How to Recognise if Your Child is Stressed and What to Do

Just like with adults, children get stressed too. This might seem like a strange concept, as what do children have to be stressed about? They have no work or bills to pay, no responsibilities or pressures, but while this is true, we forget that it is hard growing up and learning what your place is in the world.

From learning new skills and having new experiences to more specific pressures such as academic performance, separation anxiety or relationships, children often suffer in silence. This can have a significant negative impact on their health and development, so as parents, we need to learn to recognise when this is happening so that we can provide the support and advice that they need.

Stress is very common in children and most will experience anxiety at some point in their lives, so here is everything you need to know about recognising stress and how to help them deal with it healthily.

A little girl holding her parents' hands

Signs of stress to look out for

It’s difficult to notice changes in your children if it happens slowly over time or they hide how they are feeling, but if they are exhibiting one or more of these signs, it’s important that you address it with them to see if they are okay and how you can help.

Your child may be stressed if you notice:

* Changes in their behaviour – this can be anything out of character that lasts for several weeks.

* Symptoms of worrying – biting nails, chewing their hair, or getting upset or anxious about things more than normal.

* Signs of aggression – they may be more irritable, angry or frustrated than normal, or take their emotions out on family members at home.

* Social withdrawal – your child may isolate themselves by avoiding family members, activities such as sleepovers, or not wanting to go to school.

* Regression – this is when a child reverts back to infantile behaviour as a way of dealing with stress. This can include using the potty, sucking their thumb, bed wetting, having tantrums or becoming clingy.

* Aches and pains – emotional stress can manifest physically, so pay attention to how often your children get headaches, stomach aches, chest pain, a rapid heart rate or fatigue.

* Sleeping problems – this can be either an inability to fall asleep, poor sleep or nightmares.

* Changes in their eating habits or weight – your child may eat more or less than usual which may lead to weight loss or weight gain.

* Academic problems – whether it is a lack of concentration or being disruptive, your child can exhibit signs of stress in school which will affect their performance.

Two boys standing and sitting in front of two doors

How you can help your child deal with stress

If you notice that your child is exhibiting signs of stress, it’s important that you help them deal with it.

1. Don’t dismiss or laugh at their worries. What may seem trivial to us are big worries for our children, so take them seriously and provide them with lots of reassurance that they’ll be okay.

2. Normalise stress. Let your child know that stress is a normal part of life and that it is essential that we recognise it and deal with it.

3. Discuss healthy ways of dealing with stress. By engaging in a conversation with your child about stress, you’re allowing them to think about it for themselves and work out what is best for them. Do they think that physical activity can help? Do they need to relax more or try techniques such as breathing and muscle relaxation? Do they know what mindfulness is and why it is important?

4. Model healthy coping behaviours yourself. Children learn from their parents so it’s no good telling them what they should be doing and doing something different yourself. Actively try to commit to healthy coping methods yourself such as exercising and use it to teach your children valuable life skills for the future.

5. Limit screen time and monitor their use. Devices are windows to the world, so the last thing that you want is for your children to be exposed to potentially distressing information online. Limit screen time to two hours a day and keep an eye on their social activity to monitor any changes in behaviour.

6. Be mindful of the changes in your life. Anything can cause your children stress from you having another baby to your financial worries or your own trivial stresses. Be mindful of this, as children pick up on it, and try not to discuss family worries until the children are in bed.

Two toys saying happy and keep on smiling

It can be really difficult to notice if your child is stressed, especially if the changes are very subtle. However, it is essential that even if you can’t quite put your finger on it, that you address it and help them manage it.

Even if it isn’t a major issue to be stressed about (by your standards), by teaching your children to cope with stress, you are arming them with essential life skills that will lead to a much healthier and happier life.

 

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 and advice? See more from us here:

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How to Celebrate Halloween as a Family

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

1. Pumpkin Picking & Carving

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

2. Decorate the House

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

A pumpkin with welcome carved into it

3. Read Halloween Stories

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

4. Watch Scary (but not really) Cartoons

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

5. Make Halloween Costumes

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

6. Go Trick or Treating

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

7. Bake Spooktacular Treats

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

Halloween cakes and toy spiders

Make memories this Halloween and every year to come

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


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

 

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

5 Spooky Halloween Activities to Enjoy as a Family

Halloween can be a really exciting time of year. With less pressure than Christmas but more festivity than other occasions, it is a perfect opportunity to get your children involved in fun, simple activities which can be enjoyed as a family and with friends. Unsure of what spooky activities you could get involved in? Check out this list of easy suggestions to bring some spine-tingling enjoyment to your October! 

1) Pumpkin Carving

A great activity for the family, carving a pumpkin into your favourite supernatural friends or scary faces can be a great way to pass an afternoon. Scooping out a pumpkin is the perfect mix of cool and gross to get that Halloween-y feeling. A simple search online will reveal hundreds of templates which can be printed out and used to guide your vegetable art. Alternatively, freehand it and let your creative juices flow! Kids can draw onto the skin with a pencil before you use the knives to carve or child-safe carving kits can be found at local craft shops or supermarkets. Then, once it’s done, watch the dancing candlelight illuminate your creation for a great accompaniment to a cosy autumn night in front of a family Halloween film!

A pumpkin with a smaller pumpkin in its mouth

 2) Spooky Baking

To get the kids really excited, why not get your hands dirty in the kitchen with some spine-chilling baked goods! Chocolate, orange extract for some colour or strawberry sauce for a bloody touch can really spook up your cakes. Use raisins or chocolate chips to make fly cookies and rice paper designs to decorate your ghoul cakes (‘cause fairy cakes aren’t scary enough) and watch the enjoyment fill your children’s faces. This is easy, innocent fun which can be used to cater a Halloween get-together or supply an autumnal cake sale for charity.

Halloween cakes and toy spiders

  3) Halloween Party 

For something a little extra, why not use your pumpkins to convert your home into a haunted house for the night? Getting family, friends, and neighbours around for a night of Halloween festivities can be a great laugh for both adults and kids, plus it can provide opportunities to raise money for a local cause. Simple decorations like black and orange paper chains, spray-can spider webs and hanging skeletons with some of your spooky baking can set the scene for a true spooktacular. Add in broomstick racing, bobbing for apples, fancy dress competitions, and other party games to make a memorable night for the children and provide a well-deserved laugh for the parents!

A pumpkin with welcome carved into it

 4) Local Events and Shows

If you aren’t the hosting type, don’t feel left out. Many local adventure and activity centres will be throwing magical nights filled with eerie mystery and wonder to get involved in. Check out websites of zoos, country parks, and theme parks to see what’s going on near you. There are many light shows, Halloween performances, and late openings to keep your little devils entertained into the spooking hours. Alternatively, if nothing local takes your fancy, use the weekend for a trip somewhere further afield for a ghoulish getaway. Events at Thorpe Park near London, Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight and the Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh are perfect examples.

A sign saying happy Halloween and a pumpkin

 5) Trick or Treating

Often misunderstood as being menacing or simply too North American, the tradition of going door to door in ghostly costume goes back to the 1700s in Britain. Whilst now significantly more commercial, a simple tour of the neighbourhood in the dark, fiendishly dressed and hunting confectionary is really exciting for your little ghouls. It can be a good way for them to get to know their neighbours and their neighbourhood and if you escort them, you can teach them good habits that will deter trouble in their teenage years when the temptation to ‘trick’ could land them in trouble. Some innocent fun with game neighbours can be one of the simplest ways to get involved in Halloween and with any luck, will tire your little ones out for a good All Saints night sleep.

Three dogs in halloween costumes

 

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 ideas or advice? See more from us here:

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The Best 20-Minute Activities to Keep Your Children 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 children

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 children 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 children 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 children 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:

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

Is your child starting nursery or school soon? Are you fretting about this day instead of enjoying the anticipation and excitement of this upcoming milestone?

If you answered yes to both of these questions, don’t worry. Many parents and children are in the exact same position as you.

For children, the main source of anxiety around starting nursery or school is that they don’t know what to expect, whereas, with parents, the separation anxiety for them stems from the worry that their child will feel abandoned.

To help you both ease your separation anxiety, it is all about preparing for it; here are our top tips to help you do just that so that you can start this new chapter of your lives together (and apart!) successfully.

Don’t project your worries

You know your child, so if they aren’t prone to clinging or they don’t seem worried when you talk about starting nursery or school, don’t plant worry seeds. There’s a balance between letting them know what to expect and overdoing it, so don’t create stress where there isn’t any and practice calming yourself down if you’re the one that is worrying.

Practice makes perfect

It’s really good for you both if you do some practice separation before the big day. This could be arranging a few hours at a friends house or their grandparents and gradually building up to a whole day away so that you both know that you’ll be okay without each other. Practising being separated can also help you to establish a routine from getting dressed and having breakfast in the morning to creating a special goodbye ritual between the both of you and enjoying the reunited celebrations. It might not sound like much, but you’ll be surprised how much this prepares you both and it takes a lot of stress and anxiety out of the actual day when it comes.

A father kissing his daughter on the cheek

Make the preparations exciting

Your child needs to know that school is exciting, so make the whole experience as positive as you possibly can by building anticipation. We all know the “back to school” ritual so include your children in them and go shopping together for supplies. At home, you can also hang up a calendar and count down the days until the big day. Not only will it make your child excited about school but it will also help you get organised (and less stressed!).

Show them what to expect

Just like your practice separation runs, it is also beneficial for you both if you visit the nursery or school the week before they are due to start. By doing this, you eliminate the fear of the unknown, showing them where they’ll be dropped off, what class they will be in, where they will sit, and who their teacher will be.

A little girl holding her parents' hands

Don’t rush in the morning

Nothing is worse than rushing in the mornings and it can cause great stress and anxiety to the both of you, so avoid it where possible! The night before school starts, get everything ready together and let your child pick their clothes and food so that they know where they are in the morning. Finish the night spending some extra quality time together and make sure you both get an early nights sleep. In the morning, make sure your alarm is set slightly earlier than normal so that you can all take your time.

Do what’s best for them

It can be very easy to let yourself get overwhelmed by the emotion of this milestone, so whenever you feel like you are, try and think of what will be best for your children. You may be tempted to sneak out of the nursery or classroom when your child “isn’t aware” or make promises or bargains that you might not be able to keep, but don’t! The stronger that you are and the more consistent you can make their school routine, the stronger they will be for it. If they need some comfort, let them take a small transitional object such as a note from you or a stuffed animal with them at the beginning.

A child and their teddy bear

Try your best not to feel guilty

As parents, it’s natural to feel guilty about leaving your child but you need to shake this off! These feelings are not good for either of you, so try and turn them into positives. Yes, your child may cry when you leave them but they will stop a lot sooner than you think if you stay strong and reassure them that they are strong too. Try to be as reassuring as you can, saying positive things such as “Remember how afraid you were of the zoo when you first went? Now you love it!” and you’ll teach your children to overcome negative emotions healthily. Lastly, don’t worry if your child starts to regress after starting nursery or school, this is normal and they will get back on track once they are settled in.

 

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 and advice, see more handy articles from us here:

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7 ways to support your child when they return to school after lockdown

While it hasn’t been compulsory for parents to send their children back to school these past few weeks, things might change as the schools prepare to reopen in September. As it’s a stressful time for everyone, it’s important that both you and your children feel comfortable and safe when the time comes. So how do you prepare for it? How can you support your children who are returning to school after lockdown?

Returning to school after lockdown: advice for parents

1. Find out how your children feel

Talk to your children about how they are feeling about returning to school after lockdown. Ask them if they are worried or if they are scared about anything, but also ask them what they’re looking forward to and what they are excited about. Whatever your children feel, it’s important to let them know that it’s okay to feel that way and that a lot of other children will feel the same.

2. Help your children prepare for their new routine

Many children are suffering from anxiety, especially in this uncertain time, so help them gain back some control. By finding out as much information as you can about how their new routine in school will work, you can then help them to prepare for it. By simply talking about the new changes that will be in place in school and walking them through the timings and what they’ll do will help massively.

A child with a treasure map

3. Reassure your children

Life is going to be so different in school. For months, children have been learning to stay indoors, to stay 2 metres away from people outside, and to wash their hands regularly. Once they go to school, this will be a massive and quite overwhelming change that they will need to adapt to so reassure them. Talk about the ways they can stay safe in school and let them know that the teachers will be helping them and that everything will be okay.

4. Gradually ease them into their school routine again

As we just mentioned, life has been so different in lockdown so your children’s routines would have changed quite drastically. To help them transition back into their school routine, start to introduce things gradually. For example, start with bedtime and waking up times, then move onto things like winding down in the evening with a book.

5. Think ahead and be positive

Even if you are nervous or anxious, help give your children something to look forward to; help them develop hope and a sense of excitement for the future. At such an uncertain time, it’s easy to get down in the dumps and to dwell on the negative but it doesn’t do any good for anybody. To help your children cope with their feelings and to show them that the current situation won’t last forever, talk about what they are looking forward to and focus on that.

Two toys saying happy and keep on smiling

6. Don’t add extra pressure on yourself

It’s a really difficult time, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Returning to school after lockdown isn’t going to be easy, your children are going to experience ups and downs, and all you can do is your best. All you can do is support them, reassure them, and comfort them. The rest (particularly the homework and a new seamless routine) will come later.

7. Seek support if you need it

As we said, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re finding things really difficult and your children are struggling to adapt to being in school again, reach out and get help. The school will work with you to support your children and your GP can help with their physical and mental health. Don’t struggle alone.

Supporting your children will also help you too

As September draws near, you might find yourself getting worried and anxious about your children returning to school too. That’s completely normal, we’ve all gotten used to a new routine, but it’s time to transition to some resemblance of normality.

If you work hard trying to help your children prepare for returning to school after lockdown; if you reassure them and help them to be positive, what you’ll soon find is that all this will help you to feel better about it all 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:

Tips for helping your children cope with post-lockdown separation anxiety

Covid-19 has had a negative impact on a lot of things; the economy, society, and travel, just to name a few. There are, however, a lot of effects that are not so obvious, such as the impact it has had on mental health.

One of the biggest impacts it has had is on children, especially now that we are coming out of lockdown and restrictions are gradually being eased. Children have become accustomed to having their parents around 24/7 in lockdown, so just like when they are very young, they are struggling to be separated from them.

If your children are anxious about being away from you and about going back to school, here are our tops tips on how to ease that post-lockdown separation anxiety.

How to ease post-lockdown separation anxiety

To help your children make the adjustment from lockdown to returning to school, here are some simple steps that you can take:

  1. Talk to your children now – start talking to your children about school and other locations they like to go, what they like about them and how much fun they have there. This will remind them to associate these places with happiness instead of fear or anxiety.
  2. Tell them about what you will be doing – your children need to know that you’ll be safe when you’re not with them too, so communicate with them. Talk about what you’ll be doing when you go back to work and about how much you enjoy it.
  3. Re-introduce old routines gradually – your children are likely to have had different bedtimes and playtimes, as well as different food etc, so start the transition back to their old routine. First, start putting them to bed and waking them up as you will do when they are in school. Next, start to separate from your child for brief periods of time (for example, leaving them with an older sibling or a grandparent while you pop out to get the groceries). From then on, start changing things one at a time until they are comfortably back into their old routine. parents and baby reading
  4. Meet with their teacher (either face-to-face or virtually) – if you can, reintroduce your child to their teacher. They will be looking after your children when they return to school so meet with them or have a conversation with your children there. It will allow them to feel comfortable and safe around them.
  5. Meet up with old friends – during lockdown, some friendships will have deteriorated so encourage your child to mix again (as much as possible within the rules). By simply getting them outside and meeting friends at the park, you can allow them to run around and get some separation from you without them feeling anxious about it.

A slow transition now will help them later

If your child is one of the many that are suffering with post-lockdown separation anxiety, help them transition from the lockdown routine to one that resembles their old one as much as possible.

When everyone is back in work and they have to return to school, it may be overwhelming for them so prepare them for it now. Encourage them to get back out into the outside world again as much as possible within the rules and you’ll soon find that they’ll adapt to this new normal and will be able to be away from you without being so anxious anymore.

 


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 Reading is So Important in the Early Years

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons why reading is important for young children

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

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

A little boy pointing to a picture book

Discover the 9 Big Benefits of Reading to Your Child!

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

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

3. Reading has many psychological benefits for young children

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

a mother reading a book with her toddler

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

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

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

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

Two young boys reading

Make reading together a part of your daily routine

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

 


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

 

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

How to Teach Your Children to Be Positive

Being positive is so much more than just ‘pretending’ that things are fine; it allows us to train our brains to be strong so that we can cope better when times get tough. Times like now. To help your children and yourself keep your mental wellbeing intact during this global pandemic, we want to introduce you to positive affirmations for children. Here is how to teach your children about the power of positivity!

What are Positive Affirmations for Children?

Positive affirmations for children (and mantras) are important tools that children can use to support themselves. They help them develop a healthy sense of self as well as a positive mental-social-emotional mindset.

Put simply, positive affirmations are short, positive statements such as “I am strong” and “I am able.” Affirmations then become mantras when they are repeated over and over to oneself, out loud or silently.

When accompanied by imagining themselves as they are declaring, over time, these statements will become beliefs. Children will believe that they are strong, confident, and able to take on any challenge which, as you can imagine, is great for their wellbeing and self-esteem.

A boy dressed as a superhero

How to Teach Positive Affirmations for Children

Helping our children to use positive affirmations is important, especially now, as it teaches them not only to do their best but to feel good about their efforts. Just like teaching them the importance of eating healthy and exercising, it’s essential that they learn how their thoughts can also shape how they feel and behave.

Here’s how to teach positive affirmations for children:

1. Affirm them yourself

We all tend to hold on to negative or stressful thoughts and experiences, so try to make positive ones more prominent instead. You can do this by looking into your children’s eyes daily or weekly and affirming them with positive statements like “you’re amazing” and “you’re loved so much.” Try to also concentrate on your children’s unique strengths and personality traits instead of what they do or what you expect. And always hug your children to release that all-important oxytocin!

2. Teach children to notice

When helping to use positive affirmations for children, we first need to find out if there are any negative ones that are already going on. Ask your children if they have any negative thoughts. During this difficult time, they may feel scared or think that they can’t concentrate or they are not good enough so it’s important that you help them notice when this pattern of thinking is taking place.

To help explain that negative inner voice to children, compare repetitive thoughts to a song that they may have had stuck in their heads. Help them understand that if they want to change the song, they can. They can just skip it or decide on a song that they like instead. The important thing to emphasise here is that everybody has these negative thoughts or ‘songs’ stuck in their head sometimes and that’s okay. When they notice that they are sad or that they are thinking negatively, then it’s important to find a thought or song that makes them feel happy instead.

For more guidance during this difficult time, see more from us here:

3. Create an affirmation board

Visualisation is essential to help your children turn their affirmations into beliefs, so help them learn this technique. The best way to do this is to create an affirmation board!

On their board, encourage them to write/draw positive things that they believe about themselves as well as things they can’t do yet but want to learn. When they have their board, you can then help them to practice not only saying the positive affirmation but also visualising themselves showing that particular quality or completing that goal (e.g. reading well, building the best lego model etc).

This may sound hard and it will take some work at first, but it is more than worth it. This activity allows children to disengage with negative thinking and attune instead to a positive affirmation. Over time, instead of just imagining, they will feel it in their whole being and you’ll see how empowered they are because of it.

Two little girls hugging and laughing outside

4. Draw affirmations on the mirror

Whether you use sticky notes or washable pens, getting your children to place or draw their affirmations on the bathroom mirror is a great way to make this activity fun. Not only that but every time they look in the mirror, they will see more than just their physical appearance. Subconsciously, their notes and drawings will remind them of all the ways they matter and make a difference in the world.

5. Make your affirmations into songs

We all learn quickly by singing songs so help your children create their own. They can then sing these every day to feel more energised and motivated and most importantly, positive!

This is also a great opportunity to teach them how to change their negative thoughts into positive ones. If they have a negative thought such as “I’m scared,” help them change this by making up your own song about how they are strong and how they can defeat their fears.

6. Add movement to make it fun

Positive affirmations for children need to be engaging so add in some movement to make it fun! You can make up your own dance or get them to act out physically what they are choosing to do mentally. Not only will it motivate your little ones to do their positive affirmations every day, but it will also help them focus and remember them too.

7. Be creative with activities

Get creative with how you can introduce positive affirmations for children into their daily lives.

A child painting

A great activity to help your children learn to treasure themselves is to create your own treasure chest of goodness. You can build a chest together and paint and decorate it with the words “I am” on the top. When this is done, you then need to create the treasure. Cut coin shapes out of cardboard and help your children write positive affirmations on each one such as “I an kind,” “I am helpful” or “I am a good brother/sister.” On the other side of the coins, get them to write down or draw a picture of a real-life example of when they lived this value (such as “I helped to lay the table for dinner”). This will help them truly believe these affirmations.

8. Learn from other experiences

Use the stories from the Big Life Journal or the Famous Failures Kit to help children learn from others’ experiences.  You can ask them how they think these people felt during their hardest moments and what affirmations they must have used to help them get back up and moving towards their goals.

Children are very empathetic naturally, so use stories to help them understand positivity and how it can help to overcome times of failure. Children shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed of failure, so help them understand how it is an essential part of the journey.

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

9. Explore “what ifs?” at storytime

Storytime is a time of family bonding but it is also an excellent opportunity for our children to reflect and learn. Since we are experiencing a very difficult time, try to find an adventure book where the main character has an obstacle to overcome or a specific goal to achieve. You can use this then to reflect with your child and to come up with different ways the story could change depending on what the character chooses to say to themselves. Explore “what if?” scenarios and help your child learn that positivity is important if we are to get through challenges.

mother and daughter reading under the covers

Make positivity a part of your family routine

When children are struggling, it’s essential that we validate their feelings and help them to think positively so that they can help themselves feel better. As parents, we can contribute greatly to teaching them to see the good in people and the events around them, however, it is essential that they learn to self regulate. Using these positive affirmations for children, you can help foster greater self-confidence and a sense of belonging in the world, both of which are essential for their wellbeing as they move through life.

 


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:

Well-being Tips to Get You Through the Coronavirus Crisis

Following on from our complete well-being guide – How to Look After Yourself and Your Family During Isolation – we wanted to offer even more guidance to help get you through this difficult time. As you can never get too much support when it comes to well-being, we want to share our top well-being tips with you.

It is incredibly important to take some quality time for you, especially now with the anxiety and stress that the Coronavirus pandemic is causing, so to prioritise your ‘self-care,’ here are a few things that you should be doing every day.

8 well-being tips

1. Set a goal for each day

It doesn’t have to be massive, the goal here is to give you a sense of purpose to your day. With the uncertainty of the Coronavirus, many people are suffering from feelings of helplessness, so try to take back some control and set yourself a clear purpose for the day. What could you accomplish that would make you go to bed happy?

2. Take some time to stretch

It may sound strange but stretching is great for mindfulness; it relieves stress, calms the mind, and makes the body feel far less tight and tense. Spend some time, whatever time of day suits you, to do some yoga or just a simple stretching exercise. It can be something as simple as toe touches or laying on your back and putting your legs straight above you on the wall. Just remember to focus on the present breath and breath deeply and fully to get the full benefits.

mother and daughter doing yoga

3. Be kind to others and tell them how great they are

Everyone is struggling with being socially distant from their loved ones, but we don’t have to be physical to show that we care. Start telling others what is great about them. Communicate with kindness, be creative and support vulnerable family members and others who need it the most.

4. Practice positive affirmations every day

Positive affirmations are positive statements that you say about yourself and your life. By repeating them often, your brain will begin to believe them, and you can start to make positive changes.

To help limit anxiety and boost your self-esteem, start practising positive affirmations every day. For example, take 5 minutes in the morning and say your positive affirmations out loud, display them on your bathroom mirror as a reminder too. It can be something like “I am strong and will get through this” or “today, I will make memories with my family.” You can even try helping your children learn this technique too!

See our Top Tips for Keeping Your Children Well During Self-Isolation

a little boy holding his mother's face

5. Take a break

This is an important one out of our top well-being tips because people often don’t take the right kind of break to properly recharge. Taking a break should involve activities that help you to relax, things that allow your mind to shut off, maybe it involves a change of scenery. Wherever and whatever way you find best to rejuvenate and replenish your energy, make sure you do it as often as possible.

6. Regularly check your SMILE score

We all know that to be healthy, we need to be getting enough sleep, we need to be exercising often and eating healthy, and this is what the SMILE score is all about. It is an easy way for you to check-in with yourself and your family every day. The lower the score, the more we need to support our own well-being or help to support a family member or friend, so check your numbers every day.

Each letter in the word SMILE represents one healthy habit and counts as one point, so the highest well-being score you can get is 5.

S – Sleep. Have you had enough sleep? How is the quality of your sleep? Have you rested and taken some time to relax?
– Move. Have you moved your body today? Have you stretched? Maybe take some time to do something physical with the children.
I – Inhale, exhale. How is the quality of the air you are breathing, for example, have you been outdoors in the fresh air? Have you relaxed, slowing your breathing down?
L – Love and Connect. Have you connected with others today? Have you shown others you care? Have you led with your heart today?
E – Eat to Nourish. How much sugar have you had today? Have you eaten fresh fruit and vegetables? Have you eaten enough? Have you eaten too much? Have you had some water?

By checking in with the SMILE score throughout the day, you can and will improve your overall well-being. For example, if you have scored 2/5, you will know that you need to get more sleep or to drink more water during the day to feel better.

Two toys saying happy and keep on smiling

7. Make time to relax

Taking a break switches off the mind for a period so that you can focus again on important tasks throughout the day. Relaxing offers a whole bunch of other benefits that are essential to our well-being. We know it’s difficult with the stress of the coronavirus, but make time to relax. Relaxing activities, such as taking a bath or reading, serves to restore energy, reduce stress, improve sleep, self-confidence, and self-regulation, and it supports your nervous system and boosts your immune system – both of which are essential right now.

8. Don’t forget to breath

Sometimes you’re going to get overwhelmed, and that’s okay. Just breathe. Take long, deep and slow breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Concentrate on the rising and falling of your chest and count the breaths to concentrate. Something as simple as 10 long, deep breaths can help ground you in any situation.

Make these well-being tips part of your daily ritual

You brush your teeth daily, so make sure to cleanse your mind too. If you implement these well-being tips into your daily routine, you’ll soon see that you will feel far better for it.

 

a planner 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: