Welcome to NUKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guilt free guide to parenting! Here at NUK we know that guilt free is easier said than done. We understand the pressures faced by parents today and have even carried out a survey to help us understand it even better. This guide is designed to make mums and dads everywhere feel happier about the decisions they make when it comes to their families. Whether you like to work, have to work, decide to be a full time parent or do a little bit of everything; this guide is here to make you feel at peace with your decisions. So grab a cup of tea and aÂ biscuit (go on, one wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hurt) and read on...
A bit of background to the NUK Guilt Free survey… As a parent you will know that your world revolves around your children but sometimes that world can seem pressured as you continually try to do the ‘right’ thing for your family. Our survey explored the common guilt that parents feel and we found that a huge percentage of you feel regularly guilty in all elements of parenting from careers and childcare to ‘me time’ and buying toys. Families are at the heart of our culture in the UK and in 2012 the Office for National Statistics recorded 18.2 million families in the UK. However, the face of the family has changed and many would say there is no such thing as a ‘traditional’ family in today’s modern society. Netmums.com published a study in 2012 which revealed 35 different family types – a far cry from the traditional 2.4 set up. Just 60% of families have married parents and biological children, 20.5% of families are headed by unmarried parents, 10% by single parents and 6.1 % families are made up of a mix of biological and step children. 1 in 111 families are headed by gay, bisexual or transgender parents.
Whatever the make-up of your family, it is hard to negotiate a work/life balance – ‘what is that?!’ we hear you cry – as childcare costs continue to rise. A 2013 Daycare Trust and Family and Parenting Institute survey into childcare revealed that the average cost of childcare has risen by more than 6% between 2011 and 2012. The study reports that a place at Britain’s costliest nurseries cost 25% more than a place at a top public school. Even with employee childcare vouchers in place as a salary sacrifice scheme, pressures can force many parents back to work before they may want to return – particularly in the case of families on lower incomes who have already been hit by a 10% drop in support for childcare through the tax credit system.
Even with careful budgeting for everyday costs such as childcare, the odds are stacked against parents as children grow up and develop a real talent for what the media lovingly describes as ‘pester power.’ The weekly shop can turn into a chore for any of us with our children falling victim to enticing advertising for the latest toys, sweets and gadgets. The weekly shop suddenly becomes even more costly – in fact retailer
Littlewoods.com suggested that leaving the children at home can save up to £400 each year. But by saying no to these additional treats are you wracked with even more guilt? Like love, guilt is all around us and much of it is generated by other people such as other parents or family members. Some of you even cited health professionals such as health visitors and doctors as culprits.
Our philosophy at NUK is “Understanding Life” which is why we decided to explore the theme of guilt in childcare; why we all feel it and what we can do to alleviate it.
74% of mums feel like they need more support with childcare.
66% of mums feel guilty about wanting more “me-time”
61% of mums said that other people make them feel guilty about what they do or don’t do with their children.
69% of mums worry whether they have the right work/life balance, with 55% of mums feeling guilty about having a career.
34% of mums feel guilty that they can’t afford everything their children want.
some guilt statistics... We talked to 2000 mums across the UK and found that being too busy or too tired to give their children their full attention, not being able to afford everything their children want and returning to work are the top 3 guilt triggers – sounds familiar? Other issues which leave mums feeling bad include not going on more family days out, relying on the television to occupy children while they get the chores done and not having more patience. Not earning enough money, working long hours and wanting occasional “time out” also leaves parents feeling at fault. If you found yourself murmuring agreement to these issues and nodding your head in solidarity then here are some top tips from mums who feel just like you. We all have a lot on our plates trying be the best mum the world has ever seen but sometimes it’s important to stand back and focus on you and the little things you can do to make life run that little bit smoother.
wishing time would stand still? Doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t it seem like yesterday that you were bringing your newborn home from hospital for the very first time? How quickly time flies with little ones and how quickly we get sucked back into real life as those precious early years seem to pass us by. Nearly 40% of the mums we surveyed said they felt guilty about not giving their children enough attention and 69% of mums worry whether they have their work/life balance right. We know that sharing your life with your family is fulfilling and fun but if you have returned to work, or are planning to return to work it can feel a bit of a squeeze. Find out what your options are as an employee because from flexi-time, working from home for some of your week or part time working options, your company is obliged to listen to your requests. 56% of mums we surveyed said that they have reduced or are considering reducing their working hours to spend more time with their children so if this is an option it may help you feel more in control of your work/life balance.
le op pe le t lit h it w c ni a m y ll a re be n ca e if “ L ar ound, but seizing a few minutes in t he mor ning t o get dressed, do your hair and ke a m n ca up ke a m of t bi le t lit a even put ” f. el rs ou y n hi it w er tt be h uc m O S you feel
Danielle Parker – Blog By Baby http://www.blogbybaby.com
feeling the pinch! The older children get the more they cost! Insurer LV issued a study in early 2013 which reported that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 had rocketed to £222,458. The annual cost of a child as reported by LV is up by more than £4,000 since 2012 and unsurprisingly education and childcare are the largest costs for parents to swallow in 2013. Money was the cause of much guilt in our survey with just over a third of parents feeling guilty that they can’t afford everything their children want. Just over 20% also said they felt guilty that they couldn’t afford to go away on family holidays or spend more on new clothes/toys for their children. There’s no doubt that having children puts a strain on your finances even without the pester power but fear not as help is at hand! There is plenty of advice available online that will help you to both budget effectively and reduce your outgoings, particularly if you are surviving on one income and claiming maternity or child benefits. The Working Families website – (www.workingfamilies.org.uk) has heaps of support and advice along with calculators to help you balance earnings alongside childcare costs.
Over half (56%) of mums surveyed said they have reduced or are considering reducing their working hours to spend more time with their children, therefore bringing home a lower salary. However when it comes to days out with children there are many things that you can do without breaking the bank. Trips to parks, woodland areas, and cycle paths can be a great fun way to get children out in the fresh air without costing a penny.
Trips to parks can be a great fun way to get children out without costing a penny.
“Don’t feel guilt y about not having t he money t o buy ever yt hing your ch ild asks f or. It’s t he love and t ime spent wit h you t h at wil l build t he m emor ies t hey wil l cher ish; not w hat you bought t h em. Days out don’t need t o c ost much or anyt hing at al l , but it’s t hose fun t im es t hat are import ant.”
White Lily Green - Pondering thoughts of a busy mummy and a browbeaten daddy. http://whitelilygreen.blogspot.co.uk
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some time toget her as a couple. Get into a regu lar routine of ‘date nights’ so that you can focus on your relat ionship too and don’t feel guilt y about leaving the children with babysitters; it’s good for them to mix with grow n ups other than mum and dad all the time. You might even have a close friend who also has children with whom you can arrange a regu lar ‘child swap’ to give you both some much needed free time. There. Ever yone is happy. If financially viable try and build a bit of ‘you time’ into your week where you have a few hour s to your self to put your feet up with a magazine…but this doesn’t mean a few hour s clean ing the house whilst the children are out of your hair!
Sometimes it might feel as if we are breeding the next generation of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates with the obsession we share for smartphones, tablets, laptops and MP3 players. Used in the right way these technologies can be a great parenting tool but 31% of mums in our survey worry about using the TV to keep their children entertained while doing the chores. We’re all guilty of it and it’s generally a means to an end – just 10 minutes whilst I put the washing on or 5 minutes whilst I get dinner ready. Social networks are rife in children’s lives. ‘Screen Time’ is a buzz phrase which has become popular within the media and has been the subject of studies into child behaviour. Professor Rose Luckin from the University of London offers some helpful advice for managing screens with our children in her ‘Decoding Learning: The Proof, Promise and Potential of Digital Learning’ study. Her report states ‘what is clear is that no technology has an impact on learning in its own right; rather, its impact depends upon the way in which it is used.” She advocates ‘learning with others’ and using technology as a tool for learning. Technology is inevitable in our lives. As adults we rely heavily on it so as with everything – moderation is the key. Try to set some rules in your family for screen time and enjoy it as a family, there are going to be times when you feel the ‘iNanny’ is required but by making sure your children know the boundaries it can be used to stimulate learning and exploration.
to conclude... The truth is that we are all better parents when we have a bit of balance in our lives. Oscar Wilde is frequently quoted: ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation’ and we think never has a truer word been spoken. Children and families should enhance and enrich our lives not rule us and make us feel guilty. It is important to factor in time for yourself, time with your partner and time as a family into every week and this isn’t something to feel guilty about it’s simply mastering the balancing act! And as for financial restraints, Children’s key requirements are the same now as they always have been – they just want to be loved, supported and cared for and this love doesn’t cost a penny. We believe that parents should trust their instincts on what is right for their own, very individual, children and spend less time worrying and more time enjoying!
or k. w o t n r u t e r o t ou want y if y t il u g g n li w hen e e e f u r r o t f e r n o o s m a e e r b y t c ould no ’ n io t a “ I don’t see an r e d o m in hat t g l in e h e f t y u r o e y v ‘e if a d r n t famil y a a The o ld man g in is a r d n a il l be k w r o u o w y g n n e li h g t g k ju c a o of you b e it c omes t r o m it b le t t li ake a m e d iv n a g o e f t li s n o lp e e h spect iv r wor king e p in a g u o y lp h your he it w n a s c y a It . D it . r s o u f io r c happie ore pre m n e v e m e ns f or e la s p n e ly r e d v il lo h c e r k u a o m y ou t o y w t ime wit h lo l a d n a e im alit y t u q e m o c e b n e r d chil er.” h t e g o t e im t g spendin Jessica Kiddle – Two mummy bloggers on mastering the art of baby whispering http:// www.themummyyears.com
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Credits ONS – Families and Households (2012) Netmums.com - ‘How the Modern Family Looks Today’ (study 2012) The Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute’s Childcare Costs Survey 2013
University of London Professor Rose Luckin ‘Decoding Learning: The promise and potential of digital learning’ study www.ioe.ac.uk/staff/lklb_30
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