Hello all, this week I have for you another amazing interview with Emma Grant who has written two great books which are ‘The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child’ and ‘The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting’. Emma has qualifications as a hypnotherapist, nutritional therapist, parent coach, registered childcare provider, author and mother.
Parenting can be challenging sometimes and we often worry if we are doing it right and if we are raising our children properly. We often ask for advice from other parents or read multiple books and this sometimes leads to confusion and we can feel helpless about it. ‘The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child’ helps us to understand the needs of our own unique children and as well to learn how to get our own time and explores new alternatives for parenting.
This book not only focus on how we can help our children but how we can have a better relationship with them and enjoy our time together as this is crucial to the development of our kids. One of the things I really like about the book is that it explains concepts using examples and different scenarios which definitely makes you feel more confident in trying some or all the advice. Emma also explain why parents need to have their own time and how important this is to be able to raise our child. This book is not condescending at all and is easy to navigate and I actually found that reading it made me feel more confident in the way I am raising my own children and I will definitely try some of the approaches that are suggested as it is definitely never too late to try something different as children grow and situations change. Another amazing thing about Emma’s book is that it is a very complete parenting guide as it covers all aspects of parenting with clear examples and this is really good as I remember many years ago looking for parenting books before I had my boys and ended up with so many books because they didn’t cover all the topics that I was looking for.
Emma’s parenting approach comes from years and years of experience and from meeting and working with many children. It is important to her that we understand the needs of our children and the best way is to have a good relationship with them and to be the best leaders for them. For new parents this guide would help them feel more confident in raising a new-born baby and for more experienced parents it will give us a new approach.
Knowing our children and guiding them through childhood is the key for a happy child and every child is unique so every parent faces a different situation.
The book has 11 chapters in which the topics cover from confidence of the parents to a happy child which at the end of the day our goal is to have a happy and confident child.
I hope you enjoy the interview underneath.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Hi my name is Emma Grant. I’m a Mum to two wonderful teenagers, Holly and Dylan, as well as being a Hypnotherapist, Nutritional Therapist and Parenting Coach/Counsellor. I’ve been a Registered Childminder for the past sixteen years with a level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management in Children’s Care, Learning, and Development. I work alongside my husband, living in Cardiff, Wales. I also write a weekly blog at www.happychildcare.club. And I’m the author of The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child and The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting.
What does your writing process look like?
A bit like scribbled notes in the bathroom at 3am, as I try not to wake my family up when an idea or insight pops up.
I didn’t really have a plan, process or even an outline to be honest. I wrote about my personal experiences and observations that I had with children, parents and teachers and as a mum, as they happened.
As you can imagine, I ended up with lots of different notebooks with no order to them. Then I spent about 7 years putting all those notes together, then another year to learn how to type them all up into a coherent book, which later developed into two books with chapters and headings. It was a real labour of love and learning but the inspiration, motivation and words within both books wrote themselves.
Were there any challenges that you faced while writing your books?
Time was my biggest challenge. As a busy Mum with two small children of my own, a childminding business that I worked in ten hours a day, an evening hypnotherapy business where I had to write scripts for adult clients, finding time for my book was difficult. I also wanted to make sure that the U URSELF Routine and the principles I was outlining, worked long term for different types of families, with different back grounds, over a reasonable period of time.
Another challenge was having no writing experience or knowledge of the publishing world but I’ve learnt so much since publishing both my books.
I was told by a big publisher that the parenting genre was a saturated market but what I heard from parents a lot was that, they didn’t like reading self- help parenting books as they found them condescending and critical.
I wanted my books to help not hinder and to be non-judgemental and unbiased as much as possible, without losing my personal perspective. This was important as through my work, I have been placed in the unique position of being able to see things from both a parent’s and child’s point of view. I was careful to include a lot of real anecdotes that I had experienced, to show that I too was just an ordinary Mum, who like every other mum was learning, not some authoritative figure who had learnt from a text book.
My main aim was to create an easy to read book, that was both practical, yet holistic in nature, that any parent could pick up and put down in their busy daily lives, for some guidance and support. One review on Amazon described it as ‘like a hug in a book’ which I feel captures exactly what I was trying to achieve when I wrote it. The full review can be found here.
What does U URSELF mean, where did the idea come from and how did you put it together?
The U URSELF routine focuses on prevention as opposed to intervention. In essence; proactive parenting. You can find out more about it here.
But simply put, being proactive is taking action in advance and pre-empting our children’s moves and emotions.
Again, the routine like the rest of the book kind of created itself.
From my knowledge and experience in childcare and as a Mum and therapist, I had compiled the most important aspects, I believed, a child needed in life.
My main premise being, it was the parent themselves who gave their children (or didn’t give depending on the circumstance) the things they needed and that a happy, healthy, successful parent was key to a happy, healthy and successful child.
That’s why U Time and Us Time come first in the (YOU YOURSELF) U URSELF Routine, which is the collection of 7 co- dependant routines, that combine into one solid tried and tested routine.
In order for you to remember the seven aspects of the routine, below is a useful mnemonic to help you, using the words ‘You Yourself’ abbreviated, and spelt U URSELF. These combined are what I refer to as the U URSELF routine.
- U = U time
- U = Us time
- R = Recreation
- S = Sleep
- E = Esteem
- L = Love
- F = Food
Individual in their own right, each topic is co-dependent on one another because it’s pointless addressing our children’s behavioural issues, if we aren’t addressing their sleep issues. Each aspect of our children’s lives impacts one another.
How can parents know that they are ready to start a routine?
It’s never too soon to introduce routine into our children’s lives, the younger they are the better. Starting healthy eating, sleeping and activity routines from birth is best, but not essential.
Starting now and starting as we mean to go on is the proactive parent’s motto for success!
Establishing routines early on integrates them as a normal and natural part of our children’s lives. Even if you haven’t given birth yet, preparations and decisions concerning routines can start now, the earlier the better.
Babies adapt quickly and are more accepting of routines than older children.
We can find it difficult to know what our children want, when, and why, especially if we are new to the world of parenting, but with a routine, we can work it out.
Would the U URSELF routine work for families with children with special needs?
I have found most, if not all children I know, prefer the safety of predictable routines in their lives. I have cared for children on the autistic spectrum who find routine particularly important in their lives, as they tend to learn best through regular patterns of behaviour and knowing what is expected of them, when and why? Routine is extremely important in helping them to make sense of what can be a very confusing and unpredictable world.
But on the other hand, I know children with ADHD, who hate any kind of mundane routine in their lives. They get bored and distracted easily.
Yet routine is still the best thing for children with ADHD and can help with positively influencing their behaviour.
Children with ADHD find it difficult to regulate themselves and wouldn’t choose to do things that disinterest them or that they find predictable and boring, such as their homework or going to bed at a reasonable, set time.
They can’t usually concentrate for very long and have trouble focusing, meaning they are more drawn to new and exciting experiences, making structure for them unnatural. It’s something they have to work to achieve in their lives but its valuable for them to create healthy habits young. Having routines to follow helps them to learn how to organize their time. This structure helps them to develop skills needed for later on in life, when they grow up and are required to work and cooperate with others and run their own lives.
For children with ADHD I recommend making the routine as fun and varied as possible. For example, the timing of their bedtime routine should be constant but their bedtime stories or rituals should be new and exciting to encourage them to want to follow their routines.
Children with ASD on the other hand, may like the same bedtime ritual and story over and over again, night after night, as they prefer the predictability and find comfort in knowing what comes next, which helps them to settle.
Every child (additional needs or not) is unique, so I think it’s finding what works best for your child and being consistent with the routines you set, yet, flexible in your approach. While understanding that your child may find something easier or more difficult than another child, but knowing that’s okay.
We don’t need to abolish the idea of routines because they are difficult to begin with, every new learning endeavour starts off as difficult. We know routines are beneficial for our children, we just have to be creative, courageous and consistent in how we implement them.
How important is consistency during the process of setting a routine and what would your advice be to parents that are considering setting a new routine for their child/children?
Having consistent rules and routines gives us, as well as our children, a sense of love, security, and most importantly, direction. When followed consistently on a daily basis, the U URSELF Routine helps us deduce a lot from our children’s behaviour. For example, if they’ve had enough sleep, we can rule out them being tired when they misbehave or get upset, but if we know that they’ve not had enough sleep, then we will be able to see where the problem lies and do something about it.
Keeping consistent is key, routines are then fair and make sense. And when they make sense to our children, they will usually follow them. There will be times when routines become disrupted but remaining consistent over all is what’s important. Along with taking things slowly and being patient. Introducing one routine at a time and building up to new routines when your child is comfortable with the last one you introduced, is best to begin with. Most, if not all children will get used to routines when they can digest them in their own time.
Big disclaimer here though, no routine should become more important than our children’s health or happiness. It may take our children a while to understand that routines are for their own good, so we just have to learn how to be patient and understanding to how they are feeling until they do.
What would you say to a parent that feel that they don’t have time for themselves?
I hear this so much, but routines are just as important for parents as they are for children. That’s why I included U time and Us time, to build bonds and boundaries for our children. They need to understand and appreciate how important U time is for their parents. This is something we have to teach them. They need to know that U Time is non-negotiable. When they receive adequate daily Us Time, they learn to appreciate U time as part of the daily routine too.
We all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. Most of us have work, relationships and problems to deal with daily, so making time to do something that doesn’t include those chores, is vital for our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well- being. If we can’t find time to care for ourselves, how will we ever have the energy to care for others?
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
Many parents openly admitted to me over the years that, they actually enjoyed going to work to have a break from their children. That surprised me initially and that’s what prompted me to write my second book-The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting (available now worldwide from all good book stockists such as, Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble in Paperback and Kindle editions).
They were all extremely loving parents so I knew it wasn’t their children they were avoiding, they were trying to escape conflict and telling their children off all the time. They wanted their children to be happy and they wanted space too. In addition to U Time and Us time, I wanted to help parents to really enjoy being with their children, so parenting could be the joyous time in their lives they had originally planned, before giving birth.
When we have small children, we feel so tired and overwhelmed with parenthood and all it entails, that we think it will last for ever.
We cry into our pillows;
‘Will I ever get a good night’s sleep again or be able to bath or use the toilet alone? (you know those little luxuries we all used to take for granted pre parenthood).
The reality is, it really does fly by. Before you know it, they are leaving home and you’re left with empty nest syndrome, missing those stressed out, sleep deprived days like crazy.
Understanding one another is the solution to every relationship problem. What probably most surprised me was that, we rarely take the time to understand ourselves and why we do what we do, and this causes us to misunderstand others. That’s what causes all the conflict in parenting, misunderstanding and miscommunication.
We often take our children’s undesirable behaviour as a personal attack on us, when often, its nothing to do with us, they are just being ‘childish’ and that’s normal but when it is to do with us, we just can’t see it!
And you can find my weekly blogs at www.happychildcare.club
I’d love to hear how you got on with The U URSELF Routine so please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please leave a review on Amazon to share your experiences with other parents. Thanks, Em x
Thank you so much Emma for this interview and for all the useful information that you so kindly share with all of us. Definitely her books will change the way you see parenting and will help all the parents to feel more confident on raising their child/ children. Emma is so approachable that if anyone has any questions she is more than happy to have a chat.
Her books are available in Waterstones and Barnes & Noble. They can also be found on Amazon using the following links.
The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a happy, healthy and successful child paperback and kindle edition.
The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting paperback and kindle edition.