Showing posts with label Work-Life Balance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Work-Life Balance. Show all posts

Friday, March 8, 2024

4 Practical Steps To Improve Your Work-Life Balance


Depending on the nature of your work and lifestyle, you may find it difficult trying to balance both worlds. Maybe your work constantly interferes with your life, or your lifestyle makes it difficult to give your work your best effort. Having a healthy work-life balance allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds. This is essential for increased productivity, improved health, better mental health, higher engagement, reduced stress, better time management, better relationships, and reduced work burnout. The following tips can help you achieve a better work-life balance. 

Prioritize your well-being

Make your well-being your number one goal by avoiding habits that negatively affect your work and life. For example, if staying up late to work or bringing work home affects your ability to rest or spend time with your family, consider avoiding it. You can find ways to limit your workload by delegating (if you have the power to) or requesting a reduced workload for some time. Similarly, if some unhealthy lifestyle habits are getting in the way of work, start making the necessary changes. Things like multitasking, working without breaks, and being disorganized can negatively impact your work. Additionally, habits like drinking and addiction to substances like heroin can also get in the way of work. You can learn on heroin detox and how to get it out of your system to improve your well-being. 

Plan ahead

Have a plan about how best to incorporate your favorite hobbies and other fun and relaxing leisure activities into your daily routine. Remember, you’re never too busy to have personal time. If you think your work life is too occupied or busy to add other activities, that in itself is a huge sign that you have a good work-life balance. So plan to combine leisure, social, and physical or fitness activities to give you healthy breaks from work. For example, if you find yourself faced with several back-to-back virtual meetings, try taking them when you go for a while or while spending a relaxing time in the park. When planning, prioritize the most important things, and this leads to the next tip. 

Prioritize important tasks and activities

You want to ensure that you always take care of the most important tasks in your day first so you leave as much time as you want for personal things. When planning your day, week, month, or even year, make sure that you write in activities, occasions, or projects you cannot miss. Let them be your main focus and prioritize around them. Whether it’s a wedding, party, date, or vacation, take advantage of the moments that are crucial for your happiness. 

Make each personal time count

Sometimes, it’s impossible to create as much personal time as you may want due to the nature of your work. That’s why you must make even the littlest time count. In other words, spend each little time you get meaningfully, pursuing hobbies or indulging in activities that allow you to feel more fulfilled while recharging your energy levels. Even at work, you can engage in meaningful projects that bring the best out of you and make you feel more fulfilled. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Between working all day and then coming home to cook dinner, do the laundry, help with homework, and get ready for bed, it’s no wonder that by the time we finally have some free time at night, all we want to do is relax on the couch. But this can be bad for our mental health – not to mention our waistlines! So in this blog post, we will discuss four ways to unwind after work that are both fun and healthy.

Get outside and exercise

It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you all want to relax, but getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat can help reduce stress levels. Plus, you’ll get the added benefits of fresh air and vitamin D. If you don’t have time for a full workout, even a brisk walk around the block will do the trick.

Take up a hobby

Doing something that you enjoy – whether it’s knitting, painting, woodworking, or gardening – can help take your mind off of work and give you a sense of satisfaction. And if you’re doing it with friends or family, it can also be a great way to bond and catch up with loved ones. This can also be a great way to wind down before bed, as it will help you forget about all the things you have to do tomorrow.

Read a book

Getting lost in a good book can be a great way to unwind after a long day. Whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction, books can help take your mind off of your troubles and transport you to another world. If you don’t have time to read during the week, try listening to audiobooks while you commute or do chores around the house. Reading can also be a great way to wind down before bed, as it can help you relax and fall asleep more easily.

Spend time with loved ones

Spending time with loved ones – whether it’s your partner, children, parents, friends, or pets – can help reduce stress and make you feel happier. If you don’t have anyone to spend time with, consider volunteering for a local organization or reach out to friends and family members who you haven’t seen in a while. Also, try to limit your time on social media, as this can often make people feel more isolated and stressed.

Consider using natural products

When it comes to winding down after a long day, there is nothing more relaxing than using natural products. CBD oil, and these Delta 8 Gummies for example, has been shown to help reduce anxiety and improve sleep. There are also a number of essential oils that can help you relax, such as lavender oil. You can use these oils in a diffuser or add them to your bathtub for a relaxing soak.

Practice meditation or mindfulness

There are many different ways to meditate, and there’s no one “right” way to do it. Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and focusing on your breath. This can help you learn to control your thoughts and become more aware of your surroundings. Meditation can be done anywhere, at any time, and doesn’t require any special equipment. Many apps and websites offer guided meditation, which can be helpful if you’re just starting out.

There are many ways to unwind after work that are both fun and healthy. So next time you’re feeling stressed, try one of these activities and see how you feel. You may just find that it makes a world of difference.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Pros and Cons of a Long Commute to Work

For many people, commuting is merely a fact of life. You can't always live within a 5-minute walk to your work, and you have to be able to get there somehow. But while a commute of 20 to 30 minutes might seem reasonable, you might understandably be a bit wary if you're facing a commute of 40 minutes or more. A longer commute, which in some cases can be an hour or two, is harder to handle. It takes up a lot of your time and can be pretty exhausting. But there are pros and cons to a longer commute, which are worth weighing up if you're trying to decide if it's worth it.

Pro: Find the Right Job (or Home)

One of the major pros of a longer commute is that it allows you to be more flexible about the job you choose or about the home that you choose to live in. You're less constrained by a small geographic area, so you can be a little less picky about where you decide to live or work. So if you've found a job that's perfect for you but it's a bit further away than your current job, the commute doesn't have to stop you from taking it. Similarly, if you're moving home, you might find the perfect home a little further out. Plus, you always have the opportunity to change jobs or move home again in the future.

Con: Commuting Can Be Tiring

Whether your commute is a long drive, you use public transport or you even cycle into work, it can be exhausting. The longer your commute is, the more it can drain the energy from you. It takes up a lot of your time, and it can almost feel like a second job. You have a huge task to complete before you even get to work, then you have to do it all again when the day is over. A long commute might be novel at first, but after a while, it can really start to become tiring.

Pro: Time to Yourself

The thing that many people enjoy about a long commute is that they get time on their own. No matter how you get to work, you have time to spend with your thoughts to both prepare for the start of a new day and decompress at the end of the day. It's the perfect time to catch up on podcasts or listen to audiobooks, or you could put on some music. If you're taking public transport, you might get out a book or something else to read, or maybe you could even write or draw. You can check the news for the day or do anything else you don't have time for at any other point in the day.

Con: Increased Chance of an Accident

Driving to work might be necessary for many, but spending longer on the road could mean that you have an increased chance of getting into an accident. While you might think of driving as a relatively safe form of transport, you're much more likely to have something happen on the road compared to taking a train. If you don't want to have to look for legal representation for car accident matters, you need to be careful on your commute. Whether you're stuck in traffic for much of it or your commute is mostly smooth-sailing, drive safely.

Pro: Time to Nap (On Public Transport)

If you take public transport instead of driving, it can give you more freedom during your commute. You don't need to concentrate on the road, which means you can do what you want. As well as entertaining yourself with various things (or even getting some work done), you might have time to take a nap. Of course, you do have to be careful that you don't sleep for too long and miss your stop.

Con: Less Time at Home

Getting less time at home is a big drawback of having a long commute. Less time at home means less time to get housework done, less time to spend with your family and pets, and less time to relax in the place where you feel safe. This can make a big difference when you're trying to decide if a long commute is right for you. If you need to have your time at home, it might be better to avoid longer commuting times.

A long commute might seem like a nightmare to some, but others will definitely feel like it's worth it.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

How To Transition Back to Work With Kids

Taking time away from work to bond with your children is important, but for many reasons, many parents decide to return to work. If you are looking to go back to work after having a baby or spending time at home with young kids, this can feel like a big step. Here are a few tips to help you manage this transition smoothly as you make the adjustment to balancing personal and professional life.

It Takes a Village

The idea that it takes a village to raise children is certainly true, especially during times of change. If you are looking to head back to work, consider finding a care network and supportive help that can promote positive child development Norwalk CT. Not only will you be assured that your children are well cared for, but you can know that they will be learning and enjoying their time while you are away.

Know Your Flexible Work Options

If you are looking to return to work, many people imagine that they need to go back all at once; however, this is often due to not knowing the options out there. By investigating what is available to you and transitioning back to work over time, you can alleviate some of your stress levels.

Self-Compassion Will Be Key

This can be a challenging time for everyone, so caring for yourself will also be important. The reality is that returning to work after children can be an emotional experience. You need to give yourself the same kind of compassion and care that you would your children. You need to learn to be kinder to yourself and give yourself grace as you navigate these adjustments.

Going back to work after having children is a big shift. Not only do you need to embrace the needs of someone else, but your priorities and personal needs may also have shifted. If you want the process to go smoothly, you need to find grace, compassion and options that will support you and your little one during this time.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Women have so many demands put on them. They have to be present mothers, keep tabs on their kids' life and school, pursue their careers, and perform household chores. Hence, it can be challenging to wear all these hats and still have a successful career. However, it is possible, and any woman can do it. Here are tips you can use to balance life and career.

Have a Desk Calendar

It is essential to have a desk calendar to mark all events of the month. This will be your planner to avoid last-minute rushes. At the beginning of the month, you should color code the dates, for example, blue for business meetings, red for school occasions, and green for a day out with family or friends.

You can also set a reminder on your phone several days before the events to avoid inconveniences. If possible, ensure you set aside one weekend every month for you to relax. You can go to the spa, sit at home meditating, do yoga, or go for a drive or a walk.

Prioritize Commitments

As a working woman, it is crucial to master the art of prioritizing. You should know which family events you really need to attend and the office meetings you can skip. This will protect you from the burnout of trying to participate in every occasion.

Make Sound Financial Decisions

When you make the right financial decisions, you won't need to overwork to finance your life. For example, learn to budget, save, invest, and manage finances. Financial decisions also include making long term decisions like purchasing life insurance to secure the future of your family.

Therefore, take the time to review different life insurance companies and choose one that offers the best insurance products. Also, consult experts to guide you on ways you can benefit from the insurance, investments, and retirement plans.

Delegate Some Responsibilities

You don't have to handle every task in the office; you can delegate some to your employees if you are an employer. If you are an employee, you can partner with competent colleagues who can help you with projects. You should also apply the same concept at home, where you allow your nanny or teens to run some errands for you. Besides, you can hire a cleaning company to help with cleaning and housekeeping jobs.

Block the Mom Guilt

What is mom guilt? This is when you feel like you are not doing enough for your kids. This can come from within you when you are away or from people who tell you it is time to go back to work or how you should feed your kids every day, and so on. Whenever possible, avoid entertaining such ideas and do what works for you.

For instance, you can catch up with your kids in the car if you always pick them from school or hang out with them on the weekends. This will help you control mom guilt.

Work-life balance is the goal of every woman, but you need to know that it is a process. It might also take time to master, but eventually, you will achieve a balance. The tips in this guide can help you get started on the right foot. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Coping with Stress at Work


Never get to a point where you confuse working hard with overworking at the expense of your sanity. Every job has some level of work-related pressure. Regardless of how much you love your job, you might be faced with a challenging obligation that stresses you.

However, when work-related stress becomes chronic, it can be harmful both physically and health-wise. Unfortunately, long-term stress at the workplace is all too common, according to a survey in America by APA. Work has been cited time and again as a significant source of stress by many Americans.

You may not be able to avoid work-related stress in its entirety due to workplace dynamics. Take a look at some sources of stress at work:

  • Few or lack of opportunities for growth
  • Excessive workloads
  • Low salaries
  • Lack of social support
  • Conflict in performance expectations and unclear demands
  • Unchallenging work conditions 

Stress from work doesn’t just disappear when you get home. If left unchecked, it can spiral into insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, and difficulty concentrating. Before it gets to that level, take these steps towards coping with stress. 

Track Your Stressors

The best way to determine what your stressors are is to have a journal. Take note of those situations that create the most stress and how you react to them.

Record your feelings, thoughts, and information about the environment, including what and who is involved in the physical setting. As you take notes over some time, you’ll notice some patterns that can help you find a solution.

Develop a Health Response

The last thing you should do is to try to fight stress with alcohol or fast food. This will only mask the problem for a while and with time compound the problem. Learn to make healthy choices whenever you feel the tension arise.

For instance, if your stressor is a low salary that’s never enough, consider getting into a financial management program. This will help you find ways to manage the little you get, so that you not only survive but also thrive. You could look into the DTSS U.S. Complete Freedom solution that propels you from debt to freedom.

Create Some Boundaries

It’s crucial to set work-life boundaries for yourself. For example, separate your time at work from home issues and vice versa. Determine that you won’t bring work to your private space, or answer work-related phone calls at dinner.

You also need to plan to stay organized and not do anything beyond your work plan. The more organized you are, the better you'll be at avoiding the adverse effects of clutter. This will improve your levels of efficiency.

While at it, avoid multitasking as it affects your speed and accuracy. To some extent, your sanity also suffers as you try to juggle between more than two tasks at once.

When to Get Help

If you do all you can to deal with stress but still can't, it's probably time to get help. Don't ignore the situation or deny you have a problem. Reach out to a co-worker for support and to buffer you the adverse effects of work-related stress.

If you don’t feel safe opening up to a colleague, go for professional help. A counselor will help unearth all underlying factors and help you deal with them adequately.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Tips For Having A Better Workday


Work is a big part of your life and takes up a lot of your time and energy on any given day. Whether your overall experience with your professional endeavors is negative or positive is ultimately in your hands.

Be glad to know there are specific actions you can take that are going to help you have a better workday. You’ll find that you’re a lot happier of a person and that your professional life is more rewarding when you apply these tips. Try your best not to let your past mistakes or mishaps dictate your future and instead focus on what you can be doing today for a better tomorrow.

Wake up Early

There are a lot of hours in one day to take advantage of if you schedule your time right. You can have a better workday by waking up early and using your morning hours wisely. For example, consider reading positive messages to improve your mindset or spending some quality time with your kids before you have to head into the office. Having the desire to wake up early may also force you to go to bed earlier and get better sleep in general. It may be not very easy to get up early at first, but you might genuinely enjoy having these early morning hours to yourself as time goes on. Make it a habit, and soon enough, you’ll be on your way to having more fulfilling days where you can go home each night feeling good about what you got done.

Focus on Increasing Productivity

You can have a better workday by focusing your efforts on increasing your productivity. Some ideas include limiting side conversations and eliminating distractions that are keeping you from completing your tasks in a timely fashion. Not only make a to-do list but put the items in priority order and complete what’s most important first. In addition, you can also set up your iPad as a second monitor by following these steps You’ll not only be able to view multiple screens and double the information you’re seeing, but it’ll also offer you the option to be more mobile on your job so you can travel if need be.

Organize Your Workspace & Files

You’ll be doing yourself a favor by taking the time to organize your workspace and files. When you know where your belongings are, you can easily find and access them. You’ll have a better workday because you won’t be stressing about having to look at a mess of piles all day in your office. Your files on your computer will be right where you left them, and you can quickly get to them without any obstacles. It’s especially important that you do this for any client information you keep so that you can ensure this information is not only accessible but secure and protected from any hackers.

Practice Work-Life Balance

You can also have a better workday by practicing work-life balance and taking breaks every so often. Get up and walk away from your desk every few hours to get a glass of water and rest your eyes. You may also want to consider going for a walk over lunchtime and getting some fresh air. Avoid working long hours and overexerting yourself so that you have the energy you need to tackle your tasks each day. Set boundaries and communicate expectations both at work and at home so that those around you understand your limits. Learn to say no without feeling guilty, and keep a calendar of events handy so that you don’t over-commit yourself in any one area of your life.

Take Care of Yourself

Your work days will be that much better and more enjoyable when you commit to taking good care of yourself. Some ideas for doing so include eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and finding ways to manage and reduce your stress. If you need some extra help because of an addiction or unhealthy habits like alcohol or drugs, the best thing you can do is to contact a treatment center such as Woburn Addiction Treatment for the help you need. Make yourself a priority, and you’ll find that all else falls into place nicely, and you get more done at work. You want to be able to walk into the office each day, feeling motivated and energized to tackle your assignments. Your workload won’t seem as overwhelming when you’re well-rested and in a good mood.

Maintain A Positive Attitude

The reality is that your attitude can impact your entire day and whether you’re able to get a lot done or not. Have a better workday by maintaining a positive outlook even when you’re facing challenges or roadblocks. Instead of getting upset or worked up in this situation, focus on applying your problem-solving skills and finding solutions to issues that might arise. If you walk around grumpy and give off pessimistic vibes, then that’s the type of energy you’re going to attract. You can maintain an optimistic perspective on work and life by reading uplifting quotes and affirmations and reminding yourself of all you’ve been able to achieve over the years.

Avoid Negative People

Most importantly, you can have a better workday by choosing to avoid negative people. The reality is that you’ll run into them throughout your professional life, but it doesn’t mean you have to let them get you down. Surround yourself with uplifting people who are encouraging of your efforts and make you feel good about yourself. Individuals who always focus on the negative do so because it makes them feel better to see others struggle. You have to be strong and wise enough to separate yourself from these folks and brave enough to find others to spend your time with others who are upbeat and put a smile on your face.

Working doesn’t have to be a chore and can be a pleasant experience if you have the right approach and mindset. Apply these tips in your daily life, and you’ll soon find that you’re able to get more done at work and go home each night feeling proud and satisfied with your accomplishments. Avoid letting others bring you down and stick to doing more of what’s going to help you feel good and produce great work. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

We all know that it is best to try and stick in your job for a long time. Not only does staying with the same company over a long period look impressive on your resume, but it can actually help with your career as a whole. After all, you will be well settled into the company, will know the whole business inside out, and will be known to all management staff. This will greatly increase your chances of gaining a promotion and moving your way up through the company’s ranks.

However, things don’t always pan out that way. If you find that your motivation starts to dwindle at work, it could be time you moved on to pastures new. It’s not just a fading motivation that could be a sign that it’s time to move on. Here are a few others that you might want to take notice of as well.

You Are Always Stressed

Jobs can be quite stressy at times, but this isn’t usually a reason to throw in the towel. After all, the stressful phases usually pass before too long, and you shouldn’t have to deal with the stress for long periods. If you do, though, it could end up being bad for you. If you find that your work is making you stressed all the time, you might end up taking the stress home with you, and this could then lead to poor sleep patterns and tension in your personal relationships. So, be sure not to stick around in a position that is continually giving you this kind of grief. It’s best to move to a different company where you can balance out your stress levels.

It’s Dangerous For Your Health

Stress can be dangerous for your health as well, but that isn’t actually the only health risk you might face at work. In fact, there are some workplaces, such as factories and warehouses, that feature a lot of risks, and you will need to make sure that you always wear the correct safety gear in order to stay at work. If your employer doesn’t supply you with these, they are ignoring their responsibility, and you should move to a different company that takes the safety of their employees seriously. Similarly, builders and other workers in the construction industry need to watch out for asbestos-related diseases. Thankfully, there are now legal solutions for mesothelioma victims that can help those suffering from the effects of asbestos. If your employer shows a disregard for your safety in this respect, it’s another reason to switch companies.

There’s No Chance Of Promotion

Do you think you have moved up through the company as far as you can go? If so, you might want to look for another business that can provide you with better future prospects. You need to be in a job that comes with plenty of opportunities for promotions throughout your entire time with the company, otherwise you won’t be getting any benefits from the job. It will also prevent your own self-development. Not only that, though, but you also need to be in a job where there is plenty to learn so that you can continually develop your skills and knowledge. This will prevent you from getting bored with your everyday tasks and jobs.

You Don’t Believe In The Company Anymore

When we look for a new job, we often try to find a company that we believe in and holds similar values to our own. This will help us to stay motivated in our role, and feel like we are helping a business work towards something that we believe in or are passionate about. However, it can be easy to end up no longer believing in a company anymore. Businesses may change their values or start working towards a different end, and these might not be agreeable to you at all.

You Always Countdown To Home Time

Have you started to watch the clock throughout the day and count down the hours until you can go home? That’s a sign that you are really bored at work, and you should think about starting the hunt for a new one. There needs to be some form of excitement for your work, but watching the clock all day is a clear sign that any excitement that you did have has now very much disappeared.

So, do you recognize any of these signs mentioned above? If so, you might want to think long and hard about how you currently feel about your job. It might be time to start looking for a new one!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Organizing your family can feel like a tough task. There is always something to do, places to be or kids sports clubs to attend. To keep all of that information in your head would be crazy. It’s easy to forget things or become unorganized over time. So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some tips for getting your family life on track.

A good calendar or journal

The first tip for getting more organized would be to consider getting yourself a big wall calendar or journal. This will be an essential tool to keep you on track. It allows you to place all appointments and events in the one place. At a glance, you will be able to see what you have on that day and week. This avoids you double booking yourself or overcommitting. You will also be able to communicate with anyone else involved and organize the week ahead of time. This will help for pick and drop offs.

Meal Plan

Planning your meals in advance can save you time and effort during the week. Especially on those busy nights where you may end making something unhealthy or ordering in. Meal planning can save you money on a weekly basis as you tend only to buy what you need. You may also want to think about batch cooking in advance, meaning you save even more time at night when preparing meals.

Keep all your family health check up to date

It can be difficult to remember when you need to do what. Especially when it comes to family health check ups. From health checks at the doctors through to eyes and hearing tests, they all need to be kept up to date. You also need to be able to manage expectation of appointments like hearing, so you can find out more online on how you can do that. Health checks are essential to keep underlying problems at bay or to hopefully stop and resolve issues in the future. Eye tests, hearing and general health check ups should all form part of the yearly schedule for the family.

Organize your home to make life easier

You don’t need to be one of those super organized people with labels on drawers or color coordinated wardrobes. But you can make life a little easier for yourself. School bags can be kept in the same place, as can coats and shoes that you need each morning. Try and pack things the night before to save yourself the morning rush. All it takes is to think outside the box a little at what could make things easier. Then put a plan in place to implement it.

Keep a schedule

Finally, try and keep yourself to a schedule each week. This is for things like grocery shopping and chores. If you know what needs to be done each day, you will have a much better chance of getting it done. Rather than being busy doing a lot of nothing. Again it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but see how much more organized your life gets by doing it.

I hope this helps you get your family more organized.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

“Don’t worry; you’ll take it to like a duck to water.” That is what people say to new moms who are worried about making the transition. It’s like being a parent is an innate skill which everyone in the world possesses. Although most people flourish, it isn’t like they don’t need help. The first couple of months are new and scary and evoke a sense of helplessness. But, where can a new parent turn if they need help? It isn’t as if there is a line of people with great advice. Weirdly, the best place to find help is in the world of business. 

Here are four things the corporate world teaches new parents.

Don’t Trust Anyone

When you work in an office, the mood is tense and the smiles are fake. The reason for this is a lack of trust. As soon as you turn your back, a colleague would happily stick a knife in it for their gain. Babies aren’t as malicious, but they are just as untrustworthy as employees with drive trying to climb the ladder. Leave them alone for one second and they will do everything from putting coins in their mouth to playing with the plug sockets. They need watching at all times like a hawk.

Teamwork Is Essential

Moms often get left to handle the bulk of the responsibility. Usually, it’s the dads who get to go back to work and interact with human adults. Still, it's not a good idea to take their contribution lightly. From coming home and playing with the kids to running you a bath, they have a significant role to play. Quite simply, moms and dads are a team that can take the pressure off each others’ shoulders. Just like in the office, teamwork is essential to keep home life running smoothly and productively. 

Take Financial Opportunities 

Businesses are always looking to make money. Parents might not think this correlates, but that logic is flawed. Apart from attempting to keep them healthy, parents want to set their kids up for life. To do this, they need money as it makes the world go around. A savings account is an excellent start, yet it is only a foundation. To provide them with a superior lifestyle, you need to go further, such as opening up a line of home equity. With and their resources, it is possible to pick a perfect service. Then, you can use the money to renovate the property, add value, and provide a great place to live for the kids. 

Management Is Key has talked about coaching kids to success before. Well, forget about coaching because this is life management. In the early years, it will revolve around picking out their clothes and choosing their meals. Then, it will turn into how to convince them to do the right thing. Finally, there is the bargaining stage where you guide them through the pitfalls of their early and late teenage years. A former manager finds this stuff a breeze because the skills are transferable. 

It’s a dark and dingy world, but it has a softer, cuddlier side which parents can exploit.