Their first surf lessons in Seignosse, Hossegor. Seb’s first tooth came out. We collected sand, stones and shells, crab claws, frogs, bugs and memories. And water blisters on their fingers from how long they spent in the water. Everyone had gone back to school and the beaches were bare. It was bliss.
I really can’t explain the bond between siblings. I have 3 children. They are all close, individually with each other and as a three. But how have I encouraged this and what do I do to keep it this way?
(P.S. They are 7, 5 & 3…I can’t promise this will work forever but it has done us all pretty well so far 😉
1. Keep them physically close
My youngest two still sleep together, in single beds they want pushed together so it’s like them sharing one bed. I might as well have put them both in a double. I shared with my sister until I was nearly a teen and loving or hating her at times it’s like sharing a dorm or a house at university. You are bound by a shared experience and a physical closeness of being a team, sharing a space. It won’t work for everyone but if your children want to sleep together don’t dismiss it just because you have enough bedrooms for them all.
2. Promote a positive family expectation in discussions and arguments.
I don’t allow my children to talk badly to each other whenever possible. They have to explain themselves to each other and apologise. Properly. Kiss, cuddle, make up, whatever! But it has to be genuine. I tell them that in life your family is always first. That we will all be here for each other no matter what and that means thinking about your brothers and sisters when planning things and playing games too.
3. Enjoy playing and holidaying together
We love to take them on holiday. Luckily we can afford to do this every year and for us its a priority. I’d say most of our favourite memories and experiences come from a trip somewhere and one that we have taken together. Neither of my parents are alive but i have a special bond with my sister even though we don’t see each other often, because we shared a childhood of memories together that no one else has shared with us….and yes we definitely hated each other a lot at points too! I recently met someone with a large family of brothers and sisters, all now with their own families. She said they were all still really close. I asked how and she told me that every Summer her parents rent a house for 6 weeks and invite everyone to stay. They all manage to cross over staying there for at least a few days and that special time is what keeps the families connected and still making memories even though they are all grown up.
4. Visual encouragement
I’m a visual person. Everything I see matters and it also influences me on a daily basis. I think my children may learn in this way too. If Lola doesn’t want to go swimming, if i show her a video from my phone of her swimming unaided and show her what she is capable of its like she suddenly remembers and is a lot less resistant about going. It’s the same with the way they act towards each other. If I take photos of them having fun together or even of places or things that we have done together it triggers a memory of positivity towards each other. Keeping or showing them photos or videos of them together often brings out a sentimental part where they want to create how good they felt and this has an immediate effect on how they interact with each other.
5. Don’t expect too much
I like my children to have a caring responsibility for each other. If they fall over, help them up, check they are Ok etc. but not many children want to be 2nd parents to their siblings. They are siblings and friends and over and above looking after each others well being I would not expect them to ‘babysit’ each other. This generally leads to resentment and feelings of dissatisfaction about their role in the family.
6. Finally spend time on each child individually
This is easier said than done but there should always be times every so often where each child can feel special without his siblings being there. One on one time with your children is the fastest way to boost feelings of happiness and make each member of the family seem important, even if this is done inside the home whilst the others are occupied. I try and spend an extra 10 minutes at night sitting talking and reading with all my children and I love buying experiences for their birthdays as opposed to things so that they get a memory which lasts, sometimes together and sometimes just for them.
09.10.14 ★ Art: Rafael and Jimmy
So I’m just a little bit in love with Rafael and his dog Jimmy Choo.
Apparently using his art as a hobby, Brazilian Rafael Mantesso, found himself taking more pictures of his dog after being left alone in an empty house after his divorce.
A very small part of me thinks about one day having a dog for the kids and also for security, if it could be perfectly trained and well behaved! I’m not sure how I’d feel about a Jimmy if he ate my Jimmy Choos?!
Do you have a dog and children? How do you find the balance?
02.08.14 ★ Lola’s first ponytail
Sometimes the smallest things seem unimportant but actually it’s often these little moments that we remember over the big picture. I’m trying to work on being mindful in the moment and finding the easiest way to remember special little moments is to record them, instagram them, write them in the notes section on my phone.
This week we are on holiday and one of my favourite little moments of this week will definitely be Lola’s first ponytail. She has never before kept anything much in her hair but in the heat of the day, she came to me and asked with her pigeon speech,
I think I love her little ponytail very much.
It must be two years now since we shot Gill & Ian from Gregory Joinery Projects gorgeous Victorian mid century modern delight. I always remember this shot because of it’s simplicity and how sometimes that makes the best centrepiece. Pussy willow stems and Easter charms. If you missed their amazing house tour you can check it out here in full. It’s unmissable! Here’s a reminder!
Photography by Louise Freeland
25.03.14 ★ Oh to be Seven
Queen Kitty, so carefree, so filled with love and leadership. She loves to laugh, dance, sing and cuddle. She loves to be cool, to wear what she pleases, to tell her siblings what to do. Queen Kitty surrounded by her snot nosed helper, her shadow, her Lola. With so much love for her brother, they sleep in the same bed still sometimes…”as a treat because it’s Kitty’s birthday!” he says. I love her style, her tenacity, her confidence, her ability to create whole new worlds in her mind and then to relax enough to slob and watch TV and think that one day she could do that – that job they are doing . Her vision, her annoyance already at 7 at the voice i do when i talk in a video. Do I even do another voice ? Apparently so.
I miss this place, this space to share and connect, to record. i think it’s time for some work to be done. Anyone want to see her panda jewellery party?
I first met Interior designer and mum of two, Laura when we shot her gorgeous 1930’s renovation for a house tour with her family last year. When she invited me back to see her house with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, I couldn’t resist. That and she make the most amazing cakes.
Laura has a keen eye for styling and a distinct style which shows throughout each room of her home. Walking through the door give you goosebumps. It’s a beautiful house which feels loved and experiencing it in full Christmas glory was a magical treat.
TO VIEW THE FULL TOUR CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW.
04.11.13 ★ My Morning: Louise Freeland
Louise Freeland is an uber talented British photographer, who lives in England with her husband and three children. She also has an allotment and a job in Veterinary management to keep her busy! Here’s one of her mornings.
My weekend mornings always start a little later. They are a catch up to the craziness of the working and schooling week. On a Saturday it all kicks off around 8am because the kids all generally have a lie in. Sometimes there is some bed switching around and we find them sleeping together or having swapped beds! It’s lovely and gives me a chance to catch up on a little reading in bed. My kindle is one of my favourite things. This morning I just finished ‘The Light Between The Oceans’ by M.L. Steadman.
Once everyone has woken up there is generally a little bit of lolling around from the kids before breakfast.
After breakfast it’s a rush to get Hen ready for football and get him there on time. When we get home the girls and I have a little playtime. I love being outside. It’s where I take most of my pictures and we also have an allotment. If the weather is good enough, a little time outside every day is really important.
Because it’s a day I’m not doing the 9-5, I always find time to work on my photos, either taking or editing, whilst the girls do some kind of crafting. This Saturday was painting…with glitter!
Then it’s time to tidy up the mess and prepare lunch or get it ready for later, before we pick Hen up from football for noon.
Thank you for sharing your morning Louise!
21.10.13 ★ My Weekend: Kelly Sparkes
The lovely Kelly is the co founder of Phoenix and Fox, a new online interiors site full of stylish, quirky and cool wonders. She lives in England with her husband and baby daughter Aria.
Weekends have changed so much since I had my little girl twelve weeks ago, long lazy mornings in bed have been replaced by her smiling gurgling face at 6am, but I’m not complaining. I love ‘chatting’ to her first thing in the morning.
I make the most of having my husband at home on a Saturday to look after Aria between feeds so I can get some work done. This week I caught up with my business partner Sam to discuss the design of our new home page. I then spent the rest of the afternoon implementing it, as I do all the web development for our online home accessories shop Phoenix & Fox.
A day working and looking after a little one goes so quickly.
Saturday evening, I got a chance to relax with a magazine whilst hubby made dinner. I’m very lucky as he’s an excellent cook.
Sunday morning we went for a family walk. The Autumnal colours of the trees were beautiful.
I’m always changing my home, although things take a lot longer than they used to these days! My current project is the hallway which has been painted a deep inky blue and I spent some time playing with different layouts for the salon-style gallery of art going up the stairs.
Before I knew it the weekend was over and it was time to bathe and massage Aria and get her to bed, before dinner and a date with Downton Abbey.
Thank you for sharing your weekend with us Kelly.
Our first ever house tour was with Kelly’s business partner Sam. You can check out her amazing house tour here!