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Getting ready for preschool is a big milestone and a step into another social world.
The world of organised play, socialising, and the need to be more independent. You can help your toddler to be ready for this step using a few simple tips at home.
Plato, a Greek philosopher, once said:
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
You can help your child to get off to a good beginning by trying to nurture some early stages of independence before they start school.
Here are 10 ways to foster independence at home.
1. Choosing what to wear.
It is a good idea to do this activity the night before. The early mornings are often very busy. Let your toddler choose something to wear for the next day and set it out, ready for the early morning. Add a jumper or jacket in case the weather changes. This routine applies to weekdays; you can be more flexible and let your toddler choose in the morning over the weekend.
2. Getting themselves dressed.
Try to have clothes that are easy to put on and be available for helping to tie ribbons or laces while your child is still learning those skills. Getting dressed can be frustrating for children if the clothes are difficult to put on. Practise does help and learning to dress a teddy, or a doll can enable your child to get used to putting clothes on, fastening a button, and knowing things like inside out or back to front.
3. Learning how to brush their teeth.
Brushing teeth is another part of a daily routine children can easily learn. Squeezing the toothpaste may take some guidance initially. Watching mom and dad or doing this routine with a big sister or brother is a helpful way of learning how to brush your teeth.
4. Making a packed lunch.
Putting together a lunch box for school is a great way to encourage independence. Initially, you could make the sandwiches, but let your toddler choose the fillings. The snack biscuits and other parts of the lunch that do not require cutting could be part of the responsibility. If your child is not required to pack a lunch, then organising a picnic at home is a good opportunity to prepare food. Making snacks for a play date is another way to encourage independence and produce something for themselves and others.
5. Setting a table for a family meal.
There are so many positive possibilities centred around the family dining room table. Let your child learn how to lay the table. There are opportunities at dinner time to set out the plates and knives, and forks with caring for others in mind. It is a counting and ordering exercise too. Start with setting the table, and later, when your child is more confident, introduce clearing the table too.
6. Learning how to tidy up after playing with their toys.
Tidying up can be a challenge. However, it is a good skill to teach your child. Make the process easy by having utility baskets for certain toys. Then tidy-up time is just a case of putting various toys into their baskets. Have a safe place for puzzles or construction toys your child is playing with so they do not have to be broken down every time you tidy up. Here’s another idea. Make up a tidy-up song and sing this as you tidy away the toys. It makes the chore of tidying up more fun. Songs like ‘Whistle while you Work’ or ‘Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush’ but change the words to fit with tidy-up toys are good songs to choose from.
7. Encourage children to feed themselves and sit with the family at the table.
Sitting at the table and joining in with the family at mealtimes is a good way to encourage independence. You can start with finger food and move on to a spoon and fork while your child is learning how to manage cutlery. A family mealtime eaten together is an opportunity to strengthen social skills too.
8. Let them be involved in their bath time routine and put on their pyjamas.
Bathtime is always a fun time of the day. Let your child help you get the bathroom ready and prepare their pyjamas. Let them wash and dress themselves. Keep an eye on children who are in the bath or near water. Ending the day with a refreshing bath and getting dry and dressed are all good independence milestones.
9. Take care of a pet.
Helping to look after a family pet is a good way to encourage children to be kind and caring. There are many responsibilities associated with having a pet. Feeding a pet, filling water bowls, or cleaning fish bowls. Walking the dog, and helping to give a pet a bath, are some of the responsibilities your child could learn to share.
10. Start allowing your toddler to make reasonable choices.
Allowing children to make reasonable choices is a good way to show them their opinion counts. Initially, give them simple choices that you approve of either way. A choice of two things is a good place to start. If their decision does not work out to be the best option, then make sure you tell your toddler that was what they chose to do. It was their decision.
Mastering just a few of these activities will make a big difference to your child’s emerging sense of independence. Try them out slowly and see how soon you can build up to mastering all then of these suggestions.
Answers to some frequently asked questions. Especially how to deal with the problem of inviting siblings.
A birthday party could be your child’s dream come true or your worst nightmare!
Children love birthday parties. It is the time of the year they get to shine and have all the attention laid out on them. They talk about their party at school, and invitations to the party become a very important aspect of feeling special even before the event. Some families like to celebrate just with family and close personal friends. The first birthday is often a milestone event and is celebrated in style. When children get to school, peer pressure begins to invite classmates, and a birthday party becomes more stressful for parents.
It is a good idea to plan ahead of the event and be firm about the invites. Depending on your budget, a hired venue is a stress-free route to go. A party planner may be a big help if your budget allows for a themed party all planned. Children love the idea of a party theme centred around their favourite superhero. Dress-up clothes, decorated party boxes, and a large decorated cake all add up to the costs of a themed birthday party.
Yes, you want to spoil your child, but birthday parties can get quite out of hand. One of the most pressing questions asked by parents is about the invites. How many children do you invite, and must you include younger or older siblings?
Here are some guidelines and answers to other questions you may have:
Invitations. Do you include siblings in the party invitations?
This is a very tricky question to answer. If the party is for family and friends, then, of course, siblings would be included. They are part of the collective family group. When the party is for friends, particularly school friends, it is customary to invite the birthday child’s peer group. The children they play with at school. If you are not able to accommodate siblings, it is important to stipulate that on the invitation. Put this requirement politely but nicely to avoid any confusion. Say something like, ‘we regret we cannot accommodate siblings this year.’ Or “We are looking forward to having – and writing the invitee’s name – at our party.
Include an RSVP number to track who is coming to the party or for any questions about the guest list. It is better to decide on this guideline for the party and stick to it. It can be most disappointing for your child if younger siblings arrive at a party. Having a mixed age group may make some of the games and activities you planned more difficult to organise.
If your party is a family affair or the birthday child is very young then siblings can help with the party and the family fun.
Should you invite the whole class to your child’s party if they are at school?
This is another of those questions that is a personal choice. Check with your school. They may have a school policy about handing out invitations at school. It can cause great sadness to the children who do not get an invite to school when all the other children do.
Many schools have a mailing list and phone contacts. Sending out personal invites via a class list could be a way of avoiding the whole class invite issue.
What is the most important part of the celebration?
The birthday cake is probably the most exciting part for the birthday child. It is the highlight of the party; the song, the candle ceremony, and the birthday wish all make the cake a big highlight.
Do you have to have party favours or goodie bags?
This has become a party tradition people enjoy because it enables the birthday child to give thanks to their guests and send them home with a token of appreciation. It is not a compulsory feature but has become a generous tradition and a way to teach your child to give and not just expect to receive.
What about parents attending the party?
Once again, this is a personal choice. The younger children need their parents, but it is more work as you have to cater to them. Older children are usually at a ‘big school’ and are used to going out independently. If a parent requests to stay at the party, there is probably a good reason for the request, and it might be easier just to have them there as a helper and support of their child.
How important is it to organise the party with the children in mind?
This is a vital part of planning a kiddies party. If you want your party to be a success, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of an older sibling and a friend to help manage the games. If your home is not suitable for a kids party, then go to another venue. Make lists of what you need to provide and have a budget in mind.
Remember to have fun. It is all about making memories and your camera needs to be close at hand for happy party photos. They will give you the opportunity to look back and have wonderful party pictures to treasure.
It’s true, it’s real, and you are so excited! You are going to have a baby!
It’s true, it’s real, and you are so excited! You are going to have a baby! You are bursting with excitement and are ready to share the news. It is very easy to share this exciting news with family nearby and friends in your neighbourhood, but what about the family further afield? How do you keep them in the loop? There are a number of great ideas to use to share your news. In this day and age, sharing information is much easier, but you might want something special for this event.
Here are some suggestions for getting that message out there. It is probably a good idea to wait for a few weeks to be absolutely certain everything is 100% positive before going wild with your announcements. Try these ideas for something original and creative.
Watching your baby grow and seeing that maternal evidence through your ‘bump’ is a great way to show off your pregnancy. This may not be everyone’s idea of publicity, but close family and special friends will love to see how you are growing with this new life inside your tummy. Go ahead and take a before picture and then record the growth month by month. This will make your growing belly more obvious to people who haven’t seen you in a while. You can be discreet and wear a T-shirt that will show off the rounding of your tummy.
The ultrasound pictures are just amazing. Seeing your little one moving around and even appearing to wave a hand is magical. Modern technology allows parents to share these images with family and friends. The number of ultrasound visits varies from pregnancy to pregnancy, but this is a great way to show off the baby in utero.
Pregnant moms often have a craving for something unusual. It paints an amusing picture when dads have had to go out in search of some really different kind of food or snack. Your family and friends will be most amused by the changes in your diet. Whether you can’t stop eating bagels or you’re dreaming about pickles on top of ice cream, share your cravings when people ask how you’re feeling.
The baby shower, especially if this is your first baby, is a great way for everyone to spoil you. Your friends may want to surprise you but perhaps there is a way to tell the family and friends who are far away about this event. They could be invited to join in through a ‘zoom’ chat or any other social media platform. When it comes time for your baby shower, send invitations to far-away relatives and friends. Even if they are not able to attend, they will appreciate the invitation.
Big, bigger, biggest – tracking baby’s size.
There is an app for everything these days. Tracking a baby’s size is very easily done via an app. A pregnancy tracking app will probably give you comparisons in size to vegetables or fruit. Babies often start out being compared to a bean and later reach pumpkin or watermelon status! This is an entertaining way to send out a pregnancy picture and imagine what size your little one has grown to be.
Needs or wants?
Preparing for a baby can be quite daunting. Include your family and friends in the task of recommending the right basics for your baby. The things you really need can come in the form of a tried and trusted brand or item for the nursery. What did the moms in your family and your friends find really useful. Then add in some of the things you would want to have but may not actually need. Your kind family and friends may have some of these items to hand down to you.
Decorating the nursery is an exciting adventure. You can include family and friends from afar in this process. Start with a blank picture of the room as your before mood board. Then as you add to the décor, post up pictures of the colour palette or the curtain fabrics. Add in the furniture and the toys and books you want to use to complete the picture.
The big day arrives.
The time of waiting is over and your baby has arrived. It may have been a planned day, an elective caesarean, or your baby may have chosen their own date and time to arrive. Whatever the situation is, you are going to want to share the news with your far distant family and friends.
The whole event will be one of much excitement and you may not be feeling ready to attend social media. Setting up a group for messages is a good idea. It will certainly cut out the possibility of leaving someone out. Attend your group ahead of time and then it is all setup and ready to go when the big day comes. Appoint some of your really close friends to send out the initial messages and perhaps you have a family group already in place for sending the first announcements to your family. People will really appreciate being part of this final milestone.
In today’s world of easy communication, there is every opportunity to send messages and keep everyone in the loop. Gone are the cleft stick runners and the horse-drawn postal services. Everything today can be shared right now. It just takes a little planning and the outcome will be a family that feels blessed by your special efforts.
Are you thinking about a summer’s day on the beach?
Echoes of summer songs resound in your ears, saying words like ‘Summertime and the living is easy, fish are jumping and the cotton is high!’ Then the whole idea of a day on the beach
sounds like an exciting proposition. However, with a family in tow, it is not a simple exercise and careful planning is the key to success.
Here are three basic categories to consider when going on a beach outing with children.
You need to pack beach necessities, have safety plans, and think of some beach activities.
Then you can say One, two three we are off to see the sea!
1. Pack beach necessities.
When you start out with your beach outings, it is a good idea to have a list of what you plan to take and check off the items as you pack your bags and picnic basket. Keep an ongoing list and add to it as you realise what your different needs are.
Here are a few suggestions of what most families find are the basic essentials to a happy day out on the beach.
A beach bag.
A beach bag is essential and it needs to be big enough to carry multiple things. A waterproof and weatherproof bag with pockets for wet, dry, and sandy items will help keep you organized.
Beach towels and a beach blanket are the essentials for comfort on the beach. Deck chairs for everyone and a beach umbrella make your picnic site comfortable. Never go to the beach without plenty of sunscreens and a first aid kit. Swim goggles, hats, sunglasses, and beach toys. If you have a long way to walk, a beach cart would be helpful to carry everything down to the spot you choose.
A potty seat.
A travel potty seat or portable potty is a real bonus if you are out for a long day and you are not sure of restroom facilities. If your toddler is in the middle of potty training, a comfortable toilet experience is a great way to continue your training program with ease. A portable potty will fit into the back of your car for convenience. Don’t forget the change of clothing for accidents, wipes, and toilet paper, too. Depending on the age of your child, a swim diaper may come in handy.
Protection from sun and wind.
Sunblock is essential and regular application important. When you are on the beach shelter from the sun’s rays or the wind that may pick up out of the blue is a good addition to your picnic kit. There are amazing mini igloo-type tents to provide shelter during the day. These shelters are very useful if your child wants to have a midday nap and you want to stay on the beach.
Beach toys are essential, but you can stick to the traditional bucket and spade collection with other containers to play in the sand. Making sand castles is such fun for the whole family. Add in items your child can use to scoop and play with sand and water. You could use plastic cups, large spoons, a funnel, and even a watering can. Plastic figurines of people and animals make great additions to the sand castles. A good suggestion is to keep all the favourite beach toys in their own
special bag ready for the day at the beach any time.
Picnic style treats.
Finger food is the best suggestion for the beach. Keep some healthy snacks available, like fruit and individually wrapped items. Avoid things that will be spoiled by sand. ‘Sand’ - wiches are not enjoyable. A good suggestion is to pack individual plastic containers with little divisions like school lunch boxes. Everyone can have their own box with their favourite snacks inside.
Bring along a cooler box or bag to hold your snacks and some cold drinks and water. Staying hydrated is a very important part of any outdoor activity. Try to avoid unhealthy snacks and drinks from the beach cafés. Ice cream could be a special
treat at the end of the picnic day out.
2. Safety plans.
The golden rule of the beach is probably to always keep an eye on your children. Do not allow them to wander around the beach unsupervised. Set some boundaries of how deep
they can swim and what you expect at the beach depending on their age and proficiency in the water.
Bare these tips in mind for extra safety and to ensure happy holiday memories.
Life vests add safety for little ones.
Choosing a really reliable life vest will give you peace of mind and protection for your child. Choose one that is not going to deflate or pop and be a danger rather than a help. Whenever children are around the ocean, pool, lake, or another large water source, make sure they’re wearing life vests that fit properly.
An infant/child CPR class is a good safety skill.
In an emergency situation, knowing how to administer CPR to a child could make a life-changing difference. Taking a class can give you the tools and knowledge you need to step in and provide emergency care in the event of a swimming accident.
Stay close to your toddler and be observant.
The ocean can be unpredictable. Strong undertows and rip currents and big waves can appear suddenly and sweep little paddlers off their feet.
Keep your mobile phone on hand.
Having modern technology available for emergency situations is a great advantage.
Make sure your phone is charged and ready for use in an emergency.
Think about swim lessons.
Encourage your child to have swim lessons. Water safety and respect for the water are important values for children to have.
Look for a beach with life guards.
Life guards are trained to watch out for changes in the currents and children who may be in danger. A beach with lifeguards and safety-demarcated areas is very reassuring.
It is a good idea to know the signs of drowning and be ready to call a lifeguard or step in yourself. Drowning can go unobserved. Unlike the movies, it is not always an arm thrashing shouted-out event.
Teach your family the four golden rules of water safety.
1. Always go near to water with an adult.
2. If you are at a swimming pool, do not run around the edge of the pool.
3. Don’t push or dunk other children under the water.
4. Jump feet first into the water.
3. Beach Activities.
The sand and the sea are the big attractions of a beach holiday. Centre your activities around the fun experience on the beach.
There are so many lovely things to do on the beach. If you are well prepared, it will be an awesome day out.
FINAL TIP OF THE DAY:
Be prepared and get ready the day before. Pack the car the night before to ensure you can leave early in the morning. This kind of preparation will ensure you have a wonderful family day on the beach.
Math, learned in the comfort of your home, is a perfect starting block for learning the practical and the theory behind the skills needed for math activities.
A well-known Chinese proverb tells teachers and parents the value of a practical approach to math.
“I hear and I forget,
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.”
Here are some practical ‘I do’ activities you can use in your home to teach the beginnings of math to your pre-schooler. Think in terms of these basic concepts and math skills.
Try counting, sorting, matching, pattern making, shapes and measuring for six basic math activities with multiple ways to explore these skills right there in your home!
Introducing incidental math activities at home leads to a better understanding of the concepts required later on at the formal school level. Introducing any skill through games is always a win-win situation.
Finding a balance between screen time and other stimulating activities can be a challenge. Technology today has so much to offer on the entertainment level that it can be difficult to find a balance. However, some of these ideas may help you attack the screen monster head-on without costing a fortune.
Practice makes perfect - Even if you get some resistance from your children, don’t give up. Getting away from screen time is healthy and rewarding.
Creativity is a wonderful aspect of childhood development. Encouraging indoor creativity has the advantage of always being available in every kind of weather. The right materials on hand ensure there is always something available to spark your child’s imagination and allow open-ended play.
Understanding the principles of open-ended play will help you set up this approach to creativity. Open-ended play has no rules, restrictions, or guidelines. It taps into spontaneous creative play by allowing children to respond to given materials in their own way. The beauty of open-ended play is children at different levels of development can respond to this form of play. You as the parent simply put out the materials and guide if you feel the need to or join in, but the more your child is left to their own devices the better.
Practice makes Perfect -
Here’s a good idea to keep your creative activities easy to access and use often. Store each set of creative items in a large plastic storage box. Label the box and take out the one you want for the day or take two. At the end of your creative play teach your child how to tidy up and put the playthings away. Next time you want to be creative the box is good to go.
One of the challenges of working and finding yourself in the early stages of pregnancy is getting over morning sickness. It is true to say almost 80% of pregnant women suffer from morning sickness. Sometimes this lasts just a short while, but in some cases, it can last several months.
If you are one of the lucky moms-to-be you may feel unwell in the evening, but for most, morning sickness is scheduled for the morning. Working during early pregnancy can be difficult. You're tired, you're sore, and you're not feeling very well.
Learning to write requires many basic skills and a measure of dexterity to be able to start this process. Teachers and skilled preschool educators will confirm this point of view. Introducing writing skills too soon could lead to more complications.
Start with the primary skills and building blocks to reach confidence with writing tools and the maturity to recognise letters. Little fingers need strengthening and eye-hand coordination is important too.
Follow these fundamental tips and see your child’s confidence grow. You will recognise steps towards improvement and enjoyment of handwriting if you get the foundation right.
Learning to write, the formation of letters and handling writing tools is a challenge for little fingers. It requires fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. These tips help secure confidence and create readiness for further writing skills.
Keep the activities simple and fun. Join in and do some with your child. Find out what the preschool expects and doesn’t go beyond their expectations. Watch and note the side that is your child’s dominant side. Don’t force them to be left or right-handed. They may be ambidextrous for a while as they learn how to handle a pencil.
Peace and quiet go hand in hand and creating a peaceful place at home is something children will benefit from. This is the place to go to with a book or a favourite toy. It is somewhere cosy and comfortable, a place where loud noises and bouncy people are not welcome.
Specialists evaluating pre-school children emphasise the need, at this phase, to have a quiet retreat space. The pre-preschooler is experiencing a sensory overload as they respond to all kinds of stimuli. An immature toddler may find all this excitement overwhelming. Their lack of coping skills often results in temper tantrums. Little ones can become irritable and defiant in challenging situations.
Movement and highly stimulated physical activities make immature toddlers and pre-preschoolers feel out of control. They overreact to the excitement, noise and physical interaction. Finding a quiet place to spend some ‘me time’ is so beneficial for your toddler. Initially, you can join in playing the quiet game and spend time with your child in their quiet space.
The Montessori practise of educating the whole child supports encouraging children to have quiet times. In her book, ‘ The Secrets of the Child, Discovery of the Child’ Maria Montessori writes: ‘Silence brings us back to ourselves.’ Creating a special place where children learn to enjoy peace and quiet is a valuable activity.
It is important to do this together and to let your child bring in favourite toys, soft pillows and rugs. The corner could be a corner of their playroom or perhaps you have a big old box to cut out a door and make into a cosy den. Look out for an indoor teepee or even a big basket to curl up in. The important thing is the space must be cosy, special and filled with quiet activities.
Initially, your child may be apprehensive about this new space. Take time to introduce them to the quiet space by spending time there too with a storybook or an activity centred around being peaceful. Quiet music and a simple puzzle are things to enjoy in this special space.
Today's post is courtesy of Whitney Roban, PhD, a paediatric sleep specialist and wellness educator.
In my Paediatric Sleep Consultancy, the most common sleep issues centre around bedtime. The actual process of falling asleep should take around fifteen to twenty minutes and be a calming way to end the day. Often it is a time filled with arguments, tears, and battles between parents and children. It should be a winding down time to the end of each day.
Parents who have a pre-bedtime routine will find the actual process of getting a child to sleep easier. Bedtime can be a happy time in every home if parents maintain commitment and consistency towards a routine at bedtime.
Remember this is a routine and by following it regularly you will instil good bedtime behaviour in your child. When you say it is bedtime the ritual should be the pattern that follows. Have a goodnight rhyme or final word that signals the end of the routine.
‘Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bugs bite!’ is often said in families to sign off for the night. Try a special kiss or a lullaby song as your last interaction.
It is never too early to choose books to read with your baby. Books are a great source of visual, auditory and cognitive stimulation.
Settling down with a book to share with your baby brings comfort and contact between the two of you. It is the beginning of a whole genre of entertainment and appreciation of our world.
How, then, do you choose books for a baby?
Firstly, they need to be made of sustainable material. Board books, cloth books, picture books, pop-up books and rhyming books are all appealing to babies and toddlers.
Newborns see things in black and white and there are books for their needs. Set in a concertina style they can open up and often have simple pictures on either side of the book as it opens.
Older babies respond more visually to books and colours and high-contrast images. Activity books with pictures that stimulate the senses like ‘touch and feel’ books are a great way to start interacting with your baby and a book.
Look for titles like these with content surrounding the world of a toddler. They relate to their own bodies and objects close at hand. Books with sensory activities are good options for this age.
One Foot, Two Feet.
Written and illustrated by Peter Maloney and Felicia Zekauskas:
This counting-to-ten book introduces numbers and shows one object — a foot, a mouse, a goose — compared to a group of that same object. A simple approach to the concept of one and many.
Touch Think Learn: Shapes.
Written by Xavier Deneux:
A colourful, interactive book that takes babies on a hands-on, shape-filled adventure. As you read, you can help your baby trace each shape with his or her finger.
I Like Vegetables.
Written and illustrated by Lorena Siminovich:
The touch-and-feel exploration of vegetables is just at the right level of understanding for early book lovers. Explore vegetables of different shapes and colours. Your baby will learn about opposites and discover each vegetable’s texture in this touch-and-feel book.
Little Bitty Friends.
Written by Elizabeth McPike; illustrated by Patrice Barton:
The rhyming verses and bright illustrations will help introduce your baby to language concepts and elements of the natural world. Read about ants, a caterpillar, and flowers in this delightful nature book.
Written and illustrated by Ethan Long:
“Bark, bark!” “Hum, hum!” You will spend a happy time together learning how animals say ‘thank you' in their own special way. The cartoon-like pictures of animals saying “thank you” will encourage your baby to hear many different animal sounds.
Tuck Me In!
Written by Dean Hacohen, illustrated by Sherry Scharschmidt:
Tuck Me In’ is a great book to read with your little one before bedtime. Go through each page with your baby and fold over the blankets until all of the animals — the zebra, peacock, hedgehog, and more — are ready to go to sleep.
As your baby gets older, allow him or her to help you fold the blankets over. Tuck Me In’ is a delightful book encouraging fine motor skills and a chance to learn different animal names.
Peck, Peck, Peck.
Written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins:
Babies will enjoy the bright colors and illustrations throughout this book. Then there is the added fun activity of sticking their fingers through the holes made by pecking woodpeckers.
Me Baby, You Baby.
Written and illustrated by Ashley Wolff:
Rhyming phrases create a story of two mothers and their babies off on an adventure and visit to the zoo. Rhyming books are great ways to encourage a love of language and the sound of words.
Machines at Work.
Written and illustrated by Byron Barton:
Machines at Work is a simple introduction to construction vehicles. It includes bold illustrations of big machines, a lot of colour, and just a few words per page. It is a great way for boys and girls to enjoy big diggers and trucks.
Reading with your child is a special bonding experience. It boosts brain and language development and sparks an interest in books, too. Start with some of these books and as your experience grows, add on new titles that inspire a love of books. Following are a few book recommendations for preschool children.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle:
The rhythmic language and lots of repetition make The Very Hungry Caterpillar a great book for babies and young children. The small babies will enjoy listening to you read and look at the pictures. The book is about a caterpillar that has had a never-ending appetite for food since birth. The moral story of this book is that change is inevitable in life and is the only constant and we need to adapt to change. It is a perfect addition to your child’s book collection.
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler:
When Mouse takes a stroll through the woods, he meets a fox, an owl, and a snake who all want to eat him! So Mouse invents a Gruffalo, a monster with "terrible tusks and terrible claws, terrible teeth, and terrible jaws." But will Mouse's frightful description be enough to scare off his foes? After all, there's no such thing as a Gruffalo . . . is there?
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury:
A family embarks on an exciting adventure to find a bear. On their journey, the family encounters many different terrains. They slide down a grassy slope, splash through a deep cold river, sludge through thick oozy mud, stumble through a deep dark forest, and walk through a swirling snowstorm. The family eventually reaches a narrow, gloomy cave where they come face to face with a bear, who chases them all the way back home.
The repetitive patterns encourage children to join in, and the simple story line makes it the perfect choice for working on children’s sequencing and narrative retelling skills. Basic descriptive language is modelled throughout the story, allowing children to improve their story retells through the use of adjectives.
The Day the Crayons Quit.
Written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers:
An imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way. Poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit! Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow no longer speak to each other. The battle lines have been drawn. What is Duncan to do?
Written and illustrated by Rod Campbell:
In Dear Zoo a child writes a letter to the zoo asking them to send them a pet. What zoo animal would you like as a pet? Maybe it is an elephant, a lion, or a frog. As the story unfolds, we discover that some animals are just not suitable as a pet. The ending will be a huge surprise.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
Written and illustrated by Judith Kerr:
The classic picture book story of Sophie and her extraordinary teatime guest has been loved by millions of children since it was first published more than fifty years ago. The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don't expect to see at the door is a big furry, stripy tiger! This warm and funny picture book story is perfect for reading aloud or for small children to read to themselves time and again.
In today’s world of families living far apart, grandparents often find they do not see as much of their grandchildren as they would like to. Thanks to modern technology and some creative ideas grandparents can build a long distance relationship with their grandchildren.
Try these 5 ways to build a bond from afar and be part of your grandchild’s life.
1. Face Time:
2. Special visits:
3. Picture Perfect:
4. Story Time:
5. Make use of phone apps.
1. Face Time.
Take advantage of technology on your mobile phone or computer. This will depend on the facilities you have and how comfortable you are with some technology. A regular Face Time where you can share your news and hear what your grandchild has been up to, is an invaluable communication tool. Don’t wait to start this quality time together. If your grandchild is not ready to participate, it will be a chance to hear your voice and see your face. Keep the time short and sweet for the best results. Children do not have a long span of concentration.
2. Special visits.
Visiting is more feasible for some grandparents than others. However, when you are able to visit, make sure you make the most of the time together. You, as the grandparent can make all the complimentary noises and positive affirmation little ones thrive on. Organise some great outings to build up a memory bank and capture the time on camera. Put the memories together into an album or create a photo book your grandchild will enjoy reading.
3. Picture Perfect.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that is so true of the pictures you share with your grandchild. Exchange pictures of you doing your favourite things and ask your family to share the ones of your grandchild you are sure to enjoy.
Hand drawn pictures from your little grandchild are often works of art you like to treasure. Start a gallery of pictures in your home. Ask your family to send pictures on the phone and you can have them printed and hang up in a grandparents gallery.
4. Story Time.
Stories are a wonderful medium to communicate with your grandchildren. Read and record a story for your grandchild or make up one about you. Create a story around one of your photographs. Pretend to read ‘The Daily News’ like a reporter and have a funny weather report.
You can create a picture book for your child that includes the names and photos of all of their family members. Go through the book and point to the faces and read their names for recognition. Include family pets and scenes from around your home.
5. Make use of Phone Apps.
Phones today have become full of a variety of communication tools. There is an app. for just about everything. Once you have overcome your reservations about technology you will enjoy these different apps that allow you to have personal and touching relationship with your grandchildren. An app recommended recently is called Touchnote. This app is recommended for more senior phone users! Your children can create the app and use it as a forum to share photos, news and even school events. You will feel via the app that you are a part of your grandchild’s day to day life. Your grandchild can feel the same as you send some snippets of your daily event too.
Take away tip:
Be proactive and start simple with one of the suggestions. When you have found your feet choose the idea you like the best and persevere with that one. When keeping your grandparent communication from a distance, being consistent is key to its success.
“I want, I want, I want” are familiar words from an early age. How do you begin to turn off the ‘Í want button’ and introduce an attitude of sharing and caring?
How do young children learn how to share with others?
Here are the top ten suggestions to encourage sharing:
10 WAYS TO TEACH SHARING TO TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS.
1. Share with your child.
Be a good role model. Children learn from the examples they see. Share some of your favourite treats with your child and make a point of saying what you are doing so they associate the words with the action.
2. Initiate social situations.
Organise outings where some interaction with others will be part of the day. Visit a playground or take part in a children’s museum adventure. Encourage your child to share sandbox toys with others, and take turns on the swings and outdoor equipment. Encourage your child to work in a group and
to do a science experiment or art project with other children.
3. Teach your child to take turns.
Start with a quick back-and-forth activity. Little games like rolling or tossing a ball back and forth teach your child how taking turns works. While you are playing the game, say - “your turn” and “my turn” whenever each of you has the ball.
Board and card games are great for learning to take turns, too.
4. Read Stories about Sharing.
There are some delightful books available about sharing.
Look for titles like:
‘Should I Share my Ice cream?’ by Mo Willems.
‘Norris the Bear who Shared.’ by Catherine Rayner.
‘I can Share,’ a lift the flap book by Karen Kaye.
Read the story and talk about the characters and how they shared and cared for others.
5. Sharing food.
Sharing portions of food like pizza is a great way to teach children how to give everyone a fair share. Let your child share out fruit slices or biscuits at teatime. Sharing food makes the action a real experience.
Not only will this help reinforce sharing, but it’s also a great math activity, too.
6. Keep in time and make music.
Tap out a tune on the xylophone and encourage your child to take a turn with the drum or the tambourine. Make your own maracas with some dried beans in a plastic bottle. Add in a drum beat and soon, you will have a big band sound going together.
7. Build something and tidy up together.
Share some blocks with each other and take turns to build a tower. Make and break up a puzzle together. When it’s time to put everything away, take turns putting toys back into the toy basket and share the task of tidying up.
8. Allocate “off limits” and “fair game” toys.
Your child may have a special toy or teddy that is their personal favourite. While you are still getting them to understand the concept of sharing, it might be easier to put this particular toy away before you have visitors.
Be sure to work with your child ahead of time to designate things that will be fair game and give choices — “Would you rather share your teddy bear or your stuffed dog?”
Remember there must be some sharing and help your child to understand sharing does not mean the other child will take the toy away. They, too, are sharing the toys.
9. Let them figure it out.
You do not have to resolve every difference your child may have with another over-sharing. Stand back and let your child try to solve their own differences. Listen for negotiation, and if it’s time to add your two cents, try to guide their conversation by encouraging them to work together or take turns.
10. Point out the positives.
Positive affirmation is always a plus factor. Look for situations where you can add a positive comment about your child’s willingness to share. Say things like, “You shared your toy — look how happy you made your friend” and “Thank you for letting me use your crayons…they helped me make this
Learning to share is a life skill that will encourage empathy and kindness toward others. These learned behaviours take time to perfect. A patient and caring attitude from parents is a good starting block. Persevere with building this skill and you will reap the benefits as you see how caring your child is of others.
Working from home is very challenging. It requires self-discipline and more focus on the job you are doing. Interruptions of all kinds come your way and getting back into work mode is not always easy. Trying to distinguish between work and home can be difficult and the lines between the two areas can become blurred.
The most significant part of the transition from work at home to home is probably the schedule. Having a timetable or schedule allows you to be kind to yourself and respect the boundaries you have put in place. Knowing it's OK to leave your office and have a snack or a break and then finally close down at the end of the day. The schedule enables you to mentally move between home and work, at home.
Children change lives. You may be a president or just one of the crowd, but when you raise a child, you will face life-changing moments.
Oprah Winfrey said:
“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” (Or father).
The time and effort that is dedicated to having a child is the life-changing part of the process of parenting. Life gets busy and you are bound to feel the changes going on around you. Here are some of those life-changing events you can expect.
1.Time and how you use it will take on new meaning.
Time is no longer about you and what you would like to do. There are many things to factor into the twenty-four hours you have in your day. Your schedule will change, making time to go out will change. Bedtimes and playtimes, feeding times and recreation ties will all take on new meaning as you factor in a child. It is not all doom and gloom! No there will be fun times, family times and times of great pride, but there will be new meaning to all those times.
2. Planning and organising your day is an important factor.
You will need to change your routine and priorities to fit in with the new person in your life. Getting a routine organised is a very helpful part of your parenting journey. Learn to be flexible, but always try to be organised.
3. Your sleep patterns will change for a while.
A new baby may wake you in the night as you establish night feeds and a sleep routine. Be prepared for some interrupted sleep. Make use of maternity leave, eager grandparents and the support of your partner if you can while you are managing your new sleep patterns.
4. You will see the world through different eyes, the eyes of a parent.
Your senses will be alerted to danger. You may feel more cautious and full of responsibility, but at the same time, you will be filled with wonder at the little details seen through the eyes of a child. You will appreciate the wonder of nature and the joy of family times.
5. Entertainment will need readjusting.
Your new baby will keep you amused as they reach their different milestones. Babies grow to be toddlers, preschoolers and go to primary school too. Each step of the way, there is different forms of entertainment. You are there to watch them grow, play sport, take part in different activities and all the while you are enjoying this new form of entertainment.
6. Relationships with others will change.
You are a parent. This responsibility changes your life with your partner and how you manage your home life. Family, especially your parents, will have a different role to play. Friends, work colleagues and neighbours will all have a new way of interacting with you.
7. Safety and security will become more important.
It is your responsibility as a parent to make sure your child is well taken care of. You will adjust with each phase and become alerted to different dangers as your child grows more confident.
8. Home economics will change.
You may become more fussy about food and less conscientious about being neat and tidy. Keeping up with a busy toddler may mean coming to some compromise here and there in your home environment while your child is little.
9. Decision-making is taken on a different level.
Every decision is made with your family in mind. Moving house, buying a car, going on holiday. Going to a new school and even the clothes you wear will take on new meaning.
10. Your heart will soften.
Your heart will melt at the slightest hint of a smile and you will feel an overwhelming sense of pride as your little one reaches their milestones growing up. Laughter, tears and all the responsibility rolled into one is how the new child changes your life.
Appreciate the little things that mean a lot. Keep a journal of the times you made special memories together. One day you will look back on the moments you treasured and delight in the way your child changed your life.
Imagine the absolute joy you would feel if you could talk to your baby.
Did you know that communicating with your baby, not talking but interacting, is completely possible? You can learn some basic baby sign language. Then with some simple hand gestures, you will be able to start to sign to your child. Babies are not ready for spoken language, but they are able to communicate through some basic signs. You may notice your baby starting to wave bye-bye or clap hands to show appreciation. These are common signs that children learn at a very young age.
Here are 12 basics for you to try.
Don’t worry about sign language leading to delays in speech. There is no indication of that happening. Learning sign language is just a tool that helps with communication and releases some of the frustration associated with the pre-language stage. Think of this like crawling and standing. They are pre-walking skills and help your baby to become mobile without taking away from learning how to walk. Learning sign does the same for communication and boosts your baby’s understanding of communication.
Babies show when they are becoming more sociable with their interaction via gurgling, babbling and making eye contact with you. When you see this behaviour, they may be ready for signing. Choose easy signs and try them often while saying the word and demonstrating the sign. Always use the same sign. When you see your baby use the sign, then offer lots of positive reinforcement. Clapping your hands together is a sign of appreciation. Well done!
I am bored there is nothing to do! These words ring loud warning bells for parents and alert them that it is time to find something for children to do. Many children do not want to be pushed away with a response that is boring, like find a toy or a book to read. No, children today want some action and they hope their parents will provide it.
I am bored there is nothing to do!
These words ring loud warning bells for parents and alert them that it is time to find something for their children to do. Many children do not want to be pushed away with a response that is boring, like find a toy or a book to read. No, children, today want some action and they hope their parents will provide it.
It is not always easy to come up with exciting ideas, but here are 10 suggestions of things you can try at home. These activities do not involve computers or any form of screen time.
Here are 10 suggestions of fun, creative and activity-based things you can try at home -
1. Organise a scavenger hunt.
This is a great activity to play inside or outside. You need to make a list of the things to be collected and give each child a box or basket to collect the items in. Make sure beforehand that the objects to collect are all visible because you don’t want your scavenger hunters to tear your
house or your garden apart. Make the hunt more challenging by setting a time limit with a timer.
Another interesting idea is to give the children a matchbox and tell them this is a mini scavenger hunt. There is no list, but they must find as many things as they can that must fit into the matchbox. The child with the most things wins the prize.
2. Have a picnic party.
Organise a simple picnic to have in the garden or even inside if the weather is not great. Put out juice to drink and some goodies to eat. Play some party games during the picnic party, like musical bumps or hide and go seek. Pass the parcel is another enjoyable game for everyone. Make pass the parcel more fun by hiding extra prizes between the different layers of paper. In that way everyone gets something.
3. Play board games.
There are so many wonderful board games to choose from and entertain children of all ages. They will learn counting and sharing skills too. Board games and card games are entertaining for the whole family. Your children like it when you join in and play the game with them if you have the time.
4. Try some easy science experiments at home.
There are many great ideas to try at home with household ingredients. You need to supervise this activity, but it will be fun to see the children’s reactions.
Here are some suggestions:
Make invisible ink with lemon juice.
Try to make slime with borax and glue.
Make a lemon fizz with food colouring dropped onto a sliced lemon. Add a little baking soda prinked onto a sliced lemon. Watch the fizz reaction.
Make non-sticky putty from cornstarch and dish soap.
5. Have a ‘baker-baker’ morning.
Depending on your child’s age and ability in the kitchen, make arrangements to have baking activities. This could just be icing ready-made biscuits or store-bought cupcakes. You may want to make your own cookie dough and cut and create your own biscuits. Mix colourful icing and have some biscuit décor like sprinkles and silver bobbles to finish the decorating. Then everyone can enjoy a teatime treat.
6. Dress up and act out.
A dress-up box full of fancy dress clothes, shoes and bags and scarves too, is a great way to entertain at home. Kids love to dress up and then even produce their own plays for your enjoyment. They can mime to songs or dance to music. You can teach older children how to play charades.
7. Make a tent indoors and camp in it.
Children love to get creative with old blankets and sheets and make a tent or den inside. Let them drape blankets over a table and have a camp-in experience. They will love creating the tent and dragging their bedding or some sleeping bags to pretend to be camping there.
8. Organise a treasure hunt.
A simple hunt for some items spread around the house is a fun indoor activity, or you can take the treasure hunt outside. Younger children respond to picture clues, while older children can read little rhymes or written clues to find the spot where the next clue is hidden. When all the clues are found and they have the treasure.
9. Search and rescue.
This is another challenge for children who love to find things. You can hide cut out hearts and tell the children they need to find however many you have hidden. When they are found, another child takes a turn to hide the hearts.
10. Artistic Freedom
Put out a roll of butcher block paper. Unroll as many feet as you can use in the space you have. This is your artists canvass. Supply the artists with markers, stencils, stickers, stamps and stars. Depending on the age of the children, add water paints and pastels. Give the artists freedom to create and see how many little Picassos you have in your household.
Hopefully, with these suggestions, you will not have to hear those three annoying little words - I am bored- in your house ever again. You will be well-equipped with some brilliant ideas to save the day from boredom.
We're thrilled to bring you a complete Kido preschool experience at home. Weekly activities across Literacy, STEM, Math, Art and Physical Development, complete with video guides and worksheets!
Kido's Preschool at Home program is developed for parents who want that something little extra for their children to do at home. Now you don't need to scour the internet for age-appropriate learning activities for your child or spend hours going through YouTube videos to select appropriate activities.
The program is designed by our curriculum team, specifically to be delivered at home. Our proprietary worksheets have been made available for you and your child to do at home, and over 1,000 activity guide videos have been specifically recorded for the program, so you don't have to do the work!
All you need is 20-30 minutes each day with your child, and learning activities will ensure that your child is developing across the key areas of Literacy, Math, STEM, Art and Physical development. And of course, doing these with your child is invaluable bonding time for both of you!
Take a look under the Programs section and try out some of the activities. The learning plans will be released on a monthly basis for the next four weeks at a time.