What should I tell my daughter about religion?

My four-year old daughter skipped into the lounge last week and declared ‘baby Jesus’ is coming to school.  My heart skipped a beat as this was a conversation that I wasn’t prepared for.  It’s time for the Christmas Nativity.  As it’s not a church school, I do question why they’re doing the birth of Christ. However, I’m not anti-Christmas but, as a family we look at it as a time to celebrate family and friends with less emphasis on religion.

I’m an atheist, but I was baptised (can’t remember what religion) and I did attend Catholic School for a year.  However, my daughter was not christened, to the surprise of my mother in-law, as we felt that it would be hypocritical of us as we aren’t practicing Christians.

It’s not my intention to shelter her from religion but I will make it clear what I believe.  I love that schools have Religious Education in the curriculum, introducing children to many different religions thus, hopefully, fostering respect for people’s different beliefs.

I think that religion is a very personal choice, one that I don’t feel she can make till she is quite a bit older, at least pre-teen.  I’m going to do my best to remain unbiased and let her sort out her own belief system.  If she wants to regularly attend services we will support her.  Unless it’s some bizarre cult of course and then I’m totally up for an intervention.

This is why I probably turned my nose up when I was sent a copy of ‘Littlest Angels’ to review as it introduced the concept of Heaven and Angels.  It’s based on the classic children’s story by Charles Tazewell.  To be honest, I haven’t watched it from start to finish, hubby has and said it was ‘okay’ but Madame really liked it and has asked to watch it several times.  The Littlest Angel is out to own and download on DVD now

When should you introduce your children to religion?  What should you tell them?  I’d love to hear your comments.













I hate party bags!

I have a very strong aversion to kid’s party bags; I don’t know where the fear comes from or where the tradition originated. Can we blame the yanks again? I’m doing my best to keep my daughters birthdays under control, as an ex-teacher I know how it can all get carried away. I’ve heard stories of kids having to pay to attend parties.

My daughter’s birthday will be one of the first in her year, being mid September, and I’m determined to set the bar low, hoping that other parents will appreciate the gesture. I have friends with normally very well-behaved kids and they have thrown themselves on the floor in a strop when not given a party bag and they died of embarrassment.

However, today when buying party supplies I found myself wavering near the matching party bags and tempted to follow the status quo, but I put my foot down.

So, what’s the alternative? As usual I asked on twitter and got loads of amazing suggestions. Sorry if I haven’t credited everyone but copying and pasting them all was enough for me. I hope this helps you in some way!

  • Mosquito nets (charity)
  • Craft sets from Poundland
  • Biscuits with names on instructions
  • Helium balloon filled with sweets
  • Vouchers for Smiths or ELC
  • Measure out Flapjack mix with instructions
  • Lucky bags! Or a balloon with sweets in, they love popping them for the sweets!
  • Bucket and spade sets – £1 each online
  • ‘grow your own beanstalk’ kit. Small pot, compost, ‘magic’ beans and instructions all in a plastic bag.
  • A book and stuck a small bar of chocolate on to it. Try The Book People for cheap good books. You can separate the book sets and could stick to a theme if you have one.
  • Personalized gift wrapped cup cake that cost a quid!
  • Colouring book. Mini craft packs. Little pots and Seeds. Buns.
  • Well anything but bloody bubbles!
  • Children’s magazine or comic
  • Packet of seeds to grow
  • Card saying you donated to charity on their behalf…. Then go and get yourself a nice bottle of wine (this is my favourite!)
  • We had lots of gingerbread men & icing pens/decorations & kids got creative & took those home
  • We baked & decorated cupcakes for friends, handed out in boxes
  • We used to make a donation to a kids’ charity instead then thank kids and parents, rather spend money on that than more tat.
  • Sunflower seedlings
  • Usually do one Lego minifig or mini book instead (£1.50)
  • A little cup cake with child’s initial on it.
  • Helium balloons
  • We did a pool party and they each got a cheap rubber ring.

Do you have any other suggestions?

The Gruffalo Live!

At the beginning of the week my daughter developed a fear of monsters.  I have no idea what triggered it.  Apparently, the monster comes out of her mirror and goes up the chimney.  My daughter isn’t a delicate soul and not many things frighten her, which can be worrying to us at times.  She will run up to strange dogs, has fallen out of trees and has no concept of stranger danger.  However, when I went into her room earlier in the week she was physically shaking so I removed the mirror.  Luckily, in the morning she asked to have it put back.

So, it probably wasn’t the best week to go and see the Gruffalo Live in the West End.  I was a bit nervous of taking her as I didn’t want to scar her for life but she absolutely loved it and so did I.  The performance is 55 minutes long, perfect for little ones.   It’s a 3 person show, obviously re-enacting the much loved children’s story but with songs and humour interjected.  My favourite character was the party animal snake.

I was relieved that she didn’t get frightened when the Gruffalo appeared.  I think the fact that his face wasn’t covered by the costume helped. I can now explain to her that the monster isn’t real and just a person.  Her fear of monsters seems to have disappeared for the time being.  Phew!

The Gruffalo is playing at the Garrick Theatre from the 24th Nov-16th January and tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 0844 412 4662.

Disclosure:  Our tickets were complimentary