If you follow my Instagram stories in the mornings, you will know that 3 or 4 times a week I like to share my children’s lunch boxes. Some very interesting conversations have taken place in my DMs as a result, i.e. people asking me how I set aside the extra time in the mornings to pack them, or people asking about quantities, nutritional value etc. I’ve also had a few people telling me they preferred the school canteen option, which I can actually relate to, as my children used to eat in the canteen prior to the pandemic.
I’ve written this post to break down my lunch box process from beginning to end, but bear in mind that my approach is extremely simple and suits my busy lifestyle. My children’s lunches are nowhere near as creative as the ones you have probably seen on Pinterest and Tik Tok. In fact I take my hat off to any parent out there who finds the time, energy and creativity to make fancy-looking lunch boxes for their kids everyday! This is not my reality, and I’m sure many parents will relate – we don’t necessarily have it in us to make the fanciest lunches, but we still want our kids to enjoy the experience and the food!
A few days after the very first lockdown was announced at the beginning of this pandemic, I looked at my husband and said “Academically speaking, this year is pretty much void, right?” He just sighed. We both had a feeling that we’d just have to erase this year from our children’s academic journey and start over next year! Being a teacher, he knows all too well the struggle to keep children’s interest in learning alive. He knows how hard it is to stimulate their young minds to keep learning at a time like this.
This past year, every time schools closed, he almost singlehandedly took care of our children’s education, home schooling them to the best possible standard and supervising them while they took their online classes. And all this, on top of having to teach from home himself. We have a routine, but let’s be honest – being at home with all the distractions just simply isn’t the same.
In times like these, that feeling of dread for your children’s future is normal. But you don’t have to do it alone, you don’t have to struggle. If you’re a parent who is finding it hard to give your children the additional academic support they need in their school journey, or if you’re simply looking for an affordable tutoring service of great quality, I’d like to tell you about Joy Learning (Click here to visit the website).
I value the beauty of communication and dialogue with my children. The questions I’m about to suggest came to me completely randomly as I sat down with my sons for our daily ‘chit-chat’ – a mother-and-son moment we have every single evening, where we talk about their day and anything else that’s been on their mind: from “Mum, how are trains made?” to “Mum, I have this spot on my chin…” That evening, I decided to have a bit more of a structured approach to our chit-chat, and introduced a set of questions. I didn’t think they’d be so useful in making the conversation flow, and I’m surprised at how much the boys enjoyed answering them! N.B.: These questions are specifically aimed at pre-teen/teenagers. However, parents of younger children (and dads!) feel free to tailor as necessary.
One thing I absolutely love about this time of the year is using my imagination to transform our living space into the perfect festive setting. I usually do this indoors with our Christmas decorations, our tree and all the other festive touches that put us all in the mood for Christmas. This year however, I decided to do something different by creating a Christmas enchanted garden – an adventure that my children, especially my 2-year old daughter, would remember for a long time.
No matter the size of your garden, there are many different ways to encourage your children’s curiosity and sense of adventure. From creating a mini winter wonderland, to turning your outdoor space into a small campsite, you’ll find that a little bit of imagination can go a very long way. So get into the spirit and dress for the occasion – we are wearing Barbour’sgorgeous new Father Christmas collection, which is inspired by Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas, available here.
If there’s one thing this year has taught me, it’s that we can never be “too hygienic”. Growing up, good hand hygiene was something my mother used to insist on all the time, and I’m glad she raised us that way. Today I find myself using a similar approach when it comes to my own children – teaching them to not only wash their hands regularly, but also keep them soft, nourished and moisturised especially in colder weather.
With the festive season fast approaching, the Childs Farm Hand care tin makes an amazing Christmas gift and is also the perfect little tool (this year especially!) to encourage the little ones to be intentional about their hand washing routine.
This is one of those posts where I must begin with a disclaimer. I’m no psychologist or relationship expert, but for quite some time now I’ve been on a journey to be a lot more zen, calm and composed than ever. And these are the things that are working for me right now.
Sometimes it just hits me that I may actually come across as that stagnant, unambitious and complacent friend our parents used to warn us about. Or the only person in the room who’d gladly turn down a promotion to prioritize my family and work/life balance. I may even be (in fact I know I am) that one friend who’ll encourage you to first consider your own happiness and well-being before taking any opportunity to move up the career ladder, even if your salary was tripled.
“There’s no “opt out” button. We’re responsible for three small human beings til they reach the age where they can start making life decisions for themselves, pay their own bills, have kids of their own… And even beyond that, I’ll still feel a sense of responsibility towards them. We can’t just switch this parenting thing off whenever we feel like it; it doesn’t just go away whenever you need a break; we have to deal with it, even on our worst days… and the journey has only just begun. Can you believe it?”
These are the types of words that come out of my mouth during conversations with my husband whenever the reality of our lives just hits me.
How do you feel when you see photos of babies and young children on social media? Does it make you smile, or do you feel slightly uncomfortable? Being a mother of three children with a huge passion for the digital world and social media, these are questions I’ve asked myself on numerous occasions. And when it comes to my own children, the realisation that I have reached a point of no return in terms of my kids’ online presence wasn’t an easy one to face. Continue reading “On raising a generation of babies born with cameras in their faces”→