Friday, 30 January 2015

Top tips on getting your child to go to bed

It’s definitely one of the hardest tasks facing any parent – how to get your children to go to bed!

We all know the procedure. The whole family has had a lovely day out, followed by a nice dinner and a relaxing evening. But as soon as nightfall approaches, your child suddenly develops an extra fuel tank of energy and will do just about anything to avoid going to bed.

It’s an infuriating situation as undoubtedly it’s you who will feel exhausted and ready for sleep. So how do you resolve this dilemma? Here are a few tips.

Diet

 

It’s very important to consider what you are feeding your child, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Caffeine is obviously a big no-no, and it’s also important to remove any association that may have been built between milk or food and falling asleep.

 

 Sleep is a reward

 


It’s a good idea to try and make the idea of sleeping as attractive as possible. So rather than making the bedroom the equivalent of a prison, try and think of a few ways to make bedtime fun.

This can be something as simple as allowing a good hour of wind-down time such as a bedtime story. And it’s also important to make sure that the bedroom environment is friendly and relaxed too. So make sure that your child has a nice and comfortable bed, and think about installing a dim nightlight to ensure that they don’t get the night terrors!

Routine

Young children are pretty smart and will quickly pick up a routine. So rather than surprising them with the sudden threat of bedtime, it’s good to have a sequence of events as a nightly routine.

The Sleep Council recommend that your child keeps regular sleeping hours, as this is good way to program their brains with natural sleeping and waking times.

So with this in mind, a nice warm bath before bed will signal the arrival of bedtime in a far more pleasant way, and will also make sure that your child’s body is at a restful temperature.

Things to avoid

 



It’s becoming increasingly apparent that technological devices such as smartphones and tablets are having an adverse reaction on our sleeping patterns. So make sure your child has no screen time at least an hour before bed.

And try to establish your child’s bedroom as being primarily a sleeping zone. You can do this by removing distractions and perhaps installing some decent blackout curtains, and investing in a device that plays soft, continuous music to mask out any disruptive noises.

* Disclaimer: This post was written by Ken Severn

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Win Tickets to The Baby Show ExCel London (20-22 February)



The lovely people at Loveyush London who make gorgeous nursing scarves have given me two pairs of tickets for The Baby Show in ExCel London 20-22 February 2015 to giveaway to two lucky readers.

Entry is easy, just follow the rafflecopter instructions. Competition ends 01/02/2015. Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I have received two pairs of tickets for The Baby Show to giveaway by Loveyush London.

Money Lover - Money Manager App Review

I love technology, it has seemlessly become part of my life and really does help me do so many tasks each and every day, I know my daily life would be a lot harder without it. iPhone, iPad and Android Apps make technology super accessible for everyone especially when you are juggling a busy family life with little time to actually sit down at the computer, if you think about it they really have brought technology to our fingertips.

Finance & Technology

Budgeting, finance and our household money management is one area I am always looking to improve on. Taking the easy option and going for the most convenient, quickest option when it comes to spending on things like grocery shopping has in the past meant I have spent more than I could, or should. Last year I took a conscious decision to be more aware of these choices and started off trying to track spending in a spreadsheet which was a real eye opener. Using a spreadsheet was time consuming though and I really needed something more instant and easier to use which is why I started looking at apps both for the iPhone and Android tablets.

Money Lover - Money Manager App

One of my favourite money apps is Money Lover - Money Manager. I needed something to help me track our daily spending, mainly to make me more conscious of what exactly all those quick trips to the shops for an emergency pint of milk, loaf of bread and other "little bits" were actually adding up to. Money Lover is perfect for this, it lets me enter in any purchases I make during the day and as it allows you set a budget and a warning limit, it helps you to keep track of and control your spending throughout the week, month and longer. 
 
Ability to customise and add campaigns and budgets

I love the fact that you can analyse your money (incomes, expenses, and savings) with help from the financial reports it produces. These include charts, stats, and calculated spending trends, all of which give you a clear picture of your current financial state. Yep I do love my statistics and there is something very satisfying when you can see savings in a pretty graph or chart, it definitely is encouraging.

Visualise your finances easily

The great thing is you can totally customise the app to add spending and budgets for different members of your family, add Categories to fit your lifestyle and needs and you can also set up Savings Campaigns for thing such as holidays, Christmas, new car fund, moving house and so on.

One thing I haven't tried yet is the cloud sync feature which offers a solution to pooled money and enables you to synchronise your data across different platforms which sounds perfect for family and household money management. I could see this being really useful to manage and control a shared family budget with clearer visibility and transparency so I may have to get my husband to install it too. 

One other thing worth mentioning are the useful Tools such as  Currency Exchange, Tip Calculator and ATM Finder. 



Useful Tools include a Currency Exchange
I can definitely recommend the Money Lover app, it is quick and easy to set up and use and works for you to help you budget and manage your finances. It has worked for me with very little effort, in fact a lot less than it did to keep track of things on a spreadsheet so it definitely get a thumbs up from me.

Working Towards a Long Term Goal

Now I am starting to get a bit more control over the day-to-day spending and household finances, my next goal is to work towards setting up some regular savings and investments. It may be awhile yet but thanks to the great visibility I have on our spending working towards such a goal is looking a lot more achievable.

*Disclaimer: I received a Samsung Galaxy Tablet to test out some money management apps on. All views and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Little Controller - 026/365

Zachary, deep in concentration, trying to figure out how to get the remote to play his favourite In The Night Garden DVD.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Hide & Seek Fun - 025/365

Ben and the twins love playing Hide and Seek, there are always massive squeals of delight when they do and excitement hits an all time high. I think it's pretty safe to say the long curtains in the lounge make one of their favourite hiding places.