Mums’ top tips on family life

It can be hard to juggle all the various aspects of family life. Read on as mums offer their advice on the practicalities of family living

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Fuss-free days out

“Having two little ones it’s so easy to let the day slip by. By the time I’ve got everyone washed, dressed, fed, and the baby bag packed, it can be lunchtime before we get out the door. Now I do most of it the night before. I pack the baby bag, lay out clothes for all of us, and make a picnic so we can get out early to enjoy a full day at the park.”

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Jennifer Dixon, 26, from Manchester, mum to Ben, 3, and Elizabeth Rose, 7 months.

For changing two tots

“Since I’ve had Harvey, I keep a separate changing bag in the lounge. It’s got spare clothing and nappies for each child and saves me going upstairs and leaving either of them on their own or having to take them both all the way up. It’s better for all of us.”

Charlotte Aston, 33, from the West Midlands, mum to Daisy May, 2, and Harvey, 18 weeks

For planning messy play

“We only ever do painting on days that the girls are having a bath, as then they can get straight in the tub afterwards and wash it all off. They have special painting clothes too, as well as aprons, and obviously lots of newspaper on the table is a must!”

Nicole Thompson, 32, from Surrey, mum to Hayley, 6, and Beth, 3

For persuading your toddler to share a room

“We got Ellie a new pink bed and went shopping for a quilt cover as a present from her baby sister, Katie. We said what a big girl she was and asked if she would like to share a room with Katie. She didn’t really have a choice but I think it helped we asked rather than told her.”

Joanne Pierrepont, 24, from Bournemouth, mum to Ellie, 3, and Katie, 13 months

For tackling hair-brushing

“I’ve made my own spray from conditioner and water for Amy’s hair. I pop her in front of the mirror so she can see what I’m doing and I let her choose a hair band. If she’s still resisting, I put on CBeebies.”

Fay Smith, 27, from Surrey, mum to Amy, 3, and Ben, 6 months

For sticking to a routine

“I started a bedtime routine with Damien when he was 8 weeks old and during the first week he wouldn’t settle until around 11pm. But I carried on, and after two weeks he was sleeping through from 7pm to 7am, and he still does now at 2 years old. So mums, it’s worth persevering for a few weeks even if it’s tough.”

Sandy Mellor, from Portsmouth, mum to Damien, 2

For calm days out

“We have four tots under four, so organisation is key when we’re heading out and about. Check and double check your changing bag as you leave. Scouring the area online the night before for facilities like toilets, a café and changing rooms means you won’t be panicked when you first arrive and they clamber out of the car, all needing the loo at once.”

Yvonne Black, 39, from Yorkshire, mum to Caitlin, 4, Ryan and Jacob, 2, and Jessica, 7 months

For family mealtimes

“I have older children and a younger baby, but I’m determined to make sure we all eat together regularly. I use a nifty little trick when I’m making (or cheating and just serving!) soup – I melt a few ice cubes into my little one’s bowl once it’s heated up so we can eat as a family without burning her mouth.”

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Jenny Daniels, 41, from Lincoln, mum to Billy, 12, Tom, 8, and Melissa, 11 months

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