Two Can Learn Better than One!

Tags: car

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Days out, Kids Activities , Tags: car, games, journies, safety, travel

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Whether its some long distance driving in England to stay with family or friends or a full blown European motoring vacation, the thought of taking children on a long car journey can seem a great idea when costing out the family holiday, but as the day approaches it seems more and more daunting. 

The secret to a successful trip is to invest some time before you set off so you're prepared and ready to entertain, challenge and keep happy those delightful little passengers strapped in their cosy car seats in the back row.

  • Think kids: The most important thing is to remember that they are only kids.  They may not be interested in alpine skylines or breathtaking sea scape.  Think about how they see things and try to think like them.
  • Prepare the car: Before you go, have a good clear out of the car inside.  Get rid of old crayons and rubbish tucked in between the seats.  Throw away scrappy colouring books and freshen up the whole car.  Get the kids helping clear up and polish, wipe and scrub away the year's mess and rubbish that may have accumulated.  Give the car a good vacuum and clean the outside too.  This way you'll feel much more ready to hit the road!
  • Supplies: Make sure you have wipes, plasters, first aid kits etc on board just in case.  Plus emergency drinks, sucky sweets (in case of feeling a bit car sick).  Also you may wish to think about blankets, pillows, torch, fire extinguisher and jump leads... just in case!
  • Safety inside the car: Keep the back of the car clear of any baggage or things rolling around, if you can.  Get a good holder to keep all the supplies together and safe.
  • Treats: Ration the treats and entertainment you bring along.  Don't use up all your good ideas before you even hit the motorway.
  • Entertainment:
    1. Take some different coloured mega blocks and can see if the children can arrange them in order when you shout out the colours.  So, say, red, blue green and see how long it takes them to assemble accordingly. For babies, just getting them to play with a couple of block can easily amuse them
    2. Bubbles - blow bubbles (especially good for babies).
    3. Balls - to have a run about and play in the open air when you stop.
    4. Books - old favourites and perhaps a few new ones.  CDs of spoken books are great too.
    5. Post it notes - allow them to write notes and stick them everywhere!  Easily removed and their arms won't stretch too high to obscure the driver's view.
    6. Make up a story inspired by what you see outside.
    7. Wool, hole punch and old birthday cards - get the children to punch hold, then thread with the wool.

Travelling with Children

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toys and Games, Days out , Tags: car, games, journey, travel games, travelling

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During the Christmas holiday, there is every chance that you will be taking a long car journey with your little ones to visit family or friends away from home.  We nearly all dread this element of time away from home, but with a little help it needn't be a total nightmare.  Here are some tips!

Travelling with a new or tiny baby. Pack up the car and then feed well and then leave quickly.  Hopefully they will be lulled to sleep by the motion of the car, and you'll have a nice, quiet journey.  When the next feed is due, try and stop around this time and feed in a service stop or somewhere calm and warm.  Then head back on the road, and they are likely to nod off again.  Keep some favourite toys nearby so you can clip them to the car seat if they wake and need amusement.

Travelling with toddlers. This may be a bit more of a challenge as they get tired and bored and restless sitting in one position in a car for too long.  It's understandable, really!

  • Leave really early before the morning rush hour.  Transport your toddler to the car whilst still asleep and get most of the journey under-way before the traffic gets busy and before the little one wakes up!
  • Have a sun shade in case low winter sun streams in through the window.  It can be very irritating and cause lots of trouble for a toddler if the sun is directly in their eyes.
  • Get a rear seat mirror especially if you are the only driver so you can see what's going on without worrying too much and turning round in traffic.
  • Plan stops so you can all get out and have a run about to stretch legs and get some fresh air.  Every 2 hours is probably best.  Change nappies and have a toilet stop even if you don't need it.
  • Attach a box on the seat next to the toddler with a few toys, colouring and crayons etc. so they can go through the box and help themselves rather than you trying to pass over things during the journey.
  • Play games: the old ones are the best!  I-Spy, Spot a Red/Green/Yellow car, First to see a... (lorry, telephone box etc).
  • Have all you will need in the change bag including bottles, milk etc and all changing things.  Searching through the suitcase to find a clean pair of trousers can be very frustrating and time consuming.
  • Have lots of dry snacks for the journey to keep hungry tummies full and active fingers happy!

Bon voyage!

Planning for the Future

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Family , Tags: car, child trust fund, education, house, money, saving, university, wedding

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It is estimated that the cohort of students starting university this autumn will leave with debts of £25,000 - whether you want your little ones to go to university or not, there are plenty of other expenses that you can start saving for as soon as they are born!

Bringing up children costs money; yes there are shortcuts that you can take, you don't have to go on the most glamorous foreign holidays or buy the most expensive clothes, but by planning for the future and putting a little money aside each month, you can build up a fund to help towards their future. You may want to save towards their first car, their wedding, university education or their first house.

Child Trust Funds were a good starting point to encourage parents to start saving for their children. Unfortunately these are being axed, but there's nothing to stop you opening a savings account and making a monthly contribution no matter how small. After a few years you will have a fund that anyone should be grateful for, or that you can use to cover some of the more significant costs that might come your way!

Crossing the Road

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Health , Tags: car, crossing the road, highway code, raod safety, roads, safety, speed

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Road safety is one of the most important topics that we can train our children on - cars and roads are so dangerouss for young children, but teaching them from an early age will help them to treat the highway code with respect.  Here are some stark facts about road safety:

  • 161 children died on the road in 2006
  • 26,000,000 cars are on our roads

Car speed:

  • If a child is hit by a car driving at 40 mph most die.
  • If a child is hit by a car driving at 30 mph half die.
  • If a child is hit by a car driving at 20 mph one child in 20 will die.

Teach children early how to cross the road in six steps:

  1. Think - look for a subway or crossing first.  Don't cross on a bend.
  2. Stop - choose a good place to cross, stand on the kerb, away from parked cars and other obstructions
  3. Look And Listen - look in all directions and listen carefully
  4. Wait - until its safe to cross
  5. Cross carefully - looking and listening as you go
  6. Arrive safely

Make sure you show them while you tell them and also ensure you follow these rules yourself when crossing.

Teach your child some other points:

  • Walk - don't run and stick to pavements when you can.  If there is no pavement, walk on the right side of the road so you see the approaching traffic.  Walk  in single file
  • Parked Cars - don't cross between parked cars.  It makes your view of the road less clear
  • Balls - don't run into the road to chase a lost ball, or indeed any other toy or object
  • Gates - keep garden gates shut in case the children are running and run out unexpectedly
  • Catch-up - never run into the road or along the pavement to catch up a friend who is in front of you

Be Safe In The Car

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Babies, Health, Preschool Children , Tags: car, car seat, seat belt, taxi, travel safety

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By law, all children traveling in cars must use the correct child restraint until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall.  Once they reach this criteria they must use an adult restraint.  There are a couple of exceptions, but by and large these rules should not be broken and it is the drivers responsibility to make sure they are not.

Children Up To Age 3

  • Young children can travel in the front of the car
  • They must use the correct child restraint in the front or back
  • It is illegal to carry a child in a rear facing child seat in the front which is protected by an active airbag
  • If a child is traveling in a taxi or licensed car and a seat is not available the child must travel in the back.  This is the only exception for under threes and for practical reasons rather than for safety

Children aged 3 -12

Children aged 3 - 12 must wear the correct child restraint whether traveling in the front or rear of the car.  There are 3 exceptions for this age group.

  1. In a licensed taxi or private hire car
  2. If the child is traveling  a short distance for reasons of an emergency or unexpected necessity.
  3. If other fitted car seats make the fitting of a third one impossible, or if there are no restraints available for a third seat

Children traveling in minibuses, coaches or  any other vehicle must wear a restraint or adult seat belt.

Car Seats

A properly fitted child restraint keeps the child in their seat, keeping them in one position.  It also absorbs some of the impact in the event of an accident.  It means your child is less likely to be injured or killed in an crash.  Car seats must be fitted correctly.  Here are a few pointers:

  1. Don't have the car seat too loose
  2. Make sure the car seat is properly rooted
  3. Make sure handle is positioned properly if you have a baby car seat
  4. Ensure your car seats are compatible with your car and correctly fitted
  5. Keep the car seat in good condition and make sure it's not old or worn
  6. Check that seat is correct according to the size (height nd weight) of your baby.

Booster Seat:

Once your chid is 15-25kg (between 4 and 6 years old) they can use a booster seat.  The adult seat belt will restrain them so this becomes the most important item to check.  Make sure that:

  1. The belt is as tight as it can be
  2. The belt is not twisted
  3. The lap belt goes across the hips and not stomach which is higher
  4. The diagonal strap should go over the shoulder and not the neck

Rear Facing Car Seats

Consider using rear facing car seats instead of forward facing ones - although less popular in the UK they are in fact considerably safer.


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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