After a decade of parenting I have learnt a thing or two. My theory that candles and music always helps, still stands true to this day. As a Mum you are always learning. From that first moment you find out that you are expecting, to the first glance at your precious bundle of joy. Baby books can only teach you so much, because the real learning actually comes from experience and in my experience the sharing of stories with other Mums and Dads.

A decade on for me and I can honestly say that the learning continues, changes and only seems to get more complicated when you start to tackle the issues of life, death and love. The balancing act of wanting to empower your children, educate them and yet protect them from the harsh reality of the world around them seems to be a never ending juggling act. Keeping those balls up in the air and moving in a happy way is an ongoing task.

Sometimes that task can be overwhelming. And that’s perfectly normal and ok. But, one thing that I have learnt over the years, is that no matter what, candles and music always make things better. I strongly believe that this is true no matter the age of the person involved.

Imagine you are slightly upset with your partner, or not, you walk into the room and you see some candles lit, music playing, a glass of wine – the mood in the room changes you immediately. You really appreciate the effort and feel more relaxed, open to discussion or relax into the moment.

The other night my little man came to the dinner table and his first response when seeing the thoughtfully prepared Spanish Omelette was “Yuck”! Just what you want to hear after a day at work, right? So, instead of loosing my mind, I headed straight for my trusty theory that ‘candles and music always helps’. The little guy selected his favourite song, which at the moment is Bruno Mars, Count on Me. A great song for kids to be obsessed about. I headed for a beautifully fragrant candle and BOOM the mood has changed and he gobbled up his dinner.

Double bonus is that he wasn’t allowed to blow out the candle until his dinner is finished. What kid doesn’t like to blow out a candle? #winning!

Another ritual that we have started in our family is for the kids to tell us three stories at every mealtime. Two things that they really liked about the day and one thing that they didn’t.

Making the time for family storytelling is a great way to build connections with your children. It helps them to develop their communication skills and the information you receive during this relaxed dinner table conversation can be priceless.

So this is my tip to any tired Mum or Dad trying to feed kids who are just as tired and cranky as you are. Light some candles, put on some awesome music and make family mealtime a special time.

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