Blog : Gympie Child Care

Best pets for childcare aged children

Best pets for childcare aged children

Have you had your kids nag you to get a puppy or a kitten? They are oh-so-cute!!!

Having a family pet is an important decision, especially when younger kids are part of the family.
There are many questions to be answered beforehand like What pet would be most suitable for a young family?, What care do they need and who is responsible for it?, New born pet or a rescue pet… and so on?

It could be so easy to give in and see the joy in our children’s puppy eyes and the actual puppy’s!
So here are some tips when making the decision to have a pet or not, and if, yes, what pets are good for younger children to have around:

To have a pet or not?

Pets come in many sizes. It could be a gold fish or a Great Dane! Usually the size of the animal also determines how much work and effort they are, how much food they eat and how big the vet bills will be. Bigger animals also tend to live longer and therefor, are your responsibility for longer.
So the size is an important factor.

The pet must also be safe around your children and be able to tolerate rough children’s hands or too much affection. Certain dog breeds might therefore not be suitable. Animals have feelings, too, and that should be respected. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we have some fish for our very young learners. They enjoy watching when its feeding time and see their colours dash up and down. Our older kids enjoy our guinea pig ‘Tixie’. She is now over 5 years old and well used to little hands. To be extra safe we put our guinea pig in a towel to prevent any scratching or wee accidents. The children love patting her and brush her hair. They also go out to the park during Bushkindy and get fresh grass for her. A guinea pig is an ideal pet to start with to learn the first few steps of looking after a pet.

Another important issue to consider is if you are actually allowed to have pets if you are renting.
Some landlords are tolerant of some animals and some are not. But it might be worth asking even the most animal hating landlord if it is ok to have a goldfish, hermit crab or sea snail! They might be ok with it and it might just be entertaining enough for your kids!

Now that you have decided a pet should join the family, here some suggestions as suitable pets for children:
The most recommended animals for young families seem to be dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, mice or hamsters, and fish or turtles…
If you would like something a little different but still easy to keep and to handle, try some hermit crabs, axolotls, ants, stick insects or a bearded dragon…

Recently our older children at Parkside Early Learning Centre have been interested in insects. We have chased butterflies and caught crickets in the quarry area. We had some chrysalis at the centre and watched the butterflies come out. Next, we might try to keep some stick insects!
Children are fascinated by all kinds of animals – they learn responsibility and caring for others and appreciate the natural environment more. That is something we can only support here at Parkside ELC!

If you have a safe pet we would love to hear from you and maybe we can arrange a visit to the centre! The children would love it!

 

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Messy fun at childcare

Messy fun at childcare

Art that’s not messy…

…is there such a thing? Combine a toddler with some paint containers and a brush and you most likely get a spectacular mess! But you probably get a very happy toddler, too!

 

Most young children love art and being creative. We love to put their art work on the fridge but the process of creating such art can often be stressful and messy. Young children often do not have the gross motor or fine motor skills, special awareness or experience to handle paint, dye or other messy materials with the care and knowledge an adult would. Yet creative experiences are so important for children and their emotional development and wellbeing. At Parkside Early Learning Centre we do art and crafts every day, whether it be messy or non-messy! Art allows children to explore and experiment, watch cause and effect happen or express their feelings. Therefore, children should never be stopped to be creative and do arts and craft. Here are a few non-messy ideas you can do easily at home and help your child develop to their full potential:

1. Marble Art
Get a cardboard box or plastic container. Place a piece of paper inside, add some paint colours blobs and some marbles (older children only) or golf balls. Then its up to your child to start holding the box and move it up and down and let the ball roll around. Children love to watch what happens when the balls carry the paint around and create a unique picture.

2. Collaging
This is a create activity and super cheap. Start collecting a variety of items like different types of paper, leaves, twigs, bottle tops, bits of wool etc. And then all you need is a piece of paper and a glue stick. You child is free to choose how to place them on the paper and express themselves freely.

3. Leave Rubbing
Find some leaves that look really different from each other in shape and size and make sure they are nice and dry. Get some paper and crayons and place the leaves underneath the paper. Then let you child rub over them with the crayons (sometimes the side of the crayon works better than the tip). Your child will be fascinated by the appearance of the leave imprint.

4. Ziplock Painting
This is a great activity that even babies can do. Get some large ziplock bags and insert some paper. Then add some paint and seal it. You child can now use their hands to smoosh the paint around. It will create a unique pattern and after a while you could even add some glitter. Some families have used these creations afterwards for wrapping paper or homemade cards.

5. Nature Sculpture
Every kid loves playdough but have you ever made playdough yourself and just left it plain without food colouring? At Parkside our Pre-preps have made some sculptures from the natural playdough and added all kinds off materials found during Bushkindy. They added twigs and leaves, gum nuts and rocks, shells and feathers.

6. Light Catchers
For this activity we need some tissue paper, sticky contact and some black paper to make it look really pretty. Cut any shape from the black paper to use as a frame, place contact on one side and then let your child cover the sticky part with tissue paper. These will look great on the window with the sun shining through!

It might be worth your time to create a plastic container with some basic art and craft supplies which you can pull out any time its needed.   If your child is really into art we would love to invite them to join us at Parkside  Early Learning Centre where we offer all kind of messy and non-messy art activities and challenge the children to explore new activities. Your fridge will be plastered with art work in no time!

Learning table manners and skills

Learning table manners and skills

Dining Out With Children

Here are some helpful tips at eating time that we’ve learnt with our children from Parkside Early Learning Centre.

At Parkside ELC the children enjoy all meals together – this builds a real family feel and builds relationships. Our educators at our centre use this time to discuss healthy eating and encourage children to try new foods. It is also a valuable learning time to practice table manners and using cutlery. All these are life skills – learning these can start from a very you age. During free play time the children at Parkside ELC love pretending to cook in the home corner kitchen or play ‘restaurants’.

cookingeating

Dining out can be a great way for families to enjoy some quality time together, but if things go wrong, it can also be a nightmare.  Here are a few tips to ensure that your family eating-out experiences go more smoothly:

  1. Lay the groundwork:

Children can’t be expected to behave well in restaurants if they are used to being allowed to run riot at mealtimes at home or haven’t been taught the basics, such as how to use the proper utensils. It is safest to give children unbreakable plastic dishes and cutlery to practice but every now and then, and once they are a bit older, move on to proper china but maybe not your grandma’s best! Proper china and cutlery feels a lot heavier and if children are not used to this they may have more accidents.

Prepare your children for proper table manners by eating as a family at home and by teaching, modelling and enforcing positive behaviour while eating. Practising table manners in a safe and relaxed way at home is much easier for you and your child than having a fight or embarrassing moment in a restaurant with lots of onlookers.

  1. Pick your time:

Taking children to a nice restaurant when they are tired, over-hungry and fractious is often a recipe for disaster, so choose your time carefully.  Maybe try a nice brunch somewhere (they can have some toast before hand at home) or go to a café for afternoon tea.  In the Gympie region my favourite place is the Cooloola Berries Strawberry farm. Kids can run around free and are not restricted to staying in a room! Next time move on to bigger events like going out for dinner. Make the evening meal an early one and remind your children about what is expected before hand.

  1. Pick your place:

If there are no other children in the restaurant that you are considering, it might be wise to steer clear.  Children often pick up on an atmosphere that is not child-friendly, and the companionship of other children often encourages better rather than worse behaviour. In Gympie we have a good choice of kid-friendly restaurants like The Royal which has a kids play area!

  1. Order carefully:

Ordering a selection of appetizers rather than main courses not only can mean a shorter wait for the food to arrive, but it also avoids the issue of children complaining that they don’t like the food. Or choose a place that is all you can eat or buffet style. That way children don’t have to wait – try one of Gympie’s sushi trains or Pizza Hut’s All You Can Eat!

  1. The waiting game:

Sometimes it is unavoidable to have to wait – if other children are joining your restaurant get-together then take along some simple games they can enjoy while waiting for their food. How about card games like Pairs/Happy Family or UNO. You could also play games like I spy or make up games like having to find three things that are red. Hopefully this will make time pass quickly and encourage some fun conversations, too!

  1. Finally:

Never use dining out as an opportunity to have your children try something new (unless they are really into trying new foods). Keep your experiments for mealtimes at home – most supermarkets offer a huge choice of multicultural foods. Try a sushi making kit, a curry jar or have a Mexican fiesta at home with some tacos! Then your children will be prepared for a fun dinner out!

 

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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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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! 😊

 

Self help, Kindy, Kindergarten, Early Learning, Gympie, Day Care, Childcare, Child Care

Answering The Difficult Questions for Childcare Aged Children

Answering The Difficult Questions for Childcare Aged Children

I had my son recently ask me “Dad when we die will we see each other and will we look like we do now?” Sometimes difficult questions can take parents by surprise. It can be good to plan in advance on how and what to talk to your children about when they ask about death. It is critical not to avoid or try to brush off the questions as that will only cause more confusion and perhaps even fear if children pick up your discomfort on the subject.

 

Stay Child Centred

It is very important to discuss death and dying at the child’s level of understanding. Taking in abstract terms or using common phrases about death to kids will only cause confusion. You certainly can talk about spiritual or religious beliefs about the death and dying with your children but keep them at an age appropriate level.

 

Be careful not to use terms like “sleeping” or “passed on” or “lost” but rather be compassionate and honest. Children need a clear description that makes sense to them. Even younger children can understand that a body can stop working when a person is in an accident or is elderly. Often this type of honest, clear and simple explanation is enough for a youngster.

 

Talk About Real World Examples

It is important, especially with younger children, to stay to simple examples and not to try to include too many concepts at one time. It is important for children to understand that death is a normal part of life without stressing the mortality of the child or of you as the parent. It is also important to remember that younger children, especially those under the age of 10, may see death as reversible.

 

Kids may ask about a pet, family member or loved one’s death repeatedly. Be patient and provide a consistent answer that provides the information the child is seeking. Talking to a counsellor or reading a book about death that is at an age appropriate level can help a parent start the conversation and allow children to ask the questions they may be worrying about.

 

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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.

 

Childcare, Child Care, Early Learning Centre, Preschool, Kindy, Kindergarten, Nursery, Best, Gympie

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.

Dental2

  • 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!

 

Childcare, Early Learning, Eating, Gympie, Day Care, Kindy, Kindergarten, Pre-Prep, Pre-school, Best