Playtime And The Highs and Lows of Parenting

I remember shortly after my first daughter was born I thought “this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life”. I’ve jumped out of an aeroplane, I’ve climbed a mountain, I’ve been department head at work and managed a team of people, I’ve sold books door to door thousands of miles from home, asked a judge to evict families from their homes and supported recovering addicts. But what caused me to fall to the floor crying and doubt my abilities? A teeny tiny little baby.

Being a new parent can be overwhelming, but there are so many amazing moments like every time your baby smiles at you, when they give you a hug, that first slobbery kiss, when they call you “mama” or when they learn something new and look so proud of themselves.

Little Tikes asked parents about their first year of parenting and the survey results found that 48% of parenting is hard work and 52% fun, that’s nearly 50/50 “giggles and graft”. Every parent will say it’s worth it, but if it takes over a year (on average) to feel you are getting to grips with being a parent that’s a lot of time people spend struggling. (More findings from the survey in the infographic below).

Second time round I’m enjoying having a baby a lot more. It might be to do with knowing more or getting more sleep.  Either way I still find it hard at times. 

When I’m struggling there are 5 things I do which help:

Stop expecting so much from myself

Does it really matter if the house is a mess, the washing pile overflowing and I haven’t washed my hair for a couple of days?

Give my baby a big long cuddle

A hug has magical powers. It’s why we give our children a cuddle when they fall over and hurt themselves. From baby snuggles to when they can hug you back hugs have the power to make you feel better.

Go out for a walk

A bit of fresh air and exercise can make me feel differently about the day. It can be hard to drag myself out, but it always help. As an added benefit it entertains Little or helps her fall asleep.

Meet up with actual people

Whether it's a cup of coffee with friends or empathy at a local baby group, sometimes I just need to speak to someone who can speak back.

Sit on the floor with my baby and play.

From a game of peekaboo to helping my baby discover new textures playing doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it can be great to change your mood and helps with their development. 
A baby crawling surrounded by Little Tikes toys on brightly coloured mats
Playtime with Little Tikes

Last week we were invited to check out Little Tikes new baby range. Little and I had a fantastic time. I ate cake and had a chat with some lovely people, Little got to play with lots of fantastic toys. I think Little Tikes toys are brilliant for babies because of the bright contrasting colours and all the faces with big eyes: exactly what babies like to look at.  I love the new Light 'n Go range as well which have lots of lights too providing extra excitement and sensory fun.

8 month old sitting up grabbing a mirror on an activity gym
The new Deluxe Gym

The baby range has some lovely toys which are great for babies to play with on their own or with their parents. They have some big toys which can be played with a huge number of different activities to toys small enough to stick in your changing bag. New in the Baby range (from 0 months) Little loved handheld Swayin' Buddies and Shake 'n Rattle Crabbie and the much larger Deluxe Activity Gym. Our favourites in the Light 'N Go range which encourage active play (from 6 months) were the Activity Garden Treehouse and the 3-in-1 Activity Walker.

A baby on a big red bean bag holding a baby milestone card with an elephant rattle toy between her legs
The Swayin' Buddy Elephant from the Baby Range

A baby standing up and holding on to a brightly coloured plastic walker
Checking out the 3 in 1 Activity Walker

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