A mum’s ingenious parenting hack to stop her kids pestering for snacks and teach them maths while in isolation has proved a viral hit – by mocking up a tuck shop for them to ‘buy’ treats from.

Laura Symonds, 33, from Bishop’s Frome, Herefordshire, quickly realised she couldn’t keep up with the constant demand for snacks, now that her daughters Emily, seven, and Isabella, five, are home all day. 

The schoolgirls have been in isolation with their mum and dad Rob Symonds, 37, since Tuesday, because Emily suffers from asthma making her vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak.

Laura Symonds, 33, (centre), came up with an ingenious hack to stop her daughters Isabella, five, left, and Emily, seven, right, to pester her for sweets all day - by setting up a tuck shop

Laura Symonds, 33, (centre), came up with an ingenious hack to stop her daughters Isabella, five, left, and Emily, seven, right, to pester her for sweets all day – by setting up a tuck shop

Determined not to be eaten out of house and home, Laura invented a fun way to not only quell the requests for food, but also get her girls to brush up on their maths. 

The mum-of-two wrote out a list of all her daughters’ favourite things to ‘munch on’ and put prices next to them.

Laura said: ‘I tried to do it so the unhealthy stuff is more expensive so they choose the healthier options. I don’t think they’ve caught on to that yet. 

‘So chocolate costs 25p but an apple only costs 5p. Squash is also 5p but water is free. 

Determined not to be eaten out of house and home, Laura invented a fun way to not only quell the requests for food but also get her girls to brush up on their maths - after sharing the post on Facebook it quickly went viral

Determined not to be eaten out of house and home, Laura invented a fun way to not only quell the requests for food but also get her girls to brush up on their maths – after sharing the post on Facebook it quickly went viral

‘My eldest is really bad for not drinking enough water, so if she spends all her money on chocolate and crisps then she’ll have to drink water. 

‘I give them £1 to spend each a day but the other day they both had 25p left so that carried over and they had a bit more to spend the next day.’  

Thrilled with how much her daughters have been enjoying the tuck shop, Laura decided to share the idea on Facebook where it quickly went viral with 54,000 shares in just two days. 

Thrilled with how much her daughters have been enjoying the tuck shop, Laura decided to share the idea on Facebook where it quickly went viral with 54,000 shares in just two days. Pictured: Emily, left, and Isabella, right

Thrilled with how much her daughters have been enjoying the tuck shop, Laura decided to share the idea on Facebook where it quickly went viral with 54,000 shares in just two days. Pictured: Emily, left, and Isabella, right

Isabella and Emily are pictured with their Dad, Rob, 37. The family are currently in self-isolation at home in Herefordshire

Isabella and Emily are pictured with their Dad, Rob, 37. The family are currently in self-isolation at home in Herefordshire

Emily is pictured counting her change. The girls are given £1 a day to spend on treats and snacks

Emily is pictured counting her change. The girls are given £1 a day to spend on treats and snacks

Laura is pictures with husband Rob and daughters Isabella and Laura at Christmas

Laura is pictures with husband Rob and daughters Isabella and Laura at Christmas 

While she never anticipated her tuck shop would be so popular, primary school teacher Laura is over the moon to be giving some inspiration to other families – especially as all UK schools close.   

She added: ‘It’s been great, the girls are loving it and they aren’t constantly asking “Can I have this?” or “Can I have that?”. They have to actually think about it. 

‘It also motivates them to do maths without even realising they’re doing it. All the prices will change next week, otherwise the maths will get too easy.’ 

Laura said: 'I tried to do it so the unhealthy stuff is more expensive so they choose the healthier options. I don't think they've caught onto that yet. So chocolate costs 25p but an apple only costs 5p, squash is also 5p but water is free'. She is pictured giving money to the girls

Laura said: ‘I tried to do it so the unhealthy stuff is more expensive so they choose the healthier options. I don’t think they’ve caught onto that yet. So chocolate costs 25p but an apple only costs 5p, squash is also 5p but water is free’. She is pictured giving money to the girls

Emily and Isabella have been practising writing and drawing by brainstorming ideas for lunchtime meals. They are pictured on holiday before their isolation

Emily and Isabella have been practising writing and drawing by brainstorming ideas for lunchtime meals. They are pictured on holiday before their isolation

Since posting about her at-home tuck shop, Laura has been flooded with messages from parents thanking her for the inspiration and even asking her to set up a YouTube channel. 

And everyone’s ‘lovely’ responses have inspired Laura to come up with even more creative ways to keep her kids’ time in isolation enjoyable and educational. 

Emily and Isabella have been practising writing and drawing by brainstorming ideas for lunchtime meals. 

And the sisters had to use teamwork and reading skills to follow instructions to set up a mini salon after which their mum treated them both to a pedicure.

Laura (pictured with Isabella) said these fun activities with her little girls are bringing her some much needed cheer - and she hopes they'll do the same for other families

Laura (pictured with Isabella) said these fun activities with her little girls are bringing her some much needed cheer – and she hopes they’ll do the same for other families

Emily and Isabella have been practising writing and drawing by brainstorming ideas for lunchtime meals

Emily and Isabella have been practising writing and drawing by brainstorming ideas for lunchtime meals

Laura said these fun activities with her little girls are bringing her some much needed cheer – and she hopes they’ll do the same for other families. 

 ‘I wanted to share the post about our tuck shop for anyone else in isolation and because seeing the girls enjoying it so much has cheered me right up.

‘All parents are feeling overwhelmed with the schools closing and having the kids with them all day. I have been nervous and anxious and worried about money. 

Laura said these fun activities with her little girls are bringing her some much needed cheer - and she hopes they'll do the same for other families

Laura said these fun activities with her little girls are bringing her some much needed cheer – and she hopes they’ll do the same for other families

Since posting about her at-home tuck shop, Laura has been flooded with messages from parents thanking her for the inspiration and even asking her to set up a YouTube channel

Since posting about her at-home tuck shop, Laura has been flooded with messages from parents thanking her for the inspiration and even asking her to set up a YouTube channel

‘But then I thought to myself all I ever wanted was to be a teacher and a mum and now I have the opportunity to do both so I’m going to embrace it.

‘I’m not saying it’s perfect or my kids are perfect and this is a perfect world. 

‘Obviously we still have the meltdowns and the tantrums. 

‘But this is an idea that has worked for us and maybe it’ll work for some other families too. 

While she never anticipated her tuck shop would be so popular, primary school teacher Laura is over the moon to be giving some inspiration to other families - especially as all UK schools close

While she never anticipated her tuck shop would be so popular, primary school teacher Laura is over the moon to be giving some inspiration to other families – especially as all UK schools close

'I never expected it to go this viral, not in a million years. I can't even comprehend it. Everyone has made such lovely comments and I've had so many messages' Laura said. Pictured is Isabella

‘I never expected it to go this viral, not in a million years. I can’t even comprehend it. Everyone has made such lovely comments and I’ve had so many messages’ Laura said. Pictured is Isabella

‘I never expected it to go this viral, not in a million years. I can’t even comprehend it. Everyone has made such lovely comments and I’ve had so many messages. 

‘It’s been so nice to share something fun and it’s given me loads of inspiration myself. 

‘My head’s been filled with all these other little ideas.

‘My friends keep saying that the kids won’t want to go back to school.’



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