Top tips from a busy dad on how to make time for your kids
He's all about seizing the opportunity. Parenting is never an easy task, something that former footballer, presenter and father-of-two Jeff Brazier knows too well
His battle has been more difficult than some, considering his two boys Bobby (14) and Freddie (13) lost their mother, Jade Goody, when they were still small. However steep the learning curve might have been for Jeff, he's picked up a lot of valuable tricks along the way.
Here Jeff shares some of his genius parenting hacks, so you can enjoy more quality time with your kids.
1. Have a plan
For Jeff, having a plan is one of the most important aspects of parenting, but he understands that it can be tough.
"We're busier than ever as parents and we are forever making up excuses as to why we barely scrape through the day. Having a plan is always really underestimated, overlooked and often the last thing we like to do," he says.
"I have two teenagers, so they have their own ideas as to what they want to do when they come home from school. It would be so easy for everyone to come home and go straight to their rooms and stay there, but if you have a plan in place you can carve out time to spend together.
"If you've got a notion of what you're going to do and you get on it straight away, then it happens and it's another memory created."
2. Share the chores
Sharing the chores again requires some level of planning but, for Jeff, that allows more time for fun things.
"We always plan to have at least one of the boys helping me make the food," he says. "That saves time in the kitchen and means we can spend a little bit more time together as well. It also cheekily means they're far more likely to enjoy the dinner because they've helped prepare it."
Jeff will also prep ahead with the boys - whether it's chopping vegetables or making a salad. "Every minute we can save ourselves on the mundane tasks, gives us even just 30 minutes to sit down and play cards or Scattergories or whatever game you and your kids enjoy playing together."
3. Seize opportunities
"When they're older and looking back at their childhood they'll remember the times you were sitting down playing with them," Jeff says.
"I'm all about seizing the opportunity to do things with them," he adds, explaining how they like playing football and going for bike rides together as a family. "Today, I've got everything done, so when they come home I'm ready to give them my full focus."
4. Have an open house
As the kids lost their mother so young, Jeff relies upon family and friends to help support them. "I think they really appreciate time spent around family and friends," he says.
And he notes with a laugh: "They don't always want to hang out with dad. Unfortunately, when they get to the teenage years, you're toast."
5. Be consistent
Jeff admits he's found his children's transition from boyhood to teenagers tricky at times.
"It's this precarious balance between being too hard, too soft and just getting it right -but that's trial and error, and I don't berate myself for getting it wrong," he says. "Having all the responsibility fall on my shoulders is probably the hardest thing I've had to deal with."
For him, being consistent in the boundaries you set your kids is hugely important. "Kids are almost begging for boundaries," he says. "So when they see you following through with what you've said you'll do, ultimately they'll respect that and it will make them feel safe.
"My main tip is consistency: follow through is so important."
Jeff Brazier has partnered with Beko to launch its new range of 28-minute washing machines and promote the ways families can spend this extra time together