The Summer Holidays in Basingstoke with an 8 year old

I was having a cuppa with a friend this morning and we were talking about what to do in the summer holidays and we realised that I know LOADS of things, so thought I would share ;-).

Each week of the holidays I also put together a printed schedule for each week and pin it to a wall, so Miss NHM can see what’s happening for the rest of the week. It shows what we are doing each morning, lunchtime, afternoon and evening.  I find that it stops the “what are we doing today” questions that I used to get all through the summer holidays!! :-D.

  1. Book at least one pyjama day during the summer holidays! If only to “celebrate” not having to do the school run!!!

2. Our local Hobbycraft have FREE craft sessions on a Saturday for an hour in the morning.

3. Go paddling in a local stream 

4. Take a picnic and explore near to where you live. There is something awesome about eating outside. We are huge fans of breakfast picnics for something a little bit different!

5. If the weather is good, go to a local splash park like Eastrop Park or Chineham Splash Park 

6. Find out all of your local parks and go for a skate or bike ride to each one. This post is really good for finding good play parks and parks local to you: Local Parks and open spaces

7. Go Geo-cashing in your local woods. It’s really easy to do. Just download the app to your phone and off you go. It’s a great way to get children outside. Or Pokemon or Harry Potter hunting if that’s your thing ;-).

8. Book up a FREE session at our local Apple store in Festival Place. There at least two sessions every day and more in the summer holidays and they are a great way to occupy your child/children for an hour or two. You need to book in advance though and you have to stay with your child.

9. Boring as it is, school shoes are a necessity if you’re child is in school. I highly recommend Diane at Shoes2Adore on the way to Tadley. But book soon because she gets VERY booked up in the summer holidays.

10. If you’re child can’t ride their bike yet, make a plan to teacher them over the summer.

11. Go swimming at once of our local swimming pools. Lots of them do special deals and/or events over the summer holidays so check out their websites for more information. QMC Swimming pool does really reasonably priced swimming sessions during the summer holidays.

12. Sign up to the Reading Challenge that our local Libraries run every summer. You can sign children up from ages 4+ I think and they only need to read 6 books over the 6 weeks. If they complete the challenge and are at school they get a medal and a certificate that’s presented to them in school. Miss NHM is very proud of her previous reading challenge certificates and medals and it’s been a great way to get her to read more. Popping into the library for an hour a week during the school holidays is also a great time killer!!

13. Take the children to a local museum, especially the Willis Museum as it’s FREE!!

14. Kids cinema in the mornings during the summer holidays at around 10am. Both Vue and Odeon do reduce tickets for “kids Club” and I think it’s less than £2 per ticket.

15. Cash in your Tesco’s clubcard points or your nectar points to do something fun with your children.

16. Find somewhere to visit where the entrance ticket becomes an annual pass. If you buy a ticket to Milestones Museum, The Living Rainforest or the Army Flying Museum the ticket lasts for a year so you can re-use during other holiday times or after school.

17. Check out the “NHM Reviews” page for ideas of where to go and where to visit. Lots of places reviewed on NHM are FREE, although you may have to pay for parking.

18. Check out the Season Tickets to local attractions in North Hampshire – updated 2017 post which lists out local season tickets.

19. Miss NHM loves listening to audio books, so I splash out for the summer holidays and treat her to a new audio book. I buy mine from “The Book People” as they are very reasonably priced and Miss NHM has easy control over which cd’s she listens too.

20. Try “Bored Jar’s” when you are at your wits end!! These posts are tailored to toddlers but you can easily update them for older children.

21. Visit Hampshire Farmers Market. The nearest one to Basingstoke is in Winchester on a Sunday morning.

22. Check out the Nature Detectives website for some ideas of activities you can do outside.

23. Take a walk to Odiham Castle, along the Basingstoke Canal.

24. If it’s windy, fly a kite at Crabtree.

25. Visit a Pick Your Own farm.

26. Go for a day trip to the beach. There is also a great post by NHM Readers of their Favourite local beaches.

At Home

27. Blackberries are now ready in August so make sure you go blackberry picking at some point.

28. I’m planning on trying to drop some food off at our local food bank with Miss NHM.

29. Play boardgames together or try to create your own boardgame.

30. Put the tent up in the garden and sleep in it over night. If you don’t have a tent see if you can borrow a small one from friends and family.

31. This year I’m going to create a “Summer Holiday box” which will be very similar to the “Christmas Eve Box” that I put together every Christmas. Each Monday I plan to fill it with different things, like an audiobook that Miss NHM hasn’t listened too in a while, some party bag fillers that I’ve kept back, sticker books that Miss NHM hasn’t got round to using, some books she hasn’t read yet that have been in her bookcase for AGES, and little things like that which can keep her occupied for a while.

32. Clean a neighbours car in exchange for some money that will go towards charity.

33. Ask your child if there is anything in their bedroom that they no longer need or want as the summer holidays is a great chance to declutter.

34. Something we are going to do this summer is clean out the kitchen cupboards together!!

35. Have a look at Baker Ross for some cheap craft activities you can do together or use something from the recyling bin as a craft project.

36. Create a summer scrapbook where your child or children can write in what they have done over the summer holidays. It will be a great memory for when they are older.

37. Bake some fairy cakes or buy a baking kit such as the ones you can get from local company BakedIn.

38. Ensure you schedule in some “boring” days where you have nothing planned, so your children can occupy themselves for a while. It’s supposed to help with their resilience, although it may drive you batty listening to the “I’m bored” whining <facepalm>!

Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids

When I first heard about Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids I knew it was something that I had to get involved, as an ex-teacher I was so excited by these classes and new that they would go down really well in this area!

I am Sally, mum to two young boys, and a highly experienced early years teacher.  When I returned to teaching after having my boys, it became clear that something had to give as I just wasn’t seeing my sons during the week.

So when I stumbled across Sounds Right Phonics Classes fro Kids I though aha this is perfect! I could still use my teaching skills, but also fitted around my family.

Phonics has become such a huge part of children’s learning in recent years, so immersing children into simple phonic activities and games at a young age and introducing them to rhymes, whilst having fun seemed like a fantastic thing to do.

I have two different classes, Minis for children aged between 12 to 30 months – which introduces simple letter sounds, with many songs and rhymes, we also begin to develop motor skills through the use of pom-poms, bubbles and parachutes.

And Pre-school classes for children aged between 2 1/2 and 4 years old – where we introduce a sound each week and play games associated with that sounds, then with the help of our class mascot we develop word building and taking apart strategies.

Along side all of this we continue to improve our motor skills both large and small scale with pom-poms and play-dough.

I currently run classes on Mondays in Barton Stacey, Tuesdays at Totcity in Andover and Wednesdays at Picket Twenty Community Centre.

From September I will be adding an afternoon class on Wednesdays at YMCA Andover.  If you would like more information please contact me on andover@soundsrightphonicsclasses.co.uk or visit my facebook page Sounds Right Phonics Classes Andover.

Here are a couple of recent review from some of my parents:

“This class is so much more than I had expected. It is fun, interactive and different than all others out there. My daughter loves it! I love that she is so happy learning!!”

“I was initially interested in Sally’s phonics classes as I wanted to learn how to pronounce sounds correctly before my daughter starts school in September, as it’s all new to me too! We have both had so much fun that my daughter has said that she would “go to phonics every day” if she could. She gets bored easily but loves these classes and has learned so much. As her interest in letters and sounds has grown it’s naturally led on to her writing some too! Sally is wonderful and includes every child in the group, highly recommended.”

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Failing Families: Health Visitor Clinic Closures

It’s been 8 years since I started NorthHantsMum in June 2011.

I’ve seen a lot of changes during that time. Unfortunately many of those changes have negatively impacted local families, especially Mums with babies and small children and families with SEN children.

Yesterday I saw that the Health Visitor clinic schedule has been changed again so that now the Drop In’s are only Monday at The Ridgeway Centre and Friday at the Discovery Centre. The others are by appointment only.

Many of the clinics that have been running for at least 8 years (I know because I used them) have now been cancelled, such as Christchurch Chineham, Overton, Hatch Warren, Whitchurch and Bramley.

I understand that we are living in times of “austerity” but why is it that families, especially Mums and young children, are targeted with any cuts first?

What you can do!!!

If, like me, you are pissed off/ fed up  (I don’t swear on NHM but I feel it’s appropriate in this instance!) with the way local families are being repeatedly let down then this is what you can do:

Specifically email ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut.

Please cc. me in any emails that you send (NorthHantsMum@gmail.com).

  1. Email the head of Southern Health: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net
  2. Email Maria Miller: maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk
  3. Email your local councillor. You can find your local councillor here by using your postcode: https://democracy.basingstoke.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx

(You can copy and paste all of the emails from here: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net;  maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk; NorthHantsMum@gmail.com)

Specifically tweet ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut:

  1. Tweet the head of Southern Health: https://twitter.com/NickBroughton4
  2. Tweet Maria Miller: https://twitter.com/MariaMillerUK
  3. Tweet your local councillors

The remaining clinics also have feedback forms, so please complete these as well.

Please make sure you add comments as to why it matters to you that the clinics have been cut as the way these things work is that individual letters/emails count more than group ones.

What to write about

You could write about how disappointed you are that so many clinics have been discontinued because they were so important to you when your baby was born as they were somewhere for you to go for support.

You could write about how annoyed you are that funding cuts are impacting new Mums and thus putting them at more risk of post natal depression.

You could write about how angry you are that new Mums and future new Mums are being failed by the services that are supposed to be in place to support them.

You could also write something similar to this which I’ve been sent by another local Mum: “in recent years in our area parents have lost specialised breastfeeding support when grant funding was not extended and have had closures of Children’s Centres (11 remain out of 64 in Hampshire I think). To say that support for parents has been decimated is an understatement. I understand that money is tight but the latest blow will affect those parents who are only just coping and in turn these women and children will need to access more services via their GPs for example or as mental health referrals. I consider these additional closures will knock on to the health and well being of ordinary families and will cost the whole system more in the long run. We were promised more Health Visitors in the call for action – instead it seems we have fewer with just a skeleton service remaining. I worry for those families who in the past would have got early support from a trusted Health Visitor – who now will go under the radar. If a GP visit costs around £45, a hospital overnight stay more like £500 and a child taken in to care around £50K per annum… we can see how cutting services for families to the bare minimum will soon knock on to these other budgets. We are calling for a joined up approach to services in the county.”

You can obviously write whatever you would like but please put why it matters to you that the Health Visitor Clinics have been cut.

On Social Media you could use the hashtag #FailingFamilies.

Summary of Closures

If you have a bit more time and feel like you really want to “go to town” on how local families are being let down, then please see my summary of closures and cancellations in the past 4 years….

2015

2016

(There is now direct evidence of how children’s centres saved the NHS millions of pounds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/04/sure-start-saved-nhs-millions?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR38KyULT_ELrGweVxT_rNIHgJIK4RKL491e0MVUbcHjaVmsiC99gW3lRC8) Thank you to Danielle for sharing with me).

2017

  • 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, meaning many Mums are being forced back into working much earlier than they would want too.

2018

  • Closing of Little Play Town in Nov 2018
  • Manydown Family Fun Closed
  • Absolute Karting Basingstoke Closed
  • JJ’s (softplay) Closed
  • Beenham Wolf Sanctury Closed
  • Reduction of funding for school buses – August 2018
  • Removal of school buses for children with disabilities – August 2018
  • National Playday at Eastrop cancelled in 2018. This was a free day for children that had been running for years in Eastrop but now runs in a few of the local community centres instead. It’s not the same. At all.
  • Reduction in funding for the newborn courses at the remaining Children’s Centre, Westside – 2018
  • Cancellation of the EHCP process in Nov 2018 for SEN parents
  • Closing of ParentVoice and switching to Red Rose: https://www.hants.gov.uk/news/Nov27-SENDIASS
  • Changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support in Hampshire

2019

  • Kids N Action Softplay Closed
(If there is anything that I have missed off this list, please let me know).

Impact of these changes

All of these changes are impacting many, many local families.

Even more so with the increase in housing of an extra 10,000 houses to be built in the local area by end of 2020, so more families are moving to the area but services are being reduced that don’t support existing families, let alone new families.

As I said above, I understand that we live in times of “austerity” but it’s very, very worrying and I try not to dwell too much on the impact these changes will have on my 8 year old daughter, her generation and future generations.

I try my best to be positive and upbeat on NHM but I think we need to try to do something to ensure that at least the Health Visitor clinics are better represented. Any help you can give with this will be greatly appreciated. If we ALL send the emails, the impact the NorthHantsMum Community could have would be huge!

Comments from other Mum’s

who have put it far more eloquently than I have!

Sarah: Sadly it Seems like this government would rather waste money hosting a £40million trump visit and push through brexit at any cost rather than look after it’s vulnerable citizens. After brexit more services like this will be cut as we will all be poorer – Apparently it’s “the will of the people”.

Genevieve: As well as writing letters, you may also wish to comment on Maria’s Twitter and Facebook accounts (or here https://www.facebook.com/159961377372565/posts/2184994638202552?s=532163237&sfns=mo – she’s very good at attending awards, not so good at helping people!).

Eleanor: Prevention is better than cure … health visitor clinics are so useful to local people in their own communities. Mums don’t think ‘oh I’m struggling, I know I’ll book a health visitor clinic’ they just keep struggling, until something breaks or nothing happens but just struggle.
I’m so sad to see the Bramley clinic cancelled. The stay and play sessions were so valuable to me. Sadly the funding is ridiculously short I presume. I’ll defiantly be emailing as you suggested. Taking away support for parents is only ever going to cause problems for parents and children in the future. Even if it’s the subtle kind of problems that don’t translate into hospital admissions etc.

Elisa: The unfortunate truth is that they are down on 5 full time health visitors for Southern Health. The reason they are not able to recruit is that most of their time is spent dealing with safe guarding issues. The role of the health visitor has sadly changed and nobody wants to do the type of work they are doing now. Add to this, the fact that the remaining staff are over worked and stressed, it’s not an environment anyone else wants to join.
So as desperately sad as it is about the decreasing availability of them, writing to anyone will sadly make no difference. The jobs are available but sadly nobody wants them ☹️.

Emma: When I had my first I could walk around to chiltern school and see a HV every other Tuesday. He was regularly weighed and as a first time mum I could ask all my questions. Fast forward 4 years and I had a prem baby. Zero support. I was told I’d have more contact because he was premature- I didn’t. When I went for weigh ins the HV’s didn’t all understand how to record his weight!! You have to plot it twice for actual and corrected. The library was the easiest one to get to but queues were horrendous and then you felt rushed because you could feel the strain. Needless to say I stopped going. It was too much effort with two children and with my baby being so little. I can’t believe they’ve reduced this even further. If I was a first time mum now I’d be very worried.

Wendy: Emma, such similar story, my first was weighed once a fortnight at first, then once a month in the Popley 5 drop in that was walking distance for all of Popley, Oakridge and South View. Then they moved it to Popley Fields for my second, no longer walking distance, not at a time that was convenient for nursery/school run. He got weighed about 4 times. He had eczema and allergies but going to the drop in meant missing out on other things or struggling with the car park, so we didn’t bother. Parking charges, town being busy, all things that would have put me off going to the library. I can only imagine what it’s like for those using public transport.

Angela: It’s thoroughly saddening to see such valuable support (emotional to individuals and economic to the wider public health system) being stripped away. I hope people remember this feeling of hopelessness during the next general election and vote for a party that is going to help the public. (I’m really sorry to make this political, but in the words of a great 90s rock band “everything’s political”. We have the power to choose a government that won’t strip the first line of support from us.)

Charlotte: It’s so sad. I used to work on a HV team and the work they do really cannot be underestimated. Yes, you can still see a HV without a clinic but as mentioned above, the clinic is such a convenient and quick way to see them, without having to book an appointment. Some parents don’t have to confidence to book an appointment, or they aren’t sure if they are wasting someone’s time (they never are wasting anyone’s time). I think the cutting down of these clinics alongside the closure of the children’s centres we really come back to bite the Government in a few years when there are increased social issues and late diagnosis of problems that could have been resolved with early intervention 😢.

Mary: To be a HV, you have to be a qualified nurse. They can’t find nurses because they cut the support for people to train. Lots of nurses stop nursing because its not compatible with being a parent unless you are lucky enough to work in a day service. Nurses, however, aren’t paid enough so free childcare is vital to contribute towards the cos. It’s more problematic that childcare support doesn’t start until age 3 so working parents have to struggle through age 1 and 2 first – or not work and then have to pay to reregister or train for their jobs. It’s all connected.

Nicole: I got my almost 3 month old weighed yesterday at Discovery Centre and I was shocked at how much it had changed since I took my first there in 2016. There was a queue out of the door to get in, and then you now weigh your baby and record it in your red book yourself. I didn’t need any support from the HV on this visit, but I’m not a healthcare professional and it would have been nice to just have them oversee it and my baby’s progress. To be honest I won’t be attending again. I feel sorry for the HVs because they look so stretched when you see them trying to get around the room, but most of them were extremely friendly and pleasant, and even found me a seat to feed the baby before I left.

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NHM Readers Recommend: Places to go that include Train Rides

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “Can anyone recommend places in Hampshire or close by that include train rides?”

Many thanks for all of your replies, listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Places to go that include Train Rides

Stefanie saidThe watercress line in Alton. There is also a miniature railway at Viables in Basingstoke.”

Amanda saidWellington country park has a miniature railway”

Becky said “There is a train at Beale Park near pangbourne which is Berkshire but not too far from the Hampshire border”

Wendy said “There’s this one in Eastleigh but most will be shut throughout Jan and Feb http://www.steamtrain.co.uk/

Jo saidRoyal Victoria country park…we went there yesterday.”

Pixie saidDidcot and Swindon but a bit further out.”

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New Group Starting in June: Baby and Me, Westside Community Centre

Sessions will involve light sensory based activities using music and movement to help you get to know your new baby. Through informal social activities you will have the opportunity to understand your baby’s development and world around them.

Sessions focus on emotional and physical health,
practical support and improving attachment.

This course is perfect for any new parents who want to
improve their confidence and increase their social network.

Any donations towards the cost of this course would be welcomed.

**Please note all sessions need to be attended. **

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Guest Post: Jiggy Wrigglers – Basingstoke, Fleet, Hook and surrounding areas

My name is Kelly and I run Jiggy Wrigglers in Basingstoke, Fleet, Hook and surround areas.  I first started this business as I wanted something that I could flexibility run around my twins and also I wanted to enjoy my job.  I certainly do both every day!

Jiggy Wrigglers is a musical movement and sensory class that uses unique songs to entertain your children along side props, bubbles, parachutes, puppets and more!  The classes are either Jiggy Mixed (5 months to 5 year olds), Jiggy Tots (0-2 years old) or Jiggy Babies (0-12 months old).  We are also proud to be the leaders of intergenerational sessions through our Jiggy Vintage sessions (sessions run in care homes) which we started at the beginning of last year and have had overwhelming feedback on how it has positively impacted care home residents life’s and the little ones that come who don’t have grandparents of their own.

You may not have realised the benefits when you come to our sessions as you are having so much fun but these include:
– Physical fitness for both you and your little one(s)
– encourages creativity
– promotes team work (parachute games)
– may help encourage better naps/sleeping
– fostering friendships
– helps with social skills amongst peers
– helps parents get out of the house and socialise
– aids creativity
– promotes patience
– helps children learn how to share (although we have props for everyone!)
– helps with language development as the children sing along to songs

We welcome all at our classes and have always charged per family, not per child, so why not give us a try? Our sessions start from £4 per family and they are PAYG so you don’t have to worry about your child being unwell and losing your termly payment.

Although we have a different playlist each week, I also include monthly themed session at no extra charge.

Most of our class locations either have a play area, are in a country park or have a playground near by so you can make a morning of activities.

Our current timetable of classes is below:

Tuesdays:

Hook Home and Garden Centre
10.20am – Jiggy Mixed
11.00am – Jiggy Babies

Wednesdays

Wellington Country Park (currently twice a month but will soon be moving to weekly)

10.00am – Jiggy Mixed
10.50am – Jiggy Babies

Mothercare, Hatch Warren (once a month)
10.30am – Jiggy Tots

Thursdays

We are soon to have weekly central Basingstoke location so please keep your keep an eye on our Facebook page and website!

Fridays

Fleet (once a month)
9.45am – Jiggy Mixed
11.00am – Jiggy Babies

Beech Tree Care Home (once a month)
10.00am – Jiggy Mixed

We also cater for parties and nursery session so please do get in touch if you would like to discuss our packages.

www.jiggywrigglers.com

kelly@jiggywrigglers.com

www.facebook.com/jiggybasingstoke

www.facebook.com/jwfleetbasingstoke

www.instagram.com/jiggywrigglersbasingstokefleet

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NHM Readers Recommend: Best Soft Play

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “What are the best soft play places in Hampshire? Or are they all pretty much the same?” 

Many thanks for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Best Soft Play

Play Days, Basingstoke

Ellie said “Definitely play days in Basingstoke, have tried them all and this was my favourite. It’s clean, the cafe is nice and the balls are in the ball pit!”

Marie said “Playdays is the best, but the parking is limited. We could do with one the other side of town (hatchwarren/ Brighton hill way).”

Michelle said “Agree playdays is great. Always clean, decent prices, can stay as long as you like and staff all friendly. Has a baby bit and a much larger bit, so good for siblings of different ages…would say probably up to 5/6 years max though”

    • Leah said “depends on the child I think, my 7.5 year old still loves going to Playdays”

Anna said “Playdays is great. My son always had so much fun here!”

Jungle Adventure Soft Play (previously Play Den), Basingstoke

Laura said “Play Gym in Festival place… cleanest place around!”

Helen H said “The play den in town is nice and clean and generally the service is good.”

Active Tots, nr Bramley

Melanie said “For little ones I would highly recommend Active Tots.”

Helen H said “Active Tots near Bramley is lovely and clean, but pricey and the customer service is awful. I’ve been 3x and every time the staff are rude and unhelpful.”

    • Melanie said “Helen I’ve always found the staff lovely and very accommodating to those with allergies.”
    • Helen said “As I say, only been 3x and each time was a horrible experience. But I can’t fault the cleanliness of the place at all. It’s a lovely facility.”
    • Catherine said “and it has windows and natural day light.. which is less depressing for me!”

The Adventure Barn, Winchester

Lisa saidMy favourite is The Adventure Barn its extremely clean (closed every Tuesday 1/2 day to be cleaned) Staff are friendly, it also has a great outdoor play area in the summer. Is suitable for tiny babies up to 9/10 year olds (depending on the child). You can see all areas of the soft play so you can keep an eye on your child and don’t ‘loose’ them. The food is lovely (proper adult food) as well as kids meals, healthy and not so healthy snack for the kids. They do toddler sessions where you get a free biscuit and squash. Its near Marwell. Can be tricky to find the first time. Overall brilliant though…”

360 Play Farnborough

Amy said “It’s really good there. Lots to do but it’s pricey and the food was terrible when I went! Too far for us to go and not have lunch but wouldn’t be in a rush to go again for that reason. That said my little boy had a great time!”

Alison said “Its great but it is expensive. It has great role play areas, carousel, bumper cars, lego building plus usual soft play. My nearly 5 year old loves it. I’ve eaten there a few times and its been fine. Parking is a bit of a pain. The parking outside is time limited so we’ve parked in the multi storey down the road so we can stay all day and make the most especially as its expensive to get in.”

Joellie said “I’m here now! It’s expensive but lots to do

Helen said “Joellie I thought the same about price, especially as on 1st visit you have to register and pay a one off £5 reg fee. But saying that there is loads to do. I agree parking close is limited to 2hrs but next time will park on multi storey as someone else suggested. Definitely will visit again.”

Other and Multiple Recommendations:

Leah said Frankies fun factory in Romsey is big, so much to do & fun! Kids2day in Eastleigh is good. Playdays in Basingstoke. Gym tots in Basingstoke sports centre. Sure there must be one in reading.”

    • Carrie saidkrazy kids is in reading and really good”
    • Leah said “ah knew there would be lol. Not been there yet…”

Leah also said  “Also, fun house in Basingstoke…There’s also one at Finkley Down Farm I think – go for a day out & enjoy. Also, 4 kingdoms play activity centre near Newbury – great outdoors stuff & big soft play centre inside. Marwell zoo has one nearby the zoo – not in the zoo but further down the road (can’t remember what it’s called though)”

    • Lisa said “The Adventure Barn (I’ve mentioned above x )”
    • Leah said “ah yes that one lol.”

Wendy said “I find soft play is very specific to age, active tots is fine for under 1s but a bit pants once they can walk. The sports centre is good for 1 – 4, play days sees them to about year 1. Flip out has a playframe that over 7s absolutely love and my kids love both the indoor and outdoor ones at 4 kingdoms.”

    • Natalie said “Wendy, can you just buy tickets for the soft play bit? Or is it you have to buy for the whole place?”
    • Wendy said “Natalie you have to get tickets for the whole place. Last year they had a ticket sale around March where you could buy discounted tickets with no use by date.”

Steph said “We love the soft play in The sports centre in festival place, it’s clean and reasonably priced. Active Tots is fab for younger children. We love kids in action too but that’s in winnersh”

Alison saidEddie Katz Newbury! (OK Berkshire.. But only just) Also for little ones Active TotsPlay Gym in Basingstoke sports centre”

Vicki said “Love The Adventure Barn near Marwell, Kids n Action in Winnersh and, it’s a bit of a drive, but Sprouts Playbarn near Abingdon is seriously the best I’ve ever been to.”

Kimberley said “Active Tots is really nice for 1-3 year olds however over the top price wise. They even charged a friend of mine over £5 for her 4 month baby which wasn’t going to be using equipment. Play den in town sports centre is also great for younger ones but no cafe anymore. Playdays has a smaller area for younger children and is always clean – not much parking though x”

    • Helen H said “Kimberley they charged us £5 per person to sit in the cafe ! When I had my son with me to use the equipment and two adults who weren’t using it or with kids but would be buying a coffee in the cafe!”
    • Kimberley said “Helen shocking really!”

Julia said “I don’t think anyone has mentioned Madhouse next to the Madejski Stadium in Reading. It’s not too far from Basingstoke, always very clean, staff always friendly when I have been. It does work out pricey if you have lots of kids and eat there too, but I find all the good ones do.”

Michelle saidRosie and Bean cafe in fleet is good for imaginative play, also has a bouncy castle, lovely staff and great food!”

Jessica said “There was a really nice one in Camberley . Magic Kingdom/Dragon or something. That was very good”

Sarah said “Kids n Action is brilliant and something for all ages”

Catherine said fun house

Ruza saidJake’s playworld, with inside and outside space. One of the cleanest I’ve been to and great for the kids. Near tri-lakes”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Punishment at School as well as at Home?

I recently had a question from a Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “After some parenting advice; if your child misbehaved at school and was punished at school would you punish at home as well or not?”

Many thanks for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend: Punishment at School as well as at Home?

Katie said “I think it depends on what they did. I’ve just gone through this and decided punishing at school wasn’t enough so he also got punished at home.”

Chloe said “I had this issue before, I was unhappy that the school didn’t tell me, luckily my child is honest with me, but because she had already been punished, I chose to talk to her about it but not punish her, I make her reflect on what she does, it always depends on how often it happens and the situation”

Becki said “I don’t usually. If the school has dealt with it, I’d talk to the child about it and see if we can get to the bottom of why it happened so it doesn’t happen again. School won’t punish for bad behaviour at home!”

Jennie said “It’s already been dealt with”

Lorah said “Depends what it was!”

Wendy D said “Agree depends on what they did. If they broke school rules then the school punishment is normally enough but if they broke life rules then I would consider revoking a few home prvillages too. Also depends if they are sorry.”

    • Lorah said “Wendy yes agree with this!!”

Kathryn said “I’d have a chat with them at home about it, there is always 2 sides to a story and discuss different ways they could have dealt with whatever they were feeling but not punish them again.”

Catherine said “There’s not really a lot of punishment the school can doll out. It depends on what it was but I think if it was something you considered serious you should back up at home with a consequence to support the school.”

Rachael said “Depends what happened and the reasons it happened. I would always sit down and talk to them about it so they know that I communicate with the school, also so I can pick up if they are acting out because they are upset, stressed etc”

Kerri said “No. I work in a Pre school and we tell parents when their child misbehaves but only for their information. Depending on the age of the child once a certain amount of time has passed the ‘punishment’ won’t be relevant. I think parents should discuss what’s happened and the fact it’s wrong/they’re disappointed etc and to affirm the fact school have chosen to take it seriously. But not necessarily to punish themselves.”

    • Catherine said “Kerri I wouldn’t consider punishing a preschooler at all, other than sternly saying no and explaining why it’s wrong.”

Emma said “Yes!”

Hayley said “Personally punishment should be done at the time of incident.. else they won’t associate the punishment with the wrong doing. I’m with those who say the school should tell parents and when the child is home to sit down and talk about it.. punishment has been given so a stern talk when home about it is best.”

Amber said “If the child has already been punished at school then I dont punish again at home. I want my child to know that he can tell me anything that happens at school without fear of being told off again. Obviously we do talk about any incident but it is a conversation rather than punishment.”

Wendy S said “No, they’ve already been punished, I’d just say that I know about it.”

Karen said “No. Not if it’s been dealt with. Consequences are much better though…https://www.empoweringparents.com/…/punishments-vs…/

Marion said “If it’s a school rule they broke, no. If they’ve been a proper little for and done something unacceptable to another child, absolutely.”

Ruza said “Well it does depend on what happened. School rules, and discipline at school. However if this is something that you really think needs further dealing with then you need to find out why and then look at what you need to do further. Also remember sometimes something happens that has an underlying reason.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Classic Tracks to Introduce to Your Kids

I had a bit of a random question from a friend which I thought I’d ask the NHM Community for advice on: “I’m trying to introduce my son and daughter to really good music, especially the classic tracks (not classical) from the last 50 years. What specific tracks would you recommend?”

I LOVED all of the suggestions, now listed below, and decided to steal some myself. THANK YOU!!!!!

NHM Readers Recommend: Classic Tracks to Introduce to Your Kids

Holly said “Queen!”

Matthew said “Acdc just get out classic rock and 80’s etc there are loads but just play them in car that’s what we do and kids love them.”

Natashia said “Bee Gees/ Fleetwood Mac / Roxette / Bryan Adams / ABBA ……that’s just pop……or depending on their age they may prefer rock….otherwise ACDC, Crash Test Dummies, The Doors…list goes on …”

Emma said “I love a bit of rolling stones! Though don’t listen to the lyrics too much so couldn’t say how appropriate they are”

Cerys said “My teenage boys are huge Stones fans. We took them to see them live in Southampton earlier this year and they loved it.”

Kym said “Michael Jackson, Beatles”

Hayley said Requested in our house:
Levellers – One way, Beautiful Day, Angels.
Most songs by Bryan Adams.
Guns’n Roses – Sweet child of mine.
Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil, Paint it black.
Aerosmith – Pink, Crazy.
Most songs by the Beatles.
Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a prayer, Always.
Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t fear the reaper.
Madness – Our house, One step beyond.
Specials – Ghost Town
Fleetwood Mac – The Chain, Landslide”
The girls also like a bit of Metallica, Rob Zombie, Oasis, Coldplay & Pearl Jam too.

Melrose said “Love the Levellers, been a fan since 92! Saw them last week in Bristol as part of their 30th anniversary tour, just as brilliant as ever.”

Hayley said “Melrose Hall I think we’ve spoken about them before actually when I used to take my daughter to playgroup at Melrose…They’re one of our favourite bands, we’ve taken the kids to the Beautiful Days festival for the last few years – they love it”

Cat said “My boys’ current favourites: Nickelback rockstar and MJ bad. We have Amazon prime music and I often ask varied playlists: classic rock, 80s rock, disco, 90s etc….”

Wendy S said “Radio 2!”

Allison said “Don’t forget the Sergeant Pepper album – that’s a real classic with a mass of musical styles and instruments

Laura said “Fleetwood mac
The eagles
Abba
The carpenters
The beatles
The beach boys
Queen
Eva cassidy
Simon and garfunkel”

Genni said “The jam, blur, oasis, pulp, nirvana, the list goes on…”

Wendy D said “Just buy now 100, see what they like on it and go from there. My kids love the Smiths. The ministry compilations are also pretty good for trying out different types of music and kids love songs they know from films.”

Cerys said “My 15 year old is sick of Queen! He likes 2 door cinema club, the Killers, the Gorillaz, 21 Pilots, Jimmy Hendrix, and all sorts of people I’ve never heard of”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Kids’ Haircuts

I asked the NHM Community to help with a question that I had received: “wonder if anyone can help? I have a 2.5 yr old boy who point blank refuses to get his hair cut. He screams, throws his head around, cries, hits out etc etc. We have tried places like his n kids with the little cars and cartoons on. We’ve tried bribery with sweets and toys etc. Also tried cutting at home, having daddy have his cut in front of him. Even tried cutting it in his sleep but he sensed it and woke up. Any miracle workers out there as I am out of options and his hair is an inexplicable mess! Thank you!!!”

Many thanks for all of your suggestions, listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Kids’ Haircuts

Gina said “I have friends who’s children were a nightmare and I can highly recommend the blonde barber on sherbourne road. She is amazing with children! The Blonde Barber

Kathryn said “Lisa at cut’n’drive is brilliant, she comes to the house and is the only person my 8 year old will let touch her hair.”

Emma saidTrilbys on Pack Lane are absolutely brilliant with my 2 year old. He doesn’t like his hair being cut where we get the tantrums. Ask for Claire she is amazing”

Clare said “Milly at the Topiary in Old Basing is really good. My little boy has never been a big fan of having his hair cut but she’s really patient with him and he’s definitely warmed to her!

Rachel said “We cut it at home. He’s 4.5 and has only just started to improve. We’ve had hairdressers cut their own fingers before. If your in Basingstoke try Marianne’s hair salon. She’s very good but we just persevere at home with clippers”

Nikki said “My eldest went through this phase. We found Carey’s in town (no frills and no special cars!) put him most at ease, but what really cracked it for him was getting him his own little (plastic) hair dressing set and water spray. He used to take a cuddly toy, his spray, comb and scissors, and would concentrate on being the toy’s hairdresser while his own hair was really being cut.”

Heather said “Kerry was it house of handsome you went to? They were brilliant with my nephew who was the same and now is absolutely fine about having it done.”

    • Kerry said Heather that’s right. The first time we went we spent 2 hours in there while on a busy Saturday, they just let him get on with it, eventually over several visits he got better and better. They even cut his hair on the waiting bench once as he refused to sit anywhere else lol”

Laura said  “The Blonde Barber

Becki said David Saunders cuts my kids hair. He comes to our home”

Jenni said “Sorry no help but my little 2.5 year old boy is the same, though after lots of bribery etc he’ll eventually get it done with lots of moaning & crying…”

Jennie said “Honestly I just stopped getting it cut, he’s 7 and his hair is down to his bum, he’s happy and will get a trim every now and then/ There is a messy phase when growing the hair but just ride it out, it’s better than fighting”

Leanne  saidWe just didn’t make him. We decided it was his hair and his decision so bought hair clips. He’s now (3.5) has it cut fine!”

Karen said “I’d probably leave it for now as he is still very young. Maybe try reading and looking at books involving hair cuts – my boys loved ‘Barry the Fish with Fingers and the Hairy Scary Monster’. Get him used to the idea and that it is a good thing and won’t hurt him. Also have you tried it with him sitting in your lap? That used to help when my son got upset about hair cuts, think he felt a bit safer.”

Wendy said “I think you just need to leave it, he’s not ready for it yet. Leave it until he’s old enough to really explain to you why it’s an issue for him. Both my sons have shaggy 70s style hair and really like looking different to the boys with ‘work hair’.”

Philippa said “My daughter is completely terrified of having her hair cut. We’ve given up and waiting it out. We’ve explained that it will help stop her hair being so tangled but to no avail. I always cut my children’s hair at home in a calm environment but no use for my youngest. My advice is give up and embrace the mess!”

Genni said “We have only had his hair cut once. I trim the fringe every now and then if he lets me.”

Ruza saidMy son has had his haircut, then not, then again and our last try was too traumatic for the both of us. At some point he may want it.”

Milly said “I would leave it. He may change his mind on his own.”

Gail saidIf all else fails, just leave it long, he’ll want to get it cut at some point. He might be doing it to get attention, if he thinks it bothers you.”

Marion said “Find out what it is about it that bothers him. Does he think part of him is being cut, and he’s scared it’ll hurt? Or does he like it long? What doesn’t he like about it?”

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