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Mamma Musings

How Schools Can Prevent the Spread of Germs

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A lot of children are now back at school for the first time in months, and it’s a worrying time for parents. Not only are there the usual worries about homework and whether your child will make friends, there’s also the additional worry about the spread of germs and bacteria.

Your child’s school should be happy to speak with you about the measures that they are taking to keep your child safe. It’s also completely reasonable to ask about the measures that you would hope to see them put in place.

Distancing

When they are in the classroom, children should be seated two meters from one another to minimize the risk of spreading disease through airborne germs. 

Distancing is important not just during class time, but during lunch and break times too. If the school isn’t big enough to facilitate distancing then institutions should be implementing staggered lunch and break times to allow a smaller number of children to be on their break at the same time.

Share carefully

A way that germs can be spread is through touching the same object. Particularly with younger children, it’s not always going to be possible for them not to be touching the same things – for example, toys and games will still need to be shared by the class, as will sports equipment. 

To account for this it’s important that the school have a policy on how often the shared equipment will be disinfected and how this process will be managed.

Handwashing

Frequent hand washing is the most effective weapon against the spread of germs. Not only does it stop your child from passing any germs that they may have onto others, it means that if they inadvertently pick up germs from a surface they are less likely to infect themselves by rubbing their eyes, nose or mouth.

hand washing

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At a minimum hand washing should take place:

  • Before eating
  • After going to the bathroom
  • When coming inside from playing outdoors
  • After sneezing or coughing

Schools should also be encouraging children to routinely wash their hands outside of these times to minimize the risk of infection.

Hand sanitizer

It’s important that hand sanitizer is made readily available to children in schools to use at times when they are unable to wash their hands.

For example, you might place hand sanitizer in a prominent place in the classroom so that children may clean their hands after handling shared items, without having to disrupt the lesson by leaving to go to the bathroom.

If possible, it’s better to use a dispenser from Touch Free Hand Sanitiser as this further minimizes the spread of germs because there is no risk of transmission through a pump or lever.

Cleaning

The rooms in the school should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day, paying particular attention to bathrooms and the children’s desks.

Cleaning and disinfection are slightly different terms. According to this cleaning guide resource page, cleaning, often using a mixture of soap and water, merely removes the dirt, germs, and any other impurities on surfaces or objects. If you want to thoroughly get rid of harmful pathogens and viruses that cause disease, you need to disinfect with a disinfecting agent, often in the form of sprays or wipes.

Food preparation areas should also be cleaned thoroughly after use with hot soapy water.

Some germs can actually thrive until they are wiped away, so as well as cleaning surfaces they should be dried thoroughly with paper towels.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

The Benefits of Extra-Curricular Activities for Children

Extra-curricular activities offer numerous benefits to children. For example, they can help your child to meet new friends, they encourage your child to stay active and most importantly they are fun! 

To highlight the importance of extra-curricular activities, an independent school in Somerset shares more of their benefits below…

Health

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Extra-curricular activities can help to improve your child’s health in a number of ways. This is because many extra-curricular activities are physical; such as sports or dancing. These types of activities will not only help to keep your children fit and healthy, but keeping active has also been proven to support mental health.

Confidence

One of the biggest benefits of extra-curricular activities is how they can help to build your child’s self-confidence. This is because they provide an opportunity for your child to meet new people, gain new skills and explore a new environment. By taking part in a new creative hobby, your child will also be able to develop their own style. Art classes and drama groups are both great ways for your child to be creative and express themselves.

Personal skills

Taking part in extra-curricular activities can also help your child to develop many personal skills and gain more experience. Your child will have a chance to develop their communication, problem solving and teamwork skills, which will all contribute greatly to their future career. Furthermore, your child will learn how to plan ahead and manage their time more efficiently with a regular hobby.

Career prospects

Finally, participating in extra-curricular activities is the perfect way for your child to build an impressive CV. This will help your son or daughter to stand out from the competition when applying for jobs. Your child will be able to show an employer their personal interests and what achievements they have gained outside of school.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Mamma Musings

Top Tips for Helping Your Child with their Social Skills

Being able to interact with other people successfully is an important aspect of a child’s personal and academic development. Unfortunately, not every single child is naturally sociable; it’s often a skill that parents need to help them to improve, using various methods. Here are some top tips from a senior school in Surrey.

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There are lots of things you can do to help your child with their social skills, as soon as they enter the world. Try and familiarise them with social situations as much as possible by introducing them to lots of different people, both adults and children. You could consider joining a Mother and Toddler group in your local area where your child will be able to meet other little girls and boys and play with them in a structured environment, with you close-by.

As they get older, talk to your child about manners and elements of a healthy conversation. Teach them that listening is often just as important as talking and that it’s rude to interrupt. Lots of people struggle to initiate conversations with new people, so this is something you could work on at home too. Teach your child that questions and compliments often work well when starting a conversation, like “Did you have a nice evening? What did you get up to?” or “I like your dress, where did you get it?”. 

You could encourage your child to join an extra-curricular club, which will allow them to build relationships, as well as countless new skills. This will help their confidence and allow them to feel more comfortable in social situations. Having a hobby will also give them something to talk about with friends and relatives.

Your child will learn a lot of their behaviour from watching you, so always try and be a good role model. When talking to someone within earshot of your child, demonstrate respect and good manners, as well as the correct balance of talking and listening. Your child will be able to replicate your behaviour when faced with social situations of their own.

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Mamma Musings

How to Be More Involved in Your Child’s Education

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Children who have a supportive home environment are more likely to succeed in school. They might try harder to impress you if they know you have a keen interest in their education and knowing that they have you to fall back on if things don’t go their way will encourage them to take risks they might otherwise be afraid of. With this is mind, I have teamed up with a senior school in Hampshire to offer parents the following advice on how they can be more involved in their child’s education and support their academic journey.

Chat to your child each day about school but try and mix up the questions so they don’t become mundane conversations. You should also aim to ask open-ended questions so that your child can’t just give you a blunt yes or no answer. For instance, you could ask which of their lessons they enjoyed the most that day and why, who they spent their lunch break with and whether or not there are any events or extra-curricular activities they’d like to be involved in. It might be worth giving them some space straight after school and having these conversations a little later in the evening, so they can relax a little bit before going back into “school mode”. 

Be sure to attend parents’ evening and try and communicate with teachers throughout the school year so that you can monitor your child’s progress and find ways to help them with any problem areas. The teachers will be able to recommend age-appropriate learning resources to look into, if necessary. You should also attend other events at the school, like school plays and sports day, to show your child that you care.

You might not be able to sit with your child each evening and help them with their homework, as other commitments can get in the way. However, you can still support your child’s home learning by providing with a suitable study space to do their work. This space should be well-lit, free from distractions and stocked with all of the appropriate equipment, like stationery and books.

 

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Mamma Musings

Exploring Internet Safety with Your Child

The internet is great for helping young people stay connected with their friends and access learning resources online, especially during the pandemic, but it can also be quite a dark and dangerous place if not used responsibly. With that said, it’s important for parents to sit down with their children and talk about internet safety on a regular basis. Here’s some advice from an independent school in West Sussex.

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It’s important to have some strict rules in place when it comes to using the internet within your family, both to limit screen time and to keep your child safe from harm. For instance, they should never share personal information online, they should never meet up with someone they’ve only ever met on the internet and they should think carefully before posting anything, as it can never truly be deleted. Some parents don’t allow their children to use the internet unsupervised/with the door closed, but that’s entirely up to you and dependent on your child’s age and how much you trust them.

You might not want to go into full detail about paedophiles, scammers and other horrors of the world with your young child, but it’s important that they know that there are people on the internet who sometimes pretend to be someone they’re not to inflict harm on others. With that said, your child should be weary of who they’re speaking to online.

Do some research into the different websites and apps that your child uses and find out if they are age appropriate and if there are any parental controls that you can set-up. For instance, some online games have the option to switch off the chat function so that your child cannot talk to strangers. Check in with your child regularly to ensure everything is ok and make sure they know to report any bullying incidents they have spotted online.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

The Benefits of School Uniform for Children

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Lots of kids aren’t particularly fond of school uniform, but they actually provide many benefits that you may not have even considered. They create a sense of identity for the school, by demonstrating that each student is part of a wider whole, which helps them feel like they belong somewhere. As a result, students can feel a sense of pride. I have teamed up with an independent school in London to explore the benefits of school uniform in further detail.

Parents may begrudge having to spend a lot of money on school uniform at the start of term, but it actually works out much cheaper than having to fill your child’s wardrobe with different outfits for each day, especially if they want to keep up with the latest trends and designer fashion. School uniform shops often have payment systems in place to help spread the cost over a few months so that it doesn’t seem as dear. 

Tip: Sew name tags into your child’s uniform so that if anything is misplaced, your child has more of a chance of getting it back.

Tip: Purchase the uniform in a slightly bigger size so that your child has room to grow.

School uniform makes it easier for teachers to ensure all students are dressed in a smart manner so that they represent the school with pride. If each child was wearing something different, it would be much harder to monitor what they were all wearing and enforce rules about what’s acceptable. Wearing a uniform at school will also help prepare your child for the future when they may have to wear a uniform for work. 

One of the most important benefits of school uniform is that it reduces bullying and peer pressure amongst students. If children had to wear their own clothes to school, they might feel anxious that they’re not “cool” enough or worry what their friends are going to say. A child cannot be judged or harassed about what they’re wearing if they are all wearing the same thing. What’s more, school uniform will be far less distracting, allowing children to focus on their schoolwork.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Running A Virtual Business: A Guide To The Essentials For Success

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If you’ve decided to launch a virtual business you might be wondering what it takes to actually see success from your venture. Whether you’re selling a product or offering a service, if you are going to ensure that your business is a success, you need to make sure that you’re clued up about the essentials. Yes, you can run your business how you like, but if you want to increase your chances of success, you need to be willing to take advice on board and implement it in your business strategy. 

Wondering what some of the business essentials are for making a success of your virtual business? Below is a guide to all of the ins and outs of what it takes to make a success of a virtual business! 

Get your communication tools right 

When it comes to seeing success from your venture, it’s essential that you get your communication tools right. The last thing that you want is for your customers to feel like it’s hard for them to communicate with you; that’s why it’s so vital that you think carefully about the communication methods that you offer. When it comes to customer communication, the more options available, the better. For instance, a lot of businesses are now opting to take advantage of chat services – to learn more about live chat answering services, click here – to offer customers instance support as and when they need it. What it’s important to consider is the kind of support that your customers need you to provide for them. 

Set up a virtual team

If you are going to make a success of your virtual business, you need to think about how you are going to manage all aspects of your business yourself. The chances are that you’re not going to be able to manage everything on your own, which is why it might be a good idea to consider setting up a virtual team of support staff to help you – or simply hiring a virtual assistant in the first instance. When managing a virtual team, make sure to implement the right team support software, such as Trello, Asana, and Slack, to make managing your team members as easy as possible. 

Hone your marketing 

When it comes to making a success out of your business, you need to make sure that people actually know about it – that’s where marketing comes into it. If you are going to give your venture a chance of achieving success, you need to ensure that you take your marketing needs seriously from the start. If you fail to market your business and no one knows about it, it has an extremely low chance of success. So, make sure to get your marketing efforts right. 

The truth is that launching a virtual business can be a great way to actually start something of your own as the overheads are minimal. However, it’s important not to underestimate the amount of hard work it takes to get a small business off of the ground. Hopefully, the tips and advice above will help you to ensure that you get your virtual business off the ground successfully. 

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Mamma Musings

Craft ideas to try with your kids this autumn

Arts and crafts have been growing in popularity for years thanks to the increasing ease of access to materials and kits, the variety of options for crafting, and the multitude of benefits they’ve been shown to bring. It’s also a lot of fun! 

painting

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If you’re looking for some ideas of constructive activities you can do at home with your children, why not give crafting a go? There are so many different styles out there; you’re sure to find something that the whole family can enjoy, however old they are. Read on for some interesting and unique autumn-themed project ideas!

Benefits of crafting

It’s widely known that crafting can have a positive effect on our mental and physical health, and this is true for both adults and children of all ages. Here are a few of the benefits you can all hope to enjoy as you create:

  • Reduced stress and increased relaxation – similar to meditation, when you become immersed in art and creativity, your mind is better able to move away from worries and anxious thoughts
  • Improved motor skills – by working on hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity
  • Increased confidence – from both completing projects, and learning that it’s ok to experiment and make mistakes
  • Better mental agility – encouraging your brain to think in new ways and try new things helps keep it in top shape
  • Boosted creativity – the more you use your creativity, the more it will grow, and it’s a skill that is useful in all areas of our lives

If this has piqued your interest, you’ll be glad to know that it’s very easy to get started with arts and crafts. The internet is full of how-to videos and articles, and you can get all the supplies that you need online from websites like reallymaria.com

Autumnal craft ideas to try

  • Autumn leaf suncatchers: this simple craft project is ideal for younger children, and makes for a lovely and colorful addition to your window
  • Pinecone owls: these are perfect for getting your kids out in nature, and the resulting owls (or other animals) are adorable
  • Pom pom pumpkins: these fluffy pumpkins only need wool, scissors and a stick, but the result is a fabulously unique Halloween decoration
  • Paper ball bats: another great choice for Halloween, these cute bats are quick and easy to create with kids of all ages
  • Autumn leaf bookmarks: these easy-to-make creations encourage both creativity and reading – what’s not to like?
  • Back-to-school bag tags: help your kids personalize their school bags with these DIY charms, that they can customize however they like
  • Fairy leaf puppets: great for older children, these fairies are a bit more complex to make and full of enchantment
  • Autumn leaf dinosaurs: yes, there’s a lot you can do with leaves! This creation is perfect for kids who love Jurassic Park 
  • Painted acorns: this also gets the kids outside, and the result is genuinely pretty
  • Simple black cat papercraft: this is as easy to make as the name suggests, and is great for Halloween or all year round if you’re a cat lover
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Mamma Musings

Five time-saving tips for busy mammas

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It’s widely accepted that parenting is the hardest job we’ll ever do in life – while also being the most rewarding. However, finding time to juggle all of life’s responsibilities can often feel an insurmountable challenge. Staying on top of your work, spending time with friends, socialising, visiting extended family, doing the household shop . . . they all take time and place demands on parents already busy looking after young ones. 

Finding ways to save time will help you relax more and relieve the stresses of everyday life. Here are five ways you could free up more of your day and put your time to better use.

Plan the clothing you’ll wear that week 

On a Sunday evening, take a moment to plan the outfits you’ll wear that week – everything from your shoes to your dresses and accessories. Most people aren’t at their best in the morning and you’ll likely have a hard enough time trying to get your kids awake, washed and ready – never mind trying to look after yourself. By working out what you’re going to wear that coming week, you’ll save yourself considerable time and stress each day.  

Agree a schedule and rules – and stick to them 

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Spend some time working out a household schedule and rules that work for everyone – you, your partner (if you have one) and your kids. If everyone already knows the rules, you’ll spend far less time discussing or arguing what can and can’t be done.

For example, having a fixed time for dinner lets kids know they can’t stay out late after school playing. Agreeing when your kids need to go to bed will also save you countless arguments at night. Even things like agreeing on the bathroom schedule in the mornings can save pointless quarrels (particularly with teens). As a rule, kids work better to schedules and if they already know the rules, they’re far less likely to break them. 

Order food in, once in a while

As a parent, you’re likely not keen on feeding your kids the typical junk food served by burger or pizza takeaways but there is now a huge range of pre-made, gourmet meals available which are suitable for even the most discerning of tastes. For example, vegetarian and vegan meal specialist, jikonilondon.com offers complete meals (available hot or cold) and weekly subscriptions delivered straight to your door. 

Ordering pre-prepared dishes will save you considerable time prepping food and doing the washing-up afterwards. Not only that, you’ll likely find you vary your diet more and may even find inspiration for creating your own dishes.

Keep important items in the same place

How often have you been rushing to leave only to find you’ve misplaced your house keys? Give important items like keys, mobile phones, your handbag etc a home. If you already know where things are, you’ll save yourself frantically searching each time you’re going out. Indeed, the same applies to any household items you commonly use e.g. paper, important documents or TV remotes etc.   

Learn to delegate

Most kids are inherently lazy – it’s not their fault, they have far more important things to think about like SpongeBob SquarePants. Giving your children simple household tasks will save you a lot of time doing mundane chores. If you give your kids an allowance, agree a set of jobs they need to do to earn it – e.g. setting/clearing the dinner table, helping with the washing-up or keeping their room clean. Having your kids do tasks to earn money is also a valuable life-lesson and helps prepare them for work later in life. 

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Mamma Musings

Checks to Complete before buying a used car

Online shopping has been a craze which does not show any signs for fading. From purchasing small items such as clothes to large objects including cars. Whether this is being advertised privately or on car sale sites such as Auto Trader or eBay.

With the increase of online car sales, there has also been an increase in cars being sold which have a hidden past. There are many steps you can take to avoid buying a car which has been damaged, stolen or still has outstanding finance. 

Easy and Simple Checks to Complete

There are many easy checks you can do yourself whilst viewing the vehicle. They are many buyer checklists available online but we will discuss the import parts to check over whilst viewing any used car.

Tyres

This is more than a simple kick to each wheel. Many years ago, this was a way to check tyre pressure or worn bearings, but these days they are better ways to go about this. When you look at the tyres, try to get down to that level on your knees. This will give you a better viewing point for the tyres. 

Check for things such as Tyre Brand and Tread. Remember the legal minimum is 1.6mm, so if they are below 3mm we would advise budgeting for some new tyres very soon. While the brand of tyre may not cause concern in most sales, if the seller has budgets on a premium sports car this may also need changing to ensure better performance. 

Check for Defects?

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Ensure you look over the vehicle bodywork during the day, and when it is not raining or the car is wet. This will ensure you get the best viewing of the car as dull light and water droplets can hide blemishes. Along with checking the bodywork for these marks, also take this time to check for kerbed alloys.

After checking the paint, don’t forget to check the glass to. Check for chips or cracks in each window. Remember anything in the drivers eyeline this could lead to a future MOT failure.

In addition to the outside, ensure you check inside. Check for any weird or overpowering smells when you first open the door. Check all over the inside from the dashboard to the car seats for any stains, tears or blemishes.

Do not expect a used car to be perfect, but some blemishes can help you during the negotiations.  

Check Panels 

After looking over the bodywork for scratches and dents, look at the gaps between the panels. These should be symmetrical and consistent through the vehicle. If you notice that one or more panel gap seems to be overly large or small this could be a sign of repaired bodywork after a car accident. Another indication is that they are colour differences in the paint between the panels. 

A great way to check if a car has been in a major accident is to conduct an online Reg Check. For under £10, these reports will conduct over 20 different history checks on the car and highlight any issues to you. These issues can range from write off details, police stolen report, outstanding finance and so much more.

Check Fluid Levels

It is always a good idea to check the fluid levels on a used car. The most popular ones include oil, power steering fluid and brake fluid. Low fluid levels could mean poor maintenance of the vehicle which could lead to issues in the future. 

Whilst checking these, look for any potential leaks under the bonnet and where the car is usually parked. Also check under the Oil cap for any white liquid. White liquid is created when coolant mixes with oil and could be a sign that a head gasket has or is failing. 

Check Electrics

Check everything. From the window controls, wing mirrors, air conditioning, radio to sunroof operations and automated seat movements. Pretty much every button you can see, try it! 

Whilst checking each light, look for any chips or cracks in the light cases, or any moisture inside the unit. 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post