6 ways life coaching for mums and parents can help

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Becoming a parent can bring so much joy, but there can be challenges with this new chapter. Here, we explore how coaching can support you

6 ways life coaching for mums and parents can help

Any time we move into a new stage of life, there is a mixture of emotions that come with it. Even the most positive and joyful transitions like getting married, moving home or starting a family can be stressful. In fact, these are often cited as the most stressful moments in life.

If you have recently become a parent or are a parent-to-be, you may understand this only too well. For some, the transition can trigger mental health concerns including postnatal depression and even postnatal psychosis.

Speaking about the challenges of parenthood can feel taboo, however. With societal pressure to be grateful for what you have and for parenthood to be nothing but rewarding at all times. But, the truth is, many struggle. And even if your mental health isn’t severely affected, chances are you’re navigating a whole lot of change.

This is where, for some, coaching can provide a lifeline. Life coaching for mums and parents looks to help you identify the challenges you’re facing and find a way to move forward.

“Juggling motherhood whilst maintaining a sense of self and purpose can be a challenging prospect.” Transformative life coach Catherine Crawley explains in her article, Life coaching for mums and mums-to-be.

“Many women in today's society are often 'something for everyone', leaving them feeling frazzled, stressed, and often with a depleted sense of who they truly are in life. I am passionate about helping women come back to their real selves, taking responsibility for their self-care and needs in life without losing what the true essence of being a mum means to them.”

Here we take a closer look at some of the ways coaching can help parents.

1. Help you reconnect with your identity (and embrace new ones)

For many, the early days of parenthood are purely about the new arrival. Ensuring your baby is safe, healthy and cared for is top priority and anything else becomes background noise. While this is to be expected, over time that background noise comes back into focus and some parents experience a sense of lost identity.

Your lifestyle is likely very different from what it was before, and you may miss activities you did pre-baby. You may feel as though you have morphed into ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, and that this is all you are now.

Coaching can help you reconnect with your core values and beliefs, exploring what may have changed since becoming a parent, and what’s stayed the same. Your life won’t look the same as it did before, but a coach can help you remember who you are and embrace the changes as they come.

2. Help to overcome overwhelm and parental burnout

Speaking to parents about how they feel after becoming parents, a commonly used phrase is ‘overwhelmed’, and this isn’t unsurprising. Life turns upside down when you start a family, introducing a pile of responsibilities and life admin that can feel incomprehensible at times.

In time, this can lead to parental burnou

30 back-to-school affirmations for kids

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Support kids with the return to school, with these motivating and uplifting affirmations

30 back-to-school affirmations for kids

With the school holidays coming to an end, and the school gates looming, it’s only natural that children will experience a host of different emotions. Mixed in with excitement about seeing friends and returning to routines, children might also experience anxiety about the coming school term. With academic pressure, friendship rifts, and growing pains, school can be a challenging place to be, sometimes.

This is where affirmations come in. They’re short mantras or sayings that we can repeat to ourselves to reinforce a positive self-belief. They can be used any time, any place. They can be said out loud, or in our heads. And they’re short and sweet, so easy for children to memorise and use themselves.

The key to a great affirmation is finding one that resonates with the individual. But, to start you off, we’ve got 30 affirmations to help kids with the back-to-school transition.

1. I am safe

2. I can ask for help if I need it

3. It’s OK to take my time with problems

4. I am interesting

5. I am ready to learn

6. I have good ideas

7. I am a good friend

8. I deserve to be treated kindly

9. I am focused

10. It’s OK to get things wrong

11. If I am worried, I can tell an adult

12. I treat others with kindness

13. I am clever

14. My thoughts are important

15. I can say ‘no’ if I want to

16. I learn from my mistakes

17. I am curious

18. I am in control

19. My voice matters

20. I am calm

21. I am creative

22. I can try again

23. I am growing and learning

24. I am talented

25. I am loved

26. I am supported

27. I can do the things I put my mind to

28. I ask questions when I need help

29. I try my best

30. I grow a little more every day

Interested in family counselling? Connect with a professional using counselling-directory.org.uk

Grace Victory's top tips on how to take the stress out of travelling with toddlers

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We all could do with a good break, but holidaying with little ones can be a challenge in itself. So, if the thought of some time away with a toddler is leaving you stressed, our columnist Grace Victory is here to share some first-hand tips and relatable advice to help you enjoy making some magical memories together

Grace Victory's top tips on how to take the stress out of travelling with toddlers

Ah, the sheer joy (and chaos) of going on holiday with your toddler. As a family, we just got back from our first sunny holiday to Turkey and, after not travelling for two years, it was bloody wonderful to put our toes in the sea, eat Lays with a Fanta on the balcony, and chase our little boy around a pool all day, because he’s a lightning-speed crawler!

Going on holiday with children is a completely different experience, and one that you have to embrace and surrender to. You won’t necessarily be able to sit on a lounger reading for hours, but making memories and showing them little corners of the world makes everything worthwhile.

Our trip was… intense! When people say “going on holiday is just parenting while being hot”, they are absolutely right. My partner and I had to tag-team mealtimes, de-escalate mini meltdowns in front of other holiday-goers, and, yes, there were moments we felt embarrassed and as if everyone must think we’re bad parents. Truth be told though, Cyprus found his voice on our holiday, and wanted to use it to shout at every opportunity – but that’s just kids, and while it can be hard when you feel like you can’t control a situation, it is absolutely normal for children to test your boundaries, even when you’re in paradise.

So, what I’m trying to say is going abroad with your little ones in tow is hard, but there are ways to manage, things I recommend for the plane, and little tips and tricks we did to minimise stress.

Grace Victory's top tips on how to take the stress out of travelling with toddlers

On the plane

Take lots of games and things to keep your kids entertained. Reusable sticker books, suction toys to stick on the window, their most loved book, and a tablet to watch their favourite shows (remember to download episodes at home so they can watch without WiFi).

I also recommend snacks upon snacks upon snacks. When you think you’ve packed enough snacks, pack more. I opted for crisps, cut up pieces of fruit, and then some trusty Ella’s Kitchen pouches. And we fed our little boy a proper meal before the flight to make sure he was full enough for the four hours we were in the air.

Use packing cubes for your hand luggage to separate changing stuff, feeding stuff, important documents etc., so you have easy access to things! Don’t forget to pack spare outfits for both your kids and you in case any accidents occur. There is nothing worse than being covered in sick, and you haven’t packed a fresh pair of leggings.

On holiday

It goes without saying that children shouldn’t be in the sun for long periods of time, so taking a UV pop-up tent with you is a great idea! You can

Mr. Men Little Miss launch book series exploring kid’s emotional wellbeing

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The new titles in the classic series focus on emotional wellbeing, getting the conversation started early, and helping the next generation to flourish

Mr. Men Little Miss launch book series exploring kid’s emotional wellbeing

The Mr. Men and Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves have been staples in the lives of children for generations, and their colourful pages have made their way onto many a childhood bookshelf.

But, now, a new Mr. Men Little Miss series is launching, and 10 books that focus on exploring emotional wellbeing are hitting the shelves. The Discover You series has been created to help kids address their emotions, and work through feelings, and has been designed to be used as a tool to help parents explore these topics with their children.

Titles in the series include: Try Again – a book about resilience; Be Kind – a book about kindness; Worries – a book about feeling anxious; and All Different – a book celebrating diversity.

Each book works through its topic in the classic Mr. Men Little Miss style. Worries, for example, tells the story of Mr Worry, who worries about everything – sometimes, it starts with a funny feeling in his tummy. As Mr Calm and Little Miss Sunshine help him to ease his worries, the story prompts conversations about the worries that we all feel, how they make us feel, and the things that we can do to ease them.

Mr. Men Little Miss launch book series exploring kid’s emotional wellbeing

The new release comes at a time when a report from the NHS saw the rates of probable mental disorder have increased from 2017 from one in nine to one in six. With much evidence pointing to the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown for this increase.

Books and reading have long been celebrated for their ability to build comprehension skills, but also emotional intelligence, and to support wellbeing. In fact, research from the National Literacy Trust found that children and young people who like to read are three times more likely to have better mental health than those who don’t. Beyond that, regularly reading to a child can strengthen the bond between parents and children, creating a supportive and open home environment.

When it comes to facing mental health and wellbeing topics head-on, it can be difficult to know how to explain such complex subjects to children. But, as Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, a children’s clinical psychologist working with Mr. Men Little Miss, explains, it's worth pushing through the challenges.

“Through my 20 years experience, I’ve learnt how tough it is for children to understand emotions and personality traits and how difficult it can be for parents and children to talk about these complex ideas,” Dr Kilbey says. “Even though it is really tough, it is vitally important we get this right for them. That’s why I’m working with Mr. Men Little Miss to launch their new Discover You book series. The stories bring to life a range of different emotions and feelings to help children understand what it means to be happy, sad and everything in between.”

Beyond the new book released, Dr Kilbey also shares further tips for parents, and free resources to help young children explore their emotions at Read more

What is parentification, who does it affect, and is it always bad?

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Our relationships with our parents can be complex. Yet, many of us know we can count on them to provide emotional support, advice and guidance. But what happens when our roles become reversed?

What is parentification, who does it affect, and is it always bad?

Even at the best of times, our relationships with our parents can be complex. Yet, we all know there are certain responsibilities we can rely on them for whilst growing up (and often beyond): to provide unconditional love and support, to protect us, give us a home, support us while we’re getting an education, seek medical care on our behalf, and help teach us right from wrong.

But what happens when the roles become reversed? And what kind of long-term effects can that have on who we become as people?

What is parentification?

While growing up, did you ever feel like you had to help take care of your parents or siblings? Perhaps you were expected to help look after a middle brother or sister, while your parents looked after the youngest? Maybe you were expected to help learn how to change nappies, give baths, or make tea for your siblings when your parents were busy. Or perhaps you had to take on helping more due to a parent’s long-term or chronic illness.

These can all be signs of parentification. Parentification is when you take on excessive levels of responsibilities that can impact your development. This could mean taking on tasks around the house that are too much or shouldn't be expected of you at that age, or taking on emotional caring responsibilities, which can lead to you hiding or suppressing your own needs, wants, and desires.

As explained by one Counselling Directory member, “Parentification occurs when a child is put in a position where they have to grow up ‘too early too soon’. For highly empathic children, because they have the warmth, compassion, and depth that is beyond the normal, their family members come to – usually unintentionally and unconsciously – lean on them.”

While having a little responsibility can be beneficial and is considered a good thing, too much too young, or inappropriate types of responsibility, can have a detrimental effect.

The parent-child relationship

Emotionally, it is reasonable to expect unconditional love and support from our parents. Physically, it’s normal to expect food, shelter, and some form of structure. Together, all of these things can create an environment where we can safely learn, grow, and mature. But, sometimes, that relationship can become reversed. Instead of giving these things, a parent expects to receive them.

What is parentification, who does it affect, and is it always bad?

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