Grandad and Baby

10 Ways to Support Grandparents’ Relationships with Grandchildren

Grandad and BabyEveryone who is a parent can benefit from family support. Grandparents can be a wonderful source of strength and knowledge, especially to a mum or dad parenting on their own. It’s not always possible for a parent and their child to have a Grandparent in their lives for a variety of reasons, but when it is, this is a relationship to be nurtured as it can be of great influence on a child. As part of our weekly series of parenting tips, here are our suggestions on how to support Grandparents to have the best relationship they can with their grandchildren.

  1. Invite Grandparents into your child’s life. They have a lot to offer, things you may not be able to imagine. Children like to know who they are and where they come from. Grandparents can offer a lot of history to children and support them to understand their identity.
  2. Be open to exploring how the Grandparents of your child’s other parent can be part of your child’s life. Many Grandparents seek court ordered contact now around this. Others don’t know what to do when couples separate. Explore this with them. Children have a right to contact with family unless it presents any danger to them.
  3. Support Grandparents to be just that – Grandparents!  Don’t expect them to take on too much. They have been parents in the past and now they have other challenges and avenues to explore.
  4. Allow Grandparents some freedom with treats; this is what Grandparents do!
  5. Acknowledge what Grandparents do for you and your child. Don’t take it for granted. They are not duty bound to support you to parent. Appreciate whatever they do.
  6. Do not talk badly about Grandparents in front of children, even if you’ve had or have your own relationship difficulties. They are doing their best. Children will respect others in the way you model for them.
  7. Talk with grandparents about issues you may have with them. Agree how they can support you to manage your child’s behaviour in a that way everyone is happy, especially the child.
  8. Encourage a good relationship with Grandparents. Support them to enjoy being with the children, maybe one at a time to build up relationships.
  9. Try to acknowledge that just because you ask for support you may not get it, or perhaps not in the form you had hoped. Have other support systems in place and don’t expect too much from one source.
  10. Be confident in your own parenting so you can hear the many words of wisdom Grandparents may wish to offer you. Remember that although you are the authority on your own parenting, to thank Grandparents for their thoughts, to consider their suggestions, and to make your own choices as a parent.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming soon: 10 Ways to Encourage Toddlers to Eat; 10 Ways to Answer the ‘Where do I come from’ Question; and 10 Ways to Make the Most of Halloween.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email Find out more about our parenting skills programmes here.


Image Credit: Pixabay

Dad and children walking on beach

10 Ways to Develop Coping Skills in Your Family

Problems are a normal part of life. Many families face situations in life that, despite our best efforts, we simply can’t ‘fix’.  Often there are other options we can explore and developing coping skills helps us to identify what these could be. Good coping skills also help us to learn to accept those situations that are beyond our control so we can feel better and progress, even if the problem still exists. Developing coping skills in our families makes us more resilient. Children learn from what they see and enabling them to develop these skills and resources will help them in countless ways as they progress through life.

This week in our ’10 Ways to’ series we look at ways to develop coping skills within your family. Many of these suggestions are expanded upon in other ’10 Ways to’ articles which you can access by clicking on the links within the points below.

1. Do things together – eat, play, socialise – spend quality time together as much as possible to help strengthen your family’s bonds and relationships.

2. Talk and listen to each other; value the time you spend together.

3. Choose how to use your time. Prioritise what is most important, don’t stress if the little things don’t get done.

4. Show appreciation for each other. Demonstrate it with your words and actions.

5. Take care of your physical and mental needs, and those of your children. It is important to remember to look after the basics such as healthy eating, adequate sleep and social engagement.

6. Develop social supports in your community. This can seem challenging, especially if we don’t have friends or family members who live nearby, but there are many ways to increase our involvement in our communities and invest in building relationships. Get involved.

7. Actively do things which help reduce your stress levels. These can be as simple as a walk in the park, calling a friend, or focussing on taking deep, relaxing breaths.

8. Plan things; the everyday and the long term. Write out your plan, it will seem more manageable and help you to achieve your aims.

9. Don’t spend all day worrying and thinking about a problem – box it, and play with your children.

10. Seek professional supports and use them well. Many organisations offer these supports including One Family which provides a range of counselling and parenting supports focused on the needs of one-parent families, parents sharing parenting, parents experiencing separation, and their children; and those experiencing a crisis pregnancy. Our confidential lo-call askonefamily helpline is 1890 66 22 12 /

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email Find out more about our parenting skills programmes here.

10 Ways to Make the Most of the Playground

Playgrounds are wonderfully exciting for children. As well as providing an opportunity to make friends, using playground equipment can help to build children’s dexterity, strength and confidence. Being outdoors regularly is good for both children and parents’ well-being and sharing fun at the playground also creates more opportunities to bond with your child.

Read on for this week’s instalment of our ’10 Ways to’ parenting tips series which explores how to make the most of the playground.

  1. Get to know your local playground. Become familiar with the equipment and the space, and which equipment is appropriate to your child’s age and development. Help your child to get to know their limits and capacity and enable them to relax in the space.
  2. Play with your child but also encourage your child to use the time to interact with other children, and you can take the opportunity to interact with other parents. Encourage social engagement. Children learn the rules of play by playing with other children. Support them in the playground to be assertive, to practice talking with children, and sharing and turn taking.
  3. Watch your child. Do not use the time to read or text or browse your phone. Playgrounds are public spaces and this should be remembered at all times – be vigilant. Also, your children like to know you’re watching so you can see what they can do. They need your facial reactions to encourage and support them to keep exploring and challenging themselves.
  4. Try to be conscious of potential accidents and safety aware, but don’t let it stop your child from using the space well. Bring wipes and plasters with you. Allow them to pick things up (within reason) and examine them. Let them get dirty and wet. Give them permission to do these things. The playground is not the time for showing off your child’s best style.
  5. Bring a potty if they are toilet training or under 3 years. Often there are not toilets nearby but usually it is acceptable to sit on a potty in a quiet corner.
  6. Bring healthy drinks and snacks and use the time well. Playground visits should not be associated with sweet treats.
  7. Play with your child, laugh and explore. It’s nice to recall what it is like to be a child. Have a go on the swings and slide and laugh out loud. These are the things your child will recall as they grow. Also it’s good therapy for any parent!
  8. Make play dates for the playground. It can be easier to manage children in the playground than in your home at times. Plan times to meet up with other parents but don’t use all the time to chat or you will miss out on your quality time with your child.
  9. Don’t let the weather stop you going out. Often it is only adults who don’t like the rain. Children love puddles, getting wet and feeling the wind blow them along. Dress them appropriately and get out of the house every day for at least 30 minutes. You will both feel better.
  10. If you don’t have a playground within easy access, be creative with whatever outdoors space you have available near home, in a park or on a green. There are so many ways to help children play. Usually once they are free from hand holding to run about, they are happy out!

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Develop Coping Skills in Your Family, and more helpful ’10 Ways’.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email Find out more about our parenting skills programmes here.


10 Ways to Encourage Healthier Eating Habits

In this week’s ’10 Ways to’, our series of weekly parenting tips, we look at how to encourage children to eat more healthily. It is important for parents to instill healthy eating habits in children and, despite the fact that many children may opt for a biscuit rather than an apple if given the choice, making healthy food fun isn’t difficult to do and doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Healthy eating for children can contribute to better energy and moods, and creates a strong foundation for their journey towards becoming healthy adults.

Try these tips:

  1. Understand the food pyramid and plan the weekly menu when you are getting ready for the supermarket shop.
  2. Encourage children to eat healthy food – talk with them about healthy food and what is does for our body – how it helps them play and have fun.
  3. Learn some simple healthy recipes which children enjoy – freeze them and have them ready for dinners on busy days.
  4. Remember it is never safe for children to go on diets or to hear about dieting. Healthy eating is the conversation to have with children.
  5. Children need full fat dairy products. Do not cut healthy foods in a child’s diet. Limit sugary, processed food.
  6. Encourage children to exercise – but you need to do it with them. Running in the park, playing ball, climbing hills etc. are all fun and easy ways to incorporate exercise into your and your child’s routines.
  7. Limit juice drinks of all kinds. Try to stick with milk or water. Cool the water in little bottles in the fridge or use a dispenser. It makes drinking water more fun.
  8. Some foods young children love and which are healthy are: fruit – introduce new fruits all the time; natural yogurt – make smoothies; wholegrain bread, avoid processed white breads; breakfast cereals – avoid high sugar ones; lean mince is a good source of iron for children and it can be used for a variety of dishes children love; pasta, eggs and baked beans. Having these foods in the cupboard will help you maintain a healthy diet for your child.
  9. Be a good role model. Reflect on what diet you have and your eating habits. Children do what they see, not what you say.
  10. When it’s party time, try to have lot of fruit, funky healthy sandwiches cut in different shapes, smoothies and milk shakes, pasta salads or Bolognese for the main dish, homemade pizza – children don’t need an over dose of sugary foods just because there is a celebration.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Develop Coping Skills in Your Family and 10 Ways to Make the Most of the Playground.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email Find out more about our parenting skills programmes here.


Smiling boy

10 Ways to Support Your Child’s Sex Education

In this week’s ’10 Ways to’, our series of weekly parenting tips, we look at how to support your child’s sex education.

Your role as a parent in your child’s education about relationships and sex is very important. Talking with your child about sex can be a fearful task for many parents but sex education is most effective when built up gradually over the years.

Toddlers may express curiosity but will usually be content with simple answers. As your child gets older, and starts school, their questions may become more complex. From the start, ensure honest, open communication.  Don’t ignore the subject, give inaccurate answers or brush off their questions – you don’t want your child to grow up being confused or embarrassed about sex and relationships.

Think about your views on sex and what matters to you in your relationships and family life. Working out your own values and morals will help you to give your child clear consistent messages about sex and relationships throughout childhood.

These ten tips should offer some helpful guidance:

  1. The best person to talk with children about sex and sexuality is you, the parent whom they trust; they need to know this is a normal part of life.
  2. Sexuality and relationships education should offer children the opportunity to explore and define their own values.
  3. By age five children should be aware of touch and their body. They will be starting to understand about sexuality and should understand the correct names for body parts.
  4. By age seven children will be starting to understand about reproduction in animals and in humans, and may be asking questions about where babies come from.  They will also start to become aware of different types of sexuality.
  5. By the age of 12 years children will be aware of how their own bodies are changing, about sex and about contraception.
  6. By this age, they should be supported to understand what a respectful relationship is and how to recognise and protect themselves from abusive relationships.
  7. Support your child to have a healthy view of sex; just by talking with them does not mean they are going to have sex.
  8. By secondary school they will have become very exposed to sex. Keep the conversation open and be ready to hear when they want more information about contraception. Contraception is not about sex – it is about taking responsibility; all parents need to support their children to be responsible for their actions.
  9. Clear, honest, open communication with children about human sexuality and contraception, combined with fostering good self-esteem, is central to the prevention of early pregnancy.
  10. Be brave; children are curious, very factual and love information. Remember how you learnt about sex and sexuality, was it the way you would wish for your child? It’s simply another conversation so take the leap and start it with your child today.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Develop Coping Skills in Your Family; 10 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating; and 10 Ways to Make the Most of the Playground.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email Find out more about our parenting skills programmes here.


Image credit: Pixabay

Babysitter and Baby

10 Ways to Find the Best Babysitter for Your Family

Finding a babysitter you can trust and whom your child loves can seem like a daunting task, especially for parents who may not have family or close friends to ask or who live nearby. There are a number of online sites available now to help but where possible, a reference from someone known to us is still usually the best option so ask family, friends, neighbours and other parents at crèche, school or work. In this week’s instalment of our tips for parents series, we explore ways to find and keep a babysitter.

  1. Advertise by word of mouth and in your local supermarket.  Involve your child in the process, explain to them why you need a sitter and how it will be great for all members of the family.  Help them to explore what they would want from a sitter. Children from the age of 2 years old and upwards are capable of this.
  2. Ensure that the person you engage is over 16 years old. While there is no legal rule around this, you need to do everything possible to be sure that you are recruiting someone who will be experienced enough to be responsible and capable in many situations.
  3. Invite the person over to your home for a play date. Get to know them a little and see how comfortable you and your children are with the sitter.
  4. If you decide to go ahead, it is advisable to meet their parent if they are under 18 years old. You should ensure their parent is on board with their teen having this role and that they feel s/he is capable of such responsibilities.
  5. Agree the babysitting fee in advance and also agree if you will collect the sitter and/or drop them home. Always be aware of how a young sitter travels home if you are returning from a late night out. If they are under 18, you have a level of responsibility for the babysitter.
  6. Leave snacks for the children and sitter, and anticipate anything they may need while you are out. Give them a list of contact numbers. Talk with them in advance about what is expected of them, what rooms they can use, and how to manage any behavioural issues that may arise when you’re not present.
  7. Ensure your children understand that the babysitter is in charge, will manage behaviour while you’re out as you have outlined, and will also report any issues to you. Also ensure that your child understands to let you know if they have any issues with the sitter.
  8. Talk with the sitter about first aid, who to contact for emergencies, and if your child has any health or nightmares issues. Talk with them about toileting your child, nappy changing and feeding. Many teens will have no idea of how to carry out these tasks and may not have younger siblings so never assume that they know what to do or how to do it.
  9. Establish rules and boundaries with the babysitter about if their friends and boy/girlfriends can call over, the use of phones while sitting, and if your children’s friends can call over.
  10. Be reasonable about the length of time you leave the sitter with your child and the time you are coming home. The babysitter may need to know exactly what time to expect you so their parents can know what time to expect them home. A babysitter is not usually a child minder or childcare professional, so the level of responsibility assumed is less and it should be remembered they are usually capable of offering less.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Support Your Child’s Sex Education; 10 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating; and 10 Ways to Make the Most of the Playground.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email Find out more about our parenting programmes here.



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Happy child

10 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Self Esteem

Children are a wonderful gift, but they are very delicate and it is often easy for them to feel unappreciated or ignored. As parents, it is very important to make sure our children are growing up happy and confident, and to do that we must make sure they feel special, appreciated, and loved. By recognising their accomplishments and encouraging them to be proud of themselves, we can help them to develop confidence and a sense of achievement that will last them the rest of their lives. In this week’s edition of parenting tips, we highlight 10 ways to improve your child’s self esteem.

1. Children who have lots of positive experiences and positive things said to them will have healthy levels of self esteem, as opposed to children who have many negative experiences growing up.

2. Children need to be recognised and admired. They are important to us and important in the world. Tell them this!

3. Praise children for the efforts they make. The focus should not be on the end result. Children remember praise and it has long-lasting effects.

4. Compliment children on their appearance, how they are doing at school, with friends and with hobbies. Every child is special and should know this.

5. Notice your children’s strengths and tell them what they are. Help them understand how to use those strengths well.

6. Show your child you are so proud of them and the effort they make – to play, to share, to eat dinner etc.

7. Have special time with your child each day and let them know they are top of your list. The feeling of self worth will be enormous.

8. Encourage children to be proud of their own achievements.

9. Encourage children to be open about what strengths they have and also that we all can’t be good at everything. Help them accept they are human, and it is normal to have strengths and weaknesses.

10. Be respectful of children. Talk with them, not at them. Listen to them and hear what they are trying to say. Understand their behaviours and why they exist rather than trying to just fix them. Admire their qualities, even those which are challenging can be used in positive ways throughout life. Accept your child for who they are and tell them everyday how much you love and admire them.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Support Your Child’s Sex Education; 10 Ways to Survive Sleepless Nights; 10 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

Image credit: Pixabay

Group of people

10 Ways to Respect Differences

Everyone is different, and it is important to be sensitive to that fact. Children look up to their parents and will imitate their behaviour, so the way you act towards others who are different can have a profound impact on them. By making sure you are respectful to everyone, you can ensure your children will do the same. In this week of our parenting tips series, we have 10 ways to respect the differences between yourself and others.

1. Be courteous and friendly to others.  You can help your child respect others by the way you greet people, talk with them, and talk about them afterwards. Children learn from our example.

2. Make a family book about similarities and differences:  You and your child could work together to make a book about the people in your family.

3. Value difference. Arrange a small get-together with one or two families. Each could make a snack that may be different or new to the others, possibly an ethnic food or one that is special in other ways for their family.

4. Meet new friends.  You may want to tell your child about a time when you met someone who seemed different at first but as you got to know the person, you came to appreciate him or her.

5. Use empathy: Can your child remember coming into a group and feeling ignored or left out? Talking about your child’s feelings can help your child develop empathy and begin to see things from another person’s point of view.

6. We believe that we are all special people.

7. Treat others kindly even if they are different.

8. We show we are listening by what we say.

9. We are concerned about each other’s feelings.

10. Use books, the internet and society to introduce your child to difference and in particular all types of families and how they are all unique and special – just like ours.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Preschool; 10 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Self Esteem; 10 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on 0818 66 22 12 or


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Mortar Board

Applications Open for New Futures

New Futures :: New Confidence :: New Opportunities

Are you parenting on your own or sharing parenting? Do you want to get back into employment or education but struggle with where and how to start? Take time to discover who you are and what you want in life by joining One Family’s New Futures programme. Enhance yourself through confidence building, developing communication skills, and establishing life goals. Your future doesn’t have to be unknown. You can further your education or prepare yourself for employment with plenty of help along the way.

New Futures is a free 16 weeks of training with support programme, accredited at FETAC Level 4 /5, which takes place on two mornings per week in Dublin 2. One Family provides free childcare for participants, one to one mentoring throughout the programme, and additional supports and services where needed.

Join the New Futures programme and:

  • Discover what jobs or courses suit you
  • Become more confident
  • Get support and friendship from parents in a similar situation as you
  • Learn how to balance work and family life

As part of the New Futures programme, the following are available:

  • Free childcare places in One Family’s crèche
  • One to one support
  • Information, counselling and parenting support

Quotes from previous New Futures graduates

“Suddenly, with the support of One Family, all the barriers that restricted me from following my dream simply fell away. Mental barriers, practical barriers and financial barriers all disappeared. I began my full time degree course in dance last September.” – Stephanie

“The New Futures course changed everything in my life. It gave me the confidence I wanted and my self-esteem is very high again. I learned how to change my way of thinking and I think positively now.” – Ava

“I finally have some clarity about my possible future and know if I stay motivated I can achieve my goals” – PJ

“I grew up in an area that was badly affected by drugs and I’ve always had an interest in helping families that were affected by drugs. However I never thought I could make a career out of it. On the New Futures course I realised that I had a passion for this work and that it was possible to do further study into the area. I am now studying for my certificate in Maynooth College.” – Samantha

Find out more

Are you interested?  If you would like more information, email Valerie or call 01 662 9212. One of our New Futures programme mentors will get in touch to arrange an initial meeting to help you decide if New Futures is the right choice for you.

Thumbs up

10 Ways to Be Assertive

Assertiveness is a wonderful quality to have, and as long as you know how to use it properly it can be help you be direct and clear in your communication with others. In order to be successful with communication, there are several guidelines we can all follow to ensure our point is being made in an assertive way.  In this week’s edition of our ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, we look at 10 keys to being assertive.

  1. Assertiveness is an approach that helps you to be direct, honest and respectful in expressing your feelings, wants, needs and opinions.
  2. You should always be respectful of others and yourself when being assertive.
  3. Being assertive should not mean being aggressive.
  4. Use clear and direct communication instead of unclear or indirect communication.
  5. Be more confident about how you say things and how you get your message across.
  6. Assertiveness will help your children learn how to be assertive and help a family to be positive and have shared values.
  7. Remember you are making requests not demands. Expect yes and no answers.
  8. Be ready to negotiate and compromise with others, including children.
  9. Be very specific with children in particular about what you need them to do. ‘I need you to tidy your room’ is too vague. Indicate certain areas of the room: ‘I need you to tidy your dolls today’ and explain what that should look like.
  10. Learn to say no and explain why it is a ‘No.’ The ‘No’ is about you safeguarding yourself as opposed to blocking another person: ‘No, you cannot walk alone to the shops, I need you to be safe and I need to hold your hand to ensure this.’

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Tips for Respecting Difference; 10 Tips on Preparing Your Child for Preschool; 10 Tips on Improving Your Child’s Self Esteem

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or


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