Posts, musings and funny incidents, hot from the keyboard of our School Run Mum.
Posted by School Run Mum on 27/06/2012. Labels: School Run Mum
I think something strange happens to time in the final week of term. Each day seems like a week, each morning seems like a day with kids and parents dragging themselves ever more reluctantly out of bed, and each afternoon seems like an endless battle to calm fraying nerves and pacify exhausted children.
There is such a sense of an ending about these last few days. School work starts to come home, school trips and concerts take place and any sense of ...click to read full post & comments
It's hard to believe that two years have passed since my eldest son started school. It really has flown by, and next week he will leave the infant class years behind him. Those early drawings of the family with sticks for legs and tree-branches for arms, those carefully traced letters and terribly important news reports of friends going swimming at the weekend will be filed away in the 'Junior and Senior Infants' folder, with a new 'First Class' folder on standby.
But, I am not saying goodbye to infant classes, because my youngest son starts school this September and we start all over again.
It's funny how most people assume ...click to read full post & comments
So, the summer holidays loom large and the schedule of activities to keep the kids occupied remains worryingly empty. Of course there are plenty of Summer Camps being organised around the country, but they don't always come cheap and there is also the element of being tied to the dates once you book. Sometimes, I prefer to be a little more spontaneous - particularly to be able to take advantage of any rare, sunny days which may be heading our way (finer's crossed). And while I'm sure I will fill up the activity planner with plenty of exciting, adventurous things before the end of June (gulp), in the meantime I do have one fail safe activity ...click to read full post & comments
Each week, my son's class start by writing their 'News'. This is basically a little re-cap of whatever they have been doing over the weekend. I suspect that most 'News' centres around highlights like eating ice creams, dressing up as Iron Man or finding a sticker in the packet of Moshi Monster frubes.
But some weekends are more memorable than others. Like the recent weekend, for example. This was a LONG, long weekend; we were off school from Friday to Tuesday. We filled our days with ...click to read full post & comments
With Father's Day fast approaching (June 17th), I thought this would be a good time to focus on the Dads out there - or rather, the Dad's-to-be. It still surprises me that so much of the focus of new parents is placed on the mum, with poor Dad hardly getting a sideways glance (other than for useful things like assembling cots and carrying tins of paint around for the new nursery). So, I was pleasantly surprised to see a new book by the founder and Editor of dedicated Dads website dad.ie
Published by The O'Brien Press, David Caren has written the book for the ...click to read full post & comments
In my role as a freelance journalist and blogger, I often get sent press releases about new services and products for children, from food, games, clothing, books and medical products it would seem that there is no end to the 'stuff' that brands can market to us vulnerable, product-hungry parents.
Over the last twelve months, I've been increasingly ...click to read full post & comments
So, the weather may not have been the, erm, best just recently but are we really surprised? Nah! But aside from the fact that the grey skies and howling wind don't make for the best of moods, it's no joke trying to keep the kids entertained when they can't get outside to run off some of that energy (I have two boys and they have a LOT of energy to get rid of!)
For some parents, a rainy day means retreating quickly to the nearest indoor play centre. And while there is a lot to be said for a well run, clean, organised ...click to read full post & comments
It is that time of year when parents like me, whose child will start school in September, have lots of conversations about this significant milestone. We can’t believe our ‘baby’ is going to school. We can’t believe they have grown up so quickly and we can’t believe that they are ever going to be able to put their straw into their juice box ‘all by themself’ without spilling it everywhere.
Starting school is a big deal – for parent and child. And even if this is your ...click to read full post & comments
With the May Bank Holiday looming, and then the long summer holidays, the prospect of long car journeys with the children may not fill you with joy! We've all been there - setting out full of good intentions for a calm, harmonious journey, only to end up threatening to stop the car, or turn around and go straight back home after 20 minutes.
So, what can you do to ease their boredom and ensure you don’t have a ...click to read full post & comments
I've blogged here before about how shocked I am to read reports and statistics showing that a high percentage of children don't get a bedtime story. I really believe that it is never too early to introduce children to books and to create an interest in books and reading. I grew up on the stories of Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter, with the adventures of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Mrs Tiggywinkle all becoming firm, childhood favourites. The Tale of Peter Rabbit is Potter's best-loved story and Peter is, arguably, one of the most enduring characters in children's literature.
To celebrate the 110th anniversary of the first printed publication of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, a ...click to read full post & comments
Young school children – that’s who. But according to recent research, over two-thirds of school children are not getting enough sleep and the average six-year-old doesn’t go to sleep until after 9.30pm.
Reading the article, these two facts alone were enough to shock me into an open-mouthed stare. We usually start making ‘bedtime’ noises at 7.30pm and try to have everyone in bed by 8-8.30pm at the latest (my children are 4 and 6). But perhaps the more shocking piece of information to arise from this recent article in the Irish Independent, is the following ...click to read full post & comments
For years now, I’ve been warning my kids about ‘The Man’. You know, the one who watches them and will come and arrest them (or something like that) if they throw food in restaurants or climb up, instead of down, the slide in the playground. ‘The Man is watching,’ I whisper, pointing to a Security Guard or someone similarly officially-attired. ‘I’d behave myself, if I were you, or he’ll be coming over to have words.’
The threat of ‘The Man’ generally works. I have also used the ‘eyes in the back of my head’ trick which always seems to impress.
However, a recent report in The Independent, suggests that an extra ...click to read full post & comments
So, the shops are drowning in Easter Eggs (some have been drowning in them since the week after Christmas, but the less said about that the better). Big ones, small ones, HUGE ones, cartoon character ones – there is pretty much something for everybody. Everybody, that is, who likes chocolate.
My son doesn’t.
Although he would never be prepared to admit it (what child would?), he just doesn’t really like it. He would never refuse a chocolate and will make a very good attempt at ...click to read full post & comments
So, we reached a decision a few weeks ago. Daddy would give up chocolate, mummy would give up wine and the children would give up watching cartoons. I didn’t give any of us much hope of lasting more than a week, but as we head towards the home stretch, I have to say we have done remarkably well. Especially the children.
The concept of giving something up for several weeks was one they didn’t really grasp, so perhaps their enthusiastic compliance in the ‘no cartoons’ agreement was ...click to read full post & comments
We've all experienced those moments in the supermarket when the kids catch sight of something they've seen advertised on TV and start nagging for you to put it in the basket (or just put it in the basket themselves as a surprise for you when you get to the checkout).
It's tough to continually say no. 'No, we can't get that breakfast cereal because it's got CHOCOLATE in it.' 'No, we can't get those because it's not actually chicken.' No, we can't buy that juice because it is practically made of sugar and nothing else.' I definitely come home with more ...click to read full post & comments
Thursday 1st March is World Book Day in Ireland and the UK. World Book day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading and is now celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide. A main aim of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own by redeeming a book voucher for one of eight books which have been selected for World Book Day 2012.
While it is shocking to think that some children don't ...click to read full post & comments
So, we have somehow already reached Pancake Day and Lent. What’s not to love about Pancake Day – perhaps the only night of the year when I can guarantee that I will have clean plates and the children will have full tummies (we’re going for a record of 7 this year, apparently).
But Lent is a funny one. Obviously, this is interpreted in different ways depending on your beliefs and religious standpoint. For some, it is taken ...click to read full post & comments
There comes an inevitable time in every parent’s life when they will see their child develop a crush on a member of the opposite sex. At the age of 25 – I’m hoping, and not before!
But, what should a parent do when their Junior and Senior Infants come home declaring their undying love for a boy or girl in their class and announce, over dinner, that they have made up their mind and that they will marry said person and ...click to read full post & comments
Most parents have been stumped at least once, and in my case many, many times by a tricky question produced by the inquiring minds of their children. The ‘but why’ phase seems to start around the age of three and, as far as I can tell so far, probably never stops.
Taking a simple car journey to the shops can result in the most profound conversations as question after question is thrown at you such as how the rain is made, why the moon is out in the day, what a rainbow is made of and what those big pipes at the side of the road are used for. As we attempt to drive, change CDs, ignore our ringing phone and pass drinks and a snack into the back seat, it isn't always that easy to come up with ...click to read full post & comments
I will never forget the day when I popped into the local Spar for a loaf of bread. It was lunchtime, I was a new mum on maternity leave and I thought this would take a couple of minutes. It didn’t. It took FOREVER because I hadn’t factored in the deluge of kids from the local secondary school who had just descended en masse to buy their wedges and sausage rolls and crisps and pop and sweets for their lunch. I now know to avoid any of the shops at lunchtime!
The fact that dinners are not provided in Irish schools was a shock to me ...click to read full post & comments
Phew! We made it. Four months of Christmas holidays, over. It was four months wasn’t it? Or was it five? I think it was four – it certainly felt like it.
Yes, yes, I know, it’s all wonderful and lovely and Christmas was, well, Christmas but it’s the bit afterwards that gets me. Unlike in the UK, where they started their Christmas holidays a week before The Big Day, meaning that there’s an opportunity to get involved in loads of pre-Christmas activities and get in the mood, most of our break was spent in that awful no-man’s land of ‘after Christmas’ – a place where nobody really wants to hang out.
So, we sat amid the remnants of selection boxes and ...click to read full post & comments
In the recent budget, a proposal was announced to abolish the Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative with immediate effect. This incredibly worthwhile initiative supports modern languages in over 550 schools nationally with a core team of just 6 people, providing training, resources and school-based support as well as funding 300 visiting teachers who deliver the language programme in schools nationwide, all within a budget of under €2 million.
The proposal to abolish the initiative comes at a time when ...click to read full post & comments
I saw a Christmas advert recently which made me laugh, albeit sarcastically. It’s the John Lewis one set to the song, ‘Please, please, please let me get what I want.’ In the ad, we are led to believe that the little boy is thinking about all the presents he’s going to get on Christmas morning, but when he wakes up he just steps over the pile of presents at the bottom of his bed and goes straight into his parents’ room with ...click to read full post & comments
For a man who is supposed to be as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, Santa seems to be making an awful lot of public appearances this year. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere – well, at least he is according to the latest edition of Primary Times which came home in my son’s school bag recently.
For a man who is supposed to be ...click to read full post & comments
Somehow or other, December is upon us and as the Christmas lights start to flicker and flash in streets and houses across the country, my thoughts turn, once again, to Christmas gifts for teachers.
I had a conversation with a teacher about this at the end of the last school year, proudly telling her all about the lovely homemade bouquets of tissue-paper flowers which my children had taken in for their teachers and the homemade biscuits they’d painstakingly decorated at Christmas. She laughed and told me how funny it is that parents think the teachers will prefer a cute little homemade gift, but actually, all they really want is a nice bottle of wine or anything in a Brown Thomas bag.
I left the conversation feeling ...click to read full post & comments
We’ve all had that awful, sinking feeling on a cold, dark, winter’s morning – oh no…….work. You know, those mornings where you just cannot face work and just want to turn off the alarm, roll over and go back to sleep. And, of course, it’s the same for the children. They wake up groggy, grumpy and just don’t want to go to school.
For adults, the concept of ‘duvet days’ was developed for those days when you just can’t face the office, and rather than faking a terrible illness and coughing uncontrollably down the phone, the duvet day (or mental health day as it is sometimes called) allows employees to have that quiet time at home you desperately need to get back on track.
For most parents, when the kids try the ‘I don’t want to go to school’ routine, they are ...click to read full post & comments
I read an interesting piece in the Irish Independent this week about the educational benefits of traditional family board games. It caught my attention because we have recently had two birthday's in the house and a number of board games were given as presents. We've had great fun on an evening playing these games together as a family (rather than watching TV) and with most of the games being old favourites which we played ourselves as children (Connect 4, Guess Who, Operation), it's been a fun trip down memory lane also.
For Junior and Senior Infant level children, board games can help to teach many valuable skills, such as colour recognition, number recognition, counting skills, letter recognition, problem solving and the invaluable lessons of taking turns and understanding the rules of the game. Of course, the concept of 'It's not the winning, it's the taking part,' is a tricky one to ...click to read full post & comments
Straight after school today (well, after homework and fending off requests for TV and snacks), I will be sitting down with my six-year-old to help him with a stack of thank you letters for the birthday presents he received recently.
It will take a while (he got a lot of presents), but I really believe it is something important and therefore ...click to read full post & comments
Is it just me or has Halloween gone a bit mad? The word 'Halloween' is actually an abbreviation of ‘All Hallows Eve’ i.e. the evening before All Hallows Day (or All Saints Day as it is now known, November 1st). But witches have been staring at me since the start of October. With the kids waiting desperately for their stash of 'Trick or Treat' sweets and more flashing lights outside the shops and houses than at Christmas time, I'm starting to wonder if we've forgotten what this occasion is all about with very little ...click to read full post & comments
I saw something on Twitter recently which provoked a bit of a reaction in me. ‘Can anyone recommend a DS Lite game suitable for a 4 yr old?’ the person tweeted. I resisted the temptation to reply with something along the lines of, ‘There are none. DS Lite games are NOT suitable for 4 year olds. Try a ...click to read full post & comments
Children’s TV worries me. It’s always being debated in the media as to how little TV is acceptable for children to watch before they turn into zombies - it's hard to know what to do for the best, We have always had a policy of ‘less is more’ when it comes to ‘the telly’ in our house.
It started out with a bit of harmless Teletubbies fun on CBeebies. From there we developed a love/hate relationship with ‘In The Night Garden’ and have really loved some of the more innocent little programmes like ’64 Zoo Lane’, ‘3rd and Bird’ and ‘Bob The Builder’ (ofcourse). I liked the CBeebies channel because the programmes were very age-appropriate for my then tiny tots, but I liked it most because there were ...click to read full post & comments
Whether you are an active participant or not, the popularity of social networking is pretty hard to ignore. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and the most recent Google Plus have captured the ...click to read full post & comments
I love this time of year. The start of October, to me, means that it is now perfectly acceptable to get out the winter coats and put the sandpit back into the shed. No more hoping for a late summer - it's gone people, gone!
I also like autumn weather - blustery, windy days when all the kids seem to go a little bit crazy, bright sunny days to wrap up and go and kick some leaves and even the cold, rainy days are the prefect excuse to dig those neglected jigsaws out of the back of the toy box and spend some ...click to read full post & comments
I like to think that I am giving my children a rounded education and varied experiences in life - even if most of it does appear to be Lego shaped at the moment (it’s a phase – right?).
We do various sporting activities pretty regularly. We’ve done hip hop dancing. We bake. We have an eclectic mix of music on the iPhone and Santa even brought a guitar to the house last Christmas (even though he did have to take it back to the toy shop in January for a refund - but fleetingly, we had a guitar in the house). When it comes to ‘the arts’ though, we’re not all that great. We’ve flirted with ...click to read full post & comments
With Junior Cert results out this Wednesday, there will inevitably be a lot of anxious students and parents in households around the country. Waiting for exam results is always a challenging, difficult time, whatever stage the exams are at and emotions can run very high.
With the media poised to cover the outcome of the results in schools across the country, the week will no doubt be accompanied by a number of news stories of individual success and failure, and not only in relation to the exam results themselves.
With Junior Cert results day comes Junior Cert results night and the inevitable anxieties for parents about the manner in which their children will mark the occasion – whether to celebrate or commiserate. Every year, ...click to read full post & comments
Last week, my eldest child started Senior Infants. One of the discussions taking place among parents at the school gate was whether we had enrolled our children for secondary schools. Some had, I hadn’t and a mild panic set in when I was advised to get onto it straight away, otherwise my, now six-year-old, might not get a place in our preferred school when the time comes.
Trouble is, we don’t really know which is our preferred school. As parents who were both educated in ...click to read full post & comments
Going back to school this week brings with it many emotions: excitement, uncertainty, fear and joy – every child will react in their own way whether they are just starting school or getting back into the school routine after the summer break. It’s a rollercoaster ride for us all.
For many parents, particularly those of younger children, the school term brings with it a number of concerns and anxieties, and they are not all to do with academic ability. In fact, most parents are quite probably more concerned about ...click to read full post & comments
It only seems like yesterday that I was unpacking the lunch box and school bag and throwing it into a corner of the kitchen. "Yippee, see you in September," I cried, with perhaps just too much glee. All those frantic mornings, cramming the best part of '5-a-day' into the Toy Story lunchbox could be forgotten about for eight whole weeks......bliss.
But all too soon, those eight weeks (which back on 1st July seemed like eight months) have flown past and I now find myself ...click to read full post & comments
So, the waiting is nearly over as the much anticipated/dreaded Leaving Cert results are announced this week. Just a couple more sleepless nights to toss and turn through and the remnants of any remaining finger nails to nibble before the big ‘reveal’.
It’s a tough time for the students who have worked so hard and for whom so much of their future depends on the results – will they have the number of points they need for their chosen third level course, will all the hard work have paid off?
While, at this stage, we all know that there is nothing that can be done now to change the outcome on results day, it’s still worth ...click to read full post & comments
My son was given a spelling exercise book from his aunt recently while we were staying with her and other members of the family. “For rainy days,” she announced. She’s a teacher – I forgave her.
He actually seemed quite excited about it and flicked through the pages straight away, although I couldn’t help noticing a distinct look of envy when he saw the prehistoric animals book his brother had been given.
Well, we actually did have a rainy day (quelle surprise!), ...click to read full post & comments
With the onset of the summer comes days out, holidays, and ‘kids menus’. Now a firm part of the ‘dining-out-with-the-kids’ experience, kids menus cause me a bit of a dilemma. A dilemma, you say. Why? Well, here’s why.
Throughout my parenting life (and with a six year old and a four year old I reckon that gives me at least ten years combined experience), I have been desperately trying to ...click to read full post & comments
I was having a quick snoop around Twitter the other day and read a tweet from a mum who blogs in the UK. The UK schools were just breaking up for the summer holidays and her tweet said: ‘Very sad listening to all the mums at the school gate today saying ‘roll on September.’ And a bit of a Twitter debate started about how parents approach the onset of the summer holidays – should we be delighted at the prospect of spending eight weeks with our children, or is it acceptable to ...click to read full post & comments
We recently received the first of our 'official' school reports. Generally delighted (and relieved) with how the first year of school had gone, I suppose I was lucky to see the envelope land on the doorstep and not instantly dread it or reach for the whiskey before opening it. We hadn't had any real problems to deal with and I could only anticipate good things in the report.
But still, I surprised myself at my reaction to what I read. For some reason, I was anticipating ...click to read full post & comments
I am sure I look back on my own childhood through very rose-tinted glasses, but I do have some great memories of school summer holidays spent roaming around in friend’s gardens, going for endless bike
rides, paddling in streams and generally being outside.
Perhaps everyone is on a beach somewhere and forgot to invite me, but the streets around where I live are deserted – and it’s actually sunny this week. Where are all the kids, I ask myself?
It would seem that the school summer holidays are now almost ...click to read full post & comments
The remnants of last week’s packed lunches haven’t even be removed from the sides of the lunchbox and already we are seeing ‘Back to School’ adverts and offers of 3 for 2 on ‘back to school’ items. For goodness sake, let us at least enjoy a couple of days revelling in the fact that we don’t have to turn into ...click to read full post & comments
And so another school year comes to an end and with it comes the annual dilemma of the ‘thank you teacher’ gift.
Of course, the shops wised up to this growing trend for giving teacher more than just an apple and a homemade card at the end of the school year, and there are now any number of shelves dedicated purely to gift displays for suitable thank you teacher presents.
Which makes me ponder. Is it really necessary to ...click to read full post & comments
It seems to be a case of love it or hate it when it comes to holidays and kids clubs. I’m not exactly sure which side of the fence I sit on, and this summer may decide things for me.
For many parents, the main thing they look for when booking their family summer holiday is a full schedule of kids’ clubs activities. With the children entertained, this means that the parents are pretty much guaranteed to get some much needed down time on the sun lounger. The more time the children are in the kids club, the better, in-so-far as an enjoyable holiday goes.
Then there are the traditionalists who feel that ...click to read full post & comments
There aren’t many certainties in life, but surely one of the more reliable things has to be the un-reliability of the summer weather (sigh).
By the time the schools break up next week, we’ll already have had one of the summer months (I’m counting the months of June, July and August as the ‘summer’ for the purposes of this point – although others I talk to would argue that July, August and September are the summer months. Anyway, I digress and that’s another post altogether).
So, as we inevitably head into a summer of weather ...click to read full post & comments
With recent research from the World Health Organisation showing a link (or ‘positive association’ as they put it) between mobile phone use and increased risk of a malignant type of brain cancer, what does this mean for our children?
It’s a tough call for parents to know when to give in to the relentless demands from our kids for a mobile phone or ...click to read full post & comments
If I had a euro for the number of times this phrase was mentioned to me as I grew up, I would be a very rich woman by now!
As a child, it took me a while to figure out what this actually meant – it’s not the winning? But, I thought it was. I thought that was why we were racing down lanes in potato sacks and balancing hard-boiled eggs on spoons, to see who could be the first to cross the finish line?
I think it was when I wasn’t the first to cross the finish line (or the second or the third), that I finally understood what this meant. Ahh ...click to read full post & comments
I have something to get off my chest about playgrounds. You see, they bother me. Not because I don’t like them; I do. Very much, and the fact that there is a shiny, brand new one about to be opened at the end of my road is fabulous news for the community. But they bother me because some children just don’t seem to understand the rules of playground play.
Take, for example, the simple slide. Now, I might be very old fashioned and totally out of touch, but as far as I was aware ...click to read full post & comments
With only a matter of weeks to go until Leaving Cert exams start, the pressure is really starting to build in homes across the country. For parents, exam time can be as stressful as it is for the student with emotions running high and the demands of a challenging revision and exam timetable causing tempers to fray.
The pressure and stress which exams can cause should not be underestimated; but with an acknowledgement that some degree of stress is inevitable and having a plan to deal with it, things should ...click to read full post & comments
With the long Easter break now over and the final term underway, many parent’s thoughts will be turning to Summer Camps. The local papers have been promoting local camps for weeks and it’s hard to ignore the posters going up in the post office and local shops.
With activities ranging from ...click to read full post & comments
With all this fantastic Easter holiday weather we are having, I haven’t even had to resort to the usual Emergency Entertainment Plan of a two-hour traipse around the local shopping centre. That is, until today.
It was time to get new school shoes for the boys. I couldn’t avoid it any longer. So, armed with two promises of ...click to read full post & comments
It’s been a long time coming but finally, this weekend, we celebrate Easter. We are on the four-sleep countdown at the moment and some small people are getting very excited about the visit of the Easter Bunny.
The trouble is, the Easter Bunny may not be aware that we already have a large stash of chocolate eggs in the house and I am a bit worried about ...click to read full post & comments
Last night we had our first school open evening. This caused great excitement in the School Run Mum household; our son was soooo excited to be taking his parents and little brother into his school to see his classroom and all his work.
I was quite excited myself. It’s a strange thing when ...click to read full post & comments
According to recent research, mums only have 26 minutes of time to themselves each day. Not much, is it? My kettle takes fifteen minutes to boil so that doesn’t even give me time to make two cups of tea (applies sad face).
‘The Changing Face of Motherhood’ report which highlights the findings of extensive new research from Proctor & Gamble into the role of motherhood from the 1930s to the present day, makes for fascinating reading.
75% of survey participants feel their mother’s generation had more time to bring up their children as the pressure of work and a career takes mums away from the home, but 62% of participating mums did agree that modern labour saving devices free up their time when they are at home so they can spend more quality time with their children. Thank goodness for ...click to read full post & comments
Whatever happened to the good old days of copy books and a pencil? Gone, you cry, gone, gone, gone.
I am possibly going to sound like a complete luddite now, but I am referring to the fact that I am a little bit at odds with the introduction of brand, spanking new technology into our children’s classrooms. Well, that’s not quite true. I’m not at odds with all technology; I think the use of the interactive whiteboards is completely valid and extremely helpful. We live in a digital age after all.
However, I’m not sure how comfortable I am with ...click to read full post & comments
I read, with disappointment, a sobering article in the Irish Independent, Health & Living supplement this week. The headline ‘Children should be weighed twice a year’ caught my eye.
Twice a year? I don’t think either of my children have been weighed since they were tiny babies. I used to have a keen interest in their weight; how many pounds and ounces they weighed (could never get my head around kilos) and where they were on the percentile chart. Now? Now I don’t give it a moment’s thought, other than to note that I can barely lift my five-year-old anymore and the three-year-old is giving my ...click to read full post & comments
I was shocked to see a recent news item reporting a new initiative which is being launched to encourages parents to spend fifteen minutes a day with their children. Yes, you heard me right – fifteen minutes. Just fifteen.
The initiative is labelled ‘Fast’ parenting (which alone makes my blood boil) and is being promoted by BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth who experienced the US-based concept while filming for a new BBC documentary ‘Parents Under Pressure’. ‘Fast’ is the acronym for ‘Families and Schools Together’ and the idea behind the concept is to ...click to read full post & comments
I have recently rediscovered the great outdoors! With the recent spell of sunny days (albeit a little bit on the chilly side to get really excited), I have been like a mother possessed; getting everyone’s wellies or runners on, shoving the winter gloves into my pockets (just in case) and heading off to rediscover the places we have forgotten about over the winter months.
The local parks, walks along the canal, open spaces, the playgrounds – it is like they have all been in hibernation for the last few months and the sunshine has lifted off the ...click to read full post & comments
I went back to school today. I know – terrifying!
I was reading to Junior Infants at my son’s school as part of a series of events being organised for World Book Day. I will admit that the prospect of reading to 28 five-year-olds was slightly daunting to say the least, but they were absolutely fantastic. They were so enthusiastic and well-behaved and a credit to their parents, their teacher and the school. I read three books; their favourite being ‘Morris the Mankiest Monster’ by Giles Andreae, a book which describes itself as ‘the most revolting children’s book of the year.’ They, of course, loved it!
I then spoke to 5th and 6th class about creative writing which again, was a totally new experience for me. The closest I get to interacting with that age group is when ...click to read full post & comments
Reading to my children has always been one of my favourite things to do as a parent. Sitting with them cuddled up on my knee as tiny babies looking through ‘touch and feel’ books and marvelling at the pictures in the amazing picture books available for young children brings back very fond memories for me.
In more recent years, we’ve progressed to reading children’s classics such as ...click to read full post & comments
Cooking nutritional, healthy, appealing meals for a young family can be difficult. Really difficult. I’ve personally lost count of the number of times I’ve diligently peeled, chopped, sliced and slaved over a hot stove to concoct a healthy meal which is greeted with wails of disapproval and looks of total disgust.
But, like many parents, I persevere. I coax that last piece of broccoli into an unwilling mouth because I ...click to read full post & comments
Mock exams are a bit of a strange thing. Nobody ever seems to know how seriously to take them, or why they exist. I always thought even the name ‘mock exams’ was a bad starting point. Mock, meaning fake, pretend, artificial – not words which would inspire most teenagers to knuckle down to some serious revision! They should really be called ...click to read full post & comments
Last week, while rummaging around in my son’s school bag to retrieve stray apples, half-empty drink cartons and homework, I saw a handwritten letter addressed to me and my husband. I was mildly flustered as I ripped open the envelope. What could this be? Was someone inviting us to a party? Had we been called before the Board of Management? Were we the winners of the school raffle prize?
No. We were being invited to ...click to read full post & comments
There was an interesting article in Tuesday’s Irish Times by Shelia Wayman about the social interactions which go on at the school gate. It made thought-provoking reading as she pointed out the value of those brief, often-rushed, chats which take place as you drop off or collect a child. I can absolutely see her point: as a ‘School Run Mum’ myself, I often find that a throw-away comment about something I’m doing that day, or some issue we’re having with one of the children can result in ...click to read full post & comments
My son was showing me the contents of his treasure box at the weekend – it currently holds some zoo entrance cards, some special shells, a coin from the Sydney Olympics and a plastic skull. He asked if I had a treasure box. I do. I won’t bore you with the details of its contents, but deep within it we discovered my old school reports. These made for fascinating reading (for me, if not so much for him) and took me right back to the days of exams and the dreaded ...click to read full post & comments
So the Christmas break is – finally – over and we are all gradually trying to get back into the morning routine/chaos of getting everyone out of the house on time.
I’m sure many parents felt a familiar feeling of dread over the weekend as uniforms were washed and ironed, lunch boxes and school bags were retrieved from under the bed (or wherever they were thrown after the last day of school) and alarms were set for the early morning call.
I spent most mornings of my son’s first term at school rushing around in a complete frenzy – barking orders at people (including the ...click to read full post & comments
So, it’s just about all over for another year and as the Christmas tree droops sadly in the corner of the sitting room, I have to admit that I’m not going to be all that sorry to pack away the decorations and get back into the school routine. I know – very bah humbug of me – but there does come a point soon after the turkey has been devoured when the magic of Christmas gets up and leaves the house, and ever since that moment I have been itching to clear everything away; including the uneaten mince pies and left-over Christmas pudding.
But, before we dust off the school lunch boxes, have haircuts and start an ironing marathon (sigh) we have LOTS of thank you letters to write to family and friends for all the amazing presents which found their way under the tree.
Now, in the digital age we live in, I know that handwritten letters are rapidly becoming as antiquated as ...click to read full post & comments
I am feeling quite pleased with myself, because I finally got round to doing something I’ve been promising to do for years. This morning, the children went off to their schools with a lovely home-made card for their teacher and a bag of home-made Christmas cookies. They were thrilled with their creations and proudly handed them to their teachers the minute they saw them.
And although I wondered for a moment whether we had done the right thing when I saw other parents handing over bottles of wine and wrapped boxes, I’d like to think that ...click to read full post & comments
I’m sure many families are planning a trip to the pantomime this festive season – after all, it is part of Christmas tradition. Oh, no it isn’t. Oh, yes it is!
But for children who haven’t been to a panto before, it might be worth preparing them a little, so they know what to expect before the lights go down and the bad guy starts shouting at them! I have certainly learnt from experience that a little preparation can go a long way - how many times, for example, have you ...click to read full post & comments
I am delighted (and more than a little bit relieved) that my son’s school is open again today – hooray! We did have a brief respite from the onset of cabin fever on Monday but when the school closed again yesterday I really did start to wonder whether I should just give up all hope of getting any Christmas shopping done and start making another batch of biscuits with the kids!
I may be in danger of sounding completely ancient, but I don’t seem to remember school closing as often when I was a child. I lived in a small, rural community where we always got the worst of any bad weather and there literally had to be 10ft snowdrifts and Eskimos ...click to read full post & comments
Hurray – finally December has arrived and with the amount of snow we’re getting at the moment it already feels very festive. Christmas activities and events for families start in earnest this weekend and some houses already have their decorations up; twinkling and flashing across the street.
In the festive mood ourselves, we wrote our Santa letters at the weekend. This was the first year my eldest ...click to read full post & comments
There has been a lot of debate recently about the benefits of children being given homework with the Irish Primary Principals' Network questioning the value and educational benefits of homework and an article in the Irish Times emphasising the importance of giving children work to do after school.
My own child, who started Junior Infants this year, has yet to be given any homework. While, on the one hand I am fine about that, on the other hand I do feel that I would like to see some of the work he is doing and be able to get a sense of what he’s enjoying, what he may be struggling with, or less interested in and what I can help him with. Maybe this is a hangover from the never-ending amount of work he brought home from ...click to read full post & comments
I was reading a blog recently where the mother listed an alarming schedule of after-school activities which her seven year old daughter participates in. From art to swimming to violin to dance and drama, the week was completely filled with somewhere to be, every afternoon/evening of the week (except Sundays). Her opinion was that these activities were giving her daughter an all-round education.
I’ve talked to friends and family about this before; parents driving themselves into a ball of stress because someone needs to be picked up or dropped off, borrowing friends to ...click to read full post & comments
I have a question for you. What do you do with all your children’s art and craft work? Be honest now. Do you:
a) Display it in tasteful Ikea frames which you update with new work every month
b) Proudly stick it up in a disorganised clutter on the fridge for a month or so and then store it in a safe place to be brought out to show your grandchildren in years to come
c) Admire it, leave it on the kitchen table for a couple of days to show anyone who calls round and then put it all in a folder in a drawer in the spare bedroom
It’s a bit of a conundrum isn’t it. How do you ...click to read full post & comments
Well, birthday party season seems to be in full flow at the moment. Invitations are being handed out quicker than free chocolate bars at train stations and my children’s social life is definitely reaching an all time high.
But while birthdays are a great occasion and a wonderful time to celebrate, they don’t come without their dilemmas. What, for example, is the right thing to do in terms of inviting your child’s classmates to their birthday, especially when the class size totals 27?
Assuming that most people don’t live in a sprawling mansion with an east wing and a west wing, or have infinite amounts of money to spend on bouncy castles, magicians, clowns and men with a van full of ...click to read full post & comments
So, for the duration of this week of the mid-term break I, like many parents, have to turn into a jack-of-all-trades. In addition to my usual daily roles of Head Chef, MD of Household Hygiene and On Call Staff Nurse, I now also have to become Children's Entertainer Extraordinaire.
Having spent the last six weeks soaking up wonderful new experiences, learning new skills and being given instruction, my child doesn’t seem very willing to accept that mummy has to do the hoovering and make the beds (I’m not all that willing to accept it myself to be honest but, ho hum). So, I find myself having to step up and come up with a daily list of art and craft activities which would make his teacher proud.
I also find myself ...click to read full post & comments
So, it’s just a few more days until the mid-term break. Where did that time go?
It only seems like yesterday that I walked with my very excited child into his new classroom and proudly watched him introduce himself to his teacher. That was Day One; the remaining 29 school days have flown by in a blur of packed lunches, play dates and lots of growing (my son has grown at least three inches since 1st September and will probably fit another inch in before Friday).
Looking back at the start of this ‘school run’ journey, I now realise I was very naïve. Swept up in the excitement of starting school I had no idea that ...click to read full post & comments
I had no idea that school would involve such massive amounts of organisation.
Although I was quite well-prepared at the start: the books, the bag, the uniform, the lunchbox, the pencil case (which, I might add, still languishes in the bottom of the bag un-used), the drink bottle….everything was bought well in advance. Things were ironed and hung neatly in the wardrobe (and that’s a first) and I even had the foresight to charge the camera battery for those ‘First Day at Big School’ snaps, which I look forward to embarrassing my son with when he brings his first girlfriend round for tea.
But since that brief honeymoon period of, erm, about two days when I felt briefly in charge of everything and everyone, things have taken a significant turn for the worse.
Our mornings are becoming increasingly frantic as nobody wants to get up, or get dressed, or eat breakfast. The novelty of ironing small polo shirts has worn off so I face a daily panic of finding presentable clothes for the child to wear, and then there’s a packed lunch to deal with. Don’t even get me started on that.
Every day there is another letter brought home full of
...click to read full post & comments
It’s a funny old world isn’t it? One minute you’re bringing a tiny baby back from the hospital and haven’t got a clue what to do next, and the next minute you’re standing in your kitchen, bleary-eyed, making that same tiny baby a ham and cheese sandwich* for their school lunch box. Everyone always says, “they grow up so fast”. I am finally starting to believe them.
I have two children growing up at alarming speed, both boys, and with the eldest now a full month into school life – a full month, already - I can now officially call myself a ‘school run mum’. Although very much a newbie, I hope to share the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the good, the bad and the ugly of school life with you through this blog.
The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ still holds true in cyberspace, so as I confess to my own trials and tribulations here at schooldays.ie, please join the debate, comment, share your experiences and pass on your tried and tested hints and tips for dealing with difficult issues.
Whether you’re a parent battling with hormonal teenagers at secondary school who only communicate with you through cryptic text messages, or have children just starting primary school who don’t understand why they can’t wear their Buzz Lightyear costume to school, join me here every week as we journey through these school years together.
*If anyone has come up with anything more creative than a ham and cheese sandwich, and which their child will actually eat, please, please let me know!click to read full post & comments