Small steps to an easier morning exit

Disclosure: This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer’s Smart Mom’s Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.

With three children to get out the house, I needed an update to the ‘ getting the kids out the house’ routine. Also known as the morning exit!

Before, with two children to get to school, it was easier as they fell into two distinct camps.

One who was task driven; what do I have to do and let me do it. One who would experience and notice everything. He was easily diverted, distracted or waylaid by frankly anything.  With a third added to the mix I wanted the LO to choose the good habit of routine but risked his exposure to the his brother and his slower paced method.

Not underestimating the power of their personalities I felt it was better to have tried, tried and tried than to have never tried at all. It would do  everyone good to have a better routine, including myself.

Perhaps you’re in a similar situation with children who need to get on a school bus? Or you need to make it out the door to drive to school with everyone- no latecomers, get to the drop off at preschool, daycare, or work each weekday  morning without it turning us all into a bad version of Good cop/bad cop.

Try these 7 steps to making the routine stick with young children because who wants to start the day in a fluster of emotions everyday when there are other ways.

1. Evaluate what worked and the hotspots [Read more…]

New Year’s Eve Interview Questions

New Year interview questions for kids

New Year’s Eve seems the perfect time to ask interview questions of our kids. It’s before we start a new year so we can look back and remember.

After all the advent activities from the previous month, the toys, activities and gifts from December it’s actually nice to have a conversational event.New Year’s Eve interview questions is a time to actually hear the kids answers. After all the in out of December and family and friends I’m looking forward to sitting for this conversation. All the attention in one place….hopefully no interruptions. [Read more…]

Creating memories to cherish during the holiday season

Creating memories to cherish during the holiday season

I don’t know about you but with three boys both now in school there have been triple requests for many things. Then comes the holiday dos and obligations.

This time of year can feel like a giant merry-go-round that  you’ve ended up on and have to ride to the end of the month.

In previous years, I’ve not handled it very well. I see it coming and try and predict where to go but eventually I feel tired, overwhelmed and feel everyone else gets the benefit of the season but me.

[Read more…]

Letter sounds and letter recognition game

Letter sounds alphabet matching activities

We have a jar of letters. It’s really handy for alphabet activities like letter recognition and letter sound games. You should have one too. It’s really easy to make.

One rainy day we emptied the recycling bag and started cutting up letters. We were inspired by a Pinterest Pin.

Sitting around the table, all three boys were busy cutting out large and small letters and having conversations. We didn’t have to be competitive. No one would win or be better so for a change we could just enjoy having our hands do something while we chatted about this and that.

[Read more…]

31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Twenty Five} Homemade Activity Station

Welcome to Day Twenty Five of 31 days of Sensory Play.


Children are really curious. My son is going through a draw on anything and everything phase at the moment. It’s hard work reminding him that just because the paper ends you can’t keep going on the table ! Being the third of three you’d think I would be used to this situation. However, he’s the first one to continue doing it regularly. Just can’t seem to break it. ( If you have any tips I would love to hear)

Kids want to do what we are doing.

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31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Twenty Four} Balancing isn’t so easy


Welcome to Day Twenty Four of 31 days of Sensory Play.

It’s a lot harder than they think to balance things on their head. Especially when they are used to moving a mach speed!

The patience and stillness is something that takes some of them a little time to master.

I can tell you it’ll be funny and if you can do it at the same time- hilarious!

How are you coming along with your together time?

Your turn

Find some fun objects and have some balancing fun.

Come back and share your experiences, stories and activity.  Share your post here in the comments or share your photo on Facebook

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31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Twenty Three} Jello towers


Welcome to Day Twenty Three of 31 days of Sensory Play.


Building towers and knocking them down has to be one of the number one activities in your home. Who can resist the sound and the build up? Blocks aren’t just for babies and perhaps your child is like mine and likes to build with lots of different things.  Here’s the scientist at work trying different materials.

We’ve used Jello a few times for cooking. The boys haven’t liked the texture and I wasn’t so keen on it myself. Jelly and ice cream is a classic birthday party food in the UK. The boys have been presented with various shades and flavours and finally have developed a taste for a few of them. We have a few packets around because we did try out a jello roll recipe, that they love. Mysteriously a packet appears in my shopping bag each time we go.:)

Today we decided to have some fun building with wobbly substances because we were in a building mood and we had jello ( jelly UK) packets coming out of our ears.

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Time to cook

The first time I saw Gnocchi made was at a friend’s home in Italy.

We were all relaxing with wine, cheese and antipasti while our host prepared the Gnocchi right there in the kitchen. There was no go and sit in the other room while I do things in the kitchen. We were altogether watching, doing, talking and laughing about the crazy things our children did that week. It was pretty amazing being part of the food experience.

Kids are the same way. Introduce them and include them in cooking and they are enthusiastic and interested.

[Read more…]

31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Twenty Two} How to make a leaf suncatcher


Capturing fall sunshine and colours in a suncatcher

Welcome to Day Twenty Two of 31 days of Sensory Play.

Do you have broken crayons? We have so many different types thrown together in a box. Before you throw them out try this simple leaf  sun catcher activity.

This activity started because the LO is fasinated with the weather. It started at Nursery, I think, because it was one of the things they talked about on the carpet when doing the calendar. Each morning after greeting us. We can tell his mood because he’s always worried where the sun has gone. It’s only recently that we’ve lived in a place where it’s overcast a lot. So it’s still a big difference to what he’s used to.

Watching the leaves fall into the garden he was particularly sad. “The sun has gone. The leaves have gone.” I could hear him tell the MO who tried to cheer him up with news that snow will be coming soon. However the BG went in next and it was now, ” The sun has gone. The leaves have gone. Snow is coming.”

All doom and gloom.

Poor fella.

When I looked out it was pretty sad to see the rain of leaves from the huge tree shower our garden. It was a mess. But the lovely colours where amazing. We talked about all the different colours we could see in the leaves. I wanted to cheer him up and shift his mood. Seasons change and that’s fun I wanted to tell him. But I needed to show him instead.

Let’s make some sunny leaves!

[Read more…]

31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Twenty One} Simple Sensory Science

Welcome to Day Twenty One of 31 days of Sensory Play.

If I do this then what will happen?

As soon as they can children are doing exactly this…..seeking out solutions to the question. I watched a mom pick up a spoon for a baby. She’s just learned that if she drops the spoon over the edge it would fall and make a loud noise. This little girl would squeal with delight. Mom would pick it up wipe it and give it back. Mom was feeding toddler sister at the same time. There were quite a few turns of this game. What made it interesting was we were in a cafe having lunch. Ordinarily at home it might be different but with all these people around this little girl was conducting experiments and learning. [Read more…]

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