Tag Archives: advice

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.

 

Kindergarten Readiness and its Importance for your Child

You may not remember your very first day of Kindergarten, but you might remember the build-up to your first day. Nonetheless, Kindergarten is an emotional roller coaster for children and for many, Kindergarten is their very first experience of real social situations and a learning environment. While every individual has their own personal opinions regarding Kindergarten and its benefits, research has shown that the very first few years of education and preparedness are the most vital in developing a solid foundation of social skills and the ability to adapt to learning environments. During these initial years, the human brain develops the skills that form the foundations for reading, counting and social interaction.

So, what is Kindergarten Readiness:

Kindergarten Readiness is the extent to which you as a parent, have prepared your child for what’s in store regarding Kindergarten. Kindergarten Readiness allows your child to prepare themselves mentally and educationally for how Kindergarten will change their life and in what ways. Being prepared for anything is important in life, especially if it entails a new daily routine and being in new social situations and new environments. Specifically, encouraging educational activities, writing, arts and counting is the most effective way to prepare your child for Kindergarten.

Why is Kindergarten Readiness Important:

Ensuring your child is ready for Kindergarten allows them to process and prepare in their own way. The importance of Kindergarten Readiness is extensive – there are many reasons why it does hold such significance. Generally speaking though, preparing your child means that they understand where and why they are going and how this will change their current routine. Fostering this idea however, means that you as a parent show them care and nurture their emotions. Additionally, preparing them in a way which supports their education is the best way to encourage and prepare them.

How you can get your child ready for Kindergarten:

In order to ensure your child is properly prepared for the introduction of Kindergarten, you can research learning activities online or encourage friends and family to gift your children educational activities instead of toys or clothes for their birthdays and Christmas. Preparation doesn’t have to be intense, extensive or daily. But introducing your children to counting, drawing and such things they will be doing at Kindergarten is a great way to encourage their education and impress a sense of importance on learning.

Encouraging Children to Drop the Screens

Living in such a technologically advanced time, it can be hard to encourage our children to drop the screens and use their imagination instead or go outside and embrace nature. But why would our children listen to us? We are terrible role models in this regard. We always have our phones on us – we use them all the time, mostly because we have to. Often times, our jobs involve staring at a computer screen or making calls all day. And while we actually engage in a lot of important, boring, paper-work type tasks on our computers at home, children don’t see it that way. We live in a digital age – there’s no avoiding it. However, it is vital, that from a young age, we try to impress on our children the importance of playing outdoors or being creative and arty or playing sports. While this may not be easy, because well, who can deny that tv is extremely entertaining? It is still crucial that we teach our children to appreciate the simple things in life and to use their brains to their absolute capacity.

Reduce Screen Time: 

This may seem obvious but decreasing the allowed amount of screen time for your children is the first step in encouraging them to explore other activities. If your children have a certain show in particular that they love to watch perhaps allow them to watch that once a day and nothing else. Or Give them a certain amount of screen time per day, say 2 hours where they can go nuts and watch whatever they please. This may not be easy to begin with, but soon enough they will get into the routine and accept that this is just the way it is.

Encourage them to try Extra-Curricular Activities:

Some children may not have much of an idea of what they’re interested in or would like to get involved with at a young age. However, encouraging them to try new things and get involved with sports or dance can really help to increase their confidence levels, meet new friends and find new hobbies that will encourage them to turn off the screens.

Play-Dates:

Play dates can be a really great way to encourage your children to form friendships and relationships and build up the courage to play with other children independently. This can not only be important educationally and socially, but if you organise with the children’s mothers to ensure they don’t engage in screen time, it can be another element that encourages them not to turn to the screen.

Screen time is a touchy subject, and every parent is different in regard to how much or how little they allow their children to have. While everyone has different opinions, too much screen time is not constructive and can impede children’s brain development, especially at younger ages. Attempting to decrease screen time is a great start to ensuring your children are experiencing life to the fullest and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

5 Fun Christmas Activities for the Kids

Christmas time is an exciting time of year. Australian Christmas involves sweet mangoes, long summer days and gorgeous sunsets, blue skies and crystal-clear oceans. Everyone loves Christmas time, it’s a time for giving, receiving, eating and relaxing. But no one loves Christmas more than kids! Christmas is the event of the year for children. There is nothing more exciting than decorating the Christmas tree or baking Christmas cookies. Below are some fun funky Christmas activities your kids will love!
 

  1. Cooking
    Get creative in the kitchen with your kids. Stock up on a variety of coloured food dye and Christmas decorations. There are a variety of Christmas recipes online but leave the decorating up to your kids – let them use their imagination and express themselves.
  2. Origami
    Christmas origami can be slightly challenging, but extremely rewarding. Origami requires concentration and following steps, a perfect holiday activity to keep the kids entertained and still engaged.
  3. Christmas Cards
    Something your family members will adore is handmade Christmas cards. If you take control of the initial design, you can pass it on to your children to fill in the blanks, but make sure you give your children some creative freedom because your family will appreciate their artwork.
  4. Christmas Tree Decorations
    Get creative with painting and sticking glitter onto borbals and plain wooden stars etc. A trip to Kmart will lead you to a range of plain decorations that your children can decorate with all sorts of fun colours and textures.
  5. Christmas lights
    Even if you’re not particularly interested in the full house Christmas light extravaganza, you can get creative simply. Even if you simply put lights up in your house, or in trees in the backyard – your children will love them!

Christmas time may not necessarily be your favourite time of year, but while your children are young it will most definitely be theirs. Get creative with your children and they might even make things easier on you. Not to mention, Christmas holidays can be long for your kids so keep them entertained and engaged with some fun crafty learning activities.

5 Ways to Teach Kids to be Sun Smart

Two in three Australians are diagnosed with sun cancer by the age of 70 and while we have been improving globally with sun safety, this is still an alarmingly high percentage. We’re all aware of the dangers of the sun, all of us except for children. Like almost everything, children need to be taught how to be sun safe, however it’s easier said than done. This article will discuss 4 effective ways to teach kids to be sun smart.

  1. Explain Slip Slop Slap
    Get your children well acquainted with the Slip Slop Slap campaign, but more importantly, explain the reasoning behind the campaign. Before you make it into a fun little routine, make sure they understand the seriousness of sun safety. Explain why the sun is dangerous, they might not completely understand, but if you reiterate the seriousness it might surprise you how much they actually take in.
  2. Practice Slip Slop Slap
    The Slip Slop Slap campaign was specifically designed to appeal to children, so get your children well acquainted with the song and the reasons behind it. Once you have done that, turn it into a little fun routine you lead each time they’re going into the sun. Turn it into something they enjoy, that way they will remember it as being a fun, memorable routine that they enjoy.
  3. Use the highest SPF+ sunscreen
    You can get up to SPF100+ sunscreen now, which is incredible and really shows how we’re improving with sun safety globally. However, if you can’t afford or prefer lower SPF, SPF50+ or even 40+ is still effective. In saying this, studies have shown that children should use 30+ or higher to ensure they are protected against UV rays. Especially seeing as though they can accidentally rub it off or jump in the pool that little bit too early.
  4. Don’t forget a hat!
    Even though wearing a hat is included in Slip Slop Slap, they often fall off when kids run around or go swimming. UV rays can cause serious sun damage to your scalp. It can be easy to forget to remind your children to pop their hats back on (often times they might not want to listen). An easier way of ensuring their hats stay on their heads is to purchase hats with drawstrings so that they’re secure and they won’t fall of as easily.

 

According to the Cancer Council of Australia, more than 750,000 people are treated for one or more melanoma skin cancers each year. Additionally, it has been proven that most sun damage occurs before the age of 18, which is why it is so crucial to ensure your children are aware of the dangers the sun can cause. These simple steps will assist you in teaching your children to be more sun safe!

 

 

Helping the Kids Go Green

When it comes to teaching the kids to go green, the earlier you do it, the better. In a time of drought, excessive waste and air pollution, education is key, so children know there’s consequences to waste. 

 

  • Get them in the garden

Going outdoors is good for our mental health thanks to all that sunshine and fresh air. Getting the kids to help in the garden and acquainting them with the animals, flowers, and the other plants, will teach them to respect the environment. The worms, the birds, the snails, and the ladybugs all deserve to be there as much as they do.

 

  • Save your scraps; salad scraps, egg shells, veggie skins, and more can be saved and turned into your own compost heap.

Children need to know where their food comes from and that it’s possible to do more with it than just eat. Pulp from juicing, food scraps and clean water can be reused in the garden. It will definitely help them in the future when they do science at school and study the environment.

 

  • Turn off the taps

You are meant to brush your teeth for about three minutes. The tap doesn’t need to run the entire time.

Teach the children that when the water is running without purpose, it’s getting wasted; always ensure all taps are turned off properly. Put a bucket in the shower to catch the cold water before it turns hot, and use it to water the plants – you can even catch the pasta water when you strain it as the starch gives the nutrients in the soil an extra boost.

 

  • Take them to Bunnings

At Eskay we go on excursions to Bunnings with the kids and they love it every time. Besides the amazing sausage sizzles, you can turn it into an ‘educational’ shopping trip without them even knowing.

Tying into our first point, take them to the gardening section to get them invested in the work. Ask them to pick their favourite plant or seedlings. Getting them a pair of their own gloves definitely helps getting them more involved as well.

 

  • The many uses of paper

Paper doesn’t need to be thrown in the bin. Kids are crafty, so encourage their creative side. Old newspapers, magazines and even drawings can be recycled. If they like a picture in a magazine, cut it out and start a scrapbook. Do some origami. When Easter comes around, shred some newspaper to make padding for an Easter basket. Even cardboard boxes have the chance of a second life as a spaceship or a cubby house.

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.

Daycare to big school: are you ready for it?

Graduating from daycare is a momentous day for parents and children alike, and the next step is just as big. Big school. The change in routine and a new environment will be startling for your son or daughter. Luckily, there’s useful tips out there by experts to help them ease into their new learning environment.

 

The big changes

  • Learning environment

Primary school introduces children to a formal learning environment for the first time with set hours, a curriculum, and a whole new place to explore. The environment itself is strange initially, the furniture is bigger and the learning aids (books, posters) are more advanced.

 

  • Rules

We’re not just talking about rules of behaviour. Children learn good manners at home, way before daycare or big school. We’re talking about rules surrounding school routine. Unlike daycare, schools have periods where kids are taught certain subjects. There’s time for morning tea and lunch whereas before, at daycare, kids would eat when they were hungry.

Your child will learn classroom etiquette, too. This includes raising hands, lining up neatly, and listening for long periods of time.

 

  • New relationships

A new school means building new relationships. Children who go to the same daycare together mightn’t go to the same school after they graduate. Your child will have to face not only making new friends but also getting used to the new teachers. Daycare is a smaller, more intimate environment with a few educators for one group of children. School has different teachers for different grades and subjects that your child will meet within days.

 

Supporting them

Your son or daughter is going to feel overwhelmed with the changes they face and there’s ways you can help them manage.

 

  • Do homework together

Doing this with your child has several benefits, including bonding time and promoting essential skills like literacy and numeracy. Also practice hand-eye coordination like cutting up items with scissors and stacking building blocks to make a small house.

 

  • Give them space

Little brains get exhausted quickly. Though you’re eager to hear about their first day, let your son or daughter just sit and breathe for a moment or two. Follow their lead. If they’re bursting to tell you about their day, then great! But if they look like they’re asleep on their feet, give them a snack and put them in comfy clothes when you get home.

 

  • Meet other parents

Making friends at a new school isn’t just for the children. Parents also make fast friends before the term begins, usually during open days and information nights. Bonding over shared anxieties about the first day of school will soon turn into sharing the pickup/drop off and arranging play times at each other’s houses.

The beginning of the new school year is a time for parents to make new friends