Skip to main content


sun safety

Sun safety

By environment, family, Health, Playing, Safety, Summer, sun safety

Take extra care to protect babies and children in the sun. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life.

Children aged under six months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.

From March to October in the UK, children should:
• Cover up with suitable clothing.
• Spend time in the shade, particularly from 11am to 3pm.
• Wear at least SPF30 sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen to areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands.

To ensure they get enough vitamin D, all children under five are advised to take vitamin D supplements.

When buying sunscreen, the label should have:
• A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB
• At least 4-star UVA protection
• UVA protection can also be indicated by the letters ‘UVA’ in a circle, which indicates that it meets the EU standard.

What are the SPF and star rating?
The sun protection factor, or SPF, is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) protection.

SPFs are rated on a scale of two to 50+ based on the level of protection they offer, with 50+ offering the strongest form of UVB protection.

The star rating measures the amount of ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) protection. You should see a star rating of up to five stars on UK sunscreens. The higher the star rating, the better. Sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection are sometimes called broad spectrum.

How to apply sunscreen
Most people do not apply enough sunscreen. As a guide, adults should aim to apply around six to eight teaspoons of sunscreen if you’re covering your entire body.

If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced. If you’re worried you might not be applying enough SPF30, you could use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.

If you plan to be out in the sun long enough to risk burning, sunscreen needs to be applied at least twice:
• 30 minutes before going out.
• Just before going out.
• Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears, and head if you have thinning or no hair, but a wide-brimmed hat is better protection.

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied liberally and frequently, and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

This includes applying it straight after you have been in water, even if it’s ‘water resistant’, and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off.

It’s also recommended to reapply sunscreen every two hours, as the sun can dry it off your skin.

Taken from

happy families

Why accepting ‘enough’ will lead you to a happier life

By family, Mental health, Relationships
by Becky Hall
author of The Art of Enough

So many of us in everyday life feel that we aren’t enough, or that somehow we don’t do enough. We move between feeling that we lack what we need to meet the challenges of life and feeling that we have too much to do or to cope with in our busy, busy lives. Which is why I think that it’s time to re-claim the idea of ‘enough’ – re-claim it from its association with mediocrity and instead thinking of it as something to aspire to. Learning to accept ‘enough’ will lead you to a happier life.

Let’s start by asking the question, “What is happiness?” We find happiness in the moments when we are aware that we have what matters most to us. When we find ourselves noticing and really appreciating what we do have. It may seem strange but the very act of appreciation and feeling grateful for what we have actually makes us feel happier. Because we realise that what we have is ‘enough’.

Accepting that you are enough is a really practical idea – here are some tips for things you can do to make friends with ‘enough’ so that you can be happier.

1. Focus on what you have and not what you don’t have.
So often in our lives we can find ourselves coming from a place of lack. We don’t have what we want, or things aren’t going as well as we wanted. This automatically tips us into a place of scarcity and triggers our defensive systems. We feel we have to protect ourselves, we hoard, we worry. Happiness comes when we are able to really turn our mind to what we do have. Whether we’re talking about our own inner confidence, or our abilities, or even what we have – finding your way to the feeling that who you are, what you do and what you have is enough is a great route to feeling happier.

2. Notice how you are really feeling.
We are emotional beings. All of us have feelings whether we like it or not. When things are tough, so often many of us just plough on and ignore our emotional reality. But this doesn’t mean our emotions go away – they just fester, ready to burst out when we don’t want them to. So instead of pushing them down – learn to notice your feelings and acknowledge them. Talk about them – let them out. The reason that this is a key to happiness is that when we bring things to light we can deal with them and make choices about how we can re-set.

3. Stop comparing yourself with others.
Have you ever had that feeling that you’re just going about your everyday business, perfectly happy with your lot, and then you see someone you know who, in your mind has just a little bit more of what you have? All of a sudden, your happiness turns into dissatisfaction, and you can get disgruntled – you’ve gone from being quite content to feeling that you don’t have enough. Happiness lies in turning this on its head. Focus on what you have, focus on how it makes you feel and resist the temptation to compare with others. You do you – it’s enough. Getting content with what’s enough for you is a great way of moving away from the magnet pull of comparing with others.

4. Zone in on what matters most to you.
Often we can get so swept up in the busy-ness of our lives that we forget to take a step back, pause and ask ourselves the question, “What really matters most to me?” So stop and ask yourself that question. When you do, it gives a really important perspective on life. Focusing on what matters most to you is a great habit – because again, you are putting your energy into what’s important and what makes you happy.

5. Get good at noticing the small stuff.
Happiness, like any emotion, is transitory. It’s not a fixed state, nor is it a magic wand that will solve all our problems. Happiness lives in the small everyday moments – if we take the time to stop and notice. That first cup of tea in the morning, the smile from a loved one, the sky on the way to work. Getting into the habit of not just noticing but really appreciating the small things is what helps re-set our emotions to feeling positive.

Becky Hall is an accredited life coach, leadership consultant and is the author of The Art of Enough


Fostering a teen

Teenagers who are trying to find their place in the world

By family, Fostering and adoption, Work employment

When people first enquire to foster, it is often assumed that younger children will be easier to manage and that teenagers will be more challenging to care for. But teenagers often become the preferred option for many foster carers who now have a special place in their hearts for this age group. There are many vulnerable teenagers in Brighton & Hove who need the unconditional love and support of a foster carer to give them the confidence and skills they need for adulthood. Could this be you?

Teenagers often come into care feeling that everyone is against them. Alongside any trauma they may have been through, hormones and a growing sense of independence mean they are going through a key and challenging stage of development. The stability and support that foster parents provide at this important stage can have a far-reaching impact and help them develop into caring, confident and independent adults.

Chris and Kieran have been fostering teenagers for almost 30 years. “The good bit is that you see them growing up, becoming independent and moving on. You get to know them and they’re old enough to really talk to. I was a secondary school teacher so I kind of know what’s going on in their heads so it’s easier to communicate. And now of course we’ve been doing it for a long time.”

Fostering a teenager can bring real challenges, but it also offers huge rewards. It takes care and consistency to let a young person know, regardless of their age, that you’re not going anywhere and you’re not giving up. When teenagers know they’re in a safe and caring place, that’s when they really start to thrive.

Martin and Liz foster teenagers and now wouldn’t have it any other way.

For Liz, it’s a familiar stage of parenting. “Our sons are in their twenties, so it doesn’t seem that long ago that they were teenagers. Having teenagers keeps you young, it’s got me back into real life!”

Martin says “Teenagers are exploring where they want to go and they’re discovering what they want to do with their life. They’re very vocal about what they want to do and they’re very interesting to talk to because they’ve got ideas that make you sit up and think!”

The magnitude of impact that foster carers can provide for young people in care is far reaching and invaluable. Family relationships are a huge benefit to teens who desperately need a support network to guide them whilst they try to work out who they are and understand what’s happened to them in the past.

Liz says “You’ve got to be very open-minded when you do face a challenge. It breaks my heart inside, but you can’t show that. And you need to be non-judgemental, that’s important. You cannot judge because you haven’t experienced the situation and can’t know what it’s like. We can only imagine.”

Like all children and young people in foster care, teens just need that family or individual who can help make the difference to their life and future prospects.

Chris and Kieran enjoy seeing the young people they’ve cared for grow up, become independent and remain part of their lives as adults.“We attended the wedding of one of our foster children… the Best Man and four ushers had also been our foster children so that was quite a day! We also have two granddaughters who we see on a regular basis.”

Birth child Lauren remembers when her mum made the decision to foster young adults between the ages of 12 and 18. “Everyone wants to foster or adopt a cute baby or young child, but not enough people think about teenagers. My mum wanted to give young adults a chance to change their lives by giving them the skills and emotional support for them to make their own success. She helped them to believe in themselves and I feel proud of her for helping them to flourish into young adults who now have a chance for a better future.”

Gemma’s life was transformed when she was fostered by a Brighton family at a desperate time. Foster carers Shelley and Nicholas took her into their family home – initially for an emergency short stay – and gave her the security and care she needed.

Gemma says: “What started as a two week respite break turned into a four year foster placement. As soon as I stepped in their front door, I immediately felt this was where I was meant to be. My foster carers gave me the safe, loving home and stability I was craving. They’ve also believed in me – and that support has helped put me on a path to a future that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible. Shelley filled a void in my life, and while you can’t replace a mum, which she’s never tried to, she gave me the unconditional love and support that a mum would, and that was all I was after.The truth is, we all just need someone to care, even if it were just one person. That one person could change your life.”

Gemma encourages anyone considering fostering to give it a try. “There may be a child or young person out there who needs you, and you could save their life.”

To foster teenagers, it can help if you have some prior experience working with young people, but it is not essential as the Brighton & Hove City Council Fostering Team will provide all the training and support you need. There are a variety of skills and qualities that are useful such as being able to listen, having a good sense of humour and being a caring, empathic person.

Teenagers are trying to find their place in the world, and they need someone to show they care. If this is you, the Brighton & Hove City Council Fostering Team would love to hear from you.

If you can help a teenager to find their place in the world and be the person they need, the Brighton & Hove Fostering Team would love to hear from you. Visit for more information or e-mail to find out about upcoming information sessions.

holiday camps

The importance of children being active and socialising throughout the school holidays

By environment, family, fun for children, Holiday camps, Playing, Sport
by Debbie Webb,
Founder of Activ8 For Kids

The school holidays can be a time for fun and relaxation, but it’s also important to keep children engaged and active during this time. School holidays are always an exciting time for children, but it can be a challenging time for parents who still need to work. This is where holiday clubs often come in, providing children with a safe, fun environment. There are a wide range of holiday clubs available depending on the interests of the children, but with the rising cost of living, parents may wonder whether the cost of the holiday clubs are worth it and whether trying to entertain them at home is a better option. So what do we want our children to be doing during the school holidays, what will help them to develop and grow as individuals and help them later in life?

As much as your child may push against routines, children actually thrive in a routine. It gives them a sense of purpose, clear expectations and a structure to their day. Routines can help their self-esteem and ensure they feel less anxious and more comfortable. Lie in’s, chilled time in front of the TV, playing computer games and having days out are all great and bring a range of benefits, but it is also important to build in time to be active and have opportunities to socialise with others regularly.

Current recommendations from the government are for children to take part in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day. This means their heart rate should increase, they should be out of breath and feel hot after the activity. Physical activity is essential for maintaining good health, strengthening muscles and bones, enhancing motor skills and can prevent obesity and related health problems. Ensuring your child is active every day and recognises the benefits it brings (both physically and mentally), can cultivate a lifelong habit of exercise and a healthy lifestyle. As well as keeping them healthy, being active brings so many more benefits:
• Allows children to burn off excess energy; remember school is very tiring and during the holidays they need alternative ways to channel that energy.
• Boosts confidence and promotes social skills.
• Develops and improves their fundamental movement skills of balance, co-ordination and agility.
• Improves mental wellbeing and makes them feel good about themselves. Exercise can improve their mood, enable them to experience a sense of accomplishment and can also stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters.
• Contributes to better sleep.
• Increases self-esteem and helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
• Physical activity stimulates brain function and enhances cognitive abilities. Studies have shown that active children perform better academically and have improved attention spans. During school holidays, engaging in physical activities like sports, outdoor games or even activities that involve problem solving and critical thinking can contribute to their cognitive development.
• Engaging in different activities and exploring new places fosters creativity, stimulates imagination and curiosity and problem solving skills.

Children who get to be active everyday alongside other children will also benefit in the following ways:
• Develop new skills.
• Develop team work and leadership skills.
• Make new friends.
• Develop independence.
• Develop their social interaction skills.
• Learn how to transfer skills across activities.

Socialising with others during school holidays is crucial for children’s social development. It provides opportunities for them to practice communication, co-operation, teamwork and conflict resolution. Participating in group activities and interacting with others helps children build friendships, develop empathy and understand diverse perspectives.

Overall, children being active and socialising during school holidays is essential for their physical health, mental wellbeing, cognitive development, social skills and creativity. Parents, carers and communities should provide opportunities and support for children to engage in a variety of activities that promote physical activity.

Debbie Webb is a qualified teacher and sports coach. She runs Activ8 For Kids and has developed programmes of activity for the different ages and stages between two and sixteen years old based on the fundamental movement skills. Visit for more information.

claim holiday camp money

FREE holiday clubs for eligible children: What is HAF and how can it help me?

By Childcare and Nannying, Education, environment, family, Finance, Holiday camps

Since 2021 the government has funded a programme called HAF (Holiday, Activities and Food programme) across all areas of the country.

Research has shown that the school holidays can be pressure points for some families. For some children this can lead to a holiday experience gap, with some children being:
• Less likely to access organised holiday activities.
• More likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health.
• More likely to experience social isolation.

In response to this research there are now a large number of holiday club providers who are offering HAF places to eligible children (from reception to year 11).

The aims of the programme are to ensure children:
• Eat healthily over the school holidays.
• Are active during the school holidays.
• Take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing.
• Be safe and not to be socially isolated.
• Have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition.

Currently a very low percentage of those eligible are actually using their free places. It is really important to raise the profile of this programme across all areas to ensure it reaches as many children and families as possible. The benefits and opportunities this programme offers are huge, however many families are put off because they do not realise they are eligible or because they don’t understand what it means.

For any parent or carer who receives any financial support for their children it is worth exploring this further. There are a wide range of clubs that offer HAF spaces and we need to make sure these places are filled to ensure the continued funding of the programme. Whenever you see HAF activities being advertised please help spread the word and let’s get this great programme out to as many families as possible.

For further information please visit

The Star Pub, Whitley

Cheers to The Star

By family, Food & Eating, parties

The Star in Witley, Surrey is an ideal pub for meeting friends and family, for a get-together in their picturesque, expansive south-facing garden over good, fresh and ‘interesting’ food. Set in central Surrey, on the Petworth Road, The Star is easy to get to and easy to park, so it is great for all the family.

When we visited, they had their GOAT pop-up in collaboration with Cabrito Goat Meat, set-up in the garden which is serving up delicious, sustainable goat dishes all summer long.

We all tried goat for the first time, so you could say The Star is great for a ‘goat’ together as well! We couldn’t say ‘kids’ without cracking up, but it didn’t stop everyone wolfing down the delicious goat burgers and taco’s!

When we visited, the garden was bathed in sunshine throughout the afternoon and with well-placed bench tables and umbrellas as well as the surrounding trees, there was plenty of shade and seating for everyone. Alternatively, the bar and restaurant area indoors offers a cooler option to the garden glare, and inside this gorgeous 17th century dwelling, a more traditional cuisine is available from their award-winning chefs. We stuck to goat that afternoon, but I urge you to visit The Star where their exquisite, locally sourced offerings such as cheese and truffle arancini, kiln smoked Caesar salad or slow cooked venison ragu pappardelle, as well as a variety of tantalizing vegetarian options may well win you over.

Outside, the busy pop-up barbecue kitchen and bar made service swift and easy and the beer, wine and cocktail selection was well considered to match the fascinating and delicious goat cuisine. Who can resist a refreshing Rosé piscine or a chilled local IPA to refresh on a lovely sunny day out?

Very child-friendly, the fenced garden allowed the family to relax, have fun and indulge themselves, and so we unhesitatingly recommend The Star, Whitley to everyone – whether it’s for a family luncheon, a birthday party or a special night out.

Visit: The Star, Witley, GU8 5LU


Telephone: 01483 355 046

fussy child

How to tackle food fussiness

By Education, family, Food & Eating
by Dr Lucy Cooke, research psychologist specialising in children’s eating behaviour and expert advisor on the non-profit children’s online game Teach Your Monster: Adventurous Eating

Getting children to eat healthily is, for many families, a daily struggle. Parents can end up cooking the same meals over and over again because their children won’t try anything new. Any attempt to serve an unfamiliar food may be met with a flat refusal and mealtimes can become a battle of wills which is stressful for everyone.

Many parents believe that everyone else’s children are eating five fruit and vegetables a day, but research tells us otherwise. In fact, less than 20% of young children meet these guidelines. Fussy or picky eating is incredibly common among young children, especially with regard to new or unfamiliar foods, and fruits and vegetables are the most likely to be rejected. Familiarity is a key driver of food intake, so the key is to make the foods we want children to eat more familiar.

One of the challenges here is that the increased consumption of ultra-processed and processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt, has altered our interactions with food. As a result, some children may not even recognise ‘every day’ fruit and vegetables in their natural state.

Implementing sustainable changes can make an enormous difference to children and their families, but in practice it’s very difficult to get children to eat five fruit and vegetables a day. However, parents play a key role in increasing their child’s knowledge, awareness, and willingness to try new foods, and there are many easy-to-implement techniques and strategies that can help.

Engage your child in food preparation activities – from helping picking vegetables at the supermarket, and choosing which ones to have for dinner, to weighing, peeling, and even serving.

Eat meals together with your child whenever possible because the more a child sees parents eat and enjoy fruits and vegetables, the more likely they are to follow suit. However, avoid showing it if you don’t like fruit and vegetables as this dislike can be contagious! Try to instil calm at meal times and avoid developing a sense of expectation as that creates a stressful environment for everyone involved.

Focus on the delicious taste of fruits and vegetables rather than their healthiness. To a child, healthy food often means ‘yucky’ food so telling your child how much you enjoy fruit and vegetables is more important than saying they need it to grow fit and strong.

Persevere in the face of refusal. Offer only very small quantities of new foods at first and repeat daily for up to 10 days. Research shows this can change dislike to like.

A multi-sensory approach
If a child eats a limited range of foods and won’t even try the smallest amount of new foods, using a sensory approach to exploring foods can help lay the foundations for children to develop a better, healthier relationship with food.

Essentially, get more creative and fun with food, turn it into a game, and take it beyond the dinner table. Using all five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste is an effective way to make new food less intimidating and more familiar. Keep in mind, it’s not necessarily about eating but experiencing each one in different ways, such as:
• Look at different varieties of tomatoes and get your child to talk about the different colours, patterns, or shapes, and the difference in appearance between the inside and outside.
• Listen to the distinctive sounds created when preparing carrots using several methods such as grating, chopping, or simply biting and chewing a raw carrot.
• Touch a fruit such as an orange and feel the contrasting textures between the bumpy rind, the spongy pith, and the juicy fruit itself.
• Smell something with a strong odour such as a lemon and compare with something with little or no smell like a potato. Ask your child to describe the different smells.
• Taste a small selection of green fruit and vegetables, for instance, grapes, kiwis, cucumber, or broccoli. Cut into very small pieces and talk about whether they are sweet, or bitter, and which taste they prefer and why.

There are many such activities that parents and children can undertake together outside of meal times. For free resources try the charity TastEd ( which has a range of activities and videos for parents around how to use the five senses to explore food, while non-profit Teach Your Monster ( has a free online game, Teach Your Monster: Adventurous Eating, which encourages children to explore food in a fun, exciting way.

Children can discover and experiment with food using all five senses, and importantly, this approach can be tailored for children of all abilities and ages. Multi-sensory interaction with food is a good way to start to tackle food fussiness, awakening curiosity, and excitement around food, and helping to inspire a generation of adventurous eaters.

Dr Lucy Cooke, psychologist specialising in children’s eating behaviour and expert advisor to Teach Your Monster: Adventurous Eating, (www.teachyourmonster,org) and to TastEd (
Mother power

How to care less about what people think of you and your parenting

By Childcare and Nannying, family, Relationships
by Poppy O’Neill
best-selling author of mental health books
for children, teens and adults

We butt up against other people’s emotions every day, in real life and online. People tend to feel a lot more comfortable sharing their emotions and opinions with women, and once you have children in tow, some take it as an open invitation to provide feedback on everything from your appearance to your children’s behaviour.

Having other people’s emotions put upon you can make you feel like they are then your problem to solve, which can cause a lot of anxiety.

Gender stereotypes and other people’s emotions
From very early on girls’ emotions are treated as less important than boys. A study carried out by Sussex University showed that adults respond to babies’ cries differently depending on their sex, with greater sympathy shown to boys.

Gender stereotyping is the cause of many of the ways women are on the back foot socially, psychologically and economically. One of the most common ways gender stereotypes manifest psychologically and emotionally in women is often known as ‘people-pleasing’.

If you’re a people-pleaser, the prospect of conflict, being disliked or even disagreement can feel uncomfortable and sometimes even threatening. For people-pleasers, it seems like a better option just to go along with what other people think and want, even at the expense of their own needs. This disconnects us from what we truly think and want – we lose touch with ourselves by focusing on other people.

The first step to unlearning people-pleasing is to recognise it within yourself.

If you:
• Apologise often
• Struggle to say no
• Don’t admit when your feelings are hurt
• Often assume people are angry or disappointed with you

…you have people-pleasing tendencies. Once you can recognise people-pleasing in yourself, you have the power to take control. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the hard work. The secret is to learn to pause, name the feeling and breathe through the discomfort.

Other people’s emotions are nothing to do with you
The belief that we are responsible for the actions or emotions of other people is common among women. We’re brought up to be nice and to put others’ feelings ahead of our own. Becoming a mother can reinforce this because our children’s emotions are, to a certain extent, tied to our own. As we’re solely responsible for these tiny human beings for such a big proportion of the time, our own wellbeing feels like it’s dependent on keeping them calm and happy.

The key to letting go of the idea that other people’s emotions are our responsibility is to build a sense of trust. When you trust other adults to handle their own emotions and look after themselves, you can let go of some of that guilt that comes when you cancel plans, break bad news or give criticism.

What’s more, when you hurt your own feelings in order to save someone else’s, that’s not actually you being kind – it’s you trying to avoid your own discomfort. Many of us would much rather inconvenience ourselves than someone else, because the latter brings up complex feelings of guilt and shame that come from defying the stereotype of the selfless woman.

When you trust someone to deal with life like a grown-up, you’re showing them – and yourself – respect.

What you can and can’t control
Other people’s emotions are not within your control. Thank goodness they’re not, because it would be exhausting if they were! Focusing on what you can control, rather than what you can’t, can lead to better mental health and higher self-esteem.

Psychologists call the sense of how much power we have over our own lives a ‘locus of control’. Everyone has a locus of control that falls somewhere on a spectrum between internal and external.

Internal locus of control: The belief that you have some power over the events in your life and the choices you make.

External locus of control: The belief that events in your life and your responses to them are controlled exclusively by other people.

Of course, some things truly are out of our control, but the more we focus our attention on what we have the ability to change, the greater our sense of power, responsibility and safety in the world. For example, if it rains on your birthday you can’t stop the weather, but you can dress in waterproofs or stay inside. Those who focus on the weather will feel worse than those who focus on how they’ll adapt to the less-than-perfect conditions.

When you’re feeling stressed out by other people, it can help to remind yourself of what you can and can’t control.

What I can control
My responses
My actions
My boundaries
How I take care of my emotions.

What I can’t control
Other people’s emotions
Other people’s thoughts
Other people’s actions
Other people’s boundaries.

It’s natural to care about what other people think of us and how they feel, but putting other people’s feelings above our own is a recipe for resentment and burnout. Remember – you don’t need to make sense to others, and you can trust other adults to be responsible for their own emotions.

Mother Power by Poppy O’Neill is an honest and empowering guide to parenting for all mothers. Know and grow your power as a mother with this honest, guilt-free parenting guide that champions your own needs and wellbeing as well as those of your children. Available now in all good bookstores priced at £10.99.
eco guilt

How to deal with eco-guilt

By environment, family, Green

In a world where we see climate change problems every day, it can be easy to develop some eco-guilt for your lifestyle. With 75% of adults in Great Britain worrying about climate change, we can wonder what we can do to change our habits and contribute to a better environment both for us and our children.

Eco-guilt comes from our ability to do something good for the environment, but the conscious decision not to. Whether this is due to convenience, such as purchasing new plastic bags, or necessity sometimes. However, there are ways that your eco-guilt can be reduced.

Guilt is a natural feeling and one that we all experience at some point or other. However, you don’t have to feel this way. Here, we will explore some ways you can cope with your eco-guilt.

Understand your carbon
One way to start feeling better about your eco-guilt is to understand your carbon better. Calculating your carbon footprint can help highlight how much you are producing, or saving from being produced, through your daily life.

This might show you a higher figure than you anticipated, giving you a push in the right direction to reducing your carbon and where to target – such as your commuting distance, if possible. Or it might show you a lower unit than expected and can help ease some of the eco-guilt you have been harbouring. If you don’t know how to figure out your carbon usage, then you can calculate it with the WWF Footprint Calculator.

Build a sustainable routine
Another way to reduce eco-guilt is to establish a sustainable routine. This way, you are continually having a positive effect on the environment, as opposed to if you did not make any changes. Rather than being disheartened by your eco-friendly ways, make sure to maintain a routine with them. Lifestyle changes, such as using a reusable travel coffee cup rather than plastic ones, can mean you are positively impacting the environment and your community without causing extra problems for yourself.

This will also teach your children to be more eco-friendly in their lives – grab those children’s wellies and start harvesting your own allotment – promoting sustainability and resourcefulness in your children while keeping your eco-guilt at bay. By making this a routine, rather than a concerted one-off effort, you will regularly impact your carbon footprint as well as find that, over time, the practice of being sustainable will become an unconscious, long-term habit.

Don’t compare
As with any part of life, you shouldn’t compare your journey to others. While it can be difficult to ignore the sustainability measures of many, and there is a lot of pressure to be sustainable, you should do so at your own pace. Don’t allow the eco-guilt to diminish the work you have done so far. As with all lifestyle changes, little movements can create big changes – especially if you have children. The small efforts you are making towards being more sustainable can mean they are learning life-changing habits for their futures.

Ongoing and anticipated climate change problems have been known to cause eco-paralysis, but it is important that rather than judging your achievements against others, you focus on what good you do. Avoiding eco-paralysis can involve maintaining a routine and avoiding comparing the efforts of others to yourself. Rather than it appearing as a competition, making positive changes towards the climate should be seen as a collaboration. As such, you should focus on progression rather than perfection.

Some 63% of people surveyed said they have negative feelings towards the future as a result of climate change. It isn’t easy maintaining a sustainable lifestyle, and with pressure from climate change activists, social media, and even your community, you can find yourself struggling to stay motivated. However, eco-guilt shouldn’t be the end of your climate change journey. Focus on you and your family, the small changes you can make, and believe that they are contributing.

For further information please visit

loving hands

Your guide to overcoming separation anxiety: Leaving your baby for the first time

By baby health, Childcare and Nannying, family, Relationships

Baby separation anxiety is a real struggle for many parents. When the moment comes to leave your baby for the first time, your parental instinct kicks in. “Would my baby be safe?”, “What if something happens, and I’m not there?”, “Is my baby sad right now?” are only some of the questions that start spiralling in your head when you close the door and leave your baby behind, even if it’s just for one hour.

Although your baby is in safe hands, you can’t help but feel like your heart is breaking into tiny pieces, because you don’t know what’s happening with your baby every minute. Nevertheless, leaving your baby for the first time and getting over the separation anxiety is beneficial for both you and your baby. Baby brand, Nuby, explores how to cope with separation anxiety and make sure that your baby is safe and happy.

The earlier you overcome it, the better
Separation anxiety is normal and usually affects young children between the ages of six months and three years. It usually fades after that, but if the symptoms persist, it can have a long-term impact on your child.

The earlier you start practising leaving them, the easier it will be for them to get used to it and overcome any potential separation anxiety.

As a parent, you also might be suffering from some form of separation anxiety, so it’s important to take the right steps to leaving your baby for the first time.

Do it gradually
You don’t have to jet off on holiday the first time you leave your baby – this will cause turmoil to both of you.

Instead, practise being separate gradually. At first, you might dedicate a two-hour slot where you leave them in your house with their grandparents. It’s advisable that the first times you leave them, it’s with someone they know and in a familiar setting to ease the shock of separation. Later, you can start trusting a nanny or a childminder to take care of your baby while you’re away.

After the first trial, you can slowly start extending the time you’re away from them and even leave them at their grandparents’ and nanny’s house for a night or two. The more often you do it, the easier it will get.

Don’t hold onto the guilt
It’s normal to feel guilty when you first leave your baby. But just like in many other life situations, guilt is not a healthy feeling to experience. Even though it’s totally valid, try not to fall into the trap of self-agonising over the fact that you’ve left your child in the hands of someone else.

It’s something that you need to overcome, as it will help develop a healthy relationship between the two of you and not a co-dependent one. You’re teaching your baby to trust you but not rely on you for everything. Retrospectively, you’re learning that your child is its own person and will eventually grow and separate from you for much longer than an hour-long coffee break. So, the earlier you start the process, the better.

Give clear instructions
Babies have their own individual routines. Whether they like to have a snack right before bed to help them nod off or be read their favourite bedtime story, this is what they’re used to.

Your babysitter’s approach might not match that, so it’s important to communicate your baby’s precise routine with them. This will help your baby to settle and will ensure that there is no additional unfamiliarity and stress.

Pack a comforter
Before you leave, pack a bag of newborn essentials that will be at hand for your babysitter, and make sure to include a comforter.

While their main source of comfort, you, might be away, your babysitter can resort to their physical comforts. Perhaps your baby has a specific toy they like to cuddle or play with, or, for a newborn, they love being tucked in their cosy sleeping bag.

Prepare these items in advance, so that your baby can feel secure in an unfamiliar situation if needed.

Don’t sneak away
Easing your baby into the temporary separation is crucial. This applies to the moment your babysitter arrives and the moment you leave the house.

Dedicate some time to help your baby get used to their babysitter, whether that’s a childminder, a nanny or their grandparents, while you’re still there.

When you’re leaving, don’t just sneak away. Rather, kiss your baby and say a happy goodbye, after which your babysitter will immediately engage their attention and hopefully stop them from crying.

It’s also advisable that your babysitter picks up the baby right away, so that they feel secure in their hands and build a positive relationship.

Leaving your baby for the first time can be frightening, but it’s an essential part of the growing up process. Practising healthy separation from early on will ensure your child becomes its own individual and is able to be on its own.

For further information please see