All posts in Rule of Mum

Rule of Mum: Jiggling the Juggle

SurvivalWe know – and you know – what an exhausting nightmare it can be trying to balance work and family. We recently asked our MoTs for advice on Facebook as to how to best manage this day-to-day juggle.  Here are some great tips  (from those who know best) on how to preserve some sanity:

  • Hire a cleaner
  • Use the dryer (shock horror)
  • Plan meals – boring we know, but worth the effort
  • Get up half an hour earlier (have an extra coffee), you’ll be amazed how much you can get done before the kids are up
  • Use online grocery shopping
  • Do washing daily so you don’t have Mount Washmore at the end of the week
  • Cook more than you need and freeze the extra meals
  • Pay a student to help look after kids after school
  • Use a slow cooker (put it in the garage if you don’t like the smell of food cooking)
  • Give yourself a break – you’re doing a fabulous job

Rule of Mum: Useful ways to use Vodka

SurvivalSo you’re doing a detox post-Christmas and need to get rid of that bottle of vodka that you could swear has been calling your name?  No need to tip it down the sink – here’s some super useful ways to put that vodka to work:

  • Shampoo with it.  Add a few teaspoons to your bottle of shampoo to fight oil build-up. The upside is that vodka doesn’t have an odour so you won’t be walking around reeking like a pub.
  • Make your cut flowers last longer.  Add a few drops of vodka and a teaspoon of sugar to the water in your flower vase.
  • Painlessly remove a plaster.  Take a cotton ball and soak it with vodka then saturate the plaster – the vodka will dissolve the sticky.
  • Heal cold sores and dry our pimples.  Dunk a cotton bud in some of your best vodka and dab it on a pesky cold sore or stubborn pimple to help it heal faster.
  • Use it as homemade air-freshner. Vodka is so strong that it kills odour-causing bacteria. Just put some in a spray bottle and spritz your clothes, then hang them to dry in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use it as a hand sanitiser. Drip a few drops onto your hands and rub in like you would sanitiser – who said that hip-flask wouldn’t come in handy?
  • Make your own window cleaner. Simply dilute vodka in a spray bottle and spritz your windows for some chemical-free (and streak-free) shine.
  • Take the hassle and hazard out of weeding and make your own weed-killer. Mix six teaspoons of vodka, a few drops of dish liquid and a couple of cups of water into a spray bottle and nail those annoying weeds.
  • Get muck off stuff. Pour a bit of vodka onto a sponge along with some dish liquid, now scrub and rinse. Done.
  • Get rid of smelly shoes and feet.  Soak aforementioned stinky feet and spritz unsuspecting shoes…now it’s safe to inhale.




Rule of Mum: Tips for Managing Mobile Phones

SurvivalHow many of your children have mobile phones?  Is your way of managing them working for you or could you do with some extra tips?  It might be a good idea to sit with your children and write up personalised phone contracts together.
Tips for kids:
  • My cell phone must be turned off at bedtime and be left charging overnight in a room that isn’t my bedroom.
  • During family meals my phone will be either turned off/silenced or put somewhere away from the table.
  • I won’t text or make/take calls at meal times or at important family functions.
  • I understand that my phone is a means of communication but not a replacement for actual interaction so when I’m with others I will make them my priority (not my phone).
  • I take full responsibility for looking after my phone. Continue reading →

Rule of Mum: Flying With Kids

SurvivalPlanning or just survived a long distance flight with your little ones?  Here are some handy tips to make your next expedition a breeze:

  • Aim to schedule your flights for when your baby is due to be napping – the goal is they sleep through most – if not all – of the flight.
  • If daytime sleeps are a thing of the past try to book the red-eye – the goal once again is for the kids and you to get some sleep during the flight.
  • Children under two years old don’t require their own seat on a plane – however if you are travelling long distance and if the budget allows, you might want to purchase a seat for them too so as to allow yourselves extra room.
  • Take your kid’s carseat with you (check it will fit before you are due to fly). They will be buckled in nice and safe and will have a sense of familiarity when it comes to sleep time.
  • Take your baby’s front pack – they can sleep on you without you needing to worry about them rolling off.
  • Pack your bags strategically – make sure your carry-on bag has a change of clothes for your kids and something clean for yourself and pack more nappies than you’ll actually need. Continue reading →

Rule of Mum: Safer Journeys For Children

SurvivalOn 1 November 2013 the child restraint laws are changing to improve the safety of child passengers. At that time the mandatory use of child restraints will be extended by two years.

Tips for parents:

  • Children will need to be secured in an approved child restraint until their seventh birthday.
  • Parents must continue to secure any children aged seven in an approved child restraint if one is available in the vehicle. Or if not in any child restraint or safety belt that is available.
  • Approved child restraints include baby capsules, car seats, booster seats and safety harnesses.
  • Seats and safety belts in vehicles are designed to protect an average sized adult in the event of a crash.
  • Children, because they are smaller, need additional seating equipment to keep them as safe as adults in a car.

Handy hints:

  • Your child restraint must meet approved standards to be used in New Zealand. This means its design and construction has been laboratory tested under crash conditions.
  • The most suitable type of child restraint required to keep a child safe will vary depending on the child’s size.
  • If you have multiple children and child restraints, it’s important to find out the best combination for your children and your vehicle.
  • Find a certified Child Restraint Technician to provide expert advice and install and fit your child restraint.
  • Information on approved standards, types of child restraints and a list of certified Child Restraint Technicians can be found at

Brought to you by the NZTA – a Mums on Top common sense partner. 

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Rule of Mum: Top Tips from Rainbow Springs

SurvivalTips for enjoying Rainbow Springs:

  • Check out the ‘What’s On’ guide when you arrive – there is an interactive encounter programme that is designed to delight and entertain the kids – but shhh, don’t tell them they may learn something too!
  • Pick up a bag of fish food at reception –  it doesn’t smell very good, but the fish love it!  It’s like lollies for them – and the kids will love watching them go crazy for every pellet. Just make sure you save some for the underwater viewer.
  • Arrive in time for the Bird Show – it starts promptly at 11.30am, so jump in line from 11.20am.  During the holidays, there is a second show at 2.30pm too.  Watch the kids be amazed at the colourful parrots’ antics as they fly right over your heads. (just make sure if you look up, you keep your mouth closed!)
  • Grab an activity sheet at reception – goes without saying, that the kids will love to fill out the activity sheets, or even complete the colouring-in pictures as they roam through the park or sit and eat their lunch.
  • Play a game of ‘who is the quietest’ as you wander through the kiwi nocturnal house – Kiwi don’t like much noise, so it’s really important that you stay quiet as you roam through the darkened nocturnal house – let your eyes adjust to the dark and spot a kiwi as they forage for food and play in their enclosures. Continue reading →

Rule Of Mum: Tips For Reducing Asthma Triggers

SurvivalTwo of our recent sponsors moemoe and BISSELL offer asthma friendly products. With that in mind we thought it was a good time to share with you some asthma tips from our Space to Breathe friends:

Tips for parents:

  • Wipe surfaces regularly with a damp rag to reduce dust and wet-mop hard floors weekly
  • Clean any mould by using one part chlorine bleach to ten parts water
  • If your budget allows, use a hot wash for laundry and tumble dry
  • Make the most of summer and weekends and hang washing outside in the sun between 10am and 3pm
  • If bunk-beds are used make sure the child with asthma sleeps on the top bunk
  • Allow only a couple of soft toys on the bed as security blankets and soft toys trap dust
  • Try using triple layers of sheets and pillowcases to trap dust mites and change bedding weekly
  • Try to avoid putting beds or children’s heads under or beside windows
  • Wash curtains every season
  • Vacuum weekly  - include your child’s mattress in the vacuuming routine



Rule of Mum: How To Talk To Your Daughter About Her Body

Tips on how to talk to your daughter about her body:Survival

  • Don’t talk to your daughter about her body except to teach her how it works.
  • Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.
  • If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:“You look so healthy!” is a great one, or how about, “you’re looking so strong.” “I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
  • Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
  • Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
  • Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards herself.
  • Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
  • Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and sometimes that’s a good thing. Continue reading →

Rule of Mum: Table Manners

SurvivalA fun game to encourage good table manners:

Pass the Pig:

  • If you burp, slurp or make an inappropriate bodily noise – you get the Pig
  • If you use a nasty tone or bad words – you get the Pig
  • If you chew with your mouth open or (give me strength), spit – you get the Pig
  • If you use your serviette as a missile/mask or as an origami creation – you get the Pig
  • If you rock/stand on/ or leave your chair (without asking to be excused) – you get the Pig
  • If you interrupt someone else’s conversation – you get the Pig
  • If you pass a less than complimentary comment about the food served to you – you get the Pig
  • If you whisper to your neighbour at the table – you get the Pig
  • The Pig will move from person to person as table-crimes are committed
  • Whoever ends up with the Pig at the end of the meal gets to do the clearing and washing up…happy eating!



Rule of Mum: Things kids love to hear

  • SurvivalI love you – good, bad, happy or sad.  Nothing will change that ever.
  • I’m sorry, will you please forgive me?
  • I forgive you.  Let’s ‘clean-slate’ it, ok?
  • You are special and super-duper important.
  • It’s ok to cry.  I do and even elephants cry too.
  • Sweet dreams, I’ll see you in the morning (or Dad or whoever will).
  • Your manners are fantastic, great job.
  • Thank you, you are an awesome friend.
  • It’s ok to make mistakes, I do. How can we fix it?
  • Great idea!  Let’s do that.

Hints for parents:

  • A little praise goes a long way
  • Let them know that you are human too
  • Surprise your kids with kind words
  • It might surprise you how much they DO listen
  • Shine the light on anything big or small that they do/achieve
  • Hug them loads

Rule of Mum: Quick healthy snacks

SurvivalI’m often guilty of providing packeted snacks for our kids on a regular basis, however with the recent release of the obesity statistics for our country I am re-thinking the snacks that I put in the their lunch-boxes and offer for afternoon tea.

Here are a few healthier alternatives I am giving a go:

  • Stack small pretzels with a layer of peanut butter/cream cheese/honey, banana slices and top with mini chocolate chips
  • Coat blueberries with yoghurt, place on baking paper on a tray and then freeze.  Once frozen, store in a zip-lock bag in the freezer ready for snacking
  • Grab a wrap, coat it with cream cheese or peanut butter, add a whole banana, roll – cut up into sushi-like pieces
  • Core an apple and slice thinly, coat with peanut butter or honey – top with chopped nuts/oats/chocolate chips or chopped berries
  • An oldie but a goodie – carrot/cucumber/cheese sticks/crackers and hummus
  • Any food on a stick is fun when you are a kid – try salami/cheese, ham/pineapple, cubed veges or any chopped up fruit (try dipping in yoghurt or rolling in desiccated coconut)
  • Weet-bix can make a healthy substitute for bread – just cut in half (lengthwise) and smear with a favourite spread – for extra fun see if the kids can whistle after trying this snack
  • Ever tried scroggin? Easy to make and you can choose your own ingredients.  Try chopped dry apricots/prunes/apples/mangoes/pawpaw, raisins, chopped nuts/seeds/popcorn – the options are endless and scrumptious Continue reading →

Rule of Mum: Tips to help your kids learn to do things for themselves

SurvivalWe all know that it’s often quicker and easier to do everything for our children but by doing so we end up hindering their development, sense of achievement and confidence – not to mention that we are creating a LOT of extra work for ourselves. Here are some ideas for what children can learn to do for themselves from an early age:

Tips for what kids can do:

  • Feed themselves 
  • Brush their teeth (let them do the morning brush and you do the evening brush)
  • Wash their hands and face and brush their hair
  • Get themselves dressed
  • Carry their own things into and out of the car
  • Blow their nose
  • Put their toys away
  • Clear their plate from the table after meals
  • Pack their kindy/daycare/school bag
  • Make their bed Continue reading →

Rule of Mum: Tips to Teach Kids How to be Safe Around Strangers

SurvivalIt’s a big wide world out there and it can be daunting for children to work out how to keep themselves safe in various situations involving strangers.  Hopefully some of these tips can help start a discussion with your family;

Tips for kids:

  • Most people are good so mostly strangers are good too.
  • A stranger is just a person I don’t know and can look like anybody.
  • It’s okay to get help from strangers if an emergency is happening to me and there is nobody I know around.
  • I don’t have to talk to a stranger who is making me feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to just walk away.
  • I know what my family’s safety rules are for when I answer the door or the phone and if I am on the internet.
  • It’s important I know all my own information; my full name, phone number, how to use a phone and my home address.
  • I don’t have to tell anybody my own information unless it is an emergency.
  • If I’m in a scary situation with a stranger I will remember to ‘No, Go, Yell, Tell’.  Say ‘No to the stranger, ‘Run’ away, ‘Yell’ loudly and ‘Tell’ a safe adult what happened straight away.
  • It’s safer for me to play in places where there are other people around than in an empty park or playground.
  • It is not safe for me to get into a car with somebody I don’t know even if they ask nicely or offer me a treat. Continue reading →

Rule of Mum: Tips to Maintain Your Child’s Gorgeous Smile

SurvivalTeaching your children proper oral health care from a young age is an investment in their health. Developing a daily routine from early on will create a great lifelong habit that they will thank you for in years to come.

Tips to start good habits:

  • Start cleaning your newborn baby’s gums with a clean face cloth and once their first tooth is through start daily brushing after their last meal or bottle.
  • Soft toothbrushes with a small head are best as the bristles are more flexible.
  • It is recommended to change a toothbrush every 3 months. A good way to remember is to buy new toothbrushes for the family at every change in season.
  • It is recommended to brush teeth twice daily for two minutes. Let your children time themselves and make it fun. Remember to brush gums as well as teeth.
  • Evening is the most important time to brush your teeth. Your child will go to bed with a mouth free of plaque and bacteria and this will significantly reduce the risk of decay.  With toddlers, let them do the morning brush and then you do the evening brush.
  • Encourage flossing from a young age as soon as they have teeth side by side it so that it will become part of their daily routine. Continue reading →

Rule of Mum: 10 Awesome Ideas for School Holiday Fun

Tips for kids:Survival

  1. Make clothes out of old newspapers, sticky tape, glue and staples.  Don’t forget to decorate them.
  2. Re-arrange your bedroom. Move the furniture around, change posters, curtains, add cushions.  You could even paint some drawer handles. (If it’s ok with your parents).
  3. Ice biscuits.  No need to bake, just grab some plain biscuits, mix up some fun coloured icing and ice and decorate them in as many ways that you can think of.
  4. Go on a colour treasure-hunt in and around your home. Either collect objects of a particular colour – or if you can’t collect them, take a photo of them and once your photos are printed you can turn them into a colour-hunt collage.
  5. Cut holes in the pages of a magazine or newspaper so that what you reveal beneath creates something new.
  6. Visit someone lonely and make their day special. Continue reading →