Tuesday Tips, a new series

ten kids

Over the years we’ve been asked by readers to share our thoughts and tips on parenting-related topics. Whether it’s a question about something basic like potty training, weaning or dining out with children…or something slightly more complex like preventing sibling rivalry or raising healthy eaters, we’ve received these questions somewhat apprehensively, as we didn’t quite know how best to respond.

Apart from the odd post (like views on electronics or co-sleeping) we have mostly shied away from writing these more advice-driven parenting posts. I think it’s because none of us have ever felt qualified enough to offer advice (none of us have ever officially studied or read up on these topics). And yet… the questions keep coming. Which got us thinking: perhaps it’s not about reading all the books. Perhaps it’s the actual trial and error of raising kids that makes a mother an ‘expert’? And perhaps, even more than that, maybe we don’t necessarily want an expert’s advice; maybe we’re more interested to hear how other like-minded mothers approach all the many parenting stages and challenges.

Between the three of us, we have spent the past ten years birthing, sleep-training, weaning, potty-training, feeding and raising ten children! That’s ten years of parenting, learning, discussing, questioning, adapting and becoming generally more confident as mothers. Perhaps we do have a trick or two up our sleeves? (At least for parenting young kids — we’ve got a lot to learn about the next stages…. like teenagers… yikes!!!)

Actually, the more we think of it, the more we realize that all mothers, regardless of how many children they’ve had, are experts. Don’t we all have some tips we’ve learned along the way? Wouldn’t it be fun to create a platform where we can all weigh in with our tips and suggestions (and questions!) so that we can all learn and benefit from the wisdom of other mothers?

We would love to start a weekly series here on this blog where we pick a parenting topic and shed some light on what we’ve learned and what has worked for us (not in a preachy way, but in a hopefully helpful way). We would love for this series to encourage healthy discussion and to prompt even more questions and topics to discuss. And of course we really hope you will all chime in with your own tips and tricks. We’re super excited to kick it off!

In the meantime, please feel free to offer suggestions for topics we can cover. We’ve got a list from previous questions but would love to hear your suggestions so we can start to organize these topics. Also, if there’s a question or topic we don’t feel qualified to shed light on, we’ll try to seek out a mother or expert who has the experience and insight to share. This is going to be so fun! Our first ‘Tuesday Tips’ post will be up later today…

 Courtney, Esther and Emilie


Comments (36)

January 27, 2015

This is so great! I like what you said about how you don’t feel like experts, so you’ve shown restraint. I’ve had the total opposite experience with people offering me unsolicited advice all the time. It tends to make me feel defensive, not connected. As long as people put things in terms of their own experience and with the realization that kids are all different and there is no formulaic approach to parenting, I’d be super appreciative. With that in mind, I have a question: my 2.5 year old son recently figured out how to climb out of his crib and does it whenever we put him in. Since I was worried he’d hurt himself, I put him in my bed and that’s where he’s been sleeping ever since. I don’t know how to get him back in his own bed and to convince him to stay there. His crib does convert to a toddler bed, so we were thinking of setting it up but that’ll just make it easier for him to get out, won’t it? I’ll have the same problem. Does anyone have any advice?

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

Hi Kiana,
I think this is a great question and something so many mothers face: that point where your toddler knows how to climb out of his/her cot and the transition from cot to cotbed.
We’ll take this into consideration when writing future posts, but I just wanted to give you a prompt answer as this is obviously very time sensitive for you.
I have found that the transition from cotbed to cot always seems scarier than it actually ends up being. (I have found this with lots of other transitions too – like taking the dummy away!)
At the point where our kids could climb out of their cot (and it happened early with our kids — around 18 months or so!) we figured it was more dangerous for them to be in their cot and climbing out than to put them into a cot bed. And as far as ensuring they stay in the bed, I think this usually takes a couple dedicated evenings where you have to go back into their room several times and put them back into their bed and explain that they can’t come out. In my experience, they learn this quite quickly and by the end of the week are sleeping perfectly well in their cotbed. I think that establishing the rule that they can’t come out of their bed (if they need you, they can call you from their bed) and being quite strict about this from the beginning is the key to ensuring it’s a relatively straight-forward transition.
But this is just my experience… and I’m sure there are so many different factors to consider.
I hope this answer helps? x

January 27, 2015

I love love love this idea! It would be great to get tips from you guys, who have a wealth of experience between you all and other mums too! I will look forward to this each Tuesday ☺️
Can I suggest a few topics please?

-How to keep children entertained who have a large age gap between them?
-Co-sleeping: how long for? The pros and cons
-How best to de-stress after heading back to work?

Thanks Jess Xxx

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

Thanks for your suggestions! All good ones. We’ll take note and try to answer these questions soon. x

January 27, 2015

You read my mind!!! Just yesterday I was looking on your site trying to find any recommendations for baby blenders for weaning. I couldn’t find anything. I was also hoping to come across any suggestions on weaning and how you did it. Any favourite recipes, measurements, at what age you introduced milk with porridge etc
That would be SO helpful. I’m needing this information now so I’m hoping weaning is one of your first topics.
Thanks so much Babyccino girls for making parenting a little bit easier!

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

A post about weaning is definitely in the works! Thanks for your suggestion. x

January 27, 2015

Kiana, I went through the same with our daughter a few months ago, I converted it into the bed mode, because I was worried she would hurt herself climbing out every time I put her in. She started leaving her room when we put her to bed once it was in bed mode, so we just stayed near her room & kept taking her back in until she settled in her bed, she also started coming in our room during the night & wanted to get in our bed, sometimes I let her if I was too tired to take her back, but mostly I tried to take her back to her bed & settle her back down, she is now sleeping in her own bed & wakes up at around 7am, it has taken a few months to get to this point, but things have improved a lot 🙂 A night-light has helped too. This is a great idea for the blog, I’d like to read about your views on potty training. My daughter is two & starting nursery in April & she’s not interested in using the potty/toilet, she says ‘no’ x

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

Louise, I love your tip about the night-light! And a potty-training post is in the works already. It might actually be our next one, so please stay tuned… x

January 29, 2015

Thank you so much Courtney and Louise for your tips and advice! I will try the night light and being firm about staying in his toddler bed from the beginning. Fingers crossed for me! XO

January 27, 2015

This is a fantastic post and a great idea! I’m really looking forward to reading this! My darling 3 year old girl has started nursery and has had a personality change overnight! She just will not listen! I don’t want to resort to yelling but I am exasperated repeating the same basic requests over and over again! If you have any suggestions or tips on that topic it would be very much welcomed!

Keep up the great work ladies. Your a real inspiration.

Leanne x

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

Thank you so much for your kind feedback and encouragement!
And ooooh the repeating over and over…. ! It’s also something I would love advice on! Maybe this is one to seek outside advice? I will work on this. Thanks again, x

January 27, 2015

Actually, just saying… you have many more years than ten under your belts, you are in fact experts. Because if you add the ages of your kids you get your true parenting age… which adds up to a lot really fast… so 10 + 8 + 6 + … 2lots of 2. (I won’t even tell you how old I am in parenting years with our gang of kids!!!). But you guys are a team of parenting veterans, go for it!!! I look forward to reading this new thread.

January 27, 2015

My topic would be how to adjust English speaking children into a foreign environment with a new language. WE’ve just moved to France from Canada, and our 4year old daughter is in the regular school system and is having difficulties with the language and communication with the other children. She is only 4 so I have no doubt she will learn quickly. However some tips on adjusting to a new country with small children would be wonderful. Thank-you
we have a 4 year old girl and a 2year old boy

January 27, 2015

I will do my best to write about this soon! I have already written a post about bringing up children bi-lingually. But don’t worry, she will learn French in no time, esp. at this age! xxx

January 27, 2015

I am so looking forward to this series! Thank you for acknowledging your collective wisdom as mothers. The parenting books have rarely been helpful for me. One thing I struggle with is managing messes. Whether it is teaching young children ( 3 under 5) how to clean up after themselves or being responsible for or caring for their things. Taking the time to teach is for me one of the greatest challenges of parenting.

January 27, 2015

This was already my favorite blog, but you all have seriously stepped it up with the book reviews with Mo and now this new series. I can not tell you how excited I am. I already love the tone of the introduction in that you are not looking to push your views on anyone, but offering advice from your own experiences (and challenges). Often times the comments and responses can be helpful too — a true community. One topic that I actually searched for, but didn’t see on your blog is a very sensitive / controversial one, but important and that is religion or lack thereof (teaching respect for other cultures/beliefsq

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

You’re so sweet. Thank you.
And religion – yes, a tricky subject. Let’s see what we can muster up on this topic. Thanks again. x

January 27, 2015

Accidentally hit submit 🙂 Also interested in any tips on discipline. Looking forward to reading the new posts! Kudos 🙂

January 27, 2015

This is going to be fun !! 🙂

January 27, 2015

I would love to hear your thoughts/techniques on discipline. It’s so tricky, and every kid is different!

January 27, 2015

Awesome idea – the concept of us as moms being our own best experts- and sharing our wisdom with each other – totally resonates with me! I’d love some discussions on the following topics:
* Sibling rivalry
* Raising children with strong personalities without crushing their spirit or affecting their self esteem.
* When they don’t want to go to school…
* Bullying

Thanks guys! xxx

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

Love these suggestions! Thank you! x

January 27, 2015

Dear Courtney, Esther and Emilie,
What a wonderful idea! I have been reading your posts the last 4 years, ever since I became a mother and a friend-mother shared one of your parenting posts with me (then completely overwhelmed with what parenting turned up to be compared to what I had expected it to be during my oh-so-organized pre-parent life). Many times I have gone back to your blog to read posts again (e.g. Courtney traveling with 4 kids, excellent Birthday Party ideas from Esther, Emilie sharing how to survive being a single Mom and having kids dressed and fed with minimum time in the morning, to name just a few). I love your writing style, easygoing, optimistic, cheering up. I admire and have introduced to my own life many ideas, recipes, tips, books (you name it!) which I read from you first…
So yes, please carry on!
Look very much forward to this new series.
Yours sincerely, Ania

January 27, 2015

Hello ladies,
I would LOVE some tips on how to keep children’s clothes clean especially during meal time with younger ones. My baby Mabel is almost 9 months and we do use a bib but she still gets her beautiful clothes covered in food stains that are not so easy to get out. I can only imagine this will get worse for a while, especially when she starts walking and playing in the dirt! You children always look immaculate so I would love any tips you could share.
Thank you so much 🙂

January 28, 2015

I’d love to read a combined effort on travelling with children, or multiple posts, because I’m sure you all do it differently. I thought Courtney’s post of flying was great but what about long car journeys? Or trains? Family suitcase verse little ones for children? And what is a good guide for packing?
Cheers Kendel

Esther in Amsterdam
February 3, 2015

Great suggestions — we’ll keep them in mind!! Long journeys can be so challenging with little kids, car, plane or train!

Claire Gulliver
January 28, 2015

Just a note to let you know that this week on the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 they are talking about screen time, with a phone in today about the various ways parents deal with this issue- interesting link to your electronics post xx

January 28, 2015

Screen time: It’s a hot topic at the moment. I just read in the news today, Taiwan has banned screen time for under 2s and restricted under 18s. Courtney’s post was really well thought out and balanced and most mums definitely share her view, my question would be how do you decrease the use of electronics and tv to kids that have been exposed already? I would definitely welcome tips on that topic having (regretfully) given in many times to my 3 year old with the iPad!

January 28, 2015

What a fantastic idea! Appreciate your willingness to talk about things that worked (or didn’t) in your families! It’s always great to consider new and different ways of doing things (especially if you are stuck in a rut) or to simply find solace that you aren’t alone in struggling with certain things.
I’m always interested in what different families do to foster independence in their children (ie: when do you leave them alone in the house and for how long? When do they have phones? Can they run simple errands by themselves or bike alone to a friends house, etc? ). I think you all would have unique perspectives living in large cities.

Esther in Amsterdam
February 3, 2015

These are great topics Christly, I’m very interested in them as well so will work on these. x

January 28, 2015

Great idea! I’m really looking forward to this series! Your blog is very inspirational and rare breath of fresh air in today’s world.

I would appreciate your views on kids and extra-curricular activities. Courtney touched on this a bit last week in the post on Ivy in ballet but I’d love to hear what the other kids (in all 3 families) are interested in. Do they play sports? At what age did they start? Do they take music lessons? How do you encourage them to practice their instrument? What about swimming lessons? Would love to hear more!

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

Sandy, this is a great suggestion. Thank you. We’ll keep it in mind. x

January 28, 2015

Excellent! You ladies should definitely not sell yourselves short – you have 30 collective years of parenting between you, plus the experiences of your mothers before you! Can’t wait for more. A few suggested topics I think your readers might enjoy:

1) How does a busy mother fit in exercise?
2) Depression – how to deal with it and still carry on with mothering duties
3) When school is hard – how to keep a child’s confidence from spiraling.

Keep up the great writing ladies! xoxo

January 29, 2015

I have a very simple question on a practical matter.
What do you do with your kid’s art and school notebooks/journals at the end of each year? It is impossible to keep it all.
Do you pick a few pieces per year to store in a box or folder? I know there are photo book ideas for kids art but that is a bit long winded, I think we over-document our kids lives these days with digital photography and social media anyway.
Looking forward to hearing what you do.

Courtney in London
January 29, 2015

Hi Neda,
Thanks for your question. The storage of children’s school notebooks and art projects is something I’m constantly battling with as well. You’re right – you can’t keep everything! I usually do what you said and pick out a few favourite projects – whether it’s an essay they’ve written or a sweet painting. We have plastic bins under the kids’ beds with their artwork, but again, I only keep my favourite things and toss the rest out.
Interestingly, I was ‘home’ with my family this summer and my parents asked us all to clear out our boxes from our attic. I had two big boxes up in the attic with old art projects and photos, etc. It was sweet to look at some of the things (especially photos), but for the most part – the art projects now seemed unimportant and I didn’t really see any reason to keep most of that stuff. So I’m hoping my kids will also feel the same some day. They’ll hopefully be happy I kept a few things, but won’t even remember the majority of stuff.
Saying this, we do have a ‘wall of fame’ in our entrance hallway where we hang all the kids favourite art pieces, and that’s a fun way to show them that you love their artwork and want to display it.
I hope this answer helps?! x

February 2, 2015

I am so glad you ladies are doing this. I recently stopped fussing with all the professional advice and am simply turning to solid mamas for their tried and true wisdom.

It’s not about being an expert, but rather about being honest and relatable in a world often overwhelmed by parenting-style tug-of-war and Pinterestic perfection. I find great comfort not only in that honesty, but also in covering the less-than-perfect bits, the uncomfortable or sometimes even embarrassing moments that every mama can identify with (because we’re all a hot mess at some point).

I think you gals have such a refreshing parenting style (vintage modern??) that is not always highlighted, at least not in typical America. I mean, my mind was BLOWN the first time I saw Courtney’s daughter, Marlowe, with a regular glass at 18 months. None of the “professional advice” even mentioned that –gasp!– your kid doesn’t always need a stinkin’ sippie cup! It made me question much more about what’s going on over here in the states and I am grateful for that silent advice given through a simple shot of family life.

As for topics, I would also love to hear how you manage cooking on a weeknight, your thoughts on toddler discipline, pacifier etiquette, and timing of language/music immersion (i.e., my Suzuki teacher friends are pressing me to consider cello lessons for my daughter, Nina, at age 2.5-3! What.).

So I look forward to learning from your honest, thoughtful, and real perspectives!

Kensley at Hot Mess Mamas

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