The new school year comes with many stresses for parents (especially the newbies): lunchboxes to pack, school fees to pay, carpools to organise, school uniforms to launder, homework to help with…. and on top of that extra-curricular activities to choose and manage.

The latter troubles many parents due to the pressure these ventures place on our time, finances and sometimes even on the relationship with our children. We may ask, “What is enough or too much? Which activities are essential?”, and this uncertainty only adds to the tension.

Maybe we could simplify the matter. Let’s start by asking why we let our children participate in such activities in the first place?

Home is where the ‘hearth’ is

Global temperatures are on the rise and when it comes to raising nature-loving children, the home is always the best place to start. The first and most important step in cultivating ‘greener’ habits at home is to practise what you preach. Luckily you don’t have to be an experienced ‘greenie’ to do this. Yes, being kind on nature can be as simple as being mindful of the products that you buy and showing your children how to appreciate the natural world around them.

Just in time for the school holidays, here are some great ideas from Celeste Rushby (Munchkins Coach, Occupational Therapist and mom of three) for helping your young children improve their fine motor skills, while simultaneously getting some much-needed quality time by having fun together! The best part is that most of these activities can be done with very little prep or clean-up, and are mostly made with materials found at home!

Your child’s health and happiness are essentially two sides of the same coin.

We sometimes feel that giving children what they want – sugary treats, screen time, toys – will make them happy. And who does not want to bring joy to their most precious little human, right? However, we tend to harm our children’s health in this process of pleasing, which ironically rather impedes their happiness. If you invest in health, happiness will flow from it. And the happier a child is, the healthier they are in turn – a beautiful upward spiral!

We set goals for all sorts of things in life (get a degree by 25, save up to buy a car, lose 10 kilograms this year…), but few people ever put clear parenting goals in place. Yet, raising children is one of the most important missions you will ever have on earth.

Parenting Talks Andalene and Celeste

Parenting Talks: Empowering Parents, Changing Family Dynamics

If you’ve ever attended a parenting talk by Super Granny Andalene Salvesen (Cape Town, northern suburbs, Dubai and USA),  Dr Lené Janse van Rensburg (Dubai), Celeste Rushby (Cape Town, southern suburbs), Charmaine Brooks (Boland) or Timann Esterhuizen (Gauteng and Port Elizabeth), you will know it is a life-changing and empowering experience. They are resourceful, yet practical, sympathetic yet down to the point, never beating around the bush when it comes to parenting.

I am not sure about you, but sometimes just seeing the word “balance” and how you are supposed to have it in your life makes me want to run for the hills. I don’t even know how to drink a steaming cup of coffee anymore, so balancing anything other than being mom to my 14-month old, my suffering career and keeping sane is about as much as I can tick off on my daily “balance list.”