Our Faces of Parenting: the Jones family

"Hi, my name is Natasha and I’m a full-time mum of three. I live in a noisy house in Rhyl with my husband, Dean, and our three children who are six, four and nine months of age.

Dean and I got together ten years ago and we’ve been married for about eight. We try to be quite easy-going parents, which sometimes means letting a few things go and accepting that a bit of chaos is all part of family life.

Sebastian, is our eldest and he’s the extrovert in the family. He likes chatting to people on other tables when we go out for a meal and makes a point of making friends with everyone. He really enjoys his activities, like swimming and Beavers but he also quite likes his quiet time at home – he’s really into drawing at the moment, which we try to encourage as it tends to calm him down a bit!

Imogen has just turned four and she’s really feisty. She will happily talk me through her day in nursery and lets us know when she wants something – or when there’s something she doesn’t like.

Although Eliza is only just nine months, she’s already very lively, so following in her sister’s footsteps. Even though she can’t talk yet, she’s great at communicating and you know from her body language when something’s not right.

"We live in a bit of a whirlwind at the moment. Dean goes off to work quite early through the week, which means the rest of us need a routine. We’ve actually got a chart on the fridge to remind everyone what they need to do to get us out of the house in the morning."

It probably sounds a bit ‘hippie-ish’ but I always try to greet them in a morning with a smile and a positive question, like have they had a good sleep or what exciting things are you going to do in school today? I find it sets a nice tone for the day if the children feel that they had special connection with me first rather than barking instructions to them and hurrying them along.

"We’ve always tried to sit down as a family in the evening and eat the same food – I’m too lazy to cook different meals for different people. Dean reckons it’s the best part of his day."

 It can be noisy and occasionally stressful, but there are a few rules – you can’t get up and walk around and, even if you don’t like something, you’re not allowed to call it “yukky”.

"The main rule I live by, even if things are spiralling out of control, is that you need to highlight the positives in their behaviour."

Like, “Sebastian, that was really nice of you to help Imogen with her picture”, even though the crayons are spread all over the kitchen floor. If you can re-enforce the bits of good behaviour every day then it can only encourage them to repeat that behaviour more and more.

"What’s more, the moment you shout “don’t do that!”, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be something that gets repeated, because they know it will get a reaction."