Jamie Day on parenting: welcoming in spring


    Seriously on the verge of cabin fever, dad blogger and father of two Jamie Day welcomes his favourite season with open arms

    Phew… We made it. Winter is well and truly forgotten, and forgotten it shall remain – at least until August, when the shops start playing Slade on repeat all over again.

    With the arrival of spring, I have a whole new appetite for making the most of these magnificent days ahead with the kids. In fact, after months of spending evenings and weekends cooped up indoors where I’ve mastered the ponytail (yet to conquer plaits), had my nails painted every toxic shade of pink imaginable and pirouetted around the living room as Berkshire’s prima ballerina with my four-year-old daughter Edie, the change in weather and longer days couldn’t be more welcome.

    The change seems to bring about a reawakening in the kids, too. Edie and her brother Arlo, who’s one, both love to be outside, and finally, without countless pseudo swamps to navigate everywhere we go, they can enjoy the outdoors with a new-found freedom. Instead of getting their natural world fix from books and Andy’s Wild Adventures, they can be outside, smelling and touching* everything they see.

    And right now, the possibilities seem endless. Simple pleasures such as eating dinner in the garden make a noticeable difference to all of our moods. The children get excited by creepy crawlies on the table, or look on in amazement as flocks of geese pass loudly over our village. The swings in the park no longer have to be a weekend treat, and finally the amount of TV that’s watched in our household is dramatically reduced (I swear Edie has shares in our electricity supplier or something).

    Upon arriving home from school now, we take impromptu trips to feed our local Shetland ponies, climb fallen trees on extra-long dog walks, or set up obstacle courses in the back garden – all good fun until Arlo gets his fingers nibbled by a peckish pony, Edie falls from a flimsy branch or they career into each other during the garden Olympics. Cue deafening screams heard for miles.

    As parents, we want our kids to be inspired by the world around them, and spring allows us to do just that. And with the increased warmth of summer to come, it can only get better. For me, this is the most exciting time of the year, peckish ponies ’n all.

    *Within reason, of course. Probably best to avoid the ammonia-stained tree trunks.

    This month we’ve been… Reading Tracey Corderoy’s Shifty McGifty & Slippery Sam books with Edie; visiting Legoland Windsor for after-school fun (and managing to swerve the queues in the process); wearing Scamp & Dude’s cool printed tees.

    Switch it up for spring
    – Time to pack the winter boots away and put those new canvas pumps through their paces. Our favourites are Superga – which can also be bunged in the washing machine.

    – Instead of heading home, take in a local attraction on your way back from school. Try Kew Gardens or the London Wetland Centre.

    – Weather permitting, of course, swap your Sunday roast in the pub for a picnic in the park (but – ahem – take a chilled bottle of Prosecco to make up for missing out on the pub).