Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

What your child learns at preschool

Going to preschool is a big adjustment for little people and it may take some children a whole lot longer than others to adjust to the routine of a structured day, learning to share both time and toys with others and navigate big emotions.

I think as a society more parents are slowly beginning to understand the importance of Early childhood education and the thousand and one hidden lessons behind what looks like play.

But what exactly is your child learning during a day that looks mostly like play?

I decided to show you…

  • Story Time:

Just by listening and watching the teacher read your child is becoming familiar with basic literacy concepts, like reading left to right, and what words and letters are.

If you walk past the book corner, you may see preschoolers “reading” by turning the pages and narrating what they see — a great precursor to real reading.

  • Puzzles:

Puzzle time is my favourite in any class. Children improve their fine motor skills, concentration, and hand-eye coordination when they play with puzzles.

Working independently also gives them practice problem solving. And their self esteem grows from creating an image and completing a task.

  • Sand/water table:

Sand and water tables help teach science concepts like cause and effect and introduce early maths concepts.

Since there’s no right or wrong with these materials, children feel a sense of success when they play with them.

  • Science projects:

The class pet or growing beans are great ways for children to observe living things and learn what they need to grow.

Other science tools like scales and magnifying glasses allow children to examine, experiment, predict, question, and problem-solve.

  • Circle time:

Learning to sit patiently, saying good morning, and talking about the day’s events is a key part of your child’s day.

These are the foundation blocks to introducing new concepts , learning colours, taking turns and learning to listen.

This is a time where a teacher may introduce a serious topic like bullying or how to make friends.

  • Art area:

Crayons, markers, safety scissors, glue, and paintbrushes are all great tools for mastering fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Children love to talk about their artwork — this gives them practice with language and self-expression.

  • Block area:

Children gaining basic math skills when they counts blocks, identify their shapes, and compares their sizes.

Building houses, roads, and forts helps a child hone spatial skills that will be helpful for geometry and physics later on.

  • Outdoor play:

It often looks like chaos, but all that activity helps children learn what their bodies can do.

Children need to move and experiment to master balance, improve coordination, and develop their muscles.

Group activities on the playground also teach cooperation

There’s a multitude of learning happening all day long and your children may be exhausted at the end of a long day of play.

Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

Celebrating the older mom – Febe from Febe and Mishska in Wonderland

Next up in our CELEBRATING THE OLDER MOM series is Febe Marias.

Febe is the creative mom of a beautiful daughter, Mishka and blogs over at Febe and Mishka in Wonderland .

Read more about Febe.

Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog! I just feel so blessed to be the lucky mom of one beautiful little girl, Mishka, aged seven.

Why you chose to have a baby after 40:

I believe everything happens for a reason. My previous marriage didn’t work out the way we thought it would. Not by choice but by the grace of God did I not meet anyone I could consider as a serious partner for the next 10 years after our divorce.

By that time I was convinced that I would be single and childless for the rest of my life! As fate would have it, I met the most wonderful man, never married, no children at a very unglamorous event my brother dragged me to. We dated for a while and got married when I was 38. We had big travel and scuba diving adventures planned, but in the end we decided that if there was going to be a Marais family it had to happen sooner than later as I was approaching 40 at which felt like an unmatched pace! After six months of trial and error we found out we were expecting!

How this affected your health

I was so lucky to have a beautiful, uncomplicated pregnancy and even decided to give normal birth. Being a stay at home mom helped so much with breastfeeding as I could spend every waking moment with her for those first three years.

How you feel being an older mom has it’s benefits

Many women think it’s easier to be a young mom, but for me it was a completely different experience as I took quite a while to figure out what makes me truly happy and I sorted through many issues before I had Mishka. Surprisingly my age gave me more patience, as I now had the time I needed to look after my child, without any rules or preconceived ideas. I did it according to what I knew would be best for Mishka and our family.

Have you come across any negativity being an older mom?

Not really, and if there is negativity I just couldn’t be bothered. What does my age have to do with being a good mommy? I think I have much more life experience and thus can give advice to younger mommies I meet about life in general, not just about motherhood. There’s also the added benefit of being totally ‘streetwise’, I had many years to test many different things, and this will come in very handy when Mishka hits those dreaded teens 

Something you would change this time round?

I would not change a thing! Everything is perfectly according to God’s plan for my life.

Words of wisdom to younger mom’s

The most important thing I want mommies to know is that it is of no use to compare yourself to others. Not on a financial or emotional level. You are so blessed to be a mother and that should be your only focus, to nurture and provide for your family as best you can. The rest is just a distraction. Try to look inwards rather than outwards, and be kind to yourself and other moms, nobody is the perfect mom, we are just different and so your way may not work for me and vice versa. We could all learn from each other just by simply observing others and not pass judgement or opinions. Be yourself and be the mother you always wanted to have.

To follow Febe and Mishka on their amazing journey you can find them here:

Blog:https://febemishkawonderland.com/

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/febe_and_mishka_in_wonderland/

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/febemishkawonderland/

Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

10 activities to develop your baby’s Fine motor skills

I remember many years ago reading an old dog eared childhood development book and it highlighted setting a good learning foundation for baby.

Now, this was by no means flash cards and wall posters. Rather a series of learning through play ideas that would strengthen your baby’s fine and gross motors and develop their cognitive thinking.

These activities are easier than you may imagine to introduce to your baby and here are 10 of my favourite ways to encourage your baby’s fine motor skills development.

Fine motor skills are the little hand and finger muscles that assist our children to write later on.

1. Scribbling and drawing

I introduced Hamish to fat crayons and paper as soon as he could sit in his Bumbo chair. In the beginning he just grasped the crayon and moved it from hand to hand but by 8 months he had begun to make marks on the paper.

2. Stacking

Your baby should be able to start stacking one block on top of each other from about 6 months.

There are many other items you can stack like kitchen cups, boxes and Tupperware.

3. Sorting

From about 10 months Hamish was able to sort items with help but very few at a time. For example he could give me both socks from the bowl with socks and shoes. He could pass me the dummies out of the toy box.

As he got a got older I gave him soft toys to sort asking him to pass me the bunnies or give me the dog puppets.

4. Picking up and posting

Posting came naturally to Hamish also from about 5 or 6 months old as he mimicked what we showed him. Those who’ve followed us from the beginning will remember the washing machine box I made him.

Any container can be used to post items. You can post small toys into an empty coffee can or cut holes in a Tupperware lid and post bottle caps through.

5. Play dough

I love playdough and you will find my blog riddled with play dough recipes and reviews.

Such a versatile product. Great for strengthening those muscles as they pinch, pull, push and raise it to their mouth.

It’s non toxic so totally safe, although revolting, to taste.

I introduced Hamish to playdough as early as I did crayons and at first he really did just feel it and try eat it. From around 10 months he began cutting it with cutters and trying to roll it out.

6. Dressing self or toys

This has taken Hamish a bit longer. He only dressed himself from about 18 months but there are children who from months can dress themselves or toys.

I find giving them a baby doll or teddy to dress with some clothing helps develop this skill.

7. Stringing beads, pasta, ect

Another activity he did not enjoy but really important for both his fine motor and hand eye co- ordination.

By 18 months he was able to thread big beads without help but we started from 12 months of age with pasta on string.

8. Painting

I love painting so my 5 month old painted each time I did. He often just moved the brush tightly gripped in his hand but I kept adding paint.

At about 8 months he learnt to dip the brush into the paint. Finger painting and letting baby use their hands instead of a brush are just as rewarding.

If you are worried about the paint being toxic in anyway or staining baby’s clothing mix a jelly powder with a plain yoghurt for a natural non staining paint.

Painting with food colour8ng on ice is also a lovely activity for little ones.

9.Sewing cards

I only introduced these after Hamish was able to thread beads so that he wasn’t frustrated.

You can make your own by cutting an image from card and punching holes around it.

10. Building blocks

Hamish loves his blocks and I first introduced soft foam blocks at about 5 months . From 6 months he was stacking and transferring from hand to hand his wooden blocks.

I bought inexpensive blocks from The crazy store.

There are so many more activities but these 10 are activities we come back to often .

Posted in Blog posts, Parenting

Understanding Baby sign language

What is baby sign language?

Baby Sign Language is a pre-verbal communication tool using visual cues to communicate before your baby can talk. This can be a very effective communication tool to help baby express themselves and can be a fun way to give you and your baby an opportunity to bond.

Baby signing is thought to give babies an effective means of communication several months earlier than those who use vocal communication.

Between eight months and two years, a baby knows what they want and often feels frustrated as they do not yet have the full verbal vocabulary to express themselves.

How it works:

In terms of childhood development, the understanding of language and motor skills develop a lot faster than the ability to speak. So it is not surprising that babies can learn sign.

Child Development expert Joseph Garcia noticed how babies often point and wave long before they can say the words. He took this information and modified the sign language used by those who are deaf to develop baby sign language.

Children who are taught to sign as babies have many benefits such as ….

Less Frustration: learning to sign takes patience, from both mom and baby but even learning just a few words can really help to understand what baby wants when they are crying.

Signing also bridges the gap between understanding words and being able to verbally express them.

A closer bond: Many parents are delighted to find out what is going through the minds of their little ones once they begin to learn new signs. Even simple signs that communicate can help you feel like you are sharing their day.

Helping language develop: Parents might worry that by teaching babies sign language they are interfering with their normal speech development. Research has found the opposite and signing can in fact improve language and vocabulary.

In his research, Garcia points out that signing is about enhancing and not replacing language.

Signing develops the “building blocks” in understanding language.

How to start:

As with any new skill, start when baby is ready and expresses a desire to communicate.

At around eight months babies are more sociable and use noises and facial expressions to communicate with you.

To begin, familiarise yourself with baby signs. You can even create your own signs, but the point is to be consistent with lots of repetition so that baby can learn them.

Every time you say the word be sure to show baby the sign.

To get the most out of your baby sign language, keep these tips in mind:

Set realistic expectations. Experts say that you can start teaching baby signs from about six months old, but they won’t be able to sign back until about eight months.

Remember that every child is different and they develop skills at different rates.

You can start signing to your newborn, but you can’t expect them to sign back until they are older.

Keep signs simple.

Make this process easier by using words that they are familiar with like “Mommy”, “Daddy” and “Eat”. Use words that describe their routine or things that are familiar in their life. Words that have meaning to them will be easier for them to remember.

Start with one or two words and then build the vocabulary from there.

Make it interactive.

Use this teaching as a learning activity where you can bond with baby and make it fun. Place baby on your lap and use their hands to make the signs. Alternate talking and not talking while signing to encourage verbal development too.

Give the signs context by signing while doing the activity, for example signing the word “bath” while in the bath.

Encourage any gestures or signs that your child makes and acknowledge when they are signing a word.

Stay patient. If signing frustrates baby, stop, this is meant to ease communication not cause additional stress.

Don’t get discourage if they sign incorrectly or don’t mimic you straight away.

Happy signing

Posted in Family Life, Parenting

A letter to you …MOM

“To the mom who’s breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You’re a good mom.

To the mom who’s formula feeding: Isn’t science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn’t produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You’re a good mom.

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You’re a good mom.

To the disposable diapering mom: Wow those things hold a lot, and it’s excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You’re a good mom.

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn’t easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who works: It’s wonderful that you’re sticking to your career, you’re a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it’s fantastic. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you’re too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You’re feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren’t complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a white bag with a big red chick on it. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they’re learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You’re a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can’t run around. You’re a good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don’t they? We’ve all been through it. You’re a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above?
Glass houses, friend. Glass houses.”

Credit: Ashle Potter

Posted in Parenting

Stop Gender Shaming

As the mom of 5 boys and 2 girls I love sharing inspirational posts or memes on Facebook with them so that I can fill their mind with positivity.

On any given day I can scroll through Facebook and easily post 100 strong women, amazing ladies and Future is female posts or memes.

I can tell my daughter just how wonderful, loved and truly full of potential she is….

But

I struggle to find the same for my son’s!

Instead I’m filled with male negativity. How men are useless, abusers and clearly from what I’m reading on all these Equal rights women groups the object of so many strong women’s misery.

Now , before you get your Jimmy choos in a click….

I’m not saying that educating and inspiring our young ladies is wrong. I’m totally for motivating them to reach for their dreams …

What I am saying is that my son’s deserve just as much motivation and encouragement to reach theirs aswell.

Equal rights is just that . It’s treating both genders equally. Respecting that every person, regardless of gender is an amazing human, deserves to be treated fairly and raised in strong households that develop their personal best to become the person they dream of being.

Our words are important!

Our children, girls and boys, look to us for guidance and example.

If you are really a strong woman raising a strong child ready to make a change in this world then let us start with our words.

Let’s start building our SONS up as much as we do our DAUGHTERS! Without the need to gender shame.

Let’s stop silently telling our sons to be ashamed of their gender. Let’s stop raising our daughters to see men as lacking potential.

Let the future belong to emotionally strong children who were encouraged to be the best they can be.

Posted in Parenting

World Maternal Mental Health Day -1 May

Today we stand united to observe World Maternal Mental Health Day.

Observed every year since 2016, this has become an annual day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues so that more mother’s will realise they are not alone and receive help.

Founded by a multidisciplinary group of passionate activists, cliniticians and people who have lived through personal experiences of Maternal Mental Health issues.

Almost 140 organisations from 37 countries have united today to raise awareness about Maternal Mental Health and why addressing this issue matters.

On the World Maternal Mental Health Day Facebook page you can read about the wonderful services many terrific organisations around the world are offering Free to mom’s from journaling sessions in the USA to social media campaigns in Japan and Botswana.

Read more here World Maternal Mental Health Day

Understanding Maternal Mental Health

It’s believed that 70% of women suffering from poor maternal mental health hide their symptoms.

Pregnancy and birth are vulnerable times for women as they transition into motherhood and adjust to life, physical and emotional changes.

These challenges and rapid changes put every women at risk for developing mental health issues.

Mental health does not discriminate.

Whilst all women are at risk the following factors greatly influence a new mother’s mental health :-

  • Traumatic birth
  • Still birth
  • Miscarriage
  • Infertility
  • Stress
  • Poverty
  • Previous mental health issues
  • Birth injury
  • Lack of support systems
  • Isolation

A new mom may be ecstatic with her new baby but suddenly overwhelmed by :-

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inability to cope
  • Thoughts of self harm
  • Or thoughts of hurting her baby

As mom’s these feelings may also come and go but any emotions or negative thoughts that persist are a cause for concern.

Most mother’s are aware of the term Post Natal Depression and understand what the warning signs are but it’s important to understand that Maternal Mental Health is a much broader topic.

Some maternal mental health facts

Whilst the new mother may experience the symptoms, Maternal Mental Health actually affects the entire family and can have devastating effects and consequences if not addressed and treated correctly.

The following statistics should speak for themselves as to the importance of addressing Maternal Mental Health correctly.

  • Between 50-80% of new mother’s experience the baby blues within the first 5 days after birth.
  • 1 in 5 mother’s is at risk of developing mental health challenges during or after their pregnancy.
  • Post Natal Depression is the most common problem associated with childbirth.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes in maternal death.
  • Perinatal depression that is left untreated will have a long lasting impression on a child,their relationship with their mother and their own mental health.
  • Men can also suffer from post natal depression.

Why women don’t seek help

During pregnancy we continue to tell women how blessed they are and what a wonderful experience becoming a mother is, leading new mother’s who do not feel that rush of love and euphoria to feel shamefull for not feeling like this is the best time of their life.

Couple this with the negative stigma surrounding mental health and we have a group of woman bravely trying to daily navigate their symptoms whilst hiding their need for help.

Taking these two factors into consideration you can both understand why mom’s don’t seek help and the importance of educating , supporting and raising awareness of the importance of seeking help at this time.

Finding help

Maternal Mental Health issues are treatable and recovery time is usually faster than any other mental health issues.

  • The first step to find help is to acknowledge the problem.
  • Next find someone you trust, a partner, friend, family member or health professional.
  • Be honest about how you feel. Ask the person you trust to just listen.
  • Book an appointment with a doctor as soon as you can. Again be honest about your emotions and experience. A doctor can only work with the information given to them.
  • Your doctor’s may refer you to counsellors or support groups that will assist you.
  • Acknowledge that you are not a bad mom for seeking help. You are infact doing the best for yourself and your child.

    Where to find help

    The following organisations can assist you:

    Cape mental health

    http://www.capementalhealth.co.za/

    Mental Health South Africa

    http://www.mentalhealth.org.za/

    The South African Depression and Anxiety group

    http://www.sadag.org/

    Posted in Parenting

    Having the hard talks with your teens

    As the mom of 4 adult children and 2 teens I’ve seen my fair share of ” hard talks”

    You know the ones other people’s children go through ….never your kids. Heaven forbid your child ever did that !

    Yip! Those ones.

    Now, in my first child stupidity, I obviously believed there would never be any hard times.

    We would talk openly of course in my dream parenting and rationally work out a solution. I could plan and layout her concerns and questions like a life skills syllabus and poof ! Just like that she would be a well adjusted adult.

    The reality is far from true as we entered her teens and encountered bullies, boyfriends and social media etiquette.

    And that’s the exact moment I realised no one mom on this planet ever has their shit together.

    Behind every closed door is a teenager hating on their parent and doing things you swore your precious new born bundle would never do.

    From small transgressions like lying to harder things like smoking weed…our kids experience life and test their boundaries.

    It’s our reactions that make a difference to how they cope with their mistakes.

    We can either scare them and guilt them into behaving or we can remain calm and guide them to make the right choices.

    From experience, allowing your child to make the right choice teaches them coping skills, equips them with the emotional tools to make a mistake and fix it.

    These are vital skills in a society hell bent on trying to raise social media standard perfect kids.

    So how do you have the hard talks with your kids?

    1. Remain calm

    Regardless of what your child tells you stay calm. Now hearing your 15 year old just had sex is enough to make you want to throttle them and the partner not to mention put the fear of aids and stds in your mind but if you react with anger you will stop your child from trusting you to guide them.

    2. Do not take their mistake personally

    Honestly even the child from the most religious, morally correct home will test their boundaries.

    Our kids are bombarded daily by pressures to try things way beyond their age and emotional mentality. If they not watching it on tv, having it sung in their ears or go to school with it , they are exposed to it on their phones.

    You did the best you could. Repeate after me ….”This is not about you….this is about helping your child function in the world around them. ”

    3. Listen

    They speaking to you, as much as you most likely do not want the details, because they trust you. Listen! They don’t need a lecture they need a shoulder.

    4. Parent!

    And here I mean do the right thing.

    Give your child the information they need. Explain the dangers and consequences.

    If they’ve done something that they need to fix make them own up and fix it.

    This is your space to lecture, flip out, cry and ask your child if they being the best person they can be.

    5. Put the ball in their court

    They were stupid enough to do or try whatever it was that got them into trouble. You’ve heard their side. You’ve told them about the consequences and given them the correct knowledge on the situation so now ask them how they going to fix this.

    This is important. A child who expects his parents to bail him out will grow up to be self entitled and never have the coping skills to grow. He will continue to make mistake after mistake and you the parent would have enabled that.

    Ask your child how they will fix this problem, guide if they really have no clue.

    6. Remind them that you are dissapointed by their behaviour but love them regardless

    Our kids, even the big ones, need to know we have their backs but they also need to know when we disapprove of their choices. They need to hear us say these words.

    In conclusion

    My kids are pretty open with me and I can often be heard telling my boys not to be that open thanks .

    A regular reply back from them is but you told us to always be honest with you and yes I did. I also always reminded them that if I did not know their side of a story honestly I could never help them or stand up for them.

    But these conversations started long before I had teenagers in the house. They started when my 6 and 7 year olds stole the Easter stickers from church one Sunday and I, a youth leader nearly died of embarrassment.

    It’s only through mistakes that we learn and it’s only through guidance that we grow !

    Posted in Parenting

    Hello there …remember me ?

    Today I took a me day.

    In almost 3 years I’ve not done anything alone and the suffocation was beginning to strangle me.

    As an extrovert I absolutely love being surrounded by people. I thrive on the chaos of people in and out my home, of organised events and groups of friends or family.

    As a creative I crave time alone. Time with my thoughts to process the world around Me, to design new ideas, to develop stories and to calm my often far to active mind.

    So, Today I took a me day.

    Nothing fancy…

    Just a few hours between morning emails and an interview to do absolutely nothing!

    By nothing of course I don’t really mean nothing. What I actually mean was a few moments to just stop and enjoy my own company.

    First up I had some time to kill so I popped in at West coast village, which I always intend to go and browse at but never get there.

    Here I smelt the fresh flowers at Woolworths,even though the security guard gave me a quizzical look.

    I found an amazing book shop and wasn’t rushed to hurry by an impatient husband or a bored teen. I could read the titles of the books without straining my head every three seconds to check my toddler hadn’t wondered off.

    I then headed to a small coffee shop to grab a cup of hot coffee.

    Hot black coffee.

    Hot black coffee that wasn’t cast aside because the toddler needed a snack or the teens couldn’t find their earphones. A hot black cup of coffee that wasn’t interrupted by my husband unable to fetch something from downstairs or the door bell ringing.

    Just a hot cup of coffee that invitingly offered me the luxury of sipping it at my leisure. This was heaven.

    Even the biscuit was an adorable heart shape.

    I chose to sit outside and let the cool air flood over me as I called a few friends and caught up. It’s been a while since I had time to chat and geuinly ask how they are. It’s been a few months of quickly catching up their lives on social media, of hurried texts and quick hello’s.

    It wasn’t much. A few hours but my soul feels recharged. I feel like I’m once again ready to face the challenges and demands of my busy lifestyle.

    As I was traveling back by bus I looked at a picture to post and realised that I loved each photo I’d taken today.

    My eyes were happy and I’d lost that look of sadness I’d been seeing the last few months.

    For the first time in a few stressful months I recognised the women looking back at me …and I like her !

    Mom’s time out time is no longer negotiable!

    Posted in Parenting

    How to save money when putting your toddler in preschool

    We recently decided that Hamish was going back to school, which, as we are currently living on one income, can become quite costly.

    This is how we kept costs down.

    1. Fees

    Most preschools will ask you for a non refundable deposit. These are anywhere from a few hundred rands to 2 full months fees so it’s best to save this over a few months in a savings account before looking at putting your child into a preschool. This way you won’t have extra expenses.

    Most schools also offer a discount for siblings, if you pay your fees up front for the year or if you sign a debit order with them.

    We currently save R200 a month just by signing a debit order.

    It helps to ask the school what their options are.

    2. Stationary

    Hamish did not need much stationary, just a small notebook. However I always buy extra basic stationary if there is a sale to stock up so I don’t need to buy that much at the beginning of a year.

    3. Toiletries

    We bought in bulk. You might not think R5 adds up but if you saving R5 over 10 items of toiletries that’s a R50 saving.

    Also doing this we are able to buy the entire years school toiletries in one shop.

    Makro have great bulk prices and we love the 3 for 2 promotions at Clicks.

    What to stock up on

    Most schools ask for the following per term and you can ask for a list from your chosen school.

    🔸️Toilet paper

    🔸️Tissues

    🔸️Wetwipes

    🔸️soap

    🔸️ hand sanitizer

    🔸️ bum cream

    🔸️nappy sacks

    🔸️sunscreen

    Hamish currently also takes his toothbrush and toothpaste as the kids brush their teeth after breakfast.

    You will also be required to send more personal items like :

    🔸️ nappies

    🔸️ powder

    🔸️lotions

    Making products last

    Obviously how much of a product you use will differ to how much a teacher uses. So expect items to be used up more frequently or in rare cases last longer.

    Here’s a few ways to make sure some items last longer …

    🔸️ sunscreen – buy a large spray on Sunscreen. These last much longer than a lotion and are easier for teachers to apply.

    🔸️ bum cream – I only use Bennetts for school. It is easy to apply, a little goes a long way and clears any sign of rash within hours.

    🔸️ wetwipes – I always buy the most cost effective wipes for school. If I’m sending 4 packets to school and only use 2 packets at home I need to budget.

    4. Location

    This may not be a factor in how you choose your school but it’s always good to look at the location of the school. Is it miles out the way resulting in having to get up earlier and use more petrol or is it on route to your work?

    I use the public bus system so it also needs to be on a bus route that isn’t too far out of my way or else I’m spending double the bus fare and actually not really earning a salary.

    5. Snacks

    This can be a tricky one as we all want to feed our preschoolers a healthy diet.

    Hamish receives breakfast and a cooked lunch at school so I send fresh fruit, a yoghurt and a snack for 10 am and 3pm for him.

    I find that buying just the right amount of fresh fruit every 2 or 3 days results in not wasting it and the fruit not over ripening.

    I buy his yoghurt weekly as a six pack .

    As for snacks he likes-

    🔸️mini rice cakes

    🔸️ mini biscuits

    🔸️ mini cheddar biscuits

    🔸️ muffins

    🔸️ breakfast / health bars

    🔸️ packets of dried fruit

    🔸️cheese straws

    All of these can be bought in bulk and stored. So I can buy for a month and not stress about running out of snacks ( which in our home can happen 🤣)

    6. Clothing

    And here mom’s I really want to speak openly as a teacher first and then a mom …

    Your children look amazing in the latest and greatest outfits but they aren’t able to dress themselves correctly with all the buttons and bows and zips and ties.

    Simple outfits of pull up pants and shorts and t-shirts work beautifully. PEP, Ackermans and Jet sell affordable kids clothing often in double packs that are plain, simple and easy to put on.

    Expect mess. So send them to school in comfortable clothing that you are prepared to throw away if it’s too messy.

    Shoes as well…its best that your child has shoes that they can take off and put on. As hideous as they are Crocs are great for slipping on and off . Velcro shoes are awesome and pick n pay sell affordable gumboots for winter.

    7. Emergency fund

    Once at school you will slowly start to notice the R5 here, cake sale there or last minute must have item for that event announced this morning.

    Keeping an amount aside each month for these will allow you to not feel the pinch on your budget and you will be more prepared.

    Do you have any tips you could add to this ? I’d love to hear them.