Category Archives: Uncategorised

Bronchiolitis: Would you know if it’s more than a cold?

Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection, which affects babies and young children. It causes inflammation of the small airways in the lungs (bronchioles). This restricts the amount of air able to enter the lungs, therefore  making it more difficult for the child to breathe.

MTAC_facebook_1 in 3 gets before bday

For most infants, bronchiolitis is no more serious than a cold. However, around 30,000 infants are admitted to hospital in England each year with bronchiolitis. It is the most common reason for infant hospitalisation.

MTAC_facebook_steps to reduce risk

Bronchiolitis occurs more frequently during winter months and mainly affects babies aged between 3 and 6 months. Premature babies and babies with certain heart or lung conditions are more at risk of developing the condition.

Would you know if it’s more than a cold?

Make sure you’re aware of the symptoms of bronchiolitis:

MTAC_facebook_symptoms

Find out more at the More Than A Cold Website here.

Loneliness Parenting

Never Alone But Often Lonely

It’s a great irony of parenthood. For the first time in your life you are never alone. And yet isolation and loneliness are real issues faced by so many mums and dads.

Mums are everywhere – at the park, baby and toddler groups, children’s centres and the school gates. I often hear people say that it’s easy to meet other mums when you have young children. This is true. Meeting other mums is easy, but often establishing deeper connections with those you meet is not.

Firstly, just because someone has a child the same age as you, it doesn’t automatically follow that you’ll have lots in common. And secondly, even if you do have lots in common, you’ll both have to make a lot of effort to build a meaningful friendship.

I consider my closest friends to be the ones I made at school (with the exception of some of my mum friends). We saw each other almost every day for seven years. We navigated the turbulent teenage years as a unit – crying, laughing and learning together as we went. We shared all our secrets with each other and, because we naturally saw each other every day at school, we didn’t have to make an effort to meet up. Our friendships were built on solid foundations and have lasted a lifetime. While we don’t see each other every day anymore, it really doesn’t matter. Even if months pass by, when we do finally get together we can just pick up where we left off.

Whether you’re a stay at home mum or a working mum, you won’t see the same mums with your children every single day. You may even struggle to meet up with your mum friends once a week. There are so many obstacles in the way – illnesses, tantrums, appointments – trying to be in the right place at the right time as the parent of a young child is difficult.

It is possible to be surrounded by people all the time and yet still feel isolated. When I had my first child, I was incredibly lonely. I was the first of my friends to have a baby and went from working full time and having an active social life to spending my days alone with my baby.

Making friends as an adult is hard, especially when you don’t see the same people every day. Once I had found them, my mum friends became a lifeline to me. I was so much happier with these incredible women in my life to share every stage of my motherhood journey with. But it took time and effort. I had to put myself out there and let myself be vulnerable. It meant making a real effort to make sure I saw the same mums on a regular basis and opened up to them.

When I first joined a meet a mum board and wrote a post asking if any other mums would like to meet up, I felt incredibly vulnerable and I didn’t expect anyone to reply. I had never actively tried to make friends before; all of my friendships had come about through school and work. But people did reply and, with time, I incorporated the ones I connected with into my life.

If you’re feeling lonely right now, please know these two things: it’s nothing to be ashamed of and you can do something about it. Being shy, I know how difficult it can be to put yourself out there. I’m not someone who can breeze into a room full of strangers and chat to them all. I think it’s about finding a way of meeting new people that works for you (be it online, baby groups, classes etc) and sticking to it.

There will be knock backs and frustrations (they don’t call it ‘mum dating’ for no reason!) but if you persevere there is so much to gain.  If you feel isolated at the moment please reach out and don’t stop reaching out until you find the network you need to thrive.


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

Low Cost Easter Holiday Ideas

Low Cost Easter Holiday Ideas

The daffodils are out, the days are getting longer and the shops are full of chocolate eggs – Easter is well and truly on its way!

Trying to keep the kids entertained this Easter doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Here are some low-cost ideas for keeping your little people amused during the Easter break:

Easter Crafts

Kids love making Easter bunnies, chicks and other related crafts. Many are cheap and easy to make too!

We love these 40 Easter craft ideas from Red Ted Art, which are bound to keep your creative bunnies busy! And check out these Pinterest boards for even more inspiration.

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter wouldn’t be complete without an egg hunt. For budget eggs, baskets, bonnets and decorations, head to your local Poundland   where you’ll find a great selection.

Your local library:

Most libraries run free arts and crafts sessions over Easter, as well as story times, rhyme times and other activities such as construction clubs and other workshops.

Cost: Free

Shopping Centres:

Many shopping centres also put on free crafts, activities and events. It’s worth checking out the programme of events at your local mall.

Cost: Free

Arts Centres:

Many arts centres host workshops and events over Easter. Whether your little ones are into dance, drawing, writing or craft, you’re likely to find something to they’ll enjoy for a minimal cost.

Cost: Normally around £5 – £10 per activity

Low Cost Easter Holiday Ideas

Cinema:

If your kids love film, why not take them along to the special kids screenings at your local cinema? These usually take place early in the morning and can cost as little as £2.50 per ticket. Also, check out your local arts centre or theatre, where films may be screened at a fraction of the cost of regular cinema prices.

Cost: £2.50 upwards

Museums

All around the UK, museums offer free entry to their exhibits year round. During peak times, such as Easter, many put on extra events and activities for their little visitors.

Cost: Often free

Park Runs

If your kids need to run off some steam, why not take them to a free park run? These events are held up and down the country every weekend and kids love the sense of achievement they feel from taking park in a 2k or 5k run with their peers. Check out the Park Run website to find events near you.

Cost: Free

Geocaching

Geocaching is a free and slightly addictive activity you can take part in through an app. Your task is to find the geocaches in your area, sign the log book and then re-hide the geocache for others to find. You can also share your progress with others online. If the weather isn’t too bad this Easter, geocaching is a great option.

Cost: Free

Bounce 

A room full of inflatables is every child’s dream. Bouncy castles, assault courses, slides and more are available at the Bouce Departments pop-up play centres. Tickets cost from £5.50 and must be booked in advance. See if there is a play centre local to you here.

Cost: Around £5.50 per child

Low Cost Easter Holiday Ideas

Your local Council

Don’t forget to scour your local council’s website to find more free activities in your area. For example, some councils offer free swimming and other leisure activities for kids during school holidays.

Cost: Free and up

Join the National Trust

For an initial outlay of around £114 (or a direct debit of about £9.55 per month), you can buy a National Trust family membership and have free access to hundreds of incredible places all around the UK. Beautiful gardens, parks, stately homes and historic buildings are just some of the attractions at your fingertips. Your kids will never be bored again!

Cost: about £114 per year

Dig out the deals

Websites such as Wowcher and Groupon have a multitude of deals on events and activities in every pocket of the UK. Don’t forget to see if you can use your loyalty card points to buy tickets to local attractions – for example Tesco Clubcard has an excellent selection of deals.

Head to your local Baby & Children’s Market

Not only will you save a fortune on everything your little ones need from clothes and books to pushchairs and nursery furniture, you will also find a great selection of pre-loved toys and games. Many of our markets also put on entertainment especially for kids, find your local event here.


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

How To Help Prepare Your Child For School

How To Help Prepare Your Child For School

School applications are in and, as many parents wait anxiously to see if their child receives their first choice reception place, you may also be thinking about how to ensure your child is ready to start school.

Starting reception is a big step for children and parents alike, but there are some things you can do to help your child be as prepared as possible for the transition.

How To Help Prepare Your Child For School

Encourage self reliance

Ensure your child is confident carrying out certain tasks such as putting on shoes, changing into and out of their PE kit, hand-washing and eating with a knife and fork. Getting your child used to doing these things without your help will make the school’s expectations of them seem less daunting.

Talk and read about school

Ask your child what they are looking forward to and what scares them about starting school, so you can try and relieve any fears. Many school produce a booklet about the school for the new reception class, so try to read this together as often as possible.

There are plenty of great books about starting school including:

Charlie Chick Goes To School by Nick Denchfield

I’m Going To School by Chris Dickason

I’m Absolutely Too Small For School (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child

Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean Adamson

Explore the new school

You can look at the school’s website together to help your child become familiar with their new environment. If the school holds any fetes or other events, go along with your child so they can experience the school with you.

Phase out naps

If your child still has afternoon naps, now may be a good time to start phasing them out to ensure that they won’t struggle with tiredness in September.

Try and establish friendships with other new starters

There may be a Facebook or What’s App groups for the parents of new starters – but if there isn’t, why not create one? Try to arrange playdates with other children from the reception class so your child already has a few friends when he or she starts. This may help quell nerves on the first day.

Try on the uniform

School uniform is often very exciting for new starters and makes them feel very grown up! Let them try on their uniform a few times before the big day to help them get used to the look and feel of it.

Have a practise school run

Help establish the school run routine, by practising the route to see how long it takes. Being well prepared for the walk or drive will help you both feel less anxious on the first day of school and beyond.


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

14 Great Things To Do More Often

14 Great Things To Do More Often

Is the winter gloom getting you down? Are you feeling stressed, tired and fed up? Try doing these things more often to help improve your overall health and well-being.

14 Great Things To Do More Often

 

1. Drink plenty of water

Experts recommend we drink 2 litres of day and with good reason. Being dehydrated causes tiredness, headaches, constipation and can often make us feel unnecessarily hungry. Our bodies are 6o% water and H2O plays such a vital role in keeping our organs functioning, carrying away waste and keeping our temperature regulated.

So next time you reach for a can of fizzy drink or a cup of tea, try and substitute it for a pint of water. You’ll soon see the difference in your energy levels and mood.

2. Go for a walk

Walking is a great from of gentle exercise for everyone, especially mums with prams and buggies.

A good long walk while listening to some uplifting tunes will never fail to help you clear your head and get your blood pumping.

3. Make and drink colourful smoothies

Do you suffer from the late afternoon energy slide? After a full-on day of work, chasing round after the kids and housework it’s easy to see why.

When you feel your eyelids starting to stick together, whip up a colourful smoothie to help your body recharge.  Adding bananas, berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, nuts and seeds will give you a well needed energy boost and help you feel more human for the rest of the day.

Check out this great selection of energy-boosting smoothies.

4. Love and accept yourself

This one can be easier said than done. However, constantly criticising yourself and wishing you were someone else is a waste of time and energy. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend because you would probably never say the things you tell yourself to a friend in need.

Be your own best friend by loving and accepting yourself more often and turn off the inner critic. Self-criticism does you no good at all.

5. Go to bed earlier

In our busy lives of work and childcare, staying up late may be the only way to get some precious time to ourselves. However, shuffling off to bed after midnight to grab only five or six hours sleep can be detrimental to your health. Try going to bed an hour or two earlier and give your body the rest it needs.

6. Wake up earlier

Going to bed earlier may enable you to wake up earlier and begin your day in peace and tranquillity before everyone else gets up and wants a piece of you. In fact, many successful people report that they wake up early in order to start their days on the right foot.

Many of us feel absolutely exhausted by the time evening comes round, so waking up early may be the only way to make time for exercise, hobbies or relaxation.

7. Practise Gratitude

It’s easy to focus on the things we lack and endlessly worry about what may or may not happen. However, by appreciating all the good things in our lives and saying thank you for them on a regular basis, our happiness levels start to increase and we worry less.

Plenty of research has shown that people who take time out to be grateful for the little things are happier. Read The Magic by Rhonda Byrne in order to fast track your way to the attitude of gratitude.

8. Have a digital detox

Turning off mobile phones and tablets for a few hours per day will give you a well-needed break from endless notifications, emails and social media activity. It’s refreshing to just be present with your kids, friends or partner without the digital interruptions. Do you remember the time before we had all this technology? We focused more on the people in front of us instead of forcing them to share our attention with a screen.

A digital detox doesn’t have to be severe. You could just start with 30 minutes a few times per day and build on it from there.

9. Replace negative thoughts about yourself and others with loving ones

Again, easier said than done but hugely beneficial to your own well-being if you can manage it.  As Roald Dahl said in The Twits, ‘If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’ Plus you will always feel lovely. Positive thinking is certainly the way forward.

10. Cut down on sugar and caffeine

When in the thick of the 3pm energy slump, it’s very tempting to reach for more coffee and a sugary snack to help you out of the fog. Sure, you’ll get the required energy boost but it won’t last for long.

By cutting back on the caffeine and sugar and replacing them with water, healthy snacks and fruit, your energy levels will greatly increase.

11. Write down thoughts, feelings, ideas and things to do

Having a good brain dump – emptying the contents of your mind onto paper – will help you focus and gain clarity. By making a to-do-list each morning, your daily burden of tasks will seem far  more achievable (read this great post on bullet journaling if you’re considering giving it a try).

Writing down feelings and ideas can help make sense of them and make your brain feel less cluttered (and let’s be honest we could all benefit from a less busy mind).

12. Read

Switching off the TV and getting absorbed in a good book is a great way to broaden your mind and find new interests. Nothing beats snuggling under a blanket with a hot drink and reading a good book.

13. Visit the ocean

There are a whole host of seaside health benefits. The sea air helps promote a better night’s sleep and the lull of the waves aids with relaxation. If you can visit the ocean more often, it’s guaranteed to help you feel a greater sense of peace and calm.

14. Focus on your breathing

If you don’t have the time or inclination to meditate, just focusing on your breathing for a short while can be hugely beneficial.

When you feel stressed or the kids are driving you crazy, stop and take a few deep breaths while focusing on the rise and fall of your chest. It’s such a simple thing to do but it has so many benefits.

A Tibetan monk recently talked to the Huffington Post about how meditation doesn’t have to take up prolonged periods of time in How You Can Meditate Anytime, Anywhere. All you need to do is focus on your breathing for a few moments – it really is that simple.


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.


 

Budget February Half Term Ideas

Budget February Half Term Ideas

Just as we begin to recover from the financial fallout of Christmas, along pops February half term! Winter half terms can be testing, especially if rain and bad weather prevent outdoor play.

However, trying to keep the kids entertained this half term doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Here are some low-cost ideas for keeping your little people amused during the half term week:

 

Your local library:

Most libraries run free arts and crafts sessions over half term, as well as story times, rhyme times and other activities such as construction clubs and other workshops.

Cost: Free

Shopping Centres:

Many shopping centres also put on free crafts, activities and events. It’s worth checking out the programme of events at your local mall.

Cost: Free

 

Arts Centres:

Many arts centres host workshops and events over half term. Whether your little ones are into dance, drawing, writing or craft, you’re likely to find something to they’ll enjoy for a minimal cost.

Cost: Normally around £5 – £10 per activity

 

 

Cinema:

If your kids love film, why not take them along to the special kids screenings at your local cinema? These usually take place early in the morning and can cost as little as £2.50 per ticket. Also, check out your local arts centre or theatre, where films may be screened at a fraction of the cost of regular cinema prices.

Cost: £2.50 upwards

Budget February Half Term Ideas

Museums

All around the UK, museums offer free entry to their exhibits year round. During peak times, such as half term, many put on extra events and activities for their little visitors.

Cost: Often free

Park Runs

If your kids need to run off some steam, why not take them to a free park run? These events are held up and down the country every weekend and kids love the sense of achievement they feel from taking park in a 2k or 5k run with their peers. Check out the Park Run website to find events near you.

Cost: Free

Geocaching

Geocaching is a free and slightly addictive activity you can take part in through an app. Your task is to find the geocaches in your area, sign the log book and then re-hide the geocache for others to find. You can also share your progress with others online. If the weather isn’t too bad this half term, geocaching is a great option.

Cost: Free

Crafts

Why not try a subscription craft box to delight the children during half term? If the weather leaves you housebound, a good craft activity is a must. Toucan Box is flexible and reasonably priced, delivering everything you need right to your door.

Cost: From around £5.95 per box

Budget February Half Term Ideas

Bounce 

A room full of inflatables is every child’s dream. Bouncy castles, assault courses, slides and more are available at the Bouce Departments pop-up play centres. Tickets cost from £5.50 and must be booked in advance. See if there is a play centre local to you here.

Cost: Around £5.50 per child

Your local Council

Don’t forget to scour your local council’s website to find more free activities in your area. For example, some councils offer free swimming and other leisure activities for kids during half term.

Cost: Free and up

Join the National Trust

For an initial outlay of around £114 (or a direct debit of about £9.55 per month), you can buy a National Trust family membership and have free access to hundreds of incredible places all around the UK. Beautiful gardens, parks, stately homes and historic buildings are just some of the attractions at your fingertips. Your kids will never be bored again!

Cost: about £114 per year

Dig out the deals

Websites such as Wowcher and Groupon have a multitude of deals on events and activities in every pocket of the UK. Don’t forget to see if you can use your loyalty card points to buy tickets to local attractions – for example Tesco Clubcard has an excellent selection of deals.


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

How To Support Babies Born With Heart Conditions This Heart Week

One in every 111 babies is born with congenital heart disease (CHD) – that’s more than 5,000 newborns each year in the UK.

This February, Heart Week is an opportunity for friends, colleagues, family, team mates or neighbours to join together to do something amazing. .  Learn more about Heart Week and sign up to take part here

Through Tiny Tickers’ Heart Week, each of us can raise awareness and funds to help these babies – ensuring they are given a fighting chance to beat their condition. Finding these babies is vital. Last year, over 1,000 newborns were discharged from UK hospitals with no one realising they had a life-threatening heart condition.  Tiny Tickers is launching a national initiative to provide all maternity wards with Pulse Oximetry Machines.  These machines test the oxygen levels in babies before they are sent home. Low oxygen saturation could indicate a serious heart condition and baby will get the treatment they need immediately.

Every penny counts. Babies with undetected heart defects will often fall into the early stages of heart failure – significantly impacting their long-term quality of life and associated risks of heart failure, including brain damage.

When these defects are detected during pregnancy, babies get treatment from the first possible moment.  Prenatal detection also means that parents-to-be get the support they need to prepare them for the future; and it means fewer dangerous and costly emergency admissions to hospital.

Damian’s daughter, Elsie, had a serious heart defect which wasn’t detected until she was already very ill. Damian says, “We are forever in debt to all the people who helped save her life. We were one of the lucky ones. 

The thought of a congenital heart defect going unnoticed in other babies and them not being as lucky as Elsie is very disturbing.

Further training for sonographers, midwives and pulse oximetry machines in maternity wards would make such a difference and hopefully save lots of babies.”

To read Elsie’s story, click here.

Heart conditions are the most common and deadly birth defect in babies – responsible for 1 in every 13 infant deaths.  Tiny Tickers is a small charity but their work is hugely practical and effective – just £750 is enough to provide training for up to 10 sonographers or a Pulse Oximetry machine for a maternity ward. If they can raise £10,000 though Heart Week 2017, they’ll be able to help many more babies and their parents this year.

What your support can do

Here is how Tiny Tickers can use the money you raise:

£75  – Provides specialist on-site training for a sonographer to be able to detect heart problems during a pregnancy scan.

£750  – provides a pulse oximetry machine for a maternity ward, where each baby can have their oxygen levels tested before being sent home.

£2,500  – Produces a training video into one of the most common forms of heart defect for sonographers to refer to during scans.

How To Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

How To Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Helping to build up your children’s self-esteem is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Adults and children with high self-esteem are happier, more confident, more self-accepting, more productive and feel more useful than those for whom self-esteem is lacking.

As parents, all we want is for our children to grow into confident, happy and secure adults. We can help our children achieve this by taking daily steps to build their self-esteem.

Here are some ways we can build our children’s self-esteem:

Empower them

Giving children choices – be it between an apple and an orange or which pair of shoes to wear – helps them to feel as though they have a control over what happens to them. This empowerment builds their confidence and helps them learn how to make decisions by themselves.

Offer specific praise

When your child does something praise-worthy, instead of offering a vague ‘that’s great’, try to be more specific with your compliments. ‘I love the way you’ve drawn that rainbow’ or ‘that’s fantastic because I can see how hard you’ve worked’ are more positive ways of letting your child know how proud you are. Children love receiving praise, but telling them why you’re proud as well as praising their effort will make them feel extra good about themselves.

How To Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Give them responsibility

Chores, gardening or looking after a pet are examples of ways we can give our children responsibility, which in turn helps bolster their confidence and problem-solving skills. They will also learn that it’s fine to make mistakes and they needn’t be afraid of making them.

Let them do things by themselves

Toddlers can take a frustratingly long time to get dressed or put their shoes on and sometimes, when you’re in a rush, you do need to step in and help. However, when you have the time, letting your child do these things by themselves will make them feel a sense of achievement and confidence. When allowed to work things out for themselves, they’ll be keener to take on new challenges as they grow.

Avoid comparison

As adults, we often compare ourselves to others – this is rarely a positive experience. We can help our children to avoid falling into the comparison trap by never comparing them with a sibling, relative or friend. As Theodore Roosevelt quite rightly said, ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’

How To Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Let them make mistakes

When your child is trying something new, you can actually build their self-esteem by letting them make mistakes before you rush in to help. Learning that we all make mistakes and suffer setbacks will help your child develop a more positive relationship with failure. Effort and perseverance should be highlighted and praised in order to raise children who don’t give up at the first hurdle because they are scared of failure.

Be a good role model

Let your child see that no-one is perfect – including you – and that aiming for perfection is pointless. When you make a mistake, tell your child about it and let them know it’s ok. Try not to put yourself down by saying ‘I’m a rubbish cook’ or ‘I’m so fat’. Your child may absorb the way you talk to yourself and apply it to their own self-talk. Showing yourself respect and love is the best way you can help your child nuture their own self-esteem.

14 Essential Christmas Websites and Apps for Parents

14 Essential Christmas Websites and Apps for Parents

With Christmas just around the corner, children the world over are beginning to feel the excitement as they eagerly await the big day. As parents, we want to make the festive season as magical as possible for our little people. Luckily, help is at hand. We’ve scoured the internet and found the 14 best Christmas websites and apps to help parents spread some cheer this festive season.

14 Essential Christmas Websites and Apps for Parents

1. Portable North Pole

Sprinkle a bit of Christmas magic with Portable North Pole. This clever website will create a personalised video message to your child from Santa for free. The video itself is beautifully made and will leave children of all ages completely mesmerized.

2. Capture the Magic

Using this website or app, you can give your child proof that Santa was indeed inside your house. Simply upload a photo of the room in your house that Santa visited and add one of their Santas to it. Voila – a picture of Santa in your house for the kids to treasure!

3. Christmas Countdown

‘How long is it until Christmas?’ Are you fed up of being asked this question? With Christmas Countdown you can pinpoint how long they have to wait to the second, so you’re always ready with an answer.

14 Essential Christmas Websites and Apps for Parents

4. North Pole

North Pole is your ultimate Christmas resource. Packed with crafts, games, gift ideas, recipes and letters from Santa, this website is a must for adults as well as kids.

14 Essential Christmas Websites and Apps for Parents

5. Why Christmas?

Why do we have Christmas trees? What is Santa’s first name? Find out everything you need to know about Christmas, including the stories behind all our Christmas traditions, on this informative website. There are also Christmas games and activities to delight the little ones.

6. Jinglebell Junction

For all your Christmas downloads, look no further than Jinglebell Junction. Avatars, wallpaper, ringtones…you’ll find it all here plus fun activities and games for the kids.

7. Elfster

If you’ve been tasked with organising Secret Santa for your or your child’s friends, Elfster is a handy website to guide you through it with ease. Each participant can create a wishlist, upload their details and Elfster will conduct the draw plus send out reminders and thank yous. For stress-free Secret Santa, Elfster is a must.

8. NORAD

Thanks to the North American Aeorospace Defence Command, you can track Santa as he flies through the skies on Christmas Eve. Your little ones will be beyond excited to watch it all as it happens.

14 Essential Christmas Websites and Apps for Parents

9. Elf Yourself

Elf Yourself is loved the world over and is fast becoming a Christmas tradition for the digital age. All you need to do is upload a picture of yourself or you child and you will be transformed into a dancing elf. Magic!

10. Email Santa

As the name suggests, this website allows your child to receive a personalised email from the big man himself. Simply fill out a form with a few details and your message from Santa will appear within seconds.

11. Santa Tracker

This beautiful creation from Google provides stimulating games, activities and animations for the kids. You can also learn more about how children all around the world celebrate Christmas.

14 Essential Christmas Websites and Apps for Parents

12. Live Santa

From the 1st December you can watch all the comings and goings in Lapland via the Live Santa website. Watch Santa prepare for Christmas, see the elves and reindeer and marvel at the beautiful, snow-covered landscape.

13. Claus

With Claus.com you have access to your very own Christmas village. Check to see your naughty or nice status and find songs, games and interactive activities.

14. Letter from Santa

For a suggested donation of £5, you can order a beautiful, personalised message from Santa, while helping children in need this Christmas.

 

And if you’re worried about how much Christmas is gong to cost, don’t forget to check out our Christmas money saving tips here.