The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or our baby bloggers and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.
The Easter break is the perfect time for a family day out - the weather is getting a touch warmer and it feels like you can taste summer coming in the air. Our former baby blogger was looking for somewhere to go with a 1 and 2 year old, somewhere outside in the fresh air with plenty to entertain and with an Easter theme, so when we were invited to Hatton Country World, we thought that they could give their perspective. We have always been big fans of Hatton (especially Pumpkin Week) but for the Easter holidays (from the 19th March until the 3rd April) all children can take part in an Easter Egg Hunt. Throughout the holidays there will be the Easter Bunny Hunt and chocolate treats for all those finding a full complement of bunnies!
So I will hand the reigns over to them .....
On arrival you first head through the pretty shops of the Hatton shopping village, whilst we didn't head into any of them (the toddler/baby combo does not make for good shopping companions) they looked extremely quaint and the sort of shops where u may find that perfect gift or item for the home.
What we did notice walking down towards the adventure world was how large it was, having been to farms with adventure areas before I could tell straight away this one had got a lot more going on. I was also pleasantly surprised that although we were visiting at an extremely popular time, we didn't have to queue to get in. We headed straight to one of the many play areas as both toddler and baby needed to stretch their legs and a play in the sand pit went down like a treat. Next my son spotted the big tractor ride so off we went for our tractor safari trip round the farm! Happy toddler, slightly baffled baby and an entertained nanny by all the facts and history of the area that the tractor driver told us on our way round.
The puppet show was going to be our next stop but baby decided it was time for food so we found a bench instead and sat down for our picnic (and a couple of hot dogs from a stand close by as we couldn't resist the smell!). I did notice there was a large family restaurant where we could have had a hot meal but for once I was actually prepared! Whilst munching away we saw the Easter bunny heading past us with a long trail of excited children behind him on their hunt, and whilst it looked fun we decided that our little tribe was probably a bit too little to really grasp it, and to be honest there are so many things to do here you really can pick and chose exactly what you want for the age of your children. So we headed down to see some farm animals and my son enjoyed pointing out all the animals he can now name and the baby well she just thought they were all hilarious, especially the llamas!
Next stop was the JCB digger track, what I was impressed with here is that they had 3 different sized diggers for all ages to play on so my 2 year old was chuffed to be able to join in on something with all the big kids too.
By this point, we were a couple hours into our day and still hadn't visited even half of the places to see, so this really is a place to go for the whole day, in fact I don't think you could cover it all in one day even if you tried! There was a fab fun fair with a huge bouncy slide which my son (and husband) loved, a couple of super playgrounds, different animal attractions such as a sheep grand national and guinea pig village, plus a few places that I thought would be fab to come back to when the children are older such as laser combat, assault courses and areas to get hands on with the wildlife. And all of this still hasn't covered everything going on. I must admit when I saw the prices at the entrance I did think it was a bit steep for a farm but I very quickly changed my mind, this place is up there with the big theme parks but the difference being you also feel like you've visited the country side and done something educational with the kids too, and so that means it's not just the kids that are happy but the parents (and nanny) too!
If this review has tempted you to go an explore Hatton, there is still time to take advantage of some special offers and you can get your tickets here. We are sure that everyone will love it as much as we have and the weather forecast doesn't look too bad either! Have fun!
Spring is in the air and spring cleaning always seems to be something we look at over the Easter break. We are presently updating our kitchen as part of my DIY project for this year but the kitchen is one of the rooms in your house that require a lot of storage space and getting the right balance of cupboards and space is important (and so I have enough space to hide away all my clutter). If you have a small kitchen, you might lack this ever important space; however, there are a few creative ways in which to create extra surfaces, or storage options. Below are just five easy ways that require very little cost or effort and can help you get that extra space that you need.
1) Get a rolling cart
Although they do take up some space, a rolling cart is an excellent way of creating extra space if you do not have space for an island. Because they are on wheels, they can easily be moved around and they are smaller than an island. If they are not in use the whole time, they can be folded away out of sight, but can create a great deal of storage when required.
2) Over the sink chopping boards
Over the sink chopping boards are perfect if you have very little counter space. You can have them made so that they fit comfortably over your sink, creating another surface area that you can use. It is also a useful storage area for the chopping board when the sink is not in use. They look great, and are practical and very cost effective.
3) Have a clear out
Although this is a fairly obvious one, clearing out anything you no longer require is an excellent way to make more space. You have to be brutal, and really sensible, throwing away anything that you no longer use, or are broken, and you will be surprised at the amount of space you achieve by doing this. Seeing you de-cluttered kitchen will be a good incentive for you not to buy more than you require as well.
4) Build shelves
Building shelves is another excellent DIY solution. Put up shelves in spaces that are free and are not being used for anything else and you can create a lot of extra space for yourself. You will be surprised at just how much you can keep in a relatively small area with the addition of a few shelves. Think about the area between the worktop and the cupboards, or above the fridge and cupboards, as this is often valuable space that goes to waste. Put the items that you will use less frequently on the higher shelves for ease.
5) Make the most of your corners
Corner cupboards often waste a lot of space, and can be inaccessible resulting in people not using them, wasting valuable space. So, instead, why not create an area that is easy to get to, and install a lazy Susan? This is essentially a spinning basket, allowing you to spin and clearly see the contents of your cupboard allowing you to make use of the space, and get to everything easily.
We have talked a lot recently about the positives of the right school selection for children and the benefits of tutoring but we havent touched on behaviour and how this can have an impact on school life. Positive Behaviour Support is commonly seen as a way of supporting children and adults who have challenging behaviour tendencies. It has been proven to be very effective, and many care and social workers are using this technique and scientific approach that aims to protect a person’s rights, as well as promoting their quality of life for both them and their families.
Before we can understand the benefits of Positive Behaviour Support, it is important to know just what it is. Ultimately, it is a behavioural management system, used to understand an individual’s challenging behaviour. There can be many different reasons as to why this behaviour is apparent; however, it is about learning why they maintain that behaviour that it is important. It can be difficult initially to change their inappropriate behaviours, as they will be doing it or a reason – it serves a purpose for them. Unwittingly, these behaviours are being reinforced by the environment, as the child will often receive attention when they express this certain behaviour. The Positive Behaviour Support management system does just that. Instead of the child receiving attention for inappropriate behaviour, they will praise the positive behaviour, identifies goals that the child can reach, and monitoring their process. The goals that the support worker sets should be manageable, desirable and have an effective force on their positive behaviour.
Positive Behaviour Support is becoming more recognised as an effective coping strategy in schools, and has had a visible impact on the child’s ability to participate in certain activities. However, it is important that everyone involved in the child’s life, from parents, to teachers, to social workers fully understand the strategy, in order for it to be fully effective. For some, it is a complete lifestyle change, and it is important that the child in question is assessed by a professional first to identify why the child expresses the inappropriate behaviours, and the positive goals that they are working towards.
Once you understand exactly what Positive Behaviour Support is, it is so easy to realise the benefits that this will have on the child. In the short term, it can make the child happier, reducing problem behaviours. Their adapted behaviour means that they have a new coping strategy which is more effective, and it also allows the child to identify their strengths. It can help schools, and parents, as they will be displaying less negative and inappropriate behaviours, which will lead to fewer aggressive incidents at home and in school, and ultimately, it can help them in the long run in terms of employment when they are older, as they will completely understand how to deal with certain behaviours in a much more effective way.
After school selections a few weeks ago, we are now looking ahead to the SATS and I was chatting with some of my oldest friends last night about tutors and how they felt about tutoring their children.
There is no doubt that tutoring can be a brilliant way to pick up the pace of your child’s learning and it is becoming an increasingly popular choice with busy parents like me. Home tutoring is a booming industry worth an estimated £6.5 billion last year. 520,000 tutors during 2015 have educated more than 2.8 million children, across the age ranges demonstrating just how keen parents are to give their child a helping hand.
When my daughter sat her 11+ exam, I was adamant that she was wasn't going to have a tutor in order to get a pass on an exam into a school as I didn't want her to struggle throughout her school life, just because she had been coached for one particular exam but that said, I wonder on reflection whether a longer term tutoring plan may have been the way to encourage her abilities more.
There are a lot of benefits to following the tutoring route for your own child, and as a parent, the ability to choose the tutor is a major plus. Handing over my hard earned pennies gave me the ability to select a tutor that has an approach or personality that I know would suit my child best. Trying to find a tutor is just the starting point, so using a site like Tutor Hunt makes the whole process of locating tutors quick and easy. You can quickly identify a number of suitable tutors operating within your postcode. You can then message these tutors, and ask them any questions you may have. Unlike a child’s teacher at school, who you unfortunately can not pick and change, if it is not working for your child you can simply (but with kindness and compassion) find another tutor. I think that this more personal relationship enables you to be honest and clear with your own child’s tutor to enable them focus on what needs working on more intensively.
Following a recent parents evening, it is clear that at school, busy teachers may only be able to offer a token amount of private attention to your child if they need that all important reassurance to ‘get the idea’. Tutors are free from classroom constraints and so often have a real passion for learning that they can pass onto your child.
My daughter is a maths wizard, she just "gets it", whereas comprehension is something that she doesn't always "comprehend". So I have taken time to find a literary tutor for her that has wide experience and a real passion for the subject. Without doubt this has been infectious for my daughter and hopefully will capture her own interest and enthralment for the subject.
I think some of the main benefits for tutoring are:
Fresh perspective on any topic your child is needs to cover.
Diverse methods in teaching & dedicated time
A tutor will be able to cover a great deal of detail in a small amount of time.
Tutors can work at your child's specific pace and become familiar with your child's capability for learning and the technique that works best for your child
Let's be honest, each child is very different as all parents will testify too and the right tutor ought to be able to identify the individual needs of your child.
I know that sometimes we have looked at my daughters homework and questioned our own ability and children have the ability to ask dread fuelled questions of parents that you just don’t feel you can answer as your child gets older. At the end of a long day at work, I am also not a big fan of coming home to hours of homework help either, no matter how much I want her to suceed. A tutor can supply all the answers that my daughter needs and gives her the tools to find the answers for herself.
My daughter isn't always the strongest of characters but in one to one sessions, shy children can be empowered to ask questions. Many children can be too shy to ask questions in class and may then miss out on their learning. Another of the benefits of a tutor is that they can recognise when a child's attention span in a one-to-one setting is wavering more obviously. Tutors have the luxury of being able to spend a minute or two considering something else or having a break to reset the clock to a degree that your child will be able to get back on track rapidly.
So my conversation with my friends concluded in my admissions that I have had a change of heart about tutoring, after weighing up the costs to us as a family against the benefits she will get as an individual, tutoring most defiantly has numerous benefits for children’s learning in the long term. I just wish that I had looked at it this way sooner.
Has your child had any tutoring? Did you see the benefit?