Smart family life likes and tips

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Emma Smart is an English Mentor at a local academy and Stewart is a warehouse manager. The couple, who have been married for nine years and together for 15, live in Horbury with their children Isaac and Jessica.

What are your top tips for getting children to do what you ask? Turn things into a game, and if you have to say no, make sure you explain why they can’t do something.

What family task takes you the longest? Making packed lunches for work and school. I need a lunch fairy.

What’s the weirdest thing your children have done/brought home/done to your house? We are convinced they have both seen ghosts in our house. As a toddler, Jessica asked who the old man on the landing was, and why there was an old lady in the loft. Isaac has also seen an old man at the bottom of the stairs and finds pure white feathers everywhere he goes - inside and out.

Have your children ever really, really surprised you? How and why? They were recently invited to unveil a bench at a war memorial at short notice. The ceremony was something new to them but they handled the situation – even falling silent for the Last Post without prompting.

What’s the most bizarre thing you have found yourself saying since having kids? Cows don’t lay meat.

What’s the funniest thing your children have ever said/done? Too many to choose from but Isaac asked why I used to go around dressed as a snail. Daddy had been telling him that I used to wear shell suits!

What gets your goat? Souped-up lawnmowers (aka mopeds) zooming around our village when the kids are trying to get to sleep.

Favourite family day out? Brimham Rocks near Harrogate.

What’s the hardest thing about being a parent? Trying to stay calm when they fall and you are worried they might be badly hurt.

Typical evening for the grown-ups once the children are in bed? Chores in the week and a bottle of wine and a film at the weekend.

What is your most treasured memory? Jessica meeting Isaac for the first time.

What’s the children’s favourite food/meal? - Seaside fish and chips.

What can your children not live without? Bedtime stories.

What one item can you not live without? Coffee.

Top penny-pinching tip? Make bags of nuts, dried fruit and seeds.

One family member’s proudest achievement? I recently completed my first park run, inspired by my running-mad daughter.

What’s the number one thing you would change about Leeds? I don’t like how the side streets turn into seating areas for bars at night.

Child’s favourite book and author. Secret Kingdom books by Daisy Meadows (Jessica) and Oi Goat! (Isaac)