Self-care and relaxation and planning half-school with the kids…

I’ve thought about this a lot in the past week and I’m hearing that many of my fellow teachers have too. I’m sure that most of us enjoy the weekends by going out, socialising with other people, visiting fun places and having wide open beaches and parks to enjoy especially in the current beautiful spell of weather we’re having. Myself, I enjoy going for treatments at the salon it gives me an hour or so to myself in the generally quiet atmosphere of the salon while being pampered in some way; mani, pedi, blow dry, massage being in my top 4 choices so we decided to have a spa day at home today.

So for a simulated Thai massage I lay down on the floor and got my 3 and 5 year olds to jump up and down on my back. It was rejuvenating to say the least and it entertained them for a few mins too. Next it was time for a hair treatment so my eldest dyed my hair (and her clothes and the dining table!) I know I joke but it was lovely looking in the mirror after washing it and feeling a thousand times better. When it was being straightened and dried I honestly felt the worries of the week wash away. Next it was time for a foot soak and they treated me to a bath bomb for some extra fizz and texture. Even if I don’t manage to do my nails tomorrow I’m gonna call it a win and I’ve saved a lot of money into the bargain. so give it a go – mama (or papa or carer!) spa day by the kids.

Person Getting Massage on Samsung One UI 1.5

As I mentioned last week we decided to cook together during quarantine and I noticed a difference today- I wasn’t giving instructions so much anymore, their instincts are kicking in; everyone contributed and we enjoyed a lovely home cooked dinner. They were missing their Friday night takeaway so I decided to make some home made fried chicken – it went down a treat. It got me thinking maybe this is a thing- can I find recipes for fast food online? and I found some!! Pizza Hut, KFC, Macdonalds, in this way I managed to meal plan for the next 3 days and who knows maybe they’ll prefer the home cooked versions, I’ll post pics as we make them.

I’ve seen a lot of schedules online and I’ve chose one each for the little kids and one for the middle child and I decided that we’re gonna do a 10am-9pm routine. It will allow them to enjoy a lie in, in the morning or play quietly; which will give me time to prep for my own teaching and also print out and check their lessons for the day. I will have a physical folder for each child and online version and we will build them during the next few weeks. The later start will mean that I will get some extra time with them in the evening when I’ve finished my own work and give us time to cook or do some other hands-on activity in the evening as well.

I hope that our ideas and schedules have given you the idea that homeschooling is actually way more fun than completing online lessons set by the teachers of your child, and that you can really start to be creative and enjoy the process rather than fret about assessment and achievement. Love Learning will be starting online schooling soon so subscribe to our site for updates and more activities straight to your inbox.

My 5yo gave me the cutest of random hugs yesterday because I sat with him and his little sister and made a ‘hot wheels’ track for their cars, and I have to say all the hard work and time spent planning and researching is worth it for these few special moments with our precious sprouts. We also had a lot of fun playing ‘jack in the box’ with a amazon box that I didn’t use for the model, then we made a tunnel too! I’ll leave you with a pic of the race track to show you that it doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy for your kids to have fun!

Take care – see you next time- stay home stay safe!

5 TIPS FOR TEENAGERS’ MENTAL HEALTH DURING LOCKDOWN.

I’m writing this post at 1am probably because I drank too much coffee today trying to stay awake and do a zillion things at once. Long story short – I was teaching online during a thunderstorm outside and had to ensure all my own kids were actively engaged too. We did it -just about!

I wanted to write this post as a reminder we are only human and not to expect too much of ourselves during this time. In particular I want to focus on our teenaged children, and how all this change and upheaval has affected their mental health. Two months ago they’d only heard of one kind of Corona and now here it is affecting their daily life and I don’t know what your teenagers are like but I did manage to get some quotes from a few I know and it surprised me a little bit how deeply they think about these things. I honestly thought they’d be happy to have no school for a few weeks in fact I asked my friend’s nephew for his opinion for my blog today and his mum told us he was asleep and glad there was no college for a few weeks! Although some of the other teenagers are very worried and stressed about this whole new situation that’s come about affecting our ‘normal’ daily lives,

I don’t mind if I get the virus myself but I am worried about infecting my baby sister as she has a heart condition so she’s really vulnerable.

M, 14, Bolton, UK

I am probably one of the few people actively avoiding corona updates because of the stress and fear and anxiety it induces in me instead I am trying to focus on the positives. One of my friends pointed out our WhatsApp group was filled with articles and corona news ever since we first heard that the schools were closing so we’ve purposely tried to talk about other things as much as possible.

Anyway the motivation for this post was to support those who may be feeling blue after hearing all this news. For a normal healthy person the anxiety levels are rising due to the uncertainty of the last few weeks so spare a thought for this who suffer from anxiety and worry on a daily basis.

My advice is to deal with such issues spiritually, whatever your religious inclination normally is, call on your Lord to guide you, protect you and keep you safe. Keep the information limited and focus on things you can do and enjoy the free time you have to pursue your hobbies or catch up on your chores and spring clean like one of my sisters’ has decided to do.

I’m sad that I’ll miss my prom and I might have to wait another year to go to college.

R, 16, Devon, UK

I want to point out that our teenagers may be feeling extra worried and they have every right to be because they’re living though something their parents (and grandparents) are facing for the first time in their lives so they are bound to feel some sort of anxiety. I think we need to just focus on them and reassure them that this will pass and it’s a temporary phase. Although that’s easier said than done.

I feel like Corona has made everyone step back and think that this World is temporary.

M, 15, Dubai, UAE
  • Model a calm persona outwardly – the last thing your children need is to hear your worries and hourly news updates. Try to limit their exposure to the news and internet free time.
  • Try to maintain some sense of normality, allow them to socialise be it online or over the phone. Ensure that they keep to some sort of a schedule (I obviously need help on this point)
  • Listen to them and validate their fears without constant empty reassurances. Allow them to express their worry and instead of saying “Oh don’t worry about it,” or “It’ll be alright – you’ll see!” try rephrasing and telling them you understand they’re scared and you will be there for them. This is a way of you telling them their is something to be scared of and its normal to feel that way but we will work through it together rather than ignoring the problem altogether.
  • Answer their questions matter of factly empathise with them but try not to emote for them, some teenagers may literally feel like it’s the end of the world and you may need to convince them its not. Even with their proms being cancelled, their exams uncertain, their future plans changing. This is a good opportunity to teach our children resilience and enjoying the journey of life rather than focusing only on each destination along the way.
  • Practice relaxation strategies and guide them towards meditation and Yoga as a way of calming the mind. Again this is a good opportunity to practice mindfulness and limit their exposure to passive TV watching or listening to the same tracks on end. Show them the life outside electronics can be fulfilling too.

Resources and references for this blog and links that can help:

Article Relaxation tips Building resilience Validate their feelings

Title image from

A non-stop day… COVID-19 DAY 19!

It started normally but then spiralled into non-stop issues, I was helping one then the other then another one needed me – I was going a little bit crazy to be honest. Then I remembered the plan – oh YES ‘The Plan!’

The plan was hubby was going to take the little two out for a walk so I could work on whatever the others needed to do… unfortunately the plan did not work, ‘need to find a shoe, ‘ ‘need to change a nappy,’ ‘oh their t-shirt has a stain.’ I honestly thought this day is gonna be the end of me. Then I remembered its ok, deep breaths “we can do this.” I rolled my sleeves up and directed everyone to a particular job – in just 10mins the house was visibly tidier and my mind relaxed. The little ones went for a walk around the block; The electronics were locked up (in the safe!) and we started again.

Back to basics

We then spent a lovely afternoon playing cards (Maths) and hangman (spelling) with charades and ‘notes and crosses’ for a bit of variety.

During the week I was making dinner and accidentally put too much salt in I knew instinctively that I need to make a dough ball and chuck it in but I still double checked with my dad; when he confirmed I realised that I learnt how to cook by watching my elders cook; and I picked up some good tips along the way so I decided I’ll make more of an effort to include the kiddos in cooking

So the plan today was to prepare a roast chicken dinner together, Z cut a salad like a pro and the older girls took care of the oven jobs. We’d marinated the chicken the night before so we just did the sides and some garlic bread and we were ready to roll. As if to confirm my thinking was right Z asked me to teach him how I cut lettuce (I tell them to use a chopping board but I do it freehand myself!) I think the kids enjoyed their food because they had a hand in choosing what to cooking and then preparing it together. It’s definitely going to be a positive I take from COVID-19 that’s for sure.

Just as we were finishing dinner and wondering what to do next? as if by magic my brother sent me a lovely resource that I will share now with you from the lovely SCOUTS organisation. CLICK HERE!

We look forward to trying some of these ideas tomorrow. I’d love to hear what you’re all getting up to and how the children are responding to more attention and time from their parents. Today I really felt I could make a difference if I stayed home. C’est la vie – we always want what we don’t have and then when we get it think the grass is greener on the other side. Such is the human!

We can do this 💪🏻💪🏻

I’m now feeling the pressure of trying to work from home and make sure my kids are learning and don’t feel neglected at the same time, so this is a motivation post.

I feel like a daily walk is imperative to keep me sane and we play games on the walk to keep it interesting- walking around the same neighbourhood day after day is getting a little bit repetitive to be honest. So we play traffic lights, copy cat, Simon says or ‘I’ spy to distract the little ones especially. The older ones have enjoyed having time to go out on their bikes and just get some fresh air in their lungs without the usual pressures of the daily grind.

For the older ones I read over this list of ‘family friendly – would you rather’ questions shared by a fellow blogger head over there to check out her other ideas to entertain the kids – because for this post on my blog- I’m focusing on YOU.

I’m not used to working from home and I needed to think of ways you can switch from work mode to home mode without the benefit of a commute to unwind and get into mummy mode. I am enjoying the fact that I am available for the little ones during my breaks but I had to find a quiet place in the house to work from that also has a good wifi signal so I’ve ended up switching from my daughters bedroom or the kitchen whilst the kids are still asleep upstairs.

Young blonde woman meditating in the park

For my first tip on relaxation -Coffee is my life line – we bought a Nespresso machine (Click here for UK link) a few years ago and I enjoy a good cup of Latte in the mornings to really get me into work mode. Not to mention save you money and times when you do have a commute!

For my second tip – I’m sure most of you have noticed this blog has finally woken up after lying dormant for two years, which brings me to the next point, I have found sharing ideas and resources online brings me a peace of mind that I never thought it would, knowing that parents out there are being helped with my advice and tips; its a lovely feeling and your comments and messages are really motivating me to write more. so I would advise you all to find yourself a little hobby even if it’s just writing in a journal to just unwind and relax after a super busy day. A friend of mine spends time knitting and has started to teach her daughters, I can’t wait to see what they make and I think I’m going to spend more time on arts and crafts on the weekends.

For my third tip I just want to say try to ‘live in the moment’ I often notice things during the day that I want to include in my blog but I don’t end up taking pictures of just because I know picking up the camera will ruin the moment. For example this morning little H picked up the book M read to her last night ‘Milly Molly Mandy’ and was pretending to read it herself including the funny accent for “Muv’ver” and “Far’ver.” My 5 yo was making his own animations from one of the apps I recommended in an earlier post -Toontastic; He had a lot of fun making funny voices and it started the older kids off into drama land too.

For my fourth reminder I’d like to say embrace the outdoors even a few minutes of sunshine a day can do wonders for your mental health and well being. If like me most of your work is now through a computer don’t underestimate the power of a good stretch – Youtube is full of videos of how to stretch and maybe even begin Yoga or Tai Chi to really harmonise your mind, Body and Soul.

And finally I want to say don’t worry whether you’re doing it right or not; everyone has different circumstances and we learn from our experiences – all of us are in this together and we will survive. Take a break each day when all the kids are in bed to think and reflect and maybe even prep some activities for the next day so the little ones aren’t always in control – sometimes you are!

Hope you enjoyed this post it didn’t have a lot of tips for the kids but I hope it made you put yourself first and really be mindful of the time that you need so that you can accomplish everything you set out to do everyday and more…