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Business and Marketing Parenting Advice

Why you should be using this time to upskill

The one thing lockdown has given us is extra time but are you making the most of it?

Why is it important to upskill!

We are heading into uncertain times especially when we come out of lockdown. It is likely the world will be different when we are allowed back to normality and the jobs we did before Covid-19 may not be the same or in the worst case exist at all. That is why it is so important to take this time and learn what we can to broaden our skill range and ensure we have the best chances coming out of this pandemic . 

How to upskill while on lockdown!

When I say we should all be upskilling I am not saying you should go out and sign up to year long courses that are going to cost the earth. There are more ways to learn and develop our skill set without breaking the bank and if you are willing to spend a little bit of time investing in yourself you will be a lot better off.

1. Reading is an effective way to acquire knowledge and there are books for every subject imaginable with a wealth of information just waiting to be picked up and read. Books are generally inexpensive and with the birth of kindle you can order and start reading instantly. 

Even if you don’t know what to learn about subjects like digital marketing or even motivation are topics that can benefit everyone in this age. After I was recommended it I recently read ‘The Subtle art of not giving a F**K’ and this was a brilliant book for motivation and learning to analyse what is important in your life.

2. Short courses are another great way to boost your skills during lockdown. I have found that Reed.co.uk has a database full of online short courses in a vast array of subjects some at amazingly low prices. 

These are perfect for boosting your skill set. I have carried out courses in digital marketing, basic portuguse and I am currently doing a photography diploma. If you are just looking to do these to gain knowledge then you can find courses for peanuts but a lot of the cheap ones charge quite high fees to obtain a certificate after you have finished the course. So please make sure you check what the certificate price is and if you want to have the proof of doing the course then make sure you factor in this cost before signing up. 

3. Social Media and the Internet is bursting full of knowledge all at the tip of our fingertips just waiting to be explored. You can find information on any subject you want on the internet. Experts will often give away a lot of free advice and tips on blogs and social media that can provide you with those all important learning opportunities. I read blogs and join social media groups specific to my interests all the time to grow my knowledge. I have learnt more about photography from social media groups than anywhere else.

Through a social media group I found a Facebook marketing course for £12 through Mums in Business Association that has provided me with so much information it was well worth the money spent.  

4. Podcasts and online videos can be full of information and provide great learning opportunities. The benefit of these is that you can listen and learn whilst carrying out your household chores. 

5. Trial and error is a great way to learn especially with the extra time we have been given with lockdown. This is probably one of the most important ways we can upskill and keep continually learning. We shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes but be prepared to learn from them. 

I wanted to upskill my photography skills so I sat in the garden all day practicing taking pictures of bees using trial and error. I must have had 100’s of rubbish pictures but I finally learnt what settings I needed and ended up with pictures to be proud of.

Since I took a pledge to keep constantly investing in myself and upskilling my knowledge my life has changed dramatically and my confidence has boomed. In the space of 3 years I have built 2 websites from scratch without any prior knowledge, created a vibrant parenting blog and become an award winning children’s author.

Before I started upskilling myself I was just the girl with dyslexia that wasn’t that great at spelling and grammar. When I recently built a new website I went back and reread all of my previous blogs and I will be the first to say they were awful. My writing has evolved tenfold since then and all because I am constantly upskilling and never giving up.

So why not spend at least one evening a week investing in yourself and growing and upskilling your knowledge.

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Guest Posts Parenting Advice

5 Positive Parenting Techniques Every Parent Should Know!

Photo Of Boy Standing Beside Mother

Understand that they look up to you – they will follow in your footsteps.

The fallacy that raising kids gets easier should only be accepted if you’ve never done some birthing. Easier said than done! Nonetheless, that is why we are here – advise you on the best and most appropriate parenting techniques approved by psychologists, pediatrics, daycare nannies, and even teachers. These are approved methods that will also assist you in dealing with them as they reach their teen years and start understanding themselves and even deal with other people.

1. Positive Parenting Says No To Rewards

The mission with positive parenting techniques is to influence long term behavior. These are not quick fixes to your kid’s melodramatic episodes. You thus have to toughen up as you bring out the character you desire to see in them. The problem with rewarding kids to achieve certain things is that they will always expect something for what they do. If this was how life in the real world was, then it probably wouldn’t be such a slippery slope to try this on your kids, would it!

2. Positive Parenting Techniques Addresses the Cause

You want to be wiser than they are as you read your kid. This is not that tender age when they would only express themselves through constant shrieks and cries, leaving you guessing what they really want. Now they are a bit ‘mature,’ and you want to develop mature and effective parenting techniques.

Mother and Son in Kitchen

Take time to know them to know what they really want when they don’t know how to ask!

Don’t address the behavior directly – rather, seek to understand whatever is causing that behavior. If you’re watching them play and your phone rings and they start shouting all of a sudden not heeding your warning gaze, probably they were enjoying your attention, and someone wants to steal that!

3. Positive Parenting Techniques Offers Choices

First of all, make it pretty clear whatever you want to get done, whether they will have a memory book for chores or draw pictures to recall not to leave their shoes carelessly on the door. Then, give them alternatives instead of issuing the dos and don’ts commands. 

4. Positive Parenting Techniques Are Consistent, Firm and Loving

Hands, Holding, Embracing, Loving, Child, Girl

Psychology is a full package of wisdom and love combined.

A routine has to be forged. Since the youngsters tend to love it their way or enjoy forgetting, parenting discipline techniques also ought to be constant. Sometimes, it might hurt you to keep them away from something or discipline them, but we never promised it’s going to be an easy ride! 

5. Positive Parenting Techniques Uses Humor and Isn’t Perfect

You never laugh at your kiddo, you laugh along with them. You never make them feel worthless; you make them understand that a certain habit has no worth. Don’t aim for perfection. You’ll be discouraged way too early. Aim for small but sure steps that provide a notable change.

Conclusion

This life is not a race with anyone – do not compete to make your child turn into something you saw next door or on social media. They have their journey to take, and as they grow, you may see them depart from some things you’ve held on dearly to. Just be patient with them as they grow and learn how to express themselves.

Do you think positive parenting techniques work? Why or why not? Leave a comment!

Author’s Bio:

Amalia Liberman is a wife and a mother of two as well as a novelist and writer, the author has been featured in Women’s Health magazine and also written different articles in lifestyle magazines. Her passions lead her to search out knowledge with all her searching and she doesn’t mind sharing her findings.

Picture sources –

  1. Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-boy-standing-beside-mother-3330709/  
  2. Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/mother-and-son-in-kitchen-3730943/  
  3. Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/hands-holding-embracing-loving-718559/   

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Why not also read my other posts –

Homeschooling Activities

Ways to help with Mental Health during lockdown

Lisa Norman’s guest blog on the birth of her son prematurely

Review of the educational Human Heroes App

A collection of lockdown poems

Categories
Parenting Advice

Homeschooling Activities

As we have all been thrown in the deep end of homeschooling our children and our struggling with what we should be doing, me included. I wanted to share with you a couple of homeschooling activities that have worked well for us this week. 

To make clear I have no teaching qualifications or knowledge of the curriculum I am just a parent doing the best I can and I am writing this post to share the learning activities we came up with that my girls enjoyed doing. Of course there was a lot of activities we tried that were a complete failure too. 

Research on different Countries 

We started this activity by getting up a world map, I then covered my daughter’s eyes while she pointed at the screen and whatever country she pointed to we would learn about. 

Once we had a country picked we made a poster of that country, drew the flag and then searched up on Google to find out facts about that country and add them to the poster. 

At first we did a poster together however my girls got into the activity and wanted to do it by themselves. Altogether they did posters on Canada, Mexico, India, Portugal, Chad and Italy finding out some amazing facts about each country. 

Animal A-Z

I set my girls the task of writing down a list of animal names from A-Z with 2 or 3 for each letter. They used Google to search these up and found out about new animals they had never heard off especially for the unusual letters. 

As an extra they then picked one of these unusual animals and did a poster writing down facts they found out about it. 

Jewellery shop

My girls enjoy making things so I bought some beads, charms and string for them to make bracelets. They used the different colour beads to think about patterns when making their bracelets. 

After we made them we discussed selling them at a stall and what price we should sell them at and I explained about profit. 

We then worked out from the cost of what I bought the beads for how much each bracelet would cost us to make and from their how much we would need to sell them for to make profit. 

This is a great activity to get them learning business skills from a young age, showing them how maths is important and used in everyday life and also to get them being creative. 

It doesn’t have to be bracelets you could make anything your children are interested in and then do this little activity. 

Write a silly rhyme

My girls seemed to enjoy this little activity especially as the rhymes they were writing were silly. My 8 year old just wrote a lot of small 2 line rhymes but it got here thinking about words that rhyme. 

My 10 and 12 year old managed to write a full silly rhyme each which they enjoyed as it gave them a giggle when writing. 

The YouTube channel 

My girls like most children these days are desperate to get a YouTube channel of their own and while I am not quite ready to let them have one just yet I used this to create a learning activity. I set them the task of coming up with a name for their channel and then creating a logo to go with it. 

I have to say I was so proud of what they came up with they really put their heart and soul into it. As well as drawing out a logo they then found a drawing app on their tablets and worked out how to use the layers and created their logos digitally. 

I won’t share their logos in case they do want to use them but below is some pictures my 10 year old made using the drawing app.

These were made on the app by my 10 year old
This was made on the app by my 10 year old

Create a comic

My girls abosutley loved this activity and made some fabulous comics it kept them busy for a while. Now I would love to say I came up with this task straight away and they got on with but it didn’t happen like that. 

I originally set them the task of writing a poem about lockdown that didn’t go down to well and then I changed it to write me a story about anything. Again this was a failure and all they did was write a title then moan for 20 mins. 

That was when I thought about getting them to make a comic instead. They all love drawing and comics have minimal writing so it was perfect. They still had to think about story lines and planning out their stories into the boxes they just got to do a lot less writing.

Learning Animation

I signed up for free accounts with The Khan Academy where the girls learned how to do animation and basic coding. This is a great way to get them started on the basics for coding and computers. My girls really enjoyed these activities my 8 year old needed a little bit of help but my 10 and 12 year old were able to follow the tutorials and get on with it unaided.

I do feel it is important to install a good concept of money and the basics of business in them from a young age, which is often missing from schooling. So lets try are best to embrace this homeschooling opportunity and focus more on some of the learning elements they don’t get from from school.

We have also found that the topmarks website, BBC bitesize website and The Human Heroes app have all been great homeschooling learning aids.

Please do share any activities that have gone well for you and your children or any useful websites.

Why not also read my other post –

Review of the educational Human Heroes App

A collection of lockdown poems

Ways to help with mental health and anxiety during CV-19

Review of Dino Rangers treasure hunt by Wonder Adventures

Why I wrote The Book of Silly Rhymes and how it can help children who find reading a struggle

Review of Jo Middleton’s fabulous new book ‘Playgroups and Prosecco’

Categories
Guest Posts Parenting Advice

Winning the Mealtime Battle

Written by Sarah Alder of Kitchen Titbits

As a couple, food is probably what binds us the most. When we welcomed H into the world, we were excited for him to share food with us, to sit at the table and eat together and to see the joy on his face when experiencing new and interesting flavours or the pleasure of visiting a restaurant.

For a couple of years after weaning, he’d tuck into anything and everything. He’d declare his favourite meal as ‘paella’ to anyone who asked and would request I cook him squid when his peers might not venture further than a fish finger. He would cook with me, tasting as we went and chatting about the ingredients. He was a sponge, soaking up everything I had to teach him. It felt wonderful!

Then, something changed. This little boy who’d try anything turned into a food refuser. A wholesome and varied diet restricted to a few acceptable foods –raw red pepper and carrot, cucumber and sweetcorn, cheese and ham, bread and crackers, cheese and tomato pizza, fish fingers and not much more.

Suddenly, I knew just how so many parents feel at mealtimes. Dread, anger, stress, bewilderment. I just wanted the dining room to open up and swallow me.

We tried to follow our instincts and the advice for coping with the ordeal; not getting angry or upset was easier said than done and there was so much conflicting information that I didn’t know where to start. I needed tried and tested methods.

So, I read and read and read and determined what would be the most sensible things to try first; persisting with offering the food we wanted him to eat in small amounts, not offering an alternative, praising when he tried something and trying to remind ourselves that he’d eat if he was really hungry (turned out he was so stubborn that he wouldn’t!).

It was OK knowing some simple approaches to employ but it was slow going and so I started reading about the psychological and social aspects of eating, about child behaviour, even delving into the area of autism,where there are known sensitivities around textures of foods and trying new things.

I was able to start piecing things together and forming a plan of action. Two years later,we weren’t free of the battle with food, but the situation was hugely improved. The acceptable food pool had widened and the call to the table was no longer met with a complete meltdown.

Now, almost four years on, I would say we’ve definitely cracked it and I no longer consider H a fussy eater (we’re just going through it all again with our daughter!). Yes, there are foods he doesn’t enjoy. Yes, there are foods he’s yet to try or has tried but needs to keep trying. Yes, there are mealtimes where he’ll start to make a fuss. But, that’s just like any other child!

So, how did we cope with the challenge? I realised that his life is managed for him in so many ways and that he’s constantly being told what to do and when. What goes in his mouth is the only thing he can dictate and we needed to get around this. We found ways for him to assert some control over what he eats, within the boundaries that we set.

Each weekday he chooses what to have for breakfast from a small selection. At the weekends, we often have a more leisurely breakfast and he has the opportunity to request something he likes; fruit pancakes, sausage bagels, omelette and toast, sweetcorn fritters.

At the weekend, he picks what to have for lunch, but we all eat the same thing together at teatime. He also contributes to our weekly meal plans. It’s another way for him to feel in control.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to make mealtimes less stressful and more varied,whilst ensuring I am only preparing one dinner is to serve meals family-style. All that means is that, instead of serving a meal plated up for everyone, all the food goes in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves.

We’re made food fun again instead of it being a battleground and it worked – I think the fact that he now wants to ‘style’ his meal and take a photo of it just like daddy is a positive sign!

Family mealtimes should be sociable affairs, full of laughter and a way to reconnect after a busy day or week. Instead they are all too often a stressful and upsetting time. But they don’t have to be this way.

My ‘How to feed your fussy eater’ four-week interactive online programme will equip you with an armoury of techniques, words and activities so that you can turn mealtimes around. Food will no longer be scary, the dinner table will no longer be a battleground, you will be able to remain calm, you’ll have an endless supply of meal ideas, food will be served which everyone will enjoy and the vegetables will get eaten (eventually!).

I’ve got bonus appearances from Laura Clark Nutrition and Heather Keats Health and Fitness lined up as well to support you with any nutrition concerns and techniques to help you reduce your stress and remain calm. Once the course is finished, you’ll also have the option to join a community of supportive mums (dads are welcome too!) who have attended my courses and workshops and who know just what it’s like. You’ll receive ongoing support and encouragement from us all.

So, if you’re ready to help your family enjoy healthier, happier and stress-free mealtimes, join me for the course starting on 27 April! It will be running termly so if now isn’t the right time for you, join me for the next one after the May half term.

If the course isn’t for you but you know a mum (or dad) who is at their wits end come mealtimes, please tell them about my course. They don’t need to face this alone and they don’t need to continue to suffer.

Why not also take a look at my other posts –

Lisa Norman shares her story on the premature birth of her son Neil

Interview with Jo Coombs and Robert Papworth of the new selling site Made by Mums

Book review of Jo Middleton’s fabulous book Playgroups and Prosecco

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Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Please stop worrying about homeschooling your children

Almost overnight parents across the world have now become teachers and are trying to do the very best they can to home school their children in a very challenging environment. 

Most parents don’t have experience of homeschooling and due to how suddenly it all happened didn’t have time to prepare. 

Well this post is my plea to all parents to stop worrying and stressing over homeschooling your children. They will be alright.

You have to remember that schools and teachers have months of preparation and years of experience to provide our children with structured learning at school so trying to replicate this structure at home is going to be near impossible. Not to mention that we as home school teachers now have the added stress that we can’t go outside and the fear of the CoronaVirus causing everyone anxiety.  

Most primary schools have around 30 children per class all with different abilities, likes and interests so structure is key in a school environment to ensure classes and learning run efficiently and everyone gets to do a bit of everything. 

However in a home setting you will only have your own children to teach so why not take this time to let them focus on the subjects they enjoy the most whether it be Art, cooking, creative writing, geography ect. Ask them what they would like to learn each day or which subject they would like to focus on. Even if your children, like mine, spend nearly all day drawing and baking they are still learning and developing their skills. 

Making Bread
One of my eldest daughter’s drawing
Making Flapjacks

These are tough times that we are all going through and I think most adults are feeling worried and anxious so our children must be feeling a bit of it too. Anything you can get them to do that will keep them occupied and enjoying themselves will help to ease their stress and worry. 

Even if you have high school children instead of trying to get them to do a bit of every lesson and fit it all, spend a bit of time on the core subjects Maths, English, Science and then spend most of the time on the subject that they enjoy the most. This is going to be a hard time for them too especially that they are not able to go out with their friends so keeping them happy is going to be the main priority and probably a tough one with teenagers.  

There are lots of online educational games and learning tools available now that are brilliant for teaching children especially when homeschooling but if your children really don’t take to it or don’t want to do it then don’t feel pressured to make them. Just keep trying different things until you find something that works.    

This is a very difficult time for everyone and a lot of people are suffering at the moment but if we try to find a positive in all of this it is that we have been given this extra time with our children so just try to take the time to enjoy it. 

Why not also read my other posts –

Indoor crafts and activities for children

Ways to help with mental health and anxiety during the corona virus

The Pointless Book by Alfie Deyes book review in association with Books2door

Why I wrote The Book of Silly Rhymes and how it can help children that struggle to read


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Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

New Years Health & Fitness Routines – Why They Do Not Work and What We Should Be Doing

Why! Why do we do it to ourselves. With the beginning of every new year we all make these health and fitness goals that just are not sustainable. It is like we are stuck in a broken record making the same mistakes every year.

I mean, what is it about January that makes us all focus about our health and fitness anyway?

Is it that we have all over indulged too much at Christmas and start to feel guilty so once January hits we go on diets but surely calories don’t count in December, right.

Or it could be that come the 1st January everywhere you go they are selling gym equipment, food supplements and gym clothes, even Aldi best buys are taken over by the January get fit quick idea. Everywhere you look there is adverts for gym membership trying to pressures us to make the change and newspapers and magazines are packed full of articles on how to be super fit and healthy. 

I mean how many times have you bought a piece of equipment or gym membership with the best intentions and once January has ended it has gone to waist never to be used again? 

Well I can tell you now that you are not the only one! 

It turns out that the second Saturday of February is statistically known as ‘fall of the wagon day’ as identified by Citylab and Foursquare research. 

To be honest even that is good going we are only on the 4th January and I have already given in on eating healthy and finished a box of Lindt chocolates to myself.

Now I am all for getting healthy and sustaining a fitness routine and I do actively promote these but I feel that every January there is so much pressure put on us to change literally overnight from eating chocolates for breakfast still on 31st December to then be eating avocados and rye bread from the 1st January. 

I do want to be healthier and fitter and I do encourage everyone to else as well to take the steps towards living a healthier life. However it needs to be done slowly and over the course of the year so it is more sustainable. 

If we ease into it and implement small changes then it will be so much easier to keep. If you are going from doing no exercise at all and then all of a sudden you are doing 5 days a week of exercise I doubt you will be able to keep this going. It is better to start off with one day a week of exercise then as the weeks/months go on slowly increase to 2-3 days. 

The same with diet don’t go jumping in on the newest fad diet that you just won’t be able to keep up. Start by making small healthy changes like maybe eating a healthier breakfast, drinking more water and then slowly build on this. 

If we can all slowly build on small sustainable health & fitness steps then by next New Year we won’t need to make these radical New Years health resolutions as we will already be at are prime health and fitness levels.

My January small steps that I have made is to start ordering weekly fruit and veg boxes from our local green grocer to ensure we are all getting more in our diet and instead of signing up for gym membership I have signed the whole family back up to National Trust membership to get us back out visiting these beautiful places and going out for walks again around the grounds.  

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What small steps are you going to make to work on your long term health goals?

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Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why I turned Vegetarian and my journey on cutting out meat

Being a writer with Dyslexia

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Parenting Advice Product Reviews

Cool That Volcano – A self-help book for parents to help children achieve emotional intelligence

I had the pleasure of being asked to review Peter Black’s informative self – help book ‘Cool that Volcano‘. 

volcano-book.jpeg

Pete Black is a registered psychologist with over 16 years of experience working with troubled individuals. He has used his own professional experience and knowledge of emotional management skills, to create this self-help book for parents to help you achieve a emotionally intelligent children. 

Cool that Volcano’s core focus is on open communication between child and adult which Peter has then broken down into easy to follow sections explaining step by step how to achieve this and gain emotional intelligence. 

The book is broken down into the following sections – 

– Understanding Emotions

– Managing Emotions

– Processing Emotions

– Maintaining Emotional Balance

– Effective Modelling

Peter has used Metaphors to describe a child’s emotional state, hence the title of the book.  The Volcano is the child’s temperament and the Lava is when a child erupts spewing out negative emotions, he refers to these throughout the book and also uses icebergs as a metaphor for cooling your little volcano’s down. 

I found Cool that Volcano easy to read and understand. It is also packed full of helpful tips and advice that is broken down into small steps to help you follow and implement to effectively deal with your child’s emotional state. Peter has written the book in a understanding way that makes you feel at ease. He also sets realistic targets highlighting that changes won’t happen overnight but with a bit of time and practice emotional intelligence is achievable. As well as focusing on our children’s emotional intelligence Peter also talks about the importance of being a good role model by making sure we can control our emotions in difficult situations too and has included some tips to help parents with this. 

volcano-book.jpeg

If you are struggling to handle your child’s emotions then this book is definitely worth reading. 

Cool That Volcano is available on Amazon for £6.99 paperback or you can read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. 

Why not take a look at my other book review posts –

Playgroups and Prosecco

Escape from Nettle Farm

I am your Friend, A book of hope

The girl who refused to quit

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Parenting Advice

It is OK to have a lazy day every now and then.

I always feel that on weekends and especially on Bank holiday weekends our family should be doing something special like visiting a new place, going on a beautiful walk, making something or doing an activity.

I often feel that if we haven’t done something that day then it has been wasted and I have let everyone down. Today was one of those days, I wanted for us all to go out and make some memories but no one really wanted to move. All of us were knackered, the weather was cold, we don’t have a lot of money as we are going on holiday in 2 weeks and we just couldn’t be bothered.

I think social media plays a huge part in making us feel like we should be doing more as you only really see post when people/families have done something or gone somewhere exciting you don’t see people posting that they spent the day watching telly and doing the washing. However the real-life truth is we can’t do all these things all the time we have to have the boring days of doing nothing to be able to enjoy and look forward to the fun days.

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At first I was worried that my girls were missing out on an opportunity to do something over the bank holiday but then I looked at them chilled out playing on the computers and I then realised that they need days like these, they are happy and not moaning and we could all do with a down day there is nothing wrong with having one every now and again..

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So instead the girls all played computer games, I did the housework and then we did a bit of roller skating. Even though we didn’t go anywhere we still all had a good day. It also means we were able to save money so we will now have a bit more to spend and enjoy our holiday with.

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Why not also take a look at my other posts –

New Years Health & Fitness Routines – Why they don’t work and what we should be doing.

Body Image / Body Confidence photo shoot

Love the Skin you’re in

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Parenting Advice

Alternatives to Chocolate this Easter

This Easter I will be looking at getting my children something other than chocolate as a gift. They still will end up with chocolate from Easter trails and I am sure from other family members so they are not missing out completely but I don’t want to contribute to the hoards of chocolate they normally end up with. Instead I am getting my girls a book each and a cushion which I have shared below. I have also added some other gift ideas instead of chocolate.

Books

Books make a great gift for children for Easter, these can be Easter related stories, activity books, picture books or just a book from a series/author they are interested in. Books are  great way to inspire children to read from a young age it will also be something new for the children to read over the Easter holidays.

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My children’s book Pete The Cheeky Parakeet would make a lovely gift for children 3-7 years olds.

Craft Activity Packs

Craft activity packs also make great gifts for Easter, they are fun, engaging and also give children something to do when they are on half term.

Some of our favourite activities are Hama Beads, sand art, Window sticker pens, painting sets.

Clothes

This is a good gift idea if your children are slightly older and appreciate getting clothes. A new top, dress, football kit, jumper, new shoes or even a pair of pyjamas all make a lovely gift that are also practical.

A useful gift

I have chosen to get all my girls cushions for their rooms this year. I have ordered them from the lovely Lili’s Boutique who hand makes them and can also add in a little pocket at the front for keeping a cuddly toy or book in. She has a range of different fabrics that you can choose from.

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An example of the cushion I have ordered for my girls

A jewellery/keepsake box, a new rucksack or even a lunch box all make good gifts for Easter that are also useful.

An activity

Why not book a family activity for you all to try something new like climbing, high ropes, laser tag, horse riding, tobogganing ect. There is lots of activities available and this will also be a gift you can all enjoy together.

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Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Finding the balance for children between screen time and playing outside

As modern day parents we are facing a new dilemma with our children and the boom of electronics. In this day and age it is important for our children to be familiar with electronics and how they work. By having a good knowledge of electronics will help them in the future.

However it is also important for them to be outside playing, interacting with other children and being imaginative by thinking up their own games. This will help keep them fit, healthy, develop motor skills and also help improve their well-being and happiness. Read my post on the Benefits of nature and how to enjoy them post for more info on the importance of people outside.

It is so hard to find the balance or even to know what the balance should be. How much is too much time on their tablets? I have looked into it and all the advice I can find is that appropriate time limits should be set however some places say no more than 2 hours a day and some say less than 2 hours a day. My girls are early risers so they could do this before I even get out of bed especially on the weekend.

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If I let them they would happily spend all day zombified to their tablets/computers and although they may moan once they are outside playing they are happy children climbing trees and playing with each other in the park like we used to do as children.

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They even got their uncle into playing Roblox with them

Although I still don’t think I have the balance right here are something I have found that help.

1. In the weekday mornings they are not allowed to touch electronics until they are completely ready for school they are normally slow at getting ready so most mornings they never even get to go on their tablets. This is also a great way to get them ready for school on time.

2. After school we have the rule of no electronics until after dinner although annoyingly they do still get round this sometimes as they have homework that needs to be done on a computer, but generally this works really well. They will go out to play burn off some energy and then after dinner they can have a chill time on their electronics before heading to bed. On days with bad weather they play games or do some drawing.

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3. Weekends however are a lot harder as I want to be more relaxed with them but they would easily spend the whole day looking at the screen if I let them. They are on their electronics from the point of waking up until I decide they have been on them to long and send them out to the park. Some of the games they play or YouTube videos they watch are good and they can learn from them but others are just a load of rubbish that I am pretty sure has no benefit to them at all.

I have to admit that they probably do spend more than the 2 hours a day on their electronics over the weekend. After having breakfast they are normally on them until about 10/11am when we then take them out or I send them out to play with their friends. Unless the weather is really bad they will stay outside for most of the day just playing and being children. Then they will go back on their tablets in the evening sometimes for another 2 hours. In the summer however we are pretty much out for the whole weekend and they barely even look at their electronics. On the weekends I try to again limit their electronic use to just morning and evenings.

What tips do you have for finding a balance please comment below.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Love the skin your in

Self-care tips for busy parents

The Benefits of Journaling

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Ways to help children improve their mental health and well-being

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