Time out

Parenting - - Contents -

Board games for the whole fam­ily

Al­chemist Mys­terium Give your brain a work out with these games of logic and de­duc­tion. Solve the mys­tery of a 30-year-old crime and com­pete with oth­ers to cre­ate the most po­tent po­tion.

Play­ers are al­chemists who mix po­tions to de­ter­mine the al­chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of eight dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents. Each turn you can choose to ac­quire in­gre­di­ents, sell po­tions, buy arte­facts, gain rep­u­ta­tion and earn points by pub­lish­ing or de­bunk­ing the­o­ries, or ex­per­i­ment­ing and test­ing your po­tions. The win­ner is the player who earns the most points.

A free app for both IOS and an­droid can be down­loaded that makes it much quicker and eas­ier to test your po­tions. Al­chemist is a com­plex game that is best for older chil­dren and adults. It is suit­able for two to four play­ers and takes about two hours to play. Mys­terium is a co­op­er­a­tive mys­tery game where the play­ers all lose or win to­gether. Up to six play­ers take the role of in­ves­ti­ga­tors, in­vited to a haunted manor to solve the mys­tery of a mur­der. An­other player takes on the role of clue­giver. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors com­mu­ni­cate with each other and have seven turns to cor­rectly iden­tify the weapon, the mur­derer and the lo­ca­tion of the crime.

Mys­terium comes with amaz­ing art­work and the deck of cards can also be used as an ex­pan­sion to Dixit. The game is not dif­fi­cult, but re­quires cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion in dis­cern­ing clues from the pic­ture cards. The game sup­ports two to seven play­ers aged 10 and older and takes about 60 min­utes to play. For more in­for­ma­tion and a list of stockists, visit

We have one Al­chemist game to give away

To en­ter by mail, write your name and ad­dress on the back of an en­ve­lope and post to Pixel Park give­away, Par­ent­ing mag­a­zine, PO Box 37 708, Par­nell, Auck­land 1151. To en­ter on­line, go to the com­pe­ti­tions page at the­p­ar­ent­ing­ and an­swer the fol­low­ing ques­tion - How many play­ers is 'Mys­terium' de­signed for? En­tries close 2 Novem­ber 2016.

Car seats

Car seats are an­other big in­vest­ment and rightly so as they are the sin­gle most im­por­tant piece of safety equip­ment you will buy for your baby. But does that mean ex­pen­sive is bet­ter? Not nec­es­sar­ily. Do your re­search! Try and buy a car seat that con­verts so that it will last your child right up un­til they are old enough to be out of a car seat (around eight years old). You can pur­chase car seats that go from new­born to eight years but they have their pros and cons – so again, do your re­search to see what will suit your sit­u­a­tion.

Hav­ing said that, most peo­ple get a cap­sule for their new­born and then buy a car seat when the baby has out­grown the cap­sule. Depend­ing on the size of the cap­sule and the size of your baby, you can get up to six to 12 months of use. They are eas­ily hired – of­ten for less than a $100 for six months, which is a great deal.

Small savers

No need for a fancy, ex­pen­sive ‘nappy bin’. Just use a nor­mal bin – you’ll be emp­ty­ing it ev­ery day any­way.

Buy nap­pies and wipes in bulk, but not too many as ba­bies grow so fast.

Con­sider cloth nap­pies. I know they have their pros and cons, but cloth nap­pies are pretty awe­some these days and can save you a lot of money in the long run. Look into it.

A baby bath is not nec­es­sary – ba­bies are just as happy to have a bath in the kitchen sink or have a shower with you when they're a lit­tle older.

You don’t need a spe­cial chair to breast/bot­tle-feed baby, sim­ply use a com­fort­able chair or couch you al­ready own. Just make sure that your back and arms are well sup­ported.

Fancy baby swad­dling blan­kets? A square muslin cloth will do just as good a job.

Nappy bags are handy be­cause of their many com­part­ments, but are def­i­nitely not es­sen­tial. Any large hand­bag will do the trick just fine.

Bor­row baby items from friends and fam­ily and make use of hand-me-downs.

Go easy on buy­ing baby clothes. They grow so quickly.

WDis­trac­tion is an ex­tremely use­ful tool and prob­a­bly sits near the top of most par­ents’ list of quick fixes. But is it al­ways the best so­lu­tion? Our Fam­ily Coaches share their ad­vice.

hen your two year old ham­mers his thumb and is start­ing to re­alise what just hap­pened, or your three year old is ad­vanc­ing men­ac­ingly on the fam­ily cat, then, “Shall we read a book to­gether? Why don’t you go and choose one?” (or sim­i­lar) will get you out of many a po­ten­tial scrape with your lit­tle ones.

But it be­comes too much of a good thing if we never stop to ask - would she be bet­ter off if I didn’t dis­tract right now? If your own feel­ings of dis­com­fort at see­ing your five year old up­set mean that you will of­fer her food, a new toy, the TV on (any­thing to stop the cry­ing!) - then she is miss­ing some valu­able op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn that dif­fi­cult feel­ings can be en­dured.

Let­ting un­pleas­ant feel­ings sit is hard to do. Most of us will have pangs of guilt if we let a child re­main in self-pity or sad­ness when they could eas­ily be dis­tracted from it. But a long-term plan for par­ent­ing means putting our dis­com­fort aside for what our kids need most from us. I want my daugh­ters to know when they break up with their first boyfriend, or don’t get the first job they ap­ply for, that yes, those feel­ings are nasty, but they are en­durable and they won’t last for­ever.

So em­pathise and let them know that you see and care about what they’re go­ing through. This hon­ours their ex­pe­ri­ence far more than brush­ing over what has hap­pened in your haste to end the pain. Sit with them and of­fer your sup­port as they work their way through to the other side. Let them grieve for a lost toy, ice cream, or chance to break the rules. It will hap­pen nat­u­rally, with­out your in­ter­fer­ence, if you can sit with it long enough. You don’t need all the an­swers, you just need to be there. Be­com­ing pick­ier about when you use dis­trac­tion, par­tic­u­larly once your child is schoolaged, has an­other ad­van­tage. When you can hold back, you al­low them the op­por­tu­nity to con­sider what part they’ve played in their cur­rent un­hap­pi­ness.

It’s been said that in life we cause the ma­jor­ity of our own suf­fer­ing, but a child whose par­ent over-uses dis­trac­tion is shielded from this wis­dom and in­stead learns, “Pain is not to be learned from but to be avoided at all costs”. If the toy lost at school wasn’t sup­posed to be there in the first place, will they ever won­der, “How can I make sure I never have this feel­ing again?” when we buy them a new one on the way home?

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