Posted in family, Organising, parenting

Morning routine ~ how to create a calm morning routine.

 how to create a calm morning routine

How do I get my kids out of the door without any fuss?

The answer is by creating a calm morning routine.

We all have those hideous mornings where we stagger into school looking like we’ve just been dragged through a hedge backwards, nerves in tatters and ready to cry.

What is the reason for these hideously chaotic mornings?

It can be anything from

  • missing shoes
  • missing  keys
  •  someone refusing to put their clothes on
  • someone not wanting to put a coat on in mid winter
  • someone refusing to  eat their breakfast
  • refusing to get in the car
  • refusing to get their seat belt on
  • refusing to get their seat belt off
  • refusing to get out of  the car………

Etc etc, but mostly its all of the above, every single morning !

So what can we do to stop these major meltdowns and non compliant mood swings?

Nothing ! Nothing?

Yes, you heard it  nothing!  We can do nothing to get these little people of ours to be more responsive to our many orders to get them out of the door , this will only fall into place as they get out of this ridiculously stubborn phase.

But , we can however smooth out the wrinkles in our morning routine to try to get us into a position to have the time and patience to face these tantrum filled mornings head on,  a sort of head start on the kids!

 

Try these few simple steps in your morning routine to get your kids out of the door with less fuss.

 

Lay it out the night before!  

This means everything!

Here is a list of what I lay out the night before;

  • cereal
  • plates/ cutlery/ cups
  • School bags with books /homework inside!
  • PE kits
  • swimming kits
  • forms /letters /money need for next day
  • drinks bottles ready to be filled
  • vitamins/medicine
  • uniform including shoes upstairs
  • my clothes and shoes
  • lunch boxes made up and in the fridge
  • keys
  • purse

 

My method

The secret to our morning routine is to not allow anyone down stairs unless they are  fully dressed including their shoes.

This eliminates  both the

  • last-minute lost shoe palava
  • shoe refusal episode

so,  that’s two arguments prevented already!

It also makes the holidays and weekends  special as they get to have a few hours in their pyjamas before getting dressed.

 

No TV or tablets! 

Imagine you’re a child , what better way to start your morning than to zone out watching TV.

Imagine how cozy and relaxed you are.

Now imagine being dragged outside to work on a cold winter morning in the middle of your favourite game or TV programme .

Make it easy for yourself leave the TV and tablets for relaxing !

This might be a difficult habit to break but stay strong the rewards are endless.

Make sure there are toys, books or art equipment to relieve their boredom!

 

Get up earlier than the kids.

I appreciate this is probably impossible for the majority of mums and dads out there . With all the little early risers and the light sleepers there are very few parents who are up before their kids, but if you can , when you can , try to get up before the rest of the house wakes.

This gives you time to get organised, get showered and dressed to your shoes and get any chores such as emptying the dishwasher or doing a laundry load uninterrupted which in turn makes you calmer and ready to face the barrage of demands that ensue the minute your kids open their eyes!

I’m always amazed at how much calmer I am  when I get that rare time to  get ahead in the morning and maybe even get time for a coffee!

I’m currently writing this post at 5.30am while everyone else is asleep!

 

Plan ahead

Keep a weekly planner of all the kid’s after school activities, play dates,  and in school activities and check it every evening.

You can download a  free copy of all my beautiful  family planners here FREE PRINTABLE PLANNER PAGES.

Make sure everything is ready for them to take into school or ready to grab straight after school.

I try to get all sports kits ready for the whole week as soon as they dirty they are washed and packed back into their bags for next time.

I keep sports kits in distinctive  bags in the  kid’s wardrobe and get them to bring what they need down the night before, this makes them have some responsibility for the stuff they need on certain days which means they know what they need, when they need it if on the rare occasion I am ever ill or I forget!

 

  • swimming kit
  • PE kit
  • football kit
  • musical instruments
  • spare clothes for playdate/sports events
  • snacks /drinks needed
  • money for activities

 

If you as a parent minimise the many things which can go wrong and reduce some of the chaos you will find yourself in a position to deal with the tantrums and the obstinate behaviour in a calm and level-headed manner.

If your little one knows he doesn’t get his breakfast until he is dressed he will get dressed  as a routine as soon as he gets up , every morning !

Stick to a morning routine every day so your little ones know what to expect and there are no surprises, when they have a little bit of control of their mornings via a planned routine they know what to expect and stop trying to control the situation themselves.

Make sure your child is asleep early on a school night as a tired child is often a grumpy non compliant child !

 

If you liked this  morning routine post you may like to download my other  FREE printable  routines checklist.

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Further reading

 

For further reading on parenting in  a calm and simplified way you may like the website Simplicity Parenting.

 

 

how to create a calm morning routine

 

 

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Posted in parenting, simplicity parenting

How I Stopped My Child From Hitting.

How I stopped my child from hitting .

Most kids go through the hitting stage . It can be one of the most challenging, frustrating and embarrassing times a parent can face, one which leaves the parent left with self doubt , blame and guilt .

For a lot of parents the hitting stage can be short lived , for some, like me it can go on for years.

I have two children, my eldest is 9 and my youngest is 5 .

With my eldest the hitting stage included biting and scratching, resulting in  my husband going to work most mornings with scratches down his face and me with bite marks on my hands, all caused by something as trivial as my daughter being carried upstairs for bed time or being given the wrong coloured cup at breakfast.

Now, when I look at my beautiful, kind , gentle 9 year old it seems impossible to remember that this was the same child!

Let me also point out that she never hit another child as far as I’m aware, it was always directed at my husband and I.

We tried everything we could to break the habit,

  • Jo Frost techniques, which were amazing for most other issues but it didn’t help us with this particular issue.
  • Reward charts
  • Explanations as to why she shouldn’t be doing it.
  • Bribery  (on desperate days when we had an appointment to get to )
  • Threats ( “you wont get this”, or ” I’ll take that away from you”.
  • The naughty step which was amazing for other behaviours but ineffective to our hitting issues.

Nothing worked! She was filled with this overwhelming rage which just exploded into a mass of fur and sinew and suddenly she was out of control and I found myself in the middle of a brawl with a 2 year old, it was  terrifying !

I’d like to  tell you that due to my amazing parenting skills,  we managed to change her behaviour ,but that was not the case! We went on holiday with our lovely friends and their amazing little kids and she just stopped doing it over night. I suppose she just grew out of that stage.

There were may have been a few factors which may have contributed to the sudden ending of this hideous behaviour,

  • a different routine
  • being with her friends who although were the same sort of age as her little mates didn’t behave that way to their parents
  • the fact that she turned 3 while we were on holiday.

 

It was a combination of a few things I believe , but I’ll leave that to the experts!

 

 

Now over to my 5 year old!

This is  was a completely different kettle of fish, his rages were completely overwhelming they included kicking, spitting, hitting, shoving , and he  would follow me around the house charging at me as I tried to walk away.

He would smash and throw anything that he could get his hands on. Usually if he couldn’t get his own way.

Again we tried everything, including going on holiday! Nothing worked!

To my knowledge he didn’t direct his at other kids , or my daughter,  again it seemed to be directed at mainly at me and my husband.

It was exhausting and overwhelming, it left me feeling hopeless and like I had failed as a  parent.

Like most other parents I  was tenacious about getting to the bottom of what was going on in his little brain.

I  realised after analysing every single stage of these horrendous tantrums that;

  • He knew it was wrong
  • He knew there were consequences
  • He understood he was hurting people both physically and emotionally
  • He seemed to like a reaction
  • He would get worse if you tried to ignore his behaviour
  • It was not prevented by giving advanced countdown regarding bedtime, bath time etc
  • It was not through lack of routine or clear boundaries
  • He was not willing to apologise afterwards

 

 

The conclusion I came to was, that he needed to  be able see at the end of each day how he had behaved , I some how felt this was the key, I felt that rather than use words if I could have some way of visually letting him know that his behaviour was unacceptable then I’d crack it .

How did I do it ?

        • I firstly decided I needed a warning sign to let him know his behaviour was getting out of line and had heard about the traffic light system, I needed the system to be mobile so I could use it when we were not at home
        • I came across This Behaviour Traffic Light Keyring 

I like this little tool because rather than yelling at him outside or over a crowded room at a party or sports hall, I can just flash him an amber warning card and he stops what he’s doing, likewise if I see him sharing or being kind I flash him a green card with a big smile then, he gets excited and carries on being kind.

If he  did something dreadful  the red one would come out but amazingly I’ve not needed to use that yet as I’ve always caught him when he’s at the amber stage !

 

 

  • Next I needed a visual aid which would let him see for himself how he has behaved, after a lot of research I found
  • this Visual Interactive Behaviour Board   I loved the idea of large clear ticks and crosses and really simple pictures .         

 

I loved the idea of this chart because , he can see how his day has progressed in a clear and precise manner, he can almost see himself hurting people, shouting and breaking things , and the times  that he has behaved amazingly well.

 

  • I knew I needed to be able to reward him for his good days and to be able to reward those green ticks so I decided to set up a reward chart where by he would get a green smily face if he had all green ticks at the and of the day , an amber sticker if it was mixture of ticks and crosses and red face if his chart had more red crosses the end of the day.

 

I used these 10mm Mini Traffic Light Stickers  

 

 

and this Reward chart , I didn’t want to use the stickers which came with the chart as I wanted the  continuity of the traffic light system throughout.

 

How Does It Work ?

  • If I see him doing something well I put a green tick on his chart next to the picture of what he’s done well ~ for instance , good listening, sharing, being gentle.
  • If I see him doing something he knows is wrong he gets a red cross next to the picture ~ for instance kicking, breaking things, shouting.
  • At the end of each day before bed we look at his chart and discuss the pictures
  • If his chart has mostly green ticks , he gets a green  smily face on his reward chart
  • If the chart is mostly red crosses he gets a red sticker on his reward chart
  • If he has an equal amount of ticks and crosses he gets an amber sticker on his reward chart.
  • At the end of the week we check his reward chart if he has mostly smily green faces he gets his chosen treat.
  • Mostly greens and  ambers I’d use my discretion and review how busy our week was , how tired he was , and how his behaviour was, to decide whether he should get his reward.
  • Mostly reds and ambers he will not get his chosen treat.

The Explanation

Although my little man had responded well to reward charts in the past it had never been successful in curbing this issue so I was praying that this would resonate with him.

We went thorough all the little pictures, ticks and crosses, stickers and charts and he found it all very funny, this of course , didn’t fill me with confidence!

 

The first day.

It was the first thing he mentioned when he got up, so we discussed which reward he would like if his weekly reward chart was filled with mostly green stickers, he decided he would like to go to Lyme Park  for a picnic which is one of his favourite things to do.

All went well for a few hours until he pulled the cat’s tail , I asked him to be gentle and he flew into a rage . I calmly put a cross on his chart for shouting and one for not being gentle with the cat.

He was devastated and apologised to both me and the cat immediately without prompting, which was something he always struggled with previously, then broke down in floods of tears.

The rest of the day his behaviour was amazing and he got green ticks to fill up his chart, resulting in his fist green smily face of the week and one step further to his reward. At the end of the night we discussed all the green ticks and the red crosses and he could tell me  how his behavior had made me and the cat feel.

He was so pleased with himself he went to bed a clam and very happy little boy.

The rest of the week

He was very exited to get his ticks

He on the most part filled his chart with green ticks and smily faces , he had a  day where they were mostly red but that was when he was out with grandparents so I think he thought he would be able to get away with it, however my mother in law is great at communicating and continuing with the boundaries we set  when she has the kids, which is a god send .

He was literally devastated that the behaviour he had exhibited out the house with other people would affect his reward chard!

 

Today

He has a few slips now and again , mostly yelling. At the end of the day he has mostly green ticks with an occasional red one dotted in which is most probably for rude behaviour.

How I feel .

I am calmer, feel more in control, I feel respected and relieved that this had broken that awful cycle.

I feel that his behaviour now is more in line with most other 5 year olds and I’m proud of him for that.

 

How he feels .

He is immensely proud of his green stickers and ticks and works very hard to earn them, he has a better understanding of how his behaviour was disruptive and how it was affecting people around him.

He is pausing before acting on impulse now as he knows he’s responsible for getting his green ticks rather than blaming everyone else (including the cat) for his behaviour.

 

Why I think my method works.

The reason I believe my method works so well with my son is because

  • I believe he is a visual thinker and learner.
  • I believe my words both positive and negative were just not resonating with him, I was never actually making any difference to his choices because it was as if he just wasn’t listening and just wasn’t hearing me.
  • The key ring gave him a fair warning visually even across a room that his behaviour was either acceptable, superb or unacceptable
  • He was  able to make the correct choice for himself rather than being told to stop, so he had no one to argue with and fight against
  • It also let him know that I was checking on him even if I wasn’t standing next to him.
  • The chart enabled us to deal with a situation immediately without a punishment therefor it was over and done with in a matter of seconds , no threats, no consequences.
  • It enabled me him to be judged fairly on the whole days behaviour and not just an isolated incident being brought on by hunger, tiredness over stimulation etc.
  • If he did get a red cross on his chart he tried extra hard not to get another, and he realised that his choices determined whether he got his reward at the end of the week, there was no punishment as such just no reward and that seemed to be the turning point for him, he loved his rewards and would do anything to make sure he didn’t lose them.
  • He was able to relate to each picture on his chart to clearly understand what was expected of him, something that explaining, coaxing or scolding had failed at .

 

I am aware each child has different needs, skill set,  abilities and personality.  Age is a huge factor too however due to the simplicity of this system I feel this would have worked on my little boy at an earlier age too .

I’m relieved that this has worked for me after nothing else I’d tried was having an affect, and I’m pretty sure that cat feels the same way !

 

If you enjoyed this post you may like

How I Got My Kids To Love Eating Vegetables.

My Secret Tip To keep School Paperwork Organised!

Why I Allow My Kids To Be In Control Of Their Own Snacks.

 

 

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Posted in minimalism, minimalist, Organising, parenting

How To Get Ready For Winter

Getting Winter Ready

 

Let’s just zoom ahead by a month or two …

You’re running out of the door with

  • book bags ,
  • water bottles ,
  • packed lunches,
  • PE kits ,
  • swimming kits
  • all your stuff for work ,
  • musical instruments

Then it hits you…   the great  blast of icy wind

” Why wasn’t I prepared for this? ”  You guiltily ask yourself as you stare at the  thick unexpected  layer of ice on your windscreen.

Panic sets in as you look at your kids shivering beside you.

You haven’t got time to drop the mountain of stuff you’re carrying to dash upstairs to dig their gloves out of storage .

You have no choice but to leave , unprepared, cold and driving whilst looking through a tiny hole in your icy windscreen .

You start believing you are the worst parent in the playground, as everyone else’s children arrive with their gloves, hats, and winter coats on.

You then spend the whole day feeling guilty that you sent your kids to school with no gloves and wearing their summer coat .

You convince yourself those little fingers will freeze and fall off by lunch time, which, prompts you do a frantic Internet search for “frostbite in children”.

 

 

Not this year , this year we are on it and here is how !

  • Go to your cloakroom or coat / shoe area .
  • Take everything out ( yes everything ),
  • Give the room a good clean .
  • Then put into storage all the summer shoes
  • Replace with two pairs winter shoes each . The rest of the shoes  (less frequently worn) , should stay in  wardrobes and returned there after each wearing .
  • Donate any unworn or out grown shoes and coats , make sure these are taken out of the house as soon as possible!
  • Hang up all jackets and coats (except those worn daily) in the bedroom wardrobe.

Ok , now you should have an empty space to work with , so let’s not fill it back up!

Only return these  items to the cloakroom.

 

  • One daily worn winter coat per person
  • Two pairs of shoes per person

Everything else should be stored in the wardrobe and is put away there after wearing .

Next

  • Dig out the hats and gloves from storage
  • Donate unwanted items.
  • Keep  one set per person in the cloakroom and yes you guessed it everything else gets stored in their wardrobe until needed .

The trick  here is to keep this area as streamlined as possible to enable leaving the house a breeze .

The emptier it is , the easier it is to find the stuff everyone needs everyday .

Use this area to store anything needed to grab on the way out to school and work.

 

  • Top tip!
    Buy each child several pairs of gloves in one plain colour, so when one glove goes missing (normally after the first day) they have still got a “pair” .

All my daughter’s are plain grey and my son’s are plain navy blue ,
I normally  purchase several each and usually end up with one full pair each at the end of the winter !

Dig out or purchase a can of  Deicer and an  Ice Scraper  for the car, top up your car’s  Ready Mixed Antifreeze and place some Soft Warm Car Blankets in the back seat for cold mornings and evenings.

Put all wellys and boots on  mud tray.

You’re now ready for the  big chill!

 

If you’d like to read more about organising you might like

How To Organise Your Kitchen Like A Professional . 

How To Stop Hoarding Books.

5 Top Tips For Getting The Laundry Mountain Under Control

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to read more on minimalism you may like The Minimalists.

 

 

 

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Posted in Healthy eating, Organising, parenting

Why I Allow My Kids To Be In Control Of Their Own Snacks.

Why I give my kids a snack box
Snack time

How I stop my kids from constantly asking for food.

The holidays are a fabulous time for re connecting with the kids . However it can be a time when the demands (especially for food ) get ramped up a notch or two .

My kids normally start the “can I have ” barrage three minutes after eating breakfast. They would happily eat all day if I let them .

As a parent I obviously want to give them treats but still want to give them a healthy balance of fruit and veg . I also want to curb the constant request for snacks .

How do I stop them mithering ?

Enter the snack box !

What is a snack box ?

It’s a bag or box which I fill at breakfast , it usually has mainly healthy snacks in ,with one or two treats depending on what we have planned for the day .

healthy snack ideas

  • Raisins
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried figs
  • Dates
  • Prunes
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Grapes
  • Apple
  • Crackers
  • Bread sticks
  • Dried apple
  • Dried mango
  • Yogurt

treat ideas

  • Banana chips
  • Biscuits
  • Crisps
  • Sweets
  • Doritos
  • Savoury cheese snacks

I tend to pick two snacks from the healthy list and one from the unhealthy list .

The kids are given the bag at breakfast and they are responsible for when they eat the contents. They are aware that when they have eaten all the snacks there are no more between meals . My five year old makes sure he keeps his treat for watching tv after dinner !

How does it work ?

  • They are in control of when they eat.
  • It takes the guesswork out of snack time.
  • They don’t constantly ask for snacks because they can visually see what is available for the full day .
  • The bags  are portable so we do not get caught out with nothing to eat when we are  out .
  • They can differentiate between the healthy food and the treats .
  • It is a good way to monitor the amount of treats they are having in a day .
  • The kids get excited to see their bags in the morning!

I do not include snacks for after school activities such as swimming , martial arts , rugby etc as I usually take separate snacks for these times.

The great thing is the flexibility and portability these bags give me , and of course the lack of nagging!

I hope you’ve found this helpful , if you’d like to read more tips on healthy eating for your little ones you may like to read How I Got My Kids To Love Eating Vegetables.

Or if you need some motivation for simplifying your kids toys then you may like The Simple Guide Stop Toy Clutter.

I have many healthy recipes and organising ideas on my  Pinterest page, you could also join our friendly Facebook group for daily tips and answers to any organising and cleaning questions you might have .

 

 

 

Check out these super fun ways to keep your little ones snacks, lunch and drinks organised!  

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in minimalist, parenting, simplicity parenting

Is It Finally Time To Unplug And Slow Our Kids Down?

how to get the kids to slow down.
Reading…

Think back to the lazy summers of our youth , what made it so different from our lives today?

 Apart from the obvious

  • bills to pay ,
  • rent to find ,
  • health issues,
  • financial worries
  •  work worries

We were free , free from the constant connection to something , there was nothing but us.

  • No social media,
  • no adverts telling us what we needed ,
  • no designer clothes ,
  • no mobile phones ,
  • no selfies,
  • no plastic surgery
  • no Botox
  • no self tanner
  • no Disneyland ,
  • no daytime television ,
  • no gaming
  • no cyber bullying
  • no junk food ,
  • no noisy battery filled toys ,
  • no homework ,
  • no after school clubs ,
  • no image awareness
  • no designer clothes
  • no competition.
  • No pressure .

We had no “stuff” to worry about , obsess over , and winge for.

It’s the first week of the holidays and my diary is already bulging with party invitations and events , even though I have culled a few activities  before the school holidays .

Here’s how I try to slow our lives down a little.

  1. I try to focus my kids time on things which they love doing , I try to choose quality over quantity when it comes to after school activities , this frees up more time during their week for parties or play dates and to still allows my kids plenty free time just to relax and recharge at home.
  2. I  try to be more present by switching off the internet on my phone for the full day and  I try to leave my phone at home or in the car when I’m out with the kids enabling me to be  more focused on the present moment , and to be honest it feels quite liberating . I also put my phone away in a drawer and try to only check it twice a day when I’m at home to avoid the temptation  to get drawn into social media or emails.
  3. Getting out into the fresh air is vital in our house as it helps us connect with each other and connect with nature. It calms the kids (and me) by getting rid of excess energy and creates memories. But best of all it doesn’t cost anything!
  4. Like all parents I try to limit time my kids spend on the TV and tablets, I have realised that the more time my kids spend on electronics the more manic their behaviour is, especially towards each other. We have  a “no TV ” rule in our house until 5pm , the kids know this and accept that it is not “TV time” so don’t constantly mither for it. They also know that if they play nicely together during the day I will bring TV time forward by a few hours. This saves a huge amount of fighting and sibling squabbles in our house and TV time is a cosy time of togetherness in our house, whilst the day times are spent playing and burning off energy.
  5. Tablets are mainly used  for travel and situations where one child has to wait for another such as swimming , karate, rugby etc . One of my children is completely not bothered by the iPad but my 5-year-old is obsessed with it so its important for me to monitor his use rather than let it get out of control.
  6. Evenings are when I like to cosy down  with blankets and candles, for chats and cuddles and our favourite programs .
  7. It’s the simple things we remember as we get old , not the money we had spent on us or clothes we wore, it was the warmth of our parents hugs and the taste of a home cooked meal, or a chippy tea in front of coronation street.

We may not be able to fix all the distractions of our full to bursting lives , but we can go some way to simplify small simple things for ourselves and our kids . We can stop making our kids so busy , stay in the present , stop filling up the “free” time and just slow down .

We might not be able to stop our kids screaming at each other and having major meltdowns but we can make it easier for them by not over stimulating them.

If our kids are lives constantly over burdened then so are ours.

We can try to create slow, empty time which helps to create pockets of calm in an otherwise crazy day.

 

 

For more reading on simplifying parenting you may like

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Cleaning, minimal, minimalism, minimalist, Organising, parenting, speed cleaning

How I Got My Kids To Love Eating Vegetables.

how to get your kids to love eating vegetablesHow I got my four year old to love eating vegetables.

My 4 year old  son is naturally a fussy eater, he does the usual trick of pretending to vomit at any given opportunity when salad or vegetables are served on his plate . If it’s green he refuses point blank to go near it .
This revelation came as a huge shock to me because I was one of those (smuggety smug) parents who already had a six year old who would eat absolutely anything .
So of course I had to be clever with this little fuss pot , using the age old tricks to get some veg into him:

  • Green smoothies at breakfast . A hand full of spinach , a banana , and a handful of berries blended together with a handful of ice and some Almond Milk
    or coconut water  Coconut Water, these are always wolfed down in our house, the kids think they are a milkshake. Sometimes if my kids have been super busy with school and activities or are feeling low in energy ager being poorly  I add a scoop of  Bioglan SmartKids Superfood Shake for an extra boost.
  • Blended  or juiced vegetables in sauces, these can be anything from courgette, carrot, beetroot, celery or anything else you have in the fridge , these can be blended in your Vitamix Blender or any other blender you have .
  • Home made soups , made from fresh cooked  vegetables and stock then  blended and  sprinkled with parmesan cheese for a delicious comforting dish.
  • Fresh juices made from a mixture of vegetables such as carrots , beetroot celery and fruit to give it the sweetness, my kids love apples and oranges added to their juice , I prefer the tartness of grapefruit in mine. this is also a great way to use up fruit and vegetables and if you use a slow press juicer such as Retro Cold Press Masticating Juicer  you can keep the fresh juice in the fridge for longer , although it doesn’t last long in our house !

All of this effort  of course , ensured that my son had enough veg in his diet but it didn’t make him “love ” vegetables.
I wanted him not to shy away from veg , I wanted him to grow into an adult who naturally wants to choose to eat vegetables.
Then I came across a book called  French Children Don’t Throw Food

Which gave me a huge insight into why kids in France eat the same as  their parents eat at every meal and in restaurants, including vegetables without any fuss at all.

 

So, how do French people get their kids to love vegetables, what is their secret?

Well one thing they do is serve a platter full of raw veg sliced as a ” starter ” before every meal .

This idea made complete sense to me because:

  1. Before dinner my kids are
  2. At their hungriest
  3. At their most relaxed
  4. Not particularly paying attention to what they’re eating especially if the tv is on.
  5. Likely to wrestle the other child to the floor for no reason what so ever !
    All perfect conditions to sneak some veg into them without them really noticing!

So,  in conclusion this would mean that they would:

  1. Be less fussy with what they are eating!
  2. Not be psyched up and prepared for a dinner table battle ( catch them off guard !)
  3. Not paying attention to what they are eating!
  4. Willing to fight each other over the last carrot !
    It was a light bulb moment for me !

So now the test !

What did I do ?

I decided that the first day would be all about coaxing them over to the plate

  • So, I  mostly sliced fruit which I know they love, with just some bell peppers sliced in between .
  • I left the plate on a table next to the TV and walked away ,no nagging, no coaxing , no acknowledgement of the plate of food , I just dumped it and ran !
    They dived in , wrestled each other for the last piece and then asked for more !

 

 

  • The second day I reduced the fruit by half and added different vegetables including olives which my kids love .

 

  • On the third day it was all veg they had eaten on the first 2 days
    After that I added one new vegetable a day .

                 Each day they cleared the plate , no matter what I put on it !

How did it affect mealtimes ?

Dinner time became much more relaxed because I knew they’d already eaten a ton of veg as a starter in front of the TV so there was no pressure to eat it at dinner time , we were all more relaxed and it didn’t matter too much if they left food at dinner time because they’d already eaten the good stuff!
So now my 4 year old is choosing to eat lots of veggies for himself with no input from me at all and the dinnertime battles have ended!

 


If you liked reading this post you may also like

 

 

 

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Posted in Organising, parenting

Free Printables for Kids from The Organizer UK

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Further reading

 

for further reading on organising and cleaning you may like Fly lady

 

Posted in Organising, parenting

5 Top Tips For Getting The Laundry Mountain Under Control

laundry routine
Laundry!

Don’t  you just love it ?

Its ability to triple in size in the blink of an eye.
The  empty basket of laundry you smile at smugly only to find that 30 seconds later your husband has picked up his all his dirty clothes from the side of the bed and filled it up again .

We all have our own way of doing our washing , some people do it once a week , some people do it by colour, some do it daily.
I’ve tried them all , some were hideous,  some worked well . Here for what it’s worth is how I do it !

  • My first job in this drudgery of dirty clothes was to train everyone in my house to put their clothes in the washing basket . Sounds simple ? Not so ! It turns out that even a man of 41 years old would rather drop them on the floor , then repeatedly pick them up and place them on the bed , then move them to the floor again at bed time than walk an extra foot to the washing basket ! He also enjoys volleying his underpants to wherever they will land . The children were easier in this department and apart from the odd random sock or underpants in the lounge they have mastered this skill.

 

  • If I get behind on the laundry which I often do due to our busy schedule I catch up by washing the loads by person , so when it comes to folding and putting away it all goes in one persons wardrobe
    Whenever possible I wash ,dry and put away all on the same day and I try not to start a load unless I know I can complete that cycle.

 

  • I also try to wash everything we have worn that day so the basket is mostly empty

 

  • When the kids have been swimming or we are going somewhere muddy I make sure the washing machine is empty before we go , so wet towels or muddy sports kits can go straight in the wash .

 

  • I try to prioritise work shirts , school uniforms and sports wear above everything else so they’re always good to go .
    I try to iron at least every other day when possible .

 

 

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Final thoughts…

My lovely Mum has 28 pairs of knickers / underpants for each member of the family and does a “knicker” wash once a month , I’m still trying to get my head round that method !

Also the good news is that we don’t have to do it all by hand these days !

If you enjoyed this post you may like

Get Your Minimal Wardrobe In 6 Super Simple Steps !

6 Simple Tips You Need To Follow To Stop Yourself Buying More Stuff

these posts will help you streamline your wardrobe which will help keep that laundry mountain down !


 


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Posted in Organising, parenting

Practical Tips To Stop The Spread Of Gastroenteritis Or Norovirus

Why I give my kids a snack box
Stop the spread of Norovirus

Well , with winter well and truly upon us we hit that time where we dread to hear someone tell us they’ve all had the Norovirus sickness bug . We want to run screaming to the hills just incase they’re not quite out of quarantine and symptom free yet , we politely make our excuses to leave but it’s too late we know we are next !

So , other than locking ourselves away all year how can we ensure that we get through this bug as painlessly and as quickly as possible . It’s not going to be pretty but a few simple tips can help stop the spread of the Norovirus to other household members .

Firstly what are the symptoms?

Vomiting and diarrhoea which lasts one or more days .

How do we help someone who is sick ?

Make sure they are well hydrated by drinking sips of water regularly.
Keep them at home with plenty of rest until they are well enough to return to school or work ( after 48 hours symptom free) .
Use paracetamol or ibuprofen to control temperature/fever.

How can you help protect yourself and your family ?

  •  Wash your hands with liquid soap after every time you’ve cleared up urine , sick or faeces .
  • Ensure the person who is sick is washing their hands thoroughly .
  • Clean and sanitizer all areas thoroughly before and after caring for a sick family member.
  • Wash hands before eating or handling food.
  • Wash hands after using the toilet .
  • Use separate towels.
  • Do not mix with other children or adults until symptom free.
  • Wash soiled towels and bedding on the hottest wash you can .
  • Please remember small children , the elderly , pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses can be very vulnerable to the virus.

Note: If your child is refusing fluids, has blood in their stools, an unusual rash, stiff neck , is unusually sleepy , has difficulty breathing or any other symptoms ring your GP or take them to hospital.
click here for the NHS emergency helpline

 

 

If you enjoyed this post you may like to read

Your 4 Point Guide to Organising Toy Clutter.

5 Top Tips For Getting The Laundry Mountain Under Control

 

 

 

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How to survive Norovirus~ a simple practical guide ~The Organizer UK

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