So, you decide to have a family.  Great.  You are given maternity leave.  Great.  You are then told you need to go back to work or you decide to continue with your career.  Great.  You then search for childcare that you can afford.  Not so great.


The UK has the most expensive childcare models in the developed world.  It costs on average £218 a week for full time care.  The cost is every increasing, yet wages don’t keep up.  This has forced many parents (particularly women) to reduce their hours at work or leave work altogether.




In Scandinavia, access to childcare for younger children is a formal right.  They also have restrictions on the maximum level parents must pay which is set by their Government.  Not in the UK though.


The difference between the countries is plain and simple.  Public support.  Public support for reduced childcare in Sweden, Norway and Denmark is high whereas in the UK it is low.  I am a mother and maybe I would say this, but I strongly believe in publicly-provided childcare for everyone.  My reasoning is that childcare is an investment.  An investment in children no matter where they live, no matter what the socio-economic status of their parents, no matter what their abilities.  Good quality childcare has a proven track record of setting children up for the best start in life.


It is disappointing then that Westminster decided to scrap the childcare voucher scheme.  Over 450,000 parents use the Childcare voucher scheme.  Employees can receive vouchers worth up to £55 per week in lieu of their salary making it very tax efficient.  They have had a reprieve though by six months.  This is because of the glitches in the HMRC website which has meant people haven’t been able to set up their accounts for the alternative system.


This is just one of many problems that parents are experiencing as they try their best to keep a job while providing the best support for the children.


There is one other issue that we also need to be aware of.  How we treat women and mothers.  Affordable and accessible childcare allows mothers to take part in or continue to take part in the labour market.  After all we are all told to be part of society we must work!  Yet the lack of affordable and accessible childcare means mothers often must reduce their hours or leave work altogether.


I would therefore like us all to learn from our Nordic neighbours and treat children and young people as valuable members of our society and continue to improve gender equality for women who want to work.







Mornings can be a stressful time of day – sleeping in, getting ready, rushing around trying to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. Then comes the added stress of sitting traffic, hoping you manage to make it on time. The same applies to the school run, except you are now responsible for more than just yourself. According to a recent survey, 77% of parents describe the school run as more stressful than work or grocery shopping, and 80% confessed to losing their temper with their children on the drive to school.


One in five cars on the road during the morning peak are doing the school run. This is no surprise – in 2014, nearly half (44%) of primary school children travelled to school via a car. However, this could be about to change. Following recent reports about the UK’s attempt to reduce air pollution from fossil fuels, by banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040, parents who drive the school run could be fined up to £130 under a new pilot scheme. The scheme aims to improve road safety and crack down on air pollution.


With parents admitting the school run routine is stressful and chaos, surely there is a simpler alternative to complete the school run. Here at Motorparks, we strive for a better motoring experience. As September approaches, it’s almost time to start another school year and for the daily school runs to resume. Therefore, this guide will outline how you can do the daily school run with ease.


drive kids to school
Keep stress to a minimum

Plan ahead! It might sound obvious, but organisation is key. Planning everything the evening before will save you a lot of time and stress in the morning. Lunches, PE kits and uniforms – set them out, prepare them and pack them on an evening. This will help your morning run smoothly without any blips. If possible, try and leave five minutes early as well to get a head start in the morning traffic.


When you’re in the car, keep spirits high. Don’t let whatever happened before you left the house get under your skin – losing your temper with your children before they go to school will leave things on bad terms for the full day.


The best cars for the school run


To make the school run a comfortable drive, Motorparks recommend a few models which particularly stand out as ‘family cars’ that are perfect for the school run. From the Ford S-Max to the VW Golf estate, packing size into a road-friendly car will ensure you have enough room for the whole family. However, you don’t need a big car for the school run – the new Ford Fiesta is ample size to take the kids to school. Available with five doors and a substantial boot, there’s room for you and the kids plus their PE kits, football boots, lunch boxes and homework bags.



With a new scheme set to be put in place for school run drivers, you could also consider travel alternatives for the school run. 80% of seven and eight year olds walked to and from school alone or with a friend in the early 1970s – however, two decades later, this figure has decreased to 10% of children walking to school, most of whom are now accompanied by their parent or guardian. With 28% of children under the age of 16 now classed as overweight, encouraging your children to walk to school is a good start.


Currently, only 4% of children are cycling to school. This small percentage is a result of parents not allowing their children to cycle on the roads, with traffic danger being a parent’s main concern. However, cycling to school helps children to develop road safety and independence.



The school run doesn’t need to be stressful – the key to a smooth school run is organisation. Prepare as much as possible the evening before so that you aren’t running around on a morning. With careful organisation, you’ll be able to leave on time or early to make the morning traffic more like a walk in the park.




My two children, who are now teenagers both wear glasses.  They have done from a very young age.  In fact, my eldest did have to wear a patch during the evenings too.  This may seem a little daunting but recognising early signs of eyesight problems and dealing with them is important for their later vision.


how to keep your children's eyes healthy

While we all lead very busy lives, it’s crucial to be aware of any signs that your child might have a problem with their vision.  For example, I noticed that my son was moving closer and closer to the television, an early warning sign that made me book an appointment with the optometrist.  I was so pleased that I did as the early signs of amblyopia (lazy eye) was detected and treated immediately.  Below I have listed some of my top tips to help you keep your children’s eyes healthy.


Watch Out for warning signs

As mentioned above, moving closer to the television was my early warning sign.  There are others.  For example, your child could be screwing up their eyes to see better or rubbing eyes a lot.  Another sign could be excessive watering of eyes, holding books too close or your child complaining about having headaches.  Need more information?  You can find a wealth of information about your child’s eye health and eye care in the Feel Good Contacts eyecare hub.


keeping children's eyes healthy


Keep up with eye care appointments

If you have spotted a problem, keep up with the regular eye appointments.  It is the perfect time when your children are young to deal with any issues.  I was so pleased when after using the eye patch for several weeks that all was right with my son’s vision.  I guess the earlier we detect a problem the greater the change of fixing it and helping your child’s vision.


Wearing glasses

Now my children are teenagers, they have moved from the children’s section of the glasses to the adults.  When they were young there was a fantastic array of eyewear to choose from.  For the very young the glasses were easy to wear with an elastic towards the back.  We were lucky that ours never took them off.  Experiment and explore the options for glasses.  Indeed, I would also recommend getting prescription sunglasses too.  There is so much choice out there, for example Feel Good Contacts stocks contact lenses, eye health products and designer sunglasses at great prices.  I would recommend heading over to see the choice for yourself.  In fact, they are offering my readers a discount of 10% on a customer’s first order.  Just pop in the code FEELGOODTIME.


Related posts:

3 Amazing Posts to Cope with a Moody Teenager

7 Simple Parenting Hacks for Teenagers

6 Top Tips to Help Discipline Your Teenager

7 Top Tips for a Thriving Relationship with your Teen


It really isn’t easy for young children to point out if they are having trouble with their vision, which is why it is important as parents to know the tell-tale signs.  If you want further information head over to the Feel Good Contacts eyecare hub and arm yourself with all the knowledge you need including how to protect your children’s eyes from the effects of tablets.



These top tips will help you ensure you can spot the signs of eye problems.

*collaborative post




Only 7.7% of the UK population can speak another language fluently. Second languages are best learnt from early childhood when the brain is already in the process of learning new words and phrases. Here are some tips to get your child speaking another language.

kids learning a second language

Start early


Studies have found that children are more easily able to pick up pockets of grammar simply by hearing them repeated, whilst adults may struggle to learn these grammar rules. You don’t have to wait until they’re in secondary school to start the language learning process – in fact, primary school might be the best time to start learning. The language is likely to be picked up more naturally, just as we pick up English from a young age.


Use language learning resources for children


There are lots of language learning tools out there, but not all of them are suitable for children. Use sticker books and language-learning video game apps and interactive audiobooks. It’s worth reading reviews online before paying for such language tools so that you know your kid is going to want to get involved. There are lots of free language learning sources out there that can also be worth trying out.




Expose them to foreign films, TV and music


Media sources in another language such as foreign films, TV and music can all be used to further help your child pick up another language. These are best used from a young age. Consider playing animated films in another language and foreign music aimed at children that will capture their attention. You can consider also using English subtitles for films and TV shows as an aid.



Related posts

3 Amazing Tips to Cope with a Moody Teenager

7 Simple Parenting Hacks for Teenagers

6 Top Tips to Help Discipline Your Teenager

7 Top Tips for a Thriving Relationship with your Teen


Inspire them by travelling abroad


Travelling to another country can help your children to test out their language skills in a practical setting. This could be something as simple as letting them order their meal when the waiter comes to the table. Children will also be able to test their reading skills on signs and menus. It could be a fun family holiday in which you can all get into the swing of speaking another language. For older children and teens, there are other options such as residential trips for schools and foreign exchange programmes. These can be great for allowing your child to learn another language, whilst also giving them a feeling of independence.


Consider hiring a tutor


If you yourself are not fluent in the chosen second language, it could be worth hiring a language tutor to help. They can come round your house for an hour a week and help to teach your child in a fun manner. There are other options that may be available in your area such as language learning clubs for kids. Choose an option that’s kid-friendly so that you know your child is going to be motivated to learn.



Being a parent is wonderful but there are times when it can be extremely challenging.  These 7 simple parenting hacks are to help you.  The teenage years can test us to our limits.  I wanted to share some tips which I hope you will find helpful as you weave your way through the teenage years.


Conflict is normal

It can be a shock and hard to accept that conflict with your teenager is normal.  Believe me I deal with it on a regular basis.  But honestly it does have a positive side.  Your teenager is becoming more independent and trying to form their own point of view.  If you need some ways to help you stay connected with your teenager read my blog post here.


Be clear in what you expect

While I completely understand the changes happening to my son, he still needs boundaries.  For example, staying safe online is extremely important.  We have certain boundaries but we also explain why we have them in place.  It is always helpful to be clear in what boundaries you have set for your teenager.


Spend time and listen to what they have to say

Staying connected to your teenager as they grow is extremely important as you will find with their maturing, your relationship may also change.  Keep spending time with them and doing things together.


Respect their point of view

Oh I have to admit this has been the hardest one for me.  Especially when your teenager thinks he knows everything!  I have learned to accept that my son won’t agree with everything that I say.  That as he reads more, listens more and meets new people he will form his own opinions which may be different to mine.  It’s important as a parent to respect their views as you would like them to respect yours!


Give them the space they need

I don’t know about you but there are times I just need a little space and time to myself.  That is exactly the same for your teenager.  Remember, they are going through a lot so respecting their need to have some time to themselves will certainly help with communication.


Be encouraging and give positive feedback

It can be so easy for me to fall in to the trap of being negative to my son and forgetting to praise him.  I try my best to give him positive feedback and encouragement every single day and I also tell him every single day that I love him.  I find this pays dividends by giving him confidence and showing he is loved.


Look after yourself

I find it can be stressful at times being a parent, working and keeping on top of things at home.  So my advice is to look after yourself and remember you are not wonder woman or superman so take some time to yourself!



Head over to 7 top tips for a thriving relationship with your teenager to find out how you can connect more.

Want to learn how to connect more to your teenager?  My connecting to your teenager 101 is here to help.

Want some tips to be a great parent to your teenager?  Head over to my 8 Top Tips to Help you be an awesome parent to your teen to read more.



Some simple parenting hacks to help you parent your teenager. I hope these hints and tips will help you. Head over to www.elfeelgoodsvintage.uk to read them in full