This guest post is from Becky Goddard-Hill, co-author of Create Your Own Happy– a happiness boosting activity book for 7-12 year olds and their families. All the activities are based on scientific findings that explain why doing them will create happiness.
Going on holiday with a little one in tow can be incredibly stressful. Whether you are heading to somewhere hot and exotic, sunny Europe or the beaches of the UK, the key is to pack light and take the essentials whilst travelling and juggling a young child – even though we all want to take everything but the kitchen sink.
While it’s true that unconditional love is the most significant thing a mother could give to her family, time is also a valuable gift that she could extend to her children. Since being a mother is the toughest job in the whole world, you have to learn how to manage your time for work and special time for the kids.
I’m going to say it, and you’re probably not going to like me for it, but it’s only 98 sleeps until Christmas. Yes, yes, I know many of you are only just recovered from the long summer break, which at times has most likely left you pulling your hair out, but as we welcome a new season, it suddenly dawned on me how close Christmas Day actually is!
If you’re a parent or grandparent, you’ll know that there’s something special about story time.
Watching your child’s imagination ignite as they soak up the story and characters, introducing them to new authors, new scenarios and even new worlds and spending a little quality time together before bed all make for fantastic memories.
Though some books come and go with trends and fads, there are a few that will stay around forever. Well written, imaginative and engrossing, there are just some publications that kids, parents and grandparents will never get bored of.
Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
First published in 1963 and recently turned into a hit film, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is made up of just 338 words, yet has captivated children and parents alike for decades.
The imaginative story coupled with the beautiful illustrations (also by Sendak), can’t help but inspire, and won’t get boring no matter how many times you go from cover to cover.
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr Seuss
A long time favourite of kids around the world, there’s a good chance that grandparents remember reading Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham to their own children.
Containing just 50 different words, Green Eggs and Ham is perfect for kids that are just starting to read, allowing them to recognise each word quickly and easily.
The Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien
Regularly voted one of the best children’s books of all time, J.R.R Tolkien’s fantastical adventure story is perfect for reading to the grandchildren when they come to visit your McCarthy and Stone apartment.
Thanks to its length and fascinating plot, parents and grandparents won’t tire of The Hobbit, a book that’s stayed enduringly popular since it was first published in 1937.
James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
Though there are plenty of great contemporary kid’s books around, there’s something special about sharing a story with your children that you heard yourself when you were their age, and James and the Giant Peach is one such story.
Full of Roald Dahl’s witty nuanced text and fantastic imagination, the book makes the perfect bedtime story no matter what your age.
With kids growing up so quickly, making the most of their childhood is a must, so why not pick up one of these books today and make tonight a bedtime they’ll remember?
The summer holidays are getting closer, and while that means not long to go until that much needed getaway, it may also mean not long to go until you have to master keeping your toddler entertained on that upcoming flight/train ride/coach trip/car journey! Before you start getting pre-holiday jitters, take a look at these simple tips to keep your little one occupied during travel:
Make travelling fun
First things first; if your toddler finds travelling dull they are probably going to be a pain, so keep things fun! You can be as active in this provision of fun as you want – though the stresses of travelling may put you in an ‘off’ mood yourself – decide between engaging verbal games and role-playing, or equipping them with plenty of toys to. Make sure your toddler has their old favourites (like their teddy or comforter) to hand, but consider treating them to something new for the journey too. You can wrap it up as holiday present to add to the excitement or make a goody bag with lots of different treats to work through during the journey.
Prepare to be late, everywhere
Ok, so this one is more about keeping you happy… but prepare to be everywhere late and leave plenty of time to overcome this. Keeping your toddler happy largely relies on you being relaxed too, and there’s nothing that will make your blood pressure sky rocket like being pressed for time when you need to get to the boarding gate.
Travelling with children inevitably takes longer than travelling on your own, so assume you’ll need to make loo stops, food stops, what-is-this-over-here stops… Over pack for the scenario that you’ll get stuck in traffic or a delayed flight too. This means making sure you have more than enough nappies, toys and a change of clothes. Keep checking the flights from your mobile using a site such as Amadeus so you can be alerted to any delays as soon as possible.
Hurray for headphones
Music can not only keep your child occupied but may soothe them to sleep – bonus! Headphones will block out background noise on a plane or train and keep your toddler in their own little bubble for a while. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging a little screen time on a flight short-haul flight either, a great way to keep them distracted using an iPad or portable DVD player.
Suck to soothe sinus pressure
A quick fire way to get a toddler riled is on-flight air pressure. You’ve probably experienced the discomfort of sinus pressure yourself, so help them avoid it by offering a drink on take-off and landing. Sucking on a sippy cup, bottle or dummy will help alleviate any ear pain.
Avoid hunger grumbles
Does your little one get frustrated when they’re hungry? Pack plenty of snacks that will keep sugar levels up and make sure you don’t experience the wrath of a hungry toddler! If you go for fiddly snacks like raisins or mini rice cakes, that should keep them occupied for a little longer too.
What are your top tips for keeping your toddler/child happy whilst travelling?
If you’re the parent of a gorgeous newborn baby, the time when they’ll be crawling around on their hands and knees or toddling around on two feet may seem like a long way off.
However before you know it your little ones will be running rings around you and getting into every cupboard, nook and cranny they can find.
The best way to keep both your children and your belongings out of harm’s way is to kid proof your home, providing a safe and secure place for your children to explore.
Though we may not think of sofas and armchairs as being potentially dangerous objects, many pieces of furniture have sharp or hard edges, often at just the right height for a child to potentially hit their head.
To solve this problem, consider investing in some new furnishings from www.nabru.co.uk. Their child-friendly designs are perfect for young families, offering great aesthetics as well as a soft landing.
As electricity is potentially one of the most dangerous features of the home, making sure that your children don’t stick their fingers into sockets is a priority.
Use plastic cases to cover any sockets and try to move all cords out of reach to prevent a child being injured while accidently pulling a lamp or electronic device off of a surface.
Drawers and cupboards
To prevent kids from accessing any cleaning products, breakables or sharp objects that could cause them an injury, use easy to apply latches and specialist child proof catches to prevent drawers and cupboards being opened without your knowledge.
Of all of the rooms in the home, the kitchen holds the most potential dangers for babies and young children.
To minimise the chances of an accident occurring, always try to cook on the rear hobs of your oven and turn pan handles towards the wall; keep knives, cleaning products and plastic bags out of reach and cover any sharp corners with padding or remove the offending pieces of furniture altogether.
Making your home as safe and as child-friendly as possible is an important part of creating the best possible environment for your children to grown up in, while helping them to find out about all of the dangers in the world at their own pace and without having to learn the hard way.
It’s probably fair to say that the majority of craft activities tend to appeal more to girls than boys. While many lads love to join in with baking afternoons and art projects, many activities that you can buy in the shops target the girls instead – candles, jewellery, flower presses – it can be incredibly difficult to find sets that appeal to the boys as well.
Crafts should be just as accessible to boys as girls; they ignite creativity and imagination that can be demonstrated artistically rather than through play and craft sessions are great ways to occupy the time when the weather is drab and toys just won’t cut the mustard. A couple of hours in the afternoon, introducing craft activities to boys, can be a great way to bond with your child while having fun, too. Plus, there are loads of fun activities out there that will appeal to the lads, including these four gems!
Don’t all boys love getting a little mucky and gooey sometimes? You could easily keep a little boy entertained with making this easy-to-do putty recipe, and he’ll love the finished result! All you need is some school glue, some liquid starch and some food colouring. You may have to try different brands of glue and liquid starch, but the ingredients are relatively cheap to find.
You can also make a slimier substance with cornflour!
Custom Boy’s Jeans
Pick up an affordable pair of boy’s jeans from George and enjoy a little fashion design with your youngster. Fabric pens, paints and patches would be a perfect way of updating and personalising a pair of bog standard jeans, while also allowing your lad to be creative. You can find some super patches online that you can help him to iron or sew onto his new jeans.
Glow in the Dark Painting
If they fancy adding something different to their bedroom, this is a great way of doing it. The finished result will look incredible and all you need is some clean, clear jars and some glow in the dark paint. Pick up various colours of paint if you like, such as white, green and yellow, and paint add dots of the various colours to the inside of each jar. Pop the lids on, leave to dry and pop them in their rooms. The sunlight will ‘charge’ the paint and as darkness falls, the jars will glow.
How old your child is depends on how far you can go with this. Hama beads are a great way to keep all ages pleased, giving them the chance to create some awesome shapes and pictures. If you’re trying to think of something for a teenage boy to occupy himself with various beads and an oven or a blow torch can produce hours of fun!
The older boys get, the more difficult it can sometimes be to engage them in crafts. You need to think outside the box and think of fun crafts that they will find suitably ‘boyish’ – use online resources for inspiration and introduce your kids to some fun activities for you all to enjoy.