Outdoor Activity Ideas

I was shown the following infographic at https://www.woodentoyshop.co.uk and thought that it would be perfect for Bank Holiday activities!!

Feel free to add into the comments any other activity ideas which would be good to share with others!!

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Travelling with a 4 year old as a single parent

The thought of travelling as a single parent is a scary prospect.  That is not a bad thing – it shows that you care. However, having been to Jamaica (with a connection in Atlanta) with just myself and my 4 year old, I thought that i would give some hints and tips which might make it easier, especially (but not specifically) if you’re a single parent.

Plan your bags

Chances are that you’ll be in a cramped seating area with your beloved child and they will want everything out of the bag at once – tablet, sweets, drink etc!! The best way to avoid a meltdown is to organise your bags – sweets in one section, travel documents in another, spare clothes well away from the sticky lollies!! That way, you can quickly pick items out of the bag without disrupting where everything else is!

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Food always helps!

Travel and Legal Documents

Might sound a straight forward one, but make sure you have your tickets, travel vouchers for the hotel/transfers and your passport. Make sure your passport is in date, especially as some countries require you to have 6 months left on your passport when you enter the country. Also, make sure you don’t need any additional Visas or injections. (My guide to applying for a passport can be found here)

Also, if you’re a single parent, make sure you have a copy of your child’s birth certificate and correspondence from the other parent that you have their permission to go out of the country. I never got asked for these, but I have heard of people who have been asked.

Oh and take copies of the documents and put a set in a different bag, a set with someone at home and ideally an electronic copy as well.

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Security

Airport security is perhaps one of the worst things in the world to do as a single parent.  One tip is to look really stressed and tired and hope that an airport employee takes pity on you and helps you through the process a little!!

However, when you know when you’re going to be going through it, take all your electronics and fluids out and either carry them, or put them in a carrier bag so when you get to the x-ray machine, you can easily put them on the conveyor belt and disregard the carrier bag if needed.  Different countries have different rules about children taking their shoes off, so either ask before you get to the x-ray machines or just get your child into the habit of taking them off.

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Hopefully the destination will be worth it!

Take pictures

Part of this is to look back at the brilliant time you have had. However, it is useful to take pictures of your bag so you can remember what it looks like when you land. Also, take pictures of your child so that if the worst happens and you lose them, you know what clothes they have on.

If you want ultimate parent points, just go for matching clothes – it really does work!!!

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This combo got amazing comments!!

Have fun!!

Life is about having fun and chances are you’re going on holiday and will have a great time. Relax and it’ll all be fine!

I have blog posts on Flying with a toddler and Flying with a 3 year old if they are of interest too!!

If you have any other hints or tips, please leave them in the comments below!


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Our First Holiday – an open letter to Heidi

As you may or may not know, I just took my first overseas holiday with my 4 year old. It was the one thing that kept me going during the dark times of stress and separation – it was the one thing I fought so hard for. And it was worth it, totally worth it.

I wrote this on the way home, whilst Heidi was asleep on me. I have to admit that I shed a tear whilst writing it, but it was a tear of happiness (and maybe a bit of fatigue!!). Anyway, enjoy….

———

Dear Heidi

I am writing this somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, on our way back from our first overseas holiday with just the 2 of us.

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It could have been the most horrendous holiday ever full of stresses and strains and not at all enjoyable for either of us. There were times running up to it where I thought that I had bitten off more than I could chew. I was under so much pressure to cancel it.

However, my trust and faith in you was so strong, I didn’t give in and I didn’t give up. I have dreamt of this holiday for a couple of years and I have to admit almost every day of our holiday, there were tears of unbridled joy that we were free and enjoying new adventures.

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Heidi – you have been an absolute star. I always say that I can take you anywhere and you have proved it so much this holiday. We have had fun, made friends, done new things and been living in each other’s pockets for just over a week and we have never got bored or fed up of each other.

So many people have said how well behaved you are or how they think you’re 6 years of age or older because of the way you hold a conversation. You make strangers smile in your company and most importantly, you make me smile so, so much. There were times when you were tired when travelling, but so many people said that you were such a good traveller and they were right.

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I am proud to be your daddy. I am proud to be your travel buddy. I am proud to be one of your best friends.

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Matching T-Shirts!

As you lay asleep next to me, I know these adventures won’t last forever, nor these moments of childish joy. However, let’s enjoy them whilst we can and live life to the fullest.

Time to look for the next adventure….

I love you Heidi
Daddy
XxX


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Leeds Dad starts dating again!!

In what is possibly the best timed blog post ever, given that it is being published on Valentine’s Day, I thought that I would write about my first proper date since my separation almost 4 years ago.

** Full disclosure – this has been shared with the (un)lucky lady before publishing **

It all happened by accident really. I wasn’t looking for romance, I was quite happy with Heidi and work and plodding on through life. Then, I received a random, yet nice message on the blog and we started messaging and after a while, we decided to meet – oh my word, I was going to meet a single woman for a date!!!

What started out as innocent, playful conversation suddenly turned real!! What would I wear, where about we meet, what day would we meet?? Worst of all, what on earth would I say?!?! How long can you string out “Hi, I’m a single dad, an accountant and I am a geeky blogger”?!

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However, I knew that I had to meet her. For far too long, I have been in my shell, played it extremely safe, and not been my own person – so I went for it.

The day of us meeting, I was a nervous wreck. People at work were amazing and while they playfully took the mick out of me, they also helped me so much. However, I didn’t eat after lunch (we were due to meet at 6.30pm) because I was so nervous and I went straight from work so I didn’t have to think about what clothes to wear!!

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I thought that I would feel guilty – as if I was cheating on Heidi. However, nothing would ever take my attention and devotion away from her. Going on a date wouldn’t change that. It would just allow me to be me again, even if it was just for one evening.

However, the one evening has turned into a few weeks now – so the first date must have gone well!! We talked for 4 hours – I was STARVING at the end once the butterflies died down. There were small bouts of awkwardness (how do you say goodbye on a first date?!) but the conversation flowed, without any assistance of alcohol and half an hour after we said goodbye, we both said that we wanted to meet up again!!

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Who knows where this will end up, but if you’re a single parent reading this thinking about getting on the dating game again – go for it!! Your children will always come first – a few dates will never change that – but it might help bring a smile to your face when times are tough and it will help you feel like you are an adult, rather than just a parent.

It is scary, but if a socially awkward geeky accountant can, anyone can!!


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

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Breaking Bad (News) to Children

Breaking bad news to a young child is never easy and sadly it was something that I had to do quite recently. However, I never really planned or thought how to do it. That’s not a brilliant idea and so I thought that it might be a good idea to write down a couple of things that might help.

Plan

As awful as it sounds, plan what you’re going to say. It will take the emotion out of your voice and make sure you give a clear message that your little one can understand

Get down to their level

It is best to meet them eye to eye so they are not daunted and you are in a brilliant position for the instant cuddle that they will need

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Don’t rush

The tears may only last a minute, they may last a day. Crying is so important to let the child let their emotions out and it is important to encourage them to cry

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Happy distraction

If you know the news will be taken badly by your little one, no amount of hugs or anything will make things better. However, a little something just to take their mind off things will help. Usually half an hour after the news breaking is a time to assess the situation and they might welcome a little break. However, don’t force it.

Talk afterwards

Emotions will be running wild at the time and things won’t sink in properly. However, it is always useful to ask the child if they want to know anything about the situation when the emotions have settled down a little.

Hopefully you’ll never need this blog post, but if you do, I hope it helps. If you have any other hints or tips, please put them in the comment section below.


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

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Hints and Tips for Family Proceedings Court

If you’re going down the road of going down to family court, for whatever reason, then these handy tips will help with the process:

Take Legal Advice with You

Yes, it is expensive, but they are the experts and with their help, they will guide you through the process and put you in the best position to make sure you aren’t disadvantaged throughout the process.

Take a book

There is a lot of waiting around, with the solicitors carrying messages between their clients, which seems to take an age. As such, you may be in a room on your own for quite some time. As a result, take something to occupy the time and the mind. There is only so much time you can spend on social media, not telling people where you are and how it is going!!

Keep calm

There are lots of emotions going around at this time, but for the process to go as smoothly as possible, you need to keep calm. Yes, it is easier said than done, but you make the best decisions with a clear head. Maybe make that book a self-help book in how to keep calm!

Be careful what you bring

When going into family court, you have to go through the same security checks as if going on an aeroplane. As such, you can’t bring drinks in, and oversized items such as umbrellas are not allowed as they could be used as a weapon (as sad as it sounds!)

If you’re not sure, ask!!

There is a lot of legal language that goes on, especially when you’re in front of the judge towards the end of the proceedings. As a result, make sure you ask for any clarification that is needed. You’re probably paying a lot of the privilege and so you need to know what is being said!!

What happens in family court, stays in family court

Yes, it is the first rule of “Family Court” – don’t broadcast it on Facebook as it happens, don’t slag off the other person, the judge or your solicitor. Act with class and dignity.

I’m more than happy to talk with anyone who is going to go down this process, so feel free to contact me using the details below:


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

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Happy Fathers Day

This is the second year of doing the blog properly whilst “celebrating” Fathers Day and it feels somewhat appropriate to do a blog post in advance of this. (You can read my first Fathers Day post HERE)

Anyway, this blog post was inspired by Trips with a Tot asking what was a favourite trip out/activity. It got me thinking about what we had planned for Fathers Day this year and actually, it isn’t where we are going (although it is pretty cool!) but who we are going with.

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People say you lose your social life when you have a child – in fact, the opposite it true.  You make different friends – special friends. Friends who you talk to over a coffee (or soft drink in my case!) rather than a drink, whilst in a indoor play area rather than a bar. These friends know what you’re going through, why you have odd socks on and why you’re a bit late.

These friends are special, very special. Without going to regular Rhythm Time classes, I wouldn’t have these friends and if you’re a parent and feel as though you’re on an island, go to a regular class (there are some on a weekend, they are just harder to find) and the rest will take care of itself.

Socialising is a basic human need that we sometimes overlook but parents need it as much as children do. Without these friends, I wouldn’t be on a relatively even keel and Heidi wouldn’t have some of the best friends in the world. Saturday morning get-togethers are the best and looked forward to so much!

Anyway, have a good Fathers Day, regardless of if you’re Mum or Dad, together or separate – we all have to play the stereotypical role of dad in being a parent so feel free to have a small drink to celebrate after bedtime – I’ll be having some pop!!

PS – if you’re a fellow Leeds Dad and feel the need to socialise with others, can I recommend “Leeds Dads” – a really laid back social network who have monthly get-togethers on a Sunday.


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

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Go onto my website: http://www.leedsdad.com