Creating a homework happy home 

Even though having homework is a distant memory to many of us, I’m sure we can all agree that it wasn’t our favourite part of being at school. And, I’m pretty sure children these days have SO much more of it to contend with, it seems that the school day doesn’t have enough hours in it now to fit everything in. 

Shaping your child’s experience of homework can do a lot to form the way they view tasks, deadlines and quality of work so it’s very important that a positive spin is placed on it. Whether they need to memorise  the periodic table, write a short story or construct a killer castle for their latest history assignment, you need to available to support them when and in what ever way they need. 

As well as your attitude towards homework, there’s also the space in which your children have to complete it.

Here’s four important points to keep in mind:

The power of incentives

The hope is that your children will enjoy most of their homework and see their tasks outside of school as a part of everyday life instead of an ongoing slog. However, if you’re faced with resistance,  then you’ll need to up your game with incentives.

The ‘homework first, play later’ rule is a must if you are to ensure that homework is completed and not worried about the next morning. NetMums lists the essentials for a homework-happy home:-

  • Sit at a table with pens, rubbers and paper to hand
  • Turn off the TV
  • Try to keep brothers/sisters distracted
  • Choose a time when your child is best able to work. After a quick snack when you’ve got in from school, or after tea and before bed perhaps?
  • Try to stick to the same routine

 

The routine of a structured homework time won’t always be met with a positive response, and this is when you need to show that hard work does reap a reward. If homework is completed on time then watching TV or playing games on the computer/iPad can be allowed. Or, media aside, you could spend some quality time together after homework completion; baking in the kitchen, playing board games or enjoying some time outside (weather permitting!)

You need to tap into what incentives work for each of your children so that they can see the potential reward at the end of getting their homework done.

Creating a happy homework home for your children

Taking an interest goes a long way

Don’t treat homework as your child’s problem. Know what has to be completed and encourage that it gets done. Although they have to learn that homework is their responsibility, having your interest in their daily activities will nurture a positive association with getting work done on time and to a good standard.

You might find it difficult at first to get the balance of being interested and supporting your child to complete their homework, instead of doing some of it for them, but this will come in time. You are navigating them to the right answer, instead of giving them the right answer.

Or, with more creative subjects such as writing or art, you can talk them through their ideas and how they might make a start.

 

Then, when the homework is complete, they can show you how they got on with it and take pleasure in your praise of good work. And if they haven’t quite grasped it, you can sit with them to lead them to the correct path. Here, your interest and attitude is essential for good results.

Separate spaces

If you have more than one child, it can be difficult to entertain one while the other is trying to knuckle down to finish their homework.

Having a permanent space that is sectioned off might be hard to achieve – short of having them work in their bedrooms – unless you have an area of your home that you can transition into separate spaces. Internal bifold doors can be used to section off your kitchen from your dining room or your living room from your dining room; whatever works for your home.

This way, you can set up your older child in an area that is conducive to concentration and creativity while your youngest can enjoy the carefree life of no homework without distracting their sibling.

The Friday night rule

The joy of that ‘Friday feeling’ as school ends for the week will be strong in your children but you need to be strict with one rule, as it really is in their best interests: the weekend begins when homework for Monday is done.

Getting this out-of-the-way as they walk in the door is you looking after ‘future you’. No one wants to be helping children with writing assignments and science homework on a Sunday night, or, even worse, a Monday morning before school!

Get it all done before the weekend officially begins…

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How to Create the Perfect Home Office

Whether you work from home or just want to create a work space in your home, creating a home office is a great idea. A home office needs to work for you, so thinking about things both aesthetically and strategically is important. Here are some top tips to help you create the perfect home office:

Be practical

There are so many things people want to include in their home office that a common mistake a lot of people make is cramming too much furniture into a small space. Although you might need a desk and some draws, is a printer, photo copier and shredder essential? If they’re taking up too much space, it’s time to cut back. Think about the equipment you really need and then see how much space you have left for extras. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in there, it needs to be a space where you can work in peace and not feel cramped.

Ensure it’s well lit

There is nothing worse than trying to write a 3000 word report at 11pm in a poorly lit room. Make sure that you have adequate bright lighting in the room so that you don’t over strain your eyes by staring at a screen for too long in the dark. These floor and table lamps from Scotlight Direct offer a great solution as they provide lots of lighting and come in a variety of different styles and colours.

styling a home office

Go for neutrals 

Whilst bright and out there interior design is really on trend, neutral colours are advised in a work space. If the home office is going to be your main office it needs to feel separate from the rest of your home so that your brain understands that’s where you go to work and not to chill. Using a peaceful and neutral colour scheme of creams will help to keep the room light and airy and help you to separate your work and home life easily. Over bearing designs can easily lead to distraction.

Enjoy it

That said you do need to enjoy your office if you’re planning on spending a lot of time there. Be economical with space so that you don’t feel enclosed and surrounded by equipment and decorate it like you would a workspace in an office environment. Little things like having a few plants on the windowsill or a cactus on your desk will help to make it feel like somewhere you enjoy spending your time.

how to style a home office

Photo courtesy of Ikea.com

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Some Sound Advice On How To Improve Your Credit Rating

While I don’t want to encourage you to build up debts, the new year often brings new plans. Maybe you’re wanting to get started on plans for home improvements or a new car might be on the cards. There are sometimes occasions when you’ll need to borrow money and saving isn’t an option.

And to get the best finance deals you’ll need to have a good credit limit, and there are a few things you can do so you aren’t limited to paying back anything you borrow with sky high interest takes. Kickstart your new year with being money savy and take time to get it right. I’ve always been a ‘shopper rounder’ making sure I’ve got the best possible deal and nowadays, people do tend to think more carefully about how they spend.

With this sound advice (courtesy of Stoneacre Financial Services) on improving your credit rating. You can be sure you’ve taken the right steps to looking after your finances. There’s a few on here I didn’t know and as I wasn’t one of the lucky winners in the big lotto draw, I dare say I’ll be coming back to this post again sometime.

The Road to Good Credit Infographic

 

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How To Plan A Stress Free House Move

With each new year comes plans.

My own are relatively small scale; keep fit, be more organised, be more positive. Years past we started the year planning holidays, adding an extra troup member to the family (after years of ‘shall we, shan’t we’) and started on a house renovation. Some people, however, are planning BIG changes right now. My own little brother and his fiance are starting on their wedding plans which I’m totes excited about and maybe you’ve decided to find a new humble abode.

With spring being the best time of the year for house sales, so our last estate agent told me, although they said many things that were an elaboration on the truth,  let’s not go there though But I can imagine that once Christmas is out the way, people do feel more refreshed and ready to take on the mammoth task of moving house.

Trying to plan a stress free house move isn’t easy, it’s often compared to the stress of divorce, so anything which can alleviate that stress is handy. My own tactics included being out of the house as much as possible so it stayed tidy! Hiring a removal company to help on the actual moving day is another more beneficial thing you could do.

A good one will do as little or as much as you need, with the ultimate benefits of hiring a local removals company is getting them to do that actual packing, saving time and stress while you take care of the legalities and official things.

When doing your research it’s worth having a prompt of times to enquire about while you’re shopping around, such as;

Staff: Local removal companies should have qualified and trained staff who should be happy to advise and support where needed. You don’t want to be the one project managing the move day, telling them how they should be doing their job. That’s one stress you won’t need.

Vehicles: Check to see if their  vehicles are up to the job and  specially designed for removals. They should be equipped with special lifts and loading ramps suitable for the local area and more importantly, getting your goods on and off safely.

Costs: make sure you get a solid quote in writing before you agree anything, and shop around in advance.

Documentation: Removals companies offer documented contracts that bind within the law and can help in-case of any misunderstanding or through legal processes.

Packing services: As mentioned above, some removals can offer this service, offering comprehensive and professional packing services disassembling and re-assembling

Packing materials: Check how they move clients goods from A-B. Some will have boxes, cartons and containers designed to transport as well as wrapping materials (packing paper, bubble wraps,) moving blankets for easy unpacking and allocation

One extra tip I use for anyone who I hire to do a job around my home, be it builders, plumbers or the man who cleans the windows, offer refreshments. Gratitude is nearly always rewarded and it just makes everyone a little chirpier and the day a little sweeter.

 

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Can a Good Night’s Sleep Cure Acne?

Christmas and New Year means party season for many and who doesn’t want to look their best for a night on the tiles or even just for catching up with friends and family. Bu for some,  changes in diet, central heating and late nights can play havoc on your skin.

I’ve witnessed first hand how bad skin can get you down. My own teenage son has had bouts of acne and we’ve tried just about everything to help him cure it and most recently, we’ve taken onboard the findings from an independent study by Dorothy Collins, asking can a good night’s sleep cure acne.

The study looked into finding out if improvements to sleep patterns could improve acne and achieve clearer skin in just 7 days.

Having suffered from acne from a young age, and with some unfortunate scars on her face to prove it, Dorothy was up for the challenge to see what effect (if any) increased sleep each night would have on her acne-prone skin.

This is a completely independent study with Dorothy’s own personal views, thoughts and reactions and parts of the video were filmed by her in her own home as she commented on progress.

The Key Findings were;

Dorothy was able to report some improvements to her skin in the short time period that the study took place

The blemishes from her chin and cheeks seemed to clear up well

She seemed to be more ‘fresh-faced’ which supports the theory that more sleeps leaves you looking younger

She had more energy and was more focussed at work

She reported that at the end her overall mental wellbeing was better – she was less stressed, more confident at work and generally felt better about herself

Possibly the best thing in her make-up bag is her bed? Due to the positive effects of more sleep, Dorothy thought that sleep may be more beneficial than product when it comes to good skin!

At the end, she felt she would wear make-up because she wanted to and not feel obliged to cover up as she had previously

I can personally vouch for the fact that my skin looks better after a good nights sleep, but that’s not always a luxury I can afford with a lively toddler and business to run. My son however, has no excuse. Luckily he’s happy to try anything to help clear his spots and along with eating a healthier diet he is heeding the advise from Dorothy’s findings and is trying to get more zzzz’s.

Is there a link between sleep and acne? find out here;

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