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Mamma Musings

Top Tips for Leaving Your Tweens Home Alone

teenager

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Leaving your youngster home alone for the time is enough to make any parent a little apprehensive, but it’s something we all have to do eventually. In fact, it’s important that our kids experience being left alone from time to time (once they’ve reached an appropriate age and maturity level) so that they learn to become more independent. Here are some tips for worried parents from an independent college in London.

First of all, you need to evaluate if your child is actually ready to be left alone. Just because they’ve reached a certain age, it doesn’t mean they’re emotionally mature enough to stay at home without you. Only you can decide if your child is mature enough to take care of themselves, avoid trouble and solve problems. Their feelings on the matter are also important; don’t leave them alone of they express an obvious aversion to the plan.

It’s a great idea to trial leaving your child home alone in short bursts, like a quick trip to the shop for some milk. This will help them get used to the idea of being without you in the house. Talk to them after about how they felt while you were gone and if they experienced any challenges. Ask them what they got up to whilst you were gone and make sure they know what types of activities are off limits without your supervision.

It’s also important to make sure your child knows how to safely use all of the appliances in your home, like the microwave and kettle. If you are worried that they won’t manage, then make sure you have prepared them some meals or snacks in advance so that they don’t feel the need to operate the appliances. 

Discuss any potential emergencies with your child in advance so that they are prepared for the worst should it happen. For instance, explain to them what they should do if there’s a fire or a stranger knocking at the door. Make sure they have both your contact details and the details of another responsible adult who can help them in an emergency. When you do eventually leave your tween home alone, give them a call every so often to check in and see how they’re getting on without you. 

Mamma Musings

4 Favourite Activities for Outdoor Learning

It’s important for young children to explore different learning environments; they should get out of the classroom every once in a while and explore the outside world. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done for many children who don’t have the privilege of a safe outdoor space to play in and explore freely. With that said, it’s important for schools and parents to ensure every child receives their fair share of outdoor learning where possible. Here are five ideas from an independent school in Surrey.

A Walk through Nature

boys playing outdoor

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Find a local forest or nature reserve and take a family stroll. Talk about what trees, plants, bugs and animals you can see and hear and how they all survive together as one whole. Discuss how the forest might look during the different seasons and what you can do to help the forest continue to survive and grow. 

Building a Bird Feeder

Invite some feathery friends into your garden by building a bird feeder. This encourages an element of creativity as well as an interest in nature. Your child will learn what different types of birds like to eat.

Growing Your Own

Growing a vegetable patch is a great way to give your child a sense of responsibility and achievement. What’s more, it gives them an opportunity to learn about different fruits and vegetables and add some healthy foods to their diet. When they have successfully grown something, they will feel proud of themselves. 

Reading a Map

Despite the introduction of satellite navigation, it’s still important that kids learn how to read a map. Next time you head out and about, encourage your child to find the way by showing off their map reading skills. Understanding co-ordinations and symbols will help your child in their maths and geography lessons going forward.

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Mamma Musings

How Can a Healthy Lifestyle Lead to a Good Education?

All parents want their children to succeed in school and they often find themselves searching for ways they can help. Some hire a tutor and others learn maths equations and foreign languages so that they’re able to pass on some of their knowledge to their kids. However, one of the simplest ways you can help your child, which you might not have even thought of, is by encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips from an independent school in Spain.

A healthy lifestyle essentially refers to a good diet, exercise and plenty of rest. Your child needs to eat a hearty, healthy breakfast each morning. If they go to school on an empty stomach or something sugary and unhealthy, they will have poor attention span throughout the day and they’ll probably feel quite sleepy. The same rule applies to snacks; sugary treats will affect their energy levels and general concentration. 

Staying hydrated is also extremely important. Our brains are predominantly water, so your child needs to drink a lot throughout the day in order for their brains to function properly. Water is not just important for physical health but also for mental wellbeing. 

Believe it or not, exercise is excellent for improving memory and attention span. It’s also great for reducing stress and nerves, which many students suffer with, particularly during exam period. If you don’t think your child gets enough exercise, you should introduce an extra-curricular club for them to join, like football, tennis, gymnastics etc. This will also be great for them from a social perspective.

If your child is getting less than 8 hours of sleep each night, it is likely that they will find it difficult to focus in class and learn new things. Lack of sleep can also temporarily interfere with the part of the brain that deals with organisation, problem solving and other important skills that a required to do well in lessons.

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Mamma Musings

How Can Parents & Teachers Work Together?

Parents and teachers have a common objective: to help children succeed both academically and in their personal endeavours. With that said, it’s important that they communicate with one another and work together to achieve their shared goal. If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to building a relationship with your child’s teacher, here are some tips from a private school in Spain.

child reading book

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Modern technology has made communication between school and home that much easier, so there really is no excuse. It won’t take long for you to drop your child’s teacher an email once in a while to check in on how everything’s going. It’s likely that the teacher will actually appreciate you reaching out and showing that you’d like to form and maintain a partnership to help your child perform well in school. 

If any big changes are happening at home, like a new baby, moving house, a death or divorce etc. be sure to let the teacher know. They will appreciate being kept in the loop and it also ensures that there are another set of eyes watching over your child and monitoring them for any signs of distress. 

Why not ask the teacher to send you a copy of the curriculum outline so that you can understand, in basic terms, what your child is going to be learning about throughout the academic year. This will allow you to explore such topics during home life to help prepare your child for the lessons. Arrange regular meetings, particularly if you have any concerns; you don’t have to wait until parents evening to talk about your child’s progress.

At the end of the academic year, or even at Christmas and other appropriate moments throughout the year, be sure to get your child’s teacher a thank you card and/or a gift. It’s important that you and your child let the teacher know that they are appreciated. This will encourage them to continue to do their best for their students whilst strengthening their relationship with you and your child.

 

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Mamma Musings

What Are Some Energy-Burning Indoor Activities for Kids

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most fabulous places to enjoy year-round activities with the family. Many native Oregonians remain here and just as many move here to experience everything the wonderful state of Oregon has to offer. From weekend day-trips to the coast or Mount Hood and longer excursions to Crater Lake or the Wallowa Mountains, there are countless family activities to encounter.

And while we want to explore every naturally magnificent nook and cranny, sometimes you’re just looking for a more relaxing weekend with a mix of local family activities and spare time to snuggle together on the couch.

And what are you going to do with those energetic kids when it starts raining this fall? Here are five ideas to keep them (and you) entertained for hours.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

If you want a place where kids are encouraged to be rambunctious and curious, where they can run around touching things with abandon, all the while engaging in activities that are fun and educational, then your next energy-burning indoor activity must be a trip to OMSI.

If you have kids that range in age from 0 to 6 years old, then consider becoming a member, and you can visit the Science Playground for free as often as your heart desires.

Or explore each section of the museum during your visit. In the infant area, you’ll find soft carpet and toys that encourage motor skill development. Those a little bit bigger will have fun crawling through the roots of a giant tree, exploring a hollow log, or venturing into a cave as they learn about animals. And all kids will enjoy the sandpit. Then, as they get bigger, explore the literacy and hands-on discovery areas.

Are your kids older than 6? Then head to the Kendall Planetarium, Life Lab, Paleontology Lab, Science on a Sphere, and various rotating exhibits that emerge throughout the year.

Playdate PDX

Do you remember climbing on nets, scooting through tubes, and navigating twists and turns in tunnels, all to find the best slide on a playground? Well, this might be a thing of the past for you, but your kids will have an absolute blast when you visit Playdate PDX.

This place offers three levels of fun for the kids, and parents are welcome visitors too. In fact, this truly is a favourite indoor family activity, as you can sip on your favourite local beer or glass of wine, or a hot coffee or tea, while your children run around having the time of their lives—a true win-win!

In addition to the playground, make sure to come when you can catch the Dragon Theatre Puppet Show, which features a diverse lineup, including Rapunzel Redeems Rumpelstiltskin, Arcade Universe, and Little Bugs Big World.

Looking for a deal? Kids are welcome for free after 5:00 p.m. every Monday. Or visit on the last Wednesday of every month and receive free entry for each kid when you donate two canned good items.

Pump It Up

If your kids are 12 and under, then a must-visit location to burn off their excess energy is Pump It Up in Beaverton. Known as a top destination for birthday and big group parties, it also hosts open jumps where kids are welcome to run around and be a little wild.

This is the place for them to release that pent-up energy and hop, skip, jump, flop, and plop their way around the inflatable arena.

Want to take it up a notch? Attend a special event like the Glow Open Jump. Your kids will be able to climb, bounce, and slide around with the disco and laser lights on and lights out. This all-ages event comes with a glow necklace with every admission.

Pump It Up also hosts Sensory Jump Night where it caters to kids with disabilities so that everyone can find time to have fun in a safe and controlled environment.

Roller Skating at Oaks Park

Do you remember going roller-skating after school or maybe on the weekends with your friends growing up? Remember when it was all the rage to wear rollerblades? Recall the slow dance song when you hoped to buddy up with your grade-school crush?

You can create new skating memories with your little (or maybe not-so-little-anymore) tykes. Get out on that roller rink and show your kids how it’s done—and that you have some talents they don’t even know about yet—during an open-skate session, Tuesday through Sunday, all year long.

Worried your kids are too young for the open skate? Try out the Preschool Play & Skate or Kids’ Morning Skate instead, and then head back on date night for Adult Rhythm Skate or Gay Skate.

Langer’s Entertainment Center

Want to try something totally new with your family this fall? Something with a little bit of everything for everyone? Then have we got the energy-burning activity for you at Langer’s! Yes, the farm has been around Sherwood for more than a century, but fall 2019 represents a new chapter in our family history as we’ve just opened our brand-new, family-friendly Langer’s Entertainment Center.

All are welcome here, where the youngest will enjoy the soft play area and the bigger kids will want to try out the high ropes courses, rock-climbing wall, and laser tag. And don’t forget the arcade—with over 50 games and fun for all! The older kids-at-heart can enjoy a cold one in the Tack Room or a delicious hot chocolate or speciality coffee from the Thunder Mountain Cabin. Then reconvene for an epic family face-off in bowling.

Once it’s time to start settling down for the day, head over to the restaurant and choose from diverse menu options where everyone will find something they crave. And then settle in for a little relaxing around the indoor campfire.

Visit  Sherwood just off Pacific Highway West, a quick 30 minutes from Portland or Beaverton for the top family activities indoors and out. 

 

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Mamma Musings

How Parents Can Help Teenagers Manage Their Money

Caring for teenagers can be a challenging experience. As your youngster gets older, they’ll start to learn more about the world around them. This includes learning about money, debts, and saving.

As a parent or care provider, you can play a crucial role in shaping the way that your child behaves with money. After all, the chances are that your child won’t get much of an education on managing their cash at school. Whether your teenager has recently started asking for more cash to go out with their friends, or they’re just starting their first job, there are various steps you can take to help set them up for success.

Here are our top tips on helping teenagers and students to manage their money.

Give Teenagers Responsibility Early

To help children understand the value and importance of money, it’s crucial to introduce them to how cash works, and how important it is to spend only what they can afford. Providing your teenager with regular pocket money so that they can learn the basics of spending and saving cash is a great way to get started. A regular dose of pocket money acts like a kind of wage – you can even ask your child to complete certain tasks like cleaning their room to get their pocket money each week.

Once your child has their pocket money, avoid giving them extra cash for the things that they can’t afford. Though it might be hard to say no at first, being strict will show your child that if they want to make bigger purchases, they need to save.

Set the Right Example

money bank

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Most teenagers and children will mimic their parents’ behaviour when it comes to learning about saving and spending. That doesn’t mean that you need to be perfect with your spending habits – we all make mistakes at times – but it does mean thinking carefully about the example you set. For instance, while you might need to take out a personal loan from time to time, you shouldn’t be getting a loan or using a credit card for every expense. Show your child that you know how to save and deal with delayed gratification too.

Setting the right example could even be as simple as inviting your child to join you as you search for the best deal on your car insurance or compare your options for a new broadband provider. As your child gets older and starts to learn more about money, you can even get them involved in your budgeting efforts.

Help Your Teenager to Develop a Savings Habit

Learning about living within your means, and saving is one of the most crucial lessons that a teenager can get. With that in mind, take advantage of every opportunity you get to show your child the value of saving. For instance, the next time your child asks you for a new game, don’t just give them the cash they want, sit down with them and figure out how many weekly pocket monies they’re going to need to be able to afford the item they want.

If your teenager comes to you and tells you that they want a car, work with them to figure out how much owning that car is going to cost and help them to find a job that will allow them to pay for the expenses.

Get Used to Talking about Money

piggybank

Pic Credit: Pixbay

One of the worst things you can do is a parent is keeping your teenager out of your financial conversations. As your child begins to ask for more money, or show any interest in cash, get them involved in the monthly budgeting process. Show them how you afford the monthly bills by carefully organising your cash into different segments each month.

If you take out loans to pay for certain items, make sure that your child understands that those loans come at a price. Although they allow you to pay for things over time, they also require you to pay a certain level of interest each month. Talking transparently about money will pave the way for a better relationship with finances for your child.

Help Them Manage Their First Wage

Finally, when your teenager does take on their first job, make sure that they understand the value of the money that they’re earning. Encourage them to think about their purchases not just in terms of how much an item costs, but also in the context of how many hours they would have to work to replenish what they spend.

When your child gets their first job, this is also a great time to sit down with them and think about their long-term goals, like buying a car, or going on holiday with their friends, and how they can save for those things.

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Mamma Musings

4 Tips for Dressing for a Wedding

pink converse with wedding dress

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Finding the perfect outfit for any social occasion can be overwhelming, but no more so than for a wedding. Not only do you only have one chance to get it right, but chances are, you’re going to be in a lot of photographs. And, if you are part of wedding party, this is especially true, so the last thing you want is an outfit you will regret. 

So, here are a few important points to consider when dressing yourself for the big day. 

Consider the Weather

Depending on the month of the wedding and whether the wedding is abroad, you need to prepare for the weather. You will need to dress formally no matter what, but you may need to consider extras such as a formal coat to pop on and off or a plain umbrella. You should also make style choices to suit the weather, such as whether long sleeves will be too hot or if a strapless dress would leave you exposed to the elements. 

Consider Your Role

wedding guest

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Whether you’re a bridesmaid, maid of honour, mother of the bride or guest, there is plenty to consider when it comes to dressing for a wedding. It’s usually the case when preparing for a wedding that you purchase your outfit far in advance, especially in the case of bridesmaids, who may need a fitting. It’s important to consider your lifestyle choices when thinking about your outfit. You need to ensure you get the correct size for the wedding day itself, so if you’re planning on losing any weight before the wedding, you may need to consider a size smaller. You also need to choose a store that caters for your size range, so that you can get a flattering plus size mother of the bride dress, for example.

Consider the Location

The wedding style should be about personal taste, of course, but it will usually take into account the venue. This is particularly important when it comes to guests choosing their shoes and the length of their dress or skirt. If the venue is a more rural location, for instance, you may need to move across grass, and this can be problematic with a high pair of heels and a skirt that drapes along the floor. Once you know the location and venue, you can plan the most practical outfit suitable for it. 

Consider What the Bride is Wearing

It’s a generally accepted rule that any wedding guest should never wear white to a wedding. However, you may also want to consider the design of the bride’s dress, too. You don’t want your wedding outfit to be too similar, even if it’s a different colour. Of course, the chances of getting an identical dress to the bride are pretty slim, especially if the bride has opted for a big, princess dress, but if the bride’s taste is more toned down and simple, such as a floaty maxi dress, for example, you may want to opt for a midi option. 

 

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Mamma Musings

Helping Your Child Transition from Nursery to School

Starting school means many new changes for your child. They will need to learn their way around a much bigger space than nursey and they will need to get to know new teachers and new friends. They will also need to adjust to a new school routine and learn how to be more independent.

All of these changes can come as quite a shock for some children; however, there are many ways that parents can help to prepare their children for the transition from nursery to school. 
To help you get started, here are some helpful tips from Taunton School

Get familiar 

boy with ball looking sad

Pic Credit: Pixabay

It is important to get to know your child’s new school as early as possible, in order to help them settle in quicker. Take your child along to open days and events at the school to help them learn their way around. It is also a good idea to arrange a visit on a normal school day, so that your child can get an idea of what to expect from daily school life. You can also find useful information on the school website, such as uniform requirements or term dates.

Show support

Your child is bound to feel nervous about starting their new school. Show your support by letting them know that what they are feeling is normal and relate it to a time when you felt the same. This could be when you started school or a new job. Then move on to another good memory from that day to reinforce a positive outlook. Talk to your child about some of the positive changes they can expect from school, such as bigger playgrounds or choosing books from the school library.

Encourage independence

Finally, one of the most useful things you can do to prepare your child for school is to make sure they are comfortable doing simple tasks by themselves. This includes: dressing and undressing, putting on and taking off shoes, as well as going to the toilet and washing their hands.

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Mamma Musings

How to Tell If Your Child is Happy at School

Every parent hopes that their child will enjoy school and happily run into class when the bell goes. However, in reality school can be a very challenging environment for children and some may find it harder than others to settle.

To help you to assess your child’s happiness at school, it is important to regularly ask your child about their school life and carefully observe their behaviour. Here are some great tips from Mill Hill School on what to look out for…

Mornings

kids reading

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In the morning, is your child happy to get ready for school and do they leave the house without a fuss? School mornings are always a rush and are often a stressful time for parents, however, unless your child seems worried or upset about going to school, you shouldn’t feel concerned.  If your child does appear reluctant to go to school or regularly complains of feeling unwell, then this behaviour should be closely monitored, as it could be a sign of a problem at school.

Home time

At home time is your child keen to talk about their day? Do they want to share interesting facts that they have learnt in the classroom? Or tell you about what they have planned for tomorrow?
This is a good sign and shows that your child is interested and actively involved in their lessons.   If your child seems unusually quiet and reluctant to talk about school then there could be an issue that needs your attention.

Homework

When your child comes home with homework are they keen to get it done? Do they want to show off their skills? If your child is happy to receive homework and keen to do it independently, then this is a really good sign that your child is happy at school and enjoying their current topics.  Should you notice your child avoiding homework or missing deadlines, then it is time to intervene. Your child may simply find the current work difficult and require extra support.

 

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Mamma Musings

10 Top Tips to Help Your Child Perform Well in School

There are many ways in which parents can help their children to make the most of their education and perform well at school. A great place to start is by taking an interest in your child’s school life. The more supported a child feels at home, the more effectively he or she will perform at school.

To help your child to make the most out of their education, here are a few great tips from Manor Lodge School

  1. Always show encouragement towards school and learning and show appreciation for your child’s achievements to help boost their confidence. 
  2. Help to develop a love of learning, by demonstrating that learning can happen anywhere, not just in the classroom. This can be achieved by simply observing the wildlife in your own garden.

    kids writing with pencils

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  3. Explain the importance of learning and talk together as a family about what you have learnt every day. This will motivate your child to listen in class.
  4. Create a calendar for your child to help them to prepare for exams and homework. This will also help to develop your child’s organisation and time management skills.
  5. Try not to set your expectations too high and instead allow your child to develop at their own pace. By putting too much pressure on children you can negatively affect their academic performance and cause stress.
  6. When helping with homework, try to give your child helpful feedback instead of criticism. This means helping your child to think about different ways of solving questions.
  7. Get to know your child’s teachers and try to be a part of the school community. This will show your child how much you care about their education. 
  8. Encourage your child to ask questions and teach you about interesting things they have learnt. Get them to role play being the teacher. Repeating what the teacher has explained in class will help to store this information in their memory.
  9. Support your child’s literacy skills by regularly reading with them. This could be reading a story at bedtime or asking your child to read a recipe while you cook together.
  10. Learn together in your free time by visiting interesting places like museums, or by using educational online resources. 
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