Author Archives: SarahOckwell-Smith

About SarahOckwell-Smith

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, Parenting author and mother to four.

The Problem With Toys: Why Children Lose Interest in New Toys Quickly

Many parents despair of their child’s inability to play alone for any length of time, or the speed at which they get bored with toys. The biggest problem with most toys today is that their play appeal is limited. A shape sorter is just a shape sorter, put the shapes into the holes and the toy no longer offers interest. An entertainment centre loses appeal after the buttons have been pushed, the beads moved along and the xylophone chimed. Most toys have a specific design and a specific purpose. When the child bores of the set purpose, the toy no longer holds appeal for them. Once the function of the toy has been exhausted they cannot be used in other ways, or allow the child to use their imagination. Continue reading

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The Top Six Causes of Sleep Problems in School Aged Children (and how to fix them!)

Do you have a slightly older child and struggle with their sleep? Sadly, ‘sleep problems’ are fairly common throughout childhood. The good news however, is that as children get older, night waking lessens dramatically. Most sleep problems in older childhood usually centre on bedtime resistance and early morning waking. Let’s look at the top six problems – and how to fix them! Continue reading

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How to Increase  Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence in Children

If you want to improve behavior, you have to improve how the child feels about himself. Helping a child to feel good about themselves is one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling parts of gentle discipline. Here are a few ways you can help: Continue reading

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How to Stop Last Minute Potty Dashes

You know your child needs to go to the toilet; you watch them hopping from foot to foot, squeezing their legs together and making strange squirming faces. You ask them if they need to go? “NO!” they emphatically reply! Then two minutes later, a puddle appears on floor. Or, they run and mid dash, they have an accident. Why does this happen? and what can you do to stop it? Continue reading

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How Much Sleep Should Babies Really Get?

Any recommendations given are simply that, recommendations and any trustworthy sources provide a rough guide rather than a fixed figure of hours or time. Most recommendations for amount of baby sleep required, including suggested bedtimes and length and amount of naps, are not evidence based. Most stem from personal opinion with some being more educated than others. Continue reading

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What to Do When Your Child Prefers to Play Alone

I’m often asked how to encourage introverted children to be more sociable and to join in with other children when it comes to play. However,  I believe that this common worry is usually unfounded. In my experience, this anxiety tends to highlight more about the parent’s concerns and feelings, than those belonging to the child. Most often, this question comes from parents who are naturally extroverted, who are flummoxed by raising an introverted child. Continue reading

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What to Do When Children Bite, Push, Shove, Hit and Throw

how me a young child that doesn’t ever bite, push, shove, hit or throw and I’ll show you a pig that flies. These behaviours are just part of the territory that comes with being little. They don’t mean that the child is ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’ and in most cases are not a reflection of ‘bad parenting’ either.  For most children they are simply down to biology. Continue reading

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“It’s too slimey!” – Why Children Struggle to Eat Foods with Certain Textures.

When we think about toddlers and pre-schoolers refusing certain foods, we generally think about them not eating them because they don’t like the taste. While this is undoubtedly true, particularly for bitter tasting foods, it isn’t the only reason. Sometimes children may not like the smell of a certain food, or they may not like how something looks, how something feels though is often a stumbling block at this age. It is not uncommon for young children to refuse foods that are wet, or slimy in some way.
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Why Saying “Good Boy” or “Good Girl” Is Not a Good Thing!

What does it mean to a child when we say “good boy”? Do they know what ‘good’ means? Do they know what they did to make you happy? What about when we say “well done”? Well done for what? What about if they haven’t done something, but have persevered for hours, ‘failing’ each time at the task in hand, be that tying a shoelace, putting a shape in a shape sorter or building a tower of blocks. Is there effort not worth anything? Continue reading

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Raising Girls With A Positive Body Image

A large percentage of girls, as young as six years old, worry about their weight, especially believing that they are too fat. This is a worrying new trend, largely sparked by social media, magazines, television and film characters, tiny pop stars and increasingly skinny dolls. Our girls today are bombarded with unrealistic and unhealthy images.

There are things you can do to help your daughter to feel more accepting of herself and reduce the likelihood of unhealthy dieting behaviour Continue reading

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