It seems like almost every child has a device to play games.
Games have replaced physical toys and books as must-have Christmas and birthday presents.
But with so many scare stories about the effects of games on children’s development, especially those that contain violence, should you ban them in your household? What are the consequences of the digital entertainment take-over?
So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of games for kids, check out fun, educational alternatives to violent games and offers tips to help integrate game-playing into your kids’ lives in a sensible way.
Starting the year with a word to live by seemed a good idea last January.
And when I chose ‘acceptance’ I had no idea of the significance it was to have – as a short while after I wrote the original post, my husband announced our marriage was over.
Acceptance became a huge part of 2015, as I realised he’d started to move on months before he told me of his intentions to leave. There was nothing to fight for, no going back. A huge part of my life was finished.
Taking stock of the last 12 months, it was all about accepting… and learning to survive as a single parent.
I’ve looked back on 2015 with positivity, but there have been moments when the sadness swamped me. To tell the truth, it still does, as every so often a wave of “How the hell did I end up here?” hits me full in the face.
But I’m here. And putting one foot in front of the other is all I can do.
So what plans for 2016?
I lost my husband in 2015.
Sounds very careless of me, doesn’t it? Like I left him at the bus stop or something.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to belittle my marriage break-up. I guess I just use humour to cope with things.
But yes, when I look back at the year gone by, that’s probably the biggest event I’ll remember. That’s what 2015 has become in the milestones of my life. The year I ceased to be his other half and became “the ex”.
(And probably a lot of other, less-flattering descriptions which an impending divorce inevitably brings).
In the same way that old saying “Be careful what you wish for” tells us that an apparent blessing can be a curse, I’ve learned that what can appear to be a life-falling-apart disaster can bring with it so many gifts.
And it really is true that sometimes we don’t know what is best for us.
I’ve said a little this year about how life turned upside down, with a decision which was taken out of my hands, leaving very little option but to put one foot in front of the other.
As I journeyed through 2015, the landscape hasn’t been as bad as I feared.
Alongside the inevitable sadness, this past year has brought a lot to be thankful for.
And before I look forward to what 2016 might bring, it seems only fitting to send a big old thank you note to the last 12 months.
For the following gifts…
I’m not the mum who knocks up a delicious meal from scratch every night, filling the house with smells of freshly baked bread. I’m as far from a domestic goddess as you could possibly get.
But I will spend an entire day fashioning a dinosaur-shaped birthday cake for your party. Because I love you dearly and being your parent means stepping out of my comfort zone.
Last month Brodie turned 9. He’s getting to an age where he’s constantly looking ahead, to the next challenge, to a life full of possibilities. And the past? That’s for us oldies to focus on.
But when his birthday comes around, I can’t help but marvel at how far we’ve come. So when I read this lovely piece, it showed me how best to express my feelings for my eldest boy – who gets embarrassed when I call him my first baby – and the special memories he’s given me.
What five big lessons do you want to teach your kids, to take them through their lives?
It’s been hard to narrow it down to five. There are so many things I want my boys to learn, in order to become the men I so hope they will be.
But here’s my list:
I clearly remember the rose-tinted spectacles of optimism I wore when pregnant with my eldest boy.
Of course, I knew parenting would be nothing like the white-picket fence images of the TV commercials – where the mum is radiant in her pure white dress, smiling down at her cherubic infant who gurgles adorably as she changes his nappy (which no doubt smells of raindrops and roses).
But ignorance is bliss, and I still managed to kid myself that becoming a parent would somehow turn me into Mary Poppins, so filled with joy by the arrival of my little miracle that I’d laugh away his tears, wipe up his mess cheerfully, and brush off the sleep deprivation with a strong coffee and a smile.
But that’s because we rarely capture images of what parenting really looks like.