School and separation anxiety.

Well the boys are now back in school. The house has been restored to some normality, temporary tidy and looking fairly clean with cupboards restocked. I have finally been given some time to restore some order to my life. Starting with a blog : I thought in honour of the new school year I would write about something that dominates are everyday school life, it is very personal and not often shared with others. Warning I apologies if it is very long however I am hoping it may offer support or understanding to others (It’s sometimes harsh being a parent in such a judgemental world today).

For my youngest despite being slightly reserved and shy at times school has been a breeze, he loves learning and the social aspect of going to school. However this has not been the case for my eldest who has been living with anxiety most of his school life. Before starting school life was awesome, he was confident, easy-going, happy, social and loved life. He was the type of child who was easily excited by anything, always had a big smile and had lots to say. He wanted to learn about the world and everything fascinated him. He was a pleasure and a joy to have in my everyday life. This all changed rather fast overnight on entering school, Anxiety transformed him into someone else term – time and inhibited his ability to function as a normal child at home.

I hear you say and have been often told well at some point all children experience occasional anxiety, it’s a normal part of growing up and going to school they all learn how to deal with it. This maybe true for the majority of children unfortunately some children our better than others at coping with this. For my son it became very much a daily and regular big part of his life. Many will easily jump to conclusions and blame the parents especially the mum for creating it, clinging on to their child and not letting go or letting them grow up independently. However if you have lived with it and witness a love one go through anxiety you will understand that this is not always the case. Sometimes it is beyond the parents control, situations the child has experience and personality have a big role to play.

As parents we had tried everything and I mean everything! From the soft, to the hard approach, had are heartbroken watching tears, question everything we were doing a thousand times ! We did everything in our power to support him though it (and still do), tried every tactic we could think of or suggested to us and went out of our way to encourage independence. Felt pressure from certain others that we were the ones creating it despite all we wanted was a little bit of understanding, support and just someone to listen. I know I am not and have not ever been an over-cautious parent and am not responsible for my child’s anxiety despite at times being made to feel as If I was by others.

Despite my professional background (which I believe help me realise it was beyond normal whatever that is) and being witness to seeing it in others though my past work. Though this gave me some understanding and drive to fight I felt helpless at times in helping my son. I have never really experienced anxiety in my own personal life it’s taken a while to figure it out and understand fully. It has been a long, hard exhausting and at times lonely journey that we are all still on. However it has got easier for us to cope with and there has been glimmers of light at the end of the somewhat dark tunnel. Each day we are moving forward and with coping strategies in place it is becoming easier.

For my son his anxiety could/ cannot be comforted with a few words and was/is out of proportion with the any given situations. He struggled daily though it and became an expert at masking it in front of others however he does/has experience real and excessive worry and fear that is part of his everyday life (letting it all out within the safe walls of home). Furthermore this worry and fear interfered with his everyday life and became hard to control at some points. As parents we hunted for support, we were often brushed off by family, friends and professionals being told it’s just a phase, he will get over it. However after 4 years, signs and symptoms that seem never-ending and when you are wrapped up in the world of parenting a child with anxiety these words don’t offer support but insult, causing loneliness and hurt.

Every school day became a battle, as from the moment he woke up he showed signs of high levels of anxiety in regards to going to school, being in different social environments and situations.  In short the morning school run became a challenge in more ways than one. Clinging to me at friends parties and play dates, refusing to go alone or if at all. Never wanted to be more than a few feet from me or separating from me. When unconfutable He often appears nervous, lacking confidence and shy to others however as his parents we see the signs of panic, fear and uneasiness. We were/our lucky as behind closed doors at home we share a close relationship he was never afraid to discuss openly his feelings of being powerless at school and fear of failure. Everything was to hard and he would/still does say ‘I’m tired’ when he is frighten to express his feelings. We learnt early on he would often say this in moments of anxiety.

On school mornings when I manage to successfully get him into the car he would cling to me tight with a sweaty hand on the walk to school, withdrawing into himself. Going more pale and his shoulder/whole body would tense. The goodbye would always be tough, with him fighting tears, needing reassurance all the way. If looks could kill I would be dead by now. It has been and still is exhausting at times dealing with the school refusal and his separation anxiety as he for most of his eight years refused to spend any time away from me when not at school, clinging and not moving a few feet away, refusing daddy’s efforts of attention, playdates, parties and afterschool clubs. Reluctant to even fall asleep without constant reassurance, attention and being close. separation anxiety brought on other forms of anxiety (fear of failure and social anxiety) from the fear of losing me and my support. The only relief came about in school holidays and weekends when he was reassured we were together.

Before starting school he was a great sleeper, eater and took to potty training in a flash. This all changed overnight. He develop problems with going to sleep and staying asleep. Leading to him always being tired and weak. His complexion was paler and he had bags under his eyes permanently. Despite always being offered and encouraged 12 hours sleep. He went of food for a time having always being non fussy and eating us out of house and home (though this has now very much been restored in the last few months). He came out of school after the first term wet on a regular occasion and bed wetting became a frequent occurrence. Frequently intense, excessive and persistent worry led to fear about everyday situations as he focused on a worry leading to lack of concentration or focus on anything else. Leading to a vicious circle of fatigue, exhaustion and the ability to control the worry/fear resulting in further sleep disruption, tantrums, headaches, stomach-ache and generally permanently tiredness.

We now know his school and separation anxieties are very real, not just a passing phase stemming from his early childhood experiences. Unfairly for him he’s had a few despite how we as a family have tried to deal and cope with them they were bound to have an impact at some point. Four years of hearing loss/ glue ear leading to speech and language delay resulting in feeling powerless and isolated when around others – his only security and understanding was within the home. Starting school before he was ready – a summer baby led him to feel excessive pressure from an education system in this country which does not allow for different targets based on developmental history and him placing unreasonable expectations on himself, caring to much/ too strong to please others. After a opt on his ears trying to catch up four missed years whilst other peers carry on developing. The pressure of others, school and ones he chose to place on himself he has always felt like he has to ‘keep running’.

If that wasn’t enough from the age of two he has had to live with severe food allergies that have on more than one occasion resulted in rides in ambulance, epipen usage, and overnight stays in hospital placed closed to intensive care. On our last stay in CCCU after he came to after several hours of steroids being pumped into him he was told he was very lucky he survived and was here to tell the story! He is (and us as parents have been) often wrongly identified and too much defined by his allergies, some do not see beyond this. Creating barriers that isolate –  we just want to scream yes his allergies are serious, yes are lives are very much dictated by them but there is more to us all, he is not just a boy with allergies and I’m not just ‘that overprotective allergy mum’. (However that is another story to be told another day).

All of these factors have contributed to where he is now. So though no fault of his own and a lack of support for him from professionals at times when he has really needed them. These have all taken a toll on my son’s life and us as a family, shaping his personality and views on life.

We are still very much learning and coping in how to deal with his anxieties on an everyday basis and dare I say it so far this term has got of to a good start. long may it continue. We have found and made up our own methods that help us to cope , they may not work for everyone but they seem to be helping us. We have been very lucky to have the support of CAMHS over the last few months which has made an unbelievable difference for our son and how he deals with his anxiety. I think in truth the answer was quite simply, though one on one therapy someone else other than mum and dad really listen, taking time to understand him and acknowledge it was real. Understanding the need for him to be supported emotionally and in turn releasing some of the pressure from us as parent. Dont get me wrong I don’t believe its all fixed, we have good days and bad and will continue to do so.

It is only when you have watched someone you love go though Anxiety do you truly understand how Anxiety can truly hold a person hostage within their own mind and body preventing the enjoyment of day-to-day life. As mum it help to release the blame I put on myself and what society expectations can put on you was it my fault? Had I done or was I doing something wrong? Having worked with children all my working life I should of known better, for god sake where was I going wrong? realising the answer was No No No! Just circumstances beyond our control had led us to where we were today. I had done everything in my power to help my son throughout some very tough times and would continue to, excepting actually the reason he struggled with separation anxiety (stemming from other anxieties) was because I had done my job well, I had succeeded at offering a strong support network when he needed it without it he might be in a worser situation.

So if you don’t have a child with anxiety but have taken time to read this, firstly thank you. please dont judge to quickly that child / parent clinging to each other with tears in their eyes on the playground. There maybe more to the story, life might be a bigger struggle than it appears. Just offer a smile, ear or dont just tell them to ‘turn their back and walk away – he’ll be fine’ but offer ‘Its ok – to cry, your really doing your best and your not alone’, unhelpful frowns of judgemental comments never help but support can go along way.

For those dealing with it, I hear you, hold in there, you’re doing your best and you are not alone!! It does get easier – We finally conquered our first play date and party this summer without a parent being insight – It was a big deal!!!! He might still be unbelievable clingy on the return to school  and continues to need to hold my hand on the way to school as we enter year 4, separation has got easier this term.

My advice to those who feel your child is anxiety is controlling their life and in turn yours. Seek help and advice don’t suffer in silence. Do not try to do it alone  said she who did for to long! Help is out there if you keep looking and fighting for it. Raising children is one of lives greatest rewards but also one of lifes greatest challenges. As a parent WE NEED to find someone to share your concerns with to gain some much-needed relief. I know this is not always easy, I’ve been there and collected the t.shirt. It is hard to find that someone to listen and offer valid support be it a friend or family member (who you dont want to feel like you are boring) or your child’s school (appear not to be wasting their precious time). Someone who does not or certainly appear not to understand you. Eventually you will find that person who will hear, listen and understand.

Never be afraid to push or seek professional help if needed it is not a failure on your part. For us it offered my son a turning point and took a big weight of our shoulders. The fight continues and seems like it will never end at times. However we are conquering it, coping and heading in the best direction we know how.

A few tried and tested ideas of things that may help:

  • Talk openly with your child. About their fears and worries. Remain calm and Non- judgement (provided that security blanket so that they have some where to run and hide).
  • Try your hardest to work with teachers and others that care for your child (though this is not always easy).
  • Encourage hobbies and interests to help build your child self confidence (We have had to do this together but hope it will SOON lead to independence).
  • Learn as much as you can about your child’s anxiety do not choose to brush over (society at times may make you feel this is the best way). However it does help you and your child understand and create coping methods by using relevant statics.
  • Help build your childs support system including family, friends and others (For us without family close by this involve a lot of daddy daycare being stepped up, to relieve the pressure from me and show my son others can offer the same support – Daddy now once a week takes/stays at a club and does the school run. It wasn’t easy involved lots of anger and tears aimed at me from my son’. It has now FINALLY helps and he has gained confidence without me. He has slowly learnt to feel safe and supported by others.
  • Prepare for new activities ahead of time, my son really doesn’t like surprises or change. He has questions that need to be answered before any new event, he needs time to think, discuss his fears and worries if he is to enjoy or benefit from any new experience without anxiety.
  • We created our own Comfort star to be rubbed when worried (ours has lived in trouser pockets, book bags etc.). It gives us hugs and kisses when we are worried and mummy can’t.DSC_0478
  • A Lunch box notes – This has been a big one for my son, as he said lunch time at school was the hardest time. A little note in the lunch box everyday this may be a motivational note or a joke. Google it and you will find loads of examples. I get into trouble if I forget and often get reminded.
  • A self-esteem/mood diary helping us to discuss our fears, worries and emotions this really helped in our darkest moments. We discussed and wrote in it together before bed so there was less to worry about referring back to it if needed. Using it to point out we survive certain events that was worrying us and we were ok.

But most importantly stay strong and understand you are not alone! Ignore the eye rolling, judgemental and non helpful comments. Feel free to give them that extra hug, kiss or the extra words of reassurance if they need it. They are only little for a while if they need us, they need us! There is no perfect way or perfect parents we all have our faults and are all learning as we go. Do it your way, the way you believe and follow your gut. We all know the world can be harsh at time and your child knowing you are on their side will ensure them they are not alone and that they will succeed in life. We do not all need to raise hard Ninja warriors fighting battles alone!

emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

The summer has gone so fast -to fast!

Hi I know I have been quieter than usual this summer on posts and I have not got round to posting as much as planned or promised. In all honest truth I have just got caught up in life, bathroom renovation and enjoying the break from everyday school driven life with my two best friends. The summer has gone so fast – to fast!

For the most I have been enjoying touching based with my ever growing boys, learning more about them everyday, sharing memories, playing lots (top trumps has been a big one this summer, kite flying and inventing garden games – for example a recycle bath panel became a table tennis table) and reading with them has been a big one this summer to – we have covered a lot of fun novels this summer sat snuggled on the sofa together. I have also been proud to watch my eldest enjoy reading advance novels on his own. Whilst my youngest has shocked me with how grown up he has become since the beginning of the holidays – asking lots of whys? coming up with his own theories on things and fighting more to speak with such advance language (his brother normally dominates the conversations).

Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t all been a rose-tinted holiday and  I have had a few ‘mummy is going insane’ moments – including one this morning! When one child insist on being all over you, talking non stop and demanding endless attention all before 9am resulting in me not getting any coffee or food till 12.30 – when I insisted daddy came to the rescue. I really am not a morning person at the best of time, brain does not function till about 1.30pm especially at the moment when we have no bathroom in action due to the renovated.

However for the most part its been relaxed and great sharing time together (in between them being the best of friends one minute or trying to kill each other the next, giving me no space to breath and the house looking like there’s been a natural disaster). I still stick by the Holidays are great and I really don’t want them to go back to school!!!!

For the next week in regards to the website I am going into hibernation – so I can enjoy the final week of noise, laughter and fun whatever the weather with my boys before it’s all over till half-term.

As you might have noticed in regards to the website I have been playing again. The changes have been based on your feedback, my personal preferences – The other design wasn’t working for me it didn’t feel very me when writing projects/blogs and plus all of your lovely comments have influenced given me the confidence to follow my gut to revert back to the old style. Thank you so much for all the comments I really do appreciate them. I have been shocked by just how many people have visited the site since it started and leave me such positive and kind feedback. I am so glad you like it and keep revisiting. It gives me the confidence to know im heading in the right direction.

 In regards to me posting the comments on my site for others to read, I follow strict guidelines and will only share with others if all the security checks are completed and passed. So pleased do not be offended if I don’t post your comment, I will have read it and appreciated it. However I am trying to ensure my website is a safe place to visit. Security and keeping other people’s data safe is very very important to me and my website- I will do all I can to ensure my T&c’S are met to the best of my ability.

Please DO keep revisiting and commenting. However don’t forget to follow so you don’t miss any updated projects and blogs.

Follow, Like, comment and share!

Many thanks emmas xxx

 

Hobby craft free mini maker sessions and the British motor museum.

 

So sorry I have been of the radar for a few weeks now with the usual tasks presented at the end of a school term and the starts of the holidays taking over. I don’t know if it’s just me this seems to be more of a challenge now the boys are older. I am finally relaxing into the summer holidays and finally feeling the enjoyment of no school runs and the heavily dictated school schedules.

We have started a relaxed and flexible plan of attack for the summer holidays in place! So far:

 We have done a fun week-end with Cousins.

A Hobby craft ‘slime making’ session which the boys loved. From a mums point of view it was great – 1 hrs entertainment where everything was provided free of charge, led by a staff member and tidied up for us. For anyone local to a hobby craft shop I recommend these sessions for anyone who kids like Arts and crafts. As this summer they are running Mini maker sessions several times a week these are free – you just need to book via their website. We have booked into one session/ activity every week thought out the summer. A great excuse to get out, it doesn’t cost anything (especially if we resist the urge to spend in the shop – is that possible?) and someone else gets to clean up the mess for a change. Next week we are booked into  the Decoparge animals.

Also for anyone who might be interested ‘pets at home’ does something similar, which we have done in the past – The boys have always enjoyed them. However we haven’t booked into any this summer as we did the Easter one. If your a local reader I found the one in Abingdon worked well at bribing a shopping trip to Tesco / B and M before hand.

We have also been to the British motor museum on Tesco vouchers (so another free activity normally £39 for a family of four). It was not really my personal cup of tea or a full day out – however the boys enjoyed it, daddy included! There were plenty of Minis and land rovers. A picnic area outside for a picnic lunch. Are eldest enjoyed reading and discussing all the science behind ‘how a car works’ with me  (I think I waffled sufficiently my way though this one despite sounding like I knew what I was talking about!), whilst daddy enjoyed admiring all the cars. Whereas the youngest did his own thing enjoying driving like a racing driver (A mad one at that) in one of their mini ‘minis’ around the museum. We took part in the family trail and made 3D land rovers in the craft zone. It was a nice cool relaxed day out away from the heat.

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We have also dipped into and out of our first planned theme day, designed by the boys – more spread out to normal as I have two tired boys exhausted and effected by the heat. At present they are crashed watching a DVD. Then we have a dip in the sea planned (our pool in the garden) after when the temperature has dropped slightly. We have planned activities (chosen by the boys) based ‘around the sea’ and on one of our favourite books ‘Toy boat’. I will keep you in suspense I will post a separate blog and project area in relation to this as we finish it. So keep an eye out for it in a few days time. We then have a space theme day planned later in the week.

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emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Camp fires and sock puppets.

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After a lot of begging over the last few months from our boys it led us to this week-end activity. Weather no longer an excuse : we created our own simple and very affordable fire pit in our garden. We built it out of some old bricks, used some old branches, sticks and wood found in our garden and had great fun cooking our dinner on it. We have also created our own sock puppets. A simple fun project using some old socks, which would have been heading to the bin. We created a cute penguin and a bunny (though he looks more like a dog, but don’t tell my son that!). I feel we will be creating a theatre for them soon for the performances planned, watch this space.

You will find both in my project section, if your interested in giving them ago! Have a great week.

Please feel free to leave comment, like, share and follow.

Love emmas xxx

Nature adventures, creative play outdoors – Salcey forest.

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Hello, Hope you are all enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather! I’ve been quiet cause we certainly have. Slightly different blog as we haven’t been that created indoors for a while. Along side being creative in all we do, we love nothing more than having adventures outdoors and enjoying all it has to offer! So that is exactly how we have been spending the last few week-ends doing. A spontaneous visit to the beach led to rock pool exploring, digging and Frisbee flying. Whilst our youngest is determined to be stabilizer free by the end of the year – so theirs also been plenty of bike riding to.

This bank holiday week-end we visited Salcey forest (if your local or in the area I highly recommend it and its free!) We had such a fab time and felt it was worthy of a review that might interest others (this is a personal review based on our own experience on the day we visited and has no link to Salcey Forest).

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The facts for those who want to visit:

Free to enter (making it an almost free family day out).

Parking: £1.50 for 1 Hour or £4 for All-day (we did this you would struggle on just 1 hour).

There is a forest café (We did not visit so cannot comment).

A Toilet block near the car park – Here you will find a map of the walks.

A play area – Is great despite being small, however definitely aimed at the more able or older children, pre-schoolers may struggle. (our 5-year-old and  7-year-old coped well with it but both are very able and experienced with parks). Under 5 will definitely need a hand/ supervision. It’s not a park where you can sit easily on a bench (though there are plenty about) and watch from a far. 

   Salcey forest is 7 miles from the centre of Northampton (Hartwell road, Hartwell) and it is owed/run by the forestry commission, England. It was a perfect family day out especially as free apart from the parking, the boys had lots of great kid adventures, climbing trees, balancing on logs, getting muddy and skimming rocks. The forest is excellent for all ages, abilities and walking with or without bikes, scooters and dogs. There are several different types of walks (All well signed posted) to choose from on a map all starting near the car park. We chose the ‘Treetop walk’ which included the ‘Tree top way’ it took us approx 1 hour – we did a lot of stopping and exploring along the wayIMG_0569.JPG.

   The walkway is accessible for wheelchairs and buggies with a slight gradient. For those who may need it there are resting points along the way. Dogs are allowed on the walkway but need to remain on leads. The walk consists of a specific walking track – ‘Tree top way’ which rises to 15 metres above the woodland floor with a crow’s nest platform at 20 metres (The crow nest part is reached by steps). At the top you are greeted with a bird’s eye view across Salcey forest. The walkway does wobble and bounce but it has been designed to do this, due to the way it was built. So if you’re in the area and haven’t been worth a walk!

emmas xxx

 

Your kids will bug out with this creepy Maze! For more preschool activities, (educational resources) please go to Education.com.

  My goal at ’emmascreativelove’ is to provide helpful creative tips, ideas and tools and  that our hopefully simple and affordable to families. The blog is a personal blog written and edited by me on my website alongside project ideas that have been tried and tested by me and my boys. You have my word I will only promote products, that are relevant to my site, that I think would be a helpful resource for you, I personally use, love or can recommend without hesitation. Integrity is important to me, growing and keeping the trust of my readers is paramount!

   I have recently discovered Education.com after Cassie contacted me, I checked it out, It looks like a fun site with lots of varied activities that could help pass time on rainy days the boys have tried out some of the mazes and I thought I would share some links to Education.com below. As I believe some of my readers/ followers will find it useful. You will be redirected to their site when you click on the links attached.

Your kids will bug out with this creepy Maze! For more preschool activities, (educational resources) please go to Education.com. https://www.education.com/games/preschool/

We tried out : kindergarten_maze_crawlies_answers

They also have many other worksheet types to choose from including:

  • Mazes
  • Matching list of words with images
  • Word searches
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Word scrambles
  • subtraction
  • Divisions
  • Multiplications

Please take a look its a great website with lots of free useful resources and worksheets to assist your child in learning. Having worked in Education in the past, their website ‘Philosophy’ really makes sense and ring so true on a personal level.

‘Quote/extract: taken from website education.com’

‘Teaching is one of the most challenging and complex jobs on the planet. Our digital resources, tools, and learning materials are developed by educational experts to incorporate leading pedagogical practices. They are useful in any type of teaching moment and many can be used to support national education standards.

Empowered Educators

From school teachers and tutors to home schoolers and parents, engaged adults are the key to unlocking each child’s potential and drive to learn. We empower all kinds of educators to teach kids by providing the best educational resources in any form or device to be used at home, at school, and everywhere in-between.

Unique Experiences

There is no such thing as “one size fits all” in education; each educator and child has unique challenges and goals. We celebrate the diversity of our users by offering differentiated resources that can meet a wide range of educational needs – and raise kids’ confidence in learning.

Conscientious and Supportive

We continue to provide academically sound content of the highest caliber and welcome input from our users as we address issues of equity, diversity, inclusively and representation. Since we know there are many different approaches to teaching and education, we develop our materials to complement these different philosophies across subjects and grades’.

Credits: Education.com

 

Many Thanks

emmas xxx

 

 

 

 

Not just arts and crafts!

Hi with the rain come back to haunt us and Scarlett fever! We have been stuck in doors! Both boys are really into science at the moment

Curious minds! 

So to pass the time we have been revisiting some of our old favourite science experiments and some new. The boys are really curious about volcanos at the moment as they have been studying dinosaurs at school last term. So this project was by far the most exciting. They also loved the t-shirts and colour exploring. These have been added to the project section – Please take a look if you have a child with a curious mind. The aim of my website is all things ‘creative’ some of the topics to be covered in the long-term plan will be simple and affordable Arts and crafts, cooking, science, exploring play and anything else creative. with kids. More science coming along with junk modelling.

Feel free to comment, like, share and follow.

emmas xxx