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Tags: tips

10 Top Tips for a Hot Day

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting , Tags: heat, ice-cream, nappies, sea, shade, spf, sun, swimming, tips, uv, water

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The sun has arrived at last, but hurry, it may not last long! On a hot day, with beating sunshine, it's so important to keep the children covered up and protected from the sun.  Here are 10 important things to remember on a scorching day:-

  1. Cover up with sun cream before going into the sun
  2. Remember waterproof nappies for little ones looking forward to a dip in the sea or a paddling pool
  3. Reapply suncream throughout the day, especially after emerging from water
  4. Wear a sun hat; sun glasses are more cosmetic but they're cute too
  5. Wear UV SPF protective clothing, wear clothes in water if you're really exposed to the sun
  6. Drink lots and keep hydrated - water is best
  7. Keep in the shade whenever possible
  8. Beware of biting or stinging insects, if insects are a pest where you are, use a natural repellant
  9. To help with hydration, eat lots of fruit, especially high water content tropical fruits such as watermelon, pineapple, melon and mango
  10. Eat lots of ice-cream!


Teaching Good Behaviour Is Never Easy

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting , Tags: good behaviour, praise, tips

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It is crazy to think that you can teach children to be well behaved in a week, or a month or even a year!  Good behaviour is something that you are constantly teaching and demonstrating throughout a child's life and its not really something that is either learned or now.

Here are a few guidelines:

  • If children come to blows (and it does happen!) first pay attention to the child who is hurt.  Turn your back to the aggressor (so they get no attention), give a hug and reassurance to the child who is harmed.  Then deal with the child who did the aggressive action.  Make it clear you are upset with them, but don't give them too much attention as this may have been their aim.
  • Try and keep your voice level even when the little ones are getting disruptive.  Screaming and shouting does not work and just makes the situation louder and more aggressive.  Try to keep your voice level.
  • Try to avoid confrontation by leading them away from an action before they do it.  If you see someone climbing onto the coffee table, get in there quickly to avert the standing on the table and distract them away.
  • When someone is behaving badly, ignore it if you can and give no extra attention.  Turn your back, remove them from the room and instead focus on the good behaving children.  Attention can be contagious and you will find everyone wanting that positive focus!
  • Have rules that everyone understands and keep a chart on the wall to remind them: no biting, kicking, hitting or pushing over.  Offer lots of kind hands, nice talking and sharing.  Point to the rules when they need a reminder.
  • Remember you are the adult!  Don't get stroppy and angry yourself if things are not going right!  Try to stay cool!
  • If someone is hurting another, rather than punishing them, encourage instead to comfort their friend and make right what they did - turn the behaviour around.
  • Teach children to look after themselves.  If someone is snatching or pushing, instead of crying or shouting for mummy teach them to say, "Stop! I don't like it!" or "Stop! That is hurting me!".  Give them the power and the means to try and deal with the situation.
  • Keep to your threats.  If you threaten you will go home from play group if they snatch again, you must see it through no matter how much fun you were having with the other mums!
  • Be fair and treat everyone equally.  Yes different children respond to different threats etc, but keep things easy.
  • Keep it positive, give lots of praise, and have fun!


I'm Feeling Poorly!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health , Tags: poorly children, sick, tips

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When children are ill it can be so draining and sad for both you and them too, especially if its lovely sunny weather outside.   They need even more attention and support.  They need medicine and drinks delivered to their beds.  They need special, soft foods and snacks.  And other children in the family unit often start misbehaving because all the attention seems to be on the sick child - which is exactly what you don't want.

Here are a few tips to help get through the longs days of a child's illness.

  • Read books in bed or on the sofa.
  • Have lots of cuddles and rock them slightly to comfort them.
  • Look through old photos.
  • Tell stories of when you were a child.
  • Encourage short naps even if they don't want to which will give you a little time to do jobs that need doing. And, you may find they actually go to sleep!
  • Try playing dip the ball. Take some cotton wool balls, scrunched up newspaper or anything to hand and throw them into a linen basket or bin. You could even try it with small teddies if the teddies are brave enough!
  • Don't forget to eat and drink properly yourself to avoid getting ill yourself.  And, accept offers of help... even if its just someone to babysit while you do other things.
  • Take a gentle, warm bubbly bath to ease their aches. This can be done any time of day not just at night.
  • Do puzzles together. You could even try to have a tray on their bed and they could do the puzzle while sitting up in bed.
  • If you have another sibling you could dress them up in a nurses or doctor's uniform and announce they are going to help look after the patient. Give them a doctor's set and encourage them to do some tests. This may entertain the poorly child as well as the healthy one!
  • Hand over a tambourine to the sick child and say they can jingle it when they need anything... get your other sibling to answer this call to save your legs.

Good luck!

Smile for the Camera

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Family, Kids Activities , Tags: camera, images, photos, tips

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It's so expensive to have professional photos taken of your baby, and with today's camera technology you can really create professional-looking and lovely photos with regular cameras.

Here are a few tips!

Keep it simple: try not to attempt catalogue style photos with a fussy background or certain tilt of the head required. Keep the shots easy and simple for you all.

Background: keep an eye on what's behind your baby and check there's no washing on the line, or dustbins in the background or a traffic sign coming out of their head! A leafy hedge, a grassy bank, a blank wall are all simple and effective backgrounds that will look good.

Lighting: light the picture naturally if possible so take pictures outside or in bright rooms. Flash is fine but can distort the colours in the picture or result in red eye or closed eyes!

Sunshine: it's lovely to take shots in the sun, but beware of sun shining in the children's eyes and causing them to squint or shut their eyes. Don't tell them to try and smile and look into the sun... it just won't happen!

Get up close: try to have the photo full of your baby so that about 3/4 of the photo will feature the baby and the rest is background or other things. You can always crop the image after if you don't want to hold the camers in your baby's face.

Practice: get to know what all the buttons on the camera actually do. You may find they enhace the shot with a bit of practice. Take plenty of shots too, don't spend ages lining up a shot and then just take one. You can delete any you don't like.

Tilting: try out some different angles and tilt the cemera, turn it portrait or landscape and play around with what you can do to get the right image.

Eyes right: don't always insist your child looks at the camera.  Looking down, or into the sky or eleswhere can make gorgeous shots.

Make it fun!: encourage your children to laugh and enjoy their photo session by making it a game and fun!

Take pictures often: by taking pictures often the children will be familiar with the idea of a camera being used and will not find it intimidating or embarassing.

Good luck!

Flying with Children

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Days out , Tags: flying, holiday, plane, tips, travel

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According to a recent study, one in five parents will not fly with their children on holiday purely because it is too stressful. Six out of ten said their children could not sit still for more than 30 minutes on a plane and nearly half are worried that their child might suffer from air-sickness.  Showing a concern for other travellers 46% feared their little ones would upset other passengers and 34% were worried that their babies would cry.

  • Comforters: pack them in your hand luggage and bring them out if you need to; favourite toys or story books, a bottle or drink may also help.
  • Don’t mislead children: tell them the truth about how ling the flight is so they are prepared for a long one if it is going to be a long one.
  • Try not to get stressed in front of them - even if you are delayed or there are problems.  They will pick up on it.
  • Tell them in advance what it might be like: ie. no walking around or jumping on the seats!
  • Stagger your entertainment: don't bring all the treats, toys, ideas for games out at once!  Stagger them if you can.
  • Snacks: bring lots of nice food (for you and the little ones!) to keep everyone happy, especially if the children might not like the look of the food available on the plane.
  • Timing: allow lots more time for things as it will take more time with little ones in tow.

Get into the Habit

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Health, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: brushing teeth, eating, exercise, hygiene, safety, sun, suncream, teeth, tips, toilet

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Teaching your toddler some basic rituals when it comes to everyday livinhg is a great and easy way to introduce some good (and advisable!) habits into their lives. The more they get used to following these simple rules, the easier it will be to keep them safe and actually introduce them to some good practice.

  1. Hands Please - Make sure you get into the habit of washing hands in certain situations: before eating, after playing outside, after going to the toilet and after stroking pets. Make it more fun by having nice smelly soap that the children can reach and use on their own if they are old enough. Make sure there's a step to reach the tap and a nice fresh towel to wipe clean.
  2. Going To The Toilet - Teach the little ones how to wipe their bottoms as soon as they start going to the toilet. If they practice how to do it properly on their own from the start they will get into the habit and keep doing it when they go to the toilet alone. Make sure you teach them how to flush and close the toilet lip safely. Use moist wipes to ensure they are fresh.
  3. Teeth - Make sure you get your child to wash their teeth twice a day and do yours at the same time too to show them that you do it as well. Supervise and do the washing, but also let them try too and have a brush about. Explain that good brushing means healthy teeth and no uncomfortable cavities!
  4. Food Fun - Try and keep to a healthy diet. Sweet things are allowed, of course, but keep them to a minimum and after having eaten the healthy foods. Create a food chart to ensure you eat five fresh fruits or vegetables each day. Encourage the children to pick which fruit to have at the supermarket. Eat the fruit and vegetables in different ways: cooked in stews, cooked an their own, raw, chopped into slices or sticks. Make sure you choose colourful vegetables with your meals and even try presenting in different ways. Could broccoli and carrot sticks be a forest? Explain that sweet things are fine in moderation but that is the vitamins, minerals, dairy products, carbohydrates and all good foods that help us grow, give us energy and have fun. And, of course, drink lots of water too!
  5. Keep the Family Moving - Explain that keeping active is a fabulous way to have fun, keep healthy and keep happy! Do walks or bike rides together, or go for swimming sessions as a family. Walk to school or nursery when you can and walk to the local shops too. Run about in local parks or open spaces or head to soft play centres to climb and run and swing about. Get a bike for your little one as early as you can and encourage them to ride. Dance about and sing songs too and be as active as you can.
  6. Sleep Time - Getting enough sleep is vital for you and your child so make sure you get into the habit of good and long nights sleep from an early age. Of course there are often troubles with sleeping, but do you best to get them to sleep alone and go back to sleep when they wake in the night. Stick to regular bed times, make sure they are warm enough (though, not too hot!), that they have teddies/comforters nearby, that the room is dark but not too dark to make it alarming if they wake.
  7. Be Safe - Teach them some basic safety requirements and they will be less likely to have accidents throughout their childhood. Show them how to climb stairs and come down safely. Show them how to get into chairs and get out again. And practise over and again to make sure they are confident and safe.
  8. Sunny Days - Always apply suncream as a matter of course and keep it handy throughout the day should you need to re-apply. Make it a part of your routine when leaving the house so it becomes normal to apply the cream with minimum fuss.

What is a Childminder?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Babies, Parenting, Child Development, Preschool Children, Childminders and Childminding , Tags: childcare, childminders, settings, tips

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A childminder is a person (male or female) who looks after other people's children in the childminder's own home.  The children can be aged from birth up to eight years old.  The childminder looks after the children for more than 2 hours a day and is rewarded (usually in the form of money) for the service.  If the person is looking after a relative (a grandchild or niece) it is not considered childminding.

Registered with Ofsted

All childminders by law have to be registered and assessed by Ofsted to meet all the requirements and standards set out by Government.  The requirements refer to the safety of the premises, the facilities on offer, the suitability of the childminder to care for children, the play and learning opportunities. In addition, insurance provisions and business records are assessed.  Checks are also made on all of the other members of the household.

How many children can a childminder look after?

There is a limit on the number of children a childminder can look after.  A total of 6 children (including the childminder's own children) is the maximum.  Of these, only 3 may be under school age, and only 1 may be under 1 year old.  A childminder may have excemption that varies from this if for example they are asked to look after twins or triplets, but their certificate will lay down how many children they may care for at once, and they must display their certificate, in their home, whilst they are acting as a childminder.

How To Find A Childminder?

Word of mouth is a great way of finding a childminder.  Friends, colleagues, other parents may have some good suggestions.  Alternatively, contact your local Family Information Service for a list of childminders in your area.

There are also agencies and websites that list local vacancies and have a chat to your local Sure Start Centre for some ideas of local vacancies.

How To Choose A Childminder?

Visit a number of settings and talk about any questions you have.  Mention your precise needs and make notes before you go if  there is anything in particular you don't want to forget to ask.

How Much Is A Childminder?

Childminders are all self-employed and are responsible for their own income, expenses, equipment, tax and national insurance.  They set their own rates and charges will therefore vary. You will need to discuss rates and agree the cost with your childminder.


You must sign a contract with your childminder stating:

  • Fees
  • Hours
  • Overtime rates
  • Non-attendance rates
  • Meals
  • Notice period to leave

The contract should be signed by you and your childminder, dated and each of you should have a copy to keep.

Top Tips To Help Choose A Childminder:

  • Take your child along and see how they react or settle in the childminder's setting
  • Always go to a registered childminder
  • Ask to see their registration and assessment documents
  • Check their insurance
  • Look closely at the areas your child will be based.  Are there plug covers, no loose wires or cables?  Is furniture in good condition and safe-looking?  Are carpets clean and safely fitted?  Is it fun and colourful?
  • Are there lots of books and toys around?
  • Do children there look happy, stimulated and busy?
  • Ask about numbers of children and who else will be there?
  • Ask about a typical day, about outings, about toddler groups or clubs they will go to
  • Ask about discipline and how bad behaviour is dealt with
  • Check emergency plans and risk assessments
  • Ask about other playgroups and school runs the children do
  • Discuss food, snacks and drinks; check the price for meal provision, how and where the food is served and the typical menu
  • What are the payment terms for holidays, sick pay, overtime ?
  • What happens when the childminder is sick or what if your child is sick?
  • Enquire how often and in what form payment should be made
  • Ask about pets and other people in the house.  Can you meet them too?


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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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