author Emilie Leeks,

"It's so hard as a parent. We work long hours with little support - whether that's all day at home, or heading into the office and then back again to continue with the work of parenting. There's too much to do (or we just want some alone time) so we go to bed late. And then 9 out of 10 times (if we're lucky!) our kids wake us multiple times in the night. Or if not that, then far earlier than we'd like. We're always on the back foot."

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author Emilie Leeks,

Sometimes as a parent it can be difficult to get our children to engage in activities that we think are important. At these times, it is always worth looking at the activity in question and having a good think about whether it's something we truly need to enforce - after all, our children are people too, and have their own interests and priorities and desires, and if we can cater for those if at all possible, we should be trying to do so. But most of us will have some activities that are very important to us. In these cases, it helps to have ideas to make the activity more palatable to our children - and connecting play is a wonderful way to do this.

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author Emilie Leeks,

What I'm talking about here is acceptance. Not the resigning-myself-to-my-fate, doom-and-gloom sort of acceptance, but instead a hopeful, forward-looking, getting unstuck sort of acceptance. If I can sit, in those supremely challenging moments, with the feelings that come up for me ('this is impossible' 'nothing will ever change' 'I've wrecked my kids' - whatever it might be), but not be simultaneously faced with the burden of having to change it right now, I can find a little peace.

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author Emilie Leeks,

Our youngest (2 1/2 years at the time of writing), is generally quite a cheerful, easy-going little boy, but he has never really liked having his teeth brushed - some days are easier than others, and if he is distracted you can sometimes get in and do it without him really noticing. But we really wanted to tackle the root of the problem - even though we didn't have a clue what that was!

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author Emilie Leeks,

"When days are tough it can be almost impossible to move on and get back to a more serene state of mind. I know this for sure, because I used to get terribly bogged down when small things didn't go as planned. On bad days, I was really not fun to have around. Actually, if I'm honest, I got bogged down with the small stuff even when I was having a good day - huffing and complaining about the tiniest of things, and probably trying to find someone to blame for them, even when it really made no difference whatsoever to the price of fish."

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