New service launches for reporting births

The Tell Us Once service for both births and deaths is being launched by The Department for Work and Pensions in partnership with local authorities across England, Wales and Scotland. The service will make it easier for new parents to notify government authorities about any changes in their circumstances.

With 770,000 births nationally each year, Tell Us Once saves time. In a single appointment at their local authority, a parent can notify all the relevant government departments and service authorities of their circumstances. For information on reporting a birth see HERE.

New food and drink guidelines for 1 to 5 year olds

This is an excellent link and I wish I’d found it sooner. It explains the guidelines for food and drink for the Early Years Foundation Stage (ages 1- 5 years old).

Interestingly, it contradicts what my health visitor said about providing vitamin supplements for children under five years old. Good thing I didn’t pay any attention to her about it!

Eat Better, Start Better

The Practical Guide that you can download below also gives recommendations for meals, portion sizes, what is classified as a portion of fruit or vegetables for a young child, how much they should be eating at each meal and details of how to read and understand food labeling. It also provides some great ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

There’s an awful lot in the guidelines as it’s not just for parents and carers but it gives a very comprehensive explanation about food and drink guidelines for young children.

Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for Early Years Settings in England – A Practical Guide: Click here to download

A Playmobil secret…

 

If you are a fan of Playmobil and you have children under five years of age, you will LOVE playmobil123. I’d never heard of it before and we discovered it quite by accident when I was looking for wooden food toys on holiday. It’s “classic” Playmobil but is branded as being suitable for 18 months old upwards. The only website that sells it in the UK has Playmobil123 branded as being suitable for ages five years + but I think this is because they’ve lumped it into the “Playmobil” brand.

It’s the little details that are fantastic. There are no small moving parts that can be swallowed and figures “slot” into each toy so that they can be used by small hands. We bought the boat and the motorbike. ( I was slightly gutted when I found out how much we’d paid for them abroad when they are practically half price on the UK website).

With the boat that we have the whale has a float that allows it to either float flat in the water or stand on its tail. The motorbike has a “go faster” button which allows it to go really fast on hard floors. I’m not sure who was more enthusiastic about these details, our little one or my husband and I!

Click here for details about how to order Playmobil123 in the UK: http://www.playmobil123.co.uk/. I’m hoping to buy some more playmobile123 at my next pay day so I’ll let you know whether the site is any good.

Family Friendly Festivals 2012

I read an article recently which prompted me to do some research on this year’s Festivals that are appropriate for little children. I know that festivals aren’t everyone’s thing but if you are interested in taking your little one along, you should be able to find something appriopriate below. Note that there is a festival in Hampshire in July which is appropriate for children. Now, let’s hope the weather catches up with the idea that summer’s on it’s way!!!

Wychwood Festival, 8-10 June, wychwoodfestival.com

The Eden Festival, 15-17th June, edenfestival.co.uk

Blissfields Festival 2012 (in Hampshire!), 29th June – 1st July, blissfields.co.uk

Cornbury, 29th June – 1st July, cornburyfestival.com

Larmer Tree festival, 11th to 15th July, larmertreefestival.co.uk

Latitude Festival, 13th to 15th July, latitudefestival.co.uk

The Deer Shed Festival, 20 – 22nd July, deershedfestival.com

Lollibop Festival lollibop is the only festival where all the entertainment is for children. August – date TBA, lollibopfestival.co.uk

Chatterbox Shows – Planetarium shows for chatty people!

This looks SO brilliant! I can’t wait till my little one is a little bit bigger so I can take her to one of these.

Winchester Intech Science Centre Chatterbox Shows

Mondays , 5 March, 14 May, 11 June 2pm & Monday 2 April (during Easter holidays), time tbc.
They say:

“It’s natural for younger children or those with special needs to want to call out when they come into the planetarium. They like to share the experience, ask questions or just call out with surprise and amazement.

We normally ask visitors to watch quietly so that everyone can enjoy the show without distraction. But here is a show with a difference:

All the stars with no shushhing!

Come along to a Chatterbox Monday show and we promise not to shhhh you up*! It could get a little noisy but it should be great fun for the chatty ones. Shows are charged at our normal rate.

We’re currently running “Secret of the Cardboard Rocket” (30min) in this slot as it is the most child-friendly of our shows and the least likely to scare or overwhelm younger children. However, please do be aware that some children under 5yrs don’t enjoy planetarium shows, especially those scared by the dark.

If you’d be interesting in seeing other shows in this slot, please let us know!”

Games to play with your baby or toddler

Are you looking for ideas for games to play with your baby or toddler?

The following link, from cow and gate, shows a play time planner which allows you to input the time you have available, whether you want to play indoors or outdoors and the age of your child. You hit return and at the bottom of the screen are a list of relevant games to play with your child:

http://letstoddle.com/my_toddler/playtime-planner

BabyCentre also have some great ideas for games to play with your little one. If you have signed up for the weekly email from BabyCentre it will include the games that are relevant for your toddler or baby’s age. If you haven’t signed up, you can find the list of games at the links below:

Baby: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/baby/development/letsplay/?intcmp=tnav_baby_play

Toddler: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/toddler/development/stimulating/letsplay/

Do you know of any other websites that have a great list of games to play with your little one? Please add to the comments section or on the Facebook page. Thanks!

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Valentine’s Day Inspiration

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ve included a couple of links below that could help if you are stuck for valentines ideas or activities:

Tasty Valentines gifts on a budget

Setting a table for two for valentines day

Free Printable Valentines Cards Robot Hearts

How kids can create a love heart necklace

6 affordable valentines gifts that aren’t boring

Pinterest finds Valentines ideas

 

Childcare Vouchers

If you know that you will have to return to work after Maternity Leave, you will need to use a nursery or childminder, and your employer offers the vouchers, register for Childcare vouchers with your employer AS SOON as your baby is born.

Your Employer will pay the Childcare vouchers whilst you are on Maternity Leave. Don’t wait until you return to work because you could miss out on an awful lot of money. If you register for childcare vouchers as soon as your child is born, and request the full amount (£243 a month), you could rack up £2187 in vouchers for the 9 months you are on maternity leave, or £2916 for the full year.

Even if you plan on handing your notice in at the end of your maternity leave, you should still register for the vouchers as I think they are valid for up to 18 months after you leave your employment. If you find a childminder that takes childcare vouchers you will be able to use the vouchers as and when you need childcare for the following 18 months. Handy if you need an afternoon or a day off occasionally as you won’t have to pay for the childcare!

If your employer doesn’t offer childcare vouchers there is some guidance from the HMRC website about this:  http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/ccin.htm. This link also includes a link to a PDF with details about what childcare vouchers are.

Obviously, I’m not an expert on these things and you will need to double check with your employer as I am only basing this on my experience. It’s definitely something worth investigating though.

Amber Teething necklace’s

I was incredibly sceptical about the Amber teething necklaces. Someone at my Husband’s work recommended them to him and gave him the link so he ordered one. I thought it was a total waste of money and probably wouldn’t work. However, my husband isn’t the kind of guy to buy into “New Age B****ks” (his words, not mine) but the fact that he’d gone to such effort made me think I ought to at least try the necklace out on our little one.

Much to his delight, I’ve had to eat my words. I cannot praise this small necklace enough. You can totally tell when my little one isn’t wearing her necklace. Without it she’s grimbly, she dribbles lots more and she constantly has her fingers in her mouth pressing against her gums. With it, she’s a delightful, smiley, happy child. In fact, several people have commented that she’s one of the happiest babies they have met and I often wonder if it isn’t down to this little necklace.

She also looks very cute when she’s wearing it and is just in her nappy. Like a little Oompaloompa or Pygmy Tribal Warrior! Annnyway, I couldn’t recommend the necklaces enough. Just don’t lose it at swimming like I did so we had to buy another one!

Amber Teething Necklaces

One point I hadn’t picked up on but have just seen whilst reading the blurb is to: Avoid getting the necklaces wet and occasionally allow the amber to recharge by exposing to natural sunlight.

This is NOT a sponsored post and I’m receiving no money or any other perks for recommending Amber necklaces. 

The Marshmallow Test – The Secrets of Self-Control in Children

I’ve been reading a number of Parenting Books in an effort to try to be a good parent. Not sure if it’s working, but I’ve read a lot of really interesting stuff. Enclosed is a link about the “marshmallow test” which I read about in “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. Although this book was written by an American author his findings are still very interesting. The book was written over 40 years ago so much has been written about this test since.

The concept of the Marshmallow Test is that you place a marshmallow in front of a 4 year old for 15 minutes. The tester tells the child that if they can wait 15 minutes before eating the marshmallow they will be allowed two marshmallow’s, rather than just the one in front of them. Those children that were able to resist grabbing the marshmallow placed in front of them had better life outcomes.

This is the best link I could find which explains self control in children and links to the concept of the Marshmallow Test: http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/06/the-secrets-of-self-control-the-marshmallow-test-40-years-later/

There has been a lot of research around this if you are interested in discovering more. I would recommend reading “Emotional Intelligence”. It is pretty heavy going though and one of the downsides is that the author doesn’t describe what you can do to help your child improve their self control (although I haven’t finished the book yet!). This is something I am researching and plan to do a future post on.

I thought this was fascinating and that some of you might be interested. Let me know your thoughts.

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