30 Ideas for Sneaking in Special One on One Time with Young Children

24 Sep

by Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD
In the hustle bustle of stressful family life, it is more important than ever to spend special one-on-one time with each child. Kids adore the attention, the fun, and the indulgence of having one parent all to themselves. What’s not as obvious is just how meaningful it can be for parents. If you are a parent who feels exhausted from doing laundry, dragging multiple kids to swimming lessons, refereeing arguments, or cleaning up spills, having special time with just one child can actually put the zip back in your step, the magic back in the moment.
What makes special time special?
It’s one-on-one. A child who is used to sharing you with a fussy newborn sister or a potty-training brother finally gets you, the most important person in his or her little life, all to themselves.
It invites complete presence.

Naming time as special makes it more likely that you and your child will give each other your full attention. No iPhone, no Dora the Explorer, no phone calls. Giving someone your full self is a powerful present.

It’s fun. Labeling special time as such subconsciously makes you and your child look forward to it. It will be different from the stress of getting out of the house when you’re late. It will be different from the routine. There will be laughter and fun.

Special time with kids

How to Make Special Time Even More Special
Give your child a job to do. If you take your child to the car wash, ask him or her to vacuum the car for you. If you take your child out to eat, ask him or her to be in charge of buttering the pancakes or scooping the extra food into the take-home box. If you take your child swimming, ask him or her to be in charge of locking things up in the changing room. It doesn’t matter what the job is. When you give a child a defined role, they feel useful, cooperate more, and feel even more important.
Let your child make a choice.

Give your child a choice about something during the special time. Ask your child if he or she wants to play tee-ball or soccer at the park. See if he or she wants to hold the light bulbs or be the tester to turn on the light. Letting a child make a choice gives him or her ownership and investment in the experience.

Have fun.

Remember that the most important part of special time is to have fun together. Look into your child’s eyes, embrace your inner goofball, tease gently, throw your child in the air, tickle, smile, and have fun together.

Special time with kids

Make a preview. Before special time, you can make a list of 3 to 5 things you might notice. For example, if you are going to the zoo, you can list that you might see the fountain, go on the carousel, play at the playground, jump in the ceramic kangaroo pouch, and get a hot pretzel. Before you go to the hardware store, you can talk to your child about finding the paint, the saws, and the place where they make keys.

Take photos and/or videos.

You can have your child be the photographer, or you can take photos or videos and show them to your child when you get home. You may decide to print them out and make a small scrapbook for your child to look through later.
Make a related art project before or after the experience.

If you fly a kite with your child, you may help him or her make an art project of flying the kite with colored construction paper, scissors, and glue. If you brought your child to the car show, you might print out a picture of his or her favorite car and let him or her paint it a favorite color. If you are going to go to the pool, you might make a collage before you go of magazine pictures of kids playing in water.

Erin 3

Play about the experience. If you visit the largest tower in your city, you can pretend like you’re building it with blocks together when you get home. If you take your child to the dollar store, you might draw a bunch of fake dollars and “play” dollar store with your child, a toy cash register, and aisles of toys you have already. If you go to the arboretum, “play” arboretum at home by making a booth where you check your child’s membership card as he or she “drives in” through the gate on his or her toy truck.

Talk about the experience. “Remember when we went fishing and you caught that big pile of stinky seaweed? That was so funny!” “Hey, I can’t believe that guy at the farmers market gave you that flower for free. Wasn’t that cool? We should tell Grandma about it next time she comes over!” “That was awesome how you went down that water slide all by yourself at the pool! I loved to watch how you splashed under the water!” “What was your favorite part?”

Simple Ideas for Special Time with Little Ones

Ideas for At-Home Special Time
1. Fix it crew – Ask your child to be on the “fix it crew” for your house. Every 1st or 15th of the month, change all the light bulbs together, replace batteries in toys, and make minor repairs to your house.
2. Special book bin – Keep a bin of books or kids’ magazines (such as Highlights) that are only to read during “special time.”
3. Special art projects – Get a book of art projects for toddlers. Let your child choose one to make with you out of the book during special time.
4. Baking – Bake muffins, brownies, or cupcakes with your child. The more ingredients, the better. Let your child measure, pour, and stir the ingredients.

Baking with children at home.5. Gardening – Let your child water the flowers with a water spray-bottle, a watering can, or a garden hose. Ask your child to help you plant flowers with a shovel or pull weeds with special gardening gloves.
6. Packing – Let your child help you pack for your own work trips, family vacations, or the beach. Draw little pictures for them to check off a checklist as they put them in a bag or a suitcase. Ask them if they have an idea for a unique or fun surprise to pack in the suitcase.
7. Tackle a large cleaning project – Let your child be your partner in a large cleaning project such as cleaning out the lazy susan, cleaning the garage, cleaning the fridge, cleaning the car, or cleaning out a closet. Give them ownership over a piece of the project, such as “can you take all the cans out of the cabinet and put them on the table for me?” “Can you line up all the stuff with a stick on it, like the mops, rakes, and brooms?”
8. Shovel snow or rake leaves – Let your child help you shovel the snow, rake the leaves, or do other outdoor tasks.

Ideas for Out and About Special Time
1. Take your child with when you go to the grocery store
2. Go to a new area park
3. Play soccer, tennis, tee-ball, or another sport together at the park
4. Go to a car show
5. Take your child to a minor-league baseball game or a minor-league soccer game
6. Take your child to a high-school basketball, volleyball, or football game
7. Go to the beach
8. Go on a short train ride with your child – just a few stops – to a nearby park
9. Go to the mall
10. Fly a kite
11. Take your child to run an errand with you (like the dry cleaners)
12. Get a car wash with your child

Special time with kids.  Get kids to help was the car13. Take your child to the dollar store
14. Bring your child to pick out a present for a birthday party
15. Go on a morning walk with your child
16. Go to the library
17. Go to the farmers’ market
18. Go mini golfing
19. Take your child on a paddleboat, canoe, or water taxi ride
20. Take your child with you when you visit an elderly or sick relative or friend
21. Go to the zoo, a carnival, a museum, a wildlife center, or a nature center
22. Take your child on a forest preserve trail in the bike trailer or stroller
23. Go hiking
24. Take your child to work with you
25. Go fishing together at a local pond
26. Pull your child in a wagon and go get ice cream
27. Bring your child to the hardware store
28. Take your child out for breakfast
29. Bring your child to a holiday event, like a Christmas train exhibit or a tree-lighting ceremony
30. Take your child to some garage sales with you

Our time with our young children is so precious, so fleeting. It doesn’t matter what we are doing with them, whether it’s going to a carnival or to the grocery store. What matters most is that the time between us is sacred.
All rights reserved.

positive parenting tips from Erin Leyba

Erin Leyba, LCSW, PhD is a counselor for individuals and couples in private practice in Chicago’s western suburbs (Oak Brook, IL). She specializes in counseling for parents of young children. Read more about mindful parenting at http://www.parenthappy.org

Healthy Pack-ups for Kids

19 Sep

Healthy Pack-ups

Healthy Pack-ups for kids by Rachel Linstead on Positive Parents and KidsHaving to make your child’s lunch in advance five days a week can be a challenge sometimes especially if you want to make it healthy as it’s easy to send them to school with a sandwich, crisps & a chocolate bar or piece of fruit!! And when you get the lunch box back at the end of the day to find the fruit is still in there, a bit more bruised but still un-eaten.

The key to coming up with healthy pack lunches is variety, so the child doesn’t get bored but also helps them to try new foods. Also theme lunches are a great way to get your child interested in food so it could be themed around countries of the world, calendar events, colours; the only limitation is imagination.

Sticking with the traditional sandwich well sort of try experimenting with:

Different types of bread – Sundried tomato, herb & garlic, olive, wholegrain, multigrain, seeded, rye, sour dough, ciabatta, pitta

Wraps/tortillas – You can easily make these yourself but if time is short, there are many varieties available at all the major supermarkets

Scone based sandwich – I remember mum sending me to school with a three cheese scone & some cherry tomatoes & it was delicious

English muffin type bread – any these can be homemade or bought, the cheese ones are especially lovely

Savoury muffins – cheese & bacon, sundried tomato

Healthy Pack-Ups for Kids by Rachel Linstead on Positive Parents and KidsSo that’s the bread sorted what about fillings:

It doesn’t matter what you fill the sandwich with but the one principle I’d stick to is to ensure there is some protein within the filling – protein helps you stay fuller for longer & and releases energy slower (so you’re less likely to get a sugar high).

Pulled meats are easy as can be made in advance or are leftovers from a meal

Homous or other bean based dips make a great alternative to butter or spread, if you’re child isn’t keen on them, try adding red pesto to it to make it slightly sweeter.

Cheese – a good protein source but high in saturated fat, so try grating it up and mixing with grated vegetables such as carrot.

Mini meatballs with a tomato sauce – you could get your children to help you make these, cook the night before & then slice in half, add to sandwich with a little sauce for flavour. These work really well as a pasta salad too.

Use lamb mince to make mini kofta balls and make a minted yogurt dip to go with it.

Marinate chopped chicken in a barbeque sauce, cook as you would for a barbeque and then serve with a yogurt and tomato dip and salad.

Animal source – Meat, fish, poultry, diary, egg

Vegetable source – Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, tofu, quorn

Alternatives to sandwiches:

Rice/pasta/couscous/bulgar wheat salad: A handy tip to add more flavour to these without the need to add mayo or other sauces is to cook in a light stock (Chicken or vegetable).

Anything goes here really with flavours, chopped up or grated vegetables and of course some protein!!

Greek – feta, olives, cucumber & minted yogurt

Rainbow – Red, yellow, orange & green pepper, grated cheese

Italian – Tomato, basil & mozzarella (use pesto to flavour it)

Vegetable sticks & dip or pate is another idea to add variety:

Vegetables that can be eaten raw:

  • Peppers
  • Carrot
  • Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mange Tout
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Peas

Roasting vegetables can be used to add interest to sandwiches or salads:

Onions, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergines

Root vegetables are also lovely roasted & can be used in a salad:

Carrot, butternut squash, sweet potato, mini potatoes.

Sweet stuff

Most children like yogurts especially fruit ones but most shop bought fruit yogurts are quite high in sugar, I would personally recommend that you buy natural yogurt and then add your own flavours to it, this will be cheaper too and more adaptable!!

Here are some ideas for fruit compotes which can be used in a variety of ways but make a great homemade fruit yogurt:

Mixed berry – mixed frozen berries, stewed in a little water and something to sweeten it, I use agave nectar but honey or sugar is fine, just don’t make it too sweet or you could use apple juice to do the job of the water & sugar.

Rhubarb on its own or with a little ginger if you’re children like it – same as above but using fresh rhubarb when in season

Apple & berry – use the mixed frozen berries with some chopped apple and again the same method is used as above

Apple & raisin

Pear & dried friut

Spiced apple – chopped apple, mixed spice and then use the same method as before

Peach & apricot

Tropical – Use the tropical fruit mix and stew gentle like above, you probably don’t need to add any sugar to this one though

Either mix them before you put in the lunch box or let your child make their own (A bit like a branded two part corner yogurt)

Homemade flapjacks or granola can be used to add texture to yogurt and another snack for children to munch on.


Today’s post comes from the wonderful Rachel Linstead. Thank you Rachel, this post is so helpful. My son is a really picky eater and finding healthy options for pack up that don’t get boring is a real struggle.

Healthy Pack-ups for kids by Rachel LinsteadRachel Linstead of Firecracker, who specialises in creating positive environments through nutrition and wellbeing. Rachel is a qualified nutritional therapist and has been practicing for over 7 years helping individuals, team & businesses make the most out of their day using food and nutrition to enhance performance. Rachel’s ethos is about looking at all the positives at eating the right foods & celebrating what good nutrition can do to improve our lives.

Contact Rachel at Rachel@firecracker-uk.co.ukwww.firecracker-uk.co.uk@rachel_linstead

I got it wrong!!!

5 Sep

Hey Parents,

Well as you know I’m not perfect and I get things wrong more than I’d like, but this week I’ve got it wrong big style and I was shocked. I really thought I had a great plan of action with my 13 year old but it seems I was way off the mark.

Let me tell you all about it, so that maybe you’ll be prepared or maybe you can relate to what happened.

So my gorgeous boy turned 13 last month, now I don’t buy into the terrible teens idea. Yes they have a new set of emotions and lots going on with their body and life but I don’t believe that has to mean all out war in the family. Now I’m not completely disillusion here I have raised 1 teen successfully without too many traumas. Parenting a 13 year old

Anyway so JM is now 13 and it’s back to school time. At the end of the last school year I was pleased with his school report but there were a few areas at school and at home I wanted him to work on. He agreed (at the end of the school year!!).

So being a wonderful, kind, considerate mum :-) I wanted him to enjoy his summer hols and as you may know, he spends most of the summer in Spain with his dad, so I had about a week and a half with him and I wanted it to be nice. It was, right up until the night before school started. :-(

Over the summer I’d thought about what changes I wanted to make, to help him be more organized at home and at school (this has been an ongoing problem for my son).

I also want that to carry through to his homework… My son’s been hit and miss with homework so far. He does it but not always to a standard that he’s capable of. And as for revision, if he’s looked at a book in class, he’s revised???!!!??

Now my son flits between wanting to be a vet, to being a scientist… Big jobs, big qualifications needed. He get’s that he needs to step things up and he’s more than capable of getting much higher grades.

So let me tell you about the changes I made. I’m a big believer in kids of all ages helping around the house. I feel it instils responsibility, respect and gives them a sense of being a valuable part of a family. So my son has always had chores to do.

So other than generally tidying his own things, keeping his room tidy, helping with the dog etc, his chores areas follows: On a Thursday night, empty all the bins into the outside bin and then put the outside bin out for collection. He’s done this for a while now and he’s fine with it. He has a main Saturday morning job which could be anything from sweeping the stairs to cleaning out clutter in the car, washing the car, dusting… It’s only one main chore and again he’s fine with that too. His new chore is to do his own laundry. So on a Friday night he puts his dark clothes including school uniform and PE clothes on to wash to be put out to dry on Saturday morning. The white clothes go above the washer to go in on Saturday morning. Then on a Sunday night, he puts his dark weekend clothes in to wash to go out on Monday morning. As long as he puts the stuff in the washer and puts them onto wash, I’m happy to do the rest (although he’s also happy to do more). I then fold or hang his clothes for him to take and put away.

So there’s no big drama with any of his chores and he’s quite happy to help around the house. He’s always done it.

But here’s where it all went wrong. Homework!!!

This is what I said. Now remember this is the night before school, which as my son pointed out to me was “THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME!!!” (oops!) I said… “I expect you to do homework every school night, even if school hasn’t set you any.”

That’s when it all went wrong.

That’s just mean!!!!

This is the rest of the after school rules.

Empty bag completely on the dining table, clear away lunch bags and rubbish…

Have a snack and drink and go through homework and days lessons with mum, checking teacher comments in books. Remember he’s had a problem being organised so this is a biggie for my son.

Agree homework/writing practice (my son was brought up in Spain speaking and writing in Catalan until he was 10 and so he was way behind with spelling, grammar..), revision, chores for the evening and get on with it.

Get work checked, repack bag and get uniform etc, ready for the next day.

Easy right. But it all came down to those words “I expect you to do homework everyday, even if the school don’t set any!!!”

So he went to bed, the night before school thinking I was the meanest mum in the world :-(

First day of school.

Now I feel the need to point out at this stage that I’m well aware of what my son is capable of. I don’t expect perfection but I do expect effort. So he has one piece of homework to complete, it’s pretty simple stuff. All he needs to do is write neatly and remember capitals (which he often forgets when rushing) and think about his spelling.

10 minutes later he produces a sheet of paper that looks… well not what I was expecting. We had a full on argument. I was annoyed, after all I’ve put in all this effort to help him (me, me, me). My son was frustrated, embarrassed and defensive.

I criticised him in a really not kind manner. What planet was I coming from??? My behaviour certainly wasn’t Wendy Tomlinson Life coach, law of attraction practitioner… Wendy who helps people create the life they want…Wendy who’s super positive… Oh no, no, no!

This was EGO mum, this is what I’ve done for you, I’ve worked hard trying to help you and you’re not even trying!!!! You’ve let me down, I’m upset….. blah, blah, blah.

Time for a reality check. My rules (I don’t really like that word but really that’s what they are) are fair and positive for both me and my son. They will help JM be more responsible and more organized. It is going to take a little getting used to.

What I know about my son. If I criticise him or his work, he gets defensive (don’t we all?) and upset. Now what I’m talking about is here is me saying in that, “That’s not what I wanted, why didn’t you listen, …” ranty voice.

What would have worked better?

Here’s a new idea. Assume it’s me that hasn’t explained it correctly. “It’s not quite right, I didn’t explain what I wanted you to do properly, let’s go through it again.”

You might be reading this and thinking, she’s crazy, she’s lost her mind. But what I was doing wasn’t working so it’s worth a try in my book and instead of going into “That’s wrong, that’s wrong..” mode which serves no purpose other than dragging my son down and making him and me feel rubbish, I can reinforce what I want from him staying calm and supportive.

I’ll keep you posted. Now how do you deal with homework/organization issues? What do you think about the chores I give my son? What chores do your kids have? Just share your comments below.

And if you found this blog post useful, please go ahead and click the LIKE button below and give it a share. This really helps it get found by other parents.

Final thoughts.

Being a good, positive, great parent isn’t about being perfect. We’re going to get it wrong from time to time and we’re going to react in a way that we’d ideally never do, but that’s life. We’re normal with crazy mixed up feelings and thoughts going on. Go easy on yourself, you’re doing just fine. And remember hugs go a long way and teens need them just as much as toddlers do.

Wendy xxx

Back to school nerves

2 Sep

Hi Parents,

So it’s getting very close to back to school time or maybe your child is starting school, pre-school for the first time. It can be a very exciting time but it can also cause anxiety for your child and if you’re anything me, it can cause anxiety for you as well.

I have a lovely technique that I use myself and teach to my clients. It’s called the blanket of love. I have shared this video before but I wanted to share again today as it’s perfect for helping parents and children with school anxiety.

Here’s the video>>>

A few tips to ensure back to school goes well.

  • Have everything ready in plenty of time, bags packed, uniform out, lunches packed the night before… You really want to have as little as possible to do on the morning of school.
  • Plan a nice calm breakfast.
  • Get up an extra 10 minutes before you need to. It makes the world of difference. When we are rushing we (and our children) feel anxious.
  • Plan a nice meal with your child for when they get home from school. This will give them something to focus on for when they get home. This is especially important for a child who is just starting school and may be worried that you have left them and may not return for them. If you have talked about something special you are going to do after school, they know you’ll be back for them soon.
  • Try to keep things super calm at home and stick to a daily routine wherever possible.
  • Get enough sleep (you and your child)

I’d love you to share your own back to school tips for younger and older children. What works in your family?

How is your child feeling about going back to school?

That’s all from me, I’ll be back with more tips soon.

Happy Parenting



Parents, are we asking the right questions?

4 Aug

We live in a BLAME culture. We do really and I don’t want to be a part of it any more. I do like to think of myself as someone who takes full responsibility for my life but when I came across 2 books last week, I had a rethink about what actually comes out of my mouth.

Let me tell you all about them.

Ask Better Questions

The first book I read was Parenting the QBQ Way. This book is about personal accountability. When I first started reading this book I thought “Great, this is just what my son needs.”

Oops!!! I quickly realised it is more about what I need. I need to be the one asking QBQ’s (Questions behind the question). Basically better questions.

Questions like “Who did this?” When a drink has been spilt is blame thinking.

Questions like “When is my child going to listen to me?” Isn’t helpful either.

Introduce QBQ thinking and you’ll be asking questions like “How can I help my child to be more independent?” “How can I help my child get more organized?” “How can I understand my child better?”


Now this book is in no way about doing thing for your child. It’s about you the parent (me) asking better questions that will help you achieve personal accountability and in turn teach those skills to your child.

BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT BOOK . Reading this book and putting what you learn in place in your own life has the power the power to change your life, your child’s life and the world (big words I know but that’s how much I think of this book).


What we can learn from Killer Whales!

I have a habit of downloading sample chapters on my kindle. I read through the samples until I find something I love. I came across Whale Done Parenting. To be honest I hadn’t really been looking for a parenting book but it looked interesting. Honestly, I was hooked straight away. The story starts off at Seaworld and I was fascinated firstly by the story of becoming a killer whale trainer (not that I have any desire to get in a pool with these magnificent creatures). So the sample finished and I immediately bought the book. I needed to know more.

Now for years I’ve been encouraging parents to focus on the good stuff (great advice by the way) but this book takes things to a whole new level and I just couldn’t read it fast enough. Sometimes as a parent I need reminding of how important this is and there are so many examples to help you relate the situations to your own family life.

Hand on my heart, I do fall into the nagging parent and I get sick of hearing myself some days. I know it’s completely ineffective but it happens. Reading this book has given me more ideas to focus on the good stuff.

One of the things I really love in this book is setting your child up to succeed. With just a little bit of forward planning, we can make succeeding much easier for our children.

Whale Done in schools

Because I loved Whale Done Parenting so much I also read Whale Done School. It’s the story of how a struggling school turned things around by introducing the Whale Done idea. It’s a wonderful true story and again well worth reading. Although it’s based at the school, the ideas can still be used at home.


Okay I know that was three books not two but they’re all so brilliant I had to share them with you.

Now it’s your turn. Have you read any of these books. If you have let me know your thoughts below, I’d love to hear some examples of how you’ve used these books in your own life.

JM’s away with his Dad at the moment, so I’ll be putting what I’ve learned into action when he gets back. Asking better questions of myself and giving out lots of WHALE DONE’s along the way.

If you haven’t, honestly do yourself and your kids a huge favour and get them all now. You’ll be pleased you did

Okay, that’s all from me for today.

Happy Parenting

Wendy x



Sod genius – it’s kindness that matters most!

25 Jul

Wendy Tomlinson:

I absolutely love this blog post by Ross Mountney.

Thank you Ross for these wise words.

Originally posted on Ross Mountney's Notebook:

I can’t bring myself to watch the child genius programmes on channel 4. Even the trailer is enough to put me off.

I cannot bear the mass acceptance and propaganda that genius is so worthy we have to parade our kids across the telly as tools for our own self gratification.

Makes me cringe! (Read what Charlotte Runcie says in the Telegraph)

As does yet another annoying mathematical puzzle on Facebook asking ‘How smart are you?’

Interesting how ‘smart’ is measured by maths. Couldn’t it equally be measured by our ability to create an artwork?

Well that depends on how you define smart, or genius, doesn’t it. And the way in which we’ve been told to define it. We also have to decide on what matters most.

What matters to me over smart is kind. In fact, kind is smart anyway – one is no good without the other, because…

View original 297 more words

At what age should children be responsible for things like tidying up their room?

17 Jul

Hi Parents,

I just got this question on my Facebook Page.

Can I ask what age do you think children are responsible for things like tidying up their room or chores round the house?

I started to write my reply but realized it was going to be super long for a Facebook reply, so here I am blogging my reply. Hope it helps.


My Reply>>>

I think every family’s different. My son’s had little jobs to do since he was very small. Things like helping to set the table etc. And he’s been responsible for his room from a really early age, pretty much as soon as he was able to understand simple instructions. Of course when they’re younger they need more help.

I like to think of most things as being part of a family rather than chores. My son generally puts the bins out and keeps his own room and things about the house tidy, helps clear up after meals… For me these are things all members of the family need to do. I don’t go overboard on his room being super tidy all the time but it has to be beds made, curtains open, laundry in the was basket (my son has one in his room), floor area tidy and generally tidy. I’ll occasionally say something to him like “Hey, it looks like you need to pull everything out from under the bed and have a tidy under there” or “Looks like your bookcase needs a little organizing.”

A note on the laundry bin in my son’s room ~ Honestly this is one of the best things I’ve done concerning helping him keep his room tidy. I think before I gave him his own laundry basket, he used to just take his clothes off and spin them around the room then leave them wherever they landed. Now he has the basket in his room the clothes go in it (mostly).

Below is a photo of the laundry basket. As you can see it’s not really meant for laundry but my son can just throw his dirty clothes in and this works for us.

Helping kids to keep their room tidy

And this is his bed. It’s not how I would make the bed but it’s made and that’s enough for me. Sometimes I’ll remake it and have a better tidy but mostly I’ll just look in and maybe if he’s forgotten to take down his drinks cup or something, I’ll collect it up for him. I’m in his room for seconds in the morning though rather than half an hour tidying. If I do go in and it is a mess, I’ll just leave it and when he gets home from school, I’ll just let him know he needs to have a quick sort out in his bedroom.

helping your child to keep their room tidy

I tend to hoover still and dust, although he does dust now and then.

Saturday mornings

Saturday morning seems to be our clean up time. We just sort of blitz for about half an hour or so on anything that needs doing. It could be him dusting the living rooms and I’ll hoover or pegging the washing out, or sweeping the stairs… It doesn’t take long and I keep on top of the house during the week but he knows that if we’re going out (which we usually are on a Saturday) the jobs need doing first.

Extra pocket money jobs

My son has 50p each day for school that he has an option to save. I’ll talk about this more in another post.

He also gets extra pocket money jobs if he wants them. These are not everyday family pulling together time jobs, these are special jobs (honestly, they’re usually the jobs I don’t want to do) he can do to earn extra money. He has the option to take it or leave it. The offers only on the table when it needs doing and he can’t choose to do it whenever he likes and earn money. For example. The other day the car needed cleaning out. There was so much rubbish in the pockets and the boot, so I let him know he could earn 50p to clean the car out and polish it inside. I told him if he wanted the money it had to be done by Sunday. He chose not to do it, so he didn’t get the money this time.

Other jobs I give him extra money for are cleaning the skirting boards, tidying my bedroom (so love this one), cleaning the downstairs outside windows (he’s only had that job for about a year).

Honestly the first time I showed him how to clean the windows, I could have done about 10 windows in the time it took us to do one together but he learned how to do it alongside me first and now it’s something he can do by himself to earn money.

He now also nearly always makes his bed up once his bedding has been washed. I’ll often say, I’ll come and help you and he’s already done it or says he’s fine. He can do it.

I’ve been involving my son in the cleaning and tidying of the house since he was about 4. I always wanted him to feel that it’s just something we do as a family and everyone’s involved.

Now please don’t be under any illusion think that my house is always clean and tidy. It really isn’t, it’s a lived in family home and if he thought he’s get away with it Jack would leave all his things for me to pick up. But he knows that’s not how it works in our house.

At age 12 there aren’t many jobs that I wouldn’t ask my son to do, he’s more than capable.

I don’t expect him to come home from school and start hoovering or anything like that, but I do expect him to tidy up after himself, keep his room fairly tidy, help with our pets and help clear up after meals.

When my son leaves home (which I hope is a long way off yet), I want him to be able to look after himself and know that when you live in a house with other people, everyone helps out. That’s just how it is.

My tips for getting this done.

No nagging (they really don’t hear it)

Show them how to do it properly first (this may take a few times working along side each other).

Mention when it’s working “Hey I noticed you’ve been remembering to put your clothes into the laundry basket, that really makes your room look better.”

Try to make them feel involved in the family rather than this is your job.

Give them an option ~ If you want to earn some extra money, these two kitchen draws need cleaning out. You can do them and earn …(Amount of money)… or I’ll do them on Monday. Then it’s up to them.

Pull them up if it’s not done right and show them what still needs doing (again not nagging just explaining).

I hope by sharing how I do it, this will help you work out how you want to do things in your house.

I’d love to hear what works for you and of course as always ask if you have a question.

Happy parenting :-)

Wend x

I will not judge other parents.

8 Jul

Oh this is so hard sometimes. I really do try not to judge other parents but sometimes I really want to grab hold of some parents shake them and ask them if they have any idea what they are doing.

Step into your child's world and see things through their eyes.But here’s the thing. I don’t ever expect parents to be perfect, far from it and I do get that most parents are doing the best they can. Honestly I’ve had some real “disaster parenting” scenes out in public, but sometimes my heart really goes out to those little kids (and not so little).

I was in a supermarket yesterday and the mother was just constantly onto her kid. Really I couldn’t see that he was doing too much wrong. He never went more than a few steps away from his mum. Yes he did lie down on the floor but it was in a safe enough area and he was bored.

The mum constantly dragged him back to stand between her and the checkout (not such a great view for a kid!)

The mum was coming from a place of DO AS I SAY or else rather than a fear of losing her child.

She criticised the boy several times to the cashier and at one time the boy bumped his head on the floor with the pulling back antics.

Now lets remove my mummy emotions and look at this situation again.

  • The mums probably doing all she knows how to do. It’s probably what her parents did with her or maybe she’s just having a bad day.
  • The boy doesn’t take any notice of his mum because he’s switched off.
  • Even thought the boy is switched off to the commands, you can bet your life he’s picked up on all those criticisms.
  • Those criticisms form your child’s beliefs.

My advice if you recognize yourself in this story.

  • Learn a new way of parenting that’s better for you and better for your child. You can take my online parenting course at https://www.udemy.com/law-of-attraction-parenting or there are many other course you can take or books you can read.
  • Put yourself into your child’s shoes. I once had to take part in an awful exercise where we had to literally put another persons sweaty shoes on, YUCK! You don’t need to do that. But when your child’s not behaving the way you want, just take a minute to step into their world and maybe what they’re doing will be okay.
  • Ask for what you want. Ask, don’t yell, bark or command. Simply ask in a voice that says “I’m expecting you to do this.”


Oh and another thing that happened was the mum said “If you don’t come here right now, I’m not buying you this toy.” She then grabbed the child (not allowing him time to actually do what she had asked) and the toy still went into the bag.

First of all if you ask your child to do something, give them time to respond. They need to run what you’ve said through their mind and then act. Don’t expect them to be immediate. Give them a buffer whenever possible and then acknowledge when they do what you’ve asked. Say something like “That’s great, you came back here real quickly when I asked you to.”

Secondly, if you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say that you’re not going to buy something, let your child see it being given to the cashier to keep or being put back and stick with it. Make sure you’ve given the warning and given your child time to respond.

I want to finish off with this thought…

No parent is perfect and no parent gets everything right all of the time. That’s fine as long as when you get it completely wrong, you try to learn from it and make things better the next time.


Happy parenting


Wendy x

The blanket of love for parents

4 Jul

Hi Parents,

I hope things are going really well for you and your family. This week along with my 12 year old son (soon to be 13) I’ve been planning an early birthday treat. My son’s birthday is during the school summer holidays and we just find it works better to have a friends party before school term finishes. So he’s having a Breakfast and Bowling day on Sunday. It’s been a bit of a military operation but all planned and sorted now, so we can just enjoy the day on Sunday.

Okay so I was searching for an old video that I did for my parenting course earlier and I came across a different video that is also a part of the course. Now I’ve got to say, it’s not the best quality video but I really want to share this with you all today. It’s called the Blanket of Love technique and I use this all of the time. It’s a wonderful technique for both you and your child (and anyone else you use it with).

I created my online parenting course because I really felt I had something wonderful to share. I’m not a parenting expert, I’m a mum who’s simply doing my best to be a good and positive parent to my son. As you will probably know by now there we a few years when I really didn’t feel that I was even coming close to achieving this. So when I trained as a life coach and then as a law of attraction practitioner, I started looking at what I was learning to be a better parent. It’s been a trial and error process but along the way I learned some really valuable things that work brilliantly in my parenting life. So that’s why I created the course. SO that I could share these top finds with you guys.

More about >>Positive Parenting using the law of attraction <<


Hey Parents, you’re doing great!

27 Jun

Hey Parents,

I wanted to take a few minutes, well actually just a few seconds to tell you that you’re doing GREAT! Image

Seriously you are. So how do I know that?

Well I don’t for sure but my guess is that if you’re here on this blog, reading this post you want to be the best parent you can and you want the best for your kids! For me, well, that’s pretty much all I need to know to make that all important statement.

You’re doing great!

Here’s some advice from me. Totally imperfect, still learning mum to a totally imperfect yet fantastic 12 year old.

Don’t ever, not for a single moment buy into this idea of perfect parenting.”

Seriously mums, dads it really doesn’t exist!!!

A few days ago I read a post on some Facebook group that I’m part of (can’t remember which one) and one of the members said something along the lines of “Parenting is an experiment” and the post got quite a big response.

Here’s what I think. I do think parenting is an experiment although I’d probably call it a learning experience. Each and every child is unique and needs different things, different responses… I have two sisters and whilst we have similarities we’re so different, my mum couldn’t possibly have treated us all exactly the same. Yes she had the same core values and principles but as small children she had to learn a slightly different style with each of us.

With any experiment (that does sound a bit like a lab experiment and I really don’t mean it too) there are usually things we get right and things we don’t get right and need to adjust. That’s a pretty good picture of how I parent.

My son’s coming up to his glorious teen years. Yes emotions are already starting to run wild (and that’s just me :-)) But it’s also a wonderful time where he’s learning about the person he really wants to be and I love that, so I’m happy to ride the emotional roller-coaster when needed.

But I’d be crazy to think that I can be the same parent and treat my son in exactly the same way I did when he was two, three or even eleven. He’s changing and so must I. So yes I’m experimenting with new ideas, learning to be a little more flexible and allowing him more and more responsibility and freedom.

It’s not always easy and I don’t always get it right. I know a lot of parents and I don’t know a single one who gets it right and knows the answers all of the time.

So I say again parents. You’re doing great and so am I.

Let me know what you think. Do you agree that parenting is an experiment, a learning curve… ?

Happy Parenting from Wendy (imperfect mum).


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