Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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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 by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. 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.

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  1. Anyone that has a child will have had those days where you want all the help in getting them to sleep faster. At the end of the day bedtime can be a struggle for families. When your child struggles to fall asleep quickly at night you can easily become frustrated and upset. These simple tips can help your child fall asleep faster. 

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    Cutting off-screen time is a vital part of helping get your child to sleep faster. The bright blue lights of electronic devices can make it difficult for your child to fall asleep. Cutting off-screen time an hour or two before bed (easier said than done, we know) can lead to falling asleep faster and sleeping better.

    cutting down screen time

    Give your child a warm bath before bed. Warm water with or without lavender bath products are great for helping to relax your child so they fall asleep faster at night. 

    A great way to ensure that your child will fall asleep faster at bedtime is to start a calm down time an hour or two before bed. This is a time for your child to read a book, do a puzzle, or participate in a quite hobby in their room before bedtime. 

    Child Reading

    Helping your child fall asleep faster starts at the beginning of the day. Getting your child on a morning routine of waking up in the mornings can make it easier to get them to be tired and ready to sleep when bedtime rolls around. 

    Wear your child out during the day with plenty of active play. When your child is burning off energy during the day they are more likely to be ready to sleep when night time rolls around. Get your child to play outside, ride bikes or join in a sport to use up excess energy during the day to help them fall asleep faster.

    Challenging your child's mind can help them fall asleep faster as well. When your child's brain is challenged during the day it is more likely to be tired and ready to fall asleep without random thoughts keeping your child awake at night.

    Making a linen spray or running a diffuser with essential oils designed to calm, relax, and induce sleep is a great way to help your child fall asleep faster and get a deeper more restful sleep. Lavender and tangerine are both great single oil choices and several safe for children sleep blends are available on the market.

    I remember a product called Medised many years ago and it was withdrawn from the market as parents were abusing its "drowsy" properties to help their children sleep. Obviously no one advocates using medicinal measures to get your child to sleep and hopefully some of these tips can help on a restless evening!

  2. The weather at the moment can’t seem to make up it’s mind what it is doing. One minute we have glorious sunshine and the next the weather is wet and miserable. So we are looking ahead to the summer and what we can be doing now so that we can enjoy lazy summer days at home with our friends and family.

    We have therefore put together our top 5 tips for preparing your home (and yourself) for summer.

    Top Tips for getting your home summer ready 

    Check appliances are working

    Check that your fans / air conditioning units are fully working. If not, now is a good time to replace them rather than when it is baking hot and you find that everywhere is sold out. Getting them “out of season” usually means that you can get a good deal and it is worth checking out voucher sites for offers and discounts too.

    Get The Garden Ready

    When the sun eventually comes out to stay, everyone will want to be outside and if you are not enthused at the idea of regular garden maintenance, why not try some artificial grass for your garden, it is a great alternative to real grass, allowing you to enjoy summer days as well as making mowing, watering and weeding things of the past!

    Aritifical Grass

    Find out of season offers

    Like the fans and air con units, buying things out of season is the best way to get a great deal. So if you need extra picnic pieces or garden furniture, now is a good time to look for the best offers. In the height of summer, it is not only the temperatures that rise it is also well known that the prices do when there is high demand.

    Declutter

    We can all be a little guilty of hoarding items “just incase” we may need them but a spring clean is a great way to go into summer with a clear mind and a clear house. Summer bbq’s can sometimes lead to friends staying over and you don’t want them tripping over bags and boxes that are stashed in your spare room. Get rid of the unnecessary and it is one less thing to move / clean on a weekly basis too!

    Declutter

    Don’t delay till later

    Start now! It is easy to think that summer is months away but in the blink of an eye the children will be finishing the summer term and the long summer holiday will be upon us.

    Will you be prepared?

  3. This is a leading question and I am sure one that many parents will have debated over the years. I make no secret of the fact that I am actually a big fan of tutoring and have done this for both of my girls at different points in their education journey.

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    My reasoning behind this is simple. If I send my daughter to gymnastics classes, she doesn’t expect me to know how to safely or knowledgably do a back hand spring, so why should I be expected convey the best ways to handle quadratic equations. Making sure that my girls have the best possible teachers available to them is both important and much less stressful for me.

    So I asked my youngest daughter if she wanted to try some online maths tutoring (with her Year 2 SATS coming up, I thought this would be good practice) and as she is a home bird, this appealed to her. Matr gives primary school-aged children in the UK online one-to-one maths tuition. Their tutors are maths experts trained to teach KS2 national curriculum to 7 to 11 year-olds, so it was a perfect partnership for us.

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    Prior to the agreed set lessons, children are encouraged to do some “test” sets to establish their ability levels. I don’t think we took full advantage of this as our first lesson was quite basic but this also gave us a chance to get used to the system and how it worked. 

    Unfortunately in our case, my daughter didn’t connect well with the tutor and found them difficult to understand during the session however Matr were keen to react to this and swiftly arranged another tutor for our next session.

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    Because of this initial “blip” I did question with Matr as to how they recruit their tutors and it is interesting to note they have a global network of tutors which enables them to hire maths specialists and provide the best support possible for each child. All tutors are maths specialists by degree or training, and many are STEM graduates … so definitely qualified. 

    Our next session had a new tutor who was extremely encouraging and adds little smiley face stickers on the screen when they are rewarding good work. My daughter loved this feature and ended up awarding the tutor some smiley face stickers of her own!

    The next question is always cost and as parents we have so much to budget for each month so having an affordable solution is necessary. Matr have easy, affordable, monthly or weekly payments from as low as £9.25 per week. The additional benefit is that you are not tied into a long term agreement and you can cancel anytime.

    So I started this post with the title saying “Should I get a tutor for my child” and for me, there are 5 good reasons to!

    1. One to One Learning
    2. Builds Confidence
    3. Test / Exam Revision
    4.  You can maintain over the holidays
    5. No more homework wars!!

     Maths tuition is no longer just the privilege of the wealthy. Online tuition companies like Matr now make maths fun and affordable for all primary aged kids. 

  4. I read this week that following a recent survey carried out by Citizens Advice, findings have shown that more than a quarter of parents are having to borrow the money needed for school uniforms due to rising costs. This is crazy!!

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    The average cost of a school uniform now exceeds £300 per year per child and many families on low incomes or with more than one child are finding it a real struggle to finance the items that their child need to comply with the rules of the school they attend.

    My eldest daughters school already has a strict uniform policy and we have had further notification that there are new restrictions from September on footwear, due to the financial pressures that parents are feeling over "branded footwear".

    How to save money on school uniform

    So how do you save money on the rising cost of school uniforms? Here are our top tips!

    • Buy big and hope that it lasts for a couple of years 
    • Don't think that buying cheaper is more cost effective. Sometimes buying a slightly more expensive (and better quality) will last much longer.
    • Shop out of season. Shop the sales. Buy quality for less at any opportunity.
    • Label EVERYTHING so that less gets lost! Trust me we have lost a lot of uniform over the years.
    • Keep an eye out for the pre term deals. Marks and Spencers and the supermarket chains often have 10-20% off weekends

    You can't put a price on eductation but saving money on uniform is possible with a little planning.

    Good luck!