I think that it is super important that your kids and your parents have a close relationship. Growing up, I was close to my grandparents, and I would not trade my relationship with them for the world. I think that it is crucial that I offer my children the same thing that I had, and I know that my parents want to take an active role in their lives too. Here is how you can make sure that your kids bond with their grandparents.
If you don’t live near your parents, talk about them
If, like me, you have moved away from your hometown, you might find it tricky to visit your parents all the time. You should not let your children forget about their grandparents, though, and so you need to chat with them about your parents. You should also make sure that your kids have regular phone calls with your parents. You can just have them say hello when you call your parents. These simple things will mean that your parents bond with your children regardless of the distance.
Go and visit your parents (and take the kids)
The Easter holidays are just around the corner, and they are the perfect time to take your children on a trip to see their grandparents. If your parents live in one of the nursing homes in Alton like Paxhill you might need to call ahead before you visit. Arrange a time that you can come to see your parents so that the staff expect you when you turn up. You can make a fun day of it, and see some things in the area while you are on your travels.
Find some simple activities that they can do together
People bond when they have shared memories. You need to make sure that your parents spend some quality time with your children. Think of things that your kids could do with their grandparents. What would they enjoy doing together? If your parents are no longer as active as they once were, you might need to choose something easy like playing board games together.
Invite your family to stay at Christmas
I know it feels as though Christmas has just finished, but before you know it, it will be here again. This year, you should think about inviting your parents to stay with you at Christmas time. That way, you can have your entire family together during the festive period. You know as well as I do that kids love Christmas time. Make this year extra special by including your whole family in the celebrations.
Get your children to write cards to your parents
When it is your parents’ birthdays or anniversary, you probably send them a card, right? I bet you write your children’s name on the card for them. It would mean so much more to your parents if you let your kids write individual cards for them. Imagine your parents’ surprise when they get a handwritten card from your little ones. When your kids get used to writing cards and letters to their grandparents, they will start to feel super close to them.
These days, people don’t tend to live in the same place that they grew up. If you have moved miles away from home before you started a family, you need to bridge the gap and ensure that your family see still each other. Your children have every right to have a relationship with their grandparents. If you don’t make an effort for their sake, you will find that they may resent you for it in later life. After all, there is nothing more important than family.
Having kids is a real joy, and helping them to develop into their own little people is even better. One great way you can ensure your children turn into well rounded individuals is by encouraging them to take up a hobby. Having a healthy hobby is a fabulous way to give your kids new skills and confidence. It also keeps them from having too much of a ‘screen life’, as many of us do these days. Here’s how to do it:
Introduce Them to Your Hobbies
Start off by introducing your kids to your hobbies. The key here is that you don’t try to force them to take an interest in them. They might want to have completely different hobbies to you. However, it helps them to see that you’re so passionate about doing something that you enjoy. They might even want to help you, and their own hobby could stem from there. Remember, children learn from the adults around them. If you’re always on the computer or playing on your phone, they’re likely to do the same. They might not even get their hobby from you; they might get it from a grandparent. My grandmother taught me how to knit, but neither of my parents can do it! I used to love knitting squares to make colourful blankets.
Ask Them What They’d Like to Try
Come up with some suggestions and be willing to let your kids try them all out if they want to. There are self defence lessons, swimming, sewing, knitting, dancing…too many things to name. See if they can come up with any of their own and try to let them test the water. They’re bound to find something they like soon enough.
Encourage Them to Keep it Up
Bear in mind that there’s a difference between encouraging your kids to do something and being too pushy. Being a pushy parent is never a good thing – you want your kids to think you are fun! Encourage your kids by letting them know how well they’re doing, and by focusing on their strengths. You must understand that as they are so young, they probably will want to quit at times. Little girls with horses can go right off the idea when they realise they need to take care of them too. Suddenly, having a horse isn’t so glamorous when you need to muck them out or give them medication from http://www.wormers.co.uk/. If they stick with their hobby even through the hard times, they’ll enjoy so many benefits. Always point out their improvements.
Don’t Force Them to Do Anything They Don’t Want to Do
If your kids don’t seem interested in having a hobby just yet, don’t force them into doing anything they don’t want to do. As I’ve just mentioned, this can put them off completely. They need to make their own decisions when it comes to things like this.
Providing you’re patient with your children, they should start to develop their own healthy hobbies soon enough. Remember to set an example and not to pressure them, and they’ll follow your lead!
I think it’s important to appreciate your kids when they are young. Sure, they can be a pain at times, but these are the years that you need to treasure. If you don’t make the most of the time you have with your children now, you will regret it forever. There are loads of fun ways that you can spend more time with your kids, and they don’t have to cost a fortune!
- Walk places, instead of driving
If you have a car, you might use it to get everywhere. I must admit that we often use the car to pop down to the local shop or supermarket. There is no need to do that, and when you think about it, you are wasting money by doing so. Instead, take a walk with your children. While you walk, you can chat with them about school or their friends. I think it is important to treat kids as equals, and so you need to ask them what is going on with them.
- Get a pet
If you want something you can all do together, you ought to consider getting a pet for your home. Looking after a pet with your family is a great way to bond with them. One of the main drawbacks to getting any animal is fleas. Before you get a cat or dog, you should read this pet flea fact file so that you know how to treat them. Talk to your partner about getting an animal and see what they think of the idea. I’m still working on persuading my husband that we need a family pet!
- Teach your little ones to cook
If you are anything like me, you will love cooking. Teaching your children to cook is an excellent way to spend time with them while doing something productive. If you have a spare day with your kids, you should take the time to teach them some skills, rather than just letting them watch TV. Find a few recipes online and get to work!
- Make up a bedtime story (together)
Reading a bedtime story can sometimes feel like a chore, especially if your kids always ask you to read the same book. You could play a fun game with your children at bedtime, where you all make up a story together. You can start telling a story and then let your children decide what happens next. This tip is a fantastic way to help your kids expand their imaginations and start thinking for themselves.
- Play some board games
When was the last time you sat together with your family and played a board game? These days, there are so many gadgets and devices in the home that you might forget how to have some good old fashioned fun. Of course, Monopoly is a classic family game that everybody loves to play. If your kids are too young to grasp the rules, though, you could start with something easy like Snakes and Ladders.
- Become their personal tutor
If your kids are having trouble at school, you might want to hire a tutor to come and help them out. You could save yourself some cash, though if you helped your kids yourself. Spending time with your children, when they do their homework, means that you are taking an active role in their education. It is a good idea to brush up on your skills before you try to help your kids. It has probably been around ten years since you were in school, and so you might want to practice your maths and literacy skills. BBC Bitesize has loads of activities and games you can play with your kids.
You have no excuse for not spending time with your children. If you follow these simple ways to do so, you will find that you have the best relationship with your little ones!
We are currently planning our family holiday to France. I did initially feel anxious planning our trip but have come up with these helpful tips to make the experience a little less traumatic!
People often say that going on holiday is one of the most stressful things you can do. And if you have the kids, especially if they’re under five, it does have the potential to be a complete disaster. But if you plan everything well, you can all have a fun time, with minimal tears from both parents and children. I love spending time with my boys, but it’s not always easy when we’re at home, so going away makes things a bit more complicated. But family holidays don’t have to make you more stressed than when you left. Follow these tips to have a relatively stress-free holiday and go home feeling refreshed instead of exhausted.
Look for Family-friendly Accommodation
One of the worst things that can happen for your blissful family holiday is turning up to find that your accommodation is entirely unsuitable. Perhaps the hotel had promised a cot, highchair or adjoining rooms, and you arrive to find that they haven’t provided any of those things. One of the best ways to make sure your holiday is family-friendly is to look for places that cater specifically to families. You might choose a holiday park or a resort with facilities for children. To make sure that they’re suitable, don’t just trust the website. Look at reviews from other people, so you know that it’s somewhere that will work for you.
Don’t Go Too Far
Sometimes going away necessitates travelling long distances. Perhaps Grandma and Grandpa live in Canada, and it’s easier for you to travel to them. In these instances, you can’t avoid a long-haul flight or long car journey. But there are other times when you have a choice, and you might decide it’s better to stick closer to home. If you look at Holiday Parks in Scotland or hop across the channel to France, you’ll find taking all the paraphernalia needed for young children much less of a hassle.
Are you one of those people who has a strict holiday schedule, so you can see and do everything you want to while you can? Forget about all that for a family holiday. You can have some ideas for things to do, but don’t plan your day to the minute. You probably know by now that things don’t always go to plan when the kids are with you. So don’t be too disappointed if someone’s ill, tired or too busy having a tantrum to go and see the sights.
Try to Keep Some Routine
You might be taking some time out of your ordinary routine, but shaking up the kids’ routines entirely could lead to grumpiness or hyperactivity. It’s a good idea to try and keep some things the same, like their bedtime routine and maybe meal times. There are other things you can do the same too. For example, if you have a naughty step at home, it’s easy to take a mat or something similar as a transportable “naughty spot” for using when you’re out and about.
Take a Night for Yourself
It might be a family holiday, but sometimes you need a break from the kids. If there are babysitting services available or you’re going away with friends, take a night without the children. You deserve it!
Following on from my Ultimate Party Planning Guide for your Kiddy’s Party post, I have outlined a few does and don’ts when organising a toddler’s birthday party.
Having a toddler in the house is an exciting, if not nerve wracking, time! After all, they are into everything. So, when their birthdays come round, you want to make it fun. But, how can you make sure that your little one has a great birthday? Chances are that they won’t even remember it! But, your family will probably want to spend time with them. What’s more, they may even have friends from nursery and playgroup that they will like to spend time with.
So, what are the common dos and don’ts of throwing a birthday bash for your toddler? Here are some of my top tips.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Toddlers have the attentions spans of a goldfish. Let’s face it, they can be a little overwhelmed with the prospect of having to play and be smiley all day! If your kids are like mine, they are prone to the grumps when they feel overwhelmed. Keep the party short and sweet. One to two hours max is enough before the entire party gang is starting to feel a little grouchy. Time the party so that it’s around late afternoon. Lunch hours and midday’s are usually when some toddlers nap.
Plan Age Appropriate Activities
Toddlers are into everything. So, it may be wise to have some activities that keep them enraptured for small, sharp periods of time. Singing nursery rhymes together is a fun activity that all kids will love. But, you can broaden their imaginations with magic tricks. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a magician; you can get some magic tricks that are suitable for kids from Magic Nevin. Balloon animals, making silk hankies disappear and disappearing acts are sure to keep the kids entertained. You can even play games for short bursts of time too. Dancing, ring around the Rosie and musical bumps are all fun for toddlers. They will love the noisiness of the games!
Of course, if you want some quieter pursuits, simple birthday orientated arts and crafts are perfect. Scavenger hunts are great too. You don’t have to spend a fortune and blow the budget on expensive entertainers. All you need is some simple, homemade games, and you and your little one can have a great party.
You Don’t Have to Entertain the Adults!
So many people think that they have to consider the adults when it comes to toddler’s parties. I say don’t bother! Of course, provide some adult friendly snacks on your buffet. They may not want dinosaur shaped sandwiches! But, they have very refined social skills. I’m confident that they can make their own entertainment while you crack on with your child’s birthday party. After all, your child is the most important person on that day.
Do Ask Your Toddler What They Would Like
At two and three years old, your child is very aware of their likes and dislikes. Ask for their input on their party. Of course, your child may ask for a unicorn. But, they may also list off their favourite characters. You can incorporate these as part of the theme. They are sure to love the attention to detail.
Throwing a toddler’s party should be fun, above all else. It’s time to celebrate your gorgeous baby’s birthday. What fun things have you got planned?
When your little miracle is born, it’s natural to want to welcome them into the world. You might do it almost right away, as soon as you and the baby are ready for your first public outings. But many parents choose to wait a few months before arranging a christening or naming ceremony to celebrate with their friends and family. If you want to do something official to acknowledge the birth of your child, you could choose a religious ceremony or something different. Whatever option you go with, there’s going to be some organising involved to make sure everything goes to plan. Follow this guide to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
Christening, Blessing or Naming Ceremony?
Before you do anything else, you need to decide what sort of event you want to hold. Traditionally, many families would have held a christening for their baby, but today that isn’t always the first choice. You may decide that you want to bring them into the Christian religion. But even some Christians want to let their child make that decision for themselves when they’re old enough. Instead, some parents choose to have their baby blessed. If you’re not religious, you can have a naming ceremony or non-religious celebration of their birth. For example, you might decide on a humanist naming ceremony. Then, of course, there are birth rites for other religions that you may choose to follow.
Organising the Venue
Whichever type of ceremony you choose, you need somewhere to hold it. If you want a christening or blessing from a vicar, you will need to book the service at your church. This usually involves talking to your priest, who will perhaps ask you about your faith and wishes for the child. The ceremony might be part of the usual Sunday service, or could be a separate event. If you do not have a christening, you can have the day wherever you want. Most people will choose to have it at home, but perhaps you’ll decide on somewhere else, like at the park.
Each birth or naming celebration will be different, depending on the religion or lack thereof. You might choose to do everything as traditionally as possible, or you might do your own thing. Some things to think about are what the baby will wear, who you will invite and whether you will have godparents or guide parents. Don’t forget to let your guests know the dress code and your policy on christening silver and other gifts. A religious ceremony will generally follow a certain structure, but you might be able to have someone do a reading or say a few words.
After the more formal and structured bit, everyone can relax and have fun. You could choose to have a party at home, in your village hall, at the park or elsewhere. This might create a bit more work for you, but it’s a fun way to carry on the celebrations. If you don’t want to cater to everyone, hold a potluck and ask your guests to bring a dish.
Try to remember that christenings and naming ceremonies are joyous occasions. Don’t get so stressed out that it’s no longer enjoyable.
Theme parks are amazingly fun for kids of all ages. They love nothing better than going to a theme park and letting off steam by exploring the rides. But what about us adults? If rides are your thing then you’ll be fine, but what if they aren’t? Some great ways to stay calm and survive a theme park visit can be found below.
First of all, start by preparing yourself for the trip before you go. The weather in the UK can be unpredictable so you will be far more comfortable if you pack a coat for the correct climate. If it looks like there might be showers then avoid taking an umbrella. Trust me, it is no fun at all trying to navigate a theme park while avoiding poking people’s eye out with your brolly. Instead, opt for a light raincoat. Something with a hood is perfect as you can keep your hands free for all of the baggage the kids will probably collect along the way! Teddies, toys and souvenirs can all be found in abundance.
Taking a newspaper or a good book is ideal if you have older kids who want to run off and enjoy the park on their own. In some theme parks, you can always sit down at a picnic bench for an hour and put your feet up. Make the most of the time to yourself and try to block out the noise that is going on around you.
If you are with younger children, then you will obviously need to be a lot more involved in the whole experience. Make the best of going on rides by limiting the amount of baggage you take onto each one. Some rides have lockers where you can store your belongings. The smaller rides will probably be short and sweet, and you’ll be able to move from each one without too much hassle.
Avoid tantrums in long queues for rides by keeping the kids amused as much as possible. Coming up with games such as eye spy and interacting with others around you will help the time pass quicker. Try to explain to younger children why they have to wait and make sure that you come down to their level when doing so. The day out should be fun, so if you must have more serious words then make sure that you do so without causing a scene. Sit down next to your child and explain to them firmly what is going on and then try and get their attention back to the fun rides ahead.
If you are at a theme park with teenage kids, then try to embrace the theme park rides and get into the fun spirit. You can always break off into groups and tackle rides that each of you feels comfortable with. This way, the thrillseekers get to have their fun as well!
Save money and bring the family closer together by bringing a picnic where possible, If this isn’t an option then you can try to find a quiet spot to sit and eat while you relax. This is easier for parents than trying to eat on the go, especially if you are trying to hold toddler’s hands and navigate the park.
When I am buying gifts for my children, I always hope that the present I choose is one that they hold on to, or at least remember fondly, for years to come. Everyone has an item or two from their childhood, a stuffed bear or action figure perhaps, which features a lot in their memories and family stories. So when I’m selecting presents, I always think: is this the one? If you want to get your kids something memorable for their special birthday or other occasion, here are some of my tips on how you can do just that.
- Tap into their interests
This is the most obvious place to start. If your child is obsessed with something, they are likely to cherish a gift that is related to this passion. I tend to concentrate on broad interests like dancing or outer space; hobbies and interests that might carry on into their teenage, and even adult, years. Even that game console you just bought could turn out to be a memorable gift. I know someone who was very into gaming all through their childhood. Today he is a successful computer games programmer. Anything Peppa Pig is a great gift and will make them smile, but they’ll be another craze along soon and so this kind of present might not have the lasting effect you are looking for.
- Give them something personal
One of the most memorable gifts I received as a child was a beautiful tapestry that my Mum had made. It was of our first home as a family and included the year that I was born in (which I won’t disclose!). These kinds of presents are so special because they are made by someone you love, just for you. Another idea for a personal present is a scrapbook of photos and other memorable tokens. You could give this to them on a special birthday, and they could continue to add items, like the ticket stub from their first theatre experience, as they grow up.
- Give them something that could be passed on
I like the idea of getting them something that they will enjoy during their younger years, but that they may also want to pass on to their children. I was completely attached to my teddy bear when I was a nipper. It might sound a bit strange, but it made me feel good that he was being passed on to my kids, rather than sitting in a box in the loft. If you want to get a gift that your little ones might pass on when they are not so little anymore, Charlie bears are a great option. An item of jewelry that has been engraved with their name or birth date, for example, is also a gift that could pass down from generation to generation.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my tips for buying memorable gifts for your children. Do let me know if you have any suggestions for meaningful and unforgettable children’s gifts.
If you’ve got a new baby on the way, then getting your nursery designed and organised is probably high up on your to-do list. However, that doesn’t mean that you know where to start with it. And, that’s okay; most expectant mummies are the same.
But, with a bit of brainstorming and planning, you can easily create a beautiful nursery. So, there is no need to worry.
To help you design and create the perfect nursery for your new arrival, I thought I would share some handy tips with you.
- Think about the room’s location
If possible, choose a quiet room that is close to your bedroom. That way you won’t need to go far to check on your little one at night. If the room next door to yours is already occupied by another of your little ones, it might be best to do some bedroom switching around.
It is also important to think about the temperature of the room. If the room is chilly then it is important to make sure that it has adequate heating, and if the room is warm it is important to ensure that it has good ventilation.
- Create a mood board
Look through magazines and the internet for nursery items and colours that you love, print them out and keep them all together in a scrapbook or box. Or, you could use Pinterest to search for nursery items online and then save the ones you like to an online pin board.
Creating a mood board will help you to stay focused, pick your nursery colours and colour scheme.
- Keep it simple
With so many beautiful nursery items and pieces of furniture, it is all too easy to go overboard with the decorating. Make sure to keep the design simple and stick to one focal point, like a piece of furniture or artwork.
Remember, you are trying to create a child-friendly space, not a childish space. There is a big difference between the two. Opt for a neutral background and then use age-appropriate toys and accessories to add style to the room. By choosing a neutral background, you will not need to re-decorate so often.
- Opt for soft, calming colours
When choosing colours for the nursery, consider opting for soft, calming colours. As your baby gets older, they will tell you what they want, but while they are young it is up to you to choose.
Make sure to choose colours that make you feel comfortable, calm and happy. With a newborn baby, most mums need a calm space to spend time in.
- Invest in furniture
One of the most important parts of setting up your baby’s nursery is choosing the furniture. What do you need? You will need a crib, crib mattress; a cot bed fitted sheet, and changing table, along with accessories like a diaper pail and a rocking chair.
If you are unsure of exactly what you need to buy, think about using a nursery checklist to help you out.
- Get creative
Don’t feel pressured into buying items that are nursery specific. It’s your nursery, so you can put whatever furniture and design features in there that you want to. Choose items and colours that you love, and that work well with the style of the room.
Keeping the kids entertained and more importantly engaged and educated over their holidays is a tough task. You need to find a good balance between the fun and the education, or the little ones will become disengaged and run riot. There are lots and lots of ways to boost their fun over the holidays, and they needn’t cost the earth.
Build a kite
There are quite a few kits available in stores and online that give you the tools and materials to build a kite. Depending on the age of your children you can let them get as involved as you feel comfortable to. Along the way, you can explain the story of Benjamin Franklin’s electricity experiment. A great tip here is to get a glue gun, these can be found at sources like Glue guns direct and will speed up the whole process of manufacture.
As long as the weather holds out, why not take the kids to your closest natural area. This does not have to be a nature reserve, just have a think about what is available near to your home. A wander through a nearby woods will yield untold findings and many educational discussions on flora and fauna. Similarly the same can be achieved with a trip to the coast.
Take your kids to the local library. Things have moved on massively from the old days of large institutions. There are many times where the library puts on special events and guest readers to try and engage a whole new audience. Failing that why not just have a quiet reading time at home. Take an hour out every day, turn off all the electrical devices in the house and all sit down and read a book. For younger children you can read for/with them. Giving the gift of books to your child is an amazing thing.
Nothing can spark the imagination and develop a child like gardening. Give the kids a small patch of the garden and let them go wild. Flowers and simple things are easiest for smaller children, but you will get the most worth out of them planting, growing and eating their own vegetables. They are fairly simple to grow. providing you follow the instructions. For a child to understand where their food comes from. Not to mention how to provide for themselves is a great step for the future and you will see the joy on their face as they try their first fresh pea from the pod.
Another great thing to do with the kids is to make your own sundial. This is super easy to do and again promotes conversations about history and how we used to exist before the advent of technology.
Board games are the go to activity when the weather outside is poor, but you do not have to go down the usual routes of Mousetrap and Buckaroo. There are many board games on the market now that offer a mixture of both fun and education. Games such as Cranium offer a great boost to your child’s development.