Month: August 2013

Childcare Options

It costs £148,000 to bring up a child to age 18 according to a report published this month by the Child Poverty Action Group. One of the largest expenses, particularly in the early years, is childcare. Unfortunately the cost of childcare is rising fast – 5.9% in the past year alone. Finding the right childcare is a difficult task for any parent, but there is financial help available. Free early education In England all 3 and 4 year olds can participate in 15 hours of free early education per week for 38 weeks per year. Free early education can take place at nursery schools, childminders, playgroups and Sure Start children’s centres. From September, 2 year old will also benefit if their parents are claiming certain state benefits. Your child can attend free early education from the January, April or September immediately following their 3rd (or 2nd, if eligible) birthday. For more information contact Essex County Council Childcare Tax Credits For those on lower incomes additional Tax Credits are available to help with childcare costs. If both parents work 16 hours week or more, you could claim up to 70% of the cost of childcare up to £175 per week for one child, rising to £300 per week for two or more children. To be eligible you need to be entitled to Working Tax Credit and the childcare you use...

Read More

Bathroom Safety

The bathroom is a haven of tranquility (well, it should be!) A hub of lotions, potions, tweezers and tools to make up our daily grooming regimes! For a small child, it’s an Aladdin’s cave of things to explore – many of which are potentially lethal. Many parents don’t consider the bathroom as a room that needs safety-proofing as children spend little time in there. However once toddlers find their feet, they’ll roam wherever takes their fancy – usually the place with the most exciting things to explore… Sharp Tools Razors, tweezers, nail scissors, electric shavers… all delightfully shiny, small enough to fiddle with, and can easily cause severe cuts and injuries. Keep sharp items stored in a locked bathroom cabinet, and double check you haven’t left anything on the side of the bath or sink when you leave the room. Lotions and Potions Many cosmetics are brightly coloured, sweet smelling and in fancy bottles (hey, they attracted us to buy them!) To a young child, they’ll be just as attractive. Toddlers can easily open perfume or cosmetic bottles, are they’re rarely child-proof, leading to poisoning or overdose. Make sure caps are tightly secured on medicine bottles and beauty products. Lock them away in a cabinet or drawer with a set of cabinet locks. Toilet Now it’s not our first choice of places to explore, but you’d be surprised how...

Read More

Food; fuel, not a tool.

Hungry? Eat food. Full? Stop eating. How beautifully simplistic this idea is. However, eating in the real world is rarely as straight forward as this. While a basic course in biology would explain the need to consume food in terms of refuelling our bodies when they are depleted of energy, eating is often guided by several other factors. The hands on the clock, for example, have a huge influence on when we eat. We’ve been socialised to eat at certain times, with specific breaks in the working or school day, and possibly a mother that runs a tight ship...

Read More

The Thinker on Discipline

At the risk of repeating myself – Discipline begins at birth! Of course, I don’t mean chastising your new little bundle, but your children pick up – almost through osmosis, your values and beliefs. So if you think that politeness, for instance, is very important; your children will grow up with clearly set boundaries around that, and maybe with wider boundaries around something else (in my case it was tidiness!). This happens because every time your growing child oversteps the mark on politeness, it is picked up on and corrected – usually this is a drip, drip, drip process so there is seldom any need for great show-downs. In fact all of your children’s’ behaviour will reflect your priorities and mirror your own – which can be quite a daunting prospect! When you are irritated with the child or partner – the way you demonstrate that irritation is the model for how your child will behave. In this, as in all things I believe honesty is the best policy. If your child (or partner) is irritating you it is best to tell them, rather than try and hold that irritation in, as eventually it will out! By explaining to them that the behaviour is driving you crazy and causing you to feel like shouting, crying, running away, hitting – whatever you are feeling, you are helping them appreciate that...

Read More

Bare Foot Mama on Discipline

D is for Discipline?!?! For this blog I decided to consult a dictionary. Certain words when associated with small children and babies worry me. So I looked up the definition of Discipline and this is what I found. dis·ci·pline 1.training to act in accordance with rules; drill 2.activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training 3.punishment inflicted by way of correction and training. 4.the riguor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc 5.behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behaviour and order maintained by training and control I find it hard to correlate this with babies and small children – how can someone be expected to act in accordance to rules when they don’t have the mental capacity to understand what the rules are? How can you punish someone for doing something when they don’t understand what they have done wrong. As I have said before, babies and children mirror the behaviour they see. If we want our children to be well mannered then they have to see that in action, if we want them to abide by a set of rules or code of conduct then they have to see us doing the same. Use praise and reward for behaving in a way that meets our expectations and not highlighting what we consider to be, breaches of the code. Very small children and babies...

Read More