Blog : Child Care

Learning resilience at childcare

Learning resilience at childcare

Instilling Resiliency in your Children Even in the Face of Adversity

 

Children tend to be happy-go-lucky and typically un-phased by the drama the world can provide us adults on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t mean that they never experience stress or trauma. There are some children who are exposed to this on a regular basis in the form of natural disasters, neglect, abuse and even the death of their loved ones. Children often feed from the adults around them, so if a parent is expressing stress while going through a rough time, children might become anxious or hesitant. As parents and caregivers, we obviously try to keep them as safe as possible from unpleasant things, but the reality is we’re just not able to protect them from everything the world sends their way. When they experience something sad or negative, children tend to feel vulnerable, afraid, sad and lonely. So, what do we do to help prevent this or at the very least, minimize these feelings?

self-help (2)

Early childhood is the best time to begin to instil resiliency according to the experts – but how do you go about this? Most importantly, children who come from families who are supportive and caring tend to be more resilient when life throws them a curve. When they are surrounded by adults – both family members and early childhood educators – who are loving, caring and responsive to their needs they are much better equipped to adapt to adversity. This is why it is part of Parkside Early Learning Centre’s philosophy to build solid connections with the families of the children we care for and also work strongly together with the wider community.water-garden

Here are some practical ways to help your child develop resilience in the early years:

  • Allow children more and more independence as they grow older. It builds their confidence.
  • Encourage your child to share, take turns and serve others first. It teaches them patience.
  • Do not give your child everything they request. It helps them understand we can not have everything
  • Involve children when donating old toys or clothing to charity. It teaches them to look after others in times of need.
  • Teach your child that struggles are challenges we can learn from. See the good even in the bad.
  • Introduce your child to as many new experiences as possible as it teaches them to step outside their comfort zone.
  • Teach children to ask for help (but only if they are not being lazy). Use their lack of skill as a teachable moment.
  • Give them chores to do and make sure they get done even if they don’t feel like it. It teaches them responsibility.

 

When protective factors like a supportive family, adequate nutrition, and responsive and caring educators and caregivers are a regular presence in a child’s life, they become more adaptable and resilient beings. This instilled resiliency will allow children to better relationships, healthy coping mechanisms and an outward focus.

 

At a childcare centre like Parkside Early Learning Centre many of the above activities happen as part of our day to day learning. Children are encouraged to help tidy up and clean, they share and take turns. When things go wrong we use those times for learning and moving forward. Childcare is a great environment to lean social skills and resilience – it not just about learning the A,B,C and the 1,2,3…!

 

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Importance of physical activity for pre-schoolers

Importance of physical activity for pre-schoolers

Kids who play sports have better diets

University of Minnesota researchers say adolescents who play sports have better eating habits and nutrient intake than those who do not.

According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, more than 4,700 junior high and high school students were studied. Meal and snack frequen­cy, energy and nutrient intake were looked at. Researchers say they found that “sport-involved youth generally ate breakfast more frequently and had higher mean protein, calcium, iron and zinc intakes than their non-sport involved peers.”

soccer

Researchers say this supports the positive association between youth sport participation and health.

So, what does that mean for parents of younger children? It means that we should not just focus on healthy food for preschoolers but we need to equally get them involved in sports. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we program to cover both: We have been providing all meals including snacks for a while and know that our children get the best nutritious meals in town! Cooking and baking is also part of our curriculum so children learn from an early age about the importance of healthy choices. Our educators also plan a variety of physical activities into each day. Most children chose physical play naturally when they are young. At our childcare centre they love the early morning free play time to run, balance, jump and dig. Inside our educators will offer music and movement sessions which support fine and gross motor skills. At Parkside Early learning Centre we also offer weekly yoga sessions with our professional yoga instructor and a sports program which currently does soccer once a week.ballgame

Building a love for sports participation, whether in a team or own their own, is important in the early years of childhood. It creates a habit that will carry children through their youth and most likely will continue into adulthood. The fact that it will also influence their nutritional habits is an added bonus!

 

Gympie has lots to offer for young children to be active: there are soccer and rugby programs, swim schools, martial arts schools, Mainly Music groups or visit some of the facilities like Gympie Ten Pin Bowling or the Gympie Skate Zone for some fun. On the weekends there is horse riding or trail walking on offer for the whole family!

 

 

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Healthy snacks from childcare to school

Healthy snacks from childcare to school

Ideas For Busy Parents For Creative And Healthy School Lunches

There is a wealth of information available about the importance of good nutrition and brain functioning. Parkside Early Learning Centre introduced the provision of all meals a few years back. Our team have really seen the benefits of healthy meals being offered that cover all parts of the food pyramid. Growing kids in particular, need to have a balance of complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and of course, all the vitamins and minerals. Parkside Early Learning Centre has all that covered and saves parents the hassle to come up with healthy lunch box snacks every day!

Fussy Eater Graphic

However, once children finish in child care and start school lunch boxes can be a challenge: schools ask for healthy choices and want to see less plastic wrapper, children refuse those very option and parents often get frustrated when full lunch boxes return home untouched!

The good news is that kids that bring their lunches and snacks to school don’t have to end up with the same old thing every day. There are a lot of simple, quick, and easy ways to make really interesting, tasty and healthy foods your kids will love.

Go Insulated

One of the best things to invest in is an insulated lunch bag. These will be very helpful in keeping cold foods cool, especially when paired with an ice-pack. Many classrooms don’t have a fridge available for all children. By placing the ice-pack in a zip-lock bag, you can prevent any problems with leaks and still keep fresh fruits, vegetables, dips, cheeses and meats at the right temperature.

Healthy Lunches and Snacks

For some healthy yet simple to make lunch options besides traditional sandwiches consider the following:

  • Turkey or chicken or cheese wraps using lettuce, thin strips of red or yellow peppers, and a bit of salsa or sour cream rather than mayonnaise.
  • Pasta salad with mixed vegetables, cheese, diced hard boiled eggs or even diced ham. Use an Italian dressing for something different or a ranch dressing for a more traditional taste.
  • Whole grain crackers with cheese, meat and your kid’s favourite pickles. Each can be packaged separately, and the child can make his or her own “stackers” for some fun finger food.
  • Fresh cut vegetables with a dip made of hummus or plain yogurt with fresh or dried herbs. Try some unique vegetable options such as coloured bell peppers, purple or orange cauliflower, yellow mini tomatoes, fennel and sugar peas for variety.
  • Cube up fresh fruit and provide a creamy dip. This can be made with vanilla yogurt or any other flavour your child enjoys. Remember, fruit and vegetables should be paired with a protein for energy.
  • Homemade trail mix can include dried fruits, berries and nuts depending on your child’s preferences and what the school allows.
  • Mini-pretzels with a side of salsa for dipping are a great snack and healthier that chips or sugary treats.

Cute little girl sitting on a wooden bench on autumn day

Be sure to check with the school regarding any issues with children having peanuts or other types of nuts or foods in the school. Providing a good selection of different items for the child in the lunch is always a good option, as is having your child help you in choosing what they would like to have. Get your children involved with preparing the food for their lunch box. That way they are less likely to say after school that they didn’t like it!

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Child Care Aged Children Learning Organisational Skills

Child Care Aged Children Learning Organisational Skills

Learning Organisation Skills at Childcare

Daily routines at home can be a challenge, especially if you have younger children who have a way of losing or misplacing things on a regular basis. Or maybe IT IS the washing machine that loses the socks!

Young children love helping and imitating what adults do. Let’s use this early enthusiasm and channel it to teach them about an organized life. Maria Montessori, a famous educator and theorist, was a great believer in teaching children life skills. We involve the Parkside children in many daily chores and they love helping out.

Here are some great tips that we have collected at Parkside Early Learning on how to keep your children, especially young ones organised:

  1. Organise children’s belongings in an easy to understand way – a separate shelf or container for each item. This works especially well for clothing items! Involve young learners in sorting the washing. Make it a fund game while you teach them early…sorting is an important mathematical concept to learn after all!
  2. Involve young children in daily chores: They love helping you at this age and being near you. At Parkside Early Learning we involve children in daily chores like gardening, tidying their bedding away or cleaning up the lunch table. They know where their left-over food goes, place dirty dishes in the cleaning tub and where to grab their own water from.Food Kids Blog
  3. Make a picture shopping list. Pre-schoolers love to go shopping and to avoid any dramas at the supermarket give them a task! A picture based shopping list will focus their energy and concentration. Get them involved in what you need to buy beforehand – that way they can learn the difference between needs and wants!
  4. For school aged children, have a designated work space for homework, projects, etc. Pick a room or a part of a room that your child can keep all of his or her supplies for homework, arts and crafts, reading. Use bins to keep supplies neat and in one place. Be sure you have enough room, if possible, to keep their books and try using a basket to keep papers that your child may need for school, studying for tests, etc.
  5. When you buy school supplies at the beginning of the year, colour code each subject – Math is blue, English is green, etc., and use the same colour for each subject throughout the year. This will make it easy for you to child to quickly grab what they’re looking for without having to rifle through every folder or notebook.
  6. Create a cubby hole at or near your front door to keep your child’s backpack, hats, water bottle, sun screen, shoes – anything they need to grab quickly if the morning before leaving. Teach your child to put whatever they need for the next day in the cubby each night before they go to bed.
  7. Use a calendar. For your older children you can provide them with a calendar or appointment book. With your younger children, create a weekly or monthly calendar and use bright colours and pictures to help remind them of important days like soccer days, your workdays or their day care days.water-garden
  8. Lead by example. If you want your children to be organized, keep yourself organized. They are more likely to follow by example. Make to-do lists, turn the television off at the same time every day/evening, pay bills on a regular schedule – anything that requires a routine. Let your children see you follow an organized routine and they will do the same.

Finally, don’t get too stressed if you are not leading the perfectly organized life!

Life with children will never be pristine…unless you have a nanny, cleaner, cook, gardener, laundry maid, personal shopper, handy man! 😊

 

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How to Find the Right Bike for Your Child

How to Find the Right Bike for Your Child

With bicycling being one of the most popular outdoor activities in Australia, it only makes sense that sometime in the possibly not-so-distant future you will be looking for a new bike for your child.

When you first start looking, the massive wall of bikes at your bike shop or retailer can be overwhelming to say the least. There are a lot of options to choose from and it may be difficult to know which one is right for your child if you aren’t sure what to look for.

 

The most important thing and first decision to be made is about the size of the bike. Bikes for children are measured by the wheel’s diameter and can be from twelve to 24 inches. The size you’ll need depends on your child’s age and either his or her height or leg length. An easy example – a two-year-old will likely start on a 12-inch bike.

 

To make sure the bike has a proper fit with your child, have he or she sit on the bike with hands on the handlebars. A bike that is a good fit will allow your child to sit comfortably on the bike with both feet on the ground.

 

Safety is also very important and no bike purchase is complete without a helmet. By purchasing a helmet with your child’s first bike, you are setting them on a course of good, solid habits early on, not to mention Australia require helmets for any bike riders. Helmets can come in all shapes and sizes so be sure to pick one that fits properly: it should be tight against the back of your child’s head while the front is parallel with the eyes.  The helmet should also sit two fingers’ width above your child’s eyebrows.

You may also want to consider bells or horns for your child’s bike as a further added safety precaution. It never hurts to have your child get in the habit of alerting people that a little one is scooting by.

 

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Helping Childcare Aged Children Notice Oncoming Traffic

Helping Childcare Aged Children Notice Oncoming Traffic

Young children are more at risk of being hit by oncoming cars when crossing the street than those children who are slightly older.

Young children aren’t developed enough to be able to read and comprehend the noises and sights associated with oncoming traffic, thus putting them at higher risk than their older counterparts. The University of Idaho conducted a study to compare traffic detection skills in both adults and children.  Here is what the study discovered:

“These participants were asked to listen on headphones to 24 recordings of a car approaching at 10, 20 and 40 kilometres per hour, from both directions, and pressed a computer key when they detected the vehicle, identified its direction and thought it had arrived at their location. The computer was programmed to calculate distances in relation to key presses.

Adults detected the car significantly earlier than children, though older children heard the car before younger children. Adults detected the vehicle traveling at 10 kilometres per hour at a distance of about 16 meters, compared with 11 meters for younger children and 14 meters for older children. On average, the vehicle was significantly closer to children than adults when it was detected.

The vehicle traveling at 40 kmph, when engine and tire noises are loudest, was detected significantly earlier than at other speeds. But researchers noted faster-moving vehicles would close in on a pedestrian more quickly and have greater potential to cause a fatal injury. Older children were better than younger children at determining when a vehicle had arrived at their location.”

As parents, we must take the time to teach our children what to watch for before turning them loose to handle situations like this on their own. Let’s help prevent them from being another statistic.

 

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Getting Your Kids to Reach for the Stars

Getting Your Kids to Reach for the Stars

When we were children, we had big dreams and our whole lives ahead of us to make them come true. We wanted to climb a mountain, be a fireman, a ballerina or be a movie star. Nothing was in our way and nothing was going to stop us.

And then we became adults. The dreams vanished as life got in the way. Those dreams we had seemed silly and we let them fade into the distance. As parents, it’s important to not let this happen to our children – but how? Here are a few ways to teach them how to keep reaching for the stars:

  • Teach them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neil Armstrong didn’t wake up one morning and decide he was going to walk on the moon that day. Reaching for the stars doesn’t mean making one giant leap – it means taking lots of small steps in the direction of your goal.
  • You aren’t going to learn everything you need to know to reach your goal in one sitting. The knowledge you need to learn to will come with each tiny step you take forward. Slowly but surely you will build up your bag of tricks to get where you need to be.

Child Astronaut

  • When the going gets tough – keep going. Perseverance is key to getting where you want to go. There will times when they will feel that their efforts are pointless or they aren’t seeing any progress. That’s the exact time to hunker down and keep moving forward.
  • Just do it! Don’t overplan yourself right out of your dream. Yes, plans are important to have an idea of what you’re doing and where you’re going, but you don’t have to know every step of every path you’re going to take. Planning and then planning some more is a surefire way to kill your dream.

It’s ok to dream the impossible dream. It’s ok to reach for the unreachable star. It will hurt sometimes and it will take time to get there but you can pursue your passion and live your dream.

 

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Teaching Children About Dental Health in Child Care in Gympie

Teaching Children About Dental Health in Child Care in Gympie

It’s never too soon to teach your children about the importance of good oral health and get them in to a routine that will carry them throughout their lives. While some children will take to the task at hand easily and without much fuss, everyone learns differently and may take a little extra coaxing. Here are a few tips for you to help your little ones keep their teeth and gums healthy.

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  • Teach your children about their teeth. Explain the different types of teeth, how many they have, where they are located and even what their jobs are. As adults we have 32 teeth – twelve molars (in sets of three and are in the back of the mouth), eight premolars (also known as bicuspids and are used to crush and tear food), four cuspids (next to the bicuspids or premolars and are pointed which make tearing food easy) and eight incisors (located in the front of the mouth and are used to cut food.)
  • Read books specifically about dental health. A trip to your library or local book store will provide plenty of age-appropriate reading material that talk about good dental health. For younger children, books with more illustrations are a better choice. If you are able to connect to the Internet, the Australian Dental Association’s website offers more information about going to the dentist.

The younger your children are the better when it comes to teaching about good oral health habits. Don’t put it off another minute.

 

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A Good Nights Sleep for Children in Child Care

A Good Nights Sleep for Children in Child Care

Does your child suffer from sleep problems? If so, according to University of Cologne (Germany) research (originally published in the journal SLEEP), he or she is more likely to have trouble falling asleep than staying asleep. Here are some tips to help your children that may attend child care and help them sleep better from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

 

  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 30 minutes to get your child ready to go to sleep.
  • Establish a relaxing setting at bed time.
  • Interact with your child at bed time. Don’t let the television, computer or video games take your place.
  • Keep your children from TV programs, movies and video games which are not appropriate for their age.
  • Do not let your child fall asleep while being held, rocked, fed a bottle or while nursing.
  • At bed time, do not allow your child to have foods or drinks which contain caffeine. Try not to give him or her any medicine which has a stimulant at bed time.

 

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How to Deal with Picky Eaters in Childcare and Gympie

How to Deal with Picky Eaters in Childcare and Gympie

One of the most common struggles parents have is dealing with picky eaters. This is one of the reasons we offer all meals at Parkside Early Learning Centre that are healthy, taste great vary from day to day. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

 

  • Your toddler takes a few bites of food and announces he’s “done”
  • You can stock your fridge and shelves full but your little one will only eat the same 5 things over and over.
  • Your child asks for one thing, you make it, then she asks for something else then decides she wants something completely different altogether.
  • Coaxing your children to just take “one more bite” is a constant battle in your home

First things first – meal times are supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable so you want to avoid these battles every time you sit down at the table. Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 typically have smaller appetites, so if they only eat a little at a time, that’s ok. However, also realize that their appetites can change on a daily basis and even from meal to meal. If they like carrots, don’t be afraid to throw some in at breakfast. Do they prefer eggs? Who says you can’t have eggs for dinner?

 

Dinner time is typically going to be the meal that your child feels like eating the least. It’s the end of the day and they are tired and unless they have been doing a physical activity like swimming or playing outside or at daycare, chances are they aren’t going to be as hungry as they are at other times of the day.

 

If you are dealing with older children who are picky eaters, you may be able to reason more with them and enforce the “one bite rule“ meaning they have to take at least one bite of every food on their plate and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it again.

Here are just a few ideas for dealing with picky eaters:

 

  • Don’t nag or coax smaller children. Pick and choose your battles – plain and simply put, your child WILL eat when he is hungry.
  • Have realistic portions: Many parents set unrealistic goals for their children when it comes to mealtime. A good rule of thumb to follow: If your child is under the age of 5-6, use a tablespoon per year of age. If they ask for more when they’ve finished that then you can always give more.
  • Keep trying to introduce new foods – even if they haven’t liked them before. Tastes change and you never know when you find something new they like.
  • Avoid too much milk, juice and soda in place of food. Many kids will fill up on sugary drinks and have no room for food.

Remember, pick your battles and don’t make meal time miserable for everyone!

 

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