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The longest established, best-read, free parenting magazine in the South.

ABC Magazine is the FREE local parenting magazine offering practical parenting advice to everyone with young children. From babies to big kids!

 ABC Magazine winter 2018 edition

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 Recent Articles

How to get your children to sleep on Christmas Eve

By | children's health, Christmas, Health | No Comments

Getting young children into their beds and staying there can challenge parents at the best of times, let alone the night before Christmas; one in three adults have to jump out of bed on Christmas morning between 4am and 7am!
World sleep expert from the University of Oxford and co-founder of digital sleep improvement programme Sleepio, Professor Colin Espie, has given us his top five tips to get your kids off to sleep before Santa arrives.

1. Be active during the day
There is plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night. Take a break from Christmas movies and head to the park to help expend excess energy in good time before bed.

2. Stick to bedtime routines and rituals
A consistent bedtime routine, or a set of specific ‘rituals’ before lights out, will signal that it’s time to sleep. If you’re staying away from home, find ways to recreate parts of the routine, even if they are happening later than usual. Preparing for bed in the same order each night (such as bath, brushing teeth, stories, goodnight hug), will help with readiness for sleep, wherever you are. Even a few days of a consistent schedule should help your child settle in a new location. Bringing familiar bedding, toys and books will help them to relax and feel secure away from home.

3. Act before your child gets overtired
Young children are often reluctant to admit that they’re tired – even more so when the alternative to bed is playing with shiny new toys. Look for signs of sleepiness before your child starts to be overtired, which is often the driver for ‘hyper’ behaviour. Try to start the bedtime routine at a consistent time. If they really don’t feel tired, they can play quietly in their bed or crib with the lights low. If you notice that your child is often overtired at night, experiment by shifting the whole bedtime routine forwards by 15-30 minutes.

4. Give plenty of notice
Give plenty of notice when bedtime is coming up, and then stick to what you’ve said: “In 10 minutes the cartoon will end and it’ll be bath time, and then we’ll have time for two books.” A timer which rings when playtime runs out could be a useful ‘independent’ signal that it’s time for bed. If your child refuses to stay in bed, try to avoid giving extra attention for bad behaviour. Be as neutral and uninteresting as you can as you return your child to bed, even if you have to do this a few times. Consistency is key – even at Christmas – to help the whole family sleep well.

5. And if all else fails…
With a house full of guests, your child may understandably feel as though they are missing out on all the excitement by going up to bed. If you’ve followed the tips above and still have a stubborn and weary young one, hanging onto the bannisters in protest, the suggestion that Father Christmas only leaves presents for children who are asleep might just be enough incentive to encourage lights out.

The danger of expecting ‘the best’

By | Education | No Comments

Often parents are driven to want their daughter to be ‘the best.’ At Prep School level this is only ever short-lived – how often is the tallest girl still the tallest by 14 or the top scorer still the most academically successful later on in their schooling? Rarely is this the case, since development is not linear and there are peaks and troughs along the way.

It is impossible for everyone to be the fastest swimmer, the quickest at mental arithmetic, to have perfect pitch, to be the life and soul of the party or the best listening ear. In fact, we have to be careful sometimes what we wish for. Being ‘the best’ is an incredibly stressful position and can lead to a feeling of isolation and a fear of failing. The fall from dizzy heights of success can be a painful experience and undoubtedly it can be lonely at the top. Our job is to ensure that the girls are ready and armed to cope with such challenges and the inevitable ups and downs they will face.

Girls at Prep School should be in the phase of discovery and still able and encouraged to take risks and build their natural resilience. In doing so they will be encouraged to be the best that they can possibly be and find out for themselves where their own strengths lie. What we don’t want is Annabel to be more like Emily – we want Annabel to be more like Annabel – the best and truest version of herself.

Learning often happens when we are taken out of our comfort zones. Young children do not fear failure, in fact they relish it – how many of your daughters loved to play ‘peek-a-boo,’ or later on ‘tag’ but really aimed to be caught, not to get away? They are playing out success and failure and enjoying that moment when their building brick tower tumbles to the floor.

It is only as children become slightly older that they begin to grapple with the complexities and demands which come with being successful. Our job is to be the gentle palm in the small of their backs to guide and lead, to inspire and support and to catch when the occasional but necessary fall comes about. The key is for us to tap into what motivates, excites and stimulates the girls in order that they can find pleasure and satisfaction in meeting the challenges they face. In doing so, they will develop a lifelong love of learning. Truly creative and original thought requires failure. Every girl has a distinctive set of drivers and talents; if we spend time discovering what they are we have gone a long way in encouraging their failure and ultimate success.

St Catherine’s Prep School, Bramley extends a warm welcome to parents who would like to visit the school.
Open Mornings: Friday 16th November, Friday 1st February 2019 and Tuesday 5th March 2019.
Taster afternoon (Year 1 – Year 6) Thursday 22nd November.
Please contact Sally Manhire, Prep School Registrar, on 01483 899665.
www.stcatherines.info

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