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Tidy Books US

Putting books at the heart of your child’s world

  • Time to read

    Telling the time is so natural to most of us, that we forget kids don't have the same concept of telling time.  I was chatting to a friend the other day about her Christmas and she said her three-year-old son was so excited he’d been constantly asking when Father Christmas was coming.  Of course, being so young, her son had no concept of time so she told him it would be ‘three times when you’ve gone to school’  She wanted to help him understand that he’d have to wait for what would feel like three school days.

    telling time, tell the time clock, play clock, book box, tidy books The Tidy Books Box with teaching clock makes telling the time as easy as ABC

    I thought that was a really clever way of teaching her child about telling time. Another mum I know does a similar thing – only she breaks time down into episodes of Peppa Pig. As for helping my own children to tell the time, I remember we sat down and made a clock out of a Camembert box (well, I am French!).

    Experts agree that telling the time makes better sense to children when they can relate it to their own experience – like teatime at 5 o’ clock and their 7 o’ clock bath time. And of course it’s always good to making learning fun, so they suggest things like setting a timer when you’re baking cookies or using a stopwatch to time them cleaning their teeth.

    When I was designing my Book Box, I immediately thought of adding a teaching time clock on one end. I mean, why waste space when you can use it to include something useful? I loved the idea of kids having a little portable library so they could have their favourite books around them wherever they were in the house. And if it had a colourful telling the time clock, well they could have fun playing with that, too.

    The award-winning Tidy Books box has certainly gone down well with customers – they love that it’s so compact and space-saving and can easily be moved from the living room to the kids’ bedroom. I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with it myself – and I’m not bad at making a Camembert clock either!

    What do you do to explain time to your kids?


    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • It’s time to swap quantity for quality

    It always amazes me that just when Christmas is over and you realise how much money you’ve spent on cards, presents, decorations and food the New Year sales come along. It’s hard not to be seduced by all those huge discounts – but, really, do we actually need more stuff?  Is it time to buy less and choose well?

    Don’t get me wrong – I love a bargain as much as the next person. If I spot something I’ve got on my list to buy and it’s reduced in price that’s a real bonus. But I’m not into buying things I don’t really want or need just because they’re on sale.

    I hate that over-buying contributes to so much waste. As you’ll have read in my last blog, I only ever give my children three Christmas presents (it’s sort of a French thing!) and hopefully they like them as much as they tell me they do. But according to one report, around 50% of Christmas gifts get binned within a year. Even more troubling, a survey last year found that one in ten unwanted Christmas presents will probably end up in landfill. That’s really bad news for our planet.

    Like a lot of people, I try to be eco-friendly and it’s certainly a big part of Tidy Books. I’ve never been interested in designing trendy products that quickly go out of fashion and are then disposed of to make room for the newest model. I recently had a customer who told me she’d had her Tidy Books bookcase for 15 years and that made me really happy. I love that my company makes timeless, well-made products that will never look dated or need to be replaced, so that our customers can buy less. Their longevity means they can be passed down to younger siblings, not thrown on the scrap heap.

    “We still have our original Tidy Books - now at least 15 years old and only slightly the worse for wear having survived x 2 owners and x 2 long distance house moves!” Alison, one of the first Tidy Books customers

    The Tidy Books personalised bookcase. Photo credit Les Enfants a Paris

    I take the same eco approach to manufacturing . Everything in the Tidy Books range is made with sustainable, FSC-certified wood and doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals.

    As a consumer myself, I’m careful about what I buy. It’s not that I forced myself to become a conscious shopper – it’s simply that once I understood how buying too much or buying the wrong things can affect the planet I lost my desire to over-consume. It really wasn’t difficult to shake off that ‘Buy, Buy, buy’ mentality, I just naturally started to shop differently, and I can buy less without worry.

    I think that when I buy less and choose better has made me a calmer, happier consumer. So, if you do spot me in the New Year sales, I’ll be the serene shopper looking for quality, not quantity – but, of course, still holding out for a bargain!

  • When less is more at Christmas

    I remember one of my first Christmas Days in England. We were at my sister-in-law’s house and I couldn’t believe the amount of gifts her young daughter was getting. She’d unwrap a present, throw the paper to one side, open another present, throw the paper... and on and on until she’d got through about a dozen presents.

    Coming from France, this was completely alien to me. When I was growing up, I’d receive one main Christmas present – a doll perhaps – and a couple of little things to go with it. This wasn’t just my experience – other French kids got pretty much the same deal. That’s because in France children only receive gifts from Santa Claus. So there was never any issue with relatives struggling to find bigger, better, pricier presents – it was all down to Father Christmas!

    Unlike France, it seems that families in the UK are under huge pressure to buy kids’ Christmas presents. Recently it was announced that British children under the age of 12 will receive on average 11 toys for Christmas this year. The money saving expert Martin Lewis believes that young children ‘want what they want – whether it costs £2 or £200’ but that many parents can’t stop at one small present because they feel guilty that they’re not spending enough on their kids.

    It’s tough when you’re bombarded with messages about ‘must-have toys’. And it can be particularly difficult for relatives who live far away and want to show their love through a big gift. One solution could be for everyone in the family – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles – to club together to buy one special present. Something that’s not this year’s fad but a gift that’s thoughtful and memorable – and will last beyond Boxing Day.

    christmas, christmas gifts, bookcase, reading, books Dive into reading this Holiday

    Of course here at Tidy Books that’s something we firmly believe in. We make products that your kids can get years of enjoyment out of and that they can continue to use as they grow. And our products don’t need batteries either!

    I absolutely love giving gifts at Christmas – and after all these years I still believe that less is more. Don’t tell my teens, but this year, like every year, they’ll only find three gifts under the Christmas tree!

    What will your children find under the tree this Christmas?

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