How to Spot if Your Baby is Unwell

Many parents worry that their baby may be poorly but they don’t know it, a common worry as a baby can’t communicate to you that they are unwell. If this is a particular stress for you then take a moment to calm down, this worry is completely normal.

Your baby will become ill at some point during their first year as their immune system is busy developing, but it is important to remember that a lot of the time your parental instinct will tell you that they are not quite themselves.

As they grow a bit and their immune system really starts to take form, these minor illnesses will be more noticeable and easier to identify as they will show certain symptoms. Here are a few ways that you can spot if your baby is unwell.

Does your baby have a fever?

A fever (raised body temperature) is a normal symptom to have with the majority of illnesses as this helps the immune system to fight off an infection.

A newborn baby sleepinh

You will be able to tell if your baby has a fever just by touching their forehead, tummy or back, and sometimes they may have flushed cheeks. You can also confirm this with a digital thermometer.

Most of the time, you can let a fever run its course without treatment, just make sure that your baby is comfortable. If their temperature is 38 degrees C or more (for a baby of 0-3 months) or 39 degrees C or more (for a baby of 3-6 months) however, you should go and see the doctor.

Does your baby have a cough?

Most common colds come with a cough, so if your baby is coughing, they should recover completely at home with your care within a week or two.

You should go and see the doctor if a cough sounds like:

  • A bark – this could be croup.
  • A raspy, dry cough that persists – this could be bronchiolitis.
  • A distinctive “whoop” – this could be whooping cough and is very serious is your baby hasn’t had their vaccinations yet.
  • A blockage that comes with phlegm (a thick yellow, green or brown mucus) – this could be pneumonia.

A baby lying on his stomach

Does your baby have a runny/blocked nose?

Newborns and babies tend to have a runny nose normally when they are perfectly well and healthy as normal mucus builds up in their tiny noses and they are unable to clear it like us when we blow our nose. This is completely normal and it actually plays an essential part in protecting their airways from germs that will make them ill.

When your baby is young, a sniffly nose is more likely to be normal, but if they are older and the runny/blocked nose coincides with your baby not eating, sleeping properly, it is most likely a cold.

Most colds go away within a couple of weeks without medical treatment and lots of care and comfort from you. If it persists, however, and is accompanied by a fever, then you should take them to see a doctor.

a father with his baby lying on his chest

Does your baby have an ear infection?

Similarly to the mucus in your baby’s nose, the mucus in the ear is normal. However, if your baby has an excess of mucus (more than their normal amount), then they may have an ear infection.

Your baby may have an ear infection if they are:

  • Pulling, tugging or rubbing their ear
  • Not feeding well
  • Not sleeping well
  • Irritable
  • Not noticing quiet sounds

An infection should clear up on its own after 2-3 days, but if it lasts longer or seems to be causing your baby pain, you should take them to see the doctor.

A baby crying

Does your baby have a rash?

A rash looks worse than it is and most are harmless, so if your baby has spots, blisters or blotches on their skin, don’t worry, this is a normal immune response.

Most childhood rashes can be treated at home such as chickenpox, roseola, slapped cheek syndrome, and hand, foot and mouth disease, however, a few are caused by more serious illnesses that will need a visit to the doctor. These are:

The most serious rash to be aware of is bacterial meningitis. If your baby has lots of red or purple pinpricks that don’t fade when you press a glass against them, go straight to your local A&E or call 999. This rash is rare but can have very serious effects.

A newborn sleeping and holding his mother's finger

Does your baby have a tummy bug?

If your baby has vomiting and diarrhoea together, they most likely have a tummy bug. This is not when your baby is bringing up milk feeds, this is normal in the first few months as their digestive system matures, it is when your baby is bringing up most of their stomach contents consistently.

Most vomiting and diarrhoea goes away after one or two days (vomiting) and 5-7 days (diarrhoea), you just need to make sure that your baby is drinking plenty so that they don’t get dehydrated. If it persists or accompanies other unusual symptoms, take your baby to see the doctor.

Does your baby have any other symptoms?

You know your baby, so if you see any symptoms that won’t go away despite your efforts or care, it is always best to take them to see the doctor.

Examples of this would be dehydration (dry lips, fewer wet nappies than usual, dark yellow wee, cold and blotchy-looking hands and feet) that persists even when they drink lots of fluids or weight loss as your baby grows.

Hands cradling a baby's feet

Your baby will get unwell and most will be minor illnesses that go away in a few days. If you’re worried, however, or the symptoms persist, it is always better to take your baby to a doctor.

Although it may get you down to see your little one unwell, just remember, every cold is making them stronger for the future!

 

 

** Disclaimer: this blog is only meant as a basic resource, offering medical advice to parents with babies. We are in no way medical professionals so we always recommend consulting your local doctor when it comes to the care of your children.**


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.

 

Looking for more help or advice? See more from us here:

The Best Inside Activities for High Energy Kids

The Summer is the easy season when it comes to keeping our little ones entertained; the weather is great, the days are long, and there are plenty of opportunities for them to get outside and run around until their heart is content. The evenings are calmer and they sleep well because they wear themselves out every day.

When it comes to the colder seasons, however, all of these opportunities for exercise are suddenly gone and we are stuck indoors for long periods of time with our high-energy and extremely active kids…

If just the thought of this sends you into a panic, don’t fret! We have a list of inside activities for your children that will keep them entertained!

1. Go old school by using your imagination

Kids today get bored too easily so think about what games you played as a child and show them. You can re-create simple games like hopscotch with some tape indoors and they’ll be jumping and burning energy in no time or how about creating your own scavenger hunt?

hopscotch

2. Build a fort together

Whether you have a lot of empty cardboard boxes or you use all the cushions, sheets and blankets that you have in your house, you can spend some time together creating a fort. Not only is this great for keeping the kids occupied and bonding together as a team, but you can also spend some time afterwards acting out stories that take place in your castle or pirate ship fort which is really fun.

3. Make your routine longer and mix it up

If you are too tired one day, why not just make the usual routine longer? You have the time and it gets dark earlier! This can be as simple as letting your kids have a longer bath or making it more fun for them by breaking some glow sticks and having a glow in the dark bath. When it comes to bedtime, how about getting the whole family in bed to read a chapter together every night?

4. Bust out the board games

We all have some board games stored somewhere in the house, so why not get them out and have a few fun and competitive hours together. Whether you have cluedo, hungry hippos, mouse trap, battleships, snakes and ladders, twister, or even just a jigsaw puzzle, there is nothing like this kind of quality time as a family.

Pieces on a board game

5. Camp in the living room

This is a great family activity and it can easily last all day. From setting up the tent and sleeping bags to watching films, having a picnic, and sleeping in it overnight, camping indoors is a fun and easy activity to entertain the little ones.

6. Create an obstacle course

Building an obstacle course doesn’t take much time but it can provide hours of fun until your kids are completely burnt out. Compile a track of furniture with pillows and couch cushions for obstacles and time how long each of your children can complete the course. The great thing about this activity is that you can change it up to make it harder and you’ll have your children climbing, rolling, jumping, hopping, and crawling until they can’t anymore.

7. Play hide-and-seek

A family favourite is the classic hide-and-seek. Fun for all ages, you can spend some time playing by the usual rules or mixing it up by playing in the dark!

A child hiding and peering through a hole

8. Bring the outside indoors

It might be too cold to play outside but that doesn’t mean that you can’t bring the fun indoors! Whether it’s a pile of leaves and sticks or even snow from the garden, you can turn the kitchen into a creative space where the kids can play with spatulas and measuring cups and make it into what they want. Although this will need to be cleaned up, messy play is very stimulating and is important for a child’s development!

9. Make your own race track

Do your children love toy cars? Then help them make their own race track. Whether you make it out of tape, dry pasta, or even cardboard, you can keep this up in your home all week and your children can go back to it whenever they want.

10. Have a movie marathon

If you have kids that need a run around first before they can settle, then consider exhausting the list of physical activities first before this one. Having a movie marathon is a great indoor activity to have when it’s cold or raining outside. Take in turns to choose the film and make it a cosy activity by pulling the couch forward and bringing out lots of blankets.

A cat sleeping by a fire

11. Get creative with creations

Kids love getting messy so cover the table with newspapers or a plastic sheet and bring out the arts and crafts. If you don’t have arts and crafts, you can try baking and decorating instead and have your children give their lovely creations to each family member.

12. Make chores fun

If you have a lot to do, why not include the children? Teach them the way the house works by making chores fun. You can load the dishwasher together, hang the washing up, or tidy their bedrooms, just think of ways that you can make it into a game and you’ll have some keen little helpers.

13. Make the garage into a play space

If you have any outdoor toys that be used indoors, wash them off and utilise your garage space for playing. Your kids can really get active if they have space to draw with chalk, roller-skate, skip, play basketball, or throw a ball around.

A pair of red roller skates

14. Ask them what they want to do

If you’re worried about how you can keep your little ones entertained and you’re coming up short, ask them what they would like to do. They have great imaginations themselves so sometimes you can come up with some new, fun game together.


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:

8 Reasons Why Your Baby Might Be Crying

It can be difficult to work out which need your baby wants you to take care of. It can be even harder when your baby has been crying for a while and you just don’t know how to soothe them.

Don’t worry, this is normal for every baby and parent and it gets easier.

Crying is your baby’s way of communicating with you. As they grow, they’ll get better at making certain noises, smiling, and making eye contact, so crying won’t be as frequent as it is in the early days, but in the meantime, you will need to listen and learn the difference between your baby’s cries so that you can identify the need they need taken care of so that you can soothe them.

To help you recognise some needs, here are 8 reasons why your baby might be crying.

1. I’m hungry

One of the most common reasons why your baby will cry, especially if they are a newborn, is because they are hungry. Babies have very small stomachs which can’t hold much so they will need to be fed little and often in the early days.

2. I have colic

If your baby cries a lot but is otherwise healthy, they may have colic. Colic is a severe pain in the abdomen caused by wind or obstruction in the intestines and it is very common in babies. Symptoms include a flushed face, frustration, clenching fists, arching of the back, and drawing the knees close to the chest.

A baby crying

The causes of colic are unknown but experts think that it is associated with food allergies, acid reflux, wind or constipation. Living with a baby who cries inconsolably can be very stressful and tiring, so here are a few things that you can do to make it easier. 

3. I need comfort

Babies are completely dependent on us, so sometimes they just need to be held to feel safe. The physical contact of cuddling is reassuring and comforting to them so if they are crying because they need to be held, you’ll know this immediately when you pick them up and sway them.

4. I’m tired

You think it’s exhausting being a parent, but imagine being hypersensitive to every sound, smell and visual stimulus. Babies can get over-stimulated very easy, especially when there is a lot of noise and activity, so if they are extra fussy and crying all of a sudden they may just need to be taken into a quiet room to get some shut eye.

5. I’m too hot or too cold

If your baby won’t stop crying when you’ve tried to feed them and put them to sleep, check the temperature of their tummy or on the back of their neck. Being cold or overheated can cause your baby to become stressed so make sure not to overdress your baby, keep their room between 16 and 20 degrees C, and use a couple of cotton sheets in their cot which you can add or remove a layer as necessary.

A newborn sleeping and holding his mother's finger

6. I need my nappy changed

Another common reason that your baby might be crying is that their nappy is wet or dirty. You can imagine how uncomfortable this must be and it’s an easy reason to identify by feeling the outside of it or giving it a sniff.

7. I don’t feel well

Many parents say that when their baby is unwell, the tone of their cry is very different. Listen to your baby and try to identify if their cry is more urgent, continuous, high-pitched or weaker than normal. Here are some tips to help you.

8. I’m in pain

Sometimes your baby won’t stop crying because they are in pain but they can’t communicate this with you. Usually, they may be in pain from trapped gas or because they’re teething. Try to hold them against you with their head over your shoulder and pat them to burp them or if they are teething, try a remedy to soothe them.

a father with his baby lying on his chest

If you’ve tried to satisfy all of these needs and your baby still won’t stop crying, they may just be crying because they are a baby. Try to ride out this stage as smoothly and calmly as possible, it won’t last forever! And if you need some extra help, check out our blog that gives 12 tips to soothe a crying baby.

 

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:

 

What Are Tantrums and Why Do Toddlers Have Them?

Ahh, tantrums…the classic image of a toddler screaming on the floor with their arms and legs flailing as their parents stand by embarrassed, doing their best to calm them down. This is what many of us think of when we think of tantrums, but this isn’t necessarily always reality (for a lot of the time anyway).

Tantrums are a necessary part of a child’s development and they come in all shapes and sizes. To help you cope with them, you need to understand them, so here is everything you need to know about tantrums and why your little ones need to have them.

 

What are tantrums?

We have plenty of outbursts as adults, especially when it comes to being angry or frustrated, and it’s exactly the same for toddlers. Although they happen much, much more often.

Tantrums are a response to a sudden powerful emotion that your child feels, be it anger, frustration, fear, or sadness. They don’t know how to cope with it so they ‘explode’ with it either by crying, screaming, falling down, kicking or banging things, flailing about or running around, stiffening their limbs or arching their back. In some cases, some children even hold their breath or vomit when they are having a tantrum.

A young boy pulling a hat over his face

Why do tantrums happen?

As we said above, young children don’t know how to cope with strong emotions, so having a tantrum is their way of expressing themselves and attempting to understand and manage their feelings.

Ever heard of the terrible twos?

Tantrums are often most common in toddlers because:

  • Their social and emotional skills are starting to develop
  • They don’t often have the vocabulary to communicate how they are feeling yet
  • They are at an age where they desire independence but fear being separated from you
  • They are discovering that their actions can change what’s going on around them

Although they are most common in this age group, older children can have tantrums too although their reasons for them will be much different:

  • They haven’t learned more appropriate ways to express or manage their feelings
  • They may be slower in developing self-regulation (the ability to understand and manage your behaviour on your own)

A little girl hiding under pillows

Tantrums are important!

Tantrums are an essential developmental stage for children as they are the beginnings of them learning how to process and manage their emotions and then adapt their behaviour accordingly. This sets a precedent for how they will manage difficult situations throughout their whole life, so developing healthy habits now is absolutely crucial to their emotional and mental wellbeing in the future.

Although coping with tantrums can be very draining and stressful (for the both of you!), the effort you put in now to help your children through them will make a massive difference in their lives as an adult.

Don’t know what to do about tantrums? If you need help in getting your family through this stage in one piece, here are the secrets to handling toddler tantrums like a pro!

 

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 Secrets to Handling Toddler Tantrums like a Pro

Living with young children can sometimes feel like you’re walking delicately across a tantrum minefield. One wrong step and there’s crying and screaming, falling down, kicking, biting, hitting, or throwing things. Something that didn’t set them off one day, may set them off on another, and this can go on for months and yes, it is as exhausting as it sounds.

Tantrums are extremely common in toddlers and preschoolers. It doesn’t mean that your child is badly misbehaved, this is just how young children deal with difficult feelings and emotions that they don’t understand yet. It’s essential in your role as a parent that you help them through this stage so that you can mould a healthy way to process emotion for them in the future.

Finding your child’s tantrums draining and stressful? To help you breeze through them so that you can end your days with that satisfying cup of tea, here are our top secrets to handling toddler tantrums like a pro.

Don’t lose your cool

If you get angry or frustrated with your child and you end up shouting or threatening punishment, you will find that they will respond negatively and often worse than before. Children are often just frightened of this emotion they are feeling, so don’t leave them alone, sit with them while they get through it.

A toddler sitting next to a teddy bear

Be calm and positive

By staying calm, your calming effect will eventually help your child to calm down too. If they are not flailing too much, a comforting embrace or stroking their hair and telling them “I know”, “it’s okay” should work too as it makes them feel safe and understood.

Remember that you’re the adult

It can be so easy to respond to a tantrum with anger, but just take a breath and remind yourself that you’re the adult and that this is a teaching moment. No matter how long it goes on for, don’t cave in or try to pacify them with reward, they need to know that you’re in control as they feel scared.

Stay calm and don’t worry what others think if you are in public, all parents understand. If it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon, take them to their bedroom or outside of the restaurant and explain why they are there and that they will stay there until they calm down.

Don’t reason or reward

Your toddler is so overwhelmed with emotion that they are unable to think or verbalise their feelings, so don’t try and reason with them about their behaviour straight away. Save that for later when their emotional brain isn’t in control. Don’t accidentally reward tantrums either. Rewards can be shouting or pleading (as your child is getting attention) or caving into something that you previously said no to.

But don’t punish either (Use time-outs as a last resort!)

Although tantrums may sometimes start as a means to get something that they want, often they tend to escalate into a strong hormonal storm that scares your child as they are not equipped to cope with it themselves. It is in these moments where punishing them will have a very damaging effect.

Yes, tantrums are a behaviour that we as parents want to discourage, but by punishing them with a time-out or isolation, this can make your child feel very alone and it teaches them that they can’t trust you to help them when they feel this way as you don’t understand their pain. This can have very negative effects on your child as they grow, especially when it comes to being able to handle stress, self-soothe, or being assertive.

Time-outs can be used, but should only be used when your child has hurt someone intentionally or is not flooded with emotion. It is in these moments where you can place your child in a designated spot, explain to them that what they did was wrong and that they need to think about what they did, and you can go about your business for a few minutes to let them self-soothe. When you come back to them to lift the time-out, get them to explain to you why they were there and how they are going to change their behaviour.

Always talk it over afterwards

While your toddler is in the midst of a tantrum, it’s a waste of time reasoning. When the storm has subsided, however, now is the time to hold your child close and talk about what happened. It’s essential that they process their emotion and try to understand it, so discuss it in very simple terms with them.

a father hugging his daughter

Something as simple as “I’m sorry I didn’t understand you. Now that you’re not screaming, I can find out what you want or what was wrong” and “okay, so you were angry because your food wasn’t the way you wanted it?” can make your child feel like they are acknowledged and will help them be able to communicate verbally in the future.

Let your child know that you love them

Once your toddler is calm and you’ve discussed why the tantrum came to be, always end the episode with a hug and tell them that you love them. Not only are you rewarding good behaviour (your child calming down and talking to you) but you are also making them feel acknowledged, setting a healthy precedence for managing and communicating emotions as they grow.

Watch out for signs of stress

Most tantrums are because of over-stress, so pay attention to your little one. Use HALT to prevent potential outbursts. Are they:

H – Hungry?

A – Angry?

L – Lonely or bored?

T – Tired?

If you set a good sleep-eat-rest schedule, many tantrums can be avoided, but it’s always handy just to observe them every now and then as you may be able to predict a potential one coming.

It is also essential to bear in mind any external stresses on your child. If you’re having a particularly busy week, there are parental or family tensions or an upheaval in the family, all of these can make your child feel emotional and provoke tantrums.

Try to avoid tantrum-inducing situations

You’ll get to know your child and what seem to push their buttons, so in time, you’ll be able to predict a tantrum coming and plan accordingly to avoid it. If you know that your child will get upset when they won’t be getting something that they want, provide alternative or distractions in advance. If you know your child is more likely to explode when they are hungry or tired, always bring snacks with you and schedule errands after nap time.

You can avoid many tantrums this way, but when there is one definitely brewing, questions and distractions are always best. If your child is a pain when it comes to eating, instead of shouting “eat your carrots!” and making them feel like their in control, ask them “what are you going to eat first?” This surprising change of tone distracts them from their feelings and stimulates their logical thinking, putting out that fire before it even began.

A little girl looking into a bowl with fruit in it

Other great tactics include telling your child what is going to happen to give them time to adjust, such as “we’re going to eat once we’ve cleaned up your toys” or “we are going to leave the park soon to go home,” or even just doing something that they didn’t expect, such as making a silly face, giving them a random toy, or pointing out something for them to look at.

Teach them new vocabulary

I’m sure you’ve all heard “use your words” when it comes to toddler tantrums and it’s a good piece of advice. When you’re talking through the tantrum after everything has settled, teach your child what they need to say next time that they feel this way.

You can also explain to them how their tantrums make you feel, as not only will this expand their vocabulary and help them communicate ensuring fewer tantrums for you in the future, but it also helps them learn how their actions affect others and what empathy is.

Reward in the right way

Always positively promote good behaviour in the ways that we’ve suggested above and you’ll soon find that this technique will begin to reduce the number of tantrums that occur. We always say not to give inappropriate behaviour your attention as this is a reward for your toddler, so ignore the behaviour by not showing emotion and waiting for them to calm down. Once they are calm, you can then reward them in ways that will reinforce the being calm behaviour, teaching them that tantrums won’t bring attention so they are not the way to communicate.

A dad talking to his son on a hammock

Consistency is key!

Tantrums are going to happen and they are going to get you down, just remember that it is just a phase and that you can teach your child healthy habits. It will take time and a lot of trial and error, but once you’ve found the best way to manage your toddler’s outbursts, stick with it and you’ll soon see positive results!

 

** If your child’s tantrums seem overly frequent or intense (or they keep hurting themselves or others), seek help. Your doctor will discuss your child’s developmental and behavioural milestones with you at routine well-child checkups **

 

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:

12 Tips to Soothe Your Crying Baby

It’s tough when your baby won’t stop crying. Worries fill your head like “is there actually something seriously wrong with them?” ,  “am I doing something wrong?” or “I don’t know what to do and I’ll never connect with my baby.” If you’ve been in this situation, don’t worry, it’s normal. Crying is just your baby’s way of trying to communicate with you, so it’s all about recognising their type of cry and using the right techniques to soothe them.

This will take time and patience for you both, but to help you stay as calm and in control, here are our top 10 tips to soothe your crying baby.

1. Learn what each cry means

In time, you will learn that each cry sounds slightly different and you will be able to decipher between their “I’m hungry” cry from their “I’m tired” cry and so on. Notice the differences in volume, pitch, and intensity, and pay attention to their body language and facial expressions.

Sometimes, however, it will appear that your baby is crying for no reason at all, this is where you should use one or more of the tactics below.

crying baby

2. Shush your baby

You may think that making more noise is counterproductive, but it actually helps soothe a crying baby. Try shushing your baby at a similar volume to his cries, decreasing in volume as their cries do. For some babies, this makes them feel understood and it calms them, for others, it’s the white noise in the background which does the trick.

3. Rock, swing or sway your baby

Another classic soothing technique that works like a charm is to create a rhythmic motion of any kind. Most babies love to be gently rocked, so walk around and sway them, rock them in a chair, or take them for a walk in the pram or a drive in the car.

4. Swaddle them

In the first few months of life, swaddling is a great technique that you can use to soothe your baby. Not only does it mimic the womb, making your baby feel warm and secure, but it also prevents your baby from being disturbed by their own startle reflex, as newborns typically flail their arms randomly for the first several weeks.

swaddled baby and a young girl lying together

5. Create white noise

We all find some repetitive background noise soothing (have you ever fallen asleep in front of the TV?), so it makes sense that white noise will calm your baby. Rhythmic white noise can include the shower, extractor fan, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, or even an app on your phone that plays ocean sounds or rain.  

6. Rub their tummy

This has been known to work for adults too! Rubbing your baby’s tummy when they are restless can soothe and comfort them, whilst also helping with their digestion. You might find that in doing this regularly before they sleep that they tend to cry and fuss less, if so, incorporate it into their bedtime routine.

7. Give them something to suck on

Most babies have a strong sucking reflex with some even sucking their thumbs or fingers before they’re born, so let them suck on your clean finger or knuckle and you may find that this will have a soothing effect. If your baby needs this sensation a lot, then consider introducing a dummy.

A newborn sleeping and holding his mother's finger

8. Hold them in a different position

If your baby is restless, holding them in a different position can have a calming effect. Lie them on their side or their stomach and rock them or rub their back gently. Just remember to always place them on their back when you put them back in bed.

9. Give them a warm bath

A soothing bath can help your baby to calm down, especially if they like the sensation of water, so consider giving them a warm bath either before bed or when they are particularly restless. Just remember to check the temperature with your elbow, it should feel neither hot nor cold.

10. Drape a white blanket over them

Sometimes babies can get over-stimulated, so the best way to soothe them is to put a white sheet over their pram or over your shoulder while you hold them in your arms. Having a plain background has a very calming effect for babies, so even standing with your back to a white wall will have the same effect.

11. Wait a few minutes to see if they will self-soothe

Between four and six months, your baby can learn to self-soothe, so when you hear them crying in the middle of the night, wait a few minutes. Sometimes babies cry out when they stir in their sleep but within a few minutes, they are able to settle themselves.

12. Take a moment to see how you feel

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Stressed? Frustrated? When you’re harbouring negative emotions, your baby can sense this, so try your best to remain calm and collected and you’ll soon see that this soothes your baby the most.

It’s normal for babies to cry and it’s just a phase, so try your best to get through it and don’t blame yourself. Your baby isn’t crying because they don’t like you or you’re a bad parent, they are just trying to learn and get through life just like the rest of us!

A baby lying down and looking up at the camera

 

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 Create a Daily Routine that Works for Your Family

Following on from our last article “Why Routines are Important for Your Child’s Well Being,” we are now exploring the How so you can apply it to your everyday life at home.

First things first, we do have to tell you that there is no magical solution; there is no perfect routine that we can hand every family and life will become perfect.

Like everything in life (especially when there are children involved), creating an environment that is almost perfection takes a lot of time, effort, patience, and time and error. What will work for one family won’t work for another, and no matter how much planning and preparation that you do, things will change. And they will change regularly.

You may be thinking “well, what’s the point then?” The point is all the benefits that it offers our children (see previous article) and the benefits that it offers us as parents so that we can have quality time all together and not feel like we are running this never-ending hamster wheel.

A dad talking to his son on a hammock

To get off the wheel and make the most of every day with your family, here are our top tips on how to create a daily routine that works for you.

Always write things down

With so much to do and remember, our heads are swimming with tasks and activities that just add to our stress and worry throughout the day. Spend the mornings, even just 5 minutes over breakfast, writing these things that need to be done down. It’ll get them out of your head and you’re much less likely to forget something which will make you feel much better!

Create a routine and keep it flexible

Think about the daily chores that need to be done and then the weekly chores and monthly chores, and put them all into a calendar-type sheet. Depending on how organised you like to be, you could even colour code this to make it easier to glance at and know what’s coming up! Make sure to always write down everyone’s individual activities and events as well so that nothing is forgotten. You could even print out your calendar and hang it so that everyone knows what is going on too, just follow your plan lightly as things are expected to change all the time.

a planner book

Revisit your plan weekly

Make a point of sitting down with your partner every week and reviewing your plan. What worked well? What didn’t? How can you make the next week better? By doing this, you’re making steps towards creating your ideal routine. Plus you may become aware of something that is happening in the week that you forgot about or you need to reschedule!

Have everyone do certain activities at the same time

A daily routine can really help bring you all closer as a family so make sure to have everyone eat, sleep, and play at the same time as much as possible. By making sure that you spend time together, you won’t feel as guilty when you have your much needed alone time.

Aim to get three tasks done every day

Rather than try and do everything (which can’t be done easily), choose three things every day which are the most important to get done. Focus all of your energy on these three and anything else extra that gets done is a bonus!

to do list

Learn to be happy with partial solutions

As family to-do lists just keep growing, you’ll never be able to get everything done, so rather than stress, be happy when something gets done. Haven’t got time to clean the bathroom? Give it a quick tidy and leave it for another day.

Don’t overwhelm yourself; get your little ones to help

As much as we want to be “super-mum” or “super-dad” we literally can’t do everything, so get your little ones to help you as much as possible. By simply getting them to help you clean away the dishes after dinner and tidy up, this is less stress for you, more time with them, and it teaches them valuable life skills such as responsibility.

Accept that mess is okay sometimes

A messy house is a well lived-in house, so learn to be okay with it sometimes. Teach your children the value of work and cleaning and model this by keeping the house that way when you can, but try not to stress if there is a mess and all you want to do is play games or take the children to the park.

A little boy throwing a pile of leaves in the air outside

Teach your children the value of waiting

Today, children just don’t get bored anymore, but they should. Not only is this time essential for them to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them, but it is also necessary for their cognitive development. When you’re a bit late on dinner or you need to push back play time for another activity, don’t get tempted to give them a device to keep them occupied, make them wait.

Cut down on TV

We’ve all heard or even said the classic “I would but I just don’t have the time” but the truth is, we all have the time. Many of us spend a lot of time, especially in the evenings, watching TV so this should be an activity that you can cut to spend more time together as a family before bed.

Try and maintain the routine when away

Sometimes an emergency occurs, you’ve booked a holiday, or something has just come up that you have to adapt to. Whatever the situation that occurs, if anything disrupts your usual routine, try to still do as much of it as possible. It’s important that children maintain normalcy, especially in times of stress, so make sure to stick to the daily routine to keep them calm and comforted.

Mother holding her baby in her arms

Look after yourself

This sounds impossible, right? Manage the whole family schedule AND fit enough time in for yourself to get enough sleep, drink lots of water, and exercise. It might seem that way but it’s not if you plan and stick to your daily routine. Just remember not to always prioritise everyone else. The whole family needs you to be healthy so make sure to know your energy levels and schedule in downtime for you 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:

Why Routines are Important for Your Child’s Well Being

You may be putting off creating a routine for your children, but trust us when we say that it is worth the effort.

Although a routine requires structure and consistency (and a whole lot of patience), all of which are difficult to achieve in everyday life, once you have established one that caters for the needs of every family member, you will see huge improvements in all aspects of your home life.

As well as massive improvements in the moods and sleep of everyone at home, routines are also important for the well being of our children. Here are some of the reasons why.

 

The benefits of a good family routine

Routines give children a sense of security and control over their environment

When life is organised and consistent at home, children feel safe, secure and looked after, especially during stressful times or during difficult stages of development. By creating a predictable daily routine, children also learn what to expect at various times of the day and experience a sense of control and satisfaction when they complete these tasks.  

Routines can help limit poor behaviour and outbursts

A lot of bad behaviour is primarily triggered by hunger, tiredness or overstimulation, therefore developing a routine where they eat and sleep at certain times will help children emotionally prepare for the next task and understand what is expected of them when the task is completed.

Read: How to Create a Daily Routine that Works for Your Family

Routines help children learn essential life skills

Routines help children learn so much from learning how to perform each task (getting dressed, brushing teeth etc) to learning how the world works and what they need to do in order to interact successfully in it. A simple daily routine provides a basis for children to learn other essential skills such as basic hygiene, time-management, self-control, self-care, responsibility, independence, and confidence.

Routines help bring you all closer as a family

Routines involve doing a lot of things together and while the tasks themselves might seem mundane, this can actually really help to strengthen family relationships. When building your ideal family routine, think about how you can create them around having fun or spending time together such as reading stories before bed or going somewhere for a treat after dance class or football practice. These moments will become a special time for you and your child to share and will be remembered when they grow older and make their own traditions.

A family and dog in a forest

Next time you have a long and stressful day and you’re tempted to eat in front of the TV or let your children stay up until they tire themselves out instead of getting them ready for bed, stop and think of all these benefits they provide to both your children and your whole family.

A little effort every day means less stress for everyone and happier times together – isn’t this alone worth it?

 

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 Secrets to Soothing a Teething Baby to Sleep

We’ve all heard the stories of teething babies, the non-stop cries of discomfort, lack of sleep, and the nights filled with restless walking to try and soothe them. As parents, this is enough to give us nightmares. But it shouldn’t.

All babies are different. This means that they can start any time, display symptoms months before they actually begin to teeth or only right before the tooth emerges. If you’re lucky, they can even be teething angels and you haven’t known that they have been teething until you can see their first pearly whites.

Whatever your situation, there are a few secrets that will help you make this stage in your child’s development as comfortable and stress-free for the both of you as you possible. Here are our top 5 below which can be used anytime but especially when soothing a teething baby to sleep!

1. Soothe Sore & Painful Gums

You know your baby is teething when they chew on anything and everything to try and help relieve the pressure in their gums, so give them things to help them soothe it. This can be:

  • teething rings
  • chilled water in a feeding cup
  • a chilled flannel
  • a clean finger to rub their gums
  • a peeled and chilled cucumber or carrot
  • teething gels or painkillers

Mother holding her baby in her arms

Tip: use teething gels and painkillers with caution! Always read the instructions, use sparingly and always consult your healthcare professional for advice if you’re unsure.

 

2. Feed Soft Foods

Although harder foods are good to use when your baby needs to gnaw on something for instant relief, feeding your teething baby soft foods is essential to prevent gum irritation and to reduce inflammation at night and in the long term. This means that they can sleep easier and you too!

Tip: soft foods such as pasta and baby formula are perfect.

3. Create a Soothing Environment

Babies moods often reflect those of their environment, so keep them calm by creating a quiet and comfortable space in your home. When a baby is relaxed during the day, they are more likely to sleep through the night.

Tip: create a soothing environment with low light, soft music or white noise. Quiet and a relaxed mum and dad are also essential.

A baby lying down and looking up at the camera

4. Maintain a Bedtime Routine

The teething stage is an exception to the rule, so try to return to your normal sleep patterns as soon as possible. By keeping this routine for bedtime as much as possible during the teething stage, you’re ensuring that both you and your child gets enough rest and relaxation every night whilst also increasing the chances of them going back to self-soothing after it’s over.

5. Recognise the Cry

While it’s important to soothe your teething baby through the teething stage, you don’t want to undo all of your previous hard work of establishing good nightly routines. Recognise when a cry is for attention or coming from pain and only pick up your baby if they are in real distress. Once you know they are crying from pain, comfort them with gentle patting or rocking before settling them back to sleep.

A baby lying face down on a bed sleeping

As hard as it may be to follow these tips to teething success, it is essential for both you and your teething baby to get enough rest and relaxation during this time. Try your best and be strong, trust us when we say your efforts will be worth it.

 

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 Master Potty Training: the Ultimate Guide

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How to Master Potty Training: the Ultimate Guide

Potty training is a milestone in your child’s development, a moment of celebration (that your child has accomplished a big thing and for the end of changing nappies!); this moment should be eagerly anticipated for, not dreaded by parents.

To help you get through it in a breeze, we’ve put together this ultimate guide so that both you and your children can become masters of the potty!

WHEN to start potty training

 

“Typically, children will start potty training between 18 and 30 months old.”

 

There’s no set time on when you should start potty training your child because everyone is different. Some children may start a lot earlier than what is considered ‘normal’ and others may take longer to master it. The important thing is to start when YOUR child is showing signs of readiness.

A baby sitting on the potty

Signs can include:

  • A dry nappy after naps
  • A dislike to wearing dirty nappies
  • Noticing other children using the potty
  • Telling you when they are going to the toilet
  • Isolating themselves when they go to the toilet
  • An interest in being independent and being proud of their accomplishments

By waiting till your child is ready to be potty trained (even if all of their friends have already started earlier!), you can be sure that this transition will be as gentle and smooth as possible for the both of you.

 

HOW to start (and master) potty training

Potty training can be easy and quick or difficult and long, but the important thing is to be persistent and stay positive for as long as it takes. Just remember your ABC’s!

A – ASSESS – your child’s readiness and your own

Many parents begin potty training when their children are about 2 and a half, whereas some children are ready at 18 months or not interested until after age 3. Start when your child is ready. Try not to pressure them – if they are not ready, it will only be counterproductive. Also, always avoid potty training during transitional or stressful times such as moving, adding a new baby to the family, or if you are going through a separation.

B – BUY – the right equipment

Try out different options to see what your child responds best to. Do they prefer a child-sized potty chair because they are afraid of the big toilet? Or would they prefer a special adapter seat that attaches to your regular toilet? You’ll get better results if your child likes it, so let them help you choose what one they want and where they want to put it and encourage them to become familiar with it as much as possible.

A child in a shop

C – CREATE – a routine that works for the both of you

Encourage your child to sit on the potty every morning, before an evening bath or before they go to bed so that they can get used to using it as part of their daily routine. First, you can encourage them to do this fully clothed or just in a nappy, then you can move on to teaching them that they have to undo their trousers and pull down their underwear before they go to the toilet. All of this is practice and it is essential to helping your child develop a healthy routine.

D – DEMONSTRATE – for your child

As with most things in life, our children learn by imitating us, so allowing them to watch us use the bathroom is a natural way to help them understand what using the toilet is all about. When you’re using the bathroom, talk them through your routine and why each step is important. With some encouragement, this will help your child become familiar with the process and will allow them to pick it up quickly when doing it themselves.

E – EXPLAIN – the process in its entirety

Children need to understand the importance of the bathroom routine so try to explain everything that you can as simple as possible. The best way to explain is always whilst demonstrating, so next time they go to the toilet in their nappy, take them to the potty and sit them down. You can use this as a learning opportunity from emptying the nappy in the toilet to letting them flush it down and watch it disappear. Many children learn visually, so read them books on potty training, watch videos and take them into the bathroom to help them absorb this information.

A dad talking to his son on a hammock

F – FOSTER – the habit as much as possible

Practice makes perfect so encourage your child to sit on the potty whenever they feel the urge to go to the toilet. If you can, let them roam around the house bare-bottomed sometimes and remind them that the potty is there if they need it as this is often a quicker way to learn. Just make sure they know that they can ask you for help anytime and that it’s okay if they have an accident sometimes. Be as positive and reassuring as possible, praise them when they use it, and let them know that learning takes time and that making mistakes only makes us better learners.

G – GRAB – some training underwear

Training underwear helps your child undress for the potty on their own which is a critical step in becoming completely potty trained. Whether you opt for cloth or disposable training underwear, make sure to introduce them gradually into the routine and only progress to “big-kid” underwear when they look for the potty whenever they need to go.

Tip: Parents have said that although cloth training underwear are less convenient, they work better as your child can really feel when they’ve had an accident in them.

A circle of colourful nappies

H – HANDLE – setbacks gracefully and positively

Temporary setbacks are completely normal so expect them and be prepared to shower your child with positive reinforcement. Don’t get angry or punish your child. Teaching our bodies to develop new habits takes time and it truly isn’t your child’s fault. With reinforcement and praise every time they use the potty, you’ll see that your child will soon become a master of the potty!

 

When your child is mentally and physically ready to learn this new skill, they will, so it’s worth it for both you and them to wait until they are really ready to start.

 

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? See more from us here:

How to Encourage Your Child to Get Involved

8 Ways to Help Your Children Protect Their Teeth

How to Prepare Your Child (and Yourself!) for School Separation Anxiety