We do not pay for sets or provide free issues. You don't have to be a mind reader to figure out what she wants. For the most part your gloved hands are just outside of the chamber, holding the edge. Sitting and spooning every mouthful of food exactly where it needs to go can certainly save a lot of cleaning up after a meal and you may enjoy this time of bonding with your baby.
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But in recent years it seems that the age of entry into the digital dimension has decreased, and it is now perfectly normal for toddlers — and even babies — to swipe and tap away on screens with growing dexterity. The to-do list could be tackled, or an occasional lunch out or coffee enjoyed without turning the café into a makeshift playground or inciting tuts and raised eyebrows from fellow diners.
You might even manage a trip to the loo in peace! As smartphones and tablets are such a recent development, no one can say with certainty what their long-term effects on our children will be. Although there is plenty of research on how television can affect children, as the new technology is interactive and responsive, it may not affect children in exactly the same way.
So far, while researchers have found that touchscreen use may have some positive effects — for example, it may improve motor skills, coordination and reaction times, it can be useful for children with autism or ADHD, and it may help early literacy in pre-schoolers — other studies have found that too much tech, too young, may have its downsides.
But what are the possible downsides? And how much tech is too much? One of the main possible downsides is that if children — especially very young children — spend too much time alone on gadgets, this could be at the expense of other, potentially richer, experiences that are essential for their development. When a screen tells a story, the words, sounds and pictures are perfectly synchronised into one easy-to-digest package, so the technology almost does the thinking for the child.
Children also need to see faces to start the complex process of working out expressions, which can help with developing empathy and social skills. Another potential downside of our gadgets might be that they are just too good — if a screen captivates and soothes our children so reliably, it might become the go-to tool every time we need to divert our children from potential meltdown situations, or even if they are just a bit fidgety and, well, childlike, when out in public.
In the digital world, children usually get an exciting audio-visual reward when they master a task, which stimulates the reward pathway in the brain and gives a buzz of achievement.
More research is needed, but for the time being, it seems that more swiping equals less snoozing. One more downside of screen use is its possible effects on myopia short-sightedness. Hong Kong already has one of the highest rates of myopia in the world, and it seems that small-screen usage will only exacerbate problems.
At a Hong Kong Department of Health report launch in on the health effects of internet and screen use, Dr Ko Tak-chuen from the College of Ophthalmologists of Hong Kong pointed out that myopia is associated with near-work tasks, and overuse of electronic screen products will increase the risk of myopia progression.
But just how much time are our children spending on screens? As technology moves so fast, and as our lives become increasingly screen-saturated with every passing month, it is difficult to come up with accurate statistics. However, the Birkbeck study in the UK found that 51 per cent of six-to month-olds, 75 per cent of toddlers six months to three years and 92 per cent of 25 to month-olds used a touchscreen device on a daily basis.
Although the average screen time for six months was six minutes, some were spending two-and-a-half hours a day on screens, and some month-olds were spending as much as five hours per day on screens. A survey in the UK found that one-third of British under-fives owned a tablet or smartphone. So how much screen time should our children be having? The AAP surveyed the available evidence and issued guidelines. It advised parents that under-twos should avoid screens, other than for video-chatting, and that for over-twos, content should be carefully chosen, watched with parents, and not used for more than an hour per day.
According to the AAP, this will not be the case. And when we think about unplugging the children, we should take a look at our own habits, too.
Avoid solo media use in this age group. For children aged two-to five years — limit screen use to one hour per day of high-quality programming, co-view with your children, help them understand what they are seeing and apply what they learn to the world around them.
Avoid fast-paced programmes young children do not understand them so well , apps with lots of distracting content, and any violent content. Turn off televisions when not in use.
Avoid using media as the only way to calm your child. Keep bedrooms, mealtimes and parent-child playtimes screen-free. No screens one hour before bedtime, and no devices in bedrooms overnight. Getting the Best Behaviour from your Young Learner. Sure, you can have stern words, ask your child to improve, or promise punishments if the problem persists.
What you can do is set up clear behaviour models in the home, which your child will then take with them into school.
Take a look at the tips below to help your child learn how to behave well in all areas of their life. But try using one of the task motivators below to help your child take some of this responsibility on for themselves, and their maturity will develop immensely. Set up rules in advance for how pieces are collected, e. Put this up in a very visible part of your home and point to it silently whenever your child seems distracted. Children with attention issues find a task list especially helpful, as it keeps them oriented within a stream of activities.
Carrot and Stick Clear and consistent rules are the key to helping your child control their behaviour at home. Use a mixture of carrot and stick incentives to guide them towards the behaviour that will serve them best for the rest of their lives.
Instead, show them how much you value good behaviour by recognising it every time. This works best if you can get down at eye level and be specific with your praise, e. Why not try rewarding your child with responsibility. Consistency is key here, so make sure that all caretakers parents, helpers, grandparents, etc.
Set ground rules — Help your child understand what good study behaviour looks like: Establish signals — Kids thrive on predictability and repetition how else could they get through their 37th viewing of Frozen? Use specific signals to remind your child to remain on task.
In schools, teachers clap out a rhythm to gather attention. Setting up some reliable signals with your child can help them modify their behaviour without needing a lengthy discussion on the issue each time problems arise. Are my instructions short and simple? This can quickly prompt poor behaviour in children as that distracts from how helpless they feel.
Make sure that your instructions are clear, simple and easy to follow, and confirm this by having the instructions repeated back to you. Have I checked in with their needs? Bad behaviour often points to something else going on with a child. Are you asking too much? Not every child can concentrate for half an hour on the same thing I know not every adult can.
Work to understand whether your child needs more regular breaks to let off steam by playing a running game or by grabbing some crayons and colouring for five minutes before continuing with their tasks. Over time, you can gradually expect more and more of them, but setting the bar too high from the start will make them reluctant to even try.
She has been teaching in Hong Kong for several years, and has a highly experienced international teaching team who love to share their knowledge and resources with parents whenever they can. Tara Jenkins asks how much physical activity our children should participate in each day. We blow up balloons, and go crazy. Or we turn up the music and engage in one of the oldest forms of human expression: It is key children learn to enjoy sport in early childhood years, she says, and that there is variety in the activities they are signed up for.
When a child is growing, they need stability and more importantly, muscle co-ordination. Running, swimming or yoga will help them find good balance, and improve muscle strength alongside muscle flexibility, which is necessary for avoiding growing pains.
My advice is for every child to do lots and lots of swimming, as it provides the perfect balance between cardio, stamina building and muscle strengthening, while moving the entire body to ensure flexibility. Pure weight training, conversely, is not advised before 14 years old, depending on when a child reaches puberty.
Over the coming weeks and months, he suggests incrementally increasing that amount to find the maximum time where a child stays enthusiastic and healthy. Older children in their mid to late teens, can develop a huge capacity for exercise, as long as they support themselves with a nutritious diet and adequate sleep. At the other end of the spectrum, what about children who are doing too much? Cox says the overuse activities he sees in children tend to be sport-specific, so swimmers will exhibit shoulder pain, runners, lower limb pain, and those who play sports with a high level of variability - such as rugby - tend to have ankle, knee, shoulder and even neck pain.
Take phones or devices away at 8pm each night and return them the next morning! Sleep should be coupled with healing foods that are high in protein, such as fish or chicken, and foods that help support a body with an inflammatory response, such as dark green leafy vegetables, berries, pineapple, extra virgin oil and avocados.
If the pain is consistent, extends for weeks and does not show signs of repair, however, see your doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath. To Feed or let them Lead? What are the options?
Food for your baby can either be pureed and spoon-fed or cut up into manageable chunks to pick up as they like. Weaning is used here in the English sense of the word, meaning the addition of complementary food, rather than the American sense, meaning to give up breastfeeding.
When should I wean? Watch them closely at mealtimes and take note of if and when they start showing an interest in food. Some babies of eight months will sit quietly at the dinner table playing with their toys or watching the world go by, while others of five months will be frantically trying to grab everything off your plate!
The age you choose to wean can also depend on whether you're happy to continue breast or bottle feeding. If, on the other hand, your little one seems keen to give it a go, then this is the perfect opportunity to begin weaning of some kind. What do I feed them? It's generally agreed that babies can have anything that we can if you leave out the salt, but a full meal may be a bit daunting to them at first. What will work for you? Some people find it easier to rely on fresh food and cut it up as they need it, while others prefer to puree, grab and go.
The former, of course, relies on making sure there is plenty of fresh produce in the house, while the latter means you can have everything planned in advance and a freezer full of healthy combinations always on hand. Think about how you and your helper organise your time—do you prefer to shop each day or stock up in advance?
Order of birth can also come into play in making your decision, as it may save time to serve up the same to everyone and younger siblings tend to want to copy their elders. How will they cope? For anyone who's ever seen a seven-month-old throw up a rice cracker after a violent coughing fit, there's little consolation in that! All children are different and while one may chomp down pretty much anything with no issues at six months, another may not enjoy feeling texture in their mouth until a lot later.
The last thing we want to do is to put our children off their food before they've even got started. As the person who knows their baby best, you're the only one qualified to make the call whether to persevere, try some purees or leave it until later. Will it be messy? Sitting and spooning every mouthful of food exactly where it needs to go can certainly save a lot of cleaning up after a meal and you may enjoy this time of bonding with your baby.
Most of us are somewhere in between in which case why not mix it up a bit and see what you and your baby prefer? At this stage, whatever complementary foods you give to your baby should be just that. Obviously the more fresh foods your child eats the better, but whether you offer them whole or pureed is up to you. This is a wonderful time for you and your little one, as they move along on their journey to becoming a proper little person.
This article appeared in Playtimes October Issue Jo Allum takes to the roads of California for a campervan adventure with her month-old daughter. Will they hit any bumps in the road? When my friend invited us to her wedding in Laguna Beach, California, we decided to make this our first family campervan road-trip. My husband, John, and I had travelled extensively across Australia and New Zealand in a camper, but we had never attempted it with our daughter, Holly aged 18 months , and neither of us had travelled America in a campervan.
With our final destination set in the south of the state, we began up north, flying into San Francisco. A word of warning about the flight — we flew with Cathay Pacific and the schedule simply could not be worse.
Taking off from Hong Kong at 2pm, we had lunch, settled in for some family movie time, had a snack then put Holly into her pyjamas at what would have been around 7. Holly fell asleep pretty fast, and we enjoyed a movie ourselves. Persuaded that she was fast asleep, no sooner had we decided to treat ourselves to a pat on the back and a glass of wine, when the lights went on and dinner service started.
Armed with fruit pouches and enough rice cakes to make Customs suspicious, we braced ourselves for US immigration. It is every bit as bad as you think, and I can offer no tips or guidance, you just have to suck it up… But we headed out into the Californian sunshine, and were met by our campervan at arrivals.
Having been given the grand tour of our campervan, we headed north to Petaluma. I have planned a lot of trips in Australia, and the one thing I have never had to account for except in the really big cities is traffic. Boy, did I underestimate Californian traffic… Morning rush hour ends around 10, with the afternoon drive home beginning around 3, and the roads are often not well maintained.
Do bear this in mind when planning your route — we had to make amendments as we went because this became a real problem. Fresh air, blue sky, no mobile reception, and hiking… except as we were driving across the highway, we got a call from Cathay. Did we leave a piece of luggage behind? Yep, the hiking backpack. Our main day trip was out to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for some good old-fashioned family fun with rides and junk food!
There were more family-friendly excursions the following day as we headed to Monterey. If I did the trip again, I would definitely spend more time around here and Carmel.
The aquarium is justifiably famous and there are plenty of hands-on exhibits for little ones to play with take a change of clothes! Next we headed inland to Paso Robles. Here we discovered the amazing concept of Uber Wine Tours — book your driver and he takes you around your choice of wineries, for an additional hourly fee on top of the usual Uber rates.
However, they are not, in general, toddler or family-friendly, so we kept it brief before we continued down the coast. We stayed at the Anaheim RV Park.
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