Why Reading is So Important in the Early Years

Did you know that children develop more rapidly during the first 5 years of their lives than at any other time? 

It’s true. That’s why this crucial period is known as ‘the foundation years.’

If you nurture certain skills during these first 5 years, you create a solid foundation from which your child can build on for the rest of their life. Think of it as giving them a head start to learning.

Talking about starting right, literacy is one of those skills that parents can nurture in those early years. Why literacy? Because reading and writing are the fundamentals of early education, not to mention that they crop up multiple times every single day. From reading road signs and writing shopping lists to learning a new language, literacy is a skill that is vital for everyone.

But why exactly is reading so important during a child’s early years?

Reasons why reading is important for young children

1. Reading helps to develop a young child’s brain

Vital connections in the brain are made very early in life and when stimulated, these form the basis of all future learning and intellectual ability. To put this simply, reading to your children at a young age stimulates these brain cells and each time it strengthens them and they form connections with even more brain cells. Stimulating your young child’s brain cells through these early experiences will help them to become better listeners, readers, and communicators as well as instilling a lifelong love of learning.

A little boy pointing to a picture book

Discover the 9 Big Benefits of Reading to Your Child!

2. Reading fosters a love of learning which leads to higher grades

Talking about that lifelong love of learning, that is why reading is important at such an early age. When children learn to read at an early age, they have greater general knowledge, a wider range of vocabulary, they are more fluent readers, and they have improved attention spans and better concentration. As well as stronger oral and literacy skills, proficiency in reading also allows young children to understand more, to learn more, and to become competent researchers. As you can imagine, all of these are skills that help young children perform higher in school.

3. Reading has many psychological benefits for young children

Early reading ignites creativity, sparks curiosity, and stimulates the imagination in young children. Often, this leads to role-play as children grow which helps to develop other skills such as empathy, problem-solving, and morality. While these are significant benefits to young children, the biggest psychological benefit is how reading helps to grow self-confidence and independence from such an early age. The simple act of taking time out of the day to read to your baby or sit down with your child helps to promote greater maturity and discipline. These are all so essential when it comes to your child learning to read in a school setting as sometimes the psychological pressure can be too much.

a mother reading a book with her toddler

4. Reading helps boost a young child’s self-confidence

As we mentioned above, there is psychological pressure when learning to read in school. Children have social awareness too, from a young age, so imagine how difficult it must be to see other children picking it up quickly if they are struggling? This can have serious implications for their self-image as they grow and this is why reading is important. If you read with your children early on and help them to learn at their own pace in a fun setting, you can foster a love of reading and help them to become competent and confident at it before having to do it in front of others.

5. Reading will help young children become better writers and communicators 

When you think about why reading is important, you may think of the obvious benefits such as expanding your vocabulary and knowledge but what many people don’t realise is that for young children, it develops so many other skills too. The sooner a child learns to read, the more opportunities they have to encounter the written word. More exposure then leads to better spelling, grammar, writing, and oral communication.

Two young boys reading

Make reading together a part of your daily routine

Now you know why reading is important and all the benefits that it offers, start to make the time to read a little with your children every day. Soon you’ll find that cuddling up in bed reading stories is your favourite part of the day and it’s doing your children a world of good too!

 


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:

9 Big Benefits of Reading to Your Child

While reading to our children is fun and a chance to spend some quality time together, what many parents don’t realise is that this activity is providing far more benefits to their children than they could ever imagine. The benefits of reading to your child are limitless but for the sake of this article, we’ve listed the ones that we think are most important.

The benefits of reading to your child

1. It nurtures the parent and child bond

As your children grow, they spend their days exploring and discovering non-stop until it’s time to wind down for bed with a story. Many children look forward to storytime as it’s their special time with you where they have your attention and they feel close to you. In time, you’ll find that reading to your child gives them a sense of intimacy, one that improves your communication and helps you bond with each other.

2. It provides routine and stability to your child

One of the big benefits of reading, especially if it’s at a set time in the day such as cuddling up with a book at bedtime, is that it provides routine and stability for your child. As children are constantly learning new things day in and day out, routine and stability are essential for your child to learn to take a breath within the busyness of the day to recharge and wind down. If you do this every day, reading will become a nurturing activity rather than a task or a chore.

A little girl reading a book

3. It sparks their imagination

As we read, our brains translate the descriptions that we read of people and places and things into pictures. For young children, not only does this allow them to engage in the story but it also fuels their creativity when they bring this knowledge into their everyday play.

4. It forms strong foundations for their learning abilities

If you read to your children often, you are exposing them to a wide range of language and vocabulary as well as multiple environments and experiences that they will learn to relate to. The benefits of this is that it leads to children developing skills a lot earlier than children who don’t read, skills that are essential to learning and life such as:

  • Communication and listening skills
  • Basic speech skills
  • Thinking skills and logic
  • Literacy and numeracy skills

By reading to your children, they learn to understand cause and effect, the consequences of actions, and the basics of what is right and wrong. It is also essential for their language development! Studies have shown that 8-month-year-olds who were read to often as babies have higher “receptive” vocabularies (meaning the number of words they understand) of 40% compared to children of the same age who were not read to (16%).

5. It helps them perform better in school

It’s probably no surprise that one of the biggest benefits of reading is that children who read more tend to have a higher academic performance. When you thihnk about it, it makes sense:

  • The intimacy of reading with your children every day makes it a pleasurable experience.
  • This fosters a positive attitude towards reading and learning.
  • Reading also enhances concentration and self-discipline.
  • Children who love to learn tend to have longer attention spans and better memory retention which help them perform better in school.
  • Reading and communicating to your children exposes them to a larger range of vocabulary which helps them communicate and learn in school.
  • Reading often also helps them to develop a higher competency for learning in multiple environments so they are more prepared to adapt easily to each day in school.

Two girls drawing

6. It helps them to become more accepting

Helping our children be more open-minded is something that will set them up for life. Reading does just that as it teaches children about empathy and about different cultures. From a young age, children will lose themselves in stories but as they grow, they soon learn about different cultures and customs and they start to relate to characters and imagine how they would feel in certain situations. Empathy and an open mind are both essential to help them communicate with people and to make positive changes in the world around them.

7. It helps them to conquer the fear of a classroom and become less anxious in general

Have you noticed that reading calms your children, especially when they are distressed or restless? Many children, as they grow, become nervous about new experiences or situations especially if it’s something that they find scary such as the first day of school. By reading books that are relevant to them, this can help relieve their anxiety considerably as they now know what to expect. Over time, you’ll soon find that they learn to cope better with these negative emotions too.

8. It makes them want to keep on learning

One of the best benefits of reading is that the learning never stops, no matter how old you are! When our children are babies, they develop their senses by feeling tangible materials and listening to sound effects. As they grow, they then learn the basics of reading a book (such as reading from left and write, stories continue when you turn the page etc) as well as words, numbers, colours, shapes, sounds, and concepts. As they grow even older, children expand their chain of knowledge and become motivated to find out even more about certain things that they are interested in. Even as adults, there’s always something to learn by reading!

Two young boys reading

9. It helps build confidence as well as positive life habits

Reading at home every day teaches your children that this activity is fun and not a chore. It also gives your children the confidence to be able to read out loud in a classroom full of people. While these may not seem like incredibly important traits, this simple activity sets them up for life. When it comes to reading books to study for exams or presenting to a class full of teenagers when they are older, your child will have the confidence to go ahead full steam. Not to mention that reading will become a pleasurable (and healthier) habit for them too, to wind down when the day is done!

Is reading a part of your routine?

As you can see, the benefits of reading to your children are vast. Not only is it essential for them to develop as individuals but it also brings you closer together too!

 


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:

7 Tips for Meal Planning No Matter How Busy You Are

You’ve had a busy day in work, done the school run, juggled the kids’ activities in the evening and now you have hungry mouths to feed…does this sound like your evenings in the week? Do you often have to scramble through your cupboards and fridge to find what you’re going to throw together for dinner each night? With meal planning, it’s possible to take the stress out of food and to make dinner time a well-oiled machine. Here is everything you need to know when it comes to meal planning for busy families.

The benefits of meal planning

Taking the time to plan your meals for the week may seem like a lot of work but when you see the benefits it offers, the effort is more than worth it.

Meal planning:

  • Helps you organise your food shopping and meals for the week which ultimately saves you a lot of time and energy.
  • Takes the guess-work out of what you’re cooking each night which makes dinner time more efficient and stress-free.
  • Makes food shopping a breeze and saves you money as you will only buy what you have planned to make.

Meal planning for busy families (7 steps!)

Trust us when we say, when you begin meal planning and you have more time together as a family in the evenings, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner and you’ll never go back! To help you easily implement meal planning into your routine, here are the 7 steps you need to take:

family eating at the table

1. Make a list of the meals your family loves

This part is the easiest as you know what your family enjoys eating! The first step of meal planning for busy families is to write down as many meals as you can (about 30-40) and add to this list as you go along.

2. Write down what meals you will have on what days

Look at your weekly calendar and assign a meal to each day of the week (e.g. Monday – Spaghetti with Garlic Bread, Tuesday – Chicken and Rice etc). Your family may love to have pizza Fridays or pasta Mondays. If this is the case, that helps to cut down on your weekly planning!

3. Plan for leftovers or group similar meals together

Another massive time-saving tip when it comes to meal planning for busy families is to make enough that there will be leftovers. These leftovers can be for lunch the next day or, if you’re grouping meals with the same ingredients (e.g. Grilled Chicken on a Monday and Chicken Curry on a Tuesday), then you can use the leftovers to cook the next dish that you’ve planned for dinner. This saves you time, energy, and money!

4. Write a shopping list of all the ingredients you need

While meal planning, write down every ingredient you will need to make every meal including sides, seasonings, and sauces. Be thorough as you don’t want to come home after a busy day and realise that you don’t have what you need for that night.

5. Check what you have at home first

A big money-saving tip is to check if you have any of these ingredients at home first. Go through your fridge, freezer, and cupboards to cross off anything that you already have off your shopping list.

6. See what deals are on and if you have any coupons

You may not need anything that is currently on offer but if it is on your list, consider buying more of it while it’s on sale and making at an extra portion to freeze for an extra busy day!

7. Organise or batch cook the meals for the week right when you get home

This step will depend on what you prefer and how busy your week is, but the most important thing to note is to organise the ingredients you just bought right when you get home. If that means separating them into piles in the fridge for each meal so that they don’t get used for anything else, then perfect. If you know that Monday to Thursdays are extremely busy, then consider batch cooking those meals on Sunday and freezing the ingredients that you don’t need until the end of the week so that they don’t go bad.

4 boxes of the same food

Make meal planning a part of your family routine

If dinner time is stressful or chaotic in your home, transform your evenings into ones of efficiency and ease! By using these 7 steps for meal planning for busy families, shopping will be a breeze, you will know exactly where you are with food for the whole week, and you’ll have more time with your family. Sounds like a win-win-win to us!

 


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:

13 Things Your Baby Loves and Why

Babies love anything that involves touching, tasting, looking and listening, especially in those first few weeks – have you ever wondered why?

Whether you have or you haven’t, it’s because babies crave sensory experiences; every single one of these sensory experiences then contributes to their physical, emotional, and social development, so you could say that the brain is in a state of ‘extreme learning’ from birth.

To help satisfy this need that babies have, it is vital that parents know what their baby is fascinated with in those first few weeks to months so that they can help them explore it. Here are 13 things your baby loves!

1. Your face

When they are not sleeping, babies love to spend most of their time gazing at your face. Why? Well firstly, a newborn’s eyes focus best at around 8-12 inches which is the distance from your face to theirs when you cradle them while feeding. Secondly, a large part of our brain is said to be dedicated to perceiving, processing, and discriminating among faces so it is hardwired within us to pay close attention to people’s faces.

At around 2 months of age, your baby will be able to recognise your face and respond to your facial expressions with a smile. Up until this point, help them explore your features by making funny expressions like raising your eyebrows and opening your mouth wide.

a little boy holding his mother's face

2. The colour red or green

Newborns don’t see in colour at all so may have an early fascination with black and white patterns but as soon as their colour vision starts to kick in, many babies see bold, primary colours first. Many babies see reds and greens best first followed by blues and yellows.

3. Bigger children

Older siblings or even a jumping 3-year-old at the park can excite your baby. Why? Because children still have high-pitched voices which babies prefer. As well as this, young children are also full of energy, movement, and emotion, all of which can keep an infant captivated for a while.

4. Jewellery

Does your baby always grab your necklace or earrings? What is it about shiny and dangly things that makes your baby reach out and grab them? As jewellery reflects the light, your baby’s eyes are drawn to it. Just like they are visually appealing to us, they also draw the attention of your baby too. The only difference is is that they are at an age where they feel the urge to reach out and grab things to bring them to their mouths for further exploration.

5. Mirrors

As we mentioned before, one of the things your baby loves is faces so of course, they love to look in mirrors! For a long time, babies are intrigued by their own reflection in reflective objects. It is only until they are about 18 months old that they realise that the baby they are smiling at is themself.

A baby looking at it's reflection

6. Banging

One of the things your baby loves is making noise and plenty of it (so remember that when they are banging on their high-chair with their cutlery!). As much as it may drive you mad, it is them learning cause and effect (e.g. when I bang this, it makes this noise). Encourage them to do so as it will help to develop their fine-motor skills.

7. Screaming

Just like banging, some babies love to make those ear-piercing screams. Again, this can easily give you a headache but it is all for a purpose. Babies who do this are simply exploring their vocal repertoire as previously, they were only able to communicate with you by crying. Again, this is their way of experimenting with cause and effect (e.g. if I make this noise, what will mum/dad do?).

8. Tiny spots

Have you noticed that some babies are fascinated with details? This could be a little screw on one of their toys or a smudge on the carpet, basically anything that seems insignificant to you. As newborns can only see in black and white, they notice contrasts or the edges of objects more than we do and as they grow, they feel an impulse to touch it, study it, and spend time looking at it.

9. Peekaboo

When thinking of things your baby loves, peekaboo is bound to come up on the list. This is because it is a fun and amusing game to start with. As your baby grows, however, they’ll soon understand the concept of the game (that you’re just hiding waiting to surprise them rather than gone) and they’ll even start to enjoy initiating the game themselves!

a little boy covering his eyes with his hands

10. Being tickled

Young babies love being touched and getting your attention, so tickling their belly or feet will get you a smile or laugh in return. As your baby grows into a toddler, this becomes even more of a thrill for them too, not to mention that laughing together helps you to bond and become closer as a family.

11. The remote control

As babies grow older and start to test cause and effect, the remote control becomes intriguing. So many different buttons to press and so many different results. At around 18 months, the curiosity is at it’s highest as they want to imitate what you do but you keep putting the remote control out of reach. Toddlers revel in pretend play and make-believe, so the remote control may be a fascination for many.

12. Funny words/sounds

As your baby grows and starts to understand what words and sounds are considered ‘normal,’ if you ever do something out of the ordinary, they absolutely love it! Blowing raspberries or making funny word combinations like “okey-dokey” or “lovely-jubbly” will get your child’s attention.

13. Animals

There are many things your baby loves but nothing else seems to have a magical effect on them quite like animals do. Unlike toys, animals like cats and dogs move in unpredictable ways, they are interactive and they stimulate their senses. All of these excite your baby!

a baby and a dog


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:

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: