There are times I’m in awe of my children’s relentless curiosity and contemplation of things that, strangely, never enter my mind

One child must be on course for a world record in question-asking. His mind never seems to rest. He is making sure ours doesn’t ei(...)

Misinformation is rife, adding to, but not solely responsible, for the genuine fears and concerns that parents have. Photograph: iStock

Professor of comparative immunology Cliona O’Farrelly separates fact from fiction

Not allowing indoor summer camps to go ahead not only strips children of the, but it also creates its own headache for parents, not least in the shape of childcare. Photograph: iStock

With indoor summer camps cancelled, will their wellbeing ever be a Government priority?

I’d like to say they never resent me for it at all, but that’s not strictly true.

I’ve never quite made my peace with mum guilt, so I was triggered immediately

Maureen Dowd: ‘I completely trust Joe Biden. When I go to bed, I know he’s doing the best he can do as president’

The New York Times columnist was speaking at the Irish Times Summer Nights festival

Frances on holidays with Eoghan and Aoife.

Parenting in My Shoes: ‘I had two children by the time I was 21. We hadn’t a clue,’ says the singer

David McWilliams: ‘You’ve got to have a use-it-or-lose-it planning permission.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for the Irish Times

A site-value tax and co-operative building are among the economist’s housing crisis solutions

‘Every child who contacted us last year mentioned mental health issues, anxiety, depression, isolation.’ Photograph: iStock

Children’s ombudsman says lockdowns have been ‘devastating’ for many young people

Tayto Park, Co Meath

From the zoo to funparks and cruises, what's open for families this summer?

It’s hard to believe yet another academic year is over. Photograph: iStock

Perhaps it’s the hangover from previous school holidays of pandemic times

Robert Winston: the professor has seen the huge distress infertility can cause

The fertility specialist believes too many people regard IVF as ‘an easy way of getting pregnant’

Micheál Martin with his son Cillian

Parenting in My Shoes: The Taoiseach on coping with the grief of two children dying

Photograph: iStock

Maybe we don’t mean to but we send a clear message to teen boys that they are incapable

Dublin’s green spaces: St Stephen’s Green, at the top of Grafton Street, is a very short hop from the shops. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Browse in a real shop, visit the National Gallery or just feed the ducks on St Stephen’s Green

Emma Doran with her three children, Tommy (6), Joe (8) and Ella (18) at their home in Rathfarnham, Dublin. Photograph: Laura Hutton

For many women, the identity shift that happens after becoming a mother can be a complex issue

First up will be the one who turns 15. I find myself wondering how that can be. Photograph: iStock

Candles, pizza, and friends outside. Not quite normal, but finally getting there

I’ve never met the vast majority of the people I chat with regularly on social media, and others only once or twice at most. Photograph: iStock

Despite warning children about befriending people on social media it’s easier to preach than to practise

Mario Rosenstock: ‘I knew as soon as I became an adult that I would want to become a father.’ Photograph: Brian McEvoy

Parenting in My Shoes: The broadcaster knew he wanted to be a father after his own family split

Vicky Phelan: ‘I’ve planned my death to the last.’ Photograph: Tom Honan

‘We need somebody in there who knows what it feels like to have periods and babies’

The kids badly needed the resumption of outdoor sports and they’re so happy to be back. Photograph: iStock

The fear of missing out is real, especially since we’ve just experienced it

‘Chatting to other mums I realised I was far from alone in my lamenting.’  Photograph: iStock

Homeschooling photos had no place in the pile to be submitted for the school yearbook

‘There’s hard bits of popcorn touching my brain,’ he said shaking his head wildly. Photograph: iStock

I’ve learned that winging it and hoping for the best is the optimum modus operandi

Colm O’Gorman: ‘I found myself not just preparing to be a parent, but going through pregnancy and being very involved.’

Parenting in My Shoes: One in Four founder on the challenges, and privilege, of fatherhood

‘We need to be far more creative about how we assess ability and we need to be far more inclusive of different skill-sets,’ says psychotherapist Dr Colman Noctor. Photograph: iStock

One of the lessons of the past year is that children need different types of learning

Parenting in My Shoes: Jacqui Hurley with husband Shane and children Lily and Luke

Parenting in My Shoes: The broadcaster on motherhood, family and her brother’s early death

The Easter holidays have arrived, but nobody was quite ready for them

The restrictions might come in handy in limiting the damage that can be done

Michelle O'Neill with Ryan and Saoirse: although Saoirse is 27 and Ryan is 22, she says her children ‘still need their mummy’

Parenting in My Shoes: Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister on becoming a mother at 16

I’ll relish the feral, excited mornings dodging lava in the sittingroom. It beats the subdued resignation that had taken hold for a while. Photograph: iStock

No longer am I cranky, overwhelmed, sleep-deprived and guilt-laden Mum

Geraldine Renton with Ethan who died aged 18 from Hunter syndrome. “It was a lonely funeral. There were people trying to give you affection and they couldn’t.”

Geraldine Renton lost her brother then her beloved son Ethan during a bleak 2020

By the end of the Taoiseach’s address, there were two kids ecstatic, two disappointed, one devastated and one indifferent

No matter how hard we try, remote learning can never replace in-school education

Ombudsman for Children Dr  Niall Muldoon: ‘We’re putting pressure on children that we’ve never anticipated.’ Photograph:   Dara Mac Dónaill

Ombudsman for Children Niall Muldoon on how the pandemic is affecting children

Vicky Phelan receiving treatment in America.

Vicky will find out at the end of March if the cancer treatment in the US is working

Stephen McPhail with his children Kari and Joel. “I just love watching them play. I’m not one to be shouting any instructions. I try and stay as quiet as possible.”

Parenting in My Shoes: Family comes first for the former Republic of Ireland international

There will be no banana bread baked here – these days we’ve been making fairy buns. File photograph: Getty Images/iStock

I plan to do my best Pollyanna impression and offer my children a distraction

Ellen Brophy at her home in Kilkenny: “I feel as though I’m failing my children despite the fact that I’m doing my level best.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Parents and teachers look back on an increasingly difficult first half-term of 2021

‘If they like dogs, get them to walk it daily. They have the responsibility to look after their pet and are getting regular exercise from their daily walks,’ says Emmet of Rushe Fitness. File photograph: iStock

Advice on nutrition, activity and lifestyle to help navigate the mental health pandemic

Paula MacSweeney with Pixie

Parenting in My Shoes: Today FM presenter Paula MacSweeney had a heartbreaking pregnancy

Homeschooling: ‘I hate the battle of wills that must follow if we are to progress with the curriculum.’ Photograph: iStock

I loathe my new role too, and the battle of wills as I try to help them get through the curriculum

Some teenage girls are   more vulnerable than others to have an ‘emotional allergy’ to social media. Photograph: iStock

The third in a four-part series looks at nutrition, activity and mental wellbeing in relation to girls aged 13+

Gary and Annette with their children Cora (7), Ollie (4) and baby Páidí.

Parenting in My Shoes: The television chef on fatherhood, loss, and birth in a pandemic

School was the one thing that got us through the last few difficult months of 2020. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

Perhaps it would make sense to take holidays now and reshuffle the school calendar

Children aged two to 18 should be doing 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day. Photograph: iStock

The second in a four-part series looking at nutrition, activity and mental wellbeing

Anne and her children.

Parenting in my shoes: Camogie star on IVF and the importance of being open and honest

It’s best not to go there with plans, resolutions and promises because I cannot face being the deliverer of constant disappointing news again. Image: iStock

After the year we’ve had, I won’t torture myself about what I should do in 2021

“Trying to get a toddler to eat a balanced diet can be a challenge sometimes.” Photograph: iStock

The first in a four-part series, looking at nutrition, activity and mental wellbeing

All in all, surprisingly, it’s shaping up to be a rather normal Christmas Day.  Photograph: iStock

It was a stress-filled year but we’ve arrived at Christmas week relatively unscathed

Brendan O’Connor and Sarah Caden.

Parenting in my shoes: RTÉ Radio 1 presenter on the challenges, worries and joys of fatherhood

“I’ve never looked forward to our Santa visit more. A normal Christmas ritual in the year of the abnormal.” Photograph: iStock

‘Plans are made to be broken’ may well prove the motto of 2020

Dáithí Ó Sé with his son Micheál: “Getting married is a big step, but having a child is the biggest step of them all and probably the most exciting.”

Fatherhood a defining moment for Ó Sé, who spends as much time as he can with his son

Alison Curtis and her daughter, Joan: ‘I feel like Joan is very well looked after. She is extremely well loved.’

Parenting in my Shoes: After a traumatic childbirth, the broadcaster knew Joan would be her only child

Many children, who are not into sport, are missing  their afterschool activities, at at time when they really need them. Photograph: iStock

Anything that avoids real-life, in-person contact with the world is now good for kids

Hanging nests from  Sensational Kids

When one couple could not find suitable products that would help their child's development, they set up a company to make them

We’ve reached a stalemate which can only be overturned if I go up to the attic and drag the Christmas tree and umpteen boxes of decorations down myself

If the pandemic has taught us little else it’s that nothing can be taken for granted again. Priorities have shifted

Teacher Rebecca Adamson’s children have built their shoeboxes online and personalised them with colouring sheets.

Families can build a box online for children affected by poverty in Africa and east Europe

Anne Marie Toole and Dil Wickremasinghe with their children, Phoenix and Xavier.

The mental health journalist on Steiner schools and not defining their children by gender

Newstalk’s Ciara Kelly: prompting women to talk openly about their fears and experiences. “I feel we’re pulling back a veil,” she says. Photograph: RTÉ

Parenting in my shoes: Broadcaster and doctor says pregnancy never suited her

For lots of children school, at the moment, is all they have left. Photograph: iStock

From little ones to teenagers, they have accepted the changes and just got on with it

Paula and Pádraic Naughton and the three boys: “They are totally incredible and never, ever complain about anything,” says Paula.

Paula Naughton's three sons suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a catastrophic muscle-wasting disease

Patrick Costello, TD for Dublin South Central, signing the roll for the 33rd Dáil, with Hazel Chu and their daughter Alexandra.

Parenting in my Shoes: Lord Mayor of Dublin on racism, skin colour and why she stopped speaking to her daughter in Chinese

The silence that continues to surround pregnancy and baby loss is oftentimes deafening. Photograph: iStock

One in four pregnancies ends this way, robbing a pregnancy of its innocence

Matt Cooper, Aileen Hickie and their children on holiday.

Parenting in my shoes: the journalist, broadcaster and father of five gets ‘enormous enjoyment from being with my children’

Noel Kelly with his daughters Elena (7) and Lauren (9) at their home in Tuam, Co Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Parenthood saw these people move from finance to midwifery, farm sales to SNA

‘I can’t wait until Halloween,’ came a little voice from the back of the car. Photograph: iStock

To keep the kids’ spirits high, I’ve looked to the future instead of living in the now

Eileen and Billie.

Parenting in my shoes: The Senator hopes her daughter will be part of a more positive, inclusive Ireland

Children happy to play outside with a freedom they rarely had in the pre-Covid homework afternoons of old. File photograph: Getty

‘I dared to dream it might happen ... that school books would not come home’

Joanna Donnelly with her husband, Harm, Tobias and Casper. ‘It frustrated me no end, that after all the pain we went through, and we were able to fix it with money, that people out there are going through all that same pain and they don’t have any money to fix it,’ says Joanna.

The meteorologist and mother has set up a charity that helps women pay for IVF

There is comfort in the familiar, but this is not familiar. Photograph: iStock

There will be no more very first days of school. All is as should be, but it stings a little all the same

Billy and Lanlih with their daughter Emmeline.

Parenting in my Shoes: The rugby player tells of the pain he and his wife felt when their daughter Emmeline died

Victoria and her three children.

Parenting in my Shoes: ‘You’re in survival mode because it’s wrong to be told you can’t fix something for somebody’

Typically through term time we don’t see very much of my parents or parents-in-law. Photograph: iStock

Just getting the children to school will require military planning and a lot of luck

Young people across the country have stepped up to the plate but the ‘get over yourselves’ brigade are quick to dismiss their efforts, forgetting what it was like to be young. Photograph: iStock

The thing about sweeping generalisations is that they can rarely be relied upon

Keith Walsh with Finn, Anna and wife Suzanne. When it comes to parenting highs, Keith says he gets huge pleasure from watching the children enjoy the things they love

Parenting in my Shoes: The radio host’s only parenting regret is not starting therapy earlier

‘My kids  certainly apply what they’ve experienced (during coronavirus pandemic) to life as they see it now.’

‘Are you excited to return to school?’ I asked the kids. Their reactions surprised me

Lynn Ruane with her daughters, Jaelynne and Jordanne

Parenting in my Shoes: ‘I hope the girls continue the journey they’re on. I’m so impressed’

Vicky Phelan with her family, Amelia, Darragh and Jim, at the launch of her book Overcoming, at the University of Limerick. Photograph: Alan Place

Parenting in my Shoes: The women’s health advocate talks about her sense of guilt at having the debilitating condition

Jen Hogan with her daughter Chloe and sons (L-R) Adam, Noah, Zach, Tobey, Luke and Jamie at home in 2018. Photograph:  Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

My eternal broodiness was triggered by a car packing in and my youngest starting school

 Dublin Zoo reopens to the public with an initial trial period of two sessions per day with a maximum of 500 persons each.  Photograph: Alan Betson

We had a staycation in the purest sense of the word. It was escapism at its finest

All routine and certainty has gone out the window since March 12th. Photograph: iStock

The new normal is plagued with uncertainty and it’s very unsettling

Evie Nevin: ‘It was great to finally put a name to what was wrong with me.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Social Democrats vice-chairwoman Evie Nevin on life with a rare genetic condition

Let the celebrations begin – presuming of course he remembers. Photograph: iStock

Seven children later, we have time to celebrate our anniversary – if he doesn’t forget

 Broadcaster and former GP Ciara Kelly: “I can taste fine, but I don’t seem to have any sense of smell.”  Photograph: Tom Honan

What does recovery look like, and why are some people more affected than others?

What will school look like for the children of the coronavirus era? Photograph: iStock

Parents were left with an impossible ask yet I can’t help but feel I’ve let my kids down

Social care worker Jason Fitzpatrick with his partner Saran and 16-month-old   daughter Lexi. Since the restrictions, Jason has been redeployed from day services for people with intellectual disabilities to residential services

‘We’ve now been flying solo for weeks with no outside support. There has been tough times’

My partner has not lived with the fear that an oblivious child, at one with nature, might become an inadvertent background streaker in a Skype broadcast.

Mothers working from home have to grapple with pressures of childcare and intrusion

Cathy Brooks: “If I’ve to give blood for the rest of my life, I don’t want my blood to be dumped because there’s too much iron in it. I want my blood used.”

Excess iron retention can lead to symptoms including chronic fatigue and aching joints

Jen Hogan: ‘I’m grateful to now be able to see friends outdoors once again, even if we can’t hug as before. There is much to be grateful for.’

An inability to tackle the boy’s untamed tresses bring him joy, and gratitude it appears

I have developed an extreme FOMO   when it comes to the news. Photograph: iStock

I fear my trouble sleeping may be a result of absorbing too much bad news

With children due to attend several different primary schools, lots of them won’t see their pre-school friends again

To miss rites of passage that come with the final months in primary and secondary school is very difficult

Noah Quish using BUMBLEance.

BUMBLEance was set up by Tony and Mary Heffernan, whose children Saoirse and Liam both died from Batten disease

My children haven’t seen either set of their grandparents for months at this stage. They’ve spoken to one set via video-call while the other set have yet be convinced of its merits

My children haven’t seen their grandparents for months at this stage

Will I be the only one to emerge from the pandemic, without having learned a new language or newfound limberness and flexibility? Photograph: iStock

In any given day, there are 3 million questions to answer, 6,328 rows to break up and one restriction-complying walk

“Jigsaws! Let’s do jigsaws,” I suggested enthusiastically one afternoon, trying to ease my guilt about my homeschool failings

We’re past pretending we have it under control. It’s a jungle out there – and the kids are feral

Four of Jen Hogan’s children on a walk

Lots of us have to bring them with us. And tensions are high enough already

The Covid-19 pandemic  seems to have vastly lowered our tolerance for the mere existence of our co-habitants. Photograph: iStock

The pandemic can bring our nearest and dearest too close for comfort

I think my thighs might possibly be broken after taking part in The Body Coach’s home workout. Photograph: iStock

Laughter erupts as the kids watch me collapse while trying ‘PE with Joe Wicks’

Having to simultaneously homeschool children – and entertain the youngest who hasn’t yet started – while working from home is going to be challenge. Photograph: iStock

With all of us at home, we’re all going to need to mind each other through this uncertain time

Photograph: iStock

As real-life meet-ups with adults take a back seat, online relationships have been a lifeline

John Bergin with his wife Kay

Life as a carer: John Bergin cares for his wife, who had a catastrophic stroke which affected 50% of her brain

Marcin Filak and his wife Ola.

Marcin Filak cares for his wife, who has locked-in syndrome, and their two children

The Barnes family from Greystones, Co Wicklow:  Alana (9), Jenni, Andrew and Zach (7).  Alana has type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘We knew we’d need to inject her daily – I never realised the extent of the management’

More articles