Category: Parenting

The Lowdown: Pooping During Childbirth

 

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The Lowdown: Pooping During Childbirth

One of my biggest fears heading into childbirth, was that I was going to poop myself.

EEW GROSSE how embarrassing. I definitely did NOT want that happening.

Two months after my relatively normal vaginal birth of Chloe, my husband informed me that I did indeed poop during childbirth. Him and the midwife quickly cleaned it up and moved it away without saying anything to me – and for that I am grateful.

I know better than I did back then but I’m here to tell you:

Pooping during childbirth is perfectly normal.

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In fact, you have NO control over what happens down there, so please don’t worry.

The same muscles that you use to have a bowel movement, are the same ones you use when you’re pushing.

Also, when you’re in labour you have EXTRA pressure on your colon and rectum from the weight of the baby moving through the birth canal.

So as I said, you have no control over it and there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

You might still be nervous, even though you know it’s normal; and be wondering “can I do anything to prevent this from happening?“.

NO. Not really .. your body may naturally try to “clear itself out” prior to labour. Often Mums experience a few bowel movements before going into labour; which will help reduce the amount of stuff in your colon.

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Don’t be embarrassed at the thought of this happening, like I’ve said a few times – it’s completely normal and there really is nothing you can do about it.

Doctors, midwives, obstetricians … they have all seen this a million times before.

If you’re absolutely petrified of it happening – ask your midwife, your partner, WHOEVER, to make sure you DON’T know it has happened at the time.

By the time I found out about my “incident” I didn’t even care.

Couldn’t be embarrassed because my husband clearly wasn’t haha

So please, from me to you: don’t be embarrassed; and don’t worry about it. There’s really no point!

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Private Or Public? IDGAF

 


Private Or Public? IDGAF

I recently saw Constance Hall’s post about how she said she was afraid about giving birth in a public hospital, and I saw that she received a lot of backlash about it.

Namely people were saying that they thought she was too good for public health and then those people raved about their own amazing public hospital birth experiences.

For starters, let me just say how incredibly unfair that is to Constance, or ANYONE who does things slightly different than the norm.

I did a big sigh before I wrote this because I get sick of this attitude. The type of attitude where people think others are better than them, or think “she thinks she’s better than us”.

That’s not true.

And if it is, who cares!?!?!

If I want to go and have a baby in a private hospital, that’s my business. It doesn’t make me better than you, it means I have a choice and it’s one I’ve made.

Did you know I had an Obstetrician rather than a midwife?

I made this decision after talking to my Mum, who had had a horrible experience with a midwife and refused to let me go with one; she also knew about my experience with anxiety.

She felt so let down by her midwife at the time, and most definitely didn’t want that happening to me; although she realised that could obviously happen with an OB. So she helped me pay for one. I also had Health Insurance for my pregnancy with Ronan.

I did, however, birth publicly at Middlemore in Auckland for both of my pregnancies and I loved it BOTH times.

This doesn’t make me BETTER than anyone, I simply made a choice to go with someone else.

Just because I have parents who are able to help me out, doesn’t mean I am better than you.

We all have different experiences in life, but it doesn’t make us better OR worse than anyone else.

It just makes us different.

I would never in a MILLION YEARS think I was better than anybody. If anything, I criticise myself and think I’m LESS than everyone, ya know?

I know there are lot of people out there who don’t have a choice; who don’t have the money or insurance to afford any kind of different care, but again … that doesn’t mean anyone is better than anyone else.

IT JUST MAKES US DIFFERENT.

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Nowhere On The Internet Is Safe For Our Kids


Nowhere On The Internet Is Safe For Our Kids

This afternoon I was approached by Seven Sharp and asked to be interviewed about a news piece to do with YouTube and kids.

You can watch the piece here:

They also followed it up with this video from me with some tips for parents about helping your kids when it comes to devices and what they’re watching:

I really want to let you know that nothing is safe on the internet. Not even YouTube Kids.

If you truly want to make sure your children aren’t exposed to any nasties on the internet, don’t let them have access; it’s that simple.

Although as a heavy internet user myself (and my husband is too), we made a decision early on to let our kids use it from time to time.

If you’re happy with your kids being on devices but are worried about what they’re watching, you can set up the settings on your device to lock out certain apps, or connect to the internet (depending on what you’re wanting them to do).

Stuff Fibre has a special program called “SafeZone” which works in behind your internet connection. You can set specific websites, apps and programs not to be allowed access when connected to the internet.

Every parent is different, but I like to make sure I am within earshot of my children when they’re on devices too. I can usually always hear what they’re watching and if they ever stumbled across something that didn’t sound right, I’d be right there to move them onto something else; or remove the device from them altogether.

Ultimately it’s up to you, the parent, to police this. It’s important you are aware that nowhere is safe on the internet, and you need to be the gatekeeper if you can.

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Stop Saying Fathers Can’t Get Post-Natal Depression – Because You’re Wrong

 


Stop Saying Fathers Can’t Get Post-Natal Depression 

I’ve seen it said more and more frequently online … “the Dad just needs to harden up“.

or “Dad’s can’t get Post-Natal Depression – only Mothers can“; or “it’s a women’s hormones that are out of wack, men can’t get it“; or even “it’s POST NATAL which means it’s only for women“.

For starters, you’re wrong. Men CAN get post-natal depression.

In fact, 1 in 10 men, who are Fathers, suffer from post-natal depression.

The definition of “post-natal” is “relating to or denoting the period after childbirth“. This does not mean woman OR man; simply a period in time.

Depression is sometimes triggered by emotional and stressful events – and having a baby can definitely be both of those. The increased pressures of fatherhood, more financial responsibility, changes in relationships and lifestyle, combined with a lack of sleep and an increased workload at home, may all affect a new dad’s mental wellbeing. Concern about their partner is another worry for new fathers.

You can read more about Fathers and Depression HERE on the pada.nz website.

Just because the man didn’t birth the child, does not mean becoming a parent is any less traumatic, or overwhelming.

The same stigma surrounding post-natal depression for women, is there for men. In some instances it’s worse for men because most people assume (incorrectly) that men can’t get PND.

My biggest piece of advice for ANY parent who is really struggling, is to talk about it. Talk to anyone you feel comfortable with, and if you feel you can take the step, definitely chat to your GP.

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COMMON SYMPTOMS IN FATHERS

Post-Natal depression symptoms in Fathers can be very similar to those experienced by Mums who experience depression:

  • Feeling very low, or despondent, that life is a long, grey tunnel, and that there is no hope. Feeling tired and very lethargic, or even quite numb. Not wanting to do anything or take an interest in the outside world.
  • Feeling a sense of inadequacy or unable to cope.
  • Feeling guilty about not coping, or about not loving their baby enough.
  • Being unusually irritable, which makes the guilt worse.
  • Wanting to cry/crying a lot or even constantly.
  • Having obsessive and irrational thoughts which can be very scary.
  • Loss of appetite, which may go with feeling hungry all the time, but being unable to eat.
  • Comfort eating.
  • Having difficulty sleeping: either not getting to sleep, waking early, or having vivid nightmares.
  • Being hostile or indifferent to their partner and/or baby.
  • Having panic attacks, which strike at any time, causing a rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms and feelings of sickness or faintness.
  • Having an overpowering anxiety, often about things that wouldn’t normally bother them, such as being alone in the house.
  • Having difficulty in concentrating or making decisions.
  • Experiencing physical symptoms, such as headaches.
  • Having obsessive fears about baby’s health or wellbeing, or about themselves and other members of the family.
  • Having disturbing thoughts about harming themselves or their baby.
  • Having thoughts about death.

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WHERE TO GET HELP

YOUR LOCAL GP
Talk to your local GP.  I found my local GP to be absolutely amazing and he asked me a specific list of questions which determined where I sat on the depression scale – this will be the same for a Father. We then discussed the different options of dealing with my PND, and what it meant for myself and my family. It was not a forgone conclusion that I would go on medication – that was ultimately my decision.

PLUNKET NURSE OR MIDWIFE
If you feel like you can chat to your Plunket Nurse or Midwife, then I suggest you do so. Often they are a wealth of knowledge and worth chatting to.

MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION
The Mental Health Foundation website is a great source of information for EVERYONE with concerns. They help to spread mental health awareness.

GREAT FATHERS
Great Fathers is a website with a huge amount of information for new Dads.

FATHER & CHILD
Father & Child is a great website with a huge amount of resources for Fathers.

PADA
The Perinatal Anxiety Depression Aotearoa organisation is a wonderful website full of information designed to eliminate the stigma surrounding depression and mental health.

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IF YOU NEED HELP OF ANY KIND:

  • Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354
  • Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757
  • Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
  • Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email [email protected]
  • 0800 WHATSUP children’s helpline – phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
  • Kidsline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.
  • Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
  • For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation’s free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).

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Why I’ve Banned The iPad During The Week

 


Why I’ve Banned The iPad During The Week

Our children are 5, and 3, and we allow them to use an iPad at the end of each day for about 30 minutes.

It’s been this way since they were 3.

As heavy users of technology ourselves, we are VERY aware of what is out there in the world. We made a conscious decision a while ago that we would allow our children access to devices but only for a short period each day, and under our supervision.

Of course, sometimes I might have a rough day, or I get sick; in which case the kids do end up on devices more than usual. But it doesn’t happen frequently.

What they watch is YouTube Kids; you know the stuff – unboxing surprise eggs, Ryan’s Toy Reviews, Peppa Pig, etc etc.

Just the fun stuff.

However lately, my 5 year old girl has been asking to play games. So we set her up with a Lego game.

It’s a very basic game in which she controls a character and they walk around performing small tasks, while “fighting” the baddies. It’s relatively harmless, but we started noticing a few things that we didn’t like.

For starters she became a bit obsessed with playing it, and when she couldn’t figure out what to do next, would get very upset.

She would also get extremely emotional when we asked her to go to bed, and to turn the device off. She would scream and cry; which isn’t usual for her.

In fact, I started to worry she was hooked on the game – her attitude was changing and I didn’t like seeing her obsess and get emotional about a device or game.

So my husband and I chatted about it and we decided that we wouldn’t allow any device use during the week. We don’t mind a little of it, but after seeing what was happening have decided to pull back.

In fact, when our kids are allowed to use it, they’ll only be allowed to watch YouTube: NO GAMES.

My 3 year old couldn’t care less, and surprisingly my 5 year old took the news very well.

Instead we’ve been playing board games and card games. We will save the device use for the weekend that’s for sure!

IDGAF what each family does with regards to device usage but I thought it was interesting to see her change before my eyes when playing a game.

I didn’t like it at all, and thought I’d share the experience with you guys.

Let me know below your thoughts, or if you’ve experienced something similar.

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Days When I Just Don’t Cope

 


Days When I Just Don’t Cope

GIVEAWAY BELOW

You know those days: when you wake up thinking “YASS TODAY IS GOING TO BE GREAT” and before you can even boil the kettle, there’s a child standing at the door saying “I’M AWAKE, ENTERTAIN ME”.

7am hasn’t even rolled around, yet you’re in the fetal position listening to the children scream “Mum Mum Mum” and you can see toys everywhere, and a bowl of cereal AND MILK is spilled on the floor.

Reality hits – 12 more hours until they go to bed.

THOSE DAYS. Where everything just gets too much and you can’t cope. Where normal things push me over the edge.

Where I feel like I’m one step away from being carted off and being committed.

Seriously – I feel like the crazy Mum on those days; I feel like my kids look at me and think “who is this woman?!”.

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The days when I just don’t cope, all resemblance of parenting goes out the window. It becomes a survival of the fittest challenge, and the goal is for me not to run out screaming.

I say to my kids “I’m just not coping well today guys, so can we please work together” – this just makes me feel like I am a little in control and that maybe they’ll help. They won’t.

The TV will go on, and devices are pulled out.

If I’m feeling adventurous, we might go for a walk or to a playground, but chances are I won’t. Sometimes it’s easier just to stay home and deal with it away from the public.

Nobody wants to see Maria have a mental breakdown.

All the toys come out and the lounge is a mess. No laundry gets done. The dishes pile up. I might weep a bit, I’ll probably yell a bit. All of the great coping mechanisms …

If I have to feed the children, then I stick to the easy stuff – fruit for a snack, and Maggi 2 Minute Noodles. With the saving grace being that at least the Maggi Noodles are wholegrain, RIGHT?!

Thank god my kids love noodles.

AND DO YOU KNOW HOW YOU PREPARE NOODLES?! By boiling them in water. FML that’s easy.

Then 530pm rolls around and my husband comes home – FLARE goes up and I throw up my hands, burst into tears and say “man I just haven’t coped today”.

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Then once the kids are in bed, I debrief with my husband and promise myself (and him) that tomorrow will be a better day.

I go to bed hoping it is because honestly, having two days in a row like that, is just terrible.

How do you get through those days when you don’t cope?

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This post was lovingly sponsored by Maggi – thanks for helping make a crappy day a little more bearable.

To help you get through those rough days, I have TWO $50 Prezzy Cards to give away! Opens at 7pm on Tuesday 31st October.

TO ENTER:

  1. COMMENT below on this blog post

EXTRA ENTRIES:

  1. Head back to Facebook and follow the instructions on the post that brought you here … like / comment / tag etc etc

Open to New Zealand residents only. Closes 14.11.17.

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Admitting You Have PND Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak – It Means You’re Strong

 


Admitting You Have PND Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak – It Means You’re Strong

There’s never a right or wrong time to talk about depression; in fact the more we talk about it, the less stigma there is about it.

Having Post Natal Depression does not mean you are weak.

Admitting you have Post Natal Depression does not mean you are weak.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

Admitting it is the first step, and is an incredibly brave thing to do. It basically means you’ve been struggling for so long you can no longer do it alone; and need help.

Whether you take medication or not, to start on the path to becoming yourself again, means you are an incredibly strong and brave Mother (or Father!) for looking after yourself.

Happy, healthy Mum/Dad = happy, healthy baby AND family.

Even though a lot of people will say that their baby or their children are everything to them, and that they should be the number 1 focus; I wholly believe the parents should actually be the number 1 focus.

You can’t parent properly if you don’t look after yourself.

You are a better parent when you look after yourself, and having PND takes a piece of you away.

In my instance, it turned me into someone that wasn’t me.

When I admitted to myself, my husband and my doctor, that something wasn’t right, I felt like I had truly taken a step in the right direction.

I took medication from when my daughter was six months old, right through my next pregnancy; and now 3 years on, I am still on it. In fact, I am sure I just have depression now as my youngest is 3 years old.

Taking medication, for me, was the best decision I ever made.

Whatever decision you make, just know that you are incredibly strong and brave for doing it. Whether you have support or not – talking to someone about your struggles is truly an amazing step.

Whatever anyone says to you about you being any less of a person for having a mental illness, believe me when I say you are more than they will ever be.

Because you have struggled and come out the other side. Admitting it is the first step to coming out that side, which means you’re a wonderful person.

WELL DONE TO YOU! You are braver than you know.

If you’d like to read more about my struggles with Depression, here are some posts I’ve written:

If you’re in Auckland, would love you to come along to the PADA High Tea Event in Auckland on the 11th November. Tickets are $50 and you will be treated to a High Tea and bubbles, and get to come and hang out with myself, Emily Writes, Jude Dobson and other amazing women who have struggled with depression. The event is held yearly to raise funds for the Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aoteroa Organisation.

Check out the event here.

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Here are some more links if you need to get help, of any kind in New Zealand: 

  • Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354
  • Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757
  • Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
  • Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email [email protected]
  • 0800 WHATSUP children’s helpline – phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
  • Kidsline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.
  • Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
  • For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation’s free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).

If you’re in Australia, here are the links for you:

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My Friends Help Me Be A Better Parent

 


My Friends Help Me Be A Better Parent

I don’t have a lot of super close friends. I never have, and never will – although funnily enough, having a large audience on social media does make me feel like my friendship circle has increased a lot.

However, even at school my close friends could be counted on my hand. As I grew older, and moved through different stages in my life, the people who I classed as close friends still existed but moved on to do other things in life.

So my friends changed too.

I have now got a couple of amazing friends, who over the last year, have helped me to be a better parent; and I don’t even think they realise they’re doing it.

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The last time I had friends like this, I was at High School. You know the ones – where you would chat every day on the phone for hours.

The way we chat has changed, but it’s effectively still the same thing.

While the kids are at school, we have a group chat that we talk in all day long. If we need some support of any kind, then the group “chat” becomes a video chat.

And this is where things really change.

Because we chat through video, we get an insight into each other’s lives; including how we parent our children.

I have seen my friends parent their children, and it’s actually a truly wonderful thing to be able to do.

Because it made me realise I actually am a normal mother; who parents pretty normally.

It’s so easy to get caught up in my own bubble where I criticise myself over every decision I make as a parent, and forget that others are out there doing the same thing.

When you get a glimpse of someone parenting – TRULY PARENTING – it really changes things.

We see parents at the supermarket, or out in public, and they’re parenting. But more often than not that isn’t REAL parenting. I mean, it is, but it’s more of a facade.

I know when I’m out in public I don’t parent the same way as if I was at home – mainly because I try to make it look like I’m a sane person and not a batsh*t crazy mum.

But when all of that facade crumbles away, and you’re suddenly with friends, in an environment where everyone feels comfortable; that’s when the magic happens.

That’s when you see what it’s like for them when they have screaming kids, or when their kids do something “naughty”.

Or you see what it’s like when their kids push them to the brink of insanity.

I have seen these moments with my friends, and by golly I feel so much less alone now after actually having seen it.

I wish all of us could get some insight into how other people parent, because it’s wonderfully encouraging to know that none of us are actually doing it wrong.

So the way my friends help me be a better parent, is by feeling relaxed enough to be themselves. I feel absolutely privileged to have them in my lives and to see that we are all the same: struggling with the day-to-day grind of parenthood.

Having the clarity of this really helps me relax more as a parent. And that’s good for everyone.

Nobody likes uptight Maria LOL.

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School Trips & The Emotional Child

 


School Trips & The Emotional Child

My 5 year old has always been an emotional child, which isn’t a bad thing; but can be very stressful at times (for us all).

Most days, when I’d drop her off at Kindergarten, she would cry and not want me to leave. After about 6 months she got used to the fact that I’d leave and would be ok; but every now-and-then would get quite upset.

However, when I helped out on Kindy trips she would take a step backwards.

She would become clingy and not interact with others, and she would wear her emotions on her sleeve.

Now I know this is normal, because children feel way more relaxed around their own parents, so that I understand. However, I feel bad because it actually hinders her social-ness (if that makes sense). Because she just wants to be with me, and doesn’t play with anyone else.

She also gets incredibly upset at the smallest of things – and if I wasn’t around, she wouldn’t get upset.

So I started backing away from these types of trips, because ultimately I feel she would have more fun if I wasn’t around.

Now that she’s moved on from Kindergarten to School, I am hesitant to put myself forward to help out because again I don’t want to be the reasons she doesn’t have fun.

Has anyone else experienced this? What happened / what did you do to handle it?

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Halloween In New Zealand

 


HALLOWEEN IN NEW ZEALAND

Halloween first made it’s appearance about 2,000 years ago in the United Kingdom, Ireland and other parts of Europe.

At the end of Summer, Celtics thought the barrier between our world and the world of ghosts and spirits got really thin. This meant weird creatures with strange powers could wander about on Earth.

They would have a big party in the hopes it would scare away the ghosts and spirits.

Then when the Irish immigrated to the United States during the 19th Century, they brought their Halloween festival with them; and it really took off.

During the 20th century it became more and more popular, with traditions like pumpkin carving and trick or treating becoming part of TV shows, books and movies.

Obviously there’s more to Halloween than what I’ve written, but I’ve given you the basics. I highly recommend you researching it more if you’re interested in it 🙂

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Now when it comes to New Zealand, it’s a relatively NEW thing. We don’t have pumpkin carvings, and trick or treating is taking off very slowly – but it is becoming a thing.

I remember my parents saying “Halloween is just an American thing, nothing to do with New Zealand”.

Reality is though, our society is heavily influenced by what America does; and with the invention of the internet, our children now have access to YouTube – where there are a lot of Halloween related videos.

My children already know that Halloween means you get to dress up and you might get lollies.

Each year, it becomes more and more intense – Shops used to stock only a couple of things for Halloween, and now there are AISLES full of costumes, decorations and lollies.

For a few years now, we have had people coming and trick or treating to our door, but we haven’t had any lollies, because I never know if people are going to actually come and I don’t want a million lollies left in the house.

So I’ve done some research, and used my own thoughts to create a couple of tips / things to think about when it comes to Halloween …

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1. TRICK OR TREATING
This is where a lot of parents have an issue – sending the kids out to people’s houses they don’t know, asking for lollies. Not everyone in New Zealand is up with the “trick or treating” thing, so it really does pay to tread carefully here.

You can pre-visit the neighbours house and ask if it’s ok to send your kids over on Halloween (no matter if they have lollies or not). Or you can risk it and all go trick-or-treating together.

Just remind your children that not everyone will have lollies at their house because not everyone is a fan of Halloween.

 

2. TRUNK OR TREAT
This is one idea that I’ve seen in small communities across America. Parents get together with their cars, in a public area, and the kids go from “trunk to trunk” trick-or-treating. This means everyone knows everyone, and it’s in a safe and secure environment.

You could even encourage your local school to get involved and make it a trick-or-treating event.

I personally much prefer this idea because then you know who is going to be there, you don’t have to worry about strangers or kids talking to strangers.

 

3. COSTUMES
You don’t HAVE to buy a costume, but if you want to there are always so many available at The Warehouse, Farmers, Kmart, local emporiums or bargain shops.

If money is an issue, just get your kids to create something at home using your own clothes! Dressing up is a lot of fun!

 

4. LOLLIES
The one thing about Halloween that kids tend to love is dressing up AND consuming loads of sugar. If dosing your child up on lollies isn’t your thing, there are many ways to get around it – I’ve got a “Healthy Halloween Snack” post here, but you can also search through Pinterest and check out the other amazing ideas people have had.

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Whatever your thoughts are on Halloween, it’s not going anywhere. In New Zealand it’s only going to get bigger and become more accepted.

Do you let your kids partake in Halloween?

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