Practical advice for parenthood

Mums share their top tips on how to manage your family and stay in control

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Set reminders on your phone to remember any medication

Working on a budget

“I recently needed to buy my son a new highchair, so to save money I picked up a cheap wooden one from another local mum. I sanded it down and gave it a lick of paint. It looks fantastic and is a one-off. Lots of my friends keep asking me where I bought it from.”

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Annemarie Scorgie, 33, from Hertfordshire, mum to Anthony, 3

Juggling dinner and your child

“To save you feeling like you’re rushing to make the dinner and getting stressed, invest in a slow cooker. Just put it on the night before and your meal will be ready by the next evening. It’s made my life a lot easier.”

Emma Murray, 38, from Staffordshire, mum to Bridget, 2

For making clothes last longer

“I’ve cut down my daughters’ smocked dresses to make pretty tops, which look lovely with jeans or cut-offs for summer. When they grow out of their trousers, I crop them into shorts or knee-length pants.”

Emma Price-Roberts, 36, from Flintshire, mum to Maisie, 7, Martha, 3, and Matilda, 7 months

Remembering to take medication

“My son has spina bifida and needs to take medicine twice a day. To make sure that I don’t forget, I have an alarm set up on my mobile to remind me, and I haven’t missed a dose since.”

Kristina Thomas, 31, from Worthy Down, mum to Samuel, 4, Levi, 2, and Reuben, 11 months.

For coping with illness

“I cut out any advice about baby sickness and symptoms from leaflets and magazines such as Practical Parenting and stick them to the back of my medicine cupboard door. I’ve also stuck the NHS Direct number on there and the doctor’s number just in case I need to find them in a hurry.”

Nicola Phillips, 24, from Barnsley, mum to George, 6 months

For sorting your finances

“As our baby wasn’t planned, our finances were a bit of mess and we needed to get them in shape. We printed a month’s worth of our bank statements and highlighted every penny going out and what it was for. This way we could see what wasn’t essential. We also went through shopping receipts and made cuts there too.”

Sarah Johnson, 25, from London, 28 weeks pregnant

For keeping healthy

“To make sure I give the kids their daily vitamins, and any medication if they’re unwell, I keep all the boxes and jars in one place next to the breakfast bar, where the children can’t reach them. This means as I get breakfast sorted each morning I don’t forget to give them out at the same time.”

Sabiha Patel, 32, from Bolton, mum to Adam, 3, Aaminah, 2, and Ahmed, 6 months

For choosing nursery décor

“I wanted themed wallpaper, curtains, rugs and bedding for George’s nursery but my husband said not to get carried away. We used a neutral colour instead and decorated with stickers from Fun to See (www.funtosee.com). We’re expecting a girl now so I’m glad I didn’t go over the top.”

Harriet Garland, 33, from Sussex, mum to George, 4

“When I was expecting Evie, my partner and I didn’t want to know her gender beforehand, but we really wanted to get the nursery painted and the furniture sorted in advance. We went for a neutral colour on the walls and furniture, and then when she was born we ordered lots of fun wall stickers to make it look all girlie.”

Kirsty Lee, 34, from Hull, mum to Evie, 4 months

For safe sleeping

“I’m really concerned about my girls hurting themselves with blind cords in their bedroom, so I bought a Gro Anywhere Blind, which has suction cups to stick the blind to the window without a cord. Now I know Ava and Mia can’t get tangled in it. It blocks out all the light,too, and I go to bed knowing the girls are safe.”

Symone Darvell, 28, from Hull, mum to Mia, 22 months, and Ava, 4 months

For easy cooking

“I keep all the recipes I find for purées, toddler snacks and family meals in a folder so I can quickly find one I know we’ll all like. I started collecting them when I was pregnant and now my daughter’s a year old, I’ve used many of the recipes regularly and it’s saved me buying lots of different recipe books.”

Tricia Clark, 33, from Hampshire, mum to Mina, 1

For stress-free mornings

“I’ve revolutionised my mornings by replacing my daughter’s wind-up mobile with a wind chime. I used to wind up the mobile every morning to keep her busy while I got organised, but now she can jingle it herself by pulling on the ribbon without me having to do it. So she gets to practise her motor skills and I’m a chilled-out mum.”

Lunar Hine, 32, from Devon, mum to Ember, 8 months

For removing stains

“Whenever I find food stains on any of Kayleigh and Ethan’s clothes, I find washing them by hand with a bit of washing up liquid before putting them in the machine works a treat. It gets most stains out of their clothes first time. I just wish I’d tried it when I was weaning Kayleigh!”

Paula Fazekas, 25, from Luton, mum to Kayleigh, 2, and Ethan, 5 months

For new-mum tiredness

“In the first few weeks when Liliana was born I just concentrated on her and forgot about the washing, dishes and general household mess. They were all still there when I had the time and energy to deal with them. Also, in the early days, accept any offers of help so you don’t burn out and get too tired. Having family and friends definitely helped me when I was a new mum.”

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Cassie Lancaster, 31, from Australia, mum to Liliana, 9 months

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