Monthly Archives: November 2016

On Being Great Parents: The Good, The Bad And the Ugly

Baby Wearing Pink Crew Neck Cap Sleeve Shirt Between 2 Person Standing during Daytime

Children don’t arrive with instructions. There’s no single book that will provide you with everything you need to know about raising a family. Believe me; I’ve looked. It’s true that you will be bombarded with well-meaning advice from friends and family. And there is no end of hints and tips on the internet. If you listen to it all, it can quickly become overwhelming. Over the years you’ll learn to filter out the noise and apply the lessons that are relevant to you. Until then, this may help.

  1. Foundations

Start with getting the basics in place. Children need to feel safe. This includes having food, shelter, clothing and security. It’s not about having lots of money and the best of everything. It’s about consistency and getting the bases covered.

Are there simple changes you could make to ensure your family’s comfort and security? Is your home a safe environment? It’s important to have a maintenance checklist and minimise any risks. This includes setting up safety measures and regular checks. Do you have a security alarm to protect against intruders? If not, it’s worth checking out your options. Reading guides like security system buyers guide is a good place to start. Getting the basics in place will provide you with peace of mind. If you’re relaxed and happy, your children are likely to feel the same.

  1. Moral Compass

Discipline is a contentious issue and one that is much debated. It’s important to teach our kids right and wrong. But what’s the best way to go about this?

  • Don’t just tell your kids what to do, model good values
  • Own up to your mistakes and apologise
  • Share your own personal experiences with your children
  • Make your children accountable for their mistakes and be accountable for yours
  • Encourage your children to help others
  • Value and praise good behaviour
  • Keep communications open
  • Condemn bad behaviour and not the child
  • Carefully monitor their access TV, the Internet and other outside influences


  1. Spend Time With Them

One of the best gifts you can give to your children is your time. Most of us lead busy lives, and we have to work. Unfortunately, there’s no getting away from that. However, set aside time each day to spend with your children. This could be helping them with their homework, allowing them to chat to you as you’re making dinner, bedtime stories, etc. Safeguard this time and don’t let anything get in the way of it.

Another great way to be with your kids is to schedule in family time. This is particularly important when your kids are getting older and spending more time with their friends. Set aside an evening each week or a day at the weekend to do something fun as a family.

  1. Build Confidence

Having confidence in yourself is invaluable and will stand you in good stead for years to come. We all want our children to be self-assured and confident in their own abilities. However, it can be difficult to instil this, especially with the advent of social media. There are a few simple things we can do to help with this.

  • Step back a little and allow your children to make their own decisions
  • Allow children to take healthy risks, within reason of course
  • Don’t answer every question but encourage children to find their own solutions
  • Encourage them to experiment and find what they enjoy doing
  • Let them make mistakes and help them to learn from them and move on
  • Praise your children but don’t overdo it


  1. Encourage Hobbies

Encourage your children to have hobbies. Limit time spent on electrical devices and encourage them to pursue other interests. Find out what they like doing. This could be playing a musical instrument, taking part in crafts, dancing, sports, etc. Whatever it is, fire their enthusiasm. You should also do the same. Allow them to see that you also have hobbies and that you spend time doing what makes you happy.

Woman in Black Shirt Carrying His Son in the Seashore during Sunset

  1. Talk

Talking is good. Let your kids see that they can talk to you about anything. If they confide in you don’t judge them. Talk the issue through and help them to find solutions. Make sure that you are available so they have plenty of time to grab your attention. If they seem worried or distracted, encourage them to discuss what’s on their mind. Communication is the key to all great relationships.

Above all, love your children and allow them to see that they are loved and cared for. Don’t just tell them, demonstrate it through your actions. Establishing boundaries and even punishments will let them know they are cared for. This is the most important thing. Get this right, and the rest will follow.

Break The Mould This Christmas And Do Something Different With Your Gifts


With Christmas looming around the corner, the stress is on. You need to find dozens of unique and interesting presents, some of which, for people you barely even know. This time of year is hard for everyone, but the challenge shouldn’t take away the festive fun. It’s easier than ever to be creative when it comes to buying gifts. Using the Internet and the tips from this post, you will find Christmas shopping a breath of fresh air, this year.

  • Preplanning

The best way to start this great endeavor is by putting on your thinking cap. You’re not ready to hit the shops yet! Each person you’re shopping for is going to have an intricate array of interests and desires. Your job is to translate this into the perfect gift.

Think about what you know about a person. Their hobbies and interests are very important, as well as their age and gender. Once you have established the things they enjoy, you can start thinking of the actual gifts. With each idea, you need to run down a checklist.

  • Will they like it?
  • Does it match their current interests?
  • Is it appropriate for them?
  • And can you see anyone else buying the same gift?

Of course, some of these are hard to answer. The first two questions can almost be rolled into one. The first point is more to establish how certain you are that they will like the gift. If you are doubtful, and that “will” becomes a “might,” it’s probably not a great gift. You never want to try and force a new hobby or interest on someone. Which is what the second point is for; if the gift doesn’t match what they already do, it will likely go untouched after the big day. The third point is pretty self-explanatory, but the fourth isn’t. Think about the receiver’s social circles, and try to decide whether or not someone else might buy the same gift.

  • Inspiration

If you’re struggling with preplanning, you’ll need a touch of inspiration. Here is where the Internet first comes in. There are loads of quirky and unique gift stores online. Although a lot of them are expensive, they’re great to give you some ideas. There are loads of sites around to inspire unique and unusual gift ideas, like Cuckooland or Hawkin’s Bazaar. These sites will often allow you to search by hobbies and gender/age, making it super easy to find what you need.

  • Be Creative

Be creative in all of your gift hunting. Use things like social media, to find out what people talk to their closest friends about. Talk to as many people who know the giftee as possible. The more you know about a person; the easier it is to find a gift.

If your biggest concern is the budget this holiday season, well thought out homemade gifts always go down well. If you have any skill, find a way to use it. The weirder and more unique, the better.

Hopefully, this will take away some of that seasonal stress we all know too well. Remember to put the effort in before you buy a gift, and that price isn’t everything.

Not Guilty! Don’t Blame Your Pets For These Home Problems


I’m sure you love your pets just as much as I love mine. But when things are going wrong, it’s easy to blame them for things that aren’t really their fault. We end up shouting at the poor confused animal when they often have no idea what they’ve done wrong. That’s bad enough, but sometimes they aren’t even to blame! Let me show you exactly what I mean.

Allergies Flaring Up

I constantly blame my pets for this, particularly when they seem to be causing allergies for my nieces and nephews. But you don’t have to blame your pets for allergies in the home. There are plenty of ways to avoid the problem completely. First, you should be hoovering and polishing at least once a week to make sure that dust and muck doesn’t build up. This will always make your allergies worse and guess what, the pets aren’t to blame. You might also want to consider purchasing some anti allergy pillows. These are really useful if you find your allergies are worse in the morning. It means you’re allergic to dust mites and has nothing to do with your furry friend. Although, if you do have a pet and you think you might be allergic you can get tablets. You don’t have to say goodbye and find him a new home.

Bad Behaviour

This is one of the ways that pets are quite similar to children. Particularly domestic pets like cats and dogs. If you think that your cat or dog is behaving badly, it isn’t their fault, it’s yours. There’s no such thing as bad pets, only bad owners. If you want them to behave better, you need to train them better. It’s as simple as that! The good news is that the old saying an old dog can’t learn new tricks isn’t true. They can and will. You just have to be willing to put the time in. It’s never too late to teach your pet to behave.

Toilet Training

If your animal is relieving himself inside, this could be another issue with training. However, you might be surprised to learn that as they get older animals will naturally want to do their business outside. If they complete their business inside it’s because they are desperate. You’ve left it too long, and you need to be taking them out more regularly. So next time your dog leaves a package on your bed, smack yourself on the nose with a newspaper instead.

Bugs And Beasties

If we see bugs and beasties in our home, it’s natural to think the animal brought them in. But the truth is that they probably didn’t. Instead, those little bugs are attracted to your home because you’re not keeping it clean enough. Or, because you’ve got an environmental problem like mold. Nine times out of ten it’s nothing to do with the pet. It’s about how well you’re maintaining the home.

I hope you see now that  these problems aren’t the fault of the pet at all. The only one you can blame is yourself. But there’s no time like the present to fix these issues and give your pet a hug instead of a scolding.