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Top tips to get some peace and quiet

7th circle

Parenting is a noisy, chaotic business and sometimes you just need a sure-fire way to have a bit of a break. Fear not, here are some top tips for ways to get your feet up – and possibly even drink a cuppa while it's hot

“When they are asleep, box up their toys and make a 'second best' box of the ones they don't play with so often. Chuck the box at them when they have forgotten about the toys so that it's like they've got new ones. Not literally, of course.”

Kid with toys

“Put them in a dry bath with bath crayons or other messy toys.”

Kid in bath

“We have a huge under-bed plastic box that is filled with old cutlery/straws/empty plastic bottles/muffin cases/etc. I let them play with those with some dried pasta or dry rice. It keeps them entertained for hours. I'd recommend getting a super cheap shower curtain (£2 from IKEA) and put that on floor first.”

Pasta box

“Make your own play dough. Take two cups of flour, a cup of salt, a glug of oil and a cup of water and mix them together. If you're adding food colouring, put it in the water so you don't dye your hands.”

Playdough

“Give them pots and pans and a wooden spoon. It always went down well for me. But it depends on your noise tolerance.”

Baby pan

“If I needed to make a work phone call, I would put my baby in the playpen with a newspaper to tear up. He loved it and I could clean it up in 2 minutes as it was contained.”

Toddler playpen

“Give them a basket of clean laundry, various containers, some soft toys all sitting in a row on the sofa – or rather, don't give them out but allow them to 'find' the forbidden.”

Kid laundry

“Collect jar lids (the more diverse the better) and a couple of tubs. This keeps my 20-month-old occupied for at least 20 minutes. Yes, you have to collect them over a period of time, but it has been worth it. I keep them hidden and only bring them out in emergency situations.”

Jar lids

“I give mine a bowl of water & plastic animals to 'wash'. The kids do get wet but we do it in pyjamas before they get dressed. Once finished, we put them in dry clothes and put their pyjamas on the radiator to dry during the day.”

Dinosaurs kid

If all else fails, give them the iPad. And pour yourself a gin.

Gin and tonic