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Smyth family

Both of my children have entered different stages of school but also, different stages of life.

My eldest, Ayda, started secondary school in September whilst my boy, George, stepped up into the juniors. Both transitions were a massive shock to the system at first, but they’ve both gotten a bit more used to it in time and have been doing well.

Both seem to have become more independent as they have embarked on their new stages of life and with Ayda starting secondary school, she feels more grown up (far too grown up for my liking). As well as being in new stages of school, I think that the freedom, post covid, has also had a part to play in their newfound independence. During lockdown, they had to learn to entertain themselves and couldn’t see anyone, and now they are embracing the fact that those things are in the past and taking full advantage of that new freedom. George is still very shy and sensitive, so lockdown and not being able to see his family really took its toll on him. It’s nice to see him embracing his new freedom, post covid, and becoming more independent.

I think as my two have gotten older, and maybe as children in general do, they’ve become more trying and testing. In their eyes, “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “no” so much anymore. Questions like ‘Can I stay up later?’ and ‘Can I stay out later?’ seem to be ones I am now answering on a regular basis. The challenge lies in knowing where to draw the line -; it’s a fine line between constantly saying “no”, as Ayda would tell you I do, and maybe being too soft and giving in to those questions too often. It really is about trying to find the perfect balance which is far easier said than done. As they’ve gotten older, I try more to discuss things with them rather than lecture or make them feel like I am being negative.

Ayda joined a girls’ football team around a year ago and loves it! I grew up playing and watching football, so it’s been lovely to have that to share with her. Thanks to my father, I am an avid Everton supporter and as my dad has blessed/cursed me I felt it was my right to pass on the family tradition. Ayda loves watching Everton games with me, either on TV or when we can for maybe a game or two live in the stadium. As she is growing up so fast and is wanting to spend her time with her friends, it’s nice that we have found this shared passion that brings us together!

No matter how old they get, my number one piece of advice will always be to just laugh! For me, nothing beats messing around with them and having tears in our eyes from laughing our heads off at each other. It helps me and them forget about the trivial stuff and enjoy the moment of pure joy and happiness -; just the three of us and that never gets old!