Family & Parenting

Our children's obsession with jigsaws is making for two very exhausted parents

Happy our children love jigsaws - but we're exhausted
Marie Louise McConville

It can be a difficult business.

If there's one thing kids love, it's playing but sometimes, it can be difficult to get them to call it a day.

These days we would be hard pushed to find children who don't enjoy some form of screen time whether it's video games, television, mobile phones or tablets.

While some parents are quite strict, imposing limits, others find devices a handy way to keep kids distracted.

Just a few days ago in England, it was announced that new guidelines are to be published regarding screen time for children in a bid to protect their health.

For the first time, guidelines will state how long youngsters should be allowed to spend in front of screens.

They will also recommend that children take a break at least every two hours and avoid social media before bedtime as it is suggested that this can disturb children's sleep.

In our house, at this time, there is indeed an addiction that I'm finding challenging.

However, it will probably come as a shock to many of you to learn that in the McConville household, there is no internet.

Now, I should say this is not a case of us being opposed to the evil WWW, rather, since moving in, we've never got around to it.

As a result, the only screen time our kids get at home is courtesy of the tv or when they are in their grandparents in Strangford, they enjoy a short time on a tablet or a mobile phone.

As a result, the majority of time at home is spent playing with toys and in recent times, they have been become absolutely obsessed with jigsaws.

As a child, I was never a big fan of puzzles but both Abbie and James love them - to the point they would spend the whole night doing them.

Of course, I know I should be pleased - they're perfectly happy and not a screen in sight - and when the four of us sit down to do the jigsaws it makes for really nice family time.

The problem is, after a while, the kids become distracted by tv or another toy and Darren and I are left with the floor covered in jigsaw pieces.

I've also discovered I have a touch of OCD because I can't put the puzzles away until I complete them all, and don't even get me started if a piece goes missing - it's mayhem.

I'm exhausted.

The sooner we get the internet, the better - shame on me, I know.


There was excitement this week with the launch of 59 new emojis.

But while some, featuring men and women in wheelchairs, blind people and guide dogs, were widely welcomed, one in particular caused a bit of controversy.

The drop of blood emoji has apparently been included in the new designs to normalise periods, and break down the stigma around them.

I thought it was a bit odd but then I read that nearly half of girls aged between 14 and 21 are embarrassed by their periods, I thought it was a great idea.

Anything that makes life easier for women of any age is to be welcomed.



With February in full flow, it's time to finally chase away the cobwebs of January, so how do you fancy winning a gift bag of vegan-friendly beauty products to help you feel refreshed?

Whether its food or skincare Asda is making it easy for shoppers to extend Veganuary beyond January.

The arrival of 2019 brought with it a sweeping vegan-friendly beauty trend and Asda has a varied range of products in its NPSA range.

The range, which is not tested on animals, is exclusively sold by Asda, online and in-store.

And, to help you on your way, The Irish News has teamed up with Asda to give away three NSPA gift bags, each filled with a range of products to help your skin feel renewed.

Each bag contains a Smoothing Eye and Lip Cream, a Fruit Extracts with real caring Sweet Almond Oil Body Lotion, a Fruit Extracts with real Avocado Jelly Scrub, a Collagen Boosting Bio-Cellulose Face Mask, and a Pure Sensitive & Dry Skin Body Wash.

If you fancy winning a gift bag, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is 12Noon on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

(Q) Which season comes after Winter?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

The winners of the Three Gold Coins competition are Marion McKeever, from Portglenone, Kay Mc Donagh, from Beragh, Rosemary McGlone, from Belfast, Evelyn Morgan, from Newcastle, and Dolores Cassidy, from Magherafelt

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