Winter Health Tips for Mums and Bubs

This morning we woke to temperatures of 1 degree! This cold weather fills me with fear, as it signals not only the start of winter, but of “flu season.”  With three little kids and two parents that need to go to work, we are desperate to stay as well as possible this winter.  Over the years of coping with a million germs brought to me lovingly by a class full of children, I have learnt a few tips and tricks to survive winter.

“The Flu Shot:” A few years ago both of our workplaces introduced on site flu shots. I was pregnant with Little Miss A at the time and was a little hesitant to get it.  After consulting my GP I was pleasantly surprised to not only find was it completely safe for pregnant women but recommended! A perfect way to not only protect myself but my little ones.  Many workplaces now offer the flu shot with a visiting nurse or you can ask your GP.

Healthy Hands: As a family, we spend a lot of our time out and about at playgrounds, shopping centres and theme parks.  I always keep some hand sanitiser handy to help keep those germs away.  We keep a pump pack in the house for the kids to use after they have blown their noses and I encourage the kids to wash their hands with soap and water after they cough and sneeze.  This is to help stop spreading the germs to the baby and I always keep a small hand sanitizer in my bag.

Tissues and wipes: Speaking of runny noses…….you can never have too many tissues!  I keep a little pack in the kid’s bags, a few in the car, a few in my handbag and a whole heap of boxes in the house.  But when little noses have been blown too many times and are red raw I find a baby wipe is a little harsh whilst still doing the job.

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You are what you eat! During winter in particular I keep a close eye on what we are eating.  I try to boost veggies and fruits wherever I can by adding them to smoothies, making up a big veggie mash, sneaking them into lasagna or bolognese sauce, and even into the chocolate muffins (zucchini is a great match!)

H20 to go: I am a horrible water drinker!  Especially in winter when I am sweating less, I often get to the end of the day and realise I have not had any water at all!  I keep a drink bottle with me and try to refill it, at least once, but eight glasses a day will keep you in tip top shape for winter

Sunny Days: This cold weather has me seeking some warmth in the sun and I find I spend more time outdoors as I can actually enjoy the weather (and not sweat off half my body weight!)  We love to get out a picnic rug, enjoy lunch outside in the sun and fill up on some Vitamin D, which is great for boosting immunity. (But don’t forget to still slip, slop, slap)

Exercise: When I am feeling lousy there is nothing like a walk in the fresh air to get me out of a slump.  I throw the baby in the pram and we head down to the lake to run around the playground.  Keeping active in small everyday ways is hopefully burning off some of those winter hot chocolates and keeping your body in fighting condition if any winter nasties come your way.

 

I find the easiest way to keep up with these habits is to stay organised and create a little “Winter station” on the kitchen bench with tissues, water, hand sanitizer and some fresh fruit and veggie snacks, ready for the kids when they are hungry.

By implementing these simple but effective habits our household feels prepared to face our healthiest winter yet.

The NSW Health website also offers great flu prevention advice HERE

Brought to you by Nuffnang and NSW Government

Meal Plan Monday

Meal planning is my saviour.  Lately I have completely fallen of the bandwagon.  Not sure why or how but it has to stop!  I have started spending way too much money on little every second day shops.  So here it is this weeks Meal Plan.

Monday

Roast Lamb with CousCous and Roast Mediterranean Veg.

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This is a family fave.  Lamb is a protein that EVERYONE including my pickiest Little Miss A will eat.  Our Roast Veg. are Eggplant, Zucchini, Capsicum, Pumpkin and Potato. Even better the left overs make a great salad for me to take to work the next day.

Tuesday

Beef Stroganoff

Work day for me so slow cooker it is!  Unlike some though I don’t like to have it in there all day as I love when the meat is chunky!  Served With rice and steamed Brocollini.

Wednesday

Pumpkin and Fetta Agnolotti with Basil Pesto sauce.

Another work day for me and this is the EASIEST, QUICKEST dinner and takes literally 5 minutes.  Woolworths recently had a 1/2 price special on these ready made pastas so I grabbed a few and threw them in the Freezer.  For the sauce?  Graba container of Basil pesto dip and stir through while the pasta is hot!  Master O and the baby love it, and Little Miss A will have the pasta plain.

Thursday

Lemon Crumbed Chicken with Caesar Salad

This is on weekly rotation in our house!  Either using drumsticks (cheap as chips) or Chicken Thighs marinate in  lemon and Olive oil, crumb, roast in the oven and serve!  SIMPLE!

 

Friday

Salmon and Vegie Mash

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Ok so Salmon is a bit pricey BUT I recently found 4 packs at Aldi for under $13!!!!  I have everything crossed it wasn’t a special item and becomes a regular line in their store as we all LOVE salmon.  Vegie mash is a fave with my boys and I am literally able to throw every veg imaginable in it and they will eat it.  Little Miss A on the other hand will not eat either Salmon or Vegie Mash so she will be having steamed potato, broccoli and Sausages (keeping it real peeps)

All images taste.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet Critters

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 6.59.59 AMAlthough I have been a teacher for many years now, this year my skills have been truly tested.  As a relief teacher I have had to get used to the rules and routines of so many different schools, grades and classes.  One thing they all have in common, is a need for some AWESOME behaviour management strategies.  There are many a child out there who use having a new teacher as a  chance to test the boundaries!

I have used the tried and true, stickers and prizes but for the Early Years (Ages 4-7) I was needing a new creative strategy.  I make no excuses for my strict classroom style but I also love to play tricks, joke and make up stories for the kids.  Thats where the Quiet Critters come in.

THE STORY GOES….

My Quiet Critters have been very lonely at my house as my kids go to school all day and the baby just wants to put them in his mouth!  So they asked me if they could come to school with me to find some new friends!

They are looking for a very particular kind of friend to show them how school works.

  • An attentive listener (because they have very quiet voices)
  • A hard worker who always tries their best (so they can learn new things)
  • Responsible (So they wont get lost)
  • Kind and Caring (So they can make new friends) 
  • Keeps their hands and feet to themselves. (so they wont get hurt)

When they see a friend like this they will want to sit with them! They will sit quietly on your desk or at your feet and watch and learn with you!  

BUT if you suddenly are not doing the right thing they will ask to find a new friend or even worse just go back home into their container! 

HOW TO MAKE QUIET CRITTERS

The Quiet Critters

The Quiet Critters

You could make them out of anything!  I have seen pet rocks, pom poms with eyes glued on, teddy bears or in my case party favours!  These cute little soft and spiky guys were in a pack of 6 in a discount store in the party aisle!  Then for a bit of variety I found a pack of 4  little of “Moshi Monsters” (in The Reject Shop) for $3.  I placed them in a round plastic container (plastic so its light and unbreakable in my bag) added some sticker letters and a bow for the lid!

THE VERDICT

Yesterday I tried them out in a Prep class (5 year olds).  ABSOLUTE WINNER!!!  They were all desperate for a quiet critter and were trying so hard to get one!  No one got silly or attempted to hide or throw them (which I had thought could happen)  I was glad I had quite a few and at times they would sit in the middle of the hardest working group.

This is definitely a fun technique I will be using in my classroom in the future!

 

 

 

Kids Bedroom Planning and Inspiration

 

We seem to be a family of bedroom swappers. Without a doubt every year we reassess the kids current bedroom situations and do a swap and reorganize. From shared rooms, to creating a nursery, to sharing a guest room, to everyone having their own room, the swapping never ends in a growing family!

A few years ago we made the decision for Master O and Little Miss A to share a room.  Although some thought this was a sure clue that baby #3 was coming along it was simply because they were begging us to share!  It was one of the best decisions we ever made and resulted in an amazing nights sleep for everyone!  Little Miss A would now wake up her big brother if she was scared instead of us.  It also meant they would wake each other up in the morning and sneak down to watch tv instead of coming into us to declare that they were awake!

But earlier this year Master O expressed a desire for his own space and we made the move to separate them.  We had one problem. This would mean that we would “lose” our guest bedroom.

We NEED a guest bedroom. Both of our families live far away so when they come to visit (which is often) they stay for an extended period of time and we need to have a dedicated room for them. So beds, beds, beds!  How would we make this work?  We decided to

  1. move Master O into the “Guest Bedroom”
  2. leave the Queen size bed in there and
  3. when guests come, he can move out into the lounge room on the sofa bed.

Simple. Except that’s as far as we got. We literally just moved his clothes into the cupboard and only in the last month got him a new queen size quilt.  With all our bedrooms now full, thanks to baby number 3, we really need a more permanent solution, so I am  looking at affordable furniture options that will be both suitable for the needs of a growing boy and for guests.

 

Bed Size and Style

 

Ordinarily in a kids room, especially when short on space I would look at a loft bed or trundle bed. I love that this maximizes floor space and creates little niches for desks, play areas or just extra storage.

 

LOFT BED

Manhattan Loft Bed

Manhattan Loft Bed

 

 

TRUBDLE BED OPTIONS

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Barn Bedroom Suite

 

Unfortunately for me, I don’t think the grandparents would be quite as excited climbing up a ladder in to bed as Master O would be. BUT, it is the absolutely perfect option for Little Miss A’s room!!!!  It wont take up too much room and when guests arrive her brother can camp out on the trundle!!! and just to add, the styling of this room is perfection.  This is EXACTLY the look I would love to achieve.  Masculine but not too dark or boyish.  PERFECTION.

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Quebec Bedroom Suite

For Master O’s Room we will eventually need to update his bed  (which is from before we were married 11 years ago!) or at the very least a new mattress.  A Queen Size bed that is of a classic style will fit in with the decor of his room, suit both kids and adults and be the perfect size for his average sized room.

 

Bed Side Tables

With two kids in one room there was previously no room for bedside tables. Add to this that anything with a flat surface, was used by curious toddlers to climb on to, they just didn’t suit the kids bedroom. However, times have changed and Master O has been using a little stool next to his bed for a lamp and his books. For guests a table either side of the bed is a must, with room for glasses, phones and a glass of water.

Quebec Bedside Table

Quebec Bedside Table

Desks.

This has been a tricky one for us. To desk or not to desk. We have decided to add a desk to his room not as a place to study but more as a place to escape to draw, build and read away form the hurricane baby and curious little sister. It will also serve as a place to store treasures away from little hands and above it we can place a noticeboard to display his memorabilia and certificates.

 

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Ollie Storage Unit

Storage.

We are lucky enough to have a designated playroom in our house but some toys are just not designed for babies! I would like to incorporate some kind of toy storage and display just for special/dangerous toys like the one million lego creations and remote control cars.  At last our oldest child will be able to put some of his things away just for him to play with.

 

These storage boxes will be perfect and even better they will fit inside his wardrobe, making the most of limited floor space and hiding them away form guests.

So that is where we are at.  Planning, dreaming, measuring, window shopping and weghing up all the options.  So what say you?  Desk or no desk?  Fan of a trundle bed? How gorgeous is that bedroom!

All images and stock can be found at Super Amart.

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Super Amart.

Kids ANZAC Day Activities

ANZAC Day is such a special day for all Australians and this household is no exception.  We have had four generations serve in the Australian military including my own Father, Husband and most recently my Borther serving in Afghanistan.   My husbands great uncle died in WW2 and is buried in El Alamein.  My two sons proudly bear his name as their middle names.
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In the lead up to Anzac Day and on the day itself there are lots of easy ways to get your child involved.

BAKE ANZAC BISCUITS TOGETHER

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ANZAC Day is an important part of our Australian Calendar. In our homes and in our classrooms, children learn about ANZAC day through stories, craft and real life experiences.

READ A STORY

Sometimes a story can explain a complex topic in a more age appropriate way then we can. It is often difficult to find the write words to covey such an important message, in a way that children can understand. Stories do just that. Ask your child’s teacher, librarian or even local RSL for some recommendations. Be sure to pre read the story yourself to make a judgment on whether it is appropriate for your family. Some of our favourites are;
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CREATE AND CRAFT
Young children learn through hands on activities. There are many ANZAC day themed art and craft ideas that are both simple and cheap.

Pinterest is your best friend here!
Poppies: Make poppies with paper plates, cupcake papers and pipe cleaners or even with red paint and a potato stamp!

Wreaths: Paper Plates make a great wreath template. Simply cut out the middle of the plate and paint the remaining wreath green. For texture stick on small squares of crepe paper or leaves from the garden.

Flags: Colour in some Australian or New Zealand flag templates and attach them to straw or paddlepop sticks.

EXPERIENCE

Their really is no better way for your child to learn about Anzac Day, then to visit or participate in an ANZAC Day March or Ceremony. Contact your local council or RSL for your areas events. A march will help show your child the range of people that have served their country, men, women, old and young in their varied positions. The colours, the sounds and the amazing memorabilia, will keep them interested for longer than you imagine. Bake some Anzac Biscuits to take along with you, wave your flag proudly and applaud the soldiers as they march by.

Through stories, craft creations and experiencing all that is ANZAC Day, our children will have a new understanding and appreciation of this special day.

The Mummy & Son Date – Cirque du Soleil ~ TOTEM

Their is no doubt that adding a new baby to the family is life changing.  At 7 and 4 “My pigeon Pair” had well established their “place” in the family and created strong bonds with each other and us as their parents.  They have welcomed the Chunk Hunky baby so joyously and love his crazy ways but I can’t help feeling that our time with the older two is now stretched a little thin.

Now that our newborn days are over, we vowed that this year, as parents, we would make it a priority to spend some one on one special “date” time with each child.  As the dates for the Cirque du Soleil premiere of Totem in Brisbane conincided with school holidays I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to take Master O (now aged 8) on a special date night.

When he was in Prep we went together to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Ovo and its an experience he still taks about!  They look up You Tube clips of “Ovo” together, re read the program and he recounts to his sister his favourite breath holding moments!

I decided to surprise Master O with our date experience.  He knew we were going out together but presumed it was for coffee and dinner.  That day we drove the last of our Easter visitors to the Airport and he spotted the “Grand Chapiteau” over the bridge (The Grand Chapiteau is the ginormous yellow and Blue tent the circus is located in)! I thought my surprise was ruined for sure!  He spotted it, got excited, asked me when it was opening and begged to go.  I told him I thought it had actually been and gone and that it must have closed just before the holidays.  Cue dissapointment but at least I was home free!

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All ready to go

That night,  as we drove to the city, he still had no idea.  Maybe that had something to do with all the chatting we were doing about future careers, friends, favourite super heroes etc.  He seemed oblivious to the direction we were travelling.

 

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and then he spots this.  Well I didnt take this photo as I was driving but this is what the Grand Chapiteu looks like.

Master O: “It’s still here Mum”  

Me: “What do you think?  Should we go?”

Master O: “Wouldnt that be great!”

Me: “Well thats where we are going!”

Master O: “Oh my Gosh, Oh my gosh, NO WAY!!!”

Even as we got out of the car he literally said “I am shiviering with excitement I cant believe we are here!!!  BEST. SURPRISE. EVER!!!

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It is really hard to find words to describe the Cirque Du Soleil expereince.

Its quite a small “arena” which gives it a real intimte feel and regardless of seats you feel so close to the action.

The music is played live and the stage set takes upon a life of its own constantly tranforming before your eyes.

But the performers!  Oh the performers!  Its heart stopping, jaw dropping, death defying, simply AMAZING.  

Our favourites…

MASTER O

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The “Clown” who used those pans and bounced a hard “egg” to play a song! And that duck is a plastic bag!

 

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The Mad Scientist who bounced glowing balls around this giant funnel!

and Me…..

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They are on roller skates. On that tiny round box. She is spinning in the air. and they are only attached by their necks!!!!! SERIOUSLY!

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On their unicylce they used their FEET to kick small bowls onto each others heads, WHILST cycling!!! And I trip over my own feet!

 So my tips:

  • Cirque Du Soleil really is a family friendly experience.  There are discount tickets for families for certain performances
  • Master O first went to Cirque Du Soleil when he was 5.  I would recommend that as the youngest age at which children would enjoy the experience.  Younger than that it might be a bit long and some effects, noises etc a bit scary.
  • Grab a booster Seat.  The ushers have booster seats available to help little ones see the performance better.
  • With little kids, choose a daytime show.  The evening show starts at 8pm and it was at least 10.30pm when it finished and I noticed many a parent carrying a sleeping child out!
  • Parking (In Brisbane) is superb with attendants to help you find a park and to assist traffic when exiting.
  • Make a day of it.  Eat Street Markets and Portside are close by and we had plans to go to Max Brenner after the show! Both however are a little too far away to walk with children so plan accordingly.
  • Food and Drinks are a little pricey (they always are at performances) so eat prior.
  • Photos and Videos are not allowed once inside so make the most of the photo opportunities outside!
  • Buy the Program!  It’s a great way to reminisce on your experience and a wonderful souvenir, my kids love reading about all of the performers.

 

and lastly, JUST GO!!!  It’s not the cheapest experience but equivalent to the Ballet or a Stage Show.  YOU WILL NOT REGRET THE MONEY.  The first time I went I cried.  I know sappy but true.  I couldn’t believe it had taken me 30 years to go to Cirque Du Soleil.  It is a bucket list experience. To now have shared this experience with my son is just incredible.  Thats what childhood is all about.  Time sharing experiences with the ones you love.  Soaking up all those moments of magic and wonder.  At the end of the night, we dreamed and made plans.  In our lifetime we will see every Cirque show together.  Here’s hoping son. 

 
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Hands On Sight Word Activities

Sight Words

After years of teaching Preps, and one not so enthusiastic son going through Prep, I have found some fun activities to motivate kids to learn sight words! 

The key to motivating kids to learn anything is to make it hands on and FUN! 

SAND

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Mrs Ricca’s Kindergarten – Down By The Sea Sight Words!

Use Sand, Seeds, or rice to fill a small shallow container.  Use a finger to trace words in the sand.  This helps form letter and word order, memory and develop writing and fine motor skills.  Get those fingers moving! 

FINGER TRACING

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Tactile Cards. From Lakeshore Learning

These cards are fantastic and great for tactile learners.  Each letter is grooved out of the card, ready for little fingers to trace over them.  There are three packs that vary in difficulty.

PLAY DOH

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Play Doh Sight Words – Make Take Teach

Playdough!!!!!  Easy, cheap and often at home already!  Exercise those hands, fingers and wrists to form letters then words.

MAGNETS

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Cookie Sheet Sight Words – Make, Take , Teach

Magnetic letters are easy to find in toy shops, discount stores and large department stores.  Use on a cheap baking tray and you have a word building magnetic activity.

PARKING LOT

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Using a large piece of cardboard draw up a sight words parking lot.  Call out the word and let your child drive their car (a small matchbox car will do) to the correct parking spot

MAGIC WRITING

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Magic Sight Words – Simply Centers

A craft activity teachers have been calling upon for ever, MAGIC WRITING!  Also known as Wax resist, use a crayon or candle to write the word “invisibly”  Ten paint over with watered dwon paint and your word “magically” reappears!

 BUBBLE WRAP

Bubble Wrap Sight Words

Teach Beside Me – Learning With Bubble Wrap

Using a piece of bubble wrap (with the large bubbles works best) write a sight word on each bubble.  As you call out a sight word, your child pops the bubble with their fingers! 

SHAVING CREAM

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This activity can even be done in the bath tub or shower!  Spray out some shaving cream and use your fingers to wipe out the words.  When you are done use your hand to mix the shaving cream to start again!

MAGNETIC FISHING

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Magnetic Fishing Words – From Playdough to Plato

 Cut out some cardboard fish, attach a paperclip (this will act as your magnet end) use a piece of dowel (or even a pencil do) with a piece of string and a small magnet on the end as your fishing rod. You can buy magnetic tape to attach to your rod or even hot glue on some cut up old fridge magnets.

 FLY SWAT

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 Always a class favourite, the fly swat game.  Simply put out your words (on a wall or on the floor) call out a word and SWAT IT!  This works great in pairs as a racing game!  Who can swat the word first!

 

Sight words are an integral pert of the early writing and reading process.  The more exposure your child has to learn these words the quicker they will grasp them.  By making the learning opportunities hands on and super fun they will begging you to practice!  

 

 

Amazing Australia Day Activities For Kids

 Australia Day

The Beach, Vegemite, Pavlova, Koalas…… Australia Day is HERE!  A perfect time to celebrate and create everything that is AUSTRALIAN!  In Australia it is also back to school time so these are great to get those hands moving, fill those lunchboxes and work out those fine motor skills before school goes back! 

 

Like These From The Organised Housewife

Like These From The Organised Housewife

Make and Bake some Cheesy Might scrolls!  Perfect straight from the oven on Australia day or ready for lunch boxes!

Australia Day Freebies From Busy Little Bugs

Ready for some Tot School Fun?  Perfect for those Kindy and Prep teachers on the first day back are these free Printables from one of my FAVOURITE FAVOURITE sites Busy Little Bugs.   Cut along the lines (awesome fine motor!) and then reassemble in order!  Spatial awareness, number, sequencing, this has it all! 

Sequencing and colouring and MORE! From Busy Little Bugs AGAIN!!!

Sequencing and colouring and MORE! From Busy Little Bugs AGAIN!!!

There are enough FREE activities on this one amazing Website to have you covered for a whole week. Laminate them to use again next year, use them in busy bags or some small group rotations in your classroom!

Make a Pap

Make a Paper Plate Sydney Opera House

This activity is great for older children. Better yet lots of these things you would have laying around the house.

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Cut and Paste Flag Activity from Lessons Learnt Journal

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Explore Aboriginal culture by looking at and creating stories using these indigenous symbols.

There you have it some quick, easy, cheap Australia Day Activities to help celebrate our wonderful country! Have any others you would like to share? 

Our Afternoon Routine Chart

Earlier this week I shared with you our Morning Routine Chart. Our Afternoons are just as important so we have an afternoon routine to follow as well. So without further adieu here is our Afternoon Routine

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A few notes about our afternoon routine.

We don’t have set times that each thing happens but a sequence.  For example you have to get changed before you have afternoon tea (to save uniforms).  You have to do your homework before you play.  You have to brush your teeth and go to the toilet before you go to bed.

NO SCREEN TIME.  We have no iPads, phones, computers, xbox etc during the week.   We have limited TV time (in the morning only if they are ready early) They can only watch pre recorded shows and it is generally about 15 minutes.  SCREENS are only able to be used from after school Friday until 2pm Sunday.  Sunday afternoons are our time to get organised for the week.

QUIET TIME:  This is a wind down time after bed.  You can not let your children get all hyped up and then expect them to go to Bed properly a few minutes later.  They can read, do a puzzle, play lego, draw etc.  This is also a quiet time as it’s the time I am putting the baby to bed.

SET BED TIME:  Little Miss A goes to bed at 7pm.  It may even be earlier this year as I am guessing full time school will exhaust her!  From 7pm until 7.30pm Master O reads in bed.  At 7.30 I go and say goodnight to him. 

ACTIVITIES.  I try to book activities for before school (Tennis) or on Saturday’s (Ballet).  Last year we over committed ourselves and homework during the week was becoming a chore as it was rushed.  

PLAY TIME:  In general this is outside play time.  They usually ride their bikes/scooter, jump on the trampoline, play in the cubby.  we are extremely fortunate in that both their schools value outside play time.  I have actually chosen their Prep programs based on the quality and quantity of outdoor play! If they make any mess they need to clean it up before their bath.

BATH TIME:  All children have a bath at the same time!  Including the baby!  Not all in together.  I fill the bath for Little Miss A and the baby.  Once it’s full Master O has a shower.  This is to save my sanity.  I can supervise/assist all children at once so it takes a third of the time! 

HOMEWORK BEFORE PLAY:  During Summer this is fine as it is daylight.  During Winter I will sometimes let them have a play before homework as it gets cold and dark early.  I also bear in mind that Master O has had 45 minutes to unwind after school with his friends on the bus and then a walk or scooter home.  So he has generally got his “wiggles” out.  Little Miss A has had a walk or ride to the bus stop to pick him up as well.  If your children don’t have the chance to be active between school finishing and homework, YOU HAVE TO MAKE THEM!!!!  I recently listened to a lecture from an OT who stressed the importance of physical activity before we ask children to sit still and concentrate.  THE BEST FORM OF AFTER SCHOOL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS JUMPING ON A TRAMPOLINE!  It exercises core strength, cardio, balance and coordination.  Even just 5 minutes!

AFTER DINNER: Always allow enough time between dinner and bed.  This gives food a chance to settle and digest.

 

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Our charts are laminated and live on clipboards in the Launch Pad Area.

 I have created a chart for us with two sides (one for each child) As they do different things at different times  (they get home at different times.)  Each child has a peg on their side of the chart. As they complete each step they move their peg down.  This keeps them on task and accountable.   

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I would love to makes this a FREE Printable for you but would you use it?  This is OUR routine, would it work for you?  I know everyone is different! Please leave me a comment to let me know if you would like a copy! 

Of course you wanted it! HERE IT IS OUR FREE PRINTABLE Afternoon Routine 

Top Labelling Tips From The Teacher

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Organising Chaos, With Labels That Stick.

I am part of that special breed of human that is both a mother of small children and a school teacher.  Although sometimes this is a curse (oh gosh it is hard to stand back and not rush in and help), it is also a blessing as I am well equipped to handle all of those back to school preparations.  

This year I will have two children at school FULL TIME (cue the tears now). I jokingly tell everyone that’s why I had another baby, as I couldn’t handle the thought of having no children at home every day. #jokingnotjoking  This means double the everything:  book lists, uniforms and, of course, labels. Having the perfect labels that stick is the easiest way to organize the back to school chaos.

 

I think all teachers have a tendency to be OCD organisers and labellers.  I was labeling everything way before I had children! So here are my…

TOP LABELLING TIPS FROM THE TEACHER

 

TIP 1. LABEL EVERYTHING!

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An easy way to label scissors is to wrap the label on to itself, through the handle.

When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Double check

  • Text books and dictionaries
  • Stationery (EVERY pencil, marker, crayon, sharpener, eraser, ruler)
  • Calculators
  • Uniforms
  • Hats
  • Shoes and socks
  • Library bags,
  • Drink bottles
  • Lunch boxes (container and lid)
  • Lunch bags
  • Musical instruments
  • Sports gear
  • UNDERWEAR! I have a bit of a joke each year when it comes to children going to school swimming lessons.  If I find underwear and it is labeled I can discretely return it to the owner otherwise,  I will have to hold them up in front of the class!  Oh the horror!

 

TIP 2. WHY LABEL EVERYTHING?

It gets returned.  After spending a small fortune on school gear I can guarantee that something will go missing in the first week of school.  If you haven’t labeled it, there is literally no chance it will ever be returned.  Money. Down. The. Drain. At least if it is labeled there is a chance someone honest will ensure it finds its way home.

Stop the arguments.  Imagine this.  25 Children.  All with near identical belongings.  Nothing like pack up time when a child swears the red pencil with the bite marks on the end is THEIRS! If it’s labeled, no argument!

 

Encourage Responsibility.  This also encourages your children to be responsible for their own belongings.  This is particularly important for those littlies who have come from Kindergarten with communal resources.  Having YOUR name on an item makes you responsible for it.  If it is found on the floor there is no denying who should be putting it away!

 Now here are a few hints that I have learnt with two children at school. Different items require different information on their labels. Boy, do I have some experience in helping kids find their lost belongings!  

 

TIP 3 USE PICTURES OR ICONS

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An Icon helps a child identify their belongings


Pick one picture or icon for your child and use it on all their belongings.  This is particularly helpful for non-readers or beginning readers as it helps them identify their own belongings, when they have trouble reading their name.

 

TIP 4: BE SNEAKY

Hats – These are the most frequently lost, expensive item (wait for it…Little Miss A’s hat costs $95!!!) These get labeled with her full name and my phone number.  With a couple hundred identical hats in the school a first name only is never going to help it find its way home.  I add my phone number as generally, I also label the inside and under the band (an inconspicuous spot) just incase someone else tries to claim it as their own!  Sometimes a sneaky label pays off.  This goes for school uniforms as well.

 

TIP 5: FULL NAMES

 Have you got any idea how many children in a school possibly share the same first name? Where possible use your child’s full name. If it is an item that may possibly be passed down to another family member a last name should do the trick. Also use upper and lower case letters for your beginning reader as many have difficulty identifying their name when it is all in capital letters…

 

TIP 6: CONTACT DETAILS

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Two Lines Of Text. Include your child’s full name and your contact details.

 

If it is expensive or carted to and from school, I add my contact details.  Think hats, bags and instruments. This way if it’s left on a bus, or in the pick up zone, the finder has a way of letting you know where it is!  I always make sure mine and my husband’s mobile numbers are on our children’s school bags in case of emergencies.

So how do you do all of this without breaking the bank? Simple, a label maker!

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This year I have been testing out the Brother P-touch H105 Label Maker.

 

At only $25 from Officeworks, it’s affordable, versatile and creates durable labels that will actually stick. The laminated tape withstands EVERYTHING! The most durable labels on the market, they can be used both indoors and outdoors and are sun, germ, water and temperature resistant.

 

With 178 Symbols, 7 Frames and coloured tape, it’s easy to create pretty and personalised labels. You can also create two lines of text, perfect for your child’s name on the top and phone number on the bottom. We went with pink laminated tape for Little Miss A and laminated satin gold for Master O (they came in a three pack together with white tape)

 

Another brilliant addition is the iron on tape – perfect for hats, socks and school uniforms.  You have no idea how hard it has been finding labels that stick to socks! I use my label maker a lot so being able to use it with an AC adaptor saves me a whole heap of money on batteries.

 Naturally because I love my label maker so much, I want to share the love.  

You could win your very own Brother PT-H105 Labeller!  Just use Rafflecopter below to let me know;

What would you label with the Brother PT-H105 Labeller and why?  

 

 
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