How You Can Strengthen Family Relationships in the New Year

Do you want to strengthen family relationships this new year?

Family is the most important thing to all of us so naturally, when we think of how to bring even more happiness and success to the new year, spending more time together is pretty much at the top of our list. If you want to strengthen family relationships in the coming year, here are some great ideas that are easy to implement straight away!

1. Follow a routine

Over the Christmas holidays, it’s easy for daily routines to get scraped but what many families don’t know is that lack of structure can be a massive source of stress for children (not to mention the parents too!). As it’s the start of the new year, make sure you start it off right by returning to your usual bedtime and morning routines or by creating new ones. Trust us when we say everyone will be a lot more positive as a result of it!

2. Plan regular family time

Regular family time is vitally important for maintaining a strong sense of togetherness, so to strengthen family relationships this year, get into the habit of planning family time once a week. This could be something as simple as having a film or board games night or planning a weekend trip somewhere. The most important thing is to make the most of this time together so this means no phones!

A family having a water fight outdoors

3. Practice gratitude

Being grateful for one another is very important for bringing each other closer together so resolve to make gratitude a habit in your family this year. Whether it’s having everyone say one thing they are thankful for before dinner, starting a family journal or simply emphasizing the importance of saying “please” and “thank you,” teaching your children (and yourself) to be grateful for what you have is essential for building relationships and for getting through hard times.

4. Improve your communication skills

Communication problems are at the heart of almost every relationship and family issue so why not aim to do better this year? This means teaching your children about the importance of honesty and transparency but also modelling this type of communication to them too! This can be a difficult one to master but if your children see you trying, they will follow suit and you will strengthen family relationships along the way.

5. Support one another in your individual resolutions

Building your family relationships isn’t just about spending time together, it should involve working on yourself too. Sit down together and ask each person what new healthy habit they would like to work on this year. For little ones, this might be as simple as doing more arts and crafts, but whatever answers people give, you should brainstorm as a family the ways you can support each other and follow this through throughout the year. As your children grow so will the trust in your family relationships and you’ll all feel just how much you can depend on one another for support.

Two little girls hugging and laughing outside

6. Get fit together

Habits are easier to keep when you do them with someone, plus it brings you closer! Whether it’s spending more time outdoors each day, getting to bed early or adding more fruit and veg to your daily dishes, sit down and decide as a family how you will prioritise your health this year. If you all decide together, you’ll all be far more likely to stick to it!

7. Prioritise one-on-one time as much as possible

Whether you have one child or several, it’s essential that you have some one-on-one time with them every day. Even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes, commit to spending some time each day to play with your child and to listen to what they’ve done that day. These interactions show your children how much they mean to you, especially if you’re praising them for a task that they’ve done well that day. This does wonders for their self-esteem and to strengthen family relationships.

8. Praise your child for positive behaviour

While it is important to correct misbehaviour, it is just as essential to praise the type of behaviour that you want from your children. For this new year, try to do this more. Even if it’s just telling them how thankful you are for them, how much you appreciated that they put their toys away or how proud you are of their accomplishments however big or small. Your children can sense how genuine your statements are and if you accompany these with a pat on the back or a big hug, it will help to bring you closer.

 

It’s always a good time to strengthen family relationships

We are talking about starting the year right, but there’s never a bad time to strengthen family relationships! Whatever time of year, start practising gratitude, communicate openly with each other, and prioritise quality time together – you’ll soon see that you’ll have stronger relationships because of it.

a little boy holding his mother's face


At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice? Find more from us here:

How to Encourage Your Little Ones to Be More Independent

While it feels amazing to have our children need us and there are moments where we’d love to keep our little ones little forever, as parents, we do know that our job is to help our children grow into independent and confident adults who contribute to society.

Now, this may be an unwelcome and even scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be! Why? Because your children will always need you whether it’s to change their nappy and tie their shoes or to financially plan and choose a university.

To help your children grow into self-sufficient and successful grown-ups, here is how to encourage independence while they are young.

Why is independence so important?

Have you noticed that all babies and young children tend to ‘want to do things by themselves?’ This tendency is the beginning of independence and, as a parent, it is really important for you to encourage this.

As well as promoting confidence and self-esteem along with nurturing a true sense of belonging, there are many Reasons Why It Is so Important to Encourage Independence In Children. Read our previous blog to find out more!

How to encourage independence (8 tips!)

1. Encourage exploration

To keep our children safe, especially in the early years, we keep them on a fairly short “leash.” While this is necessary to protect them and to build their sense of security as it teaches them that they always have a safe place to return to, sometimes it can lead to too much dependence and therefore, a lack of self-confidence.

Once your children have established their sense of security, it’s down to you to encourage them to explore the world beyond your safety net. This allows them to test their own capabilities, to learn about themselves, and to start to find a sense of competence, security, and independence within themselves.

2. Praise effort

Always try to praise the effort of trying rather than doing something right. Not only does this reduce frustration and anxiety for your children when they try to perform a task, but it also ensures that they don’t become afraid to fail. Children who have a fear of failure won’t even try, so don’t focus on the results!

To nurture independence, encourage your children to try new things, to go beyond their comfort zones and be creative without the pressure of succeeding. If you praise the effort of them doing so then they will be much more willing to keep trying new tasks in the future.

3. Give them the choice

When thinking about how to encourage independence in your children, one of the easiest ways is to turn over the reins to them. Give them the choice. There are so many decisions that are made every day, so pose the question to them. Do you want an apple or banana today? Do you want to wear your red shoes or blue shoes? 

Allowing children to make simple choices gives them a sense of control and dominion over their lives which leads to independent thinking. It also helps them take ownership of those choices and to feel accountable for them at a very basic level. Think about it, how can they have a tantrum over wearing red shoes when they picked them?

A little girl looking into a bowl with fruit in it

4. Include them in the family

If your children feel like they play an important role within your family, then you’ll soon find that they’ll want to help with even more tasks! To encourage independence, assign them a task within the usual family routines. This could be something as simple as setting out napkins at dinner or putting the toys away before bed. As well as independence, this also builds confidence and makes them feel a sense of pride that this is their job as well as satisfaction when they do it well.

Find out more about Age Appropriate Chores for Children to Help Them Learn Valuable Life Skills!

5. Promote problem-solving

Just like giving your children a choice, you can also give them the opportunity to come up with solutions to problems too. Try asking them “how?” questions such as “how do you think you could have made your brother feel better after you took their toy?” and “how can we clean up this mess we’ve made?” This is an easy way to foster independent thinking and you’ll soon find they’ll become excellent problem solvers!

Independence tip: as they get older, try to involve them in planning and rule-making too. Not only will they be more willing to follow them, but this also ensures that your decisions address their needs and interests too!

6. Add to your routines

While fostering independence is important for growth and development, our little ones are still young and prone to becoming overwhelmed. To prevent them from getting frustrated, try adding some independent tasks to their existing routines; it could be something as simple as helping them learn to take their socks off themselves as they get ready for bed or to help you put the toys away before dinner. Children find comfort and safety in structure, so add these in over time.

A little boy reaching into a toy box

7. Be patient and have fun

Becoming independent obviously isn’t going to happen overnight so be patient with the process and make it fun! Children learn best through hands-on experience and practice so find what works for them. Some children may need a more structured approach (e.g. learning a new skill every month in a fun and engaging way before moving on to the next), while others may benefit just from you encouraging free exploration throughout the day.

If you’re becoming stressed from thinking about how to encourage independence, take a step back and see what your child is naturally taking an interest in. Start there and soon you’ll find that other ‘child-led’ activities will start to happen organically.

8. Learn when to coddle

It’s an amazing feeling watching your little ones accomplish tasks for themselves, your heart will swell with pride. However, as much as independence is an important quality to nurture, it is important that you remember that they are still little too. There will be moments where they will need to be comforted and they’ll need the freedom to act like “babies” again so be flexible and give them the type of support that they need at that moment.

Don’t be scared!

Raising your children to be independent thinkers and to take a proactive role in their everyday lives is a necessary task as a parent, so don’t be afraid of it. It won’t mean that your little ones will need you any less!

If you give your children love and respect, if you show confidence in your children’s capabilities, if you teach them how to control their lives and give them the freedom to make their own decisions, all you are doing is making sure that they can take the best care of themselves while you’re not there and teaching them that they always have you to turn to when they need help or support.


At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice on how to encourage independence? Find more from us here:

Tips to Get Your Kids to Bed When They Try to Stall at Bedtime

“I’m hungry?” , “Can I have another story?” , “I need a drink of water?” , “I need to go to the toilet”

…do any of these sound familiar?

If you’re having trouble with the bedtime routine, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Studies have found about a quarter of children aged between 1 and 5 will actively resist bedtime by calling out to you or leaving their bedroom after being put to bed.

It’s a very hard transition for some young kids, separating from their parents at the end of the day, so to help you ease them into sleeping alone, here are some quick tips for overcoming the ‘stalling at bedtime’ routine.

6 tips to overcome stalling at bedtime

1. Accept that this is going to take time

Perfecting the bedtime routine is likely to take up a good part of your evening for a few weeks as you train your little ones, so the sooner you accept this, the less frustrated you will feel in the moment. Children tend to feel how you are feeling which doesn’t help them to fall asleep so try your best to stay as relaxed as possible.

2. Work out their bedtime

Sometimes, stalling at bedtime could be because your little ones aren’t really tired yet. If they are still napping in the day, assess whether they are ready to give up that afternoon nap or push back their bedtime to half an hour later. As toddlers become young children, they need less sleep than they did in the day so consider helping them transition. It’ll make your life a whole lot easier!

A baby lying on his stomach

3. Lie down with them until they settle or fall asleep

Many parents resort to this tactic because it is the easiest and it works! It can be a difficult habit to break, however, and sometimes this isn’t an ideal way for you to spend your time. While bedtime is a great time to connect, here are some steps you can take to help your child learn to fall asleep by themselves:

  • First, lie down with your child and tell them that you will leave when they are asleep.
  • After a few nights, lie down with them and tell them that you are going to leave before they fall asleep. Remind them again about 5 minutes before you actually get up and make a point of reassuring them that you will come and check on them in 10 minutes.
  • After they get used to this, start to sit in a chair beside the bed and leave before they actually fall asleep. Offer your child a teddy bear or blanket to cuddle with instead of you.
  • Gradually move the chair closer to the door and shorten the amount of time you stay.

4. Cover all the bases before you tuck them in!

If you make sure that your child has had a snack, some water, they’ve used the bathroom, and they have their chosen cuddly toy or blanket all before they are tucked in, this will minimise the chances of them making excuses to get back up again. This will help most of the time, but remember that nobody is perfect! Sometimes we even climb into bed and need to get back up again to use the toilet!

5. Ask your child what would make them feel comfortable

If you feel like the stalling at bedtime is never going to end, talk to your child. Ask them what is wrong and why they won’t go to sleep. Some won’t be able to answer but some may surprise you! Maybe it’s something as simple as leaving a night light on or installing a rail so that they feel more secure in bed. It could even be something as nonsensical as a certain object looking “creepy” in the dark which once removed makes all the difference!

A little girl sleeping with a teddy

6. Try a bedtime pass

If you’ve tried everything and your child is still stalling at bedtime, one of the most effective techniques to overcome this is said to be the “bedtime pass.” When your little one has one pass for each excuse they use (e.g. one pass to get a drink after bedtime), they soon learn that they can only use it once. Any other time your child gets out of bed and leaves their room, you just simply return them to their bed without comment. Children learn by association so after a few nights, you’ll soon find that they will leave their room less or not at all!

Remember to be patient and consistent!

Overcoming stalling at bedtime can feel like a mammoth task but a lot of parents have made it through to the other end! All it takes is a lot of patience, a lot of consistency, and a lot of praise when they go to bed straight away.

 

 


At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice? Find more from us here:

Top Tips on Getting Your Kids Out of Bed and Off to School

After the relaxed, lazy days of Summer, early mornings, packed schedules and homework are not welcome! The change of pace is enough of a shock but now the mornings are getting colder and darker too. As if it wasn’t already difficult enough to get the kids out of bed and off to school!

To get the kids used to earlier wake-up times (without creating chaos), here are some quick tips on getting your kids out of bed.

Tip 1: Get them to bed earlier

The easiest way to get back to your routine of early mornings is to get your little ones to bed earlier. For example, about a week before school starts, wake them up an hour earlier than usual (e.g. if your 6-year-old is going to bed at 9 p.m. but needs to get back to an 8 p.m. bedtime for school, wake them up at 7 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.).

After a couple of days, slightly adjust this again by making their bedtime slightly earlier and waking them up earlier too (e.g. now their bedtime will be 8:30 p.m. and you will be waking them up at 6:30 a.m.). Over time, their body clock will adapt to an earlier bedtime and wake up time naturally, you just have to remember to start this a couple of days in advance!

a girl sleeping with a teddy

Tip 2: Stick to a healthy evening routine

The evening routine is an essential one so ease your kids back into this the week before school starts. After dinner, turn off all technology and spend some quality time together. This could be something as simple as helping them lay out their clothes for the morning and then reading a book together. If you keep everything calm in the evenings, you can be sure that your children will wind-down a lot easier ready for an earlier bedtime.

Example evening routine:

  • Homework and use of technology after school.
  • Dinner at a set time (this could be the technology cut off for the evening).
  • Choose and lay out clothes for the morning and pack their school bag with them.
  • Use the bathroom and brush their teeth.
  • Drink a little bit of water before they sleep.

Tip 3: Set a tech cut off

Even though we mentioned this in the tip above, we can’t stress enough how important limiting technology in the evenings is to your children’s health. As our children are growing and developing, sleep is just as essential to their health as the right nutrition is.

If your children use a lot of technology before going to bed, they can get less shuteye than they need. This may not seem like a massive issue but over time, this can lead to daytime inattention, exhaustion, and generally poor quality and duration of sleep.

We know that limiting technology can be difficult, especially with older children but it will help you substantially when getting your kids out of bed in the mornings. Put simply, exposure to blue light emitted from electronic devices tricks our brains into thinking that it’s daytime and time to stay awake so limit this for your children in the evenings.

A young boy staring at a tv screen

Tip 4: Help them create a wake-up routine

Having a wake-up routine will help your children get ready (as overtime, our body works on autopilot when it comes to repetition) but it will also help you to create a well-oiled machine to get your little ones out the door on time! Getting your kids out of bed and off to school is far easier with a wake-up routine so consider implementing one like the one below into your mornings.

Example morning routine:

  • Set a calming alarm.
  • Encourage your children to drink some water.
  • Use the bathroom, wash their face and brush their teeth.
  • Make the bed and get changed.
  • Have something warm for breakfast.
  • Check their bag before leaving for school.

Tip 5: Invest in a lightbox

If there is a lack of morning light (especially during the Winter), you may find that buying a lightbox helps your little one’s wake-up. The idea is that, just like morning light, the lightbox will increase the intensity of light gradually to naturally wake your children. Natural wake up times lead to many benefits such as your children feeling more awake in the mornings with a better mood, higher energy, and they will likely be a lot more productive in school too!

 

It just takes planning, preparation & practice

Getting your kids out of bed shouldn’t be difficult, it just takes planning, preparation, and practice! Whether you need to get them back into a routine after the summer holidays or adapt their routines as they grow older, by using these tips, you will be able to do so with no problems. They’ll also allow you to help them develop healthy habits too which will help in those teenage years when sleep is a way of life!

Two girls drawing


At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice? Find more from us here:

Reasons Why It Is so Important to Encourage Independence In Children

Have you noticed that all babies and young children tend to ‘want to do things by themselves?’ This tendency is the beginning of independence and, as a parent, it is really important for you to encourage this. Here’s why.

Independence is important because…

  1. It promotes confidence and self-esteem as well as motivation and perseverance in school.
  2. It fosters self-reliance, allowing your child to feel they have control over their life.
  3. It gives your child a sense of importance and belonging which is essential for building social relationships and for contributing to the world.
  4. It develops their levels of self-awareness and sensitivity towards others which teaches them to help those around them.
  5. It teaches them self-motivation as they have the freedom to find their own reasons to achieve.
  6. It provides them with the belief that they are competent and capable of taking care of themselves which makes them resilient to external challenges.
  7. It allows them to become good decision-makers as they have the freedom to consider various options before choosing the one they feel is best.
  8.  It develops other vital qualities such as patience, concentration, self-help, cooperation, self-discipline and self-trust.
  9. It gives them the freedom to experience life fully and learn its many important lessons. 
  10. It makes them happy and healthy as they feel a great sense of achievement and success as a direct result of their own actions.

Find out Why it is Essential to Encourage a Growth Mindset in Your Children!

A boy dressed as a superhero

Giving ‘our little people’ the gift of independence lets them know that we value them so that they grow up with a strong sense of self-belief that they can do anything they put their mind to. Not only does this help our children grow and develop, but it also fosters them to be confident and competent communicators, curious and resilient explorers, and creative thinkers.

Start to encourage independence

You may not want your little ones to grow up too quickly but independence is something they need to learn. If they don’t, then they may react with anger and resistance, suffer from feelings of abandonment, and develop a seemingly indifferent attitude.

The last thing we want for our children is for them to feel insecure and be vulnerable to external hazards, so start to encourage independence now. This will help them to develop into strong, competent and capable adults ready to take on the world and its challenges.

Now you know WHY it’s important to encourage independence in your children, read our next blog to learn HOW!


At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice? Find more from us here:

How to Celebrate Halloween as a Family

Halloween can be a really exciting time of year. With less pressure than Christmas but more festivity than other occasions, it is a perfect opportunity to bond with your kids and spend some quality time together as a family. Even if you’re not the biggest Halloween fan, creating family Halloween traditions teaches your children the importance of little celebrations. To make the most of Halloween, here are fun activities that you can use to spend as much time together as a family.

1. Pumpkin Picking & Carving

One of the best family activities that you can all do in the run-up to Halloween is to go pumpkin picking at a local farm! Once you’ve picked your pumpkins, you can then let your little ones decide where to place them and how to decorate or carve them.

2. Decorate the House

Children love to take part in hands-on activities so give them the ultimate challenge of converting the house into a spooky mansion. For some easy and cost-effective ideas, see here for some family-friendly Halloween craft.

A pumpkin with welcome carved into it

3. Read Halloween Stories

Children love stories so why not find some Halloween-themed books to read them in the weeks leading up to the 31st of October? Not only will reading these stories help young children understand what the holiday is and what they can expect from trick-or-treating, but it is also precious quality time with each other every evening.

4. Watch Scary (but not really) Cartoons

At least one night before Halloween, set aside the time to watch a film or cartoons as a family. There are some great family-friendly Halloween films such as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Monster House, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Watch them with some Halloween treats!

5. Make Halloween Costumes

On the build-up to Halloween, find some worn-out clothes and get creating! You can find all kinds of things around the house to create some great homemade outfits for the kids to dress up and act out some spooky scenarios.

6. Go Trick or Treating

Whether you buy your Halloween costumes or make them as a family, whip them out for any Halloween parties and to go trick-or-treating. Get the whole family involved and teach your children all about sharing and giving as they pass out sweets to children who visit their house too.

7. Bake Spooktacular Treats

Often, some of the best quality family time is spent in the kitchen. Yes, you may make a mess and yes, you will have to clean it up but trust us when we say, many of your happy memories and lifelong traditions will be made when you’re making scary treats.

Halloween cakes and toy spiders

Make memories this Halloween and every year to come

Use these Halloween activities to spend quality time as a family this holiday and to create family traditions that will be passed down to the next generations!


At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice? Find more from us here:

From Newborn to 12 Months: A Quick Guide to a Baby’s Sleep Schedule

Having a newborn baby is exhausting, especially in those early days but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Yes, in those first few weeks, sleepless nights will feel never-ending but trust us when we say that you will master sleep schedules somewhere along the way and you will be enjoying a full nights sleep every night again soon. To help you navigate the unpredictable sleep schedules of a newborn’s first year, here is our quick guide.

A rough guide to your baby’s sleep schedule

A baby’s sleep schedule is completely unique to each baby but there are some patterns that we’ve outlined here to help guide you through that first year. Here’s what to expect at each stage.

0-6 weeks

In the first few weeks, a newborn’s sleep schedule will be irregular and erratic. Think of this stage as the sleep-eat-poop cycle where the baby will sleep the majority of the time, only waking to eat and be cleaned up. Although the baby is asleep for many hours in this first stage, this is the usually the most exhausting stage for parents as they are unable to get more than a few hours of sleep themselves at a time.

Sleep tip: Avoid introducing sleep aids or associations if you can, but ultimately, just do what you need to do to make sure both you and your baby are getting enough rest.

Suggested schedule 

Wake up: 7 AM

Total time asleep: 15-18 hours

Naps: 3-5 naps each lasting 15 minutes to 3 hours long

Time awake between naps: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Bed time: 9:30-11 PM

Longest stretch of sleep in night: typically 2-4 hours 

a father with his baby lying on his chest

2-3 months

Once you have survived the first few weeks, you should start to see the resemblance of a sleep pattern emerging! By this time, you’ll still be exhausted from the first 6 weeks so you will be more than happy to be getting more sleep. Around the 2-3 month mark, your baby will be able to stay awake a little longer between sleeps and you’ll start to get an idea of the times that they tend to get sleepy.

Sleep tip: Avoid introducing bad habits at this stage such as feeding or rocking to sleep. These aren’t sustainable in the long run so the aim is to lay a solid foundation for healthy sleep patterns from the get-go. To do this, take note of your baby’s ‘sleepy’ cues so that you can put them down to sleep before they become overtired.

Suggested schedule 

Wake up: 6-6:30 AM

Total time asleep: 14-16 hours

Naps: 3-4 naps each lasting 30 minutes to 3 hours long

Time awake between naps: 45 minutes to 2 hours

Bed time: 8-10 PM

Longest stretch of sleep in night: typically 3-6 hours 

 

4-6 months

Just when you thought that you were getting a handle on your baby’s sleep patterns, they now may start to change. Around the 4-6 month mark is a time of transition for your baby, a transition that is different for each individual. Where some babies may be down to just 2 naps per day and sleeping all through the night, others may be experiencing a sleep regression or fighting to get their baby to sleep during nap-time.

The good news is is that this transition is only temporary and a full nights sleep is on the cards very soon!

Sleep tip: Transitions are challenging. Some may be visible such as transitioning out of swaddling or moving from a bassinet to the crib but some you may not be able to see. By now, you know your baby and their needs so note any changes and adapt accordingly.

Suggested schedule 

Wake up: 7-8 AM

Total time asleep: 12-15 hours

Naps: 3 naps each lasting 1 to 3 hours long

Time awake between naps: 1.5 to 2.5 hours

Bed time: 8:30-9:30 PM

Longest stretch of sleep in night: typically 4-8 hours 

A newborn baby sleeping

6-10 months

At this stage of a baby’s first year, you should see a distinct sleeping pattern and, at some point, your baby should be reaching the ‘sleeping through the night’ milestone. If yours isn’t, however, try not to worry too much. Every baby is different and some take longer to progress than others – 70-80% of babies are sleeping through the night by 9 months old.

Sleep tip: If you want to reach this milestone quicker, begin to implement a consistent bedtime routine, learn your baby’s sleepiness cues, and start breaking any sleep associations in the months previous.

Suggested schedule 

Wake up: 7 AM

Total time asleep: 11-15 hours

Naps: 2-3 naps each lasting 1 to 3 hours long

Time awake between naps: 2 to 3 hours

Bed time: 8-9:30 PM

Longest stretch of sleep in night: typically 5-10 hours 

 

10-12 months

By the end of their first year, your baby should be starting to sleep through the night whilst spending much more of their day playing and exploring instead of sleeping (albeit a few day time naps). The biggest challenge now is any potential sleep setbacks. Although sleep regression usually happens at 8-10 months old, some babies can experience it at 12 months old. This can be caused by changes to their routine or environment, by separation anxiety or different milestones.

Sleep tip: Avoid sleep setbacks by staying consistent in your routine. This minimises confusion and prevents sleep regression.

Suggested schedule 

Wake up: 6-7:30 AM

Total time asleep: 11-14 hours

Naps: 1-2 naps each lasting 1 to 2 hours long

Time awake between naps: 2.5 to 3.5 hours

Bed time: 8-9 PM

Longest stretch of sleep in night: typically 7-12 hours 

a toddler asleep face down on the bed

A few sleepy tips to remember!

Your baby’s sleep schedule is incredibly important, so here are a few tips to remember to make getting them to sleep just that little bit easier.

  • Pay attention to your baby’s sleepy cues so that they don’t become overtired. Overtired babies will become fussy and harder to settle for sleep.
  • Learn your baby’s sleep cycle so that you can identify when anything changes.
  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep. Remember the ABCs of safe sleepAlone, on their Backs in an empty Crib or bassinet.
  • Stay consistent with the feeding and sleep schedule, adapt to your baby’s changes and most importantly institute that consistent bedtime routine.

 

You know best when it comes to your baby’s sleep schedule

Every baby is different so don’t worry if your baby isn’t following the most common milestones that we have mentioned in this guide. You know your baby, you know their habits and needs, and you know when something isn’t quite right, so follow your own baby’s sleep schedule and foster healthy sleeping habits that will set them up for the future.

 

At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice? Find more from us here:

The 4-step Guide to Clean a Messy House Fast

Although our children are little, they can sweep through our houses like tornadoes in a matter of minutes leaving mess and destruction in their place. As parents, we are then left to pick up the pieces thinking “how can something so small make such a big mess?”

In moments where we need a tidy space to reclaim our sanity but we know that our efforts will be completely null and void the very next day, we need to clean a messy house fast. Here are 4 quick and easy ways to do just that.

A clean house comes down to 4 key areas

Want your house to look tidy in a flash? If you’re overwhelmed with mess and don’t know where to start, these 4 areas are key. If you tackle these first, these will have the most visual impact and your house will look clean and tidy and ready for guests in no time.

  1. Start with surfaces

Cluttered worktops and tabletops make your home look a lot messier than it actually is so clear these surfaces first. Whether you just stack the items into organized piles or put the items away in their designated places, the space will immediately appear bigger and much tidier and ready to welcome guests.

Cleaning tip: what are the items that are frequently cluttering your surfaces? If they are piles of important documents, file them on a shelf elsewhere; if they are magazines or books, read them and recycle or give them to charity; and if they are toys, put them away.

  1. Wipe down the kitchen

The kitchen should be next on your list when it comes to trying to clean a messy house fast. Why? Because it is such an integral part of your home and one of the most popular places to congregate. When tidying this hotspot, try to clean and tidy generally so that it looks spick and span on the surface.

Cleaning tip: clear off the worktops first so that they have as few items on them as possible. Next, wipe down the worktops and appliances, clean the sink and sweep the floors to make the space look clean and open.

a clean kitchen

  1. Tackle the bathrooms all at once

Bathrooms can look grubby because of their white surfaces, but what’s great about bathrooms is that they don’t take long to clean and they look so good when they are. When you clean your bathrooms, clean them all at once. Keep a bucket under your sink with a sponge, multi-surface cleaner, kitchen roll, and bin bags, and just take this from room to room with you to tackle them all quickly. 

Cleaning tip: if you’re short on time and a guest is coming over, just clean the bathroom that they will be using. Add a diffuser to make it smell even nicer.

  1. Finish with the floors

The last area that you should focus on to clean a messy house fast is the floors. As they are such a big surface area, you’ll be surprised how much of an impact an open and clean floor makes. Just sweeping floors in a rush can make a massive difference visually, but if you have the time, mopping the floors and hoovering the rugs and carpeted areas can completely transform rooms.

Cleaning tip: sprinkle baking soda on carpets and let it sit for 20 minutes before hoovering. You’ll find that this helps with stubborn odours.

A tidy house means a tidy mind

While a messy house is a symbol of a home well-lived in full of memories, there are always moments where it can get you down. To keep on top of the cleaning, try tackling these 4 areas frequently and you’ll soon find that your house looks tidy and smells great the majority of the time. If not, just whip out these 4 tricks when you are expecting a guest!

A boy dressed as a superhero

At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

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The Best 20-Minute Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained

Do you ever want 20-minutes of uninterrupted, child-free time? Let me re-phrase that – do you ever need 20-minutes of uninterrupted, child-free time?

Unless you are a superhero parent with multiple arms and a renewable amount of energy, I’m sure that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “Yes.”

Whether you want some peace and quiet to unload the dishwasher, clean up the kitchen after dinner or just to sit down with a cup of tea by yourself, here are numerous go-to activities that you can have on hand to keep your little ones entertained.

12 go-to activities for kids

1. Playdough

Let your children’s imaginations run wild and allow them to explore the feeling of playdough as they manipulate it to make special shapes. Throw in some cookie cutters, a rolling pin and other household objects and you have a fun-filled activity that will last more than 20 minutes!

2. Slime

There are not many things more fun than playing with containers full of slime. Younger children love to explore the feel of it while older children like to create slime-filled scenes with other toys. (not suitable for under 3’s)

3. Sticker books

Young children love sticker books especially when they can create pictures themselves such as funny faces. Sticker books are perfect distractions for short periods.

two boys reading a book

4. Hidden picture books

A perfect 20-minute activity for the 5+ age group as hidden picture books take focus. You can stow away a few different picture books for a rainy day such as the good old “Where’s Wally?” and your kids will love the distraction.

5. Water wow books

If you want to entertain your little ones for a short period, simply fill up a painting pen with water and let them colour the pages of their water wow books. When they do so, vibrant pictures will be revealed until they dry again just 5-minutes later.

6. Water beads

Not only are they extremely inexpensive, but they are also incredibly fun too! You buy them as tiny little sprinkles and once you let them sit in water, they expand to the size of jelly beans. These are great fun and perfect for tactile learning. (supervision required for under 3’s)

7. Water colouring

Watercolours are a great minimal-mess alternative to arts and crafts and painting. Not only that but they are easy to set-up, quick to tidy away, and they will stimulate your children’s creativity for the time being.

A child painting

8. Building blocks/supplies

Building supplies such as Lego, magnet tiles or wooden blocks can keep your little ones entertained for hours as they are only limited by their imaginations. If you want to, you can also create your own supply kit of junk modelling by collecting items such as toilet paper rolls, coffee filters, adhesive tape, and stickers etc.

9. Art supplies box

Similarly to the building supplies box, create your own art supplies box for your kids to experiment with. Items such as cardboard, glitter pens, tape, felt, pipe cleaners, and ribbon are perfect.

10. Sensory bins

Sensory bins are great for stimulating creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. With this activity, you can get creative too! For the Winter, create a snow sensory bin and fill it with snow, small shovels, cups and toys. You can even fill squirt guns with dilute food colouring too so that they can paint the snow.

11. Gel window clings

A perfect 20-minute activity whether in the house or travelling in the car. You can get all kinds of gel window clings and let your child create different scenes.

12. Temporary race track

A super easy activity for your children when you need some time alone is to give them rolls of painter’s tape. They can transform the floor into a race track, taking time to design their city and playing until their hearts are content.

Lego cars

Tips to remember!

To get the most out of your 20-minute activities or to create your own, it’s useful to keep these three things in mind:

1) Keep these activities separate from the ‘everyday toys’ – have a draw in the kitchen or a box in one of the cupboards reserved just for these activities that you need when you need 20-minutes to yourself.

2) Rotate the activities – that way, they won’t lose their appeal and you’ll be met with excitement every time you bring them out.

3) Make sure these activities are quick to set up – this just makes your life so much easier!

You deserve some quiet time

As parents, we always have a lot to do and sometimes we just need our quiet time. By having these 12 20-minute activities to hand, you can always make sure that the kids are stimulated and entertained while you enjoy no interruptions.

Two little girls hugging and laughing outside

At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice? Find more from us here:

A Guide to Nap Transition: How to Start Reducing Your Baby’s Naps

Is your baby refusing to nap or shortening their nap on their own? If you feel like your daytime routine is suddenly getting off track, it might just be because a nap transition is coming on.

In the first few years of your baby’s life, establishing a solid nap schedule and bedtime routine is arguably the most important element. Not only for your sanity but because these years are full of changes, growth spurts, and milestones for your baby.

Sleep schedules are a revolving door of adjustments and pain points, but like with most things in life, with a lot of trial and error they can be mastered. To help you start reducing your baby’s naps, here’s our quick nap transition guide which tells you how much your baby should be sleeping, how to spot when you need to start reducing naps, and finally how to start dropping them.

When does my baby need to drop a nap?

From a newborn to preschool-aged, a baby will transition from sleeping nearly all day to a single nap per day before giving it up entirely between the age of 3-5.

Like everything else when it comes to babies, however, there is no set schedule for this. Every baby is different with different sleep needs and family routines, so it is up to you to decide when to start weaning their naps.

a father with his baby lying on his chest

To help you determine when the right time is for your baby, here are the common time-frames for nap transitions:

  • Newborn-Baby (1-5 months) – typically 4-5 naps per day depending on how much awake time your baby has in between each nap. Around 4-5 months, it is recommended that you have a bedtime routine in place with 4 longer naps in the daytime.
  • Baby (5-9 months) – typically, older babies nap 3 times per day or twice if each nap is longer.
  • Toddler (10-15 months) – it is recommended to look out for any nap transition signs around the 1-year mark. However, on average, most babies tend to transition to one nap per day between 15-18 months.
  • Toddler (15+months) – Toddlers will nap once a day for 1.5-2.5 hours until the average age of 3-4 years old. This is the time that it is recommended to start dropping the final nap but some toddlers may nap until they begin nursery.

 

Signs that you need to drop a nap

As we said previously, every baby is unique, so while you can use the rough guide above to determine whether your baby is on track with the average nap transition timeline, you should always listen to your baby’s needs before adjusting their schedule.

Here is how to spot a nap transition is on its way:

  • Your baby is refusing to nap – this can happen suddenly and it tends to be the afternoon nap as they feel sufficiently rested from the morning nap.
  • Your baby is shortening their nap – when your baby begins to shorten one or more naps consistently, especially over a weeklong period, it is time to drop a nap.
  • Your baby/toddler is fighting the nap routine – many babies and toddlers just suddenly start fighting the start of naptime or have trouble sleeping for more than 30 minutes or start pushing their nap by a significant amount of time.

Put simply, if putting your baby down is a struggle, this is usually a sign of a nap transition heading your way!

A baby crying

Just make sure that your baby/toddler is:

  • Sleeping consistently through the night (10-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep)
  • Not waking up in the night

If you do this first, then you can be sure that your baby/toddler is ready to give up a nap. If you don’t and you start weaning them off, this can lead to a sharp increase in night-waking, overtiredness and bad moods, as well as them being more prone to outbursts and tantrums.

If you are worried and you don’t know if it is the right time to transition your baby, monitor their sleep pattern over two weeks. If they are consistently sleeping through the night and are showing signs of wanting to transition in the day, then they are ready for the switch.

 

How to start reducing your baby’s naps

Even when your baby has told you that it’s time to start reducing their naps, you can still expect a period of adjustment to the new schedule.

If you’re lucky, your baby may fuss through the first couple of days but then fully adjust to the new nap schedule straight away. If you’re not so lucky, then you will need to help them ease into the routine slowly over a short period.

Here are a few different ways that you can start weaning your baby’s naps:

  • Shorten their naps – if your baby is starting to wake up early from their afternoon naps, shorten their morning naps so that they get sufficient rest throughout the whole day.
  • Push back their nap until you can eliminate it – you can use this method at any age to eliminate naps. E.g. if you are trying to transition from 2 naps per day to 1, start pushing the morning nap later and later by 20 minutes every day. Eventually, a 10 am and 2 pm nap will become one 12 pm nap before you have to put them to bed exhausted later in the day.
  • Adjust their bedtime to compensate – making dinner time and bedtime earlier even just by 30 minutes can make dropping a nap much easier. This also allows you to put your baby/toddler to bed before they become overtired and resist sleep.

A mother kissing her baby

Listen to your baby and yourself

Although this guide is meant for you to follow to make nap transitions easier, always listen to your baby and your gut. Your baby will tell you when they are ready for you to start reducing naps, all you have to do is find what method works best for both of you.

 

At Schoolhouse Daycare, we enjoy learning, encouraging confidence and we love life! If you think your child would enjoy life at Schoolhouse, then please do not hesitate to arrange a visit.

 

Need more help or advice? Find more from us here: