Happy New Year from all of us here at Families! We wish you the very best for the months ahead.
It’s hard for everyone to keep New Year’s resolutions – especially children. Download our free colour-in Reward Chart which may help to keep your children engaged.
Whilst everyone feels like hibernating in winter, getting outside is good for us so, to motivate you, we’ve got some ideas for seasonal family activities as well as some projects which will help welcome more wildlife to your garden. And, once you’re back indoors? We have some great ideas for making family nights in special.
Finally, in this issue, we have Britannica Magazine subscriptions and other goodies to giveaway! Apply inside the magazine. By doing so, you’ll also ensure you receive our digital magazine with lots more content and goodies on offer.
“Laughs all round are guaranteed. It really is a lot of fun” Seeing Dance
Clubs, Classes & Activities
Learn catching, passing & kicking skills. Ages 2-7. Tel: 07842 831450.
15% DISCOUNT CODE: FAMILIES
BilinguaSing Song-filled Spanish & French for little ones! Email bilinguasing.com Tel: 07539 863024
Football Funatics Fun football coaching for children aged 4-13. Tel: 07931 455093 Email
Fun-packed, highenergy classes in singing, acting and dance. Ages 6-18.
Gra Na Rince
Kids’ Irish dancing classes in Selly Oak and Redditch. Contact Louise 07790 876345 Email
Imaginative play classes for children filled with songs and drama. Email. Tel: 07776 837908
Solihull Young Dancers
Ballet and Tap Lessons. Classes from age 2½. Tel: Kate 07722 732678
The Chocolate Shed Chocolate making parties and workshops for chocoholics of all ages. Email
S4 Swim School holiday courses designed to boost your child’s swimming development.
Top children’s book picks for 2023
Plan some great reading for your child with our children’s book suggestions, all just published or due to be published this year.
Funky novelty board book featuring spinning record turntables! Ages 1+.
Ten Little Bugs Part traditional counting rhyme, part fun-filled story - perfect for sharing. Ages 3-5.
Beautiful follow-up to Grandad’s Camper, filled with heart and purpose. Ages 3-6.
The Library Fish Learns to Read
Charming picture book about the unusually literary fish. Ages 4-8.
Weird but true! 2023
National Geographic annual loaded with brain bending facts and photos. Ages 7-10.
A Dragon Realm Adventure
Special World Book Day story (£1) in the actionpacked series. Ages 8+.
Dave Pigeon Bookshop Mayhem
Special World Book Day story (£1) - a funny, joyful romp. Ages 6+.
Valentine Crow & Mr Death
Distinctive, warm and funny. From highlyacclaimed Jenni Spangler. Ages 9+.
Yetis are the Worst!
Gilbert the Goblin’s new adventure – finding the legendary yeti. Ages 4-8.
Tackling toddler tantrumsBy Sarah Ockwell-Smith
The ‘terrible twos’ aren’t called that for nothing! This stage of a child’s life is all about big feelings. Scientifically, it relates to the undeveloped prefrontal brain cortex meaning a child is unable to regulate their own emotions.
What is a tantrum?
Tantrums describe the state of an individual who is out of control, full of big emotions and stress hormones and unable to calm themselves down. Tantrums can happen right into adulthood but adults learn to self-soothe.
Toddlers don’t possess these skills yet. They are not being naughty or manipulative, they are simply being toddlers. Tantrums are a normal and exceedingly common feature of child development. Research has found that nearly nine in ten children between 18 months and 2 years regularly have tantrums, with most having at least one a day, lasting on average between thirty and sixty seconds (although it is not uncommon for them to occur far more frequently and last for much longer).
‘No’ to the naughty step
Contrary to popular belief, ignoring, shaming or punishing tantrums can make a toddler’s behaviour much worse. These approaches ignore a child’s difficult underlying feelings and don’t resolve the cause
or help the toddler regulate their behaviour. Experts have discovered just how much infant brains are affected by the level of parental care they receive. With nurturing attention, the part of their brains responsible for regulating emotion become better connected as they grow.
Dangerous things (you should let your child do)
Let them experience ‘age-appropriate risk’ under adult supervision AT ALL TIMES. Research shows that it’s essential for a balanced childhood.
Use power tools
The use of a power tool is an important life skill that is good to learn early.
Spend an hour blindfolded
Challenge your child to live blindfolded – it’s fun and builds empathy.
Play with fire
It’s best children learn about fire safely with you.
Children can’t resist throwing - and it can be managed safely.
Use a pocketknife
A life skill that develops with experience, whittling is a fun introduction.
Climb a tree
Another irresistible urge for children - fun and beneficial when done safely.
up a bottle of coke
A classic science experiment which is spectacular - but messy!
This ancient British game can be safely played if done correctly.
Use a bow and arrow
Though potentially hazardous, it’s great for developing situational awareness.
Family meals made easier
What is batch cooking?
Cooking multiple meals at one time and then storing for later use.
Food is cooked in a ‘batch’, then stored in airtight containers. Meals are stored in portions for ease.
Batch cooking often involves doubling, tripling or quadrupling ingredients.
What you need
Benefits of batch cooking
Saves money - buying food in bulk is cheaper. Saves time – you don’t need to cook every evening.
You are cooking when you want to and not when you have to.
It’s healthier as you always have a tasty nutritious meal on hand.
Best batch cooking recipes
Very easy lasagne
New online children’s physio directory
Parents wanting to locate a local children’s physiotherapist can now use an online directory launched by Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists.
The majority of children’s physiotherapists work in the NHS. Your GP can advise about local services and make a referral, if appropriate. However, some parents choose to seek advice and treatment from an independent or private physiotherapist either instead of, or to supplement, NHS care. Many children need support from a physiotherapist at some time during their childhood. This may be sought for advice and treatment relating to posture and movement or for acute injuries.
Qualified children’s physiotherapists are regulated, have additional expertise in child development and childhood conditions and the right skill base and knowledge to deliver the best care for babies and children.
Managing children’s anxiety
Be fully present
Phone alerts and notifications are constantly distracting and family members often have to compete. Being fully present with the activity or conversation we’re having with our children - without distraction - demonstrates that we value ‘real’ time together and are fully available.
Avoid fuelling anxiety
Limit screen time
Research shows that too much screen time can lead to mental health issues in children, whilst lost time interacting with family/ peers can impact their social development. Monitor screen time, ensure content is ageappropriate, communicate about inappropriate images and model healthy device habits.
Spend time in nature
Children absorb emotions like sponges and overhearing the news or emotionally-charged adult conversation can fuel their anxiety. If your child is worrying about the future, use mindfulness to bring them back to the present moment—’right here, right now, with you, all is well.’ Tell them that you love them no matter what.
Nature-deficit disorder (NDD) can contribute to higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses. But the good news is, it can easily be reversed. Spending time in nature is easier than we think: village greens, parks, commons and nature reserves abound in the UK and they provide the perfect setting for free family activities.
Managing children’s anxiety
Claire at Bridgemaker Mindfulness shares her top tips.
Reading is relaxing, distracting and a good alternative to screen time. A 2009 University of Sussex study found that reading can reduce stress by up to sixty eight percent. Just six minutes of relaxing into a good book can lower blood pressure and muscle tension.
Can’t fall asleep?
Children are more likely to express their feelings when they sense we are fully available. Sitting somewhere that they have to pass by when they return from being elsewhere and gently inviting them to join us can be a good start. Listen intently without moving into ‘fix-it mode.’
Enrol on a course
Creating a comforting, wind down routine can help (reading a book together, listening to soothing music). Try placing hands on the belly, breathing easily and focusing on the breath, following the gentle movement of the belly that rises and falls. For the busy mind, try counting the breath to ten (in – 1, out – 2 etc) over and over.
Mindfulness apps/recorded meditations can help adults and children to relax and unwind but nothing compares with attending a course with a qualified mindfulness teacher which teaches key mindfulness skills. However, if, despite your best intentions and care, your child’s behaviour or anxiety level becomes worrying, do seek medical advice from a GP.
Celebrating the Lunar New YearBy @girlaboutbirmingham
Lunar New Year festivities are returning to the Birmingham area this January. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.
How can we celebrate it?
There are many ways to get children involved:
• making and putting up decorations in your home;
• giving small gifts of tea, fruit or sweets to friends and family;
• watching traditional lion or dragon dances.
The main weekend of celebrations will be 20–22 January in Birmingham City Centre.
The popular Lunar New Year Festival show will be on Sunday 22 January in the Arcadian Centre from midday.
See the incredible CLF Lion Dance Team in the Bullring and Grand
Central on Saturday 21 January where a huge celebration is planned in association with Birmingham Hippodrome. Keep an eye on their Instagram pages for full details.
At 3pm the lion will dance its way along the Great Western Arcade blessing each shop with good luck and prosperity!
Feast your eyes on Chinatown
Here are my top options for a family feast:
Chung Ying on the edge of Chinatown.
Ming Moon Birmingham a buffet style restaurant again found in the heart of the action.
Café Soya is a buzzing little venue amongst people in the know!
Minmin Noodle Bar, Aston on arrival you will be greeted by the impressive archway that announces this little piece of China READ MY FULL ARTICLE
What’s On Out & About
All events are subject to change so check online before visiting. Pre-booking often necessary.
Ackers Adventure, Birmingham Open daily Activities include archery, climbing, orienteering, zip wire and more.
Adventure Mini Golf, Star City Open daily
Two family-friendly brilliantly themed 18-hole ‘crazy’ golf courses.
Baddesley Clinton, Solihull Open daily Explore the great outdoors at Baddesley, creating memories to last a lifetime.
Barber Institute of Fine Art, Birmingham Open Tues-Sun See Barber’s collection through different themes with fun familyfriendly activities.
Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park Open daily Home to a unique collection of animals from across the world.
Burntwood Alpaca & Animal Experience
Open term-time Thurs–Sun, daily school holidays VIP animal experiences, handle and feed some furry friends.
Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Open most of the year: Weds–Sun A place to connect with nature on a family adventure.
Coventry Transport Museum Open daily Get involved in the family programme around Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
Drayton Manor Zoo, nr Tamworth Open Thur-Mon 500 animals from around the world to see including endangered species.
Dudley Zoo and Castle Open daily Hundreds of exotic animals and 11th century castle ruins.
Hatton Adventure World, Warwick 18-26 Feb Stay warm and dry with Hatton’s half term indoor activities.
Hole Farm Trekking Centre, Birmingham Booking required Hacks, riding lessons and pony mornings in the school holidays. Packwood House NT, Solihull Open daily The perfect place for a family day out.
Rush UK, Stirchley Open daily Trampoline park with over 35,000 sq ft of activities for all ages.
Sandwell Museum Service Opening hours on website
A range of sites across Sandwell mostly free to visit. Activities on offer.
Sealife Centre, Birmingham Open daily Visit the Aquarium Zones and see the
many marvellous creatures.
Selly Manor Museum, Bournville Open Tues-Fri Learn the fascinating history of Selly Manor. Family activities. Shakespeare Express Sun 12 Feb Relive the romance of the steam train era with a Valentines trip.
Tamworth Castle Open Tues–Sun (from 1st Feb) History brought to life with activities for the family.
ThinkTank, Birmingham Science Museum Open Weds–Sun Award-winning science museum for fun, interactive learning.
West Midlands Safari Park, Bewdley See website for opening hours Safari drivethrough adventure theme park and discovery trail.
What’s On Entertainment
All events are subject to change so check online before visiting. Pre-booking often necessary.
Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 21–22 Jan Jurassic Live Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre 3-4 Feb
Birmingham Repertory Theatre 23-25 Feb Tortoise and the Hare
The Core Theatre, Solihull Sat 11 Feb, Vinland, Fri 24 Feb, Pinocchio Sat 25 Feb, The Railway Children (film)
Crescent Theatre, Birmingham 13–15 Jan Cinderella
The Dovehouse Theatre, Solihull 20–22 Jan Cinderella
Lichfield Garrick Theatre Tue 21 Feb Fireman Sam Live! Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham Sun 19 Feb, Old Skool Family Disco, Tues 21 Feb The Bubble Show Sat 25 Feb, WiFi Wars
Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham 1–3 March Birmingham Savoyards present The Pirates of Penzance
Resorts World Arena, Birmingham 11-12 Feb Birmingham International Tattoo 2023.
Sutton Coldfield Town Hall 8–11 Feb Beauty and the Beast Swan Theatre, Worcester Tue 31 Jan The Smartest Giant In Town
Symphony Hall: Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space, Birmingham 18 Feb & 4 Mar Family Jam
Town Hall, Birmingham 10-12 Apr Hey Duggee Live
Utilita Arena, Birmingham 20–22 Jan Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre 22–26 Feb Mother Goose