March 30, 2015

Top Tips to Tire Out the Tots

angelicIf you’re a parent or often find yourself in-charge of nieces, nephews, god children or grand-kids you’ll know that the joy of watching their first steps is soon the exhaustion of trying to stop the little things from going that one step too far. Then, the daily task of finding ways to tire kids out can prove more tiring for you than for them.

Here’s a few top tips to tire out the tots, or at least keep them occupied so they don’t tire you out:

1, In the Home –

I’ve heard it a hundred times: you can’t get anything done with the kids about. This doesn’t have to be the case.


Young tots (under four years old)

Involving the children in household tasks can actually save time…and tantrums. Thus, if you need to hover, involve younger children. One idea as to how is to invest in a bag of ‘ball pool balls’. Spill the balls about the room or area you’re hovering, the balls are too big to hover up, child safe, big enough to find easily (hence, mess free), and fun, colourful things to hunt for. Ask your tot to help you by finding them all and putting them back in their bag. For each ball your tot puts back give a simple ‘yay! Well done!’ or clap if your tot looks to your for a reaction.

Older kids (four plus)

Older children may raise an eyebrow instead of a smiledrawing at the thought of collecting ball pool balls. Instead, speak to them on their level. They’re children, not aliens; explain what you need to do and why.

If they are not happy to play alone for any length of time, what I used to fall back on was something like, ‘I need to hoover. I hate hoovering, as you know. So please would you take your crayons / building blocks and make me something and when I’ve finished you can cheer me up?’

Children old enough to not fall for this tip, in my books, are old enough to get washing up. Mention that to them. Most kids, in my experience prefer drawing to cleaning!

Alternatively, for more ‘at home’ activity ideas, try the Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide.

child-in-the-rain-edit2. Days Out –

If you live in England then taking the kids out, even in summer, can mean bringing them back drenched, windswept, frost bitten and often covered in mud, rain or goose bumps. Consequently, when I cared for my friend’s children, I regularly took them to in-door play groups and play sessions.

Nowadays, soft play centres, such as Snakes and Slides which is a play centre in Bury, have conveniently popped up in most towns. Unlike the old (and often cold), make-shift church halls, soft play centres provide children with somewhere (indoors) where they can run, jump, rolly-polly and otherwise whizz and hop about without being told to mind that lamp , calm down or that the dog isn’t a climbing frame.

What’s more, while the kids are racing about and interacting with other kids, us oldies can grab a coffee in comfort and warmth. The space and facilities most play centres offer too, being relatively modern, are often first-rate. Without meaning to sound like a grumpy oldie, this means thSoft Play Web imageat I can sit and enjoy watching the kids play and explore uninterrupted. While I’m not averse to a good old chat with other parents and the likes, sometimes it’s just lovely to watch the kids hop and pop about, knowing they’re warm, safe and not going to break my favourite vase!


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After the Theft … How to Cope with the Aftermath of a Burglary

burgled houseBurglary. It’s not a pleasant word. Unfortunately in the present climate you’re going to hear it more and more often:  official figures state that a home is burgled every 2 minutes. Yet it’s common not to pay burglary much mind until it happens to you.

If you come home from work or holiday to find the front door kicked in and your belongings ransacked, it’s natural to feel vulnerable and upset. Reactions vary- while some are solely concerned with the stolen goods, others no longer feel safe in their homes, particularly children. Consider it from their perspective: children hate upset and change, and nothing can be more bewildering than the thought of strangers forcing their way into their home. They may feel as though nowhere is safe.

Let the feelings pass. They’re normal. Once you’ve come to terms with the shock, it’s time to be practical: how can you compensate for the loss? How can you ensure this doesn’t happen again?

The police will have allocated you a crime number. Keep hold of it- you’ll need it when you’re dealing with your insurance company. If you’ve had any credit cards taken, ring their emergency hotline and have them cancelled. Check your documents, too- if passports or driving licences have been stolen, you should report that immediately.

Now you’ve an idea of the full extent of the theft, make a list. Include everything you can remember about the items- when they were bought, the original price. Dig out receipts where you can. This might seem coldblooded in a time of great stress, but it’s only what the insurance company is likely to ask you. Indeed, before getting in touch with your insurance provider, it’s worth researching the subject to give them as little reason to reject your claim as possible. As Moneywise explains, even an honest mistake can lead to a claim being repudiated on grounds of “non disclosure.” You should give one copy of your list to your insurer and another to the police.

Once you’re sure of all your facts, contact your insurance. Make sure you know exactly what’s going on and ask plenty of questions: what’s the procedure for recovering your property, if any? Will they be working with the police? Will anybody be coming to verify the loss? Guarantee you have all the right forms and fill them out correctly- seek help if you find filling in forms difficult.

Keep records of every conversation you have: the name of the advisor, the date and time of the call, what you talked about. Although it’s often claimed that calls are being recorded for quality purposes, it’s relatively easy for them to slip through the net. Try not to get angry or flustered; while it may seem as though they’re being overly personal or insensitive, they’re just trying to do their job. It might be that you live in one of the UK’s burglary hotspots, as revealed by the Independent earlier this year. If you live at a vulnerable postcode (Leeds, Bradford, North Finchley), they may have been advised to proceed with caution.

While you can’t go back in time, you can make it extremely difficult for thieves to make a second attempt on your home. Read up on home security; don’t leave a single t uncrossed and i undotted. If your garden was previously easy to access, secure your gate and surround it with noisy, off putting gravel. Install an alarm system- preferably visible to act as a deterrent.  Going from past experience, an audible alarm is far more effective (and certainly less irritating!) than their motion sensitive equivalent. Employ the services of a company such as Locks Express, one of the most reliable locksmiths in the North West.  When a work colleague was burgled early last year, she was impressed by their attention to detail- not only did they secure all the locks around her house and replace the keys, they also replaced the doors and double glazing damaged by the break in.

It will take time to return to normal. Negotiations with the police and insurance company might seem like yet more trouble in a hectic world. Yet if it means your family and home are secure in the future, a little bit of inconvenience now is worth it.




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