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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

We’re a big fan of the written word here, and with several bookcases full of books you’re never far away from a good book to get stuck into.

Whatever your age.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re never too young to get interested in books.

With the two children of the house, they’ve been ‘reading’ books since they were about 6 months old, and now at 7 and 11 years old they love to pick up a book and read to themselves.

Yes, from 6 months old. Admittedly, they don’t do much actual reading at that age, and just prefer to gum the book instead and use it as a teething ring, but the act of picking up a book and looking at the pictures is still a good habit to instil.

To save soggy paper, cloth books are the best bet here! You can get cloth versions of the classic kids books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar so they can chew as much as they like. :-)

When they get to around a year old, they can sit on your knee and try and turn the pages over as you’re reading for extra fun and games.

Try a bath version of the books as well with a waterproof one.

You can even buy little books that attach to the side of your pushchair as well called Buggy Buddies.

These were a godsend when out and about in town as it would keep them amused for ages in the pushchair, and there was no chance of losing them as they couldn’t throw them out as they were firmly attached by a plastic twirly clip.

Genius.

Nowadays, they have a bookcase full of books, are strong readers and pick up a book for fun. Just the way it should be. Current favourites at the moment for the 11 year old are any David Walliams book, and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

The 7 year old prefers the Horrid Henry series.

As for me, I read everything and anything too – including the children’s classics. Like I said, you’re never too young or old to read, and escape into a fantasyland….

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Every year, our primary school has escaped the madness that is Book Day dressing up, and has just had a lovely book fair in the school hall instead.

(Any excuse to buy new books is fine by me.)

This year, however, in their infinite wisdom, they’ve decided to follow the other sheep (sorry, schools) and have said that the children are to dress up.

Yes, I know, I KNOW it’s all a bit of fun, and I need to lighten up, but that doesn’t stop me doing a big internal scream and sweating a bit at the mere thought of having to think up a costume.

Making things isn’t my ‘thing’. Words are. So, I will not be joining the ranks of the Alpha Uber Mummy Brigade and hand knitting my own costumes, or indeed spending a shedload in a mad panic at the local fancy dress shop.

If you’re like me, what you need to do instead is decide what you DO have in and they go as a character from that.

Luckily for me, we’re all Harry Potter bonkers here, so we already have a Gryffindor scarf and a wand. A pair of round glasses purchased from Poundland and a lightning shaped scar on his head and voila, he’s Harry Potter.

We’re sorted, he’s happy and all for the princely sum of a pound!

If you’re still wondering what to do for World Book Day, here’s some other easy, lazy, cheap (take your pick) ideas:

Girls:

The Worst Witch

Have you got any Halloween costumes kicking about? If you’ve got a witches dress and hat, you can go as Mildred Hubble from The Worst Witch series.

Pippi Longstocking

Another dead easy one. A pair of colourful stripy tights and a frock, and hair tied into plaits. Sorted.

Boys:

Where’s Wally?

Stripy red and white t-shirt. Ta-da.

Just William

Hey, they don’t even have to go in anything but uniform here. Just have some knee length trouser shorts (get raiding the summer uniform wardrobe) and sling a satchel over their shoulder.

(Don’t forget a cap as well.)

Next year, hopefully it’s back to the book stalls again…..

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As a child of the Eighties, I’ve been left feeling a bit giddy that one of my favourites, Dangermouse is being brought back to life and to a new generation of children.

Originally voiced by Sir David Jason, the new version sees Pointless game show host Alexander Armstrong taking on the voice of the super mouse, and the late Terry Scott (his sidekick Penfold) is to be replaced too.

Apparently Superted and the Clangers are to make a return as well.

There’s always the worry that ‘new fangled’ versions of old favourites will be messed around with too much, so it will be good to see what the new episodes bring.

The 80’s had a glut of brilliant children’s programmes, and here’s just a few more I’d bring back!

Remember any of these?!

Bagpuss

A saggy old cloth cat, but Emily loved him.

Fraggle Rock

“Dance your cares away, worries for another day…”

Raggy Dolls

“It’s not much of a pretty life, when you’re just a pretty face, just to be whoever you are is no disgrace…”

Bananaman

“When Eric eats a banana…”

These were just a few of my favourites, and would love to see these brought back to the screen. Not necessarily re-made, just brought back in all their original glory!

What was your favourite children’s show, and are you in favour of them making a comeback  or should they stay in our memories?

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After what seems like months of sub zero temperatures, spring has finally shown its face this week and reminded us that it is just around the corner.

You forget how lovely the sunshine can make everything feel, and how it can brighten things up just by casting its rays onto buildings and footpaths.

Not to mention lifting of  moods. Now with the promise of spring in the air, why not get out and about and blow away some of the winter cobwebs?

It doesn’t take much to get out there, and money isn’t a problem either. Fresh air is free.

How about one of these?

Go on a nature walk.

You don’t even have to live in the middle of the countryside for this one. (Although it’s even better if you do.)

Write a list of things to find and get the children to tick them off as you do it.

Eg:

– how many different types/shapes of leaves can you find?

– different twigs

– pine cones

being just a few examples.

Climb a tree.

A classic, traditional children’s activity. Find one with nice sturdy, low branches and you’re sorted. Hours of fun if my children are anything to go by. They’re always happiest when they’re let loose to run and jump!

branches to climb

Whatever you decide to do this spring, get outdoors and get discovering…..

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It’s half term this week, and so far we’ve been ice skating, been out for lunch twice, been to the local soft play, and a forest where we collected pine cones and did a spot of tree climbing.

pine cones

In other words, we’ve done something pretty much every day this week. Today though, we’ve just had a day in of doing precisely NOTHING. Nothing organised, nothing doing.

Since when were kids lives so micro managed as they are now? We’re always expected to be DOING something, and there’s never just enough time to relax.

There’s always football practise to go to, swimming and Beavers and whatever club is on after school.

They’ve actually forgotten how to be bored. Being bored is GOOD,sometimes. I’m not Entertainment Manager, you are your own people and you don’t need me giving you ideas on what to do every five minutes.

It’s good to be bored as it makes you think for yourself what you want to do,. You’re making your own decisions, using your imagination, and learning to think for yourself.

Plus, it’ll make you appreciate the days you DO go out a hell of a lot more!

Next holidays, I’m making a stand and not arranging half as many days out.

We’re having more days of leaving them to it and making their own entertainment.

Who’s with me?!

I

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Amanda Holden faced a public backlash yesterday for sending her daughter Lexi, aged 9, into school dressed as Vivien from Pretty Woman as part of a 1990’s themed dressing up day.

Vivien, as anyone who has seen the film will tell you, is the prostitute that Richard Gere picks up off the street and hires as his ‘beck and call girl’ for the entire week by going to events and business meals with him.

Dressed in a red, strapless skin tight floor length gown, Lexi was pictured on Twitter next to a grand piano with the words “1990’s day at Lexi’s school today. Julia Roberts ‘Pretty Woman’,”

After eight minutes of the picture being up though (and probably due to outraged tweets) the picture was pulled. With a swift denial saying it wasn’t meant to be Pretty Woman at all, and was Cindy Crawford instead.

Oh come off it. We all know what Vivien did on the grand piano in Pretty Woman. Or was the grand piano in the background just a coincidence?

Regardless of whether or not she was meant to be Julia Robert’s Pretty Woman character or Cindy Crawford, the fit of the dress was pretty bloody inappropriate for school anyway.

How the heck are you supposed to run about in a clinging to you, off the shoulder dress at playtime?

By the looks of the photo (that is apparently now trying to be pulled off the internet) you couldn’t do much more than do a waddle to the school door.

Why the rush to stick children in grown up type clothes, even for school dress up days? There’s a million and one more appropriate styles to choose without sexualising them and sticking it online for the world and its dog to see.

(Who knows who’s looking and for what purpose?)

Dress them in clothes they’ll be comfortable in and more age appropriate. Plenty of time for body con dresses when they’re older.

What do you think?

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As mum to a now 7 and an 11 year old, I have spent quite a lot of time over recent years organising children’s parties.

Parties used to be held at home with a handful of your best friends. Pass the parcel, musical statues, sandwiches and jelly and ice cream. Minimal fuss, minimal expenditure.

Whilst these types of parties still exist, there’s a whole new breed of parties that have sprung up that just weren’t really the norm when we were all small.

Nowadays, soft play centres can be hired for a few hours, at considerable cost per child. Mine used to love soft play parties, and got to play in the ball pools for an hour with all their friends and have a party tea too laid on by the staff afterwards.

On average anything up to £10 per child, it added up when you used to invite most of the class.

All well and good, but when the venue asks for definite numbers a few days before the party, you start to steam between the ears at the sheer damn RUDENESS of some of the parents who, for some reason, either can’t be arsed to reply, or are incapable of reading the invitation properly to see when a response is needed by.

So you’d inevitably end up chasing up parents in the school playground, asking if they were coming, and then dutifully reporting back to the soft play centre with numbers.

If you think that’s stressful enough, it got even worse when, after saying that they’d come, you’d always get at least one or two that just didn’t bother to turn up after you’d paid for them. Therefore a party bag and meal going to waste.

As the eldest’s birthday is at the end of the summer holidays, there’s no school to remind people. So you’d be wondering if everyone would bother turning up.

Nearly everyone did, but there’d always be one or two entitled people who’d say they were coming and then not bother.

One party, three people decided to do just this, which left me paying approximately £30 in total for three no shows. Grrrr.

So, if I was a bit more ballsy, I’d have done exactly what Julie Lawrence did when one dad decided that actually, he had something better to do that day and bogged off to the grandparents for the day instead.

Instead of telling her, or you know, just honouring the first thing that you said you’d do instead of ditching in favour of something else that comes your way.

Imagine if everyone did that? There’d be nobody at the poor child’s birthday.

Manners, people. If you can’t be bothered to go, SAY so before wimping out on the day and landing the host with a bill they didn’t need to pay.

Good on you Julie, even if you were a bit heavy handed and OTT. I know EXACTLY where you’re coming from! :-)

What does everyone else think?

Boy gets sent invoice for missing birthday party

So you’

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