8 things I’ve learnt about raising children

Any ideas for more useful tips about how to raise children in a thrifty, creative and eco-friendly way? First eight from Homemade Kids author Nicola Baird who also blogs at http://islingtonfacesblog.com (about people who live or work in Islington, UK).

I learnt all this up my Granny's apple tree. Years later my own kids reminded me.

I learnt all this up my Granny’s apple tree. Years later my own kids reminded me.

1 All crusts are evil. No child will eat them. Tweens and teens with braces can’t. What’s more it doesn’t help if you say eating crusts will make your hair curl.
Save the crusts and either eat them yourself or stick in the freezer to breadcrumb another time.

2 Are we nearly there yet? Yes, because a good walk starts when it starts: that could be just outside the door or before you leave a car park.
A good walk is never rushed and doesn’t involve a route march A-B. Split the party so the walkers walk and the explorers track ants, lift up logs, find sticks, climb trees, play hide and seek. Get out your flask and have a cup of zen tea.

3 Snacks are essential (fed often, even just before tea). Most mums carry snacks because they literally cannot afford not to. All praise to rice cakes, bread sticks and toddlers’ nectar – the banana. Babycinnos are a gift to syntax, but a purse curse.

4 Really tired toddlers can fall asleep anywhere – even if their mouth is full of spaghetti. Get them tired and then there’s no need to paste notes to your doorbell/knocker saying “please don’t use as I’m trying to get baby to sleep”.

5 Even clean bagged up outgrown clothes will start to smell. Air them on an outdoor washing line before you resort to yet more laundry chores.

6 Nits love us all. They love nursery- and primary school-aged children the best. But they don’t mind joining teenagers for their lessons, or even Mum in the office. Plaits, hats and a super-fine comb help keep embarrassment at bay.
However right-on your office colleagues, never fess up to having nits because they won’t understand. However up-tight your childs’ friends’ parents always talk nits.

7  The minutes drag but the years fly. Take photos, keep drawings – or scan and save. Date what you can. In a few years time you will struggle to know which child is even in the picture. And your child is going to mind, a LOT.

8 Treat car boot sales like expensive department stores – if your child wants something tell them “yes, next time”. If you bend on this, your home will soon be a stockpile of stuff you can’t find when your little one grows into it. And you’ll have to step over boxes and suitcases to get into your bed. Or is that only me?

Over to you?
Bet homemadekids.wordpress.com readers can think of at least two more good tips! Thanks.


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3 Comments on “8 things I’ve learnt about raising children”

  1. Kids have memories like elephants when it comes to something you’ve promised to do for them, but memories like sieves when it’s something they’ve promised to do. Things get easier once you accept this fact rather than fight it.

    • You spell it out beautifully Vanessa-Jane! I have to admit that I try not to mind about mess in their bedroom. Better to close the door and find something else to have a proper conversation about! Nicola

  2. From Facebook:
    Karin: We had one child who never minded crusts, the other got used to them in time. I’d never have been allowed to leave my crusts, but that’s a good tip if your children do. Cheese pudding is something else you can make with them when you’ve collected a reasonable amount. It’s Bread, milk, egg and cheese, mixed together and baked in the oven. A good way to use stale bread.

    Christian: Never even occurred to me as a kid you could or would want to veto crusts. They were always my favourite bit (especially on home made bread)- but then I was often regarded as the weird kid at school. Mind you things have changed a lot in the intervening decades. My 5 year old nephew threw a wobbly over the wrong kind of toothpaste.

    Ingela: Great writing, as always! My kids walk so much less since we left London, it’s a real shame. Big cities make for such good little walkers! Elma is astonished when I tell her she used to walk loads more when she was three and lived in London, but will still complain now, with both longer and stronger legs!

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