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:-
In the old days, babies were bathed once a week in an old tin bath in front of the fire - if there were older brothers and sisters they may get the bath after everyone else had washed and so it was not a fun (or safe!) activity. Nowadays there are all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to entertain baby and keep them safe and bath time is often used as part of the bed time routine to lull baby into a restful sleep.
So, what do you need? Surely just a bath and a wash cloth! Not at all! There are some fabulous, new accessories that are worth a look at.
When the weather is hot, it is relatively easy to encourage little ones to take in plenty of fluids with cold drinks, ice cream and lollies to keep them hydrated; but in the cooler weather, it's less obvious that your child may be getting dehydrated. Consuming water is so important, more so than eating food.
Water is vital for life.
How much to drink:
How to encourage them to drink:
Messy Play is a fun and important part of play - babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers are always delighted to get their hands stuck in to some messy play. They get to feel and touch items and substances they wouldn't normally handle. But, it is also useful for the beginnings of mark-making and ideal for observing their world and how different ingredients change when mixed up. Most importantly - it is fun!
Get a large tray such as a baking tray with fairly deep sides to use when doing messy play. Add some ingredients to the tray and encourage the little ones to mix and feel and play with the substances.
Remember to protect clothing, floor, tables and keep any valuables away from the mess. Have fun!
It seems that just as many children begin to find themselves really mucky by the end of the day: food, paint, sand, mud all over them, that they develop a fear of the bath! Between the age of 1 and 2 it is common to hear of toddlers who cry, scream and refuse to get into their lovely, warm, foaming water despite lots of encouragement. There are various things that might scare children about bathing - even if they cannot necessarily articulate the problem, bear the following in mind.
Try to reduce the fears by:-
If they really refuse, don't force them. Try a stand up wash, then progress to a stand-up wash in the bath. Then with a little water and gradually build up the water over a couple of weeks, if that's what it takes.
Make bath time fun with a few toys to play with and calm lighting. Even try getting in yourself! That might be fun!
It's great to get outside whatever the weather, and winter outdoor activities take on a whole new meaning as we are wrapped up warm and have different things to focus on and play with. However, there are still dangers at large and here are a few pointers when it comes to making outside play safe and fun for children.
Have, good, clean and safe fun!
We're all used to keeping height measurements for our little ones, but how about something a bit more unusual - here's a great science experiment you can do at bathtime and log growth over time! How large are your toddlers lungs?!
Get hold of a plastic measuring jug (don't be tempted to use a glass jug) and a straw for bathtime. Bendy straws that bend towards one end are perfect for this experiment.
Fill the jug completely with water by submersing it in the bath. Now turn it upside down and slowly lift it out of the water until it is almost completely proud of the water level. You'll notice that pressure keeps the jug full of water even though the column of water rises higher than the water level in the bath. The only way that the water will fall is if you lift the rim of the jug above the water level, at which point the water will cascade out very quickly!
Get the jug to a position where it is filled with water and standing above the water level with the rim still just submerged. Take the straw and place it so that the one end of the straw is under the mouth of the jug with the other out of the water. If you have a 'bendy' straw, bend the end and point the short end up into the jug, and hold the long end clear of the water.
Have your children take a deep breath in and then blow as much air as they can from their lungs into the straw. Younger children may need to practice a bit to master the technique of blowing out fully.
The air blown out will displace the water in the jug and when they are done, you can read off the measurement on the side of the jug to tell the volume of air displaced. Teach older children how to read the quantity by looking at the scale on the side of the jug. You'll be quite surprised at just how much air they can hold! Take a note of measurements and repeat it every couple of months to see how your little ones are growing!
Ponds can look lovely, with neat little reeds growing tall, a few fish swimming around and perhaps a water lily decorating the middle, but, as the parents of the toddler who recently drowned in a garden pond in Cumbria tragically found out, they are also very dangerous for toddlers and young children.
The 23 month old child was discovered by his mother early evening just a few weeks ago. Despite calling for help and being rushed to the local hospital, the little one didn't pull through. He drowned in the pond in the family garden.
Earlier this year, another 2 year old was found drowned in his garden pond in Bristol. In this case, the mother was arrested on suspicion of child neglect, although she was released on police bail.
Every year on average, about ten toddlers and children die in garden ponds. It is tragic and it is an avoidable disaster.
Needless to say, no matter how pretty your pond, none is worth the loss of life, the anguish of the parents, friends and family who will never be able to change the course of events and bring their little children back.
Children and toddlers whether crawling or walking or running move fast. One moment they are there, the next they have scuttled off. That is the nature of children.
Don't bother with fencing, or raising a little wall around the water, or carefully explaining to the kids not to go near the water. Just fill it in, turn it into a sandpit even! It simply isn't worth it!
When you are out and about or running round a school playground, a public drinking fountain can be a welcome sight, a place to rehydrate and for free! But how safe is it to drink from the same fountain that hundreds of others have drunk from? Would you share a water bottle with strangers in the park? I doubt it!
Are you likely to pick-up germs, bacteria and disease from all the other people who have used the fountain before? The answer seems to be unproven! There is plenty of evidence to suggest that germs and bacteria are all over drinking fountains. Some research suggested there were less germs on toilets and door handles than drinking fountains, because they are cleaned and disinfected more often. So there are more micro organisms on water fountains! Shocking.
However, this does not mean that the water is infected. The nature of the water fountain shooting an arc of water means that the water itself should not be contaminated even if the pump is itself covered in germs. So if the water is clean, it remains clean even if it comes through a mucky water fountain. Evidence to prove this fact seems sparse either to confirm the water is safe or to say it is not safe.
I suppose we should take comfort from the fact that there is not an abundance of studies proving they are contaminated. And, indeed, that we never hear of swathes of disease or outbreaks because of water fountains being unclean.
So, should we drink from water fountains and let our little ones drink from them? Yes, probably, but only if they are able to drink from the arc of water and not need to suck, lick or get too close to the spout itself! If they are too little to manage this, use the fountain to top up a water bottle or cup.
Now summer is here, the children can't wait to get outside in the warm sunshine, but what can you do to keep them as cool as possible on the hottest days? Here are a few ideas!
Have fun, and keep yourselves as cool as cucumbers!
Once your child becomes a toddler a whole new world of toys are suddenly available to them. They can shake and hold, throw and grasp, walk and run... it's a very exciting (and challenging!) time for parents and carers. But, how should a toddler's home or setting be equipped?
Toddlers basically play with whatever is available to them. They need stimulus and an actual 'thing' to play with but at this age it doesn't really matter if it's from an expensive toy shop or your kitchen drawers! They don't know if something has been passed down from an older cousin or if it's brand new.
It is, of course, difficult to put down exactly which toys your toddler needs, because it depends largely on what they like to do and what they already have, but as a rough guide, the types of toys for toddlers should probably fall into the following areas in order to give them a wide ranging and exciting choice.
The Natural World
In order to teach your toddler about nature and the world they need to learn about the natural materials available to us. Whether you live in a house with a garden or a flat without any outside space, there are so many ways to introduce the natural world.
Fill a basin or an old baby bath and splash around with plain water, water will bubbles, warm water and cold water. Find spoons and sieves and all sorts of things to play with in the water.
Buy some modelling clay or play dough, or make your own (log into ToucanLearn to find recipes) and just have a squidgey time! Make mud pies and mountains and get really messy. (Just make sure you protect your clothes, surfaces and floor!)
Get a sand pit or go to the beach and build castles, make tunnels or simply add water and change dry sand into sopping wet sand.
Try and include some building blocks in your toddler's toy box. They are great for building a make believe train, or a castle.
Here we've offered just a few basic ideas. Toddlers with even some of the above stimulating equipment will have lots of brilliant experiences. Have fun!
Just because children are smaller, don't think that this means they need only small amounts of water. Water is, without doubt, one of the most important nutrients for children even though when we read about children and nutrition, it's often left out. Water keeps them healthy, keeps them hydrated in order for their body to function and keeps them on form at school and nursery. Dehydration leads to a reduction in mental and physical performance. And, long term chronic dehydration may cause health problems and illnesses later in life.
Many pre-schools and nurseries have inadequate resources for children to have access to water so parents should encourage their children to drink regularly at home and try to encourage lots of good drinking at their nursery too. In hot weather, when exercising or running around in the playground, children should especially drink more. Even a small degree of dehydration can reduce their performance and well-being.
Although children are physically smaller than adults, they need to consume plenty of water. Research states that older children age 11-14 should drink about 3 litres a day. For toddlers it depends on their weight. It is said that they should drink about 1½ ounces of water per pound of body weight.
Children should drink more often and even when they don't feel thirsty. Because their body is less developed than ours, by the time they feel thirsty, dehydration may have already set in. Headaches, irritability and drowsiness are all symptoms.
Why Is Water So Important?
Adults are made up of 50% water and for infants the figure is closer to 75%, so water for toddlers is vital in order to keep healthy. Water also cools down a hot body, lubricates joints and make muscles work more smoothly.
If your child won't drink liquids, make sure they eat lots of water rich foods: soups, vegetables, milky drinks, smoothies etc. Or, add a splash of juice to make it a bit more tasty!
Tips to get your toddler drinking:
Do anything to get them drinking. It's vital!
Getting your baby used to water is very important - taking them for a swim as soon as you are able can make them more confident in the water, more relaxed and open to learning to swim a few years down the road. It's good exercise for Mums and a great reason to get out of the house when you have a new baby. However, beyond all these benefits (and certainly not belittling them) is the wonderful twenty minutes you can spend with your baby or toddler being really close, playing games and having fun!
Tips for having fun in the pool with a baby
When to get out
Dry your baby well and keep them warm after a swim. Enjoy the time together and be as close and as cuddly you can.
Lucky for us, when we want water, we simply turn on the tap and with a gurgle and a whoosh out shoots fresh, clean drinking water. It's simple, its easy and it's free flowing. However, that doesn't mean we should waste water and its the same for our children. Their instinct is to turn the tap on, and leave it running throughout the duration of washing teeth. But, we should guide them while they are young to respect this valuable commodity.
Bathroom: Turn off the tap when washing teeth! Have a shower instead of a full bath! Don't flush the toilet more than you have to - put paper tissues, cotton buds and cotton wool in the bin!
Kitchen: Don't run the dishwasher or washing machine unless its full. Don't rinse fruit and vegetables in running water, use a bowl. Don't wash dishes under running water, use a bowl. Keep a jug (or reuse a bottle!) of cold water in the fridge instead of running the water until it gets cold each time you want a drink.
Garden: Get a water butt for watering flowers in the garden rather than using a hose.
It can be easy and fun to save water if you do it together! And, did you know:
Water presents a natural hazard for babies and toddlers - if you have a pond in the garden, ask yourself if it is really necessary, and how you can make it safe should you decide to keep it. A toddler can drown in as little as 2 inches of water; their face might fall into shallow water which they ingest, blocking the natural airflow to their lungs. Toddlers falling into water become disorientated and may not be able to pull away. Drowning has become the number one cause of accidental death in children. For every child killed by drowning, 4 more are treated in the emergency room for submersion-related accidents, many suffering permanent brain damage.
A young child can drown in just a few seconds - far quicker than the five minutes you might take your eyes off them in order to make a coffee. Drowning can be quick and quiet - you will not be aware what is going on until it could be too late. Should you discover a child who has fallen into water and has stopped breathing, start CPR immediately - there is a good chance of recovery for some time after breathing has stopped.
Ponds, pools and spa's make for the most dangerous water hazards in the garden. You might consider draining a pond until your children are older, why not turn it into a sand pit for them? If you keep a pond, or have a pool or spa, make sure that they are adequately protected - put up a small fence to keep children away, or consider installing an alarm such as a premiter or gate alarm, to warn you when your child is approaching the hazard.
Even baths pose a danger for babies and toddlers. Water ingested accidentally can lead to 'dry drowning' at a later stage. Before water enters the lungs, it passes through the larynx - this causes involuntary muscle spasms to relieve the water, this interferes with regular breathing and can cause death through a lack of oxygen. This can occur several hours after water is ingested, so be very aware throughout the bathing process and never take your eyes off your baby.
Always take care when your children are near water, and be alert for signs that they may have ingested water - coughing, choking or breathing difficulties. Drowning is a needless waste of life, and the most tragic accident any family can face.
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