Once you have children, it becomes much more difficult to move house because we enter into routine based on our locality. Many couples choose to move house before starting a family so that they are in a home suitable to raise a family. If you are in that situation, then look out for features that make a new area 'family friendly'.
Many prospective parents check out schools in their area to ensure that they are in good catchments. Remember though that you are at least 5 years away from starting school and that catchments change frequently according to population changes. Be especially careful of school catchment areas that can shrink - local development may create new houses aimed at families nearer to schools, pulling the catchment boundary in. Buying a house that is just inside a known catchment today may fall outside in 5 years time.
Before school, you will be spending lots of time entertaining your little ones as they grow from babiest o toddlers. Make sure that you have good family facilities nearby, ideally within walking distance of your house. Amenities to look for include parks, soft play, a library and swimming pools. Other 'attractions' that you might want nearby but not necessarily on your doorstep might include farms, zoos or theme parks.
When you have your first baby, you will welcome support from local groups and networks. Look for active playgroups in an area, and approach the NCT for information about activities in an area that you are not familiar with.
From a practical level, a local shop within walking distance of your home can be a blessing. Small convenience stores often stock everything that you might need in an emergency, for you or your new family. Check out public transport links too, even if you have a car, as there might be times when you can't rely on a car and still being mobile will be important.
Although it is possible to move house once you have your family, it becomes more difficult once you become entrenched in the local community and settle into a routine that suits the family, not to mention the sheer cost of moving. Choose wisely now and hopefully you will find a lovely family home in a great location that will see you through for years to come!
You might not think that taking your kids along to a highbrow stately home seems much of a day out, but if you've not done this before, try it, see and be amazed! The UK has hundreds of palaces, castles, stately homes, gardens, country homes and parks. The National Trust, English Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces and Historic Houses Association curate hundreds of historic properties around the nation. Fine one near you and enjoy a lovely day out.
These properties usually have delightful gardens and extended parkland that young children will adore. Perhaps you'll find a deer park, or grotto's to climb or beautiful lakes to wander around? Formal gardens will provide a splendid backdrop for make believe games or simply to run around. Look out for large vegetable gardens, smell herb beds and delight at the colour of beautiful herbaceous borders.
The homes themselves might have fabulous treasures to marvel at. You will see old fashioned artifacts. Historic kitchens are great to explore as you can see old tools that are replaced by modern kitchen gadgets. Don't expect young children to spend ages looking at every detail in every room, but wander through the property at a pace they are comfortable with and when you see them take an interest in something, talk with them, describe it and tell them what it is. Discuss with older children what the differences are between these homes and your own - look around formal drawing rooms and work out how historical occupants used to pass their time without televisions or the internet!
Find a property to visit near you by visiting these websites:-
A little two year old may loose her sight in one eye, thanks to the discraceful negligence of a dog owner. Little Amiee Langdon was playing in a park, she fell over and put her hand in some dog mess that had not been cleared up. Before her mother could stop her, she rubbed her eye and it is now dreadfully infected and she may end up blind in one eye.
The little girl is on antibiotics to try and clear up the painful swelling and to attempt to contain the toxocariasis infection. If the infection doesn't clear up her eye will have to be removed to stop the spread of the infection to her brain.
A different type of toxocariasis, which is the main risk for humans from contact with dog faeces, can cause inflammation of the liver and abdominal pains and fever. There are, thankfully, only a few cases each year. But there is still a risk.
In Aimee's case, if her mother had not spotted the infection immediately and taken her to hospital, the toddler may have died! Apart from the swelling, the little girl developed flu like symptoms the day after the incident. Despite her mother bathing the eye as soon as they got home, the infection had taken hold. She was woken in the night by the screams of the little girl who was in agony.
Even if the infection clears, it may still mean that Aimee will lose her eyesight or may have to deal with the dreadful reality of impaired eyesight for the rest of her life.
Irresponsible dog owners are the bane of parks and play grounds all over the country. The majority are careful when it comes to picking up their dog's mess and keeping their dogs close by and under control., but most of us have experienced the disgusting sight of dogs being allowed to foul the pavements or parks and the dog owner just strolling away. It's a disgrace!
Be aware how dangerous dogg mess can be and act immediately if you see your children touching it by accident.
Nothing beats a family day out especially as Easter arrives and attractions start opening for the 2010 season; leading family attractions can be very expensive, but with a little thought, you can have really good alternative days out for very little cost. Here are some ideas to get out on the cheap!
Look for open spaces where you can walk, run around and explore. Many National Trust properties offer free admission to grounds; rivers and disused railways can often be explored at no cost; local parks and commons rarely charge for access other than sometimes for parking. Play exploring games, make obstacle courses or create a treasure hunt!
Museums and Heritage
While many museums charge admission fees, lots of museums and art galleries are free. Use the internet to find museums and galleries close to you that offer free admission. Just because a museum is free doesn't mean it has nothing interesting to show - many are run by local councils or were perhaps gifted by wealthy philanthropists. Many also hold special events aimed at children and families which again may allow you to participate at no cost. If there aren't games laid on for little ones, make up your own games - have them find certain artefacts on display.
Towns and cities don't just mean shopping and spending! There are usually open spaces that you can explore, parks for little ones, there may be sculptures and other street art to view, and famous landmark buildings that you can admire from the street. Plan a route through a town or city near you, note interesting features along the way, and take the children exploring!
Reservoirs are sited around the country, and many allow free access to explore. Reservoirs are great for watching birds and see other wildlife. You may be closer to a National Park or other accessible landscape than you realise, such as the Peak District, New Forest or the National Forest. Those living in the South may be near the South Downs National Park which came into existence on 1st April 2010. These offer great opportunities both to spot animals in the wild, but also to explore and find signs of animals, such as tracks, nests, holes, droppings and so on. Take a pad and pencils and have them draw the different animals, birds and plants that you spot. For younger children, have them draw the different colours that they see.
If you're going to be out for a whole day, you'll want to eat cheaply. Prepare your own picnic before you go, or for cheap restaurant eating, look for low cost chain restaurants or even supermarket restaurants - these often have special deals on food.
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