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Expression Through Creativity

Written by Nat at Karana

 

We love some mark making at Karana.   We love to express ourselves through being creative and putting what we are thinking out into the dirt or sand.  Using sticks, or even our fingers and hands, we love to make our marks.  I often find the children making marks in the dirt or sand throughout the day.  Excitedly showing us the pictures they have created and telling us the story that goes a long with it.

Such a simple activity can encourage so much development.  I must admit, when I first saw the children doing this (and mind you, I have seen this for many years but not always seen, or really thought of the learning behind it.) I loved seeing the big movements of their arms then the smaller ones.  Going from big to small.  Small to big and everything in between too.  Running across the yard with the long sticks as they make their ‘roads’ or ‘tracks’ behind them.  Going goodness knows where but just going!

The children, through this play are also experimenting with patterns.  Making lines, dots and squiggles over and over.  Making marks that may represent their names or their families names.  I find that when they are doing this, they are repeating the same makings over and over when representing their name for themselves.  It means something to them and those symbols are their name.  This is what they have picked to be their name.  To them, they see their name and while we may write it down for them prior to them doing it for themselves (if they ask us to write their names), this is how they see it and how they recreate it.  It could be completely different but, I think that is what makes it so special.  Their interpretation of things.  The children’s imaginations being encouraged and shared with others around them.  They choose to share it with me too.  That in itself is priceless.

While this playing is happening they are also developing their body strength.  Encouraging their writing skills would you believe?  They are working their shoulder, arm, wrist, hand and finger muscles.  All intricate parts of development.  They all link together, and in the process, it not only increases their strength, but mentally prepares their bodies for writing and other gross or fine motor activities.  Big movements to little movements.  It also encourages their cognitive skills as they process the different pressures needed to draw with.  How they hold their stick (how it feels comfortable to them) or their hand so they can use their fingers effectively.  In other words, they are actually getting a whole body workout.  Mind and body.

I love that simple play brings so much more than what appears on the surface.  Play is learning and learning is play.  Discovery, excitement, self expression.  It all is a part of play and shines through in so many ways.

Children & Road Safety – Tips from around the Web

Road safety is extremely important, especially for children as they aren’t mature enough or educated at young ages to instinctually understand road safety. In this article, we have collected a variety of reputable tips from across the web to inform this blog on Children road safety.

 

  1. Children need Active Supervision around Roads up until the ages 11/12:
    While this may not be everyone’s opinion on the matter, a variety of articles from the likes of Government sites to Raising Children sites suggest supervision for children up to 11 or 12 years of age. Children with special needs may need supervision up until mid-teens.
  2. Model Safe Behaviour & Communicate:
    When crossing the road, waiting for traffic etc make sure to always do the right thing (the safest thing) and be vocal about your decision in doing so. By saying things like “Let’s wait for all the cars and then we can walk across” impresses upon your children the right habits to get into when it comes to road safety.
  3. Driveways are one of the most danger prone areas!
    This one is more for you as parents. Ensure you always check the driveway twice before pulling in and out, especially pulling in. Also, ensure you pull in and out extremely slowly, so if your children are playing in the drive way they have time to move out of the way.
  4. Follow Road Rules:
    Something that might not seem as important but is almost equally as important as the above-mentioned tips is following road rules when you’re driving. Anything road related matters. So, try your best to model safe and considerate driving habits. It might seem crazy, but children really latch onto everything their parents do and say. So, ensuring they perceive road behaviour in a safe and cautious way is pertinent.

 

The tips in this article have been curated from various reputable sources from around the web in order to provide informed and insightful opinions on the matter. Road safety is something that needs to be carefully considered as a parent, and as a member of the community. We all have a part to play and it’s important to be aware of the role we all play.

5 Healthy Lunch Snacks for Kindergarten

Healthy lunch goes a long way in keeping children healthy and active. It is important to pack a healthy lunch box which should include fruit, vegetables, and a mix of protein, carbohydrate, and dairy products. When children eat healthy food, they are able to concentrate and learn better. Help your child understand the importance of healthy eating by making a list of foods that they might enjoy. Kindergarten Capalaba emphasises the importance of healthy eating and health lifestyle choices.

You may include the following foods for the lunch box:

1. Fruit:

It’s vital to include at least one fruit option in your child’s lunch box every day, dried fruit can sometimes be a good option. You can also opt for canned fruit but ensure you choose those with no added sugar.

2. Vegetables:

Do not forget to include vegetables as they are another healthy option for kids at day care Capalaba. If you make a ham and cheese sandwich, consider adding lettuce and carrot or cucumber and sprouts as an added source of nutrition.

3. Milk and Yoghurt:

In order to avoid boredom, include fruit yogurts in the lunch box. Try to avoid flavoured milk or dairy desserts as they are quite high in sugar.

4. Variety of bread:

Opt for rye or seeded loafs for bread. If your child begins disliking sandwiches, they might like to try pita bread, flatbread, bread rolls, rice cakes, bagels, or any other alternative. Child care centre Capalaba encourages kids to eat healthy by discouraging unhealthy eating options.

5. Homemade biscuits:

If you are a baker, a fun little treat can be homemade healthy nut cookies or banana bread.

Conclusion:

At child care Capalaba we encourage healthy lifestyle choices, which of course includes eating healthily and getting exercise. We hope the above tips can help you to encourage healthy eating in your children.

5 Tips to Help Your Children Adjust to Kindergarten

There are many leading child care centre Karana that will help in making the transition from daycare to kindergarten smooth. The initial days of kindergarten may be tiring, emotional, and overwhelming for the entire family. So, below you will find some tips that will come in handy for kids and help them accept the new phase and keep tantrums at bay:

1. Don’t Ask Too Many Questions:

Don’t bombard your children with several queries as they may end up getting irritated. You may find it tough initially but soon you will develop patience. You should wait for the time when your baby starts discussing the activities at Kindergarten on their own accord. The leading day care centre Karana will stop at nothing to make this phase memorable for your child. You need not worry that your children will feel sad as expert teachers take steps to help all the kids feel at ease.

2. Introduce Relevant Activities at Home:

It may prove helpful if you talk to your child in an exciting manner about preschool’s activities before they begin. You can gradually introduce the activities that usually begin in a classroom. If your child is used to scribbling with colours and copies at home, they will find it exciting to find out the same colours and copies in the preschool classroom.

3. Visit the Classroom with Your Kids:

Visiting the classroom before your child begins will help in eradicating the fearful feelings of stepping into completely new territory. Your child will become more comfortable with the idea if they have already been there and begin accepting the new building and atmosphere before it actually starts. These visits will also provide the perfect opportunity to ask questions and help them become accustomed to their teacher.

4. Read Preschool Books at Home:

You can buy preschool books that your child will actually see in the classroom. Reading the same books as the kindergarten teachers will allow your child to become more and more comfortable and relaxed with the transition.

5. Be a Few Minutes Early to Pick Your Child Up:

This is something very important. When children come out of their school and can’t see their parents, they can get worried and anxious.

Final Thoughts:

These small steps may look very small to you but they will go a long way in preparing your child for Kindergarten. These milestones will help in making early childhood education Karana memorable and full of fun, excitement, and sheer joy. Moreover, parents will be able to relax and feel happy for their children opposed to feeling worries or sad.

“Over the fence”

by Mina Kular, Early Childhood Teacher – Karana

 

Since I have started with Karana early education centre this year, I have been on two outings “over the fence” (as it has become affectionately known by the children) and have observed how children love these and how learning occurs naturally. From simply observing fauna and flora around them, learning about nature by experiencing it in different seasons, observing the colours of the grass and trees, to more advanced life skills like how to navigate their way through somewhat unfamiliar area at the beginning and exploring their community. They also learn how different clothing is required for different environments, what is safe under one environment may not be adequate in a different setting. This further encourages flexibility in thinking.

These walks are really enjoyable in autumn and winter as children get to soak in the warm sun just by being out in the open.  Though educators are always present, however, children do take the lead in these experiences choosing where they stay longer, what areas interest them and so on, leading to a sense of ownership in their beings and play.  These outings also allow an opportunity for children to assess the risk themselves and educators to stand back and observe.  On our last outing, children chose to walk on the rocks and go under the bush, which was an uneven terrain compare to the regular terrain they walk at the centre. So, they learn to tap the differences within the geography of their environment.

The other thing, which I felt amongst children, was the sense of freedom as soon as they were “over the fence”. Though it is heavily encouraged within the centre as well by allowing them to move freely and choose the room of their liking for most of the day, however this is experienced totally differently outside. Boundaries are negotiated on the spot with children at the centre stage.

Children and educators also become co-creators of their knowledge and learning outside, as sometimes educators’ see/explore the new things for the first time in the environment, as has been my experience in the past outing.

5 Ideas for Encouraging Your Children into Eating Healthy

It’s no secret that some children can be extremely difficult to please in the food department. Dinner time can become a real struggle for the whole family when children are picky eaters. While many people believe you can never let your children pick what they do and don’t eat, some children’s relentless resistance can cause immense turmoil. So, in this article you will find some easy ways to encourage your children into eating healthily.

  • Fruit Smoothies… YUM! 
    Fruit smoothies are a crowd favourite! By using your choice of milk, low fat or Greek yoghurt, banana, honey and berries, this will ensure the smoothie is sweet, aesthetically appealing, high in calcium, antioxidants and potassium. Then we can get a little tricky, by adding spinach, celery and some freshly squeezed orange juice you can pump up the health benefits without anybody knowing. The addition of greens and orange juice means that your children are also getting iron and vitamin A, E and C.
  • Bake them in!
    Get creative with your baking, grate carrot into your brownies, mash up avocado or zucchini into your chocolate cakes and rest assured they will never know! The beauty of this is that the sweetness of these goodies perfectly hides the flavours of the veggies.
  • Mix Healthy Cereals in with the Sweeter ones!
    If your children love Nutri Grain or cocoa pops, that’s okay, they can continue eating them… and some healthier options as well. When you buy your cereals, pop them into a jar and mix in together to create a nice mixture of healthy and unhealthy. For example, you can mix in muesli, cocoa pops and corn flakes for the perfect mix of fibre, antioxidants and sugar.
  • Puree!
    When you’re doing your mashed potato and butter and cheese, mash up some pumpkin, sweet potato and cauliflower for some added vitamin c and potassium. If you’re game, mash up some carrots as well for B6 which supports healthy brain function.
  • Whole Grains are Crucial!
    Try opting for whole-wheat pita instead of bread for sandwiches and don’t forget about wheat pasta! Wheat pasta is one of the best ways to get in a couple of servings of whole grains – you can always start by mixing in just a little with your regular refined white pasta. Popcorn is also a whole grain, without too much butter and salt, it can be a fun little snack.

 

This article has provided you with 5 ways to get your children eating the right source of vitamins and minerals without having to cause chaos in your home. Get creative and mix in veggies wherever and whenever you can to keep your children healthy.

 

Stage Fright – How to Help Your Child Through It

Does your child express anxiety before school concerts or soccer games? While butterflies can be normal for children to experience, if you suspect your child is having anxiety before having to perform, this can be concerning. At such a young age you don’t want your children to experience severe stress, so this article will discuss the signs and symptoms of Performance Anxiety and some ways you can help your children to calm down and approach things differently. If you can get your child to take control of their anxiety at a young age, it can put them on a healthy path for their later years when managing stress becomes crucial.

When does it go from Nerves to Performance Anxiety?

It can be difficult to differentiate between what most people consider “nerves” and the more severe form of stage fright, performance anxiety. For children especially, they themselves find it tricky to articulate their feelings, as they don’t really know what they mean. As a parent, it’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of performance anxiety:

  • Sweating before going on stage
  • Tummy aches
  • Racing Heart
  • Headaches
  • Crying
  • Fear, Frustration and or Anger

 

Steps to Help your Child Fight Stage Fright

It’s extremely unhealthy to ignore your child’s symptoms, if they are experiencing any. Sometimes the most helpful thing for them is support and often a support system can make all the difference in assisting them to calm down.

Talk about it

If your child displays any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important to begin by opening into a calm, honest and empathetic conversation with them about it. Ask your child how they feel about performing (whether it’s soccer, ballet, public speaking etc) and whether they feel any unpleasant feelings when having to perform. Listen to them and be gentle and kind. The most important message to send to your child is that what they are experiencing is normal and that many others feel the exact same way.

 

Encourage them to Face it

While the immediate response may be to stop doing whatever it is that is making them anxious, this is not going to help them at all as there are a multitude of things they might come across in life that give them anxiety – some of which they have to face. It’s crucial from a young age to encourage them to keep at it and assist them in building confidence. However, there are exceptions. If it is an activity that they really don’t enjoy and it’s causing a lot of distress it may be best to stop.

 

Calming Down in the Moment

If your child loves the activity but just has trouble when it comes to the pointy end of things, practice calming your child down, by doing things that lower the heartbeat; speaking softly, going for a walk, meditating, telling them a story (distraction is always good) etc.

For some families, stage fright can be expressed in a normal way but for other families it can cause sleepless nights, crying and agony experienced by the whole family. The latter is not healthy and requires immediate attention, the above-mentioned ways of dealing with it can help to minimise stress levels and assist the whole family towards peace.

 

 

 

 

Loose Parts & Creativity

It was first proposed back in the 1970’s by architect Simon Nicholson, who believed that it is the loose parts in our environment that encourage our creativity. In Childcare, loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways.

After attending a ECW conference on the Sunshine Coast with work colleagues, Angus who runs an OSCH on the Northside off Brisbane, talked about loose parts within his service and through this vision I felt very inspired and started to envision my own thoughts of supplying large and small loose parts to enable the children to create.

Many children started the day just walking past the materials which were scattered within the yarning circle when one started to move the crates and stacked them one on top of each other. This caught the eye of another child who started to add smaller loose parts. As the structure was beginning to take shape more and more children kept adding other materials. Some of these materials consisted of metal bucket, wooden planks, tree cut-offs, wood off-cuts, crates and pipes.

When I acknowledged the children’s efforts one yelled out “yes this is our really big castle”, I said  great and look at all the the materials used. Another child clapped their hands to encourage other children to join in and states “we are a Team, come and help”, I was sure to let the children know that it was great for them to work together. I was very pleased in the way that the loose parts were used, also the team work and collaboration between children. The children created many different structures.

In this time of excitement and inspiration I’m hoping to encourage others to offer same within their service as I feel the children will not only amaze you with their creativity but also their imagination. It’s wondrous to see the children’s leadership and their ideas come to fruition when they are given the space and materials they need to see their project through to completion. Materials can be found at the tip, charities, tradesman with off cuts and around the neighbourhood kerb collection. I hope this can inspire all educators do encourage children to continue to fill their world with raw material creations.

 

Maria – Springfield

How to Support Your Children When they’re Having Fights with Their Friends

Children remain in the protection of their families until they come of age and have to head to kindergarten. This is the real test of time for children as they have to face the world alone. They have to make friends and find the circles where they belong. During such times, you may encounter your child having trouble making friends or getting into fights at their Day Care Centre Capalaba.

Reasons for Children Getting into Fights

There can be a plethora of reasons why your child may or may not be so good at making friends.

  • Ease of Making Friends: Some children find it very easy and normal to make new friends; almost second nature. This could be because they are extroverts, they have had to make friends in the past or they have gained early childhood education in a kindergarten in Australia.
  • Difficulty Making Friends: Some children find it very strange and difficult to make new friends and create a group of play mates. This could be because they haven’t had to make friends before, they might suffer with social anxiety or they might be too shy. However, it isn’t uncommon for children to struggle when making friends.

How to Support Your Children?

Whatever the reason, it is crucial to support your children but not to condone fighting. Here are the four ways to support your children:

1. Childhood Education:

Early Childhood Education Capalaba is one of many centres that will cater to your child’s social skills. It will eradicate any obstructing dispositions and foster behaviour of communicating effectively.

2. Day Care:

Working mothers usually send their children to a day care centre to help them balance work and their children. Such day care centres can also take care of sociable needs of the kids. Even if you’re not a working mother, if you have concerns that your child might be socially anxious or a little too dependent on you, just one day a week at a day care might help them to make friends and prepare themselves for Kindergarten.

3. Kindergarten:

Before starting school, a lot of parents admit their children into Kindergartens as they realise the importance of kindergarten. The kindergarten Karana is one such amazing Australian Kindergarten which will take care of your child’s every need and will help her become amicable.

4. Counselling:

If after all these initiatives, you still don’t see a difference, then maybe it is time you take your child to a counsellor. The stigma surrounding counsellors and counselling sessions have long gone and parents know the importance of seeking help when necessary. A few sessions will suffice for even the most quarrelsome child.

Wrapping-Up:

You can’t choose how your child will react socially, however these necessary skills well help your child become a part of every strange environment he/she steps into. So, look for all the options that may work for your child. Invest in a few programs such as the Day Care Springfield.

How to Prepare Your Child for Prep

It’s no surprise that statistics show parents to be one of the main factors in their children’s success at school. Kindergarten to School is a big step. Therefore, it is vital that parents’ attitudes towards school is positive and upbeat as this makes more of a difference than you might think. This article will explain why and how parents can have such a huge impact on their children’s transition to prep and how they can help their children prepare.

As parents are fundamentally their children’s role models, children can be hugely influenced by their parents’ opinions or stories. Therefore, this is how parents have such a huge impact in the kindergarten to prep/school jump. In fact, parents generally influence their children in all aspects of life, this is only one area.

Tips to Help Your Children get Used to the Idea of Prep/Leaving Kindergarten:

  • Read books, and in particular books that associate positive feelings about school.
  • Talk positively about school and about your time at school.
  • Talk with siblings/cousins/family friends about school and what to expect.
  • Remind them that nothing lasts forever (in a soft positive way)
  • Remind them that all of their friends will also be leaving kindergarten – it’s not just them!
  • Encourage play dates with kids they will be at prep with.

 

How to Encourage Positive Associations with School:

Parents can effectively manage their children’s relationship with school in many ways. Keeping the lines of communication open between themselves, their children, teachers and various children at school is the first step in creating a comfortable and stress-free environment. In the unfortunate even that your child

By ensuring you as a parent can easily and happily encourage and influence school as a positive experience this sets the foundation for a stress-free transition. Following this, attempting to assist in the creation of healthy and happy relationships with peers and teachers is then the next step in a healthy school experience.

A little Gem called Eskay Kids

My journey began with them when I looked at the centre for my son. As we walked through the doors we were greeted by a delightful and insightful director. We soon began exploring and learning all that Eskay had to offer. It was so nice to be greeted by such happy team members! As an educator myself I was immediately impressed as to how calm and how the children were so engaged in their play. Weather it was creating something, digging up the mud to find worms or splashing in a leftover rain puddle – every child was happy and content. It can be nerve raking to find caring and nurturing people (outside of family & friends) to look after your precious little one. But the warmth I felt every time I dropped him off along with a strong sense of reassurance that my child was cared for and happy put my mind at ease.

It didn’t take my son long to feel his sense of security so he could explore the new play environment. It was great he would come home filthy (which is an indication of a busy day!) and tell me all about his day, asking when it was another kindy day! His educators were lovely and would talk to me about what he had been doing – he was very into anything to do with art and they would be so proud of his work just as much as we were. Coming from a structed based centre to this free-flowing natural play was inspiring!

Now I am a part of this amazing team! It was a real eye opener to see such organic play. The openness means there is no limits as to what a child can discover! The transitions for meal or sleep times is effortless, educators asking what the child wants to do, listening to them and calming explaining the benefits of eating well and resting our bodies, engaging the child to listen to their body – this is building the foundations to life skills! Instead of hiding from the rain children are encouraged to play in it! Sensory play at its most basic – its inviting and fun!

I love that the children are expressing interest in a range of experiences and that there is so much hands on, machinal learning which the educators are present to in order to guide but allow the children to make the discovery on their own. Everything is accessible for children so their quest for knowledge is met and can be extended on.   

The respect the team has to one another as well as children and their families is beyond outstanding! To be greeted with a smile and hug really brings out a strong sense of care and family. To know you can talk and collaborate with one another about anything gives you a sense of confidence and belonging.

The possibilities are endless for all to learn and play here at this natural and inviting home-like cottage. With wonderful people who are understanding and go beyond their duty of care to ensure each child feels safe and secure knowing they can play freely with no limits, but still knowing they are being cared for as they play, laugh and grow.

 

Kyra Barker – Group Leader

How to Communicate More Effectively with Your Children

As a parent there are of course, good and bad days. Children can be tricky, especially when you have more than just one to attend to. Communicating isn’t always easy, and general emotional intelligence differences can cause communication barriers between yourself and your children – especially if they are at a young age. Sometimes life gets busy and we unknowingly put less emphasis on communicating properly with our children. Shutting children down when you can’t understand them is a common response when we aren’t in the mood or are slightly annoyed at them (if they’ve been naughty or disobedient). However, there are simple ways to ensure your communication is always smooth with your children no matter the situation. So, this article will give you some tips on how to communicate more effectively with your children.

 

Effective Communication Tips:

  • Children often need some help learning to listen, as well as some gentle reminders about letting other people talk. So, in order to teach your child how to listen let your child finish talking and then respond. This sets a good example of listening for your child.
  • Encourage children to talk about their feelings — both positive and negative — and discuss the possible causes for those emotions.
  • When children are talking to themselves, let them be. Self-talk helps them focus on what they are doing.
  • Use language and ideas that your child will understand as it can be hard for your child to keep paying attention if they don’t understand what you’re talking about. Additionally, when explaining things, use examples or stories that you think they will be interested in listening to and learning about. This will make it easier for it to sink in.
  • Make any instructions and requests simple and clear to match your child’s age and ability.
  • Avoid criticism and blame. If you’re angry about something your child has done, try to explain why you want them not to do it again. Appeal to their sense of empathy.
  • Be a good role model. Your child learns how to communicate by watching you carefully. When you talk with your child (and others) in a respectful way, this gives a powerful message about positive communication.
  • Don’t raise your voice unless there’s a genuine reason for it, this then emphasises when you are really angry and when they have done something wrong. It will be a shock to them when you do raise your voice and they won’t like it and won’t want to make you raise your voice again.
  • When your child is telling you something important, get down to their level, even sit down with them and really listen to what they’re saying. This shows you that you care about what they have to say, and that it’s important to really focus on people when they’re speaking to you. This sets an important example for them.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on your children in any sense. Don’t be too hard on them or

 

These tips should help you to understand how children work a little better and potentially some things that you as a parent can improve on to help your children learn how to communicate more effectively.

 

5 Special Healthy Sweeties for the Kids

We all know how difficult the maintenance of healthy eating can be, especially for the whole family. Packaged snacks are so easy to give in to, just grab them from the shops and wait for the kids to devour them. However, most snack food options from your local grocer aren’t particularly healthy, nor are they reasonably priced. Nonetheless, the kids love them. Kids love sweet foods, which by definition, are the worst for your health. That’s why every house hold need easy to make snack sweeties for the kids that are healthier than the usual packaged snack foods from the shops. Keep reading to discover some great, simple sweet healthy options you can make easily at home.

 

Jam Pinwheels:
Pastry and jam rolled together and baked with a little butter on top are to die for! Super easy and simple and extra healthy if you source healthy home-made jam!

 

Banana Pikelets:
Get your favourite Pikelet recipe and add 1 & ½ cups of mashed banana and ensure you only use 1/3 cup of sugar and you’ve got yourself the best breakfast/afternoon snack. Top with yoghurt and fruit and your children will be more than satisfied.

 

Special Rice Cakes:
Grab some rice crackers from the shops, pop some peanut butter on top, some banana, couple sultanas, coconut and berries to make a face, cat face or a flower type creation. For this one the kids can get involved and create their own little foodie master pieces. Not to mention, this is extremely healthy and filling at the same time.

 

Acai Bowls:
Grab some frozen acai from your local grocer, blend with your choice of fruits, coconut water and top with fruit, coconut and seeds. This will surprise your sweet tooth, with the natural fruity sweetness but satisfy your craving.

 

Honey Popcorn:
Simple but really low in calories, pop some honey over your crunchy popcorn and you’ve got a winning afternoon/after-dinner sweetie snack the kids will love.

 

The above recipe ideas are healthy and easy sweet snacks aimed at providing you with an alternative to process packaged foods that aren’t good for your children’s tummy’s.

The Importance of Teaching Children about Nature

Children love to learn, especially from young ages. It’s important to take the time with your children to teach them lots of different worldly things which of course includes nature, animals and all things earth. Ensuring they are aware of the beauties of nature from a young age allows them to be more in tune with the environment and healthy living lifestyles as they mature and grow up. At Eskay Kids Capalaba we impress upon our children the importance of being kind to nature and practicing environmentally friendly routines. Not to mention, we are mud play enthusiasts, because getting amongst the earth is the best way to form a healthy relationship with it.

 

Getting Outside:

Getting out into nature is perhaps the easiest way to encourage outside play and the more outside play, the more they learn about the outside world. So, get outside with your kids and show them around. Teach them all you know about trees, flowers, animals, insects and the world as we know it. If you assist you join your children outside and play with them it can really assist them in getting comfortable with the great outdoors and therefore wanting to learn more.

Nature Books:
Another great way to educate your children about nature is by reading books about nature, the environment, animals etc. Children love to read and they especially love educational stories. While fun, happy and funny books are also important, mixing it up with some environmental books is always good too.

Healthy Quizzing:

Sometimes some healthy quizzing can be really helpful for children to retain information. For example, “what kind of bird is that”, “what’s the name of that tree”, “is that a pigeon or a cockatoo?” Simple questions about animals and nature can really assist in their overall level of general knowledge which is extremely important.

 

Getting the foundations of general knowledge can really start with simple nature facts. Learning about animals and the earth we live on is such an important thing for children to be made aware of. Technology and the internet is all very important, but outside play should always come first.

Tips & Tricks for Getting Your Kids to Sleep at Night

Night time can pose some issues for some families. Many children fear the dark and fear sleeping on their own with their parents in a different room. It’s far more common than you may think for children to sleep in their parents’ bed/room. But after a while if repeated, it can turn into an unhealthy habit.

Why is it an Unhealthy Habit?

By allowing your child/children to sleep in your bed or in your room, you are letting them believe there is something to be afraid of in their room or simply at night time. This process of allowing them into your room can easily turn into a habit and become almost uncontrollable over time.

Why is it Important to Avoid the Formation of Bad Sleeping Habits?

It’s vital to avoid any formation of these habits for some fairly basic reasons. It’s important to teach your children to be independent and confident, not fearful and paranoid. Similarly, it’s equally as important to teach children to that their home and bedroom is a safe space where they never have to feel afraid. During our early years, our brain develops at a drastic pace and habits we form when we’re young can stick with us indefinitely.

How can we Avoid Bad Sleeping Habits?

If you can help your child get to sleep quicker, there is less chance of them asking to sleep in your bedroom.

  • Get the Right Amount of Sleep
    Ensure your child is getting the right amount of sleep for their age. Now while everyone differs, you will become aware of how many hours leaves them refreshed and energised.
  • Create a Good Sleeping Environment
    Ensure your child’s bedroom is a safe place that they feel comfortable in and enjoy playing in. Ask them how they would like to decorate it and make sure at night it’s nice and dark and cool. If fairy lights, or a night light would make things easier for them, oblige.
  • Routine
    Routine can be one of the best ways to avoid bad habits forming. So ensure your children go to sleep at the exact same time every night and that way they will most likely wake up at the same time each morning. A healthy routine might include, a relaxing bath, dinner, brushing teeth, one or two stories and sleeping at the same time each night.
  • Avoid Meals, Sugar and Caffeine Before Bedtime
    This is a fairly obvious one, but it’s easy to forget – especially when dessert comes into play! But ensuring you avoid any of these things at least a few hours before bedtime is crucial. However, caffeine for young children is never a great idea.
  • Ensure They Exercise Regularly
    Now when we say exercise, we don’t mean intense physical endurance, just simply running around outdoors or swimming at the beach or pool. Anything that gets them outside, even a walk is fine.

 

Ensuring your child develops healthy sleeping habits at a young pave the way for healthy habitual development throughout their life. Not to mention, it makes things easier on the rest of the family – interrupted sleeping can cause all sorts of unwanted situations and your own unhealthy sleeping habits.

 

Transitions

Reflection by Trisha Dean (Director, Karana)

 

January is such an unknown entity in the world of an Early Childhood Service.  There is always so much going on – new children starting, children returning from holidays, children transitioning rooms, children coping without an older sibling who is heading off for the world of schooling for the first time.  It’s often like a lottery – you never know what is going to happen from one day to the next.

 

 

I’ve stopped to pause and reflect on this dynamic so far this year.  There have been a few tears from some of our younger cohort, as they readjust after extended period of absence over the Christmas break.  Mostly short lived, and mostly just on separation from parents they have had extra time with over the break.  It’s really hard to let go of mum or dad again when you’ve had them at hand.  Because, let’s face it – while we have beautiful and trusting relationships with children – there is never a replacement for a parent.  Once the parent leaves, and they’ve had some extra special attachment time, things pretty quickly spring back to a carefree existence.

 

One of the things I’ve always noted over my time in working with children, is the adjustment to a new room.  And this is what my reflection this year mostly revolves around.  Our 3.5 plus year olds moving into our Kindergarten program without exception, have re-entered the arena with buzz and excitement about now being a “Possum Kid”.  They wear this new found status around the centre with chests puffed.  All of a sudden – they are filled with a sense of pride of being the big fish.  Not to mention, the call of Mayfield excursions is bubbling to the surface.  So there is pretty much no issue with this lot moving from the Platypus room.  They understand, they’ve had the conversations, they’ve been spending lots of their time preparing for this moment, they already have relationships with the adults, and they are super ready!

 

 

Then there are the children transitioning from the Kookaburra room to the Platypus room.  The children ranging from 2.5 – 3 years.  While conversations happen, it is hard to prepare children of this age for change.  They really don’t grasp the concept until it is actually happening.  And what I note this year, is our ability to ease this through without a hiccup.  I believe that our ultimate multi-age environment is the biggest factor here.  The fact that there is no corner of our entire centre that is not known and familiar to the children.  While they have their “home room”, ultimately they are free to be wherever the wind takes them.  So really, a room change is just a new place to put your stuff.

 

 

The one big change, is the primary relationships with adults.  And the most wonderful thing about being at Karana, is that a child is never separated from an adult that they form a primary relationship with.  They are always free to be with the adult they most strongly relate to.  Even if that person is not one of their room staff.  There are no off limits.  So changing rooms does not look like being separated from someone you really need when your cards are down.

 

It all sounds so simple……. And it actually is.  So why does this transition period look so different in many other settings?  Why does it have to mean losing the person you trust most?  My reflection makes me sit and softly smile, as I consider the empowerment of the child in our space.  Because at the end of the day, their wellbeing is all that really matters.  And I think we are at that point, where it would be hard to do this thing any better!

Why Outdoor Play is so Important for Your Child

Playing outdoors, unlocks a whole new territory for children. The fresh air, green grass, dancing grasshoppers, and blue skies create the perfect environment for growth, self-confidence, adventures and physical exercise. Playing outdoor allows children to test their physical boundaries which leads to self-discovery and growth. Unlike indoors, where running, jumping and crazy movement isn’t particularly welcomed with vases and furniture in such close proximity – outdoors is the perfect environment for children to move their bodies and challenge themselves physically. Not to mention, being outdoors introduces children to animals, plants and nature.

How to Encourage Outdoor Play:

Now that you understand why outdoor play is so important the benefits it can have on your Childs mental and physical health, here’s how you can encourage outdoor play if your child isn’t particularly warming up to the idea.

  1. Walks: Taking your children for walks, perhaps on the beach or around the neighbourhood is a great start to introducing them to nature. If you have a dog, you could make it a regular daily event.
  2. Sport: Sport is a great way to encourage outdoor play. Choose an easy game you think your child might enjoy and be able to participate such as easy soccer or even just throwing and catching. Invite them out, teach them the rules and see how they respond to it.
  3. Visit Parks: Visiting your local park on a regular basis will introduce your child to a new and challenging outdoor environment. Meeting up for a play date is an even more effective use of outdoor play time – incorporating socialising and outdoor play is important as well.
  4. Building: Building cubby houses, tree houses and hidey holes is a great way to incorporate motor skills, creativity and outdoor play.
  5. Climbing Trees: Climbing trees, while scary for you as a parent, can be a great way to face fears, learn new tricks and experience something different and challenging.

As a Parent:

As a parent it is completely normal for outdoor play to overwhelm or scare you. However, it is important to remember that children need to explore and learn and a couple of bumps and scratches just so happens to be included. A great way to prepare yourself for these learning curves, is to supervise outdoor play time until you feel comfortable with them playing without your presence.

 

Tips to Encourage Children to Enjoy Healthy Eating

While some children can’t wait for their meal times, others absolutely dread it. Children can be picky, especially when they’re at a young age. But as a parent, you can’t give in and allow your children to indulge in snack foods and treats. Instead of using anger and discipline – which often doesn’t have the desired effect – there are more sensitive options to get your children enjoying healthy eating. This article will outline 5 top tips to get your children to enjoy eating healthily.

 

Get Them Involved

Get your children involved! Not only is it educational, fun and a great bonding exercise, but it might even make things easier on you. Whenever you’re going grocery shopping or planning or cooking meals, involve your child/children. At the shops, let your child pick the fruit out and show them what the healthier options are. Teach them all about food and the negative affects of consuming lots of unhealthy, sugary foods.

 

Make Healthy Snacks / Reduce Unhealthy Snacks

Healthy alternatives such as home-made muesli bars and healthy fruit biscuits are a great way to encourage healthy eating habits. Although it can be hard to minimise the amount of naughty foods, you can always hide your snacks from your children. Keeping unhealthy snacks away from them, means that they only have healthy options to choose from.

 

Make Fun Food Creations

Similar to getting your children involved, you can cook fun meals that are visually appealing as well as healthy. Getting creative with your ingredients can be a fun exercise for your children as well as an easy way to get them to enjoy eating healthily.

 

Eat Together

Eating together is an extremely vital part of family food bonding. While it may not always be possible, it is important to make time to eat together with the whole family on a regular basis. Regular family meals encourage routine and promotes positive eating habits. Not to mention, if the whole family is eating, your child will most likely want to join in and do the same.

 

Be Persistent

New foods are typically a pretty scary concept for children. Especially when they’re comfortable with their current eating habits. It can take quite a long time to encourage your child to try new things, but the key is being persistent. Don’t take no as an answer, keep trying, they will accept it eventually.

 

Helping your child get through a sick day

Winter flu, summer cold, spring hayfever, or simply getting sick because of the change of seasons; these affect all of us. Children’s immune systems are still hardening up, so they are usually the first in the household to get sick. It makes you, as a parent, want to do everything in your power to make them feel better. And we’re here to help, listing some of the essentials below.

 

Chicken soup

It’s not just nana’s secret weapon; chicken soup is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Add some noodles for a hit of carbs to keep the little one satisfied for a couple of hours.

Chicken Soup by Taste

 

Hydrate

Water and electrolytes are essential when the flu gets a hold of you. Plenty of water is key, and sports drinks/electrolyte mixes will provide the extra sugars the body needs when it’s fighting a cold. Vomiting, diarrhea, and intense sweating are all causes of dehydration so keep a glass handy.

 

Plain food and lots of vitamins

When your children are sick, they’ll turn their noses up at spicy, oily, and other types of cooked food. It worsens the nausea. But the foods below are relatively bland and are gently one the stomach;

  • Toast/plain bread with butter and Vegemite
  • Rice
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Apple sauce
  • Crackers

Fruits and juice are encouraged, particularly citrus and berries because of their high vitamin content. Honey soothes sore throats thanks to its antibacterial properties.

Use a humidifier

Steamy showers and a cool humidifier will help with blockages that plague the little ones. A good dose of Vicks will ease their breathing as well.

 

Curious to know more? Read these below:

Getting through the first month with Eskay child care Karana

5 Little Changes That’ll Make a Big Difference With Your Child Care Routine

How you can spend more quality time with your kids

Busy working parents do feel slight guilt about not spending X amount of time with their kids. But working and parenting is a juggle, it’s the way life is. You can though, on days off and weekends, or for a few spare hours, spend some more time with the little ones and make some memories.

 

Exercising

It’s commonplace to see parents walking or running along with the pram in the mornings or sometime during the day. Mums and dads also work out at home with one eye on the toddler while they’re doing squats. And when kids see their parents exercising, they want to do it as well. It’s never too early to have a healthy lifestyle! Babble has some simple exercises the kids can do with you.

More: Parents 10 Ways to Exercise as a Family

 

Story time

Kids have a hard time winding down after an exciting day and will protest “I’m not tired!”. There’s a simple formula to get them snoozing, bath time and bedtime stories.

The latter has several benefits that are too good to pass up. You get some quiet quality time with the little one, and reading with them boosts their literacy skills. Get your shelves stocked with some classics like Enid Blyton and Mem Fox. If you’re stuck on other books, here’s a list from Goodreads.

 

Family trips

Short trips are when memories are made. Remember when your own parents took you to the beach or the museum?

Plan short weekend or afternoon getaways you can take as a family; to the beach, the bay. or even to market. Kids thrive when they are in places that engage all five senses. Bookmark Brisbane Kids in your favourites bar when you’re in need of ideas.

 

Bath time

Bath time is an adventure, especially when toys are involved. For something a little out-of-the-box, buy a cheap bottle of shaving cream and smear it on the tiles next to the bathtub. The kids can make little illustrations out of it!

 

Get more advice below:

Tips you need to know for raising confident kids

Healthy chocolate recipes for the family

Healthy chocolate recipes for the family

The popular sentiment is that chocolate and other sweet treats are best enjoyed in moderation. But we found some recipes that you won’t feel guilty about whipping up for the family.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread by Wydlflour

Zucchini is a popular baking ingredient because it adds extra moisture to whatever cake it’s baked into. If you aren’t a fan of white flour, wholemeal flour works just fine. Swap out the oil for olive oil spread; you want it moist, not leaking oil.

 

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins by Ambitious Kitchen

The author of this blog received an email from a fan, thanking her for sharing her baking passions. Why? Because her 4-year-old daughter loves baking and being in the kitchen! In honour of this little masterchef, the blogger created the double chocolate recipe because, in her words, “what kid doesn’t love chocolate?!”

 

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Cookies by Daily Burn

 

Bananas instead of butter, oats and chocolate chips. Healthy, tasty and a little bit indulgent. And more importantly, it won’t give the little ones a massive sugar rush!

 

Chocolate Almond Ice Cream by Super Healthy Kids

 

Kids, big and little, love ice cream, but it’s not healthy to have everyday. But if you really have a craving, this recipe is a nice and simple substitute. Almond butter adds some flavour and texture to this recipe. If there’s any allergies, just remove it.

 

Get more good food ideas below:

6 easy, yummy recipes for hungry kids after kindergarten

6 of the best lunchbox ideas to bring to daycare

 

Keeping Your Family Healthy During The Winter Season

Winter means sick children, sick days and time off work. Common colds and the flu does happen, but you can lessen the blow if you take some measures to keep the family healthy.

Vaccinations
Nobody likes needles but they’re an excellent preventative measure. One jab and the family is set to battle winter nasties.

If the kids are little, make sure you make the process as comfortable as possible for them. It’s possible they’ll throw a tantrum mostly because they’re scared. Treat them one way or another after the appointment.

Blow your nose!
You can’t be there all the time to help your child blow their nose. Make sure you teach them to hold that tissue and blow! Put a travel pack of tissues in their bag, along with some disinfecting gel. Both are lifesavers for kids and the carers.

These are a lifesaver 

Drink plenty of fluids
People are surprised to learn they get dehydrated just as easily in winter as they do in summer.

Now, your kids might use that melted ice cream and hot chocolate are liquids. But they’re only good as the occasional treat. The best way to keep hydrated is to take in plenty of water (4 – 6 glasses) and natural squeezed orange juice with pulp.

 

Nutritious food
Bodies are temples, as the saying goes, and you’re never too young or too old to treat it properly. Unprocessed foods are high in nutrients, so make sure you find a way to pack in the veggies where you can! A common method is using zucchini and carrot in bolognese instead of meat, or at least have half meat half veggies.

If you don’t have a slow cooker yet, invest in one for the fam. Busy parents can cook meals overnight or during the day. Drop the ingredients in, set and forget. 8 hours later, you have a beautifully cooked casserole!

Savoury toast
Get those wholefoods in there

Wash your hands
Another preventative measure. You would be teaching your kids to wash their hands after using the bathroom, before eating and after playing outside. Washing your hands kills germs and bacteria that would normally spread rapidly, especially during cold and flu season.

 

Rug up
Queensland’s winters balance between mild and really cold. Children at Eskay spent most of the day outdoors and they need layers to stay warm in the winter chill. Underlayers, like thermals and socks, are a good place to start. You can get good quality products from Uniqlo.

 

Sleep
When you’re overtired, running around and have a busy schedule you’re more vulnerable to catching a cold. Kids are geniuses when it comes to avoiding bedtime, but a story and avoiding screens for at least an hour will help calm them down.

 

We have more advice for you here;

Child care for your kids, self-care for you

5 Little Changes That’ll Make a Big Difference With Your Child Care Routine

6 Compelling Reasons Why You Need Day Care

No doubt you considered day care before your child was born, but now you’re on the fence. It’s hard to leave your most treasured possession in somebody else’s hands but it’s proven that day care does an abundance of good, for both children and parents.

 

  • Back to work

It’s time for you to go back to work/real life. Unfortunately, your office doesn’t have day care facilities. Eskay Kids is better than ‘traditional’ indoor centres because the kids can run out and about in nature. They’ll make castles in the sandpit, make skyscrapers from loose parts in the grassy area, and climb a tree or two.

 

  • You want your child to make friends

Day care is a wonderful place for children to make friends, and they’ll do it quickly. Your son or daughter will most likely have a new best friend before their first week is over.

 

  • They’ll get some structure

Children are actually sticklers for routine: when to sleep, wake up, and eat. The parents enforce the routine at home but don’t underestimate the day care workers. They might follow the children’s lead but some structure is involved. Plus, they observe as the kids grow, noting behavioural traits and other changes.

 

  • Prep for big school

It’s hard for the kids to separate from their parents and that first week, even the first month, will be the worst for both of you. Imagine if they didn’t go to daycare before big school. That sudden, all-day separation would be doubly shocking and upsetting.

Going to daycare also exposes children to authority figures who aren’t their parents. The carers genuinely love their job and watching kids grow, but they’re also there to enforce the rules.

 

  • Exposure to other cultures

Australia is a very diverse country. Even third and fourth generations have strong ties to their heritage. The children are exposed to these cultures, traditions, and even languages through their new friends. They’ll come to understand very quickly that everyone is unique, having values and traits different from theirs.

 

  • Parents make friends, too

Early on in your child’s life, it would have been hard to meet up with your circle of friends and make new ones. But daycare benefits parents from the fact there’s other adults going through the same anxieties and adventures. When your children make friends, you will, too.

 

Want some more advice? Keep reading…

9 activities for active children after day care

6 of the best lunchbox ideas to bring to daycare

Child care for your kids, self-care for you

While we read and do fun activities with your children at our child care centres, it’s important that you remember to take care of yourself. Whether you work full time or have the kids at home a few days a week, self-care should never fall to the side. Here are a few things that won’t take long to do, but the endorphins will linger.

 

  • Early morning workout

Yoga, boxing, weight training, or whatever else floats your boat. It’s possible to set the alarm and hit the 5 am session and blitz that routine and make it home in time for breakfast. Plus, it’s scientifically proven that early morning workouts leave you on an endorphin high for the rest of the day. You’ll feel amazing and be more productive through the day.

 

  • Learn a new skill

Websites like Skillshare let you take short classes from the comfort of your laptop, from computer code to floristry. All around you, there’s an opportunity to learn something new. Cooking schools, art workshops, and fitness groups are all over the place. Check out Facebook, Meet Up, or try the good old Google search.

 

  • Go out…by yourself

This might sound absurd. You’re a parent with children relying on you. But we’re not talking about leaving the kids at home with Dad, the babysitter, or the neighbour. Although that’s also an option if you need some ‘me time’.

When you’re at work, take walks around the block during the day. Change the scenery and get some sun. Leave your phone on your desk and go to lunch at that cafe on the corner. People can wait for 30 minutes while you eat.

 

  • Sit in the sunshine

This boosts your Vitamin D intake as well as your mood. Getting those rays will warm you up inside and out!

 

  • Chat with other parents from daycare

Arrange a time to meet at your house or theirs. Bring a plate of something, put the kettle on and have a laugh. Some parents say they miss having other adults or genuine friends to talk to because their schedules revolve around work and kids.

 

  • Bake for the heck of it

Baking is fun! The cupcakes at the end of a baking spree aren’t too bad either. If you’re trying to be ‘good’, make zucchini bread, chocolate oat biscuits, or a lemon pound cake made with greek yogurt.

4 Under-the-Radar Things About Day Care Parents Need To Know

There’s more to day care than dropping your child off in the morning and picking them up at the end of the day. There’s fees, vaccinations, and inspections to think about. Here’s 4 points you probably haven’t considered yet, but really should think about.

 

Spots are limited

Not all child care providers will have dozens of vacancies. There’s budgets and carer numbers that factor into the equation. A standard ratio of carer to child is 1:5.

Thankfully there’s the option of going on a waitlist. If somebody pulls out of childcare for the year you’re closer to getting a spot.

Bullying

It’s a shock but yes, children are capable from bullying at a young age. Little things, from excluding others in games, to bigger and more troublesome behaviour like name-calling and physical altercations (e.g. pushing) are all signs of bullying.

The kids mightn’t be aware of their behaviour and how it can hurt others, but it’s best to tackle the problem quickly. Reluctance to go to daycare, withdrawing into themselves, and bruises are signs to watch out for if you suspect your child is a victim of bullying.

 

Children do tell us things

Young kids don’t know the concept of a ‘filter’ and aren’t capable of fibs (that’s a learned behaviour). Childcare workers notice any of their charges behaving differently, like suddenly becoming sullen and quiet when they’re normally bright and bubbly. When asked what’s wrong, the child might say something that hints at problems in the home.

Naturally, any troubling behaviour or confessions are kept confidential until discussed with the parents.

Bullying by Raising Children

 

Playing IS learning

Children are making towers and houses out of wooden blocks. You see them playing. We see them using critical skills.

Children use play to make sense of the world around them and they learn through doing. Critical thinking is used to make a building block tower that doesn’t fall over. Communication is used to negotiate activities within a group. Play is the work of children and daycare, as well as the Early Years Learning Framework, provides a structured environment where they can learn to the best of their ability.

 

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6 of the best lunchbox ideas to bring to daycare

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5 Little Changes That’ll Make a Big Difference With Your Child Care Routine

Child care is a saving grace for busy parents but routines that are all over the place causes unnecessary stress. Little changes can do a lot, so here’s five key areas where you can make simple adjustments.

 

Food

Kids are hungry because their little bodies are growing. But sometimes you’re faced with a stubborn child who won’t eat breakfast…only to use the ‘I’m hungry’ line in the car. The solution? Pack a go-bag with some healthy snacks like a squeezy yogurt, cheese and fruit.

Also have some fun, after school snacks ready for when you get home. We’ve already written about some healthy options. But some sweet treats like pikelets and jam go down equally as well.

daycare recipes

Transport

These days most families have two working parents, even if one is part-time. Other parents at the child care centre are in the same boat. Adults at the daycare meet each other mostly through their children, and feel comfortable enough after a period to share ‘drive to day care’ duties.

 

Home routine

Yes, it’s important to have this at home otherwise nobody would be getting any sleep. Super Nanny Jo Frost is the queen of setting routines. She says routines revolve around activities and time; eating sleeping and playing.

Have a routine chart set up a home, something colourful your child can follow easily. This will include meal times, bath times, homework and even something as small as making the bed. Once you get into the rhythm of routine, daily life flows a lot more smoothly.

 

Ask the carers

Child care workers see what’s going on; it’s their job to care for your child as best they can. The National Quality Standards outline how carers need to monitor children’s development and make regular reports.

If you’ve noticed your son or daughter’s personality change somewhat, that they’re upset or withdrawn, ask the staff at the child care centre. What they tell you could be enlightening.

 

Ask your children

That being said, though, it’s a good idea to try and approach your children first. They might not tell you the whole truth or be afraid to tell you what’s bothering them. Kids become confident when they know it’s okay to express how they feel, but you need to give them the opportunity.

 

More articles you might be interested in

6 easy, yummy recipes for hungry kids after kindergarten

Save time on your morning school run with these tips

The Anatomy of a Great Child Care Centre

Parents who are scoping a child care centre have checklists of their own. But we did some of the hard work and put together some crucial points.

 

ACECQA Rating

The Australian Children’s Education & Quality Care Authority is the governing body in child care standards. Reviews of centres are completed regularly and those who register as a child care must fill in a Quality Improvement Plan. Part of the assessor’s job is to examine whether the centre is living up to their goals or, preferably, exceeding them. The below quality areas are checked on every visit.

  • Educational program and practice
  • Health and safety
  • The environment
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Relationships with the children
  • Collaboration with community and family
  • Leadership

 

The atmosphere

Ideally, you feel right at home when you walk through the door. It’s a great sign if your son or daughter rushes off to say hello to their friends, though realistically this will take a few weeks.

A great child care centre has a variety of activities to help keep the kids engaged. There’s loose parts play, a sandpit, building blocks, books, and more for a full day of fun. One of the EYLF outcomes is children should become confident, involved learners. Seeing your little one chatting away with friends and carers is a great sign.

 

Staff

People have the qualifications and a few pieces of paper, but that’s half of the whole. Good carers are effective communicators not only with the children but also with the parents.

A great child care centre abides by the carer to child ratio (1:4, 1:5, and 1:11 for older kids). The staff aren’t afraid to answer parents questions either, no matter how hard. Nobody can work in childcare without a minimum Certificate III in Children’s Services. Eskay centres, for example, have a mix of carers with tertiary and university-level qualifications.

It’s also commonplace for child care centres to have students come in for a certain period of time to do their practical assessment. The more experienced staff take on the role of ‘supervisor’ during this time.

 

Stimulating environment

Children learn effectively through play. Critical thinking, vocabulary, math, and scientific skills are sharpened in activities adults would see as ‘plain old fun’. Other centres have a curriculum-style way of learning so there’s something for every parent to consider.

A good child care centre doesn’t stay  within the bounds of their building. Excursions to local sights like the farm, a museum, or even Bunnings is both exciting and works the children’s brains. They learn about the world around them thanks to a trip to the local hardware store.

 

Glowing reviews

Parents who love their day care will have no trouble telling their friends about it. In a world where the number of two working parents is increasing, they want to know their child is in safe hands. Word-of-mouth is one of the most trusted review systems out there among parents with young kids.

Check the child care centre’s site as well. Besides the reviews, you’ll also find the ACECQA rating and other qualifications (Blue Card, CPR etc).

 

Need something else to read?

Getting through the first month with Eskay child care Karana

9 activities for active children after day care

Communicating with your children, post-daycare

Children in daycare are still learning how to communicate properly. Their grammar is developing (missing articles like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘to’ are common) but they can communicate their wants and needs effectively. Here are some tips to help them along after you pick them up from daycare. Children are always learning, after all.

 

Kids want to chat

Curiosity keeps the kids going! It drives them during their daily activities. They’ll read books, arrange loose parts to see how they fit together and pick flowers out of the yards.

When you pick them up after your day, there are two things that will happen. Your son or daughter will be really chatty, or really tired. If it’s the former, they’ll be bursting to tell you about their exciting day. And that brings us to the next point.

 

Ask them real questions

Open-ended questions are the best approach. Also, do your best to avoid generic questions like ‘how was your day?’. Here are some examples you can try next time you’re driving home;

  • What was your favourite part of playtime today?
  • What was your favorite thing at lunch?
  • What books did you read?
  • Did you make anything with your friends today?
  • Did you do anything fun with your teacher?

Bonus tip; point number two can help you pack something different if they didn’t like what’s in their lunchbox. You don’t want them to spend their time in daycare with something they don’t want to eat.

 

Give them real answers

Children ask questions. ‘Why’ is going to be heard a lot in your household! This will happen when you give a ‘no’ answer to a request, like if they can go outside and play.

If you don’t know the answer to what your child is asking, say ‘Let’s Google it together’ and read the answer aloud to them. You’re bonding and learning something new all in one go.

Watch their body language

Children use body language more than words because the latter is still developing. As their example, it’s important for you to use gestures, facial expressions, and other body languages in your interactions with them. If your child can’t verbalize what they want, but you can guess, ask them a question.

Most of what people say and mean is communicated through body language rather than words. But the latter is just as important. Watch your son or daughter closely, ignoring outside distractions even in the car. If they don’t want to talk, they’ll be tired or restless as opposed to enthusiastic.

More tips for raising confident kids

Not long ago we posted an article on how to raise confident kids at any age, whether they be in kindergarten or big school. Confident kids blossom into young people who get through challenges and learn valuable life lessons.

 

Let them make mistakes

Young children who are preschool age are more resilient than you think. How many scraped knees have you patched up, only for your son or daughter to go running back outside with a big grin on their face?

Don’t swoop in to rescue your child when they make a small mistake. They’ll learn. You won’t be there to hold their hand all the time and fix things. Mistakes always happen no matter their age. In preschool, they walk through the house with muddy feet. When they’re a teenager they’ll forget to fill up the car with petrol. Let your son or daughter make mistakes. Remind them not to do it again (gently). And they’ll remember.

 

Moderate social media

We live in a digital age where children are exposed to more screens than ever. It’s commonplace to see a four-year-old with an iPad instead of a book. Granted, sometimes it’s the only way to distract an unsettled child when you need to concentrate. But lock the Facebook feature so they can only play educational/fun games instead.

Capping their exposure to social media use is a responsible measure. Body image and life satisfaction issues are on the rise among young people, some of them as young as primary-school-age.

 

Ask them to contribute

You do a lot of jobs around the house when the kids are at school or watching television. Sometimes they might even want to help you, but more often they get in your way.

Don’t brush them off, though. Raising a confident child involves giving them (age appropriate) responsibilities. Phrase it like:

‘You would help me very much if you picked up your toys when you’re done.’

Positive reinforcement works

When you selectively praise certain behaviour, your child knows they’ve done a good job and will keep doing it well. Thank them for being on their best behavior in public. Same for putting their toys away or making the bed.

 

Keep up the cuddles

Everyone needs human contact, especially children. Even when you’re busy, give your child a cuddle. It’ll make you both feel good at the end of a long day.

Save time on your morning school run with these tips

Most parents have horror stories about getting kids ready for school. Arguments, tired children and that missing shoe makes getting to kindergarten or primary school a lot harder in the morning. We looked around the web and gathered some of the best tips to help your morning school run go smoother.

 

Get the kids involved

Your goal as a parent is to raise independent children. Part of that is involving them in the decision making process. One Sydney mother followed her friend’s advice and sat down with her daughter to make a to-do list of what had to get done in the mornings. It included the following:

  • Make the bed
  • Brush teeth
  • Eat breakfast
  • Pack school bag

The parent gave the child responsibility as opposed to telling them what to do. The end result was an excited child ticking off the items on the list every morning and feeling that rush of achievement. Read more in the article below.

The lifesaving list that saved my mornings

 

Check the calendar

Preschools and big schools have designated days for special events. This gives parents a headache when they don’t know about them until the night before. The handy solution is to get a copy of the term schedule and have it hanging somewhere it’ll be seen. This way, even if you have children in different grades at school or in daycare, you know what to pack and prepare ahead of time.

 

The go bag

Sometimes your children won’t be in the mood for breakfast at home, only to complain of hunger as soon as they get in the car. This is where the go bag comes in handy. The night before, pack healthy snacks like muesli bars, some fruit, and a squeezie yogurt/Milo with you when you leave the house.

 

Spend some money

Yes, it’s a necessary evil, but spend some money now to save time for the rest of the school year? It’s a fair trade. The mother in the below article scoured Pinterest boards and life hack articles so she could get her kids organized and to school before the morning bell. The DIY project resulted in a beautiful ‘school area’ in the house, complete with lockers and a schedule for both of her children to complete tasks after school.

 

Back to school organization hacks