Monthly Archives

October 2016

Grappling with colds and viruses

October 30, 2016

As usual, autumn brings all kinds of colds, viruses and other diseases that afflict adults and children alike. All parents are naturally worried when their child falls ill, but single parents may be even more so because they are often alone and forced to take measures on their own. I, for example, like to plan ahead. Of course, illnesses can’t be planned, but there are things you can do to prevent the development of diseases. Here is some practical advice concerning the children’s lifestyle and diet:

Make sure your child eats well. What does this mean? In our case, three meals and two snacks a day. As much fruit as possible. As few sweets as possible (since recently, my daughter’s started asking for chocolate instead of fruit, probably because I used to hide it from her and allow it only on special occasions). Soups, vegetables, meat, salads. Avoid the juices which are full of sugar and additives.

Allow your child to eat only in the dining room. They shouldn’t be allowed to leave the table before they clean the plate (or at least most of it).  

Going to bed early is very important for your child’s health. Siesta is also a good idea. I can’t think of any justification for the parents who allow their children to go to bed late simply because it’s easier. It’s true that by adhering to this strict rule I have practically condemned myself to spending every evening at home, but it’s all to my daughter’s benefit. I’m positive that a good night’s sleep and a balanced diet greatly contribute to her overall good health.

Should you keep your child at home if he or she catches a cold? I have never done that. I take my daughter to the kindergarten regularly, as long as she doesn’t have a fever. This is supposed to strengthen her immunity system. Although I generally agree with that, as a single mother, I don’t think there are many other options left for me as taking time off work is usually not a good idea.

Don’t make your children wear too much clothes. Even though it’s cold outside, the rooms where they spend time in the kindergarten or at home are normally quite warm. A child dressed too warmly will sweat a lot and this could be an additional risk. In the winter, I insist on good quality clothing, a cap, a scarf and gloves. My daughter wears tights under her pants only when we go to the mountains, when it’s frosty and snowing.

I hope this advice has been useful. As a single parent, I often read about other parents’ experiences and this helps me organise our lives better. 

Happy birthday to you…

October 10, 2016

A few words about the children’s birthday parties. I organised a party for my daughter’s birthday, so it’s still fresh in my memory. I also remember every single detail of each of her previous parties because I planned them and made them, more or less, on my own. Single or not, all mums will surely agree with me that we always carry the heaviest burden.

We celebrated the first two birthdays with family and friends. But, when my daughter turned three, she wanted to invite all her friends from the kindergarten. This also meant inviting their parents, brothers and sisters, if any. Yes, the guest list was quite long and the room was packed. Here’s some advice and a few rules I adhere to when planning my daughter’s birthday parties:

  • Start the preparations well in advance. Two months before the event is not too early. If the venue should be booked up, it will be in the nick of time. 
  • Make personalised invitations. This involves some effort, but your invitation card may become a nice keepsake and your guests will surely appreciate it.  
  • Text or email preliminary invitations beforehand. The invitations are normally sent some ten days before the party.
  • Ask the parents to confirm their attendance (if possible) so you can come up with a precise estimate of how much food and drink to buy.
  • Hire entertainers. Good or bad, they’ll spare you the trouble of entertaining and keeping the exuberant 5-year olds under control yourself (one year I made this mistake and took it upon myself to entertain the kids… never again!)
  • Hire a specialised party decorator. It pays off, trust the mother who was once forced to blow up and attach the balloons to the walls, buy and make decorations, etc.
  • Ask one of the guests to make photos. Otherwise, you may end up with a dozen blurry photos and you won’t be in any of them.
  • Bring some spare clothes and shoes for your kid. Two years ago, moments before the party, my daughter refused to wear the tooth fairy costume I’d ordered specially. I managed to find an appropriate replacement, but ended up being a nervous wreck.

There is much more I could tell you or recommend to you, but these are the basics. I’d also love to get some suggestions from you because there are many birthdays yet to come and I want them to be unforgettable.