Top Tips for A Smooth School Morning Routine

School mornings can be the most stressful part of the day. Children, especially the younger ones do not understand the concept of time and If anything like my youngest boy, they will deliberately go slow once told to be quick.

I am no expert in parenting nor am I saying I know more than any other parent, But I am hoping that my tips can help someone who is struggling with the morning routine running smoothly. Having three children and one of them being a stubborn morning person, I have been the Mum that screams the house down in the morning. I have been the parent that has sat on the bottom step of the stairs, head in hands and cried. I have been stressed to the max when the youngest just wouldn’t budge and just moved like a sloth to the front door without wearing his coat or shoes. We had months of where we left late every morning for school and I felt like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, looking at my watch every 2 seconds, screaming out that we’re late, we’re late! School morning routines can be stressful but they don’t have to be if you just try to organise your time and prepare.

It’s all about preparing the night before. If you can get as much as possible all set up the night before then there won’t be as much as a rush in the morning.

  • If your child has pack lunch for school, most of it can be prepared the night before. I put in packets, juices, fruits and bars into their boxes and leave the yoghurt and any fresh food for the morning. It’s best to out the lunch box together before the children wake up, then you won’t be listening to the moans of them not wanting what you put in. I like to make the sandwiches fresh in the morning but to save time you can make them the night before and store them in the fridge.
  • Wake up at least 45 minute before anyone else in the household. This way you get to relax before the tornado hits. Grab a cuppa and a biscuit and chill for 5 minutes. I also like to get dressed before they wake up. Fewer people fighting over the bathroom.
  • Place all bags and coats near to the front door. Easy to grab before you leave the house and also means that nothing gets left behind. Line up their school shoes next to the front door too.
  • Keep all winter clothes, like scarves and gloves inside he sleeve of the children’s coats. That way there will be no searching for them in the morning.
  • Make sure the children’s book bags are looked through as soon as they come home from school. All homework taken out and placed on the table to do straight away. All letters read and signed to be placed back into the book bags ready to be handed in the next day
  • Fold up your child’s school uniform, along with underwear and socks ready for the next day, in a pile. I leave ours in the living room, so after they have had their breakfast and had a quick wash they can get dressed in front of me downstairs, then I know there will be no distractions for them in their bedroom.
  • A bath/shower is better, for time wise, to have the night before. Just freshen up in the morning with a strip wash from the sink.
  • I always put the toothpaste on their toothbrushes as soon as I can. Once I am dressed and ready I prepare their toothbrushes and leave them on the side of the sink. That way I know there won’t be snail trails of bright blue gunk all over the white bathroom suite and I always know if they have brushed their teeth. Children have a tendency to lie about brushing their teeth. I touch the brush head to see if it is wet too. It saves time too as It takes me seconds but leave it to the children and they can be in there for hours
  • NO TV. do not have the television on whilst the children are around. They will sit and stare at adverts about incontinence and women’s period rather than get dressed and ready for school. It’s like auto pilot, there not taking anything in of what there watching they just watch for the sake of it.
  • Hide all tablets, laptops, console remotes and phones the night before, then there will be no distractions in the morning when a child wants to play on a game or watch something on YouTube.
  • Make a note of anything special happening in school on your phone diary or family organiser. I have a calendar up in the kitchen where everyone can see it. On I mark down school trips, class assembly’s, teacher meetings, parents evenings, PE and swimming days and any other special events. I always check the night before and I set the alarm on my phone for a second reminder.
  • As soon as the children have woken up and are downstairs they choose their breakfast and sit at the table to eat it. They then have a wash and get dressed. We sometime have a little game on who can get dressed first (makes them go faster), they love a little competition.
  • Make up a ‘I Can DO’ chart I had one that had ‘made my bed’ ‘brushed my teeth’ ‘got dressed’ and ‘ate breakfast’ The child can put a star next to the chore that they have finished. You can reward them with a sticker, children love stickers!

The last tip is to always keep your front door keys and phone in your handbag, coat pocket or on the window sill near to the front door. You don’t want to get the children all organised for you to go hunting through the house, just as you are about to exit through the front door. This I have done many times before as I was too occupied in getting the children ready, I have even shut the door without my keys in my pocket. Check, Check, Check! That is my last advice.

Let me know if there is anything that you do for an easy, smooth running morning that I do differently. I am always up for new ideas to help

Thank you for reading

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Adjusting to life with a Colostomy Bag

As you may well know, If you follow me on social media or on the blog, that at the end of last year I underwent surgery to have a tumour removed from my bowel. Because of the site of the tumour I had to have my rectum removed which results in me having a bag for life. Now out of hospital I am adjusting to living with a colostomy bag.

I haven’t made too many public appearances yet as I am still weak and recovering from the surgeries that I had. I have had a little walk around the local supermarket and I did have a little mishap of wind but As I was layered up with clothing the sound was muffled and it was probably just me that noticed the noise.

The stoma at the moment is very noisy and can be very embarrassing. It sounds like a balloon that has been deflated and let off. The boys have got used to it now but still find it hilarious that Mummy has a bottom on her tummy and that I poo in a bag.

I am conscious of it being seen under my clothing as I my tummy is quite swollen at the moment and sticks out a bit. It can be seen if it isn’t tucked into the trousers and does make a rustling sound against my clothing as I am wearing loose tops. I am worried about others noticing it and the comments that will come. Some people can be blunt with their words and not think of your feelings. Some people can be damn right nasty and make jokes of wearing a colostomy bag. Yes, I am embarrassed but on the other hand I know that it has possibly given me a life.

The results of the tumour and lymph nodes biopsy, once taken from me, has come back negative. No cancer cells left behind. That’s not to say that they haven’t escaped to else where in the body and I will not know this until I have a full body scan. I am extremely worried about this and on one hand I don’t want to find out. I don’t want to go through it all again. I had a shit 2016, especially the last 6 months. My family and my life has been put on hold. We have had to cancel plans, holidays, days out and adjusted to life with Cancer. During my treatment, I spent weeks laying on the bed due to the skin breaking and becoming sore. The last two months I have been in hospital. It all seems to be a dream, a nasty dream.

The only way now is not to dwell on what could have been but what can be.

I need to get some more confidence in myself and say ‘Sod you’ I need to be comfortable with my body in order to go about life as I was before.

I have already began to think about what type of clothes would be ideal to wear with the colostomy. I have bought a few items of clothing in the sales, a few long cardigans, over sized jumpers and loose-fitting tops. I am fully aware, constantly, of the bag and am hoping that once I become more confident with it then it will just become part of me and once in a routine it will become an everyday routine that won’t stop me from having an active, social lifestyle.

It has taken a while for the bowel to fully function properly and is still finding its place in the abdomen after being prodded and poked about with during surgery. Certain foods are giving me wind, which is very uncomfortable and painful. I have no control no more of my bowel habits, when it happens it happens. I am concerned that it will happen when I am out amongst other people who do not know my situation. I am scared of the reaction from people. I am aware that the bag can be seen through clothes and I am anxious of the stares, the glares, the pointing and the comments that will come. I know I can’t be in the comfort of my home for ever, I have to return to work and I have a life with the boys to get on with and I have friends to be social and enjoy company with. I am hoping with time that I will become less conscious and more confident. After all it is still early days, I only had the surgery on the 9th November and have only been home for 2 weeks now. With the support of my family and friends I know I can do this and that I will get my life back on track.

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My Health Test Review with Patient.co.uk

How healthy are you?

Would you like to know how healthy you really are and set goals to get into better shape this year? Patient.co.uk have  introduced a great FREE health questionnaire which does just that.

MyHealth is a clinically backed medical questionnaire which compares you with others, helping you to understand the impact your lifestyle is having on your health now – and the steps you can take for a healthier new you! The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to take with all of the questions being multiple ones. The test helps you to understand how healthy you are by putting you in an imaginary queue of 100 people that are just like you. The higher up the queue you are the less risk there is to you and your health. Once you are given your place in the queue you are then given your results including help and advice from a professionally tailored healthcoach who can help you make simple decisions which will really influence your score and help you tick off your goals along the way! The questionnaire is highly respected and widely used in the NHS by clinicians and by focusing on the small changes you can take to improve your results it is also designed to be less intimidating by keeping away from the ‘STOP’ what you’re doing and Change everything now! prompts.

First you sign up to the website which is simple enough giving your self a nickname and a password and leaving your email address. Once confirmed you can then take the questionnaire which includes questions on yourself, medical and family history, lifestyle, biometrics, diet and stress all of which play a vital statistic in how healthy you are. It is important to answer these questions honestly to get a more personal result.

So what was my results? Well my score was really not what i was expecting, it was actually quite low. My score in the queue is 57 which is medium risk and 3 below the general healthy limit score of 60. Looking at my lifestyle factors the results show me where i can improve my health, priority one being my diet! I believe myself to have a very well-balanced diet, i eat my 5 a day in fruit and veg, fish once a week, don’t use added salt into my meals when preparing them and i tend to stay away from foods that are high in fats but where i didn’t score very well was not drinking enough water (I admit, I don’t!) and not eating enough fibre and my next priority is my weight, I am actually underweight. A healthy BMI is 18.5 but mine is below this! I am not sure how i could put any more weight on as i do eat like a horse although i am very physical where i walk everywhere and having three young boys keeps me on my toes from the moment i wake up til the moment i go to sleep (Even writing this post i am running round the house mid sentences chasing the baby).

Once i read through my lifestyle factors i could then set myself some goals which are to gain some more weight and to make some minor improvements in my diet although i don’t think i can change my intake of alcohol, i don’t drink too much but every woman needs a glass or two, Don’t we girls? If i succeed this will push my patient Q score to 89! WoW I have given myself 2 months to improve my health.

I found the questionnaire easy to follow with questions that were not too hard to complete, like answering the question about what my blood pressure was, a simple ‘I don’t Know’ got me through to the next question. I liked reading through my factors and finding out what parts of my lifestyle let down my health. I am looking forward to checking back in a months time to see if i have improved my health.

If you want to take the test too click on the link here

I have been paid for the purpose of this review but all views through my own experience of taking the test are of my own.

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