Category

Parenting Hacks & Tips

Home / Parenting Hacks & Tips
man holding crying baby
Parenting Hacks & Tips

10 Common Parenting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep providing great content!


Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. There’s so much more to parenthood than I could have ever imagined; something I talked about in ‘5 things about parenthood NOTHING can prepare you for’. 

Sometimes it feels like whatever we do, we’re competing against the Jones’, their perfect social media feed kids and their faultless way of doing things.  

Try as we might, we’re bound to get it wrong from time to time – it’s part of the journey. Relying on our ‘Parenting instincts’ just isn’t enough and, more often than not, we’re too proud to ask for help or advice when we need it because it feels like we’ve failed. 

If you can learn to overcome these 10 common mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the best parent you can be. 

1. Fighting your children’s battles for them

It goes without saying that your children mean everything to you, right?

Of course they do.

But, sometimes you just need to take a step back and your kid learn that their actions have consequences

For example, if your child does something that has a negative impact on others, it can be tempting to jump in and protect them if somebody points it out.

The thing is, fighting your child’s battles will teach them that three is no consequence to their actions and that they don’t need to be accountable for their decisions.  

Take time to be constructive and remind them using positive language what the correct behaviour is and why we should do it, rather than ignoring it or always coming to the rescue.

2. Letting technology rule the roost

In the last decade, the way we consume and use technology has evolved massively. Smartphones, tablets, connected technology…You name it, we all have it. 

Technology is an important part of most of our lives and it gives us access to entertainment, communication and connection – particularly during a pandemic! 

It can be tempting to let your children sit on YouTube Kids or watching Netflix because of a few reasons:

  • Your child enjoys it
  • It gives you a moment of peace to get household chores done
  • You can do it together

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of streaming here and there, but try to create quality memories by doing other activities too.

Go for a walk, think up an activity to do together (Looking for inspo? Read this!) or read a book. 

Limiting the time kids sit in front of a screen will not only help you form an unbreakable parent child relationship, but it’ll teach your child some invaluable social skills at the same time. 

3. Not leading by example

So many parents know all the best parenting techniques and can talk big about the right parenting style for every situation, but their behaviours don’t mirror what they say. 

For example, I walked out of a supermarket last week and saw a mum with her child. Not only did she tell her daughter to get off of her phone, whilst simultaneously glancing at her own device, but when the girl raised her voice at her mother in frustration, the mother yelled about how she shouldn’t shout. 

I mean, seriously…

The phase, “Do as I say, not as I do” does not apply to parenting, trust me. 

Remember, you’re the ultimate role model for your child – the hero of their little story.

To be an effective parent, you need to model the behaviour you want to see in them. They’ll be more likely to mirror you than to listen to you.

4. Not dedicating enough quality time

Life is hectic, right? I often talk on our Instagram page about how trying to keep on top of parenthood, finances, household jobs, relationships, friendships and more can feel like spinning plates.

Sooner or later, one of them drops. 

With all that on your mind, it’s not uncommon to feel distracted when you’re with your kids whilst you’re busy thinking about everything you need to do.

Parents feel an immense amount of pressure, particularly with young children; it’s so difficult to keep on top of their own mental health and keep everything else afloat. 

It’s easy to get lost, though.

Remember, your children crave your attention, whether they’re being little angels or playing up. Try to spend as much quality time with your children every day because, outside of telling them you love them, being present and in that moment shows them that you love them. 

Try to make the time you spend together as ‘high quality’ as possible. Put that phone in a drawer, turn off the TV and give them 100% of your attention for as much time as you can. 

5. Not spending enough time on your relationship

Becoming a parent is a wonderful experience and that little person will instantly become your entire universe. Be careful though, your child shouldn’t replace your relationship with your partner, only add to it.

Whether you’re a nuclear family or a separated, blended family, always take the time to focus on your relationship as much as you can. That strong foundation will help you work through some of the natural struggles that come with raising a child. 

I know from experience that if you’re unhappy in a long term relationship, it’ll project into the way you bring up your children. Remember to nurture your relationship with your partner and your child will be so much happier for it in the long run. 

6. Not spending enough time looking after yourself 

With all of those important things to focus on on top of this beautiful little munchkin to raise to raise, we often forget to take the time for ourselves; I’m certainly guilty of this. 

We burn the candle at both ends, which means we become overwhelmed or frustrated at the relentless nature of parenthood and well, life in general. 

Make sure you factor in some ‘me time’ to gather your thoughts where possible. Allocate a little block of time into your routine, perhaps when the kids are in bed, to meditate, write in a journal, exercise or have a bath. 

I struggle with switching off and always feel like I should be doing something. My girlfriend will often remind me that it’s OK to just relax sometimes and she’s right – recharging your batteries will save you from burnout, making you a better parent in the long-run. 

7. Being controlled by your emotions

As our children grow, they’re still learning to rationalise their thoughts and deal with their feelings. They may act up, misbehave or whinge for seemingly no reason at all.

Children have evolved to elicit a response out of their parents because, unlike many other species on this planet, us humans and our big brains take a long time to develop. 

It’s perfectly normal to feel a sense of frustration or anger if your child keeps pestering you, misbehaving, crying…or anything else for that matter.

The important thing is to try not to let your emotions take hold. 

Remembering that children are impressionable little things and will mirror your behaviours is important. If you react emotionally or get visibly angry, your child will think this is the appropriate way to behave in future. 

If you’re feeling stressed, try to take a quick time out. So long as your child is safe, leave the room for a minute and take a few deep breaths, count to ten and get ready to go again. 

8. Doing everything for your kids

We all adore our children and we want them to be happy. If you’d have told me 5 years ago that I’d be bringing my daughter breakfast in bed every time she stayed with me, I’d have laughed you out of the room. 

It’s perfectly normal to feel a sense of responsibility to our children, but it’s important that you don’t do everything for your kids. 

Children need to learn to appreciate the value of what you do for them rather than expect it. You don’t want to set expectations for your child because they’ll grow up without any sense of ownership of their own lives. 

9. Not listening to your children

As I mentioned earlier, children can be irrational little devils sometimes. They’re still developing and their perception of the world has been shaped by a very limited experience of it. 

When a child is talking to you, parents can often shoot them down without even knowing they’re doing it. 

In the brilliant book, “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber, she explores the concept of really listening to your children.

She uses this example:

CHILD:Mommy, I’m tired
ME:You couldn’t be tired. You just napped. 
CHILD:(louder) But I’m tired. 
ME:You’re not tired. You’re just a little sleepy. Let’s get dressed.
CHILD:(wailing) No, I’m tired!
Excerpt from ‘How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk’ by Adele Faber

Adele explains, “I was…telling my children over and over again not to trust their own perceptions but to rely on mine instead”.

Instead, encourage them to talk to you and hear what they have to say. 

Rather than denying your child’s feelings, try acknowledging them instead, even if you know the outcome will still be the same.

I’ll share an example of what I mean.

Last week we were getting ready to take my daughter, Evie, back to her mum’s house. 

EVIE:Daddy, I don’t want to get dressed
ME:Oh I don’t want to get dressed either! I wish we could stay in our pyjamas all day and play. 
EVIE:Me too! We could bounce on the bed ALL day! 
ME:That would be SO MUCH fun! I’d love that! We do need to get you back to Mummy’s house though, so maybe next time we can do that?
CHILD:(big compliant sigh) Okayyy then. 

This example is what Faber describes as ‘giving a child their wish in fantasy’. By acknowledging that Evie didn’t want to get dressed and understanding what she wanted, we imagined what that would be like to give Evie the outcome she wanted in that moment before coming back to the original task at hand: Getting dressed. 

Evie proceeded to get dressed beautifully and didn’t mention it again. 

10. Being inconsistent 

Part of being a child is testing boundaries (Man, part of being an adult for me is testing boundaries!).

Children have an amazing sense of what they can get away with and they’ll try their best to push their luck at every given opportunity. 

One of my absolute musts as a parent (and in the workplace for that matter!) is consistency. If your child knows exactly how you’ll react and that you’ll always do what you say you’ll do, parenting becomes infinitely easier. 

For example, if you tell your child they can’t watch the TV one day whilst they have their dinner, but the next day you give in and let them because you’re stressed and can’t face the argument, guess what they’ll do the next day when you say no…

They’ll keep pushing until you give in or they’ll get upset when you don’t.

Children feel safe and secure when they know what the rules are and how to stick to them.

Some days you won’t want to stick to your rules, but trust me…those small ‘in-the-moment’ battles will be far easier than the on-going arguments when they challenge you on everything!  

Summary 

It’s important to remember that no parent is perfect. We all have good days and bad days and nobody expects you to get it right all the time.

Guess what? The fact you’re even thinking about it shows you’re an amazing parent already. 

If you have an off day, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just take a moment, reflect and see if you can improve the next day! 

You’ve got this! 

Never miss a post!

We don’t spam! Your email address will only be used to send new blog posts!

Parenting Hacks & Tips

13 low budget activities for kids to do at home

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep providing great content!

Whilst the majority of children are back at school now, let’s face it – Keeping them occupied whilst at home can be tough sometimes; particularly when funds are running a little low in the run-up towards Christmas!

I thought I’d share some budget-friendly ideas for activities for your children based on what Evie and I got up to during the first nationwide lockdown.

Enjoy!

1. Making Rainbow Rice

Rainbow Rice Sensory

Although the warm and sunny days of the first lockdown have long since passed, this is a great little activity for kids if you want to to keep them occupied.

The great thing about making rainbow rice is that it’s perfect for sensory play. It’s amazing how much fun you can have with some dyed rice as part of a sensory bin; Evie loved doing this as a two-year-old and she still loves it.

It’s great for developing fine motor skills too.

What you’ll need:
– A few bags of rice
Plenty of bottles of food colouring
Sandwich bags
A large container

Get yourself a sandwich bag for each different food colouring you have and fill them with roughly the same amount of rice (You can weigh it if you like, but I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle…).

Add a good amount of a single colour into each of the different bags and tie each one up. We ended up with one bag that was brown, one that was yellow, one that was blue, one green and so on…

Get your kids involved with squeezing the bag and distributing the colour evenly around the bag. Talk to them about the texture and get them to notice how it changes as the bag becomes wet.

Next, leave the rice to dry for around 24 hours and, et voila!

Rainbow rice.

Things you could try:
– Burying a small toy in there and giving them a pastry brush. They aren’t allowed to use anything but the brush to find it – Evie loves this game!
– Separating the rice into colours
– Burying your hands in there and really feeling the texture
– Using an empty metal coffee tin as a rice shaker to make noise

2. Cardboard Laptops

This is a great little activity you can do at home with a leftover shoebox.

You can take a look at our more detailed guide for full instructions, but here’s a quick summary:

What you’ll need:
– A shoebox
– A craft knife
PVA glue

Simply mark the laptop shape (A full diagram can be found here) and cut it out, making sure to leave a good solid edge on one side to help it stand up.

Glue on your screen and buttons and add a mouse for some extra flare!

3. Cupcake Case Flowers

Easter came and went during lockdown this year, so we used these fancy little copper cupcake cases and made Easter daffodils.

What you’ll need:
– Cupcake cases (Try these!)
– Paint pens (Get ’em here)

Really simple idea, but looks great and makes for a lovely little craft activity if you want to change it up a bit.

Just stick the cupcake down and encourage your child to be as imaginative as possible with the shapes they make.

It’s amazing how much enthusiasm and excitement you can create with your little one with something as simple as a cupcake case.

Things you could try:
– Using the cases as wheels for a car
– Using the cases as eyes for a monster
– Using the cases as the nose of a dog

You get the idea!

4. Sandwich Bag Painting

Evie absolutely loved this one because she was able to get really involved with the making of it! I still have remnants of the tape stuck to my window…

What you’ll need:
– Sandwich bags (I prefer this kind)
– Washable paints (Any will do)

Fill some ziplock sandwich bags with different coloured paints and stick them to the wall or a window.

We used ours to draw little pictures with our fingers, which is a great way to get them thinking about the formation of shapes and letters.

Evie found it particularly funny when the purple and orange paints merged together to form what she delightfully referred to as, ‘blood’.

It honestly looked like we’d hijacked a blood transfusion bag and stuck it to the wall.

Maybe avoid mixing orange and purple, actually.

What you could try:
– Depending on their age, practise forming letters
– Form shapes and lines in the paint
– Draw faces together
– Mixing colours in the bag and talking about how you made it

5. Pepper Science Experiment

This is s great science experiment for kids.

If you’re looking for educational activities for kids, this is great since it helps to reinforce the importance of washing your hands…

What you’ll need:
– Pepper
– A mixing bowl
– Soap
– Water

Just fill the mixing bowl with water and get your child to put plenty of pepper into it.

Then, get Them to dip their hands into the water and watch how the pepper sticks.

Evie declared that it was, ‘So gross’ at this point and immediately went to the toilet to wash her hands.

Next, get your child to put a little soap on their hands and rub it all over.

Make sure they’re paying attention as they put their finger slowly into the water and then marvel as the pepper dashes away to the sides of the bowl.

Being the nerd that I am, I Googled why this happens – It’s all to do with surface tension. Very clever stuff and worth a try.

6. Make Salt Dough Hand Prints

Making salt dough is a great activity for keeping the kids occupied at various intervals during the day.

What you’ll need:
– 1 cup of salt
– 2 cups of flour
– 3/4 cup of water

To make salt dough, just mix together your salt and flour in a large bowl, then gradually stir in the water.

As the mixture binds together it’ll start to form a doughy consistency which you can mould however you like.

I wanted to make something we could keep, so I got Evie to use the rolling pin and flatten it out before making two big handprints in it.

After that, you need to stick it in the oven at a fairly low heat and just let it dry out.

Because it takes a long time to cook, you can start off in the morning, go and play something else and come back to it later on in the day.

I’m sure you can do it more professionally than we did; we weren’t very scientific with out timings…We just kept checking every now and then, before eventually taking it out when it seemed done ?.

7. Use your Surroundings

Introducing ‘Cushionland’! This one regularly makes an appearance at our house because it’s fun, easy-to-do and safe.

What you’ll need:

– Cushions from the sofa
– Floor space
– A strong reserve when they’re jumping

I love creating a safe environment for Evie to just go wild; even if that means leaping like a lunatic across the room.

The beauty of using your surroundings, if you’re not too precious on keeping your sofa immaculate of course, is that you can create sooo many games off the back of it – ‘The Floor is Lava’ of course being one of the favourites.

Sometimes it’s nice to just throw caution to the wind and have some fun burning off some energy.

8. Make Stamps

Having fun at home doesn’t need to be expensive and you can quite often make use of everyday items around the house. There’s something so rewarding about crafts for kids and Evie always loves it.

What you’ll need:
– Washable paint
– Cardboard Toilet Roll Tubes
– Masking tape

We really love doing little arts and crafts, but sometimes children just need a little push to get creative.

This is great because it focuses on teaching control, whilst reinforcing a little creativity.

9. Make a Sofa Den

What you’ll need:
– A sofa
– A blanket or two
– Some cushions
– Your imagination

This is one of my favourite games as a Daddy. I don’t know why, but there’s something about building a den that I just never seem to grow out of.

I love anything that involves imaginative play because I believe that imagination is the route to creativity and, in my humble opinion, I believe that creative people are successful people.

I want Evie to grow up always thinking outside of the box and challenging the world that is presented in front of her.

As a strong young lady, Evie needs to know that she can change the world if she puts her mind to it.

I know it sounds a little grandiose, but by literally changing our surroundings to suit our games, Evie is learning an extremely valuable lesson – the world is what you make it.

We love building a den and lining up all of Evie’s teddies or Barbies in there; you’ll usually find us in here at some point over a weekend!

10. Make a Pirate Ship

What you’ll need:
– A sofa (or two)
– Materials for the sail (We used an old curtain on a curtain pole)
– A plate for the ship’s steering wheel
– A sword and an eye patch if available
– A phone or tablet (This will become clear)

Pirate ships are a common occurrence in the Betts household and one of my favourite home activities for kids.

We often push the two sofas together and wedge an old curtain pole and curtain vertically to make the sail.

Evie pillages one of her plates from the kitchen drawer as a steering we’ll and will often make me walk the plank if I’ve been naughty (A bench from our kitchen table).

This is a fantastic game for really spurring on your child’s imagination, especially if you use your phone or tablet to play ocean waves in the background.

Let the adventure begin!

11. Have a Bake-Off

Baking Muffins

What you’ll need:
– A muffin or cake making kit

So, you like baking? I’m happy for you. Unfortunately, this is not a skill of mine and it probably never will be.

I’m never going to be Paul Hollywood and my muffins certainly won’t pass with ‘showstopper’ status, but do you know what? I’m not really fussed!

It’s easy to lose sight of the spirit of the activity, which for me is spending quality time with my daughter.

Mixing a few ingredients from a packet is a little lazy on the baking front, but my four-year-old certainly has no concerns about a soggy bottom and to be quite honest, never eats them anyway!

Taking the time to spend time with your munchkin whilst they’re learning that they make things (even with the aid of handy packet-based shortcuts), is a perfect way to encourage curious little learners.

To me, that’s what counts.

12. Get ’em thinking

Himiku Blocks Tower

What you’ll need:
– Himiku Blocks (Get ’em here)

In my opinion, kids learn best when they’re playing. Evie absolutely loves to be challenged and I try my best to encourage a curious, problem-solving attitude.

Himiku Blocks are little wooden shapes that can be stacked high and really get those brain cells going.

Evie will often sit for ages whilst she tries to work out how she can build the tallest tower possible and, to be honest, I quite find myself mulling it over myself!

13. Put ’em to work

What you’ll need:
A sponge
– A bucket
– A dictatorial mindset

Kids these days, huh? They just don’t understand the value of hard work anymore. Evie’s four – It’s about time she learned to contribute to the household…

OK, I’m kidding. I don’t believe in putting children to work, unlike many well-known household consumer brands and their unethically-managed sweatshops, but I do like to involve Evie in activities around the house from time-to-time.

In life, we all have to do things we don’t want to do; whether it’s going to work, doing household chores or for me, exercising.

I believe the secret is finding enjoyment in whatever you do, however much you don’t want to do it.

This is an attitude I’d like to instil into Evie, so we try to think up little games and challenges to make washing the car or doing the gardening more exciting!

Keep checking back! I’m going to add to this list over the coming weeks!

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Wooden Dollhouse
Parenting Hacks & Tips, Reviews

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Dolls House | An In-Depth Review

The Kidkraft Majestic Mansion is a sturdy, well-built dolls house that is guaranteed to leave a massive smile on your little one’s face.

Evie has now owned hers from for a whole year and she still enjoys playing with it as much as ever. 

My biggest frustration is that buying alternative furniture has proven quite difficult and it’d be nice to be able to switch it up from time to time. 

I can’t recommend this product enough. 

You can pick yours up from Amazon for around £180. 

About the Dolls House (The technical stuff) 

The fully assembled dolls house comes to about four and a half feet tall. The exact measurements 132.1cm x 35.5 cm x 135.9cm – It’s huge! 

To put it into perspective, Evie needs a step to be able to see into the baby doll’s attic room, which means she’ll be able to get plenty of use out of it over the next few years. 

Because of its size, there’s easily space for more than one child to play with it side by side too.

The house comes with 34 pieces of well-crafted wooden furniture including a piano, grandfather clock, bed, bedside tables and more lots more. We regularly play ‘moving house’, a simple game that involves removing all of the furniture and putting it back in its new place somewhere else in the house.

There are eight rooms are spread across four floors and perhaps most impressive of all is the working life for the dolls to move between levels. 

The house is designed for ‘12 inch dolls’, which is the standard Barbie or equivalent brand size. 

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Wooden Dollhouse

Putting the KidKraft Majestic Mansion together 

Although it took a little bit of time, assembling the dolls house was nice and straightforward. 

There were numbered stickers on every separate piece and the instructions were nice and clear. 

All-in, I’d say it took slightly more than an hour to put together, with the help of my brother – I’d recommend having somebody else with you whilst you do just to help you hold bits together.

The dolls house comes with wall fixings and I would strongly advise you to not waste any time in fixing it to the wall. Because the house is tall, Evie has tried on a few occasions to pull herself a little higher to see the attic, which of course means that she places all her weight at the top.

That terrifies me but is easily prevented.

Build Quality 

The Kidkraft Mansion is surprisingly well-built. 

I really like how the panels are already pre-covered with nice little prints, which clearly and easily signify what each room is surprised to be – Evie’s favourite has to be the living room for sure! 

For me, what stands out on the Majestic Mansion is the great level of attention they’ve paid to the little details throughout the house.

The garage doors open and close nicely and can fit Evie’s Barbie car in it perfectly. The little pieces of wooden furniture look great; I particularly love the piano! 

Read some of our most popular posts here:
Low budget activities for kids: Cardboard laptop
5 things about parenthood NOTHING can prepare you for
Our Top 10 Parenting Rules to Live By

Overview

I bought the Kidkraft Majestic Mansion for Evie a year ago now and it’s been a mainstay of our playroom ever since.

Because the dolls house is so big, we can easily sit together and play and, unfortunately for my bank balance, we’ve gradually added to our Barbie collection to keep play fresh and exciting. 

The lovely design and sturdy build quality mean that it makes for a lovely feature in the room and as a daddy, just gives me such a lovely feeling every time we go in there to play. 

For me, parenting is all about creating memories for your kids. You never know quite what will stick and what will be forgotten. 

That’s why I like to create as many special moments for her as Evie as possible. 

Whether she remembers it or not as she grows up, I know that I’ll never forget the look on Evie’s face the moment she first saw the dollhouse. 

It’s something that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life. 

You can watch the moment she saw it for the first time below. 

So all-in-all, the Kidkraft Majestic Mansion is a fantastic product that is well-priced, well-made and now…well-played with. 

You can get this perfect wooden dolls house here

Some of the common questions about the KidKraft Majestic Mansion: 

Does the dollhouse come with decorations and stickers?
Yes, every room is nicely decorated with pre-installed stickers. 

Which dolls should I use for it? 
The dollhouse is designed for 12-inch dolls like Barbies or LOLs. 

Does the dollhouse come flat-packed?
Yes, the dollhouse comes flat-packed in a box weighing 29kg and measuring 104cm x 62cm x 24cm. Assembly took around an hour, although I’d allow for more.

Does the price include furniture for the dollhouse?
You’ll get 34 pieces of furniture included when you order the dollhouse

Never miss a post!

We don’t spam! Your email address will only be used to send new blog posts!

Lifestyle & Adventures, Parenthood, Parenting Hacks & Tips

Grow Your Parenting Instagram Account to More Than 10K In Less Than 12 Months

Want to grow your parenting Instagram account? It’s easier than you might think. You just need to show up.

With a little bit of time, effort and consistency, you’ll get to 10k in no-time.

I couldn’t believe it when we hit 10k followers on Instagram. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that we’d get to that point in less than a year, but here we are!

There has been SO MANY things I’ve learned along the way when it comes to managing an Instagram account along the way and it can certainly feel like a bit of a minefield when you start out.

With so many ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of Instagram, it can be difficult to know how to grow your account for the best.


I’ve broken down some of the key tips and tricks we used to be able to grow our account to more than 10k in less than a year.



Want to view it directly in YouTube? Click here.

About Us

Thanks so much for taking the time to read our posts. If you’d like to know a little bit more about us, just click the button below.

Find out more
Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to get the latest content right to your inbox!

We'll only use your email to send you our latest posts!

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Spotify
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound