Archive of ‘Family’ category
There is no doubt about it; our kids are spending too much time indoors. They either watch television or play video games for hours on end. Yes, it is easy to cure that problem; unplug the television and throw the games console away. But as the children say; what else is there for them to do? We are an overprotective nation, and we don’t let our little ones out to play anymore. The dangers are no greater now than they ever were, we just hear about them more thanks to the internet. Our children are suffering because of our anxieties, and it is wrong. If something isn’t done about it soon, those who never get to go out unsupervised with their friends will be at a significant disadvantage in life.
I will write more about allowing your children to play away from home without supervision in my next article. It is all about managing the risk. For today, I wish to suggest ways you can encourage them to use your garden more than they do now. It isn’t hard, but you must make an effort to turn the garden into an appealing place for them. Here are a few top tips to help you achieve your goal.
Buy a swimming pool. It is likely to be a massive investment, but it is worth every penny, in my opinion. You can now find fibreglass pool liners online that cut the installation costs and time by half. The filtration equipment and heater comes in kit form too, so they are a DIY job at last.
Alternatively, you could buy a freestanding unit. It will probably not be as big as a sunken pool and will cost about the same. The pool is good for their physical health and gives you a fantastic reason to spend more time together.
Your little ones will know the program listings very well, and they will try to go back indoors when a show starts. Why not take the TV outdoors so they can enjoy the fresh it while they watch it. The guys at http://www.thetvshield.com/enclosures say that the products are safe to use and weatherproof. Garden television is the future as far as I am concerned.
Modern gazebos are more like detached conservatories these days. You kids will want to spend time out there because it is such an appealing space. Maybe they could use it as a place to do their homework, or to sit with friends who come round to visit. They will ask you if they can take the video games console out there; the decision is yours.
Swings and slides are as popular today as ever. The best structures also feature a climbing frame and are made from timber that will last for many years. Your kids will have many adventures out there and will come to no harm as long as you have the foresight to put a soft base down in case they fall. I suggest you use a product made from recycled tyres. They are bouncy and durable.
It is much better to tempt kids outside rather than force them. When you install the best features, they will be powerless to resist. Good luck with your mission; perseverance will pay off.
We can all be guilty of not spending enough time together as a family. Kids soon grow up, so it’s important that you spend as much quality time as you can with them while they’re young. This helps to shape them as a person and teach them valuable life lessons/skills. Here are 8 ways you can spend more time with your kids:
Work From Home
Working from home is a great way to spend more time with your kids if they aren’t at school yet. If you have a fantastic idea for a business venture or product, then set out making it a reality! Watch Dragon’s Den to get inspired.
Hire a Housekeeper
Cleaning the house can take up a whole lot of time, and it can feel like it’s all you do at times. By hiring a housekeeper, you can spend much more time with your kids. You’ll also feel much less stressed as you don’t have as much to do! You can find housekeepers in London from Supacare.
Say No to Over Scheduling
Kids need their own hobbies, but make sure you say no to over scheduling. Allow them one after school activity per day, so that you still get to spend time with them. This will also teach them some valuable lessons, such as making decisions.
Limit TV Time
The TV can sometimes be a great way to help kids learn and keep them entertained, but it might not be a good idea to have it on all the time. Try limiting TV time to one or two hours a day in the week, and use the weekends to spend real quality time together. You could even ban TV through the week!
Read to Them Before Bed
Reading to kids before bed helps to develop their imagination and get them into books. Books are great for helping kids to learn and get them excited about literature. Stories from the likes of Roald Dahl are perfect. They’ll always remember this special time you spent together!
Set Aside Time for a Friday Fun Night
Friday is a great day to have a family fun night, as it marks the end of the working week. You could all get a takeaway on this day and play some of your favourite games. It’s a great way to bond as a family!
Always Eat Dinner Together
Eating dinner together is a great family experience that is not practiced very often these days, unfortunately. Don’t have the TV on, eat dinner around the table, and ban subjects that could cause arguments. This will become a fantastic time for everybody to bond!
Play Sports Together
If you enjoy keeping fit, there’s no reason your kids can’t join in. Try playing sports and keeping fit together rather than handing them over to a babysitter! You could even just go on long walks. Remember, you must take time for yourself too. Here are 5 fun ways to spend your down time!
Now you and your kids will bond like never before!
Image Author: Flickr
If you’ve ever had to undertake a long journey with young children in tow then you’re probably already all-too-familiar with how challenging this can be. If you’re traveling by car, this can be difficult enough. But if you’re using public transport, the experience can prove to be even more of a challenge. People aren’t always quite as patient with children as perhaps they should be. So, if yours are crying because they’re bored or tired, you may end up being faced with a barrage of filthy looks and unsympathetic faces.
So, to help ensure that your next trip with the children doesn’t end up being the journey from hell, we strongly advise that you take a few minutes to read this post.
Have Plenty to Keep them Entertained
Thanks to the amazing advancements in modern technology, keeping the kids entertained on a long journey isn’t half as hard as it used to be. In the not-so-distant past, parents were forced to lug coloring books, crayons, jigsaws and Lego onto planes, trains and automobiles. Nowadays, moms and dads can thankfully travel a little lighter. Cell phones and tablets have all manner of games and applications to keep the little ones occupied.
Just make sure you set some parental locks on the device beforehand to prevent spending a fortune on accidental in-app purchases. Just as important is to make sure that your phone or tablet has got plenty of battery life. The last thing you want is to run out of juice, and then have to deal with a bored and restless child for the remainder of the journey. For this reason, it’s also always best to have a back-up plan in place. So, chuck a couple of activity books and Zebra pen refills into a bag to give you that extra peace of mind.
Have a Good Old Fashioned Sing-Song
This is one probably best kept for family-only road trips, where you’re traveling by car. Kids love anything interactive, and there are countless traditional car songs that require you to interact as a family, as well as sing. ‘Wheels on the bus’ is a rather obvious choice, but the song endures for a reason – both kids and adults love it! For older kids, singing a favorite family pop song works just as well.
Traditional car games such as the ‘license plate game’ are another great way of stopping boredom from setting in when you’re traveling for long periods at a time. You can also use it as an opportunity to test your kid’s geography skills. Even if your child is yet to go to school, there’s nothing wrong with starting them young! Ask them questions about the environment around them. Also, make sure they at least have a vague understanding of where it is they’re going. Encouraging them to be interested in, and ask questions about, the world around them will place them in good stead for their future education.
Now you’re armed with plenty of ideas and inspiration. So, just follow our advice and you’ll never have to contend with bored children on a long journey again!
Image Source: Flickr
Planning your big day with your beloved is a special time in any relationship. When you have children together, this can heighten the sense of togetherness. For many couples, they have made the decision to have children first, and conclude with the formalities later. Of course, planning your wedding day when you have children in tow can make the affair a little more stressful. No one said that planning a wedding would be a stress-free endeavour.
With thanks to Ali Nishan for the image
But, there are some utterly perfect ways that you can plan your big day after you have had children. Let’s take a look at how this can be done:
Include Your Children in More Ways Than One
Of course, you will want your children to be flower girls, page boys and important parts of your day. This goes without saying. But, you can include them in the planning stages of your special day. For many couples, getting a child’s perspective on proceedings can add to the romanticism of their big day. Take them to your preferred venues and get their opinions on things. Kids are known to be brutally honest. Getting their opinion is important. It can add a lot more to the affair.
Request that your kids help you with the smaller details too. Wedding card designs, dresses and flowers are all important parts of the day. See how the children feel about these things and use their ideas. Utilising your kids’ ideas will make your wedding day even more special. Completing these tasks as a family will heighten your feelings of togetherness.
Ask your children to do a reading or say a few words in front of your guests. Ask them to write a poem about their mummy and daddy. Poems are the perfect way to include your children in the main event. It’s fair to say; you won’t have a dry eye in the house.
Planning is Everything
Factoring in your kids needs on your big day is important. While you may feel that your big day is about you, you need to consider how they are going to feel during the main event. They may feel tired and irritable. What’s more, they will want to snack throughout the day, not wait for a big meal. You need to incorporate their schedule into your wedding day plans and timetable. This will make for a more enjoyable experience for all. The extra planning may seem like a burden, but it will help your day go more smoothly.
Budgeting and Money Matters
When you have children, your priorities change. You may have dreamt of the big white wedding. But, if you cannot afford this with the kids in tow, it may be time to be more realistic about your plans. You can still have a lavish big day, but you may need to invite fewer people. Keep your guest list small and intimate. Stick to close friends and family. What is more, if your kids know the guests at your wedding, they will feel more comfortable. A room full of strangers can be intimidating. Plus, you will have a lot of extra hands to help with babysitting duties.
The time has come where you must return to work following your maternity leave. Returning to work is difficult, especially after spending the last several months with your new baby.
Hiring a nanny can be a daunting task to some new parents. Trusting someone they do not know to take care of their new baby would be scary. It is an emotional time for any parent that faces these challenges. However, there is a way to safely and securely hire a nanny that you can start to place your trust in.
Link to image source
What Qualities Are You Looking For?
First and foremost, you need to have a good think about the qualities that you are looking for within a nanny. Take out your paper and pen, or make a list within a Word document, and start creating your list.
Multiple Interview Process
Once you have created your list, detailed above, you can place your ‘Nanny Required’ advert. Just like you would have applied for a new job, you must put nannies through the same paces.
When you start receiving interest within your advert, conduct a small telephone interview. Make sure you have a list of standardised questions, and fire away at the nanny applicant. Rate their performance and how they answered your questions. Did they make the grade? Make a note on each applicant and make a decision whether you would like to take them through to the next stage of your interview process.
When meeting a nanny for the first time, ensure that it is somewhere local and neutral. Do not bring your baby along to this interview. Again, take the time to get to know the nanny. Ask for references at this point too.
After you have interviewed your nanny candidates, go home and do not read your notes for a day or so. This time allows you to clear your head so you can make informed decisions. Once you have had some time to clear your head, go back to your notes. You can then start to shortlist your nanny candidates. You must make arrangements for background checks on your preferred nannies.
Once you have received the background checks on the nannies, you can invite them back for the final interview. Ideally this should be at your home, together with your baby. If you want to feel a little more safe and secure, ask a family member or trusted friend or neighbour to be with you too.
The final interview stage is all about the connection you and your baby have with the nanny. Each nanny will be qualified enough to look after children, but do they connect with you and the baby? This connection is vital to everyone concerned; you, your baby and your nanny.
This is all too often the biggest stumbling block when it comes to hiring a nanny. Just like business, it relies on supply and demand, and experience and qualifications of the nanny. Most salary expectations are flexible. So, do not be afraid to talk finances when interviewing.
If you and your partner have got children that you’d like to include in your wedding ceremony, there’s absolutely no reason you should stick to tradition. There are plenty of inventive ways you can include the kids in your ceremony, and they’re sure to enjoy it a lot more! Here are some great ways you can include them in your wedding ceremony:
Photo Author: Flickr
Have Them Hand Out Flowers
As you make your way up the aisle, why not have the kids hand you beautiful flowers from the sidelines? The kids can have a few flowers each, and once they’ve finished handing them to you you’ll have a full bouquet! This can usually bring a tear to the eye of the adults.
Read a Poem
Depending on how old the children are, you could have them read a special poem out on the day. This could be a poem that they like, that means something to you, or one that they’ve written themselves. Perhaps if they play a musical instrument, they could include that too! Weddings are a great place for talented children to show off their skills.
Give the Kids Cameras
Buy a bunch of disposable cameras and give one to each child, telling them to take as many pictures as they like with it. You won’t believe how fun everything looks from their point of view! You’ll get a load of unique pictures that you wouldn’t have got otherwise. No doubt you’ll be able to look back on them one day with a huge smile!
Ring Bearers and Flower Girls
Of course there’s the traditional idea of having the boys as ring bearers and the girls as flower girls. If you feel a little on edge about trusting the boys with the rings, you can always attach them to a necklace or some string to make sure they don’t get misplaced! Whiteflash sell wedding rings in Greater Houston, so maybe have a chat with them about some kind of chain that the rings can be kept on during the ceremony. Perhaps the children can keep this chain afterwards as a lovely keepsake?
Make Sure You Show Your Appreciation
Bear in mind that children don’t always know how to act after the ceremony is finished. The bride and groom walk away, the adults cheer and talk, and the kids don’t know what to do with themselves. Show your appreciation to the children involved by giving them a big cuddle and telling them that they are now free to play.
Get them to Sign Your Record of Marriage
Kids usually love signing the ‘Record of Marriage’, which you can allow anybody to sign. This makes them feel important and can make great photos for the wedding album.
Including the children in the ceremony in a meaningful way, rather than handing out booklets, can be a lot nicer for the children. However, make sure that the children want to be included in the service, otherwise their indifference could show through. I hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas!
Christenings are a wonderful event to go. Everyone loves to celebrate baby’s biggest event to the date. However, amidst the excitement of the special day, you need to find an amazing gift. This can be difficult. After all, kids these days have everything from the minute that they are born. The great new is is that help is at hand. If you are in a gift giving dilemma, do not despair. This guide will have you reaching for the credit card in no time. What’s more, you will be sure to earn some serious brownie points in the process.
Photo: Eldriva via Flickr
Name a Star
Did you know that you can buy and name a star in someone’s honour? What could be a better gift than to bestow them a star. There are many places in which you can buy a star from. You can name a star after the baby or after a memorable place or name that is associated with the family. This is an excellent gift to give. For many, this one of a kind gift will be greatly received. What could be a nicer honour than naming a star after a precious bundle of joy?
The likes of Not on the High Street and Easy has seen everyone rushing to buy beautiful pieces of bespoke art. For a christening, this is the ultimate gift. You can choose from many different themes and motifs. Colours, phrases, words and such like are all tailored as you see fit. You can ensure that the gift is personalised so that it features the child’s name and christening details. The wonderful thing about opting for bespoke art is that it is a truly unique gift. You can guarantee that baby doesn’t end up with duplicate presents by buying this kind of gift.
For the ultimate traditionalist, then there is only one christening gift of choice: silverware. Silverware, traditionally, is usually bestowed to the baby and the parents in the event of a christening. For those that like to keep the true meaning of a christening alive, then silver is the apparent gift of choice. There is a great deal of things that you can choose from to gift the new baby. Birth certificate holders, money boxes and tooth and curl boxes are all gorgeous christening gifts. What is more, this unisex gift is a great all-rounder. Silverware is objective. It’s the gift that cannot go wrong.
Set up a Bank Account
Depending on the nature of your relationship with the parents, you may want to consider setting up a bank account for the baby. This is a great way to ensure that baby has a sound financial start in life. You can choose to open an account with as little as £10. By bestowing a bank account, you are giving a gift for life. Of course, this is usually a gift given by the family, so do ensure that you are not treading on any toes when giving this gift.
Many people have fantasies of moving to the seaside. It feels like living by the sea would be like a permanent holiday. Anytime you want to go out and look out at the waves, there’s a beach right there. Yes, some seaside towns might get very busy in the summer months. But the rest of the year, it’s quiet and tranquil. Your children too would probably be delighted at the prospect of moving to the seaside. Long days of exploring rockpools and splashing in the sea are a dream for some kids. In fact, moving to the seaside could have lots of benefits for your children and you.
It’s Good For Their Health
There is evidence that there might be a link between living by the seaside and having good health. A study linked people self-reporting as being in “good health” to people living in seaside towns. There are a number of possible reasons for this, including that living by the sea might make you feel relaxed. People living in seaside towns might also be more encouraged to exercise by the environment. Beaches, clifftops and winding paths, not to mention the sea. On top of that, there should be less pollution than in larger cities. Take a deep breath of that clean sea air!
There are all kinds of family friendly activities to enjoy by the sea. If your children are active types who’ll do any physical activity available then they’re in luck. There’s swimming, of course, but then there are more adventurous activities like surfing, wind-surfing, water-skiing and sea kayaking. They can also learn to sail or take boats of all sizes out on the water. If your kids aren’t the type to get wet, there’s still plenty to do on dry land. From rockpool exploring and shell collecting to building sandcastles, it’s easy to get your kids outside in the fresh air.
Image from Wikipedia
Peace and Quiet
Some children and families are more suited to a quieter life. Looking at estate agents in Parkstone, Poole in Dorset will reveal a whole host of beautiful houses with sea views and quiet locations. Your children will sleep better without the noise of a city outside, and your family will be calmer, healthier and more relaxed.
A Change in Diet
If your children aren’t big fans of seafood, or haven’t had much chance to try it, moving to the seaside is your chance to introduce them to new things. Living in a seaside town, you’ll usually have access to fresh fish and other seafood every single day. There’s a huge range of culinary delights to introduce your children to, from plain white fish to prawn and lobster. Fish that’s so fresh will taste better too and, along with just about everything by the seaside it seems, is great for your health.
Moving to the seaside comes with plenty of health benefits. But if being healthy is too boring of a reason to move, then just think of all the fun you can have.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
As parents, we only want the best for our children. When it comes to their health, their education and their development, nothing less than the best will suffice. And nursery furniture and accessories are no exceptions. We want something that’s functional, practical and that also complements our nursery decor perfectly.
So, if you’re looking to update or add to your baby’s nursery, this is our pick of the best in contemporary nursery furniture and accessories. We’ve picked items that are designed to help make parent’s lives that little bit easier, and you can guarantee that your baby will love them too.
Tipi Play Tent
Who remembers how fun it was making dens as a child? Well, why not encourage your baby to share in some of the fun? Tipi play tents are great for this. They’re also very handy for protecting them from the sun during the hot summer months. You could even pop one in a carry bag and take it down to the beach with you. They will have so much fun playing in their tipi play tent – you’ll begin to wish they came in adult sizes!
We’ve all been there as parents. We’ve given baby a bath, changed their nappy and dressed them in the cutest outfit we could find. But we made a ‘rookie’ mistake of doing all this before feeding time. Within two minutes they (and you!) are covered in baby food and that cute outfit suddenly looks as if it’s seen better days. Well, with a pack of protective muslin cloths you don’t have to worry about this anymore! They help to protect your baby’s clothing, and you can just whip it off and pop it in the wash when they’re done. This simple, but effective accessory is an absolute life-saver for any parent.
Bouncers & Swing Seats
Babies love bouncers and swing seats. They allow your baby to rock themselves to sleep when they’re tired. Equally when they’re ‘full of beans’, swinging back and forth helps them to burn off some of that energy. They’re also very good for promoting muscle development, as they encourage your baby to move around, which helps to develop their core strength.
Along with your keys and mobile phone, soothers are just one of those things you’re likely regularly to misplace. As busy parents, we have very little spare time as it is. So, we don’t really want spend a large proportion of it looking for a lost soother. That’s why soother clips are such a good idea. I’m afraid they won’t help you keep track of your keys and phone next time they decide to do a disappearing act. But at least you’ll know where the soother is!
Each of these items is designed with both baby and you in mind. They’re there to make your life a little bit easier, as well as allowing baby to have fun. And anything that’s there to help smooth the path of parenthood gets two thumbs up from us!
Should you feel as though the time has come for you to buy a family dog, you might be interested in knowing how you can make the right decision. Buying the right dog for you and your family is important, and you need to make sure you get it right the first time. Thankfully, buying a family dog is not that hard as long as you know what matters most to you.
You will want to buy a dog that is not too big for your home. On top of that if you have small children you will not want to buy a dog that is going to grow big and potentially intimidate them.
In some cases, it can be hard to judge the size of a dog by watching online videos or by looking at pictures. You will, therefore, want to go to a dog shelter and have a look at the dog breed in person. When you see a dog breed in real life, you will get a better sense of how big it is going to grow.
Different dog breeds will have different temperaments. Because of this you will want to make sure you buy a dog breed that has a temperament you are okay with being around. Some people are fine with owning a dog that is relatively excitable. However, some people would rather that they own a dog which is docile and hardly ever hyperactive.
You can find this information out by reading a book on the various dog breeds on offer. You can also search for the various of breeds of little puppies online. Should you use the internet, you can also read what other people have got to say about the dog breed you’re interested in buying.
You will also want to make sure that you buy a dog that has exercise needs which match your schedule and level of activity. For most people, they are not able to exercise a dog more than a couple of times a day. If you are busy running a household, you may not have the time needed to take your dog on long walks.
Because of that it might be a good idea for you to take a look at dogs which only require a little bit of exercise. You should keep in mind, however, that all dogs will need walking. Whether or not you get a big dog or a small dog, walking should still be a priority.
Awesome Family Pooch?
Buying a family dog is often an exciting and challenging time. It is exciting because you are going through the process of buying a new dog. However, it is challenging because you want to make sure you make the right decision. Nevertheless, once you are clear about your own circumstances, and what you can handle, buying a family dog is quite easy. You may do such an excellent job in terms of picking your own dog that you soon get other people coming to you and asking for tips and advice!