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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Category: School Days

  1. Are social networking sites unhealthy for teens?

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    If you have a teenager, you will know how much time they "want" to spend on social media, so we have been looking at whether the use of Instagram and Snapchat is hindering the development of relationship skills for teens? One study suggests that it depends on the teenager. Some psychologists believe that social networking sites have tuned the internet into a more intimate and safer place for teens and young adults than it was ten years ago.


    Parents of teens have good reason to be skeptical and seek answers about teenage activities that weren’t available when today’s parents were coming of age. It's normal for parents to wonder whether it is healthy for teens and young adults to spend a bulk of time instant messaging or updating their Instagram grid or Snapchat story.

    News reports and daytime talk shows continue to warn parents about teen internet use, online bullying and sexual harassment issues that teens may encounter online. Most parents of teens would admit they wonder about the kinds of messages teenagers are writing back and forth to each other online. Some parents of teens also wonder if using social networking sites prevents young adults from learning relationship skills.

    Psychologists at the University of Amsterdam, Patti Valkenburg and Jochen Peter have studied internet use for teens for the past ten years. In the 1990’s, only one in ten teens routinely used the internet and ones who did had only public chat room sites for interaction. In the twenty first century, the world-wide-web has experienced an explosion in networking opportunities.

    Are social networking sites unhealthy for teens?

    In Social Consequences of the Internet for Adolescents: A Decade of Research (Current Directions in Psychological Science, February 2009), Valkenburg and Peters credit networking sites like Facebook for the increase in positive interactions for teens on the internet. They believe that social networking sites have created a more intimate atmosphere where teens and young adults are more likely to connect with peers and discuss personal issues in a positive way.

    Research can offer a bit of comfort for parents of teens who are concerned about internet use and its effect on relationship skills. Although studies can show the positives of sites like Facebook and others, as parents we should always continue to monitor internet use and activity for teens and young adults and educate adolescents about unsafe internet practices as well as promote face-to-face relationships for teenagers.

    Easier said than done though eh?

  2. Great room organising ideas for teenagers (that won't break the bank)

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    It’s very easy for a teenager to end up with a messy room (and I have a teenager to prove it). Here are some easy-to-do tips and ideas to create a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere for you both to live with!


    Store Knickknacks on Shelves

    In order to keep the bedroom tidy, it’s best to put collections, books, and knickknacks on shelves instead of keeping them all about the room or on a dresser. This creates order out of chaos and it will be easier to find specific objects. Having a space reserved in a room keeps it tidy and in order.

    Have a Place for Laundry

    A lot of the mess which clogs a teenager’s room is laundry. Having a special place for laundry–like in a dedicated laundry basket in the corner can help de-clutter the entire room. The best idea is to have a place for dirty clothes and a place for clean ones—that way clean laundry doesn’t become mixed with laundry which needs to be cleaned.


    Clean up for Ten Minutes or Less Before Bed

    This tip can become very useful: take a few minutes before bed and tidy up the bedroom. Place books back on the shelves, put laundry away, clean up the desk. Taking only a few minutes can save one from having to spend an hour in the future clearing clutter. This tip is easily made into a routine since going to bed is already a routine.

    Use Boxes, Buckets, and Baskets

    A great organizing tip is to use boxes or any type of storage container for small items. This storage tip places small items out of sight and causes the room to feel more spacious. Labeling boxes may become important when one has many of them. Plus, decorative boxes add style to any room. Boxes can be stacked or set in a row in a closet. Boxes are useful for not only tidying the room but also for creating a creative design.

    Personalise A Bedroom

    In order to make a teenage bedroom unique, the easiest way is to add some personal touches. There are a variety of ways to personalise a room. Posters are a quick way to add an original touch while adding a new paint color can help brighten a room. Buying new furniture is the expensive way to go, but you don't need to spend too much money. Teenager havens like Primark and H&M have a great (and afforable) home section which is always on trend, making it a win for a teenager! 

  3. 20 Inexpensive or Free Things To Do with your Family

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    Everything is so expensive these days so families everywhere are searching for fun things to do that are also easy on the family budget. These inexpensive and free activities are the perfect treat after working together on the family budget, and realizing that cutbacks are needed.

    20 Inexpensive or Free Things To Do with your Family

    Free Things to Do with a Family

    These entertainment ideas for kids and adults alike are generally free. Some require a little travel by car, or bringing food from home; but they are essentially free activities.

    Take a walk or picnic in the park – better yet, try a different local park each day until the family finds the very best one.

    Go window shopping at a favorite mall, antique stores, or craft fair. Leave the wallet at home!
    Camp out in the backyard, or make a “fort” inside using furniture, blankets and cushions – then spend the evening trading ghost stories.

    Volunteer on a community or charity project for the afternoon or a weekend. This activity is not only free, but a deeply fulfilling experience as well.

    Spend a long, lazy day in pajamas, reading or watching everyone’s favorite movies. Don’t forget the microwave popcorn!

    “Tour” local neighborhoods or hometown, pretending to be tourists and taking pictures of favorite places.

    Have a “teaching day” during which each family member has an opportunity to teach the others about something they enjoy – sharing a favorite hobby, a video game, book, walking trail, recipe, or anything else.

    Hold a family talent show, or host one for the whole neighborhood. Grandparents, aunts and uncles can be judges… or they may have hidden talents themselves!

    Cheap Activities for Families

    These cheap entertainment ideas require some minor expenses- such as art supplies or recipe ingredients. They are, however, still far cheaper than taking the family to the movies or out to dinner- and more interactive!

    Create homemade artwork together to decorate the laundry room, playroom, or basement (think crayon mural, or paper-maché & coat hanger mobile).

    Host a potluck dinner party for friends or neighbors; have everyone bring a dish and a recipe to share.

    Write a family history or the story of your relationship in a sketchbook, including illustrations, leaving space to add to the story every year.

    Entertainment Outdoors

    Many inexpensive or cheap activities can be found outdoors. So, go outside and play!

    There are countless ways to enjoy the outdoors.Some require sporting equipment, which may be borrowed from friends, or purchased at a discount store to enjoy for years to come. Other ideas require nothing but a little imagination and a willing spirit.


    A few ideas for outdoor family entertainment:

    • Frisbee
    • Football
    • Softball
    • Badminton
    • Volleyball
    • Water balloons
    • Relay races
    • Tag
    • Hide and seek
    • Bean bag toss
    • Hop scotch
    • Biking
    • Walking around the block
    • Rolling down a hill
    • Cloud watching
    • Star gazing
    • Cartwheels
    • Watching the sunset
    • Watching the sunrise
    • Counting cars
    • Making mudpies

    The list of cheap activities outside can go on and on. Keep in mind that many outdoor activities are not only inexpensive, they’re healthy, too!

    Other Resources for Free Things to Do

    Of course, this article is just a starting point for fun, inexpensive family activities. For more ideas, visit the local library for free programs, resources and activities. The local paper may also list free outdoor concerts and festivals. Some activities may be posted on community bulletin boards at nearby stores, cafes, and community centres. With so many great ideas for inexpensive family fun, there is no reason to let budget restrictions keep the family from having a great time together!

  4. Tips for helping your child fall asleep faster

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    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!