Look at these two. My eldest and youngest having a snuggly moment over crumpets.

My three children are all born inside a 3yr and 2 month window. Yes, my belly and bits did some solid work for a few years and now they’re having a well-earned rest!

90% of the time my kids are lovely to each other. Being so close in age puts them in close proximity most of the time they’re in the house. They love playing together, trashing anything that’s tidy, and making up imaginary storylines for their favourite stories. It’s all about PJ Masks atm.

The other 10% of the time they want to rip each other’s faces off. The eldest gets bossy, the youngest gets possessive and the middle one just wants to destroy everyone else’s everything. It’s rare these days though to have to split up a fight between them and there genuinely are signs of beautiful relationships blossoming between our three amigos.

You may think that’s either luck, or supremely excellent parenting (I thank you 🙇‍♀️), but it’s definitely not.

My theory relates more to their mood.

Inevitably they bicker more when they’re tired and hungry. Although I don’t like screen time, I think there is a place for it in when they’re tired and need some down time. But I also do all I can to keep their mood level with regular food and drink.

That’s not to say that they never feel an empty tank, as that’s also a big part of learning to read hunger and fullness cues, but I do offer a mid morning and mid afternoon snack with water – trying to mimic the nursery or school schedule.

Sometimes when I chat to adults, it feels like ‘snack’ is a dirty word; an accidental biscuit-fest with a cuppa at work, or the bag of doughnuts you couldn’t resist at the counter in Tesco, a temptation we must resist. But planned savoury snacks for young children are a strong strategy when they don’t necessarily know how to identify their own hunger and why it’s giving them the grumps.

To keep it cheap, I avoid little packets & buy these in bulk: breadsticks, oatcakes, pitta, bagels, thins, veg sticks, cheese cubes, hummus, then prep & pack up into a pot ready to whip out when the moment is right!