How to get your child to eat breakfast before school

Preparing children for school is exhausting. The most challenging part is getting children to eat breakfast on time. I have African mothers scream to their children to finish their food to keep time at school and their workplaces.  Some use all sorts of tactics, but they do not work. Children at times leave their food on the table to catch up with the school van/bus. Breakfast gives children energy for the day, and that is why it is not okay to skip it.

Are you one of the million parents struggling to get children to eat breakfast before school?
Well, I share tips on how to get your child to eat breakfast before school.

Prepare their favourite meal: Children love eating their favourite snacks and food. Identify what your child likes eating most and serve it for breakfast.

Make sure children sleep early. Kids sleep late and wake up late. If a child wakes up in the last minutes of departure, they will be stressed to eat breakfast. Just like adults get stressed while doing things in a rush, so do children.  Always make sure children sleep early and wake up early. Serve them with breakfast and let them eat at their pace.

Eliminate distractions;  When you serve food for a child, take away all electronics such as phones and switch off the Television.

Eat Together; In most cases, children eat alone breakfast. Children enjoy the company and feel encouraged when eating along with other people. It doesn’t require you to have a big family, but you can grab a cup of coffee to encourage your child.

Make sure your child visits a washroom; When parents are rushing in the morning, they forget children need to empty the bowl. They focus on brushing teeth, food and running to school. Children need to take the morning procedures like bathing, brushing teeth, peeing and poohing before breakfast. This will help a child to eat without any discomfort.

How to cope with talkative children.

Photo by Katerina Holmes on

Dealing with talkative Children is challenging. They require more attention and are more inquisitive. Mothers in Uganda love quiet children because they think they are disciplined. It is a misconception, but in reality, being talkative doesn’t define a child’s discipline. Every child’s personality has advantages and disadvantages.

The pros of talkative children.

They are fearless and can easily communicate: Talkative children are bold and say what is on their minds.

They make friends quickly.

They amazingly move people’s hearts: If you sit next to a talkative child, you can never be bored. They draw and show, sing, and tell stories out of anything.

The cons of a talkative child

Talkative children lose focus on things they do. Their concentration is minimal as compared to quiet children.

Talkative children are curious and ask many questions. You may ask them to move a chair, and they ask you why?  At times, they ask very uncomfortable questions.

They rarely go quiet, even in public places,  because they don’t fear saying what is on their mind.

They require attention. If you have a talkative child at home,  you may not listen to other children besides her.

How to deal with a talkative child

Keep children busy with creative activities. I met a four-year-old child who would only keep quiet when it was time for cartoons. Think of activities and toys that will keep these children occupied. Blocks are good games too for children to express themselves and become creative.

Play games. Play games that require both of you to keep quiet.  A silent game will teach your child not to talk about everything but think about it and say it later. It will also help a child to concentrate. Hide and seek is the best game it sounds old, but it works.

Do not stop children from talking or comparing them to others.  It will make the children feel bad about themselves. It also reduces their self-esteem.

Help the talkative to interact with other children. Talkative children are social and love making new friends. Allow them to interact with other children, express themselves and make new friends.

Are you parenting a talkative child? Share with a comment how you are coping with them. 

How to balance motherhood and career.

Motherhood is a joyful, challenging and rewarding journey that takes sacrifice, commitment and tenderness. Motherhood has caused mothers to sacrifice their careers and lifestyles to become good parents. Some women in music, sports, business and other industries are affected career-wise after giving birth. Meanwhile, others tend to care more about their career than children. Do you find yourself failing to balance motherhood and career? Well, it is one of the challenges that mums face. Consider these ways as measures to balance motherhood and career.

Practice self-care; At times, mothers prefer staying alone in their bedrooms listening to themselves without the interference of children. These feelings happen because you are overworking yourself out. You are giving too much to your children and work yet forgetting yourself. Take good care of yourself to take care of others properly.
Sleep well, exercise and share your challenges with friends. Self-care will help you emotionally to deal with both children and work.

Value your time; In the tales of motherhood, time is everything. The time wasted will affect your child’s happiness and your business. Mums who have successfully balanced motherhood and career have planned themselves well. Let time for picking up your children be time for picking your children, and nothing should interfere.

Create family fun and activities to strengthen the family bond. No matter how busy your schedule is, create family time. The stronger your bond, the more you know your children.

Be present in the life’s of your children; Communicate to your children more often through a phone call when you are at work. After work, carry your children and ask them about their day. You can as well share about your day at work. Children feel more loved when their parents physically touch them.  
Get interested in your children’s activities and attend them whenever parents are needed. Honestly, put your phone down.

Make mum friends; Regardless of your social class or the amount of help you get at home, you need to make mum friends. Mums always help mums. Don’t be choosy. Oh, I am a career mum, and my friends have to be career mums too. No. You will need a stay at home mum friend to check on your child sometimes. To call when your home phone is not working. You need mum friends to share your motherhood journey with and to cry too.

In the end, motherhood should not be an obstacle to our dreams. All mums should achieve life dreams and career goals regardless of their profession. These achievements happen with proper balancing of motherhood and career.

She quit her job to stay home to take care of her children and teach them good morals.

A 38-year-old mother quit her job to sit at home and take good care of her children.
She never thought of giving up her job to become a stay at home mum, but the love for her children taught her to make life adjustments.
She was an accountant by profession with a job in a bank. Like any other working mum, she left her two kids with maids at three months and returned to work after giving birth.
 Most educated career women chasing their dreams leave their babies back home.

Her life was good until she noticed indecent behaviours in her children.
She spent less time with her children because of the tight schedule at work. I was not balancing motherhood with my career well. I gave more time and attention to my bank job than my children. Our son was aggressive, violent, very wild and could speak any word and anything she narrated.

However, I spent most weekends with the children, and their father, playing football together, swimming, going out for dinner to strengthen our family bond. That was also my chance to ask my children about their caretaker and how they feel about her.

One day, she was sitting in the living room when their son argued with a neighbour’s child. That little boy shamelessly called his friend a dog’s testicle, and when she asked him about it,  He said, ”that is what auntie calls me.”

I did not doubt it because my children’s behaviours worried me every day. Good enough my husband heard them too, she said.
 That moment broke her heart,  and she cried and blamed herself for being a bad mother.  
What is the purpose of a career when I am not performing my duties as a mother? She asked herself.

My husband proposed I  quit my job to take care of the children. I loved my career, but the love for my children made me accept his proposal. I put aside my job to teach my children morals and show them the right path.
The husband paid 80% of house needs because he had a good job. He also promised to give her a monthly salary that is half of her bank job and a housekeeper to help clean the house.

 I now spend more quality time with my children than before.  I learned what it means to stay with your baby when I gave birth to baby number three. For the first time, my child breastfed exclusively as compared to the first two children.
 I know my children’s personalities, likes and we bond more.

When her last born started school, her husband helped her open a business. My business is doing great. I drop and pick up children from school, do homework together and monitor them closely like a mother. I don’t regret quitting the job because I would not own my own business.
It gave me another opportunity to excel in life.

According to her observation and experience, stay at home mums raise morally upright children compared to those with a maid’s hand. She wished all parents were able, at least one of them would stay at home to raise children until they go to school. Life does not give us that opportunity because we all have to make ends meet. She argues working mums, try balancing jobs and motherhood by listening and monitoring their children.
”I am a happy mummy because I give my children what they deserve!”

How to improve children’s academic performance after years of school closure.

Schools in Uganda closed for two years to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Students, teachers and parents adopted the new way of learning online. Some children benefited from online learning, and others did not.

According to research, parents reported that young children in kindergarten did not benefit from online learning. Children in the lower primary did not observe discipline during classes. As much as the parents were present during the online lessons, they could not give professional advice to the children due to a lack of knowledge and experience in the new technology. 

Children in villages learnt through radios while others through their siblings and peers. Children taught by their siblings did not learn something new, making learning repetitive.

Although schools are now open in Uganda, teachers, parents, and children are sad, depressed and stressed. This state affects the children’s academic performance. There is a need for solutions to boost the children’s energy and academic performance.

  • Care for mental and psychosocial well being of both teachers and students. Following years of economic breakdown and isolation, psychosocial support should be a priority to ensure preparedness for teaching and learning. 
  • Help students deal with their feelings. Children faced many challenges such as rape, defilement and child abuse during the closure of schools. Listen to students and help them deal with their emotions. 
  • Provide individual counselling: It is time for all schools to hire a school counselor for children to seek advice and guidance whenever in need.
  • Strengthen communication between family and school. Whether your child is in boarding or day school, keep checking on them. Talk to your child more often and find out how they are doing in school, besides academics.
  • Parents should strengthen and establish a good parenting and child relationship. Get close to your child and grow a solid relationship.
  • Retrieve teacher’s professional stress: In some countries, teachers have joined hands to give each other financial and emotional support. Ugandan teachers can pick a leaf and take care of each other. Share stories about their life and families and do something fun.

Closing schools kept children from their vital activities of life like playing, socialization and interaction. However, online learning has played a part but not for all learners resulting in poor performance. Parents, teachers, schools and community leaders should give the children prerequisites to perform well.

Stay at home rules for children.

I often leave my children at home by themselves when I am going to the market or work. At times they stay alone at home after school. Children staying home on their own is something most parents do but not for all children. It depends on the age group, how comfortable and brave they are.  

Age 10 and above is the right age to start to leave children at home by themselves but not the whole day.  

It is good to set rules for children regardless of their age before leaving them alone at home. Have a look at some of these stay at home rules for children.

Do not open the door for strangers or anyone: The most important thing is the safety and security of your children. Children must not open the house or compound gate for people they do not know like hawkers, and anybody making any delivery. 

Choose a leader amongst your children: When you have more than one child at home, it is good to put one of them in charge. Allocate roles and responsibilities among them for the leader to enforce. Regardless of their age, always choose the leader.

Check on the children: Always call them and find out how they are doing. You can call on personal calls or home telephone after two to three hours. Always credit your children’s cell phones with enough airtime to communicate back in case of an emergency. 

Practice first aid. It is wise for the children to know first aid. In case of medical assistance, the children can help each other as they call the professional medical personals.

Always Keep children busy: Give children a variety of activities to keep them occupied to avoid loneliness and unnecessary disturbances. Play toys, games, paintings, drawings are the few activities that children can do by themselves. I do not recommend the internet without regulation for young children because of inappropriate content online. Cartoons on television are good and always put the T.V under parental control. 

How to work from home as you take care of children.

I understand it may sound strange to a few people in Uganda because working from home was not popular in the formal sector not until the outbreak of coronavirus. Most people mastered working at home is for the informal sector. 

However, with technological advancement, there are several businesses and jobs that people do at home. Bloggers, remote workers, crypto-traders, content writers, online marketers, small scale business owners like grocery shops and retail shops are the few mentioned home jobs that people do at their homes.

As a home working mum, I assure you that working at home is fun and convenient however it has a million interferences. When I had just started remote working, my children were overjoyed to see mummy at home. I barely got time to sit on the computer to accomplish tasks because they were around me all the time. Sometimes they would show up during the Skype meeting, and that was unprofessional. Therefore, to avoid unprofessionalism and performance decline, consider;

Planning yourself: Taking care of children involves cooking, cleaning, dropping and picking them up from school when you have school-going children. It is a job on its own. So, you have to plan yourself and do everything on time. Write down the work plan and to-do list. As a writer, I prefer writing very early in the morning when children are sleeping. I do the reading and researching in the evening when they are asleep too. Make sure food and snacks are ready for the kids to eat whenever they are hungry.

Share roles and responsibilities in the house: Accomplish house chores by seeking help from your husband, wife or older children. Working from home requires you to prioritize what is most important. To stay with a focused mind and energetic, you have to eliminate things that will exhaust you. 

Set rules:  To be on the safe side, you need to set up boundaries. Explain to children that you are working from home and do not want them involved in your business. Make sure you enforce the rules so that they learn. Working time is working time, and it means: I will shut the door, I expect no noise from you or visitors.

Occupy children with activities:  A variety of activities will help keep the children occupied for a long time. Make sure that children have enough toys, games when on their electronics or with the caretaker. More still, sporty activities can be of added value.

Working from home is a dream come true for some mums because they earn as they watch over their children and maids. However, it is tiresome in the long run. To achieve your expectations and goals, you need to be gentle with your children and yourself. 

 Stop beating yourself and start building yourself.

When we let past mistakes take control of our lives, we can never know what the future has for us. The ugly past ceases our thoughts, dreams leaving no open doors for progress and happiness. Let go of your past and start a new life with beautiful memories is the easiest thing to say but very hard to do.

It does not matter whether you are married or single, mother or father. We all punish ourselves at one point unknowingly. It affects our behaviour and our relationship with people around us. As a mother/father, dwelling in the past will affect your children. Parenting is not an easy job, it is an adventure that needs all of your efforts right from body, mind, emotions and knowledge. 

I understand the coronavirus pandemic has left parents in dismay due to lockdowns, collapsing businesses, joblessness and an increasing number of teenage pregnancies. The pandemic has left families with bitterness and war against themselves. At times we say words like:

What is wrong with me?

What was I thinking?

I wish I could go back in time.

It is not your fault that this is happening and, it is your fault that you are too hard on yourself. Stop beating yourself by overthinking. Seek help when you need it. Your bitterness will affect everyone around you. 

You can build yourself when you:

  • Quit self-criticism.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Start thinking of your mistakes as learning opportunities. 
  • Be patient with yourself.
  • Practice kindness by saying nice things to yourself. I am beautiful, strong and I will win. I do say this all the time I feel bad.
  • Surround yourself with positive energy.

And that is how you stop beating yourself up. 

The importance of reading books to children.

I started reading books to my child when she was six months old. I would read to her a bedtime story and any other time during the day. I was criticized a lot by other mums who thought it was a waste of time and money. My child is now four years old and has a lot of interest in reading books. Some parents in Africa still think that reading a child a book is a teacher’s responsibility, it’s something for the rich and white people. That is very wrong. Regardless of where you are, reading to your children should be part of your daily routine.

These are some of the reasons you should read books to children.

  • Books are educative. Through reading, children learn about personal hygiene, environment, history, life stories and many others. These all depend on the type of books that you choose to read to your child. Other books include comic books.
  • Develops the child’s intellectual capacity. Children who are read too are most likely to be intelligent because they have a variety of topics to explore. Books have a lot of information that teaches children beyond their daily environment. 
  • Strengthen family bond: Reading books to your children helps to bring children closer to the parents. The more you read, the more you learn and discover your children’s choices and personalities. 
  • Children develop a reading culture: when you read to your children, they grow up knowing the importance of reading. They become curious and good readers. Children in Uganda read for school exams and school work because they think that is worth reading. Early reading will help your child to develop a reading culture and read for leisure and out of curiosity.
  • Improves your children’s vocabulary: Through reading, children learn new words that help to improve their language especially in English. Your children will be at an advantage because they will have both good spoken and grammar. This will help children to do well academically. 
  • Develops a child’s listening capacity: children develop good listening skills and proper interpretation of messages when they are read too. When reading to a child, try to ask questions related to what you read. That is how you will learn that, however young they are, they are worth reading too.

In conclusion, reading books to children is very important to a growing child. There is no specific age for reading books, all ages need to listen to a sound of a reader. You can also read to your unborn child. Start reading to your children at an early age so it can be part of their daily leisure activities. 

Parents in Uganda are blaming the government for the increasing number of teenage pregnancies.

Uganda has an escalating number of teenage pregnancies in all regions of the country. It is two years since the closure of schools in the country to reduce the spread of Covid 19. The covid 19 pandemic has also affected livelihoods, jobs, and businesses. 

According to the minister of education, the increasing teenage pregnancy is due to bad parenting. 

Do you think teenage pregnancy is due to bad parenting?

Well, there are many causes of teenage and bad parenting is one of them.  

According to the minister of education, the increasing teenage pregnancy is due to bad parenting. 

Do you think teenage pregnancy is due to bad parenting?

Well, there are many causes of teenage and poor parenting is one of them.

Are parents taking the initiative to talk to their children about sex? Are you listening to your teenage child? Are you watching the kind of friends that she has? Failure to discuss these important topics with your teenage girl is a sign of bad parenting. Let your teenage girl be knowledgeable about sex and tricks men use to advantage of her.

“I hate blaming poverty for every bad thing that happens to us however, covid-19 has emptied the pockets of parents. Two lockdowns have broken people’s business, jobs leaving them with little to eat.” Says children’s advocate. Poor people have nothing to feed their children, provide with girls needs like sanitary towels and soap. That is how men are taking advantage of girls by offering them small gifts and money.

Schools play a significate role in reducing teenage pregnancy. Children spend most of their time at school occupied with school work with no gap for relationships. Schools have initiatives that empower girl children and keep them in school. Educative clubs like straight-talk, give girls and boys education and training about delaying sex. These clubs keep both girls and boys informed on the dangers of early sex hence prevent early pregnancy. 

However, with the closure of schools due to covid 19, none of these activities is going on. Teenage girls from rural areas are left home to do domestic work while a few from urban areas study online. That is why parents strongly believe the government is to be blamed for the increasing number of teenage pregnancies. 

Here are some of the things that parents can do to prevent teenage pregnancy during the covid 19 pandemic. 

  • Parents should develop a strong connection with their children to know what is going on in their lives to correct their mistakes quickly. 
  • Do not fear to speak to your child about sex.
  • Start mum’s help groups and talk to your children once in a while. It takes a village to raise a child, be the village.
  • Give children the necessary basic needs for girls like sanitary towels and soap. 

In conclusion, Teenage pregnancy does not only affect the parents but the nation at large. It affects their education and growing children. There will be a vicious cycle of poverty in the country if unsolved. Parents, government and civil society organizations need to join efforts to prevent the escalating number of teenage pregnancies in Uganda.