Change can be a scary thing for children of all ages. Unfortunately, in most cases it is unavoidable. Children go through so many changes even within the first years of their lives, they may have to give up a dummy, change from nappies to underwear, they learn new skills and information and have to deal with a range of new conflicts every day.
Few of those changes are within a child’s control. Which is why routine is so important to establish from an early age. Routine allows a child to feel safe and in control when changes occur that are outside of their control.
By offering a routine to a child, you are providing a solid foundation in their lives- so that they can rise to the occasion to handle big changes when they need to.
Many parents are concerned that structure can prevent spontaneity and creativity in children. However, routine actually encourages creativity in some ways, where we can make a comfortable environment for a creative child to thrive.
Benefits of using routines with your kids
1. It can stop arguments
If children know that they have to brush their teeth and pick up toys before bedtime, you don’t have to keep telling them. You just have to refer to the written chart.
2. Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities
Over time children learn to do the chores without being asked. Children love being in charge and take pride in having a sense of independence.
3. Regular routines help keep a schedule
Regular routines help kids get on schedule, meaning you won’t be late for the school run again.
4. Routines help establish those connection moments
Routines free up time for you to spend quality time with your child.
How to structure a routine (including free printable)
Write a list of your child’s daily tasks. This can include anything from brushing teeth to making their beds and packing school bags. Try to include your child in these tasks, and ensure that some of these tasks are actually fun activities.
Ensure they are realistic. The idea of having routine is that you will be consistent in enforcing the routine. Consistency is key.
Once you’ve written a list, establish which activities will be daily and which can happen on certain days. You may want to save treats like outings for the weekend. Make sure you include your child’s extracurricular activities in there if they have them. Pop them into the attached chart and stick it to the fridge, or somewhere where it can be seen easily.
Each night, talk to your child about the next day’s activities. Be easy on them though, some days the routine may not be viable- just make sure to get back on track as soon as possible.
Starting school can be a daunting experience for a five-year-old. Imagine walking into a class of 20 strangers, being told when to eat, when to play and where you have to sit. Life has already changed so much in the 5 short years your little one has been around, and things are about to turn upside down in their worlds again!
But rest assured, there are ways to try and ease your child to school-life before the big day comes around.
We asked parents and caregivers to share their tips with us.
1. Establish a routine early. It seems so boring, but children love routine. Knowing when things will happen and what they can expect before they start school will help ease anxiety when the bug day finally comes around. Once they start school, remember to keep the routine going at home- to have something they are certain of will be a little sanctuary amongst the chaos that is going around in their heads.
2. Make decisions together. Pick out the uniform, the stationery, and school bag together. This will make your child feel more in control and proud to finally be a big kid.
3. Make sure your child can hold a pencil correctly. Try shaping some blu-tack around a pencil to help their little fingers get into the right position.
4. Take advantage of as many school visits as you can. Make sure your child knows where the toilet is, where they’ll be eating lunch, where they will go for assemblies and where their classroom is in relation to the playground (remember they have to get back there after lunch)!
5. Teach them to sit still. Mat time can be the biggest struggle when children aren’t used to having to sit in one place for any period of time.
6. Go with the flow. Even if your child has already been full-time in pre-school for a while they will take a while to get used to school. The amount of ‘brain work’ will tire them out. If they fall asleep before dinner, you might just have to let them be!
7. Talk it over. Let your child know that it’s ok for them to be nervous, and that you will always be there for them to talk to at the end of the day.
Easter egg hunts can teach colour recognition, basic maths problem solving, beginner reading and even fine motor skills.
Here are some tips to incorporate learning into your Easter egg hunt:
1. Each child has their own colour
This way you can ensure that no one hogs all the eggs and you don’t have too many tears if someone misses out. Colour recognition is an important skill to learn too!
2. Set a target
Tell each child how many eggs are hidden in their colour. Ask them how many they’ve found, then ask how many are remaining. This incorporates basic maths skills into the hunt.
3. Make your own baskets
Using (child-friendly) scissors teaches fine motor skills that will be essential for when your child starts school.
4. Make a note of all your hiding places
Melted chocolate down the side of the couch is never a good look, so remember where you hid the eggs! For older children, you could leave a clue attached to each egg—this is great for comprehension and early reading.
5. It doesn’t have to be chocolate
You can buy tiny plastic eggs in different colours. In the eggs, you can put little prizes like toy dinosaurs, etc. Alternatively, hide some letters of the alphabet in each egg—the child then gets a prize that corresponds to that letter.
6. Most importantly, have fun!
It’s all a game. There will always be time to incorporate learning into everyday activities. If your child isn’t into the counting, or making the basket, just roll with it. It’s all about having fun and enjoying spending time together.
2. “Don’t play with your food.”
By default, a lot of children love anything that seems to be ‘naughty’. It may be plating up their meals differently. Try using a spiralizer to make ‘noodles’ from vegetables. Let them eat with their hands or serve up a platter of finger food for dinner!
3. “Children eat first—we eat once they’re in bed.”
We are always told that kids learn so much from watching us, so eat your dinner with them! If they see you enjoying healthy food, they'll soon become interested enough to taste that spinach and avocado smoothie as well… and maybe even enjoy it too!
4. “We don’t snack between meals.”
How many of us do this? We are making dinner, there is a pile of chopped veggies ready to go and our children come up to grab some. We tell them, “no, that’s for dinner.”
But if they want to eat veggies right now, why not let them? Even if they fill up on veggies for dinner, nothing is wrong with that. Maybe even have another pile on the chopping board that is for them that they can grab.
5. “Go outside and play while mum cooks dinner.”
Something that is widely encouraged by experts now is to get your child/children to help you make dinner. It may take a lot longer and require more patience, but teaching them how to use the peeler, or cutting up food with them, gets them involved in the process. They feel proud that they helped make the food, which makes the eating part more enjoyable for them as well. It also teaches them about food, learning what different veggies are and discussing the ingredients as you go.
At the end of the day, you are the only one that knows what’s right for your child, so just go with it and ignore all the supposed ‘food rules for children’. You know you want to!
For a child to be comfortable in themselves, it is important that we encourage a sense of belonging within their learning environment. Ways in which you can foster a sense of belonging range from having regular routines in place, to learning about the wider world.
Last month, our blog discussed the importance of regular routines to encourage responsibility in children. Once you have established those routines, you’ll be pleased to know that they form the basis of a child’s education.
From a healthy routine, children feel safe and secure. Routine encourages a sense of belonging. Once a child is secure in their environment, it is important that they understand that not all cultures are the same. Not only will this strengthen their own sense of belonging within their community, but will also help them form friendships later in life.
Chinese New Year: how learning about other cultures can foster a sense of belonging
Towards the end of January and beginning of February marks Chinese New Year; a celebration of the start of a new lunar calendar, celebrated by nearly a sixth of the world’s population. A significant event to a culture other than your own is a fantastic opportunity to teach life skills.
What is Chinese New Year?
In 2017, Chinese New Year falls on January 28th. It continues for 15 days. The celebration is never on the same day as it revolves around the time it takes for the moon to go around the Earth (the Lunar calendar).
What’s with the animals?
The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao [pronounced: sheng shy-oh], is based on a 12 year cycle. Each year in that cycle is represented by an animal sign, and 2017 marks the year of the Rooster.
And the colours? How do they help with a sense of belonging?
Red clothing is considered essential around Chinese New Year. The vibrant hue is thought to ward off the mythical monster, Nian. Traditionally, children are given red envelopes with money inside. If they sleep with these under their pillows, it’s said to bring good fortune and happiness.
ACTIVITY: What year was your child born in? This link has a calculator to work out the year, and will then link to their traits.
A new year means a new start for you and your wee ones! Why not get the children doing housework? After all, studies have shown that children who have regular chores do better at school!
Now that the new year is in full swing, its time to re-assess those resolutions. Everyone makes them.
"This year I will lose weight."
"Get a promotion."
"Spend less time online."
But how many are realistic? And how many people get their children to make the resolutions? In all honesty, most promises made at midnight are made under the influence of a few too many champagnes, and forgotten about quicker than they were conjured up.
Our children are usually tucked up in bed. They wouldn't even know a new year had begun if it wasn't for us. So this year, what about leaving the promises behind and starting afresh as the holiday season draws to a close?
Getting children to make 'resolutions' is not about making them 'better people.' After all, in your eyes they will be absolutely perfect already. Resolutions are about setting routines. Finding age-appropriate chores and incorporating them into your day-to-day living.
"This year I will help Mum with the washing up."
"Start making my bed."
"Get myself dressed."
The trick is to find a happy medium; a chore they will take pride in doing, and that will give them a sense of responsibility.
By having your child take ownership of that chore, you are teaching them life skills that are essential for greater success in school and adulthood. After all, research shows that those children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification.
Most of all, children want independence. They want to be able to say, "I did this all by myself." So give them that gift in 2017!
Children doing housework - where to start?
Get your child talking about what chores they notice being done around the house. Ask why they think the chores need to be done.
Let your child pick a chore he or she will be most comfortable with. Don't worry about whether it's big or small; it is the action in itself and the routine that you want to encourage, so it needs to be realistic.
Suggest a reward they might like if they continue doing that chore most of the time throughout 2017. Maybe a family day out, or a trip to see someone special.
The most important thing is to remember that it's about setting a routine and sticking to it. It might not happen every day, but provided it happens most days you can be pretty pleased you've done an awesome job teaching an essential life skill: responsibility.
Age appropriate chores
Children doing housework is not such a scary concept when you break it down into achievable tasks according to their age group.
Ages 2 to 4
Ages 5 to 6
All of the above, plus:
Ages 6 to 8
All of the above, plus:
Ages 8 upwards
All of the above, plus:
Disclaimer! In writing that above list I would like to note that my daughter Amelia is 2 ½ and is already learning to use the washer and dryer. She loves it! So this list is just a guide, but you can start MUCH earlier than you might think.
Don't underestimate the capabilities of your children, they are cleverer than we think!
What jobs do your children (or the children you nanny) do around the house?
Share with us in the comments below!
There's no doubt that KiwiOz Nannies are known for their outgoing attitudes and willingness to help. But what catapults you from being a GOOD nanny to a GREAT nanny? One word. Education. Nanny Educators are getting todays best nanny jobs, and you can be one too!
Are you a nanny who tends to prioritise everyone else over yourself?
It can be so hard to prioritise YOU time. Downtime to think, relax, exercise. We all know that it's important to do. We know that we can't be good at looking after little people, if we're not looking after ourselves first.
The third post in our MummyHood Made Easy Series is straight to the point! 3 easy things to do OUTSIDE with the kids. As usual, we're encouraging self led exploration and learning.
Welcome to the second post in our Mummyhood Made Easy Series. The series is all about making the lives of parents and nannies that little bit easier! This post is something that I'm sure many of you can relate to – meal planning!
Welcome to the first post in our Mummyhood Made Easy Series. The series is all about making the lives of parents and nannies that little bit easier!
Flower paintings and cut-outs
For some, summer has just started but for our kids, it’s school season once again! And you have more ways to be excited about it because the days before it can bring an extra bonding moment between you and your kid through simple home crafts!
Crafts bring out the artist in every kid and we listed the top five ways on how you can help your kid ease from the remaining days of vacation to school time once again. When making crafts, it is important to give kids the freedom to express their natural artist while guiding them along the way. When using sharp or pointed objects, also make sure to practice safety first and help them to prevent injuries.
So what are you waiting for? Bring out the colorful pens, the papers and your artistic hats!
3 ways to impress your nanny employers with your communication skills
As a nanny you have employers but they are often new or very busy parents who have a lot on their minds and not much time to think about how they want to manage their nanny. This can lead to problems in the nanny/ parent relationship if issues build up and communication breaks down.
The good news is that there is an easy way to avoid this happening! Even though you (the nanny) are the employee, you can take the lead in establishing positive communicating with your employers.
3 easy ways to impress your nanny employers
If you are a nanny who is happy to help with organising and jobs around the family home then thank you thank you thank you from all of the parents out there! I can’t stress enough how much parents appreciate a nanny who is happy to help with the washing and dishes and keeps the family home running smoothly.
The challenge as a nanny is to learn how to do this while:
a) giving the children lots of love and attention
b) getting through the day to day activities
and c) still having time for a cup of tea!
Your nanny family will probably give you a list of jobs to complete but it’s likely you will manage your own time from day to day and choose when to get things done. This is great but the real challenge is being self motivated every day and always striving to get through as much as possible. I can promise you that you will feel fitter, healthier and happier if you avoid the couch and the fridge and get satisfaction from ticking off your ‘to do’ list instead.
Here are a few tips to keep things running smoothly, make your job easier and impress your employers:
How To Answer Standard, Non-Industry-Specific Questions
While there are interview questions that are highly specific to nannies, you will also get standard questions about your work history and background that you should prepare for. Here are our top questions:
Being a nanny may sound like a menial job, but your role is actually crucial to a family’s well-being. You will be entrusted with the care of a family’s most precious members – their children. So it is important that you can assure them that you are a person worthy of their trust.
We have compiled the 5 most asked questions during a nannying job interview and added some tips on how you, as the applicant, can answer them:
What do you perceive a nanny’s role to be?
You, as the nanny are responsible for a lot of things. From childcare to planning meals and children's laundry, cleaning the child's bedroom and assisting in homework, playing chauffeur and organizing activities to keep the children entertained...
With everything going on, it is no surprise that you get so caught up in your employers' lives, but there is more to being a nanny than just changing diapers and organising play dates. Rewarding as it is to see how the children under your care develops, you too should have personal development as a nanny!
Clueless about it? The great thing about seeking personal development is that you don't really have to look far and hard for it - simply go online! Here are a few suggestions:
Keeping on top of these 3 jobs is one way a nanny can be a great help to parents...
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