Activities for Teenagers over the Half Term

 

Now when I say teens I don’t mean a 13 yr old with younger siblings, those teens are normally more than happy to engage in the family activities that their brothers or sisters like- a day at the park, walking in the woods, cooking/baking at home and Halloween crafts , bike rides and meeting up with friends while mums can grab a coffee and a natter and a bit of moral support!

But my eldest is 16 and has a younger 14yr old brother who is mature for his age and so thinks he is 16 himself. There are no younger siblings to occupy so we have moved on from planning every day to within an inch of it’s life and gone for a few planned things throughout the week with free time for the rest so they can either lounge in bed watching DVD’s or playing Xbox ( shoot me now for being a bad mother).

So as the net is saturated with activities for younger kids here is a few ideas that your older teens may enjoy (and you may earn some brownie points for).

* Offer them a taxi service to the nearest shopping centre, ours is Bluewater which offers them shopping, cinema and fast food places or restaurants. Offer them lifts for their friends so they don’t have the ‘effort’ of arranging how to get there- believe me this makes a difference!

* Book them and their friends into the local bowling alley. Ours is a Tenpin Bowling and offer a ‘Bowl and Bite’ offer over the half term which would cost less than £10 per child ( obviously only pay for your own and get your teen to round up what’s owed by the others)- we have done this loads of times and although it’s only 1 game of bowling if there are 4 or more this could take about an hour, then they could eat and then if they like spend some time in the games arcade area.

* Offer your eldest the use of your house ( if you trust them and their friends- which I do with mine having met them all, and know some of the parents). Now this may sound like trouble in the making but if arranged properly could earn you kudos as a parent and respect from your teen. After all we have to let them earn trust. I have before bought a few pizzas in and let them cook them themselves ( with a mixed group of boys and girls they loved doing it). As it’s Halloween get them to bring their horror DVD’s for a film fest maybe, or set the Wii up  ( I kid you not they love to act like kids when they are all together- it’s the freedom they like). I either give them the afternoon or evening on their own with an agreed time to be back- then we can go and do something with the youngest on his own.

* Find your nearest fun pool, for us it’s Larkfield towards Maidstone which is about a 30 minute drive away, but it has a normal separate pool, a wave pool, a lazy river and 2 flumes all included in the price normally less than £6. Now this one is probably for the younger teen ( although my eldest still likes going there with mates), but get him to arrange what friends he wants to go with and offer them a lift there and back and each can pay for themselves ( believe me this works well) as you are providing transport and a parents beady eye over them. Then take your laptop with you and get a bit of blogging done using their free wifi!

* Film nights at home. Now I use the term ‘night’ loosely as on a lazy day they are still unwashed at 3pm! So really anytime of day will do. Let them watch a film older than their age group- now before you jump on me for being an irresponsible parent my youngest is a mature 14 so I have no problems with the 15 rated films and my eldest is a sensible 16 and loves horror films like me so I will allow him to watch horror films although they are 18! So go on shoot my now! I cook up some popcorn, we turn out all the lights and bring the duvets down. Your front room may then smell like something has died in there with all the teen testosterone but they will love you for not making them shower and wander round the shops with you.

* If they are into cooking/ baking allow them to cook a dinner on their own ( my youngest enjoys this). Get them to decide what they want to make and then take them up to a supermarket for them to go in and get all the ingredients- then give them freedom to make a mess and give you food poisoning offering to clear up afterwards ( again they will love you for that). I have had full blown cakes, stirfry’s and curry’s made for us so far.

* Ask them to sort out something technical for you. I find getting my youngest to sort out my MP3 player ( I don’t do Ipods- sorry), he always sorts out the CD’s I want put on there and I get him to put on some of his that he thinks I would like- he likes to think he’s educating me to the modern music world. Obviously this is a task rather than an activity but gives him something constructive to do for an hour.

* Another technical one for them to do for you is to make a CD of your photos, maybe from your hols or just general ones over the year and as long as you have saved them already allow them freedom to add music, text and special effects as they see fit. I now have several of these and lets face it they will get them done much quicker than we would probably! Then it can be given an airing after dinner and you can have a bit of a laugh as a family.

Now this is NOT a sponsored post I just wanted to point you in the direction of some places we use ourselves.

So by incorporating a few of these if they suit your teens combined with a few xbox days I think your half term may go quite nicely, and hopefully if you have done some of the taxi runs etc and booked cinema or bowling etc for them some of the other parents may also have things planned that they include your kids in too.

If you have any other ideas for older teens I would love to hear them

 

 

The day my eldest was assaulted at school

This happened to us last week. On Tuesday in fact, we had a call from the school around lunchtime to say he had been punched and knocked out and an ambulance was on the way. To say we were gobsmacked would be a huge understatement. we literally couldn’t believe it. My eldest, who is 16 yrs old, has never been in trouble at school or anywhere else in his life! He is a chilled, everything happens around him sort of boy.

When we arrived at school he was being walked into the ambulance and I went with him to casualty as my OH followed along in the car. He was still a bit dazed at that point although he was able to have a conversation. His face was swollen on one side and he complained of a headache and he was very pale and shaky. It was only a 10 minute journey to the hospital and the paramedic in the back with us was brilliant, keeping him chatting about his exams, what he planned to do after 6th form etc, yet all the time also reassuring me about what they were doing. It was a real shock when he booked my son in as ‘ a 16yr old assaulted on school premises’! Yet this is exactly what had happened.

Then we had a 5hr visit which included an xray to check if he had a fracture in his jaw. Thankfully all was ok, except for the inside of his mouth which was swollen and damaged as he wears braces, and the general concussion that comes with a bang on the head.

When we got to the bottom of the story it turns out that my son had said something verbally about what he was wearing, like most 16yr olds he did use swear words but said that this is general boys banter that goes on constantly. So apparently he swore at the boy and then all he remembers is a sharp pain in his temple and then waking up on the floor and then being helped by friends to the medical room.

Now we have spoken to him about the consequences of using any sort of verbal abuse towards anyone and he readily put his hands up to his part in the lead up to being punched, however, we also made it clear that there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for physical violence and that a physical reaction is just as much a choice as what verbal reaction is.

Anyway, we were advised obviously to keep him home for a few days and watch for signs of concussion just in case it got worse. So the next day we expected the school to phone first thing to check on his possible injuries……………. but there was no call. At around 12ish I contacted the school to speak to the teacher who was dealing with the incident. When he called me back he explained that the attacker had been given a 1 day exclusion and he and his parents had already been into the school that morning for his ‘re inclusion meeting’! He also said that up until then the boy in question had had a bad day and therefore my son’s comment pushed him over the edge. He also said that as far as the school was concerned the matter had been resolved.

Therefore, I ask you is a 1 day exclusion an appropriate punishment for a punch so hard it knocked my son out for a minute or two? Is the matter resolved? I’m sure you can guess my answer.

I was furious, no-one had contacted us to confirm any possible injuries and yet the attacker had already been dealt with and completed his punishment! My son missed two and a half days off school and only went in on the Friday so he could catch up on his missed schoolwork in order to catch up over the weekend, yet the attacker was already back at school. My son had to also face the humiliation  attached to being knocked out by a single punch by another pupil. There was supposed to be a meeting with the Head of Year and the 2 boys on the Friday morning, yet the attacker was late so that didn’t go ahead.

As parents we were seriously disappointed in the care of my son over this attack, we had not been consulted as parents either. The next step for us was to arrange a meeting with the school’s Head Teacher which ended up being on Monday morning. We were in his office for an hour and I had printed out the emails that had gone between myself and the Head of Year who was dealing with it. Apparently this punishment is in line and fair with a previous incident in 6th form 2 yrs before and therefore he would not reconsider the level of punishment. However, we continually made it clear it was not a ‘fight’ but an ‘attack’ and should be looked at on an individual basis. He did agree with us in the end and has himself forwarded it on to the Board of Governors to see if the system is at fault and whether there is a possibility that a change is in order.

I am still in my right to formally complain to the Board of Governors if they deem this incident to have been dealt with properly, which I can tell you now I most definitely will. In the mean time the Head Teacher is going to investigate why we were not contacted about the level of my son’s injuries before the other boy was dealt with as he seemed quite astonished himself that no one called us.

So for a week or so I will wait and see what actually comes back from the school before I take it further, but I still cannot believe this has happened to my son. I didn’t want to put the pics up on here out of respect for him but I have them which I can use when I contact the Governors. Whatever the outcome it is too late to help my son, however, for the next person this happens to hopefully a decent system will be in place so that other pupils and parents do not go through what we have. My son was relatively ‘lucky’ when it came to his injuries however, the next person may not be so ‘lucky’ so an appropriate system needs to be in place.

I would love to know what you would have done if this had have been your teenager?

 

A2 Milk Review

As many of you know I have M.E and with that brings symptoms of IBS unfortunately. This can be a real pain as I am a total latte addict and literally cannot walk past a Costa without buying my favourite vanilla latte as a treat. But as you can imagine this occasionally has unpleasant consequences ( I’m sure no more detail is needed!).

So when I was approached to try this new A2 milk I thought I might as well give it a go. Now apparently this milk haven’t got a certain protein in it that would appear in normal milk that can have a nasty affect on your digestive system. I found out that they dell it in my local Tesco store which although I don’t normally shop there I thought I would take a trip and check out this milk.

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First of all I took a note of the price and a 4 pint bottle is priced at £1.99 so it’s a little more expensive than normal milk. I was lucky enough to have been sent vouchers for enough for a 2 week supply as they were trying to get people to switch for a 2 week period to see if they could feel the difference.

This meant I could have my porridge in the mornings and my homemade latte’s during the day ( a total weakness of mine!).

 

My Favourite- warmed milk with an Americano via my Tassimo!! Brilliant

My Favourite- warmed milk with an Americano via my Tassimo!! Brilliant

In all honesty at first I didn’t really notice a drastic change at all. However, when I then bought a latte outside that’s when I really noticed the difference. I found that when I bought a latte outside my digestive system was not happy at all and would let me know about it within about 30 minutes!  Thankfully I only get moderate  symptoms on a regular basis although some days are MUCH worse than others, so  can imagine this milk making a huge difference to those who really cannot tolerate normal milk.

This is where you then look at the price of the product and say it is worth paying that little bit extra, and anyone who suffers digestive problems I’m sure will agree they would try anything to ease the symptoms.

So why not check out the 2 week challenge yourself?

It’s been ages!

I haven’t been around much as I made the decision to invest some money and get some super tech person to upgrade and overhaul my tired little blog.

I had no idea what I was after to be honest but I wanted a more professional, clean cut look rather than something I had thrown together myself. It was time to get someone on the case who actually knew what they were doing! This is where Geek Fairy comes in. She was absolutely fab, gave me links to look at colour schemes and sorted out the header etc. As we emailed back and forth the idea evolved where I wanted muted, almost vintage style colours. Then when I saw it I had the idea of the knitted stitches which fitted in with my craft side of things as well.

She was incredibly helpful, changed anything I wanted as we went along, was prompt and unbelievably easy to work with and to top it all off I was able to pay in 2 instalments- so that really helped me out.

Over all I am really chuffed with it. I think it is easy on the eye, not too busy, simple and clear. It also pushed me into joining instagram which for some reason I have been putting off for ages ( not sure why!) and wanted everything put on there while she was in charge.

So what do you think?
I know it wont be everyone’s cup of tea but it really does suit me, and lets face it we cant all be the same otherwise the world would be a very boring place.