Tag Archives: parenting

Everything I’ve Learned About Motherhood by Zeena Moolla- book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Everything I’ve Learned About Motherhood From My Single-Parent Dad by Zeena Moolla to review via NetGalley. You may find out more about the author on her blog.

Everything I've Learned about Motherhood by Zeena Moolla

Here is the book blurb.

Motherhood is amazing and the devotion you encounter is staggeringly strong. But when you’re in the eye of the shitstorm, veering between love and lunacy, wondering how this tiny, adorable human can wreak so much bedlam in your life, I believe you need a robust sense of humour to help save your sanity.

For Zeena Moolla, the early days of being a new mum were a heady cocktail of sleepless nights, acid reflux and aching boobs. But finding the funny in the chaos buffered so much of the stress. And she has her dad to thank…

Being brought up solely by a single dad, one of a foreign, Muslim background, exemplified beautifully that parenting and families come in all different shapes and sizes. His massive-hearted parenting shaped the kind of mother Zeena is, and as the funniest person she knows, he can also turn any situation around with warmth, wit and a cheese sandwich. If that’s not a vital skill in parenting, then what is?

With top tips for surviving sleep deprivation (spoiler alert: embrace a cantankerous mood and don’t buy crap coffee) to dealing with judgy idiots, getting to grips with shitty mum-guilt and returning to work, Zeena will show you that motherhood won’t just get better, it’ll be incredible.

Laugh-out-loud funny, honest, tender and packed with real life advice – this is essential reading for every new mother not cherishing every moment, feeling like a misfit or simply finding this parenting lark all too much.

I just knew this was going to be a fun read from the opening sentence and I was correct. Let me share that opener with you, it is a quote from Zeena’s beloved papa, a South African-Indian Muslim who brought her and her siblings up as a single parent, juggling working and parenting.

‘You know Zeena, I raised THREE children without any “fancy-pants” book!’

The book skips back and forth between when Zeena was a new mum and the parenting style of her papa, interspersed with motherhood now that Zeena’s children are aged 8 and 6.

It is both humorous and doesn’t leave out the swear words. Never mind the parenting manuals, this is the book for new mums to read. It encompasses plenty of top tips plus a chapter addressing racism in the world of Instagram mumfluencers.

Everything I’ve Learned About Motherhood is available on Amazon in paperback, audiobook or Kindle format. Such a fun parenting book.

The hashtag for this title is #EverythingIveLearnedaboutMotherhoodFromMySingleParentDad

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15 Minute Parenting The Teenage Years by Joanna Fortune – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book 15 Minute Parenting The Teenage Years by Joanna Fortune to review via NetGalley.

15 minute parenting the tennage years by Joanna Fortune

Here is the book blurb.

Parenting through the teenage years can be challenging and overwhelming. With over twenty years of clinical practice, psychotherapist and parenting expert Joanna Fortune has devised a simple and proven 15-Minute parenting model packed with practical, playful and creative communication techniques to strengthen your relationship with your teenager.

Is it really possible to play with your teenager? Well, the answer is yes. Not only is it possible, it is a crucial to nurturing the surge in growth and brain development in this stage of childhood.
Combining neurological insights into the key stages of adolescence with a road map for playful connection, Joanna shows you how to navigate your way through the teenage years and adolescent behaviour including how to:
Build self-esteem and confidence
Establish a relationship of trust and respect
Encourage emotional resilience
Deal with mental illness including anxiety
Handle teenage friendships and when they turn toxic
Brave conversations about sex, gender and sexuality
Tackle the dark side of social media

15-Minute Parenting The Teenage Years is a vital toolkit that will enable you to better understand your relationship with your children as they grow and ensure that your parenting is growing with them.

This is the third book in The Language of Play series. The first is targeted at parents of children age 0-7 and the second for those with children age 8-12. You may also read my review of the second title here.

I found this was a book to dip into a bit at a time, so it took me longer to read than I had originally expected. Like the previous title it is full of ideas of what to do with your teenage children in 15 minutes. This time it is primarily focussing on how to stay connected with your teenager, something I find vital now that so often my eldest is on headphones behind a closed door.

The book has also made me think back to my own teenage years, but apart from the similarity of not getting up until lunchtime on non-school days, things are very different now, particularly as regards phones and computers.

There are plenty of ideas and case studies. And as well as what you may encounter every day, it also encompasses other topics topics such as 24/7 social media, cyber-bullying, sexuality, porn, mental illness, self harm, eating disorders, alcohol, drugs, delinquency and stealing.

15 Minute Parenting The Teenage Years is available on Amazon in Kindle format, paperback and audiobook. A useful resource book with plenty of advice.

The hashtag for this title is #15MinuteParentingTheTeenageYears

You may find out more about the author Joanna Fortune and her books on her website.

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15 Minute Parenting 8-12 Years by Joanna Fortune – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

It has been a very long time since I have reviewed a book through NetGalley, mainly because I get so many authors approaching me directly, that I don’t have time to select books via NetGalley. However a new non-fiction publishing imprint Thread, has recently been set up who contacted me with details of their first titles, which were all free to review through NetGalley. And as a mum, I was very keen to read 15 Minute Parenting.

15 Minute Parenting by Joanna Fortune

Here is the book blurb.

A mindful and practical parenting roadmap for busy, time-poor parents. Based on a simple and effective formula, it will transform family life in just fifteen minutes of daily play, resulting in less tears and more laughter.

Middle childhood, the period for those aged 8–12 years old, is often the most overlooked phase of a child’s development but it’s the age where play continue to serve an important role in their emotional growth. It’s also an age where we are most likely to stop playing with our children.

With over twenty years of clinical expertise and neuroscientific research, psychotherapist and parenting expert Joanna Fortune shares her proven techniques that will enable you to better understand your relationship with your children as they grow and ensure that your parenting is developing with them.

Packed with 15-minute games and activities that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, Joanna also explores the neurological, physical and emotional development of 8-12 year olds and offers parents hands-on advice on how to deal with:

Friendships and bullying

Sibling relationships

Difficult conversations (the ones that catch you off guard!)

Risk-taking behaviour

Building independence, self-esteem and emotional resilience


15-Minute Parenting 8-12 years will show you how to keep play alive with your child, foster great communication and help to secure strong foundations for adolescence.

There are two books in The Language of Play series. The first is targeted at parents of children age 0-7 and the second for those with children age 8-12. I chose to review the latter, as both my boys are older than seven. Joanna is currently writing a third title on parenting of teenagers.

This book is full of suggestions of what to do in 15 minutes, devoting that time to mindfully present play with your child or children. There are plenty of ideas, some of which may be things you already do, but hopefully lots of new material for everyone.

And there are chapters specifically focussing on sibling relationships, friendships, homework, independence, self-esteem, risk, special needs and preparing for the next stage. Also a chapter on ‘How do I get my child to …’ with topics like Engage in Physical Activity or What If questions. These range through What if my child will not do any chores, is being bullied, is the bully, steals.

However some of the props required for certain play activities were items I would rather not see promoted in a book like this. The two in particular for me were cotton wool balls, a single-use product and balloons which can be so dangerous to wildlife.

But I was especially pleased to see stories mentioned. My younger son has a set of Dr Who story cubes, which we enjoy using together for mindful play, even though my Dr Who knowledge is very basic compared to his level.

15 Minute Parenting 8-12 Years is available on Amazon in Kindle format, paperback and audiobook. A very good useful resource book.

You may find out more about the author Joanna Fortune and her #15MinuteParenting books on her website.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Guest post: Best Ways to Play Together as a Family

Families that can play together spend more quality time together. If you want to strengthen the ties and bonds within your family, playing together is one of the best ways you can do that. This is a holistic approach that has worked for many families. There have been studies done to show that families who play together will be closer to one another.

If this is the type of family you want to have, learning more about the best ways to play together as a family is a great idea. However, before doing so, there are a couple more things to note. First, there are so many adults who are so busy with work and other responsibilities that they forget to take the time to play. Just because you are an adult, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play. You can have a great time, relieve stress, and bond with your family members through play. Choose one of these ways to start playing with your family today.

Finding Ways to Laugh More Often
Laughter really can be the best medicine for your family. Laughing helps you and your family members to decompress from complicated and stressful situations. It helps to prevent stress in the family. When did you last belly laugh? You know that full type of laugh that really comes from inside of you. Research does show that laughter helps to increase longevity. If you can find more ways to laugh with your family, this can help you all with so many things. Not only will it help relieve stress and improve longevity, but allows you all to connect with one another as well. Many families don’t like spending time around each other. This may be because they don’t laugh and have a great time together. The more you do this, the more you may actually enjoy each other’s company.

Keeping Things Simple
It is easier than it seems to make things simpler in life. When you spend time with your family, you don’t have to do something complicated and intense. There are many ways to play together and have fun without getting even more stressed out. You can take a small getaway to the local park. Maybe you can even have a quick picnic instead of eating out at fast food. You can make memories by playing in the river down the street, instead of driving all the way across town to a lake. Think of the simple things. Do you have trails in your yard? If so, you and your family can play in the trails. Make a tent out of sticks. Keeping things simple really is the best way to have fun and play together as a family.

Meeting the Needs of Everyone
Do you feel that everyone in your family is getting their needs met? If not, there are ways to make sure this happens. You can let everyone pick one weekend a month to plan a playful activity. Family meetings are a great way to get everyone involved in planning out fun events as well. Maybe your youngest child loves going to the park while your oldest loves playing board games. You can always play chess in the park or do one of these things every other weekend. Being positive around your children and making sure they know you want to meet everyone’s needs is a great way to teach them to care for others. By meeting everyone’s needs, you might just find that everyone in the family is happier and more content on a regular basis. In addition, you teach your children to take turns.

Spontaneity Can Breed Happiness
Some families stick to the same routine repeatedly. While routines are great for children and entire families, sometimes spontaneity can breed happiness. You can find many fun and spontaneous things to do. You can spontaneously decide that instead of electronic time, you are going to take the children outside to play in the mud. You can decide that instead of taking an afternoon walk outdoors, on a rainy day, you make forts in the bedroom. Being spontaneous can help everyone to loosen up and have a great time. You can also find new things that members of your family didn’t know they enjoyed by being spontaneous.

Letting Go of the Electronics
There are so many families that spend most of their extra time on electronics. When everyone is glued to electronics, you can’t truly bond with one another. It may be time to let go of the electronics. How do you feel your family would do if they didn’t have electronics for 3 hours, 1 day, or even a weekend? At first, they may not know what to do. However, in time, they are going to find other ways to spend time together. Your children may start playing together. They may go outside and build a fort. They may pull out those Legos they haven’t played with in months. You can join in with them as well. Letting go of the electronics is something that you may want to implement regularly to help everyone grow and connect as a family.

Taking Pictures
When was the last time you just got everyone together for some pictures? Maybe you snap a few pictures, here and there, on your phone. However, when you look through them, when was the last time you had a true family picture. You can take pictures of everyone doing their favorite things for instance. If your youngest child loves reading a book, have her pose while reading a book, and you snap a picture. If your oldest child, loves playing basketball, have him jump in the air with the ball, and you snap a picture. Taking purposeful pictures of the family can be a fun and playful activity you all do together. Let the children take pictures of the parents doing fun and exciting things as well.

Making Up a Game
Have any of your children ever tried to make up a game before? What did you do? Were you responsive to their ideas or did you put it aside? Don’t worry either way. Now is your chance to get more involved. Everyone in your household can get involved. Let everyone take turns making up a game and having everyone play. This could be a game that involves everything made up or they can change around a game they already have. You might just be surprised at the ideas they come up with. You can come up with a game that everyone has to play as well, even if it is a cleaning game.

These are some of the best ways to play together as a family. If you or anyone in your family is stressed out, tired, bored, or just need to have some bonding time, any one of these ideas can give you something fun to do. If you are worried your teenager may become a teenage alcoholic, these ideas can show them how much you care about them. You can use these ideas to help you create other fun ways to spend time with your family as well. What are you waiting for? Go and get with your family. Pick one of these activities and do something fun together as a family. Remember, playing is for the entire family, not just for the children.

Author Bio:
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Patrick Bailey

Guest post by Patrick Bailey

Guest post: Growing Up Green

Growing Up Green: The Importance of Teaching Your Children About Sustainability

Children are naturally drawn to their environment. They see the world as one big playground to explore and experience, but it’s up to the adults around them to show them their roles as stewards of the earth. It’s our duty to teach them good practices that could eventually form into habits. Teaching children about keeping the earth in good shape when they’re young is the best way to ensure that they grow into environmentally conscious adults. Something as simple as reducing plastic consumption is an easy and realistic way to contribute to green advocacy.

Why Teach Your Kids About Caring for the Environment?

What your children do today will have a major impact on their future. Previous generations, including ours, have made quite a mess because of unbridled consumption. For instance, the world has already produced more than eight billion tons of plastics and of that total, less than 10% is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills or oceans, where it can be ingested and endanger marine creatures.

This is significant considering that plastics don’t completely dissolve until after 400 years. That piece of plastic that you allow your kid to just throw out on the street? It will outlive them by five generations. So, how do you teach your kids the importance of going green? Here are a few simple tips to follow.

  1. Start green education early

According to House Method, you should introduce your child to plastic alternatives early on. Instead of using water bottles, invest in a reusable bottle. Have your child come grocery shopping with you and explain how you can pick vegetables and fruits without having to buy plastic packaging. The sooner you start teaching your children about the importance of sustainability, the more likely that green habits will form.

  1. Be a role model

Children pick up habits from their parents. That’s why it’s important that you instill in them good practices through your own actions. Let’s take the example of climate forcing – this condition occurs when our human activity forces a change in either the cooling or warming balance in the atmosphere. Instead of taking the car to the grocery store and contributing to this issue, why not bike or walk your way there? This is not only a bonding opportunity, but a teaching moment as well. Some other things you can do include stop usage of plastic straws, bring a reusable bag with you when you go shopping, and recycling all papers and plastics in your home.

  1. Make the conservation fun

Let’s face it: most kids would rather be glued to their mobile phones or tablets than help you garden or prepare that compost pit. But you can make the whole activity fun with a little creativity. For instance, when you go exploring the park or the woods, you can challenge your child to a game to see who can pick up litter the fastest. For composting, let them help you dig for worms.

  1. Visit the zoo or nature reserves

Children really fail to appreciate the importance of conservation when they don’t explore their environment. You can rekindle their curiosity by taking them to see wildlife or birds they haven’t seen before. Introduce them to animals at the zoo and show them how nature doesn’t create an anomaly. Everybody has a role to play and humans have the biggest responsibility to make sure that the gains we made in nature conservation in recent years won’t be wasted.

Teaching your child about sustainability is both incredibly important and surprisingly easy. It just takes a bit of creativity, dedication, and consistency.

Guest post by Kaytie Pascale

Guest post: Four Ways Your Behaviour Affects Your Child’s Development

There is no doubt that children are little sponges. Even though it seems like we spend most of our time trying to get them to listen to us and pay attention to what we ask them to do, they are there, absorbing what we say and do. Anyone who has ever turned beet red with embarrassment after our child uttered an unfortunately-timed swear word can testify to the fact that children are paying far more attention to what we do than they let on.

Recent research even confirms this, finding that our behaviour can influence every part of our children’s development, from social skills to physical health to moral development. While children often look up to celebrities, athletes, and super heroes, as a parent, you are your child’s first and most important role model. Here are four key ways that your behaviour can affect your child’s development.

Body Image
How we see and talk about our bodies can directly impact how our children see themselves. Children even as young as three can begin to develop negative body images, and although it tends to impact female children more than males, some male children do develop a poor body image.

As a parent, if we are constantly talking about dieting or complaining that our stomach is too big or our butt isn’t perfect or we are afraid to get into a swimsuit because we feel we don’t look good enough, our children can begin to believe that there is such thing as a perfect body and that only perfect bodies are worthy of love and acceptance. On the contrary, when we practice accepting our bodies and making choices becuase they are healthy rather than because they help us look better in a bikini, we are teaching our children to respect and honor their bodies and make choices to be healthier.

Substance Use
If you are a child of the 1980s or 1990s, you likely remember the famous anti-drug PSA where a father is asking his son where he learned to do drugs. The son looks into his father’s eyes and says “I learned it from watching you”. Whether we like it or not, our children’s decision to smoke, drink, or use drugs is intricately tied to our decision to use those substances. Addiction is generational and children of parents with substance abuse disorders tend to use drugs as teenagers or adults. Likewise, parents who don’t smoke, drink or use drugs send the message to their children that life can be enjoyed without using dangerous substances.

If you do happen to suffer from drug abuse or alcoholism, the best thing you can do for you and your child is to seek help. In doing so, not only will you save your own life, but you will be able to be a better parent. In addition, you will be a great role model for your child, showing them that sometimes we face hard things in life but we can make the choice to work hard and overcome obstacles. You will also show them that mistakes don’t define you – it is what you do to overcome them that will.

Work Ethic
Researchers from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business found that the single most significant factor in determining our work ethic is the work ethic of our parents. Children who see their parents as hard-working, able to solve problems, and in a career they love learn to see work as fulfilling and meaningful. They also learn to solve problems using critical thinking and hard work rather than assuming that difficult problems just can’t be solved.

Likewise, parents that complain about their jobs day in and day out or who tend to back out of committments teach their children that hard work is a hassle, something to dislike, or perhaps even something to avoid altogether.

Kindness and Manners
Finally, as the key people in our children’s lives, we are responsible for teaching our children how to interact with those around us. Parents who are aggressive or violent in their relationships teach children to respond to others similarly. Likewise, children learn to respect others by watching their parents. Moreover, children learn who is worthy of respect by watching their parents. If you treat your restaurant servers, trash collectors, the person in a wheelchair at the store, and the homeless man on the street with kindness and respect, your children will learn that all people have value and are worthy of respect. If you yell at a server because your order is wrong or use hateful language to describe a religion, disability, culture, sexual orientation, or way of life, children will grow up replicating that behaviour.

As you can see, your behaviour has an important impact on your children and the way they navigate the world. This is good news though – if we want our children to do good in the world, we have the power to model that behaviour for them. When we look at our children, we can truly “be the change you want to see in the world”.

Author Bio:

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Patrick Bailey

Guest post by Patrick Bailey

3 Hour Dad by Adam T Hourlution

I have received a free e-copy of the book 3 Hour Dad: Reading is Believing by Adam T Hourlution to review. To find out more about the author, you may visit his website.

3 Hour Dad by Adam T Hourlution

Here is the book blurb.

What would you do if you were suddenly told you were going to be a mum or dad without any notice? How would you react? What thoughts would go through your head? You haven’t prepared to be a parent, you’ve not made any arrangements and nobody in your family is aware.

Now imagine that not even the mum-to-be knew that she had been hiding a little person inside her tummy the entire time.

One day Adam, just your average, typical guy receives a call from his mother-in-law (to be !) summoning him to the hospital following his girlfriend being rushed in with suspected appendicitis only to discover that she is in fact having contractions and has been admitted to the labour ward.

This heart-warming and true story invites readers to step into Adam’s shoes and experience what it is like to be a 3 Hour Dad.

Adam is woken in the night by a phone call from his girlfriend’s mum. She tells him that Lyndsay has gone to hospital with suspected appendicitis but is in fact in labour. This is a huge shock, as neither Adam nor Lindsay herself even knew she was pregnant, no bump or symptoms at all. They hadn’t even been trying to conceive and Lindsay was on the pill and had been abseiling the previous weekend.

Adam rushes to the hospital and finds Lindsay in denial. But 3 hours after the bombshell news, their baby daughter is born weighing 8lb, 3 oz. They have nothing prepared for this unexpected baby, so new grandparents will hit the shops as soon as they open.

Just imagine putting yourself in either Adam’s or Lindsay’s shoes. No time to come to terms with your changing status. They weren’t even living together. Adam shares the story from his perspective, a male who had never even held a baby in his life before.

Also it was heartwarming to note that Adam has decided to donate a proportion of sales to a random act of kindness fund that is used to surprise others.

3 Hour Dad is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.83 in Kindle format. A truly lovely tale. Highly recommended.

Here is an extract from the beginning of the book.


I was destined to be a rock star! I had songs written, I was ready to record, I just needed to find my band mates and we would be ready to go! Until this great adventure was to begin, my main aim was to complete my vintage Star Wars collection; and to book as many cheeky breaks (dirty weekends if you will!) and holidays with my girlfriend.

It was 11th May 2015. Just another typical weekday evening spent alone in my home, focused on winning that all important eBay auction and securing Greedo, the last Star Wars figure I needed to complete the set. I had a dedicated guitar room, a blossoming relationship with the love of my life and hours of laptop time every night………well I did until the phone rang.

Chapter One – May The Force Be With You

I remember it as if it was yesterday. In fact I often still find myself drifting off into day dream mode where I re-live the moment. It was a normal working day; I had been in a meeting out of town and, although not too far away, I was not going to get back until at least 7.30pm. I was actually supposed to have been staying overnight in a hotel about 200 miles away but those arrangements had been changed. Although my girlfriend worked locally and was in the process of moving in, she didn’t fancy coming back to an empty house and so went home to her Mum’s straight from work.

I hadn’t heard from her since her lunch hour which wasn’t out of the ordinary. I knew she was planning to cook a spag bol for her Mum and catch up on the soaps. I had a pizza ready to throw into the oven and a mixed fruit Kopperberg chilling in the fridge, which I had been looking forward to all day. As soon as I walked through the front door I turned on the oven, powered up the laptop and eagerly logged into eBay, loading the bidding screen for the auction which I knew had only a few hours left.

I would say I am one of those people who are blessed with a high metabolism; I can lose weight easily but really struggle to put it on. Well at least that was my justification for consuming the entire pizza even though I had to eat it with Daddies sauce because the supermarket had run out of my usual brand of brown sauce. One episode of the Vampire diaries later and after the perfect cup of tea, I was climbing into bed with my laptop ready to fight it out in the virtual battlefield for that elusive figure. I had already decided that I was going to win this particular auction and stopped paying attention to other listings of the same figure. I don’t know why I was drawn to this particular listing but I was literally in touching distance of claiming my victory.

Success! With 5 seconds to go my winning bid beat the competition. I quickly paid via PayPal and excitedly selected the delivery address as my home. I was going to be the proud owner of a vintage Greedo figure (plus his original weapon and a free gift!). What a find, what a deal, what a brilliant evening! I didn’t care that he wasn’t free delivery, I didn’t care (nor ask) what the free gift was; I was going to have a complete Star Wars collection!! I had set out for this after all. I had imagined the display cabinet which I would proudly present them in and knew where on the wall it would be fixed. My fantasy of 12 months ago was actually going to manifest itself. Don’t get me wrong it had come at a big price, but these figures were priceless to me and so in that respect they were worth every penny.

As the adrenaline began to wear off, I could feel the long day creeping up on me. I flopped back, pulling off my glasses and pushing the laptop to my partner’s side of the bed. After all, it would ultimately go into hibernation mode and shut itself down; it most definitely deserved a place on the bed! It wasn’t long before I was drifting off and sinking into the calmness of the night. I was still faintly tuned into the fans on my laptop and remember them slowing down until there was complete and utter silence. What bliss.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Teaching Children to Clean

I’ve tried hard to suggest to my boys that they should tidy one game up before getting another out and that they should put things away at the end of the day, but my words always seem to fall on deaf ears, so when Schar Ward contacted me, to see if I would like a free e-copy of her book “Teaching Children to Clean” to review, my answer was definitely yes please.

Don’t get me wrong, they both do a few chores. Son1 usually brings the bins back after the dustmen have been. And he pairs up clean socks. And they both sometimes remember to put their plates in the dishwasher, son2 is better at this than son1. But they were horrified when we got them involved in washing-up on holiday recently, a task that I can remember regularly helping with myself from age 3.

Teaching Children to Clean by Schar Ward

Here is the book blurb.

By the time a child is sixteen, they should be able to clean every room in the house–Schar Ward

This book contains step-by-step instructions for teaching children and teenagers to clean an entire house. Plus many other life skills such as doing laundry, loading a dishwasher properly, and making a bed.

Cleaning is not an option, it’s a necessity! If your child doesn’t learn, it’ll plague them the rest of their lives. According to the latest research, teaching your child to clean may be the most important thing you ever do for them! You want your child to learn basic life skills, but finding the time for accomplishing this seems to get more difficult each day. What’s the answer? A new approach, that practically does it for you! You’ll find it in these pages and even more:
* The research on children & cleaning
* Proven tactics to get the job done
* Chore charts for every age
* Room evaluations for easier cleaning
* What tools they need
* Safe green cleaning solutions, you can make yourself
* Checklists for detailed cleaning in every room
* How to clean appliances
* How to do laundry, set the table and everyday chores
* How to take care of pets
* Fun cleaning games

Knowing how to take care of yourself in your everyday environment is a skill no one should be without!

my son's untidy room

This is usually what I see in both my sons’ rooms and it tends to start spreading round the rest of the house, so I dived into the book to see how to change my tactics as my current approach is obviously not working.

I’ve picked up lots of tips from this book, so I’ve started by ordering 4 drawstring bags from Amazon – 2 white and 2 black. I have hung one of each colour in my sons’ bedrooms and explained that they are for their dirty laundry. White for white clothing and black for coloured clothing. Hopefully eliminating the need for me to pick up their dirty laundry from all over the floor. And if that goes well, I hope to progress to them bringing the full bags downstairs and then to them loading the washing machine, a task that son1 has carried out occasionally. However, so far son2 has put nothing in the bags, but son1 is remembering to use them sometimes.

The book has certainly highlighted why my current tactics haven’t been effective. And I like the room evaluation guide for making the rooms cleanable. Making beds is something the boys have been taught but ignore. However for instance the book suggests making it easier by moving the bed away from the wall, so that will be my next plan for son2’s room.

One area of the book that is not for me is the chapter on making my own safe cleaning solutions. I certainly don’t have time for this, so I’ll be sticking to buying my usual brands, although I do like the idea of pretending we’re making magic potions.

I think the younger your children, the more you will get out of this book, particularly with regards to cleaning games. I don’t think a game would win my boys over, when they would much rather be on their gadgets.

I do plan to attempt to implement some chore charts and it is a very useful starting point that the ones shown in the book can be downloaded here.

Also it is great that other life skills have been included too. I know this is going to be hard work as far as my boys are concerned, but hopefully I haven’t left it too late to get them to adapt. And I’ve learnt quite a few things myself too, so it is not just all about children.

Teaching Children to Clean is available  on Amazon, currently priced at £15.95 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A very useful parenting guide, aimed at those with children age 3-16. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Confessions of a Summer Parent

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take part in #The GoodStuff Challenge. This challenge is in partnership with Anchor, so I received a free Anchor Cheddar voucher and a free Anchor Spreadable voucher.

The long school summer holiday is quickly looming, so I’m going to share some of my confessions of how I plan to get through it.

Since I work full-time, I will only be able to take part of the period on leave, so will cover the remainder by the boys spend some time staying in their grandparents caravan and the rest at holiday club.

I have negotiated a few days to work at home plus there are the days that I’m on night shift, so for these I will let the boys have much more screen time than their usual allowance, in order that it is quiet enough for me to either work or get enough sleep. It is great that they are now old enough for this option..

on the trampoline

We will hopefully have some proper days out, but in-between, I tend to let them entertain themselves in the garden on the trampoline or with water toys, while I get on with chores.

Also we often visit one of the local playgrounds. Whilst they play, I’m usually on my phone catching up on email.

at the park

I used to look for children’s colouring competitions and have those printed out ready for a rainy day, but unlikely to bother this summer. Although the boys still love doing their own drawing, colouring is apparently now boring.

And this summer, I’m going to add a new confession. Once I’ve used my vouchers to purchase some Anchor, I’m going to ask the boys to make some cheese sandwiches for either a picnic or we could make a den in the garden and eat them in the den.

So how do you get through the long summer holiday?

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for BritMums Confessions of a Summer Parent Challenge, sponsored by Anchor and mentions vouchers I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

Guest post: Awesome things you can do when you have kids

One would say that parenting is extremely frustrating. However, I would never say so. For me, being a fully established mother also means having fun with my girls all the time. Every day with them is a new and priceless memory that I will remember forever. From my extensive experience, I can safely claim that there is a multitude of activities you can enjoy just because you have children. Here is the list of awesome things you can do, without being laughed at!

Buying toys you didn’t have in your own childhood

As a child, I had numerous amazing toys. However, no matter how much my parents tried to buy me everything I wanted, the sole range of toys one could buy back then was significantly smaller. That’s exactly why I have always dreamt of playing with Lego bricks, Barbie dolls or ridiculously cool toy vacuum cleaners. Of course, it would be impossible for me to play with such stuff in my 30s and still prove that I’m mentally healthy!

Finally, I came up with a great idea- to provide my girls with all the toys I love! Now, I’m playing with them all the time, with the excuse that they are too young to know how to play properly.

I can still sing silly songs in the car!

As a teenager, I was a huge fan of NKOTB. My largest dream was to attend all their concerts and to buy all their promotional items. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford them. As the time went by, some other boy bands reached the peak of popularity.

Today, as they get in the car, my girls want me to play One Direction. I’m pretty sure that I’ve managed to memorize all their songs by now. Now, both my husband and I really enjoy singing them at the top of our lungs! What’s even funnier is that no one bothers this just because of our kids sitting in the backseat! As One Direction’s (probably oldest) fan, I’ve decided to provide my little angels with the accessories I come across. They have already collected a bunch of posters, tees, mugs, watches, CDs and DVDs.

Awesome things you can do when you have kids

I can finally watch cartoons all the time

I will never understand why all grownups stop watching cartoons. For me, they are the most innocent way of having fun. Unfortunately, neither my husband nor my friends wanted to watch them with me. Now, that I have kids, I can watch animated movies all day long. Until now, we have seen best Disney movies, from classics like Cinderella, Bambi and Sleeping Beauty to the latest ones such as Frozen and Cars. Even more, we bought annual passes to Disneyland in order to meet all the characters whenever “my daughters” want to. With kids, it is never awkward to stand in line enthusiastically!

Decorating your kids’ room just as you’ve always wanted

When it comes to home renovation, I set my girls’ bedroom as a paramount. As a kid, I never had a room on my own. For years, I was picturing every detail in my perfect, imaginary nook, from walls, curtains and furniture, to even the tiniest accessories like scented candles. Luckily to me, I have two little princesses who still let me redecorate their room every once in a while. Although my husband thinks that I’ve gone nuts, I’m enjoying it as long as I can. I know that, once they grow up, my daughters will want to do all this by themselves.

Dance parties after dinner!

No matter how foolish it might sound, my family throws dance parties all the time. Usually, such moments happen spontaneously, after dinner. We listen to music and, as soon as the meal is over, we jump and start dancing like crazy. Even daddy enjoys it, which always makes me laugh. I cannot imagine him doing any of these things before the kids.

Jumping on a trampoline

Jumping on a trampoline is one of those activities I have always wanted to try. However, when I was a kid, it practically impossible. Luckily for me, today there are numerous amazing trampoline fitness centers, which can also serve as great kids’ birthday party venues. When I heard of such centers, I came up with a silly idea to organize a surprise party for my husband. At first, he didn’t even want to come, but later on, he was speechless. I planned everything in advance and invited a lot of our friends with their kids! We all jumped on trampolines, danced and listened to music. In a nutshell, we had the time of our lives!

Baking cookies all the time!

My girls simply enjoy my culinary skills! That’s why I bake various cookies all the time, even when I have no good reasons. Most important of all, I really enjoy it. I always look for reasonable excuses, telling that the kids are the ones who enjoy making and decorating their own sugary treats. I don’t even mind that the kitchen is in such a mess once we’re done!

Awesome things you can do when you have kids

Building sand castles

I’ve always loved spending time at the beach. Now, my girls keep reminding me of how amazing building sand castles is. Since they have no idea how to make a firm sand castle, mommy is always there to help! Even worse, I’m always so focused on my new “construction project” that I completely forget about all other kinds of activities! Finally, I can completely relax, without being laughed at!

Awesome things you can do when you have kids

Organizing an epic water gun fight!

Is there anything more fulfilling than organizing an epic water gun fight? In our family, it has become tradition. Every summer, we use it as one of most amazing methods to cool off and have a lot of fun. Once, I even grabbed a hose in order to defend myself against my raging children! We laughed a lot!

All in all, my point is that, when you have kids, you can always act silly. It is an amazing way for you to make your parenting much simpler and joyous. Try any of these tips and you will realize what I am talking about. Have fun!

About author:

Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate in writing. She is contributor on High Style Life and her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” Find her on: Facebook.