As you know, Happity is all about helping parents to beat loneliness, in a way that supports mental health. Our resident Clinical Psychologist, Dr Zara Rahemtulla, has some advice on how to keep mentally well during Covid-19.
As we move into the weekend, I wanted to try and offer some thoughts on how to keep calm and carry on, despite the fact that we are faced with the restrictions and worries of Covid-19.
This will be our first weekend in official lock down and we can’t deny that it’s going to feel difficult, frustrating and even painful at times, as we won’t be able to see some of our loved ones, have a coffee and catch up with friends or just take the kids out to a soft play or playground so we can get some respite from our four walls.
It goes without saying that these are strange times and as parents, we are going to be faced with so much uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds worry, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. And feeling overwhelmed triggers us to sometimes get short tempered, agitated and/or angry and in this case, probably with those around us (i.e. our kids, our partners).
So we need to keep two things in mind. We need to make sure we look after ourselves as parents, and then of course, our children. In that order. It’s the same as being on an airplane – we are told to first put on our own oxygen mask and help ourselves before we help others. It sounds cliched, but if we think about it, we are no use to anyone if we cannot first breathe ourselves.
So find a way to keep breathing and schedule it into your day. Whether it’s having a bath once they’ve gone to bed, catching up with a friend on the phone, putting your feet up with a glass of something, exercising, reading a chapter of your book. I speak from experience when I say I know how hard it is to make time for oneself! But that pile of washing really can wait while you give yourself some time to recharge.
The next step is to remember that caring for our children is not about creating amazing, super duper, Instagram-worthy activities. Nor is it about entertaining them every second of the day. Neither of these are possible and if you set yourself up to think they are, then this will just feed into feeling overwhelmed. Caring for our children is connecting with our children. It’s laughing with them when something is funny in a book or on TV, it’s watching them as they delight in smearing yogurt all over their face (and then running quickly to clean it up!), it’s holding them when they feel sad and it’s letting them throw themselves on the floor and be angry because they don’t know what else to do. It’s being with rather than doing with that shows care and creates connection.
Caring for our children is also about how we reconnect with our children. When you feel overwhelmed, angry, tired or fed up over the coming weeks and you accidentally lose your temper, remember to repair things after. This means going back to your child (or even your partner) once you’ve calmed down and saying something like, “I’m sorry I shouted at you earlier, I shouldn’t have. Mummy/I was feeling angry. I am feeling better now, and I love you”.
Letting our guard down and showing our vulnerability to ourselves and our children is the key way to keeping calm during covid-19 (and through life in general!) It allows us to process our feelings so we are likely to feel less overwhelmed, and it teaches our children how to share and understand their feelings, which means they are less likely to become upset really quickly and have tantrums (this can only be a good thing!)
Psychological research shows us that 1/3 of parent-child interactions will “go wrong” and that’s okay. The important part is how we repair them. Remind yourself of this fact every day as you make time in your day to adjust your oxygen mask in this turbulent and uncertain time.
Dr Zara Rahemtulla Clinical Psychologist – Specialist in parent-child mental health
With so many of us facing a difficult time of isolation, the baby & toddler community has been working hard to launch baby & toddler classes online as quickly as possible.
Obviously face-to-face classes can’t continue at the moment, which means you aren’t getting the interaction and structure you are used to, and your activity providers businesses have stopped overnight.
We’ve created a slick way to do online classes, with interaction not just streaming, and we’ve taken away the manual nature lots of small providers are currently putting up with to host.
If your class providers isn’t yet providing remote sessions (and you’d like them to so you can go!), or their not providing them through [email protected], please support them by sharing this blog with them – it gives them a step by step guide to how to set up and make the most of online classes.
As this is a new world for all of us, we’ve prepared a few guidelines to help everyone get the most enjoyment out of virtual classes. We’re working together to create a consistent experience so that you know what to expect and don’t have to grapple with lots of different technologies.
Most of us are using a tool called Zoom for this, and we’re aiming to make your class feel as interactive as your regular classes ‘in real life’!
But to make it really great, we need everyone to play their part – so please read on for some tips on how to make the most of online classes.
All virtual classes that are listed on ‘[email protected]’ will be using the technology in the same way, so you can join any of these classes with confidence and know exactly what to expect.
How to get the most from online classes
Find a nice, safe comfortable spot to take part. Use a larger screened device – like a tablet or laptop, if possible and prop it safely out of direct reach of your toddler. Ideally position it so that the camera will be on them when singing and dancing, so that the class practitioner can see them and talk to them.
2. Be visible!
Please resist the urge to switch off your camera! You’ll enjoy seeing everyone and their children singing along, and your kids will love seeing themselves on screen too. It will also mean the class practitioner can interact with you and your children in a live environment, and give you so much more than a recorded YouTube video.
Try switching between the different the view settings in Zoom (depending on your device) to find one that you prefer. We like the ‘Speaker’ view that lets you see your class leader as well as a few of the other families at the same time.
Please remember that your first session or two may take some settling in for you and your child(ren). Even if it’s a class you’ve been to many times before, treat it like a first session! Also remember that this is going to be a very new experience for nearly all class providers, so please be kind – and give feedback to help everyone improve this service for all.
3. Take part
It’s the people that really make a class – so please take part, sing along, dance, and move! Be present with your child, and get them involved – just as you would in a real class. 🙂
If you have any shakers, scarves etc. in stock at home, you might like to keep these close by ready for your classes. There are also some great tips on how to make your own instruments here.
What to expect (the technical stuff)
The first time you attend a class, you will be asked to install Zoom on your device so please make sure you allow a few extra minutes for this process. After that you can attend any [email protected] class within seconds, by clicking on the link in your booking email. 🙂
When you join, we suggest you pop your child’s name in when prompted, as this will help the host welcome your child and engage with them during the class, since their name will then be shown on the host’s scren.
Please respect other participants, and remember to click your link shortly before the start time, as it may be difficult for the host to check you on the register and let you into the room if you’re very late.
For the majority of the class, you’ll be put on ‘mute’ – this is so that everyone can hear the host clearly, and your kids can make as much noise as they like in the comfort of your own home. (You can also sing as badly as you like!)
In between songs, it’s lovely if you can join in – so do unmute yourself if the host is asking your kids to shout out answers or do a singalong!! Just remember to pop yourself back on mute afterwards if the class provider hasn’t done this.
You can find the ‘mute’ button usually in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
Happity is a small biz run by 4 parents. We want as many providers to be able to keep their businesses going, and for parents to keep some semblance of normality in these crazy times.
We hope you’ll support our industry and help us spread the word across the UK to all your parent and class provider friends. Please share!
What worrying times we find ourselves in! For many of us, our livelihoods are at stake. Most insurance providers are not covering the loss of earnings from classes closing – and there is no support (as yet) from the government for the self-employed. 😟
Happity has always worked 100% remotely – we’ve tested all the online tools as a team, and we understand some of the challenges that come with working online.
For many of you, I know it may feel quite daunting seeing a business you’ve built up over years potentially closing it’s doors – but we’re here to tell you – it really doesn’t have to be that way! Over the past few days, we’ve been busy trialling the technology and working with class providers to create an online experience equivalent to ‘real life’ classes. We have a vital role to play in reaching out to parents who are possibly facing weeks, if not months, of isolation at home.
Below is a guide on how we would suggest you set up with Zoom and then integrate with the Happity system.
If you are reading this ready to set up, it would be worth reading the below, but we’ve got a quick set up ready for you below.
Our tool of choice is Zoom. Having used many different tools, we’ve been using this as our primary tool for the past 3 years and can vouch for it.
It has some great features we think are ideal for running baby & toddler classes – and we’ve also trialled it in a live setting with children.
Read on if you would like to continue your ‘business as usual’ – just in a virtual venue instead of a physical one!We’ll show you how.
Working together as a sector to reach more parents
For parents new to video conferencing, there’s going to be a bit of a challenge. It’s all too tempting to switch off your video and not show your face to the world! So we’re advocating for industry-wide standards amongst all class providers in the baby & toddler sector to make the online class experience a genuinely good one – worth paying for, and to make the transition over as easy as possible.
Once parents have attended one class, they’ll feel safer and more comfortable attending another that uses the same technology – because they’ll know exactly what to expect and how to use their settings.
In fact – we’ve also written a blog for parents which you can share with your customers to help them navigate their settings – it’s been written to be relevant for anyone hosting classes on Zoom. (Please let us know if you have an ideas for improving this!).
Any bookings made for virtual classes via Happity will automatically be sent these instructions in their email confirmation. We’ll also send them the link for the class – both upon booking, and 15 minutes before the class starts.
Getting started with Zoom
It’s really easy to get set up with Zoom and start using it in the simplest possible way – though we do have some tips and tricks for enhancing the experience!
When you sign up for Zoom,the FREE version allows you to host classes up to 40 minutes long. If you need to host a longer session, the pro version is c. £14 per month once tax is included. Bear in mind that with children at home, you won’t have a 100% captive audience so a slightly shorter session than normal may be preferable anyway.
Once you have signed up and installed the app, you can literally click start a ‘new meeting’ – send this link to your attendees and you’re good to go!
Although Zoom technically allows you to host up to 100 participants, we really recommend keeping your classes small and interactive if this is how you would do it in real life.
Zoom lets you see all of your participants on screen at once, using the ‘Gallery View’. Our booking emails also asks parents to add their children’s names to the screen (blanked out below) so that you can interact directly with them during the session. Many kids are used to speaking to grandparents through technology, and they respond so well when you talk to them and know that you can see them. This is where the value of a live class really comes into it’s own – it’s so much better than watching something on YouTube!
For parents, it will look more like this:
During the class, it’s then really important that you use the MUTE ALL button that can be found in the ‘Participants’ window.
Your customers will not be able to hear you clearly unless you do this – but do encourage your customers to unmute themselves in between songs and get involved!!
Top Tip – You can also increase the volume of yourself vs. the other participants in the room. Click on the up arrow ” ^ ” shown next to the mute button in the bottom left hand corner, and choose ‘Audio Settings…’
Untick the ‘Automatically adjust microphone settings’ box, increase your ‘input volume’, and then tick ‘Automatically adjust microphone settings’ again. This will ensure that your volume is generally louder – whilst also automatically adjusting so that you don’t accidentally deafen anyone. 😅 It’s also great to have this setting, as you can then have the occasional song where everyone unmutes and joins in together. Zoom does a nifty thing of jumping around to display whoever is singing loudest, making for a lovely interactive session!
You don’t really need much equipment to get started with your online classes if you have a device with a microphone and camera! However, your biggest challenge with this is going to be having a consistent internet connection, so if you are using a computer DO get a physical wire to plug into your internet, instead of relying on WiFi. Also, having other members of the house streaming Netflix whilst you’re broadcasting a class is a definite No Go!
Setting up your space to make it look good makes it feel a bit more special for your customers and sets you apart from the other participants. Display your logo and have some bright coloured props! Put up a backdrop if you can and make it look unique to you. (If you’re technically inclined, Zoom also allows the option to add a virtual background too!)
On sound – test it out with someone friendly, but generally there is no need to sing through a speaker if you’re in a quiet space and have got a reasonable microphone (and turn up your settings as above).
A Quick Note on Pricing Your Classes
We suggest keeping your prices similar to your normal classes, but consider setting a price for the whole family to attend together instead. Each family will still only take up 1 square of your screen in Gallery View, so unlike in a physical venue, having more children to a household won’t affect the quality of the class delivery for everyone else.
We are also revamping Happity to help direct local parents towards their ‘nearest’ virtual classes – our aim is to help these people become ‘in real life’ customers when all this madness is over! Can you imagine how excited the kids will be when they get to meet you in person?? 😄 Keeping your prices similar to your normal classes will mean you can keep the groups smaller, more interactive, and help parents know what to expect from a real life class.
Making the admin manageable
Using Zoom at it’s simplest is easy peasy – but using it in this way is not quite so manageable when it comes to the admin side! Using the above method, you won’t have a room ID until you start the meeting – you’ll have to make sure to get this link over to each of your customers in time for the class to start each week, and support your customers with changing their settings when they log in.
Luckily there are some great settings in Zoom you can use to make this more manageable!
We’ve also enhanced Happity to make it possible to manage bookings for virtual classes, sending your parents an automated email with your links both upon booking – and before the class starts. We have also made it FREE to join Happity from anywhere in the UK for 1 year during this time of crisis.
Schedule a Regular ‘Room’ for Your Virtual Classes
By setting up a fixed weekly link for your classes, you’ll be able to give your customers advance notice and reduce last minute panic! This will also help your regular customers access your classes from week to week.
By doing this, you can also make use of some of the more advanced features – like adding your logo to the screen, automatically making sure that cameras are switched on, automatically muting participants on entry (if you want to), and using the waiting room feature so that you can check your registers.
How to set up ‘rooms’ for your virtual classes 1) Go to Zoom.us – preferably on a desktop or tablet 2) Click on ‘My Account’ 3) Choose ‘Meetings’ – ‘Schedule a New Meeting’
4) Use your class name and select ‘recurring meeting’. Then in the drop down select “no fixed time”.
This creates a unique Zoom link for your classes.
5) Untick ‘Require meeting password’ 6) Choose Video Host – ON, Participant – ON 7) Audio – Both
8) Meeting options – Tick ‘enable waiting room’ – this will allow you to view the names of your participants before letting them in and give you an opportunity to check your register before starting each class. By using the Waiting Room feature, you can also add your own logo to Zoom and make it look fancy when people click the link and are waiting for the class to start! 9) Click ‘Save’ 10) IMPORTANT: Make a note of your Zoom URL for this particular time slot! You need it to put into the Happity booking system as it will email this link to participants when they book, and again 10 minutes before the start of each class, asking them to join – it will also email you with the link and a list of your customers too, so that you can start hosting it.
Taking Bookings & Promoting Your Class
If you’ve been used to taking cash on the door, you’ll now need to find a way of taking online payments. It’s possible to take free transfers via Paypal, but you’ll need to track your registers manually – and make sure parents choose the ‘friends & family’ option to avoid the hefty fees.
If you’ve chosen to use Zoom to host your classes virtually, you can join the ‘[email protected]’ programme for FREE – we’ve waived membership fees for a year during this crisis. We’re doing a lot of publicity to help raise awareness of virtual baby & toddler classes as a service, and have already appeared on BBC5Live to promote it this week, with more media outlets lined up.
We’ve already revamped everything on Happity make it ready to support bookings for virtual classes – and we’re in the process of making changes to Happity’s popular search facility to help parents find and book online classes.
Our features will make it easy for you to manage your registers, including sales reports, email confirmations and reminders, teacher logins, and the ability to contact all your customers for any given class via email or text. We’ll also help you build your email marketing list.
Anyone sharing Happity pages can tag @HappityApp (and #findyourhappityathome) and we will share on our stories to get people booking!
If you’re already a Happity customer, please click here for instructions on how to set up online bookings for your virtual classes.
If you’re not yet a Happity Member please register here (or if you already have registered head to your dashboard to upgrade – ignore the £37.50 membership charge, we have waived this for a year but haven’t updated the info as more important things right now!).
A quick little note…
Although you might think we must be a big bad tech company, Happity is run by a small team of 4 parents who work from home and passionately believe in community and doing the right thing. As a small business just like yours, we’re fighting for survival in these difficult times. We will support any of our members needing help getting set up with their online classes.
We charge just 3% commission on bookings (including VAT) and this goes towards covering the cost of hosting, providing customer support and building the technology. On a £5 transaction we earn 12.5p. (Stripe charges 1.4% + 20p – a payment processor similar to Paypal but better and cheaper! It pays out to your bank account every 3-5 days).
We have decided to open our doors across the UK to help parents to maintain social interactions and structure.
This is really important in maintaining good mental health during isolation, something I care strongly about as I struggled with PND due to loneliness, and is why I co-founded Happity.
We have just trialed a “[email protected]” remote class (see below with the lovely Cat of Little Folk Nursery Rhymes) , and will be ready to help more providers to continue their classes remotely across the UK, so more parents have access to some interaction imminently (may even be by the time you read this!).
If you want to see the classes you currently go to run remotely soon, please ensure your activity providers are aware that we are running this service. Ask them to register at the bottom of our home page (www.happity.co.uk) and upgrade to membership (free for 3 months as it’s being waived due to coronavirus, and no obligation to continue after).
If you want to hear about the remote classes as soon as they launch, please sign up to the Happity newsletter and you’ll be the first to know about them. You can do that towards the bottom of our home page 🙂
Once they are launched you can search as normal, and we will ensure you see the remote classes clearly.
And do follow us @HappityApp for updates and tips. We would love to see pics of you joining [email protected] classes as well as ideas to keep kids entertained at home – do tag us for shares!
We are in the process of supporting Happity Members with setting up their online virtual classes, and managing bookings for them if they so wish.
You can become a Happity Member for free at the moment (we’ve waived the annual fee for 3 months – and you can always cancel before the 3 months is up and pay nothing).
Our team have been using Zoom daily for pretty much the past 3 years. we have now trialled it for running toddler classes as well as looking at other options too – I’ve also participated as a parent, and can honestly say my 4yo son found this as good as an in person class (see pic above!).
As part of this, we’re also going to be educating parents on how to participate in online classes as this is really the biggie – it’s no good if they just dump kids in front of a screen! We need parents engaging to make it a good experience for everyone.
We’re also launching a PR campaign, especially around maintaining mental wellbeing for new parents and using these online classes as a way to stay engaged in your local community. We’re hoping by bringing everything together under the [email protected] umbrella we’ll be able to make a bigger impact and help parents adjust to a new online format by offering some consistency between class providers.
We hope you are all keeping safe and well in these uncertain times.
Have you ever felt like you are alone on this journey called parenthood?
I know I have.
On those days when nothing seems to go quite to plan. Or how the movies says it should.
And these days can be particularly tough, and frequent, if you struggle with Post-Natal Depression or other mental health struggles.
As you know, here at Happity we are all about helping parents to build community through local baby & toddler classes as well as support groups. This is so key to help parents maintain their mental wellness.
That’s why I was super excited to hear about the #HeyMum campaign and to be able to support it with the help of our amazing activity providers!
Last week I headed in to London for a lavish breakfast, the chance to hear more about the campaign, and to get involved myself!
The #HeyMum campaign has been set up by Red Letter Days and PANDAS to empower new mums who might be feeling isolated in the early days of motherhood.
If you haven’t come across PANDAS before, it is a charity I have supported for the past few years. They help support and advise any parent and their networks who need support with perinatal mental illness. They provide such an important resource for parents who are struggling – so watch this space for some exciting announcements about how we are going to be supporting them more in the future!
Anyway, for the #HeyMum campaign there are special red letter boxes around the county (see list below) where you can pop a mothers day card – that you’ve purchased, or using those next to the boxes – with an encouraging message to a new mum. I wrote one at the event and I’m excited that one of you lovely mamas will receive it in the next few weeks!
(You can also post them directly to Red Letter Days Campaign, c/o Keyboards & Dreams, Ground Floor, 34-35 Hatton Garden, EC1N 8DX if you’re not close to a special post box!)
All cards will be vetted, so if you send on please keep messages positive, friendly and sensitive, and leave envelopes unsealed 🙂
So, if you can write some words of encouragement, please grab a card and post it to Red Letter Days. Remember to take a picture with #HeyMum, and do tag @HappityApp so we can share too!
Or if you would love some words of encouragement (perhaps you’ll get mine! Or Ferne McCanns!) please book a class with one of the above providers ASAP. We would love you also to post a pic receiving it with #HeyMum tagging @HappityApp and the fab provider who got it to you, so we can share and spread the love!
Do something amazing today!
You can find the special post boxes at the following locations:
FLAGSHIP POSTBOX: Biscuiteers, 13 Northcote Rd, London SW11 1NG
Stanfords, 7 Mercer Walk, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9FA
Cuckooz Nest, 24 Ray St, Farringdon, London EC1R 3DJ
Stepney City Farm, Stepney Way, Stepney Green, London E1 3DG
Pickled Pepper Pot Books, 10 Middle Ln, Crouch End, London N8 8PL
BOXPARK Croydon, 99 George St, Croydon CR0 1LD
BOXPARK Wembley, 18 Olympic Way, Wembley Park, Wembley HA9 0JT
Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip St, Bristol, BS3 4EA
Bristol Aquarium, Anchor Rd, Bristol BS1 5TT
Jubilee Library, Jubilee St, Brighton, BN1 1GE
Brighton Women’s Centre, 22 Richmond Pl, Brighton BN2 9NA
Cardiff Central Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1FL
Canton Library, 4 Library St, Cardiff CF5 1QD
Penylan Library and Community Centre, Pen-Y-Lan Rd, Cardiff CF23 5HW
Wigwam Coffee Shop, 70 Rose Ln, Liverpool L18 8AG
Victoria Gallery & Museum, Ashton Street, Liverpool, L69 3DR
Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester, M2 3JL
Mama Sanctuary, 1 Prince’s St, Stockport SK1 1SL
Magna Science Adventure Centre, Magna Way, Rotherham, S60 1FD
Eureka! National Children’s Museum, Discovery Rd, Halifax, HX1 2NE
Museum of Childhood, 42 High St, Edinburgh, EH1 1TG
You’re just sitting down having got the kids to bed – finally – it’s only 8:34pm, and you remember – I left the washing in, oh and those dishes need doing, and gosh I don’t know when I last cleaned the loo!
We’ve all been there – more than once. And let’s be honest, even when we do have the time and energy to clean and tidy the house, we would all (well most of us…!) prefer to be sipping a white wine, watching a movie or working up a sweat on the yoga mat.
That’s where Helpling, the cleaner finding service, comes in!
Read on to hear Alex from Helpling and get £10 off your first clean!
We’re extremely excited to be partnering with Happity, not only because we think their service rocks, but – and more importantly – because we share and understand a fundamental issue:
We know how hard being a parent is and want to make the parenting journey easier by reducing the build up of stress that comes with the pressure of having to complete daily cleaning chores.
Helpling has already helped thousands of hard working parents in the UK and across Europe to ditch the chores and embrace more of the fun that comes with being a parent.
And we are giving you the chance to get £10 off your first clean! Sound good?
We’re the leading marketplace for cleaning services in the UK and the biggest in Europe. We also have operations in 9 countries globally. We’re not a cleaning agency or cleaning company. We’re an intermediary platform that matches customers with self-employed liability insured cleaners. We’re striving to simplify the process of finding trusted, reliable cleaners that work around you, your schedule and your budget.
Top fact: through our platform you can book a cleaner in only 60 seconds!
How does it work?
If you’ve never hired a cleaner before, you might wonder how does it work? What’s the actual process? We’ve made it super easy – in fact, you can do it all 3 steps either on our website or mobile app:
Enter your postcode
Choose your date and price range
Send your request
That’s really all it takes! Plus we have a dedicated customer support team available to you should you ever need any assistance!
I have been using Helpling UK for a couple of years now. Always found them very helpful when I have called or emailed their support team. They have been great in finding stand in cleaners when ours was on holiday.”
What does it cost?
Fair pricing is very important to us and as such, all of the cleaners on our platform set their own price. That means you, as a customer, decide how much you want to pay for your clean as you have different prices to choose from. During the booking process you can set your price per hour budget and we’ll find the best match for you. Importantly, we will only match you with cleaners that fit your desired price range.
Top Tips for the first time your cleaner comes
Ideally, write down a list of cleaning priorities for your cleaner (focusing on a specific room, for example). This will help them to tailor their work to you.
When the cleaner arrives, show them around your home, highlighting your priorities or fragile areas.
Make sure to also show the cleaner where to find the cleaning products to use – if you have any preferences or surfaces that need special care, discuss these with your assigned cleaner.
In general, we recommend you provide your cleaner with the following items:
Vacuum cleaner and a mop
Cleaning cloths x 4
I am very glad to have employed Daniele and Helpling UK. I was not looking for a cleaner at first but their promotional offer and reccomendations made me have a look and book a trial. Dedicated – reliable – polite and efficient. My flat looks like new! Thank you Daniele and Helpling UK.
Make your life easier today!
Now that you know how it works, and how good we are, why not make your life that little less stressful today and head over to Helpling to take advantage of our limited time £10 off your first clean!
In no time at all you’ll have your cleaner booked and you’ll be able to concentrate on more of the things that matter in life: enjoying being a parent!
We keep hearing that we should restrict technology/screen time for children to X hours/minutes a day but what should they do instead?
All you have done is made technology/screen time this highly craved experience that’s sought after daily, binged at every opportunity until taken from their grasp.
They become obsessed.
What if you could allow your child to have technology/screen time but choose themselves when they have had enough and pursue a more worthwhile, beneficial activity?
“The Self Motivated Kid” points towards offering alternatives to your child and allowing them to choose which activity to pursue without force.
Here is an example I was able to put into practice:
It was a rainy Saturday and both my children Anna (aged 5) and Harry (aged 3) were sitting on the couch playing on their tablets. While trying to communicate with them several times and receiving nothing back I decided to put the concept from “The Self Motivated Kid” into practice.
I took some sports equipment (cones, agility ladder and hurdles) and placed it on the floor in a structured fashion. I then started to jump over the hurdles, stepping through the ladder and weaving in and out of the cones.
Anna peered over the top of her tablet curiously asking “what are you doing?”, quickly followed by “can I have a turn?”
She immediately starting tackling the obstacles and asking how to navigate the course. Harry quickly followed suit and the tablets laid on the couch without a second thought (a good opportunity to charge them up)!
We spent two hours playing different games, having lots of fun and getting exercise at the same time, some real bonding time together. Not only that they soon got their imaginations into gear thinking up all types of elaborate, fun games to play. This normally consisted of them collecting cones until the music stopped and the crocodile (played by the parent/carer obviously) trying to eat them!
So now the children will ask for exercises, obstacles, games as well as their technology/tv time depending on how they are feeling!
Technology is here to stay and kids will need to master it, however opening up their minds to other alternatives and letting them choose when and how long to devote to each is probably the winning formula.
The “Self Motivated Kid” compares different parenting approaches mainly the tiger parent who has a very rigid/structured timetable for their children to a dolphin parent who allows a bit more choice/freedom for their children within their schedule.
We would definitely recommend reading this book for some top parenting tips!
Two apps, two female founders and one united mission – joining together to address maternal mental health
2nd September 2019 marks the start of pre and postnatal depression awareness week. It also marks the start of new beginnings for Happity!
Happity is merging with the hugely supportive community of MummyLinks app – and the founder Emily Tredget, is coming on board to join Sara Tateno officially as co-founder of Happity.
As mums, we’ve each experienced struggles with new parenthood – Emily suffered postnatal depression and anxiety, and Sara had a traumatic birth.
We both realised that getting out of the house day by day, forming new friendships and having ongoing support in our local communities, was critical in helping us get through that period. And we were each driven to find a way to make life less lonely for the new parents following us, supporting maternal mental health by doing so.
Sara created Happity to make it quick and easy to find local baby playgroups and classes. It aims to help parents escape from the house – whether booking in advance, or at the last minute. It was a problem she’d been so frustrated with, that she re-trained as a web developer to build the site. Read more about Sara’s story.
Emily created MummyLinks as a safe space for mums to meet. It allows approved mums to create local playdates and meet up in real life. She has campaigned tirelessly over the past 3 years to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues, appearing on national news and running the hugely successful #ShoutieSelfie social media campaign each year.Read more about Emily’s story.
Why are we merging?
Bringing MummyLinks and Happity together marks a momentous step in our two parallel journeys. We have a strong shared vision and mission. We share the same values and care passionately about the type of organisation we’re building.
As mums, we’re striving to create a truly flexible workplace that employs talented people. We operate ethically and put people first in a world where tech startups are often encouraged to pursue profit above all else.
Together we will enable you to meet other parents and build your local community through both playdates and playgroups – something that sadly didn’t exist when we became new mums ourselves.
What happens next?
For now, you’ll continue to have access to all the brilliant resources from both Happity and MummyLinks, but you can expect to see new content and updates to the Happity website shortly! We’ll be moving over a lot of the mental health support content from MummyLinks to here.
We’re also launching a new Happity mobile app, and over time incorporate all the great features of MummyLinks too.
We are so grateful to everyone who has supported each of us on our journey to date and hope you’ll continue to join us along this mission!
Here at Happity HQ we love to shout about great new products for little people! This week we’re shining a light on Becky who is the founder of Rumpuspuss – creators of unique personalised wooden jigsaws. After spending many hours making fun jigsaws from paper with her little one, she hit upon a great idea and as they say the rest is history!!
Rumpuspuss jigsaws are beautifully designed, laser cut and crafted from wood. The website allows you to preview your own personal jigsaw before purchase, with a different selection of illustrations for each child’s name.
** And you can WIN a Rumpuspuss jigsaw in our latest competition!Enter by Sunday 21st July. **
We caught up with Becky to find out how she got started and went from idea to launch.
Hi Becky! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Becky and I am the creator of Rumpuspuss. I make beautifully illustrated personalised jigsaws for children where their name features in both the illustration and the shape of the pieces, so it is integral to solving the puzzle. I live in Bristol with my husband, 2 children (6 & 4) and 3 cats. I’m originally a Lancashire lass, but have been in Bristol for 15 years.
Why did you start your business?
Rumpuspuss came about after I discovered that my eldest child, then aged 3, delighted in finding anything with his name on. He also loved jigsaws. After spending many hours of my maternity leave cutting his name out of paper from the recycling pile and making our own jigsaws, I had the beginnings of an idea.
I went back to the job that I had been in for 13 years, and realised that it was no longer for me. I was an epidemiologist, working in cancer research. My research had hit a brick wall, and I realised that I no longer had the love for the job that is needed. I desperately wanted to give “the jigsaw idea” a go, so I handed in my notice to see if I could make it into a business.
What is the best thing about having your own business?
The best thing is that it has provided an outlet for creativity. I have always had crafty projects on the go, I sew, knit and crochet, and love making things for the kids. I haven’t written anything that wasn’t sciencey since my A-levels (I did maths at uni) so I am really enjoying reawakening parts of me that I had forgotten I had. I love the flexibility too. World Book Day costume? No problem*. School event? I’m there. Sick child? I can collect them straight away. I have also met some brilliant people who I never would have crossed paths with otherwise. The small business community is fantastically supportive and interesting.
* My husband might dispute “no problem” after being forced to help me sew wolf ears onto headbands until nearly midnight the night before Halloween…
… and what are the biggest struggles?
The biggest struggle is also one of the best things – that everything comes back to me. All decisions, all responses, all of the things that I am no good at…. It is a steep learning curve, and I love it, but sometimes it would be so nice to delegate. After 13 years as a researcher, I can over-research anything as a form of procrastination. Not having anyone to answer to, and only self-imposed deadlines, means that I can disappear down a rabbit hole. I have to remind myself that good enough is good enough, and that usually there is no “right” decision – getting something done is more important than making no decision.
Finally, who is your Happity Hero – a baby or toddler class you always recommend?
When my eldest was little, baby groups were a saviour for me. I was so tired that leaving the house was a struggle, but having somewhere to go to where people were in the same boat was great. Sing and Sign was interesting as my son really picked up on it and used it to communicate with us. I really enjoyed Creation Station too – babies and paint, brilliantly messy. Once they were a bit older, they joined a local gymnastics class which has been fab for them. My eldest does aikido now. My youngest is too little but I suspect will want to join in as soon as she is old enough.
I make beautifully illustrated and beautifully made personalised puzzles for young children. Our jigsaws transport the child to a magical land where their own name – features in clever whimsy pieces – is integral to solving the puzzle. Each one is printed and cut, on demand, by me in Bristol.