Daddy and Munchkin Blog
save money in the cost of living crisis
Save Money in the Cost of Living Crisis

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With everything increasing in price, from petrol to food, cosmetics to energy, its fair to say this cost of living crisis is going to hit a lot of people hard.

Munchkin calculating the damage

To help, there are little things, from simple tips to handy services, we can all do to save some pennies. Afterall they do say: ‘Save the pennies and the pounds start saving themselves’.

So here are my tips to use less, save some pounds, get some things more cheaply and lessen the pressure of the crisis.

Get cashback with Quidco or Top Cashback πŸ’°

I often recommend cashback sites, and I am bewildered that more people don’t use them. If you buy near to anything online, you can get cashback. And when I say anything, we are talking insurance to food shopping to online gambling to mobile phones to energy to technology. Nearly everything we buy online.

Simply, sign up for a cashback site such as Quidco or Top Cashback, choose the site with the best cashback, search for a retailer, click the link to access the site, complete your purchase and the transaction gets tracked.

Quidco cashback screenshot
For example, get Β£18.15 for a new customer home delivery or 2.42% for existing customers.

It takes some time for the cashback to be granted, but in six months time you could be looking at an extra little payday. It’s amazing how many times I have needed some money and there’s been some sitting in my Quidco account to save me.

Sign up to Quidco for Β£5 free cashback to start off your saving.

Use less energy ⚑

While we are stuck in a time where we can’t shop around for the cheapest energy deal, we have to look at ways to reduce our use. This is the case for me, so I’ve made some simple switches.

It’s the obvious things really. I have started using eco modes on the dishwasher and washing machine. Then set up smart plugs to switch off devices such as my PC and the TV when we’re not using it. I’ve changed lightbulbs to LED bulbs and been slightly more so Dad-like who always tells people to switch off the lights. The result is that my electricity hasn’t gone up quite as much as I expected.

Smart plugs (so you don’t have to remember to switch things off) are available on Amazon.

Further to that, reduce your thermostat temperature by 1 degree and stick a jumper on this Autumn. They say 1 degree equates to around Β£80 saved per year.

Get a free Β£15 purchase with Zilch πŸ’΅

Zilch is a new ‘buy now pay later’ company who give you a free Β£15 if you sign up with this link. Simply set up an account, shop though Zilch and use the free Β£15 to pay. You don’t have to use their credit option, just use the free Β£15 and buy a takeaway though Just Eat or Deliveroo.

After all a free pizza tastes so much better than one you paid for.

Zilch screenshot
An example of the many many Zilch retailers.

Oh and you can then refer others, you can get Β£15 too.

Use discounts from food box companies to save on the weekly shop πŸ“¦

This is a great idea for lower food bills. Meal box companies like Hellofresh and Gousto happily give discounts to join (up to 40% off). So sign up, make the most of the discount and then cancel. Then try the next box. These companies also tend to come back with another offer every six months or so so you can rinse and repeat. Oh, and they are also super tasty.

Sign up using this link for Β£47 off your first three Hellofresh boxes.

Save money with meal subscription boxes – here is one of ours

Use less fuel β›½

With petrol and diesel prices sky high, and with it not being that simple to switch to electric, there’s some easy switches you can do. In this category, I must say that there’s some I do enjoy and some less so.

Change your habits. Try car sharing if you can. I recently started two days a week with a colleague from work. I’m saving money and I get some company on the journey. Win win. Make sure you only carry what you need, and that includes fuel. Less weight means less fuel used meaning less money spent.

The less enjoyable you can drive more eco-friendly. Accelerate slower, slow down naturally rather than using hard braking and use the eco modes on your car if you have one. Certainly less fun, but if they mean we can fill the tank a day later then it can be worth it

Consider Foodbanks or Community Fridges ❄️

If you have to choose between food and fuel, consider approaching a Food Bank or Community Fridge. For Foodbanks you need a voucher to gain a referral. Community Fridges however are for anyone, and provide surplus food from supermarkets and donations to prevent food waste. You can find out more about, and how to gain the referral to, Foodbanks here (the Trussel Trust) and here (citizens advice) and all about, and where to find a Community Fridge scheme here.


Do you have any other money saving tips? Add them in the comments

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Combating Low Confidence

I have always had two sides. There’s the side people see. He appears confident, good with new people and able to present data at work. Then there’s the side he feels, the low confidence, nerves and the symptoms surrounding them – the sweats, the increased need to visit the bathroom and the resulting dehydration.

I have come to realise over time that I just use tools. Simple things that boost low confidence enough to get by and appear confident. Not usually on a day to day basis, but on those big days: the interview, the annual work review, the wedding speech, the big presentation…etc. Simple tools that really change how I come across and alleviate those nervous symptoms.

The Power Pose

This one came from a book my manager lent to me. The power pose is that of a winner, like when Usain Bolt wins a race, and performs his ‘celebration bolt’. Just imagine that feeling, but actually throw your arms up and feel the power of the pose. Or alternately, place your hands on your hips, raise your chin and tighten your muscles. It instantly boosts your testosterone which elevates your self esteem and builds your confidence. Allowing you to smash that meeting. Below, Munchkin shows the most simple one.

The Munchkin power pose

You’ve entered a race and lo and behold you’ve only gone and won! You raise those arms in jubilation as the endorphins pump around your bloodstream. Hold it for 30 seconds, add 30 seconds of another and the result: you feel amazing!

‘I won a race Daddy!’

Don’t trust me? Here’s the science and the Amy Cuddy TED talk all about power poses.

Sing your heart out

This is similar to power posing, but more fun and you can do it in your car. Build a good powerful playlist, turn it up a few notches and sing your heart out.

You make look a fool at roundabouts, but damn does it feel good when you step out the car at your destination. Oh and just make sure you keep both eyes on the road, otherwise those positive benefits may get a little lost.

Exercise

Ask me to do a presentation and I shudder in fear. But way back when I was doing my masters (2013 eeek! πŸ™ˆ), I was also starting the NHS couch to 5K running program (it helps you run 5 km or 30 minutes in nine weeks – here’s the NHS site). On the day of my dissertation presentation I went for a week 8, or 25 minute run and remarkably didn’t feel an ounce of nerves before or during the presentation. The dual benefit of boosting low confidence whilst getting a little fitter.

The post run sweaty red faced selfie

Think back

This one’s useful if you have used one of the others previously. Think back to the time you weren’t nervous for an interview because of your morning run, or smashed the presentation due to your power pose. If you were fine then, you can do it again. Get those positive thoughts flowing and convinces those nervy gremlins to go back in hiding.


These are some of my tools I use to combat low confidence, do you use any others? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Daddy’s Top 6 Big Potato Party Games

As parents, there’s still times we need to put the kids to bed, get the beers out and enjoy a game or five…

Big Potato have always been a favourite of mine, even before I started to collaborate with them. They produce fantastic party and family games, and are also working to be more eco-friendly by reducing plastic, reducing box sizes and planting trees (double points from me!)

So here’s a run down of my top 6 big potato games. If you’re interested in my all time game favourites you can find that post here.

If any of these games, or any of their others, interest you, you can use the code BBMUNCHKIN for 15 percent off. So you can enjoy those games for a little less.

6. Day at the Festival/Night at the movies puzzles

First on the list is a new release from Big Potato Games. There’s two puzzles, one is all about movies and one about bands and music artists.

Each is a 1000 piece puzzle which when complete, becomes a second challenge to identify the hidden bands/movies from the picture clues.

big potato
A puzzle with a game twist
  • Age 12+
  • πŸ•‘ Variable, as its a puzzle
  • πŸ‘€ 1+

5. 20 Second Showdown

20 second showdown is instant, fast paced, addictive fun. Split into two teams, grab a baton and get prepared.

Flip the timer and start the 20 second countdown, complete a task then flip the time back to start the time running for the other team. Complete simple, and often hilarious tasks and try to stay in the game by completing the task within the time. The first team to run out of time loses.

Fast paced, tense, team fun
  • Age 10+
  • πŸ•‘ 15 min
  • πŸ‘€ 5 – 20

4. P for Pizza

P for pizza was a lockdown savior as it only requires a minimum of two players.

The lockdown savior. A simple, quick, addictive pizza themed game

Reveal three categories, match to a letter and shout an answer before another player. If you are first, win a pizza slice and add it to build your mega pizza slice to win. Though as you build, the categories you can answer reduce, making it harder the game progresses. A game so good you always play it twice.

  • Age 10+
  • πŸ•‘ 15 min
  • πŸ‘€ 2 – 4

3. Don’t get Got

Don’t get got is the ultimate party game as you can play it alongside something else, like dinner, a party or other games.

The ultimate play anytime task game.

Get five secret tasks and one ‘guess what?’. Be the first to fool three other players and complete your tasks, but don’t get caught, or rather, Don’t Get Got!

  • Age 10+
  • πŸ•‘ 30 min – 30 y
  • πŸ‘€ 2 – 10

2. Snakesss

Watch out, there’s snakesss about!

Find out who’s the best liar!

In snakesss, players get points by answering questions correctly after a brief team discussion. But beware, some players are actually snakes who try to charm you to choose the wrong answer. Snakes score points by distracting you from the correct answer.

One player gets the wooden ‘Mongoose of Truth’ token which shows they definitely aren’t a snake!

  • Age 12+
  • πŸ•‘ 40 min
  • πŸ‘€ 4 – 8

1. The Chameleon

And finally, number one! My favourite Big Potato game is The Chameleon.

Blend into the crowd and remain undetected.

In this game, one player is The Chameleon who needs to blend in with the crowd. Every one else tries to uncover their disguise.

Turn over a new topic card and roll the dice. This will show the topic to all players but the Chameleon. Take turns giving a word related to the topic in order to detect the Chameleon – but watch out, they can escape if they can guess the topic so be wise when you choose your word.

  • Age 14+
  • πŸ•‘ 15 min
  • πŸ‘€ 3 – 8

Which of these do you think would be your favourite? Let us know in the comments. And if you’re tempted, use code BBMUNCHKIN for 15% off!

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Daddy’s Top Board and Party games

If you know this Daddy, you’ll know he thinks most social situations need snacks, a flow of good beers (gin or wine also suit) and a plethora of good board or party games to play. So Here are my seven, top board and party games in no particular order.

When you buy something using the retail links in our blog posts, we may earn a small commission. This money goes towards making further content and buying more games to review.

P for Pizza – Big Potato Games

P for Pizza, whose box isn’t edible like the photo suggests, is a super simple party game for 2 – 4 players. Being suitable for two players, it was the perfect lockdown companion for evenings when we officially ‘ran out of Netflix‘.

The rules could not be simpler. Match a category with a corresponding letter and shout out an appropriate answer before your teammates. Quickest correct answer wins a slice to build their own pizza pyramid. As the pyramid gets taller, the choice of categories lessens, increasing the difficulty towards the win.


P for Pizza is on the list for is simplicity to explain and get into and how everyone asks for another game.

  • Age 8+
  • πŸ•‘ 20 min
  • πŸ‘€ 2 – 4

For 20% off Big Potato contact me below or via Instagram;

Game of Thrones Board Game

The GOT board game is a fantastic board game I haven’t had the pleasure of playing since University, yet it still makes the top list because of some very fond memories.

top board & party games

Imagine a Risk style board game, but set in Westeros. You compete as one of the six great houses aiming for domination of Westeros to claim the Iron Throne.

In each battle the tides can be turned by using characters alongside dice roles and players should always be aware of the risk of the Wildlings attacking from north of the wall! So in essence, its Risk, but with many, many more layers of complexity.

At 2+ hours gameplay (though it took us 6 hours the first play), this certainly isn’t one for a quick evening game and you’ll need a team as it requires 3 to 6 players.


Game of Thrones board game is on the list as it is totally immersive, bringing you into the battle and the feel of fighting for the iron throne.

  • Age 14+
  • πŸ•‘ 2 h +
  • πŸ‘€ 3 – 6

Carcarsonne

Carcarsonne was another lockdown favourite, as not only a physical board game, but also digitised on the site Board Game Arena; a online board game website with a plethora of games to play.

top board and party games

Carcassonne on Board Game Arena

Take turns placing tiles to build cities, monasteries and roads to link them together. Score points by placing a ‘meeple’ on the feature and completing it, or setting them in a field to be scored at game end. Use the large meeple (which counts as two) to compete for ownership and steal points from other players.


Carcarsonne is on my list and I have been so addicted since playing it for the first time. Simple as that.

  • Age 7+
  • πŸ•‘ 35 min
  • πŸ‘€ 2 – 5

Carcarsonne is available to play for free at board game arena and buy at Amazon.co.uk.

Sushi Go – Gamewright

Sushi Go is a deluxe, 2 – 8 player 20 minute sushi feast game!

A game of Sushi Go last three rounds. In each round, each player is dealt a hand of cards. Simultaneously, each player chooses 1 card to play and places it face down. When all players have chosen the cards are turned and each player passes their hand to the left.

Sushi Go basic game set up (left) and hand during gameplay (right)

The round ends when all the cards have been placed, and then cards are scored depending on the type of sushi. For example, Nigiri are scored individually for 1, 2 or 3 points, however you need a group of three Sashimi to score 10 points. If pudding is collected, these are scored at the end of the three rounds. The player with the highest points wins.


Its on the top games list as its so accessible to all and enjoyed by most.

  • Age 8+
  • πŸ•‘ 20 min
  • πŸ‘€ 2 – 8

Linkee – Linkee Ltd

Linkee is a fun team game which works best with three of more teams of two or more players. A question master reads four questions one by one, then a clue if required, out loud to the teams. The first team to shout ‘Linkee!’ and guess the link wins the card. Each card has a letter on the other side, and the first team to spell ‘Linkee’ wins.

Linkee example card (left) and winning collection (right)

There’s two extra little rules to use when you collect spare cards you don’t need. You can ‘buy’ a letter from the bank in exchange for three cards, or delete one from another team at a cost of two cards.

Linkee is a favourite as its simple but highly competitive, getting everyone poised to shout ‘Linkee!’


  • Age 12+
  • πŸ•‘ 30 min – 1 h
  • πŸ‘€ 2 – 30

Munchkin – Steve Jackson Games

Munchkin is another game with a lot of rules. In simple terms, its a 3 – 6 player game which can last anything from 40 minutes to several hours.

Munchkin Zombie starting set up (left) and example monster (right)

The object of the game is to get to level 10. This can be done using special cards, but, most importantly, defeating monsters. As you play, you get the opportunity to level up your character as you go, adding items to power up your Munchkin.

At any time, you can attack other players with cards too, making it a constant game of battle to reach level 10 and win. Like I said though, that’s it in very basic terms, there’s quite a few more rules!

Munchkin comes in a variety of themes. Each can be played individually or merged together. So Munchkin Zombies could become Munchkin Zombie Superheroes by combining two decks.


Munchkin made the list as its always in my bag for a games night. It’s geeky whilst enjoyable.

  • Age 10+
  • πŸ•‘ 40 min – 2 h
  • πŸ‘€ 3 – 6

Don’t Get Got – Big Potato Board Games

Don’t Get Got is the ultimate party game as it can be played simultaneously with other games, alongside a meal or, to be honest, any get together.

Don’t get got example wallet mid game (left) and game contents (right)

Each player gets a mission wallet with 6 tasks. The first is simply a ‘Guess what?’ which you succeed if someone replies with ‘What?’. This one can be attempted multiple times.

Then there’s 5 more secret tasks such as ‘Hide this card on a player without them noticing’ or ‘stick this card under a table and get a player to notice it’. These can only be attempted once, as if you are caught, you fail the task, so choose your opportunity wisely!

The first to pass three tasks wins.


Don’t get got is on the list as its one of a kind. I’ve never seen anything like it in that it can go alongside any social gathering.

  • Age 14+
  • πŸ•‘ As long as it takes
  • πŸ‘€ 2 – 8

For 20% off Big Potato contact me below or via Instagram;


So that was Daddy’s top board and party games. What’s your board/party game of choice?

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Worth the Side Hustle? Top 4 Options for Stay-at-Home Parents

A parent’s work is never done. According to a survey by Salary.com, the proper compensation for a stay-at-home parent should be around $160,000 (Β£115,000). The work never stops, but that doesn’t mean the money is coming in. There comes a time in many parents’ journeys where the finances are looking a little tight, and the need for extra income becomes real.

But for many folks, a full-time traditional 9-5 just doesn’t fit their lifestyle. It doesn’t leave much time for what’s most important – taking care of your little ones. Fortunately, the gig economy and online opportunities can help. In this article, we discuss four side hustles that will earn you money while allowing you to work from home.

side hustle for stay at home parents
Image from Unsplash

1.    Virtual Assistant

Do you have a working computer, Wi-Fi, and excellent people skills? If so, consider a virtual assistant position for your next side hustle! This growing profession is one of the easiest ways to make money online. All you have to do is perform basic administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and entering data, leaving you with more than enough time for your kids! You can earn anywhere between $8 and $30 an hour (Β£8 to Β£22).

2.    Freelance Blogger

Blogging is one of the best ways to generate income while retaining your schedule flexibility. You’ll be able to work on your own time and write about what interests you. The rise of mommy and daddy bloggers have taken the internet by storm, and for a good reason. Hosting costs less than $10 (Β£7.20) a month, and sites are easily monetizable with ad revenue, affiliate marketing, or sponsored posts. The sky’s the limit for this one – you can earn anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars a month to six figures.

3.    Consulting

This is the perfect job for goal-oriented people who love to help other people succeed in life. Consulting involves developing a strategy or plan to help clients achieve their goals. This job typically requires accreditation of some sort. A great solution is to get an online degree, which will enable you to get certified while simultaneously keeping up with your busy lifestyle. For example, a degree in computer science offers excellent growth potential and can be applied to varying subjects such as logic, architecture and systems, and AI. You can then use your newfound knowledge to consult for those who require your expertise.

4.    E-Commerce Business

While starting your own business is no small endeavor, the payoff is that it’s a great way to supplement your income. Get inspired by other β€œmompreneurs” and β€œpopreneurs” to provide products or services of value. The best thing about running a small business is that it has minimal upfront investment and setting up and is easily done from the comfort of your own home. Try to monetize a unique skill or hobby to increase market value. Some people sell handmade crochet patterns; others sell used clothes. Some may choose to print art, while others sell car tutorials. You have the freedom to go wild here and find something that you’re passionate about while raking in those dollars!


There you have it – the best online jobs for you to bring in some extra money while still supporting your family. Making good money doesn’t need to be time-consuming, dreary, and demanding. Nor does it need to mean more time away from your kids. Once you find that happy medium of an enjoyable yet monetizable job, you’ll feel like you hit the golden ticket. So get out there and try your hand at some of these jobs!

About the Author

Cheryl Conklin is an aspiring writer, blogger, adventurer, traveller, and creator of Wellness Central. She uses wellnesscentral.info to share her thoughts on wellness along with the great resources she finds on her own wellness journey.

Thanks for reading,

Cheryl, Daddy and Munchkin

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Making a Toddler Wall on a Budget

Its nice to give children a space that feels their own. We had our Mutable (What’s one of those?) in a corner of our lounge against a plain wall and it lacked something. I decided this needed to change it by adding some things like prints, to make this corner, his corner and make a toddler wall on a budget.

When you buy something using the retail links in our blog posts, we may earn a small commission. This money goes towards making further content.

A Toddler Wall on a Budget

Its always nice to save a pound or two on a project, so I decided to make these things on my own. This turned buying three prints and frames, two wire words and two wire images for around Β£70 down to less than Β£20. Here’s how I did it and made a toddler wall on a budget.

Drag the bar to see it transform

Make Prints on Canva

If you haven’t heard of Canva, where have you been hiding? It is the most useful web based application for digital design. See all those images I make for each of my posts? They are all made on Canva!

Now to make prints. First, take some inspiration from the world of Etsy and get a design in mind. I decided to go for a never stop exploring visual design and then a ‘be kind’ rainbow and ‘play, dream, explore’ below. I used a free trial to make these, meaning all the premium art and fonts were accessible, designed them, downloaded them and sent them to Snapfish for printing. We then popped to a discount store for some cheap but reasonably nice frames and got a pack of 3M Command strips and we were away.

Handmake Wire Words and Graphics

I really wanted some wire words after finding them on Instagram, but at Β£8 – 11 per design, I thought id give it a go myself. For this I found some knitted rope on Amazon, and some easily mouldable copper wire. I then had a mare getting the wire into the knitted rope, but when I did, it was fun seeing what I could come up with. I then went and made a ‘play’ and ‘explore’ word wire and later added a dinosaur and rocket.

Buy red knitted rope, yellow knitted rope and copper wire at Amazon.

Make his own Space.

Giving Munchkin his own space also fits with our Montessori way of parenting. It gives him some ownership and a space he knows is his. A space he can have his snack, find his morning milk, play, paint, draw and enjoy.

toddler wall on a budget
Enjoy Munchkin!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Febrile Convulsion in Children

*The information in this post is based on the advice from NHS UK. Please always follow your own area’s medical advice.

One hot day in May…

The reason I wanted to post about Febrile Convulsion (temperature related seizure in young children) is because we experienced one in Munchkin recently during half term and I wish I had known more before.

It was a very hot day and we spent a lot of time in the garden playing in and around the paddling pool. Toward the afternoon, Munchkin got very hot and sleepy. Thinking it was heat exhaustion, we gave him plenty to drink, popped his feet up and lay on the sofa to an episode of Hey Duggee. Twenty minutes later he was back to himself running about the house. We were immediately more cautious, staying inside and keeping water arms length from Munchkin.

He went to bed as normal, in limited clothes as it was very hot. The only difference we noticed is that he asked to sleep asking “Munchkin sleep now”, while It’s normally a little more difficult.

It must have been around 9:30 pm went we heard a weird noise come from Munchkin. We instantly turned on the camera app and witnessed his first seizure, running to his bedside and calling 999. After nearly 24 hours Munchkin was back home, the only lasting effect being Mummy and Daddy watching him like hawk ever since.

Part of me just wished we had known more, to ease our fears a little. Hence I am writing this post.

Febrile Convulsion in Children

Febrile Convulsion’s are brief seizures which can occur when a child (normally aged between 6 months to 6 years) is running a temperature. This is because, in developing children, the high temperature can disturb normal brain activity. It’s commonplace, with three cases in every 100 children and children fully recover with no lasting effect on learning or development.

Normally children only have one in their life (with 1 in 3 experiencing more than one). The overall risk of epilepsy is slightly increased after experiencing a febrile convulsion.

Febrile convulsion in children

Preventing Febrile Convulsion

Febrile convulsions are caused by running a high temperature, so, whilst not completely effective, the methods to prevent them are the same as treating a high temperature:

  • Keep your child hydrated
  • Treat with Paracetamol or Ibuprofen following normal dosage limits.
  • Cool their bedroom and remove clothing if sweating.

If a convulsion happens its important to place them in the recovery position and clear the area for anything that could harm them. Keep track of how long the seizure lasts.

When to call 999

We were right to call an ambulance as it was Munchkin’s first seizure.

Call 999 if:

  • Your child looks unwell or septic (symptoms of Sepsis – NHS UK)
  • It’s the child’s first convulsion.
  • Your child has several short convulsions in a short space of time or more than one in 24 hours.
  • If the seizure is a focal seizure. This means its on one side of their body or may last longer than 24 hours.

Further reading

Febrile seizures – NHS (www.nhs.uk)


As I said, the only effect for Munchkin has been me and Mummy watching him like a hawk and stalking him with a water bottle on hot days. We just wish we had this information beforehand, to allay our fears at the time.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Encouraging Children to Read

Children often love to read without motivation but sometimes they need some encourgement. For example, statistics have shown that previously, only 58% of children enjoy to read and only 30.8% read daily (based on 49,049 children and young people aged eight to 18). I believe what we do to stimulate reading enjoyment in Munchkin will hopefully make him one of those 50%, be it making it fun, accessible or part of routine.

Make books visible and accessible

How many times do you want or need to do something but can’t be bothered because the thing you need is in a different room or upstairs? Its the same with reading. Keep books accessible and visible. Put them in their bedroom, and downstairs in their play room or share the bottom shelf of the bookcase so they are always on hand.

Once, we were trying to be more tidy and conseuqently, Munchkins books became less visible. We instantly noticed a dramatic decline in the amount he actively chose to read. We quickly realised that, as he would not see books he would therefore not be enticed to read them.

Make it routine

The easiest way to start reading with young children is to make it part of the routine. We have always let Munchkin choose two books before bed and offer them whenever he wants to do change activity. Sometimes one book leads two and then to a whole stack of them.

Incite their imagination

Incite their imagination by expanding on the story. Try asking ‘what could happen next?’ or ‘what noise would that animal make?’ or ‘what would your super power be? We find you can talk around the book for much longer than just simply reading it, and it adds much more value and learning to the story. I find it makes it much more interesting too, especially if its one of their favourites they have asked you to read on repeat.

Similarly, maintain your enthusiasm, no matter how many times you have read a certain book. Reading to children should always be approached with enthusiasm and emphasis, and this should be the case whether its the first read or the 50th.

Don’t restrict reading to books.

Reading shouldn’t just be with books. Engage in reading whenever the moment arises. For example, Munchkin likes to sound out letters on notices and road signs, when we walk, and we tell him what they say. Real life learning on the go at its best.

Let them read to you. Even before they can.

I got this little nugget from Munchkin himself. Sometimes he wants to take the driving seat and read to us, ‘Daddy read this one, (Munchkin) read this one’. Its a great way to see a book through his eyes and allows us to incite his imagination by asking around what he picks up, next time. It’s honestly surprising how much of a story Munchkin can relay at just two years 4 months old.

Get books related to their interests

Seems an obvious one, as no one likes to read things that do not interest them, but its essential advice. If they like peppa pig, she has books, if they love the ocean, you can get plenty about the sea, if they like being eco-friendly there’s books for that too and of course, Duggee has them (woof woof!).

It would be no surprise to you that Munchkin loves a bit of nature if you saw his book collection with ‘woods’, ‘under the sea’ and nature crossovers like ‘flamingo play’s bingo’.

Incorporate books into play

Consider setting up an activity around a book theme. For example, set up a nature play zone around ‘That’s not my hedgehog’, or get a book on trains and get the tracks out. The options are endless.

Talk around the written words

While its lovely to read the book word for word, it can stimulate their imaginations by adding extra details. Put simply, just say what you see.

Thanks for reading, enjoy reading more books!

Do you have any tips to encourage reading in your children?

Daddy and Munchkin

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Ways for Dads to bond with a Newborn

From the moment you enter the maternity ward, your world flips upside down. You used to be the decider of your sleep schedule and knew roughly what time of day it was by how you felt. Suddenly, as you appear from that sauna hot room of first cries, sweat and tears, everything has changed. Your now a Dad and so here’s some tips to help bond with that little ball of cuteness.

Rewind! Bonding starts with the bump

I got a little ahead of myself there. Bonding actually starts way before you even think about packing your hospital bag. From six months of ‘cooking’ inside Mummy’s belly, your little one can begin to learn. I’ll admit its weird at first, but then this is the time to introduce yourself, so they know who you are from day one. Oh and so they are used to your terrible singing voice from the onset!

Hello, little one

From day one there are many things you can do to build your bond, many of which are super simple.

Be present

No little one is going to bond with someone who isn’t there. Make sure you’re at home and engaged with the new arrival. Cancel some pub trips, sport or xbox time, get on the sofa, and have a snuggle. Share the feeds, where possible and get up during the night, and share the feeds and nappy changes. Sit by the bath and help at bath time. Read a book at bedtime. Just be there.

Do things babies enjoy

It may seem obvious. But engage with the new baby by doing the things babies enjoy. Pull faces, smile, sing, rock, snuggle, and be the general goof you know you are. You’ll be rewarded by looks of joy, later smiles and then giggles.

Display affection with kisses and cuddles and have some skin to skin time. It works just as well for Dad just as much as Mum.

Have some one on one time

This has a double benefit. It gives Mum some time for some ‘me’ time and gives you time with your new child alone. Go for a walk, and get the satisfaction of all the smiles you get from passers-by. Or go one further, take your baby to ‘Rhyme time’ or ‘Messy play’ or ‘Baby massage’.

If you really want to go to town, and your other half doesn’t mind returning to work early, do we me and my Wifey did, and share parental leave. My wife Natalie took the first six months, and I took the latter. This meant I had 8 hours on one on one with Munchkin every week day and boy, did we have fun. You can read about SPL (shared parental leave) in this post.

And that’s as simple

Thanks for reading, do you have any other tips?

And if you are a new Dad, have a read of ‘Five tips for a New Dad‘ which echoes similar sentiments to this post with other tips for new Dads.

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Five tips for a New Dad

You are excited, but apprehensive. You make the most of those final full nights rest before being flung into a world of changing nappies, sleepless nights but magical moments. Everything changes, so here are my five tips for a new parent, from my experience.

Day one for me

1. Share the Responsibility.

This is 2021, and parenting isn’t the Mum’s job, so its time to share everything. Share the piles of baby washing, the feeding (if you can), the bath times and the bum changes. Chances are you are both equally knackered, so make it the best for you both.

Oh that note, don’t sleep through the night feeds (as hard as that can be). I would always wake, and ask if there was anything I could do or if Natalie wanted some company. This meant I’d usually do the bum change, then pass to Natalie for a feed.

2. Remain in the moment

I started blogging and my Instagram during time off with our Munchkin, but this is where time begins to fly. So pull yourself away from your devices and have some quality time with your little one. You can read about my realisation of this in ‘Living in the Present‘.

3. It can be overwhelming. Take some ‘me’ time.

This could sound like the opposite of points 1 & 2, but its also important to have some time to yourself. Make time for whatever helps you unwind, as all that play and baby books could send you a tad crazy. So make a deal with your partner to give an hour to them, and half one yourself.

4. Split all the jobs and always offer to help

Similar to point one, split all the other jobs. Take a 50:50 approach and see how it helps. My wifey and I split everything, from the cleaning, to the washing to the garden. As a result, there’s never a disagreement and with a little baby around, that’s more important than ever.

5. Make time for your partner

It’s easy to spend all your time on your little one and forget about each other. It may seem silly, but it can be good to schedule in a ‘date night’ or trip away (when permitted) while the Grandparents get some baby time. We had a spa night away in Munchkin’s first year. It was great to have some chill time and some ‘us’ time.

Do you have any other tips for new dads? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading,

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