7 Budget Friendly Tips To Transform Your Teens Room Into A Sleep Haven

create a sleep haven

Over the school holidays bedtimes get later and it’s easy to forget how important sleep is.  The boys are more active and social, and with the warm weather comes a stream of friends passing through the house. It can feel hard to maintain a sense of calm at bedtime after the frenetic activity of the day! So the concept of creating a sleep haven is very appealing and may help us maintain a bedtime routine while school is out.

The boys bedrooms get messier and messier as the weeks go on; some nights I take one look at the state of Berry’s bed and turn around and go straight back out again! I know he gets this bad habit from me; as I pile all my clothes up on my bed then transfer them between bed and chair for about a week month, before I put them away! This is certainly not the mental picture I create when I think sleep haven!

I visualise a sleep haven as the epitome of tranquility and calm, and often despair at how to bring that to my own bedroom, let alone the boys! But these 7 simple budget friendly tips, allow you to transform any bedroom without creating a DIY nightmare in the process!

7 simple Tips To Creating A Sleep Haven:

  1. Cover up – both the boys do their homework in their bedrooms, which means that they have books, pencil cases and school work spread all over their desks. This is something I can change very easily with a simple piece of fabric (duvet cover, sheet or table cloths are perfect) and cover it all up before bed!
  2. Burn the midnight oil – adding an essential oil diffuser into the room before bedtime with a sleep blend will help to create that sleep haven. Find out more from Kristy at Beach Life Essentials who can recommend a sleep enhancing blend and stocks oils & diffusers from doTerra.
  3. Hide and seek – I’m a big fan of hiding things you don’t want to see! It’s only  a temporary solution, but ideal for a sleep haven transformation. Hide school bags, uniform and general clutter in the bottom of a wardrobe or cupboard – out of sight out of mind while you sleep!
  4. Let there be light – adding a reading lamp next to the bed provides the opportunity to read a book in bed, and adding some mood lighting to the room works a treat for creating sleep appeal. I use a lava lamp for mood lighting, a clip on spot light on the bed for reading and I love the look of fairy lights draped across the curtain pole, (although my boys would ban this from their rooms!).
  5. Tell me a story – I’m a big fan of audio books, if you use Audible you can set a sleep timer and go off to sleep while someone is reading you a story! If your teen finds reading laborious then audio books are a perfect way to engage effortlessly with a story.
  6. Bedtime tunes – create a playlist of gentle and relaxing music and only put this on before bed, it will create an association between.
  7. Cool down time – light bedding, comfortable cushions and a room temperature of 21 oC (70F) are a must to create an inviting  sleep haven. The body naturally cools down during the night so encouraging teens to wear light pyjamas (or even no pyjamas) can lead to better quality sleep.

I hope you enjoy experimenting with some of these tips to create a sleep haven for your teen. I’m going to be implementing some of these tips into my own bedroom, as it suffers from being a duel sleep and office space too! Might have to invest in a couple more sheets to hide all my mess under though!


Image Attribution

Sleeping Cat – Mashael Al-Mehmadi from Albumarium

Other images sourced from Pixabay

Four Tips To Create A Power Packed Lunch For Teens!

healthy lunch box choices for teens

Variety is the spice of lunchbox life!

Are lunch boxes causing teenage angst in your household? My boys often complain that everybody else’s lunch boxes are so much better than theirs!

Now I know that I’m all about fresh and nutritious wholefoods, but surely I can’t be the only Mum who isn’t including potato chips, lollies and biscuits in lunches?

When it comes to lunch boxes I want my kids to feel as if they have the same treats as everyone else, so I’m on a mission to find ‘look-a-like treats’!

Or in other words, healthy food disguised as a treat!

Less Transparency

Including look-a-like treats was much easier when my kids were under 10 years old, as they were less savvy about what was going into their food. But, now it’s come to their teens I have to be a bit smarter!

Recently I cooked Glazed Chilli and Beetroot Brownies but, I made the mistake of excitedly telling the boys exactly what was in them! They then approached them with extreme caution and expected them to taste terrible. Had I been a bit more savvy and a bit less transparent I think their whole attitude would have been more positive.

  • Tip Number 1 don’t reveal the secret ingredient!


Frame The Argument

Both of my teens are into their sport in a big way and this provides a perfect opportunity to talk about the impact food has on performance. They are keen to eat food that is linked to high performance, and this just happens to be the sort of nutritious food that I want to feed them!

They are not interested in why I think fibre is good for their digestive system, but they sit up and listen when I tell them that whole grain carbohydrates  build up stores of energy that help optimum performance in soccer! It’s all about framing the argument to suit their needs!

  • Tip Number 2 focus on how healthy foods will work to benefit their interests.


Deal Breakers

If I want my teens to eat the contents of their lunch box then variety is the spice of life! In primary school eating times are usually supervised, but in high school independence and self regulation are the order of the day, which means that unappealing lunches are often dumped, sold or swapped! This makes negotiation the key to avoiding wasted lunches; teens need to have some say over lunch box decisions!

For our family this comes down to a frank discussion about what they want to see in their lunch boxes, what I want to include and what the deal-breakers are! Compromises have included a canteen day (where they can buy what they like), Friday chips and chocolate day or daily ‘treat impersonators’.

  • Tip Number 3 negotiate the deal breakers and be prepared to compromise!


 Think Quantity

Sometimes the boys and I have very different objectives when it comes to lunches! They’re impressed with quantity, and I’m all about quality! But it is important to remember that for teenagers size matters! So the more high quality snacks that I can pack into their lunches the better.

  • Tip Number 4 never under-estimate the importance of quantity!


Next week I’ll be sharing a round-up of the best lunch box recipes out on the web, and giving you our verdict on them! In the meantime, if you want to pick up some great lunchbox tips take at look at Nicole Avery’s Planning With Kids. She has five kids and offers loads of practical advice about making family life simpler by doing a bit of advance planning.

I’d love to hear any of your success stories or tips to negotiate those deal breakers for your kids lunch boxes.

Have you got any lunchbox wisdom to share?

Not Waving But Drowning.

hand of drowning man in sea asking for help

Not waving but drowning


I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.

This Stevie Smith poem just sprang into my mind when I started to muse about this weeks post. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

Waving? Drowning?

That’s what it felt like this week, as I watched my youngest son  start to drown in the relentless tide of homework.

Berry started secondary school 4 weeks ago and has been metaphorically waving at me for a while.

I waved merrily back, but in hindsight there were clues that his waving might well have been a last-ditch attempt to save himself from drowning. But having been a helicopter mum once too often, I know that jumping in too soon is counter productive.

This was tough love, sink or swim! It looked like swimming, for a while.

When asked, ‘Do you have any homework?’ responses have varied from ‘yes’ in week 1, to a ‘probably’ in week 2 until last week it was a ‘I have no idea’!

That’s when I knew he wasn’t waving, but drowning.


I threw him a life line in the form of early bedtimes and removal of distractions at home. But soon it became clear that I was going to have to swim out to him and use survival stroke to bring him in. He was drowning in a sea of forgotten emails, missed deadlines and general confusion.

The transition from primary to secondary school is as much about self management as it is about an increasingly academic curriculum. Berry was used to receiving a weeks worth of homework on a Monday, and working steadily to complete it throughout the week. Now he was faced with the challenge of checking a school messaging system that was updated with homework on any given day. On top of that teachers gave verbal messages about homework in class, and for those students prone to daydreaming lapses in concentration, these were easily missed!

Although I’d like to say that I was immediately supportive and sympathetic, it just isn’t true!

I spent a few days stamping my feet and ranting about paying attention, making notes and checking messages. It seemed that Berry’s take on homework was simple – if the deadline had been missed then that work didn’t need to be done anymore and it went off his radar! Now I was starting to see where the problem had begun.

How do I help my 12-year-old without taking over?

How can we work together so that ultimately he can manage the work by himself?

These were the questions that bothered me, so I made a plan!


Tips to Win the War on Homework:


  • Know your enemy – I tacked down every piece of homework that had been set since week 1
  • Speak the same language – I made sure Berry and I agreed on what homework included (all set homework tasks, unfinished classwork, revision and reading)
  • Identify the stakes – to motivate my boy I made sure he knew that there would be no X-Box or socials until homework was finished!
  • Plan the offensive – I created a weekly homework planner that is on the fridge that clearly identifies the hours available for homework.
  • Prioritise your treatment – I worked with Berry to triage the homework like a Field Hospital, those that could be saved from over-due penalties got treatment first, hopeless cases we  dealt with last!



homework planning

Weekly home work planner

We used post-it notes to add each new piece of homework as it arrived. Berry took great satisfaction in screwing them up and throwing them away once he’d completed them! The system is teaching him to plan, prioritise and face the challenge head-on, whilst I am able to stay informed and assess if he’s on track with a glance at the number of post-its!

Each evening I ask him to rate how he’s feeling about his homework on a 0-10 score, 0 = drowning 10 = waving.

Monday night it was a 3, two days later it was a 5.

He’s getting there. We’re getting there. Together.