70 articles Articles posted in Kids

Keep Your Family Safe This Christmas

We’re quickly approaching the most festive time of the year, where most of us find ourselves swamped with requests for presents, party preparations and familial obligations. With so many arrangements driving tensions high, it’s easy to forget about the most crucial priority – the safety of your family.

While Christmas may be the time for open fires, mulled wine and an abundance of food, it’s also the time when we’re at our most vulnerable. According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, “more than two million children under the age of 15 experience accidents in and around the home every year, for which they are taken to accident and emergency units.

With so many hectic undertakings and rosy-cheeked family members to tend to, it’s no wonder we’re at an increased risk of injury in our own homes during this time. It’s the excitement and energy of the season that gives way to this outcome, but there are various countermeasures available.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust recommend that you buy toys only from trusted retailers, ensure any visitors refrain from leaving any medicines lying around, and be especially careful around candles, fairy lights and decorations – especially when hung near a light or heater.

The risk of trapped fingers in closing doors is also significant, with even the BBC stating that children’s door crushing finger injuries can be lifelong. As a result, hinge protectors are unsurprisingly on the rise.

You also need to stay vigilant where any sharp corners on furniture, countertops and appliances are concerned: the kitchen is a dangerous enough place for a child without adding even more hazards into the mix. For example, there are snooker tables for sale at Hamilton Billiards that can be sanded down to a smooth incline, and many other adjustments and customisations are readily available.

The increased risk of fire hazard is one of the primary safety concerns at this time of year, with so many bright lights and candles raising the possibility of a fire starting. Thankfully, there’s a simple, painless method of improving your defensive solutions: Ironmongery Experts sell Dorgard fire door retainers in a variety of colourations, and each battery-powered model is designed to wirelessly close the door it holds open upon the sound of the fire alarm, creating a synergy between your fire alarm and every door you apply a Dorgard to as they activate in tandem.

No matter how you choose to approach it, don’t put aside your family’s safety this Christmas – they’re worth more than any replaceable possession ever will be.

This article was written by David Newman, managing director of Ad Lab – Magento E-Commerce Growth Specialists. David is a regular contributor of lifestyle blogs, writing about a variety of topics such as health, sports, hobbies and everything in-between.

What To Put in Party Bags

Sausage is now in year 5 at school which means that we’ve been to, and thrown, more than our fair share of birthday parties in that time. Party bags are an issue of great debate, with some parents choosing to go down the sweetie cone/pre-packed bag route, making it as low-effort as possible and there’s no denying that the kids love this type of party bag. There are, however, a lot of parents who’d prefer their kid didn’t get sent home with ten different types of sweet and nothing else, so I thought I’d make a list of all the things we;ve included in our bags or have had in bags we’ve received which have gone down well with both kids and parents:

ONE bag of sweets!

Most parents resign themselves to the idea that at least some sweeties will be consumed on the day of a party, but we find that sending home just ONE bag or Haribo sweets or similar is much better received than a whole selection. It gives the kids a treat without upsetting parents and makes the whole thing more economical in the long-run.

Erasers

I don’t know if this was just a trend with Sausage’s friends but one thing that they absolutely love getting in party bags is erasers, which I’ve discovered come in not only a huge range of shapes and sizes but also SCENTS! Buying multipacks of novelty erasers means you can open them and put just one or two in each bag, making it a cheap gift which goes a long way.

Books

When they’re smaller, buying packs of books is another thing which seems to be loved by both parents and kids alike. Keep an eye out in catalogues for multi-packs of card books or miniature books – this works especially well if your party is themed with something like superheros and you can get books on the theme.

Friendship Bracelets

Something that Sausage and I love to do together is make friendship bracelets and they make a really nice inclusion in party bags. We buy embroidery thread in bulk and make them in all different colours, depending on what her friends might like and they always go down a treat. It’s another thing which works well if your party is themed as you can make bracelets in the party’s colour scheme which will help your friends to remember a great day.

Hot Chocolate Bags

This works especially well at Christmas or if your child has a winter birthday – get plastic cone bags and layer hot chocolate powder and mini marshmallows – add a paper tag or even some antlers for decoration and you’ve got a gorgeous party favour which everyone will love.

Should You Sell Your Kid’s Top Favourite Toy Car Collection?


Toys are not just playthings. Instead, they end up forming the building blocks for the future of your child. When I first got my kid his favorite RC drift car, I was a bit worried that it might affect school work. Instead, I noticed that he learned a lot about himself and the world. Toys can communicate value and send messages. Even so, as a wise parent, it’s important to think about the number of toys that your child should keep.

I found that my kid’s bedroom is filled with different toys, from the ceiling and all the way to the floor. At this point, it was clear that I had to do something! So, I put together his old but favorite toys and held a garage sale. I knew that fewer toys would improve his life and I was not wrong!

Enhanced Creativity!

It’s good to remember that too many toys prevent your child from completely developing his or her fantastic gift or imagination. Among the toys I sold was a speed McQueen remote control car, a favorite of RC Rank. The car was still good in performance, but it was now old. Of course, my son loved to drive it through the compound every time.

After I sold the toy, I noticed a significant change in his behavior and interaction with people. He could now invent his own games using his basic surroundings and great imagination. Don’t you think it worked in my favor?

Improved Attention Spans

Too many toys in your child’s life destroy their level of concentration. I discovered that letting my child keep many different toys is quite harmful. How so? Well, a child rarely learns how to appreciate the toy in front of their eyes if he or she knows that several options are remaining on the counter behind them!

Improved Social Skills

Children with fewer toys learn how to form strong relationships with kids and even other adults. What I loved most after selling most of my kid’s favorite toys is that it gave him the opportunity to learn the importance of a good conversation. Nowadays, we sit together and watch TV after supper, as we talk about different things. He is very curious to know what is happening around him, something which I might have never noticed if he always played with his toy cars or trucks.

Responsibility!

Selling many of his favorite toys meant that he had little to play with. So, he learned to take care of the small number of toys which remained. Of course, he wouldn’t have learned how to take care of his toys if he always had a replacement in case one broke or mysteriously disappeared.

Improvement in Writing, Reading, and Art!

With fewer toys, your kid can now read more books, play more tunes on his musical instrument or paint an attractive portrait. With my child, I noticed that he developed a surprising love for art. It has gone on to help him appreciate emotion, beauty and express his feelings!

I have nothing malicious against toys. In fact, I love playing with them too! But here, all I’m saying is that selling your kids favorite toys is not such a terrible idea. Hopefully, with these pointers, you can follow in my footsteps. It’s worked perfectly for me, and I’m sure it will do wonders for you too!

Soccer for Children: A Guide to Getting Started at Different Ages

One of the very best things about soccer for kids is that they really can start at any age. It’s a very inclusive sport and is suitable for anyone regardless of height, strength or speed. Soccer is a relatively easy sport to learn when you’re just starting out, and it involves a lot of continuous action and running, which means it’s a great way for kids to exercise. Communication and cooperation are key skills on the field, which makes it a really nice way for kids to learn about teamwork (for more resources on teamwork and becoming a great footballer, take a look at Soccer Gap)

In fact, soccer is officially the most played sport in Australia, so they’ll always have friends to play with. According to a survey conducted by the Australian Sports Commission, 1,104,815 Australians participated in soccer in 2016. That’s over 400,000 more participants than AFL, and four times that of Rugby League.

There’s no ‘right’ age to start soccer, but here you’ll find some of the basics in terms of what you can expect in each age bracket, from 5 years old to 12 years old. Take a look…

5 – 7 Year-Olds

It’s really all about getting out and having fun at this age. Teams will be smaller, with usually only four players on the field, and each half of a game will only go for around 15 minutes. They also probably won’t have a goalkeeper. While they’ll start to learn the rules, they probably won’t be very strictly enforced – it’s more about getting familiar with the basics and giving them a chance to develop a love of playing.

Starting at this age can set up a great foundation for building skills and understanding the fun that can come from exercise. It also gives them an opportunity to develop strong friendships across their years of playing.

8 – 9 year-olds

By this age, there’ll be more players on the field, and there’ll be a goalkeeper too. The length of each half will probably be more like 20-25 minutes. Of course, it’s still mainly about having fun, but with more of an emphasis on preparing them for higher levels of the sport. Additional rules will be introduced, and some of that earlier leniency with enforcing them will start to reduce, giving them a chance to fully understand the details of the game. Some experts believe that 8 years old is the ideal age for kids to start playing soccer in a competitive team environment.

10-12 Year-Olds

This is when coaches will really start to focus on skills in order to provide them with a solid foundation of technical competence. At this age, children are ready for a more structured approach to training too. The number of players allowed on the field increases to 9 a side (at 10 years old) and then to 11 a side (at 12 years old). The length of the game also increases, with 12-year-olds playing full 30 minute halves.

While things are more focussed at this stage, the emphasis will still be on having fun and building positive experiences.

All children are different and it’s hard to say whether there is an ideal age to start soccer. But, whatever their age, there are many benefits of choosing soccer. It is a contact sport, but it’s not a collision sport, which means its relatively safe compared to a lot of other team sports (especially other forms of football).

Beyond that, it’s well known that there are a lot of benefits for kids who play sport – it contributes positively to their physical health, can give them a great range of social experiences and can give them a great sense of achievement as they build their skills. If your child is interested in sports, soccer may well be a great place to start.

A sports camp can be a great entry point and there are many soccer school holiday programs in Sydney or your local surrounding area that your kids can get involved with.

Sausage’s Ninth Birthday Gift Guide

In just twelve short days Sausage, my tiny ginger bundle of happiness and wild imagination, will be turning nine. I genuinely cannot get my head around the fact that I’ve been a mother for NINE whole years, and I’m so proud of the amazing little human she’s become. On the down-side, Husband and I have discovered that shopping for an almost-nine year old is so much harder than it was to shop for an 8-year old. She’s less interested in toys and more interested in Dr. Martens and ear piercings (she’s just had her second lobe piercing and now is basically the coolest kid in her whole school!).

We’ve been wracking our brains about what to buy for her and have come up with a few suggestions so far, and I thought I’d share a few of them with you here:

Converse

She’s already got a leather black-on-black pair which she wears as school shoes, as well as a silver pair, but she’s definitely her mother’s daughter in her love of Converse so I reckon another pair in a super colour or print would go down really well. Clothes become a much more viable gift when they’re this age, so this is definitely on the list for this year.

Perfume

Okay, so this is much a present for me as it is for Sausage – she’s suddenly developed a bit of a fascination with my perfume collection, which is fine, but my bottles aren’t cheap and hey seem to be running out FAR too quickly! Vivienne Westwood make scents which smell incredible but are also a little bit edgy – she’s quite into her punky stuff at the moment, so a perfume made by the woman to styled the Sex Pistols will definitely go down well!

Jewellery

Sausage is a major accessoriser; no outfit is complete for her without co-ordinating earrings, a few bracelets and a necklace, not to mention the hair bows! She’s got such a gorgeous, unique style that I’m always in awe of, and Husband and I love encouraging her individuality. As I mentioned above, she’s now got her ears pierced twice on each lobe so the potential for new earrings has doubled! She’s already got her eye on some which are specific for double piercings, which a little chain between the two and they definitely fit her new punky look.

Roller Skates

She’s not massively into toys anymore but one thing that she has mentioned wanting is a pair of roller skates. Full disclosure: I HATE the idea of roller skates!! For me, they’re a one-way ticket to fractured wrists and bruised coccyges, but I can’t wrap her up in cotton wool forever…as much as I’d love to!

A Keyboard

She’s mentioned wanting to learn an instrument for a while now and although we don’t have space in our house for a full piano, we DO have room for a decent electric keyboard. She already owns a little one that she got a few Christmases ago, but that’s more of a toy, so we want to get her one with a full set of keys so that she can learn to play properly. It’ll fit in our dining room nicely with a proper stand and a stool.

Do you have a nine year old? What did they want for their birthday? Leave me a comment below!

Keeping Kids Safe Online in the Holidays

In previous years, the summer holidays have meant that Sausage mostly just sees her friends on her birthday (which is in August) or if I manage to arrange playdates with her friends, by contacting their parents. This year, however, seems to be a whole different kettle of fish. Sausage is going into year 5 in September and seems to be growing up before our very eyes. She has her own iPhone, iPad, laptop etc, and so do many of her friends, which means that she’s able to communicate with them as and when she likes, within the bounds of when she’s allowed device time. We aren’t MEGA strict with her when it comes to devices, but we do try to get her to put them down for at least an hour before bed so that the blue light from screens doesn’t interfere with her sleep.

The communication versus online safety thing has been playing on our minds, however. She’s not allowed a Facebook account because she’s too young, although we do know kids of her age who are on there. Snapchat’s recent update has left us with security worries and we’ve got her account locked down because it’s a site which is well known for being an avenue for grooming. She currently uses WhatsApp or iMessage to speak to her friends, but we still worry about the lack of security with these; it would only take one of her friends to give someone her phone number or leave their own device unlocked for someone to be able to attempt to contact her and it’s something that is a constant source of worry for us.

Just recently, Azoomee got in contact with us to let us know about their new chat features and it seems like something which could be the answer to all of our worries. Azoomee Chat was built for children. It’s not an adult platform re-designed for kids! Key features which make Azoomee Chat best practice are:

  • Communication between two children only takes place if a parent for each child has verified the connection
  • There is no geo-tracking data
  • There are no group chats (which is where cyber-bullying begins) opnly one-to-one communication
  • There are no photos or face-time (we use personalised avatars instead)
  • There are lots of pointers in case a child needs advice
  • Parents have full visibility of all communication
  • Only pre-verified friends can see your posts

Every child has their own Kid Code; it looks like this: GF6D7XS2. You’ll find your child’s Kid Code in the Azoomee Settings screen. Your child can give their Kid Code to their friends, or you can give it directly to their parents. They need to add your child’s Kid Code in their Azoomee Settings. Finally, for an extra layer of security, you’ll need to verify the friendship – you’ll receive a notification to do this in Settings.

We’ll be trialling Azoomee over the next few weeks and are really hopeful that it is something which could work for our family and give us the peace of mind we need to be able to allow Sausage to use her devices without the need for us to be constantly looking over their shoulder. I strongly feel that schools should be offering kids an Azoomee membership and teaching them safe communication as part of the national curriculum as we’re only going to be MORE reliant on technology as the years go by.

Keep your eyes peeled here for an update so you can see how we get along with Azoomee’s new chat functions or head over to their site to get your free trial of the services.

 

Top 5 Tips on Managing Incontinence after Childbirth

Top 5 Tips on Managing Incontinence after ChildbirthChildbirth is an exciting time and there are many news skills to master – and for some women, managing incontinence may be one of them.

It is a common problem that many women suffer from, mainly in the short term. In rare cases, it may be a long-term issue that requires further medical help to alleviate the systems. Being informed means being prepared and so check out these five top tips for managing incontinence after childbirth.

Tip 1 – Use appropriate pads and products

There is a range of incontinence pads in various absorbency levels that make managing incontinence on a daily basis much easier. Unlike sanitary towels, they trap odour as well as urine. They absorb the urine away from the skin, preventing soreness a common complaint alongside urinary incontinence.

They can be worn day and night, and are the ideal solution for catching accidental leaks of urine post childbirth. They allow you a sense of confidence in that embarrassing leaks are stopped in their tracks, great for when you go to post-natal exercises class or enjoy activities with your family.

Tip 2 – Pelvic floor exercises

Alongside incontinence pads, performing pelvic floor exercises several times a day help to combat a weak bladder. These exercises are discreet but incredibly powerful as they tone the pelvic floor muscles, meaning you gain control of your bladder.

The great news is that you can do these exercises anywhere, they are free and require no complicated or expensive equipment.

The pelvic muscle runs from the front of your pubic, across your body to the base of your spine. It is a sling like muscle and during pregnancy, is under pressure not only from the weight of your growing baby but also from a cascade of pregnancy hormones. It is under further pressure during labour and clearly, all that pushing during childbirth also impact on it.

To strengthen it, you need to tighten and hold the muscle for a few seconds and then perform a controlled release. Some people also suggest ‘forcing’ the muscle to relax as the final step. Doing this means that the muscles go through its full movement.

Not sure where your pelvic muscle is or which part to clench? Find out more here.

Tip 3 – Yoga

Incontinence pads and pelvic floor muscles are fantastic just after giving birth mainly because the pelvic floor exercises help you heal and the pads make incontinence much easier to manage.

Now that you have fully recovered you may decide you want to try something that strengthens your pelvic floor in the longer-term. Yoga is having some great results for people who suffered from stress incontinence – in other words, an accidental leak of urine when they cough, sneeze, exercise and so on.

Yoga strengthens and tones a variety of muscles groups, including those in the abdomen, the lower back and the pelvic floor muscle itself. There are various yoga poses that can help manage incontinence better and your qualified yoga instructor will be able to help.

Tip 4 – Train your bladder

Some people find that bladder training helps them too. This works with stress incontinence but with urge incontinence too. The latter is when the bladder has a sudden urge to empty, making it difficult to get to the toilet in time. If you can’t make it to the bathroom in time, an embarrassing leak could ensue.

Training your bladder means holding on between toilet breaks for a certain length of time. For example, when you get the urge to visit the toilet, override this urge by clenching your pelvic floor muscles and resist visiting the bathroom for a length of time, such as 10 minutes. Over time, you increase this amount of time from 10 to 20 minutes and so on. If you need help with this, your doctor may be able to refer you to an incontinence specialist.

Tip 5 – See your doctor

Incontinence can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) and so if it continues, becomes worse or you are in pain when you pass urine, seeing your doctor is essential. It is common for women to suffer from incontinence immediately after birth. For some women, it soon disappears but for others, it can carry on for some weeks. However, if you are still struggling to control your bladder several months after birth, see your GP or have a chat with your health visitor.

Incontinence, on one hand, is to be expected after birth but it should right itself within a few weeks. If not, follow these tips – which ones worked for you.

HARTMANN Direct stock a range of incontinence products, ideal for use during and after pregnancy, helping you to manage accidental leaks.

Childcare in the Modern World

Living in a fairly remote location means that childcare can be a bit of an issue; we’re lucky enough to have family who help out if Husband and I want to have a night out or a trip to the cinema, but it’s not always practical as it means either picking the girls up afterwards and bringing them home, or leaving them for a sleepover which they don’t always want to do.

Just recently, I started to wonder how can I find a babysitter online and it led me to have a look around at services which offer childcare in your own home. Something like this would be so useful for us because it would mean that we could go out and come home without having to drop the girls off and pick them up first. I rarely ever have a drink, and if I do it’s usually one small glass of wine and that’s it, but if we didn’t have to collect the girls we could even get a cab home and I could enjoy more than one glass of wine!!

There are several things that I love about the idea of using an online service, and here’s a few:1.

1. Qualified Childcare

When I was younger I used to babysit a lot because I was considered a “sensible kid”, but now I’m a parent I really like the idea of fully qualified childcare practitioner coming in and taking care of the girls. They usually have First Aid qualifications too, which is a massive bonus.

2. Price

With most online services, the proce is agreed upfront, so you’ll know exactly how much to pay. I’ve seen so many conversations online where friends are wondering how much to pay the babysitter, but this type of thing removes all of the awkwardness.

3. Professionalism

Using someone who’s used to looking after kids means that they will know exactly what’s what and will usually be keen for repeat business and good recommendations, so you can expect a properly professional service from someone you’ve found through a babysitting service.

4. Reliability

Unless there’s a dire emergency, you can usually rely on professional babysitters a lot more than your average teenager. That’s not to say that young people can’t be trusted, but there’s a heck of a lot smaller chance of a professional babysitter cancelling at the last minute to go out with their mates!

Have you ever used an online babysitting agency to find someone to help you with childcare? Is it something you’d recommend? Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear all about your experiences.

Don’t forget to head over to the Sitters blog for some great birthday cake ideas for girls.

 

Sudocrem – Getting Kids to Play Outdoors

Hands up who’s relieved to have seen a little bit of nice weather this week? In a week full of terrible news and nasty political tactics, sometimes something as simple as feeling the sun on your face is enough to bolster your mood a little. It’s really nice that a little less rain means that we’re able to spend more time outside, taking advantage of our lovely surroundings and blowing away some of the cobwebs of what felt like the longest winter in living memory.

Now that Chuck isn’t as able to go on long walks, we limit his walking time by allowing him to take us on shorter walks and let him dictate the length and pace, and this newly relaxed attitude from him makes it a lot easier for me to take both girls along with me while I walk him. Spending time walking with all three of them (and even better when Husband is with us, too) is one of my simplest, happiest pleasures in life.

Getting Outside with Sudocrem

Last year, I teamed up with Sudocrem to tell you all about the Play More campaign they’d launched which was intended to get our kids outside more, by donating funds to schools and nurseries for updating their outdoor play areas. The project was such a huge success that they’re doing it all again this year and they’ve asked me to tell my readers about it.

“With stories of childhood obesity never far from the headlines, it’s easy to believe that each generation of children is lazier than the last. But a new survey of 6 – 11 year olds suggests that British children believe they’re wrapped in cotton wool by their parents and would like more freedom to play outside.

The research by family skincare brand Sudocrem found that almost 3 in 5 children (57%) said their parents worried too much about their safety and almost two-thirds of those aged 8 – 11 (64%) thought they should be able to go to the park with their friends, unaccompanied by an adult.Sudocrem Play More for schools and nurseries

 Encouragingly, the study also revealed a generation of children who recognise they don’t play out in the fresh air often enough, with 52% of those questioned admitting they spend too much time on games consoles and a further 60% saying there should be more games to encourage kids to play outside, like Pokemon Go.”

Sudocrem’s Brand Manager, Georgina Fotopoulou said, “Children love outdoor play but they’re bound to scrape their knees. This is all part of the learning process. A cuddle and a tub of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream can make a lot of things better. We’ve been healing skin for generations and we’re proud to promote the spirit of adventure with Play More.”

If you think your child’s nursery* could do with improving their outdoor facilities, go to www.sudocrem.co.uk/social-hub and nominate.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

As kids grow up the influence that internet has on their lives increases. Though we are lucky to live in this world where information is just a click away, it can get dangerous and dark out there. With the large number of teens using social media in the current scenario, it is no wonder that internet safety concerns most parents in this information age. We worry what our kids put online and the effect it may have on their lives. In this world where the number of Facebook ‘likes’ can make or break a child’s self esteem, parents have to be sure that their children do not end up being vulnerable in the digital sphere. Here are a few tips you can use to make sure your child is safe online:

Talk to them about the dangers of internet: Let your children know from an early age that the internet can be a friend as well a foe. Tell them that they can talk to you if they something is odd or can be potentially harmful. Make sure you teach them about cyber crime and comfort them if they seek help.

Tell your kids never to share their passwords: Sharing passwords, even with seemingly trustworthy individuals, may lead to problems. Let them know that all passwords are to be kept secure as sharing may even lead to cyberbullying.

Have an antivirus suite installed: Regularly run a check on your computer for viruses and malware so that your safety is never compromised.

Use privacy settings: Teach your kids about privacy setting on social media and how they can be used to prevent strangers from seeing their posts.

We hope these tips will help you keep you and your kids safe on the internet. And as a parent if you are fond of playing online games or use bingo as a way to relax (which is highly recommended!) make sure you only play on sites that are safe and offer free bingo promotions as well.