The Best 20-Minute Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained

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

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

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

12 go-to activities for kids

1. Playdough

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

2. Slime

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

3. Sticker books

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

two boys reading a book

4. Hidden picture books

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

5. Water wow books

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

6. Water beads

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

7. Water colouring

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

A child painting

8. Building blocks/supplies

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

9. Art supplies box

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

10. Sensory bins

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

11. Gel window clings

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

12. Temporary race track

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

Lego cars

Tips to remember!

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

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

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

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

You deserve some quiet time

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

Two little girls hugging and laughing outside

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

When does my baby need to drop a nap?

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

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

a father with his baby lying on his chest

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

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

 

Signs that you need to drop a nap

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

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

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

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

A baby crying

Just make sure that your baby/toddler is:

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

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

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

 

How to start reducing your baby’s naps

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

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

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

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

A mother kissing her baby

Listen to your baby and yourself

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

 

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

 

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

 

A Parent’s Survival Guide to the Summer Holidays

The Summer holidays can be a stressful and financially draining time of year, BUT they don’t have to be. This period of the year can elicit fear in the best of us, but it doesn’t have to.

Although we don’t have the magic answer to make this time of year completely effortless and stress-free, we do have some essential tips that will make it easier. Yes, you will still have to juggle work and fun whilst attempting to hold on to your sanity as you try to organise who can look after the children, BUT this guide will help you survive it!

Step 1: plan and prepare!

Like with most things in life, preparation is key. To prepare for the 6 weeks that are looming ahead, print a calendar of the two months and start planning. Which weeks, if any, are you going on holiday? Which days or weeks can you and your significant other book off? Which days or weeks are family members or friends available to help? When you lay everything out and you know where you are, you will find that the stress will lessen. Tip: the sooner you do this the better!

Step 2: get creative with childcare arrangements

Many parents have to both work during the summer holidays, so this calls for creativity in the childcare department. If you don’t want to burden grandparents too much, ask around the schoolyard to see if you can arrange playdates with parents. Maybe you have a friend that works from home and is willing to help out? If you’re really stuck for support, how about finding a summer camp that your child would love?

Two little girls hugging and laughing outside

Step 3: be ready to combat boredom

“I’m bored” are the two most dreaded words that a parent can hear, especially if it follows hours of entertainment, so be ready for it! As a lot of activities that we suggest to our children sound ‘boring’ in this digital age, why not get them to come up with their own activities so that they can create their own boredom jar? That way, when they say those scary words, you can encourage them to dip into the jar without looking and voila! That will be the activity that they have to do.

Step 4: make long journeys as fun as possible

If the summer holidays involve a few long drives, challenge yourself to never hear the words “are we there yet?” Believe it or not, this is possible! With snacks, books, and a trusty iPad and earphones, you can get through the longest of journeys stress-free. Arm yourself with a few games and sing-a-longs to their favourite soundtracks and you’ll be laughing!

Step 5: leave time to be spontaneous

While planning and preparation are key to survival, leaving room for spontaneity is key to making magical memories. Don’t worry too much about days where you don’t have plans as these are often the times where you come up with activities to do ‘just because.’ Things like a water fight in the garden or turning the living room into a den for a movie night can end up being the moments that will be remembered forever.

A family having a water fight outdoors

Being away from home or thrust out of your normal family routine can be incredibly stressful, but with planning and preparation far in advance, you can make it through. Need ideas for fun things to do? Check out our blogs 10 Things to Do with Your Children Over the Summer Holidays and The Best Inside Activities for High Energy Kids.

 

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 Essential Ways to Help Your Child Stop Wetting the Bed

Bedwetting is nothing to worry about until your child is 5 years old. Even when they turn 5, approximately 1 in 5 children wet their bed at night, and 1 in 10 children aged 10 years are still wetting the bed at this age, so parents shouldn’t be too concerned. The issue usually resolves on its own, especially if you can help your child using one or all of these 8 tips.

8 tips to combat bed wetting

  1. Always be encouraging – it’s really important that you show support and make your child feel good about their progress by consistently rewarding their success.
  2. Shift times for drinking – try to increase fluid intake earlier in the day and gradually reduce it later in the day. Once they have dry nights consistently, you can then slowly make their fluid intake more balanced in the day.
  3. Avoid thirst overload – some children tend to not drink much at all during school hours but then are excessively thirsty when they return home. If the school allows, give your child a water bottle so that they can drink steadily all day.
  4. Create a bathroom routine – some children really benefit from scheduled bathroom breaks. If you can get your child on a regular bathroom schedule (e.g. as soon as they wake up, every two to three hours, and right before bedtime), you may see fewer wet nights or perhaps none at all.A circle of colourful nappies
  5. Eliminate bladder irritants – food and drinks can all irritate a child’s bladder so make sure to eliminate these before bedtime. Caffeinated drinks in particular, such as chocolate milk and cocoa, can be irritable as well as citrus juices and anything with sweeteners, artificial flavourings, and dyes.
  6. Don’t randomly wake your child in the night – while waking up your child randomly to ask them if they need to urinate may result in a dry night or two, this isn’t a long term solution. It only results in more sleeplessness and frustration for both of you. If this is something that you want to try, consider a bedwetting alarm instead. All you need to do is clip the alarm to your child’s underwear and it will go off if it detects moisture. This is when you should wake your child and take them into the bathroom.
  7. Avoid punishment – although you may feel frustrated or angry with your child for wetting the bed, especially if it continues or they regress when they were previously doing so well, try not to direct it at them. Your child may feel embarrassed or naughty for wetting the bed so let them know that it is not their fault and that it’s a learning process that we’ve all had to go through.
  8. Consider other factors – there may be another reason for your child wetting the bed consistently such as constipation. About one-third of children who wet the bed do so because they are constipated so make sure to keep track of their bowel movements as this might be the underlying issue.

What if my child is still wetting the bed?

If you’ve done all of the above and your child is still wetting the bed consistently with no signs of improvement, don’t be afraid to seek medical attention.

Although this is a learning process and it can take more time for some children than others, sometimes wetting the bed is a sign of something more significant (e.g. a bladder that is not yet matured, a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Diabetes etc).

Two teddy bears acting as a doctor and patient

Hopefully, now you feel less worried if your child is still wetting the bed when you think that they shouldn’t be. Try your best to help your child learn at their own pace by using these 8 tips, be wary of other factors that may be causing them to regress, and lastly if you’re trying everything and you’re still worried, consult a paediatric doctor or urologist for advice.

 

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:

5 Valuable Life Skills that Children Learn Through Age Appropriate Chores

Following on from our recent blog “Age appropriate chores for children to help them learn valuable life skills,” we now wanted to focus on the valuable life skills that they learn through doing such chores.

No matter what age your children are, there are always tasks that you can assign them to not only help make family life run smoother but to help them grow up to be productive members of society too.

If you think giving children chores is mean or that your children wouldn’t help you put their toys away or wipe down the kitchen counters in a million years, here are 5 reasons why it actually does children a lot of good. Here are 5 valuable life skills that they will learn which are essential to surviving in the adult world.

5 skills that children learn

Skill 1: Responsibility

While picking up fallen toys or dirty laundry is a major part of every parent’s daily life, it shouldn’t just fall on you to do it. Help your children learn how to be responsible for themselves and their own belongings.

You can have dedicated spots for shoes, jackets, and backpacks as well as boxes for toys, and you can have dedicated clean up times or just form positive daily routines (i.e. as soon as they walk through the door, their jacket and shoes should be placed in their spot etc). As your children grow, they will be aware of their belongings and their responsibility to carry and not lose them.

Skill 2: Independence & Self-reliance

The idea of your little ones leaving home may seem like a long way away in the future yet and it is, but there are a lot of life skills to be learnt in that time. As adults, they will need to know at least the basics, such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, managing money etc, and it’s never too young to start.

Just make sure that you choose age-appropriate chores to help foster these skills (e.g. young children can help you load the washing machine or pair the socks whereas older children can learn how to use the machine). The more you can give your children responsibilities, no matter how small, the more independent and self-reliant they’ll become which is essential for the real world.

A child with a treasure map

Skill 3: Self-confidence

Being confident in our own abilities is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives, but those with a positive attitude and mindset are able to not let this feeling bring them down. By fostering self-confidence when our children are young, this helps them create a strong foundation to build on.

By giving your children opportunities to help you around the house, you will see the pride and confidence that they feel after completing certain tasks from start to finish. Not only does this make them feel capable but it also gives them the confidence to work hard to accomplish the challenges that come their way.

Skill 4: Time management

Kids learn quickly that if they want to spend time doing the things that they love, they must first complete their chores in a timely manner before they can get back to fun. This is an essential skill that we could all improve on!

While it is important to let kids be kids when it comes to balancing fun and chores, it is also essential that children build solid time management skills from a young age as well as a strong work ethic. If they do, then balancing school, extracurricular activities, social commitments, and other duties won’t be as difficult or overwhelming for them.

A boy dressed as a superhero

Skill 5: Helpfulness & Contribution

As we said previously, chores not only help you with the workload at home, but they also help your children share responsibility and become contributing members of the household and in society.

Being a part of a family, working together and having your children play their essential role fosters a strong feeling of belonging and being needed and this does wonders for helping them feel good about themselves.

 

Chores make life easier

If you don’t like the thought of assigning chores to your children, try to think of all the benefits that it brings; not only does it make family life easier so that you can spend more quality time together, but it also teaches your children valuable life skills which will make their own lives easier in the future.

A family and dog in a forest

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 Secret to Throwing a Kid’s Party on a Budget

As parents, we would do anything for our children, including but not limited to hosting big birthday parties. Have you ever transformed your whole house into a magical fairyland or pirates den? Have you ever had to coordinate taking a massive group of children out for a meal and then to the cinema? We’ve all been there and we’ve all done it, even when we’ve had to break the bank to do so.

When it comes to parties, costs add up fast. Our secret? They don’t have to! Here are 11 budget-savvy ways that you can throw a great kid’s party at a fraction of the price.

1. Keep the party small

It can be difficult inviting some friends and not inviting others, especially when your children are young, but the more people you invite the more you have to spend. Try to only invite the closest of friends or if you can’t do that, ask each parent to bring something with them to help with the food costs.

2. Personally invite your guests or send digital invitations

While physical invites can be fun to make, they do take time and supplies to make them. To host a party on a budget, you can start here. Personally invite friends while you’re picking the kid’s up from school or use a free email service to create digital invitations.

3. Choose an inexpensive or even free location

A big budget drain is location so consider other budget-friendly options. You can opt for inexpensive options such as a local community centre or if the weather is nice, host in your back garden, the beach or a nearby local park – they are free!

4. Be smart with timing

A budget-savvy tip that many parents don’t think of is the timing of the party. If you have a party over a meal time, you will have to provide this meal to your guests and that can be a big cost; if you host at mid-morning or mid-afternoon, however, providing light snacks and simple food will be more than enough!

Party food

5. Shop at home first

A lot of the time, we have many items that we may need for a party already at home. The challenge is to find them! Before you buy any decorations, games or activities, check what supplies you have first.

6. DIY as much as possible

Are you creative or do you have a friend that is? You can save a lot by making your own decorations and even baking your own desserts! Think about the things that need to be bought but then DIY the rest.

7. Stock up on supplies throughout the year

After Christmas and in January, many party supplies will go on sale so buy them when they are 75 or 80% off! Yes, you will have to store them and find them later but it will save you much more than you think.

8. Buy reusable supplies online

Party supplies such as plates, cups, napkins, and straws are only used once and then thrown away so look for supplies that you can re-use. Not only will opting for silicon, stainless steel and cloth napkins save you money but it will save the environment too!

9. The pound shop is your friend

When it comes to party favours, head to the pound shop. You can find some pretty great gifts for every guest there such as colouring books and still not break the bank.

10. Don’t forget the magic of simple games

Simple parties are often the best as children are happiest when playing with their friends, so don’t worry about elaborate entertainment. Bust out some of the old classics such as musical chairs, musical statues, the three-legged race or wheelbarrow race, Simon says, and stuck in the mud.

A little girl sitting among birthday balloons

11. Host a joint party

Is there a friend or family member around a similar age that has the same birthday as your child’s? Perhaps you could take it in turns throwing a joint party to double the fun and split the costs. There’s no better way to host a party on a budget!

 

The great thing about little children is that they have amazing imaginations. That means that you don’t have to spend too much on an elaborate, expensive birthday party for them to have fun, you just have to fuel their creativity and they’ll make unforgettable memories themselves.

 

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 Tell-tale Signs of a Tired Baby

A tired baby drops off right to sleep when you soothe them. An overtired baby fusses and fights sleep to the point where you feel physically exhausted when they finally close their eyes. If you’re like us, it’s safe to assume that you much prefer the first scenario! In this blog, we help you recognise when you’re baby is tired so that you can avoid the latter and make the former situation your norm.

Learn to read your baby’s signs

As babies can’t talk, their body language and cries are how they communicate.

It’s really important for parents to recognise the behavioural cues of their baby, especially when it comes to sleep as babies need a lot of it, particularly in the early days.

Only when you start to recognise when your baby is tired and ready for sleep can you respond to their needs and put them down for a nap before they get overtired.

Here are 9 signs of a tired baby:

  1. Yawning
  2. Fluttering eyelids
  3. Closed fists and rubbing eyes
  4. Pulling at ears
  5. Frowning
  6. Looking worried
  7. Rigid/tense hand and leg movements
  8. Arching backwards
  9. Staring off into space sleepily and turning their face away from any stimulation

A tired baby yawning

It can be difficult for parents to recognise the visual cues that babies make when they are tired, but like most things in life, we learn by trial and error.

Although these are very common signs of tiredness, your baby is unique so watch them regularly and learn to understand their own tired signs.

Is your baby crying, fussing and acting unsettled?

This behaviour is usually the last cue that your baby will give you when they’re tired and it usually means that they are now overtired.

At this point, your baby’s body is past the point of being ready to sleep and is so physically fatigued that their stress response has been activated. As stress hormones such as adrenaline enter their bloodstream, this is what results in a crying and seemingly inconsolable baby that won’t relax and calm down.

It’s important to remember in these moments that this is not your baby’s fault; being overtired makes it extremely hard for your baby to relax and fall asleep. The best thing to do in these moments is to first calm your baby down and then you can settle them to sleep.

A baby crying

Read: 12 Tips to Soothe Your Crying Baby

Develop a daily routine

The best solution for both you and your baby is to learn to recognise the visual cues of tiredness so that you can put your baby to sleep easily on time. That way you prevent your baby from becoming overtired and you also avoid the stress that comes with this for both of you.

As a general rule, it can be helpful to remember that babies need to sleep often:

  • A newborn can handle no more than 45-60 minutes of awake time.
  • A 3-6-month-old can handle no more than 1.5-3 hours of awake time.
  • A 6-month-old can handle no more than 2-3 hours of awake time.

If you bear this in mind and learn to recognise the subtle tired signs as they arise, then you should be able to develop a sleep routine that results in a well-rested, happy and healthy baby.

Remember, early signs of tiredness can be easy to miss so don’t be too hard on yourself. Watch your baby over time and trust your instincts, you’ll soon be very tuned to what they are trying to tell you.

A mother kissing her 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:

Essential Easter Egg Hunt Tips for Parents

It’s that time of year again where traditions are made and the kids are excited (even without the chocolate!). If you’re a family that partakes in the annual Easter Egg Hunt, we’d love to share with you our best tips for parents. Not only do they make hunting a lot more fun but they make them a lot easier for you too! Start making a unique annual tradition for your family with these egg hunting tips.

Tip 1: Use different coloured eggs

If you have more than one child, it’s a good idea to colour-code which eggs they have to find. Not only does this avoid any arguments but it also gives the younger ones an equal chance of finding which is what makes the hunt fun!

Tip 2: Make it age-appropriate

Depending on the age of your little ones, some may need more help in finding the eggs than others. Get creative with how you can help them while still making it a fun game. Here are some suggestions from younger children to older.

  • Leave tell-tale bunny prints – you can make little bunny footprints out of plain paper or by making some in talcum powder or flour to guide your children to the eggs. If they are a little older, you can just have the prints near each hidden Easter egg as a hint.
  • Draw a map – you can draw a map of the house or garden, wherever you have hidden the eggs, and make it into a treasure hunt. For younger children, you can make pictures of where eggs might be hidden (such as a chair for the dining room).
  • Turn it into a scavenger hunt – so much more fun than just finding eggs! Depending on the age of your children, you can make this as easy or as difficult as you like. Hide a clue with each egg to help your child find the next one; each clue can be a riddle, a rhyme, a song or a quote or even something that is specific to your family such as “where Dad spends most of his time.” Each clue should indicate the location and send your children all around the house. A game like this really encourages teamwork!

A child with a treasure map

Tip 3: Always keep track of the eggs

There’s nothing worse than finding a melted chocolate egg under the couch cushion a few months after Easter, so keep track of them to avoid any nasty surprises! This can be simply noting down where you’ve hidden them and ticking them off as your children find them or you can number them, just make sure you have a way of knowing that they have all been found.

Tip 4: You can still do an Easter Egg hunt without the chocolate

If you don’t want to overload your children with chocolate, get creative and come up with some alternative ways to have fun. There are so many ways that you can mix it up but these are our favourites:

  • Hunt for rewards – buy some plastic Easter eggs and fill them with slips of paper that reward your children for finding them. Things like ‘stay up for an extra 15 minutes,’ ‘ride in the front of the car to school’ or ‘choose what we watch on movie night.’ Your children will be just as excited when they get to redeem their rewards whenever they want.
  • Word game – there are two ways that you can make a game out of words but for both, you need to buy some alphabet stickers or write a letter on the outside of each egg first. The first game is to let your children hunt for the eggs and then they have to make the longest word that they can out of their egg stash to get a prize. The second game is that they have to work together to form a word that you have spelt which could be a clue to a surprise or a certain treat or what you’re going to do on the weekend.

Tip 5: Extend Easter beyond the egg hunt

If you don’t want to do an Easter Egg hunt or you feel like it is over too quickly, use the rest of the Easter weekend to engage in other fun Easter-themed activities. Here are a couple of quirky ideas to give some inspiration:

Easter egg hunt preparations

  • Egg and spoon race – a classic game which is fun for all the family! You can keep it simple or make it into an obstacle course. For older children, you can even split into teams and blindfold one player while the other directs them through the course (just be careful!).
  • Magic planting – plant some jelly beans in the garden with your children and say that they will magically transform into their favourite sweets by morning. While they sleep or in the morning, replace these with lollypops or their favourite sweets and say that they are a gift from the Easter Bunny.
  • Gift baskets – arts and crafts, a homemade card, and some rice krispie Easter eggs that you baked – fun and a nice gift for family or friends!

Have fun as a family this Easter and start making memories that you will never forget!

 

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 Importance of Using Positive Language Around Your Children

Negative language can greatly impact children and you as parents in a bad way, so this article aims to address why it’s important to use positive language and how to do it.

Negative language creates stress for both you and your children

After a long day at work when you’re making dinner and your children are full of energy, it can be really tempting to use words such as ‘stop doing that’ or ‘don’t say that’ or ‘leave your brother/sister alone’ but what this is doing is actually creating more stress.

For your children, negative language like this creates confusion for them. They don’t know why you want them to stop doing what they are doing and what to do instead. As well as confusion, this can also make them feel discouraged that they can’t do anything right, leading to internal resistance where they continue to behave badly or low self-esteem as they develop. Ultimately, this can lead them to feeling like there is no point in even trying to do ‘right’ at all.

For you as the parent, feeling like your children aren’t listening can be very frustrating. It can lead to you becoming angry as you keep repeating what you don’t want them to do, especially if they seem unphased by your stern voice and they return to the same behaviour, and this leads to a stressful house environment.

Children respond to any form of attention, so the fact that they are getting attention when they are behaving negatively can create the need to continue to behave in this way.

A little girl hiding under pillows

Read: How to Build a Positive Parenting Connection

Use positive language as much as possible

If you want less stress and better behaviour, you can avoid most back-talk, tantrums, and daily power struggles just by using positive language. Positive language clearly shows your children what you want them to stop doing and what you’d like for them to do instead.

This can be difficult to master, especially on those bad days where you are stressed and overworked yourself, but take a deep breath and put more thought into your reactions.

Here are a few ways that you can reframe typical negative phrases into positive ones:

  • Stop running in the house  –>  Please walk in the house, I wouldn’t want you to have an accident. If you want to run, let’s go in the garden.
  • Don’t take your sister’s toys  –> Can you please find something else to play with until she’s done?
  • Stop yelling  –> Please use your inside voice, there’s no need to shout.
  • No throwing balls in the house  –> You can take the ball outside to play if you’d like.
  • No hitting  –> Be gentle please, use your gentle hands.
  • Stop Whining  –> Please use your words so I can hear you.
  • Don’t throw sand -> Would you like to fill this bucket with sand?
  • Don’t even think about running, I’m watching you!  –> I’m so glad to see you remembering to walk safely down the hall, well done.

Do you see the difference?

It can be very hard to get used to at first but as soon as speaking in a more positive way becomes a habit, you’ll soon see that your children will behave better and they will start to talk to each other positively too.

Two little girls hugging and laughing outside

Try it. Write down a list of phrases that you say regularly, and find new ways of phrasing ‘no,’ ‘stop’ and ‘don’t’ in a positive way.

Create a stress-free home

Positive reinforcement creates a positive culture within the house environment. Pre-empt situations by planning ahead and giving your children things to do when you know you will be busy doing other things.

Using positive language around your children gives them clear guidance about what good behaviour means to you without making them feel confused or bad about themselves. It may be difficult to master but it will also mean a much easier and stress-free time for you too as they grow into the fantastic adults that you know they can be!

 

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:

Age Appropriate Chores for Children to Help Them Learn Valuable Life Skills

No matter how young or old your children are, they love to help around the house. Not only do they feel a sense of pride from their accomplishments but they also feel a great deal of satisfaction from being a contributing member of the family.

Next time something needs to be done around the house, think about whether it’s a task that your little ones would like to help you with. Here is a list of age-appropriate chores that you can ask your children to assist with and it will help them learn valuable life skills too!

Ages 2-3

Although it might seem quite young to start chores with toddlers, teaching them simple tasks can help them learn independence and responsibility from the get-go. This will help them grow up to be capable, motivated, and determined. Consider encouraging your toddler to:

  • Put toys away
  • Put shoes away
  • Put dirty clothes in the washing basket
  • Place books on bookshelf
  • Fetch nappies/wipes
  • Help set the table

Ages 4-5

When your children start to grow, they will relish being independent and feeling like a ‘grown-up’ so encourage this as much as possible and praise them for a job well done. Help them learn responsibility by teaching them to:

  • Make the bed
  • Put away clean clothes
  • Match socks
  • Clear the kitchen table
  • Wipe up spills
  • Water the plants
  • Feed pets

A little boy reaching into a toy box

Ages 6-7

It’s important to teach our children valuable life skills that will help them become a contributing member of the household but also a productive member of society. This starts with small chores at home that help build their confidence, tasks such as:

  • Help prepare dinner
  • Help put light groceries away
  • Replace toilet paper roll
  • Wipe down bathroom/kitchen sinks and counters
  • Sweep or rake
  • Use a handheld vacuum

Ages 8-9

Your children will be moving up to big school very soon, so they will need to start becoming even more independent. They also need to learn that certain things need to be done every day before they can go out to play, so time management becomes a skill that’s learnt quickly!

At this age, consider chores such as:

  • Help put groceries away
  • Load and unload the dishwasher
  • Mop floors
  • Dust the furniture
  • Help bake cookies or scramble eggs
  • Walk the dogs

Find out why Why Routines are Important for Your Child’s Well Being and How to Create a Daily Routine that Works for Your Family.

A family and dog in a forest

Ages 10-11

Older children need to learn to become self-reliant and confident in their own abilities, so start letting them carry out tasks by themselves. Entrusting them with certain tasks every day not only teaches them responsibility but it also helps them build a strong work ethic that will stay with them as they grow into adulthood.

Teach them to:

  • Make simple meals
  • Take out the rubbish
  • Wash clothes and move to the dryer
  • Clean toilets, bath/shower, sinks
  • Deep clean the kitchen
  • Clean up after pets

Ages 12+

When your children are in big school, you can help build on the valuable life skills that they are already learning such as independence, responsibility, confidence, time-management, and prioritisation. Now that they are older, you can let them:

  • Shop for groceries with supervision and a list
  • Make full meals
  • Bake cake/bread on own
  • Wash windows
  • Clean the car
  • Iron clothes
  • Supervise younger children

With these age-appropriate chores, you can give your children the opportunity to learn valuable life skills. Not only does helping around the house help your little ones grow into productive and self-sufficient adults, but it also makes family life run smoother 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: