Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Exploring Creative Writing with Your Child

No comments
disclosure - This is a collaborative post. 

Creative writing is a wonderful outlet for self-expression and imagination. Introducing your child to the world of creative writing can not only enhance their language skills but also nurture their creativity and critical thinking. In this blog post, a primary school in Clapham delves into the benefits of creative writing for children and provides you with practical tips on how to embark on this exciting journey together.

boy writing

Read More

10 Important Questions to Ask At Parents Evening

No comments
Disclosure - This is a collaboration

Parents' evenings provide a valuable opportunity for parents and teachers to come together to discuss a child's academic and personal progress, their strengths, as well as areas that could potentially be improved upon. To make the most of this time, it's essential to come prepared with thoughtful questions that will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of your child's educational journey. Here are 10 important questions you could ask during parents' evening to ensure a productive and insightful conversation.

senior school grounds

Read More

10 Ways To Help Your Child Develop their Social Skills

No comments
Disclosure - This is a collaborative post. 

Social skills are an essential aspect of a child's overall development. They play a crucial role in building relationships, communicating effectively, and navigating various social situations. As a parent, you have the opportunity to nurture and support your child's social skills from an early age, setting the foundation for their success in interactions throughout life. I have teamed up with a school to explore some practical strategies to help your child develop strong social skills.

boys looking over a lake

Read More

Is Social Media Dangerous For Our Children?

No comments
Disclosure | This is a collaborative post

Boy lying in bed holding an ipad
The internet is an incredible tool and can provide children with a huge amount of helpful information, however many parents worry about their children using social media channels and the dangers they can bring. There are risks involved and there is always the worry whether our children are safe online as we let them explore the internet and use social media networks, however by talking about these dangers with your child, you can help to keep them safe online.

Explain that talking to strangers online isn't safe and sometimes people aren't who they say they are. It is important to stress to your child that they should always be careful about what they share with strangers on social media and they should never give out any personal information.

It is important to discuss appropriate image sharing and help your child to understand which photographs are inappropriate or could cause offence to others. They should also never share any images showing their school uniform as this can allow predators to identify their location.

Make your child aware of ‘Cyberbullying’ and ‘Trolling’ and what this can involve. Help them to understand that sending upsetting messages on social networks is a form of bullying and they should always talk to you if this is happening to them.

It is also really important that you keep an eye on what social networks, chat rooms or games your child is using and ensure that you have the right parental controls in place. Some online games have the option to switch off the ‘chat’ function so that your children can not make contact with others.

If you want complete safety you can always invest in the best vpn or to set up parental controls, adjust privacy settings you can contact your network provider for support. You can also contact the NSPCC or your child’s school for online safety advice.


Read More

The Best Lighting for Your Child’s Bedroom | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Inspyer Lighting. This post contains affiliate links - purchasing an item through an affiliate link adds no extra cost to you but might earn me a few pennies. 

Children bedroom focussing on a lampshade
Your child’s bedroom should be an environment where they feel safe, secure and comfortable; a place where they can play freely, enjoy bedtime stories and sleep soundly. If the room is dark and dingy, it’s wise to find some ways to brighten up the space for them. The décor and lighting plays a huge role in the overall ambiance of the room, so be sure to put some thought into it to make the most of your efforts.
Read More

The Benefits of Extra-Curricular Activities | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Wetherby Pembridge

Boy playing football

With the rise of technology in our homes and in our places of education and work, many parents are concerned about their children’s development. While tech definitely has a place in a child's world and plays an important role in education, it should never be forgotten that children need constant, real-world challenges in order to grow into well-rounded adults. An independent school in New York promotes a broad and balanced curriculum to ensure that children are able to cope with all of the challenges that life brings.
Read More

How To Help Your Child With Their Confidence | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Parsons Green Prep

boy overlooking a basketball court
Having a confident child is probably close to the top of most parent’s lists when they’re asked what attributes they’d like their child to have. Confidence comes naturally for some children, they don’t question their place in the world and forge ahead quite happily without ever becoming anxious or worrying how others might see them. For others it’s not so simple and if your child lacks confidence, you’ll know only too well how worrying it can be. You can help your child by introducing new hobbies but one of the key factors in helping children to grow to their full potential is through security and routine. 
Read More

Exploring Different Cultures With Your Child | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Oaks International School.

Its a small world ride at Disneyland Paris
Educating your children about different cultures is an ideal way to help them learn to respect and celebrate diversity. It will also give them a deeper understanding of the traditions and customs their classmates may follow. This kind of knowledge about various cultures will benefit your child throughout their lifetime. Here are some great tips from Oaks International School on how you can explore other cultures with your child.
Read More

Helping Your Child Resist Peer Pressure | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Surbiton High

boy sat alone
Peer pressure is an inevitable part of life, especially during the school years. As a parent, there are things you can do to help your child make sensible choices and resist peer pressure. A prep school in Surrey have put together the following advice to help you.
Read More

Should I Encourage My Child To Go To University? | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with St Catherines

University building
For many children, the end of school can be a confusing time. This is because they have to decide on their next steps and what they want for their future. For parents who are trying to help their children decide whether or not to go to university, here is some useful advice from St Catherine’s School.
Read More

Moving On From Fortnite

No comments
*This post contains affiliate links, they work at no cost to you however can help towards the running of my blog.* 

fortnite figures
It's been well over a year now since Fortnite started to dominate the boys Xbox time. Big J started first and at the time John and I knew very little about the game. Big J would play it in his room and we had no need to know about the game or anything else until little J started to talk about it. He hadn't learnt about it from his big brother, it was his friends in school. He would come home and talk about characters and dances and was desperate to play it. John and I limited his Fortnite time but it has been his 'go to' game ever since when he has Xbox time until recently, he's starting to drift towards other games and is desperately searching for another game as popular as Fortnite.
Read More

How To Enjoy Breakfast As A Family | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This post is a paid collaboration with nutella. The idea for this post, thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.

Family enjoying breakfast
As a family there is one thing all four of us thrive on and that is routine. When little J was born we decided that having a routine was something we needed if we were going to be able to manage as a new family of four. Some days our routine doesn't always go to plan but one thing we always try to stick to is enjoying breakfast together as a family. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so I like to make sure that we all come together to enjoy a balanced meal to get us through the day.


If you are going to enjoy breakfast together as a family then you have to prepare. I always make sure that I have all the ingredients that I need and I try to vary what we eat each day. I always set my alarm 15 minutes before the boys wake up time so I know that I have plenty of time to not only prepare the breakfast but to have time to enjoy it too.

boy enjoying milk
 A Balanced Breakfast

My Mum has always said to me that you should eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunchtime and a pauper for dinner. It's an old saying, which is just a saying, but it has always stuck with me. Breakfast is the first meal of the day so it's important to make sure you eat as your body won't have had any food for hours while you slept.

I like to offer the boys a variety of breakfast options each day. Big and little J like different foods at breakfast time. They both have different favourite cereals, little J likes toast and pancakes whilst big J prefers waffles and croissants.

Whether we spread it on top of our toast or waffles, we enjoy one heaped teaspoon of nutella (15g, 80kcal) which is the perfect portion size per person, to be enjoyed as part of a balanced breakfast.

spreading Nutella on toast
Big J loves toast and spreading the nutella himself is one of his favourite breakfast. He doesn't like to use a knife he prefers to use the spoon, which takes a little bit longer but as long as he is happy then I am happy.

Eat Together

Every mealtime we eat together at the table. It's something we have always done and will continue to do. I'm not a big fan of take away breakfasts and eating on the go, I like to sit and enjoy my breakfast and watching the boys eat knowing that they have had a balanced breakfast before school.

smiling family at the breakfast table
There are so many distractions nowadays with iPads and phones, social media and video games, mealtimes are now a perfect chance to get away from those distractions and actually talk to each other.


When I was younger my Nan would say it was rude to talk at the table. It's funny how times change as now I feel talking at the table brings us closer. During breakfast it's our time to chat about our day ahead whether it's what we will be getting up to, what the boys have to look forward to at school, activities they have planned after school or even what we are having for dinner. It's so nice just to take 15 minutes out of the day to sit round as a family and enjoy spending time together.

Spending time together as a family at breakfast time really does make us feel a lot happier as we start our day. It's relaxed and enjoyable and I know that the boys are starting their day with a balanced breakfast. Nutella has teamed up with leading family psychologist Linda Blair, to develop the Happy Portion formula - looking at tips for a great breakfast time. The campaign helps to show that spending time together as a family at breakfast time can have a positive effect on the rest of your day, whilst enjoying one heaped teaspoon of nutella as part of a balanced and varied diet.  If you would like to read more about nutella's Happy Portion Campaign, head over to 

I would love to hear how you spend time together as family at breakfast time and if you have any tips  on breakfast time as a family please do share with #nutellaHappyPortion

Read More

7 Activities To Help Develop Fine Motor Skills

No comments
paint pots and paint brushes
Little J has just started a new year in school and whilst I think he has developed so much over the last 12 months socially I think physically he still has a lot of developing to do. I know children develop at different rates and it's only natural that we compare our children to their siblings or other children of a same age. When little J was younger he never reached his milestones on time, he was always months late. It was a worry at the time but with help and encouragement he did get there in the end and when he did there was huge feeling of relief. Developing his fine motor skills is something we are still working as he still struggles to hold a pen or pencil correctly. Here are 7 activities that we are using to help develop fine motor skills and they are perfect for those looking for home schooling ideas too.

a child painting
a child painting
Painting is fun but finger painting is better. Most kids love paint on their hands and painting with your fingers can help hand eye coordination and manual dexterity. Painting with your fingers encourages the child to move and guide their fingers in all ways to create a painting.

Colour Sorting 
If your child is struggling to hold a pen or spoon then you could create a nice activity using child friendly tweezers. Fill a bowl for of coloured pom poms and ask your child to use the tweezers to colour sort the pom poms in to piles. Tweezers help to develop tripod grip when holing then between the thumb and first two fingers. Once they have mastered tripod grip they can then use the tweezers to focus on pincer grip. If you don't have the child friendly tweezers then you can encourage the same movement squeezing pegs instead.

playing with playdough
playing with playdough
Playdough Bugs
Playdough is brilliant for little hands and helps to build up strength. Squeezing, stretching and rolling the playdough can help with fine motor skills. Using playdough cutters to create shapes can enhance play. Make playdough bugs such as worms which will encourage your child to roll or a ladybird were your child has to squeeze a playdough ball to create a body. If your child is confident using child friendly scissors then cutting playdough is also great for the muscles in the fingers.

Wash the Car
Children love water play and washing the car or something very similar is a great way to build up strength in the fingers, hand and arms too. Using a big sponge ask your child to dunk the sponge in to a bucket of water. Once the sponge is wet it will become heavier so they will need a tighter grip on the sponge. Get then to use lots of arm motion to wash the car and then to squeeze the water out of the sponge back in to the bucket, and repeat until finished.

Depending on the age of the child threading is a great way to get those fingers and hands moving. It takes a lot of concentration but can help enhance tripod and pincer grip. You can create your own threading activity my punching holes in to a piece of card using a hole punch. I would recommend using something strong like a lace to thread as string or wool can be too flimsy. You can also thread a lace through a trainer too.

Song Time
Action songs are a great way to get the fingers, hands and arms moving but are also lots of fun. You may already have some favourite action songs but a few of our favourites are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Wind My Bobbin Up and Tommy Thumb. This activity should be done daily for at least 10-15 minutes.

squishy toys
squishy toys

Squishy Time
Squishies are everywhere at the moment so you will probably have some somewhere in the house. Squishies are really good for helping develop fine motor skills. If you can get your child to squeeze a squishy or something similar for 10-15 minutes a day it will build strength in both the hand and arm too.

You can make the activities as fun as you like whilst still helping to develop those fine motor skills.

Read More

Top Tips for Leaving Your Kids Home Alone | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with St Chris 

boy looking out of the window
As a parent there are different stages of your child's life that can cause worry and stress. For me one of those stages was when big J asked me if he could be left at home alone. My heart sank and to be honest I froze. I had never thought of leaving him home alone even just to pop to the local shop because I honestly didn't feel he was old enough. I instantly googled and I found that there isn't actually a set age you just need to be sure that the child you are leaving at home is not at risk.

prep school in Hertfordshire has some pointers on how to help you prepare for leaving your child at home without you.

Before leaving your child at home alone, make sure you know that they are ready and that they feel comfortable. Don’t leave them if they are showing signs of distress about it. You know your child better than anyone and how well they can handle certain situations or deal with problems. Ask them if they have any concerns about being left alone and if they do, address them appropriately.

Discuss potential emergencies with your child, such as power cuts, a fire or a stranger at the door. Make sure that they know what to do in each of these situations and leave them with the phone numbers of several responsible adults that they can call if any of these things happen. It’s also important to let them know where you are going to be and what time you’ll be back.

If they have social media, let them know the importance of cyber safety and that they shouldn’t tell anyone online that they are home alone. Talk to them about what they are going to do when you’re gone to fill the time. You must ensure that they know how to safely operate equipment in the kitchen, such as the kettle and the microwave.

It is recommended that you call your child every now again when you’re gone, just to see how they’re getting on. Alternatively, you could ask a neighbour or someone else you trust to pop in and check on them.

Leaving your child home alone for the first time is enough to make any parent feel nervous or for me physically ill. However I know that the time will come that Big J will be left home alone and with some planning I am hoping that it makes us both feel more at ease about the situation.

Read More

What To Do If Your Child Is Performing Poorly At School | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with St Hilda's School

An academic diary and pens
We all want to see our children do well in school however there may be times when their performance slips and their grades being to fall. This can be caused by a simple lack of motivation; however it is important not to ignore poor performance at school, as the issue could be something more serious such as a learning difficulty or bullying.

If you have noticed a decline in your child’s academic performance, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible. Here are some helpful tips from St Hilda’s School on what to do if your child is performing poorly at school.

Firstly it is vital that you to talk to your child and try to understand what could be causing the issue. Ask them how they feel about school and if they are having any difficulties with their work. Are they having any problems with friends or teachers? Let them know that you want to help and that you are always there to listen.

It is also important to speak to your child’s teachers. They may have also noticed that your child is having difficulties and you will be able to work together to help them. If a learning disability is suspected they will be able to provide guidance and support and may even be able to offer an assessment to identify the issue.

Make homework a part of your family’s everyday routine and be there to offer help if your child needs it. It is also a great idea to make a dedicated space for your child to study. This space should be quiet and comfortable and away from any distractions, such as the television or younger family members.

Be sure to praise your child’s efforts and try not to be too hard on them if they do not achieve the grades you expected. Anger and frustration will only cause your child to feel like a disappointment and push them further away. Instead it is important to discuss where your child struggled and how you can help them to improve.

Read More

Teaching Your Kids to Respect The School Rules | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Brampton College

blackboard with 'Our School Rules' written on
We are so lucky to be able to say that both boys have never been 'naughty' in school to the point were we have had to be called in. Although the oldest would deny it now they both are really happy at school and enjoy it. They have never not wanted to attend. We have always made sure that the boys know just how important school is and that they should try to be as good as they can be while they are there.

Teaching your children to respect school can help them to succeed academically. Brampton College have a few ideas on how you can help your child to respect school rules.

The first step towards teaching your child to respect school rules is to ensure they understand what respect means and the difference between respectful and disrespectful behaviour. It is important to demonstrate respectful behaviour at home and to teach your child to always be respectful to others.

Teaching your child how to speak to teachers and fellow students will help them to make friends and gain a favourable reputation at their school. Teach your child to always speak to others as they wish to be spoken to and stress that in the classroom it is particularly important to speak politely and to never use unacceptable language.

Behaviour is another important factor in school rules. Again you should teach your children to behave respectfully and to treat others as they wish to be treated. In the classroom they should always listen to their teacher and do as they are asked, without argument.

School rules often include instructions on how to treat school property and how to respect the environment. Children should understand that they must never cause damage to school property and they should always put rubbish into bins and follow the school’s recycling rules. It is essential that they take pride in their school environment and want to play a part in keeping it clean and safe.

Teach your children to value their own learning and success. They should demonstrate this by being on time to school, working to the best of their ability, completing homework and asking for help if they need it.

Lastly, when teaching your children to respect school rules, it is vital that they understand the importance of creating a positive learning environment. They should always listen to and value other people’s ideas and opinions.

I think it is important to teach your child right from the beginning of their school journey just how important school is. Do you have any little ones starting school this September? Do they understand just how important school is?

Read More

Can A Poor Diet Affect Learning? | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Manor Lodge School

A bottle of milk and two oranges
There has been a lot of exploration into whether or not a child’s diet affects their ability to learn. The most popular answer to that question is yes. It has been proven that poor diet can negatively affect learning. Many researchers and education professionals, including a private school in Hertfordshire, believe that the type of food a child eats affects their cognitive abilities. In fact, a lack of fruit, vegetables and dairy is associated with poorer grades.

Specific vitamins and minerals are obtained by our bodies from a nutritious diet that play a huge role in brain growth, development and learning. That’s why a healthy, balanced diet is particularly important for school children.

Studies show that overweight children show less brain activity, most prominently in the frontal cortex. This part of the brain is typically associated with concentration, planning, motivation and short-term memory, all important aspects of studying. Staying hydrated is also very important, as even the smallest of drops in fluid can make it harder to focus on a screen or a page of text. In fact, it can hinder the ability to process information in general.

Children are growing and moving around a lot at school, meaning they need a variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to support their bodies and minds. Start with a healthy, hearty breakfast, as skipping breakfast can be very detrimental. Cereals with high sugar content are not a good option, because they boost energy for a short period of time but not for the whole day. Porridge is better, as it maintains a steady energy level throughout the day.

All students deserve the chance to be healthy and successful at school. Do what you can in your home to ensure they eat the right sorts of food. There are lots of recipes online that can help you incorporate fruit and vegetables into meals for those of you who have fussy little eaters.

Read More

Is Your Child Happy at School? | AD

No comments
Disclosure - This post is a paid collaboration with Mill Hill School

Boy doing homework

Whist the Summer holidays should be a happy time for our children, thinking about going going back to school in September can be a very upsetting and worrying time. School presents many challenges for our children as they may find it hard, they may not enjoy a particular subject, or they may experience peer pressure from their friends.

If your child is already worrying about the new school year this can be very upsetting for you as a parent. To help spot the signs that your child may be unhappy at school, Mill Hill School have put together the following questions for parents.

Has your child become withdrawn? If you notice that your child is spending more time alone in their bedroom and less time talking to family and friends, then this could be a sign that there is something wrong at school.

Is your child refusing to go to school or frequently complaining of tummy aches or illnesses? This is another common behaviour seen by children who are unhappy at school. 
Have you noticed mood swings, irritability or crying? Some parents put this behaviour down to teenage hormones, but please don’t dismiss these signs as normal, because they may need further investigation.

Is your child getting into trouble? Is he or she arguing with siblings or answering back to teachers? If you have noticed any unusual behaviour from your child, this could be a cry for attention. Children often display anger and frustration when they feel unable to explain their emotions.

If you believe that your son or daughter may be unhappy about something in their school life, the best thing to do is talk to them. Communication is key in establishing the cause of the issues and finding a solution. Reassure your child that they can talk to you about anything that may be upsetting them. It may also be a good idea to let their teacher know of anything they can keep an eye on in the classroom.

Read More

Giveaway | Get Out And Grow Goodie Bag

No comments
Disclosure - I did not receive anything in return for this giveaway.

Little J loves being outdoors and would rather spend time exploring the woods or looking for bugs than playing with toys inside. We are always going on outdoor adventures no matter what the weather. It's proven that a childhood spent outdoors helps children grow up healthier and happier, however this is proving harder in recent times due to children choosing screen time over playing outside.
Read More

Are Your Children Staying Safe Online?

No comments
Everyone has heard of Fortnite, the online multiplayer shooter phenomenon that even allows players to play across different consoles in the same game. Maybe your child is playing Fortnite right now, do you know who they are playing with, what they are hearing or being told, the ages of the people they are playing with?  Probably not - in fact I would say definitely not. After all the Battle Royale game is based on 100 people online together on one map, playing in teams or alone - and these 100 people could be from anywhere in the world.

Fortnite is very popular here. Both big and little J love the game, and I also play from time to time. We have spent plenty of money on the games virtual currency V-Bucks, which allows the purchase of visual upgrades to your characters skin, glider, pickaxe and of course allows you to buy the famous dances which are fast taking over the world. So although we are fully aware of the online risk, we are prepared to manage that risk, because we understand it, and know which options and settings are safest for little ones.

However, this morning we found that Little J was in a game, on a team with two other small children and one Eighteen year old man who seemed quite happy chatting away to three five or six year olds. I am not saying there was anything wrong with that as it stands, however the risk is always there. We dont know who he is, where he is from or why he wants to chat to young children, but we decided to end the game there and move to another setting.  What would you have done?

So below is a guide to the 'safest' settings on Fortnite for your children, and whilst there will still always be online risk, you can help to eliminate that risk by using the guide.

Options Within Battle Royale

Battle Royale has a constantly changing set of modes, with different game objectives and ways to play, however they all share some fundamental underlying online options that are customisable within the mode.

Solo Mode 
This is as it sounds, you play alone within the game and are playing against 99 other players.  Here, you can choose whether your gamertag is displayed or not, and you can choose to be in a 'party' with other gamers or not. The 'party' connects gamers using mic's connected to a headset or the controller so that they can talk about the game.

Here, the safest online options are to hide your gamertag and not connect to any party. This will increase the chance of remaining anonymous within the game.

Other Game Modes 
Here you can see some of the other available game modes at the time of writing. Food Fight and Disco Domination are new game modes, with the same idea of having a number of players online together. Within these modes players can join a squad of other players to make up a team, usually either teams of four or fifty.

The important thing to notice about the options within both modes is just above the accept box when you start the game. There are options that say either Fill, or Don't Fill.

The Fill option will put you in a team and connect you directly to those players in the team. So whether you have a mic connected or not, you can hear what the other players are saying though the TV or your headphones.  In addition if you are mic connected then they can hear and talk to you.

The Safest option here is to make sure that Don't Fill is selected - this will reduce the chance of being connected to other gamers and should mean you can remain anonymous online.

We have always been careful to monitor who both Little J and Big J are connected to when playing online, whether they are playing Fortnite or any other game. Online safety is becoming more and more topical by the day as more people have access to devices, and more people are choosing to spend time online rather than go out.

Do your little ones play Fortnite? If you have any other online safety tips, please let us know.

Read More
Copyright © Playdays and Runways. Blog Design by