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Once all the thrill and excitement of Christmas and New Years has passed and the reality of a cold, dark winter sets in, it is unsurprising that a lot of us experience the phenomenon known as the January blues. Yes, that little dip in your mood at the start of the year is totally normal, but you don’t have to accept it as just one of those things. There are plenty of ways to overcome the January blues, which we’ll discuss below.

Show Yourself Some Love

Perhaps the most important tip on this whole list is to embrace self-care this January. Self-care is important year-round, but especially when we’re feeling low. No good will come from beating ourselves up for feeling like this. In fact, that will probably make you feel worse as you start to feel shame and guilt as well.

Self-care is essentially looking after ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally. It is not a selfish act; it leaves you feeling more fulfilled and happy, which then means you’re able to give more to those around you. There is no set self-care routine that will work for everyone, it varies from person to person, but here are some general self-care ideas that we’ve come up with.

  • Do something creative – doing something fun and creative is a great way to lift your spirits and take your mind off other things. This could be drawing, painting, playing an instrument or writing stories. And remember, you don’t have to be good at it, you just have to enjoy it!
  • Do something relaxing – set some time aside every evening to unwind from the stresses of the day. Personally, I like a nice, hot bath filled to the brim with bubbles.
  • Do something for yourself – it’s important to treat yourself every now and then. Going to the salon has to be the ultimate me-time. Book yourself in for a blow dry which leaves you feeling refreshed and confident. Call 01254 690138 to book.

Don’t Set Yourself Up For Failure

It’s important that you don’t set unrealistic resolutions and goals in the New Year. A New Year’s resolution like “I’m going to go to the gym for an hour everyday” only sets yourself up for failure. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to go from little-to-no exercise, to going to the gym everyday. Plus, what about work, cooking and all that housework you’ve got to fit into your day! Cut yourself a break! 

Unrealistic New Year’s resolutions make us feel like a failure when we’re unable to achieve them. So instead, think about setting realistic, sustainable goals. For example, if you would like to start exercising more, you should think about your lifestyle and come up with a plan that works for you. Perhaps you can’t make it to the gym everyday, but you could do a 30 minute home workout every other day. It’s important to set time limits on goals to keep us motivated, but they should not pressure us into sudden, drastic change, and we should always be flexible and willing to adapt them to the reality of our situation.

Get Your Body Moving

Yes, we’ve all heard it a thousand times before, but that’s because it’s true! Exercise is a great way to boost your mood, as it releases endorphins which cause feelings of pleasure. Plus, exercise is good for our physical health and helps us sleep better, both of which are also tied to our mood.

This doesn’t mean you have to be slogging away in the gym for hours either. Make exercise work for you. If you love being outdoors, then pull on your hiking boots and hit your nearest walking trail. If you used to rule the netball court when you were younger, see if there’s any local groups you could join. Or maybe you’re not much of the sporty, outdoorsy type, in which case crank some tunes and have a good old boogie around the house. Anything that gets you moving is good for you, it’s up to you what that is.

Limit Your Screen Time

This is particularly important for young adults. It’s easy to go on Instagram and feel like everyone is having the time of their lives, but as we all know, social media is all smoke and mirrors. Think about how many times you yourself might have posted a photo from a night out all glammed up and ready to go – when in reality it was a pretty mneh night and you were home by 11.

There is a general consensus that too much social media can have a detrimental effect on mental health, as we compare ourselves to other users, which leads to feelings of insecurity and less satisfaction with your own life. It’s also easy to fall into that social media wormhole of scrolling and scrolling, never taking your eyes off your phone. Then, before you know it, it’s bedtime. So instead of reaching for your phone, why not write a to-do list, do some chores, fit in a quick workout or pick up a book. Something that makes you feel better, not worse. Limiting your time on social media can therefore help you to feel more satisfied with your own life and increase your productivity.

Or, if you don’t want to cut down your time on social media, it could just be time to have a good clear out of the accounts you follow. The influencer who buys a new designer item everyday? Gone. That toxic friend who’s constantly causing drama? See ya later! Your ex? BYE! And if you’re worried about actually unfollowing/unfriending people, there’s always the option to mute their account instead.

Socialise and Keep in Touch

It’s easy to feel lonely in January, after all the Christmas parties have been and gone. That’s why it’s important to keep in touch with family and friends, who can support you and stop you feeling isolated. If you can’t see them in person, a simple text message or phone call can help you feel connected.

One tip I’ve taken from my mum is to always have a date in your diary to look forward to. Okay, the weather might be rubbish in January but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good night out! Just wear jeans and take your brolly – sorted! Or, if money’s tight, you could just have friends round for a takeaway and a movie night.

We hope this helps you to conquer those January blues and remember if you’re experiencing persistent low moods, make an appointment to see your GP who can help you to understand why you’re feeling like this and suggest treatment options. 

Here’s to looking after ourselves in 2022!

December is here, which means the countdown to Christmas is officially on! Last year we didn’t get to celebrate Christmas like we normally would and kids missed out on the usual festive activities like nativity plays, Christmas light switch on’s and visits to Santa’s grotto. So this year, we’ve come up with some fun, inexpensive activities to make this Christmas that little bit more magical and memorable.

Extreme Elf On The Shelf

Elf on the shelf has only been around for a couple of years, but it seems to have sealed its place as a favourite Christmas tradition for many families now. It can be hard coming up with 24 different scenes to put this mischievous elf in though, so we’ve listed some of our favourites below:

  • Crash landing – have your elf arrive in style, as they crash land in the Christmas tree. Put the elf in a plastic cup halfway up the tree and tie a helium balloon to it, so it looks like their hot air balloon drifted a bit off course.
  • Snack time – that naughty elf has been trying to steal snacks whilst everybody else is in bed. Cut a hole in a Pringles just big enough to have the elf’s head sticking out and have the kids try and help them out.
  • Snow angels – this is a lovely Christmassy scene, but will take some cleaning up after. Pour some flour on the floor and make a snow angel shape with your fingers, before laying the elf on top.
  • Caught red handed – sure to outrage the kids, let them catch the elf trying to steal their pocket money. Leave a piggy bank on the table with pennies scattered around it and put the elf’s hands inside. Top marks if you make them a robber’s mask and burlap sack.
  • Chef Elf – the elf has been making themselves at home by whipping up a Full English. Put some fried egg sweets in a frying pan and put a spatula in the elf’s hands.
  • Wrapping things up – on Christmas Eve, wrap the elf up and leave a note saying they were practicing their wrapping to help Santa but got themselves into a bit of a pickle and need your childrens’ help.

Have Your Own Christmas Disco

Primary school discos used to be the highlight of the year when we were younger. Recreate that magic at home by having a night in with the kids dancing to Christmas songs. Get all dressed up in your favourite Christmassy outfits – let the kids choose their own outfit so it feels extra special – and lay out a buffet with all their favourite foods, sweets and drinks. Then, crank those Christmas tunes up and get dancing! Bonus points if you have a disco ball!

Christmas Games Day

Plan a day packed with festive games to really get your kids into the Christmas spirit. Some of these look so fun, we’re thinking of pitching them for the Riverside Christmas do. They’re probably even better after a couple of Proseccos.

  • Oven mitts wrapping – get the kids to race each other wrapping presents whilst wearing oven mitts. It’s sure to result in a good few laughs, but just make sure it isn’t your present they’re wrapping. All you need for this game is a couple of boxes to wrap, some sellotape and some safety scissors for kids.
  • Jingle all the way – hide a little Christmas bell somewhere in the house when no one’s looking. The first one to find the bell and ring it wins.
  • Christmas Pictionary-ish – okay, this is a bit of a DIY festive spin on the traditional Pictionary. First, a judge should come up with an idea of something Christmassy to draw – from the easy like a snowman, to the hard like a sleigh. They should put these all in the middle and split the players into teams. The picturists will pick a piece of paper at random and they have to draw what it says on it. The first team to correctly guess what’s being drawn win the point.
  • Fill the stocking – hang a stocking up for every player and have them stand the same distance away. Give them each a small bouncy ball or ping pong ball which they must try to get in the stocking.

Christmas Movie Marathon

Okay, this is hardly innovative, but hear us out. Don’t just sit on the couch and watch a Christmas film, go all out! Get the kids to make themselves a cosy Christmas den by hanging bed sheets and piling pillows on the floor. Then, make a shopping trip specifically for film snacks and let the kids pick all their favourite treats to gorge on. We’re thinking Terry’s Chocolate Orange, Kinder Buenos, a box of Celebrations and pick and mix! Just before you start your film, make the ultimate Christmas hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows, a flake, the lot. Then you’ve got your perfect Christmas film night, cosy in your Christmas den with lots of chocolates and sweets, and a hot chocolate to wash it down.

Santa Scavenger Hunt

Build up the excitement on Christmas Eve by sending the kids on a Santa scavenger hunt! Leave a note from Santa telling the kids that he’s left them their first present somewhere in the house (it doesn’t have to be a present if you don’t like opening presents before Christmas, it could just be some chocolate coins). End the note with a clue about the location of the next note, until they finally find their present.

So those are our ideas to make this Christmas a little bit more special this year. After all, when we look back at Christmases from our childhood, we probably don’t remember exactly what toys we got or how much it cost, we remember the people we spent it with and the memories we made.

Merry Christmas from everyone here at The Hub and wishing you all the best for 2022!

We all know the value of kindness. Whether we’re the giver, the receiver or the observer of an act of kindness, we all go to bed feeling a little lighter, happier and inspired to pass the positivity on.

What is World Kindness Day?

World Kindness Day falls on the 13th of November each year, and was created by the World Kindness Movement in 1998 to celebrate the positive effect that kindness has on all of our lives. On the day, we’re encouraged to commit small, intentional acts of kindness which ripple throughout the community.

Whilst researching for this blog post, I came across this Psychology Today article by Rick Hanson PHD. In it, he expounds the principle that kindness to you is a kindness to me; kindness to me is a kindness to you. This perfectly explains that warm, fuzzy feeling we get when we’re kind to someone else. When we’re kind to other people, we feel more fulfilled in ourselves. At the same time, when you’re kind to yourself, your own well-being increases and you’re able to be more loving, supportive and kind to those around you. 

We love the entire concept of World Kindness Day here at The Hub, so we’ve come up with some small, manageable ways to work kindness into your day on World Kindness Day and beyond.

Small Acts of Kindness We Can All Do

We don’t all have the resources to make grand gestures that are going to change somebody’s life, but we can all do small acts of kindness which start a cycle with the potential to change the world. 

Here are some ideas for small acts of kindness which we should all be able to do:

  • Give someone a compliment – this is a quick and easy way to work kindness into your day, and we all know how great it makes us feel.
  • Let someone out in traffic – most of us are guilty of being stingy on the morning commute, and even worse on the way home! Let someone out and make their day that little bit better.
  • Do someone else’s chore – lighten the load for someone you love. It could be as small as emptying the dishwasher, but the relief from having something ticked off their to-do list is priceless.
  • Tell someone they’ve made a difference to your life – whether it’s an old teacher you haven’t seen in years, or your best friend who you see everyday, tell them. Write them a letter or a text to say thank you, they’ll appreciate it.

A Little Bit More

If you have the time or the financial ability to do a little bit more this World Kindness Day, we’ve come up with some ideas that will really brighten someone’s day.

  • Cook for someone – is your lasagne a family fave? Or maybe you make brownies to die for? Cook up a big batch of food and drop it off at friends, family and neighbours houses to give them a little treat.
  • Treat a stranger – if you’re going through a drive-through, ask to pay for the meal for the person behind you. Or if you’re at the coffee shop, pay for someone’s drink. It’ll make their day.
  • Donate to a foodbank – many people rely on foodbanks and adding a few extra items onto your weekly shop can help families on the breadline. Add in a little treat for them to enjoy, as well as the everyday basics, like posh biscuits or a luxury hot chocolate.

Donate blood – this is quite a big action and can be very daunting, but what could be kinder than potentially saving someone’s life. If you want to give blood, but you’re also feeling anxious about doing it for the first time, here’s a blog with tips to relax.

Self-Care is Self-Kindness

We all tend to be our own worst critic and say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to anyone else. Like we said earlier, when we’re feeling fulfilled and cared for, we’re able to give more to other people. Make a conscious effort to be kind to yourself this World Kindness Day, so that you’re able to be kind to others in the future.

Here’s some of our favourite easy self-care activities for World Kindness Day:

  • Start your day with a stretch – getting your body moving in the morning is the best start to your day and you don’t need to be doing anything fancy like yoga. A simple stretch in the morning will wake your body up and leave you feeling invigorated for the rest of the day.
  • Take a bath – run a nice hot bath, filled to the brim with bubbles, and shut out the world for a while. You could bring in a book, watch some YouTube on your phone, or just sit and enjoy the silence.
  • Feel-good films – take some time to yourself to watch all your old favourite childhood films with your favourite snacks, and you could even treat yourself to a Tango Ice Blast if you can get one.
  • Show gratitude – every day when you wake up, or before you go to bed, take a minute to list three things you’re truly grateful for that day. It could be the big things like the love of your family, or small things like your favourite triple chocolate cookies.

We hope this blog has given you some ideas for World Kindness Day and we’d love to hear what you get up to on the day, so be sure to let us know on our social media! 

We thought we’d leave you with this quote by Scott Adams to inspire you:

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

How to Throw a Spooktacular Halloween Party!

Last year, Halloween was spent in lockdown, which means kids didn’t get to celebrate properly (nor did us big kids)! So this year, why not go all out and give them a Halloween to remember with a cracking party?

We love Halloween here at The Hub. Scary movies, crazy costumes and lots of sweets- what’s not to love? So we’ve decided to round up some ideas to make this Halloween the best one yet!

Food, Gory-ous Food

Let’s be honest, Halloween is all about the food. We’ve found a few terrifying treats to spice up the buffet table.

Gingerbread Skeletons

Gingerbread Skeletons

We can’t all be Mary Berry, so we’re starting with an easy option to make skeleton gingerbread men. All you need to do is buy some gingerbread men and some white icing to draw on the skeleton – the kids will love doing this! If you want to bake them yourself, we found this easy recipe to follow too.

Finger Hotdogs

Finger Hotdogs

Finger hotdogs are another pretty easy option to make your food more on theme. All you need is a small knife to cut out a fingernail shape and knuckle lines before cooking, and you’ve got a quick, simple, stomach-turning Halloween snack.

Spicy Halloween Ribs

Spicy Halloween Ribs

If you’re more savoury than sweet, these spicy Halloween ribs are perfect for you! It’s all about the presentation with these ribs, as the spicy flavouring should leave them looking particularly gory, whilst placing a red bell pepper in between the ribs will make it look like there’s still a heart in the chest!

Graveyard Cake

Graveyard Cake

This showstopper would definitely make a great centrepiece for the table! A graveyard cake doesn’t even have to be baked by you, you’re just in charge of the decorations. Carefully slice the cake to separate it at the filling and pack in lots of strawberry laces to dangle over the sides, like entrails. On top, sprinkle some coconut shavings mixed with green food dye to look like grass, and stand up a few biscuits to look like gravestones. You could even use chocolate buttons to look like a snake is weaving its way through the graveyard!

Or you could always put out a bowl of Monster Munch and call it a day – we won’t judge.

Dreadful Decorations

Our sister Hub over in Buckshaw has a blog packed with plenty of Halloween decoration ideas, but we thought we’d cover the basics here too.

Watch out for the Spiders Webs

Watch out for the Spiders Webs

Spiders webs are an easy way to instantly up your game this Halloween. Just drape them along the stair bannister, in the corners of doors and even across the buffet table. Just try not to walk into them!

Scatter Some Bones

Scatter Some Bones

Scattering a bag of bones about the house is another great way to up the fear factor this Halloween, and doesn’t take too much effort either! You could even have one buried alive in the front garden to scare trick or treaters.

Go Gothic

Go Gothic

If you’re up for a little bit of DIY and you have a few empty wine bottles lying around, these gothic candlesticks really add to the theatrics of any Halloween party. Just paint the bottle black, pop a candlestick in the top and let the wax drip down the side when you light it. A very easy but effective Halloween decoration.

Family Halloween Costumes

Family costumes are a surefire way to show your commitment to Halloween and get some insanely cute photos too. But sometimes it can be hard to find a family Halloween costume that has the right number of characters and is appropriate for your child’s age. Well don’t worry, we’ve lined up some great ideas to suit everyone.

Mystery Incorporated

Mystery Incorporated

Scooby Doo and the rest of the gang are the perfect family costume, full of nostalgia for you and still a firm favourite with kids everywhere. This costume can work for all different types and sizes of families, as there’s plenty of characters to choose from. Even if you’re a family of six, you can still make it work by adding in a bad guy dressed up as a ghost in a white sheet, bound to be unmasked by those meddling kids!

Cruella, Cruella De Vil

Cruella, Cruella De Vil

Did you see Disney’s hit movie Cruella this year? If not, you’re missing out! Thanks to its success, Cruella is sure to be an on-trend costume choice this year. Parents can dress up as Cruella and her henchman Horace, whilst you can DIY dalmation costumes for the kids with a white top, a bit of black felt and a few stitches- we just hope you don’t have 101 of them to make, for your sake!

The Cooky and the Spooky

The Cooky and the Spooky

How could we not include the original icons of Halloween: The Addams Family! Yes, nothing quite says Halloween like The Addams Family playing on ITV2 every weekend for a month- but we can’t complain, we love it! Parents can play the gushingly in love Morticia and Gomez Adams- with a long black dress and wig, a pinstripe suit, and plenty of PDA. Any brooding teenager is sure to have Wednesday Addam’s sullen look mastered already. Just add plaits and a black dress, and voila! Middle child Pugsley is another easy costume. All you need is a white and black striped t-shirt, black shorts and black knee socks. This family costume is perfect for families with a little one who can dress up as Pubert, the baby. If not, a baby doll should do.

Halloween Games

Keep the kids (and yourself) entertained with these Halloween party games!

Toilet Paper Mummies

Toilet Paper Mummies

The toilet paper mummy game is a classic and it isn’t a real Halloween party without it. You already know how to play- just split up into teams, choose a mummy from each team, hand out the toilet rolls, and see who can wrap up their mummy the best in the time limit! You could use a Halloween song like the Monster Mash as the timer, and tell the teams they have until the end of the song.

Bobbing for Apples- Covid-style

Bobbing for Apples- Covid-style

Bobbing for apples is another Halloween classic, but it’s at risk of falling out of favour as we’ve all become more aware of hygiene over the pandemic. Luckily, we’ve found a solution that keeps the fun and cuts out the germs. All you need to do is find a large washing up tub, place some towels underneath, fill ¾ with water, and drop in your apples. Rather than letting kids pick up the apples with their teeth, give them some chopsticks to try and grab the apples instead! There you have it, a post-Covid bobbing for apples!

Pin-the-Skeleton

Pin-the-Skeleton

Another fun Halloween game is a spin on pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. You can buy a pin-the-skeleton game here, or you could always make a more gruesome version yourself if you’re feeling creative!

So those are our ideas for throwing a spooktacular Halloween party. Don’t forget to let us know how you get on, and drop by to see us here at The Hub!

Christmas Crafts for Kids

Here at The Hub, our nursery kids love craft time! With Christmas just around the corner, we’ll be planning lots of festive fun for them, including plenty of arts and crafts. 

Christmas crafting is a great way to keep your little ones occupied throughout the build-up to the big day.

The things you create make for lovely personal holiday decorations that you can use anywhere in your home and are also great for gifting. 

The kids at Nursery love these so much that we thought we’d share our ideas to spread some cheer. 

1. Christmas Character Sweet Pots

Christmas Character Sweet Pots

Character candy pots are an easy way to get creative this Christmas, they’ll look so cute dotted around your house or on the table, and you can have sweet treats readily available to snack on!

Turn little plant pots or candle holders into characters! Think reindeers, snowmen and elves made from felt, pipe cleaners, paint, googly eyes and whatever else you can think of, and then fill them with your favourite sweets for the whole family to enjoy.

See a tutorial for this over at Crazy Little Projects.

2. Cupcake Christmas Trees

Cupcake Christmas Trees

Okay so we don’t mean actual cupcakes, just liners folded and stuck together in the shape of a Christmas tree! Look for green, red, gold or silver liners for a fantastically festive look, but you can use any colours you like. You can even decorate them with glitter, sequins and stars which the little ones will love.

We saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was super created and cool! They look great on Christmas cards and trees and garlands too.

3. Paper Plate Santa

Paper Plate Santa

Let your kids get in the Christmas spirit by making the big man in the red suit out of paper plates! All you’ll need is paper plates, card, paint & googly eyes if you want to take him to the next level.

Tip- half a plate is great for the head, then add on a Santa hat made of card.

4. Paper Straw Christmas Trees 

Paper Straw Christmas Trees

We love this idea from Crafts by Courtney! These cool mini Christmas trees made out of paper straws are easy to build and make great decorations. All you’ll need is some paper straws, hot glue, scissors and some sparkly paper for your star. Adult supervision is needed for younger kids.

5. Reindeer Baubles 

Reindeer Baubles

We stole this idea from Little Bit Funky, but it’s just too good! Take a bauble, some paint, pens and your child’s finger, and you’ve got yourself some fingerprint reindeer baubles. These will look amazing on your Christmas tree for years to come. If you’re feeling super creative, you could also make some fingerprint snowmen baubles too!

Take a look at Little Bit Funky’s blog for an indepth tutorial.

6. Toilet Roll Snowman

Toilet Roll Snowman

The best thing about this idea is you can use materials lying around the house and recycle your used loo roll! Take the cardboard and draw on your snowmen, googly eyes really bring them to life, along with ribbon scarfs and ear muffs made of pipe linkers and pom poms!

7. Pasta Christmas Tree’s and Wreaths

Pasta Christmas Tree’s and Wreaths

Pasta cards are a classic, we all remember making them at nursery and school, so it’s only right we continue the traditions with a dash of Christmas magic! 

You can let the kids use their imagination here and make pretty much anything they want out of painted pasta, although we think Christmas trees and wreaths look the best. 

Michelle over at Crafty Morning shows a lovely example of a green wreath, check it out for some inspo!

8. Xmas Cards

Xmas Cards

Last but by no means least, the classic Christmas card. We love hand-making cards here at Riverside nursery, and there’s no doubt the recipients love them just as much! Let the kids get as creative as they want and encourage them to write loving messages to their nearest and dearest.

Hopefully, you’ll spend many fun-filled hours Christmas Crafting with your family thanks to some of these ideas. It really is a great way to spend a winters day and a lovely bonding activity. Enjoy guys!

Tips for Helping Children Deal With COVID Related Stress

It’s a difficult time for everyone at the moment which means stress levels are high. We often only associate stress with adults, but it can affect people of all ages – including kids. The pandemic has caused their lives to tip upside down, so its only natural that they might feel a little overwhelmed.

Signs that your child is feeling stressed 

Signs that your child is feeling stressed

Children respond to stress in different ways, and the reasons behind their new behaviour may not always be clear to us adults. Some things to watch out for are:

  • Being more clingy
  • Feeling anxious
  • Withdrawing themselves
  • Angry or agitated behaviour 
  • Bedwetting
  • Feeling scared to leave the house

How to help kids manage their stress 

How to help kids manage their stress

Most parents natural reaction to learning their child is experiencing stress is to try to make everything as smooth and comfortable as possible. However, according to expert Reid Wilson, PhD, it’s much better to help them manage their stress by teaching them to problem-solve, plan and know when to say yes and no to activities and commitments.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t comfort them. Children need love and support now more than ever, so giving them some extra time and attention certainly can’t hurt. It’s important to listen to their worries and to reassure them in a realistic way. 

  1. Make sure they understand the pandemic 
1. Make sure they understand the pandemic

The World Health Organisation recommends that you should provide facts about what is happening in the world right now and how it happened. It’s important that they understand how the virus works and how they can reduce their risk of infection that is appropriate for their age. This includes informing them about what might happen if a family member catches covid, such as going into hospital. 

  1. Give them time to play 
2. Give them time to play

Life is so structured at the moment with all of these new rules and regulations and it seems that all anyone is talking about is the coronavirus – at home, at school, on the tv and the radio. This is something people of all ages can find overwhelming. Kids need some downtime to give their brains and bodies rest and just do whatever they want to do, which is why structuring their play isn’t the answer. Play shouldn’t have a goal or teach a lesson, it should just be free! 

Combining playtime with physical exercise is always a good idea too as exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy.

  1. Make sure they get their 8 hours 
3. Make sure they get their 8 hours

Sleep is the key to everything! It minimizes stress, boosts productivity and energy levels. We all know what it’s like to have a breakdown purely because we’re exhausted. Giving your child a bedtime is important to make sure they get to sleep, as they often won’t want to even if they’re tired. 

Keeping electronics such as TVs, phones, tablets etc out of their bedroom is also a good tip to make them sleep.

  1. Manage your own stress 
4. Manage your own stress

You’d be surprised how much of your behaviour gets imprinted upon your children. They’re like sponges, soaking up energy and learning behaviours from you. If you’re stressed your child will sense this and become stressed too.

Managing your own stress is important for you and for your little ones. They need to see your relax and effectively deal with anything causing you to act stress. After all, you cant live a stressful life yourself whilst teaching stress management. 

Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand how your child might be feeling and how to help them cope with things. The coronavirus has brought about a situation that is new and confusing for all of us and we are all learning how best to deal with it. As long as you’re providing a loving and supporting environment you’re doing the right thing. 

If you’re worried about the amount of stress your child is feeling or they’re displaying extreme symptoms then reach out to a professional for help.

5 Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Quarantine

Thanks to the coronavirus, Halloween 2020 may look a little different, but it still has the potential to be super fun. The holiday falls on a Saturday this year, which means we get a whole day to dress up, eat sugary snacks and play lots of Halloween themed games – yay! Plus, it’s a full moon which adds to the eerie atmosphere.

We’ve been brainstorming, and we’ve come up with some ideas to help you safely celebrate the spookiest night of the year in style.

Go All Out With The Decorating

Go All Out With The Decorating

Get the whole street into the spooky spirit with some fangtastic house and garden decorations. Seen as you can’t go out to celebrate Halloween this year, it only seems natural to bring Halloween to the house!

This is a great one for the kids too. Let them haunt the neighbours with decorations that they made and displayed themselves! From spooky paper cut-outs to paper pumpkin plates and monster hats, Country Living has some excellent Halloween craft ideas for the kids for you to try. 

Make Scary Costumes

Make Scary Costumes

The best thing about Halloween is the dress up, right? Right! Get in the fake blood, dig out the old witches hats and unravel the bandages, it’s time to get creative with costumes. Nowadays it’s acceptable to dress up as just about anything – scary or not.

You might not be able to show off your costumes to your friends in the usual way, but who needs face to face contact when social media exists? Stage some Halloween themed family photos to post on your Instagram, your family & friends will love it!

Rustle Up Some Spooky Snacks

Rustle Up Some Spooky Snacks

Forget the tricks and go all-in on the treats this year. You might not be able to throw a big Halloween party or go trick-or-treating this year, so why not channel your spooky energy getting creative in the kitchen? 

You can go as creepy and mysterious as you like with your cooking decorated with bats, pumpkins, ghosts, spiders and more.

Pumpkin Carving Contests

 Pumpkin Carving Contests

Pumpkin carving is a tradition that doesn’t have to change because of a lockdown, thank goodness – and a little healthy competition just adds to the fun. 

Get the family to take our their carving tools and create the best pumpkin design they can; then it’s time to start judging. It’s only natural that the winner get heaps of candy – it is Halloween after all! 

You could even expand the contest to the other families on the street by displaying your pumpkins in the windows and doors.

Play Some Halloween Games

 Play Some Halloween Games

With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, that gives us a full day to fill with games. And with the kids hopped up on sweets its an excellent idea to find them an outlet for their energy.

We’ve all played the classic bobbing apples and pin the spider on the web, but if you’re looking to take your games up a notch, here are some great ideas!

Remember to social distance this holiday and have some spooktacular fun!

3 Alternatives to Going Abroad During the Six Week Holidays

The summer holidays have arrived at a strange time in 2020, we’re slowly easing out of lockdown and can do more than what we’ve been used to over the past six months so we’ve got some alternatives to going abroad during the holidays.

Some of you may have been at home with your kids for the past four months as they’ve been off school, and you’ve either been working from home or been furloughed.

Some smaller children did go back to school around 3-4 weeks ago, so you may have been lucky enough to get back to work or have some time without the pressures of looking after your kids.

While holiday restrictions were lifted at the beginning of July, many holidaymakers have struggled with refunds and don’t want the hassle of taking their kids abroad with all the limitations and safety concerns.

Here are our alternatives to going abroad this summer:

 

Book a Holiday in the UK

1. Book a Holiday in the UK

If you’re still on furlough, but you think you could afford to get away for a week, then going on holiday could be an option. Also, if you’ve cancelled a holiday, you may want to think about replacing it with something a little closer.

The important thing is to check the logistics of the trip. If you drive 200 miles to find that all the on-site entertainment isn’t on and there isn’t much to do in the local area you could end up quite bored for a week.

Have a look what’s open and make a few calls before you book anything online as some companies may not have updated their websites, especially if they’re acting as a third party.

Also, check with your employer and ask if they anticipate you coming back to work anytime soon.

 

Go & Visit Family

2. Go & Visit Family

While it’s not necessarily a holiday, it’s always great to catch up with the ones we love, especially as we haven’t seen them for three to four months.

If your kids have grandparents, they’ll want to catch up with them too. Be mindful of who you’re going to see. For example, if you’re going to visit an older person, you’ll want to assess the risk of going before you make plans.

Ensure you take measures to stay safe by washing your hands and avoiding any family members that have Covid-19 symptoms.

 

Camp Out in Your Back Garden

3. Camp Out in Your Back Garden

If you’re concerned about going away or don’t have the funds to, you can cut costs by setting up a camping space in your back garden.

Your kids will love being able to stop out in the back garden, and you won’t have to buy too much gear because they’ll be able to come inside.

You could buy a paddling pool or some garden toys to make it feel like they’re on a proper camping trip. You could even get the marshmallows out if you have some equipment to make a fire.

Whatever you do, watch out for those muddy feet if it’s raining!

 

You should not:

  • socialise indoors in groups of more than two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • socialise outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is from exclusively from two households or support bubbles
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, besides small wedding celebrations as outlined above
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)

 

For a full list of government guidelines, click here.

Here are some tips for staying safe when you leave your household.

How to Keep Your Kids Entertained at Home

To stay safe from the Covid-19 pandemic, schools are only accepting children who’s parents are key workers, and many of us are faced with spending a lot of time at home.

Keeping the kids entertained during this time can be a challenge, but being stuck inside doesn’t mean you have to go berserk with boredom!

Relaxing at home may have sounded amazing at first, but let’s face it, too much time inside can make you stir-crazy – especially with the kids running riot. Here are some ideas to help you to keep them entertained:

 

1. Create a Daily Schedule

Create a Daily Schedule

School kids are used to having a daily routine, so inputting some structure into their days at home will help keep the chaos to a minimum. Let them create their own timetable, so they feel like they’re involved with the decision – this will make them much more likely to stick to it.  Think about allotting time to eat, to exercise, to learn, play, do jobs around the house, have some free time and get some fresh air.

 

2. Write An “I’m Bored” List

Write An “I’m Bored” List

You’ve probably heard the dreaded words ‘I’m bored’ 100 times already, and no solution you suggest seems to be good enough. Get each person in your family to list ideas for what they can do when they get bored. Then use the list when you get bored – simple! This way, the ideas will be their own.

 

3. Make a Fort

Make a Fort

Making a fort never gets old. It’s a sure-fire way to keep your kids out of trouble for a few hours, plus, it’s cheap. Let them use old cardboard boxes or blankets and pillows to transform their bedroom into the most epic fort ever! You may even find yourself wanting to join in with this activity.

 

4. Baking & Cooking

Baking & Cooking

Everyone in the house needs to eat, but why not make mealtime prep fun? You’ll feed the family, teach the kids some skills and keep them entertained all-in-one. Turn your kids into little chefs by letting them help with mixing ingredients, cracking eggs and the best bit – licking the bowl! There are plenty of easy to follow baking and cooking recipes that they’re sure to love.

 

 5. Play Dress-Up

Play Dress-Up

Let them raid your wardrobe or the fancy dress box, get dressed up in their favourite garments and strut their stuff! This activity is a great way to get your kids to use their imagination and pretend to be whoever they want. It’s fun for them and fun for Mum and Dad to watch.

 

6. Put On a Talent Show

Put On a Talent Show

Everyone loves a talent show. This idea is one that the whole family can join in with, after all, the only thing more fun than watching is participating! Maybe your kids are bursting with talent that you know nothing about. Now is the time for them to showcase their best skills, from singing and dancing to magic tricks and drawing.

With any luck, the above ideas will keep your little ones entertained for a while. Give our Facebook page a follow for more ideas. 

In the current situation, remember to:

  • Keep any gatherings small – ideally between the people in your household.
  • Avoid contact with anyone you think has come into contact with the Covid-19 virus.
  • Provide lots of hand wash and hand sanitiser if you have it.
  • If you live in close proximity to other people, be wary of them being outdoors.

Check isolation and social distancing guidelines for more information.

 

3 Tips to Get Your Toddler to Eat Their Veggies

As a parent, you want the best for your children, and that includes giving them all the nutrients they need to grow up healthy. But as we all know, getting them to eat their veggies can be a serious battle, and often doesn’t feel worth the hassle.

But, there are ways to make it easier. From sneaking vegetables into their food to making fruit and veg more appealing, here are a few tips and tricks and get them eating the right things.

 

1. Smoothies

Smoothies

The best part about smoothies? You can put in whatever you want, and your kids will be none the wiser! They’re packed full of health benefits and are super easy to customise for breakfast, snack time or supper. They also tend to be naturally sweet which kids love.

Plus there are so many different ingredients available; spinach, strawberries, bananas, kiwi, carrot, the list goes on, so there are bound to be a few different variations that are kid approved. 

All of this makes smoothies one of the easiest and most delicious ways to get your toddler to drink their fruit and veggies.

 

2. Hide Vegetables in Food

Hide Vegetables in Food

Yes it’s sneaky, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them – in fact it will do them a world of good!

Here are some examples:

  • Add some mashed cauliflower to mashed potato – you really can’t tell it’s there.
  • Blend onions, mushrooms and tomatoes to spaghetti bolognese.
  • Finely grate some vegetables of your choice and add to homemade burgers or meatballs.
  • Add a layer of spinach to a lasagne.
  • Slice some peppers and use them as a pizza topping (covered in cheese of course).
  • Swap fries for sweet potato wedges – they’ll notice the change here but they might love it!

 

3. Serve the Veg First

Serve the Veg First

It may seem obvious, but if kids are hungry, they will eat. Putting vegetables on a plate next to other more appetising food won’t work, they’ll fill up on the unhealthy stuff and the veggies will always loose. Here’s a better idea…

When your kids are getting tetchy during the pre-dinner hours, don’t give in and let them have a snack of their choice. Instead, try placing a plate full of veggies on the table, you might be surprised what they will munch on when they’re hungry! Chopped peppers, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers are great snacky food ideas full of goodness, and it shouldn’t fill them up too much before dinner time.

Our professional staff at The Riverside Village Nursery often put some of these tricks into practice and we’ve seen great success! If you want to read more about what our nursery offers, click here.

Riverside Nursery