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FAMILY LIFE

A warm welcome

W

ELCOME to the latest issue of the Examiner’s Family Life supplement.

Whether’s you’re a new parent with a young baby or whether you’re an experienced parent with several years practice under your belt, there’s sure to be something of interest for you. We take a look at the early days of bringing a new baby home, settling a child in at nursery and how to enjoy a family meal out together as well as healthy eating for children of all ages. We also meet the parents of twin boys James and Alexander who tell us about their unexpected arrival of `double trouble’ and how they coped in the early days. Take a look at their story and see how they’re progressing now, 16 months on.

■ FAMILY LIFE : Parenting is the hardest job in the world. No matter how old your children are, they still bring tears, tantrums, problems and dilemmas as well as lots of joy and happiness


EARLY DAYS

A new world of family life T

HE nine-month pregnancy is over, you’ve given birth and now the real fun begins!

■ BABY LOVE: Bringing baby home is a whole new experience

Arriving home with a new baby is certainly something you will always remember - for all the right reasons and for others like sleepless nights, you’ll want to forget. Your new bundle of joy is about to open up a whole new world to you one which you have probably only glossed over in romantic films. Glossy films and magazines don’t tell you about the lack of sleep or the dirty nappies. However much you adore your new arrival, you will find life much more difficult with a new born to look after. Accept help from family and friends and take a break when you need to.

Your health and welfare is just as important as everyone else’s. A new mum should always take advantage of the fact her partner will probably be taking time off from work to support his new family. Make use of this time to get some rest. Tip: Don’t visit a family with a new born baby during their first week home. Although you are keen to see the new arrival, give your congratulations and hand over a gift for the new arrival, you must remember that this is a stressful time for all the family and they need as much rest as they can get. Often the last thing they feel like doing is entertaining visitors. The new family will be delighted to see you when you do visit so just give them some breathing space to adjust to their new lifestyle.

■ EARLY DAYS: New bundle of joy

Making important decisions for your childcare

N

O sooner have you got your baby home from hospital, then the months will have flown by and you will be thinking about a nursery place for your child.

New mums who have already decided they will return to work after the birth of their baby might have to get a place sorted even earlier. There is nothing more comforting – and essential – for working parents to know than their toddlers are in safe hands. The peace of mind generated by the knowledge that a youngster is attending a well liked nursery or kindergarden is worth its weight in gold. More and more families with both parents in jobs has led to a vast increase in the level of nursery provision. Many parents will be familiar with a private nursery if they have children who have already travelled that route. But first-time parents being presented with a list of potential nurseries in the area have to do their homework. Which establishment is chosen, how can you determine which is the most suitable, and how convenient will the chosen place be . . . a multitude of questions will arise, all requiring detailed answers. The first thing to do is compile a list of potential nurseries that are

suitable from a location point of view, as well as price bracket. If you intend to take your child on the way to your workplace, then make sure that suitably located nurseries are on your list. Ask friends and colleagues if they have any knowledge or experience of particular nurseries. Then compile your own check-list to ask at the nursery, and do not hesitate to ask for a guided tour. The staff and principals at the nurseries will be more than happy to show you around. Ask about staffing levels, particularly the ratio of qualified teachers and nursery nurses. Look at the general decor and brightness of the place, and if there are indoor and outside play facilities. Importantly, ask about opening and closing times and whether other children attending state schools can be collected after they finish their normal school day. Today's nurseries are strictly controlled and registered by the local authority, all helping to generate that much needed peace of mind. Nurseries can provide the starting blocks for education - and making sure you are happy that your child is in good and safe hands is crucial. Thankfully there are many highly rated nursery facilities in and around the area to help give that all important peace of mind.

■ SAFE HANDS: Choose a nursery with a good reputation so you can be confident when dropping our your child

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HEALTHY EATING

■ HEALTHY EATING: Encourage the family to eat healthy food from a young age and you're more likely to succeed. Check what’s on the menu for school dinners and encourage children to choose healthy options

A family which eats together stays together

A

S a parent, one of your top concerns should be healthy eating.

Right from the early days, your priority is to get children into the habit of eating good, nutritious food so they develop a good routine for life. Another important job is to make sure the family eats together. Recent research has revealed that due to busy lives and the popularity of takeaways, more and more families are eating at different times and often make do with their food on a tray in front of the TV, rather than sitting at the table. Eating together at the dining table is not only about the food you are consuming, but also about family life and doing things together. It’s a time to catch up on the day and

find out what everyone’s been up to at school, college, work etc. Families who enjoy their evening meal together are more likely to chat to each other while they eat. Even if you can’t manage to eat together every day, why not designate as many days as possible to an evening meal shared at the table. Even when you baby is in his or her high chair, it’s important to get them to the table and encourage them to be part of this family event. It’s essential to get your child however young - into good eating habits. Why not take them with you to the local shop or farm shop and explain about the food you are buying? Fruit and vegetable is a number one priority along with top quality produce from a reliable source.

When your child reaches school age, this can bring new dilemmas. Do you encourage them to have school dinners or do you make a packed lunch? In recent years most schools have upped their game in the school dinners stakes and introduced new healthier options for the menu. Often there will be a salad bar and fruit choices on the menu. If you child takes a packed lunch, then you need to give this some careful thought. Don’t be one of those parents who sends their child off to school with a lunch box full of crisps and biscuits. At least give them a healthy sandwich and a piece of fruit. Alternatively you could send them with a tub of chopped fruit, containing various flavours and

textures. Remember you child is often under pressure from his or her peer group to eat dinner as quickly as possible so they can get out into the playgroup and have some fun. Do stress to him or her that lunch is important at school and check lunch boxes to make sure everything has been eaten. We often hear stories of children eating their chocolate biscuit and leaving everything else. One way to encourage your child to be interested in food and nutrition is to get them to help with food preparation. Once this becomes fun, then they are more likely to want to eat something they have helped create. If you have a youngster who doesn’t like vegetables, then think of imaginative ways to include them in their diet.

■ SCHOOL LUNCH: Decide on either a cooked school meal or healthy packed lunch

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No magic formula for dining out with children T

HERE’S no magic recipe when it comes to eating out with your children.

It’s just important to get them into good habits right from the start. All too often we go to restaurants and see badly behaved children who won’t sit still and insist on making themselves a nuisance. The key is to make each meal out a special treat - and make sure they understand they have to sit still and eat their meal, without disturbing the rest of the restaurant. Today many restaurants are child-friendly and welcome children with open arms. Often they have a special `family section’ for diners with children, or will have a soft play area for their young visitors to enjoy. Some provide entertainment for children, even magic tricks are known to have been included. There’s always a lot of pressure on parents, especially in public places, for their child to behave perfectly. Of course this does not always happen but be prepared and choose your dining out venue

carefully so that you feel relaxed with your child at your side. When it comes the menu, many popular pubs and restaurants offer special menus for their younger visitors.

■ SPAGHETTI: Always a popular choice with children Italian restaurants are always really good with younger visitors and often encourage them to try new dishes. Always popular with younger

EATING OUT

visitors is spaghetti bolognaise, simply for novely value. Children love to wind the pasta round their forks and suck up the spaghetti. It’s a real fun dish at any age. Just beware of establishments that offer a very limited menu for children. This can often reveal that they don’t really welcome youngsters at all and offer little choice. Look out too for restaurants where burgers and other processed foods are on the menu for youngsters. You really need to be looking for a much healthier option. Although a burger is OK occasionally as a treat, you don’t want children picking this every time you dine out. One of the best options for dining with youngsters is to go to a carvery where children have a smaller version of your roast, potatoes and vegetables. This gives them a `grown up’ meal as well as the nutritional value of vegetables. It could well be a way to introduce them to different vegetables as well.

■ FAMILY FRIENDLY: Choose a restaurant where’s there plenty to keep children interested and where they welcome youngsters with open arms

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IT’S AN EDUCATION

■ THE RIGHT CHOICE: There are many benefits to choosing an independent school and they welcome students from all walks of life. As well as achieving excellent exam results, they encourage all students to have a well rounded education in preparation for the world of work

Important educational choices to be made

B

child will fulfil their potential in the classroom. “However, we strongly believe that education is about much more than just examination success, which is why we go out of our way to provide our pupils with every possible opportunity to If you live in a village broaden their learning with a highly regarded and experiences outside school, you need to get the classroom, to help your child’s name down them become the fully as soon as possible. In rounded people who will recent years many properly be able to cope parents have found they with the challenges they cannot get their child will face once their into the school of choice school days are finally quite so easily. over.’’ If state education is not Most local independent for you, then take a look schools have regular at the wide choice of open days where you independent schools in can go and see the the local area, many of school in action. which cater for children Today schools also have from three to 18. ■ ENCOURAGE: Motivate your child from day comprehensive websites ● At Silcoates School, one to work hard and succeed in life where you can find all staff say: “When we talk about the school ethos about an all-round and the range of education with an academic edge, we are doing teaching it offers. more than just using a catchy slogan. The phrase It’s always worth looking at a few different schools underpins everything we are trying to achieve for before reaching a final decision. You need to be our pupils. sure which one is right for your child’s personality, “The academic edge comes through first class abilities and future. exam results and a firm commitment that each

EFORE you know it, your little darlings will be ready for school and the big wide world outside their childhood home.

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■ HANDS UP: A great education is the best possible start in life for all children

Silcoates School Independent Education for Boys & Girls aged 2 - 18

Saturday 11th May 10.00am - 12.00pm www.silcoates.org.uk Silcoates School, Wrenthorpe, Wakefield, WF2 0PD | T: 01924 291614

An all-round education with an academic edge


DOUBLE TROUBLE

■ BACK HOME: Mum and dad Rachel and Glen Lappage on their first day home with the twin boys

Ready for double trouble with these two cheeky boys

O

N December 30, 2011, a Skelmanthorpe couple’s world changed for ever with the arrival of identical twin boys.

Glen and Rachel Lappage became the proud parents of James and Alexander, weighing in at 5lbs 4ozs and 4lbs 14 ozs respectively. Now the two `cheeky boys’ are almost 16 months old and just about to start walking, Rachel, who works at the Daisy Chain Nursery in Kirkburton three days a week, said: “Apparently identical twin boys are quite rare and I had to be closely monitored throughout my pregnancy to make sure one of them wasn’t getting more nourishment than the other. I had a growth scan every two weeks. “They were delivered three weeks early and I ended up having an emergency caesarian section because one of them was getting distressed.’’

The birth marked the end of a relatively good pregnancy for Rachel who found she was expecting after her honeymoon. “Glen and I got married at Skelmanthorpe Church and then went on our honeymoon but I was really sick. I wasn’t very well at all and then found I was pregnant when we came back.’’ A scan soon revealed that Rachel was carrying twins. “Everything has had to change. We have had to get a bigger car but luckily, because they are both boys, they will be able to share a bedroom for a few years until they get older. They are very close and play together. “It’s amazing really. Because they are identical, their hair grows at exactly the same rate and their teeth come through at the same time. “We think they will start walking any day now. James and Alexander will both stand on their own and we are just waiting for them to set off now. “They are already into everything and are very cheeky.’’

The boys had an instant best friend when they arrived back home. The family Labrador Harley loves them to bits and puts up with all their antics. “We asked at the hospital about how the dog would react. Nurses told us to bring the boys into the lounge in their baby seats and let him have a good sniff at them. “He’s been brilliant with them. They sit on him and pull his ears but he loves it.’’ Glen, who works as a door engineer, and Rachel say they got into a routine with the twins straight away. Rachel said: “From the start we fed them together, changed them at the same time and put them to bed together. It seems to have worked as they have been quite good babies. We decided this was the best thing to do with twins, get into a proper routine.’’ Rachel also takes the boys with her to work. “I’m lucky, working at a nursery means the boys can come with me and I can pop in and see them any time.’’

■ DOG TIRED: The boys take a nap with their beloved family Labrador Harley (right). Now they are growing up, they are ready for the off on their trikes (below)

■ NEW BORN: The first ever photo of the newly arrived Lappage twins, James and his brother Alexander

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