date in your diary.

Anxiety Over The Christmas Period

The Christmas period is busy busy with lots of parties and social gatherings.

For most these are things to look forward but for some with anxiety they can become overwhelming. It’s far to easy to fall down that anxiety hole and lets be honest Christmas time with kids, do you really have time to climb out that hole.

What caused my Christmas anxiety

My routine is gone I’m overwhelmed and I start to feel slightly empty and my mind goes into over drive.

I didn’t notice my anxiety levels going up until I spoke to friends online and started to workout why I was feeling off centre.

My warning signs of anxiety creeping up:

Insomnia- Takes ours to sleep my mind racing about future events

Can’t get out of bed- see above can’t sleep too much sleep can’t win .

Mr grumpy returns – I was becoming grumpy because my mind won’t switch off I’m stressed, tired and beating myself up.

Sweating – Day or night I sweat a load more.

So my anxiety levels are due to my routine being out and not having clear goals.

Christmas time to me feels like a riot lots of parties, social gatherings, pressure of getting everything right for everyone.

But without a doubt I’m in a better place than previous years to deal with it.

why?, the fact I can write about it and realise what is happening and discuss how I’m feeling means I can tackle it.

So how do I tackle my anxiety over the the holidays?.

– Talk about it with the ones closest to me, having thoughts spinning in my head aren’t going to go away.

– Positive Vibes only it’s only me who can change I how feel. I think of all the positive aspects of my life Thea, Harriet my health , my career, owning a house and write them down.

– Going into social situations sounds really simple try to relax, do some stretches go for a walk. You don’t want to be tense, twitching and sweating which I have done all at the same time within 10 minutes your knackered.

– Fuck it off right you can’t fuck everything off but if it’s something you don’t have to do, will cause you a meltdown, overstretch you fuck it off. You can’t go through life making everybody else happy if your not.

– Its busy but self care is so important if you forget about it. Your mental health can go downhill fast. I won’t get to the gym much but will do jump in for a sauna and steam for some me time. It could be something simple like a walk,podcast,meditation whatever centres you. If you don’t make time at some point you may become overwhelmed.

But remember if you don’t talk about it or admit to how you are feeling you won’t be able to do any of the above.

And remember try to enjoy the holidays and if you need a chat about your anxiety but don’t want burden anyone you can DM me on Instagram therealworkingdad.

Ice Play Activities

Over the last few months Thea has been exploring water and ice. It has been great fun watching her explore,learn and understand both of these .

I have documented these on my Instagram (therealworkingdad ) . But I was thinking how I could I make it easier for us busy parents to take part.

When I thought why don’t I do what I do in nursery . I have all my activties in order in a folder. I have the materials I need, how to set it up , the benefits and development gains and what would I do different the next time .

So I thought I would break it down in blog form so you can print your own list of activties that I have learnt over the 7 years I have worked in early years education.

Ice Play: Exploring ice

For this you will need:

Tupperware

Water

Food colouring

Toys

Fruit

Instructions

Get several Tupperware containers make room in the freezer .

Chop up some fruit apple and banana .

Get a couple of toys like cars,bricks or a bath toy something your child is familiar with it.

Put objects in Tupperware add water and a couple of drops of food colouring.Put in freezer over night.

The next morning take them out leave to thaw slightly so you can get them out the Tupperware .

I used the paddling pool to explore the ice but you can use anywhere you want.

What to do?.

Play with the ice touch it and encourage your child to explore it .

Thea it first was slightly shy about the ice .

If this happens use the ice with the toy in it as your child is familiar with the toy they will be confident to explore it.

Talk about the ice melting this will help develop an understanding of ice and develop language .

Thea loved seeing the ice melt to reveal her car she picked the ice up and tried to smash it several times.

Why put fruit in it.

Yes the fruit becomes like slime.

But children love exploring different textures.

Thea use to hate messy play but by encouraging her to explore it she has become confident in messy play.

As the ice melts your child may eat the fruit while exploring it using different senses like taste ,touch and smell .

This activity is really free play it’s not meant to be structured.

You are letting your child explore the ice.

Each child is different and will learn differently .

All you have to do is encourage them,talk to them and of course prepare it .

Learning benefits:

Problem solving-why is the ice melting

Language development : talking about ice and melting

Sensory play: exploring different textures also helps build confidence and independence .

Fine motor: ice is skippy and difficult to hold so a great workout.

Attachment: Spending time with your child exploring is great for bonding and you learn so much about your child.

Creativty : will they stack the ice, try to use it to draw like Thea .

Physical: if you use a paddling or bath this can be quite a workout as your child is using their core strength to balance and smash the ice.

So there you go your first activity , over the coming weeks I will post more activities for you.

A Day at Lords Cricket Ground

Lords the home of cricket.

Lords is owned by the worlds biggest cricket brand, the Marylebone Cricket Club Which also owns the copyright to laws of cricket crazy.

Why does a Scotsman care about Lords or cricket?.

Simple family my papa was a Yorkshireman and keen cricket fan . As I was growing up he would look after me which meant summers of test cricket on BBC. Over the years I watched it with him and had a beer of G&T with him . As time progressed I would have tell him what as happening as his eye sight deteriorated .

So I have a relationship with cricket and find childhood memories due to my papa.

This year I decided I was going to visit lords but first I had to get a ticket a fairly simple procedure.

I went onto the Lords website http://www.lords.org looked at the fixtures and found a ODI with India perfect not too long not too short 50 overs each. You don’t just buy tickets though you pick where you want to sit I went for the Grand Stand £100 a ticket pricey but your watching a sporting event at an iconic venue for 8-9 hrs.

Then you feel in your details and wait you see it’s balloted for tickets due to demand.

I was informed by email and told the news I was successful by email and tickets sent out sharpish.

On the day of the match I got the train to Euston and walked through Regent Park to the ground it was a lovely summers day and I got to stretch my legs before sitting down for 9 hrs .

Lords is by St John’s Wood and is a lovely area I would recommend going early and grabbing breakfast somewhere and chill. Even celeb spot my spot of the day Mr Damian Lewis ( way taller and muscular than in TV)

Then head to Tesco and stock up on supplies:

Sun cream

Water (you can refill once in the ground)

Beer (2pints each you can bring in or a bottle of wine)

Food (it’s a long day)

Your bag will be searched on entrance we entered through the North Gate busy but we got through very quickly all the event staff were quick,friendly and efficient throughout the day.

Then the walk to find your seat this was view I was impressed I could see everything very clearer and there are of course screens for reply’s or use sky go as well to watch on sky sports another tip.

The seat I had was nice and padded perfect for 8hrs and enough leg room I’m 6ft 2inc.

The next question facilities bar you had que’s but nothing major 5 minutes top about £5-6 a pint £9 a pint of Pimms and lemonade.( I know steep but is London and an event).

Food though I’m not paying £5 for a pork pie or scotch egg hence why you go to Tesco.

You can previous hampers or book into a restaurant but it’s pricey but looked fab.

Toilets busy but all fine and enough of them.

Family friendly as well.

So onto the cricket England started well and collapsed mid order no surprise there but Joe Root getting a very impressive century helped by battling Willey getting a half century give England a respectable 322 for India to chase.

India started very well their fans in good spirits trying to wind up the English but soon lost 3 quick wickets and became very quiet we only sing when are wining springs to mind the match levelled out for a while and could of swung either way but India never recovered or in few went for it.

This was confirmed by the introduction of the legend Dhoni when India were 140-4 he didn’t seem to be at the races. Hitting singles when his country needed 4’s and 6’s. As the match continued the atmosphere changed fans felt sort changed even booing him and slow clapping as he lost interest and stopped running.

India were eventually defeated by 86 runs all bowled out for 236 Plunket the pick of the bowlers taking 4 wickets

So the final 15 overs were non event but overall visiting Lords was a fantastic experience and would love to return next and at some point with Thea as she gets older .

Why the ground is spectacular as you look around it from the old the pavilion to the new the press centre thousands of people watching a cricket match as planes fly across you forget you are in the city of London. There is definitely something magical at Lords.

On top of that it is a well run machine from getting you in to the ground and to your seats to serving you a cold pint the service was ace and especially it was lovely to see the services there helping people to their seats and making them feel safe and welcome.

5am Parents Club Who wants to Join ?.

“5am Parents Club a club for anybody that is woken up between 4.45-6.00 by the children wherever you are in the world”

On becoming a parent I was warned it would be life changing “Tony you will never get a minutes peace”. To say I wasn’t prepared for being woken at 5am or earlier 75% of the time is an understatement.

It’s so bloody early Breakfast News on BBC has not started . I remember the good old days of getting in at 5am after a kebab or pizza and a night of drink and dancing the night away. Instead I’m waking up to a baby gremlin shouting and shaking her cot Butter wouldn’t melt but minutes before it was like a zoo the noise she makes to get me up.

You wake looking at your partner praying it’s not your bloody turn while your partner is nudging you get up baby needs her nappy changed,baby needs a bottle , baby needs Peppa Pig. Bloody Peppa Pig daddy needs Bloody sleep.

So as I navigate getting out of bed without falling over the obstacle course of baby toys and equipment made all the more difficult as my eyes have not adjusted to the light or by being rudely awaking . I have one thought coffee.

Baby has another thought I pick her up and pray her nappy is wet and not soiled the last thing I need is to try to change a 10 month old when my brain and body is functioning at less than 50%.

Into the living room I go get baby on the changing mat dash to the TV get it on get Netflix on and that bloody pig.

This might calm Thea enough for to get through changing her

Netflix and chill is hardly the term I would use for “5am Parents Club” Netflix is an essential survival tool. Once Netflix is on this gives you a window . This window is vital for getting through the hour. Once Peppa is on get the coffee on this energy boast is vital as you prepare babies breakfast and keep them entertained as Netflix will only work so long.

As I said entertainment is vital otherwise you get a noisy angry gremlin sorry baby if you have the energy go wild use your imagination be creative do some messy play or even art work very funny i here you say.

If not read a story and try not to fall asleep or maybe get on the ground and ruin your back more than it already is by playing with toys or just try to survive until daylight hits, your partner wakes or until your little one falls back to sleep.

If this sounds familiar you may want to join the club. But there are some side affects:

Tiredness

Grumpy ness

It can age you

You lose sense of time

You can injure yourself as your working under a lack of sleep

Headaches the noise the constant noise

Sometimes it feels like your in war and it’s only 6.30 am.

But I can offer you benefits :

Great chat with fellow parents going through this war.

Knowing you are not alone and you don’t have a devil child that wakes you at 5am every morning

Self satisfaction of getting through this time unscathed

You are bonding with your child and making memories

Some days you will be a superstar and get loads off your to do list well maybe

You are gaining an extra 2 hrs of the day you would never of had

Its free follow therealworkingdad share the #5amparents club and help each other through this time

Men in Early years Education

I have been training or working in early education for the last 8 years.

I had two years at college with 2 separate 6 month placements in council nurseries .

Once qualified I have worked in nurseries and junior schools. Mainly independent/ Private which are fee paying and finally back to a council.

In all my time I have never worked with another male in early years.

In the England 5% of the workforce are male in Scotland only 3% are!!!.

This after the UK governments have been trying to increase the number of males in the last decade a 2% increase in England and 1% in Scotland hardly figures to be proud about.

So why are there so few males picking early years education well the goverment and several education sites have published papers and there seems to be four main reasons.

I am going to give you my personal view on each. Education can be a slightly touchy subject with parents so hopefully I don’t offend anybody.

1) Men fear being stereotyped that parents and colleagues may not be welcoming and think it’s weird job for a male.

I think in the uk we have come along way and parents just want what’s best for their children. I have had a few parents who didn’t show up for parents evening with me ,made the odd comment or asked me not to change their child.Its difficult but it has been the minority.

2) Working in a female dominated environment. Right Tony be honest. It is difficult always being the only male. I have been in nurseries that have never had a male before so you have to use female toilets and heard many things I wish I never. However I did meet some wonderful early year workers and lovely people who helped me. What’s most difficult you feel quite isolated. In Scandinavia they group males together at first I think this would be a good idea here to get numbers up and so we can support each other.

3) Low pay puts men off as it’s not enough for keeping a family. The pay is below the national average wage which I think for such an important job is crazy. There has been talk about grants for men to up wages. I feel this is crazy you can’t have men getting paid more than women for the same job.

4) And finally men don’t know about early years education it’s not an option.

We need to talk about it more in schools and colleges have positive male role models come in and talk about the fantastic experience it is to help young children develop and learn.

Over the past couple of years I’m hearing more voices on social media and the news talking about males in early years which is great but it feels like it’s regions when this a national issue we should be uniting so every child in the UK has positive male and female role models.

Personally I am taking a break from working in nurseries I have had a fantastic time in early years. Met so many great children seeing them grow has been awesome.

But having a new child myself I have to put her 1st the hrs and workload has gone up over the years which has had a physical and mental affect on me.

I am still looking to work in Early years but with my own business as an Independent male nanny specialising in additional support needs and sport/fitness programmes