CF Family: How often do you read to your kids?

FullSizeRenderAs a mother of two boys, some stats that pinged into my inbox today really struck a chord. In the UK, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) the largest disparity in gender performance in schools is reading. 29% of parents admitted to reading more to their daughters than their sons and 39% of fathers ‘never or rarely’ read to their children. Reasons given in the 900-strong survey of parents with children age 4-12 were that boys favoured screen-time over reading – yet the Department for Education and Skills scholastic report asserted that 83% of children love being read aloud to. Does this ring true in your house?

We have always done the bath, book, bed routine with both boys – or the ‘power hour’ as it’s known in our house. The 20mo, until a few months ago, had never been that interested in books, or being read to. He simply couldn’t stay still long enough for even the shortest of tales. However, I’ve noticed he’s started bringing me books during the day and curling up next to me expectedly which is pretty much the Cutest. Thing. Ever. We are reading A LOT of ‘Dear Zoo’ (so much so we have a ‘travel version’ too). Anything Thomas the Tank Engine related and of course, the universally loved by toddlers – ‘That’s not my…’ series.

The 5 year old on the other hand has ALWAYS been a bookworm. He is at his happiest curled up in bed with a book (ME TOO!). Fact books are a MASSIVE winner at the moment – sharks, volcanoes, space – he literally cannot read enough. This Usborne ‘General Knowledge’ flap-book is a-mazing. We still read aloud to him, but more and more, he is wanting to read by himself. He is rediscovering all the 100s of Julia Donaldson and Giles Andreae picture books under his own steam. As well as his current favourite: ‘Supertato’ (if you haven’t read them, do).

Watching him read for pleasure, off his own back and often to his brother (SWEET!) is so, so rewarding. Like all the hours spent at the library and reading aloud to him over the years have paid off.

That said, we are struggling at the moment to find bedtime stories for that 5-7 age range. I think he’s too young (and sensitive) for most Roald Dahl (we have done Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda) and Harry Potter, but too old for his well-thumbed library of picture books. Horrid Henry and Dirty Bertie have been winners and we’re just discovering Dick King Smith and a few Enid Blyton. Any other suggestions?

CF Family: proper little boys’ flannel pyjamas

After my autumnal wardrobe splurge, next in line is Country Bebe. You can keep your frilly dresses and cute hair ribbons, the main sartorial perk of being a Mother Of Boys (MOB) is that you get to give them side partings each night when they are bath-fresh, then put them in proper old-fashion flannel pyjamas.

Here’s CB in last winter’s pair from John Lewis:

The evenings are getting noticably chillier, which has sparked this season’s hunt for a couple of new pairs. I love this Ralph checked set from The Little White Company (£24)

Ralph Check Boys’ pyjamas £24

I know CB would opt for this amazing dinosaur pair (his new favourite word) from John Lewis

Dinosaur pyjama set £15

And my personal favourites, this gorgeous nautical, fair trade cotton pair from The Pyjama Store:

Newport pyjamas, £22


Little Titans – tights for boys

Dear Mothers of Boys (MOB) – I have the answer to all your prayers. Tights, for boys.

Is there a little tiny whirlwind in your life that flings socks, whizzing past your ear, from the backseat of your car? Do they turn up in your pocket in the middle of very important business meetings? And do you wish his little ice-blocks of feet could be toasty warm like his female playmates all tucked up in cosy candy-cane striped tights… or is it just me and my little sock-a-phobe, 15month old chap?

Apparently not. The brilliant mother (who else?) behind South London based brand, Little Titans had such an offspring, too. Unlike her daughter, she found a real gap in the sartorial wardrobe of the male under 5s that was comfy, warm, practical and importantly, covered the extremities.

Non-parents will shrug bemused at the ‘light bulb moment’ these man tights represent but but oh readers, IT IS a big deal.

You see, I am swiftly realising that toddlers are really designed to be naked (if you ignore the incontinence issues). All the walking, climbing, bending, rolling… clothes are simply a hindrance (hence the constant desire to remove them) but, until the summer at least, they are a must.

Hence the geniusness that is Little Titans. From the non-slip soles (another hazard of socks) to the cute knee patches and the ‘just like Daddy’ branded waistband, they are comfy, warm and beautifully made. Here is my somewhat unhelpful model, wearing his new grey striped pair on Sunday with a sloppy knit and a post-nap bedhead (another great plus, they are comfy enough to sleep in for naps).

Country Bebe is the talk of his peers, with lots of ‘what a great idea!’ and ‘they look so comfy!’ – quite the trailblazer my son.

Little Titans tights for boys are £14.99 per pair here – our next purchase will be these, quite frankly, brilliant ones.

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