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:

How to Build a Positive Parenting Connection

It’s incredibly hard being a parent. Even when actual parents are telling you how difficult it is before you have your own children, it’s easy to brush this off thinking that it can’t be that bad. Flash forward to a day where everything seems to have gone wrong – work has been stressful, you pick your children up from school and they are miserable, you spend time making dinner that they don’t eat it, and then they are screaming, refusing to go to bed – all of a sudden, you know exactly what those parents were warning you about and you wonder how you’re going to deal with all this chaos.

It’s tough but it is possible. It’s all about building a positive parenting connection with your children.

What is a positive parenting connection?

Put simply, it’s just thinking about things in a different way to make you approach hard days positively and in turn, your children positively. This is important to staying happy in parenthood and also for your children’s happiness too.

For example, on a really bad day as we talked about above, what is your mindset on this day?

Negative – is your mindset, “it’s been a rotten day, the kids were awful. Everything has gone wrong and I can’t wait for this day to end. Why does everything have to be so hard?”

A little girl hiding under pillows

Or is it Positive?today was an awful day but that’s okay, it makes us appreciate the good days. Yes, the kids were miserable and didn’t eat their dinner but they are allowed to have bad days too and they were good in school and ate all of their lunch so maybe they just weren’t hungry. Although the day didn’t go as planned, it doesn’t mean the whole day was a write-off. Maybe things weren’t so bad after all.”

It might sound silly, saying that being positive is all you need to get through these hard times without pulling your hair out, but you’ll be surprised. Turning things into a positive makes you acknowledge the good and transfer this gratefulness onto your children. It also makes you happier thinking about the positives and your children too.

Wouldn’t you rather end the day with a family story than just putting everyone to bed?

How you view your child during hard times matters

So, thinking positively and noting the things that you are grateful for may help you stay positive and sane, but what about your children? How do they get through these hard days? Here is why it’s important to transfer this positive mindset onto your children and how to do it to build a positive parenting connection with them.

A father kissing his daughter on the cheek

Don’t think of your child as HARD or DIFFICULT

Almost every parent has been guiltily when it comes to thinking of one of your children as hard. Some of us may even communicate our frustrations to other parents, sometimes within earshot of our children. Without realising it, we are creating a negative mindset both for ourselves (it will affect the way you see them, treat them, and respond to them) and for our child (this way of thinking turns into a label of how they see themselves).

Labelling your child makes them limit themselves, so encourage a ‘Growth Mindset.’ Read more about why this is essential and how to do it in our blog here.

RESPOND to your child, don’t REACT

If you think of your child or their behaviour in a negative way, you are much more likely to react to them in a negative way (such as snapping at their tone or shouting at them when you’re the one who is frustrated). This is why you need to have a positive mindset, it allows you to respond to them instead of reacting. It allows you to take a step back and emphasise with them, allowing you to think “why are they acting this way? Are they acting from a place of pain or sadness or fear?” By thinking of their behaviour in this way, you may choose to respond differently like talking to them about how they are feeling. You might find that your child is anxious or worried about something else and that’s making them act out rather than their behaviour just being ‘the way that they are.’

 

Foster empathy and kindness in your household

We are not saying that thinking in a positive way every day is easy, but it will make everyone in your household happier for it. More importantly, this way of thinking will allow you to look at the core of your children’s behaviour and respond to them from a place of kindness.

Think of ‘reacting’ as a roadblock to your parenting-child connection. When you don’t assign a label to your children and you think positively, this allows you to take a deep breath and sit back in difficult situations so that you can work through this roadblock and grow closer to your children.

a little boy holding his mother's face

 

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

 

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

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

We all know about mindset. As adults, we hear about how important mindset is in both daily life and business, especially when it comes to getting through the hard times, but we tend to struggle with it. Why? Because it’s hard to change your mindset when you’ve thought a certain way for many years, it’s hard to change habit. This is why we need to teach our children about positive mindsets from a young age, so we can help them grow into stronger people in the future. Here is why this is so essential and how you can encourage a positive mindset in your children.

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset

There are two types of mindsets – a fixed mindset or a growth mindset – we learn one or the other when we are young and develop these thoughts until they become beliefs and habit when we are older.

Take a look at the difference between the two. Which mindset would you like your children to have?

Fixed Mindsetpeople believe that their abilities are unchanging and predetermined.

This means that they either believe that they are born smart or with a talent or they aren’t. When challenges arise or things don’t go their way (e.g. they don’t get the job that they want), they believe it is because they aren’t good enough and that alone, is reason enough to give up. They believe that no matter how hard they work, they won’t be successful because it’s not part of their DNA and this way of thinking is very limiting to their development as a person, their happiness, and their success.

A young boy pulling a hat over his face

Growth Mindsetpeople believe that everyone has the ability to be whoever and whatever they want to be.

Having a growth mindset means that even if someone doesn’t have a natural talent or genetics that make them intelligent, with hard work and dedication, they know that they can learn enough to be on the same level or even better than the people who are naturally good at something. They believe that they can learn and achieve anything as long as they put their mind to it and this positive outlook fuels their determination and persistence with something even if it’s difficult or they may fail. This way of thinking means that they are more likely to keep trying when things are hard rather than giving up.

 

9 Ways to Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Children

We’ve established the importance of having a growth mindset, so here is how you can make sure that your children are developing one from a young age:

  1. Model a growth mindset yourself – children copy you, so actively try and have a growth mindset yourself. This means no self-defeating talk only positive self-statements and affirmations.
  2. Make goals togethershow your children how to have this type of mindset by setting goals together and tracking your progress. It can be something as simple as wanting to read every day. Hang up a calendar and everyone who completed their daily goal gets a star or a treat on the weekend. (Read: How to Build a Positive Parenting Connection)
  3. Don’t tell your children they are ‘smart,’ ‘gifted’ or ‘talented’ – this may seem crazy but doing this encourages a fixed mindset (that children are born this way) and discourages them from giving additional effort to be better.
  4. Praise a growth mindset – if your child has demonstrated a growth mindset by not giving up with learning to do something or doing something new, praise them for it. They will soon learn that effort and commitment is something positive.
  5. Praise hard work (not results) – while grades are important and winning a competition or sports event would have been the best result, help your child celebrate any result because they did their best. Teach them that you should only be disappointed if you didn’t do your best because that is all you can do. Also, you can use this as a learning opportunity to think of ways that they can improve next time.A mother and her son looking at eachother
  6. Encourage and support passions – while art or dance might not be the career path that you want your child to take, it’s really important that you give them the chance to explore their passions and give them the support that they need. Being passionate about something gives your child the potential to be great so encourage them to be curious and follow their instincts.
  7. Resist the urge to prevent failures, encourage them to persevere – it’s very tempting to help your children not make mistakes but mistakes and failing is how they learn to be better. Resist this urge to fix their problem and give them space to work through the process. By doing this, they learn that working hard is how they fix problems not turning to you for help.
  8. Give your children responsibilities – children love to accomplish tasks on their own, they feel proud and this builds their confidence. Help your children feel capable by giving them tasks that they can help you with. This encourages them to embrace their curiosity as they grow older and gives them the confidence to explore new challenges.
  9. Use positive language – encourage your child not to give up, tell them to trust themselves, encourage challenges, and always tell them to try their best. There really is power in positivity and they will grow up with these phrases as a mantra that they live by.

Encouraging a growth mindset in your children is essential to their happiness as they grow older as their mindset can be the difference between them being confident enough to go for what they are passionate about and to keep trying even when things get tough. It’s so essential that our children believe in themselves and their abilities, so use these 9 things in your daily life and you will also soon feel capable, curious and confident in everything that you do.

A father kissing his daughter on the cheek

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 Conquer the 5 Biggest Potty Predicaments

Following on from our previous blog “12 Common Potty Training Problems (and Solutions!),” we are going to look into the top 5 most common potty training problems to delve a little deeper. Why are these the most common problems and what can I do to help my toddler overcome them? Here is everything you need to know to conquer the 5 biggest predicaments when it comes to potty training.

#1 They will not go in the potty

Why it’s a problem: children can typically be physically ready to use the potty, meaning that they recognise when they need to use the potty, but they may not be emotionally ready. Your child may have no desire to use the potty or completely resist it. This in itself is not a problem but starting before they are ready can be.

How you can conquer it: all you can do is wait until they are ready but in the meantime, you can make the potty a very positive and engaging experience. Here are a few tips:

  • Read potty books to them so they understand what potty training is all about.
  • Let them play with a drink and wet doll.
  • Bring them into the bathroom when you use the toilet.
  • Look out for signs that they are ready (when they show interest, if they stop playing and hide when they fill their nappy or when they ask you for a clean one).
  • When they are ready, start potty training! Read our blog “How to Master Potty Training: the Ultimate Guide‘ if you need help.

A young boy pulling a hat over his face

#2 They will use the potty but only when I place them on it

Why it’s a problem: toddlers who need you to remind them or physically place them on the potty are more likely to have accidents when you transition to underwear. This is normal in the early stages of potty training as your child needs to learn to recognise their body signals and recognise them in time to get to the potty. This, however, can become a problem as they get older as it might just be laziness.

How you can conquer it: it’s normal to have a few accidents but if it happens regularly, try these potty training tips:

  • Ask them regularly if they need to use the potty.
  • Take them to the potty when they wake up, before starting activities, before nap time and before bedtime to get them into a routine.
  • If they need to go, walk them to the potty but start waiting outside.
  • Encourage them to be a big boy or girl and go to the potty themselves.
  • Introduce a reward system if they go by themselves, such as a sticker, a new toy, or a benefit that they only get for special occasions.

#3 They will pee in the potty but not poo

Why it’s a problem: some children resist pooing in the potty or toilet as they are terrified of the feeling. To them, it can feel like they are losing part of their body and when they do it in the toilet, the sound of it falling into the water, the water splashing on their bottom or the fear of falling in is enough to make them hold it in. This can lead to constipation and that will lead to further complications.

How you can conquer it: 

  • If they are not pooing in their nappy either, check with the doctor that they are not constipated.
  • If they are pooing in their nappy, but not the potty, be patient and wait until they are ready.
  • Help them relax by talking, singing songs, and bringing toys into the bathroom to distract them.
  • Let them poo in their nappy but explain to them that eventually, they will need to do it in the potty.
  • Encourage them to try, even if you have to sit them on the potty wearing a nappy the first couple of times.
  • If they don’t naturally transition, cut a hole in their nappy and let them wear it when they use the potty before training with underwear.

A shy little girl burying her face in her mum's dress

#4 They will only use the potty at home

Why it’s a problem: children don’t like using the potty or toilet in someone else’s home or in public bathrooms as the situation is totally unfamiliar. They are used to their surroundings at home and they know the routine but a new environment can make them resist going altogether. Children may get attached to their own potty or toilet at home so this can make travelling difficult during potty training.

How you can conquer it: 

  • Keep the routine as similar as you can wherever you are. If you sing a song, sing it, it will make them relax.
  • Start to bring them into new bathrooms that are somewhat familiar to them such as in a grandparents house, as they will feel safe.
  • Take the potty with you to public bathrooms the first couple of times.
  • Be as calm and positive as possible and don’t force them to go. Try to distract them by talking to them.
  • Be patient as this just takes time and the more they are exposed to different situations, the easier they will find it.

#5 They use the potty all day but still wet the bed

Why it’s a problem: nighttime dryness doesn’t go hand-in-hand with daytime dryness, in fact, many toddlers and even preschoolers simply aren’t capable of staying dry throughout the whole night. This is because children have a small bladder and they haven’t developed the internal processes yet that wake them up when they need to go to the toilet. Put simply, it is a habit that they need to learn and some take longer than others.

How you can conquer it: there’s isn’t much that you can do about this unfortunately other than encourage positive habits. Here are some tips:

  • Put them in a nappy or absorbent underwear under their pj’s in the early days.
  • Encourage them to use the potty or the toilet right before they go to sleep and as soon as they get up.
  • Explain to them that if they wake up in the night, they can use the potty by themselves or they should wake you up to take them.
  • When they have accidents, don’t get mad or punish them. Be positive and make it clear that it isn’t their fault. Explain to them that it will take time for their bodies to learn not to do it.

a toddler asleep face down on the bed

Patience, perseverance, and a positive attitude will conquer everything!

Potty training is difficult but remember that it is even more difficult for your child. Every child is different and it will take time, so be patient, persevere and always approach problems and setbacks with a positive attitude. 80% of children experience setbacks during potty training so they will need you to help them through it. Use these tips above and you’ll make this milestone one to remember!

 

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:

12 Common Potty Training Problems (and Solutions!)

Is your child ready to make the transition from nappy to potty? If so, read our previous blog first on “How to Master Potty Training: The Ultimate Guide,” only then will you be ready to read about the challenges that you may face along the way.

The process of potty training is a combination of successes and setbacks so it’s important to be aware of what the potential setbacks are so you can be prepared for them and handle them effectively. You may encounter resistance from your toddlers during various stages of potty training, so here is our quick guide to the most common potty training problems that arise and how to overcome them!

Problem 1: You are ready but your child is not

Is your child asking for a nappy when a bowel movement is expected? Do they then stand in a special place to go to the toilet? Is your child resisting to use the potty completely?

All of these are signs that your child may be physically ready to use the potty but they aren’t emotionally. Praise your child for recognising that they need to go to the toilet, explain what needs to happen in a positive way and suggest that they make their special place to go in the bathroom until they are ready to use the potty.

Problem 2: Not sitting still or uncomfortable bowel movements

Active children won’t sit still long enough to have a proper bowel movement so when you sit them on the potty, keep some books in the bathroom to keep them occupied.

Other reasons that your child may not poo on the potty or toilet is that it is uncomfortable for them or because they feel more in control when they are wearing a nappy. For toddlers who use the toilet, make sure to use a stool to support their legs and if they only poo in their nappy, empty it into the toilet and let them flush it away.

Problem 3: They don’t make it to the potty in time

Accidents happen especially when children are running around or doing an activity; they just keep doing what they are doing, ignoring the urge until it’s too late. All you can do to overcome this problem is to keep reminding them to use the bathroom, especially before leaving the house and dressing them in easy-to-remove clothing. Whatever you do, do not get upset or punish them as this will make them feel bad and will potentially take them longer to learn to use the toilet.

Problem 4: My toddler recognises the need to poo but not wee

You might be wondering why your child keeps on wetting themselves but they go to the potty when they need to poo. Don’t worry, this is normal. Children learn to control bowel movements first while it may take up to many months for them to achieve complete bladder control.

Problem 5: Boys insisting on sitting down to wee

While this isn’t a major problem, it is an important lesson to teach boys. If your son insists on sitting down, let them learn this first and only once they’ve mastered bladder control, explain to them that boys use the potty standing up. Let him watch other male siblings or his dad so that he can copy.

Read: How to Conquer the 5 Biggest Potty Predicaments

Problem 6: Going to the toilet after being taken off the potty

Does your child urinate or have a bowel movement right after you take them off the potty? This actually happens frequently as when you take them off the potty, your child relaxes. While this can be normal early on as it will take time for your child to learn muscle control, if it happens a lot, they may not be ready to start training yet.

A baby sitting on the potty

Problem 7: They stay dry during the day but wake up wet

Bedwetting is completely normal even months or years after daytime dryness is achieved as it takes some time to master nighttime bladder control. Encourage your child to use the potty immediately before going to bed and as soon as they wake up. Also, make sure they wear absorbent underwear in the night and tell them that if they wake up in the middle of the night and need to use the potty, they can go by themselves or wake you up to go with them.

Problem 8: They will only go to the potty with one particular person

This may be frustrating but some children are only comfortable training with the same person consistently. This is normal, just make sure to gradually withdraw yourself from the process. First, offer to help them undress then wait outside the door. Eventually, when they say they need to go, you can encourage them to go alone but to call you if they need any help.

Problem 9: Regressing back to nappies after weeks of being dry

Minor setbacks or complete regression is normal, especially when children are stressed or there’s a big change in the house, so don’t worry too much if your child insists on going back to diapers after successfully using the potty on their own for a while. Give it time, it will pass. All you can do is be positive and encourage them to return to using the potty.

Problem 10: An aversion to flushing

Another potty training problem can be a fear of flushing. The noise and rapid motion can be scary to some children so try and do it when they leave the bathroom first and then casually while you are talking or singing or playing. It will become less frightening over time.

If your child gets upset when they see their stools being flushed away, this may be because they believe that they are a part of them and they don’t understand where they are going. Calmly explain to them what body waste is and why we need to get rid of it, make sure they know that it is a good thing and try to make it fun.

Problem 11: They only use the potty or toilet at home

The bathroom routine is so well established at home that children can be overwhelmed when it comes to using a different toilet. They may even be scared as the surroundings are so unfamiliar. Try and keep the routine as similar as possible. If you sing a song, sing it, or concentrate on the steps of sitting, talking, flushing and washing hands to show them that it is still the same wherever they are.

Problem 12: Fear of the toilet

Your toddler is a potty master but they just will not progress to the toilet. This may be because they are afraid of it, afraid of falling in or getting sucked down the hole when you flush it. Even children who use the toilet can develop a fear of it if they have one bad experience. To help lessen this fear, help your child feel in control. Explain to them that the toilet will only flush if they pull the handle and let them flush it themselves when they are done.

 

Are there any potty training problems that you’ve been experiencing with your child?

Be patient and don’t worry if your child takes a step back every once in a while. This is an important learning process and it will take them however long it will take to fully transition from nappy to toilet.

 

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:

15 Creative Gift Ideas to Save You Money at Christmas

When you have little ones, your budget can become tight. While this can be a source of stress for you, it doesn’t have to be, especially since children have the best imaginations! Some toys or games might be ‘must-gets’ in your family, but for the most part, you can spend some time making your gifts and they will be just as over the moon.

As Christmas is just around the corner, we thought we’d put together a list of creative gift ideas that will help save you money. So if you’re looking to spend less money while the kids are young, here are 15 homemade creative gift ideas that you can use all year round!

1. Sock Puppets

If you’re handy with arts and crafts, sock puppets are a great gift for young children! All of the components are cheap to buy such as colourful socks, multi-coloured puff balls and googly eyes and you have yourself a series of characters to make!

Here’s some help: How to make a sock puppet video and How to make a dog sock puppet, step by step

2. Bath Crayons

Children of all ages love bath time, so create your own bath crayons to make it even better. Your little ones won’t believe that they can draw on the tub!

Here’s how to make your own: Bath crayon recipe and DIY bath crayons

rubber duckies

3. A Tool Belt

Do your little ones like to build? Do they have some trusty tools that they use to fuel their imagination? Then why not make them a tool belt? A tool belt will help them dress the part!

Here’s some help: Make a tool belt tutorial and Step by step guide

4. Doll Accessories

Almost every household with children has dolls, whether they are life-sized babies, barbies or action men, so making them accessories will be the best gift!

Here’s some help: Barbie accessories, Barbie clothes, Winter accessories, Make your own doll nappies, Baby doll sewing patterns

5. Felt Pizza

Inspire creativity by making your own felt sets. You can buy different coloured felt and cut them into shapes and put them in a box. Now all is left to do is for your child’s imagination to run wild!

Here’s some help: Make your own pizza shop

6. A Puppet Theatre

This may take some time but it will be so worth it. If you have some cardboard or even just a cereal box, you can make a puppet theatre. Then all it needs is some characters! Depending on your craft skills, you can keep it simple by drawing and colouring characters and sticking them on to lollypop sticks or you can make your own finger puppets!

Here’s some help: Make your own puppet theatre out of a shoebox or cereal box, Make your own finger puppets, make puppets without sewing

puppets

7. A Mini Marshmallow Gun

A fun game and you can eat the bullets at the end! Your children will have so much fun running around the house shooting marshmallows at each other and the great thing is, is that they won’t get hurt.

Here’s some help: Make your own marshmallow gun

8. Clothespin Wrap Dolls

When children are young, their imaginations are amazing and anything can become a toy! Get creative and make something different like some clothespin wrap dolls. Simple and perfect for travelling, these dolls are a really great gift idea.

Here’s some help: Make your own clothespin wrap dolls

9. Play Dough

Play dough is a classic gift and every child loves it! Make your own and have hours of fun creating masterpieces!

Here’s some help: Best homemade playdough recipe, A simple and natural playdough recipe

10. Animal Ear Headbands

Children love dressing up and there are no easier accessories to make yourself than animal ear headbands! Not only are these fun to make and the perfect stimulus for creative play, but your children will revel in the variety of animals that they can become.

Here’s some help: Animal ear headbands, DIY animal costume ideas, 10 animal costume ideas

little girl with bunny ears

 

Homemade gift ideas for family and friends

If you’d rather spend what money you do have on your children and save money elsewhere, here are some great creative gifts that are thoughtful yet easy to make yourself.

11. Homemade Candles – using wax flakes, colours and essential oils, you can create beautiful candles where you choose the colour, scent and overall look.

12. Homemade Bath Bombs – many people love fizzy bath bombs but they can be expensive to buy from the shop. You can make your own with baking soda, food colouring and essential oils!

13. Knitted Hat/Scarf/Blanket – if you can knit, the world of gift-giving is your oyster.

14. Hand-Embroidered Gifts – if you can sew, there is a range of great gifts that you can give. Has a friend or family member had a baby? Buy plain white onesies and embroider their name. Other things you can stitch initials on include handkerchiefs, headbands, socks etc. You could also buy a sewing kit with a picture to follow and create things like a bookmark for a special person.

15. Any gift with photos – people love memories and these types of gifts are very budget-friendly so consider printing some pictures and making an album. You can also create things like a yearly calendar, a notebook, or even a canvas with special moments on.

camera and book

 

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 Know When to Visit the Doctor if Your Baby is Unwell

In our previous blog “How to Spot if Your Baby is Unwell,” we explored the signs to look for and what they mean when it comes to knowing if your baby is under the weather. Even know most of these signs and causes can be treated at home with a little of over-the-counter measures and a lot of TLC, sometimes a call or visit to the Doctor is needed. Even if it’s just for peace of mind.

Many parents don’t know when to call the doctor or to see the GP when their baby is unwell, so this blog aims to help you know when it is appropriate.

Does my baby need to go to the Doctor?

A Doctor’s time is precious and sometimes appointments can be a nightmare to get, but this doesn’t mean that you should put off an examination if you’re worried about your baby.

As we said in our previous blog, most childhood illnesses are viral infections and need no treatment so you just have to let them run their course. However, as a parent, your instinct will tell you if your baby isn’t quite right. If you are:

  • Worried about their symptoms
  • Not sure what is making them ill
  • Or they are not recovering as quickly as they should

Then you should take your baby to the Doctor.

a father with his baby lying on his chest

If you don’t think it’s serious and you just want peace of mind, you can always ring 111 (the NHS helpline) or ask a pharmacist. They will be able to help with home treatments and will tell you if you need to see a Doctor.

8 signs your baby needs a Doctor

The easiest way to decide whether you should take your baby to the Doctor is to check for one or more of these 8 symptoms. If your baby has one or more of these, you should book an appointment as soon as possible:

  1. A fever of 38 degrees C or higher and they are under 3 months.
  2. A fever of 39 degrees C or higher and they are 3 to 6 months.
  3. Signs of severe dehydration – look out for sunken fontanelles (the soft spots on the head), dry lips and mouth, dark yellow wee, and fewer wet nappies.
  4. 6 or more episodes of diarrhoea in the past 24 hours or the persistence of diarrhoea after 5 to 7 days.
  5. Tummy pain – look out for bloating and whether they are arching their back and pulling up their legs.
  6. Vomiting repeatedly and bringing up blood-streaked or green vomit.
  7. Red, sticky eyes and they are younger than 28 days old.
  8. Bleeding or discharge from the navel while their umbilical cord stump is healing.

A newborn sleeping and holding his mother's finger

What if I can’t get an appointment for a while?

If for some reason, you can’t get an appointment soon enough, take your baby to a walk-in centre. The staff here can see your baby and let you know what treatment they need and if there is anything you can do in the meantime.

Alternatively, you can take your baby to A&E. However, there are only a few situations where this is needed, such as:

  • If your baby has a fever that persists after you’ve treated them with paracetamol or ibuprofen. Immediate treatment is needed if your baby appears floppy and drowsy.
  • If your baby has swallowed something harmful such as medicine for adults.
  • If your baby has an object lodged in their nose or ear. Never attempt to remove the object yourself as you can cause more damage.

 

While you know instinctively to call an ambulance in serious life-threatening situations such as choking, general illnesses can be much more difficult to decide what the best course of action is. If you follow this guide, you won’t have to worry, but it’s always important to keep in mind that it’s better safe than sorry. If you’re ever worried about your baby’s health, always call 111, see a local pharmacist or visit your Doctor.

Hands cradling a baby's feet

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 with your Baby? Find more from us here:

 

** DISCLAIMER: This blog is intended to increase awareness and to give parents some guidance on what to do when their baby is unwell but we always recommend seeking a medical professional’s opinion.**

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.

If you’re still unsure, read our blog on How to Know When to Visit the Doctor if Your Baby is Unwell

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: