Wreck-It Ralph knows the secret of successful parenting . . . and now you do too – Hayley Matthews

The Parent Club website offers handy advice that even Wreck-It Ralph could take on boardThe Parent Club website offers handy advice that even Wreck-It Ralph could take on board
The Parent Club website offers handy advice that even Wreck-It Ralph could take on board
At the end of the kids’ movie Ralph Breaks The Internet one of the characters pipes up that the secret to successful parenting is . . . then traffic whizzes past, beeping and honking and no-one can hear what was said. Oh how many of us wish we knew.

I find things tough when shopping after school and I’ve been guilty of handing out the iPad just so I can fold away the washing, not to mention trying to work.

Being a freelancer the constant juggling of jobs (until I take over from Lorraine Kelly when she retires) can be tough, especially when the boys get restless. I can be ready to rip my hair out by 4pm. However, one job that I worked on recently actually helped me reevaluate how I can involve the boys more by keeping them busy whilst learning at the same time. I mentioned it a while back but the Parent Club really has given me lots of inspiration for successful parenting and I’m still telling friends about the free online tips to keep kids busy at difficult points of the day – and they all revolve around learning.

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Kids are like little sponges and I feel bad when I tell my effervescent seven-year-old to bring it down a level at times, because he just wants to learn and his brain is always buzzing with questions and brilliant ideas. I’ve learnt that with a little thought I can keep his wee brain busy whilst getting through the day.

Things like playing hangman or doing a times tables on the way home from school keep us all sane. Adding up the shopping as we go round is another great one – he’s told me we’ve spent £200 on shopping this year: ha, if only! It means Kenny and I aren’t purely relying on wine, beta blockers and Netflix to get through the day. Yes non-parents, things can get that stressful – don’t judge!

So to get back to my point about the secret to successful parenting I don’t think it has to be complicated. Keeping brains busy is key. I’ve been using the Parent Club website for a few months now and have picked up tips that have been really useful. It’s little things like asking Harris to write the shopping list then read it out loud round the shop takes his mind off the fact I’m actually dragging him round the Co-op. We’ve also been measuring random things in the flat (you’d be amazed at how much fun that can be), and hangman on the Etch A Sketch is a winner every night before bed. I’ve asked Harris what he likes doing the best and he loves sums. The problem is I sometimes need to get my phone out to check if he’s right as maths is not my strong point.

During November and December the Parent Club will be sharing tips online, which I’m pleased about as the winter months can be particularly hard when we can’t get to the park for a run about. Having Kenny “The Banker” running a very tight ship with our pennies, we’re happy that the tips are free and the suggestions are simple– small things – that us mums and dads can do. We’ve learnt many times over when buying something to play with for the boys that the most exciting thing is hiding in the box! So if you have any tips, feel free to spread your advice because word of mouth is how us parents get by. You’ll find me getting involved at www.parentclub.scot and I’ll hopefully help make the day #EasyAs123! Oh and if all else fails – grab a bag of popcorn and stick Wreck-It Ralph on.