Tuesday 29 March 2022

Top Tips for Helping Your Child with their Homework


We all want our children to succeed in school, which is why it’s important to find ways to support their academic progression at home. Homework is obviously a crucial aspect of their education and certainly something you can help with. 

This doesn’t mean you should take over and provide your child with all of the correct answers, there are other ways you can ensure your child succeeds. Here are some top tips from an independent school in Oxfordshire.


Provide a Positive Outlook


Not a lot of children would say that they enjoy doing homework, so it's your responsibility to try and help adjust their mindset. 

When talking about homework, try and have a positive attitude. Avoid saying things like “I hated homework at your age” because your child will adopt a similar approach. Instead, remind them why homework is important and perhaps offer a reward once it’s complete.


Create a Study Environment


Try and find a place in your home that is solely dedicated to schoolwork. This environment should be quiet, well-lit, and free from distractions such as the TV. Providing your child with a study space will show them how much you value their education and will allow them to separate leisure time from studies so that they can fully concentrate. 

It will also benefit them if the study space is equipped with all of the necessary supplies, like stationery and relevant books. 


Communicate with the School


It’s a good idea to maintain regular contact with your child’s teachers so that you can understand their expectations regarding homework and the curriculum in general. If your child is struggling, the teachers might be able to suggest some additional learning resources you could look into to help your child. 

After all, both you and your child’s school share a similar goal; you both want your child to succeed academically.

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Monday 28 March 2022

Why Are Chores Beneficial for Child Development?


There aren’t many kids who would say that they enjoy doing chores, which can be a bone of contention for many families. However, encouraging your child to help you with household chores is crucial for their overall learning and development. 

I have teamed up with a London private school to explore why in further detail below.


Reinforces Respect


Children need to learn to appreciate what other people do for them and assigning them chores can help achieve this. If they know what’s involved in running a household, they are more likely to respect their parents and all that they do. 

What’s more, if your child is responsible for cleaning up after themselves, they might have more respect for their possessions and the house in general.


Teaches Teamwork 


Teamwork is an important skill that benefits many adults in the world of work. Being a productive member of the family is a great way to teach children the value of working as part of a team and playing on one another’s strengths to get the jobs done more quickly.


Improves Various Life Skills


Your child won’t be little forever. One day they will need to do their own laundry and cook their own meals. Asking them to help you with the household chores while they’re young will help them develop these important life skills so that they are well equipped when the time comes for them to move away from home.


Promotes a Strong Work Ethic


The sooner that children can learn that hard work usually pays off, the better. Putting effort into something to complete a task might feel grueling, but the end result is often more than worth it. This strong work ethic will usually be carried over to other areas of your child’s life, such as at school or in a future career. 


Allows Families to Bond


Chores might not seem like a particularly appealing bonding exercise, but it is bonding, nonetheless. They provide opportunities for parents and their children to experience special moments and help one another, building stronger relationships. 

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Sunday 27 March 2022

We're getting chickens...again!!

 Ever since I sold my last gang of chickens I've deeply missed them, to the point where I dream about having to collect their eggs and find them shut in a horrible coop, it's awful and I do regret selling them but at the time it was the right decision.

So when we found out we were going to have an allotment I knew instantly I wanted to get chickens again.

Chickens are definitely my happy thing and do wonders for my mental health.

The plan was to pop a chicken run and coop on the smaller plot along with some beehives and flowers, but during the storm Eunice the polytunnel in the garden got damaged and we were just left with the metal frame and I thought to myself that would make a rather good run for the chickens, and having the chickens at home meant I wouldn't be worried about people pinching the eggs and I could get some fancy birds again and aim for rainbow eggs.

** Rainbow eggs are different coloured chicken eggs - different breeds lay different colours.**

Previously I had olive green, pastel blue, white, brown and light brown.

So after sweet-talking Jon we went ahead and bought a coop suitable to 5-8 birds, My plan is to just have 6 this time.

I've found a really good chicken farm not too far from us that sells the chickens that I want, and they'll all be fully vaccinated and wormed which is an added bonus as before when I bought some of my previous girls they weren't too healthy when they arrived.

I've painted the coop a sweet pea pink (obviously Jon had no say in the colour choice!) and Jon is putting up the chicken wire around the run, the woodchip is down and I've planted up some herbs at the front of the run in the giant pot ready for the girls.

The boys are all excited to have chickens again and I can't wait to see what Bea thinks of them.

I have a few more chicken accessories to buy still but hopefully, in a couple of weeks, I'll have some new girls to introduce!

Helping Your Child Develop their Fine Motor Skills


Fine motor skills are something we all need in order to complete some of the most normal everyday tasks in life. They are essentially the ability to move and control the small muscles in our hands, fingers, and wrists, so we need them to write with a pen, tie our laces, and use cutlery to eat. 

With this in mind, parents should try and find ways to help their children develop these skills from an early age. Here’s some advice from girls’ private school


Encourage Arts & Crafts


Creative activities are great for helping children develop their fine motor skills because they involve the intricate use of pens, pencils, and paintbrushes, to name but a few. 

Your child will start off with scribbles but as their fine motor skills improve, they will start to have more control over their crafting tools which will make for neater work. 


Play Board Games


Most board games require players to move small pieces across the board. This is another entertaining way to engage your child’s fine motor skills and help them practice. 

Board games can also be quite educational as they often require numeracy or literacy skills, as well as problem solving and teamwork. 


Ask for Help in the Kitchen


There are lots of cooking tasks that require the use of fine motor skills, so it’s a great opportunity for your child to practice. For instance, they may have to use a pair of tongs to handle food and pour liquids without spilling. 

Even asking them to help set the table is a great way to strengthen the muscles in their hands and wrists. 


Encourage Independent Dressing


While it might take a little longer to get everyone out of the door on time in the mornings, encouraging your child to dress themselves rather than doing it for them is important for their fine motor skills and independence. 

They will need to do up their zips and buttons, tie their laces, brush their teeth and hair, amongst other tasks.

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Wednesday 23 March 2022

Down on the Allotment

We finally got our allotment plots and have been busy trying to get set up for the growing season.
The big plot needed a lot of work as it hadn't been used in a good few years and the ground isn't that great.

So Jon hired a rotavator and gave the ground a good seeing too and we then put down sheeting to help kill off all the weeds underneath.

We are busy making raised beds as we think going up rather than digging down will be our best bet.

We have made 7 beds so far and have enough wood to make the rest, by next weekend we are hoping to have all the beds done.

The kids love coming down to help us and it is becoming a great way to get them off their games.
Even Bea is loving waddling around whilst the boys are busy weeding and spreading out woodchip.

We have so many plans for the plot and know it will take a couple of years to get it how we want it but we are excited to see what we can produce in our first year.

The long-term plan for the small plot is to grow some apple trees, plant some of my cut flowers there, have some beehives, and build a new polytunnel on it.
For the bigger plot that will be mainly where all our veg is planted, we want a shed on there and possibly some ducks as they are good for pest control such as slugs!

I was planning on having chickens on the small plot, but during the strong winds a few weeks ago the polytunnel sheeting in our garden got ripped off and just left the frame behind so I decided that would make a great chicken run, so we have decided to have the chickens at home and my new run arrives this week!

I can't wait to get it all set up and finally have chickens again.
I miss my old ones so much and I regret the day we decided to sell them.
But because of them, I know what we need to do to keep those pesky rats away, and thankfully where the new chickens are going to be there aren't many hiding places for said rats to hide, so hopefully, it won't be too bad this time around.

I'm looking forward to sharing the plot's progression on here as well as my flowers that I have been busy planting up in the garden.

Do you have an allotment?
If so what are your handy tips?


Tuesday 22 March 2022

Out and About with Bea // Church Farm

Last week I decided to take Bea on her very first farm outing.
The sun was shining and we hadn't got any plans so once in from the school run I googled local farms and Church Farm rare breed centre popped up as our closest one.
I had heard good things about Church Farm but it was always a little too far from our old house and the boys never really wanted to go to a farm if I asked. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was nice and close to where we are now.

Bea and I were not disappointed!
The prices were reasonable, I think they're a little cheaper online than on the door, so next time I go ill definitely be buying tickets beforehand. 
The staff were all pretty friendly and the farm itself was great.

We headed off to see the sheep first and Bea was smittened straight away, she loved seeing all the sheep and lambs, bending down to see through the bars and pointing at them.

After seeing the sheep and pigs we walked over to see the goats and these were another big hit with Bea

She loved that they came right up to her and that she was allowed to touch them.
for one unfortunate goat, she did manage to poke him up the nose but he didn't seem too bothered by it and I quickly removed her hand!

As well as seeing all the different animals I think Bea was happy to have the freedom to roam around on her own without being carried or in the pushchair.
The farm wasn't busy so she could go at her own pace, often stopping to touch the ground.

We had a bite to eat before we left, we could have popped into the play area but by the time we'd finished eating Bea was ready for her nap so we decided to leave it, but we'll definitely be going in there next time.
I also think the boys would all love it here, so I am going to bring them in the Easter holidays as a little outing whilst Jon is at work.

Bea loves being out and about and loves exploring so Church Farm was a big hit!
With Bea walking and the weather warming up, I'm looking forward to more exciting days out with her.


Monday 21 March 2022

The Benefits of Forest School for Young Children

 Nowadays, children are spending far too much time glued to a digital device, losing sight of the simple pleasures obtained from outdoor play. With this in mind, many schools around the world, including this private nursery in Battersea, have established Forest School. 

The is a child-centered, learner-led approach that encourages children to make independent decisions, develop an appreciation towards nature, learn to assess risks, and solve various problems. Through frequent sessions, Forest School makes way for holistic growth, including improved self-esteem and intellectual progression.  

In simple terms, Forest School is a type of outdoor learning that includes activities such as climbing trees, scavenger hunts, making mud pies, using gardening tools, and a range of other fun and educational endeavors. It’s all about allowing children to get their hands dirty in a safe, structured environment while focussing on using natural resources. After all, learning isn’t limited to a classroom. 

So, here are some of the benefits of Forest School in further detail…


• Improves Physical & Mental Health: Forest School allows children to run, roam and play in the fresh air, which is beneficial for their mental and physical wellbeing.


• Encourages Curiosity: Finding ways to nurture curiosity is important because it helps children become more observant and experimental. Forest School encourages curiosity because it allows children to discover more about the world around them and ask questions while trying to figure things out. 


• Advances Motor Skills: When children engage their bodies, as well as their minds, they are able to develop their fine and gross motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination, all of which aid in the completion of everyday tasks. 


• Enhances Social Skills: During Forest School sessions, children must communicate with their peers and work as part of a team to solve problems. These types of interactions are not always available to them in traditional classroom environments. 


• Promotes Respect for the Environment: As children spend more time outdoors and experience nature first-hand, they learn more about different animals and bugs, trees, and flowers, and how the seasons change. This promotes a sense of respect for the environment. 


These are just a few of the many benefits of Forest School. As children have fun, build strong relationships, and develop a range of skills, they become increasingly more confident. 

This is crucial for their overall success in school and beyond because it will give them the strength to take risks and try new things.

Sunday 20 March 2022

Introducing Cocoro

I wanted to share a little post about a lovely small business that has firmly become a favourite of mine.
I have been following on Instagram for a while now as they are Montessori based and that is the route I am sort of taking with Bea.
 I love all Sarah's posts and I love that she offers out great advice for free, as well as having the option for a more personal 1to1 if that is what you are after.

Recently Sarah very kindly sent Bea her very first doll after talking to Sarah about how I wasn't sure which one to go for, being a boy mum at heart the doll thing is all very new for me and I wasn't quite sure where to start and if Bea was even ready for one.

Sarah talked me through the Minikane doll and told me how there is a diverse range suitable for all children of all different races and how they are all anatomically correct perfect for helping your little ones learn about body parts when they are a little older. 

They are usually aimed at children 3+ but we decided that Bea would be fine with her as there aren't any 
small parts that could come off.

I instantly fell for their charm, they are very cute and lifelike! 
Sarah let me choose which one I wanted and I went for 'Gabrielle' a cute little redhead, Bea has a reddish tinge to her hair and green eyes so I thought they would be perfectly matched.

Gabrielle was an instant hit with Bea, as soon as I had her out the box Bea was cuddling her and investigating her by touching her hair and face.
It was so sweet to watch, when she patted her back when she was cuddling her I couldn't help but melt.

Bea loves walking her around the garden in her little pushchair and it has become part of our daily routine now the weather is improving.

Sarah at Cocoro not only offers beautiful sourced items she also offers 1 to 1 support and workshops.

Sarah was so generous and even gifted us an outfit for Gabrielle and a very lovely book that has quickly turned into one of Bea's favourites!

Slow down on your doorstep, this book captures six mindful moments in nature through lyrical verse and delightful illustration.

Bea loves the pictures and even kisses the little chicks when we get to that page.
It's the one book she will let me read before she chucks another one in my lap.
Bea loves it so much that I have also recently bought another in the Slow Down series.

As well as showing you a little snippet of what is available over on Cocoro's website & Instagram page I wanted Sarah to have a little say and tell you all a little bit more about Cocoro and the passion behind it.

I started Cocoro in 2022. After the birth of our baby girl, I was searching for more flexibility, and for a way to balance family life & work. I wanted a new challenge alongside doing something I feel incredibly passionate about. 

I’ve worked for 20 years in early childhood education & parent support as a teacher, trainer & parent consultant. The thing I’m most passionate about is helping children’s emotional well-being & setting them up for a resilient future. 

I knew supporting parents would be a key part of Cocoro because it’s something I have always loved doing and believe is one way I can make a difference to families. 
In addition to the 1-1s that are fee-based, I also make sure I offer lots of free content on social media to make it accessible to everyone.

It’s not always easy to source beautiful toys, activities & books that support children’s well-being and development, and during workshops and 1-1s, parents are often asking for my suggestions…and so the Cocoro store was born. 

I choose everything in the store very carefully to make sure it supports children’s development - but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun! 
Fun is a key part of well-being, so we have toys and activities to cover it all…fun, adventure, relaxation, mindful living, big feelings - and we’ve just added a special under 2s section too. It’s also really important to me to make sure diversity is woven through the toys and activities we offer.

I’m so proud to run a small, independent, female-led business, and I make sure the store supports other independent & female-led brands. I love the feedback from people who’ve bought from the store & are so excited to receive their parcel. I also love getting messages from people who are following along for my free content & DM me to let me know it’s making a difference to their own and their family’s well-being. 

I’m incredibly grateful for the chance to make Cocoro a reality, and for everyone who is joining me on the journey. 
Their love & support means the world.


If you do anything today, please check out Cocoro!
Even give them a cheeky follow on Insta I promise you won't be disappointed.

AD // Bakedin Baking Club

During the February half term, we were sent the Junior baking club box from the Bakedin baking club.
We love baking and we all enjoy receiving a subscription box in the post, so when Ru opened up this box he was instantly excited and wanted to get baking straight away.

Our bake was Lemonade Cupcakes!

Ru donned his chef hat and apron and got to work.
He loved that everything was set up easily for him to do on his own.
He worked his way through the instructions and bags pretty easily and I only need to step in occasionally.

All the boys love lemon drizzle cake, so I knew these cupcakes wouldn't be around for long once they were ready.

Ru's favourite is always cracking the eggs, but he also enjoyed squeezing in the lemon juice and trying his hand at icing up the cakes, as usually that's my job and no one gets a look in.

I think he did pretty well, and they tasted amazing.
All the other boys came running down the stairs to grab one and we just managed to save one for daddy!

Have you tried a Bakedin subscription box yet?

If not and you fancy trying one of the fabulous Bakedin baking boxes you can use 
HANNAHANDTHEMINIBEASTS499  to get your first box for £4.99