Archive for July, 2012

We all know kids learn through play and by making their own small mistakes. One of the best things we can do for kids is to let them play without an adult leaning over their shoulder telling them how to do things. Sometimes, they just need to be allowed to run free.

It is not only great for their physical development, but it can also be great for their self-esteem to know that you trust them and allow them to be responsible for their own actions and behaviours.

Of course, toddlers need an adult nearby as they tend to get up to mischief, but pre-schoolers can be allowed a bit of safe space. School aged children need a little more and by the time they’re in grade four or five,  can be trusted to safely explore their environment without you.

Obviously, places like the back yard offer a considerably amount of safety without the need for constant adult supervision.

Children can progress to playing outdoors with neighbours and friends, or even venture up to the local school or playground to participate in some much-loved climbing, clambering and running around.

Local parks are fabulous for running around and exploring, climbing trees and creating imaginary games and hidey holes.

Being allowed to explore the local neighbourhood can provide children with a sense of security and safety, and enable them to extend their imagination. They learn what’s going on in the community, where they can go if they feel unsafe, and have a much greater chance of making some new friends.

As they reach the later school years, heading off to the local pool on their own is great for their emotional development and offers them a greater sense of responsibility.

Mostly, it is all just about having fun, growing, developing, making new friends and becoming independent.

You will need to use your own judgement, of course.  Some neighbourhoods are safer than others.  Just remember that children need to learn to be independent and play is the best way to start.


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You do it, day in and day out, and the whole process can become a little tedious after a few weeks, let alone the seven years (minimum) you get to do it for.

Yes, I’m talking about the school lunch!

Coming up with new and exciting lunches for your children each day can become overwhelming especially when you are busy.  It’s hard enough getting them up and out the door to school on time without having to think about lunches as well.

Including a variety of foods, and including all the food groups, seems difficult, but is quite easy. All it takes is a simple twist on basic school lunches.

Sandwiches, for example, can be made using your usual, square breads in white, wholemeal or multigrain. Or, you could mix it up every few says, using sourdough, and rye (dark and light) and there is now a huge variety in seeds and grains in your breads. 

Even bread shape can liven up a lunchbox; from your breadstick to your cob. If you want to add some fun, try using slices from two different sorts of bread – a wholemeal one side and a pumpkin seed the other.

Fillings are only limited by your imagination.  Insulated lunch boxes, or those with the capacity to store an ice block, allow you to include meats, cheeses and other foods susceptible to perishing when the temperature rises.

A tub of yogurt and your choice of fruit fulfil the dairy and fruit component, and some vegetable sticks, such as carrot, celery, capsicum or cucumber, and your choice of dip make the school lunch fun and add variety throughout the week.

Make sure food is stored safely and made even more fun with our selection of cute lunch bags.

One final tip for you- when you have lunch ideas or ideas for sandwich fillings, write them down.  Build up an ideas bank that you can refer to on those really busy mornings when your brain has not yet started to function.  It will make the morning a lot easier.

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BUILT make fashionable and practical lunch bags, boxes and totes and we love them.  They are funky and stylish enough to take anywhere, even to work.  One of my favourites is the Gourmet Getaway Black and White Dot Tote.

This bag is so handy.  It stores flat so it doesn’t take up any space but it spreads wide enough to fit a variety of containers.  Made of neoprene it is easy to clean and very durable.  That also means that if something leaks or spills inside the bag it doesn’t matter.  It won’t go everywhere and the bag can be machine washed when you get home.

Part of the attraction of this bag is that inside that polka dot case is a magenta lining which makes the bag look exciting as soon as you open it.

The bag is lead-free and contains no vinyl or PVC.  It closes with a zip to keep the contents cool and it will keep your food insulated for up to 4 hours.

When the kids see your lunch bag they will want one too, so have a look at the Big Apple Buddies Lunch Bags.  They will love them!

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Dummy or thumb?

Thumb or dummy?

Let’s face it, babies love to suck, and it can keep them happy and settled for hours, so both the dummy and the thumb are fabulous tools for this particular job.

Thumbs are more secure and are easier for bubs to find when it falls out, as opposed to a dummy, particularly in the middle of the night. You also don’t need to worry about forgetting a thumb when you leave the house.

Dummies, however are much easier to keep clean and sterilised, which is particularly necessary when your infant becomes mobile.  A dummy clip will hold it in place so that you don’t have to hunt down the back of seats or at the foot of the bed for it.

It is also much easier to monitor and/or limit the use of a dummy as a settling tool than it is with a thumb, which can often be an unconscious habit in babies and children.

Some babies experience “nipple confusion” when frequently using a dummy, which may lead to problems with breastfeeding. It is recommended, therefore, that babies are not offered a dummy until they are over a month old, and breastfeeding has had an opportunity to establish well.

There is also much debate about the use of dummies, and of thumb-sucking, in oral development and the formation of teeth. Dummies tend to be more ‘ergonomic’ and designed, in some cases, specifically to reduce problems with emerging and growing teeth.  Whether or not thumb-sucking is to blame for malformed and crooked teeth is up for debate.

Of course, as the child reaches pre-school age, then risk of crooked teeth increases, as the pressure of the thumb can push teeth out of alignment.

When it comes to weaning from this sucking settling tool, it is much easier to reduce the reliance on a dummy than it is of a thumb. If push comes to shove, you can dispose of a dummy much more easily than you can a thumb!

If your bubs is a ‘sucker’ it might be a good idea to introduce a dummy so he doesn’t become reliant on his thumb but in all reality, some babies just won’t give you the choice.  For most of us the choice between an unsettled and dummy-less or sleeping dummy-sucking baby is a no brainer.

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Most babies love to be swaddled. It helps them feel safe and secure, and it replicates the sensation of feeling snug in the womb.

The light pressure of being wrapped snugly can help to calm a baby, particularly if they’re over tired or over stimulated, and prevents them from waking with their little jerks, jolts and startle reflexes.

In short, they feel relaxed and cosy; a beautiful way to feel.

Light, slightly stretchy, breathable fabrics, like cotton or muslin, are perfect for swaddling your baby in. They prevent overheating, whilst still keeping your baby cosy and safe.

Wrapping Bubs: 

  • Place the wrap on the ground and fold one corner down (about 15cm)
  • Place your baby on the wrap, their head resting on the fold
  • Bring the right hand corner across your baby’s body and tuck it in under his left arm
  • Bring the left hand corner across, and firmly tuck it under and around his back
  • Gently fold the loose wrap under his feet and bottom.

Ensure baby’s face is completely uncovered and he has room to wriggle and kick his legs.

Remember, also, that not all babies like the sensation of being wrapped, and some might like their hands up near their face, rather than held against their bodies. Wrap your baby so he is happy and comfortable.  Our Pat-a-Cake-Swaddle-Wrap range is very clever.  With a designer print on the outside and soft and plush minky Flurr on the inside, your little one will feel warm and safe without becoming overheated.

You might like to wrap your baby in a blanket but a specially designed swaddle will do the wrapping for you.

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